Verse 19: No Agency

Verse 19 is the only verse dedicated solely to Spirit and even it is framed by what has come before. If Nature is that which is of the three Gunas (see verse 12), Spirit is the opposite: that which is without the three Gunas (and therefore lacks all the qualities endowed by the three Gunas).

This verse plants a potent thought-seed. I have nourished this seed and it has grown into a resilient and stubborn climbing plant. This plant is finding the cracks in the concrete pillars of my western thinking and is working its way in. It is honing in on the metal rebar embedded in the concrete that holds it together: my notion of agency – that I decide, choose and act. This verse asserts that spirit has no agency.

If I come to recognize and identify with Spirit – the Seer that resides within me – that which is at the root of my sense of being, of consciousness itself – that which perceives – then, according to this verse, I also have to come to terms with its complete lack of agency. Spirit, according to this verse, cannot do anything. Spirit knows no preference. Spirit does not care about good or bad, love or hate, kindness or violence, morality or vice, beautiful or ugly. Spirit merely witnesses it all. For Spirit, everything is an experience.

What then is the origin of all these seemingly differentiated experiences – good, bad, love, hate, kindness, violence, morality, beauty? What is this feeling that “I have” of “myself making choices”? If it isn’t Spirit what is it?

Verse 20 will elaborate … but if you are already uncomfortable with this denial of agency, you are probably not going to like what is coming next. This raises an interesting question: how do you meet ideas which hold profound potential but rub you the wrong way?

Leave a Reply