Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 114

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

Karma Yoga or the Method of Work

Set an Example to Others
20 karranai 'va hi samsiddhim asthita janakadayah
lokasamgraham eva 'pi sampasyan kartum arhasi
(20)' It was even by works that Janaka and others attained to perfection. Thou shouldst do works also with a view to the maintenance of the world Janaka was the king of Mithila and father of Sita, the wife of Rama. Janaka ruled, giving up his personal sense of being the worker. Even S. says that Janaka and others worked lest people at large might go astray, convinced that their senses were engaged in activity, gund gunesrt vartante. Even those who have not known the truth might adopt works for self-purification. II, 10.
lokasamgraha: world-maintenance. Lokasamgraha stands for the unity of the world, the interconnections of society. If the world is not to sink into a condition of physical misery and moral degradation, if the common life is to be decent and dignified, religious ethics must control social action. The aim of religion is to spiritualist society, to establish a brotherhood on earth.
We must be inspired by the hope of embodying ideals in earthly institutions. When the Indian world lost its youth, it tended to become other-worldly. In a tired age we adopt the gospel of renunciation and endurance. In an age of hope and energy we emphasize active service in the world and the saving of civilization. Boethius affirms that "he will never go to heaven who is content to go alone."
21. yad yad acarati sresthas tad-tad eve 'taro janah.;
sa yat pramanam kurute lokas tad anuvartate
(21) Whatsoever a great man does, the same is done by others as well. Whatever standard he sets, the world follows.
Common people imitate the standards set by the elect. Democracy has become confused with disbelief in great men. The Gita points out that the great men are the pathmakers who blaze the trail that other men follow. The light generally comes through individuals who are in advance of society. They see the light shining on the mountain heights while their fellows sleep in the valley below. They are, in the words of Jesus, the "salt," the "leaven," the "light" of human communities. When they proclaim the splendour of that light, a few recognize it and slowly the many are persuaded to follow them.


References and Context