The Bhagavad Gita, including Chapter 2 and the discourse on karma yoga, is enabling me to gently embrace where I am and question less why I am there. Each shloka feels like it reveals another deeper layer where I come to remember myself as a manifestation of God in a more full and joyous way.
In Ch.2:38, the introduction of the concept of samatvam (equanimity) was introduced. I was struck by Lord Krishna’s teaching of preparing oneself for battle (action), regardless of the fruits, and regarding pairs of opposites as equal. In Ch.2:39, Krishna teaches that listening to the wisdom of yoga – this wisdom of working without attachment to the fruit – is the way to cast off the bondage of (re-)action. I greatly enjoyed revisiting samatvam in Ch.2:48 following additional discourse on the importance of taking action without attachment to the outcome. Samatvam yoga ucyate. Such equanimity is called (karma) yoga. These shlokas activated a deep seed within me and a sense of tranquillity and surrender has been growing steadily since. In any given moment, I am gently practicing this wisdom and finding a significant reduction in my mind-initiated bondage that arises when I resist action, become paralysed by attachment to (potential!) outcomes, and am swayed by likes and aversions.
Ch.2:41-44 were a beautiful reminder of the freedom that comes from being resolute in purpose, transcending obsession with sense gratification to the liberation of God- consciousness. I enjoyed reading Krishna’s discourse on the ‘many-branched’ and endless fancies of those who are not committed to the path to consciousness and how Heaven (and the Vedas’ proposed Heavenly sense gratification) is mistaken as the highest reward, yet falls short of the bliss of liberation from material bondage and God-consciousness. I was reminded that being too attached and swayed by the senses reduces my capacity and focus on my spiritual practices and devotion, the pain of which I have surely (and sorely!) experienced.
Lord Krishna’s teachings on the impact of the mind’s response (and bondage) to dualities in Ch.2:45 were so helpful. I understood how much of my own life’s force has been consumed by being ‘stuck’, wishing away and resisting one half of the pairs of opposites whilst countering that effort with the equal effort of grasping for the other half of the pairs of opposites. Rajas, tamas, rajas, tamas. What a futile exercise! I am practicing every day, now, the alternative: choosing to be in Sattva, composed and free from the compulsive acquisition and union with external pleasures and powers, and steady, peaceful, tranquil, anchored in the Self whilst being aware of the external world around me. The wisdom shared in Ch.2:46 means I am also more and more conscious of the presence of dharma and moksha in my life, as a critical compliment to the other prasad of artha and kama.
Whilst these shlokas have been illuminating, the brilliance of Ch.2:47 lights up such darkness in my life. For the past two years, it has been my daily guiding light as I recover from a period of forgetting where my actions end and Ishwara’s plan begins. This shloka steadies me when my mind is paralysed by confusion and eases me forward when confusion paralyses me. I am responsible for my own actions and responses, that is ALL I now have.