Baghawat Geeta, Class 97: Chapter 6, Verses 37 to 43


Greetings All,

Shloka # 37:

अर्जुन उवाच
अयतिः श्रद्धयोपेतो योगाच्चलितमानसः
अप्राप्य योगसंसिद्धिं कां गतिं कृष्ण गच्छति।।6.37।।

Arjuna said:

What fate, Krishna! is in store for the lax practitioner of Yoga whose mind is rich in faith but who fails to reach perfection in Yoga?

Continuing his teaching of the Gita, Swami Paramarthananda said, Sri Krishna has comprehensively discussed all aspects of Vedantic meditation, which has to be practiced after a thorough study of Vedantic scriptures. Nowhere else is meditation discussed in such great detail. For this reason alone Chapter 6 is an important chapter. He has also talked about obstacles to meditation including mental distraction and its remedy. To succeed in meditation one has to develop Vairagyam or detachment. Without Vairagyam meditation is not possible. Without meditation an assimilation of teaching does not take place. Without assimilation of teaching one cannot obtain mukti. Hence Vairagyam is very important, per scriptures. Now Arjuna seeing himself wonders if he can ever get Vairagyam. He becomes pessimistic about obtaining moksha in this life. Swamiji says this is a universal problem. Every seeker becomes pessimistic, at some point or other, wondering, “Can I ever obtain moksha in this life?” Pessimism is a common obstacle for every seeker.

Arjuna has identified with majority of people and thus presents his problem. Shlokas 37, 38 and 39 respectively deal with Arjuna’s pessimism. After shloka # 37, Arjuna asks what happens to a person who comes to Gyana yoga without going through Karma marga. In this process such a person faces obstacles and is not able to complete the path of knowledge. It is not due to lack of faith but mainly because of obstacles that he is not able to obtain moksha. His is a situation of incomplete effort although he had the faith.

So ayathihi means alpa prayathnah; a person of incomplete effort; not because of lack of faith, faith is there; sincerity is there; but because of obstacle, one could not get Gyanam. And, therefore, naturally, gyana phalam of moksha he could not attain. Then at least should have attained the karma phalam of svarga. Arjuna feels that he would not get karma phalam also, because he left the karma and spend the karma time for Gyana; with the hope of getting a higher result; I do not want svarga and came to moksha; and svarga he dropped and moksham also he did not get; which is called typical trishanku.

Trishanku left the earth for the sake of attaining heaven and he was not granted entry in the svarga loka, and therefore he came down and Vishvamitra said do not come here and go up and Vishvamitra pushing up,

Indra pushing down; he was caught between heaven and earth.

What will be his lot? Arjuna clarifies his pessimism next.

Shloka # 38:

कच्चिन्नोभयविभ्रष्टश्छिन्नाभ्रमिव नश्यति
अप्रतिष्ठो महाबाहो विमूढो ब्रह्मणः पथि।।6.38।।

Having fallen off from both (karma and yoga) confounded and un-established in the path of Brahman. O hero does he not perish, like a scattered cloud?

In the previous shloka Sri Krishna said a seeker who places insufficient effort would not get moksha; also because he came to Gyana marga without going through karma marga he will not get swarga. Why did he not perform karmas; because, he chose to spend his time on gyana marga. Thus, neither did he have the support of karmas that could have given him swarga nor did he have complete gyana to give him moksha.

Citing an example his condition is likened to a small cloud that has been separated from the larger cloud. Wind cannot disperse a large cloud. However, wind will dissipate a small cloud. Vedantic teachings usually give examples from nature. In those times people spent a lot of time in nature and with nature unlike today. So this seeker is also like a small cloud without support of Karma or Gyanam.

Imagine a person gets out of the society and he does not have the support of a guru or ashrama; what will happen; the mind does not have karma hold; the mind does not have shastra hold, shastram has been dropped; svadharma has been dropped; thus his mind will dwell upon only sensory pleasures or other immoral things and the person ends up a mithyachari and that person can fall. That is the reason they say Sanyasa is such a highly risky ashrama because one can go out of both shastram and Varna ashrama dharma and like the cloudlet will he not get into destruction?

Hey Krishna, having fallen from the path of brahman or brahma marga or Gyana margah and from karma marga too, will he not perish; this is Arjuna’s fear.

Shloka # 39:

एतन्मे संशयं कृष्ण छेत्तुमर्हस्यशेषतः
त्वदन्यः संशयस्यास्य छेत्ता ह्युपपद्यते।।6.39।।

O Krishna! You ought to dispel this doubt of mine in its entirety. None but You can possibly dispel this doubt.

So Arjuna is desperate now; he says; Oh Krishna, I have a great fear as to why I came to Vedanta? Oh Krishna, you should destroy this doubt of mine, because if I am going to be a trishanku, at least I can try to do some pooja, even though moksha may not come, at least some punyam may come.

Why am I asking you? There can be no other person who can destroy this doubt. Why so?  Whether a man gets moksha or not can be determined only after a new birth. What will happen to us in the next janma; we do not know; why, even in this janma we do not know what will happen next year; or tomorrow itself. So bhagavan alone is karma phala dhata; therefore he alone is fit

enough to answer this question and therefore what type of janma, such a person will get later. And therefore you should answer. So, thus, in these three verses

Arjuna’s pessimistic question has been given. Now Sri Krishna is going to give an optimistic answer; we will read happily.

Shloka #  40:

श्री भगवानुवाच
पार्थ नैवेह नामुत्र विनाशस्तस्य विद्यते
नहि कल्याणकृत्कश्िचद्दुर्गतिं तात गच्छति।।6.40।।

Sri Krishma said:

Arjuna! neither in this world nor in the world to be does he come to ruin; for no evil betides the doer of good, My son!

First of all, consoling Arjuna, Sri Krishna says, “don’t worry”. Then he elaborates. Suppose a man comes to gyana yoga, the Vedanta sravanam alone gives him two benefits:

  • Mukhya phalam, primary benefit and
  • Avantara phalam, secondary benefit or by-product

Explaining the two phalams, when you plant a mango tree; the primary benefit you expect is mango fruit; but there are so many by-products, you get the shade of the tree; and the temperature will be lesser; the roots of the tree retain some water; and therefore in the surrounding area, there is more coolness.

Mukhya phalam: If a person has all required qualifications, he will get gyanam and punyam.  If he does not have sufficient qualifications, he will just get the secondary phalam of punyam alone.  In chapter # 18, Sri Krishna says even if a person listens to Gita , without understanding it, it produces punyam. It is similar to sahasra nama japa. Punyam here means one gets swargam.

Oh Partha:  for a Gyana margi, a person who has come to shastra sravanam, there is no downfall at all either in this janma or after death; there is no question of spiritual fall. What is the reason? Because such a person happens to be mangala-karta, he is doing a noble action, even listening to Gita is a mangala karma, which

Sri Krishna called in the fourth chapter, as Gyana yagna.

Even though no homa kunda is involved; even though no oblations are involved; this Gyana yagna will give as much punyam as any other vaidika karma; and that punyam is the minimum result that one will get. But if he has got qualification, he would not require this punyam; because Gyanam itself is going to give him moksha; therefore kalyana krit is equal to mangala karta.

Such a person will never have a downfall.

Shloka # 41:

प्राप्य पुण्यकृतां लोकानुषित्वा शाश्वतीः समाः
शुचीनां श्रीमतां गेहे योगभ्रष्टोऽभिजायते।।6.41।।

Reaching the spheres of the meritorious, and after sojourning there long lasting years, the one who has slipped from Yoga is born in a home of pure and prosperous householders.

This shloka discusses what happens to such a seeker, a Yoga Bhrashta, after death. Such a person, who has accrued punyam by listening to scriptures, obtains as secondary benefit, swarga.

