H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Monday, 7 May 2012

Action or Renunciation. (part 1/2) By Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)

The Art of Perfect Action

In the third and fifth chapters of Bhagavad-gita Krishna explains to his disciple Arjuna the art of  perfect action.
The perfection of action – karma yoga – can not be reached unless one obtains a clear understanding and a proper discernment of what is beneficial and what is harmful for the spiritual evolution of the individual, that is why the right behavior, or acara, can be achieved only if the right knowledge, jnana, has already been acquired. Jnana can be completed and improved only with a proper practice that leads to vijnana, realized knowledge, the wisdom: the knowledge transformed in action and applied with creativity in the right time, in the right place and under the right circumstances. 
Bhagavad-gita answers to a complex question raised by Arjuna to Krishna: what is better - action or renunciation?
Krishna, in an admirable way, explains that it is impossible to give up acting completely: in reality the so-called inaction does not exist. Everyone in the world is inevitably obliged to act, there is no life without action, even a single breath implies some movement, by a rhythm which is integral to life (B.g. III.5). As Krishna states everybody acts according to the tendencies acquired during the previous life experiences; even the wise cannot refrain from action, not even for a moment, but his way of acting is completely different in nature compared to the one who is unaware of true knowledge and whose motivation is impure.
Krishna urges Arjuna with the following words: “Carry out your duty as action is better than inaction. Without acting the man is unable even to maintain his body” (B.g. III.8).
Therefore renunciation should be understood not just as a complete abstention from acting – that would be impossible – but as an abstention from the impure activities, that implies avoiding the objects of the senses (tyaga), people and experiences that can lead us astray from our spiritual path.
Once Arjuna has understood this important teaching, Krishna reveals higher truth and, in the fifth chapter, declares that both renunciation from action and devotional action lead to liberation but, of the two, the devotional action is better.

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