Bhagavad Gita Lessons
Lesson 3: Dharma Vs Adharma
Every one of us, without exception, inherently knows what is right for us to do or not to do. This is called Dharma. Dharma is a set of actions (including thoughts, words and deeds) that preserves and sustains the functioning of the universe.
Example: It is the Dharma of the Sun to give out heat. If it does not, the solar system will perish.
Similarly, every human being is supposed to follow his Dharma. Any action that is not in line with Dharma is called Adharma.
People do Adharma due to the accumulated preferences (arising out of our likes and dislikes) and insufficient knowledge. When they do Adharma, there is a conflict within them.
Normally the forces of Dharma and Adharma balance each other and the world is functioning as desired by God. If the force of Dharma is overpowering then the world will be comparatively peaceful and serene. However, when the Adharma is on the rise there is a risk of the destruction of the whole world.
Example: Nuclear warfare may wipe out the life forms on earth.
To deal with such a risk, God might have to take an Avatar (as and when such risks arise). Normally such risks do not happen often. The normal tug-of-war between Dharma and Adharma is due to the combined impressions of all the human beings.
Some parts of the world are torn by war while there is peace in the rest of the world. There are terrorist attacks that happen once in a while even in otherwise peaceful locations. All these variations are part of the intricate web of our previous accumulated impressions.
Our environment is exclusively designed by us according to our past deeds. Whenever there is a slight imbalance between Dharma and Adharma, there are Ascending Avatars who can take over the task of bringing back the balance. Only in exceptional cases, there will be a need for a Descending Avatar.
God is capable of changing the environment without having to descend himself as an Avatar.
Example: Gandhi came to India from South Africa, not with the intention of leading a freedom movement. God did the job through him.
Therefore, it is not important to know who does the job. It is important to know that we have to follow Dharma and never do Adharma. If we do not, we will be punished at the appropriate time in an appropriate manner.
The good and bad always come together. Each one of us is prompted to be good or bad depending on our past-accumulated preferences. We are supposed to censor such thoughts and convert only what is Dharma into action. If we do this, we are good else, we are bad. Our own impressions fructify into experiences and maintain the balance between Adharma and Dharma.
Example: Hitler met his downfall at the appropriate time so that Dharma is protected.
Thus, God manifests himself in many ways to ensure the Adharma is kept at the required level and the Dharma is preserved so that the universe is sustained.
Teaching 53: We should live according to the Dharma prescribed in the Vedas
Chapter 4: Source of knowledge
Verses: 07 – 08
4.7 Oh Arjuna, whenever there is a decline of Dharma and increase in Adharma then indeed, I manifest Myself.
4.8 For the protection of the righteous ones, for the destruction of the unrighteous ones and for the establishment of Dharma, I take birth in every age.
Unit 11: The path and the destination
Number of Sessions: 11
(123 – 133)
Number of Lessons: 5
Verses: 4.09 – 4.24
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Understand how the life of educated people are misdirected
(b) Recognize the world as an educational institution
1. What causes us to be born?
2. Why the ultimate truth revealed in Vedas cannot be comprehended by all?
3. What are the five grades in the earth-school?
4. What is the main subject in each of these five grades?
5. What are the seven reasons for the stagnation in the second grade?
6. What are the two conditions required to claim inaction in action?
7. Which part of us is in constant action?
8. How can we claim that we never do any action?
9. What is the process of transcending action?
10. What are the characteristics of a person who has transcended action?
Lesson 1: Final Goal – Merging with God
All the living beings continue to take birth after death and proceed on their journey towards the ultimate goal of merging with the God. In each birth, they accumulate impressions, preferences and knowledge and keep progressing towards the final goal.
Human beings occupy different rungs of the spiritual ladder.
Example: In a school, there are many students in each grade. Every student is in some grade depending on his level of intelligence. It is not possible that all the students are in the final grade in any one particular year. Everyone in the school will ultimately reach the final grade and leave the school sometime in the future. However, the school will never become empty, except during the yearly summer vacation!
Similarly, earth is the school in which all the human beings are at different levels of growth. Their knowledge keeps growing through the experience in life during every lifetime. They become better in every birth and keep progressing to the next level. Ultimately, when they gain the true knowledge of God, they leave the earth and become one with the God. Everyone in the world will merge with God sometime in the future. However, world will never become empty except during the dissolution of the universe.
Until we learn the true nature of God (explained in the seventh chapter), we will continue to be born. It is not possible for everyone to understand the true nature of God. It is like expecting the students belonging to the lower grades to grasp what is taught in the final grade.
Example: How a baby is conceived and born?
A two-year-old baby will understand the answer to this question differently compared to a twelve year old. A grown up adult will have a better understanding.
It should be noted that at each stage, people assume that their understanding is complete and final. Schoolchildren think that there is nothing more to learn, after the final exam. However, the process of learning does not stop until one completes the final grade. Similarly, in life one has to keep learning until the ultimate truth is known.
Example: Some couples do not beget children, although they are physically fit. Why?
Even scientists and medical professionals cannot answer this question. They do not have complete understanding on any subject, which is proved by continuous research in every field of science. By definition, the research in any field can never be completed.
Thus, while most people think that they have complete understanding, the fact remains that the truth is yet to be found by science. That ultimate truth is revealed in Vedas. We can have complete understanding of everything including God by studying the Vedas.
God is understood differently by different people. While every understanding can be claimed to be correct by the person concerned, it should be noted that the limitation of intelligence and the right attitude on the part of the seeker might prevent him from knowing the whole truth.
However, it is not required to point out that they are holding on to a lower version of truth. As and when they gain mental maturity, they will be climbing to the next rung of the spiritual ladder. When they reach a higher level of understanding, they will realize that they were holding a lower version of truth earlier.
Example: Telling a lower grade student that he does not have the complete understanding will not help him. In fact it will be a major obstacle to him since he might construe such a comment to mean that he is incompetent. He might lose his confidence, resulting in slowing down his progress to the higher grades.
Our accumulated impression is causing us to be born and we keep accumulating more impressions. However, when we know God, all the accumulated impressions are destroyed. The ultimate knowledge, like a fire, destroys our accumulated impressions. Therefore, after death we will merge with God. We will not be born again after merging with God.
Teaching 54: Knower of Brahman becomes Brahman
Chapter 4: Source of knowledge
4.9 He who thus knows, in true light, My divine birth and action, having abandoned the body, he is not born again. He comes to Me, Oh Arjuna.
Lesson 2: Start to finish – Animal to God
Session: 124 – 126
The world is like a school in which students are studying in various grades. In each grade, they learn different subjects and all the students pass out of the school eventually. Similarly, people in the world continuously learn and progress to the next level. This process of learning continues birth after birth.
When they gain the complete understanding of Self, God and the universe, they become one with God. Until this step is reached, people go through various levels, which are grouped into five grades as discussed below. There are no optional grades and everyone has to go through every grade. However, this should be understood in the context of rebirth. It is not possible for anyone to start climbing from the first step of the ladder and reach the top in one lifetime. Nevertheless, anyone can reach the stage of enlightenment here and now because he/she could have completed all the previous steps in the innumerable previous births.
This can be observed by the speed at which the knowledge is grasped.
Example: When a teacher teaches math, few children understand the lessons much faster. Most children take time. Remaining children do not understand at all.
Similarly, in life when a person is exposed to a particular teaching, how fast he understands it shows how much he has learnt the same in the previous births.
Example: A father has six children. When they grow up and start earning money, everyone with the exception of one, makes investment in land, house and such assets. One does not see any sense in this.
He may have his own reasons (which may not be the right reason) for his odd behavior. Nevertheless, the fact remains that he has learnt the futility of prosperity in his previous births. This is the only reason for his non-attachment to properties. He will take less time to learn and progress to higher grades.
In every birth, everyone is taken through all the five grades for a trial period. The environment in life offers them opportunities to go through each grade. Depending on the past learning, one takes least time to complete a particular grade and moves on to the next until he comes to the right grade that suits him. He thus picks up from where he discontinued the learning in the previous birth.
Thus, the whole world settles down at the appropriate grade and continues the journey of learning until ultimately they merge with God by knowing him.
Grade 1: No Dependence Main Subject: Do Dharma and avoid Adharma
Just as the language is the medium of communication using which all the knowledge can be gained by the student, Dharma forms the foundation on which all the further growth is possible.
Unlike animals, human beings have free will. They should use the free will, do Dharma, and avoid Adharma until they reach the final goal. During the initial stages, it might be a difficult process but later on, it will become effortless.
Example: Writing a language for the first time is a big effort for children in lower grades. This will become an effortless process when they move to higher grades.
Similarly, people who are less knowledgeable will struggle to do Dharma and avoid Adharma. As we approach the final grades, doing Dharma will be part of our nature. Even by mistake, we will not do Adharma.
Grade 2: World Dependence Main Subject: Reduction of Attachment
People are engaged in various actions to gain name, fame, money, wealth, power, position and property. People are attached to one or more of these on the assumption that they derive happiness from them. This attachment causes delusion, fear and anger.
By practicing Karma Yoga, one should reduce the attachment. When they realize that the world cannot fulfill their inadequacy, they move up to the next grade.
Grade 3: God Dependence Main Subject: Devotion to God
All are actions are done as an offering to God. All the results (both positive and negative) are taken as the gift from God. One lives completely in God consciousness.
When the mind is relived of all the afflictions due to attachment, like anger, fear and such negative emotions, it gets matured enough to move to the next grade.
Grade 4: Self-Dependence Main Subject: Source of Happiness
All actions are done to understand the secrets contained in Vedas. Material pursuit is pushed back and spiritual pursuit gains momentum in this grade. The ultimate knowledge on Self, God and the Universe is gained.
When the knowledge so gained becomes steady, one moves to the final grade.
Grade 5: Independence No Subject. Joyful Living
This is the final level where everything that is to be learnt is already learnt. There is nothing more to learn or do. All actions are done without any trace of ego. Ignorance, which is the cause of all the suffering, is replaced by the ultimate knowledge. One has become pure with knowledge that his nature is ever witnessing joy.
Life is joyful.
Many people have reached this level and few of them serve as guides/ signposts for the rest of the humanity to progress towards this ultimate goal.
Teaching 55: Without exception, all human beings are trying to know Brahman
Chapter 4: Source of knowledge
4.10 Having resorted to Me, many people who are freed from attachment, fear and anger, who are absorbed in Me and who are purified by the fire-of-knowledge, many have attained My nature.
Lesson 3: Driving force – Desire to become God
Session: 127 – 128
Desire is the driving force that decides the course of life of an individual. This driving force is normally engaged in seeking the external sense objects. When we realize that this seeking can never be fulfilled then the desire, the driving force, is engaged in refining the mind.
Depending on the strength of the desire, people promote themselves from one grade to the next. The schoolteacher does not arbitrarily decide on who should be promoted. The driving force of the student is the deciding factor. Similarly, in life, the desire to reach the destination is the driving force that promotes people from the previous grade to the next.
It can be observed that there is a big stagnation in Grade 2: World Dependence. Most people are working for name, fame, money, wealth, property, prosperity and such material comforts. People are stuck in this grade and do not move up to the next grades (God Dependence, Self-Dependence etc). There is no short cut to success. One has to move up the grades to reach the destination. Although, all human beings are following the path (Grade 1 to 5) as laid down by the God, many of them take long time (many births) to pass through Grade 2.
There are many reasons for this phenomenon.
Reason 1: Ignorance
This is the primary reason. People do not know that they need to move up in order to reach the destination of Joyful Living. They are under the wrong impression that they will be able to gain eternal happiness in their material pursuit. Unless they understand the futility of the prosperity, they will not move up to the next grade.
Example: Our hand will pain if there is a fracture in the bone. Soon after the doctor gives anesthesia, we should not walk out saying that there is no more pain. One needs to undergo an operation to correct the problem.
Similarly, people are happy with the temporary success in material pursuit. The solution found in material pursuit is not complete and everlasting. It is partial and solves the problem on a temporary basis. The very same problem will come back to us soon. We need to move up to spiritual pursuit to find a lasting solution. However, due to ignorance, people are satisfied with anesthesia that gives temporary relief.
Teaching 56: Many do not know that their goal is Joyful Living
Reason 2: God Dependence for material pursuit
Many who are still in the Grade 2 are devotees of God. Therefore, they assume that they have moved to the next grade (Grade 3: God Dependence) and God will help them to reach the destination of Joyful Living. The fact is they are seeking God’s support for their material prosperity. It is like asking the Grade 3 teacher to teach Grade 2 subjects.
Example: Many business houses include Lord Venketeshwara as a business partner and deposit his share of profit in the Thirupathi hundi.
This is a typical example of why people continue to be in Grade 2 without any progress. God will give only what is sought. Instead of asking God to give us eternal happiness, people assume that they are smart and seek God to give specific boons that will lead them to happiness.
