Bagawat Geeta Class 24
Shloka # 45:
“The scope of vedas embraces the three-fold force of nature, O Arjuna! Go beyond these three forces. He who has mastered the self rises beyond all dualities.”
Continuing his teaching swamiji reminded us about shloka # 45.
Prarabhda Karma will still impact us. Strengthen your mind to withstand the ups and downs of life or the dvandas. Dvandas are dualities of opposites such as joy and sorrow or heat and cold. When we have problems we resort to Karmas by going to an astrologer or Vastu Shastri etc.
Swamiji says we need to reduce our Kamya Karmas or Prayaschitta Karmas. May you maintain your Satva Guna or Viveka shakthi. Dharma and Moksha are more important than Artha and Kama. Nithya Anithya Viveka is important as also Sathya Guna. This spiritual growth is accomplished by associating with Mahatmas, attending Satsang and reading of sacred books.
Swamiji reminded us that we get addicted to things such as coffee or watching TV. When all over the house, they have television; children will think that life is impossible without television. We start off with using something, then it becomes a need, and soon after we need it so much we cannot survive without it. This is a habit or even can become an addiction. This then also becomes a shackle, which I myself have put on. We need to get out of such shackles.
Discussing Yoga and Kshema, Swamiji says, we need certain things for survival and they are called yoga or Apraptya Prapthihi. Kshema means, now I have to protect all my acquisitions. Acquisition and their preservation are the concern of Yoga Kshema and they take up a lot of our time. Thus, we are concerned; will our children take care of us? Nevertheless, our sense of insecurity does not leave us. Swamiji says, this feeling is an internal mental issue only. What we call security, is it really security? Keep in mind her own security staff killed even a Prime Minister. True security lies in our inner strength or wisdom or devotion. Transcend your worries and become a Karma Yogi. Drop concerns about Yoga Kshema. Invoke your Ishta Devata (Outer God) and pray to him or invoke your inner strength (inner God) and face the situation.
Describing Atmavan, swamiji says: Be alert, don’t lead a mechanical life. Don’t lead a sheepish life. Let it be a deliberate life. While we work, earn, grow a family etc., they are all just steps of a process. Keep the end goal in mind. Don’t be carried away by all these in-process steps at any stage of life. Keep end goal in mind.
Shloka # 46:
“For a knower of Brahman who has realized the ultimate truth, there is much profit from all the Vedas as there is profit from reservoirs when all around there is an inundation.”
Here Sri Krishna talks about rewards of a Karma Yogi. Karma Yoga is an “Alert Life”. The reward of this life is Moksha. In the Moksha Ananda experienced by a Yogi, you do not lose worldly pleasures. They are included in moksha ananda. Karma Kanda talks of a variety of rituals for various pleasures. Gyana Kanda talks of moksha or infinite pleasures. In the Infinite the finite is included. Example: There is a small pond of water. Nearby, there is a large lake. The large lake brings all benefits of small pond and more while small pond cannot provide all benefits of the large lake.
Thus, all benefits of Karma Kanda are gained in the moksha of a wise man. Therefore Arjuna choose moksha, become a Karma Yogi.
Shloka # 47:
“to work alone you have the right and never to the fruits (of works). Don’t be impelled by the fruits of works; ( at the same time) don’t be tempted to withdraw from works.”
This is an important verse and provides the principle of karma yoga.
Swamiji, defining a Karma Yogi says:
We act in the world. This is called Karma.
Karma Phalam is the result of our action.
We must have a healthy attitude towards our actions.
Attitude depends on understanding.
When we respect a person it is based upon knowledge of the person. Without cognitive changes attitudinal changes are not possible. Cognitive change means understanding a situation. As per Sri Krishna, as human beings, we have the “free will” or choice. Animals live by instinct. They do not have a goal or learn from experience. So, in our actions, our free will or choice should be used wisely. With respect to Phala or result of one’s actions, you do not have a choice. Thus, one should know which is choice-ful or which is choice-less action.
Given a choice-ful situation, act on your choice intelligently.
Given a choice-less situation, accept it intelligently, as well.
When Sri Krishna says you don’t have a choice with respect to the results of your actions, what he means is, you do not have a “total” choice. Very often, you are just one of the contributing factors. Thus, in farming, you may till the land, sow the seed, water it etc., but you have no control on the cyclone that comes through damaging the crop. So Sri Krishna is suggesting that we do not become optimistic or pessimistic but be more a realist or a rational person. In group decisions the individual has limited responsibility. Thus, in an election, I may vote for a candidate, however that person may not win. Many others also influence an election. However, this does not mean you should not vote. Your vote is very important, although the result may not be to your choosing. Therefore, our efforts do help determine the result, but keep in mind that there are other factors impacting the situation as well.
Don’t stop action. However, be prepared for any type of result. Not just you, but other factors also determine the result. So, hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Do not think your actions are a waste; they are very important. Be prepared, however, that the result may not be to your expectation. Just pray “ O God, give me the strength to accept the consequences gracefully.”