(Last Updated on : 30/09/2009)
The path of right action in Bhagavad Gita
comes as a crucial aftermath in the Kurukshetra
battleground, incorporated in the Mahabharata. The brothers Pandavas and Kauravas
after a prolonged antagonism to seize the Hastinapur
throne, had taken recourse to war. In course to begin the historic battle, Arjuna
, the mighty third Pandava was filled with remorse, shame and gloominess that he was compelled to fight his own bloodline, grandfathers and kin. He was thoroughly disappointed to rage a war against them, sitting down, swearing to not crusade any more. Meanwhile, Lord Krishna
, Arjuna's charioteer, had embarked to illuminate on Arjuna's dilemmas, revealing his true, Almighty self, explaining the various ancient philosophies to attain perfection. In this manner, Bhagavad Gita came into existence, clearing the Pandava's dubiousness and preparing him for battle. In this context, Krishna was urged by Arjuna to explain the difference of path of right action and renunciation of action.
Arjuna said: "My Lord! At one moment Thou praisest renunciation of action; at another, right action. Tell me truly, I pray, which of these is the more conducive to my highest welfare?" Lord Shri Krishna replied that both renunciation of action and the path of right action lead to the highest state; however, of the two, right action is the better chosen.
According to Krishna, a man is a true ascetic who never desires or dislikes, who is unswayed by the contraries and is easily liberated from bondage. Only the un-enlightened speak about wisdom and right action as distinguishable; the wise do never suffer in doubts. If any man knows one of the above two methods, he relishes the fruit of both.
The level that is reached by wisdom is accomplished through right action as well. He who perceives that the two are one and the same, perceives the truth. Thus was Arjuna initiated into the path of right action by Krishna from excerpts in Bhagavad Gita.
Without concentration, renunciation would be impossible. However, the sage who is always meditating on the Divine, in a short time is bound to attain the Absolute.
He who is spiritual, who is pure, who has overcome his senses and personal self, who has cognised his highest Self as the Self of all, such a one, even though he acts, is not bound by his acts. Though the saint perceives, hears, touches, smells, eats, moves, sleeps and breathes, yet he knows the Truth and he comprehends that it is not he who acts. By the path of right action recommended by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, though an individual talks, though he lends and receives, though he opens his eyes and shuts them, he still is aware that his senses are merely frolicking themselves amongst the objects of perception. He who devotes his actions to the Spirit, without any personal adherence to them, he is no more dirtied by sin 'than the water lily is wetted by water.' The sage performs his action neutrally, using his body, mind and intellect and even his senses, always as a means of purgation.
Arjuna is being advocated by Krishna, the Lord, in matters of righteous action, just to make the Pandava be steadied in war and move on for a right cause. Krishna continues that the liberated one, the saint, having abandoned the fruit of action, wins eternal peace. Others who are unaccustomed to spirituality, driven by desire and adhering to the advantage which they think will follow their actions, become entrapped by them. Mentally abdicating all actions, the self-disciplined soul enjoys harmony in this body, the city of the nine gates, neither doing anything himself, nor causing anything to be done. The path of right action enlisted within Bhagavad Gita states that the Lord of this universe has not however prescribed activities, or any motivator to it, or any relation between an act and its consequences. All this is the influence of Nature. The Lord does not take on responsibility for any man's sin or worth. Men are deceived because within them wisdom is almost always inundated in ignorance. Wisdom is like the sun, divulging the supreme truth to those, whose ignorance is dissipated by the wisdom of the Self. By meditating on the Divine, resting faith in the Divine, focusing on the Divine and losing themselves within the Divine, their sins get melted in wisdom; thus, the entrapped beings are transferred to that place, from where there is no return.
According to Lord Krishna advising his disciple and others subsequent in the ages to come, sages generally look equally upon all, whether he is a minister of learning and humility, or a pagan, or whether it is a cow, an elephant, or a dog. Path of right action entailed in Bhagavad Gita counsels that even in the present world sages who conquer their earth-life, whose minds are fixed on the Supreme, always remain balanced; this occurs because the Supreme is neither blemished nor biased. "He who knows and lives in the Absolute remains unmoved and unperturbed; he is not elated by pleasure, or depressed by pain." He discovers happiness in his own Self and enjoys everlasting bliss; his heart does not ever yearn for the contacts of earth and his Self is one with the Everlasting. The joys that reverberate from external associations bring about pain; they are restricted within their beginnings and their endings. The wise man does not hence exult in them. He who, before he departs his body, learns to overcome the call of desire and anger, is a saint and is eternally cheerful. He who is happy within his Self and has found its peace and in whom the inner light radiances, that sage has attained Eternal Bliss and becomes the Spirit Itself through right action.
Going by Krishna advising Arjuna, sages whose sins have been purged away, whose sense of separateness has evaporated, who have curbed themselves and seek only the welfare of all, arrive at the Eternal Spirit. Saints who are aware about their Selves, who control their minds and sense neither desire nor anger, unearth Eternal Bliss everywhere. When the sage is into such a stage, excluding the external objects, his gaze is fixed between the eyebrows; the inward and outward breathings pass equally through his nostrils. The sage's governing sense, mind and intellect, intended to be liberated, are free from desire, fear and anger; the sage thus is forever free. If an individual following the path of right action entailed by Bhagavad Gita knows Lord Krishna as Him, who gladly welcomes all offerings of asceticism and sacrifice, as "the Mighty Ruler of all the Worlds and the Friend of ill beings, he passes to Eternal Peace."