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Yoga is to dance without a reason
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
44 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): You will see that I'm repeatedly stressing on Krishna as the demolisher, on Krishna as someone who not only does not accept our prevalent definitions of right-wrong, true and false, humility, authority, right action, non-violence but, in fact, unabashedly and actively demolishes them. It is one thing to come up with a realized version of the same old stuff, and it is totally another thing to come up with something that is totally fresh, original, and unprecedented. That's what Krishna is.

When Krishna deviates from the established definition and concept of something, it is not a minor deviation, it is not an incremental change, it is not a little bit of correction—it is a total explosion. We cannot even say that it is a 180-degree turn. We cannot even say that Krishna speaks the opposite of what we have usually heard. Because even if we say that Krishna stands totally against our concepts, we are still somehow relating Krishna to our own stand; we are still saying that Krishna is giving us another concept which is opposed to our concept, and thereby related to our concept.

So, it's neither a minor deviation nor a major deviation, and not even a total deviation. It is a dimensionally different space into which Krishna takes us. I repeat, it's a dimensionally different space into which Krishna takes us.

So, yesterday and the day before, we looked at a few Yoga verses. The clarity on Yoga that Krishna is bringing to us cannot be had unless one is prepared to totally give up that definition which had been resting and established in our mind. If we do not give that up, we won't be able to go to the space, to the dimension Krishna is calling us to. ‘Demolition’ is the word, not ‘deviation’. Demolition, not deviation; dissolution, not development.

We'll enter the next verse with the care that we do not look at it as coming from our own established knowledge. If we do that, then Krishna, Yoga, Gita, all will elude us.

कर्मण्यकर्म यः पश्येदकर्मणि च कर्म यः।

स बुद्धिमान् मनुष्येषु स युक्तः कृत्स्नकर्मकृत्।।4.18।।

karmaṇyakarma yaḥ paśhyed akarmaṇi cha karma yaḥ

sa buddhimān manuṣhyeṣhu sa yuktaḥ kṛitsna-karma-kṛit

He who recognizes inaction in action and action in inaction is wise among men; he is a Yogi and a true performer of all actions.

~ Chapter 4, Verse 18

Krishna is taking us to the very essence of Yoga. He who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is a Yogi, a wise man, and a true performer of all actions. He who sees action in inaction and inaction in action is wise, a Yogi, and a true performer of all actions. What does Krishna mean here? What does action mean to us? When you say action, what does it mean to you?

Questioner (Q): Something that is intentional.

AP: Intentional, yes. And?

Q: Intentional just means that we are looking for some sort of resolution. Mostly something physical.

Q2: Something good has beginning and end and…

(All laughing)

AP: I like the way you related action to intention. Our action is always intentional and physical—as you said—and begins and ends. Its assumed end is supposed to come when the intention has been fulfilled. When the action achieves its result, then it's supposed to come to an end. Result. Intention. End.

Now, how do any of these really relate to action?

You see, you lift your hand. Action has taken place. This simply is action. You lift your hand and that is action. You let this fall and action has taken place.

Q: So, some sort of change.

AP: When you lift your hand or when something falls from a position, where is the question of intention?

Q: In the mind.

AP: In the mind of the doer. So, for us, an action is not merely a physical happening: it is much more psychological. It's a psychological event in which an end must be fulfilled. Something must be gained. Some purpose, some result must be achieved. In other words, the position of the actor must change. Action must result in improvement or betterment or fulfillment of the actor, the doer. So, something appears to move in the physical space, and along with that something else must also move in the so-called internal space.

As the legs climb a mountain, not only must the legs go up, not only must the body be taken up the mountain, something within must also rise. Something within must also improve its position. Something within must be now able to claim that it is better at the top of the mountain compared to when it was at the bottom of the mountain. Not only has the body been hauled up, self-worth too has been hauled up. Something internally too has gone up a few notches.

Action has taken place at two levels. At one level, there is the world; at the other level, there is the seer of the world, the subject, the individual ego. Though our action pertains to the outside, yet it is essentially meant to cater to the welfare of the inside. If you really know, for example, that a particular action is not going to result in an improvement of the ‘I-worth’, will you indulge in it? What determines the intensity with which one engages in any action? What determines one's interest and energy in any particular action?

