Action as an Offering to Me
One expression used in the Gita is ‘Be My-minded’. This means that the mental energies, which before were spread over a hundred diverse interests, are now preoccupied with the quest for divine knowledge. By using the word ‘My-’ in this way, the Gita links the idea of God with the idea of Self. The quest for a spiritual understanding and that for self-knowledge are increasingly seen to be the same thing. Ultimately we meet God as and in our own Self.
This quest is not confined to the life of quiet contemplation. The teachings were given on a battlefield, and this battlefield symbolizes life itself. The doing of one’s duty has a deep spiritual significance. However humble our role may be in this universal epic drama, we are expected to play our part as best we can, with truthfulness and goodwill. Envying another’s position, taking a busybody interest in the affairs of others and neglecting the moral demands made on ourselves, is a dangerous path.
‘Better is one’s own duty, though devoid of merit, than the duty of another well-performed. Better is death in one’s own duty. The duty of another is productive of great danger.’ (Bhagavad Gita 18:47)
Yet within the active life, the great link with the Friend, the Divine, is to be maintained, and this is one’s highest duty. This link is vital and liberating when we consider our actions as an offering to God, doing our best and not worrying about the result. It is to live fully in the present moment, trusting the supreme, all-knowing source. Anxiety about results and the impression we are making, squanders our energy and hinders us from focusing on the demands of the moment. All anxieties, before, during and after our undertakings, can be safely handed over to the Lord, the Friend, who is a sure refuge and guide in any circumstance. This is part of the path of Karma Yoga, the Yoga of Action. It can be summed up in the verse:
Renouncing all actions in Me, with thy thought resting on the Self, being free from hope, free from selfishness, devoid of fever, do thou strive. (3:30)