Text of the Bhagavagd Gita (Mother's Institute of Research) - Session 9: Karmayoga—Sannyāsa and Tyāga (07 November 1998)

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*||2.47||

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 is 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 answer 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 the 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 ||2.48||

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; siddhi–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 desire, which enjoys fruits, in which you do not have Knowledge, and yet you can have fruits of action and enjoy 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 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 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 the perfection of Karmayoga, which comes when you yourself do divyam karma. You no more do 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.

Object, Instrument and Method of Yoga; States of Equality – sannyāsa, and tyāga

This chapter is entitled ‘sāṅkhya yoga’. Sankhya means Jnanayoga, Yoga means Karmayoga. Therefore, this chapter is centred on Jnanayoga and Karmayoga and the centre of this chapter is Buddhi. By the power of Buddhi you can enter into Jnana yoga, by the power of Buddhi you can enter into Karmayoga.

The first part of the 2nd chapter is devoted to the Buddhi as applied in Jnanayoga, and it is said that by applying Buddhi, you understand and realise what is permanent, eternal and when you know what is eternal, you get freedom from grief. You get liberated: mokṣa. But that is the application of Buddhi, in such a way that even if you do action, you still get free from grief, and you get liberation, and that is what we have been centred upon. The first statement of Karmayoga is that, “To action alone you have the right and not to its fruits, and do not do action for the sake of the enjoyment of fruits”. This is where we had reached last time.

We had also added two more sentences that, ‘If you can do an action in a state of equality then you have the measure that you are really doing Karmayoga. Do Karma, do action but have a state of equality that will be the standard, you will be able to judge whether you are doing Karmayoga or not.’ I added that this is where the 2nd chapter ends as far as Karmayoga is concerned.

With the 3rd chapter we are told a new secret of Karmayoga, namely that when you can do Yoga of Karma by sacrificing the work, the concept ofyajñā is emphasised in the 3rd chapter. And the 3rd chapter is specially designed for Karmayoga alone. This chapter is both: Sankhya and Yoga, (Jnanayoga and Karmayoga). The 3rd chapter is centrally concentrated upon Karmayoga and the secret that is revealed in the 3rd chapter is that, ‘When you do the Karma, you should do it as a sacrifice.’

And the 4th chapter goes further in Karmayoga and although it is entitled ‘Jnanayoga’, we shall see why, but it still continues the definition of Karmayoga. And the secret that is told in the 4th chapter is that when you continue action with the state of equality and as a sacrifice, then in due course, you are elevated to such an extent, that your action is not only action for the Divine, but your action itself becomes Divine’s work (divyam karma). Not your work for the Divine but Divine Himself acting through you, and Divine’s own action passes through you. That is the culmination of Karmayoga that comes in the 4th chapter.

At this stage it is good if we can ask ourselves, why should Karmayoga be called ‘Yoga’? In other words, what is the definition of Yoga? And what is the precise distinction between Karmayoga, Jnanayoga, and Bhaktiyoga?

Every Yoga must have three aspects: there is an object of Yoga, there is an instrument by which Yoga is done, and there is the method of Yoga, a process of Yoga. So you cannot say that you have studied Yoga unless you can answer these three questions. ‘Karmayoga’ why is it so called? You must know what the object of Karmayoga is, what is the instrument by which you are conducting Karmayoga; and what the method of doing it is.

Let us answer these three questions, because we are now studying the Bhagavad Gita not merely as outside students, but as somewhat more competent students so that we have a Shastric knowledge, a scientific knowledge, a much more intimate knowledge of the book itself.

The object of Karmayoga is to be able to do Divine’s work: that is the object. To arrive at such a stage that you are no more doing human works: all our works are at present human. To raise ourselves to a stage, where Divine work passes through us, and we become accomplished in Divine work, manifesting the Divine’s work: that is the object of Karmayoga.

The instrument that is chosen for this Yoga is neither intellect, nor emotion. Intellect is the chosen instrument of Jnana yoga. The instrument chosen for Bhakti yoga is emotion. But the instrument chosen for Karmayoga is ‘will’. But since this Karmayoga is an integral Karmayoga, the Karmayoga of the Bhagavad Gita is not merely a Karmayoga but an integral Karmayoga, therefore, although predominance is the will, intellect is also an instrument, emotion is also an instrument, and will is the chosen predominant instrument, but ultimately you will find that by using that instrument, gradually you will also bring into picture the intellect and emotion. So that ultimately all the three are united, and then it becomes an integral Karmayoga. These are the three instruments of integral Karmayoga, although Karmayoga as such has his own emphasis on will: that is the instrument.

What is the method? The method of Karmayoga is to purify the will. Purification is always the first starting point of any method of Yoga, depending upon the instrument. If Jnanayoga is the method, it is the instrument intellect that is to be purified. In the case of Bhaktiyoga, emotion is to be purified. In the case of Karmayoga, will is purified. The emphasis falls upon the purification.

In every Yoga, there are three basic processes: purification, concentration and renunciation. No Yoga can be accomplished without these three: there has to be a purification; there has to be a concentration; and there has to be renunciation.

In the case of Karmayoga, there is first the purification of the will, and you will see in this chapter when we read further, 2nd chapter and 3rd chapter particularly, how much emphasis is laid upon purification. Then there is concentration. Why does Sri Krishna emphasise so much in the 2nd chapter on the concentration of Buddhi? And by Buddhi is meant not only intellect, but intellect that guides the will. That is the meaning.

There is an emphasis upon concentration of the will. He says that, “vyavasāyātmikā buddhi”: the Buddhi which is engaged, which is concentrated. The entire description of sthitaprajña, which takes a large portion of the closing part of chapter two is devoted to sthitaprajña: so, sthita prajña, the one whose prajña is sthita; one whose intelligent will is stable, is concentrated. Concentration is also a part of Karma yoga: concentration of will. That is why the word that is used is yuktaḥ: one whose will is concentrated.

There is a great emphasis upon purification. Then there is emphasis upon the concentration of the will, and then, there is a lot of discussion on the subject of renunciation: tyāga, sannyāsa. You will find these two words often coming in these 3, 4 chapters; it is a question of renunciation.

Renunciation has been so much misunderstood in our country over the years that whenever we speak of renunciation, it is like throwing the baby with the bathwater. Instead of renouncing the right thing, we renounced wrongly. And even that which is not to be renounced is renounced. And that is why there is a big problem. In fact one of the main problems of the Bhagavad Gita is centred upon this concept of renunciation. And it starts right from the beginning, when Arjuna raises the question in the very first chapter, he starts by saying, “I want to renounce. It is better that I go on begging rather than killing my grand–father and my teacher.” He also says, “I do not desire any kingdom, I do not desire any happiness: na kāṅṣke rājyaṁ na kāṅṣke sukhāṁ. It is a bold statement of renunciation: “I renounce kingdom, I renounce sukham.” So much of the discussion in the whole of the Bhagavad Gita is on the subject of renunciation.

And two words prominently come are: sannyāsa, and tyāga. And distinctions are made between sannyāsa, and tyāga. And ultimately it is said that both the words basically should mean the same, but they have come to mean different things. Actually there should be no difference between the two words; but lot of discussion has taken place in India, and a Sannyasin is one who renounces everything; tyāga, is supposed to be a very…it is like a swan, which distinguishes between milk and water when both are mixed together, and therefore renounces the water, but drinks the milk. That is why Sri Krishna ultimately says that, “You should have tyāga, but not sannyāsa in the sense in which it has come to be used. But the real sannyāsa is “tyāga”: sannyāsa, actually means ‘set aside’, that is the literal meaning: ‘set aside’. That is sannyāsa; tyāga also means ‘giving up’.

In the Gita, Sri Krishna says: “You have to do renunciation, but the right type of renunciation.” This Karmayoga demands renunciation but the right type of renunciation. If you study the first four chapters of the Gita from this point of view, all the four chapters will become crystal clear. There is an emphasis upon purification, concentration, and renunciation. By the triple powers of these three, you will ascend the path of Karmayoga, but these are three first steps of the method.

As a result of these three processes, in the middle steps of the Karma yoga, are involved two very important elements: one is the knowledge by which the whole Karma is understood. What is Karma? As Sri Krishna will say in the Bhagavad Gita, what is Karma, what is non–Karma, (Akarma), and what is vikarma, what is wrong action? Even the wisest find it difficult to answer. Therefore in the second portion of the Bhagavad Gita, in the Karmayoga, you will find a lot of light on this subject. What is Karma? What is the origin of Karma? What is the middle of Karma? What is the end of Karma? This is one part.

Second part of this is the state of equality, and annihilation of the ego. These are the two aspects on which a great emphasis falls in these first four chapters, actually three chapters: 2nd, 3rd and 4th chapters, they deal with these problems. What is equality? Just as with regard to renunciation, there is a lot of confusion; similarly in regard to equality there is a lot of confusion. What is equality? And if you read the Bhagavad Gita quite closely, you will find that there are great subtleties, although all the time we say māna–apamāna, you take them as equal, success–failure you take them as equal. What does it really mean? And what are the states through which you pass?

There are three states…since I am talking about the methods, I am analysing this aspect of the states through which you pass when you move in the path of equality. Just as you begin to have more and more knowledge of Karma, the beginning, the middle and the end, similarly you begin to understand what equality is. And you cannot understand equality unless you pass through three states: first is the state of endurance. This is called in Sanskrit: titikṣā: endurance. Whatever comes on you, you endure quietly: whether it is śītoṣṇa, whether it is cold or heat; whether it is good luck or bad luck, good fortune or misfortune, success or failure; whether it is wood, piece of wood that you get in reward or a piece of gold you may get in reward, you should be able to endure, and you should have no personal reaction to it. This is one of the great states that you achieve by endurance.

As yet we are not asked to understand why there should be these opposites at all in the world: this knowledge will come later on. But while you are doing Karmayoga, first you should be able to endure quietly. It says whenever anything happens to you, you endure. In other words, you should have ‘will’, which is capable of not being troubled by whatever happens under any situation, you remain completely quiet: that is the first thing. Our normal thing is immediately to react favourably or unfavourably, but to react very, very quietly, and to enter into great quietude.

The knowledge as to why you should be very quiet will come later on, because that is a secret. The real reason why you should be quiet is: in this world, nothing happens without a very special reason. Nothing happens whether good fortune or misfortune: nothing happens in the world, unless it is a part of a big design of which the Divine Himself is the author. This is the real reason. We may not like what is happening, and we may not even know what the Divine’s design is, and also, we do not know whether what has happened is the last word.

Normally when we react to an action, we feel as if it is the end of the world: a misfortune has come, and we don’t see that it is some great fortune in the making. That also we don’t see. I fail in the examination, and I don’t see that this failure is a door opening to something unexpected: a great fortune will open out of my failure. This I don’t normally see and therefore I react and I do not become quiet. I don’t try to understand; I don’t have the patience and therefore, even the good fortune, which is going to come out of it and I even spoil a good fortune, which is likely to come: that is why this is an aspect of knowledge.

But in the beginning Sri Krishna says that, “You should be completely equal minded.” And He even says that, “whether good things happen or bad things happen, the first thing is: samīkṛtvā, be absolutely equal minded, do not be troubled.” That is called sthitabuddhi; the Buddhi which is absolutely sthira, stable.

The second stage is: you begin to have the knowledge of the events in the world, why events happen. And when you really know the secret of the happenings of the events, then you really begin to feel that your state of consciousness finds that both actually are good fortune: what you were calling ill fortune and you were calling good fortune, both the judgements were wrong. Your so–called ‘good fortune’ was not good fortune in the sense in which it is really good fortune. It was not ill fortune in the sense in which you were taking to be ill fortune. We will really realise that every event that happens is fundamentally in the making, it is not as if it is final. It is a process of learning.

In simpler terms, we say that all difficulties are opportunities, and this is a very valid statement. When you really understand the world, you find that every situation is an opportunity; and therefore, if anything happens, you can always turn it, if you rightly understand it, then you will find that you have just to look at it in the right manner. The moment you look in the right manner, it will turn into the right consequence. If you don’t do it, it will get more and more complicated. That is what we normally do; we get things more and more complicated. But if you really remain quiet, then you will try to understand, and the knowledge will be so that it is the measure of knowledge. If after getting the knowledge, your state becomes really equal automatically that means that you now have the right knowledge. This is called the stage of the ‘sage’.

