Bhagawat Geeta, Class 85: Chapter 6; Verses: 9 and 10

Swamiji summarizes Lord Krishna’s discussion thus far:

  1. The topic of Bahiranga saadhana. These are the general disciplines to be observed by a person who wants his meditation to be successful.
  2. Samatvam (equanimity) as one discipline, the importance of self-confidence, self-effort and self-integration of various personalities (the physical, the psychological, the intellectual). If a person takes care of all these disciplines, then the self-knowledge is very easy.
  3. Krishna then mentioned the benefit of gaining the self-knowledge. This comes in the form of a total change of one’s perspective of the world. According to Vedanta, the world does not have an intrinsic capacity to bind, to persecute, torment or disturb an individual. The individual gives the power to the world to disturb them. This occurs when a person has an unhealthy perspective of the world. The perspective is in your hands!

श्रीमदभगवद्गीता Chapter 6 Sloka 9

सुहृन्मित्रार्युदासीनमध्यस्थद्वेष्यबन्धुषु ।
साधुष्वपि च पापेषु समबुद्धिर्विशिष्यते ।।6.9।।

सुह्यन्मित्रार्युदासीनमध्यस्थद्वेष्यबन्धुषु in the goodhearted, in friends, in enemies, in the indifferent, in neutrals, in haters, and in relatives साधुषु in the righteous अपि also च and पापेषु in the unrighteous समबुद्धिः one who has equal mind विशिष्यते excels.

The yogis look upon all—well-wishers, friends, foes, the pious, and the sinners—with an impartial intellect. The yogi who is of equal intellect toward friend, companion, and foe, neutral among enemies and relatives, and impartial between the righteous and sinful, is distinguished among humans.

In this verse, Krishna says, not only does a jnaani have samtvam regarding inanimate objects, he has the sama darshanam regarding the living beings as well. Equanimity towards the living beings is more difficult, esp. with human living beings. When we befriend a person, we develop raga, dvesha, krodha, etc. Krishna has given a wide range of human beings.

सुहृत् means by his very nature he is a well-wisher of everyone and will help anyone without any conditions or expectations.

मित्रम् another good person but this person is a conditional helper – helps only when the other is a known person.

अरि (not seen separately due to the sandhi) means enemy

उदासीन: means an indifferent person. He does not harm nor do any good. मध्यस्थ: a mediator.

द्वेष्य: one who is hateful; one who provokes hatred by his behavior

बन्धु: a relative; connected by family relation.

साधु: a noble person who follows dharma. सुहृत् means a person doing good to others. A साधु: is a person leading a life of values, whether an opportunity arises to help others or not.

पापेषु one who leads a life of अधर्म – an unrighteous person.

These are the various types of people. A jnaani’s attitude towards all of them is equanimity.

How can you see all the people equally when one person is a saint and another a criminal? The समबुद्धिः must be understood very well. This was discussed in Chapter 5, Verse 18 as विद्याविनयसम्पन्ने |

Swamiji explains समत्वम् again.

समत्वम् can be looked at from two angles:

  • the philosophical and
  • freedom from raga-dvesha.

The philosophical angle means that a jnaani looks at the true nature of everyone. This is the atma-svaroopam. All the differences in character belongs to the anatma or the body-mind complex. Behind this body-mind complex, everyone has only one reality, God! God or atma is uniformly present in everyone; therefore, everyone is innately good. A jnaani’s vision is samtvam – that everyone is a beautiful atma.

The other angle of samatvam is that it is freedom from raga and dvesha. Neither attachment nor hatred. Both are forms of dependence. Attachment is the dependence on the presence of an object. Hatred is the dependence upon the absence of the object. A jnaani is समः means he doesn’t have attachment and hatred. Neither a presence or absence of something or someone affects him.

श्रीमदभगवद्गीता Chapter 6 Sloka 10

योगी युञ्जीत सततमात्मानं रहसि स्थितः ।
एकाकी यतचित्तात्मा निराशीरपरिग्रहः ।।6.10।।

योगी the Yogi युञ्जीत let him keep the mind steady सततम् constantly आत्मानम् self रहसि in solitude स्थितः remaining एकाकी alone यतचित्तात्मा one with the mind and the body controlled निराशीः free from hope अपरिग्रहः noncovetousness.

Those who seek the state of Yogi should reside in seclusion, constantly engaged in meditation with a controlled mind and body, getting rid of desires and possessions for enjoyment.

Krishna talks about the Antaranga Saadhanam from Verse 10 to Verse 15. These are specific disciplines to be observed just before meditation (Bahiranga sadhana is observed throughout all our transactions).

Krishna discusses 8 steps/stages in Antaranga saadhana. Meditation will be effective, if these steps are observed.

Stage 1: देश नियमः Desha NiyamaH

  • देशः a secluded place of meditation with minimum disturbances.
  • एकाकी alone; try to be alone.
  • Let the place be spiritually and physically clean. The space should be associated with spirituality; puja room, temple, ashrama etc.

Stage 2: काल नियमः Kaala NiyamaH (Krishna does not mention this).

  • कालः Early morning is ideal for meditation. But the ideal time for meditation is when you are relaxed and not sleepy.

Stage 3: आसन Aasana

  • आसनम् where should you be seated? You can sit on a chair if you are not able to sit on the floor. The main aim is the mind!
  • Every meditator should have his/her own aasanam. It should be neither too soft nor too hard. Neither too high nor too low.

Stage 4: शरीर स्थितिः Shareera SthitaH; Posture of the body

  • You should sit steadily; Keep the neck and head straight and relaxed

Stage 5: प्राणसाम्यं Praanasaamyam

  • Even breathing. The breathing should be relaxed and smooth.

Breathing and our thoughts are interconnected.

Stage 6: इन्द्रिय निग्रहः Indriya NigrahaH; Sensory restraint

  • Sense organs can influence the mind since every sense organ is a gateway in which the world enters the mind.
  • Krishna says to withdraw the sense organs by turning the mind away.
  • Krishna specifically mentions the eyes – the most powerful sense organs. If the eyes are open, all the things seen enter the mind and triggers the thoughts to wander. When the eyes are closed, by laws of association, we tend to sleep. Krishna says, let the eyes be half-closed, as though you are looking at the tip of your nose.

Stage 7: मनो निग्रहः Mano NigrahaH; Withdrawal of the mind

  • The mind must be withdrawn from mundane things; all the worldly roles you play in life as husband/wife/neighbor/mother etc. Each role has its set of anxieties and worries.
  • For 15 minutes, shed all your roles. Become a sanyasi mentally. Relate to God or your Guru. These are the two relationships that have no problems.

Invoke the Guru. By law of association, you are reminded of the teachings. The relationship to the guru is in the context of teaching. Withdraw your mind; surrender to the Lord.

Stage 8: बुद्धि निश्चयः Buddhi NishchayaH

  • Conviction regarding the necessity and utility of meditation. It should not be a mechanical routine. Need to meditate whole-heartedly, knowing the role of meditation.

With this conviction, sit in meditation, withdraw the sense organs; withdraw the mind. Now, you are fully available for meditation. These 8 steps are not meditation but specific preparation, called antaranga saadhanaani. The details will be discussed in the next class.

Bagawat Geeta, Class 57

श्रीमदभगवद्गीता Chapter 4 Sloka 10

वीतरागभयक्रोधा मन्मया मामुपाश्रिताः ।
बहवो ज्ञानतपसा पूता मद्भावमागताः ।।4.10।।

वीतरागभयक्रोधाः freed from attachment, fear and anger  मन्मयाः absorbed in Me  माम् Me  उपाश्रिताः taking refuge in  बहवः many  ज्ञानतपसा by the fire of knowledge  पूताः purified  मद्भावम् My Being  आगताः have attained.

Freed from attachment, fear and anger, absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, purified by the fire of knowledge, many have attained to My Being.

In Verse 10, Krishna talks about the spiritual disciplines followed by the people of the past. He talks about the various stages that one goes through.

मन्मयाः Obsessed with the thought of Me (God). Keeping Godhood as the primary goal of life. It is an obsession born out of intense yearning; the obsession is Godhood – the primary goal. From the Vedantic angle, Godhood is nothing but our own higher, superior or healthy nature. Vedanta presents God as an external goal but ultimately Godhood is my own secure, healthy, full, contended self symbolized as God. So, मन्मयाः that they are tired of their own mental sickness in the form of raga, dvesha, kama, krodha, that they want to convert that sick mind into a mind of compassion and a mind of love and security. This inner conversion is called attainment of Godhood.

This is not an easy task. No doubt your effort is a must, but it should also be backed by Ishvara anugraha. This is indicated in the words माम् उपाश्रिताः taking refuge in Me or surrendering unto Me. With determination, there is appropriate use of freewill. मन्मयाः corresponds to our freewill and माम् उपाश्रिताः corresponds to Ishvara anugraha.

Once these two are there, you are ready for the journey but what is the direction?  वीत राग भय क्रोधाः you should learn to handle these inborn weaknesses that are in the form of raga, bhayam and krodha.

According to Vedanta, the world is neither a source of joy nor a source of sorrow. I, myself, am the source of joy and sorrow. An intelligent person will understand that the problem is within them and this leads to having raga and dvesha being managed. वीतः one who handles (raga and dvesha); not a slave of likes and dislikes. The first direction is to manage raga-dvesha. Convert all desires into non-binding desires. Consequent to this is भयक्रोधाः wherever there is attachment, there is fear. KrodhaH is the result of obstructed desires. The anger is directed at the person who has thwarted the desire. Anger is also directly proportional to the attachment. Raga-dvesha-krodha-bhayam all go together. The first stage in spirituality is learning to handle them. This can be handled by the wisdom of knowing that I am a contributor not a controller of future events.

If this understanding is not there, the next method is devotion or surrendering to the Lord. Oh Lord, the future is not in my control. At least give me sufficient strength to face the inevitable. As Krishna has said in Chapter 2, Verse 27, 2nd line: An intelligent person is prepared for the inevitable or choicelessness. Take the help of the Lord.

Either rely on yourself through wisdom or rely on God through surrender to handle intense attachment/hatred/fear/anger. The one who has mastered this is called वीतरागभयक्रोधाः |

Once the mind is purified and is no longer a slave of these four, it is only a pure mind. It is not yet a wise mind. Karma yoga can only give you purity but not wisdom. So, having handled the raga-dvesha of the mind, you have to separately work for knowledge. Krishna calls this ज्ञानतपस् because this is a type of austerity. To come regularly to Gita class, to remember, study and progress, etc. requires austerity.

By the practice of ज्ञानतपस् , पूताः got completely purified. Handling the raga-dvesha is only partial purification. Handling the kama-krodha is also only partial purification. You have to remove the basic impurity of self-ignorance for complete purification. Krishna says that by the practice of jnaana yoga, they rid themselves of the final layer of impurity. Grosser method is used to remove the grosser impurity and subtler method for removing the subtler impurity and the subtlest method to remove the subtlest impurity. It has to follow the stages in order.

The grossest impurity is raga-dvesha, the first layer called malam.

The subtler impurity is extrovertedness, the second layer called vikshepa.

The finest impurity is ajnaanam, the third layer called aavaranam

Malam is likes and dislikes.

Vikshepa is the wandering mind which is subtler.

Self-ignorance is the subtlest one.

 We have to use three processes in the appropriate order to remove the three different types of impurities.

Karma yoga removes malam.

Upaasanam removes vikshepa.

Jnaana yoga removes aavaranam.

 Therefore, बहवः ज्ञानतपसा पूताः many people have totally purified themselves by finally practicing the jnaana yoga. By removing all the impurities, they found मद्भावम् आगताः they discovered that “I minus impurities” is God. God plus impurity is I, the jeevaatma. Jeevaatma minus impurity is Paramaatma. Paramaatma plus impurity is jeevaatma.

 So, Arjuna, you also have to go through these four stages:

Spiritual goal must become top priority. The material goals need not be eliminated but they should be remembered as subservient to spiritual goals. This is setting direction in life.

Resorting or taking the help of the Lord in this grand journey because you can never travel this individually. Surrender to the Lord.

Purification of the mind by reducing the impact of raga-dvesha-bhaya-krodha.

Study the scriptures and gain self-knowledge.

 Arjuna, many have done this and you can too.

 श्रीमदभगवद्गीता Chapter 4 Sloka 11

ये यथा मां प्रपद्यन्ते तांस्तथैव भजाम्यहम् ।
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः ।।4.11।।

ये who यथा in whatever way माम् Me प्रपद्यन्ते approach तान् them तथा so एव even भजामि reward अहम् I मम My वर्त्म path अनुवर्तन्ते follow मनुष्याः men पार्थ O Partha सर्वशः in all ways.

In whatever way people surrender unto me, I reciprocate with them accordingly. Everyone follows my path, knowingly or unknowingly, O son of Pritha.

 Krishna gives the suggestion that spiritual goal must be the primary goal but He says that He doesn’t want to impose this goal upon you. Not everyone may be interested in spirituality or in attaining moksha. Krishna says “I suggest and recommend to you that moksha is a worthwhile goal”. Krishna’s philosophy is “As a person seeks, so I will bless him”.

 ये यथा माम् प्रपद्यन्ते let any seeker approach Me with any desire. Let a person seek anything and I will help him. The only condition is for the desires to be legitimate and the means of accomplishing them to also be legitimate. Enjoy life following the rule of dharma. In fact, enjoyment is part of life and then to finally grow out of it. Otherwise it can lead to suppression.

 तान् तथा एव भजामि अहम् I will approach them only with the object they desire. As Vivekananda has said, to a hungry person, the Lord should approach with food. Let a poor person seek money. And for a moksha seeker, Bhagavan will give moksha.

 Why do I bless them with all these goals?

Because मम वर्त्म अनुवर्तन्ते all my devotees approach me through appropriate effort (like puja, karma, japa, upasana).

मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः they have come in the proper method.

श्रीमदभगवद्गीता Chapter 4 Sloka 12

काङ्क्षन्तः कर्मणां सिद्धिं यजन्त इह देवताः ।

क्षिप्रं हि मानुषे लोके सिद्धिर्भवति कर्मजा ।।4.12।।

काङ्क्षन्तः those who long for कर्मणाम् of actions सिद्धिम् success यजन्ते sacrifice इह in this world देवताः gods क्षिप्रम् quickly हि because मानुषे in the human लोके (in the) world सिद्धिः success भवति is attained कर्मजा born of action.

In this world, those desiring success in material activities worship the celestial gods, since material rewards manifest quickly.

Krishna says I have presented two paths in the Vedic scriptures.

The first path is karma maarga – a life of activity; a life of effort where you go through certain processes. The second path of jnaana maarga is presented in the final part of the Veda (called Veda-anta).

Krishna presents both paths which produce the end. The difference in the result is that all the results of karma are finite in nature and it’s full of defects.

Accomplishment is a pain, preservation is a greater pain, and the final loss is the greatest pain. Any amount of accomplishment will not give satisfaction; they will become more dependent on the external factors. These are all defects of karmaphalam.

Krishna says in this sloka, कर्मणाम् सिद्धिम् काङ्क्षन्तः many people are interested only in karma phalam, the finite results or dharmaarthakaamaa. Both the finite and infinite are available for human beings but the intelligent ones choose the infinite whereas the unintelligent or mandaH chooses the finite. Krishna says मन्दः कर्मणाम् सिद्धिम् काङ्क्षन्तः they seek finite results. And once you choose karma phalam, the Vedic rituals are elaborate. It specifies that you should go to that temple, you should offer this item and on certain days; numerous conditions and if you fulfill all these conditions, you may get the result (it’s not definite).

देवताः यजन्ते they go after varieties of Deities. Why?

कर्मजा सिद्धिः क्षिप्रम् भवति because the karma phalam is quicker compared to jnaana marga. In jnaana marga, jnaana phalam is quicker – the result of knowledge is very quick (getting knowledge is very easy) but preparation for knowledge is a tough job. Like a wedding which takes place in one day but the preparation for it starts months ahead. Similarly, jnaanam only requires one statement. “I am what I am seeking”. Drop seeking and own up your true nature. This alone is Vedanta. But for this statement to work, (Swamiji recites Chapter 6, Verse 45, 2nd line:

प्रयत्नाद्यतमानस्तु योगी संशुद्धकिल्बिष: |

अनेकजन्मसंसिद्धस्ततो याति परां गतिम् || 45||

you have to start from many janmas before.

 Krishna says कर्मजा सिद्धिः क्षिप्रम् भवति people are not interested in purification which takes a lot of time. They are interested only in the limited fruits of action.

 श्रीमदभगवद्गीता Chapter 4 Sloka 13

चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः ।
तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम् ।।4.13।।

चातुर्वर्ण्यम् the fourfold caste मया be Me सृष्टम् has been created गुणकर्मविभागशः according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma तस्य thereof कर्तारम् the author अपि also माम् Me विद्धि know अकर्तारम् nondoer अव्ययम् immutable.

The four categories of occupations were created by me according to people’s qualities and activities. Although I am the creator of this system, know me to be the non-doer and eternal.

Krishna says by following the prescribed lifestyle, a person can accomplish both material and spiritual end. Normally, spiritual and material ends are diagonally opposite but Bhagavan says the He has designed a unique lifestyle by which a person can accomplish both the spiritual end and material ends. This should be such a lifestyle that a person must be able to fulfill materialistic desires. Vedic lifestyle encourages one to fulfill their desires. While fulfilling these desires, it presents certain disciplines to be followed. If you fulfill your materialistic desires following the Vedic discipline, the beauty is that you gradually grow out of these materialistic desires without suppression. And in that place, you discover the spiritual desire as the most natural one. And you discover this desire to such an extent that the pursuit of spiritual desire will not be considered as a denial of materialistic desires. So, when you come to spirituality, you will not miss anything in life. This gradual conversion must take place. Such a life design is the Vedic life design called varnaashrama dharma.

Bagawat Geeta, Class 56

In the beginning of Chapter 4, Lord Krishna talked about the glory of the Gita as vedasaarah and that He alone taught the Vedic wisdom in the beginning of creation and is teaching the same Vedic wisdom now, in the name of Gita.

Upon hearing this, Arjuna has a doubt due to the teacher being the same with a great gap in time. Lord Krishna introduces the topic of avatara to answer this question. He says “I am the original Vishnu who gave out the Vedic wisdom then, and that Vishnu is now in the form of Bhagavan Krishna”. Not only is the Lord teaching now but he says I am aware of the fact that I am Bhagavan. I alone have taken all the janmas as Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, etc. I have now taken Krishna shariram. I know all my previous avataras, therefore I am Bhagavan Vishnu’s avatara.

Both the avatara and the jeeva-janma take a body. However, there are fundamental differences between the two in the Cause, Nature and Purpose.

The Cause: Jnaanam is the cause of Ishvara avatara. Ajnaanam is the cause of jeeva-janma.

The Nature: The Lord’s shariram is directly born out of maya. Jeeva’s body is not directly born out of maya but through the intermediary process of the five elements.

The Purpose: Jeeva arrives to exhaust his prarabhda punya-paapa. Ishvara arrives to uplift the world.

Lord Krishna points out these three differences. The third difference of purpose is in Verse 7.


Chapter 4 Sloka 7

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत ।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदाऽऽत्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ।।4.7।।

यदा यदा whenever  हि surely  धर्मस्य of righteousness  ग्लानिः decline  भवति is  भारत O Bharata  अभ्युत्थानम् rise  अधर्मस्य of unrighteousness  तदा then  आत्मानम् Myself  सृजामि manifest  अहम् I.

Whenever there is decline of righteousness, O Arjuna, and rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself.

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिः भवति whenever there is a decline in dharma. Dharma, as seen in Chapter 3, means cosmic harmony or rhythm. If you take the whole universe as a body, the cosmic orderliness is called cosmic health. At the cosmic level, if there is harmony, it is called dharma. And this harmony alone protects the universe. Dharma alone is the health of the world. It alone sustains the world. Once the orderliness is disturbed, the whole cosmos will be destroyed and we will not be able to survive. And if this inbuilt system doesn’t work, Bhagavan will have to interfere.

