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July 3, 2022

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 4: Verse 19 - Verse 23)

In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 4th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 19 - 23. Sri Krishna makes a beautiful comment about the non-doership of a person and how their intellect is always turned towards Brahman. Once this is done, all consequences or reactions to their actions are burned away by the knowledge of the Atman. The real karma yogi appears to be acting but because they are completely satisfied, they in fact do nothing because they don't care about the reactions to their actions. The goal is to see ourselves as the formless awareness and then we have no karmic reactions created, we act without feeling anxious as we are transparent in knowing this reality of life. We have no desires and don't grab for any results. The Sage is always balanced in their own inherent peace. They see the Atman in one and all, therefore, they can easily be free from the outcome of any action. Understanding the oneness of All, by performing every action as a sacred offering to the Divine, they know what they are - this Formless Awareness. 

Translation used: The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive: A Radical Translation by Jeffrey Armstrong Available here on Amazon

If you would like to dwell deeper in the Bhagavad Gita, I recommend Swami Gambhirananda's translation with Adi Shankara ji's commentary: Available here on Amazon

I hope you enjoyed listening to the 33rd episode of the Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita and if you are interested in listening to more episodes like this on further chapters and verses, or on Non-Duality, or you want to learn more about the wisdom of the Mystics please follow/subscribe to this Podcast.

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Rahul N Singh:

Hello, and welcome to the Bearded Mystic Podcast and I am your host, Rahul N Singh. Thank you for taking out the time today to either watch or listen to this podcast episode. Before we begin this episode, if you would like to support The Bearded Mystic Podcast, you can do so by signing up to the Patreon page that we have, and you can get extra benefits, just take a look at the tiers and I appreciate any support that you can provide for the podcast.

Also every Saturday at 11:

00 AM Eastern standard time, we do have a free virtual meditation session, if you would like to join, you can find the details in detailed in the video description and show notes below. Let's do a recap of the last episode that we looked at with my thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita. In the last episode, we looked at chapter four verses 13 to 18, and there Sri Krishna gives the details about the varna system and why it was created. However, Sri Krishna has left this to the humans to come up with the details and it's running and its operation. There's no need for the caste system today. It has very little purpose and is not what it was intended to be. And Sri Krishna also explains how to transcend the rules of karma and that is by not being attached to the results of the actions that we do. We are instructed by Sri Krishna to follow the path of the ancient rishis who wanted moksha or mukti and to follow this path of Karma Yog, which is to transcend the results of our actions. This is where the Bhagavad Gita has evolved the definition of what is karma and akarma. We must know the subtle differences with action, despite how difficult it is to understand. Sri Krishna explains how a perfected Yogi can tell the subtleties of material cause and effect between inaction in action, and action in inaction. Let's look at verse 19. When a person's actions are free of selfish desires and ulterior motives, the reactions to their actions are immediately burned up in the fire of perfected knowing. Those who have achieved this state are known as Pandita Buddha. Let's break that up a little in the first line we have, when the person's actions are free of selfish desires and ulterior motives. What we need to do here is we have to analyze whether our actions are selfish in any way. Are they there just to have a self-serving purpose? Are our actions completely for ourself? Maybe we do have to act in our interest at times, but if we act in our interest, is it causing more harm than it is doing good? That's the thing that we have to ask ourselves and inquire into. We need to have a look at, like I mentioned, are we desiring to do actions which could also snatch the rights of others? And this is really important in today's day and time, because we may find that, yeah, we may just post something on social media and we may just deal with the consequences later. But actually are our thoughts behind certain decisions that are made like in government? Or certain things that we do and decide taking away someone's promotion at work? Little things like that. Are we making sure that the other person doesn't progress more in terms of studies? Those are the things where if you look at it today, we are more involved in competition than cooperation. We don't look to cooperate with each other, work together, get the best results, but it always seems to be that either one team has to be better than the other team. Or one individual has to be better than another individual and it becomes this rat race of being better than others. And I think if we are desiring to do actions, which will take away the rights of others or we take away someone's promotion or what someone deserves to have, then that is not good either. So we have to be free of those things, if we are to continue on with understanding what it is to be in Karma Yoga. We're not meant to have selfish desires or have ulterior motives. Is that why we conduct our behavior in certain ways, or we have certain thoughts, are they because we want to be more influential or to get access to more power so we can get away with stuff. Those are the things we have to think about. It is important that we commit to actions where we don't think of our benefit and we get rid of any doership. And that's really important because if you really wanna get rid of selfish desires and be free from them, the first thing to do is get rid of doership. You are not the doer because you're not the body and mind. And then when it comes to ulterior motives, it's not like you're doing something because you want another person to fall. You want another person to hurt themselves. There's a very beautiful example once that my Guru gave, which was someone was walking on a road and on the road, there was a banana skin and what happened was he walked into the banana skin and slipped. over Instead of picking up the banana skin and throwing it into the bin, he just kept it there. Now what he didn't do was think about another person that okay if I slipped, I don't want another person to slip. These are the type of thoughts that an ignorant and selfish person has and where they don't really care. If another person falls, even though now it's their mistake. Yeah. Initially someone dropped that banana skin and it's their fault, but then you're also equally at fault when we just slip on that banana skin and we don't do anything about it. Our actions always have a reaction. Yes, we cannot just rely on because someone else is the root of the action that we will not face the consequences. We will. We make choices. Therefore we have to analyze, do we have selfish desires? Or do we have ulterior motives? The main thing is to become free of such things where we act selflessly, where we think of others. When we don't look to take away the rights of others, where we look to promote togetherness and harmony, those are the principles that someone has when they're practicing the message of the Bhagavad Gita. Then the second part that we're looking at is the reactions to their actions are immediately burned up in the fire of perfected knowing those who have achieved this state are known as Pandita Buddha. So the reactions and consequences for all actions, positive, negative, good, bad are all burned up in the fire of the Gyana, of this Atman and of Brahman. This Gyana is what burns it up. This knowledge is what burns it up and that's why it's important to have perfected knowing. Therefore leaving the non doer of all actions to experience no reactions personally. It's not like you will not face the reactions of any action. You will because you live in the body. I live in the body. I will face the reactions to all of my karma but the difference is, if I choose to do an action, do I let go of the results and think, well, I'm doing this without thinking of my benefit or my loss? I'm just simply doing the action because I find it to be more righteous at this minute. Now, when we are able to do that, then we get rid of that personal feeling of this is what happened to me. The reactions do not occur then. So the person who achieves this state is deeply spiritual and a deeply wise person, their mind is always turned towards the buddhi, towards their viveka, towards their discernment and wisdom and that has been established by that understanding of the Real and the unreal. This Buddhi is always facing the Atman. Hence, they are known as Pandita Buddha, a person who has the ownership of this divine Buddhi this intellect, and this is where it matters because one has to always be facing the Atman, one always has to be absorbed in the Atman. That is the whole purpose of life and that's why we are practicing this message of the Bhagavad Gita. This is why we are intrigued by the message of the Bhagavad Gita, because we feel that we no longer want to face the consequences of our actions in a sense where it will cause mental stress or anxiety. We want a life that is more peaceful and calm and the only way to do that is to discern between what is more righteous and what is less righteous. And that is by understanding that, which is real, which is changeless and understanding that even though we may commit an action, we will face a reaction as the body and mind. But this Atman, this indwelling self will not face any of the reactions. That will always be free and if we act from that, we will be acting from a place of love, of beauty and of kindness. And that's what matters really. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna makes a beautiful comment about the non doership of a person and how their intellect is always turned towards Brahman. Once this is done, all consequences or reactions to their actions is burned away by the knowledge of the Atman. Verse 20. One who no longer clings to the fruits of their actions, who is always satisfied and is not dependent upon circumstance, even when apparently acting, in fact does nothing at all. We're gonna break this down because there's a lot in there that we really need to capture. The first part is one who no longer clings to the fruits of their actions. So someone should not be proud or upset about the fruit of their actions, or the reactions from their actions. They must act and move on. They do not need to think about what has previously occurred. They just need to carry on with life and live life more in the moment, more in the remembrance of Brahman. Therefore, because of that attitude, they don't cling to the attachment of 'I did this' and 'I did that'. Now, if you think about it, the number one cause for stress is because one either thinks one didn't do something or one has done something and therefore there's incredible guilt, fear, and anxiety due to it. It all begins with, 'I did this', 'I did that' and we have to let go of that attachment that I did something, or I did that. We have to move beyond the doing. This helps us just get rid of that anxiety, which is what we are all looking for. A peace and tranquil mind. The second part is who is always satisfied and is not dependent upon circumstance. So that person is always satisfied. Always feels complete, always feels full. There's no way they feel empty at all. They're not hankering or are they hungry for material success. If you think about it, they don't need material success to be happy, to be peaceful, to be content, to be in comfort. For them, it may be sleeping on the floor that is comfortable. For them, it may be eating one meal a day that is comfortable. For them they've transcended the limitations of the body and mind, and they've entered into that limitless aspect of the Atman and in all circumstances, they are always established in Brahman. They don't need favorable or unfavorable times. Often we think of well, I want to have good things happen to me, or we are in good form or I'm going through good days. That's not what they do. Nor are they feeling that they're going through bad times, that they don't know what's going on. There's none of that ignorance. They know that life is complete in itself. Therefore they don't need to depend on any circumstance to take them further. They don't feel like they are missing out on anything. There's no FOMO. They are not thinking I haven't got that. I haven't achieved this. They are no longer thinking on that level. Sometimes we act on something because we want to achieve something. That person is not dependent on any circumstance. They're always satisfied and that's the number one thing is we never find ourselves satisfied because we are always hankering over a desire. We have a desire over something always. Therefore, how can we find peace when our senses are looking to fulfill that desire or at the same time, take us away from getting that desire, so we are always in anxiety. Then the third part to this is even when apparently acting, in fact does nothing at all. This reminds me of the Tao Te Ching, where it says the Dao does nothing, yet everything is done. This highlights the action within inaction as they are above doership. It appears that the physical being is doing an act, but because there is no selfishness, there's pure selflessness. There's no ulterior motives. There's no dependency or dissatisfaction. They are not the doers. Therefore, they are not doing anything at all. It may appear to everyone that they're doing something. It may appear that they're drinking a cup of tea, but realistically inside there is nobody there that is doing the action. It's only the body and mind as an automatic function, that it must do to survive. The Atman is not going to enjoy that cup of tea. The Atman is not gonna be benefiting from that cup of tea. It's not like the Atman is going to be awake because of the cup of tea. That is all with the body and mind and the stimulants that tea creates. There is no doer. It's the body that is doing the action, but the Atman is not doing the action. And the Atman is our True Self because that is changeless. That is Formless Awareness. They put all their actions into the fire of Atman Gyana. Everything is about the Atman Gyana, knowing the True Self. Brahman does no action and someone who has understood their true self will do no action. This is the way to understand it. And as we know, Brahman cannot act because it's Nirguna, it's attribute-less and therefore has no intention to act nor does it have any intention to not act. It is simply being. When one is in the state of simply being, then one can choose one's actions in a more mindful and more effective manner. That's what The Bhagavad Gita really emphasizes. The context of this whole verse is that the real Karma Yogi appears to be acting, but because they're completely satisfied, they in fact do nothing because they don't care about the reactions to their actions. Verse 21. If one sees themself as the Atman, performing all actions as if they are merely done by the body with no desires, clear discernment, not grasping anything and without acquisitive motives, then no karmic reactions are created. This is the goal. Seeing oneself as the Formless Awareness. This is what we want to achieve and moving beyond the identification as the body and mind, that is our whole intention. The second part is performing all actions as if they are merely done by the body with no desires, clear discernment, not grasping anything and without acquisitive motives. This describes a process of how a person established in Brahman actually acts. They have no desire, no want or expectation. First of all, there's no desire to achieve something, to attain something, to get something, then there's no want, there's no hankering over something, no wanting something, no unreasonable needs that apparently