Spiritual Ascent

                             via

the GITA- shlokas

 

 

DEDICATED TO MY GURU & FATHER

BRAHMA-SRI R.VISVANATHA SASTRIGAL

(1882 – 1956 )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2019)

 

INVOCATION

 

वागीशाद्यास्सुमनसः सर्वार्थानाम्-उपक्रमे।यं नत्वा कृतकृत्याः स्युः तं नमामि गजाननम्॥

I prostrate before that elephant-faced Lord to whom all the good-natured ones starting from the very gods of speech bowed at the start of every endeavour and got their work accomplished.

मूकं करोति वाचालं पङ्गुं लङ्घयते गिरिम्।यत्कृपा तमहं वन्दे परमानन्द-माधवम्॥

I prostrate before that Infinitely Blissful Lord Vishnu by whose Grace even the dumb is made a great speaker and even  the lame is made to jump  mountains.

पार्थाय प्रतिबोधितां भगवता नारायणेन स्वयं व्यासेन ग्रथितां पुराणमुनिना मध्ये महाभारतम्।

अद्वैतामृतवर्षिणीं भगवतीं अष्टादशाध्यायिनीं अम्ब त्वां अनुसन्दधामि भगवद्गीते भवद्वेषिणीम्॥

O Mother-God Bhagavad-Gite, You, who sets at nought the samsAra - You who were reactivated for Arjuna  by the very Lord Narayana Himself, You who were composed by Vyasa himself in the middle of Mahabharata, You with  eighteen chapters, pouring continuously the rain of advaita-nectar, I meditate on You.

सदाशिव-समारम्भां शङ्कराचार्य-मध्यमां।अस्मदाचार्यपर्यन्तां वन्दे गुरु-परम्पराम्॥

I make my prostrations to the entire Guru-lineage, beginning with Lord Shiva Himself, and bedecked in the middle with Sri Shankaracharya and coming upto my own immediate Acharyas

योगिनं विश्वनाथाख्यं अस्मत्-तात-स्वरुपिणम्।आत्मलाभात्परं लाभं वक्तारं न कदाचन ॥

गीतार्थग्रन्थकर्तारं श्रीगुरुं प्रणमाम्यहम्।योऽन्तः प्रविश्य मे वाचं धृतिं बुद्धिं प्रचोदयात्॥

I make my prostrations to my revered Guru,  the great Yogi by the name Visvanatha, who appeared in the form of my own revered father, who never spoke of anything to be of value except the gain of one's own Self and who composed the elaborate commentary on the Gita (by name GitAmRRita-mahodadhi). May He enter my inner self and prompt my will-power, intellect and speech.

ओम् नमः सभाभ्यः सभापतिभ्यश्च वो नमः॥

Aum. Prostrations to the Assembly (of Readers) and to the Great Lord of all Assemblies.

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KEY TO CITATION AND METHOD OF PRESENTATION

 

  • References mentioned without the source being given, but merely, say as III-7 (or III.7), 18-66 (or 18.66), mean Adhyaya 3, Shloka 7 ; Adhyaya 18, Shloka 66, respectively,  of the Gita.  Where only numerals are mentioned without the number of the adhyaya – for instance, 9, 17, 27, #36 etc.  – they refer to the number of the verse (shloka) in that adhyaya of the Gita that is currently under discussion.

  • Gita is an integrated whole.  Each shloka may have to be understood in the context of several other shlokas throughout the Gita. So the reader should be prepared for a massive internal cross-referencing.  In fact the reader is advised to read the text back and forth before coming to a conclusion based on one or two shlokas. XVIII.22 warns us against the mistake of clinging to one movement or one thought as if it were the whole.

  • Method of presentation.  Generally, the presentation tries to adopt a conversational style, as if the listener is right in front. The Lessons proceed mostly in the sequential order of the shlokas of the Gita. When most of the words in a certain verse are individually translated and explained, a continuous reading of the English translation alone (omitting the italicised Sanskrit words of the shloka) should be meaningful. Wherever found necessary a breaking of the words (padacchheda) in the verse is added for better understanding.

  • English words like self, reality, knowledge, ignorance, have their empirical meanings, but the same words with their first letters capitalised, like Self, Reality, Knowledge, Ignorance, have their transcendental meanings given to them by Vedanta.

  • Technical Sanskrit words which are only imperfectly translatable into single words like PrakRRiti, MayA,  JIva, Japa, Yoga, Yajna, NididhyAsanA, satva, rajas, tamas, shraddhA, etc. acquire their own meanings and connotations in the development of the subject and so they are very often used without  equivalent single English word-translations; the reader will benefit by tracing futhem through the index to their other occurrences in the book for additional explanations.

  • The plurals of some often-occurring Sanskrit words like Veda, VAsanA, Mantra, yajna, guNa, shloka  etc. are written with an ‘s’ added to them as if they are English words: Vedas, VasanAs, Mantras, yajnas, guNas, shlokas etc. The adjectives corresponding to some Sanskrit words like Advaita, Yoga,  etc.  are written Advaitic, Yogic, etc. again as if they were English words.

  • Mostly we follow Shankara. But there could be slight variations where this author himself could not rise up to the nuances of Shankara’s advaita!

 

 

SPIRITUAL ASCENT VIA THE GITA-SHLOKAS

 

CHAPTER 1: A TOTAL OVERVIEW OF THE GITA

 

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the greatest books among the mass of our scriptural literature. It is not part of the Vedas or the Upanishads but it is equivalent in stature, authenticity, sacredness and authoritativeness to the Vedas and the Upanishads. The Spiritual Ascent through the Gita could be steep and hard for those who have had no exposure to the Gita so far. So this preview aims to tell the reader about the Bhagavad-Gita in a most elementary way. 

 

Bhagavan means the Lord Absolute. Gita means The Song. Bhagavad-Gita means the Divine Song of the Lord. It is a work of 700 verses in Sanskrit, divided into eighteen chapters, occurring in the largest epic of the world, The Mahabharata, by Sage Vyasa. The events described in this epic are historical events that happened about five thousand and odd years ago. They were most probably chronicled in the form of an epic sometime after that.  The latter half of the epic describes the Great War that took place, in which almost every king in the Indian subcontinent and his army were involved. Arjuna the foremost warrior of the younger generation of the times and his four brothers and their allies were on one side. On the opposite side were aligned the one hundred first cousins of Arjuna, their allies, their massive armies, as well as their grandfather-symbol Bhishma, the famous veteran whom the entire country feared and revered. He was also the grandfather-symbol of Arjuna and his brothers. Preparations had been made for this war months in advance and Arjuna himself had been getting ready for this war years in advance. But at the crucial moment, almost at the time of the blowing of the whistle (in the form of the traditional conch), he decides to retreat. He says it is wrong to fight with elders, the grandfather, the teachers, and all these relatives. Compassion overwhelms him and he declares that he would rather retire to the forest as a renouncer, than kill his own kith and kin and his elders. Let me be killed by them, says he, and he throws away his bow and arrow. Lord Krishna was his charioteer. He tries to put Arjuna back on the track by saying elementary things like: Arjuna, this is not the time to retreat, people will think of you as a coward, you are a great warrior, get up and fight. No, says Arjuna, I won’t. Let me entreat you, Oh Lord, tell me clearly what is good for me. To fight or not to fight, that is the question. Teach me O Lord, as to what is right.

Krishna begins his long sermon with a philosophical note. Do not grieve, Arjuna, over things which are perishable. The soul is imperishable. It does not die. Nobody can harm it or damage it. What you see before you is only the outer self of everybody. Only the outer self dies. The inner Self is the imperishable soul. If you are in oneness with your Inner Self, then no grief can affect you. No sin will touch you. Merits and demerits touch only the outer self. Your outer self belongs to the warrior class. By nature you are a warrior-king. Your duty is to fight on the side of justice. You know you are on the side of justice. So you have to do your duty. Your duty now is to fight. You cannot retreat from that duty. But while doing your duty, let me tell you, never bring in any of the attitudes of the outer self. Anger, hate, jealousy, attachment, all pertain to the outer self. Do not be angry, do not hate, do not be clouded by attachment to things of the outer world, do not think of revenge, but carry on your fight. Do your duty of fighting as if you are an actor on the stage. What happens on the stage because of your action on the stage should not worry the real you. The real you is your Inner Self. It is known as the Atman. Pleasure and pain, like and dislike, happiness and misery, heat and cold, friend and foe, honour and dishonour– all these dualities are only for (and of) the outer self.  Your Inner Self, namely, the Atman, is never affected by these dualities of life or of the world. 

 

When Krishna goes on in this fashion, Arjuna asks a relevant question: If I am supposed to be in oneness with my Inner Self, why do you then ask me to fight?  Let me go and sit quietly in oneness with my Inner Self.  Krishna says: That will never happen. Sitting quietly, you will be thinking about all the happenings in your life. That is not oneness with your Inner Self. No man can sit quietly without even thinking. If you just make a show of physical renuciation, but keep on mentally dwelling on everything of the world, then you would only be a hypocrite. What is wanted is mental renunciation. Though you are involved in all actions of the world, you should be mentally away from them. This means you should not attach yourself to any of your thoughts or actions. This is the great yoga of action. Yoga means the most efficient way of doing things.

 

I taught this yoga to the Sun-God long ago, says Krishna. Arjuna immediately jumps on him and says: Krishna, you were born only two years before me; do you want me to believe that you taught this to the Sun-God? At this point, namely the fourth chapter of the Gita, the Lord begins to talk in an inspiring style. Upto this point the Gita reads like a philosophical discourse, carefully recorded by the recorder. But from here onwards it becomes a revealed scripture, given out by the very Lord Absolute. Arjuna, says the Lord, you do not know it, but I know, that you and I have taken many births and I know them all. Every time Good suffers terribly and the Bad predominates heavily, I come down on earth in person and manifest myself for the protection of the good and the destruction of evil. Know that I am the Absolute. I created this world and all the diverse varieties of nature. But know also that nothing touches me nor am I attached to any of my creations. You also be like Me. Be in oneness with your Inner Self and do all of your duties; nothing will touch you or pollute you. This living in identity with your Inner Self will give you the attitude of equanimity. An equanimous view of everything that you come across, whether it is men or material, is the ultimate goal of life. 

 

To obtain a firm hold of this equanimous view for ourselves, sit in meditation, says the Lord. But Arjuna points out: How can one control the mind and sit in meditation? The mind is so fickle that it does not stay with one object consistently. The Lord replies: Yes, you are right. The mind is fickle; it is in fact villainous, it won’t obey you. Know therefore that you should be in the driver seat of this vehicle, that is the body-mind-intellect (BMI, in short). Every time the mind misbehaves, bring it back to the equanimous position by using your discretionary intellect. You have to do this constantly and continuously. Never chicken out. You may have to carry on this struggle life after life until you succeed. Succeed you will, if you have My Grace.

 

To obtain My Grace, you have to first recognize that nothing moves in this world except by My Will. I am the Master-Director of this universe. Everything has arisen from Me and everything will come back to Me at the time of dissolution. I am the One that exists ever, before and after. I am the Father of this Universe. What you see as this universe is only my show. It is only a projection from My Power. It will vanish in due time.

 

Arjuna is curious. If you are everything, My Lord, show Me your form where I can see everything. The Lord says you cannot see that cosmic form of Mine with your physical eyes but I will give you temporarily the spiritual eye that will open up to you My cosmic Form. And Arjuna is blessed. He sees the Cosmic Form. A little while ago the Lord has said: He who sees Me in everything and everything in Me, he is the one who has the right vision. Now He shows to Arjuna that form which proves that  everything is in Him. Arjuna sees the five elements emanating from the Lord’s form. He sees, in that form, the entire universe with all its noblest expressions as well as the filthiest mundane horrors. The whole vision is fantastic no doubt, but also scaring. So Arjuna prays to the Lord to get back to his normal human form and the Lord does so.

 

Now the Lord begins to explain some technicalities about how the Absolute which is nameless and formless expresses itself as the different multiplicities of this universe. He warns Arjuna and through him the rest of humanity, not to see the multiplicity before us but to seek the Oneness behind this multiplicity.  It is the basic Oneness that should be at the bottom of our minds. It is the Lord that we should see in everything and in particular, in every being. Once the Spirit within you and the Spirit within the other man is realised to be the same, then there is no difficulty in loving each other.  Jesus says: Love your neighbour. Here is the reason for that. Your neighbour and You are the same in spiritual essence. The basic Oneness is easy to recognize if one transcends the three basic qualities of Man. When in your bone of bones you feel a sense of glow that gives you satisfaction, like when you have done a noble deed, know that the divine quality is uppermost in you. When tendencies like greed, jealously, lust and anger shoot up, know that the dynamic vibrant qualities of Man are uppermost in you. When laziness, disinterest, depression and ignorance are the order of the day in you, know that the dull qualities of Man are uppermost. Each man is a mixture of all the three tendencies: divinely noble, vibrantly restless and indolently dull. But the Lord says: The wise man transcends all these three qualities.  He is the One who can see the Oneness of the Lord amidst all the multiplicities of the Universe. Immediately Arjuna asks the question: How does one know that one has transcended the three fundamental qualities? And Krishna replies: Whether it is enlightenment, or involvement or delusion one should not hate what has come into one’s experience and one should not desire what has been missed in one’s experience. Such a person, Krishna says, is the one who is earmarked for ultimate Salvation.This is the final teaching of theGita.

 

Krishna himself sums up in the last chapter by saying: Each man has gone rough several lives and has picked up several mental imprints of thoughts actions and experiences and has brought them to the present life in the form of mental tendencies. These constitute the man’s nature in this life. If this nature helps in doing good and noble things well and good. If this nature only takes you into undesirable channels of activity, then you have to fight it internally.   There is no other way. Arjuna, says the Lord, your inborn nature is the nature of a fighter. You cannot overcome it, do what you will. So do your duty of fighting. But transfer all your responsibilities to Me by keeping Me at the bottom of your heart all the time. In other words, surrender even your will to me. Then you become the instrument of My will and your actions will not bind you. Your actions will indeed turn out to be automatically good for the rest of the world because they are thereafter actions according to My Will. Once you surrender yourself like this to Me, I will take care of you both here and hereafter.

 

This is the Gita. Arjuna, at the end of all this, had no difficulty in saying ‘Yes, I will do as you wish’. In a matter of probably an hour and a half Lord Krishna swung the extreme negative position that Arjuna took impulsively at the very start of the war, to an extremely concordant position, whereby he agreed to carry on the war. This historical dialogue between God and Man is what constitutes the Gita. The dialogue had two purposes; one obvious, and the other, hidden.

The obvious purpose was to convince Arjuna on the need to fight and not to retreat on the plea of (misplaced) compassion. For this, Krishna uses five arguments as if he is arguing as a defense lawyer. The other purpose was to leave for the entire humanity the legacy of a divine sermon on how to live so that one is not born again to live. The teaching that came out thus from the divine mouth may also be classified into five guidelines or teachings for spiritual living. Though the five arguments and the five teachings are symbiotically combined by the Lord and are spread throughout the dialogue the careful reader-seeker can isolate them as distinct threads that run through the Gita.

 

The very first argument (A1) that Krishna puts before Arjuna is the philosophical argument. What Arjuna is grieving about is only the personalities that are arrayed in the battle. But they are after all, ephemeral.  They are not permanent, in the absolute sense. What is permanent is only the Atman, the essential spiritual entity of the individual soul. The Atman is ever-existing. You cannot harm it in any way. What dies is only the physical body. The soul within goes from body to body and undergoes different life-experiences. The Atman, which is the spiritual substance of the soul, does not go through any of these experiences, because it is an impersonal Absolute.  This argument which is difficult to be comprehended in its entirety is the undercurrent of everything in the Gita. It is in fact the springboard from which every other argument or concept gets its substance.

 

The second argument (A2) that Krishna uses is the ‘duty’ argument, Arjuna is a born warrior and it is his duty (‘swadharma’) as a kshatriya, the warrior-class, not to retreat from a just war, but fight to the finish.  The third argument combines this with the attitude of performance of this duty. Duty has to be performed for duty’s sake, not for the purpose of getting a reward or result. An attachment to the reward or the result accruing from the performance of the duty will sow the seeds of further action and duty and this never-ending chain will move into the next life also. Therefore, duty has to be performed in a detached way. Krishna tells Arjuna that fight he must, but without attachment, malice, envy or hatred. This is the famous karma-yoga argument of the Gita.

 

At this point Krishna takes the discussion to a different plane and says that not only one should do one’s duty without attachment to the fruits thereof, but one should do it without claiming the agency of action. This ‘Actionlessness’ argument  (A3) is the third in the list of Krishna’s lawyer-like rebuttal of Arjuna’s proposition to retreat.  The thought that ‘I am the doer of this action’ is the thin end of the wedge that brings into play one’s ego and all its subsidiary members of the great gang of man’s internal enemies. Nothing in the world takes place without the Will of the Lord, and so if we think that we are the ones who are doing the action, we are only going down the spiritual ladder. This concept of the Lord being the Agent-Provocateur of every action brings with it the standard path of Devotion (Bhakti) to the Lord as the most popular path towards God. This is the fourth argument (A4) of Krishna to bring back Arjuna to carry his dharmic fight.  But in the Hindu metaphysics and philosophy the concept - ‘It is all God’s Will’ - of the Lord being the power behind for everything raises a question that is very peculiarly Hindu in origin.  

 

Hinduism spares no pains to declare from its loftiest summits, the vedas and upanishads, that God, in addition to being transcendent, is also immanent. That the Lord transcends every conception of space and time and causation is an acceptable theory to every religion. But not every religion goes to the extent of declaring that each animate and inanimate entity is also spiritual in essence. In other words, stripped of our external coverings like the body, mind and intellect, we are, each one of us, sparks of the divine, with that divine element residing, as it were, in our core of cores, our soul of souls. The Lord resides as our Consciousness in our heart of hearts. What we see, hear, smell, touch or taste is all what this Consciousness does.  At this point arises the natural dilemma. If God is immanent in us and is the basic motivator and proprietor of all our thoughts and actions, then should He not be held responsible for also all the ignoble thoughts and actions for which I am being held responsible as if I am the one who did them? To answer this dilemma Krishna puts forth his fifth argument (A5) to Arjuna. And by this argument He brings in the villain of the piece. It is prakriti, He says, that is responsible. What is Prakriti? Each individual brings along with him tendencies that have been accumulated from his past lives. Every thought and action that anybody does leaves an imprint of a memory (in the mind of the doer) and through that a familiarity, which in due time becomes a habit or tendency to think and do in the same way. These are the so-called vAsanAs that we bring from our previous lives. These vAsanAs shape our inborn character. This character is our prakRti. This is what makes us act and react in a particular way that becomes our own habitual style of action and response to events.  So prakRti is the doer, says the Lord, and not the Lord Himself. Thus He elaborates His fifth argument, ‘Arjuna, don’t think that you can run away to the forest as a renouncer and forget this war. Your prakRti will not allow you to do it. You better go with your prakRti and act accordingly’.

 

These are the arguments which Krishna uses to convince Arjuna to go back to his normal role in the war. But in the process of all this dialogue the Lord covers a large ground of Hindu philosophy and thus leaves a legacy of  a great teaching for the entire humanity. This becomes relevant in a modern context. And this is what makes the Gita a scripture even for our daily living. Krishna’s teaching to us may be classified under the same five headings but in a different backdrop

 

The first is yoga-sAdhanA, that is, the discipline of the senses. Krishna gives it the very first priority in the spiritual ascent for any person. In fact it is not a project which can be finished in a certain time schedule. It has to be a life-long effort. The very effort matters. The senses always crave for sense-objects. That is their nature. But man, using his discretionary intellect, has to harness his will-power to control and monitor them into the right channels. And, in this, Krishna says one may seek the help of the indwelling Lord. The Lord will not only help Man but shower His grace on him for him to have the strength for the spiritual climb. To propitiate the Lord one does not have to do fanciful worship or ostentatious rituals. These will only fan the fire of one’s ego further. To remember the Lord at all times and be continuously aware of His omnipresence is what constitutes the deepest devotion to God. This path of devotion to the One Supreme Almighty who is also indwelling in every being is the second major teaching of the gita to humanity. The concept of the one supreme, even though there are many manifestations of Him, in the form of avatars and forms, is fundamental to the path of devotion.

 

But being devoted to God is not everything. One has to do one’s duties, professional or personal, domestic or social, filial or moral, religious or secular, --- all duties that devolve on one, in such a way that no residual attachment or vAsanA sticks  in the mind. For these residual vAsanAs are the obstacles in the upward spiritual path by which one reaches God. So the discharge of one’s duties without any attachment is the obligation of every one. This is the great karma yoga of the gita. It is the contribution of the gita to world knowledge and culture. Krishna elaborately details how it could be practised. He says : Dedicate all your actions to Me. By thus dedicating all our actions to God we can experience an internal alchemy that takes place in ours own mind. For dedication to God means, doing only those actions that are acceptable to God and never doing those actions which are unacceptable to Him. Dedication is voluntary acceptance of ‘suffering’ for the sake of the God of dedication. The methodology of dedication is technically called yajna, by Krishna. Any action done selflessly without expectation of reward and with a sense of detachment, is called yajna. Do every one of your actions, as a yajna, says the Lord.

Thus the three teachings are: yoga sAdhanA, bhakti and karma yoga.  Now come two deeper things. One is Surrender. Surrender even your will to God in the sense that thereafter you are nothing but an instrument in the hands of God. It is self-effacement, no doubt, but that is exactly what is meant by a total devotion to the Absolute.

 

The other teaching is in fact the final goal of Man. It may be called the Equanimous View of everything. The One Supreme,  being the grandest in conception, being all-pervading, is called brahman by the scriptures. Our perception has to widen in its subtlety to perceive this Absolute brahman in every being, indeed in every creation of God, animate or inanimate. This impartial perception comes to One who has transcended  all the dualities of the world like good and bad, happiness and misery, friend and foe,  like and dislike, and heat and cold.. By yoga sAdhanA, bhakti and karma yoga one reaches the stage where one is ready for the other two: namely, to surrender even one’s will to God and to be able to treat every experience the same equanimous way.

 

The Gita is thus an unusual scripture where God and Man have an inimitable dialogue about what to do in our daily life and how to do it. It is therefore most relevant even in modern times. It applies to all of us alike, irrespective of age, sex, race, nation, or education. In fact from the innermost recesses of our heart  the Lord is usually correcting us through the so-called conscience of ours.  But we, in the heat of our emotions, usually ignore the call from within. Let us classify these emotions and the promptings of our conscience, along with Krishna’s teaching to Arjuna below, in the form of five Upadeshas (teachings), viz., U1, U2, U3, U4, U5:

 

U1: When we get overly excited about something either in a positive or negative way, our conscience prompts us to say ‘Let not your superlative attachment carry you away; curb your attachment’.  Arjuna had this negative excitement when he had a look at his elders on the battlefield.cf. GANDIvaM sramsate hastAd (I-30), meaning: My bow is slipping from my hand. And Krishna’s answer was: Control your senses; curb your attachment. Always  practise Yoga-sAdhanA.

 

U2: When we lose our peace because of anger or otherwise at the various turbulences in our relationships with the rest of the world or of the family, and we are totally in an angry mood, we can also meekly hear, inspite ofour outward posture of anger, the voice of our conscience whispering to us ‘Don’t hate any one’. In fact this is the situation with Arjuna.  He was overcome by exteme compassion (cf. kRRipayA parayAvishhTaH – I-28, i.e., overcome by supreme compassion. The Lord’s remedy to this is ‘Equanimous view ‘ or brahma-bhAva, (Everything is Brahman, the Absolute).

 

U3: When we are carried away sky-high by our own plans for the future or by our achievements in the past, our conscience reminds usthat there is an Almighty above and we should never forget Him. Arjuna had the same problem of ego-domination, when he said ‘etAn-na hantuM icchhAmi’ (cf.I-35), meaning, I don’t want to kill these people. And Krishna’s correction is: Never forget the Almighty. Have an undivided faith in the non-dual Absolute. In Sanskrit: ‘advaita-bhAvanA-sahita bhakti’.

 

U4: When we are in a total dilemma as to what to do in a tricky situation, our conscience keeps telling us: Do what constitutes your duty. Krishna’s way of emphasizing this is a yajna attitude to all your duties. – in Sanskrit: nishhkAma-swadharmAcaraNaM. Arjuna was in such a dilemma -cf.dharma-sammUDhacetAH  (II – 7) – with mind confounded by what Dharma is and is not.

 

U5: When we find we are desperately in need of help because of all worldly help has failed our conscience somewhere in the corner of our mind whispers ‘Surrender to the Lord”. Arjuna was exactly in this situation, when he finally said ‘yacchreyasyAn-nishcitaM brUhi tan me sishhyas-te.ahaM shAdhi mAM tvAM prapannaM” (II – 7) – Tell me with certainty what is good for me; I am surrendering to you as your disciple.This is sharaNAgati .

 

We shall now take  the verses of the Gita from Chapter II where Krishna begins his teaching (just after the above  II – 7) and almost go shloka by shloka. This process will also take us on the spiritual ascent, slowly and gradually. As we go on from shloka to shloka we will also see how Krishna deftfully keeps on the tempo of His continuous flow of thoughts.  In order to realise this in its entirety one should be able to read (and understand!) the text alone or its translation alone continuously.  In our presentation,  very often we may have to explain by quoting a number of verses from later chapters in order to give the reader an integrated presentation of the Gita.  Remember that Gita is not just a compendium of disconnected verses of spiritual information or advice. The verses have to be taken all together.  That is the reason one will find this book very often dealing with a whole bunch of even the later verses, while explaining a concept or technical word in a single chapter.  The chapter numbers (except this first one) correspond to the adhyAya numbers of the Gita.  But each chapter of ours  may contain several sections, depending upon the density of content in the corresponding adhyAya of the Gita.

 

********************

 

 

CHAPTER 2: SAnkhya-Yoga

 

LESSON 1: Upto II - 15

 

It is Vyasa that is writing the Gita. So, often we would meet with the wording as to who said what. The only ones who speak in the Gita are: Sanjaya (who has a divine vision gifted for him by vyAsa and so he narrates to King Dhritarashtra  as  to what is happening on the battlefield, namely, Kurukshetra); King Dhritarashtra himself; Arjuna and Lord Krishna (referred to as Shri Bhagavan).

 

The three teachings numbered by us as U4: Efficient discharge of duties and obligations, U1: Yoga-sAdhanA which is the methodology of controlling the senses and attachments and U5: Total surrender to the Divine, are the sure means (sAdhanA) to take us to the ideal of the Gita, which is U2, Brahma-bhAva or Equanimity. Krishna repeats this very often in the Gita.  Of the five teachings however, U3 which insists on an undivided faith in the Divine Absolute, is the basic fundamental step with which every seeker has to begin.  Krishna himself says later in XVIII-67 that this message of the Gita should not be told to one who does not have the faith nor to one who hates the Lord nor to one who has not asked for it. Arjuna certainly satisfies the requirement!  That he has asked for it is borne strongly by his own statement at the end of his wailing, in the following shloka:

II – 7: कार्पण्य-दोषोऽपहत-स्वभावः पृच्छामि त्वां धर्म-सम्मूढ-चेताः।
यच्छ्रेयः-स्यान्-निश्चितं ब्रूहि तन्-मे शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम्॥ 
kArpaNya-doshho.apahata-svabhAvaH 
pRRicchhAmi tvAM dharma-sammUDha-cetAH .
yacchhreyaH-syAn-nishcitaM brUhi tan-me 
shishhyaste.ahaM shAdhi mAM tvAM prapannam ..


This shloka  (not only for children, but for also all of us) are a form of very intense prayer, whenever one faces any of the following situations: 


(a) We are confused about what to do, what is right and what is wrong;
(b) We do not understand some teaching, either in class or elsewhere;
(c) We are overwhelmed with anger/hate and we want to get out of that state

(d) We are overcome by intense self-made or man-made grief,

or  (e) We are dazed with a divine marvel!

 

Arjuna’s plea says: “My inborn heroic nature has been overwhelmed (smitten away) (=apahata-svabhAvaH) by the fault of faint-hearted compassion (kArpaNya-doshha) and I am confused as to what is right and what is wrong (=dharma-sammUDha-cetAH). I ask you therefore to tell me what is better for me; tell me decisively. I take refuge as a disciple under you; enlighten me”.

 

And this is where Krishna begins his Gitopadesha in

II-11. अशोच्यान्-अन्वशोचस्त्वं प्रज्ञा-वादाम्श्च भाषसे।

गतासून्-अगतासूम्श्च नानुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः॥।

ashocyAn-anvashocastvaM praj~nA-vAdAmshca bhAshhase |

gatAsUn-agatAsUmshca nAnushocanti paNDitAH ||.

Krishna  starts with a profound note, saying, Arjuna,  you are grieving  (anvashochaH) over what ought not to be grieved about (ashocyAn). And you are also speaking (bhAshase) as if you are an intelligent person (prajnAvAdAn ca). paNDitAH : those who have ‘paNDA’, (where ‘paNDA’ means  true knowledge about the Supreme); na anushocanti : do not grieve about; gatAsUn : (either) the ones who have breathed their last ; (or) agatAsUn ca : the ones who have not breathed their last. The Vedantic nature of this pronouncement of the Lord comes in the next shloka.

12: न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः।

न चैव न भविष्यामः सर्वे वयमतः परम्॥

na tvevAhaM jAtu nAsaM na tvaM neme janAdhipAH |

na caiva na bhavishhyAmaH sarve vayamataH param ||

 

The words break like this: na tu eva ahaM jAtu na AsaM na tvaM na ime janAdhipAH | na ca eva na bhavishhyAmaH sarve vayaM ataH param ||

 

Never was there (na jAtu eva ) a time when I ( aham : Krishna) was not there (na AsaM).  jAtu at all, ever. na tvaM : nor (that) you were (not there).   na ime janAdhipAH : Nor that these kings (were not there). na ca eva : Nor also that; ataH paraM : hereafter; sarve vayaM na bhavishhyAmaH : all of us will not be there. In other words, it is not true to say that at any time I or you or these kings were not there; nor is it true to say any of us will cease to be hereafter. Krishna is obviously referring not to the people here but to the ‘spiritual spark’ within them. This is why in the previous shloka it was said that there is nothing to worry about people who are not living or living. And the logic comes in the form of the next shloka which states the fundamental rock bottom Hindu faith about transmigration.

13: देहिनोऽस्मिन् यथा देहे कौमारं यौवनं जरा।

तथा देहान्तर-प्राप्तिः धीरस्तत्र न मुह्यते॥

dehino.asmin yathA dehe kaumAraM yauvanaM jarA |

tathA dehAntara-prAptiH dhIrastatra na muhyate ||

yathA: Just as: dehinaH: for the resident of the body, for the one who has this body, i.e., for the jIva in this body; asmin dehe: in this body; kaumAram yauvanaM jarA : childhood, youth and old age  (occur); tathA: in the same way, (there occurs) dehAntara-prAptiH: the arrival of a different body. tatra: in this matter dhIraH: a brave seeker; na muhyati: does not get confused or deluded, because he knows that birth and death are  only recurrent incidents in the history of the JIva.

 

          NOTE on the word JIva: JIva is the spiritual spark within. Many books in English translate the word JIva as the ‘soul’.  Sometimes the Atman is also translated as the ‘soul’. The English word ‘soul’ with its meaning as understood in western reading, does not have the connotations of either the ‘JIva’ or ‘the Atman’ of Sanatana Dharma. Reference may be made to the article in Appendix 1 on ‘JIva, Atman and Soul’.

 

dhIraH means a self-composed person. This is a very important word in Hindu spiritual literature. In the Gita it occurs only at three places – one here, one in II-15 below and the third time in XIV-24. The ordinary meaning of the word is just a brave human being.  But the etymological derivation gives: dhiyaM Irayati iti dhIraH. The verb Irayati means: agitates, excites, confirms. The intelligence (dhIH) is convinced and confirmed about the real Truth and this Truth Shankara says is the oneness of the JIvAtmA and the ParamAtmA. For Ramanuja this Truth is the ‘relationship of part and whole’ that subsists, according to him,  between JivAtmA and ParamAtmA.  For Madhvacharya this Truth is the belief of an ‘irrevocable difference’ between JivAtmA and ParamAtmA. Therefore a dhIra is neutral and unattached to all duals like pleasure and pain, victory and defeat, honour and humiliation, and likes and dislikes. Wherever the word ‘dhIra’ occurs even in the Vedas -- for instance, in the Purushha-sUkta[1], or in the IshAvAsyopanishhat[2] it occurs with this connotation. Also see SanatsujAtiyaM[3] in Mahabharata. It will be interesting to recall the definition of ‘dhIra” that poet Kalidasa gives in his epic poem KumArasmbhavam: ‘Those whose minds are not perturbed even in the presence of causes for such agitation, excitement or distraction – they are the dhIras’![4]

14:  मात्रास्पर्शास्तु कौन्तेय शीतोष्ण-सुख-दुखदाः।

आगमापायिनोऽनित्यान् तांस्तितिक्षस्व भारत॥

mAtrAsparshAstu kaunteya shItoshhNa-sukha-dukhadAH |

AgamApAyino.anityAn tAMstitikshhasva bhArata ||

Krishna starts laying the foundations of Spirituality.  This shloka tells us one of the foundational principles of Vedanta, namely, everything is transient.

 

Note: This is the first Foundational Maxim (to be named FM1) of Vedanta, of a total of four, without the acceptance of which Vedanta will not make sense. All four are part of the inspired sayings of ancient Rishis, to whom  Vedic knowledge was revealed by internal sparks of divine wisdom. In order to make it inherent in our psycho-logical system, remember to think of every experience as ‘THIS TOO WILL PASS!”

 

The cold, the heat, things that give us pleasure & happiness, things that give us misery & unhappiness – all these just come and go. Nothing is permanent.  They are all mAtrAsparshAH, says Krishna, i.e., they just touch us externally, that is all. He uses a powerful word which we can never afford to forget. They are AgamApAyinaH, says He, i.e. they just come and go; they have a beginning and an end; they originate, they also get destroyed; i.e., they are not permanent (= nitya), so they are ‘anitya’ (transient, not permanent). The word ‘AgamApAyinaH’ originates from two verbs namely ‘gam’ with ‘aa’ to come and ‘apey’ to vanish or disappear.  They have just to be endured. ‘titikshasva’ (bear with it) is Krishna’s advice here; but very soon he is going to modify it by saying (in II-38) ‘Meet it with equanimity’, meaning, you are not obliged to be pleased with success or to be pained by failure!. Also see V-22.

 

NOTE: It was remarked above that there are four Foundational Maxims (FM’s)  of which this principle, namely, TRANSIENCE OF EVERY EXPERIENCE is one.  The other three are:

FM2: ACTIONLESSNESS OF THE SUPREME LORD (to be first indicated in IV – 13 ).

FM3: ACTIONLESSNESS OF THE SELF (Specifically stated in III-17 &                                 followed up later)

FM4: ACTIONLESSNESS OF THE INDIIDUAL WHO HAS THE ‘I AM NOT THE DOER-EXPERIENCER’-FEELING (Started in III-27 and followed up throughout,  reaching a consummation in XVIII-17.

 

15 यं हि न व्यथयन्त्येते पुरुषं पुरुषर्षभ।

समदुख-सुखं धीरं सोऽमृतत्वाय कल्पते॥

yaM hi na vyathayantyete purushhaM purushharshhabha |

samadukha-sukhaM dhIraM so.amRRitatvAya kalpate ||

 

This eulogises such enlightened behaviour by saying; the DhIra (see #13) who is not perturbed (=na vyathayanti) by any of these (transient) things, who is equanimous to pain and pleasure (=sama-duHkha-sukhaM), is earmarked (kalpate) for Immortality. Immortality (amRRitatvam) does not mean survival of or escape from death; it means one transcends further birth and a consequent death. In other words he becomes fit for moksha. To be subject to grief and sorrow, to be deflected from the path of duty because of disturbance by material happenings, are all indications that we are not dhIras, but only victims of Ignorance (avidyA).

 

Lesson 2 : II – 16

 

The first of three fundamental truths of Vedanta

 

And now comes the first of the several major shlokas of the Gita – what this author would humbly like to name as FIVE-STAR SHLOKAS, (and indicated as such close to the left margin), mostly because of their fundamental nature as well as their profundity of meaning and significance for the spiritual ascent through the Gita.

 

*****16. नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः।

उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्त्व-दर्शिभिः॥

nAsato vidyate bhAvo nAbhAvo vidyate sataH |

ubhayorapi dRRishhTo.antastvanayostattva-darshibhiH ||

The words break as: na asataH vidyate bhAvaH na abhAvaH vidyate sataH | ubhayoH api dRRishhTaH antaH tu anayoH tattva-darshibhiH ||

 

asataH : For that which has no absolute existence;   bhavaH:  being, existence; na vidyate: does not happen, occur.

 

sataH: For that which has an absolute existence; abhAvaH: non-being, non-existence; na vidyate: does not happen, occur.

 

anayoH ubhayoH  api antaH: The truth about both these; dRRishhTaH: has been perceived ; tattva-darshibhiH: by seers of Reality.

 

This shloka is, for Vedanta, as fundamental as Newton’s laws of motion are for Science. In sum, this Vedantic fundamental can be stated as: Of the non-existent there is no coming to be; of the existent there is no ceasing to be.

 

At this point in the Gita we have to see the clear distinction between sat (Reality) and asat (Unreality).  The two are opposite extremes. The ORDERS OF REALITY chart in Appendix 2 explains and  distinguishes the four different orders of reality, the status of reality increasing from left to right. 

Reality and Unreality are two extremes. The Absolute Reality of which we have only one example of Brahman is one extreme. This is the ‘sat’  of advaita vedanta.  Na abhAvaH vidyate sataH says the shloka; meaning, there can be no non-existence of ‘sat’. It always exists. In fact advaita Vedanta  as well as VishishhTAdvaita vedAnta  both say ‘sat’ that is Brahman, is the only thing that exists. Brahman cannot be described or defined by words, though, however, the Upanishads themselves attempt to indicate Brahman by words.

 

So #2.16 says: The (absolute) unreal has no being and the (absolute) real has no non-being. In other words, there is no question of absence for the real, at any point of time – past, present or future. The real always is.  The ‘is’-ness of the Real is never lost.

 

The world of perception, the common world of experience, cannot be rejected out of hand as totally false, like the hare’s horn or the lotus in the sky; nor can it be taken to be totally real because it suffers contradiction at a higher level of experience. It is real in the empirical sense and unreal in the absolute sense. It appears, so it is not asat; it disappears, so it is not sat. Whatever appears and disappears – whether in the long run or in the short run – in other words, whatever is transient, whatever is AgamapAyI, goes by the name of mithyA.

 

This is also the case with a dream. For the dreamer, the dream is real. The acceptance of the reality of the dream to the dreamer is the king-pin of advaita. Many arguments of advaita are based on this phenomenal reality of the dream  (‘prAtibhAsika-satyaM’). Both this and the ‘reality’ of the world   called ‘vyAvahArika- satyaM’ are in between the total unreality - ‘asat’ – of the child of the barren mother, and the total reality – ‘sat’ - of brahman. The dream and similarly the perceptible universe are neither ‘sat’ nor ‘asat’. They are both ‘mithyA’. The meaning of the word ‘mithyA’ is not falsehood but comparative unreality. It is not total non-existence like hare’s horn but it is midway between the absolute truth of brahman and the absolute falsehood of hare’s horn.

Though a definition of an objectisa necessity before a person can say he has known it, in respect of the Absolute Reality, called brahman in the Upanishads, the Vedas say it is impossible to know it, much less define It. brahman is the very core of the knowing subject and as such it can never be made  an object of knowledge and strictly defined.  Nevertheless Vedanta helps us with two types of attempted definitions. One by means of its essential character; this type of definition is called svarUpa-lakshana, that is, the thing as it is.  The second type is by marking an important ‘accidental’ character; this type is called taTastha-lakshana. The constitutive essence of brahman is given by the Upanishads (Taittiriya Upanishad) as ‘SATYAM JNANAM ANANTAM BRAHMA’, i.e., Existence, Intelligence, Infinitude.  These are not its attributes. For if they were attributes, brahman would just become another thing in the world.

Swami Sarvananda, in his commentary on Taittiriyopanishad explains ths Ultimate Reality as follows: Existence is the most universal concept, which leaves nothing whatsoever outside it. We become aware of even the non-existence of a thing as the existence of its absence.  Existence is the substratum of of all positive and negative entities.  Thus awareness or consciousness and existence are never separable. Though there is no ‘existence’ apart from what exists, existence is a value  which is always judged by a conscious being. The absence of consciousness cuts at the root of all value including existence. The very perception of phenomena is the proof of brahman. The existence or reality of whatever is perceived is the reality of brahman. The experience of Reality as a phenomenon is made possible because of the Intelligence underlying the apparatus of ordinary consciousness.  It is the nature of Intelligence to generate consciousness of things.  Thus Existence and Consciousness  are the obverse and the reverse of the same coin; one is inconceivable apart from the other. They constitute the essence of Reality. While Intelligence is non-material and non-dimensional, what it makes conscious of is material and dimensional.  The nature of the one is just the opposite of the other. ‘Matter’ is cognized only in space-time relation. In fact Matter is the self-limitation of Spirit or Consciousness. Whatever is material is thus limited.  Intelligence is non-material and therefore unlimied – it is infinitude.  Thus brahman, the Ultimate Reality, is in essence Being, Intelligence and Infinitude.

 

NOTE: This lesson on II – 16 was captioned: The first of three fundamental truths of Vedanta.  The other two are coming up in IV-24 (Everything is Brahman) and XVIII – 20 (Equanimity for everything and every one, always and everywhere), also elaborated in detail, in 24 shlokas, across the Gita. A  list of these 24 shlokas is available in the commentary following II - 48.

LESSON 3: II-17 to II-22

In #16, Krishna has just now enunciated a fundamental axiom-like-truth of Vedanta. That which really is, cannot go out of existence; and that which is non-existent cannot come into being. In fact a famous statement[5] from MANDUkya-kArikA (which is a gloss on MANDUkyopanishad, by Govinda-bhagavatpada) says That which is non-existent in the beginning and in the end is necessarily so even in the present. Throughout the Gita and throughout the advaita Vedanta study this fact should not be forgotten.  Krishna immediately applies this to the JIva-body complex in the following five shlokas:

17. अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वम्-इदं ततम्।

विनाशम्-अव्ययस्यास्य  न कश्चित् कर्तुमर्हति॥

 avinAshi tu tad-viddhi yena sarvam-idaM tatam |

vinAsham-avyayasy-Asya  na kashcit kartum-arhati ||

 

tad-viddhi: Understand that; here ‘that’ refers to the Atman. avinAshi: (to be)) undestroyable, imperishable. yena sarvaM idaM tataM : By that Atman all this (universe of matter and beings) is pervaded, permeated.  na kashcit : Nobody kartum-arhati :can do ; vinAshaM: damage, destruction; avyayasya asya : to this which is imperishable. The Atman always is; no one can cause destruction to it, because as a sad-vastu, (#16) it can never be destroyed; It will always continue to exist.

Think of a clay-pot. There is space inside the pot and there is space outside the pot. Even if the pot is broken, the space that was within the pot and the space that was outside the pot, are still there. The space cannot be destroyed. The Atman, the Self is immutable, in the same way. In addition, the reality of the Self is self-established (svataH-siddhaM); for it is not unknown to anybody. The scriptures only serve to remove the superposition of attributes alien to the Self and not to reveal something that is altogther unknown. Atman, the Self is sat; in contrast, what is asat is described in the next shloka.

 

18. अन्तवन्त इमे देहाः नित्यस्योक्ताः शरीरिणः।

अनाशिनोऽप्रमेयस्य तस्माद्युद्ध्यस्व भारत॥

antavanta ime dehAH nityasyoktAH sharIriNaH |

anAshino.aprameyasya tasmAdyuddhyasva bhArata ||

 

ime dehAH antavantaH : These bodies have an end.  Whose bodies are they?  nityasya sharIriNaH uktAH: (they are) said to be those of the permanent resident of the bodies.   sharIra means body; one has a body is a sharIrI. He is the resident in the body.  This resident is the soul, the Atman. For this Atman, three attributes are mentioned. nityasya : permanent, everlasting, eternal; anAshinaH: endless, destruction-less, deathless. There are two kinds of destruction usually talked about; one is a total destruction; another is a kind of decay and debilitation.  Both kinds of destruction are negated by the use of the two words nityasya and anAshinaH. aprameyasya: immeasurable, indeterminable, incomprehensible. It is incomprehensible because by no means of cognition, direct, visual or inferential, can it be cognized. ‘This wisdom is not to be obtained by argumentation’ says Kathopanishad[6]. These three epithets nityasya, anAshinaH and aprameyasya  therefore  say that the Atman is infinite and illimitable. tasmAt: therefore; bhArata: O Arjuna; yuddhyasva: go and fight.

 

Thus the Self can never be thought of as dead nor can it be thought of as a doer of actions. This latter part will come to light in due course of the Gita. Right now Krishna gives a hint of it in the following shloka

 

19. य एनं वेत्ति हन्तारं यश्चैनं मन्यते हतं।

उभौ तौ न विजानीते नायं हन्ति न हन्यते॥

ya enaM vetti hantAraM yashcainaM manyate hataM |

ubhau tau na vijAnIte nAyaM hanti na hanyate ||

 

yaH enaM hantAraM vetti: Whoever thinks of this Self as the killer ; (hantA means killer, han, to kill, is the root verb); yashca enaM hataM manyate: (or) whoever thinks of this Self as killed; ubhau tau: they both; na vijAnite: do not know; na ayaM hanti: this (Self) does not slay; na hanyate: nor is it slain. Recall the Katha Upanishad statement[7]: ‘If the slayer thinks that he slays or if the slain think that he is slain, both of them do not understand. He neither slays nor is slain’.

 

What slays or is slain is only the body. This is made clearer by the next shloka. See how the Lord takes us slowly and steadily upward on the spiritual path of understanding the Vedantic truths.

 

20. न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचित् नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः।

अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे॥

na jAyate mriyate vA kadAcit  nAyaM bhUtvA bhavitA vA na bhUyaH |

ajo nityaH shAshvato.ayaM purANo na hanyate hanyamaane sharIre ||

 

na jAyate : It (The Self) is never born; therefore ajaH (=unborn) in the second half of the verse.  mriyate vA kadAcit: nor does it die ever; therefore nityaH (=eternal) in the second half of the verse.

na: nor is it that ; ayaM bhUtvA: this, having been born;  bhUyaH na bhavitA : again ceases to exist.  This also contributes to the word nityaH (=eternal, undecaying).

Another meaning: na: nor is it that;  na bhUtvA : having been non-existent  bhUyaH : again; bhavitA: comes into being. This also contributes to the  word ajaH (=unborn).

ayaM bhUtvA na bhUyaH na bhavitA : இருந்து மறுபடி இல்லாமல் போவதுமில்லை.

na bhUtvA ayaM na bhUyaH bhavitA : இல்லாமலிருந்து மறுபடி இருப்பதுமில்லை.

The presence of vA (a conjunction) and a repetition (in the 2nd quarter of the verse) of na (negation) allows this double meaning. 

shAsvataH: everlasting; purANaH: ancient, new even in the past, uniform, primeval; na hanyate hanyamAne sharIre: ( it) is not slain when the body is slain.

By saying ‘the soul is never born nor ever does it die’ and negating thereby the two extreme modifications of birth and death, Krishna negates all six modifications or vikAras that any being goes through. These six are: one is born (jAyate),  exists (asti), grows (vardhate),  matures or transforms (vipariNamate),  decays (kshIyate), and  dies (nashyati). na jAyate and na mriyate negate the first and last modifications. The term ‘ancient’ (purANaH) negates the transformation of ‘growth’. The term ‘eternal’ negates ‘decay’. The term ‘everlasting’ negates the transformation of ‘maturing’. The double meaningful statement ‘bhUtvA vA bhavitA na bhUyaH’ negates the transformation into ‘existence’.

21. वेदाविनाशिनं नित्यं य एनमजमव्ययम्।

कथं स पुरुषः पार्थ कं घातयति हन्ति कम्॥

 vedAvinAshinaM nityaM ya enam-ajam-avyayam |

kathaM sa purushhaH pArtha kaM ghAtayati hanti kam ||

 

yah enaM veda: whoever knows this (Atman); avinAshinaM: imperishable; nityaM: eternal; ajaM: unborn; avyayaM: (and)  undecaying;

kathaM sa purushhaH kaM ghAtayati: how (kathaM) and whom (kaM) will that person cause to be slain?

kathaM sa purushhaH kaM hanti: how and whom will that person slay?

 

Here the Lord lays the foundation for one of the major declarations of the Gita, namely, the Self is never the doer of anything.  We will have several opportunities to come back to this point in more depth as we go along. Here the Lord plants the seed for the concept of ACTIONLESSNESS on the part of the Atman, which is what we named in the Note at the end of II-14,  as the second foundational maxim (FM-2), indispensable for an authentic understanding of Vedanta or the Gita.  

22 वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि।

तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही॥

vAsAMsi jIrNAni yathA vihAya navAni gRRihNAti naro.aparANi |

tathA sharIrANi vihAya jIrNAnyanyAni saMyAti navAni dehI ||

 

yathA naraH: Just as a person; vAsAmsi jIrNAni vihAya:  throwing away (his) decayed garments; navAni aparANi gRRihNAti: takes up other new ones; tathA: so also;  dehI: the resident of the body; jIRNAni sharIrANi vihAya: throwing away the decayed bodies; anyaani navAni samyAti: takes up other new ones (bodies).

