Question: In the third chapter of the Gita. Arjuna asks Sri Krishna about action and inaction. I would like to know something more about it.

Sri Chinmoy: I will tell you about action and inaction but not from the Bhagavad Gita. If a specific question is put to me from that chapter, then I can deal with it later. Right now I shall speak generally.

There are two kinds of action. One is disinterested action and the other is the action of desire. Now most of us act only when we feel that we will get a satisfying result. Before we actually act, we think of the result and if we feel that it will be satisfactory and fruitful then we enter into the field of action. If we know beforehand that the result will be unfavourable, usually we do not enter into the action at all.

Now here, the disinterested action, which is the real action, is what we have to do. We have to act for the sake of God and not for the sake of the result, which is what the Gita calls “the fruit of action.” Success is not our goal. Failure is not our goal. But the fulfilment of God’s Will is our goal.

Now let us speak about action. Normally, we feel that we have acted when we use our limbs, our hands or at least our brains. We feel we must move and be dynamic. But spiritually speaking, when we act, we must feel that it is God who is acting in us and through us. It is God Himself who is acting and we are His instruments. We can feel that it is the Divine Play: our inaction but God’s action. We are used by Him for His Purpose. We are consciously moving and working, but the inner Force and the source of the action is coming from Him. This is what “inaction” means here.

On the other hand, if we feel that it is we who are working and God the Witness, the Silent Purusha, is merely watching, then naturally, we will feel that the action is done by us. We call this silent, withdrawn aspect of the Supreme the Sakshi Purusha, the Witness Being. He is watching; we are working and earning our daily bread by the sweat of our brow. If this is our feeling and experience, we say that we are working and God is observing. I cannot say that if we have this feeling, then we are totally mistaken. It is a valid experience. It is also much better than being totally unaware of God’s existence. But there is a higher Truth about God’s relationship with us when we act. I shall speak about this another time.

I wish to tell you that whatever we do must be done only because He, the Inner Pilot within us, commands us. This is called real action. Unreal action is when we cry for the result and when we feel that we are responsible for what we say or do.

From now on, try always to aspire and in your aspiration, pray to God, “Oh God, speak through me, act through me, feel through me.” This is real action.

Sri Chinmoy, Earth’s cry meets Heaven’s smile, part 3.First published by Agni Press in 1978.

This is the 412th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Earth’s cry meets Heaven’s smile, part 3, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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