Madhusudhana Saraswathy Swami quotes a verse and he says that one minute of Vedanta sravanam is equal to 100 of yagas and it is equal to giving the danam of the entire earth; not one acre or two acre; the entire earth is gifted; all those punyams will come by Vedanta sravanam ; the idea is that this itself is a very sacred karma.

He will remain in swarga for many years. He will enjoy pleasures as well. Then God gives him an appropriate birth to continue his spiritual journey.

He will be born in a prosperous and cultured family. Only in such a family can one pursue spirituality. If one is born in poverty, one does not have time for spirituality.

Suppose one is born in a family with prosperity but without culture? Sri Krishna says, this will not help him.  Money without culture is dangerous; because all the money will be used on purely materialistic pursuits such as clubs, alchohol etc. Such a person performs no pooja, has no religion, has nothing; that is in fact worse than being born poor.

In the new life he will use all his prosperity for spiritual growth.  He will perform more of nishkama karma; he can do more of service because dharma is there in the mind; money is there; when dharma and artha come together, he will use all the money for noble activities; nishkama karma will be more and all those karmas will give him more purity and sadhana chatushtaya sampathi. In the purva janma he failed because of his incomplete qualifications; now all those qualifications will be completed in the next janma and he will be ready for Gyanam.

Now, Sri Krishna gives a second possibility although it is a rare one.

Shloka # 42:

अथवा योगिनामेव कुले भवति धीमताम्
एतद्धि दुर्लभतरं लोके जन्म यदीदृशम्।।6.42।।

Or , he is born in a family of wise yogins. This sort of birth , however, is far rarer in the world.

He is born to a Gyani, although they may not be in prosperity. Not born in prosperity here means they lead a very simple life. When there is Gyanam, poverty is not a curse.

It will be considered as an ideal thing for following tapas. You do not have to specially practice sanyasa; because you have to have something to renounce; therefore I need not work for sanyasa. Being born to Yogi’s he need not go in search of a guru as well.

Fewer possessions mean less to worry about.

Thus, such a birth, as child of a gyani, is a rare one. It is rare because Gyanis themselves are rare and a grihasta gyani is rarer still.

The next question was: Will I start my spiritual sadhanas from scratch again or is it a continuation of my knowledge into the next birth?

Sri Krishna says,  “You will be born with spiritual knowledge of the previous birth.” He is thus a spiritual genius. So, a spiritual genius was probably a Yoga Brashta in his previous birth.

Shloka # 43:

तत्र तं बुद्धिसंयोगं लभते पौर्वदेहिकम्
यतते ततो भूयः संसिद्धौ कुरुनन्दन।।6.43।।

There he acquires memory of the ideas relating to his previous body, and he labors harder, O Bharata prince! to achieve perfection.

In the new birth, in a prosperous family or Gyani’s family, this jiva gets associated with spiritual gains of his previous birth.

Why is it so?

As per shastras, between the two janmas, body is different but not the mind. While body dies, the mind does not. Sukshma shariram does not die.

A mother gives birth to a body but not the mind. Every child comes into this world with his or her own Vasanas. In the early years the vasanas remain dormant but manifest themselves in later years.

How do you know a child is a spiritual genius? From it’s inclinations. In Vedanta class’s people who attend are of various age groups, young and old. Age is of the body, not the mind. Gyana Vrudha (old) is a mature person. Body is 15 but Gyanam maybe 95 years old.

Take away:

  1. Pessimism is a common obstacle for every seeker. Will I ever get moksha in this life?
  2. In chapter # 18, Sri Krishna says even if a person listens to Gita without understanding it, it produces punyam.
  3. If one is born in poverty, one does not have time for spirituality.
  4. When there is Gyanam, poverty is not a curse. Poverty here means leading a simple life.
  5. A mother gives birth to a body but not the mind. Every child comes into this world with his or her own vasanas.

With Best Wishes

Ram Ramaswamy