Ch 9 VERSE 27
यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत् ।
यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम् ॥२७॥
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
yat—what; karoṣi—you do; yat—whatever; aśnāsi—you eat; yat—whatever; juhoṣi—you offer; dadāsi—you give away; yat—whatever; yat—whatever; tapasyasi—austerities you perform; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; tat—that; kuruṣva—make; mat—unto Me; arpaṇam—offering.
O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
“O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.”
So now we are really getting down to the essential message of the Bhagavad-gita.
If you remember, in the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna had expressed to Krishna his grave concern, that if he were to engage in what he called this ghastly warfare, that he would incur sin. And he proposed that instead of fighting he should leave the battlefield and renounce everything, and go off to the Himalayas and live in a hermitage or a cave, and engage in what he perceived to be the yoga process; and this was how one could avoid sinful reactions to one’s activities, and no longer—and become free from the repeated cycle of birth and death, because it is after all the fruit of karma, the karmic reactions that bind the living being, along with their desires to this cycle of repeated birth and death.
But what Krishna is proposing, He had already said that that would not actually work. It is something that is often done by certain classes of spiritual practitioners, but it does not bring one to the highest spiritual platform.
Krishna warned that for one who gives up engagement in material activity, but who at the same time continues to desire it within the mind, that such a person is a pretender. And we saw, with many descriptions in the Bhagavad-gita, the different challenges for people trying to undertake these different yogic processes. The engagement in what is categorized as karma-yoga, where one at least makes an offering of some, if not all, of the fruits of one’s work to the Supreme Lord, we saw how that brings spiritual stability and enlightenment.
Here it is going even further, where Krishna is not saying, “Well, you do what you want to do, and then the fruits of that are created from your activities, you now take those and offer some of them to Me.” Krishna in this instruction is saying, and I’ll just read the verse:
“O son of Kunti, all that you do, all let you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.”
And then I’ll just read the next verse to that, so that we get the full context, where Lord Krishna says:
“In this way you will be freed from all reactions to good and evil deeds, and by this principle of renunciation you will be liberated and come to Me.”
So we had heard in different parts of the Gita about the significance of being renounced, not being attached to worldliness, and worldly experience. But here actual renunciation has been defined, when one recognizes that it is Krishna who is the ultimate proprietor of everything. The reality is even our body we do not own. In due course of time this will be taken away from us, which shows—I mean, in spite of the fact that we don’t want to let go of it. The fact that all living beings are removed from their bodies at the time of death by force indicates that this is not our property, that we don’t actually have full control over it. It is something that was lent to us for some time.
When we recognize that everything in fact is owned by the Supreme Lord—there is the wonderful verse found in the Isopanisad, this Isopanisadic verse, that states: “isavasyam idam sarvam.” This means, it means that everything, as in the verse:
“Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord, Isvara. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things knowing well to whom they belong.”
So this is the actual foundation for renunciation, is the recognition that nothing here is mine, even this body I cannot lay claim to. But if in recognizing that everything is ultimately—belongs to Krishna, then in my life, if I follow what is described here, I make an offering of the entirety of my life, everything I do, not some things or most things, but everything, then one will automatically be renounced. They will have attained the highest level of renunciation, and they will indeed be coming—or have become free from all karmic reaction, because their entire life has now become a spiritual offering.
This is the great power of the process of bhakti, that even though one may be lowly and fallen, if one engages in the process under the direction of a spiritual master, then one can rise, within this lifetime, to the highest spiritual platform, the highest spiritual realization, the highest spiritual experience. And it boils down to this practical reality of dovetailing one’s life, while living within the material world, in the service of the Lord. And you’re not asked to do anything extraordinary. You simply make a practical offering of everything that you do.
It goes without saying, and what one will quickly understand, if you consider this principle, not everything that you could conceivably do is pleasing. And so then one is forced to consider, if you want to undertake a particular activity, want to engage in a particular relationship, want to acquire something or some experience, is this pleasing to Krishna? With that very simple principle one can then have a yardstick in their life, to measure whether I am living in a way that is pleasing.
