As explained in the previous chapter, Karma Yoga stands on two important principles. One is duty-consciousness, and the other is a constant awareness of the law of Nature and its cause and effect system. An in–depth exposition of the full meaning of these principles follows.
Everyone is born on the Earth with the imprints of Karma. No one brings any material wealth when he comes. From the day of birth to the beginning of one’s teens (13 years), almost no one, by his own labor, is able to earn anything for food, clothes and other essential facilities and commodities of life. All material requirements are supplied and fulfilled by society. In this respect, parents or guardians are considered part of the society. Millions of people throughout the world are involved in the production of the material requirements of every man. Protection from all dangers in life is given by society (government as well as relatives). Education is given by the government, which is the administrative branch of the society. For all the undocumented receipts, people are indebted to society, i.e., they have run up dues with the society. In a moral sense, everyone has got all his requirements from society as a grant or advance or loan. Should not this unwritten loan be repaid to the society by everyone according to his ability, when one is physically and intellectually capable of repaying the dues? The moral conscience that prevails on one to repay such a loan to society by means of service is duty-consciousness.
Everyone is engaged in some particular work. He is paid for it according to the existing social system. By this arrangement of economics, people have generally come to think they are working for money. In reality, there is a deeper meaning in the spiritual knowledge of this service or duty-consciousness. The simple fact is that everyone is a debtor to the society, and repays his debt by means of his service. Work should not be performed only in expectation of gratuity, since everyone is maintained by society without discrimination, whether one is male or female, child or adult, invalid or healthy, criminal or guardian, king or beggar and working or not. So, a worker should not think he is working for money. In fact, the wages for the work done by him are not a fair and just recompense for his services.
Service has no calculable value, because the repayment principle of the dues by the individual to the society cannot be measured. Originally, the payment of wages for a day’s work was always estimated in all societies as exchange-value for the commodities, facilities and comforts required for one head of family and his immediate dependants for one day.
The idea that one is rendering his services only for money, will result in disappointment, dissatisfaction, conflict and hurt. Do we not see that this sort of conditioned concept, “Work for money and money for work”, generates all kinds of problems in the society? The spiritual understanding is that the work is to repay one’s dues to the society, and conversely, that it is the inalienable birthright of all people to be provided with food and other necessities. On the basis of this under- standing, not doing work at the proper age becomes a crime. By this crime, one gets punished in two ways: One’s physical body will become ill due to lack of proper activity through work; and, one loses the right of indirect feeding by wages. Under the system of Karma Yoga, duty- consciousness is an integral aspect of spiritual enlightenment.
Render your services in all possible and practicable ways in order to repay the dues to society and to help others. The society is there to take care of all your needs. I call upon the workers of the world:
Do not equate your services with money.
This should be constantly remembered by all Karma Yogis. The common people cannot understand this principle of Karma Yoga until it is taught in schools in a proper curriculum. Until then, they have to make do with their present concepts. The Karma Yogis have to sow the seeds for reformation in life. With kindness and love we have to accept others as they are, and do our duties.
May the almighty force shower you with good health, long life, enough wealth, peace, prosperity, fame and wisdom.
Have a great day.