(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 19 March 2015, Pretoria, South Africa, Evening Lecture, Bhagavad-gita 1.1)
Up to the sixth chapter of Bhagavad-gita, we get a description of different types of yoga – karma yoga, jnana yoga and so on.
Karma yoga means to work, karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadācana mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te sańgo ‘stv akarmaṇi (Bhagavad-gita 2.47), that we have a right to work but we do not have a right to the fruits of our work. The fruits of the work belong to Krsna. They must be offered to Krsna. So whatever we do, work from morning to night if you wish to, but offer it to Krsna. The fruits of our labour are for Krsna as Krsna explains.
So this is something that sounds so alien, so awkward to this time. I mean, in this day and age, that does not make sense. But if you think about it, all the selfishness in the world does not make sense.
The other day I was making a presentation about a ‘gift economy’ instead of an economy which is based on each man for himself, or you can say a dog-eats-dog economy – pushing others out of the way, a heavy competition type of economy. A kind of economy where each man is for himself, is what the world has and that kind of economy creates bad relationships. The economy of each man for himself creates a kind of distrust in all relationships. Then even marriage becomes a business agreement. Even there, better to make a contract!
So the other approach is very different. It is known sometimes as an economy based on generosity. An economy based on giving. It is not based on profit. It is based on goodwill. You give and by giving to others, you create goodwill and then when you need, it also comes back! The more you give, the more others will also give and the more everything will go on. It is not going on in this day and age so much but that is the traditional culture, Vedic culture, which was once very prominent in the world. That was the culture. Even outside of India, the influence of that Vedic culture was strong. So this culture of just giving is a big thing and there are still many traditions in the world where hospitality is like a sacred thing. When someone comes to your house, you have to feed them. You know, it is like that even in Muslim countries, you have to feed a visitor, same in traditional India. You could go anywhere as a stranger.
Like in Bangladesh – Bangladesh is known as a very poor country, one of the poorest countries in the world. We went to Bangladesh. So when you think of Bangladesh, you think people are starving, that there is nothing to eat.
But was there nothing to eat? It started with a big feast. From the airport, we went to the first town and there was a band playing in the town and I thought maybe it was a marriage because that is what they have usually at weddings. But it was not, it was for us! Then it carried on and carried on. We had this incredible feast and then an incredible kirtan. It is just, whew!
It is funny because in terms of money, Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world but if you look in terms of natural opulence – we saw mango trees everywhere, we saw so many coconuts, we saw so much natural opulence – so we realized it is not all about money there. People live straight from the land, actually they live in opulence, in natural opulence.
Anyway this principle of giving and creating goodwill, that is karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadācana, that you are not in the spirit of taking the fruits of your work, but that you say, “No, these fruits, I am going to use for the glorification of Krsna, so I will sponsor all the prasadam for all the devotees.” I have many times, proposed and I will say it again today, that thirty families invite each other one day a month to their house and they cook a feast. In that way, you have to cook only once a month. You cook only once a month and you get a feast every day! It is such a simple solution and every day you are with the devotees and there is a program every night. It is like, it takes only thirty families and you have got the month covered. Is it a good proposal?
Then if you do it, and you invite me and you really do it, then I will stay for a whole month and come to every house! (laughing) You can consider it…