You are on page 1of 218

48 ll SRI RAMA ll

CHAPTER I
dhrtarastra uvaca dharmaksetre kuruksetre samaveta yuyutsavah| mamakah pandavas cai va kim akurvata samjaya || (1) Dhritrashtra said "O Samjaya! Tell me what my sons and sons of Pandu, assembled in the sacred land (dharmakshetra) of Kurukshetra with the intention to fight did?" (1) Before the commencement of the Mahabharata war, Vyasji had offered to Dhritrashtra a divine vision so that he could see the war if he so wanted. Dhritrashtra declined the offer saying that he did not want to see the destruction of his family. Thereupon, Vyasji gave the divine vision to Samjaya, the charioteer of Dhritrashtra, so that he could vividly see the events of the battlefront sitting at any place. Later on, after the death of Bhishma Pitamaha in the war, Samjaya went to Dhritrashtra to give him the news. At that stage Dhritrashtra asked Samjaya to give him full description of the war. Thereupon, Samjaya decribed to Dhritrashtra the formation of the two armies and also narrated to him the gospel of Gita, samjaya uvaca drstva tu pandavanikam vyudham duryodhanas tada| acaryam upasamgamya raja vacanam abravit|| (2) Samjaya said "On seeing the army of Pandavas, prince Duryodhana went to Dronacharya and said". (2) pasyai tam panduputranam acarya mahatim camum| vyudham drupadaputrena tava sisyena dhimata|| (3) "O Acharya! Look at the mighty army of Pandavas organised by your wise pupil, the son of Drupada (Dhrstadyumna)". (3) atra sura mahesvasa bhimarjunasama yudhi| yuyudhano viratas ca drupadas ca maharathah|| (4) dhrstaketus cekitanah kasirajas ca viryavan| purujit kuntibhojas ca saibyas ca nara pumgavah|| (5) yudhamanyus ca vikranta uttamaujas ca viryavan| saubhadro draupadeyas ca sarva eva maharathah||(6) "That army consists of great archers Yuyudhan, Virat (Satyaki), great charioteers Drupad, Ghristketu, Chekitan, valiant Kashiraj, Kurujit, Kunti Bhoj, foremost of men Shaivya, mighty Yudhamanyu, brave Uttamouja, son of Subhadra (Abhimanyu) and the sons of Draupadi; all of them are great warriors like Bhima and Arjuna. All of them are also great charioteers". (4-6) Duryodhana recounted to Dronacharya, the mighty warriors of the Pandavas army. Thereafter, he started mentioning about the warriors of his army.

asmakam tu visista ye tan nibodha dvijottama| nayaka mama sainyasya samjnartham tan bravimi te|| (7) bhavan bhismas ca karnas ca krpas ca samitimjayah| asvattama vikarnas ca saumadattis tathai va ca|| (8) anye ca bahavah sura madarthe tyaktajivitah| nanasastrapraharanah sarve yuddhavisaradah|| (9) "Now know the distinguished warriors of our army. O Brahmin Shreshtha (best of brahmin)! These are the commanders of my army. For your information, I am mentioning them to you; you, Bhishma, Karna and victorious Kripacharya and like them are Asvatthama, Vikarna and son of Somadutta (Bhurishrava). In addition, there are many other heroes who have staked their lives for my sake. They are well skilled in warfare and are capable of using different arms and weapons". (7-9) aparyaptam tad asmakam balam bhismabhiraksitam| paryaptam tv idam etesam balam bhimabhiraksitam|| (10) ayanesu ca sarvesu yathabhagam avasthitah| bhismam eva bhiraksantu bhavantah sarva eva hi|| (11) Our Army, whose Commander-in-Chief is Bhishma, seems to be weaker and their army, which is being commanded by Bhima, look stronger. All of you must protect Bhishma from your positions. (11). From shloka 4 to shloka 11, we get a clear idea of the mental state of Duryodhana. When he mentioned about the commanders of the Pandavas army, he named a number of renouned warriors. But, in his army he could count only a few commanders. Moreover, he unambiguously said that his army looked weaker and the army of Pandavas was stonger. It is clear that Duryodhana was feeling that his side was weak. It was only his obstinacy that was forcing him to wage the war. Why did Duryodhana gave the direction that you people protect Bhishma? Was Bhishma not capable of protecting himself? It appears Duryodhana did not have trust in Bhishma for his victory. Was he worried that if there were any danger to Bhishma, his game plan would be frustrated? In his worry, he had forgotten that Bhishma himself was an extremely able and competent warrior. He could have protected himself. After having seen the commanders of his army, Duryodhana had gone to Acharya Drona and named them to him. We will see a little later that a similar emotion arose in Arjuna and he had asked Shri Krishna to station his chariot between the two armies. It appears that Bhishma Pitamahah did understand the mental state of Duryodhana. In order to boost his morale Pitamahah blew his conch. tasya samjanayan harsam kuruvrddhah pitamahah| simhanadam vinadyo ccaih sankham dadhmau pratapavan|| (12) tatah sankhas ca bheryas ca panavanakagomukah| sahasai va bhyahanyanta sa sabdas tumulo bhavat|| (13)

The grandsire of Kuru family, the glorious Bhishma Pitamaha, roared like a lion and blew his conch to encourage Duryodhana. (12) Thereafter conches, battle drums, tabors, cow horns suddenly started blowing and their noise started reverberating all around. (13) Conch, etc. were different instruments used for making martial uproar. Blowing of conch by Bhishma was a signal to others. They also started blowing their conches and beating their battle-drums. tatah svetair hayair yukte mahati syandane sthitau| madhavah pandavas cai va divyau sankhau pradadhmatuh|| (14) pancajanyam hrsikeso devadattam paundram dadhmau mahasankham bhimakarma anantvijayam nakulah kasyas ca dhrstadyumno raja sahadevas ca paramesvasah viratas ca dhanamjayah| vrkodarah|| (15)

kuntiputro yudhisthirah| sughosamanipuspakau|| (16) sikhandi ca maharathah| satyakis ca parajitah|| (17)

drupdo draupadeyas ca sarvasah prithvipate| saubhadras ca mahabahuh sankhan dadhmuh prthak prthak||(18) " Shri Krishna and Arjuna, sitting in a big chariot drawn by white horses, then blew their celestial conches Shri Krishna blew his conch Panchajanya and Arjuna blew his Devadatta. Bhimsen, the doer of terrible deeds, blew his mighty conch named Paundru. King Yudhishtar, son of Kunti blew Anantavijaya, Nakul and Sahadeva blew their Sughosh and Manipushpak. O King! Great archer Kashiraj, great charioteer Shikhandi, Dhristadyumn, Virat and invincible Satyaki, Drupad and sons of Draupadi and valiant Abhimanyu also blew their own conches." (1418) sa ghoso dhartarastranam hrdayam vyadarayat| nabhas ca prithvim cai va tumulo vyanunadayam || (19) "The tumultuous uproar created by blowing of conches and beating of other battle drums reverberated both the earth and the sky and rented the hearts of Kauravas ". (19) The noise created by the blowing of the conches of Pandavas rented the hearts of Kauravas because they were already considering themselves weak. The effect on everyone else was the same as it was on Duryodhana. atha vyavasthitan drstva dhartarastran kapidhvajah| pravrttee sastrasampate dhanur udyamya pandavah|| (20) hrsikesam tada vakyam idam aha mahipate |

"When the weapons were about to strike. O King! Seeing the sons of Dhritrashtra ready for war, Arjuna picked up his bow and said to Shri Krishna" senayor ubhayor madhye ratham sthapaya me cyuta|| (21)

"O Achyut (the immovable one) take my chariot between the two armies". (21).

War was about to start. Arjuna had picked up his bow. At that stage, the desire to see the warriors arrayed at the battlefront arose in the mind of Arjuna and he asked the Lord, Shri Krishna, to take his chariot between the two armies. yavad etan nirikse ham yoddhukaman avasthitan| kair maya saha yoddhavyam asmin ranasamudyame|| (22) yotsyamanan avekse ham ya ete tra samagatah| dhartarastrasya durbuddher yuddhe priyacikirsavah|| (23) "I would like to see the warriors who have come to this war and have joined that army to support evil-minded Duryodhana. I also want to see all those who have come to fight and with whom I will have to fight in this war". (22-23) The battle drums were reverberating in the battlefield. The battlefield was full of battle cry and the weapons were ready to strike. At that stage, Arjuna had asked Shri Krishna to take his chariot between the two armies from where he could see warriors of the other side with whom he was to fight. He was anxious to know the warriors who were to fight for Duryodhana. samjaya uvaca evamukta hrsikeso guddakesena bharata | senayor ubhayor madhye sthapayitva rathottamam ||(24) bhismadronapramukhatah sarvesam ca mahiksitam | uvaca partha pasyai tan samavetan kurun iti ||(25) tatra pasyat sthitan parthah pitrn atha pitamahan| acaryan matulan bhratrn putran pautran sakhims tatha ||(26) svasuran suhrdas cai va senayor ubhayor api| tan samiksya sa kaunteyah sarvan bandhun avasthitan||(27) krpaya Samjaya said! "O Dhritrashtra, on being asked by Arjuna, Lord Shri Krishna drove the chariot between the two armies and stationed the magnificent chariot in between the two armies facing the kings. He said, O Partha, look at these assembled Kauravas". (24-25) "Thereupon, Arjuna, son of Pritha1, saw uncles, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, fathers-in-law, friends and his other well wishers standing in the two armies. Seeing the relations present in the two armies, son of Kunti Arjuna was filled with compassion and said with sadness". (26-28) The Lord immediately accepting the desire of Arjuna drove the chariot and stationed it between the two armies. Bhishma, Drona and other mighty kings were visible from that position. What did Arjuna see when he glanced? He saw that in the two armies, grandfathers, uncles, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, cousins, sons, grandsons, fathers-in-law, friends and other relations were present. Watching the scene, Arjuna started trembling as if the earth had slipped from under his feet. He restrained himself from being swayed by compassion and with great sadness, he said to Shri Krishna paraya visto visidann idam abravit|

Pritha: another name for Kunti, the mother of Pandavas

drstve mam svajanam krsna yuyutsum sidanti mama gatrani vepathus ca sarire me

samupasthitam|| (28) parisusyati| jayate|| (29)

mukham ca romaharsas ca

gandivam sramsate hastat tvak cai va paridahyate| na ca saknomy avasthatum bhramati va ca me manah|| (30) nimittani na ca ca pasyami viparitani kesava| sreyo nupasyami hatva svajanam ahave|| (31)

"O Krishna! On seeing these relations assembled for war, my limbs are becoming weak, my mouth has gone dry and my body shakes, and my hair stand on end. Gandiva 2 is slipping from my hands and my skin is burning. I am not able to stand, my mind is reeling and I am seeing evil-omens. I do not see any good in killing my own relations in the war". (28-31) na kankse vijayam krsna na ca rajyam sukhani ca| kim no rajyena govinda kim bhogair jivitena va|| (32) "O Krishna, I do not long for for victory, neither for empire nor for the pleasures and enjoyments. what for we need this empire? O Govind, why do we need enjoyments and why do we need life itself?" (32) yesyam arthe kanksitam no rajyam bhogah sukhani ca| ta ime vasthita yuddhe pranams tyaktva dhanani ca|| (33) acaryah pitarah putras tathai va ca pitamahah| matulah svasurah pautrah syalah sambandhinas tatha|| (34) The elders, uncles, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons and other relations are the people for whom we desire kingdom and for whom we desire various pleasures, and all of them are present in the battle front without any hope for their life and property. When Arjuna saw the scene of battlefront, he noticed that his loved ones were present in the battlefield. Some of them would fight from his side and some from the side of Duryodhana. Arjuna was a warrior. He knew that coming to the battlefield was an open invitation to death. One might survive, but there was a distinct possibility that life might not be saved. He visualised that almost all of them would be killed leaving behind the lonliness devoid of friends and relations. Then, what would be the worth of a kingdom? The pleasures of life are sweet only when enjoyed along with relations and friends. No enjoyment in solitude gives any pleasure. In the cremation ground, all enjoyments become tasteless. The memories of war would also haunt throughout the life. Arjuna visualised the ghastly scene that would come about after the war and that was the one he could not bear. His entire existence was deeply shaken from within. He felt that he was all along under an illusion. The price he was about to pay to win an empire would make the pleasures of the wrested kingdom worthless. He, therefore, did not like the bargain. All those for with whom he could be happy and for whom he wanted the kingdom were about to be killed in the war. Consequently, he lost the will to fight and also the desire for the kingdom. In explicit words, he said to Shri Krishna,

Gandiva: the name of Arjunas bow

etan na hantum icchami ghnato pi api trailokyarajyasya hetoh kim nu

madhusudana| mahikrte || (35)

"What to say of the kingdom of this earth, I will not kill these relations even for the kingdom of the three worlds (triloki), even though I may be killed". (35) After saying these words, Arjunas mind became activate. So far, Arjunas reaction was normal. Accordingly, only physical signs had appeared. But, thereafter, Arjuna expressed his determination that he will not fight and will not kill. In support of his resolve, he started giving arguments nihatya dhartarastran nah ka pritih syaj janardana| papam eva srayed asman hatvai tan atatayinah|| (36) tasman na rha vayam hantum dhartarastran svabandhavan| svajanam hi katham hatva sukhinah syama madhava|| (37) "How can we be happy after killing Duryodhana and others? By killing these villains we will only be committing sin. Duryodhana and others are our relations and we should not kill them. O Madhava! How can we be happy after killing our own people". (36-37) Arjuna wanted to impress the Lord, Shri Kirshna, with his arguments. It was natural. Arjuna knew that without the consent of Shri Krishna he could not even leave the battlefield. Shri Krishna was the advisor of the Pandavas. Arjuna would have to abide by his advice. yady apy ete na pasyanti lobhopahatacetasah| kulaksayakrtam dosam mitradrohe ca patakam|| (38) katham na jneyam asmabhih papad asman nivartitum| kulaksayakrtam dosam prapasyadbhir janardana|| (39) If they do not understand, let them not. They have been overpowered by greed. Destruction of family is a great crime. Treachery to friends is a great sin. We know this. We also understand the harm that would be caused due to the destruction of the family. We should refrain from this sinful act. Arjuna was speaking in a logical and impressive manner. Now he makes an attempt to justify his resolve with more arguments. kulaksaye pranasyant kuladharmah sanatanah| dharme naste kulam krtsnam adharmo bhibhavaty uta|| (40) adharmabhihavat krsna strisu dustasu varsneya samkaro narakayai va patanti pitaro hy esam pradusyanti kulastriyah| jayate varnasamkarah|| (41) kulaghnanam kulasya ca| luptapindodakakriyah|| (42)

The ruin of a family also destroys its ancient traditions and code of ethical conduct. The destruction of the code of ethical conduct leads the whole family to immorality. As a result of the loss of these values, the ladies of the family become adulteresses. And the result of their adultery is birth of mixed breeds. The mixed breed destroys family traditions and takes the family to hell. The tradition of offering oblations of food and water to the departed ancestors also disappears. Consequently, the departed ancestors also go to hell.

Mixed breed is an indicator of the progeny born out of illegitimate alliances. Manusmiriti3 tells us about different kinds of illegitimate and improper alliances amongst different castes. Children born out of illegitimate alliances do not have a right of offering oblations to departed ancestors. Oblations offered by them do not reach ancestors. In fact, caste indicates the nature of duties of a person. In a family where members are of mixed breed, there is confusion about their duties. For example, if a soul having primarily Brahmin4 or Vaisya5 propensities is born in a warrior (Kshatriya) family, then warrior traditions of the family get diluted and the related values get distorted. This is the result of alliances between different castes. The present state of the Hindu society is that of mixed breed. Disappearance of ancient values and traditions is an indication of this situation. dosair etaih kulaghnanam varnasamkarakarakaih| utsadyante jatidharmah kuladharmas ca sasvatah|| (43) "It is as a result of the misdeeds of those who destroy a family and create cofusion of varnas, eternal traditions of ethical conduct of families and also of castes get destroyed." (43) utsannakuladharmanam narake nityam vaso manusyanam janardana| bhavati ty anususruma|| (44)

" O Janardana We have heard that members of families whose traditions have been destroyed live in hell forever". (44) aho bata mahat papam kartum vyavasita vayam| yad rajyasukhalobhena hantum svajanam udyatah||(45) "Family values and traditions due to which people retain their purity are highly cherished ideals for individuals. Traditions of each caste come from these family traditions and values. Man, being a human being, has to observe ethical norms of behavior and conduct. Deviation from social norms of conduct and behavior makes a man like a beast." (45) These days, importance is neither given to the family values and duties nor to the caste traditions and customs. In fact, the will to follow the duty and the traditions has disappeared. As a result, life is becoming highly hellish in this world. As a result of his thought process and his perception of horrific outcome of war, Arjuna got terrified and cried saying, ' Oh! We have resolved to commit this terrible sin and are ready to kill our relations for the sake of kingdom and its pleasures'. yadi mam apratikaram asastram sastrapanayah| dhartarastra rane hanyus tan me ksemataram bhavet|| (46) Thereafter he said that if the sons of Dhritrashtra even kill me in the battlefield, it will be auspicious for me. I will neither take up the weapons against them nor will I oppose them". (46) evam uktva rjunah samkhye rathopastha upavisat| visrjya sasaram capam sokasamvignamanasah|| (47) "Samjaya told Dhritrashtra that after saying so Arjuna, leaving aside his bow and arrow, sank down on the seat of his chariot in the battlefield. He was overwhelmed with grief". (47)

Manusmriti: it is a code of ethical conduct in society given by Manu, said to be one of the first human being. 4 Brahmin: Priestly community or the community live on learning 5 Vaisya: trading or business community

Arjuna had become personification of grief. He was distressed to perceive the ravages of war and the picture of its terrible outcome. Bow and arrows slipped from his hands. He could not remain standing. He sat down in the chariot. This chapter is titled Arjun-Vishad-Yoga. In this chapter, causes of Arjunas distress have been mentioned. But why has this been called Yoga? The distress is the foundation of the Yoga, which the Gita describes, and of the path of spiritual elevation, which is preached in the Gita. Without that distress Arjuna could not have become worthy of listening the gospel of Gita. As roots of a tree are its parts and cannot be separated from it, the distress of Arjuna was the foundation of the Yoga described in the Gita and, therefore, is Yoga. Each chapter of the Gita has been concluded by using the following sentence: Om tatsiditi srimad bhagavadgitasupanisatsu brahmavidyayam yogasastre srikrsnarjunasamvade arjunavisadyoga nama prathmo dhyayah The meaning of the Gita is the sung. There are many scriptures by the name Gita. The name of this book is Shrimad Bhagvadgita. It means sung by the Divine Lord. It is also known as an Upanishad. The Gita is the essence of various Upanishads and, therefore, it is proper to call it Upanishad. sarvopnishad gavo dogdha gopalanandanah l partho vatsah sudhirbhokta dugdham gitamritam mahat ll All Upanishads are cows and Shri Krishna Gopalanandan has drawn their milk. Arjuna is the calf, who drank the milk. The milk is the nectar of the Gita. This verse is included in Gita Dhyan and is indicative of great truth. If the Gita is compared with other Upanishads, it will be seen that not only many verses of the Gita are based on the verses in other Upanishads but it will also be seen that what has been said in the Upanishads, indirectly and indistinctly, has been beautifully clarified in the Gita. The term Upanishad is used for that knowledge which is imparted by a preceptor to his disciple. In that method of teaching, physical nearness of the deciple with his preceptor is important. Arjuna received this knowledge from the blessed mouth (Srimukh) of the Lord himself. The Gita is a book of brahmavidya i.e. the Divine knowledge. Metaphysical knowledge is its main subject. Therefore, the term brahmavidyam has been used. The third adjective used is yoga shastra. Yoga shastra means a manual for sadhana6 -- a discipline for attaining union with Divine. Brahmavidya is philosophy. Yoga gives it a practical shape so as to practice this knowledge in life. The Gita teaches its practical application in life. This clearly describes as to how a practitioner of brahmavidya should conduct himself in life. The Gita is in a form of dialogue between Shri Krishna and Arjuna. That is why it is called srikrsnarjunasamvade. Thereafter, each chapter is given a name according to the subject discussed in that chapter. All chapters being the limbs of yoga expounded in the Gita are called yoga. For these, the significance of the concluding sentence of each chapter can be understood. ********************

Sadhana: spiritual pursuit, spiritual endeavor, spirital practice

|| SHRI RAMA || CHAPTER - 2 samjaya uvaca tam tatha krpaya vistam asrupurnakuleksanam| visidantam idam vakyam uvaca madhusudanah|| (1) sri bhagavan uvaca kutas tva kasmalamidam visame samupasthitam| anaryajustamasvargyanakirtikaramarjuna|| (2) klaibyam ma sma gamah partha nai tat tvayy upapadyate| klsudram hrdayadaurbalyam tyaktvo ttistha paramtapa|| (3) Title of the second chapter is Samkhya yoga. significance of this title at the end of the chapter. It will be proper to discuss the

Setting aside his bow and arrow, Arjuna had sat down in the chariot. This has been mentioned in the first chapter. The present chapter deals with subsequent events. Samjaya said Then seeing Arjuna extremely distressed and depressed and in tears, Shri Krishna spoke the following words." (1) The Lord said "O Arjuna, from where have these sinful emotions arisen in you? Persons of noble birth have never behaved like this. Neither does this behaviour give you glory nor heaven. O Prithaputra7, oveercome this impotence. Your behaviour is not dignified. O oppressor of foes! Cast off this petty weakness of your heart and rise." (2-3) These words were only to encourage Arjuna to fight. The Lord was apparently provoking him. He also spoke in a highly psychological manner. The Lord called this despair as a sinful samsakar 'kashmal. The way of suppressing a propensity is to consider it petty and undignified. By praising a propensity it becomes strong and by slandering it as 'kashmal it becomes weak. The Lord did consider such despair as a sinful samsakar. Our ancestors had always considered war as praiseworthy. The Vedas give description of the wars faught by the gods. There are many famous tales of human beings helping gods and gods helping human beings. Compassion, fear of death and such emotions in war are totally opposed to Vedic culture. The Lord, therefore, called this propensity as 'anaryujusht' i.e. 'not approved by reputed persons as not worthy of them'. The reputed and distinguished people were known as arya. It is an old well-established belief that those killed in the battlefield go to heaven. This belief is not confined to India alone. Even in Japan, there is a belief that after death in battlefield a man attains to heaven. For this reason, people in that country used to end their life instantly by stabbing themselves without any hesitation. It is, therefore, easy to find self-sacrificing servants in that country even now. The sacrifice made by a warrior is indeed a great sacrifice. He goes to the battlefield leaving behind all attachments and by keeping his life on the palms of his hands. A person, who sacrifices his life for the discharge of his duty as a warrior (kshatriya) and for his country, is certainly praise-worthy. Is it a matter of surprise if he attains heaven as a result of this great sacrifice? The Lord, therefore, called the emotion of pity as un-heavenly. In other words,
7

Prithaputra: Arjuna, a son of Pritha another name of Kunti. Kunti was the mother of Arjuna

one could not attain heaven by having such emotions. The doors of heaven are closed for those who run away from the battlefield. He also said that it was such an act, which could not bring glory, and because of such conduct people would start calling names saying that Arjuna was a coward. He ran away from the battlefield for fear of death. The Lord himself explains this in detail later on. The current situation has been called a complex one. Indeed it was so. If ever such a thought was to be nursed, it should have been done before inviting others for the war. It was sheer stupidity to run away from the battlefield after making such an elaborate preparation (for war). In the 3rd verse, an effort has been made to arouse heroic emotions in Arjuna. Arjuna has been called 'Partha'. Partha means son of Pritha - a 'valiant son protecting the honour of his mother'. Another term used for addressing Arjuna is parantapa. Parantapa means tormentor of foes. You have defeated enemies many a times. The same Kauravas were defeated in Virat Nagar. Why must you be worried now?' The present state of dejection of Arjuna (or we may call compassion) has been called 'klaivayam'8. 'Kleev' is used for an impotent. The meaning of klaivayam is impotency. Valiant people do not think as Arjuna was thinking. For them killing and getting killed is verily a game. The Lord was saying, why are you becoming impotent? This feeling is not befitting to you. Your entire past life is full of heroic deeds. Your present emotions do not get along with them. It is nothing but the weakness of your heart that alone makes you think like this. The web of your arguments is nothing but its creation. This weakness is not befitting the valiant ones. Get over this feeling and get up to fight.' In any normal situation, these heroic words would have infused new blood in Arjuna and would have made him ready for war. The Lord had understood that by visualising the terrible scene of the death of near and dear ones Arjuna was terrified and consequently his warrior instincts had vanished. The Lord did not attach much importance to his arguments. He did not attempt to controvert them. He only tried to awaken the emotins of a warrior in him. The distress of Arjuna was deep. He was only trying to find an intellectual and emotional basis for his conduct so that he could live. It was not enough for him to understand that war was the need of his duty as a warrior (kshstra dharma). Why should he perform those duties of a warrior that day? He was unable to prepare himself to perform that duty of his without understanding the secret of karma9 and the utility of karma. His arguments were infallible. The war of Mahabharata had changed the course of the history of Bharat (India). The true knowledge of higher ideals of life had vanished. Religion and old traditions had also vanished. The whole era had changed. This is all true. But, was Arjuna responsible for all that? Behind all that, it was the working of the 'kalpurusa'10 and that was the determining factor. Every one was a tool playing in the hands of kalpurusa'. That was perhaps responsible for his emotions and conduct. Every one is responsible for his actions but the kalpurusa' is the deciding factor for the results of those actions. Arjuna did not have such a wide vision but the Lord had. His arguments were, therefore, meaningless to the Lord and were like the tantrums of a child. For that reason, the Lord had ignored them.

8 9

Klaivayam: the impotence karma: action, work, deed and is sometimes used for duty. 10 Kalpurusa: lord of time. Kal means time. It also means destiny

10

arjuna uvaca katham bhismamaham samkhye dronam ca madhusudana| isubhih pratiyotsyami pujarhav arisudana|| (4) Having heard the rebuke of the Lord and hearing his words of encouragement, Arjuna felt helpless and started expressing his inner feelings. In this war, I will have to pierce Bhishma and Drona with my arrows and both of them are worthy of my worship. How will it be possible for me to commit such a heinous act? Till today, I have been respecting both of them. How can I kill them today by shooting my arrows? (4).

gurun ahatva hi mahanubhavan sreyo bhoktum bhaiksyam api ha loke| hatva rthakamams tu gurun ihai va bhunjiya bhogarudhirapradigdhan|| (5) Arjuna considered the act of shooting arrows on respectable elders as highly sinful. At the end of the first chapter he had even imagined the misfortune of those elderly people. Now he becomes aware of the vehemence of the act of killing those elderly and respectable persons. Instead of killing these venerable persons, I would consider it better if I were to live on alms. The pleasures of life which I shall enjoy by killing these venerable persons, who are wothy of my worship and who are presently in the grip of desires for worldly gains, would be smeared with their blood. It would be better to live on alms then to kill them." (5) In verse 5, 'artha' and 'kama' have been used for worldly gains. That day Drona and Bhishma were also in the battlefield for worldly gains. That day, they were not considering the subtle values as important as Arjuna was considering. Unlike Arjuna, they were not worried about the end of their existence.

na cai tad vidmah kataran no gariyo yad va jayema yadi va no jayeyuh yan eva hatva na jijivisamas te vasthitah pramukhe dhartarastrah|| (6) For a warrior living on alms is highly insulting but that day Arjuna was prepared even for that. He was not ready to kill people worthy of his worship. If he had to choose between the two, he would consider living on alms to be appropriate. The pleasures, which would be gained by killing them, would be smeared with their blood. Abhorable memories would also be associated with them and, therefore, those would become the cause of his sorrow instead of happiness. In fact, if it is considered from the point of view of securing true happiness, then the empire achieved through such a war could not be a source of real peace and happiness. Even today, wealth gained as a result of litigation in family disputes does not give peace. After all, the life of a person and his happiness is not dependent upon worldly gains alone. It is more dependent on mutual exchange of the feelings of love. It is more dependent on our inner

11

emotions. Arjuna considered it a bad bargain to kill those persons whom he had always loved and respected. So far the situation was not unnatural. Any sensitive person would hesitate from acting in such a situation. To him such a bargain would appear as non-beneficial and of loss. Arjuna had reached that conclusion. And, we also do not know what will be more beneficial for us, our victory or their victory. The sons of Dhritrashtra, by killing whom we would not like to live, are standing before us (for fighting)". (6)

karpanyadosopahatasvabhavah prcchami tvam dharmasammudhacetah| yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me sisyas te ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam|| (7) "Not only Drona and Bhishma Pitamaha, the sons of Dhritrashtra are also our cousins. We do not want to kill them. We ourselves do not want to live after killing them. But they are standing in the opposite army ready to fight. If we achieve victory then it will be possible only by killing them. Our victory will be their death and that also we do not want. Their victory will be our death and that also is not desirable. Both possibilities appear to be the same. Therefore, what should we wish to achieve victory or defeat? Today, even this is not discernible." (7) In human life, such situations do come many times, when all available alternatives appear to be faulty. None appear to result in happiness or in virtue. One has to select one out of these alternatives and that is the helplessness of life. It appears as if the situations compel one to commit sins. An ordinary person stops thinking and surrenders. Normally, the desire for gaining normal worldly pleasures becomes decisive. From the gross point of view a person follows the path of selfishness. He ignores the tender feelings and higher human values of love and affection. But Arjuna could not ignore them. His soul was a highly elevated one. He could not have solved the conflict of duties by ignoring the higher human values. He could forego worldly gains for human values and the Lord was preventing him from doing so. Arjuna was helpless in such a situation. His entire existence was reacting against the war. It was abhorrent to him to fight with his elders, teachers and own brethren for getting insignificant pleasures of the world. His emotions were not supporting him for fighting the war. In his view it was a costly or rather a bad bargain. Without them the pleasures of life would not be enjoyable. Such pleasures would instead be the pleasures of a cremation ground - so he thought. In spite of that, the insistence of Shri Krishna, his chiding and impact of his personality was pushing him towards the other alternative. Arjuna had become helpless and pitiable. He said, 'my warrior instincts have been destroyed by the feelings of compassion.' 'What is my duty and what is not my duty? I am unable to decide. Whatever is beneficial (to fight or not to fight or something else) please tell me definitely? I am worthy of your command. Please direct me. I seek refuge in you.' (7) Arjuna had himself tried to decide about his duties and non-duties, but he could not do so. He did not know as to what he should do - on one side was the well and on the other was the valley. If he did not fight he would be acting against his duty (dharma ) and if he fights he would commit sin. This predicament confused him. Till that day he had considered Shri Krishna as his friend. But he also respected him and consulted him. At that hour also, only Shri Krishna was

12

available for consultation. Considering his thoughts as irrelevant, Arjuna started praying to him. He expressed his anxiety, his helplessness, the limitation of his intelligence and took refuge in him; 'command me, I am unable to think for myself, I need your command, but tell me only after due consideration, whatever is beneficial for me. I will do that. Consider me to be your disciple'. The meaning of the term 'shishya' is the one who deserves to be commanded. He is a shishya who could be commanded to do a specific act. Obedience is the principal characteristics of a shishya. Surrender is the secret of the subsequent sermon. The Lord had not given to Arjuna any sermon on wisdom as yet. He had only encouraged him to fight in a normal manner. Arjuna was also not ready to receive the sermon. Now that Arjuna had failed in his efforts and was agreeable to act on the advice, the Lord commenced to give his considered advice. "jab lagi gajbal apno bartyo, tanik saryo nahin kam"
(so long as self capabilities were used no purpose was served)

It was necessary that the state of Arjuna should have become suitable for the path of surrender, which has been preached in the Gita. Only then could he have received that specific sermon. It was the only path available for Arjuna. Arjuna deserved that. This is the unique gift of the Gita. Though the Gita does not discard other paths, rather coordinates them, yet it propounds especially the path of surrender. Arjuna could get strength only from this attitude of surrender. After hearing everything, Arjuna at the end of chapter 18 said:

arjuna uvaca nasto mohah smrtir labdha tvat prasadan maya cyuta| sthito smi gatasamdehah karisye vacanam tava||
(73 of 18)

"My delusion has been destroyed. I have regained my memory. Oh Achyut (Sri Krishna)! By your grace, I am free from doubts and have become poised. I shall follow thy words." How does the promise made in verse 7 matches with this? These two verses have connected the two ends of the Gita. We cannot forget them while trying to understand the Gita. This also gives a glimpse of the real nature (true import) of surrender. Distress is the basis of surrender. It should be genuine. Only after losing confidence in one-self, the surrender becomes real and then what is it that the Lord does not do for the one, who surrenders - He does every thing for him. He immediately frees him from anxiety.

na hi prapasyami mama panudyad yac chokam ucchosanam indriyanam| avapya bhumav asapatnamrddham rajyam suranam api ca dhipatyam||(8) "I am unable to understand whether this grief which is drying up my senses would ever be removed by gaining a prosperous kingdom free of enemies or even by achieving sovereignty over the gods." (8)

13

Arjuna was only trying to express the unfathomable depth of his sorrow. Even the pleasures and enjoyments of the world would not be adequate for him to forget his grief. The mere possibility of the war alone had made him deeply distressed, which by no means could be forgotten. In the enjoyments of life one easily forgets his grief, but when the grief is deep, it is not possible to forget it by any means. In fact, the impact on Arjuna was very deep. His limbs had become weak and his heart was sinking. His happiness was lost and even enthusiasm had vanished. Arjuna was unable to perceive how it would be possible for him to forget all that even after gaining a prosperous kingdom in which there would be nobody to oppose him? He also thought that he would not be able to forget that pain even if he was bestowed the throne of Indra, the lord of the gods. There is Yama11, Nachiketa episode in Kathopanishad. Nachiketa had received three boons from Yama. As a third boon, he had asked for the knowledge of Brahman12. Yama tempted Nachiketa by offering him many alternative boons. He offered him infinite affluence, pleasures and enjoyments, a long life, sons and grandsons, in order to discourage him from asking for that specific knowledge. But Nachiketa did not succumb to any of those temptations. Ultimately, respecting his firmness, Yama gladly preached him the innate knowledge of Brahman. We do not become worthy of the path of Prabhu (of divine knowledge) till such time as our inner craving is not so deep that it can not be satisfied by any worldly attainments. It is immaterial whether the craving has arisen due to deep distress, or due to an intellectual anxiety. We become worthy of this highly enlightened state only when we have such a craving, which cannot be satisfied by any worldly attainment or by any like situation. Only then we become entitled to enter the state of enlightenment. Those people are fortunate who get such a deep wound. A person forgets ordinary wounds. He does not learn any lesson from them; as if he was sleeping and goes back to sleep again after waking up for a short while. He is not conscious. In the conscious state such a deep enlightenment is possible only on attaining to the required stage of evolution. Evidently after such a state of enlightenment, a person never returns to the enjoyments of life despite making efforts for them as before. In such a state he has only one alternative i.e. to keep on moving forward on the path of his evolution. He loses interest in the worldly enjoyments and if on attaining such a stage one does not have the courage to move forward then there is surely harshness, disinterestedness, and a vacuum in his life. The life appears to become purposeless because the earlier objective of life becomes meaningless and purposeless, and there is no new direction, objective or goal. The Lord had tried to tempt Arjuna. He also provoked him, criticised him. But all this was in vain. It only meant that Arjuna was a right person for spiritual union (adhyatma Yoga). He had lost interest in worldly existence. He had passed the preliminary test. Moreover, he was fully receptive. He was fully devoted to Shri Krishna; he trusted him and was prepared to tread the path of enlightenment set by him. It is to be noted that till such time as it was not clear that Arjuna possessed those qualities, the Lord did not talk about atman13. He talked only in the normal worldly manner. Earlier it was not possible for him to talk about atman because an enlightened person is unable to open his mouth before a person who is not eligible. The eligibility of an eligible person is a silent invitation to speak on this subject. When we understand the requirements of eligibility as mentioned above, it becomes quite clear why the first chapter has been named Arjuna-vishada (distress) yoga. Distress is the basis of this yoga and, therefore, is yoga. This is the infallible sign of eligibility. Its popular name and form is vairagya i.e. detachment from the worldly affairs.
11 12

Yama: God of death Brahman : Creator of this universe, the Supreme Lord, the God of Gods 13 Atman: the self; the soul; the spirit

14

The normal outcome of detachment is vairagya. This is born out of distress due to hurting of the inner self. Transient detachment is a detachment of a cremation ground. When it is firm, then alone there are in it constructive possibilities. When detachment is only negative, in other words is primarily non-attachment, then it does not generate devotion in the feet of the Lord and it is useless. Only that distress and detachment is praise-worthy which generates a deep devotion in the feet of the Lord and delivers a person from any possibility of distress in future. To a great extent, it depends upon the existing influences. It was the enlightenment of Shri Krishna and his influence that the devotion, wisdom and action could sprout in the fertile soil of distress in Arjuna. Otherwise, only a vacuum would have remained in the heart of Arjuna, and his life would have become meaningless and if that had not happened, he would have had an inner conflict for the whole life. Those who are on the right path, in whose heart the buds of devotion in the feet of the Lord have sprouted, do not need such a deep wound. The grace of the Lord would gradually purify their minds.

sanjaya uvaca evamuktva hrsikesam gudakesah paramtapah| na yotsya iti govindamuktva tusnim babhuva ha||(9) Gudakesha14 (Arjuna) after saying, I will not fight became silent.

tam uvaca hrsiksesah prahasann iva bharata| senayor ubhayor madhye visidantam idam vacah|| (10) Stationed between the two armies, Shri Krishna smilingly said to the distressed Arjuna, O Bharata! In the Gita, Arjuna has been called by many names. These are his adjectives. The meaning of the word Gudakesh is the lord of sleep, nidrajit (who has control over sleep). Similarly, Shri Krishna has also been called by many names, Hrishikesh the Lord of the sense organs i.e. indriyajit, Govinda a cowherd or a person who has control over the sense organs. This is a tradition of the Sanskrit literature that a person is first addressed by an adjective and then that adjective is subsequently used as his name. Arjuna had mentioned his resolve, 'I will not be able to fight I will not fight'. The Lord was not alarmed. He was the Lord. By seeing the game he smiled and started preaching. The yoga of the Gita starts from this place.

14

Gudakesha: the one who has won over his sleep, the one who is always alert.

15

sri bhagavan uvaca asocyan anvasocas tvam prajnavadams ca bhasase| gatasun agatasums ca na nusocanti panditah|| (11) "You are grieving for those, who do not deserve to be grieved and are talking like a wise man. Wisemen do not grieve for either the dead or the living." (11) The real sermon of the Lord, Shri Krishna, starts from this verse. The Lord describes the present condition of Arjuna in the first half of the verse. Ashochya has been used for the 'undeserving for grief'. Arjuna was grieving for his relations who might die in the war. In fact, what is the need to grieve for a warrior (kshatriya) who dies in a battlefield while performing his duties as a warrior (kshatra dharma)? He sacrifices his body while performing his duty (dharma) and after death he goes to heaven. His death should not be a cause of grief. It should be a matter of joy instead. The body does not live forever. So if a person can discharge his duty with its help, then that body assumes importance both in life and also in death. It is only the delusion of a person that makes him tremble at the prospect of death and starts looking at it as a frightening accident. In Shri Ram Charit Manas also there is an occasion. On the death of King Dasharatha guru Vashisht preached thus: sochiye vipra jo ved vihina, taji nij dharma vishyai lavleena | sochiye nripati jo niti na jana, jehi na praja priy prana samana ||
(The Brahmin, who leaving his own dharma is engrossed in pleasures, consider him ignorant of the Vedas. Consider that king ignorant of the state-craft for whom his subjects are not as dear to him as his own life.)

Death is not a subject worthy of grief. That is most certain and that is necessary also for the evolution of a person. The prime consideration should be, as to what for the life is given? What was the purpose? To die while discharging duty should be a matter of joy for all because by doing so one moves rapidly on the path of his evolution. In the entire Gita the devotion to svadharma15 is the underlying principle. This itself was the basis of division of castes. On that basis only social system was maintained. Considering from a wider perspective that is also the necessary means of our development too. When petty considerations reduce the importance of ethical values in life then a person is deluded and strays from the right path and due to disturbances in the social order righteousness (dharma) is put off the track. Devotion to one's duty alone makes death unworthy of grief. One has to be firm in the discharge of his duty (dharma). Even the considerations of happiness or unhappiness are not important in the cause of dharma. Considered from this viewpoint, it is a great penance and a great path. To have established the importance of svadharma is indeed a great contribution of the Gita. Another thing, which the Lord had said to Arjuna, was: you are talking like a wise man a prajnavadams. Not as a wise man, but like a wise man. In other words, his arguments were very logical and appealed to the mind but in fact were not worthy of cosideration at that time. Immorality amongst women, disappearance of traditions and customs, birth of mixed breeds and the absence of oblations to the ancestors, is prima facie a beautiful and well argued train of thought. But these considerations were not for you to bother. You have to discharge your duty (dharma) as a warrior. You have been challenged to fight and it is the demand of your duty that you fight in the battlefield and then let anything happen. All those considerations are immaterial before the call of duty. By deviating from duty you will not only harm yourself but will also damage the social order. Whatever you have said that may be right in its own way, but it would be mighty wrong to give it an undue importance.
15

svadharma: own duty

16

In the second part of the verse is given the reason. Pundit is the one who is really wise, is the one who can properly evaluate situations by having a wider perspective. The person, who understands the complexities of a situation and of related things but does not understand their importance and cannot compare them with other situations, may be a scholar but is a fool. One does not become a pundit by simply having knowledge of many matters. In fact wisdom is the capability of properly understanding all relevant issues. One does not achieve this understanding by simply reading books. The refinement of the intellect achieved by the internal and external experiences is absolutely important. In the Gita, pundit has been given a very exalted position and a person having a balanced vision alone has been called a pundit (verse 18 of chapter 5). This is the supreme form of cognition. This is also the limit of vision. This is the real vision. In fact, this is wisdom. Wise people do not grieve for those who are dead and also for those who are alive. Life and death are inevitable events of life. What, therefore, can be achieved by grieving over death? Death cannot be avoided. The body will have to die. It is immaterial howsoever much and in whatever way one may worry or grieve. Both birth and death are necessary and interrelated to keep the cycle of the world going. Birth is dependent on death and death on birth. When there is birth, there has to be death. Moreover, death is only a release from the physical body. Death is not losing the existence. Birth is only an acquisition of a body in the physical world. He who has understood this secret, there is no grief for him. For him birth and death is a game like the game of hide-andseek.

na tv eva ham jatu na sam na tvam ne me janadhipah| na cai va na bhavisyamah sarve vayam atah param || (12) "It is not that I was not ever in the past, or you were not, or these kings were not. And, it is also not that we will not be in future. We are all beyond this." (12) The analysis of the concept of life and death starts from this verse. An attempt is being made to explain the meaning of the eternity of atman . Arjuna had only a gross vision of things (understanding). It was generally a limited one. He knew a bit of the past and a bit of the future. Considering the body as existence (satta) he was becoming sad by taking its death on himself and thinking that every one of the warriors would die in the war and he would be responsible for their death. He did not know anything about the existence of the atman before its manifestation in a body and he also did not know any thing about the atman after death of the body. The Lord tells him explicitly, 'it is not that, I am born on the birth of this body. There was never a time, when I did not exist. I have always been there. I am not born - am ajanma i.e. unborn and this is not unique because you are also ajanma. This body is born and not you. You existed before the birth of the body. You have always existed. Similarly these kings for whom you grieve were not born with their bodies, they always existed.' 'Even when we look in future there will never be a time when I will not be. Body will be destroyed, but the existence of that power which speaks and works will not be destroyed. That will never be lost. Similarly you can never be destroyed and nor these kings can ever be destroyed. They will always exist. It is only the body, which is destroyed. This is your delusion to think that these will be destroyed.

17

The existence in the form of consciousness in the body is atman. That is not destroyed on the destruction of a body. That is unborn and perennial. That is eternal existence. That is immortal. Body is mortal. Now the Lord explains by giving an example.

dehino smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara| tatha dehantarapraptir dhiras tatra na muhyati || (13) "As this gross body of the embodied (who has acquired the body) has childhood, youth and old age, similarly it gets another body. Therefore, a stable person is not deluded in this matter." (13) The three stages of childhood, youth and old age pass in a body. When childhood enters the youth the holder of the body remains the same. The chain of his memory is not broken. A child becomes a youth and similarly the young becomes old. The transition from one stage to another is not considered as a destruction of the previous state. In the same manner, along with the three stages, the fourth stage is that of death. In death, a new body is attained. The embodied leaving the gross body dwells in a subtle body. It is necessary to know the opinion of the Upanishads about the transmigration of bodies. There is an illustration of leech (Jaluka) about death in Chhandogya Upanishad. A leech lifts its rear feet only after firming its front feet. In the same manner, atman leaves an old body on attaining a new body. This does not mean that it immediately takes another birth in the gross world. In fact, on death our relationship with the gross body stands terminated and shortly thereafter the animate breathing body also gets annihilated. The embodied self dwells in a subtle state in a subtle world. It appears that after death some changes in conformity with its propensities usually take place in the subtle body and, therefore, it has been called a new one. That is why in the Gita death has been called a transmigration of body to a different plane. As in life the body passes through the three stages and the embodied continues in those stages unchanged, it also continues in yet another stage in which it attains another body. This is also another stage, though it appears entirely different from the other stages. For example, one has constructed a house and starts living therein. With the passage of time the house becomes old and gets damaged. The person leaves that house and starts living in another house. He remains the same person in the new house, as he was earlier in the old house. He only changes his residence. He continues to be like before. He is not destroyed with the destruction of the old house. It is necessary that we discriminate between the stages and the one whose stages they are. Changes take place in the stages and not in the one whose stages they are. Because of lack of this understanding we attribute death to a person and so we suffer and make others suffer. This impression and ignorance about death is deeply rooted in the blood of human society. Death is considered to be destruction. That is why so much importance is given to it and its fear keeps us so obsessed. It is essential that we understand the science of death so that our attitude towards it is corrected and we are freed from the fear of death.

matrasparsas tu kaunteya sitosnasukhaduhkkhadah| agamapayino nityas tams titiksasvab bharata|| (14)

18

"O' son of Kunti! Contacts with measurables (existent) give the experiences of cold and heat, happiness and unhappiness. They come and go and are transient. O Bharat 16! Endure them. (14) What can be measured is called measurable. Anything, which is not manifest, is beyond measurement but every thing in the manifest prakriti17 is measurable. The real property of the manifest is that it has limits. All our perceptions, which could be measured by the senses, are based on limits. Whatever can be measured by the senses, whatever can be measured by the mind or the intelligence, all are measurables and are of prakriti. Therefore, matrasparsha (contact with measurables) means contact with prakriti, union with prakriti and effect of prakriti. The embodied acquires a body. Through the sense organs of that body, one comes in contact with the external world. Our body influences situations and situations influence the body. These contacts give the experiences of heat and cold and of happiness and unhappiness. The experiences of happiness and unhappiness are not dependent only upon the contacts of the sense organs. The mind and the intellect also influence the experiences of happiness and unhappiness. Therefore, the influences of gross prakriti alone do not give rise to happiness or unhappiness. The thoughts and emotions also give rise to them. The subtle prakriti in the mind and the intellect, which is not manifest, is stronger than the gross. In the present context even if it is accepted that the atman is immortal and only the body of those relations who will be killed would be destroyed and that only their form would change, still they would have bodily suffering and unhappiness. Could we not save them and ourselves from that (suffering)? Perhaps in this verse, the Lord is answering that question: when the embodied is in a physical body there is (experience of) heat and cold, happiness and unhappiness. Of course, the relationship (contact) keeps on changing. Prakriti is not stable. Consequently, contacts with the measurables change, and also external conditions keep changing. And our sense organs, means of our experiences, also keep changing. As a result, the experiences of heat and cold also keep changing. A happy person is not always happy nor an unhappy person is always unhappy. Like the edges of a rotating wheel (chakranemikramain), every thing keeps rotating. Seasons change and like that every other thing changes. Secondly, these contacts are transitory (anitya). It is not that they will always be there and the person will be compelled to always experience heat and cold, happiness and unhappiness. By progressing in the process of evolution, one can acquire freedom from these experiences. For the sthithpragya18, the Lord says, he is neither happy in happiness nor unhappy in unhappiness. He develops an inner equanimity. This is also true about heat and cold. This means that experiences are not stable i.e. do not remain the same. Not only that, contact or union with prakriti is also not perpetual. Death makes us rid of contacts with the physical world. Similarly, as our consciousness develops, we gradually acquire the capability of remaining immune from the experiences of the physical world. The stage of 'kaivalya' (state of liberation) is a state of irreversible separation from the prakriti. A person, whose consciousness has gone beyond the mind, the intellect and the ego, is beyond the experiences of prakriti. The prakriti has no binding for him. He can enjoy or leave prakriti at will. This was the state of the Lord also. Taanstitikchasva i.e. endure them. Till such time, as one does not attain that state he will have to endure them. There is no escape. If this is accepted then there is no trouble.

16 17

Bharat: Arjuna Prakriti: literally means nature. It is used for nature as well as for human nature. According to Samkhya philosophy Prakriti is composed of three gunas (constituents), namely, sattva, rajas and tamas. 18 Sthitpragya: stable in intelligence (mind)

19

deh dhare ka dand he sab kahu ko hoai | gyani bhoge gyan son murakah bhoge roai ||
(This is the punishment of acquiring the body and everyone has to bear it. A wise man enjoys it with his wisdom and a fool suffers crying.)

Along with this, if it is also understood that this bondage of prakriti is the requirement of evolution then also one gets over the feeling of helplessness. One can knowingly use this bondage for giving an impetus to his evolution. A person tries to learn the essential lessons from prakriti, so that he could quickly pass through the stages. Life itself becomes a school. Happiness and unhappiness look like messages of the merciful Lord (kripanidhan). Life is no longer a prison. That does not remain a burden; then the whole perspective about life changes.

yam hi na vyathayanty ete purusam purusarsabha| samaduhkhasukham dhiram so mrtatvaya kalpate|| (15) "O' Best of men! A person who is not troubled by the contacts of the measurables, who has patience and who maintains equanimity in happiness and unhappiness, he is worthy of immortality." (15) The higher level of that tolerance which was mentioned by the Lord to Arjuna in the previous verse has been discussed in this verse. The influences of prakriti create turbulence in a person. When these influences are strong a person is troubled. That trouble and awareness of external influences are not the same. To be troubled by cold and knowing it are two different things. Mercury in thermometer gets contracted in cold but it is not said that it is troubled. External situations are perceived by intelligence and the experiences of happiness or unhappiness, troubled or not being troubled are the experiences of one's consciousness in heart. These are two different sensitivities. Ability to perceive is also called cognition. Ability to experience happiness or unhappiness is called experiencing. Both are different. For this reason, despite the cognition being similar, the feeling of unhappiness is not similar in different persons. It is not that the death of any near and dear relation makes everyone equally unhappy. As a person advances in his spiritual evolution, his ability to perceive improves. Space and time start contracting. He becomes more sensitive than before towards internal and external changes. He is able to know motives and intentions of others more clearly than before. But, along with this (the two abilities), another infallible ability develops i.e. of complete elimination of the possibilities of distress. The events, which used to trouble a person before, do not trouble him any longer and in due course of time he reaches a stage when it becomes impossible for him to get troubled as before, as it was impossible for him not to get troubled earlier. This change is possible by a transformation and purification of astral body. It is also natural that this change affects the emotions and the central nervous system. They are strengthened. One does understand everything but does not become restless. The understanding, which at this stage an aspirant achieves, if an ordinary person achieves he would not be able to survive and the pain of misery would break his heart. This evolution should take place simultaneously in the fields of knowledge and emotions too. It certainly does not mean that one should become like a stone (devoid of feelings). This, however, does not indicate the equanimity an aspirant of knowledge achieves by controlling sensual experiences. This stage can be reached by continually enduring cold, which makes the skin thick and due to it the ends of sensory cells become insensitive. When there is no feeling of cold, in this manner, then there is no possibility of misery due to cold and the

20

question of equanimity does not arise. This is not development towards equanimity but is a step towards becoming animalised. The equanimity towards happiness unhappiness does not mean this. Steadfast (dhir) is the one, who has patience (dhairya), who is balanced, who can endure external effects, who is not affected by external or internal influences in any manner. He alone is stable. Equanimity towards happiness unhappiness and steadfastness develop together. In the last part of this verse it is said that he is worthy of immortality, which is the state of liberation from death. In fact, even gods are not immortal. From the human point of view they have such a long life that we call them immortal. Secondly, their body does not disintegrate like ours. It does not change significantly. That is why they are called gods. Real immortality is that state when the atman does not need to acquire a body because a body which is acquired will have to be discarded. That is death. We are in a gross body to acquire equanimity. The intensity of heat and cold, of happiness and unhappiness, which can be experienced in a gross body in the physical world, cannot be experienced in any other body. It is impossible in any other animal body and is also impossible in subtle bodies in the astral worlds. Therefore, this lesson of equanimity can be learnt only here and learnt by these external influences. This means that the utility of these external effects is inherent in learning this great lesson of life. As we learn the said lesson of equanimity, their utility declines for us. For a person who properly understands the nature of these influences and still remains totally unaffected, these external influences do not remain useful to him. In other words, they are not required for his further evolution. It means that he will not have to return to this physical world i.e. the world of transient happiness and unhappiness. For him this world does not remain to have any utility. Such a person becomes worthy of immortality. He will neither have to acquire a physical body nor leave it. Of course in the present context it should also be understood that necessity only means that for him acquisition of a body is not necessary for his evolution but he can acquire a body many a times to perform some specific work with a higher purpose and inspiration. Like a boy who has already passed high school need not go to school to study in high school but he can certainly go to school to teach or for any other work. Knowledge of the real nature of atman (tattva gyan) was the basis of what was said by the Lord to Arjuna in verses 11th to 15th. Without understanding the secrets of the self and nonself (atman-anatman)19 all that knowledge would appear baseless. That base has been elaborated in verses 16th to 25th. Atman is eternal and death is the property of this body. Man is atman and not a body. He is eternal. In reality, death means elimination of body. These are the fundamental concepts of discrimination between atman and anatman. In our life knowledge has great importance. On the way we look at life depends how we shall spend our life, where we will proceed and whether we will be happy or unhappy. Nothing happens by merely learning that atman is immortal and the body is mortal. Even the parrot can learn many things, but that does not have any use in his life. We will have to use this knowledge in our life. Equipped with this knowledge, we will ourselves have to examine life from every angle and will also have to observe events happening around us. Do we really know and believe that atman is eternal, we are immortal and this body is mortal? If we truly believe this, then why do we give so much importance to the enjoyments and pleasures, happiness and unhappiness, which are related to this body? Why do we live only to acquire them? Why do we sacrifice our duty and ethical values of life for the sake of the body and for the pleasures of this body? Why do we sacrifice the welfare of our self (atmankalyan) for the enjoyments, and for worldly and bodily comforts? This is because our knowledge is that of a
19

anatman: non-self

21

parrot, devoid of any understanding of what we are saying. We accept for the sake of acceptance but behave in a different manner or do not give any importance to our behaviour. The understanding of what affects life that alone is wisdom. The Hindu society highly respects the Gita. It believes in the immortality of atman, but when somebody dies, we grieve so much that the entire wisdom of the Gita flows out of us - like a river. At that time one should think keeping all aspects of life in view as to what immortality really means and how life should be lived accordingly.

na sato vidyate bhavo na bhavo vidyate satah| ubhayor api drsto ntas tv anayos tattvadarsibhih|| (16) "What is unreal does not exist, (and) what is real never ceases to be. The knower of the two, that is, real and unreal, knows both the terms in their true form. (16). This means, whatever exist is always there and whatever does not exist, is never there. That which does not have its own existence can never exist and that which has existence can never cease to exist. The normal meaning of real is that which always exists. But, what is it, which exists? We will have to consider this deeply. Do trees exist? Yes, they exist, as they are visible. But a tree is made of five elements. First the elements exist and then only a tree exists. The existence of a tree really depends upon the existence of five basic elements. Do the five basic elements exist? Look at it a little more deeply, then it would be clearly understood that the five basic elements do exist because prakriti exists. So they do not have any existence independent of prakriti. Does prakriti exist? Going further deeply into the issue it would be realised that there is only one indivisible existence which manifests itself in the form of prakriti. And even prakriti does not have its own independent existence. What has its own existence is known as reality. This then is the definition of reality. By expressing it really means that it exists on its own and that its existence is not dependent on any other existence. Therefore, it will never cease to exist. To say that real never ceases to exist is to define cessation of the word as real. If real is considered as atman, then just by saying so the immortality of atman is described. If we are forms of real, then we can never be non-existent. This means 'real' can never become 'unreal' and nobody can ever kill it. If, however, it can be killed then it will not be 'real'. Unreal never exists. Whatever is unreal never exists. Body is unreal. It is only visible. It does not have a real existence. Unreal means transient. Essentially, its existence is as good as non-existence - as water has existence but bubble does not have its own existence. All things of the world both moveable and immoveable are like that. Real existence is only of the one Supreme-Brahman (Parabrahman) and of ours, because, our existence is not separate from Him. We are part of His existence. Atman is eternal as it is not transient. Body is transient and it is not eternal. Paramatman20 is eternal and He is real, and the creation is transient and is unreal. (This understanding is of the eternal and of the transient sadhanachatushtya. The existence of many things used in every day life is only a reflection of that One Supreme existence. They are dependent on that One alone; they are born from that One and would finally
20

Paramatman: the Supreme self or the Supreme soul

22

disappear in that One. Only that is their final destination. He alone is the life of our life and is perfect. The world is His projection. We should move towards him. The thirst for transient things is the cause of unhappiness due to their transient nature and does not give us real happiness). Those who know the essence of 'real' and 'unreal', they certainly know this much about 'real' and 'unreal'. The one who is able to explore and discover the roots is the knower and the philosopher. In verse 11, the Lord had told Arjuna that he was talking like a wise man. In other words, he had not actually understood things correctly. A correct understanding is discrimination between atman-anatman. If Arjuna had really possessed that understanding, he would not have given so much of importance to dying and killing. For the transient body, why should he have relinquished his own duty, which was important for the welfare of his self? He was considering the body as important and considered it to be his real life. A cliff or a root is a terminal point. The terminal of a subject is the conceptual knowledge of the various components of that subject. By giving examples of the wise people, Lord tried to explain this subject in many ways so that Arjuna could fully understood the same.

avinasi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idam tatam| vinasam avyayasya sya na kascit kartum arhati|| (17) "Know it by which all this is pervaded to be as indestructible, for no one can destroy this immutable." (17) Apply the principle, which was discussed in verse 16. What is that which pervading this universe is even beyond this universe, is present in every atom as threads in cloth, as fibers in thread, is the indestructible. That one is indestructible and cannot be destroyed. In other words, that is the 'Real'. What is that which is present in everything? That is the Real. It is present in everything: the one pervading the gross and the subtle is measurable by the mind, the intellect and the organs. It is subtler than them. It cannot be the subject of the mind, the intellect and the senses. It is atman and is unlimited and undefined. It is beyond the boundaries of space and time. It exists in everything and is also beyond everything. Who will destroy 'It'? Everything exists because of Its existence, has strength because of Its strength and has duty from Its duty. How can one destroy It? How can threads destroy fiber? How can cloth destroy threads? How can gross mutilate the subtle, how can the body kill atman? How the creation can destroy the Paramaishwara21. Who can kill Him? The senses and mind vibrate due to Him. Prana22 moves due to Him. Intelligence sparkles due to Him. No body has any authority over Him. He is indestructible and because of being a single entity cannot destroy Himself. In fact, even time (kaal) is due to him. Destruction also is due to him. He is all pervading. He is omnipotent. Hands cannot reach him and eyes cannot see him.
21 22

Paramaishwara : The Supreme Lord Prana : vital, life breath

23

Our atman is that indestructible existence which pervades everything and is the cause of everything. That is omnipresent. We are limbs of that infinite, if the word limb could be used. We are just a glimpse of that infinite. In this ego-mind-intelligence, that infinite (anant) limitless perceives and appears serene in this body for His divine play (lila). To arise in that eternal feeling (bhava) is to attain the infinite consciousness and is to realise one's immortality. Having attained that wonderful state, the individual begins to cry like swami Ramatirtha who said that He is in everything and is everything. And it is only then that a person can fully/rightly understands what the vibhuti-yoga or the yoga of Divine excellence is.

antavanta ime deha nityasyo ktah saririnah| anasino prameyasya tasmad yudhyasva bharata|| (18) How can this embodied eternal, which is indestructible and incomprehensible (aprameya), come to an end? O Arjuna! You should, therefore, fight. (18) In this verse, distinguishing between atman and the body, it is said that atman is indestructible and it is only the body that comes to an end. That which acquires a body is called the embodied. That which has taken a body, who is the lord of the body, is embodied. Only atman acquires a body. Without atman, body is inert, it is dead and is worthy of cremation. The body is a means of experiences for atman. Through this body atman establishes its contact (through mind, etc.) with physical and subtle worlds. It influences and gets influenced too. Body is a machine and atman is the operator. That (atman) uses it. This atman is also the source of energy and knowledge. By considering thus, one should understand that the body and the embodied the atman, the existence, which acquires a body are different. Once this is understood, further understanding becomes easy. For example, a person who does not know wheat and gram as separate things will not be able to know their blend after they are blended. Similarly, the one who does not know the two - prakriti23 and purusa24, cannot have this understanding. He thinks that the body alone has all the qualities. This is consciousness. Every person cannot understand this subject in this manner, as the indiscriminate is not able to recognise the colour as separate from the cloth in which it is dyed. Till such time one does not recognise the cloth and its colour as separate, he does not have proper cognition. Similarly, the two have to be understood separately. Only by knowing atman, the embodied, and the body, in which it is encased, separately this discrimination is possible.
23 24

Prakriti: Samkhya speaks of two ultimate realities -- Purusa and Prakriti. Prakriti is composed of three gunas (constituents) i.e. sattva, rajas, and tamas. And when they are in a state of equilibrium, it is known as avyakta or the unmanifest. When the equilibrium is disturbed there arises the universe. Purusa does not have any change in itself. Purusa : In the Vedanta philosophy 'Purusa' is known as atman or the self. In both systems 'Purusa' exists as a witness or the sakshi of all changes within or without. The only difference between Samkhya and Vedanata is that the Samkhya believes in the multiplicity of Pursusas whereas Vedanta does not believe so - it believes in one ultimate reality or principle.

24

The atman is eternal, immortal and immeasurable. The body has entirely different properties. Eternal i.e. the one, which has always existed and will always exist and is beyond the limitations of the past or of the future. The atman is never born i.e. when its beginning can be identified and after which its absence cannot be imagined. And, atman never dies i.e. when its end can be called and after which its existence cannot be imagined. It was always there and will always be there. In this chapter only the Lord speaks about atman bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah (verse 20). It is indestructible i.e. it cannot be destroyed: which is eternal, how can that be destroyed? Destruction is possible only by bringing a change. The atman is free from any change. It is always the same. Immeasurable (aprameya) is that which cannot be measured. Measurement is by the eyes, by the senses and by the subtle mind and the intelligence. The sensory organs measure physical objects and the mind and the intelligence measure the subtle objects. Atman cannot be measured by any of these means. It is beyond the limits of the subtle. It is smaller than the smallest and is bigger than the biggest. It is stable as well as moving. There is no end to its energy, of its wisdom or of its bliss. It is entirely without limits or boundaries. That is why it is called aprameya immeasurable. Body is its opposite, i.e. transient, destructible and measurable. Body is changing every moment and is also being rebuilt every moment. After a certain period, the play of the body comes to an end and it becomes lifeless like wood or iron. Having become useless, it is consigned to flames (or is buried). Body is also measurable. We can measure it; its growth and reduction can be measured. In this way, the body of the embodying atman acquiring a form is called perishable. Bodies certainly are perishable. They do not last forever. After the play of the destiny the body is destroyed. It is like a watch, which stops giving time when the winding is over. The body has been used in plural and the embodied (atman) is used in singular. This needs to be noted: the atman is one and the same. That singular entity uniting with a form of life becomes individual soul (jivatman), and united with the universal soul it is called the Supreme Soul (Paramatman). Basically, it is only one Reality. The duality (dwaita) is the creation of intelligence. In the existence beyond prakriti, where is the possibility of any duality? In the Gita, later the Lord says, kshetragyam ch api mam vidvi sarvakshetreshu bharat O Arjuna! Understand that I am the knower of the field (Kshetragya -atman) in every filed (kshetra -body). Broadly speaking this means that you consider Me the holder of the body (dehdhari) in every body this is the second verse of chapter 13. The Lord speaks to Arjuna thus, therefore, you fight as atman is eternal and immortal (ajar amar). Not even an iota of it can be destroyed. Only the body is mortal. It will certainly be destroyed. Therefore, you fight without any worry. You cannot kill any body. At best you can destroy bodies, which even otherwise are going to be destroyed. Why must you worry then? Stand up and fight.

25

ya enam vetti hantaram yas cai nam manyate hatam| ubhau tau na vijanito na yam hanti na hanyate|| (19) "He who thinks to be the one who slays and he who thinks this (atman) as slain both of them do not know the truth. It neither slays nor is slain." (19) The atman neither kills nor is killed. The Lord said this in the specific context about which Arjuna was worried. The atman does not die and is immortal. Only the body dies. On body being cut, atman is not cut and does not die. Why does it not die? A sword can cut wood but cannot cur air. A lump being thrown in space does not disintegrate. It is due to its being subtle. The atman is so subtle that there is nothing subtler than it. In fact it cannot die because it is not composite so dying is not its nature. It has always been there and will always be there. It is unique. Therefore, no simile can be given for it. It is easy to understand that atman is immortal but it appears difficult to understand that even we do not die. It is also easy to understand that atman does not kill atman. But, does atman not even kill the body? Only the body dies and is killed only by another body. Only a living being can kill another living being. Then, what does it mean that atman does not kill? Atman is absolutely pure existence - beyond the three constituents (gunas) of prakriti. It is neither a doer nor an enjoyer. It is also not subject to change. Therefore, the changes in the forms of enjoyments of karma take place only in the constituents of prakriti. These do not take place in atman, which is beyond the constituents of prakriti. Therefore, the atman is not involved in the doer-ship of killing. Subsequently, in the 28th verse of chapter 3, the Lord himself has said:

tattvavit tu mahabaho gunakarmavibhagayoh | guna gunesu vartanta iti matva na sajjate || "He, however, who knows the truth about the respective spheres of gunas (modes of prakriti) and karmas holding that it is the gunas (in the shape of mind, organs, etc.) that move among the gunas (existent or perception) does not get attached to them O' Arjuna." By thinking himself as a killer, a person imposes upon himself the doer-ship of his karma and consequently becoming an enjoyer places himself in the cycle of birth and death, and happiness and unhappiness. In fact, we are the atman. Neither do we do anything, nor do we enjoy anything. This is all the play of gunas done by the gunas. The three gunas keep reacting with each other in different forms. To know this is to know the essence of the Samkhya25. By this alone a man attains kaivalya26 and achieves liberation from the bonds of prakriti for all times to come. People usually do not have this understanding. They think that somebody has killed and somebody has been killed. This happens because they consider body as real existence. This is a false or an illusory knowledge (avidya) and is the cause of misery. To equip oneself with this discrimination between the atman and anatman is to become fearless and to become free from all conflicts. To consider body as atman is to play in the hands of prakriti.

25 26

Samkhya or Samkhya: This is the name of a school of Vedic philosophy. Kaivalya: this is the ultimate state attained according to the school of Samkhya.

26

na jayate mriyate va kadacin na yam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah| ajo nityah sasvato yam purano na hanyate hanyamane sarire || (20) "The atman is not born at any time, nor does it dies. In other words, the atman not having come to be does not again cease to be. It is unborn, eternal, permanent and primeval. Even on destruction of body it is not destroyed." (20) The Lord never tiers of harping on the theme of the immortality of atman. To make it absolutely clear and intelligible, the Lord again and again sings by framing ever-new strains of expressions and use of new words. paida na hota atman, marta bhi he na yah kabhi | ho karke phir hoga nahin, is tarah ka bhi nahin || ajanma nitya aur shaswat, he puratan tattva yah | nashta hone par tanu ke, nashta hota yah nahin ||
Atman is never born, nor it ever dies, It is not like the one, which becomes non-being after becoming a being It is primeval, unborn, eternal and immortal, It is not destroyed, when the body is destroyed. (free translation)

Man considers himself to be a body and says, 'today I am so many years old; this is my birthday.' Is there any birthday for the atman? Body is distinct from atman and its nature also is different from it. To weep on some one's death indicates identification with the body. The joy on some one's birth also indicates the same. At most whatever could be said about us and about body is that it is transient. To manifest oneself by acquiring a body is called birth, and departing oneself from this body and living in subtle is called death. By bringing a lamp in a room, the room is lighted. By taking the lamp else where, the room becomes dark. We are like a lamp. Where we are, that place is full of life, and from wherever we disappear there is darkness and death. As Sun never sees night, similarly we never see death. We are always beyond death. It cannot even touch us. The moment it comes near us it becomes life. This is the wonderful magic of our existence. We are also never born. It is clear that birth is only of the body. In reality appearance of a body from the womb of a mother, sprouting of a tender sapling by breaking open the soil, appearance of Sun on the horizon is called as birth. Being born is only a change of state. Was there no sapling or was there no body at any time before? All of them were there but in a different state and in different regions. In our existence even such transformation is not possible. We do not age i.e. become old from young, as we are always endowed with all possibilities. We are not toys of the play of Time. Time is a toy for us. We have always been together for ages: when there was no time, there was no change, even then we existed and will always exist even when Time ceases to exist. It is not true to say that it will not be itself after becoming non-existent. It can be said that atman is unborn, eternal, but it is not true to say that it ends its play and becomes non-existent. Its playful existence always continues. These people who will die in the battlefield will again be back in the world and will acquire new bodies. This sems to be the meaning indicated by this sentence. This is the unborn (aja). It is not born: that it is born from the womb of the mother and will disappear in the flames of the pyre is the view of fools. Before its birth in this body, it was in the subtle world and before that it was in the gross (world).

27

This cycle from subtle to gross and from gross to subtle continues from eternity. That adi-purusa i.e. a Supreme Being (Purushottama), in the form of embodied soul (jeevatman) has been playing this game of hide-and-seek since eternity. Where shall we find the cause of that eternal being for whom time is a toy, death is a fodder and who is the cause of every thing. Who will give birth to that eternal existence which gives birth to everything and from whom every body comes in existence? He is eternal. His eternity is in His being beyond time. This has already been explained earlier. Eternal is the one, which always exists. The word 'eternal' is indicative of the future and is also indicative of the past. It includes both. It is immortal, immortal it is. To explain this and to implant it firmly in the intellect different words have been used. In fact, the concept of immortality is not fully comprehended by the intellect. Space and time are the limitations of the intellect and atman is beyond them. For this reason the use of different words becomes necessary to make good the limitation of words, in reality to fill up the deficiency of mind. In the last portion of this verse the Lord says, that on the death of the body the atman does not die. Death of the body is death of the body. We consider ourselves to be a body. That is why the death of the body appears to be the death of the person in that body. There is no sound after the radio goes out-of-order because the instrument, which transmits sound, is no longer working. Sound, however, is not destroyed. There is no light when the bulb is fused. In fact electric current is not non-existent but the instrument that causes its appearance is not working. If the electric current is not flowing, the sound will not reach any distance even though a loudspeaker is available. Similarly, when the body becomes useless in every respect i.e when it dies, it cannot speak, it cannot see and it cannot hear. The abilities of speaking, seeing and hearing manifest in a body only due to its existence i.e. the existence of atman. Proper understanding of the nature of atman is the foundation of Samkhya yoga. The discrimination between atman and anatman is in fact the essence of this yoga. The philosophy of Samkhya teaches us the discrimination between the prakriti and purusha. Samkhya of the Gita also gives a comprehensive knowledge of this reality. Atman is eternal, immortal and indestructible existence and that we are. Body is mortal and is distinct from us. By this understanding, a person stabilises in the feeling of being self (atmanbhav) and rises above karmas of the body. He is also liberated from the bonds of prakriti. This knowledge can liberate a person from the fear of death. He can save himself from committing all evil actions, which he commits under the influence of those petty emotions, which arise in him due to the deceptive understanding of the body being the self. A saint absorbed in the atman sings thus: kimichchan kasya kamaaya sharirmanus 'anjvaret", (Upanishad) i.e. for what desire and for what expectation should a person suffer in the body.

veda vinasinam nityam ya enam ajam avyayam| katham sa purusah partha kam ghatayati hanti kam|| (21) O Arjuna! The one who knows the (atman) as indestructible, unborn and unchanging, how can he slay anyone or cause any one to be slain? (21)

28

The basis of Arjunas delusion was his ignorance that he would kill his relations and they would be killed. He did not have the knowledge of the Self (atman-buddhi). He considered bodies as atman. He in whom knowledge of the Self (atman-buddhi) has awakened is not affected by the death or by the birth; he does not abandon his svadharma27 for the sake of birth and death due to his attachments. By awakening the knowledge of the Self (atman-buddhi) in Arjuna, the Lord wanted to take him on the path of his svadharma. The knowledge of acquisition of bodies, and subsequent discarding of bodies was the path for Arjunas evolution. This subject will again be discussed later.

vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya navani grhnati naro parani| tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany anyani samyati navani dehi|| (22) The Lord tries to explain by giving an illustration: as a man discards old clothes and puts on new ones, similarly the embodied (dehadhari atman) discards worn out body and acquires a new body. (22) When the clothes become old or are worn out, they are discarded and new clothes are put on. Similarly, when a body is worn out and decays on account of illness, or becomes useless due to a sudden event, then that is discarded and a new body is acquired. In fact, body is a means for our evolution. Through our body we establish a relationship with the physical world and through that we act or perform in the physical world and receive influences of that world. Only through a body action-reaction is possible in the physical world. For human evolution, creation and assimilation of these influences is necessary. They gradually activate our latent consciousness. They also enhance our capability to act and to perceive influences at different levels. Happiness- unhappiness as well as sin-virtue also arises in the body. As a carpenter has to use a grater to smoothen a table and if the grater is faulty, he tries to repair it. If the grater cannot be repaired, he discards that grater and takes on another grater to complete the work. Similarly, we (atman) use the body. If the one (body) does not serve the purpose for which it is acquired, then that body is discarded and another body is acquired and an attempt is made to accomplish the objective of evolution. Even new clothes are sometimes discarded if they are not useful. Similarly, a body can be discarded even before old age. If the kind of experiences required for one's evolution, and in keeping with the demands of the situation those experiences are not possible in the existing body, then that body has to be discarded. In regard to the question of leaving the body in young age and the question of death in infancy, there is no doubt that for both of them the results of karmas of past births are responsible. Even behind the law of karma, some principles operate and some purpose is hidden. This is the law of evolution and is responsible for the formation of the destiny of an individual. As after the over-coat is taken off, jacket remains on the body and even after taking off the jacket, the waistcoat remains on the body. Similarly, after the physical body is discarded, the subtle body i.e. the vital or the pranamaya subsists. In that state, the subtle body takes the place of the gross. Even after leaving the subtle pranamaya body, the mental body i.e. manomaya subsists. When in due course of time it becomes necessary, subtle body or physical body is again attained. A person considers himself to be a body. On the decay of the body he thinks he has decayed and on its death he considers it to be his own death. We are distinct form the body. We
27

svadharma: own duties and responsibilities

29

are atman living in a body. We are not born with the birth of the body and are not destroyed with the destruction of the body. We have independent existence. Body is an instrument for us. When the axe is broken, the woodcutter is not broken. Similarly, when the body is lost, we are not lost.

nai nam chindanti sastrani nai nam dahati pavakah| na cai nam kdledayanty apo na sosayati marutah|| (23) acchedyo yam adahyo yam akledyo sosya eva ca| nityah sarvagatah sthanur acalo yam sanatanah|| (24) avyakto yam acintyo yam, avikaryo yam ucyate | tasmad evam viditvai nam na nusocitum arhasi|| (25) "Weapons do not cut it, fire does not burn it, water does not wet it and the air does not dry it." (23) "It can not be cut, can not be burnt, can not be made wet and can also not be dried. It is eternal, all pervading, immovable, constant and unchanging." (24) "It is called unmanifest (avyakta), inconceivable (achintya) and immutable (avikarya). Therefore, by knowing thus it is not proper for you to grieve." (25) It never satiates the Lord to describe the nature of atman. Weapons cannot cut atman. Weapon is a weapon because it can kill or injue. But for atman no weapon is a weapon. Weapon can kill only a gross physical body. The atman goes out of a body in full without having been killed. Why a weapon does not kill atman? Its answer is given in the next verse. Fire burns the body and not the atman. When the body is burnt, the atman leaves the body. Even water does not wet the atman as it only affects a body. Even air does not dry the atman as it dries only a physical body. Earth, fire, water and air are four gross elements, in contrast with the atman. Therefore, they do not affect the atman. They only affect the five primary physical elements. Atman is not one of the primary physical elements. The changing, piercing, and burning is possible only in the five primary physical elements. What is not one of the five physical elements, such changes are not possible in it. A question can be raised here: when the ordinary fire cannot burn it, would the Sun having thousands degrees of temperature not melt the atman? Even the hottest of the hot cannot burn the atman. It does not get heated at all. It cannot be heated by any means. This has been

30

expressed thus to explain that atman is not one of the five physical elements. Therefore, it is not affected like any other physical object. Now the density of atman is described nitya sarvagatah sthanurnachloyam sanatanah The one, which is Eternal has been explained in verse 20, supra, that it is beyond the boundaries of time. Sarvagata refers to that which is present everywhere, reaches everywhere and present in everything. There is no place, where atman is not present. But we find atman is active only in a body. It appears limited by the boundaries of a body. Therefore, what is in a body, which is here at a point in space, how can it be accepted that it is present simultaneously at another place also? Atman is an all-pervasive existence. Just one of its infinite rays comes in a body and does the entire wonderful play (lila). That alone creates one's personality. That one existence of the Self (atmansatta) alone manifesting in different bodies, appears differently and because of different personalities, behaves differently. The same electricity acts differently in a heater, a bulb and a motor. Differences in individual nature are due to the ego. Similar differences appear in atman (existence) too. Light is without colour, but it becomes of the same colour and of the same properties as of the glass through which it is seen. In its vastness and in the awareness of the Self (atmanbhav) we are all one. The atman is beyond the mind, the intellect and the ego. The intellect cannot imagine any form of multiplicity in atman because the reasons for which multiplicity appears are all propensities related to our mind and the intellect. They are not related to atman. The awareness of the Self (atmanbhav) is beyond multiplicity. Therefore, multiplicity is limited to the sphere of expression. Similarly, it is limited also to whatever could be thought of and could be expressed. Where even thinking has no access how could there be any kind of multiplicity. In fact, what kind of uniformity is there? In it there is only existence and silence. Atman is beyond the boundaries of space. That is why it is called sarvagata i.e. omnipresent or being everywhere. Whatever has boundaries is present at some specific place and is not present elsewhere. Boundaries define the regions of existence. There is and there is not is instantly created. Atman is without boundaries and so it is everywhere. It does not have to go from one place to another. It is always present everywhere. By saying sarvavyapak i.e. all pervading one is reminded of pervasiveness of the pervaded. In other words, one gets the image of one thing pervading the other. But sarvagata i.e. the omnipresent is even beyond that. In reality every atom is in it and it is in every atom and in a manner that every thing is in it. All physical objects are in the same space. As threads are present in cloth, as water is present in ice, similarly you can find it everywhere. It already exists in every thing, in inanimate as well as in the animate. In reality everything exist due to its presence. They emanate from it and are in it. In the animate it is perceptible. In inanimate the veil is so dense that there is a false impression that perhaps it is not there but it is very much there. While talking about kshetra and 'kshetragya', the Lord says,

kshetragyam ch'api mam viddhi sarvakshetreshu bharat|


(Verse 2 chapter 18)

O' Arjuna! Know Me as the 'kshetragya' in all kshetras. And he also said-

31

Ishwarah sarvabhutanam Hraddeshe 'rjuna

tishtati ||
(Verse 61 chapter 18)

The Lord abides in the heart of all beings. What then is this sarvagata28 atman? From the philosophical point of view of the Gita, there are two modes (prakrities) of the Supreme Being (Purushottama) para and apara i.e. higher and lower. This is the philosophical truth of the Gita. Para prakriti or the higher one is kshetragya i.e. the knower of field. That is the Self, the atman. This is not different from the Supreme Being (Paratpar, Purushottama, Paramatman, Ishwar'). This is the same awareness. As there are two sides of a coin, similarly the two prakritis are the two sides of the Supreme Being (Purushottama). They appear to be different but they are not; they appear to be the same but they are not the same. The literal meaning of sthanu is the one, which remains static. A pole is called sthanu because once it is fixed it is difficult to move. Its place cannot be changed. This is the nature of atman. Space is in atman but atman is not in space. Objects move in the atman like fishes move in a water. Where can the atman move? If there can be a change in it then with reference to what this change will be? It is the body that moves. Electric train moves with power, but powerhouse does not move. Atman is the most comprehensive awareness of our existence. To enter into it is to become one with it, is to become static like a pillar. Stability of atman manifests itself in the mind and the intellect as we gradually awaken to the atman in us i.e. in the atmanbhav29. Static is inanimate but atman is conscious. This difference should always be remembered. Immovable is the one, which does not move or does not change. Everything in the universe is subject to change. Prakriti with gunas is unstable. chalam cha gunavratam to remain movable, to keep on changing is the nature of gunas. Moment to moment change is the nature of the world. Atman is entirely opposite to it. There is never a change in atman unlike the external world, which always keeps on changing. The change can be with reference to external objects and can also be within us. Both kinds of changes take place in a body. Walking or like activities are the changes with reference to external objects and circulation of blood within us and other activities inside the body are internal changes. Both kinds of changes take place in bodies, which are qualitative. By saying 'sthanu' the absence of any change with reference to external objects is indicated and immovable indicates absence of even internal changes. The atman is absolutely uniform. It is not constituted of gunas and is beyond them. Despite being immovable (achal), it is full of hidden vibrant consciousness. The vigour is perceived by nature (prakriti) and manifests itself through the mind, the intellect, etc. Though being immovable (achal), these changes do occur. This is the uniqueness of atman. This is also evolution of atman. Sanatan means eternal, which has been from all times and will remain forever. Atman is beyond the frontiers of time and this is what this word indicates. Atman is never born and it never dies. Because of this, existents appear and also disappear. But, it is eternal. Play of time takes place on this canvass. The dance of death and the celebration of birth take place on this canvass. Time cannot make it old. Time is unable to affect it. So unique is our existence! Witnessing many births, and witnessing many bodies we remain stable like a rock. Entire scene passes before us. In the next verse (25) effort has been made to describe atman in greater detail. Avyakto'yam atman, which has been discussed above, is not manifest. The visible realm is called manifest. Whatever can be seen is the manifested realm. We will have to explore deeper. As eye is an organ, similar are the other organs. Whatever is not visible to the eye, can be manifest by touch of the skin? Air is not visible to the eye, but is experienced by the feeling of touch. Similarly, odour is known by nose, though eyes cannot see it. Taste is also like that, and so is sound. Whatever can be known through the sense organs is manifest, and what cannot be
28 29

sarvagata : the all pervading self or omnipresent atmanbhav: self-consciousness or self-awareness

32

so known is called un-manifest. This is the gross limit of the manifest (vyakt). Atman' cannot be known by the sense organs. In reality, the atman residing in the sense organs alone knows. Who will be able to know the knower? Eye is only an instrument of seeing and the seer is that atman inside. If atman is not attentive, eyes cannot see. As despite the bulb being there, there cannot be light without electricity. Similarly, without the energy of atman, organs cannot function. Only the existence of atman working inside the sense organs perceives the external world. It is said in the Upanishad vigyataram are kain vijaniyat Through whom the specific knower (vigyata) will be known? Though the eyes can see the external world, but how they can know the knower hidden inside the eyes? 'Kenopnishad' fully clarifies this subject. 'Achintyo'yam' - the atman is unthinkable. That one, which can be thought of is 'chintya' and that which cannot be thought of is 'achintya'. The activity caused by the combination of the activity of the inner senses and the intellect is called thought (chintan). The impressions received by the sense organs are coordinated by this inner sense. The sixth inner sense organ (mind) synthesises the impressions of all other sense organs. It completes the external image, the intellect understands that image, establishes relationship with the diverse images recorded in the past, considers about them, real - unreal, their being just - unjust, important-unimportant, weighs them and decides. This is called discrimination. The activity of the intellect is possible only if there is an image. Where the sense organs do not work, how can the intellect do any thing? And, what cannot be perceived by the specific sense organ, how that can be understood by the intellect? With what will it compare? For this reason atman is called unthinkable (achintya). In fact, the existence of atman, which is being discussed here, is beyond both the inner sense and the intellect. yato vacha nivartante aprapya. mansa saha which can not be reached by the mind and the speech atman is so described in Upanishad. 'avikaryoayamuchayate' The soul is called 'avikarya'. Wherever there is a possibility of mutation or deterioration is called vikarya. Whatever is not subject to mutation or deterioration is called 'avikarya'. Mutation can be perceived through the sense organs, the mind (inner sense) and the intellect. Where they have no access, how can there be, in that, any possibility of change? Beyond the cognition of the sense organs, it is impossible to imagine any change. It should also be understood here that apart from the gross sense organs there are subtle sense organs and there is a subtle world distinct from the physical world. Whether physical or subtle, the function of the organs is to measure and that is the sole basic object of the sense organs. Atman is not even the object of the subtle sense organs. It is impossible to imagine any change in it (atman). That is why it is called 'avikarya' or immutable. All this has already been said about the imperishable higher (para) prakriti. This is the self or soul-existence (atman-satta) and is a part of the God (Parmeshwara) or Supreme Being (Purushottama). This is our Self (atman-satta), which is immortal, eternal and remains same in all births. This is our real Self. Like the beads on a thread, our lives are sustained by it. Therefore, knowing the atman like this, O Arjuna! It is not proper for you to grieve, the Lord said to Arjuna. If we know the atman like this, there is no scope for grief on death. Death for atman is like darkness for the Sun. As the darkness can never see the Sun, it can never face the Sun, so the death can never encounter the atman. During coma, consciousness is not lost; it only gets separated from the physical body. Even on death it only separates from the body but is not lost. When clouds come, the Sun is not

33

visible but in reality it does not become extinct. Exactly, like this atman, the form of pure Consciousness, is 'chidrupa' (Consciousness incarnate). What is its absence? How can there be non-existence for it?

atha cai nam nityajatam nityam va manyase mrtam| tatha pit tvam mahabaho nai vam socitum arhasi|| (26) jatasya hi dhruvo mrtyur dhruvam janma mrtasya ca| tasmad apariharye rthe na tvam socitum arhasi|| (27) "And if you think that it perpetually takes birth and perpetually dies, even then, O' Valiant one! (Mahabahu having long arms), you should not grieve for it." (26) "Whoever is born will certainly die and whoever dies will certainly be reborn. Therefore, for what is inevitable, you should not grieve for." (27) The Lord had told Arjuna not to grieve for the dead because the atman was immortal and only body is mortal. Then he explains the futility of grieving for the dead from the other point of view. If you consider the body as human being, giving importance to the physical existence from the worldly point of view, then also you should not grieve. From philosophical consideration, birth and death are not properties of the atman. It is eternal. It is from the gross worldly consideration it appears that a person is born, grows and dies. Even on death, the person is not fully destroyed. Something is left of him, which takes another birth. A plant grows and after some time, one day it dies but before dying it leaves behind seeds from which it reappears as if the same plant grows again. The intention of the Lord was if Arjuna was unable to understand the wisdom of philosophy, even then from the gross consideration the same conclusion would be reached. Whatever is born that dies - it is easy to understand but it is difficult to understand that whosoever dies will again take birth. The directive of the scriptures and the popular belief are the only evidence behind this concept. From the scientific point of view, no destruction of energy is ever possible; only its form can change. Pot is made from the mud and mud from the pot. Burning of wood is only a change of form. Its molecules remain present in space in another form. Over a period of time the forms keep on changing. Sometimes they are invisible and at other times become visible. Birth and death are only a transformation of form. There another kind of transformation is possible. The force of karma drags a person back to this gross level. Here a question can be asked. If it is so, will there never be a possibility of getting freedom from this cycle of birth and death? Whatever has been said in this verse of the Gita is what ordinarily happens? It is possible to get freedom from (the cycle of) birth and death. This has been propounded in the Gita at many places. 'Jaramaranmokshaya mamashritya yatanti ye' (verse 29 chapter 7) those who make efforts to get freedom from old age and death by surrendering to Me, they are not reborn punarjanma na vidyate, etc.

34

If birth and death are natural, then where is the need to grieve? If this transformation is natural in the world, why then must one grieve? Nothing unusual will happen if they die. Those who are born will have to die. What unusual thing you are going to do by killing them in the battlefield. The same concept is further clarified in the next verse. Jatasya hi dhruvo mrityuh, whatever is born, his death is certain. hi indicates certainty and dhruva indicates absolute certainty. There is absolutely no doubt about it that one who is born must certainly die one day. One can live for a kalpa30. One can live even for seven kalpas. But, body will certainly perish one day. The creation itself ends one day (pralaya31). The cells, which make the body and the mind, are also destroyed. How the body and the mind then can survive. 'Dhruvam janma mritasya ch' i.e. those who die will be born again because the process of birth after death is certain. It is, therefore, not proper to grieve. What will happen by your grieving for any one? You cannot save anybody from death and you cannot prevent the birth of the one who will die. Therefore, grieving is useless. This process of birth and death is inevitable. It is impossible to even avoid death. It is futile to be unhappy for whatever cannot be prevented. How simple is the concept; but is difficult to understand. On the death of a near and dear one, on the death of a friend, people do become miserable. Firstly, this wisdom is forgotten or a person does not believe it. Even if the mind understands that there is no point in crying because the departed one will not come back, even then the heart does not accept it. The sorrow is overwhelming. Nothing remains pleasant in the world. Life appears futile. His memories keep haunting. Reason gives no solace. How much control intelligence has over our emotions, this can be understood only in such situations. It is easy to speak words of wisdom to others, but it is difficult to remain composed on the occurrence of personal sorrow. His heart governed Arjuna, and it was this that was hurt. His heart was not able to understand the words of wisdom. In fact, heart does not have the intellect. To influence it, something beyond the intellect, was necessary.

avyaktadini bhutani vyaktamadhyani bharata| avyaktanidhanany eva tatra ka paridevana|| (28) O' Arjuna! Existents are not manifest in their beginning, they are manifest in the middle, and again become un-manifest after the end. What is there to grieve about in this matter. (28) The body, the mind and the intellect, are all made up of existents (bhut32). Whatever is changeable, whether it is gross or subtle, is called existent. Whatever is used because of its existence is bhut. A limited existent alone can be used. The beginning of such an existent is unmanifest. What is perceptible is called manifest and what is not perceptible is called the unmanifest. Whatever can be related to or is perceived by the sense organs, the mind or the
30 31

kalpa: measure of time Pralaya: Vedic philosophy believes in cycle of creation and its delusion of whole world. The delusion of the world is called Pralaya. 32 Bhut: this term signifies 'beings' or 'physical existence'

35

intellect can be called the manifest in the broader sense of the term. Birth and death are related to the existent. In birth, existent manifest in a physical form, and the same existent becomes subtle on death, and these subtle forms get invisible for our gross vision. Beginning of existents (bhutas) is un-manifest. All existents are born from prakriti. That prakriti is un-manifest. In the state of non-existence, they cannot be experienced at all. During the period of their existence, which is their middle state, they are manifest. They are known by the mind and the intellect and in the gross come in use by the sense organs too. Their play comes to an end in the state of dissolution. As the sense organs of a sleeping person are dissolved in the mind, light vanishes in the evening; similarly all existents disappear in the un-manifest prakriti. Human beings also have a sequence similar to that of the existents and prakriti. Before birth a person lives in a subtle state. At that time, he is un-manifest for our gross vision. The same is manifest from birth to death. The play of life (jeevan lila) continues. We can hear him, we can see him, and we can deal with him. On death, he again becomes un-manifest and can neither be seen nor heard. This is natural. This is the nature (dharma) of existents. Where then is the justification for grieving over death? Therefore, it is immature to grieve.

ascaryavat pasyati kascidenamascaryavad vadati tathai va ca nyah| ascaryavac cai nam anyah srnoti srutva py enam veda na cai va kascit|| (29) The discussion of atman has been concluded in verses 29 and 30. "Someone looks upon the Self (atmanbhav) with wonder; someone speaks about it filled with wonder; and someone hears about it in a state of deep wonder. And, someone even after hearing it does not understand it." (29) The Lord wants impress upon Arjuna that the subject, which he has described before him, is not an ordinary subject. It is deep as well as supernatural. Knowledge of the atman (atmantatva33) is entirely different from all physical objects. It cannot be understood by the illustrations of physical objects. For physical objects are limited in time and space, and come into being and pass away into a state of non-being. But the atman is infinite, eternal and everlasting. It is omnipresent and immortal. Therefore, it becomes the object of wonder in all respects. Whoever is able to understand this truth, or is able to experience it is also wonder-struck. It becomes difficult to endure that realisation. After that experience even maintenance of one's mental balance becomes a problem for some people. When a knower starts discussing about it, he himself is wonder-struck. 'Anorniyam mahto mahiyan' It is smaller than the smallest and is bigger than the biggest at the same time. 'Taddure tadvintike' It is far and is also near. The more one analyses the nature of atman, the more one gets bewildered. No wonder if an ordinary person is mystified. Even the one, who realises it, is also mystified. What to say of the one who simply hears (about it)? He listens to it with wonder. Even after listening to it, only rare people are able to understand. Metaphysics of atman (atmantatva) is an extremely subtle subject. Only a person of sharp and stable intellect can understand this subject. It is beyond the capability of an ordinary and immature person. About this subject, Yama says to Nachiketa in the Kathopanishad

33

Atmantatva : metaphysics of self

36

na narenavaren prokt aish suvigyayo bahuaa chintyamanah | ananyaprokte gatiratna nastyaniyan hyatrkyamanupramanat || In fact, this is not a subject of arguments. Only a person having a right understanding after his heart is purified by spiritual practice (sadhana ) can understand this. By hearing for long the teachings of the Lord, Arjuna was perhaps bewildered. He could not fully understand the subject. He was assured If you have not understood the subject properly, there is nothing surprising about it, the subject is like this.

dehi nityam avadhyo yam dehe sarvasya bharata| tasmat sarvani bhutani na tvam socitum arhasi || (30) In this context, this is the last verse. It gives the essence of the entire sermon. O Bharat! This one (atman) dwelling in the body of everyone cannot be killed. You should, therefore, not grieve for the life of anyone. (30). Atman is eternal. The body is mortal. This does not apply to human beings only. All living beings are like that. Therefore, you should not grieve on the destruction of any existent. Death is only a transformation of the elements. Atman is the perennial uniform light behind everyone and is not affected by this transformation. This transformation is inevitable and cannot be stopped. Therefore, it is foolish to grieve on this transformation. The existence of the self (atmansatta ) is not affected by death. Therefore, why should any one grieve about this? Here the discussion of the concept of death and also of the concept of atman concludes. All that was said to prepare Arjuna to fight because he had become averse to fighting for fear of death of his near and dear ones. If he could understand this truth properly, his impulsion would have been pacified and he would have become ready to fight.

svadharmam api ca veksya na vikampitum arhasi| dharmyad dhi yuddhac chreyo nyatksatriyasya na vidyate|| (31) yadrcchaya co papannam svargadvaram apavrtam| sukhinah ksatriyah partha labhante yuddham idrsam|| (32) "You should also not falter in regard to your own duties (dharma) because there is nothing more beneficent than a righteous (dharma) war for a warrior (kshatriya)." (31)

37

"The door of heaven has opened to you, on its own, without any effort on your part. O Arjuna! Only the fortunate warriors (kshatriyas) have such an opportunity of war." (32) After describing in detail the immortality of atman, the Lord explains from the viewpoint of one's own duty (svadharma). In fact, by simply understanding the immortality of the atman and mortality of the body one does not solve all the problems of life. If we take recourse to the concept of illusion (mithya34) and start thinking that this world is an illusion then there is no doubt that all our problems get instantly solved. But, one who has to live his life, he needs to have solutions for his day-to-day problems. By his ignoring and calling everything illusion, by considering sin-virtue, profit-loss, happiness-unhappiness as illusion, by considering body as illusion like the horns of a hare, solutions for the problems of life are not to be found. One who lives certainly faces the dilemma of ought to be done ought not to be done, duty non-duty, and without solving that dilemma what will one be able to do? A similar dilemma was before Arjuna. Even if we accept that atman is immortal and body is mortal, why should we fight? That karma did appear very terrible. Many children would be orphaned, and women would become widows. Many warriors would die. There would be so much of loss of life. After all why one should fight? Why could one not leave all that and retire to the forest or sustain his life by some other means? Answer to this question is the core of the Gita. The main concept of the sermon of the Gita relates to doing one's own duty (svadharma). Without this Gita verily is not the Gita and by just understanding this concept the key of the Gita is found. Where from the motivation to perform an action comes? What is that motivation? Why does an ordinary person perform karma? Physical needs like hunger, thirst, and needs for clothes and shelter impel a person to perform karma. Self-Defence is also another motivation for action. The desire for self- improvement also inspires a person to do karma. From the broader perspective it can be said that an action is inspired by dual purpose of the desire to attain happiness and to avoid unhappiness. As the civilization advances, this desire develops many facets. Attainment of specific results in the external world alone induces a person to act. That result may be either to remove the unfavourable conditions - unhappiness or could be to bring about favourable conditions - happiness. A person inspired in this manner performs his karmas and through those karmas develops rajoguna, acquires dynamism and develops the ability of thinking and understanding. And then by the resultant feelings of happiness or unhappiness, his heart also develops. The results for which karmas were done are enjoyed and are eventually consumed. Money is earned and then it is spent. Exalted position is achieved by making efforts, but that also does not last forever. But the efforts made to achieve all this, become the cause of development of different faculties in a person. The faculties, so developed, in a person are permanent. By consumation of external results, these faculties are not destroyed. For example, the lessons learnt in the school are forgotten but the refinement of intellect developed due to the efforts made while learning lessons is not lost. For the evolution of human consciousness action is necessary. Evolution from tamoguna to rajoguna is possible only through action i.e. karma and then only it becomes possible for a person to enters the satva (goodness, real, and purity). It is impossible to achieve satoguna directly from tamoguna. Svadharma is based on this truth. Karma is the means of one's evolution, Therefore it should be performed. Now the question is, karma alone is the means of evolution but are all karmas equally helpful in evolution? Every action is not beneficial for everyone. Every one has his specialties. One might have already made some progress on the path of his evolution. The karmas as are appropriate for a person will be most beneficial to him.
34

mithya: illusion - one that appears to be real but is not so. A rope in darkness appears to be a snake. This is an illusion of snake.

38

The caste-order was based on this principle. According to inherent propensities (samsakars) a person is born in a specific caste. Those with brahmnical propensities and their atman having potentiality of benefiting from performing karmas befitting brahmins are born in brahmin caste and by observing the duties enjoined on brahmins are able to make faster progress in their evolution. Similarly, kshatriya35, vaishyas36 and shudras37 can make progress. As it is for the good of a child suitable for first standard that he is admitted in the first standard and he studies the lessons properly of that standard. Like wise, it is in the interest of the shudras that they do the karmas befitting them. If a child fit to be a student of first standard goes to a class of third standard considering it to be higher, he will not be able to learn anything. Similarly, a shudra will not benefit by doing work prescribed for a kshatriya. This caste order was the mother of spiritual progress. A shudra following the tenets of his own caste could be a vaishya in a future birth; vaishya following the tenets of his caste could be born as a kshatriya. A kshatriya could likewise be born as a brahmin and then by doing penance, self-study and worship and purifying himself he could make himself eligible for philosophical wisdom of Vedanta and then by renouncing the world and on his death can merge with the Supreme Self (Paramatman). In this manner, the caste order was like a school. Those who were born in the society under this order, and followed the duties enjoined on their caste, used to progress gradually. They had an easy path of progress and the society also was benefited by the arrangement. There was a proper division of work in the society. Consequently, different castes acquired special skills and equilibrium was maintained in the society. Therefore, observance of one's own duty (svadharma) is necessary for every person. By following one's own duties (svadharma) a person not only benefits himself but also becomes useful to the society. By devotion to his own duties (svadharma), a person naturally becomes detached to the results of his actions. Consciousness towards duty becomes fundamental. We must do our own duties even if jobs pertaining to any other caste may be comparatively more profitable. Doing the work of others may be more profitable, but the sin that will be committed by doing that work, the loss from the spiritual viewpoint, will be relatively much more. The worldly gains in comparison will be insignificant. Those gains will be left behind but the spiritual loss will go with us. Therefore, performance of our duty is always more beneficial because that is our svadharma a ladder to our own spiritual progress and well being. Worldly gain or loss, which is the basis of our attachment with results, is immaterial. The observance of svadharma purifies the inner-self and develops inner equanimity and firmness. The Lord tells Arjuna that he is born in a Kshatriya family and has been educated as a warrior. For a warrior fighting is his svadharma. It is the path of his wellbeing. For that reason also he should also not hesitate from fighting. There can be no sin in the performance of ones own duty. Svadharma is always beneficial because it is one's own duty. That may be war, be the work of a scavenger or be administration of an empire. Fighting in a war alone was the path of virtue for Arjuna. For a kshatriya nothing could be more virtuous than fighting the righteous war. Righteous war! Raising the problem about violence and non-violence people say that war is always unrighteous. It is against ethics (dharma). It involves violence. How can it ever be ethical? In fact, there is no question of violence or non-violence in observance of one's own duty.
35 36

kshatriya: Warrior class vaishyas: Business class 37 shudras: Menial class

39

If that is our svadharma, i.e. our duty, then that is the path of our beneficence and it is our responsibility towards the society. Where is then the question of violence? It is not our objective to make any body unhappy, or to receive any kind of material benefit for ourselves. We are only discharging our own duties - whatever be its effect on the outer world is not our concern. A person having a broad understanding of style and order of working of human development can alone understand this logic but a person of narrow vision cannot understand it. Violence non-violence, birth-death, happiness-unhappiness, loss-gain are essential for this evolution. The inner-self (antahkarana38) free from attachments is a definite indication of a person progressing towards beneficence. So is the equanimity and firmness of the intellect. Devotion to svadharma brings this. Moreover, society has not reached an ideal state of evolution. Even from external considerations, both violence and non-violence are necessary for maintenance of social order. It is necessary to punish a robber and only a person having authority in society can do that. Protection of the society is necessary and for that use of arms is also necessary. Therefore, war can also be svadharma. For a kshatriya war alone is svadharma, as it is for a soldier of a country. Which war is a righteous war? Righteous means according to dharma39. The war for the defence of righteousness (dharma) against atrocities, the one for protection of the weak, so that atrocities are not perpetrated on others, is a righteous war. The war of Mahabharata was for establishment of justice and was to prevent injustice and was, therefore, a righteous war i.e. according to dharma. When is a war most beneficent? The Gita has mentioned the duties of a warrior (dharma of Kshatriya) in 18th chapter verse 43.

sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam yuddhe ca py apalayanam| danam isvarabhavas ca ksatram karma svabhavajam||
(verse 43 of 18)

The inherently natural characteristics of a warrior (kshatriya) are bravery, vellor, brilliance, patience, courage, and competence, not running away from the battlefield, to give charity and to rule. Amongst these, war is such a duty, which demands ultimate sacrifice. A kshatriya goes to the battlefield by putting his life at stake. That sacrifice makes him immensely pure. The worldly temptations become immaterial. The desire for life is quietened. It is because of this great sacrifice that war is most beneficent. It should also be understood that svadharma is based on the caste order, and the caste order is based on inherent qualities and associate functions chaturvarnayam maya shrastam gunakarmavibhagshah | If the qualities and the functions are not the basis of the caste order, then svadharma will become meaningless. If a brahmin does not have the qualities appropriate for his own caste and does not perform karmas prescribed for a brahmin, then he is not a real brahmin. Duties prescribed for brahmins are no longer the svadharma of such a brahmin. The brahmin-like
38 39

antahkarana: it is the sixth organ of perception Dharma: duty, ethical, moral, values of the society,

40

actions of such of a brahmin will not lead to his welfare. If a child suitable for the third standard is admitted to the fourth standard by mistake, the lessons of the fourth standard will not be beneficial to him. According to his ability he should study lessons of third standard otherwise he will not be able to make any progress. The proper state of the caste-order is one in which only those souls take birth that have qualities and faculties in consonance with that caste. Atman born, as Brahmin should have brahminical qualities and the atman born as kshatriya should have innate propensities (samsakar) of a kshatriya. A state other than that is a state of mixed-breeds. In the state of mixed-breed the caste and duty (svadharma) cannot be determined by birth. Therefore, the performance of karmas according to caste does not remain beneficent to persons born in that caste. The present situation of the modern society in fact is a state of a total mixed-breeding. Due to that the social order has become very complex and practically there is no order at all. Only the remnants of caste order are seen and that too without any purpose. It was not like that when the Lord gave this sermon to Arjuna. Arjuna was a perfect kshatriya and his duty was to fight. 'yaddriyachya choppannam' A war without asking for it. Pandavas had made all possible efforts to prevent war. Shri Krishna himself had gone (to the assembly of the Hastinapur empire) as an emmissary of peace. But Kauravas had rejected all efforts to resolve the dispute peacefully. Consequently, the war had become inevitable. Therefore, Kauravas were responsible for that war. For Arjuna, war had come without asking for it. Such a war is 'swargadwarampavratam'. The door of heaven is ajar through which a warrior could easily enter without making any effort to open it. After death in war, a kshatriya goes to heaven this is said in the scriptures (shastras). Hato va prapasyasi swargam jitva va bhokshayase mahim - on death he will go to heaven, and on victory he will rule the earth. sukhinah - means the fortunate, virtuous. Only the fortunate ones have such a good opportunity of going to heaven easily. People have to do great sacrifices (yagyas40) to gain heaven. Then only they get heaven. You have this opportunity of war where you can easily gain heaven. Therefore, there is nothing but only to gain in the war. You gain heaven by performing your svadharma. Before moving further, it becomes necessary to answer the question that how one's own duty (svadharma) can be recognised in the present age of mixed-breeds (caste confusion). From the practical point of view, this is a very important question. For without properly understanding svadharma how one could observe it? Without knowing svadharma, the sermon/preaching of the Gita cannot be practiced in life. There is no doubt that when the caste-order was prevalent in its pure form, the caste decided the svadharma. The kshatriya caste of Arjuna decided his svadharma i.e. to fight in a war and, therefore, the Lord inspired him to follow that. But today, in brahmin families, souls having kshatriya and vaishya temperament are born. Brahmins themselves behave like kshatriyas and vaishyas. How do we know then, what should we do? As regards the question of our livelihood, we should try to evaluate our aptitudes. These days, in western countries, psychologists conduct many tests to find out the aptitude of children. Intelligence tests are also conducted. By those tests, potentialities of a child are assessed and a vocation appropriate for him is identified. Pursuance of that specific vocation could also be beneficial for the society too. By employing a right person for the right job, the job is performed more efficiently and helps in the progress of the society and also of the country. Right conclusions can be arrived at by this method of casteinvestigation.

40

Yagya: Sacrificial ceremony

41

But, the sphere of svadharma is not simply limited to search for one's livelihood. This is something, which assists us in finding out our way at every step of our life. Many a times, there is a dilemma in life what one should do and what one should not do. In our chosen vocation of our livelihood and also in our daily life we are faced with the problem of deciding between what is right and what is wrong, what is our duty and what is not our duty. Similarly, Arjuna was in the state of a dilemma. Svadharma is the aphorism of our evolution. Svadharma is in fact an awareness of our own duties. A person, who is aware of his svadharma, says 'I abide by my duties and I discharge my duties and responsibilities towards myself and also towards the society.' Performance of actions with that understanding means that whatever one considers being his own duty he should do that without bothering about his personal happiness-unhappiness, loss or gain, and praise or criticism. The benefit of following the path of duty is fully dependent on this faith - sublime. Action performed with this faith gradually uplifts a person from the bonds of his ego. Not only from one's likes-dislikes, and craving for happiness, one becomes free from all attachments too. Consequently, he develops inner purity. As the bonds of attachments are removed, and one is not confused because of his ego, he also becomes free from the bonds of his karmas. In this manner, by his devotion to svadharma, a person progresses on the path of his evolution. Any karma could be a sin or a virtue only to the extent to which it is performed with attachment or non-attachment and to the same extent causes happiness or unhappiness. When we have faith in our duty (svadharma), when our objective is to perform our duty (svadharma) with devotion without any attachment, then the results of such karma will not influence us. It is the bond of attachment, which binds a person with his karma and also with its results. From the point of view of one's devotion to duty (svadharma) virtue and vice is the same. None of them can bear their fruits. If this concept is properly understood, then it is not difficult to decide one's duty in any situation. A person strays from his svadharma when he considers his duty on grounds of personal considerations. By doing this I will be happy and my people will be happy and by not doing this just the opposite will happen this is the influence of our attachments. Therefore, in order to decide svadharma one should in any situation as far as possible ignore all attachments and then reflect: 'what does the situation demands from me'. After a thorough examination of this question, whatever is decided by the intellect should be performed as one's duty, as one's svadharma. By so doing one will gradually make progress. His attachments will gradually reduce and he will gradually come to recognise his duties much more clearly. It can be said that if a person takes a wrong decision, what will happen? If his devotion to duty is perfect, he will be benefited even when his decision is wrong and he does a wrong thing. In fact, svadharma is dependent both on the person and the situation. When the situation does not change but the person changes, whose inner-personality is developed, his svadharma changes. And when the situation changes it is sure to change. Therefore, whatever is my svadharma today may not possibly remain my svadharma after a lapse of some time. Reading books of the first standard is the svadharma of a student of first standard but once he goes to the second standard, reading books of second standard becomes his svadharma. The child is the same but his inner changes have changed his svadharma. There surely is a difference between the svadharma of an unmarried person and that of a married person because of a change in the situation. A person makes progress by observing his svadharma with full devotion. Whatever he did in the past might not appear appropriate from the present point of view but at that time that karma was suitable for him and the path of his evolution was through that karma. What he considers appropriate today, he could not have perceived so at that time, and even if he had perceived it appropriate then and had attempted to do that then there could have been revolt within. Therefore, there is no scope for repentance in this path. One should only try to be honest to himself and also try to remain true to the situations. He will not then be deceived. From the worldly point of view, even if he commits a great sin, that will not affect him. This is the principle of spiritual morality. This is the foundation stone of karmayoga. Without understanding this basic

42

truth one cannot understand karmayoga and by understanding this truth there will be no confusion about karmayoga. Only a person with devotion can tread on this path. For this reason, so much of emphasis has been placed on firmness of intellect (buddhi). Due to worldly considerations one deviates from the path and loses the sight of right direction. The test of svadharma is that it should take us forward on the path of our progress, and by following that path the inner-self should become pure and sublime, attachments should diminish and we should be nearer to the Lord. It certainly is not the test of observance of svadharma that its observance should make us happy in this world and the other world. It should instead break the bondage of karma.

atha cet tvamimam dharmyam samgramam na karisyasi| tatah svadharmam kirtim ca hitva papam avapsyasi|| (33) akirtim ca pi sambhavitasya bhutani kathayisyanti te vyayam | ca kirtir maranad atiricyate || (34)

bhayad ranad uparatam mamsyante tvam maharathah| yesam ca tvam bahumato bhutva yasyasi laghavam|| (35) avacyavadams ca bahun vadisyanti tava hitah| nindantas tava samarthyam tato dukhataram nu kim|| (36) hato va prapsyasi svargam jitva va tasmad uttistah kaunteya yuddhaya bhoksyase mahim| krtaniscayah || (37)

"If you do not fight this righteous war then you fail in your dharma and losing your reputation will incur sin." (33) People will ever recount your ill-fame, which will never diminish, and (you know) for those who have a reputed life, disrepute is worse. (34) Great warriors (master charioteers) will only think that you have out of cowardice run away from war. You will become small in the eyes of those for whom you are in repute and so respectable today. (35) Your own enemies will belittle your capabilities and will say many unbecoming words (abuse). What could be more painful than that. (36)

43

If you die, you will go to heaven. If you win you will enjoy the sovereignty of earth. Therefore, O Arjuna! Get up with the resolve to fight. (37). Public praise is a great weakness of a person. All great people of the world get deeply overwhelmed by their praise and are ever anxious to maintain their glory. Equally strong is the fear of going down in the estimation of the people. At the altar of this public praise, many public leaders kill their conscience ignoring the public interest and tread on the path of evil. In a kshatriya desire for public praise is most important. For the sake of their glory, kshatriya kings used to organise great yagyas and used to give charity. Arjuna was a kshatriya and he was brave and famous. Therefore, a strong desire for public praise was natural in him. The Lord made an attempt to create a strong desire in him to fight by arousing his craving for public praise. Earlier too the Lord had made such an attempt. This chapter started with that topic. But the inner conflict of Arjuna was deep. His inner-self was struggling to find a way out. The basic problem of life had surfaced in the form of his distress. The winds of public praise and glory could not dissuade him from his objective. He was deeply hurt. While discussing about atman, the Lord attempted to make Arjuna understand that death was not worth grieving and he was unnecessarily worrying about the prospects of death of his near and dear ones. The Lord explained to him the need for performing svadharma. He further told him the consequences of not fighting and drew the entire picture before him. All this was done so that seeing the terrible picture of the consequences of his not fighting the war he gets frightened and became ready to fight. What would be the harmful consequences of his not fighting? He would fail in his duties as a kshatriya. Deviating from his duties would blacken his future and he would be losing the game of life. God had given him human life. His further progress could be only by performing his svadharma. By not performing our svadharma, we can throw ourselves in a ditch. Not fighting would make him 'dharmachyut'41 i.e. a deviator from his duty. Arjuna would lose his fame earned in his entire life, if he did not fight. Arjuna's bravery was very well known. If he left the battlefield his fame would be lost. None would call him brave. How can the one who leaves the battlefield be brave? He would incur sin. Conduct according to svadharma is a must. According to scriptures, this is the duty. By abandoning svadharma a person becomes guilty of committing sin. He has a downfall. This is logical, consistent and is also clear. Svadharma is like this that if we want to progress we cannot ignore it and if we ignore it then it is impossible to remain firm. We slide down. Whatever consideration impels us to leave our svadharma that becomes a cause of our downfall. In the next three verses, in order to frighten Arjuna, consequences of infamy have been mentioned in detail. All existents will talk about Arjunas disgrace. Bhutani is a very comprehensive word. This word covers not only human beings, but also all other existents living and non-living. Arjuna's fame was wide spread. He was famous not only on the earth but also in the whole universe. The tales of his disgrace would then become equally wide spread. His un-ending glory would come to an end. His disgrace would then never end. For ages people would gossip that Arjuna was a coward and that he had ran away from the battlefield. The insult of the one who is honoured in the society is a very serious matter. For him death is preferable to being insulted. The more cultured and civilised a person is, the higher are his measures of assessing values. His sense of self-esteem becomes equally higher. For him insult is equally a matter of disgrace. For his honour, he is ready to sacrifice his life. In the path of evolution one has to pass through such situations. A dull inactive person devoid of enthusiasm in life (tamoguni) is like a piece of stone. He bears insult without much reaction. A person
41

Dharmachyut: violator of duties.

44

predominantly rajoguni (materialistic) in nature is deeply sensitive. His ego gets inflated. The greater the ego, greater the hurt he feels on being insulted. When satvaguna (purity) is predominant, one becomes tolerant and full of understanding. A kshatriya cannot bear his insult. Arjuna was a kshatriya. The Lord said to Arjuna: 'it is better to die then be insulted. It is better to give life then to run away from the battlefield. At least then you will not be disgraced.' The great warriors, who are as great charioteers as Bhishma and Drona are, will say that seeing us in the battlefield Arjuna got frightened and ran away to save his life. No one will believe that you left the battlefield because you did not want to kill your relations and considered the war as sinful. In plain terms they will say, Sir, all that is figment of imagination. That is an alibi to deceive. In reality, Arjuna was frightened. Today everyone looks at you with respect. They respect you. They accept that you are brave. But hereafter they will not consider you worth two cowries42. The one who runs away from the battlefield, is he a man worth anything? No one will accept you even as a kshatriya. One, who has shown his back to the enemy, is a great sinner. Your enemies will call you with many such unbecoming names. If we are well disposed to someone then his bad habits also appear to us to be good but if reverse is the case, then even his goodness appears to be bad. Public criticism is based on this (psychology). guna gunagyeshu gunah bhavanti te nirgunam prapya bhavanti doshan it is an old saying. For the discerning, virtues are good qualities. Those who do not have the discerning eye the same qualities may become faults. This is true in social dealings also. A person about whom we have a notion that he is ill disposed towards us then even his friendly words would appear to us to be ironical. Even his conscious actions for our good, appear to us as his clever move. Arjuna was famous in his times. Even his enemies did not have the courage to censure him. In future, they would get an opportunity to speak ill of him. They would speak proper as well as improper words about Arjuna. They would also try to ridicule Arjunas bravery. About the bravery shown by him in Viratnagar it could be said that Kauravas had not really gone to steal and that war was a mere joke. They (Kauravas) did not fight properly. They had not gone there to initiate a great war like Mahabharata. If the Pandavas were really brave, why they had wandered in the forests for twelve years? They could have obtained their share by fighting. The Lord told Arjuna that, 'what could be more painful in the world than such insults? People would be indulging in all kinds of talk and you would have no answer. By leaving the battlefield even once, you will yourself provide them proof of whatever they will be saying.' "On account of the fever of your distress, you cannot even imagine now what they would be saying. But, later on, you would feel badly hurt and will repent saying, ha! what have I done? But then nothing would be possible. Therefore, considering these future possibilities you must reconsider your decision." (36). The Lord said that his advice was You should fight. Resolving to fight, you should get up. Fighting is beneficial to you in all respects. If you are killed in the battlefield, you will attain heaven for following your svadharma and if you are victorious you will rule the earth and will enjoy the pleasures of life. Therefore, you will be a gainer by fighting in the war. By not fighting, you will spoil this world for yourself will lose your honour, will be disgraced and the kingdom you would have already lost. And by not observing the svadharma (your duties) you will spoil the other world too instead of heaven you will go to hell.

42

cowries: a small sea shell which was once used as a coin.

45

Considering all these aspects, the Lord gave Arjuna the advice that fighting would be beneficial to him in every manner. He should, therefore, get ready to fight.

sukhaduhkhe same krtva labhalabhau jayajayau | tato yuddhaya yujyasva nai vam papam avapsyasi || (38) "Treating pleasure and pain, loss and gain, victory and defeat alike, get ready to fight. Doing thus you will not incur any sin." (38) After having said all that, the Lord told Arjuna an invaluable device. From Arjunas point of view the greater obstacle to fight was the thought that the present war was sinful. He thought that by killing friends and relations in that war for the sake of obtaining kingdom would subject him to sin. The Lord told him the way to escape that sin. Consider pleasure-pain, gain-loss, and victory-defeat as equal. For doing karma, desire for happiness or victory should not be the prime motive. If one comes to the battlefield for happiness, gain or victory then he may be incurring sin. The beginning itself will be desire-driven and, therefore, the karma will be a cause of bondage. If one could act without any desire then he will not be incurring any sin. In fact, by doing so, one can even rise beyond virtue. So there will then be no bond of fruit of action (karmaphal ). This meant that do not fight for the sake of kingdom. Was there any need to say all this after discussing the philosophy of Samkhya? Is the knowledge of the Self (atman) in itself not enough for liberating a person from the bonds of karma? Is knowledge about the eternity and immortality of atman not enough? It appears that a person becomes finally free from the bonds by knowing the secret of karma i.e. for the doing of it. The principles of Samkhya discussed by the Lord earlier only decribe the nature of atman. It neither kills nor gets killed. That is a play of nature. Normally, the path of karma is considered totally unrelated to the path of wisdom, but it is not so. Faith in Samkhya usually develops and can sustain when the burden of karma becomes light and the lust is diminished. For a layman it is easy to believe that he is atman and is a nondoer, but it is difficult to maintain that faith. As long as wisdom is a mental exercise and the higher consciousness behind that has not awakened it remains at best a preparation for the journey. The journey is yet to start. This is true but when that faith becomes alive by an awakening of the higher consciousness then that cuts off all bonds, burns inherent tendencies (samsakars) generated by all past karmas. But the awakening of that consciousness also demands purity of the inner-realm demands destruction of desires and attachments. That is why, for gaining wisdom four-fold practice (sadhan-chatushtya) has been prescribed. For this reason emphasis is on the purification of the inner-realm by performance of svadharma and rituals. When we pay attention to the condition of Arjuna, then we appreciate why it was necessary for Arjuna to know the secret of karma (karma-rahasya). The one, who has crossed the valley of greed and attachments through one's sadhana of many births, can alone be firm in wisdom. Then, he receives inspiration for doing his karmas from the outside too. Even if as a result of the discussion of wisdom, Arjuna had developed faith in himself (atmanishta), then also the problem of fighting or not fighting in war could not have been easily resolved. The secret of karma can only be found in the field of action (karmakshetra). As to how karma should be performed, an answer to the question primarily relates to karma itself.

46

Then why the Lord had mentioned about the wisdom of Samkhya to Arjuna? Samkhya is the foundation of all wisdom. Without intellectual awareness of the path of self-development, which was preached, it was impossible to understand and apply subsequent preaching of the Lord. We are atman, we have to pursue the path of virtue and have to unite ourselves with the Supreme Self (Paramatman), who is verily free from bonds of karmas. We can move ahead only by knowing this secret. Was the advice given to Arjuna to fight, considering loss and gain etc. as equal, was as per the principles of Samkhya philosophy? Is it not related to karmayoga, which will be discussed later on? The principles of Samkhya describe prakriti as the doer and atman as the non-doer, the non-enjoyer. There is no question of atman doing any thing. For the atman, the only question is to see and to discover oneself. There is just an impression that atman is doer and this impression needs to be removed. The advice to fight considering loss and gain, etc. as equal was given only incidentally, being relevant to the subject matter. In fact, it appears that through that advice a bridge has been built for moving from Samkhya to karmayoga43. The description of karmayoga begins from now. Subsequent verses give an introduction to karmayoga. To understand karmayoga properly an intellectual foundation has been laid. By clarifying the difference between karmayoga and rituals (karmakand44), the possibility of any misunderstanding has been removed.

esa te bhihita samkhye buddhir yoge tv imam srnu | buddhya yukto yaya partha karmabandham prahasyasi || (39) "(So far) you have been given knowledge based on Samkhya. Listen now to the knowledge on the subject of yoga (karmayoga). Equipped with this knowledge you will be able to get over the bonds of karma ". (39) The sermon, which the Lord had given to Arjuna so far, was based on the philosophy of Samkhya. Samkhya is the philosophy of discrimination (vivek). The discrimination between purusha and prakriti or atman and anatman is its main subject. The discussion so far has been primarily on that subject. The philosophies of Samkhya and the Vedanta are not very much different. In fact, it appears that at the time of the Gita, the path of knowledge (gyan45) was known as Samkhya. Whatever may be, in the present context Samkhya stands for discrimination (viveka) between atman anatman. The Lord had told Arjuna that atman is immortal, and body is mortal. Therefore, one should not grieve over death. The forthcoming topic relates to yoga. From yoga, karmayoga is intended. In fact, this is such a comprehensive subject that it has been mentioned by the word yoga (without any adjective). Yoga implies karmayoga. In that, our karmas (actions) become an easy means of bringing us near the God. Unlike other yogas, this yoga does not have any distinct identity of its
43 44

Karmayoga: yoga of selfless/ disinterested karma or action. Karmakanda: the portion of the Vedas prescribing religious rituals/ yagyas and their procedure 45 Gyan: knowledge , wisdom. In the present context it primarily relates to spiritual knowledge

47

own. This yoga has been discussed right from this verse till the end of the second chapter. In the context of this yoga behaviour of an equanimous person (sthithpragya) have been mentioned and the characteristics of a realised person (siddha purusha) have been described. The title of the second chapter is Samkhya-yoga but we notice that the discussion of samkhya yoga ends with verse 39. In fact, the rest of the verses of this chapter describe karmayoga. This description continues in subsequent chapters and permeates through the entire Gita. Since Samkhya has been discussed only in this chapter and nowhere else in the Gita this chapter has been rightly titled as Samkhya-yoga. The discussion of Karmayoga has started after giving an introduction of this term in one half of this verse. Firstly, the objectives and the effects of this yoga have been mentioned. 'By the buddhi of karmayoga, Arjuna, you can untie the bonds of your karmas.' Buddhi here means devotion, faith, belief (nishtha) or a firm perspective towards any subject especially towards life (sthir-matijeevan). Samkhya has its own faith. In a person, having faith in that (Samkhya) philosophy, awakened wisdom of consciousness can provide himcomplete fulfillment. In karmayoga, faith (or devotion) is every thing i.e. it is most important. A person will have to do the same karmas, which he was doing earlier. The difference will only be in the perspective. Karmas will not be performed for the sake of self but for the sake of the Lord as an offering to Him. Karmas will have to be performed as duty without being motivated by its results. There is no bond of the karma when it is performed like this. Not only this, the bonds of past karmas are also removed, what to say of the bonds of the present karmas? A person performs karmas. His inherent tendencies (samsakars) compel him to enjoy its results. To enjoy these results he has to live in an appropriate world and has to acquire a suitable body in accordance thereof. In this manner karmas become a form of a debt of prakriti, which a person has to repay. And so while enjoying the results of his karmas, he has to perform many more karmas and they also become cause of further bondage. In this manner the chain of karmas never ends. For enjoying the results of his karmas, one has to acquire a body with mind, intellect and sense organs, irrespective of whether they are gross or subtle. It is for enjoying the results of his karmas that a person is bounded by them and undergoes a variety of experiences of pleasures and pain. This bondage of karmas can be removed if no new samsakar is created and the old ones are gradually weakened. No new samsakar is created if the karma is done with devotion in yoga. With proper devotion, there will be absence of attachment and consequently there will be no desire for results of karmas. Consequently, karmas will not bind. In the matter relating to bonds of karmas, devotion is like the edge of a knife. Doing karmas is like using a knife. As by disuse the edge of a knife becomes blunt, similarly by mere devotion nothing happens without doing karmas. Adequate devotion in the performance of karmas is very effective. Karmas performed without devotion is like using a blunt knife. A blunt knife cannot cut. Similarly, mere doing of karmas cannot remove the bonds. In fact karma by itself can neither give freedom nor can bind any one. If there is any attachment behind doing karma, it binds, and if there is devotion of karmayoga, then it effortlessly removes the bonds. Zero by itself is of no importance. But when put after a digit it becomes valuable. Karma is like zero.

48

This devotion, which Lord called buddhi, is a very important concept. This is attained with great difficulty. Only the 'sthitpragya'46, the one, who has stable intelligence, can have firm devotion. The views of others bewilder an ordinary person. His own inherent tendencies confuse him about virtue and sin and he strays from the path of virtue. Only a person with deep devotion can convert his karmas into an offering to the Divine and by that devotion can transform even his entire life into perennial worship (sadhana). The Gita has been composed on the basis of this very concept. The Lord did not prohibit any action or karma. He ordained performance of karmas but performance of karmas for the sake of the Lord i.e. as an offering to Him. The statement, I do not do, only Prakriti does is also an expression of this devotion. In fact, the path of spirituality is primarily a path of devotion. This requires a great faith, requires firmness and also requires some effort. Even a minor karma performed with some effort on the part of an aspirant but with firm devotion is highly effective as compared to a great karma performed with great effort but with little devotion. The understanding (buddhi), which has been discussed in the seventeenth chapter, is not mere faith. It is much more than mere faith. It is more concerned with karmas, with the field of karmas and with the objective of one's devotion (nishtha). It is much more comprehensive and gives a direction to life. The Lord said to Arjuna that, 'if you acquire knowledge of the yoga of equanimity by fighting in this war, you will free yourself from the bonds of your karmas. Not only this, you will not incur any sin (verse 38) and you will also be able to remove the bonds of your past karmas. Karma performed like this faith is yoga, is penance and verily is worship. This is the originality of karmayoga. Karma done in this manner is a means for spiritual evolution and for realisation of the God. In other words, if we practice karmayoga with proper understanding and with sincerity then our entire life becomes a continual worship. This is the synthesis between spirituality and worldliness - between the path of the Lord and worldly affairs. This is the right alternative for the desire for renouncing the world on an awakening of the longing for the God. It is a unique harmony of one's own interest and the interest of others. There is no need to run away from the world. Stay wherever you are. Do whatever you are doing. Just change your perspective and your thinking. There will be no bondage of karma. There will be no burden of any kind. One will not see the slush. The karma itself will become continual worship. This is the unique truth of the spiritual world. This is the greatest contribution of the Gita. For the present age, it appears to be the best prescription for spirituality. It is easy and extremely beneficial. The path of knowledge (gyan) usually advocates renunciation. But this path of yoga instead advocates performance of karmas but with proper understanding. Both the paths give the same result but how very different the two paths are?

ne ha bhikramanaso sti pratyavayo na vidyate | svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat||(40)

46

sthitpragya: a man of stable intellect, equanimous mind

49

Before describing the knowledge (gyan) of karmayoga, its diverse benefits have been described. It was explained in the 39th verse that with this knowledge the bonds of karma could be severed. What else is the specialty of karmayoga? Even an initial effort is not destroyed. There is no obstacle either. Even treading a little on this path saves one from great fear. (40) It has already been said that karmayoga is a deep devotion an outlook towards life. Karmayoga is not recognised by the form of karmas done but by the motive of the doer of the karma. 'No effort is ever lost'. Whatever effort is made to acquire the devotion of karmayoga in doing the karmas that is never lost. It is only beneficial. There are many medicines, which if are discontinued before completing the full course, then their effect is washed off. Similarly, there are many such activities, which lose their effect, if they are discontinued after some time of their beginning. In fact the devotion of karmayoga cannot be acquired suddenly. Its proper understanding is achieved only by its continuous practice. Then only a person can gradually act according to this yoga in every field of his life. If there had been a possibility of losing the effort, then the devotion of karmayoga in doing karmas would have become impractical. It then would be impossible for any one to practice it in life. Gross karma ends after giving its result. A karma done for gross consideration ends, once it is done. But the subtle effects or tendencies created by that karma do not end with the end of gross act. They are not gross they are subtle and everlasting. Especially, those tendencies, which are very intimately and very deeply related to us, become part of us woven in our mental texture. An aspirant (sadhak) knows how deeply these influences enter into our personality and how difficult it is to be free from their effects? Devotion without any expectation is a very exalted form of devotion. The equanimous mind is even beyond the realm of argumentative mind. The tendencies created by it are highly stable, as compared to the other mental propensities. In fact, such devotion is very helpful to our evolution. The higher the tendencies, deeper and more stable they are. It is impossible to destroy them. They can be overshadowed for a while but lower tendencies cannot weaken them. It is only the higher consciousness, which can weaken the lower tendencies. If this had not been the arrangement then there would not have been any scope for the growth of a person nor of his moving forward in the process of evolution. In this world we find preponderance of the lower tendencies. This arrangement verily is the blessing of that benevolent Divine Mother. By understanding this concept it becomes clear that She wants us to make progress. She helps us also. So She specially has created the field for this purpose alone. Perhaps what Tulsidas had said about kaliyuga, i.e. manas punya honhin nahin papa (good men do good deeds not sins), means just this. Abhikrma means the beginning. Pratyavaya means the reverse affect i.e. that which reverts back. There is no reverse effect. There is no possibility of any loss. There are many such activities, which if left midway after their commencement, lose their effect. If a shop is closed after it is opened, it costs dearly. Some medicines are also like this and if they are discontinued in mid way of their full course they become harmful. About the spring of wisdom too it is said: either do not touch it or if you touch it, drink it to your hearts content. A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or touch not the piarion spring. But in the karmayoga i.e. the yoga of performing action without any attachment or desire, there is never a possibility of any loss. If you have done even a single act without any attachment then you will certainly get its benefit. The tendency generated by that act by itself will elevate you

50

and will continue to cut off the bonds of your past karmas. The more you practice, the more positive your thinking becomes. You will certainly be benefited by its effect. Under no circumstances it can cause you any harm. How harmless is this medicine? As if this yoga is a bio-chemic pill. For this yoga there is no requirement of suitability or of any arrangement. Even in the worship of gods any deviation from the prescribed ritual or any kind of undue effort can result in more harm instead of benefits. By leaving a ritual in the middle you may get a curse. But here in this yoga there is no such possibility. In this yoga, we do not have to depend upon any external force/power (shakti), which may get angry with us and punish us. In this yoga we only generate higher inner tendencies, which make lower tendencies ineffective. Therefore, this is a self-reliant process and devoid of any possibility of harm. Even little of such karma saves one from great fear. This means that if we take refuge in the practice of this path it will protect us. If we have just started understanding this concept of desire-less effort and try to practice it in any field of our life, we can be free from many fears. How can this be possible? Expectation is the main cause of fear. In certain circumstances, attachments find expression in the form of expectations. When attached to wealth, one may have fear of loosing it. One wishes to retain his riches. In every field of life, a person not only wishes stability but also wishes improvement. He thinks that the body should not only remain as young as it is but should also get better. He desires that his present social and economic conditions should at least remain as they are, if one cannot improve them. All these thoughts are so deeply embedded in our mind and in our outlook towards life that they are not perceptible to us, but on account of which the clouds of fear keep on hovering over our head. Fear from friends, fear from enemies, fear of being, fear of not being, fear of life, fear of death, fear of remembering, fear of forgetting, fear of doing, fear of not doing and many other kinds of fear surround the self of a person. He is so much used to them that they do not appear to him as fears. Instead they look like essential components of life. It appears to him odd when they are removed. Attachments are at the root of all these fears. They often get converted into rays of hope. The understanding of karmayoga hits on this 'attachment'. Therefore, freedom from fears is but natural. This understanding of karmayoga gives us a very different perspective to evaluate the value of material objects. The devotion of karmayoga gives us a different outlook to look at the world and also to look at ourselves. We do not have any fears when we look with that perspective. We become fearless. It will be discussed later on. For a proper understanding of karmayoga, it has been compared with the intellect swayed by the desires. The next verse is on this subject.

vyavasayatmika buddhir eke ha kurunandana | bahusakha hy anantas ca buddhayo vyavasayinam || (41) O Kurunandan (son of kurus Arjuna)! There is only one resolute understanding, but the thoughts of irresolute have many branches and are endless. (41). There is only one straight path. Between two points there is only one straight line, which is shortest distance between them, but a person can draw as many crooked lines, as he wants.

51

To connect two points at a distance of one inch many crooked lines can be drawn but there can be only one straight line between them. On this subject, there is a saying in Punjabi saun siyaniyan ekko matta murkhan apo apni. (Hundred wise men have one opinion but fools have their own and diverse opinions.) So long as we do not have a firm and stable base for our thinking, we will not be firm on any opinion. For reaching any conclusion we should have a measuring scale and that should be stable and firm. For measuring the height and width of any thing we need a standard scale. If that scale is correct we will come to the right conclusion. But if everyone has his own homemade scale then everyone will reach different conclusions. Nobodys measurement will tally with the other? Somebodys ten inches will become twelve or eight inches of another. We do see such a drama in the world. People have their own scales. Therefore, there is to be seen so much mutual discord and so much confusion. What one approves, others condemn. In fact, such differences are natural as long as the human consciousness is limited to the logical intellect. In an analytical mind instability is self-evident. Consequently, arguments are said to be of unstable feet. A logical intellect does not have the ability to possess definite knowledge. It has to assume something as self-evident which has the potential of creating confusion. Secondly, the mind and the sense organs influence the intellect every moment. Our mental attachments and detachments, our mental desires, likes and dislikes, our wishes, have their influences and colour our mind, and so our chain of arguments continue changing. We like a person who serves our interest today but tomorrow the same person appears to be our great enemy and he appears to be a cheat and a scoundrel. Our understanding depends on the colour, which is imposed on it by our mind. Third thing, which needs to be understood about our intellect, is that our ability of perception keeps on changing with our experiences. Considerations of youth become useless as we grow into adulthood. Values acquired during the period of one's failure appear foolish in one's own success. Moreover, our decisions depend upon our wisdom and knowledge, and it is incorrect to say at any stage that we have known every thing about a subject. Therefore, a decision taken by the intellect is always unstable and it has the possibilities of change. It is an uncertainty with which the analytical intellect is always infected. Who is a vyavsaee? He is the one, who has attained stable intellect? He is the one whose intellect does not waiver? In reality, stable mind is not a purely analytical intellect. That is a consciousness beyond intellect, which at last provides it with inner vigour and certitude. Such intellect is the foundation of karmayoga. For this desire-less karma is the means by which mind and the atman are purified and the intellect ceases to be influenced by the other factors. This is achieved gradually by continuous practice. The truth propounded by the Lord is the eternal truth, and devotion is an eternal devotion. There is no scope for any doubt in it. After attaining the specific devotion, a person has no doubts about one's duty and non-duty. Even doubts about sin and virtue come to an end. The path becomes clear before oneself. Desires and attachments are at the root of restlessness. Dwelling in the mind and the sense organs, they make them restless and keep our intellect unstable. As a result of which one is unable to arrive at a decision. The nature of such people will be discussed in the subsequent verses. There is a lot of difference between the intellect of the people who have no desire and of those swayed by desires and the difference keeps on increasing from the initial stage of practice till the final stage of realisation.

52

yam imam puspitam vacam pravadanty avipascitah | vedavadaratah partha na nyad asti ti vadina || (42) kamatmannah svargapara janmakarmaphalapradam | kriyavisesabahulam bhogaisvaryagatim prati || (43) bhogaisvaryaprasaktanam vyavasayatmika buddhih taya pahrtacetasam | samadhau na vidhiyate || (44)

For the people performing karmas motivated by desires, it is said O Arjuna! This discussion will remove the misunderstanding of those of immature intelligence, rejoicing in the letter of the Vedas and saying that there is nothing other than this. And of those whose atman is overpowered by desires, considering heaven as the ultimate objective. And also of those who speak flowery language proclaiming rebirth as the fruit of karma, and recommending performance of specific rituals for attaining enjoyments and prosperity. Their intellect is not definitive and they cannot find solutions (stability). They are attached to enjoyments and glory. And through such a speech their intellect gets clouded and their intellect remaining indeterminate can not remain stable in finding any solution." (42-44) During the time of the Mahabharata, yagyas47 were very popular. It was believed that the objectives of life could only be achieved through performance of yagyas. Brahmins used to spend their entire life in learning the rituals of yagyas and in conducting yagyas as ordained in the Vedas. The various yagyas and their results, which could be obtained by their performance as per prescribed procedure, have been described in detail in the Vedas. One could even attain heaven by performing yagyas. Those who emphasized the importance of rituals prescribed in the Vedas considered the attainment of heaven as the ultimate objective of life. In regard to such desire-laden devotees, it is said that they can never have decisiveness in the sphere of their intellect. They will continue to be indecisive. That was a great problem in the times of the Gita. We cannot fully appreciate its importance now. It appears, that this theory was so much prevalent at that time that the Lord considered it necessary to demolish this theory and to demolish it forcefully, so as to establish his own point of view. The Vedas are the sole foundation of the Hindu-religion. All other scriptures are supposed to be based on them. One who criticizes the Vedas was considered an atheist. To have faith in the Lord or not to have faith in Him was not the determinant of a believer or a nonbeliever, instead acceptance of the authority of the Vedas was a must. Yagyas are ordained in the Vedas and, therefore, yagyas were authentic. Those who did not believe in them were considered to have refused the authority of the Vedas. Brahmins used to give very strong arguments in their favour. People were influenced by those arguments. Yagyas were very popular. Reference of the Vedas worked like magic in the entire religious thoughts of that time. Whenever validity of any statement was to be ensured, reference of the Vedas was enough, and to disprove the authenticity of any statement also lines of the Vedas were enough and could be interpreted to suit the purpose. So great was the importance of the Vedas. Another surprising

47

yagyas: offerings/sacrifices made in sacred fire i.e. hawan

53

thing is that only few efforts were made to understand the Vedas and those also were not for very deep understanding. The importance given to the yagyas made other things in the Vedas insignificant. It appears that the Vedas had become synonym of the yagyas. In fact, the Vedas contain many things and do lay down rituals and procedures of religious sacrifices (yagyas) and also contain laws, rules, and procedures beneficial for people at all levels of society and also for people at different levels of evolution. In Atharveda we find mention of black magic and on the other hand in Rgveda 'nasdiya sukta' and in Yajurveda purusa sukta are given. Every person can understand things only according to his own understanding and that he considers as the right understanding. Other things either he does not understand or what he understands he translates it into the light of his own understanding. This was true at that time also. The desire for enjoyments and power, which, it was believed, could be fulfilled, only in heaven, was prominent. Religious sacrifices were perceived to be the means for achieving that objective. Consequently, the Vedas were visualised prominently as filled with yagyic spirit and nothing else. Those people did not see the lofty ideals and the lofty objectives of the Vedas. They could not even understand the deeper purpose of sacrifices (yagyas) prescribed in the Vedas. The vision of the Gita however without condemning them places them at their proper place. The yagyas prescribed in the Vedas are indeed very great but they should be performed without desires otherwise they will also become a cause of bondage. The sacrifices should be performed. For this world itself is dependent upon the sacrifices (yagyas) and the sacrifices are also the form of the Lord. These should, therefore, be performed in the form of an offering to Him. Any sacrifice performed with desires is in reality not a sacrifice at all. Just by a little change in the outlook the Lord unveils the deeper truth and converts copper into gold. Firmness is not possible in a desire-laden mind. In a state of uncertainty there cannot be a stable intellect and so the practice of karmayoga is impossible for the bonds of karma to be removed. Consequently, the desires should be discarded. It is immaterial whether or not it specifically relates to sacrifices (yagyas), which are prescribed in the Vedas. Verses 42, 43 & 44 make one sentence. The composition of this sentence is strange. However, it is not difficult to understand its purpose. For those who considered sacrifices (yagyas) as all-important and propounded them as such, certain adjectives have been used. Avipashchitah i.e. immature, devoid of fully matured intelligence. Why are they immature? They are immature because they are not aware of the ways of the higher forms of activity of the beyond. They are like a frog in the well. They consider whatever they know as everything. Vedvadartah i.e. the ones rejoicing in the letter of the Vedas. Letter of the Vedas is used for the rituals of the Vedic sacrifices (yagyas). It appears that in those days, the Vedas and the Vedic sacrifices (yagyas) had become synonyms. To be rejoicing in is to be so deeply immersed with something that one becomes oblivious of everything else. That was the condition of those people. They were mad after the Vedic sacrifices (yagyas). Nanyadasteetivadinah i.e. those saying that nothing else was important and that heaven could be attained only through the yagyas. And after enjoying the pleasures of heaven, one had to return here (to earth). Yagyas were to be performed again to gain heaven again. There was nothing like deliverance (moksha) from this cycle. It was a futile and impossible dream. Such was their way of thinking.

54

Kamatmannah - those for whom desire alone is their self (atman), such a strong craving for enjoyments and glory that it was identified with atman. They had become desire personified. The enjoyments had become most important thing in their life. Swargaparah swarga i.e. heaven, the supreme objective of life for which they lived and performed all karmas. These adjectives give a beautiful description of those people believing in religious sacrifices (yagyas) and of the speech of those people, who believed in yagyas? Pushpitam - flowery i.e. very tempting. The enjoyments and glory in heaven were described in a very attractive language. So people were easily enticed by it. As a tree full of flowers attracts us, similarly their speech used to steal the heart of people. Kriyavisheshbahulam - in which there is abundance of different rituals. Procedure prescribed for the performance of those yagyas was very complex. Varieties of things were to be collected. Yagya kunda and yagya-vedi were to be of prescribed specifications. Every ritual of the yagya was to be performed exactly as laid down in the Vedas. Every hymn of the Vedas was to be pronounced correctly and with the specified rhythm, otherwise instead of getting the desired benefit it could result in harm. Even a slight variation in sound could have destroyed the yajman (the one who requests and pays for the performance of a ritual). All those complexities were the specialty of their speech. And in their support arguments were also given. What was the purpose of that speech? Bhogaishvaryagatim prati - for obtaining enjoyments and glory for attaining the heaven. All those statements were made to arise craving for heaven as the desired objective and then to satisfy that craving by performance of the yagyas. In the first part of the 44th verse, the Lord briefly describes the state of those persons and also mentions their condition. Those people were deeply attached (prasakta) to enjoyments and glory. So much so that they had lost their power of discrimination (vivek) and their ability to think. Prasakta means deeply attached. When the attachments become very intense, then a person cannot think of anything other than the object of his attachment. He becomes mad after that and his mind becomes totally crippled. Under the influence of those flowery speeches people had reached such a state that they had started performing those rituals blindly. In other words, they had lost their reason. The second half of the 44th verse runs thus 'Their intelligence was not in the state of samadhi' - this is the literal meaning. They did not even have stable intellect. They did not have firm determination. Then, why was it said that their intelligence was not established in samadhi? This is just a method of saying. This is a specialty of the Sanskrit language. Some statements are made through adjectives, which are appropriately made through verbs in Hindi. Samadhi' is used for concentration and for balance of mind. Absence of capriciousness is its special characteristics. To have better understanding of this concept we should see verses 52 and 53 of this chapter. Characteristics of sthitpragya relate to this (samadhi) only. How important is the determinate mind in karmayoga, this will be known from the subsequent verses. In fact, the rest of the chapter is only to reveal this aspect. And, karmayoga

55

has been indicated only by the word buddhi. It should be understood that the determinate mind i.e. Buddhi, is a friend of karmayoga.

traigunyavisaya veda nistraigunyo bhava rjuna | nirdvandvo nityasattvastho niryogaksema atmanvan || (45) After describing the condition and the objective of those people, the Lord tells Arjuna the objective of Life. What state one should achieve in his lifetime? Three guna (constituents) are the subject of the Vedas. O Arjuna! You should be free from dualities, be firmly fixed in purity, not caring for acquisition and preservation, and be possessed of the self (be atmanvan). (45) In what forceful words the objective of life has been stated. How clear and sharp is the conflict between the two objectives. In comparison to this, how very mean was the objective of the followers of the Vedic rituals. In the subsequent verses we will not only get the glimpse of this objective again and again but we will have its comprehensive description too. traigunya (three modes or constituents) are the subject of the Vedas. Traigunya is the combined name of the three modes satva (purity goodness), rajas (activity or passion) and tamas (darkness or ignorance) taken together. The entire creation, its enjoyments and grandeur i.e. heaven and the other worlds, rituals of yagya etc. are composed of only these three modes. Whatever has been mentioned in the Vedas is related to these three modes. A question could be asked here, whether Upanishads are not part of the Vedas? For in the Upanishads, a state beyond the three modes has also been mentioned. In the present context it appears that the use of the word 'Veda' in this verse signifies the Vedic sacrifices (yagyas). The Lord wanted to tell Arjuna that whatever could be achieved through yagyas was made of these very three modes. The Lord advised Arjuna to go beyond these three modes. The state of being beyond the three modes is a much more elevated than the state of being at the plane of the three modes. In fact, the two cannot be compared. The state beyond the modes (gunas), beyond the bonds of prakriti is the bliss of atman known as the state beyond the three modes (gunas). There is a total absence of the bonds of sorrow. That alone is the real state of freedom. In that state alone a person dwells in atman. In that state alone there is the real lordship. For more information, refer to chapter 14. One who is indifferent to opposites (nirdwanda) or free from the influences of the dualities of pleasure or pain, honour or insult, hot or cold, etc. One dwelling in atman alone can be free from dualities (nirdwanda). By mere external efforts, rising above the dualities is impossible. Only the higher consciousness awakened by equanimity can easily make a person harmonious towards everything. 'Nityasatvastha' satva is also used for satvaguna. This word is also used for the state of inner purity. Vedantic (for whom Vedas are ultimate) also use this word for 'sat-padarth' (good things), and the self (atmantattva). 'Nityasatvastha' is the one who being beyond the three modes of prakriti dwells in his purified inner-self i.e. whose inner-self has become completely pure and sublime. Many questions can arise from this but presently we will not discuss them here.

