The Importance of Letting Go-Bhagavad Gita

The Importance of Letting Go-Bhagavad Gita

Why the Gita talks about not being bound by Karma though engaged in Work?

Universally renowned as the jewel of Indian spiritual wisdom, the Gita delves into the depth of difference between our self and our material body. It intricately delves into how our enjoyment affects our consciousness, and how to attain perfection of life. It provides a definitive guide to the science of self-realisation. No other philosophical work reveals the nature of consciousness, the self, the universe and the Supreme as lucidly as the Gita and as such I believe certain aspects of it are relevant in all spheres of life.

Appearing as Chapter 6 in the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Arjuna, a gifted warrior, and Krishna the Lord and his charioteer. It contains therein multiple quotable and interesting anecdotes and one of such conversations is something that I would love to draw your attention to:
Said Arjuna : I do not wish to kill my relatives, spiritual leaders, and friends, even though they stand ready to kill me. I desire neither victory, not pleasure, nor kingdom. For what is the use of a kingdom, or enjoyment, or even life when all those for whom we desire kingdom, enjoyment and pleasure are here in this battle, ready to give up their lives?

Lord Krishna replied: The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. There was never a time you or I did not exist, nor shall we ever cease to exist in the future. The Spirit is neither born nor does it die; it is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. After the death of the body, the Spirit takes recourse in a new body until Self-Realization is attained. Death is certain for the one who is born, and birth is certain for the one who dies. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable but pray for self-realisation that you may be at peace.

Simply do your duty to the best of your ability without becoming discouraged by the thought of the outcome, which may be success or failure, loss or victory. You have control over your actions, but no control or claim over the result. Fear of failure, from being emotionally attached to the fruit of work, is the greatest impediment to success because it disturbs the equanimity of the mind. A farmer is responsible for working his land, yet has no control over the harvest. But if he does not work his land, he cannot expect a harvest! By doing your duty, you will not incur Karmic bondage.

Seek this knowledge, this discipline, Arjuna. There are many paths to Me, to enlightenment and freedom….

One is truly enlightened who:

1. Does all work as an offering to God, abandoning attachment to the result. Drop the bondage of Karma.

2. Sees one and the same Spirit in all beings, looks at a learned person, an outcast, or an animal, with equal eye, and can feel the pain and pleasure of others as one’s own.

3. Neither rejoices on obtaining what is pleasant, nor grieves on obtaining the unpleasant, and is tranquil and equanimous in pleasure and pain, in fulfillment and disappointment, in honor and disgrace

4. Finds happiness in the Supreme being, rejoices the Supreme Being within, is illuminated by Self-Knowledge and remains over steadfast with the Supreme Self

5. Acts beyond personal selfish motives

6. Has neither attachment nor aversion for anything

7. Has discovered the joy of spiritual knowledge, and whose mind is in union with God.

Such a person is not bound by Karma though engaged in work, maintains equanimity whatever occurs and attains eternal bliss.

Therefore, let your Mind be ever absorbed in Me, O Arjuna, remain unattached to the outcome of your actions, and go forth to do your duty, knowing the Spirit is deathless and eternal.
Though there are more than 700 verses in the Gita, but this exchange above forms its very basic thought or message. It truly embodies Lord Krishna’s teachings of focusing on the actions rather than the results and seeking eternal happiness without getting attached with the process. These teachings could not have been more relevant today. So often, we tend to chase somethings, be our professional goals or success in business, so hard that we lose essence of why we started in the first place. We forget the journey and instead devote all our energies to the pursuit. More often than not, such pursuit only ends up making us feel dissatisfied and incomplete while as Krishna says above, we have no control or claim over the result. Therefore, if there is one thing that this exchange teaches us is that all our energies should be spent in utilizing the best of our abilities without worrying about the grief of the failure or the riches of success. It is only then that we experience the bliss of Letting Go.

The above is simply an attempt on my end to interpret the verses as I go along reading the Gita. I greatly recommend reading the Gita not as a scripture or a religious text but as a collection of experiences that answers so many of our unanswered questions to an extent that it leaves us amazed.

By : Koti Madhav Balu Chaudhry
Author - Writer and Web Designer

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