The Truth about Action, Inaction, and Yoga – Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2: 47

All action occurs in nature, but you are not nature. Trick question: If what you are is not what causes actions, how can you be responsible for your actions? 

The Yoga of Action
(Karma Yoga) 

Your sphere of action is action itself, not its effects. Never consider yourself to be the cause of action or its effects, or allow effects of action be your motive for action. And never allow yourself to become attached to inaction.

Based on the Sanskrit, I count seven rules, or principles, of action stated in this one verse:

  1. Action is your ‘sphere of action’ (what you are entitled to). You are ‘connected with action’ (karmani) in this way only.
  2. Yoga‘ is action. So your sphere of action is Yoga.
  3. The effects of action are not yours. (Actions are none of your business, but are the business of Yoga.)
  4. You are not the cause of action.
  5. You do not produce the effects of action (action does that).
  6. Do not allow yourself to be motivated to act based on the effects of action.
  7. Do not suppose that these rules mean that you should resist action.

Action happens. It happens, as we learned in the last two verses, because of the interactions of the modes, or qualities, of nature (the three gunas). It is therefore inconsistent with the way things really are (dharma) to consider yourself to be the cause of actions, or a creator of the effects of actions, or to act based on what you expect the outcome of an action will be. It is the nature of nature to move, so trying to stop it is foolish because it is impossible. Action happens. Period.

Your sphere of action is action itself, not its effects. Actions will therefore happen without you. You don’t do anything in the first place. If you try to make something happen and it happens, you will fool yourself into believing that this was you doing something, you making something happen, when in truth, it was just nature doing her thing.

And never allow yourself to become attached to inaction. The same is true of trying to stop something from happening. Trying to stop something from happening is doing something. Trying to not do anything is doing something. You are still attempting to make yourself the actor by trying to stop action from happening. This is the core of the ‘ego’ (ahamkara, ‘I-doer’), and a waste of time.

This verse reveals the scope of the Bhagavad Gita as
a text on Yoga, 
a manual for achieving union with God,
eternal happiness, 
and liberation from rebirth.


The Science of Action

This verse explains Surrender Meditation, how it is practiced, and how it works to free you from sorrows, karma, bondage, and deliver you into the joy of union, Yoga.

Yoga is the science of action. It has roots so old they extend beyond known history into many, many thousands of years ago. The Gita was originally very short and to the point, and later expanded upon to give us what we call the Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God, which was later included into the heart and soul of the Mahabharata, the longest and oldest epic poem ever written. While the Gita is understandable as a text for understanding the nature of life and how to live it well, at its deepest level it is a complete text on achieving Yoga. Its origins are consistent with the origins of authentic meditation, or samadhi, and is pertinent to those who practice it.

Regarding Surrender Meditation

Shakti instigates all action. When you are surrendered to Absolute God in your meditation room, you accept what God brings. You are not invested in what that is — whether actions happen or not, whether you get any certain results or not. Consequently, Shakti is free to give you exactly what you need at any given moment.

You must not try to control the meditation or Shakti cannot work for you. Trying to remain perfectly still and inactive is an attempted action that will stop Shakti in Her tracks. Let go of your preconceived ideas about meditation and surrender to Her. She is God presenting as Divine Energy for your good.

One of the names of this practice is Karma Yoga, ‘the act of uniting with Absolute God’. Trying to make something happen or stop something from happening will prevent this unification (yoga, ‘union’).

Know this, but do not worry about it. Know that you surrender yourself as best you can, and that your surrender will increase over time, that all is well, and no progress is ever lost.

Answer to the Trick Question: You are not.
What you really are does nothing. It is only the ‘you’ that you believe yourself to be that believes it acts and assumes responsibility for actions and their effects (accumulates the karma that holds you in bondage). The Real You knows better. The Real You has always been free and in joy.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma


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5 thoughts on “The Truth about Action, Inaction, and Yoga – Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2: 47

    1. Dear Galen,

      I was thinking about your questions yesterday. After writing my response it occurred to me that I should have defined ‘nature’.

      In Sanskrit, the word is prakriti. There is no single word that can be a clear synonym for prakriti, so we have attached a word that is really the only one we have in English that comes close. Prakriti, nature, is the Divine Other, the divine other-than-you, anything you can be conscious of. So obviously, you cannot be prakriti, nature, which is what acts. The Real You does not:

      “I am the eternal witness, ruler of the city whose gates are nine” — Bhagavad Gita


    2. It is always good cultivate the field of enlightenment by contemplating these teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. Yes, Surrender Meditation can certainly yield it in short order through direct experience in meditation, but there are many paths that can take you to a direct experience of the Truth of what you really are. I do Surrender Meditation because I want to go all the way, and because this is my path, my writings are going to reflect this.

      Do you know about Enlightenment Intensives? There are people in CA who do them. Do a search for them and look for enlightenment masters who are doing them according to the latest manual by Charles Berner, who developed them and perfected them over a period of many decades. You want a “What” Intensive to get the real thing.


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