Bhagavagd Gita - Session 3- Track 302

The analyses of Sri Krishna He says is that, ‘If however you examine the whole process of Karma, you will find that you have right to action but no right to fruits of action. Whereas those people who are engaged in vedavāda, they want to possess the result, they want to claim the result, they want to enjoy the result, they want to cling to the result’. And this is, according to Sri Krishna, a mistake, an error. If, as a matter of fact, you have no right over the results and still you want to claim results, to cling to results is based on some kind of ignorance; that process itself is result of ignorance. That is why the great and famous sentence, which is chapter 2, verse 47, He says:

karmaṇyevādhikāraste mā phaleṣu kadācana |
mā karmaphalahetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stvakarmaṇi ||47|| (II)

This is the famous verse of the Bhagavad Gita, according to many, this is the greatest message of the Gita; but as you shall see latter on, this is the ‘first’ message but ‘not the last’ message of the Gita. This is not the mahāvākya of the Gita, this is the first vākya; mahāvākya will come much later: but it is the starting point. The first great sentence of the Gita is this:

“To action alone have thou the right, but not to its fruits. Do not therefore act for the sake of the fruits of action. But at the same time therefore, do not cling yourself to inaction.” (II, 47)

In one sentence you might say, one of the most important elements of Karmayoga is expounded, based upon the truth that since for fruits of action you have no right, (this the Buddhiyoga tells you when you discriminate all the aspects of Karma) this is the one conclusion that you arrive a. Just as by Buddhi you discriminate between the ‘Immobile’ and the ‘Mobile’, (that we saw already earlier) similarly when you analyse the action by Buddhi you realise that you have no right over fruits of action. Once you do action what results it will produce, it is no more in your hands! It is like the bullet, which goes out of your gun. Once it has been thrown out, it is now no more in your hands as to what will happen. It is not in your hands, even if you try to make it in your hands, it is not in your hands. Knowing this fact, it follows that you should not therefore, cling to the fruits of action, it is not in your hands. And whenever you do the action, do not do the action for the sake of ‘enjoyment’ of the fruits of action. Even if fruits are produced, you remain with regard to the fruits equal minded. But do not cling to them, because it means that you have a right to them, which is not true.

And the next few sentences, which are here, are expository of this basic proposition. We shall read them, and then we shall come back again to reflect upon them. The next one says:

yogasthaḥ kuru karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā dhanaṁjaya |
siddhyasiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā samatvaṁ yoga ucyate ||48|| (II)

In the last sentence we saw that even though you are not to cling to the fruits of action, even though the enjoyment of the fruits of action is not to be the motive of your action, still you should continue to act. But how will you act then? If ultimately you are not going to enjoy the fruits of action, (and normally people act only for the sake of that), and still you have to act, then how will you act? Therefore Sri Krishna says, yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmāṇi, ‘you do action’, but how? yoga-sthaḥ, ‘be settled in yoga’; saṅgaṁ tyaktvā, now this is a very important word saṅgaṁ tyaktvā, ‘you give up the attachment’. The entire root of all bandhaṁ, all bondage is saṅgaṁ, attachment. The whole Gita’s teaching that all bandhaṁ, all kind of bondage is because of attachment. Therefore, saṅgaṁ tyaktvā yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmāṇi, ‘give up the attachment,’ and when this will be done then what will happen? siddhy-asiddhy, ‘whether you succeed or you fail’, in regard to both of them samo bhūtvā, ‘you will become equal minded’. And then He defines what is yoga, because the first word was yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmāṇi, ‘you be settled in Yoga and do actions’. Now, He says what is Yoga? samatvaṁ yoga ucyate, the equanimity, the complete equality of consciousness in regard to honour or dishonour, success or failure, this state of consciousness itself is Yoga: this is the definition of yoga. That if you can attain to a state where you are equal, in regard to pleasure or pain, in regard to wealth or poverty, in regard of honour or dishonour, success or failure, then you are said to be in Yoga. With that state of consciousness do the Karma.