Detached actions do not contaminate doers
Activity is life and indolence is death. To be active is the source of all sorts of happiness. To be inactive is an incurable disease. Man’s nature implies action. He cannot ever sit inactive and slothful. He, in him has such an inherent power which galvanizes his organ to do something. Thus the acts performed by him come between two categories- the attached actions and the detached action. The whole human activity is encircled with these two kinds of action. An ordinary man generally tends towards attached actions while the extra ordinary one inclines to perform only the detached actions.
Religious progress, however, does by no means end only in intellectual designation and resignation. Merely to keep one’s self aloof from the turmoils of this earthly life to remain, as it were, unimpressed by the fleeting show and vanity of this world, or, lastly to abstain from infringing upon the worldly rights and liberties of others by practicing the religious principles of non-violence, non-covetousness etc., is but negative or prohibitive side of religion with which even sinful sloth, depressing indifference, conniving taciturnity, and an abetter’s silence are compatible. Religion is too positive to be restricted to mere some prohibitory duties. The wondrous organisation of man endowed with potent energies and vivacious or animated capabilities, has some more imperative demands, points out to the existence of some higher ends, and cannot be silenced by the dictates of mere prohibitive morality. For the purpose of only peaceful enjoyment, never in conflict with the enjoyment of other people, a passive organization would have been quite sufficient. But men possess in him active powers, innate energies, and stirring elements; and all these are not in vain. They summon him towards the resolute application and vigorous employment of his bodily and mental powers for the glorious end of achieving peace and happiness for himself and his fellow men. Activity and not sluggishness is the law prevalent throughout the nature. Animate and inanimate natures, both, are full of vigorous energy and active animation. Nothing seems idle. It is evident that everywhere in the domain of nature the inherent forces are very busy in manifesting their presence. To a thinker’s mind enjoins but one religion, and that is action, incessant, indefatigable, forceful, energetic Action – for good, for glory, for health and for prosperity of each and all. Thus this fact is crystal clear that man being an animate active agent, cannot sit, at any moment, restful and inactive. By his actions he moulds his destiny. All his worldly or unworldly achievements bear their fruit in his actions. All voluntary actions, as has been mentioned previously are of two kinds- the attached actions and detached actions. An attached action has the infection of attachment. Attachment makes a man brood over the fruits of his action intensively. The mind gets occupied with the result more than with the means to achieve it. It also creates un-necessary anxiety. The actor sometimes over does his part and sometimes get nervous. The arrow is either shot too far or it fails to get at the mark. The result is not as good as we want.
What is this attachment? Attachment is nothing but raga. This is a kind of nescience. So long as this nescience is not overcome, there will be life in sansara, the world. The law of karma is assumed as valid, and our life its, character and length, are determined by it. Though we do not remember our past lives, we can infer particulars about them from the tendencies of the present; and these tendencies will cease to exist on the disappearance of their cause, motive, substratum and object. The root cause is avidya, though there may be other proximate causes. The motive refers to the purpose with reference to which any conation becomes operative in the present chitta is the substratum of the residual potencies and the object is that which excites the potencies. Fructification of actions does not cease till the attachment which is a kind of nescience, remain at their roots.
Detached action is more effective and pure than that of attached one; Even in day-to-day worldly affairs this fact can be easily realised. When a speaker goes to his lecture-hall calmly he impresses the audience better. When an actor in a drama is calm and composed he plays his part in an exceptionally beautiful way. The less he thinks of the mood of the audience, the more he is to carry them with himself.
On this very principle even the most efficient doctors in their own illness place themselves under treatment of their other professional brothers. For they fear that personal psychological element may not enable them to think clearly. On the same ground pleaders are able to conduct the cases more efficiently than the clients. A man surrounded by difficulties seeks the advice of his friends, for they can think of the situation more detachedly and hence more calmly and more effectively.
It is a fact that a man obsessed by the importance of results, becomes regardless of purity of means. He has to achieve a particular result somehow or the others. It is this result that hangs like a curtain before his mental eye. Under this veil he is unable to see the ultimate good. He becomes short-sighted and hence does not hesitate to use doubtful and impure means. Detached action does not create any complication. It does not yield fruit like attached action. It becomes the means to attain freedom from the worldly bondage. Only attached actions fructify into life, its character and length etc. a corn seed with its husk and normal vegetative power produces sprout, not the husked one. Similar is the case with detached actions. An action infected with attachment creates fruit but not a detached one. Detached action is not any-how contaminated with attachment. Therefore, it does not contaminate the doer. One should always be active but should always be active but should the detached action. This idea has been very beautifully expressed in the yajurvedic verse which read as under:
Kurvanneveh karmani jijivisetchhatam samah.
Yevam tvayi nanythetosti na karm lipyate nare. Yajur Veda. 40.2
Aspire, then, O man, to live in this world, by virtuous actions, for a hundred years. Thus alone, and not otherwise, will thy deeds not contaminate thee.