Krishna says here, as a sthiti karta of the universe, I will come. Not very often but यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिः whenever there is a declension of dharma. And naturally, अभ्युत्थानम् अधर्मस्य when the adharma, corruption increases. Then, अहम् आत्मानम् सृजामि I myself will consciously, deliberately, voluntarily, take the body.


Chapter 4 Sloka 8

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय संभवामि युगे युगे ।।4.8।।

परित्राणाय for the protection  साधूनाम् of the good  विनाशाय for the destruction  च and  दुष्कृताम् of the wicked  धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय for the establishment of righteousness  संभवामि (I) am born  युगे युगे in every age.

For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked and for the establishment of righteousness, I am born in every age.

How will the Lord protect dharma and destroy adharma? Krishna says that dharma is protected by protecting the people who follow dharma. Therefore, Krishna says, साधूनाम् परित्राणाय – I take an avatara to protect the dhaarmic people. How is adharma destroyed? Only by destroying the people that are the cause of adharma.

We should note that the adhaarmic people can be destroyed in two ways.

One method is by converting them from adharma to dharma by sama, dana, bheda. When you convert a person from adharma to dharma without doing himsa, you have destroyed the adharmic person. The second is by destroying the adharmic person itself. Bhagavan tries this first, giving them sufficient opportunity to change. Krishna goes as a messenger to Duryodhana and suggests to compromise with the Pandavas but he refuses. This means that sama, dana and bheda have failed. Therefore, Krishna said तस्माद्युध्यस्व भारत (from Chapter 2, Verse 18). Arjuna, destroy them!

Krishna says, दुष्कृताम् विनाशाय and धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय |

Bhagavan established dharma in a different way. A kshatriya and a brahmana can establish dharma, each in their own way. A kshatriya promotes the dhaarmic people and punishes the adhaarmic people. A brahmana sustains dharma by teaching which is the better form of promoting dharma. Punishment is only temporary and will not promote dharma permanently. The ultimate promotion of dharma is for a person to have value for dharma. To know the long term effects of violating dharma requires a sensitive mind. Sensitive mind is developed only by teaching not by advising. A kshatriya protects dharma by protecting the dharmic people and punishing the adhaarmic people. A brahmana protects dharma by teaching. Bhagavan’s avatara has done both. Krishna protected dhaarmic people like Dharmaputra and destroyed adhaarmic people like Duryodhana. This was Krishna’s kshatriya job. Then he taught Gita, or taught dharma. This is why he said धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय | This is the reason that among the 10 avataras, Rama avatara and Krishna avatara are considered the most important ones. Teaching dharma is involved only in these two avataras. Rama taught by living dharma and Krishna, by teaching dharma. Ramayana is Rama ayanam means the way of life led by Rama.

संभवामि I am born or take avatara. युगे युगे every yuga or every time it is required.


Chapter 4 Sloka 9

जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यमेवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः ।
त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर्जन्म नैति मामेति सोऽर्जुन ।।4.9।।

जन्म birth  कर्म action  च and  मे My  दिव्यम् divine  एवम् thus  यः who  वेत्ति knows  तत्त्वतः in true light  त्यक्त्वा having abandoned  देहम् the body  पुनः again  जन्म birth  नः not  एति gets  माम् to Me  एति comes  सः he  अर्जुन O Arjuna.

He who thus know, in their true light, My divine birth and action, having abandoned the body, is not born again, he comes to Me, O Arjuna.

In this verse, Krishna tells, knowing the nature of God also leads to liberation.

However, Krishna had mentioned that atmajnaanam is the means of liberation in Chapter 2, Verse 55. Which actually leads to liberation? Are there two paths? Is there a choice?

The scriptures have mentioned that there is only one means of liberation. Therefore, it must be that self-realization and God-realization are identical. Swamiji gives an example of a wave. When a wave knows its true nature, the realization is that it is water. The ocean’s true nature is also water.

Therefore, whether you talk about the true nature of the wave or the true nature of the ocean, the true nature is one alone; there is only one central truth. Similarly, whether you realize your true nature which is the self or whether you realize the true nature of God, you arrive at one “sat chit Ananda svaroopa”.

If a person says, I have realized the self but not God or vice versa; it means he knows neither God nor the self.

Krishna says in this verse, यः वेत्ति suppose a person knows or realizes, मे जन्म or understands the true nature of my avatara. The true nature is that Krishna shariram is not the real Krishna because Krishna shariram is subject to arrival and departure.

Real Krishna is, as we saw in Verse 6:

अजोऽपि सन्नव्ययात्मा भूतानामीश्वरोऽपि सन् |

प्रकृतिं स्वामधिष्ठाय सम्भवाम्यात्ममायया || 6||

Real Krishna is अजः (birth less), अव्ययात्मा (imperishable) real Krishna is free from birth and death; whereas Krishna shariram is subject to arrival and departure.

What is the real Krishna? Not the shariram but the Krishna Paramaatma behind the body. The one who knows this fact, and दिव्यम् कर्म the one who knows Bhagavan’s sports (the divine sport is परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् from Chapter 4, Verse 8); the one who really understands the Lord, तत्त्वतः means in His true nature….. त्यक्त्वा देहम् पुनः जन्म नः एति that person does not take a body again after death; he will attain liberation.  So, the knowledge of the real Krishna will lead to liberation. What is liberation? सः माम् एति he will become one with Me. After death, he will have ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं or ईश्वर ऐक्यम् |


Chapter 4 Sloka 10

वीतरागभयक्रोधा मन्मया मामुपाश्रिताः ।
बहवो ज्ञानतपसा पूता मद्भावमागताः ।।4.10।।

वीतरागभयक्रोधाः freed from attachment  fear and anger  मन्मयाः absorbed in Me  माम् Me  उपाश्रिताः taking refuge in  बहवः many  ज्ञानतपसा by the fire of knowledge  पूताः purified  मद्भावम् My Being  आगताः have attained.

Freed from attachment, fear and anger, absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, purified by the fire of knowledge, many have attained to My Being.

Realization of God has two stages.

First it is the realization of the Lord with a form.

The next is the realization of the Lord without a form.

This topic will be elaborated from Chapter 7 onwards.

The realization of the Lord with a form is in two stages.

One is appreciating the Lord with one form, as Rama or as Krishna or as Devi. We should all start with this for emotional health. Talk to God privately, as your confidante. The more you build this relationship, the more the Lord will become real. Then expand it further into realizing Bhagavan as One with the whole universe as his form. The final stage is the formless Ishvara. Every one has to go through these three stages, as they mature in their understanding.

The stages a seeker goes through is described in this sloka.

वीतरागभयक्रोधाः the first stage is to have realization of God in form and follow karma yoga by dedicating all your duties to the Lord and by accepting all situations as Ishvara prasada. The first stage is to surrender to Ishvara and converting the life into worship. By following a karma yoga way of life, we will purify the mind. This will result in getting rid of certain unhealthy ways of thinking. The mental impurities are of raga, bhaya and krodha. Raga is attachment. The attachment will gradually be shifted from the risky and fluid world to the permanently and secure God. The second stage is going from world dependence to God dependence. The raga or attachment to the world has shifted to attachment to Bhagavan. Then Bhagavan dependence will be converted into self-dependence. From world dependence to God dependence to self-dependence – where you discover the Bhagavan as the very self. When raga comes down, bhayam also comes down because fear is directly proportional to the attachment. Then krodha also will come down.

Bagahwat Geeta, Class 55

In Chapter 2, Krishna gave a gist of Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga.

In Chapter 3, Karma Yoga was elaborated.

In Chapters 4 and 5, Jnana Yoga is elaborated.

The 4th Chapter is the “jnana yoga pradhana”. There is a small diversion in the first 8 verses before diving into jnaana yoga. In the first three verses, Lord Krishna glorifies this knowledge consisting of Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga. The very essence of karma and jnana has already been taught in Veda at the beginning of the creation and this was received by Surya Bhagavan. This same wisdom is revived again in the name Gita. Veda was received by Surya Bhagavan and Gita is received by Arjuna. Therefore, it is an ancient and time-tested wisdom making it a reliable and a valid one.

Arjuna has a doubt about the timeline between creation and his current time. The times are different by few millennia, students are different yet the teacher is the same!

Krishna says in Chapter 4, Sloka 1:

इमम् विवस्वते योगम् प्रोक्तवान् अहम् अव्ययम् | (अहम् प्रोक्तवान्  I taught)

And now also, Chapter 4, Sloka 3:

सः एव अयम् मया ते अद्य योगः प्रोक्तः पुरातनः | (मया प्रोक्तः taught by Me).

Arjuna asks “Your birth is recent but your initial student’s birth was too long ago. How can a recent person teach an ancient student?”

Krishna answers Arjuna from Verse 5 though Verse 8.


श्रीमदभगवद्गीता Chapter 4 Sloka 5

श्री भगवानुवाच
बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि जन्मानि तव चार्जुन ।
तान्यहं वेद सर्वाणि न त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप ।।4.5।।

बहूनि may मे My व्यतीतानि have passed away जन्मानि births तव thy च and अर्जुन O Arjuna तानि them अहम् I वद know सर्वाणि all न not

त्वम् thou वेत्थ knowest परन्तप O Parantapa.

The Blessed Lord said Many births of Mine have passed as well as of thine, O Arjuna; I know them all but thou knowest not, O Parantapa (scorcher of foes).

Lord Krishna introduces the topic of avatara in his answer to Arjuna. The Lord’s incarnation is different from a human birth. Human birth is called janma but when the Lord appears in creation, it is called avatara. Krishna wants to point the differences between janma and avatara.

Swamiji elaborates on the topic of birth and incarnation before explaining Verse 5.

The differences between manushya janma and Ishvara avatara are:

Cause, Nature and Purpose

FIRST: the cause; at the cause level there is “kaaraNa bheda”.

In the case of the birth of a jeeva, it is caused by ignorance of the jeeva.

Because of ignorance, the jeeva has the problem of ahankaara (ego).