I’ll just read something that I have here:
“As the rivers draw water from the sea through the clouds, and again go down to the sea, similarly our energy is borrowed from the supreme source, the Lord’s energy, and it must return to the Lord. That is the perfection of the use of our energy. The Lord therefore says that whatever we do, whatever we undergo as penance, whatever we sacrifice, whatever we eat or whatever we give in charity, must be offered to Him. That is the way of utilizing this borrowed energy.”
In the Bhagavata Purana:
“In accordance with the particular nature one has acquired in conditioned life, whatever one does with body, words, mind, senses, intelligence or purified consciousness one should offer to the Supreme, thinking, “This is for the pleasure of Lord Narayana.”
So before speaking about that I’ll just mention, for those that are unfamiliar the name Narayana, is a name given in the Vedas to address the Supreme Lord, but in a feature that is filled with majesty and power. Krishna is the source of Lord Narayana. Lord Narayana is a manifestation from Krishna. It embodies his majesty and power. The form of Krishna embodies transcendental sweetness. This is the distinction.
But the instruction that is given here, is how—it confirms what has just been stated in this Bhagavad-gita verse, that, “… whatever one does with their body, words, mind, senses, intelligence or purified consciousness, one should offer to the Supreme, thinking this is for the pleasure of Lord Narayana.”
In the Bhagavata—beginning of the Bhagavata Purana, the 1st canto, 2nd chapter, there is also a really extraordinary verse that reinforces this, in quite a profound way:
“All occupational engagements are certainly meant for ultimate liberation. They should never be performed for material gain. Furthermore, according to sages, one who is engaged in the ultimate occupational service should never use material gain to cultivate sense gratification.”
In the material concept of life, is that the body is me, and my highest good, my happiness, will come from stimulating my senses, the senses of this body, by having different types of—or undertaking attempts to gratify the different desires that arise from my senses, to see things, to taste, to touch smell, hear, to feel, that this is my highest good. But we learn from the Vedas that this is not at all our highest good. In fact, this can lead, or does lead to perpetual suffering, the wheel of samsara, that our highest good actually comes from transcendental engagement in the loving service of the Supreme Person, the supreme object of love.
That’s quite a radical idea. And if one is to apply that then—when it describes here all occupational engagements, the Sanskrit here is dharmasya. This word dharma, of course, is used in many different ways. And here it is used in the highest sense: the engagement of the soul itself, in any form of activity.
And so it is understood that in the embodied state, according to the nature of a particular person’s body and their mentality, one will be engaged in different types of work within this world. If we accept the responsibility of having a partner in life, a family, or just maintaining our own body, or being of some service to our fellow man, or all other living beings, it will entail engagement in work. And this work is unavoidable.
But this principle of dovetailing one’s life—this word is an interesting word it describes a type of joint that was used in carpentry, when one built a chest of drawers for instance. Nobody does this anymore because it’s too time consuming. But they would build, and when they would join two pieces of wood together they would cut in one side like the tail of a dove. There would be a place for that to sit. And then the other piece of wood would be the actual tail itself, like a triangular piece of wood. And when you fit them together, they fit perfectly together, and do not come apart. And so this was a dovetail joint. And that was used, that term then was used in lots of different ways, you know, when we talk about dovetailing a person’s tendencies with whatever.
In the spiritual sense, these instructions teach us how one should dovetail their life in the service of the Lord, that their eternal spiritual nature will become manifest, when we engage in this sadhana, this process of bhakti.
If we are to accelerate the process, then one needs to carefully and conscientiously consider what my choices in life are going to be. What are the choices that I’m going to make? What are the actions I’m going to undertake? And one would seek to do this in a way that is going to be ultimately, completely pleasing to the Lord. And so in this process one awakens their actual eternal relationship with Krishna, and begins to experience this connection, this realization of this condition of spiritual love, and the engagement in a devotional mood of serving this Supremely Lovable Person, leading one to the highest platform of spiritual experience.
Thank you very much.