Bagwat Gita Summary

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In these sections, I am reproducing my notes from classes that were given by Swami Paramarthananda as summary of Bhagavad Gita at Sanskrit College. These are the same classes that the students of Vedantic Study Group, Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago listened to online, starting in 2021.

Please note that these notes are summarized versions based on my reception and recollections. They are not word by word reproduction of the classes. Other students may have different recollections and interpretations. Also, note that Swamiji has not seen, reviewed or blessed these notes

While this summary of Bhagavad Gita gives a good starting point, one should study Bhagavad Gita in detail. Swamiji recommends listening to his classes on Bhagavad Gita. While it requires significant investment of time, I found it to clarify many concepts and lay a strong foundation for spiritual growth.

Chapter 1: The Yoga of Arjuna’s Dejection (arjuna-viṣāda-yoga)

Factors for healthy life

  1. Objective Factors: Hygienic surrounding.
  2. Subjective Factors: My body should be strong enough to withstand challenges; extend this to mental health as well
    1. If any mind is sufficiently strong psychological disturbances like anger, jealousy etc.  will occur less.
    2. Intensity will also be less
    3. The duration will also be less
    4. After effects will also be less

Bhagavad Gita’s subject matter will increase the strength and resistance at inner level.

First chapter is where Arjuna discovers that he has inner weakness.

  1.  Verses 1 to 20:  Context:  Mahabharata battlefield.
  2. Verses 21 to 25:  Arjuna wants to see who is fighting.
  3. Verses 26 to 28:  Arjuna’s discovery of his weakness of Raga (attachment) and consequences.
  4. Verses 29 to 35:  Consequences of Raga (soga, dwesham).
  5. Verses 36 to 47:  Mohaga – confusion, delusion, indecision, raga, soga, delusion; all of them put together is samsara.

Chapter 1 deals primarily with Arjuna’s sorrow and confusion. Lord Krishna does not speak in Chapter 1.

Chapter 2: The Yoga of Analysis (sāṅkhya-yoga)

The actual teaching of Bhagavad Gita starts at Chapter 2 verse 11 and continues through Chapter 18 verse 66.

Verses 1 to 10:  Arjuna’s saranakathi (surrender):  Attachment leads to sorrow.  When I am attached to something, I never want to lose it.  Samsara leads to raga (attachment), soga (sorrow) and mogaha (inability to decide between right and wrong – human conflict)

Verses 11 to 38:  Jñāna yoga:  Discovery of essential nature of every individual – consciousness.

  • Consciousness is not part, product or property of body.
  • Consciousness is an independent entity that pervades and enlivens every body.
  • Consciousness is not limited to the boundaries of a body.
  • Consciousness continues to survive even after the fall of body.

Features of Atma (Consciousness):

  1. Atma is eternal.
  2. Atma is the reality existing independently.
  3. Atma is all pervading.
  4. Atma is the ever experiencer and never the experienced.
  5. Atma is akartha (not a doer) or aboktha (reaps the benefits).
  6. Atma is free from modifications.

These features of one’s essential nature and atma are the fundamental basis for Vedantic Teachings and are elaborated in many texts and scriptures (including Tatva Bodha)

Verses 39 to 53:  Karma Yoga: Proper action with proper attitude is karma yoga.

  1. Satvika karma is an action in which beneficiaries are  more in number; selfless action; uthhama karma.
  2. Rajesic karma is selfish action; madhyama karma.
  3. Tamasic karma: action harming others for my benefit.

Proper attitude is enjoying what I do.  Karma yoga is not meant for moksha but it is the preparation for Jñāna yoga.

Verses 54 to 72:  Sthitapragya:  Assimilate the knowledge that I am not the body but Atma and convert this knowledge into emotional strength to face life.

A guru can teach an agyani to pragyaha, but can’t give their prgaya.  That effort is for the student.

  • Master your senses because a distracted mind can’t assimilate Vedanta.
  • Control thoughts.  Certain thoughts will come, but you decide their effect.
  • Nidhidhyasanam:  Dwelling on this teaching.

Benefits of sthitapragyaha is the freedom from binding desires, freedom from fear, anger, jealousy and constant tranquility. This Sthitapragya is a free bird.  Both jivan mukthi and vidheha mukthi.

Chapter 3: The Yoga of Action (karma-yoga)

In the second chapter Lord Krishna taught karma yoga and Jñāna yoga, focusing more on Jñāna yoga.  Lord Krishna begins second chapter with Jñāna yoga and concludes the second chapter with sthira pragya.  In between the two, he discusses karma and asks Arjuna to do his karma, which is to fight the Mahabharata war.  Lord Krishna glorifies Jñāna yoga but asks Arjuna to do karma yoga.  Arjuna finds this unacceptable.

Introduction Verses 1 to 7

Arjuna asks should I follow Jñāna Yoga or Karma Yoga.  If you consider Jñāna Yoga is better, then why should I fight the war?  In answering this question, we should note the following points:

  1. There is no choice between karma yoga and Jñāna yoga.  It is apples to orange comparison.
  2. Qualifications for Jñāna yoga can be obtained only through karma yoga.  Qualifications are detachment, purity, maturity.  Many of us do not have these qualifications.
  3. Moksha can be obtained only through Jñāna yoga.

Follow karma yoga to obtain qualifications; Use the qualification to acquire jñāna yoga; Use jñāna yoga to obtain moksham.  All other yogas like japam, parayanam etc. are all part of karma yoga.  There are no other yogas other than karma yoga and jñāna yoga.

Arjuna’s question was wrong; both yogas should be followed.  There is a choice regarding marga or lifestyle; one can follow sanyasa asrama or gragasthasram; but both of them should follow karma yoga and jñāna yoga. 

Which is better?  Grahasthasram or sanyasa asram?  Krishna is clear that grahasthasram is better for most people.

Karma Yoga Verses 8 to 20

In these verses, Krishan elaborately discusses Karma yoga.  Karma:  Proper action; Yoga:  Proper attitude.  So proper action with proper attitude is karma yoga. 

Types of actions:

  1. Satvic – Promotes the spiritual progress the most; Best action; beneficiaries are more; unselfish
  2. Rajasic – Mediocre; promotes some spiritual growth; Beneficiaries are less; confined only to family; selfish actions.
  3. Tamasic – Does not promote spiritual growth but results in degradation of spiritual growth; Harmful action; worst action.  I get the benefits, but others get harmed.

Perform panca mahā yagya to improve spiritual progress and become satvic.  The goal is to become samatvam by accepting all results as a Eeswara prasada.

Follow Karma Yoga:

  1. As the command of God, follow out of fear of God
  2. As a sense of gratitude or yagya
  3. As a purifier of kama and soga
  4. As dharma by which cosmic harmony can be maintained.

Verse 20, second line to verse 29:  Duties of a Jñāni

jñāni does not require any sadhana (karma yoga, jñāna yoga etc.) because he already achieved the goal of jñānam.  But as long as he is in the society, he should follow karma yoga as a model to the society.  In this verse, Lord Krishna is indirectly advising all elderly people to be role models for rest of the society.

Verses 30 to 35:  Summarizes karma yoga; verse 30 is most important.

Krishna gives five-part process of Karma Yoga:

  1. Make the Spiritual goal as the primary goal; all other goals are subservient to this goal.
  2. Eeswara arpana buddhi:  Dedicate all your actions to God so you don’t hate any of your duty.
  3. Eeswara prasadha budhhi:  Be prepared for any future situations because future is not under your control.  You are not the only one responsible for your success.  Accept any result as Eeswara prasadham.
  4. Nirmamaha:  when success comes don’t claim total credit.
  5. Maintain mental poise/balance.

Verses 36 to 43: Obstacles of karma yoga:

Arjuna asks Lord Krishna what are the obstacles of karma yoga.

Lord Krishna answers Kama/krodha or raga dvesha; materialistic attractions; Artha kama is important, but dharma moksha is also important.  But when artha kama becomes more important than dharma moksha, that becomes an obstacle.  There are two stages handle this obstacle:

First Stage:  handle in relative measures:

  1. Dhamaha – Mastery of sense organs; don’t let anything enter your mind without control.
  2. Shamaha – Discipline of mind and thought pattern.  Undisciplined mind tends to get attracted to anything.
  3. Vivekaha – Discrimination; understanding that finite plus finite is always finite; insecurity plus insecurity is more insecurity.  Understand that I am complete (poornatvam) with myself, and I will not be full of any amount of acquisition.

Second Stage:  Abslute solution is to discover fullness and security within myself.  Atma is not only in your body but also extends beyond your body.  One should know this and own up to the fact that this formless consciousness is the real I.  The real transformation is the transcending the form, that I am the formless consciousness.  Body and mind are like the instruments I use to transact with the world.  By claiming the new identity, we should change our orientation from physical body to formless consciousness.  This new orientation is jñāna nishta.  The physical body is limited, but I am not limited.

Jñāna Nishta is internalizing this knowledge and ready availability of this knowledge at the time of difficulty.  This comes by dwelling on the teaching in any form – by teaching, writing, thinking, sharing etc.

Chapter 4: The Yoga of Knowledge (jñāna- karma-sannyāsa-yoga)

  1. Verses 1 to 15:  Avatara (Incarnation):  Difference between jiva jenma and Eeswara jenma:
    1. Cause: For jiva cause of birth is ignorance; for avatar it is jñānam and compassion.
    2. Nature: Jiva does not realize his higher nature; jiva is made out of five elements; In the case of avatar (Eeswara) Maya converges directly.
    3. Purpose:  Jiva’s purpose is to exhaust pavam and punyam – karma; Eeswara’s purpose is to maintain the creation by destruction and education.
  2. Verses 16 to 24:  Inner renunciation through knowledge.  There are two types of renunciation:
    1. Quit the society and become a monk.
    2. Detachment:  by clearly understanding that I am not the body/mind complex; this includes a snayasi jñāni as well as a grahastha (householder) jñāni.
  3. Verses 25 to 42:  Sadhansa – means:
  4.  12 Yagyas:
    1. Regular worship
    2. Convert interactions to worship
    3. Sense mastery
    4. Mastery of mind; you should lead the mind; mind should not lead you.
    5. Charity
    6. Moderation in everything
    7. Practicing yoga
    8. Paranayam (reading) of scriptures
    9. Spiritual knowledge
    10. Knowledge of discipline to gain spiritual knowledge.
    11. Practice of pramanyam
    12. Discipline in eating
  1. A guru who can communicate this knowledge is important
  2. Faith in the words of scriptures and guru
  3. Commitment

Benefits of Gyana yoga:

  1. Conflicts in life are gone because you are confident you can handle any situation you face.
  2. All the pavam and punyam are gone.
  3. Jiva, Eeswara aikyam

Chapter 5: The Yoga of Renunciation (sannyāsa-yoga)

Two primary types of lifestyles (verses 1 to verse 6); gaihastha (household) and sanyasi; the other two (Brahmacharyam and vanaprastha) are preparation for these two ashrams (lifestyle) and obtain moksha (liberation).  Grahasthanam gives the appeal of security but comes with responsibility.  Sanyasi does not have appeal of security but also has no responsibility.  For majority of people grasthasramam is better.

Verses 7 to 21:  Two types of spiritual discipline; karma yoga and jñāna yoga.

Veress 7 to 12: Karma yoga sadhana

Verses 13 to 21:  jñāna yoga sadhana.

There is no choice between these two sadhanas; they both must be followed.  They should be chronologically followed one after another.  Karma yoga first and then jñāna yoga.  Karma yoga prepares you for jñāna yoga.  Follow jñāna yoga and be liberated.

  • Karma yoga – proper action with proper attitude.
  • Proper action:  Increase satvic actions, reduce Rajasic actions and avoid Tamasic actions.
  • Proper attitude:  dedicate all actions to lord and accept all consequence with grace.

jñāna yoga:  systematic and consistent study of scriptures under the guidance of a qualified guru.  This will lead self-knowledge of atma.  First stage of jñāna yoga is to identify the two:  atma and body; atma pervades body.  Second stage is learning to identify atma as myself.

Verses 22 to 26:  Benefits of knowledge:

  • Vairagyam:  Understanding the limitation of our dependence on external factors
  • Jivan Mukthi:  Inner freedom
  • Videha mukthi; one with Brahman

Verses 27 to 29:  Introduction to meditation; introduction to Chapter 6; External renunciations are not as important as internal renunciations.

Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation (dhyana-yoga)

Meditation is twofold. 

  1. Vedanta Sravanam – Preparatory meditation; prepares mind for Vedanta.  Saguna Eeswara Dhyānam and Nirguna Eeswara Dhyānam are two different types of upsanam.
  2. Nidhithyasanam – For those who have not done upsanam, nidhithyasanam is necessary. 
  1. Verses 1 to 9, 16 and 17:  General disciplines:
    1. Karma yoga requires you to avoid violent reactions throughout the day
    2. Self-confidence
    3. Self-control
    4. Moderation in everything
  2. Veress 10 to 15:  Specific disciplines.
    1. Place of meditation should invoke spiritual thought
    2. Choose a time when mind is satvic; mind should be alert and available.
    3. Proper seat
    4. Condition of the body should be relaxed
    5. Condition of the sense organs
    6. Condition of breathing
    7. Condition of the mind.  Mentally become a sanyasi.  Drop all your relationship.
    8. Condition of intellect; intellectually I should be convinced of the value of meditation.
  3. Verses 18 to 32:  Process and Benefits:  Meditation is not silencing the mind but directing the mind in focusing, retaining, and absorbing. Definition of samādhi:
    1. Mind is absorbing in itself
    1. Owning of up of oneself; atma – higher self.
    2. Enjoys maximum Ananda
    3. Established in one’s own higher nature
    4. Attains highest state
    5. Withdraw and free from sorrow
    6. Not identify with the pain of Anatma
  4. Benefit:  Transformation of personality; freedom from raga (attachment) and dwesha (hatred).
  5. Verses 33 to 36 Obstacle:  Wandering mind; restless mind; remedies:  reducing raga/Dwesha (attachment and hatred); Abyāsaḥ – practice.
  6. Verses 37 to 45 Yoga Prasthara:  What if I don’t get moksha – what will happen.  One will either get moksha or will get another re-birth, but the spiritual knowledge one gets will continue from where it was left in prior life.
  7. Verses 46 and 47:  Conclusion.  One practices Nidhithyasana Yoga is of the highest nature.

Chapter 7: The Yoga of Wisdom (jñāna-vijnana-yoga)

Seventh chapter is the turning point of Gita teaching.  In first six chapters, Krishna focused on jiva Swaroopa and jiva prayartham:

  • Essential nature of an individual
  • Role of individual effort.  An individual is not totally helpless or totally powerful.
  • Karma Yoga

From seventh chapter onward, Krishna focuses on

  • Nature of God
  • Role of god’s grace
  • Discipline of meditation of God

Nature of God:

  • Knowledge of saguna/formed God
  • Knowledge of nirguna/formless God

Verses 1 to 3:  Introduction

Verses 4 to 12:  Eeswara Swaroopam

Eeswara:  one principle consisting of two aspects; spirit (para) and material (apara)

  • Both are beginning-less and never created
  • This Eeswara (para plus apara) is the cause of the universe
  • There is no world that is separate from Eeswara as Eeswara himself manifests as world.  As an example, gold manifests as ornament; ornament is not separate from gold.

Verses 13 to 19:  Samsara Karanam and Samsara pariharam; Cause and cure for human anxiety.  When the world is available both in para and apara prakriti, we heavily rely on material world.  Material world will never remain the same and subject to change and insecurity.  Expecting security from this changing material world gives samsara.  For security one need to turn to the permanent para prakriti.  Use apara prakriti for enjoyment and use para prakriti for security.  Only jñāni knows para prakriti and get moksha.

Verses 20 to 26:  There are two types of bakthi :  sakama bakthi for material benefits and nishkama bakthi for no personal/material benefit.  Nishmaka bakthi is not possible without sakama bakthi.  Sakama bakthi is incomplete without nishkama bakthi.  Sakama bakthi is not sinful; it is always fruitful and valid.  However, sakama bakthi is apara bakthi and so it is temporary and not permanent.

Verses 27 to 30:  Nishkama bakthi – bakthi used for the discovery of para prakriti or for spiritual growth.  Nishkama baktha will attain moksha or liberation.

Chapter 8: The Yoga of Liberating Spirit (akṣāra-brahma-yoga)

Upasana is primarily a mental activity associated with Eeswara – saguna brahman

  1. Sakama Upasana – done for material benefits. 
  2. Nishkama Upasana – done for spiritual benefits.

Krma Mukthi – Practice nishkama upasana for saguna eeswara, go to brahma loka and practice jñāna yoga.

Adayaatma and brahman are one and same.  Roopam for micro and macro levels.

Practice Nishkama Upasana to obtain qualifications for gyana yoga.  Obtain jñāna (knowledge) of nirguna brahman, vedantic sravana, manana nidhithyasanam and obtain moksha.

Verses 1 to 4 Answers to Questions of Arjuna.

  • Adhi Bhootham – material world made of five perishable elements.
  • Adhi Dheivam – Total mind governing the total universe
  • Adhi Yagya – Eeswara tatvam presiding over laws of karma and giving pavam and punyam
  • Karma – responsible for the manifestation of creation; pavam and punyam can be exhausted by joy sorrow for which you need a body.

Verses 5 to 14:  Significance and methods of remembering God at the time of death.

Significance:  The last thought indicates the predominant personalities.  As you get older, your will power gets weaker and only dominant personalities remain.  So, start practicing mangala thoughts earlier.

Method:  Develop good habits right from now.

Verses 15 to 22: 

  1. Goal as God himself (infinite/spiritual)
  2. Goal as everything but God.  But these are temporary and will not give permanent security. Nothing wrong in using them, but it will be wrong to depend on them (finite/material)

Two types of paths:

  1. Krishna (darker/materialistic) gathi for finite goals. 
  2. Shukla gathi for brahma loka through karma mukthi. 

Two types of travelers:

  1. One goes through krishana gathi by performing noble deeds.
  2. One goes through the Shukla gathi and obtains god by krama mukthi

Verse 28:  Conclusion: Between karma and upsana, upasana is better because that will get at least krama mukthi.

Chapter 9: The Yoga of Royal and Hidden Knowledge (rāja-vidyā-rāja-guhya-yoga)

Full name of Baghwat Gita is Baghwat Gitoupanishad, because it contains the essence of all Upanishads.  The central theme of Baghwat Gita is same as the theme of Upanishads, tat twam asi or Jivatma and Paramatma Aikyam or the essential oneness of jivatma and Paramatma.  We can broadly classify Baghwat Gita into three portions of six chapters or shatakam.  Prathama, madhyama and charama shatakam.  In the first shatakam is about jivatma or twam part of tatwamasi.  Madhyama shatakam is about Paramatma ot tat part of tatwamasi.  Charama shatakam is about jivatma Paramatma aikyam or asi part of tatwamasi. 

Seventh and ninth chapters are close to each other.

Raja vidhya is Eeswara Swaroopa Jñānam or para vidhya.  All other Jñānams are apara vidhya or inferior knowledge.  Lord is jagat karanam or cause of the universe.  Then what does he consist of?  Lord is a mixture of paraprakrithi (Brahman) or higher nature and aparaprakarithi (Maya) or lower nature.  What is their nature? 

Common nature is that both are anadhi or beginningless.  That makes Eeswara also anadhi.  The uncommon features of para and apara prakrithi:

  1. Paraprakrithi is Chethana tatwam or sprit; Apara prakriti is basic matter principle or achethanam.
  2. Paraprakrithi is nirgunam, free from all attributes; Aparaprakrithi is sagunam endowed with all attributes.
  3. Paraprkrithi is free from all changes and remains same; aparaprakrithi will always change or eternal change and it is savikara tatwam. 
  4. Parapakrithi can exist independently and therefore it is Sathyam with an existence of its own. Aparaprakrithi can never exist independent of paraparkrithi and therefore, it is inferior

This mixture together is Eeswara and is responsible for the origin, existence and resolution of the world.  The manifest aparaprakrithi is the prabanja or universe.  After certain time, it folds back into unmanifest praparakrithi.

  1. First feature of Eeswara is shristi laya karanam.
  2. Second feature of Eeswara is that just as the space is not affected whatever happens in the universe para prakrithi is asangaha.
  3. Third feature is Eeswara is aboktha and akartha.
  4. Fourth feature is the whole world exist in Eeswara and the whole world does not exist.  This means that the world has an apparent existence but not a factual existence, similar to dream. 

Every human face a grave a problem in recognizing the aparaprakrithi but not recognizing the paraparktihi nature.  When a person does not recognize paraprktihi that person ends up holding on to aparaprakrithi for security.  But aparaprakrithi never remains the same and hence we never get the security.  This eternal insecurity is called samsara.  Krishna presents the solution as Bakthi. 

Bakthi does not refer to any particular sadhanas but a series of sadhanas done in devotion to the lord.  This will ultimately take one to paraparkarithi.  Three phase sadhanas:

  1. Dharma Lakshna Bakthi, performance of one’s duty towards family, world etc.  Everyone must go through this bakthi.  This is important to purify and refine mind
  2. Upasana Lakshna Bakthi, in the form of meditation upon God.  First in ishta devata form or eka roopa dhyānam.  Next is viswa roopa upasanam, taking the entire world is lord.  The ishta devata does not have to change but take the ishta devada as viswaroopa.  This will lead to expansion of mind.
  3. Gyana lakshna bakthi, inquiry into paraprakrithi form of the Lord. 

These three sadhanas will lead to moksha or liberation.  Why should all these three be compulsory?  Because the fundamental problem is the ignorance of paraprakrithi.  Ignorance can only be removed by Jñānam.  Karma can’t remove ignorance.  Any amount of meditation cannot remove ignorance.  If Jñānam alone can remove ignorance, why not go directly go to Jñānam.  Because dharma lakshana and upsana laskhana bakthis are steppingstones

This group is called bakthi because devotion is the common denominator in all these three

Third part of the ninth chapter is nishkama bakthi and not sakama bakthi.

Bakthi is two-edged weapon; we can use it for two types of benefits:

  1. Material benefit or artha and kama.  This is sakama bakthi.  This is meant for worldly benefits. 
  2. Lord as the benefit.  This is nishkama bakthi.  In Vedantic language this is mumukshutvam. 

The only way to develop nishkama bakthi is by developing vyragyam or transcending raga and dwesha.  I neither hate nor go after anything. 

Glory of nishkama bakthi:

Once a person dedicated to spiritual pursuit, all other life goals become secondary.

Really speaking, security is not coming from external possession.  Security and insecurity are mental conditions.  One glory of nishkama bakthi is that I will feel secure. 

Second glory of nishkama bakthi is there are no rules and regulations.  Offer anything, but the bakthi should be nishkama bakthi.  This will lead to Jñāna yogyadha and moksha.Anybody can start bakthi, according to one’s own level and gradually convert into nishkama bakthi.  Even the worst sinner can start and get liberation. 

Chapter 10

The Yoga of Excellence (vibhūti-yoga)

In the previous chapter Krishna introduced the Lord as the cause of the universe.  What type of cause is the lord?  We need two causes:  one who has the knowledge and skill, and this cause is called intelligent cause or nimitha karanam.  We also need material cause or upathana karanam.  Any product requires both karanam.  For an ornament, we need both goldsmith (nimitha karanam) and gold (upadhana karanam).  Lord is the cause of the karanam, but what cause is Bhagavan? 

Before creation Lord alone was there and no other material was available.  If lord is nimitham, then he doesn’t have upathanam.  If lord is upathanam, then he can’t be nimitham.  Lord is both nimitham and upathana karanam.  But we see nimitham and upathanam as different in all cases we observe.  This is the general rule.  But every rule has an exception.  The exception in certain cases both the nimitham and upathana karanam can be one and the same.  The example is spider.  It produces web from itself.  Spider is both intelligent and material cause. 

When we refer to gold, we don’t say gold itself has created ornament, but we say gold appears as ornament.  This is the rule for nimitha karanam.  This rule should be applied to creation.  We should not say lord created the universe, but say lord appears as the universe.  To appreciate the Lord, we do not need to go anywhere.  We only have to change our attitude based on wisdom.    Learning to appreciate the world as the manifestation of the Lord is Vibudhi yoga.  Learning to see all the glories of the universe as the special manifestation of God.

  1. Ordinary manifestation of God.
  2. Special manifestation of God. 

The entire creation is the budhi of God.  Budhi means manifestation of the Lord.  Vi means vishehsaha.  Vibudhi is special manifestation of the lord.  Krishna elaborates this Vibudhi in Chapter 9.  Regular meaning of vibudhi is abundance or ashes.  We call ashes as vibudhi, because it is supposed to be made of cow dung; cow is the bode of Laxmi; Laxmi is aiswaryam.  Therefore, vibudhi is aiswaryam.  The second reason, vibudhi represent the glory of the lord.  Ashes can be defined as that which remains when everything is destroyed.  When everything is destroyed or negated in Vedanta, what is left is Brahman.  Therefore, ash is the ultimate reminder of the Lord.  Lord’s manifestations are many,  and Swamiji mentioned six:

  1. Veda:  Vedanam sama vedosmi.  Vedas are great manifestation of the Lord, especially Sama Veda.  Veda is source of knowledge.  Rig Veda consist of verses with metrical mantras.  Yajur Vedas consist of verses of prose composition.  Sama Veda consists of mantra set to music.  Atharvana Veda consists of mantras predominantly revealed by Atharva rishi and Angira Rishi.  Krishna says he is Sama Veda. 
  2. Veda vidhya:  Veda is broadly divided into two Veda Purva and Veda Anta.  Veda Purva talks about how to manipulate the world to be happy, improving external factors.  This is material sciences.  Veda Anta is to change myself in such a way that I am not subject to any change in the world.  Similar to wearing sandals; this is like covering the entire earth is covered with carpet.  Once I have insulated the mind, let any situation happen, I can handle it.  I change myself to deal with the world.  This is self-knowledge.    
  3. Veda yagya:  Disciplines of spiritual sadhanas are manifestation of the lord.  Japa Yagya or repetition of the name of the lord is the most effective.  First glory of Veda Yagya is it is available to everyone.  The second glory is it is not expensive.  Third glory is it doesn’t involve any himsa. 
  4. Veda Mantra:  Gayatri is the greatest mantra of all mantras.  One gayatri is equal to the entire padas.  Gayatri has three padas or lines; each line is the essence of each Vedas.  Atharvana veda is not mentioned here because it primarily deals with lowkiga Vedas.  The essence of gayatri is jivatma paramatma aikyam.  The truth between me, the microcosm and the sun, Brahman or the macrocosm. They are one and the same. 
  5. Vedic Words:  Among the words, omkara is the best word.  Omkara is the last condensed version of Vedas.  Brahamaji took the words buhu, buvaha and suvaha from gayatri.  These three mantras put together is vyakrithi.  Taking the essence of three words is omkara.  Both omkara and gayatri protects one person.  The letter “AA” represents jagradh prabañca, the letter “U” represents Swapna prabañca and “M” represents sushukthi.  Therefore, the word omkara represents the entire universe. 
  6. Veda Aksharani or vedic letters:  Among letters, “Aa” is the greatest letter.  It is effortless sound that is naturally produced when one opens mouth.  All other letters are modification based on this letter. 

This list is endless.  In any field, whatever is the greatest is the Lord.  That should remind you of the lord.  You can take any of those symbols as Lord and worship those symbols as representative of the Lord. 

Chapter 11

The Yoga of Seeing the Cosmic Form (viśva-rūpa-darśana-yoga)

Vedic teaching presents the lord in three different ways and each form is valid based on the stage of seeker:

  1. Personal god, with clear form.  Appropriate for beginning stage; ishta devatas.  Personal gods are useful for having a relationship with someone when no one else is available.
  2. From personal god, grow to Viswa roopa or seeing everything as God.  Graduate ourselves to viswa roopa dhrishti.
  3. Viśvarũpa dhrishti is not the final culmination.  As long as you are appreciating form, it is in time and space and subject to change; therefore, you have to go beyond roopam.  This is Aroopa dharshanam.    

In Baghwat Gita, ishta devata dhrishti is not emphasized.  Only the second and third dhrishti are emphasized.  Seventh, 8th and 9th chapters lay the groundwork for this.  Akasa and Vayu, Mind and Budhi are formless elements; Agni, water and privthi, shukshma and sthūla sareerams are formed element.  Bagawan expresses in the form of world; we should train ourselves to appreciate the lord as creation.  But we have divided the world in two – good and bad.  So, it is difficult for us to appreciate Lord in the ugly forms.  So, Krishna says he will present the world in two stages: Positive things as creation as described in the 10th chapter.  In the 11th chapter, good and bad are presented as the Lord.  We usually are not sure about what is good and what is bad; as long as we have selfish intent, we cannot appreciate viśvarũpa.  To appreciate totality, we should drop individuality. 

If the whole universe is the Lord, then I should see divinity everywhere.  Krishna blesses Arjuna with divya dhrishti.  Arjuna then describes the viśvarũpa dhristi.  Generally, it is assumed that this is a particular form of God that Krishna temporarily presented to Arjuna.  But such an interpretation is not correct.  Viśvarũpa implies universal and presenting it in time and space is wrong. 

Viśvarũpam is defined in Vedas themselves.  In Mundaka Upanishad, there is Virat dharshanam.  We do not have the attitude and reverence to look at the world as Bagawan.  We look at the world, but we do not have the vision to look at the world as Bagawan.  When we get the vision, we start to look at the world as Bagawan.  This change in attitude is Divya Sakthi; this enables us to appreciate everything as the lord.  Learn to appreciate everybody’s face as the face of the Lord. 

Lord is not in space; lord is space; Lord is not in vayu; Lord is vayu.  Learning to look at the creation objectively is divya sakthi.

When Arjuna gets this divya sakthi, he goes through three sets of emotions:

  1. Acharyam; wonder; Anything you see in nature, it is wonder.  Time has three aspects:  Srishti, sthithi and laya.  Death alone paves way for creation; example:  death of a plant is the fertilizer for the next plant. 
  2. Fear: Krishna appears to be swallowing the world, including humans as the form of laya; Krishna says I am time principle, so learn to appreciate lord as Eeswara mahima; learn to appreciate everything.  Krishna says to Arjuna, that the prarbtha karma of the enemies (gowrawas) is incomplete and it is Arjuna’s job is to complete his duty and defeat them.  This doesn’t mean we do not have freewill.  Scriptures do not accept fatalism and our actions are based on freewill.  We are responsible our growth and our action.  Lord’s job is not to implement our freewill but to create the environment and bless our freewill.  If we say we are only instruments and Bagawan alone is the cause, that will lead to many fallacies:
    1. All the karma palam will go to Bhagavan.  That will make Bagawan a samsāri.
    1. All the differences will be determined by Bhagavan, making Him a partial Bagawan.
    1. All conflicts in life will be eliminated; all conflicts are caused by choice.  But we have conflicts everywhere and every day. That is because we have freewill to choose.  Human conflict is the proof for freewill
    1. If we don’t have freewill then we don’t need dharma sasthram.  Dharmic way of life is the will of God.  My raga dwesha is my personal will; I can either lead my life according to my raga dwesha or according to dharma.  If I lead my life according to my raga dwesha then it will be adharmic.    
  3. Surrender, saranakathi or bakthi.

Fear of death can’t be eliminated as long as there is any attachment.  Arjuna’s attachment to Bhisma and Dhrona is so intense that he was overcome by fear.  He asks Krishna to remove the viśvarũpa and divya dhristi.  Surrendering to the Lord or having bakthi will lead the spiritual seeker from eka roopa to aneka roopa to Aroopa.

Chapter 12: The Yoga of Devotion (bhakti-yoga)

The 12th chapter is the final chapter of madhyama shatakam.  Main theme of madhyama shatakam is Eeswara Swaroopa.  Eeswara is defined as the cause of the universe.  This definition is defined in three different ways based on the student’s stage in spiritual progress:

  1. God creates universe or the world.  (Dvaidam)
  2. Once a person has made progress, we refine this jagat karanatwam and say God becomes the universe.  Then everything in creation should be respected as Eeswara’s manifestation. (vishishtadvaidam)
  3. God doesn’t become the world, because becoming is change and samsara.   God appears as the universe without undergoing any change.  At this level advaidam is appreciated. 

One must go through all these three stages. 

Krishna concentrated on the second level in chapters 7 to 11.  Krishna also emphasized surrender or saranakathi, implying god’s grace in spiritual progression.  One should recognize both god’s grace and one’s own effort are needed for spiritual progression. 

The third topic of madhyama shatakam is bakthi.  Bakthi can be seen in two different ways:

  1. Love of God or attitude towards God.  This was also discussed in 7th chapter, dividing bakthi in three different types:
    1. Bakthi for material ends.  This is sakama bakthi or mandha bakthi.
    1. Bakthi for spiritual progress, desire for moksha.  This is madhyama bakthi
    1. Bakthi in which a person has no motive; does not seek moksha or Jñānam because he is already muktha purusha.  Being liberated, he is neither interested in material goals nor spiritual growth.  This is uthama bakthi. 
  2. Bakthi as sadhana or a means to an end.  Krishna dedicates 12th chapter for bakthi as spiritual sadhana. 

12th Chapter can be classified in two portions:

  1. What is bakthi sadhana or who is sadhaka baktha; This is described in verse 1 to verse 12.
  2. After completion sadhaka bakthi, he becomes siddha baktha;  This is described in verses 13 to 20.

Bakthi is not a particular exclusive sadhana, but it is the name for all spiritual sadhanas put together.  This is classified into three level in sasthra and Krishna classifies this into five level.

  1. Karma roopa bakthi, which involves physical action.
  2. Upsana roopa bakthi, which involves mental actions like manasa puja.
  3. Gyana roopa bakthi, which involves vedantic or philosophical inquiry into the Lord, whom I have been worshiping in 1 and 2.  This is vedanta sravana, manana nidhithyasanam. 

Without the first two levels of bakthi, the third level is not possible; without the third level, the first two levels are incomplete.

Krishna feels the three step sadhana may be difficult for some, so he divides into five steps.

  1. Karma roopa bakthi, bakthi in the form of doing actions.  Krishna divides this into two:
    1. Sakama karma:  doing actions for my own benefit; materialistic action.  Do all the actions as an offering to the lord.  Don’t take results as karma palam or your accomplishment, but as Eeswara prasadham. 
    1. Nishkama Bakthi:  Actions not meant for material benefits but for purifying mind and spiritual growth.  Panca mahā yagya is nishkma bakthi.  These five yagyas are:
      1. Deva Yagya:  Reverence to God
      1. Pitur Yagya:  Reverence to elders and ancestors
      1. Brahma Yagya:  Reverence to Vedas
      1. Manusha Yagya:  Reverence to all human beings
      1. Bootha Yagya:  Reverences to earth and all living beings.

These are niṣkāma bakthi and are selfless action

  • Upasana Bakthi:  In upasana bakthi, activities are reduced because one has contributed enough to the society through the first two levels.  Ishta devata Upasanam is choosing God in any particular form.  Meditate upon the ishta devata; this is Eka Roopa Eeswara dhyānam.
    • Aneka roopa Upasanam:  When meditating upon ishta devata, it is possible to favor towards one form over another.  God may become sources of fear instead of freedom.  Viśvarũpa dhyānam is described in Chapter 11 of Bhagavad Gita.
    • Nirguna Pradhāna Bakthi:  This is also called vedanta sravana, manana nidhithyasanam.  Here Lord is neither eka roopam nor aneka roopam; Lord is aroopam, beyond all forms.  He doesn’t have any sound or physical body.  Nirguna bakthi is nothing but knowing that nirguna brahman can never be an object.  You, the objectifier, can never be objectified.  Nirguna Bakthi is vedanta vicharaha, through which we claim that the nirguna Eeswara is not different from me.  Sravanam is systematic study of Vedanta; any such study will bring out doubts.  Mananam is to remove these doubts and Nidhithyasanam is the removal of habitual division between me and Bhagavan.  Owning up my divinity is nidhithyasanam.  Sravanam plus mananm plus nidhithyasanam is Jñāna pradhāna bakthi. 

If a person is only interested in sakama bakthi or material results, Lord Krishna says pursue them, but consider the results as gift from the Lord or prasadham.    The greatest benefit is tranquility of mind as everything is the result of the Lord.

Arjuna asks which is superior, saguna bakthi or nirguna bakthi.  Lord Krishna said this is not a valid question because the two are not comparable; saguna bakthi is a means and nirguna is the end.  Saguna bakthi is incomplete without nirguna bakthi and nirguna bakthi is not possible without saguna bakthi.

Those who go through nirguna bakthi will be free from samsara – free from raga, dwesha, moha etc.  Those who follow these five forms of bakthi are dear to Lord Krishna.  Follow the fivefold bakthi and achieve jivan mukthi.

Chapter 13: The Yoga of Distinguishing Matter from Spirit (kṣetra-kṣetrajña-vibhāga-yoga)

With this chapter we are entering charama shatkam or final section.  In this section Lord Krishna highlights the main theme of jivatma paramatma aikyam, the essential nature of jivatma and essential nature of paramatma.  In the Upanishads any statements revealing the oneness is maha vakyam.  The 13th chapter gives the essence of the Upanishads very clearly.  Another theme Lord Krishna highlights in this section is importance of ethical values.  Vedanta can’t work unless one follows ethical values as well.  Lord Krishna also emphasizes importance of scriptural studies.  Tradition accepts systematic study of scriptures as the only means of acquiring knowledge.  Meditation and intuition are not accepted as the means of acquiring knowledge; they only can be used to assimilate the knowledge.  Vedanta vichara (systematic study of scriptures for a length of time under the guidance of a qualified guru) can be postponed but one must go through this methodology for acquiring jñānam. 

Three portions of 13th Chapter

  1. Maha vakya vichara; analysis of jiva and Eeswara; micro and macro analysis.  Any differences between jivatma and paramatma are superficial and not essential difference.  Similar to wave and ocean; both are water.  Both wave and ocean are name and form for water
  2. Preparatory disciplines or jñāna yogyatha for discovering maha vakya vichara. 
  3. Vichara palam or the benefits of this inquiry.

Maha Vakya Vichara:

This is popularly known as atma anatma vivekaha.  Even though each individual appears as one unit, really speaking each individual is made up of two entities.  Since the two entities are intimately mixed, we do not realize the difference, similar to the mix of water and milk.

Lord Krishna calls shethra and ashethra or  atma and anatama or matter and spirit.  Sprit here means consciousness.  Consciousness and matter put together is jiva.  Vedantic definition of consciousness:

  1. Consciousness is not a part, property, or product of the body.
  2. Consciousness is an independent entity which pervades and enlivens the body.
  3. Consciousness is not limited by the boundaries of the body.
  4. Consciousness is not destroyed even when the body is destroyed.  It is not limited by time and space.

This consciousness is called atma or chaithanyam.  One nearest example is space and the second exanoke is prakasam (light).  We will take the light example.  When you look at the hand, we only see the hand, and anything else on the hand like dirt, lines etc.  But we do not see the light.  Applying the four features from above:

  1. Light is not a part, property, or product of the hand.
  2. Light is an independent entity which pervades and illumines the hand.
  3. Light is not limited by the size of the hand.
  4. Light will continue to be there even when the hand is removed.  Light is appreciated only when there is a medium like hand.  Without the hand light is not recognized.  With hand it is vuakthkam or manifested; without hand it is avkyaktam or not manifested.

Similarly, when the body is gone, the consciousness continues but not appreciated.  Chaithanyam is called shethram and body mind complex is called ashethram. 

The body mind complex is made up of matter.  Consciousness is sprit and everybody is a mix of these two.

Once I know that an individual is a mixture of these two principles, which one should I claim as real I and which one should I claim as incidental.  Whatever is subject to arrival and departure cannot be intrinsic nature; for example, the intrinsic nature of fire is heat.  But heat is not the intrinsic nature of pot. 

Only because I am conscious of sleepiness, I was able to talk about sleep.  So, consciousness alone is the intrinsic nature and body mind complex is only incidental for our worldly transactions.  So, I have to own up the consciousness as my real nature.  Shift from I am the body and I have consciousness to I am the consciousness and I have the body. 

Basic law of Vedanta:  I am different from whatever I experience because whatever I experience is object and I am the subject.  Subject is eternally different from object.  For example, eyes can never see eyes.  Subject is never subject to objectification.  Based on this, vedanta says negate anything that you experience.  The entire world will be negated; the body will be negated.  The mind is also experienced by me and therefore the mind will also be negated.  I am the experiencer distinct from them.  This is subject object discrimination.  The end of my transactions is not the end of me.  Even when the body is destroyed, I the consciousness is not destroyed.

Analysis of God:

Just as jiva is a mixture of two aspects, Eeswara is also a mixture of two principles:  Purusha and Prakrithi. 

Common features:

They both are uncreated, origin less and anadhi.  So, the mixture is also beginning less. 

Four differences:

  1. All pervading conscious principle is called purusha; prkrithi is defined the basic matter principle out of which the whole universe evolved.  Matter can’t be created or destroyed.  God created the world is illogical because nothing can be created.  Like a seed can manifest into a tree.  Similarly, matter can manifest into kariya avasta and karana avastha.  Karana avastha is unmanifested state of the entire universe and there is no difference between many jivas etc.  Science calls this as energy, but vedanta calls is unmanifested; other names are maya, avyaktam, sakthi, avidhya or prakrithi.  Before the origination or manifestation of creation, there were two basic principles:  All pervading consciousness principle purusha; the matter principle prakrithi.  Both put together is universe. 
    1. Purusha is chethanam and achethanm or inert.
    1. Purusha or consciousness is not subject to any modifications; Prakrithi is subject to modification
    1. Consciousness is indivisible.  Matter or prakrithi is divisible.
    1. Consciousness is Sathyam independently existent, self-proving and self-evident.  Matter requires consciousness to prove it.  Consciousness is Sathyam, matter is mithyam.

Before shrishti, prakrithi being savikara, at appropriate time (determined by the laws of karma) prakrithi gets ready to undergo modification.  Five subtle elements and five gross elements are born.  The physical body is the example of gross creation and mind is the example for subtle element.  Both gross and subtle elements are manifestation of prakrithi.  This evolution also takes place in a very gradual evolution.  Throughout this process, purusha or consciousness continues to be there without any modification. 

Before creation unmanifested matter and consciousness was there.  After creation manifested matter and consciousness exist.  Prkrithi goes back to unmanifest condition at pralayam to be followed by the next manifested condition.  Creation is not a linear process; it is cyclical process continuing forever.

Where to find that purusha?  Prakrithi is subject to modification and purusha is not subject to modification.  To discover Purusha, go on negating whatever is subject to change, because whatever is subject to modification is prakrithi.  Whatever is left is purusha.  Body and mind are subject to modification, and they are prakrithi.  Negate the body, mind, world.  You will never come across purusha, because the one who is looking for is purusha.  Purusha is nothing but you the consciousness principle.   God is behind in your own body and mind as the consciousness principle and the experiencer.  Instead of claiming I am the purusha the experience, we mistake ourselves as the experienced prakrithi.

Consciousness is the same in the god and individual and the differences are all at prakrithi level.  Consciousness behind you the microcrams is same as the consciousness behind the macrocrams, Lord Krihsna.  If I don’t recognize this fact, I will claim myself as mortal body crating all kinds of problem.  We do not accept mortality, we struggle to reject the mortality, making life miserable.  Only way to immortality is to shift your identification from incidental physical body to intrinsic consciousness. 

Next topic is the preparations required for this knowledge:

  • Viveka:  I should diagnose the problem very clearly.  The problem is you; the solution is you.  Our whole life is miserable because we want to acquire temporary things to gain permanence.  Understand self-ignorance is the problem.
    • Vairagyam: Once you understand self-knowledge is the solution, all problems becomes minor.
    • Bakthi:  You should have the grace of the Lord for the grand pursuit of life. 

