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Naishkarmya (Actionless State)

by Swami Sivananda
Simply sitting quiet cannot make a man actionless (Naishkarmya). He will have a thousand and one Sankalpas in the mind. The mind must become perfectly quiet. One should be absolutely thoughtless. Then only does he gain freedom from action. I repeat again the words of the Gita:

"Nor can anyone, even for an instant, remain really actionless; for helplessly is everyone driven to action by the qualities born of nature." Ch. III-5

The qualities force a man to do some action or other. Again the Gita says: "There is not an entity, either on earth, or again in heaven among the shining ones, that is liberated from these three qualities born of matter." That Yogi who has transcended the three qualities of Rajas, Tamas and Sattva, and rests in the Self can be really actionless. The Lord further says: "Nor indeed can embodied beings completely relinquish action." Ch. XVIII-11. If anyone sits quiet by merely controlling the organs of action through the practice of Hatha Yoga, and if his mind constantly dwells on the objects of the senses, he is no doubt a perfect hypocrite. Lord Krishna extols the man "who, controlling the senses by the mind, O Arjuna, with the organs of action, without attachment performs Yoga by action, he is worthy." Ch. III-7. In verse three of the same chapter He says: "Nobody can attain perfection, i.e., freedom from action and devotion in the path of Jnana Yoga by mere renunciation, by merely abandoning action without acquiring Brahma Jnana."

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