Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda


Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) Chapter II: 49-50

February 12, 2019

dῡreṇa hy avaraṁ karma buddhiyogᾱd dhanaṁjaya
buddhau śaraṇam anviccha kṛpaṇᾱḥ phalahetavaḥ (II-49)
™buddhiyukto jahᾱtī ’ha ubhe sukṛtaduṣkṛte
tasmᾱd yogᾱya yujyasva yogaḥ karmasu kauśalaṁ (II-50)

II/49. Far lower than the yoga of wisdom (Buddhi Yoga) is
action, O Arjuna. Seek thou refuge in wisdom. Wretched are
they whose motive is the reward.

II/50. Endowed with wisdom (evenness of mind), one casts
off in this life both good and evil deeds. Therefore, devote
thyself to yoga. Yoga is skill in action.

Swamiji's Commentary

     Mere action, however philanthropic or humanitarian, is but labour! Even a mule may convey great learning by carrying a huge load of the best literature; but no one will confer a doctorate on it!

     The word ‘refuge’ (in this verse)  is important. Before performing any action, look to buddhi for orders. This buddhi should be ‘attached or united’ to God. This is Buddhi Yoga. This is ‘skill in action’, another characteristic of yoga.

     History extols the great deeds of men of extraordinary skill who have shaped nations. History is concerned with social values, not with inner wisdom. But our scriptures (which are also historical documents) exalt only men of wisdom who excelled in Buddhi Yoga and who were, therefore, in tune with God. Our scriptures, again, abound in instances where the material part of an action was insignificant but the spiritual content was great: the spirit is vital. When thousands of tons of earth are crushed, you get a small but most precious diamond.

     The yogi goes beyond good and evil deeds. Is this a license? No. Ask yourself: “Am I a yogi? Am I in constant and conscious communion with God?” If you are, you will never indulge in evil action. All your actions will be the manifestation of God’s will. That is true skill in action: to do...to put your whole heart and soul into the doing itself...yet, to be free from selfish motive...to do one’s duty knowing it is the will of God.

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