We are at Anaimalai village, known as Jyothishkudi in earlier times, near Othakadai in Madurai. Here only Pillai Lokacharya concealed and protected the idol of Sri Namperumal. A Thiruvarasu was made for him here and now samprokshanam [sanctifying ceremony] is being performed. What we usually refer as samadhi [burial place] is called Thiruvarasu. This ceremony is being done with sacred fire [homam] and lots of devotees have assembled. Many Jeers are also gracing this occasion. We are to see today’s topic in such a gathering. The Jeers are all sanyasin and are having ocher robes [in Tamil kashayam]. We call them sanyasin who have renunciated desires in life. Those who are detached [from family life] are called sanyasins. Pillai Lokacharya who lived here and whose Thiruvarasu is here, lived a bachelor his entire life. He had no attachment to anything in this world. From such great people we learn that we should remain detached in life.
yoga-sthah kuru karmani
sangam tyaktva dhananjaya
siddhy-asiddhyoh samo bhutva
samatvam yoga ucyate
"Perform your duty equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga."
In this 48th sloka Sri Krishna mentions yoga. It means considering victory and defeat alike without differentiation. The person who attains such a mind of tranquility and in whom the mind is in harmony is called yogi. Arjuna should be one among such yogis. We see here a large tree and the big Anaimalai rock. They represent steadfastness. Nothing can shake these. Similarly we should also be firm. Just because others talk, we should not lose our heart. By desiring various rewards our weakness is exhibited. Today this is required, tomorrow we need that, if we do this we may get that reward, if we do that we may get a different reward- like this we are advised by so many people. By losing our minds and getting distracted we will become nervous. We should decide whether we want a strong mind or a weak one? By listening to all sorts of suggestions our mind gets weaker. We should firmly believe that whatever we need will all be granted by the Lord. The relationship between a devotee and God should not be commercial. Devotee has to establish his rights and God will certainly perform His duty. Both have duties and rights. Our resolute should be that we are devoted to Him and we will do only what pleases Him. Our objective is to reach Him. This must be our resolution. With this thought we should perform our duties. When this is done there is no need to establish our rights. God Himself will grant all those. Even before we raise our demands, He would have granted them. God does not think that if he does this then He will grant that. He has prescribed small duties and by doing them faithfully one can reach Him. If we desire for thousand, hundred is included in that. But if we aspire for hundred, thousand will not be in that. So we have to have passion to reach His feet. When we do our duty we should be detached and keep our objective to reach His feet only. This is what Sri Krishna tells in the 48th sloka. When we do our duty we should have a resolute and balanced mind to either victory or defeat arising as a result of that karma. What is balanced approach to victory or defeat? Abandoning attachment – sangam tyaktva-one should perform his duty. That is we should be free from any attachment to the result of our action. Such detachment from result will enable the karma to be done properly. Here we have to see important aspects. In our daily life we notice that only if we have interest in the result, we get enthusiasm to perform a task. A student keeps his aim as securing 99% in the exam and this drives him to study harder. But what Sri Krishna is telling here is exact opposite. Don’t have attachment on the result, if the work is to be properly done. There appears to be contradiction to convention we notice in this world. Will not Sri Krishna’s advice induce laziness and indifference? We have to note here what is the result expected? By aiming for the ordinary worldly rewards, our efforts will be more by aspiring for those. But when we want to reach Him, we should be away from these petty rewards. We reap that only which we keep as objective in our mind. So the supreme goal of reaching His feet should be our aim and we should not care for other results. We can see some examples as how we can perform better by not attaching to the result. If a person’s father, let us say, has chest pain in the midnight. All relatives are crying. The person himself is totally agitated. In this state of mind the person is unable to find means to take his father to hospital. Just at that time as Godsend, the person’s friend comes and surveying the situation he does the correct actions to get the ambulance, doctor and medicines. The family is relieved from the misery. How the friend could make these arrangements while the person could not? Because in this case the person’s father was suffering and the attachment of the person to the patient could not enable the person to do what his friend could do. The friend on the other hand had no such attachments and his aim, a noble one, was to help his friend. Attachment brings in anxiety. While detachment ensured calm and quite approach. We might have kept important documents in a cabinet and if the keys are misplaced, we will find very difficult to search for the keys. This is because we know the importance of the document inside the cabinet and so the anxiousness to retrieve the documents will disable our proper approach. But a person not knowing the contents in the cabinet, will be able to find the keys and get the cabinet opened. We can see our cricket team. A player may be performing excellently. But when he is made the captain of the team, his performance goes down. Why? Because now his mind is on the results to get the team perform well, to ensure coherent approach, etc. This attachment to the result of team performing well disables the player and performance goes down. Some players in this type of situation also perform well, which means they have followed the principle enunciated in the Gita. So if we get attached to rewards then this balanced approach will not be there. In a court we have the petitioner and respondent. The lawyers for them argue emotionally to win their client’s case. The judge remains calm and listens to both sides of arguments. We trust the judge, because he is detached from the case. He is not bothered who wins the case but his aim is only to establish the rule of the law. So winning the case by either party is ordinary reward while establishing the rule of the law is a superior aim. Does this mean that we also should be judges in such disputes? Yes, if one could impartially look at the case involving one, from a distance, there might not be a necessity to go to a court or judge. That is why Sri Krishna is advising Arjuna not to get involved in the results. Looking at victory and defeat alike is described here as samatvam.