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Fwd: Gita Chapter 3

From: Shree (
Date: Thu Nov 27 1997 - 17:08:19 PST

Seminar #5
Copyright, 1997, Andy Fraenkel
(Sankirtana das)
This material is part of a Seminar
entltled Rejuvenating The Soul
based on the teachings of 
Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata

Work is an important part of everyone's live.  The third chapter of the
Gita  delves into karma yoga. In this sense karma is taken to be work or
activity.  When we think of yoga, we envision  someone meditating in
solitude, a peaceful atmosphere,  perhaps someone doing hatha yoga
positions. We don't  envision someone in the thick of activity, someone
rushing to meet a deadline or  dealing with a dilemma, let alone being in
the midst of a battle.  Sometimes our lives assume the preportions of a
battle. We struggle with different concerns -  ecomonic, relationships,
health. One writer  explains that we have four major concerns - we  want
to learn, to love, to live, and to leave a legacy. 

 When we encounter problems we often tighten up - our breath our muscles
-  our body becomes tense. We think that the problem is an impediment to
our lives. We are afraid of problems because they're in the way to what
we want - and  that we have to deal with the problem and get that out of
the way before we can continue to something meaningful.  Problems are
part of the nature of existance.  What we fail to perceive is that the
problems are not ordinary, but are put before us to come to grips with
leaning, loving and living.

Third Chapter of Gita:
Karma Yoga - Yoga in Action

Every one must act. We cannot cease activity. 

We cannot stop the senses.  One who externally ceases from  activity, but
whose mind lingers on sensual thoughts, is a pretender.

It will be of no use to restrain the senses. Better to perform works in
devotion without being attached to the results.

One cannot maintain oneself without work. Thus perform your duty in life.

Perform your work for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord,  and thus
your work will free you from the  entanglements of this material world.
Work done as an offering to  the Supreme Lord is the sure path of

The above advice is given by Lord Krishna in the beginning of the third
chapter.  It is a paradox. Activity  in this world is both the source of
our happiness and distress. We create  an unending cycle of pain &
pleasure. This is the way the pure soul remains entangled in this
material world. One might assume that to break this cycle and to attain
mukti, or freedom, we would have to refrain from work. Krishna explains
that it is not the nature of the soul to remain inactive. The same work
which binds us, if performed in a different paradigm or consciousness,
can be the source of our freedom.  Activity is compared to a sharp object
like a thorn or splinter. The example is given that  a splinter stuck in
your finger is the source of pain. But another sharp, narrow object can
remove the splinter and be the source of your relief. 

So there is no need to give up activity. It would be artifical.  By
nature the soul is active. So activity, or work, is not the problem. But
the consciousness behind the work. Krishna advises us not to become
overwhelmed by our situations in life. We can transform any situation by
transforming our consciousness. The soul is joyful. The soul is wise. The
soul is eternal.  Do not become bewildered by the workings of the
material nature. 

Seminar #7

Copyright, 1997, Andy Fraenkel (Sankirtana das)
This material is part of a Seminar entltled Rejuvenating The Soul based on
the teachings of Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata.

Continuing 3rd chap of Gita:

"Work without attachment, with the mind fixed upon the Supreme Lord.

Perform work which arises from within your nature. 

It is better to perform your work according to your own nature,  even if
it is done imperfectly, rather than taking up some one else's work. 

But if you allow the senses to overwhelm you, surely you will lose your
balance and  you will stumble on the path. 

Lust is a great enemy which blinds us and destroys our knowledge. The
pure soul is now covered by lust as a mirror is covered by dust.

By regulating the senses, and by engaging the senses, mind and
intelligence in works of devotion one can awaken to the higher self." 

Transformation is not a quick fix. Usually it does not happen overnight
or at a weekend retreat. Usually it is imperceptibly gradual like the
dawn. It's dark and the sky slowly gets lighter. And before you know it,
the sun bursts from the horizon. This is the way of spiritual awakening.
After many years of practice, one day we suddenly realize that our lives
have been rich for some time. So it involves diligent work in detachment
on our part. And it will take patient work. Still, it's all a gift from

The happiness does not come as a result of the work, but as a result of
the consciousness behind the work. Don't let your happiness be dependent
on getting a result you want out of your endeavor. There is no garrentee
that you will get a particular result from your work. Many recent books
provide hundreds of examples of people who persevered and got what they
wanted. But there are hundreds and thousands of more cases of those who
attempted but did not attain their desired goal. Why does happiness evade
us? We are looking in the wrong places. Our work is not a means to
happiness, but the work  is the very wellspring of happiness. This  is
called bhakti - work in devotion to God. This is truly the path of
dharma. There are several types of dharma. One is our responsibility to
society , another is our occupation or profession, but dharma means  the
very nature of our existence. Everything has its dharma or nature: a
furnace, a pen, or sugar. If a furnace is not providing heat then it is
not situated in its dharma.  We must understand what it is to be situated
in our dharma. Otherwise, no matter how much we make, or how much we
have, we can never be happy.