Baghawad Gita, Class 191: Chapter 15, Verses 4 and 5


Shloka 15.4:

15.4 Thereafter, that State has to be sought for, going where they do not return again: I take refuge in that Primeval Person Himself, from whom has ensued the eternal Manifestation


Continuing his teachings Swamiji said, in the first part of the 15th chapter, Sri Krishna gave a description of samsara, so that a person would get a desire for moksha; because unless one diagnoses the human problem, there will never be an attempt to get out of the Problem, and therefore he gave the description of samsara by comparing samsara to a huge tree.  This was done in the first 2-1/2 verses and thereafter Sri Krishna has now entered into the sadhanas meant for obtaining moksha or samsara nivrtti.

And many disciplines are discussed in the shastras and Sri Krishna is here highlighting four disciplines, which I introduced in the last class; the first one is vairagyam; which Sri Krishna called asangatvam. And by the word vairagyam, we saw the idea conveyed is deciding to depend upon the Lord more than the world. So shifting from world dependence to God dependence is vairagyam. So that later, we can discover that the Lord is none other than my own higher nature. The scriptures do not reveal this fact in the beginning; in the beginning, Lord is presented as a third person, other than me. Thus he srishti and sthithi karta, he is omniscient, he is omnipotent, God is described as a parokshavastu, as someone different, and we are asked to depend upon that Lord in any form we like, in the form of Ganesha, Shiva, Vishnu, etc. And thereafter alone, we discover the fact that the Lord is not away from me, that the Lord is my own higher nature, and therefore, God-dependence will later be converted into self-dependence, which is total freedom. So thus vairagyam is shifting the dependence from the world to the Lord.

The next one, the second one, that Krishna mentions is sharanagathi or surrender to the Lord, to pursue the moksha marga. This is based on the discovery of the fact that any human undertaking can be successful only when two factors are favorable. One is my sincere effort called prayathna. Without my effort, nothing can happen. As they say, ten people can take a horse to the water, but the horse alone has to drink. Similarly, if my effort is not there, even God cannot help me. Therefore, prayathna is one factor, and the second factor is Ishvara anugraha; the grace of the Lord, so that all the other factors are favorable to me. All the hidden factors are favorable to me, and to seek this grace of the Lord, I surrender to the Lord. Sharanagathi or prapathi is the second sadhana and the third one is the development of healthy virtues. So, sadguna sampadanam means only in the atmosphere of healthy virtues, self-knowledge can take place. Just as in chemistry, when they talk about various chemical reactions; they always specify the temperature and the pressure; in whose conditions alone the reactions can take place.

Vedanta says that self-knowledge can take place only in certain conditions. Therefore the ideal condition of the mind in which self-knowledge can take place is called sadhana chatushtaya sampathi or healthy virtues. Some of the virtues, Sri Krishna will Himself enumerate later, some we have already seen in the 10th. 12 th and 13th chapters.

The fourth virtue is Vedanta vichara; enquiry into the scriptures or scriptural study. Unfortunately, this sadhana is not emphasized nowadays. Vedanta Vichara is a systematic study of shastras consisting of shravana, mananam and nidhidhyasanam, and Sri Krishna uses the word here parimarganam. Parimarganam means self-enquiry, through the instrumentality of scriptures.

Self-enquiry requires the instrument called shastra pramanam.

That is why we always say; self-enquiry is equal to shastric enquiry.  Atma vichara is equal to Vedanta vichara. It is like looking at your own reflection in a mirror.

Similarly, the more you get into the shastras properly with the right guru, greater the shastric study, the greater the understanding of myself. The deeper you penetrate into the shastras, the deeper is your understanding of yourselves. So this is the fourth sadhana.

What is the most important virtue of the four?

Sri Krishna does not mention, but we should remember that the most important one is Vedanta vichara alone. The other three are only supportive causes, because they only prepare the condition of the mind.

And ignorance is removed only by knowledge generated by Vedanta vichara; sharanagathi cannot remove ignorance, all the virtues cannot remove ignorance. If you have all virtues, you will be a virtuously ignorant; previously viciously ignorant; now virtuously ignorant; virtues cannot remove ignorance. Vairagyam cannot remove ignorance,

therefore vairagyam, sharanagathi and sadguna, they only create the condition, the actual job is done by vedantic study, which generates the knowledge and in the process, removes the ignorance.

