Be Responsible, for Its Own Sake. That is ‘yoga.’

2:5 Duty as Yoga

“Intelligence is usually described in a philosophical way, but now let me explain how to put intelligence into practice. Practical intelligence will liberate you from the bonds of action and reaction. [39]

“Even a little effort towards practical intelligence frees us from terrible fears and gives results that neither fade nor disappear. [40] Those who strive for it are resolute and focused. Their thoughts are not scattered to countless distractions. [41] The scattered thoughts of the foolish rush towards the flowery promises of materialistic culture, thinking, ‘this is all there is.’ [42] Their hearts are set on pleasure and paradise, in hopes of name and fame; and they make so many elaborate efforts towards power and enjoyment. [43] Those whose hearts are stolen by addiction to power and enjoyment can never know resolute intelligence, ‘samādhi’. [44] Materialistic culture, even if it is ‘Vedic’, is focused on sense objects produced by the three qualities of illusion. Rise above this, Arjuna! Become singularly resolute, grounded in what is everlastingly real, unconcerned with acquisition; and grasp your own self! [45]”

Arjuna would doubt, “But materialistic culture serves a purpose of gradually shaping and reforming materialistic people. Isn’t it dangerous or wrong to completely reject it?” So Krishna says…

“Whatever you can get from a small well you can certainly get from a deep lake! Whatever true benefit comes from materialistic culture is easily attained by one who deeply realizes spirit. [46]”

So far, Krishna introduced the idea of practical intelligence, and he has suitably glorified its worth. Now he begins to describe what it actually is:

“You can perform your duties but you can never control their results, so don’t strive for specific results. Don’t give up your duties. [47] Fulfill your responsibilities using practical intelligence to give up attachment to their results. Indifferent equanimity towards success or failure is ‘yoga.’ [48] Stay far away from irresponsible actions and always strive to take shelter of intelligence. Don’t be a selfish fool, acting for the sake of specific results. [49]

Krishna says, ‘You have no control over success or failure, so don’t focus on such things. You do have control over your own actions, so concentrate on that! Never give up your responsibilities, but use your intelligence to become indifferent to their apparent success or failure. Never do what is not dutiful. Always do your duty selflessly, for the sake of playing the role you are meant to play in the world.’

“Strive for this yoga, the ‘art of action.’ This yoga of practical intelligence will liberate you from good and bad karma alike. [50] Great people with practical intelligence renounce the fruits of their endeavors, and thus become liberated from the bondage of birth and death, attaining a condition free from infirmity. [51]”

Selfishness binds us to an illusory concept of existence – because it is antithetical to the reality of what we are at the core of our being. Acting for one’s own sake causes good and bad reactions, depending on if the action is done with deference to human culture or not. To really become liberated and attain yoga, one must cease selfish activity altogether. The practicality of this wisdom is not that we are to cease activity, we are to cease the selfishness in our activity.

“When you reclaim your intellect from the brambles of delusion, no offers from materialistic culture will ever attract you. [52] Undisturbed by such advertisements you will become steady and immovable. Your intelligence will bring unwavering samādhi. You will have achieved ‘yoga.’ [53]”

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10 thoughts on “Be Responsible, for Its Own Sake. That is ‘yoga.’

  1. There are times when I give up. I give upon myself so stubborn are my gunas. Then I say to Krishna I give myself to you. I surrender my anger, my fear. Help me I say silently. But then so many times I just feel this quest, this journey is causing so much pain to me. Let me just go back to the normal world and distract myself in its offerings. I am on a dangerous threshold.
    Dint Krishna say this journey eventually brings joy? Can i infer that initially it’s like poison? I have been throwing up poison in the hope that one day soon enough it will be over. I will be cleansed.

    So difficult to give up this doership

    • Material purification is difficult. Spiritual life is simple and joyful from the beginning – but removing the blockages that prevent us from taking spiritual life can be poison at first (but nectar in the end).

      Don’t worry about giving up this or that, or journeying from here to there. Simply chant the names of Krishna and put your whole focus on it while doing so. Just produce the sound and hear the sound – and keep other concerns out of your mind while doing this. Do not worry about success or failure just make the effort. It is only slightly difficult to keep the mind clear from distractions – but just try to do it for one or two mantras. Do this regularly and you will immediately begin feeling joyful. Increase it naturally.

      Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
      Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
      Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
      Rama Rama, Hare Hare

      • Thank you, Vic!

        I have been chanting the Gopijana Vallabhaya Svaha mantra for two months now. After 1,25,000 chants are over, I’ll come back to chanting the maha mantra. In any case, i try to chant the maha mantra silently whenever i become aware of the inner noise.

      • don’t worry about numbers or mantras. Gopijana Vallabha is also Krishna-Nama, there is no significant difference between Gopijana Vallabhaya mantra and Hare Krishna mantra. The whole effort is simply to stop thinking of oneself, ones own desires, needs, etc – and simply focus upon the true, original focus of existence: Sri Govinda. It is effortless, almost, to do this by Nama-Mantra. Even if you only chant one or two with nice surrender of the mind and heart. Just clear out the mind and heart and allow Govinda’s name to take it over and fill it up entirely. even just one or two mantras chanted like this will let you taste a particle of spiritual joy – a delicious taste that will bring shanti and divine inspiration.

      • You are right about numbers not mattering. I noticed that when we are after numbers, the taste and joy of experience is lost due to the pressure of doing so many. That said, focusing on numbers may help bring discipline.

        Hare Krishna mantra is a very sweet mantra. It’s like a song. I absolutely love it.

      • Yes, so true. I have heard many singers singing this mantra. All versions sound so soothing to the ears. I like Jagjit Singh’s and Krishna Das’s versions a lot.

        There was a time I would just start singing the mantra anytime and without realizing, I would change the mantra (not a idea!) to:

        Mere Krishan Mere Krishan Krishan Krishan Mere Mere
        Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare

        “Mere” is a Hindi word for “Mine” and it rhymes so well with “Hare”.

      • Funny you should say that to me right now, as I was JUST contemplating the important fact that Krishna belongs to RADHARANI. We actually love Srimati Radharani more than Krishna. We want to participate in HER love for Krishna, not compete with it. This is one of the special subtle details of Rupanuga sampradaya.

    • I think this article is pretty 50/50. Not so great, not so bad. I like the opening paragraph and this the whole article is justified just by printing that paragraph. The disagreeable parts are:

      1) Sri Radha does not age beyond 16. She also does not have children. So the whole concept of “Ila” is far fetched and not quite right.

      2) The idea that parakiya is “underground” and only amongst the bauls and sahajiya is complete nonsense. Parakiya is the mood of the entire Gaudiya-Vaishnava Rupanuga sampradaya – which is the most mainstream and fundamental branch of Radha-Krishna-bhakti, being the root of Gaudiya-Math, ISKCON and similar movements, which took Radha-Krishna-bhakti to the international stage.

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