Continuing, Krishna says, it is your own inner nature (sattva or rajas or tamas) that prompts your karma/action, and regardless of how glamorous or unglamorous it is, he advises to not give up one’s karma. Karma in this context could mean action or job or profession or occupation. All karmas will have some areas one will not be happy with. One of my friends, for example, is into cutting-edge research in brain stem cells. This is intellectually demanding work, but there are days when she has to fill more than 500 petri dishes with slices of rat brain, and this can be extremely boring. So, however interesting your job may be, it will have its dull, boring, frustrating moments. But stick to it, Krishna says, because that will help you grow and become a sattvic human being.
Krishna also makes an interesting comment in the 61st verse.
Isvarah sarvabhutanam nibaddhah svena karmana
Kartum necchasi yanmohat karisyasyavaso pi tat
The Lord remains at the seat of the intellect of all beings, Arjuna! Causing all beings to move, revolve, by (the magic of his) maya, (like) those (figures) which are mounted on a machine (are made to revolve)…Verse 61
Krishna says the Lord, as pure awareness, is manifest in every heart as the sense of `I’, and this awareness enlivens your mind when it functions in the world. How the mind functions will depend on your gunas i.e. sattva, rajas, tamas, your samskaras from previous lifetimes, your background, social influences, upbringing… nature and nurture, both are involved. You will sometimes do things in spite of yourself. The human being is as though on a merry-go-round, which he wants to stop but doesn’t know how. In Sanskrit, that is Bramayan sarva bhutani yantra arudhani mayaya. How does one become free from what he seems to be stuck in?
Look at all the forces acting on a person–one is one’s nature in terms of sattva, rajas and tamas, then there is family background etc., influences in school, the influence of media etc…All these influence a person’s mental make-up. Not surprising then that a lot of people feel helpless.
Krishna says the solution is very simple– when Ishvara manifests in your heart, then tameva sharanam gacha, meaning `seek refuge in the Lord’. In surrender, you learn to recognize the order of Ishvara and how Ishvara is the totality from which all are manifest. One’s mind is a part of that manifestation, and if one’s mind is a part of the whole then one’s mind is also divine. Now, within this divinity, what is there to accept or not accept? Everything that has made up my mind is part of Ishvara’s order including the various influences. Having recognized that, there is a great sense of acceptance. Once there is acceptance and one sees the order in it, one can understand see how change may be possible. As change is also part of the order, one is not in denial any more. If one can’t recognize the order oneself, help is always available from teachers and counselors.
Acceptance does not mean that one should accept and do nothing about it. Accept, acknowledge, and take proactive steps to do what is necessary. If you are happy with what you are, then celebrate it, or change and become what you want to be and celebrate it. All these steps are necessary. That is exactly what karma yoga is about and it takes care of your spiritual growth. Therefore, Krishna says in the 65th verse….` Be one whose mind is in me, meaning one who recognizes me as Ishvara. Have a sense of devotion to me.’ Devotion is your emotional response when you have understood something. One who worships me is one who has surrendered to me or to Ishvara’s order, he says.
Many people may not like the word `surrender’, but you better `surrender’ to gravity otherwise you will be jumping out of the window and hoping to fly. Therefore, when you do this, says Krishna, you will discover your identity with me, and there is nothing else to be achieved after that. All I want is your sense of fulfillment, he says, but you believe yourself to be an unfulfilled being. In the vision of the Gita, you are already a fulfilled being, but from the individual’s perspective, one believes one still has to reach there.
The solution is simple. The solution is to know that you are this limitless awareness and, therefore, are already a fulfilled being. If you find it difficult even after having exposed yourself to the teaching, then it means that your mind is not ready for it. It means the mind is still influenced by all the things we spoke earlier, all that keeps one bogged down. Therefore, one invokes Ishvara and becomes a karma yogi in life. All that Krishna has talked of here is the attitude of a karma yogi. When one has these attitudes of Ishvara arpanam and prasada buddhi, one finds one’s inner make-up changing. Then one is bigger than one’s desires and influences. One still has one’s background but is no more conditioned or dictated by those influences. One has now become proactive enough and has grown enough to break free from those influences. With that sort of mind, there is only one thing left, which we will deal with in the next post.
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