 

This  standard cycle of transmigration of the jIva into a new body after the death of the old one is a fundamental fact embedded in all Hindu shAstras. This is what Krishna was referring to in #13 as something over which the right spiritual seeker (dhIraH) would not be worried about or confused.

Thus has been laid the foundation for Krishna’s Gitopadesha, namely,

  1. The Vedantic argument that the spirit within never dies even when the body dies;

  2. The everlasting Atman or the Self  that is within  is so unlike the transient body that it is unborn, eternal and ancient and so cannot be ascribed as doing something or as causing  something done..

Now He takes us to a profound description of what that Self by Itself is.  This is the content of the next three shlokas.

 

[1] tasya dhIrAH parijAnanti yoniM …

[2] iti sushhruma dhIrANAM …. I.U. 10

[3] dhIrastu dhairyeNa taranti mRRityuM : SanatsujAtIyaM 1.11

[4] vikAra-hetau sati vikriyante yeshhAM na cetAmsi ta eva dhIrAH.

[5] AdAvante ca yannAsti vartamAne.api tattadA –Mandukya-Karika, 2.6

[6] naishhA tarkeNa matirApanIyA  (Katha U.I-2-9)

[7] hanta cenmanyate hantuM hatascen manyate hatam, ubhau tau na vijAnIto nAyaM hanti na hanyate.  (Katha U. I-2-19)

 

.

LESSON 4: II-23 to II-25

23. नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः।

न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुतः॥

nainaM chhindanti shastrANi nainaM dahati pAvakaH |

nacainaM kledayantyApo na shoshhayati mArutaH ||

 

shastrAni na chindanti enaM: Weapons do not cleave this (Self), (because the Self has no parts to be severed).  pavakaH na dahati enaM: Fire does not burn this, (because the Self is changeless); ApaH  ca na kledayanti enaM: Water does not wet this, (because the Self is partless); mArutaH na shoshhayati: Wind does not dry this up, (because there is nothing like dampness or oil to dry up).

 

24. अच्चेद्योऽयं-अदाह्योऽयं अक्लेद्योऽशोष्य एव च।

नित्यः सर्वगतः स्थाणुः अचलोऽयं सनातनः॥

acchedyo.ayam-adAhyo.ayaM akledyo.ashoshhya eva ca |

nityaH sarvagataH sthANuH acalo.ayaM sanAtanaH ||

 

ayaM: This Self; acchedyaH: cannot be cut, because it has no physical dimensions, and that is why ‘weapons do not cleave it’ (#23); ayaM adAhyaH: This cannot be burnt, because it has no chemical substance in it, and that is why ‘fire does not burn it’ (#23); akledyaH, ashoshyaH: it cannot be wetted or dried, for the same reason. As the elements that ruin one another cannot destroy this Self, it is nityaH, eternal, meaning, it is devoid of the two alternatives of ‘before’ and ‘after’. This means it is not produced as an effect of a cause. Therefore it cannot be separate from anything, for, separateness persists wherever there is an effect[1]. Again this means it is all-pervasive, sarvagataH. Being all-pervasive, it is stable, sthANuH, like a pillar. Being stable, it is immovable, acalaH, and hence, changeless. Change means transformation from one state to another. Action means mobility even in the same state. The Self has neither change nor movement. It is therefore ever in the same state, which means it is sanAtanaH, ancient.

 

Note: Expositors say a constant japa (repetitive recitation accompanied by counting of repetitions) of shlokas 23 and 24 will lead to removal of ‘I-am-the body’ consciousness (dehAbhimAna) and finally to Immortality (amRRitatvaM).

 

25. अव्यक्तोऽयमचिन्त्योऽयं अविकार्योऽयमुच्यते।

तस्मादेवं विदित्वैनं  नानुशोचितुमर्हसि॥

 avyakto.ayam-acintyo.ayaM avikAryo.ayam-ucyate |

tasmAd-evaM viditvainaM  nAnushocitum-arhasi ||

 

The Self is avyaktaH, unmanifest – not manifest like the body, but greater than all manifestation;; acintyaH, unthinkable, not to be analysed by thought, but greater than all mental process, therefore incomprehensible; avikAryaH: not amenable to any vikAras, transformations or changes, but beyond the changes of mind, life and body -- in other words, unchanging, immutable. tasmAt: therefore; evaM viditvA enaM: thus knowing this Self; na anushocitum arhasi; you are not supposed to grieve.

 

These three shlokas 23, 24 & 25  describe the Impersonal Transcendental Self in absolute terms; the Self is

 

avinAshi, imperishable,  therefore not conditioned by Time;

aparicchinna, indivisible,  therefore not conditioned by Space ; and

avyaya, immutable, therefore not conditioned by causality.

 

These constitute the Vedantic foundation for all spiritual declarations of the Gita.  There is a classical saying[2]: ‘The Upanishads are the cows, whom the divine milkman Sri Krishna milks with the help of Arjuna, the calf, and gives us intelligent beings the milk called the Gita-nectar’. It will therefore be quite fitting at this point to recall a few sayings from the Upanishads. This will help us understand the Gita statements like #s23, 24 and 25 in more depth. We may  attempt a quick look at the Upanishadic wisdom through just a list of quotes, by referring to Appendix -3: Upanishad Quotes on ‘The Self’. 

 

LESSON – 5 : II-26 to II-37

 

The three teachings numbered by us as U-4: Efficient discharge of duties and obligations, U-1: Yoga-sAdhanA which is the methodology of controlling the senses and attachments and U-5: Total surrender to the Divine, are the sure means (sAdhanA) to take us to the ideal of the Gita, which is U-2, Brahma-bhAva or Equanimity. Krishna repeats this very often in the Gita.  Of the five teachings however, U-3 which insists on an undivided faith in the Divine Absolute, is the basic fundamental step with which every seeker has to begin.  Krishna himself says later in XVIII.67 that this message of the Gita should not be told to one who does not have the faith nor to one who hates the Lord nor to one who has not asked for it. Arjuna certainly satisfies the requirement!  That he has asked for it is borne strongly by his own statement II.7.

 

Having talked about the ultimate goal, that is, the attitude of being one’s true Self (Atman – which will be identified with the transcendental Brahman as the GItA develops)  in  #s 23, 24 and 25, Krishna now throws in some elementary commonsense considerations in the next five shlokas (26 to 30) – granting that what He has been saying  so far in the philosophical style (His very first argument for Arjuna) may possibly not have been understood, much less accepted.

 

26. अथ चैनं नित्य-जातं नित्यं वा मन्यसे मृतं।

तथापि त्वं महबाहो नैवं शोचितुमर्हसि॥

atha cainaM nitya-jAtaM nityaM vA manyase mRRitaM |

tathApi tvaM mahabAho naivaM shocitum-arhasi ||

 

atha: On the other hand ; ca manyase: even if you think; enaM: of this (Self); nitya-jAtaM: as being born  regularly, perpetually; vA: and; nityaM mRRitaM: as perpetually dying; tathA api; even then; mahAbAho: O mighty-armed; tvaM: you; na evam shocitum arhasi: ought not to grieve like this. For, the reason comes strongly from a most fundamental fact of life stated in the next two shlokas.

 

27. जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युः ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च।

तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि॥

jAtasya hi dhruvo mRRityuH dhruvaM janma mRRitasya ca |

tasmAd-aparihArye.arthe na tvaM shocitum-arhasi ||

 

mRRityuH dhruvo hi: Death is indeed certain; jAtasya: for one who is born; mRRitasya: for one who dies; dhruvaM janma ca: birth too, is certain. tasmAt: therefore; aparihArye arthe: in (this) inevitable (unavoidable) matter; na tvaM shocitum arhasi: you ought not to grieve.

 

28. अव्यक्तादीनि भूतानि व्यक्तमध्यानि भारत।

अव्यक्तनिधनान्येव तत्र का परिदेवना॥

 avyaktAdIni bhUtAni vyakta-madhyAni bhArata |

avyakta-nidhanAny-eva tatra kA paridevanA ||

 

bhUtaani: Beings; avyakta-AdIni: have unmanifest beginnings; vyakta-madhyAni: have their middle stage manifest; avyakta-nidhanAni eva: likewise they are unmanifest in disintegration or destruction.; tatra: in this matter ; kA paridevanA: why lamentation? The two words ‘vyakta’ (manifest, explicit) and ‘avyakta’ (not manifest, not explicit, undeveloped, imperceptible, indistinct, invisible)  should be noted.

 

29. आश्चर्यवत्-पश्यति कश्चिदेनं आश्चर्यवद्वदति तथैव चान्यः।

आश्चर्यवच्चैनमन्यः शृणोति श्रुत्वाप्येनं वेद न चैव कश्चित्॥

Ashcaryavat-pashyati kashcidenaM Ashcaryavadvadati tathaiva cAnyaH |

AshcaryavaccainamanyaH shRRiNoti shrutvApyenaM veda na caiva kashcit ||

kashcit enaM Ashcaryavat pashyati: One sees it (this Self) as a marvel;  anyaH Ashcaryavad-vadati tathA eva ca: Another speaks of the same as a miracle; anyaH Ashcaryavat ca shRRiNoti: Another hears of it also as a wonder; shrutvA api: even after hearing  (speaking and seeing) about it ; na ca eva kashcit veda: not even one knows it.

 

This shloka is an echo from Kathopanishad  I-ii-7: [3]‘Of that Self which is not available for the mere hearing to many, and which many do not understand even while hearing, the expounder is wonderful and the receiver is wonderful; wonderful is he who knows under the instruction of an adept’. The truth of the Self is free of access to all mankind; but to attain it one has to pay the price of self-discipline and non-attachment.  Many do not have the urge to seek; many suffer from doubt and vacillation and many are scared away by obstacles in the path.  Only a few perhaps reach the goal. We shall see later in VII.3 a more strongly worded shloka, with the same thought-process indicating the agony-filled plight of the Lord.

 

Now He tops up this elementary argument with a brief conclusion in the following shloka.  Every time he uses ‘tasmAt’ (therefore), one can see there is a conclusion of one line of  thought.

 

30. देही नित्यमवध्योऽयं देहे सर्वस्य भारत।

तस्मात् सर्वाणि भूतानि न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि॥

 dehI nityam-avadhyo.ayaM dehe sarvasya bhArata |

tasmAt sarvANi bhUtAni na tvaM shocitum-arhasi ||

 

sarvasya dehe ayaM dehI : The (eternal) resident in the body of every one; nityaM avadhyaH: is ever indestructible; tasmAt: therefore; tvaM: you ; sarvANi bhUtAni na shocitum arhasi: ought not to grieve about any being.

 

With this the elementary commonsense arguments about life and death stop.  Krishna does not come back to these mild arguments after this. He now takes up in Shlokas 31 to 37, the second (A2) of the five arguments we spoke of earlier.  It is the so-called ‘svadharma’ argument.  Even here he does not go into full depth of the argument.  The full force of A2, with all its spiritual, esoteric and religious connotations bearing on the concept of varNa, will be made clear in Ch.18. Here only the ethical and social aspects are touched.

 

31. स्वधर्ममपि चावेक्ष्य न विकम्पितुमर्हसि।

धर्म्याद्धि युद्धाच्छ्रेयोऽन्यत् क्षत्रियस्य न विद्यते॥

svadharmamapi cAvekshhya na vikampitumarhasi |

dharmyAddhi yuddhAcchhreyo.anyat kshhatriyasya na vidyate ||

 

The break-up of words in the second half: dharmyAt hi yuddhAt shreyaH anyat kshatriyasya na vidyate.

 

svadharmam-api-ca-avekshya: Even considering one’s own dharma, that is, in terms of your own obligatory duties as a kshatriya warrior who has come to the battlefield; na vikampitum arhasi:  you are not supposed to waver or quake (like the trembling of the earth in an earthquake – the verb ‘kamp’ means to tremble or shake); hi: because; kshatriyasya: for  a kshatriya (like you); dharmyaat yuddhAt:  more than a righteous war;  anyat shreyaH na vidyate: there is no other good thing.

 

kshatAt (from destruction)  trAyate (protects, safeguards) iti kshatriyaH – This is the etymological derivation for the word kshatriya. Most Sanskrit words can be traced back in terms of their meaning to the root verb contained within themselves. Here therefore, the most direct meaning of ‘kshatriya’ is one who protects or safeguards (the world, or people, or property) from destruction.

 

The word ‘shreyaH’ means ‘good’, ‘virtue’, ‘blessing’, ‘auspiciousness’. Krishna, the Master-teacher that He is, in spite of his obvious engagement with the horses of the chariot whose reins he is holding in his hand even while he is talking at the dizzy heights of philosophy and eschatology, uses words carefully and at the right times with specific purposes.  Here he uses the word shreyas, because in Arjuna’s lamentation for almost a whole chapter (Ch.1), he ends up with a final request: [4]Tell me O Krishna, I surrender to you, tell me what is ‘shreyas’ for me!.  So Krishna says there is nothing more ‘shreyas’ for you, a kshatriya, than this righteous war!. Arjuna had already used it two more times: [5]I don’t see any ‘shreyas’ in killing my own kith and kin; [6]It is more ‘shreyas’ to renounce the world and beg for food than to have to kill the revered elders who are more than a guru to me. We shall be seeing many more examples of how Krishna uses the right words for the right uses at the right times. In XVIII.47 and III-35 He repeats a half verse[7] which means ‘shreyas’ is one’s own dharma, though in itself faulty than an alien dharma well wrought out.  Incidentally this is one of the only two  half-verses each of which occur twice  in the GItA!

 

One more comment about svadharma is necessary in the total understanding of the Gita..  There is a companion word, namely, svabhAva.  svadharma and svabhAva are going to be discussed and contrasted very effectively in the eighteenth chapter. While svadharma means one’s own dharma (obligatory duty), svabhAva means one’s own nature.  One brings this latter from all his past thoughts and actions, including those of his previous lives. svadharma comes from the varNa in which one is born and if the varNa is not clear, it has to be understood from the profession for which one is trained or in which one is engaged. A doctor’s svadharma is to heal and a teacher’s svadharma is to teach. When a soldier becomes a commander, his svadharma changes. More on this when we come to the eighteenth chapter of the Gita, in which all the knots that appear to be knotty will be unknotted (apparently!).

 

32. यदृच्छया चोपपन्नं स्वर्ग-द्वारमपावृतम्।

सुखिनः क्षत्रियाः पार्थ लभन्ते युद्धमीदृशम्॥

yadRRicchhayA copapannaM svarga-dvAramapAvRRitam |

sukhinaH kshhatriyAH pArtha labhante yuddhamIdRRisham ||

yadRRicchhayA: Fortunately, accidentally, by some chance;  upapannaM  has this (opportunity) arisen; svargadvAraM: the gates of heaven ; apAvRRitaM: have been opened (for you). For if a kshhatriya dies on the battlefield, he goes to heaven (according to ManusmRRiti and according to the general belief of the times) sukhinaH kshhatriyAH: Happy are those kshhatriyas: (who); labhante: get; IdRRishaM yuddhaM: such a war .

 

Comment on the word ‘yadRRicchhayA’.

 

This is one of those Sanskrit words that are usually not fully understood. In scriptural and religious literature this word is very sparingly used. Most often when it is used it means ‘By the Will of the Supreme’. The word ‘yat’ stands for the supreme; one standard example is the statement in Taittiriyopanishad: ‘yato vA imAni bhUtAni jAyante’ meaning, ‘From the Supreme all these beings emanate’.  In#32 the idea is: My dear Arjuna, says Krishna, even by looking at one’s svadharma, you should not sorrow; by divine will you have this opportunity of dharma-yuddha, which opens the gates of heaven for you; kshatriyas are rare who meet with such an opportunity. It is well-known from the Mahabharata though Krishna went as a messenger of peace between the two sides, and he tried his best, his heart was already set for war.

 

It is interesting to list a few of the other places in scriptural literature where the word is forcefully used to indicate that what happens or happened was not ‘by chance’ but by God’s Will

 

1. Valmiki Ramayana: Ayodhya kanda, 7 – 1:

‘jnAtidAsI yato jAtA kaikeyyA tu sahoshhitA / prAsAdaM candra-samkAshaM Aruroha yadRRicchayA’ . This is the shloka which creates the turning point in the story of Ramayana. This is where, when the entire AyodhyA is joyously celebrating the ensuing crowning of their beloved Rama – that has just been announced in the King’s Assembly – the old maid-friend of Queen Kaikeyi climbs up the stairs ‘accidentally’ as it were, but ‘yadRcchayA’ in Valmiki’s composition.

 

3. At the other turning point in Rama’s story also, namely, on the ‘accidental’ (!) first arrival of SurpanakA at PanchavaTi, the word ‘yadRcchayA’ is used. V.R. AranyakANDa: 17 – 5: ‘taM deshaM rAkshhasI kAcit AjagAma yadRRicchhayA’. In both these situations Valmiki has made it clear by using this word that it was Divine Will that created these turning points in the life of Ram.

 

4. In Srimad Bhagavatam, which is the wonderful narration by boy-sage Shuka to King Parikshit for seven days, the arrival of Suka on the stage where King Parikshit was sitting before an assembly of great Rishis for the purpose of awaiting his death in 7 days according to the curse he has just invited on himself by his own impulsive action – this arrival is announced as ‘yadRRicchhayA’, accidentally, as it were, but in reality, ‘by God’s Will’! :

Tatraabhavad bhagavaan vyAsaputro yadRcchhayA gAmaTamAno’napekshaH / -- Bhagavatam1-19-25.

 

5. In Gita itself, see also IV.22. We shall explain it when we come to it.

 

33. अथ चेत्त्वमिमं धर्म्यं संग्रामं न करिष्यसि।

ततः स्वधर्मं कीर्तिं च हित्वा पापम्-अवाप्स्यसि॥

atha cettvamimaM dharmyaM saMgrAmaM na karishhyasi |

tataH svadharmaM kIrtiM ca hitvA pApam-avApsyasi ||

atha cet : If on the other hand ; tvaM na karishhyasi: you refuse to fight ; imaM saMgrAmaM : this righteous war; tataH ; then; svadharmaM kIrtiM ca hitvA: sacrificing both the Dharma, the law of your own,  and fame; pApaM avApsyasi: you will incur sin.

 

Compare this softened way of admonition with the oncoming harsh way of Krishna’s reaction in the same context later in XVIII.58 and XVIII.59. Krishna probably does not want to be very harsh right in the beginning!

 

34. अकीर्तिं चापि भूतानि कथयिष्यन्ति तेऽव्ययाम्।

सम्भावितस्य चाकीर्तिः मरणादतिरिच्यते॥

 akIrtiM cApi bhUtAni kathayishhyanti te.avyayAm |

sambhAvitasya cAkIrtiH maraNAd-atiricyate ||

 

bhUtAni api te avyayAM akIrtiM  kathayishhyanti: Besides, all beings will recount your everlasting infamy (perpetual disgrace); sambhAvitasya ca : And, for one in noble station (like you) ; akIrtiH maraNAt atiricyate : dishonour is worse than death.

 

35. भयाद्रणादुपरतं मंस्यन्ते त्वां महारथाः।

येषां च त्वं बहुमतो भूत्वा यास्यसि लाघवम्॥

bhayAd-raNAd-uparataM maMsyante tvAM mahArathAH |

yeshhAM ca tvaM bahumato bhUtvA yAsyasi lAghavam||

 

mahArathAH: Great warrior-heros  - Most of them are your contemporaries – mamsyante tvaM : will think of you as ; bayAt raNAt uparataM : having run away from the battle out of fear;  Who are those that think so? They are yeshhAM ca tvaM bahumato bhUtvA: those very heros by whom you were greatly acclaimed;  yaasyasi laaghavaM: You will fall low in their esteem.

 

This one was about the warrior-friends & well-wishers of Arjuna. Now listen to what reaction will happen from those who do not wish well of Arjuna. Even in this minor argument Krishna goes very methodically!

 

36.    अवाच्यवादाम्श्च बहून् वदिष्यन्ति तवाहिताः।

निन्दन्तस्तव सामर्थ्यं ततो दुःखतरं नु किम्॥

avAcyavAdAmsh-ca bahUn vadishhyanti tavAhitAH |

nindantas-tava sAmarthyaM tato duHkataraM nu kim ||

 

tava ahitAH ca : Your enemies also ; bahUn avAcyavAdAn vadishhyanti: will hurl many unmentionable insults at you; tava sAmarthyaM nindantaH: slandering your competence; tato duHkhataraM nu kiM? : Is there something more tortuous or miserable than this?

 

37.    हतो वा प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्गं जित्वा वा भोक्ष्यसे महीम्।

तस्मादुत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृत-निश्चयः॥

hato vA prApsyasi svargaM jitvA vA bhokshyase mahIm |

tasmAd-uttishhTha kaunteya yuddhAya kRRita-nishcayaH ||

 

hato vA; If you get slain; svargaM prApsyasi: you will reach heaven; jitvA vA: on the other hand if you are victorious; mahIM bhokshyasi: you will enjoy this kingdom; tasmAt; therefore; uttishhTha: stand up; yuddhAya kRRita-nishcayaH: with a determination to fight.

LESSON 6:  II.38 — Business of the Mind

*****38. सुख-दुःखे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ।

ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि॥

sukha-duHkhe same kRRitvA lAbhAlAbhau jayAjayau |

tato yuddhAya yujyasva naivaM pApamavApsyasi ||

 

This is another of our five-star shlokas.  After introducing the Vedanta argument A1 in 11 to 25, some arguments based on worldly considerations in 26 to 30 and touching mildly on the svadharma argument A2 in 31 to 37, now Krishna prepares Arjuna for a serious  discussion of the dilemma on hand.  This serious discussion (Karma yoga) starts in 47 and goes all the way up to the middle of the fifth chapter and is summarised again at the end in the 18th chapter. This shloka #38 is the common link between what has been said earlier and what comes from #47.  It is the concept of Equanimity, one (U-2) of the five major teachings of the Gita, which is also the essence of the Karma Yoga argument A3. First let us get the sense of 38. The language is simple. This is another beauty of Krishna’s Gita.  When He says something very great He does not adorn it or complicate it by any additional flowery language!

 

same kRRitvA: Treating alike (equanimously); sukhaduHkhe: happiness and unhappiness (pleasure and pain); laabha-alAbhau: gain and loss: jaya-ajayau: success and failure (victory and defeat); tato yuddhAya yujyasva: then get ready for battle; evaM na pApaM avApsyasi: this way you will not incur sin.

 

The word ‘sama’ (equal, equanimous) is the key word in this shloka.  Throughout the Gita, Krishna is going to talk about it in several ways. We shall elaborate the concept when we come to #48. Right now, look back at #14, one of the shlokas in the very beginning. Krishna said there: Whatever gives you pleasure or pain they only touch you outwardly; they don’t touch your inner Self. So bear with happinss and happiness. There He only asked us to ‘bear’ the dualities like heat and cold, pleasure and pain and so forth.  But now, after 24 shlokas later, He is asking you to do more than ‘suffering’ it; TREAT THEM EQUALLY, says He.  This is several steps up the ladder of Spirituality.

 

Krishna’s style is noteworthy.  First He says something or introduces a concept. At that point of introduction He does not elaborate nor is He hard on it in terms of emphasis.  But as you go up the ladder, as you move forward and forward in the Gita He gradually unfurls the hard discipline involved in what He said earlier.  Even in terms of concepts His method is a spiralling level of complication.  When He first introduces a concept He simply mentions it. Only as you go along you will be told of the many nuances involved in it.  This is what is called the spiral method of teaching – one of the best methods handled by all great teachers. We will have many occasions in the sequel to see examples of it.

 

Treating happiness and unhappiness equally is a behavioural task of the mind.  In fact, most of the things said in the Gita will have to be applied by the mind and followed.  So we shall take a little diversion now to understand some complexities of the thing called MIND.

 

Look at the chart called ‘Empire of the Mind’ which is in two parts, separately given in  Appendix 4.

The chart is only a graphic demonstration of the sixteen channels of the mind, thirteen of which are negative, two are positive and one is neutral. The animal in us brings with it six evils which are rooted in the human mind. They are usually recognised as the animal passions in man and constitute the major obstacles in the ascent to spirituality. These are: lust or any desire that is illegitimate; attachment and head-long passion for one’s possessions, belongings, kith and kin and opinions; hate; anger; greed; and confusion-cum-delusion. These are known, in Sanskrit, as: kAma, rAga, dvesha, krodha, lobha and moha, respectively. The human mind has perfected these individual evils over several millenia rather persistently and successfully.

In addition to these six, the human mind nurtures six more evil tendencies – for which man cannot blame his animal ancestry, if there was one. These are: Arrogance (mada); Jealousy (mAtsarya), the feeling of discomfort at another’s rise or success; The awkward feeling, (IrshyA) ‘why my miseries are not happening to others?’; Spite or Malice (asUyA) – the feeling that does not brook or give any credit to others even when they have legitimately deserved it and so takes pleasure in talking them down; Fad for show (dambha) – a projection of one’s own name or personality in everything that happens; and Pride (garva), the feeling that nobody else is equal to oneself.

These twelve evils or diseases of the mind as we may call them, are all captained, monitored, motivated and prompted by a grand master – the EGO. It is referred to as ‘aham-kAra’ in Sanskrit. Nobody escapes it. It is the king-pin of all villainy. It is the source of all evil tendencies in man’s mind. But it is not as if it is unconquerable. By constant practice and dispassion, say the scriptures, one can control these twelve evil tendencies along with their captain, the Ego. By thought the ego was made and so by thought the power of the ego can be unmade. But the thought must now be directed toward a higher entity, for the ego would never allow itself to be attacked. In order that one may succeed in this endeavour, one has to channel the mind toward the only two good tendencies in Man which can oppose each one of the thirteen, with some success. These two are: Faith (ShraddhA) and Devotion-cum-dedication (Bhakti).

Faith is faith in the divinity of the Self within each one of us. Devotion to that Inner Self and dedication to everything that represents that divinity together constitute the bhakti that is natural to us. But the thirteen evil tendencies in the mind create obstacles for the expression of this devotion and dedication. Not only do they create obstacles but they pull us in exactly the opposite direction, away from the divinity that is inherent in us. It is therefore necessary to exercise our willpower (icchA) and extricate the intellect from the clutches of the Ego and its entire gang of twelve. This will-power is the sixteenth neutral channel. Most of the Gita is to enjoin us to use our will-power powered by the intellect  to draw our minds away from the direction of the thirteen channels and direct it towards the two good channels – shraddhA and bhakti.

 

 

LESSON – 7: II – 39 to II – 46

39. एषा तेऽभिहिता सांख्ये बुद्धिर्योगे-त्विमां शृणु।

बुद्ध्या  युक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धं प्रहास्यसि॥

eshhA te.abhihitA sAmkhye buddhir-yoge-tvimAM shRRiNu |

buddhyA  yukto yayA pArtha karma-bandhaM prahAsyasi||

 

eshhA te abhihitA sAnkhye buddhiH: This has been told to you in the Sankhya-buddhi , that is, the knowledge by discrimination of metaphysical Reality; yoge tu imAM shRRiNu:  But now listen to Me the same  in the Yoga; yayA buddhyA yuktaH : Yoked to this yoga-buddhi; karma-bandhaM prahAsyasi: you will be able to cast away the bondage of Karma .

 

Here two technical words have been used by Krishna: SAnkhya and Yoga. These two usually stand for two distinct branches (schools, systems) of Indian Philosophy. Each one is actually a regimen for the spiritual ascent. But Gita uses these two words not in that sense but with a very special meaning and connotation. Renunciation with a full knowledge of Absolute Reality is termed SAnkhya[8]. This knowledge was talked about in shlokas 12 to 25. And Yoga is Karma yoga which he is going to start in #47.  Krishna says: I have told you all this from the point of view of a mind oriented towards SAnkhya.  But now let me tell it to you in a different way, to that shade of intellect which is oriented towards Yoga. Yoga is the path of Action where the wisdom of Sankhya is knowledge of the metaphysical truth and renunciation of desire. Sankhya and Yoga have both the same aim but differ in their methods (5.5)

 

So first he praises the yoga-direction of the spiritual ascent. Note that this is the first time that Krishna uses the word ‘yoga’. The one who is anchored (established, attuned) in yoga is said to be ‘yuktaH’ , a word which is going to be used by Krishna very often. It is formally being defined by Krishna in 6.8. The opposite of yuktaH is ayuktaH – which denotes some one who is not in one-pointed yoga, or in other words, one whose mind is undisciplined. The meaning of yoga will encompass many more things as the Gita moves forward; and consequently the meaning of yuktaH  will also keep expanding.

 

Another word that needs explanation is yoga-buddhi. According to Shankara[9] this yoga-buddhi is karma yoga performed for the worship or the pleasure of God, after discarding pairs of opposites and it also includes the attainment of samadhi or concentration.

 

40. नेहाभिक्रम-नाशोऽस्ति प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते।

स्वल्पमप्य्स्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात्॥

nehAbhikrama-nAsho.asti pratyavAyo na vidyate |

svalpam-apysya dharmasya trAyate mahato bhayAt ||

 

na iha abhikrama-nAshaH asti: On this path no effort is ever lost; pratyavAyaH na vidyate: nor is any sin involved (if it is not done) nor is there any obstacle (if it is done);  asya dharmasya svalpam api : Even a little of this Dharma; mahato bhayAt trAyate: delivers one from great peril (fear).

 

In shlokas 41 to 44, Krishna shows us a new face. He decries those who think that the ritualistic part of the Vedas is all there is. Till now he has been talking high Vedanta.  But where does the Vedanta come from? It comes from Vedas. The Vedas are actually thought about as consisting of three major subject-divisions, though physically there is no such separation in the text. These three are called Karma-kANDa (the portions that talk about our duties and rituals), upAsanA-kANDa (the portions that contain prayers to the divines and worship of gods) and j~nAna-kANDa (the portions that talk about the Ultimate Wisdom about the Absolute Reality).  The last one is mainly the subject matter of the last part of the Vedas, called the Upanishads. But the other two are all mixed up everywhere in the non-Upanishad portion of the Vedas.  Now there are people in the world who contend that the ritualistic part of the Vedas is the main motive of the Vedas and that the other things are not important.  Krishna criticizes these people as desire-ridden, in no unmistakable terms, in shlokas 41 to 44. In fact the Lord adopts this posture of a pungent critic in two places in the Gita.  One here, and the other in the 16th chapter where the object of his tirade is the body of unbelievers in the world.

 

41. व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः एकेह कुरुनन्दन।

बहुशाखा ह्यनन्ताश्च बुद्धयोऽव्यवसायिनाम्॥

 vyavasAyAtmikA buddhiH ekeha kurunandana |

bahushAkhA hyanantAshca buddhayo.avyavasAyinAm ||

 

The subject-matter is the buddhi, here meaning the discretion-part of the mind.  Mind has to be resolute. Buddhi, the intellect, is higher than the mind[10]. Mind instead of being guided by the senses, should be united to the intellect. The latter frames concepts, recognises and discriminates between two opposites.

 

vyavasAya means determination, resolution. vyavasAyAtmikA buddhiH: The resolute decided mind; ekA iha: is only single (not multifold) in this world. Whereas avyavasAyinAM buddhayaH : the intellects  which are irresolute; bahushAkhAH: have various directions (of interest); anantAH ca; also have unlimited, infinite (directions of interest).

 

Two types of intelligence, the resolute and the irresolute, are contrasted here. The first one is uni-directional towards the Single Truth of philosophy. The second one has endless number of branches and ideas all prompted by desire. Unfettered pursuit of endless possibilities will lead us nowhere.  At this point it is worthwhile to recall our note on the 16 possible channels of the mind, discussed under #38 in Lesson 6. The irresolute mind is pulled into all the thirteen (bad) channels, because it is attracted by the material pleasures that seem to be in that direction. And in this process, Krishna says, the Vedas also are a party to this downfall, because they promise several different enjoyments and pleasures in heaven (svarga) for those who go (only) by the ritualistic part of the Vedas. This thought is the motivation for #42, 43 and 44.

 

42. यामिमां पुष्पितां वाचं प्रवदन्त्यविपश्चितः।

वेदवादरताः पार्थ नान्यदस्तीति वादिनः॥

43. कामात्मानः स्वर्गपराः जन्मकर्म-फलप्रदाम्।

क्रियाविशेष-बहुलां भोगैश्वर्य-गतिं प्रति॥

yAmimAM pushhpitAM vAcaM pravadanty-avipashcitaH |

vedavAda-ratAH pArtha nAnyad-astIti vAdinaH ||

kAmAtmAnaH svargaparAH janmakarma-phalapradAm |

kriyAvisheshha-bahulAM bhogaishvarya-gatim prati ||

 

avipashcitaH: Unwise people; vedavAda-ratAH: who are devoted to the creed of the Veda; nAnyad-astIti vAdinaH: who argue that there is nothing else; kAmAtmAnaH: who are desire-ridden; svarga-parAH: who are seekers of the heavenly pleasures; yAm imAM pushpitAM vAcaM pravadanti:  utter flowery words; prati (which are directed) only towards; bhogaishvarya-gatiM : the goal of enjoyment and sovereignty;  janma-karma-phala-pradAM: which can give only further birth and further fruits of action; kriyA-visheshha-bahulAM: and which prescribe multifarious specific regimented actions (like agnihotra ritual, jyotishtoma sacrifice etc.).

 

This contrast between true karma and ritualistic piety is an echo of Mundakopanishad 1.2.10:  [11]The deluded fools, believing the rites inculcated by the vedas and the smRRitis to be the highest, do not understand the other thing (that leads to) liberation.  They, having enjoyed (the fruits of actions) in the abode of pleasure on the heights of heaven, enter this world or perhaps an inferior one.

 

44. भोगैश्वर्य-प्रसक्तानां तयापहृत-चेतसाम्।

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते॥

bhogaishvarya-prasaktAnAM tayApahRRita-cetasAm |

vyavasAyAtmikA buddhiH samAdhau na vidhIyate ||

 

bhogaishvarya-prasaktAnAM: For those who are engrossed (attached) to the (flowery narrations about) enjoyment and sovereignty; tayA apahRRita-cetasAM and whose minds have been captured (hijacked) by those (speeches) – for these unenlightened people; vyavasAyAtmikA buddhiH: the intelligence in the form of resoluteness or fixity; na vidhIyate: does not happen (occur, strike); samAdhau: in their minds.

 

And now comes a capsule summary of what was said in the last four shlokas. This kind of a periodical capsule summary is very characteristic of Krishna’s Gita. And whenever such capsule summaries occur, the resulting shloka happens to be a ‘five-star shloka’ (See the note before #16 in Lesson 2):

 

*****                  45. त्रैगुण्य-विषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन।

निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्य-सत्वस्थो निर्योग-क्षेम आत्मवान्॥

 traiguNya-vishhayA vedA nistraiguNyo bhavArjuna |

nirdvandvo nitya-satvastho niryoga-kshema AtmavAN ||

 

vedAH traiguNya-vishhayAH: The vedas have as their scope the effect of the three guNas sattva, rajas and tamas. Arjuna, nistraiguNyaH bhava: rise above (transcend) the three guNas; nirdvandvo (bhava): become free from all dualities, (like cold and heat, happiness and unhappiness; pleasure and pain; honour and dishonour; and so forth); nitya-sattvasthaH  (bhava): be always based  (sthaH: anchored)  in the quiet untroubled state of sattva, or remain poised in unwavering sattva;  niryoga-kshemaH (bhava): be unconcerned with (indifferent to) getting what you do not have – that is yoga – as well as with protecting what you do not have – and that is kshema; AtmavAn bhava: be a master of the Self, be possessed of the Self.

 

Dr. Radhakrishnan takes ‘sattva’ here to be the Supreme Reality.

 

What it is to transcend the three guNas, how to transcend them – these will be elaborated further in 14.22 to 14.26. Shankara means by nistraiguNyo bhava, become desireless; because the Vedas present the very fruits one desires and when there is absence of desire for the fruit there is no fruit. This desire-fruit chain is the subject-matter from #47 onwards.

 

The word AtmavAn is a powerfully pregnant word. AtmavAn means One who is rooted in His own greatness. No other force in the world is needed to make Him great. Chandogya Upanishad says[12]: ‘Venerable Sir, on what is the Infinite established?’ ‘On its own greatness; or, (if the question is taken in an ultimate sense) not even on greatness’. In the Valmiki Ramayana, Valmiki asks Narada several questions about the Ideal Person in the world. One of the questions is ‘Who is AtmavAn’; the answer by Narada of course is ‘It is Rama’.

 

About the  seeming ‘contradiction’ between nistraiguNyaH in the first half and ‘nitya-sattvasthaH in the second half of the verse. Transcend all the three guNas – sattva, rajas and tamas, says the first word.  Always be in sattva, says the second word.  Should sattva have to be be transcended or not?  It has to be, ultimately.  The best explanation of this in the form of a story comes from the Master, Sri Ramakrishna. Listen to his way of this allegorical narration.  Three robbers highjacked a person, took him to the forest, robbed him of everything valuable from him and two of them ran away thereafter.  The person did not know either his whereabouts or how to return home. But the third robber was a little merciful. He guided the victim back to civilised habitation, but left him near his house, saying: ‘I cannot come with you to your house, because I have also abetted the crime of robbing you; there is your home. You can go home’ And thus he also left.  Now Sri Ramakrishna says: The three robbers are sattva, rajas and tamas.  The latter two are the robbers who ran away in the forest itself.  It was the ‘sattva’ robber who guided him back to his home, but he also had to leave for the reason stated.  So nitya satvasthaH means keeping hold of sattva till almost the last moment (of Self Realisation) and then discarding it also finally.  Thus all three have to be transcended.

