Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, sloka 20 – part 3

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 20

TYAKTVA KARMAPHALASANGAM NITYA TRUPTO NIRASHRAYAHA
KARMANYABHI PRAVRITTO’PI NAIVA KINCHIT KAROSI SAHA

He who has given up attachment to the fruits of work, who is ever content, who does not depend upon anything, though engaged in actions, does not verily do anything.

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***   continuation from last week   ***

The last character of such an individual is “Nirashrayaha.”
Ashraya means “dependant.”
Nirashraya means “not dependant.”

In our day to day life, majority of us are dependent upon wealth, family, society and our own physical health. We all cling to something or other in the material world. When we lose the same, when something unpleasant happens to what we are attached to, we lose our sense of balance and get depressed. This reduces the efficiency of actions.

What we have to realise is that none of these are permanent. We are conditioned by time, space and circumstances. This in turn is because we perceive anything (including our own physical body) with our sense organs, we are conditioned by “Name and form” (nama, roopa). We are blind to the reality of “Sat, Chit, Ananda” (Truth, Existence and Bliss.) He alone who sees the “Sat, Chit, Ananda” and not the “Nama, Roopa” will not depend upon anything from the material world. Happiness and sorrow does not enter the realm of his reactions and his life is constantly in “Bliss” of the Atman.

The word “Nirashraya” is used in this context. Our own shelter has to be “The Lord” and nothing but the Lord.

Such an individual will find his abode of peace in the Atman and never falls down to the level of matter. He does so despite the fact that he is constantly engaged in actions by accepting the fact that he has a role to play in the theatre called “Life.”

This is a message for Arjuna to stand up and discharge his duty of protecting the dharma and uprooting the evil by becoming an instrument in the hands of the divine. This state of spiritual discipline is essential for the spiritual seeker.

Sri Ramakrishna quotes this following episode from Srimad Bhagawatam.

The Gopis were returning home one day and found no ferrymen to carry them across the river Yamuna to Brindavan. Sri Veda Vyasa was at the shore at that time and they explained their plight to him. He tells them not to get worried and that he would lead them back home. “Please give me some food first to appease my hunger” he said. The gopis did oblige and offered him milk, butter etc. After finishing the sumptuous food offered, the sage got up and said “O Yamuna Devi, if it is a fact that I am fasting today, stop flowing and make way for us to go back to Brindavan.” To everyone’s surprise, the river parted and the party walked back home.

The perplexed gopis asked the sage how after having consumed the food he could say that he was fasting? The sage then replied “The ceaseless hankering of my heart for Sri Krishna is my spiritual fasting. The idea I eat, is not allowed to enter my mind. I offered the dishes to the Lord as oblation as He is the presiding deity in my body.”

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