Bagawat Geeta, Class 40


Greetings All,

Shloka # 11:

“देवान्भावयतानेन ते देवा भावयन्तु वः।

परस्परं भावयन्तः श्रेयः


Continuing his teaching of Gita and recapping last week’s lesson, Swami Parmarthananda said, Sri Krishna is looking at Karma Yoga from different angles. The general definition of Karma Yoga is:

Proper Action + Proper Attitude=Karma Yoga

Proper action means giving more and taking less. It also implies self -less action.

Selfish action and selfless actions both are allowed, however, selfless action should predominate in life. Harmful action, however, is to be totally avoided. The attitude must be appropriate. Dedicating selfless actions and selfish actions with an attitude of Devarpanam to God and anything I receive in life must be with Prasada Budhi.

Sri Krishna is looking at it from different angles.

First angle is as a commandment from God. If a person refuses a life of Karma Yoga then he gets Pratyavaya Papam, a special papam, where he is imprisoned in Samsara. So, out of fear, one should follow Karma Yoga.

Second angle is one of love and worship. Swamiji says, in the first angle fear is used, but fear is not a healthy emotion. Fear is the darkroom in which all negatives are developed. Psychologists say, “ Never try to discipline your children through fear”. In fear a child’s mind will not grow. They end up becoming terrible fathers, husbands, and teachers. In such cases it is the mistake of the parents who raised them in fear. In extreme cases punishment may be used, but as per Shastra’s it is to be used sparingly.

Sri Krishna also used fear, as a method, to follow Karma Yoga. He, however, prefers love and worship rather than fear. Karma Yoga performed out of love is called Yagna. What God has given you, this body, this life etc., is his gift. When we get a gift we should reciprocate. What you do with the God’s gift is your gift to the Lord. The body is a gift. I can enjoy the body living a life of indulgence or I can use it for Paropkara. Trees produce lot of fruits, as a gift. Even if one throws stones at them they still keep giving their fruits. The cow produces milk all for sacred purposes, our coffee and our tea. The rivers carry water, all for blessing the society. From looking at nature, we can easily understand why God has given this body; therefore “Paropkarartham Idam Shariram”. It means this body’s purpose is to help others. Therefore, when I utilize my body to serve the world; when I utilize the mind to give love to others; when I utilize my intellect to share my knowledge with others that will become the worship of the Lord. And for this worship of the Lord, I am going to get the greatest benefit and what is that benefit? Sri Krishna says that when I lead such a life I get all four purusharthas that is Dharma, Artha , Kama and Moksha without asking for it.
So the second angle is to convert life into worship of Lord.

Shloka # 12:

“इष्टान्भोगान्हि वो देवा दास्यन्ते यज्ञभाविताः।

तैर्दत्तानप्रदायैभ्यो यो

भुङ्क्ते स्तेन एव सः।।3.12।।”

“The Devas nourished by sacrifices will give you the enjoyments you seek. Verily he is a thief who enjoys without giving back to the Devas (a share of) the gifts given by them.”

Here, Sri Krishna says, when you lead such a life of worship, God will give you everything. Such a Karma Yoga gives both material and spiritual benefits. It is a two for one program, says Swamiji. Which one you want is your choice. All people are not interested in moksha. He says, some people tell him that they have young children and have to work for them and are not interested in moksha. Sri Krishna says, there is nothing wrong in a material life. He only cautions that one should use Karma Yoga to fulfill one’s material goals. Don’t take short cut methods. God’s will give you everything. All deities will bless you when they are worshipped through karma Yoga.

Citing an example Swamiji says, When I follow Karma Yoga I don’t exploit nature to feed my greed. The natural harmony is maintained. The seasons are maintained. Our lives are dependent on rains. “ When green goes from city, it is red”, meaning air pollution increases and it becomes dangerous. A society is a healthy one when Dharmic people are allowed to follow dharma.
Follow Karma Yoga and God will grant you all blessings.

Swamiji points out that a question can come up. When I perform action I will get the Karma Phalam. Why should I ask God for the Phalam?

The answer is, phalam is the result of my work. I have worked hard for it. However, per scriptures phalam is per nature’s laws. Citing an example, a microphone was discovered because the law for such a device was already present in nature. Human intellect discovered TV, but its mind cannot discover these natural laws. God has given us intellect. He has given us natural laws. My glory is only to tap into such a law. When you tap into such a law, please thank that God. Hence we thank God when we eat. Why do we do this? After all, I have worked for it, right? The production of food is possible due to laws created by God. Just remember God for a few minutes. Even our physical health is based on bio-chemical laws. The food is digested, transported and waste removed. Every disease is possible due to bio chemical laws. When my body temperature rises it is due to a natural law to fight a disease. I have never produced any law. I am only tapping into a law. Never forget this. If you do, you are a thief. Hence you should worship Devathas. If you don’t thank them, you are an ungrateful person. It is the worst kind of papam. Ungratefulness has no Prayaschittam. Even in western cultures that is why you thank some one.
Citing another example Swamiji says he read recently that many temples have lands and properties assigned to them so that the temple can be maintained. However, unscrupulous people rent temple lands for one paisa. They are educated people too and they are abusing it. Many have not even paid their rent in a long time. Sri Krishna says one who enjoys without reciprocity
such a person is a thief.

In our culture, whatever we cook, we should offer it as a Naivedyam or as an acknowledgement. It is not an offering. God does not take it anyway. He just wants thanks.

In Hinduism every moment of our life is a life of reverence. Others have secular work and non-secular work. In Hinduism every action is sacred action. Every car driver before starting his journey prays; before starting construction of a building a Bhumi puja is performed. Swamiji says Non-reverential work is Karma while reverential work is Karma Yoga.

Shloka # 13:

“यज्ञशिष्टाशिनः सन्तो मुच्यन्ते सर्वकिल्बिषैः।

भुञ्जते ते त्वघं पापा ये


“ Good men who partake of what remains after offering sacrifices are liberated from all sins; whereas the sinners who cook for their own sake live on their sins”.

Sri Krishna now looks at karma yoga from a third angle.

The first angle was as God’s commandment
The second angle was as God’s worship or Yagna.
The third angle is as a spiritual purifier or Chitta Shodhakam.

A seeker of moksha can appreciate this angle. When I am a seeker, there is only one path and that is by Atma Gyanam. Without this Gyanam I cannot obtain Moksha. Gyanam occurs only with mental purity. That is why before installing a God in temple purification is performed. Similarly, before study of scriptures one has to go through Upanayanam; to cleanse the body and mind to install the Veda Mantra; else I will pollute the Vedas. Upanayanam is very important for Vedic chanting. Even a pucca Brahmin cannot learn Vedas without Upanayana samskara. To paint a wall one has to sandpaper the wall first. Atma Gyanam occurs only when Kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and matsarya (lust, anger, greed, illusion, pride and envy) are removed. So, Karma yoga is the sand paper to cleanse the mind. The seeker of Karma Yoga is not interested in material prosperity. The whole world may consider him a failure because it considers material prosperity as the basis of success. Karma Yogi does not consider material success as important. His focus is on inner purification irrespective of whether material prosperity comes or not. Hence the shloka:

Isvararpitam necchaya krrtam
cittasodhakam muktisadhakam

If you dedicate your life to the Lord, and if you consider material prosperity as Subservient to spiritual growth then your karma yoga will lead to mental purity.
This mental purity may promote mukti sadakam. And therefore the third angle is Karma Yoga as an inner purifier. And that is why we say there is no failure in karma yoga.
Failure is usually in terms of material accomplishments. In karma Yoga inner purification takes place irrespective of material prosperity.

And therefore Krishna says, those people who convert their life into worship, receive the consequences as Ishwaraprasada or as yajna shistam. Yagya Shistam means left over from Yagya or Ishwaraprasada. Thus, one who considers all the karma phalams as yagya shistam (prasada) and eats it (means enjoy it), such a person becomes free from all the papams.

Citing an example, suppose you buy a book, and something is written on the book, the book is called a second hand book.  The same second hand book signed by a mahatma becomes very valuable.

So if you do not offer to the Lord and enjoy without offering to the Lord, without acknowledging the Lord’s grace; it is papam. Even medicine is a law of the Lord, if a medicine has a curing property, it is God’s gift; therefore I consume medicine as Ishwara Prasada. If you do not do that, Sri Krishna says you are a papi.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy