sariram kevalam karma
kurvan napnoti kilbisam
Having no desires, with his mind and body fully subdued, giving up all attachments and possessions, even though performing action necessary for the maintenance of the body, a Karma yogi, incurs no sin.
Here Lord Krishna uses the word ‘nirasir’ means bereft of expectancy or devoid of all desires for rewards. The words ‘yata-cittatma’ means to control the mind by the power of the atma or soul, keeping the mind tranquil and equipoised, free from agitation. The words ‘tyakta-sarva-parigrahah’ means abandoning all cravings for sense objects and sense pleasures. As long as one has life one should perform all actions as a matter of duty merely as a function of their body; in this way there are no reactions to actions and no disease is incurred. The disease is samsara or repetitive bondage of birth and death in the material existence.
If a Karma yogi is a recluse, he renounces all worldly possessions. But, if he is a householder, he does not accumulate any worldly object, to derive pleasure out of it. He, by regarding it as the worlds, uses it in rendering service to the world. It is inevitable for every seeker not to hanker after, mundane pleasure. The man of action, being free from hope or desire, is not attached to the performance or non-performance of action, so he incurs no sin, all his actions change into inactions. A Karma yogi, who is given to performing some action, does not indulge in indolence and heedlessness. His mind, senses and body, are under his control. Moreover, he is free from hope, desire and a sense of possession etc. So, forbidden actions cannot be performed by him, and thus he incurs no sin.
An action can leave a mark on the subtle body only when we act with ego-centric consciousness that we are the actors. And these marks can be effective only when our actions are motivated by powerful and strong ego-centric desires.
samah siddhav asiddhau ca
krtvapi na nibadhyate
He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord, who is free from duality and does not envy, who is steady both in success and failure, is never entangled, although performing actions.
One who is tranquil and content with whatever spontaneously comes to one on its own accord, to maintain one’s existence is the being who has gone beyond the dualities of material existence. This means that such a being patiently endures pleasure and pain, acceptance and rejection, sadness and happiness and the rest of the opposites which inevitably all mortals must face until one attains the goal of their endeavours which is atma tattva or soul realisation.
A Karma yogi is very cautious, lest he should be envious of any being, because all his actions are performed for the welfare of the world. If he is envious of anyone in the least, his undertakings cannot be for the welfare of the world. Envy is a subtle evil. Even friends, members of a family and businessmen, are seen getting envious of each other, because of each other’s good fortune. Where, there are antagonistic feelings, this evil is found in abundance. Therefore, a seeker should be on his guard against this evil. A Karma yogi transcends the pairs of opposites, such as profit and loss, honour and dishonour, praise and blame, pleasure and pain, and desirable and undesirable circumstances. So, he has a balanced state of mind, free from attachment and aversion etc.
All actions of a man, who is devoid of attachment, who is liberated, whose mind is established in knowledge of the self, who works for the sake of sacrifice (yajna), are destroyed.
When a man performs actions for the welfare of the world, without any selfish motive, he becomes free from attachment, for actions and objects. In the Discipline of Action, renunciation of a sense of mine is important, while in the Discipline of Knowledge, renunciation of ‘egoism’ is important. If a seeker renounces one of these, the other is automatically renounced. In the Discipline of Action, first there is renunciation of a sense of mine and then renunciation of egoism, naturally follows; while in the Discipline of Knowledge, the order is reversed.
brahmarpanam brahma havir
brahmagnau brahmana hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyam
A person who is fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness is sure to attain the spiritual kingdom because of his full contribution to spiritual activities, in which the consummation is absolute and that which is offered is of the same spiritual nature. For him, the ladle with which yajna offering is made is Brahman, the fire and the act of offering oblation, is also Brahman. The oblation poured into the fire is also Brahman.
The actions performed by a person as offerings and worship to the Supreme Lord are considered inaction as they lead to spiritual intelligence and are not bonded in any way to reactions. For one who has achieved ‘atma tattva’ or soul realisation, all actions are neutralised by knowing that one is not the doer and hence for them even various natural actions are considered inaction. Now Lord Krishna is stating that the transformation of action to inaction is always present in the person who performs all their actions in relation to the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. One, whose mind is absorbed in performing all actions as offerings to the Brahman exclusively, attains the Brahman without a doubt.
When we view everything, as nothing other than God, we attain Him. Cultured people, recite this verse while having meals, so that this activity can be changed into a sacrifice (Yajna). When a seeker has his meal, he beholds God, in the following way:-
(i) The hand, with which the food is put into the mouth, is God.
(ii) The food is God.
(iii) He who eats the food is also God.
(iv) The fire, that abides in the stomach, and by which food is digested, is also God.
(v) The action of offering food, to the fire, which abides in the stomach, is also God.
(vi) The fruit of eating, the remnants, (residual food) of the sacrifice, is also God.
daivam evapare yajnam
brahmagnav apare yajnam
Some yogis perfectly worship the demigods by offering different sacrifices to them, and some of them offer sacrifices in the fire of the Supreme Brahman.
Karma yogis or those following the path of prescribed Vedic activities being on a lower platform devotedly worship the demigods such as Indra for rainfall and Surya for sunlight and derive the desired results sought. While the jnana yogis those following the path of cultivating knowledge offer all their oblations such as ghee or clarified butter and food grains exclusively into the fire as offerings to the Brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and this is their yajna or worship to the Supreme.
Of the five kinds of yajna to be performed by a grahasta, man of the world, ‘brahmayajna’, the study of Vedas and acquiring the knowledge of Brahman, ‘devayajna’, the performance of worship like japa, homa and the other activities done to propitiate the divine, ‘pitryajna’ like sraddha and others done towards the pitrs, manes, ‘manushya’ yajna which are services of charity, hospitality and welfare of mankind and ‘bhuta’ yajna, kindness and service to living beings other than humans, deva yajna has been mentioned above.
A Yogi is one who is always trying, through all available means, to raise himself from the state of physical, mental and intellectual imperfections.