 Therefore three are supporting causes and Vedanta vichara is the primary cause. All these four are mentioned in the third verse; vairagyam has been mentioned in the 4th verse; Sri Krishna is mentioning Vedanta vichara and sharanagathi. So look at the third line first.

Without Ishvara bhakthi, any amount of intellectual acumen will not bless a person, we do require a sharp intellect, no doubt, but bhakthi is very important.

And that is why we start the class with a prayer;

Therefore the last two lines are within quotation, the surrender expressed by the devotee. He address the lord, Oh Lord, I surrender to that Lord who is called purusha, the word purusha has two meaning, one meaning is the all pervading one, purayathi sarvam ithi.

Another meaning is pure iti vasathi, iti purushaha; puram means the body, vasathi, one who dwells; therefore purusha means the one who indwells the body and that is natural because if the Lord is all pervading, the Lord will be in my heart as well.

So Purusha also means that all pervading Lord who is in my heart to whom I surrender. And What type of Lord he is? The Lord from whom the creation originates

 And when did all this start, when does this origination Begin? Sri Krishna says the most ancient creation proceeds or emerges from that Lord to whom  I surrender to. So this is called sharanagathi. This is the second upayaha. And then we will go back to the first line, in which the third sadhana is mentioned, viz., Vedanta vichara, and means after preparing the mind very well or after sadhana chatushtaya sampathi anantharam. That is how brahma sutra also begins.

Vyasacharya wrote the famous brahma sutra, consisting of 555 sutras, most important vedantic literature and it begins with athatho brahma jijnasa. And Shankaracharya writes an elaborate commentary on the first word, atha, by reading which itself you get heated up. He analyzes various possible meaning of the word Athaha and dismisses all other possible meanings and arrives at the meaning thereafter.

For that 1-1/2 page commentary, for which 10 page sub-commentary and 100 pages of Others have written sub-sub-commentary for word athah. And once he establishes the meaning as thereafter, he himself asks the question, thereafter means where after?

Then shankaracharya himself answers the question, sadhana chatushtaya sampathi ananatharam or after preparing the mind. In fact our entire religious life is for this preparation. All our rituals are called samskara, the very conception is a samskara, thus: garbhadhana samskara, pumsavana samskara, seemantha samskara, jatakarma samskara; samskara means refinment process. Everything that we do in our religion, including navarathri kolu and also chundal; all are meant for refinement of the mind or samskara, what a beautiful name. And a mind, which is refined, is called samskrita anthakaranam. So here the word tataha means athaha of brahma sutra.

So, tataha is equal to athaha. What should you do? parimargitavyam; enter into vedantic study seriously, systematically. Find out what is sthula shariram, what is sukshma shariram; what is karana shariram; is there something beyond, if there is something beyond; what is its nature; it is a very elaborate enquiry.

In Vyasa sutra it is called Brahma jijnasaha. jijnasaha means parimarganam. What do you enquire into? We enquire into padam.

Padam in the last class I explained; one meaning is the ultimate goal of every human being, which is Brahman.

There is a second meaning as well meaning it is the basis or substratum. And according to the second meaning also, it is Brahman only. So Brahman, which is the destination and Brahman which is the substratum of the whole creation, which is the root of the samsara vrksha; of that Brahman may you enquire through Vedanta.

What is the advantage of reaching that destination. Sri Krishna tells that this is the best destination because this is the only destination reaching Which, there is nothing further to go to. A person has reached Home. So Brahman alone is the real home, where you can feel at Home. With any other goal you fulfill, for a day, you are fulfilled and relaxed; then you are ready for what next? Education over? what next?

Employment over? Getting married? Then what? Children? Then, what next? They should be settled.

Then what next? Grand children; they should be settled. I am eternally unsettled. Looking for some settlement or the other; I am always unsettled; the agenda never ends. And this has been going on from anadi kala.

Whereas this is the destination where you feel at home with yourselves and thereafter whatever you do, it is not a struggle, but it is a sport or enjoyment. And, therefore, Sri Krishna says yasmin gatha, reaching Brahman destination, moksha destination, one does not come back to samsara, which is the perpetual struggle. Perpetual struggle ends once and for all.

With this three sadhanas, have been talked about, that is Vairagyam; sharanagathi, and Vedanta vichara. Now the fourth is in next verse.

Shloka 15.5:

15.5 The wise ones who are free from pride and non-discrimination, who have conered the evil of association, [Hatred and love arising from association with foes and friends.] who are ever devoted to spirituality, completely free from desires, free from the dualities called happiness and sorrow, reach that undecaying State.

So the fourth discipline is sadgunaha; cultivation of healthy virtues; Vedanta-friendly virtues, which serve as a catalyst for the Moksha reaction to take place. So what are those virtues? We have already enumerated in the thirteenth chapter, from verse No.8 to 12; amanitvam, adambitvam, etc. and Sri Krishna will again elaborate in the 16th chapter, in the form of daivi sampathi and later in the 17th chapter as well. So Sri Krishna wants only to give certain sample of virtues.

And what are they? Krishna says, nirmanamoha; first and foremost develop humility; get rid of arrogance; pride, vanity, which unknowingly creep into our personality; a few achievements can easily get into our head. And when a few people glorify us, we lose our balance. And therefore our scriptures emphasize Vinaya or humility as one of the most important virtues required and as I said, the thing in one of the classes before, one of the exercises prescribed is learning to do namaskara. The very physical prostration has the capacity to develop humility; and in our culture left and right, any occasion namaskara is there; Not only in front of the Lord, namaskara to parents, to elders, to teachers; So this is one method; and the second one is to constantly remember that there are people who are greater than me; and superior to me in any field. I am never the greatest one in the creation. If I remember this fact, humility will be automatic and secondly and more importantly I should remember; whatever glories or faculties I have, they are all gift from the Lord, it does not take much time to lose them; a wonderful voice can be easily lost with one ice-cream; or anything. So any faculty that I have can be lost at any time; Remember the 10th chapter of the Gītā; everything I possess is Bhagavan’s gift. And any glorification I receive, you do not have that problem!!, It is OK, if no one curses! Any glorification I receive, any namaskara I receive, I directly handover mentally to the Lord.

If these two points I remember; first point, that there are people who are superior and greater and second point, whatever I have is Bhagavan’s grace. If these two I remember in my mind, and physically I keep doing namaskara wherever appropriate, without hesitation, satsanga namaskara, if there is a back-ache, pancanga namaskara, or at least the short cut namaskara, you do, nirmana is nothing but amanitvam of the 13th chapter, vinayaha. Then the next virtue is nirmoha, meaning freedom from delusion. And that means proper thinking or discrimination and what is proper thinking? We should remember, every individual is a mixture of a spiritual personality and a material personality. Spiritual personality is the atma tatvam and the material personality is the anatma personality and every individual is a mixture of spirit and matter.

We are both spiritual and materialistic. As Dayananda Swamiji says; even the greatest spiritual person when he is eating food, he is a materialist; because he is dealing with matter to nourish the matter; there is no atma involved in eating. So we have both the personalities; our growth is balanced growth in which I take care of my material needs and I should also take care of my spiritual growth. And that is why we have divided the purusharta into four: artha kama are also important; dharma moksha is also important. There should not be a lopsided approach. That is what Sri Krishna said in the 16th chapter; 100% spiritual pursuit nobody can have. 100% material pursuit is also lopsided. Therefore Sri Krishna says; Give balanced time for artha kama, earn well, eat well but at the same time have time for attending the Sunday classes. And therefore mohaha means the misconception that pursuit of money alone will give me fulfillment in life. And therefore, nirmoha means the one who gives equal importance to spirituality as well.

