Kartrutva [the feeling of being the performer of actions]
106 The ignoble infatuation kartrutva that associates with you is the confused attitude of mind that regards the instruments [of action and cognition] as ‘you’.
107 Deeds [karma] are not your enemy, only the sense of doership [kartrutva] is. Therefore, live your life, having completely renounced that enemy.
108 If you perform all activities, relying primarily on grace, the delusion, the ego, will be completely destroyed.
Bhagavan: Only so long as you think that you are the worker are you obliged to reap the fruits of your actions. If, on the other hand, you surrender yourself and recognise your individual self as only a tool of the higher power, that power will take over your affairs along with the fruits of actions. You are no longer affected by them and the work goes on unhampered. Whether you recognise the power or not the scheme of things does not alter. Only there is a change of outlook. Why should you bear your load on the head when you are travelling in a train? It carries you and your load whether the load is on your head or on the floor of the train. You are not lessening the burden of the train by keeping it on your head but only straining yourself unnecessarily. Similar is the sense of doership in the world of the individuals. [15. Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 503.]
109 The proper course for a sadhaka is to practise sadhana at all times until the sense of being the doer ceases.
110 ‘Only the cessation of the sense of being the doer is self-surrender.’ Padam emphatically declares this, imprinting it upon the mind.
Question: Without the sense of doership – the sense ‘I am doing’ – work cannot be done.
Bhagavan: It can be done. Work without attachment. Work will go on even better than when you worked with the sense that you were the doer.
Question: I don’t understand what work I should do and what not.
Bhagavan: Don’t bother. What is destined as work to be done by you in this life will be done by you, whether you like it or not…
Question: If, as Arjuna was told, there is a certain work destined to be done by each and we shall eventually do it, however much we do not wish to do it or refuse to do it, is there any free will?
Bhagavan: It is true that the work meant to be done by us will be done by us. But it is open to us to be free from the joys or pains, pleasant or unpleasant consequences of the work, by not identifying ourselves with the body or that which does the work. If you realise your true nature and know that it is not you that do any work, you will be unaffected by the consequences of whatever work the body may be engaged in according to destiny or past karma or divine plan, however you may call it. You are always free and there is no limitation of that freedom. [16. Day by Day with Bhagavan, 3rd January, 1946.]
111 At the very moment that the sense of being the doer ceases one will be redeemed, becoming one who has done all that needs to be done. After this there is no more effort.
Question: It is an established rule that so long as there is the least idea of I-am the-doer, Self-knowledge cannot be attained, but is it possible for an aspirant who is a householder to discharge his duties properly without this sense?
Bhagavan: As there is no rule that action should depend upon a sense of being the doer, it is unnecessary to doubt whether any action will take place without a doer or an act of doing. Although the officer of a government treasury may appear, in the eyes of others, to be doing his duty attentively and responsibly all day long, he will be discharging his duties without attachment, thinking ‘I have no real connection with all this money’ and without a sense of involvement in his mind. In the same manner a wise householder may also discharge without attachment the various household duties which fall to his lot according to his past karma, like a tool in the hands of another. Action and knowledge are not obstacles to each other. [17. Spiritual Instructions, Collected Works, pp. 63-4.]
112 Those who have cast off kartrutva will feel exhilarated within themselves, having done all that needs to be done.
Expecting results from actions
113 That which veils your insight into the real is the attitude of desiring fruits from actions. Therefore, you should cultivate an understanding in which there is no expectation of results.
114 Without an exceedingly strong rectitude of mind, the performance of obligatory duties without desiring their fruits is impossible.
115 Except for those who can perform karma as yoga, for everyone else karma will end up as moha [infatuation].
Responsibility for actions performed
116 So long as you have not renounced the belief ‘I am the doer’, keep in your mind the correct perspective that your responsibilities are yours alone.
As long as the ‘I am the doer’ idea persists, new karma will accumulate and will be experienced by the one who thinks he is the doer. When this idea ends, no new karma is accumulated. Bhagavan is saying that one cannot evade responsibility for one’s actions until one has the direct experience of the Self in which the sense of being an individual person has vanished.
Question: Even though people commit adultery and theft and take alcoholic drinks and so on, can their sins be wiped out by doing japa… Or will the sins stick to them?
Bhagavan: If the feeling ‘I am not doing japa’ is not there, the sins committed by a man will not stick to him. If the feeling ‘I am doing japa’ is there, why should not the sin arising from bad habits stick on?
Question: Will not this punya [the merit accumulated from performing the japa] extinguish that papam [the consequences of the sinful acts]?
Bhagavan: So long as the feeling ‘I am doing’ is there, one must experience the results of one’s acts, whether they are good or bad. How is it possible to wipe out one act with another? When the feeling ‘I am doing’ is lost, nothing affects a man. Unless one realises the Self, the feeling ‘I am doing’ will never vanish. [18. Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 3rd June, 1946.]
Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 570, Pozhippurai: An ignorant person thinks, through the delusion I-am-the-body, that an individual ‘I’ exists separate from God, the complete and utter fullness. So long as he believes himself to be an individual, it has to be accepted that he will alternately perform good and bad actions through the ego-feeling I-am-the-doer and will necessarily receive and experience their results in the form of joy and misery.
Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 668: If it is conceded that all the actions of the jiva are only Siva’s actions, then the jiva should have become, by a perfect self-surrender in which independence and individuality are lost, not different from Siva. If he exists as different from Siva, all his actions are his actions and not Siva’s, and he will be considered an independent agent.
Vilakkam: This is a very subtle point. When it is conceded that all the actions of the jiva are those of Siva, then jiva and Siva are not different. At that point the jiva, having lost the feeling that he is performing actions, becomes Siva, the free One. Surrendering in this way is not yielding to the ego, but is the complete destruction of it. However, those who behave with their ego nature, saying, ‘Everything is Siva’s doing,’ have not really surrendered.
117 The sense of responsibility, a false feeling, does not exist in the true state of realisation of the Self.
118 When this ego-based sense of responsibility is destroyed, the bliss of the Self will surge and overflow.
Kartavya [the feeling that there are activities that must be done]
119 The notion of duties that need to be done [kartavya] will not cease as long as the sense of doership [kartrutva] exists in the heart.
120 Why do you become mentally agitated, blindly believing there are things you have to do [kartavya]?
121 The bondage called ‘duty’ will cease [being known] as a delusion caused by the ego, when the firm knowledge of reality is attained.
Question: I want to know my tattva [my truth, my reality] and my duties.
Bhagavan: Know your tattva first and then you may ask what your duties are. You must exist in order to know and do your duty. Realise your existence and then enquire of your duties. [19. Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 565.]
122 A mind that has dissolved in the state of God, and ceased to exist, will not be aware of any activity that needs to be performed
123 because when the ego, which has the idea that it is the performer of actions, has been completely destroyed, the idea that something needs to be accomplished ends.
124 Those who do not see anything as a duty that has to be done will attain the bliss of peace that yields limitless contentment.