Q: Ego?

AP: The promise of the quantum of self-improvement, the increase of self-worth that would result from that action. If something does not promise anything at all, if an action does not hold the hope of internal improvement, one feels very indifferent to that action.

One asks, "Why must I act?” One says, "What do I get out of it?"

And remember, it is not the result of physical action that one is seeking. One is seeking something else.

Let's say, you climb up a mountain, and on top of the mountain, there is a flower that you meet and a small restaurant where you can sip some hot coffee. These are the tangible, perceptible results of external action. I climbed up a mountain. What did I get? The flower and the coffee. But is it the flower and the coffee that one acts for? It may appear that physical action is resulting in the attainment of something physical, so the equation is neat. You work physically and you get something physical. But don't be deceived by this neatness. It is not so neat. What you're obtaining from physical action is something non-physical. That is the real pull. That is the bait.

You work for the entire month. At the end of the month, you get a salary check. The input-output equation appears to be balanced. 30 days you put in your work, and 30th day, you get the fruit of your work in the form of a salary check. But is it so neat? It is what that salary check means to you that matters. What kind of value does that hold internally? One wants to rise. One wants to feel a little better, improved, more complete, more fulfilled. The salary check by itself does not mean much. It is that which the salary check causes within that has meaning.

So, there is action and action. There is movement and movement. Movement where? Outside and movement inside as well. Every successive check adds something to the I-sense. Every incremental figure helps inflate something within. When you get a little more in terms of money, it is not only a little more money that you are getting. A little more something else is also becoming available. What is that something else? I said we work the entire month and then one earns a check. Is it only money that you have earned? And when you earn a little more money, is it only a little more money or does it change something within, something psychologically? Does not one's own self-concept change depending on how much one earns?

Q: Ego is growing.

AP: Ego is growing. Not only is the bank balance growing, along with the bank balance, the ego is also growing.

Q: No, but the satisfaction you get...

AP: Who is this one who is getting satisfaction?

Q: The psychological entity.

AP: That psychological entity is called the ego. That which you call the growth of satisfaction is the growth of this psychological self. The evidence that it is merely psychological is that it feeds upon the external. It has nothing of its own. It measures its self-worth depending on external conditions, the ratification and the acceptance of others. That is why people who do not get their checks for many consecutive months or years start feeling low about themselves. The reason why they feel low about themselves is not merely that now they do not have enough money to buy their grocery. The reason is the world looks down upon them. And because this ego-sense has very little of its own, it very quickly absorbs the opinions of the world.

So, it's a strange thing. One acts in order to change himself. One acts so that just as the action takes place outside, some action also takes place inside.

One is improving the state of his house. Now, ostensibly it is a house of brick and mortar that one is seeking to improve. But it is not only the house that one is seeking to improve: through the house one is seeking to improve himself. And if it were established, known that the improvement in the house will not bring about an improvement in the self, then there would not be much energy left to invest in the house. One would say, "Why am I working so much? Why am I investing in this house? Even after all my efforts, I'm going to remain the same. The house would shine; I would not shine. So, what is the point in having the house shine if that shine is not going to reflect upon me?"

One does not buy a new car; one buys a little more self-worth. One does not merely enter a new relationship with a man or a woman; one enters a little more polished and beautified ego. "Who am I? The one related to that nice man or woman. Now some of the niceness of that man is going to rub off upon me. I would shine by way of association."

That is the way of the psychological self. It does not have any roots within, so it seeks improvement only through its association with the world. Hence, it constantly tries to do something in the world that would give it something.

May I have better grades in college?

May I have a better reputation?

May I prove something to myself?

May I prove something to others?

If we are not careful, we would be deceived into thinking that these actions have something to do with the world. No, they don't have anything to do with the world. The world is just being used as a medium. The world is just being used as an instrument. External achievement is being used as a tool to achieve something internal.

The funny thing is that the one which is seeking to achieve internally hardly ever gets achieved because the starting point itself says, "I am inadequate, so I need improvement." Hence, improvement has come because you are inadequate. The effect can never change the cause. You start from some point. Now, wherever you reach, that point cannot change the point you started from. The foundations of a building cannot be changed by the third floor, or can they be? When the foundation itself says, "I am inadequate," then based on that foundation whatever you do is not going to make you adequate. One perennially remains with that internal sense, feeling of inadequacy, incompleteness. One constantly feels there is a little more left to achieve. "Well, you know, I need to be a little better. You know, something needs to change about me."

