In Chapter 2, from Verses 39-53, Lord Krishna is summarizing the point and science of Yoga - both Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga. This is all framed in the context of Arjuna fulfilling his Dharma of going to war. Ultimately to do one’s duty without attachment to outcome, because its the right thing to do, distancing from one’s personal ambitions, in service to what’s of the highest order of right action, will help us to distance ourselves from the material world and maintain our samatvam/equanimity. This calm observing state, able to act without attachment, fully present but not bound, is the state of the adhikari mind which allows us to receive the ultimate knowledge of Self realization.
39 - This is the wisdom of Yoga - listen up people! If I can grasp this, I can be free from the bondage of all of these seemingly endless attachments and dependencies, no longer locked into this constant karmic cycle of birth and rebirth.
40 - I feel comforted with the acknowledgment that on this journey to have my Buddhi reflect the light of Consciousness most purely, no effort I take is in vain, nothing is lost when I am putting in the effort - to understand, to take right action, to calm my mind, to lessen my attachments, to connect more fully to God. I may still vacillate from Rajas and Tamas to Sattva, but the fact that I am applying myself is having some beneficial effect on my buddhi. This isn’t permission to inaction, but a reminder that on some level, everything we do towards purifying our mind is helpful - in this life or the next.
41 - Do I want to live my life in a constant state of fluctuation, endlessly pursuing action after action, goal after goal on endless roads of material distraction? Or do I want to come home - to a single path to Self? This is the choice and the commitment of Yoga. One-pointedness will bring me home to Self. Everything else is a distraction.
42 - 43 - This is a poignant warning for those of us in spiritual courses of study - don’t get lost in the toolbox and think the project is done! The knowledge of the Veda, even as wise and wonderful and helpful, and as it guides and protects us, is still a means to an end. Where am I getting lost in rote memorization or ritual, or the appearance of the spiritual path vs the lived experience of the application of the teachings?
44 - There is a difference between discernment of Real and Unreal and between right and wrong. This is a powerful contemplation because it speaks to the subtle ways in which we can fool ourselves into thinking we are more advanced than we are. It seems like choosing between right and wrong would be an ethical boon and preferred, but if I’m still in this good/bad or right/wrong dichotomy, then I’m still thinking in terms of outcome and desires vs alignment to Self. This is a distraction from that one-pointed focus.
45 - This is so important to our journeys - constantly staying locked in Rajas/Tamas/Sattva is the ultimate way we continue to choose to be in bondage. This shloka is directly related to the Sadhana Chatushtayam as it is by steady practice that we are able to separate from the pairs of opposites, fixed in purity, in vairagyam, and get to that Self possessed state.
46 - This reminds me of the purity of the mystic heart (regardless of tradition) - to know that there is none but God-Consciousness all around. When I attempt to wrap that up into something small and knowable and ritualized (often concrete and tight) it is an attempt to diminish the infinite. There is neither need nor capacity. It is my own smallness that wants to identify and classify and master, that looks to the drop instead of the ocean. This is my shraddha reminder. What does the infinite look like when I am not trying to make it mundane? Where am I trying to compress my connection to God, so that my jiva no longer has to think beyond the pond?
47 - In this world we have a right to take action, and no right to the results of those actions. Acharya Shunya ji, you said “There is no relationship between Goal and Outcome” and it felt like you were reaching in and shaking me. This is so powerful. Stop trying to create a dynamic which IS. NOT. THERE. When I really hear that and know it, then the rest of the shloka is just reasonable guidelines - don’t let the fruits of action be my motive, and also, don’t get stuck on not taking action just because there’s no reward. This last piece is particularly personal, as I navigate what right actions to take and whether to take any at all. To take action is our purpose for incarnating (coming into a body). For the purpose of expressing the Whole in a specific way. But there is no relationship, no correlation between setting goals for that action and guarantee of outcome of that action. My ego says what’s the point then if not for (small) self-aggrandizement? Why even bother? This way leads to paralysis, inaction, half baked information without wisdom masquerading as knowledge. Vairagyam doesn’t mean inaction. Why am I doing anything? To willingly fulfill the purpose of God (in seva bhava). Because I am That.
48 - Do the work anyway, without attachment to outcome, stay stable in your mind whether you’re successful or a failure - be the same person doing whether you get notice/attention/approval or not. This then is yoga. This then is freedom from the belief that we are somehow separate from others. Who am I doing this for? Who’s will is done? If I connect with Ishwara Buddhi, and the pancha Yajna, I see that every aspect of my “outside world” is God, that I am God. All of my actions ultimately are serving Self when I realize that all is Self.
49 - Its significantly better to be in disciplined intelligence than lost in acting for outcome, constantly pursuing the fruits of the world. Its pathetic even. Like watching a drug addict search for his next fix. What next fix am I pursuing when I’m striving for the external world? How long will I stay addicted to unconsciousness and the illusion of separation?
50 - when we’ve connected our intelligence to the divine and we’re stable in that connection, we are free of even good and evil - because everything we do is in absolute alignment with Consciousness itself. There is no selfishness, there is no action to be taken that isn’t Dharmic then - because everything we do is in highest alignment to universal right action. This is the perfect antidote to false prophets, the typical access-to-god-by-proxy of organized religions, and rigid fanaticism. I struggle with rigid reductionist polarity thinking - because its easier. It makes my ego feel more secure. Right/wrong. Good/bad. Well worn known paths. But I am seeking a path Home, not the path of least conflict to my illusions.
51 - When we’ve yoked our buddhi with God-Consciousness, when we stop pursuing outcome through our actions, we no longer are stuck on the wheel of Karma. We are no longer putting ourselves in situations where we continue to accrue punyam and papam. This means we are freed from having to come back lifetime after lifetime. This is when we achieve moksha and liberation. It’s our attachments and our delusions that keep bringing us back again and again. I’m doing it to myself, lifetime after lifetime, and in this lifetime - choice after choice. All the moments of grabbing on - to my resentments, my desires, my attachments, my righteousness, my avoidance - this is how I jump back on that wheel.
52 - Once we cross that barrier, and we’re no longer in the delusion (that we are separate from That) then we naturally become indifferent to shastra - because we’ve already surpassed what it has been pointing us towards. I’m not here yet. For now, shāstra is a refuge. But it is becoming clear that the words alone are not enough. A commitment to mananam (in the form of satsangha, dialogue, personal contemplations) is starting to fix the words in deeper. While moment by moment nidhi dhyasanam is the only way forward.
53 - Its only when we’re fully aligned with Self (and buddhi), that we become the temple, strong and stable and established in Self. I especially appreciated the analogy of the turtle that was used in one class - I’ve always admired turtles. Especially in the ocean - whole in themselves in the vastness, part of it. Without fear. Always at home established in Self.