Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 50
One who is firm in the understanding of Yoga, casts off here in this world both good and bad karma. So yoke yourself to Yoga. Yoga is skill in action.
Yoga is skill in action.
In this verse the word yoga refers specifically to Karma Yoga, the action-yoga of the last verse.
One who is firm in the understanding of Yoga.
When you understand action, you understand yoga. The magical language of Sanskrit gives us the necessary clues to reach this understanding: Yoga, which means ‘union’, implies action—something uniting with something else is an action. In the last verse we learned that this action is called Karma Yoga, ‘action union’, and that it will unite us with Truth, Absolute God.
Casts off here in this world both good and bad karma.
If we understand yoga, we can practice it and rid ourselves of our karma. We usually think of karma as ‘good’ and worth keeping if we like what it brings, and ‘bad’ if we don’t. But this verse suggests that both good and bad karma need casting off, so having any karma at all is not in our best interest.
After this life, it is our karma that throws us back into another body, and we pick up where we left off. This appeals to some, others not so much. If things have gone fairly well for you in this life, you may not be motivated to avoid having to come back and do it all over again. (But do you know what’s in your Pandora’s box?)
When you truly understand what yoga is, you will understand action. When you understand action, you can use it to end your karma. The end of karma is the beginning of liberation (moksha), freedom from the bondage of rebirth.
The superior action of Karma Yoga ends karma and leads to freedom.
Karma Yoga is something of a double entendre. ‘Action’ is the meaning of both karma and yoga. Karma derives from the root kri, ‘to do’, and yoga, derives from the root yuj, ‘to yoke together’. Both suggest action but point to different kinds of action.
Remember the previous verse where we learned about a superior kind of action that was called ‘yoga‘, and an and inferior kind of action that was called ‘ordinary’? Ordinary action brings about karma, whereas superior action does not, but ends karma. Hence the process is called Karma Yoga.
Karma – Action, root ‘to do’ = doing: ‘Inferior action’ requires the use of the will and accumulates karma.
Yoga – Action, root ‘coming together’ = uniting: ‘Superior action’ is natural and spontaneous and ends karma.
So yoke yourself to Yoga. The root of the word ‘yoke’ is the same root as ‘yoga‘, suggesting that we become united with uniting.
Yoga is skill in action. When we understand yoga, we understand that it is a skill. But we were told in previous verses that yoga is ‘indifference’. Indifference yields union. With repetition it becomes a skill.
Indifference + skill in action = Yoga.
Now that we understand this, as with any skill the next step is to develop it through practice. In my lineage, this is accomplished through a radical form of meditation in which ‘indifference’ is synonymous with ‘surrender’.
Surrendering ourselves to Absolute God, Absolute Truth, both indifference and the development of the skill of superior action take place automatically. We call this practice Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, or Surrender Meditation, a spontaneous experiential meditation in which the evolutionary force, kundalini, is activated naturally and safely, as the accumulation of karma diminishes and ultimately ends.
Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!),
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