14 – 15
The seat of action, the agent, the instrument, the many different kinds of actions, and the fifth, the will. No matter what action one undertakes with body, speech or mind, whether usual or unusual, these are the five components of action.
“Whether usual or unusual.” Usual or unusual also means ‘proper’ or ‘improper’. He is saying that what He is teaching here applies to action, regardless of whether an act is right or wrong, proper or improper, or understood for what it is or not. In other words, this is solely about ACTION itself and its five constituents.
“With body, speech or mind” reminds us that action takes place with the mind, the body, and the emotions and speech.
The Five Components of Action
- The seat of action (adhiṣhṭhāna, ‘standing at hand’) – the origin or starting point, i.e., where the action is coming from and what prompts it.
- The agent of action – the performer of the action.
- The instrument of action – is the means of action, i.e., the body, senses and mind.
- The action – the action itself, which is of many and various kinds.
- The will – the faculty by which an action is determined and initiatiated.
You are constantly exercising your power every moment, because you are making choices every moment. This is precisely why you don’t see yourself as having power, and why you are constantly trying to get it. But this is a losing battle because you already have it, and you already use it.
By using your power of choice to make choices, you are “choosing to choose.” This is called ‘will’. Will leads to bondage and compulsory returns (rebirths) where you have another chance to get it right, but will have no control over where you’re going to land: “desirable, undesirable or mixed.“
When you use your power of choice to “choose not to choose,” this is called ‘surrender’. When you surrender yourself to God (by any name) you are worshipping God/Truth. Surrender is also called ‘sacrifice’ — you are the offering, the human sacrifice.
You always get what you surrender to.
In Surrender Meditation, you choose not to choose, but to leave everything — body, mind and feelings — to Absolute God/Truth. Having made this choice, your meditation is then directed by God/Truth for your benefit, and the choosing is over for the duration of your meditation period.
When things happen in meditation, such as movements of the body, mind or feelings, at first you have to ‘stand on faith’ that this activity was not of your doing. You take it on faith because, at first, it will feel like it is you doing everything. If you persist with this meditation, it will ultimately lead you to the highest enlightenment: the realization that WHAT you truly are does nothing and never has.
This being the case, he who, due to small intellect, looks upon himself as the Agent does not truly see, and realizes nothing.
In this verse, Lord Krishna is saying that once you understand what action is, and what you really are, you will no longer see yourself as a doer (agent).
He is clarifying the apparent contradictions of non-doing, i.e., “How can I do the right thing without being a doer?” “How can I have a meditation practice and somehow manage not to experience myself as the one doing it?” Etc. But all action is, is the gunas of Nature interacting.
All action occurs in Nature. You are not Nature.
Keep in mind that the real Self is ‘Absolute’, and, as we learned earlier in the Gita, the Absolute is The Eternal Non-Doer. Beings see themselves as performing actions, but all action is performed by the gunas of Nature. The Real You never does anything, and never has. The real Agent then, is the gunas.
Even though you perform action, it is really the gunas that are the cause of it.
Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),