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Krishna said in Gita don't get attached (attachment is the cause of sufferings) but many scriptures' and people said we must totally get involved (flow state) whatever we are doing ( be it love or work ) which one is correct according to you ?

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  • totally get involved means not involve yourself selectively. Meaning, i like this so i will do it to some extent. I don't like this so I will not do it, or i will only do it for name sake or our of pressure and keepsake. Totally get involved is an English translation which means, you involve yourself with LIFE totally. And not live in pieces, meaning you are doing something but mind is somewhere else. You are eating dinner with family but your mind is busy thinking about work. There is nothing other than LIFE, everything in the head is just personal drama. Commented Sep 8, 2023 at 2:04

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You should be involved in the action yet renounce the doership.

He who seeth inaction in action and action in inaction, he is wise among men; he is a Yogi and performer of all actions.(BG 4.18)

Commentary by Swami Sivananda- In common parlance action means movement of the body, movement of the hands and feet, and inaction means to sit.It is the idea of agency the idea I am the doer that binds man to Samsara. If this idea vanishes, action is no action at all. It will not bind one to Samsara. This is inaction in action. If you stand as spectator or silent witness of Natures activities, feeling Nature does everything I am nondoer (Akarta). if you identify yourself with the actionless Self, no matter what work or how much of it is done, action is no action at all. This is inaction in action. By such a practice and feeling, action loses its binding nature.A man may sit quietly. He may not do anything. But if he has the idea of agency or doership, or if he thinks that he is the doer, he is every doing action, though he is sitting quietly. This is action in inaction. The restless mind will ever be doing actions even though one sits quietly. Actions of the mind are real actions. Nor can anyone even for one moment remain really actionless, for helplessly is everyone driven to action by the alities of Nature. (Chapter III.5) Inaction also induces the feeling of egoism. The inactive man says, I sit idelly I do nothing. Inaction, like action, is wrongly attributed to the Self.He is the performer of all actions who knows this truth. He has attained the end of all actions i.e. freedom or knowledge or perfection. When a steamer moves the trees on the shore which are motionless appear to move in the opposite direction to a man who is in the steamer. Moving objects that are very far away appear to be stationary or motionless. Even so in the case of the Self inaction is mistaken for action and,action for inaction.The Self is actionless (Akarta or nondoer Nishkriya or without work). The body and the senses perform action. The actions of the body and the senses are falsely and wrongly attributed by the ignorant to the actionless Self. Therefore the ignorant man thinks I act. He thinks that the Self is the doer or the agent of the action. This is a mistake. This is ignorance.Just as motion does not really belong to the trees on the shore which appear to move in the opposite direction to a man on board the ship, so also action does not really pertain to the Self.This ignorance which is the cause of birth and death vanishes when you attain self-realization.

Swami Vivekananda says that Gita asks actions to be done, without attachement and renouncing doership.

Look at Krishna: he was great as a son, as a king, as a father, and all through his life he practised the marvellous teachings which he preached.” “He who in the midst of the greatest activity finds the sweetest peace, and in the midst of the greatest calmness is most active, he has known the secret of life. Krishna shows the way how to do this — by being non-attached: do everything but do not get identified with anything. You are the soul, the pure, the free, all the time; you are the Witness. Our misery comes, not from work, but by our getting attached to something. Take for instance, money: money is a great thing to have, earn it, says Krishna; struggle hard to get money, but don’t get attached to it. So with children, with wife, husband, relatives, fame, everything; you have no need to shun them, only don’t get attached. There is only one attachment and that belongs to the Lord, and to none other. Work for them, love them, do good to them, sacrifice a hundred lives, if need be, for them, but never be attached. His own life was the exact exemplification of that.

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  • but attachment say with family brings fear and anger which leads to suffering....
    – quanity
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 21:16
  • When we take so much effort to write the answers, we expect people to have little patience and read them. I have updated the answer to explain it in even more detail. @quanity Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 8:36
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The attachment to be avoided is the one that leads to negative emotions on non-acquisition of the goal. Like grief, anger, hatred , jealousy, disappointment, depression and lust also arises from the aforementioned serpents. The involvedness exhorted is total rational focus and dedication to the work at hand with disconnection from thoughts of reward. One way of edging towards that divine workman spirit is understanding that what work you are doing is dedicated to a good purpose. It is the work of God, for God, even it for your fellowmen. Even if not successful at first, examine the causes that hindered and go forth with rationality and fervour. In case of failure one should feel that God expects a good person to give effort and is watching with love and kindness.

BG 2.62: While contemplating on the objects of the senses, one develops attachment to them. Attachment leads to desire, and from desire arises anger.

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Gita chap 18 seems to address this Q .

Non-attachment to outcome of karma, doesn't mean lack of accountability/ownership/involvement in karma.(becos 18.26, - 18.28 talks about the nature of satvika ..tamasika karta , ..also karma,budhi dhriti in terms of satvik.. tamasik.It does not hint that, a person does the karma without involvement)

Ones locus of control lies only within the horizon of performance of One's karma, not in the outcome !! Some other dynamizing forces may have a stake over the outcome ,which may turn it against ones predictions.

So it is logical to be concerned with, , what is within one's control , and not hanker for the outcome, that is out of control.Also non attachment could mean -without the speech of egotism( ana aham vadi) /personal bias (so the individual is not easily perturbed by external factors and moves forward.)

In this way , one develops the attitude of equanimity of mind overtime, which is a crucial for spiritual rise..

ayuktaḥ prākṛitaḥ stabdhaḥ śhaṭho naiṣhkṛitiko ‘lasaḥ viṣhādī dīrgha-sūtrī cha kartā tāmasa uchyate(18.28)
अयुक्तः न युक्तः असमाहितः? ayuktaha/asamahitaha could mean uninvolved, or unsteady.

mukta-saṅgo ‘nahaṁ-vādī dhṛity-utsāha-samanvitaḥ siddhy-asiddhyor nirvikāraḥ kartā sāttvika uchyate(18.26)
The performer is said to be in the mode of goodness, when he or she is free from (speech of)egotism and attachment(so does work without any personal bias), endowed with enthusiasm and determination, and equipoised in success and failure.(Swami Mukundananda)

so, one who is uninvolved in the work is a tamasika karta. whereas one who is endowed with determination and enthusiasm is a satvika karta.

PS : Satvika karma is not any random karma, but a Niyatham karma (obligatory work )

The daily obligatory action which is performed without attachment and without likes or dislikes by one who does not hanker for rewards, that is said to be born of sattva.(Swami Gambiranada)18.23

Freedom fighters could be an example of satvika karta

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  • but attachment say with family brings fear and anger which leads to suffering.
    – quanity
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 21:17
  • @quanity , When an obstruction to any desire occurs(say, the desire to acquire/preserve a relationship),the desire translates into anger/fear( Gita 2.62 kamat krodho ’bhijayate ).Thus the desire is said to be the root cause of all sufferings . Nevertheless ,owing to fact , Not all would be in the same stage of spiritual growth(maturity).,the solution is only according to ones level/feasibility .
    – Athrey
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 12:41
  • But even before that ,Gita says (after 18.66 sarva dharman...maam ekam) ,that this teaching is not for those who are averse to spiritual topics/naasthika/without bhakti, faith..If one is a right candidate then ,chap 12.5 to 12.11 describes various levels. The minimal option available is ,one should offer whatever work they do to Lord (say as Sarvam Krishnaarpanam ).. for it to be called a yoga.If one cannot do this also then the karma becomes Kamya karma , attracting cause & effect relationship (samsaara)
    – Athrey
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 12:41

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