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Chapter 18: Non-attachment Is Not Aversion

In the same way it is a virtue if you desire to save someone. Whether he will be saved or not is a different matter, but the fact that you want to save him is enough unto itself; this desire is virtuous. For example, someone is dying, he is a terminal case, and you are trying to save him. He is going to die tomorrow, but you have already earned merit by trying to save him.

The desire to hurt others is sinful, and the desire to help others is virtuous.

But Krishna soars still higher; he says one can transcend both violence and non-violence, vice and virtue, pleasure and pain, and then there is nothing - neither violence nor non-violence, neither vice nor virtue. They all are illusory.

If one goes beyond the dialectics of violence and non-violence, pain and pleasure, if he knows for himself they are illusory, then in the very knowing all his violent thoughts and feelings will drop, he will be free of them. When you realize that no one is killed, then why will you think of killing? When you know that no one is saved, you will not be bothered with the problem. And if, in the light of truth, you know your mind with all its urges and emotions, you will attain to heaven. Then it is not a question of going to heaven in some future time, you are already in heaven.

When one attains to a state where pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat are all alike, when one transcends all dualities and divisions, when one realizes the integrity and oneness of life then he is in heaven. Because this state of equanimity and evenness itself is heaven.

According to Krishna, this samatvabuddhi, this balance and steadiness, equanimity and evenness of intelligence is called yoga.

Krishna says there are two kinds of illusions. One is that you think that someone can be killed, and the other that you can kill him. Similarly it is an illusion to think that someone can be saved and that you can save him. When you are released from the first illusion that someone can be killed or saved, then the second illusion that you sin by killing and earn merit by saving will drop by itself.

The idea of vice and virtue is part of the same ignorance which makes you believe that life and death is a reality. If life and death is an illusion, then what is, is. Then vice and virtue are equally illusory. And to know what is illusory, to know the false as false, is knowledge. It is wisdom. And one established in wisdom does not do a thing on his part, he allows everything within and without to happen on its own. It is a state of total acceptance.

Krishna says this much to Arjuna: “See and accept that which is, and don’t interfere with the ways of existence. Don’t swim upstream in the river of life; just float in it. If you do so you are in heaven.”