Chapter: 5 – Karma Yoga Action in Krishna Consciousness
Translation: Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who are self-realized, self-disciplined and constantly endeavoring for perfection, are assured of liberation in the Supreme in the very near future.
Krishna says to attain liberation we have to free from dualities, be equipoised, free from anger and all material desires, be self-disciplined, always fix our mind on him, worship him with great and transcendental faith etc. But when we live in this material world happiness and distress, goodness and badness these dualities are always there. Even though these are just mental concoctions we are carried away. It is difficult to control our senses sometimes and fix our mind on Krishna because our senses are always impure. Living in this material world is sometime can be compared to falling in an Ocean, even though sometimes we are expert in swimming we will struggle hard, but if someone comes to save us we will feel relieved.
But in this verse 5:26 Krishna gives us hope how can we come to this position of liberation, even if we are not able to completely free from anger and all material desires. We have to constantly endeavor the process of Sadhana Bhakti with self-discipline like chanting with attention. Of the 10 offence chanting with inattentiveness is a serious offence. While chanting one must remember Lord Krishna and his name are non-different. Follow 4 regulative principle like: – No meat eating, No illicit sex, No gambling and No intoxication. We have to make our foundation stronger, if the foundation is not stronger we will fall, we should not deviate from this path so will be protected. Krishna does not see the results but our endeavor. Our intension should always be pure that is how can I please the lord. The love of God is in a dormant state in everyone’s heart. But is contaminated by material association so when we do chanting and follow regulative principles sincerely, automatically our heart gets purified, the natural love for Krishna will be revived.
So if we are not able to practice the above said method then also Krishna is very merciful. He tells us to do various activities in this world, but do not be attached to the results but do as an offering to him. For example if you are good cook make good prasadam for Krishna, one can cultivate a garden for Krishna by growing some flowers to offer to Krishna, or sow tulasi plants, engage yourself either one or two out of 9 types of devotional service ( hearing, chanting, remembering, worshipping, serving the lotus feet of lord, offering prayers etc.), If you are a Bhramachary:- stay in the temple, work in the temple by offering Pooja to Krishna, prasadam for Krishna, making garlands, If you are a Grhatha:- offer devotional service at home and temple, engage yourself in doing various services in temple:-making garlands, cleaning temple, cooking prasadam etc., If you cannot do any of this service at least give part of your income as Dakshina to temple , or do some charity works to hospitals, social work etc( Karma yoga) so that you will reach a stage of goodness. Some devotees work in temple but get paid some salary to meet their basic necessities. If you cannot do any service but give part of your money as a donation to Krishna temple.
Sometimes we become emotional when we do devotional service. When we get that emotion we should always check if it for loving devotion for Krishna. If it is not then it is purely materialistic. Circumstantial emotions are common. Example loved one passed away (Arjuna crying when his son Abhimanyu is dead, but that did not stop from doing his duty, he promised to kill Jayadratha). Krishna did not say to Arjuna not to cry, instead he comforted him, stood by him in the times of bad situation as a friend. Philosophy does not work always. Human emotion has to be considered, looked at and addressed.
How to balance emotion:
Focus on conditional and constitutional duties. Conditional duties means you have to do your prescribed duties in this material world like a mother, father, husband, wife, students. That we have to do putting Krishna in the center for his pleasure and do not take credit for our actions. Constitutional duties is understand who you are, you are the spirit soul and you have a bigger goal that is to reach Krishna and so have to do perform spiritual duty. So we should have a balance with both or else we will fall down. That is why we need to have mentors or Shikshya gurus or Acharya’s so that they will guide us (Vaidhyasaddhna Bhakti) by understanding your needs, address your needs, take their advice which will help us to do our saadhana, then there will be natural progression. The devotion for supreme lord matures at some point and become spontaneous bhakti (Raganughabhakthi). You will follow rules and regulations, you will feel like doing service more, feel satisfied and feel like doing more devotional service that is what scriptures say. Also anything you want to achieve in life we need to have disciple also-it is said that if we fail to plan we plan to fail.
Here Krishna talks about Brahma Nirvana. Brahma nirvana according to Vaishnava perspective means you don’t have any other interest separate from Krishna and all your activities, all prescribed duties you will have perform in this material world for Krishna only. Krishna’s interest will be your interest. Examples are Gopis, Meera Bhai. The eggs of the tortoise are laid on land, and the tortoise meditates on the eggs while in the water. Similarly, the devotee in Krishna consciousness, although far away from the Lord’s abode, can elevate himself to that abode simply by thinking of Him constantly – by engagement in Krishna consciousness. He does not feel the pangs of material miseries; this state of life is called brahma-nirvana, or the absence of material miseries due to being constantly immersed in the Supreme. The Supreme Lord herein promises that without delay he will deliver a pure devotee thus engaged from the ocean of material existence.
In this verse Krishna gives us the assurance that we need not worry. As long as we are doing our saadhana with pure intension like chanting, following regulative principles, by constantly remembering him even though we are doing our prescribed duties of this world our mind will be steady and will be able to control it. Then Krishna says in very near future even though the journey from material world to spiritual world is far we will be getting the mercy of him and ultimately will go back to him which is our ultimate destination.
Of among the different yoga practices mentioned in the many scriptures (for example Bhagavad Gita chapter 2) like Jnana yoga, Karma yoga, Dhyana yoga which teaches us how to self-control, be self-discipline, be self-realized ,bhakti yoga is the most important, because it uproots the tendency to sin or the tendency to enjoy separate from Krishna. All the other yoga process they address the symptoms but not the root cause of our desires or sufferings. (Example a river which stand still with no disturbances, water is clear, mud is settled down. As soon as there is a disturbances the water will become muddy). We will have desires as long as we are existing as spirit soul, because our spiritual soul has desires.
When we are in this material world we have several desires to enjoy, that is our in build nature. What kind of desires we have that is the most important. The nature of our soul is to enjoy and it finds its happiness only if we serve god but instead of understanding that we run after materialistic pleasures which are nothing but temporary and not everlasting. And ultimately Krishna says that anything that looks good will be the cause of your misery. Another example is our senses can be compared to poisonous cobras, if it is not controlled it will bite us but for a devotee who is practicing Krishna consciousness sincerely, their senses are engaged in the service of the Lord who is called as Hrikesha, the controller of senses so what happens is the venom has been taken out it does not harm. Two things happens when we engage our senses in the service of lord.
1. All material designations goes away and
2. Our senses will be purified.
Krishna also says that he will reciprocate according to how one approaches him. It depends on faith and free will. If we use our free will to serve Krishna, he makes sure we will reach him. That is why practicing our saddhana and following regulative principles is considered as the most important. (Example is lighting a wood piece. If the wood is wet naturally fire will not light up immediately when you light the wood piece, only smoke comes. But if the wood piece is very dry immediately it will catch fire when you light it).
Another important word Krishna used in this verse is self-discipline. Discipline means any action or inaction which is regulated with particular system of government. Discipline is not something we are born with but a learned behavior which we cultivate. It is a bridge between our intension and action. Sometimes we have intension but we don’t put that in to action. We need a balance or union between our intension and action. If there is intension to do certain action which is of high priority but if we are not convinced to do that action then it is a failure so inner contemplation and outer execution these two things are required. Inner contemplation means we should understand the rationale behind the intension. Sometimes we do things out of inspiration that is quite natural. But if our intension is properly situated even if we are tired, distracted, lazy we will do things which is of higher priority.
Self- discipline should not be imposed on us. We should have a better planning, which can be done by making a list of things which are important in life, then priorities accordingly which one should be done first, so we could finish it before the dead line. It is like breaking a bigger goal in to a smaller one. Sometimes we have to have some austerity to give up something to achieve a bigger goal (Example when we have some exams, we have to compromise on something like watching TV, hanging out with friends, some games etc.). Sometimes we are caught up with small things which are easier. So prioritizing is so important so we will be able to achieve both small and big things. Follow the 80-20 rule called as the “Pareto Principle” (Founded by an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, back in 1895) to any situation which will help to prioritize our tasks, days, weeks and months. 80 % of result come by focusing on 20 % of action .Then there is 90-10 rule. It is one of the most helpful concepts for life and time management. Here 10 percent of your activities will account for 90 percent of your results. Organize, first thing first. Discipline should not be practiced alone, If we do like that then we will become rigid in our practices and hard hearted Sometimes Self-discipline in its own makes us proud too. We should plan our activities in connection with Krishna like chanting, when we do like that it will be in build in us. Slowly our determination will build too.
Sometimes in life we are faced with conflicting priorities be it material, spiritual or in connection with Krishna. In that case decision should be made based on the highest principle. For example chanting is the most important thing, but if your child is crying out of hunger or due to any sickness you have to attend to your child’s needs first then complete your rounds. Here taking care of your child is the highest priority than your saddhana which will make Krishna also happy. Another example is about Lord Ram’s decision to go to forest even though it was not his fault and also abandoning his pregnant wife Sita Devi in to the forest. He applied the principle of sacrifice- of thoughts, words and action sacrificing his own comforts.
In this Kaliyuga our life should be a balance in workplace, in family. Sometimes we have to make a decision of what is the most important thing at this point of time that we should do. There are 5 things important to stick upon our determination.
1) Inspiration or Prerana (from books, people, anything you see in your life).
2) Buddhi or intelligence or conviction. Sometimes we feel inspired by people but inspiration not enough we need conviction. If we don’t have conviction the inspiration will fade away. So it is important to have conviction.
3) Facilitation. Conviction do not give taste. Taste come in two forms. Facilitation there should be a facility (ex. Gym seeing people doing exercise we feel motivated).
4) Association: We need to have association with like-minded people that will push forward to achieve our goal. In good association two things increase. Quantity or quality. Quantity means the capacity to do things increases. In good association people give so much encouragement so the quantity increase, the quality of interest will go up. This is the symptom of having good association.
5) Bhakti: Any activity you do you should have devotion. If we want to sustain something we need to have bhakti in it or else we will give up thinking about problems and postpone it(kanishadhikari) Some they have passion to do some work and will do it but when road block comes they will give up due to frustration (Madhyaadikari). We need to be in a state where can accomplish great task even if obstacles come you will be able to sustain it. (Uttamadhikari).