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.’
Here, Kṛṣṇa assures you, ‘By your very nature, your body and mind will work. If you just keep quiet, it is enough.’ Somebody asked me, ‘Swamiji, how should I train my mind to do the right thing?’ I told him, ‘Just keep quiet. Automatically your body and mind will do the right thing. If you just get out of your system, it is enough, the Divine will get in.’ All we need to do is just get out for the Divine to enter.
‘By nature,’ He says, ‘sarvaḥ prakṛti-jair-guṇaiḥ – by their very nature your body and mind know the right thing to do.’ The problem is that you never trust your body and mind. You always trust your ego and it finally dumps you! Yet you never trust your body and mind. Be very clear, your body and mind will do their work. All you need to do is keep quiet and relax from your ego. Don’t think your inner space is needed for outer work. The person who understands what nitya (eternal) is, and what anitya (ephemeral) is relaxes into Existence and is always in eternal consciousness. He always resides in nitya ānanda—eternal bliss!
Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, ‘A karma yogi, one who lives the path of authenticity in action, is a man who relaxes into nityānanda and does his work from the space of completion.’ Just relax into your inner space and be complete, you will automatically be guided. You always think, ‘If I relax mentally thinking life is purposeless, how will I know what is right and what is wrong? How will I finish my work on time?’
When you worry about what is right and what is wrong, you will not make small mistakes, you will commit big blunders. The person who doesn’t worry may make small mistakes. But the person who continuously worries will never make small mistakes; he will commit big blunders. And to take this leap of faith needs the courage of authenticity. Even if you make one or two mistakes, what is wrong? Taking the risk and jumping into the space of completion, and living without worry and self-doubt is what I call courage of authenticity, the courage to enter spiritual life.
When you take the jump, you will naturally make some small mistakes. Don’t worry about them. Putting up with that mistake is what I call penance, tapas. Penance is nothing but accepting and completing with the small mistakes you make and restoring your integrity and authenticity when the conscious transition happens in your being.
When you move from worry to bliss, when you move from false- hood to truth, when you move from incompletion to completion, you will make a few mistakes. You will fall and rise just like a baby learning to walk. When babies learn to walk, they always fall the first few times. But just because of that, can you say they should never walk? Even if they make one or two small mistakes, they have to stand up and start walking. Those small mistakes of falling and trying to stand up are the penance done to learn how to walk.
In the same way, when you start trying to live with integrity and authenticity without the root patterns, initially you may commit mistakes. But don’t worry about that. That is penance. Have courage of authenticity and just enter the space of completion. Enter the space of eternal consciousness.
Decide consciously, ‘From today onwards, I will live without worry and incompletions. I complete with all my worries and incompletions.’ Life is too short to be spent worrying about your incompletions. Don’t bother about the goals—just drop them. The moment you understand the beauty of purposelessness, all the wounds you have created in your inner space will be healed. You will fall into the comfort of Eternal Bliss.
A man who keeps his senses under control but who is not able to keep his inner space under control by completing with his patterns related to senses is called a hypocrite, indriyārthān vimūḍhātmā mithyācāraḥ sa ucyate (3.6), says Kṛṣṇa.
Please listen, the quality of your life will be judged only based on the quality of your inner space, not the quality of your outer space. When you leave your body and enter your next life, nobody is going to keep a count of the car you drove, of the house you lived in or your bank balance. These details will not come with you. How you lived and the quality of your inner space is what will carry forward with you. That is why the scriptures state, ‘You are going to carry with you only the saṃskāra (root thought patterns), the karma (unfulfilled desires) and the vāsana (mindset) of your inner space—not the outer space.’
A beautiful story from Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa Paramahamsa.
A monk was living in a temple, preaching the glory of the Lord. Opposite to his dwelling lived a prostitute who was busy all day long. She was deeply devoted to the Lord. No matter what her business was, she was immersed in the silent contemplation of His glory.
Everyday, this monk would notice everyone who entered the prostitute’s house. He maintained a complete diary of who came and who left because he had no other work.
But the prostitute lived in a different way. She thought, ‘My life, my natural duty is this. This has been given to me in this life. I don’t know any other profession. But please save me, O Lord! Let my mind and heart always be at Your feet.’ She was deeply devoted to Kṛṣṇa. Her inner space was filled with Divine love and His name.
Life went on. After many years, suddenly, both the monk and the prostitute died on the same day.
Both of them reached Yama Dharma’s (Lord of death) court for judgment. First, the prostitute came in. Yama Dharma saw her list of sins and merits and said, ‘Alright! Don’t worry. You lived all your life thinking of the Divine, so you can go to heaven.’ She was sent to heaven.
It was then the turn of the monk. The moment the monk arrived, Yama Dharma said, ‘This is your list of sins and merits. Throughout your life you thought about the wrong things, so you must go to hell.’
The monk started shouting, ‘How dare you send me to hell!’ He was a professional preacher, so he knew how to shout! He started shouting, ‘I will sue you.’
Yama Dharma said, ‘Please relax. Up here in heaven we don’t bother about what you do in life; we bother about how you live. Through your body you lived a pure life. Look at planet Earth and see how your body is being honored.’
There the monk saw that his body was being honored like that of a celebrity; people were falling at the feet of his body. Big garlands and grand worship was being offered.
Yama continued, ‘Through your body you lived a pure life and your body is now getting the rewards. But through your mind you lived an impure life so you have to go to hell.’
Yama continued, ‘Similarly, she lived an impure life through the body. Look at her body.’ Because she was a prostitute, there was no one to do the last rites. The scavengers came and dragged the body and dumped it somewhere.
Yama concludes, ‘See! Through the body she lived an impure life. Her body is suffering. But through the mind she lived a pure life, a divine life. She is therefore going to the Divine.’
It is important how you live in your inner space; whether your inner space is established in completion or incompletion, only that matters.
source: chapter 2, Bhagavadgita Decoded verses, 3.5 – 3.8