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Bhagawad Gita Summary Class Notes

Bhagavad Gita Chapters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 10: The Yoga of Excellence (vibhūti-yoga)

Chapter 11: The Yoga of Seeing the Cosmic Form (viśva-rūpa-darśana-yoga)

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

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

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

Chapter 15: The Yoga of the Ultimate Person (puruṣottama-yoga)

Chapter 16: The Yoga of Differentiating Godly and Ungodly Assets (daivāsura-sampad-vibhāga-yoga)

Chapter 17: The Yoga of Differentiating Threefold Faith (śraddhā-traya-vibhāga-yoga)

Chapter 18: The Yoga of Liberation (mokṣa-yoga)

These are 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.
Ravi Chandran, ravi.u.chandran@gmail.com

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

Two fundamental truths about happiness and sorrow:

  1. Everything becomes a cause of sorrow when it is dependent on somebody else.
  2. Everything is happiness if it is dependent on myself.

This is definition of sugam and duḥkam; dependence is sorrow and independence are happiness. Wherever there is dependence, there is expectations. Since other people are not under out control, the expectation may or may not be fulfilled resulting in disappointment and sorrow. Our dependencies are mainly for three purposes:

  1. Security, called arthaha in our scriptures.
  2. Entertainment, called kamaha.
  3. Dharma from ourselves and our children for the sake of paraloka gathi.

As long as these dependences are there, life will be miserable. We should depend up on ourselves for the sake of security, entertainment and for life after death. The person who depends on himself or herself is jivan muktha, the one who depends on self for these three goals.

Scriptures describes elaborately about this muktha. This freedom alone is the source of joy. The original scripture of this moksha is Vedas. These Vedas are elaborated by secondary scriptures. Primary scriptures are Vedas, whose author is not known to us, and therefore they are known as revelation or Sruthi. The secondary scriptures are smriti written by rishis. Later these smritis were elaborated further by 18 puranas, 18 upa-puranas, most of them attributed to Vyasa. Then came the ithihasa in the form of Ramayana and Mahabharata, the same teachings in the form of stories. All these deal with one topic – freedom.

To attain independence, we have to resort to dependence. In the first stage of life, we depend on world can be called religious life or veda poorva. The second stage of life is veda anta where a person gradually withdraws. Religion prescribes healthy dependence. That is why we have four ashramas – Brahmacharya, grihastha where we depend on family and society. In the later vana prastha and sanyasa we gradually withdraw. Veda poorva and vedanta is complete Vedas and leads a person through life.

This entire Vedic teaching is condensed in Bhagavad Gita. The first 27 verses deal with context. The next 21 verses we get the description of human bondage or human dependence.

In the first part, the context of the war is presented. Adharmic people (as a dhayi) commit one of the following sins:

  1. Gnithaha: One who burns the house of another.
  2. Grahathaha: One how poison another.
  3. Sartha dhani: One who kills with a weapon when the other does not have one.
  4. Dhanapathaha: Stealing the wealth of another.
  5. Shethradhara atharpatha: Taking away the land or wife of another person.

Duryodhana had committed all these five sins and he is mahā adhadhayi. If an adharmic person does not change sama, dhana bedha then dhanda or punishment can be undertaken. Ahimsa is not an absolute and, in some places, it should be given up.

  1. Samadhana behda should be tried.
  2. Only shathriya can alone use violence to correct a person.

Any amount of wealth will not give security unless dharma is followed. Samsara’s definition:

  1. Raga: Attachment, dependence on another person. Attachment is a potential source of sorrow. It does not mean we should not love people. Love is a positive virtue, but there should be no expectation.
  2. Soga: Sorrow
  3. Moha: Delusion or confusion. Intellect is blunted. Right is seen wrong and wrong is seen as right.

Karpanyam: Helplessness.

When a person discovered the problem and sincerely seeks a solution, then there will be a guru.

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

Second and 18th chapters give the condensed version of Bhagwat Gita. The topics of second chapter:

  1. Arjuna saranakathi
  2. Karma yogaha – first stage of spiritual life
  3. Jñāna yogaha –
  4. Mukthihi

Of these four topics, the first two topics will be discussed in today’s class.

If a person should get the full benefit of Bagawad Gita, he should have gone through these three stages:

  1. Samsara dharsanam, discovering that I am suffering from samsara, consisting of raga, dwesha and moha.
  2. Karpanya Baghava, discovery of helplessness
  3. Saranakathi, surrendering at the feet of someone who can life me from samsara.

Arjuna has gone through the first stage, as discussed in the First chapter. In the first ten verses we find Arjuna going through the second and third stages.

Our scriptures say that we need a guru. Guidance we require is consistent teaching. It is not inspiration we require, but we want knowledge. We require a live teacher, who is available for consistent teaching for a length of time.

Gu stands for darkness and ru stands for eliminator; Guru stand for eliminator of darkness or ignorance.

Karma yoga is religious life of independent living. What is karma yoga.

Yogaha: Yoga has several meanings; in the context of karma yoga, it means we obtain samatvam or equanimity of mind, healthy response to different situations of life. How can a person maintain samatvam? For that we should know and remember certain facts:

  1. Life is a mixture of sugam and duḥkam; it is neither uniform sugam or duḥkam. Nobody can avoid pain and get only pleasure. Scriptures do not teach an avoiding pain; they only teach a way to manage the pain intelligently.
  2. Our future is not predictable.
  3. There are many situations which are beyond our control.

Being prepared for unavoidable situation for the future and accepting unavoidable present are the two features of maintaining samatvam.

Strengthen the mind not when an unpleasant situation arises but before it arises.

How to prepare mind? This is in the form of strengthening the mind. This can be done by:

  1. Tapping one’s own higher nature. We all have infinite strength in ourselves. That is sangalpa or auto suggestions stating that I am prepared for any situations.
  2. Easier method is to symbolize the higher nature as the lord outside. We can choose lord in any form as ishta devata. This is bhakti.

If one maintains samatvam, it is yoga.

Second part of karma yoga is karma. Here karma refers to action. This karma can be classified into:

  1. Action for material benefit, called sagama karma. Scriptures point out, and Krishna points out in Chapter 2 that one should reduce sagama karma as much as possible.
    1. Sagama karma involves many defects:
      1. Acquisition involves pain. All material benefits are mixed with pain and sorrow. Acquiring them requires lot of pains.
      2. Preservation involves pain. Maintenance is difficult.
      3. When they leave us, we have pain.
    2. Athirupthi; we are never satisfied with worldly possession.
    3. Bandham: We become slave to those material possessions.
  2. Action for spiritual purity, called niṣkāma karma. Scriptures have prescribed certain compulsory karmas or panca mahā yagya. Everyone should do this in the first part of spiritual growth:
    1. Deva Yagya: Worship of the lord for purity of mind. This can be in any manner.
    2. Pithur Yagya: Seeking the grace of our forefathers.
    3. Brahma Yagya or Rishi Yagya: Expression of our gratitude towards our rishis. Here Brahma stands for Vedas. Propagation of scriptures.
    4. Manusha Yagya or social service: Service to humanity. Every moment of life is many people working and as an expression some contribution to the society.
    5. Bootha Yagya: Worship of lower beings; feeding animals, maintaining trees. Respect for animals or plants.

Aim of a person is to reduce sakama karma and increase niṣkāma karma. We need sūkṣma karma, but we should realize that they will not make us liberated.

Four topics of Chapter 2

  • Arjuna Saranakathi
  • Karma Yoga
  • Jñāna Yoga
  • Mukti

The word yoga in karma yoga means samatvam or maintenance of equanimity. Our anxiety about future disturbs equanimity and this can be solved by mentally being prepared for any situation. This mental strength can be derived by devotion to the lord. The choiceless situations can be managed only by mental strength.

Past often disturbs equanimity. Past is also a choiceless situation, because we have no control over past and there is no way to change past. Past and present require acceptance and future requires preparedness.

Samadhi yoga means ashtanga yoga and this is also karma yoga. The object of ashtanga yoga is to balance the extrovertedness of mind. This will be an obstacle to Jñānam yoga. The mind should learn to be with and without people, with and without action. This mental discipline is needed for self-inquiry.

What is the final benefit expected through karma yoga? How long should I remain in karma yoga? Karma yoga makes a person fit for Jñānam yoga or self-inquiry. What is this fitness? Sadhana sadushta saṃpatti or fourfold qualifications:

  1. Discrimination: The ability to differentiate between bondage and freedom; dependence and independence. Without this capacity, we will go on from one dependence to another.
  2. Dispassion: Not leaning on things; Giving up dependence; not hatred just dependence.
  3. Discipline: Since we use the body as instrument, we should keep body in good condition. Body must be disciplined; I should not be overpowered by emotions. Intelligent discipline is the ability to understand scriptures.
    1. Emotional
    2. Physical
    3. Intelligent
  4. Desire for freedom; independence.

Once a person has these fourfold qualifications, then that person is ready for Jñānam yoga.

Jñāna yoga is discovery of independence without artha, kama or dharma from outside. We have a lower nature (apara prakriti), and we have a higher nature (para prakriti). Discovering our higher nature or para prakriti which will result we do not need poornativam from outside. This is discovering SELF. How to do this?

First principle: I, experiencer of the life and conscious being is different from whatever I experience. Subject is different from object. Example: Eye can see everything, but it can’t see itself. Subject is never subject to objectification. Subject can’t become object. Subject is ever subject, and object is ever object. With this principle, we can deduce the following:

  1. I am not the world because it is an experienced.
  2. I am not the body as it is experienced similar to the world. I am different from the body which I experience. Body is born out of objective world, supported by objective world and at the end dissolves into the world. If the world is an experienceable object, then body is also an experienced object.
  3. The mind is also something that I experience.

Body is a medium just like a spectacle and a medium for perception; body is rented object used for a few years. Mind is also another medium temporarily used.

The second principle is what is my nature? All experienced attributes belong to experienced object and never belong to the experience, subject. When you see a color, you never say I am the color because it is an experience. Any property you know is experience. Then it belongs to an experienced object. The experiencer does not have any property. Experiencer is free from all property. I the subject is free from all guna. All experiences belong to the body, mind or another object never to me the nirguna I. Properties of object:

  1. Property of location and time; all objects exist in time and space. If I am free from all properties, then I am free from time and space. Here “I” refers to consciousness – sat chit.
  2. Any object is located in time is either cause or effect.
  3. Just as every object has time location as its property, it also has space object. Since I am free from all properties, I am free from space property also.

Your sorrow is not for the arrival or departure of body, it is because of the attachment to the body. Death is not the problem; I am mortal is the problem. Once you know I am not the body, I won’t have insecurity. Arrival and departure are for the mind body complex not for atma. This is Jñāna yoga. To grasp this knowledge, there are three sadhanas:

  1. Sravanam: Listening to a guru, applying the two laws (I am the experience, I am different from the experiencer object). Every Upanishad discuss this knowledge. Krishna discusses this briefly in the second chapter.
  2. Mananam: Removal of any doubt that can rise in our mind because of refusal to accept the knowledge that I am atma. Vedanta is not of faith but for understanding. In ritualistic karma all is matter of faith and belief.
  3. Nidhithyasanam: Assimilation of this teaching and making it part of my life. This knowledge must be available at all times.

Gita promises freedom here and now; many other systems of philosophies promise freedom only after death.

How will a jivan muktha look like? Arjuna thinks a jivan muktha will undergo physical change. There will be no physical change; it is only symbolic. No change in the world. Everything will be the same, but his response will be different. There will be no change in experiences, but there will be a change in the response to change. This change is sthira pragya:

  1. Gyani is happy with himself. Let things be there, I am happy; let things not be there I am happy. Because of this poornatvam, he enjoys freedom from raga (attachment). Attachment results in constant fear of losing. This results in krōdha (anger). Attachment and anger are the two sides of the same coins.
    1. A wise and free man vs an ignorant man is diagonally opposite to each other. Both of them may look similar.

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

Resistance sorry, resistance is fear. Once resistance is gone, tranquility prevails. Proper karma and proper attitude towards the results of action is karma yoga. The same karma yoga can be seen from four different angles:

  1. Vidhi: Take these compulsory actions as Bagawan command. As a citizen of cosmos, we are required to follow certain rules.
  2. Yagya: Karma yoga is yagya or worship of the lord as an expression of gratitude towards lord.
  3. Dharmaha: That which maintains the harmony of the creation. Karma Yoga is giving more than what you receive.
  4. Samskara Karma: A refining action is samskara. It refines the mind. Karma yoga asks that you remove asuri sampat and increase daivi sampat.

Shrestha Ajara is the second topic. Karma yoga is required to purify the mind and gain the knowledge. Suppose a person has attained siddha chuthi and obtained gyanam. Should he follow karma yoga? Technically, it is not required because karma yoga is for siddha sudhi. But a gyani has already have chitha sudhi. Krishna says yes. One must continue the karma as long as he is in the society.

  1. Dharma is a very subtle thing, which can’t be verbally communicated. They can only be learned by observing.
  2. When the elders follow a dharmic lifestyle, it is an audio-visual teaching which is more powerful.
  3. Humans always need some hero to follow. Gyani should become a model for others.
  4. Values are not absolute; it varies from situation to situation; person to person; ashrama to ashrama. Dharma must be interpreted according to the situation of the society. When there is a conflict, follow those who are gyani. Sruthi, smriti and elders are the sources of dharma

Third topic is kama krōdha jayaha. How to manage kama and krōdha? Krishna deals with kama directly. He doesn’t deal with krōdha directly as it is only a modified form kama. Krōdha is the other side of the same coin. Steps to control kama and krōdha

  1. Indriya nigraha or handling sense organs. Physically avoiding situations which can disturb the mind.
  2. Mano nighraha. Mind has the capacity is maintain vasana; it can get into a grove and later get addicted to an action. Asura vasanas should be discouraged and suba vasanas should be encouraged.
  3. Vivēka: Analyzing what is reliable and what is not reliable. What is permanent and what is not permanent.

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

Three topics of Chapter 4:

  1. Nature of avatars: Vedas are primary scriptures, and all others are secondary scriptures based on Vedas. Vedas are not a product of human intellect, but they come from the lord himself. Brahma is first disciple of the lord. Bagawan has given certain duties to maintain vaideha dharma. Brahmanas maintain the vaidiha dharma by living and propagating Vedas. Kshatriyas maintain the vaidheha dharma by punishing those who do not live by vaidhiha dharma. When humans do not perpetuate and maintain vaidheha dharma, Bagawan himself appears as an avatara to protect dharma. Difference between avatara of the lord and rebirth of humans:
    1. Cause: Jiva is because of his own punya pavams. Avatara is chosen by the Lord. Jivas rebirth is controlled by karma; the Lord takes body according to the necessity.
    2. Nature: Jiva is bound by karma, ajñānam, moha etc. Eeswara is born as muktha Swaroopa.
    3. Mode or method of assuming the body: For jiva the body is created by panca bodha; For Bagawan, the five elements are not required. With the help of Maya, he can assume any body.
    4. Function: In the case of jiva, the function is the exhaustion of punya pavam. In the case of Eeswara, the function is to protect dharmic people, punish adharmic people and uplift dharma.
  2. Jñāna yogaha: Karma yoga is incomplete without Jñāna yoga; Jñāna yoga is impossible without karma yoga. We consider the body or mind as ourselves. Scriptures refute this notion that we are body and mind complex. Body and mind are temporary medium with which we transact in this world.
    1. In the waking stage we are transacting with the physical body and the physical world. Once we go into dream stage, our body is no longer available and therefore we interact the dream world, which is a projection of the mind, with mind. In deep sleep I do not function with body or mind and therefore I do not interact with the world. Therefore, scriptures point out whatever is incidental, is not my real nature, and whatever is permanent is my real nature. E.g., heat is not permanent nature of water; but heat is the permanent nature of fire. My physical nature is temporary in waking stage; my psychological nature is temporary in dream stage. My real nature throughout is the consciousness. If that is my nature, what is the size of this atma? Krishna points out whatever size we talk about is the size. Size of the atma is poornaha, limitless, anadhaha. Since atma is limitless, it is akartha – doesn’t do any action. Poornatvam and akartatvam are the two features of atma. All human struggles are born out of this fact. Ignorance leads apoornatvam; apoornatvam leads to kama. Kama leads to karma; karma leads to punya pavam; punya pavam leads to suga duḥkam and to next jenma; and the cycle continues. This is samsara; As long as I don’t myself, samsara will continue. Wise man is one whose heart is ever full. Jñānis are full and complete whether they are grihastha or sanyasi. Once poornatvam comes, ignorance, kama, punya pavam and suga duḥkam goes away along with puranabi jananm puranabi manam.
  3. Preparatory steps for getting self-knowledge.
    1. Guru who can teach the scriptures. World can’t teach because we interpret the teaching from the world based on our background.
    2. Shradha or faith in the teacher. Don’t put the blame on teacher and scriptures; but on yourself for not understanding fully. A compassionate teacher will be willing to teach many times. Approach the teacher with humility.
    3. Tatparatvam: Commitment; a half-hearted attempt will not give success in any field.
    4. Samya tendryah: Self-mastery; spiritual pursuit is with the same body and mind. Ashtanga yoga is meant for self-integration.

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

Fourth and fifth chapters have the same content – Jñāna yoga. Three topics of Chapter 5:

  1. Nishtadhwaim: Two types of lifestyles. Every seeker must go through karma yoga and Jñāna yoga to attain moksha. Karma yoga is necessary for mental purification; Jñāna yoga necessary because that alone gives moksha. If a person can go directly to Jñāna yoga that means he has gone through karma yoga in earlier life. Two types of lifestyles:
    1. A lifestyle of activity; pravirthi marga
    2. Nivirthi marga: A lifestyle of withdrawal in seclusion sankya nishta as called by Lord Krishna.

Based on these two lifestyles, a person can design his lifestyle in three different ways:

  1. Brahmacharyam: Lifestyle of student; Along with the general leaning, a person can also learn about his occupation. After this, a person can take three different routes
    1. A life of activities or grihastha. He can remain in grihastha forever, skipping sanyasa ashram. This grihastha must follow karma yoga and Jñāna yoga. When he takes to Jñāna yoga, he may find the setup is not that ideal to follow Jñāna yoga in grahasthrama.
    2. Directly entering Sanyasa Ashram. This ashrama is not ideal for purification of mind, because there are no opportunities for any types of service. For Jñāna yoga, sanyasa ashrama is ideal.
    3. Enters grahasthrama, and from gragashtrama he enters sanyasa ashram. This seems ideal. But it is very difficult to get out of grahasthrama.

Whether an activity binds you or not depends on the attitude and not the activity. It is not the action that binds, it is the attitude that binds.

  1. Yogadwayam: Two types of yoga: Karma yoga and Jñāna yoga.
  2. Sadhanani: Preparatory discipline. Four important sadhanas are shown by Krishna in the fourth chapter.
  3. Kama Krōdha jayaha (management). Krishan talks about management of kama not much about krōdha:
    1. Indriya nigraha: Physically avoid temptation.
    2. Mano nigraha: Never allow mind to wander into temptation. Develop only noble addiction.
    3. Vivekaha: Proper judgement; discrimination. Krishna does not discuss this in the Third Chapter; Krishna deals with this in the fifth chapter. Proper judgement is understanding the nature of the objects of the world and pleasures derived from them. Sensory pleasures have so many side effects. Three main defects:
      1. Dhukka mistrutvam: They are mixed with pain; in the middle, in the beginning or in the end or throughout. This pain is directly proportionate to the pleasure I derived.
      2. Athrupthi Karatvam: Any amount we enjoy, we are not satisfied.
      3. Bondage: The more we enjoy, the more we need.

The more we understand these, the better we will be. Krōdha is a modified form of kama. Kama and krōdha are different sides of same coin. If I know how to handle kama, I have handled krōdha. Anger is of two types:

  1. Violent anger expressed outside in the form of verbal and physical expression.
  2. Non-violent anger not expressed outside.

First, we should learn to manage these two types of angers. First learn to manage the anger that is already here. Then manage not to have anger. Get away from the place. Do not expect anything from the external world. Any expectation is kama and when the expectation is not met, it results in krōdha.

Andharanga sadhana:

  1. Sravanam: Systematic study of scriptures under the guidance of a competent guru. Seven topics:
    1. Nature of jiva
    2. Questions about world,
    3. Questions about God.
    4. What is the cause of bondage?
    5. What is the way out of bondage?
    6. What is moksha
    7. What is the way of moksha?
  2. Mananam: After initial study, raise the questions and remove all doubts. Doubtful knowledge is as good as ignorance.
  3. Nidhithyasanam: Assimilating the knowledge. There should be no difference between what I know and how I live.

Chapter 6 The Yoga of Meditation (dhyana-yoga)

What is the central teaching of the Vedas? According to Kathoupanishad, moksha is the essential teaching of Vedas. Bagawad Gita is the essence of Vedas, so its essential teaching is also moksha. Vedas say the primary sadhanas for moksha is gyanam. Attachment, grief and conflict are the samsara that Arjuna faces in the battlefield. All his material accomplishments are not helpful in solving this problem.

Gyanam ca be gained only through guru shishya samvadha – teacher student discussion. Do not try to gain self-knowledge independently. Bondage is only self-misconception. Moksha is not an event that has to take place in time, but it is discovery – similar to waking up from a dream. All the problems are due to Jñānam and delusion and so the solution is to gain the knowledge and remove the delusion and discover the fact that I am free from samsara.

Meditation or dhyānam is an important aspect of seeking moksha. It is an integral part along with other disciplines. Six parts of dhyānam:

  1. Qualifications for meditation: Krishna emphasizes three:
    1. Samatvam: Maintenance of equanimity in day-to-day interaction or samatvam. If the mind is not balanced it has violent reactions and that will occupy the mind. Equanimity can only be maintained by reducing raga and dwesha. One method is to learn to accept all situations, all arrival and departure as the will of the Lord.
    2. Vairāgyam: Whatever top priority you give, will occupy your mind. If Eeswara pradhāna becomes top priority, that will occupy the mind. Vairāgyam is being clear about the priorities of life.
    3. Self-confidence: Never look down upon yourself. It is not arrogance; in arrogance I think that by my effort aloe I will achieve my goal. This self-confidence comes because of my faith in lord.
  2. Preparations for meditation: Two types:
    1. Physical: Choosing the place and fixing the asanam for meditation. Chose a secluded place or a quiet place; Asanam or seat should not be too soft or too hard. Body is kept straight; breathing is observed and make sure it is even and smooth; Other sense organs like eyes should be taken care of.
    2. Mental: Even when the sense organs are withdrawn, mind is capable of projecting its own world. Withdraw the mind from all external objects. Temporarily to surrendering all our interests at the feet of the lord.
  3. Process of meditation: Meditation is defined as the constant flow of similar thoughts, undistracted by dissimilar thoughts. Meditation is not making the mind blank, but it is a mental function. Example: The flame will flicker because of wind; but when protected, the flame will stand without flickering; Three stages of process of meditation:
    1. Dharana: Focusing the mind on the object of mediation.
    2. Dhyānam: Retention of the mind within the focus of the object.
    3. Samadhi: Because of this effort, the mind gets absorbed in the object of meditation.
  4. Object of meditation: Meditation can be on any chosen object: Saguna Eeswara (Upasana) or Nirguna Eeswara (nidhithyasanam); When the object is nirguna Eeswara, the object becomes subject also; nirguna dhyānam becomes atma dhyānam. Subject, object division goes away. To do nirguna Eeswara dhyānam, then you should have clear understanding of atma. This is possible only through guru shishya samvadha.
  5. Obstacles in meditation and remedies:
    1. Nidrā or Layaḥ or mind resolving; remedies are removal of the cause of sleep.
      1. Give enough sleep to the body.
      2. Avoid overeating.
      3. Exertion of body; tiredness of the body; after exertion do not do meditation.
    2. Abyāsaḥ: Practice; withdraw from all activities; We do this before sleeping; practice so that it doesn’t happen when meditating.
    3. Sangalpa or auto suggestion; tell mind not to sleep but to meditate.
    4. Wandering mind is the second obstacle (vikshebaha): Don’t feel guilty; Remedies are abyāsaḥ (practice with auto suggestion that this is the time for meditation and let Lord take care of everything). Second remedy is vairāgyam.
  6. Benefits of meditation: The mind is occupied by the object of meditation. Saguna dhyānam converts body into temple and Eeswara is in my heart all the time; I get the strength that I am not worried about anything. If it is nirguna dhyānam, the benefit is poornatvam – I am full and complete; nothing in the word can add to my poornatvam; any presence or absence change the poornatvam.

One more topic is covered in the sixth chapter, that is, what will happen if we don’t succeed. There may be stagnation, but there is no going back. Don’t bother if the moksha is in this jenma or next jenma.

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

First Shatkam highlights:

  1. Jiva Swaroopam
  2. Importance of karma yoga
  3. The role of individual efforts to obtain purshartham

Second shatkam emphasizes:

  1. Eeswara swaroopam or nature of God.
  2. Upasana or meditation to integrate the mind
  3. The role of Eeswara anugraha or grace of lord.

In the seventh chapter, two topics are discussed: Eeswara swaroopam and bhakti. In the sixth Chapter Lord Krishna put all the responsibilities to sadhakas or humans but in the seventh chapter he indicates that everything is happens because of his grace. Sixth chapter emphasizes prayarthanam or our efforts and in the seventh chapter Lord’s grace is emphasized; this indicates both are equally important.

What is the definition of God? God is defined as the cause of the universe. What type of cause is God? Two types of causes are required: The raw material or upathana karanam or material cause. But mere raw material itself is not sufficient. An intelligent designed is required. An intelligent cause who has knowledge and skill is required. This is called nimitha karanam. Both material and maker are requited. If Eeswara is the karanam for the world, what type is he? If he is the intelligent cause what is the raw material? If he is the raw material, then who is the maker? Is he maker or material?

Generally, material and maker are different. Sometimes material and maker are both one and same. The example is spider. Spider is the intelligent cause of the web. Spider takes the substance out of its own body and creates the web. Spider is both maker and material. Similarly, Eeswara is intelligent and material cause of creation.

What is the nature of this Eeswara? Lord consist of two parts:

  • Para prakriti: Higher nature
  • Apara prakriti: Lower nature

Lower nature plus higher nature is Eeswara. What are the differences between these two? Four main differences:

  1. Para prakriti is conscious principle; apara prakriti is inert principles; Chethana and achethana
  2. Para prakriti is nirgunam or attribute-less; apara prakriti is sagunam or with properties.
  3. Para prakriti is nirvikaram or does not go through any changes, beyond time and space. Apara prakriti is vikaram or subject to modification.
  4. Para prakriti is Sathyam or absolute reality or independent reality; apara prakriti is mithya tatvam or it depends on para prakriti for existence.

How did the creation come? Krishna gives details in the 13th chapter. Apara prakriti manifests or modifies itself to become creation. Whatever is inert, is Begawan’s apara prakriti. The changing universe is a product is changing apara prakriti.

This para prakriti, which is enclosed in every body mind complex is called jivatma. Example: Pot and Space; space was there when the pot was clay; space continues inside the pot when the clay is converted to pot. Jivatma and Paramatma are one and the same: Para Prakriti.

Any product essentially is not different from its cause. When clay is the cause, pot is the effect, we can easily say pots are not different than clay. Pot is a name given to a particular form of clay. There is no substance called pot, substance is clay; there is no substance called ornament. Substance is gold. Water has many names like cloud, river, lake, ocean etc. Products are not substances; they are only nama roopani. Substance is always karanam or cause. If the entire creation is product, then creation is non substantial; it has only verbal existence like ornament. Solidity of the universe and world belongs to Eeswara. What you need is not a new dharsanam just a new attitude. Whatever you experience is Eeswara, divinization of the universe. In a body, the matter part is apara prakriti and sentient part is para prakriti.

Next topic is bhakti. People commit a mistake that they are so attached to para prakriti because it is full of gunas; therefore, apara prakriti attracts our attention. Attached to apara prakriti, we lose sight of para prakriti. Should I throw away apara prakriti? No, but hold on to para prakriti but don’t depend on them.

How to come to para prakriti? Krishna presents bhakti as a method. Bhakti means love of the lord. If flag can be used to represent a country, anything in creation can be used to represent Eeswara. We do not have many gods, but one god is represented many forms or alamabana. We do not have many gods; we have god only. We may invoke God in any limited form, but the invoked god is limitless. Worship of Eeswara in totality – para prakriti plus apara prakriti – is bhakti.

Three stages or levels of bhakti:

  1. Sakama bhakti: I worship to get many things in my life. To get something or to get rid of something. Lord is not end, but I am using lord as a means to worldly ends. Sakama bhakti is not pavam and is allowed. Two types of Sakama Bhakti:
    1. Artha:
    2. Artharthi
  2. Abekshigaa niṣkāma bhakti: Partially free from desire. He wants to attain Eeswara. Krishna calls this as jigyasu.
  3. Athyinthiya niṣkāma bhakti: Discovers himself as not different from himself. Sathyam, the goal is already accomplished. He has no desire to accomplish God because lord is not separate from me. Krishna calls this gyani or poornatvam or moksha.

Moksha is reached through these three stages. Gyani is alone is the greatest bhakta.

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

Essential features of vedic teaching:

The entire Vedas are broadly classified into three portions:

  1. Karma kandam: Deals with karmas or rituals. These karmas can be broadly classified:
    1. Sakama Karma: Meant for fulfilling worldly or material desires. These are not compulsory
    2. Niṣkāma karma: Niyatha karma or compulsory karma; benefits are not material but spiritual growth and refinement.
      1. Deva Yagya
      2. Pitur Yagya
      3. Manusha Yagya
      4. Rishi yagya
      5. bodha yagya service to animals to plants.

A person with daily life will maximum effort to sakama karma and scriptures allow that. But a time should come to desire something superior.

Karma kanda gives material benefits for immature people; for others it gives reduction or raga and dwesha and spiritual progress. Karma kandam will give only Jñāna yogyadha and not gyanam. Karma is not directly useful but indirectly useful for spiritual progress.

  1. Upasana Kandam: Primarily a mental activity and physical body does not play a role. Upasana is saguna Eeswara dhyānam as described in Chapter 6.
    1. Sakama Upasana: Desire based for worldly benefits like curing a disease.
    2. Nishkama Upasana: Will give g Jñāna yogyadha. Gives fitness for Jñāna by making mind sharp, subtle and non-extrovert.
  2. Jñāna Kandam for attaining gyanam.

In Brahmacharyam, a person studies Vedas and understands the route to gyanam; in Grihastha follow karma; in vanaprashtashram follow Upasana and in sanyasa ashram get gyanam.

Suppose a person does not get an opportunity get gyanam, let him continue Eeswara Upasana. He will not get moksha, but he will go to Brahma Loka and get ideal conditions for Jñānam prabtham. Brahmaji will give him knowledge or gyanam. This is called vidheha or krama Mukti. Sathya Mukti is getting knowledge here and now.

The eighth chapter primarily deals with krama Mukti. The three topics are:

  1. Bhakti or devotion to the lord. This can be sakama bhakti for material and worldly benefits. Niṣkāma bhakti where lord is an end itself. Moksha icha is defined as bhakti. Bagawan and Moksha are synonymous. This bhakti can be obtained only by discrimination or viveka. Discrimination of superiority of Eeswara and inferiority of jagat, world. Delusion alone is the reason for our wrong choice of goal.
  2. Niṣkāma Upasana: Eeswara Upasana can be done in different ways with a symbol or alamabanam. One Upasana is omkara Upasana. This upasaka has two routes: come to Jñāna kanda and attain freedom in this life itself. As we get older, our conscious mind gets weaker and weaker. Then all our minds will be governed by subconscious mind which will be governed by our vasanas which are not spiritual. Upasaka practices yoga to control body and mind. Practice Upasana throughout one’s life up to death.
  3. Krama Mukti: Both sakama and niṣkāma bakthas travel after death. The travel is for sūkṣma śarīram consisting of punya pava and subtle body. Two types of jivas: sakama jiva and niṣkāma upasaka jiva. The two take different routes:
    1. Krishna gathi: Sakama jiva goes through this route, determined by punya pava or karmas. But he will come back.
    2. Shukla gathi: Niṣkāma upsaka goes through this route. In Brahma loka he will gain knowledge and obtain gyanam. He will not come back but attain krama Mukti.

Chapter 9 The Yoga of Royal and Hidden Knowledge (rāja-vidyā-rāja-gushya-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 śatakam. Prathama, madhyama and Charama śatakam. In the first śatakam is about jivatma or twam part of tatwamasi. Madhyama śatakam is about Paramatma or tat part of tatwamasi. Charama śatakam 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 para prakriti (Brahman) or higher nature and apara prakriti (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 prakriti:

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

This mixture together is Eeswara and is responsible for the origin, existence and resolution of the world. The manifest Apara Prakriti is the prabañca or universe. After certain time, it folds back into unmanifest para prakriti.

  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 prakriti 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 Apara Prakriti but not recognizing the para pariah nature. When a person does not recognize para prutah that person ends up holding on to Apara Prakriti for security. But Apara Prakriti never remains the same and hence we never get the security. This eternal insecurity is called samsara. Krishna presents the solution as Bhakti.

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

  1. Dharma Lakshana Bhakti, performance of one’s duty towards family, world etc. Everyone must go through this bhakti. This is important to purify and refine mind
  2. Upasana Lakshna Bhakti, in the form of meditation upon God. First in ishta devata form or eka roopa dhyānam. Next is viśva roopa upasanam, taking the entire world is lord. The ishta devata does not have to change but take the ishta devata as viśvarũpa. This will lead to expansion of mind.
  3. Jñāna lakshna bhakti, inquiry into para prakriti 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 para prakriti. 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 Upasana laskhana bakthis are steppingstones.

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

Third part of the ninth chapter is niṣkāma bhakti and not sakama bhakti.

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

  1. Material benefit or artha and kama. This is sakama bhakti. This is meant for worldly benefits.
  2. Lord as the benefit. This is niṣkāma bhakti. In Vedantic language this is mumukṣutvaṁ.

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

Glory of niṣkāma bhakti:

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 niṣkāma bhakti is that I will feel secure.

Second glory of niṣkāma bhakti is there are no rules and regulations. Offer anything, but the bhakti should be niṣkāma bhakti. This will lead to Jñāna yogyadha and moksha.

Anybody can start bhakti, according to one’s own level and gradually convert into niṣkāma bhakti. 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 Vibhūti 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 buddhi of God. Buddhi means manifestation of the Lord. Vi means vishesha. Vibudhi is special manifestation of the lord. Krishna elaborates this Vibudhi in Chapter 19. 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 consists 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 Poorva and Veda Anta. Veda Poorva 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 paramata 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. Brahmaji 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 viśva roopa dhristi.
  3. Viśvarũpa dhristi 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 dhristi is not emphasized. Only the second and third dhristi are emphasized. Seventh, 8th and 9th chapters lay the groundwork for this. Akasa and Vayu, Mind and Buddhi are formless elements; Agni, water and privthi, sūkṣma and sthūla śarīram 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 dhristi. 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.

Viśvarũpa 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.
    2. All the differences will be determined by Bhagavan, making Him a partial Bagawan.
    3. 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
    4. 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 bhakti.

Fear of death can’t be eliminated as long as there is any attachment. Arjuna’s attachment to Bhishma 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 bhakti 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 last chapter of madhyama śatakam. Main theme of madhyama śatakam 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 śatakam is bhakti. Bhakti can be seen in two different ways:

  1. Love of God or attitude towards God. This was also discussed in 7th chapter, dividing bhakti in three different types:
    1. Bhakti for material ends. This is sakama bhakti or manda bhakti.
    2. Bhakti for spiritual progress, desire for moksha. This is madhyama bhakti
    3. Bhakti 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 bhakti.
  2. Bhakti as sadhana or a means to an end. Krishna dedicates 12th chapter for bhakti as spiritual sadhana.

12th Chapter can be classified in two portions:

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

Bhakti 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 bhakti, which involves physical action.
  2. Upasana roopa bhakti, which involves mental actions like manasa puja.
  3. Jñāna roopa bhakti, 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 bhakti, 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 bhakti, bhakti 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.
    2. Niṣkāma Bhakti: Actions not meant for material benefits but for purifying mind and spiritual growth. Panca mahā yagya is niṣkāma bhakti. These five yagyas are:
      1. Deva Yagya: Reverence to God
      2. Pitur Yagya: Reverence to elders and ancestors
      3. Brahma Yagya: Reverence to Vedas
      4. Manusha Yagya: Reverence to all human beings
      5. Bootha Yagya: Reverences to earth and all living beings.

These are niṣkāma bhakti and are selfless action

    1. Upasana Bhakti: In upasana bhakti, 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Nirguna Pradhāna Bhakti: 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 bhakti is nothing but knowing that nirguna brahman can never be an object. You, the objectifier, can never be objectified. Nirguna Bhakti is vedanta Vichara, 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 bhakti.

If a person is only interested in sakama bhakti 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 bhakti or nirguna bhakti. Lord Krishna said this is not a valid question because the two are not comparable; saguna bhakti is a means and nirguna is the end. Saguna bhakti is incomplete without nirguna bhakti and nirguna bhakti is not possible without saguna bhakti.

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

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

With this chapter we are entering charama śatakam 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 getting knowledge. Meditation and intuition are not accepted as the means of getting 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 method for getting jñānam.

Three portions of 13th Chapter

  1. Mahā 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 mahā vakya vichara.
  3. Vichara palam or the benefits of this inquiry.

Mahā 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 anatma 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 must 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 Prakriti.

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; prakriti 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 prakriti. Before the origination or manifestation of creation, there were two basic principles: All-pervading consciousness principle purusha; the matter principle prakriti. Both put together is universe.
    1. Purusha is chethanam and achethanm or inert.
    2. Purusha or consciousness is not subject to any modifications; Prakriti is subject to modification
    3. Consciousness is indivisible. Matter or prakriti is divisible.
    4. Consciousness is Sathyam independently existent, self-proving and self-evident. Matter requires consciousness to prove it. Consciousness is Sathyam, matter is mithyam.

Before Srishti, prakriti being savikara, at proper time (determined by the laws of karma) prakriti 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 prakriti. 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. Prakriti 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? Prakriti 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 prakriti. Whatever is left is purusha. Body and mind are subject to modification, and they are prakriti. 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 prakriti.

Consciousness is the same in the god and individual and the differences are all at prakriti level. Consciousness behind you the microcrams is same as the consciousness behind the macrocrams, Lord Krishna. 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:

    1. 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.
    2. Vairāgyam: Once you understand self-knowledge is the solution, all problems become minor.
    3. Bhakti: 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 prakriti objectively. I look at my own body and mind objectively. I will accept the loss prakriti, the material universe, without resistance. I enjoy prakriti without any problem.

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

Krishna approaches the mahā vakykam “jivatma Paramatma aikyam” from a different angel.

Eeswara is defined as a mixture of purusha (or conscious principle) and prakriti (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 Guan
  2. Rājasa guna
  3. Tāmasa guna

Nirguna is Eeswara, and prakriti is sagunam with the three guna. The whole universe has all the three gunas. The body and mind being products of prakriti 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. We can see 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.
    2. Rājasa guna is the nature of activity or restlessness.
    3. Tāmasa guna is of the nature of dullness overpowers 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.
    2. Rājasa guna pushes one person to action, producing more karma, producing more life
    3. 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.
    2. When Rājasa guna is predominant, there is an increased action.
    3. When Tāmasa guna is predominant, there is negligence and oversight.
  4. Consequences of the three gunas:
    1. When sattva guna increases, gyanam increases.
    2. When rājasa guna increases, activities increase.
    3. When tāmasa guna results in eternal conflict, delusion, and procrastination.
  5. What will happen to person after death?
    1. Sattva guna goes to higher loka
    2. Rājasa guna goes neither up nor down he will be in manuṣya loka,
    3. 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 brahmin.

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 bhakti becomes sattva pradhāna brahman. This guna brahmana is ready to become gunaatheetha.

How can saguna become nirguna? How can I transcend guna? Saguna 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 disidentify 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 bhakti, therefore, every guna theetha must have gone through all five stages of bhakti. Guna theetha is equal to sthrira pragya is equal to para bhakta.

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 ability 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.

Chapter 15: The Yoga of the Ultimate Person (puruṣottama-yoga)

Bhagavad Gita is a secondary scripture based on smriti; Since it is a secondary scripture or Sruthi, it contains the essence of Vedas. The entire Gita is classified:

  1. Prathama śatakam; predominantly deals with karma or karma pradhāna śatakam.
  2. Madhyama śatakam; predominantly deals with Upasana or mediation or it is Upasana pradhāna śatakam. Lord can be mediated in one form, formless form. But the middle section concentrates on viśva roopa upasana or aneka roopa upasana.
  3. Charama śatakam is Jñāna pradhāna śatakam which is the culmination of spiritual sadhana in the form of Jñāna.

The 13th and 14th chapter deal with the knowledge. The fifteenth chapter also concentrates on Jñānam. This is the last philosophical chapter, condenses the essence of the Upanishad. This can be divided into three sections:

  1. Description of samsara to develop vairāgyam. Without vairāgyam, one can’t enter into any inquiry.
  2. Moksha sadhanani. Primary and secondary disciplines required for moksha.
  3. Eeswara Swaroopam or nature of God – higher nature as well as lower nature.

First topic is Samsara varnanam or description of samsara: Lord Krishna compares samsara to huge tree. This is borrowed from Katho Upanishads. The dualistic world in general, is like a huge tree. Common features of samsara and tree:

  • Mahatvam: Human samsara is widespread, because it is caused by relationship. The asvatha tree is also widespread.
  • Adhyantha rahithvam: The beginning of samsara can’t be traced. It is anadhi. Because of jenma karma comes; because of karma jenma comes. The present tree because of the seed; and seed is because of the previous tree. How did the first seed come? It is anadhi.
  • Anirvachaneeyam: Can’t be classified. Whether a particular jenma cause or effect? It can’t be determined because it is the effect of previous jenma and cause for the next jenma. Similarly, a tree is the cause for next tree and is the effect of previous tree.
  • Moolavatvam: Both samsara and tree have roots as sustainer. The tree is sustained by invisible roots. Similarly, invisible Eeswara is the sustainer of samsara.
  • Both have many branches; some are upper branches, and some are lower branches; some are middle branches. Similarly, deva śarīra are higher branch; animals are lower branches; humans are middle branches.
  • Palavatvam: Tree and samsara both produce three types of fruits:
    • Sweet; pleasure
    • Bitter; pain
    • Mixed.
  • Pakshi…: Wherever fruits are available, bird will come and perch on the branches, making noise and eating the fruits. Similarly, there are jivas will come with samsara – pleasure, pain and mixed. Some jenmas are on the higher branches; some jenmas are on the lower or middle branches.
  • Chaltvam: The tree moves about in different directs because of the wind. Same way, samsara also moves in different directions because of karma. Karmas of all the jivas take one place to another. Karma moves us not only from jenma to jenma, but also within jenma.
  • There is light at the end of the tunnel as both are destructible. The tree can be destructed. Similarly, samsara can be uprooted and get moksha.
  • The tree has many leaves, which are required for sustenance of the tree. Samsāra also has leaves in the form of karma. Because karma alone produces palam, resulting in next jenma.

Second topic: Moksha sadhanani. Krishna describes a set of disciplines:

  1. Reduce your dependence on the world. Dependence on the world is samsara but the world is violently changing due to prarabtha karma. So, it is unreliable. Cultivate world dependence to God dependence. You can assume any ishta devata.
  2. Learn to accept the pairs of opposite in life; life is a mixture of opposites. Don’t allow them to torment your mind.
  3. Inquiry into the nature of God for gaining knowledge. This inquiry is conducted with the help of two factors, acharya or guru and sasthram. If you give form to God, then that god will have boundary. Then the god will be limited and samsari. Personal god should give way to absolute. We must inquire the higher nature of God.

Of these two sadhana, the primary sadhana is the third sadhana, Brahma Vichara. The benefit of these sadhana is the discovery of real nature. Brahman or Eeswara can’t be illuminated by anything. Illumination means making a thing known. Because everything else is illumined or known by Brahman; therefore, Brahman is never illumined by anything. What is that illumining everything but not illumined by anything? That is Chaithanyam or Jñāna swaroopam. Brahman is eternal knower, but never known. Brahman means the infinite one. As Brahman pervades everything and everywhere, Brahman is formless. Krishna is lower form of God meant for uplifting human beings.

The third and final topic is Eeswara swaroopam. First Krishna talks about lower or empirical form. The universe is divided into two: Sentient objects (Jiva or chethanam) and insentient object (jagat or achethanam). In sleep stage we ourselves create this by creating a dream world. But we don’t realize this when we are in dream. The same way, one Eeswara alone appear as jiva and jagat.

The universe inert and material, achethanam. The physical body also made up of matter. Even the mind is made up of subtle matters. But the mind has the unique ability to forming a reflection in the mind and conduct consciousness and become sentient. In the scriptures it is called chitha basa or reflected consciousness. Mind becomes luminous and able to illumine other objects and conduct transactions. Both chethanam and achethanam are forms of God. Krishna takes the examples of sun, moon and fire. Sun illumines the world during the day; moon illumines during the night. Fire illumines during full moon. Because of the fire principle alone we can digest food. Not only God is outside in the form of sun, moon and fire, I am also inside in the form of digestible fire principle. Everything, knower, known. Experienced and experiencer are all Lord.

Krishna now describes his higher nature. Chara purusha, Akshara purusha and uttama purusha. Chara and Akshara is matter principles. Manifest form of matter is chara and unmanifest or potential form matter is Akshara or energy. The third uttama purusha is the witness of matter and energy. This is the superior nature of mine. Purushothama refers to formless, attribute less chaithanyam swaroopam.

If you know the two forms of God (Chara and Akshara), then you become fulfilled, and this is moksha.

Chapter 16: The Yoga of Differentiating Godly and Ungodly Assets (daivāsura-sampad-vibhāga-yoga)

A particular chapter can’t be understood unless the central theme and purpose of Gita is understood. This is presented in the introduction of Gita when Arjuna describes his condition to Lord Krishna. He said I am going through intense sorrowful condition of mind. This sorrow can’t go away with any resource at my disposal. From this we get those human sorrows can’t be eliminate by name, fame, possession etc. The second point is that Arjuna is deeply interested in eliminating that sorrow. This is the start of Bagawad Gita. Krishna started his teaching saying that only wise people are free from grief. This conveys the idea that wise people do not grieve and so people who grieve are ignorant. Ignorance is the cause of grief and wisdom – atma Jñānam – is the only remedy. The primary aim is to give atma Jñānam as a remedy for human sorrow. Since the essence of entire Veda is atma Jñānam, and the essence of Gita is also atma Jñānam. This self-knowledge is not one of the solutions for moksha, this is the only solution. For gaining gyanam, the only instrument we have is manaha or buddhi. Atma Jñānam can only be obtained through mind. Jñānam is the goal and mind are the tool. But scriptures say mind can’t know atma. An unrefined mind can’t know. Wherever it is said mind should know, we should take it as refined mind. Most of us born with unrefined mind and we should convert that into refined mind. The immediate goal is to be converting unrefined mind into a refined mind. This process is called samskara. Veda poorva deals with samskara and Veda Anta deals with Jñānam. 41 Samskaras prescribed in our traditions, from birth to death. Refinement alone takes time, Jñānam does not take any time. Chapters 13, 14 and 15 deal with Jñāna prapthi. If we come to Jñānam, without any preparation, Gita may appear to be not useful. Two chapters entirely dedicated to the samskaras or refinement. Any refinement consists of two processes:

  1. Dosha apanayanam: Removal of impurities or negative traits from the mind. These are negative traits, and these are called asuri sampat.
  2. Guna Aadhanam: Addition of virtues. Cultivating healthy and positive virtues. These positive traits are called daivi sampat by Lord Krishna.

Krishna gives a list of these qualities. This list can be prepared by ourselves by using these principles:

  • Whatever I want other to do to me, I should do.
  • Whatever I don’t want others to do to me, I should avoid.

Six virtues out of many that Krishna has described. Five Devi Sampat:

  1. Self-confidence. Freedom from fear of failure. If I do not have faith in myself, I can’t accomplish anything in life. We will end up as negative complaining person.
  2. Self-mastery: Bagawan has given us a human body which is capable of reaching our destination of moksha. Control over body, word, sense organs, thoughts are required. A healthy body is your friend; An unhealthy body is your enemy. Ashtanga yoga deals with self-mastery.
  3. Self-integration: All the instruments should function in co-ordination. This is arjavam (harmony or integration).
  4. Humility: Any success is the result of infinite number of favorable factors – all put together is Eeswara.
  5. Purity: Purity of mind, thought and motive. All our thoughts are known to us only. How much of our thoughts can we publish? The purer the mind, the higher percent of thoughts we are willing to publish.
  6. Compassion or empathy: The capacity to feel other person’s feeling. When I feel the pain of others, I will not be the cause of pain to others. A sensitive mind is compassionate mind.

Asuri Sampat – inner enemies of human beings.

  1. Kama or desire:
    1. When kama is obstructed, it leads to anger.
    2. If kama is fulfilled creates more kama; we only become more and more active and extroverted, creating samsara.

To handles kama or desire:

  1. Remove illegitimate desires; then limit legitimate desires for spiritual sadhanas. This means moderations of desire; desires should not come in the way of yama and niyama. Convert the desires into non-binding desires.
  2. Krōdha or Anger:
    1. Angry person becomes violent creating verbal of physical injury.
    2. Anger leads to injustice; when I am angry, whatever action I do is not an action but an impulsive reaction without no thinking and deliberation.
    3. Anger leads to destruction. Physical anger leads to physical destruction and relationship destruction.

Control anger with education; kama turns into krōdha; kama is the seed and krōdha is the seed. If anger is used as an instrument to get things done, then you should get angry and angry should not get you. You should be able to get angry when you want and drop it whenever I want to drop it. If you want to deliberately get angry, the best method is to postpone it. But deliberate anger is not possible because anger is always a reaction and not an action.

  1. Lōbha or greed: Not sharing our possessions with others. Really speaking, we don’t possess anything. Everything is a temporary gift from the Lord. If I try to hold on to things, Bagawan will take away one after another. This includes people and relationship.
  2. Moha or delusion: The main confusion is that we think our happiness is dependent on what we possess. But happiness is dependent on what we are. Delusion will go away only by vivekaha.
  3. Madha or arrogance: When failure comes, an arrogant person can’t withstand it. I can’t accept another person is glorified. Whatever glory I have, it is a gift from the Lord. We should be happy that we are a vessel
  4. Machariam or jealousy: Never compare yourself with other; be happy what you have and what you are. Enjoy growing without comparison. Any comparison will lead to complexities – superiority complex and inferiority complex. Competition brings out jealousy, cheating etc.

Get rid of the negative traits and develop positive traits, get moksha.

Chapter 17: The Yoga of Differentiating Threefold Faith (śraddhā-traya-vibhāga-yoga)

A mind that is not refined can’t obtain atma Jñānam. Mind is divided into two types:

  • Prakritha mind or animal man
  • Samskiratha mind or purusha; man man
  • Jñāni manuṣya; divine man

One must progress from prakriti purusha to samskirtha purusha to Jñāni manuṣya

A prakriti manuṣya or unrefined person is one whose actions are governed by personal raga dwesha. I do whatever I like, and I don’t do whatever I do not like. I don’t bother whether the actions are good or bad to society. Animals do exactly like this.

A samskirtha manuṣya also have rāga and dwesha. Even though he feels like doing many things but before implementing anything he thinks through the consequences of the action. He doesn’t want to get the benefit at the cost of others. Similarly, if there are actions that I don’t like doing, but if it is beneficial to others, he will do those actions. Actions are governed by dharma. When one’s actions are governed by dharma has progressed from prakritha purusha to samskritha purusha. This is called twice born.

When a child is born to a mother, the child is prakritha purusha; when the child learns dharma sasthra from the acharya, mother is gayatri devi and the father is acharya.

Veda poorva bagha converts prakritha purusha to samskirtha purusha and Vedanta converts a person from samskirtha purusha to Jñāni.

Subdivision of prakritha purusha:

  • When the life governed by rāga or selfish wishes, the same prakritha manuṣya is called asura. Selfish people.
  • When the life is governed by dwesha, results in lot of cruelty and violent. They are called prakritha rakshasa manuṣya; harmful, cruel people.

Samskirtha manuṣya are satvic people. Prakritha asura are rajasic people; prakritha rakshasa are tamasic people.

Tamasic types are the deadliest ones as their actions are harmful to the society and should be immediately removed. Rajasic variety do not create immediate threat to society, but in the long run, they are harmful.

In this chapter, Krishna describes tamasic variety which should be immediately given up; Rajasic variety which should be given up soon. Satvic varieties should be developed and cultivated.

Five items

  1. Shraddha: Faith
  2. Ahara: Food
  3. Yagya: Worship
  4. Tapaha: Austerity
  5. Dhana: Charity

Ahara or food influences our personality:

  1. Gross form of food caters to taste only and nothing else.
  2. Subtle form of food; nutrient part of the food; does not necessarily caters to the taste, but it nourishes physical body.
  3. Subtlest form of food nourishes sūkṣma śarīram

The food should nourish the physical and subtle body. Sasthra thinks of both physical and spiritual body. If you are a spiritual seeker, you should choose only those that nourish both sthūla and sūkṣma śarīram.

  • Satvic ahara: Vegetarian food; that ahara which is offered to the Lord and consumed with the remembrance of the lord. Included in this list, all the sweets. Madhura
  • Rajasic ahara: All other varieties other than sweet are Rajasic food. They should be consumed in moderation or minimum quantities.
  • Tamasic ahara: Uncooked, or overcooked; those not offered to the lord; stale food.

Yagya (prayer and worship of the lord), dhana (charity) and tapa (moderation in everything) are important religious sadhana. Panca mahā yagya are very important.

Three types of yagya: Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic and they are determined by the type of deity, method of worship and motive of worship.

  1. Type of deity; deities contributing to spiritual growth are sattvic; deities contributing to material growth are rajasic deities; Tamasic deities are black magic deities.
  2. Method of worship: Worship in quiet place with withdrawn mind is Satvic. Example is japa; Noisy japa is Rajasic; Torturing body, animal sacrifice, offering liquor etc. are Tamasic.
  3. Motive of worship: Selfless motive is Satvic and is perform for the wellbeing of all. Spiritual seekers should continue to perform these types of worship. When the motive is for materialistic growth and self-wellbeing, it is Rajasic; One should reduce this type of worship and grow out of this one day. When the motive is destructive, injurious and harmful to others, it is Tamasic. This type of worship should be avoided.

We can classify worshipper as follows:

    1. Those who will do good to others at the expense of self; satvic.
    2. Those who will do good to others as long as it does good to ourselves also; rajasic.
    3. Those who will do harm to others to get good to self; tamasic.
    4. Those who will do only harm to self; also, tamasic.

The same principles can be extended to shraddha or faith. Sattva yagya, raja yagya and Tomasa yagya

Dhanam:

  • Satvic dhanam is right gift given to right person at the right place with respect, without expecting anything in return.
  • Rājasa dhanam is given with the expectation of a return. Expecting name and fame in return.
  • Tomasa dhanam is wrong gift given at the wrong time, insulting that person. Even tāmasa dhanam is better than no dhanam.

Tapaha: Discipline, austerity; Classified from the standpoint of instrument.

  • Kayikam tapaha: Body or activity oriented; doing rituals physically. Scriptures are given more importance because it destroys tamo guna. Doing namaskara, brahmachariyam etc. come under this category.
  • Vachika Tapaha: Verbal discipline. Speech is the most powerful organ, next to intellect. For example, the written word chair stands for, the spoken word chair. The spoken word chair stands for the knowledge of chair. Vedic wisdom is available even today in the form of written and spoken words. As it is most powerful, it can be most destructive also. Four disciplines or factors to consider before speaking:
    1. Words should not hurt or disturb or cause violence; this is verbal non-violence. Don’t use abusive, negative, indecent, loud language.
    2. Sathyam: Never speak untruth; only speak truth. I may or may not be materially successful, but I will be spiritually successful.
    3. Priyam: Language must be pleasant, soft
    4. Chitham: Whatever is good for all. Spoken words should benefit everyone.
  • Manasa Tapaha: Mental discipline.
    1. Purity of thoughts; anybody should be able to listen.
    2. Calmness and equanimity.

Tapas from the guna point of view: When it is selfish rajasic. When it is spiritual, satvic; tapas used for negative purpose, it is tamasic.

Our goal is to take up satvic, negate tamasic, reduce rajasic.

Converting all actions into satvic action: After the completion of any action, dedicate it to the Lord. This will convert any mistaken action as satvic.

Krishna has described positive traits to be acquired and negative traits to be avoided. Krishna does not say how to accomplish this. Sastra does describe this in five methods:

  1. Vivekaha: We must study the significance of every virtue. A value is a value only when the value of the value is valued by you.
  2. Sankalpa: Taking a resolve and reduce the violation of the value. This can be translated as auto suggestion.
  3. Prathipaksha bhavana: Practicing the opposite: When there is hatred, practice love, mentally.
  4. Sat Sanga: Association with virtuous people.
  5. Prarthana: Pray to the lord for help.

Chapter 18: The Yoga of Liberation (mokṣa-yoga)

In this chapter, Krishna summarizes the whole Gita. This chapter can be classified as four chapters:

  1. Types of sadhanas; satvic, rājasa and tāmasa. The point is we should take up satvic variety, avoid tāmasa variety and reduce rājasa variety.
  2. Karma yoga as a preparation for Jñāna yoga.
  3. Summary of Jñāna yoga as a direct means of liberation.
  4. Summary of the entire teaching.

The first topic is three types of sadhanas. Seven topics are taken up and each of them is taken up as satvic, rajasic and tamasic.

  1. Sanyasa or renunciation
    1. Sattvic is performing of duties and renouncing anxiety about the future.
    2. Rājasa is renouncing of duties even after knowing the importance of duties
    3. Tāmasa is renouncing of duties due to ignorance.
  2. Jñānam
    1. Sattvic is the knowledge that there is one atma which is different from the body.
    2. Rajasic is knowing that atma is different from body, but each atma is different.
    3. Tamasic is taking the body as atma and not accepting an atma other than body.
  3. Karma
    1. Satvic is motivated by dharma, whatever is good to the entire world; personal raga dwesha are subservient to the wellbeing of the society.
    2. Rājasa is raga dwesha pradhāna karma or based on one’s own personal well being
    3. Tamasic is which is directed towards the harm of the society.
  4. Kartha: or Doer
    1. Sattvic whoever performs satvic karma
    2. Rājasa whoever perform rājasa karma
    3. Tamasic whoever performs tamasic karma.
  5. Buddhi or intelligence; rope/snake example: In the dark, one mistakes the rope as snake and is frightened. But when the light is turned on, one realizes there is no snake it was rope all along; this knowledge relieves one’s fear. Similarly, we mistake ourselves as body and subject ourselves to the changing nature of body and the results of the actions (karma) of body; when we own up to our higher nature (atma), the samsara goes away. Another example is Mahabharata war; Arjuna thought punishing the adharmic enemies is adharma. But punishing adharmic people is needed to establish a dharmic society and therefore punishing adharmic enemies is dharma.
    1. Satvic intelligence knows everything comprehensively
      1. At lower level what is dharma and what is adharma
      2. At higher level truth and untruth
    2. Rajasic intelligence which knows everything but incompletely. Doubtful knowledge; as good as ignorance.
    3. Tāmasa intelligence is all the knowledge in the opposite direction, wrong knowledge, but definite about the wrong knowledge.
  6. Druthi or will power
    1. Satvic is pursuing spiritual pursuit regardless of obstacles
    2. Rajasic is pursuing material pursuit regardless of obstacles
    3. Tamasic is not pursuing either spiritual or material but purposeless life.
  7. Sugam or pleasure
    1. Satvic is any ananda born out of spiritual growth
    2. Rajasic is any ananda born out of external condition and material growth
    3. Tamasic pleasure is born of sleep and inactivity.

Second part of the 18th Chapter is summary of Karma Yoga.

Karma yoga is proper action with proper attitude. Proper action is taking proper profession in life with which we can contribute to the society. To determine proper profession:

  1. Uttama or best: Choosing a profession suitable to my swabava. I love what I do, and I do not expect any separate reward; reward becomes bonus.
  2. Madhyama: Choosing a profession based on hereditary as swabava is determined by hereditary
  3. Worse: Choosing a profession based on income.

Proper attitude is when you do that action for the selected profession and learn to enjoy that action. Dedicate the result to the lord. What you offer is not worship and how you offer or what you do is worship. Convert all actions into worship; no need to change profession.

Karma yoga will lead to purity of mind.

Next topic is a summary of Jñāna yoga. Two stages of Jñāna yoga are:

  1. Cognitively and intellectually separating consciousness from the physical body. Five features of consciousness
    1. Consciousness is not a part, property, or product of body
    2. Consciousness is an independent entity which is different from body and pervades and illumines the body.
    3. Consciousness is all pervading and not limited by the boundaries of the body.
    4. Consciousness continues to exist even after the body is gone.
    5. Consciousness which survives the body, does not interact with the world because it does not have the medium of transaction – body.

Example is light on the hand; light is independent of body, is beyond the boundaries of the hand, continues to exist even after I remove the hand.

 

  1. Train myself to identify with consciousness instead of the body. I am the consciousness operating with this body; when the body goes away the transacting medium goes away but not the consciousness. Example is deep sleep; When I sleep, I don’t stop to exist, I continue to exist, but the medium is resting, and the transactions do not happen, but I exist. This shows that body is only an intermediary medium for transaction. Body comes and goes, but I always continue to exist. Learn to identify with atma, then you will be able to look up the body objectively and will be able to accept the laws that govern the body:
    1. Desa: Body is affected by space or the place.
    2. Kala: Body is governed by time. As we age, body ages and is subject to decay and decease.
    3. Prarabtha: Results of karma. Body is subject to pavam and punyam of our lives

Accept these universal laws without resistance. Krishna emphasizes one particular feature of atma in the 18th chapter, that is, akartha and aboktha, free from all pavams and punyams; body is never free from pavams and punyams. If you identify with the body, then you can’t escape the results of pavams and punyams. Owning up of akartha and aboktha will give moksha.

Krishna emphasizes mediation and dhyānam. Bhakti yoga is not a separate yoga, but it is a common name for karma yoga. Lower-level bhakti yoga is karma yoga and higher-level bhakti yoga is Jñāna yoga.

Dharma refers to karma yoga way of life; After purifying the mind with the use of karma yoga, one should transcend karma yoga. Karma should be reduced, reducing extrovert activities and come to j Jñāna yoga or self-inquiry; sravana, manana nidhithyasanam

The final stage of saranakathi or bhakti is surrendering the ego. Ego can never be surrendered by a physical action; ego is born out of ignorance. There is no wave, but only water. Similarly, there is only lord, I as a separate entity do not exist. Since ego is developed by ignorance, it will go away only by knowledge or Jñānam.

One reason for this logic is that, in the introduction of Gita, Krishna makes it clear that j Jñānam alone is means of freedom from sorrow. So saranakathi can’t mean anything else but Jñānam. Krishan can’t start with saranakathi and end with something else.

Second reason is dharma is all duties prescribed in Veda. If Krishna asks to renounce all karma, then it can’t be karma; it should be something other than karma. J Jñānam alone is something other than karma. Therefore, saranakathi means j Jñānam.

When there is contradiction between Sruthi and Smriti, Sruthi alone prevails. Veda clearly says j Jñānam is the only means of liberation. Saranakathi presented as a means of moksha, therefore saranakathi should be understood as jñānam.

Follow karma yoga, purify mind, follow g Jñāna yoga and attain liberation.

Gita Jñānam should be given only those fulfilling these conditions:

  1. Tapaha: Discipline in life
  2. Bhakti: Devotion to lord as destination
  3. Sushrusha: One who wants to learn Gita
  4. Anasuya: Not finding fault with Gita teaching.

Those who listens the benefit is swarga, those who listens and understands will get moksha.




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:  Obsolete 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 if 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 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 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.




Bhagavad Gita Summary

In these sections, I am reproducing my notes from classes that were given by Swami Paramarthananda as stand alone 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.




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.

Greetings,

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




Baghawad Gita, Class : Chapter , Verses 4 to 9

Shloka 16.4:

16.4
O son of Prtha, (the attributes) of one destined to have the demoniacal nature
are religious ostentation, pride and haughtiness, [Another reading is
abhimanah, self-conceit.-Tr.], anger as also rudeness and ignorance.

Greetings,

Continuing his teachings Swamiji said,

In the 16th chapter of the Gita, Sri Krishna is talking about two types of lifestyles, one that is conducive to spirituality and moksha and the other one non-conducive to spiritual goal and these two lifestyles are called daivi sampath and asuri sampath.

We can roughly translate it as spiritual value system and materialistic value system; and the based on this, the spiritual value systems were mentioned in the first three verses; and the materialistic value system, Sri Krishna summarized in the 4th verse and he will elaborately deal with that from the 7th verse up to 21st verse later on. But before elaborating the asuri sampath, Sri Krishna points out that if you want to gain moksha, then your life style should be governed by daivi sampath. This is mentioned in the 5th verse and we will read:

Shloka
16.5:

16.5
The divine nature is the Liberation, the demoniacal is considered to be for
inevitable bondage. Do not grieve, O son of Pandu! You are destined to have the
divine nature.

