I attended a discourse on Bhagavad Gita and happened to listen to a very informative and structured explanation of Karma Yoga. The explanation began by outlining two major laws that work in the context of Karma Yoga as follows:
1. Each Action that we pursue yields a definitive Result;
2. The Result always accrues to the Doer of the Action;
However, it is explained further that the magnitude and timing of the Result is dependent upon certain variables, the operation of which is not always easily comprehensible to the Doer. It is because, alongside the Result in a more cognitive sense, the Action also generates an Impression at a normative level in the mind. Accumulation of these Impressions leads to the Character of the Doer. Character is what determines the intention of the Doer and therefore a key input in the magnitude and timing of the Result.
Awareness of one’s own Character, through conscious understanding of Impressions of one’s own Actions, requires training and that’s what Yoga aims to achieve. Since this Yoga is a path of training to understand the input and output process of Action, or Karma, it is said to be Karma Yoga.
After listening to this explanation of Karma Yoga, I attempted to paraphrase it in the terminology of Computing analytics. In the online marketplace, consider purchasing a book as Action. The cognitive Result is the delivery of the book. But alongside this cognitive Result, the Action of purchasing also leads to a normative step of digital footprint in terms of certain variables captured by the software one used to purchase the book.
The normative data points could be – date of purchase, sequence of books browsed before completing this purchase, location from where purchase happened, genre of the book, reviews, and several other data points one may not even know of. These digital footprints are in a sense Impressions that our purchasing Action has generated in the computer software.
Apart from receiving the book, these footprints are fed to computer algorithm. Successive book purchases using the same software helps the software understand your pattern (or in a way it understands your Character) through analytics generated from these footprints. After a while, software starts recommending a book that you might end up in purchasing. We may think that we stumbled upon that book through our research, but unknowing to us, we are shown this recommendation through back-end computing analytics.
To keep ourselves away from such unknowing influence of the digital footprints, one needs to have an awareness of the way these works and how they can be managed. This is partially possible in computer software through Settings Control – switching off the location, not allowing permissions of data to be used for analytics, erasing the history – some of which are permitted and some of which are not.
Making ourselves aware of the settings control helps us understanding the reason as to why we end up reading a book of a genre always. This helps in understanding why we develop certain types of thoughts (generated through reading such books) which influence our actions. These setting controls at more mechanical level, and the awareness of how these operate at a sub-conscious level, requires a trained computer professional mindset.
A great lesson indeed. In Computing terms, taking charge of Settings Control to take charge of keeping ourselves away from the influence of digital footprints. In the Karma Yoga context – Settings Control thus represents the development of our ability to be aware of our actions, their impressions, their accumulation into character, its influence on action and thereby its bearing on result. This could thereby facilitate even remotely in a predictable understanding of link between Result and Action.