Chapter three of Gita is the very source of
Karm Yoga , a ritualistic approach to actions. And it is somewhat "opinionated" in the sense it proposes
Karm Yoga as the preferred way to redemption. And there is a good reason for that. In the beginning of chapter 3, Arjuna tells Krishna your mixed messages are kinda delusion-ing my intelligence. So decide one thing and tell me for sure what is the right path. He says
Vya Mishren Eva Vakyen, Buddhim Mohaysi Eva Me.
Tat Ekam Vad Nishichitya, Yen Shreya Aham Apnuyam.
So in way, Arjuna forced Krishna to be very decisive in this conversation. That said, Gita, wholeheartedly welcomes all the seekers whatever path they take but it adds that all the other paths finally lead to
Karm Yoga. Thus it makes sense to directly focus on the root to best utilize our time here on this planet. .
Performing righteous actions rigorously - like a ritual , is
Karm Yoga. The caveat, however, is - our focus on actions needs to be singular - such intense that we forget the "Outcomes".
At a very minimum, and if you need entire Gita in a single tweet ; then here is the core message
Everything that we do , has two very basic constituents - the desire and the actions. We normally act based on desires which is fine. All Gita says is change your focus from "desires" to "Actions". Just like "desires" ; "actions" have endless variants. Instead of running after multitude of desires and coming up with a completely new action plan daily, just decide what you like to do and keep doing it (with tiny variants) till you perfect the routine. Such a daily repeated set of actions is called
In chapter 3 , verse 15 ; Krishna says that
Karma - righteous actions are created from
Bramha is created from
Akshra - the unchangeable i.e. knowledge. He says ..
Karm Bramha Udbhavam Viddhi, Bramha Akshara Samudbhavam ;
Tasmat Sarv Gatam Bramha, Nityam Yazne Pratisthitam
Bramha means the entirety. Everything that is out there. In Hindi (or Sanskrit) , we call this universe as
Bramhand - which means a slice , an instance of the
Bramha. In a way, we can imagine
Bramha as the entire overarching system - the multiverse. Not the "human only" system. This is the system that through evolution or by design - let us not get into that debate of intelligent design v/s evolution ; what creates the righteous actions. Means system designed duties.Every being in the universe has a purpose. There is nothing here that has no good reason to be here. In addition, the system also has a superior garbage collection system. Anything that is not serving a purpose is quickly 'garbage collected' by the nature. Even the garbage collection process has a deeper purpose. It turns the such collection into the food for the ones who are striving or serving a purpose. In may sound harsh, but such is the reality of this manifestation..
Krishna says that the specified actions, for every being ; from a bacteria to an elephant; are created by the
Bramha is created by the
Akshara - Something that never changes. And that is knowledge. In Hindi,
Akshra means the word. Something that is said or put into words, can never changes. That copy of commit of the spoken or written word becomes immutable. As we also saw in the hypothesis, the unchangeable is the
knowledge. Thus in essence, the actions are created by the [protected] knowledge. Krishna further says , that therefore, for all pervading
Bramha , always situate yourself into your
Yazna, the prescribed and pre-decided ritual of actions.
Being miserable is a choice. And so is being "inactive". Krishna asks Arjuna to get up and "be doing" the right thing -
Uttishtha Bharata for "Righteous actions" is the only way to succeed in this world and beyond. We obviously don't know what happens after death but I think no one would ever debate that focus on "Actions" is any day a better choice than entertaining the desires. Does this mean we need to give up all desires ? Absolutely NO. Krishna himself is an embodiment of all the worldly pleasures. The point is only the focus - he says , if you focus on desires, you will get cycles of happiness and pain. If you focus on Actions - you will attain knowledge and peace.
The process however takes a bit of careful indulgence into this simple idea . Desires have a knack of finding their way into everything we do. Thus attaining
Karm Yoga to become a
Karm Yogi - one who practices
Karm Yoga as a second nature , is a gradual process - like a journey.
The key to understanding
Karm Yoga is that actions and outcomes are two separate entities. Think of a roulette table. Action is to put your money on a number. Expected outcome is you hit a jackpot . They don't have a cause and effect relationship. To be correct from physics standpoint - Yes , action has a reaction. Means - when you put money on the table, table will push it up :-) but that is not the outcome we are talking about. The outcome that we are discussing has a degree of separation from the actions , it is one of the possibility out of millions or possibilities if a multitude of the things get coincidental and sequential. With each degree of separation, the probability of favorable outcome reduces exponentially - such that, in real world , expected outcomes are as improbable as hitting a jackpot in a casino.
Our senses chase certain outcomes. Outcomes that our mind deems better for the survival (or growth) of physical body. Based on the outcomes, we keep adjusting our actions hoping to hit the jackpot. Continuing with our example - adjusting the action means we change the slot or the number that we put our money on - still hoping for the jackpot. Our sensory focus always stays tied to the outcomes. And thus we miss all the action.
Test - in any gambling session, All you remember are the major wins - Your lucky number but you never remember all the numbers you put your money on and lost. You don't remember the sequence that led to the win. Try to remember next time you sit for a poker game - entire history. Your focus will shift from winning the game to "how" the game works ?
Let us take another example from stock market. We invest in say Apple hoping the stock will go up after the new product launch. Our investment has no relationship at all as to what Apple is planning or how the overall market reacts to to the news. Our hope (in this case) is as good as hoping for the jackpot . You may say that yes, you can predict what new products are likely. Yes you can, to some extent but reaction of stock market is like the spinning wheel. If the stock goes up, we feel happy and claim a win. If it goes down, we take another action to sell the stock to stop losses. In a way, we have put the cart in front of the horse. Random outcomes govern most of our actions. We live in expectation of one outcome to another. We forget the action - means we still "act" ; but our focus is on "outcomes" - not "Actions"
Karm Yogais shifting our focus from "outcomes" to the "Action".
As per the hypothesis - the actions are driven by the [protected] knowledge. Just the way we can infer the existence of a Black hole by interpreting it's effects, observing our own actions can give us an indication on the nature of our own black-box, our [protected] knowledge. As you know , Black-holes are invisible to our senses or the tools that extend our senses because no information comes back from them. But we know their existence and we can tell let us say their mass, their angular momentum or even their entropy by observing their effects or the actions.
This knowledge is hidden to our senses because senses are externally focussed on outcomes. Senses are information receptors of the conscious agent. Which is not bad because the primary purpose of senses is survival - not the "exit". The more we focus on worldly outcomes, more we are bonded to our sensory "reality". Which also means that with outcome based strategies, it is impossible to access internal hidden knowledge.
In essence we must seek "Action" NOT the "Outcomes". Outcomes will be there but they are to be seen as by-products. The primary goal is to know yourself. So next time you go for a job interview, your focus should be what work you are going to do. Not the monthly compensation or perks :-) . In fact , voluntary service is the best way to get initiated in
Karm Yoga.. As you get steadfast on this path , you will realize , even the nature of work is unimportant , what matters is you are constantly observing your "Actions" and are always eager to perform them. The best example is kids eagerly waiting for the play time. They don't care of the out comes. They don't even care what game. All they want do is to indulge in action - video games included :-)
Any action is good if the goal is to only know / understand [protected] knowledge. Doing "righteous" actions is a smarter way because the people around you will facilitate (if needed). On the other hand, if your actions are random, "outcomes focussed" people will hinder your ritual. As a
karmyogi , you don't care about the outcomes, but people around you do. So , do the right thing unless you are living a solitary life in a Himalayan cave :-) . In fact, It is easier to do the right thing ...except when you are in a testing situation like Arjuna, that demands to take a point at your friends and relatives ; and teachers .. But such events are rare and think of them as a final test of
KarmYoga - not the initiation. As a matter of fact, if your focus is what you are doing , it is very hard to do anything wrong. We normally get into immoral conduct when we are driven by desires.
Thus Krishna said to Arjuna ..
If you win (in realizing your [protected] knowledge) , you will exit from the miseries of the cyclic nature, even if you lose , you will still have the wealth of this world to rejoice. And if you died, this body is anyways fungible.
Depends on who am I ? If I am physical body and mind then "No". In this case random outcomes control our actions.
If I am the [protected] knowledge , then yes.
This also means that the free will is contingent upon our definition of who we are.
The purpose of senses is constantly seek the environment to ensure our survival. So that we get a window to explore the self. Unfortunately, senses get tied to the sensory pleasures and lead our actions to accomplish more and more pleasurable outcomes. We get into the gambling game. Keep putting money in various slots in hope of hitting the pot. Before we know it, we start using senses solely for pleasure. Even the survival becomes secondary. In a way, we get addicted to favorable outcomes. At this stage, it is almost impossible for the senses to focus on "Actions". Thus the [protected] knowledge appears encrypted.
Karm Yoga is thus a gradual process to retrain the senses away from sensory pleasures to focus back on
Karma. Important thing to know is the problem really are not the pleasures. The problem is we got defocused.
Yes it is. Detaching the actions from outcomes is as "impossible" as picking up a violin and become a musician the very first day. We need to think
Karm Yoga as a skill. The ultimate skill that enables you to learn anything you want and finally know yourself. Thus it is a journey.
If learning new skills comes easy to you; you may already be a
Karm Yogi. You just didn't know it. And the training could be a bit misplaced. For example, the modern way to accomplish something is to set your eyes on a higher outcome. May be you want to become a successful you tuber. What you are told to chase is say a million followers. Once you hit that you are craving for ten million. Or you want to excel in sports. The coaching is to give you a bigger dopamine for more dollars, more recognition. So that you could let go immediate sensory pleasures in expectations for the ever moving line. . You work hard to accomplish your goals.
Krishna says - If you practice
Karm Yoga for a worldly goal, you will easily get that. Means you focus on actions to say become a writer. You will become a writer. But all such gains vanish in due course. And you again start to accomplish something else - may be even bigger. You are already a
Karm Yogi because you know how to control your senses and focus on actions. You are just striving for the lesser goals. In a way you are short selling yourself. Why not learn the "process of learning" itself. And access entire knowledge base that is already hidden in you. In fact, such short selling is the cause of all cycles. It creates a race among humans to do more of the less- to chase more and more lesser goals. It makes us seek higher and higher sensory pleasures. Bigger the rise, deeper the fall ..
Same skill of learning, with a better coaching, can lead to eternal peace and fulfilling knowledge... All that when we get to the framework.
Before we pursue the experimental test of the hypothesis - the idea must pass the elegance test. The model proposed by Gita is beautiful in the sense it uniquely empowers every individual to overcome the miseries of life and at the same time, it sets up the stage for a successful career as a residue. Our individual success leads to a world worth striving for.
In essence - if Gita is True , it is a good news we all are waiting for..