Diving into the Bhagavad Gita: Action in Pure Awareness (Chapter 5)
by Sido Wijga
Chapter 5, Verse 8-9
Krishna explains to Arjuna:
“The knower of the truth thinks “I do not do anything at all” - though seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, moving about, sleeping, breathing, speaking, emptying, accepting, opening and closing of eyes. He is convinced that only the sense organs of the body are engaged in sense objects and the soul is actionless.”
My Journey with the Bhagavad Gita started when I did ‘The Heart’ teacher training with Delight Yoga in Bali more than 5 years ago. For a full month, we dived into the teachings of the ‘Song of God’ on the island where the Gita is so alive and is deeply rooted in its culture. For me it was the start of a beautiful journey back to the Self.
The beauty of this book is that it has so many layers. The apparent dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna is actually a monologue of the Self talking to the Self, about the Self. It is our higher self, talking to our believed self or ego. It is that divine essence that we all are guiding us back home to our true nature.
This chapter starts with Arjuna asking Krishna the question: What is better, renouncing all actions and become like a monk, or performing actions as a karma yogi?
Krishna tells Arjuna that yoga trough action (karma yoga) is better than refraining from action. When one can maintain evenness and neither hates nor desires and performs an action without expectations of the result one will be liberated. True renunciation is very difficult and only for sages. When one can remain even and unattached to the result of the action, the sense of doership will start to diminish.
Then Krishna tells Arjuna that a liberated one (yogi) will see that he is not doing anything, but that it is the sense organs of the body that are engaged in the sense-object and that he himself is actionless. He is like a lotus leaf, unattached by water.
In our everyday life we breathe, digest food, circulate blood, and all these things happen without us being aware of it. This complex system we call ‘body’ is not in our control. We don’t control our hormones or raise our heart rate when we get excited. The body works with high intelligence that we are not aware of. But when we act upon something, we claim to be the doer.
When you turn your awareness inward and start to investigate your own existence, you will come to the conclusion that everything you can observe (body, mind and everything that appears in it) cannot be what you ultimately are because you can observe it, therefore there must be a distance between you and what you can observe. When you confirm your position as awareness only you will see that things are just happening, and you are not doing anything at all. It is only when we start to identify with what appears in pure awareness that we create the illusion of doership.
“All the activities that the body is to go through are determined when it first comes into existence. It does not rest with You to accept or reject them. The only freedom You have is to turn Your mind inward and renounce activities there.”
– Ramana Maharshi
May all beings be released from suffering by realizing their true nature.
Continue Reading: Diving into the Bhagavad Gita: The True Yoga (Chapter 6) >
In 2008 out of curiosity Sido found his way to a yoga class above his working place, one of the first classes of Kristin Vikjord in Amsterdam (co-founder of Delight Yoga). This is where he discovered Astanga Vinyasa Yoga. He soon noticed the positive effect of yoga on his physical and mental condition.