Bhagawat Geeta, Class 78, Chapter 5, Verses 25 to 29
Shloka # 25:
लभन्ते ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृषयः क्षीणकल्मषाः।
छिन्नद्वैधा यतात्मानः सर्वभूतहिते रताः।।5.25।।
The seers win the peace of Brahman, their sins attenuated, doubts cut through, the inner sense controlled; they are busy promoting the welfare of all living beings.
Continuing his teaching of Gita, Swami Paramarthananda said, Sri Krishna has been talking about Gyana Yoga in this chapter. Now in shlokas 24 through 26, Krishna is talking about the Gyana yoga phalam or the benefit of self-knowledge. While talking about Gyana phalam, he also summarizes the various stages of spiritual sadhanas required to reach Gyanam. Shloka # 25 describes these stages. The stages are:
SarvaBhutahita Rataha in the shloka means leading an ethical and moral life. Being interested in the well being of all beings rather being selfish. Through this life I should expand my mind to feel the pain of others as well. Only one who feels the pain of others will not hurt anybody.
Now why do I hurt others? I hurt others because I do not feel anything at all, because I am such a gross human being. I need to sensitize my mind so that I feel the emotions of others. Psychologists call it the capacity of empathy. It is a fundamental quality that is required. It is the foundation for all other virtues of life. The entire human character is based on this one capacity. I should be able to sense the feelings of other people. So when the other person is happy I am able to identify and share the happiness and similarly when the other person feels the pain; I should be able to appreciate that feeling and share it. This capacity of feeling others’ feeling is called empathy and it is referred to here as sarvabhutahite ratatvam. In this process, initially, I feel the pain of my own family, my wife, my children etc. This itself expands the mind. It continues to expand. A shortsighted person does not sense even his wife’s pain. A person with an expanded mind even feels the pain of animals and plants.
In Pathanjali’s ashtanga yoga, the first value emphasized is ahimsa or not hurting others physically, verbally or even mentally. This is where our spirituality begins.
Shankaracharya in his commentary says such an evolved person does not hurt others; he is incapable of hurting others, because even as he hurts others, he can
immediately feel the pain of the other and therefore he withdraws from such an action. Thus, morality or ethics is the first stage, without which moksha is not possible and therefore Sri Krishna says sarvabhutahite ratatvam. Once I feel others’ feelings I will spend my life in helping others.
Nishkama karma is natural to such a person with a sensitive mind. Only a gross-minded person will ignore the fellow human being but a sensitive minded person would certainly help other people. He may not be able to help financially or physically but at a minimum he will at the least wish “Oh Lord, let everyone be happy”.
By his Nishkama karma and pancha maha yagya, he becomes a Kshina Kalmasha or one who is free from papam. What is papam as per Vedanta? Anything that obstructs our spiritual progress is papam. Our very desire for spirituality is due to our punyams. Nevertheless, there can be obstructions in life such as health, family, external situations etc. Nishkama karma will make all such obstacles go away.
Yatatmanaha: means one who develops the necessary discipline. I have to work for spiritual growth. Liberation is not based upon God’s will. It is based upon our desire. God is not the one who decides upon liberation of a person. God is not a partial God. I have to make use of Gods grace as my free will. While sunlight is there using solar energy is in my hands.
God’s grace is available to all. Some have tapped into it and others have not. Vivekam and Vairagyam do not happen on its own, I have to make it happen. I have to make the effort. The tendency to say, “ everything is in his hands” is an escapist one.
Yatatmanaha also means working for qualification or knowledge. In chapter 4 Sri Krishna advises that for this knowledge one has to seek a Guru and shastram.
Rishayaha means a rishi. Once I perform all sadhanas I become a rishi or a Gyani. Even a person living in society can be rishi. It does not mean every ochre robed swami is necessarily a Rishi.
Chhinna dvaida means knowledge that is free from all doubts or having conviction in the knowledge. Am I convinced about the teaching? Vedantic knowledge is revolutionary in that it deals with world, the God and me. Am I really immortal? Remember Shankaracharyas shloka of Chiddananda Roopa Shivoham Shivoham. There should not be an iota of doubt about my immortality.
“You are God” is a very difficult concept to accept.
“ the world you experience is less real than You”, another difficult concept to accept. Do you accept all of them? Conviction comes from reflection and questioning. This process is called mananam. So removal of all doubts is called mananam. Chhinadvaida means without a doubt.
Brahmanirvanam Labhante: means such a person attains oneness with Brahman. What is attaining one-ness with Brahman? Here there is no physical merger with God. If that were the case Brahman will have to be a separate entity. Vedanta says Brahman is all pervading. Therefore, here merger with Brahman means dropping the notion that I am separate from Brahman due to my ignorance. This is merger.
Summarizing the stages to reach Gyanam:
- Follow values of life
- Become pure
- Take initiative for spiritual growth and this involves acquiring sadhana chatushtaya sampathi and guru pra
- Gain knowledge
- Gain conviction
- Merger in Brahman
In this context Swamiji cited an advice:
For saving one family, you can sacrifice a member.
For saving one village you can sacrifice one family.
For saving the nation; you can sacrifice one village;
For the sake of moksha; you must be prepared to sacrifice everything;
Shloka # 26:
कामक्रोधवियुक्तानां यतीनां यतचेतसाम्।
अभितो ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं वर्तते विदितात्मनाम्।।5.26।।
On both sides, the peace of Brahman is there for the self-restrained ascetics, who are released from lust and wrath, and have known the Self.
