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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.

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Yoga and Freedom -Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 2: Vs 39

Taking into account everything that can be known and what to do with it. 

39 
What I have imparted to you is the wisdom of Sankhya. Now hear the wisdom of Yoga, by which you can free yourself from the bondage of karma. 

“Sankhya”, one of the major philosophical schools of India, is a reference to the teachings of previous verses in this chapter. The word sankhya means ‘taking into account’. Sankhya philosophy takes into account everything that can be known. It is considered to be a dualistic philosophy in that it deals with opposites in the manner we have been discussing.

“Yoga”, ‘the act of uniting’, takes us beyond what Sankhya has taught us, to putting this knowledge into action. The act of uniting (yoga) requires more than one, otherwise what would be uniting with what? Yoga is a natural partner to Sankhya.

“the bondage of karma” refers to the entrapment produced by the union of ignorance with action. Believing that ‘I do’, the principle of cause and effect is put into play, and the ‘I’ automatically becomes trapped by responsibility for the action, be it good or bad.

“karma” means ‘action’. The root of the word karmakri, meaning ‘to do’, is the basis of the ignorance of the Truth of Self as the eternal non-doer.

Alternate Translations:

• Now that you have this knowledge, taking it together with the understanding of action, you can avoid the bondage of action (karma).

• This wisdom has been presented to you from the standpoint of Jnana Yoga (Knowledge Yoga). Now hear it presented as Karma Yoga (Action Yoga) by which you will be able to throw off the shackles of karma.

• I have explained to you the spiritual knowledge regarding the nature of the soul. Now listen to the science of action, which can completely release you from the bondage of cause and effect.

Previously, we discussed pairs of opposites and bringing them into union. Knowledge, what you think or know, and action, things that happen and things you do, are also opposites. In this verse we are presented with the idea of bringing knowledge and action together as a unit: Sankhya (wisdom-knowledge) and Yoga (the act of union) are one.

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The science of Yoga is the science of action. The word yoga means ‘union’ and consequently also means ‘action’, for one thing uniting with another is an action.

It is one thing to equalize a pair of opposites, but it is quite another thing to bring them together as a single unit. The process of uniting the solar and lunar energies in the body is hatha yoga (sun-moon union). When this is accomplished, this unit takes on the function of furthering one’s evolution and is called kundalini.

Yes, evolution is going on all the time, but it is taking us thousands of lifetimes to complete. Through the natural practice of Yoga, we stand a chance of reaching raja yoga and getting closer to the freedom and eternal (rather than temporal) happiness that we know awaits us.

Hatha Yoga begins after enough sadhana (practice) has been successfully accomplished to get us there, and will take up nearly all of our sadhana from that point on. Then, sun-moon union having been accomplished and the process advanced sufficiently, we move into raja yoga, ‘royal union’, uniting with God, Truth, the Absolute (whatever your word is for That).

This process doesn’t have to be thought of as religious or spiritual. It is what it is: evolution. We tend to think of all this as spiritual because we need a name for it that expresses an experience that we do not know how to talk about. And because we can’t put it in a test tube and prove it. We have no words for it in English. Some try to avoid the word God with its implication of some deity somewhere in the cosmos directing our lives, and try using words like Divine, or Truth. But whatever you like to call It, think of it as Absolute, for it is absolute. Even the relative is absolute.

Everything is Absolutely Relative

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!)
Durga Ma
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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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Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 15

When the evolutionary force kundalini completes the transformation of the body, Death loses it power. 

15 Considering them common, Arjuna, one who does not waver on account of these and remains resolute, is ready for immortality. 

“these” refers to opposites as mentioned in verse 14:  

It is perception by the senses that produces the sensations of heat and cold, pleasantness and pain. These appear and disappear and are impermanent, so have patience, Arjuna.”

The keyword in verse 15 is ‘ready’. The ultimate outcome is liberation and immortality. In the Bible and other mystical texts of the East, this reference to immortality is literal — the corruptible becomes incorruptible; the yogi cheats death; etc.

When this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? — 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

Two conditions then, are necessary for this transformation: resolute determination, and indifference to opposites.

When truly indifferent to opposites, such as heat and cold, and pleasure and pain, one is in a state in which opposites have been neutralized through union (yoga). The instant prana and apana* unite within the body, opposition vanishes and the Life Energy takes on an evolutionary function (kundalini), and though this may only last for a moment, in that moment there is absolute indifference to opposites. Attractions and aversions cannot exist where there are no likes or dislikes, and likes and dislikes cannot exist in the complete satisfaction and fulfillment of this moment of union. Thus begins the work of neutralizing the polarized pull of the very things that support ignorance (Dhritarashthra): the desires of the mind (the sons of Dhritarashthra).

* 'prana and apana': The Life Energy moving upward that warms the body is called prana; moving downward and cooling the body it is called apana. When these opposing functions of the Life Energy collide, they are united as one, and the evolutionary force, kundalini, becomes active within the body. This is Yoga ('union').

Self-reference:

Desires of the mind (the sons of Dhritarashthra) appear as things you like as opposed to things you do not like, and visa versa—opposites. Begin by simply noticing these when they arise.

Ignorance refers to non-enlightenment. In the West, this is called ‘ego’, but the Sanskrit word (ahamkara) suggests that what this ‘ego’ is, is the sense of yourself as ‘doing’. This in turn suggests that what you really are is something other than what does things, and begs the question: “What am I?” Begin contemplating this question.

Enlightenment happens when you know through direct experience that what you really are does nothing. This unfolds by degrees.

All activities of the mind having vanished, I sit happily as the ruler within the city whose gates are nine [the body], not acting at all, nor causing action. — Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, ch 5, vs 13

Sensible Spiritual

As a sadhika, I lived in the woods on very little of anything in order to find the time and solitude to practice yoga full time. I had no frills like air-conditioning and often no heat in winter, so I bore up under a great deal of discomfort. I told myself that I was cultivating dispassion and indifference to heat and cold, and pleasure and pain. What was really happening was that I was so miserable, and it took so much will to endure this misery, that I was not only holding myself back, I was getting over-exposed without realizing it. This resulted in the body becoming even more sensitive to heat and cold than it was in the beginning, and I have had to deal with this every day of my life since that time. It was a kind of ‘mortification of the flesh’ that I didn’t realize I was ‘doing’. And it didn’t work. It doesn’t work. It won’t work.

Scriptural injunction insists that we take proper care of the body so that it is fit for sadhana, not beaten down. So now, instead of tents, cars, vacant houses, or huts with quarter-inch cracks between the boards, I live in a simple house with AC and heat, and I do not put up with tolerating anything any more, if I can help it. That’s full circle from an ordinary life, to a determined and devoted spiritual life, and back to where I started from, only now I live a devoted sensible-spiritual life.

Indifference to opposites must come naturally and spontaneously as a result of surrender to God/Truth. You cannot make it happen. If you try, you will pay. The trick is to monitor your own motives as you live sensibly spiritually: Are you taking care of your body for sadhana? or are you using this principle as an excuse for seeking pleasure? And then, when you make a mistake (you will), you must ignore the temptation to put yourself down, forgive yourself, and move on.

I bow to the Divine One that you really are,
Durga Ma

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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.