Lord Krishn’s pronouncement is that men should do selfless action. Equipoise of mind is what is called Yog. The mind in which there is no unevenness is full of equanimity. Greed destroys its evenness, attachments make it unequal, and desire for the fruits of action destroy its serenity. That is why there should be no hankering after the fruits of action. At the same time, however, there should also be no diminishing of faith in the performance of action.
Lord Krishn sings in Chapter Two of Bhagavad Gita:
yogasthaḥ kuru karmāṇi sangam tyaktvā dhananjaya,
siddhyasiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā samatvam yoga ucyate
“The equipoise of mind that arises from profound absorption
in the performance of action after renouncing attachment
and being even-minded in respect of success and failure is,
O Dhananjay (Arjun), given the name of Yog.”
Resting in yog, renouncing infatuation for worldly ties, and looking at success and failure with an equal mind, Arjun should undertake action.
Renouncing attachment to all things, seen as well as unseen, and giving up all concern about achievement and non-achievement, we should only keep our eyes fixed on yog, the discipline that joins the individual Soul with the Supreme Spirit, and lead a life of strenuous action.
Yog is thus the state of culmination. But it is also the initial stage. At the outset our eyes should be fixed on the goal. It is for this reason that we should act keeping our eyes on yog.
Equanimity of mind is also named yog. When the mind cannot be shaken by failure and success, and nothing can destroy its evenness, it is said to be in the state of yog. It cannot then be moved by passion. Such a state of mind enables the Soul to identify himself with God.
This is another reason why this state is called Samattwa Yog, the discipline that makes the mind filled with equanimity. Since there is, in such a state of mind, complete renunciation of desire, it is also called the Way of Selfless Action (Nishkam Karm Yog). Since it requires us to perform action, it is also known as the Way of Action (Karm Yog) .Since it unites the Self with the Supreme Spirit, it is called yog.
It is necessary to keep in mind that both success and failure should be viewed with equanimity, that there should be no sense of attachment, and that there is no desire for the rewards of action. It is thus that the Way of Selfless Action and the Way of Knowledge are the same.
Lord Krishn adds:
“Take refuge in the way of equanimity (yog), Dhananjay,
because action with desire for the fruits thereof is far inferior
to the path of discrimination,
and they are indeed paupers
who are motivated by lust for rewards.”
Covetous action is distant from and inferior to the Path of Discrimination. Those who yearn after praise are wretched men, vile and devoid of judgement. Arjun is, therefore, urged to find shelter in the even-minded Way of Knowledge. Even if the Soul is rewarded with what he desires, he will have to assume a body in order to enjoy it.
So long as the process of coming and going, of birth and death, lasts, how can there be ultimate redemption?
A seeker should not desire even absolution, for absolution is total freedom from passions. Thinking over the acquisition of rewards if he gets any, his worship is interrupted. Why should he now continue any further with the task of meditation on God? He goes astray. So yog should be observed with a perfectly even mind.
Lord Krishn describes the Way of Knowledge (Gyan-Karm-Sanyas Yog) as also the Buddhi-or Sankhya Yog. He suggests to Arjun that he has attempted to enlighten him on the nature of “discrimination” in its relation to the Way of Knowledge. In truth, the only difference between the two is that of attitude. In the one, one has to proceed only after making a proper examination of the constructive and negative aspects of the undertaking, while in the other, too, equanimity has to be preserved. So it is also called the Way of Equanimity and Discrimination (Samattwa-Buddhi Yog). Because of this and because men possessed of desire for rewards are reduced to miserable wretchedness, Arjun is advised to find shelter in the Way of Knowledge.
Lord Krishn further sings:
“As the Soul endowed with a mind of equanimity
renounces both meritorious and evil deeds in this world itself
and the art of acting with equipoise is yog,
the endeavour to master the way of equanimity
of discrimination is Samattwa Yog.”
Stoic minds give up both the sacred and the sinful in this life itself. They adopt an attitude of detachment to both. So Arjun should strive for the equanimity of mind that is derived from the Way of Knowledge.
“yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam”….Yog is the skill of acting with equipoise.
Two attitudes towards action prevail in the world. If people do a work, they also wish for its fruits. If there are no rewards, they may not even like to work.
But Yogeshwar Krishn regards such action as bondage and states that worship of the one God is the only worthwhile action. The skill of acting in freedom from worldly customs is that we should perform action and do it with dedication, but at the same time with voluntary renunciation of any right to its fruits. However, it is but natural to be curious about what will become of these fruits.
But, of course, there is no doubt that selfless action is the right way of action. The whole energy of the desireless worshiper is then directed to his action. The human body is meant for worship of God. At the same time, though, one would like to know whether one has just always to go on acting or whether the performed action will also produce some result.
Lord Krishn adds:
“Renouncing all desire for the fruits of their action and
thus freed from the bondage of birth,
wise men who are skilled in
the way of equanimity and discrimination
achieve the pure, immortal state.”
Wise men endowed with the yog of discrimination renounce the fruits arising from their action and are liberated from the bondage of birth and death. They achieve the pure, immortal state of oneness with God.
Application of intellect is categorized here into three kinds. Firstly by the way of descrimination. This yields two results : Divine riches and ultimate bliss. Secondly by the way of selfless Action which produces only one consequence-liberation from dire terror of repeated birth and death by attaining immaculate indestructible oneness with god. These are the only two ways described for the yog.
The third type of application of intellect is done by the ignorants who are engaged in other endless modes of actions and who fall into the cycles of repeated birth and death according to their deeds.
Arjun’s vision is limited only to acquisition of sovereignty over the three worlds and even over gods. But even for the sake of these he is not inclined to war. At this point, Sri Krishn reveals to him the truth that a man can attain to the immortal state through selfless action. The Way of Selfless Action also provides access to the state of being which death cannot break into.
At what point, though, will a man be inclined to the performance of such action?
Lord Krishn adds:
“At the time when your mind has successfully made its way
across the swamp of attachment,
you will be capable of the renunciation
which is worth hearing of and which you have heard.”
The very moment Arjun’s mind, indeed the mind of any worshiper, has steered safely across the marsh of attachment, and when it is completely free from yearning for either children or riches or honour, all its worldly ties are broken. It will then be receptive, not only to what is proper for hearing, but also to the idea of renunciation, making it an integral part of its action according to what it has learnt.
At the present moment, however, Arjun is unprepared to listen to what is proper for hearing; and so the question of its influencing his conduct, of course, simply does not arise.
Lord Krishn concludes:
“When your mind, now shaken by the conflicting precepts of the Ved,
achieves a changeless and constant existence
within the being of Supreme Spirit,
you will then attain to immortal state
through profound meditation.”
When Arjun’s mind, at present riven through and through by the contradictory teachings of the Ved, achieves the state of steady contemplation of God, it will become changeless and constant, and then he will master the skill of even minded discrimination. He will then achieve the perfect equilibrium which is the ultimate state of immortality.
This is the crowning point of Yog.
The Ved undoubtedly instruct us; but as Lord Krishn points out, the contradictory injunctions of the Shruti confuse the mind. Precepts there are many, but it is unfortunate that people usually keep away from the knowledge that is fit for learning.
Arjun is told that he will reach the stage of immortality, the culmination of yog, when his agitated mind achieves constancy by meditation.
To know about this, we must know the nature of sages who exist in an exalted state of perfect spiritual bliss, and whose minds are immovable and at peace in the state of abstract meditation.
~ Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans ~
~ mrityunjayanand ~
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