A very beautiful story from the great Indian epic history, Mahābhārat:
King Yudhiṣṭra, the eldest of the Pāṇḍavas, performed a great sacrifice after the battle of Kurukṣetra was over. He gave very rich offerings to the priests and the poor. They were all impressed by the grandeur of this sacrifice. They praised him saying, ‘We have never seen such a great sacrifice in our lifetime.’
Just then, a small mongoose appeared. Half of his body was golden and the other half was brown. He rolled on the ground where the sacrifice was performed. He then exclaimed with sorrow, ‘This is no sacrifice at all. Why do you praise this sacrifice?’
The priests were aghast and angry, ‘What! You silly mongoose! Did you not see the sacrifice? Thousands of poor people have become very rich. Millions of people have been sumptuously fed. So many jewels and clothes have been distributed!’ Continue reading →
There are two techniques by which one can liberate oneself from attachment to work.
One is by telling oneself, ‘I am not the doer.’ By continuously reminding yourself that it is the senses and not you who is doing something, you distance yourself from the action. This is what Kṛṣṇa explains in the previous verses. The other way is by surrendering the fruits of one’s work to the Divine to the ultimate life force that is conducting this Universe. This is the technique that Kṛṣṇa talks about here.
Bhagavān says, ‘O Kaunteya, perform your work for Me and you will do it with authenticity, liberated and without attachment, tad-arthaṁ karma kaunteya mukta-saṅgaḥ samācara (3.9).’ Continue reading →
By nature, man has to work. The senses have to be engaged in some action. Even if you try and control them and do nothing externally, the very act of restraint is an action in itself. Kṛṣṇa says very beautifully, ‘By nature, the senses are tuned to be extrovert.’ ‘Extrovert’ is not something negative. Extrovert senses will always be alive, creative, active and contributing. All great creative persons took the responsibility for their extrovert senses. If you want to be wealthy, have the company of wealthy people, or make the people in your company wealthy! If you want to be spiritual, have the company of spiritual people, or make the people in your company spiritual. There is no other way. Intranalyze what I am saying.
To experience the reality of your choice in your life, you should first work to transform and enrich the reality of others around you. Kṛṣṇa says, your senses, by nature are programmed to go out! You are programmed to work, to go out. Going out can happen only in two ways: either to enrich or to swindle! Surely, swindling others is not going to transform you. Only enriching others is going to transform you. The choice is really about how to work. Here, Kṛṣṇa gives the answer to that. He says that we should perform work with devotion with authenticity in our actions, only to enrich, and without attachment to the results, karmendriyaiḥ karma-yogam asaktaḥ sa viśiṣyate (3.7). Continue reading →
Kṛṣṇa is giving you the science of creating the right inner space. Let us see how we work, or how our mind moves. In a graph of your being, material life is the horizontal line and spiritual life is the vertical line. You continuously worry about whether to choose the horizontal line or the vertical line; whether to go on this (horizontal) path, or that (vertical) path. You are always stuck somewhere on the horizontal line or somewhere on the vertical line. You try to move but you are always caught in the dilemma of whether to go this way or that way.
Mind is nothing but dilemma. Whatever you choose, whether material life or spiritual life, you will always feel you are missing the other part. You will continuously feel you are missing something. As long as you think you are the mind, as long as you live with the mind, you will have this problem of material life verses spiritual life. Just like people have goals in material life, they have goals in spiritual life too. There are so many people who say, ‘I should meditate for seven hours daily. I should become enlightened. I should become that, I should do this.’
A man who has fallen into his being, one who has dropped goals, who has tasted the beauty of purposelessness of Existence, who has realized the space of completion, who has fallen into his being, explodes in 360 degrees, in all dimensions. He simply radiates completion in all directions! Continue reading →
Please be very clear, again and again Kṛṣṇa declares:
karmendriyāṇi saṁyamya ya āste manasā smaran I
indriyārthān vimūḍhātmā mithyācāraḥ sa ucyate II 3.6
If you can’t create completion in your inner space, even if you control your body or your senses, you are just a hypocrite. Your life will not be a complete, blissful life. Not only will it not be a spiritual life, it will not even be life! The meaning of living is bliss, but there is no purpose. The more you think about purposes, the more worries you will create; the more will you try to squeeze the most out of life. But life is much more intelligent than you. When you try to squeeze the maximum out of life, it just slips through your fingers. Continue reading →
Usually people ask, ‘Swamiji, you say that life is purposeless. Then I may as well just lie down and relax. Who will give me food? Who will pay my bills?’
