Bagawat Geeta, Class 46


Greetings All,

Shloka # 27:

प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः।
अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताऽहमिति मन्यते।।3.27।।

Works are being done in all ways by the constituents of Prakriti. He whose mind is deluded by egoism thinks, “ I am the agent”.

Continuing his teaching of Gita and recapping last week’s class Swami Paramarthananda said, in beginning of chapter 3, Sri Krishna pointed out that an Agyani has to perform Karma’s to purify his mind. From Shloka # 20 onwards he said even a Gyani has to perform Karma. The purpose a Gyani performs Karma is different. He performs Karma, not to purify his mind but for Lokasangraha or welfare of society. While purpose may be different both have to perform Karma.

What is the difference in Karma they perform? The first difference is an artificial one. An Agyani performs karma for happiness while a Gyani performs it with happiness. Agyani performs Karma for fulfillment while a Gyani performs it out of fulfillment. Whatever the Agyani seeks the Gyani already has.

For Gyani, Karma is a leela while for an Agyani it is a burden. In one, the tension is visible while in the other he is free of all tensions.

Now the same karma is explained from a Vedantic point of view. Everybody has a lower Self-called Ego and a higher Self-called Atma. What is Ahamkara? It is the body mind complex blessed by Atma. Atma has made Ahamkara sentient. The word Ahamkara is usually used in two contexts.

First one is as pride versus humility as in Dharama Shastra.

In the second, in Vedanta, Ahamkara means body mind complex. By nature, the body mind complex is inert Body is made up of matter, pancha bhutani, mind is also made up of matter, pancha sukṣhma bhutani, the only difference is body is made of gross matter, mind is made up of subtle matter, therefore the body-mind-complex, is inert material according to Vedanta. It is sentient because of borrowed sentiency. Just as a fan revolves because it is blessed by electricity that is invisible. In a similar manner Atma Tatvam blesses the body mind complex. This borrowed body mind complex is Ahamkara. The blessing principle is Atma. Therefore we can say:

Everybody=Atma + Ahamkara.

Ego is our lower nature; Atma is our higher nature; Ego is our incidental nature; Atma is our intrinsic nature.

There are several differences between Atma and Ahamkara. They are:

  1. Ahamkara is a limited entity. It is also called Alpa. While Atma is an infinite and all pervading entity. It is also called Ananta.
  2. Ahamkara is Anitya and subject to arrival and departure. In sleep you don’t see Ahamkara. The moment you sleep Ahamkara is resolved. Atma is however Nitya.
  3. Ahamkara is subject to modifications, Savikara. While Atma is Nirvikara.
  4. Ahamkara is Karta and Bhokta. Atma is Akarta and Abhokta.
  5. Ahamkara is ever a Samsari producing papam and punyam. Atma is never a Samsari.

As said before every individual is a mixture of Atma and Ahamkara. Now shastra’s say you can claim anyone of these two as your Self. It is your choice. If we own Ahamkara, be prepared for Samsara. It will bring all Karmas (Prarabhda, Sanchita and Agami). There will be ups and downs. There will be no moksha.

Then what can one do? There is only another alternative like the riddle that was given to Birbal in Akbar’s court.  A line was drawn and he was told to shorten the line without rubbing it off. People were wondering how can one do that? Birbal said it is simple, draw another bigger line in front of that line. Even though I have not made any change to this line, the new bigger line makes it insignificant.

Ahamkara brings Samsara. So, like Birbal draw another line. Discover another Self, the higher Self. With this discovery the smaller Self looks insignificant.

The sufferings of small self appears small and insignificant in front of the great freedom the Gyani obtains. So, Gyani has discovered a higher Ananda where Samsara is insignificant. While, for the Samsari, the Agyani, everything looks big.

Swamiji explained Shloka 27 further. Some terms used in this shloka were explained.

Prakriti: means basic matter. It is the  principle of Maya, a subtle form of energy.

Gunaha: means a Product.

Prakriti Gunaha: means a product of matter or material.

It may be any inert material such as cloth, book etc. In context of this shloka prakriti according to Sri Krishna means the body-mind complex. The complex itself is inert material.

Thus, per Tatva Bodha:

From the maya the five subtle elements were born.

Thereafter five gross elements were born and from the five subtle elements, the mind and other organs are created. From the gross elements, the body is created; and from the individual satva guna; the gyanendrias were created and from the total satva guna the mind is created.


From Maya> 5 subtle elements> 5 gross elements and the body.

Even though the body mind complex is inert it is now alive due to the energy borrowed from Atma. This is called Ahamkara. Body mind complex with sentience is Ahamkara.

The body mind complex or Ahamkara alone performs all actions. Under all conditions Ahamkara alone acts. Atma does perform any action.

Life enables everything but it does not perform any action. Without Atma, Ahamkara cannot perform any action. Therefore Ahamkara does all actions.

This Ahamkara deludes all ignorant people. It means we are lost in Ahamkara to such an extent that we don’t have time to think of higher nature.

It is like a beggar who is so busy begging that when somebody tells of a big treasure in his house he tells him I am so busy begging, that I have no time to spend for claiming my treasure. Ahamkara makes you lost in Karma. This is known as Ahamkara Vimudatama.

Like when watching a movie, initially I see the white screen. Then I get lost in the characters. I forget that they are all imaginary. So also an Agyani thinks he is the Karta of all Karmas.

Shloka # 28:

तत्त्ववित्तु महाबाहो गुणकर्मविभागयोः।
गुणा गुणेषु वर्तन्त इति मत्वा न सज्जते।।3.28।।

O Hero! On the contrary, the knower of truth of the distinction between constituents of Prakrti and their operations does not attach himself to works knowing that constituents operate amidst constituents.

Agyani is caught in the lower Self. Now a Gyani also has Ahamkara. Gyani also has a body mind complex. Many people wrongly think a Gyani does not have a mind. In fact he has a beautiful mind. Gyani is compassionate. Manonasha is only a figurative concept.

When you are hurt, you will remember the wound. When healthy you don’t feel the body. When the shoe fits you don’t feel the presence of the shoe. It is the same with a dress.. When it fits you don’t feel it. One who does not have Raga Dvesha does not feel the mind. For a Gyani the mind is not a Bharam. Since he discovered Atma, Ahamkara is not burdensome .When the mind is peaceful, it is not a burden and the Gyani is free from the mind. It means, for him, the mind is not a bharaḥ. This is called mano nashah.

It is like a roasted seed, it cannot germinate. Gyani’s Ahamkara becomes more of an Alankara. It does not affect the Gyani. Siva’s snake is Ahamkara become an Alankara.

Swamiji Explained Shloka # 28 further.

Gyani knows the reality.

Tatva: means reality.

Guna: means body mind complex or Ahamkara.

All the actions belong to Ahamkara. No Karma belongs to Atma. This knowledge is known as Gyanam.

Just remember the example, when I move the hand, the motion belongs to the hand alone and the light does not and cannot move. The light is there pervading all over, but it is nityah, sarvagatah, and sanatanah.

In re-birth Ahamkara travels to find another body. Atma does not travel, as it is all pervading.

Therefore, he knows Ahamkara cannot give up action. One set of actions is replaced by another set of actions.

Gyani knows actions have to continue. He lets Ahamkara continue as per the Ashrama he is in (grihasta etc.) This is the difference between a Gyani and an Agyani.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy