Wednesday, 11 March 2015


"King sent a brief prayer of thankfulness to Krishna - it seemed appropriate, since the merciful God had appeared to Arjuna and counseled him on a warrior's duty. Of course, he'd also told the noble bowman that he must fight and kill only from duty, without personal attachment."
-SM Stirling, The Peshawar Lancers (New York, 2003).

Krishna taught Arjuna karma yoga, non-attached action in the secular world, as against ascetic withdrawal from action. To engage even in military conflict may be the lesser evil but a karma yogi performs any necessary task mindfully, thus more efficiently, free from, undistracted by, mental attachments like desire for success or fear of failure. In the battle, he is untouched by it.

The Bhagavad Gita presents bhakti (devotional) yoga, mantra yoga, a cosmic vision and Krishna as a personal deity but I think that karma yoga is its most important and distinctive message. A former Krishna devotee told me that he visited the battlefield of Kurukshetra where there is a life size sculpture of Krishna and Arjuna on their chariot which is inscribed with shlokas (Gita verses) and a temple has been built at the site of the death of each of the epic heroes.

My religious philosophy is built on meditation (the Buddha) and karma yoga (Krishna).

Addendum: Theistic karma yogis offer their actions to God. Laborare est orare. For Buddhists, non-attached action is working meditation.