Because of ego, there is the problem of karma.

Because of karma, there is the problem of punyam and paapam.

Because of punyam and paapam, there is the janma.

The birth of a jeeva is due to ignorance, so we can call this as a “fall of a jeeva”.

In the case of Ishvara, His birth takes place never because of. It is because of His omniscience. Because of the knowledge alone, Bhagavan chooses to appear on Earth. This is knowledge and compassion based. Avatara means coming down out of compassion. There is a difference between falling into a well (helpless phenomenon) and going down the well. kaaraNa bheda is the first difference.

SECOND: the nature; svaroopam is different; “svaroopa bheda”.

Since jeeva-janma is because of ignorance, jeeva continues to be a samsaari. He is a bound person, born with sorrow. He is helpless, not a master of himself. Janma is samsaaraH.

Since Ishvara avatara is backed by knowledge, it is nitya mukta svaroopa or asamsaari.

Jeeva is samsaari while Avatara is asamsaari.

Another technical difference that Krishna points out is that all the bodies are made up of matter whether it is manushya shariram or avatara shariram. But the scriptures say that there is a difference between the two sharirams. The jeeva shariram is not directly born out of prakrti or maya. Jeeva shariram is indirectly born out of maya. Maya or prakriti gets converted into five elements called pancha bhutani and these five elements get converted into paancha bhoutika shariram. Thus maya does not directly produce the body (jeeva shariram) but it produces through the five elements alone. Jeeva shariram is called paancha bhoutika shariram. From maya to bhutaas to the physical body.

In the case of Ishvara avatara, the maya does not go through the intermediary stage of five elements. Maya directly gets converted into Ishvara avatara shariram. Avatara shariram is called mayika shariram. From maya to the physical body.

So the second difference is in the nature of jeeva shariram and avatara shariram.

Jeeva shariram is bound or samsaari shariram; paancha bhoutika shariram.

Avatara shariram is free or asamsaari shariram; mayika shariram.

This is the svaroopa bheda.

THIRD: the purpose; “karya” or “udheshya bheda”.

When a jeeva is born, it is purely to exhaust the punyam and paapam, which have been acquired in the past, called prarabdha.  The prarabdha has to be exhausted. Prarabdha punyam is exhausted through sukham and prarabdha paapam is exhausted through dukham. To experience pleasure and pain, we require the body medium. It is the prarabdha that determines the type of the body for exhausting punya-paapa. The very design of the body is for the purpose of punya-paapa exhaustion. The purpose of jeeva-janma is for the depletion of punyam and paapam.

What is the purpose of an avatara? Avatara is not ignorant, not a samsaari, and does not suffer from the problem of ego. Since there is no ego, there is no question of punyam or paapam. Therefore, Ishvara does not need to take an avatara to exhaust punya-paapa.

Krishna tells an avatara’s purpose in Chapter 4, Verse 8:

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् |

धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे || 8||

To protect the righteous, to annihilate the wicked, and to reestablish the principles of dharma I appear on this earth, age after age.

Ishvara Avatara’s purpose is for the protection of dharma and destruction of adharma by protecting the dhaarmic people and destroying the adhaarmic people. This is why the very nature of avatara shariram is designed for protecting the people and establishing dharma. The design is determined by the type of protection that is required. Before every avatara comes, there is a portion in the Puranas, where all the noble people pray to the Lord to save them from some rakshasa (Hiranyakashipu, Ravana, etc). Rama Avatara’s purpose was destruction of Ravana. The design of the body depends upon the situation.

Ravana’s peculiar boon is that he cannot be killed by anyone or anything, except he didn’t include humans, out of over-confidence. So, if Ravana had to be destroyed, Bhagavan’s avatara had to be human. Hence the design of the body is determined by the purpose of the avatara. When the atrocities were done by Hiranyakashipu, the design for the avatara had to fit the loop holes of his boon. He could not be killed by humans nor animals nor any weapons; and not during the day nor night. The avatara was Narasimha with sharp nails.

In summary: the difference between janma and avatara:

Cause: kaaraNa bheda – ajnaanam vs jnaanam

Nature: svaroopa bheda – samsaari vs asamsaari

Purpose: udheshya bheda – depletion of punya-paapa vs protection of dharma

Krishna tells in this sloka that since avatara is not restricted by ignorance, the avataras know the past, present and future. Krishna says that He knows all his previous incarnations. However, in the case of jeeva-janma, since ignorance limits the jeeva, the jeeva cannot know the past janmas.

How do you know if one is avatara or janma? We really don’t have a method of knowing. We accept one as avatara wherever there is scriptural support ie. Rama is an avatara as written in the scriptures. If it is not mentioned in the scriptures, we cannot prove is one is an avatara or janma. It then becomes our personal belief.

If you consider people with extraordinary powers to be an avatara; then rakshasas will also fall under this. Having extraordinary powers is not proof that this person is an avatara.

Limitations does not disprove avatara. Certain avataras showed limitations. For example, Rama, who is accepted as an avatara, had several natural limitations. It is one’s personal belief to accept someone as an avatara even with limitations and not accept someone with extraordinary powers as an avatara.

One consolation is that we do not need to know if one is an avatara or not for our spiritual growth. We need purity of mind! To attain purity of mind, worshipping any form of God is good enough.

The next thing required for spiritual growth is knowledge. This requires a Guru; who need not be an avatara. Even if an avatara has to bless, the blessing can be only by becoming a Guru. Krishna can never give moksha to Arjuna by any method other than by being his Guru.

Swamiji recites from Dhyana Slokas:

वसुदेव-सुतं देवं कंस-चाणूर-मर्दनम् |

देवकी-परमानन्दं कृष्णं वन्दे जगद्गुरुम् ||


प्रपन्न पारिजाताय तोत्र वेत्रै कपाणये |

ज्ञानमुद्राय कृष्णाय गीतामृत दुहे नम: ||

Therefore, for चित्त शुद्धि we don’t require an avatara. Nor for knowledge. There may or may not be an avatara right now. I may be willing to accept someone as an avatara. The important aspect is to purify, know and be free.

We all uniformly accept Krishna as an avatara. Krishna says, “Arjuna, I am an avatara, different from you. My cause of birth is knowledge, my nature is moksha, my purpose is परित्राणाय साधूनां (Chapter 4, Verse 8). This is the topic of avatara given in this portion.

With this background, let’s look at Verse 5.

Krishna says, Hey Arjuna, बहूनि जन्मानि व्यतीतानि | Many janmas have gone by तव for you. मे I have also taken many sharirams. The number of sharirams does not prove superiority. So what is the difference between you and me? अहम् तानि सर्वाणि वेद | I continue to be a free person; a सर्वज्ञः therefore I know all the past sharirams. What about you? त्वम् न वेत्थ | You do not know your past sharirams. परन्तप O Parantapa (Arjuna).

श्रीमदभगवद्गीता Chapter 4 Sloka 6

अजोऽपि सन्नव्ययात्मा भूतानामीश्वरोऽपि सन् ।
प्रकृतिं स्वामधिष्ठाय संभवाम्यात्ममायया ।।4.6।।
अजः unborn  अपि also  सन् being  अव्ययात्मा of imperishable nature  भूतानाम् of beings  ईश्वरः the Lord  अपि also  सन् being  प्रकृतिम् Nature  स्वाम् My own  अधिष्ठाय governing  संभवामि come into being  आत्ममायया by My own Maya.

Though I am unborn, of imperishable nature, and though I am the Lord of all beings, yet, governing My own Nature, I am born by My own Maya.

Krishna talks about the nature of the avatara.

अहं अजः | अहं अव्ययात्मा | अहं भूतानाम् ईश्वरः |

I know that I am birth less Brahman; I know my nature. I know I am birthless reality and this shariram is a simple वेष (assumed appearance) I have put on for a certain purpose. I know I am अजः meaning न जायते इति अजः (no birth). अव्ययात्मा I am of changeless nature, not subject to decay and death; जरा मरण वर्जितः (devoid of old age and death).

अजः means जन्म वर्जितः and अव्ययात्मा means जरा मरण वर्जितः | Not only am I free from birth and death, भूतानाम् ईश्वरः | I am the master of all living beings. I am not a limited entity but I am स्वतन्त्रः – I am the master. I have not helplessly come down to this world, I have chosen to come.

How do I manage to come down? प्रकृतिम् स्वाम् अधिष्ठाय – by keeping the prakriti, the matter, the material body under my control I am born. I am surrounded by matter; just as the jeeva also is surrounded by matter. The difference, however, is that I am the master of the matter whereas the jeeva is the slave of the matter (or shariram). Both the avatara (Bhagavan) and the jeeva are surrounded by the body-mind complex (प्रकृति) but Bhagavan is in control of the body-mind complex whereas the jeeva is controlled by the body-mind complex.

अहं संभवामि I take a body. How? आत्ममायया with the help of maya tattvam; by producing मायिक शरीरम् | This means that I don’t require the five elements. Instead from maya I can directly convert into the shariram. This is why Bhagavan does not require the regular process of creation. Even गर्भवास in case of Rama avatara is not the regular process. This is why it is said that the Lord entered into the garbha. In the case of Narasimha avatara, etc., there is no question of a father or mother. From where did the body come? They appear in full-fledged form. How is this possible? It is because of direct conversion of maya, otherwise called प्रकृति | Therefore, Krishna says आत्ममायया संभवामि | And when do I take an avatara? See Sloka 7.

श्रीमदभगवद्गीता Chapter 4 Sloka 7

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत ।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदाऽऽत्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ।।4.7।।

यदा यदा whenever हि surely धर्मस्य of righteousness  ग्लानिः decline  भवति is  भारत O Bharata  अभ्युत्थानम् rise  अधर्मस्य of unrighteousness  तदा then  आत्मानम् Myself  सृजामि manifest  अहम् I.

Whenever there is decline of righteousness, O Arjuna, and rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself.

The purpose of the avatara is explained in this verse.

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिः | Whenever dharma declines, values decline. धर्मस्य ग्लानिः भवति | And अधर्मस्य अभ्युत्थानम् | whenever adharma increases, unrighteousness and corruption increases. तदा आत्मानम् सृजामि | Then, I create myself. I choose whenever it is required.

From a scientific viewpoint, the world can be compared to human body, a cosmic body. Like a body or an organism, it functions in harmony. Any harmonious system, will have its own intrinsic protection device. Our body has built in self protection. Suppose something enters your nostril, you sneeze automatically. The sneeze is involuntary; it is intrinsically built into the system. A natural system has natural protection. This faculty will not be operative all the time (like sneezing). यदा यदा हि whenever the system’s harmony is disturbed, the system itself produces an appropriate remedy. The universe is a cosmic system, the Bhagavan’s shariram, and whenever there is a disturbance, the world itself will find an appropriate method of defending the dharma. It will become active whenever it is required. The avatara is like the immunity system of the universe, the cosmic immunity system. Whenever it is required, an avatara will automatically happen.

Baghawat Geeta, Class 11

Lecture 11 Notes : Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 Summary 1/09/16

Swamiji gives a Summary of Chapter 1 and an Introduction to Chapter 2.

Summary of Chapter 1

To live a healthy life – consider these 2 factors:
1. The surroundings should be hygienic so that it doesn’t cause diseases. This is an external factor;  objective factor (the environment)
2. A person’s body must have sufficient resistance to face the external world; build up immunity in your body. Subjective factor (immunity)

In addition to having a sterilized environment for surgery, the patient also needs to resistance. All vitals conditions are checked in order to proceed with the surgery. A physically healthy life depends on objective and subjective factors. The environment alone is not responsible for giving you the disease. You also have low immunity to catch it.

This same principle can be extended for mental health as well. Mental health means a mind free from all psychological diseases in the form of fear, anxiety, stress, strain, worry, jealousy, anger, inferiority complex (Kama, kroda, lobha, moha, madha, maatsarya are all psychological diseases). We have a tendency to blame the external factors ie. the world is responsible for my worry, my spouse is responsible for my tension, etc. Scriptures point out that we need to consider two factors for mental health. The external world is not totally responsible for my psychological problem. The weakness of the mind is also responsible for our psychological problem.

For a healthy life the environment and sufficient resistance are needed. For a healthy mental life (a secure, relaxed, happy  life), you need to consider the environment and having sufficient mental strength to face the situation.

There are three benefits of having a strong mind. The number of psychological problems:

  • frequency is less(thus family is saved)
  • intensity of anger, frustration is less.
  • duration of these are also less

The frequency, intensity and duration of these mental diseases are less in a healthy mind. The after effect is also less. So, a psychological healthy, happy life requires taking care of

  1. adjusting the external conditions
  2. improving one’s own resistance

We usually only look into the external conditions. Vedanta talks about the subjective factor – your own inner strength. This freedom from mental diseases caused by external factors, is called mokshaH.

Swamiji recites from Chapter 2, Verse 56:

दुःखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः।

वीतरागभयक्रोधः स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते।।2.56।।

Lord Krishna says a jnani, a free person, also faces adversities but his resistance is very healthy and thus he is not shattered to handle this problem.

The subject matter of Gita is to strengthen the inner resistance (not change the external world) to obtain freedom from psychological disturbance. This is called mokshaH. Gita is also called “Moksha shaastram”. Gita is meant for people who recognize that they have to improve their resistance (being aware of their psychological weakness, their susceptibility to raga, dvesha, kama, kroda, etc  and being aware of its affects on other people too).

Chapter 1 of Gita gives an introduction with Arjuna discovering that he has an inner weakness. And before he can change the world, he needs to strengthen himself.  Arjuna discovers his weakness, and becomes a spiritual seeker, surrendering to Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna then gives him self knowledge.  .

The first chapter can be divided into five parts:
1. Part 1: Vyasa presents the context, in which Arjuna feels the disease  of samsaara; Verses 1-20

The context is the MB battlefield. In Kurukshetra, the Pandavas and Kauravas have gathered to settle their issue. Arjuna is very clear about the battle, he does not have any conflict or guilt because this war was the last resort after unsuccessful non-violent methods. Lord Krishna also goes as a messenger and tries to settle peacefully. But Duryodana tries to kill Lord Krishna even though he is just a messenger. Therefore, Arjuna, has come to the battlefield without any regrets. Duryodana enumerates the Pandavas’ army and his won army to Drona. And he betrays his diffidence that the Pandava army is stronger. This is caused by adharma. In reality, Duryodana’s army is stronger but the support of Dharma is not there. Seeing this, Bhisma enthuses Duryodana by blowing his conch. Then both sides blow the conches signaling the beginning of the MB battle.

  1. Part 2: Arjuna goes near the Kaurava army to see them at closer range. Verse 21-25

Arjuna feels somehow that he should closely see whom he has to fight. This decision was a blessing in disguise even though it seemed it was not a good decision to delay the start of the battle. If this hadn’t occurred, we would not have the Bhagavad Gita.

Swamiji recites Verse 20 and the first line of Verse 21:

अथ व्यवस्थितान् दृष्ट्वा धार्तराष्ट्रान्कपिध्वजः।

प्रवृत्ते शस्त्रसंपाते धनुरुद्यम्य पाण्डवः।।1.20।।

हृषीकेशं तदा वाक्यमिदमाह महीपते।

सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये रथं स्थापय मेऽच्युत।।1.21।।

Arjuna requests Lord Krishna to place the chariot in between the two armies so that he can see his opposition. At this time, Arjuna is the master (not a student) and Lord Krishna is the humble charioteer (not the Guru). Lord Krishna obeys Arjuna and places the chariot in front of the people towards whom Arjuna has a strong attachment.

  1. Part 3: Arjuna’s discovery of his weakness and the consequent problem of RagaH.Verses 26 – 28

The first weakness presented is the problem of attachment or psychological dependence on external factors. This is called a weakness because psychological dependence for your happiness in no longer in your own hands but it is connected to external factors. Since the external factors are not under your control, depending upon an unpredictable, external factor is risky for your happiness.  You should not allow an external factor to determine your state of happiness. For example, the disobedience of your child causing you sorrow is due to the fact that you are depending on your child being obedient for your happiness(external factor). This displays your lack of resistance.  Vedanta says that you should not depend upon a certain condition to be happy.  This psychological need or dependence is called the problem of ragaH. Arjuna has this problem because he expected these people to be around him all the time and could not imagine even a hypothetical separation.  Arjuna imagined a life without Bhisma, Drona etc. and broke down.

कृपया परयाऽऽविष्टो विषीदन्निदमब्रवीत् – Verse 28, discovery of RagaH (basic samsaara), psychological leaning. Physically, we depend on the world for food, clothing and shelter. Vedanta does not talk about physical independence but talks about emotional/psychological dependence, which is not required at all.

Gita’s ultimate lesson is:  आत्मन् एव आत्मना थुष्टः  “atma, alone, by yourself, pleased” I am happy with myself,  in spite of external factors being favorable or unfavorable. (Sounds so much sweeter in Samskritam).With any addiction, you imagine that you cannot do without it. This is not true. This is your intellect justifying your addiction. Don’t have a crutch.

  1. Part 4: ShokaH (consequence of RagaH)  or VishadaH Verses 28 – 35

The title of the first chapter is Arjuna Vishada YogaH.  Grief or sorrow is an inevitable consequence of dependence (leaning on an unpredictable, perishable, external factor).  Arjuna faces this deep attachment  कृपया परयाऽऽविष्टो विषीदन्निदमब्रवीत् . The intensity of grief depends on the intensity of attachment. For Arjuna, his intense sorrow was overflowing into the physical body also.

गाण्डीवं स्रंसते हस्तात्त्वक्चैव परिदह्यते।
न च शक्नोम्यवस्थातुं भ्रमतीव च मे मनः।।1.30।।

निमित्तानि च पश्यामि विपरीतानि केशव।
न च श्रेयोऽनुपश्यामि हत्वा स्वजनमाहवे।।1.31।।

  1. Part 5: MohaH(consequence of RagaH and ShokaH); conflict, confusion, indecisionVerse 36-47

Delusion, not able to determine what to do; MohaH or avivekaH. Arjuna can’t decide whether to fight or not and draws a series of wrong conclusions.

Confusion 1: Arjuna  sees Dharma Yuddham as adharma now. The greatest irony is in Verse 36 line 2 where Arjuna says: पापं एव आश्रयेद् अस्मान्ह् हत्व एतान् आततायिनः “By killing these criminals, we will incur sin”. This confusion is similar to a judge saying he cannot render punishment to a criminal, as it is a sin. Imprisoning a criminal is a duty of the court. Arjuna as a Kshatriya has to protect dharma, even if it resorts to war.

Confusion 2: Arjuna sees running away from a righteous war as dharma. If a Kshatriya runs away from a righteous war, he is shirking his duty, which is considered a sin of omission. The sin of omission is called अकरणे प्रत्यवायः “akaraney prathavayaH” (absence of action is a sin).

The 2nd type of sin is Sin of commission. Note – A common thread in all religions:

Sin of Commission – commiting an amoral act
Sin of Omission –  failure to do some ritualist act

If Arjuna runs away , this action is paapam for him but he sees this as the best decision. धर्म अधर्म अविवेकः “dharma adharma avivekaH” – utter delusion where he cannot distinguish between dhaarmic and adhaarmic actions. Arjuna’s delusion is complete and it has overflowed into his intellect. The intellect will not be able it fight the weakened mind and so the intellect will justify the weakness.

Confusion 3: Arjuna’s intellect tries to justify his delusion by telling Lord Krishna:

कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति कुलधर्माः सनातनाः।
धर्मे नष्टे कुलं कृत्स्नमधर्मोऽभिभवत्युत।।1.40।।

In his argument, Arjuna points out that family is very important for maintaining culture. This is a true statement.  A society in which family life is not respected, culture will breakdown after one generation. The eternal dharma will be destroyed, pitr will be affected, people will lose faith in karma, rituals, dharma, religion, God, etc.

Due to his confusion, Arjuna quotes these true facts incorrectly to support his stand. RagaH, ShokaH and MohaH (attachment, sorrow, delusion) are called samsaaraH. A samsaari is one who suffers from these three problems. If a person handles these three samsaaraH, he is a liberated person मुक्तः (muktaH). Throughout Gita, Lord Krishna emphasize, married or unmarried, being internally free is what matters.

Even though Arjuna has discovered the problem of samsaara, Lord Krishna has not started giving the solution yet. Discovery of the problem alone is not enough for the solution. Some more steps are required.

  1. Diagnosis of having the problem(know that you have a problem); Discovery of problem.But when we discover the problem, we try self medication first. Only when you realize that you cannot solve it yourself, do you go to the next stage of feeling…..
  2. Discovery of helplessness (know that you cannot solve the problem) I have a problem don’t know how to get out of it; I require help from another firm personVedanta Shaastra दैन्य भावः “Dainya bhavaH” affliction, state of being; or कार्पण्यं “kaarpanyam” pitiful circumstances.

We will be studying this in Chapter 2:

कार्पण्यदोषोपहतस्वभावः पृच्छामि त्वां धर्मसंमूढचेताः।
यच्छ्रेयः स्यान्निश्िचतं ब्रूहि तन्मे  शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम्।।2.7।।

  1. Surrender to someone who will give me a hand. Called शरणागति sharanaagati
  2. Solution is given, Medication Arjuna has only gone thorough the first stage – discovering the problem of samsaaraH. Arjuna has to go through stages 2 and 3 before Lord Krishna gives his advice. Therefore Lord Krishna observes silently. Since Lord Krishna has not spoken, Arjuna thinks his conclusion is right and so throws down his bow/arrow and sits down in the chariot.

So, Vyasa completes the first chapter by saying that Arjuna sat down, afflicted by shokaH (ragaH shokaH mohaH):

एवमुक्त्वाऽर्जुनः संख्ये रथोपस्थ उपाविशत्।
विसृज्य सशरं चापं शोकसंविग्नमानसः।।1.47।।

Introduction of Chapter 2

Chapter 2 gives a comprehensive picture of the whole “treatment” (for the disease) as given by the Gita. This chapter is the  essence of the entire Gita and it can be divided into 4 portions. Swamiji gives a high level overview.

Portion 1:  Arjuna surrenders to Lord Krishna; अर्जुन शरणागति Arjuna sharanaagati Arjuna going through the other stages(he discovers the helplessness). Arjuna decides to quit the battlefield but his inner conscience feels that this is not a good decision. The decision to go to war was made after years and years of adhaarmic actions done by the Kauravas. This was a sudden decision to quit the battle. He realizes that he is confused and not able to make the correct decision. He knows he cannot solve the present problem.

Swamiji recites Chapter 2, Verse 6, Line 1:

न चैतद्विद्मः कतरन्नो गरीयो  यद्वा जयेम यदि वा नो जयेयुः।
यानेव हत्वा न जिजीविषाम स्तेऽवस्थिताः प्रमुखे धार्तराष्ट्राः।।2.6।।

Hey Lord Krishna, I thought I had made the right decision but now my mind is wavering and I am not able to determine if my decision is right or wrong. On one hand, the war is for a dhaarmic cause; but my emotional mind is unable to come to terms with knowing the casualties of war (my guru and other relations).  Arjuna realizes his wavering and accepts his helplessness by saying(Ch 2, Verse 7, line 1):

कार्पण्यदोषोपहतस्वभावः पृच्छामि त्वां धर्मसंमूढचेताः।

Once he discovers his helplessness, he needs to surrender to some one. Voilà, he has the Jagadguru himself (universal guru). Arjuna surrenders and says (Ch2, Verse 7, line 2):

यच्छ्रेयः स्यान्निश्चितं ब्रूहि तन्मे  शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम्।।2.7।।

I am your disciple. The 3rd stage is surrendering (1st is discovery of the problem; 2nd is feeling helpless). The 4th stage is where Lord Krishna accepts the disciple Arjuna and gives the solution.

Gita Shaastram: संसार निवारण औशदम् ; भव रोग बेशजं

Worldy illusion, warding off, medicine;  state of being, disease, remedy The spiritual pursuit is two-fold:

  1. Karma YogaH – to become a Jnana Yogyata
  2. Jnana YogaH – to gain Jnanam

Portion 2:  Krishna briefs Arjuna about Jnana YogaH; self-knowledge given to a Jnana Yogyata praptiH Jnana YogaH is self knowledge. Krishna will explain “self-knowledge” briefly . But in order to gain Jnana YogaH, one needs to be eligible to receive Jnanam(already be a yogyata praptiH).

Adi Shankara said Brahma Jnana is aushadam. The medicine is ज्ञानयोग Jnana yogaH(disease removal).  A Jnana yogyata(worthiness to get Jnanam) is required; medicine will be given only for a yogyata praptiH(one who has acquired the eligibility).

Portion 3:  Krishna talks about Karma YogaH: Actions taken to become a Jnana Yogyata praptiH Krishna explains how to become a  योग्यत प्राप्तिः “Yogyata praptiH” (one who has acquired the eligibility to learn). Karma YogaH are the actions to be taken without being attached to the results of one’s deeds. The benefit of Karma YogaH is Jnana yogaH yogyata.

Portion 4:  Jeevan MuktiH:  Inner Freedom, Salvation:  Explore the life of a psychologically healthy person, who has developed inner resistance, and who has solved raga, shoka, moha.

नन्दति नन्दति नन्दत्येव “Nandati nandati nandatyeva” Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!  A psychologically healthy person enjoys life thoroughly.

Bagawat Geeta, Class 10

Arjuna shows the close connection between the institution of family and a dharmic way of life. These are intertwined so closely that when one is affected, the other has an impact and then it spirals into a vicious cycle. If family is destroyed, then dharma is destroyed, and with dharma destroyed, the next generation of the family is destroyed
as well.

Vedic teachings have 3 aspects of Dharma:

  1. Values of life: like truthfulness, generosity, non-violence, love, concern for others
  2. Attitude or basic reverence: towards things and beings ie earth, sun, moon; parents, teachers, and others in the society.
  3. Rituals: this is a very important aspect and one that is not appreciated much anymore. A ritual is a concrete expression of the abstract values and is required for communication.

The Vedic religion considers rituals as one of the most important aspects of Dharma because:

a. Since the first two aspects of Dharma(Values and Attitude) are abstract
b. Rituals is one of the methods to keep a group together. Every member of a (belonging to the mind) they cannot be communicated or expressed. Hence “rituals” need to be physicalized/verbalized, making it easier to teach babies/toddlers. To communicate the concept of “respect” to a child, you will have to physicalize it….by symbolizing respect in the form of namaskara.

Friendship/love is also conveyed by verbalization or physical embrace, shaking hands, etc. Psychologist point out that physicalization or verbalization is very important for any relationship. Family takes part in a group ritual. Eat together, pray before a meal etc.

The psychological and sociological benefits of Rituals:

  1. Give concrete form to an abstract value
  2. Way to communicate the abstract value to the children
  3. Maintain the togetherness of a group

Whenever there is reference to “dharma”, these three aspects are of importance: values, attitudes and rituals. The communication of values via rituals vary between religions and even between communities of the same religion. Krishna says that once the ritual part of religion is ignored, then there will be varna sankaraha. The values are universal to all religions. Religions differ only from the stand point of rituals. Varna sankaraha is the immediate consequence of sacrificing rituals. This can occur even in a family where rituals are accepted, a person wants to maintain religion, gets married within the same community, etc. If the rituals diminish in importance and leads to the questioning of the cohesiveness of religion and of community, the consequence of this is varna sankaraha.

No particular religion is needed to follow the attitudes and values – any religion is okay. The religion becomes important only when you value a particular way of performing the ritual. But once rituals are given lesser importance, the next consequence is that the separation of religions and the segregation of community will go away and this is varna sankaraha. There is another worse consequence of varna sankaraha….. disappearance of the family institution.  A family institution was required for

  1. Vedic Rituals to be followed; a family is not required for Values and Attitudesa ब्रह्मचारि Brahmachari, a वनप्रस्थ vanaprahsta, a सन्यासी sanyasi cannot perform the  ritual of giving  दक्षिणा dakshina nor अन्नदान annadaanam. Only a गृहस्थ grihasta can.
  2. Fulfillment of आर्थ artha – wealth, security
  3. Fulfillment of  काम kama – enjoyment, pleasures

Once the rituals are not respected, a family institution remains for artha and kama; but with changes in a society, artha and kama will become available without families.  The government provides the security and if one has money, all artha and kama can be bought. Values and attitudes don’t need a family life. And if artha and kama can be obtained without a family, why is family is needed? A family was required to maintain religion expressed in the form of वैदिककर्म Vaidika karma. All these are relevant because of karma. Once karma goes away family will be disintegrated. Without a stable family, there will be no karma nor values and attitudes. Who will teach values and attitudes to the next generation? No one will preserve Brahmana dharma – studying of scriptures and propagating it.

Chapter 1 Sloka 42

सङ्करो नरकायैव कुलघ्नानां कुलस्य च।

पतन्ति पितरो ह्येषां लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रियाः।।1.42।।

सङ्करः confusion of castes नरकाय for the hell एव also कुलघ्नानाम् of the slayers of the family कुलस्य of the family च and पतन्ति fall पितरः the forefathers हि verily एषां their लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रियाः deprived of the offerings of riceball and water. Once the varnasankara(intermingling of 4 groups) takes place, even मत सङ्करः mathasankara(religious confusion). the attitude and value of dharma may remain but ritual part of dharma will not remain. Ritual part of religion will have to be given up with varnasankaraha. Rituals are the method of communicating our feeling.

सङ्करः नरकाय एव – because of the confusion, this will lead to naraka because all karmas are sacrificed. कुलघ्नानाम् कुलस्य – naraka for both the victor of the war and for the vanquished, because they will lose all the values for religious practices; not only they fall spiritually but पतन्ति पितरो ह्येषां लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रियाः Vedic religion prescribes five fold compulsory rituals for every आस्तिक  or भक्त Pancha maha yagna: Brahma or Rishi Yajna; Deva Yajna; Pitri Yajna; Bhuta Yajna; Manushya Yajna

pitr yagna – respect to our forefathers; blessing of our forefathers are needed for our material or spiritual growth. All rituals in family is started with Naandi sradha – invocation of the grace of the forefathers. Once dharma goes away – all these rituals will be sacrificed. लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रियाः Forefathers will be derpived of पिण्ड क्रियाः pinda kriya- srardham, उदक क्रियाः udaka kriya- tarpana; लुप्त lupta deprived of.  Forefathers will be deprived of this karma. These days people replace pitr yagna with manushya yagna but it can only be a supplement not a substitution.

एषां पितरः पतन्ति the forefathers will fall.   In a society where rituals were considered important, Varnashrama dharma had value.
If there are no rituals, varnashrama dharma has no meaning..Morals and attitudes can be practiced with out varnashrama dharma. Varnashrama dharma is important only from the perspective of rituals.

Chapter 1 Sloka 43

दोषैरेतैः कुलघ्नानां वर्णसङ्करकारकैः।

उत्साद्यन्ते जातिधर्माः कुलधर्माश्च शाश्वताः।।1.43।।

दोषैः by evil deeds एतैः (by) these कुलघ्नानाम् of the family destroyers वर्णसङ्करकारकैः  causing intermingling of castes उत्साद्यन्ते are destroyed जातिधर्माः religious rites of the caste कुलधर्माः family religious rites च and शाश्वताः eternal.  कुलघ्न एतैः दोषैः because of these defects in which the ritualistic part of dharma is degraded, वर्णसङ्करकारकैः responsible for the intermingling of various communities, religion, caste etc जातिधर्माः उत्साद्यन्ते casuality is certain practices purely based on वर्ण varna. According to Veda –certain rites can be done only by some varnas only.  Rajasuya yaga can be done only by a raja a brahmana can assist the raja. Vedic rites will have to be given up.  जाति within one varna itslef, the vedic practices differ from gothram to gothram कुलधर्माः a child of mixed varna cannot choose any vedic dharma; Rituals are gone.  शाश्वताः dharmas from a long time ago, destruction takes one generation

Chapter 1 Sloka 44

उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणां मनुष्याणां जनार्दन।

नरकेऽनियतं वासो भवतीत्यनुशुश्रुम।।1.44।।

उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणाम् whose family religious practices are destroyed मनुष्याणाम् of the men जनार्दन O Janardana नरके in hell अनियतं for unknown period वासः dwelling भवति is इति thus अनुशुश्रुम we have heard.  Without rituals, the religion can continue with values and attitudes. But for these a family is not required and so after 2 to 3 generations, when it is realized that with money one can obtain artha and kama, the question arises if a family is needed at all. The negative side to not having a family is that you lose the people that you can call your own, those that you can trust and those that give you unconditional love. The psychological anchor or psychological security will be lost. This leads to sociological disaster when people without the family anchor exist in a society(crimes increase, etc).

मनुष्याणाम् नरके अनियतं वासः even when alive and after death, w/o family, w/o love and trust, it is like hell; इति अनुशुश्रुम  when स्वधर्म svadharma is not done(sradha, tarpana), according to vedic rules it is प्रत्यवाय पापं pratyavaya paapam; will lead to narakam.  Arjuna says we have heard this repeated in the vedic mantra(not that he has seen).

Chapter 1 Sloka 45

अहो बत महत्पापं कर्तुं व्यवसिता वयम्।

यद्राज्यसुखलोभेन हन्तुं स्वजनमुद्यताः।।1.45।।

अहो बत alas महत् great पापम् sin कर्तुम् to do व्यवसिताः prepared वयम् we यत् that राज्यसुखलोभेन by the greed of pleasure of kingdom हन्तुम् to kill स्वजनम् kinsmen उद्यताः prepared.

Arjuna’s monologue continues as he thinks of the current and future repercussions of the MB battle. अहो बत – alas, a great tragedy indeed; we are about to cause  महत् पापम् कर्तुम् वयम् व्यवसिताः perform a great sinful act; killing all these people which will lead to वर्ण varna sankaraha, जाति jaathi (family) sankaraha, धर्म नाशः (ruin) dharma nashaha, पितृनाम पतनं (downfall) pitrnaam patanam यत् राज्यसुखलोभेन because of our short-sightedness; we were interested in royal pleasures; due to our misplaced greed for the pleasures

स्वजनम् हन्तुम् उद्यताः Arjuna has forgotten that this is a fight between dharma and adharma and says we are prepared to kill these people.

श्रीमदभगवद्गीता Chapter 1 Sloka 46

यदि मामप्रतीकारमशस्त्रं शस्त्रपाणयः।

धार्तराष्ट्रा रणे हन्युस्तन्मे क्षेमतरं भवेत्।।1.46।।

यदि if माम् me अप्रतीकारम् unresisting अशस्त्रम् unarmed शस्त्रपाणयः with weapons in hand धार्तराष्ट्राः the sons of Dhritarashtra रणे in the battle हन्युः should slay तत् that मे of me क्षेमतरम् better भवेत् would be. Arjuna says I have decided not to contribute to this tragedy but the beginning of the war has been signaled by conches. Therefore Duryodana may start the war but I will not retaliate. I am perpared to die but will not contribute to the pending chaos of the society. माम् धार्तराष्ट्राः रणे हन्युः the kauravas may choose to kill us माम् अप्रतीकारम् we, who have decided not to resist; अशस्त्रम् we are with out weapons तत्  मे क्षेमतरम् भवेत् I consider sacrificing my life for the sake of dharma; I consider this a good fortune for me to have realized this in the nick of time.

Having said all these, Arjuna has shown raga, shoka, moha. Krishna maintains silence. Therefore Sanjaya says…

Chapter 1 Sloka 47

सञ्जय उवाच

एवमुक्त्वाऽर्जुनः संख्ये रथोपस्थ उपाविशत्।

विसृज्य सशरं चापं शोकसंविग्नमानसः।।1.47।।

एवम् thus उक्त्वा having said अर्जुनः Arjuna संख्ये in the battle रथोपस्थे on the seat of the chariot उपाविशत् sat down विसृज्य having cast away सशरम् with arrow चापम् bow शोकसंविग्नमानसः with a mind distressed with sorrow.

Sanjaya gives a picture of Arjuna – who symbolizes a maha samsaari. शोक संविग्न मानसः – Arjuna’s mind is totally grief stricken – indicating the problem of raga and shoka; completely overpowered by attachment and intense grief सशरम् चापम् विसृज्य – he has thrown away the bow and arrow; For a kshatriya, the bow and arrow represent fighting for/establishing dharma, his duty. The physical action of throwing his bow and arrow represents Arjuna giving up his duty. स्व धर्म त्यागः “Sva dharma tyagaha” – indicating conflict or mohaha; स्व धर्म परित्याग – wants to run away from the battle, wants to do tapas(dharma of a sanyasi); a grihasta has to do his family duty first; this is called mohaha: परधर्म ग्रहणं स्वधर्म परित्यागः paradharma grahanam(taking the duties of another caste), svadharma parithyagaha(deserting your own duties) एवम् अर्जुनः उक्त्वा  having uttered all these words to Krishna, Arjuna did this
रथोपस्थे उपाविशत् he sat down on the chariot seat

At this crucial juncture, Vyasacharya says:
ॐ तत् सत् इति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासू उपनिषत्सु ब्रह्मविध्यायां

योग शास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे  अर्जुनविषादयोगो नाम


This portion comes at the end of every chapter.

ॐ तत् सत्  Om tat sat – all 3 words are names of the Lord. Said at the end of every chapter to thank the Lord for the successful completion. There are various meanings in different context. Swamiji gives the simplest meaning for these:

Om –  अवति इति ॐ avati iti om; Avati is the protector; protected us from all obstacles
Tat – one who is beyond sense perception; परोक्षः and अक्ष्नः परम् Para (beyond) and Aksha (eye); सर्वेइन्द्रिय अगोचरः beyond the cognizance of the senses

Sat – eternal (past, present, future); From Tatva Bodha: तृकाले अपि तिष्ठति इति सत्  The eternal protector who is beyond our sense perception.

प्रथमोऽध्यायः – oh Lord, by your grace, we have completed the 1st chapter called
अर्जुनविषादयोगो – the grief of Arjuna. The main theme is vishada – raga, shoka and moha.
श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे – presented as a diologue between Krishna and Arjuna
Samdavaha – most healthy form of communication, is a dialogues between a  guru and a shishya – attitude of guru is love and compassion towards the disciple and the attitude of shisya is faith and reverence towards the guru; Name of this dialogues is called श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतोपनिशद्  The full name of Gita – upanishad means knowledge which liberates the person from sorrow. Wisdom which is taught by,  revealed by, Srimad Bhagavaan. Meaning of Bhagavan – one who has Bhaga  – 6 fold virtues.

The original upanishad, pat of Veda, was in existance even before Krishna was born. Krishna’s teaching is the essence of upanishad. Swamiji recites Dhyana Sloka #4:

सर्वोपनिषदो गावो दोग्धा गोपालनन्दनः पार्थो वत्सः सुधीर्भोक्ता दुग्धं गीतामृतं महत्

sarvopanishado gavo dogdha gopalanandana: parthovatsa: sudheerbhoktha dugdham gitamrutam mahat

There are only two topics in the entire Gita(theme of the entire dialogue):

Religion + Philosophy = Gita; Total contentment is the benefit.

  1. Religion (योगशास्त्र yoga shastra): वेद पूर्व भाग Veda poorva bhaga(first part of Veda); कर्मकाण्ड karma kanda – which relates to ceremonial acts and sacrificial rites.  This is a  way of life which prepares you to be competent  for philosophy; gives fitness for knowledge; makes you a ज्ञान योग्यता jnana yogyata (eligibility). First part of life get fit, then gain knowledge

  2. Philosophy (ब्रह्मविद्या brahma vidya): वेद अन्त भाग Veda antha bhaga(latter part of Veda);  ज्ञानकाण्ड jnana kanda – which relates to knowledge of the one Spirit Philosophical part – gives jnanam (knowledge)

Bagawat Geeta, Class 9

Chapter 1 Sloka 38

यद्यप्येते न पश्यन्ति लोभोपहतचेतसः।
कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं मित्रद्रोहे च पातकम्।।1.38।।


यद्यपि though एते these न not पश्यन्ति see लोभोपहतचेतसः with intelligence overpowered by greed कुलक्षयकृतम् in the destruction of families दोषम् evil मित्रद्रोहे in hostility to friends च and पातकम् sin

Swamiji explains that Vyasarcharya shows the intensity of Arjuna’s samsaara in the battlefield. Samsaara is raga, shoka and moha (attachment, sorrow and conflict).

Attachment was shown in the 1st line of Verse 28: कृपया परयाऽऽविष्टो विषीदन्निदमब्रवीत् The intensity of attachment grows in Arjuna when he thinks of the possible loss of his relatives that have assembled on the battlefield. He always had this attachment but it remained hidden. But once this attachment overpowers him, he suffers the immediate consequence of sorrow. Sorrow is directly proportional to the attachment. Hence, his sorrow was equally intense and it affected his physical body (his limbs were trembling, his arms are weak, etc.). This is shown starting with Verse 29. Vyasarcharya shows how raga and shoka is leading him to moha: conflict or confusion.

Moha is धर्म अधर्म अविवेकः “dharma adharma avivekaha”  aviveka – absence of judgement or discrimination, not being able to judge between dharma and adharma. When there is a confusion, dharma appears as adharma and vice versa.

Arjuna’s duty as a kshatriya is to fight this war and this yuddham is dharma for Arjuna. But Arjuna sees this dharmayuddham as adharma. This is the first conflict.

Secondly, a kshatriya should never run away from the battlefield. This is shirking his duty. Arjuna is seeing अधर्म पलायन “adharma palaayanam” as punya karma. Arjuna’s confusion is complete.

When the emotional mind(attached and confused) begins to overpower a person, it stifles even the educated and well informed intellect. The intellect, not being able to overcome the emotional mind, begins to support the mental weakness. If the mind has a feeble addiction, the intellect can fight and overcome this weakness. If the addiction is intense, the intellect will justify the mental weakness.

From Verse 38 through 46, Arjuna, having been deceived by his intellect, talks about the evils of war. He says to Krishna, the Kauravas do not see the evils of war. कुलक्षयकृतम् दोषम् – heads of the family are killed, thus destroying the families, and the consequences of destroying families are terrible.

मित्र द्रोहे च पातकम् – hurting our own kith and kin; another mahapaapam which they are not seeing but we are seeing clearly. We should help our friends. Let us decide to withdraw from war.

Chapter 1 Sloka 39

कथं न ज्ञेयमस्माभिः पापादस्मान्निवर्तितुम्।
कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं प्रपश्यद्भिर्जनार्दन।।1.39।।

कथम् why न not ज्ञेयम् should be learnt अस्माभिः by us पापात् from sin अस्मात् this निवर्तितुम् to turn away कुलक्षयकृतम् in the destruction of families दोषम् evil प्रपश्यद्भिः clearly seeing जनार्दन O Janardana.

Arjuna, feels that the Kauravas are confused but now that his thinking is clear, he says to Krishna:

Hey Janardana, दोषम् प्रपश्यद्भिः we are able to clearly see the negative consequences of कुलक्षयकृतम् destroying families.

अस्माभिः  अस्मात् पापात्  निवर्तितुम् कथ ज्ञेयम् Having seen this evil clearly, why can’t we withdraw? पाप a sin(this war) which involves कुलक्षय the destruction of families..

Why should we have a false ego? Regardless of what others may say, let us withdraw from war. Arjuna is pleading for Krishna’s support to retrieve. Krishna, however remains silent because he feels that Arjuna is not yet ready to hear his advice. Talking to a non receptive person is called वन रोदन vana rodana – crying in the forest.

Chapter 1 Sloka 40

कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति कुलधर्माः सनातनाः।
धर्मे नष्टे कुलं कृत्स्नमधर्मोऽभिभवत्युत।।1.40।।

कुलक्षये in the destruction of a family प्रणश्यन्ति perish कुलधर्माः family religious rites सनातनाः immemorial धर्मे spirituality नष्टे being destroyed कुलम् कृत्स्नम् the whole family अधर्मः impiety अभिभवति overcomes उत indeed.

Arjuna further explains the consequences of family destruction. What are the consequences if there are no healthy families in society (have broken families)? Arjuna wants to say that without family life, dharma, religion and culture can never grow. Spirituality is never possible. These grow in a society where the family is strong, stable and long lasting.

Our scriptures give a lot of importance to family life. Without good family structure, cultural growth is inhibited. A stable family is required for Cultural/Ethical growth, Dharmic growth and Spiritual growth. These are known as कुलधर्म Kuladharma (practice or observance particular to a group or family).

So Arjuna says, कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति without a stable family, kuladharma will perish.

धर्मे नष्टे – when this dharma is destroyed

अधर्मः अभिभवति – adharma (life in which importance is given to आर्थ and काम); only material values become important. This materialistic lifestyle will overpower all the good values.

Chapter 1 Sloka 41

अधर्माभिभवात्कृष्ण प्रदुष्यन्ति कुलस्त्रियः।
स्त्रीषु दुष्टासु वार्ष्णेय जायते वर्णसङ्करः।।1.41।।

अधर्माभिभवात् from the prevalence of impiety कृष्ण O Krishna प्रदुष्यन्ति become corrupt कुलस्त्रियः the women of the family स्त्रीषु in women दुष्टासु (being) corrupt वार्ष्णेय O Varshneya जायते arises वर्णसङ्करः caste mixture.

Swamiji first explains the importance of a stable family for cultural growth.

A stable family is needed for a cultural or a healthy personality trait to be formed in a child. This needs to be done at a very early stage in life. A baby or young child does not have the capacity to discriminate/judge what is important or valuable. A child learns to value things based upon the set of values of the parents(god like to the child). While child is developing values for various things, the respect it develops towards itself (self value) is also learned. The self image development is also very important. A newborn does not have an idea about itself – “am I a wonderful child or useless child; respectable or a rejected child”. This self opinion is developed based on the parent’s opinion of the child. If the life of the mother is centered on the child; parents respect the child; treat as a VIP in the first 5 years of life; be at his beck and call; with all the needs fulfilled; etc., then the child develops a beautiful self image, self worth and self confidence. This self opinion developed within the first 5 years can never be erased. If this is not developed within those few years, the child will condemn itself and develop inferiority complex, lacking self confidence. This negative value is developed not due to the child’s mistake – but they are the values the parents have imparted. A healthy mind is one which has self respect.

Swamiji refers to Chapter 6, Verse 5 where Krishna says:

उद्धरेदात्मनाऽऽत्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत्।
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः।।6.5।।

“Arjuna, once you condemn yourself, no one can help you”.

If you don’t have self-confidence, no God, Guru, or Shastra can help. Ishvara kripa, Guru kripa, and Shastra kripa are secondary. These graces will be valid only when the most important grace “atma kripa” आत्म कृपा – is there (self respect/self image/self confidence). This must be formed within the first 5 years of life with the help of a stable family and parents who respect the child. Therefore, family life is very important to develop psychologically healthy children that will become self respecting citizens in a society.

This is “ego nourishment” but nourishing the ego will enable the ego to grow, and as the ego grows it ripens, then the ripened ego can drop(like a ripened fruit falls from a tree, when it is ready)…. leading to moksha.

The second importance of family is to impart cultural values, again done early in a child’s life(nonverbal communication). The child learns by observing and imitating the parents. Even a newborn gets influenced by the thought of the mother during pregnancy, the manner in which the mother welcomes the child, the manner in which the family greets the child, etc. All these nonverbal communications have a psychological impact on the child. Every word and action of the parents are being imbibed by the child. Parents have to serve as a model to teach the cultural values.

Matha, Pitha, Guru, Devyam….. Mother is the first model, then the father. If the parents are not available as the models, then they seek for a model elsewhere.

The parents(models) should be consistent and constant in their lives. The parents should have trust, understanding and harmony between themselves to provide a suitable and nurturing environment. A father or mother should not contradict each other in front of the child. This causes confusion to the child since both parents are Godlike and both are correct.

Here Arjuna says, among the parents, the mother is more important – because the mother is intimately attached with the child. And if the head of the families are destroyed, the women may become corrupt. A young girl growing up in a broken home does not develop cultural values. And when she becomes a mother without values, she will not be able to teach her children. Hence a vicious cycle is created where the generations to come have no values. All values will be utterly destroyed.

अधर्माभिभवात् कृष्ण  प्रदुष्यन्ति कुलस्त्रियः When the families are destroyed, a girl child gets spoiled, she will become an unhealthy mother.

स्त्रीषु  दुष्टासु corrupt women (destruction of entire society)

वार्ष्णेय addressing Krishna, as descendant of Vrishni.  वृष्णि कुल समुद्भूत “vrishni kula samudbhoota”; you are born in a beautiful family; and know the importance of family

जायते वर्णसङ्करः there will be utter confusion in regards to varnaashrama dharma.

Sankara means confusion.

Varnashrama dharma – In varna dharma, the veda prescribes certain duties for each class of people. Brahmana have certain cultural duties, Kshatriya have political duties, Vysya have economic duties, Sudra have supporting duties towards the other three. All these duties are important for the growth of a society.

Veda says that everyone has to take one of these duties(profession) based on birth or based on character i.e. choose to be a politician, business man etc.

Imagine a society which values money. This will lead to everyone choosing a  profession based on whichever brings them maximum money. Once a society is materialistic, a class that was devoted to cultural growth of a nation will diminish. Learning dharma shastra & the scriptures and following & propagating the dharma shastra will not thrive.

Varna sankara – everyone will take every other profession but no one will come forward to study the scriptures. There will be confusion among the duties and no one will preserve and propagate the religious and spiritual culture. Society will be corrupt leading to destruction of humanity.

All these will happen when families become unstable…due to the war….so lets abolish war….drive chariot away from battlefield.