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If you wanna get to heaven let me tell you what to do, you gotta grease your feet in mutton stew, slide right over that slippery sand, and oooooze over to the Promised Land. – Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:51

This little verse is telling us that all the knowledge in the world is not going to get us to the Promised Land. We’re going to have to ooooze over — something has to happen, some action has to take place. This next verse of the Gita, along with the verses leading up to it, gives us clues as to what this action is.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 51

Those who are firm in this understanding (of action-yoga), the wise who have abandoned the fruits of actions, are freed from the bondage of rebirth and reach the end of sorrows.

“The wise who have abandoned the fruits of actions”
The ‘wise’ do not act for the purpose of obtaining the results of an action. This does not say that there is no action, and it does not say that there are no fruits produced by action (karmajam). There will be actions and actions naturally produce results, but the wise person does not act with this intent. This is, in fact, the meaning of ‘wise’. Such a person understands action and yoga.  

Wise
Not acting for the purpose of obtaining the results.

Acting in order to achieve certain results is the definition of ‘technique’. We ‘wise’ folks do not apply techniques, and the payoff for this is going to be that we are . . .

Freed from the bondage of rebirth and reach the end of sorrows.”
That sounds like a pretty good result for not getting caught up in results! Our karma is over, we won’t have to come back here again, and all our sorrows and sufferings go away. So let’s make sure we get “firm in this understanding”.

The Highest Action

The superior action mentioned in previous verses has been explained. It is through action, not just knowledge, and not the suppression of action, but action done without any assumption of being the cause of it, or having any investment in anything that might result from it, that we reach freedom, liberation and the end of sorrows. This is not ordinary action, but the superior action of Karma Yoga (action-union). Some of you will recognize this as describing Surrender Meditation.

Superior Action
Action that takes place through indifference to actions and their effects (not taking the credit or blame for actions or their results) while not resisting action.

Yoga is indifference. Exercising our ability to detach ourselves from actions leads to being unattached to the outcomes of actions. By being indifferent to actions and their outcomes while not resisting actions that arise, we detach ourselves from being identified as the doers of actions. But this is for the meditation room, not everyday life. 

This practice is called Karma Yoga, and other names as well, such as Kriya Yoga, Sahaja Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. These Sanskrit terms suggest action in the context of union (yoga), so it has to be confined to Yoga practice for many years before it can become the mode of everyday life. Why is this?

Ordinary action belongs in ordinary life, and superior action belongs in superior circumstances. We must become able to know the difference between ‘ordinary action’ and ‘superior action’ through our own personal experience in the sanctuary of the meditation room where there is minimal confusion and distraction, and where our errors do not affect others. We are babes in the woods with superior action, and we have to catch up before it can naturally become predominant. This is a long journey, but well rewarded all along the way.

Through this practice we become indifferent to the fruits of actions, which, according to this verse, is the key to freedom, liberation from rebirth and the end of sorrows. We become indifferent to the ‘fruits’ of action, the effects, and are no longer identified with being the cause of action even when fully engaged in action, so we naturally become free of attachment to the outcomes of actions. In this way, indifference, or surrender to the Absolute, becomes a skill known as Yoga.

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma


TERMS OF USE AND SHARING:

This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.

 

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If you have an interest in freedom, you have only to be rid of your karma – Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2: 50

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 yogaKarma 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!),
Durga Ma


TERMS OF USE AND SHARING:

This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.

 

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Understanding Karma Yoga -Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2: 49

Skillful action requires both knowledge and practice. If you want to do something well, you need to know your subject…then you need to practice it to become skillful.  

49
Indeed, ordinary action is by far inferior to Karma Yoga, Winner of Wealth, so seek refuge in Knowledge Yoga. Those whose motives are for the fruits of action, are to be pitied.

Alternate translation:
Action-yoga (Karma Yoga) is necessary to become a ‘winner of wealth’, but first one must have knowledge of what Karma Yoga is. What it isn’t, is self-motivated action. Those whose actions are motivated by the results of actions are unhappy and unfortunate.

This verse calls our attention to two types of action: ordinary action and Karma Yoga (action-yoga), known in other texts as the Highest Action. We learned in the last verse that Karma Yoga refers to action that takes place when one is “fully occupied with union”. We are to understand that this Action Yoga is superior to the ordinary garden variety action of every-day life, and further, that, once knowing it, we would feel compassion for those who are limited to the ‘inferior’ kind.

This verse recalls earlier verses on the Yoga of Knowledge where the teachings on action began. This was where we were enlightened as to the truth about ‘action’ and our true nature as divine, non-physical individuals whose natural state is one of non-doership. It is imperative that we at least know about this in order to understand the truth about action, for it is necessary to understand the truth about action to understand Yoga. 

We are all familiar with ‘ordinary action’. We are engaged in this kind of action all the time. But the Yoga of Action, Karma Yoga, is not common but superior. So we are being advised to ‘take refuge’ in the Yoga of Knowledge from earlier verses to properly understand and practice Karma Yoga, lest we be one of . . .

Those whose motives are for the fruits of action. Such persons, which surely make up nearly all of humanity, are to be pitied.

Clearly, acting for the purpose of getting desirable results is being frowned upon. But equally clearly, there is something of much greater value being suggested here, so it is worthy of our attention. Apparently the Yoga of Action is where we’ll find the gold (after all, Krishna does call Arjuna “Winner of Wealth”).

Once we understand the truth about action and find ourselves fully occupied in union as per the last verse, we will be congratulating ourselves on our good fortune and wanting to shout it from the roof-tops. But alas, as you have surely gathered by now, such understanding does not come readily, but requires a few things most people are going to be reluctant, if not completely unwilling, to accept, and are more likely to string us up by our toes than thank us. So we remain silent. Or enigmatic.

So if you have just joined us, and are interested in sleuthing out the gold, you will want to investigate this chapter up to this point, and continue on from here. Welcome to our little band of eager seekers!

Namaste (I bow to the Real You),
Durga Ma


TERMS OF USE AND SHARING:

This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.