Thursday, May 11, 2017

Essence of Sankhya Yoga

"The equipoise of mind that arises from profound absorption in the performance of action after renouncing attachment and being even-minded in respect of success and failure is, O Dhananjay (Arjun), given the name of yog.
Take Refuge in the way of equanimity, Dhananjay because action with desire for the fruits thereof is far inferior to the path of discrimination, and they are indeed paupers who are motivated by lust. “ ……….Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 verse 48, 49
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” …………..Matthew Chapter 6 verses 1-4
The central theme of the Divine as the witness to all human actions is the core of the teachings both in Bhagavad Gita and in the Gospel of Matthew. In each of the above sayings there are words that are used which must convey the deeper meaning of the state of mind.
Why is this considered integral to Sankhya philosophy. The root of Sankhya philosophy lies in a causal chain starting with perception, leading to inference and the emanation of words resulting in outward utterance of speech and action. In order to have action devoid of desire our perception and resultant inference have to be rooted in the absolute. This is the reason that the entire second chapter of Bhagavad Gita is denoted as the 'wisdom of Sankhya'.
The word ‘The equipoise of mind ………’ is a state of mind wherein all thoughts originate in a non-judgemental and non-dual state. This leads to ‘…….profound absorption’.
A good example can be seen in the story which is mentioned in the famous Marathi Novel ‘Mrityunjaya’, written by Shivaji Sawant. This story is an extension of the incident in which in the archery contest conducted by Dronachariya, Arjuna hits the single eye of the rotating parrot doll. At this contest Karna, another more adept disciple of Dronachariya was not present. So Karna’s younger brother Shon tested Karna, when he returned to Hastinapur in the evening. The same rotating parrot doll was set as the target and Shon asked Karna to hit the fish’s eye as target. Shon enquired as to what Karna saw expecting the same reply as Arjuna: The parrot’s eye. But Karna replied I see nothing. Assuming that the lighting was dim, Shon lit a lamp and asked Karna to hit the target. It is recorded that Karna took two arrows and hit both the eyes of the parrot. Full of wonder, Shon enquired why he hit both the eyes of the fish, Karna replied that Shon had not told him which eye to hit. When further pressed how he achieved this impossible task Karna said:
“Well, brother, though I couldn’t see the eyes of the bird, I could feel them, just the way we feel our body without actually seeing it. Then I became one with my target, that is the bird, and that is how I could complete the task of hitting both the eyes of the parrot.”
This is the sum total of equipoise of mind and profound absorption.
The moment we have desire of achieving a success in the action, the target separates in space-time from the archer. In the Japanese Zen art of Kyūdō, the target, the archer and the horse on which he is riding all merge in extreme concentration. Every action we perform, if treated in the spirit and essence of the action instead of any anticipatory resultant, becomes part of our own essence. In the battle of life as well as in the epic battle epitomized in Kurukshetra, when the action is of cleansing the negative elements is the sole purpose, the duality of subject and object, the victor and the vanquished and personal relations all disappear.
In a practical way Jesus points to the actions of righteousness and the purpose of the action is totally devoid of any expectation or worldly results. This is why in another section of the Gospel Jesus says about compassion to total strangers:
“‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” ………….Matthew chapter 25 verses 35 – 40
The essence of Sankhya Yoga is ‘Nishkamakarma’, namely action without desire.
Let me close this article with a powerful quote:
“Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, 'You owe me.' Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.” …………….Sufi saint, Hāfiz

Love to you all


  1. Nishkamakarma ultimate SOP of Being is brought out well with apt quotes.

    The author is boon to us

  2. Thanks for your succinct comment and all of us are boon to each other.
    The 'Standard Operating Procedure' of being is to appreciate and value this boon.