I am here practicing a path called Karma Yoga, but I know nothing about it. Bhagavan Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita that to dedicate all of one’s actions to the Divine will free one from bondage. Krishna declares that to think of God amidst any action transforms simple work into a puja. Lovingly, he declares that all actions done without any attachment to the result of action will awaken us to our own true nature.
Amma explains to us that to serve society selflessly, regardless of the benefit we may or may not receive, is a soap that deeply cleanses our minds and our souls of past actions done with selfish motives.
In society today, we see massive movements of infrastructure and commerce, but we seldom see massive movements of service dedicated solely to the benefit of society or its individuals, regardless of cost or profit. In Amritapuri Ashram we have the opportunity to create this kind of a reality.
Before I came to this ashram, I longed to find purpose in life and a sense of complete satisfaction from my work. Even after attaining extremely well-paying positions in amazing companies for which I loved working, I felt an emptiness at the end of my day. I could not find the truth in my work. As I began working with the seva opportunities presented at the ashram, I found that every one of my days, from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep, was somehow deeply fulfilling. Cleaning the floor, picking up the trash, washing the dishes, or doing someone else’s laundry was granting me the sense of completion I had longed for.
None of this made sense to my mind at the time, as my interests revolved more around healing work, yoga, massage, and dance. I questioned if I was missing something important, but every time I checked in, I felt happier and happier than ever before. Instead of focusing on myself all day, how to make my life better, I was, instead, focused on whether or not I was pleasing God.
I have been living in Amritapuri for seven years, and I continue to dedicate the majority of the day to SEVA. I still do not know karma yoga. I know only how fulfilling this most sacred of paths is. Every day, I practice dedicating all of my actions to the divine. Every day, I practice chanting my guru mantra while I work or to talking to Amma in my head and thinking of her while I work. I practice remembering to help others more than I help myself. I practice not being attached to the things I like or don’t like. I practice not getting too disappointed when things don’t go well and not getting too elated when they go really well. I practice remembering that all successes and failures come from God and that it is my attitude which makes each and every situation a failure or a success.
My goal on the path of Karma Yoga is to have both an attitude of gratitude and the feeling of love flowing through every thought or action. Amma’s divine gift to her children is that each one of us has the opportunity to practice and serve here, in her Amritapuri ashram. Some days, I feel I have a very long way to go before I am filled with real selflessness of motive, but I know that as long as I keep trying, Grace will come.