Bagawat Geeta, Class 41
Shloka # 13:
“यज्ञशिष्टाशिनः सन्तो मुच्यन्ते सर्वकिल्बिषैः।
भुञ्जते ते त्वघं पापा ये पचन्त्यात्मकारणात्।।3.13।।”
Continuing his teaching and refreshing our memory of last class, Swami Paramarthananda says, Lord Krishna was looking at Karma Yoga from different angles. He says Karma yoga is a way of life.
The first angle was that of a commandment of lord. If a person does not follow it, he incurs Pratyavaya Papam.
The second angle was as a request to lead a life of harmony. I have given you a world that is in harmony. You should maintain harmony for the sake of other living beings. It is a form of gratitude to the Lord or Ishwara Yagya.
The third angle is not Agya or Yagya but as a spiritual Sadhana by which I purify my mind. I am not doing any favor to the Lord. I am favoring myself. The benefit described in shloka # 13 is that, one who looks at the consequences of worship of God as yagya prasada, for such a person, all papam’s of inner personality goes away. The consequence of worship can be in the form of food that remains after a Yagya or even can be taken as Karma Phalam.
As per Vedas, anything that obstructs Self- Knowledge is considered a Papam. Even money is a Papam, if I am lost in it. On the other hand, poverty is considered good, if it leads one to spirituality.
What is primary obstruction to spirituality? As per Vedanta, it is Mohaha or delusion. It means seeing the external world as the cause of happiness or unhappiness.
If a particular music is played, a teenager is very happy while his parents are unhappy. They don’t like it at all. So, is the music the source of happiness or unhappiness? As long as you are finding fault with the world you are in delusion. This delusion has to go away. It is my attitude towards the world that causes sorrow or happiness. It is not a change in the world but a change in my attitude that is required. Knowledge alone changes my attitude. Once I search for knowledge it makes me a seeker.
Shankaracharya’s Bhaja Govindam is called Moha Mudgara (Hammer to shatter illusion). Here he analyzes all causes of happiness and unhappiness. He discusses all aspects of delusion. Only Karma Yoga can remove delusion. What is required is knowledge, not changing of the world.
In shloka # 13, Sri Krishna criticizes those who are selfish, who cook only for themselves and don’t share the food. Pancha Maha Yagya requires sharing my money or food with others. Every day when you cook rice keep some aside (raw rice) and donate it every month. Give to others, exhorts Swamiji. Such selfish people are eating concentrated papam. They are moving away from spiritual knowledge.
Shloka # 14:
“अन्नाद्भवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसम्भवः
। यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञः कर्मसमुद्भवः।।3.14।। ”
In previous shloka Karma Yoga was shown as a purifier. We have seen Agya, Yagya, and Chitta Shodhakam as different versions of Karma Yoga. Now, Sri Krishna describes a fourth angle to Karma Yoga. Here Karma Yoga is presented as Dharma.
What is dharma? That which maintains the harmony of the creation is called Dharma. We are not isolated beings; we are all integrated and interconnected with other beings. Beings include humans, animals, plants, rivers etc. As said before all beings, other than humans, are programmed to live in harmony. Only human beings have been given free will and budhi shakthi. Humans can destroy this world or create a heaven out of it. If earth is destroyed, it will be due to human beings alone. Even a tiger cannot do it, but humans can do it.
Arjuna, you may not believe in God or my commandment, even then you have to lead a life of Karma Yoga to maintain harmony of this creation. Science shows we are all interconnected. Sri Krishna says, everything that happens in creation is cyclical, indicating harmony. Thus, we have the Water cycle, Carbon dioxide cycle etc., all required for conservation of matter and energy. Sri Krishna then cites one such cycle as an example.
All living beings are born out of food. Food in turn comes out of rain. Rain comes from Yagya, also called adrishtam, the invisible favorable factor. Yagya can also be called Punyam or Apoorvam. How can Punyam produce rain? Punyam is nothing but cosmic balance or harmony. Only in balance does rain come. Rain is considered an acid test for ecological balance. When we cut trees, the balance is lost. How to maintain this balance? Sri Krishna says, one maintains this balance only by Karma Yoga. In Karma Yoga, by revering creation, by revering nature, balance is maintained. I should avoid disturbing the harmony. Some serve by doing, while others serve by non-interference. Don’t interfere by polluting nature.
Vedas even tells us how to use a tank or river. One should pray to the river first. Then, enter the river. One should not pollute the river by urinating etc., in it. Do not spit. Respect the river, ocean, air and fire. A life of reverence will maintain the cosmic balance. Even if one person has this reverence, rains will come for him. This reverence is called Karma Yoga.
Therefore, food comes from rain, rain comes from harmony and harmony comes from Karma Yoga.
My very existence and I come from Karma. Karma is also born out of me. So, we have to keep contributing to society. Live a life of contribution.
Karmabhutaha means Karma is born out of living beings.
Shloka # 15:
“कर्म ब्रह्मोद्भवं विद्धि ब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम्।
तस्मात्सर्वगतं ब्रह्म नित्यं यज्ञे प्रतिष्ठितम्।।3.15।।”
How do you know which karma maintains balance and which violates balance? Human being have a limited intellect. We do not always know what is good or bad for humanity. We produced PFC’s, refrigerants that react and delete the ozone layer. Ozone protects us from UV rays of the sun. Similarly, with increase of cars it causes green house gases that in turn melt the polar ice cap increasing the flooding of our shorelines. We do not see the connection between increased cars on the roads and our receding shorelines. This is because of the limited capacity of our minds.
Shastras say do not depend on human intellect rather depend on scriptures. Scripture is not a product of human beings. They are revelations to Rishi’s. So, follow the life style prescribed by scriptures says, Sri Krishna. We have been using Tulasi leaf, neem leaf etc for a long time while now Americans are taking patents on them. Sri Krishna says, harmonious life is taught by Vedas.
In this shloka, Brahma means Vedas.
The question comes how do Vedas know? Sri Krishna says, Vedas are not a product of human intellect. They have withstood the test of time. They can stand the challenge of science as well. A defect in Vedas is we do not understand them well enough. Coconut oil was once criticized and today it is praised. It is the same with Ghee.
Vedas have come out of Aksharam or Ishwara.
Then, how come we say Rishi’s gave us the Vedas? Rishi’s have served as a medium to receive Vedic knowledge. Just as a TV is a receiver, so also Rishi’s were receivers. To receive such knowledge one has to prepare our self by Tapas or Dhyanam. So, study Vedas and get its benefits.
Take away from this class:
Swamiji says, it is not a change in the world but a change in my attitude that is required.
This is a topic often discussed by Vedanta group. How can we impact the world? Vedanta says, rather than focusing on changing the world we should focus on changing our self or our attitude to the world.
With best wishes,