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Wednesday, 07 December 2011 11:29

Sakam Karma: Desire driven Actions

Written by  Krishna Bhatta e
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Sakam Karma: Desire driven actions.

What it is not:

Many translate sakam karma as ‘selfish actions.’   I think it is far from the truth. In that respect, Buddha was a selfish man; he left his wife and children for selfish interests.   Sakam karma is not necessarily bad

What it is:

Sakam karma consists of over 95% of all actions. This is the domain most of us live in. It is important to understand the ins and outs of sakam karma. Desire and attachment are essential components of sakam karma. They are the driving forces at play. Sometimes it is hard to believe that we can perform any action without the driving force of desire. What is motivation? What is the drive that we always talk about? All these are forms of desire and attachment.

A child is born without attachments and probably has no desires. We encourage the child to develop attachment. He develops desires. He gets motivated and now has a drive. He is ready to become somebody, one day he will become famous. This is how presidents and popes are made. This is how the world runs.

It has its downside too. A child is born. He develops attachments and desires. He develops drive and becomes motivated. He is ready to take on the world. He can gun down any body and can take down world trade center. He becomes the greatest terrorist in the world. This is how Hitlers and Osamas are made.

It is obvious from above that sakam karma can be good and it can be bad. You can have desire to be close to God and you can become a priest. You can desire to become a leader, businessman or a doctor to help yourself and the public. You can develop hatred and have a desire to revenge. All these are sakam (desire driven) actions

Baggage of Sakam Karma

All desire driven actions by default produce ripples or reactions and create bondage of some sort. You are angry. You are strong. You do not like the way some body behaves. You slap him in his face. He is weak and he is poor. His life depends on you. He keeps quiet. Your slapping has created a ripple. It has created a reaction. You do not see the reaction, but it has become a grudge. One day he (the person you slapped) becomes somebody. He can sit side by side with you. He finds an excuse and develops an argument with you and before you realize what is going on, you have been slapped.

Let us have another example. You are walking along. Somebody falls on the road. He breaks his leg. You see him fall and break his leg. You have other things to do but feel like helping him. You stop, comfort him and take him on the side of the road. You call an ambulance. He is taken to hospital and his fracture is taken care of. The family comes and thanks you for saving his life. You feel so satisfied with yourself.

The world does not always work the way I described above, but you get the drift of where I am going. All sakam karma has reactions. There are better and superior approaches for karma management; but that does not make desire driven karma bad or obsolete.

I love this verse in Gita:

A single sailboat is in the water

Drifting away in gentle wind

The wind gets intense and

Takes control of the boat through the sail

Similarly a man wandering in the water of desires

Moving gently in his day to day life and one day

One intense desire of a single sense organ

Takes control of the entire being

And sways him to what that one sense organ wants.

Bhagavad Gita //2:67//

Sanskrit

Indriyanam hi caratam yan mano ‘nuvidhiyate

Tad asya harati prajnam vayur navam ivambhasi

Last modified on Friday, 09 December 2011 07:19
Krishna Bhatta e

Krishna Bhatta e

A practicing Urologist, Dr Bhatta developed his interest in Bhagavad-Gita from a very young age. He was exposed to the teachings of Gita from his father. He has a love for our scriptures including Upanishads and Vedas.

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