Bagawat Geeta, Class 22


Greetings All,

Gita, Chapter # 2, Samkhya Yoga:

Refreshing our memory, Swamiji reminded us that Arjuna was suffering from problems of attachment and his internal conflict of whether to fight or not on the battlefield. He had delusions about what is dharma and what is not. Nevertheless he surrenders to Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna has a two-fold job before him. He has to remove Arjuna’s sorrow as well as convince him that it is a dharma yudha and it is proper to fight the battle.

Sri Krishna takes three approaches to convince Arjuna. The first one is Philosophical, where he discusses the true nature of the individual and how it is free from all actions. The Atma does not perform any action. Thus, there is no question of proper or improper action. Discussing the Ethical or Dharmic Drishthi here also Arjuna has to fight. Even if a person does not believe in the Philosophical and Dharmic approach, from a Laukika approach too Arjuna has to fight. If not, you will lose your name and fame. From any of the three angles you still have to fight.

Shloka # 38:

 “Looking with an equal eye on pleasure and pain, gain and loss,

victory and defeat, strive to fight; thus will you incur no sin.”

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna the attitude he needs to take in the fight. It is an attitude that needs to be taken by all of us. It is called Samatvam or balance of mind. Not being carried away by any situation. Samatvam is very important as it allows our thinking power to work. In a disturbed mind the mind does not think clearly. Also, the person does not learn from the experience. Tragedy teaches us more than any other experience. One must have a relatively calm mind and maintain balance.

Previously IQ was thought to be the cause of success. Now it is felt that EQ helps one succeed.  Student who does not know the first question of the examination loses his balance and is thrown off in an examination, although he knows the rest of the questions. EQ is more important than IQ for human success. So, prepare to build your EQ.

No human being can always be successful. Success in life is nothing but the capacity to face success and failure without disturbance. So, Arjuna, keep your mind in balance.

Whether in gain or loss, victory or defeat, face the situation with equanimity. Swamiji says, Sri Krishna does not teach how to succeed all the time; rather he teaches how to face success and failure.

Arjuna having prepared the mind, get ready to do your duty. Ups and downs will be there, face them with proper attitude. Even from worst of situations, learn from it. I can find fault with another person or find fault with one self for lack of preparation. Adversity introduces a person to himself, says Swamiji.

Shloka # 39:

“This knowledge of Samkhya has so far been imparted to you. Now, listen to (a statement of) the knowledge of Yoga by acquiring which , O Arjuna! You will discard the bondage of works.”

Here Sri Krishna is changing from one topic to another. Until now I spoke about Gyana Yoga (Atma Anatma Viveka) or Self Knowledge. It is also the discovery of freedom from external situations. The chapter is called Sankhya and here Sankhyam means Atman.

Sankhya Upanishad , the Truth about oneself or Atma Gyanam, is what I have given to you. From now on I am going to deal with Karma Yoga.

Why does Sri Krishna introduce Karma Yoga, asks Swamiji? Gyana Yoga alone frees one from sorrow. Why then teach Karma Yoga? Even though Gyana Yoga is only way for liberation, everyone is not fit for Gyana Yoga. Thus, Karma Yoga is a stepping-stone towards Gyana Yoga. So, prepare your mind, and then go to Gyana Yoga. Karma Yoga is incomplete without Gyana Yoga. In Kali Yuga, Gyana Yoga is difficult. If Gyana Yoga is difficult then we need to find ways to make it easier. Preparation of mind through Karma Yoga will make it easier. Like mathematics, for some it is easy and others it is difficult. For a prepared mind the math is easy. So also it is with Karma Yoga.

So listen to this teaching. Once you learn this, you will attain liberation. Liberation means freedom from all emotional problems, enjoying a wonderful mind.

Shloka # 40:

“Here in the sphere of Karma Yoga there is no loss of good beginnings ; nor is there any sin involved. Even a little of this righteous law delivers one from great peril.”

 Sri Krishna glorifies Karma Yoga in this shloka although he has not yet described what Karma Yoga is. Karma Yoga is the way of life where we grow internally, more. Here we give importance to internal growth rather than external growth. Swamiji Says: “Peace of mind depends upon what you are, not what you have. “The more we have the more we feel secure. Gita, however, says, it is otherwise. This is biggest myth, says Sri Krishna.

Saints and Sages did not possess anything, yet they enjoyed the greatest life. Outer accomplishments are less important than inner growth. Such a life is called Karma Yoga.

In Karma Yoga there is no such thing as failure. Even if one fails in worldly affairs, the Karma Yogi will only look at it as lessons learned. This is inner growth. A Karma Yogi knows no failure.

Adverse results (business, family etc.) only bring positive results to a Karma Yogi. He learns from the adverse experiences.

“ Building castles from stones thrown by others” is an analogy used by Swamiji to describe the Karma Yogi.

Even practicing Karma Yoga to a limited extent will bring results. In outer world unless a job is completed the result is not there. In Karma Yoga, however, even if an action is not completed, inner growth occurs.

Swamiji cited an example. Suppose a person wants to chant Vishnu Sahasranamam because the astrologer tells him to. The astrologer will tell him how many times to chant, at what time, what naivedyam to offer after chanting etc. This called Sakama Karma.

Another person also chants Vishnu Sahasranamam, however, he does it just for his inner growth. This is Nishkama Karma.

The first person will get result only when everything is performed the way it is prescribed. The second person’s inner growth will occur irrespective of the number of times he chants.

In Karma Yoga, even alpa, will produce result.

Therefore, Arjuna, be a Karma Yogi, Says Sri Krishna.

Shloka # 41:

“This conviction as regards this (two fold yoga), marked by resolution , is single; the convictions of the irresolute are indeed many-branched and endless, O Arjuna!”

One of the problems while reading scriptures is that there are countless sadhanas prescribed. Other religions with fewer sadhanas appear to be much easier.

In some places Puja, Japa, Meditation, Bhajan, Pilgrimage, etc are prescribed. We often do not know what to do? Many ways are prescribed and I am confused. To successfully practice spirituality we must know the role of each sadhana. A Karma Yogi has a clear understanding of Sadhana he has to practice. Clarity of means is essential.  Clarity of what I want in life is essential. Our ultimate goal is freedom. All of us are working towards this goal. Even a child that holds its mothers hands drops it later on. It is inner freedom that we seek. I should be happy in myself without depending on any other human being. Dependence is sorrow. Independence is happiness. Then, how to obtain this independence? A Karma Yogi understands that Gyanam is the means to gain this freedom. For Gyanam, I require a prepared mind. Gyan Yogyata or Self Knowledge requires tremendous preparation. Karma Yoga is the path that gives us this Yogyata. This will take you to Gyanam, which will lead to liberation. Karma Yogi knows that this is the ultimate goal. This understanding is one and is unchanging. However, a person who is not a Karma Yogi will be confused and his sadhana will be a waste of time. When religion is not properly understood, he will blame religion. He will end up a Nasthika. It is not a problem of religion.  All fields require learning such as computers, playing tennis etc. In olden times, in a Gurukula, Brahmacharya was taught. In present time this does not happen.

With Best wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy