In this excerpt, Krishna refrences some crazy Hindu beliefs about rebirth (whooops, that’s not very pc is it? – yes, I went there), and more importantly discusses the freedom that comes from being “established in the Self.” This is basically the Hindu way of saying “He must increase and I must decrease” or “not I, but Christ (God) in me.” The more you are filled with God (for a Hindu “Brahman”, or the true “Self” at the core of every personality), the less you care about yourself. Thus the loss of attachment to the results of action, or anxiety over “what happens to me.” Thus freedom. But I digress. Here’s Krishna…
“You and I have passed through many births, Arjuna. You have forgotten, but I remember them all.
My true being is unborn and changeless. I am the Lord who dwells in every creature. Through the power of my own maya, I manifest myself in a finite form.
Whenever dharma declines and the purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest myself on earth. I am born in every age to protect the good, to destroy evil, and to reestablish dharma.
Those who know me as their own divine Self break through the belief that they are the body and are not reborn as separate creatures. Such a one, Arjuna, is united with me. Delivered from selfish attachment, fear, and anger, filled with me, surrendering themselves to me, purified in the fire of my being, many have reached the state of unity in me.
As they approach me, so I receive them. All paths, Arjuna, lead to me.
Those desiring success in their actions worship the gods; through action in the world of mortals, their desires are quickly fulfilled. The distinctions of caste, guna, and karma have come from me. I am their cause, but I myself and changeless and beyond all action. Actions do not cling to me because I am not attached to their results. Those who understand this and practice it live in freedom. Knowing this truth, aspirants desiring liberation in ancient times engaged in action. You too can do the same, pursuing and active life in the manner of those ancient sages.
What is action and what is inaction? This question has confused the greatest sages. I will give you the secret of action, with which you can free yourself from bondage. The true nature of action is difficult to grasp. You must understand what is action and what is inaction, and what kind of action should be avoided.
The wise see that there is action in the midst of inaction and inaction in the midst of action. Their consciousness is unified, and every act is done with complete awareness.
The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results; all his selfish desires have been consumed in the fire of knowledge. The wise, ever satisfied, have abandoned all external supports. Their security is unaffected by the results of their action; even while acting, they really do nothing at all. Free from expectations and from all sense of possession, with mind and body firmly controlled by the Self, they do not incur sin by the performance of physical action.
They live in freedom who have gone beyond the dualities of life. Competing with no one, they are alike in success and failure and content with whatever comes to them. They are free, without selfish attachments; their minds are fixed in knowledge. They perform all work in the spirit of service, and their karma is dissolved….
Those established in the Self have renounced selfish attachments to their actions and cut through doubts with spiritual wisdom. They act in freedom. Arjuna, cut through this doubt in your own heart with the sword of spiritual wisdom. Arise; take up the path of yoga!”