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Right Conduct

Part 68 of the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening

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He who hates no being, is friendly and compassionate, free from “mine,” free from “I,” the same in pain and pleasure, patient, the yogi who is always content, self-controlled and of firm resolve, whose mind and intellect are fixed on me, who is devoted to me–he is dear to me. He who agitates not the world, and whom the world agitates not, who is freed from joy, envy, fear and distress–he is dear to me. He who is indifferent, pure, capable, objective, free from anxiety, abandoning all undertakings, devoted to me–he is dear to me. He rejoices not, he hates not, he grieves not, he desires not, renouncing the agreeable and disagreeable, full of devotion–he is dear to me. The same to enemy and to friend, the same in honor and disgrace, in heat and cold, pleasure and pain, freed from attachment, the same in blame and praise, silent, content with anything whatever, not identifying with any place or abode, steady-minded, full of devotion–this man is dear to me (12:13-19).

Learning to behave

Somewhere a very long time ago (over half a century) I read in an article by Paramhansa Yogananda that his guru, Sri Yukteswar, said to him at the beginning of their association: “Learn to behave.” Yogananda commented that this was the most important teaching he ever received from Sri Yukteswar. I admit that it puzzled me because I was so conditioned by the “You behave yourself!” rebukes from parents to unruly children. Nevertheless, something seeped into my consciousness, because when two years later I went to India I immediately realized that the major thing I needed to do there was learn to behave. Part of the Aryan Eightfold Path taught by Buddha was Right Conduct.

It is a wonderful thing to discover yoga, a spiritual methodology that works according to precise principles, having nothing to do with the ups and downs, highs and lows, of haphazard religious endeavors. There are no hit-or-miss random payoffs or the whims of a pleased or displeased deity in the life of a yogi. The results are very real and very exact. If the aspirant has learned yoga that will lead to realization of the Self, a determined resolve to gain higher awareness and the will power needed to practice the yoga faithfully and skillfully is all that is needed. Leaving behind the Master/Slave syndrome of ignorant religion (along with that of false yoga and false gurus and their attendant toxic guru/disciple enslavement), the yogi moves onward to the revelation of his divine Self as an integral and eternal part of God.

But there are very definite and necessary qualifications for the aspiring yogi, and Krishna is about to explain them to us. So to I am going to divide the above verses into a “yogi list.”

A yogi:

hates no being

is friendly and compassionate

is free from attachment to possessions

is free from egotism

is indifferent to pain and pleasure

is patient

is always contented and balanced in mind

is self-controlled

is one whose conviction is firm

is one whose mind and intellect are fixed on God

is devoted to God

does not agitate [trouble] the world

is not agitated [troubled] by the world

is freed from joy

is freed from envy

is freed from fear

is freed from distress [anxiety]

is free from wants

is pure

is capable

is disinterested

is free from anxiety

has abandoned all undertakings

neither rejoices nor hates

grieves not

desires not

has renounced the pleasant and the unpleasant

is alike toward enemy and friend

is the same in honor and dishonor [disgrace]

alike [indifferent] in cold and heat

alike in pleasure and pain

freed from attachment

indifferent to blame or praise

is silent

is content with anything whatever

is homeless [in his heart, abiding only in God]

is steady-minded

Five times in these verses Krishna comments that such a one “is dear to me.” It is easy to see why.

To conclude the subject Krishna says:

Those who honor this immortal dharma just described, endued with faith, deeming me the Goal Supreme, devoted–they are exceedingly dear to me (12:20).

The only comment needed here is for me to point out that the wisdom taught by Krishna is not philosophy or theology but a way of life. We should always keep this in mind.

Read the next article in the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening: The Field and Its Knower

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Introduction to The Bhagavad Gita for Awakening

Preface to The Bhagavad Gita for Awakening

Bhagavad Gita for Awakening links:

  1. The Battlefield of the Mind
  2. On the Field of Dharma
  3. Taking Stock
  4. The Smile of Krishna
  5. Birth and Death–The Great Illusions
  6. Experiencing the Unreal
  7. The Unreal and the Real
  8. The Body and the Spirit
  9. Know the Atman!
  10. Practical Self-Knowledge
  11. Perspective on Birth and Death
  12. The Wonder of the Atman
  13. The Indestructible Self
  14. “Happy the Warrior”
  15. Buddhi Yoga
  16. Religiosity Versus Religion
  17. Perspective on Scriptures
  18. How Not To Act
  19. How To Act
  20. Right Perspective
  21. Wisdom About the Wise
  22. Wisdom About Both the Foolish and the Wise
  23. The Way of Peace
  24. Calming the Storm
  25. First Steps in Karma Yoga
  26. From the Beginning to the End
  27. The Real “Doers”
  28. Our Spiritual Marching Orders
  29. Freedom From Karma
  30. “Nature”
  31. Swadharma
  32. In the Grip of the Monster
  33. Devotee and Friend
  34. The Eternal Being
  35. The Path
  36. Caste and Karma
  37. Action–Divine and Human
  38. The Mystery of Action and Inaction
  39. The Wise in Action
  40. Sacrificial Offerings
  41. The Worship of Brahman
  42. Action–Renounced and Performed
  43. Freedom (Moksha)
  44. The Brahman-Knower
  45. The Goal of Karma Yoga
  46. Getting There
  47. The Yogi’s Retreat
  48. The Yogi’s Inner and Outer Life
  49. Union With Brahman
  50. The Yogi’s Future
  51. Success in Yoga
  52. The Net and Its Weaver
  53. Those Who Seek God
  54. Those Who Worship God and the Gods
  55. The Veil in the Mind
  56. The Big Picture
  57. The Sure Way To Realize God
  58. Day, Night, and the Two Paths
  59. The Supreme Knowledge
  60. Universal Being
  61. Maya–Its Dupes and Its Knowers
  62. Worshipping the One
  63. Going To God
  64. Wisdom and Knowing
  65. Going To The Source
  66. From Hearing To Seeing
  67. The Wisdom of Devotion
  68. Right Conduct
  69. The Field and Its Knower
  70. Interaction of Purusha and Prakriti
  71. Seeing the One Within the All
  72. The Three Gunas
  73. The Cosmic Tree
  74. Freedom
  75. The All-pervading Reality
  76. The Divine and the Demonic
  77. Faith and the Three Gunas
  78. Food and the Three Gunas
  79. Religion and the Three Gunas
  80. Tapasya and the Three Gunas
  81. Charity and the Three Gunas
  82. Sannyasa and Tyaga
  83. Deeper Insights On Action
  84. Knowledge, Action, Doer, and the Three Gunas
  85. The Three Gunas: Intellect and Firmness
  86. The Three Kinds of Happiness
  87. Freedom
  88. The Great Devotee
  89. The Final Words
  90. Glossary

Visit our e-library page for Free Downloads of this and other ebooks in various formats.

Read the Maharshi Gita, an arrangement of verses of the Bhagavad Gita made by Sri Ramana Maharshi that gives an overview of the essential message of the Gita.

Read The Bhagavad Gita (arranged in verses for singing) by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri).

Read about the meanings of unfamiliar terms in A Brief Sanskrit Glossary

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