10: The One Supreme Absolute Alone Is : 4.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

(Gita : 12.10)

Abhyasepyasamarthosi    matkarmaparamo    bhava,

madarthamapi   karmani    kurvan    siddhimavapsyasi.

(  Gita : 12.11.) Second line.

Sarvakarmaphalatyagam    tatah    kuru    yatatmavan .

So this seems to be teaching on karma yoga. "The abandonment of the fruits of action at least may be your way, if everything is not possible and any other thing is not practical. Neither can you reason and argue and unite your total understanding with Me, nor can you find time to concentrate on My Being. You have not got the will, nor will you be able to feel My presence, love Me whole-heartedly. Then do your duty as per your station in society." Our duty will depend upon our station in human society, or station in a particular given circumstance or environment. But this duty that we perform should be such that it does not get tagged-down to a result that we expect to follow for our own personal benefit or advantage or personal satisfaction. We do not do something because we expect some pleasure out of it.

The great ethical doctrine of Emmanuel Kant is – when some pleasure is connected with duty, it ceases to be duty, because duty is an impersonal requirement on our part and pleasure is a personal affair, so they cannot go together; this is what the German philosopher thought. But, however, he may not be wholly correct in going to such a puritanic extent in distinguishing between satisfaction and duty, because there can be higher satisfaction – not necessarily a personal pleasure arising from our performance of duty, because the correct performance of duty is possible only on the basis of a higher understanding, and wherever there is right understanding, there is a great satisfaction. We cannot say that there can be only duty minus the feeling sense in it, though this feeling of satisfaction need not be connected with personality, egoism or individual affirmation, or selfishness of any kind.

So, karma, bhakti, yoga, jnana – these seem to include every possible approach of man to God. The Bhagavadgita seems to have told us everything – there is nothing further to tell us. The theory and the practise of yoga, the philosophy and the application of it in life, is here complete for our practical purposes at least. There are those who imagine, think and conclude that the Bhagavadgita is over, here, and there is nothing further to be told. Some think that it is over with the eleventh chapter itself, because once one has had a vision of the Supreme Being, there is nothing further to be told. But this is one view, of some people – not the generally accepted view, because there are internal references in the Mahabharata itself which seem to suggest that the Bhagavadgita is not complete with the eleventh or the twelfth chapter – it goes further; and we may follow this tradition that the Bhagavadgita is not over with the eleventh or the twelfth chapters.

Arjuna has some questions, or perhaps he has no questions, because the beginning of the third chapter is sometimes with a query from Arjuna, sometimes without a query, according to different readings. The general reading is a direct speech from Sri Krishna himself, but some extraordinary editions add one extra verse, posing a question from Arjuna as to what prakriti is, purusha is, etc. However, whatever the truth of the matter be, it is immaterial for our purposes. There is some context, evidently, due to which the thirteenth chapter has become a necessity, and inasmuch as great masters like Jnaneshwar Maharaj have gone into great detail in their discourse on thirteenth chapter, etc., and we cannot set aside the views of a great master like Jnaneshwar Maharaj who was supposed to be a God-realised being, it would be wise on our part not to go to extremes of historical analysis, and accept that there is a great point in the Bhagavadgita continuing from the thirteenth chapter onwards – for some important reason which we shall see.

Swami Krishnananda

To be continued   ....

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