Baghawad Gita, Class 202: Verses 9 to 14


Shloka 16.9:

16.9 Holding on to this view, (these people) who are of depraved character, of poor intellect, given to fearful actions and harmful, wax strong for the ruin of the world.


Continuing his teachings Swamiji said, In our scriptures, they talk about four goals of human life, known as purusharta’s.

Purusha meaning human being, artha means goals. Therefore, purushartha means human goals. They are called human goals; because human beings alone can fix a goal and work consistently to accomplish that, because fixing the goal and working for that requires a freewill and human beings alone are endowed with this freewill and therefore they alone can have short-term and long-term goals and consistently work for their accomplishment and since freewill and these goals are unique to human beings, they are called purushartha; Of these four purusharta’s, the first one is well-known and every human being naturally goes after that; and it is called artha; artha means material possession that make sure that the life is secure.

So material possessions for the sake of my security is very natural for even animals and certainly it is instinctive and natural for human beings and all material possessions are called artha; it may be in the form of money, in the form of shares, land etc.

And the second is kama, kama means all forms of sense pleasures or entertainment. This is a season of entertainment and therefore people know what entertainment is; it is sense pleasure. This artha and kama are called material pursuits and this is very natural to human beings. One need not have any special training; we do not require gurus; we do not require scriptures to train people in these two pursuits.

But Vedas say that these two are human goals; but do not stop with these two; there are two more human goals; uniquely human, not available to other animals and the third in that list is called dharma, by which we mean inner refinement; or refinement of the mind. In Sanskrit we call it samskara; chitta samskara. In fact, we have several ceremonies from conception to death; 41 such ceremonies are mentioned. Each ceremony is called a samskara. Garbhaadharana, pumsavana samskara, seemanthonanyana, jathakarma, nama karana, choula, annaprasana, upanayana, vedavrathini, vivaha; 41 such samskaras are mentioned; the culmination being the rituals done at the time and immediately after death. All of these are samskaras, because they are supposed contribute to the inner refinement;

And not only the rituals contribute to the inner samskara, even a life of values contribute to this inner refinement. All the ethical values are part of the inner samskara and not only rituals and values, even healthy attitudes contribute to the inner refinement; our attitude towards the parents; matru devo bhava; pitru devo bhava; Our attitude towards elders; which is unique to our culture, we are asked to do namaskara. Namaskara indicates our reverence for age; our reverence for experience; because certain type of refinement can come only through experience. Therefore, attitude towards wealth; attitude towards people, attitude towards the environment; attitude towards the world in general, they all form part of the lifestyle; contributing to inner refinement. This chitta samskara is called dharma; Thus, the third unique human goal is mental refinement; In Vedanta it is called sukshma buddhi.

But unfortunately, this inner refinement is not a tangible goal. Money is a tangible goal; people can understand it. And entertainment is tangible; I can switch on a show; but dharma is an intangible goal. Therefore, it takes time for the human beings even to know the value of this goal; Why is dharma an important human goal? Even to appreciate that it requires sensitivity. Plus, dharma is inner refinement, attained through combining religious life as well as ethics and morality. And this will lead to inner refinement. This is called dharma purushartha or in the language of sixteenth chapter; daivi Sampath or inner wealth or invisible wealth.

And then the fourth purushartha, which is the culmination of these three is moksha, otherwise called spiritual enlightenment or spiritual knowledge. Spiritual wisdom is the fourth purushartha, which is called moksha. Moksha means freedom from ignorance. Knowledge will give me freedom from ignorance. And freedom from ignorance means freedom from problems created by ignorance and according to our scriptures; all human problems are caused by ignorance. And this spiritual knowledge or wisdom is also an intangible goal; I also cannot show what is moksha.

Dharma is an intangible inner goal; moksha is also an intangible inner goal; but the scriptures say they must be included. And Vedas say, even if you do not know the worth of these two higher goals, even if you do not understand what is dharma; even if you do not understand what is moksha; it does not matter; you follow the lifestyle that I prescribe; then if you follow that; in due course you will know the value of dharma and moksha. Like a mother, cannot teach everything to the child; because child is too young to understand what is hygiene. Child cannot understand; therefore, mother blindly commands: wash your hands before eating. The child does not understand the significance of washing, infection; hygiene; bacteria and disease; mother cannot teach a small baby; therefore, the mother says, do what I tell you now.

 Even though the child may be unhappy because the mother is forcing too many things; but mother does not feel bad, the motive of the mother is the wellbeing of the child. Therefore what the Veda’s say is: You may not understand the significance of inner growth; you may not understand the significance of a value based life; you may not understand the significance of religious life itself; even if you do not understand, follow with faith in the Veda’s; with the attitude that veda is my mother; whatever it tells will be for my good. And even if I do not understand the significance now; as I grow, I will understand. Thus, dharma and moksha purushartha’s also should be included even as a person is pursuing artha and kama. Such a person is a religious person; a person given to daivi sampath.

And Sri Krishna says the problem with the materialist people is they will value only artha kama purusharta. A materialistic person is defined as that person, who looks upon only two goals in life; artha and kama alone. He will not understand what is dharma; he does not want to understand what is dharma; He will not understand what is moksha; He does not want to understand; At least if he blindly follows the vedas, it will be fine; but he does not have faith in the Vedas; So, no faith in god; no faith in vedas ; no faith in gurus; and himself, he cannot understand as well.

These people, artha kama pradhana, are called materialistic people.

Sri Krishna is very strongly criticizing these materialistic people; he said; their goal is work for 5 days, enjoy for 2 and then die.

They do not know the higher possibilities of human life, the wonderful ananda born out of dharma and moksha; they do not understand what is inner growth; they are short sighted people; And when I try to talk about dharma, they only argue.

They say, I do not value dharma or ethics, morality or devotion; I see many dharmic and religious people going through all types of problems. Devotees are suffering; ethical people are suffering; while all those adharmic people are enjoying. This is the argument they give. They ask, what is the use of being a bhaktha?

This is the silliest argument, because, if you look at life in this manner, you cannot accept any law of life. For example, there are so many rules prescribed for good health in health magazines. They talk about do’s and don’ts with regard to health. But if you observe, you will certainly find that there are many people who follow all the health rules and they fall sick. They do not smoke; they do not drink; they do not eat meat; they exercise regularly and yet they suffer heart attack. And, there are others who violate all the health rules and yet enjoy without any diseases.

Now can I argue, therefore, that all the health rules are meaningless. They say cigarette smoking is injurious to health; yet there are people who smoke, and who are healthy. And there are people who do not even touch a cigarette and have cancer. Therefore, can you say that rules of health are meaningless. We can never give such an argument. Similarly, we say dharma is good; adharma is bad. This is based on a shastric vision. To argue that dharmic people suffer while adharmic people enjoy, is the silliest approach.

So, we should not argue that dharmic suffer and adharmic people enjoy. Adharma is not good for our spiritual health. Dharma alone protects our spiritual health and this asuric people will not accept and they argue.

We can only pray for them. Therefore, Sri Krishna says, they are short sighted and they will take to violent lifestyle; because even though himsa is adharma, they do not believe in adharma, whatever is an obstacle to them, they want to destroy; and thus, they are enemies of the world. As I said in the last class; violation of dharma will create an imbalance in the cosmic order; imbalance in the cosmic order will cause the destruction of the universe. And therefore, they are enemies of the world and they cause destruction.

Shloka 16.10:

Giving themselves up to insatiable passion, filled with vanity, pride and arrogance, adopting bad abjectives due to delusion, and having impure resolves, they engage in actions.

There is no limit to materialistic desires. Fulfilment of worldly desires can never give total satisfaction. So, it is like a mirage; from distance there seems to be water; when I go near, it recedes further. And similarly, we have a false hope that the fulfilment of materialistic desires will give us satisfaction, but we find once, one set of desires are fulfilled; the next set is ready; Swami Chinmayanand nicely says: Happiness is the Number of desires you fulfil divided by the Number of desires you have.

But the problem is we only study the increase in the numerator while we are assuming that the denominator, the number of desires, will remain stationery.

The problem is that the denominator also increases very fast.  You will find that you have fulfilled so many desires; but instead of increasing, the happiness decreases, because there is no end to the fulfilment of desires.

Therefore, Sri Krishna says, nobody is satiated; and they say it is like pouring ghee into the fire; you want it to subside; you want it to quench; reality is that they will never quench by offering of ghee; it only increases. So, having fulfilled their petty desires; they get dambha, pomp and show, ostentation; and mana meaning pride and mada; meaning haughtiness or arrogance; they are full of these negative traits. All because of delusion. Now, what is the delusion? Finite plus finite is equal to finite only. By effort whatever I achieve in life; will be limited both in time and in size. I start as a finite being; by adding any number of finite goals, I only go from finitude to finitude; infinitude will not come. This they do not understand, because of delusion.

So, it means they believe in false values that the external objects will give me security not realizing that the external object itself is insecure. Money is insecure; inflation problem and interest is coming down; And the expenditure is increasing; cost of living increases, and the interest decreases; What security do we have? Therefore, money is insecure, property is insecure, people around are insecure; job is insecure; so, by holding on to other insecure things, how can I find security. But the human being never thinks.

They have all kinds of vratams; which are all asuchi or Evil resolves; So instead of taking the religious vratams, like sabarimala vratams they take to evil resolves. In the olden days 41 days Vratham was taken to go to Sabarimala; now no vrathams are taken anymore.

But these people have got asuchi vratams; What is their resolve or Vrtham? Resolves such as, I will finish that competitor. Their resolves are usually negative ones.

Their vrithams are like those of rakshasas. They also follow religious discipline but for the destruction of the world.

Shloka 16.11

16.11 Beset with innumerable cares which end (only) with death, holding that the enjoyment of desirable objects is the highest goal, feeling sure that this is all.

