Bagawat Geeta, Class 31


Greetings All,

Continuing his talk, Swamiji reminded us that Sri Krishna deals with two topics, Sthita Pragya Lakshanani and Sthita Pragyaha Sadhanani, in the final portion of chapter 2.

Sthitha means assimilation of teaching. This is conversion of intellectual knowledge into emotional strength. Kama, krodha, raga and dvesha do not affect him.

How does he come to this knowledge?

He does so by listening to scriptural knowledge from a competent teacher. It is not enough to listen; the student also has to his own homework as well. The Guru can motivate, however, it is for the student to make the conversion.

How to convert?

Sri Krishna teaches three disciplines:

  1. Sense restraint: The world through the five sense organs of sabda, sparsa, rupa, rasa, and gandha enters the mind. Anyone of them can agitate the mind. Consider how a word from a person can throw you off. Words can create havoc with us. Once the mind is disturbed we cannot retain the vedantic knowledge. Just like a concrete floor has to be allowed to be set after pouring the concrete, so also our mind should not be agitated after vedantic teaching. It should be allowed to peaceful so that the knowledge sets in.

Sri Krishna recommends avoiding all emotional upheavals caused by sense organs. This is not easy. One has to be very alert to what is going on in the mind. Even a person with restraint can be pulled away by the senses.

Citing example of Sita, Swamiji says she was enticed by the golden deer (senses). It pulled Sita away from Rama, the symbol of spiritual ananda.

Shloka 61:

“Controlling them all, one should sit integrated, deeming ME supreme. Stable is his wisdom who has brought his senses under control.”

Sri Krishna says: Oh Arjuna let the sense organs be your instrument. Do not allow them to control you. Restrain them. However, do not suppress them. There is a difference between restraint and suppression. Suppression is when I am following the advise of somebody. It is not based on my own will. It is an imposed denial. However, if I value the action, then whatever I do is mastery. It is based upon my own will.

To one who masters his senses, Vedantic Self -Knowledge becomes very relevant. This is sense control.

Now Sri Krishna also discusses the second discipline. When senses are pulled from outside pursuits, there is no distraction. However, a mind without distraction should also not be allowed to be idle. Use this time to dwell on me. Dwell on Sri Krishna as Ishwara or as Sri Krishna, the Atma. See me in your-self. Do Atma dhyanam. This Atma Dhyanam is also not easy. However, with integration it becomes easier. This is called Nidhidysanam.

Shlokas 12-25 is description of the Atma.

Dwelling on the essence of Shankaracharya’s famous shloka below also helps.

“manobuddhyahamkaracittani naham

na ca srotrajivhe na ca ghrananetre

na ca vyomabhumih na tejo na vayuh

cidanandarupah sivoham sivoham.”

This is called Nidhidyasanam.

Shloka # 62:

“Attachment to objects” is born when one ponders on them. Of attachment is born desire, and of desire, wrath.”

From this shloka onwards Sri Krishna teaches Thought discipline. Before this he taught sensory restraint. Sensory restraint is easier than restraining one’s mind. This is also called Manonigraha or Kshama.

What happens if you do not restrain your thoughts? When one interacts with the world many things enter your mind. You cannot avoid the world entering your mind. This is called Vishaya Dhyanam. Ishwara Dhyanam is difficult while Vishaya dhyanam is easy. Vishaya means sense objects. Ask yourself if it is healthy and worthwhile to fantasize. If you are alert, you can curb the thoughts. It will stop a feeble thought from becoming a powerful one.

Thus sense objects cause feeble thoughts that by constant reinforcement become strong thoughts.

As per Vedas a word in itself is neither joy or sorrow. We are the one’s who create the joy and sorrow.

When you dwell on something the mind tends to get attached to it. This is called Sangaha or fancy or yearning for something. The mind fantasizes about things and I feel I will be more complete if I get it. As we keep dwelling on it, it then becomes “ I want it” and then “ I cannot live without it”. This can apply to an object or person. Thus, the height of this fantasy is called Kama. One is trapped or enslaved by the thought. When this happens I have forgotten all my teachings.

So here is how it works:

Vishaya Dhyanam> Vishaya Sangaha>Vishaya Kama>Vishaya Krodha>Budhi Nashaha.

Kama, we have already described as the height of fantasy or height of desire. Kama typically has two results.

  • If the kama is not fulfilled, it results in anger also called Krodha.
  • If Kama is fulfilled it leads to more desire also called Lobha.

Anger is desire in another form. Anger wants to destroy the source of obstruction.

With Lobha, the fulfilled Kama  results in wanting more of it. There is no end to this desire. It leads to greed. Dhamaputra himself gambled and lost because of greed. Thus, kama leads to Lobha.

Shloka 63:

“From wrath arises delusion; failure of memory. Due to this latter, intelligence perishes, and from its loss total destruction ensues.”

When mind is in anger discriminative power, decency, dignity etc. are lost. I forget the person in front of me (father, mother, guru etc.). Americans call it, getting mad. Temporary madness occurs. All learning is not available to me. Knowledge was to be available to me in a crisis. Swamiji calls anger a Virus (vital information resources under seize). Anger is a virus for our brain computer. So, our knowledge is temporarily lost. Then there is loss of memory. Once knowledge is obstructed, discriminative power is permanently lost. This loss of Budhi is loss of human life.

If you want to shout at somebody, do it with thinking, rather than impulsively. In impulsive action we lose our purushartha.

(Note: Puruṣartha means an “object of human pursuit”. It is a key concept in Hinduism, and refers to the four proper goals or aims of a human life. The four puruṣarthas are Dharma (righteousness, moral values), Artha (prosperity, economic values), Kāma (pleasure, love, psychological values) and Mokṣa (liberation, spiritual values).

Shloka # 64:

“Approaching objects with senses free from attachment and aversion, and controlled by the mind, the man who has mastered his mind wins serenity.”

Now, Sri Krishna comes back to sense control again. He places a lot of importance to Indriya Nigraha. He tells Arjuna: “May you perceive sense objects through the sense organs but do not allow Raga (attachment or an object of joy) or Dvesha (dislike or an object of sorrow) to form. Do not allow this misconception to come in. Never get addicted to anything. Let sense organs obey your mind. It is easy to say no first, later it becomes more and more difficult. This is a life of mastery. This is a person with self-control. In this shloka Atma means instrument or mind. In such a person there is no more violent emotions. He is able to see any situation and act calmly without getting agitated. If an argument develops, he walks away from it. This way, your composure is back very soon. So, you have to be very alert.

The word Prasadam in the shloka means peace of mind or shanthi.

Swamiji says, to stop an argument does not mean I am conceding. It just means I have postponed. It avoids mental turbulence. This is very important in assimilation of knowledge.

With best wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy