Chapter Four: 18
|He who seeth inaction in action and action in inaction, he is wise among men; he is a yogi and the performer of all actions.|
The puzzle can be solved only by "seeing" the whole universe as the one body of God. Indwelling this universe is the cosmic consciousness, which is the eternal witness since it is uninvolved (like space) in whatever takes place in it. In God's body the countless cells vibrate constantly; these cells are the different worlds (and the beings in them). When they vibrate in accordance with the divine law that is the operative part of God's divine nature, they are said to be good and to do good, and to engage themselves in right action. This attunement, however, is spontaneous and not rationalized or willed.
When the cells, on account of the inherent free-will, fall out of alignment with the divine will, the latter, in order to protect the total organism from injury, allows the rebellious cell to disintegrate by its own power - even as a palm tree defying a storm is felled, whereas a blade of grass which bows to the storm is saved; and, even as a healthy cell in our body is protected and a cell that will not co-operate with the life-force is eliminated. Vicious actions disrupt the social structure, which is the body of God. When such disruption has already taken place, the divine will employs other cells to restore harmony by quelling the rebellion - resulting in activity that partakes of the nature of the rebellious cells themselves. This explains lord Krishna's mysterious ways.
On such occasions, if our attunement to the divine will is blind and impulsive, we might at times find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma. But if our attunement is based on the right understanding that we who seem to be ever active do nothing and that it is the intangible divine will that is ever active, then we realize the unity of our own little intelligence with his, our finite will with his infinite will and our whole being with his. The "I" dissolves in the all, the doer of all actions.
The impulsive man's instinctual action and the rationalist's selfish, clever and calculated action are in truth inaction: both of them are reactions, the former to external stimuli and the latter to circumstances. A wise man observes himself and the world around him, and this self-awareness acts spontaneously and non-volitionally. Hence true action is "inaction." Self-awareness is total action.
Web Editor's Notes
The Venkatesa Gita Daily Readings
The Song of God: The Bhagavad Gita
Translation by Swami Sivananda and Commentary by Swami Venkatesananda
Copyright © 1997
Commercial use of all content without permission is prohibited.