Example: A mother carried the body of her dead child and asked Buddha to solve her problem.
If Buddha had brought back the life of the dead child, he would have solved the problem temporarily and the mother will continue to face various problems in life.
Example: ‘Free Mandela’ movement was spearheaded by his wife, Winnie Mandela. Soon after his release, she divorced him!
Teaching 57: Many do not know what will give them fulfillment
Therefore, it is essential that we pray to God to give us that thing which will end all our sufferings and enable us to live joyfully. That ‘thing’ is knowledge. Only when people move up to Grade 3: God Dependence, they will know to make the right request to God.
Reason 3: Shortsightedness
In general, people want quick results. They want to do least work and expect great results within a short period.
Example: Allopathic treatment is more popular than homeopathy.
This is because the rules and regulations are minimum in allopathic. Besides, the results are visible quickly. Good health depends on regular exercise and right diet. However, people do not see this as a tangible benefit. They are shortsighted. They work for long number of hours ignoring diet and exercise because they do not fall sick at the end of the day.
Similarly, seeking eternal happiness requires hard work and far sightedness. People want to solve their immediate problem, forgetting the fact that they are trying to reach the horizon. As they go forward, the horizon will keep moving further away from them.
Teaching 58: Many wrongly link their goal in life with happiness
Reason 4: Herd mentality
Number of students studying in a school is much higher compared to those in post graduation level. Similarly, the majority of world’s educated population is in Grade 2. Therefore, people wrongly assume that they are in the right grade. People who have moved up to the final grade are much smaller in number and therefore, they do not attract the majority.
Teaching 59: Majority of the educated people do not know the right path
It is easier for people to imitate successful people in material pursuit since they are around everywhere. Each one follows his immediate leader without knowing that the leader is blind who does not know how to reach Joyful Living.
Example: I want to buy a car since my neighbor has bought one. I do not check whether my neighbor is still happy after buying the car.
There is an important rule in the world of material pursuit. Whatever we achieve, there will be still more to be achieved. Whatever we have gained, still there will be lot more to gain. Whatever we have found out there will be many more to find out. There is no end.
This can be proved by a simple test. Ask any youth what he wants to become in future. Whatever is his answer, that goal has been already achieved by someone else in the past and that someone will be chasing another goal.
Reason 5: Difficulty
Going up the ladder is easy in the initial steps and it will become progressively more difficult. It is obviously more difficult to pass school final compared to the first grade. This should not be a reason for stagnation. Unfortunately, this is also a reason why people are stuck to Grade 2. All effort is spent on finding a solution to their immediate suffering and they presume that pursuing a goal of attaining a life that is free of any suffering will be much more difficult.
In Grade 2, effort is made to change the world so that one can live happily. In Grade 3 and 4, the effort is to change one’s own mind. It is easier to do action in the external world and people perceive it is difficult to work with one’s own mind.
Teaching 60: It is easier to work in the external world than to work on the mind
Reason 6: Wrong perception
People are not aware that the effort required to complete a grade do not vary much since the capability also increases.
Example: Eighth grade is as difficult for the eighth grade student as the tenth grade is difficult for the tenth grade student.
They wrongly assume that if they move up the grade, they may fail. In addition, one may get used to the current teacher, classroom and books and refuse to be promoted to the next grade.
Example: If I get promotion, I will be transferred. I am comfortable in the present environment and therefore I do not want promotion.
If this reasoning is given by people who are not eligible for promotion it is of no consequence. Unfortunately, those who are eligible follow such people and remain stagnated. There are many myths and untrue stories that are woven around the further grades by those who are not eligible to get promotion.
Majority of the educated people have the potential and capability to complete the spiritual pursuit successfully. Due to the wrong perception that the spiritual pursuit is difficult, they remain in the same grade, without seeking promotion.
Teaching 61: Many do not know their capability to reach the destination.
Reason 7: Nature cannot be changed
Everyone is being controlled by their past accumulation of impressions, preferences and knowledge. There is a factor called ‘free will’, which will enable people to break the cycle. People do not use this ability in an appropriate way.
Example: A donkey will have desire to eat a book and not read a book.
Similarly, most people are willing to worship the Holy Scriptures and not willing to read them. They are not yet ready to move up to the next grade. Therefore, they will not desire to gain eternal happiness.
People are made up of different proportion of Aura, Energy and Matter. Based on their composition they are grouped under four different classes (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra). The purpose of this nature based classification is to enable them to progress to the next higher grade at a faster pace. This classification cannot be inherited from parents.
According to this classification only when one becomes Aura Dominant, he gets the eligibility to be promoted to the next grade.
Thus, after overcoming these seven reasons, one will get the desire to know God and he will move up to Grade 3 – God Dependence. Ultimately, when he knows Brahman, he becomes Brahman as declared in Vedanta.
Teaching 62: Only Aura dominant people can merge with God
Chapter 4: Source of knowledge
Verses: 11 – 13
4.11 Whoever approaches Me with whatever desire, I reward them. Oh Arjuna, all men follow My path in all ways.
4.12 They who long for satisfaction from actions in this world make sacrifices to the gods, because satisfaction is quickly obtained from actions in this world-of-objects.
4.13 The fourfold-caste has been created by Me according to the differentiation of three gunas and karma. Though I am the author thereof, know Me as non-doer and immutable.
Lesson 4: Meaning of ‘Merging with God’
Session: 129 – 130
While starting the journey one aims to know the God. However, when he ultimately knows the God, he becomes one with God.
In order to know God, we need to gain self-knowledge since the subject matter for both is the same.
Example: Lord Krishna says that he has laid down fourfold-caste system based on the attributes and action of men. In the same verse (4.13), he also says that he did not do it.
How can one do it and not do it at the same time? This means that he refers to two different entities. The consciousness, which is immutable, does not do any action and the body/mind complex, which has borrowed the sentiency from the consciousness, does all the action.
One who understands this merges with God.
We do not see the world the way it is. We see it through our colored preferences. We only see what we want to see. That is the reason the very same world is described differently by different people.
Example: The question, ‘How the movie was?’ will draw many different, sometimes opposite views. Thus, it is clear that the movie does not determine the perception of the viewers.
Similarly, we see only our own projections and not the so-called ‘real world’. When Lord Krishna says, ‘I did this’ or ‘I did not do this’ people understand the statement according to their own limitations. Only those who are aware that they themselves do not do any action while being busy in the world can see that there is no contradiction in the statement.
In order to act and still claim inaction following conditions are to be met.
Condition 1: Absence of ego
One should know that in reality, we do not live life. Life happens to us. We do not think, act, or speak anything. There should be absolutely no sense of doer ship, since we do not do anything. This is called absence of ego.
It does not matter what we think, say or do as long as we know that we are not the doer.
The popular meaning of the word ‘ego’ is not referred here. Even if someone claims ‘I did this’ to the whole world or behaves very proudly and carries himself high and mighty, it may not mean he has any ego. His behavior is controlled by his preferences. His knowledge determines whether he has ego or not.
If he is aware that he (the Atman) is action less and the nature of the body/mind complex to be ever in action, he has dropped his ego.
Condition 2: Absence of motive
In general, one does action for the sake of enjoying the fruits of action. As long as action is done in this way, inaction in action cannot be claimed.
One who has nothing to gain from the world will not do any action for fulfilling any requirements. Only such person can claim inaction in action. He continues to act because the nature of body/mind complex is to be in action.
Such actions do not bring about any attachment to the doer. He continues to be free and not tainted by his actions. Action invariably binds ignorant people because they have the sense of doership and have a motive for action.
Only who meet both these conditions can understand the statement that Lord Krishna had made.
Many have this understanding and therefore it is possible for all us to aim for this. It is generally said that one in a million reaches this goal and that one could be anyone of us. We need to do perform required action (study Vedanta systematically, reflects on the teaching and gain steady knowledge through meditation) to know God.
Teaching 63: Dropping the ego is merging with God
Therefore, Lord Krishna urges Arjuna to take up his duty of fighting in the verse 15.
Chapter 4: Source of knowledge
Verse: 13 – 15
4.13 The fourfold-caste has been created by Me according to the differentiation of three gunas and karma. Though I am the author thereof, know Me as non-doer and immutable.
4.14 Actions do not taint Me, nor have I any desire for the results of the actions. He who knows Me thus is not bound by actions.
4.15 Having known this, action has been performed by the ancient seekers of liberation also. Therefore, you too perform action, as did the ancients in the olden times.
Lesson 5: Transcending action and inaction
Session: 131 – 132
If the student does not know, it is easier for the teacher to teach. However, if the student has wrong understanding, it is difficult to give the right knowledge since the wrong understanding prevents one from seeing the right knowledge.
Example: While traveling in a bus, the son tells his father, ‘see the trees are coming towards us…and going in the opposite direction’. If the father answers, ‘trees do not move’, the son will ignore the ‘moving trees’ and try to look for ‘non-moving trees’ that are seen by his father. Therefore, the father has to say, ‘the moving trees that you see do not move’.
Similarly, we are aware that we do all our action. It is a wrong understanding. If we are taught that Atman is action less, we will misunderstand that Atman is different from us. Therefore, it has to be taught, ‘in action we have to see the inaction, since in reality we do not do any action, just as trees do not move’.
There are only two substances. One is the consciousness and the other is inert objects. Consciousness never does any action. Inert objects (including our body/ mind complex) can never remain without action. Therefore, even if we think that we are keeping quite without any action, we need to see action in it.
Example: While watching a moving ship from the shore, the son tells his father, ‘see the ship is standing in the same place’. In order to give the right understanding to the son, the father has to say, “The non-moving ship is moving”.
Thus, we need to understand that the entire creation is made up of Aura, Matter and Energy. It will be in constant motion and there is no resting period. The apparent inaction observed by us is a wrong understanding. It is not possible to keep the mind thoughtless for a long time. It is not possible for the body to be without movement. For example, the blood is circulating continuously. All inert objects are made up of atoms in which the electrons are in continuous motion. Planets are going around the sun. Galaxies are moving. Universe is expanding.
Thus, we can never remain without doing action but in reality, we do not do any action.
Teaching 64: You can do any action if you know that you do not act
The process of transcending action and inaction
Atman does not do any action ever. Therefore, it does not have to stop doing action.
Body/mind is always in action. It is not possible for it to stop doing action.
We need to understand how Lord Krishna did something and did not do it at the same time. Then we transcend action and inaction and merge with God since we also do not do any action although we are in action all the time.
Benefit of transcending action and inaction
Normally, people wait for the mind to become peaceful without any thoughts so that they can enjoy the quietude. This is just not possible.
One should understand this truth so that one does not wait eternally for peaceful life. After gaining this knowledge there will not be any guilty feeling with respect to past actions. There will not be any anxiety about the current and future actions.
Characteristics of a person who has transcended action and inaction
One who has crossed all the four grades and reached the final grade (Grade 5: Independence), live joyfully. He has the following characteristics.
1. Desireless and purposeless actions.
His knowledge has burnt all his desires and purposes in life. He does not desire anything from the world for happiness since he is complete in himself. Therefore, his actions are not for fulfilling any desires. His actions are prompted by his accumulated preferences and can be considered as the action of God, since he has nothing to achieve by doing the action. He will continue to be busy in doing what he likes to do. His actions may or may not appear to be ‘useful’ in the eyes of ignorant people. Only another person who is also wise can see and understand his wisdom.
2. He is independent
He has reached the goal. There is nothing in the creation that can attract his attention. He is ever content. He looks upon his body and mind as a luxury. Mere existence is celebration for him.
He may be highly active or be passive withdrawn from the world. The quantum of action done by him is of no significance and does not reflect on his status in anyway.
His actions do not bind him and make him attached to the fruits of action. For some reason if there is an obstacle for him to do his work, he will not mind to abandon his work.
3. He does not see the duality.
For him there is only one reality, which is himself (Atman). Life is just as a dream for him. He sees God in everything and in everyone. Therefore, the pairs of opposites do not affect him anymore. However, he is aware that the people with whom he is dealing with do not know that life is a dream. Therefore, he will always be tender and kind to others. He will help everyone and will not hurt anyone.
4. His actions do not bind.
Since action is done by him without any sense of doership, he is not bound by the results of the action.
Chapter 4: Source of knowledge
Verses: 16 – 23
4.16 Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what action is and what inaction is. Now I shall explain to you what action is, knowing which you shall be liberated from the eternal cycle of pleasure and pain.
4.17 The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore, one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is, and what inaction is.
4.18 One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction is wise among men. He is not bound by action, although engaged in all sorts of activities.
4.19 One whose actions are devoid of desire is in full knowledge. He is said by sages to be a wise person whose actions are burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.
4.20 Abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities, remaining ever satisfied and independent, he never performs any action, although engaged in all kinds of actions.
4.21 Such a man of understanding acts with control over the mind and sense organs gives up all sense of proprietorship over his possessions and acts only for the bare necessities of life. Thus working, he is not affected by sinful reactions.
4.22 He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord, who is free from duality and does not envy, who is steady both in success and failure, is never entangled, although performing actions.
4.23 The entire action of the one whose mind is established in knowledge, who is free from attachment, who is independent, merges with the total action of the creation.
4.24 Brahman is the oblation. Brahman is the clarified butter constituting the offerings. By Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman. Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in all actions.
Unit 12: Completing the journey
Number of Sessions: 7
(134 – 140)
Number of Lessons: 4
Verses: 4.25 – 4.42
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Understand the role of action and knowledge in Joyful Living
Unit Test: Session: 140
1. Why should we turn away from sense objects temporarily?
2. What are the two parts of the path?
3. Give few examples of actions done in the first part of the path.
4. What are the three steps required in the second part of the path?
5. What are the two qualifications for the teacher?
6. What are the four qualifications for the student?
7. What are the three benefits of reaching the destination?
8. Knowledge is the greatest purifier. Explain.
9. What are the three qualities that slow down the speed of the seeker?
10. What are the three qualities that speed up the progress towards the destination?
Lesson 1: First part of the path – Action
Session: 134 – 135
Sense objects in the world are meant for the enjoyment of the living beings. However, while enjoying the sense objects, human beings develop attachment, which leads to suffering.
Therefore, human beings have to learn to enjoy the sense objects without being attached to them. The sense organs are to be trained in such a way that we are able to derive pleasure from the environment without any trace of suffering. Such Joyful Living, is possible through an immunization process.
Example: Immunization against a virus might cause fever for short duration. However, it protects the person from the dangers of the virus and enables the person to lead normal and healthier life.
Similarly, one has to be immunized while indulging in sense pleasures.
This immunization process involves restraining oneself from indulging in sense pleasure for a specific duration or through a specific action. For example, Muslims fast during daytime for a month every year. Similarly, Hindus abstain from various sense pleasures for forty days prior to offering prayers at Iyyappan temple at Sabarimalai. Many do Pranayama, Japa, Yoga or Meditation. All such practices are aimed at enabling a person to gain a matured mind that can be liberated from the clutches of the sense objects.
Thus, knowingly or unknowingly all of humanity is progressing in the path leading to Joyful Living in the name of religious practices.
Following such religious practices, help the sense organs to gain more strength so that the attachment to the sense objects is weakened.
Teaching 65: Willful abstention from sense objects give strength to sense organs
Without such practices, the attachment to sense objects will become stronger and there is no possibility for gaining Joyful Living.
After sufficient practice of such self-imposed restraints, one gains the required level of mental maturity to proceed to the second part of the path.
The first part consists of various actions while the second part consists of gaining knowledge. Without performing the prescribed actions in the first part, one cannot progress in the second and concluding path. The second path involves learning the essence of Vedanta and gaining the knowledge. This will remove the ignorance and one will reach the destination of Joyful Living.
The first part, which involves pure action, makes the mind matured. After gaining a matured mind, there is no need to do any action prescribed in the first part. One should abandon all such actions for progressing towards gaining self-knowledge in the second part. Otherwise they will become obstacles.
Example: In a pole valet, one has to abandon the pole after reaching the required height. Otherwise, the very same pole, which helped him to climb, will make him falter in the final jump.
Those who continue to practice the actions prescribed in the first part assume that they will reach the destination merely because they are working. Such actions are in fact are obstructing one from gaining the knowledge. They should start spending their time and effort in learning Vedanta.
Chapter 4: Source of knowledge
Verses: 25 – 31
4.25 Some yogis worship the gods by offering different sacrifices to them, and some of them offer sacrifices in the fire of the Supreme Brahman.
4.26 Some of them sacrifice the hearing process and the senses in the fire of the controlled mind, and others sacrifice the objects of the senses, such as sound, in the fire of sacrifice.
4.27 Those who are interested in self-realization, in terms of mind and sense control, offer the functions of all the senses, as well as the vital force [breath], as oblations into the fire of the controlled mind.
4.28 There are others who, enlightened by sacrificing their material possessions in severe austerities, take strict vows and practice the yoga of eightfold mysticism, and others study the Vedas for the advancement of transcendental knowledge.
4.29 And there are even others who are inclined to the process of breath restraint to remain in trance, and they practice stopping the movement of the outgoing breath into the incoming, and incoming breath into the outgoing, and thus at last remain in trance, stopping all breathing. Some of them, curtailing the eating process, offer the outgoing breath into itself, as a sacrifice.
4.30 All these performers who know the meaning of sacrifice become cleansed of sinful reaction, and, having tasted the nectar of the remnants of such sacrifice, they go to the supreme eternal atmosphere.
4.31 Oh Arjuna, without sacrifice one can never live happily on this planet or in this life: what then of the next?
Lesson 2: Second part of the path – Knowledge
Session: 136 – 137
In the first part of the path, people are given wide choices of actions. Therefore, most people could progress well in the path by following any of the religious rituals prescribed in their culture/tradition. When they gain sufficient mental maturity, they move on to the second part of the path.
In the second part of the path, there are no choices or options. All varied actions in the first path will invariably lead to the second part. Thereafter, the steps are identical for everyone.
The focus in the second part is on gaining knowledge by moving away from actions in the external world. The first part of the path is governed by the Active Dharma, prescribed in the first part of the Vedas. The second part of the path is governed by the Passive Dharma, prescribed in Vedanta.
The second part consists of three steps, which will enable them to gain the knowledge and reach the goal.
Step 1: Inquiry
Inquiry means consistent and systematic study of Vedanta for a length of time under the guidance of a competent teacher who is alive and accessible for providing clarifications.
Inquiry is the process of learning the central message of the Vedas. One needs to find out from the teacher, the complete teaching about the body/mind complex and the consciousness in order to develop the sense of discrimination
Example: In order to select the real pearls from the false, one should have the complete knowledge on both. In addition, one should develop the required skills to discriminate between the real and false.
Similarly, the student should approach the teacher and start the process of the Inquiry.
One should learn from a qualified teacher
a. who has gained self-knowledge from his teacher (There are different traditions prevailing in India and in all the traditions the first teacher is God. Adi Sankara and Sri Ramanuja are two main/popular/opposing traditions that are prevalent today)
b. who is living joyfully
There are teachers who meet only one of the above conditions.
