Bagawat Geeta, Class 50


Greetings All,

Shloka # 36:

अर्जुन उवाच

अथ केन प्रयुक्तोऽयं पापं चरति पूरुषः
अनिच्छन्नपि वार्ष्णेय बलादिव नियोजितः।।3.36।।

Arjuna said:

Now impelled by what does man commit sin? O Krishna, though loath to sin, he is driven to it forcibly, as it were.

Continuing his teachings, Swami Paramarthananda said, with shloka # 35 the topic of Karma Yoga has completed. Recapping previous class he said Karma yoga is the first step of spiritual sadhana. Although it does not lead to liberation it gives a person Gyana Yogyata. Once he has Gyana Yogyata he does not need Karma Yoga anymore. He can take to Sanyasa ashrama or Grihasta Ashrama with reduced Karma Yoga. Only in Gyana Yoga can one get liberation.

A karma Yogi is one who leads a Dharmic way of life, with dharmic actions dedicated to God. Dharma is an ethical and moral way of life. It’s very definition is leading a life where every action is a performed as worship of the divine or as Deva-arpanam. If one fails to follow Karma Yoga one is spiritually destroyed.

Now, Arjuna asks his question. Setting the stage for this question, swamiji says, every human being has discriminating power and they know ethics. These ethics are common sense rules. Even a thief knows ethics, which is why he steals secretly.  Even a thief does not like his own money to be stolen.  Everyone knows telling lies is wrong.  Dharma can be summarized as “ What I do not want others to do to me, same I should not do to others”. This is dharma. If I want everybody to love me then I should not hate anybody. Similarly, I want everybody to help me, which means that I should be helping others. Everybody knows dharma. I clearly know what is dharma. Here Arjuna asks, why do I still not follow it? What is the force that makes me violate my own conscience?

In many religions they place this force as external such as devil or Shaitan. Some think God himself makes me do it. Some think the devil makes me do it. Some think fate makes me do it. Hence the saying: Vinasha Kale Viparitha Buddhi.  If this force is in me, can I control it? Do we have the will?

Some say there is no will. Everything is fatalistic. Some say will is feeble, in front of such forces.

Shloka # 37:

श्री भगवानुवाच

काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुणसमुद्भवः।
महाशनो महापाप्मा विद्ध्येनमिह वैरिणम्।।3.37।।

Sri Krishna said:

This is craving, this is wrath, born of the constituents of Rajas. He is voracious, a great sinner, know him to be the foe in this context.

From this shloka and till the end of the Chapter, Sri Krishna now answers Arjuna’s question.

He says there is no external force controlling us. It is all within us. There is no external devil. What is this basic force? It is our Ignorance that is the root cause. Ignorance works at two levels. They are:

  1. Ignorance with respect to dharma and adharma.
  2. At a higher level, it is our Atma Anatma Agyana.

Sri Krishna does not talk of Agyanam. Agyanam however expresses itself in two forces. They are Kama and Krodha. They both are the problems. Therefore, in the following verses, Sri Krishna is going to discuss the problem of Kama Krodhaḥ, the source of Kama Krodhaḥ, and the remedy or the medicine to the disease of Kama Krodhaḥ. Thus, the three topics are: kama krodhah svarupam; kama krodhah karanam; kama krodhah pariharaha. This is now going to be discussed.

Kama is desire. Krodha is anger. Every human being experiences desire, intimately. The object of desire may vary from individual to individual. The anger too, you feel intimately. It is at the tip of your nose. It is experienced intimately. Both of them are born out of our Rajo Guna. They obstruct Karma Yoga and Dharmic way of life. Desire is a glutton. There is no way to fulfill all desires. They never end. Actually it continues to expand and increase.

Why is it so?

All desires are expressions of one basic desire. Right now, I feel incomplete with myself. My struggle is, how to become complete within myself. All desires are superficial. Finally, I want to become one with infinite. I do not want Kuraiva (Tamil, feeling of want) but want Niraiva (Tamil, feeling of fullness).

Vedanta says the incomplete one (finite) can never become infinite. You can never become poornaha. Our approach is illogical. Finite is trying to become infinite.

Swami Chinmayananda described happiness as follows:

Happiness=desires fulfilled/number of desires you have.

Unfortunately the numbers of desires you have keep expanding and this causes happiness to keep falling.

Finite wanting to become infinite is not possible. So what? As long as I am struggling to fulfill desire we have to remember that it takes time to fulfill desires.  Thus, your mind is always distracted by worldly desires. The basic problem can only be solved if you lead a religious and enquiring life. Desire is your enemy. It sucks away all your time and you are not able to ask all the fundamental questions required for enquiring.

Kama takes you towards materialism. People have no time to ask questions. Not only is Kama a problem, krodha is also a problem. Anger makes you a violent person. Violence is Himsa and it is a papam. It harms others. Violence in any form, physical or verbal causes papam and brings down spirituality.

Kama makes a person an extrovert. Krodha makes him violent. An extrovert and violent person cannot follow Karma yoga.

So, these two principles are your enemy. Handling these two should be a life long effort. There are three roads to hell. They are Kama, Krodha, and Lobha.

It is important to note that Sri Krishna is talking about two enemies. One is Kama and the other is Krodha. He says both are one and the same, like two sides of one coin. Obstructed desire turns into anger.

Fulfilled desire turns into greed. Therefore anger is a different version of desire. The intensity of anger is directly proportional to the desire.

Shloka # 38:

धूमेनाव्रियते वह्निर्यथाऽऽदर्शो मलेन
यथोल्बेनावृतो गर्भस्तथा तेनेदमावृतम्।।3.38।।

Just as fire is obscured by smoke, a mirror by dirt and embryo by the womb, so is knowledge by craving.

In the previous shloka Sri Krishna said Kama and Krodha are your enemies. So, if you can handle Kama you can control anger. How does desire cause problems for humans? Sri Krishna says desire causes problems by blunting one’s reasoning power. A person blinded by desire cannot think or discriminate. Buddhi has to decide what action to take. It has to decide whether to give importance to spirituality or go after materialism. Every moment in life one has to decide this. Life is full of choices. Kama covers our Vivek Shakti. How does Kama cover Vivek Shakthi? Citing examples:

  1. Like smoke covering fire. Agni has brightness and can enlighten. It is covered by smoke that covers the light.
  2. Mirror covered by dust. Dust cannot reflect my face.
  3. Child in a fetus covered by the womb cannot function fully. It does not have enough space.

In the same way covered by desire, Buddhi cannot think.

All three examples have significance. When covered by smoke, you just need to fan it. With a dirty mirror you have to wipe it off.  With a child you cannot do anything but wait. It has to mature for 10 months and then come out. Some desires can be easily removed. If desire is of some intensity one has to go through fulfillment of desire.  When desire is intense, you have to allow it to go through and hope that one grows out of it. It may take time.

Take away from class:

This definition of dharma was new to me. It is something we should all follow.

“ What I do not want others to do to me, same I should not do to others”.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy