"The Song of the Blessed One"
Gandhi was seen most of the time with the Bhagavad Gita under his arm. This book, meaning "The Song of the Blessed One" is one of the foundational texts of Classical Yoga. Gandhi believed that the Gita held important spiritual messages for all of mankind, including the "most excellent way to attain self-realization".
Gandhi concluded that our greatest spiritual ambition is to become more like God, or if you prefer a non-religious language, to unite with a universal loving energy that connects us all. And the greatest way to achieve this? Renunciation of the fruits of action.
The Gita says, "do your allotted work but renounce its fruit--be detached and act--have no desire for reward and work".
This morning as I thought about what this might mean to Yoga students of today, I heard the chirping of my 9 month-old son as he was waking. My reflections on the Gita were now being put to action-perhaps the whole point of this spiritual text! The actions now required of me as a mother were to hold my son, to wish him a good morning, to change his clothes...and indeed I began to feel more god-like.
I realized that what contributed to my feeling more "god-like" were two things: being present and the act of loving. Being present meant that I did not have any particular future-oriented goal in mind, though in the end the diaper got changed. Being present offers us a beautiful experience of the "timelessness" often attributed to spiritual enlightenment. The act of loving, or I might say the experience of loving, is to me, the closest thing I can imagine to being "more like God". When we give love, we feel love, which is then a gift to ourselves as well. Love dissolves the boundaries between us, taking us to that "union" of Yoga where the ego or "I" state can not exist.
To really surrender the ego, we must have courage and the willingness to be open to something that is beyond our capacity to completely understand or control. And yet, the Gita also reminds us to act! It's a bit of a paradox, and a challenge for most of us, to engage in actions required of us while continually renouncing our attachment to any particular result. When most Yoga students experiment with this they report incredible feelings of peace, of "lightness" and contentedness...and what Gandhi would probably describe as 'the song of the blessed one'.