sri-bhagavan uvaca
imam vivasvate yogam
proktavan aham avyayam
vivasvan manave praha
manur iksvakave 'bravit

I spoke of these imperishable (avyayam) truths
To Vivaswat, the source of light
Also called the sun who
Then passed it on to Manu,
And Manu in turn
Told that to Ikshwaku, his son.
(Such eternal truths are
Never bound by the limits of time
These always remain outside
The domain of time and space) ||4:1||

evam parampara-praptam
imam rajarsayo viduh
sa kaleneha mahata
yogo nastah parantapa

The flow of this knowledge
Continued over time
And was known to the royal sages
For a long time, but
This knowing by tradition (parampara)
Appears to have been
O Arjuna, lost at the current time.
(The time of Mahabharata) ||4:2||

sa evayam maya te 'dya
yogah proktah puratanah
bhakto 'si me sakha ceti
rahasyam hy etad uttamam

You are my devotee
And you are my friend
Thus, I speak to you
The same ancient yoga
(yoga=technology for centering growth)
Which indeed is a mystery (rahasya)
And is worth hiding (gupta) from the ignorant. ||4:3||

Chapter four starts with a note of the methodology of learning. Krishna starts with saying that whatever he is saying in Gita is not something new. The same knowledge had existed before and that knowledge had been lost by the time of Mahabharata for some reason or the other. Krishna goes anhead and speculates the reason for the loss and also says it again to Arjun. We have to pay attention here today because a similar phenomenon has happened with us. We have lost the depth of this knowledge again and need to gain it back. We have the words, but have lost the infrastructure. Let us explore these shlokas here today.

To understand why we seem to not understand very well our culture, samskara, Dharma etc. it is important to understand the concept of parampara, how you can learn by parampara and how a disconnect in parampara can be disastrous for the civilization. This is where people in India go through a series of past generations of the individual. In many families the whole series of ancestry was and to some extent is more important than the individual that is living today. Rameshwar comes from the family of Satishwar who was a saint….Rameshwar has to have an element of sainthood because Satishwar was a saint and his forefathers were all saintly people. It is as if a flow, a continuum of Satishwar that is flowing through Rameshwar. It is very important to grasp this point before we get any further with any kind of Samskara. As if the river Ganges originates from Gangotri…It flows…all its white waters…a melody… a music and the name changes to Alaknanda…and it flows there is a continuity, there is the same essence, the same melody, the same purity…Just the name is different. It flows to Haridwar, via Varanasi, other rivers and riverlets join in …but the same Ganga flowas with the essence in continuity. It has covered distance in space and time, it has changed in quality and quantity. But its reverence has remained the same.

Parmeshwar to Satishwara to Rameshwara…the flow of saintliness has continued. Krishna has described it beautifully in Bhagwadgita in the 4th Adhyaya (chapter) when he mentions about:

Ewam paramparpraptmimam rajaryayo viduh
sa kalenneh mahatta yogo nashtah parantap

He is talking about a method of knowing and calls it knowing by parampara. Arjun is an intellectual. He has been through the education system of the time and was the best at the time. Krishna is not only dealing with the best educated person of the time but also with a brave heart of the time who also happens to be his sakha (friend). And to him he says that there is another method of learning that seems to have been lost. In the preceding shloka he has said that he told this yoga to Sun and knowing who he is talking to he says in this shloka that there is another method of learning. Learning by parampara. What is the meaning of parampara. In fact there is no word in English that can explain what is the meaning of parampara. Parampara is more like a continum or a flow as described above. It is not the same as tradition. It is not present in the shastras, it is not part of learning as you grow; it is a flowing. This knowing by parampara is a flow.

The knowledge Krishna is talking about is of a different nature, a higher nature. There are other knowings by parampara. Purohits, in our villages, mostly learned by parampara. There was no school of purohits then. It just flowed through a system. For thousands of years people in India have poured their entire energy for the search of truth. You can visibly see the flow of Ganges. Ganges is not an ordinary river, its flow was not just melting of the glaciers, and it is not a random phenomenon. It is alchemy; it is science of a kind which we have not mastered yet. For a simple fact that Ganga water is always fresh no matter how many years it has been bottled in is one parameter you can see for yourself. There is another flow that permeates through India and that is the very essence of India. India is an eternal journey, a path of nectar, stretching from eternity to eternity. The Ramas, Krishna, the Budhas, the Mahavirs, Kabirs, Nanaks and others have all contributed to this flow of nectar which forms the very essence of India. This is why we never wrote a history. Some of these events are beyond time and space. It is a continuum. And then there is the esoteric history, which is so very difficult to authenticate. For example it is not an accident that 22 out of the 24 Jaina Tirthankaras went to die on the same mountain the Samved Shikhar. The gap between the first tirthankara Adinath and the last one is thousands of years. But they all went to leave their bodies at the same peak. The namokar mantras developed by the Mahaviras may appear simple spoken words but they were developed with a specific goal and for a specific purpose. How can you really incorporate all this in a written history? That is why the emphasis of the flow, the learning by parampara, the learning by shruti. What happened to this flow? What happened to this learning by parampara. What has happened to the Samskaras, the samskaras as mentioned earlier represents this flow which is truly beyond time and space and also represents the sacrements which appear to be bound in time and space

In Krishna’s time part of this was lost, the part that Krishna has touched in Gita. In the present time It seems that most of it is lost. The flow seems to have been interrupted. Maithili Sharan Gupta raises the same point when he says:

Ham kaun the kya ho gaye aur kya honge abhi.

This is a concern shared by most people. We have to remember and remind others that the destiny of India is the destiny of the whole humanity - because of the way we have refined human consciousness, because of the lamps we have lit within man, because of the flowers we have cultivated in man and because of the fragrance it can produce in man. No where else in the world has this been done. It has been ten thousand years of ceaseless perseverance, of ceaseless yoga and incessant meditation. And for the sake of this we have lost everything else. But even in the darkest nights of man, we have kept this lamp of man’s consciousness going. No matter how dim the flame may have become, the lamp still burns. The lamp is burning.

Hindus knew a lot of things - it would be surprising if they did not having been on a religious quest for thousands of years. For over ten thousand years most of their most intelligent and wisest people have devoted their lives to the same end - the search of the ultimate, the search of truth. They were possessed with the only desire of knowing the truth hidden behind the existence, to see that which is invisible. They wanted to encounter that which is formless. It would be really amazing if such people did not know anything after having single mindedly dedicated all their intelligence and energy to the single quest, and that too for over ten thousand years. They developed the science of yoga, tantra, mantras, and meditations. One book Vigyan Bhairva Tantra describes 108 techniques.

But, during the last 200 years certain things have happened that are very disturbing. It is worth understanding and taking serious note of this. There have been hundreds of foreign invasions on India in the last several years, but no invader could ever attack the vital core. Some invaders looked for wealth, some occupied land, and others captured palaces and forts. But, none could touch the interiority of India - the attention of invaders was not drawn towards it. Then for the first time attacks were made on this vital core of India, on the interiority of India when the western civilization invaded India. The easiest way to attack it was to disconnect the country from its long history and to destroy the past. A gap was created between the people and their history. In this way people became uprooted and powerless. Suddenly the learning by parampara was interrupted. The flow was obstructed.

If western civilization were to be destroyed today, there would be no need to destroy its buildings, its cinemas or its theaters. If just the top ten universities were destroyed the whole western culture would disappear. The western civilization would slowly die and become lost. The real basis of all cultures is its sources of knowledge. The roots of a civilization are in its long chain of knowledge…it is in the knowing by parampara, it is in the flow of knowledge that passes from generation to generation without any conscious awareness about it. Let me give an example. Two brothers from a family in India were sent to a Convent school by their father. The family was a large family and the two brothers used to touch the feet of their father each morning…before they went to the boarding school. The father decided to visit the sons in their school and went there. The two brothers came to see their father and happily said hello to their father. The father simply asked the sons to pack up and go with him back to home. The sons were surprised and did not even know what has happened, what went wrong. The father remarked, Sons, “I sent you to this school to learn what is new, not to forget what you knew.” But, there are many fathers who will be proud when their son will say hello to them. What is in touching the feet? Very few know that it is not just a custom. It was a science of energy transfer. It developed as a science whereby father or a guru could transfer energy to the one touching the feet by touching on their head. This was part of the technology of shaktipad. On the other hand, It will be interesting to know how hand shaking developed in the west. It was a way to ascertain that the person coming to meet you is not hiding a weapon in his hand. The first method of is product of trust while the other one is a product of distrust.

If the history of just two generations were taken away, a country would become cut off from all possibilities of further progress. That is the difference between human beings and animals. Animals are not able to make progress because they do not have schools. They do not have any way to transfer knowledge from older generation to the new generation. At its birth an animal begins life right from where its father began, and its offspring will do the same. The human being through education can help his child’s life begin from where he left off. So there is a continuity of knowledge. All human progress depends upon transfer of accumulated knowledge from generation to generation.

If you visit Mexico and see the ruins of Mayan civilization, you will be astounded. They rose to fame around 900 AD. Now there is not more than 3.5 million Mayans in the world. They do not know how their civilization lost the glory. They are known to be an intelligent race; they built several beautiful structures including pyramids. Their pyramids are present as far as in St. Louis, Missourie in the USA. The parampara is lost, there is disconnect between their past and the people. They are now made to believe that they were primitive culture who used make human sacrifices to rain god for every little trivia. They have ruins of this ball game that can only be hit using feet, elbows and waist, but again they have been made to believe that the loosing team captain had to be sacrificed after the match. Not only did they loose the parampara of their own history, their history has been distorted to make them look inferior and primitive. In one centel (water pond) in Chichnetza one Christian priest went and postulated that children were sacrificed in that well by Mayans. That is the truth now. Every one else has to prove otherwise. Several divers have been inside the well and not found remains of children. But, then there are theories of what might have happened and why there is no bones of children. No body asks why the certain priest thought that children were sacrificed.

Just imagine if for twenty years all adults decided not to teach anything to their children. It would not just be loss of twenty years worth of knowledge but all the knowledge collected over ten thousand years could be lost. And such a loss could not be made up for in the next twenty years. Several years will take to make up the gap, because of the discontinuity created in the accumulation of the knowledge.

In this way, those two hundred years of British dominance in India created a great gap. Most of its links with the ancient knowledge and wisdom were broken, and it had to establish an identity with a totally new and alien civilization with which its older civilization had no relationship. Indians think that theirs is a very old civilization, but they are mistaken, they are only two hundred years old. The British are now far older a community than Indians. Whatever knowledge India now has is just rubbish, and that too is just leftovers. That which the West chose to give India is its knowledge. Whatever India knew before 200 years ago was lost in one stroke.

When the threads of a branch of knowledge are lost, people seem just like ignorant fools. If you go out now with tika on your forehead, and someone asks you why you are wearing it, you will feel ashamed because you have no good answer. So, applying a tika cheerfully is difficult these days. Of course a simpleton can do it. He has no fear of others. But he is doing it not because he knows its purpose but because he thinks it is the thing to do.

When the links of real knowledge are broken, the outward symbols of it become difficult to carry. Then a certain tragedy often results. Those with intelligence keep away. And a thing remains meaningful only as long as intelligent people are involved it. It is interesting to see that whenever such a misfortune overwhelms a civilization, whenever it looses its connection with the past knowledge, the intellectuals drift away from it because they do not like to look foolish. And the ignorant masses try to preserve the symbols and follow the rituals. The symbols and rituals continue for some time and unless revived die a natural death. It often happens that valuable things are preserved by ignorant and backward looking people and the people who claim to understand disappear at the first opportunity.

If India wants to restore the broken links with the past, people will have to look at every ritual, sacrament that is being performed by the so called ignorant and illiterate masses. What they are doing is not without any reason. Their outward symbols are linked with the past of twenty thousand years. Some day we will have to thank them for at least having saved the symbols of that knowledge- symbols on which research can be done. Only by doing the research in to these things can we revive and give new life to the deep understanding that grew over a period of twenty thousand years. Then we will be surprised how suicidal we have been.

Sanatan (4:4)

arjuna uvaca
aparam bhavato janma
param janma vivasvatah
katham etad vijaniyam
tvam adau proktavan iti

Arjuna speaks

You are not that old
You were born only recently
Sun is ancient
Sun was born centuries ago
How can I comprehend?
You could have spoken these truths
Directly to Sun (Vivaswat)
How could you have?
Talked at the beginning of time. ||4:4||

There is a difference between how Arjun and we think when compared to the thinking process of Krishna. This difference arises because Krishna knows and sees from a different level. Krishna says that he has said these words to Vivaswat (sun) at the beginning of time. Arjun can see Krishna in his times and wonders how this would ever be possible. Arjun and most of us may know of past lives but it is a theoretical knowledge. We do not really know when and what we were in our past lives. Krishna can see the entire past; it is not a belief for him.

We need to understand how humble Krishna is here. He is not saying to Arjuna that this is his own product. Krishna is not insisting on the fact that what he is saying is new, original or revolutionary. He is not applying for a copyright and he is not going to patent his ideas. At the same time he is not saying that these ideas are old and obsolete. He brings freshness to the whole product.

We think differently. Newton invented gravity. Krishna will say that gravity has already always been there. Newton was the one to see its presence. The same can be said about electricity or the sound energy. We say that Columbus discovered America. We like to put labels. America has always been there. People have been living there before Columbus accidentally bumped into the shores of America. But, that is not us. Krishna does not insist on the ownership; he also does not want to claim that he is saying anything new.

Krishna says, “Yogo nashtah parantapa.” He uses the word yoga and not knowledge. Krishna has used this word yoga throughout Gita and he conveys various meanings through this word. It is not just the knowledge. It is:

knowledge+technique=experience to centering growth.

And this yoga according to Krishna has been lost in his time for some reason or the other and Krishna is bringing the same yoga back to Arjun. It is nothing new.

Krishna simply means that yoga is sanatan, “yogah proktah puratanah.” Yoga cannot be antique. It is not like an old car or a statue that is several thousand years old. It is like a fresh breeze or a fresh fragrance that has existed as long as the wind has been there or as long as flowers have been there. Yoga has always been as fresh as it can be and there is no way of it becoming stale. Krishna’s yoga is as fresh today as it was when he told to Vivaswat or to Arjuna.

This approach is so significant. There is nothing new to be said. There is no insistence of being original. There is no difference, in this thinking, between what the Upanishads say and what Buddha has to say. The truth stays the same whether it comes from Mohammad or whether it comes from Jesus Christ. There is no need to become distinguished. There is no need to have separate institutions in the name of religions. The truth is the truth is the truth. Who says it becomes irrelevant. But, we are not prepared to listen to Krishna that way. We like to make the distinction between all the messengers and create institutions around them. That creates a perfect ground for us to argue, disagree and fight. This says much about us that about the messengers themselves. We ought to listen to what Krishna has to say here or else we will end up destroying our whole civilization trying to be separate and distinct.

Rajiv Malhotra has come out about his theory of U-turn. He has several examples of people who have been to India and the east to learn. They go and learn different yoga principles and techniques. They spend time with a Guru or a gyani. Then, they come back, practice and teach the yoga principles and practices they have learned. Slowly and slowly, they stop telling about the source of their information. As time goes by, they modify the package a little and start calling them their own. The ownership of information starts here. The last phase is the trashing phase when the same people start trashing the source. This is the whole U-turn theory and it is so much against the theory of Krishna, where there is nothing new to be said. What Krishna is telling is as old as the appearance of any light.

I once went to meet with Herbert Benson at Harvard University in Boston. He has written books on Relaxation Response. It was a good meeting. He has done a lot of work on this relaxation response and it is impressive. We were talking about meditation and he mentioned that he would like to monitor some of the responses to the meditations I would do in his place. I mentioned the techniques and said that they were from Bhagwan Rajneesh. He was very happy and wanted to go ahead on one condition that I would not use Rajneesh (now Osho) name. This attachment or detachment to a name is in our blood. Krishna would not approve of that today and would not have approved of it in his time with Arjuna.

Krishna creates closeness with Arjun and calls him a Bhakta and a friend, both at the same time, before he imparts this yoga knowledge to him. Arjun in turn has to respond with devotion and trust. Let us bring that trust to Krishna and go on further with this book of yoga that deals with what has always been there (sanatan). There is no need to use a U-turn and there is no need to ignore or avoid one name or the other. Let us all focus on the learning and practicing the yoga techniques that Krishna has to show us.

Avatar (4:6)

ajo 'pi sann avyayatma
bhutanam isvaro 'pi san
prakrtim svam adhisthaya
sambhavamy atma-mayaya

I (Parmatma) am not destructible
I (Parmatma) am not to be born (ajanma)
(As physical body)
I am the master of it all
Yet, me by controlling the nature (prakriti)
Do make it possible
To manifest myself by
The mystical yogamaya
(yogamaya = Krishna still works
Within the constraints of maya
But under his control
And the control is by knowing the
Nature of the maya it self
Control = yogamaya) ||4:6||

Krishna talked about the fact that he knows of other lives of Arjun and himself in the past but Arjun is not aware of those. We know of this life that we are in and are unaware of any other births that we might have had. It is not a matter of believing in rebirths or not. It is a matter of knowing. Krishna knows it and Arjun does not. For now, Arjun and us have to just believe what Krishna has to say. We can later validate these by our own experiences. I was once in surgical training in Scotland. The consultant was going away for a vacation. He told me that I should not be looking for any trouble during surgical procedures. I did not understand this simple statement at the time. What did he mean? Am I looking for complications? Little did I know then that many complications do happen by overextending your abilities or simply not understanding the full implications of the step that we as surgeons undertake? It was a very simple and benign statement by the consultant surgeon at the time but the value can be understood by someone who is in the process of becoming a surgeon.

Krishna is making certain simple statements. But they are so profound and so real. As afr as Arjun knows, Krishna was born similar to his birth. Krishna had a father and he had a mother. Krishna’s appearance was the same as any other human being. So, where is the difference? What is the difference between an ordinary birth and an avatar? The difference is in the process and in the awareness.

The process is that of yogamaya. Before we get into the concept of yogamaya, let us understand the word ajanma (unbornable). Krishna qualifies himself as ajanma. He does not need to be born again and again. He has gone outside of the cycle of the journey from life to life. We are still in the cycle and our cycle is driven by desires. There is always something more to do. We have not completed every project that we wanted to do and death is here. We always die incomplete and we always die unconscious. And the cycle continues. Krishna has nothing more to do for himself. There is no personal reason for him to come back. If his physical body dies, he is fully awake at the time of death, and if he is born in a physical body, he is fully aware of his birth.

This awareness in birth makes it possible for Krishna to control his birth (yogamaya). Krishna makes it possible for himself to be born. He is fully aware of the whole process and he makes it happen through the normal channels of Maya. This total awareness is what makes Krishna, Buddha or a Zarathushtra an avatar.

Let us take it one step further. Yogamaya = yoga+maya. Yoga is awareness and maya is sammohan (hypnotized). A certain desire or willingness is needed for Krishna to be born as well. He has to want to come to help us or share his knowledge bank with us. This then leads to sankalp. This desire at the ultimate level of atma or parmatma makes the results to happen instantaneously. We have talked before. Any desire at the level of atma produces instantaneous results.

Krishna thinks that he needs to be born and things fall into place. This thought process is what I understand to be sankalp. This is his yogamaya because there are elements of awareness (part of yoga) and there is presence of subtle desire (part of maya). He is fully aware of the whole process and this is avatar. We go through a different process. We are born because of our desires for ourselves; Krishna makes his birth possible because of his compassion for others. We are born without any active role in the process; Krishna makes his birth possible by his own sankalp. We are unconscious of our birth; Krishna is aware of the whole process all the time. We are born as usual; Krishna is born as an avatar. We are stuck in the rut of journey from life to life; Krishna has transcended this cycle and is ajanma (unbornable).

In the next few shlokas Krishna talks about why and when he decides to take a birth. We shall explore those in our next column.

Balance (4:7-4:8)

yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srjamy aham

Hey Bharata (Arjuna), whenever
There is decline of the value system, Dharma
And there is rise of the Adharma
(Destructive systems e.g. terrorism)
I manifest myself in the physical form. ||4:7||

paritranaya sadhunam
vinasaya ca duskrtam
sambhavami yuge yuge

I (Parmatma) make my physical appearance
A possibility in different times,
(Sambhavaami yuge yuge)
For Protection of the goodness,
Destruction of the evil forces,
And reestablishing of the Dharma
(Dharma = value system of maya loka) ||4:8||

We discussed regarding autoregulation and the main determinant of auto regulation being karma in our last column. There is inherent freedom in what karma we choose to do and this leads to the possibility of imbalance in the value system in this universe. Dharma (seen as value system) could be at stake in these times. Divine intervention some times is needed and Krishna says that he comes down in human form to correct the imbalance. There is more to what we have discussed so far.

Let us look at what we can see first. There is anarchy in a state of India. There is no rule of law that works for the average person. Businessmen are held hostage and have to pay ransoms. Professors can not teach freely and the examjinations are not fair. What happens in such a place? The businesses leave and the good quality brains leave to a safer place.

Let us then imagine that the whole country is like that. Where will a business man go and what can he do. He has to live and please the powers to be. Where will the intellectuals go and what will they do? They have to serve the powers to be. No one can share the giref. Life as is becomes acceptable. Some may find ways to leave the country and go to another country and prosper thereafter.

But what will be the situation if the whole world is like that? This was the situation in the times of Mahabharata. Duryodhana wanted an unopposed rule. He was not willing to give space for the five Pandava brothers to co-exist. Several good people of his times were with him for one reason or another. Duryodhana was able to insult Draupadi in front of all of them.

We can see this far? We can see all the evils and problems that are associated with this kind of regimen. A lot of people living in those times might have become accustomed to the life and did not see anything wrong with the situation. India was ruled by British for several years. It was ruled by Moghuls before that. It was ruled not because Bristish were so strong or ruthless, but more so because it was okay to be ruled over by majority of the Indians who lived in those times. Similarly, life was okay for many in the times of Duryodhana until the five brothers stood up against his wishes.

What we are not able to see here is what happens to the Universe that we do not see. What we see is just the tip of the icebergh. We are mostly unaware of other dimensions of Chetana (consciousness). J. Krishnamurthy has conceptualized these as Consciousness pool and all these actions are seen by him as contamination of this pool. Krishna knows this as well and he can see the effects of deterioration of Dharma on dimensions other that we can see, but they do exist.

There is more to the universe of consciousness than we can see. We are the corporeal beings. We have a physical body and we make part of the mayaloka. There do exist non-corporeal bodies that co-operate with us as corporeal beings. There are good and bad elements in this domain as well. The bad souls have a feast when people like Duryodhana and Ravana seem to prevail. The good souls which only appear to come on request are also in trouble, because they do not find such people around. The goodness (saadhu kind) cannot be expressive. It remains suppressed like what happened to Vibhishan when he lived with Ravana. These effects are devastating. It affects the whole process of life afte life. Somehow congregations of bad souls dominate the corporeal world and this affects the world of the incorporeal beings and the cycle then becomes viscous.

There is yet another dimension that we do not see or perceive. Normally every sould is on an upward journey. Prsence of a Buddha or Krishna acts as a catalyst. All the souls start on an upward journey. This is the default journey when Dharma is sustained. When Dharma is on a downward trend, the general journey is reversed. It is harder for someone to embark on a spiritual journey. The whole atmosphere is heavy and the sheer weight of Adharma brings the whole existence down. The gossips, the discussions, the interactions are of a different kind. Everyone is suspiscious. People do not trust each other. They live in fear. It is a wonder that Yudhisthir or Arjuna can maintain their integrity in such time. Even they had to watch silently the games their cousins played against them.

Krishna can see it all and no wonder he values Dharma so much. Let us watch Krishna and Arjun in slow motion as we continue our journey through Gita. Let us focus and meditate on every aspect touched by our beloved Krishna and thank him and Arjun for allowing this opportunity to exist for us.

Janma Karma cha me divyam (4:9)

janma karma ca me divyam eva= yo vetti tattvata+
tyaktv| deha= punarjanma naiti m|m eti so’rjuna

I appear to be a person
Like any one else
My actions are also simple
Like any one else
But, both my appearance and actions
Have another dimension
Only few can see
The dimensions of divine appearance
And that of my divine acts
And he who can see from the divine angles
Gets liberated and merges into me (Parmatma) ||4:9||

Krishna is talking a different language here. He is suddenly on a different platform and is talking from a level where he really is. Soon after telling Arjun when and how he takes birth in the previous shlokas, he now is talking about how he is divya (divine) and how he is so exceptional (alokik).

What is so exceptional about Krishna? How is he so different from Arjun? To understand this let us approach it from a different angle. I have discussed previously about how netwok of ego is maya and how it can be understood by understanding cyberspace. Let us recap the story. You are born and have a name. You then go to school and call it your school. Soon there is your home, your school, your family and so on. All this is your sansar (world). You value this ‘your samsar’ so much. One day your time comes. You die and there goes your whole collection that you used to call yours. You are born again and the whole cycle starts again.

Now let us see what happens in cyberspace. You go to your computer and switch it on. You then sign on to your service provider and go on the internet. You check your email and surf the net. You then log off from the net and go to sleep. While you are away from your computer, the internet is still running as before.

The infrastructure is still there. You can come and use the internet any time. Even if Bill Gates has to send an email, he will need to use the same infrastructure. When you live your life in this world, you use the infrastructure that is there. When you die, your world might have disappeared, but the infrastructure continues to be there. It is very similar to your being away from the computer. Krishna has to use the same infrastructure as Arjun, you and me.

Krishna takes birth in special circumstances as described by him in 4:7-4:8. He has to then use the same infrastructure as you and me. We can see part of this infrastructure. What we can see is what we call our world. Krishna can see more than what we can see. He can see how this infrastructure affects the whole process of life after life. Who takes birth where is dependent on how healthy is this infrastructure. If the infrastructure is crumbly and is supportive for birth of Duryodhana, kansa, Dushashana etc then it has to be rectified. It is not an accident that Hitler, Musolini and Stalin type of people are born around same times. There is something wrong with the infrastructure.

We are born without our knowledge and we do not have any influence on how healthy the infrastructure is. Krishna takes birth with his full involvement. He comes here to correct the malfunctions in the infrastructure. The mayaspace has to be clean and uncontaminated. The cyberspace has to be virus free, and then only smoothe surfing is possible. Similarly, mayaspace has to be in a healthy state.

Krishna truly is exceptional in that regard. We all should try to work towards making the world a little better place before we die. That will help not only the people who are born but will help the whole process of who is likely to take birth. That is what Krishna means when he says that he comes for sustaining of the Dharma, which I have called the value system of this mayaspace.

The second part of this verse is quite interesting. How can knowing this fact about Krishna be liberating? The answer is in the process. Krishna is not talking about knowing it as a theoretical knowledge. Just remembering this fact like a parrot will not do. It has to sink in. It has to be a deeper understanding. We have to go through a process and by the time the process brings us to this understanding about Krishna, liberation would have happened. We shall explore this part in our next column and continue our discussion on Gita.

Gyanatapasa puuta (4:10)

Veetraagbhayakrodha manmaya maamupashritah
Bahavo gyantapasa puuta madbhavamaagatah

Freed from the attachments (veetraga), fear and anger
Mind surrendered unto me (Parmatma)
The fire of knowing flowing inside them
Many have attained me in this way ||4:10||

We discussed about knowing by merging in our last column. We also discussed about different kinds of drives that work on us in different circumstances related to our state of being at the time.

Krishna now tells us what the factors that keep us away from him are. He names three such factors. In fact I see only one factor here; the other two are shadows of the first one. But, before I get into the factors themselves, let us understand one thing very clearly.

We actually are one with Krishna’s swarup (identity) but we do not know about it. The reason we do not know about it is because we keep our focus somewhere else. It is as if we are in our house but are constantly looking at the stars with a telescope. We may learn a whole lot about the stars but will not know anything about our house. So, how do we do it. We are born and then get a name. This name becomes our identity. We start gathering more attachments as we grow along e.g. my parents, my school, and my college and so on. This is the beginning of our attachments (raag). We also learn on the way to become detached with things that we do not like (viraag). Fear is a byproduct. I love money and have ten dollars in my pocket. I am holding on to the ten dollars and am afraid to loose it. My whole life starts depending on these ten dollars. Fear takes roots. Some one wants those ten dollars from me. He tries to get it from me by force. Anger arises in side me in defense. I am not saying that fear, anger or attachments are bad or good. There is no need to give these values to these attributes. We just need to realize the existence of these three attributes and how they interact.

Krishna does not put any value statements either. He simply says that these three attributes keep someone from getting to him. As long as we are attached or detached to something or some one, we will not reach to Krishna’s true self. Some of us do not even want to know what Krishna’s true self is is and Krishna’s message is not for those people any way. Krishna is talking to Arjun who is ready to take the jump. We have to individually decide whether we are ready or not. Simple curiosity will not do. It is okay if you or I is not ready. We can spend few more years or lives trying to figure out what we want. Once we come to that state of readiness, Gita’s these verses will be there to understand.

Krishna is not asking Arjun to become detached from desires, fear or anger. He is using a word veetraag which simply means beyond attachment or beyond detachment. He wants Arjun neither to be attached nor to be detached. We are not used to being in that situation. We like to love some one or hate some one. It is difficult to be in a situation that we are not used to. Let me try to come close to this scenario. You are driving your car on the highway. There are many other cars going by. There are many bridges and there are many service stations on the way. Are you attached or detached with all these places. You get hungry as you drive along. You find a service station in the USA or a Dhaba in India, stop, eat and go back to your journey. Do you become attached or detached to the Dhaba or the service station. This is close to what Krishna is talking about. It is easy to work from here because you have no investment in the dhaba or the cars going by. There may be many instances where these principles can apply. We have to start applying it to different aspects of our life and slowly and slowly we can understand what Krishna is talking about.

In the second part of the verse Krishna uses a very sweet word gyantapasa. This is a beautiful word. Gyan is knowing and tapa is austerity. How can we turn gyan into tapa. That is what takes one to Krishna. Just veetraga (going beyond attachment and detachment) is not enough. Just dropping of fear and anger is not enough. The tapa of gyan is important too. This simple shloka has so much to offer. So much has been said in this beautiful verse. It is worth meditating over this verse to get the gist of it fully.

Resonance of Parmatma (4:11)

ye yath| m|= prapadyante t|=s tathaiva bhaj|my aham
mama vartm|’nuvartante manu^y|+ p|rtha sarva%a+

With whatever motive people worship Me, I fulfill their desires accordingly. People worship Me with dif¬ferent motives. (4.11)

From Parents to Parmatma III (4:12)

kankshaantah karmanam siddhim yajanta iha devatah
kshiipram hi maanushe loke siddhir bhavati karmajaa

Those who long for success in their work here on earth worship the celestial controllers (Devas). Success in work comes quickly in this hu¬man world. (4.12)

Karma always produces results
Man worships different gods
For a desired result
And quite often he does get the result
In this physical body world (manushe loke) ||4:12||

The infrastructure starts at parent’s level. We all have a father and a mother. The desires of our parents are the first driving force for us as a child. The pathway to desires is still the same. It starts with thoughts of a subject and then develops an attachment to that subject. This then becomes the desire. Parent’s desires end up giving us the direction we will be heading to in future. There is another factor though that plays an important role, our samskaras that we bring with us from past lives. We will not bring this factor in our current discussion. The society and peer pressure also helps in shaping our lives as we get out of the home and interact with others.

We all grow and as we grow we start focusing on our own desires. There usually is a conflict that happens between parents trying to maintain their driving force on us and us trying to become independent. Sometimes this struggle can get ugly as well. This forms great stories for our Hindi films. “How the father does not like the son to marry a certain girl” has formed the core of many a films. Parents have become so accustomed to using their offsprings to travel on their desire pathway that they forget that the kids can ever live on their own. But this is bound to happen one day whether they like it or not.

The Basics (Desire, Determination and Discipline):
The basic elements of our own driving force are desire (kaamana), determination (sankalp) and discipline (anushaashan). As mentioned above, it all starts with thoughts. Once it reaches the level of desire, the other two factors are essential for it to go anywhere. Otherwise it just remains dreams.

Desire to do good or bad have to be there and is always there. This is the driving force. Energy gets imparted at this point. I want to look cool. I see a friend of mine who has a cigarette in his mouth and is drawing in the smoke. He looks great. I get determined to try it and the next thing I know of is that I have a cigarette in between my fingers. There is no need of much discipline here because the cigarette is habit forming anyway. Now I have grown up and can see that smoking is harmful for health. The desire to look cool is replace by the desire to quit. I need definite determination or resolve (sankalp) to quit smoking. I may want to adopt just cold turkey if I have a strong will power or determination. I may want to use nicotine patches to help quitting if I do not have that strong a will power. I also need discipline if I want to keep away from smoking again in future.

Even if I want to get divine help, it has to follow the same pathway. I have a desire to get the help from Shiva. There is a pathway for that as well. First of all I have to develop the desire to get the help from Shiva. Just wanting the help is not going to get me the help. I have to follow certain direction to that. I need to go to Varanasi to get to the temple. I have to sit in the temple and do a jaap of “Om Namah Shivaya,” for so many days. I need to have the determination or the will power to leave everything else and go to Varanasi in India. Once I get there I have to follow the prescribed routine. I need to have that discipline to continue that prescribed routine. Then and then only there is chance that Shiva will be happy with me enough to give me certain result. There are no guarantees anyway. However, those wishing for success on this planet with the divine help can seek to do so by following a prescribed routine for that help.

This is what Krishna is talking about here. He says that the ultimate abode is where Krishna is. But there are other places before we get to him. Krishna is aware of all other levels before his own abode. And many of us do not even want to consider going to a place where there appears to be a sense of nothingness. If we instead consider help from the divine, there exists a pathway for that as well. Krishna did ask Arjun to pray to Devi Durga before start of the whole showdown between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Even getting to Krishna’s place follows the same basic trio-pathway of desire, determination and discipline. Desires drop on the path itself, but it surely does start with a desire to get to Krishna consciousness.

The Varna System (4:13)

The four divisions of human society ? based on aptitude and vocation ? were created by Me. Though I am the author of this system of division of labor, one should know that I do nothing (directly), and I am eternal. (See also 18.41) (4.13)

The four different categories (varnas) of
People were created from me (Parmatma)
Based on the three gunas (attributes/forces)
And their influence on performing of karma
But, even though I am the source of the creation (creator)
Know me as a non-doer (akarta)
(Because I am completely non-attached) ||4:13||

Let us examine what kind of divisions we live in before we examine Krishna’s division of human kind. I live in USA. A patient comes in for a simple procedure such as vasectomy. If the state has to pay he has to fill a form. One section asks the questions as to whether he is Native American, Hispanic, Asian or African American. This is how we divide human kind. The word Black has been replaced by African American because it is more dignified. Each class has a slang name that sometimes is used in derogatory fashion.

We also like to say that all men are born equal. There are movements in the country where women feel that they are equal to men. There seems to be an obsession on this fact that we can all do the same things. The reality is totally different. Try to meet the President of the country. You can certainly meet him over a dinner, but will cost you somewhere $1000 to $10,000 per person. The President does not get the money. It goes to his party. How many equal people can afford this much money. They can, however, say that they do not want to meet the President anyway.

Whether we like or not, we have been dividing ourselves in different types. We like to be special. I lived in Saudi Arabia for 2 years. The natives there felt that they were special and superior to every one else. We all like to feel important and therefore like to divide in a way that supports that special existence. Pakistan has history books that make them important while India has history books that reflect that. We all know what happened with the German and Jew story in Hitler’s time. This is always a possibility with the classification system that we have. Our system of division encourages and allows profiling. Once profiling is possible, then it is easy to differentiate and segregate a certain group. The Japanese can be separated, the Arabs can be denied visa, and s Sikh may be killed because he fits profile of Osama Bin Laden.

Although we love to use the slogan that all humans are born equal, this is far from truth. We are not all alike and we know that. We differ in our color, from where we come from and how we process our thinking. Some are rich and some are poor. This lends itself to creation of class systems. The people from Home Counties around London feel that they are different than those from Manchester. The Scots still long for an independent Scotland with Edinburgh castle as their capital.

We are all different and I feel that we are all uniquely different. Is there possibility of a different classification system? Krishna has the answer in these shlokas (verses). The division is based on the gunas (attributes) and karma (acts). Krishna believes that karma (actions) that we do is based on the gunas (attributes) that we have. There are three types of gunas, sat (pios), rajas (dynamism), and tamas (inertia). Everyone has different proportions of these forces inside of them. Usually one type of guna predominates in an individual. Arjuna for example has a higher proportion of rajas and the proportions that he has of the three gunas make him a Kshatriya (soldier type). Arjuna can thus be a trusted warrior and protect the land or others in time of need. Bill Gates has a proportion that puts him in the category of Vaishya (business aptitude) and he is useful for creating wealth for the country. It is not that he does not have intelligence or some of what Arjuna has; it is that he has the mix of three gunas that make him predominantly a business persom. Einstein has all the characteristics of a Brahmin.

I feel that Krishna’s classification is scientific and more realistic than others mentioned above. Varna system of Krishna has nothing to do with the caste system of India today. The caste system as is not what Krishna is talking about in this shloka. Krishna’s varna system for example does not talk about hierarchy. The current caste system has hierarchy built into it. A respect for a Brahmins intellect or his sacrifice is one thing, demanding respect another. Protecting other class of society is a need, killing someone because you have power is another.

I feel that Krishna’s classification is the best possible classification for human kind. In fact it is not a classification per se; it is simple fact of reality. There are just four types of people based on what we capable of doing. I am a doctor. I may not make a good business man. I may be a lousy soldier. We all have our limitations and we all have areas we can flourish and excel. Let us try to explore our inner flowering potentials and then let us allow that flower to bloom.

Living and Teaching by example (4:14-4:15)

na m|= karm|[i limpanti na me karmaphale sp&h|
iti m|= yo’bhij|n|ti karmabhir na sa badhyate

Work or Karma does not bind Me because I have no desire for the fruits of work. One who fully understands and practices this truth is also not bound by Karma. (4.14)

I remain uninvolved while performing the karma
And also remain non-attached from the results
Those who know this nature of mind
Also reach the same fate
And do no carry the bondage of karma. ||4:14||

eva= j@|tv| k&ta= karma p~rvair api mumuk^ubhi+
kuru karmai’va tasm|t tva= p~rvai+ p~rvatara= k&tam

The ancient seekers of liberation also performed their duties with this understanding. Therefore, you should do your duty as the ancients did. (4.15)

Knowing this, seekers in the past
Have performed karma without attachment
And you should also try to
Follow the path trodden by your ancestors ||4:15||

Theory of karma was prevalent in Arjun’s time. Good things will happen to you if you do good karma and bad things will happen to you if you do bad karma. Your karma will produce results that will come back to you, either to embrace or to haunt. It has not changed. This law is true as much today as it was in those times. It is not a common knowledge or let us say that this theory is not in fashion today.

How do you get out of this cycle? This is what Krishna is talking about here and in many other places in Gita. How can you do karma and not be held accountable or responsible for that karma? The basic idea is simple. You build a house for yourself. The house is yours. You build for someone else; the house belongs to that someone else. You have had no thoughts or desires of living in that house that you built for someone else. The thought never entered your head. You do karma for yourself and you get the results. You do karma for someone else; that someone else gets the results. You have no interest in the result of the karma that you are doing for some one else.

Krishna in 4:13 mentions that he has established the varna system. That is pretty much saying that he has is responsible for the existence of the whole of humanity. It is a pretty big stuff. Yet in the very next shloka he goes on to say that he has no interest in what the outcome has become. He has created the existence and yet he has never had an interest in what the existence is going to become. This sounds so irresponsible to our mind. It seems that Krishna is exonerating himself from whatever bad outcome might come out of his work.

We believe in ‘taking credit for and putting blame on’ type of existence and therefore it is hard for us to understand what Krishna is saying here. I can understand Krishna’s dilemma. He is a long time friend of Arjun. Arjun must have seen Krishna as a colleague. They might have eaten together, danced together and talked about various events together. It would have been hard for Arjun to have seen the extra-oridnary Krishna in seemingly ordinary human being. Now, suddenly a different Krishna is in front of Arjun. Arjun must be wondering what is going on. This Krishna who he has known for so long is responsible for the creation of this whole existence! How is that possible?

I am not doing anything close to what happened with Arjun. Yet, it is hard for my friends to take me seriously. This guy (me) who had been going to tea stalls in Patna with us at 2 a.m. in the morning and going to Patna Market in rush hours looking at the beauties of Bihar is now writing about Gita. It perhaps would be easier for me to talk about Bhagavad-Gita if I quit medicine, wear saffron robes and preach the Gita to strangers. They would have had no pre-conceived idea about me. I will be holier than them. But, then I would not be following what Krishna says in these shlokas.

Krishna must have had hard time pointing out to Arjun that he is different. What Krishna is saying is what he practices. Even success does not have boundaries when you live the way Krishna lives. More importantly, Krishna by living like any other ordinary human being is setting an example for all of us. He goes on to say that others in past have lived like this and advises Arjun to follow the path. I do want to stress that the path Krishna outlines here is not a path of sacrifice; it is a path for excellence.

The best of times in our lives and the best of innovations happen when we are not so caught up in the process. It just happens. Creation as if happened through Krishna. Krishna was just there at the time and he never felt involved. How can he then feel that he created the whole existence? The creation could not have been without him, yet he did not really do the whole thing with active involvement. This theme underlies throughout Bhagavad-Gita and we will explore this again and again in future.

Krishna was there at the time because of his compassion for us. He did not have to live the life he did, yet he lived a full life. He lived every moment of life joyfully and his life is a message. Gita forms only a small part of his whole life; yet the gist of all is there in Gita. How could Krishna have such a happy and prosperous life and how can we find that key? The key is in the Gita and the strange thing is that it is not even hidden.

The subtleties of Karma and Akarma (4:16-4:18)

Even the wise are confused about what is action and what is inaction. Therefore, I shall clearly explain what action is, knowing that one shall be liberated from the evil of birth and death. (4.16)

What is karma (doing) and what is akarma (non-doing)
Is not easy to determine
Even the wise ones get confused (mohit)
And cannot easily determine the true nature of karma
Therefore, today I shall
Tell you the essence (tattva) of this karma
So that you can really understand the intricacies
And thereby get freed from the bondage of karma ||4:16||

The true nature of action is very difficult to understand. Therefore, one should know the nature of attached action, the nature of detached ac¬tion, and also the nature of forbidden action. (4.17)

It is important to know
The identity of karma (doing)
The ways of akarma (non-doing)
And also the intricacies of vikarma (crooked karma)
For, all the movements of karma are so subtle. ||4:17||

One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction, is a wise person. Such a person is a yog$ and has accomplished everything. (See also 3.05, 3.27, 5.08 and 13.29) (4.18)

Karma is being done all around
There are vibrations
And there are noises all around
Inside though is all peace and quiet
There is no doer in sight
Such is the ways
Of the wise
He sees non-doing in all doing
And thus becomes the doer of it all. ||4:18||

Karma and Akarma
Krishna is now talking about the subtleties of Karma (doing, action) and Akarma. (Non-doing or inaction). He first talked about karma and how he himself does all the karma and yet is uninvolved in any karma and then goes on to the subtleties thereof. Krishna’s approach is very methodical.

Krishna is more interested in what is happening behind the scenes that what is so obvious. I am going to school. Do I really want to go to school? I went to Bodh Gaya and sat under the famous Banyan tree. Buddha also sat there at the time he got enlightened. I am sitting there doing nothing. Buddha also sat there doing nothing. Is this Akarma (non-doing). There is a difference and the difference is quite big. Even the wise and educated get confused in understanding the subtle aspects of Karma.

I am sitting under the tree doing nothing. But my mind is going a thousand miles a minute. What was it like when Buddha was here? Was it hot when he sat here? I was feeling so hot. I am not anywhere close to what Akarma (non-doing) is. Buddha on the other hand is just sitting there. There are no ripples in his head. Justness was his being. Is-ness was his existence. Stillness was in the air. This is the state of akarma Krishna is talking about.

This akarma is so important to understand. It has nothing to do with akarmanyata (laziness or no-karma). It is important to understand that akarma (non-doing) has nothing to do with no-karma. Non-activity does not come from akarma. Non-activity is a property of laziness. This is a big problem and especially so for the ones who want to travel on the path of spirituality. I am working as a doctor. I am now writing about Gita. I am on a spiritual path. I develop some followers on the way. They respect me. They email me their questions and they come to me for advice. Should I leave being a doctor and just relax. I will perhaps make money and fame by being a Guru and guide for all these people who are lost.

This is where the movements of karma become so subtle. “Why do I do what I do” becomes so important. Krishna will soon talk about swadhyaya (introspection). It has to come. We all have to look inside our doer self and see what the vibrations are like. Just sitting still is not necessarily stillness of the being. Just leaving my medical profession is not Tyag (giving up or sacrifice).

Krishna talks about vikarma (prohibited karma) here as well. These three terminologies have to be understood by us for better understanding of Gita. We touched this briefly in our column on meditation. Meditation is a journey to no-where and it is a process for nothing. That nothingness is the source of all activity. Krishna touches that in 4:17. It is possible to experience what Krishna is saying here and we shall discuss that in our next column.

Desires (Kaamana) and Will Power (Sankalp) 4:19

yasya sarve sam|rambh|+ k|masa=kalpa varjit|+
j@|n|gni dagdha karm|[a= tam |hu+ pa[" />

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CHAPTER 04 - Shariram Kevalam karma (4:21) PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles by Krishna Bhatta
Article Index
Sanatan (4:4)
Avatar (4:6)
Balance (4:7-4:8)
Janma Karma cha me divyam (4:9)
Gyanatapasa puuta (4:10)
Resonance of Parmatma (4:11)
From Parents to Parmatma III (4:12)
The Varna System (4:13)
Living and Teaching by example (4:14-4:15)
The subtleties of Karma and Akarma (4:16-4:18)
Desires (Kaamana) and Will Power (Sankalp) 4:19
Naiva Kinchita Karoti sah (4.20)
Shariram Kevalam karma (4:21)
The Empire of I (4.23)
Brahmakarma Samadhina (4:24)
All Pages

Shariram Kevalam karma (4:21)

nir|%$r yatacitt|tm| tyakta sarva parigraha+
%|r$ra= kevala= karma kurvan n|pnoti kilbi^am

One who is free from desires, whose mind and senses are under control, and who has renounced all pro¬prietorship, does not incur sin ? the K|rmic reaction ? by doing bodily action. (4.21)

One who has mastered the body
And all its sense organs
And the one who has
No possessiveness left
(tyakta sarva parigrahaha)
Such a person although
Doing usual mundane karma
Is still a non-doer and
He does not incur any sin from doing it. ||4:21||

Life goes on and life does not care whether one is gyani or not. A gyani also wakes up in morning and brushes his teeth. Agyani also takes bath in the morning. There are some essential karma that must be done. We get hungry and we have to eat. What then is the difference?

The difference is at two levels. The first difference is in the state of being. Body is the master in our case. We have not won the body. The body is hungry and our chitta (mun or the wishing mind) wants to have dinner on an island. I can afford to fly to the island and I start planning. I get there and am more concerned about how the waiter behaves than what I get to eat. My mind is thinking of million different things before the food comes on the table. The mind and the body are not in my control. That question has never crossed my mind.

This is how we are. We do not know the benefits of being the master. We do not know that our life is run by our body and mind. Is there another way of living? Krishna points out in this shloka about that potential for all of us. This way of life is not an exotic concept. It is not running away from life. There is no need to become an escapist. It is only a question of change of relationship. Sharira (Body) is only the outer layer of existence. Mun (wishing mind) is the next layer and beyond these two lays the buddhi (intellect). We usually live and die at the level of sharira and mun. Krishna is talking to Arjun to transcend this style of life. There is a better way to live if we become masters of our body and citta (mind).

The second difference is in the outcome. As long as we live at the level of body and mind (let us call it first level), we will be subject to karmic reactions. At this level our living is subject to expectations. We work and expect a certain result. This expectation is what binds us to karma (actions). We also need to understand that these three are related. Our state of being determines whether we will be expecting results or not. Expecting results or not will determine whether we are subject to the bondage of karma. This understanding is important to determine where to start if we want to get to the second level (level where we control body and mind).

Most of us want to stay where we are and desire to stop expecting results. We want to stay at the first level and yet desire to achieve the benefits of the second level. We do not want to change our level of existence because that means end of the control of mind. Mind cannot loose its control so easily. Mind is very much like a politician. It tries to find solutions where by it can stay in control. It creates this beautiful logic. Mind argues that why not just stop expecting results. That way we would all be out of the bondage of karma. Nothing else needs to be changed. There are thousands of people out there claiming that they do not expect any results. It is all in the hands of Parmatma. I am devoted to Krishna. Now I am not expecting any results.

All these are mind games and we have to understand the ways of our minds. Krishna will put it differently. He will tell us to be masters first. Rest will follow. Then we do not have to say that we do not expect any results. It will become obvious. We do not need to proclaim that we have become devotees. Devotion will show for itself. The louder we have to speak about how there is no expectation of results the more it is a game of the mind.

It is also harder to go on the path that Krishna describes here. Thinking alone will not work. Mind alone cannot get us there. Mind has to be bypassed and mind will not let us do it easily. Directing the energy of mind towards divine or Krishna may be helpful but that is not all that is required. Meditation is one path to know what lies beyond mind and body. There are many kinds and we all have to choose the one that is suitable for us as individuals. Mastery of mind and body is what Krishna is emphasizing on. The rest will follow. Expectations and bondage of karma will drop on its own once the mastery of body and mind has occurred.

Accepting the results (4:22)

yadriccha labha santushto dvandvateeto vimatsaraha
samaha siddhav asiddhau ca kritvapi na nibadhyate

Content with whatever gain comes naturally by His will, unaffected by pairs of opposites, free from envy, undisturbed by success and failure, although engaged in work ? such a Karma-yog$ is not bound by Karma. (4.22)

He is always content
Content with whatever comes to him
He is ready to accept
Any event that happens around him
He is beyond the dualities of life
Such a person
Centered in his successes and failures
Is not bound by whatever
His karma may be
He always remains a non-doer. ||4:22||

I view this shloka (verse) as key to understanding of karma yoga. Krishna is talking about being content all the time. He gives two keys to being content all the time. The first is that we should be content, satisfied and happy with whatever we get and the second is to go beyond the dualities of life. Such a person attains to sum-bhava. Siddhi and asiddhi do not matter to such a person. These are simple statements but have great depths.

We need to really spend some time to understand these keys to being happy all the time. Most of us are unhappy all the time. We do not seem to find satisfaction in whatever we get. It is like getting a new toy for a young child. I remember buying a toy for my son when I was in Scotland. We bought this toy in Edinburgh and both I and Amit my son were traveling in the car going home. Amit was so excited that he wanted to hold on to the box containing the toy. He opened the box when we got home and again the excitement was obvious. Two or three days later the toy was laying on the floor and my son was out riding his bike.

This must sound familiar to many of you. Many of us have been through some similar experience with our kids. But, is this only limited to our kids. Now we buy expensive toys. We buy a computer, play with it for a few days and then we are ready to buy again in a few days. We buy a convertible car and rave about its performance. All this is not very different from the story of my son. We just a are a little more sophisticated and we call that maturity.

Why I like this shloka so much is because it is the bottom line of karma yoga. Krishna talks about the fact that the result is not totally in our hands. Result depends on other factors apart from our efforts and karma. We plan to get a result. We then do certain karma to get to the result. Expecting a result is but natural. Even when we say that I am not expecting a result, we are talking about results. The expectation becomes subtle but it is still there. I am running for President of an organization. I do all the planning and campaigning. Result depends upon other factors which includes the efforts of my opposition. Now if I say that I am not expecting a result, what result am I talking about? This is the dilemma we live in. That is the reason I have raised the issue of accepting the results in my write up on Karma yoga in the 2nd chapter itself.

Let us look at it from another angle. We discussed in detail about the desire pathway in 2nd chapter as well. We develop a desire and then we start working towards getting that desire fulfilled. There is no problem if the desire is fulfilled. The problem arises when the result is not what we expect. Anger arises when there is obstruction to our desired results. This is where accepting whatever the result is works like a medicine.

Expecting, un-expecting and accepting of results are our different choices. We live in the world of expectation and continue to always live in expectations. No sooner than we have got one result, we move to another. Desire to result is a vicious circle. There is no room for fulfillment here. Fulfillment is the end of desires. The mind (wishing mind) will not let it happen. People talk of the last desire. There is no such thing. Mind’s whole existence depends on desires-result cycle. As long as we live here, we will keep ourselves away from happiness.

Accepting any results that come is the end of this cycle. It does not mean that we stop our efforts or our karma. It does not mean that we stop planning. It cannot and should not be an excuse to become lazy. I am content does not mean that I do not have computers or a convertible car. This is going to the other extreme. This is the reason given for continuing to stay in desire- result world. We will continue to explore this in our next column.


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