This is a good stage, having done at least 40 verses of the 2nd chapter, this is a good moment to take stock. We are here given first important words that distinguish between the ‘Perishable’ and the ‘Imperishable’: this is the starting point of the Bhagavad Gita’s teaching. When Sri Krishna says that, “you are thinking, of that you have not to think”, “you are worried about that which you should not be worried about”, “you are looking at the ‘Perishable ’as if…with that concern, which you should have concern for ‘Imperishable’”. This is the first starting point, you might say, if you compare it with the music: a good composer starts with a big ‘bang’ in the beginning as it were, in which many tunes are combined together and then as it spreads out, so many other tunes begin to scatter out, and develop rhythmically; similarly this is the first ‘bang’ as it were given, a ‘dong’ of knowledge: “There is a distinction between the ‘Perishable’ and the ‘Imperishable’”.
And He said that, “This is what is given through Buddhiyoga”.
Those who are not familiar with ‘Buddhi’, and ‘Yoga’, for them this a very big stumbling block. Sri Krishna speaks immediately that there is one poise of Buddhiyoga, which shows you the distinction between the ‘Perishable’, and the ‘Imperishable’, but “I shall now give you another poise, which even while doing action, gives you liberation from action: ‘karmabandhaṁ prahāsyasi’ (II, 39), by which you will be liberated from the action”. And then, Sri Krishna speaks of one basic thing: ‘The state of equality even while performing action’, as a result of which you begin to perceive what is ‘action’, what is the ‘motive of action’, what is the ‘consequence of action’, and how these three things, motive, action, and the consequence, become bewildering when it is perceived by Buddhi which is not steady.
Buddhi can perceive motive of action, action and the consequence on the two conditions: one, when the Buddhi is not steady, not stable, and when Buddhi is stable. When Buddhi is unstable…one very important phrase that Sri Krishna uses is: ‘it is bahuśākhā’; when the Buddhi is unsteady it is ‘multi-branching’. With regard to motive, and action and the consequence, there is a constant hurried movement which moves hither thither: now grasping that, now grasping the other one, then going to the third, an unending movement. There is a groping and a search, and hurry, and hustle and bustle, in which you do not know what you really want, and what you want to grasp, and what you want to acquire, and having acquired, what you do not want further and what you want to select, what you want to choose and then, starting building castle for the future again. It is a hurried movement of action, in which we are all caught because Buddhi is unstable.
And He points out that this Buddhi is unsteady because of desire. This is the diagnosis He gives, like a doctor. That Buddhi’s unsteadiness is because of desire. And even with regard to desire, there is a further analysis, and says that the great test, reason, for this unsteadiness is “desire for the fruits of action”: this is the main cause of this unsteadiness. The individual normally pursues…(pursues means: ‘he is in action already’; all of us are born in action as it were: our whole birth movement is nothing but action). We find ourselves already, right from the beginning in the ocean of action. And yet we do not know what action is: how does it arise? What is its movement? What is called ‘fruit of action’? And how, from action to the fruit of action, and from fruit of action to another motive of action, and again to another action, how the whole chain is a constant building up that makes you flitting all the time? You are in a flux; it is in that flux, that we find ourselves bewildered.