This is about doing good and this accusation is often made by missionaries that ‘you Westerners bring your Christian morality even when you are not believing Christians any more, you bring your Christian morality with you and then when you study yoga, or Buddhism, or something like that, you assume that there is Christian morality. Then there is the yoga doctrine, or Buddhist doctrine, on top of that when infact the morality isn’t there.’ Now to make a point in Chapter thirteen of the Gita verses seven to eleven there are twenty qualities which are given to acquire knowledge they are themselves called knowledge because they are the means of knowledge. Now if we read the list, we’ll just read it now, and notice where does it ever say in this list do some good to somebody:
This is to acquire knowledge.
Now our teacher compared this to a school boy who wanted to do good but he can’t do good, he can do a little, but if he studies hard and becomes a skilled engineer then he can offer his services to his community and he can do great good and he gave an example. Some Indian villagers lived near a swamp and of course there was malaria there because the flies bred in the swamp, and one way of doing good was to nurse the sick with malaria, that was one way, but the other thing was skilled engineering to drain the swamp and then the malaria disappeared. He gave that example. He said the yoga is to qualify ourselves by being able to do good by taking the root of the evil out and not simply by patching up the effects.
The people who are making wars all over the world are not starving, there is a feeling if only the poor could be fed all would be well when they become well fed, that’s just it. No, not at all, as Mother Teresa said ‘we may be starving in the East but somehow we get by, but you in the West are spiritual starving and you do not get by.’ People now are plagued with anxiety more and more, people are committing suicide, but yoga, our teacher said, ‘is the remedy,’ and this is the true gift. Now when those people say ‘well those qualities leading to knowledge don’t say anything about doing good to anyone.’ No, but the seventeenth chapter of the Gita contains the three pillars of yoga, gift is one, tapas – austerity is another and sacrifice or worship is the third, and he says, ‘gift, the material gift, yes it exists, but this is not the fundamental thing. It can rectify the immediate situation but it will reoccur again. Life is a suffering, you can mitigate the suffering but not cure it. The second gift is the gift of courage, but the third gift, which he said is the gift of yoga, is the gift of wisdom, he said this is the gift for which the world is starving.
© Trevor Leggett