The first stage is called that of the ‘stoic’: a stoic is one who can endure with will. A ‘sage’ is one who looks upon all events with equal mind, with knowledge that everything has a design and if you know the purpose of it, then you really become completely equal and you also know how to deal with it rightly. In the first stage, you do not know how to deal with it: that is the limitation of the first stage; you simply endure. But you do not have as yet the knowledge as to how to deal with the situation. But in the second stage, when the knowledge comes, you know how to deal with it.

The third stage is that anything that happens, you learn how to resign it, in the hands of God. This requires higher development. It is a ‘resignation’. But here again resignation can be quite the wrong kind of resignation. We do not really resign: we go on thinking, but we still go on planning, plotting, conspiring; we go on doing all our activities. But it is not the real resignation.

The real resignation is: really to go in the inner chamber of the heart, very, very quietly. Therefore, it is more difficult than even jñāna. To go in the very heart, your heart should be torn as it were; the walls of your heart should be torn, you should be able to go into the chamber of heart where the Divine is seated, and where He is awaiting you; because as Sri Aurobindo says: “Just as you are in search of God, God is in a greater passion to receive you, and to give all Himself to you”. He is awaiting your call. And when you go to Him you say, “Here is my fate today, this is what has happened to me, this is the situation, I put everything in your hands, and I will do nothing; let Your will be done.” There should be such a tremendous meeting with the Divine, what we call ‘trust’ or ‘faith’ is a minor term, but this is the meaning, at least minimum, that you should have trust that when you have put in His hands be sure you have put in the hands of the omnipotent. And He will do it. You do nothing absolutely, that is the real resignation.

Resign it to the Divine’s will, but after putting the whole thing into the Divine’s hands that much you should do; do not have the illusion that without putting everything in His hands, still He will do it. You have to take the trouble of going to the Divine, open the chamber, meet Him, and put in His hands and say…even if you do not see Him, imagine that He is because He really is, and say: “You are the omnipotent, I put the whole thing and I will do nothing; You do it in the best possible manner.” Or even if you still cannot remain without doing something, because we are so active in our consciousness, you still say, “Let my action succeed only if You so will it, let it fail if You so will it, I am only doing it because I cannot do without it, but I really want only your will to be done.” This is resignation. Then everything is equal. It gives you all the strength of receiving all the impacts of the world as they come upon you. This is the method. This is the second step of the method.

The Knowledge as to what is karma; what is akarma; what is vikarma. Second is titikṣā, then the knowledge of events, and thirdly resignation. And then when all this happens, there is one important instrument in our will, which is always present, and that is: ahaṁ kartāsmi, ‘I am the doer’. This is one fundamental aspect of all psychology. But when your knowledge of ‘what is Karma, what is the beginning, what is the middle, what is the end’, when you have known this, when you have endured, when you have known the eventology, when you have resigned, then this idea ‘I am the doer’ will be transformed. “I”, as a doer will be annihilated, particularly when you have resigned to the Divine’s will, now we are not doing anything, it is the Divine which is doing. Then, you will really know that you are not the doer. It is the Divine who is doing. The ego will be annihilated. This is the second stage of our method.

The third stage of this method is the most difficult. Very often when we resign everything to the Divine, and you really do nothing at all, there is a tendency to fall into such quietude that even when the Divine wants to do something you prevent it. There is so much of silence that when the Divine wants to use your instrument, they have become so stilled that they are incapable of carrying out the operation of the Divine. Therefore, in order that Divine’s will may pass through you, your instruments, (body, life and mind), you have to be so trained that your instruments are not found to be stilled.

If Arjuna has to shoot the arrow, it is not as if the hand should say that now we are so stilled that now the hands will not move. Therefore, exercise of the body, life and mind, it has to be so…..

The instruments have to be trained in such a manner that at the right time, the right action proceeds. It is like a good writer who does not keep a good fountain pen, and when he starts writing there is no ink in it, or the nib is very weak, and cannot take the flow. A Karmayogin is one who keeps all his instruments in perfect order. If he is an orator he keeps his throat perfectly well; his language perfectly articulate; his sense of emphasis falling at the right point, at the right moment, in the right manner: these are his instruments, and his instruments must be perfected. All the exercises he has to do, so when the Divine finds in him the instrument, the instrument must be perfect.

This is for us the most difficult part of Karmayoga. As compared to this process, the other two are simpler, although they are also sufficiently difficult, but this is the most difficult. There are so many instruments, so many elements in us. In fact, this aspect is dealt with in the Gita in the last six chapters of the Gita. The last six chapters of the Gita are not sufficiently understood even by great–learned people, as what is the significance of these last six chapters.

In the last six chapters Sri Krishna says in detail what are the instruments of action; what are the three Gunas, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas, which are moving in action; what are the different kinds of the states of mind, in Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas; what are the different kinds of efforts in Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas; what are the kinds of śraddhā, the faith, again in Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas; what is tapasyā again in Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas; what is dāna in again Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas; what is yajña in Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas.

He describes in detail so that the whole instrumentality, all the elements in the instruments are analysed very briefly. You might almost say, “What is this repetition all the time?” In everything Sri Krishna says, “Sattwa is this, Rajas is this, Tamas is this.” Because in every aspect our instrument should be so perfected! You must know that this is Tamas, this is Rajas, this is Sattwa; and then you can know that even Sattwa is not the highest. And Sri Krishna speaks of triguṇātīta: you should be able to go beyond the three Gunas. It is only when you perfect your Sattwa consciousness that you can go beyond; and then in that state, your instruments are so perfected that the Divine will, will go straight like a shot without any obstruction.

These last six chapters therefore culminate. In fact this whole thing cannot be obtained unless Jnana, Karma, Bhakti, all are united. But united for what purpose? For the sake of action. The whole emphasis in the Bhagavad Gita is: ‘action is better than inaction’, and you should never allow inaction: that is the basic emphasis. Therefore, when you unite Karma, Bhakti, Jnana, whatever their respective boons and their results, all of them have to be utilised, so that ultimately the Divine’s will manifests.

The one sentence that Sri Krishna had told Arjuna in the beginning: “Why are you gripped by this depression? Stand up and fight.” This is the basic proposition. But fight divinely, stand up like a divine warrior, not like a feeble coward individual who wants to run away, and whose mind is confused, who is egoistic, calculating this, calculating that: not like that. Be a warrior but a divine warrior, and fight vigorously like an instrument, such an instrument that you don’t fight at all, it is the Divine who fights; it is the Divine who shoots, not you. This is the perfection.

Karmayoga, we can conclude again, has three aspects: the object is to be able to manifest the divine action. The instrument is the Will, but since this Karmayoga is an integral Yoga, the Will is combined with Knowledge and Emotion, but with a greater emphasis upon will. And the method is: first, purification of the will, concentration of the will, renunciation of the right type: this is the minimum.

In the second stage, the knowledge of what is the karma, akarma, vikarma, then, endurance, by which a true equality is achieved in enduring everything. Secondly, knowledge of eventology: that is ‘in all events, there is a divine will’: that knowledge, so that you become equal by luminous knowledge, you know! It is not merely ‘Shraddha’ or ‘Trust’, that everything are in the hands of God, you really know. And then, resign: you are able to go to the chamber of God, offer everything, and say to the Divine, “You act!” And really you do not act; or even if you act, you say to the Divine, “I am only acting because I am obliged to act, it is my habit, but please give me failure if it is not according to Your will, give success, if it is Your will, or do something else, which I am not even thinking of: all is welcome if it comes from You.” This is the second process, the middle process.

And the highest process is: perfection of all the instruments, in such a manner that ultimately you are able to transcend even the Sattwa in every movement; every fibre of the being; and ultimately the Divine’s will can manifest, triguṇātīta. The action of the Divine is neither Sattwic, nor Rajasic, nor Tamasic. The Divine action is another quality altogether: it is saccidānanda. There is neither Sattwa, nor Rajas, nor Tamas, it is Satchitananda. There is a pure being, pure consciousness, pure will, pure delight. It is that action that should be able to manifest itself through you. This is the highest Karmayoga as given in the Gita.

