Action vs. Activities

Swami Chinmayananda

Generally, all of us tend to plunge into activities. Activities have a knack of multiplying themselves. In the beginning we run after work, but soon we find ourselves in an unenviable position, wherein the work hunts us down. This is the secret of sorrow, tensions and agitations in all activities.

The Bhagavad Gita tirelessly advices us to give up all 'activities' and initiate 'actions'. Action, when molested by ego and ego-centric desires, becomes activity.

Life, when it functions in an individual, must necessarily bring forth its manifestations through actions. These actions are nothing but life divine seen through the matter vestures. So long as the Supreme is allowed thus to express through us, actions flow from us and we become onlookers of the divine play. This is the fulfilment, the secret of all achievements.

Generally, we are not able to allow the divine to flow through us; we obstruct the flood of His music by our own wrong notes and distractions. Such clogging is created by us and our own ego-centric desires. Renouncing them in order to act is to remove all flaws from actions.

Activities may fail; actions cannot. Let us all learn to function in a spirit of dedication, thus bringing out 'action' through us, rather than indulging in 'activities'.

Message given during 104th Jñana Yajña in Chittoor from May 27 to June 16, 1962. [via Tapovan Prasad, December 2015]© Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, reproduced courtesy of Central Chinmaya Mission Trust