Though we may not realize it, stress, anxiety, and tension that we experience in life is because of impure intention. You may wonder what is purity of intention? Let us understand this through the example of the human hand. The hand serves the body in various ways, by lifting, carrying, holding, etc. In doing so, its self-interest is served — it automatically receives nourishment from the body for its sustenance, without fending for it. The hand’s dharma is to serve the body, of which it is an integral part. Similarly, the soul is a tiny fragment of God. Being His part, our constitutional position is to serve God. When we realize this and reconnect ourselves with our Source, we will then begin to do our every work for His pleasure. Thus, purity of intention is the desire to please God with our every thought, word and deed.
Let us understand this with an ancient story. Samarth Ramdas was the Guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji. One day, Shivaji was standing on the balcony of his palace, when he found his Guru walking along the road with a begging bowl in his hand. Shivaji felt extremely embarrassed. He thought to himself, “I am a king and the personality I revere as my Guru is begging on the streets.” He had an idea. He wrote something on a piece of paper, folded it, and ran down the stairway to his Gurudev placing the paper in his begging bowl.
Samarth Ramdas opened it and smiled. Shivaji had written, “My kingdom and everything in it — I offer it at your feet.” Gurudev smiled and said, “My child, I beg not because I need to, but because it gives me the opportunity to come in the midst of the grihasthis (householders) and impart knowledge to them. It is also my way of engaging them in service. Now, you have handed me your entire kingdom. What will I do with it? I’m giving it back to you. Take care of it, but henceforth remember — it doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to your Guru. Rule it in that consciousness.”
Herein is the method of implementing the instructions of the Bhagavad Gita. Lord Krishna had instructed Arjun:
यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत् |
यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम् || 27||
yat karoṣhi yad aśhnāsi yaj juhoṣhi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣhva mad-arpaṇam
Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as oblation to the sacred fire, whatever you bestow as a gift, and whatever austerities you perform, O son of Kunti, do them as an offering to Me.
Shree Krishna nicely explains the concept of pure service to Arjun. He reveals that Arjun should engage in worldly duties while keeping the mind in Him (i.e. God), and to do whatever he does as an offering to the Lord.
So, like Shivaji, if we remember that we are merely the caretakers of whatever we possess on behalf of God and Guru and engage in our duties as a service to God, we will then automatically act with the purest of pure intentions.
Consider this example — three workers are engaged in the construction of a building. When the first one is asked, what he is doing, he says, “I am earning so much every hour.” When the second worker is asked what he is doing, he says, “I am helping make this building.” When the third worker is asked, he says, “This is a Temple of God. I am serving the Supreme Almighty.” Now, all three of them are bodily engaged in the same kind of activity, but the difference is internal — in their consciousness and in their intention. The Bhagavad Gita informs us that if we can do everything with divine intention, that is what will purify us from within, it will attract the grace of God, and consecrate every deed of ours at the altar of the Supreme Almighty.
Watch this interesting video by Swami Mukundananda –
Consider the example of Arjun. Before listening to the Bhagavad Gita, Arjun was a warrior. After listening to the Bhagavad Gita also, he was still a warrior. What was the change? The change was from within — earlier he thought it was all about winning for the sake of self-aggrandizement and glory, and later he was indulging in the same activity for the glory of God.
So, we can make every work of ours as worship, if we learn to offer it for the pleasure of the Supreme. Let us say that you are a business person and your profession is to earn money. Now, don’t do it just for your enjoyment. Think I am earning it so that I may offer it in service after keeping the minimum needed for my sustenance. When you learn to do that, your whole perspective towards your work will change. You will start thinking that I am doing this for the pleasure of God.
Similarly, somebody cooks at home and takes care of the house — again add God to it. This house belongs to Him — I am cooking for His pleasure; I will offer it to the Lord and then we will all accept it as His prasad. In this way, if we learn to add God to every activity of ours, we automatically become detached from the results for our sake. In this way, our intention becomes purified and our every act becomes devotion.
Always remember — learn to offer your works to God. We will continue this journey again on the tenth day of our Life Transformation Challenge.