I am speaking out all this in greater length because the trend of the argument even while doing the second chapter, you should know towards what the whole argument is moving. Therefore I brought even the last six chapters even at this stage. So that we know that ultimately Sri Krishna is preparing Arjuna for that culmination. It is little by little, because Sri Krishna is a good teacher who does not pour everything at one stage, but little by little He reveals, so that he is prepared for the final secret.

We come back to where we are. We are just at the beginning of the Karmayoga in which emphasis falls first upon purification, concentration, and renunciation. Where do we these three elements? We see because Sri Krishna says that our will is normally impure because of desire.

There is a distinction, which is made here between will and desire. The second and third chapters are given to this great distinction. The will is not to be excised; the will is not to be destroyed because that is the instrument. If you have to fight, you must have the will to fight. Will is not to be destroyed; but this will is normally vitiated, ‘impure’ by the presence of desire. Desire also looks like a will. If you examine the psychology of desire, you find in desire there is always this element of will: desire impels you. All will is force applied, and transformed into action so as to produce a result: this is the meaning of will. It is a force transformed into an action, applied to produce a result: this is the basic meaning of will.

This will in us normally is vitiated: it is in a state of impurity. That impure will is called desire. What are these elements of this impurity? We are never a force pure and simple. We are a bundle of a force, which is resisted by inertia. Our force is Rajas; our force is not the will, which is called ‘real will’, which is only a force of action. Ours is Rajas, there is a fever in it. That fever is again contradicted in us with idleness, sloth, negligence, at the same time. There is a force of action but it is contradicted because there is in us Tamas all the time. In our psychology it is impossible that Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas do not obtain together, in different proportions. Normally our action is Rajasic, but Rajas, which is greatly contradicted by Tamas: some kind of inertia. We want to do something but we do not want to do the whole thing.

You will see that this is one of the greatest problems of human life, that even when we want to do something, we do not want to do the whole thing. At a certain stage you will say: “I will go so far and no more.” Or “This is my function, that is not my function; now somebody else must take it up, I have done all that I can, somebody else must take it up.” Or, there is Sattwa, which comes with its knowledge and gives you a balm of quietude; even you want to do action and a balm of quietude, which tells you to be quiet, “Don’t be feverish!” It gives you lots of questionings: “Are you really doing the right thing? Are you really doing the wrong thing? What will be the consequence of it? What will be the consequence of that?” Sattwa, although it is intelligent, gives you knowledge, but it also stops the force of action.

These are impurities of our will. The will, which is ‘impure’ by Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas, becomes desire. This is one aspect of desire. The second aspect of desire is that there is an object, as I told you, will is a force applied to action to produce a result, but here, one becomes more exclusively turned to producing of result, and not so much careful in applying the force, not so much careful in really doing the action, but there is a tremendous vivacity to produce the result now, and wanting it right now! That is desire.

The will to produce a result, nothing wrong about it! All action is nothing but will or force applied to action, so as to produce a result. But we are so weak that we do not give so much importance to force, we do not gather enough force first of all, we do not really plan action properly, but we want to do something, immediately want to reach the results. There is a disproportionate relationship between force, action and result. In other words, our entire emphasis is actually upon enjoyment of the result. Our force of will is a little, action is imperfect, but as far as the tendency to enjoy the result, is quick. And even when that result comes, you find that, “Oh! This is not what I wanted, I forgot what I really wanted, I wanted something else.” So even that we are not sure! Such is the condition: this is the psychology of desire.

Desire is basically a tendency to enjoy the fruits of action, about which we are not sure, and which we are not going to be satisfied with, and in regard to which the force is very little and the action is hardly planned properly, or hardly adequate for producing the result that is desired: this is the psychology of desire. All of us are subject to this desire. Apart of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas, this is another strand in our desire.

Third, is that in every desire, and every action, there is a very powerful psychological strand, in which I put myself in the centre. In every desire, there is a central focus we might say, a central knot. I put myself in the centre without knowing who I am first of all, but there is an idea, a vague idea “I”: if you really examine what “I” is, it will be quite evaporating, but we don’t do that, we simply have an idea of an “I”.

That “I” is functioning in a very peculiar manner: it is said, “I, is a self contradiction.” I is a finite, which does not want to remain finite, but which don’t want to become infinite either. It is a self contradiction: the finite that does not want to remain what it is, and that does not want to be other than what it is, at the same time. If you really examine your psychology of the “I”, you will always find that it does not want to remain what it is: it wants to enlarge itself, wants be bigger…and yet anything that pokes it, and says, “Be, become!” it resists it, “I want to remain myself, I am I”: this is the psychology of the “I”.

Then I want to be ‘I’, not only that, but I want to be the centre of action. This is another aspect of our desire: “I want to be the centre of it.” That is to say: “For me, the whole action is moving on in the world, in which I am putting what I say “my” action, without realising that, “Look when there is a whole universal action going on, you are putting this one. How can you be the centre?” It is obvious: you cannot be centre. But, ignorantly “I want to be the centre of it, and I want to say that everything ultimately must abide by “my” action, and ultimately my point should be the centre point, I should make the central contribution: “my” name”, Napoleon feels, that “My name in History should go round in such a way that the whole world was remade by Napoleon”, which is impossible, but that was his ambition, that was his idea. This centrality is another weakness in the whole action.

And third, when the result is produced, “I must be the enjoyer of it.” This “I” has this threefold characteristic: it wants to be itself, and yet not to be itself; it wants to be the centre; and it wants to enjoy, itself if possible the only sole enjoyer, (if possible!), if the world allows the sole enjoyer or if not, mine should be the main share: this is its fundamental urge. This is the three–fold state of our egoistic consciousness.

Now, we can see how far it is from the force applied to action to produce a result. It is not as if production of a result or the decision to produce a result has anything wrong about it. But because my preponderant wish is to enjoy the fruit of action, therefore Sri Krishna says in the beginning: “Let not the enjoyment of the fruit of action be your motive.” That is the purification. kāma is the basic thing and we have now analyse it quite well. This kāma has this fundamental kāma tendency to enjoy the fruits of action as soon as possible; and that vitiates the whole action! Therefore, Sri Krishna says, “you should purify yourself in such a way that the first remedy is: Do not go straight to the fruits of action, and let not the enjoyment of the fruits of action be your motive”: that is the purification.

Second element of purification is vigata jvaraḥ, which is one of the sentences you will find in these chapters, which is a very important statement: vigata jvaraḥ; yujyasva vigata jvaraḥ. “You fight!”, but where there is no jvaraḥ, no fever; there is no impatience; there is no disappointment; there is no urgency or enjoying the fruits of action. Even before the fruit is produced you want to enjoy it: this jvaraḥ is a special sign of desire; jvaraḥ makes you impatient, and wants to enjoy as soon as possible, immediately, on the spot. You cannot wait. So, this is the second purification: vigata jvaraḥ. Give up all the jvaraḥ, there should be no fever in action.

And the third is: there should be no confusion. Purify your movements from all confusion.

These are the three basic purifications we have to do: first is clutching, trying to clutch at the result; secondly feverishly pursue it; and thirdly to do it confusedly. These are the three impurities and Sri Krishna says in different verses how you can purify them. These have to be purified, give up all these things.

Question: What is the method of purification of confusion?

Every desire is accompanied by an idea of what you want. And this idea, if you really analyse it, you will find there is so much obscurity. If you look really straight: “What do I really want?” You will find different concepts of what you want, and many of these strands are self-contradictory. Just take the example of Arjuna’s argument: it is an example of confusion. What is the confusion in the argument Arjuna puts forward?

Let just examine it now more carefully: he starts by saying, “I do not want kingdom, I do not want enjoyment.” Very fine. Does it therefore follow that, “I will not fight?” Just examine: “I do not want kingdom, I do not want happiness”, does it therefore follow “I will not fight?” Does this conclusion follow logically? He had not come to get happiness, he had not come to get kingdom. He had come to set right a wrong. That was the real purpose. He said, “This is unjust that we are not getting the portion that we should be getting.” It was not necessarily the kingdom that he wanted; he wanted justice meted out by Duryodhana in which he says, “I will give you nothing!” So, even if you don’t want kingdom, even if you don’t want happiness, it is not for the sake of happiness that he had come for this fight. Now he says, “I don’t want kingdom, I don’t want happiness therefore I will not fight.” Now you see the confusion in it.

