‘Action – The Inescapable Law of Life’

Online link :http://www.speakingtree.in/public/spiritual-blogs/masters/science-of-spirituality/action—the-inescapable-law-of-life

In the Bhagavad Gita Bhagavan explains to Arjuna that it is not possible to give

up action. No one can remain even for a moment without performing action. We

are all compelled to act by the qualities of Prakriti.

What is action? Any kind of activity at the level of the body, mind or intellect is

considered to be an action. Even if we say that I will just sit and not move that

too requires effort – but that is also doing. Even during periods of physical

inactivity, we do not stop breathing or thinking. All the physiological activities

of the body continue. When hunger, thirst or sleep overtakes us, we are forced

to act. Try to stop a sneeze or a yawn. It is not possible. These are only natural

responses. Apart from these, our desires, likes and dislikes prompt us into

action. In short, it means is that as long we are alive, we cannot remain without


Some people believe that the philosophy of Gita preaches that we

perform karmas, actions. This is clearly not its message. When the Gita says

that you cannot remain without acting, to say ‘do karma’ is meaningless. Do’s

and don’ts apply only when there is an option.  For example a human being can

be told to, ‘be a vegetarian’. This instruction is possible, because man can

exercise the choice of being either a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian. But can you

tell a lion or tiger to be a vegetarian? Tigers are pre-programmed to be

carnivores. They have no options. Similarly, to do nothing is not an option for

man. Act he must. The Gita instructs man on the kind of karmas to perform and

the attitude with which to act.

That nobody can remain without action is an undeniable truth. However, some

may feel that they can remain without doing any action and so restrain all the

organs of action, but what about the mind of such a person?  From our

experience, especially while trying to meditate, we know that the mind cannot

be stopped from wandering and remembering things from the past. That is

because to remember is one of the functions of the mind. Our memories are

related to the world of sense objects, of form, smell, touch, taste and sound.

They lie dormant in the mind; when the organs of action are restrained they

surface. The mind indulges and takes pleasure in these memories.

Bhagavan says that a person who remains physically still but indulges in

sensuous memories is a person of false conduct or a hypocrite. Outwardly he is

not indulging in activity but mentally he is. Though not cheating anybody else,

he is certainly cheating himself. Such a person who restrains all physical action

but continues to brood over pleasures will one day be forced by those desires

into action. We know that desires in our mind arise not just when we see objects

but also when we dwell on objects. These desires force a person into action.

Physically restraining the body but allowing the mind to dwell on various

pleasures and objects enjoyed in the past can lead to indolence, suppression,

false/wrong conduct and eventually one’s own destruction.