2002 Kauai Innersearch/Guru Purnima Day 1, Part 1This is the first of Bodhinatha's series of talks to more than 100 Innersearch participants and pilgrims gathered during our Satguru Purnima festival and 2002 Kauai Innersearch travel-study program. The topic of Bodhinatha's talks throughout the week was his final version of the "Karma Management Seminar," and this part comprises the introduction.
Well, this morning we may be setting our Guinness Book of Records here for the most people in Kadavul Temple, at least in a long time! Usually, when we have our Homa ceremony to begin our week, and give our talk after our ceremony, we just have a few people here. But because the talk goes on the Internet, I always visualize everyone who is listening on the Internet around the world, which creates a large audience. Also, I speak to them. But this morning, there is enough of you here! I don't need to do that. I will just focus on everyone here, it is a very large group.
We are talking on Karma, specifically Karma Management and as we talked about last night, we were comparing that to Stress Management. I will repeat that because a number of you present here this morning were not there last night.
The teachings of Hinduism are often secularized. Meaning, they are drawn on in situations that makes them look like they have nothing to do with Hinduism. The most popular example of that is, still, Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is an integral part of Hinduism but somehow it has been separated and secularized. So, people are studying Hatha Yoga all throughout the Western world and they feel it has no connection at all with Hinduism. How in the world was that achieved? Kind of amazing! It has become much more popular. We have our own local barometer, which is Kapa'a town. Today as you drive through Kapa'a, which you will as part of your excursions, look around and you will see many, many signs advertising Yoga classes, big signs. There must be four or five different Yoga studios in Kapa'a. Something that, thirty years ago, was not there, of course, when we first moved to the island. It is a new phenomenon and Kapa'a reflects it. Of course, if you went into any of the Yoga studios there wouldn't be any connection to Hinduism, right? This is Hatha Yoga, nothing to do with Hinduism. But of course it does, it is a Hindu practice. But it is used quite often these days in stress management.
That is why we are talking about it. It is an effective technique. It has become a technique for managing stress. A traditional Hindu practice, Hatha Yoga is taken out of its Hindu context, secularized and used to manage stress. No one thinks twice about it these days. Well of course they do, it doesn't have anything at all to do with Hinduism!
So, today we are taking a similar approach to karma, Karma Management. Who knows? In the future, this might catch on! We could be starting a trend here today, so that institutes open up in Kapa'a thirty years from now, Karma Management Institutes. "Of course, it has nothing to do with Hinduism. No, Karma Management, has nothing at all to do with Hinduism. It is a secular technique that comes from somewhere." Who knows? We might be starting that trend.
Our idea is that these principles can be applied, of course by Hindus, but by anyone. Just like Hatha Yoga can benefit any one, so can the principles of Karma Management benefit our lives.
About two years ago, we gave a talk at the local Junior College on Hinduism. Professor Lydgate there, teaches a World History class and as part of it, every few years he has us drop in and explain Hinduism. So we asked about karma, explained about karma and asked for a definition of karma. One of the students said, "What goes around, comes around", which is an accurate definition of karma, of course, and in the person's own words which shows they understand the principle.
Karma has become very popular in Western movies and on television. You hear it mentioned all the time. It is mentioned in a correct way which is good. It is not misunderstood. It is clearly understood and becoming more and more a mainstream concept in the West.
However, understanding karma correctly is not the end goal. To draw an analogy to nutrition, someone can study nutrition in school and get A's on all their tests, be an expert in nutrition and still eat junk food three times a day. Possible, right? Why would that be? Because they have not applied the knowledge that they have learned about nutrition to their daily life. It is just an intellectual subject that they can do well in.
Karma can be the same, in that, even though we understand the intricacies of karma perhaps we are not applying it to our daily life. Therefore, we are missing out on how it can really benefit us. Because if we don't apply it, it is just one more intellectual subject that we understand correctly. But, its true benefit comes when we can apply it, change and improve our daily life.
We can look at the study of karma as a three-step process. The first step is alleviating any false concepts we have, correcting anything that we are not understanding correctly. There are a number of false concepts about karma and we will look at one of them this morning. Once we get past correcting the false concepts, we want to learn the correct intellectual concepts and again we will look at a few of those this morning. Then finally, we want to apply this knowledge to our life and change the way we interact with life, into a more wise approach. Taking this knowledge of karma, changing our life and living more wisely.
All of that can be summarized in one beautiful quote by Gurudeva. "It is easy to study the Law of Karma and to appreciate it philosophically. But to realize it, to apply it to everything that happens to you, to understand the workings of it as the day goes by, requires an ability to which you must awaken." That means, it is not self evident. It is easy to miss applying it.
So, we want to think about that as we go through these ten principles of Effective Karma Management, which help us apply it in a systematic way.