Saturday, February 13, 2010


In the last post, we have seen how SELFLESS ACTIONS  sustain the society and the Universe, how we and the rest of the Universe are inter-dependent and how SELFISH  ACTIONS destroy our society. We will continue the discussion on the Science of Action in this Post.

How does Karma enhance our sustenance and life? Karma gives rise to YAGNA (Or selfless actions).Yagna gives rise to rains (and other life giving natural forces). Rains give birth to food. Food gives birth to all Life - says v.3.14). 

Every life form depends on food and that food comes from rains. Rains come from YAGNA (self less actions) and Yagna comes from Karma. It is the Nature's cycle identified by Krishna. 

What are the selfless actions which give rise to rains? We now know them. We need to plant adequate trees. We need to encourage birds and animal life. We must encourage adequate, free flowing  water streams. Do we not know that fresh water from rains falls at the highest places but flows down to the lowest places before they mingle with their source, the ocean? We must allow that cycle. Just allow nature to encourage life and that life encourages human life too. It is so simple. 

But, today, we are destroying forests. We are destroying water flows. We are destroying even big rivers by building dams across them and stopping the water flow midway. Water needs to flow, if it has to remain healthy. We are killing birds, animals etc indiscriminately. We are acting against all forms of life in nature. This process will result in unimaginable harm to human beings as well. The barren land results in barren human minds, which give rise to destructive ideas and finally, human beings will tend to destroy human beings. It starts with selfish human actions and ends with human destruction.

Action is born of BRAHMAN and Brahman is rooted of  AKSHARA (the indestructible).  Brahman is  ever present in Yagna. Akshara can also be taken as the WORD, the AUM Sabda, the Vedas  and so on. (V.3.15)
In essence, It implies that action is inherent in the universe everywhere and the best of action is YAGNA , in which the Brahman is always present. At this point, we are not defining the Brahman and the Akshara both. We will take up their definition separately. 

In essence, human being must identify himself with the whole universe, which automatically makes him selfless. All his actions then become selfless and Yagna. Suffice it to say that the selfless actions of human beings  have great importance for sustenance of the human society as well as the nature surrounding them.(v.15). On the other hand, SELFISH actions lead to reversal of this creation cycle and leads to destruction (v.16).

All this discussion leads to the conclusion that we must do our duty SELFLESSLY and without attachment to its fruits - which means that the results must benefit a large number of others and not necessarily the self alone. This type of Karma, or Yagna, uplifts man to a much higher level of achievement and development(v.19). 

Whether your Karma benefits you or not, if it benefits the world, if it is capable of removing the difficulties, sadness or poverty of some other people, you must perform such Karma (v.20).

We must remember Gandhiji's advice to leaders and administrators - to keep the lowest and the poorest man in view, while making their plans.It is well in tune with this verse of the Gita. Why did Gandhiji specifically address it to leaders? Krishna himself gives the clue in the next verse. 

Krishna says - what the leaders in every field do, the same will be followed by all common people.(v.21). This is science of action at its best. If the leaders are honest, people will be honest. If leaders are corrupt and violent, people will also be likewise. It is therefore essential that people must select leaders who are idealistic in their behaviour - honest, always performing Yagna (selfless action) and always thinking of the upliftment of all people, especially the lowest of the low. Leader sets the standards for the society.

Krishna, giving his own example, says - Arjuna, I have nothing more to desire or get from this world or from anybody, but still, I am always immersed  in my Karma. It has to be so with every one. If I am not performing Karma, all others, including even the strong people,  will follow my example and become lazy(v.23). I would be spoiling them and the society  by not performing my Karma and setting a bad example to them(v.24)

Knowledgeable and wise people, who have understood life will always work for the whole world (i.e., for all people) whereas others will work selfishly for their own benefit.But, what should the wise do with the unwise? The wise must advise, instruct and make the unwise understand smoothly, slowly and steadily, but do not perturb them by telling them things they cannot immediately comprehend.(v.26)

In fact, Krishna himself follows the same method of teaching to Arjuna throughout the GITA. While not deviating from the ancient science of Action, he strives to make it so simple for Arjuna to understand. We are all like Arjuna and in the same predicament. We have a great need to understand in the same way and make others understand in the same way.



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