56

Yoga is acquisition of what has not yet been acquired (acquiring collecting) and kshema is preservation of what has been acquired. 'Niryogakshema' means such a carefree state in which there is no worry of either acquiring anything or of preserving the acquisitions. This will also be discussed later on. Atmanvan - one, who knows himself as atman, alone can be called atmanvan. Such a person verily is an innate lord of his mind, the intellect and the sense organs. The Lord asked Arjuna to make such a state as his objective and He would certainly tell him the means for (achieving) that in the forthcoming verses.

yavan artha udapane sarvatah samplutodake | tavan sarvesu vedesu brahmanasya vijanatah|| (46) In the last verse, the Lord had placed a lofty ideal before Arjuna. In this verse an effort has been made to make him aware of the loftiness of that ideal by comparing it with the Vedas. As is the utility of a pond when the earth is flooded with water from all sides, so is the utility of all the Vedas for a brahmin having attained enlightenment. (46) A pond has no utility when there is water all around. Why does it not have any utility? For water is used for irrigating the fields, for animals to drink water, for washing clothes and also for having water for drinking purposes. When there is water all around, all these requirements can be met anywhere. Those who can drink water from ponds can also drink rainwater. That is more fresh and clean. Ponds are instead usually polluted in many ways and so are dirty. Similarly, for a brahmin having attained the supreme enlightenment, the Vedas cease to have any utility. For him the Vedas are totally purposeless. If we think that the Vedas only prescribe the yagyas, then it is clear that such a person cannot gain anything by following the Vedas. Quieting of desires is absolutely necessary for gaining the highest awareness. If all the desires are totally quietened, then what purpose can be served by performance of the yagyas mentioned in the Vedas, which are meant to fulfill desires. But here sarveshu vedeshu, i.e. 'in all Vedas', has been used. The objective of all parts of the Vedas i.e. karma kanda, upasana kanda and gyan kanda (karma kanda relates to rituals, upasana Kanda relates to worship and gyan Kanda relates to gyan i.e. knowledge) -- seems to be pointing towards one objective. Attainment of knowledge is possible by achieving perfection in worship. When the objective of worship has been achieved, then the entire knowledge required for worship becomes useless. Similarly, whatever has been mentioned in the gyan kanda, if that has been directly experienced then after that what purpose could be served by the gyan kanda. Till such time as we do not reach our destination, there is curiosity about the ways. Once we reach the destination, the entire literature, which gives us travel information, becomes useless. There is no proof greater than direct experience. After having realised the atman, no expectation or desire, internal or external, can exist. If there is still a need for some kind of dependence, then the person has not yet acquired awareness of the atman. After knowing the characteristics of sthitpragya, this will become clear. Many people think that the statements made here amount to the denunciation of the Vedas. This certainly does not amount to denunciation of the Vedas. This only shows us as to

57

how very lofty is the achievement of the objectives of the Vedas. Vedas do not bind us. They can totally remove our bonds and can make us totally self-reliant. This statement only enhances the importance of the Vedas. 'Vijanatah' the one, who knows specifically. Intellectual knowledge is not the knowledge of the specific or the manifest (Vigyan48). So long as there is a distinction between the knower and the known, knowledge is always of the distant. When that distinction ceases to be then only that becomes the knowledge of the manifest. 'Vigyan' and 'Vijanatah' are the words formed from the same root. Gyan and 'Vigyan' have been separately discussed at many places in the Gita. 'gyanvigyanyoga' is the title of the 7th chapter. It appears that the self-awareness (atman-bodh) i.e. the awareness of beyond prakriti, or the knowledge of the God is indicated by the word 'gyan', and the knowledge of prakriti is indicated by the world Vigyan. The Vedas include knowledge of both 'gyan' and 'Vigyan'. In fact, Vedas are not complete without both of them. When one has 'gyan', he automatically knows 'Vigyan'. The word 'brahmnasya' apparently covers both 'gyan' and 'Vigyan'. A brahmin normally conveys the first caste of the four-caste order. But the ideal that the Lord had placed before Arjuna was not for the brahmin caste of the four-fold caste-order alone. Arjuna himself was a kshatriya. Sri Krishna was also not a brahmin. In fact, brahmin is a comprehensive ideal and is not restricted to any particular caste of the caste-order. It is clear from the 9th chapter of the Gita. Even by knowing the nature of that objective, it will not be difficult to understand that the door of the Lord or of self-awareness (atman-bodh) is not closed for anyone. Perhaps the word brahmin has been used for the knower of Brahman (the ultimate). Accordingly, the word 'brahmnasya vijanatah' has been used for that person who has both 'gyan' and 'Vigyan' i.e. the one who is fully awakened from within. In fact, a saint has a very high position. He is the personification of the Lord himself. None else can acquire the realisation, which makes a saint a saint. He needs no certificate or evidence. He is self-evident and is himself a jyoti (a light). This was an emphatic and an unambiguous statement to demolish the faith of those who believed in the letter of the Vedas. The Vedas could be transgressed, and this alone is the ideal for human beings. Now method to attain that objective is described.

karmany eva dhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana | ma karmaphalahetur bhurma te sango stv akarmani || (47) "You only have the right of doing karma but never to the fruit thereof. Do not become the doer of karma for results. Nor should you be attached to akarma". (47) This is the basic principle of karmayoga. By understanding this and taking this to the heart, an aspirant (sadhak) can easily find his way. karmany eva dhikaras te - You only have the right of doing karma or your right is to do karma. A person can only do karmas. He has freedom for doing karmas and also he has freedom for not doing any karma. We exercise that freedom in our own behaviour. If we feel that
48

vigyan: knowledge of the specific or the manifest

58

we are bound to do something then it is only due to our own innate tendencies (samsakars). There is nothing to bind us from the outside. Many people refuse to accept that there is freedom for doing karmas. In the present context we do not have to discuss the concept of freedom for karmas. Still we must tell them that if they have started feeling that there is somebody else who does it, or gets it done and they are only instruments then karmayoga is not for them. If your vanity has been destroyed, then you have already crossed the field of sadhana . But this cannot happen by mere intellectual cognition but will take place only by real internal state of realisation. Karmayoga is for the person who is proud of his duties and considers himself to be the doer and the enjoyer. Such a person also claims that: 'I do karma'. This right relates to practical situations arising in every day life. A person has to do karma. That needs a decision. A person has, therefore, considerable discretion to decide his karma. A person has no control or right over the results - the results achieved through his actions. A student can work hard but at the end of the year what will be his result that is not within his control. A farmer can also work hard, as much as possible, but he cannot decide as to what will be the yield of his crop. Similarly, parents can make every effort to make their child capable, but whether the child will come up to their expectations, is something they cannot say. What is the reason for this uncertainty? Fruit of karma is not solely dependent upon our effort and our labour. It is dependent upon many other factors. The most important is the invisible the unseen destiny. Quite unknowingly that comes in between and changes the complexion of every thing; changes cake into cow-shit and cow-shit into cake. It cannot be identified. So much complexity and so much of difference is seen in between the labour put in and its reward in the world and that is only on account of this invisible factor. One may say that it is mere fatalism. Sit idle doing nothing. If it is destined, we will get food. Karmayoga certainly does not teach this approach. But, the reality will have to be properly understood. Whatever we do that certainly counts. And whatever we did in the past that also counts. Those who refuse to accept that the forces of our past karmas (which are said to be invisible) do influence the results of our karmas have as much incomplete vision as those who consider that the forces of the present karmas are not worth reckoning. But when we look at the entire picture it becomes clear that everything is not in our hands. There is much more than what we see. Take the example of a student. He had prepared well for the examination. He had full confidence that he would pass with very good grades. On the eve of the examination he was obsessed with a desire to revise the entire course and this he continued till 4 O clock in the morning. The examination was to start from 7 Oclock. He slept with the intention of getting up well in time. But he got up only at 8 O clock. His entire labour went waste. Evidently, he did not do that deliberately. A farmer had sown the crop with great expectation. When his crop matured, his expectations soared. He thought that the crop would surely come home and the coming year would pass off comfortably. During the night, a flock of hare invaded the field and destroyed half of the crop. What was the fault of that poor farmer? Son was given the best education. He was worthy and promising. He went to the university and there he came in contact with communists and got influenced by them. He neglected his studies and became worthless. What was the fault of the father?

59

The entire history of science is the study of the history of the factors that are responsible for events taking place in different fields. Those factors are studied to separate each one of them and by putting them in different combinations to identify the essential and the variable factors for the happening of an event. Gradually, by controlling these factors, the events in the physical field are controlled. Great inventions are just the results of such researches. The question is whether such a control over the behaviour of human beings is also possible or not. It is clear that so far this has not been possible. We are still far removed from a control of this kind despite the present all round social controls of the socialists or the advances made by live scientists, psychologists and medical scientists. We are still very far off the controls of this kind. If we have even a little understanding of the elements of human evolution and of the subtle and deep concepts of spiritual literature then it will not be difficult to accept that this kind of control is impossible. If such control ever were to become possible then the entire process of present human evolution will become meaningless. And we will not be able to learn the lessons, which we have to learn in this world. Man will no longer remain a man. He will become a robot an inert machine. That will then be a virtual destruction of humanity. It can never happen like this. We can understand this by developing an understanding of subtle factors of life. 'astu ma phaleshu kadachan' the results of karma are not in the hands of the individual. This is the practical truth of life. From the aspirants point of view this is the whole truth. From every aspect of life too this appears to be the right conclusion. But on one side a person brags, I will do this, I will do that and on the other side he is always seen riding the horse of hopes, and if not in his behaviour at least in his imagination he is no better than a crazy person. In reality, it is the tendency of hope mingled with a tinge of ego that manifests in a form of bragging. The knower very well knows that all that is childish. 'A person does not even know of tomorrow. He does not know that the death is just lurking over his head, yet he is talking high and soaring in the sky'. The truth is only this, 'I will try as much as I possibly can to achieve my objective'. As a person becomes aware of this truth, he recovers from his state of intoxication. He realises his helplessness arising due to external factors as well as due to internal tendencies (samsakars). Either his own enthusiasm may become weak or the opposite desire for combat may arise, which may gradually suck off his energies. His body may also get incapacitated for hard work. His intents may also change. Those who can look at the whole play by being neutral can clearly see the whole drama. It indeed is a very interesting drama. When a person has so little control over his karmas, then how limited control will he have on their results, despite the fact that we usually do karmas mainly for the sake of their results. The pursuit of results seems to be a mirage, an effort to catch shadow or to run after the uncertain. Even from the external point of view, doing of any karma with the sole intention of achieving any specific result is sheer foolishness. Evidently, this is like imagining the entire universe as being situated in a water bubble. It is also as someone may think of marrying the son of a son of his son, yet to be born, with the daughter of a daughter of a daughter of someone, and then dreaming to see their progeny too. If the hope waivers, the heart will waiver and hands will tremble. Again if hope will break, heart will also break and the person will be completely shattered. On the contrary when the hope is fulfilled, new hopes will surface. And the person will go on binding himself in the web of evernew desires. He will have a weighty load of his bonds for his future births. By so doing, his karmas will be the cause of his bonds and will also be the cause of his unhappiness. This is a costly bargain. This is foolishness. The karma, which we could have used for breaking the bonds, we are using to achieve a state of slavery to prakriti. Instead of becoming free, we are getting bound to it. Karmayoga makes karma a means of acquiring freedom from the inner attachments. Attachments lead to desires, and desires to bonds. Karma by itself does not create bonds. It is the desire or expectation of results, which binds us. Karma done with adequate knowledge and

60

devotion weakens desires and gradually makes attachments ineffective, burns away passions, makes our inner-self pure and loosen the bonds of prakriti. Karmayoga is that magic which makes the karma very effective and beneficial also. Karma is a force. This should have been clear by now that its results would be according to the way it is done. Mere karma neither binds us nor liberates us. Karma done with adequate devotion can take you to Rama (the God) otherwise it loads you with bonds. It is that knife which can slit the neck and can also cut the noose. It all depends upon the one who uses it. Once the basic concept of karma and karmayoga is understood, then it will not be difficult to understand that karmayoga is not mere fatalism. Karmayoga does not teach us inaction, rather it teaches us devotion to work (karmasheelta). Only a karmayogi understands the real importance of doing karma. Those hopeful ones of results barter their actions for a pittance. Who has understood thus, he will never be inactive. So for him it is said 'ma te sangoastvakarmina' you should not be inclined towards inaction. Inaction is darkness, ignorance, and is regressive. An inactive person rots while lying all the time.

yogasthah kuru karmani sangam tyaktvam dhanamjaya | siddhya siddhyoh samo bhutva samatvam yoga ucyate|| (48) The description of karmayoga commences from verse 47. All the subsequent verses up to verse 53 are to explain it clearly. O Arjuna! Standing firm in yoga, do your karma, without having attachments and with an even mind towards success and failure. Evenness of mind is called yoga. (48) In the last verse, it was said that the karmas should not be done for the sake of results. And one should also not be disinterested in doing the karmas. Obviously, the question arises karma has to be done. If result is not to be the motive for doing it, then why the karma should be done? There should be an absence of attachment. Attachment is the ability to be glued and is the tendency to hold on any thing. Normally it is called fondness. Attachment could be for the results and could also be for the karma. What is the kind of attachment one should not have? Hope for results arise out of an attachment to the result. That should be avoided. If while doing any karma its result is important due to attachment then the said karma will generate a new tendency for us, which will be a cause for further bondage. Therefore, there should not be any attachment with the result. When performance of a karma gives a feeling of self-satisfaction, then also there arises an attachment with that karma. The attachment with karma is very subtle. Therefore, the bond caused by the attachment with karma is also very subtle. But, till such time as the attachment continues the result will be unhappiness. The result of attachment is always unhappiness, irrespective of the fact that it is gross or subtle. The traveler of the path of this yoga, the practitioner, has to rise above all kinds of attachments. In the 18th chapter, the Lord says:

61

na dwestyakusalam karma kushale nanusajjate | tyagi sattvasamavisto medhavi chinnasamsayah || (verse 10 of 18) A self-sacrificing (tyagi) person does not hate disagreeable karma nor is attached to the desirable karma In the sphere of renunciation of attachments this is an ideal. The other advice given is, 'sidhaya asidhayoh samo bhutva i.e. by being even towards success and failure. Evenness should be complete, by being both of the mind and of the heart. We often think, we have done, whatever was our duty, and the result was not in our hands. If we have failed, it is all right. We are satisfied that we have done our duty. But still some kind of regret persists. The goal of evenness is that there should be no feeling of regret. Shri Ramachandra jee came to know that instead of coronation he was being sent to the forests for 14 years, even then there was no change in the equanimity of his facial expressions. Equanimity was innate in him. By making efforts, heart can be controlled. Endurance of the blows of success and failure gradually makes the heart equanimous and even. Mental equanimity gradually influences the heart. For a karmayogi, results do not have even slightest importance. What is important for him is the right reason. For him success and failure are equally unimportant. Therefore, he is even towards both of them. Karma has its importance from the point of view of spiritual discipline (sadhana). For the karmayogies, its results are not important. The real evenness a person experiences only when the equanimous consciousness, which is divine in nature, is awakened and then the mind and also the heart remains even and undisturbed. No blow can gauge the depth of the heart. The person becomes verily an ocean of peace and poise. The third direction is for doing karmas by being established in yoga, 'yogasthah kuru karmani'. What does this yoga mean? What is the purpose of this directive? Yoga is an indicator of one's outlook towards life. It demands that karmas be done considering life as spiritual practice (sadhana), considering karma itself as sadhana and considering it as a path towards the Lord. In fact, the difference between a karmayogi and an ordinary person is only that of outlook. Seen from the outside, karmas of the two look alike. An ordinary person will do some work for the society to earn his livelihood and so will a karmayogi. But their faith makes a very big difference as exists between heaven and earth. Karmayoga is an indicator of the dedication in yoga (yoganishtha). This dedication is not related to any specific karma, but is related to one's entire life. This subject has already been adequately discussed. Lastly, in the fourth part it is said, - samatvam yoga uchayate - what is the essence of yoga? What is it without which this yoga fails? It is evenness or equanimity. If we cannot consider opposites equally and we do not make an attempt to remain even towards them, then we cannot make progress in this path. Why is evenness so important? Attachments lead to unevenness. This unevenness assumes the form of hope. A person doing karma, animated with hope, continues to create bonds for himself. If gain and loss become equal for us then there is no scope for desire. Only one's own duty (svadharma) remains important - results do not matter. Engaged in doing one's duty (svadharma), a person keeps on progressing. His bonds keep on vanishing. That is why evenness is the basic spirit behind karmayoga. This is the measuring scale with which the state of a karmayogi is measured. This is the measuring scale of spiritual

62

evolution too. The inner evenness alone is meaningful. This evenness is at the root of the outlook. In due course this becomes the perspective of the one who has realised Brahman (Brahman-drishti). Refer verse 54 of the 18th chapter.

durena hyavaram karma buddhiyogad dhanamjaya | buddhau saranam anviccha krpanah phalahetavah || (49) As compared to the karmas done with reasoned intellect (buddhi-yoga), other karmas are far inferior. Take recourse to the disciplined intellect (buddhi). Those doing karmas for the sake of results are poor and miserable. (49) In the present verse, an effort has been made to emphasise the importance of karmayoga by making a comparison. Karmayoga itself has been called budhiyoga i.e. the reasoned intellect. Faith in reasoned intellect (buddhi-nishtha) is important in this yoga. Karmas done with faith (with reasoned intellect) become destroyer of bonds and do not create fresh bonds. Those who do karmas for the sake of results are mean. Their vision is limited to the external form of karma and to its gross results. On account of this meanness, they bargain their karmas at a very cheap price. Due to their ignorance, they sell diamonds at the price of a stone. Karma can unite us with the Lord beyond prakriti provided our faith is absolute. By doing that, we not only become free from the bonds of prakriti but also become its lord. But on account of short sightedness and due to our greed we can neither see so far nor can we have patience. To awaken faith in karmayoga, is to have recourse to reasoned intellect i.e. buddhi. The Lord is asking Arjuna to do that, so that he goes beyond both vice and virtue. The karma done by a karmayogi and the same karma done by an ordinary person have wide difference in their effect. One leads to union (yoga) and the other to separation (viyoga). One leads to deliverance (moksha) and the other to bondage. One removes attachment and the other increases it. One is the cause of detachment and the other leads to attachment. The difference is as big as between the heaven and the earth.

buddhiyukto tasmad yogaya

jahati ha ubhe sukrtaduskrte | yujyasva yogah karmasu kausalam || (50)

Now the Lord describes the effect of karmayoga. The person having the wisdom (of Karmayoga) casts away both evil and virtue in this world. Therefore, he strives for this yoga. Yoga is skill in doing karma. (50) An ordinary karma attaches the doer with vice or virtue. While analysing the nature of karmas and while commenting upon the aphorisms of Patanjali, Vyasji writes that karmas are of

63

four kinds - shukla49, krishna50, shukla-krishna, ashukla-krishna. Shukla means a totally virtuous karma and such karma is possible only by the yogis. Krishna is a sinful karma. Shukla-krishna karma is a mixture of sin and virtue. Ashukla-Krishna is that karma which is neither sin nor virtue. A virtuous karma is the cause of happiness and a sinful karma is of unhappiness. The karma done by an ordinary person is an admixture of sin and virtue. Only the karma done by yogis is totally virtuous. By doing karmas whatever enjoyments or sorrow a person accumulates for himself those enjoyments he has to endure. These karmas then compel a person to take birth again. Every person always aspires to be happy. Virtue results in happiness 51. Therefore, a person wants to accumulate happiness. But the compulsions of the world as well as our own compulsions make us also accumulate unwanted sins along with virtues. Consequently, we receive admixture of both happiness and unhappiness. The desire of flowers drags us to thorns. The desire to eat sweets forces us to taste bitter things too. There is no device by which we can accumulate only virtues and totally escape from the sins. For a yogi, that is possible. But his life and his karmas are of a different level. In fact, our bonds cause both happiness and unhappiness. Their enjoyments make us finite beings in this finite world. Therefore, virtue and vice, which cause happiness and unhappiness, are of the form of our bonds. Only on becoming free from them, can one escape the necessity of birth and death. That is known as deliverance i.e. moksha. Certainly this is strange. We want to escape unhappiness but with that we have to forego happiness as well. Is there then no way by which we can escape unhappiness and not happiness? If we look at it carefully then we will find that what we call happiness is so closely related to unhappiness and that it also eventually becomes a form of unhappiness. The desire for happiness, the efforts required to achieve it, the hope and despair associated with it, are all forms of unhappiness. One can have peace only by going beyond both happiness and unhappiness. The state beyond happiness and unhappiness may be called the state of inertness. As compared to human beings, animals have less feeling of happiness unhappiness. Vegetation has still less. Inert world normally does not have any feeling. Will it not be going back in the process of evolution by losing the ability to feel? This question arises. The state of being beyond happiness and unhappiness is totally different than the state of consciousness of the inert world. The state beyond happiness has wisdom, has peace, and has bliss. That bliss, which is like absolute satisfaction, whose basis is not the absence of desires but is the fullness of atman, is our innate bliss. That feeling is much loftier and is stable than happiness. This is an advanced stage of evolution. After attaining this state, a person goes forever beyond dualities of happiness and unhappiness. In the process of evolution, transcendence of both happiness and unhappiness is absolutely necessary and so of both virtue and vice. It means the freedom from the feeling of committing either sin or virtue is also natural. This state also looks like the state of an animal, but in reality it is totally different. Such a person feels himself in everyone and everyone in himself. He resides innately in the Lord. He becomes free from the possibility of likes and dislikes, from the upsurge of passions and anger, and from the bonds of ego. These are the verily roots of evil. To get over both vice and virtue in this manner is very necessary for advancing in the process of evolution and to achieve deliverance from the cycle of birth and death. A person acting with the wisdom of karmayoga becomes free both from vice and virtue.

49 50

shukla: means bright, white or virtuous Krishna: here this word has been used to mean dark or evil 51 Pleasure and happiness have been used for the same experience.

64

The desire for results binds us with karma in its gross form. The tendency of karma (samsakara) sticks to us and forces us to enjoy its results. Only our desire drags us to the physical world. Practitioner of the buddhi-yoga52 by making efforts gradually gets free from the desire of results. The result of karma does not remain as a cause of his inspiration for doing karma. His karma becomes a form of duty or becomes instinctive. Gradually the inner-self becomes pure. Tendencies are destroyed. Evenness of intellect also strikes at egoism. The person becomes free from the feeling of doership. He experiences that the karma is being done but he does not feel that it is his karmas. The result of his karma does not bind him as if some one else has done them. He is free from both vice and virtue. In spite of being a doer, he does not remain a doer. That is the state of naishyakarmaya i.e. the state in which karmas are done without desires. That is the success of karmayoga. The Lord inspires Arjuna to follow the path of karmayoga and in praise of that path he says, ' yoga is the skill in doing karma. 'yogah karmasu kaushalam' does not merely mean that only skill in doing karma is yoga. It is exactly opposite. It means that yoga is the skill of doing the karma without attachment. There is world of difference between the two. The one, who considers yoga as only one's skill in doing karma will consider the dexterity in doing karma alone and success of karma as a sign of yoga, irrespective of whatever is the motive of the doer. He may or may not be desirous of the results of his karma. The one who is skilled in doing karma is a yogi. This view is not necessarily correct. A karmayogi does his karmas as a form of sadhana and therefore, he is able to concentrate his energies properly. But it is not necessary that he will always be successful. Then, how is yoga a skill in karma? A yogi remains free from the bonds of karma even while doing his karmas, while an ordinary person gets bound by just doing karmas. He accumulates tendencies, which become the cause of his rebirth. The feeling of evil or virtue taints his karma. But a yogi not only does not bind himself while doing his karmas, but he also weakens the old tendencies by doing it with his reasoned understanding specific to karmayoga. Gradually the old tendencies are destroyed. Ultimately the karma becomes pure. In due course of time he makes that very karma as a means of his liberation, by which an ordinary person creates bonds for himself. This is the skill of yoga. It is necessary to understand this specific skill for a correct understanding of karmayoga.

karmajam buddhiyukta janmabandhavinirmuktah

hi phalam tyaktva manisinah | padam gacchanty anamayam ||(51)

In the previous verse, it was said budhiyukto Jahatih ubhe sukritdushkrite i.e. a person endowed with equanimous intellect is free from both vice and virtue. What then is the result of this abandonment of vice and virtue? This has been discussed in this verse. The wise men having the buddhi53 renouncing the possible fruits54 which karma could yield and becoming free from the bonds of birth, attain the state free from unhappiness. (51)
52 53

Buddhi-yoga: the one who follows yoga of intellect or knowledge buddhi: connotes the elevated or devoted intellect of a yogi. In the present context a yogi means a karmayogi. 54 "Fruits" refer to the desired result of action - that for which an ordinary person works; that which is the cause of his sorrow and happiness, as the results may be.

65

Is there any difference in what was said in the first part of the previous verse and what is said in the first part of this verse? There does not appear to be any significant difference. In the previous verse renouncement of both vice and virtue was advised. In this verse renouncement of the fruits, which the karmas could yield, has been advised. By renouncing both vice and virtue, a person becomes free from happiness and unhappiness, which could be caused by his karma. The result of karma either gives happiness or unhappiness. Apart from this, the tendencies created in the doer of karma, which becomes cause of future propensities and passions, are more important. The doer is really bound by them. They start the chain of bonds. It is much more difficult to free oneself from these tendencies. A person can only be free from happiness and unhappiness after he bears the fruits of his karmas. Like, the bullet fired from a gun affects the outside world, but the backfire of the gun affects the gunman himself. Similarly, karmas have double effect. The backfire of the gun is weak but has a very deep impact. Similarly, the tendency created by the karma has a deeper effect within the doer. If the intellect has really become equanimous, if the karma has become perfectly natural, if the doer of karma has lost all desire for the results, then the doer is not at all affected by his karmas. This is called the equanimous intellect i.e. buddhi. This is the faith of karmayoga. Neither is the karmayogi subjected to happiness - unhappiness nor there is any possibility of generation of any desire in him due to his karma. His karma is like a line drawn on the surface of water. The karma done by him vanishes as soon as it is done. This is the state of perfection (sidhavastha) of his intellect. When a person continues to do his karmas with devotion and equanimity then his inner self gradually gets pure and his passions get gradually weaker. Even a very subtle expectation of results of karma is also lost. Even the feeling of doer-ship starts vanishing. For him karma becomes perfectly natural, as it is for the Sun to give light, for fire to give heat, etc. The sunlight creates different effects at different places; at some places it is the cause of life and at the other it is the cause of death, but the fault is not of the Sun. Similar is the result of observance of svadharma by a karmayogi. His karma has no other purpose. Its results neither give him satisfaction nor dissatisfaction. This is a state in which karma is done most spontaneously. This is the state of perfection (sidhavastha) of intellect. A person attains this state by continuous practice. Such a person is really a sage. One whose mind can give impetus to work, who has considerable mental strength and whose mind can discern the subtlest of any subject, is called a sage. The practice of karmayoga is not for fools. A karmayogi always remains internally alert. He always has to keep an eye on the outer and inner effects of his karmas. He also has to be watchful of latent desires for results. He always continues to make an attempt to purify his thinking by proper and concentrated efforts. An aspirant by continuously practicing karmayoga becomes internally pure and sublime and he gradually becomes a sage. As the veil of love and hate is gradually lifted, his intellect is strengthened and purified. Such a perfect karmayogi becomes entirely free from the bonds of birth. Why is there the bond of birth? The desire for enjoyments alone brings a person back to this world. On returning again to this earth he again perforce performs karmas and reinforces the desires. The cycle continues. A karmayogi cuts the strings of desire by doing karmas without desires. As a result of which the requirement for rebirth is no longer left. There is absence of bonds, because it is the desire that binds a person. Nothing external binds him. In this manner a karmayogi with his intellect (gyan) becomes free from desires and tendencies and acquires freedom from all the causes of bonds. What is the result of acquiring this state? It is the attainment of the state of anamaya' i.e. freedom from unhappiness. Unhappiness is called amaya. A person attains such a state where there is no possibility of any unhappiness. We want happiness from prakriti. But we get

66

unhappiness also along with happiness. When we do not have desires, we do not have to get any thing from prakriti. Then we are free from unhappiness and along with that we also do not get happiness born of prakriti. Freedom from evil frees us from virtue as well. The person is free from karma itself. In reality, virtue is as much a bond as the vice. Along with the pleasures of prakriti, pains are essentially linked. A karmayogi achieves the state of freedom from unhappiness. He goes beyond the bonds of nature. This is the perfect realisation of the state of desire-less action (naishyakarmaya). A Samkhya-yogi also practices with this objective. This objective is easily achieved by doing karmas with adequate devotion. The means to achieve this intellect (devotion in karma) are now being mentioned. After this, characteristics of this intellect (gyan) will also be described. The next two verses 52 & 53 discuss these two important aspects. In fact, without knowing these means the devotion in karmas cannot be developed. This is not merely a matter to be understood but is to completely transform one's entire life into an entirely different mould. The next verse deals with the practice of karmayoga. Without knowing this method of practice, the entire discussion of karmayoga reduces itself to sheer verbosity.

yada te mohakalilam buddhir vyatitarisyati | tada gantasi nirvedam srotavyasya srutasya ca || (52) srutivipratipanna te yada sthasyati niscala | samadhav acala buddhis tada yogam avapsyasi || (53) "When your intellect (buddhi) properly crosses this veil of (mire of) delusion, then you will become indifferent towards whatever is worth listening to and whatever you have listened to already." (52) "When your intellect, confused by the Vedas, becomes placid and firm in the state of samadhi (union with the God), then you will attain this yoga." (53) Why was the intellect of Arjuna confused? Why was Arjuna deviating from the path of his duty? Why was Arjuna worried about fighting? For the intellect of Arjuna was caught up in the mire of delusion. He was unable to perceive correctly due to the veil of delusion, which had covered up his intellect. Delusion is indicative of ignorance. To be deluded means to become devoid of consciousness, to become unconscious. In the state of delusion, a proper awareness of the self and of the situation is lost. Mother has an affection for her child; a wife for her husband; and friends for their friends. An attachment is indicative of infatuation. Delusion indicates the confusion of mind due to that very infatuation. A mother in delusion forgets as to what is good for her child. An indulgent mother feeds him excessively. Because of this, she overlooks the bad habits of her child. She behaves in this manner without understanding her own condition as well as the condition of the child, which harms both of them. This was the condition of Arjuna too. He was deeply infatuated by his relations. The physical harm that would have come to them and possible separation from them was unbearable to him. Consequently, he considered war as undesirable. Overwhelmed deeply in his attachment, Arjuna could not even discriminate between duty and non-duty. This tug-of-war was the cause of his distress.

67

For the followers of the path of karmayoga, stability of the intellect, the capability of taking decisions after due analysis of alternatives, and to remain unwavering i.e. free of any doubt about the decision taken, is necessary. Why is a person unable to decide and continues to have doubts? Its main cause is his state of delusion, because of which he is unable to think correctly. He is unable to appreciate the merit of various alternatives before him because of an improper understanding of the situation. Consequently, he keeps vacillating between the various alternatives. Besides this, we hear many views. If we have developed proper understanding, we will be able to correctly interpret the diverse views. We can understand a specific situation in which they are applicable and also how and for whom they should be applied. Because the inner impurity of intellect we do not correctly understand the teachings and the directions of the sciptures (shastras) and the advice of experienced people. We do not understand their practical message in the given situation. Therefore, our doubts increase. Scriptures give directions to different people as required in different situations and according to their ability. Only the one, who has clarity in thoughts, can understand them. Till such time a person does not have his own understanding, he tries to obtain directions for himself from others. Once he has his own understanding, he is not at all eager to listen to others' views. He sees the path very clearly. He is aware of his own weaknesses. He only needs strength to practice. He knows that everything will not be achieved in one day. A person can also understand the substance of whatever he has heard and starts understanding the importance of daily activities. Consequently, he becomes indifferent towards them also. In the state of perfection (siddhi) of karmayoga, every thing, which has been ever heard and which needs to be heard, become useless because the purpose of the scriptures is already served. For he attains in this very life the state of enlightenment for which the directions of the scriptures are meant. The Lord, therefore, told Arjuna that 'when the veil of delusion will be lifted from your intellect, then you will become indifferent towards whatever others say'. It has been stated clearly in the next verse (53) that scriptures confuse the intellect. That tosses us from one side to the other and does not provide stability. This stability comes from within. The inner stability can only arise by doing karmas according to the provisions in scriptures. Mere listening to the scriptures does not provide stability. The Lord has himself validated the scriptures in the chapter 16 (verse 24). It is necessary to properly understand the utility of the scriptures. Scriptures are the authority for defining duty and non-duty. Scriptures have prescribed the karmas of a warrior (kshatriyas). Arjuna should follow them. As a result of doing those karmas only he will be able to get over his delusion and in due course his intellect would also get stabilised. Apart from that, the scriptures also define violence and non-violence, prescribe the offerings as oblations to departed ancestors, and speak of many other things. Knowing all that the intellect of a person gets confused. What is the direction of the scriptures for a given situation is all that needs to be known and observed. Every thing else said besides this can create confusion. Normally these do create confusion in the minds of the people. The person whose intellect has become stable can alone understand the importance of different aspects of things mentioned in scriptures and can become capable of taking his own decisions about duty and non-duty. The intellect can get stabilised only when a person understands his duty-based path of spiritual practice and follows that path. Arjuna was confused primarily due to the knowledge he had received from hearing others. He had lost the power of deciding himself about duty and nonduty. The Lord, therefore, told him that when his delusion was removed and when the confusion

68

of his mind due to what he had heard from others was removed, then only his path would be clear to him. Samadhavachala i.e. stable in samadhi55. 'After the removal of such confusion, your mind would get stabilised in samadhi'. What is that samadhi? The state attained by an inward diversion of the sense organs. Mere closing of one' eyes is not a state of samadhi. Samadhi is the state of equanimity of intellect. It is the peaceful and the poised state of the intellect, irrespective of whether the eyes are open or closed. When the mind leaves its capriciousness, when the sense organs are not moved by temptations and when the intellect is also stable then it is the state of samadhi. Samadhi can also be with open eyes. That is called effortless samadhi. Then the mind becomes spontaneously stable and devoid of volition and counter volition and remains peaceful and poised. This state in reality is a state of firm conviction. The Lord says that when this kind of a unique stability becomes the very nature of a person then he attains to this yoga. Only after attaining such a state Arjuna could become a perfect karmayogi. How shall a karmayogi achieve this unique state, this has been described in the subsequent verses of this chapter. How does a karmayogi convert his karmas into the means of his sadhana and becoming free from temptations, how does he attain to that stage so easily, which a sage or an aspirant of the path of meditation attains with considerable difficulty, all that has been described in the following verses.

arjuna uvaca sthitaprajnasya ka bhasa samadhisthasya kesava | sthitadhih kim prabhaseta kim asita vrajeta kim ||(54) The remaining verses of this chapter are for giving full description of the concept of sthitpragya. In the preceding verse, it was said that when your mind will be stable then you will attain to this yoga. Therefore, stability of the intellect is necessary for the practice of karmayoga. In fact, the attainment of firmness of the intellect indicates success of karmayoga. This subject has been raised through a question of Arjuna. Arjuna spoke thus O Keshav! What is the description of the one who is in the state of samadhi with a firm mind? How does the one with a firm mind speak, how does he sit and how does he walk about?" (54) This question has arisen out of the last verse; therefore, the same words have been used i.e. being in the state of samadhi and the firmness of the mind. Arjuna wants to know about the state, which the Lord had earlier indicated. After all what happens by attaining firmness of the mind and by achieving an inner calm and equanimity of the intellect? What are the internal and external signs of that state? The definition of a word or of a state explains and communicates their correct meaning to others.

55

Samadhi: the highest state of consciousness in which the self is in tune with the divine self.

69

How does a sthitpragya sit, walk, etc? The purpose of this question is the same i.e. Arjuna wants to know in detail the state of 'sthitpragya'. In reply to this question, we get the knowledge of the means of attaining this yoga (sadhana shastra) i.e. of karmayoga. The description of the state of success of naishyakarmaya we will get in the fourth chapter.

shri bhagavan uvaca prajahati yada kaman sarvan partha manogatan | atmanny eva tmana tustah sthitaprajnas tado cyate || (55) The Lord said O Arjuna! When a person who has fully abandoned all his desires arising in mind and his atman is content in atman (i.e. he is satisfied in himself), then he is called one of a stable intellect (sthithprajna). (55). When is the intellect of a person stable? This has been answered. Firstly, when all desires, arising in mind, are abandoned. Secondly, when he is satisfied in himself with himself. These two statements will have to be understood properly. Desires arising in the mind are those, which influence us deeply and through which a direction is given to the energies of our mind and heart. When a person has desire for a son, he remains internally disturbed. His heart longs for a son from time to time. Similar are the desires for wealth, for recognition in the society, etc. The desire to take revenge entering deep within can also create a similar condition. The desires arising in the mind cast a veil over the intellect of the person concerned. Coloured with his desires a person looks at the world accordingly. The means for the satisfaction of those desires appear pleasant and those obstructing them become unpleasant. One is unable to appreciate real merits and demerits. Consequently, the intellect of the person becomes dull. Desires make energies of a person move outward. It becomes difficult to be peaceful. For with the awakening of desires, there is turmoil within. Consequently, the intellect also becomes restless and becomes uncertain losing the capability of knowing the truth, as if terribly shaken by the torrents of desires. Is the complete absence of desires necessary for the firmness of the intellect? Life is desolate without desires. When there is a desire, only then by its satisfaction happiness is possible. There could be a feeling that without having desires our life would become like that of animals. Desires arise when an animal evolves into a human being. As a result of the development of mental sheath (manomaya kosha) that desires evolve and it is only because of desisres a person can experience happiness and unhappiness with greater intensity. As compared to animals, man can experience much more of happiness and unhappiness. If desires can give happiness, then they can also give unhappiness. This is an inevitable relationship. If we want happiness, arising out of desires, then we should also be prepared to experience unhappiness too. If we want to be free from unhappiness, then we will have to abandon desires completely and also the happiness associated with it. The consciousness beyond the normal human consciousness (mind) is one beyond happiness and unhappiness. Evenness is its foundation. It is experienced in the form of firmness, peace and poise. Desire is at the root of discord. In the state of evenness, desire cannot exist. Therefore, a complete abandonment of desires is necessary for evenness. That state of peace and poise is not like a state of vacuum. In reality it is a state, when fully developed, full of bliss and knowledge. This bliss is infinitely greater and satisfying then the

70

happiness. From that perspective, the happiness gained by the satisfaction of desires would look like unhappiness. Unhappiness is indeed only unhappiness. Such a person does not become entirely useless. In him, the place of desires is taken over by the will of the Divine as his inspiration for work. He becomes an instrument in the hands of the Lord. The other sign is said to be that he is satisfied in himself with himself. A person tries to gain happiness from prakriti through mind and the sense organs. He wants to be happy by seeing beautiful objects with his eyes, by hearing melodious music with his ears and similarly wants to be happy by enjoying other objects through his other sense organs. He gains satisfaction by hearing his own praise. He gets pleasure through the satisfaction of his inner desires. Such happiness depends upon two factors: (i) sense organs, mind and inherent nature, and (ii) the outside situation i.e. external environment. In the absence of any one of them, this happiness cannot be gained. One cannot be happy if there are eyes but no beauty, and also if there is beauty but one does not have eyes to admire. The happiness that we get internally through our faith and the feelings depend upon our mental state. If we are not in the right frame of mind, we cannot have happiness. And to a great extent, our mental condition depends upon our physical condition and circumstances. Therefore, we are dependent on prakriti for any happiness that we may get but it is never stable. Therefore, till such time, as we need such happiness, we cannot become stable. The absence of such happiness will make us restless. Their desire too will make us restless. And so even while having these pleasures, the mind will be restless. So there cannot be equanimity while having these pleasures and even while not having them. A person, who has no expectations, can alone remain equanimous. One whose consciousness is established in atman and who has started experiencing self-satisfaction, he alone can be indifferent to such happiness (happiness gained by the satisfaction of desires). His happiness can alone be stable. Till such time the consciousness of a person is not united with his atman he will continue to be influenced by prakriti and the changes of prakriti will continue to create disturbance in him. Intellect itself is of prakriti and so restlessness of the intellect is innate and natural. But, when the consciousness of a person is firmly established in atman then the stability of that consciousness stabilises the intellect too. That consciousness of the Self changes its nature and the intellect having become pure appreciates the truth correctly. A person who is completely free from desires alone can attain full contentment in atman. Only the atman becomes the means of his happiness. He does not experience happiness in the mind and the sense organs, but only in the atman. The absence of the satisfaction of desires does not disturb his happiness. Secondly, his happiness is not from prakriti but is only from the atman. Therefore, he is independent of the external situations too. The intellect of such a person always remains stable. This state is possible only when our consciousness remains awakened beyond the intellect and we also start rejoicing in it.

duhkhesv anudviganamanah sukhesu vigatasprhah | vitaragabhayakrodhah sthitadhir munir ucyate || (56)

71

In this verse the characteristics of a 'sthitdhia' have been mentioned One whose mind is not distressed in unhappiness, who has no desire for happiness and who is free from passion, fear and anger, such a sage is called 'sthitpragya' i.e. stable-minded. (56) The state of the mind of an equanimous one (sthitpragya) has now been described. Distress in unhappiness is natural. The craving of pleasures is also natural in human beings. But in an equanimous one (sthitpragya) both these things are not found. He is not distressed in unhappiness nor he has a longing for happiness. It is from the point of view of others that happiness and unhappiness have been mentioned. For him (sthitpragya') both are the same. In both the situations, he remains equanimous or even. In the world, people hardened by continuous endurance of pain do not feel pain in hours of crisis. Because of their insensitivity they lose the ability to laugh or being happy in hours of their happiness. This is not the condition of a stable minded (sthitpragya) one. He continues to have the ability of feeling both happiness and unhappiness. He can know everything but does not get influenced by them. He correctly understands the situations and can also know the possible losses accruing due to them, but he is not distressed. Similarly, while anticipating the happy situations of life he is not over joyed. Knowing and becoming happy or unhappy with it is not the same thing. In an ordinary person, the two are so clearly inter-mingled that he is unable to differentiate between the two. Hearing an abuse and becoming angry happen simultaneously. The reactions of a stable minded person (sthitpragya) are in his control and are not like that of a machine. He acquires this capability. In fact his mental faculties are so developed that he never loses his balance. His mind is so firmly fixed in his awakened consciousness that no aberration in it is possible and he is neither distressed in unhappiness nor is he puffed up in happiness. Without any effort, he remains peaceful and poised. 'Vitragbhayakrodah' i.e. free from passion, fear and anger. This is another characteristic of such a person. He is beyond any passion (raag), fear and anger. Intense desire is called passion (raag). He has no passion and no fear and he does not become angry. The advice is for gaining freedom from all the three but not for getting over them by making any effort. There is no possibility for them and the whole thing is clear also. If passion, fear or anger is possible, how then can his mind remain stable? Attachments influence the mind instantaneously. The person starts perceiving differently. Fear also disturbs the mind. What to say of the mind, fear makes the body tremble. In fear, a person loses the capacity of thinking. It is so with the anger. Anger can make a person totally indiscrete. In anger, a person has no consideration for right or wrong and of proper or improper. As if controlled by a ghost, a person commits misdeeds and repents for them later. These are the three lower tendencies of the mind (manomaya). Only on getting over these lower mental tendencies that a person becomes stable and his intellect also can remain stable, otherwise the intellect keeps on vacillating on account of their impact. Therefore, a stable minded person (sthitpragya) has been said to be totally free from them. Then, how to achieve freedom from them? The follower of this path has to be ever watchful. He will have to throw out the passion (raag), fear and anger arising within by the strength of his determination. Firstly, one has to learn to recognise them. When a person becomes his own witness, then their effects are reduced. Then his determination and firmness can gradually free him from this aberration of the mind. A karmayogi makes an effort to get over them by exercising his power of discrimination and using the strength of his volition. Changing situations help him to learn to remain stable in the turmoils of life. His intellect gives him support. He who contemplates is called a sage (muni). He is a true sage in whom the capability of discrimination has arisen. One does not become a sage simply by living in forests and eating

72

vegetable roots, but becomes so by having the power of discrimination. Without this capability, how is self-control possible? Therefore, this word has been used for a stable minded person (sthitpragya).

yah sarvatra nabhisnehas tat-tat prapya subhasubham | na bhinandati na dvesti tasya prajna pratisthita ||(57) The state of being stable minded (sthitpragya) is achieved by the firmness of the intellect, and by the stability of the sense organs and of the vital (prana). On these two becoming firm the intellect remains stable, otherwise on their being disturbed this is also disturbed. The stability of the mind has been discussed in many ways in the last two verses (55-56). To make the subject more clear it has again been mentioned in the 57th verse. The one who remains unaffected in all respects despite having different experiences of good and evil and who neither welcomes the good nor detests the evil, his intellect (buddhi) is stable. (57). Good is that, which normally gives happiness, and which is liked by everyone in the world. Gain of wealth, birth, honour, victory etc. is considered to be good. Craving for the good is always there. When something like this happens, it is welcomed. Drums are beaten, victory columns are erected and feasts are arranged. By having these experiences, the heart is overjoyed. This is the normal human behaviour and is the normal mental reaction. Opposed to them are death, disease, loss, insult, etc. and these are evils. A person never wants them. But they do come in life. Despite knowing this, one avoids them and is not prepared to accept them happily. One wants to avoid them or to remain away from them. This is also the normal human behaviour and is the normal mental reaction. The spiritual practice (sadhana) changes the mind. One's nature can be radically changed. Gradually evenness develops. Internal evenness brings about evenness in the external behaviour. Good and evil become the same. Neither is there desire for one nor any desire for escaping the other. Both can be equally accepted by remaining even. Shri Ramchandraji was about to be crowned. There was no special expression of happiness on his face. As if nothing great was about to happen and when his exile to the forest was announced, there was no trace of dejection either. This was the evenness. Even on becoming a beggar from the king, there was no turmoil inside. Raghunathjee was stable minded (sthirmati). The condition of the citizens of Ayodhya was entirely different. Stability is also achieved by making efforts and by controlling emotions but then it is not deep. That has the possibility of pressures. The turmoils of life gradually make a person even. One, who never had a set back in life, becomes highly worried. One, who had set backs, is rarely worried. It also happens in happiness. Whoever has experienced happiness, is not overjoyed in happiness. New experiences vacillate a person more. In the development of consciousness, the experiences of life are very important. The lessons learnt by experiences are never forgotten.

73

They go deep within and do not remain confined to the brain. In fact, they go deep within through the brain. Complete evenness is attained along with the descent of the higher consciousness in the mind and transforms it. This will be discussed later on. In the previous three verses (55, 56 & 57) we find the characteristics of an even minded person. Along with that 'atmannyevatmanna tushtah' i.e. the Self is content in the Self has been mentioned. This sign of contentment is also specially related to the mind. Mind has no rest without contentment. As long as there are desires, likes and dislikes will also exist. Therefore, the mind of an equanimous person (sthitpragya) is even. He is free of all disturbing tendencies. After this, the state of his sense organs and of his vital (prana) has been described.

yada samharate ca yam kurmo ngani va sarvasah| indriyani ndriiyarthebhyas tasya prajna pratisthita ||(58) As the tortoise withdraws his limbs from all sides, likewise when he (a person) withdraws his sense organs from the objects of the senses then his intellect becomes stable. (58) A tortoise can withdraw his limbs inside his back whenever he wants. Only a shield remains visible. Neither the head is visible nor the legs. Nobody can hurt him. When an aspirant attains such ability, his intellect is also able to stabilise. 'Indriyarthe'- the objects of the senses drag the sense organs. The sense organs drag the mind and the restlessness of the mind makes the intellect restless. Therefore, as long as we are unable to detach the senses from their objects, whenever we want, till then the stability of our intellect is not permanent. We can become victims of our likes and dislikes anytime. Our evenness can be disturbed. Saints practice this. Through various methods of meditation, this capability can be attained. By concentrating on one subject, the consciousness of body is lost. This would mean that whenever we are attracted towards an object and we withdraw our sense organs from that object, then we would be able to escape from the grip of that specific object. This race of the cat and the mouse will become an every day game of our life. The forceful withdrawal of the sense organs from their objects like closing the eyes on seeing a beautiful object, to make the tongue insensitive to taste while eating tasty food, or to close the nose to prevent sweet smells, has the same effect irrespective of whether the attraction is from outside or it comes without our specific efforts. The sense organs can be made insensitive by acquiring control over the centers controlling the sense organs by a determination of the will. This is a state where attraction for objects does exist but at the same time the ability to escape from that attraction has also been developed in us. This is not the state of an innate and totally fearless control. During perfection of self-control, there is no control. If there is at all a need for an effort to control, then control is not yet fully achieved. In this state, the possibility of a downfall is imminent. The evenness of the intellect on the basis of this state can neither be firm nor can it be innate. We find many examples. Great saints lost their self-control by the mere sight of a woman. Shrangi Rishi could not bear the sight of Shanta. Puranas are full of such stories, and in

74

this world many instances come to our notice where saints lose their self-control. This control is only an ego based psychological wall, which easily falls to the ground before the gale of objects (of passionate desire). For complete fearlessness, the only remedy is the total eradication of passions. Tendencies should be totally destroyed. The mind of the person should be so changed that any activity of passion becomes impossible. This is impossible as long as tendencies exist and once the complete transformation takes place desires cannot exist. In this verse we get the description of the limit to which the method prescribed by the protagonists of self-control can take us. The next verse introduces us to the stage beyond this.

visaya vinivartante niraharasya dehinah | rasavarjam raso py asya param drstva nivartate ||(59) The embodied souls who abstain from the objects of the senses i.e. remain nirahaar, do not lose taste for them. The taste is lost only on having the vision of the Supreme Lord (Paramaishwara). (59) Ahaar - whatever is taken by the sense organs is called ahaar (its food). Therefore, enjoying the sense objects is taking the food (ahaar). He, who does not enjoy the sense objects, is without food (nirahaar). As has been stated in the last verse, by withdrawing the sense organs from their objects a person abstains from their ahaar. Objects turn away from such a nirahaari person. As the practice grows, the grip of objects weakens. The more we enjoy the objects, the more attraction we have for them. Why will the objects trouble a person living in forests? They do not come to him. Therefore, how could there be restlessness in him? By remaining nirahaar in this manner, the sense objects do not hold a person in their clutches but the taste for them is not lost. The taste developed by enjoying them is the cause of their grip. As soon as an object becomes available, the person is entrapped. That leads to his downfall. As an explosive does not explode till it gets the spark, but the moment it gets the spark it explodes. Exactly the same condition exists in such a person too. His inner-self is filled with explosive. As soon as the fire of objects comes in contact, the self-control of the person gives way. Therefore, the follower of this path will have to move very cautiously, escaping from the use of the sense objects. In fact the inner tendencies are very powerful. So long as the inner tendencies for enjoyments are present deep within us, there is danger for us. The tendencies will have to be exhausted by enjoying them either in the gross or in a subtle form. While trying to escape from the sense objects, we always battle against these tendencies. The discrimination of the intellect also shatters against the force of these tendencies. Even the great scholars lose their presence of mind and get blind i.e. even they become indiscrete. For the followers of this path of ascent i.e. the path of self-control, there is no alternative. Is such a state possible then when a person can be free from the fear of a downfall? This state is possible when the objects do not have the ability to entice him, when the objects cease to remain objects of enjoyment for the person, when a state of union with the Supreme becomes an enjoyment and the said state itself becomes enjoyment.

75

The Lord says that such a state is also possible. This happens when one has the vision of the Lord. Then ones interest in objects of senses is also lost. After having the vision of the Lord of all tastes (Rasraj) i.e. the Lord Himself, what attraction other object can have for a person. Only just one glimpse of His makes one inebriated and makes him free from all desires. That makes a person forget himself and raises him above the lowly objects of this world. Why did Meera moved in the state of intoxication? Why did Surdas and Tulsidas, leaving everything, remained in the intoxication for the Lord? Why were Gopis were always lost in His thoughts, forgetting everything else? The vision of the Lord raises a person above the grip of the sense objects and burns all his lower tendencies. A person is so engrossed in that state, that nothing else can catch him in its grip. The vision of the Lors and yearning for Him together make an aspirant pure and sublime. He goes beyond any possibility of a downfall. Gradually, everything becomes filled with the Lord for him. The advaita56 of Vedanta becomes a reality for him. This is the result of having the vision of the Lord. It is just beyond our imagination as to what will happen when one enters into His being. Since a person can be completely free from the influences of the objects only after having seen Him, why then should he not make an effort to see Him first? If the ultimate solution of the problem is not in errecting a dam, then it is useless to do that. This is the viewpoint of a devotee. How does one see Him? By having an unconditional devotion. How one can get unconditional devotion? He gets that by the grace of the Lord, by the blessing of a saint, or by the auspicious influence of the name of the Lord. Then, why should a person not use his energies in that direction? By thinking so, evenness does not remain the objective of life. Devotion to the Lord becomes ones goal of life. This is an easy way to attain evenness in life. This is the view of the path of descent. And in this path, everything begins to happen on its own. As the divine consciousness descends in an individual, he automatically gains selfcontrol. Without an effort of any kind, the attraction for the sense objects becomes weaker. An unknowing aspirant is himself astonished at what is happening to him. Sometimes he gets worried to note that he has lost interest in many good things of life and they have become tasteless. Many such examples are seen in life. The name of the Lord is an easy way for self-control provided the name gets awakened in us and we have the will to follow the path. The Name is awakened in us by the blessings of a saint. This journey is completed by the Grace of the Lord and then a total freedom from the sense objects is attained. Then, no new tendencies are created in a person even while he enjoys all the pleasures of life and yet he is not caught in their grip. Those who do not know call him indulgent but there is no difference in his indulgence and in his union with the Divine. Such a person remains unaffected like a lotus in water. In fact, (in the present context) the state of an equanimous intellect (sthitpragya) has been described on the basis of self-control. This spiritual practice (sadhana) is associated with Samkhya Yoga. It is not based upon devotion. This does not depend upon the Grace of the Lord. Here the reference to the subject of devotion is only by way of introduction to be taken up later. Devotion is not an essential part of the sadhana of the path of Samkhya. The final state of realisation of this sadhana has been called brahman nirvan. Refer to verse 72 of this chapter. Therefore, a warning has also been given in regard to self-control.

56

Advaita: non-duality

76

yatato hy api kaunteya purusasya vipascitah| indriyani pramathini haranti prasabham manah ||(60) tani sarvani samyamya yukta asita matparah | vase hi yasye ndriyani tasya prajna pratisthita || (61) O Arjuna! (for restraining) the sense organs, having the tendency of creating mischief, forcibly drag the mind of even the experienced (wise) and the striving (for self control) person. (60) The person should remain firm in yoga by controlling all his sense organs and surrendering himself to Me. He whose sense organs are in control, his intellect (buddhi) is firm and very well stabilised. (61) Vipaschit - well experienced and mature i.e. experienced and discerning. One who has had different experiences of life and has attained knowledge about self-control. The sense organs have been called pramathi i.e. the obstinate and the one, which agitates churns. That which churns violently is called pramathi. Everyone has the experience of the manner in which the passions arising in the sense organs rock a person. There is a storm within the heart and the nervous system (gyansanstan) is churned. How very violent is this storm that has been described by the Lord in the following words.

shaknotihaiva yah sodhum praksarirvimokshnat l kamkrodhadbhavam vaigam sa yuktah sa sukhi narah ll Whoever is capable of bearing, while active, the forces of passion (upsurge of senses) and anger, that person is firm (yukta), he is happy. We are here concerned with the force of sex. The force of sex is most powerful and also agitates the most. It agitates even the great scholars so much that they dance to its tune and forget all their learning. It had agitated even Naradji. The sense organs are really agitating (pramathi) and forcibly captivate the mind. The mind is subtler than these sense organs and is more powerful - indriyebhyah param manah (verse 42, chapter 3). How then the sense organs captivate the mind? The mind is subtle and powerful. Its ability manifests itself on becoming cultured. Normally, it remains a play of the sense organs like a foolish king who remains a tool in the hands of scoundrels. The sense organs, influencing the mind, awaken the passions. The desire to obtain those enjoyments again-and-again is awakened. The sense organs really want this only. They only demand the repeated experiences of their enjoyments. Under their influence the mind starts working full-time for their attainment. It loses its evenness due to likes and dislikes, desires and cravings. Even the intellect vacillates, its stability is disturbed and the person is debased.

77

In regard to the control of the senses the question of wise or ignorant seems insignificant. On one side is the force of the innate tendencies (samsakars) and on the other is the force of our discretion. Despite having a lot of discretion, if the tendencies are more powerful then the discretion will get shattered. Some rishis, despite being highly discerning and great ascetics, had suffered such a fate. If, however, the tendencies are weak and depleted then even our little discretion becomes quite helpful. In such a situation, how a person can blame any one and for what can he brag for any thing. The follower of the path of self-restrain has to remain cautious all the more. He should instantly become alert on seeing the red sign of danger. One should always endeavor to increase the strength of his discretion and should proceed by withdrawing his sense organs like a tortoise in places of danger. One should have control over all his sense organs. If even one gets out of ones control, that alone can become the cause of his downfall. Matparah - surrendering to the Lord by making Him the goal of all efforts. Yuktaseet evenness within. - remains firm in yoga, always makes efforts and continues to develop

In the end, He said, how very rightly it has been said that he whose sense organs are under control, only his intellect can remain firm and stable. The stability of the mind is also dependent upon the control of the sense organs. Therefore, the firmness of the intellect is ultimately dependent upon the control (of the sense organs). The objective of sthitpragya is total control of the sense organs. This is about the path of self-control. At this point, it will not be improper to make a mention of the path of descent (avaroh- path) i.e. the path of self-surrender (sharnagati path). A devotee accepts all enjoyments only from the Lord. He neither runs after any enjoyment, nor does he run away out of fear from any enjoyment coming to him. Whatever he receives he enjoys that as a gift from the Lord. He always surrenders before His wishes. Such devotion takes him nearer to the Lord even while he is enjoying the pleasures of life. The consciousness descending as His grace uplifts him above the attraction of the objects. He does not have to fight with himself for self-control. His one and only means is the remembrance of the Lord. The next two verses make a psychological analysis of self-control and downfall. What a great truth has been revealed by the Lord in these verses -

for more knowledge on the subject, please see chapter on self-control in Adhyatmika Sadhana, part II by the author Swami Ramananda

78

dhyayato visayan pumsah sangas tesu pajayate| sangat samjayate kamah kamat krodho bhijayate || (62) krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrtivibhramah | smrtibhramsad buddhinaso buddhinasat pranaasyati ||(63) Thinking continually of the sense-objects a person develops attachment for them. Attachment leads to desire and desire creates anger. Anger leads to delusion. Delusion leads to memory loss. Loss of memory destroys the intellect, and with the destruction of intellect the man perishes absolutely. (62-63) The sequence of fall has been very elaborately described. A person thinks about the sense-objects. One can think of the objects experienced by himself or the one experienced by others. One can be a witness of the experiences of others. One can start thinking about objects merely by remembering them. Why does one start thinking about these sense objects? We start thinking about them because we have in us latent desire for enjoying the sense objects. One tends to think of these objects due to the tendencies (samsakars) created by past experiences and the interest developed for them. 'What a tasty food was taken by us'? The picture of that food comes before our eyes. The tongue starts feeling the taste. The desire for eating that food awakens in us and the thinking strengthens this desire. It becomes easy to remember it again. To remember a third time becomes still easier. The satisfaction of the vital (prana), which was gained by eating tasty food, becomes all the more intense. Therefore, that satisfaction is desired again. And so whenever that satisfaction comes to be revived in memory, one has a desire for its repeat experience and the desire for that satisfaction grows stronger. It influences the mind. For that specific tasty food, an attraction becomes stable within. One even starts enjoying while hearing about it. This is the sign of this specific attachment. What is true about taste is equally true about other objects of senses like sex, etc. It should also be known about this subject that these innate tendencies alone constitute the basis of our thinking about the objects. In animals thinking is impossible because there is no association of the mind. Therefore, in animals tendencies remain confined to the realm of vitals alone. In human beings, however, the mind can revive those tendencies again and again and enjoy the experiences through memory. Consequently those innate tendencies transcend their natural boundaries of the vital and get distorted. It is for this reason that a person becomes intemperate and he needs to control himself. The animals cannot think of the objects. In them the instrument of thinking i.e. the mind is still not developed. Consequently, animals are not affected by the attraction of the objects. (Although a person can make an animal indisciplined and sick by his company.) A person is prone to get attached. The human mind is drawn wherever there is attachment. Just as there is a way for the water to flow, similarly for the flow of ones mind there is the object for which there is an attachment. Without any effort mind, gets drawn towards that object. And attachment is the initial form of love. Company brings attachment. This is the state of an ordinary person. The person who is still involved in the world, who does not have the awareness of the Lord as yet, he sows attachment by thinking of worldly objects but a state comes in his life when attachments lose importance, when the individual gets so deeply absorbed in the divine consciousness that for him no attachment remains possible. Then, neither the enjoyment of the objects nor even its discussion can bind him. At that stage creation of new tendencies in him becomes impossible. How could there be any kind of attachment? This state is a totally different one. Until that state is reached and experienced, a

79

person cannot believe that such a state is even possible. Passion is born from an awakened attachment. What is this passion? Passion is a form of mental craving. Passion is born in the mind. Passion is also a form of intense desire. Desire gives impetus to the mind. Desire can be a demand of the gross world and can also be a demand for intellectual knowledge. This is the form of passion. It makes a person restless and it also disturbs his inner poise. It creates commotion. A person moves out of its center. He becomes center -out. Passion refers to intense desire. Its gross manifestation on the vital plane is desire for sexual indulgence. For any kind of satisfaction, the tendency of consciousness moving out is known as passion. An increased attachment leads to this result. With whom-so-ever we are attached, we start liking him. Restlessness commences within us. Everyday we encounter such situations in our life. All habits are formed like this and addiction to all bad habits also grows in this manner. As the awakened desire becomes stronger, the internal turmoil also increases proportionately. The vital gets intensely agitated for its satisfaction. And for the sake of its fulfillment mind too becomes impatient. No one can represent the cravings of the vital better than the one who is blinded by passion. The intensity of that powerful commotion can be seen in the greed of the greedy, in the love of a mother, in the impatience of the beloved for her lover and in the efforts for spreading ones religion in a person having a blind faith in his own religion. The disturbance of this kind is called anger. A person is badly churned. He loses his self-control. This is anger. The state of mental faculties in anger is the same as the one reached due to strong churning by desires. That results in tiredness. The nervous system comes under great pressure. It gets exhausted due to tiredness. This is much more serious than the physical tiredness. By a disturbance of this kind one is totally deluded. Delusion (moha) is a state of unconsciousness. The meaning of the word sammohan is total unconsciousness. A person loses his entire mental balance i.e. his consciousness. An unconscious person does not have any awareness neither internal nor external. He too reaches a similar stage. The result of such a state is loss of memory. Memory gets confused: who am I? Where am I? What am I going to do? What is my condition? He forgets all this. Past experiences are also forgotten. He becomes virtually blind. Even while seeing he does not see. The intellect is then destroyed. Intellect has the capability of discriminating. The cognition of just and unjust, right and wrong is done by the intellect. Intellect alone shows us the path for doing our karmas. But in such a state, a person is devoid of discrimination. Consequently, one is perished. `Pranashyati he is perished absolutely. What is the meaning of pranashyati? Does a person after having fallen from human-life goes to the lower lives? Elsewhere the Lord has said that, 'I throw them to demoniac lives. By not attaining Me they go to lowly destinies.' Though all this has been said, but at this point it does not seem necessary to arrive at such a serious conclusion. A person commits some bad deeds, commits some sinful deeds and that alone would be enough to understand by these statements. He digresses from the virtuous path. While describing the characteristics of equanimous mind (sthitpragya), what was the necessity of bringing in this topic? For disciplining of the internal state of sthitpragya, it is necessary to properly understand the behaviour of the sense organs. Secondly, the Lord not only tells the characteristics of 'sthitpragya' but He also shows us the way to achieve that state.

80

Thinking of the sense objects is the root cause of this process of fall. Only by uprooting that, there will neither be trunk, nor the branches, nor the leaves, nor the flowers, nor the fruits. The tree of objects will dry up. The possibility of a fall will be eliminated forever. The state of equanimous mind 'sthitpragya' is based on self-control. Only on the path of ascent, such a state with such means is attained. A devotee learns something entirely different from this topic. If by thinking of the sense objects one gets attached to them, then by thinking of the Lord why will one not get attached to Him and then why will one not develop a craving for Him? Therefore, one should always think of the Lord. An equanimous one (sthitpragya) has control over his mind and also over his sense organs. The control over ones mind has already been discussed above. A control over the sense organs is now being discussed.

ragadvesaviyuktais tu visayan indriyais caran | atmanvasyair vidheyatman prasadam adhigacchati || (64) A person who has control over his inner sense organs, who has attained a full control over himself (the mind, the intellect and the sense organs), who is free from likes and dislikes, achieves mental sublimity, purity and happiness, even while enjoying through his sense organs. (64) The Lord has shown the result of following one path. Man at times is fallen. But, is that the result of only enjoying the sense objects? Is it possible to escape the ill effects of enjoying the objects? The answer of the Lord is that he most certainly can. If this had not been possible then it would have not been possible for a person to remain free from their bonds even while being indulgent. An external renouncement of karma would have been the only way out and that too would not have taken him too far, because total renunciation of karmas is impossible. And performance of karmas in any form would automatically lead to enjoyment of objects. The yoga of the Gita proceeds by accepting this reality. This is not bare idealism. As long as a person is in a body, he will have to use his eyes, hands, feet, tongue, etc. Objects will have to be enjoyed. Therefore, such a remedy is required, which can help us to get freedom from the bonds of objects even while enjoying them. Moreover, a total renouncement of the enjoyments of objects is a mere imagination. Then what is the remedy? Enjoy the objects without any like or dislike. It is said in the 34th verse of chapter 3 -

indriyasye ndriyasya rthe ragadvesau vyavasthitau | tayor na vasam agacchet tau hy asya paripanthinau || Likes and dislikes for objects of the sense organs continue. An aspirant (sadhak) should not come under their sway. They both are his enemies.

81

Enjoy the objects without having likes and dislikes. One may see from the eyes but should not get influenced by the attachment the eyes have for those beautiful objects, which are seen. Ears wish to hear only sweet melody. Tongue desires to taste only delicious food. It wants to avoid the opposite experiences. A person, who gets influenced in his behaviour by likes and dislikes pertaining to the sense organs, tries to obtain only those experiences, which enable him to get the desired objects and avoids those actions, which can bring him the opposite experiences. The one, who is not influenced by likes-dislikes, continues to accept the experiences as they come to him most effortlessly. He neither runs for any experience nor runs away from any. This is the state of equanimity. The outlook of an aspirant (sadhak) becomes lofty. He does not use his sense organs for achieving pleasure. He does not proceed considering them as means of his happiness. The sense organs are the means for the movement of the body and for the body consciousness and are the means for having experiences in the gross world. They are the horses, riding on which various activities of this life can be performed and experiences gained. Every sense organ has its own specific area of knowledge and activity. Their use in that specific area alone is proper. By making them means of happiness, bonds of likes and dislikes are created. Tongue has its utility. It is helpful in chewing the food, and is also helpful in selecting the right food. This is clearly seen in wild-animals. If by misuse we do not make the tongue deviate from its natural functioning, then our tongue can easily decide what is proper and what is not proper food for us. It is wise to follow the tongue faithfully to its due functions. This is verily its correct use. This is itself control and should not to be influenced by our likes and dislikes. As against this, obstinately eating any thing tasty and likeable is neither self-control, nor freedom from likes and dislikes, nor is it wisdom. This is sheer foolishness and is suicidal. When an aspirant (sadhak) continues with his spiritual practice (sadhana), when the Lord blesses him and when the Supreme power (mahashakti) descends in him, then all his sense organs gradually follow their righteous course. Likes and dislikes are pacified. Temptations cease to exist. Therefore, there is no problem of self-control. That descending higher consciousness establishes a new elevated empire in the realm of sense organs. The sense organs also develop a sense of evenness. The path of spiritual discipline (sadhana), which is being discussed here, requires efforts for remaining uninfluenced by likes and dislikes, while using the sense organs. A person has to remain alert. The interests developed by likes and dislikes has to be identified and then discarded. What happens to him who behaves in this manner? What does one achieve from this spiritual practice (sadhana)? That has now been discussed. For the sense organs, just one adjective has been used 'atmanvashaiyah' -which means in self-control. The sense organs due to likes and dislikes come under the control of their objects. The objects forcibly drag the senses. Vayurnavmivambhasi - as the wind carries away a boat on water. As the likes and dislikes are gradually eliminated, the control of objects on the sense organs reduces. As long as there is a strong liking for rasogullas (a sweet), a person cannot resist himself from eating them after seeing them. Even if with a full stomach rasogullas are seen, he will feel like having them. The one on whose tongue rasogullas have established their control then that one is no longer in his control. If he were in his control, then he would have stopped from eating rasogullas whenever he so desired, but he cannot do so even when he wants it. He knows that his stomach is full, eating rasogullas will create discomfort but still he is unable to resist himself from eating. The evidence of atmanvashikar i.e. the one who has control on his self, is that he can control himself whenever he so wants. Whenever we do not want our eyes to see, it should

82

not see. Whenever we do not want to eat, we should not eat. The term vashikar does not mean magic of a magician. It means a person, who by sheer strength of his firm determination can do unbelievable things but can be over-powered by the liking for the objects when his determination becomes feeble. Whose sense organs have innately become free of attraction for objects, he is a vashikar. One, who still need to withdraw himself from the objects, is still an aspirant of this path. An adjective has been used for the aspirant too. It is vidheyatmana i.e. the one whose atman is obedient (the word atman here means the Self). The mind, the intellect, the sense organs and the body all are included in the meaning of this word. He is the one who has acquired control over his self. Generally, the mind and the intellect have their own likes and dislikes, and do not fully follow the mandate of the presiding consciousness of our body. They tend to follow their own path. Therefore, a strange inner confusion and indiscipline exists in a person. Sometimes the intellect revolts, and sometimes the heart, sometimes the vital (prana) of a person alone cry and sometimes the body. Inspite of being the king of this city, we do not remain a king because the limbs of this great empire are not obedient to us. As an aspirant (sadhak) attempts to rise above the likes and dislikes, a new empire starts establishing and everything gets concentrated on the presiding consciousness itself i.e. the aadhishtan-chaitanya. When such a state is attained, then the aspirant receives the prasad (reward-grace) i.e. 'prasadamadhigachati'. What is that prasad? Prasad stands for bliss and for purity. The purity of water is called blissfull. Purified consciousness is without any confusion. It is transparent. A person can see his entire internal state. One's own self does not lie hidden from one's self. The internal deceptions vanish. On attaining this state, our heart blooms within us. Laughter bursts forth. One starts remaining innately cheerful. That is why it is said --

prasade sarvadukhanam hanir asya pajayate | prasannacetaso hy asu buddhih paryavatisthate || (65) "Once a person receives the grace (of the Lord), all his sorrows disappear. The intellect of a person, who remains cheerful, soon gets properly stabilised." (65) On the removal of stress and strain, one becomes recipient of grace. Attraction of objects creates stress, which is calmed only on the attainment of the desired objects. But very soon the same situation is again created as a result of eruption of internal tendencies. An unseen conflict goes on within us till the internal passions continue unabated. A completely pure, peaceful and sublime state is reached only on their complete elimination. Once that state is reached, all sorrows vanish for good. Sorrows are born due to our likes and dislikes. These appear in the field of sense organs, in the field of the mind and the intellect. In the peaceful and equanimous internal state, how can one experience sorrow? Sorrow is a state totally opposed to 'prasad' i.e. the Grace. Normally it is believed that one, who is rich and prosperous, for whom diverse kind of enjoyments are easily available, is happy and can remain cheerful. Happiness cannot be measured by the worldly possessions. Happiness is a state of one's individual consciousness and that depends upon how he reacts in a specific situation. In the same situation one can be happy and another one can be unhappy. If we are able to maintain purity, sublimity, equanimity

83

and poise within us, irrespective of what happens to us in the world outside, we remain cheerful. When such a state is not there, we are unhappy. The more we are able to use our sense organs with the mind free from likes and dislikes more do we experience happiness. The word 'prasad' (grace) is a very good indicator of internal serenity. It is the initial state of bliss. Craving for objects hinders it. The vibrations of hate or dislike towards anybody spoil it. In yoga-darshan there is a mention of chit-prasad i.e. of Graced Consciousness (maitree karuna muditopaiksharam). For keeping oneself cheerful, one should have a friendly attitude towards the virtuous persons and compassion for the evil ones, pleasing towards the happy ones and should ignore the unhappy ones. Such an attitude keeps a person cheerful. Patanjali Rishi taught this aphorism for keeping oneself cheerful. What the Lord told in regard to the sense organs, the yogacharyas attempted to prove the same in a different manner in regard to matters relating to the mind and the intellect? The things spoken by the Lord in regard to the sense organs are equally applicable in the practical life too. One can be fully graced only by practicing in both the fields. The mental dejection is not only on account of likes and dislikes relating to the sense organs, but also on account of mental agonies. We lose the Grace (prasad) of the Lord when we are jealous on seeing a happy person or become miserable on seeing an unhappy person. Similarly, an awakening of undesirable feelings becomes a cause of our worry. This has already been stated earlier that only by the control of the mind and of the sense organs that the intellect is stabilised. The same statement has been made here too. The intellect of a cheerful person gets easily stabilised. To be cheerful is a very good temperament. A cheerful person not only remains cheerful himself but also radiates happiness all around him. By remaining happy, mental tensions are easily removed. That has a healthy influence on both the mind and the body. Innate cheerfulness and spiritual life go together. Such a one can remain really cheerful in whom devotion to the Lord and dependence on the Lord has arisen. Such a one can happily bear the trials and tribulations of life and can remain free from fear. A person free from likes and dislikes can alone play in the lap of the Lord. How deep is our cheerfulness that is the evidence of our spiritual enlightenment and of our unflinching devotion to Him. To remain always cheerful should become the nature of a devotee of the Lord. Why should he worry who dwells under the canopy of the Lord's Grace? One must be serious at times but it is not proper to remain serious all the time. To remain depressed or to keep a serious disposition all the time appears to me contrary to spiritual life. There is no place for seriousness or depression in the path, which I know. It will not be an exaggeration, if I say, 'the more cheerful we grow to be, more evenness we develop within us'. This is also a way of changing one's internal nature and its veracity can be tested by practice. The humorous nature, which only has its playfulness and nothing else, which does not have any tolerance, which has a superficial laughter, surely cannot be called cheerfulness. A nature in which on the one side there is such an apparently humorous disposition and on other are blood shot eyes full of anger that cannot be said to be cheerfulness. It is simply a manifestation of rajoguna. Cheerfulness can revivify the heart of a sad person. By going to a

84

cheerful person, one forgets one's sorrows. Anger is miles away from him. The laughter in clubs is very much different than cheerfulness. Stability of the intellect and real happiness go together. A mind free from likes and dislikes alone can be happy. The intellect free from likes and dislikes can get stabilised. Shri Ramchandraji was cheerful by nature. There was not even a shadow of sorrow on his face at the time he was exiled to the forests. He had no desire for kingdom and had no bad feelings towards Kaikayee or Dashrath. That is why he could remain cheerful. Therefore, Shri Ram is the symbol of this cheerfulness and Grace (prasad).

na sti buddhir ayuktasya na ca yuktasya bhavana | na ca bhavayatah santir asantasya kutah sukham || (66) "The ayukta (uncontrolled) has no intellect nor does he have sentiments. One devoid of any sentiments does not have peace and how can the one who has no peace be happy?" (66) In the previous verse it was said that: the intellect of a cheerful person is easily stabilised. Why now this topic of the yukta (controlled) and the ayukta (uncontrolled) is introduced? What is its relevance to the topic under present discussion? It has been earlier said that the stability of the intellect depends upon the control (vashikar) of the mind and the sense organs. Whoever controls his sense organs, whoever enjoys the objects through them being free from likes and dislikes he alone is the controlled one (yukta). On one side, the result of being a yukta i.e. the controlled one, has been given, namely, that once one becomes cheerful his intellect gets stabilised. Now the result of its absence is being told. There cannot be peace without being a yukta or the controlled one. The yukta here means - the doer of integrated and balanced efforts. He is a yukta i.e. the controlled one whose efforts are not ill directed but are properly directed towards achieving a specified objective. He is the yukta, who makes proper efforts to move on his path. Yukta here means yoga-yukta (devoted to yoga). A person who does not have control over his own self, who does not make any effort to get over his likes and dislikes, he does not have reason. And not to have reason means a lack of discretion. His intellect has not stabilised. He is fickle minded. Ayukta does not have any feelings. Feelings are the creative strength of our mind. Devotion is nothing but feelings. In the fickleness of our mind, devotion is not possible. For a moment, one looks at somebody with respect and the very next moment there is a change in his disposition and he becomes ready to shoot that very man. At one time we prostrate before the Lord and soon after we become angry with Him and we proceed to tear off His picture. In the absence of reason, devotion is impossible. What is so unstable, that is emotionality. That cannot be feelings. Whoever is a victim of likes and dislikes residing in the mind and the sense organs, and who is not able to get over them, he does not have feelings. What is the value of the respect received from such a person? What is the worth of the love of such a person? How can the love of such a person be trusted? He does not trust himself. He tosses between likes and dislikes. He is just a toy of passion and anger. He deserves to be pitied.

