Right Attitude of Nonattachment & Evenmindedness
Excerpts from God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita
by Paramahansa Yogananda
The Vedas are concerned with the three universal qualities or gunas. O Arjuna, free thyself from the triple qualities and from the pairs of opposites! Ever calm, harboring no thoughts of receiving and keeping, become thou settled in the Self.
— The Bhagavad Gita 02:45
The Gita, the quintessence of the path to liberation, advises the devotee to free himself from any activities that rouse the reincarnation-making threefold human qualities, and to develop, instead, the desireless intuitive state by right meditation. He who receives the freely given all-sufficient blessings and guidance of God in divine inner communion need not propitiate the lesser "gods" of natural forces, who extract a karmic fee for favors.
By remaining ever calm, a natural sequel to deep meditation, the sincere devotee frees himself from the sway of the pairs of opposite qualities coexistent with the triad of gunas: good and bad, virtue and vice, happiness and sorrow, heat and cold, like and dislike, and so forth. When man develops one quality, he is automatically required to experience its opposite. One who has pain looks for happiness, and one who has happiness is afraid of losing it! ...
The gain of temporary happiness is followed by its loss, thus increasing one's misery. Therefore the devotee is advised to liberate himself from all exciting qualities and to concentrate on the bliss nature of the soul.
Further, the soul's superconsciousness should become anchored on the immutable rock of cosmic consciousness where no waves of change make any impression. The devotee should remove all forms of conditioned existence that stimulate desires and attachments—the frantic consciousness of getting and holding on to objects; his goal should be unconditioned Existence in God.
Act without Attachment
Thy human right is for activity only, never for the resultant fruit of actions. Do not consider thyself the creator of the fruits of thy activities; neither allow thyself attachment to inactivity.
O Dhananjaya (Arjuna), remaining immersed in yoga, perform all actions, forsaking attachment (to their fruits), being indifferent to success and failure. This mental evenness is termed yoga.
—The Bhagavad Gita II:47-48
The actions of the body, mind, and soul, when performed with egotism, induce one to concentrate on the fruits of actions; these lead to complex karmic reactions and desires, which, in turn, give rise to rebirths. But he who lives in and cares for a body, mind, and soul just for God and not for his ego, is devoid of all reincarnation-making desires; at death he is liberated in Omnipresence.
Therefore, each devotee should perform all duties to the body, mind, and soul by hygienic, thoughtful, and meditative living, avoiding selfishly ambitious activity by being divinely ambitious, and avoiding nonactivity which satisfies neither the human ego nor God.
Anyone who tries sincerely and unceasingly to work out the tendencies of his past incarnations, not for egotistical satisfaction but for spiritual freedom, finally becomes liberated through not having succumbed to karmic compulsions. The man who tries to work out his past karma with the thought of pleasing the Lord alone ultimately understands the fine distinctions between the duties instigated by his own past egotistical tendencies and the duties assigned by God.
Human existence is not predestined; every man is given free choice to accept the divine plan of existence or to follow the path of ignorance and misery. If people rightly understood this point, Utopia would dawn! (284-285)
The word yoga signifies the perfect poise or mental evenness that is the result of communion of the mind with Spirit. Yoga indicates also the spiritual technique of meditation through which one attains union with Spirit. Yoga signifies, further, any act that leads to this divine union. ...
The worldly man engages in activity with his full concentration on the results thereof. Consequently, he is persistently affected by his interchanging triumphs and defeats. Working for himself and not for God, he is elated by gain and cast down by loss. A mind attached to the meager fruits of actions springing from limited material or meditative activities cannot feel the omniscient tranquility of the omnipresent Spirit.
The little mind of the little man attached to little things cannot possibly identify itself with the universal consciousness of God. Just as a wavy mirror cannot properly reflect the objects in front of it, so a mind whose calmness is distorted by the thoughts of success or failure is unable to reflect the unchangeable Spirit. Man's consciousness, when constantly identified with material changes or mental disturbances, cannot mirror the immutable Divine, whose image is present within him as his true Self, or soul. (...)
Endowed with free choice, man has misused his independence and identified himself with a transient body and a cosmos of antithetical organized chaos. He should train his mind away from restlessness to the perception of changelessness. The ordinary individual, through restlessness, perceives only the tumultuous universe. The man following the art of yoga (inner calmness) perceives the immanent-transcendent ever tranquil Spirit. (...)
Man is a walking God.
No human being should behave like an animal, identified with his lower nature. He should manifest his true divine Self. The Lord works in all creation with undifferentiated poise; the man who learns to perform all activities with inner balance, without attachment to anything and without restlessness, remembers his true Self and reclaims his oneness with God.
The only way one can permanently establish himself in the inner evenness of yoga is by meditation. So the words of Krishna to Arjuna are particularly significant to the meditating devotee. Any yogi practicing meditation who is impatient or easily disturbed by the seemingly meager and slow results of meditation is acting with a selfish motive focused on the fruits of his actions. He should meditate only with the thought of pleasing and loving God; then yoga, or divine union with the immutable Spirit, is sure to follow. (p.287)