2017 0226 09 Bhagavad Gita 2:50 Yoga: Efficiency in Action [योगः कर्मसु कौशलम् ]
Swami Ranganathananda gives a wonderful commentary for stanza BG2:50 in his book "Universal Message of the Bhagavad Gita" Volume 1 [pp 195-205]:
The whole of Vedanta can be described by one phrase coined by Sir Julian Huxley. He wants modern science to develop into a 'science of human possibilieis' from what it is now.
As a working person, how can I utilize that work situation to expand my mind and heart and to manifest the tremendous possibilities that lie within. That is real education for a human being.
In the verse 2:50 we have the keynote statement of the Gita teaching, given in the briefest possible language. In fact, the whole philosophy of the Gita itself is expressed by the briefest definition of yoga in this verse 2:50 which says:
बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृत दुष्कृते |
तस्मात् योगाय युज्यस्व योगः कर्मसु कौशलम् || BG 2:50
"Endued with this evenness of buddhi, one frees oneself in this very life, alike from virtues and vice. Devote yourself, therefore, to this yoga. Yoga is efficiency in action."
All these dualities of good deeds and bad deeds that we do in our lower life are fulll of conflicts. But when you rise to the level of buddhi, you go beyond these conflicting dualities. Therefore, connect youself with this technique of yoga.
Get your whole mind and heart established in yoga. What is yoga? 'Yogah karmasu kausalam'. Yoga is 'efficiency or dexterity in action'.
You are working; that is beautiful. It can become not only a means of your worldly welfare but also a school of your own inner development. That is the unique feature of Gita teaching.
In no other religious literature, do you find this definition of spirituality. Spirituality is defined here as efficiency in work. It is a combination of productive efficiency without and spiritual efficiency within.
Efficiency is a great characteristic of modern western civilization. Sri Krishna also stresses this concept of productive efficiency: with minimum effort producing maximum results.
Accepting this, the Gita introduces a second and higher dimension of efficiency, which is greatly needed today in our civilization. It refers to what has happened to your mind by that productive efficiency?
Has that work done any good to your mind; has it made you better, purer, broader? Has it made you realize your own true nature? If that is done, efficiency gets a second dimension.
See what has happened to you after years of productive efficiency. Have you grown spiritually? Have you realized something of the divine spark that is within you?
Have you gone beyond the body-mind complex and its pulls and pressures, and become calm and steady within yourself? What has happened to the human being?
What about the inner life of the worker? is he rich within, peaceful and fulfilled? In this way, Sri Krishna defines the yoga taught in the Gita as a double efficiency: productive work efficiency, and inward personal or character efficiency.
This second emphasis highly needed today all over the world, because we find man has become smaller and smaller, more subject to tension, sorrow, unfulfilment and suicidal tendencies.
Man has become a creature of the environment. Because we neglected the second dimension to the concept of efficiency. The Gita gently advises all working people to take care of this also.
As you work, you bring blessings to society by your honest, efficient, cooperative labour in whatever fields you are working; see also that your inner life becomes qualitatively richer full of joy, peace, love and concern for humanity.
Quantity of material production is necessary only up to a certain degree. More [quantity] is not merely unnecessary but bad. Sri Krishna foresaw this kind of difficulty for humanity.
And so, he developed a philosophy, so many thousands of years ago, where efficiency gets a double dimension, where quantity and quality go together.
Are those who work efficiently peaceful? Can they live at peace with one another? Serve one another? These are all important questions. We shall succeed to abolish war and violence from society by this qualitative enrichment of human life.