Talks on the Gita -Vinoba 188

Chapter 16
88. Divine Qualities: The Harbinger of Purushottamyoga

1. Brothers, in the first five Chapters of the Gita, we saw how life should be lived and its purpose fulfilled. From the Sixth Chapter to the Eleventh one, we viewed bhakti from various angles. In the Eleventh Chapter, we had the grand vision of bhakti. In the Twelfth Chapter, we compared saguna and nirguna bhakti and had a look at the noble attributes of the bhakta. Examination of karma and bhakti was complete at the end of the Twelfth Chapter. Jnana was then discussed in Chapters 13, 14 and 15. We learnt therein that the Self should be separated from the body, the three gunas should be conquered for that purpose and in the end, we should see the Lord everywhere. In the Fifteenth Chapter, the whole science of life was seen at a glance. Life reaches its consummation in Purushottamyoga. Nothing remains to be said thereafter.

2. I cannot bear to see karma, jnana and bhakti separated. Some seekers are so inclined that they can think of nothing but karma, while some imagine bhakti as a distinct path and put exclusive emphasis on it. Some have disposition towards jnana only. But I am not an exclusivist; I do not believe that life means only karma or bhakti or jnana. I do not also subscribe to the doctrine that life is a combination of these three; nor do I subscribe to the utilityoriented view that life should have karma, bhakti as well as jnana in some measure. That karma, bhakti and jnana are the successive stages in sadhana, is also not acceptable to me. I do not also think that in life there should be harmony between karma, bhakti and jnana. I wish to experience complete identity between karma, bhakti and jnana. To understand what I mean, let us take the example of a piece of a sweet.

Every piece of a sweet has sweetness, every piece has some size and some weight. The sweetness, size and weight are not distinct and separable things. When I put a piece into my mouth, I taste its sweetness, devour its size and digest its mass. It is not that some pieces have sweetness only, some have only size and some have only weight. Every action in life should likewise be full of service, love, as well as knowledge. Karma, bhakti and jnana, all should permeate the whole of life. Every action should be spiritual. This is what Purushottamyoga means. Infusing the whole of life with spirituality is, of course, easier said than done. When we go deep into its implications, we realise that for pure and selfless service bhakti and jnana must be there within the heart. Karma, bhakti and jnana are thus completely and absolutely one and the same. Purushottamyoga is the highest state in which this is attained. This is the pinnacle of life.


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