Verse 5

 

 

5. Inaction is not an option. Action is imperative for sheer survival. Nobody can remain inactive even for an instant. The quality of action is determined by one’s gunas or vasanas. As long as there are vasanas in your system there will be thought, desire and action. You have a certain quality of vasanas, you are born with an inherent talent, tendency, inclination. You are compelled to act accordingly. What you do, therefore, is a given. How you do it is your choice. If you have vasanas for music you have to act in the field of music. You can act disinterestedly, excitedly or wholeheartedly. That choice is yours.

The type of activity you perform is determined by your gunas or traits. There are three types of gunas

Tamas is the lowest state of indifference, lethargy, sloth, inactivity, and heedlessness which arise from ignorance.

Rajas is the intermediary state of passion, desire-driven activity, restlessness, attachment and the consequent mental agitation and stress.

Sattva is the highest, sublime state of serenity, tranquility and purity which comes from freedom from desire. It is a condition of dispassion towards the world because of total absorption in the higher.

Everyone is a victim of their own vasanas. At the present moment you have no choice but to act according to your vasanas which are the result of all your past actions. So a person with angry vasanas will be angry. Gentle vasanas will manifest as gentleness, crude vasanas as crudity and so on. When you understand this you will be at peace. You will no longer expect an aggressive person to be mild, a timid child to be bold, or a disorganized spouse to suddenly become more disciplined. You will accept people as they are and learn to deal with them accordingly.

 

Verse 6

 

 

6. The spiritual course is geared to the reduction and gradual elimination of desires. Desire is the obstacle to Perfection. Human minus desire is God.

There are two types of people in the world –

1. Most people follow their desires and indulge in sensual pleasures, oblivious of the danger therein. Their desire load increases.

2. In the name of spiritual development some prevent their desires from expressing or manifesting. They merely block the progression from desire to action while neglecting to deal with desire. Such people are frustrated and hypocritical. They internally harbor desires but do not act on them. This way desires actually increase. It is not what you do that matters but what you think of. The law is – As you think so you become. Not as you act!

What creates desire is mental indulgence, whether you participate physically or not. So watch where your mind is, what type of thoughts you entertain.