Then he says…continuing the argument, “How can I kill my teacher, how can I kill my grandfather, Bhishma, and Drona, iṣubhiḥ (2.4) with arrows, how can I tear them apart.” So he is prepared to tear apart others, but how can he do it as far as his grandfather and his teacher are concerned? Why? Because they are māmakāḥ, ‘they are mine’. Apart from Bhishma and Drona, there are many others who are my brethren, and if they are killed, how shall I enjoy? Now he says, “I don’t want happiness”, but now he says, “Even if I have enjoyment, (so, he grants that, ‘I want enjoyment’), but how can I enjoy it if it is blood splattered; by killing them and that to my grandfather and my teacher, the people by sitting with whom, by sharing with whom you enjoy if they are gone where is the enjoyment?” But he had not come for enjoyment, so the argument, what is the argument? And he has already said, “sukhāṁ na kāṅkṣe, I don’t want happiness”, so where is the ground for this argument. This is another aspect of confusion.

Then he says that, “If I fight there will be a tremendous destruction.” He does not say, “One of the possibilities is that there will be a tremendous destruction.” He knows there will be tremendous destruction. Then he knows the consequence of that destruction: that there will be kuladharma nāśa. He knows it. He does not examine, he does not ask the question: “Will it be so?” He does not say that, “If I fight and I win, there will be establishment of Justice.” You have to compare that establishment of Justice with the possibility of kuladharma nāśa: he does not compare, there is a confusion. There is a hurried argument.

In confusion all the statements have some truth behind them. That is why confusion is so attractive. People try to hug to the confusion. And then he says that, “One who is cause of kuladharma nāśa, it is śuśruma (1.44) we have heard…” Now he brings a kind of a statement from śruti, from the Vedas: that if you do this we go to hell, which he does not want. Why? Because he wants sukhā, which he says in the beginning, “I don’t kāṅkṣe sukhāṁ.” But now he does not want hell, because it is not sukhā, “And I must have sukhā, therefore I will not fight” You will see the confusion and contradiction in the whole argument.

That is why Sri Krishna at a certain time will say that, “If you go by śruti, there are so many interpretations of śruti that you will be bewildered and you will remain in confusion. I am giving you the path, the knowledge of which will deliver you from what you have heard and what you have not heard. So, you go beyond śruti, go to the Truth itself, directly.” This is a tremendous statement of Sri Krishna, like a revolutionary, where śruti is supposed to be such a great pramāṇa, and you should always obey śruti. Even Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s words are now regarded as śruti.

But He himself says, “You go beyond all that is heard and that is not heard, because the Truth is not contained in any Shruti, however wide is the Shruti, the Truth is greater than Shruti.” It can capture only one part. The Truth is so vast, so wide, there is no scripture in the world which can claim: “I have now the final word, everything is contained in it”, this has been the trouble with the world: all Shrutis are presented as the final revelations once for all, all complete, a, b, c, d, up to z. Everything is included in it. And Sri Krishna, a revolutionary, He says, “You go beyond that which is heard and that which is not heard, I am giving you the path by which Shruti will be only like a well in a place where there is flood. So, what is the use of a Shruti, which is like well where I give you the flood!

This yogic knowledge is the knowledge of the flood, go straight to the Truth! And if you don’t go to the Truth directly, if you do not know how to go, first learn to be equal: this is the starting point. First, absolutely, become equal minded and the minimum is: “Endure”. Then, “Become a sage”, and then “Resign”: these are the steps I am giving you as to how you can go beyond all Shrutis. When you are sthitaprājña, when your consciousness becomes sthita, that will be the sign; and action will proceed automatically then after you will not even ask the question whether I should do this or not. In this state of consciousness, action will proceed automatically and that will be the right action. It will be neither be sukṛta, nor duṣkṛta, it will be the right action, neither good action nor bad action, it will be the right action, this is the knowledge I am giving you.” So, that is confusion, alright?