Bhagavad Gita by Vyasa (maybe)
Sit Down and Read
One Line Summary
War is coming in your life
The Bhagavad Gita is part of the Hindu scripture, the Mahabharata. It’s a classic spiritual text that is sacred for many people. Ghandi himself called it his “spiritual dictionary”, so it can’t be all that bad.
The Gita opens up on a battlefield. A great warrior, Arjuna, has realized that he is supposed to carry out a war that will involve his family and friends. Overcome with doubt, he falls and lays down his weapon.
The Hindu god Krishna appears. The Gita mainly involves a dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna, in which Krishna urges Arjuna to carry out this holy war. After gracing Arjuna with wisdom, Arjuna then picks up his weapon and carries out his mission.
Now, there are many, many interpretations of The Gita that people have been making for hundreds of years. One is that the holy war that Arjuna is asked to carry out is a metaphor for the process one undergoes to become Enlightened. But if you asked me, I’d say that the whole thing boils down to one phrase: Right Action
Why it’s Awesome
“Perform all thy actions with mind concentrated on the Divine, renouncing attachment and looking upon success and failure with an equal eye. Spirituality implies equanimity.”
–The Bhagavad Gita
What is Right Action? And why do I say this is the most important part of the Gita? At one point in the story, Krishna instructs Arjuna that work without attachment to the results is essentially the key to life. And that is why he must carry out this holy war. It is what they call in Hinduism his Dharma, or in western terms, his role/purpose. The results are not important.
This is an extremely nuanced truth, so let’s break it down. I touched on it when I reviewed Thick Face, Black Heart but I’m going to go in more detail here.
Hard work is extremely important. You’re not going to get anywhere in this life without taking action. If you live in the western world, you’re probably already very familiar with this.
But the part many people seem to forget is non-attachment to results. This is your “not-giving-a-fuck” meter. And it’s just as crucial to success and happiness as taking massive action.
Think about a perfectionist. A perfectionist never gets anything done because it needs to be “perfect”. Perfect is unachievable, and so the end result is nothing at all.
This desire for perfectionism really is just fear in disguise of judgement. That’s why this person feels the need to make it perfect. If this person wants success, they need to care LESS about the end result, not more. They already care too much.
Think about going on a date. Most guys will agree that being extremely nervous and afraid on a date is not going to go very well. You need to relax so you can “be yourself”. You need to care LESS.
I could keep going on and on about when non-attachment to results is important in life. And that’s why I often rail against money, status and will say shit like “life has no meaning” and that you should “love what is”. I want you to detach and stop all your unnecessary giving-a-fuck and realize none of this is that serious.
But at the same time, I hesitate to do this. Because I know people will use this as an excuse to be lazy and not take action.
Let’s make something very clear: if you count this blog, I’m at the head of three separate businesses. On an average day, I might easily work 12+ hours. A “break” for me is either doing meditation or going to the gym. And even if I go to the gym, I’m still going to throw on a simple audiobook to learn from while I’m working out.
This comes very naturally to me. I’ve always had a high level of engagement and action with whatever I care about. What’s usually hard for me is the LETTING GO. Letting go of control. Letting go of needing things to go my way. Letting go of the need for my life to be “perfect” to be happy and feel good about myself.
That’s why I love the non-attachment stuff. It puts things in perspective for someone like me.
But I also realize that not everyone is like me. For some people, they already don’t give a fuck about anything. What they need is ACTION. So WAKE THE FUCK UP. YOUR LIFE IS PASSING YOU BY. WAR IS COMING. GO DO SOMETHING NOW.
This is the essence of Right Action. You’re in “the zone” between not caring at all and caring too much. When you hit this sweet spot, everything just tends to work. It’s really incredible and is a testament to the power of these spiritual truths.
Let me also make another nuanced point: I don’t think everyone needs to live my kind of lifestyle. Not everyone is meant to be an overworked CEO. For some people, a mostly simple life might be the right thing. The point is to find YOUR purpose. What are you called to? And then you fully engage with that purpose.
Essentially, what’s going on is that both action and non-attachment represent the two Ego traps people fall into in life. For some people (me), their ego gets caught up in the results. They want something so badly that it becomes selfish and has lost its balance with Spiritual order.
The other Ego trap is not caring at all. This is trap can be even more dangerous because it’s easy for this person to rationalize being “more spiritual” since they aren’t run by the desire for external rewards. Wrong. You’re not more spiritual than the CEO who pollutes the planet just to make a few more dollars profit.
Why? Because Life demands living. That’s the whole point. And as a living entity, Life has plans for you. You don’t get to really “choose” what they are, you’ll simply be drawn to certain activities. So when you refuse to engage with Life and take necessary action, you deny your mediumship for Life to happen through you.
If you’re a Christian, then you may have heard the phrase “thy will be done”, referring to the will of God. It’s the same idea. If Life has something for you to do and you deny it’s will, you’ve once again lost Spiritual order. This is when problems happen.
Now, I’m not preaching to you. I’m certainly not perfect at embodying these principles. That’s why I care to talk and learn about it. And you certainly don’t have to listen or believe anything I say.
But if you’re following my blog and reading this post, then for whatever reason you were meant to hear this message. Don’t ask me why.
Why Does It Suck
So the Bhagavad Gita asks us to act without Ego. Great. It’s a tremendous lesson that everyone should hear. But how? Do I snap my fingers and suddenly I’m free from attachment? How does this work?
The Gita is silent on this point. It gives great advice, but it’s not altogether practical for how to put it into effect.
For some people, the answer is meditation. And certainly types of meditation have shown to rid you of attachment and increase your ability to be productive. I meditate everyday. But this is an extremely long and difficult way of doing things.
Rather, I tend to take the view of Jed McKenna. Non-attachment + engagement is a result of understanding what is True.
For instance, just a moment ago I ranted that people who don’t care about anything are basically just rationalizing their fear or laziness as “spirituality”. If you were one of those people and you read this, you would now be confronted with this uncomfortable situation of accepting that you’ve been LYING to yourself about your motivations. If you saw through the lie and got closer to Truth, you move one step closer to this zone of non-attachment + engagement.
So essentially, being able to get into this sweet spot is a BY PRODUCT of truly coming to understand yourself and reality. Pulling off layers of delusion puts you closer in touch with these spiritual truths. There can be no other option when you’re no longer avoiding anything.
The Wrap Up
The Bhagavad Gita is a fantastic spiritual text. But don’t take it as sacred. It’s just advice from one person to another. Personally, I have no religious affiliation.
If it seems strange that modern day wisdom could be found in a text that’s so old, I’d suggest looking at all the advice you’ve ever been given under the context of what I’ve just written. It’s all the same shit.
People have been talking about these principles since forever. What’s true is true, and it will never change. There are house rules to this game of Life, and you’ve just found the manual. Congratulations.
Buy The Bhagavad Gita here on Amazon: