Gita Daily Readings

May 3rd
Chapter Six: 1-2
The blessed Lord said: He who performs his duty without depending on the fruits of his actions - he is a samnyasi and a yogi, not he who is without (ritual) fire and without activity.

Do thou, Oh Arjuna, know yoga to be that which they call renunciation. No one verily becomes a yogi who has not renounced thoughts, scheming or planning.

Commentary

Krishna breaks down all man-made distinctions, created by a mind limited by its own preconceived ideas and imperfections. The man of renunciation (samnyasi) wore the orange robe, had the title of "swami" and was learned in Vedanta: he abandoned all rites and rituals, and did not engage himself even in social activity. The yogi, on the other hand, practiced certain psycho-physical exercises and possessed and exhibited certain psychic powers. The samnyasi need not necessarily do these and the yogi need not necessarily be a man of renunciation. That was the belief.

It is not the validity of these distinctions but the underlying idea that matters. Caught in the snare of these distinctions, we often tend to lose sight of the goal of both renunciation and yoga! We make them an end in themselves, leading in different directions.

Krishna points out the synthesis. Yoga is samnyasa. How can we ever contemplate God if we have not learnt to detach the mind from the world, and to remove worldliness from our mind? How, on the other hand, can we learn to detach the mind from the world, if we do not attach it to God? The two attributes - detaching the mind from the world (samnyasa) and attaching it to God (yoga) - are but two ends of the same stick.

Where such synthesis does not prevail, there is hypocrisy, pride and conflict. Where it does, there is sincerity, humility and harmony - whatever be the outward appearance.

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