Chapter II, Verse 38
Sri Nerode’s Translation:
THE PAIR OF OPPOSITES
Realize that pain and pleasure, gain and loss, conquest and defeat are alike (to the wise)! Engage then in the fray; with such a thought thou shalt not sin. (Never allow evil to grow; transmute evil into good.)
Non-attachment to the results of action means that whatever transpires you remain untouched.
The world is a place of constant change. Change is action. Humans have a responsibility for action. Action is less of a birthright than a requirement for existence. What you don’t use, you lose.
While periodic retreats from the world, retreats of contemplation and meditation may be necessary for individual progress, escapism is not the positive way of living. In some spiritual circles a great deal of emphasis may be placed on the ability to spend all-day in meditation, or to live in an isolated location away from other humans.
However, the payment required by the human form is action. Krishna states that even the spiritually advanced must take action. The spiritually advanced person is not attached to the outcome of action. There is no elation at success and no depression at failure. The spiritually advanced individual lives in the continuous joyous state of equanimity. Only those who are not advanced fail to take action. Action progresses each human towards perfection. Once relieved from the cycles of incarnation, the actions of such an advanced soul sets an example for those who strive to progress.
Action is the way of highest human souls.
Non-attachment is not the same as being sociopathic. Non-attachment means that while one is aware of the relative natures of outcomes, the positive or negative results of action, each result is viewed as a necessary part of the process of progress. A sociopath is anti-social and disconnected from the pain caused to others. The paradox of attachment is that one becomes consumed by their attachments. Who enjoys life more, the one who is focused on the bread crumbs falling from the table top (the attached)? Or does the one who is focused on the meal enjoy it more (the non-attached)?
The ones who are attached to the bread crumbs may claim that the person enjoying the meal is heartless and lacks concern. While the one enjoying the meal knows that the person at his feet has self-imposed the bread crumb limitation. Stand up and claim your rights through positive loving actions of introspection, meditation, self-control, disciplined pursuit of goals, and stop being a victim of your own creation.
There is a period of transition that one might experience between being a slave to each and every high and low of human life to enjoying existence with equanimity. Every transition period requires faith. If you are building a new home, you would not tear down the framework before it is completed. Likewise, once you commit to a clear goal attained by positive methods, you shouldn’t destroy the framework of success before attaining the result.
Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:
Every purchase has a cost. Every action has a result. When crafting ancient versions of Sanskrit mantras, this verse reminds the sage that the negative ingredient is a requirement to achieve the positive result. Balance is required in the world of mantras. Difficulties arise when one is attached to either the positive or the negative.
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