Talks on the Gita -Vinoba 101

Chapter 10
49. The First Half Of The Gita: A Retrospect

1.Friends, we have come halfway through the Gita. It will be worthwhile to recapitulate before we proceed further. In the First Chapter, it is stated that the Gita is for overcoming delusions and inducing us to follow swadharma. In the Second Chapter, the basic principles of life are stated and the concepts of karmayoga and sthitaprajna are spelt out. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 explain the concepts of karma, vikarma and akarma. Karma means the actions done for the performance of swadharma. Vikarma means inner mental action that needs to be done to aid such performance. When karma and vikarma fuse together, mind is completely purified, passions and cravings die out, distinctions vanish, and then the state of akarma is reached. This state is of two kinds. In one, hectic activity goes on unceasingly but still the doer feels inwardly that he is doing nothing. In the other, one is outwardly inactive but is still acting ceaselessly. The state of akarma attains fruition in both the ways. Although these two ways appear different, they are completely identical. These ways are called karmayoga and sannyasa respectively. Although they are known by different terms, they have the same essence. The state of akarma is the ultimate goal, which is also called moksha. Thus, in the first five Chapters of the Gita, the philosophy of life has been fully spelt out.

2. To attain the state of akarma, there are various types of vikarma. There are several means for the purification of the mind. Important among them have been described from the Sixth Chapter onwards. The Sixth Chapter tells about the yoga of meditation to have one-pointedness of mind and about the supplementary means of abhyasa and vairagya. The Seventh Chapter is about the great and noble means of bhakti. You may go to the Lord either with love or with the quest for knowledge or with passion for the well-being of all, or even with desire for personal gains; the important thing is to enter into the presence of the Lord. I call it prapattiyoga or the yoga that asks us to surrender to God. The Eighth Chapter puts forward satatyayoga (the yoga of uninterrupted pursuit). You will not find these terms in other commentaries; I have coined these terms myself as I have found them useful for understanding the Gita. Satatyayoga means continuing the sadhana—the spiritual quest—till death. One should never leave the chosen path; one should go on advancing along that path without a break. If one vacillates, there is absolutely no hope that he will ever reach the goal. One should never despair or get tired and complain, “How long am I to go on doing sadhana?” Sadhana should continue till it attains fruition.


References and Context