Thought of the day-10th July 2021-Karma in its effect on character (Part-1)-Swami Vivekananda

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The word Karma is derived from the Sanskrit Kri, to do; all action
is Karma. Technically, this word also means the effects of actions.
In connection with metaphysics, it sometimes means the effects,
of which our past actions were the causes. But in Karma-Yoga we
have simply to do with the word Karma as meaning work. The
goal of mankind is knowledge. That is the one ideal placed before
us by Eastern philosophy. Pleasure is not the goal of man, but
knowledge. Pleasure and happiness come to an end. It is a mistake
to suppose that pleasure is the goal. The cause of all the miseries
we have in the world is that men foolishly think pleasure to be the
ideal to strive for. After a time man finds that it is not happiness,
but knowledge, towards which he is going, and that both pleasure
and pain are great teachers, and that he learns as much from evil
as from good. As pleasure and pain pass before his soul they have
upon it different pictures, and the result of these combined
impressions is what is called man’s “character”. If you take the
character of any man, it really is but the aggregate of tendencies,
the sum total of the bent of his mind; you will find that misery and
happiness are equal factors in the formation of that character.
Good and evil have an equal share in moulding character, and in
some instances misery is a greater teacher than happiness. In
studying the great characters the world has produced, I dare say, in
the vast majority of cases, it would be found that it was misery
that taught more than happiness, it was poverty that taught more
than wealth, it was blows that brought out their inner fire more
than praise.

Now this knowledge, again, is inherent in man. No knowledge
comes from outside; it is all inside. What we say a man “knows”,
should, in strict psychological language, be what he “discovers” or
“unveils”; what a man “learns” is really what he “discovers”, by
taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge.

We say Newton discovered gravitation. Was it sitting anywhere in
a corner waiting for him? It was in his own mind; the time came
and he found it out. All knowledge that the world has ever
received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe
is in your own mind. The external world is simply the suggestion,
the occasion, which sets you to study your own mind, but the
object of your study is always your own mind. The falling of an
apple gave the suggestion to Newton, and he studied his own
mind. He rearranged all the previous links of thought in his mind
and discovered a new link among them, which we call the law of
gravitation. It was not in the apple nor in anything in the centre of
the earth.

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