Gita Daily Readings

see "All About Sivananda"
see Insights and Inspirations for September 8th

8th September
Chapter XII: 11-12
If thou art unable to do even this, then, taking refuge in union with me, renounce the fruits of all actions with the self controlled.

Better indeed is knowledge than practice; than knowledge meditation is better; than meditation the renunciation of fruits of actions. Peace immediately follows renunciation.


To maintain the mental attitude "for the sake of God" needs a certain amount of devotion and inner vigilance. However, if these are absent, then, too, such a person is not condemned. The word "then" in the text can be placed after "me" - which now gives the verse an atheistic flavor. In fact, Krishna does suggest here that it is possible for a man to be good and saintly without having the traditional "faith in God," but the qualification "self-controlled" suggests that he has transcended that state of faith, perhaps, and is established in an impersonal, involuntary (in the sense, natural) feeling of God's omnipresence which compels such goodness accompanied by self-control. If the "faithful" endeavor belonged to a past birth, it is possible for its details to be submerged revealing only the overall effect.

Even a superficial rendering of the first verse is a call to common sense. "If you cannot do any of the above, then work without expectation of reward." Krishna does not say that you are to reject all rewards, but that you should not lean on the rewards. As it is, we cannot (and certainly do not) always achieve what we want to. A rival, a germ or a change of weather can frustrate all our efforts and ruin our ambitions. So, why not be desireless, just doing our duty? We may get nothing at all out of it, or we may get the world. From here, the previous verse is just one automatic step forward. Desirelessness creates a vacuum: "If I am not working for profit, then for what?" - which is filled by the answer: "For God's sake."

Yet, desirelessness or renunciation of reward itself will bestow on us "the peace that passeth understanding."

Sri Swami Sivananda
Born Sept 08, 1887
When the former doctor renounced his medical practice to become a wandering mendicant, his travels eventually brought him to Rishikesh. He attempted to live a life of solitude, but his magnetism drew many swamis. In fact, they would sit outside his door day and night. He did not refuse them, and eventually, he moved to the other side of the river, and “Divine Life Society” was born.  At the now famous ashram, many well known Swamis of India were able to sit as his feet. Click on the photo at on the right, and visit the Divine Life Society's web site, and their special birthday page for Swami Sivananda.  


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