Essays on the Gita - Track 906

And Sri Krishna also says the same thing in the Bhagavad-Gita. You will find so many statements in the Bhagavad-Gita where Sri Krishna says, "That one who attains to the highest, he still has an action to do, and only then he can do that action which really needs to be done in this world, lokasaograha, the highest action is lokasaograha, the means by which the world can be united". Unity is the fundamental point in the highest action. All suffering in the world, all pain in the world is nothing but a movement of disunity and disintegration. When you have pain, it is a sign of some disintegration in the body, something is split, something is torn; even mental suffering is nothing but some kind of disintegration, something is torn in the mind, in the heart. All suffering in the world is because of disintegration. Therefore, if really you want to cure the pain and evil in the world, which you must, then your highest action will be that which will unite, saograha, which will bring together loka, all the people. And actually you must do it because if you don't do it, it is a denial of God. If this world is a manifestation of God, or if God is the supreme ruler of this world, and if you do not have the answer to the evil in this world, it is shame to God; God who is omnipotent, who is good, who is wonderful, if he can allow in his own kingdom this kind of suffering, what kind of god is it? So, if God is the supreme, omnipotent Reality, then He must have in Him the secret by which this suffering can be cured. And what is Yoga if you cannot attain to that kind of a secret by which you can bring from God that cure by which suffering can be healed.

That is why Sri Krishna says that if you do not fight, what will happen? lokasaugraha; in fact, He says in the beginning... Arjuna says that, "If I fight and if the people are killed there will be a destruction of Dharma". As against that Sri Krishna says that, '"There will be a great disunity in the world if you do not fight; it is only to bring about the real unity in the world that really fighting is necessary". Therefore, there is a tremendous emphasis on action, but an action which proceeds from the highest level of consciousness. And here again, the secret of the synthesis of action and devotion is emphasised. You can so the highest action of lokasaF-Igraha, only on one condition: only when you can approach the Divine, only when you can become united with the Divine. How can you bring from the Divine the secret, the elixir by which the life can be made permanent, by which the unity can be brought about? Only when you can touch the Divine, unite yourself with the Divine.

That is why the highest action can proceed only from the highest devotion, only when you are united yourself with the Divine, you have found your heart in the heart of God, when you are seated in the heart of God, when only that secret knowledge is given to you by which you can really come on this earth and rectify the evils of this world. Until you have reached this point you cannot do your Karma Yoga properly; you can really do Karma Yoga only when you are united with the Divine; unless you become Bhakta, really, you cannot attain to this condition.

Even without Bhakti, Sri Krishna says, you cannot attain to the highest knowledge. According to Sri Krishna, knowledge is not merely the knowledge of the state of silence. The supreme knowledge is knowledge of God, both as immobile and mobile;

 it is the knowledge of Purushottama, who is neither Akshara nor Kshara but transcends both and He is the Purushottama. He is one and yet He is capable of multiple manifestation. He is one and yet capable of relationships with so many multiplicities in different ways: it is that which is the nature of Reality. Therefore, even if you want to get the supreme knowledge, you cannot get the supreme knowledge unless you have union with the Divine, with devotion; only devotion can give you that knowledge which reconciles immobility and the mobility of the Divine: merely if you become immobile you don't get the secret of the synthesis of immobility and mobility. So, if you want to know the Divine as both mobile and immobile, there is only one way: to approach the Divine with supreme devotion. So, even the conditions of supreme knowledge is supreme devotion; and it is supreme knowledge and supreme devotion which is the real condition of supreme action. You cannot really get the secret of action unless you attain to the highest state of union with the divine and also a complete immobility of the self and oneness with the Divine.

So, it is because the Reality itself is synthetic, Reality itself is integral, therefore it is possible to integralise Knowledge, Action, and Devotion. There is no artificial building of the bridges, there is no artificial construction between knowledge and action and devotion: that is automatic. If really want to know the supreme divine, you can know only through devotion; if you want to be united fully with the divine you can do only in the condition of supreme knowledge; if you really want to do supreme action, it can be only on the basis on supreme knowledge and supreme devotion. Each one is as it were a complement of the other. You cannot be perfectly perfect without perfect perfection of knowledge, action, and devotion. In fact, this is the real teaching of the Bhagavad-Gita.

There is one point however, which has been brought forward very powerfully in our times, and since what is brought forth is mistaken, it is best to take note of it, and to deal with it properly. The mobile world has one conception of what may be called the highest action. We just now referred to the highest action in the Bhagavad-Gita; in contrast to that, there is also a view of the highest action in the modern world, which is largely brought out from the western point of view, which consists in declaring that highest action is that which serves man the best. Highest action is that, which consists of 'charity', of 'social service', 'public work', 'philanthropy', and that is the reason why many people today when they are in search of really good action, good work, they are given this gospel: join social work, do social service, serve the sick, tend to the poor, distribute your will among the poor, give some wealth where there is need, and we are told this is the highest action that we can perform in this world.