85

As long as feelings are not awakened in a person, he cannot have any peace. Without devotion there is no peace. Without trust, devotion is not developed. If there is devotion then only feelings are able to grow and the diversified mental energies get unified and can flow with concentration. Then only can the person feel the presence of the Reality beyond the mind. Then alone is there peace. The Mother Divine is also a woman. When the motherly feelings are awakened, the touch of the Mother gives peace to the aspirant. In its absence, the same touch can prove to be inflammable and can awaken sexual passions in him. Feelings can, however, make the life of a person. For these awaken the higher ideals and pave the way for a stable flow of the human energies. From them our heart and mind can then move together in one direction resulting in peace. The cause of our restlessness is our desires. But even in the absence of desires, sometimes we do not have peace. So till such time, as our energies do not get a proper field for their expression, they continue to create trouble within us, creating conflicts and going deep into the interior of our being. The feelings help us to do this work easily. The higher and the more stable our feelings are awakened, the higher and the loftier do we raise in our life. The Holy Scriptures, our history and the biographies of great persons awaken higher feelings in us. They imperceptibly lift the level of humanity and become the source of peace for mankind. In the end, it is said, where is happiness for the restless one? How very forceful the truth is? If this truth is understood then a person can save himself from many follies in his life. Forgetting that peace is the source of happiness, we search for happiness in wealth, in honour, in sons, in grandsons, etc. And in that search we are unjust to others. In our anxiety, we become victims of passions and anger. We invite trouble for ourselves. We move out in search of happiness but we get unhappiness instead. It reflects the ideal of a person who wants to become a king but becomes a pauper. Peace is the source of happiness and is two-dimensional. One gets peace if properly adjusted with the situation. A proper internal adjustment is absolutely necessary. For without that we will be unable to accept a situation completely. And for a proper internal adjustment, energies need to be properly channelised. That in turn requires feelings and for that a person will have to be united in yoga i.e. yoga-yukta. Therefore, happiness cannot be achieved by merely looking outwards. It will of itself be achieved by being yoga-yukta. It will come to you without your ever asking for it. The words of the Lord take us to this conclusion. Now we revert back to the earlier topic relating to the control of the sense organs.

indriyanam hi caratam yan mano nu vidhiyate | tad asya harati prajanam vayur navam iva mbhasi || (67) tasmad yasya mahabaho nigrhitani sarvasah | indriyani ndriyarthebhyas tasya prajna pratisthita || (68)

86

"Of the sense organs indulging in their respective objects, whichever organ the mind follows, the same sense organ carries away the intellect of the person just as the wind carries away the boat sailing on the water". (67) "Therefore, O Brave, only his intellect is properly stabilised whose sense organs are fully withdrawn from all kinds of objects and are within his control." (68) In the 60th verse, the Lord had given a warmomg about the danger. What to say of an ordinary person even the striving wise have a slip. The mind is very obstinate. The same concept has now been discussed in detail. The sense organs do enjoy the objects. When the awakening of the consciousness of an individual is delayed, the sense organs will continue to play their game. The eyes will see, ears will hear, tongue of course will enjoy tastes, etc. These natural functions of organs are not the cause of the bondage of a person. After all animals do have the sense organs. They also enjoy the objects. But they do not stray from their nature. They do not go blind for the enjoyment of their objects. They most naturally enjoy the objects for maintaining life and for procreation. Their life moves most smoothly, but for a person enjoyment of the sense objects becomes the sole purpose of his life as if he has no purpose other than this in his life. He does not enjoy the objects for the sake of maintaining life and giving birth to his progeny. He starts enjoying them for pleasure. Consequently, he deviates from the objectives of his life. Whose fault is it? Is it of the sense organs? What is the fault of these sense organs? They also exist in the animals but do not disturb their life - its cycle. The fault is of the mind. It is the mind, which thinks of the objects. Then there arise attachments. Desires are born. The person gets impatient to satisfy them, and gradually perishes due to a spoilt intellect (bhrashta buddhi). Whichever sense organ the mind follows, the same organ carries away the intellect of the individual; while eating, the taste of the things eaten is experienced by the tongue. The person starts thinking of it through the mind. The sense organ of taste (tongue) gets strength from this thinking and demands its satisfaction. The person becomes slave of the tongue. He loses his discretion and starts living simply for tasty food. By getting the support of the mind, the sense organs become very powerful. These strengthened sense organs demand more enjoyment. The person surrenders before that strength and loses his discretion. An example has been given. A boat sails on the water. Wherever the boatman wants, he takes the boat with the help of a pole, but when the wind is strong, then the pole is not of much help. It is the wind then which carries the boat along with it. It collides somewhere and sinks. The secret of control over the sense organs then is do not allow your mind to unite with the sense organs. Enjoy the objects but do not think about them. For thinking entraps a person and the mind gets corrupted. Very powerful people lose in a moment the effect of their penance done for years. Our history and Puranas are full of such stories. Rishies and saints used to be overpowered by their passions. That is why a very strong warning has been given. Therefore, when should it be understood that the intellect of a person is properly stabilised? Only when his sense organs are fully under his control? Sarvashah means fully or from all sides. If there is any weakness anywhere then the intellect of the person will become capricious. This is the last verse on the control of the sense organs. In this verse it seems as if the essence of the entire discussion has been given that the intellect of only that person is fully stabilised, who has full control over his sense organs. It will be necessary to mention here the fact that there are just two methods of achieving self-control. The first one is of the control of the sense organs and the mind with the help of the strength of the intellect and volition. And the other is of surrender to the Lord. By surrender to

87

the Lord, the Divine consciousness descends in a person and the problem of self-control is of itself solved. The normal attraction of the sense organs towards their objects is easily removed. The interest in objects is of itself lost then where is the possibility of a fall? The first method is like the construction of a house on a simmering volcano. One never knows when the volcano will erupt and will destroy the person. In the second alternative there is no room for worry. The Lord becomes responsible for helping the aspirant to proceed rightly. The famous tales of downfall are all of those persons who believed in the path of selfcontrol, like the ascetics and those who renounced the world for penance. These certainly are not of the ego-less devotees who have surrendered to the Lord. These tales only teach us that the path of self-control is full of dangers and is like moving on a razor's edge.

sa nisa sarvabhutanam tasyam jagarti samyami | yasyam jagarti bhutani sa nisa pasyato muneh || (69) "What is night for all beings, a self-disciplined person remains awake in that (night). The day, in which all beings remain awake, is night for the sage with eyes." (69) The difference between ordinary persons and the self-disciplined persons has been very clearly stated. What is their day that is night for others and what is their night is day for others. Does a self-disciplined person remain awake in the night after sunset and remains asleep during the day? Is it the intended meaning? In western countries usually people remain awake till late in the night and sometimes till early morning and usually sleep till late in the day. Even in India, some sahibs also do like wise or something short of this. But they are not self-disciplined. In Tibet, there have been some aspirants who have never known sleep. Be it night or day, these are spent by them sitting on their seat. Is it the limit of self-control? This information is to be had from a book on Tibet by David O Neil. This, however, can certainly be said that frugal and light or sattvic food does reduce the requirement of sleep considerably. Even a little sleep is enough for our purpose. It is only during night that there is calm and quiet. The entire world sleeps. At that time, breathing is also pacified. Therefore, the mind gets easily stabilised. The self-disciplined men (sanyasi), therefore, do their practice during the night. Some get up even at mid-night, when there is still time to sleep for the indulgent ones. Their sleep is already over. They sit on their seat. Usually the indulgent ones go to bed late in the night and sleep till late in the morning. Sanyasin sleep early and also get up very early in the morning. Normally such people do need little sleep during the day after meals. It is desirable for a person who gets up at mid-night to take some rest during the day. He, therefore, sleeps during the day. But this does not mean that he sleeps for the whole day. But this should not be taken to be the entire meaning of the statement. There appears to be a hidden meaning behind the statement. The indulgent persons always remain awakened (involved) in indulging the objects of the senses, for the satisfaction of the mind and for the pleasures of the sense organs. This is the day for them. Where such enjoyments are not available, there such people are not interested. There is darkness i.e. night for them. The self-disciplined one has no interest in such pleasures of life. These pleasures are like night for him. Only in their absence his objective is served best and since he has an inner stability, for him their absence alone is day.

88

And so like this the night of the indulgent ones is the day for the self-disciplined one and his night is day for the indulgent persons. What a big contradiction? This has another meaning also. A sanyasi cannot be judged by the scale, which determines the worldly values. He cannot make an effort to mould himself according to the standards of worldly life. By so doing he will become debased. His objective is very different from that of the indulgent ones. He will not have to seek confirmation of his actions in the activities of the others, but he will have to seek confirmation in the experiences of those following his path and in the prospective benefits coming to him in due course. Public-criticism or public-recognition has no importance for him. The only thing important for him is the achievement of the higher objectives of life. His firmness, the stability of his mind and his higher devotion are tested instead. Many a times walking on the right path is not always indicative either of the opinion of the majority or of the truth or of the loftiness of the ideal. People of depth only deviate from the beaten track. And those alone who have deviated from the beaten track are the ones who have achieved something great in life. Along with this, it is also true that he who moves leaving the beaten path can place himself in the deep pits ditches, or in wilderness. In the eyes of the world a self-disciplined person is insane. A self-disciplined person should always be prepared to accept his own condition cheerfully. Why do worldly people think that way? He should also understand this and he should also behave with them with affection and sympathy. Some day they may come to understand the higher truth of life and be able to come on the right path.

apuryamanam acalapratistham samudramapah pravisanti yadvat | tadvat kama yam pravisanti sarve sa santim apnoti na kamakami || (70) Just as the flowing water (of the rivers) merges in the motionless sea, similarly the one in whom all desires get submerged gets the benefit of peace, not the one who wants satisfaction of his desires. (70) By giving a beautiful example, the state of the equanimous mind (sthitpragya) has been illustrated. The water of rivers and rivulets always keep falling in the sea but the sea never over flows despite being filled with so much of water. It never crosses its limits. In the rainy season, the volume of water going into the sea increases manyfold, still sea never over flows. Exactly a similar state is that of the equanimous mind (sthitpragya). Desires keep on rising in him but do not create any form of turbulence in him -- exactly like the water of the rivers pouring in the sea do not make the sea over flow its boundaries. Are there then desires in the sthitpragya too? In fact all desires end when an aspirant reaches the state of perfection but apparently they seem to be there. He eats, he wears clothes, and he discharges his duties towards his family and others. In that process something like desire seem to pulsate in him. But he does not get involved in them. They are like a line on the water. They do not influence his inner stable and peaceful state. The one, who has reached such a state, attains peace and tranquility. His calm is innate and stable. There is nothing, which could disturb his calm, because only desires make a person restless. 'Kamkami' - A calm and quiet person having no wish for the satisfaction of his desires as he can identify the awakening of desires in himself. He considers them to be seeds of unhappiness and digests them. An indisciplined (ayukta) person gets attached to desires. He

89

considers it to be his own desire and its satisfaction as his own satisfaction. The result is that the desire makes him restless and so he becomes unhappy. Control of the sense organs and rejection of the desires are the two main methods for attaining peace and for stabilising the intellect. If the essence of the chief characteristics of sthitpragya is taken into consideration then also we arrive at this basic principle. We can also take another forward step from this basic state of sthitpragya. In fact, that stage can only gradually lead us to the state of perfection. This has been explained in the next verse.

vihaya kaman yah sarvanpumams carati nihsprhah | nirmamo nirahamkarah sa santim adhigacchati || (71) The person, who abandons all desires, becomes indifferent (nisprhah) towards all attachments, and behaves without any feeling of possessiveness (mamata) and egoism, achieves peace and tranquility. (71). 'Prajhati yada kaman' means when abandons all desires. This was said in the 55 th verse about the signs of sthitpragya. Even in the last verse the same thing has been said. In total absence of desires, the evenness, mentioned in verses 56 and 57, comes automatically i.e. is of itself to the realised. But here even the abandonment of attachment (possessiveness or mineness i.e. mamta) and egoism has been advocated. This was not said before. But the word nisprah has the same meaning as vigatsprah of verse 56. Mamata is the feeling of possessiveness. This thing is mine. He is my husband, my son, my wife, my house, my money, etc. These are all forms of possessiveness mamata. We create our own world with this feeling of possessiveness (mamata). World is only one entity but with this feeling of possessiveness, we carve out a world of our own. That is verily a fort, which has iron gates. We imprison ourselves in it and throw the key outside the fort and for a long time, we remain lost inside that iron fort of me and mine (mamata). We do not know that we are imprisoned. One becomes extremely unhappy on getting the blows of the world and in losing that, which was once mine. We awaken from the sleep of delusion and find ourselves imprisoned in the walls of the fort erected by us. We were the ones to have made that fort. We had imprisoned ourselves within it but we cannot now free ourselves from it. We feel so helpless and struggle hard to secure our release now. A lady comes in the house after marriage and mine-ness is associated with her as ones wife. One becomes proud of her. The wife appears to be most beautiful and also the most cultured woman in the world. The husband receives her love and that love also becomes very dear to him. Children are born. They become the very abode of possessiveness. They appear lovely because they are 'my' own. This feeling of possessiveness creates interest in life. One experiences happiness like that of heaven. The life becomes blissful. Then the love for the child receives a blow. The child dies. The child rejects his love. But one is bound to the child that he cannot forget him and feels miserable. The intellect does not wish to understand the truth of life despite knowing that this is the way of the life. It always happenes like this. The heart does not have the understanding. Oh! The child was a piece of my heart. He was a personification of my hopes. He was the very base of my love. Oh! Where has gone my son, a part of my soul? This is all the play of the delusive love (mamata).

90

The Upanishad says, son is not dear for the sake of being a son, he is dear for the sake of the self. So is this true about the wife, etc. Everyone is a son of someone. Love is where there is an affinity, a feeling of oneness, and a feeling of possessiveness. That is bondage. It must have been clear that possessiveness (mamata) is a hindrance to getting peace. Tied up with a strong string of possessiveness (mamata), we remain restless in this transient world. We swing between the swinging happiness and unhappiness. A wise person gets freedom from the delusive possessiveness (mamata) or love for worldly things in his belief that the world is unreal. It is illusion. No one is anybodys son, nor is anyone's mother. Every thing is illusion (maya). For those having faith in Samkhya, all this is the creation of prakriti. But for a devotee, release is only through surrender. He says, all this is yours. I offer to you, whatever is yours. I want to give it to you, but do not know how to give it to you. I sing saying that every thing is yours. All relations are because of you. Because of you, I love everyone. I serve every one. Your wish is my wish. This feeling does not cause any bondage. Life becomes interesting. For in everything the Lord resides and delusive love (mamata) disappears. And then what is it that happens? Every thing becomes the Lord. You alone are the father. You alone are the mother. You alone are the son too. The entire creation is filled with the Lord (shyammaee).57 jit dekhan tit shyammai hai l vasudeva sarvamiti l sabhi vasudeva hain l
(Wherever I see, Shyam alone is seen. Everyone is Vasudeva)

Here the delusive earthly love (mamata) is totally pacified. The individual rises above this bondage. What a blissful state is this. Not only this, for the highest state (brahami-sthiti) it will also be necessary to be devoid of ones egoism (nirahankara). ahankara is the feeling that I do this. The feeling of doer-ship is in other words is ahankara. One may think that it it is true that we do things then why should we disown them. In the present state, it is true that you do things and you feel so. But on an awakening of the inner consciousness one does not feel so. Then the individual feels that he is only a witness, a sakshi, of all that is happening. Then he finds all activities as the play of the mind, the intellect and the sense organs. He watches the entire play without any involvement. This is the real state. The current state is the state of ignorance. That pure witnessing consciousness entangles itself in its own instruments. It gets united with the mind. It gets united with the intellect and the sense organs. It experiences their works as its own works, their demands and satisfactions as its own demands and satisfactions. It gets limited by their limits. I die, I live. I am happy or am unhappy. I did good and I did bad. Atman starts experiencing like this. The atman perceives itself as anatman (non-self). The primary result of ignorance is related to the self and is known as asmita. That is the egoism (ahankara) in the realm of activities. This is the main cause for the process of unhappiness. Who does? The answer of the Gita is:

57

Shyama is another name for the Lord, for Krishna himself; also known as Vasudeva

91

prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah | ahamkaravimudhatman karta ham iti manyate ||
(verse 27 of 3)

"The individual, whose atman has been bewildered by his egoism (ahankara), believes that I do the actions which are done only by the modes (gunas) of prakriti". Activity and movement are the functions of prakriti. The atman is consciousness, and is the non-doer. This is the doctrine of the Samkhya. The state of brahmanirvan exists in the Self, the soul-element (atmantattva). It is, therefore, necessary to go beyond the self-consciousness (ahankara) for stabilising in the Self (atmantattva). The person so stabilised in the Self (atmantattva), beyond the modes (gunas) of prakriti, considers himself to be the non-doer. He is then beyond the bonds of prakriti. This is the kaivli-bhav or kaivalya of the yoga system of philosophy. There is also a state beyond this state. The state mentioned above is the state of supreme realisation of detachment (naishyakarmaya). But the other one is the state of the Divine consciousness (Ishwar-bhava). In that state a person does everything and also does not do anything.

karmany akarma yah pasyed akarmani ca karma yah | sa buddhiman manusyesu sa yuktah krtsnakarmakrt ||
(verse 18 of 4)

"He who perceives akarma (in-action) in karma (action) and karma in akarma, he is wise amongst men, he is the self-controlled one (yukta), he is the doer of all karmas". This is the state in which a person does not have the ego of do anything. By being united with the Lord in this manner, he gets over his ego-consciousness (ahankar). karan karavan ape nath | nanak ke kachu nahin hath ||
(Lord you get everything done. There is nothing in the hands of Nanak i.e. me)

By uniting with Him, who plays in the prakriti, one has the feeling that he is the non-doer of his karmas. The individual, who is without egoism (ahankara) and delusive possessiveness (mamata), achieves peace. All his internal disturbances come to an end. This is the final and the mature state of sthitpragya. In the next verse, this state has been given a name and its glory and importance has been described.

esa brahmi sthitih partha nai nam prapya vimuhyati | sthitva syam antakale pi brahmanirvanamrcchati || (72)

92

O Arjuna! This is brahm-sthiti i.e. the divine state. After attaining this state one is not bewildered, one is not deluded. The one, who attains this state, even at the last moment (of his life), attains to the bliss of God (brahmanirvan). (72) Referring to the state described in the 71st verse, it is said, 'this is brahminsthiti'. In the 53 verse of 18th chapter, it is said 'brahma bhuyaya kalpate' i.e. worthy of becoming one with the Brahman (Brahman bhav). In the 54th verse, it is said 'brahmabhutah' i.e. one who has attained the state of divinity 'brahman bhav'. In the 53rd verse also abandoning of self-consciousness, ego, (ahankar) and possessiveness (mamata) has been advocated. This brahmi avastha is the same as brhama bhav i.e. the divine state and that is the consciousness of being a non-doer and just being a witness of all that happens. It is the 'purusha' of Samkhya. It appears that to get absorbed in that state is the attainment of the brahmi avastha. This is also the 'kaivali bhav' of Samkhya. This has been stated earlier too.
rd

While referring to the 18th chapter of the Gita, this does not appear to be the ultimate state. After the 55th verse of that chapter, there is a mention of para-bhakti (supreme devotion) and then of an entry into the Lord i.e. vishate. If there is a difference between the two states, what is that difference? We will not discuss this topic here - at this place. Brahmi-sthiti is a peaceful state of nature, of the mind, of the intellect, of the sense organs and is beyond all disturbances. The individual has already become free from desires, from ego consciousness (ahankara) and delusive possessiveness (mamata) - this is what we know about the subject. One is not bewildered, not deluded, after attaining this state. The existence of ignorance or avidya is bewilderment. Am I mind? Am I intellect or am I the sense organ? Am I the doer or enjoyer? All these doubts are bewilderment. When the individual attains this state, he does not think like this i.e. he is not bewildered, as he has attained the brahmansthiti. In the state of samadhi', one gets established in the self (the atmantattva) or the Brahman or has attained brahmansthiti. During the state of ascendancy, the alternatives evidently do arise. But the consciousness in the state of samadhi dwells deeply inside and all this play looks like a show going on before the eyes. One is not deceived. This is the condition of the one who is in a state of perfection. This state of perfection is the state of oneness with the Brahman i.e. brahmansthiti. Then it is said, sthitvasyamantkale api brahmanirvana mrichati. Even at the last moment of life, if one is stabilised in this state he attains 'brahmanirvana'. What then is the meaning of the word 'even'? Just this that if this state has not been attained during ones life and is attained only at the time of death then also one gets this brahmanirvana. What then is this 'brahmanirvana'? First we will have to consider what is meant by brahmanirvana. Nirvana is used for extinction. A lamp is extinguished. The state of Supreme peace of Lord Budha is called nirvana. That is the objective of the doctrine of the Buddha Way (Baudh-Sadhana). Brahmanirvana i.e. nirvana in Brahman, is getting absorbed in the Divine Reality (brahamantattva) forever and becoming free from all movements, all forms of activity and pain. Absorption of ones consciousness in brahman or in the atmantattva is also called deliverance or moksha. This is a state of total detachment from prakriti and of getting totally absorbed in the samadhi consciousness without any possibility of rebirth. The Upanishad also says that such a one is not born again. This is to become brahmanleen i.e. to get completely absorbed in Brahman or the Supreme self. As long as there is a body, the Divine consciousness may sometimes descend in the body of a person. It is said that if the body of a person does not regain consciousness in 40 days then he dies. Even after attaining the Supreme state i.e. the kaivalibhav, the body of a knower (gyani) survives for the sake of extinction of the unspent forces of the actions done in the past,

93

known as prarabdha, as the wheel of the potter continues to rotate for sometime after it has been once rotated. New tendencies58 are not created. Past tendencies get destroyed in this state. The distinction between a jivanmukta i.e. one liberated while alive and a videhmukta i.e. the one liberated after death has been made here. The state of a devotee (bhakta) is totally different from both of them. discussed at some other time. That will be

So, this brahmanirvana can be attained even at the last moment by becoming one with Brahman i.e. brahmansthitha. If, therefore, an individual has attained this state of being established in the self i.e. atmanbhav before his death and has achieved control over that consciousness, then there can be no doubt that he would attain liberation through atunement with Brahman i.e. brahmanirvana. But if that does not happen and this gyan emerges at the last moment or this state is achieved by some special efforts then also he will get the desired objective i.e. brahmanirvana. He will not have to return to this world for the perfection of this state. The state of the individual at the time of his death determines his state and the activity after his death. This very subject has also been discussed in the 5th verse of the 8th chapter. ant mata so gata i.e. the state at the time of death determines the state after death. This is a wellknown saying that the one, who is in 'brhamasthit' during his last moments of life is liberated by merging eternally in Brahman. This chapter ends with this verse. It has rightly been entitled as Samkhya yoga. In this chapter we have discussed the discrimination between prakriti (material world) purusa (the Supreme) and of atman and anatman according to Samkhya philosophy and related to that is the practice (sadhana) of self-control. And in conformity with this is the attainment of liberation (moksha) by realising the Brahman i.e. brahmanirvana or getting lost or eternally merging in it (brahmasthiti). This is also clear that this Samkhya is not the Vedanta of Shri Shankracharya. The discussion here is not of 'mayavad' or of the elusiveness of the world and neither of the inexpressibility of Brahman. There is no doubt that the concept of self-control in spiritual practice (sadhana) is more or less identical. The achievement (siddhi) is also similar. It should not at all be surprising that despite the doctrines being different, there is no difference in the form of spiritual realisation (siddhi). Doctrines are only related to the intellect. There are many methods of pacifying the mind and the intellect and they end with that. The awakened consciousness has to be beyond the movements of the mind. This chapter of the Gita is based on the Upanishads. Many verses of the second chapter have been literally borrowed from the Upanishads. If anyone is curious about it, he can refer to the preface written by Shri Mahadev Desai for the work of Gandhi jee entitled Gita. With great effort the two the Gita and the Upanishads have been compared on this specific aspect. The second chapter gives us the doctrine of early Upanishads. And based on that, the practice (sadhana) and achievement (siddhi) have also been described. So far devotion (bhakti) for the Lord has not been brought in. How far does this brahmi-sthiti matches with karma? There seems to be somewhat an absence of karma in this spiritual practice (sadhana). This sadhana will take us gradually away from the very performance of karmas. With these problems (to be resolved later) we wish to end this chapter.
58

tendency or propensity in the present context refers to the unspent force of actions done in the past. These are also known as impressions or samsakaras and have to be exhausted.

94

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

||SHRI RAMA || CHAPTER - III The title of the second chapter is Samkhya Yoga and that in reality is also its main theme. In that chapter we get just an introduction of karmayoga. The fate of those who perform karmas in the hope of its fruits and the basic principles of karmayoga and the result of its observance have been briefly described in that chapter. To attain qualities of the sthitpragya are as much important for the followers of the Samkhya Yoga as they are for the followers of the path of karmayoga. The present chapter gives a detailed description of the fundamentals of karma, of the need for developing higher form of devotion for doing karmas and also of the difficulties of the path. The name of the chapter is appropriate to its main theme. The accomplishment of naishyakarmaya will be described a little later. arjuna uvaca jyayasi cet karmanas te mata buddhir janardana | tat kim karmani ghore mam niyojayasi kesava ||(1) vyamisrene va vakyena buddhim mohayasi va me | tad ekam vada niscitya yena sreyo ham apnuyam ||(2) Arjuna said, O Janardana59! If you consider wisdom to be superior to karma, then O' Keshav60! Why are you asking me to do this savage karma (of fighting)? (1) I have a feeling that you are bewildering my mind by making confusing statements. Please advise me just one thing decisively so that I may obtain highest good. (2). In verses 49, 50 and 51 of the last chapter, the Lord had praised the reasoned intellect (merit) and had said that karma was cosiderably inferior to the reasoned intellect (merit). Arjuna did not understand correctly the intention of the Lord. He got confused. He thought that the karma was inferior and still the Lord was asking him to fight. How strange it was? Does He want
59 60

Janardana: this is another name of Lord Krishna Keshava: this is yet another name fo Lord Krishna

95

to deliberately throw Arjuna in a ditch? But, how could it be so? Shri Krishna was his wellwisher and was also a person of superior understanding. Confused by such thought-currents, Arjuna expressed his mental condition before the Lord thus: 'If you really consider the intellect to be superior to karma then why are you asking me to fight'? We understand the statements of others according to our own latent tendencies our samsakars. These differences in tendencies lead to differences in the kind of understanding. The one who is making the statement means something and the one who listens to it understands something entirely different. Many misunderstandings in life are created in this manner. What a beautiful example is this? The Lord had used the word buddhi' for devotion in karmayoga i.e. for doing karmas without any desire or attachment (nishkam karma). Without doing of any karma that devotion is lame and is meaningless. The word karma was used (verse 49 of II) in the sense of an action done for the fulfillment of some purpose. This will become clear by looking into the analysis of those verses. The objective of the Lord simply was to awaken an appropriate devotion in doing of karma and to inspire Arjuna to do his karma without desires. In the eyes of Arjuna, war was a savage act. He had already mentioned its frightfull character while expressing his state of dipression. It so appears that Arjuna did not understand any thing from the second chapter. He was not capable of understanding philosophical complexities. He needed some kind of faith with some strong reason or justification for plunging into action. And as soon as he got that he went to the battlefield. Mere philosophical considerations had no influence on him. Arjuna was a plain speaking person and if he had not opened himself before his friend Krishna then could he have got the solution of his problem? A sick person has to disclose his disease before his doctor. A person who seeks refuge must express his agony. A pupil must unhesitatingly disclose his weakness before his teacher. This is the demand of sincerity, of truth. Without it neither anyone can help us nor can we accept his advice. So Arjuna said: what a confusing statement you are making. I have not been able to understand any thing. You are only confusing me all the more. Tell me clearly and decisively. Show me the path, traversing which will do me highest good. 'Shadhi ma twam prapannam' - I seek your refuge. Command me. Of course, along with it you will have to motivate me to act accordingly and to give me the necessary strength to execute it. shri bhagwan uvach loke 'smin dvividha nistha pura prokta maya 'nagha | jnanayogena samkhyanam karmayogena yoginam || (3) The Lord answered thus: "O' sinless one! I have already mentioned two kinds of faiths (nishtha). The faith of the enlightened ones (gyanis) is according to the yoga of knowledge (gyanyoga) and of karmayogis is according to karmayoga". (3) Faith is that belief which can show us the way of making progress in life. It verily is the path of our spiritual practice (sadhana). There are only two paths - the path of knowledge (gyan) and the path of devoted karma. The Lord had already briefly mentioned both of them in the second chapter. What is the path of knowledge (gyan)? Knowledge is proper discrimination. It is the ability to properly discriminate between atman (soul) and anatman (non-soul), and between prakriti

96

(matter) and purusha (the Supreme Being). This ability is the means for those who follow the path of knowledge i.e. gyanyoga or gyanmarg. Through appropriate discrimination a person can acquire freedom from the bonds of prakriti and can firmly establish himself in his very Self which is known as atmanbhav. This is the primal, the basic belief of those who follow this path. In this path, karma is secondary and worship also is secondary. These can be acceptable only to the extent to which they are helpful in assisting discrimination. From the point of view of sadhana of the path of gyanyoga they have no utility of their own. Atman is immortal. But the prakriti is transitory and it keeps on changing. We are atman. We are always and totally free from mutations, from changes. This, however, is the property of prakriti. We are atman and are immutable i.e. beyond changes. The mind, the intellect, the sense organs and the body are all modifications nay abberations of prakriti and are anatman. We are different. We remain untouched by their properties and their mutations. This is the discriminationdominated form of the gyanmarg. It is consolidated by various kinds of practices. Determination alone is valuable in this path. The difference between determination and experience is so hazy that it is difficult to distinguish the two. And what then is the nature of faith or devotion in doing of karmas? In this path, devotion to karma is the means for the purification of internal impurities. Karma i.e. the doing of it alone is the means to get over desires, anger, attachments, likes or dislikes, and ego (ahankara). The basic belief of the karmayogies is that the karma should be done with full devotion with the outlook of sadhana i.e. all that what needs to be done should be done. Discrimination, etc. are acceptable only to the extent to which they are helpful in the performance of karma in the said manner, in the spirit of devotion for the accepted objective. Discrimination, etc. are of secondary importance. Karma alone is important in this path and in that too devotion, which has been called 'buddhi by the Lord, is important. The karma done without full devotion is verily the cause of bondage. This has already been mentioned before. Whatever has been stated above refers purely to devotion in doing the karma. We do not find its adherents these days. The Lord has not spoken separately of the faith (nishtha) of devotion (bhakti) i.e. devotion to Lord. In fact, without karma, devotion to Lord (bhakti) is not effective, is devoid of impact. Mere flight of emotions can do neither internal purification nor changes ones life. Without an awakening of the higher consciousness, without a dependence on the Lord and without higher feelings for the Lord (Yagyaishwar61), the doing of karma without becomes difficult and also uninspiring. It seems doubtful whether one could have bare faith (nishtha) in karma without having devotion to the Lord. In fact the two forms of devotion are the same i.e. the devotion to karma is verily the same as the one to the Lord. It is the dovotion of the devotees of the Lord. By separating the two, both become lifeless. The path of knowledge (gyan) dispenses with karma. But the path of karmayoga gives a great importance to karma making it central. In this path of karmayoga, the main dependence is only on karma. For without it both devotion to Lord (bhakti) and the intellect (buddhi) lose their basis. Therefore, this faith (nishtha) is called the devotion to karma or karmayoga. It must have been clear that there cannot be any independent faith for devotion (bhakti) or for the intellect (buddhi). The difference nay the conflict between the two faiths is clear. The two faiths (nishthas) are indicative of two points of view towards life. The followers of the gyanmarg consider life to be insignificant. In their view karma is of no significance. The worldly relationships and the related responsibilities are also not at all important. They are all sports of prakriti. If we consider the doctrine of Shankara as representative of this path then these relationships and responsibilities are all illusory i.e. mithya. I am illusory and the world too is unreal. The relationships of the world,
61

Yagyaishwar: the lord of the Yagyas

97

affections, beauty, service, etc. are all unreal. The Lord is unreal and so is his devotion. The Real is only the Brahman and that Suprem Reality is beyond the reach of the mind and speech. It can only be self-experienced. We are in such an advaita, nondual state, which itself does not exist. Rejection of the whole life in every manner is the quintesense of its sadhana, its spiritual discipline. In that perspective, there is separation and total separation. What then is this sustaining faith (nishtha) of karma? It is acceptance of life. It is to accept all the activities of life as a form of sadhana. One has to get them accepted by the Lord, and has also to accept them for the sake of Yagyaishwar. One has to accept the worldly relationships and their associated responsibilities as also ones position in the society, and ones debts to it have all to be accepted as the wish and the command of the Lord and have to be carried out as a form of worship. In the same way are to be accepted pleasures and pains as also the likes and dislikes of the world. There in it is affection, love as well as service etc, but every thing has to be received from the Lord and is to be done for Him alone. As per this faith, this specific devotion, every thing is a manifestation of the Lord. There is nothing else in this world besides Him. Love is also entirely His. He alone gives love and it is He alone who receives it. He is love incarnate. He alone is karma. He alone is the movement, the activity infinite. And it is only His will that is behind the play of the entire universe. He alone is the doer and gets things done too. It has been nicely said: karan karavan ape nath. Vasudevah sarvamiti' i.e. He dwells in everything and pervades all things too. This is the expression of the unseparable, the deep, the incarnate non-dual oneness of the faith sustaining karma, of devotion in the doing of karma. And it is experienceable too. We feel all the time while alive that we dwell in the Lord and He dwells in us. This is the feeling of dvaita62 in advaita and of advaita in dwaita. How very sweet, fascinating, serene and composed, and comprehensive is this devotion, this faith is such in which nothing is discarded. And every thing becomes vibrant with the presence of Shyam and Ram and there is perfect establishment of the empire of Truth, Beauty and Goodness i.e. Satyam, shivam and sundram. What a colossal difference there is between the two faiths? The place of sadhana of the one is in the calm and quiet of a forest while of the other is the normal day-to-day situations of life. One is dependent on the strength of discrimination, self-control and penance (of the aspirant) and the other is dependent upon the grace of the Lord. Again while the sadhana of one is escapism, is to run away from life to save ones self from the heat of passions and that of the other is to lose oneself completely in Him i.e. to drown oneself, and to erase oneself for Him and in Him. Not only the forehead but also every cell of ones being has to be placed at His feet forever. The Lord says that the final state of realisation of the two faiths is the same. But understanding the differences existing between the two forms of sadhana one should follow the chosen path completely. And for ensuring rapid progress in ones sadhana it is necessary that one should not only follow the chosen path but also think and act according to its requirements. A mixing up of the two faiths is no faith at all. Our feet become unsteady. But taking recourse to a specific faith does not mean that we criticise or reject the other faith. We have to accept the other faith also but not for ourselves. A lot of confusion is to be seen in the field of spiritualism today. People usually think according to the faith of gyanmarg but behave according to the faith of karmayoga. This does not appear to be beneficial. The thought process of gyanmarg gives mental freedom by rejecting every thing on the basis of the philosophy of illusion or mithyavada. This is also the Buddhist philosophy. These days this is a very popular philosophy in the Hindu society. A feeling of withdrawal from life continues to be a firm conviction amongst the conservative people of the Hindu society. But the associatied sadhana of that faith is not easy. Consequently a kind of pessimism prevails in their hearts. Blessed are those who can renounce their homes; we are the
62

dvaita: duality

98

cursed ones living in the slush' - is what weighs heavily with them and is having a very dark and dipressing effect on them. A person does not undertake the sadhana for which he is capable and repents for the one what he cannot undertake, for which is incompetent. And consequently get wasted the precious moments of life and the tears of repentance remain ineffective for they do not serve any purpose. The faith sustaining renunciation (sanyas) is neither a natural nor an easy faith. The faith in karma is natural. In order to explain this, the Lord says na karmanam anarambhan naiskarmyam puruso 'snute | na ca samnyasanad eva siddhim samadhigacchati || (4) na hi kascit ksanam api jatu tisthaty akarmakrt | karyate hy avasah karma sarvah prakrtijair gunaih || (5) "By not doing karma a person does neither attain to the state of freedom from desires in action (naishyakarmaya) nor does he attain success in yoga (siddhi) by mere renunciation (sanyas). (4) "Certainly no one can ever remain without doing any karmas even for a moment. Everyone is forcibly made to do karmas by the impulses of prakriti." (5) The Lord tries to remove the misunderstanding of Arjuna. 'Your understanding that knowledge is superior to karma is not correct. I never meant to say that.' The state of disintrestedness in karma or naishyakarmaya is the one in which a person has acquired freedom from the bonds of his karmas forever. It is that state wherein even by doing karma no tendency or impression (samsakara) is formed because of there being total absence of doer-ship in the doer. This state is the state of perfect realisation or success in yoga. Such a state is not achieved merely by an external renunciation of karmas i.e. by not doing them merely physically. There are two categories of karmas. One category is of those karmas on which our awakened consciousness has a full control. If we wish to do it, it is done; if not then it is not done. The other category of karmas is that over which we have no control. They continue to be done even when we do not want them to be done such as the heartbeats, the digestive process, and the internal mental activities. The mental activities like thoughts and emotions generally are not in the control of an ordinary person. The internal karmas are very subtle. Even when they are not done externaly they continue to be done unknowingly and without being desired also. It is impossible to renounce karmas of this second category. Besides not doing karmas by exercing restraint on oneself amounts to putting an effort and so it is also a kind of karma. It also will form impressions. And as compared to doing karma, this non-doing forms a deeper impression or samsakara. The state of freedom from desires in karma (naishyakarmaya) is not the result of renunciation of external karmas. For such a renunciation is only a preparation. Just as preparation of the field for sowing does not end up in producing a plant. The plant comes out from a seed only. Similarly external renunciation of karma is only a preparation for the path of knowledge. In itself that does not produce the effect of disintrestedness in karma. It (naishyakarmaya) is the result of an inner awakening of the higher consciousness of the self beyond the ego consciousness. If one could be free from bonds without doing any karma, then why the lazy persons and the inert existents, which do not make any effort, are not liberated? And the stones would have been the most successful of saints.

99

To consider the absence of activity as the cause of deliverance is a big mistake. This mistaken notion at one time was very popular. The Upanishadic literature and Pauranic tales praised immencely the spirit of renunciation (sanyas-dharma). And at one time it was believed that just by renunciation, a person could attain much good. Since one can never be absolutely free from the bonds of family life, a token renunciation was a better option. Therefore we find examples of people taking to renunciation just by opening the thread tying their shikhas as a token of breaking their family ties even before death. Kshuriko'panishad is a very good example of such literature. Renunciation of the thread tying hairs on the top of the head and renunciation of family ties along with it the karmas prescribed for a householder alone cannot liberate a person. One is not transformed simply by a change in ones ashram63 i.e. from grahsthya to sanyasa, because that does not eliminate his preformed tendencies or samsakaras. At the root of the belief for instant deliverance is hidden ones ignorance as to what really constitutes his wellbeing. It is generally thought that the removal of the ties of a bond is like breaking a rope. But that work cannot be done in a moment. Till such time ones impressions, ones preformed tendencies are not destroyed, as long as passion is not fully overcome, as long as one is not absolutely free of desire and anger, and the ego is not wholly eliminated what kind of liberation would that be? Till then, it remains at best a mirage. It is just a transient glimpse of knowledge (gyan)- which keeps coming and going. And without internal purification knowledge cannot become stable. How can any internal purification create any chasm between social bonds and associated debts? Our attachments do not exist outside us as they dwell in our heart and in our intellect. The related objects are only an occasion, a basis for their manifestation. And so by simply relinquishing the bonds with persons and objects, the inner ability to associations and bonds do not instantly come to an end with it. They only get concealed. That alone is possible. This is what we know very well. If just by leaving things one were to be liberated then all those putting ochre clothes would have been liberated. By an external renunciation one can leave ones house but his internal attachment for the house is not thereby removed. In fact, as long as there is a desire, an impulse for renunciation, there is positively a bond. Similarly as long as there is a consciousness of leaving things till then also there is a bond. Only those attain success in yoga, who have moved beyond the play of leaving and running after the objects of life. For them there is then nothing to leave or to acquire. Not even for a moment can a person ever remain without doing any karma. Activity is the unique manifest form of creation. Even an atom is not free from activity. It is in this form alone that energy manifests itself. Energy is a manifest form of prakriti and activity is the manifest form, nay the expression of energy. Therefore, everything is always vibrant with energy, with activity. Every cell of our body, the sense organs, the mind and the intellect are active all the time. Wherever stability is seen in prakriti, the activity is uniform and even. Like a river despite being flowing seem to be one because its current does not change its course. The mind appears to be stable when its thought process does not change. That kind of an absolute inactivity is not there even in death. For there also the mind and the intellect continue to be active. That kind of an absolute inactivity is possible only in pralaya i.e. in the state of an ultimate dissolution of the entire creation or the state of a total equilibrium in prakriti. In that state every thing disappears in the

63

ashrama: entire life span of a person is divided in four stages each of twenty five yeas. These stages are: (i) brahmnacharya or student life, (ii) grihasthya or life of a householder. (iii) vanaprastha or retirement from active life, and (iv) sanyasa or renouncement of worldy life.

100

womb of an absolute void a state of absolute inactivity. Nasdiya-sukta mentions this state saying- 'tam evasit tamsa mulamagrai' i.e. 'darkness alone has enveloped darkness'. This means that so long as we are in prakriti or our consciousness rests in our mind and the intellect, we will have to do karmas. And if karma itself is a form of bond then we have to have bonds. Therefore, the only means of achieving liberation could be going beyond the realms of prakriti. That state alone has been called the state of 'kaivalya'. It is the ideal of Samkhya and is also the state of perfect realisation of gyanyoga. It is for this reason that external renunciation of karma is emphasised in the gyanmarg. What a puzzle all this is? We cannot abandon doing karma. But Karma itself is a bond. How is it possible then to be free from all bonds by renouncing karma? The question, whether the renouncement of karma could be beneficent or not, does not arise. The karma can be renounced only in one way: our atman does no karma, it is nishkarma i.e. it is devoid of activity and aberrations both. If we can establish ourselves in our atman then we can be instantly free from the need for doing karmas and can also be free from its bonds. This alone is the remedy of Samkhya for achieving freedom from bonds forever. The renunciation of external karmas as a form of sadhana is just a means for attaining the said inner state of realisation. We are forced to do karmas by the impulses of prakriti. The Yogadarshan says, 'chalam cha gunavratam' i.e. activity is the basic nature of the modes of prakriti. Our mind, intellect, etc. are all comprised of the constituents of prakriti. Therefore, activity is its only form of functioning and movement its innate mode of existence. And so as long as these exist karma is unavoidably there. When we feel that we are not doing anything even then some activity goes on in the mind, etc. This activity is so natural that we are not even aware of it just as those people who live on the banks of a river do not hear the noise of the flowing river. Only when the river gets flooded they hear the noise of the rushing water. Just like that whenever any special activity takes place then only we realise that some activity is going on some karma is being done. Secondly, we have a feeling that we are not doing anything when our consciousness has stabilised beyond prakriti, beyond the mind, the intellect and the ego and in the state of being a witness or a sakshi for all that is happening around it. There is then no feeling of being a doer. There surely is a feeling of activity going on in the mind, the intellect, etc. but do not feel that we are doing it, that we are the doer. In such a state a person is free from the bonds of karma. This is the ideal of those having faith in the doing of karma. In this state even without renouncing the doing of karmas there is no bond for the person doing it. For even while doing karmas the person remains a non-doer. He is like a lotus flower in water and his sadhana is also done accordingly. It does not demand renunciation of karmas and the highest state is gained just by doing karmas with full devotion. The Lord is a non-doer even while doing every thing and so becomes his devotee a non-doer even while being egaged in activity. Such a devotee realises the Lord. It has been said in the 18th chapter of the Gita na tad asti prthivyam va divi devesu va punah | sattavam prakrtijiar muktam yad ebhih syat tribhir gunaih ||
(40 of 18)

That, 'there is no such being on earth or in heaven or even amongst the gods who is free from the three gunas (modes) of prakriti'. The meaning of this verse should be understood in the light of whatever has been written above.

101

Whatever is beyond the mind and the intellect is the truth, the reality. It is the feeling of abiding in the Self (atmanbhav). The consciousness working through the mind and the intellect is bound by the laws of the three gunas of the prakriti. The mind and the intellect being of the form of the three gunas, how could they be free from them. And so when our consciousness works in and through them it behaves according to their innate laws and their limits become the limits of this consciousness as well. But this does not mean that the Self (atman) cannot go beyond these gunas. Such a thought would amount to a rejection of the entire philosophy of the Gita. Therefore, that will be wrong. And so for applying this truth in the field of sadhana, it has been said thus karmendriyani samyamya ya aste manasa smaran | indriyarthan vimudhatman mithyacarah sa ucyate || (6) yas tv indriyani manasa niyamya 'rabhate 'rjuna | karmendriyaih karmayogam asaktah sa visisyate || (7) " He, who by restraining his organs of action, thinks by the mind about the objects of the sense organs, is a fool. He is said to be a hypocrite." (6) "O' Arjuna! He, who controlling his sense organs by the mind and does karmas in the spirit of detachment with his organs of action, attains the special position of being the best." (7) Two pictures have been depicted and compared. Thinking that karmas are the cause of bondage and the enjoyment of pleasures of life is a source of unhappiness, a person refrains from both i.e.doing of karmas and enjoyment of pleasures of life. But, neither the craving for doing the karmas nor does the craving for enjoying the pleasures of sense-objects is removed from within. The said objects can only be enjoyed by earning money and by doing karmas. That is what he does not do but his mind remains continually engaged in thinking about these senseobjects of enjoyment. So long as a person has desires within and rajoguna is predominant, he remains in such a condition. The less the karmas he does, the more intense is the mental craving. The more one refrains from the objects, the more the mind runs after these objects i.e. the more one keeps on thinking about them. Just by developing an indifference to enjoyments, the craving for objects does not end. Passions are like a loaded gun. There can be no peace without destroying them to some extent. With a little bit of understanding the intellect can be pacified but the prana64 does not have any reason. It is totally devoid of understanding and so its latent tendencies will have to be pacified only gradually. It will be necessary to change its nature completely but that is not possible to achieve suddenly. Just as it is necessary to tire a restless horse before he can be pacified, so it is necessary to gratify the sense organs to some extent to eventually pacify. That is a practical formula for success in life. Vyasjee has said: 'na jatu kamah kamanamupbhogen shamyati' i.e. the desire is not pacified by enjoyment. This is true. An absolute peace is not achieved by induldgence in enjoyments. The passions of a passionate person only increase by indulgence. He, who enjoys with the hope that he will be fully pacified by indulgence in enjoyments, is in delusion. The indulgence in enjoyments just for the sake of reducing the force of passions and for eliminating the tendencies is helpful in sadhana. But an absolute peace can be achieved only by gaining the grace of the feet of the Lord. The experience tells us that while moving forward towards Him,
64

prana: the inner craving

102

indulgence in the enjoyments, which effortlessly come on the way, opens up the way for Him. The restraint forcibly excercised torments the mind so much that it becomes difficult to move towards the feet of the Lord. And so one by doing that can neither move towards the Lord nor can there be effective restraint. The golden principle is the middle path. Such a person, who is deliberately determined to practice self-restraint, has been called a hypocrite. A hypocrite is one, who behaves deceptiavely i.e. contrary to what he feels within. His outer behaviour does not rightly convey his inner feelings. He appears to be disciplined in appearance but deep within himself he is indisciplined i.e. unrestrained and more deeply indulgent than others. Such people deserve pity. They are in a state of delusion and are fools. They do not know the secret of restraint. They, therefore, become more-and-more dirty from inside with every passing day. They lose the simplicity and serenity of life. And due to their obstinacy and ignorance they harm their mind as well as intellect. Sometimes the inner conflict descends into the dormant consciousness. A person feels that his mind is peaceful but even then there is deep within a strange feeling of discomfort, of restlessness in him. He develops complexes, which inadvertenly influence his own as well as the behaviour of those with whom he comes in contact. For more information, refer to verse 59 of the second chapter of Gita Vimarsh. Many persons who apparently seem to be 'pious' belong to this category. In fact ordinary people are more pious than they are. In the 7th verse another picture - opposite to this one - has been shown. That is worth emulating. It is the picture of the aspirant of the path of karmayoga. He, who practices karmayoga by restraining his sense organs, is very commendable. The meaning of karmayoga is to do the available, the required, karmas with full devotion. This also includes the enjoyment of available pleasures with devotion. The two go together. The intellect, which accepts the available karmas to be done, accepts the available enjoyments too. The available karma is accepted as a duty and the enjoyment becoming available is accepted in the form of its result, its fruit. And as the karma is not done in the expectation of its result one develops neither like nor dislike for the result, for the fruit of karma. This is the way equanimous intellect function. What else could be the meaning of the state of evenness in pleasure and in pain? Evenness towards karma and its result is the basic principle of karmayoga. And this is the path of accepting life in its comprehensive or integral unity. The person, who has been mentioned in the previous verse, is not prepared to accept the result of his karma. He neither accepts karma nor its result. He tries to escape from both of them and as a result of that he becomes miserable. How does he then practice karmayoga? How does he enjoy the pleasures of life, which come his way? In both i.e his karmas as well as in his pleasures there is a restraint, which means the control of a rein like that of a horse. The disciplining of a horse does not mean that he should never be taken out of the stable. It only means proper control over his activities. A person practicing karmayoga does his karmas but is not swayed by them. He does not become an indiscriminate doer of his karmas (verse 22 of ch. 18) by losing, by becoming oblivious of his wisdom. The karmas do not ride over his head like a ghost. He does his karmas with full involvement, with full devotion but can also leave doing them whenever he so wants. For him it is not difficult to forget them. Similarly, while enjoying the pleasures he is not lost in them completely. He does not so submerge himself in enjoyments that he forgets his duties and every thing else beside it. He does not become a slave of enjoyments. He can deny them whenever he wants to do so. Such enjoyment does not awaken his lust instead it weakens the passions only to finally eliminate them.

103

How then is this possible? This is possible by excercising proper control over the sense organs by the mind and it works like a rein. He is not worried in the use of his organs of action because they alone are the means of practicing karmayoga. How does he do his karmas? How does he enjoy his pleasures? Is it by being attached or detached within? He neither sticks to karma nor to an enjoyment. He is not interested in picking up any thing for himself. Neither does he have any desire for leaving nor for gaining anything. He does his karmas because they are to be done as a duty. He is devoid of any enthusiasm for anything. But he does his karmas with full mental involvement, with full commitment, because that alone is the means for him the means for his spiritual progress. Such a person is special. He goes far ahead of the person described earlier. It looks as if the solution to the problem of Arjuna was hidden in these two pictures. By not fighting the war Arjuna could have got busy in thoughts of the on-going war. The thought of the enjoyments, which could have been gained by fighting and winning, would amply disturb him. He was not yet free from passions. Those were still powerful and would torment him. And so by not fighting the war he would have become a hypocrite. He would not have remained the same within, as he would have appeared from the outside. If he could accept war as his duty like a karmayogi65 and fought it with full devotion then he could especially take to the path beneficial to him. And the karma, which he considered to be brutish, would appear to him as beneficent. These two verses make the greatest danger of the path of renunciation (sanyas) so distinctly clear. Probably keeping this danger before them, the scriptures have so ordained that the stage of renunciation i.e. sanyas, be placed only after the stages of grahasthya (the life of householder) and vanaprastha (living in forests i.e. seclusion from the usual humdrum of life). In the stages of grahasthya and vanaprastha we can substantially destroy at least the gross form of our passions by doing karmas and by enjoying their fruits. After those stages the body also does not have adequate energy for the hustle and bustle of life. And so in that stage the abandonment of physical karma also does not cause any perceptible problem. According to anthropology it so appears that sanyas has been provided only for leaving the human body. The prime objective of life seems to be that it should be lived with full devotion, with deep commitment, as long as it is possible for one to live it. But, it appears that having become all-pervasive the other philosophy has spread over to the entire Hindu-society. In the next verse the Lord himself gives a message to Arjuna according to whatever has been said above-niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyayo hy akarmanah | sarirayatra 'pi ca te na prasidhyed akarmanah || (8) "I say decisively, do your (assigned) karma. Karma is always better than not doing karma. Without karma you will not be able to maintain even your body." (8) Arjuna had asked, tadekam vad nishchitya shreyo 'ham apnuyam (sh. 2). 'Tell me one thing decisively as to what is beneficient for me.' The Lord answers him saying, niyatam kuru
65

karmayogi: practitioner of karmayoga or yoga of disinterested/desireless action

104

karma twavam. ' I say decisively that you should always do your duty.' It is evident that these words answer the question of Arjuna. Where is the necessity to find a different meaning for the word 'niyat'? The word coveys the essence of the philosophical thoughts placed earlier. There was a clear direction for Arjuna to act. The Lord wanted that he should do his duty. This topic had started for removal of the doubt that Arjuna had. And, the Lord further clarified with the word: 'it is better do karma than not doing karma'. It is better to fight than not to fight the war. Why is it better has just been explained. The two pictures were placed before Arjuna with this purpose. Even after the conceptual analysis of karma and akarma the same conclusion was reached. The path of karma alone is easy, natural and is in accordance with ones inner nature. And for Arjuna also that was beneficial. Inactivity or not doing any thing cannot take a person anywhere. Neither does it have any positive strength of its own nor does it have any negative strength. From the point of view of sadhana it is impossibility at best only a partial possibility. It is botheration. Karma, on the contrary, has a positive strength. It can destroy the innate tendencies (samsakaras), remove the bonds and can purify us also. Of course, an appropriate devotion is needed for doing karmas, which one can generate. You are wise. It appears that the Lord was giving an advice to this effect to Arjuna. How clear and forceful are His words. The Lord gives another argument. The same was also said earlier. You will not be able to complete your physical journey on earth if you were to leave doing karmas. The meaning of this clearly is: you are a warrior. If you do not fight then will you beg alms? Will you serve as a slave to anyone? Will you live your life becoming dependent on someone? How will you maintain your body? Arjuna had said earlier: sreyo bhoktum bhaiksyam api ha loke (5 of 2) i.e. 'It is better to live in this world by begging alms then to kill honoured elders.' But the Lord knew Arjuna. They were merely words spoken by Arjuna in the state of depression and excessive excitement. He could never have imagined going to anybodys door with a begging bowl in his hand and uttering the words, 'bhiksham dehi bhagwati'. He was brave to the core and was full of self-respect in every pore of his body. Could Arjuna beg? It was impossible. The Lord had placed this truth before Arjuna; 'think well for yourself. Will you live on the alms of the Kauravas? Are you prepared for that?' The Lord arousing his feeling of self-respect in the same manner in which he had earlier said that people will say that Arjuna was afraid and so he ran away from the battlefield. Even while discussing philosophical issues the Lord neither had forgotten Arjuna nor had He simply soared high up in the sky. He was determined to influence Arjuna to bring hin to the right path like a competent teacher and an able administrator. In the following verses the analysis of the basic concepts of karmayoga will commence. Without the spirit of sacrifice, the devotion in doing karma becomes insipid and lifeless devotion. It ceases to be a feeling vibrant with the spirit of devotion, of surrender i.e. bhakti to the Divine. So it cannot become the means for being in tune with the Lord, the Yagyaishwara. This topic starts from the 9th verse and concludes with the 16th verse. These 8 verses are very important. Through these verses, one gets full knowledge about what yagya or a sacrifice means. Then we become prepared to understand the meaning of the word Yagyaishwara, the Lord of sacrifice. yajnarthat karmano 'nyatra loko 'yam karmabandhanah | tadartham karma kaunteya muktasangah samacara || (9) "All karmas done in this world, except the karmas done as a sacrifice (yagya), are the cause of bonds. Therefore, o' Arjuna! You do karmas as a sacrifice (yagya) setting aside all attachments". (9)

105

The concept of yagya or sacrifice is a very deep one. Ordinarily, the meaning of the word 'yagya' is worship. But, worship expresses only a part of the meaning of the word yagya and that is of secondary importance. The word 'sacrifice' expresses the full meaning of the word yagya. Fire in a pit is blazed. Deity is invoked nay invited. Offerings are made to him. By these offerings the deity is nourished and the one who does the yagya is nourished in turn by the deity. In this way by mutually nourishing one another, both, the deity and the individual performing the yagya, prosper. The deity provides the pleasures of life to the person performing yagya. And he in turn gives the deity a share of the pleasures received from him and that share nourishes the deity of the yagya in turn. This process continues. In the world every thing is dependent on one another. The different existents appear to be independent of each other because of our limited vision, as we cannot go into the depths. A person lives in his house independently. He thinks that he earns and lives on his own. He does not owe any thing to others nor others owe any thing to him. He is not obliged to any one nor is he concerned with any one. But to think like that is ignorance. Many people had contributed towards the construction of the house in which he lives. Laborers had worked and they had used their implements. Those implements were manufactured in a factory. Many people from many places had worked in the factory for manufacturing those implements. The iron ore was excavated from some place and it was somewhere melted and moulded. That was also done in a factory where many other people had worked. And in this manner we can understand that every cell of our body is intimately connected with the world in one form or the other. One eats the loaf of wheat. Many people contribute for the satisfaction of his hunger. The farmer, who had grown the wheat and all those people who contributed towards his living, like the artisans of the village, the cloth merchant, the grocer, and his parents and grandparents, are all included in the picture. We are not alone. Our existence itself is the result of the vast process of evolution. We are just a particle of sand in the moving river and a small link in that vast unending chain of the world. The one who sees oneself separate from the totality i.e. universe, does not actually see any thing. We are dependent upon others. Others are also likewise in some way dependent upon us. Human beings are mutually dependent. Animals are dependent upon human beings and they in turn are dependent on animals. The vegetative world is dependent upon the animals and the animals upon the vegetatiave world. The vegetatiave world is dependent on human beings and they upon the vegetatiave world. The inter-relationship of dependence is so complex that when a person starts thinking about it he is sure to get confused. And, what more happens in this process of mutual dependence? It is only through this process of inter-dependence that the entire play of the world goes on. This play cannot evidently continue without this process and every thing would crumble in no time. If the labourers stop doing their work then the entire structure of the society will collapse. If a teacher stops teaching or like wise any other section of the society stops doing its work then the society is sure to disintegrate. For the entire social balance will get disturbed. Man looks for the cooperation from the animals and he takes milk and manure from them. The insects are absolutely necessary for the entire vegetative world because without them any procreation would not be possible. There then would not be any new crop of vegetation. Likewise without the support of the birds and the animals the human life will not be able to sustain. Similarly without the vegetative life human life will not be possible and without the cooperation of man these in turn will not flourish. Man sows seeds, gives manure and protects the plants. Then only they flower and give fruits. Man also keeps and maintains the animals and then only they are able to give him milk, etc. The entire play of this world is based on this mutual dependence.

106

This mutual dependence is necessary for the creation. Whatever has been explained above is yagya, is sacrifice, is pervasive and is Vishnu, the sustaining deity of the universe. This inter-dependence is applicable to all forms of existents from an atom to the human beings. What is the form of this inter-dependence? Sacrifice? Self-sacrifice? An individual sacrifices himself for the community only then there is life for the community, for the macrocosm (samasthi). When the society sacrifices it for the individual then the life of the individual is fed, sustained, enriched and continues. Therefore when an individual sacrifices for the society and the society likewise sacrifices for the individual, then only the life of both continues. They are both mutually dependent. This is the secret of yagya. This is the law of the entire universe. The entire play of the universe is dependent upon the sacrifice of one for the others and the others for him. The sacrifice for others is the beginning, middle and end of this entire play of the universe. In the Purushasukta there is a beautiful description of this magnificent yagya. In the fire of this great yagya, the limbs of the Lord, Purushottama, are sacrificed one by one. Each one of the limbs gives rise to a new creation. That Supreme Reality thus sacrifices Itself. It gives offerings of Itself, of its existence in the fire of the yagya. It partially loses its absolute advaita form in the genitals of prakriti and then only prakriti develops in itself the ability to create various forms and multifarious creations. The yagya is a form of sacrifice i.e. giving of the self. It is also the basic law of creation. It may be done knowingly or unknowingly. As long as consciousness is not fully developed, the sacrifice takes place unknowingly, whether it is under temptations or under a kind of helplessness. In the inert, the vegetative and the animal forms of life, the sacrifice is to be seen in this form only. Man alone can do sacrifice willingly after carefully thinking about it without any temptation or compulsion. That is known as service and is also a form of selfless sacrifice (nishkam yagya). It is a form of worship of the Lord Purushottama. It purifies a person and unites him with the Lord, Purushottama. This is the best form of yagya, of sacrifice, as giving of the self. In English, yagya is called sacrifice i.e. offering oneself to the Divine. We will now make an attempt to understand the 9th verse. To Arjuna the Lord said that the karma, which is done for the sake of yagya, is not the cause of any bond but all other karmas cause bonds in this world. What is the meaning of doing karma for the sake of yagya? Society is a form of yagya. Any karma done for the society with the purpose to keep it running will be the karma done for the sake of yagya, for the sake of sacrifice. How does this yagya of society continue? If every individual does his social duties and continues to discharge his responsibilities then this yagya can continue smoothly. If every part of a machine functions properly then only it functions smoothly and efficiently. Therefore, the observance of ones duties and responsibilities is truly speaking ones real karma. When a person discharges his assigned duties and responsibilities keeping in mind that being a part of the society he must do it otherwise the society will not function properly, then he does the said karma for the sake of yagya. That karma will not bind him. Our motives for doing of karmas are very important. The same karma can be done for gratifying greed. People can and do behead others for the sake of money. A warrior fights a war as a part of his duty. Karma can be done out of fear and can also be done for the right reason. The results of the two kinds of karmas are different for the doer as well as for the society. The society is debased, becomes unhappy and finally diseased by karmas done with the debasing motives.

107

A warrior has a place in the society. He also has a duty, a responsibility accordingly. He should do his work and discharge his responsibilites with the feeling that he is doing a yagya. This feeling of yagya, of self-giving, is in reality based on sattva i.e. truth. As has been mentioned above, we are mutually linked with the society. Our life is dependent upon that relationship. Just to look for our own interest is to forget the community of which we are a part and to work under temptation or fear is to deviate from truth. We are what we are today due to the sacrifices done and being done by various sections of the society. The others have cared for our upbringing and due to their efforts our requirements are met even now also. They have educated us and have accepted us. If, therefore, today having an opportunity we do not sacrifice ourselves for the community then it surely would be nothing but a kind of theft. The karmas done with this specific motive make us free from bonds. Why? By doing karmas in this manner, with this specific feeling of self-giving, we effectively repay our debts towards the society and the universe with full warmth and reciprocity. We sacrifice for the community and the community sacrifices for us. In this manner we do not owe any debt to the society. Whenever we work only for ourselves or for our own selfish interests we become indebted to the society. How can we be free without repaying that debt? To work only for selfinterest is verily a theft, is placing a burden over ones head and amounts to closing ones fist. It is but natural that such karmas are cause of ones bonds. For getting freedom, a comprehensive stability, in this universe, which itself is a form of yagya, the most natural, easy and clear method is to become oneself a form of yagya. Expressed in a simple language this means that one should make an effort and work for the benefit, interest and happiness of others forgetting all the while ones own personal happiness, gains or interest. The best way of avoiding pressure in a flowing river is to flow with its current. To try to break this law is to create fresh bonds. It amounts verily to handcuffing and chaining oneself. The law of the Creation is just a self-less giving and self-sacrifice. Becoming impatient, someone may say that karma itself is a bond and so one should avoid doing it. As long as we do not accept this law of nature and do not make it a part of our life till then karma would appear to be a bond. When this law becomes a part of our very life manifesting itself in our behaviour then karma does not look like a bond and it becomes our very nature. This is the only way to play in the prakriti. The Lord, Purushottama, also being the form of yagya becoming Yagyaishwara, the Lord of the sacrifices, while playing the divine sport remains beyond all bonds. While assuming the form of yagya and being united with the Lord, when we do our karmas, we remain free from bonds. This is the decent in prakriti, the feeling of non-duality of Self (advaita-bhav of atman), which is none other than the spirit of self-less desire to serve. The Lord is the form of yagya and we are also the same. How then can there be any pain, effort and bond in the expression of our own innate nature? The feeling of sacrifice, the innate nature of self-giving, is the practical form of non-duality (advaita). Without it what other meaning could advaita have? The Lord tells Arjuna that you fight and fight as if you are doing a yagya, a sacrifice. You must do your karma for the discharging of your duties towards the society and also from the point of view of continuance of the sacrifice of which the society is the live symbol and then there will be no bond for you. Of course, you will have to keep your outlook very broad. If you are attached to your karma there will surely be bond. And what does this mean? It means that being attached while doing karma is to act for oneself, for ones self-interest and for gratification of ones personal wish. And it surely will be wrong to do that.

108

How very comprehensive is the basic principle of yagya or sacrifice, which is the basis of karmayoga? How very beautifully this verse presents the high pedestal-sublime on which karmayoga is placed? In the 10th verse we will know the importance of yagya in this creation. sahayajnah prajah srstva puro 'vaca prajapatih | anena prasavisyadhvam esa vo 'stv istakamadhuk || (10) "In the ancient days Prajapati66 also created sacrifice (yagya) along with praja (creatures). He told (directed) the praja that: ' you multiply your numbers by performing the yagya and it (yagya) shall be fulfilling your desires'. (10) The lord of the creation (praja) is its creator i.e. Prajapati. The lord of creation, Brahama, is called Prajapati. Brahama created the praja. This was done through the power of his spiritual austerities i.e. tapobal. But it can continue only if the process of this creation continues in future also. If the praja had no ability to procreate then the creation would itself come to an end. And Brahma will then have to create a new creation afresh. For the continuance of the process of this creation yagya was necessary. The process of creation can continue both by giving rise to new births and by providing ample means of livelihood. And so both the objectives are achieved by yagya. Brahama jee, therefore, created yagya along with praja. We are introduced to a lofty and a very comprehensive form of yagya in the direction of Brahama jee to his creations: 'multiply through yagya'. Procreation verily is a yagya. In the Aryan culture procreation is seen only from this point of view. Insemination (garbhadan) is accepted amongst the 16 main religious rituals (ceremonies) to be performed by a person in his life. After the birth of a child, a ceremony of initiation (jatkarma) is done. There can be no doubt about the sublimity of that ritual. For obtaining the ability to procreate, Manu himself had practiced austerities. He could obtain this ability only by practicing spiritual austerities through which he continued the process of creation. Modern thinking, the origin of which lies in the physical sciences of the West, cannot even imagine the sublimity involved in procreation. From that point of view, procreation is only a product of sexual act. But, from that point of view there is nothing, which is pure, lofty and sublime in life. Every thing is made of earth and finally reduces to earth. Man himself is a toy made of earth and his future too is also that. It should not be surprising if at all the believers in that philosophy do not find any thing of consequence in the great yagya of procreation? The concept that family life is slush is a gift to India by the times of Buddha. The ancient culture of this land, the ancient seers looked upon family life as something of importance. It was considered as an auspicious duty i.e. yagya-karma. And through that alone could one attain the world of the gods. All other stages of life were also dependent upon the family life and, therefore, it was the fulcrum of the society and so we do not find any tendency of running away from from family life in those days. All the preachers and the listeners of Upanishads were themselves householders except with a few rare exceptions. It appears to me that our growing passion (sexual craving) and increasing greed and attachments have taught us to look upon family life as something of an inferior value. We smell rot out side us due to our growing inner impurities. The result of such understanding has been dangerous, not only for some sections of the society but also for the society as a whole. The result of the decline of this institution of family life and of the disrespect shown to this institution has been all-round decline in social values. It should not be difficult at all to understand this.

