April 19

All actions are done by the gunas (qualities of nature) only. He whose mind is deluded by egoism thinks: “I am the doer”. This is the cause of bondage. The ignorant man identifies the self through the force of avidya (ignorance) with his body, mind and senses which are the products or effects of the three gunas – satva (purity), rajas (activity) and tamas (inertia). Now comes the trouble. If he thinks: “I am the doer”, he has to enjoy the good and bad fruits of his actions. He is brought again and again to this mortal plane.

He who sees that prakrti (nature) performs all actions and that the self is actionless, really sees. The wise man who knows the essence of the divisions of the qualities and functions, holding that “the qualities move amidst the qualities” is not attached. He separates himself from the body, mind and organs. He stands as their witness and as a witness of their functions by identifying himself with the pure inner self. He says: “Seeing, hearing, touching, speaking, giving, grasping, opening and closing the eyes, are functions of the senses. I have nothing to do. They are the dharmas (proper functions) of the senses. I am distinct from the senses. The senses move among the senses. I am nirlipta (untainted). I am asanga (unattached).” This is the dristi (vision) or niscaya (determination) of a jnani. He escapes from the bondage of karma. He is freed from the wheel of birth and death.

If you identify yourself with Brahman and stand as a witness of the activities of prakrti and its effects, mind, senses and body, you will realise “inaction in action”. Brahman is niyakriya, akarta, niravayava (actionless), (non-doer), (without limbs). But he is the primum mobile. He gives a push and prakṛti moves and acts. He gazes and prakṛti moves and acts. Without his presence prakṛti cannot do anything. Therefore it is Brahman only who really does all actions. This is “action in inaction” as taught in the Gita.

Swami Sivananda

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