And those who want to promote the teaching of the Gita, very often they want to derive this very message from the Gita. They also interpret the Gita in such a way as if the Gita also teaches social service, philanthropy, charity, serving of the people; and the whole of the Karma Yoga of the Gita is so presented, as if it coincides exactly with the modern gospel of social service. And you can certainly find so many statements in the Gita which can supports this view; I spoke just now of lokasaograha: highest action according to the Gita is that which unifies the people. And what can unifies the people best but social service, philanthropy, charity, and serving the sick and the poor? This is the kind of answer that can be given, very readily??? , lokasaograha, is the highest ideal of the Gita and lokasailgraha would mean all kind of social service, therefore the Gita's teaching is exactly identical with the modern view of highest action. And therefore, the Bhagavad-Gita is supposed to be directly relevant to the present time. So, all the glory to the Gita, the teaching of the Gita, so ancient, is still valid today in this life, in this form. Now, 'this' view is a 'mistaken' view, 'this' is an 'error', it is not a real reading of the Bhagavad­Gita. The Bhagavad-Gita is not a gospel of social service as understood today; not that it is not a social service. Gita's teaching would certainly teach a social service, but not in the sense in which it is understood today. Now, very often this idea of social service is also put forth as a gospel of duty: this is also the modern idea.


Modern idea is that when you can do your action, not for your personal profit, but when you do for others. And when you do for others, what is it for? It is to perform your duty. To serve others is my duty, and when I do it for others, it is for duty. So, the doctrine of "duty for duty sake"; is also presented as if it was the teaching of the Gita.

nln kama se vi ?niokama seva, that is right; when you don't do anything for your own self, or for your own desire, but you do it as a duty.

If you read the Gita's teaching properly, then we shall find that this is not the message of the Gita. Take for example: Buddha left his kingdom, his wife and the child. Was it his duty to leave his kingdom? Was it his duty to leave his wife and child? Was therefore Buddha right in doing what he did? Vivekananda it is said, went thrice to Kali, under the advice of Ramakrishna when he wanted to have joint some job, for the maintenance of his family; and every time that he approached Kali and ask for a boon, he said give me knowledge, devotion, action. He forgot to ask to secure a job. When he explained the whole thing to Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ramakrishna said, "What you need is Yoga." He had to give up serving his mother in order that he may practise Yoga. What was his duty? Does the Gita tell to Vivekananda, "go back, don't do Yoga, go back, serve the job and fulfil the duty of the family." Would that be the meaning of the Gita? If you want to be right from the Gita, what is the message? If `duty' is the message of the Gita...


...the fact is that `duty', is a concept which is confined to human relationships. It is the duty of a father to bring up the child, to educate the child and to secure happiness for the child. It is the duty of the employer to give the right conditions to the employee and to give him the pay and to see that he works properly. It is the duty of the employee to see that all the tasks assigned to him are fulfilled. It is the duty of the lawyer to defend his client, even though he may know that the client is guilty, and he may have to hide the fact that he is guilty, but it is his duty as a lawyer. It is the duty of the judge to send the criminal to the gallows. It is the duty of the soldier, if commanded to kill, if his own brother becomes an enemy, it is his duty. But we know that duties clash with other duties. The judge may believe that, although it is duty to send a criminal to the gallows, he may believe that taking human life is a sin, it is false, it is wrong. His conscience would not allow that he becomes instrument of taking the life of somebody else. The law may allow it! Law may give a duty to me as a judge, but my inner conscience may oppose it. What law demands, duty may not allow; what duty demands the law abhors; which of the two is to be accepted?

In fact the whole teaching of the Gita is a criticism of the idea of duty. It is a critic of duty. Arjuna had come to the battlefield with an idea of his duty to fight; he knew that it was his duty to fight for the sake of justice, but this duty was in conflict with what he thought was sin, with what he saw was the destruction of Dharma. So, when one duty collides with another duty, or another concept of conscience of a higher law, then there is a confusion and a perplexity. Surely therefore, the Gita cannot be a gospel of duty which is a very simple proposition that you should do your duty, and if the Bhagavad-Gita ultimately after doing all this, ultimately said to Arjuna, "look this is your duty, therefore fight": if this is the consequence of the Gita, the whole making of the teaching falls down. Surely, this not the Gita's teaching. The Gita points down that when duty collides with duty, it is a sign that you have reached a limitation of your consciousness, and you have to break this limitation of consciousness.