And the next virtue is jita sangha dosha. Sangha means emotional slavery; emotional attachment, emotional addiction, emotional leaning upon external factors is a risky proposition; because the external world is constantly changing; So leaning upon a changing support is not a healthy one and therefore use everything but do not lean on anything; and if at all you want to lean upon something, lean upon something sashvatham. And that is why I told in the beginning itself, from world dependence to God-dependence. So jitasangadosha means those who have mastery, those who are not emotional slaves of people, of situations and of things. So this will take time, but we have to work on that. In fact all our vrithams prescribed in the scriptures are meant to develop that self-dependence only; whatever we are used to, we are asked to give up for a day. For a week; those people who take vrtham for Shabarimalai, they learn to live without those dependences. See what happens if coffee is not there for. You have start there. So therefore, freedom from slavery.

Then the next one vinivrttakama that means not developing new dependencies.

Previous value is giving up present dependence and there are some people who give up, they say I have given up smoking and now I do; pan parag; you have left one and replaced by something equal or worse Therefore do not replace one dependence with another. So vinivrttakama means free from fresh attachments or desires.

Then the next virtue is dvandvai vimukta; those who can withstand the opposite experiences of life; the capacity to withstand the opposite experiences of life; which are inevitable in life. So there is prosperity, lot of money, and then there is also situation, lot of debts also, and health is there; ill-health is also there; and gain is there; and loss is there; victory is there; failure is there; mana apamana, in fact life is a series of opposites. In Sanskrit we call it dvandvam. Dvandvam means pair. And that is why reading puranic stories, which is useful because from the puranas we come to know that even the greater emperors and even great bhakthas and even avath aras have faced opposites;

When faced with choice-less situations, irremediable situations, how can I help myself. I have toughen myself, I have to thicken my skin; that is called shock absorber, through viveka and bhakthi; discrimination and devotion will give a mind with a shock absorber. It frees us from violent reactions. You cannot avoid reactions totally, but the shock absorber would reduce the intensity. I would not go Mad, I would not think of committing suicide, I may be upset a little bit; but it is a withstandable, manageable condition. So those who are free from violent reactions with regard to adverse circumstances. And what are the adverse experiences, sukha dukham sama; in the form of pleasure and pain; and others. So when that well known proverb, you might have heard, when going gets tough, the tough gets going.

In Sanskrit, we have got a beautiful shloka, in which they divide the human beings into two types of balls. One is a wet clay ball; a ball made-up of wet clay; and another is a rubber ball. The wet clay ball once it falls, never gets up. Fallen for good. It does not have the capacity to bounce back. Low resilience; permanently scarred and damaged; whereas the rubber ball, the moment it falls, it bounces back; in fact, the harder the fall, more is the bounce. I have to decide whether I am clay or ball. And one who is like a ball, is called dvandvairvimukta.

And the next and the most important virtue is  adhyatmanityaha; means regular study of scriptures; In fact they nourish these virtues. Just as physical health requires a consumption of regular nutritious food; physical health requires regular consumption of nutritious food; not junk food, similarly, mental health requires regular consumption of nutritious food called scriptural study. It is a nutrition for the mind and the intellect. And if you read any other book such as star dust; what will happen, we will go to dust; that is all. That is called like junk food; therefore, reading Gita, reading the saying of the mahatmas. Remember, that is nourishment to the mind and intellect and therefore Sri Krishna says adhyatmanityaha that means regularly committed to adyatma or spiritual study. It can also be by sharing your knowledge of scriptures with others.

And if a person follows these virtues, along with the other three; that is vairagyam, saranagathi and Vedanta vichara, then people who follow all these sadhanas, become wise people or amudhaha or they become Gyani’s.  And then they will reach the destination of Brahman, the destination of God or the destination of moksha; they will certainly attain; guaranteed.

Avyayam in shloka means the destination is a permanent one, as the wisdom is never lost. Money you gain, it gets depleted; exhausted; but knowledge when you share with others, it will never get depleted. As I teach Gita more, reality is that, the more I teach, the more I know.

The more you use your knowledge, the more it increases; and therefore moksha is a permanent benefit. It is never lost.

Take Away:

Shifting from world dependence to God dependence is vairagyam.

Sharanagathi or surrender to the Lord, to pursue the moksha marga.

Humility: I should remember that there are people who are superior and greater and second point, whatever I have is due to Bhagavan’s grace.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy