Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Karma Sanyasa Yoga

Let us say you have a big bowl of ice cream in front of us and you can eat as much as we want. That’s possible only if your taste buds are working, if you are in a pleasant mood to enjoy, you have some time to enjoy, you’re in a nice place and you are not מורת יוגה.

If everything is in alignment and you enjoy the ice cream then after the second, third or fourth you want to stop it. It is no more an enjoyment, on the contrary you will develop a dislike to it. That sense of pleasure does not long.

After a month, that taste and enjoyment is in your mind, the senses bring that experience back and you want to eat it again. This creates a dependency, craving, attachment, fear of loss, greed and anger when obstructed.

There is a distinct difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure is temporary, you strive for it to get and you lose it after the goal is achieved whereas happiness is permanent and it is just the ‘being’ that you are. In short, when the mind of a person is freed from pursuing all kinds of external pleasures, true happiness reveals itself from within ending all sorrows. Such a person is a happy person.

The highest level of renunciation is beyond karma yoga and karma sanyasa yoga, jnana yoga where the renunciation of the doership (ahamkara, ego) is offered in the fire of knowledge. Once the doership is gone, there is no enjoyer-ship as well. This is the Realization of the Self, non-doer, akarta in every physical body.

Performing duties for a common cause with full commitment and a selfless attitude as an offering to Lord is called (Isvara arpana buddhi). This attitude does not cause any anxiety in the process or agitation about the results of the action. The performer is joyous and peaceful during the course of work, accepts the results of the actions, whatever it may be, as a gift from Lord with an equanimous attitude, (prasada buddhi).

People have likes and dislikes, they like to do certain things and choose not to do certain things. They like certain outcomes and they don’t like certain outcomes but performing duties without likes and dislikes is the first step, that is called karma yoga. Simply doing what is supposed to be done without expecting anything return is duty.

The universal nature remind us of this attitude all around us. The trees that give fruits and shade, plants that give flowers with fragrance, the bushes that give vegetables, the water that flows in the rivers, the rain that supports the fields & cultivation, the sun that supports the entire life itself expects nothing in return. When we follow this attitude it brings us inner peace and equanimity in the way we look at life and its existence.

When we want to go from point A to point B, we can take any path, either by road, train, bus or plane depending on the distance and when to reach by. If the destination is within one city, then there are multiple streets, lanes, avenues, short cuts, bypasses that one can take. People take whichever is comfortable to them.

Similarly, the two paths, karma yoga and karma sanyasa yoga, both caters to certain personalities of people. Both yogas (way of lifestyle) are to purify the mind to make it ready for the next step.

People who are more rajasic (personality or with tendencies to be active, driven, moving, goal oriented, recognition) are more interested in the worldly desires to achieve, accomplish, serve, for which karma yoga is the best.

There are other people who are not interested in worldly desires and have strong spiritual inclination. They are more sattvic (balance, harmony, goodness, purity, universalizing, holistic, constructive, creative, building, positive attitude, luminous, serenity, being-ness, peaceful) by nature, have overcome their likes & dislikes from within, to a large extent, have a higher degree of detachment to everything around and are ready for external renunciation. For them karma sanyasa yoga is a better fit. Both of these lead to a common goal which is jnana yoga leading to Self knowledge. By the way every individual has all three gunas or personalities at varied proportion.

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