Gita Daily Readings

15th December
Chapter
XVIII: 48-49
One should not abandon, Oh Arjuna, the duty to which one is born, though faulty; for, all "beginnings" are enveloped by evil, as fire by smoke.

He whose intellect is unattached everywhere, who has subdued his self, from whom desire has fled - he, by renunciation, attains the supreme state of freedom from action.

Commentary

The previous injunction is reinforced. The goal of Gita yoga is detached dynamism, egoless activity. Dynamism and detachment, efficiency and egolessness are possible only if one applies oneself to one's innate talents and faculties, if one discovers oneself, instead of struggling to imitate someone else. Abandoning them and looking for something else decreases efficiency and feeds the ego.

With the exception of those who are born, for unknown reasons, into the "wrong" families, the vast majority of human beings find it easier to carry on the professions natural to them. It is "in the blood," as we say. Hence, the carpenter's son has great chances of shining as a skilful carpenter. Barring exceptions, if he attempts to become a singer:

(i) his natural talents are suppressed and lost to the world,
(ii) he has to work against too many odds - upbringing, environment, etc., and so is constantly frustrated and worsted by those who are "born to sing," and
(iii) the unnaturalness of the situation makes him vain over little successes and the least defeat hurts his vanity deeply.


Krishna tells us: "All beginnings, all undertakings are enveloped by evil; why are you anxious to abandon what is natural to you and struggle to achieve the unnatural?" Your goal is to make your life so easy and smooth-flowing that you can rise above the idea of "I am the doer," so that you may rest in the supreme state of actionlessness. When you begin to do something strange and new, the desire that goads you, the effort that accompanies it, and the expectancy or fear of the consequences will conspire to keep you away from your own center, i.e., witness-consciousness.

The correct understanding of this makes life clear and enables you to live in total harmony and bliss.

Web Editor's Notes