So, in brief you can simply say that Karmayoga has 3 steps:
1) The first step is governed by 3 propositions: give up the fruits of action; remain equal minded; and do your action thoroughly well.
2) Second step is to give up even the sense of action by offering your action to the Supreme.
3) And third is to become the instrument of the Divine, so the Divine’s will is carried out trough you.
These are the 3 steps of Karmayoga.
Now, all this still leaves out certain questions, which are still not answered. We are told of ‘Oneness’, we are told of the ‘Supreme’, we are told of surrender to ‘Him’, bhajate; but we are not told as yet, the relationship between the Oneness and the supreme Lord. Words are used, indications are given, but what is this supreme Lord? What is His real Nature? How He manifests in the world? This is yet not described in the first 6 chapters. Who am I? How have I fallen into this ditch in which I am? In general it is given but not fully. It requires to be fully elucidated. We are told there is the will of the Lord, but how this ‘will of the Lord’ manifest in the world? This is no yet given to us. These questions are left to be considered in the next 6 chapters.
Now, tell me whether you would like to go to the next 6 chapters, or whether we can stop here, because actually this is one good terminal point. If you have patience to go through the next 6 chapters, it requires…lot of patience.
I think we shall go to the next 6 chapters.
All right then, with your consent we shall next time go the next 6 chapters, but before ending today I would like to give you, and read out to you a few paragraphs from Sri Aurobindo’s book called “The Synthesis of Yoga”, which describes in sum the whole of the Karmayoga, so that it may remain with us as the statement, which we can refer to all the time.
I am sorry I don’t have enough copies.
The question with which Sri Aurobindo starts is the culmination of Karmayoga, which I described, the condition in which the Divine Himself begins to act trough you; it is the consummation, the highest stage.
Now, Sri Aurobindo says (SACBE Vol. 20, p.94, 95, 96 & 97):
“But by what practical steps of self-discipline can we arrive at this consummation?” This is the question.
Now Sri Aurobindo gives in summary the whole of the Karmayoga.
“The elimination of all egoistic activity and of its foundation, the egoistic consciousness, is clearly the key to the consummation we desire. And since in the path of works action is the knot we have first to loosen, we must endeavour to loosen it where it is centrally tied, in desire and in ego; for otherwise we shall cut only stray strands and not the heart of our bondage. These are the two knots of our subjection to this ignorant and divided Nature, desire and ego-sense. And of these two desire has its native home in the emotions and sensations and instincts and from there affects thought and volition; ego-sense lives indeed in these movements, but it casts its deep roots also in the thinking mind and its will and it is there that it becomes fully self- conscious. These are the twin obscure powers of the obsessing world-wide Ignorance that we have to enlighten and eliminate.
In the field of action desire takes many forms, but the most powerful of all is the vital self’s craving or seeking after the fruit of our works. The fruit we covet may be a reward of internal pleasure; it may be the accomplishment of some preferred idea or some cherished will or the satisfaction of the egoistic emotions, or else the pride of success of our highest hopes and ambitions. Or it may be an external reward, a recompense entirely material, --- wealth, position, honour, victory, good fortune or any other fulfilment of vital or physical desire. But all alike are lures by which egoism holds us. Always these satisfactions delude us with the sense of mastery and the idea of freedom, while really we are harnessed and guided or ridden and whipped by some gross or subtle, some noble or ignoble, figure of the blind Desire that drives the world. Therefore the first rule of action laid down by the Gita is to do the work that should be done without any desire for the fruit, niṣkāma karma.
A simple rule in appearance, and yet how difficult to carry out with anything like an absolute sincerity and liberating entireness! In the greater part of our action we use the principle very little if at all, and then even mostly as a sort of counterpoise to the normal principle of desire and to mitigate the extreme action of that tyrant impulse. At best, we are satisfied if we arrive at a modified and disciplined egoism not too shocking to our moral sense, not too brutally offensive to others. And to our partial self-discipline we give various names and forms; we habituate ourselves by practice to the sense of duty, to a firm fidelity to principle, a stoical fortitude, or a religious resignation, a quiet or an ecstatic submission to God’s will. But it is not these things that the Gita intends, useful though they are in their place; it aims at something absolute, unmitigated, uncompromising, a turn, an attitude that will change the whole poise of the soul. Not the mind’s control of vital impulse is its rule, but the strong immobility of an immortal spirit.