46. यावानर्थ उद्पाने सर्वतः सम्प्लुतोदके।

तावान् सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानतः॥

yAvAnartha udpAne sarvataH samplutodake |

tAvAn sarveshhu vedeshhu brAhmaNasya vijAnataH ||

 

vijAnataH brAhmaNasya: For a knower of Brahman who has realised the Ultimate Truth; tAvAn sarveshhu vedeshhu: there is as much use (profit) from all the Vedas; yavAn udapAne arthaH: as there is use from a pot of water; sarvataH samplutodake: when all around there is a flood of water. In other words, to a knower of brahman all the Vedas and other knowledge are just like a cupful of water before an ocean.

 

The essence is: When one performs actions by giving up all desires, one need not apprehend that one will be deprived of the pleasures resulting from those actions; because, the smaller pleasures being parts of the bliss that is Brahman, become merged in it.

 

LESSON – 8: II – 47 to II – 51 First Round

 

The next five shlokas (47 to 51) will be considered together. They contain the essential message of karmayoga of the Gita, almost in full. In this lesson we shall see an overview of this message through an elaboration and analysis of these five shlokas, supplemented by other shlokas yet to be seen.

 

47. कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।

मा कर्म-फल-हेतुर्भूः मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥

karmaNy-evAdhikAraste maa phaleshhu kadaacana |

maa karma-phala-hetur-bhUH maa te sa~Ngo.astvakarmaNi ||

 

This shloka is one of the two trademark shlokas of the Gita. (The other one is 9.22) It contains one positive ‘Do’-command and three ‘Do-not’-commands for all our actions. (maa stands for negation: ‘don’t’). Remember Gita finally reduces everything to an Action Plan for our entire life.

 

karmaNi eva adhikAraH te: your right is only for actions; maa phaleshhu kadAcana : never for the fruits or rewards  (of those actions); maa karmaphala-hetur bhUH: don’t be a cause for the fruits of actions; if you have a desire for the fruits of actions then you would be the originator (hetuH – cause) of those fruits. Do not have any desire for the fruits of actions; maa te sangaH astu akarmaNi: Nor should you like to withdraw from your actions. Do not have any attachment or partiality to non-action.

 

Action means here the obligatory actions (niyataM karma) which we are bound to do either in the secular world, or in a religious context or as a spiritual exercise or in social interactions or in human relationships. In other words, all prescribed actions, prescribed either by society or government or religion or humanitarian considerations are included in the term karma here.

Several questions arise here. How can anybody do any action without having a concern or attachment to the fruits thereof? Without thinking of the consequences, positive or negative, how can any action be completed in its fullness? Even if it be so done, is it fair to be unconcerned about the fruits of actions? If the doer of an action is himself indifferent to the consequences of the action, how can the action be said to have been performed well? And how can the action be at all performed efficiently? If we don’t seek or desire the consequences, why carry out the action at all? Any action can be judged right or wrong only when the consequences are taken into consideration. Then what does non-attachment to the fruits of actions mean?

 

We shall try to answer all these questions and several more that may arise in the discussion. Krishna does not seek to answer them in so many words. But he keeps on piling shloka upon shloka that they all add up together to give the answers.  Therefore we may need to consider the next four shlokas in any such discussion. So let us first get to know the straightforward meanings of 48 to 51 also, before we embark on the discussion of these questions.

 

*****                  48. योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनंजय।

सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते॥

 yogasthaH kuru karmANi sa~NgaM tyaktvA dhanaMjaya |

siddhy-asiddhyoH samo bhUtvA samatvaM yoga ucyate ||

 

yogasthaH: Being anchored (firmly established, located) in yoga; sa~NgaM tyaktvA: renouncing all attachments; and, siddhy-asiddhyoH samo bhUtvA : being equanimous to success (siddhi) and failure (asiddhi). kuru karmANi:  do your actions. samatvaM yoga ucyate: Equanimity is said to be yoga.

 

This is one of our five-star shlokas; because it gives the specific ‘how’ of what is prescribed in #47, the key shloka for karma yoga.  Be fixed in yoga says the method. And what is yoga is explained in the shloka itself. Yoga is nothing but equanimity.  And what are we supposed to be equanimous about? It is equanimity with respect to success and failure. And this assures us we are not desirous of the fruits of our actions. So maa phaleshhu and maa karma phala-hetur bhUH are both assured. Incidentally, because we have been enjoined to do our karma (obligatory action) as a yoga (being in the equanimous state) this whole process of doing our works has got the name of karma-yoga.

 

Recall the list (see Ch.1) of the five teachings of Krishna.  The second  one (U-2) there is brahma-bhAva, the attitude of seeing everything and every one as brahman, the Absolute. This equanimous view is of two kinds.  One is that of seeing all matter and all beings as the same brahman.  Another is that of treating all that happens to us equanimously. Great souls like a Sadashiva brahmendra, or a Ramana Maharishi had that equanimity with respect to everything.  That this should be our goal is what U-2 teaches us. Right now Krishna links yoga (the methodology for doing actions the right way) with this ideal of Equanimity.  Recall again it was in 2.38 that Krishna first introduced this sama-buddhi and in the very next shloka 2.39 he lays the foundation for his teaching of karma-yoga.

 

It will be a useful exercise now, in view of what comes later, to look at the following 24 shlokas which dwell directly on the concept of Equanimity. Already the concept of ‘samatvaM; (=equanimity) was mentioned in II – 16 as one of the three fundamental truths of Vedanta We shall certainly elaborate on their meanings at the appropriate places.

 

5.18; 6.8; 6.9; 6.29; 12.15; 12.18; 13.27; 13.28; 14.24; 14.25 – these say what is samatvaM, by giving almost a type of definition. Each one delineates sama-buddhi in a particular way and with a different emphasis. It is this sama-buddhi that is the basis for the right way of doing karma-yoga.  And Krishna, the good teacher He is, slowly introduces all the complexities of equanimity little by little in these shlokas. One can also see that the level at which Krishna is talking rises gradually upward as we progress along these shlokas. This is Krishna’s spiral method of teaching. Actually, the last two shlokas in this list contain the words tulya-nindAtma-samstutiH (alike to censure and praise), mAnApamAnayos-tulyaH (alike to honour and disgrace) – these are nothing but   peaks of equanimity.

 

2.38; 2.56; 4.22; 6.30; 6.32; 12.13 – these prescribe the methodology to achieve samatvaM.

 

9.29 gives Krishna’s own example.

 

4.24 enunciates the basic Upanishadic truth.

 

18.20 delineates the principle of samatvaM  in an integrated capsule form

 

2.72; 5.19; 5.20; 7.19 and 18.54 declare the implicit constituents of the goal of samatvaM.

 

49. दूरेण ह्यवरं कर्म बुद्धियोगात् धनंजय।

बुद्धौ शरणमन्विच्छ कृपणाः फल-हेतवः॥

 dUreNa hyavaraM karma buddhiyogAt dhanaMjaya |

buddhau sharaNam-anvicchha kRRipaNaaH phala-hetavaH||

 

buddhiyogAt dUreNa hi avaraM karma: (Ordinary) Action is far inferior (avaraM) to action done as buddhi-yoga.

 

Krishna refers to the above mode of doing action desirelessly and keeping equanimity as the norm, as a buddhi-yoga. This is the method by which we get beyond the result-oriented ritualism. It is not what we do, but how we do it with equanimity is what gives the name buddhi-yoga. Though Krishna uses this term only in three places – 2.39, 10.10 and 18.57 – this is what He means whenever He refers to the way actions have to be done.

 

Buddhau sharaNam anviccha : Take resort to this kind of intellect (and its dictates); phala-hetavaH kRRipaNAH: those who desire for the fruits of actions are wretched (miserable, pitiful). This word ‘kRRipaNAH’ is a very strong censure of those who desire and go after the fruits of actions; Krishna borrows the idea and the word from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad[13] :He who departs from this world, O Gargi, without knowing this Immutable, is miserable. Miserable, because, desire-prompted actions are what creates new vAsanAs and therefore further entries in the samsAra cycle, they go down and down in the scale of samsAra.

50. बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृत-दुष्कृते।।

तस्माद्योगाय युज्यस्व  योगः कर्मसु कौशलम्॥

 buddhiyukto jahAtIha ubhe sukRRita-dushhkRRite .|

tasmAd-yogAya yujyasva  yogaH karmasu kaushalam ||

 

buddhiyuktaH:  yoked to the samatva-buddhi (the intelligence of equanimity) (as mentioned in #48), the seeker ,  iha – in this world;  jahAti : discards (renounces) ubhe sukRRita-dushhkRRite: both good and evil actions – their merits and demerits). tasmAt : therefore, yogAya yujyasva: strive for (be in alignment or conformity with) this yoga; yogaH karmasu kaushalaM: Yoga is nothing but efficiency or dexterity in action.

 

Yoga is efficiency in action, says the last quarter of this verse. This is a famous statement to be imprinted in gold. What is this efficiency? The efficiency consists in maintaining the evenness (equanimity) of mind in success and failure of the action – and here, Shankara as well as Ramanuja add, with the mind dedicated to God[14]. Without this dedication to God, one cannot be equanimous to success and failure. And once this equanimity to success and failure is there, the action is rid of all motives and so neither the merit of the action nor the demerit of the action devolves on the doer and that is the skill or efficiency or kaushalaM that marks the action! When one works with such dedication and with the efficiency of sama-buddhi,  then even the actions which usually bind cease to do so. Hence yogaH karmasu kaushalaM !  

 

Another  important thing to note in this shloka is the concept of discarding both good and evil actions.  This discarding of both good and evil actions is a unique characteristic of Sanatana Dharma and its philosophy.  Recall how nistraiguNyo bhava of #45 also implied the discarding also of sattva, though not in the beginning of the spiritual ascent but at the end (See comment under #45).

 

51. कर्मजं बुद्धियुक्ता हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः।

जन्म-बन्ध-विनिर्मुक्ताः पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम्॥

 karmajaM buddhiyuktA hi phalaM tyaktvA manIshhiNaH |

janma-bandha-vinirmuktAH padaM gacchhanty-anAmayam ||

 

manIshhiNaH: Wise men; buddhiyuktAH: being yoked to that kind of intelligence which is full of sama-buddhi (of #48); karmajaM phalaM tyaktvA: (and consequently) renouncing fruits that arise from actions ; janma-bandha-vinirmuktAH: get released from all bondages of birth; anAmayaM padaM gacchanti : they reach the status where they are not bothered by any such disease or sorrow.

 

[1] yAvadvikAraM tu vibhAgo lokavat.  B.S.2.3.7

[2] sarvopanishado gAvo dogdhA gopalanandanaH |

pArtho vatsaH sudhIr-bhoktA dugdhaM gItAmRRitam mahat || (Gita-MahAtmyaM, No.6)

[3] shravaNAyApi bahubhir-yo na labhyaH shRRiNvanto.api bahavo yaM na vidyuH |

Ashcaryo vaktA kushalo.asya labdhA Ashcaryo j~nAtA kushalAnushishhTaH ||

[4] See the footnote to the first paragraph in this lesson.

[5] na ca shreyo.anupashyAmi hatvA svajanam-Ahave – 1.31 second half.

[6] gurUn-ahatvA hi mahAnubhAvAn  shreyo bhoktuM baiksham-apIha loke – 2.5 first half

[7] shreyAn svadharmo viguNaH paradharmAt svanushhTitAt – 3.35 first half & 18.47 first half

[8] J~nAnApekshastu sannyAsaH sAnkhyamiti mayA abhipretaH – Shankara in his BhAshhya on 5.5.

[9] Yoge tu tatprAptyupAye nissa~NgatayA dvandvaprahANapUrvakaM IshvarArAdhanArthe karmayoge karmAnushhThAne samAdhiyoge ca  imAM buddhiM shruNu –Shankara Bhashya to 2.39

[10] Manasastu parA buddhiH  - 3.42

[11] ishhTApUrtaM manyamAnA varishhThaM nAnyacchreyo vedayante pramUDhAH |

nAkasya prrishhTe te sukRRite anubhUtvA imaM lokaM hInataraM vA vishanti ||

[12] Sa bhagavaH kasmin pratishhTita iti, sve mahimni, yadi vA na mahimniiti. Ch.U.7.24.1

[13] Yo vA etadaksharaM gArgi aviditvA asmAllokAt praiti sa kRRipaNaH : Br.U.3.8.10

[14] IshvarArpita-cetaH –Shankara Bhashhya to shloka #50

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