Doing & Non Doing

joejo's picture

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To live is to act. Without actions even the bare maintenance of the body is not possible. Yet it is the actions (?) that bind us. Renunciation has been seen as a solution in all the major traditions. There are also the schools of Yoga that tell us to act wisely, in a prescribed way, in accordance with their respective traditions. This question has been debated in Gita where Krishna tells Arjuna the warrior king, nuances of action and renunciation. Interlinked is the question of Doer and non doer, the agent that performs action. I want to examine if meditation or other spiritual practices lead us out of the rut we are caught in. Is there a freedom that has no seeking and hankering for a result? Not that one must not seek results of actions as told in Gita for we are then bound by this injunction and not free in the real sense.

As discussed in the previous blog (Transformation) the self arising out of conditioning or identified with it acts to produce effects that entangle us further as is the case of a man who is stuck in a quagmire. The more he struggles the more bound he becomes. The traditional ways therefore demand a giving up of "worldy" life at the very beginning for any serious endavour. The famous proponent of Advaita Adi Guru Shankara has adamantly maintained in his commentary of Gita that for the qualified Renunciation of all actions is a must. Actions accompanied with detachment he says, makes a man fit to undertake renunciation which is a prerequisite to follow the path of Sankhya (Gyan) yoga.

To be, or not to be, that is the question? Must one practice spiritual discipline? Is not Doing as well as non - Doing same as far as the Doer is concerned? How is one to act out of the confusion one is in? Will not action arising from a confused mind make for greater confusion?

bonya basu's picture

Awareness makes you free from judgement....

Act all your actions with awareness...not with emotion, then you will not be judgemental for its outcome.
It will make you free from the effects of any action.
It will not bind you any more.

bonya basu | Thu, 12/01/2011 - 07:33
joejo's picture


Undoubtedly emotions are the key, yet your assertion to act with "awareness" as a panacea to all ills eludes me. If it was so simple a matter, whole of Gita would not have been written. What do you mean by "awareness"? Are you aware when say, you are angry? Who is aware and is awareness a matter of resolution. The entity who decides to be aware has already taken a stand and is trying to influence action from its point of view and hence is limited.

One has only to try to realise how ridiculous the preaching "try to be aware" is. Man as such is in a state of sleep and waking up is not a matter of a New Year Resolution.

joejo | Thu, 12/01/2011 - 13:18