Lurking right behind you...ha! ha! made you look! (lurkitty) wrote in gita_talk,
Lurking right behind you...ha! ha! made you look!
lurkitty
gita_talk

Chapter 3, 3.1 - 3.7

My cat knocked my copy of the Gita off the shelf the other day, reminding me that it was long past time I got into Chapter Three. It is fitting that an action brought me back to this task because Chapter Three is all about actions.

On a modly note: I have deleted the previous post not because it was offensive, but because it was time-sensitive and had run its course.

Arjuna
3.1 "If thy thought is that vision is greater than action, why dost thou enjoin upon me the terrible action of war?"

3.2 "My mind is in confusion because in thy words I find contradictions. Tell me in truth therefore by what path may I attain the Supreme."
Has Krishna contradicted himself or is Arjuna not hearing the whole of what he has said?

Krishna
3.3 "In this world there are two roads of perfection, as I told thee before, O prince without sin: Jñana Yoga, the path of wisdom of the Sankhyas, and Karma Yoga, the path of action of the Yogis."

Indeed, in 2.11 to 2.39, Krishna taught of the wisdom of the Sankhya, the vision of the eternal and the Spirit. In 2.39 to 2.53, he speaks of Yoga, the path of the eternal and freedom from bondage. He speaks of working in the peace of Yoga.

3.4 "Not by refraining from action does man attain freedom from action. Not by mere renunciation does he attain supreme perfection."

The quote, "Not to decide is to decide" is attributed to theologian Harvey Cox, but here we see a far earlier rendition of the sentiment. One does not absolve oneself of the responsibility to act in a given situation simply by not acting. The situation still remains. Not acting is an action in and of itself, and carries consequences that are often worse than those of acting.

When Krishna first speaks to Arjuna of the consequences of not fighting, he stresses that whether Arjuna wins or loses, the outcome is far better than not fighting at all.

The second sentence is worth study in and of itself. "Not by mere renunciation does he attain supreme perfection." While renunciation is an honored path, if it is not meant to be a means of escape from one's work, whatever that may be. As in other spiritual traditions, withdrawing from the world is not to be done in a sense of running away from worldly obligations, but running toward spiritual duties.

3.5 "For not even for a moment can a man be without action. Helplessly are all driven to action by the forces of Nature."

3.6 "He who withdraws himself from actions, but ponders no their pleasures in his heart, he is under a delusion and is a false follower of the Path."

I know that I cannot read this line without thinking of the times I have thought myself clever in sitting back and letting things work themselves out as "God intended". Was that God's intention or laziness on my part when I should have stepped up and taken action?

3.7 "But great is the man who, free from attachments, and with a mind ruling its powers in harmony, works on the path of Karma Yoga, the path of consecrated action."

So it is not merely acting, but doing so without attachment and and in a mindful way.
Tags: action, arjuna, karma, krishna, yoga
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