So the same idea as in the previous shloka is repeated here for further clarity. Here also various stages of spiritual growth are pointed out. The first stage is kamakrodhaviyuktanam. Kamaha means desire for acquisition and krodhaha means anger caused by the obstacle in acquiring things or anger caused by the loss of things acquired. So kama will invariably lead to krodhaha. We also discussed this in detail in the third chapter under shloka 3.37.
And this management of kama and krodhaha is possible when I know a basic principle of Vedanta. What is that basic principle? It is that my happiness does not depend upon what I have but it depends upon what I am. So always focus on what I am, not on what I have. So if this is understood, our worry for yoga and kshema will come down otherwise kama will lead to more and more preservation such that I will have no time for spirituality. Life will be spent on yoga and kshema; yoga here means acquisition; kshema means preservation; in this process only our stress will increase as something or the other in life will always not work out.
We have to manage kama and krodha for getting Vairagyam.
Yatchetasam: means those who have integrated their mind. Mind is required for the spiritual journey. The mind has to be focused. Unless my mind is focused enough I will not be able to pursue spirituality. The capacity to focus is also known as Samadhi. Satka sampatti is essential so that all my organs cooperate with me in my spiritual journey.
We saw in the Katho Upanishad, wherein Yama dharma raja compared our life itself to a journey; body was compared to a car and the sense organs were compared to the wheels and the mind compared to the steering; and intellect compared to the driver. Only if the car, the wheels, the steering and the driver are all healthy only then can I reach the destination. Similarly, body must be fit; sense organs must be fit; emotional mind should be fit; intellect must be fit; and they should be available for my use and that is called here yata cetatvam. It is an organized personality, an integrated personality. Samadhi Satka Sampathi is the next stage.
Yathi: Means one has to become a Sanyasi. Purpose of Sanyashrama was to be immersed in study of scriptures. He was to have no other duty than study of scriptures. Committed study of scriptures is the duty of a Sanaysi. All people whose priority is spiritual growth are also Sanyasi’s.
Therefore, for a Yathi, spirituality is a priority.
Viditatmanam: is a Sanyasi who goes through a systematic study of scriptures for a length of time under a competent Guru.
Brahmanirvanam vartate: means merger with Brahman results from such a study of scriptures. This merger is a cognitive intellectual event. The knowledge of Aham Brahma Asmi occurs. This knowledge can happen both ways. First it happens before death and later continues even after death as well. Before death it is called Jivan mukti and after death it is called Videha mukti. Citing an example, Swamiji says, it is like pot-space merging into total space. In reality there are no different spaces in existence. The one space was as it was before and after in presence of the body. I am one consciousness, indivisible and all pervading.
Shloka # 27:
स्पर्शान्कृत्वा बहिर्बाह्यांश्चक्षुश्चैवान्तरे भ्रुवोः।
प्राणापानौ समौ कृत्वा नासाभ्यन्तरचारिणौ।।5.27।।
Shloka # 28:
विगतेच्छाभयक्रोधो यः सदा मुक्त एव सः।।5.28।।
Keeping out external contacts, fixing the eye between the eyebrows, and equalizing the in-breath and the out-breath that move within the nostrils;
Controlling the senses, mind and intellect, and free from desire, fear, wrath, the silent sage intent on liberation is eternally emancipated, indeed.
With previous shloka Gyana Phalam is over. With shloka # 26 the fifth chapter is also over. Sri Krishna introduces one more topic before concluding the chapter. He introduces this subject to get Arjuna interested. He now talks about meditation. Chapter #6 also discusses meditation.
Meditation is prescribed for assimilation of Gita teaching. The teaching must enter the subconscious and unconscious mind. Most of our reactions occur from the inner mind. Anger is not a thoughtful action. In life most of our actions are not thoughtful actions. Why did I talk like this? Why did I do this? Why did I use such angry words? It is my inner mind that is causing all this. While the Gita teaching is in my conscious mind, my subconscious is still as of old. Gita teaching has not yet penetrated at this deep level, hence the cause of my anger. So Gita has to penetrate into my inner personality. This way all my actions will be based upon Gita. So Gita has to mix in just like mixing sugar in coffee. Sometimes while sugar has been added it has not been mixed. So also with Gita, it has to mix into our deepest level of thought.
So, Sri Krishna is going to talk about meditation, as a means of assimilation. Gita has to penetrate deep into you. Currently, this knowledge is not accessed. Meditation helps in assimilation of this knowledge. Sri Krishna describes the process and result of meditation in chapter 6. Here he briefly touches upon it.
Sitting in a proper posture, evening out the breath, he regulates his mind. The eye should be focused between the eyebrows and withdrawn from the mind. This removes all sense objects from the mind. Don’t think of external objects during meditation.
Shloka # 28:
Meditation is to be performed with all organs withdrawn from external world. Get rid of all emotional disturbances. One should focus on moksha alone. In this stage the teaching is assimilated.
Shloka # 29:
भोक्तारं यज्ञतपसां सर्वलोकमहेश्वरम्।
सुहृदं सर्वभूतानां ज्ञात्वा मां शान्तिमृच्छति।।5.29।।
He attains peace knowing Me, the partaker of sacrifices and penances, the supreme Lord of the whole world and friend of all living beings.
The object of meditation is to meditate on “ me” or God the ultimate lord of creation, who is located in the heart of all beings. Meditating thus, you will attain shanti.
- Empathy or feeling for others is a foundational requirement for a seeker. It is the foundation for all other virtues of life. The entire human character is based on this one capacity. Do you feel your wife’s pain? Do you feel your children’s pain? You have to develop empathy.
- Meditation is recommended for assimilation of Gita teachings. This way the teachings enter deep into your subconscious mind.
With Best Wishes