[Advaita-l] Confused with Gita 5.10 & 5.11

Shyam Venkataraman shyam.venkataraman at gmail.com
Tue Sep 13 10:23:27 CDT 2005

 Dear Praveen,
 The body-mind complex is jadam (inert). For example: a carpenter needs 
tools like the axe, chisel to carry out his job. The tools themselves cannot 
perform any action. But without the tools the carpenter cannot do any 
carpentry. Therefore, with the tools alone, the actions take place. 
Similarly the sense organs become a tool for the person for doing various 
activities. But the sense organs by themselves are jadam (insentient). So 
nirgunam brahma lends consciousness to the sense organs. Therefore, any 
action is performed by the combination of atma or nirgunam 
brahma(consciousness) and the sense organs in the body-mind complex. 
Therefore the atma "as though" becomes a karta,bhogta. The atma is not a 
doer but without the atma there is no doer. 
 So, if you identify yourself as the body-mind complex, you will have to 
reap the punya-papa karma due to various actions. But in the wake of this 
knowledge, you know that you are not this body-mind complex. 
 I hope I have clarified your doubt.
 Hari Om!
 On 9/13/05, praveen.r.bhat at exgate.tek.com <praveen.r.bhat at exgate.tek.com> 
> praNAm,
> Could someone kindly help me understand the following two gItAshloka-s?
> 5.10 One who acts by dedicating actions to brahmaN and by renouncing
> attachment, he does not become polluted by sin, just as a lotus leaf is 
> not
> by water.
> 5.11 By giving up attachment, the yogis undertake work merely through the
> body, mind, intellect and even the organs, for the purification of
> themselves.
> I'm just using them as examples to clarify a long pending doubt. That is,
> nirguNa brahmaN not acting, why does the Lord ask to dedicate actions to
> brahmaN in 5.10? Is it not like telling yourself that I (BMI: body, mind,
> intellect) don't act, but I (brahmaN) does? Then again in 5.11, He says 
> that
> by this submission, BMI purifies (to enable renunciation, as per Shankara
> Bhashya). Abhinava Gupta, however, comments on 5.11 as the acts of BMI 
> have
> nothing to do with one's own self ('If the sense-organs like eyes etc.,
> function on their respective objects, what does it matter for me?), in 
> which
> case, would it not be like saying that the BMI is acting without me (as
> brahmaN) having nothing to do with it and let that BMI reap its own 
> fruits?
> I may be missing something concrete over here! Am I confused because of
> bringing in nirguNa brahmaN with karma yoga? As in, does karma yoga 
> anywhere
> talk of nirguNa brahmaN? If so, why associate and dedicate actions to the
> same?
> Sorry if I sound a lot offbeat!
> krishNArpaNamastu,
> --praveen
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