Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda


Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) - Chapter V: 8-9

April 21, 2017

nai ’va kiṁcit karomī ’ti yukto manyeta tattvavit
paśyañ śṛṇvan spṛśañ jighrann aśnan gacchan
svapañ śvasan (V-8)

™pralapan visṛjan gṛhṇann unmiṣan nimiṣann api
indriyāṇī ’ndriyārtheṣu vartanta iti dhārayan (V-9)


V/8. “I do nothing at all”, thus would the harmonized
knower of truth think – seeing, hearing, touching,
smelling, eating, going, sleeping, breathing,

V/9. Speaking, letting go, seizing, opening and closing
the eyes – convinced that the senses move among the
sense-objects.

Swamiji's Commentary

      There is a subtle snag here; it is not as though the ‘I’ feels greatly superior to all these activities and makes this declaration as a business executive might: “I do nothing, my staff is efficient.” The ‘I’ itself loses its first person-ness, being absorbed in the cosmic being. Failure to appreciate this will land us in perversion and terrible vanity. The truth has to be discovered, not assumed and asserted. This is possible not by a physical or even psychological withdrawal from the world but by an unceasing enquiry into the source of all action – not ‘I’ but ‘God’.

      Is it possible for one to be devoid of this ‘I’ and yet continue to live and act? Yes; though, in the very nature of phenomena such people are bound to be extremely rare. To give a crude analogy, they function like plants. Plants have life and perhaps wonderful intelligence. Even today scientists are struggling to discover what makes the grass green and why it is capable of manufacturing food direct from the elements, whereas man has to depend upon plants for his nutrition. The plants have no individual ego-sense. They respond to God’s nature, to his will.

      Similarly the egoless man responds to God’s will – rather, he serves as a clear channel, absolutely non-resisting, for his will. But in his case the guiding factor is intuition, a ray of God’s own omniscience, which lets him do God’s will spontaneously. Since there is no egoistic intelligence in him, he is not even aware of this intuitive wisdom. But we can recognize him by the total absence of personal selfish desires in him and by the unbroken peace that he radiates. He is no longer man, but he is God.

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