Verse 4.16: Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is action and what is inaction. Now I shall explain to you what action is, knowing which you shall be liberated from all misfortune.
The complexity and depth that surrounds karma (action and reaction) are once again highlighted today. As a follow up to the previous verse where we learned the importance of associating and learning from successful bhakti yogis, today's verse carries along in a similar vein. Specifically, it highlights exactly what we can learn from such personalities:
The art of performing actions.
That may sound a bit simplistic. After all, we could after all just observe and imitate the great souls, could we not? No! That's why Krsna states "Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is action and what is inaction." That's because some of us may forget that:
The outward action is a manifestation of the internal consciousness.
This is probably one of the most challenging paradigm shifts an aspiring yogi has to make - recognizing that externals alone mean little in the eyes of the Divine. It's the emotion and attitude which colour those actions that have true value.
This type of attitude shift is difficult to make on our own since many of us may not even know where to begin! After all, it can be hard to feel anything if we're just beginning. Such emotion and consciousness is something that can only be imbibed from those who truly feel gratitude and love for the Divine.
By being in their presence and hearing from them, our hearts start to open up. Like a lotus flower whose petals slowly unfurl in the moonlight, our hearts start to slowly soak in the consciousness of gratitude.
The value of such company can never be overstated and that's why the great Vedic text called the Srimad Bhagavatam states:
"The value of a moment's association with a lover of the Lord cannot even be compared to the attainment of heavenly planets or liberation from matter, and what to speak of worldly benedictions in the form of material prosperity..." SB 1.18.13
The performance of action is not about the results; it's about what the heart feels when performing those actions.