‘Act without attachment. Do not worry about success or failure in results. Center yourself in wisdom of completion that takes you beyond action and the desire for fruits of action. Once you are centered in wisdom of completion you will act wisely. Once you give up attachment to results, you will be freed from the cycle of birth and death and you will be beyond sorrow.’
In the next verse, Kṛṣṇa begins initiating Arjuna into yoga with the second tattva of authenticity or śraddha. Kṛṣṇa is the greatest strategist of life. Here, He begins revealing the truth of authenticity, the strategy of life, the strategy that will make Arjuna succeed and expand!
Every time inauthenticity is allowed in you, it leaves a powerful fear in you
Kṛṣṇa declares, ‘yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam.’
Please understand, I first want you to understand these words:
‘yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam—yoga is authenticity in action.’ Not just ‘perfection in action’ but I am translating it as ‘authenticity in action.’
buddhi yukto jahātīha ubhe sukṛta-duṣkṛte I
tasmād yogāya yujyasva yogaḥ karmasu kauśalaṁ II 2.50
Let me define Authenticity.
Authenticity is you being established in the peak of your energy, the peak of your capability, and responding to life from who you perceive yourself to be for you and who you project yourself to be for others, and what others expect you to be for them.
Authenticity in your thinking means raising you to the peak. Raising you, again and again, higher and higher, expanding you more and more.
Listen, the moment I say ‘expanding you more and more, continuously,’ do you feel, ‘Oh, God! Then it is unending process? I will never be able to rest at all!’ If you cherish this idea in you, then you are death-oriented; you are entertaining death in your heart. The idea you entertain in your life invites different happenings of life. So, don’t blame, if you get any killer diseases in your life, because you invited them. Understand, first thing you need to do is break that pattern.
Kṛṣṇa gives the ultimate winning strategy of life to Arjuna – to stand up with the courage of authenticity in all his actions, yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam. He urges Arjuna to devote himself to yoga, buddhau yogād dhanañjaya buddhau śaraṇaṁ anviccha (2.49) – to bring authenticity in his action, to expand himself to the peak of his energy. Arjuna can complete his root pattern of fear, only when he raises and expands himself fighting as a kṣatriya warrior. Only then Arjuna will be authentic. The state of fear can be born in you only when you are inauthentic.
Listen! Every time inauthenticity is allowed in you, it leaves a powerful fear in you. Arjuna’s inauthenticity in not raising himself to his responsibility and to others’ expectation of him as a warrior, led him to be death-oriented and collapse with fear.
Listen. Life is expansion. Life is expansion. When you feel, ‘Wow, I am going to expand, expand, expand! Authenticity is the best principle,’ then understand, you are entering into akśardhām—eternal life!
Break the pattern of—‘am I never going to rest or what?’ Why do you need rest? Increasing the speed of running is rest. Make it into flying! That is rest. You see, when you drive or run on the road, there is friction. If you want bliss, joy, peace, don’t reduce the speed of life; reduce the friction. Just take off! Your body, mind, inner space, consciousness, whatever you feel about you, go on expanding, expanding, expanding! That is the only way life can continue to ooze in you, overflow in you.
If you say, ‘No, I can expand. Now I do two hours of work, which I will make into four hours; not more than that. Then I will rest.’ No! Make it into twenty-four hours and few more minutes, and penetrate into time. Whenever you need more time to do more work, stop the time, complete the work, and allow time to move. You can do!
Listen. Something has to grow in your body – either life or death. Life has no pause button. Either life has to grow in your body or death has to grow in your body. The inauthenticity, which you entertain, is death for you.
Power of authenticity! I tell you, my strategy for life is, everything should only be from authenticity. Authenticity is my strategy plan. Pick up authenticity as your strategy plan in every moment of your life. Whether it is to do with health, creativity, solving relationship problems, creating wealth or achieving inner fulfillment, have authenticity as your strategy plan.
Stay fully in the space of completion, and based on the truth of integrity and authenticity, act. You can never go wrong. I promise you that.
Kṛṣṇa then adds, ‘When you are centered in wisdom of completion you will no longer be deluded by what you hear. When you are no longer deluded by what you have heard, you are liberated.’ Kṛṣṇa’s immediate reference here is to the scriptures, the Vedas. He chides Arjuna and says, ‘Don’t be confused by what you hear, even if it is supposed to be divine knowledge, the Vedas. Remember: If you are really centered in wisdom, you can never be deluded; you will be in completion.’
Vedic scriptures are not dead knowledge that is a burden upon us to abide by. The Vedic scriptures, the śrūti, divine in origin, and the smṛti, rules and regulations laid down later by Manu and other sages, make no such claims. They are the living guidelines that lead us into wisdom and liberation. In fact, Hindu scriptures have both the humility and the power to challenge us to transform ourselves according to the needs of the day, but stipulate that we first experience what is said.
‘So,’ Kṛṣṇa says, ‘let the Vedas say what they want, but put what you hear, see, and read to the test of wisdom to go beyond delusion.’ Kṛṣṇa is the Vedas, the source of all knowledge. He himself declares this in Gītā and yet He asks Arjuna to experiment and be guided by his inner wisdom, not by what he merely hears.
What courage, what authority! Only one who is so sure about the truth can say, ‘Do not listen to what I say and how I act, but listen to your inner voice of truth born out of your own experience.’
Kṛṣṇa says, ‘Don’t be inactive, do what you need to do. Do it with no expectations and no attachment to results. Do it with a centered mind, and in wisdom of your own inner calling, and not because of something you have heard. You will then go beyond all suffering and be liberated.’ These steps are so simple that everyone can practice them; in fact every- one should practice them. Stay fully in the space of completion, and based on the truth of integrity and authenticity, act. You can never go wrong. I promise you that.
When you feel integrity is your responsibility, you are in the zone of practice; you are a seeker. When you understand integrity is your right, you are in the zone of enlightenment! Kṛṣṇa is taking Arjuna on the path of Enlightenment through simple steps initiating him into the tattva of integrity and authenticity.
Listen. With integrity you experience the space of positivity. With authenticity you experience the space of possibility. Only a man who lives authenticity is a liberated one, a yogi, the one devoted to authenticity in action.Only when you surrender yourself to practice integrity in thinking and authenticity in action—yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam, you will realize that you are responsible for success and failure, for good or bad, for everything you experience. You drop your attachments and your fear patterns, and experience self-realization— tadā yogam avāpsyasi (2.53).