Non-Attached Action = Duty

by T. Wignesan

« The doer of non-attached action is the most conscientious of men. Freed from fear and desire,
he offers everything he does as a sacrement of devotion to his duty. All work becomes equally
and vitally important. It is only toward the results of work - success or failure, praise or blame -
that he remains indifferent. »
Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, transl.The Song of God, Bhagavad-Gita,
NY: The New American Library, 1972, p.139.

« Every deed confirms the sense of egoism and separateness of the doer, and sets in motion a new
series of effects. Therefore, it is argued, one must renounce all action and become a samnyasin. »
Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, transl., The Bhagavadgita (London: Allen & Unwin), 1949, p.67.

All things all thoughts
All signs point to the One Will testing itself
What real need is there
unless the Big Bang disperses the One Will
undertakes the shrinking universe
beyond the birth of Time
the Death of Space
and there is need for salvation for resurrection
a freedom or freeing of the conflict
between this and that
matter and anti-matter
the positive and the negative
the yang and the yin
or whatever it is that makes for visible knowable phenomena
not the invisible dark matter
the Unknowable
this life on this earth let loose in this solar system
within this galaxy lost in this bloating universe
the tips of the fingers not knowing
where the tips of the toes twitch or even if they were there
as if the will sought to reassemble them all into a functioning body
a finité ball
for the long-willed Brahma night

What need is there in telling us

this man is a yogi; he has inner joy

Can one man or woman redeem the whole dismembered Self
for every yogi borne on the Golden Flower
how many billions the price
the dark matter of ephemeral selves
the sacrifice
for the foisting of the Superior Man
l’Homme Sage

What is this if not once again the old pyramidal grovelling vertical race
everything culminating in the highest zenith point
and he who occupies the summit
Is he in control
have things gone out of hand

how many billions of yogis does this world need
to put a stop to this scattering
and the crunch when it comes
what is it to be lik
Time turned around
the aged growing younger
wisdom waning to innocence
to ignorance
from able management
to helpless toddling
constricting space into an overheated mite of a minding
or mindless mighty mass

Who is it who is having a ball
not me not you who then

What use is it to feel and yet not feel
What duty can make all the suffering
all the muck-raking
all the meanness
all the damned waste
all the damned injustice
all the things gone wrong
all the inequalities
all the hopelessness of it all
so reasonable to the detached eye
the duty-bound servant
awaiting what
to go
and from there who knows where again and for what
what is to become then of all the trillions who knew nothing better
than a timbleful of earthly
mudful joy

Who put the lavatory so close to the bathroom
did he try to denigrate dissuade pleasure for pleasure’s sake
is the colour of joy then coprophilic

how easy to count them out as ephemeral
bodies who leave no shadow on earth
no such name none so resounding as Shakespeare Aristotle Einstein
and what about these
are they entitled to some joy too
what are their positions on the ladder leading to nirvana
does it really matter any more
now that they are no more


Resources:the quotation in the poem is from Juan Mascaro’s translation of The Bhagavad Gita, V, 22-24:

« For the pleasures that come from the world bear in them sorrows to come. They come and they go, they are transient: not in them do the wise find joy.
But he who on this earth, before his departure, can endure the storms of desire and wrath, this man is a Yogi, this man has joy.
He has inner joy, he has inner gladness, and he has found inner Light. This Yogi attains the Nirvana of Brahman: he is one with God and goes unto God. »

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About T. Wignesan

If I might be allowed to say so, I think my "first" love was poetry. Unfortunately for me, the British curricula at school did not put me in touch with the Metaphysical Poets, nor with the post-Georgian school. Almost all the school texts after World War II contained invariably Victorian narrative poems and some popular examples of Romantic poetry. I chanced upon a selection of T. S. Eliot's and Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and a little later on Pope's An Essay on Man and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. That did the trick. Yet, I regret not having taken to prose in earnest earlier than the publication of my first collection: Tracks of a Tramp (1961). There's nothing like trying your hand at all kinds of prose exercises to come to grips with poetry. Or rather to see how poetry makes for the essence of speech/Speech and makes you realise how it can communicate what prose cannot easily convey. I have managed to put together several collections of poems, but never actually sought to find homes for them in magazines, periodicals or anthologies. Apart from the one published book, some of my sporadic efforts may be sampled at