So, there is action outside, which is just a method, a tool. Not of really much value. The ego is rather attaching value to its own advancement, its own inflation. Krishna is saying, "One must see action in inaction and inaction in action."

Is it possible to live in a way where what you do outside is purely a thing of the outside, where you are not acting so that the action may improve your self-worth? Is it possible? Is it possible that there is inaction inside and yet a lot of action, suitable action, even vigorous action outside? Is it possible to live that way? Krishna is inviting us, even challenging us. And Krishna is saying, "Can you also see that there is a lot of action contained in your inaction?"

When we began, you said that the definition of action for us is mostly physical. So, if there is no physical action, we say action has not taken place at all, right? Krishna is saying, "Now come on, don't be duped so easily."

Even if not the slightest movement has taken place, still action takes place because the action is far more subtle. Gross action is seen physically; subtle action is called thought. Even when the eyes cannot catch action happening, if the mind is moving, the action is happening. Action is happening. It is just that the ways of the world are such that they will not classify the movement of the mind as action. You hit someone; you will be caught and punished. You think of hitting someone, nobody is going to catch you. But that is not how the seers look at it. They say that the action has been committed just with the thought.

Now, even if nobody is able to detect it, even if you are not put to task, still something has happened. How is it proven that something has happened? It is proven because you will now be bearing the result. The thought has come to you, so something within you has changed. The result would come upon you. So, even if nobody else is there to inflict a result upon you, you have yourself inflicted a result upon yourself. Your thought might not be seen by anybody else, but you know that you have thought. Because you have thought, so now you will have the consequences of the thought. Krishna says, "Please see that even your inaction includes a lot of action."

In fact, often external inaction is because there is too much action inside. The mind is so active and so very contradictorily active that all its energy gets neutralized. One part of the mind fights against another part, and there is nothing left to show up on the outside. If someone does not really have eyes, he would look at you and say that you are sitting still. But inside you know very well that there is a battle raging. It's a world war! And because the world war is all-consuming and severe, so you have been paralyzed. You have been left with no direction to go. You have been left with no sense to advance. There is no single center within from where to move.

Krishna is saying, "You must know that even when most of us do not act, they are always acting because the actor is on."

This actor surely must be a very confused actor. This actor surely must be a very divided actor. Had he really been clear about what he wants, he wouldn't have wasted so much of himself. He wouldn't have indulged in self-defeating fights. What does it mean to act in a way where nothing changes internally, nothing is sought to be changed internally, nothing is sought at all, and yet action happens? How is it possible to display action while remaining totally inactive? And Krishna is saying, "If you know that, you are a Yogi. If you know that, that is Yoga."

Q: Intentionless actions.

AP: What would that look like? What would that feel like?

Q: When you are not acting as a person. I mean, there is no action as a person.

AP: What does that mean, “not to act as a person”?

Q: When you cease to see yourself as a person. So, it will be more like an observer.

AP: You see, if you will not act like a person, then you will act like someone else. You would still be there to act. The thing with not doing something is that you are still the doer. The thing with remaining a non-doer is that you still remain.

Q: You're still trying not to do.

AP: And that is as much of action as qualified action. "I'm a non-doer." But you still are. The ‘I am’ still remains. Remain silent—but you still remain. You were talkative earlier, now you are...?

Q: Silent mode.

AP: Just because something has been put on the silent mode doesn't mean that it has lost its fundamental characteristics, its basic tendencies. In fact, now it is hiding; now it has become more dangerous. The same thing is now wearing a different color, a different name. The face has changed, the man is the same—more dangerous because more holy. Now the mischief is spiritually sanctioned. Now you can claim for yourself that which you do not really have, that which you are really not.

So, letting an action happen is not at all about you remaining as a person or you not remaining as a person. The more you will talk about the ‘I’, the more relevant the ‘I’ will keep becoming. That is something that is often missed. And that is something that requires a teacher of the status of Krishna to clarify.