Sri Krishna says, the spiritual value system which I gave out in the first three verses will take you towards Moksha. It is conducive to self-knowledge. Whereas the asuri sampath, the materialistic value system; will keep you in Samsara and bondage. And naturally Arjuna is worried as to which category he belongs to, therefore, Sri Krishna pats Arjuna and says, Arjuna fortunately, you are with daivi sampath only.

You
are born with spiritual inclination. You have a value for spiritual growth; Interest
in spirituality is possible only if inherited from the previous birth.

Sri Krishna
has said before that spiritual development takes place through many janmas. If
we had such a lifestyle in this birth, we will have a natural inclination for
religious or spiritual life. Arjuna, you are born with such an inclination. You
have got a satvic tendency; you are a guna brahmana by birth itself and
therefore you can feel happy. And you can nourish that spiritual tendency more
and more.

Shloka
16.6:

16.6
In this world there are two (kinds of) creation of beings: the divine and the
demoniacal. The divine has been spoken of elaborately. Hear about the
demoniacal from Me, O son of Prtha.

So, here, Sri Krishna says, O Arjuna, the entire humanity can be divided into two groups. Not merely Indians; not merely the vedic people, the entire humanity can be divided into two groups; based on their tendencies; their values.

One group of humanity we can call
daiva group, which means naturally having a spiritual tendency. They might be
born in a materialistic society; but something pulls them towards spiritual
people, spiritual books, spiritual topics, something attracts them, they
themselves do not know the reason.

And there is another group, asuric; utterly materialistic group, down to earth group, as a Yamadharma raja said in kathopanishad. Yamadharmaraja calls them Shreyas and Preyas group. So Asura meaning People with materialistic tendencies; even though they born in a spiritual family; surrounded by Vedas, surrounded by Brahmaṇas, surrounded by temples; father himself may be a Gyani, but in spite of all these influences; these are people who turn towards materialism. Therefore, known as asuraha.

And, I have talked about the daiva group, the spiritual people, who have a spiritual value system, I have talked about them in the first three verses, but I have not elaborately talked about the materialistic value system. and I have briefly mentioned that in the fourth verse, but Sri Krishna feels that it should be elaborated. Therefore, he says the elaborate study of Asuri sampath, Arjuna, may you learn from me; so that you can avoid such a tendency. Thus, Sri Krishna gives an introduction to the asuri sampath; and hereafter He will elaborate on that.

Shloka 16.7

16.7
Neither do the demoniacal persons under-stand what is to be done and what is
not to be done; nor does purity, or even good conduct or truthfulness exist in
them.

All the human beings by nature and by birth are materialistic in character. Nobody knows that there is a such a goal called Moksha. And nobody knows that there is such a thing called dharma, because dharma is not visible to our eyes; moksha is also not visible to our eyes. Both of them are called apaurusheya purushartha; goals not available to our sense organs; or even to science. And since these two goals are not known, every human being has got only two purusharthas called artha and kama. Artha means money, and wealth. And the second thing is kama pleasure or enjoyment; therefore, everybody by birth has a value for artha kama purushartha’s; and therefore, our mind develops its own raga-dvesha’s. raga means likes and dvesha means dislike. Right from birth, our life is governed by raga-dveshas, our instinctive likes and dislikes; which are again based on artha kama purushartha; and our scriptures point out that this raga-dvesha based life is OK in the beginning stages. But once a stage is reached when we are capable of discrimination and thinking, this raga-dvesha based life should be changed; and a new value system should replace the old value system; and the new value system that is prescribed by our scriptures is the spiritual value system. And we do not know the importance of spiritual goals, because we are immature people at that time. And, therefore, we should be guided by the scriptures which we look upon as Veda mata.

Just as a baby does not know what is good for it and what is bad, a baby surrenders to the mother, and the mother decides what is good for the child. And as long as the child goes by the mother’s decision, it is ultimately for the good of the baby only. Just as mother decides what is good and bad for us, because we are immature. Similarly, Veda is the mother, who decides what is ultimately good for us and as per Veda the ultimate goal of human life has to be spiritual alone. Therefore, the shruti says: You do not know what is good for you. I am deciding what is good for you and therefore follow what I tell you. And the Shruti replaces the materialistic value system by a spiritual value system. It tells what us what is good and it is called vidhi. Vidhi means a thing which is good for me and nishedha means that which is not good for me. vidhi means kartavyam; Nishedha means akarthavyam and the Shruti asks us to replace the raga- dvesha based life by vidhi-nisheda based life. And this transformation from the materialistic value system to spiritual value system is considered the second birth of the human being. This transformation is from the prakrta to the samskrta purusha; and it is generally symbolized by the sacred thread ceremony.

Sri Krishna says that the asura purushas are
those people who do not go through this transformation of life. Because they do
not want to follow the spiritual value system prescribed by the scriptures. And
therefore, he says people who are materialistic people, asuras, who are
governed by r
aga-dveshas, likes and dislikes, they do not educate themselves scripturally.
They are literate materialistically, because they may know physics or chemistry
or economics, but spiritually they are illiterate. And therefore, this
transformation does not take place.

They do not know what is to be done, for spiritual growth.

They do not have dharma adharma viveka. And,
therefore, they do what they like.

So, the vedic
scriptures give us a daily routine to be followed for spiritual growth. The scriptures
give us instructions on what we need to do from the moment we wake up every
morning till we go to bed.

So, the first advice the scriptures give is
to get up before Sunrise. Most of us don’t follow this.

So, Shastra
says wake up before sunrise so that Surya
Bhagavan can
bless us.

This is the first spiritual value or achara.

And thereafter start the day with lighting
the lamp and then doing some prayers, apply some tilakam, and this is supposed
to be the greatest protection against materialism.
The onslaught of
materialism is so powerful that if you have to protect, they say put some
kumkum or chandan or vibhuthi.

The vibhathi is
prepared by chanting a lot of mantras.  Vibhathi preparation is a very elaborate
ritualistic process, and therefore, it is not an ordinary ash, it is an ash with
lot of mantra. And not only it has mantras’ spiritual values, even when a
person is applying vibhuti he is supposed to chant mantras or names of the Lord
or namas. And that is why in vaishnava
sampradhaya it is
called nama.

Vibhuthi
means Bhagavan mahima.
When you are wearing the Vibhuthi, one
has to chant the triyambaka mantra.

This mantra says that Vibhuthi means it is glory of the Lord. Since you remember
the glory of the Lord, the ash itself got the name Vibhuthi and since this tilakam
is associated with God,
it is supposed to protect us from the onslaught of materialism. Therefore, get
up early in the morning; do snanam,
light up the lamp, chant the prayers, and remember the Lord and remember the
goal of life as well. And until you complete all these things, not even a drop
of water should be drunk.

Start your day with achara. There is no sense of religious purity at all for materialistic
people; So, they walk with the night dress all over the world, with the half-cleaned
teeth, with the brush in the mouth, with toothpaste, walking all over with a
newspaper. It is certainly not a vedic lifestyle.

Even brushing the teeth is a religious rite and there is a prayer mantra addressed to vanaspathi devatha, because in the olden days, they used the twigs of the trees for cleaning the teeth and therefore prayer to the twig: Hey Vanaspathe, I am brushing my teeth to remove my danta malaha, the impurities of the teeth; along with that, Oh Devathe, cleanse my mind also”. And for what purpose? For Atma Gyanam. All these are wonderfully designed by the Veda right from the very young age to be followed; materialistic people do not believe in any one of them.

So, they do not have the religious Discipline; what about values? They do not believe in the values also; their argument is, whatever is convenient is value; I will speak truth also when it is convenient.

So, values also they do not believe in. This is the beginning of materialism. Now we can imagine the details.

Shloka 16.8:

16.8
They say that the world is unreal, it has no basis, it is without a God. It is
born of mutual union brought about by passion! What other (cause can there be)?

They are totally irreligious people. They do
not connect with religion or spirituality, which is based on the vedic
scriptures. First, they do not believe in the Vedas or believe in Asthayam. Sathyam here means
Veda pramanam, Asathyam means that they do not believe
in Veda pramanam, even
though Veda is like thousand mothers.

Shankaracharya tells us, elsewhere, that the Vedas are superior to thousand mothers and fathers; it is interested only in our wellbeing but in spite of that; they do not believe in Veda pramanam. They are utterly nastika people. And if they do not accept Veda pramanam; they also do not believe in Dharma. Pratishta means dharma; dharma means moral or ethical order of the universe. Vedas say Dharma or morality alone sustains the creation.

Dharma means that which sustains the universe. Moral order alone sustains. Once the morality goes from the society, there will be utter distress and confusion and a society cannot survive for long; And therefore, scriptures talk about Dharmas and these people do not believe in dharma because dharma is not visible to our eyes. They believe in the physical order of the universe, because it is scientifically provable. They believe in the scientific laws of the creation; like the law of gravitation; like the ecological laws, etc. but the laws of dharma they do not believe because it cannot be scientifically proved. And therefore they say there is no dharma or adharma; there is no punyam or papam and therefore, there is neither previous birth or next birth. Enjoy this life; following whatever you feel like doing.

And then who is the creator of this universe?

They do not believe in God as well.

They say creation can come by itself; the
scientists have proved that the big bang took place at such and such time,
thereafter the world has evolved by itself with the help of chemical and
physical laws; we do not see any intelligent principle behind it; and therefore
we do not require a God.

They reject everything; they believe in only money and entertainment. Therefore five days of a week, earn and two days of a week, go all out and enjoy. Continue that till death. This is the philosophy of materialistic people.

Whereas what is the belief of the traditional people? We say, God is the creator of the world; and along with the world, God has created the Vedas also. And Vedas are the manuals which are meant to guide our life; so that we can extract the best out of this human life. And the best we can extract is moksha itself.

So, do not have materialistic friends; until you clearly understand the Vedas and understand the value of dharma. Until you understand the concept of pramanam, avoid materialistic people.

These people
argue that there is no Ishvara; no Vedas and there is no dharma.

Then how did this
creation come?

We are created by
our parents because of the male-female union, which is caused by kama or
passion, we are born. And how are our parents born? because of their parents;
and how are their parents born; because of their parents. Why is God required
for this? They argue that spending money on temples is useless, rather give
money to the poor.

And when we listen to those arguments, we also start having doubts, perhaps they are correct; whereas Vedas says spending money on God or dharma or puja etc. can never be a waste; it is like pouring water at the root of the tree; when you pour water at the root of the tree; water directly goes to the root; but in an invisible manner the water goes to all the branches; I do not see it, but every cell of the tree gets the benefit.

Similarly, Bhagavan is the root of this creation;
where did we see this? In Bhagavat Gita chapter 15.

Abhisheka you do, naivaidyam you do,
nothing goes to waste, ultimately it is for the benefit of humanity. But a
materialistic person will not accept that.

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.

So, these Asuric people hold on to the materialistic philosophy. Their philosophy is whatever sense organs can see that alone exists. That there are things, beyond our sense organs and which can be known through other means of knowledge, they do not accept. It is like a person with four sense organs. Imagine a person has only four sense organs by birth. He does not have eyes. He has got ears, tongue, nose and skin.

And I talk about the field of colors, I say that there is a world of colors. He says, I do not believe in that; I do not accept that; because I am not able to appreciate the colors with my four sense organs. And I say no, that you cannot know that, because the available four sense organs do not have access to the colors. It has to be known through the fifth sense organs, eyes, I tell. But this person argues that I do not believe there is a fifth sense organ. I want to prove the colors with the help of the 4 sense organs I have; he wants the proof for the colors through the ears, or prove the color through the nose, through the tongue, skin, through the available four pramanas. He is not interested in the fifth sense organ which reveals a field not available for these four.

Similarly, our culture talks about a sixth
sense organ. What is the sixth sense organ?

It is called Veda. And we want to prove that with the help of
the available five sense organs, we can only say that the available sense
organs do not have access to that; you have to use the sixth. And if a person
refuses to use the eyes, which is the fifth sense organ, who is the loser? If I
will not use the eyes, I alone am going to be the loser, neither the eye nor
the world of colors. If I should benefit from the world of colors, I should be
willing accept a fifth sense organ called the eye; which sense organ can never
be proved by the other four sense organs. Veda is the sixth sense organ which can never be
proved or disproved by the available five sense organs. You use the Veda pramana and study with faith, you will be opened to
a new and wonderful field, which is not accessible to science; which is not
acceptable to the sense organs.

By rejecting the Veda, Veda is not the loser; I am going to be the loser. But materialistic people will never understand the significance of the sixth sense organ. They claim that they are rational people, they will believe in only those things which can be sensed through five sense organs. Like the fool who wants the proof for the color with the help of the other 4 sense organs; how can I prove it; it is not possible.

And therefore, the materialistic people will never understand.  They are lost souls, because they are losing a huge chunk of the creation which is accessible only through Veda pramana. The very definition of the Veda is what: Veda is a sixth sense organ as it were; which will reveal a new world which is not accessible to these regular five sense organs. How can you define the fifth sense organ the eye; eye is a fifth sense organ, which reveals the colors, which are not accessible to the other four sense organs. Similarly, Vedas reveals a completely new field. It is for you to operate or make use of the Vedas; otherwise you are going to be the loser.

So, they are lost souls. All because they do not understand the concept of pramana. What the eyes reveal, the ears can never prove; the ears can never disprove; what the eyes reveal. Suppose I say this is orange color is revealed by eyes; suppose the eyes want to verify the orange color. No, the ears are great; but the ears can never prove or disprove, because their field is different.

Similarly, Vedic field is different;
scientific field is different. Science has got access only to a particular
field; therefore, science has no right to prove or disprove the Vedic teaching.
This is the significance of pramanam.

Therefore, they try to prove the Vedas
scientifically. That is the greatest foolishness. It is like trying to prove
the colors with the help of the ears. They will never succeed; and when they do
not succeed, instead of understanding their foolishness, they reject the Vedas.

Vedas are unscientific and therefore I won’t believe. That is the greatest foolishness to have. Therefore, Sri Krishna says: idiots; they try to prove Vedas through science; They hold on to a materialistic philosophy and once artha and kama becomes dominant in life; when dharma is not valued, then compromise with values become natural. Violation of values become natural. Telling a lie will become very comfortable; first it will prick, second lie it does not matter, the third lie we are comfortable; thereafter, lying become natural, cheating becomes natural, himsa becomes natural; therefore, they will be hurting the moral order of the universe. Ugrakarmanaha means they are people of violence. Violating what? the ethical or moral order of the creation; violating dharma which is the health of the universe. It is like violating the rules of health; by following the rules of health; I keep my body fit. If I violate those rules, the body dharma is disturbed; which becomes sickness physically, similarly when dharma is violated, the society becomes sick. Adharma is the sickness of the society. A sick body cannot survive; a sick society cannot also survive.

And therefore ugrakarmanaha, they hurt dharma; and the society indirectly prabhavanthi;

And jagataha kshayaya; they become the cause of the destruction of the humanity; And the tragedy is when the scientific knowledge increases, and value for dharma decreases, the scientific knowledge also will be used for adharmic purposes. And science gives enormous power and the increased power will be used for consistent akramaha. If medical science increases and kidneys can be replaced; kidney racket comes up. Thus, Knowledge without wisdom becomes dangerous. Knowledge is material knowledge, wisdom is dharmic knowledge; When material knowledge increases, without dharmic knowledge, that society will have problems. They will then cause destruction of universe. Militants will increase; terrorists will increase, train accidents will increase; naxals will increase. They will have even atom bombs and chemicals. Science will become a curse of humanity. Science will be blessing only when it goes along with dharma.

Therefore, these people will become a curse to the society.

Therefore, they become enemies of humanity.

Thus, educated people without dharma will
become enemies.

Sakshara rakshasa bhavanti. Sakshara means
literate people, they become Rakshasa.

Take Away:

Asuras means Materialistic
people.

Shruti
asks us to replace the raga- dvesha (likes and dislikes) based life by vidhi-nisheda (good vs bad) based life.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy




Baghawad Gita, Class 200: Chapter 16, Verses 2 to 4

16.2
Non-injury, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, control of the
internal organ, absence of vilification, kindness to creatures,
non-covetousness, gentleness, modesty, freedom from restlessness;

Continuing his teachings Swamiji said, in the beginning of the 16th chapter, in the first three verses, Sri Krishna is giving a list of virtues which He names daivi sampath; and when a person lives a way of life; taking into account these virtues; then it will become conducive to atma Gyanam. We completed first verse in the last class and in the first verse, I had left out one word and I am happy that the students noted the omission and pointed it out to me. First, I will take up the omitted word, tapaha, in the second line.

