The Supreme Lord pervades each and every aspect of the entire universe, and this pervasiveness makes all beings a blend of the material and the spiritual.

The physical or material aspect is characterised by the body, mind and intellect, and the spiritual component is known as the atman of self. Our involvement with the world is through our senses, and we are engaged in intellectual, emotional or purely physical activities.

The Bhagavad Gita advises us to discriminate between the material and the spiritual in our beings so that we make the right choice to go to a higher state, pointed out Swami Parthasarathi in a lecture.

‘As you think, so you become,’ goes the adage. If we are able to constantly recognise the atma dwelling in us, the awareness of its presence changes our perception of life.

We will realise that there is a silent and watchful self in us at all times taking stock of the way we interact with the world — what we think, speak or act, our likes and dislikes and so on.

The self remains a passive witness; yet we come to understand its subtle role: it does not do anything, but without it we cannot do anything. It does not react or feel but it activates all our functions.

The self’s objectivity is similar to that of an actor on stage who maintains his identity and remains unattached to the actions he performs with total involvement. Such a stance gives us equanimity. We should not let go the truth that it is a role we play.

Swadharma is one’s own nature and paradharma is what is different from one’s nature.

Lord Krishna says one should adhere to act according to one’s nature even if it is not conducive as any other choice can bring drastic consequences. There is less chance of mental agitation in this path. Arjuna feels killing others is evil.

Krishna points out that a soldier has to fight since it is his commitment. All actions have repercussions and faults just as fire has smoke.

It is not what you do that matters. It is what you think, and how you relate to the action and the motivation for the act that cause bondage.

More In: Faith | Friday Review