Sadhana Sangama Trust


As response to a previous article titled “Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam”, our dear Sadhaka, Dr.Bhatt asked two questions. 

They are:

1) Are all Sattvic actions without any attachments? What exactly are Sattvic actions?

2) Sages say that sublimation or divinizing the actions is the key. But what is sublimation?

Profound questions indeed, to which, the response flowed as this article.

One of the greatest sages of recent times, Ramana Maharishi’s words come to rescue to understand this. In his work “Upadesa Saara”, the first few verses give deep insight to contemplate on this.

Actions are inert in nature and they are carried by the intentions behind. So the focus is on intention and not so much on action.

(Kartru Ajnyaya Prapyathe Phalam, Karma Kim Param Karma Tajjadam)

So we classify actions as tamasic, rajasic or satvic not by mere expressions but by intentions. So can sattvic actions have attachment? What is a sattvic action?

Let us take an example. Going to places of worship is considered sattvic generally. We visit places of worship with different intentions. Some go out of fear or insecurity, others go to ask God for something for themselves or their family and few go simply to be in the divine presence.

The first intention makes it a tamasic, second a rajasic and the third, a sattvic action respectively, considering the intentions. The attribute of the Guna is not in the expression but in the intention behind.

Sattvic actions are driven by intentions that come out of a selfless state of mind. What does this mean? Ramana says “Ishvara arpitham na iccaya kritam”. 

It is the sense of “I” in all of us that creates intention to perform an action. A sense of “doership” is instilled by the thousands of identifications of “I”, “Me” and “Mine”.

Sadhana means working on this sense of “doership”. When a Sadhaka can shift from “I am doing everything” to “The Guru or Divinity is doing everything”, real Sadhana happens. This is what Ramana says Ishvara arpitham…I act not out my intentions but out of Divine will.

Here the sage also gives insight about the process of sublimation which was our second question. Sublimation is defined as the process that converts a solid into gas directly, without becoming liquid in between. Pure camphor when used for Mangalaarati in puja depicts this very process.

In our context, sublimation is applied at the level of intention. When we are in the mode of “I am doing”, our intentions are dense and grip the mind. More like a solid state.

When we are in the mode of “Guru or divinity is doing”, the core attachments gripping the mind has loosened and the mind has expanded just like the “Gaseous state”.

Sublimation or divinizing an action means fundamentally transforming the intention with which we perform the action.

Don’t mistake this to be the cessation of “I” but rather an expansion of the “I” to be limitless.

How profound! To instil this Samskara, in our culture, sages devised many different ways of relating with every moment in life such that we are continuously reminded of the need to sublimate.

Swami Rama in his characteristic style simplifies the whole thing in one statement 

“Grease all your actions with unconditional love”.

Will let you ponder over this last statement. 

Vande Guru Parampara!

Vijay Muthukrishnan


  1. ASHOK BHATT says:

    Thanks Vijayji for giving this clarity about Sattvic actions and also how we can sublimate our day to day actions

  2. Meena Pandey says:

    Wonderful explanation Vijayji. Thanks a lot.

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