Let me tell you, you can never lie down forever. You may lie down for the next four or five days or for a week at the most, because you always go to the extreme, like a pendulum. After that, you will not be able to lie down. By your very nature you will start doing some work. When I say life is purposeless, I am not asking you to just lie down and relax in your house. All I am saying is, ‘Let your body and mind work without disturbing your inner space of completion. You don’t have to sell your inner space to enjoy the outer place. You don’t have to sell your inner bliss to have outer comforts.’ Continue reading →
Never make the mistake of thinking that you will be fulfilled when your purpose is fulfilled. Your fulfillment is completely different from the fulfillment of your purpose. If you want to experience fulfillment, the space of completion, you have to work in a totally different dimension of your life. If you want completion of your being, listen to what Kṛṣṇa says here.
Kṛṣṇa is the first and the last Master who declared the truth as it is. There are two things to understand: Always, people who are active in the outer world know the techniques to achieve success in the outer world. People who are active in the inner world know the techniques to achieve success in the inner world. Continue reading →
Root thought pattern is nothing but this first social conditioning, this strong cognition which imbalances you from your purposeless space and gives birth to the mind, the idea that there is some purpose to life. Life has no purpose. Even if you achieve whatever you want, you can’t take it with you. You can’t carry even a single dollar when you leave. Nothing will come with you.
There is no exchange offer. If you give fifty rupees in India, you will get one dollar in USA. But no matter how much money you give in this world, you cannot get a single rupee in heaven or anywhere else. No cheque will be useful. None of your money can be carried over to the next world. Continue reading →
In the previous chapter on Sāṅkhya Yogaḥ, Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna that knowledge of the Self is the supreme path to Enlightenment. He explains the nature of the indestructible Self. Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna to shed all root patterns of fear, abandon his desires and go beyond success and failure; to practice authenticity in action, to be unattached and steady in completion of the Self, the state of Brahman.
Arjuna is still in the space of inauthenticity. He is confused as to what he should do. At one level, he understands what Kṛṣṇa says to him. However, the explanation about the spirit living on while the body dies, and the idea that all those he is about to fight and destroy have already been destroyed in the cosmic sense, does not appeal to him. Arjuna is a warrior. To him, what is seen in front of him is what exists. He sees all his elders and relatives arrayed against him in battle and he has to make a choice to kill or be killed. This is the physical reality that he faces. Kṛṣṇa tells him not to take this reality seriously. He says all the living people in front of him are already dead, and therefore he is committing no sin by killing them again. In fact, if he does not fight them, he is being out of integrity; by running away from the battle as an inauthentic coward. He also tells Arjuna that he has the right to do his duty but no right to its results. Continue reading →
The whole of Existence, the whole Universe, is purposeless. Of course, it would be very shocking to hear this. At a very young age, we are taught and socially conditioned to believe that life has some purpose. We are always made to run towards some goal, towards some purpose.
‘What is life without purpose?’ you may ask. We feel that any activity, let alone one’s entire life, has to have a purpose, a definition, and an end point. Only then does it become meaningful. That purpose is what drives us, motivates us.
The more you run towards the goal, the more you miss Life itself! A person who is continuously bothered about goals will never be able to enjoy and enrich his life. He lives in the future and ignores the present. When we are complete in the present moment, the here and now, we do not need a goal to guide us.
You will say I am confusing you. ‘All our life we have been brought up to believe that we are here for a purpose. As children we are expected to do well at school, and later at college. Once we grow up, we are supposed to get married and bring up our children. In each phase of our life, we have specific templates that society has set up for us. How can we let them down? How can we believe that all these expectations are wrong, and that there is no purpose to life?’ Continue reading →
In His concluding words in 2nd chapter, Kṛṣṇa clarifies to Arjuna once again, how to reach liberation, how to become one with Brahman which is one’s true and natural state. We have seen that a person not centered in self-completion cannot be peaceful or happy or wise. A person who is led by his senses cannot be complete. A person who is in control of his senses is firmly in control of his mind and emotions. Only such a person is truly awake.
We all think we are awake; are we really? We live in daydreams even if we are awake. The only occasion when we are truly awake is when we are in the space of completion. A person in such a space of completion is whom Kṛṣṇa calls a ‘Muni,’ a realized being living in the present. Such a person is always awake, having experienced his inner awakening, whether physically awake or asleep. Continue reading →