These materialistic people learn only to depend more and more on external factors; their very acquisitions indicate they want happiness and security that are based on external factors. Therefore, the number of external factors they depend upon increases gradually. Whereas the vedanta tells us to reduce dependences. The fundamental motto of Vedanta is sarvam paravasham Dukham or dependence on external factors is sorrow. External factors may be person; may be things; may be situations. Vedanta says, sarvam atma vasham sukham or Non-dependence on external factors or self-dependence or independence is joy. Whereas materialistic society is a consumerist society; And the more the number of external factors are, the more unpredictable my life will be; because which factor will fail, how and when, I do not know; so therefore, hidden variables will increase, unpredictability increases. Therefore, I do not know what will breakdown tomorrow and therefore whether I am happy or unhappy will depend upon perfect functioning of so many gadgets from telephone; computers and so many things. And, therefore, the problem is, the more life becomes unpredictable, the more the stress will be. Unpredictability leads to stress and strain; And the materialistic person depends upon more unpredictable external factors for his comfort and happiness; whereas the spiritual person requires only one thing; atmni eva atmana tushta; Fortunately, atma will not break down; and therefore, these materialistic people are full of stress and strain.

So, they have limitless worry and sleepless nights, whereas, a devotee who is a karma yogi, a man of daivi sampath, he says, let whatever happen, happen. Let not my peace depend upon these unpredictable factors, Oh Lord. Therefore, Oh Lord give me the inner strength, spiritual strength.

This devotion, the materialistic person does not have.  His worries have no end at all.

He remains committed to money and entertainment.

These materialistic people are miserable and unfortunately, they convert other people also to materialism because that is a more tempting philosophy.

Shloka 16.12:

16.12 Bound by hundreds of shackles in the form of hope, giving themselves wholly to passion and anger, they endeavour to amass wealth through foul means for the enjoyment of desirable objects.

So, these materialistic people are shackled by countless attachments; whereas the daivi sampth approach is, I do not own anything. His attitude is everything belongs to the Lord; I use them with the grace of the Lord, that is why when I build a house, I do not enter without placing the picture of the Lord. The idea is this house is not my house, it is a temple; and I am using that house with the grace of the Lord.

Therefore, a satvic person disowns everything; whereas the rajasic, tamasic and materialistic people; they hold on to things.

They are rich in kama and krodha. And unfortunately, a materialistic society praises only these rich people. When there is a humble person who has value for dharma; society does not honor him. Vedic society always valued renunciation. If Buddha was valued it was because he renounced everything.

A materialistic society will value possessions.

They are also given to kama and krodha as the ultimate thing.

They are busy people, workaholics; and they have no time for pancha maha yagna. They work for amassing wealth and all is done for entertainment. Earning money itself is not bad; when you earn more and own less; you become a blessing to the society. In fact, a karma yogi is one who earns more and owns less. A karmi is one who earns more and owns more; because when I earn more and own everything I earn; he has no money to share with others.

While Karma yogi is the most important person because he earns plenty and owns less; that means he has a big buffer which is available for pancha maha yagna.

Therefore, we are not against earning, but what we are against is earning and owning all. These are the people who earn wealth and but do not give to others.

Shloka 16.13:

6.13 ‘This has been gained by me today; I shall acquire this desired object. This is in hand; again, this wealth also will come to me.’

So generally, these people are busy and their philosophy is: Time is money.

 Therefore, they do not waste time, they utilize all the time to convert into money. This is the philosophy; therefore, generally they do not have free time; and even if they have some free time, they only think of how to increase their money and not about God.

In these three verses, Sri Krishna talks about the thought pattern of the materialistic person.

And what is their thought pattern? They are always calculating the money they possess and planning to expand their possessions. They do not have time to think of anything other than artha and kama.

In short, the idea is: he also meditates; only

difference is the object of meditation is Lakshmi rather than Vishnu. Therefore, his is money dhyanam.

Shloka 16.14:

16.14 ‘That enemy has been killed by me, and I shall kill others as well. I am the lord, I am the enjoyer, I am well-established, mighty and happy.’

And once there is inordinate greed, naturally I will see all other people as my competitors. So, greed means I see enemies everywhere; as obstructing my goals; and therefore, shatrus increase; And in business field, liquidation of the competition is part of the program, and therefore different normal and abnormal methods are used to finish off the other people. So big companies swallow the small ones.

They even use goondas and even physically liquidate the people, because of their inordinate greed.

Initially there may be some guilt but after sometime, their heart gets benumbed that there will be no regret or guilt also.

Once I have destroyed all the competitors and I have got the monopoly in that field, nobody can come in front of me. I am the one who will enjoy all the wealth as the Siddha or successful person; I am the most successful person, but how he attained success is a big question.

I am the strongest person, even the law cannot do anything because police are in my hands, because I know what is their rate; once I know the rate, everybody can be fixed. And politicians no problem. So therefore, I hear that all the politicians are in the hands of big business groups. So therefore, all are in my hands.

 He thinks, I am the happiest person in the world; thus, these people dream their future.

Take Away:

Dharma means inner refinement or refinement of the mind.

Vedanta says dependence on external factors is sorrow. External factors may be persons, things or situations.

Vedanta also says, non-dependence on external factors or self-dependence or independence is joy.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy