19. The wise call such a person a sage. Ordinary people do not recognize the greatness of the person. You have to be spiritually evolved to spot an Enlightened person. Only a cricketer of high calibre understands a brilliant shot. A musician can appreciate an outstanding musical performance. As the saying goes – you need a Milton to understand Milton!
A pandita sage is one who acts renouncing kama desire which comes from the past and sankalpa expectation of fruit in the future. Past worry and future anxiety drain you of energy and vitality. They interfere with present action. Weighed down by these two a student makes errors in an exam, a job aspirant messes up at the interview and a chef blunders while cooking!
The craving to perform action and anxiety for the fruit of action needs to be renounced, not action. Give up kartrtva bhavana and bhoktrtva bhavana – the sense of doership and enjoyership. This leads to failure in life.
One who continues to act giving up desire and expectation is freed. His actions get burnt by the fire of Knowledge. Action means desire, vasana. Knowledge sublimates all desires. When a child grows into a teenager all desires for toys get sublimated. So you need knowledge of the higher, the highest being Atman. Then all lower desires and attachments vanish.
Ignorant people must act for atmasuddhi self-purification. The wise act for lokasangraha welfare of the world.
20. This verse speaks of gaining harmony with the external world.
Drop attachment to the fruit of action. Fruit belongs to the future. It is the result of action. Action is the cause. When your mind is on the fruit it is not concentrating on the present action. The action becomes flawed, leading to failure. Whereas if you just focus on present action, all actions will be perfect and you will be extraordinarily successful.
The fruit is dependent on many factors beyond your control. You have control only on your action. Perform it to the best of your ability, wholeheartedly. Success will be yours.
Fruit is the cumulative effect of all your past actions. Past is over and done with. It cannot be changed. There is no way of knowing your past. However negative it may be, consistent, constant positive actions will wipe out the past and sculpt a brilliant future.
If your attention is on the future your happiness hangs on a future achievement so you are never happy in the present. Attention on fruit makes you dependent. And it causes mental agitation.
Nityatrpta – always satisfied and content. Find fulfillment in the performance of action. Be content with what you have. Then you can aspire for more. But to be disgruntled with what you have, hoping to be happy with a future achievement is unintelligent. You will always be discontent!
Nirasraya – Independent of the world. The world is constantly changing. It consists of pairs of opposites and is unpredictable. If you expect the world to fit into your fixed mental pattern you are only positioning yourself for frustration and misery. You can acquire and possess the whole world. Never depend on any part of it. Stand on the balcony of Truth and watch the changing world go by. Then you will enjoy the world.
The sage acts, though not acting. This can be viewed in three ways:
1. Desire does not drive his actions. The intellect guides him to obligatory action.
2. Actions do not boomerang and encrust his personality with more vasanas.
3. He has merged with Atman. Atman does not act.