* श्लोक ७ *
योगयुक्तो विशुद्धात्मा विजितात्मा जितेन्द्रिय: ।
सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा कुर्वन्नपि न लिप्यते ॥ ७॥
This word योगयुक्त: is used very often in the श्रीमद् भगवद्-गीता | So the one who is together, the one who is committed to this life of कर्मयोग |
What about such a person? The person is विशुद्धात्मा | The word आत्मा is used differently here. आत्मा is anyway शुद्ध:, so what is the meaning of विशुद्धात्मा? So here आत्मा is referring to the mind. So the one who has a mind that is relatively free from रागद्वेष |
So our goal need not be that I should not have रागद्वेष | Our goal can be that I will not come under the spell of रागद्वेष | Because रागद्वेष, or what we like or dislike, they’re very unique to our personalities. Therefore, I make धर्म my altar instead of रागद्वेष | So रागद्वेष, I could have many, it doesn’t matter, but I align myself to धर्म |
So I have a राग for my child, and I am very dependent on my child. Then what shall we do? No मोक्ष for me? No, definitely मोक्ष for you. Why? Because you are aligning your कर्म to धर्म | And from the time the umbilical cord is cut, you are learning to let go of so much, e.g. your own ideas of parenting. Even if you were a parenting specialist, everything you have to throw out of the window because some things work with some children and some things don’t work. Maybe it’s a combination of different things.
So, so much maturity happened as a parent, as a partner. It makes you योगयुक्त: | So, there is purification of the mind. Relatively one is free from रागद्वेष and therefore विशुद्धात्मा |
Since रागद्वेष don’t have a hold over me, विजितात्मा जितेन्द्रिय: | So there is a certain mastery over the sense organs. How much mastery is good enough? Are you able to pursue all your pursuits? Like when you’re at work, can you focus and get the job done? This may mean collaborating with people, making some improvisations etc., more or less are you able to focus? Great, you have so much mastery. If you have mastery in one area of your life, what does that say about you? You are a master of that area. You can use the available resources, you can be creative, you can collaborate, you can seek support, and you can further your goals professionally. How are you able to do that? Because you are using your willpower and won’t power. What you have to do, you are using certain will. And also using will with respect to what you have to avoid, e.g. a lot of scrolling on social media. Unless you’re a digital social media expert, then that’s your job and that’s really what you need to do.
Or maybe you are spending so much time on the phone, calling your parents in India, 7-10 times a day. Are you okay? What is happening? Are you wearing a mask? So some children who live abroad, they drive their parents crazy, and the parents come and complain about this perfect role reversal. So what to do? Obviously 40-50 year old children are concerned about their 75-80 year old parents. But still, she can’t focus on work because all this furious thinking is going on. Of course when some medical emergency is there, then that’s important.
So if you are a master in one area of your life, then what are the supportive factors that are contributing to you being a master? You have to recognize that, yes, the external framework is very helpful. Yes, the money you get or gets credited to the bank is super helpful. Okay, so I can recognize that- that yes, for me the external framework of accountability is a big driving factor. It’s good to be honest with oneself. So then, since I don’t have so much motivation in another area of my life, maybe that principle of accountability, I could shift. I could have what is called an accountability buddy, etc., who doesn’t nag me. But, you tell the person- you have to remind me. Or I will tell you how I’m working on this particular habit, etc, etc.
So what is being highlighted is that- if I have mastery in one area, then I am furthering goals in a particular area of my life- it could be financial, it could be physical, in terms of my discipline regarding health and exercise, or whatever it is. So, I can translate/cross-pollinate i.e. apply the same attitude, the same determination, the same skill set that I have there, to another area of my life. It’s doable. We do it all the time. But there will be one area of my life where I struggle. And it’s possibly because I am not committed to that goal ~ spiritual goal, financial goal etc.
Financial goal is not articulated in terms of having peace of mind. Financial goal means you please put numbers to your goal. That this is what I need to have, or investing, or saving. Those are all activities related to my financial goal. That accounting for inflation, and cost of living, this is what I need to have, if and when I retire or whatever plans, at that particular age.
So the कर्मयोगी has worked on one’s self mastery and has also recognized that the relationship of cause and effect between how I apply certain skills to one area, to the other area, all of it is pervaded by भगवान्, I always have support. If you try to do this on your own, you will struggle. But recognizing that yes, I’m struggling with this area of my life. Yes, I’m reactive. Yes, I just fly off the handle, etc, etc. But I always have help. This is जितेन्द्रिय: | Self Mastery involves a recognition of ईश्वर in your life.
Because of the word ‘self’, one may think that only the individual is involved. No, what you call as an individual is pervaded by भगवान् anyway.
So this person who is a जितेन्द्रिय:, the vision is clear.
In Hindi, भूत means ghost. So one would wonder- this सर्वभूत:, what is this? In Sanskrit, भूत means living beings.
सर्वभूत: – all living beings, from all देवता-s to a blade of grass.
So, we are considering not only the ones who are living on this earth, but all beings across dimensions, galaxies.
सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा – For those people who are learning Sanskrit this is a बहुव्रीहि समास i.e. a compound.
This compound सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा refers to a person who knows that the आत्मा that pervades सर्वभूत: is one; that I am that आत्मा that pervades everyone.
So, the vision is clear for this कर्मयोगी |
And given this vision,
कुर्वन्नपि न लिप्यते – despite doing a lot of कर्म, is not affected by the कर्म |
Why? Because भोक्तृत्वम् and कर्तृत्वम् has been seen as मिथ्या, has been seen as not a defining aspect of you as a person. If you have any doubt, then think about what happens in deep sleep; neither are you the कर्ता, nor the भोक्ता, you are neither the doer nor the experiencer. But still there is no drop in self esteem. So for a few hours I am living every day, and I’m not doing anything, I’m not experiencing anything. In fact, I long to go into deep sleep. So, I am not defined by my sense of doer-ship or experiencer-ship. So deep sleep gives us a window of exploration- oh there is such a period in my day, every day, that I am not the कर्ता, I am not the भोक्ता and it’s great.
Then verse 8 & 9 further elaborates that कर्म is not opposed to ज्ञानम् | You can do lots of कर्म, less कर्म, but you can be unaffected by it-
* श्लोक ८ & ९ *
नैव किञ्चित्करोमीति युक्तो मन्येत तत्त्ववित् ।
पश्यञ्शृण्वन्स्पृशञ्जिघ्रन्नश्नन्गच्छन्स्वपञ्श्वसन् ॥ ८॥
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेषु वर्तन्त इति धारयन् ॥ ९॥
So this is a difficult श्लोक to pronounce.
This युक्त: i.e. the one who is together, the one who is integrated, the one who is not too fragmented.
You’re thinking something, you’re feeling something, you know something else. We take some time to be integrated. What is meant by this is- the things that we know, often we don’t act upon it. So I may know of ways to focus, I may know of all the habits that are good for me, that I have tried, but I don’t want to do that. And I look for the grass that is greener on the other side.
E.g. can you give me some साधना for _____? But the साधना that you got, did you do that? Ahh, I did little bit.
So, what we already know, are we acting on it? Because then what happens is, if we are not acting on a lot of what we know, in terms of what works for us in our life, then we are creating a split. What I know is different, what I feel is different, what I do is totally different.
So, it’s very simple, but it takes a lot of determination to be consistent. All of us struggle with consistency, in some area of life. But again and again, you bring yourself back on track and make the effort, without complaining, without looking down on yourself, without looking for an escape from monotony.
Oh no, let’s come up with something better. You know that better shiny new object is always waiting, calling out to you. So without giving into all that, the simple things that we know, how can I bring that into my life? That is being युक्त: | Otherwise I am creating too many splits.
Because we are addicted to information, I want more information. So, the same orientation comes to वेदान्त also, e.g. I want to learn उपनिषद् also. But hey, भगवद्-गीता, is it fully assimilated? People have to go through 2,3,4 rounds to fully assimilate the भगवद्-गीता, it’s not a joke. But, oh no I want something. First, assimilate what you have already.
And so here we struggle with ourselves. First of all I have to recognize the struggle that I have. I am looking for a way to dodge. I don’t want to take responsibility for doing this, for integration, युक्त:, योग |
So this is a continuation of the कर्मयोगी | The one who is together, who knows the truth of what has been pointed out about आत्मा pervading all beings. And what we call all beings, is only from the standpoint of नामरूप i.e. name and form only.
So it’s like space that pervades everything, e.g. galaxies etc. Space is in and through the galaxies, and the galaxies are accommodated in space. So I the आत्मा, am in and through all the beings, and I-आत्मा accommodate this name and form, and all other names and forms.
So ‘आत्मा is in me’ is not being said. आत्मा is not being localized- आत्मा is in my heart. So, what about your kidneys? No, that is अनात्मा | What about your knees? No, no, that is further down, so आत्मा is very far away.
So no, आत्मा accommodates space, limitless, so all names and forms are in me, I am the आत्मा |
With respect to the पञ्चमहाभूत, if I am referring to this mind-body,
– there is space outside, there is space inside,
– there is moisture/humidity outside, there is water in this body,
– पृथिवी/food we consume from outside, and this body is dense पृथिवी/matter,
– वायु is there outside, and प्राण inside,
– अग्नि ~ then when you go to a really cold place, your body is working furiously to keep your body temperature warm; and if you go to a really hot place, furiously there is so much sweating just to maintain your body temperature.
So outside is all पञ्चमहाभूत, and inside or whatever we call this mind-body is पञ्चमहाभूत, so where is the difference? There is no difference between समष्टि(total) and व्यष्टि(individual).
No, but I feel different. So there we started again. I feel different… but the skin did not declare you are separate, skin only protected you. But conditioning is there- I am separate from the other, therefore I need to connect etc…
So the one who recognizes that I am that आत्मा that pervades all beings, that pervades the पञ्चमहाभूत, inside-outside, in fact there is no inside or outside. Inside and outside, are only referential standpoints.
For such a person, न एव किञ्चित् करोमि – I don’t do anything.
To do something, you need limbs, and you need to get from place A to place B. Now when all that is here is you, what will you do? How can you do?
So whether you are doing the simplest of actions, not some great exalted साधना | And the simple actions that everyone does-
– पश्यन् ~ seeing,
– शृण्वन् ~ hearing,
– स्पृशन् ~ touching,
– जिघ्रन् ~ smelling,
– अश्नन् ~ eating,
– गच्छन् ~ walking,
– स्वपन् ~ sleeping,
– श्वसन् ~ breathing,
– प्रलपन् ~ talking.
So, whatever you are doing, you may be doing all these activities, but you are really not doing anything.
विसृजन् ~ releasing,
गृह्ण्न् ~ grasping
उन्मिषन् (open eyes), निमिषन् (close eyes)~ blinking
So, whether you are a कर्मयोगी or a संन्यासी, all these कर्म-s we are doing on a regular basis.
And with these kinds of कर्म, what is happening?
The various इन्द्रियाणि i.e. the various sense organs~ कर्मेन्द्रिय (organs of action) and ज्ञानेन्द्रिय (organs of knowledge). What do they do? They interact with different sense objects. That’s प्रकृति, that’s the material cause pervaded by the intelligent cause, so when something is interacting with something. Because of प्रकृति, you are interacting with your partner and people at work and so on, so lots of कर्म happening, very busy time of the year.
So whether it is a busy time of the year, or not so busy, you are not affected by कर्म |
Oh but the venture you started did not work. Oh, okay. The venture may not work, but I work. The venture does not define me. So we really have to dwell on this- that कर्मफल, the outcome of an action, what we might consider as success or failure, is an event in time, it does not define me. We have to dwell on this. Because we do define ourselves by some key events that have happened in our lives, and however that event worked out. So it could be the job, it could be the relationship, it could be the academic accolade, so whatever, something will be there. And that’s good to describe oneself. Not define. There is a difference. What you are defined by is something that is intrinsic to you. No matter what happens, this is how you are. Description can change- now you are with Company A, then you are with Company B. Or you too have joined the great resignation. So, whatever it is, it’s just an event.
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेषु वर्तन्त – sense organs are interacting with the world.
But the person knows very clearly,
इति धारयन् – fully understood, grasped, assimilated,
What does the person understand? That, I don’t do anything.
So though व्यवहारिक-ly/functionally one does, I know that I am the आत्मा, which was never the कर्ता, never the भोक्ता | The nature of the आत्मा is clear.
Then what did the कर्म, who did the कर्म?
So this name & form that is interacting with other names and forms, some play/drama is going on. And I make a drama of the existing drama, and I enjoy it.
So sometimes more activity, sometimes less activity, either way I am free.
We want to be free from कर्म because कर्म affects us.
So by replacing our कर्तृत्वम् with ईश्वर अर्पण बुद्धि:, I take the sting off of कर्म |
By replacing my भोक्तृत्वम्, my sense of experiencing~ good bad ugly, with प्रसाद बुद्धि:, a greater sense of acceptance, or an acceptance of the resistance that I have etc. is there. Then what? Then the sting of- ‘it affects me’, and ‘why me’ etc., that also eases.
Then reality becomes more clear to me. A lot of the work in वेदान्त is really the lifestyle of कर्मयोग | Otherwise, the Truth is very, very simple.
The work is not something that you signed up for- I wanted सच्चिदानन्द, so what is all this अंतःकरणशुद्धि ?
So I didn’t know that I had to work so hard on this. Well, that’s what it is. It’s easy, it may be difficult also. But anyway the good news is that I am the आत्मा | So, कर्म I may struggle a little bit with, and then in time, it’s a breeze.