Baghawat Geeta, Class 14
Gita, Chapter # 2, Samkhya Yoga:
Swamiji starts off by reminding us that Arjuna expresses his helplessness and surrenders to Sri Krishna and requests him to teach. Sri Krishna accepts Arjuna as a student and starts teaching him the Gita. The teaching begins from Shloka 11 of Chapter 2 and continues till Shloka 66 in chapter 18. Krishna is no more Parthasarthy. He has become Gita Acharya and Jagatguru.
Shloka # 11:
Sri Krishna says: You grieve for those who call for no grief; at the same time, you utter words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the dead nor for the living.
This verse expresses the essence of Gita. Briefly, Ignorance is the cause of all human problems and therefore Self Knowledge is the only solution for all human problems. It is Atma Agyanam versus Atma Gyanam that results in moksha. Brahma Vidya is Self-knowledge. Many topics are discussed in the Gita. They all, however, support Atma Vidya.
“Wise people do not grieve at all”, says Sri Krishna. A wise person is one who is an Atma Gyani. Arjuna is profusely grieving. Therefore, Arjuna is otherwise or ignorant. Through this shloka, Sri Krishna is informing the entire humanity that if you are grieving, then you are ignorant. If anybody is upset, without nimmadi (tamil for peace of
mind), they are ignorant. The medicine for ignorance is Gyanam. If there is darkness in the room the only remedy is to bring in light. Can Karma or Action remove ignorance? No, says Swamiji. If that were the case abolish all colleges and just give work to all children. Meditation, Japa etc., also cannot remove ignorance. ”therefore Arjuna, become a wise person. Wise men do not grieve for living or for the dead ones.” This goes for things as well. Giving an example,
A man was travelling with his wife on train. She was very thirsty. She kept nagging him. Then, when a station came, he got her water. Later, She started nagging him again. Now she nagged him as to why she was thirsty to begin with.
Arjuna , you grieve for those who do not deserve grief such as Duryodhana (an adharmic person) at the same time you are speaking like a wise man about kulakshaya, kuladharma etc., and contradicting yourselves. You need Atmagyanam.
Shloka # 12:
Sri Krishna says: Never, at any time, have I been not; neither you nor these rulers of men. And never shall we all cease to be.
In the last verse Sri Krishna presented the condensed version of Gita Shastra. In this shloka now, he expands on it. Krishna’s immediate problem is to have Arjuna stand up and fight. Here Arjuna faces an incidental problem. It is only a short-term problem. It is not a universal problem. The deeper problem, however is, attachment and sorrow. They are eternal and universal problems. Krishna has to solve both these problems of Arjuna.
Sri Krishna takes a three-pronged approach to this.
- Philosophical: you have to fight;
- Ethical: You have to fight;
- Worldly/ materialistic: you have to fight.
From whichever angle you look, you have to fight.
Philosophical approach is primary while ethical approach is alsomimportant. The worldly approach is not that important. Philosophical is important because Arjuna is a very learned person; he knows the dharma shastras. He knows ethics. His problem is his self-ignorance.
From verse 12-25 it is the philosophical approach describing the true nature of Arjuna, Bhishma and Drona or the Atma Tatvam. Then, Sri Krishna discusses the ethical approach. Here he convinces him that it is not ahimsa; it is more like giving capital punishment for a criminal. Lastly, he discusses the worldly approach exhorting Arjuna as to how to maintain his name and fame.
Swamiji now talking about Tatva Bodha, raises the question: Atma Kaha (Who is Atma?) Every individual is a conscious individual. Every living being is a conscious being, i.e., consciousness is in the body mind complex. It is not found outside the body. The Mike, table, fan etc. are insentient or inert objects. There is, however, sentience in
the body. What is consciousness? What makes it sentient? Consciousness is a formless and separate entity. It is comparable to light. This consciousness is not part of body, not a property of body, nor a product of body. It is a separate entity that pervades and enlivens the body. We take the example of Light; light is not part of the body,
light is not a property of the body; light is not even a product of the body. On the other hand, light pervades my body and makes this body visible. When you are seeing the hand, you are seeing the two things, one is the hand, another thing is the light. It is on the hand, but it is not a Property, a part or a product.
While the Light is not a part or product of body nevertheless it makes the body visible. This separate consciousness is not bound by limitations of the body. The body does not limit the light pervading the body. Consciousness survives death. The space and time aspects of the body do not bind it.
When the hand is removed the light is not removed. It continues, however, it is invisible. As long as a body is alive consciousness is there, however, once the body dies, consciousness continues, only in an invisible form. Hence it is called Vyakta chaitanya, when it is visible, and Avyakta chaitanya when it is invisible. Thus, consciousness is always there.
Consciousness is called Atma while the body mind complex is called Anatma. Every individual is a mixture of Atma and Anatma. Now, I am able to read because here are two things, one is the book, and the other is the light pervading it. But generally, we take the light lightly. But remember not to take the light lightly because without light, you will not be able to see anything. Therefore, all of us are Atma plus Anatma.
Next lesson of Tatva Bodha is to shift our identification from the perishable Anatma to imperishable Atma. This method of thinking is called Drk Drsya Viveka. When I say I am the body, I accept mortality. How many people can accept mortality? With this acceptance also comes old ageand mortality. The other approach is to shift my identity to Atma. I do not change the body. You can love the body as an instrument of transaction, rather than loving the body as myself. Even if the instrument goes away, the “I” still remains.
Asatho Maa Sadgamaya. Tamso Maa Jyotirgamaya. Mṛtyo Ma Amṛtam Gamaya.
(God! lead me from ignorance to knowledge. Lead me from mortality to
Atma is already immortal. Anatma is mortal. We are shifting our identity from mortal to immortal. Scriptures are giving us the some methods to perform this shifting. One of the most powerful methods is:
“Whatever I am experiencing, I am not it “. Why? Because, whatever I am experiencing is an object, while I am the subject. Our Eye sees everything but it does not see itself. From that it is very clear, the eyes are ever the seer and never the seen. Therefore, the subject is always different from the object.
The world is an object of experience, arriving and departing. The body is something I experience only in waking state, not in sleep state and dream states. What about the mind? We experience it only in the waking state, and dream state but not in sleep state. There is no Raga or Dvesha in sleep state. “I” am the Experiencer of all the three
states. This “I” is the Atma.
Features of the Atma:
- “I “ am ever the Subject (Experiencer) not the object of experiences (experienced). Example: a camera takes pictures but it is not in the picture. Do we need proof that a camera took the picture? No, without a camera there will be no picture. “I” am never in the picture but “I “ am ever existent, and hence called Aprameya.
- Atma is Nithyaha or it is eternal. It exists as a Vyaktha or Avyaktha.
- Atma is Nirvikara. It is changeless. Even when the hand moves the light does not change. The light is all pervading. The light here is Prakasha, not the bulb.
- Atma is Sarvagathaha. It is all pervading. It does not have spatial boundaries.
- Atma is Akartha and Abhoktha. Atma does not perform any action nor does it reap any result. The hand may act; it can touch and in the act may get dirty. The light pervading the hand does not act nor is it affected. Example of hand touching a blade was given. If the hand touches a blade, it is karta, and for touching that, what is the phalam, the fingers are cut; thus hand is karta, hand is bhokta, but the light is neither karta, neither bhokta, it is karta and abhokta. Thus Aprameya; nityaḥa; nirvikaraḥ; sarvagataḥ, akarta and abhokta are Atma’s
attributes. The Atma, like the light, is changeless, the all pervading and the experiencer.
Therefore Arjuna, You are not killing Bhishma, the Atma and Drona, the Atma. They are not killed. Why are you worried about their death? You are also not a killer. Arjuna, the Atma, is an Akartha. So, why are you in anguish? This is the philosophical argument.
Swamiji says every criminal can present this argument to a court. So, now, Sri Krishna presents the ethical angle. Normally, Himsa is not right. Here, however, you are fighting for Dharmasansthapanam. From this angle you can go ahead with the fight.
Atma is eternal. What does it mean?
Sri Krishna says the Eternal Atma was in the past, Atma is in the present and Atma will be in the future also. This is the essence of Shloka # 12.
With my good wishes,
In this class, Swamiji defines Atma and this definition is from Tatwa Bodha. Swamiji presents this definition many times in many of his classes. Understanding Atma is very important for the study of Vedanta and here are my notes regarding Atma from Tatwa Bodha class.
1. Atma is not a part, product or property of the body
2. Atma is an independent invisible entity that pervades the body
3. Atma is not limited or confined by the boundaries of the body
4. Atma survives the death of the body
Swamiji adds more definitions of Atma in other classes.