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So Krishna naturally extols both the paths and delineates the types of people  and the paths which will suit them. One who is in the initial stages of spiritual evolution, one who is a householder, one who isstill engrossed in the pursuit of his worldly desires and aspirations, one who is restless and dynamic -- for such people the path of action is prescribed.  But, for the same person, when he is at a stage where he is established in equanimity, for one who has been able to disentangle himself from the spiralling coils of desires and ever-increasing aspirations, for one who has traversed a long way in the practice of meditation, for one whose tendencies have settled down to a state of calm and quiet -- for such people the p[ath of renunciation is prescribed. Action and non-action are opposites, but a proper understanding of both is necessary for the efficient practice of karma yoga.
To see action in non-action and non-action in action is the perception of the wise, says Krishna in gItA, 4 - 18:

karmaNyakarma yaH paSyet akarmaNi ca karma yaH /
sa buddhimAn manushyeshu

As we travel in a train we see the landscape 'moving' in the opposite direction and have a feeling, which it is particularly the privilege of innocent children to cherish, that the moving train is actually stationary. Carrying this analogy over to the Self which is ever fixed and stationary, we feel, ignorant as we are, that the entire world is moving around us, fully active and dynamic, and it appears that the world is full of action. Actually it is our mind that projects itself on the objects of the universe and makes them exist in the first place. But for the mind, but for the Eternal Divine principle behind it, none of the worlds we know through our senses would exist. Only brahman persists, all-pervading, still without motion, because an all-pervasive entity cannot have motion; there is no space for it to move ! So the wise man sees non-action in all the turmoil around him. And, for the same reason, to attribute non-action to the Self which stands still as it were is only to comprehend the Self relatively. It is the Self which permeates everywhere, which is the substratum of everything that we see and which is the prime mover par excellence. The Self, therefore, is the chief agent of action, as it were, though it appears to be a silent witness, uninvolved in the noise and turbulence of the external world. it is in this sense that the wise man sees action in non-action.
Thus Reality cannot be put into watertight pigeonholes and described as only this and not that. Action and non-action are relative concepts. When the whole world is awake and full of

Aug.2, '99  ©Copyright  V. Krishnamurthy  Home  Contents   Next