For a very long period of time I believed that the answer to my quest for the supreme resided in my actions. It was all about doing, what do I need to do to reach the Gods? Clearly, I didn’t get the complete answer, but I did find pockets of divine excitement when I saw a smile on the next man's face if I did something nice for them. Karma marga, supported by the boundaries of one's own dharma defines who we are and what we become based on the needs of this external society. So busy are we pleasing others that we have lost sight of our inner selves. Who am I and why am I here... is a question that hits us once in 20 years if we are lucky. I believed for a very long time, that this world within which I am imprisoned was all there was to it, and keeping others happy was my primary concern. It took a long while to realize, Karma marga is not something I can run away from, but Karma marga is not something that should control me so much either. We can't do away with Karma marga and sit back, we have to act and every action or inaction has a consequence. The decision of course is, what flavour of Karma marga we choose to take up. At the same time I realized very soon, that Karma marga was not enough in isolation, for action, though necessary for existence was inadequate in my spiritual pursuit.
Meanwhile the mind doesn't rest, it has its own problems. It asks questions, it dives into itself and it can go either way. If it is nurtured well, the mind can do more miracles that we thought it was capable of. But if we let it go its own way, it can be the most difficult monster we could ever tame. And this is where most people fall, they take it for granted that they are not capable, losing this crucial battle even before it started. Their biggest weakness is fear and its biggest defense is ego. You can well imagine what a royal mess that can create within us. The mind is capable, if we direct it well and it is doable if we try hard enough. Gyana marga can go one of 2 ways. It can deflect course if we fall prey to intellectual egoism or it can be our trump card if we accept its folly with humility. The mind is not me, it is a tool I use. When this truth is understood and realized as a way of life, we have reached the next stage of spiritual development.
It took me ages to move from Karma marga to Gyana marga to Bhakti marga. Karma marga felt interesting but inadequate, Gyana marga is a beast am trying to tame, not very successfully but am getting there. Bhakti marga, by far has been my fort that I conquered with ease. Bhakti, is a song I sing so loud in my head, I don’t even know you are talking to me. Bhakti is my inner dialog with my divine family. Bhakti is when I feel the mysterious Shiva linga in front of me and my heart is torn apart because I don’t want to leave it, I want to know everything about it and yet the mind yells inside my head telling me I have to get back to samsara - Karma marga. It’s the moment I have hated the most in my life. It tells me so loudly that samsara is in the exact opposite direction of my spiritual endeavour.
I have stared at sacred diagrams for ages, I have studied Yantras to whatever extent I could. I know there is something in there and I have felt it, and yet I am not able to get to it. What’s the relevance to the topic you may ask...Deities reside in Yantras, it is a mystical depiction of a sacred spiritual truth beyond our comprehension. When we say "deities reside" they don’t live there, they are what they are, it’s in their nature to be there with a certain energy within a certain power center. And they exude brilliance if their energy is tapped, and that energy is capable of changing the whole environment, the whole situation within which we live. That energy can change the regular course of time, of events that mark our existence.
This brings me to the next level of abstraction. What am I defined by? Is it my actions, is it the events that unfold sequentially that describe my life, or is it me who has disassociated from my temperament. My temperament defines my actions, my wisdom defines me and I start to live life similar to the deities within that yantra. I am, period. I do nothing... I just am. When this disassociation becomes significant, by the path of Bhakti in my case, offering every action and every worry and every happiness to the Gods, then the actions I do are immaterial, the knowledge I acquire is significant, the mind has been tamed.
And that is when I realize this truth, I moved from "I do" to "I am".
And this "I am" is a silent being, in sync with the Gods observing the universe play with all of you. Karma marga becomes an offering, Gyana marga becomes a blessing and Bhakti marga becomes a way of life.