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Questioner: Dear Acharya Ji,
As you always mentioned, one must perform his actions, while remaining established in Ram, who is the essence of all actions. Your teachings have given me clarity that selfish motives behind my actions strengthen the ego. Knowing this, I practice paying little attention to my motives. And I try to work to offer everything to divine. This also reminds me of Shri Ramakrishna.
‘As long as we are continuously battling the ego, it is never going to vanish. Stop pedaling this, it will travel some distance and eventually stop.’
~ Shri Ramakrishna Paramhans
Is practice useful?
Is this the practice that Lord Krishna teaching to Arjuna through Karma Yoga?
Acharya Prashant: Yes, practice is useful. And yes, I can without consideration or analysis or any thoughtfulness, say that this is what Krishna is teaching to the Arjun because the Truth is one.
There cannot be a central difference between what Ramakrishna says and what Krishna says. And even at the level of fact, Shri Krishna does recommend to Arjun, the importance of abhyas. And abhyas is practice.
What is the practice that you have taken upon yourself?
Your practice, as you have said, is to pay little attention to your selfish motives. And you try to offer everything to divine. This is what you practice. As far as the practice of not giving importance or weight to one’s desires or motives is there, it is a good practice. One has to treat oneself a little casually. One cannot take himself seriously. Nobody deserves to be taken seriously, at least not by himself. Others might be deluded because they don’t know you. Others may take you very seriously but how can you take yourself seriously?
You know, who you are. And by that I do not mean Atman or Brahman. You know, you are the one who keeps itching at all the wrong places. You know, you are the one, who is so frequently visited by all the base desires.
You really want yourself to take seriously?
It is a great spiritual practice to not to take oneself seriously.
This practice is needed because desires are anyway visiting you. This practice is needed because, you are continuously being told by someone, to give great value and importance to yourself. So, this practice is needed as a resistance. This practice is needed as a counter. It is a good practice.
Now, we come to the practice of offering everything to the Divine. This cannot be a practice, Ashish. As long as you are not doing it for yourself, it is sufficient.
Now, do not start doing it for Krishna. I know Krishna tells Arjuna to offer all his actions to the Lord i.e. himself, Lord Krishna. But you must understand a little, you must understand the essence of what Shri Krishna is saying. When Shri Krishna is saying offer your actions to me, all that he means is do not offer your actions to yourself. Do not act for your petty personal motives.
You will ask me, ‘What is the difference of not offering one’s action to himself and offering actions to Krishna?’
There is a great difference. When you say that you are not offering your actions to yourself, it is a pure statement. This is you, the entire expanse of the petty you, and you are saying whatever you will do, the cause and the effect, will not be for yourself because that is silly.
In contrast, when you say that you are doing something for God or for Shri Krishna, then who is this God or Shri Krishna, that you are talking of or devoting to?
Is he again not a construct of your fertile imagination?
So, it will be dangerous.
Truth is formless.
Krishna really is nirakar (formless). The saakar (embodied) Krishna that you have seen in forms, and in deities, and in paintings, and statues is a Krishna belonging to a particular century, a particular era. He is not the nirakar Truth. He is Truth, as the Truth express itself in a particular time, at a particular place. That time, that place are gone.
You are separated from those times, and those places by countless miles, and countless years. The Krishna in flesh and blood, who appeared before Arjuna, and talked to Arjuna will not be very useful to you today. But if you will imagine Krishna, you will imagine Krishna only in a particular way. You will imagine Krishna as the one, with the crown on his head, with the flute in his hand, the blue colored one, the beautiful one, the one with the peacock feather, the one on the Arjuna’s chariot, the one who spoke Sanskrit, the one who wielded the Sudarshan Chakra (a kind of a mythical weapon).
I repeat, this Krishna that you are thinking of, and imagining is a particular expression of the Nirakar Brahman in a particular century at a particular place. That expression, if conceived today, will not be very useful. But when you will conceive, you will conceive only that. The result will be that your imagination will not be very useful. As imagination always is, useless.
So, don’t devote your actions to Shri Krishna because Sri Krishna that you are conceiving, imagining, is not the real Shri Krishna.
The real Shri Krishna has no form, or the real Shri Krishna has great great form.
Even Arjuna needed, mystical eyes, to know the real form of Shri Krishna. And you know, what that real form was, it was so immense that you can call it formlessness. So, it is enough that you practice to not devote your actions to yourself. Do not practice to devote your actions to the Truth, to the God or to the Lord or Shri Krishna.
You are too small to conceive or imagine who Sri Krishna really is. How then will you devote your actions to him?
You want to devote your actions to an object and Shri Krishna is so large that he cannot be objectified. How then, will you devote your actions? To whom? You can only devote something to an object, and the real Shri Krishna is not an object.
So, limit yourself to just practicing a certain casualness. A certain beparwahi. You must be able to laugh at yourself. You must never accord too much value to your desires and opinions. Do not think too much of yourself.
Take yourself as a bubble.
And if possible, crack a joke or two upon yourself.
It’s great to be the butt of one’s own jokes!
Watch Full Discourse: The real meaning of devoting one’s action to Shri Krishna || Acharya Prashant (2018) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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