[Advaita-l] IshvarapraNidhAna of yoga and karma-yoga of Gita

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Mar 4 06:18:38 CST 2012

On Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 7:54 PM, Ramakrishna Upadrasta <
uramakrishna at gmail.com> wrote:

> namaste,
> Thanks to everyone for the very nice recent discussions on upAsana and
> bhakti.
> I would like to know the difference between IshvarapraNidhAna of yoga
> and karma-yoga of gItA.
> The explanation in vyAsa and vAchaspati-mishra's explanation (in pages
> 139-142 of [1]) and the references to gitA and other texts therein
> like:
> -- yatkaroShi BG 9.27
> -- aruroxormuneyogaM BG 6.3
> -- bhoktAraM yaGYA tapasa  5.29
> and other similar references seems to suggest a very close meaning
> between these two.

Yes.  It is indeed so.   I shall copy below an extract from the Book 'Crest
Jewel of Yogis' Part One, p. 181:

The last of the 'niyama-s' listed by Maharishi Patanjali is Ishwara
praNidhAnam or dedication to God.  Sri Sadasivendra Saraswati explains this

Ishwara praNidhAnam is the dedication to Ishwara, without consideration of
results, of all actions, both prescribed and prohibited.  It is said,
'Having offered You everything that I do - willingly or unwillingly,
virtuous or vile - I act, impelled by You.'  The destructiveness of
attachment to result has been declared by the great ones as, 'Even though
effected by effort, if austerity is impaired by desire, it does not serve
to please the great God, as for example, paayasam (a sweet preparation)
licked by a dog.'

Acharyal (Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha SwaminaH) has a natural and
spontaneous love for Ishwara and constantly maintains that whatever good
accrues is solely due to the Lord's will.  The feeling, " I am but a mere
instrument in God's hands', is constantly with Him and did not require much
effort to be inculcated as such.  Since His boyhood days,  Acharyal was
enthralled by Ambal's presence.  He has told me (the author of this book),
'In Her presence I seldom go about praying conventionally or chant
stotras.  I look at Her and can feel Her presence vividly.  My mind is
captivated and I just keep silent in Her loving presence.'  On my asking
Him whether this feeling was there since His teens, He answered in the
affirmative.  Of course, at times, we do see Him talking to Ambal.  This is
obvious even to a slightly discerning observer for he can also see that
Acharyal is smiling and nodding with an occasional movement of lips as if
in conversation.  He often speaks of 'Prerana'. He has given me the
following clarification, 'When I sit with My mind quiet and attuned to God,
I can clearly feel the force of Divine guidance resolving an issue
regarding which a decision needs to be taken. Likewise, sometimes the word
of God spontaneously becomes manifest.  It is of course essential to
prevent oneself from being biased, as otherwise there is a possibility of
mistkaing one's own views as inspiration produced by Ishwara.'

Acharyal has the full conviction that whatever Ishwara does is in our best
interest though it may superficially seem that things are going wrong.
[After narrating a common tale (the tale is skipped by me while copying on
this post) Acharyal continued]:

'Once we develop the mental attitude that whatever Ishwara wills is the
best, then we will be free from care and unaffected by success and
failure.  Our love of God will cause us to be efficient instruments in His
hands.' Acharyal never preaches what He has not practised and so these
words are themselves pointers to the attitude He Himself might have
cultivated when young.


The very idea of karma yoga that involves our adhering to the duties that
have fallen to our lot with dedication and efficient performance,
presupposes our accepting the Lordship of Ishwara, the giver of the Veda
and smRti.  Without this element, according to the sampradaya, there is no
karma yoga possible.  'IshwarapraNidhAnam' is a term Shankara uses in the
BSB that I quoted from recently.  And there Shankara includes all the
practices that go into devotion including the constant contemplation of
God. In the BG //aruroxormuneyogaM BG 6.3// the outward karma as yoga and a
shift, a growth from there, to the inward contemplation are both shown as
cause and effect.


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