Mera Asia Mahan 6:”Yogastha Kuru Karmani” Be focused in what you are doing

“Yogastha kuru karmani sangang tyaktva Dhananjaya

Sidhyasidhyoh samo bhutva samatvang yoga uchyate” 2.48 Bhagavad Gita

योगस्थ: कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय |सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्यो: समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते || 48||

Be steady in yoga (what you do), Arjuna, and do whatever you must do; give up attachment, be indifferent to failure and success, and this stability is yoga.

The essence of Bhagavad Gita can be summarized in the above one shloka where Krishna says to Arjuna “yogastha kuru karmani” which means ‘concentrate on actions’ (do all actions while remaining in yoga). He further says that one should take success and failure in the same stride. (yogastha: = steadfast in yoga, kuru = perform, karmani = duties or action).

Concentrating on the action being done means concentrating on the present. While concentrating on the present, one cannot be in the past or in the future, and the past regrets and future anxieties cannot make one suffer. Once one is in the present moment, one can only take consciousness-based decisions.

Krishna says, “Do your best and leave the rest”. One should be attached to actions and de-attached to its results.  He compared this to the lotus leaves where a drop of water appears like a pearl but once the drop falls off, the leaf stays dry as if nothing was there.

ब्रह्मण्याधाय कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा करोति य: |लिप्यते न स पापेन पद्मपत्रमिवाम्भसा || 5.10||

Those who dedicate their actions to God, abandoning all attachment, remain untouched by sin, just as a lotus leaf is untouched by water.

The so called detached attachment is the philosophy, and the mantra to do it is “yogastha kuru karmani”. Detached attachment can only be practiced by concentrating on the present or living in the present moment awareness.

Start practicing this for few minutes a day, say for e.g., you can start with eating awareness or mindful eating. The practical teaching is that while eating, all your five senses should be focused on eating. Enjoy the colors (eye), smells (nose), flavors (taste), textures (touch) of the food and concentrate on the sound (ear) it produces while chewing. Eating with awareness reduces body weight as it avoids overeating or impulsive eating as you are more aware of hunger and satiety cues. This is also called. The Bhagwad Gita also says, “While eating, one should concentrate only on eating as the food is served to one’s consciousness” (9.27).

Similarly, when one concentrates on relaxation, it is called body-mind relaxation (shavasana). It is the deeper state of relaxation, which has healing properties.

Meditation is nothing but one-point concentration on the present, which can be learnt by concentrating on breathing, sound or on an object (external or internal).

There is also a saying in Natya Shastra: “Yatho Hasta thatho Drishti, Yatho Drishti thatho ManahYatho Manah thatho Bhaava, Yatho Bhaava thatho Rasa”

यथो हस्त तथो दृष्टि

यथो दृष्टि तथो मनः

यथो मनः तथो भाव

यथो भाव तथो रस

This translates as follows:

Where the hands (hasta) are, go the eyes (drishti);

where the eyes are, goes the mind (manah);

where the mind goes, there is an expression of inner feeling (bhaava)

and where there is bhaava, mood or sentiment (rasa) is evoked.

This forms the very basic essence of Yogic Karma and means where ever your hands are (actions), your eyes should be focused there; wherever your eyes are focused your mind should also be focused there; wherever you mind is focused, your emotions should also be focused there and wherever your emotions are, your absorption should be there so that during action you lose track of time and achieve inner joy.

This is also the main invocation message (first two lines) from Aitareya Upanishad which says that if one learns to absorb his mind in the speech and speech in the mind, he will never speak a lie.

“May my speech be fixed in my mind; may my mind be fixed in my speech! ……………” (The Shanti Mantra ॐ वाङ् मे मनसि प्रतिष्ठिता । मनो मे वाचि प्रतिष्ठितम् । Om Vangme manasi pratisthita Mano me vaci pratisthitam)

Buddha also said that truthfulness is when your mind, speech and actions are absorbed in one.  The spiritual prescription is to speak only when it is necessary, it is truthful and kind.

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