Even if you refer to the ‘I’ to negate the ‘I’, you have still empowered the ‘I’. The more you talk about the ‘I’, whether in inquiry or in negation or in exploration, you are still confirming that there exists something called the ‘I’. Even when you say, “‘I’ does not exist,” what is the center of your statement?

The ‘I’ smiles nicely from behind. He says, "Well done! Yes, I do not exist.”

‘I’ raises its hand and says, "I do not exist."

Ten times you asked, "Who am I?" and ultimately you said, "You know what? The ‘I’ does not exist!”

The ‘I’ said, "Of course, I do not exist."

The more you talk about something, the more that something gets deeply embedded in the psychological space. The only way to forget is forget. You cannot forget by remembering again and again. You cannot forget by remembering the opposite of what you want to forget. But that is something that we all try. You want to get rid of the ‘I’, so you start remembering that the ‘I’ does not exist. Nice! To forget, one just forgets. Or does one say, "I've forgotten that I'm hurt”?

When you forget your hurt, does anybody remain to say that, "I have forgotten my hurt"? You even forget that you must mention that you have forgotten. That is the meaning of really dropping. That is the meaning of really coming out of it. You do not remain to talk about it. And that is also the meaning of action in inaction. That is also the meaning of not having anything within that is related to action outside.

You do not say that "I'm acting as a non-person”.

You do not say that "I'm acting as the pure Self”.

You don’t talk about the action. You don’t even let the action happen, because action is anyway happening whether or not you let it to. You become absorbed in your own world, in your own space.

The body does what it must. The mind does what it must. The intellect does what it must. And everybody is nicely settled doing what they must and what their fundamental nature is.

The ‘I’ is so absorbed in its own rightful space that it does not even bother to claim that “I am not the doer”.

There is a birthday party in your neighborhood. Do you gatecrash into the party, go to the center, and declare there “I am not the birthday boy!”? Do you make your way through the crowd, go up to the birthday cake, and loudly declare, “I am not the birthday boy!”?

What do you do if you are really not the birthday boy? You stay away. You simply mind your own business because you have ten things of your own to do, right? You don’t declare there, “I am not this, I am not that. I am negating this, I am negating that.”

When you are really free of something, you are free even of the obligation to announce your freedom. If you have to constantly assert your freedom, it means you are still bonded. When you are really free, then you don’t even consciously know that you are free. If consciously you have to repeatedly tell yourself that you are free, then the chains still remain.

So, what has to be done gets done, and the I-sense does not really come into the picture. It does not even come to assert that “this action is not going to affect me”. The I-sense remains healthy, total, all right within itself. And these are then two spaces disjoint by way of cause and effect. How are they joined? We will look into that later. But what joins them is no more cause and effect. Usually, some cause outside leads to an effect inside. Does that happen or not? What is the cause? Somebody praised me—what is the effect? Somebody outside praised me—what is the effect?

Inside me, I get a little... Depends on the persons. Sometimes, depending on the person, if you get praised, you may even go down. But something happens. The cause ‘there’ has an effect inside. Now, these are two separate spaces. Whatever happens outside shows no effect inside.

We’ll see later whether there is any relation then between this so-called inside, the center, and the so-called outside. But one thing is established: in nice, neat, pure action, the relation is not of cause and effect. Whatever be the cause outside, it cannot show up as an effect inside.

It sounds nice because now nobody who condemns you from there can make you feel bad about yourself. But that also means that now nobody who praises you from there can make you feel good about yourself. One becomes free both ways. You are now no more a slave of the world. Nothing outside can now make or break you. Nothing outside now can add value to you or devalue you.

So, things keep happening. Movements keep happening where they must happen. But they do not happen where they must not. Success happens, failure happens, but nothing inside succeeds or fails. This is a totally different way of living.

Neither is now one running after success and failure nor is one abhorring success and failure. One is only putting success and failure in their rightful place.

“Success, you belong there. Failure, you too belong there.”

Success there (pointing away) is not success here (pointing towards himself). And failure there is not failure here.

That does not mean that I am not acknowledging that something has succeeded or something has failed. Something has surely succeeded. One worked, and the results have been of a certain quality. So, one can determine whether there has been success with respect to the intention of the work or not.

