The highest spiritual vision culminates in compassion, not inaction

Some spiritual seekers think that to avoid bondage and to grow spiritually, they need to reject the world and give up all action.

While this conception can help them start their spiritual journey, they need to eventually evolve till they see the spiritual potential of action. The Bhagavad-gita outlines such evolution in its sixth chapter, which describes how the world-rejecting process of ashtanga-yoga culminates in compassionate engagement with the world.

Initially, yogis go to the forest to practice solitary meditation (06.11). Over time, as they practice spiritual disciplines determinedly, they grow in their self-understanding and realize themselves to be spiritual beings (06.28). They see everyone situated in the supreme spiritual reality, who is simultaneously situated in everyone (06.29). They understand the highest reality to be Krishna, who is never lost to them, nor they ever lost to him (06.30).

They see all living beings equally, equal in their essential spirituality and equal in their relationship with Krishna (06.31). By comparing others with themselves in the light of spiritual knowledge, they understand that everyone is similar in their longing for joy and in their vulnerability to sorrow (06.32). All sorrows are caused ultimately by disconnection from Krishna, and all joys come most enduringly by connection with him. Further, they understand that Krishna compassionately strives to help everyone grow spiritually – through his indwelling manifestation as the Supersoul and through his descents to this world. Their devotion inspires them to assist him in his divine mission of compassion to help everyone realize their blissful spiritual nature.

Thus, by their exalted spiritual realization, they re-envision action as a means to channel divine compassion and to express their devotion. Through such devotional actions, they themselves enter, and inspire others to enter, into fulfilling reciprocations with Krishna, initially in this world and eventually in his eternal abode.

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  1. compassion is the culmination of BHAKTI

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