Ethical quandaries abound for those hardy souls who, shunning the sheltered existence of a remote hermitage, aspire to practice spiritual ideals in the chiaroscuro of everyday life. How does one make a living while surrounded by insecure people who are themselves struggling to secure their own financial and other physical comforts ? Whom to trust and how much truth to disclose ? When should one take a principled stand and when should one just let go? One can be forced into some pretty disappointing and unsavoury choices in this ambiguous battle of life. In this article, we read the advice given by Sri Aurobindo to a disciple who was dismayed by the corrosive effect the legal profession was having on his soul.
It is a commonly observed amongst those who have awakened to the spiritual path that once they have ceased to be selfish, they start thinking of ways to uplift the rest of the world. One may feel despondent at the chaos in society and seek some semblance of stability or some foothold on which a better future can be built. When we grapple with this intractable problem, we find ourselves psychologically evolving through successive stages of inner growth and along with us, the solution to our dilemma also evolves.
The desire to relax after a hard day’s work or a difficult week is a universal phenomenon observed in people everywhere. The human body has a finite capacity of concentration and needs to relieve the stress which builds up after a significant amount of mental or physical effort. Unfortunately, the methods of relaxation we choose often tend to make the situation worse by sinking us into a malaise which further depletes our energy. Better methods of relaxation are required and it is here that the psychological methods of Yoga need to be applied.
Karma Yoga(Yoga of Works), as outlined in the Bhagavad Gita, involves doing work not for one’s ego but as an offering to the Divine. The principles of Karma Yoga can be easily applied in the tranquil atmosphere of some spiritual retreat where one is surrounded by like-minded people but it is much more difficult to practice in a professional or business environment of today’s capitalistic society. This post discusses some finer points of Karma Yoga based on the commentaries of Sri Aurobindo.