The test it lays down is an absolute equality of the mind and the heart to all results, to all reactions, to all happenings. If good fortune and ill fortune, if respect and insult, if reputation and obloquy, if victory and defeat, if pleasant event and sorrowful event leave us not only unshaken but untouched, free in the emotions, free in the nervous reactions, free in the mental view, not responding with the least disturbance or vibration in any spot of the nature, then we have the absolute liberation to which the Gita points us, but not otherwise. The tiniest reaction is a proof that the discipline is imperfect and that some part of us accepts ignorance and bondage as its law and clings still to the old nature. Our self-conquest is only partially accomplished; it is still imperfect or unreal in some stretch or part or smallest spot of the ground of our nature. And that little pebble of imperfection may throw down the whole achievement of the Yoga!
There are certain semblances of an equal spirit which must not be mistaken for the profound and vast spiritual equality which the Gita teaches. There is an equality of disappointed resignation, an equality of pride, an equality of hardness and indifference: all these are egoistic in their nature. Inevitably they come in the course of the sadhana, but they must be rejected or transformed into the true quietude. There is too, on a higher level, the equality of the stoic, the equality of a devout resignation or a sage detachment, the equality of a soul aloof from the world and indifferent to its doings. These too are insufficient; first approaches they can be, but they are at most early soul-phases only or imperfect mental preparations for our entry into the true and absolute self-existent wide equal oneness of the spirit.
For it is certain that so great a result cannot be arrived at immediately and without any previous stages. At first we have to learn to bear the shocks of the world with the central part of our being untouched and silent, even when the surface mind, heart, life are strongly shaken; unmoved there on the bedrock of our life, we must separate the soul watching behind or immune deep within from these outer workings of our nature. Afterwards, extending this calm and steadfastness of the detached soul to its instruments, it will become slowly possible to radiate peace from the luminous centre to the darker peripheries. In this process we may take the passing help of many minor phases; a certain stoicism, a certain calm philosophy, a certain religious exaltation may help us towards some nearness to our aim, or we may call in even less strong and exalted but still useful powers of our mental nature. In the end we must either discard or transform them and arrive instead at an entire equality, a perfect self-existent peace within and even, if we can, a total unassailable, self-posed and spontaneous delight in all our members.
But how then shall we continue to act at all? For ordinarily the human being acts because he has a desire or feels a mental, vital or physical want or need; he is driven by the necessities of the body, by the lust of riches, honours or fame, or by a craving for the personal satisfactions of the mind or the heart or a craving for power or pleasure. Or he is seized and pushed about by a moral need or, at least, the need or the desire of making his ideas or his ideals or his will or his party or his country or his gods prevail in the world. If none of these desires nor any other must be the spring of our action, it would seem as if all incentive or motive power had been removed and action itself must necessarily cease. The Gita replies with its third great secret of the divine life. All action must be done in a more and more Godward and finally a God-possessed consciousness; our works must be a sacrifice to the Divine and in the end a surrender of all our being, mind, will, heart, sense, life and body to the One must make God-love and God-service our only motive. This transformation of the motive-force and very character of works is indeed its master idea; it is the foundation of its unique synthesis of works, love and knowledge. In the end not desire, but the consciously felt will of the Eternal remains as the sole driver of our action and the sole originator of its initiative.
Equality, renunciation of all desire for the fruit of our works, action done as a sacrifice to the supreme Lord of our nature and of all nature, --- these are the three first Godward approaches in the Gita’s way of Karmayoga.”
So, we shall meet next time now, for the 7th chapter. All right?
I don’t know what will be suitable. I think I can make it even during this week if it is possible.