Baghawat Geeta, Class 73, Chapter 5 Verses 13 to 15


Greetings All,

 Shloka # 13:

सर्वकर्माणि मनसा संन्यस्यास्ते सुखं वशी
नवद्वारे पुरे देही नैव कुर्वन्न कारयन्।।5.13।।

Mentally renouncing all works, and self-controlled, the embodied being happily sits in the nine-gated city, neither working nor causing others to work.

Continuing his teaching of Gita, Swami Paramarthananda said, in first part of Chapter 5, Sri Krishna pointed out that there is a choice with respect to life style. One can chose a lifestyle of seclusion (Nivrithi marga or Sanyasa) or a lifestyle of activity amidst society (Pravrithi marga or Grihastha ashrama).

These are the only two main ashramas. All other ashramas such as Brahmacharya and Vanaprastha are a part of these two. Thus, Brahmacharya is a part of Grihasthashrama while Vanaprastha is a part of Sanyasashrama. Thus, our choice is between a lifestyle of “Life of possessions” or a “life without possessions”.

Having pointed out that there is a choice with regard to the lifestyle, Sri Krishna pointed out that whatever be one’s lifestyles, there is no choice with regard to sadhanas; everyone has go through two stages of sadhanas; The two sadhanas are:

  1. First one is for purification of mind or Chitta Shiddhi. Many methods were described including, Kayika, Vachika and Manasa karmani. Each one of them in turn has many more choices with in them. Many physical, verbal and mental sadhanas are available for one to perform. In Grihasthashrama, if one has, one can spend money. For a poor man too there are Sadhanas without much expenditure and they too purify the mind. So, according to one’s means and physical capabilities one can perform Sadhanas.  Through these sadhanas one obtains Gyanayogyatha.
  2. Then one enters Gyana Yoga to discover our higher Self. We have two Selves, the ego, the lower self, and the Atma, the higher Self. The body mind and sense complex with the reflected consciousness (RC) is the ego “I”. This ego “I” is a Karta and Bhokta. This ego “I” incurs all three karmas that is Prarabhda, Sanchita and Agami karmas.

At this stage, that is in Gyana Yoga, we are trying to discuss the Superior “ I”. This is Chaitanyam or Atma Tatvam. Shloka’s 13-21 are related to Gyana Yoga. In chapter # 2, previously, Consciousness was discussed. Thus, the characteristics of Consciousness are:

  1. Consciousness is an independent principle. It is just like the light on the hand, however, the light is independent of the hand. Thus, my higher nature is pure Chaitanyam
  2. Consciousness is Ekam; bodies are many, minds are many, but the consciousness, which pervades the body mind, is ekah. Then, Sri Krishna pointed out that this consciousness is sarvagataha or all pervading like space.
  3. Consciousness is nityaha or eternal. Even after body goes, it continues. When hand is removed, light is still there but we cannot perceive it.
  4. Consciousness is Nirvikaraha, not subject to modification. It is like the light. Light does not move, while the hand moves. It just seems to be moving. The reflecting medium, the body, has got 6-fold modifications: existence in the womb of the mother, birth; growth, transformation, decay and death. However, the chaitanyam pervading the body is nirvikaraha.

If consciousness won’t change it means it can’t perform action. Action involves change. Even mental activity sees action in thought. It is like Akasha; the all-pervading space also cannot act. Does space ever move? The answer is No. Therefore, consciousness is akarta. Therefore, consciousness has no punyam or papam.  It is also, therefore, an abokhta. If not a Karta then it is a also not a bhokta.

The Wiseman has owned up to his higher Self as his own by constantly claiming the higher Self. The lower ego has become insignificant. As a Karta, I am obsessed with my action and its results. Wiseman, however, looks at Ahamkara from a mountaintop called Atma. All problems, even greatest ones, looked at from Atma’s standpoint, all appear very small and insignificant. If I am looking at the body from ahamkara’s standpoint, naturally I am worried about old age and death. However, when I shift my “I” from the body to Atma, I look at this body objectively and realize it is one among the billions of bodies that have appeared and disappeared in this creation. Atma sees many bodies. Bodies come and go. So, will this one too.  I learn to look at Ahamkara, objectively. Just as the dream is insignificant, when we wake up, so also are all our problems. Gyani has claimed Atma to himself. So, what you are depends on what you identify with. Identification with lower self, makes one a Samsari. Identification with higher Self makes one a Gyani. Gyani says, I am pervading this body and I am blessing this body. Even if body disappears, so what?

Gyani has shifted identification from body to Atma. He renounces abhimana of body. He does it through wisdom. Wisdom is “ I am the higher Self, not the lower”. As body, I am a slave. As consciousness, I am the controller. As dream, I am a creature of the dream. As Waker, I am controller of the dream. He leads a happy life. If you ask him where are you? He will not say I am the body rather he will say, I am in the physical body that has nine doors.

