2 According to the wise, the abandonment of desire-motivated actions is called renunciation, and the abandonment of the results of actions is called abandonment.
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Some men of wisdom say that action itself is to be abandoned and bodes evil, and others say that acts of sacrifice, giving and austerities are not to be abandoned. Now hear My conclusion concerning abandonment, Best of Bharatas. There are three kinds.
- Austerities (tapas) – melting away impurities.
- Evil – sinful, faulty, erroneous, dangerous.
- Sinful – acts that are contrary to the Truth of what You really are.
- Best of the Bharatas – best seeker of Knowledge of Truth.
“Some men of wisdom say that action itself is to be abandoned”
Example: Some ‘men of wisdom’ teach static meditation — to meditate, you must not move a muscle or have a thought in your mind.
Acts of sacrifice, austerity (tapas) and giving should not be abandoned but practiced. They are the purifiers of those who are wise. However, these actions are to be performed with abandonment of attachment to their results. This is my definite conclusion.
Abandonment is understood to mean non-attachment to the outcomes of actions. Abandonment can be practiced in life in general, but it is required for entering into Surrender Meditation. Attachments are automatically abandoned the minute you turn everything over to Absolute God in meditation, even though they may resurface afterward. This is self evident, for one is not truly surrendered if there are strings attached. By practicing this meditation, attachments naturally fade away easily and painlessly.
Three Forms of Abandonment
Acts of sacrifice, austerity and giving however, are not to be abandoned, but are meant to be done. They are forms of Abandonment because one abandons consideration of personal gain with their performance. When this is observed in meditation it is called ‘sacrifice’.
Sacrifice – yajña. The wise know that sacrifice, austerity (tapas) and giving are not only practices for successful living, but are part and parcel of surrender yoga sadhana as well, for they are present in the surrender of oneself to Absolute God/Truth. Also, for one who understands their meaning, they purify the body, feelings and mind.
Sacrifice also means worship, devotion and offering — offering the surrender of oneself to Absolute God in meditation. The Sanskrit syllables of ‘sacrifice’ give us clues: ya, (who) + jña, (knows). “One who knows,” suggests that there is more to be known than what is apparent.
Austerity – tapas. Tapas means ‘to burn, warm or melt’, and refers to a higher form of purification that is carried out by shakti, prana and kundalini. The instigating force of nature (shakti) kicks off the activities of the Life Force in the body (prana), with the evolutionary force (kundalini) calling the shots.
Giving – dana, means ‘the act of giving’, and also, ‘communion, imparting, and teaching’. When you surrender something to the Divine, you are giving. For this reason, giving is also practiced in the world by selflessly giving to the guru and the poor.
The key to these three practices bringing about purification is found in the “abandonment of attachment to their results.” Once understood, this is easier than it may seem, and a joy to practice.
Action occurs. Results happen.
‘Abandonment’ means that you are not attached to these results of action.
Sacrifice, giving and austerities (tapas) refer to something you have that you give, or sacrifice, to God — you part with what you possess in favor of Absolute God. This generates tapas, the fire (energy) of purification, which is not abandoned, but welcomed.
Desires are inevitable. They are not the culprit.
The culprit is your attachment to them.
Another way to see this is to perform these prescribed actions with abandon. In these, you can act with abandon. If you do this, you won’t give a hoot about what you’re going to get out of it, and your sacrifices, austerities and gifts will be the very best: sattvic (smooth, easy-going and pleasant).
Renunciation of enjoined actions is improper. Abandoning such actions through delusion is said to be tamasic.
- Tamasic – dark, unenlightened, unintelligent, and contrary to the Truth of You.
- Enjoined action – required actions, i.e., spiritual practices such as sacrifice, giving and austerities in everyday life, and surrender of oneself (body, mind and feelings) in meditation
One who abandons action merely because it is difficult, or because of fear of pain or discomfort, performs rajasic abandonment. One will not obtain results from this kind of abandonment.
- Rajasic is passionate, intense, fast.
Prescribed action properly performed while relinquishing attachment to its fruits, is considered to be sattvic.
- Sattvaic actions are easy, smooth, pleasant, mild, and in alignment with Absolute God/Truth and the Real You.
The wise abandoner endowed with sattva, his doubts concerning action having been cut away, neither dislikes disagreeable action nor seeks agreeable action.
It is indeed impossible for embodied beings to abandon actions entirely. So one who abandons the fruits of action, is called an abandoner.
Once you grasp the message, you will practice surrender to Absolute God with abandon, and be done with acting out of self-interest.
Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),