Knowledge & Action – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 12, Vs 12

 

Knowledge & Action

The Bhagavad Gita appears in the story of the Mahabharata. It is a conversation between Lord Krishna and his devotee and childhood friend, Arjuna. Listening in, we receive the teachings of Lord Krishna as he relates them to Arjuna.

The subject of this chapter is Devotion.

This post addresses correct knowledge, practice, meditation, abandoning action, peace, and the order of their importance. 


12
Knowledge is superior to practice. Meditation is superior to knowledge. The abandonment of the fruit of action is superior to meditation. From abandonment, peace ensues.

Alternate Translation:
Knowledge is superior to practice. Meditation is superior to knowledge. Abandonment of the results of action in meditation is superior to the meditation itself, and peace comes as a result.

Correct knowledge is superior to the discipline of using the will to repeat the same practices the same way over and over again. The Sanskrit for ‘repeated practices’ means ‘the act of disciplined reduplication’. While we may use this tactic to get ourselves into the meditation room in the beginning, once real meditation has begun, it has served it purpose and is no longer needed, so it is naturally abandoned.

In Natural Surrender Meditation, the idea of ‘discipline’ has a different meaning: “Go ahead anyway.” Continue no matter what you think about what happens or doesn’t happen in your meditation.

Correct knowledge comes before meditation, for it is necessary in order to know how to meditate correctly and to succeed. Correctly practiced, meditation is superior to the knowledge of it. It is superior because it is experiential, proves the knowledge, and transforms and purifies the meditator, which knowledge alone cannot do.

Also, it is meditation that has provided this knowledge in the first place: Your guru gives you knowledge passed down through the lineage, you study the works of those who have already succeeded as found in the shastras (scriptures), and you experience the truth of these teachings for yourself in your meditation. Knowledge is static, but meditation changes the meditator and turns him or her into a superior being, a saint or a god.

The abandonment of the fruits of action is superior to meditation because true meditation relies on this. This describes Surrender Meditation. Meditation done without this abandonment, is not real meditation. By letting go of attachments to the outcome of your meditation, you have effectively abandoned desires and achieved ‘indifference’ for the duration of your meditation.

This surrendered state is the way to peace. Acting to get desires fulfilled only keeps the mind and energy agitated, and peace at bay. This is why Lord Krishna has spent so much time on this subject.

He is saying that the correct knowledge He has been teaching us, beginning with verse 6, is what makes this meditation possible, and puts it above the knowledge of it. And because surrender, the abandonment of the fruits of action, is what makes it work, it is the Highest Knowledge and the Highest Action. Once one truly renounces — surrenders, throws down at the feet of God — all expectations for certain results, one finds peace.

Willful discipline of repeated practices is nothing next to this knowledge and understanding of surrender sadhana. Surrender is synonymous with abandonment. Surrender is the surrender of the fruits of action, and even of action itself. When you have surrendered to God/Truth, all actions are God’s, and not yours.

Correct knowledge of meditation is necessary in order to know how to practice meditation correctly. Once you have correct knowledge, meditation will come effortlessly and spontaneously, and you will finally get peace. Not all meditation brings peace, but by letting go of your attachments and expectations in meditation through surrender to God/Truth, peace will come of its own accord.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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V:10-12 The Path of Surrender…

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When you surrender to God in meditation and get out of the way, everything that happens, or doesn’t happen, is in the hands of God. Thus is the path of surrender the path of freedom through meditation. 

The Wisdom Teachings of Surrender Meditation 

10
Having abandoned attachments and given all actions to God, one who acts is not tainted by evil any more than a lotus leaf is tainted by water. 

Evil – guilt, sin, trouble, harm. 

The path of surrender is described here once again. Actions that take place during this meditation have no harmful or binding effect on the meditator. The reason for this is that he is out of the picture as the doer of actions because he has surrendered all actions to God. 

This takes place in the context of meditation in a private and secured room, and not out in the everyday world or in groups. The reason for this is that actions that occur are for the purpose of self-purification. By keeping surrender in the meditation room, we spare others from encountering any impurities that may arise, and ourselves the inconvenience.  

For example, you go into a trancelike state on the bus going to work, and you miss your stop. Or you slip into meditation and your breathing stops and people think you are dead, can’t get a pulse and call the EMTs, and it costs you a fortune. If you ignore what I am telling you and think you can control this, well, maybe so, but then you would not be surrendering, would you? You would be controlling things.

Control – Putting yourself in the driver’s seat in order to get things to be the way you want them to be.

Surrender – Putting God/Truth in the driver’s seat and accepting what happens your in meditation.

11
By abandoning attachments, the body, mind, intelligence and the senses perform the actions of the yogi for the purpose of self-purification.

The body, mind, intelligence and senses become the agents of action in Surrender Meditation. Actions are then spontaneous and under Divine direction.

When the yogi surrenders to God in meditation, he surrenders himself to the Absolute—everything about himself as a being: body, mind, feelings, intelligence, senses and actions. He sets aside all attachments, expectations and preconceived ideas, and surrenders himself fully to God. In this situation he cannot collect any karma even though actions take place, because he is not the actor. He has given up that role, renounced it. Actions then take place freely for the purpose of purification, clearing away everything that sits between the yogi and the final resolution: the joy of union with God.

12.
Yoked to Yoga, having abandoned the fruits of actions, the yogi attains complete peace. But o
ne who is not intent upon Yoga, being attached to the fruits of desire-motivated actions, is bound.

One becomes a yogi by abandoning attachments to actions and their results, and not trying to control things in order to get them to be a certain way. 

This verse shows us what it is to be a yogi by showing us what a yogi is not. One who is attached to the results of actions performed for some desired purpose of his own is not a yogi. He will not achieve peace because his intent is not yoga (union), but to get what he wants. This does not mean that trying to get what he wants is bad, but simply that the result of it is bondage rather than peace.

Peace (śānti) – ‘indifference to objects of pleasure and pain’, desirelessness; tranquillity, prosperity, ease, comfort, happiness.

When we read in yoga scriptures that we must become indifferent to pleasure and pain, this is the meaning—it is the objects of pleasure and the objects of pain that we become indifferent to.

For instance, you have a pain in your foot. It is such a terrible pain that you cannot walk. But you walk anyway because you are indifferent to the pain. It is not gone, and it’s not that you aren’t feeling the pain, but you don’t really care. Someone says to you, “Why don’t you do something about it?” and you say, “Oh, I guess I could do that,” and promptly forget all about it. Or in the inimitable way of the uninitiated, someone says to you, “You’re a yogi, why don’t you stop the pain?”, and you realize that this is why you have been able to walk: you have been stopping the pain, but because you were indifferent, you hadn’t tried to make this happen. Your power to mitigate or override pain was the natural result of your indifference.

This is peace, obviously a good place to be. We often imagine things like peace, bliss, or happiness as emotional states resulting from magically having all the challenges life has to offer us gone from our lives, and ourselves as serene saints speaking in short and profound sentences. But this is not the nature of life in this world. We can however, come to a point in our spiritual development in which the way we experience and navigate these challenges is more than some pleasant emotional state and much more real, and the powers that come with it, much more practical.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com



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