Question: What is the turning point: a teacher like Sri Krishna or a crisis to lift you from that delusion?
It is first the knowledge of how to make your intellect steady.
Comment: That means a teacher.
Answer: First of all the knowledge, yes, you might say that the knowledge comes from the teacher, therefore, you should know that there is a state of steadiness of the will, steadiness of intelligence: Buddhi. Buddhi is a word, which is translated as ‘intelligence which is will’, that is ‘intelligent will’. Both are together, both will and intelligence should be fixed, and that can happen only when you are free from desire. So long as you are filled with desires, the intellect can never become fixed. Therefore Sri Krishna says that as long as you are in the field of action, which is motivated by desire, never expect that you will be free from all grief and all kind of bahuśākhā, multi-branchings. Is that clear?
This is the starting point of Karma Yoga, in which it is said:
karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadācana |
mā karmaphalahetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stv akarmaṇi ||47|| (II)
Very often it is stated as if it is the final term of the Bhagavad Gita. But it is the first statement of the Gita’s Karmayoga. The starting point of the Karmayoga, in which He says that, “You have a right to action alone, do action, but disconnect action from its tendency to the enjoyment of the fruits of action.
This also the answer to Arjuna’s question where he was saying, “Why should I fight and kill and then enjoy the fruits of that battle which fruits will be blood splattered?”
Sri Krishna’s answers indirectly is that: ‘If you do an action, not because you are going to enjoy this or enjoy that, I am not saying you fight because you will have better enjoyment, not this kind of enjoyment, not at all, be free completely from any desire from enjoyment, and yet act. You have no right to the fruits, even if you see by Buddhi, you see the whole movement of the world, fruits are never in your hands, and when you try to do an action for the sake of the fruits, for the sake of enjoyment of fruits, you are disappointed because it is not according to your desires.
But normally when you do not have desires for fruits of action, you plunge into inaction.’ Therefore, the last phrase is mā te saṅgo ’stv akarmaṇi, “Do not therefore fall into inaction.” Therefore, “Act without desire for the fruits of action. Let desire for the fruits of action be not the motive of your action, at the same time do not fall into inaction.”
In other words Karmayoga consists of what? “Act! Act with a steady consciousness, Buddhi which is fixed in the indestructible Reality and Buddhi which is able to see everything in equal consciousness: equality. And normal tendency is that in that state you are likely to fall into inaction: Do not fall into inaction.” These are the basic statements of the Karmayoga of the Gita.
In the next sentence He elucidates this:
yogasthaḥ kuru karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā dhanañjaya |
siddhyasiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā samatvaṁ yoga ucyate ||48|| (II)
yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmāṇi: do actions, but stating yourself, standing yourself in the midst of Yoga where your intelligence is steady; saṅgaṁ tyaktvā: give up all attachments, all attachments; siddhy-asiddhi: success or failure, to become equal to both and it is that state which the sense of Yoga. The real essence of Karmayoga is samatvaṁ.
You will see this kind of Karmayoga in which the perception of Reality is the basis and perception of Reality is Knowledge. This Yoga is such a Yoga that cannot be performed without junction with Knowledge. Sri Krishna’s Karmayoga is a synthetic Yoga, which is based upon Knowledge. Without Knowledge you cannot do this Yoga, and that is the speciality of this Karmayoga.
This Karmayoga is not Yoga of duty, in which you can do duty without Knowledge. It is not a Karmayoga of the desire, which enjoys into fruits, in which you do not have Knowledge, and yet you can have fruits of action and enjoys the fruits. This Yoga is a Yoga, is a Karmayoga because it exists upon action. He says that this action will lead you to the Knowledge. It also says that the real Yoga can only be performed when you are stationed in Knowledge.
That also will come later on that statement that all action ultimately ends in Knowledge. This is the Karmayoga by performing which you will attain to Knowledge and you will be able to do Karmayoga only when you are really settled in Knowledge. It gives you two criteria: this state of Knowledge of the One, and state of equilibrium. These two cannot come about without the state of Knowledge, and yet you act. Therefore these two sentences, as it were, these two verses are the cracks of the Karmayoga, which will be further expounded in the later chapters. But in this chapter, the Karmayoga is stationed on the point, where desire-less action is imposed, in which equality and perception of oneness are expounded.
In the third chapter a further enunciation will come, that when you do Karma, you do Karma as a sacrifice: yajñā. The whole concept of yajñā comes in the third chapter; it’s a further enunciation of Karma yoga. In the fourth chapter, Karmayoga is further enunciated by which you come to do Karma, which is divyam karma, which arises to the Divine Action.
There are three steps of the Karmayoga: in the 2nd chapter you are only told to do action without desire for the fruits of action; in the 3rd chapter we are told a further secret of Karmayoga, where Karma is done as a sacrifice to the Lord. Here the idea of a Karma as is an offering to the Lord is not expounded as yet. You simply do action and be samatvaṁ: have samatvaṁ. In the 3rd chapter we are further told the secret of Karma, and Karma as a sacrifice in which your relationship to the Lord is established. It is a deeper kind of Karmayoga. And then, having done it, you will attain to the perfection of Karmayoga, which comes when you yourself do divyam karma. You no more do the human actions, you do the divyam karma. These are the three steps of Karmayoga, next time we shall take up and we shall continue from here.