Bagawat Geeta, Class 45


Greetings All,

Shloka # 25:
सक्ताः कर्मण्यविद्वांसो यथा कुर्वन्ति भारत।

Prince of the Bharata line! Just as the ignorant work with attachment to that work, so should the wise work, unattached, seeking the world’s integration.

Continuing his teaching Swami Paramarthananda says, after shloka # 20 Sri Krishna talked about Karma with respect to an Agyani. Agyani has to perform Karma to purify his mind. He then talked about Karma from perspective of a Grihastha Gyani. A Sanyasi Gyani renounces all religious activity by symbolically removing his thread. He cannot perform the many Karmas performed by a Grihastha.

So, Sri Krishna is not talking about a Sanyasi-Gyani here; but a Grihastha Gyani, who is very much in the society. And the question is whether such a Gyani can renounce all the karmas, because he does not require purification or

Knowledge, because he is already a Grihastha Gyani. Sri Krishna says, even a Grihasta Gyani will have to continue with his karmas such as Sandhya Vandanam.He may reduce his Karmas but he will still have to continue performing at least some of them. Only by renouncing and taking Sanyasa can he get out of performing Karmas.

Why should he, then, continue with his Karma’s?  Sri Krishna says, he has to continue his Karmas for Lokasangraha or benefit of society. Shankaracharya says a Gyani has to perform Karmas so that society moves away from the materialistic world. So, Arjuna, perform your Karmas.

What is the difference in attitude between a Gyani performing Karmas and an Agyani performing them? Gyani performs it for benefit of society while Agyani performs it for his own benefit. The Agyani performs it with attachment while Agyani performs with detachment. Agyani does it to obtain happiness. While Gyani does it in a state of happiness. Agyani has lingering unhappiness. The main difference is in their attachment (or detachment) to the karma.

Shloka # 26:
न बुद्धिभेदं जनयेदज्ञानां कर्मसङ्गिनाम्।
जोषयेत्सर्वकर्माणि विद्वान् युक्तः समाचरन्।।3.26।।

The integrated man of wisdom should not bewilder the mind of ignorant attached to works; performing them all, let him cause them (also) to do so.

Here, Sri Krishna gives an important advice to a Gyani.

This is an important shloka. When we study our scriptures we find a unique phenomenon.  It seems to have many seeming contradictions. Meaning there are really no contradictions. Scriptures are addressing many people at different stages of spiritual evolution. Thus, a doctor cannot give a uniform advice to all his patients. This is known as Adhikari  (seeker)Bheda. So, what is food for one person is poison for another;  Thus, the scriptures glorify certain sadhanas for a certain group of people and the very same scriptures criticize the very same things in a different context. For example if you go to the karma kanda, the initial portion of the veda, you will find that karma is glorified very much.

Karma, at one stage it is a blessing later, however, it becomes an obstacle. A child can stay in womb only for nine months, after that even nature ejects it. Therefore, up to the tenth month the womb is a blessing; after the tenth month, it is an obstacle for its further growth. A green fruit has a firm skin but when it ripens the skin peels off easily. That is why even a wedding is considered only an intermediary womb stage; that is why we have the four ashramas. We grow out of each one to the other.

Active life is a spiritual womb, where one serves society, performs Pancha Maha Yagna and then grows out of it. Active life is such that you may get into the whirlpool of activity, and you keep running around like catching the tail of the tiger. Now the problem is the tiger never gets tired; but after some time, you are tired. Every karma can become a tiger’s tail; therefore make use of karma, and then you should know how to grow out and spend time in Vedanta Sravanam, Mananam and Nidhidhyasanam.

A Gyani has top be careful about the advice he gives. He cannot ask everybody to drop Karma. When an immature person drops his Karma he can become a Mithyachara or one who thinks only of sense pleasures. Vedanta is not for all. They have to continue with Karma.

Explaining shloka # 26, those people who are still attached to worldly activities or Artha Kama Pradhana, encourage them to enjoy legitimate pleasures. In the encouragement also introduce God along with Karma. So, pursue artha kama but also follow dharma. At an appropriate time, study scriptures. A spiritual teacher should not discourage karmas such as puja, japa etc.

Don’t create conflict by encouraging renunciation. It will come naturally. The Raga and Dvesha will come with growth. Forced detachment means he will become melancholic. So, along with philosophy religion must be encouraged.

In this context Swamiji mentioned that Gayathri is the greatest mantra of all. There is a Gayathri mantra for the initiated as well as one for the uninitiated.

The Grihasta Gyani (Vidwan) should persuade people to act. He should persuade people by example of his works. Acharyas in Mathas perform long pujas to demonstrate this. He, the Vidwan, should perform actions wholeheartedly to persuade others.

Shloka # 27:

प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः।
अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताऽहमिति मन्यते।।3.27।।

Works are being done in all ways by the constituents of Prakriti. He whose mind is deluded by egoism thinks , “ I am the agent.”

Shloka # 27 and 28 are very important Shlokas. They contain the essence of all Upanishads and the Gita.   Here Sri Krishna discusses the technical difference between the Gyani and Agyani’s actions.

Every individual has two “I”s. One, the lower “I”, is called the ego, which is the Karta, Bhokta and is limited. This “I” is also called Ahamkara.  There is another “I”, called the higher “I,” also called the Atma or Sakshi. What is this higher “I”? It is pure Consciousness, Atma or Purusha. The atma is neither male nor female. So the properties of this Consciousness are:

  1. Consciousness is not a part, a property or product of the body.
  2. Consciousness is an independent entity, which pervades and enlivens the body.
  3. This consciousness which is different from the body, which pervades and enlivens the body, this consciousness is not limited by the boundaries of the body; the limitations of the body, dimensions of the body and it extends beyond the body.
  4. This consciousness, which is an independent entity, and not limited by the dimensions of this body, does not die even when the body perishes; it is the eternal all pervading principle;

This Atma has been described in detail in chapter 2, shlokas 12-25, of the Gita. It is like the light pervading this body that illumines this hand. This light also has all properties of the Atma and is called Jyoti.

This Consciousness is the real “ I”. The purpose of all sadhanas is to own up to the higher “ I”.  Hence the shloka: Asto Ma Sat Gamaya. A Gyani is one who has owned up to Aham Brahma Asmi.

What is the lower self?  It is the mind. It is located in the body. It is enlivened by the higher “I”. Mind by itself is inert. It is Jiva due to Chaitanya. It is called Ahamkara. This Ahamkara operating through this body, experiences sukham, duḥkham, pain and pleasure. This Ahamkara is the one that drops and takes another body.

Each one us is: Atma + Ahamkara.

The question is should we continue with Ahamkara or should we choose our right to claim the infinite?  The infinite can be claimed; it is our higher “I”. The higher “I” and lower “I” are two different things. Agyani remains in lower “ I” and dissatisfied. He suffers Ahamkara and thus Samsara. One who has discovered the higher “I”, in his vision, the problems of lower “I” seem insignificant. A Gyani is established in higher “I” . He is not disturbed.

Shloka # 27 talks of an ignorant man in Ahamkara.

Shloka # 28 talks of a wise man established in Atma.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy