Scripture Study: Bhagavad Gita (book three, verses 25-26)

We are doing a scripture study together: reading along through some scriptures and discussing the passages. Here are all of the posts on the previous verses for the Gita: Bhagavad Gita Study

From the Winthrop Sargeant translation of The Gita

25. While those who are unwise act
From attachment to action, O Arjuna,
So the wise should act without attachment,
Intending to maintain the welfare of the world.

26. One should not unsettle the minds of
The ignorant who are attached to action;
The wise one should cause them to enjoy all actions,
While himself performing actions in a disciplined manner.

Notes on the Sanskrit

The “disciplined manner” is yuktas, which is the same root as yoga. Yoga is a kind of discipline, also a yoke. One of the definitions is “stead-fast in Yoga.”

My other Gita translates “welfare of the world” as “the world’s integration.” (Both are lovely, I think.)

Commentaries of Gurus

Shankara says of verse 26 that this unsettling, bewildering, of the mind is a jolt and too startling for one who has not been exposed to the non-attachment teaching.  The knower of the Self helps those around him who do not know the Gita by acting and inspiring others to act. Though the knower of the Self has a different motivation for acting, he does not need to share that with those who act for the rewards of the action.

Bhagavad Gita Bhaasya of Sri Shankaracharya

My Thoughts

You know who can really show us how to live the teaching of the Gita? Atheists.

It’s true! Atheists don’t have the promise of eternal reward when they are kind or good or helpful. They do it for the sake of helping, for the sake of goodness alone and not for reward.

I love these verses. The emphasis on the purpose of our actions being to help others, to uplift the world. I totally believe in that. And I like that it says not to pressure other people to do things the way that you are. Let them move at their own pace, encourage them towards good action even if it is for personal reward.

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