are required, but they're not. There's no expectations. You have to understand the correct path of action due to the initial discernment of what is real and unreal. When we know that this body and mind is acting, we know it's unreal because it's changing and it's a phenomena that will always change, but the Atman is the real. Even if we act in this Atman, there is no retention of any of that karma, they are also not grasping for any results. It's not important for them to want results and they don't have any motives to take over anything like property, job position, or business, etc. They are completely free from such things. The next line is then no karmic reactions are created. This means that no karma is created. We are free from the reactions of the actions that we do. This is how we can act without any anxiety, because we are not thinking about the results. We're not thinking about any reactions that are created because we are acting freely. We are acting as the Atman. We're acting in the Real, the Limitless, Eternal Self. That's the aim. We must do this and we must get rid of the feeling that we are the doers. This is the one thing we have to do and this can only happen if we understand we are the Atman. Yes, the body and mind will be the doers. They will feel like they are doers of action. That is completely normal. The one thing that we have to normalize is the connection of the Atman and how that is real and how that is actually the non doer of everything. The context of the whole verse is the goal is to see ourselves as the Formless Awareness and then we have no Karma reactions created. We act without feeling anxious, as we are clear in knowing this reality of life, we have no desires and we don't grab to any results. Verse 22. One who is satisfied with whatever they gain, who is unaffected by opposites within matter, who is not envious of others and who is balanced in success or failure is not bound by the outcome of action. Again, we'll break this up. One who is satisfied with whatever they gain. So whatever they gain by the actions done by the body and the mind they are satisfied with. They do not look to change it because there's nothing you can do about it. Once an action is done, you cannot undo it. There is no undo button when it comes to our actions, or even the words that we say to other people. We are always responsible for our actions and our words. Whatever is achieved is accepted. Whatever is gained is accepted. We've realized this Brahman - amazing. We are still in the ego - amazing because you know what? One day we will transcend the ego. The more we practice this Karma Yog, the more we'll be satisfied with whatever we gain. We don't look for one particular thing. That if I do this and I will achieve this, I will get that. And I'll be living the best life ever, because guess what happens if we continuously think that if we're gonna get something and then we are gonna be happy, that's not gonna work. Happiness is an inside job. It has to work from here. We have to dwell onto this happiness, that's always within us and sometimes we mask it with either we do not get what we desire or we get what we desire, but now we want something else. The second part is who is unaffected by the opposites within matter. This may be the actions we may do that may cause pain or pleasure, or it creates heat and cold or happiness and sadness. Those are the things to think about when it comes to unaffected by the opposites within matter. Everything is in opposites. Everything is in conflict. Where you have push, you have pull where you have good, you have bad. Where you have peace, you have suffering. Those are the things that are always there. The opposites within matter will always be, but a true Sage, a true Rishi, a true human being will never be swayed by either side. If there's good happening. Brilliant. If there's bad happening, brilliant. They have that same vision for everything. That is called samdrishti. That's when they always have the sameness in our understanding and realization and our actions. The True Sage is always beyond these things and that's because they are independent of such matter. They no longer depend on these things. The third part and who is not envious of others. And why should they envy others? Why do we need to? When we understand that everyone is the Atman, the Shared Being of the Formless Oneness, why do we need to feel envy? Why do we need to be jealous? Why do we need to feel hurt that someone is achieving more than us? We should be happy because we should see our success in their success. We should see their success in our success too. And that's the way it should be. If you think about it because we are a shared being someone else's success is your success. Someone else failing is your failure. Therefore, you want to help everybody succeed. There's no reason to just stand back because you don't know somebody or because someone is not your friend or because someone is a jerk to you initially. That person does not compete with anyone nor do they compare with anyone. Competing and comparing is the biggest disease that one's mind can have. It's always competing with somebody else. If someone else has a better home, they want a better home. Someone else has a better car. They want a better car. Someone that has better clothes, they want the better clothes. Someone has more friends. They want to steal those friends and that's what tends to happen. Then they will compare themselves to others. Oh, look at how this person's looking. Look how this person's home is. I wish I had that. That is all competing and comparing, and this will never help anybody. It has never helped anybody. Whoever's done this competing and comparing, they've constantly struggled in life because how can you be happy when you're always competing with others, when you're always comparing with others? When that means that because you compare to others and therefore you find competition in them, you look to bring them down. How is that going to help you in spirituality? How can that help you if you follow any religion? This does not just belong to Hinduism. This applies to every religion. Why do we do such things? What is the need? Why are we causing stress to others? Why are our actions causing depression to others? Why is it that we do not care about the way other people feel or think? Those are the things that we have to think about. The fourth part is, and who is balanced in success or failure is not bound by the outcome of action. Balanced in success or failure. These are natural results to any projects that we do. We have to be balanced in both, and sometimes we count delayed successes as failure, but this is a narrow vision. Now think about it in Stranger Things recently, there's been a song by Kate Bush, running up that hill. Now, back in the eighties, when that was released, it wasn't a big success as it is today. Now 30, 40 years later, she has found success. And you know what, that's the point is that don't see your failure today as a failure forever. It can be a success tomorrow. And you never know when someone may pick something up. We should always go forward, just do your action. Don't think about the results. Enjoy yourself, enjoy the process, enjoy creating and that's the beauty. I remember a friend from university once said to me that a wise person sees failure as progress. And I've never forgotten that line. It's always stayed deep in my heart because it really spoke to me because sometimes, you know, growing up, I would hear that I will not succeed in any way. I would fail in life. And even up to my twenties, I used to hear this. And then now, I'm blessed in a lot of ways and I'm grateful for a lot of these things. But if I really thought that I failed, that would cripple me and that would not allow me to grow. I would always be feeling that I'm not good enough, or I do not deserve it. But because of that one comment that my friend made, that one line that a wise person always sees failure as progress, I have always been positive, even if something has not succeeded or has not performed the way I wanted it to perform. That's fine. You know what, because maybe it's not ready for this time. Maybe it's ready in a hundred years time. Who knows? All I can do is do my action and go beyond the result. If it happens, whatever the result is, it doesn't matter. I have to move forward with my action. I have to keep moving forward, keep being positive. Keep my sanity, keep peace of mind, tranquility of mind, and not get bogged down by the anxiety of success or the anxiety of failure. Yeah, we don't need that. Whatever action this wise person does is always in a state of balance. They do not mind whatever happens. So any action from this success or failure is not going to move them from their inherent peace. They're always gonna be peaceful, always gonna be happy, always going to be blissful. They're always in that state of acceptance. To get there, it is challenging. I'm not saying it's going to happen overnight. It's gonna take time, but it can be done. We can do it and we must continue to work on ourselves so we can get to that state of balance. Whatever the outcome or result, they are beyond whatever it is because they act in non-doership. Remember they act as if they're the Atman, not as the body and mind, not for the desires of the body and mind, not for the emotions of the body and mind, not for the joys of the body and mind. They just do everything in the state of the Atman, in the state of that Formless Awareness. The context of this whole verse is that the Sage is always balanced in their own inherent peace, they see the Atman in one and all, therefore they can easily be free from the outcome of any action and they transcend success and failure because they are just in that state of the Atman. Now verse 23. In this way, one who is freed from bondage to material cause and effect who is established in the knowledge of their true self and whose every action has become a Yajna also identifies themselves with the Supreme and Ultimate State of Being. Very beautiful. The first part is in this way, one who is freed from bondage to material cause and effect. That's the performance of karma, who is established in the knowledge of their true self. First of all, as established earlier, when one is unattached from the actions that they've done, and the results of those actions, they who have established themselves fully as Brahman, integrated their wisdom with experience, whatever they do, that person is free from the results of their actions. They're not as attached or associated to material karma, to the material effects or reactions. They're always established in Brahman. They're always identified with Brahman. They're always acting as Brahman, always thinking like Brahman, always perceiving things as Brahman. Their intention is of Brahman, which is this Nirguna, this attribute-less state, this Real state that is changeless. To have that happen, we have to find that within us. Until we find it, this is not gonna be practical for us. These teachings only become practical when we practice them. I can turn around and say, well, this is impossible. How can I know my true self? How can I know what is changeless within me? I have to practice. I have to inquire into what is that which is changeless within me and that is that Formless Awareness. And then the second part is, and whose every action has become a Yajna also identifies themself with the Supreme and Ultimate State of Being. Their every action is done as a Yajna, as a sacred offering to the Divine, to the earth and to the devas, that's the way they see life. That's the way they perceive life and that person is always identifying completely as the Supreme and Ultimate State of Being, this Purusha, this Brahman, this Formless Awareness, this Pure Consciousness, this Ultimate Reality is where they act from. They act from Brahman. That's the only way they know and they identify completely. Their Jiva is no longer identified to the body and mind. The Jiva understands its True Self, which is this Nirguna Brahman without any attribute, it's all pervading everywhere. And therefore that person will always be free from their karma and every action they do because they are the Self, that Pure Self. that Atman, therefore every action they do is sacred, is pure, is loving, full of divinity. That's the aim of every Karma Yogi, every human being can do this. Now think about it. Not only do you see yourself as Brahman, as the Atman, but you see others as Brahman. Therefore every action you do, every thought you give, every message you send is always a Yajna, a sacred offering and that's the way to see it. The context of the whole verse is understanding the oneness of all by performing every action as a sacred offering to the Divine, they understand what they truly are, which is this Formless Awareness. And that is a wonderful way to end the episode. Now please do share this podcast with your friends and family who may enjoy this content. Do follow me on social media to keep getting updates, subscribe to the monthly The Bearded Mystic Newsletter, join the Bearded Mystic Podcast Discord Server, and the details for all those things are in the show notes and video description below. As I mentioned in the very beginning, if you have really enjoyed what you've learned on this podcast, and you wanna support me in the running cost of this podcast, please do sign up to our Patreon page, the details in the show notes and video description below. You can rate and review the podcast on our website, www.thebeardedmysticpodcast.com. If you're watching this on YouTube, please like, and comment on this video and subscribe to the YouTube channel. Also, if you are listening to this on goodpods, you can write a comment and I can even respond to you on there. So it's a little community we can have on the GoodPods podcast streaming platform. Thank you very much for listening and we'll end with feeling the presence of this Atman and the peaceful nature of it. So with me, Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti Aum peace, peace, peace, Namaste