Na karmanaamanaarambhaannaishkarmyam purushoo-ashnute |
Na cha sannyasanaadeva siddhim samadhigachchhati
|| Bhagwad Gita, Chapter 3, Verse 4 ||
Neither does a man become free of karmas, without having stepped into the cycle of karma, nor does he attain ultimate bliss and merger merely by giving up on karma, says Lord Krishna.
Often people mistake spirituality for escapism. It is not. Gita holds karma (action) as pradhan (supreme). The body made of the three gunas is designed to perform karmas; it cannot remain inactive even for a nanosecond. Lord Krishna and Lord Rama, when they took the body, performed karmas even though they were gods. It is foolish to think that one can escape karma. The one, who outwardly restrains from senses and actions but dwells upon on them in the mind, is a ‘mithyaachaari’ (hypocrite) as per Gita, because karma is what you do and also what you think.
Suppressing desires or running away from them is not the solution, rising to the extent that they stop having an effect on you and you control them (not vice versa) is yog, and for this one needs to engage in the senses and actions, not for self, but for Creation. The one who performs his duty towards Creation, without attachment, rises over karma and achieves finality. The one who engages in living for self or in a life of inaction, wastes his life and birth.
Whatever the leaders and role models of the time do, whatever standards they set, the masses follow the suit, explains Gita. Lord Krishna directs the wise to act with detachment for general good the same way as the unwise act with attachment of self-gratification. That is what Lord Krishna did, as did Lord Rama, and have the yogis and rishis through time immemorial.
In present times, in the heyday of negativity, where cows are slaughtered, dogs are pelted, monkeys are executed, humans are hungry, pollution is at its peak and certain so-called Gurus are filling their coffers by promising fulfillment of desires to the masses (much in contrast to Gita), it becomes all the more important for the wise to act. It is upon the Gurus and role models of present times to lead by example, by acting to save the animals, humans and Creation at large and steering the masses on the same path. Gita calls upon the Gurus and yogis to not dissuade the men from action or unsettle their mind which is engaged in the senses, but to rather channelize their actions for the benefit of Creation, so they may evolve and end their pain and suffering.