The Bhagavad Gita II:47-48
Excerpts from God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita
by Paramahansa Yogananda
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.
Mental evenness is the native state of the soul. The ordinary man, by identifying himself with the world, divorces his consciousness from union with Spirit. The remedy for this all-too-often-disastrous disassociation lies in performing one's actions while inwardly united with the joy of Spirit, God's consciousness is perpetually in the state yoga or everlasting evenness that remains unaffected by the incessant changes of creation. Man also, made in God's image, should learn to manifest that divine equilibrium by which he can live and act in this world without being victimized by its dualities.
The devotee who feels no attachment to the results of either meditative or mundane activities remains unconcerned as regards success or failure. To perform actions thus undisturbed by their results is to maintain the mental balance of yoga. This state of evenness becomes an altar for Spirit.
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)