Thus, the body’s outer skin is the wall; there are seven holes in the face (two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, one mouth) and two gates below for excretion.

The mouth is a two-way gate. It can speak, ideas go out. It can eat, thus food goes in. The body has roads, arteries, capillaries, etc. All pranas are workers in the body. Atma is the king of this body city. Once Atma’s blessings are not there the body has to go. Therefore, Atma is Raja. Therefore, Gyani is master of body.

The word Dehi in this shloka means Gyani.

Light illumines action, however, it is not involved in the action itself. It is called Sakshi Bhava. In light, a Doctor can perform surgery. In the same light, a thief can also steal. Both punyam and papam are performed in the same light. However, these actions do not involve the light. The Gyani too, like the light, just witnesses his actions. He is not involved in them. Direct action is called Karta. Indirect action is called Karayitha (instigator). Even an instigator can be tainted by an action. Does Atma instigate? If so, every criminal will blame the Atma for the crime. A knife is never punished, the user of the knife is. If Atma is an instigator it will have punyam and papapam. Therefore, Atma does not instigate. It is simply present as a witness, just like the light. So illumining something without involvement is called sakshi bhava. Thus, Gyani remains as a sakshi. Good and bad belong to the lower I. Higher I does not have good or bad qualifications.

Shloka # 14:

कर्तृत्वं कर्माणि लोकस्य सृजति प्रभुः
कर्मफलसंयोगं स्वभावस्तु प्रवर्तते।।5.14।।

The Lord creates neither agency nor objects for the world; nor contact with the fruits of works; rather, the nature of things operates.

Discussing this shloka, Swamiji said, chanting of shlokas has rules. Thus, in this shloka:

Lokasya Srijathi should be read without a gap. A short vowel is followed by a consonant, hence this method of reading.

In Svabhavastu Pravartate, there is a gap as after the vowel  U there is a double consonant.

Sri Krishna now says, Atma does not produce anything at all. Body and mind have natural doership. Ahamkara also has doership. The Atma does not create the doership. Atma also does not produce. Prabhu in shloka means master.

Atma does not produce Karta, Karma, karma phalam and association between karta and karamaphalam. If so, who is responsible for all these actions? Sri Krishna says, it is the innate nature of body and mind to be active. Electricity blesses all gadgets. It does not ask the fan to rotate. Fan rotates due to its inbuilt nature. Atma does not determine functions. Mind senses and body do their own activities while Atma is just a witness. Light is not responsible for saintliness of saint or criminality of criminal. 

Shloka # 15:

नादत्ते कस्यचित्पापं चैव सुकृतं विभुः
अज्ञानेनावृतं ज्ञानं तेन मुह्यन्ति जन्तवः।।5.15।।

The mighty Being accepts nobody’s sin or merit. Knowledge is shrouded in ignorance; therefore are living beings deluded.

In previous shloka we learned that Atma is neither the doer nor instigator. Here Sri Krishna now says, he is also the abhokta. Atma does not take papam nor does it acquire any punyam. In the shloka the word Vibhuhu means all pervading. Just as space is not made wet by rain or burned by fire the consciousness, like space, is not tainted by papam nor is it improved by punyam. So, Atma is not touched by anything. Citing example of criminal who committed a crime. In court he, however, quoted this shloka and said I should not be punished. Here, the devil was quoting the scripture. The Judge, who was a learned man, agreed with him that he was the Atma. He, however, said, I am giving imprisonment only to the body. Can you withdraw from the body, he asked? If you are able to withdraw from the body when a wrong action is done you should be able to withdraw from the body when the body suffers the result of wrong action.

When you are doing karma, you say you are not the body but when the body suffers you say that you are the body. This then is a problem. Either identify with the body throughout or dis-identify from the body throughout; partial identification is dangerous.

Identification with body or misidentification with body is the issue. At the body level, Karma functions.  At the Atma level, Punyam and Papam do not affect it. What is the cause of suffering?  Sri Krishna says, it is Deha Abhimana. It occurs due to ignorance of higher Self. This is the reason all Jivas are suffering. For an Agyani, Gyanam is the only solution.

Take Away:

  1. Gyani looks at the world and all actions in a shakshi bhava or as a witness. In this state, he is not involved with the actions anymore.
  2. To achieve this sakshi bhava Gyani shifts the identification from body to Atma. He renounces abhimana of body. He does it through wisdom. Wisdom is “ I am the higher Self, not the lower”.
  3. It is the identification with higher self that makes him a Gyani.

With Best Wishes

Ram Ramaswamy