Thursday, September 3, 2020

Work for work’s sake

        Krishna, the “Lord of souls”, talks to Arjuna or Gudâkesha, “lord of sleep” (he who has conquered sleep). The “field of virtue” (the battlefield) is this world; the five brothers (representing righteousness) fight the hundred other brothers (all that we love and have to contend against); the most heroic brother, Arjuna (the awakened soul), is the general. We have to fight all sense-delights, the things to which we are most attached, to kill them. We have to stand alone; we are Brahman, all other ideas must be merged in this one.

        Krishna did everything but without any attachment; he was in the world, but not of it. “Do all work, but without attachment; work for work’s sake, never for yourself.” (VII, 334)

On 29th June 1895 Swamiji introduced Sri Krishna and Bhagavad Gita to his disciples. That day he came to the study class (at Thousand Island Park) with Gita in his hand. Naturally, Swamiji drew a spiritual diagram before starting the class. He started his discourse quoting Sri Ramakrishna’s words, “the boat should be on the waters, and not water in the boat”.

         It is difficult to find a greater proponent than Sri Krishna for Anasakti yoga (yoga of detachment). In many places Swamiji places Sri Buddha at par with Sri Krishna. Karma Yoga was his favourite subject and he has given to posterity a beautiful idea of “work as worship”. Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Vinoba Bhave were most outstanding proponents of this yoga in modern times. Swamiji, unlike many of his predecessors, insisted that a true karma yogi can also attain freedom or liberation.

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