How man can step up efficiency?
How can man step up his usefulness to others?
1. By keeping away negative thoughts such as craving for some pleasures, aversion to discomforts etc.
indriyasya indriyasya arthe rAgadweshau wyawasthitau
tayoh na washam Agachchet tau hi asya paripanthinau ||3.34||
” Attachment and aversion for the objects of the senses abide in the senses; let none come under their sway; for they are his foes. “
Krishna indicates here the great robber in the ‘within’ of man, which loots away the true joys and thrills of ‘right living.’ Attachments and aversions of the sense-organs for their respective sense-objects are instinctive, and natural, in every one. The sense-objects by themselves are incapable of bringing any wave of sorrow or agitation into the ‘within.’ We get agitated and disturbed not at our sense-organs, but in our mind. The mind gets disturbed because, when the stimuli reach the mind, it accepts, in its inherent mischief, certain types of stimuli as GOOD, and their opposites as BAD. Thereafter, it gets attached to the stimuli it experiences as good and develops an aversion for the opposite type of stimuli. Now the mind is prepared to suffer the agonies of existence in the sorrowful plurality. Whenever it comes in contact with the infinite number of objects outside, it pants to court the things of its own attachment and labours to run away from the things of its own aversion. This excitement of the mind is truly ‘its tragedy.’ Having stated this Truth, Krishna advises all seekers: “LET NONE COME UNDER THEIR SWAY.”
The philosophy of Geeta does not suggest, even in its implications, any kind of running away from the world-of-sense-objects. Krishna’s creed is to live HERE and NOW, in the midst of situations in life, in this very world, and to experience them through our sacred vehicles of the body,mind, and intellect. The only insistence is that on all occasions, a wise man should be a master of the vehicles and not a helpless victim of these matter-envelopments. And the secret of this mastery in life is to live free from the tyrannies of attachments and aversions.
2. by increasing Sattva-mood in oneself
sarwadwAreshu dehe asmin prakAshah upajAyate
jnAnam yadA tadA widyAt wiwrddham sattwam iti uta ||14.11||
” When, through every gate (sense) in this body, the light-of- intelligence shines, then it may be known that ‘SATTWA’ is predominant.”
If the mind is agitated by Rajas and the intellect is veiled by Tamas, even ordinary, efficient perceptions become almost impossible. Thus, the more often and more completely we go beyond Rajas and Tamas, and thereby make our bosom full of Sattwa, the more grows our capacity to observe, to analyse, to understand and to become aware of the world outside and judge it correctly.
The mechanism of knowing the world outside is the intellect; is the light-of-intelligence by which we illumine the world of ideas, feelings and objects available in our life. The sunlight outside never comes directly to a room to illumine the things in the room. It is always the light of the Sun reflected on the walls that illumines a cozy room. Similarly the Light of Consciousness, reflected in the intellect, is the beam of light that illumines the world-of- objects. The gunas are the influences under which the mind and intellect live.
It is very well known that a clean and steady reflecting medium will reflect more efficiently than an unsteady, unclean surface. #Rajas# creates agitations and makes the intellect unsteady; Tamas created veilings and makes the intellect unclean. Naturally, the greater the proportion of Rajas and Tamas in a bosom, the lesser will be its quota of intelligence. Therefore, it is highly scientific to say that, “at the moment of knowing and comprehending the world,” one’s bosom is surely in its pure Sattwic-mood.
3. by living and acting in the ‘present’, preventing memories of the past and anxieties about future from clouding our intellect.
mayi sarwAni karmAni sannyasya adhyAtmachetasA
nirAsheeh nirmamah bhootwA yudhyaswa wigatajwarah ||3.30||
“Renouncing all actions in Me, with the mind centred on the Self, free from hope and egoism, free from (mental) fever, do you fight!”
RENOUNCE ALL ACTIONS IN ME – We have already noticed that by the firstperson pronoun Krishna means the Supreme Self, the Divine, the Eternal. Renouncing all activities unto Him, with a mind soaked with devoted remembrances of the Self (Adhyatma Chetasa), the Lord advises Arjuna to act on. Renunciation of action does not mean an insipid life of inactivity. Actions performed through attachment and desires are renounced the moment we take away from action the ego-centric and the selfish stink.
A serpent is dangerous only as long as its fangs are not removed. The moment these are taken out, even the most poisonous reptile becomes a tame creature incapable of harming anyone. Similarly, action given rise to bondage only when it is performed with a heart laden with selfishdesires.Actions performed without desires are not actions at all, in as much as they are incapable of producing any painful reactions. Here, the renunciation of action only means the giving up of the wrong motives behind the actions.
Not only is it sufficient that we renounce thus all wrong actions, but we have also to make a few adjustments in our inner instruments in order to bring out an unobstructed flow of the Creator’s Will through us. These are indicated here by the two terms “without hope” and “without ego.
WITHOUT HOPE- Hope is “the expectation of a happening that is yet to manifest and mature in a FUTURE PERIOD OF TIME.” Whatever be the hope, it belongs not to the present; it refers to a period of time not yet born.
WITHOUT EGO- Our ego-centric concept of ourselves is nothing but “a bundle of happenings and achievements of ours which took place, or were gained, in the past moments.” Ego is therefore “the shadow of the past,” and it has an existent reality only with reference to THE DEAD MOMENTS OF THE PAST.
If hope is thus the child of the unborn future, ego is the lingering memory of a dead past. To revel in ego and hope is an attempt on our part to live, either with the dead moments of the past, or with the unborn moments of the future. All the while, the tragedy is that we miss the ‘present,’ the active dynamic ‘present,’ which is the only noble chance that is given to us to create, to advance, to achieve, and to enjoy. Krishna advises Arjuna, therefore, to act renouncing both hope and ego; and this is indeed a primary instruction on how to pour the best that is in us into the ‘present,’ blockading all unintelligent and thoughtless dissipation of our inner-personality-energies, in the ‘past’ and the ‘future.’
4. by enduring pain and pleasure with a brave calmness
santushtah satatam yogee yatAtmA drdhanishchayah mayi arpitamanobuddhih yah madbhaktah sah me priyah ||12.14||
“The contacts of senses with objects, O son of Kunti, which cause heat and cold, pleasure and pain, have a beginning and an end; they are impermanent; endure them bravely, O descendant of Bharata.”
That the same objects can give two different types of experiences to two different individuals is very well-known. The object remaining the same, if it can give different experiences, it is evident that it is because of the difference in the mental composition of the individuals. It is also observed that, objects of one’s intense fancy during a certain stage in one’s life, become a nuisance to the same individual after a time; for, as time passes on, the mental constitution of the individual also changes. In short, it is very clear that the external objects can convey their stimuli and give us an experience only when our minds come in contact with the objects through the sense-organs.
Having understood this finite nature of the changeable objects-of-theworld, wherein everyone of them has a beginning and an end, on no occasion need a wise man despair the least, of things THAT ARE, or of things THAT ARE NOT. Heat and cold, success or failure, pain or joy none of them can be permanent. Since every situation, of its own nature, must keep on changing, it would be foolish to get ourselves upset at every change noticed. It is wisdom to suffer them meekly with the comfort and consolation of the knowledge of their finite nature. It is the attitude of the wise to go through life, both in joy and sorrow, in success and failure, in pain and joy, with the constant awareness:
“Even this will pass away.”
Understand that ‘being useful to others’ is the way for yourself to evolve through diluting your personnel attachments and weakening your ego.
saktAh karmani awidwAmsah yathA kurwanti bhArata
kuryAt widwAn tathA asaktah chikeershuh lokasangraham ||3.25||
” As the “ignorant” men act from attachment to action, O Bharata, so should the “wise” men act without attachment, wishing the welfare of the world.”
To the extent we work for larger schemes to bless a vaster section of humanity, to that extent the attachment loses its poison and comes to bless the age. Many poisons serve as medicines in their diluted form, while the same in a concentrated form can bring instantaneous death! The ego and ego-centric desires bind and destroy man, but to the extent he can lift his identifications to include and accommodate in it, larger sections of the living world, to that extent the attachment gathers an ethical halo, a divine glow, and becomes a cure for our subjective pains and imperfections.
Here the practical method suggested is that Arjuna should work, unattached to his own ego-centric, limited concept of himself and his relations, and he must enter into the battle-field as a champion fighting for a cause, noble and righteous, against the armies that have come up to question and challenge the deathless ‘values of higher living’ as propounded and upheld by the Hindu culture.
To serve others is to serve the Lord. Jana-seva is Jnardhana-seva. Nara-seva is Narayana-seva.