It is possible that a teacher has complete knowledge on Vedanta but has not reached the destination of Joyful Living. Or the teacher might have reached the destination without systematic steady of Vedanta in the current lifetime. The first type of teacher may or may not be able to lead the student to the destination. In the second case, it is impossible for the teacher to lead the student.
Therefore, the qualified teacher is one who meets both the above two conditions.
One should be a qualified student
a. Should show lots of respect to the teacher
b. Surrender the ego to the wisdom of the teacher
c. Should have faith that the teacher will lead him to the destination
d. Should seek to learn the ultimate knowledge not seek blessings for material prosperity.
e. Should question the ability of the self to learn the lesson and not doubt the knowledge of the teacher.
The student should stick to one teacher and learn systematically. However, he may not have the knowledge to judge whether he is studying under the right teacher. Therefore, he should study until he has learned the central message of the Vedas according to his teacher and move on to the next step. The next step will expose whether the knowledge that he has gained is the right knowledge or not.
Step 2: Introspection
In this step, one should validate the knowledge gained in the previous step. This can be done by listening to various different philosophies of different religions. If the teaching is correct, then one will be able to see why the other teachings appear to be different or why the truth revealed by them is not the ultimate truth.
If the teaching appears to be wrong one should ask for clarification from the teacher. If the clarification provided is not satisfactory then he has to approach another teacher belonging to a different tradition and commence the process of inquiry from the beginning. This is so because every tradition will be teaching a different 'central message' of Vedanta.
One should not accept contradictory teachings. One should keep inquiring until one arrives at one central message that explains everything without any contradiction. Till the completion of Step 1, one should trust the teacher completely. But on completion of the Step 1, trust or blind belief have no role.
In the Step 2, assimilation of the knowledge gained in the Step 1 should happen through logical questioning and personal experience. This step is crossed when the knowledge becomes one’s own knowledge.
When one assimilates the central message of Vedas after validation, he does not quote the teacher nor depend on anyone (including Vedas) for supporting his knowledge. At this stage he is ready for the next step.
Step 3: Inner Transformation
After gaining the right knowledge, we should become steady on the knowledge by meditating on the implications of the knowledge.
Living by the newly acquired knowledge until one is as sure of the real identity as one is sure of the false identity before gaining the knowledge.
Teaching 66: Scientific inquiry of the Vedas will reveal the ultimate knowledge
Chapter 4: Source of knowledge
Verses: 32 – 34
4.32 All these different types of sacrifice are approved by the Vedas, and all of them are born of action. Knowing them as such, you will become liberated.
4.33 Oh Arjuna, the sacrifice of ignorance is superior to any sacrifices involving material. Oh Arjuna, every action without exception culminates in knowledge.
4.34 May you gain that knowledge by surrendering, by service and by proper inquiry. The wise sages will impart that knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.
Lesson 3: Benefits of reaching the destination
Once we successfully cross both the parts of the path, we reach the destination of Joyful Living. We gain three distinct benefits when we gain this ultimate knowledge.
Benefit 1: Removal of delusion
Delusion is the disease, which has afflicted our intelligence. Our natural intelligence has the capability to differentiate between Dharma and Adharma. Due to our attachment, we had developed the disease of delusion.
Our efforts in the form of abstaining from the sense objects in the first part of the path have reduced the attachment. When one gains knowledge in the second part of the path, the delusion is completely removed. As a result, complying with Dharma in all our actions will become part of our nature.
Delusion prevents us from discriminating between reality and falsehood. The knowledge will tell us that we are not the body /mind complex and our real nature is eternal, blissful Atman. Therefore, in life we will be able to perceive the world with the right attitude. We will not give undue importance to the world. We will see that all living beings and inert objects in the universe either as our own self or as God.
Once this stage is reached, we will never again get deluded because the knowledge once gained will not leave us.
Teaching 67: Knowledge removes our desires, attachment and delusions
Benefit 2: Removal of impressions
The results of all our actions are recorded as impressions in our causal body. These impressions will decide our environment (including our physical body) in every birth.
Teaching 68: Knowledge erases all our past impressions
Once the knowledge is gained, all the past impressions will be erased.
Example: Using a small boat we can cross a huge ocean.
Similarly, the knowledge gained may be small, but it will liberate us from all our past impressions. Prior to gaining the knowledge, we were under the assumption that we were doing action. After gaining the knowledge, we have learnt to differentiate between our true self and our ego.
Example: When Buddha's wife asked him why he left her without even informing her, Buddha did not give any explanation. When queried he replied that he was not the person who left her.
Once we get enlightened, awakened from our dream life, we will not be affected by our past actions. We will continue to live our life knowing that it is a dream at a higher level. At the absolute level, we do not do any action and we exist eternally.
Benefit 3: Conversion of action into inaction.
Once we gain the knowledge all our actions will be known in the right perspective. The right perspective is our body/mind complex is part of the inert objects, which is always in action. We do not do any action since we are changeless, action less Atman. Therefore, all our actions will be inactions.
Teaching 69: Knowledge converts all our actions into inaction
Actions that we do after gaining the knowledge can be considered as the action of God to influence and guide others to progress in the path.
Chapter 4: Source of knowledge
Verse: 35 – 37
4.35 Knowing that, you shall not, Oh Arjuna, again get deluded like this; and by that knowledge you shall see all beings without exception in yourself.
4.36 Even if you are the most sinful of all sinners, yet you shall verily cross all sins by the raft of 'Knowledge. '
4.37 As the blazing fire reduces fuel to ashes, Oh Arjuna, so does the fire-of-knowledge reduce all actions to inactions.
Lesson 4: Summary of the journey
Knowledge is the greatest purifier of us. We are deluded to think that we are a limited, mortal being suffering all the time. Knowledge makes it clear to us that we are not limited by space and time. We are immortal. Our natural state is ever witnessing joy.
Thus, knowledge will lead us to live life joyfully.
Knowledge removes our ignorance. The ignorance has caused our delusion. All our suffering is due to our delusion. Thus, the knowledge removes our suffering. Therefore, the knowledge is the greatest purifier.
All our actions purify our mind so that it is ready to receive the knowledge. Once the knowledge is gained, we are liberated from all the suffering.
While everyone is traveling on the path devised by God to reach him, the speed and direction in which one moves varies. Following three qualities make one move at a faster pace.
(a) Faith in the words of teacher
(b) Ability to control the sense organs
(c) Dedication of action as an offering to God and acceptance of the results as the gift from God
With these three qualities, one gains self-knowledge at a faster pace and therefore reaches the destination sooner.
The following three qualities slow down the progress towards Joyful Living.
(a) Doubting everything
(b) Not wanting to learn from a teacher with faith
(c) Feel attached to the action and do not want to let it go even after gaining mental maturity.
Therefore, one should work towards gaining mental maturity in the first part of the path and as soon as it is gained, one should move on to the next step of gaining self-knowledge. One might have to abandon action in order to move from Active Dharma to Passive Dharma. Only then, self-knowledge can be gained.
Teaching 70: Faith and scientific investigation leads to Joyful Living
Chapter 4: Source of knowledge
Verses: 38 – 42
4.38 In this world, there is no other purifier like knowledge. In due course of time, such knowledge is gained in the mind, which is matured through action.
4.39 One who has faith, who is devoted and whose sense organs are restrained attains knowledge. Having attained knowledge, he will soon attain supreme peace.
4.40 But those who are faithless persons and doubt the knowledge that is revealed in scriptures remain ignorant. For the doubting person there is no happiness in this world or in the next.
4.41 Therefore, Oh Arjuna, actions do not bind one who has renounced all actions through knowledge, who has destroyed all doubts and who is situated firmly in the self.
4.42 Therefore, with the sword of knowledge destroy the doubts which have arisen in your mind and which are born out of ignorance. Oh Arjuna, stand up and fight
Unit 13: Oneness of Renouncement and Karma Yoga
Number of Sessions: 15
(141 – 155)
Number of Lessons: 6
Verses: 5.01 – 5.29
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Provide clarity on renouncing the actions
(b) Understand the purpose of renouncement
1. Eternal questions pertain to which six aspects. What are they?
2. What are the two grave mistakes that are being committed by man?
3. What are the two optional paths and one ideal path to reach the goal of Joyful Living?
4. What are the seven reasons why people like Arjuna should not renounce action?
5. What are the six categories of people discussed under the topic of seeing the oneness of action and inaction?
6. What are the five-steps through which renouncement is done through action?
7. What are the two types of renouncement?
8. What are the two factors that determine the results of action and what is the additional benefit of doing karma as karma yoga?
9. What are the six reasons to show that there is no happiness in the objects of the world?
10. What are the three steps suggested for controlling anger?
Lesson 1: Eternal questions
Session: 141 – 142
Man will not rest in peace unless he finds the answer to the eternal questions with respect to following six aspects.
God: Is there God?
If God exists, why is he partial?
Does he have form, name and place to live?
Why God is not able to make the world free from evil?
Universe: When the universe was created?
Who created it?
How it is created?
Why it is created?
What lies outside the boundaries of the known universe?
Is there a single universe or more than one?
How long will it exist?
Who set the laws that govern the cosmic bodies?
Living Being: How did the life evolved in the first place?
What happens after death?
Since the population is on the increase from where new living beings are created?
Is there rebirth/ reincarnation?
Suffering: Why do we suffer?
What are the causes for suffering?
Is it possible to be free of all sufferings ever?
Liberation: What is liberation, enlightenment or awakening?
Is it possible to live happily all the time?
Practice: What do we do now?
What is the goal in life and how do we get there?
How do we move from suffering to liberation?
There are many variations of these questions and it can be said that finding answers to all these questions is the goal of every intelligent man. If men were not intelligent, they would not have ventured to travel beyond the horizon for the fear of falling off from the edge of the earth. Similarly, any unanswered question challenge the intelligence of men and the journey will continue until the correct answer is found.
It is possible to get the correct and only answer to these questions. Self-Knowledge is the subject that covers the answers to these eternal questions.
While it is very important to find the answers for these questions, man is busy with yet another important task. He spends the time and effort to make the world as a right place to live so that he can be happy all the time. After reaching this goal, man would like to turn his attention to these eternal questions. There are two grave mistakes in this approach.
First mistake: Assuming that it is possible to correct the environment in such a way that one can live happily all the time
Second mistake: Assuming that it is possible to find the answers to the eternal questions through science
Only those who realize their mistakes, renounce their actions that are intended to correct the external world and start working in the area of finding answers to the eternal questions through spiritual pursuit. Others continue to be busy with their action and they hope science will one day give answers to these eternal questions.
Teaching 71: Knowledge about the universe leads to Joyful Living.
Inherently, the humankind has the urge to find answers to all the questions with respect to the creation of the universe, which is connected to all other eternal questions. Scientific research is continuously opening up new frontiers in the knowledge of the universe. However, science will never be able to provide complete answers to all questions because the answers to these questions are beyond the reach of our sensory perceptions.
Vedas provide answers to all these questions. The process of finding answers to these eternal questions is not simple. One has to systematically study under a competent teacher. It is similar to studying a postgraduate course. After comprehending the teaching, one has to reflect on the information. One has to validate the information by testing it against the logic and the practicability of such possibility.
The effort involved in both comprehending and validating the answers to the eternal questions is very high.
Lord Krishna had told that only when the action is renounced one could learn self-knowledge and find answers to all these eternal questions. However, he has also asked Arjuna to be involved in action. Therefore, Arjuna wants to know a decisive answer and asks the following question.
Chapter 5: Science of renouncement
5.1 Arjuna said: Oh Krishna, you praised renouncement of action but you are asking me to be in action. Please tell me definitely, which is good for me?
Lesson 2: Renouncing the action
Session: 143 – 145
The ultimate goal of life is identical for all the human beings. It is to live joyfully. This goal cannot be reached unless the answers to the eternal questions are found. To understand the answers, one requires intelligence and matured mind.
(Intelligence in this context refers to the capability to complete the post graduation in any discipline of conventional education.
Matured mind refers to the understanding that the material pursuit will not lead to joyful living and science can never find all the answers to the Eternal Questions.)
Thus, there are two milestones to reach the goal. The first milestone is to gain the required level of intelligence/ matured mind and the second milestone is to gain self-knowledge.
There are two life styles, which are appropriate for achieving these two milestones. One is Professional Lifestyle and the other is Spiritual Lifestyle. Mere adoption of a life style will not ensure that one reaches the milestone.
Example: Studying a lesson in a busy marketplace is more difficult compared to studying in a private room.
It cannot be said those who study in a private room will study better than those who study in the busy marketplace. The environment supports the effort and does not determine the result.
Teaching 72: Lifestyle does not determine but facilitates the result
Spiritual lifestyle does not involve any compulsory duties. One can have all the time for the study of self-knowledge and reflect on the answers. However, if one does not have sufficient mental maturity, it is not possible to make any progress.
