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June 2016 – The Inner Reality, Part 2

The next two PB eTeachings deal with the three chapters in The Inner Reality titled:
“The Scripture of the Yogis: 1. Renunciation,”
“The Scripture of the Yogis: 2. Revelation,”
“The Scripture of the Yogis: 3. Realization.”
They are PB’s commentary on the Bhagavad Gita.

“The Bhagavad Gita is one of the few scriptures in the world which definitely and purposely explain the principles and practices of the gospel of inspired action.” These words from The Inner Reality (p.182) indicate the high regard Paul Brunton has for this Indian classic which tries “in a remarkable manner” to satisfy the ideals of both the East and the West. He reveals in selected representative lines the esoteric meaning rather than the religious meaning in the Gita. He writes: “The beautiful simplicity and lofty quality of this Indian bible bring it into favourable and complementary light alongside of the New Testament. Krishna not only represents the embodied spiritual teacher, but he is ultimately the Overself within man, the God within who can illuminate all dark corners and answer all questions.” (p.128)

In the first section, “Renunciation,” the disciple receives the teaching to fight, i.e., to act, but asks, “Why shouldn’t I retire and let others perform the action? Life is obviously a dream; therefore I will sit still and watch the dream go by.” (p. 131) PB comments that while this indicates an advanced understanding, it does not include the realization that whatever you do, you cannot refrain from acting, since you are involved in mental action and cannot escape your thoughts. “Therefore be inwardly the witness of life, as you wish to be, but do not be afraid of it.” (p. 131) Since we have been sent here on earth, we cannot shirk the calamities of material life. We can, however, evade the conventional reaction to them. The Gita states:

Thy concern is with action alone, never with results. Let not the fruit of action be thy motive,
nor let thy attachment be for inaction. Steadfast in devotion do thy works,
O disciple, casting off attachment, being the same in success and failure. (p.131)

The ascetic and the would-be yogi may try to banish all thoughts, but the sage is not trying to do anything. “He understands and accepts thoughts, but he is not at their mercy, for he realizes what they really are and controls them effortlessly and spontaneously.” (p. 134)

The disciple desires to know why, “if understanding the truth is so necessary, he should be asked to plunge into activity.” (p. 134) The teacher replies:

“ In this world a twofold path was taught by Me at first, that of devotion to knowledge and that of devotion to action.” (p. 135)

The teacher describes the path of action. He stresses the performance of duty and the repayment of the debt which one owes to Nature. PB writes that “the real problem for the spiritual man is how to render efficient service and give himself up to his work in this feverish contemporary world, and yet remain loyal to his inner call.” (p. 135)

The teacher inculcates sacrifice, but it is a peculiar kind of sacrifice. It is a sacrifice of service. You must serve because it is right to serve, act because it is right to act, and then sacrifice the result of your actions to destiny. This path is appropriate for modern day life. It is PB’s belief that ancient wisdom must unite with modern science. (p.135)

PB concludes the first section with this quote:

“A divine purpose pulsates through the whole of Nature. He who learns the art of right meditation will ultimately put himself into harmony with that purpose, which will thenceforward use him as a holy instrument in his labours among the strayed sheep of mankind. The universal awareness of the one Overself as being present in all others, automatically brings him into perfect sympathy with all others, and therefore makes him yearn to bring them all into their own self-awareness. Because they are living in a physical world and in a physical body, the best way he can reach them is through physical means, which means a life of inspired activity.” (p. 135)