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Chapter 14: Action, Inaction and Non-Action

Questioner: You say that on Krishna’s path self-remembering is enough; it does not leave room for any other spiritual discipline. But since you also speak about disciplining the seven bodies, can you give us a brief sketch of Krishna’s discipline in the context of the seven bodies?

There is no place in Krishna’s philosophy for any spiritual discipline, so the question of disciplining the seven bodies does not arise. The path of discipline is quite different from that of devotion. While discipline is gradual, consisting of stages, devotion is integral and one - without any stages. Discipline divides man into different bodies and works in stages; devotion does not do anything like this. For the sake of making the spiritual journey in stages, those who believe in discipline have divided the human body into seven parts. Each part is used as a stepping stone to another. But devotion does not believe in dividing man; it accepts him as one piece - a whole and indivisible entity. Devotion absorbs the devotee wholly and totally into its bosom.

Spiritual discipline has a variety of divisions and subdivisions. One discipline divides man into seven bodies, another divides him into seven chakras or centers. Different disciplines have different ways of dividing and subdividing. But devotion rejects all divisions straightway, and accepts man in his totality. And it is the total man who is called upon to remember himself. Devotion knows only one thing, remembrance. And you cannot remember a thing piece by piece; either you remember it whole or you don’t. One cannot remember himself so that he is part God and part man; if he remembers he remembers totally. The process of remembering is sudden and total; it cannot be piecemeal and gradual. It happens in one sweep, a leap. Remembrance is an explosion.

Discipline has a sequence; devotion has none. For example, you need to recall some name that you have long forgotten. You need it badly, but you cannot remember it. The name has been so familiar to you that you wonder. You are simultaneously aware that you know the name, and yet you cannot recall it. You are in a state of perplexity, confusion. You know that you know it - and yet you fail to remember it. You have completely forgotten it for the moment. The very word forgetfulness means you forget something you know. You are aware of it at some deeper level of your unconsciousness, yet it fails to communicate with your conscious mind. So you have to build a bridge between these two parts of your mind. What do you do?

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