Professional lifestyle offers many opportunities to make the mind matured enough to gain self-knowledge. However, since it requires one to spend lots of time and effort in material pursuit, one may not get enough time and opportunity to study and reflect on self-knowledge.
Therefore, it should be understood that both lifestyles play equally important roles in assisting the humankind in reaching the destination of Joyful Living. Which one is right, depends on the status of the individual. If one already has a matured mind, he should renounce the actions and try to adopt spiritual lifestyle so that self-knowledge is gained at the earliest. If one does not have a matured mind, one should not renounce the actions and continue in professional lifestyle.
There are two optional paths and one ideal path to reach the goal.
Optional Path 1: Adopting Professional Lifestyle (both for gaining mental maturity and for gaining the self-knowledge).
Optional Path 2: Adopting Spiritual Lifestyle (both for gaining mental maturity and for gaining the self-knowledge).
Ideal Path: Adopting Professional Lifestyle to gain mental maturity and then adopting Spiritual Lifestyle to gain self-knowledge.
Teaching 73: Professional Lifestyle facilitates mental maturity and Spiritual Lifestyle facilitates self-knowledge
It is not possible or advisable to adopt spiritual lifestyle for mental maturity and then adopt professional lifestyle for gaining self-knowledge.
It really does not matter whether one follows either of the optional paths or the ideal path. The result will be identical. The quality of the destination is not affected by the path chosen by the traveler. The ideal path and the optional paths are the convenient options given to the intended traveler and it is purely his choice to decide on the specific path. His choice does not determine his effort. If he puts in right quality of effort, he will reach the destination. The choice of the paths provides only comfort levels and do not influence the effort in any other way.
After gaining the required mental maturity, one can remain in Professional Lifestyle and reduce the action towards material pursuit in such a way to find time and effort for spiritual pursuit.
Similarly, one may choose spiritual lifestyle even for making the mind matured. Such a person will do social work or service to the teacher for gaining mental maturity. Systematic study of the scriptures can commence after gaining the mental maturity.
In the Ideal Path, one gets the advantages of both. It is easier to gain mental maturity in the Professional Lifestyle and it is easier to gain self-knowledge in the Spiritual Lifestyle.
In all the cases, depending on the level of intelligence, quality of the teacher and the time and effort spent, one reaches the very same destination of Joyful Living.
Lord Krishna says to Arjuna that for him it is better not to renounce action. He is suggesting that Arjuna should be involved in doing his chosen duty. Spiritual Lifestyle is not suitable for him since he has not yet attained the required mental maturity.
There are seven reasons why a man of action (like Arjuna) should not attempt to renounce the action and switch over to the Spiritual Lifestyle.
Reason 1: Weak mind
In the spur of the moment, Arjuna decided that he should renounce the action. It is not a well thought out plan of action. To avoid killing his own people, he wants to abandon action and run away into forest. If he goes into forest, he cannot rest peacefully there. His mind will be on the war and it will force him to come back to fight within a matter of days.
Reason 2: Weak conviction
An important qualification to adopt spiritual lifestyle is to have the conviction that the world cannot offer eternal happiness. Unless one has this conviction, one should not renounce action.
Arjuna did realize that not all his wealth, power and position could guarantee him happiness. Therefore, he wants to renounce action. This is a correct step. However, his conviction is not strong enough. Prince Siddhartha left his family/ kingdom and walked into the forest because he is completely convinced that the world cannot give him happiness. He did not ask anyone's suggestion. He just left without even telling his wife. Arjuna did not have such a strong conviction. (This is clear because he is asking Lord Krishna for suggestions. If he had strong conviction he would have ordered Lord Krishna to drive the chariot out of the battlefield.)
Reason 3: Strong preferences
By repeated action, we have built up strong preferences. These preferences will drive us to be in action and will not allow us to renounce them. Arjuna is a warrior and he has strong preferences to be in action. His likes and dislikes are so strong that they will not permit him to sit quietly without action. (If a crow disturbs his meditation in the forest, he will not hesitate to use his bow and arrow to shoot it down)
Reason 4: Wrong perception
It is wrongly perceived that by adopting the spiritual lifestyle one can reach the goal of Joyful Living. Arjuna assumes that merely by renouncing action he can gain self-knowledge. This is a wrong perception. He has to realize that the effort determines the result and not the choice of life style.
It is wrongly perceived that by adopting professional lifestyle one is bound to action all the time. It all depends on the attitude. If one does action as Karma Yoga, then he will progress towards liberation and he will not be bound by action.
Reason 5: Correct goal
Depending on the immediate milestone, one has to decide whether to renounce action or not. Until one gains mental maturity, it is not advisable to renounce action. Even if one adopts spiritual lifestyle, the first step will be to gain mental maturity through action (physical service to the teacher).
If one has already gained mental maturity then one can renounce action. However, even in such cases one cannot run away from his duties. One has to hand over the responsibilities to the right people and get relieved from the duties with proper planning so that the family/ society are not affected.
Reason 6: Right knowledge
Knowledge determines the action. One can choose to renounce action only when he gains sufficient knowledge on the spiritual path. Since Arjuna does not know what lies in the path of inaction, he is not yet qualified to enter the path.
Reason 7: High risk
Renouncing action is a one-way path. After renouncing the action, if one experience strong pulls from sense pleasures, he will become a failure in the spiritual lifestyle. Professional lifestyle, gives an opportunity to yield to such temptations. Spiritual lifestyle does not permit such actions
Thus, due to these seven reasons, Lord Krishna advised Arjuna that he should not renounce action and Karma Yoga is better for him.
Arjuna’s question is between renouncing the action and doing the work as Karma Yoga. The option of doing action for specific results is not permitted. Mere action is inferior to both renouncement and Karma Yoga. It binds one to suffering. If Arjuna decides to fight for winning or taking revenge his position will be like jumping from frying pan to fire. He has to fight with an attitude of a Karma Yogi.
Therefore, people who are in action should carry out their action as a dedication to God and should have the attitude to accept the results of the action as a gift from God. If action is done with such an attitude, it will lead one to liberation.
If a person living in a Professional Lifestyle complains about his duties, it means that he is not doing them with proper attitude. If a person living in a Spiritual Lifestyle complains about the lifestyle, it means that he has made a mistake in choosing the lifestyle.
Chapter 5: Science of renouncement
5.2 Lord Krishna said, the both renunciation of work and karma yoga are good for liberation. But, of the two, karma yoga is better than renunciation of work.