[Advaita-l] What is siddhiH? gita 2.48 yogasthaH kuru karmANi

Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water) vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com
Wed Jan 23 12:26:55 CST 2008

Here are my thoughts on the question you raise about bhagavatpAda's
comment on samatva-buddhi towards siddhi and asiddhi in karma yoga. The
gItA is not talking of karma-phala-prApti in verses 2.48-50, but

When it is said, phala-tRshNA-SUnyena kriyamANe karmaNi sattva-Suddhi-jA
jnAna-prApti-lakshaNA siddhiH, this siddhi is not the result of jnAna
itself. Rather, the AcArya is pointing to the result of karma yoga,
which is mental purification leading to attainment of knowledge.
Attaining this result is siddhi and failure to attain this is asiddhi.
The advice given here is that the karma-yogi should strive to be
equanimous even towards success and failure in attaining this result.

Note that he also says, while karma-yoga should be done with an attitude
of dedication to ISvara, an attitude of attachment to pleasing ISvara
should also be given up - tatrApi ISvaro me tushyatu iti sangaM tyaktvA.

The reason for this is the following. It is easier for one who does his
or her karma with an expectation of results to remain secure in the
notion that action always leads to results, sooner or later. There is a
comfort-zone, so to speak, for one who regards himself a doer. However,
when one is striving towards nishkAmya karma, and doesn't care for the
direct result of the karma itself, one's mind will latch on to an
attachment for the result of karma-yoga, namely the attainment of
knowledge. This attachment also needs to be given up, as it will end up
being a hindrance to karma yoga and its result. It is this siddhi or
asiddhi towards which we are told to be equanimous. The emphasis is
equal towards both siddhi and asiddhi. For example, there can be pride
in attaining the mental acuity needed for jnAna and frustration in not
attaining it. Both these have to be given up.

Verse 2.50 is a reassurance that if karma is done according to this
approach, the end-result, namely, the sattva-Suddhi -> jnAna, will
happen. In other words, success in the path of karma yoga requires
detachment towards the results of karma-yoga and an equanimous mind
during what can be a very long process of attaining this result.

> Vidyasankar Sundaresan

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