Actually, Karma Yoga has a more profound way of realizing it. Like you have to work, work in anyway, or work voluntarily especially, and dedicate that to God, to erase your karma. That’s why they call it Karma Yoga.
What’s wrong with my hair? If you have hair, you have problem. If you don’t have hair, you have problem also. Before I had no hair, I went through every airport, they checked me so much. They bent my shoes and X-rayed layers of my handbags, as if I was hiding something. Not every country knows what a bald head means. Because they also have some people like, they have their own gang of bald heads. I don’t want to mention the name. And then they make trouble, and they are famous in the world for making trouble. So, I also had a bald head, then I may be one of the gang members. So I had trouble. So I started growing hair and then I have other trouble. I have to comb, I have to wash. And then now, I have to dye my hair even, which I don’t like. It’s part of the job. You don’t believe it, but it’s part of the job. Before, I didn’t know to be a Master, you have to be blonde. And then it just became like that.
There was one of the episodes in an American soap opera. There was one series called “Monk.” This inspector, his name is Monk. He’s a very excellent inspector; he knows many things and he always cracks cases, which nobody else can. And together with other policemen, inspectors, they’re doing good things. And the chief of one of the police departments, he’s older and he has a mustache, like that. And then one day, he has to be moved to somewhere else or something. And he let his deputy, who is a very young guy, maybe 20 something, not yet 30 even, to take his place. So, this young deputy also grows a mustache here, very big. And everybody comes in and looks at him and says, “What now? Why?” And he says, “Part of the job.” Because the boss also has a mustache, so he thinks he has to grow one just to look more authoritative. He says, “Part of the job.”
So, it’s up to us really, whether or not we have pets or we have chosen to follow some teacher to practice some kind of method in the 84,000 [methods]. We have to follow our heart and we just have to live a righteous way. Then we can be sure of homecoming and/or at least have a comfortable life in this physical dimension. So, undivided attention and love help you. Concentration on the present moment only also helps you a lot. Because that means you’re separate from all the karma of the world; they will not touch you. We not only have our own karma we brought with us since birth, but we’re also polluted by other people’s karma around us. One of the Chinese philosophers, I think Zhuangzi – somebody “zi,” they are all “zi,” one of the “zi,” just said that the society is a big dyeing tub, like we’re together, so we’re dyed almost similar color, because we’re inside the same tub with dyeing material in it. The society is a big dyeing vat. Luckily, I still remember some. That way, you’ll think I’m somewhat well-educated. I say it’s good that I still remember something, so let you think that I have a little education.
If you concentrate on whatever work we have at hand, that also helps. It’s called Karma Yoga in spiritual terminology. Everything’s called yoga or practicing method in India. It’s true also, that’s why the Buddha said we have 84,000 practicing methods. There’s a story about one guy who came to study with a Zen Master. The Master taught him things, but he got nowhere. Maybe he didn’t practice well; maybe he went to sleep as soon as he sat on his cushion, or maybe he just sat there thinking of something else. So, he never got anywhere. So, he came and asked the Master, “Please help me. Is there anything else you did not teach me?” He said, “I taught you everything. It’s up to you to make use of them or not.” He said, “But I got nowhere. I cannot do anything. I cannot even concentrate.” So, the Master said, “OK, there’s another one, another way.” He said, “OK, tell me, tell me.” So, the Master said, “Go out, find a job, earn a living.”
Because actually, when you’re working, you have to concentrate on your work; otherwise, you cannot do your job well, or you get fired. Because of survival to earn a living, you have to concentrate on your work. You have to. Work is given to you, you just have to do it, there’s no choice. So, you concentrate on your work, on the present task at hand. That is also another kind of undivided attention. And that is called “Karma Yoga” in India. But actually, Karma Yoga has a more profound way of realizing it. Like you have to work, work in anyway, or work voluntarily especially, and dedicate that to God, to erase your karma. That’s why they call it Karma Yoga. Not Kama Sutra, it’s different. The men, don’t think nonsense. Women don’t know, right? I had to know many things, sorry. I’m forced to know. Sometimes they brought books to me. They said, “Master, good one; good one, good one.” OK, good. I trusted, and I looked. Oh, all kinds of photos, which I never saw before, inside and explanations. That’s Kama Yoga. It’s different from Karma Yoga. Kama Sutra is different than Karma Yoga. I don’t need to read that, please. No need. Being a teacher sometimes is a nuisance. Many things people ask you, you have to know. So that you can tell them, “That’s good, that’s no good. Stay away from it.” For example. I don’t have to know so many things, thank God, because you practice the Quan Yin Method and you are enlightened all by yourself. You don’t need to ask me so many things. Sometimes you do, just nonsense about your cat, your dog, your whatever. But it’s nothing big.
So that’s how Karma Yoga works. And after seven years, this guy came back to his Master, and he said he still did not get anything yet. So the Master said, “Then I cannot help you.” That was the last door that the Master can show him, and he still did not do well. You know, some people don’t concentrate on their work. They just work to pass the time, looking at the clock, waiting to go home, but don’t really devote their attention to the work. Whatever work you do, you have to do it like the last job in your life, the last time that you can ever do something to contribute to the world, all that attention. You work with respect, with devotion, with gladness – that you could have a job, that you are not a useless person, that you can contribute to the world that you owe so much to since you are born. That kind of attitude we must have. We should be very happy to be assigned any job at all and do the best of our capacity. Even if you sweep the floor, you be a janitor for the toilet, or you be the president of a country – all is just a job. And I am not sure which job is better, the presidential job or the janitor job. I think the janitor job is better for you. You can sweep the floor, mop the tiles and recite the Five (Holy) Names at the same time. Dedicate your life and your work to God.
But if you are a president, I don’t think you have time to even recite one sentence of the Five (Holy) Names or the Gift that I gave to you. All kinds of things will come to you day and night. And even when you sleep, your problem is going to sleep with you, if you can sleep. I am not a president, but I know. Last night, for example, I could not sleep, because of other people’s problems. They just came to me unasked. So, imagine how a president has to deal with so many things: internationally, nationally, and with the staff, with so many egos that are hanging around him. The president or the king has, no doubt, many people who help him, voluntarily also. But he also has to deal with these egos. They are not helping unconditionally, like a dog or a cat. They want something, attention or at least some reward, a smile from you, a praise from you, or certificate of Volunteer of the Year, Intern of the Century, whatever. They also want to be noticed, to have attention from the top, from the leader of the nation, proud to work beside him. And they have their moods, they have their ego, they have their competition. And all these energies and all their complaints, quietly or loudly, will also go into your head when you sleep. As we absorb everything around us with our body, we absorb also other people’s energy, thinking, bad or good. That is a problem when we live in the society.
That’s why many Masters, They just leave the world. They’re fed up really; They think the world has no remedy. There is no remedy to help this so desperate world, so troublesome, so complicated. That’s why many Masters, They stay somewhere else, going to the very deep of the Himalayas, like Gaumukh, for example, the source of the Ganges River, where nobody normally would go. There’s snow all year round, even in summer. And They eat very simple or not eat, maybe eat snow. Maybe They just brought with Them some rice and some dal, like beans, lentil stuff, just to last for some months. And if somebody comes up, then maybe some laborer or something brought Them some other lentils and another bag of rice to last for another few months, for example like that. But they have to wait until summer. At least in summer we can see the road; in winter there is no way. Everything is blocked, like a big mountain everywhere. And in summer, the army who is stationed in the Himalayas, just the border, they have to keep the border. In summer they will come with the bulldozer, Big Cat, to room away the snow and make it like a small road in between the two big tall walls of ice. Then the pilgrims can begin to go up to worship the mountains and rivers and some shrines of the past Masters, and pray for whatever they pray for.
The Karma Yoga is not just concentrating on the work only, but to dedicate it for the wellness of others, like volunteer work for the poor, the homeless. Or cleaning the temple for the monks, or the shrines of some gods and goddesses, and that is called Karma Yoga. Some people practice just that. They don’t recite mantras, nothing. They don’t even meditate. Maybe they do; they sit in front of the gods’ statues and quiet down. And sometimes, if they are pure enough, they can see the goddesses or gods appear to them, like Sri Ramakrishna. His wife became a Holy Mother. They call Her also Holy Mother. He married Her when She was very young, just because of family tradition, but He never had any physical contact. They were together in one bed, but He never did anything. He said He was tempted, but then He didn’t. And some people blamed Him for sacrificing Her. She was OK. She became revered as a Holy Mother.
India is a very fascinating country. I really love India, maybe because I was Indian some lifetimes, not just one. But I really feel like… As I told you last time, there is one place at Rishikesh that I feel at home. Just a mud house, a mud room, and a few stones in front of the house and bake a (vegan) chapatti, eating peanut butter and cucumber, and I felt so good there. There is no other place that I miss, only that place. In the whole world I don’t feel like I want to stay anywhere. But if I had a choice, I would go back there, stay there. I felt just so free. Maybe it was a different feeling at that time because I was from New Delhi, hustle bustle over there. And so many so-called disciples around, and they ate all the food and didn’t give me anything. Leftover, nothing, and so dusty. And so, sometimes stagnant waste, drainage, and all that; it was not my type, my style. So, when I went deeper into the Himalayas, like Rishikesh or Kashmir, I did like it better. But I did not even like Kashmir that much. Even though Kashmir is more beautiful than the hut that I had stayed in. There was nothing really like scenery or anything. Just on a mountain, middle of the mountain, and trees, and the Ganges River is just a few, maybe two, three minutes away. I had free water to take, to cook, and the hut. And I slept on top of the roof. But I miss that place. Toilet outside; I had a toilet, thank God. Most places don’t have. So, I liked that place. That’s the place I felt the best, all this time, anywhere, compared to other places. Even this place, I don’t feel that well. Actually, here is only work, so naturally, I don’t think any teacher would feel well in his classroom, 24/7. He would like to go home. Even the classroom, his school may look better than his little flat, but he’d probably like to go back to his shabby hut or flat, rather than the fancy and clean and well-built school.