Rays of the One Light
Weekly commentaries on the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita
by Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters)
Truth is one and eternal. Realize oneness with it in your deathless Self, within. The following commentary is based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.
Week 20: Activity vs. Inner Communion
Last week we contemplated the well-known story of Martha and Mary. Traditionally, this story has been offered to show the two classic approaches to salvation: the first, through action, and the second, through prayer. The excuse of the Marthas of this world has always been, “The church needs its Marthas, too.” Treatises, moreover, have been written to justify the Martha approach to piety, praising her self-sacrifice as, perhaps, an even higher demonstration of devotion. (Thus do the unmeditative workers in religion try to justify themselves!) Yet the fact remains that Jesus rebuked Martha. Elsewhere, moreover, he spoke of the virtue of feeding the hungry, curing the sick, and housing those who were homeless. It wasn't that he disapproved of serving people.
Wrong attitude was the object of his criticism. What he was criticizing was forgetfulness of the true goal of right, spiritual action. Good deeds, outwardly, without inner communion with God, will result in good karma but will not bring final freedom from all karma.
The path to inner freedom was described by Paramhansa Yogananda in these words: “Be always calmly active, and actively calm.”
As it says in the Bhagavad Gita, the second Chapter:
Do your duty in life—so counsels this great Scripture elsewhere—but never lose sight of Him to whom all action should be dedicated.
He who is not shaken by anxiety during times of sorrow, nor elated during times of happiness; who is free from egoic desires and their attendant fear and anger: Such an one is of steady discrimination.
Thus, through holy Scripture, God has spoken to mankind.
Copyright © 1996 by Hansa Trust