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Focus on the Action, Not on the Fruit

If your actions are good, then your birth will be good. Your actions are the original cause, your birth is the final result. In this context, Krishna said, "Keep all your attention on performing good deeds; do not pay any attention to the fruit." The fruit will follow by itself, but your focus should be on the action.

In the past, you have been associated with a number of good or bad actions and as a result, you are now enjoying or suffering their consequence in the form of joy or sorrow. How do you get rid of the sorrow that is the result of your past bad actions? It is only by engaging in good actions that you can remove this sorrow. That is the reason why action has been given primary importance in the Vedas. Bad actions must be replaced by good actions, which then lead to totally selfless actions, where there is no personal interest in the fruit. This, then, becomes karma yoga and brings you into union with divinity.

If you are careless with your actions, or if you waste your actions, your whole life becomes a waste. Life has been given to you so that you engage yourself in good karma and ideal activities. Karma does not mean just performing actions with the body. Karma is the very name of the body itself. Since the body has come as the result of actions performed previously, one of the meanings of karma is body.

Body is the consequence of actions; it is associated with time, circumstance and causation. But this applies only to the waking state. In the dream state, the body is inactive, so there cannot be any action at all; there will only be the illusion of action, or maya. In dreams, all the senses will be still. In the state of deep-sleep, which has been called the causal state, there will not even be any mind. Beyond this state is the ultimate source, that which is called the great cause, the original cause. It transcends the causal state. This original cause is the divinity. Here is a small example to illustrate these states.

Those of you who are students walk here from the hostel, which is about one kilometer away. At 4:15 in the afternoon, you leave the hostel and by 4:30 you reach the gates of the ashram. So, it takes you about 15 minutes to move your body from the hostel to this complex. Your purpose for coming here is to hear Baba's lecture. In every action you undertake, there will be these same four factors, a time, an activity, a cause or purpose and a result. The time, as you have seen, was 15 minutes. The activity was to walk from the hostel to the prayer hall. The reason was to listen to the lecture. The result is that you will be sanctifying your life thereby. In this way, the waking state can be used for one's spiritual advancement.