Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) - Chapter IV: 21-22

April 7, 2021

™nirāśīr yatacittātmā tyaktasarvaparigrahaḥ
śārīraṁ kevalaṁ karma kurvan nā ’pnoti kilbiṣaṁ (IV-21)
™yadṛcchālābhasaṁtuṣṭo dvandvātīto vimatsaraḥ
samaḥ siddhāv asiddhau ca kṛtvā ’pi na nibadhyate I(V-22)

IV/21. Without hope and with the mind and the self controlled,
having abandoned all greed, doing mere bodily action, he
incurs no sin.

IV/22. Content with what comes to him without effort, free from
the pairs of opposites and envy, even-minded in success and
failure, though acting, he is not bound.

Swamiji's Commentary

      Desire and its consequent ‘planned activity’, are the generators of evil; when they happen to be in accordance with divine will they confirm the ego in its self-arrogating doer-ship of actions; when they are not and so there is failure, they cause tension which intensifies the soul’s ignorance.

      The wise man’s mind, too, may entertain hope. If he is a perfected yogi, it will invariably be the reflection of the divine will. If he is an earnest seeker, he will hope for success, but be prepared for the opposite! Thus he goes beyond both. This is not merely ‘positive thinking’, but ‘perfect thinking’. We strive, for that is our birthright and the expression of divine nature in us, too. This effort may even be backed by ‘positive thinking’ and wishing for the best. But it is free from egoistic projection of self-will, for we are prepared for what at the moment appears to be the worst (in the knowledge that God’s will is ever the best). This fusion of positive and negative is perfect thinking which transcends both.

      Pain and pleasure, success and failure, are the egoistic interpretation of the divine will when the selfish man breaks life into fragments or foolishly imagines that the coin of life has only one – the pleasant, successful side! Corners and patches of a painting appear ugly or beautiful, dark or bright; but when the whole painting is seen, they coalesce into a masterpiece of portraiture.

      The yogi is not a gloomy pessimist. He hopes for the best, but accepts whatever happens as the best. In him the sins of ignorance, desire and private hope, are absent.

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