If you split it; the word tapas or Tapaha has several meanings. Sri Krishna will talk about tapa elaborately in the 17th chapter, and He will divide tapas into three types, satvika, rajasika, and tamasika tapas. Here we will see one of the meanings of the word tapa; it is deliberately and willfully going through a painful experience for toughening one’s physical and mental personality. Voluntarily, deliberately going through some painful experience; of course, within a limit, in a controlled way; going through a painful experience, so that my body and mind will get toughened enough, immunized enough, to withstand pain or difficulty. So, immunization of the body, toughening of the body is the purpose of any form of tapas. And we have got many types of tapas, in the form of vrthams. For example, those who go Sabarimala, the Ayyappa temple in Kerala, they take a 41 day or 48 days of vow. And during these days; they willfully give up certain comforts. Certain types of physical comforts are given up, and the body is allowed to go through discomfort and similarly they walk 48 miles through thorns, stones and all those, without wearing a chappal; is a voluntary invitation of physical pain. Even though nowadays they can go through a very short route; they do that; Sometimes we can see people going to the Himalayan shrines of the Kedarnath and Badrinath, at higher altitudes, very cold; there also they go without proper cover, without chappal they go; this is a clear invitation to physical pain; but you do not call it suffering. A suffering is a suffering only when it is forced upon me by somebody else.

Whereas a suffering becomes a tapas when I myself, voluntarily, force on myself for the sake of toughening my body and mind. I have talked about this before; the difference between fasting and starving, is purely based on the attitude. When I want to eat food, and food is not available, it is starving; but food is available, but deliberately today happens to be Ekadasi and one stays away from food.

In Srirangam there are people who fast the whole day, even when food is available; I deliberately forgo and go through the pang and discomfort of hunger; and this voluntary suffering is called tapas. Shankaracharya calls it sharira pidanam; pidanam word he is using; but it is voluntary. The benefit, advantage of this tapas is the body gets a capacity to tolerate; tolerance of heat; tolerance of cold; tolerance of pain; so, increase of titiksha or tolerance is the benefit. And in Vedanta, tolerance is considered to be a very useful sadhana. It will help a person in several ways spiritually. One benefit is that if I toughen myself and develop tolerance when I have to go through choiceless pain. Everyone will have to face pain in life. Sometimes there are remedies, but there are occasions when a person is forced to go through pain and there is no cure or remedy. Like incurable disease or anything, I have got tolerance, choiceless pain in life will not disturb me too much. Thus, tolerance prepares myself to face choiceless pains in life; which is caused by prabhala prarabhada.

Durbhala prarabhda, gives me pain but I have remedy for weaker prarabhda, but there are prabhala prarabhda, which will give me pain for which I can have no remedy. How to face such choiceless pain? There is only one way; I have to raise my level of withstanding power; just as the military people develop that power; so, they have to learn to starve for days together; living with water; they have to survive with whatever they get; They have got endurance tests; thus, every human being requires increase in endurance power; And therefore, titiksha is useful to face choiceless situations.

The second benefit of tapas or increase of
tolerance is we can avoid impulsive reactions to situations. Any impulsive
reaction is because of lack of tolerance. I cannot tolerate nonsense. I cannot
tolerate adharmic action; I am extremely sensitive; many people say. When I am
sensitive and intolerant, the greatest disadvantage that I face, I impulsively
and immediately react to the situation without thinking. Any thoughtless action
is reaction; and any thoughtless reaction is improper; because we are not even
judging whether our actions are right or wrong. The only solution for impulsive
reaction is developing the tolerance power, so that even if somebody is doing
improper action, I can wait, analyze, think well and react at the proper time.
And when I react at proper time deliberately thoughtfully, it is no more a
reaction; it is an action. If I have to postpone my reaction, and deliberately
act, I require titiksha
or tolerance and that tolerance comes by practicing tapas. This is the second
benefit;

The third benefit of tolerance is this. Bhagavan has kept pain in life; not merely for hurting us. The role of pain is not merely wounding us, but Bhagavan wants to teach certain important lessons through pain also. So, sufferings also have a very important role in human life. And the important role of suffering is teaching; especially spiritual teaching; and if I should have the capacity to learn from suffering, I should enjoy an undisturbed mind. If suffering emotionally disturbs me, I will not be able to learn from suffering. I will go through sufferings but will continue to be where I am. So how can I learn from suffering? Only when my mind is calm, I can go through suffering and learn; and that is possible only when there is titiksha; there is tolerance. Therefore, the third benefit of tolerance is developing the faculty of learning from pain. Learning from suffering.

In fact, the very first chapter of the Gita is Arjuna vishada yoga. So Arjuna’s suffering taught a lot; At least he learned that he requires external help to solve the problem of raga, shoka and moha. And that is how he decided to surrender. Therefore, pain also has a role in spiritual growth; and I can make use of it only if I have tolerance. Thus, tapas plays a very important role in developing tolerance and therefore it is included in spiritual sadhana.

And now coming to the second verse, we saw the word Ahimsa, satyam, krodha and tyaga. The word tyaga, I pointed out, refers to renunciation; renunciation can be either external or internal. External renunciation is taking to a monastic life; internal renunciation is mentally dropping the ownership notion; I do not own anything. Bhagavan is the only owner; I am a trustee; I am supposed to only maintain things or maximize the use of things for the time being. This freedom from mamakara is called tyaga; mamakara tyaga.

The next value is shanti; shanti means the equanimity of mind; poise of mind; tranquility
of mind; freedom from stress and strain. Another word they use is anayasa;
inner relaxation. And this Shanti is a virtue, which we have to try to maintain
throughout the day, which Sri Krishna called samatvam yoga uchyate. The very karma yoga way of
life is to maintain this poise. And why is this shanti important? Only when the mind has shanti, intellect will be active and functional.

When the mind is disturbed, it will jam the intellect and it will not work. A Vedantic student has to do sravanam, mananam and nidhidhyasanam, all the three require an equanimous mind; therefore shanti. We can say, it is the samatvam attained through karma yoga. It is otherwise called samaha.

Then the next virtue is: Apaishunam. apaishunam means not publicizing the defects of other people. It is very enjoyable thing; it is a very juicy topic; to talk about the things happening in the neighborhood. Therefore, whatever defects are there; whatever deficiencies are there; whatever weaknesses are there, I enjoy talking about and whatever virtues are there; I carefully avoid. Shastra says it is never correct. If at all you want to talk about others, talk about their virtues.  Cover up your virtues; publicize others’ virtues.

Therefore, he says apaishunam; never talk about the other people’s
weaknesses.

Then the next virtue is Daya bhuteshu. Daya means compassion, bhuta means all living beings; human beings, animals, towards all of them, have compassion, i.e. learn to look at their suffering by standing in their shoes. Temporarily imagine what will it be if I am in their position. So, then, certainly it will be impossible for us to injure others.

Therefore, bhuteshu daya, or bhuta daya is considered to be a very important virtue.

Then the next one is aloluptvam; aloluptvam means not yielding to the temptations of sense objects. So the world is full of maya. And the world is full of temptations, my sense organs can very easily become an addict to anything. So even when such temptations are there; not yielding to them, that self-control is called aloluptvam. Previously we saw the word dama; dama is in a general sense control; aloluptvam is specific sense control; when there are temptations.

Saying No to drugs; because there are certain
temptations like drug, liquor, cigarette, etc. We have to yield only once;
first time it is a deliberate mistake, and second time, that object becomes the
master and I become a slave. First, I am master, the cigarette is slave; second
time, the cigarette become stronger; then time, it will still become stronger;
after sometime, I am utterly helpless that I cannot even imagine giving it up.

You will find that once a person becomes an
addict, it is almost impossible to get out. You have to read the book of
Alcoholic Anonymous. They say God alone can help such an addict; For that, one
has to surrender to God. even that becomes difficult. And therefore, always say
No first.

Therefore, better not to go in front of it, at
all; and therefore aloluptvam.

Then the next one is mardavam; mardavam
means gentleness, in handling people, in handling things, gentleness or
politeness in manners; Not being rude is called mardavam.

The mind of the wise people is very unique. It has got two opposite virtues. One angle it is stronger and harder than even diamond; and from another angle they are tender; more tender than even flowers; How come one mind is both hard and tender. It is said when they are receiving experiences such as people insulting, people criticizing, people misbehaving; when they are facing adverse situations, their mind takes the mode of hardness; the mind is so strong that any adverse situation cannot affect it; like the rock of Gibraltar, it will not get affected; but the very same wise people when they are handling other people, when they are talking to other people, their language and behavior is more tender than even flowers. So, as a karta they have a tender mind; as a bhokta they have a diamond like hard mind. But the problem of the ignorant person is the other way around. He also has a hard and soft mind. When he faces situation, it is too soft; that at the slightest insult he is affected; When he handles people, it is so rock like and rude, neither he is happy nor the other people around are happy. So, gentleness in handling other people.

Then hrih means modesty, and also a sense of shame; a
healthy sense of shame. There are two types of shame, one is a healthy shame. A
healthy shame is defined as that, which obstruct a person from doing wrong
actions. Sometimes we feel ashamed to do certain things in front of others,
when that shame restrains us from doing adharmic actions, that sense of shame
is a worthy sense of shame and it has to be cultivated. Shamelessness in that
respect is an evil thing.

Therefore, healthy shame is called hrih or modesty.

Then the next virtue achapalam; chapalam means restlessness expressed at the body level. Restlessness which is primarily a mental condition and when the mind is highly restless, it overflows to the body level and through the body language, the person shows he is uncomfortable. Hands and legs are moving; face is twitching. He is biting the finger; first nails then finger. They eat pencils and pens; all kinds of things happen; fidgety character is called chapalam; where the body does lot of movements purposelessly. Moving the legs purposelessly, moving the hands purposelessly. All of them are called cheshtai. When we are children, parents used to tell us sit quietly without doing any cheshtai. That indriya cheshta is called chapalam; achapalam is freedom from that; body also is relaxed.

Shloka 16.3:

16.3
Vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, freedom from malice, absence of
haughtiness-these, O scion of the Bharata dynasty, are (the alties) of one born
destined to have the divine nature.

Then next virtue is tejaha. teja means not being a victim of exploitation; goodness; Simplicity, it does not mean ideocracy. Being simple does not mean, being simpleton, it is not required; Be gentle; be good; be tolerant; all these virtues are very good; that does not mean that we should become door mats of other’s exploitation. If somebody is committing a mistake; if somebody is improperly behaving; it should not mean I should silently suffer and be a victim. I can certainly take appropriate action. I need not be taken for a ride in the name of being a Gita student.  Do not cheat and do not get cheated.

It does not mean I should impulsively react
and get angry. It is not necessary, we can study the situation and first, then
we can use non-violent methods of handling and later, even if we have to take
violent steps; by all means take violent steps. If that is the ultimate necessary
evil.

So not victimizing one’s self is called tejaha; because just as we should not hurt others, we should not hurt ourselves also. We have a duty to our own body; our own mind; it does not mean I should unnecessarily suffer; it does not mean I have to put up with non-sense. Need not. So, a no-nonsense attitude is tejaha.

Then the next virtue is Kshama. Kshama is otherwise called Shanti in the 13th Chapter and it is called titiksha in the 2nd chapter.

And this word Kshama has several meanings; one meaning is tolerance, which we saw before; Kshama is the benefit gained through tapas. While explaining Tapas I said, by practicing tapas, a person will get forbearance or tolerance. This is one meaning.

But, Shankaracharya gives another meaning for the word Kshama by contrasting it with the word akrodha.  Akrodha means capacity to handle anger. When the anger rises inside; before it is expressed outside, I allow that it to go through the filter of discrimination. Before expressing, if I can use my discrimination, discreet expression of anger; or discreet non-expression of anger; or discreet partial expression of anger; that is the management of anger. This was called akrodha in the second verse; Shankaracharya says kshama here means the mind becomes free from anger. Very tough; In the first stage, anger was allowed but it should be under your control; let it be but it should be within your control; but kshama means enjoying a mind in which anger does not rise at all. So non-arrival of anger is kshama; management of arrived-anger is akrodha. Is it possible for a person to avoid the rise of anger at all; looks it is almost impossible. In fact, even psychologists say anger is a healthy sign; healthy part of a regular mind; psychologists will not accept that; But Shankaracharya says it is possible. but he does not say how. We get a clue in the third chapter; we get the clue in the third chapter. There he defined anger is nothing but expectations converted to irritation; when it is obstructed; obstructed expectation gets converted to irritation. And since irritation is the converted form of expectation, if you have to handle irritation, you have to handle your expectation. Lesser the expectation, lesser the scope for anger; and even if expectations are unavoidable, try to make them into preferences.

And therefore, reduce the expectation and
whatever minimum you have, have non-binding expectation or we can call it preference.
That is the only way to avoid anger. There is no other remedy. Therefore, Kshama
is anger-lessness.

Dhrti means fortitude, perseverance, or will power
is called dhrti; the capacity to continue a sadhana in spite of obstacles, in
spite of hurdles, is called will power.

Sri Krishna will
talk about the importance of willpower in the 18th chapter; And there He will
talk about three types of willpower; satvic willpower; rajastic willpower and
tamasic willpower. I will not talk about it now; I hope you will have the
willpower to continue the classes until the 18Th. Therefore, dhrti; Dru means
holding on to. Dru, dharane; holding power; willpower.

Then the next
virtue is Shaucham. This also has come in the 13th chapter.

Shaucham is
cleanliness and orderliness. It should not stop with cleanliness only. We
should include orderliness, of the surroundings, from our street, visible from
the surroundings. We have the best teaching and least implementation; we have
got the best scriptures in the world; but we never implement. And the other countries;
they do not have such scriptures; and they seem to implement. We have the
enclosure for putting the rubbish; but it is put everywhere else, but in that particular
place. So, therefore, cleanliness of the surrounding; cleanliness of our dress;
cleanliness of the body. And above all, the toughest is the purity of the mind;

I have talked in
the 13th chapter, and therefore, I do not want to go to the details.

Then the next
virtue is Adroha; adroha is ahimsa at the mental level; not even desiring to
harm others; not even tending to harm others.  So, they will not even think himsa.

Shankaracharya says, not only you should not hit others, even raising the hand saying that I will hit, not doing that is adroha; not even intending to harm others is called adrohaha;

Then the next one
is natimanita. This is amanitvam of the 13th chapter.

Freedom from
pride, freedom from superiority complex, or positively put, humility; humbleness
is called natimanita. This is supposed to be a very important virtue for a spiritual
student. Because, a spiritual student has to do the namaskara to the guru.

If I have got
arrogance, namaskara is the most difficult thing. And that too, namaskara to another human being is very difficult; and if a person does
not have that humility; knowledge will not flow down; because if
something has to flow down; it has to be from higher level to lower level. If the
knowledge should come; I should bend humbly. And therefore, natimanita means Humility;

All these virtues will be present
in a person who has got daivi sampath; who is born with daivi sampathi. So, one
who is born with satva guna, or one who is a satvic person, he or she will have all these virtues and if these
virtues are not there from birth; we have to cultivate them. Most of us do not
have them. Therefore, in Vedanta, cultivating these virtues alone will take more time. Vedantic study really does not take
time; maximum time is in getting this daivi sampath;

Shloka 16.4:

16.4
O son of Prtha, (the attributes) of one destined to have the demoniacal nature
are religious ostentation, pride and haughtiness, [Another reading is
abhimanah, self-conceit.-Tr.], anger as also rudeness and ignorance.

So having talked about the daivi sampath, that is the virtues belonging to a spiritually oriented person. Now Sri Krishna wants to talk about asuri sampath; which is naturally there; in a materialistic person. As I said asuri sampath does not mean a person who has got the protruding teeth like a demon, it is means one with materialistic tendencies. And what are they? Sri Krishna is going to enumerate them in this verse, He presents them in a nutshell and later, from the seventh verse, He will elaborate the very same asuri sampath, till verse No.21.

What is materialism? We get a very beautiful
list. What are they?

Dambhaha means
pomp and show; exhibitionism of their wealth; their position; their status etc.
which is also called ostentation;

Then the next materialistic tendency is darpaha. Along with money and power, comes arrogance. Disrespecting people, disrespecting elderly people etc.,

Therefore, darpaha means arrogance.

Then abhimana; superiority complex, looking upon oneself as puja yogya. One who deserve honor, reverence etc.

