"Karmayoga does not mean ceaseless pursuit of karma. It truly consists in the Yoga orientation and discipline given to the buddhi and the mind. Constant preservation and application of Yogabuddhi while doing any work, alone makes one a Karmayogin."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


Articles for Saadhana

Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio

Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

All our cultural and spiritual wisdom writings are contained in the Prasthāna Trayam. The word ‘Prasthāna’ actually means a voyage of knowledge or a knowledge voyage. It is something that the intelligence coupled with the mind takes up and when the journey is completed, the goal of spiritual wisdom and realization will have been attained.

In the Prasthāna Trayam, there are three sets of literature. One is the Upanishads where the real wisdom is clearly revealed and the sādhanā for it is mentioned. The whole of the Upanishads emphasize on the seeker saying good-bye to the transitory world and proceeding to the Guru, the Sadguru who is invariably living an ascetic and austere life in the forest environments. He lives in a hermitage and the seeker seeks him there. There is no hurry; there is no haste. Both of them have their leisurely time; they spend together learning the subject called the spiritual wisdom and realization. The moment the seeker seeks the feet of the Sadguru, it is a full, whole-time, spiritual and ascetic pursuit for him and the Sadguru himself is already ascetic and austere. So the austere combination does the magic and the work. They have weeks, months and years to study the subject, to impart the knowledge and to make the seeker śiṣya realize the wisdom. This is the message and content of the Upanishads.

We have an equally full-fold book called Bhagavad Gita with seven hundred verses. It is generally bigger than the normal Upanishads; eighteen chapters are there. Bhagavad Gita is actually a dialogue which transpired amidst the din and bustle of the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The entire battle events were suspended when Arjuna crumbled before Krishna and Krishna began to treat Arjuna. All the army personal kept quiet waiting for the turn of events and they all got back their energy, drive and enthusiasm when Arjuna was revived and he took back his bow and arrow. When they found Arjuna holding the Gāṇḍīva again, all of them started blowing the conches again, marking the real commencement of the war and discharge of arrows.

Why am I saying this? I am saying this because I want you to understand the contrast between the two. One is a very passive, sublime and quiet pursuit of wisdom which is generally an affair of the mind and intelligence. There is no activity. There is no special interaction. In fact, the seeker has said good-bye to the world of activities and he is only in the presence of the Guru but whereas Krishna and Arjuna were in the din and bustle of the battlefield and what they were going to do next was intense battle for eighteen days. But in Bhagavad Gita also, Krishna conveyed and revealed the same wisdom and truth of the Upanishads with no change whatsoever. Many people do not understand this. I don’t think it will ever be understood properly by many.

What the Upanishads seeks to achieve, Bhagavad Gita enables to achieve. If the Upanishads are learned, taught and imbibed in the calm environments of the forest, devoid of activity and tussles, Bhagavad Gita is in the midst of all activities, the most adventurous and painstaking one, namely war killing 4.5 million warriors in eighteen days where only ten survived. Understand the contrast. But even then, the wisdom that was communicated to Arjuna was not at all watered down.

Where is that wisdom in Bhagavad Gita which the Upanishads teach is an enquiry that all of you should have. The Upanishads were taught in the calm environments of the forest. Bhagavad Gita was imparted in the din and bustle of the battlefield. How could the contrast coexist, but they exist. So far as we are concerned, we are neither in the war nor in the forest. We are in the world, in the din and bustle if at all of the world, the thick and thin of the world. And what is the message Krishna gives - Krishna was giving the message of yoga. That yoga is an enrichment of our activities and interactions. We should enrich them, elevate them, we should give a new dimension to our activity. Administering a new dimension, elevating the activity is meant by yoga. The elevational part of it is done by the mind and intelligence. Activity remains the same - physical and sensory. In that elevational process, all the Upanishadic essence comes in. There is nothing left. Thus Bhagavad Gita is a book of sannyāsa and tyāga.

Bhagavad Gita’s message is sannyāsa. The accomplishment it wants you to have is tyāga. That is why Arjuna raises the question in the eighteenth chapter. Please tell me the essence of tyāga and sannyāsa. Krishna enlightens him and there the instruction is complete. So right from the beginning, it is sannyāsa and tyāga. Something more interesting… What Arjuna wanted to do is take up sannyāsa and go away from the battlefield or going away and take up sannyāsa. Krishna said no. So that physical sannyāsa Krishna disallowed and he instills the new spirit of inward sannyāsa , knowledge sannyāsa. Are you able to think? Listen to this verse. It is from the third chapter.

मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि सन्न्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा ।
निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वरः ।।
mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi sannyasyādhyātma-cetasā |
nirāśīr-nirmamo bhūtvā yudhyasva vigata-jvaraḥ ||
(Bhagavad Gita 3.30)

I don’t think people analyse these things properly.

mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi sannyasyādhyātma-cetasā |
nirāśīr-nirmamo bhūtvā yudhyasva vigata-jvaraḥ ||

All your activities you renounce in me. All your activities you renounce in me. How is that renunciation - adhyātma-cetasā. Let the mind be spiritual, the mind is worldly now. The worldliness of the mind should be replaced by spirituality, spiritual wisdom. So the mind should become spiritual, not secular. And what is that making the mind spiritual. How do we know it?

Nirāśīr-nirmamo bhūtvā. The moment your mind becomes spiritual, you will become desire-free(nirāśīh), you will become non-possessive(nirmamo). Making the mind desire-free and non-possessive is the resultant of sannyāsa. Sannyāsa means what? It has got no physical implication. Suppose you leave this, you go to another place. Even then, you are in a place, you cannot leave the earth, you cannot leave the body, you cannot leave the air, you cannot leave the sun, the sky. Then what is meant by leaving? So the leaving is not at all a physical pursuit or a process. So that ‘adhyātma-cetas’ is making the mind spiritual. What is that spirituality? Being desire-free and being non-possessive.

The mind is now desire-full, desire-gripped, it is also very very possessive. In reality, we possess nothing in this world. Finally, you leave the body in which you live. If the body also is not possessed, whatever you seem to possess together with the body or through the body are not real. So possessiveness is a wrong stand. In reality, we are non-possessive. The mind is not attached to anything. The mind is so subtle. Can the sky be attached to anything? Is the sky attached to fire, air, water or earth? No. In the same manner, our mind is not attached to any thought, any feeling, any emotion or anything. But we feel it is attached. That is our ignorance and delusion. So without getting deluded and without being ignorant, understand the truth of non-possessiveness and the beautiful sublime effect of desire-freeness. Every desire is unnecessary and constrictive. When you have no desire, mind’s constriction is gone and the mind becomes very healthy, powerful and effective in taking up every action.

So what is sannyāsa? Sannyāsa is dropping the desire and dropping possessiveness. Both those are mento-intellectual, mento-intellectual, mento-intellectual. The question you may ask, “Is it possible to drop desire?” That alone is possible; nothing else is possible. If you understand life, we are held constantly in activity by the guṇās of prakṛti, not because of our wish and will. Are your lungs working because you wish, is your heart beating because you wish or you wish if at all because the heart beats and the lungs breathe? Don’t put the cart before the horse.

The basic functions in our body which enable us to live are not governed by us, they are not desired by us, they take place of their own accord at the instance of nature and the three guṇās through which the nature works. So there is no necessity for desire. And do you possess anything - no, nothing can be possessed by us. Suppose you live in a house, do you possess it? What do you mean by possessiveness? I keep a dhoti in my hand. You can say I possess the dhoti. In the same manner a towel, in the same manner do you possess your house, do you possess your parents, married partner, children, the car, house? So we don’t possess anything! All the objects remain in their own respective places. Why don’t you understand this truth?

So become non-possessive and become desire-free. This is called having a spiritual mind. And making the mind spiritual is renouncing all activities, entrusting all activities to either God or nature and nature will do it. The first activity in our life is the earth’s revolution. It revolves on its own axis and goes around the sun. This is the first factor that governs our life. If that activity is not at our wish and will and we do nothing for it, all the other activities also will follow suit. Do not work at cross purposes.

mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi sannyasyādhyātma-cetasā |
nirāśīr-nirmamo bhūtvā yudhyasva vigata-jvaraḥ ||

And remaining in this manner, what do you do? Do you take up sannyāsa and go away from wherever you are? No. Yudhyasva - you fight. Vigata-jvaraḥ, with no hate, with no undue agitation and tension. So it will be a fight without anxiety, without tension, without any expectation. Just fight. You were ruling earlier, you will fight for a few days, again you go back to the rule. Finally you leave everything and climb the Himalayan peaks and drop you bodies. This is what Krishna is saying. I wish that all of you think about it, understand it and imbibe it.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

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