"I worked and the results have again been of a certain other quality."

So, one can again determine whether or not there has been a failure with respect to the intention. But whether there is success or failure, there is no success, no failure here (pointing at the heart). The cause-effect link has been broken. Action outside, inaction inside.

And when there is action outside and inaction inside, then one becomes capable of great action because now the actor is not at the mercy of results, because now the actor is free to be in his own space and has also left all the physical apparatus to act in its own way. There is freedom both ways. The intellect can now, without hesitation, without bondage, play its own game.

The ‘I’ will not come to lord over the intellect. The ‘I’ will not tell the intellect that “you know what, if you go beyond this point, then the world will say that I am a bad man! So, don’t think in those areas. They are not sanctioned. They are immoral.” The intellect can now freely pan out; one thinks freely. That is what is called free thought: thought that is free from the tyranny of ‘I’; thought that does not serve to boost the ego; thought at the center of which does not lie your personal welfare. That is free thought.

So, not only are you, the I-sense free, even the intellect has been left free, even the body has been left free. The body can now do what it must. And the body has great intelligence of its own.

Now, the intellect knows how to draw from the memory. And the memory is also not inhibited. Usually, our memory is highly inhibited because the ‘I’ decides what to highlight in the memory and what to suppress in the memory. Of course, you know that we do not remember everything equally. Some parts in the memory are always magnified and some parts are always suppressed. We do not want to remember a few things and we want to place excessive weightage upon a few other things, depending on what suits the I-sense.

Whatever is ordinary about you gets quickly forgotten. Whatever is special and extraordinary gets registered very deeply. Great pleasure, great registry; great pain, great registry. Ordinary moments—no registry.

Now, that kind of thing won’t happen. The memory is free to operate impartially. The memory is now free to operate without the ‘I’ burden.

The eyes are also free now. The eyes by themselves now know where to look. Our eyes are not free: the ‘I’ dictates where the eye would look at.

As you walk through a market, do you look at everything equally? Of course not. Nobody can do that nor is that something that must be done. But you must observe the process of determining the object of sight. You look at that which feeds the I-sense. So, the eyes are now handicapped, chained. The ears do not hear everything.

Do our ears hear everything? No, they don’t. They only hear what the ‘I’ loves to hear. That which the ‘I’ does not want to hear, the ears are compelled to ignore that.

We do not listen through our ears; we listen through our ego. The ears are needlessly often blamed.

You say, “I didn’t listen.”

Actually, that’s a terrific statement—and absolutely true. When you say, “I didn’t listen,” it is actually the ‘I’ that didn’t listen. It is not as if the ears didn’t hear. The ears heard, but the ‘I’ didn’t listen. The ears too are unnecessarily suffering because that thing within interferes with all that is. We do not know what the world is like because the eyes have not been permitted to look directly without prejudice at the world.

Mind stuff, knowledge—the mind has not been left free to really have natural and free-flowing mind stuff. One has knowledge only in the direction and only in the space that benefits the ego. Don’t you see that our knowledge is all purposeful? Do you ever feel eager to have purposeless knowledge? Rare are those moments. Otherwise, if you are a doctor, you want more knowledge in medicine. Why? Because that would make you a better doctor. So, even the knowledge is compulsorily pushed into the mind by the ego-sense. The ego-sense decides what must you know, and what you know becomes your consciousness; you start floating in that realm.

What else is consciousness?

Nothing but the sky of all your knowledge. Knowledge, tendencies, intentions—that is consciousness. Our consciousness, therefore, is not at all a free consciousness. Our consciousness is a consciousness that is dictated and lorded over by this petty, suffering I-sense. This I-sense dictates what our entire system would be like. It dictates what our eyes would be like, what our face would be like, what our body would be like, what our consciousness would be like, what our life would be like.

To dissociate these two—your internal sense of well-being from external happenings—is to live healthily in all ways. All ways. Internal. External. Total. In fact, when you are living in a healthy way, then the distinction between the internal and the external gets deleted. Health is total.

Now, we have someone whose actions rise and fall—that one doesn’t rise and fall. Now, we have actions where the actions succeed and fail—the actor doesn’t succeed or fail. Now, we have a situation where the eye looks or does not look; you neither look nor do you not look. You leave it to the eye.

“Go ahead. Coordinate with the intellect; don’t come to me! The intellect will tell you what to look at.”

So, the eye is looking; you are neither looking nor not looking. You have left the eye, the mind, the intellect to decide on these matters.

You have become very-very powerful by your absence. You are not there anymore to counsel anyone, guide anyone, or have authority over anyone. You are relaxing. You are settled. You are total and free in your own space.

The eyes witness a murder. That does not really do anything to you. Well, it does something to the mind. It may also do something to the emotions, but it does nothing to you. And the eyes look at a most beautiful sight—that too does nothing to you. Well, that does do something to the poet inside you. That does do something to your hands; they pick up the camera and start clicking. That does do something to your face; it moves into a smile. So, the sight of a beautiful mountain or waterfall does something to all those who are the rightful recipients of the action. You remain a non-recipient of all action.

Eyes look at mountains, the hands rise in exclamation. Eyes look at the mountain, the legs run about in excitement. Eyes look at the mountain; the mouth calls to your friend, “Come over. What a beautiful sight!” Eyes look at the mountain, the memory may move to relate that to something else that you have seen or read elsewhere. But even as all this game is being played out, you remain what you are.

And what is that?

Well, nothing. So, you do not remain. You are wonderfully healthy in your absence. You are not there. The eyes are there, the legs are there, the mouth is there, the voice is there, the sight is there, the entire world is there. You are not there. You have nothing to do with this drama. Then, this show proceeds very-very smoothly. Then, the actors are not unnecessarily pressurized.

Do you know of those taskmaster directors? When the show is going on, they stand just behind the curtains where the audience cannot look at them, but the actors know their presence. And from there they keep asserting their presence. What do they do to the actors? They traumatize them. In their own minds, probably they are trying to help. But because of their unrequired, useless, unsolicited presence, they are only unnecessarily spoiling everything. In fact, if they go away, then the actors would be more free to act, to dance, to express themselves. And that’s a beautiful word we have come upon: 'expression'.

When you are not there to burden your entire system and the world with expectations of ‘I’, then you express yourself. And that is one of the reasons, rather the most important reason, why our life remains unexpressed. We live mostly unfulfilled, unsaid, undone, unlived, unexpressed lives. Like a kid who won’t play because he is afraid that he would be laughed at. Like a little girl who won’t speak up in her school because she is afraid that she would be mocked. That’s how we live unexpressed.

Who mocks us?

Our own ‘I’ mocks us. The ‘I’ says, “I expected you to perform. Legs, I expected you to perform. Intellect, why didn’t you perform? You owe it to me to perform. You know what I am suffering? I am the ego; I'm always suffering, I'm always burning. I wanted you to give me something through which I can be healed, and you didn’t do that. You failed me. You disappointed me.” And all your life, you live under the burden of that guilt.

"Oh, I couldn’t do enough to assuage the wounded self! Oh, I couldn’t do enough to heal my inner wounds!" Mind you, you will never be able to do enough. The more you do, the more your wounds are deepened because the wounds are false. You perpetuate the wounds by treating them as real.

When you don’t have a sickness, and still the doctor prescribes something to you, then he is helping you remain sick because now the idea that you are sick would become deeper and validated by an authority.

To live without burdening yourself with the result of action is to live freely. That is the fulfillment of life; that is the blossoming of your entire self. Only then can you say that you have really lived. Because if you are not expressed, how are you alive?

The ego says the purpose of life is to get fulfillment. But, your entire system and the existence says the purpose of life is just expression, not fulfillment.

Fulfilled you already are, now express your fulfillment; joyful you already are, now express your joy.

On the other hand, if you convince yourself that you are not yet joyful, then you won’t take the liberty to express yourself. You’ll say, “First things first. First of all, I have to obtain joy. Only after I obtain joy will I move into expressing joy. What do I express? I still don’t have joy!”

And if you don’t have joy, you can never, never, never get it. Expression is something that can happen right now. Achievement is something that can never, never happen.

It has been drilled down deep in our minds that we live in order to achieve, that we live in order to become. We do not live in order to become. We live so that we may just express, manifest, talk, sing, walk, read, write, let the entire system dance; dance for no reason, for no purpose, for no end; not to obtain anything, but just to say thank you. "Well, everything is so beautiful—I must dance! I am not dancing so that you may pay me something; I am dancing because I already feel very well paid." And these are two different things, right?

The ego says, “Dance—maybe the dance would fetch you something.”

Existence says, “Dance—because you already have everything.”

Do you see what Yoga is? Yoga is to dance without a reason.

Yoga does not mean following particular patterns. Yoga means to move about patternlessly and not to bother if you come across a pattern. Well, it’s a part of patternlessness to sometimes follow patterns. If I refuse consistently to follow patterns, even that refusal becomes a pattern. So, sometimes, I will be alright following patterns, and at other times, I will follow no pattern. Now, you decide whether that is living by pattern or patternlessness.

Moving ahead, Krishna says, “Only such a one is the true doer of all actions.”

Now, that perplexes us because, on one hand, he is saying that you are a Yogi when you hardly have anything to do with your actions, you let your actions be. And now Krishna is saying, when you leave your actions free, then you are the true actor, then you are the true doer. What does he mean?

Surely, if he is talking about true doing, he also has false doing in his mind. We will rather go into what is false doing, what is this false actor-hood.

We take ourselves as the actor. But are we really actors? Do our actions originate from us? Do our likes, dislikes, thoughts really originate from an internal point? And when I say 'internal', I mean that the world is external. And the world includes the body, past knowledge, experiences, everything. Anything that is part of the world is the world. So, body too is the world.

Are we really the authors of our actions?

No, we are not. We live mostly in a second-handed way. We wear what we have been told to wear. We eat what is the tradition to eat. We speak a language that society has given us. Worst still, we think thoughts that society has given us. We live in a way that is sanctioned by religion, custom, time, age, our economic status, and the rest of it.

We are not really the doers. The doer is the advertisement on the TV screen that makes us do something. The doer is all the elements of our education that have shaped our consciousness. So, the doer is always somebody else. We unnecessarily keep feeling that we are doing something.

One feels attracted to food. One says, “I am going to the food.” If you would ask Krishna, he would say, "Wait, there is a little mistake here. You are not going to the food. You are being compelled to go to the food by your biology. You are not going there." Do you have an option to go or not? You don’t have an option. Just as your heart does not have an option to beat or not.

You get attracted to a man or woman. Krishna would not say that this is your sovereign decision. He would say, "Oh, well, again the same old story. I know where it comes from. It comes from your biology." It is very-very predictable. In fact, looking at your physical and mental constitution, even the approximate form of the man or woman you would be attracted to can be predicted. It is so very mechanical! You are not the doer of your actions. Situations are determining your life.

The funny thing is, you are existing thinking that you would somehow change or manipulate the situations. Do you get the link here? When you live with respect to situations, then situations get a stranglehold over you. When the purpose of your existence is to do something with the situations, then you do not even know that you have allowed the situations complete control over yourself. In your own wisdom, you are glad that you are fighting the situations. You are not fighting the situations. You have now located yourself with respect to the situations—and that’s a defeat. That’s a defeat right in the beginning.

You are saying, “The purpose of my life is to change the situations.”

So, now your life is definitely linked to situations. The situations have won even before the war has begun. Now, the situations will keep determining you, keep determining you. This determination of the self by situations is called conditioning. This is called conditioning.

And when you are conditioned, you unnecessarily burden yourself with actor-hood. You are not the actor anymore. The world is acting through you. All the external forces are acting through you.

Your mother is acting through you. It is another matter that the mother’s mother is acting through her.

The priest is acting through you.

The TV stars, the movie stars are acting through you.

The big politicians are acting through you.

Your role models are acting through you.

The myths and the gods are acting through you.

You are living somebody else’s life. And it is not even one person’s life. You are living the life of every single person that you ever came across or did not come across.

The world has come together to define you; rather undefine the real you. You are no more the true actor. You are the true actor only when you are not the actor at all, which means the world has its influence on that which the world can influence. You remain secluded. You remain in your own groove. You remain nicely ensconced in your own little cubbyhole. Nobody can pull you out of it.

The Upanishads call the Heart as the little cave of the Ātmān. The image is that of a Yogi ceaselessly meditating; ceaselessly meditating in a tranquil dark cave where he just cannot be ever disturbed. You are constantly meditating in your Heart. The world cannot disturb you. The world does what it can do to the world. So, the world does something to your hands, the world does something to your body, the world does something to your eyes, the world does something to your stomach. The world can do something even to your life. But even if the world does something to your life, let’s say takes away your life, it still does not do anything to you. You are in your own little dark cave ceaselessly meditating. Tranquil. Silent. Absent.

Now you are the true doer because you are not at all the doer. You are doing your own thing. And your own thing is not to do. Hence, you are the true doer now. When the non-doer starts doing, then he becomes a false doer. You are a non-doer. When you take over action upon yourself, then you become a false doer. You are the non-achiever. When you take upon yourself the obligation to achieve, then you become a false achiever. You have to do nothing. You have not been born with the responsibility to reach anywhere or go anywhere. You are born at the highest point. You are born at the destination. You will die at the destination. So, what has changed with birth and death? Born at the destination. Gone at the destination. Always at the destination—before birth, during life, after life. Hardly anything has changed.

When you do your true thing, then you are the true doer. And your true thing is to relax. In non-doing, you are really doing. In relaxing, you are doing what you must. And when you relax, then the body is let loose to fly. And when you try to fly, then the body is tied down with a thousand chains. Now you cannot fly. You relax; your life will fly. You try to fly; your life will collapse.

Q: So, this sounds to me like I possess my body, and I am suffering because of that. And if you—that you “you”—just let it go... Just let the body go once and for all. And just see and not interact with anything. Just don’t be the body.

AP: You are again committing the same mistake. Don’t be the body, and don’t not be the body. Be what you are. Stop talking about the body. Why are you meddling with the body affairs?

Again you are doing the same thing: “I am not the birthday boy!”

Do you trespass into somebody’s wedding in the church, go there, hold the woman, shake her up, and say, “I am not your husband!”?

Q: But I do not even know how to explain. There are no words.

AP: There is no need to explain. There is no need to explain. You were not born with the obligation to explain to any teacher.

Q: Yeah, but maybe I need to…

AP: Express. That’s not the same as explaining.

Q: Yes, express my...

AP: You can express by being random. You can express by just throwing about your limbs. And that’s alright; I’ll know. You don’t need to express by looking wise. You don’t need to express in a coherent way. You can appear totally foolish and you have expressed. So, give yourself the freedom to be foolish and you have expressed. When you try to explain, then you unnecessarily try to act wise. You just want to express, right?

Q: I just want to say what I am.

AP: Yeah, so just say aloud, “Woo Hoo!”

(Laughter)

You’ve expressed.

That doesn’t quite explain to those who are fond of explanations. But those who know how to listen would have heard what you said.

Q: Maybe I don’t need to know what I said.

AP: You don’t need to because you yourself are a foreigner, an outsider to yourself. What you are is not what you perceive yourself as. Don’t take yourself as the meditator within. That which you think you are is a foreigner, an alien. Your consciousness is not what you are. So, you don’t need to actively know. Your knowledge is far-far deeper than what you consciously know.

So, even if you feel that you don’t consciously have knowledge, you still know because in meditation everything is already known. You don’t need to assure and secure yourself by way of conscious knowledge.

Q: I can’t explain it.

AP: You don’t need to. What makes you a little upset, a little nervous is the fact that you can’t put it together in a nice worldly form. You don’t need to.

The ego is saying “I must know.” And you know why the ego must know?

Because knowledge adds to the self-worth of the ego. The ego says, “I have moved up a notch because now I know.”

There is no need to know. There is no need to know. There is not even an obligation to understand. There is no obligation.

Q: I am doing this but at the same time I’m doing… This is sticky.

AP: You don’t have an obligation to be the watcher.

You don’t have an obligation to witness.

You don’t have an obligation to be enlightened.

You don’t have an obligation to understand.

You don’t have any obligation.

All obligations turn you into somebody else. Never take up an obligation upon yourself. Never. Even when you are accepting responsibilities and obligations, you must remain insulated from them. Never take it up upon yourself. With all the responsibilities of the world, remain free of responsibilities.

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