What Krishna is teaching us about the Yoga of Knowledge and the Yoga of Action
We seek permanent bliss. We have forgotten that the only Source of permanent bliss is the true, universal Self. Because we have cut ourselves off from this bliss, from knowing our true Self, we seek it in the outer world. Our senses are outwardly focused and we become attached to momentary and limited pleasures acquired through contact with things, relationships and circumstances. In this situation, where pleasures are fleeting, desires run rampant and disturb our peace of mind. Because of these outward desires, because our hearts are set on the enjoyment of momentary pleasures, we live in attachment and aversion and we become confused and suffer. When our desires are thwarted, anger arises. Separated from the source of bliss, endless desires and our attachment to outcomes unsettle our mind, filling the mind with endless thoughts, anger and selfish grasping.
We have a minor duty to live and care for ourselves and all life. Our minor duty is unique to each of us and equanimity is supported when we perform our own minor duty and not another’s. We have a major duty to know the true Self, which is to know God. Realizing this eternal, all-pervading, blissful consciousness that cannot be pierced, burned, wetted or withered is the duty that belongs to all humans and is the purpose of life.
Duty should be performed focused on the eternal and be without attachment to the fruits of our actions. Krishna said, “Your right is to action alone, never to its fruits at any time.” Evenness of mind arises when action is performed after the desire for its fruits have been renounced. Then action does not bind us. This is skill in action. When we know the true Self, that expanded awareness forever witnesses action, always unattached and free.
When we leave behind all desires emerging from the mind and become content in the true Self, by the true Self, we gain steady wisdom. When we realize that we and the Supreme are one, the senses forget their desires and release the attachment to objects such as things, relationships and circumstances. When we realize our oneness with everything, our intellect ceases its constant search for happiness derived from outer pleasures. When the mind dwells on the true Self, on divine Consciousness, the mind becomes like a flame in a windless place and we realize the Supreme. Then the mind no longer runs, following after the wandering senses, and becomes still, peaceful and silent. When we achieve this contentment, our desires cease because our mind has found refuge in the bliss of the true Self.
Krishna said, “He, who’s mind is confused by egoism, imagines he is the doer”. Krishna continues, “Deferring all actions to Me, meditating on the supreme Spirit, become free from desires and selfishness.” Through these practices of constant remembrance of God, meditation on God (the supreme Self), surrender of the fruits of action to God and the performance of our minor and major duty, we realize we are not this body. We realize we are supreme Spirit, the witness of action. Then our bondage to our desires and attachment to the fruits of our action are released. In this state where there is no ‘other’, selfishness dissolves, replaced with the bliss of the true Self.