Choice and Decision:
What we are witnessing in the remarkable situation at the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita is a state of spiritual crisis faced by the warrior Arjuna. In a spiritual crisis one begins to question the very meaning and even the value of why one should continue with living. Under such a stressful condition or in such a depressed state of mind one easily turns into being dysfunctional, as is Arjuna in this case, or even worse, turn to alcohol or drugs to find a way out. One may even come to the point of a mental breakdown.
It is at this juncture when one gets dislocated from one’s deepest core or the innermost center that one confronts the reality of making a choice – fight or flight – as is being faced by Arjuna. As every person, young or old, faces such crisis of making a choice one needs to put the given situation as well as one’s feelings and emotions into a wider context. As Krishna is counselling, one needs to relate things which otherwise seemed unrelated. One needs to discover the relationships and patterns of realities that are intrinsically interrelated.
As we find in Krishna’s insights, mere casual answers and explanations would not bring any breakthrough. Just a routine logic, as is extended by Arjuna, does not bring any clarity of choices. One first needs to be decisive about the action that is required, only around that can logic be created. This is precisely what Krishna is encouraging Arjuna to do.
More significantly, Krishna is questioning the very motive in Arjuna’s mind to quit and renounce. He would rather have Arjuna go within and look for the reality hidden behind this surface desire/motive. As is the case with human mind, one is motivated by following a certain pattern programmed through our value based cultural system. Krishna’s approach, in a sense, is to let Arjuna reflect and find out what exactly is the deeper need behind his desire to turn away from the battlefield and follow the path of renunciation? Would fulfilling that desire really satisfy the deeper need? In effect, Krishna is encouraging Arjuna to put this desire into taking a wider perspective of what is his deepest motivation and purpose of life.
A decision is defined as a choice made between alternative courses of action in a situation of uncertainty. We make tons of decisions unconsciously. We choose actions, form opinions, pass judgments via certain mental processes which are often influenced by our biases, reasoning, emotions, and memories from the past. Questions have often been raised whether we really even have a free will.
Daily we face choices between heading for procrastination or for a firm action. One is required to make a decision about the direction one must take. Sometimes the decision ends into procrastination. Since we have many choices between procrastinating and acting firmly, one will have many opportunities to get decisive.
Sigmund Freud used the metaphor of a horse and a rider to show the endless conflict between our emotional impulse and our reasoning ability. The horse is the source of our emotional impulses, while the rider represents reason. Krishna is pointing out to Arjuna that, how we resolve a conflict between reason and emotion can very well determine whether one is pursuing a right path.
What is indecisiveness? It simply means many voices within us are contradicting each other, and we cannot decide whether to go this way or that. And consequently, those who don’t know how to decide remain vague, cloudy, confused. With decision comes clarity. And if the decision is far-reaching, if the decision has something to do with your life foundations, it can bring a new birth, a new way of doing and being.
A spiritual or any other crisis invites commitment, a sense of determination towards what one feels is essential regardless whether it is about spiritual values, personal responsibility, or interpersonal relationships. As we find in Arjuna’s case, the commitment Krishna is talking about is not confined just in terms of what the war is all about. Rather, Krishna is making Arjuna sensitive to the entire focus that has come upon now that he is on the battlefield. The focus includes not just the war but the very essence of what it means to be in the middle of a challenge – of a personal as well as of a universal nature.
A commitment pulls together separately perceived realities into a whole organic vision. A commitment then brings a corresponding relationship between one’s own true being and the task ahead. As Krishna responds to Arjuna’a dilemma and confusion, he makes him realize how desperately Arjuna needs to find a theme, a central point from which to build a cohesive strategy into integrating his personal as well as his professional role in the middle of a battlefield where nothing is certain and yet all is possible.
The overriding factor involved in the case of Arjuna and many of us is when one delicately gets poised at such a critical juncture where it is difficult to separate between the static and the dynamic. That is what we find is the state of utter confusion. Maintaining equilibrium at such a point is the challenge and the true pathway as explained by Krishna through his creative dialogue.
The overwhelming phenomenon Arjuna is facing is that of his indentifying emotionally with his opponents who also happen to be close relatives, friends, mentors, and teachers. We come across the dilemma as to whether do I exist as an independent entity totally self-contained or am I part and parcel of those who are intimately connected with me for one reason or the other. An emotional identification, as being felt by Arjuna, seems to have reached to such a point that for him it has completely erased the distinction between his role as a warrior and his facing those relatives, elders who have gathered to commit war and violence.
It is to enable Arjuna to see the reality in an unattached state and transcend the tension between his ‘I’ and the ‘others’, Krishna unravels a new structure of understanding giving Arjuna a correct perception of a non-attached response without compounding or compromising his role and responsibility at such a grave situation.
Furthermore, psychologists point out that, actually, others don’t affect or influence us as much as our own ideas and perceptions about the others, our projections do. And, this is precisely what Krishna is encouraging Arjuna to understand.
Our relation to the world around us, to the values we carry as we grow, and to our selves is one that of a continuous co-creation. It is essentially a relationship between the other object/person and the individual – the identifier. Krishna’s effort is to give a new understanding to Arjuna so that he may transform the very basis of his perception of relationship in terms of a “relative”, a “friend”, or a “teacher” etc. He perceives them as essentially separate in both space and time. While Krishna’s vision is that, they exist as multiple manifestations of same energy, of a larger “wholeness” as is Arjuna a part of that all encompassing reality.
It is true that we feel and respond to all our external relationships – be with objects or beings – and they in return influence our behaviour. However, regardless of the nature of their behaviour and influence the innermost energetic substance of their being remains unaltered. Krishna would like Arjuna to see and recognize that substance instead of getting carried away with his emotional identification.
Krishna seems to be dissuading Arjuna from his egocentric way of looking and consequently alienating himself from the role and responsibility he is required to meet as part of his commitment to winning the war. According to Krishna, his very attitude that I am or I can be the cause of destroying these relationships is too presumptuous. Though it is expedient in finding a rationale yet it is equally compromising with the truth and not a prudent way of understanding the very genesis of relationship.
All relationships assume a certain responsibility in the fact that, we are not isolated islands. Each being is directly or indirectly, physically or psychologically, mentally or spiritually not only connected with the rest but is also affected by it one way or another.
Responsibility implies change and growth. Relationship assumes a sense of responsibility to accept with humility the inner and the outer forces and act accordingly with discretionary wisdom, with awareness.
In his attempts to assuage Arjuna’s anxieties, he argues that, forces of nature come together to produce actions, and it is our vanity that causes us to disregard the responsibility endowed by Existence. An individual, who recognizes the relation between the forces of Existence and actions, awakens to perform one’s duty as a responsible being. When we are ignorant of the relationship between forces of Existence, we become passive victims of facts. Krishna’s effort is to have Arjuna perform his duty, fighting in the battle, but he is also making Arjuna aware that as a responsible being it is required that he remains mindful of the wider context in which he finds himself.
Love and Intimacy:
It is in the nature of things that, there always exists a tension between that which is real or existential and that which is mere appearance or an illusion. Our love and intimacy carry this tension – one is almost always in a quandary, in a dilemma for wanting to figure out what is what. Krishna’s whole argument is to make us look at the fact that “I” is essentially at the root of our tension. And mind, which is the seat of “I” is a fluctuating, unsteady, and to a large extent a fuzzy phenomenon. And regardless of all this, it still is an all controlling factor that affects our physical as well as mental reactions.
Before one may experience or realize the nature and implications of love and intimacy one needs to first take responsibility for oneself. Instead of putting blame on the other, one must acknowledge what role one may have played in being the painful and unacceptable situation one finds oneself and how one may honestly respond to it. Krishna is reminding Arjuna only he can set his emotional attitude towards the surge of feelings he is going through. He alone can, in a wider perspective, assign a meaning to what love is and how to respond to it.
Knowledge and Wisdom:
Since we are always functioning through relationships, one way or another, there also emerges an underlying curiosity, inquiry, inquisitiveness to know. We wish to take help from our knowledge of things and situations in seeking support for our actions. To a great extent, knowledge gives freedom to act. However, often, “knowledge” remains more as a substitute for “information” leading one to assume that one really “knows”.
An evolutionary progression of knowledge can consciously bring one to a greater “understanding”, to wisdom. Krishna, recognizing Arjuna’s bent towards pursuing his desire to know, suggests a more intelligent approach through a wider and a deeper understanding from which Arjuna can clearly choose his options. What Arjuna needs, though, is a steady mind, a non-fluctuating mind to gain a more comprehensive view that may help him acquire wisdom in how he can resolve the dilemma confronting him.
Steady Mind (sthitapragya):
Enlightened beings clearly indicate that suffering is essentially rooted in the human mind. It is the mind that is the cause of human sorrows, disappointments and discomforts. Hence, we find accordingly, great attention is given by the sages to the mind — its functioning and the ways to transcend it.
In the very nature of things, the mind is ever changing. It is restless, unsteady and imbalanced. Consequently, our thoughts and emotions, our fears and worries are ever unsteady and changing. The challenge is, therefore, making it balanced and steady – rooted in awareness. The wobbling and unsteady state of mind attains to an equilibrium when one comes to realize one’s essence or one’s centre of being.
Mind is considered to be steady when it doesn’t continue to be in a wavering state, or when, one doesn’t get either excited or depressed as the thoughts and emotions go on fluctuating this way or that way. Regardless, whether good or bad, exciting, miserable, or blissful thoughts
may arise and no matter what may occur in one’s state of mind, one remains unperturbed.
Krishna is making this point very clear to Arjuna that, he may opt for renunciation, he may choose to renounce, but that would not necessarily mean that he can be free from his extreme reactions against the reality as it appears here at the battlefield.. Being a warrior, he must not react to success or failure. Krishna stresses the fact that a warrior needs to be steady. Victory or defeat is not the issue at the moment of this crisis, what is at stake is to bring his mind to an unambiguous understanding of a warrior’s duty and responsibility.
Awareness/Witnessing Consciousness ((Sakshin):
“Observer is the observed” is how J.Krishnamuurti defines the state of Awareness or Witnessing Consciousness. Observer- dependent world is a world of relationship and identification while observer-independent is a reality where there is merely awareness of whatever is without selective or conditioned perception through any judgment, projection, or preference of liking and disliking.
Krishna’s attempt is to raise Arjuna’s state of mind from observer-dependent to observer-independent and thus be free from the dualities of attachment and non-attachment. The very conflict Arjuna is facing is due to his inability to function not as a doer caught within a state of observer-object dualism but as a spirit free from this dualism – not as a doer but as a watcher of whatever is, in its totality.
Osho Vision on the Selected Excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita:
The Mind in Distress:
My bow, Gandiva, slips from my hand, and my skin is aflame. My mind is confused. I am unable to stand steady, and O Krishna, I see bad omens. I see no virtue killing my kinsmen in this battle. (1.30-31)
I do not long for victory, nor for the kingdom, nor for its pleasures, O Krishna. What is the use of the kingdom, or enjoyment, or even life, O Krishna? Because, all those — for whose sake we desire kingdom, enjoyments, and pleasures — are standing here arrayed for the battle, giving up all hope for their life and wealth. (1.32-33)
I do not wish to kill teachers, uncles, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, and other kinsmen even if I am killed instead, not even for the sovereignty of the three worlds, let alone for this earth, O Krishna. (1.34-35)
O Lord Krishna, what happiness shall we find in killing the sons of Dhritaraashtra? Upon killing these felons, we shall incur only sin. (1.36)
Therefore, we should not kill our cousins, the sons of Dhritaraashtra. For how can we be happy by killing our own people, O Krishna? (1.37)
Though, blinded by greed, they do not see evil in the destruction of the family, or sin in betraying their own friends, why should not we, who clearly see evil in the destruction of the family, think about turning away from this sin, O Krishna? (1.38-39)
OSHO: Arjuna is making a very conditional statement, one that is all bound up with conditions. He is not free from the illusion of “happiness.” Quite simply he is asking what use happiness can be if it comes from killing his own people, what use a kingdom can be if it is gained after killing one’s own kinsmen.
He is ready to have the kingdom and its joys and pleasures – if they can be had without slaying his own people. Happiness is possible through attaining the kingdom, about that he is in no doubt. Authentic good is possible through attaining the kingdom, about that he is in no doubt. The only thing he has doubts about is killing his own people. , then happiness will be mine; if it doesn’t happen in this way then happiness won’t be mine.
It will be helpful to understand this state of mind. We also think in a similar way in terms of conditions. Vaihinger has written a book called The Philosophy of As If. It seems that our entire lives are based on “If”: “If such and such a thing happens in a certain way, then true benediction will be mine; if such and such thing doesn’t happen in this way, then it cannot be mine.” But about one thing we are certain, about one thing we are clear: happiness is possible, only the conditions for it need to be fulfilled.
But the funny thing is that anyone who makes terms and conditions with life can never attain to happiness –and why so? Because the person whose illusions of happiness are still intact, who has not yet been disillusioned as far as happiness is concerned, can never find happiness. Only the person who realizes the truth that happiness is not possible in this world will find happiness.
This looks very paradoxical. The person, who thinks that it is simply a question of managing certain conditions in order for happiness to be found in this world, only ends up finding newer and newer sorrows. Actually, if you are seeking sorrow, you need to seek it under the guise of happiness. Strangely, it seems the proper way to find sorrow is to look for happiness. While we look for it, it appears to be bringing us closer to happiness, but once found, that same happiness brings sorrow, and once we are in this sorrow, there is no escape.
Arjuna has no doubt whatsoever that happiness will be achieved provided his “if” is fulfilled. He is very confused; he is entangled. The knot of his mind is tangled and bound up. He is saying that it is possible to achieve happiness provided one’s own people are not killed. He is saying that winning the kingdom can bestow authentic good provided one’s own people are not killed.
Similarly, Arjuna lives within us all. Whatsoever we are pushing away with one hand, we keep grabbing it with the other; or whatever we are pulling with one hand we go on pushing away with the other. No sooner have we walked one step to the left then we take another step to the right. If we take one step towards godliness, we immediately take another step towards the worldly.
Arjun’s delusion can be seen at every step. He is saying, “These fathers, sons, friends, and dear ones for whose sake we desire the kingdom…” He is lying. Nobody desires anything for the sake of others; everyone desires things only for himself. If a father and son desire something for each other, it is only because he is my father, or he is my son – and that too only to the extent to which this “my-ness” exists.
Of course the fact remains that without these people, happiness would no longer remain juicy, because the actual happiness that one gains is very small. Actually, others noticing it what brings the greater joy, and without this, the quantity of happiness that one may have achieved would be as good as nothing. Even if someone attains the largest kingdom, he will not find as much happiness in having it as in the feeling of being able to prove to his nearest and dearest that he has attained it.
And there are limits to the reach of a person’s thinking. For example, a girl sweeping the streets will not feel jealous of a queen decked out with diamonds and necklaces passes by, because the queen will fall beyond her range, the queen doesn’t come within the range of her perception. But if another sweeper girl from the neighbourhood walks past wearing an artificial piece of glass jewellery, then that will make her terribly jealous, because this girl is within her range. Man’s jealousies, ambitions, all work constantly within a limited range.
If you want to achieve name and fame, then it has to be in front of your own people and acquaintances – only then will you enjoy it. If it comes to you among strangers, you won’t enjoy it very much at all – because it is not much fun to parade your ego in front of strangers. The fun is in surpassing your own people. The fun is in showing your own people that they can’t achieve what you can.
What Arjuna is repeatedly saying is an utter lie. He is not aware of this, because falsehood is also so infused in man’s blood that it is very difficult to detect it. Actually, the real falsehoods are precisely those that have become infused with our blood. The lies that we become aware of do not go so deep, but the lies that we cannot detect, that we are not conscious of, have become our flesh and bones. Arjuna is speaking the same kind of lie that we all do.
Remember, we do not only compete with our enemies. We compete with our friends even more deeply. Our real competition is with those whom we know. With strangers there is none whatsoever. That is why two strangers can never become such enemies as two real brothers can. Only in front of people we know do we wish to prove, “I am something.”
Arjuna is making a false statement, but this is not clear to him. He is not saying it knowingly. Lies that we tell knowingly are very superficial. It is the lies that come out of us unconsciously that are really deep – we have mixed them with our own blood, we have made them one with our very selves over lifetimes. Arjuna is telling such a lie when he says, “Those for whose sake we desire the kingdom…what use will such a kingdom be to me without them?”
No, the proper thing, the correct thing, for him to have said would have been that, of course, one desires the kingdom for oneself, but of what use is it if those very people whose very eyes one was trying to dazzle are no longer around?
The unusual nature of this divide [in the Mahabharata War] is that those who are more of a friend are gathered on one side and those who were less of a friend are gathered on the other. Of course, they too are friends, they too are loved ones – the teacher [Dronacharya] himself is on the opposite side.
And such a situation is significant because things in life are not divided into watertight compartments. Things in life are not simply divided into black and white; life is an expanse of gray. In one corner it is black and in the other it is white, but in the remaining vast expanse of life the black and white are mixed.
Here the division is not so clear cut – that so-and-so is an enemy and so-and-so a friend. The division is that this person is less of a friend and this one is more of a friend; so-and-so is less of an enemy and so-and-so is more of an enemy. There are no absolute terms in life. Here, nothing is completely separate. And this is the complexity. Here, everything is divided into “more” and “less.”
In life, everything is relative; nothing is absolute. Here, all divisions are of less and more. This is precisely what has become Arjuna’s difficulty.
Anyone who takes a good look at life will face precisely this same problem. All divisions in life are between “a little less” and “a little more.” Someone is a little more our own, someone a little less. Someone is a little closer someone is a little farther away. Someone is ninety percent or eighty percent or seventy percent not our own. Nevertheless, even the one who is a “not our own” holds some percentage of being “our own.” And even the one who is “our own” to some extent, he too is not our own.
That is the reason why life has its complexities. If it could be divided exactly into friends and foes, into good and bad, things would be very easy. But that is never the case. This is a strange war. This is one family, but in it there are so many connections and cross-connections, so many combinations and intimacies, now rent apart.
So, seen in the right perspective, the whole of this life, this whole earth, is one big family. And all wars fought on this planet are within a family, and all wars create the same situation that has arisen in Arjuna’s mind. Arjuna’s dilemma is completely natural; his anxiety is utterly valid.
Working Without Expectation:
In Karma Yoga, the path of desire-free action, no effort is ever lost and it does not cause any adverse effect either. Even a little practice of this discipline protects one from the great fear of birth and death. (2.40)
Karma Yogi has a resolute determination for God-realization, O Arjun, but the desires of one who works to enjoy the fruits of work are endless and of infinite divisions. (2.41)
O Arjun, those desirous people who are interested only in the reward for their action, who consider reaching heaven as their highest achievement — and say there is nothing higher than heaven, such imprudent people speak familiar embellished language about numerous kinds of rites — causing birth, actions and their results — as the means to enjoyment and power. (42 & 43) And those who are enamoured with that kind of language and those who are attached to enjoyment and opulence, indeed they do not have within them the definitive intelligence. (2.44) To work alone, you have the right and never to its fruits. The fruits of work should not be your motive. You should never have any desire for rewards but then neither should you be inactive. (2.47)
O Arjun, renouncing all attachments, having an even mind in success and failure, perform your actions rooted in yoga. It is this equilibrium that is called Karma Yoga. (48)
An intelligent man renounces both sin and virtue in this world itself and that means he doesn’t get identified with them. Hence make effort to attain the very yoga of intelligence. Yoga of intelligence is to be skilled in performing action. (50)
And when your mind, having become unsettled listening to so many diverse theories and opinions, will have settled firmly, it is then that you will attain the equilibrium of yoga. (53)
Arjun said: O Krishna, what are the marks of a person whose mind is steady (sthitapragya)? How does a person of steady mind speak? How does such a person sit and walk? (2.54)
And after that Lord Shree Krishna said: O Arjuna, when one renounces all his mind’s desires, and is content in his being with oneself, such a person is known as the one who has steady intelligence. (55)
A person whose mind is unperturbed by sorrow, who does not crave pleasures, and who is completely free from attachment, fear, and anger, is called sthitapragya — a sage of steady intelligence. (2.56)
And one, who remains ever unattached, does not rejoice over good nor does he loathe evil, such an individual’s intelligence is considered steady. And just as a tortoise draws its limbs into his shell, such a person, when withdraws from all directions one’s senses away from the sense objects, his intelligence becomes steadfast. (57 & 58)
Even though a body oriented ascetic frees himself from all sensory objects, but still he is not able to give up his craving for sense enjoyments. But upon having vision of the Supreme he becomes free of this craving as well. (59)
Restless senses, O Arjun, forcibly carry away the mind of even a wise person striving for perfection. (2.60) One should fix one’s mind on Me with loving contemplation after bringing the senses under control. Because only one who has gained a firm control over all his senses is of steady intelligence. (2.61)
One who dwells on sense-objects becomes attached to them. And from attachment springs desire. And with obstruction to the fulfillment of desire, anger is born. Anger creates delusion. Delusion causes confusion in memory. Confusion in memory leads to destruction of intelligence. And once the intelligence is destroyed one falls from the right path in life and perishes. (62 & 63)
Enjoying objects through senses mastered by him, free from likes and dislikes one attains grace; that is, one attains tranquility and happiness of one’s being.(64)
All sorrows are destroyed upon attainment of tranquility. The intelligence of such a tranquil person soon becomes completely firm and steady. (2.65) One who is split, does not have high intelligence, nor does he carry any true feeling; and one who is without true feeling is also without peace. And one who has no peace, how can he ever be happy? (2.66)
The mind, when controlled by the roving senses, steals away the intelligence as a storm takes away a boat on the sea from its destination — the spiritual shore. (2.67) Therefore, O Arjun, one’s intelligence becomes steady when the senses are completely withdrawn from sense objects. (2.68)
And such as an ocean, fully contented, of unshakable dignity, absorbs waters from all the rivers running into it and yet remains unchanged and unaffected; in the same manner all carnal desires get absorbed in the person of steady intelligence without creating any distortion. Such an individual attains ultimate peace, and not the one who gives in to carnal pleasures (70) One who abandons all desires, and becomes free from longing and the feeling of “I” and “my”, attains peace. (2.71)
O Arjun, this is the eternal, the superconscious state. Having attained this state the person is never deluded by anything; and thus remaining firmly established in it, in time of death attains to Brahmanirvana, or becomes one with the Absolute. (72)
OSHO: Krishna is saying: no step taken on the path of desire-free action ever goes waste. This needs to be understood. Not even the slightest effort of desire free action is ever lost. But one also needs to understand the opposite of this as well, and that is, even the greatest effort, but made with desire, becomes meaningless.
A desiring mind always meets failure — always. For such a desiring mind even gain turns out to be loss because the expectation is endless. Whatever is attained, it always falls short. Whatever the nature of success may be, it always feels pale compared to some big failure. No matter what one gets, there is no feeling of satisfaction. No matter what is achieved, there is not a glimmer of contentment. Expectation based action is bound to fail. Action is not the cause of its failure; its cause is in being desirous.
Now Krishna is saying: even a small effort made for the sake of a desire free action is always successful. It has to be so because there is no way it can be ever unsuccessful. When one is desire free, one is without expectation. In such a case whatever one gets he feels he got more than he deserved; because, there was no expectation to show what he got was less than what he deserved.
We all have heard the story how one day king Akbar drew a line in the court and asked his courtiers if any one of them could make the line smaller without touching it. Everyone gave up. Finally Birbal walked in and drew a bigger line next to it. He didn’t do anything to the line — he didn’t touch it or erase it, simply drew a bigger line near it. And the previous line at once became smaller.
For those who have drawn a big line of expectation in their mind, all lines of success will come short. Expectation is endless–that line which Birbal drew was not really that long enough–the line of expectation in fact has no end. It is endless on both the sides. Those who have known the Brahman say that Brahman is endless. But those who have never known the Brahman even they also know something that is endless—-it is expectation. Any line of success, drawn near the line of endless expectation, always looks small.
But Krishna is saying: erase the line of expectation. The very meaning of desire free action means: expectation-less action, without any desire for a reward, without having any wish. Obviously, what he is saying is a very wise thing. Krishna is saying: once you erase the line of expectation, then even a small act brings nothing but fulfillment. No matter how small the act might be, it is still big enough because there is no other line to compare it with. Hence, one who acts free of desires, he never gets frustrated. Only the one who acts with desire gets frustrated. Frustration follows like a shadow of expectation-based action. A desire free action doesn’t have any shadow it never leads to any frustration, or depression.
A very famous philosopher has actually written a book, it is called: Compulsory Miss-education. What we call compulsory education, he is calling it as compulsory miss-education. Because, if ultimately man is going to end up being unhappy and miserable, then what benefit learning ABC will bring! If prosperity ultimately brings nothing except frustration, then poverty may seem better than prosperity.
So then, what is the secret? The only secret is that – and it has nothing to do with prosperity – if the current of expectations is not too strong then even a prosperous man can also be peaceful. And if the current of expectations is very strong then even a poor and wretched person will become restless. Without having expectations even an educated man can become peaceful. And if expectations are huge then, even an uneducated becomes restless. So the question is not that of being educated or uneducated; or that of being wealthy or poor. Deep down the question is that of expectation.
So Krishna is saying to Arjuna: I am talking to you about desire free action, and the reason why I am doing so is that, one who acts without expectation is never a failure. This is the first thing. And the second thing he is saying is that, not even a slightest hindrance, not even a tiniest obstacle comes in way of a desire free action. Why is it so? What is the chemistry working behind a desire free action that no obstacle, no hindrance ever appears?
There is one. If you look at it deeply, even the hindrance appears because of expectations. One who has no expectations, how can he possibly see any hindrance? Those who live with firm expectations of the future they are themselves responsible for creating hindrances because, you are not the only one who plans for the future. You have no clue as to which mountain may have already planned to be in your way.
One who does not carry any preconceived notions about the future, and who acts in the moment without having any fixed idea as to what reward he is going to get for the action, how can there be any hindrance in his path? In fact, whatever path he may be on, that indeed will be his path. And whichever path he may find, he will be grateful to existence. Such a person can never face any hindrance.
The hindrances will remain where they may be; the only difference is that one who acts free from desire stops accepting them as hindrances. Earlier they were accepted as hindrances because of expectations, because they were contrary. Now there is nothing unfavorable. One who flows with the idea of desire free action, for him everything is favorable. This does not mean that, in fact, everything is favorable; rather, what it means is: whatsoever is, it is favorable because now he doesn’t have any yardstick to measure with what is unfavorable. So now, for him, there are neither any hindrances nor any failures. All hindrances, all failures are creations of a desirous mind.
Even a little bit of desire free action delivers one from all big fears. And what are these big fears? The biggest fears are: will I meet failure! Will I land in frustration! Is misery my lot! Will there be obstacles in my way! Will I face disappointment! These are the great fears. And in the later part of the sutra Krishna is saying that if a man follows the path of desire free action even a little bit, it will make him free from fears of even gigantic proportions.
Actually, until you have equally understood the opposite of a given condition also, you will not be able to get the idea of what Krishna is saying. We have fears because we have expectations. Even a smallest of expectation creates a mountain of fear. Just a little bit of desire brings heaps of suffering. Pressing your desire even a little bit, just a little assertion that things should go according to your plan, it turns the whole life upside down.
One who says: “I want things to be like so and so,” is bound to cause suffering for oneself. It doesn’t work that way. One who says: “I can be happy only if things happen in such and such way,” then he alone will have worked out a hell for himself. Then he will be the very architect for his hellish life; he will have made all the arrangements himself for having such a life.
Have you ever thought about the fact that, the miseries you have are resting on such small expectations! How they have been caused by such little expectations! I don’t think you have ever thought about the fact that you are suffering because of such utterly minor expectations!
For example, a man is walking down the road. You cross him on the way and although you may have always greeted him before, but this time, you don’t greet him with folded hands. He loses his sleep, he is tense, and he is enraged! He begins to think: what happened? Certainly, he thinks it was an insult; he was humiliated; his whole prestige was ruined. The man who always greeted, he didn’t do it this time! Why? What can be the reason? How can he give him back? What should he do? The man gets caught up in a big turmoil. One’s not raising hands to greet him may fill his whole life with misery.
If we take a look at the heaps of our miseries, we may find very trivial expectations working behind them. So it would be good to first understand this phenomenon because you hardly know anything of what a desire free action is. But about the desire-filled action you know a great deal. It would be good to understand it right at this very point because just contrary to it is the state of desire-free action. So, even the most trivial of our expectations go on creating such enormous miseries.
We know what it means to be desirous but we have no idea of what it means to be desire-free. Hence, look at desire-free action as just the opposite of desire-bound action. Such as a little bit of desirous action creates big fears, even a minor effort of desire-free action removes the greatest of fears in life.
Question: Beloved Osho, will not the desire-free state stop all progress and development?
OSHO: The person is asking: won’t desire free state bring an end to all our progress?
What does progress mean? If by progress you mean having a lot of money, having a big house, having a lot of property–then perhaps, I say perhaps, it may cause a little obstruction. But if progress means to have peace, to have joy, to have a light in life and wisdom, then it doesn’t bring any obstruction. On the contrary, it gives great speed to it. So it all depends upon what you mean by progress.
What do you mean by progress? If by progress you mean what one accumulates outwardly, then perhaps it may cause some obstacle. But suppose you have gained everything outwardly – the whole world, all the wealth — but inside you don’t have even a ray of peace, then let me ask you: if someone were to give you a ray of peace for your kingdom and wealth, would you be willing to give it away? Can you give it away? The way I see it, compared to a little breeze of peace even the whole world empire is worth nothing.
The trouble is that, by progress we mean only one thing. But this also doesn’t mean that I am saying one who will perform desire free action will inevitably end up into being poor and destitute. That’s not what I am saying. If the mind is peaceful, then there is no reason to be poor because regardless which direction a peaceful mind may work, it will be more skillful. If one chooses to make money, he will make it more efficiently. Of course, now the difference will be that earning money won’t mean stealing. For a peaceful mind making money would simply mean making money, not stealing money. It would mean creating wealth.
If the mind is peaceful, whatsoever one chooses to do he becomes skillful in it. He will have more friends, his expertise will be greater, he will have more strength, and he will have more understanding. Hence, I am not saying such a person will inevitably end up being poor and destitute. He will indeed have the inner richness, but it will also become the means to bring the outer richness – but that would be secondary. So the outer richness will be attained preserving the inner richness – not at the cost of it; then the outer richness can also be achieved. Yes, the only time there will be hindrance is while accumulating the outer richness you may lose your inner peace and joy. If so, then the one who acts desire free would wish to stay away from running after the outer wealth and richness.
So it all depends on what you mean by progress. If by progress you mean just keep running – anywhere, without reaching – then it is a different matter. But if by progress you mean reaching somewhere then it will be a totally different thing. For example, there is a mad man and you tell him: we will treat your mind. And he may say: “great that you will treat my mind, but will it hinder my progress because with the speed I am running now, no one else is able to run that fast.” And then you may say: “certainly, there will be hindrance. True, no one else is able to run as fast as you do, but despite running so fast you don’t seem to be reaching anywhere while even those walking slower do reach.” If you just keep this difference in mind, then you will see what I mean.
Karma Yogi has a resolute determination for God-realization, O Arjun, but the desires of one who works to enjoy the fruits of work are endless and of infinite divisions. (2.41)
Human mind can function as one whole, or it can be multiple, divided. Human psyche can be integrated or it can be fragmentary. The human intellect can be divided into self-contradictory parts, or it can be unified and whole. Ordinarily, the desire-filled psychological state of man consists of multiple minds – it is poly-psychic. It not only consists of multiple minds but even of minds opposing each other.
Our psyche gets divided into many parts and opposing desires get hold of us all together. And when endless desires all together get hold of our mind, it gets split into infinite divisions and we go on following all desires simultaneously.
Krishna is saying: a psyche, because of being filled with conflicting carnal desires and carrying them simultaneously, goes insane and breaks into pieces. So a man who takes the path of desire-free action his inner divisions made of desires inevitably disappear simply because his desire disappears. For one who lives expectation-free life the divisions made of expectations remain no longer — because one drops the very expectations. And then, a uni-psychic state, one mind, begins to take shape inside him.
And as one mind exists, there you have everything—-there is peace, and there is happiness and also bliss. When the mind is one, undivided, there you have everything—-you have energy, and you have harmony, and also beauty. When the mind is one, everything else in life comes with it. And if the mind is divided, then whatever one may have it falls apart and disappears. But the trouble is we are all like mercury—-scattered, broken and fragmented. We are ourselves split into so many fragments, how we could have any peace!
Krishna is saying: this mind, chasing after worldly objects, it only brings worries….To be worried and restless means only one thing–it means mind running around in many directions. A non-running, a still mind means peace. Krishna says: the state of desire-free action creates a uni-psychic state and peace. And with having a uni-psychic state, one attains to definitive intellect, definitive intelligence.
So in the final analysis, having attained a uni-psychic state, there will be no indecisiveness any longer. What could cause indecisiveness? Indecisiveness requires at least two minds. Where there is one mind, there exists resolve and determination.
But ordinarily, what does a person do to have a definitive intelligence? He somehow tries to make deals and compromises. One suppresses his mind and forces himself to become decisive and thinks he has indeed decided. But while he is trying to decide forcibly, he knows the opposite voices inside are telling him: “what are you doing? What you are doing is not right.” The man may be taking the vow that from now on he will remain a celibate, that this is his decision. But the question is against whom is he deciding? The one against whom he is trying to be decisive is sitting inside within himself.
What Krishna is saying is something different. He is not saying you have to become definitive. He is saying, a man who moves on with a desire-free action he attains definitive intelligence because now he works with one mind. One who does not get lost chasing carnal desires, one who doesn’t have any expectations, one who understands the uselessness of having desires, who is not anxious for some reward in the future, one who lives in the moment–such a person attains to having a single mind. One mind automatically becomes definitive – it requires no effort.
O Arjun, those desirous people who are interested only in the reward for their action, who consider reaching heaven as their highest achievement — and say there is nothing higher than heaven, such imprudent people speak familiar embellished language about numerous kinds of rites — causing birth, actions and their results — as the means to enjoyment and power. (42 & 43) And those who are enamored with that kind of language and those who are attached to enjoyment and opulence, indeed they do not have within them the definitive intelligence. (2.44)
Continuing his discourse about Karma Yoga, Krishna says to Arjuna: all those who are excited by pleasure, desire, carnal objects, and lust, who cannot see anything beyond the world of heaven, whose religious thinking, reflection and study are solely meant for the fulfillment of carnal desires, and who not only ask for happiness in this world but who go on asking for the same in the other world too, whose vision of the other world is nothing but an extension of their lust, such people are incapable of understanding the deeper meanings of desire-free action. To put Karma Yoga in a short mathematical formula, one can say: action (karma) minus desire = Karma Yoga. When the desire is taken away from action, then what remains is Karma Yoga. But remember, removing desire does not mean removing just the worldly desire – it means removing desire all together. This needs to be understood a little deeply.
It is not very difficult to be free from a worldly desire; the real spiritual fire is in eliminating the very desire itself. The worldly desire can certainly be dropped. If one is given the temptation to have desire for the other world, it would not be too difficult for him to give the worldly desire away. If you tell a man to give up his wealth in this world because one who gives away even a little here receives ten times more in the other world, he won’t have any difficulty in giving away that little. It is just a bargain. You leave something to get something. For the purpose of getting in return, anything can be given away. But remember, giving up something for obtaining something is not a desire-free action. Whether you get it in heaven, whether you get it in the future, whether you get it in religious coins — it doesn’t make much difference. If at the basis of giving away there is a longing to obtain something, then that is desire, that is the very mind possessed by desire. Such a mind cannot attain to Karma Yoga. If you are told to give up women on earth because fairies are available in the heaven, if you are told not to drink on earth because in heaven you will have streams of wine, then this kind of giving up is no giving up at all. This is simply regaining desire in a new form, in a new world, in a new dimension. It is nothing but enticement. Hence, anyone who does anywhere anything with an expectation for getting something in return, he cannot attain to Karma Yoga.
The fundamental basis of Karma Yoga is: desire-free action, an action that is free from any desire for reward. It is very difficult. Ordinarily, we may think: then how will the action take place? We act because there is something in it for us – some goal, some reward. We walk because there is some place to reach. We breathe because something is going to follow it. If it becomes clear that there is no desire for the future, we won’t move even an inch; we won’t do anything. Then how can there be any action?
Those who have given any thought to this message of Krishna in the Geeta, for them the biggest psychological problem, the greatest confusion is about this very fact that, Krishna is saying: “action of course, but without craving, without desire!” Then how will an action take place? Where would the motivation to work come from? Indeed the motivation to act comes from the very desire. You want something that’s why you do something. First is the desire then it is followed by the action. First is the object, followed by action. First the expectation then follows the action like a shadow. If we drop desire then how could action follow? There won’t be any motivation. If we were to ask Western psychologists, who are doing a lot of research on motivation: what is the motivation behind our actions? All will say with one voice — no action is possible without a desire. But what Krishna is saying, it goes against all the tenets of modern psychology. He is saying exactly the opposite. He is saying: as long as your action is tied with desire, it cannot bring you anything but suffering and darkness. And the day the action becomes free from all desires — even from the desire of the other world, of attaining heaven–the day action becomes just a pure act, an act without even the slightest impurity of any desiring added to it, only that day the action can truly be said as desire-free and thus it becomes Yoga.
It will be good to understand this a little more, And it lies at the very foundation of Krishna’s message. Can there be action without having a desire? Can we do anything without wishing for anything? Then where would we find any motivation? Where will that source be available for us? Where will that energy come from that would draw us out and engage us into action? The world we live in and the web of actions that we are familiar with so far, there may hardly be an act which is unmotivated – hardly ever. And even if you may come across an act that looks unmotivated – which has no motive, which has no desire to gain anything ahead, even such an act when looked closely you will see a motive behind it.
For example, you are walking down the road. A man who is walking in front of you suddenly drops his umbrella. You pick up the umbrella and give it back to him — unmotivated. While picking up the umbrella, you don’t even think what this act will bring to you, what will you get out of it, what will be the reward. No, you don’t think this way. The umbrella fell down; you picked it up and gave it to him – that’s all. Apparently, it all looks unmotivated because while leaving home you had no idea that if someone drops his umbrella, you will pick it up. Even until a moment ago, you had no such plan in your mind, that of picking up the umbrella. One cannot even see any desire between falling umbrella and you picking it up. But if you ask a psychologist about this situation, he would say: there is an unconscious motivation. Suppose the man after taking his umbrella back does not thank you, you might feel hurt. Suppose he just tucks the umbrella under his arm and walks away, you might stand there for a moment in a shock and wonder: what kind of a man is he, didn’t even thank me! This shows motivation. It was not conscious, you had not thought about it beforehand, but it was certainly laying somewhere deep in your unconscious – waiting. No, there was no conscious desire, but there was certainly an unconscious desire.
But Krishna is saying: such an action is possible where desire is absent. This statement of Krishna is of great significance.
Except man, the whole world is over flowing. The entire universe is not living for a future cause; rather it is living through the sources from within this very moment. The flower is blooming because it is a joy to bloom; the sun is rising because there is a joy to rise; the breeze is blowing because there is joy in blowing; the sky is because it is its joy to be. The joy is not somewhere in the future – it is here and now. And whatever is happening, it is because of the flow of inner energy, it is an unmotivated act – it is the very principle, the very basis of Krishna’s whole vision of Karma Yoga. It does not mean trying to design life seeking from the future end, it does not mean living life being pulled through desire; rather it means over flowing of the un-manifest hidden within the individual. So, the day your act becomes an overflowing of your life energy, that is, when it becomes desire-free, it becomes an un-motivated act. Hence, so long as the energy is flowing toward future with some purpose, it is desire based. Desire based action is not Yoga; desire-free action is Yoga.
So it doesn’t make any difference whether the desire is for the future, whether it is for heaven, or for moksha or for God – it makes no difference. If a man is singing a devotional song in the temple, and if the song contains even the desire for attaining God, his singing would become meaningless, then it is no longer yoga. Even the desire for attaining God is a desire after all. And one can never attain God by desiring – God is attainable only in a desire-free state. If the song contains even this much desire that one may attain God, then the song has turned to be worthless. If the prayer includes even so much of a desire that: I wish I could see you – the prayer becomes meaningless.
Prayer is an unmotivated act – it is not for the purpose of attaining anything. It is born out of an inner feeling and is complete by itself; when it is complete by itself – not looking for any door in the future – then it is a prayer. And the prayer is successful only in the moment when it is desire-free. Every act becomes a prayer if it is desire-free; and every prayer becomes bondage if it is desire based, if it is motivated. But for us there is no difference between running a shop and doing our prayers. The business is motivated and so is our prayer.
In this context, it is important to mention the name of Immanuel Kant. In Germany, Kant has said things similar to what Krishna is saying. Kant says: while performing your duty if there is even a trace of expectation in it, then your duty becomes a sin — even a small trace of it! A duty can be duty only, when it is pure, when it is done without any expectation. We may find it very difficult because in our daily life we are not familiar with a single act of this nature so that we may have an understanding of it. But it is possible to open avenues of such desire-free actions.
If a man performs just one unmotivated act in a day, he will be able to understand Krishna’s Geeta. If you do just one unmotivated act in twenty-four hours, which would have nothing – no conscious or unconscious expectation — you simply do the act, leave the scene of action and move on, the avenue to understanding Krishna’s Geeta and Krishna’s Karma Yoga will be opened to you. It will do if you don’t read the Geeta every day, but in twenty-four hours if just one act could flower which contains no desire of yours at all, that’s it. Simply doing is enough and you are out of it, you move your own way. It is not difficult. Just explore a little and you will see it is not too difficult. You will then begin to have a glimpse of an unmotivated act in even smaller instances and situations.
And what Krishna is saying to Arjuna is totally practical. It has got to be. This is not some kind of a discussion taking place between a master and his disciple under a tree in an ashram. This discussion has taken place right in the middle of a battlefield where intense action was awaiting to take place. This is not a philosophical discussion, taking place under a peaceful banyan tree; it is not a dry speculative discussion. This discussion took place right in the middle of intense action, just at the point of war. And what action can be more intense than the action in war. Krishna is saying to Arjuna that even a desire for heaven – desire for anything – can turn everything meaningless. Hence, the essence of Karma Yoga is: action minus desire, when the desire is removed from action.
Krishna says, O Arjuna, the Vedas throw light on the three-fold qualities which pertain to this world; hence, you must free yourself from the threefold nature of this world; become transcendental, desire free and without all conflicts born from dualities of happiness and unhappiness, unattached to your welfare and rooted firmly in the pure Self.(2.45)
Free from all likes and dislikes, free from all conflicts just an empty space (shunya). Krishna says: free from both like and dislike; but it is always easier to be with any one of the two. It is easy to like, to be passionate; it is also easy to dislike, be hateful. It is easy to cling to money; it is easy to renounce money. Clinging shows, liking and passion; giving up shows dislike and hatred. When an individual becomes free from both liking and hatred, when he becomes a void, becomes empty, he attains the state of what Mahavira calls: veetraga, beyond liking and hatred.
While facing duality, it is easy to make a choice and difficult to remain choice-less. Choice is easy; choice-less-ness is difficult. If you tell the mind: I choose this, the mind will say, okay. If you tell the mind: let’s choose something opposite to this, and the mind will say, fine – but choose! Mind can survive as long as there is choice. What you choose is irrelevant – whether you choose a house or a forest; whether you choose friendship or enmity; whether you choose wealth or you choose antagonism to wealth; so whatsoever you may want to choose – love, hatred, anger, forgiveness – anything, but choice has to be there, then the mind survives. But if you don’t choose anything, then the mind immediately, instantly disappears. The very support system of the mind falls apart. Choice is mind’s support; choice is the very sustainer of mind which is besieged with conflict and tension.
To work alone you have the right and never to its fruits. The fruits of work should not be your motive. You should never have any desire for rewards but then neither should you be inactive. (2.47)
This sutra forms the basis of Karma Yoga: to work alone you have the right, that is your area, but no right over to its fruits; you have freedom to act, but never to its reward. The reason is, while the action comes from an individual, the fruit comes from the Whole, from the Existence. What one does, it flows out of him; but the Existence has a hand in what comes out of it. An individual acts, but Existence holds the result. That’s why Krishna says: you have a right to act but not to expecting its fruits.
Yoga of Action (karma yoga):
Arjuna said: If you consider that acquiring transcendental knowledge is better than working, then why do you want me to engage in this horrible war, O Krishna? You seem to confuse my mind by your apparently conflicting words. Tell me, decisively, one thing by which I may attain the Supreme. (3.01-02)
One who controls the senses by a trained and purified mind and intellect, and engages the organs of action to selfless service, is superior, O Arjuna. (3.07). Perform your obligatory duty, because working is indeed better than sitting idle. Even the maintenance of your body would be impossible without work. (3.08). Human beings are bound by work (Karma) that is not performed as a selfless service (Seva, Yajna). Therefore, O Arjuna, becoming free from selfish attachment to the fruits of work do your duty efficiently as a service to Me. (3.09).
While an ignorant person works, O Arjuna, with attachment to the fruits of work, the wise should work without attachment, for the sake of welfare of the society(3.25). The wise should not unsettle the minds of the ignorant, who are attached to the fruits of work, but should inspire them by performing all works efficiently without selfish attachment (See also 3.26) (3.29).
All works are being done by the energy and power of nature, but due to delusion of ignorance people assume themselves to be the doer (See also 5.09, 13.29, and 14.19) (3.27). One who knows the truth, O Arjuna, about the role of the forces of nature and work, does not become attached to work knowing very well that indeed the very forces of nature which work through their devices — our organs (3.28). All beings follow their own nature even the wise act according to their own nature. What, then, is the meaning of sense restraint? (3.33).
Likes and dislikes (Raaga and Dvesha) for sense objects remain in the senses. One should not come under the control of these two, because they are, indeed, two major stumbling blocks on one’s path of Self-realization (3.34). One’s inferior but natural work is better than the superior unnatural work. Death in carrying out one’s natural work is useful. Unnatural work produces too much stress (See also 18.47) (3.35).
The one who has abandoned selfish attachment to the fruits of work, and remains ever content and dependent on no one but God, such a person — though engaged in activity — in fact performs no act, and incurs no Karmic reaction, good or bad (4.20). The one who is free from desires, whose mind and senses are under control, and who has renounced all proprietorship, does not incur sin — the Karmic reaction — by doing bodily action (4.21). Content with whatever gain comes naturally by His will, unaffected by pairs of opposites, free from envy, calm in success and failure; though engaged in work, such a KarmaYogi is not bound by Karma. (4.22)
Freedom from the Opposites (sthitapragya):
A person should be considered a true Sannyasin (Renunciate) who neither likes nor dislikes. One is easily liberated from Karmic bondage by becoming free from the pairs of opposites, O Arjuna (5.03).
One who neither rejoices on obtaining what is pleasant, nor grieves on obtaining the unpleasant, one who has a steady mind, who is undeluded, and who is a knower of Eternal Being (Brahman), such a person eternally abides with Brahman (5.20).
One who is able to withstand the impulse of lust and anger before death is a yogi, and a happy person (5.23).
Yoga of Meditation – Meditation is the way:
One must elevate — and do not degrade — oneself by one’s own mind. The mind alone is one’s friend as well as one’s enemy. The mind is the friend of those who have control over it, and the mind acts like an enemy for those who do not control it (6.05-06).
This yoga is not possible, O Arjuna, for the one who eats too much, or who does not eat at all; who sleeps too much, or who keeps awake (6.16). But, for the one who is moderate in eating, recreation, working, sleeping, and waking, the yoga of meditation destroys all sorrow (6.17).
When the mind disciplined by the practice of meditation becomes steady, one becomes content with the Eternal Being (Brahman) by beholding Him with purified intellect (6.20).
This yoga should be practiced with firm determination, and without any mental reservation (6.23). One gradually attains tranquillity of mind by totally abandoning all selfish desires, completely restraining the senses from the sense objects by the intellect, and keeping the mind fully absorbed in the Eternal Being (Brahman) by means of a well-trained and purified intellect; and thinking of nothing else (6.24-25). Wherever this restless and unsteady mind wanders away during meditation, one should just witness it under the watchful eye (or supervision) of the Self (6.26).
Arjuna said: O Krishna, You have said that the yoga of meditation is characterized by the calmness of mind, but due to restlessness of mind I do not perceive the steady state of mind. Because, the mind, indeed, is very unsteady, turbulent, powerful, and obstinate, O Krishna, I think restraining the mind is as difficult as restraining the wind (6.33-34). The Supreme Lord said: undoubtedly, O Arjuna, the mind is restless and difficult to restrain, but it is subdued by constant vigorous spiritual practice with perseverance, and detachment, O Arjuna. (6.35)
The Balanced Way:
One who is desire-free, pure, wise, impartial, and free from anxiety; one who has renounced the idea of being a doer in all undertakings such a devotee is dear to Me (12.16). One who neither rejoices nor grieves, neither likes nor dislikes, who has renounced both the good and the evil, and is full of devotion is dear to Me (12.17). The one who remains the same towards friend or foe, in honour or disgrace, in heat or cold, in pleasure or pain; one who is free from attachment; who is indifferent to censure or praise, quiet, content with whatever one has, unattached to a place (a country, or a house), calm, and full of devotion —that person is dear to Me (12.18-19).
Watcher on the Hill (sakshin):
One transcends the mode of material Nature who neither hates the presence of enlightenment, activity, and delusion; nor desires for them when they are absent; who remains like a witness without being affected by the modes (Gunas) of material Nature (Prakriti); who stays firmly attached to the Lord without wavering — thinking that only the modes of material Nature (Gunas of Prakriti) are operating (14.22-23). And one who depends on the Lord and is indifferent to pain and pleasure; to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are alike; to whom the dear and the unfriendly are alike; who is of firm mind; who is calm in censure and in praise, and indifferent to honour and disgrace; who is impartial to friend and foe; and who has renounced the sense of being a doer. (14.24-25)
–Swami Satya Vedant