Thursday, April 5, 2012

Are you a Thief or a Saint?

This past month, a group of aspirants and I have been reading and studying the ancient Yoga scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. This month reminded me just how precious these sacred teachings are and how they so sweetly sing to your heart and spirit. As we are exploring the teachings I came across an insightful message I'd like to share as an inner contemplation for you.

It is found in Chapter 3, Sloka 12 (3:12). Below I have quoted a synopsis of chapters one and two from Swami Satchidananda's Living Gita as well as his commentary on sloka 3:12.

Swami Satchidananda says, "Up to now we have seen something of the philosophy about the [Immortal] Self or Atman and touched on the practical side of Karma Yoga, which helps us go about realizing the Atman. We also covered the qualifications of the realized person whom the Gita calls one of steady wisdom. In this chapter, The Yoga of Action, we'll learn the secret of action."

This 'secret' explains that one who moves through life free from desires and unattached to the actions, or the fruits of the actions, is a true yogi or saint. It speaks of the importance of living a Selfless life in remembrance of the very Source that is animating all of existence. It teaches you how to be a Divine vessel, allowing the Higher Self, or Source to flow through you and nourish all Creation.

Although this sounds lovely in concept, it is very difficult to master. "To do" something and have no identification to the action or the results of the action, is nearly impossible. To be rooted in no desires is even more challenging.

Luckily, the Gita gives us a tool to measure our Selflessness; asking us to inquire how much we take and how much we give. It also reminds us that we are already saintly and that everlasting peace is achievable in this very birth.

Sloka 3:12 explains, "Cherished by your spirit of sacrifice, the gods give you everything you want. (But remember) whoever receives gifts from the gods without offering anything back is a thief."

The Gita gives name to the five types of 'giving' and 'taking'. They are:

                               Take    |    Give
Thief                       100%           0%
Debtor                    100%         50%
Good Business
Person                    100%        100%
Righteous Person    50%         100%
Yogi / Saint             0%     1% - 100%

So I ask you... which are you? A thief ? A saint? Somewhere in between?

Swami Satchidananda explains, "We should always examine our transactions and discover in which category we put ourselves: one, thief; two, debtor; three, business person; four, righteous person; or five, a saint. And if you're already 'one,' try to be 'two.' If you're already 'two,' try to promote yourself to 'three.' Stop not until the fifth category is reached."

He continues, "It's nice to keep this information handy. Yajna [selfless offering] is so beautiful. So much could be said about it. The whole life is an offering."

Let this be our practice, let this be our life. May we all radiate Saintliness in this very birth.

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