What is the benefit of this inquiry?  We look at the prakrithi objectively.  I look at my own body and mind objectively.  I will accept the loss prakrithi, the material universe, without resistance.  I enjoy prakrithi without any problem. 

Chapter 14: The Yoga of the Threefold Modalities (guṇa-traya-vibhāga-yoga)

Krishna approaches the maha vakykam “jivatma paramtma aikyam”  from a different angle.

Eeswara is defined as a mixture of purusha (or conscious principle) and prakrithi (or inert principle).   From that Eeswara alone the creation evolved. If Eeswara is karanam and world is kariyam, then we should know that whatever the feature of karanam will be present in kariyam also.  Similar to when the ornament is made of gold, the ornament will have the same component as gold.  Purusha, the consciousness principle, is there in the form of chaithanyam or experience.  Prakriti is in the universe in the form of material principle. Universe has all the features of prakriti.

In this chapter, we will focus on three features or gunatrayam. The three features are:

  1. Sattva Guna
  2. Rājasa guna
  3. Tāmasa guna

Nirguna is Eeswara, and prakrithi is sagunam with the three guna. The whole universe has all the three gunas. The body and mind being products of prakrithi, that also has three guna.  Everything I experience has the three gunas except the experiencer.

The three gunas are responsible for samsara or bondage. Guna also means rope or strings.  These three gunas are like three types of rope, capable of binding. Lord Krishna presents three topics in this chapter:

  1. Analysis of three gunas and how they bind us
  2. How to get out of these threefold binding gunas.
  3. The benefits of transcending the three gunas.

Analysis:

There are five topics under this Analysis:

  1. Definitions:
    1. Sattva guna is the nature of tranquility.
    1. Rājasa guna is the nature of activity or restlessness.
    1. Tāmasa guna is of the nature of dullness over powers tranquility and dynamism; inertia.
  2. How do they bind us with samsara?
    1. Sattva guna makes a person love tranquility and knowledge, sometimes making him addicted to tranquility and knowledge.  Any disturbance to tranquility upsets him. To be good, one must transcend tranquility. 
    1. Rājasa guna pushes one person to action, producing more karma, producing more life
    1. Tāmasa guna binds one by negligence, carelessness, incapacity to think and discriminate.
  3. Indications to know which guna is predominant. 
    1. When sattva is predominant, more knowledge is obtained. Sattva guna results in better grasping and retention power.
    1. When Rājasa guna is predominant, there is an increased action.
    1. When Tāmasa guna is predominant, there is negligence and oversight.
  4. Consequences of the three gunas:
    1. When sattva guna increases, jñānam increases.
    1. When rājasa guna increases, activities increase.
    1. When tāmasa guna increases, there will be eternal conflict, delusion, and procrastination.
  5. What will happen to person after death?
    1. Sattva guna goes to higher loka
    1. Rājasa guna goes neither up nor down he will be in manuṣya loka,
    1. Tāmasa guna goes to lower loka.

All three gunas are binding;  One must become free of all three gunas to get liberation.

How to become gunathitha:  What are the sadhanas to become free of gunas? Our scriptures do not prescribe revolutionary changes.  All changes must be slow and gradual. Many people in the beginning stages are tāmasa guna pradhāna, for example, a child sleeps for a longer period of time.  Tāmasa guna pradhāna is indicative of lack of action; actions are instinctive not planned. An inactive person first must be transformed to selfishly active person. So, the first process is from an inactive person to selfishly active person.  He is called guna vaishya, an active person with all actions for self-improvement. 

Once you are selfishly active, then progress to selflessly active state. Highly active, but every action is for the benefit of society.  Then learn to quiet the mind, because a heavily active mind can’t gain jñānam. Veda prescribes upasana (dhyānam or meditation) to progress from active mind to tranquil mind. Through upasana a guna shathriya is converted into guna brahmna.

So, the path is inactive to selfishly active to selflessly active to contemplatively active.  A person who has gone through karma yoga and upsana or the first four stages of bakthi becomes sattva pradhāna brahman.  This guna brahmana is ready to become gunaatheetha.

How can saguna become nirguna? How can I transcend guna?  Saguna can never become nirguna. Saguna is prakriti and nirguna is purusha.  Consciousness can never become matter; matter can never become consciousness. Finite can never become infinite.  Jñānam is the only way.  Karma and upasana cannot give liberation, but they are not useless.  They are required to prepare a person for knowledge. 

How can one become gunaatheetha through jñānam? Through jñānam you don’t become gunaathetha; body mind complex is eternally sagunam; atma is eternally nirguna.  Before jñānam, I claimed myself as saguna body mind complex.  After jñānam, I claim myself as nirguna atma.  I am not changing saguna śarīram, I dis-identify from saguna śarīram and identify with chaithanyam, witness consciousness, which is neither tāmasa guna, rājasa guna or  sattva guna.  This shifting identification from prakriti to purusha, from anatma to atma, is “becoming” gunaatheetha.

Every gunaathetha must be a jñānam or sthira pragya.  All the stages of sadhanas are bakthi, therefore, every guna theetha must have gone through all five stages of bakthi.  Guna theetha is equal to sthrira pragya is equal to para baktha.

The third and final topic is what are the benefits of becoming a guna theetha?  For a jñānam, all the virtues are spontaneous.  These virtues must be attempted and practiced as sadhana by an ajñāni.  Few virtues of a gyani:

  1. Adhweshtaha:  jñānam is one who does not hate anyone.  According to our scriptures there is no legitimate hatred. Every person is noble person.  But the actions of many people are improper. But this also does not deserve hatred.  Because hatred will not work and will not change the behavior of a person. It can harm the person hating more than the person being hated.  Such a person requires a healthy and proper response. First ask the question, if that improper action is within my capacity to change that person’s behavior. If there is no control, are you the victim of the behavior.  The only thing you can do is to pray to change the behavior of the person. The first victim of the improper behavior is the person who does the improper behavior. Pray to get the strength to withstand that behavior until the behavior changes. These choiceless situations are only to strengthen ourselves.
  2. Tranquility of mind:  Life means pairs of opposite – good and bad. The only way is to strengthen your mind is through knowledge and devotion. For a jñāni, samatvam is sadhana; samatvam is alangara.  This samatvam is the strength of guna theetham. 

Analysis of Gunas