Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Karma, Bhakti and Jnana in Service to Others

Matthew 25:

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

This passage from the King James version of the New Testament speaks of Karma Yoga. It talks not just of helping others, but how the helping is actually worship of the Lord (Christ Consciousness). It also gives us some idea of who we are to help; the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger and prisoner.

The hungry, thirsty and naked are needy, and arouse a degree of sympathy even in the hard hearted; who may give a small token to relieve their own sense of guilt. The stranger and prisoner are less sympathetic to all but the most devoted, who will be able to see them as the Lord, or the One. This does not happen by accident or chance.

This is where Bhakti, or devotion, and Jnana, or knowledge come into play. Only through Love and contemplation can one be able to see the Lord in the poor, the outcast and the troubled. Jnana brings understanding that the world is all One. Bhakti draws on the Lord's own "reserves" to give us strength to carry on in our work.

Jnana, while giving us the understanding of no-separation, will not give us the understanding of what is needed to actually help others. This is the province of Bhakti. Through worship we draw the Lord's strength by BEING it. We become the Love of God when we worship without subject or object; resting only in the Love that we are. This not only gives us the ability to carry on, but takes the "I" out of the equation, making us closer to both the needy, and the Lord, who are, after all, the same.

Without this worship, this Bhakti, this abandonment of our "selves", we will look for thanks, or praise, or the "good feeling" we get from helping others. My Barber has a little sign on his mirror that says: "Every day do something for someone who can never pay you back." This is it. Worship becomes helping. Helping becomes worship. Not for reward, or a better conscience, but to simply be Loving the Lord in the form of the needy, or even the despised.

Give Love without thought of reward, and you become Love; your True Nature!

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