Baghawat Geeta, Chapter 4, Class 61


Greetings All,

Shloka # 18:

कर्मण्यकर्म यः पश्येदकर्मणि कर्म यः
बुद्धिमान् मनुष्येषु युक्तः कृत्स्नकर्मकृत्।।4.18।।

Whoso beholds non-work in work and work in non- work is wise among men; he is integrated; he does all works.

Continuing his teachings of Gita, Swami Paramarthananda said, by way of introducing the nature of karma, Sri Krishna is discussing the essence of the Upanishads in shloka’s 18 to 24.  Of these shlokas, 18th is considered a key shloka; wherein Sri Krishna talks about atma-anatma viveka; the difference between the higher-I in me, and the lower-I in me; the higher-I is called Atma; and the lower-I is called Ahamkaraha.

The higher-I atma has been talked about in the second chapter, where Sri Krishna pointed out that this atma is of the nature of consciousness, distinct from the body and all pervading. It is an akarta as it does not perform any action. It is only a witness. And this akarta-atma, this eka-atma; this poorna atma is my higher nature; and I have got a lower-I also called ahamkara; and this lower-I is nothing but the mind. The mind-principle is called the lower-I. Mind by itself is inert. It becomes sentient through the blessing of Atma. Citing example of a bulb, it is similar to the filament in a bulb that needs electricity to energize it.  Such a mind when blessed by Atmatvam becomes sentient and is called Ahamkara. This finite Ahamkara is my inferior “I” or ego. Ahamkara has to perform action, as it is its nature. Ahamkara, thus, accumulates Punyam and Papam. And this ahaṃkara alone takes another body and again exhausts the punya papam and in the process acquires fresh punya papam; and thus the punarapi jananam; punarapi maranam, samsara cycle continues for ahamkara. There is no way of stopping this ahamkara, because this ahamkara is motivated, activated, because of our identification. Sri Krishna says, by self-knowledge, we learn to own up to the higher-I, rather than the  lower-I.

The moment the shift to higher “I” happens, the lower “I” loses momentum and it will stop. A Gyani is not a patron of Ahamkara. This shift from lower “I” to higher “I” is called wisdom. I own up to my Akarta nature, even while Ahamkara is active. This detachment from Ahamkara is the benefit of the wisdom. The question comes up, as to who is leading the dog? Is it the owner or the dog? Right now Ahamkara is leading me. Ahamkara has a function, but I should not be enslaved by it. The word Swamy means one who is master of his own Ahamkara. The word Aswamy means the opposite of Swamy.

What drives human beings to accomplish things? What is the driving force? In human beings the driving force behind any pursuit is that without those accomplishment(s), I feel small; That is why people always say, I want to be somebody in life; because he or she feels that right now he or she is a nobody.

And therefore I have a sense of smallness. Through accomplishment, I am trying to be somebody, I am trying to become full and complete; fulfillment or poornatvam is the goal. Unfortunately such a person never gets the poornatvam as the finite ahamkara plus finite accomplishment is still equal to finite ahamkara. Previously I was a miserable BA; then a miserable MA; and now a miserable Phd. The misery continues because finite plus finite is equal to only finite and not infinite. It is the finite ahamkara struggling to become poornaha and life becomes a failure.

Gyani knows everything is finite. Ahamkara can never be poornaha. He accepts Ahamkara and lets it perform. He, however, seeks Poornatvam in the higher I. It is ever Poornaha. He enjoys poornaha at higher level, while performing action at lower level. He does not feel fulfilled in completion of projects. Thus, he is ready to quit the world at any time.

Shloka # 19:

यस्य सर्वे समारम्भाः कामसङ्कल्पवर्जिताः
ज्ञानाग्निदग्धकर्माणं तमाहुः पण्डितं बुधाः।।4.19।।

Him the wise call a man of discrimination, all of whose undertakings are free from desire-prompted imaginations and all whose works have been consumed in the fire of knowledge.

Once a Gyani has discovered poornatvam , will he be motivated to work? Generally activities are born out of necessity or dissatisfaction. If all people are satisfied then there will be no motive to work. The general belief is that discontentment leads to action or work. This is a misconception, says Swamiji. Sri Krishna says a person can also work out of fullness. Such a person has no axe to grind. A gyani can contribute with contentment. What drives him? Compassion drives him. He has universal identification and universal compassion. It becomes his nature.

Heat can’t be separated from fire or light from the Sun.  So also, compassion is intrinsic to a Gyani. It is compassion without motives. Backed by compassion, he acts according the need of the situation. It is like a mother with a child. Compassion crystallizes into action.

His actions are not due to lacking anything or loneliness. Without performing activity too he is full. He is free from the desire to fulfill himself. He is free from future projections. Thus, we are not comfortable with ourselves. Thus, one asks: How will I look in this dress; with this girl; with this house; etc?  There is a big gulf between the small “I” and the higher “I” in such a person. This causes restlessness in him. I am not happy with the present, I am a dissatisfied “I”. That is why Swami Dayananda Saraswathi says: I have rejected myself and when I cannot accept myself, I cannot accept the world also; I find fault with every person, every job, every set up and every house. The problem is not with the world rather the self-rejection expresses itself in the form of world rejection. Conversely, self-acceptance, expresses itself in the form of world acceptance. Again Swamiji beautifully says: a Gyani is at home with himself as he is and therefore at home with the world as it is. There is no dreaming and projections. He lives in the present. I am fine as I am; and enjoy doing whatever I can do, and whatever I have to do. He does not travel from unhappiness to happiness. He is always in a state of happiness.

There is no connection between set up and poorṇatvam. Set up belongs to the lower level, egoistic level and poornatvam belongs to a higher level. To put it in Upanishadic language, the set up belongs to vyavaharika satya; poornatvam belongs to paramarthica satya; he does not mix up order of reality.  And another interesting thing happens to such a person, the Gyani. When he dwells in the lower “I”, the karmas, the actions, do not produce punyam or papam. Only when I am identified with ahamkara or when there is a sankalpa, only then punyam and papam are produced. Since Gyani does not have the crystalled-ego, it does not

produce punyam and papam. That is why in Tatva Bodha, we saw, Gyani does not generate agami karma.  All his karmas are destroyed. Citing example of a roasted seed although it looks like a normal seed it cannot germinate anymore. So too a Gyani cannot produce any more karma’s.

For roasting Ahamkara you need the Gyana Agni. By this fire Ahamkara is burned down. Such a person is called Pandita. Panda means self knowledge. Chapter 2, shloka 11, also refers to Pandita.

Shloka # 20:

त्यक्त्वा कर्मफलासङ्गं नित्यतृप्तो निराश्रयः
कर्मण्यभिप्रवृत्तोऽपि नैव किञ्चित्करोति सः।।4.20।।

Giving up attachment to the fruits of works, eternally content, independent, the man, engaged in works as he is, does nothing at all.

Sri Krishna pointed out that a Gyani is free from karma and sankalpa. He is a free person. Citing analogy of Thermometer (slave of surrounding) and thermostat (controller of surroundings), Agyani is like a thermometer while Gyani is like a thermostat. Therefore in one, he is a slave of the set up, in

the other, he is the master of the set up and what makes you a master is only Gyanam. Sri Krishna says any person of any status can obtain Gyanam. A gyani is at peace even amidst society while an Agyani is miserable even in an Ashrama. Varna, ashrama, religion, sex, profession and nationality do not matter for obtaining Gyanam. There two types of Gyani’s:

  • GrihasthaGyani: A householder can also become a Gyani.  Shlokas 20,22,23 and 24 discuss Grihastha Gyani.
  •  Sanyasi Gyani: Shloka # 21 talks of Sanyasi Gyani.

Shloka # 20, second line:

Grihastha Gyani:

He has to perform pancha maha yagyaha. He is also extremely active. The difference is that he does not feel fulfillment through activities. Gyani does not connect fulfillment with his pursuit. His fulfillment is in the higher “I”. Gyani’s satisfaction does not come from the set up. He is equally happy without it. If I give support, it is love. If I seek support, it is attachment.

Once he has poornatvam he does not lean on any external factor. Strength comes from knowledge. He does not have any psychological dependence although he may have physical dependence. He expects results from his actions but he is not concerned about them. In effect he does not worry about results. If expectation is not met what to do? Swami Dayananda Saraswathi used to say, “ Success in life is preparation for failure”. With such a healthy mind a Gyani performs his actions. In philosophical sense, he remembers his higher Self. In a psychological sense, he is free, as his actions do not create any anxiety in him.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy