Content in the performance of one’s own innate kind of action, one attains success. Now hear now how one who is contented in his own innate kind of action finds perfection:
One might be successful at many things in a lifetime, but Lord Krishna is saying that the thing that you are naturally inclined to do, have a natural ability or talent and liking for, will bring you true success and happiness. You may do other things well, and even enjoy them, but the real pay-off comes as a result of doing what is consistent with your innate ability. He has given us four broad categories that cover everything imaginable, so that we have something to go by to make this determination for ourselves (verses 40-44).
You may know people who are successful and are still not satisfied. Often such a person will go after making more money in order to try to satisfy this gaping hole, but it never really works. Or they may be happy with a particular success but unhappy in love, or other things. So this person’s success is not complete in the way it is meant in this verse.
- Successful (sansiddhi) – to gain happiness, success, perfection and special powers.
When a person performs his own kind of action, he worships That from which all beings come forth, and attains success. Better one’s own dharma done poorly than the dharma of another done well. Performing action according to one’s own innate nature, one is faultless.
By focusing your efforts on your own innate kind of action in both career and spiritual practice, you will achieve success and happiness and accrue no karmic debt. At the same time you will be reverencing “that from whom all beings have their source.” By sticking to your own dharma in what you do in life, you can’t go wrong, no matter how it may seem otherwise.
In some cases a person’s dharma may change later in life. Such exceptions show up in the Mahabharata, an epic poem that includes this Gita.
- One’s own dharma – one’s own inherent kind of action.
This represents your secondary life purpose. The first is to find God/Truth and live by That, according to That, and sync yourself and your life with That. This comes quite naturally if you live and work according to your own personal dharma. By doing so, you align with That which is your Source.
It is better to perform one’s own dharma poorly, than to perform someone else’s well.
By following your own kind of action, your own dharma, not only will you live a happy and successful life, but the actions you perform that bring you that success, amounts to worship of God/Truth.
One should not abandon one’s inherent kind of action, even if it be deficient. Indeed, all undertakings are as prone to error as fire is to smoke.
He is saying not to worry about making mistakes, just do it. If you are inclined to indulge in the self-talk of unworthiness or failure, let it go. It is just an obstacle like any other obstacle you would otherwise not hesitate to ignore or break through.
- Perfection (sansiddhi) – to gain success, perfection and special powers … in that order.
With intelligence detached, self-won indifference everywhere at all times, actionless through sanyasa, one attains the Highest Perfection.
Carrying out your own personal dharma, you are free of disturbances caused by attachments. When the ability of the mind to understand and differentiate (buddhi) is free of such disturbances it is devoid of desire. This state is harmonious with the ‘indifference’ of surrender, sanyasa, the state of non-willful action by which one attains the Highest Perfection.
- Sanyasa – renunciation; the renunciation of action done for the purpose of fulfilling desires; surrender to Absolute God.
- Non-willful action – action that occurs as a result of the ‘indifference’ of sanyasa. Such action accrues no karma. It is called ‘inaction’, even though action occurs.
Now that we know what to do, and we do it, we naturally become free of attachment, which you may remember is the real obstacle, not the desires themselves. When we are confident in our aim, we are not so easily prone to being affected by attachments and desires. We have experienced things going well. Willfully pushing forward or holding back is not for us. Thus is our daily life led in harmony with our natural dharma, the very thing that leads us to sanyasa, the natural relinquishment of the the state of “I do”.
“Actionless through sanyasa” – the state of non-doership brought about through the practice of surrender to Absolute God/Truth in meditation, is a state of inaction, regardless of what may be going on. It is called renunciation (sanyasa) because one either realizes, or goes on faith, that he is not the doer of action. This is the meaning of ‘surrender’.
Our success is unaffected by attachments, so the mind is void of desires. This ‘indifference’ is the actionless state of sanyasa (renunciation, surrender to God), by which one attains the Highest Perfection. Now that we have attained success, we can look forward to Perfection and Godhood.
When you follow your dharma, attachments quit and the mind becomes free of desires — they are no longer needed when your have what you want. Then you can live in harmony with the Real You and be happy.
Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),