He is a superior man who exerts inner (rather than external) control over his senses, so that his mind is freed from passions, and who does his duty in a state of total desirelessness. Now, although we have known that work has to be done, the difficulty is that we do not yet understand the precise nature of this work.We often discuss about “Karma” but fail to understand what in fact this is in views of Sri Krishn which is key preaching of Gita.
Sri Krishn says in Bhagavad Gita:
niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyāyo hy akarmaṇaḥ,
śarīrayātrā’pi ca te na prasidhyed akarmaṇaḥ
“You ought to do your prescribed action
as enjoined by scripture,
for doing work is better than not doing any,
and in the absence of it
even the journey of your body may not be completed.”
Arjun is prompted to do prescribed action-the ordained task – which is distinct from all other kinds of work. Performance of this action is preferable to inaction, because if we do it and traverse even a small part of our way, it can rescue us from great fear of birth and death. Performance of one’s spiritual duty – the ordained action – is, therefore, the better course. By not doing it we cannot even complete journey of our Soul through different bodies.
This journey is usually interpreted as “sustenance of the physical body.”
But what kind of sustenance is this?
Are we a physical body?
This Soul, the embodied Self, that we know by the name of Purush-what else has he been doing except making his physical journey through endless lives?
When clothes are worn out, we change them and put on new ones. Just so, this whole world, from lowest creatures to most highly evolved, from Brahma to its most distant limits, is mutable. Through births, low and high, this Soul has been making his physical journey since an unknown beginning.
Action is something that completes this journey. If there is yet to be another birth, the journey is still incomplete. The seeker is still on his way, traveling through bodies. A journey is complete only when the destination is reached.
After being dissolved in God, Self does not have to travel any further through physical births. The chain of the Self’s rejection of old bodies and assumption of new ones is now broken.
So action is something that frees the Self, the Purush, from the necessity of journeying through bodies.
Sri Krishn tells Arjun in the sixteenth verse of Chapter 4:
“By this action you shall be freed from the evil that binds the world.”
So action, as used in the Gita, is something that liberates from the bondage of world.
However,the question of what this ordained action is still remains unresolved. Sri Krishn says in Chapter three of Bhagavad Gita:
yajñārthāt karmaṇo’nyatra loko’yam karmabhandhanaḥ,
tadartham karma kaunteya muktasangaḥ samācara
“Since the conduct of yagya is the only action
and all other business in which people are engaged are only
forms of worldly bondage,
O son of Kunti,
be unattached and do your duty to God well.’’
Contemplation of God is the only real action,the true Karma. That conduct is action which enables the mind to concentrate on God. It is a prescribed act and, according to Sri Krishn, tasks other than this are only forms of worldly bondage. Anything other than performance of this yagya is a form of slavery rather than action.
It is important to remind ourselves once more of Sri Krishn’s injunction to Arjun that he shall be freed from evils of this world only by doing the one real work. The accomplishment of this work, of yagya, is action; and Arjun is urged to do it well in a spirit of detachment. It cannot be performed without disinterest in the world and its objects.
Before we proceed, let us recall what Sri Krishn has said of another aspect of action: that it is a prescribed ordained conduct and that what is usually done in its name is not true action.
The term “action” was first used in Chapter 2 in Gita.Its characteristic traits as well as the precautions needed for it were pointed out. But the nature of this action has remained unspecified. In Chapter 3,Sri Krishn has so far said that no one can live without action.Since man lives in nature, he must act.
Nevertheless there are people who restrain their sense organs by use of force, but whose minds are still occupied with objects of the senses. Such people are arrogant and their efforts are vain.
So Arjun is told to restrain his senses to perform the ordained action. But the question yet remains: what action should he perform? He is told that the accomplishment of yagya is action.But according to Sri Krishn, they simply are not what he means by action. Whatever other than yagya is done is only a form of worldly bondage, not true action.The performance of yagya is the only real action..
True that yagya is action; but what is yagya?
A proper understanding of this definition of action is the key to our comprehension of the Gita. All men are engaged in some work or the other, but that is different from true action. Some of them do farming, while others are engaged in trade and commerce. Some hold positions of power, while others; are just servants. Some profess that they are intellectuals, while others earn their living by manual labour. Some take up social service, while others serve the country. And for all these activities people have also invented contexts of selfishness and selflessness.
But according to Sri Krishn, they simply are not what he means by action. Whatever other than yagya is done is only a form of worldly bondage, not true action.
Nature and form of Yagya, the deed of accomplishing which is ordained action defined as “Karma”…..can be seen here, the link of which is:
~ Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans ~
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