Yoga – Giving up both good and bad? Part 1

Yoga – Giving up both good and bad? Part 1

December 08, 2018 Dr. Nikhil asked: Padanamaskarams Swamiji! In the recent message given to Smt. Bindiya Chaudhry on December 1, 2018, You
have said that greed which causes a person to earn money through corrupt means is sin
and that deep analysis is very important in deciding what is sin and what is not sin. In support of this statement, You have quoted
the verse from the Gītā “Buddhiyukto jahātīha”. This verse talks about giving up both merit
and sin and join yoga since such yoga is skillful action. I am not sure how the verse fits in this context. My understanding of this verse is somewhat
in the sense of “Sarvadharmān parityajya…” i.e., the soul who has thoroughly understood
spiritual knowledge (buddhiyukto), surrenders to God (yogāya yujjasva) and works for God. He gives up thinking about merit and sin (jahātīha
ubhe sukṛta duṣkṛte). Such work is real skillful action since success
is assured in God’s work due to God’s unimaginable grace. Also, the servant is free of tension due to
faith in God, so, the work also happens efficiently. I seek Your kind clarification in this matter. Your servant. Nikhil Swami replied: You are correct in saying that
‘yoga’ is the main topic of this verse since the third line in this verse says that
hence, one should associate with yoga (Tasmāt yogāya…). In the first two lines, the verse says that
a person who is associated with intelligence or analysis leaves both sin (pāpam) and merit
(puṇyam). Before leaving both good and bad deeds, the
primary step is recognizing which deeds are really good and which are really bad, through
sharp analysis (Buddhau śaraṇam…). Unless this primary step is satisfied, the
subsequent step, which is leaving both good and bad deeds cannot happen. In the previous discourse, when I quoted the
verse (Buddhiyukto…), I was referring to this primary step of sharp analysis. The subsequent step is to leave both good
and bad deeds through yoga after recognizing the good and bad sides of a good deed and
the good and bad sides of a bad deed. You have to leave the bad sides of both good
and bad deeds and this is implied here through the word “Jahātīha”. You have considered the meaning of this verse
in accordance with the preceding two verses “Dūreṇahyavaram karma… ” and “Yogasthaḥ
kuru karmāṇi… ”. But the succeeding verse, “Karmajaṁ
buddhiyukatā hi… ”, should also be considered here. These four verses together completely establish
the concept of yoga. At this point, an objection arises from an
opponent. Opponent: There is no need to look at the
good and bad sides of each deed. A good deed is that which is totally good
and a bad deed is that which is totally bad. If both good and bad deeds are given up, there
is no deed leftover. It means leaving all deeds. When all the deeds are given up, there is
no need for analysis to distinguish between good and bad deeds. Therefore, Your primary sense has no place
in this verse. Swami: You mean to say that this verse suggests
leaving all deeds. But it is impossible to do so as told in the
Gita itself (Nahi kaścit kṣaṇamapi…). Not only that, but the Gita also says that
one should do certain deeds like social work (Lokasaṅgrahamevāpi…) and fulfilling
one’s worldly duties such as earning one’s livelihood etc (Śarīrayātrāpicha te…). If all deeds are to be left, how can the Gita
recommend performing certain deeds? It would mean that there are certain deeds,
which are different from both good and bad deeds like working to earn one’s living,
social work and so on. Actually, if one does not earn one’s livelihood,
it is a bad deed. So, earning one’s livelihood must be a good
deed. The same is true in the case of social service. If you say that the deeds recommended by the
Gita are also good deeds, then as per your interpretation of the verse “Buddhiyukto…”,
the recommended duties are also to be given up since the verse mentions leaving both good
and bad deeds. But this cannot be true since the Gita orders
you to perform certain duties and that order is clearly seen in the use of verbs like ‘kuru’
(Kuru karmāṇi), ‘bhava’ (Matkarma paramo bhava), which are used in the imperative mood. The imperative mood in grammar is related
to commanding or requesting. In Sanskrit grammar, it is called vidhi liṅ. In the verse, “Buddhiyukto jahātīha”
the verb, jahāti used is only in the simple present tense (vartamāna lat). A verb used in the sense of an order is more
forceful than a verb used in the simple present tense. It establishes the fact that all actions are
not to be given up. Then naturally, a proper analysis becomes
necessary to recognize which good deeds are to be done and which bad deeds to be left. If we wrongly assume that good and bad deeds
can be clearly distinguished and that this verse is suggesting that both good and bad
deeds are to be left, it contradicts other verses in the Gita. Hence, this verse must mean that the bad side
of a good deed, which you were mistakenly thinking was good, must be left, whereas the
good side of the good deed should be done. In the case of the bad deed too, its bad side
is to be left and its good side is to be adopted. The final result is that for all deeds, whether
you had superficially classified them as good or bad, a deeper analysis must be done and
the bad side of the deeds should be given up. It is in this sense that the verse says that
both good and bad deeds are to be given up. Good and Bad Sides of All Qualities
Often people question why God created bad qualities, which drive souls to commit sins. They indirectly want to say that the Creator
is a sadist to first tempt souls to commit sins and then punish them for it. This argument is totally wrong since the so-called
bad qualities have both meritorious as well as sinful sides. God created these so-called bad qualities
in view of their meritorious side alone. Hence, originally even the so-called bad qualities
were good qualities. The souls turned those good qualities to the
wrong side due to the freedom given to them. For a very long period since creation, souls
lived in very good discipline and enjoyed God’s creation. But a very long period of discipline and enjoyment
also becomes boring. So, finally, to avoid their boredom, God granted
them a free will to choose their actions. But God pointed out the sinful sides of all
the good qualities created by Him and warned the souls about the punishment for sin. God comes in the form of Incarnations in every
generation mainly to preach this very topic of living within the boundaries of worldly
justice, which is called pravṛtti and avoiding sin. In spite of all this, ignorant people blame
God! Let us examine the six so-called bad qualities
or vices and see how each of them has both meritorious and sinful sides. Among them, the first three, are responsible
for the majority of sins in the world. They are said to be the three main gates to
hell as per the Gita. 1) Lust or sex (kāma): The meritorious side
of sex is to generate issues which form the next generation. Sex with one’s rightful wife to produce
children is perfectly justified (Dharmāviruddhaḥ bhūteṣu kāmo’smi—Gita). Even the intense desire for sex, which causes
a person to engage in sex with one’s married partner frequently, is also justified. There are several uncertainties arising from
gynaecological and other factors in conceiving a child. The time of the release of the ovum is uncertain,
the life of sperm is short and so on. Hence, frequent sex becomes necessary for
producing children. Thus, lust, which drives a person to have
frequent sex, has a good side. But when a person using his or her freedom,
chooses to engage in sex with an unlawful partner, in violation of God’s laws of worldly
justice, the sex becomes sinful. It is this sinful side of the sin alone which
is to be given up. An ordinary human being on the path of pravṛtti
should not blindly give up sex completely without recognizing this internal sub-classification
of the good and bad sides to each quality. A very few exceptional souls of the nivṛtti
path, like Śaṅkara, Ramakrishna etc., left sex completely. But they did not leave it by any forced effort. It was a natural consequence of their extreme
attachment to God. Such exceptional cases are out of the scope
of pravṛtti or karmādhikāra. Karmādhikāra means the eligibility to do
worldly work. People who follow the rules of justice given
by God are said to be eligible to perform worldly work, which is the path of pravṛtti. But the eligibility of these exceptional cases,
who are the stars of the nivṛtti path, far exceeds karmādhikāra. 2) Violence or anger (krodha): The originally-created
good side of anger or violence is that teachers or parents can show anger towards their students
or children, whenever they go on the wrong path. With this quality, teachers and parents can
bring their students or children back to the right path in pravṛtti. An Incarnation of God like Krishna killing
a devilish soul is the good side of violence (Vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām—Gita). Even a court putting a criminal to death is
the good side of violence. However, an individual should not take the
law into his own hands. Even God Rama, the embodiment of justice and
peace, is described in the Rāmāyaṇam as “Sthānakrodhaḥ prahartā ca,” which
means that He showed anger and even killed in the appropriate situation. The sinful side of anger and violence is getting
angry with good people and hurting or killing them. 3) Greediness (lobha): Greed causes a person
to not share his wealth with others. The original good side of greed is that a
person does not donate his precious wealth to undeserving receivers but donates it to
only to deserving receivers. The sinful side of greed is donating to undeserving
receivers and not donating to deserving receivers. Unless you save money by avoiding undeserved
donations, you cannot make well-deserved donations since most people have limited financial resources. Very few people are rich. Even if you are rich, the sinful side of greediness
must be avoided and its meritorious side must be practiced. In the Mahābhāratam it is clearly told that
both donating to the undeserving and not donating to the deserving are sins. The fourth, fifth and sixth vices namely moha,
mada and mātsarya, also have both good and bad sides. As long as these three are within limits,
they are not as dangerous, and they do not yield punishments in hell. But if they cross their boundaries and lead
to sinful deeds, they become punishable. 4) Fascination (moha): Fascination to one’s
family is the good side of fascination in pravṛtti. Fascination or moha towards God is even better
in pravṛtti, and of course, it is essential in nivṛtti. But moha in unlawful relationships is sin
in pravṛtti. Also, having fascination only for the worldly
bonds of child, spouse and wealth, without having any bond with God, is the bad side
of fascination in both nivṛtti and pravṛtti. Having a fascination only for the worldly
bonds is not a punishable sin by itself. It is bad because it stops spiritual progress. But an extreme moha for the worldly bonds
without any moha for God may lead the soul to commit punishable sins in pravṛtti. So, on the whole, moha for God is the good
side of moha and moha for the worldly bonds is the bad side. 5) Pride (mada): The good side of mada is
having self-confidence and the bad side is to have an ego. Limited pride is self-confidence. It is like the normal body temperature. If the pride grows beyond limits, it becomes
ego, which is like a fever. If confidence drops down below a certain limit
it is like an abnormally low body temperature, which is also dangerous. Low self-confidence makes the person afraid
of even doing normal activities. In nivṛtti, a devotee can be proud of being
a disciple of God Datta. But this pride should not take the negative
direction of looking down upon other forms of God Datta. This is the bad side of pride which results
from the ignorance of the spiritual knowledge preached by God Datta. 6) Jealousy (mātsarya): The good side of
jealousy is to develop competition with people, who are better than us. It drives us to make efforts to reach their
level or even surpass them and become the best. It is said that envy brings growth in knowledge,
“Spardhayā vardhate vidyā”. The bad side of jealousy is pulling down those
who are better than us, by false blame in order to become equal with them or suppressing
others and pushing them below our own level in order to become better than them. In the cases of ego and jealousy, there is
an additional danger. When both are directed to the wrong side in
the case of the contemporary Human Incarnation of God, they lead to repulsion from the Incarnation. After passing into the energetic world, the
soul also feels repulsion from the Energetic Incarnation. Owing to the repulsion from the Human Incarnation
here on earth and the energetic Incarnation in the upper-world, the soul misses the chance
to attain God here as well as there. So, avoiding ego and jealousy towards the
Incarnation is very important in nivṛtti. Just as the so-called bad qualities have meritorious
and sinful sides, the so-called good qualities also have both sides. Worshipping God is generally a good quality. The good side of this quality is worshipping
God out of true love without aspiring for any fruit in return from Him. The bad side of this quality is worshipping
God due to artificial love shown for Him. In such a case, the person’s real love is
for the fruit that he aspires for from God. Serving society is a good quality, which also
has both good and bad sides. A politician doing social service to impress
the public for the sake of getting votes is bad. His actual intention is to win the election,
secure a powerful position and earn sinful money. The social service done by Mahatmā Gandhi,
Mother Theresa etc., with the goal of genuinely helping needy souls, in the name of God, is
the good side of social service. In ancient times, yajña was also a form of
social service. During the yajña, hungry people were fed,
and spiritual discussions and prayers to God were conducted. This is the good side of the yajña. The bad side of yajña is to do the same yajña
for achieving heavenly pleasures after death or achieving worldly pleasures in this life,
without developing any spiritual knowledge or devotion to God. During the time of Śaṅkara, the Pūrva
Mīmāṁsā philosophy had turned to this bad side of yajña, and as a result, it was
condemned by Śaṅkara.


  • Nikhil Kothurkar says:

    I think we humans are lazy. We tend to avoid using our intelligence and analysing before we act. We want readymade formulas. So if helping others or serving society is declared to be good we simply do it without discrimination an end up committing a sin. We miss the most important point that the deservingness of the recipient decides whether the service done to someone is meritorious or sinful.

  • Parikshit Baugh says:

    Very nice

  • Karthik says:

    An insightful discourse into how we need to discriminate between the good and bad sides of both good and bad deeds.

    The triguna concept of satvam, rajas and tamas is usually misperceived by most individuals and many feel that rajas and tamas are bad qualities while satvam is good one. However, as Swamiji says, both rajas and tamas have good as well as bad sides to them. Ultimately what makes a quality good or bad is the direction it is expressed in. Similarly, a deed is good or bad because of the intention behind it and the consequences resulting from it.

  • hrushikesh pudipeddi says:

    How to differentiate if a particular deed is good or bad in the worldly life. For example if I am an employee working for an employer. Let's say that I am being paid to work 8hours in a day out of which I finish work in 5hours rest I spend time in some other activity is it justified to do so.

  • naga lakshmi says:

    The way Shri Datta Swami explained about the positive side and negative side of the 6 bad qualities is excellent. Only God Datta can explain like this. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽. Guru Datta, Sri Datta, Prabhu Datta

  • naga lakshmi says:

    The way Shri Datta Swami explained about the positive side and negative side of the 6 bad qualities is excellent. Only God Datta can explain like this. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽. Guru Datta, Sri Datta, Prabhu Datta

  • surya narayana says:

    Negative side of a positive deed and positive side of a good deed are innovative. True meaning of akarma is also really really good. The central point is correlations of different verses. Guru Datta Shri Datta Prabhu Datta

  • Lakshman G says:

    The discrimination of good and bad deeds and its effect on pravritti and nivriti is excellent

  • Vivek553 Lakshman says:

    I thank Lord Datta for this wonderful discourse. Jai Guru Datta

  • Rishi tron says:


  • Chintalapati Mallikharjun says:

    sri guru datta swami

  • Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords and King of Kings says:

    Jesus Christ said;

    Do you think: there are many ‘religious leaders’ in Heaven, My children? I tell you, there are ‘not many’ – because they sought to be ‘the gate’, and pretended to open people, to ‘a false kingdom – of heaven’; where the rewards – that would be given, would be materialism, and sensualism.

    Do you think Ghandi, is in Heaven My children, or Buddha? How about Krishna – did he lead many souls, to the Kingdom of Heaven? What about: Mohammad? – is he here with Me? I tell you: Hitler, would have had ‘a better chance’ to be here with Me, in ‘the hour, of his death’, than all of these ‘religious leaders’ from the past.

    Unless they die, to their own “religions”… I can not open, ‘the door’

    For I am ‘the door’; I am ‘the gate’; and I am ‘the narrow way’! There is ‘no other way’, but through Me. And out of My Great Mercy and ‘love for souls’, I tell them: the Truth – so that they may live. But unless they die, to their own “religions”, and ‘live for Me’, and Me alone – from this moment forward, then I can not open, ‘the door, to the Kingdom of Heaven’.

    They need to do, what I ask from them, in order to have life.

    For souls at this time: what they need, is Truth! They need ‘sackcloth and ashes’. They need to do, what I ask from them, in order to have life.
    https:// testimonyofthetwowitnesses. com/121108.php

  • Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords and King of Kings says:

    Jesus Christ:

    The use of tarot cards, yoga, reikki and certain types of meditations, which embrace pagan practices, will contaminate you. In time you may become ill and full of black despair, as the spirits of evil enter your lives, from which there is little escape.
    These are the signs of Satanic influences in the world and many demons come disguised as angels of light. This is why those who become obsessed with angel cards and who accept so-called ascended masters, within this angel culture, are embracing the spirit of evil, which is presented as harmless fun.

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