And Now for Something Completely Different. (Gita Talk 6)

If we were sitting around a room together, I would ask you these questions to get the discussion going:…

This week let’s try something different. Let’s go through some passages from Chapters 2 & 3 stanza by stanza.

For this to work, you have to be willing to jump right in. Write a comment. Ask a question. Reply to what someone else has written.

If you’re thinking about it, but are on the fence, JUST DO IT. I hope you can see we’re a pretty friendly bunch here, and we’re very receptive to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

Here’s are the stanzas:

Self-possessed, resolute, act
without any thought of results,
open to success or failure.
This is equanimity is yoga. (BG 2.48)

The wise man lets go of all
results, whether good or bad,
and is focused on the action alone.
Yoga is skill in actions. (BG 2.50)

The superior man is he
whose mind can control his senses;
with no attachment to results,
he engages in the yoga of action. (BG 3.7)

Without concern for results,
perform the necessary action;
surrendering all attachments,
accomplish life’s highest good. (BG 3.19)

Though the unwise cling to their actions,
watching for results, the wise
are free of attachments, and act
for the well-being of the whole world. (BG 3.25)

Performing all actions for my sake,
desireless, absorbed in the Self,
indifferent to “I” and “mine”,
let go of your grief, and fight! (BG 3.30)

If we were sitting around a room together, I would ask you these questions to get the discussion going:

1) How would you summarize these stanzas in your own words?

2) Give us an example of how you might apply these words to your own life.

3) Which lines of the text are difficult to understand?

4) Tell us anything else that comes to mind when you read these words.

Let’s see what happens. If this works, and we like it, then we’ll do some more.

No new reading for next week.
Put all your energies into thinking about
and commenting on the six stanzas above.

(Or use the week to catch-up.  We’ve read through Chapter 7,  p. 105.)


All Blogs in the Series:

Welcome to Gita Talk:
Online Discussion of the Bhagavad Gita. (Round 2)

Ongoing Resources:

Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations

Yoga Demystified

The Original Sixteen Session Gita Talk

Join Gita Talk Facebook Group for weekly notices
and to meet fellow participants.

26 replies on “And Now for Something Completely Different. (Gita Talk 6)”

This can be applied to all aspects of life – to me it is being mindful and sincere in the present moment without anticipating the result – the learning in the doing exactly where you are and meaning it. On the yoga mat, I find myself often not anticipating the next posture, but 'when' I'm going to be able to go deeper into the more 'complex' version of the pose. When I do this, I am often in the unforeseen future and also judging myself. I am missing the point, but have learned to become aware of such thought patterns and take a more neutral stance – the negative voice becomes quieter and I start to awaken back into the present moment.

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Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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Hi, Yogainthevalley.

It's not so crystal clear in this passage alone, but in other passages and in the context itself, it's clear that it's not striving for results we are to avoid, but rather over attachment to the results, or, even more specifically, attaching our ego to the results.

Obviously, Arjuna can't fight this battle without having goals and objectives, even high emotion and passion. But he can decide to do his absolute best, then psychologically "let the chips fall where they may".

This is identical to modern sports psychology, where one focuses entirely on the actions aimed at winning, while not being overly attached to the end result itself. Watch Roger Federer being interviewed before or after a big match. It's pure Gita.

Bob W. Editor
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What I take away from these is that we perform right action, act in a way that alligns with who we are, then we are doing all that we can do— we cannot control the results, or the way the world will react to our actions. When we let go of the results, we are left only with ourselves and our abilty to act, freeing ourselves from the burden of trying to control what we cannot. That's my take-away!

I love the "idea" of not being attached to results. But it is difficult not to get caught in – well if the results don't matter how can the action matter? I re-read 2 and 3 yesterday and I have to tell you I am not having a warm fuzzy reaction to the Gita – it seems so contradictory, (I am reading on a kindle so I am not even going to try to go back and reference specifics but from memory so forgive if it's off) Krishna talks about needing to take action that even he takes action….because if he didn't act all would fall into chaos…well?? isn't that about results and if everything is equal why would it matter if everything fell into chaos ?? I vaguely remember him also saying at another time that he action is unnecessary.
If we aren't attached to a "good or bad" result how do we define right action???

I think the answer to your question may lie in he difference between attachment and connectedness. When you are attached, you act only for your own benefit, or to maintain the attachment. This is one cause of suffering. When you are not blinded by your own attachments, it allows you to see the greater context of your actions and the implications for those with whom we are connected. Then we have the the opportunity to perhaps choose those actions that lead to less suffering. Thats how I read it anyway.

I get that but my point is even looking at the grand scale and the greater "good" it is still a result is it not ? and less suffering for whom? and if all is the same then even suffering is the same and lessening it is still looking at results?

(I am mostly playing devil's advocate – I GET the point, however one can see how it can be misinterpreted and even used to create more harm)

This passage is expressing that we are to do our duty- whatever we are called to do and it should be done with only the intention of love for all, as we are all one. Until the entire Gita is read, the complete message is difficult to grasp as passages may be taken too literally. I wasn't capable of picking it apart and concentrating on the individual passages until I was comfortable with the entire piece. Now for me, every stanza has the same underlying message, even if they sound contradictory by themselves because I know that all the "pieces of the puzzle" fit together to deliver the message of love through action without anticipating a reward or particular outcome. I think it is about just having faith that if we do our best with only the best intention, all will be well.

~ The battle is always with the self
with our minds reaction to the actions of others
our actions align with the Gita
when they are action with no mind
When there is mind behind the actions
expectations and judgements are on the way
since they are part of mind
how can I be of service to your needs
to service my mind is not needed
and if I serve thinking how great I will be after
I will be serving only my bottomless self
but if I serve thinking of how great you will be
I will be giving the most precious gift
the gift of thankfulness
Actions are pure when no mind is involved
what gives love and compassion is a right action
the fight is always with the self ~

To me it means that we are constantly evolving, we aren't who we were yesterday, and we aren't who we are tomorrow. To be stuck in thoughts of the past, or thoughts of who we will be tomorrow, we rob ourselves the joy of the present experience. To live life without regrets, which is the result of fulfillment, we must be mindful, and free from attachment. Thoughts of what we are doing after yoga class or did before, or where we usually are in the pose, keep us from the pureness of the assana itself.

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