A Series From Swami Asokananda
Swami Asokananda shares his insights from years of study of and contemplation on the great Indian scripture the Bhagavad Gita.
Swami Asokananda, initiated into monkhood in 1973 by Sri Swami Satchidananda, is the spiritual director of Integral Yoga Institute of New York, co-director of the Integral Yoga Global Network, and one of Integral Yoga’s foremost teachers. He is the primary instructor for the Intermediate and Advanced Hatha Yoga Teacher Trainings offered around the world.
48. Whatever actions you do, Arjuna, remain steadfast in Yoga and let go of all attachments. Thus you’ll enjoy a balanced, undisturbed mind in success or failure. This equanimity of mind is called Yoga.
Sri Krishna defines yoga as samatva–enjoying a balanced, undisturbed mind in success or failure. If we demand a specific outcome to our action, it becomes more difficult to maintain samatva. Even if we achieve the outcome, that happiness is temporary. If our focus is on the achievement, we may miss the pleasure of the journey. By enjoying the journey, we are more likely to attain the achievement. But even if we don’t, we appreciated the ride.
This verse is especially important for the people dedicating their lives to improving our planet’s most intractable problems. The ending of poverty, global warming, disease, racism, religious fanaticism, and so on is not going to happen overnight. Personally, I’m optimistic, but it will require dedicated perseverance over the long haul. There needs to be an awakening of consciousness on a universal level—which is happening slowly but surely. A few inches of success may be countered with a yard of failure. Without the teaching of the verse, there may not be the necessary resilience to face setback after setback.
Krishna defines Yoga as equanimity of mind. With that balanced mind, let’s do whatever good we can, without counting the results we want—at least not right away.
We may not have to solve these big problems, but we are all facing challenging situations. We don’t know if things will work out the way that we’d like—we can’t plan on that. Is it possible for you to relax knowing this? Krishna is saying that it is possible to enjoy our life even with this uncertainty.
What Matters Most: Self-realization or Spiritual Activism?
By Swami Ramananda