The difference between darpah and abimana is; darpaha is externally expressed arrogance; manitvam is unexpressed internally thought. One is at bhavana level another is at the karma or action level;

Then krodha; krodha is
anger; because there is power; because there is position; and therefore, he
does not mind ill-treating anyone; krodha means anger; rudeness, harshness,
impoliteness; mannerlessness; all are called krodha.

Then Agyanam, means ignorance and here the
word ignorance means ignorance of Dharma Shastra.
We are not talking about spiritual ignorance; because we are not dealing with
philosophy in these two chapters. Chpaters 16 and 17 are dealing ethics and
morality; And therefore, the word ignorance here means ignorance of ethics,
ignorance of morals; dharmadharma
aviveka.

These are all naturally there in a person who
is born with rajasic and tamasic tendencies. Especially if he belongs to a rich
family, then he may not know what is humility, and that becomes a very big obstacle.

Take Away:

Anger is
nothing but expectations converted to irritation; when it is obstructed;
obstructed expectation gets converted to irritation. And since irritation is
the converted form of expectation, if you have to handle irritation, you have
to handle your expectation. Lesser the expectation, lesser the scope for anger;
and even if expectations are unavoidable, try to make them into preferences.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy




Baghawad Gita, Class 199: Chapter 16, Verses 1 & 2

Shloka # 16.1:

16.1 The Blessed Lord said Fearlessness,
purity of mind, persistence in knowledge and yoga, charity and control of the
external organs, sacrifice, (scriptural) study, austerity and rectitude;

Greetings,

Continuing his teachings Swamiji said, as I said in the last class, Sri Krishna is dealing with the way of life that a spiritual seeker should lead, so that it is conducive to the reception of spiritual knowledge; as well as the assimilation of spiritual knowledge and this way of life, Sri Krishna calls Daiva marga. And this daiva marga, the spiritual path, the satvic path involves the observation of certain virtues in daily life, and Sri Krishna enumerates those virtues in these verses, which the Lord calls Daivi sampath. In the first three verses, we are getting the list of these virtues. We were seeing the first verse in the last class; abhayam, satvasamshuddhi, Gyanayogavyasthiti. Abhayam means spiritual courage; to cross all the hurdles which come in the way of my spiritual path; the inner courage, satvasamshuddhi is the purity of mind. Then Gyanayogavyasthiti, which means, Vedanta sravana manana nidhidhyasanam. Gyanam, means sravana, mananam, and yoga means nidhidhyasanam. So Gyana plus yoga is equal to sravana manana nidhidhyasanam, I have talked about this before, I hope you remember. And this one is the primary sadhana which should go along with the others, without Gyana yoga any amount of virtues will remain incomplete. Without morals, Gyana yoga is impossible, without Gyana yoga, a moral life is incomplete. It can never lead to liberation; therefore, they are complimentary; therefore, they should be given due importance.

Gyanayogavyasthiti; the word vyasthiti means
committed pursuit. It is nishta, it is a sincere and serious and pursuit
therefore he uses the word vyasthiti; commitment.

Danam:

Now we will go to the second line; danam or charity is another important virtue highlighted in the scriptures. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad enumerates the three virtues of Yajna, danam and tapas as the most important disciplines and Sri Krishna himself  highlights these three virtues again. So danam means charity and why do we say danam is a very important virtue and also a very difficult virtue; we can follow everything else but danam is difficult. Why do we consider this important?

Danam has significance from
different angles; the first benefit of danam is that
it serves as a remedy for a very serious mental problem called lobha. Lobha is a very serious mental problem; which is caused by
the sense of insecurity. One fundamental human problem is continuous sense of
insecurity.

This insecurity, continues all the time. And we do not know why the insecurity is caused; and the generally we have a misconception that this sense of insecurity will go away if we hold on to external possessions. We think that possessions are the only remedy for the problem of insecurity; even though there is no truth in that conclusion. Because there are people who have lot of possessions and continue to be insecure. And there are many people who do not have any possessions and they have full sense of security. From this it is very clear people with possessions continue to be insecure while people without possessions feel secure; from this it is very clear, that the possessions and the security have no connection; but even though this is the truth; we have got the strongest moha that the insecurity will go away as we increase our possession. And this sense of possession is so strong; and this alone is called lobha; and this lobha or sense of possession expresses in two-fold ways; one way is, it wants to grab more and more; get more, get more, get more.  The other expression is: whatever you get, you very carefully hold on to and never give away.

Therefore, get more and give less. This is lobha. In English we translate it as greed and
miserliness is equal to lobha and this greed miserliness problem, lobha, is because of the misconception
that the greater the possession, the greater the security.

And this lobha leads to several problems in life. The first problem is that a person wants to grab more and more; and therefore, unknowingly he begins to compromise with dharma; because beyond a limit; greed will force a person to cut corners to comprise with dharma. Thus, it will lead to adharma; it will lead to papam; it will lead to himsa; thus, lobha is a very serious mental problem. and not only this is the problem, this person with lobha begins to suspect every human being who comes near. Because we do not know whether he is coming for me for whether he is coming for my money. Whether he loves me or my money? Thus, the eye of suspicion will be there all around, even I look at my family members differently.

Thus, lobha is a serious problem and the only remedy for lobha is gradually developing the
sense of charity. Danam is the only remedy for lobha disease. And therefore, danam is important.

And the second significance is, if danam is not there in society, a person goes on amassing and accumulating without sharing, there will be a big disparity between the rich and the poor and when this gulf increases, then that society will have lot of problems like crime etc. Most of the crimes, economic crimes like kidnapping for ransom; murdering for gain, burglary, all these things will happen when there is a big gulf between the rich and the poor. And when we read such news items more and more in the newspapers, the rich person will feel, more and more insecure than secure. The irony is that he has got lot of money for security; the very same money has thus caused insecurity, because of the fear burglary, kidnapping and all those things. And therefore, a healthy social order requires people who are willing to able to share with one’s who need. Therefore, danam takes care of social order.

And the third significance of danam is that it is the only touchstone to find out whether
I have detachment or not. If I do not have detachment, danam will be the most painful affair; even though for
social purposes, I give, it will be with a lot of heart burn. If I have got
inner detachment, danam will be the happiest
discipline or sadhana that I practice. Therefore, danam becomes a test for my detachment. And therefore, danam is significant.

And fourthly, danam is considered a very important prayascitha karma. We all have acquired lot of papams; durithams; for which we have to do prayaschittams and varieties of prayaschittams are mentioned in our Shastra; and one of the prayaschittam karma is danam and that is why at the time of death; or immediately after death; varieties of danam are given. In fact, we are supposed to do that before we die; but we will not have that mind; we will rather lose our life rather than loosen the purse. So, Danam is a very important prayaschitta karma. This is the fourth significance;

And fifthly and finally, danam is a beautiful sadhana, which makes our death peaceful; because death is an
event in which everything that I have carefully earned will be taken away from
me. Whether it is house or bank balance; anything I have earned, everything
including my physical body; after death, I cannot even own my physical body;
everything I have to give back to the World, God or Lord, as you look at. This
release of all my possessions should be comfortable to me, I should have practiced
danam in my earlier days; and if I have enjoyed danam in my life; I will look upon death also as a form
of danam.

Till now, I held on to every possession and then
Yamadharmaraja snatches them away and I die painfully.

Death will be peaceful for a person who has learned to enjoy giving away.  Therefore, danam is a very, very significant spiritual sadhana. Initially at least we should give away what we do not want.

They say, among a hundred persons there will be one Suraha, courageous person; there will
be one scholar at least among one thousand people, among one lakh people, at
least you can find one good teacher. Even though they are rare, a real giver is
very difficult to find. It is difficult, but we have to practice as I said,
start giving what you do not want; and thereafter we can find whether we can
give even those things that we want. If it is useful for somebody else more.
Therefore, Sri Krishna says, danam.

Damaha:

Damaha means indriya nigrahaha or sense control. Sense control does not mean
suppression of sense organs; we never encourage suppression, because any form
of suppression is an oppression. It will lead to depression, we never encourage.
By damaha, what we mean is voluntarily directing the sense
organs which is born out of my conviction. I decide what is good for me for my
spiritual growth and I decide what is not good for me; and with conviction, I
myself turn away the sense organs. It is called mastery over the sense organs.
But when I turn the sense organs away; because of somebody else’s enforcement.
then it is called suppression.

The difference between suppression and mastery is, when I do it for another’s sake, it is suppression, when I do it out of my own conviction, it is never a suppression; It is called indriya jayaha. It is victory. Suppression will lead to mental health problems; mastery will lead to mental growth. Therefore, damaha is mastery of the sense organs.

Yagnaha:

Then the next virtue is yagnaha. Yagnaha literally means worship of the Lord. Yaj means to worship; yagnaha means the practice of worship and our scriptures talk about two forms of worship; one is the regular ceremonial worship, in the form of puja and homas or puja in the temple etc. which is the regular ceremonial ritualistic formal worship. And there is a second form of worship which is conversion of all our activities themselves into a form of worship. As the well-known saying goes; work itself is a worship and this conversion is brought about by a change of attitude which is called karma yoga attitude; I look upon every karma as an offering to the Lord and therefore I cheerfully do all the karmas; Enthusiastically wholeheartedly, sincerely, cheerfully, I do, whether it is mundane action or the most important action. And that is called Ishvara arpana bhavana and more importantly Iprepare my mind to face any consequences that will come out of my action. This is called prasadabhavana; Ishvara arpana bhavana with regard to karma; prasada bhavana with regard to karma phalam will convert every karma into a yagna.

And therefore, formal external puja is a must and in addition to that, we also require second type of puja, of converting every action into worship. Karma yoga rupa puja; and in this yagna itself, in the third chapter, I talked about pancha maha yagna.

Svadhyaya:

svadhyaya means scriptural study. So, this is waning from our society; previously these things were there; but slowly we are forgetting that; this was called in the third chapter, we named it Brahma yagna. All part of the Hindu society; it was all part of vedic karma. So therefore, scriptural study is called svadhyayaha. This study is two-fold, one is called parayarana. Parayarana means recitation, which is considered to be a beautiful kavacham against any type of evils, including materialism. In fact, whether ghosts are there or not, I consider the most powerful ghost is materialism. It is catching up fast with our society and our culture is eroding; Everybody may not or need not know sandyavandanam; some prayer chanting is a must. It is called shabda avriti. And there is another type of svadhyayaha; which is artha avriti; dwelling upon the meanings of the scriptures. So, first one is shabda pradhana, the second one is artha pradhana, the first one is simple recitation, even without knowing the meaning, the recitation will bless the home; This is svadhyaya.

Arjavam:

Then the next virtue is Arjavam. Arjavam means integrity. Uprightness, enjoying a harmonious personality; we have talked about five layers of personality in Tatva bodha; annamaya, the physical body; pranamaya, the pranic personality; manomaya, the emotional personality; vignana maya, the rational or intellectual personality; all the different layers of my personality, which is normally expressed as the thought, the word and the deed; all of them should be harmonious. So harmonization, integration, concordance of all my personality is called Arjavam; all my personalities are in one line. I do not have a crooked personality; There is no hypocrisy. A hypocritic person says one thing but does something else. They lead a very stressful life. Hence Arjvam is essential.

Shloka # 16.2:

16.2
Non-injury, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, control of the
internal organ, absence of vilification, kindness to creatures,
non-covetousness, gentleness, modesty, freedom from restlessness;

Ahimsa:

The next virtue is Ahimsa. This also I have talked about elaborately in the thirteenth chapter; therefore, I do not want to go to the details and we also know its importance. ahimsa is avoidance of non-violence at the kayika, vachika and manasa level. And the simple rule is what I give to the world, that alone I will get back ultimately. So therefore, it is like throwing a ball against a wall; when I throw the ball, it hits the wall and comes back to me only. And the force of the ball will be directly proportional to the force with which I throw. And therefore, we should remember that the ultimate truth is what I get will be what I give. From the bank what I can take is what I have deposited in the bank. If I deposit violence in the bank called the world, it will come back to me alone, if not now, later. And therefore, for my own peace of mind, I have to avoid himsa. Of course, we never say that ahimsa is absolute.

There may be occasions when himsa becomes a necessary evil. And the best example is the Bhagavad Gita itself.

In several places, Sri Krishna talks of Ahimsa, then he asks Arjuna to fight as well. Is Sri Krishna contradicting himself? Here we should remember, ahimsa is a general value, but every value has an exception, including ahimsa, as there are cases when nonviolent methods miserably fail. And when non-violent methods fail, and for the protection of dharma, the only available means is himsa; then there is nothing wrong in taking. In fact, Sri Krishna goes one step further and says: This dharma yuddha will not give you papam, on the other hand, it will give you punyam. And therefore, we should not blindly talk about ahimsa.

Misplaced ahimsa will have very, very negative consequences. Imagine a doctor who does not want to treat the patient, because it is painful. A Doctor has to do that; and therefore, judicious ahimsa is a value.

Satyam:

Then the next value is Satyam. Satyam means truthfulness; or more correctly, avoidance of untruth. Because if speaking the truth is going to hurt a person; then we have to follow the value of ahimsa and avoid speaking the truth; but that does not mean that we should speak untruth; avoid speaking untruth. So therefore, Satyam is equal to asatyavarjanam.

And suppose you have to tell the truth to correct a person, and telling the truth is going to be painful; what to do? We have to tell the truth for correcting the truth; it may hurt; may be your own child, may be your own family members. And what is the method; speak some other pleasant truth; there are unpleasant truths; but there are so many pleasant truths; therefore, talk about the pleasant truth predominantly and when the person’s mind is well-cushioned, speak the unpleasant truth; do not dwell upon the unpleasant truth. Speak more of pleasant truth; dwell upon pleasant truth; Therefore Satyam.

Akrodhaha:

Then the next one is Akrodhaha; akrodhaḥ means learning to handle the problems of anger. Anger is a very powerful emotion; which can hurt the angry person, and which can hurt the people who are around the angry person. And therefore, one has to necessarily learn to handle anger. How to do that? Several methods are there; one of the methods is understanding anger as a form of emotional pain. Understanding anger as a form of expression of mental pain or emotional pain; because anger is the name of a mental condition. Anger is an emotion belonging to the mind; shouting cannot be called anger; Shouting is a consequence of anger. Hitting is not anger; it is a consequence of anger; anger has nothing to do with the body. Others know only the expressions of anger; anger is purely a mental condition; which is a form of pain. And this mental pain is very similar to physical pain. If you understand the role of physical pain, we can understand the role of mental pain or anger.

Any pain indicates that things are not functioning properly; therefore, it is red light.  And therefore, management of anger is understanding anger as an internal signal. I should intelligently use it to find out a remedy to the cause of that anger; This is called akrodha; so, management of anger.

Tyaga:

Then the next one is Tyaga that means sanyasa or renunciation. The moment we say renunciation, everybody gets jittery. So the renunciation is two-fold, one is the external renunciation; such as taking taking to a monastic lifestyle; Monasticism is one meaning of tyaga.

And there is another meaning for the word tyaga; which is not external renunciation, but inner renunciation called detachment; so vairagyam or detachment is called tyaga. And what is detachment; it is an appropriate attitude towards my possessions. A right attitude. What is the right attitude towards the possession? It is the understanding that I really do not possess anything; I really do not possess anything; everything belongs to the Lord and Lord alone; and God out of his infinite kindness, has provided me with certain possessions for my use; and growing spiritually; and I am supposed to use them and grow; and it has to go back to the Lord  alone; I can never hold on to anything; including my own body. So, everything belongs to the God; and God can choose to take back anything as he wants.

And if God chooses to take away anything
from me, I will voluntarily return it to the Lord, with a note of thanks.  This attitude is called tyaga.

So, therefore, this readiness to lose anything
is called renunciation.

Shanti:

Shanti is next virtue.; Shanti means equanimity
of mind. Freedom from violent emotional disturbances. Balance of mind is called
Shanti.

Take Away:

Ahimsa is avoidance of non-violence at the kayika, vachika and manasa level. And the simple rule is what I give to the world, that alone I will get back ultimately. So therefore, it is like throwing a ball against a wall; when I throw the ball, it hits the wall and comes back to me only. And the force of the ball will be directly proportional to the force with which I throw. And therefore, we should remember that the ultimate truth is what I get will be what I give.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy




Baghawad Gita, Class 198: Chapter 16, Verse 1

CHAPTER – 16: Yoga
of division of attributes, divine and demoniac.

Greetings,

Continuing his teachings Swamiji said, having completed the 15th chapter, now we will enter into the 16th chapter of the Gita. The two chapters 16th and 17th have a subject matter, which is different from the main subject matter of the previous three chapters, 13th, 14th, and 15th respectively.

There
is a shift in Sri Krishna’s teaching. And this shift in the subject matter is based
on a very important principle and that principle is that the goal of life of a
person; a person’s goal of life and a person’s way of life, both of them are
closely related. The way of life and the goal of life; when I say goal, the
primary top most goal of life, these two are closely connected; each one will
influence the other; the goal of life
will influence my way of life, and my way of life in turn will influence my
goal of life also.
Therefore, these two things cannot be separated and
therefore, if a person wants to successfully accomplish his goal of life, he
has to take into account his very way of life also. One cannot ignore the way
of life, and fix the goal of life alone. One should pay attention to the way of
life, and ensure, that there is alignment between the way and the goal.

The way of life should be conducive to the accomplishment of the goal. This our scriptures consider as very important. You cannot hope to lead any way of life, and yet hope to accomplish goal of Life. Just as the environment and the type of plant, both are interconnected. You cannot grow any type of plant in any type of atmosphere. It is impossible; both are interconnected.

And therefore, the Veda purva bhaga, the beginning portion of the Vedas concentrate upon the way of life while the final portion of the Veda, the Vedanta concentrates on the goal of life. Indian culture can never be understood without keeping Vedanta in mind. And, therefore, Sri Krishna feels that he has talked about the spiritual goal of life; He has talked about the self-knowledge as the goal of life, in the 13th, 14th and 15th chapters, and now he feels that His teaching is complete only when He talks about the complimentary part; viz., the way of life, which is conducive and which will promote the goal that He has presented in the previous chapters. Therefore, previous three chapters deal with the goal, these two chapters, 16th and the 17th deal with the way of life, because they cannot be separated.

And the way of life, a person leads is heavily determined by the character that a person possesses. The way of life is heavily influenced by, determined by, controlled by, directed by, the character, the personality, the make-up of an individual.

Therefore character determines the way of life, and the way of life will determine the goal of life. Therefore all these three are inter-connected; Character, Way and Goal. And trying to tamper one alone, without taking into account the other two, will be a lopsided approach, which will not be successful. All the three, we should take into account. And based on this, our scriptures divide the character of the human being. Our scriptures have made a thorough study of the possible human characters; because character will determine life, which will in turn, determine the goal.

And this human character is divided into several types in different contexts; sometimes they classify into four types; sometimes they classify into three types; sometimes they classify into two types; different classifications are there, depending upon the context. And for our study, we will see the three-fold classification of human character. The three-fold classification of human character is:

The first classification is called dvesha pradhana svabhava, a character in which lot of dvesha or dislike is predominant. We do not know why; it may be because of purva janma; it may be because of present janma; it may be because of the childhood experiences; it may be because of the parental upbringing; it may be because of the friendship; whatever be the cause, that we do not study now, one type of character is dominantly dvesha pradhana; a character in which I dislike most of the things. I have complaint almost against everything, almost a cynical character. I have complaints against the government system; complaint against family members; complaint against television; and complaint against God as well.

And this dvesha pradhana character, as he accumulates this dvesha, because one is not able to express outside, because of suppression, parental suppression where child was asked to shut up often; the child has lot of complaints but could not express. And this accumulated dvesha leads to lot of anger suppressed inside; anger against everything. So dvesha pradhana character is generally krodha pradhana character and this leads to himsa pradhana character; a person who is highly short tempered, highly volatile. Even the smallest incidents will cause an earthquake or volcano. The shastra class it rakshasa svabhava. Why does the shastra call this rakshasa svabhava? Because when a person is so volatile and short tempered, about to explode all the time, what will be the attitude of other people? Do the other people love to come near him; or will they try to run away from him? Try to avoid him at all cost. Swamiji says that in some houses, when the father comes from office, all the children say: appa has come, let us go inside; as though volcano is coming; In some cases, it may be an amma as well. So therefore, rakshasa svabhava is that svabhava from which people want to protect themselves; hence called rakshasa. It is derived from raksha to protect; a svabhava, from which people would love to run away. This is called dvesha pradhana svabhava.

It
is generally, insensitive to others’ feelings. Generally, rude and gross minded
and generally goes on hurting people, often without awareness about it.

This
character is not conducive to spiritual growth and still worse; this character
brings a person down spiritually. It leads to spiritual regression. Not
progression.

Then comes the second character is Raga pradhana svabhava. An svabhava, which is heavily raga-oriented; attachment oriented; which leads to lot of kama; lot of desires; what type of desire? Desire for name, fame, money, possession, position, revelry and merry making. Life is meant for enjoyment and therefore, they have no goal. It is a let go philosophy. They do not harm others; but they like raga and kama and this svabhava are also supposed to be unconducive to spiritual progress, because a person does not have time or inclination to turn inwards. Raga pradhana svabhava is an extrovert; all the time bothered about these few little things like my status, etc.

And this svabhava does not lead to spiritual downfall, because this person does not harm others. But this person or character will lead to spiritual stagnation. There is no downfall; but there is no scope for spiritual growth because generally, these people do not consider religion and spirituality is relevant for life. They wonder for earning money and enjoying life why do we require God. One lady was telling that she wanted to bring her husband also to Gita classes. And that person argued it seems: Religion is meant for the weak minded and sick minded people; I am healthy and fine; I do not have any problem at all; why are you unnecessarily introducing me to all these things? Most of these people, belonging to the second variety, they are harmless, even well behaved, and good mannered but they tend to be nasthikas. They consider religion is not required; Vedanta is not required to lead a comfortable and happy life. In fact, they may even go one step further and say religion is a problem.  According to them, religion and spirituality contributes to only problems in society. In fact, they feel if they are banned or abolished; it is better. This is the second variety. They are Materialistic people, in simple language. They won’t negate God often; but they feel God is not relevant to our life. Spirituality is not relevant, scriptures are not relevant; it does not appeal to them. And in fact, most of our youngsters are tending to this alone.

There was an article, somebody gave me, in Indian Express it seems, whether it was fact or fiction, I do not know. A couple had visited a family and it is in connection with some marriage proposal and after the visit, the couple had gone, this girl says, I do not want to get married to this family at all. Why; because they are all Talibans, Afghan Muslim fundamentalists. This girl’s parents were shocked; why are you calling them Talibans? The reason is that both the parents have come with lot of religious marks on their forehead. Our children do not believe in it. They think that it is religious fanaticism. And that girl argued that because of these clear cut religious marks alone, we are dividing the society as Hindus, Christians, Muslims and it is only causing, division, disparity and quarrel, therefore why do we require it. Simple application of the vibhuthi or kumkum, the younger generation looks upon as religious fundamentalism. It may be a fiction, but what I want to say is the tendency of the next generation. This is raga pradhana svabhava and they are not bad or evil or immoral. They are wonderful children; thinking children, but they end up as materialistic people; totally away from our culture, which is a non-materialistic culture. This is the second group of people and Sri Krishna calls them asura svabhava. Asura does not mean people with tusks and horns, and all; it is derived from asusu ramante iti asuraha. asusu means the sense organs. Ramante means revellery. Asurah means a person or a society or a group, which values sensory revelry; noise making, merry making alone. So this is asura svabhava. These people will not fall down in spirituality; but there is no scope for spiritual growth. Therefore the second character leads to spiritual stagnation while first one that leads to spiritual regression or downfall.

Then
comes the third character, which is Gyana pradhana. Which considers spiritual knowledge
as the goal. That is why a child is initiated into Sandhya vandhana mantras, for
knowledge. And knowledge, especially the spiritual knowledge, is symbolized, as
lamp in our culture and therefore lighting the lamp is the first thing that we
do, whatever be the undertaking. Early morning starts with lighting the lamp.
Any function starts with lighting the lamp; even the so-called secular
functions such as Film festivals. They show all violence, but the cinema actors
come nicely dressed, showing all the 32 teeth’s and they light the lamp,
because even when India turns materialistic, spirituality cannot be taken away
from India. Therefore, Gyana pradhana, those who consider that Gyanam is the top priority and
whatever is required for that Gyanam that also is top priority. Not that they
dislike money or name or fame; it is not they are against them, but they never
think of that; at the cost of spiritual growth. Keeping in mind the spiritual
growth, whatever can be accomplished, whatever entertainment is there; or
music, dance; the whole family can watch the dance, because the theme is
Krishna, Bhagavatham, Ramayanam; and the
Jivatma, pining for Paramatma;
that is our dance theme, and the lyrics also written by saints and sages. There
is a scope for all, but it is in keeping with spirituality, similarly, in
dance. There is program called deepa pradakshinam as is Radha Kalyanam. Alternatively
Overnight pubs are also coming up.

In
our culture we have dancing and singing all centered on spirituality. It is Gyana
pradhana way of life;
that is the third svabhava;
and Sri Krishna calls them daiva svabhava.

Daiva svabhava: means it stands for knowledge, wisdom and brightness.

So, these are the three svabhavas; deva or daiva; asura; and rakshasa svabhava. All these three characters are compared to a wealth that a person possesses. All these three people possess their own wealth, in the form of these characters. And these characters are compared to wealth because with that character, they can buy; they can accomplish their goals. How? Character decides the way of life. Way of life, decides the goal; therefore character purchases your goal. And therefore it is called sampath.

Therefore in the 16th chapter, Krishna wants to talk about daivi
sampath; otherwise called daiva svabhava; which is the inner
wealth of character; which will accomplish a particular type of goal; then, asuri
sampath or asura svabhava, the 2nd type of inner wealth or character,
which will purchase another type of goal. And the third one is rakshasi
sampathi.

And having presented the three characters or inner wealths, Sri Krishna
wants to say:

O Arjuna, if your goal is spiritual knowledge, or moksha,
the only conducive way is daiva svabhava. If you do not value,
spiritual knowledge, I have nothing more to tell.

But Sri Krishna says if you value spiritual knowledge, if you value
Moksha
then the way of life, which is in alignment, which is conducive to it is daiva
svabhava. Therefore you have to take into account, your way of life,
every small or big thing that you do, right from the food that you eat, right
from the entertainment that you have, right from the type of magazine that you
read, right from the TV programs that you watch, right from the type of the
friends you move with, right from the type of the way you spend your leisure
time. Every minute thing contributes to the way of life, which is in the
long-term going to determine the goal; whether you reach it or not.

And therefore Arjuna! I have talked about the goal;

I have talked about the Veda anta bhaga;
better let Me talk about the Veda purva
bhaga
also, because Veda purva and Veda anta are inseparably
interconnected and therefore the 16th and 17th chapters deal with the way of
life conducive to this spiritual goal. And the subject matter is picked from
the Veda purva bhaga. The previous three
chapters are about Veda anta bhaga. These two chapters are
about Veda purva bhaga. With this background, we will enter into the
chapter.

Shloka
# 16.1:

16.1 The Blessed Lord said Fearlessness,
purity of mind, persistence in knowledge and yoga, charity and control of the
external organs, sacrifice, (scriptural) study, austerity and recititude;

Sri Krishna begins the teaching, even without Arjuna’s asking for
it, because he feels that this teaching is complete only when he talks about
this topic.

Atma Gyanam can work only when a particular way of life is adhered to. That is why culture becomes very important. And in the olden days, when they glorified our culture, and banned our people from mixing with other cultures, it is not because, we look down upon other cultures, every culture is beautiful, but we had values, because this culture is designed for a particular goal. Others are designed for their particular other goals. There is no inferior or superior culture; but what you want in your life, and therefore Sri Krishna feels the teaching is complete, only when the way of life is also prescribed. Therefore in these three verses, he gives a list of virtues or traits, that are conducive to Vedantic study, initially, and later conducive to Vedantic assimilation. Both are equally important; reception of knowledge is important; assimilation of knowledge is equally important, only after reception and assimilation, transformation can take place. And therefore he gives a list of virtues called daivi sampath. And they are not new; Sri Krishna has talked about them, in the thirteenth chapter; from verse No.8 to 12th.

In
the four or five verses, Sri Krishna even gave a name to those virtues, the
name of Gyanam.

So
the lists of virtues are as follows. The first virtue that Sri Krishna emphasizes
is said abhayam. Abhayam means courage. Self-confidence. Faith in myself; faith
in God is important; faith in Guru is important, faith in the scriptures is
important, but above all, faith in myself that I can follow and accomplish. This self-confidence is important because
spiritual life is an adventure. It is a greater adventure than reaching
Everest, than going to Artic circle or Antartic circle.
So many adventuresare there; but this is the greatest
adventure; the most challenging adventure. Andtherefore, it requires tremendous inner courage or inner strength.
Mundaka Upanishad says:

A man who does not have the inner courage cannot succeed in spirituality, and therefore it is an adventure or challenge. And a person can continue with perseverance only when he appreciates its value, which is not that easy. Value of money you can easily appreciate. Even a child knows that. Value of position everybody knows. Value of possessions everybody knows. Value of power, everybody knows.

If
I have to perseveringly continue I should know the worth of spiritual goal. And
since this requires lot of inner maturity, it is a very rarely understood thing.
Most of the people do not know its value; therefore most of the people will not
vote for this; Sri Krishna said in the 7th chapter that we are in the minority.
Spiritual seekers all are always in minority, and therefore the spiritual
journey is often a lonely journey. Therefore it requires tremendous courage to
continue.

Therefore,
Abhayam, means self-confidence, courage to continue in spite of obstacles and
in spite of being in a minority. How to get Abhayam? One is, once I have a
value for the goal, I would not mind the obstacles. So the size of the obstacle will depend upon the value for the goal
that you have. If the value is lukewarm, the
obstacles appear bigger, and if the value is intense, the obstacles
will appear smaller. Obstacles do not have a size of its own; the size and the
weight are determined by your subjective projections. There are people who go
to Everest while there are people who hesitate even to walk to the bus stand if
there is a little rain.

Therefore
one method of discovering courage is learning to appreciate the value of the
goal.

Courage
will come from somewhere. The second is of course, surrender to the Lord; seeking
strength from the Lord.

Imagine
a person who becomes a sanyasi,
without having any security around him. It is surrender to Lord that gave him
courage. And therefore through Bhakthi and Viveka one has to discover abhayam,
fearlessness.

The next virtue is satvasamshuddhi. Purity of mind, Satva here means antakaranam, samshuddhi means purity. And what do you mean by purity; these are types of thoughts that keep the mind healthy. Those which are not toxic to the mind or mental health; just as for the physical body, we have got items which are conducive to health and which are not conducive.

For the mind, the toxic ones are, certain patterns of thinking; certain types of thoughts like jealousy; hatred, fear; These are all toxic thoughts, which if they remain in the mind for longer time, they will cause erosion and make the mind weaker. And therefore satvasamshuddhi means maintenance of healthy thoughts.

Then
the next virtue is Gyanayogavyasthiti.
In and through all this way of life, you should not forget what is the goal or
purpose for which this way of life I am following that is spiritual knowledge.
And knowledge never happens naturally; knowledge never happens naturally. Many
other things happen in time, you need not work for it; wrinkles, you did not
work; just survive; wrinkles will come; grey hair; you need not work, it will
come; Tooth loss, you do not require a sadhana;
it will come. Many things will happen in time; knowledge is one thing, which can never naturally happen; any
knowledge including physics knowledge does not happen in time it is a separate
pursuit you should undertake; you require a physics guru, a physics book and
you have to study and only then physics knowledge comes.

 The word bhododayam
should not be misunderstood; Buddha got bhododayam,
Buddha got enlightenment under bodhi tree and many people sincerely believe that knowledge
happens; either a leaf might fall, or a fruit might fall, knowledge will not
fall or descend down, you have to work and work hard.

Therefore
Sri Krishna says: committed pursuit of Gyana yoga, which means sravanam, which is
consistent and systematic study of the Vedantic
scriptures for a length of time, under the guidance of a competent teacher.
Therefore, sravanam, then
mananam, reflecting over that and understanding and removing doubts and nidhidyasanam,
internalizing to such an extent that between my life and my knowledge, there is
no disparity; what I know and what I am, there is no disparity.

Vyavasthithi
means commitment to Gyana yoga.

Take Away:

The
goal of life (Vedanta) will influence my way of life (Veda purva), and my way
of life in turn will influence my goal of life also.

Abhayam:Self-confidence is important because
spiritual life is an adventure. It is a greater adventure than reaching
Everest, than going to Artic circle or Antartic circle.

Vedantic
knowledge is one thing, which can never naturally happen. One has to work at
it.

With Best
Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy