Action And Activity – In Gita Verse 1.31 I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Kṛṣṇa, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom or happiness.
Slowly Arjuna becomes more unconscious. He has now started seeing this war as victory and defeat. Nothing is wrong in evaluating anything. But stuck in it he is forgetting his assignment of the Universe.
Whatever act we do, definitely must evaluate but with respect to our assignment of the Universe. With respect to our assignment we need to think with logical mind, and direct the logical mind.
Mind is a perfect means to keep you independent, to keep you alert. It is a good fighter. So when there is need to fight, when there is need to stand up for your liberty, use the mind; subjectivity will not be of any use. But the context is totally different, and that man is conscious who can use his capacities in their right context and does not get mixed up. Eyes are for seeing ― you cannot hear through them. And ears are for hearing ― you cannot see with them. So use them whenever their need is, and don’t let them come in each other’s way.
Use this quality to fight, to become more conscious and liberation from unconsciousness . Subjectivity knows no way to fight.
Mind is a beautiful instrument. It has to be sharpened, but remember its limitations. It should remain a servant to our subjectivity. The moment it becomes the master, the subjectivity simply dies. In slavery, the subjectivity cannot exist.
So there is no contradiction in what I have said ― just two different contexts. And your consciousness is different from both, so a conscious person can use his subjectivity when needed and can use his mind when needed, can put both to silence when he wants to be absolutely in a state of nirvana, where neither the mind is needed nor the subjectivity. When he wants simply to be himself, both are not needed.
If you are the master of your instruments, there is no problem. If you have a flute and I ask you, ‘Can you stop playing on it for a few moments ― I want to talk to you,’ and you say, ‘I cannot do it; the flute won’t stop,’ what will we think about you? You are insane. The flute won’t stop? So you are not playing the flute, the flute is playing you. When you want to stop the mind, just say, ‘Stop’ ― it has to stop. If it moves even a little bit, that means something has to be done urgently. This is dangerous: the servant is trying to be the master. The servant should be a servant, and the master should be the master. And beyond both is your being which is neither servant nor master… which simply is. That ‘isness’ is the goal of all meditations.
Also we need to understand the difference between Action and Activity:
Action comes out of energy, out of delight. Activity is businesslike. Action is poetry. Activity creates a bondage because it is result oriented: you are doing it not for its own sake, you are doing it for some goal. There is a motive, and then there is frustration. Out of a hundred cases, ninety-nine times you will not achieve the goal, so ninety-nine times you will be in misery, frustration. You did not enjoy the activity itself, you were waiting for the result. Now the result has come, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred there is frustration. And don’t hope for the remaining one percent, because when you achieve the goal, there is frustration also. The goal is achieved, but suddenly you realize that all the dreams you have been dreaming about the goal are not fulfilled.
Activity means there is a goal; activity is only a means to that end. Action means that the means and the end are together in it. That’s the difference between action and activity.
Arjuna was in his unconsciousness moving from his subjective world to objective world. To understand more precisely he is moving from action to activity. He is gripped in fear of unknown. In that fear even if he will win the war he is now not sure what to do with his victory as his words, happy, shows clearly that there will be no one with whom he can celebrate his victory. Now he is looking at the war as an object to exhibit his victory but not as an assignment of the Universe.
When universe gives us the assignment it’s very clear indication that what we need to do with the end result. Victory will also become assignment and not celebration to exhibit our strength.
In my blog Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.13, I wrote that even victory is resource. It means whatever is the end result it’s a new assignment for us.
When we are unconscious towards ourselves, like Arjuna knowing well what is our assignment we miss our responsibility towards Existence. At this time turn towards God not for asking to fulfill our desire but to help us to bring ourselves back in our consciousness, our subjectivity.