That man is possessed of yog, of selfless action, who has conquered the body, whose senses are subdued, whose thoughts and feelings are spotlessly clean, and who has realized his identity with God, the Spirit of all beings.
Lord Krishn sings in Bhagavad Gita:
“The doer, who is in perfect control of his body
through a conquest of his senses, pure at heart
and singlemindedly devoted to the God of all beings,
is untainted by action even though he is engaged in it.”
He remains unblemished even though he is involved in action, because his deeds are aimed at garnering seeds of the highest good for those who lag behind. He is untainted because he dwells in the essence that is God, the fountain head of the vitality of all beings.
There is nothing for him hereafter for which he should quest. At the same time, there can be no attachment to what he has left behind, because they have all paled into insignificance. So he is not engulfed by his deeds. Thus we have here a picture of the ultimate stage of the worshiper who has achieved selfless action.
Lord Krishn explains again why this man, blessed with yog, remains unattached to action.
“The man who perceives, in whatever he is doing,
whether hearing, touching smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing,
giving up or seizing, and opening or closing his eyes,
that only his senses are acting according to their properties
and that he himself is a non-doer, is indeed the one with true knowledge.”
It is a belief, or rather experience, of the man to whom God is visibly present that he does absolutely nothing. Rather than being a mere fancy, it is a firm conviction he has arrived at through the performance of action. After having known this he cannot but believe that whatever he appears to be doing is really the operation of his senses according to their natural properties.
And, when there is nothing higher than God whom he has apprehended, what greater joy can he aspire to have by touching any other object or being? Had there been something better beyond, there must have been attachment?
But after the attainment of God there is no further goal to strive for. And neither is there anything left behind for him to renounce. So the man endowed with attainment is unimmersed in action.
Lord Krishn sings:
“The man who acts,
dedicating all his actions to God and abandoning all attachment,
is untouched by sin as a lotus leaf is untouched by water.”
The lotus grows in mud, but its leaf floats above the water. Ripples pass over it night and day, but if you look at the leaf it is always dry. Not a drop of water clings to it. So the lotus growing in mud and water is yet unsullied by them. Just so, the man, all of whose actions are merged into God (this dissolution occurs only with perception, not before), and who acts with total detachment because there is nothing beyond to be desired, is unaffected by action. Yet he is busy with the performance of action for the guidance and good of the ones who are behind him.
This is the point that is stressed in the next following verse.
“Sages give up the attachment of their senses,
mind, intellect and body, and act for inner purification.”
A sage abandons all desires of his senses, mind, intellect, and body, and practices selfless action for inner sanctity. Does that mean that the Self is tainted with impurities even after he has merged into God? It cannot be so because after this dissolution the Self becomes one with all beings; he sees his own extension in all beings. So he acts, not for himself, but for the purification and guidance of other beings. He acts with his mind, intellect and physical organs, but his Self is in a state of actionlessness and constant peace. He appears to be active outwardly, but inside him there is only endless tranquility. The rope cannot bind any longer because it is burnt out and what remains is only the impression of its twist.
Lord Krishn sings:
“The sage who sacrifices the fruits of his action to God
attains to his state of sublime repose,
but the man who desires rewards of action is chained by desire.”
The man who is blessed with the final outcome of selfless action and who dwells in God-the root of all beings, and who has forsaken desire for the fruits of action because the God who was the goal of his action is no longer distant from him, achieves the state of sublime peace beyond which there is no greater peace and beyond which he will never again know restlessness. But the wayfarer, who is still on his way and attached (he has to be attached because the “fruit” of his action, God, is still unattained) to the consequence of his action, is fettered by it. So desires continue to arise until the moment of attainment, and the worshiper has to be on his guard right till that point.
My most revered accomplished teacher, Gurudev, used to say, “Mark me, maya prevails if we are even in the least removed from God and he is removed from us.” Even if the attainment is to be tomorrow, today the worshiper is at best only an ignorant man. So the questing worshiper ought not to be careless.
Let us see what is further said about this.
“The man who is in perfect control of his heart and mind,
and acts accordingly , dwells blissfully in the abode of his body
with its nine apertures because he neither acts himself nor makes others act.”
The man who is in perfect control of himself and dwells, beyond his body, mind, intellect, and material nature, in his own Self-this man of restraint undoubtedly neither acts nor is a cause of action. Even prompting the men left behind to act does not affect his serenity. This man who has realized his Self and abides in him, and who has subdued all his organs which provide him with objects of physical pleasure, dwells in the ultimate bliss that is God. In truth, thus, he neither acts nor effects any undertaking of action.
The same idea is stated differently when Sri Krishn says that God, too, neither acts nor gets any action accomplished. The accomplished teacher, God, the adored one, the realized sage, an enlightened guru, and the endowed one-are all synonymous. No God descends from heaven to accomplish anything. When he functions, he operates through these Self-abiding, reverent, and loving Souls. The body is a mere dwelling place for such a Soul. So the action of the Supreme Self is the same as that of the individual Self, because he acts through him. So, in truth, the Self who has become one with God does nothing even while he is engaged in action. The next-verse is again related to the same problem.
Lord Krishn adds:
“God creates neither action nor the capacity for action,
and not even the association of action with its fruits,
but at the same time, vitalized by his spirit, it is nature that acts.’’
God makes neither the power of beings to act nor actions, nor does he decide the fruits of action, and all objects and beings act only under the pressure of innate natural properties. One acts according to the three properties, tamas, rajas and sattwa. Nature is vast, but it affects a man only to the extent to which his natural disposition is virtuous or vitiated – divine or devilish.
People usually say that it is God who does or gets things done, and we are mere instruments. It is he who makes us do well or ill. But Sri Krishn maintains that God neither acts nor prompts action, and that he also does not produce favourable or unfavourable circumstances. Men act by themselves according to the compulsions of their inborn nature. They are impelled to act by the inevitability of their inherent traits; it is not God who acts. Then why do people say that everything is done by God?
Sri Krishn dwells upon the problem in next verse.
“The all-pervading God, the Glorious One,
accepts neither men’s sinful acts nor attachment
because their knowledge is enveloped by ignorance (maya).”
The one who has been named God is now described as the Glorious One because he is embellished with sublime glory. That God, all powerful and radiant, accepts neither our sins nor our righteous actions. But people yet say that he does everything, because their knowledge is clouded with ignorance. As yet the men who speak so are only mortal beings, enclosed within bodies. Subject to delusion they can say anything.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~