The substance of the Way of Discrimination or Knowledge is only that if we fight according to our disposition after a careful appraisal of our capacity as well as of profit and loss, we shall attain to the state of ultimate bliss if we win, and to heavenly, godlike existence even if we are vanquished.
There is gain in both cases. If we do not act, others will speak disparagingly of us and look upon us as having retreated like cowards, and we shall be disgraced. So to forge ahead on the path of action with a careful understanding of one’s innate nature is itself the Way of Knowledge or Discernment.
We usually come across the misconception that no war needs to be fought on the Path of Knowledge. It is said that knowledge involves no action. We think in our vanity: “I am pure.” “I am enlightened.”- “I am a part of God himself.” Accepting it as an axiom that excellence be gets excellence, we sit idly. But this is not the Way of Knowledge according to Yogeshwar Krishn.
The “action” which has to be performed in following the Way of Knowledge is similar to that which has to be undertaken for the Way of Selfless Action. The only difference between the two ways is that of attitude.
The man who treads the Path of Knowledge acts with a proper evaluation of his situation and with self-reliance, whereas the man who takes to the Path of Selfless Action also acts, but with reliance upon the mercy of the adored God.
Action is a basic requirement of both the ways and in each of them it is the same, although it has to be done in two different ways. The attitudes behind the action in the two ways are different.
So Lord Krishn asks Arjun to listen to him while he speaks of the Way of Selfless Action, armed with which he can effectively destroy the bonds of action and its consequence. Instead of dwelling upon the nature of action, he describes its characteristic traits.
Lord Krishn sings:
pratyavāyo na vidyate,
svalpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt
“Since selfless action neither wears out the seed
from which it sprang nor has any adverse consequence,
even a partial observance of this dharm liberates one
from the dire terror of repeated birth and death”.
In the performance of action without coveting the fruits there of, the initial impulse or the seed is not destroyed. It also does not give rise to any evil. So selfless action, even though done in small measures, frees us from the great fear represented by birth and death.
That necessitates reflecting over the nature of such action and walking at least a few steps along its path. Worshipers who have renounced the vanity of earthly possessions have trodden this path, but so can those who lead the life of householders.
Lord Krishn tells Arjun to just sow the seed, for the seed is never destroyed. There is no power in nature, no weapon, which can destroy it. The material world can only cover it up momentarily and hide it for a while, but it cannot wipe out the initial inspiration, the seed, of the act of spiritual accomplishment.
According to Lord Krishn, even the gravest of sinners can doubtlessly cross over by the ark of knowledge. He means exactly this when he says that if the seed of selfless action is just planted, it is imperishable. It does not even have any adverse outcome in so much as it does not abandon us midway after showing us how we can progress towards spiritual attainment. Even if we give it up, it works doggedly on for our final liberation.
This is why selfless action, even in a small measure, provides freedom from the great dread of birth and death. Once planted, even after repeated birth, the seed of such ordained action takes us to the realization of God and to emancipation alike from pleasure and from pain.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~