Beach 2: First Steps in the ascent to the Divine
Wave 4: The yajna Methodology for Detachment
The attitude of detachment is the essential core of what goes by the name of karma yoga, the yoga of selfless, dedicated action. This attitude is the lesson that philosophy teaches us. From the innumerable stories of the purANas and our everyday experience, we note that whenever, for instance, there is an irresoluble dilemma in life, death or its equivalent, we tend to philosophize. This resort to philosophy is not for a psychological satisfaction, nor is it an attempt at helpless compromise with reality. It is in fact the only means to get to the root of the matter. In the classical case where Arjuna presents his dilemma to Krishna on the battlefield and collapses, the first thing that Krishna does is to recall to him the nature of the Atman. Krishna says: 'You are grieving about something that ought not to be grieved about, neither these kith and kin of yours nor you as Arjuna are everlasting'. 'Go about in the world', says Krishna, 'fully conscious of the fact that you are the Atman, and therefore you can never be tarnished by these feelings of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, friendship and enmity. Be completely detached as if you were an actor on the stage. An actor does not hesitate to 'kill' his bosom friend who is playing the part of the enemy on the stage'. 'Detachment' does not imply ineffectiveness as some critics would have it. Only when you are completely detached can you do a job without being confused by excitement. This does not mean that you are not involved. Certainly you are. As an actor on the stage you have to be involved with everything that goes on there and especially with the part you play; and you must play it well. Even if you have to be angry on the stage, you have to be; but the real You - whatever you are outside the stage - is not angry. This is karma yoga. You are acting in the world according to the role given to you, according to your sva-dharma (= one's own duty) , and performing it effectively, never for a moment forgetting the fact, that it is your duty to act without expecting anything out of it. The thief in the play who is stealing currency notes (real notes, that is) can never for a moment believe that the currency will stay with him, the real him!. So the gIta says: 'Do your duty, don't be attached to the outcome thereof.'
What does it mean 'not to be attached'? The gItA describes what happens after 'attachment'. (bhagavad-gItA: 2- 62, 63):
Aug.2, '99 ©Copyright V. Krishnamurthy Home Contents Next