Life is a series of actions. One after another, actions all the way. Even lazying around is an action. When you say I was just idling and not doing anything, there is a dichotomy here. Idling itself is an action, may not necessarily be a constructive one.
So, life is a series of actions and those actions are based on the decisions that we take. I decide to take a walk, so, I take a walk. I decide to eat food, so, I eat food. I decide to write software, so, I write software. Sometimes, the decisions are forced upon us. My father decided that I become an engineer and I became an engineer. So, even though it was my father who took the decision for me to become an engineer, it was still my decision to comply with his decision. My father decided that I become an engineer, I decided to comply with his decision, so, I became an engineer.
At times, we are prevented by external forces in our actions. I decide to go to office, I get stuck in a traffic jam, I couldn’t go to office. So, even though I couldn’t complete the action that I had initiated based on the decision that I had taken, I still kept taking decisions and kept acting based on those decisions all the time.
So, my life, your life, everyone’s life is a series of decision-action combos.
Now, these decisions are based on something. That something is knowledge. We know something, and based on that we take the decision. I know I am sleepy and I know that if I sleep, I’ll be ok and I know that I can afford to sleep now, so, I decide to sleep. I know that there is a traffic jam on the road and I know that it’s ok if I skip the office or go later in the day and I know that I can turn the car around to go back home, so, I decide to go back home.
So, you see, life is actually a series of knowledge-decision-action combos. The thing is that we are always so much involved in action part, that knowledge and decision just happen without we being much observant about them.
It is important for me and you and everyone to have correct knowledge. I am going to the office, I see some congestion on the road and some cars in front of me are not moving, I believe that there is a traffic jam on the road, I turn back to go home. However, it turns out that it was just mild congestion or a traffic signal and not a real traffic jam. Or let’s say I decide to turn back to go home but in the process I find that it’s not possible to turn back anymore. I unnecessarily caused myself some trouble and the other people will curse me too.
It is very very important to have the correct knowledge. So important that the word important is too small to capture its significance. I see a cloth floating in the river, I just ignore it. Later it turns out that it was my own child. You see now how important it is to have the correct knowledge. You need more examples? I guess not.
Companies spend so much money in getting what they call facts & figures. Major decisions are held up because it is not certain that the correct knowledge has been obtained or not. Anyway, as I said, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is.
So, correct knowledge is important. But correct knowledge is not enough. It is important; very important; so important that nothing seems to be more important than this. But it is not enough. We need to have the capability to base our decisions on the correct knowledge.
I have a running nose. I know that eating ice cream will be bad for my health. But the power that ice cream exerts over me makes me helpless and I get drawn towards the ice cream by an invisible power. So, even though I have correct knowledge that I shouldn’t be eating ice cream, I am not able to base my decision and action on that knowledge.
So, correct knowledge is important but not enough. It is equally important to have the capability to base the decisions on the correct knowledge.
Now, what does Yoga have to do with all this stuff? Isn’t it about retiring in the jungle and sitting cross-legged with eyes closed? What connection can it possibly have with correct knowledge, decisions and actions?
We shouldn’t forget here that the Bhagavad Gita was delivered to Arjun in the battlefield of Kurukshetra when he refused to fight. Regardless of whatever we have done in our life and whatever we’ll do in our life, our situation will never be as dramatic or challenging as it was for Arjun.
And what did Krishna do through Bhagavad Gita? Arjun was taking a wrong decision based on the incorrect knowledge that he had developed. Krishna gave him the correct knowledge and showed him the way of making that knowledge the basis of his decisions.
Yoga or spiritualism is a way to grasp the correct knowledge and bringing it in our day-to-day life. It is not an esoteric subject to be pursued by a select few. It is equally relevant for everyone regardless of cast, creed, profession, religion, age, sex etc.
Unless you believe that your life is something other than knowledge-decision-action.