66

Prajapati: the lord of creatures

109

Procreation is a yagya. The institution in which this yagya can be performed is pure and sublime. And so the progeny produced with the intent of performing a yagya can never be a cause of bondage. And it will surely pacify the sexual craving of a person. By procreation a person repays the debt of his ancestors and becomes free from the bonds. Procreation is a yagya. Both mother and father sacrifice in this yagya. In the act of procreation ovum and semen are sacrificed and energy too is sacrificed. Giving birth to a child and the entire effort of his upringing is a long and respectable tale of sacrifice. Through it the society is nourished and nurtured. We also got our physical body only as a result of such a sacrifice. This is not the sacrifice of a mother alone but also includes the sacrifice of the father as well as of other ancestors. The wider universe i.e. the totality, sacrifices for the individual and the individual by his sacrifices nourishes nay enriches it. This verily is a form of yagya. Progeny is indeed a yagya and so is pure. Without this yagya, the entire play of creation would come to a halt, would end. This principle applies equally to all froms of life from the vegetative to the human world. In the inert world only the external forces are seen to be active. And, ' the yagya should be the one fulfilling your desires'. The yagya i.e. sacrifice alone is the best means for fulfillment of ones desires. By making offerings in the fire of yagya we sacrifice our energies for others and in return we get their cooperation through which our desires are fulfilled. The satisfaction of our passions is not entirely dependent upon us alone. It instead is dependent upon the appropriate cooperation of many others. This cooperation can be had only through yagya, through sacrifice. In the language of the present day i.e. modern times, it is said that one has to pay a price for the satisfaction of every desire and that price is sacrifice self-giving and the same is yagya. Money is required for the construction of a house. One has evidently to work for earning money, and the work done for others is surely in the nature of yagya or sacrifice. For the appeasement of hunger wheat is required. But for getting wheat something else will have to be given in exchange. Needless to say, one will have to labour for producing that something else. And that other thing will in turn meet the requirement of somebody else. This also clearly establishes the need of yagya in the form of labour. When a person tries to fulfill his desire without doing yagya or without paying the price in this manner he commits theft. He wants to derive benefit without making any sacrifice for it. It is against the social laws. Therefore, it is intolerable to the society and so the society punishes him. Similarly all such activities, which are not of the form of self-giving, which do not serve the society and, on the contrary, harm others, are punishable from the social point of view. Yagya is the basic law of the society. Our desires can be fulfilled even while living in the society and for that the only remedy is yagya or acts of self-giving. On every step we take, the society teaches us the law of self-giaving or self-sacrifice. A foolish person does not wish to learn that lesson. Due to his selfishness, he himself becomes miserable and makes others also miserable. For the satisfaction of ones self interest also self-giving is necessary. The fulfillment of our desires also demands yagya in the form of our labour. How very simple is the law? By understanding this law both the individual as well as the society can be happy. The result of violating this law is dangerous for every one. This law has no meaning in the vegetative and the animal worlds because there are no desires. devan bhavayata 'nena te deva bhavayantu vah | parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha || (11) "You nourish the gods by this yagya and gods in turn will nourish you. By thus nourishing each other may all of you shall attain the supreme good." (11)

110

The gods are those divine forces, which contribute in the creation and maintenance of the gross beings. Many of these contribute in building the bodies. It is then that this unique creation takes form, of course unknowingly, in the womb of a mother. The wonders of the both vegetative and the animal worlds are due to these unseen forces working unknowingly in these worlds. The wonders of the world lie hidden in the creation of a leaf. One single petal of a flower presents the glimpse of the play of the Infinite. All that is possible due to those divine creative forces. The modern science brushes aside every thing by calling it the expression of 'nature' or prakriti. This is merely a declaration of their limited knowledge or of their ignorance. We know for certain that many forces of the subtle world, which are highly capable and have a comprehensive knowledge of the gross world, operate unseen. Every particle of the earth and every cell of a body are the result of their creativity. Not only that, it is also certain that these divine forces work in co-operation to maintain correctly the cycle of the world, to maintain the equilibrium of the universe, for the proper maturation of karmas and for the proper working of the natural elements like fire, water, air, etc. We do believe that it is not at all easy to understand their activities and their ways correctly. Even those amongst the modern scientists, who have tried to go into the depths, have also accepted in their own way the possibilities of existence of such forces beyond the gross. [Refer to 'Mysterious Universe' by James Jeans.] The Lord says: 'nourish through yagya the divine forces.' Can they ever be nourished? If they can be nourished then how can it be done? This is the question. Yes, they can be nourished. Whoever is in the gross state that is nourished by the gross grain? Whoever is in the vital (prana) state that is fed by the vital stuff i.e. prana itself? And whoever dwells in the mental (manomaya) state is fed by the like stuff i.e. the mental (manomaya) principle. These divine forces are subtle and so dwell in the in the vital (prana) and the manomaya and so require food of a specific kind i.e. of the vital and the mental kind. It can be given to them through the offerings in the sacrificial fire. The food offered in fire is apparently burnt. But in reality, only the gross in it gets burnt. As the vital (prana) is for the human body and so it is for the grain. It has the potential of germinating and growing into a plant because of the presence of this element i.e. prana only. There is life in it. And the gross in it is the basis of its life. Like the gross body that gross is burnt under the effect of fire. The remaining portion i.e. the vital element becomes free of the bond as a result of the burning affect of fire and can easily be absorbed into the cells of the vital sheaths (koshas). For making offerings in the sacrificial fire, gods are invoked their presence is sought. Those who possess a subtle vision know that on being invited the gods do come. They consume the subtle portion of the grain offered in the fire. And this nourishes their vital body. In the doing of this karma our feelings of reverence are also awakened. They become in turn food for the cells of the manomaya sheath of the gods invoked. The chanting of the mantras of the Vedas transmits energy in all directions, which also strengthens the cells of the manomaya sheath of the gods so invoked. Such offerings in the sacrificial fire, recitation of hymns and chanting of the name of the deity foster the vital and the mental (manomaya) cells of the deity. These are strengthened. Strengthened in this manner, the gods in turn foster us. They can do their karmas more efficiently. And by fostering them in this manner we can make them more favourable towards us. Realising well this secret, offerings in a sacrificial fire was prescribed in the daily round of activities of a householder. It appears that there was a time when people were a lot more

111

receptive to those subtle forces than they are today and that those forces were fairly close to people of those times. Also that a mutual exchange used to take place between the two the subtle forces and the men of this world - as it now takes place amongst a man and another man. But the present age is different. The process of evolution itself has created a wide gulf between the two. This yagya is not only prevalent in the human and the lower worlds but is also prevalent right upto the world of gods. In this grand yagya of creation, gods also make their offerings as the people of this world do. These sacrifices i.e. yagyas, take the totality i.e. the universe, and the individual forward. A person gets gradually purified through these sacrifices i.e. yagyas. He crosses the limits of selfishness and egoity and learns to lose himself in the totality, which is the universe. And the totality likewise progresses i.e. moves forward losing it in the individual. And through these sacrifices i.e. doing of the yagyas we come nearer to the Lord, to Yagyaishwara i.e the Lord of sacrifices. He alone is the one who accepts our offerings of sacrifice. Sacrifice i.e. yagya is the basic spirit, the governing principle, the mantra, of evolution. The inert world enters the vegetative world only after sacrificing itself, after losing itself completely and in doing so becomes a part of the trees and plants. The trees and plants only by losing themselves find a place in an animal-body and the animals likewise because of their sacrifice by serving the human beings become a part of the human body. A human being also gains the divine body in the same manner. And the gods too by performing yagyas in the form of their duties attain to higher planes of existence and crossing the godly form of existence get released from all bonds. The yagya is the path of beneficence. And performed willingly it carries us forward with considerable speed. Let the human beings nourish gods through yagya and the gods should carry them forward. Through the yagyas the ultimate good is delivered to both of them. The term 'ultimate or supreme good' should mean 'freedom.' Yagya can take a person to the ultimate limit of evolution. It can bring about an end to all his bonds. By working in the spirit of yagya a person can cut the bonds of prakriti. And while living in prakriti he can live beyond that too. This is the lesson, which a person has to learn nicely from the prakriti. This is known as surrendering or losing ones self completely. This is a total or absolute release from egoity. Karmayoga in not something, which takes a person only a step forward but it takes one to the end. The one who is perfect in the yoga of the Gita is a karmayogi. How can one be perfect without practicing yagya and becoming filled with the spirit of yagya or sacrifice? How can we ever imagine abandoning of the spirit of sacrifice, of doing yagya? (verse 3, Ch. 18) The word 'gods' suggest the subtle forces of the Supreme Lord, Purushottama. This word has not been used for the Lord Himself. istan bhogan hi vo deva dasyante yajnabhavitah | tair dattan apradayai 'bhyo yo bhunkte stena eva sah || (12) "The gods fostered by yagya will certainly provide the enjoyments you desire. He, who enjoys these gifts without giving it to them in return, is verily a thief." (12) It is a great spirit of yagya, which has been described above. It is usually seen from the negative point of view. What is the conseqence of violating the spirit of yagya that has now been mentioned.

112

Men nourish the gods through yagya. Having been thus strengthened and satisfied the gods can do their work nicely and more effectively. Consequently, there is a growth of wealth. The livestock increases. The crops give a higher yield. All this is the result of their blessings. Men should be grateful to them. Their share from out of their gifts should also be given to them. One should give offerings to them in the sacrificial fire. Other yagyas should also be done. This verily is the demand of the spirit of yagya, of sacrifice. One should foster others and others would in turn foster him. But due to his selfishness an individual loses his intelligence and the spirit of yagya too. He keeps all enjoyments for himself alone. He who does so is certainly a thief. He commits theft by eating the share of gods. Consequently he harms his own interests. He does not get even those enjoyments. The gods can also not give them to such a person and in that manner. In the hills, people go to flourmills for the grinding of grain. The share of the flourmill owner is fixed. It is the rent of the use of the flourmill. The owner has put up the flourmill. He maintains it. He gets it repaired and sometimes gets the parts changed, as and when required. For all this he takes his share from those who come to use the mill. Through this he earns his livelihood. If those who come to use the mill for getting the grain grinded do not give the share of the owner to him then the mill will not remain in working condition for long. And the facility available to the users of the mill will come to an end. Similarly, if the share of gods is not given to them then they will not be able to care for us properly for long. Governments collect taxes for management of various institutions of the administration, for maintaining law and order, and for providing facilities of road and rail transport, education, etc. If a person were to use these facilities and not pay the taxes levied by the government then he commits a crime. The same situation is to be seen here. This is our debt to the gods and this we repay by worshiping them and by making offerings to them in the sacrificial fire. This is the means of becoming free from the debt we owe to the gods. The offering in the sacrificial fire was prescribed as a daily activity and was in fact at one time performed every day in every house. That practice no longer exists now. It appears that today there are no contacts with the gods. This kind of worship of the gods has ceased to be relevant for the present age. The facilities that were then available are also not available today. All these rituals connected therewith appear strange in this 'kalikal'. The vision of modern man goes beyond the gods to the highest i.e. the God of gods. In the present age means other than yagyas are easily available for repaying the debt of the Yagyaishwara. These means will be discussed later. This vision and the related faith liberate us from all debts. yajnasistasina santo mucyante sarvakilbisaih | bhunjate te tv agham papa ye pacanty atmankaranat || (13) "The saints who eat the remnants of yagya get released from all sins, but those who cook for only themselves eat only the sin". (13) According to the old traditions, fire was kept alive in every house. In the house of a householder, fire used to remain alive throughout day and night. The fire for cooking food etc. was lighted with the help of that very fire. That fire was known as 'ahvniya' (one of the forms for invocation to the gods). Food was cooked in that sacred fire for making sacrificial offerings. The food was consumed only after making the said offerings in the sacrificial fire. It was cooked primarily for the offerings. The rest of the food was the remnant of the yagya. It was consumed as a gift of the gods (prasad). Even now, in Vaishnava homes food is cooked with considerable purity and cleanliness. Food is first offered to the deity installed in the house, known as Thakurji. Thereafter that food is

113

consumed as a gift of the deity. That becomes indeed a gift, a prasad, signifying his belessings. It purifies and is beneficent. He who consumes the remnants of yagya is verily a saint. Offerings given in the sacrificial fire is a form of yagya done for the sake of the gods. Even while done on a pretty grand scale it is partial in its mission. But the one who has offered his entire life as an offering in the grand yagya, in the comprehensive yagya of Yagyaishwara Himself and whose life is filled with the spirit of yagya, for him every thing in life, which comes to him assumes the form of a remnant of the yagya. And so whatever such a person gets he gets from Yagyaishwara Himself. He sees everything, which is received from Him, as appropriate and nothing but appropriate. He perceives himself and all others as nothing but the remnants of yagya. He is the greatest consumer of the remnants of yagya. He is a saint. He who has taken to the path of worship will certainly one day have the glimpse of the God of the gods. His yagya will one day be transformed from a partial to a large, a very comprehensive, fuller yagya. The spirit of yagya is of such a kind that it cannot remain for long partial or incomplete. Piercing the bonds of limits, it becomes integral and presents the aspirant the glimpse of Yagyaishwara, the Lord of yagyas. He, who takes out the share of the gods from the enjoyments that become available to him, is not a thief, as has been mentioned in the verse above, but is just opposite. He gets instantly released from all sins. Enjoyments of pleasures do not bind him. That alone gives him freedom from sins. By eating the remnants of yagya, the craving for enjoyments ends. The growing feeling of devotion and the blessings received as a result thereof together help a person in liberating him from the craving of enjoyments. The consumer of the remnants of yagya is the worthy recepient of the grace of Yagyaishwara. The karmas of such a person do not bind him because his karmas are done only for the sake of yagya. We have already seen above that he cannot be bound by his karmas. It will certainly not be inconsistent to quote the first verse of Ishavasyopanishad in the present context. 'ishavasyamidam sarva yatkinchcha jagatayam jagat| The meaning of the above verse is in consonance with the spirit of the present verses. Consume only the leftover i.e. the remnants of yagya of Yagyaishwara i.e. the Lord of yagyas. That alone is for you, which He has left for you. Consume that alone. Do not desire that, which is not for you and is for someone else. Cooking for self, amounts to cooking for the satisfaction of the craving of enjoyment. It happens when one becomes subject of the desires of ones tongue. On the one side it is an invitation to lower tendencies and on the other it is to losen the string, which connects our life with the feet of the Lord. And it amounts to losing an opportunity of getting nearer to Him. To cook for self is the worship of the stomach. It is to cook primarily for the sake of protecting ones body. It certainly cannot become worship. Of course it is entirely different if one starts perceiving Yagyaishwara sitting inside accepting the offerings or the beneficent Divine Mother, recieving the leftover as the prasad of the Deity Supreme. Then food itself becomes the worship of Yagyaishwara. And such food does not become the cause of bondage but becomes the cause of deliverance. The difference between the gross materialistic outlook of today and the spiritual point of view becomes clear. The cooking of one is done in ones own interest and the other as an offering, nay for the consumption of the deity. The materialists might say that this verily amounts to self-deception. One cooks whatever he likes and then the same is offered to the deity. What is great about it? The poor man does not know that feelings also are important. They can change

114

the course of our life. Only by his sentiments an aspirant starts living for the Lord. Gradually his life itself becomes an offering as a result of this minor change in his approach. To cook for oneself also means to earn for one self or to work for ones own enjoyments. To earn for oneself and to utilise the earning for oneself too is verily living a selfish life. The life lived in the spirit of yagya is entirely opposed to it. In that, efforts are made for the worship of the deity installed within oneself or in the house. The position of oneself is not at all of any consequence. How can a devotee consume any thing without first making an offering to the deity? A householder earns for discharging his duties and responsibilities. The concept that 'I should live lavishly even if it be for four days ' has no place in the life lived in the spirit of yagya. Cooking only for oneself and then consuming the whole of it oneself is nothing but sin. In the daily round of activities of a householder five kinds of sacrifices, 'panchmahayagya', are ordained. They are Devyagya (sacrifices for the gods), Pitrayagya (sacrifices for the ancestors), Rishiyagya (sacrifices for the seers), Atithiyagya (sacrifices for the guests) and Pashuyagya (sacrifices for the animals). All the five are required to be done every day. Eating without making offerings for the gods, balivaishavdeva, is to commit a sin. We should give a share to them whose gifts we eat. In the modern times when we look beyond the gods to the God of the gods then our feelings also change. The karma, which was earlier done in the form of a prescribed ritual, is now seen in a wider perspective. At least a part of our earnings (as far as possible ten percent of it) should be set aside to be used for those for whom we are not directly responsible from the point of view our own family like the orphans, the handicapped, the needy ones and others like them. We should also give donations to the social institutions engaged in the welfare activities of the society and work with deep commitment for the alleviation of social sufferings. We should also serve those who are devotees of the Lord, who have devoted their life for the service of the Lord. Service of the people displays in today's context a wider significance of yagya. That life in which only our own happiness and our own needs matter but the hungry children with tattered clothes of our neighbor and the misery around us has no place, is certainly not the life of self-giving, of yagya. A life in which ones own happiness is given a precedence over the sorrow, the misery of others is not the life of sacrifice. That heart has still not mellowed for the arrival of the Lord. That temple is still dark without the sweet serene light of love and compassion. The materialistic thinking of the present age teaches us to be greedy for wealth and awakens in us a craving for the enjoyments of life. The rising standards of living of these days blur ones vision and make ones ears deaf. Oh! Even the misery of the miserable fails to move him. The wealthy weaves such a web around him that he cannot see wherefrom he could save to help the miserable. How very true, I feel today, are the words of saint Jesus Christ that the doors of God are closed for the rich, for the wealthy? The world has gone blind with its greed for wealth and craving for the enjoyments of life. The present day life, for this reason, is not the life of selfgiving, of yagya. And it is the reason why there is everywhere today nothing but sorrow and suffering. But all this is not the fault of money. Instead it is the fault of our greed and of our craving for enjoyments. That needs to be restrained, to be got over. Do not consider wealth as your ancestral legacy but consider it as a gift of the God. Then only will you be able to give it to others. Give, give, and give more. Give as much as you can. This life is meant only for giving to others. It is for removing the miseries of others. Today this alone is the purest, the most comprehensive, form of a yagya. The meaning of yagya is to sacrifice ones self for the good, for the well being of others. This is the live worship of the Lord, Yagyaishwara.

115

Nothing will happen today by giving ten offerings in the sacrificial fire i.e. the Balivaishvdeva. Yagyaishwara, the Lord, is asking us today to make an offering of our life itself. And for that one will have to transform ones entire perspective and behaviour in keeping with the spirit of yagya, of sacrifice. One will have to live and die for the sake of others. This verily is the living embodiment of the spirit of yagya today. This alone is the practical principle of service. The concept of sacrificing for the gods (balivaishvdeva) connects us with every one, with animals, with birds and even with the gods. This small offering given in the right spirit gives us an opportunity to express our gratitude to the entire universe? The human vision does not confine itself to the human world alone but covers in its reach the entire creation itself. How lofty are the prescriptions laid down by the seers (rishies)? Even while giving offerings in the sacrificial fire known as (balivaishvdeva) it will be necessary for us to make offerings on a bigger scale to move from the present to the bigger balivaishvdeva. Then alone will the life transform into a real perennial yagya. Then alone will the devotion to karma be able to find a true base for itself. annad bhavanti bhutani parjanyad annasambhavah | yajnad bhavati parjanyo yajnah karmasamudbhavah || (14) karma brahmodbhavam viddhi brahma 'ksarasamudbhavam | tasmat sarvagatam brahma nityam yajne pratisthitam || (15) "From food come forth beings, from rain food is produced and from the yagya comes rain and yagya itself is born of karma ". (14) "Know that karma is born from Brahma. Brahma came from the imperishable Brahman. Therefore, the all pervasive Brahman is ever present in yagya". (15) It was said in the last verse that the one who cooks for oneself eats only sin. What then is cooked? Food is cooked. And food has a close relationship with yagya. This we come to know from the14th verse. Yagya is born from karma. Yagya is not simply a feeling. The yagya is possible only when feeling descends in the field of activity in the form of karma. Yagya is impossible without doing karma i.e. without involvement in physical and mental activity. Therefore, yagya is born of karma. Water laden clouds are formed by yagya. Water laden clouds give rain. In other words yagya causes rain. There has been a very strong belief that when a yagya is performed, the god of rain (Indradev) becomes happy and gives rain. During time of drought grand yagyas were performed and are still being performed. It is mentioned in the Brahmnical literature that gods are under the control of their respective hymns i.e. mantras. Therefore, performing appropriate yagya according to the prescribed rituals could certainly give rain and the other required boons were also possible through similar forms of yagyas. For getting progeny, 'putraishthi' yagya used to be performed. There are many examples of successful performance of yagyas of this kind in the Puranas. There was a whole science of yagyas. This much is certain and can be experienced also that the subtle forces of nature could be influenced though the specific hymns (mantras). If something is within the control of the gods then that can surely be gained through the mantras. There seems to be nothing surprising in this. But now this science seems to have almost disappeared. It also appears that the gods who used to accept those offerings in those days were of different kind. The gods who are worshiped in the present age are of an entirely different category. It does not at all appear surprising that by performing yagyas rains were caused. The belief of those persons was perhaps based on their experiences of that time.

116

Food is produced when it rains. Food is not produced without rain. In those days, production of food was entirely dependent on the rains. The use of artificial methods of irrigation, if at all they were used, was negligible. Inspite of the growth of so many new techniques, production of food is still primarily dependent on rains. The beings have life where food is available. It is only by food that the gross physical bodies are nourished. In this way food has a close relationship with yagyas. So the food, which is produced by the grace of yagyas should be cooked for the gods and should be consumed only in the form of its remnant. That alone is appropriate, otherwise its consumption would amount to an act of theft and an act of sin. For this reason the traditional idea of doing work has to be carried forward. The Imperishable Brahman is established in the yagya. Consequently yaga is a worship of the Lord. It is ordained by Him and is a unique means of becoming close to Him. Karma is born from Brahman. In the present context the word Brahman has been used for the Vedas and yagya signifies the sacrificial fire. In those yagyas gods were worshiped through the offerings of food. The word yagya has been used with this meaning in the verse given above. The word yagya symbolises presently the most comprehensive form of sacrifice. The mode of performing those yagyas has been prescribed in the Vedas. The works known as Brahmnas, a part of the Vedas, specifically deal with such rituals. Kalpasutra etc. are also part of the Vedas and details of yagyas are prescribed therein. Yajurveda also prescribes the yagyas. Therefore, the karma related to yagyas is born from the Vedas. The Vedas are born from the imperishable i.e. the akshara. What is this akshara? An answer to this question is to be found in chapter 15. dvav imau purusau loke ksaras ca 'ksara eva ca | ksarah sarvani bhutani kutastho 'ksara ucyate || (verse16 of chapter15) "In the world, the perishable (kshara) and the (akshara) are the two forms of existents. All the perishable existants are called kshara and the imperishable existent is called akshara". (16 of 15) The immutable eternal Existence (kutastha) is the imperishable (akshara) Brahman. Sutastha means that which remains firm or stable at a spot like a pole; the unchanging, fixed, eternal and devoid of any modifications is the imperishable existent or the akshara Brahman. Vedas are also Brahman but they are not akshara Brahman. Vedas are also not the allpervading Brahman. Through the use of these two adjectives, the difference between the two meanings of Brahman has been clearly brought out. The akshara Brahman is a Conscious Existence, which is called purusha by Samkhya in contrast with prakriti. This is, however, another form of the Lord, Purushottama. The Vedas are born from the akshara Brahman. Brahma jee received the Vedas from this Conscious Existence. That Supreme Existence alone is the origin of all existents. Therefore, that akshara Brahman is the prime origin of yagyas too. The father dwells in the son and the father of that father i.e. the grand father, dwells in the father of the son. The grand father, therefore, also dwells in the son of his son. The same concept applies here also.

117

Therefore, the all-pervasive Brahman is always, everyday, present in the yagyas. The Vedas are from the Brahman and the yagyas are from the Vedas. Thus Brahman dwells in the Vedas and the Vedas in yagyas. Therefore, Brahman dwells in the yagyas too. The sarvagata i.e. all pervasive, is the one, which is present everywhere or which is already found to exist everywhere. Ordinarily, it is called the all pervasive i.e. that in which everything dwells and which dwells in every thing. In the second chapter also while describing atman, 'nityah sarvagatah sthanu' was used. (verse 24) In fact there is no difference between the self-awareness (atmanbhav) and the imperishable (akshara) Brahman. And after showing the importance of yagyas in this manner, the present topic is being concluded in the next verse evam pravartitam cakram na 'nuvartayati 'ha yah | aghayur indriyaramo mogham partha sa jivati || (16) "The life of the one, who does not move with the cycle set in motion in this manner is the one who delights in the pleasures of the sense organs. His life is sinful, is lived in vain". (16) The cycle of yagyas is continuing in this world. Every one sacrifices for others. All existants in this universe, from each one of the atoms to the gods, sacrifice their existence for the sake of others. By that sacrifice alone the process of the universe continues. The cycle of yagyarain-grain-existent, mentioned in the 14th verse, is a very small portion of that grand yagya. Yagyaishwara, the Lord, has set this cycle in motion. He dwells in this cycle in the spirit of, nay in the very form of yagya. Any one who has entered into this cycle should keep the cycle moving by extending his helping hand of co-operation and by pouring in his own offerings in this yagya. By this alone will he be benefited? This is his duty. And this is also the law of evolution. It also unites him with Yagyaishwara, the Lord of yagyas. What is the state of those who do not live their lives in the spirit and form of yagya, who do not discharge their duties towards others as well as the society in which they live, who are not prepared to make any sacrifice, what-so-ever, who do not want to move with the current of the spirit of yagya? They are the 'indriyaram' i.e. those who delight in the pleasures of the sense organs, and consider them to be the biggest achievements of life and are the ones who can sacrifice their lives for them. Craving for such enjoyments is the prime inspiration for their lives. They are 'aghayu' i.e. the sinners. The word 'agha' is used for sin. Their life is sinful. And sin is the cause of our downfall. Under the influence of our passions and anger we commit sins inspite of our not wanting them to be done. In whose life, passions are of prime importance, how can he remain in possession of his power of discrimination? He surely will tend to commit sins. In such a life there can only be the rule of lower tendencies. It is a highly demonaic state and is a sign of demonaic wealth. There should be no doubt about it that a life without yagya is a sinful life. That life is spent in vain, in which we do not make any progress in the course of our evolution or are not able to work for the good of others or are not able to help the society in taking a forward stride. Such a life is surely unrewarding, is futile. What is the truth of living such a life? It could be thought by anyone that pleasures are meant for enjoyment. But are such pleasures ever stable in life? Does a plesure not bring pain alongwith it? Does it not increase all the more indulgence in such pleasures? Does a person get any lasting benefit out of it? Through those pleasures a person simply weakens his energy, reduces his life and evidently darkens his future also. He just accumulates misery for himself and for others. Such life is not only useless but is also harmful.

118

How emphatic is the language! The ideal of the present age is simply to enjoy the pleasures of the senses. The higher values of live are only confined to thought or speech. In our practical life, all our tendencies are directed towards getting more and more of the pleasures of the senses. The higher ideal of yagya, of sacrifice, of self-giving seems to be a distant, a remote dream. We keep on dancing like puppets in the hands of lower tendencies. For changing the course of life, its direction has to be changed. The direction keeps of changing of itself with the change in the ideals of life. And changing the ideals means totally changing the scale for measuring the values of life and changing the entire outlook towards life. We are not here for our pleasure or gain. Our prime purpose is to offer our life as sacrifice, as yagya, which life basically is. In that alone lie our good and good of the universe, which is wider totality. That alone comprises devotion to karma and is the spiritual discipline (sadhana). We have the right only to those enjoyments, which are received as the remnants of yagya. Any effort made for the sake of obtaining the said pleasures is a misuse of ones energy, is a vice and also a sin. Does this law apply to every one? Is there any exception to this law? An answer to this question has been given in the next verse. yas tv atmaratir eva syad atmatrptas ca manavah | atmanny eva ca samtustas tasya karyam na vidyate || (17) nai 'va tasya krtena 'rtho na 'krtene 'ha kascana | na ca 'sya sarvabhutesu kaschid arthavyapasrayah || (18) "But the person who only delights in atman, who is content in atman and is also satisfied in atman, for him there is nothing to be done". (17) "For him there is no purpose in doing anything nor any purpose for not doing anything. Neither does he have any self-interest with all beings". (18) There is a clear direction for Arjuna in the 16th verse itself. The karma of fighting is itself a yagya. 'You will certainly have to do it. 'Because the not doing of it will come to wasting your entire life'. But this principle of practicing karmayoga in life certainly cannot apply to every one. A person can also attain a state wherein he transcends the necessity of doing karmas, as then there remains nothing for him to do. That very state has been described in these two verses. All the three adjectives have been used for that one state: 'atmaratih', 'atmatrptah', and 'atmanaiyav santushtah'. The one who rejoices in the atman is called atmarati'. And to rejoice in means to take delight in. The one who dwells in the senses is an'indriyaram'. Similarly, the one who dwells in atman is 'atmaram' or 'atmarati'. As long as a person does not find the source of bliss within himself, as long as he does not experience himself in the blissful state till then he continues to search for it in prakriti. He makes efforts to have happiness through the senses, the mind and the intellect, with the result he gets bounded by the impulses of the prakriti. It goes without saying that he gets indebted to it and also gets unhappiness with it. But when he gradually awakens to the Self within him then he understands that he himself is bliss incarnate. When a person experiences that bliss of the Self, he desires no happiness of the outside world. Only a small portion of the bliss of the atman manifests itself in prakriti. Pleasure is not in enjoying external objects or events or people but is deep within oneself. When a person experiences this bliss of atman, he needs no happiness of the outside world. This is atmarati. This is the exuberance, the delight of ones own existence.

119

'Atmatrptah' is the one who is contended with himself i.e. with his own Self; is the one, who does not require for his contentment any experience from prakriti. There is a very small difference between delight in oneself (atmarati) and contentment with oneself (atmatripti). Rati is a state of inebriation. It is a blissful state. Contentment is lack of expectation for external objects of pleasure. There cannot be a state of inebriation without contentment. When there is contentment there is bound to be this state of inebriation. The absence of passions, of mental desires, is the cause of contentment. 'Atmanaiyav santushtah' i.e. the one, who is satisfied with the Self. There is satisfaction only in the supreme state of gain. As long as there is a feeling of any kind of want there cannot be this state of satisfaction. As long as there remains a longing for the higher experiences and yearing remains unsubdued one is not said to be satisfied. When that too is of itself pacified then only the state of satisfaction comes to stay. Then wandering comes to an end i.e. becomes a thing of the past. Whatever had to be gained that has already been gained. All these three adjectives seem to refer to the pacification of the desires relating to the sense organs, the mind and the intellect, respectively. The state, which has been described, cannot be attained till the sense organs, the mind and the intellect are not totally subdued. The feeling of lack of any kind is indicative of having not achieved that state as yet. That state is one of perfect freedom. No expectation of any kind exists. No purpose of any kind is left for prakriti to serve. The person gets beyond the bonds of the mind, the intellect and the sense organs. A person becomes free from the bonds of karma by doing it as a sacrifice, as a yagya. His consciousness firmly establishes in the awareness of the self or atmabhav beyond egoism. The bond of primal avidya or ignorance is broken. And while living in prakriti he lives beyond it. He does not owe any debt to prakriti. In such a state evidently duties come to an end. His karma in no way can influence him. Therefore, there remains nothing that he should do. There are duties only if his ego persists, if there are possibilities of his development through performing his karmas as duties. When that is not there then there are no duties to be done. He becomes just a witness of the entire cycle of yagya. For, his own individual self and interests dependence on it is totally erased. This has been clarified in the 18th verse. He has no interest for in doing any thing. Normally doing of any karma affects the doer and a tendency is formed by which he gets the results but such a person is in the state of naishyakarmaya. Therefore, there is no effect on him of whatever he does. No tendencies are formed. So the fruit of his karma also does not stick to him. Whatever he does becomes like a line drawn on the surface of water. He has no concern with not doing of any thing. Even by not discharging his duties, tendencies are formed in an individual. 'Oh! I should have done that. I have not done that. I will incur sin or will have to face public-criticism.' Such thoughts are sure to arise in anyone so long as a person has an ego and a sense of doership. But when he goes beyond the ego he does not think so. If some thing is done, it is well and good and if it is not done, then too it is equally good. Even while doing anything there is no feeling, that 'I am doing it'. And in something done there is no awareness that it was done by me or that I was doing it. How could there be any joy or regret for him in such a situation? It should not at all be surprising if such a person is beyond the bonds of duty. There is no duty for a child. He does not understand it. He cannot have any awareness of 'need'. But when he grows big then he starts thinking like this. Then duties are prescribed for him. For a fool and for a lunatic also there is no duty. There is no duty for an animal as well. Similarly, there is no duty for a saint.

120

Not only that, for a saint, both right and wrong are the same. The distinction between virtue and vice ceases to be of any consequence to him. He cannot feel any thing to be bad the way it is felt by us. A queer evenness permeates in his interior. For that reason he accepts every thing evenly i.e. without the distinction of good or bad. He is able to embrace both a saint and a dacoit evenly i.e. with the same feelings. For him the Lord is present everywhere, in all activities of the universe. This is a state totally beyond selfishness, as one has no purpose of ones own to achieve nor is there any personal desire of any kind to fulfil. How can there be then any reason for him to use others for his own interests? It is a child-like state. The saint plays in the lap of the Divine Mother. He dances to Her tunes. He himself is not at all worried about his welfare. As a mother is worried for her child, so does the benign Divine Mother worry for him. How blissful is that state? In fact he fully reflects the spirit of yagya in himself because there is no egoism felt in him, which could awaken in him a tendency opposed to yagya. But he cannot be also called as one imbued in the spirit of yagya. Whatever he is that is not due to his own will, his own resolve, his own determination. To whom should credit be given for his being what he is? He is one with the Lord, Yagyaishwara. The will of the Lord, Yagyaishwara, is realised through him. We do not have any evidence to presume that in such a state a person cannot work. Of one thing one can be sure that motive for the karma to such a person will certainly not be in prakriti. He does not feel any deficiency within him and so how could there be any effort for its removal. But such a person can surely be moved by the resolve of the Supreme Lord. From the worldly point of view he could be a great person doing great deeds. But what he will be and how he will be is not in his hands. It will be in the hands of the Lord. Even while doing karmas his internal condition remains the same, as while not doing any karma. This is then the unmistakable evidence of that state. In the medieval age there were many saints of a very high category. They were not the ones who were indolent. They were the householders and lived a normal life. They were the rulers and taught the right path to people. Kabir, Nanak and their disciples were saints of this category. But Arjuna was a child from the point of view of sadhana. For him this state was fairly distant for him. He could have moved forward placing this state as his goal before him. He was asked to do his duty, his svaddharma. The Lord was inspiring him to make an offering of his efforts, of his skills and expertise of fighting as a warrior and, if it became necessary, offer his very life in that yagya in the form of a war. The same thing has been said in the next verse. tasmad asaktah satatam karyam karma samacara | asakto hy acaran karma param apnoti purusah || (19) "Therefore, do properly the karma that has to be dome, free from attachments. A person attains the supreme state by doing karmas without any attachment." (19) You are even now an aspirant (sadhak). You should perform your duty as your sadhana continuously and relentlessly for this alone is worth doing for you. The karma before you and the one, which is to be done by you, is your own duty (svadharma). For you today it is to engage in war, which surely should be done by you. But do that as your duty only, casting aside the attachment. Do that as spiritual practice (sadhana), as an offering to the Divine, as yagya. This higher feeling is absolutely necessary. It has been explained above` that the imperishable or the akshara Brahman is present in the yagya. Therefore by doing karma in the form of an offering one is sure to attain that Brahman supreme dwelling in the yagya. The karma done without attachment itself could be a form of

121

yagya. If there be any tinge of personal attachment in doing of karma then that karma cannot be a form of a yagya. The expectation of the fruit of karma prevents it from becoming a form of yagya. Therefore, that cannot be a means for attaining the supreme Brahman. After engaging in an elaborate discussion of philosophical implications and after having shown the path to Arjuna, the Lord confirms it by giving an illustration of the same. And for that very purpose He gives an argument from the worldly point of view-karmanai 'va hi samsiddhim asthita janakadayah | lokasamgraham eva 'pi sampasyan kartum arhasi || (20) yad-yad acarati sresthas tad-tad eve 'taro janah | sa yat pramanam kurute lokas tad anuvartate || (21) "Surely Janaka and others must have attained the state of perfect realisation by doing karmas and you should also do the same (fight) for the sustenance of the world". (20) "Whatever well placed persons do (in the society), the same is copied by others as well. Whatever standards they setforth the world follows." (21) Janaka67 and others had attained perfection by doing their karmas. Janaka was a realised soul. He was a wise person (knower of truth). Seers (rishies) of eminence used to come to his assembly. Vyas jee had sent his son Sukhdev jee to Janaka for being educated. There cannot be any doubt that Janaka was a perfectly realised soul. We do not know if he ever had gone to the forests leaving behind every thing for the sake of his sadhana. He had made his royal duties i.e. governance of the state, as the sole means of his spiritual elevation (sadhan). He had attained the supreme state simply by doing his duties. 'You can also do what Janaka could do. Janaka was a warrior (kshatriya) and you are also a warrior (kshatriya) '. Not only Janaka but many other kings also had been the followers of the path of devotion to duty. We will come to know of them in the beginning of the fourth chapter. After saying this, the Lord advised Arjuna saying that even from the worldly point of view 'you should fight for the sake of public good. If a highly proficient warrior like you getting disinterested towards war will leave the battlefield considering it a heinous act, then the very concept of the duty of a warrior (kshatra-dharma) would be sadly damaged. And the requirement of doing the righteous acts (kshatra-karma) by a warrior would coimpletely vanish from the society and the same would surely be disintegrated. Just because you happen to be respectably placed today in society, you have a responsibility on your shoulders. You cannot, therefore, do whatever you want to do. You will have to take care of your followers. Hoping that they will be following you. You will also have to guard the ideals of public morality. Sometimes you will have to sacrifice your personal interests for the sake of public good. After all how could you be so selfish?' The problem was a very serious one? Should Arjuna do that very karma just for the sake of preserving the ideals of public order which he considered to be against his own interests and sinful? The answer of the Lord most surely appears to be 'yes, it should be done'. If a person has understood that the norms of social ethics are for the good of everyone and its continuance is desirable then he will have to sacrifice himself at the altar of the society. Of course, it will be an entirely different matter if one considers the prevalent norm of the society to be harmful and so considers that new ones need to be established. Then evidently he should act
67

Janaka: Janaka was the king of Mithila. He was the father of Sita. He was regarded as a great saint and was respected even by great saints of his times.

122

in a way to establishment the new norms for the society. This alone is the message of the life to be lived in the spirit of yagya or sacrifice. One should be willing prepared to sacrifice his interest nay life for the good of others as well as the society. This is the sacrifice of ones gratification and also the manifestation of spirituality in the practical form. This is the highest form of sacrifice and in this lays the true secret of ones social behaviour. And no sacrifice can be greater than the one done for public good. The western thinking, which is based on the satisfaction of the individuals' likes, starts protesting against the demand of such a lofty sacrifice. Should we totally trample ourselves? Should we put an end to ourselves, to our own personality? If by making such a sacrifice others are benefited then surely that sacrifice will have to be done willingly and with pleasure. On the contrary if our gratification is harmful to others then surely that has to be rejected. Yes, it must be said that where social norms and bindings assume the form of social oppression, where they have become hurdles nay chains in the growth of the society then the demand of the spiritual behaviour verily is that such norms should be changed even if it is possible by giving up ones own life in sacrifice. The objective should be clear before us. The desire to sacrifice should remain constantly vibrant in us and there should not be any effort made in haste or out of impatience. There should be no desire to get things done in a hurry. The Lord knew that the duties meant for the warriors (kshatra-dharma) were necessary for the society. That without a high sense of duty the society could not survive. Therefore, in unambiguous words he told Arjuna that he should fight. Sometimes even public-criticism is also beneficial. The fear of public criticism is a deterrant, which saves the immature minds from doing evil and makes the mature seasoned people pure and fearless. For the people who cannot discriminate between good and bad, the fear of public criticism is the only means to keep them on the right path. They have to live in the society and we also have to keep them there. They are like our younger brothers. Sometime before we were also in their state. In coming times they will also be able to discriminate between the good and the bad. There may be some activities, which despite being correct and proper may still not be worth doing from the social point of view. The observance of social norms is in the interest of the society and so these have to be observed. The sacrifice that may be required from us while observing them is nothing but yagya. That sacrifice purifies a person and elevates him. An enlightened and elevated person is fearless. He is not afraid of public criticism also. If he does or does not do any karma, he does so only with an eye on the social interest. In fact, Arjuna was not in such an enlightened state. As long as personal problems are considered important, the entire behaviour centers primarily on ones personal point of view. Arjuna was deeply distressed. And so he could not even think of public good. He could not even have imagined of making such a great sacrifice. When personal problems cease to worry a person then only his eyes open. Then selfish interests become of secondary importance. Then alone one is able to sacrifice for others. This also is the limit of human nature. But what the Lord had said was absolutely correct. While being practical, it is at the same time a spiritual approach. It is spirituality incarnating in the practical life. It is a lofty ideal of service, a glimpse of the life of yagya and is also the truth of life. Some people may call such behaviour as false, deceptive or filled with pride. And it could be thought that a particular conduct was done just for the sake of public recognition or appreciation. But, if our motive is to sacrifice something i.e. to work for the wider public good then that behaviour is absolutely correct. And it will be beneficial both for the individual as well as for the society.

123

Usually people have two tendencies. One is the tendency of revolt, to resist, to oppose or to take revenge due to which the social bindings appear to be wrong to us and unnecessary. Besides there is an impatience within us to radically change every thing, nay to first destroy every thing and then changing it. The other tendency is the inherent desire to go in for public recognition as well as appreciation. We act fearing public criticism. We just move along with the demands of the society without making any discrimination between right and wrong. The behaviour done under the influence of the two motives is never of a lofty kind. In both of them it is our ego that deceives us and the correct understanding of the good of the society does not awaken in us. In the course of the spritual sadhana itself both these tendencies get weakened. And only then ones conduct becomes appropriate i.e. in keeping with the requirements of the situation. Society for us is the field of our spiritual practice (sadhana), and so it is the field of service too. This should not be forgetten that the Lord resides in it i.e. in the society. Therefore, it is the means of our worship. Whatever was said in the second half of the 20 th verse has been explicitly stated in the 21 verse.
st

It is a law of the world, of the society in particular, that the young ones follow the elders. Right from ones childhood the tendency of imitation is present in a man. In a very few persons of the society discrimination is seen to be present. 'Gatanugatika lokah' the rule is to follow each other. Consequently, the wellplaced persons and the leaders in society have a special responsibility. They do not have to act only for themselves but have to act for the education of others as well. They should always keep in mind that others will follow them. Whatever is approved by them and observed in their behaviour and conduct that becomes a standard and is followed by others and they act accordingly. For upholding the propriety of social norms relating to the fidelity to husbands, Shri Rama had expelled from his house a virtuous, faithful and devoted wife like Sita jee. It was not only painful for Sita jee but was no less painful for at least Shri Rama. It indeed was a great sacrifice and that was the demand of his deep commitment to duty. Shri Rama was 'maryada Purushottama' and was pledged to upholding the norms of the society. So he sacrificed Sita jee, dearer to him than life itself, who was about to become the mother of his child, and for whom he had killed a mighty warrior like Ravana with his big army of demons. People call it a great injustice done to her by the society. But those who do understand the spirit behind that act call it a big sacrifice for the sake of preserving the social norms and the higher ideals incarnate in them. There is no doubt that in the end spiritual perspective transcends all norms. In the end one has to leave ones dependence on all ethical norms and values (dharmas). For us no ethical norm or duty is higher than the Lord and in the path of the Lord nothing has any independent existence of its own, neither any norm nor any ethics, for nothing remains dearer than the Lord. But duties can be accepted from the Lord. One must always be prepared to part with whatsoever is asked of us by the inner spirit, most willingly and most happily. This is my firm conviction that a serene spirituality is able to adjust with our social norms. All spiritual people had to fight with the undesirable prevailing currents of thoughts of their times and they had often sacrificed for the same. Jesus Christ, Shamastbarej, Guru Teg Bahadur, and Mahatma Gandhi, all come in this category. For the sake of their convictions these people had willingly and happily sacrificed their lives. The life of a noble person is never lived for himself for his self-interests. He has to sacrifice his freedom for the wider interests of the universe i.e. for the sake of public good. That alone is the path of his wellbeing of his good. A person who lives his life with this motive and willingly pays the price for the same, his life is highly auspicious.

124

The Lord now gives his own example as evidence thereof na me partha 'sti kartavyam trisu lokesu kimcana | na 'navaptam avaptavyam varta eva ca karmani || (22) yadi hy aham na varteyam jatu karmany atandritah | mama vartma 'nurvartante manusyah partha sarvasah || (23) utsideyur ime loka na kuryam karma ced aham | samkarasya ca karta syam upahanyam imah prajah || (24) "O' Prathaputra (Arjuna)! For Me there is no duty in all the three worlds, nor is there anything yet to be attained by Me which is not available to Me, even then I am continuously engaged in work". (22) " Most certainly if ever I do not do karma, free from lethargy, people will follow my path in every manner" (23) "If ever I do not do karma, these worlds would fall to ruins and I would become the cause of confusion and destroy the creatures, the people". (24) Shri Krishna had not till then given any introduction of his Supreme Divinity. He was the most glorious person of his times. He had an exceptionally renowned position in the society. He was the ruler of a state and in the same strain he spoke. He gave his own example. Look at me! I have no binding of any kind. I am also beyond all bonds of duty. I dwell in the state, which has been mentioned earlier. I am atmarama i.e. the one who is contended within and is deeply satisfied. In the three worlds I do not have any duty or responsibility of any kind. Nor do I have any feeling of want for anything for which I should work. Even then I do work.' A person does karmas due to his bonds due to the external bonds, which are known as duties or due to the internal bonds known as the feelings of a want or a deficiency. This is the state of ordinary persons. But a liberated person does karmas with some other inspiration. The Lord himself gives the answer in the next verse (verse 23). People normally follow the same path, which I tread. My own acts are considered as standard and are followed. Subjects follow the king. So whatever a king does, his subjects start doing accordingly. The hairstyle of the king, the design of his clothes he wears and the way he talks all become very popular amongst his subjects. Whatever a king likes, that becomes the fashion of the day. The best way to teach is to set an example of oneself before the public. An oral teaching is far less effective than teaching by setting an example. Teaching contrary to ones behaviour can hardly change the behaviour of others but our behaviour can change their behaviour without the use of any word. Jesus Christ wanted to teach the lesson of humility to his disciples. He himself used to wash the feet of his disciples having a pot of water and a towel in his hands. This conduct of his was positively more effective than mere preaching through words. If Shri Krishna were not to do his duties himself, how could he expect that others would be doing their individual duties or act according to their own assigned duties, svadharma? Only by doing their assigned duties people in general are benefited. In proportion to the efforts and devotion put in while performing their duties, people are benefited and are able to make progress in the path of their evolution. In this world also they are equally benefited.

125

The Lord in order to teach the people the lesson of devotion to duty always kept him busy doing work without any lethargy. The purpose of his doing his karmas was simply to educate people, to initiate them in the values of life. It was not for any personal gain of any kind. He had such a status in the society that he could not afford to conduct himself differently or else he would have fallen from that status. What would have been the result of the Lords inactivity, of his not working at all? This has been more clearly stated in the 24th verse. All these people would become miserable. Misery is the result of lethargy in the doing of ones own duties (svadharma). If farmers start resting then there will be a fall in their farms produce of crops. People will starve and the other necessities of the farmers like cloth, oil, salt, etc will be difficult to meet. In this way misery will be seen to prevail everywhere. If the people responsible for maintaining cleanliness do not do their work then too the society will suffer. They will themselves be unhappy and the society also will be miserable. The same condition will be of the other classes of society. Society is like a living body. If any of its important organs do not work properly the entire body suffers. That person has a very narrow vision of life who thinks that how does it concern any one if he does not work? He does not understand the secret of social life. No one is isolated in the society. Every one is a vital part of the universe, as the heart, lungs, intestines, liver, etc. are the important organs of the body. If the Lord does not do his work then there will be crisis and there will be chaos. The social system will collapse. When some one ignores doing of his duty (svadharma) then some one else has to do that work, but he is not able to do it properly and along with that his own work (svadharma) also suffers. Consequently, all activities, all functions of the society get awfully upset and all the vital links of the society get badly disrupted. If a highly placed person sets up wrong examples by not doing his work then he becomes responsible for the infiltration of such a state of disorder in the society. So if the Lord ceases to work, He will become the initiator of nay the cause of the ruin of the world. In the end, all creatures, all existents will be destroyed. This kind of disorderliness is likely to destroy the people. And soon it will become difficult for life to suvive. If the society is to survive, some kind of an order is absolutely necessary. In this way the Lord explained that without any self-interest one should be engaged in doing karma. It did not matter that Arjuna did not desire victory. For him the said enjoyments were to be gained after victory in war would be smeared in blood and so he did not want them. Let him not want them. Inspite of that he should fight the war. Because by not fighting the war he would be setting a wrong example before the people, which would have a very harmful effect on the society. And for that consequence, Arjuna alone would be answerable to society. So Arjuna must fight if not for any thing for himself, just for the sake of educating the public and for maintaining the necessary requirement of doing ones own duties (svadharma). That is the higher perspective for doing karmas and that is not individualistic, instead it is comprehensive including the society in its purview and beyond that the universe too. It is the perspective for performing ones own duties and for getting the benefits arising therefrom. It is not the constricted egoistic feeling instead is the higher feeling of the wider good of the society, nay the universe. It is not concerned with personal benefits or pain. On the other hand it is more deeply concerned with the wider good and relief of pain of the community of the society and finally of the universe itself. It is said that the Hindu culture is predominantly an individual-centred culture. It does not take into consideration the social interests. It simply revolves around the welfare of the individual and provides inspiration for the same purpose. There is no doubt that man is the basic unit of the society. And so in his development lies the development of the society. From the spiritual point of

126

view, for the individual social life is the field of spiritual practice (sadhana). But this is not all. And from another point of view, the responsibilities of a person towards the society are all related to his personal duties, his svadharma. By doing his own duties (svadharma), a person goes on vitalizing the interests of the society. If the concept of sacrifice (yagya), as stated above, is properly understood then there is no scope for such misgivings. Moreover, how very beautiful is the exposition of the responsibility of those persons, who are leaders of the society and on whom rests the responsiblity for the maintenance of the social order and also of working for the sake of educating the people in general. It is a lofty sermon of self-sacrifice for the sake of educating people. It was for the sake of public good that Mahatma Buddha had renounced his princely life. This much, however, is true that this current of thought does not cast a responsibility on every ones shoulders considering him to be a leader or an administrator of the society. An ordinary person has to observe his own assigned duties, his svadharma. That is enough for him. By doing that alone there remains order in the society. The fact is that the social order is disturbed when everyone tries to become a leader and gives his specific directions also. Leaders of this kind are cause of many troubles in the society. The state of a society in which everyone is a leader and none is a follower can be well imagined. It surely will be an entirely disordered society. The leadership, which is not naturally accepted and which is imposed from outside, is dangerous for the individual as well as for the society. The principles of good behaviour are enunciated now -saktah karmany avidvamso yatha kurvanti bharata | kuryad vidvams tatha 'saktas cikirsur lokasamgraham || (25) na buddhibhedam janayed ajnanam karmasanginam | josayet sarvakarmani vidvan yuktah samacaran || (26) "O' Arjuna! The karmas, which the foolish people do being attached to them, the wise people do the same karmas in a detached way for the sake of public good". (25) "The minds of the people attached to their karmas should not be unsettled. The wise man doing all karmas in the spirit of yoga should also make others do karmas in the same spirit". (26) The word 'public order' has been used earlier (verse 20). The meaning of this word is clear. 'Order' means to unify, to discipline. 'Public order' means the maintenance of discipline in the society. The actions of a wise man are primarily done keeping the interest of the public order in view and not for his personal considerations. He does not think that since he has no desires then why should he work? Why should he involve himself in difficulties? It is the duty of the person who has come out of the difficulties, to help others. Someone had helped him in coming out of his difficulties. He should help others in the same way. This is the tradition by which the process of evolution continues. A teacher does not have to read for himself books of first and second standards. He also knows the alphabets. But, he himself reads those books for teaching others, and reads out to them these books again and again. If he thinks that since he has read them once why should he read them again, then teaching would become impossible. One can imagine the outcome of such an attitude.

127

When the spirit of yagya fills a person, the karma does not look like bondage; to work for the interests of others becomes ones nature. One cannot behave contrary to it. One will have to work for the sake of public teaching. Externally the karma will have to be done in the same manner as others do, with the same effort and with the same dedication, and not to be irresponsibly done. Otherwise people will not take lesson from his work and it would become counter productive. There should, however, be a difference within. People normally do karmas while remaining attached to them. They get stuck with the karma and also with its result, and so get bound to them. A wise person should not get stuck with his karmas. He should do the same karma in the same manner but just by being detached to it and only for the sake of educating the public in general and for maintaining social order. Others are not placed in a state in which he is placed. For him the results of his karmas have no meaning, but for others the results alone are the motives behind. The knowledge of the alphabets has no importance for a teacher but for the children starting their formal education it is the foundation. When a teacher forgetting the level of the students starts teaching the students of things relating to his own level then the result is harmful. The students expect only that which is necessary for them. Therefore, they do not make progress and become unhappy. The scriptures are seen to contain, for this reason, many rules of eligibility. The knowledge needs to be imparted according to capability of the student. For a student of fourth standard, books of fourth standard alone would be beneficial and not those of the tenth standard. For a sick person a simple light food would be beneficial and not the heavy spicy tasty food. At one stage of life it is beneficial to work with a deep sense of attachment. For attachments awakens the dormant energy in us and impel to work. The thinking and working abilities improve. These purify a person by casting him in the furnace of pleasure and pain. Then he gradually begins to understand the meaning of detachment; without going through such experiences he cannot rightly understand the meaning of detachment and for his indolence he takes shelter in detachment. Thus he stops his spiritual evolution and sows seeds of unhappiness for himself. The minds of those persons, who are attached with their karmas and whose development demands that they work with a deep sense of attachment, should not be confused. They should not be preached detachment from karma and from its fruits. They are still ignorant and will not be able to understand and accept the preaching. If they happen to be influenced by such preaching, they will stop doing their karmas. One can ask the question, 'if they are not given proper guidance, how will they move beyond the present stage'? Experience alone is the primary means of progress in life. A ripened fruit drops just by a touch. And experiences of life prepare a person for internal perception. Then only can one fully understand whatever is preached to him from outside. Without any preparation of that kind any teaching received from the outside is not at all understood. When a person matures by experience, then he gets the necessary knowledge from the out side and there is an awakening in the inside too. It is the duty of a capable preceptor to give instructions appropriate to the state of his pupil after duly assessing it. A leader has to behave according to the state of the common people. He cannot work the way a personal teacher works. This only means that, one should not brag words of wisdom. One should himself do all such karmas, which he considers worth doing and beneficial for others. He should do these himself and make others do them too. He should himself do karmas in the spirit of yagya. He

128

should engage himself in doing karmas filled with full devotion and filled with the spirit of yagya. In the doing of karmas there is no scope for consideration whether a particular karma should be done or not. He does not have to do karmas just for himself, but by way of setting examples for others. One can feel how very unnatural such a life would be in which a person has to act only for the sake of educating the common person? What a great dependence is to be seen in such a conduct and how very unnatural is the emotion behind it? This also is a form of spiritual practice (sadhana) and should be accepted as a sadhana only. In this state also ones egoism persists, and in this state also one continues to have the feeling of ones duty to be done. This sadhana is higher than the one of a common man. One has to lose ones sense of belongingness, of me and mine in this sadhana. Therefore, it can carry a person forward very rapidly. The yoga of surrendering everything at the feet of the Lord follows this state. All responsibilities finally become the responsibilities of the Lord. One has to place oneself ones responsibilities - at His mercy. The person moves beyond the feeling of duty and non-duty because the intellect also has to be surrendered at the feet of the Lord. For him there remains only one rule, one norm and just one consideration and that is the impetus, nay, the inspiration of the Lord, which is none other than His command. Nothing then remains important in itself for him in this world neither any duty nor any thing else. Every work becomes important in the form of a service of the Lord and so is done for the good of the universe (lok-sangraha). Only His command has to be followed and as one gradually surrenders to the Divine, His will becomes all the more clear. And assuming the charge of the instrument, the Lord himself becomes its sole conductor. This is the last, the ultimate solution of the most complex problems of life. Arjuna could get peace, only after getting this very solution. The intellect, which can remain agitated and which can make a person restless, has to be surrendered itself at the feet of the Lord. All problems then get solved. Karma to be done for others may prima-facie appears as a source of botheration but it is felt so because of ones not knowing the secret of doership itself. One, who has understood the secret of doership of karmas, does not get disturbed while doing karmas. The secret of the doing of ones duty is to be discussed now. This is relevant to the present discussion. prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah | ahamkaravimudhatman karta 'ham iti manyate || (27) "All kinds of karmas are done entirely by the constituents, the gunas of prakriti. A person bewildered by his egoism believes, 'I am the doer'. (27) Who does the karmas? Does atman do it? Atman is the immutable consciousness. How can there be any activity in it? Activity is mutation; it is change. Atman is detached, neutral and all pervasive. It can never be the doer. Is prakriti then the doer? Are its qualities, the gunas, the doer? But prakriti is said to be inanimate. She is blind. How then can any karma be properly done by it? Only its proximity to purusha makes the prakriti capable of doing karmas. The consciousness of Purusha i.e. the atman, alone is reflected in prakriti and karmas are done. That consciousness reflecting in the mind, the intellect and the sense organs invests them with the ability to behave like consciousnesss itself. The Sun is a beautiful example. The Sun itself does nothing. Merely by rising in the sky, the Sun awakens the entire world of living beings. Leaving their beds, people get engaged in their

129

daily works. The animals and the birds start filling the surroundings with their noise of all kinds. Snow gets melted on the hills and water rises in the rivers. Flowers bloom and vegetation gets nourished. All this happens but for all these individual acts, the Sun cannot be held responsible. For in the same Sunlight someone does good work and someone slits the throat of someone else. The Sun remains uninvolved in any of these works. Atman is exactly like the Sun. Just by its proximity prakriti becomes active. Karmas are done. And so atman is not responsible for the doing of any kind of karma. Karmas are done by the constituents, the gunas or the modes of prakriti. Karma is an activity, a motion. The gunas of prakriti are also different kinds of movement, activity. 'Chalam cha gunavritam' i.e. activity is the nature of these constituents, gunas. The yoga philosophy (darshan) also says so. Atman is consciousness. It is pure unsullied consciousness. How can it perform any karma? The Lord has said this in verse 20 of chapter 13 also. karya karana kartrtve hetuh prakrtir ucyate| purusah sukhaduhkhanam bhoktrtve hetur ucyate ||
(20 of 13)

'Prakriti is said to be the cause of action and also of its doership and purusha is said to be the enjoyer of pleasure, pain, etc. Prakriti is feminine and purusha is masculine. We should also read verse 26 of that chapter. yavat samjayate kimcit sattvam sthavarajangamam | ksetraksetrajnasamyogat tad viddhi bharatarsabha || (26 of 13) "All physical existents, whether animate or inanimate, are born out of the union of the field (ksehtra) and the knower of the field (kshetragya). O' Arjuna! You should understand thus." This means that all beings are born by the union of the prakriti and purusha. No being, therefore, is either absolutely inanimate or animate i.e. conscious. It is all a game of mixing of the animate and the inanimate. By understanding further the secret of prakriti and purusha the present topic will become perfectly clear. In the seventh chapter the Lord has said -bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh kam ano buddhir eva ca | ahamkara iti 'yam me bhinna prakrtir astadha || 4 || apare 'yam itas tv anyam prakrtim viddhi me param | jivabhutam mahabaho yaye 'dam dharyate jagat || 5 ||
(4 & 5 of 7)

"Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and ego, these are my eight fold divisions of prakriti. This is the lower (apara) prakriti. Different from this is My higher (para) prakriti. O' Arjuna! This is the live form through which this world is upheld. This means that the Lord has two prakritis namely apara and para. Apara is the one, which is commonly called prakriti. That alone has been called the field (ksehtra) in the 13th chapter. Para is the jeeva itself i.e. life-giver' (jeev-bhuta). It is Purusha and is the knower of the field (kshetrgya). In fact both are the two prakritis of the Lord, of Purushottama Himself. They do

130

not have separate existence. Therefore, they cannot be separated. We with our limitations of the mind and the intellect we consider them to be separate realities. In fact the one reality of the Lord, Purushottama, alone plays the two roles. This is then the reason that their separation is beyond our imagination. Just as the motion and consciousness of any being cannot be separated, we cannot separate motion and consciousness from any activity. Seen from the human point of view every activity is the combined result of the two faculties of motion and consciousness. Of course, there certainly can be a difference of predominance. Keeping this concept in mind it appears that the words 'it is said' have been used in the 20th verse of chapter 13 and not the words 'perfectly like this'. This, in fact, is the truth. This is also the view of the Gita but this point of view becomes clear only gradually. The doctrine of Samkhya is based on the distinction between the inert and conscious. Prakriti is inert and purush is conscious. Prakriti is comprised of gunas and has activity, and consciousness is pure and devoid of activity. This is the final conclusion of this doctrine. It does not consider the existence of any other reality beyond them. Activity, however, takes place only due to an association between the two. But the activity is possible in nothing else than prakriti. For, that alone is mutable. Purush, being pure consciousness, is immutable and so non-doer. It is lame, handicapped and is just an eye. By its sight alone prakriti gets its direction and gets activatied to perform karma. If there is doership in Purusha, it is just that it can see. Karmayoga moves alongwith the doctrine of Samkhya. When the karma attains the status of karma Brahmarpana yoga (4th chapter) then crossing the limits of the doctrine of Samkhya, it merges with Purushottama and becomes the Purushottama yoga of the Gita. This concept has been gradually developed. The Lord has given a higher dimension and status to the ordinary motives of life by refining them and making them great in the Gita. The present verse is based on this very doctrine. In verses 25 and 26, the Lord has already given the direction that the wise persons should do their karmas. In the present verse and the next verse an effort has been made to explain to them that doing the karmas would cause them no harm. In fact all kinds of karmas are done by the constituents, the gunas, of prakriti'. Karma is an activity. The gunas of prakriti are of the nature of motion of prakriti and karmas are the diverse expressions of those movements. Purush is the immutable consciousness and is merely a witness. He is the spectator of the play of prakriti. Forgetting this fact and coming under the influence of egoism it identifies itself with the formations of the gunas of prakriti i.e. the mind, the intellect and the sense organs. It considers itself as the mind and feels that I am happy or unhappy. One also has the feelings that I am attached to someone or not so attached. In fact all these aberrations are of the mind. Atman does not have them. In fact how can it have these changes, being immutabe? Similarly, atman having identified itself with the intellect thinks that it decides and commits mistakes. But the atman neither decides nor commits mistakes. This feeling is entirely due to habit; and is just like a person feeling all the while that the spots on a mirror are on his face. And just as the earth appears to be moving when a train moves. The feelings, referred to above, are similar to that. The same kind of feeling is of the atman in regard to the sense organs. The atman has this feeling because of the ego. The veil of ignorance is cast on it. There is a lack of knowledge of the Self (atmangyan). Then due to this association, the egoism emerges and that creates all kinds of confusion. The holder of the Self (atmabhav), forgetting its nature due to egoism, starts considering it as the doer. This is the sadhana of discrimination resting on the intellect. This is the path of knowledge (gyan-marg). The yoga-vashishtha also insists upon this very concept. On the strength of this very argument Vashishthajee had asked Shri Rama to take upon himself the

131

responsibility of discharging the royal duties. This is the resolve of the followers of that path who believe that firm adherence of that alone can lead one to ultimate welfare. The next verse makes the point all the more clear. tattvavit tu mahabaho gunakarmavibhagayoh | guna gunesu vartanta iti matva na sajjate || (28) "O' Valiant one! The knower of the ture distinction between the gunas and the karma is not attached to karma knowing well that gunas play with the gunas". (28) A foolish person considers himself to be the doer. When he considers himself as the doer, he gets attached to his karmas in the expectation of its results and has the desire for their fruits. It is really difficult for such a one to be free from attachments. But the state of the knower of the truth, the ultimate reality, i.e. of 'tattvavetta', is different. What is the reality he knows? He knows all about the divisions of the constituents, the gunas, and their activities. He knows all about their divisions, sub-divisions and the tiniest of sub- divisions. The knower of the truth (tattvavetta) is the one who understands fully the nature of karma, the properties of gunas, their inter-relationships, etc. What does he know? He knows just this that the gunas alone deal in gunas. He knows that all karmas are nothing but the mutual inter-play of action and reaction of gunas. These are the movements of prakriti, which manifest in the form of karmas. The conscious reality, which is Purusha, is just a spectator. The human activities are due to the inherent tendencies or the impressions (samskaras) and the influences arising due to the external situations of life. We look at a particular object and because of the presence of our innate tendency of greed in us a desire to acquire the said object emerges. Our intellect finds a way to fullfil the desire. The sense organs follow the path set by it. The object is attained. All these activities are those of the mind, the intellect and and the sense organs. They are forms of prakriti. Therefore all these activities are merely upheavals in prakriti and we are only witnesses of all these activities. When the opposite tendencies, both internal and external, are strong then these intents get defeated. The intellect thinks, 'no, this is not a good action'. When, however, a thought of this kind is strong, the desire to obtain the object gets suppressed. This is the effect of that intellect, which is a part of the prakriti, and is the result of its activity. The same happens in the external world also. When temperature of a place rises, the atmospheric pressure of that place decreases and air quickly moves from some other place with great velocity to equalise the atmospheric pressure of that place. This brings a storm. Rains also come in the same manner. Earthquakes also come. The light of the Sun gives life here on the earth and the same gives life to the trees and plants as well and these grow. This entire play is of the prakriti. Purusha is only a spectator. According to this principle He is neither a doer nor in fact is He an enjoyer. Happiness and unhappiness are the aberrations of the mind. The feelings of honour and dishonour are also its aberrations. Sickness and good health are the properties of the body, and are the changes that take place in it. Being one-eyed or having a sharp vision is the mutation of the body. Dullness or sharpness of the intellect is the aberrations of the intellect. All these are nothing but changes of prakriti. They do not influence Purusha or atman. Purusha does not become blind or one-eyed by an injury in the eye, nor does he become sick by the sickness of the body. Likewise he does not become good by the doing of good karmas, nor does he become evil

132

by doing of evil karmas. He does not gain by success and nor does he lose by failure. In all the situations He is only an uninvolved spectator- a sakshi. Why then should one love or hate? Why should one wish for one kind of change and run away from another kind? Why should one ask for one kind of karma and not desire karma of another kind? Doing thus, amounts to ignorance or a lack of awareness of oneself. This is the basic faith of the path of knowledge (gyan-marg). A faith of this kind in oneself makes a person indifferent towards prakriti, its constituents (gunas) and the karma. Then there is no interest left in the play of prakriti. Therefore, the hold of prakriti on him ends. The person does not get entangled in prakriti. He isolates himself and gets firmly established in ones self. The success of this path is to remain totally free from all activities of prakriti. This is liberation of the self (kaivalibhav) or 'atmanishtha' i.e. abiding in the Self in isolation from prakriti and this is the result of discrimination between prakriti and purusha. Directions have also been given to the followers of this path for doing karmas. Since 'He' does not do any thing and only prakriti does it, why then should one have any objection to doing any karma? One who is the non-doer what difference does it make if prakriti does or does not do some thing? In the state of absence of attachment there could be no difference. The difference can be felt only when there is an attachment. On this very theory associated with the strain of illusonness (mithyatattva), the doctrine of Samkhya gets transformed into nay appears as the theory of illusionism (mayavad). The karma itself is in the realm of falsity, or untruth. The doership and enjoyership are also of the realm of untruth. What karma and to what purpose! The feet of a person do not remain firm on the ground. There is no place for arguments here, and no access for the intellect. The storm of the theory of illusion sweeps everything away. We do not find its mention in the Gita. This seems to remain within the confines of the old doctrine of Samkhya. To impose the theory of illusionism on the doctrine of the Gita appears to be an act of assault. prakrter gunasammudhah sajjante gunakarmasu | tan akrtsnavido mandan krtsnavin na vicalayet || (29) "People completely deluded by the gunas of prakriti get attached to the karmas born of them. The knower of the complete truth should not unsettle the ignorants who know only a part of it". (29) It has been already stated in the previous verse that the knower of the ultimate reality (tattvavetta) i.e. the knower of the truth of divisions of the gunas and the karmas, is not attached with his karmas. As opposed to him, those who do not know the truth get attached. This has been stated again in the first half of the present verse. 'Deluded by the gunas of prakriti'. The word 'moodha' means the well deluded, deeply attached, the unconscious. When a person does not have a true awareness of himself and of his situation, he is called the deluded, the bewildered. The gunas of prakriti have such effect on a person. That indestructible, immutable conscious Principle forgets itself under the influence of the gunas of prakriti and forgets as to who is he? How is he? And what he is doing? He does not have awareness of this. The play of the gunas of prakriti continues with an abundant speed. He loses awareness of his own self. He gets involved so deeply in seeing the play that he loses awareness of his own identity. The activites of the ego, the mind, the intellect and the sense organs are the play of the gunas of prakriti. Prakriti manifests itself in the form of its gunas. These are the formation of activities. Getting involved, nay getting lost in its activities, the atman identifies itself with them.

133

Therefore, it starts feeling their mutations as changes of its own. That results in the rise of attachments. For some there arises the feeling of love while for some others of dislike and one feels like getting away from them. Activities bringing pleasure are desired while others are not desired. As a result of association, of habit, the atman begins to consider itself as being drawn into the vortex of gunas instead of staying beyond them. That results then in attachments with gunas as well as with karmas. One starts feeling, 'I should be able to do this; I should not do this. Oh! Why have I done that?' Sometimes one feels happy and sometimes unhappy. In fact, all that actually happens in prakriti. The atman, which the doctrine of Samkhya calls purusha, is totally beyond all these mutations. Attachment is also not the property of atman. This is also the property of prakriti, but on account of the imposition of prakriti on the Self one unavoidably has the feeling of oneness with it. The thoughtful persons question thus -- why that imperishable, immutable conscious principle feels deluded in this manner? The doctrine of Samkhya, in fact, has no answer to this question. The answer given by the doctrine of Samkhya is that: 'we do not know how and why of it but we do know that the atman is deluded thus. That is all we know about it. We also know the way out'. The question, in truth, cannot be answered at the intellectual level. Any inquisitiveness about the principle, which the intellect cannot understand, can only impel one towards the realm of imagination and that is futile. Instead of wasting our time in thinking about such questions we should make an effort to find a way out for a forward step. If when the house is on fire one were to start thinking as to how the fire started and does not make any effort to extinguish it then that is surely foolishness. Similarly if instead of trying to get free from bonds, one were to get involved in such futile questions, then that would be misuse of both time and energy. For when the appropriate time comes, these questions get automatically answered. All this is the viewpoint of the doctrine of Samkhya. How should those who know the truth about the atman deal with such questions? This question has been answered in the second half of this verse. Earlier in the 25th and 26th verses directions have been given as to how the wise men should do their karmas and how should they also get others do their karmas for the sake of maintaining the public order. The same has been said here. There it was said, 'do not create confusion in their minds and do not generate discord on the intellectual plane'. 'Do not unsettle them' has been said here. One, who is not eligible for this knowledge suffers indigestion with this knowledge. He does not understand it for he is devoid of the ability to understand it. Therefore, the said knowledge becomes a means for encouraging either tamoguna or rajoguna in him. And the misuse of the doctrine of Samkhya is very easily possible. The doctrine of Samkhya teaches the knowledge of atman, the self. But a person cannot understand the same without proper transformation of the mind, the intellect and the sense organs. To understand the atman, the nature of the atman, not only sharpness of the intellect is required, but purity of intellect and its stability is also needed. But these days it is believed that sharpness of mind alone is enough for the purpose. If with the sharpness of the mind one can understand the complexities of science, then why can we not understand the complexities of the Vedanta? In fact, it is not so. In the Upanishad it is said: 'naisha tarken matirapanaiya'

134

'This understanding cannot be gained by arguments'. The purity of the intellect is absolutely necessary. Science is a one-sided knowledge. It can be gained by conducting experiments and also from books. The knowledge of science also requires purity but not to the extent to which it is required for the knowledge of the atman. The knowledge of the atman is the knowledge of ones own self. The reality about the self (atmatattva) can be clearly realised only when the mind, the intellect and the sense organs are restful and subdued. Because of their movements, the habit cannot die. In a shaking mirror, the real face cannot be seen. It cannot be seen even in a dirty mirror. Prakriti acts like a mirror for the atman. As soon as it becomes pure and stable, the atman recognises itself as the immutable, the non-doer and the non-enjoyer, different from prakriti, and then the delusion is removed. Therefore, the purity of the intellect is absolutely necessary. The purity of the intellect by itself brings in stability. Only rajoguna alone is the cause of restlessness and dirtiness. This was the reason why teachers demanded that their pupils should stay with them and practice celibacy. When a pupil became eligible for it then only a teacher used to impart the highest or the supreme knowledge of atman to him. The practice of Samkhya depends entirely on eligibility. But these days we can cheaply purchase this knowledge from the market in the form of books and can read them. A study of this kind without fulfilling the conditions of eligibility makes one only a pseudo vedantin (vacha vedantin) i.e. a vedantin in words only. These days all works are being made easy. There is an effort for mass production on a big scale. Similarly the people of enlightenment are being produced on a large scale but they are usually of poor quality. The preceptor should not only be eligible but he should also have implicit faith in the self i.e. be an atmanishtha, then only the awareness of the self (atmabodh) is possible. Such is the positive statement of the Upanishads. Devoid of this second requirement nothing can be obtained. In the absence of the eligibility, the knowledge of atman is not only harmful but also becomes an alibi for the abandonment of ones duties. One becomes indifferent towards life and consequently gets gradually debased. And losing the power of ones discrimination between right and wrong, he falls into a ditch. The vedantins words appear to be a cause of the present state of India. People are seem to talk of very lofty ideals but their conduct is very mean. They talk of Vedanta and its values but their character is highly deplorable. As compared to such followers of Vedanta in India their foreign counterparts are much better. There is not to be seen as much dishonesty and selfishness as is to be seen in India. This is indigestion of the Vedanta. The thought that I am a non-doer and am always pure results in the abandonment of duties in the feeling that 'what do I have to do for I am perfect. Goodness and evil is in the prakriti and not in me. One does start thinking like this but does not make any effort to purify his own Self. Shri Shankracharya while commenting upon the first aphorism (sutra68) of 'Brahma sutra' has stated that only that person is eligible for the knowledge of atman who has practiced 'sadhanchatushtyai69'. Without that practice the knowledge of atman would be harmful both for the person
68

Sutra: Ancient systematic treatises on philosophy were written in short aphorisms called sutra, meaning clues, and were intended as memory aids to long discussions on any topic, which the student had gone through with his teacher or Guru. The thought was usually very much condensed. Consequently the maximum of thought was compressed into the sutras in as few words as possible. 69 Sadhan-Chatushtyai: Literally it means four fold means. According to Shankara, the spiritual requisites for the one entitled to know higher knowledge are: (i) Discrimination between permanent and transient. (ii) Renunciation of the enjoyments of the fruits of action.

135

as well as for the society. This was the reason why this knowledge was kept a secret and transmitted only by a teacher to his pupil. 'Kritsnavit' the knower of the whole truth or the one, who knows both prakriti and purusha. The one who knows only prakriti knows only a part of it. He is 'akritsnavit'. One should keep this secret knowledge of the Self (atmagyan) to himself. By imparting it to those who are not eligible for it, one should not unsettle them from the path of their karma because that would harm them. For the karma is the path of evolution. The doing of karmas alone purifies a person and gives him stability. Not only that, it is only by doing karmas one becomes eligible for the knowledge of atman in due course of time. If our advice deviates someone from the path of his evolution then we evidently become the cause of doing him harm. To a certain extent desires help a person to make progress on the path of his evolution. It is only through rajoguna that a person can enter into sattvaguna. One cannot directly enter into sattvaguna from tamoguna. When a person with predominant tamoguna hears the talks of wisdom he sinks deep into tamoguna. Even a person with a predominant rajoguna after hearing the talks of wisdom loses the desire for doing his karmas and starts getting tamasic. Only the one who is pure, i.e. sattavic can gain from the talks of wisdom. He alone can transcend the realms of gunas. A great responsibility comes on a person who has attained the knowledge of atman. The requirement of eligibility for having that knowledge was imposed for that reason. In the hands of a person not eligible for the same, this knowledge itself gets corrupted and so does the person. That is why it has been said that the knower of the whole truth should not unsettle those who know only a part of it and should not unsettle them from the path of their karma. An 'akritsnavit' is the one who is dull. One who does not have a sharpness of understanding, of the intellect, is called dull. That is right. The incomplete knowledge surely is an evidence of his dullness. After mentioning the view of the Samkhya-yoga, the Lord gives his own view thus mayi sarvani karmani samnyasya 'dhyatmancetasa | nirasir nirmamo bhutva yudhyasva vigatajvarah || (30) "Renouncing all your karmas in Me with a dedicated mind and your consciousness fixed in the Self, free from all kinds of egoism, affections and hope, fight free from anxiety. (30) The Lord knew Arjuna very well: Arjuna was predominantly an active and emotional person. Intelligence was not at all predominant in his personality. Devotion in karma was the natural path for his progress. Therefore, the Lord was repeatedly directing him to do his karma. The direction to Arjuna was that he should fight. A wise man should do his karmas for the maintenance of the order of the world. He should not through his knowledge confuse others so that they deviate from their path of duty. The Lord now tells the way to Arjuna: 'you should fight'. Doing of Karmas by itself does not bind a person. It is attachment, which becomes the cause of bondage. The karma done in the right spirit cuts the bonds and that unites one with the Lord. This has been very clearly stated.

(iii)

(iv)

The six treasures, as they are called, viz. not allowing the mind to externalize and cheking the external instruments of sense organs (sama and dama), not thinking of the things of senses (uprati), ideal forbearance (titiksha), constant practice to fix mind in God (samadhana), and faith (shradha). The intense desire to be free (mumukshutvam).

136

"Renouncing with a dedicated mind (chitta) all your karmas in Me. Renouncement is a total, a complete abandonment. For the thing, which is renounced, one does not have the least amount of feeling of ownership in him. If, on the contrary, the feeling of having renounced persists, it cannot be said to be a renunciation of the thing. For renunciation means a total or a complete abandonment of the thing or things. All karmas will have to be totally renounced. The karmas will have to be resigned entirely - to the Lord. Physical goods can be easily given to others. How can karma be given to any one? Physical goods are given through activity in the gross and subtle things are given by subtle actions. For surrendering karma, the mind will have to dwell in the atman within us. Karma is the aggregation of all activities commencing right from ego to all activities of the gross body. For a total surrender of karma, therefore, it is necessary to have ones consciousness seated beyond the ego, otherwise, while the gross dimension of the activity in doing of a karma will be surrendered, the subtle portion of it will remain un-surrendered. It is, therefore, necessary to be totally free of any motive for doing any karma. Mind or chitta has to be firmly established in the consciousness of the Self, so that by rising above the karma the same could be surrendered. It is necessary to unite with the one to whom something is given. Therefore, one will have to unite with the Lord if karma is to be offered to Him. And in order to unite with Him it is necessary to firmly establish oneself in the awareness of the Self; one has to go entirely beyond the mind and the intellect. And for doing this, one will have to completely relax oneself just by keeping alive in oneself the feeling of surrendering karmas to the Lord; one has to enter in Him. In this manner the karmas can continue to be surrendered. As we give and receive goods, the impressions, the tendencies, latent in us, can also be exchanged. Sometimes, the latent tendencies of disease have to be borne by the one who treats the patient by giving him his blessings. Shri Ramakrishna Paramhams had to bear himself the abdominal pain of the wife of Mathura Babu. We can find many such examples, which substantiate the concept of an exchange of the buried impressions, tendencies or karmas. This renunciation is not possible without getting beyond the mind and the intellect. It cannot be realised simply through an intellectual resolve. A very intensely awakened feeling and love for the feet of the Lord alone can elevate a person; and then alone the renouncement of karmas is possible. The one, who has started staying in that state, does not need to make any special effort for the same. His karmas are of themselves surrendered to the Lord. Since he is free from egoism, he is free from the bonds of karma. For him the question of renouncing his karmas does not arise. In fact, surrender of karmas is not possible without a truly firm faith in the Lord and love for Him. And with it surrender of karmas gradually becomes natural. Pointing towards Himself the Lord has used the word 'mayee' i.e. 'in Me', revealing His Divine form, Purushottama rupa. Previously too in verse 61 of the second chapter an indication to that effect was given by using the word, 'matparah', meaning surrendering to Me. In the fourth chapter this secret has been fully revealed. For Arjuna this was the only way. He could not have had peace without having sought refuge in the feet of the Lord. And it was for this that he was being gradually prepared. All karmas have to be renounced. All karmas whatever they are, good or bad from the worldly point of view, have to be offered to the Lord. The renunciation of the one, who offers only the good karmas, is not complete and so also is that of the one who offers only bad karmas. In the eyes of the Lord goodness or badness of any karma is not as human beings see it. Neither is the Lord soiled by evil nor is He purified by virtue. A person can fully unite with Him only by completely surrendering his karmas to Him and the surrender also has to be total i.e. in all respects. One should not in any way be attached with any part of his karma.

137

The result of such surrender of karmas would mean the absence of any hope and attachment. If there is any hope for victory in war then how could there be a surrender of the karma of fighting? Hope not only binds a person, it also binds him with the karma. It was not for Arjuna to think whether there would be victory or defeat in war. If war itself did not belong to him then the question of his right over victory or defeat did not arise for him. When the karma itself has been surrendered to the Lord why should there be any expectation for its fruit? The absence of hope completes the surrender. The surrender of a karma nearing completion weakens and finally destroys hope. One can learn the process, the way of surrendering, only gradually. This is also true in regard to attachment. Any attachment with karma is indicative of the absence of the feeling of surrender. If through surrender, karma is offered to the Lord then why must there be any attachment with it? And the entire confusion was due to nothing else but due to attachment. Arjuna wanted to leave the battlefield only because of the feeling that warriors on the other side were his close relations like grandfather, uncles, teacher, etc. It was only on account of this attachment that he was confused about his duty. That attachment had to be discarded. For every thing was of the Lord, and this alone was the truth of things. And an awareness of it alone could free Arjuna from attachment. Thus free from the bonds of attachment could Arjuna fight the war. Does renunciation of karmas connote surrender? For in surrender it is necessary to have the feelings of offering something to some one. A renunciation of karmas and offering it to the Lord verily is surrender. The Lord is the recipient of that act of surrender. 'Vigatjwar,' free from fever. Fever in the present context refers to mental distress. As physical fever weakens a person physically, so the mental distress weakens a person. But mental distress weakens both the mind and the body. So the Lord instructed Arjuna to fight setting aside his distress. ye me matam idam nityam anutisthanti manavah | sraddhavanto 'nasuyanto mucyante te 'pi karmabhih || (31) "Those persons who follow My path everyday, who are filled with devotion and free from cavil are also liberated by doing karmas". (31) What path has to be followed? The path of renouncement of the karmas by offering them to the Lord is to be followed. The Lord has given direction for the renouncement of the karmas to Him. Those persons who follow the direction for surrendering their karmas to Him also get liberated. Their karmas are the only means for their deliverance. The karmas are also the means for severing the bonds and for weakening the tendencies and the passions of life. The Lord has clearly stated, ' these are liberated by doing their karmas'. This is the primal, the basic secret of karmayoga. Karma is the means. That was the message of the Gita to Arjuna and is known as dedication to doing of karmas (karmanishtha). People are seen to say 'rite gyanananna muktih' i.e. liberation is not possible without knowledge (gyan). But here it is said that liberation is to be had by doing karmas. For the karmas done with proper motives and dedication purify a person. The extent to which a person gets purified to the same extent it is possible for him to reflect the Self in him or that much atmagyan he has. The karma done with proper motive and dedication is nothing but worship. That unites an aspirant with the Lord. He not only becomes eligible for the grace of the Lord but also attains knowledge through His grace.

138

In the tenth chapter the same has been said thus tesam eva 'nukampartham aham ajnanajam tamah | nasayamy atmanbhavastho jnanadipena bhasvata ||
(11 of 10)

' By My grace I destroy the darkness born of ignorance by lighting the lamp of wisdom'. A devotee does not have to put in any additional effort for gaining knowledge. The Lord himself gives him that knowledge. In fact to the extent to which the person gets purified by doing his karmas without any attachment, in the form of sadhana i.e. as yagya, to the same extent knowledge begins to manifest in him, his bonds get removed and he becomes lighter. There is no substance in whatever is said to prove the superiority of the path of wisdom i.e. that without wisdom none can be liberated. That is merely a futile flight of the mind. The knowledge by which a person verily can be freed from his bonds is not that of the intellect. That is the light of the atman. It is the emergence of the consciousness beyond intellect. It is not possible to gain just by arguments. For that one should be internally pure and should have a strong inner craving. This conflict between knowledge and karma seems to be based on ones immature understanding or ones ignorance. The question, which remains then is -- what kind of a renouncement of karmas liberates a person? 'Nitya-nitya, a surrender of karmas is possible only with a dedicated feeling for surrender. The karmas can neither be surrendered by the aspirant nor accepted by the Lord just by a casual, an occasional upsurge of feelings. When the dedicated feeling for the surrender of karmas is present before the commencement of the karma, during the course of it being done and even on its completion then only can that feeling be said to be effective, can be said to be fruitful. And when there emerges no doubt in regard to it, can it be said to be eternal. By the surrender of karmas, only the present karmas will be surrendered then how will the tendencies created by the past karmas be erased? This question can still be asked. The surrendering of karmas unites an aspirant with the Lord and through His grace he starts having His consciousness. This descent of the Divine consciousness colours the aspirant in their Divine hue. The Lord is always free from any tendency of karma in the form of impressions (samsakars). And as a result of the descent of the Divine consciousness, the aspirant also becomes free from the tendencies created by his past karmas. The Lord is eternal and is eternally liberated. An aspirant of this kind is also liberated. In this manner the past bonds of an aspirant get removed. Two things are necessary for the worship of the Lord through surrender of karmas. The aspirant should have full devotion and faith, and he should not have any misgivings. In the absence of this supreme and unfaltering devotion for the Lord, karmas cannot be renounced nor can the Lord accept them. Only a supreme faith of this kind can awaken the consciousness beyond the mind and the intellect. And only with that awakened consciousness one can surrender his karmas. And only the one who is beyond karmas can renounce his karmas. Any element of doubt nullifies whatever any one does. To find fault in the Lord, destroys our faith, our devotion in Him. The sadhana itself comes to an end. An aspirant is verily an aspirant. How can he become so capable as to assess the Lord Himself? The present age is an age of arguments and so everyone has the freedom, the liberty, to say whatever he wants to say. But by misusing this freedom we harm none else but ourselves. And in the field of spirituality we just cut our very roots by using wrong arguments. Then even if we want to have it, we cannot

139

have devotion. The Lord can be known only by acquiring His consciousness. So any criticism before reaching that state is at best is a declaration of our own foolishness. With the attitude of having doubts, the sadhana relating to devotion, of the yoga of renunciation of karmas, can never be successful. This attitude will only annihilate our devotion, our faith in the Lord. And the karma itself will become unreal i.e. impotent and consequentially ineffective. And no benefit will accrue from whatever has been done. The nature to nurse doubts is the negative outlook. By nursing doubts we simply waste our energies. It makes a person of a skeptical nature and debases him. 'Te api' means they also. Not only are those liberated who have been discussed above but also all others get liberated. In the verses 27, 28 and 29, the sadhana according to the doctrine of Samkhya has been discussed. These refer to those who believe in the discrimination of prakriti and Purusha. That is the path of devotion to knowledge. The verses 30th and 31st are about those who have an intense faith in the doing of karmas i.e. those who do their karmas in the form of sadhana, a spiritual practice. They also are liberated. The devotion for doing of karmas removes the bonds in the same way, as does the faith in knowledge. This other path was the one, which the Lord had spoken to Arjuna. ye tv etad abhyasuyanto na 'nutisthanti me matam | sarvajnanavimudhams tan viddhi nastan acetasah || (32) "Those persons who are drowned in the fault finding attitude do not follow my teachings are devoid of wisdom. Consider these fools as the ones who have strayed from the path". (32) 'Mat is used for a well contemplated, an accepted view. In the previous verse also, 'me matam' i.e. my view, was used in this very context. The view refers presently for the direction of the Lord for the surrender of karmas i.e. the one that was spoken by the Lord to Arjuna in the 30th verse. Those who follow that view get liberated. What happens to those who do not follow that view is the subject of the present verse. They are the ones who have strayed from the path. 'Tan viddhi nastan achetsah' i.e. consider them as fools as they have strayed from the path. How forceful is this statement that those who do not follow the path of karmayoga i.e. surrendering of karmas, have strayed from the path? Is it then true to say that those who follow the path of knowledge have really strayed from the path? This is not true. That has already been stated before. They do not come under this category. 'Achetasah fools in whom the inner consciousness has not as yet awakened and whose ability to think is of a very limited quality. The term 'nashta' has been used to convey the meaning of deviation from the path. Those who have lost the path of their evolution are verily the ones beyond redemption. They will keep on wandering all the time. This happens by indulgence in falsehood and futile arguments. Faults are even found by them in absolutely clear and non-controversial path as well. The topic has already been discussed above. The karmas can be surrendered in the same manner as the goods are exchanged. A person has simply to rise above the motive of his doing karma.

140

Another wrong argument used is 'how can a bad karma be surrendered to the Lord'? Every karma has both good and bad aspects. No person can do any karma, which is entirely good. All our present karmas, irrespective of their nature, have to be surrendered to the Lord. This in turn will bring the person a nearness to the Lord and a purity of his mind. As for a person there is goodness or badness of karma, so it is not for the Lord. The nature of karma cannot even touch Him. Therefore, the fear in surrendering karma in its entirety to the Lord is sheer naivety on account of ones ignorance of the nature of the Lord. After all what has the Lord got to do with our karmas? Why should He be unnecessarily burdened? One could think like that. Of this there can be no doubt that the Lord has nothing to do with our karmas. But He does accept our deep feelings of reverence. Even an ordinary sensitive person accepts gifts given to him with love irrespective of whether or not the gift is useful to him. Then why will the Lord not accept our offerings? He does not accept them for Himself but He accepts them surely for our sake. He does that for bringing us nearer to Him, for purifying us and for making us move forward with a greater speed in the path of our evolution. Those, who are great, are selfless. The Lord is the compassionate one. He does everything for the benefit of his devotees. The one, who is circumscribed, is petty, is shallow and dissatisfied, his activities are only for himself. The one, who abides in the Self, is contended, his activities are for others and not for himself. What is seen in the life of a saint, could it not be seen to be present in the Lord Himself, in a much greater degree? 'After all what would happen by surrendering karmas to Krishna, a yadav? He is just an ordinary person but he is talking of such big things in a spirit of bravado.' Surely in that period there were people who thought so. In his lifetimes there were very few persons who had clearly recognised his Divinity. It appears that he was also questioned. In the 18th chapter (verse 71) also the word 'ansuyasch' i.e. 'free from doubts' has been used. The use of this word is perhaps indicative of the fact that he was criticised by some people. For those who considered Krishna as an ordinary person, he was surely an ordinary person. But for those who had verily recognised the Lord, Purushottama, in him he was none other than the Purushottama incarnate. Without having a proper receptivity we cannot receive even the light of the Sun. Without opening our mouth we cannot even eat the food before us. The Lord Purushottama does not coerce anybody to do any thing. He, therefore, manifests Himself only to those who have a dedicated devotion for Him and blesses them in a special way with His Grace. In my view the gospel of the Gita itself is the proof supreme of the Divinity of the Lord; for the message of the Gita could not have been delivered by anyone else. Even Arjuna did not recognise the Divinity in Shri Krishna. How many times the Lord had to tell him categorically from his own blessed mouth and also had to show him His cosmic form and then alone could Arjuna believe and develop in himself the supreme dedicated faith and devotion to the doing of karmas as an offering to the Lord, to Shri Krishna. There is nothing strange if an ordinary person does not have that faith awakened in him. Surrendering of ones karmas is verily a form of worship. The surrendering of karmas unites us with the Lord and His consciousness starts coloring us with divinity. We start becoming like Him and our impurities start getting gradually washed off. And as a result thereof knowledge emerges gradually. Rajas and tamas start leaving us. This is an easy device for getting free from the bonds of karma and thus going beyond prakriti. 'Sarvajnanavimudhams' -- absolutely ignorant of all kinds of knowledge. Such people are absolutely foolish and know nothing. They are not in the least conversant with the path of spirituality. That is why they talk incoherently.

141

An absolutely ignorant is one who does not know and even does not know that he does not know. On the contrary, he considers himself to be a scholar. Those who find fault in the Lord and in His path are like him. If they were not to consider themselves as scholars then they will not find fault with the Lord on His path. They should try to understand both by remaining peaceful within. They are, therefore, confused. Faith in the doing of karma does not develop easily. The people devoted to doing karmas do not have any noticeable external abnormality distinguishing them from others. They continue to live their lives normally and do their karmas as they used to do before. Only the feeling, the motive, the incentive sustaining the karma has to be changed. In short the outlook for doing the karmas has to be changed. The Lord has to be made the focal point of ones life. Our gross mind is unable to accept easily the importance of this very important but subtle change. That is why there are arguments and counter-arguments. In this verse the Lord has stated in a very forceful language that those who do not understand this devotion to karma, are foolish and are the ones who have strayed from the path. Arjuna was himself included in that very category. He was also speaking in the same strain that (fighting) would be sinful and would end in anarchy. There is no question of vice or virtue in devotion to karma the way it was spelt out by the Lord to Arjuna. For such devotion elevates a person from the human plane and teaches him how to do his karma without attachment. On the contrary a person entangled in petty considerations weaves a web around him and gets entrapped in the same web. The easy and simple way out is to cross, rise beyond the plane itself. And this could be easily done with an appropriate disposition towards the doing of karmas. How is the behaviour of a person regulated? This has bee discussed in the subsequent verses. Who finds the way and who keeps on wandering in quest of it? And how does all this happens are questions which have been answered. sadarsam cestate svasyah prakrter jnanavan api | prakrtim yanti bhutani nigrahah kim karisyati || (33) " All beings follow their own inherent nature, even the wise man behaves according to his own nature. What can restrain accomplish?" (33) What is the fault of those persons who do not believe in this path? Their nature is like that. A foolish person is helpless because of his foolishness and a wise man due to his wisdom. Our behaviour is just an expression of our personality and nothing else. As we are, so is our behaviour. Our mind, intellect, sense organs and the body are the constituents of our personality. As they are, so are their potential tendencies or impressions (samsakars) and nature; and so also will their activities be. So shall be our personality and our karmas will be in conformity with the said personality. The different strings of an instrument produce different notes. The vibrations of a specified string are according to its category to which it belongs. The activities of a rajasic mind will only be rajasic in quality. The pure sattavic intellect will invariably go deep. A wise man cannot keep his wisdom separate from himself. It will manifest in all his activities. Likewise the foolishness of a foolish person cannot remain hidden for long. This is indeed a universal law indeed. All beings follow their nature. The law is equally true in the inert world as well as in the realm of conscious world. The stone follows the law of gravity. The animals and the vegetation kingdom also grow according to their nature and react to the situations in which they are placed. Their behaviour is only an expression of their existence. Whatever is the nature of their existence the same is reflected in the behaviour?

142

A changeable existence is called bhuta. The same is also called becoming in English. 'Nigrah kim karishyati?' what will restraint do? What will happen with the practice of coercion? Nothing will happen. It is useless. Coercion means to forcibly change the thrust or entire course of an existent or a bhuta. As long as the outside propulsions remain powerful the new thrust given by it would remain but as soon as the outer force is withdrawn the original movement will resume its course. The existents do not change internally by such outside casual propulsions. Is there then no scope for any change? This certainly does not mean that. If the behaviour of a person could never have changed then the scriptures and all the teachings of ethics and morality would have been futile. The behaviour of a person surely can be changed, but for that his inherent nature will have to be changed. If we want to behave like a wise person, then we will have to become wise. If instead we want to do a lot of physical work, then we will have to gain considerable physical strength for that. Our inherent nature can surely be changed. All practices are based on this one truth. With the firmness of thoughts, it gets translated into karma. And by doing the same karma, repeatedly, again and again, it becomes our nature. In this manner nature itself is gradually changed. A change of ones inherent nature demands time as well as persistent efforts with a considerable patience. Those who want to change their inherent nature in no time can never be successful. Generally people consider the work of changing themselves as the easiest and perhaps for this reason they do not make persistent efforts. For the study of English, for learning medicine or engineering one has to work continuously and in a disciplined manner for several years then only success is achieved. But for changing ones Self, no thought is given or any effort is made. It is considered that just by ones resolve, one can convert oneself into gold. Consequently one fails and also gets frustrated. A change in ones inherent nature is like changing the direction of a vehicle running with great speed. In such case by suddenly turning the steering of the vehicle either the vehicle turns turtle or the steering wheel gets broken. The direction has to be gradually changed after slowing down the vehicle. The same has to be done in ones life as well. This also is a science and has its well-known rules. These can be learnt through efforts and can be practiced with patience. Whatever work we do for the first time it is difficult to do but it becomes easy to do it for the second time and still easier for subsequent times. A new habit can, therefore, be easily formed in this manner. As we think, so our mental faculties (manomaya kosha) gradually become. By putting an effort to think clearly, one can develop the ability to think clearly. Our mental faculties (manomaya kosha) change according to our feelings. By loving others we do become of loving nature and by hating others we become of the hateful nature. Through our own efforts, through our own activities we keep on building our own personality. Our karmas are the means of our reconstruction and, therefore, are of great importance. In this way our future is dependent upon our present efforts and our nature keeps on casting itself in new mould. As we wish to become so should we try to generate from within ourselves influences appropriate for it and also try to gather them from the outside world. The outer influences also can

143

be especially important in changing our nature but only after a proper understanding has emerged in us. In the present context, this much also need to be remembered that as we move ahead in the course of our evolution, we become increasingly more changeable. As compared to the stones, the vegetative realm is more progressive, the animal as compared to vegetative and the human beings are more progressive than the animals. And even in the human beings, the more advanced ones progress more rapidly. The speed of development keeps on increasing. In this verse the suggestion is for completely changing ones nature itself. Any kind of coercion will not be able to bring about stable changes within oneself. One should not, therefore, dependent on any form of coercion to bring about necessary changes. How then can a person change himself? indriyasye 'ndriyasya 'rthe ragadvesau vyavasthitau | tayor na vasam agacchet tau hy asya parpanthinau || (34) "The sense organs have a special liking or disliking for their respective objects. A person should not come under their spell. For both of them (likes and dislikes) are his enemies". (34) How does a person deviate from the path of his duty? What is that which makes him deviate from his path? Only likes and dislikes lead him astray from the path. It is natural for the sense organs to have likes and dislikes about their respective objects. The object of the eyes is form. There is an attraction for beautiful forms. It gives a pleasure to see a beautiful form. Therefore, there is an attraction towards it, as if a bond is created between the eyes and the beautiful form, which brings both of them, closer. This attraction is felt and remains in the eyes. In the same way one does not like to see an ugly form. For the ugly form creates a unique tension within oneself. The eyes try to keep an ugly object away from the very path or range of its vision. This is aversion or dislike. As it is with the eyes so it is with the other sense organs. These also have their respective likes and dislikes. Wherever there is an accord there is an attachment and where there is discord there is a feeling of dislike. The sense organs are the specialised capabilities of both knowledge and karma. Eyes are the capability of seeing and ears of hearing. The physically visible ones are the eyeballs. They are the instruments through which the capability of seeing manifests itself. These gross organs are useless without the subtle capability. Our physical life has very close relationship with the sense organs. We live by taking food only after seeing the same through the eyes. Without moving the hands how could food be procured? Our inherent intents also emerge in the sense organs. The likes and dislikes associated with the sense organs have a close relationship with inherent propensities. Animals take only that food, which is beneficial for them. His nose and his tongue tell him correctly as what is to be taken. For whatever is not in keeping with the requirement of its life, the animal runs away from it. The roots of likes and dislikes of our sense organs lie in our innate animal instincts. In whatever one finds in conformity with the continuance of life, one experiences pleasure and so there is also a liking for that. Whatever is not beneficial for the sustenance of life is disliked. On account of such feelings of likes and dislikes the process of life continues. This is the dire necessity of the process of evolution in the animal kingdom and it is inherent in the instinct of selfpreservation.

144

There arises a kind of consciousness in the sense organs and that is responsible for our feelings of likes and dislikes. We call it the vital or the pranic consciousness. This consciousness gets embodied. This also has a kind of an elementary personality. And likes and dislikes merely constitute the nature of this consciousness. Just as men have likes and dislikes so also has this physical existence. Some things are liked by it, while some other things are disliked by it. Man also has in him the ability of intuition, which gives him the ability to arouse the slumbering tendencies (samsakars) in him and to correlate them with his likes and dislikes. This way a human being starts thinking and reflection strengthens the latent tendencies or samsakars. The world of imagination also opens up and our likes and dislikes get intensified. The likes and dislikes of the sense organs influence the mind and these in turn are influenced by the mind. These gradually get removed from the original purpose of preservation of life. In this way the feeling of happiness and unhappiness ceases to be associated with its natural utility. The requirements of the mind and the prana become stronger. The vital (prana) tries to lose its earlier inertness by receiving stronger and stronger impulses from the higher plane. Therefore, there arises in the individual a demand for new and extremely powerful experiences - every day. The craving for sex and the greed for pungent food are indicative of it. Dissatisfaction is also the nature of the vital (prana). Therefore, it again and again demands very powerful experiences of the sense organs. Likes and dislikes lose their utility. The sphere of their activity begins to get increasingly circumscribed by the nature of the vital itself. And through the imaginary reflection the mind makes them strong. The use of the sense organs is for the continuance of life and for actions-reactions in the physical world, so that we may progress well on the path of our evolution. The karmayoga alone constitutes the straight path of evolution. But, the awakened likes and dislikes in the sense organs surely make a person move away from his path. The likes intensify the craving for pleasures. The sense organs desire for pleasant experiences and wish to run away from the unpleasant experiences. Our life starts centering more and more around the sense organs as our feeling of likes and dislikes become stronger by the associate experiences of pleasures and pain, respectively. The mind thinks of those objects and the intellect finds the way to achieve them. The body in turn makes efforts to achieve them. We start living for achieving the pleasures of the sense organs. The servant becomes the master. This is the misuse of life. This is the failure of life. We start living for good food and consider life meaningful in listening to good music. We consider life futile without sweet smelling fragrance and beautiful sights. In these days it is generally thought as to what kind of life is this life a life without the pleasures of the sense organs? A life without these verily is like growing as vegetables and simply rotting. This is the view of materialism. The utility of life does not simply lie in sacrificing life for the pleasures of the sense organs. It is rather its misuse and amounts to exchanging a diamond for a shell. Why does this confusion arise this confusion of turning things upside down? It happens because of the likes and dislikes associated with the sense organs. These likes and dislikes having become strong assume control of the intellect. We also lose our power to discriminate. The pleasures of the sense alone seem to be the supreme truth of life. We forget that the sense organs are for our use only. And by doing our duties through them we can progress on the path of our evolution. They are only the means of gaining experiences on earth. Since these likes and dislikes lead to such serious consequences, they have been called our enemies. The enemy causes harm to us, so do the likes and the dislikes.

145

While going on the road a horse seeing grass on the roadside feels tempted and stops. Leaving the road he starts eating the grass. His journey comes to a halt. Similar is the condition of the person traversing the journey of the life. He loses himself in the sense organs. And the sense organs are seen to waste their entire life in search of their pleasures. Therefore there is a warning that one should not come under the sway of these sense organs. One can save him by recognising his enemy. The present verse gives us the mark by which they can be recognised. A person can follow his own duties (svadharma) only if he has recognised the enemy in the form of likes and dislikes, otherwise on every step, taken by him, he will lose the way. Only own likes and dislikes prevent a person from discharging his duties. A person thinks, 'let me rest for a while; I have just now taken my food; surely I will reach in time; will all people reach there in time'. He thinks again, 'it is raining and so no one will reach in time; what will I do by reaching there in time.' The allurement of and the indulgence in the pleasures of the sense organs make a person blind. It makes one lose his discretion for the proper and the improper, and sometimes carries one to a position lower than of a beast. One should put in every effort to save oneself from such a situation. sreyan svadharmo vigunah paradharmat svanusthitat | svadharme nidhanam sreyah paradharmo bhayavahah || (35) "Ones own svadharma though devoid of merit is better than the duty of others discharged well. Even death is preferable in the observance of svadharma. The duty of another is fraught with fear". (35) The entire discussion was essentially to motivate Arjuna to follow his own duty (svadharma). The likes and dislikes of the sense organs tend to confuse the intellect of a person and deviate him from the path of his svadharma. After telling about this, the Lord in the present verse, once again, strongly advocates the primal nature of the supreme truth. In the first half of the verse a comparison has been made: On the one side of the scale is ones own svadharma devoid of merit and on the other side there is the well done self imposed duty of another. Of the two, which one is better? The svadharma even though devoid of merit is surely better. This is the categorical, the definite view, of the Lord. About the svadharma, a lot has been discussed earlier. While discussing the basic principles of karmayoga, it is necessary to understand the importance of svadharma both from the personal as well as from the social point of view. From the personal point of view, svadharma is the path of ones evolution. For a student of the third standard, study of books prescribed for that class alone constitutes his svadharma. Bringing up a child is the specific duty, svadharma, of a mother. That alone helps in the development of motherhood. From the personal point of view svadharma is that karma which can take a person forward rapidly on the path of his evolution and which is perfectly appropriate for his state. By performing svadharma no reaction takes place within us. There is no remorse. It happens in accordance with our present nature. By understanding the nature of his own personal duty, svadharma, a person is not confused. There does not arise the question of committing virtue or vice in it, nor is there any question of pleasure or pain. All these considerations are not worth reckoning. The only important consideration is its usefulness for his evolution. That alone can be the determining factor for ones svadharma in a specific situation. The meaning of this is very clear that with the change in a person i.e. in his nature, his svadharma also changes. These changes keep on molding the doer in new moulds. When the doer changes, the associated svadharma also changes. In the process of evolution, this is

146

perfectly natural. From birth in the serving class (shudra-yoni) to the business class (vaishyayoni), then in the warrior class (Kshatriya) and finally in the priestly class (Brahmin yoni) -- this birth sequence also proves this fact. The old belief was like this. But what is the duty, the dharma of others? It is that karma, which is not our svadharma, but is the svadharma of someone else. When we see someone else doing his karma and see him happy in doing it and also hear praises of his karma from others then we feel tempted: We think that his work is better and the work we do is no good.' Being tempted we leave our own work. Many a times this happens due to the greed for wealth, for the desire for honour for name and fame - and sometimes for the fear of trouble in the doing of ones own duty. I have seen a doctor doing the work of a contractor leaving his medical practice. Normally, we cannot do someone else's work properly. We do not have the appropriate innate skill, the propensity, for doing someone else's work. But sometimes the work of others is very easy. We can easily do it and can do it better than the one who is doing it. Should we then do it? 'We have to work hard and take pains in doing our work. We can do someone elses work pretty easily. Why should we not do that?' We do feel tempted to do someone elses work. This surely is a temptation. But by doing it we will not be able to make any progress in the course of our evolution. For a student of the fourth standard, the questions of the third standard are easy. As compared to the questions of fourth standard he can solve them easily. Should he then do that? By doing so he will not be benefited. By reading again the lessons, which have already been read, neither does the knowledge in any way improves nor does the ability. For this reason we should not do the karma of others simply because it can be easily done. We have to move ahead. Taking things easily cannot take a person ahead. Through an appropriate effort alone can one move forward? Svadharma demands it. One should always do ones duty, howsoever, arduous and painful the doing of it may be. A conduct in conformity with ones own duty alone takes a person forward. The difficulties on the path awaken the inner strength of the person concerned. It makes him self-confident and able. Men rise to heights in times of difficulties. What does this going forward means? What meaning does this term evolution posses? In the language of the Gita the supreme objective of life is to gain the Divine consciousness the Divine state (bhagvad-bhava). It is also the ultimate limit of the development of consciousness itself. To move towards that supreme consciousness is verily to move forward. Our forward movement alone is the yardstick by which the utility of an action can be measured. This then is the relevance of the concept of svadharma from the point of view of the individual. Man is a constituent of the society. Whatever he is that is verily the result of the society itself. Just as in the growth of a seed into a tree, the contribution of the seed is limited only to its potential of becoming the tree. The rest of the ingredients like water and other nutrients it gets from the earth and the environment. Similar is the case with a man. For the nourishment of the body, for the development of the intellect and the sense organs and for all other daily activities of life, including food, etc. he is obliged to others. For one loaf of wheat he is obliged to many people. The seed coming from some place; the one who ploughed the field; who made the plough; who excavated the iron ore; who arranged for the livelihood of the miners are all those to whom one is obliged. Again the one who eats the loaf of wheat is indebted to all those, who have directly or indirectly, provided the means of transport. From this illustration it should be clear as to how great is the contribution of the society to our life and also that, without this immense endless contribution of the society it can be imagined as to what kind of life would have been possible for us here on this earth? The society contributes to the life of the individual and he in turn contributes to the life of the society. The one, who only takes from the society but does not give anything in return, is a thief of the society,

147

There is a system in the society by which this mutual exchange takes place. According to the system every person has to do some work. It is not possible to assign the same work to every one. There are differences in persons so far as their individual nature is concerned. And there are many kinds of works and all of these have to be done. Therefore, whatever work is assigned to a person that should be done by him. Then only the society will run properly. Just as in a big factory when workers do their duty, the assigned work, then only the factory runs efficiently. When a person leaving his own work does the work of someone else then it leads to disorder. Either the person whose work he does becomes idle or he snatches the work of someone else. Who would do the work of a person who leaves his work to do the work of someone else? Probably that work would remain undone and evidently that would be a loss to the society. If all were to refuse to do a difficult work then the wheels of the society would not move and come to a stand still. If the work is that of the society and has been assigned to us, then surely we must do it. By doing that work alone can we repay our debt to the society. We live on the work done by others and so we should also work for them. The entire social order is dependent upon this mutual exchange of work. Here also there is no question of virtue or vice. If we have to repay the debt to the society, then it has to be done. And for that, if we have to take the trouble right now, then it should be readily taken. How much trouble others have taken for us? If we have to take trouble for them even later then that should also be happily done. Vice also gives us trouble later on. That is also the true nature of vice. If for repaying the debt we owe to the society we have to take trouble for it later on, or if we have to go to hell, then too, we should remain prepared for that. Therefore, the question of vice or virtue does not arise here also. The consideration of vice and virtue is an extremely selfish point of view. It also makes a person timid about the discharge of his duties. The present or the forthcoming happiness or unhappiness should in no case be the determinant of the course of our karma. From the personal point of view, from the point of view of our own development and from the social point of view, the interests of the society alone should be the guiding principle of life. Selfishness takes both the person as well as the society on to the brink of disaster. In the second half of this verse the same thing has been stated with a considerable force. Even death should be considered preferable in the observance of svadharma. It is more valuable than life itself. Even by giving up ones life svadharma should be observed. What after all is the utility of ones life? From the point of view of an individual, it is in the interest of his evolution, growth and development. That life is surely worthless, which fails to carry us towards the Lord. If by not doing our own duty (svadharma) we were to save our life, then that saved life would be futile and worthless. That life would verily be a useless burden. And, if by giving up our life we observe our svadharma then that death would be the one to take us straight towards the Lord. Therefore, death is laudable and an abandonment of svadharma is condemnable. And, doing of others' work creates fear in us. It is fearful because by observing the duty of someone else one cannot make any progress from his own point of view, for he has to abandon his own duty to perform the duty of another. Therefore, that becomes the cause of his downfall. From the social point of view also the observance of the duty of another causes fear in oneself because that becomes the cause of disorder in the society and harms it. And so instead of repaying our debt to the society for all it has given to us, we tend to harm it. The perspective of vice or virtue is a very narrow and an extremely selfish point of view. From this point of view pleasure and pain are the most important considerations of ones life and that these should be achieved at any cost. But people forget that continuous chase for pleasure verily destroys pleasure itself and by doing that selfishness and its associate vice flourishes. Therefore, this blind pursuit of pleasures of life ultimately becomes the source of suffering. Our pleasures cannot be sustained for it loses its charm soon after it is attained. Therefore, this

148

outlook is not practical and is also far removed from reality. It cannot for this reason carry a person forward. There is no scope in it for a passionate commitment to duty. The comprehensive view of karmayoga is much higher than these petty considerations of pleasure and pain. It has its own merit and shows us the path of enlightenment i.e. of rising higher than the present state and of taking us to the supreme goal of life. It is beneficent both for the individual as well as for the society. The present topic concludes here. What is the reason for the deviation of a person from his path? This is a question arising in the most natural way in the present context. The remaining verses in the present chapter answer this very question. Arjuna raises the question thus-arjuna uvacha atha kena prayukto 'yam papam carati purusah | anicchann api varsneya balad iva niyojitah || (36) Arjuna said -"O Varshneya70! What is it which impels a person to commit sin unwillingly, as if by coercion, (as if he has been harassed to the doing of sin)"? (36) This is the common predicament of a person. He knows what evil is and also despite desiring to remain away from it, he is unable to avoid it. This was exactly what Duryodhan had once said, 'janamaya dharmam na ch me nivritah' --'I know unrighteousness but am unable to get away from it i.e. can not get away from it'. In the course of ones evolution there is a state when one does not have the power of discrimination between the good and the bad. That is the state of a beast. In that state there is no question of either avoiding or not avoiding evil. After some progress is made the discrimination arises. The individual knows evil as evil, but his lower nature is so strong that he is unable to control himself and remains under its sway. This is generally the state of a common man. The question of Arjuna relates to this very state. In this state there continues an inner conflict and one continues to rise and fall with the inner undulations of thoughts. Gradually the power of discrimination becomes stronger and the lower tendencies relatively get weaker in force. Consequently, he begins to have better or increased control over his behaviour and he feels relief from his helplessness. Arjuna, therefore, asked this question from the Lord, Shri Krishna. 'Atha' is indicative of a change in the topic. 'I wish to know now about this topic.' The word 'prayukta' used here means impelled or inspired. 'Purushah' has been used in a general sense for a man. It has no reference to the distinction between a man and a woman. Purusha' is that which is our conscious-existence and which is the sustaining principle of our mind, the intellect and the sense organs. Who impels a person towards sin? One does not want to commit sin, but it seems as if some other power impels him to do it. When there is violent storm one totally forgets oneself. He does not have the power to discriminate between the right or the wrong and the doable and the non-doable. The forces of passion of lust and anger are like that. The person is in the state of delusion, of foolishness. It is only when the storm is subsided that he realises his mistake and repents. Then he realises as to what he has done; what a sin he has committed? But then he can do nothing. Whatever was to happen that has already happened.

70

Varshneya: this is another name for Shri Krishna

149

There is yet another state. A person can see the incoming storm. He does want to escape the storm but is unable to do so. When the storm comes he knows of it, but finds himself helpless in stopping it. Even during that storm, he remains a mute witness and remains uninvolved. He watches the game of the lower prakriti just as someone watches a cinema show. This happens only when the real withdrawal commences and the preformed tendencies (samsakars) start liquidating themselves. The attitude of being a spectator is not possible during indulgence. For an individual loses himself in the varied activities of the lower prakriti. He himself becomes a very form of lust or of anger. At that time he is devoid of the power of discrimination. 'Baladiv niyojitah' -- as if somebody has compelled one to stray by force. The impact of passion and anger is like this. A person feels he is under the control of others. To blame him for this state means just this that his helplessness has not been properly understood. Such a person needs to be helped so that he can get over his helplessness. When we are able to correctly understand what a sin is, then we can neither be angry with the sinner nor can we despise him. He appears to be miserable, worthy of our pity, our sympathy. He needs treatment just like an ailing patient needs treatment. The Lord has been addressed as Varshneya because he belonged to the 'vrishni' family. In the subsequent verses we will find in depth an analysis of passion i.e. of lust and anger. Sri bhagwan uvach kama esha krodha esa rajogunasamudbhavah | mahsano mahapapma viddhy enam iha vairinam || (37) The Lord said -"The passion and anger are born of rajoguna. These are all devouring, insatiable and great sinners. And so in the present context consider them as enemies". (37) What is this passion? What is anger? The craving for the satisfaction of desires is passion. For the sake of this satisfaction one looks outwards. That makes a person outward looking. In the world outside he craves for enjoyment through his mind, the intellect and the sense organs. The basic form of passion is wish, desire or craving. Mahatma Buddha used to call it 'tanna or trishna'. Under its influence, the consciousness of a person moves outwards. When this gets strong, then a person loses his inner stability and loses his balance. Its strong form is passion. It is the same as the feeling that a man has for a woman and a woman for a man. This passion drives a person mad and runs after the means for its gratification. He gets disoriented thereby losing his balance. It is a momentary upsurge, which is recognised only because of its intensity. Normally such passions keep influencing us unawares. 'Krodha' is anger. During anger there is an internal turmoil. The state of a person in anger becomes just like that of the curd when a churning rod in a pot churns it. In the state of anger the eyes of a person become red, his lips start quivering and his body keeps trembling. He is not within his control. The inner state of a person in anger can be compared to that of a mountain river flowing with full force striking against rocks, which come in its way. If passion is a flooded river then anger is a whirlpool in the river. If passion is a storm then anger is a cyclone. Once the objective of passion is achieved, its force subsides for some time but anger makes a person whirl like a cyclone or a whirlpool. After getting entrapped in it, it is difficult for him to get out of it. The passion and anger, despite having two forms, are in reality just one and the same, and from inside they have the same effect. They disorient a person. The self of a person is terribly churned from inside. And under their influence one becomes mad and strays from the

150

right path. That is why it has been very forcefully said, 'kama aish krodha aish' i.e. so is passion, so is anger. They are the two forms of the same enemy. 'Rajogunasmudbhavah i.e. these are born of rajoguna. Rajoguna is activity, change and turbulence. Passion and anger of course are intense and violent. They are like violent storm and fierce floods. When rajoguna calms down they get pacified. 'Mahashanah' i.e. glutton, the one who eats too much. The satisfaction of desires is impossible. na jatu kamah kamanamupbhogen shamyati | havisha krashnavartmev bhuya evabhivardhte || 'By satisfying desires, ones desires are never satisfied. When purified butter is poured into fire, it blazes all the more intensely, so our desires increase manifold by satisfying them.' This is also known as the syndrome of ninety-nine. A hundred comes after ninety-nine. A person thereafter starts thinking of the next hundred and then of the third hundred. In this manner the desires of a person are never fulfilled. The more the desires are fulfilled the more they keep on increasing. 'Jyon pratilabh lobh adhikaee' i.e. with fulfillment greed increases. This is really true. It is to express this truth that it has been said that passions are all devouring and insatiable. That never gets satisfied irrespective of how much one eats. This passion is all devouring and anger is a great sinner, 'mahapapma'. The anger is a great sinner because it is the root of all sins. When the awakened passions take on the form of anger then there comes a storm within and then the mind of the person gets confused. It was said in the 2nd chapter also. 'Kamat' krodhoh aabhijayate', from desire and passion anger is born. This certainly is correct. In the two there is a difference of stages only. Flowing water gets turbulent when it strikes against anything. A raging storm causes destruction when it encounters obstruction. When passion gets transformed into anger then only a person is impelled to do acts that are sinful. The same is true for the lust also. When an increased passion takes a person to the stage of in inner churning i.e. to the state of anger then only he gets mad; then only he loses his power of discrimination between right and wrong and he indulges in sinful acts. This anger is a great sinner. It has been called as a great sinner because it is the root of all evils. If one does not enter into the stage of an internal turmoil full of anger then he cannot do any wrong. In the last part of the verse the Lord says, 'in this respect know thou this as an enemy'. Arjuna had asked, 'what is it which forcibly impels a person to commit sin'. The answer to that question is that, 'it is passion, which makes him to do a wrong, it is anger which makes him do a wrong; this alone is the enemy having two forms. Recognise it'. It is well known that passion and anger are enemies of a man. It is necessary to identify their place in the process of evolution. Then only we will be able to understand them properly and will be able to rise above them. In the inert world there is neither passion nor anger. Their vibrations start in the vegetative world. They are perceptible in the animal world and are strong in the human beings. With their growth we notice the rising energy level. The development of consciousness is also

For more information on this subject please refer authors book 'utpadani shakti'.

151

associated to them. They are inspirational in bringing a person to a certain state of evolution. It is the passions alone, which have assisted a man to achieve the present state of success in the field of science. It has invested him with the ability to soar high in the realm of imagination. The rising passions on the one side increase ones strength and on the other side increase ones selfishness and also wax his ego. For this reason a person does wrong, oppresses others, and uses force against others. As a result of such evil deeds he becomes unhappy and makes the society unhappy. It is necessary to understand both the gains as well as the harm caused by these passions. The basis of egoism is passions only and it is the one, which creates bonds as well. The thread of mine-ness is also tied with egoism. When a state of internal conflict somehow gets generated then only a person gets prepared to rise above these passions. These passions can take a person beyond tamoguna to rajoguna, but for gaining an entry in sattva one has to overcome them, go beyond them. The one, which is helpful in taking a person from tamoguna to rajoguna, is a hurdle for his rising to sattvaguna. This has been described in detail in the subsequent verses. dhumena 'vriyate yatho 'lbena 'vrto vahnir yatha 'darso malena ca | garbhas tatha tene 'dam avrtam || (38)

"As fire is covered by smoke, mirror by dust and an embryo enveloped by the membrane so is wisdom covered by the passions". (38) How is wisdom covered? For this three examples have been given. 'As fire is covered by smoke' so is wisdom covered by passion and anger. Wisdom is known as a kind of fire. It removes the darkness of ignorance. That is why it is known as the fire of wisdom (gyanagni). Passion and anger are like smoke. Smoke cannot extinguish the fire but can certainly defuse the intensity of the flames for some time. And on getting fresh air again the smoke disappears and the fire blazes up again. Likewise when wisdom blazes up, passion and anger also disappear. Just as the dust covers up the looking glass so does the force of passion and anger covers up the wisdom of a person. When the mirror is covered up by dust, ones face cannot be seen clearly. Similarly when passion and anger is in full swing, a person does not have correct awareness himself. What am I? Who am I? What is right or wrong for me? He does not know that. The dust of passion and anger covers up the inner self (antahkarana), which is the mirror in the present context. One then becomes blind and loses his self-awareness. In the third example it is said, 'as the membrane covers up the embryo, so is the wisdom covered up by passion and anger'. The embryo remains covered in it. When a child is born the membrane bursts. On the birth of a child the bond of the membrane comes to an end. The embryo grows under the cover of membrane in the womb of the mother. The membrane starts forming right from the time of conception. As the embryo grows and so does the membrane. One day the foetus becomes able of having an independent existence and so move out of the membrane. Earlier it used to get nourishment through the membrane. Nature breaks the bond of the foetus to the membrane and the child comes out of the womb of the mother. As the embryo is covered up by the membrane in the womb of the mother, so is the wisdom of the individual is covered up by passion and anger. Under this cover of passion and anger does this wisdom mature. Some day it (wisdom) becomes so strong that it emerges by tearing off the membrane, it becomes manifest. These three examples clarify the relationship of passion and anger with wisdom. The blazing fire of wisdom can destroy passion and anger. Smoke does not have any independent

152

existence. It is born out of fire and covers the fire and then when the fire blazes again it disappears. The second example tells us as to how passion and anger become the cause of getting forgetful about our self-awareness. When a mirror is covered by dust it loses its ability of reflecting our face. Likewise when the dust of passion and anger is raised wisdom no longer remains wisdom. When a person is swayed by passion and anger he becomes sinful and becomes worse than a beast. The third example tells us that even while covered by passion and anger, the wisdom continues to grow in the process of evolution. The same, which earlier used to strengthen wisdom, becomes subsequently the cause of bondage. In the initial stages of the process of evolution passion and anger are helpful in the development of consciousness. These take one beyond tamoguna to rajoguna. The same then becomes an obstacle in carrying one beyond to sattvaguna. Then the cover bursts. Wisdom gets liberated from bondage. It is only through membrane that the embryo gets its nourishment. This helps the embryo to grow. For the mature embryo the membrane itself becomes its bondage. That then is torn asunder. What a beautiful example is this? The same is the state of both passion and anger. When passion-anger is a hindrance in development then it is an enemy. Therefore, that has to be got over. That has to be broken. The life filled with passion and anger is further described as under. avrtam jnanam etena jnanino nityavairina | kamarupena kaunteya duspurena 'nalena ca || (39) "O' Arjuna! The wisdom of a person is always covered up by the insatiable fire of passion which is the eternal foe of the wise (gyani)". (39) This one enemy has two forms. It appears as if the Lord refers to them again and again, 'kama aish krodha aish', 'mahashano mahapapma' and ' kamarupena kaunteya duspurena 'nalena ca. It appears that the two adjectives in the same sequence refer to the two forms separately one after the other. It is also clear that both of them are one and the same and are not different one. We at the same time get a glimpse also of their distinct properties. This is the eternal foe of the wise (gyani). Who is the wise and how is this his eternal foe? A wise man is one who has wisdom. He is the one who has awareness of his own self as well as of prakriti. Not only that, he also has the full awareness of the one Supreme Reality due to which the two exist and which is still beyond both of them. The one, who through his understanding recognises the Supreme Reality (paramtattva), has faith in that Supreme Authority (paramsatta) is a wise man (gyani) and he believes in the Divinity of the Lord. In the seventh chapter, the Lord has also included the wise men (gyanis) amongst those who worship Him. 'Gyani twatmaiv me matam', the wise person is My very own soul. 'tesham gyani nityayukta ekbhaktirvishishyate' (sh. 17 ch.7) The one who has faith in the Lord is a wise man. The one who moves on His path with an undivided devotion is a wise man. The present topic makes this concept very clear. The term wise man does not presently refer to a saint who has attained the state of Brahman, instead is the one who is still an aspirant (sadhak). He is the one who has yet to attain the Lord. For such an aspirant also passion and anger are an eternal foe. An eternal foe is the one from whose heart could never be shed its hostility, whose hostility could never end and where could be never any possibility of friendship with anyone. Could there be any friendship between

153

darkness and light? That is against the principle of nature. The follower of the path of the Lord will have to throw them out. He cannot afford to give them any place, any space. Saints have said -'jahan kama tahan ram nahin, jahan ram nahin kama'
(Rama is not there where passion resides; where Rama is present passion cannot exist).

As Sun and night can never be together, so moving on the path of the Lord and desires cannot go coexist. 'Gati' means that in the progress of a person passion and anger is an obstacle. The follower of the path of the Lord has to rise above them. He has to be free from them. It is not possible for a person to satisfy his desires and at the same time follow the path of the Lord. As long as the inner-self does not exclusively chose the Lord, the path of the Lord does not open up for him and till then, in fact, withdrawal from the senses does not commence. When the innermost self of a person has opted for the Lord then only can he be called a wise man (gyani). But, this does not mean that just by doing this, the passion and anger remove their control over the mind, the intellect and the sense organs. Their control gets removed only gradually. As the inner-self opens up to the Lord and the energy of the Divine consciousness starts flowing and influencing the entire complex of the mind, the intellect, and the senses in its own colour then that Supreme consciousness displaces the forces of passion and anger from their earlier place. Even in the intervening stage the urge for passions does not arise. If we are really devoted to the Lord then the mind can crave only for the Lord and so how could there be any place left for any other desire? How could there be a place for passion and anger? It has been said for this reason that these (passion and anger) are the eternal foe of a wise person. It has already been mentioned in the previous verse how it covers up the wisdom of a person. This enemy is of the nature of a 'kamaroop.' The one, who can assume any form, as it likes, is called 'kamaroop'. We find such examples in the ancient wars. Meghnada used to change his form whenever he wished to do so. Shumbh and Nishumbha did the same in their war with the Mother Divine (Durga Devi). It is difficult to win such an enemy. The enemy of the combine of passion and anger is also such a 'kamaroop'. There is no end, no limit, to the various forms this combine of passion and anger can assume. Sometimes it comes in an absolutely sattavika form. Once I met a woman who was unhappy because she had no money she could give by way of charity. It could also come assuming the form of duty. It also can assume the forms of truth and virtue or goodness. All desires bind a person in every possible manner. All desires will have to be consumed in the one single fire of the love for the Lord. But, is the craving for the Lord not itself a desire? That surely is a desire but that will automatically get eliminated when it ceases to have any utility of its own. For once the Lord is realised, where is the importance left for the desire to have Him. One should not, therefore, worry for the removal of this desire. It will go of itself. Desire has many forms. It extends in all the three worlds. It has three main expressions, namely, the desire for progeny, for recognition and for wealth. And its divisions and sub-divisions cannot be counted. A person gets deceived. He is unable to recognise all its elusive variations. Becoming a slave of his passions, a person runs after desires and thinks, 'I am free from their bonds'. Passion can also manifest itself as sacrifice and renunciation. 'And by all consuming fire' -- the enemy is like the insatiable fire, the one, which is never satisfied. It is like the fire, which continues to ask for more and more of fuel. It is like that fire in which whatever is put in gets burnt. Putting more fuel in the fire does not pacify it; on the contrary it blazes it all the more due to the fuel that feeds it. It has already been called as 'mahashanah' i.e. the one, which is never satiated. Fulfillment of desires in turn creates new desires. On getting

154

a hundred rupees a person begins to desire a thousand and on getting a thousand he begins to desire for a million. This fire cannot be extinguished in this way. Is it true in respect of anger as well? If anger finds its way then it is sure to increase as the nature of the person. If a person boiling with rage were to abuse someone, or were to be harsh to someone, or were to beat someone, then he would cool down for some time. But his nature of easily getting angry is bound to increase. His success in giving vent to his anger does just the opposite and makes him subservient to anger. One should always be alert from his enemies. The Lord Krishna was a warrior and so was Arjuna. Therefore, this entire discussion was carried on in the language of war. indriyani mano buddhir asya 'dhisthanam ucyate | etair vimohayaty esa jnanam avrtya dehinam || (40) "The sense organs, the mind and the intellect are said to be its abode. Covering wisdom through them, it deludes the embodied (soul)". (40) Where is the abode of the enemy? How does it attack? What are its means? All this has been mentioned. The enemy i.e. passion and anger finds its abode in the mind, the intellect and the sense organs. The subtler of the two is passion, which dwells in all of these and permeating them can carry them away. They generate impulses and there is attraction, and the mind, the intellect and the sense organs become active. These commence their race towards the outside world. When attachment gets strong, it is known as desire or passion and when confronted from outside becomes anger. We are in truth free of passions (aptakama). Being a portion of the total or entire Reality, the Self (atmasatta) is, in fact, free of passions (aptakama). But that awareness comes to manifest only at a late stage in the course of evolution. The experiences gained through these instruments (the mind, the intellect and the sense organs) are necessary for evolution. The passions, therefore, have their utility. Residing in the mind, the intellect and the sense organs, these passions impel them for gaining more and more experiences of life. How does the passion reside in the sense organs? The sense organs also have a kind of consciousness. This consciousness is very meagerly developed. The passion dwells in the sense organs due to this consciousness. This consciousness also has its likes and dislikes. And there is always present an inner drive for the fulfillment of its likes. The senses rush for their fulfillment. The tongue does it for the taste of food and eyes do it for the beauty. This is due to the influence of desire or passion. Passion dwells in the mind in the form of a desire for pleasure, for happiness. The demand for a favourable experience is but natural for the mind. This is the place where passion resides. The desires for honour, for wealth or for a son are all play of the passion dwelling in the mind. This intense craving for happiness rocks the mind. On the strength of passions the mind moves around the three worlds. What is the form of passion in the intellect? It is an effort to keep ones self distinct and higher than the others. The feeling of attachment and egoism are its forms in the intellect. We consider our possessions as our own and think that we have a right over them. We make efforts to hold on to that right also. Similarly we consider our thoughts and mental experiences as our very own. We love them and these appear to us to be superior because they are ours. Our

with the beginning of getting free from passion, the desire for its satisfaction gets depleted.

155

passions residing in the intellect create this kind of avarice within. It establishes its right over every possible thing. In the sense organs passion is the longing for enjoyments, in the mind it is the desire for pleasure and in the intellect it is the craving for possession. These are the three forms in which passion pervades life. The wisdom of a person is covered up in these three ways. When a person has the desire for enjoyment he commits theft or behaves in an improper way. His power of discrimination gets lost. When his craving for indulgence in pleasure gets very strong his reason gets corrupted. A blinding passion for sex is a clear example of this state. A person behaves in the same manner due to his craving for satisfaction of his desire for happiness. For the sake of his own happiness, he ignores the happiness of others and instead gives them sorrow. He can snatch the rights of others and can even dishonour them. A very strong passion for pleasures of life can destroy the wisdom of a person. Similar is the state with reference to ones thirst, ones craving for authority. The entire effort of the intellect is directed towards belittling others. This is a misuse of the intellect. And the person loses his power to discriminate between the right and the wrong. Under the influence of the intellectual passions he forgets also what is in his interest and what is not. All this is what we see in our day-to-day life. All this is the play of these manifold forms of passion. The result of all this is the delusion of a person, nay vimoh i.e. intense delusion. Delusion is that state, in which a person becomes unconscious, loses awareness of his own self as well as of the situations in which he is placed. He remains helpless in this state. And despite being conscious, in this state he is unconscious. He does not know the path he is to traverse. He deviates from his own self (atmanbhav). He perforce identifies him with the mind, the intellect, etc. and considers their desires and enjoyments verily as of his own. And in the same way he feels happy and unhappy. Passion is in the root of this super imposition or false identification. It casts such a veil over us that we become interested only with them. But as a result of that and under the powerful influence of the forces of the external world we are quickly awakened. It is indicative of the usefulness of passion or desire in the process of evolution. A person under the influence of his passions becomes active, acquires knowledge of all sorts and through contacts and separation with the outside world becomes increasingly capable of experiencing happiness and unhappiness. However, when these experiences are no longer useful for evolution, the passions come to an end and the withdrawal commences. The influence of passions reduces only gradually. The feeling of being a witness to all that is happening within and outside becomes a spontaneous experience. Standing at a distance one sees the play of these instruments of perception. Then the delusion gradually starts subsiding. The influence of the inner craving for things of desire or passion comes to an end. The mind, the intellect and the sense organs also come under the influence of the Divine consciousness. And when the Divine consciousness descends on these, then these are entirely free from the influences of desire or passion and then the individual becomes free from the very possibility of delusion. Then one becomes absolutely fearlessness. This verily is the state of one who has gained victory over ones desires, ones passions and then only there is the establishment of a perfectly free life within oneself i.e. moksha or liberation. After describing the nature of passion, of desire, the Lord now directs and tells Arjuna as to what he should do. tasmat tvam indriyany adau niyamya bharatarsabha | papmanam prajahi hy enam jnajavijnananasanam || (41)

156

" Therefore, O' Arjuna, control your sense organs from the beginning and kill this great destroyer of the knowledge of the Self (gyan) and knowledge of the matter or prakriti (Vigyan)". (41) 'Kill this evil'. In other words kill this evil of passion, finish it. Do it in such a way that it does not deceive you again. By killing the enemy only you can have peace. What does this enemy do? It destroys both the knowledge of the Self (gyan) and the knowledge of the matter or prakriti (Vigyan). The term gyan refers to atmangyan i.e. the knowledge of the Self or atman and that atman is eternal, immortal, and indestructible and is a part (ansha) of the Supreme Existence. All this awareness about the Self or atman is known as gyan. In fact in the Gita the term 'gyan' has been used for the knowledge of the Supreme Existence and for the awareness of its consciousness dimension. 'Vigyan' means the specific knowledge relating to matter i.e. prakriti. The term vigyan includes the knowledge of the origin, the continuance and the final dissolution of the universe. Vigyan or science deals with those aspects, which are measurable, which specifically relate to time and space and other like measurable. In other words, whatever relates to the realm of multiplicity comes under the term vigyan or science and whatever relates to the Self (atman) and the Lord Supreme (Paramatman) comes under the term gyan. Passions destroy both gyan and Vigyan (science). When the storm of passions rages one loses awareness of oneself and that of others also. Neither does one remembers the Lord nor bows his head before Him nor even remember the commands of the Lord. There is not the least awareness of either the situations or of the helplessness of others. One fails to understand the working of nature. There are wrong assumptions and there continue wrong actions and reactions. There is lack of equanimity and also of composure in him. It has already been stated that both passion and anger are of the nature of sin. What should one do to prepare oneself to kill these enemies? The first requirement is to keep the sense organs perfectly restrained, which means that the sense organs, which normally are subject to passions, are brought under ones control. One should exercise ones control over them instead of allowing them to be controlled by the passions. Before these passions can be finally killed, they will have to be driven out of the sense organs, which have been their abode. Before killing an enemy, it is necessary that he be driven out of the place where it has taken shelter. The Lord has advised here that this work has certainly to be done. 'Drive it out from the fortress of the sense organs'. The sense organs are gross instruments and the basis of passions is gross. Do not permit the sense organs to run after the desires for indulgence in the gratification received from the objects of enjoyment. Recognising the impulses of the rousing passion, one should reject it and not follow it. By doing in this way, the passions within us are sure to get weakened in strength one day and it will quit the sphere of the sense organs. But the strength of the power of discrimination and ones resolve alone cannot help one in achieving this objective. Should the mind be controlled first or the sense organs? As compared to the control of the mind, the control of the sense organs is easy. The activities of the sense organs can be stopped. One may not take food. The objects for which the sense organs desire can be denied to them. This control is easy. The mind will of course continue to think about these objects. It is difficult to stop it from thinking. A beginning should, therefore, be made from whatever is easy. How can the one, who cannot control the sense organs, control his mind? That is why it has been said, 'start by restraining the sense organs. This is practical also. One gets the ability of restraining the subtle only by restraining the gross first. Besides new tendencies are not formed once the gross gets restrained. If we continue to strengthen our tendencies by holding on to

157

enjoyments then how will we be able to have any control over the sense organs? And one day we will become their slaves and then it will become impossible for us to have any control over them. indriyani parany ahur indriyebhyah param manah | manasas tu para buddhir yo buddheh paratas tu sah || (42) evam jahi buddheh param buddhva samstabhya 'tmanam atmana | satrum mahabaho kamarupam durasadam || (43)

"The sense organs are strong, but the mind is stronger than they are. The intellect is stronger than the mind. (But) the atman is stronger than the intellect". (42) "Thus knowing the atman as stronger than the intellect, steadying the self by the atman, O' Valiant one, kill the enemy of the form of passion, so difficult to be conquered". (43) The Lord asked for a control of the sense organs. Why? It was because they are more powerful and under the influence of passion take a person towards the wrong path and without the control of the sense organs it is impossible to destroy passion. This must have been clear by now. The mind is beyond and is stronger than the sense organs. It can surely control the sense organs. In the 67th verse of the second chapter the Lord has already said so. Of the various sense organs, the one with which the mind gets associated and which it follows while indulging in the objects entices the intellect of a person. And so the mind has the ability to control the sense organs. When the mind thinks of any specific object then the specific sense organ relating to that object under the influence of the mind goes after that specific object. That organ does not remain within the control of the person concerned. If, however, during the enjoyment of the object, the mind is not associated with the object of enjoyment then the hold of that object is not very powerful. For instance even while enjoying a delicious meal, if the mind is engaged in thinking about something, then one is not aware of the taste of the meal and one will not eat more than what he requires. It is only through the mind that desires awaken in us and can make the sense organs dance to its tunes. The intellect is stronger than the mind. It is through the intellect that one discriminates. A fortified intellect serves as a reign to the mind. It has the ability to divert the mind. When it is understood that pondering over a particular subject is futile or worrisome than the mind can be diverted. The intellect has the ability and so it has been said that the intellect is stronger than the mind. It is often seen that despite efforts the mind continues to follows its own path. When there is fear or worry then despite efforts the mind cannot be concentrated on any work. Then, which is stronger - the intellect or the mind? In fact the intellect has the ability to show the way to the mind but such an ability has not so far made itself manifest. In the course of evolution it is bound to do so in due course. There can be no doubt about this specific ability of the intellect even if at times it is defeated. Sometimes it is also possible that the intellect is not able to show the way to the mind under the influence of strong mental attachments. In fact the prime work of the intellect is to exercise control over the activities of the mind, so it has to exercise this control. Therefore, the intellect is said to be stronger than the mind. There is a beautiful metaphor in the Kathopnishada. atmannam tu rathinam shariram rathmeva tu | indriayani hayanahurvishyamsteshu gocharan || buddhim tu sarthim vidhi manah pragrahmev ch |

158

"Consider atman as to be the one occupying a chariot, and the body as the chariot. The sense organs are said to be the horses and the objects are the paths on which these move. Know the intellect to be the charioteer and the mind as the reigns held by it". The intellect is the charioteer of this chariot of the form of ones body. The charioteer can take the body wherever it wants to take it. But, if the charioteer is weak or goes to sleep then the horses will do, as they want to do. Of this there can be no doubt. As long as the reign of the mind remains in the hands of its charioteer the intellect, the horses remain under its control. In this way, after describing the relative importance of all of these, the Lord has said about passion, 'yo buddhehpartastu sah' -- that which is beyond the intellect is passion. There seems to be no doubt about this that the word 'sah' has been used only for passion, for desire. In the present context the subject, which is being discussed, is passion as a form of ones enemy. The present context is specifically to kill that enemy. That is why its strength is being assessed. The next verse also proves it -- ' in this manner knowing it beyond the intellect. Who is to be known? The one, that is to be killed. The atman of course is beyond the intellect. There was, therefore, no need to say anything about atman at this place in this way. The substratum of passion is in the mind, the intellect and the senses. This has already been mentioned in verse 40, supra. The passion is the master. This passion (desire) is their ground, their very base and so is stronger than them; and that is why it casts a veil of delusion over them after establishing its supremacy over them i.e. the mind, the intellect and the sense organs. The same thing has been clearly mentioned here saying that passion is even stronger than the intellect. And so it cannot be destroyed by the intellect, for it overpowers or defeats the intellect. When can the intellect become even or stable? It becomes even or stable when the passion is subdued. The intellect of itself cannot get equanimous by subduing the passions alone. The Self (atmansatta), which is beyond the intellect, will have to destroy the passion and then only will the intellect become stable. Many people have interpreted the word 'sah' to stand for atman. But this interpretation does not fit into the present context. By bringing in that interpretation the entire verse would seem to be purposeless. The next verse (43rd) gives us the method of killing the enemy i.e. the passion. A position to attack the enemy has to be taken only after fully assessing its strength. One should strike only after fortifying ones own position. Then only success is possible. The war is started only after building up ones position strong enough to bear the brunt of the enemys attack. Therefore, it is said, ' samstabhya 'tmanam atmana ' -- 'steadying the Self by the Self'. Atmasatta is verily our own true existence. The atman has to fight this battle on the basis of its own strength. There is nothing in prakriti, which could be considered to be trustworthy for the Self. And so, by taking recourse to any support from prakriti one is likely to get deceived. The mind, the intellect and the sense organs each one of them can come under the influence of passions. And so in fighting with their support, defeat is certain. It has, therefore, been said that one will have to give support to oneself by ones own Self. But how is this support to be given? Through self-confidence we can encourage ourselves. This encouragement is a great support. 'We have verily a great strength. In fact, the mind, the intellect and the sense organs are for us and we should evidently have a natural control over these. Our passion is like a dacoit. But our own Self-existence (atmasatta) is infinitely stronger than passion; it is a part of Divinity. Passion, on the contrary, is the lower activity of prakriti and so can be easily defeated.' It is through such a thought current one can awaken in ones own self strength as well as confidence. The word 'samstabhya' means holding firmly. Evidently the result of challenging passion in this way is sure to cause strong reaction from the other side also. The enemy is bound to strike hard with its full strength. One will have to be well prepared in advance. The enemy will try to exercise its right over the mind, the intellect and the sense organs. Therefore, our planning

159

for defense to meet the challenge should be strong in every respect. Only after achieving victory in this battle supreme, can a person obtain credit in the realm of spirituality. A warning has been given again about that enemy. 'Kamrupam durasadam i.e. the enemy of desire and passion is of deceptive nature and is one, which can come in many guises. It will make an attempt to deceive you assuming different forms. It can sometimes come in the form of our own ego. In the story of the delusion of Narad (Narad-moh) in the 'Balkand' of Tulsi Ramayana, passion i.e. desire itself assumes the form of ego. Therefore, one should always be fully alert. That enemy is 'durasadam' i.e. it is very difficult to defeat it. It has defeated great warriors. One should not be under any delusion about it. It will strike heavy blows and one will have to suffer them. Then only will victory be possible. There is only one means for killing it and that is: ' samstabhya 'tmanam atmana '. And this means only that one should firmly hold oneself by ones own Self. When does this happen? This happens only when a person abides in his Self or when he is atmanishtha. The moment one slides down from that position the enemy starts spreading its net to make one captive. The one who firmly abides in ones own Self (atmanbhav), for him the enemy of the form of desires is dead. This is the method of self-restrain (atman-sanyam). By this method an effort has to be made for killing the desires. In this method there is no dependence on the Lord. There is instead an effort made for fully abiding in the self (atmanishtha). The other path is that of 'surrender' i.e. of devotion to the Lord. The one, who takes refuge in the Lord, becomes entirely His. He gets united with the Lord. The flow of His grace colours him in its Divine hue. He attains the Divine consciousness. He begins dwelling in the Lord and the mind, the intellect and the sense organs also start dwelling in Him. Then there remains no room for desires or passions. Such is the way in which the Lord comes to stay in the life of the devotee. The devotee becomes fearless forever. There is no need to steady his own self, or to wage a conflict with his desires or passions. The Lord fights the battles for him and He alone is always victorious. Therefore, a devotee can live without vanity. Taking refuge in the Lord is also a form of yoga. It is the spiritual path wherein one has to surrender every thing to the Lord. In this way, in reply to the question of Arjuna, the Lord told the way to escape from evil. Until now Arjuna was not even recognising the Lord. The Lord had only mentioned in a subdued tone about the renunciation of karmas (verse 30). The nature of surrender and the ways of taking refuge in the Lord will be discussed later on. The third chapter ends here. We have been sufficiently acquainted with the basic principles and means of karmayoga. In the next chapter an effort has been made to considerably raise the level of this point of view. **************************

160

|| SRI RAMA || CHAPTER - IV The surrendering of karmas to the Lord was discussed in the third chapter. Verses 30, 31 and 32 of that chapter cover that subject. The Lord had ordained Arjuna that 'you fight by surrendering (your) karmas to Me'. In the present chapter this subject is being discussed in greater details. The title of this chapter is 'karma-brahmarpan-yoga' i.e. 'the yoga relating to surrendering of karmas in Brahman'. In this chapter we find answers to the questions: how could we offer our karmas in Brahman; what is the faith required for that purpose and what is the result of surrendering of karmas in that manner? Discussion of these topics is necessary (for proper understanding). The basic verse of this chapter is brahma rpanam brahma havir brahmagnau brahamana hutam | brahmai va tena gantavyam brahmakarmasamadhina ||
(Verse 24)

This verse reveals in essence the secret of surrendering of karmas to the Lord. This also tells about the state of perfection of this yoga. First of all it is necessary to understand that as to whom the karmas are to be offered. Who is that Brahman who could accept our offerings? How could He be approached? The purusha' of the followers of the doctrine of Samkhya is 'sakshi chetah kevalo nirgunashcah' is the witness, is the consciousness, which is indeterminate (nirguna) and free (kaivalya). The difference between the doctrines of the Samkhya and the Vedanta is not significant. It appears that the old name of Vedanta was Samkhya. The philosophy of Shankara unnecessarily presents differences with the doctrine now called Samkhya. In the Samkhya there is an enumeration of the various elements. There are 24 elements of prakriti, the supreme mahat, etc. and the 25th is purusha. Prakriti is mutable. The purusha is immutable, is consciousness, is pure and is the non-doer. He is certainly indestructible and is also not an enjoyer. The indeterminate (nirguna-Brahman) of Advaita-Vedanta is the non-doer, is the nonenjoyer, and is the eternal pure consciousness. He is also equally beyond the modes of prakriti (gunas).

161

Advaita-Vedanta calls prakriti unreal. According to the doctrine of Shankara, the world is mithya i.e. unreal. Advaita is based on the concept of its unreality. That is the real difference between the two. 'Brahman satyam jagatmithya' i.e. 'Brahman alone is real and the world is unreal'. Prakriti, the basic cause of the world, is also unreal and illusory. From the philosophical point of view, by calling prakriti as mithya i.e. unreal, it becomes indescribable and purusha becomes Brahman. Purusha also becomes indescribable by losing its individuality. There is then no possibility of multiple purushas. How then could there be a duality of 'jeeva' and Brahman. So just by giving a slight twist Samkhya acquires the form of advaita doctrine. Indescribable world becomes the creation of maya (illusion). He who is the Brahman, who is the indescribable, can neither hear nor speak, nor could one imagine any dynamic energy in Him, and nor could He be conceived to have any power to bless anyone. His worship is also not possible. It could also not be said that He has existence. Will that the indeterminate (nirguna), the unmanifested (12th chapter) accept even our prayers and accept our offerings of karmas? What relationship does He have with this dynamic world, with the karmas and with the doer of karmas? He is the indeterminate. He is beyond all the bindings and limitations. He cannot be our deity of worship. He cannot accept offerings of our karmas. Then what is that Reality, which accepts the offerings of our karmas? Who is that which accepts the flowers of our worship and makes us happy with His blessings? That Supreme Reality descends amongst the human beings becoming a human. That determinate (saguna) form, being playful, becomes the deity of our worship. He becomes our near and dear one and our companion of births after birth. He becomes our beloved deity and goal. We can love Him and He also loves us. With whatever relationship we accept Him He is ready to accept us with that very relationship. He is the determinate (saguna) Brahman and He will accept the offerings of our karmas. It is necessary to understand this secret. The believers of advaita, calling the world as illusory, say with great courage that your saguna is mithya i.e. unreal. He is 'mayavishishtha Brahman' (an illusory Brahman). Maya is of course mithya. That is unreal. Wherever there is duality that is unreal: the discussion of God, the surrendering of karmas, worship and devotion - everything is mithya or unreal. According to them these are the notions of the ignorant. Just have the one decisive belief: 'ahm brahman asmi' - 'I am Brahman'. That alone would be beneficence. When this concept comes before a devotee of saguna Brahman, his heart is rocked, his mind is hurt, and the earth starts slipping from beneath his feet and he wonders whether his devotion is unreal (mithya)? Is his faith in a deity a flight of his imagination? Oh! Everyone looks at things from the position he is standing. The scene he sees is according to the position where he stands. That becomes the limit of his thinking. Our principles reflect the limits of our outlook. The real existence is beyond the intellect. The intellect can at best know only a fraction of that Supreme Existence. It is rather a dangerous thing that scholars forgetting the limits of their intellect, project the partial truth as the whole truth. All doctrines give description of only a fraction of Truth. And by forgetting this fact we try to prove others as wrong and try to prove ourselves as correct. The maya-advaita doctrine calls unchangeable as Truth and as per its definition the changeable is unreal and untruth. Just that is its viewpoint. That is the limit of that doctrine. We will try to put forward the viewpoint of the Gita before us. The Lord Purushottama is the deity of the Gita. His worship alone has been discussed in the Gita. The karmas are to be surrendered to Him. We have to take refuge in Him alone. He alone is the true object of our love and devotion.

162

Who is that Purushottama? The 15th chapter tells us that He is beyond both the mutable Brahman and the immutable Brahman. According to the Gita He alone is the subject expounded by the Vedas. He alone is the object of knowledge (gyeya) and He alone is knower of the field (khetragya). (Verse 2 of chapter 13) He is all pervading and He is Vasudeva. He alone has attributes. He alone is the indeterminate (nirguna) as well as the determinate (saguna). He alone is the enjoyer of gunas. (Verse 14 of chapter 13) The Lord, the exponent of the Gita, is the Purushottama. Nothing is beyond Him. He is the deity worshiped by the devotees (verse 7 of chapter 7). He is also beyond the play of the gunas. (Verse 12 of chapter 7) The Lord has two prakrities: para and apara. 'Para is the embodied being (jeeva) and 'apara' according to the commonly used definition of Samkhya is prakriti. According to the Gita, the Supreme Reality is indeterminate (nirguna) as well as determinate (saguna). Nirguna is not different from saguna. We do not find any indication that saguna is unreal. That is why the Lord has said that even the worshipers of the indeterminate (nirguna) attain Me. (Verse 12 of chapter 4) If determinate (saguna) is false then what does the worshipers of the determinate (saguna) attain? It has to be said then that the Gita does not support the theory of maya-advaita. As we refer to the Upanishads in support of our doctrine so also we refer to the Gita. In fact the Gita is not a scripture written in support of any doctrine but it is a simple direct statement of the higher consciousness. Therefore, whosoever tries to judge the Gita by the limited intellectualism is exposed. His bankruptcy is of itself revealed. The Gita proceeds on the basis of the knowledge (gyan) beyond the limits of the intellect. How then that could be confined within the boundaries of the intellect? It should not be surprising if the boundaries of the intellect are shattered. When we consider this question from the point of view of the spiritual discipline (sadhana) of the Gita then it becomes clear that this doctrine of maya of advaita-Vedanta has no place in it. An aspirant (sadhak) cannot do the spiritual practice (sadhana) of karmas in a void, in an uninhabited forest where there is no one to talk, to serve or to love. The success of sadhana in isolation would amount to rejection of the physical karma itself. Indolence is the ideal of such a spiritual discipline (sadhana). But the Gita preaches that karma is a means of sadhana. For Arjuna, battlefield was the field of his sadhana. Nowhere has it been said that for siddhi (a state of spiritual perfection) a total abandonment of karmas is necessary. On the contrary, it has been said in verse 56 of chapter 18 sarvakarmany api sada kurvano madvyapasrayah | matprasadad avapnoti sasvatam padam avyayam || "Even while always doing all works, having taken refuge in Me, he attains by My grace the eternal, imperishable state". The yoga of the Gita is attained by taking refuge in the Lord. He who listens to it gets peace only by listening to it. In that alone Arjuna could find his way and we could say that Purushottama of the Gita is qualified by maya (maya-vishishtha-Brahman). This is the irony of intellect. The intellect cannot be decisive in these matters. Our forceful arguments can only indulge in aberrations of the intellect and confuse others and also us. We can abuse our intellect and misguide ourselves.

163

We have to say that 'maya-advaita' is at best a point of view and might be correct in its own way as far as it goes. We have to accept what the Gita preaches. We consider it as an unwarranted effort to prove or disprove a doctrine just on the basis of arguments. If we were to properly apply our mind, we could just as well understand one viewpoint as we could understand another. It was considered necessary to write this much before starting this chapter. For without clearing this basic confusion any discussion on this subject could be redundant. We will discuss the basis of our experience as per the context in which these present themselves.

shri bhagwan uvaca imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam | vivasvan manave praha manur iksvakave 'bravit || (1) evam paramparapraptam imam rajarsayo viduh | sa kalene ha mahata yogo nastah paramtapa || (2) The Lord said O Arjuna! I told this imperishable yoga to Vivasvan. Vivasvan told it to Manu; and Manu told it to Ikshvaku. (1) Thus handed down in the form of traditional knowledge in regular succession, the royal sages knew it (yoga). With the passage of time this yoga disappeared from this world. (2) The yoga of karma was described in the last chapter. The history of that yoga is now being mentioned. Who had started this yoga? How had this spread? What is its state today? This yoga of karma is imperishable. What cannot be destroyed is called the imperishable. Karmayoga is the basic foundation of this Creation. The primal tendency for creation rests on this yoga. Purushottama himself performs sacrifices (yagya) and makes offerings. Thus is laid the foundation of the entire Creation. That sacrificial propensity, which is the primal form of this yoga, operates in gods and sub-gods. Then only is this universe created. Karmayoga is the basic principle of the creation. Therefore, this yoga cannot perish, however, its practice may not always remain popular. Human beings may forget it. That is possible. But, that this yoga itself can vanish altogether, that is not possible. The Lord says that he had himself preached this yoga to Vivasvan. Manu Vivasvan had to be engaged in this creation. It was necessary for him to know that how the karma had to be performed and what form of devotion was required for performing karmas. So the Lord gave him this yoga. There is a legend in Puranas that amongst the sons of Brahma jee, Sonaka, etc. (including Narada amongst them) refused to carry on the process of procreation. They had a dislike for the life of a householder. But Brahma jee had to continue the process of procreation. He, therefore, procreated more children so that the process of creation could continue. We have a nice description of this in the Srimad Bhagwad Purana. This means that the tendency of abandoning karmas considering it to be a cause of bondage is not of recent origin; it was prevalent even in the ancient times. Karmayoga is the secret of doing karmas by remaining free from bonds. Vivasvan Manu had told this Yoga to his successor Vaivasvat Manu and he gave this yoga to king Ikshvaku. Ikshavaku was the first human king. He gave this yoga to his successors. In this manner, the tradition of this yoga continued. It was from that tradition that Janaka etc. had learnt this yoga of karma from those kings. But that too was something of very old times. King

164

Janaka was born in tretayuga. Perhaps no one knew this yoga in the times of the Mahabharata. Today we have the commencement of kaliyuga. It is the end of the dvaparayuga. During this big lapse of time, the tradition had disappeared. None survives today who can be said to be the knower of this yoga. It appears as if during the time of the Lord there were no knowers of this yoga. In those days either the sacrifices (yagyas) performed with wishful objectives were prevalent or the yoga of just discussion of wisdom (gyan-yoga). Either performance of rituals (karmakand) was popular and performers of yagyas were in demand, or the total renunciation of karmas itself was practiced.

tyajyam dosavad ity eke karma prahur manisinah | yajnadanatapah karma na tyajyam iti ca pare ||
(3 of 18)

The principle was that the karma itself ought to be abandoned. But even then the people in favour of abandonment of karmas were of the view that the acts of sacrifice (yagyas), charity and penances should not be given up. There were no knowers of the karmayoga, which is the middle path and which instead teaches us to renounce even while doing karmas and which does not consider them as bondage. The social order of the four-stages of life also suggests an abandonment of karma itself. The basic concept behind that belief was that a person could attain salvation by totally abandoning karmas after going to forest (vanaprastha), the third stage of life. The stages of vanaprastha71 and grahastha72 were considered as preparatory for a person becoming gradually ready for total renouncement by making tendencies and sense organs weak by enjoyments. From this we come to know that this concept was so very basic in the Vedic culture. The Mahabharata contains only a few instances two of them are of Tuladhar and Jajali which propound faith in karma and the rest of the treatise is full of faith in renouncement. There is a pronounced strain of asceticism and renouncement of Karma, of family life, of pleasures and of relations. The thought stream of the Lord Buddha is also a glorification of that tradition of renouncement. We do not find that influence in the Balmiki Ramayana. In the Mahabharata, the sermon of the Gita appears as a strange thought, like light in darkness, like lightening in the dark clouds of renouncement. The Lord rightly had said that that yoga (karmayoga) had disappeared from the human society. ea eva 'yam maya te 'dya yogah proktah puratanah | bhakto'si me sakha ce 'ti rahsyam hy etad uttamam || (3) And the same ancient yoga I am telling you today. Because you are my devotee and a friend also, and this is the supreme secret. (3). 'The karmayoga which I am telling you is not something new'. This is an ancient yoga and was followed by the royal sages and they had attained spiritual enlightenment (siddhi) though karma alone.
71 72

vanaprastha: the third stage of life when one is required to retreat to forests grahastha: the second stage of life when one should lead the life of a householder

165

This is the supreme secret. A secret is that which is revealed only in isolation. That one which is valuable should not be disclosed before every body. This secret of karmayoga is the key for making life golden. Describing this secret to those who are not willing to listen, and are unworthy of receiving it, is like throwing pearls before pigs. This is a beneficent secret. (See verse 67 of chapter 18) Why do I tell you this?' 'You are my devotee and having the required receptivity you are worthy of knowing this secret. You require it today. Today you have come to me in distress and in search of a way. You have taken refuge in me. It is, therefore, proper to tell you the secret'. And, 'you are also my friend and is dear to me. This secret is also dear to me' ishtamishten yojyet. Dear should meet the dear. It is proper to gift something dear to a dear one. 'Today I have given this yoga to you like a dear precious stone. Keep this with care and translate it in your life'. Perhaps this is the silent message echoing behind the second half of this verse. Thereupon, Arjuna asked arjuna uvaca aparam bhavato janma param janma vivasvatah | katham etad vijaniyam tvam adau proktavan iti || (4) Thereupon, Arjuna posed the question saying: You were born later, Vivasvan was born much earlier. How am I to believe that you had spoken of it earlier (this yoga to Vivasvan). (4) Arjuna was astonished to hear the Lord, Oh what is this? 'I alone had told this yoga to Vivasvan'. 'This Krishna, who is speaking to me is of my age, may be there is a difference of few months. Ages have passed since the time Vivasman lived. How then could it be that Krishna had preached this yoga to Vivasman.' So far, Arjuna had known Krishna only as Krishna. Amongst people, Krishna was considered respectable. He was a wise man, was a leader and was also a learned gentleman. He was also a close friend of Arjuna. In their childhood, they had played together. Arjuna had taken his refuge - shadhi mam tvam prapannam (verse 7 of chapter 2). Arjuna had taken his refuge considering him to be his elder and more intelligent. Arjuna had no other sentiment towards the Lord. The two places where the Lord had revealed his divinity earlier were not very forthright (verse 62 of chapter 2, verse 30-32 of chapter 3). It appears that Arjuna had not paid much attention to those earlier revelations. But he could not ignore the present clear statement, and so he could not help asking and asked this question. shri bhgwan uvaca bahuni me vyatitani janmani tava ch 'rjuna | tanyaham veda sarvani na tvam vettha paramtapa || (5) The Lord said O, Arjuna! You and I have passed through many births. O Brave! I know them all; (but) you do not know of them. (5). What were those births?

166

ajo 'pi sannavyayatman bhutanam isvaro'pi san | prakrtim svamadhisthaya sambhavamyatmanmayaya || (6) Though (I am) unborn and the Lord of all creatures, I, the imperishable, establishing in My own nature (prakriti) take birth through My maya (by my own volition). (6) Here we come to know of the secret of the Lords birth. We also get to know of what an incarnation is. The Lord answers the question of Arjuna thus, I preached karmayoga to Vivasman not in this birth. That was done in some past birth. I remember that. Therefore, I am saying that I had preached it. 'O, Arjuna! You also had many births. Birth and death is samsara i.e. the world. I also had many births. The only difference between you and me is that you do not know anything about your past births but I know them. I not only know about my past births but I also know about all your births. I know them all. I know all those births yours as well as mine.' Apparently, this is the meaning. He, who is unborn, is eternal, is unchangeable, how could he take birth? The answer to this question has been given in the 6th verse. 'I do take birth.' There is nothing to doubt. Does the Purushottama, the Lord, take birth? Does that Reality take births in a human body and manifests itself like us amongst us? Does he pass through all the stages through which an ordinary man goes through; dwells in the womb of a mother; delivery takes place, passes through infancy and also has a childhood? Yes, he does. He eats, drinks, sleeps, awakes, and stands, sits, like common people. He also has normal human emotions and feelings. He lives his entire life as a normal human being. In appearance he is exactly like a human being, but He is the Lord (Purushottama). What is the evidence of his being the Supreme Being (Purushottama)? How is one to know that he is not an ordinary person? These days anyone could call himself the Lord in the body of a human being. Any body could speak of somebody else also as the Lord. The advaita doctrine of Vedanta gives liberty to every one to say aham brahman'smi i.e. I am the Brahman. Then how much time would it take for anyone to assume oneself as the Lord? Moreover, the Lord is in all forms. Everything reflects his form. The Lord dwells in every thing, Vasudevam sarvamiti. Food is the Lord, cow is the Lord, dog is the Lord, guest is the Lord. shrishti sari shyam mayee (the Lord manifests in the entire Creation). Is everyone then an incarnation? Can everybody call himself an incarnation of God? Whom we call an incarnation? What is special about him? Every thing is an expression of the Lord. Only that One Reality manifests in different forms and in different names. That has two dispositions higher (para) and lower (apara) (Verses 4-5 of chapter 7). All the three gunas (modes) are from him and are his forms. He is the jeeva (embodied soul). He is the satoguna, rajoguna, and tamoguna and all beings in the entire cosmos are their products. He is the only Reality, which is pervading the entire universe. What is there other than Him? Who is He? The person, who has awakened the consciousness of that Supreme Purusha within his self-awareness (atmabhav) beyond prakriti, and has identified himself with the Lord, is able to recognise the presence of that glowing light in everyone else. He perceives that the Supreme Being (Purushottama) is dwelling in every one. When he perceives Him in every atom, perceives every atom as His form and perceives therein His manifestation in the gross then for him everything is filled with Rama i.e. becomes Rama-mayee73. Prakriti and all embodied souls (jeeva) are seen as His manifestations. This is the ultimate reality. This becomes as an experience for the awakened souls.
73

Rama-maae: filled with Rama the Supreme, the all-pervading reality.

167

But, the awakened person sees Him at every level, does not see anything special for whatever he sees. He recognises that Supreme Reality in everything ordinary. While seeing a person he recognises the Purushottam in him. He does not start seeing the rise of knowledge and energy in a person. He sees instead the Lord sitting inside as the fontal source of all possibilities. An incarnation is a special manifestation of the Supreme Reality (Purushottama). That special manifestation is recognised by only a few. An incarnation discloses His divinity to those on whom He showers His blessings. He discloses His Divinity only to those who are worthy of knowing Him. His normal behaviour being like that of an ordinary person, He cannot be recognised by everyone. Arjuna was unable to know with certainty that He was an incarnation. Amongst the contemporaries of the Lord Shri Krishna, only a few knew that the Lord (Narayana) was living in the form of a human being. He was not an ordinary person. Whosoever recognised his Divinity, he took refuge in Him, Shri Krishna. Only he realises the Divinity for whom the Divinity manifests itself. The Divinity is the supreme energy, knowledge, and bliss. He is also the supreme love. The Lord (Parameshwara) is the cause and source of creation, sustenance, destruction and grace. These properties are revealed to those to whom the Lord expresses His Divine-Form by showering His blessing on them. Despite his worldly appearance, he performs supernatural deeds. Were the childhood activities of the Lord Krishna like that of an ordinary child? In the life of the Lord, we find many his activities, which could easily be called super-human. However, the ordinary intelligence cannot comprehend them like this. There are limitations of human activities but there are no such limitations for the activities of an incarnation. That is why intelligence is never able to comprehend them and is ever confused. When the Lord blesses, He not only makes his presence felt but also gives an understanding to comprehend Him. The intellect has to accept defeat. After showing His Supreme cosmic form, the Lord clearly told Arjuna bhaktya tvananyaya shakya ahamevamvidho 'rjuna | jnatum drastum ca tattvena pravestum ca paramtapa ||
(Verse 54 of chapter 11)

O Arjuna! Only through an unwavering devotion to Me I can be known and seen in this form and one can enter into Me (only by that devotion). The grace of the Lord is possible only through unwavering devotion. He can also be known only through an unwavering devotion. In a siddha (spiritually realised person) there is abundance of strengthened vigour. How an ordinary person can know, what a siddha can do or what he cannot do? What is the basis on which one can know his powers? Therefore, intellect has certainly to be defeated. The criticism of the believers in incarnation by the non-believers, which we used to hear in our childhood during religious discourses, appears today to us as the proof of the ignorance of people about the Divinity as they do not know as to what it actually means, as they do not have any experience of the Divinity, the eternity of the Lord. The incarnation is the truth, which can only be experienced. One does not have to rely upon reason for its confirmation. Of course, by proper reasoning one can understand that Reality to some extent. When the Lord (Purushottama) manifests in this manner, He is called an incarnation. He descends to the human level from His indeterminate (nirguna) State, which is beyond the comprehension of human mind and intelligence. He descends with His Divine-attributes i.e. the

168

supreme consciousness in the human body. That is why it is said that He has incarnated. Incarnation in the physical world is amply indicated by the decent of the Supreme consciousness from its own plane right up to the gross physical plane. And the experience of its descent in the inner realm is suggestive of the possibility of incarnation in the outside world. Whatever happens within us happens in the outside world too. Whatever is in the microcosm is in the macrocosm also. The Lord says sambhavami - I take birth, I am born. This is true. This has to be accepted on the strength of the evidence of the statement of the Lord. Even now the practice of worshiping the incarnation is in vogue because of the feelings the devotees have for Him, by the evidence of His contemporary devotees who had his blessings and if our intelligence assists us in accepting the Lord as an incarnation by his deeds. He, Shri Krishna, is the one who delivered the sermon of the Gita, and he is the Lord. His statement itself is a sufficient evidence of His Divinity. Without Divinity, an ordinary person could not have done all that He did in his life. Every verse of the Gita has a unique imprint of what He was. Now the question remains as to how is He born. Is it like the birth of an ordinary child? An ordinary person, in due course of time after death, impelled by his past karmas, entering the womb of some mother appears in this world assuming a human body. Enjoyment of the fruits of his past karmas is the cause of his re-birth in this world. The bonds of his desires and the need of his evolution forcibly bring him back in the mortal world. The Lord is always beyond the bonds of karmas. Why does He return in this world? sambhavami atmanmayaya - I takes birth by My own maya, volition. So says the Lord. Maya is the ability of delimiting, which can create many entities from a single entity, which defines boundaries, which creates and which causes the bonds. It is because of this maya that we are unable to see that Supreme Reality. Our ignorance and our doubts are only because of maya. Maya conceals the Lord from our eyes. Maya is the one who shows the varied cosmic play hiding the lord under the cover of her saree. Maya is the power of the Divine and is not separate from Him. He Himself is a form of maya and is known as mayarup. The name of one of His divine powers is maya. The magic of that Magician is maya. The Supreme Lord is anant (infinite) and His powers are also infinite (anant). Maya is the natural intellect, power and activity of the Lord (Paramaishwara) (Shwetashavtaroprishad 6,8). That Mahaishawari (the Supreme Goddess) i.e. maya is also one of the forms of that beneficent Supreme Power (Mahashakti). The Lord calls this as duratyaya (difficult to get over, indomitable). (Verse 14 of chapter 7) This means that the Lord manifests himself with the help of his playful energy i.e. maya. He, who could create so many cosmos, could also manifest Himself. What is so surprising about it? We innocent children try to measure with our limited intelligence the capabilities of that infinite Supreme Power. The Lord may do something and may not do anything. This is the best evidence of our intellectual vanity. It is also a beautiful example of intellectual transgression. And said prakriti svam adhishthaya - making my own nature (prakriti) as the basis. By making that prakriti as the base, He manifests in prakriti alone. He manifests through gunas (qualities) of prakriti, making the mind, the intellect and the sense organs as base and that is the body. That is the basis of all His activities. Help of the lower nature (apara prakriti) has to be taken. There is no doubt about it. However, does He take the assistance of the higher nature (para prakriti) also? Does He descend in any specific embodied soul and extinguishing its individuality by immersing it in Himself, plays

169

the entire sport of the Divine (leela) through it? It also seems possible. The Lord makes that personality who surrenders himself completely at His feet, if there be any necessity, as the basis of His playful divine activity here in the world. There seems nothing illogical about it. The life of the Mahaprabhu74 appears to me to be an excellent example supporting this fact. Nimai pundit got gradually extinct and Mahaprabhu got manifested. The personality of Nimai pundit was entirely different than the one, which subsequently made its appearance as Mahaprabhu. But, there are many other possibilities. This is a field for imagination. There is no end to our imagination. We cannot say that it will always happen like this. The Lord has many ways and He has no limitations. But this could be said only for the Master (the adhisthana) of Prakriti. This part of the verse, do incarnate, am born, expresses this view. ajo 'pi san avyayatman bhutanamishuro 'pi san | 'I am the immortal soul. I am immortal and beyond mutations. Despite being so I also take birth. Even while taking birth and doing all activities, I remain immutable'. This attribute can be comprehensible only after one has attained the higher consciousness. 'Despite being unborn take birth'. The Lord is beyond the bonds of birth and death, beyond the bonds of karma. Even while acquiring a body He remains beyond the bonds of karma. The unborn remains unborn. He takes birth despite being the Lord of all embodied. He is the creator of the embodied. He is the Lord of all existents and is their regulator too. He is the Master of everything but having been born in prakriti submits Him entirely to the qualities of nature (prakriti). The Lord in a human body suffers all dualities like hunger-thirst, heat-cold, illnessdeath, and all other dualities just like ordinary human beings. In the life of an incarnation that Lord of Lords makes himself a commoner. That Lord of the cosmos delimits Himself in a small foetus. That Lord of the three worlds plays in the lap of a mother. That Lord of the entire Creation cries for milk, crawls, swings in a cradle and does all other activities that an ordinary infant does. What a surprise! Mother Yashoda, Devaki and Kaushalya were fascinated. Nand was fascinated. Vasudeva was fascinated. This concept of incarnation and the play of the Lord in an incarnation are so very fascinating and verily a great surprise. Therefore, the Lord himself has mentioned about this incomprehensible fact at many places in the Gita (Verse 24 of chapter 7, Verse 24 of chapter 9). The Lord mentions the purpose of his incarnation thus yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata | abhyutthanam adharmasya tada 'tmanam srjamy aham || (7) paritranaya sadhunam dharmasamsthapanarthaya vinasya sambhavami ca duskrtam | yuge yuge || (8)

Whenever there is decline of righteousness (dharma) (and) rise of unrighteousness (adharma), O Arjuna, I myself take birth. (7). For the protection of pious people, for the destruction of the wicked and for the proper establishment of righteousness (dharma), I take birth in every age. (8). In both the verses the same thing has been said. What has been stated in the 7th verse that has been clarified in the 8th verse? When righteousness (dharma) declines - dharma means that conduct which makes a human being able to progress on the path of his evolution. A conduct in conformity with ethical
74

Mahaprabhu: Swami Ramakrishna Paramhamsa

170

values is the righteous conduct. Truth, self-reliance, tolerance, compassion, service, sacrifice, honesty which are divine virtues throw light on the essence of dharma. In the first three verses of chapter 16 the divine qualities have been mentioned. danam danas ca yajnas ca svadhyas tapa arjavam |(1) ahimsa satyam akrodhas tyagah santir apaisunam | daya bhutesv aloluptvam mardavam hrir acapalam || (2) tejah ksama dhrtih saucam akrodho na 'timanita | (3)
(Verses 1-3 of chapter 16) Charity, self-control and sacrifice, study of the scriptures, austerity and uprightness. (1) Non-violence, truth, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquility, aversion to fault finding, compassion to all living beings, freedom from covetousness, gentleness, modesty and steadiness (absence of fickleness). (2) Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, freedom from malice and excessive pride. (3)

---- By the translator It is enough for us to understand the nature of righteousness (dharma). When there is a decline of these virtues in the behaviour of common people in general, one must understand that righteousness (dharma) is declining. The opposite qualities are the signs of unrighteousness (adharma). They have also been mentioned in the same chapter 16. dambho darpa 'timanas ca krodhah parusyam eva ca | ajnanam ca bhijatasya partha sampadam asurim ||
(Verse 4 of chapter 16) Hypocracy, arrogance, pride, anger, harshness, and ignorance, these O' Arjuna, are the marks of the one who is born with demonical properties. -- By the translator.

When egoism, etc. become predominant in social behaviour, then one must take it that unrighteousness (adharma) has arisen. The social order is based on the observance of righteousness (dharma). The beneficence of this world is also based on observance of righteousness (dharma). That is not dependent upon the sharpness of our intellect. We can deceive ourselves with this kind of smartness, we can deceive our brothers, but we cannot deceive the divinely ordained forces of the Creator. Whatever we do that comes back to us as its ripened fruit like rains from the above or volcano from the earth. Where could a person hide himself? He will not find shelter anywhere. He cannot escape from the fruits of his misdeeds. The world is the field for human evolution. The utility of this field lies just in this that those who come here should make progress by acquiring necessary experiences and move ahead. When in this world, evil behaviour is on the increase then its balance is badly upset and the social order is disturbed considerably. For those for whose education and use the order has been created, it ceases to be so. Therefore, there is a need for its correction. Why does the Lord allow all this to happen? Someone might ask. The Lord has given freedom of action to all human beings, as this freedom is necessary for their further evolution. Freedom of action means freedom of doing both virtuous as well as evil acts. Depending upon the state of evolution, lower or higher tendencies become strong and gradually overpower the other tendencies. Till the middle of the Kaliyuga, the lower tendencies are gradually strengthened because the consciousness descends to the base at the gross level. People continue to move downwards, but from the middle of Kaliyuga the movement of consciousness reverts. A gradual

171

ascent starts. A real abstinence starts. Then the higher tendencies are strengthened and take over the lower tendencies. Such is the order of evolution. This requires repeated corrections. In any specific age, people in identical states of evolution and requiring similar kind of experiences do not live. The experiences required by the virtuous people for their evolution are of a different kind than those required by the evil people. Therefore, to allow the world to remain useful and harmonious, divine intervention is required. As such an imbalanced state comes about in the natural course and in the same way there is a need for intervention by the Lord. The earlier statement is now being explained in detail, as a result of the rise of unrighteousness (adharma), pious people suffer. People of evil disposition becoming stronger make their life miserable. I take birth to protect virtuous people and to punish the evil ones. It should not be forgotten that the punishment is also given according to the karmas. Evil of some evil persons require punishment through the hands of the incarnation of the Lord. Another reason for the incarnation is to establish righteousness (dharma), for the progress of goodness and for the protection of those who do virtuous deeds. It looks as if the incarnation takes control of the vehicle going downhill so that by further sliding down it is not completely damaged. For sometime the slide stops but according to the demands of the changing sequence of ages it starts sliding again. And, again when required, the Lord takes birth as an incarnation. yuge yuge - in every age! This does not mean that the Lord takes birth in every age or takes birth only once in an age. He manifests from time-to-time as and when required. We can see another great objective for the incarnation, and that is for the process of evolution of the species itself. Matsya, Kachchapa, Varah, Narasimha etc. seem to be the incarnations, which started new chapters in the sequence of creation by the Lord himself. The process of evolution of the species was exactly in accordance with those incarnations. First came the water-borne creatures like fish, etc., and then came the creatures living both in water as well as on earth. Thereafter, life started growing on earth independently of water, and animals like Varah, etc. appeared. Narasimha was a mixed form of half man and half beast. The description of incarnations in the chapters of the Shrimadbhagwad also confirms this view. It should be clearly understood that the incarnations of the Lord do not take place in human form alone but also take place in the lower forms. There is no question of dharma adharma in these incarnations. It appears that the incarnations in forms other than human form take place only for induction of new forms of life in new spheres. This is another concept, which also needs to be understood. But here the discussion is only about incarnations in the human form. Incarnation in a human form is for the establishment of righteousness (dharma). It is felt that an incarnation not only establishes righteousness (dharma) but also gives a push to the developing human consciousness. The entire world glows in the light of that Supreme Consciousness. The sequence of changing eras seems to stop transforming under His divine influence. It is said that so long as Shri Krishna, the Lord, was living on earth, the influence of Kaliyuga could not spread and this should not be in the least surprising. The incarnation of the Lord is an expression of His compassion. Impelled by compassion He accepts the limitations of a human life and descends on the earth to protect pious people and to carry the process of evolution forward. At this place, He only wanted to tell Arjuna that His purpose of incarnation was just to protect pious people and to destroy the evil ones. He was present in the battlefield only for that purpose. Arjuna was also to take refuge in Him in that spirit. Perhaps everything else was only incidental.

172

It has been mentioned above that the reality of incarnation can only be experienced. Though an incarnation takes place at a particular time in history, it also becomes a permanent or a perennial truth. Though He disappears from the physical world, yet the manifest personality of the incarnation continues to exist in the subtle form. Incarnation becomes a deity. He and His everyday activities could be directly perceived. The activities, which he performed in the gross, remain imprinted in the subtle like a film, which anybody could see whenever he wants to see. Moreover, that personality which becomes deity remains active and performs his activities in subtlety. Such is the experience of the devotees following the path of worshiping incarnations. Vrindavan, even today, is the place of everyday activities of the Lord, Shri Krishna. Today, these facts are not mere figments of imagination but appear to be substantial truth and are amenable to reason. Shri Tulsi Ramayam mentions the fact of incarnation in detail. It would not be inappropriate to place these lines of Shri Tulsi Ramayan dealing with incarnation along with yuge yuge. In Uttarkand, Kak-Bhusandi says: jab jab ram manuj tan dharhin | bhakt hetu lila bahu karhin || tab tab avadhpuri mein jaun | balcharit viloki harshaun || janm mahotsav dekhaun jaee | Varsh panch tanh rahun lobhai || ishta dev mama balak rama | sobha vapush koti sat kama ||
(Whenever Rama, the Lord, takes human form and he does his activities for the sake of his devotees I go to Avadhpuri to see the celebrations of his birth and to enjoy those celebrations for five years. My deity of worship is baby Rama who is more beautiful than the thousands of gods of beauty. Free translation)

And to describe his confusion, he further says andkos prati prati nij rupa | dekhaun jinas anek anupa || awadhpuri pati buvan nyari | sarju bhinna bhinna nar nari || dasrath kausalya sunu tata | vividha rupa bhartadik bhrata || prati brahmand ram avtara | dekhaun bal vinod apara || bhinna bhinna mein dekha sab, ati vichitra hari jan | agnit bhuvan phiraiu, prabhu rama na dekhaun aan ||
(Different universes have different forms and I see a variety of each one of these therein. There is a specific palace in Avadhpuri and a river Sarju and also a variety of men and women. Dasrath and kaushilya are parents. Bharat, etc. are the brothers. Whenever Rama incarnates in any universe, I go and enjoy his activities of childhood. - Free translation)

We cannot give much importance to the confusion as described by Kak-Bhusandi. That was the maya (illusion) of the Lord. The intellect cannot have a say there. The first reference does tell that Rama incarnates again and again. He incarnates only in Avadhpuri and in the form of Rama alone. The deity of Kak-Bhusandi jee is the same form of Rama. Perhaps this only conveys that this play of incarnation is repeated from era to era. In that play other characters change but this character does not change. It remains permanent. The same activities are repeated again and again with some variation and kak-Bhusandi sees them. And also said, ramacharit satkoti apara. What happens after the birth of an incarnation that has been stated in the next verse? janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah | tyaktva deham punarjanma naiti mameti sorjuna || (9)

173

O Arjuna! Who knows thus the essence of My divine births and karmas, in its true nature, he is not born again after leaving this body, but he attains to Me. (9) He attains to Me. Does he go to any special world? Does he start residing in an eternal abode where this divine Leela takes place every day? It is believed that worshipers of Lord Krishna go to Golok and worshipers of Shri Rama go to Saket. In chapter 12, the Lord has mentioned about those who worship the unmanifest saying: they attain to Me only. About His abode, the Lord says yam prapya na nivertante taddham paramam mam | My abode is the one from where no one returns. The permanent abode of the Lord is called Golok or Saket. In that abode the Lord is ever present in his determinate (saguna) form and dwells with His devotees. And the Lord also speaks of their entry in the abode and in Him. nivasisyasi mayayeva ata urdhvam na saamshayah |
(8 of 12)

gyatum drashtum cha tattvena praveshtum cha paramtap |


(54 of 11)

That abode is eternal and permanent. (56-62 of 18) After seeing all this, all that can be said about it that attainment of the Lord is not always attainment of the same state. The state we attain is according to our faith. Those who demand an entry in the Lord get an entrance and those who demand a merger with Him get merged in Him. Those who pray to live with Him with their body, gain that state. Besides, the many ways in which the Lord could gratify His devotees is beyond one's imagination and even to think of it is not possible. The attainment of the Lord is to have complete purification of the inner-self, to have complete removal of impurities forever, and to be permanently established in the higher consciousness i.e. to go beyond the limits of evolution on earth. Therefore, there is no question of returning to earth. And, for reaching that state absence of ego is essential. Hence, in that state the bonds of karmas also do not exist. It would be a futile exercise to think what is higher or what is lower. Higher state or lower state is only external variation as the internal state is identical in both states. That state cannot be measured on the scale of the finite intellect. Our present state is determined by our thought process and by the form of our worship. Attainment of the Lord is only attainment of the Lord -just that and nothing else. There is nothing higher or lower in that. There are many ways to attain Him. For the attainment of the Lord, incarnation also opens a way. That has been aptly described here. Whoever knows the divine birth of the Lord, in its true essence, he alone attains Him. (Verse 6 chapter 4). Thus in the present context means -- ajo pi san ________ etc. This birth is not a worldly birth but is a divine one, and the actions of the Lord also are divine. He is not like an ordinary person. He, who knows this secret in its true nature, is liberated form the bonds of birth. What is this knowing of the true nature? Only this question remains for consideration.

174

By hearing and understanding, one has intellectual awareness. By intellectual awareness belief develops, sentiments awaken, faith generates, and that takes the form of devotion. Then one gets the grace of the Lord. That gives us experience and awareness. Then the knowledge does not remain merely intellectual but becomes experience-based. That has the stamp of certification. Then the misplaced arguments of the entire world cannot shake a person's faith. The Lord has to be recognised by entering into Him. He has to be experienced through an awakening of Him within us. Life and actions of the incarnation do not remain limited to merely hearing and thinking about Him. He becomes a perceptible realisation and so He is actually known. The Lord was not telling Arjuna about his present birth, but was making a statement about things as they usually happen. In this manner incarnation opens a path for liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Listening, contemplating and singing songs of his divine life and His activities becomes a sadhana for the realisation of His true divine essence. It becomes a path for his devotion. By singing songs of the activities of the Lord, by reciting His names and characteristics, many people attain Him after leaving the body. Refer verses 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the tenth chapter. Now the Lord gives evidence of the efficacy of this path vitaragabhayakrodha manmaya mam upasritha | bahavo jnanatapasa puta madbhavamagatah || (10) Freed from attachment, fear and anger, absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, purified by the austerity of knowledge, many have attained My state of being. (10) Madbhavamagatah - they have attained My state of being, or have attained the state of the Lord, have become one with him, have been absorbed in him, have become like him, have attained the state of an incarnation of the Lord. This verily is the attainment of the Lord, which has been discussed above. Who are these people? Bahavo jnantapasa putah - Many people purified by the austerities of knowledge (gyan). What is this knowledge (gyan)? The answer to that was given in the last verse. This is that supreme knowledge which tells us of the real truth of the divine birth and the activities of the Lord. That knowledge (gyan) has been referred to here. In this verse the effect of that knowledge (gyan) has been mentioned. That knowledge is penance. It is called so because through that a person is heated and becomes pure. Gold is purified by heating, which burns the dross. A person under the heat of fever discards inner toxins. Austerities purify. What is base and unholy that is burnt. The knowledge of the divine birth and the activities of the Lord also do that. That is why activities of the Lord are called holy. By talking about them a person is purified. Whatever we think that we become. About whomsoever we think with love, his consciousness starts descending in us. We get coloured in his colour. This is a subtle result of a good company. By talking about the characters of the devotees of the Lord, a person is purified and starts filling up with devotion. Singing the praises of the Lord and of His activities is of course a form of His worship. Yogadarshan says, vitaraga vishayam va chittam is a way of attaining samadhi. Mental devotion is detachment from objects. If by thinking of detachment one's agitation and other impurities are removed then why will they not be removed by meditating on the Lord's life and activities? And the secret of His life and activities is not known only by intelligence. His life and activities have to be sung, have to be meditated upon, feelings and devotion towards the Lord has to be awakened in oneself then only does the Grace of the Lord descend. Only then one is able to know -

175

soi janai jehi deu janai yamevaish vrinute ten labhya - Upanishad Only he can know Him whom He accepts. So, this knowledge (gyan) is pure and purifies us and unites us with the Lord. What has already happened in the devotee before unity? What should be his state before this supreme awareness? mam upashritah - by having taken total shelter in Me. By being near to Me those people become fully dependent on Me. The more we meditate upon the life and activities of the Lord, the more dependence on Him will automatically develop. He alone becomes our support and basis of all our life. He comes to be perceived as our own, our supreme well wisher and everything i.e. the most valuable thing for us. The person gradually starts leaving everything on Him and acquires total dependence on him. Manmaya - assimilated in the Lord nothing is left in them except the Lord. They are so coloured in Him that no other colour remains on them. What to say of passions, of attachments, etc. even their ego vanishes. Those who have become like this i.e. coloured entirely in His colour become 'vitaragabhayakrodhah' i.e. become free from attachment, fear and anger, and attain Him. The Lord is so filled within them that no place is left for any attachment. By having Him as a great support and eternal companion, how can one have fear? Every thing happens according to his wishes and everyone dances to His tunes. 'Hukum andar sab koi'. The Lord permeates everyone and so does His wish. And anger? It also gets pervaded by Him. Whatever we see, it is the Lord that we see and then on whom one could be angry? The person grows so tender within that any harsh tendency like anger cannot exist. When the ego is annihilated, then who can be hurt and who will be hit? When the snake (of ego) is dead then who will bite. The possibility of anger is over forever. One who takes to the path of worship attains the state free of attachments, fear and anger. He attains the Lord. Many have been delivered in this manner and have merged in the feet of the Lord. In this path of sadhana, one should meditate on the activities of the Lord and should listen and sing songs of His glory. The rest happens by His grace and happens gradually. That state is certainly reached by a devoted practice. Biographies of devotees and the history of Vaishnava saints is evidence of the same. Even the speech of the Lord itself is also evidence. api cet suduracaro bhajate mam ananyabhak | sadhur eva sa mantavyah samyag vyavasito hi sah || ksipram bhavati dharmatman sasvacchantim nigacchati | kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranaaasyati ||
(Verses 30 & 31 of chapter 9)

"Even if a person of vile nature worships Me with exclusive devotion, he should be considered a saint, for he has rightly resolved." (30 of 9) "Speedily he becomes virtuous and secures lasting peace. Know it for certain, Arjuna, that My devotee never falls." (31 of 9) And it has already been written above about the tenth chapter (verses 10 & 11). ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathai va bhajamy aham | mama vartma nuvartante manusyah partha sarvasah || (11)

176

In whatever manner one approaches me I accept him in that very manner. O Arjuna! In all possible manners people follow my path. (11) The later part of this verse we have read in the last chapter (verse 23). But here the context is different and so also its meaning. Each one of us takes refuge in the Lord with our own feelings and emotions. Our tendencies and our internal demands collectively decide as how can we be near the Lord. And with what kind of feelings, we would be able to advance towards Him? For someone servitude is easy and he can view the Lord as his master. By placing himself entirely in His service he feels happy. Someone looks at Him as his father. It is easy for him to love with that emotion. For someone else maternal feelings are easy and dear. Yet someone else by seeing Him as a child can easily surrender himself to Him with motherly fondness and affection, and for him motherly affection is an easy way of his surrender, an easy method of service and a magnificent source of love. For some the sweetness for the beloved has a great attraction. The history of devotees has shining examples of all the emotions with which they worshiped the Lord. Whatever is convenient for one, that is the way for him. But without feelings, without the stability of feelings, it appears rather impossible to have love. That peaceful state appears to be only for peaceful people and is difficult for common people. Men can easily move forward with human props. That compassionate playful Lord becomes the master or a servant or any other relation, every thing, for our sake according to our feelings of devotion. He also bears on His shoulders the burden of beneficence (yogakshema) and for that He even touched the feet of Duryodhana. He also descends becoming the auspicious Mother Divine. He makes the seeker happy by taking him in His blissful and graceful lap and purifies him by His sublime touch and showers nectar by becoming the Mother Divine. He also becomes a child. In the courtyard of mother Yashoda that infinite Brahman crawled. That omniscient suckled by becoming an infant. He plays in the lap of the mother. By His simplicity, by His innocence, by His love, flows a strong current of fondness in the mother. He played in the lap of mother Kaushilya. By becoming Krishna He accepted the sublime and intense love of Radhika. He became the beloved of Sufi saints. Whatsoever we want Him to be He is ready to become that for us but we will have to surrender ourselves to Him. We will have to be ready to sell our entire Self to Him. Only this is required for uniting with that playful Lord Divine (Purushottama). At the same time while being One, He takes one form for one and another for others and is complete for everyone. There is nowhere any deficiency. Everywhere He is Real. In His response there is no artificiality. Nothing can be said deceitful. His unique capability is so very astonishing. He is the Supreme Being (Purushottama) equipped with omnipotent energy, wisdom and love and He does all this play. He is that manifest Sachchidananda75 the Lord and it is He who does all that. He is the infinite Brahman. Our astonishment only speaks of our limited abilities of perception. Even to call him infinite is as good as limiting Him. jinh ke rahi bhavana jaisi, prabhu murati tinh dekhi tesi
(People saw the Lord in the form in which they wished to see Him.)

And then in the Ayodhya Kanda76, when the citizen of Ayodhya went to Chitrakuta to meet Shri Rama, what was the lila that Shri Rama did jo jehi bhanya raha abhilashi | tehi-tehi ke tasi-tasi ruchi rakhi || sanuj mili pal mein sab kahun | Kinha duri dukha darun dahu || yeh baribat ram kai nahin | jimi ghat koti ek ravi chahin ||

75 76

Sachichidanand: Existence, Consciousness, Bliss Ayodhya Kanda: A chapter in Ramcharit Manas

177

(According to their wishes, he fulfilled the desires of everyone. In a moment He met everyone along with his younger brother and removed his or her distress. This was not something unique of Shri Rama for thousands of pots flourish under one Sun.)

It is not at all surprising to understand the Lord as the Lord. Once He is realised, reverence arises, head bows and even the heart bows before His auspicious hallowed feet. The Lord says, everyone follows my path and they come to Me by whatever path they follow. The worshipers of the unmanifested (nirguna) come by their own way and worshipers of the manifest (sagunopasak) come by their way. Worshipers of a single deity, worshipers of multiple deities and the worshipers of the Universal form, (9, 15); all of them come to Me only. All of them follow My paths and I alone have created those paths. The hidden meaning of this statement is that all paths come to be followed by His inspiration. Those, who perform sacrifices (yagya), recite His name, chanting of name etc. with desire i.e. do efforts for fruition of karmas also tread My path. They do not know Me properly and therefore, cannot attain the Supreme state. (Verse 24 of chapter 9) All paths are His paths. He alone is the creator of all the paths. On whatever path one moves with devotion, he moves towards Him. Some are footpaths and some are wide roads fit for motor vehicles. Some are winding roads, some are through the forests and some are moving up and down but all paths lead to Him. Not only this! Sattavic, rajasic, and tamasic - all feelings are due to Him. Even the Karmas are done according to His inspiration. He is the Lord of the entire cosmos. All efforts take us to Him in one-way or the other. Refer to chapter entitled shubhashubh in authors book Adhyatma Vikas. kanksantah karmanam siddhim yajanta iha devatah | ksipram hi manuse loke siddhir bhavanti karmaja || (12) Those who desire the fruition of their karmas on earth worship (other) gods. (Because) Fruition of specific karmas is quickly gained in this world. (12) Why do people worship other gods ignoring Brahman (Sachchidananda), who is so compassionate and possessed of infinite energy? This is a matter of surprise. This is the path of worship. This is the path of attaining the Lord. This is a higher objective and accordingly a higher price has to be paid. One has to sell himself to Him in order to gain Him. One has to lose ones own self. sis diea te hari milen, to bhi sasta jaan i.e. even if by giving ones head if one attains the Lord, consider it cheap. All desires have to be sacrificed before one can attain Him. How many people are there who have such higher feelings? May be one out of thousands aspires for the Lord. We only want fulfillment of our desires and that too instantly. Without a total surrender, there cannot be any response from the Lord. And for becoming His, a great price has to be paid. It is the path for the brave; others ignoring Him take refuge in the lesser gods. The lesser gods are pleased by performance of activities like religious rites, rituals, fasting, worshiping and divining of sacrifice, etc. and they fulfill our desires. We take vows to propitiate gods. We try to bribe gods with our offerings, like I will make a specific offering or a sacrifice when a specific desire is fulfilled. The gods play such games. In the human-world, the desired objectives may be quickly attained through such practices. One can even attain super natural powers by worshiping the lesser gods.

178

The difference between the worship of these gods and the worship of the Lord should be clear. In the one, the objective is the fulfillment of specific desires and in the other the objective is to attain the Lord himself. In the one the price is the performance of specified karmas in the prescribed manner and in the other the price is a total surrender and an undivided devotion. One is motivated by fulfillment of desires and the other requires renunciation of desires. One has purpose and the other is full of love. The form of the one who is the Lord of yagyas (Yagyaishwar), the Supreme Self (Purushottam), in whose feet we have to offer our karmas, is now being described. He incarnates. He enacts his play. He accepts us in every manner in which we offer ourselves to Him. He also accepts our gifts. He also happily accepts the offerings of our karmas. The Lord himself gives his own introduction thus. caturvarnayam maya srstam gunakarmavibhagasah | tasya kartaram api mam viddhy akartaram avyayam || (13) The four fold (social) order was created by Me according to the nature of people and their ability to do karmas. Though I am the creator of that order, know Me to be the non-doer and changeless. (13) The birth of the Lord is divine. His skill of doing karmas is also divine. Here He gives an introduction of His skills in doing karmas. The Lord himself has created the four-fold order. Even by creating that order He himself remains the non-doer. This four-fold social order is the basis of society. It is only with the threads of that order that the social fabric has been woven. So great is the order. For everyone duties have been defined. That keeps the vehicle of society moving. On the disturbance of the social order, there is social confusion and there is social turmoil. How then that has been created? It is according to the specific nature of individuals and their ability to do karmas, duties for every one have been defined. People with similar nature and identical aptitude for work have been kept in one order (Varna) and those with different nature and aptitude are placed in different order (varna). The Lord tells Arjuna, I do such a great work; still I am not a doer. Doer ship of karmas does not touch Me. Therefore; I have no bonds of karmas. I continue to remain the unchangeable, pure consciousness, despite doing karmas. The echo of this statement is that you are afraid of doing such a petty work of fighting. You are afraid that you will become a sinner. Look at me! Follow me! I will tell you the way. By adopting that way you will also not be bound by karmas. Sociologists give diverse interpretations for guna-karmavibhagshah i.e. the division of work according to guna and karmas flowing from it. Some consider varna-order (four-fold social order) by birth and some by karmas. But I consider it improper to bring this sentence of the Gita into any controversy. Despite being a scripture of a particular time the Gita is beyond time. Its objective was not to prescribe any social order. The reference was only for the guidance of Arjuna. By forgetting that objective we would lose its relevance. What the Gita gives us and what it can always give us is precious and that is its essence. That is the divinity hidden in the Gita. This verse is for revealing His divine karmas and was spoken by Him for the guidance of Arjuna.

179

This and the next verse describe the conditions for surrendering of karmas to Brahman (Brahmarpana). Our deity, the Supreme Brahman, himself does karmas without being bound by them. By worshiping Him we could also become like Him. Further, He is the deity of our worship. He accepts our offerings. Only this much of devotion is required for offering the karmas. Hence it is said na mam karmani limpanti na me karmaphale sprha | iti mam yo bhijanati karmabhi na sa badhyate || (14) Karma does not contaminate Me; nor do I have yearning for their fruits. He who knows Me thus in reality is not bound by his karmas. (14) He who knows My divine birth and karmas is liberated from the cycle of birth and death. Knower of the non-doer ship of the Lord becomes free from the bonds of karmas. It is the result of this realisation. But, is it enough to bear this concept in our mind? This will not be enough. The realisation has to be much more substantive. It has to be a realisation beyond the intellect and not to be shaken by the arguments. It is a realisation from which one is not swayed and it becomes the devotion of his life. Meditating over the divine activities of the Lord, thinking, listening and speaking about His activities of creation, sustenance and dissolution, reveal this secret. Lessons from a knower of truth (Guru) could firm up this realisation. realisation becomes stable then only it is fruitful. When this

The Lord should become our Ishta i.e. the goal of our devotion. It seems understandable that a deep meditation on the qualities of a deity will infuse those qualities in us. A deity becomes a part of the life of the devotee and His qualities gradually start manifesting in the devotee. As the Lord is not bound by His karmas, so is His devotee. If even this quality starts manifesting in a devotee, what is surprising about that? If the Lord dwells in us, then the qualities, which we recognise in Him, start manifesting in us. When the compassion of the Lord comes in the devotee, he himself gets filled up with compassion. If he recognises love in the Lord, he is filled with love. In the same manner by recognising the non-doer-ship of his deity, he also becomes a non-doer. He goes beyond the bonds of karmas. evam jnatva krtam karma purvair api mumuksubhih | kuru karmai va tasmat tvam purvaih purvatram krtam || (15) Knowing thus the ancient seekers of salvation (moksha) performed karmas. Therefore, you should also do karmas as were done by the ancient people in the past. (15) Today, the Lord was not saying something unusual to Arjuna. The path of karma is an ancient one. The ancient seekers of salvation (moksha) also did karmas. They knew the secret that the Lord could remain non-doer even while doing karmas. Because of this knowledge they were not afraid of doing karmas and were also not bound by them. So, O Arjuna! You should also do karmas. Know it with certainty that no harm would be caused to you by doing karmas. mahajano yen gatah sa panthah . You should also follow the path of karmayoga, which was followed by your ancestors. They were the followers of this path of karmayoga. They were benefited by following the path of karmayoga. You will also be benefited.

180

Mumuksha - the one who desire salvation (moksha) i.e. the one desirous of being free from the bonds of prakriti. The bonds of karma are part of the bonds of prakriti. He, who is free from the bonds of karmas, is also mumuksha. Without being free from the bonds of karmas, how can there be freedom from the bonds of prakriti? Names of Janak, etc. have already been mentioned. They were the ancient followers of the path of karmayoga. It was their example that was given to Arjuna. The Lord reverts back to the core message of the Gita and again advises Arjuna: you should fight, you should do your karma. How could a person remain a non-doer while doing karma? This is the question. The answer to this question is the key of the secret of akarma77. The answer has been given in verses 16 to 23. This is the most elaborate exposition of naishyakarmya given in the Gita. kim karma kim akarme ti kavayo py atra mohitah | tat te karma pravaksyami yah janatva moksyase subhat ||(16) karmano hy api boddhavyam boddhavyam ca vikarmanah | akarmanas ca boddhavyam gahana karmano gatih || (17) What is karma? What is akarma? As to this even the wise are bewildered. Therefore, I will also tell you (the secret of) karma. By knowing which you will become free from evil. (16) One should know what the karma is and should also know what is vikarma and also what is akarma. The ways of karma are difficult to understand. (17) The Lord is preparing ground for the forthcoming exposition of naishyakarmaya. It is no surprise that you are bewildered. It is very difficult to discriminate between karma and akarma. Even great scholars get confused and sometimes take karma as akarma and akarma as karma. Since you do not know this secret, you want to run away from fighting. I will myself describe the secret of karma-akarma. I will also tell you, what ought to be the basis of discrimination between them. If you understand this, you will be free from the evil. You will also get over the fear of committing sin, which you feel you will commit by fighting. Then you will be able to fight without any attachment. And the 17th verse gives a brief introduction of the depth of this subject. Karma, vikarma and akarma the three kinds of karmas have been mentioned here. Vikarma is an evil action, which is not doable. By doing which one is debased. About which the scriptures (shastras) give a clear direction that it ought not be done. The meaning of the word gati is the entire process i.e. how it is done, why it is done, and what its final result is? To know the process of the course of karma is to know it in its entirety. Karmano gahnagatih the process of karma is difficult to understand. Here the word karma has been used in its normal meaning. It includes all the three kinds of karmas viz. karma, vikarma and akarma.

77

akarma: a karma done without any motive or desire for its fruits, or a desireless karma

181

The process of karma is very complicated. The chain of karmas continues from all previous births. Every karma is linked with other karmas. Where it starts and where it will end, it is difficult even for the saints to understand. Crossing the boundaries of birth and death, karma influences a person in a strange manner, sometimes coming from the front and sometimes from the rear. The imprint of karma becomes an impulse for future karmas and consequently once a lie is spoken it becomes easier for one to speak another lie again. Once a theft is committed, that becomes an inspiration for committing another theft. Each karma leaves an imprint, which influences future karmas. This is true both in regard to good as well as bad karmas. Secondly, every karma comes to fruition. As the sown seed germinates in appropriate weather and in due course of time bears flowers and fruits, similarly the energy generated by the karma bears fruit in due course of time. Each karma interferes with the equilibrium of prakriti. For restoring that equilibrium prakriti appropriately reacts to that karma. That reaction comes in the form of fruition. The pebbles thrown in a pond make a dent on the water surface and to restore the balance water moves to fill that dent. That reaction becomes a wave. This is also the process of karma. The process of karma starting from us comes back to us in the form of its fruition, irrespective of the time it might take. We could have an inner harmony if the reaction does not influence us. What is received from outside is usually called fruit or result. But the tendency or samskara, as mentioned above, is created within us and is in fact more important. That forms our destiny. Enjoyments do not make our life; they are like dying embers. Karmas mutually bind people. The mutual exchanges between people do take place. We are tied with each other with the ropes of likes and dislikes. The karma, which we do under the influence of likes and dislikes, further strengthen those ropes. Mutual debts are incurred, which have to be repaid. And for which we come closer to each other in the series of subsequent births. Suddenly, the likes and dislikes surface and old accounts reopen. And, without our knowledge, mutual exchanges start taking place. Karma and karmaphal78 are the essential requirements of evolution. Karmaphal despite being the result of our karma acts like a great teacher for us. The way we can understand the effect of evil by ourselves experiencing the result of the evil that we do, the same we cannot understand in any other manner. There is no other effective way of learning it better. In the same manner the lessons of kindness and compassion are also learnt. Like that the lessons of proper behaviour are also learnt. All these experiences continue to develop our consciousness. These bonds of karmas are for awakening us and are also for liberating us. Moreover, it should also be known that karmas are done at many levels. Karma is basically a process. Karmas are done by the body, prana, mind and the intellect. At every level a tendency or samskara is created as per the nature of karma and abolition of these tendencies at various levels is a serious problem. So long as a person does not clear all accounts of his past karmas, does not repay all his debts, the inner tendencies persist. Till such time these inner tendencies persist and the consequent bonds also persist. Therefore, for salvation (moksha) total annihilation of tendencies (samskara) is necessary. Knowing this secret, many saints quickly repay their debts by acquiring bodies in quick succession. Shivsamhita, a book on yoga, makes a mention of this possibility. Enjoyments and passions could be annihilated even at subtle level. For destruction of these inner tendencies enjoyment in gross is not absolutely necessary. This much is also normally necessary to know about Karma. What is akarma? Absence of action, or not actually doing any action cannot be called akarma. Total absence of action is impossible (verse 5, chapter 3). Akarma could therefore mean absence of some other kind of karma.
78

karmaphal: fruits of karma

182

The inner tendencies or samskara make a person what he is and give him a distinct personality a hue distinctly his own. Tendencies bind a person with other persons and objects in the external world and are causes of various events in life, which one has to bear. While enjoying, a person is bound to the passion of enjoyments and while doing karma he is bound to the passion of doing karma. Passion is inner subtle craving deeply situated within. The desire is an earlier form. Akarma despite being karma is that karma the result of which does not influence the doer. That karma is akarma, which does not bind, does not create passion and does not create an inner tendency. That karma does look like karma but it is karma only in name and does not have properties of karma. That is the form of akarma. Vikarma is of a different nature. It is an evil karma and is a cause of sorrow for the doer, for others or for both. It is also a cause of misery for the doer, for others or for both, and is harmful for society and causes its degradation. The distinction between karma and akarma is very deep and cannot be known from outside. The difference is dependent upon the motive of the doer. If the doer is free from likes and dislikes and karma is done with devotion than the same karma is akarma which when done by others with likes or dislikes is karma. The one, who has attained the state of disinterestedness in action i.e. the state of naishyakarmaya, does karma skillfully and efficiently. Viewers could think that the doer is attached to karma. But, they are mistaken. As against that, wherever there is casualness in doing karma, the doer certainly has his likes or dislikes behind doing that karma. Besides indifference, lack of devotion to duty is indicative of tamoguna and not of detachment. The confusion is due to tamoguna. Great scholars get confused due to it. Only on attaining the state of disinterestedness in the fruits of karma (naishyakarmaya) i.e. on acquiring the ability of doing karma in the spirit of akarma a person knows this secret, otherwise akarma appears impossible for him. In fact the nature of vikarma is also not so easy to understand as is thought to be. The books of law many times deceive a person. The cognition of goodness or badness of karma is not possible without knowing the motive and the situation of the doer. In different situations the same karma becomes vikarma or sukarma79. To kill an enemy in the battlefield is svadharma i.e. a good action (sukarma) but killing anybody for the sake of greed or for hatred is vikarma. Slapping somebody with love is not vikarma but with hatred is vikarma. To embrace a woman with motherly feelings is not vikarma and is an innate normal karma and kissing her, touching her, etc. is equally blameless. But embracing a woman with sexual intent, the same karma of embracing, becomes blame worthy and becomes vikarma. A difference in age is also decisive in deciding the nature of karma. What is not to be blamed for a child is not necessarily so for elders? The karma, which is blameless for an illiterate, could be blameworthy for an educated person and so it could be vikarma. As the difference between karma akarma is difficult to understand so it is between karma vikarma; superficial decision might cause injustice to others. It is incorrect to decide without full knowledge of facts. That is why criticism is usually undesirable in all respects. The karmas are only shadows of the limits of our tendencies (samskaras) and experiences. The knowledge of the secret of devotion to karma preached in the Gita makes ones outlook so liberal that the worldly morality becomes meaningless. The so-called codes of social ethics and morality look like rules for undeveloped primitive people, and so also codes of decorum. What can take a person forward on the path of evolution that is doable and what is a hindrance to it is non-doable. On this subject refer to the book Adhyatma Vikas .

79

sukarma: a good or virtous action.

183

In the next verse, the secret of akarma has been discussed from a different perspective. The state of naishyakarmaya can be properly appreciated by understanding that. karmany akarma yah pasyed akarmani ca karma yah | sa buddhiman manusyesu sa yuktah krtsnakarmakrt ||(18) He who in karma sees akarma and karma in akarma, he is wise amongst men, he is a yogi and has accomplished all his karmas. (18)
(He who finds rest in the midst of activity, and activity in rest, he is the wise amidst men, he the yogi, he is the doer of all work. --- Swami Vivekananda)

Who is a wise person? The person, who can see akarma in what is apparently karma and can understand that a person while doing karma could be free from the inner tendency of karma and could also be free from its bindings, alone is wise. Where there is no doer-ship but there is only witnessing, there is no karma. That karma does not lead to the creation of tendencies. That is akarma. That is karma only in appearance. One who has developed such a deep understanding, he is a wise person. however, is not enough. It will also be necessary to know the other half of this secret. That,

Where there is basically no activity, where a person is idle and is not doing any thing, his eyes are closed, ears are blocked, there also if someone can perceive performance of karma he alone really perceives. What karma is being done there? In that state also mind could be active. The mind of a person keeps on wandering under the influence of tendencies accumulated in the past. Mind roams throughout the world. Mentally one kills somebody, can take something from somebody and can also give something to somebody. The intention is that only he knows the secret of akarma who understands that the absence of physical karma is not akarma because the one who does not physically do any karma could still have ego and that could be a cause of bondage of karma for him. Thinking that I do not do any karma, is also karma. Behind that also the ego can exist. That creates the tendency of renunciation and could be a cause of bondage. The one who has understood this twin secret alone is a wise person`. analysis of karma-akarma should make the concept clear. The above

How this secret can be known without even having had a glimpse of the internal state of non-doer-ship? This secret is not understood without the awakening of the innate feeling of being just a witness. All this can easily happen by being close to the feet of the Lord, by the support of His name and by the surrender of ones whole life in the lotus feet of the Lord. This is the device, the way preached in the Gita. One who knows this secret is wise and intelligent. One has the knowledge and the other is having intelligence. Knowledge is just an introduction of the internal and external world. Intelligence is discriminating knowledge, which manifests in the form of skill in doing a work. Intelligence is the ability to understand. That is not dependent on knowledge. Even illiterate could be intelligent and literates could be fools. He is intelligent because he has attained competence in doing the work. He has acquired freedom from the bonds of karma by knowing its secret. He is united in yoga. A person who has attained yoga is a yogi. He alone is united, who has found the path, has known the path and follows that path. His threads have united with the

Adhyatma Vikas: A book by Swami Ramanand, published by Swami Ramanand Sadhana Dham, Kankhal, Haridwar, India

184

Lord. If there is any shortcoming, that is of time. The word yuktah (united) has been used in the Gita again and again and has been used in the same meaning. And such a person is kritsnakarmakrit, doer of all karmas. He is the doer of everything. But the Lord is the doer of everything. karan karvan ape nath (only you alone are the doer of everything O! Lord and you alone get it done too) and the 61st verse of chapter 18 says isvarah sarvabhutanam hrddese rjuna tisthati | bhramayan sarvabhutani yantrarudhani mayaya || O Arjuna! The Lord (Ishwar) dwelling in the hearts of all beings, and riding on them as on a vehicle by his maya revolves all beings to make them do things." (61 of 18) Therefore, the doer of all acts is only Purushottama the Supreme Lord. How then could a person be doer of anything? In fact this secret of karma-akarma is known only by attaining oneness with the Supreme Lord. The title of this chapter karma-brahmarpana yoga refers to the attainment of Purushottama, Brahman, by the offering of karmas. On the awakening of the awareness of being a witness (sakshi-bhav) through the offerings of karmas, one perceives his presence everywhere as being responsible for all activities. He is perceived as the doer and also as having every thing done. The consciousness of such an individual merges in Him. Only that Reality alone appears as the doer. That Reality is the doer of everything and is also one getting things done by others. The individual is not different from that Supreme Reality. And when an individual realises this that He is everything then the individual also becomes like the Supreme Reality. Then the seeker perceives this secret in the entire Universe. The Supreme Being (Purushottama) does not do anything but everything happens because of Him. There is also no other doer excepting Him. He Himself despite being free from the doer ship of all activities is the Lord and substrata of all activities and all activities happen in Him. The non-doer dwells in karma. The Lord is in the cosmos and cosmos is in the Lord. As that secret is revealed to him, the seeker perceives himself in Him and He in himself. (Verse 29 of chapter 6) The Lord says that, the knower of this secret is the doer of everything. He unites with Me, he attains oneness with Me. This is the intent of this statement. This verse presents a grand picture of the final state of our spiritual endeavours (sadhana). The other picture is: yasya sarve samarambhah kamasamkalpavarjitah | janagnidagdhakarmanam tamahuh panditam budhah || (19) He whose all undertakings are free from desires, whose karmas have been burnt by the fire of wisdom, the wise call him a sage (a man of wisdom). (19). Samarambhah means a right beginning. Work of special responsibility and of importance needs to be started with due care and planning. The daily works like eating, drinking, sitting, rising, etc. are not called works properly started. They are part of our daily life and are done as a matter of habit. Undertaking is the one for which thinking and planning is necessary. What is kam-samkalpa (resolve to do a work)? Samkalpa is mental determination or resolve for doing a work. I will do this, I will not do that - this is called samkalpa. For an ordinary person the use of such a force of determination is necessary before the commencement of any major work.

185

Inspiration for such resolve (samkalpa) normally comes from desire; the same desire which was mentioned in the last chapter (verse 37 of chapter 3). The desire for gaining something inspires a person to do karma. By doing such karma I will gain this, will get such happiness, will have such satisfaction. Therefore, samkalpa based on the desire to gain something is karma-samkalpa (resolve related to desire). So, he, whose karmas are not inspired by desires, whose karmas have been burnt by the fire of wisdom janagnidagdhakarmanah is a sage (a man of wisdom). What then is that wisdom which could burn karma? What is this burning of karmas? A roasted seed does not germinate. A roasted seed is dead is without any potency to thrive. All that was there in the seed before roasting is no longer there. The power to germinate is destroyed. It only has the shape of a seed. The same happens to karma. Apparently, that is karma, but it does not have the effect of karma. That becomes like a burnt rope. That cannot be the cause of bondage, of a samskara, of a tendency or of passion. What kind of wisdom is required for the burning of any karma? The conceptual knowledge of karma-akarma, which has been discussed in the previous verse, alone could be that wisdom. For that is not limited to an individuals awareness instead is a universal cognition. It is not only knowledge about the Supreme Being but it is the one attained by entering into the consciousness of the Supreme Being Himself. The deity, Yogaishwara, the Supreme Being, alone is the form of that secret. He himself is the form of that supreme knowledge. When that supreme knowledge seeps within a person then alone his karmas are burnt. In that eventuality only the doer ship comes to an end. Only the Supreme Being remains as the doer. Therefore, the possibility of any bondage is also eliminated. Since this is the effect of this knowledge, it is called fire. Fire burns. This knowledge likewise burns the karma. This is the similarity between the two. Such a person is called a Pundit i.e. the enlightened one, the wise. Pundit means the one who has punda. Punda is a very deep, far-reaching and highly decisive intelligence. The one, who has such intelligence, is a pundit. About that pundit it has been said pothi padh-padh jag muya pundit bhaya na koi l dhai akshar prem ke padhe so pundit hoi ll
(People spend their life in reading the scriptures but no one becomes a pundit. One, however, who learnt two words of love, becomes verily a pundit).

Who are the ones who call him Pundit? Those who themselves are wise. If a fool calls someone a pundit, then that is meaningless. The testimony of a fool is no proof? But if one, who himself is wise calls someone to be a pundit then he is really a pundit. There appears to be no difference between the word pundit used in the present verse and the word wise used in an earlier verse. This means that if a person does work without desires, the wisdom dawns on him and then he is free from the bonds of doing karmas. This was a great knowledge for Arjuna. He too could have undertaken the act of fighting and could still remain free from bondage.
j

The other meaning could be free from samkalpa and desire. Is it possible to do karma without samkalpa? It is doubtful that such an undertaking is possible. May be the samkalpa is not so firm like a line etched in stone and it may be like a line drawn on the surface of water, but still it is necessary. Therefore, the meaning free from samkalpa based on desire seems appropriate.

186

The Lord now tells the method of remaining free from the bonds while doing karmas. The next four verses give a description of the practical aspects of naishyakarmaya. tyaktva karmaphalasangam nityatrpto nirasrayah | karmany abhipravrtto pi naiva kimcit karoti sah || (20) He who has abandoned attachment with the fruits of karma, remains ever content, and without any dependence, he does nothing even while engaged in karma. (20). This means he does not do anything even while doing work. His karma in truth is not karma but is akarma. He remains free from the bonds of doing karma. Moreover, while he may be free from the bonds by doing normal routine karmas but can he be free from bonds if he is fully involved in doing some serious karmas? Howsoever, involved one may be in doing his karmas; he could still remain free from the bonds of karmas. For that performance of few karmas or more karmas is not important. In the decision of karma-akarma, only our devotion and our motive are decisive. The external form of karma is not important. That is why it is said He should be ever content, and independent and should do karma without attachment to its fruits. Nityatrapta - who is ever content, which does not feel deficiency or want of any kind and, therefore, does not have craving for anything. As long as there is craving for something, it influences us perceptibly or imperceptibly. Becoming a mute inspiration it impels us to do karmas. Our behaviour is influenced by our unsatisfied desires. We are not able to recognise those desires because of our own reasons. Many unsatisfied desires remain dormant in the form of passions in our sub consciousness. But they are active and keep directing our karmas behind the curtain. An aspirant engaged in sadhana has to be free from these dormant desires also. How one could become free from them if they are not perceptible? The descending higher consciousness digs out our dormant and unconscious mind and weakens all that through its sublime flow. With that flow of consciousness even the mind and prana get satiated. When this happens, the person remains ever content and becomes nirashrayah i.e. free from any kind of dependence. What then is that independence? It is said in the Gita thus: anasritah karmaphalam karyam karma karoti yah | sa samnyasi ca yogi ca na niragnir na ca kriyah ||
(Verse 1 of chapter 6)

The person who is not dependent upon the fruits of his karmas can be said to be independent. But the Lord along with says, leaving aside attachment with the fruits of karma. An aspirant will become independent by leaving aside all attachments. Nirashrayah free from dependence. In our life we create internal as well as external forms of dependence. We knit the thread of our hope in the womb of future. And with its support we become dependent on the mirage of expectations. Fruit of karma is one of them. He who has devotion takes shelter of only the Lord. He is not dependent on his intelligence nor even on his thoughtfulness. Taking resort to them also sets limit of his surrender. That creates a wall between him and the Lord, which is invisible and impregnable.

187

How then should one do his karmas having become independent? He should do his karmas without being attached with its fruits. He should leave attachment with karma and should also leave attachment to its fruit. This attachment to fruits is multi-dimensional. Mere desire for the gratitude of others is also a kind of attachment. The desire for praise is another form of attachment. Attachment to karma can be in the form of the satisfaction gained in doing the work itself. That can impel a person to do the karma. There will be uneasiness in the absence of that karma. That alone is the sure indication of the presence of attachment. Absence of an opportunity for doing that karma troubles us. An aspirant should do karmas only by being fully detached. His karmas become akarma. But that is not easy. How could Arjuna become like that in a moment. All that was said to him to awaken devotion in him and to show him the way. Karma is not always a bond. It could also be sadhana. If we follow the path, which is being mentioned subsequently, and follow karmabrahmarpana-yoga i.e. the Yoga in which all karmas are surrendered to the Lord then gradually one would achieve the inner state of full detachment. He would become ever content. The Lord would become his sole shelter. Renunciation of attachments to the fruits of karma would become his natural disposition. He will be liberated from the bonds of karma. His karmas would become akarmas. This is the third picture of naishyakarmaya. nirasir yatcittatman tyaktasarvaparigrahah | sariram kevalam karma kuruvan na pnoti kilbisam || (21) He who is devoid of hope, who has controlled his mind and atman, who has given up all possessions, while doing karmas only by body does not incur sin. (21). Not incur sin is to be free from sin, is to escape sin. A total escape from sin also means escaping from virtue. By being beyond sin is also being beyond virtue. It is impossible that a person keeps on escaping from committing sin and keeps on doing only virtuous acts all the time. Normally our karmas are mixture of evil and virtue. Some karmas could be totally evil. Only yogis can do totally virtuous karmas, shuklam kevalam yoginam so is said in yogadarshan. Because absolute virtue could be the result of only absolute purity (sattva) and only an exceptional yogi will be able to do only virtuous karmas. Therefore, as long as there is a feeling of doer ship in a person, he will be subjected to both evil and virtue. He could be saved only when there is no feeling of doer ship but then he would be saved of both. Both are the causes of bondage. Both are chains. The only difference is that one is of iron and the other is of gold. The statement does not incur sin means that he is free from the influences of his karmas; is free from the bonds of his karmas. His karma is verily akarma. This is also the description of the state, which was mentioned in the earlier three verses. What is the meaning of while doing karmas only by body? Does it mean that bonds are created only by bodily karmas but there will be no bond by doing mental karmas? This cannot be the inference. It is difficult to stop mental karmas. If that also creates bonds, then how could there be freedom from bonds of karmas? In fact, Arjuna was tormented only by bodily karmas. The results of such karmas are experienced only in the physical world. Arjuna was feeling uncomfortable only about them. The Lord, therefore, referred to only bodily karmas. There will be no bond by doing bodily karma. In Arjunas mind there was not even a slight thought of mental karma. That was a very serious matter for Arjuna. The normal human thinking is like that of Arjuna. We do not consider it wrong to think badly about anybody but we do consider it bad to slap somebody. We do not see any impropriety in criticising others but do consider picking somebodys pocket as improper.

188

On attaining the state of naishyakarmaya a person becomes free from the bonds of karma. Not only mental karmas do not bind him but bodily karmas also cannot bind him. This is absolutely true otherwise naishyakarmaya will not be what it is. Perhaps the suggestion behind the second half of the verse is you are afraid of fighting. You consider fighting as sinful. Fight, you will not incur sin by fighting. Rama had fought. I also fight. The kings in the past, who were Karmayogis, also used to go to the battlefield. What is the other way of doing karmas for remaining free from sin? Nirashih means without any hope or expectation. For an ordinary person, hope alone is life: asha nam nibandnam jeevlakshya. A person lives only on hopes. The miserable lives on the hope of recovery, terminally ill on the hope of life and a person on the verge of death in the hope of heaven. This hope never leaves a person. While committing sins one lives in the hope of gaining happiness. This hope has to be abandoned. The desire for fruits of karma has to be given up. One should not do karma in the hope for results. You should not fight because you will win. Nirashih does not mean despair. The opposite of hope, which is normally called despair, is not conveyed by the term nirashih. The despair is the opposite of hope like sun and shadow, night and day. Nirashih means devoid of both hope and despair. When victory and defeat become equal, when success and failure become immaterial, when a person is nirashih then he is indifferent to the results of his karmas. The state free from conflicts is suggested. Elsewhere also such a usage is found in the Gita - advaishta (verse 13 of chapter 12) An aspirant will have to become yatchittatman i.e. he will have to keep his Chitta and atman under control. Chitta includes mind, intellect and the ego. He will have to rise above their activities, will have to remain above their influences and will not have to be with them. He will have to become their master and use them for his purpose. Atman represents the organs and the body. Atman is this gross self. Atman is beyond the mind and the intellect, how could it be controlled? Atman is the owner and chitta is the controller. Here, atman is to be understood as the body. (Upanishad mentions this is my body related atman). As long as a person does not have control over his karmas, gross as well as subtle, till then it is impossible for him to attain the state of akarma. For that state an awakening of consciousness beyond the ego is necessary. When that is awakened, the control of organs etc. becomes easy. Therefore, an aspirant will have to be alert. He will also have to identify the corrupting tendencies. And he will also have to become a tyaktasarvaparigraha (one disowning all possessions). All possessions (parigraha) will have to be given up. Possessions are those, which we consider them to be our own. Even honour and insult are possessions, when we consider them as our own. Possession is also of the pride of something done or something not done. The entire sphere of mineness is only an extension of the word possession. Nothing is our own. One has to become lonely, isolated from everyone and everything. This is the kevalibhava of Samkhya. As long as the inner-self does not leave the habit of accepting, there persists craving for possession. There is discrimination in possession, which means likes and dislikes. Consequently, there is hope for results of karma. Renouncement of possessions strikes the very root. There would neither be possessions nor there would be any hope for results. Then only one is free of all bonds. A person becoming so empty from within is beyond both evil and virtue. Even while doing karmas he remains a non-doer.

189

This is another picture of realisation of naishyakarmaya. It is also a way of sadhana. yadrcchalabhasamtusto dvandvatito vimatsarah | samah siddhav asiddhau ca krtva pi na nibadhyate || (22) One who is content with whatever comes to him easily, is beyond the dualities (of pleasure and pain), is free from envy, remains even in success and failure, he even by doing (karma) is not bound. (22) He is not bound even while doing karma, or karma can not be a cause of bondage. This is also the same state, which has been described above. Who is not bound? Answer to this question is given now. Who is content with whatever comes to him easily, who is prepared to accept any thing, which comes in life. In life there is happiness as well as unhappiness; gain as well as loss; honour as well as dishonour; illness as well as good health. All dualities are covered including union as well as separation. Sometimes everything for good living is easily available and sometimes the situation becomes entirely opposed to it. One has to remain content and has to accept every situation that comes in life. There should not be any agitation inside. One should not have any uneasiness about any happening. One should not have any feeling as to why something has happened or has not happened. It is an indication of his acceptability. A devotee accepts everything with deep gratitude as a blessing and as a grace of the Lord. Meera drank a cup full of poison. For this she was neither unhappy with the Lord nor with Rana, who had sent the cup of poison. Meera drank poison considering that as nectar. A devotee does not have any demand of his own and his inner-self is not hungry. He is therefore, ever content. The evidence of contentment is the absence of uneasiness, of anxiety. The result of contentment is supreme happiness. Absence of effort is not at all evidence of contentment. It indicates lethargy. Permanent contentment is in the state of absolute purity, of sattva. Lethargy is due to tamoguna. In between is the middle state of dissatisfaction in mind and lethargy in body. What then can be the inspiration for doing karmas? It is the will to do own duty (svadharma). In fact, it will be more true and more appropriate to say that it is ones innate nature. And, that we should be beyond conflicts or dualities i.e. dwandatit. One should be beyond conflicts i.e. dwanda (dualities). Happiness-unhappiness, gain-loss, etc. are dualities. What is the meaning of being beyond them? Should we not know them? Should we become insensitive to them like stone and become inert? No. Do know them but do not get influenced by them. Do not get disturbed like an ordinary person. One should not react. One should be firm like a rock, which remains unmoved by the impact of waves. One should swallow every thing like the ocean. Being beyond dualities (dwandatit) is inner equanimity. This is not a matter of practice alone. Physical practice makes a person insensitive to heat and cold to some extent. The skin becomes thick. Dwandatit is primarily a property of the mind. Mind should become so stable that it does not get disturbed. This is not achieved by practice. This happens by the descent of the supreme consciousness of the Lord within us. What is achieved by practice is lost with practice. That alone is stable what happens by changing the nature of mind. Mind is then tied with the pole and does not vacillate. That really happens only by the grace of that benevolent Power.

190

And, he should be vimatsarah (free of envy). Matsar is envy, which is called keena in Urdu and dah in Hindi. It is indicated by the discomfort or the deep burning within one feels on seeing something good happening to others. How does one feel while hearing the praise of others? If one feels bad then there is surely something dark inside. How does one feel by seeing the progress of others? If one does not feel happy then there is something wrong. Where is the root of this jealousy? It is enlarged ego. One considers himself as the most important person and wants to retain that importance. By seeing the rise of others, his ego is hurt. That envy also impels us to do karma. It encourages us in a most subtle way for looking at the faults of others and for thinking of the evil of others. We start condemning others through speech. The envy was responsible for making Kauravas to call Pandavas to gamble and then to humiliate them. How very compelling was the force of envy in inspiring that karma which led to the Mahabharata war. And one remains even in success and failure. Even means equanimous. He is neither happy in success nor miserable in failure. Are success and failure not duality? Why should they be discussed separately? The state of being beyond duality (dwandatit) includes these also. Evenness is the proof of being beyond the past. He who cannot remain even, not beyond the duality of success and failure, he is somewhere in the middle. This has been said to highlight success and failure. This seems to suggest that success or failure in war is not material. The success or failure, which was central for Arjuna and had brought him to the battlefield, perhaps becoming a form of his fear, led to his distress. The other aspect of it is that such a person acts but is not bound by it and that is the highest state of akarma. Of course this is also an indication of his sadhana. gatasangasya muktasya jnanavasthitacetsah | yajnya caratah karma samagram praviliyate || (23) He who is free from attachments, who is liberated, whose consciousness is firmly stabilised in knowledge (gyan), who does (karma) as a sacrifice (yagya), all his karmas vanishes completely. (23) The last verse in the present context describes beautifully the perfect state of a yogi. His sadhana is completed. There is nothing left to be done now. He has become free from the bonds of karma. Karma samagram praviliyate - all his karmas vanishes completely. Samagram completely in its totality -- nothing is left. There is a difference between the states of perfection and the state of sadhana. When the first step is put forward on the path, the state of naishyakarmaya is not attained in the beginning itself. Our karmas do not become akarma instantly. Our karmas done with devotion gradually make us pure and clean. Attachments diminish. Likes and dislikes are weakened. Hope and despair get depleted. Envy ends. Intellect becomes pure. Control over sense organs start developing. Ego also becomes weak. By our devoted karma we receive the grace of the Lord. All this happens very slowly by doing karmas free from desires. As these changes take place, the tendencies formed by karmas become weak. After all devotion takes time to develop gradually. As we become pure our devotion becomes sublime. And our sadhana becomes much more intense. The aspirant so progressing in his sadhana attains success in due course of time. None of his karmas create tendency. Once the karma is done, it is over. Like the line drawn on the surface of water does not survive, so becomes his karma. He starts submerging into the

191

fathomless womb of prakriti. He does not have any relationship with his karma. He does not have even the ego that he has done the karma. He only witnesses that the karma is being done. It should also be mentioned that when such a state is reached, the tendencies created by the previous karmas are also destroyed. This state does not fully manifest in its full bloom without becoming entirely empty of the previous tendencies. Sometimes the clouds of past tendencies do surface. He is gatsang. He does not have even a fraction of attachment. As much free we are from attachments, to the same extent we feel free from bonds also. Attachments and our tendencies are closely related to each other. The destruction of tendencies weakens attachments, or both of them are destroyed simultaneously, because the destroying force is beyond both of them. The awakened pure consciousness does this work. The aspirant is totally uninvolved. Nothing touches him. Whatever he touches or catches, he does it in such a way that no imprint or no odour of it is left in him. He can really belong to everyone. And everyone could belong to him because he does not possess anyone. He is liberated i.e. he is free. External freedom is no freedom. Bonds are always within us. So long as internal bonds exist no one can become free. If one is free from ones home then the forest will bind him and after that the country will bind him. Aspirations bind him. Hope binds him. Fame and ignominy binds him. Ones interest binds him. Interest of others binds him. Past would bind him and future too would bind. These are all subtle bonds and are not visible. But, if liberated from within then nothing could bind him. If liberated from lust then a woman cannot bind a man and similarly a man cannot bind a woman. If liberated from greed then gold cannot bind, property cannot bind and loss or gain cannot bind. If liberated from honour then the world cannot bind. If liberated from vanity then karmas do not bind, attachments do not bind and aspirations do not bind. It is not easy to be free from within. For that one has to offer ones head. One has to become totally empty. That requires total self-surrender of ones being. Once such freedom is gained then one does not require anyone to tell him that he is free. Once these bonds are losened, one could breathe freely and can have peace. One has bliss. But we consider our chains as our ornaments. These alone are considered as the means of worldly happiness. It is believed that without them, there is no existence and we have no personality and no individuality. There can be no interest in life. The modern outlook towards life knows only this much, thinks only this much and makes others think this much. This outlook is due to ignorance. There are limits of human experiences and also of flights of imagination. To be free, to be free while alive, is to be absolutely free from within. That alone is an innate freedom and that alone is total liberation from attachments. That alone is the highest form of serenity and equanimity. What could be the inspiration of doing karmas for such a person? Yagyayacartah to do karmas as sacrifice (yagya). He does karmas as yagya i.e. as a sacrifice. We have discussed this subject in the third chapter. Sacrifice (yagya) alone is being performed herein. In the entire universe that karma alone is yagya, whose basic motive is to sacrifice and on which the entire sport of the cosmos is dependent. An aspirant makes offerings of his karmas in that yagya and that is natural for him. The gross needs of the universe are his inspiration for doing karmas. When we are free from vanity and ego, which limit us, then the benign vibrations of the universe enter in us invisibly and the door of awareness, which was earlier closed, opens up. Our life becomes the life of the universe and then that energy which flows in the universe flows in us too and takes us on the path of our evolution. Such a realised person does not remain a man. He despite being an individual becomes universal in spirit. He despite being a human being verily becomes the Divine Being (Narayana). He despite being a man becomes the Supreme Being (Purushottama).

192

That universal inspiration is nothing but the resolve of Narayana himself. It fully manifests in the aspirant. After the vanity, which hinders it, is eliminated, Narayana dwelling in the aspirant does all the karmas as a form of sacrifice (yagya). When vanity i.e. the peg, which used to bind, is not there, then with what can the karma bind us? With the removal of that peg, karmayogi is really liberated. The verses 18 to 23 give us a full description of naishyakarmaya and we come to know as to what kind of a perfect realisation is this? Later, we will get more information about this sadhana. The Lord revealed the secret of karma-akarma. Arjuna was given complete knowledge as to how the Lord remains non-doer even while doing all kinds of karmas. That Yagyaishwar is a non-doer. His worship could also make a person a non-doer. The next verse gives the basic aphorism for the worship of that Yagyaishwar, the Brahman. The faith of karmayoga acquires the form of karma-brahmarpana yoga i.e. the yoga of surrendering all karmas to Brahman. Getting the touch of brahmarpana strengthens the feeling of detachment in a karmayogi. brahma rpanam brahma havir brahmagnau brahamana hutam | brahmai va tena gantavyam brahmakarmasamadhina || (24) Brahman himself makes the offerings of oblations of Brahman in the fire of Brahman. He will attain Brahman only by that samadhi80 in karma as a form of Brahman. (24) What is the destination of such a realised perfect yogi? Brahmai va tena gantavyam he attains Brahman. In the last verse the Lord had said, karma samagram praviliyate all his karmas vanishes completely. But that is a negative description. What happens to the karma that vanishes? The present verse is an answer to this question. The attainment of Brahman is the attainment of divinity. The same subject has been discussed in the 12th chapter. This subject has also been mentioned in 9 th verse of the third chapter. mameti he attains Me. The word Brahman is usually used in Upanishads for the Supreme Reality (Purushottama). So also this word has been used in the Brahma sutras. Janmadyasyayata that from whom this universe is born, in whom it dwells and in whom it dissolves is Brahman. So, the realised person by doing the sadhana of karmayoga attains the Lord. What is the state of such a person doing karmas only for yagya? For such a person every thing becomes animated by Brahman. He has direct experience of Vasudeva sarvam iti i.e. Brahman is everywhere. Every moment of his life, he experiences sarva khalvidam brahman i.e. the entire cosmos is Brahman. Therefore, he attains Brahman alone. He is established in Brahman while alive. What else could be his destiny? He has only one way and that is the way of the Lord. Brahma havi for him the offerings he makes in yagya are Brahman alone. In his perception the grand yagya for which he does his karmas becomes Brahman and the oblations offered in that yagya are also Brahman. The oblations are of karmas. Therefore, he perceives karmas also as Brahman. Brahmagnau in the fire of the form of Brahman. The burning fire, which accepts the oblations becoming the mouth of the gods, is also a form of Brahman. For such a person the means for fulfillment of karma also become Brahman.

80

Samadhi is a state of intense concentration particularly in meditation. It is a state of super consciousness.

193

And, who is he who accepts the offerings sitting in the fire? For whom the yagya is performed? Yagya is performed for Brahman only. He is Yagyaishwar, the Lord of sacrifices, and He alone is the presiding deity of the yagya and He alone accepts the offerings sitting in the fire. And who is he who offers the oblations? He also is Brahman. Brahmana hutam i.e. offerings made by Brahman. He perceives himself also to be a form of the Lord. When every thing is a form of Brahman then he himself is in a state of oneness with Him. Brahmakarmasamadhina through the samadhi of karma as Brahman himself. What is that yagya? That is samadhi. In samadhi the undulations of mind (chittavritti) are arrested. In this karma also the undulations of mind (chittavritti) are arrested. Brahman alone remains as the only undulation. Whatever is seen, whatever is experienced within and whatever is felt, all that is experienced as Brahman Himself. Efforts are made for internal as well as external tranquility by devoting and by peacefully concentrating in solitude. That internal tranquility is dependent upon external tranquility. If the external environment is not quiet then concentration is disturbed. But this samadhi is strange. This samadhi is not merely one of concentration but is one of devotion to karma. This does not require practice of concentration by closing the eyes but requires performance of karmas with devotion. Karma alone is its posture of sitting (asana), is its practice of breathing in and of breathing out (pranayama); the retention of breath; concentration of mind (dharna); and is also meditation (dhyana). That (karma) itself finally gets transformed into samadhi i.e. super consciousness. That is how it is samadhi of karma. The person remains in samadhi while doing karmas. Amongst different kinds of samadhi, which samadhi is best? Only nirvikalpa (undulating) samadhi is the best. For in that one stabilises in the Self (atmaswarup). For the undulations of mind (chitta) get immersed in the purity of the Self. Even the feeling of any negative undulation signifying absence of any thing is not to be felt. The only thing desirable is that inner state. If while doing karma one could remain in Brahman then that too would be a sate of samadhi. The undulations (vrittis) assume the form of Brahman then that too is a form of samadhi. The undulations do not make a difference in the state of Brahman-consciousness. The saints of medieval period loved this state of samadhi. Kabir sahib called it spontaneous (sahaj) samadhi, the one for which there is no need for any special kind of effort. He singssadho sahaj samadhi bhali | guru pratap ja din se jagi , din din adhik chali || jahn jahn dolun so parikrama, jo kuch karon so seva | jab sovon tab karon dandavat, pujon aur na deva || kahon so nam suno so simran, khaun piun so puja | girah ujad ek sam lekhon, bhav mitave duja || ankh na mundon kan na rundhon, tanik kashta nahin dharon | khule nayan pahchano hansi hansi, sunder rup niharon ||
(Saints, spontaneous samadhi is better. From the day it has awakened by the grace of the Guru, it is becoming better and better. Wherever I move around that is moving around the deity and whatever I do that becomes His service. When I sleep that is my prostration and I do not worship any other god. I perceive home as well as barren land equally and my feelings do not change. I neither close the eyes, nor block the ears, nor suffer any trouble. I recognise Him with my open eyes and behold His beautiful form. Free translation)

194

The spontaneous samadhi is only the samadhi of doing karmas. This should never be given up. There can never be any escape from doing karmas. It is for such a state it has been said lali mere lal ki, jit dekhun tit lal | lali dekhan main chali, main bhi ho gai lal ||
(Wherever I see, I see the radiance of my Lord. When I went to see His radiance I also became radiant)

Every thing becomes Brahman. This samadhi of doing karmas with devotion has been called brahman-karma samadhi. This has been said to impress upon us that karma itself is Brahman and is also the means -samadhi in doing karma as a form of Brahman or samadhi through karma as a form of Brahman in both expressions the meaning is the same. This is the highest ideal of karmayoga. A karmayogi by becoming a karma-brahmarpanayogi attains this ideal. Lord Shri Krishna preached this to Arjuna. It is for this reason that the Lord promised to Arjuna at many places that, you will surely attain Me, you will dwell in Me. A person could attain the eternal, immutable state even while doing karmas (verse 56 of chapter 18). It is for this reason that no importance has been given to total renunciation of karma per-se in this lofty gospel of the Gita. This is the declaration of the success of devotion in the performance of karmas. Karmas could be the means of attaining the Lord and we could attain Him while living our normal lives and performing our karmas. We can also understand that how this could be possible. This samadhi is in no way inferior to the samadhi of Vedanta known as the immersion in Brahman (Brahmalayavastha); the state of samadhi devoid of undulations or vrittis i.e. nirvikalpa samadhi of Samkhya; the state of inertness (jad-samadhi) of Hatyoga; or the state of void i.e. sunnyavastha of Nadyoga. To me it appears superior. There is no dependence on external means and there is no possibility of a fall. This is an innate samadhi and the one who attains it is eternally blessed. For him, his beloved is never separated from him. pritam ko patian likhun je koi hoi videsh | tan main man main nain main, vako kahan sandesh ||
(May send messages to the lover if he is in a different land But what message to him who dwells in my body, in my mind and in my eyes.)

And in this samadhi there is no tussle, no inertness, and no disposition. A person becomes Brahman even while remaining a man. The world also becomes Brahman while the person remains in the world. It does not make us believe that world is an illusion and does not require the aspirant to run away from the world. One could live in the world with serenity, evenness and with all that there is Brahman and nothing else. What a multidimensional unique and supernatural state is this of Brahman awareness everywhere? This success of devotion to karma is a golden crown. This is the supreme reward and that is why it is not easy to achieve. bahunam janmanam ante jnanvan mam prapadyate | vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatman sudurlabhah ||
(Verse19 of chapter7)

In the end of very last of many births, the man of realisation worships Me, realising that the Supreme is all that is. Such a soul is very rare to find. And, for this invaluable gain even many lives are not enough. The entire conduct of a karmayogi is to do sacrifices or yagyas. But yagyas are of many kinds. These specific yagyas have been referred to here to impress its superior position amongst the various yagyas. This

195

yagya is possible only by the performance of normal karmas. This yagya is performed only through karmas. The karmas done for the sake of sacrifice unite the aspirant with Yagyaishwar. Therefore, Arjuna should also do karmas. The karmas should be done as a sacrifice. This has been preached in subsequent verses (25-32). Whatever has been mentioned above is Brahmayagya. A karmayogi who has attained perfection does that yagya. An aspirant with a higher perspective obtains a right to do that. Now other kinds of yagyas are mentioned. devam eva pare yajnam yoginah paryupasate | brahmagnav apare yajnam yajnenai vo prjuhvati || (25) Some yogis perform yagyas for the worship of gods, and some other yogis perform yagyas in the fire of Brahman (Brahmagni) by the yagya itself. (25) Yagyas for gods are those yagyas of which the presiding deities are the gods. The yagyas performed for the sake of gods are called devayagya. The gods give us boons of all kinds and we should give them in return their share. We should nourish them through yagyas. The Lord had said this in the third chapter (verses 11, 12 & 13). The performance of devayagyas is included in the various daily activities prescribed for householders. They are supposed to be performed by everyone as a duty of a householder. Only after making offerings to gods should a householder eat the remnants of yagyas as food. And the other yogis perform yagyas through yagyas, and for such yagyas instead of ordinary fire, the fire of Brahman (Brahmagni) is used. The one meaning of the word Brahman is Veda also. The Brahmagni is self- study and yagya is a form of the Lord. Therefore this statement could mean, by the yagya of self-study, which is possible only by the fire in the form of Vedas. The study of Vedas becomes yagya for them. Some people recite the names of the Supreme Reality (Paramaishwara). Any karma could become a yagya. The concept of yagya exists within us -- in our feelings. When we do our karmas with the feeling of sacrifice then that karma becomes yagya. The self-study is also a yagya. If self-study is done for the sake of achieving some result then it does not remain a yagya. It then becomes a bargain. This is true of devayagyas too. If those yagyas are done for the fulfillment of desires then they do not remain yagyas despite being yagyas. They merely become offerings in the fire. They do not remain the means of karmayoga. They cannot bring a person close to the Lord. Upjuhvati make the offerings. srotradini ndriyany anye samyamagnisu juhvati | sabdadin visayan anya indriyagnisu juhvati || (26) Some others (yogis) sacrifice hearing, etc., the objects of the sense organs, in the fire of self-restraint and some others sacrifice the objects such as sound, etc. in the fire of the sense organs. (26) This verse makes it clear as to how our entire life becomes yagya by our devotion. If we are able to develop the right attitude then even our routine activities like eating, drinking, seeing, hearing, sitting, rising, etc. become a yagya.

196

Sacrifice the sense organs such as ears, etc. in the fire of self-restraint. Is self-restraint sacrificial fire? A yagya is performed by making oblations in the sacrificial fire. By offering oblations of sense organs in this fire (of restraint), yagya is performed. For yagya there should also be a presiding deity. It is only to Him that oblations are offered. He is Brahman. The same, which has been called Purushottama, is our Lord Vasudeva. By inviting Him we offer the oblations of our sense organs in the fire of restraint. In other words, we restrain our sense organs for the sake of the Lord. This is the practical form of yoga in which karmas are offered to Brahman (karma-brahmarpana-yoga). Restraint of sense organs is also a yagya provided it is for the Lord and is offered to Him. When we practice restraint for some other purpose then it does not remain a yagya. Then it cannot become a means of this yoga. The restraint means the use of sense organs with restraint. And the yogis who have surrendered their karmas to Brahman i.e. the Brahmarpana yogis also perform their karmas but differently: whatever be the pleasure they enjoy they offer as oblations in the sacrificial fire of the sense organs their respective objects. While seeing with eyes, they sacrifice the form seen by the eyes in the sacrificial fire of eyes; in the ears the sound heard by the ears; and they surrender in the sacrificial fire of the tongue the taste while eating. Like this they while using the sense organs offer as oblations their respective objects and perform yagyas for the Lord of these senses. This is also sadhana of karma- brahmarpana-yoga. The words restraint and sense organs have been used in plural to indicate their multiplicity. There are many sense organs and so are the restraints according to each sense organ. sarvani ndriyakarmani pranaaakarmani ca pare | atmansamyamayogagnau juhvati jnanadipite || (27) And some other persons (yogis) sacrifice the activities of all organs and the functions of prana (vital energy) into the fire of self-control kindled by knowledge (gyan). (27) This is yet another pervasive form of yagya. Some yogis do sacrifice by kindling the fire of self-control through knowledge and this is known as yoga of atman-samyam (self-control) by gyan. The title of the sixth chapter of the Gita is atman-samyam-yoga. The control of the mind, the intellect, the sense organs and the prana and to acquire thereby total control over one-self, have been discussed in that chapter. The objective of that yoga is to acquire total control over one-self. That is verily the sacrificial fire of yoga. How that fire is kindled? It is kindled by knowledge (gyan). The ordinary fire is kindled by fuel but for this fire the fuel of knowledge is required. One could move on the path of restraint only through proper discrimination. What are the oblations the yogis offer in that fire? They offer all activities of their sense organs and the functions of the vital (prana) as oblations i.e. they make an effort to control them. The activities of sense organs are well known. What are the functions of the vital (prana)? The prana helps in the sustenance of the body. Prana helps in blood circulation and activates all limbs of the body like heart, lungs, liver, etc. and other organs of the body. Prana is mainly of five kinds. The yogis regulate their functions also. They also try to make an effort to have control over their functions. Such control is possible by the regulation and control of diet and behaviour, and the practice of sustained concentration of mind at one point. Our mental energies centered by this practice of concentration could acquire control over the functions of the prana. Here also one should have the devotion for offering everything to the Lord otherwise this karma will not be a form of yagya. The sixth chapter of the Gita is merely a description of this yagya. After one has understood this lofty form of yagya, it can be understood how the Gita integrates all the viewpoints. If even in the method and the path of ascent, in which individual

197

efforts are predominant, every thing is offered to Brahman then that method also becomes verily the worship of the Lord. That too then becomes karmayoga. What a wonderful touchstone that devotion is. Whatever is touched by it that becomes the means of attaining the Lord, becomes a yagya and also becomes a form of karmayoga. This is the magic of brahmarpana. dravyajnas tapoyajnas yogayajnas tatha pare | svadhyayayajnanayajnas ca yatayah samsitavratah || (28) And other persons (yogis) of rigid vows sacrifice their material possessions (dravyayagya), their austerities (tapo-yagya), spiritual exercises (yoga-yagya), yagya of self-study and gyan-yagya. (28) There are persons who do sacrifices of many other kinds. Some persons take vows and observe them. That is the way of their sacrifice. I will daily do this particular work, this much of it and in this manner. If I do not do it I would repent and would not take food or would not speak, etc. to atone for it. Such persons also do sacrifices of many kinds. Dravyayagya is the one in which wealth or material possessions are sacrificed. That could be a daily sacrifice by way of charity or serving some one with money. All this is sacrifice of material wealth i.e. dravya yagya. Tapo-yagya is full of austerities. Tapo-yagya is a form of penance; to perpetuate severe austerities is to practice penance; to suffer some kind of discomfort is included in penance. Without some physical discomfort there can be no penance. It could be a vow to eat less, not to take food of some kind, to leave some things in food, to eat only once during the course of the day, etc. In the same way, to have very little cloth to cover the body; to take frequent baths; or to stand for a long time in water. The Lord considered it wrong to inflict sufferings on the body (verses 5 & 6 of chapter 17). We should not forget this. But where there is only a desire to offer every thing to the Lord then that penance cannot be prohibited. It is just a form of yagya, a form of sacrifice. What is yoga-yagya? It refers to those who perform sacrifices through yoga. Possibly it could suggest the doing of sacrifices through meditation, etc. This cannot refer to karmayoga in the present context. The yagya of self-study is the study of the Vedas (it could be study of scriptures). In ancient days a daily recitation of Vedas was prescribed for the higher castes. In some families Vedas were recited every day and also memorised. It is for this reason that we find even now people who can recite the Vedas flawlessly. Self-study done with right feelings is also a form of yagya. In the 25th verse as well the self-study was mentioned. Then why has this been mentioned here again? This has been mentioned again because the discussion here is about those who do self-study by taking a vow to do so. Such a recitation as a ritual becomes a form of yagya. An effort to understand the basics of spirituality is gyan-yagya. Both gyan and vigyan are to be included in this yagya. And this karma also if offered to the Lord becomes a yagya. This also takes a person towards the Lord of Yagyas i.e. Yagyaishwara. apane juhvati pranaam pranae panam tatha pare | pranaapanagati ruddhava pranaayamaparayanah || (29) And some other persons sacrifice their prana (the outgoing breath) in apana (the incoming breath) and apana in prana. (In this manner) they are engaged in pranayama by restraining the movement of prana and apana. (29)

198

Pranayama is also a yagya. Those who practice pranayama also perform yagya. How is this is a form of yagya? Pranayama is a restraint of prana i.e. control of breathing. Some persons can restrain the movements of both prana and apana. They do not allow prana to come out and apana to go in and can remain without breathing for some time. How is that done? That is done by sacrificing the outgoing breath in the incoming breath and vice-versa. When the breath tries to come out they do not allow it to come out by using apana and when it tries to go in they do not allow it go in by using prana. They hold the breath where it is. It should be remembered that the prana is not air. It is that subtle force through which air goes in and takes the apana down. Therefore, the breath goes in only due to that. This effort is also a form of yagya if it is done as an offering to the Lord. apare niyataharah pranan pranaesu juhvati | sarve py ete yajnavido yajnaksapitakalmasah || (30) And some others sacrifice prana in prana by restricting their food. All of them (who have been mentioned here) are knowers of what yagya is. Their sins are destroyed by yagya. (30) After mentioning yet another kind of yagya this enumeration of yagyas is brought to an end. Some people exercise restraint in food. They take a limited quantity of food and only of specific kind. They eat little of the right kind and the way it should be taken and that too at a fixed time. In this manner by practicing restraint in regard to food they acquire control over prana. By taking a limited and regulated food, the variability of prana is removed. A person also acquires a control over his physical activities. The sense organs are also gradually controlled. Food has a close relationship with self-control. By practicing restraint in this manner they pour prana as an oblation in prana. This is also a form of yagya. And in the last it is said that all those people, who have been mentioned above, are the knowers of yagya. Knowing the secret of yagya is verily to know the yagya. Then what is the secret of yagya? It is not performed without a deity. Just pouring in purified butter in the fire does not become a yagya. Only that is a yagya where the deity is propitiated and offerings are made to him. This kind of a sacrifice unites us with the deity. His consciousness starts flowing in us. This happens as if the two electrical wires are connected and the current starts flowing. That deity starts dwelling in us. Therefore, without offering of karmas to the Lord it cannot be called a yagya, a sacrifice. When karma is offered to the Lord, then that becomes a means for uniting us with the presiding deity of the yagya i.e. Yagyaishwar. Any karma right from seeing and hearing to laying down ones life for some one becomes a form of yagya when it is offered to the Lord. This is the basic aphorism of this chapter. The essentials of this chapter are known by understanding this aphorism. It should also be understood that the various activities, which have been mentioned as forms of yagya, are only metaphors and are merely to demonstrate the potentiality of karmas to become yagyas. Fire and offerings are the only essential external means for yagya and have therefore, been visualised in all karmas so that it could be easily understood that each karma can also be a yagya. This visualisation is not important from the essential point of view, when we know and understand that karma itself becomes a form of yagya if it is offered to Brahman. The only thing to be learnt is that all activities of our entire life are yagyas if we perform them with full

199

devotion and surrender them at the feet of the Lord with full faith like flowers and other similar offerings. Then what is the grand form of yagya? We have already written above. This brahmanarpana is a form of yagya. This brahmarpan-yoga is a form of yagya. All that is yagya, which involves sacrifice for a higher ideal and as a result of which a person is elevated and is purified. When that sacrifice is done for the gods then that makes a person like a god. That also elevates him. When a person does sacrifice for self-purification and is purified that also is a yagya. The only criterion for karma becoming a yagya is the spirit of sacrifice resulting in purity and sublimity. That is an effective means of evolution. There is no doubt about this that higher the objective and nobler the sentiments behind our sacrifice the more elevating that sacrifice would be. Sacrifices are of many kinds and of many categories. Only that thing could be sacrificed which we consider to be our own, which is available to us, or which could be available to us in future. The sacrifice could be of any thing, gross or subtle; it could be of the present or of some expected satisfactions in future. Therefore, it has been said, yajnaksapitakalmasah through yagyas their sins are destroyed. Kalmasa means impurities i.e. sin or evil tendencies. This is the test of yagya. It destroys our sins. It purifies us and cleanses us. There are also such karmas through which we make offerings in a sacrificial fire for acquiring some special powers, worldly gains, for the removal of some specific forms of misery or for taking revenge on someone. Those karmas, which are performed with a specific purpose, can they be termed as yagyas? By using the earlier mentioned criterion, they certainly cannot be called yagyas. They can be called yagyas only if as a result of them an individual gets elevated and his passions, anger, greed, infatuation, etc. are reduced in intensity. Otherwise, how could they be called yagyas? In the beginning of Vinay-Patrika Tulsidas jee prays to all the gods but from them he prays only for love in the feet of Shri Raghunath jee. That is not worship of the gods but only the worship of Brahman. In this manner any karma could become a worship of Brahman. The objective of doing the karmas is the sole determinant. Why did the Lord speak of such a long tradition of yagyas to Arjuna? He wanted to convince Arjuna that even ordinary activities of life can assume a form of worship, become a form of yagya and can also become means to attain the Lord. Then observance of ones duty i.e. svadharma could certainly become a means of attaining the Lord. Not only that, the special activities done for self-purification could be helpful in bringing a person near to Him. The observance of ones duty (svadharma) could certainly be more helpful. We can now understand why the Lord said the following: yajnadantapahkarma na tyajyam katyam eva tat |
(Verse 5 of chapter 8)

One should not abandon yagya, charity and penance. They should always be done. The yagya is the means of karmayoga the all-pervasive yagya. What is the fate of those who perform yagyas? yajnasistamrtabhujo yanti brahma sanatanam | nayam loko sty ayajnasya kutonyah kurusattama || (31)

200

O Arjuna! Those who eat nectar in the form of the remnants of yagya attain to the eternal Brahman. This world is lost for those who perform no yagya, how then could they have the other (world)? It was said in the last chapter that the saints, who eat remnants of yagya become free from all sins. (Verse 13) Here it is said that they attain the eternal Brahman. There the context was the performance of yagyas for the gods but here the discussion is of yagyas per-se. A life in which there is a place for yagya is a fruitful life. The yagyas performed through special external rituals could be yagyas only in form. But the karmas performed with higher sentiments and offered to Brahman with intense devotion makes ones whole life a form of yagya. When the deity of our yagya is Brahman then only He could be attained through that yagya. By the use of the word Brahman, Purushottama is intended. Vedas are also called Brahman. We should also remember aham hi sarvayajnanam bhokta ca prabhureva ca |
(Verse 24 chapter 9) (I alone am the enjoyer and the lord of all yagyas)

The yagya may be of any kind but if it is a sacrifice and involves giving up of desires then alone the Lord accepts it. He alone is the consumer of that yagya. At some place He is the presiding deity of the yagya having become our chosen deity according to our sentiments. At some other place He becomes an idol of our love and yet at some other place He becomes the consumer of austerities, bhoktaram yajnatapsam. There should surely be a place for yagya in life. Not that alone, the life itself should become a yagya. As soon as the life becomes a yagya, one attains Yagyaishwar the Lord of Yagyas. This world is not for him who does not perform yagya. One cannot have peace without doing yagya. Happiness does not depend upon what one gets from outside. If happiness was dependent upon external achievements then everyone could have become happy. Higher the material gains, the higher would have been ones happiness. But we find rich people unhappy and poor happy. Happiness depends upon what we are able to do for others. There is no peace in a selfish life. How could that one have real peace, who has not learnt to give, who has not learnt to love, or who has not developed an attitude of sympathy for others? How could he have bliss in life who does not know to accept others or who does not know to sacrifice himself for others? Only by accepting others and doing sacrifice for them, their love and affection can be gained. In whose life sacrifice has a place, only he can have happiness in life. If we find happiness in the life of someone who does not sacrifice for others then his happiness can only be of a beastly nature and would not last for long. And his selfishness would itself become a source of his misery. That alone is the maxim of worldly happiness i.e. the will and effort to make others happy. This means an active selflessness which is called service and is also called sacrifice. It is also called yagya. But we also find them unhappy who do sacrifice for others and we find them repenting, oh, I did so much; no one has done any thing for me; how selfish is the world; I have been cheated; had I known that I would not have behaved like a fool. Such feelings are the measure of his sacrifice. A sacrifice, which requires reciprocity, is contaminated and wants a return. The sacrifice, which expects even gratitude in return is also not without fault. A yagya is that sacrifice, which is not touched even by an iota of any desire gross or subtle. The unhappiness, which we have in it, is because of our hesitation or because of our desire. It is not the fault of sacrifice or yagya.

201

A sacrifice free from any touch of desire is very difficult. Granted that but you can know the way only when you move on it. The unhappiness, which we experience shows us the filth of our feelings and tells us the way for purifying our sacrifice. We should respect that as a guide. We should accept that and move forward on the path. A life dedicated to yagya is the path leading to happiness in the world. To think of happiness in a life full of selfishness is a folly. In such a life one can neither eat peacefully nor sleep peacefully. That is a demonic life. He who does not have peace in this world, how can he have peace in the other world? The basis of the other world is the karmas and feelings of this life. If we sow thorns then we have to reap thorns. If we sow flowers we will reap flowers. He, who is not selfless here, how can he have a higher and blissful life in the other world? He who does not perform yagya, who does not give any thing in charity and who lives only for himself what would he get in future? He becomes bankrupt here itself. What is there for him to carry with him to the other world? The impregnable wall, which we create between this world and the other world, is one of our ignorance. Only the flow of this life alone goes to the other world. Our only difficulty is that we are unable to see the other side beyond this life. But those who are on the other side can see us and they do see us. Arjuna you should also perform yagya. That would make this world better and also the other world. Do not think of running away from the battlefield becoming selfish. evam bahuvidha yajna vitata brahmano mukhe | karmajan viddhi tan sarvan evam jnatva vimoksyase || (32) The Vedas in this way prescribe yagyas of many kinds. Those are all accomplished by doing karmas. Knowing which you will get liberated. (32) The various forms of yagyas have been described in the Vedas. Yajurveda discusses only the yagyas. The Lord says that the yagyas, which He has mentioned, are included in the Vedas and other yagyas are also mentioned therein. Arjuna had learnt to accept the authority of the Vedas. Therefore, the Lord referred to the Vedas. I do not say on my own. They have the authority of Vedas. Vedas do prescribe yagyas. And, only by doing karmas all these yagyas can be performed. Without doing karmas no yagya is possible. It is necessary to do karmas for performing yagyas. For this reason also the view that karmas need not be done is untenable. If you have understood that karma should be done and doing of karma is essential for yagya then you will be free from bonds. Firstly you will be free from the so-called sin which is the cause of your distress. Then you will be free from the thought that by doing the karma of fighting the war you will be committing sin and will have bonds, and then you will be doing the karma of fighting, which is provided in Vedas. That will be your yagya. That will be your sadhana. In due course of time you will be free from the bonds of karma. You will also be free from the cycle of birth and death. The topic of yagya comes to an end here. We have seen that by the touch of the touchstone of brahmarpan the karma itself has been transformed into a yagya and the Lord has revealed the secret of making our entire life full of yagya. Once the feelings have arisen, even fighting becomes a yagya. The fruition of life is to become full of yagya. A selfish life, a life without emotions, is the rejection of life and is wasting of the life.

202

Later on we will find discussion about knowledge (gyan). The statement that gyan-yagya is best amongst the yagyas takes us to a new topic. We will come to know as to what this gyan-yagya really is and why it is said to be the best? Is this gyan-yagya not in conflict with karma? We should also know this. It is surprising that some people have unnecessarily stretched the meaning of words used in the Gita. Why has gyan-yagya been discussed in the context of karma-brahmarpan-yoga? Brahmarpan-karma is a yagya. That is dependent upon the motive and the gyan-yagya is dependent upon knowledge (gyan). Our knowledge (gyan) determines our motives and our motive determine the quality of our yagya. Secondly, where does this yagya of surrendering karmas to Brahman (brahmarpankarma yoga) take us ultimately? It takes us to the attainment of Brahman. Is it any external attainment? No, this attainment is in the form of knowledge (gyan). sreyan dravyamayad yajnaj jnanayajnah paramtapa | sarvam karma khilam partha jnane parisamapyate || (33) O Brave! The yagya of knowledge (gyan-yagya) is superior to the one done by the sacrifice of material possessions (dravya-yagya). O Arjuna! All karmas, without exception, culminate in knowledge (gyan). (33) The dravya-yagya is done by the sacrifice of material possessions. That cannot be done without material means. The yagya of making offerings in the sacrificial fire cannot be performed without fuel, without purified butter, etc. They are yagyas requiring dravya i.e. material means. The gyan-yagya is that yagya in which nothing special needs to be done externally. Ones life continues as usual. Just by changing a little the inner feelings or the inner outlook, the normal activities of life get transformed into a yagya. There is no dependence on anything external in that yagya. It does not require any time and could be done without spending any money. It is such a strange form of yagya in which only knowledge (gyan) is important and right understanding is the sole means of this yagya. The gyan-yagya is superior to dravya-yagya. Why is it superior? Firstly, it is easier to perform and secondly, it is more effective. It is easier to perform but in what way it is more effective? After all, karma is only a means of internal awakening of the individual. Karma is done for the attainment of Brahman and that is only a cognitive process. The external yagya is for an awakening of the inner feelings of devotion. When these are awakened, then all karmas become a form of yagya. Then what is the requirement of an external yagya? As long as we are not able to experience the presence of the Lord without an idol, we need a support and we need to make offerings to Him. When He starts dwelling in the body, the mind and the eyes then what message needs to be sent to Him (vako kahan sandesh)? In this manner, performance of yagya takes us from the gross to the subtle. In this sadhana only feelings of devotion are alone important. Without feelings, brahmarpan is meaningless. The higher and stronger are the feelings, the nearer we are to the Lord. On the awakening of feelings even ordinary karmas become the carrier of our feelings. Therefore, specific karmas are no longer required. They gradually become redundant and so are of no consequence. Just as on the awakening of real worship of love, the ritualistic worship becomes unnecessary and purposeless, the specific karmas become meaningless. These sublime feelings are nothing but knowledge (gyan) awakened in the heart. When gyan influences the heart then this knowledge is awakened. The awakening of feelings through karma could also reveal knowledge. The external karmas gradually awaken knowledge (gyan). Faith is matured. The karmas done with devotion purify the inner-self. The lamp of knowledge (gyan) is lighted in this

203

manner. The support of karma is no longer required. Even eating-drinking becomes brahmanyagya and also becomes brahmarpan yoga. In this manner the follower of this path becoming free from the requirements of doing specific karmas enters a life filled with yagya. In due course of time the lamp of knowledge (gyan) is lighted. That basic aphorism brahmarpan brahman havih i.e. the act of offering is Brahman and the oblation is Brahman, becomes real for him. And once that awareness is attained, the karma does not remain karma but becomes akarma. The aspirant does not remain a doer but becomes a non-doer. On the awakening of gyan the doer-ship of karma comes to an end. That is the culmination of karma, its final destination. It is impossible to bring to an end the requirement of doing external karmas. The Lord Himself has said so from his blessed mouth (verse 5 of chapter 3). We have written earlier that there is no question of giving up karma in the gross form. In this yoga there is no place for giving up karma. How then that knowledge (gyan) is to be attained? tad viddhi pranaipatena pariprasnena sevaya | upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattvadarsinah || (34) You learn that knowledge (gyan) by humble reverence, by inquiry and by service. The men of wisdom who have seen the truth will tell you about this knowledge (gyan). (34) Is this knowledge (gyan), which the Lord mentioned, different or is it the same, which karma-brahmarpan-yogi gains on perfection? yaj jnatva na punar moham evam yasyasi pandava | yena bhutany asesena draksyasy atmanny atho mayi || (35) O Pandava! Knowing this knowledge you will not get into this confusion again. For by this knowledge (gyan) you will see all beings, in their entirety, first in your own self and then will see also in Me. (35) The attainment of the yoga of surrendering karmas to Brahman i.e. karma-brahmarpanyoga, makes every thing filled with Brahman. The person directly experiences that the entire universe is Brahman (sarva khalvidam Brahman). It is by this knowledge (gyan) that a person sees all beings within himself and then in the Lord. We again get a description of this knowledge in the sixth chapter. sarvabhutastham atmannam sarvabhutani ca tmani | iksate yogayuktatman sarvatra samadarsanah ||
(Verse 29 chapter 6)

The yogi who is united in identity with all pervading infinite consciousness sees the Selfpresent in all beings and all beings existing in the Self. This knowledge (gyan) is the philosophy of evenness. The yogi who looks evenly is the supreme, the highest yogi. For he, who has seen Brahman, for whom everything is filled with Brahman, is Brahman Himself and surely is an equanimous one. There is no scope for any doubt in this. For whom everything has become Brahman, he cannot but look evenly. There is no possibility of any unevenness in him. And in the 35th verse also same view has been mentioned namely that he will see all beings in himself and in Me. How will he see like this? By seeing the Self in the Lord, all beings

204

will be seen in Him. Everything will be seen in the Lord i.e. all that will be seen filled with Brahman. You will see yourself and also all of them in Me. That knowledge is the same. The knowledge, which is gained by a yogi of karmabrahmarpan and the knowledge, which is being discussed here, are not different. That is the awakened consciousness beyond the intellect and also beyond ones ego. This knowledge is not intellectual. This knowledge is a philosophy, is an experience and is attainment of the Lord. In regard to this the Lord Himself says later in this very chapter (38) that having become perfect in yoga, the person himself gains this knowledge in due course of time. Therefore, this knowledge is not a special one. It is the same as the knowledge of a realised, a perfect karmayogi (24). All karmas culminate in this knowledge. On attainment of perfection in the form of knowledge the doer-ship comes to an end. The karma does not remain karma but becomes akarma. Then what was the necessity for giving a direction to Arjuna for gaining that knowledge? Could Arjuna attain that knowledge merely by listening to the sermon? Is there any place for this knowledge (gyan) in the practice (sadhana) of karma-brahmarpan-yoga? It seems to have only this much of importance that it is the objective of an aspirant. When the objective is properly known then a person does not lose his direction. He has the confidence that he is moving in the right direction. The knowledge, which could be attained through the intellect, is theoretical. That is called devotion. We hear about the Lord and think about Him. A feeling arises. Then devotion is developed. One could devote oneself at the feet of the Lord. By listening to this knowledge and by contemplating in this manner a faith for surrendering karmas to the Lord is developed. That ignorance, which used to create confusion, can be removed and a person can firmly progress on the path of this yoga. This alone is the utility of this knowledge. This has been mentioned in the 35th verse as well. How is the confusion removed? The confusion is removed by the gain of this knowledge. The confusion arising out of the mutual differences one sees in beings, the basic multiplicity one experiences in life, the birth and death, which look important, will be removed. You will see all beings in atman. You will not be able to feel yourself separate from anyone, as if, all of them dwell in you. None is outside of you. Then, life and death, meeting and separation, loss and gain, etc. all will become like a sport. And you will start seeing all of them and yourself too in Me i.e. in the Lord. All this will then become nothing but the Lord. Then only I and I alone will remain. Only I will be your life and also death for you. I alone will become your pleasure and pain, and loss and gain. How could then there be any scope for this kind of confusion? The delusion, which is the basis of this confusion and which is the mother of stupidity, is removed in the state when the light of knowledge is kindled. voh jo parda tha beech main ab na raha na raha parde main ab voh parda nashin || The veil which was in between the two has been removed and He who was behind the veil has made his appearance. This is the self-evident advaita of the Gita. In order to prove it no argument is necessary. It is undoubtedly true, for it is the statement of the Lord himself. Karma itself is success of yoga. This has been experienced. This truth can be understood by the intellect. If it is understood, then the confusion created in mind gets removed, though that cure may only be temporary. It could become permanent only when one acquires that internal state himself. Seeing in the Self and seeing in the Lord is a bit different. Through the blossoming of the Self-awareness (atmabhav) the person starts feeling that every thing is in the Lord and does not feel anyone different from the Lord. Thereafter another feeling arises. The Divine Existence beyond the Self is experienced. In that the Self and the entire universe gets merged. Only the Lord remains. This is the supreme advaita, the advaita of love. The individual merges in that

205

advaita. His individuality merges with the existence of the Lord and he also becomes His form. This advait does not obliterate everything but without obliterating it manifests such a wonderful feeling of oneness that there remains none other than Him or there can remain none other than Him. That is a heavenly state. Just as karma while being done does not remain karma so the individual while remaining himself, ceases to be so. And while not remaining himself he remains so. It is that knowledge by which delusion is destroyed. It appears that the Gita does not take the help of maya to prove this point. How could then that knowledge be achieved? The Lord tells the way (verse 34). The enlightened one (gyani) who has seen the truth would preach you about it. A gyani is the one who has gyan i.e. who has knowledge or wisdom; the one, who has heard, who has contemplated, who has understood and who has assimilated it. The gyani mentioned in the 7th chapter of the Gita is of a different category. That gyani is an aspirant (sadhak). He attains the Lord after the sadhana of many lives - by practicing karmayoga with devotion (verse 19 of chapter 7), but has not yet acquired the capability of preaching it to others. Only an enlightened one (gyani) could be a preacher for he has seen the truth. Seeing the truth means being face-to-face with truth. When we ourselves experience the reality, when the knowledge does not remain confined to the intellect but becomes the experience of our inner Self, when it is not simply the knowledge based on arguments and there is an awakening of a higher consciousness beyond the intellect then it is known as the realisation of the truth or seeing the truth. Only such people are called sakshatkrit-dharma i.e. the one who has seen reality. He, who has attained perfection, is a seer of truth i.e. the one who has been fully awakened by his sadhana. Seeing the truth is perfection of sadhana. It is the ripened fruit of the tree of sadhana. This is not a temporary gain. Once it is gained, it can never go away. It is that awakened state, which in due course, completely envelops the aspirant. The other i.e. the ego-based consciousness disappears. This is a highly evolved stage of evolution. The gyani, who has seen the truth, will preach. How is this preaching obtained? There are three ways: pranaipat (absolute humility), pariprasna (counter questioning) and service. Pranaipat is to completely surrender ones vanity, to lie on the feet of someone. What can be expressed thus: I have come to you, I have taken your refuge or I am totally dependent on you. Meekness or submissiveness is its very diluted form. Pranaipat is such a polite insistence that it moves the heart of a Guru81 and he accepts one as his disciple. Without such an acceptance, no one can gain anything. This was the method popular in ancient days. One had to pray for acceptance. Even today one has to pray. So long as a person does not learn to be humble he cannot learn any thing. Teachers are our employee; we have employed a teacher - with this kind of feeling nothing can be gained in the field of spirituality. If this knowledge could be gained only by reading of books, the Lord would not have placed this demand on his disciples. Bookish knowledge simply confuses the mind. Arguments get just stretched beyond limit and cannot develop a singleminded devotion to any one or any thing. Secondly, the knowledge gained through books by selfstudy remains at best an intellectual toy. That is Vedanta just at the plane of speech, which instead of becoming a devotion of life remains an intellectual conviction. When the seed of awareness beyond intellect is sown then only one can develop devotion and then only one get the way too. Then only some day the tree of sadhana could bear fruits.

81

Guru: literally means a teacher but in the present context he is a spiritual teacher and a preceptor or a spiritual guide.

206

If the knowledge gained from the books had been enough then there would not have been any need for teaching by an enlightened Guru. The Lord is giving us direction for learning from that gyani who has seen the truth. Therefore, absolute humility is necessary the humility in which one losses ones vanity at the feet of Guru. Our vanity is an enemy of our receptivity. I know and understand more than he. I have comprehensive experience. I have very wide knowledge. The purpose cannot be served by merely thinking that the Guru knows more only about spiritual matters. The Guru has to be accepted in totality. That is possible only by absolute humility. The external humility is no humility. Many a times that kind of humility is a drama. That humility is tainted with the arrogance of humility. Only the experienced people know what inner humility is. Without internal humility, acceptance by a Guru is not real acceptance and the disciple has the misunderstanding that the Guru has accepted him. Why is absolute humility so important? Because what we want is not a thing within the domain of the intellect. That cannot be gained from any person other than the one who has it. That cannot be patented and without that knowledge the door for higher inner potentialities cannot open. This is a gift at the subtle plane and is not perceptible. The humility develops in us the ability to receive that knowledge. That prepares the ground in which a sapling could be planted. The second requirement is pariprasna. Prasna means a question and pariprasna is a counter question asked to seek a clarification. One should not nurse any doubts. Whatever arguments or counter-arguments come to the mind, they should be got clarified. When we consider ourselves superior we are afraid of asking questions for the fear that people may consider us to be a fool. My importance will end. One who thinks so is not yet humble. Some other people do not ask counter questions either due to hesitation or due to fear. Hesitation and fear should also be overcome. It would not help, for without overcoming them one cannot gain anything. This does not mean that the disciple should indulge in unnecessary arguments. The desire to seek clarification should be predominant in asking pariprasna and not to engage in arguments. Without modest curiosity a person wastes his time as well as time of others too. One should also be satisfied to know whatever is necessary for him to know because everything cannot be known in one stroke. The spiritual practice (sadhana) itself assists in the blooming forth of the understanding. The third requirement is service. In the olden days it was necessary for the disciple to live in the house of his Guru. It was necessary for him to serve his Guru. After doing this service when the disciple was fully prepared to receive the knowledge then only his Guru preached him. This proximity gave an opportunity to the Guru to properly assess the disciple so that he could shape his life in an entirely new mould. Moreover, under the influence of the proximity with his Guru, the disciple gradually used to get purified and used to become receptive to whatever was preached to him. His inner self also surrendered in humility, in deep reverence. Then the preaching used to quickly bear fruits. Then the seeker was considered competent to do his sadhana independently and was given permission to leave the house of his Guru. There is no doubt that it is a highly effective method. This is the method of easy natural good company (sat sang). Sat sang is not affective by speech alone. What is really important in this method is a mutual nearness and receptability. In the name of service of the Guru, the disciple did have prolonged sat sang. This knowledge changes the entire outlook towards life. It is a gradual changing of life both within and outside.

207

This much more can be added that the tradition of the Gita is not bare advaita having no scope for devotion. It does not continue with the tradition of indescribability and negation. The knowledge of the Gita is a live awareness of Brahman, of the Lord Purushottama, and of the awareness of the determinate (saguna) and the indeterminate (nirguna) Lord and that becomes the basis of worship and karma. That alone is the basis of the yoga in which all activities are offered to the Lord (karma-brahmarpan-yoga). Those who worship the incarnations also gain that knowledge (verses 9-11 of chapter 10). The glory and grandness of this knowledge, which is gained after so much of effort, has been described in subsequent verses. It indeed is invaluable. api ced asi papebhyah sarvebhyah papakrttamah | sarvam jnajaplavenai va vrjinam samtarisyasse || (36) Even though you are the most sinful amongst all sinners you will cross over all sins by the boat of knowledge (gyan). (36) Knowledge is a sturdy boat to cross the river of sin. Even greatest of the great sins can be destroyed by knowledge. Arjuna had perceived fighting the war as sinful. The Lord tried in many ways to make him understand. He tried to arise devotion in him. The Lord had shown him the path of devotion to own duties (svadharma) and mentioned to him the yoga of surrendering of karmas to the Brahman (karma-brahmarpan-yoga). Now he tells him, go and serve any knower of Truth and learn knowledge from him, for by that knowledge you would cross over this tradition of sin. It was certainly not the intention of the Lord that Arjuna should go to the house of a Guru and serve him for gaining knowledge. The Lord himself was the Guru of all Gurus and was capable too. All that was said to impress upon Arjuna was to emphasise the importance of knowledge and to impress the importance of spiritual practice (sadhana) to gain knowledge, which the Lord has been discussing all along. He brings back Arjuna again and again to the same point and directs him to seek refuge in that specific yoga of karma. Knowledge destroys sins - even the greatest of sins cannot stand before the light of knowledge. yathai dhamsi samiddho gnir bhasmast kurute rjuna | jnanagnih sarvakarmani bhasmasat kurute tatha || (37) O Arjuna! Just as the blazing fire turns the firewood into ashes so the fire of knowledge turns all karmas into ash. (37) In this verse an effort has been made to explain by giving an example. Just as fire burns the firewood into ashes so also the fire of knowledge burns karmas into ashes. It was said in the previous verse that you will get over all sins. Here it is said, burns all karmas. The word karmas include sins as well as virtues. So, how then does knowledge burn the sins? Naturally because there can never be an absence of karma per-se. Therefore, freedom cannot be gained by giving up doing karmas. The other alternative is to convert them into akarmas. Knowledge converts karmas into akarmas. There is no duty for a wise person nor does he get involved in any karma. There is neither a sin nor a virtue for him. His karmas do not create any impression or samsakar in him. His karma is only a visible form. As a roasted seed does not germinate so the karmas of a wise man do not bear fruit. How does knowledge converts karma into akarma? By seeing every thing in the Brahman, egoism is removed. In the absence of ego there cannot be the doer-ship. In the absence of the doer-ship, it is not karma but akarma is done.

208

This is sadhana. While making an effort to gain this knowledge a person could do karmas. He could also do karma keeping alive the feeling of surrendering himself at the feet of the Lord. But as the inner source of knowledge starts opening up within him, his karmas start getting converted into akarma and no new tendencies get created, even the old tendencies get gradually depleted and finally destroyed. In this manner the aspirant acquires total freedom from karmas. He will cross the river of sin. His karmas will get burnt. He becomes free from bonds. The realisation of the karma-brahmarpan-yoga is the basis of this sadhana. By practicing according to the course prescribed in verses 34 and 35 one continues his sadhana. In this sadhana one has to do his karmas with knowledge. That is the subject of next chapter. That is karma-sanyas yoga. How does this karmayoga appear to be changing its form? The Lord opens up the unique treasure of sadhana before Arjuna. na hi jnanena sadrsam pavitram iha vidyate tat svayam yogasamsiddhah kalena tmani vindati || (38) There is nothing else more pure than knowledge (gyan) in this world. The person perfected in this yoga by himself gains this knowledge (gyan) in due course of time. (38) One half of this verse is in praise of this knowledge. According to this verse this knowledge is the purest. There is nothing purer than this knowledge. The awareness of the Lord is of course the purest. What could be purer than the knowledge by which the Lord is gained, by gaining that one becomes pure forever and becomes free of the possibility of committing any sin? What could be purer than that? Knowledge is purer than karma. Without it, karma is the cause of bondage. In other words without a deep sublime devotion, karma leads to bonds. Karma ultimately culminates in knowledge. Devotion? This knowledge and devotion are one and the same. A wise person is a supreme devotee too. The effective form of knowledge is devotion. The premadvaita of devotion is nothing but knowledge - supreme. It has already been mentioned that intellectual knowledge is not enough. The knowledge is authentic only when the consciousness of beyond the intellect is awakened in us. The Lord says tesam jnani nityayukta ekabhaktir visisyate | priyo hi jnanino tyartham aham sa ca mama priyah || udarah sarva evai te jnani tv atmani va me matam | asthitah sa hi yuktatman mam eva nuttamam gatim ||
(Verses 17 and 18 of chapter 7)

"Amongst them the man of wisdom (gyani), who is ever united with Me and has single minded devotion, is the best. I am certainly most dear to him and he is dear to Me". (Verse17 of chapter 7) "Noble indeed are all of them, but I hold the man of wisdom (gyani) as My own atman because he is one with Me on the highest plane and has taken My refuge believing Me as the best alternative". (Verse 18 of chapter 7)

209

Therefore, knowledge is devotion. A man of wisdom is none else but a devotee. The one, who does not know the Lord, what kind of a devotee he is? Devotion is not blind as it has divine eyes. It can see across the darkness of confusion and ignorance. That is unflinching devotion beyond doubts. Its basis is teachings of experienced saints. What a unique understanding has been created by the Lord. The knowledge relating to Brahman is verily itself devotion. Once the knowledge is gained, it will not be possible for anyone not to surrender before the Lord. The Lord is so much our very own that it will not be possible to live without Him. Knowledge is devotion and devotion is knowledge. What a unique view and a wonderful synthesis is this? What a liberal philosophy is this? How is that knowledge attained? Is the teaching of the knower of Truth enough? The preaching of the seer of Truth is the beginning of ones sadhana. It is only helpful in ones finding out the way. This knowledge is gained on its own after perfection in yoga is achieved. It is the same yoga - karmayoga or karma-brahmarpan-yoga, which is being discussed. Just as by taking the road to Nainital a man does not reach Nainital. So also just by taking lessons of knowledge from a seer of Truth one does not become a seer of Truth. It is just like taking the road. From this it is clear that this knowledge is not just intellectual knowledge, but is a stable inner state in which higher consciousness is awakened within the individual. As a result of this knowledge, all beings are seen in the self and in the Lord and then everything is seen filled with Brahman and our outlook gets even. Karmayoga is a means for this knowledge-supreme. By continuous practice one attains a state of perfect realisation. The emergence of this knowledge and final realisation of this sadhana are simultaneous. The present verse does not appear to subscribe to the theory that karmayoga is a mere preparation and thereafter one will have to take to sanyas82. Karmayoga in itself is a complete device. No special effort is separately required for obtaining this very knowledge-supreme. And such knowledge is to be held in the self itself. This knowledge is not external, nor is it something placed within. This is something not a decision of a fixed nature. This is an inner consciousness verily an experience. Kalen means in due course of time. It is not like a game of magic so as to be attained in a moment. This is a total transformation of the inside as well as of the outside. It is a necessary condition to be reached in the process of evolution. This view is confirmed by verses 27 and 28 of chapter 6. This is also the contact with Brahman by which a person becomes equanimous even in perspective. When this knowledge emerges inside? When a person gains it? What is his inner state at that time? sraddhavaml labhate jnanam tatparah samyatendriyah | jnanam labdhva param santim acirena dhigacchati || (39) The person, who is intent, has a deep devotion and has control over his sense organs, attains this knowledge. After having gained this knowledge without any delay he attains the peace supreme. (39)

82

sanyas: renunciation of worldly life

210

In the 34th verse humble reverence (pranaipat) was mentioned as a method for receiving lessons from a Guru. But inner knowledge is gained when devotion is awakened. Devotion is not an intellectual belief. That is a sincere and deep emotion of love and respect developed for somebody. Faith is also not mere feeling but is much more stable, strong and deep. The one towards whom we have feelings of devotion starts dwelling in us. We get united with him. Ones inner purity strengthens devotion. The possibility of having devotion is indicative of the state of trust. That is a great creative strength. For whom does one needs to have devotion? For the Lord, who else could be its object? Devotion towards knowledge surely has no meaning. Does knowledge speak? Does it accept our love? Is the awareness of the Lord not a form of knowledge? After devotion in the Lord is awakened then this knowledge is realised. His divine consciousness is attained. The attainment of the Lord himself is the attainment of his knowledge. Only the unflinching devotion is the method of attaining the Lord devotion is just indicative of his presence. Tatpar - for whom the Lord alone has become the primary objective of life. He lives for Him, for the Lord, for Brahman, for attaining Brahman, and for attaining His knowledge-Supreme. That knowledge is not a cheap thing. Its price is the sacrifice of the whole life. There should remain no place in life for any thing else either for an object, an individual, or for any other satisfaction except the Lord. For Him alone there should be all the activities of life, whether these are gross or subtle. This is single-minded devotion. Without such devotion no gain is possible and eyes do not open. Does tatpar means a determination to gain knowledge or the Lord? We do not find any difference between the two. However, the second meaning seems to be more appropriate. The first meaning could imply that the determination for doing sadhana or yoga is only for gaining knowledge-Supreme or that the sadhana is more important in life. But when the determination is to attain the Lord then the knowledge-Supreme is automatically achieved. Not only that, the aspirant gains much more than knowledge-Supreme. And the third characteristic is samyatendriyah: i.e. those who have subdued sense organs. One could have devotion and single-mindedness too but by that alone, sense organs are not subdued nor control over prana is achieved. Devotion and single-mindedness could restrain the mind and the intellect and transform them too, but the turbulent prana could still disturb the sense organs. Prana is pacified gradually by the continuous sadhana and by the grace of the Lord. Then there is peace and harmony within a stable peace prevails within us. And in that stable peace rises the Sun of knowledge-Supreme. As peace influences the consciousness, it also rises with all its strength and splendor. In the beginning, this knowledge appears for sometime and then it disappears, because the inner state of consciousness is not stable. Gradually a higher consciousness descends in the mind and the intellect. Then the knowledgeSupreme is gained forever and there is a constant awareness of the Lord. One perceives Him always and everywhere. The person becomes free of all confusions. And, when this knowledge-Supreme is attained, can peace be far away? The knowledge-Supreme brings peace along with it. Peace comes with it like a maid, like the shadow. What is this peace? It is supreme peace in which there is never a possibility of any discordance or lack of stability. The possibility of turmoil or of the rise of tumultuous emotions also comes to an end. The vanity and the problems arising there from, which were the causes of aberrations and turmoil associated with it, are totally eliminated. What are the causes of turmoil within us?

211

Our likes and dislikes, desires, passions, anger, etc. and egoism are the causes of inner restlessness. The external situations are only the means and ignite them. These external situations can never cause mental turmoil. Because once these are changed - our ability to react changes - then they cannot cause any turmoil within. When the inner-self remains unperturbed, remains unchanged, how could one react and could be perturbed by external causes? How could there be any mental disturbance then? If any situation could ever perturb us in any manner, then evidently we do not have permanent peace and have not gained knowledgeSupreme. It has not as yet been realised and the feeling of realisation is deceptive. The experiences we are having are not internal and are still incomplete. This is the touchstone by which the seeker of truth can easily test the state of his evolution. This test never fails. On gaining knowledge-Supreme ones egoism is totally eliminated; the attachment to objects end and so the feeling of any deficiency ends; the inner demands are completely erased. That is the peaceful state in which there is neither demand, nor can there be any demand. In it there are no limits. The person himself becomes a pillar of peace and radiates peace everywhere. The world restlessly hopes for peace and searches for it. When everything is transient in the world outside how could there be peace therein? The road to peace is within. One will have to transform his life into a perennial sadhana. One will have to make Him the supreme objective of his life and will have to worship the Lord through his entire life. One day the divine gate of supreme peace will open. There is no peace anywhere except in the feet the Lord. And what happens to him who strays from the path of sadhana? ajnas ca sraddadhanas ca samsayatman vinasyati | na yam loko sti na paro na sukham samsayatmannah || (40) A person who is devoid of knowledge, has no faith and is of doubting nature perishes. For such a person there is neither this world, nor the world beyond, nor any happiness. (40) Samsayatman: he, whose self is full of doubts i.e. one who is of a doubting nature; who doubts every thing? The intellect is such a spiders cobweb that for any one, who enters into it, it is difficult to come out of it, as the intellect remains active all the time. Yes, the intellect of some people remains active even while in sleep and also in dreams. An intellect of this kind becomes a problem. Even when a person does not want to think he cannot stop doing so. It happens when the consciousness beyond the intellect has not as yet awakened and when our own existence becomes entirely subservient to the intellectual consciousness. A person, who claims to be an intellectual in every matter, gradually becomes entirely dependent upon his intelligence and gives it undue importance. He does not know of any thing beyond his intelligence and worships it in his life. For him his intelligence soon becomes an obsession. The web of arguments and counter arguments is woven and unwoven day in and day out. This sport continues. The intelligence, which came as a maid, has now stalled herself as the lady of the house and leaves no place for us in that house. How pitiable is this situation? It could not even be imagined had it not been experienced. The situation finally leads either to a nervous breakdown or leads to an asylum. All the time one is afraid of enemies or of death. He destroys himself, his own life. This is adultery of the intellect and is also its result too. It is a terrifying portrayal of the destruction brought about by an acute skepticism of the intellect.

212

Should we then not have any doubts at all? Should we not think at all? After all the Lord has given us the intellect and it should certainly be used. Yes, intellect should most certainly be used but properly. If, however, its use leads to confusion then the use is surely incorrect. One should think in order to reach a conclusion and to translate it into action. Thinking just for the sake of thinking and to continue thinking is a misuse of the intellect. By persistent thinking one loses the direction of his thought. He even forgets the purpose of his thinking. He forgets that there is a need for a decision in life and that he was thinking to arrive at a specific decision. When the thinking does not have any practical utility and relevance then there is danger. It is a first step toward lunacy. The philosophy having no relevance to life is dangerous. It has no peg to which it can be tied; it has nothing to bind it. So it will never end. Our practical life should be the manure of our thoughts and thoughts for our practical life. Then only can our intellectual ability be rightfully utilised; then only one can be free from excessive doubt ability. We should think only as much as is needed for our sadhana and when it is needed. When we limit our thinking in this manner, then we are able to take a decision and we are firm at some point. Then there are no doubts of any kind. Unnecessary thinking is waste of energy, time and peace. Moreover, every thing cannot be known by the intellect. Intellect has its limits. It can know certain things and cannot know others. Howsoever sharp and intelligent one might be, even his intellect will not have access to certain fields and is sure to be of no use in some specific fields. Howsoever fast a horse may run but he cannot fly in the air. He needs earth under his feet to move. Just like that the knowledge relating to God is beyond the mind. Arguments have no place in this sphere. Therefore, those who decide one way or the other on the basis of arguments, remain undecided in spiritual matters - sometimes they are theists and sometimes atheists, riding on two horses. They are one in the night and another in the daytime. This process continues for the whole of their life. Where arguments have no place, how could a decision be taken? How could the round pot made to stand on its bottom? Those who cannot think nor can believe in any means of knowledge other than the intellect are helpless. And their scientific temper tells them that they should not accept anything without adequate evidence and that too should be of the nature of direct perception. They say, we will accept if you can show us your god. Such unfortunate ones are pitiable. We can only pray to God to give them some sense. We should not argue with them because that is their problem their disease. May be some misfortune may remove their illusion. In respect of those matters, which are not the subject of the intellect, there is no option but to accept the views of those who have knowledge about it. However, there can be problem in following everyone who is not an expert in the field because there are many paths. One will have to select the path and then follow the knower of that path. Without this minimum trust one cannot do ones sadhana. Doubts wash off everything whatsoever we do. They close the door for the grace of the Lord. You will have to learn to stop thinking to get over doubts. You will have to firmly ignore all unwanted thoughts. For an educated person of the day it is difficult to get over his doubts. He certainly is a fool, who is ignorant but still thinks him to know every thing without knowing anything. One should not be afraid of ones ignorance. But he who does not know, and neither does he know that he does not know anything, that unfortunate person is sitting with all the doors closed. He is just resting his head on a wall trying to move it. He thinks he is moving. Disposition to doubt is in league with foolishness. He who has bowed his head before somebody, his doubts gets removed. But the one who does not do so, his doubts persist; he continues to be the doubtable one. The one who thinks that he is wise, what can he learn? The disposition full of

213

doubts indicates lack of receptivity. A person of such nature has no faith. His thoughts are not stable. Then how any depth and firmness in his sentiments could be possible? How then can there be any depth and stability in his feelings. There cannot be reverence without firmness and depth in ones feelings. How can there be love for the feet of the Lord? How can there be an intense devotion? How could one gain anything? Being without faith and being in a state of doubt is a misfortune. For such a person the doors of higher possibilities of life remain closed. His life is dull and without any interest in anything. If one has faith in the pleasures of life then by enjoying them he can have transitory happiness for sometime. But what can one achieve who is always in doubt about every thing? He spends his entire life thinking whether he should or should not enjoy life. He has doubts about people too, whether they are right or wrong. As a result of his doubts, he is unable to behave properly with them. He cannot open his heart before anyone for he has no friend. He has doubts about his wife, about his son, about his food and drinks, etc. There is no end to this chain. This is a disease, which spreads to all the fields of his life. He does not have faith in anything. Therefore, for such a person there is no happiness in the world. No field opens up for his energies to work in. He does not find any body worthy of his love in the entire world. He finds evil everywhere. He perceives only vanity and suffering everywhere. He is doubtful about every work. Therefore, such a person is not able to devote himself to any thing. He, who cannot give any thing in his life to others, to the society, can never live peacefully. If no field opens up for the release of his energy, he is always restless. In his entire life he will not be able to move an inch. Doubtfulness is a serious disease. It eats away a person unknowingly like tuberculosis. What will be the future of the one who has wasted his life like this? It will be dark. After death, only the good deeds we do, like love, service and sacrifices, become the cause of higher attainments. As is our faith, so is the world we attain. All deeds of the one, who is without faith, are burnt and turn into ashes. asradhaya hutam dattam tapas taptam krtam ca yat | asad ity ucyate partha na ca tat pretya no iha ||
(Verse 28 of chapter 17)

O Arjuna! Whatever offering or gift is made, whatever penance is done, whatever rite is observed, all that without faith is called asat, and is not fruitful either here or after death. Only by doing good deeds with faith one has satisfaction and has peace. That gives a kind of pleasure. Whatsoever good karmas one might do, it will not give him pleasure if done without faith. He will remain as dry as he was. Therefore, the lack of faith makes the life devoid of any pleasure or enthusiasm. The other world is also automatically spoiled. Nothing is gained in this world by having doubts. Even the other world becomes dark. A doubting person can never have any happiness in life. The ordinary pleasures are the results of our reactions towards life. He, who can smilingly accept various situations in life, as gifts of the Lord, can alone be happy even in difficulties of life. He, who is afraid of unhappiness, even without any cause for unhappiness, feels scared and remains unhappy without any reason. Secondly, happiness is dependent upon what we can give to others and what we can do for others or how we behave in our life with others. He, who can work with devotion, gets pleasure in doing that work. He, who can love others, gets pleasure out of that love. He, who can serve others, finds pleasure in doing service. Thirdly, the scale of our happiness and unhappiness is our desires. The extent to which we get happiness-unhappiness depends upon how much we demand and how much we get in return. For one who desires a sum of one million rupees, the gain of ten thousand rupees will be

214

a cause of unhappiness. He will be unhappy for the loss of rupees 990,000. But he, who desires only a thousand rupees, if he gets ten thousand rupees, will be very happy. An intelligent person can always find a reason for being happy. But, the problem of the person of suspicious nature is that he neither becomes happy nor does he become unhappy. He is not also beyond the state of happiness and unhappiness. He remains in a state of frightful vacuum a void; loneliness seems to consume his life. His condition is like that of a person suffocating in a closed room. Such a state is also reached either as a result of a severe shock received in life or in a state of rocking disappointment and the person loses his deep-seated faith too. A person becomes skeptical even about the higher values of life. How could there be spiritual sadhana in an environment of an all-consuming suspicion? A state of overwhelming suspiciousness is always pitiable. Such a person is an object of pity. What was the state of Arjuna? He had lost the direction of his life. He was dharmasamudhcheta (verse 7 of chapter 2). The main cause of his distress was that he had lost the firmly established faith in his kshatriya-dharma, which had an important place in his glorious life of a valiant warrior. It will not be improper to refer here to verse 66 of the second chapter: na ca bhavayatah santir asantasya kutah sukham |
(How can there be peace for one lacking peace of mind?)

While concluding this topic, the Lord says yogasamnyastakarmanam jnanasamchinnasamsayam | atmanvantam na karmani nibadhnanti dhanamjaya || (41) He who has renounced all his karmas through yoga, whose doubts have been removed through knowledge (gyan), (and) who has become aware of himself (atmavan), O Arjuna, karmas do not bind him. (41) After all this discussion, the Lord comes to the same conclusion that karmas do not bind. He says, O Arjuna, karmas do not necessarily bind. Karma can be done even without any bondage i.e. any binding effect. Therefore, you do your karma. Of course, you must know the correct method of doing karmas. Then there will be no bondage. He mentions again the state of naishyakarmaya from the point of view of yoga and knowledge. Who is not bounded by karma? Yogasamnyastakarmanam is the one, who has renounced his karmas through yoga. Yoga? Karmayoga karma-brahmarpan-yoga. This is an easy way of renouncing karma. The karmas are handed over to the Lord. Are offered to Him. They become His. Yogasamnyastakarmanam refers to one who has given all his karma to the Lord through the practice of yoga sadhana and all his karmas are automatically offered to the Lord, his life itself is offered to Him, and his sadhana is successful. Initially an effort has to be made. Feelings have to be developed again and again. The Lord of yagyas, Yagyaishwar, has to be invoked at every moment of life and every karma has to be offered to Him at His feet with feelings. In due course of time that becomes natural. Yagyaishwar starts accepting offering of our karmas and starts dwelling in us. Karma is done as an offering to Him. The karma is done and then to be renounced. This is the mature state of sadhana and in this state karma becomes akarma.

215

And said jnanasamchinnasamsayam he, whose doubts have been removed by knowledge. Knowledge is the one, which removes doubts, just as light removes darkness. In the absence of proper realisation, doubts do persist. When by the grace of someone a person has faith, then where can there be any scope of doubt? As long as karma is not done with understanding, a person can always look back. But when the realisation of the Lord comes to be practiced in life then there are no doubts for it appears as if their graves are dug. They are dead forever. From regular sadhana, knowledge becomes finally victorious. The means of gaining knowledge have already been mentioned above pranaipat, etc. Only the knower of truth is beyond the possibility of doubt. The awareness before the realisation of truth is based only on trust, faith in the Guru or on the words of the Lord. It could always destabilise, if strongly hit. But the knowledge gained by experience is so firm that it cannot be shaken by any argument or by any blow, howsoever, powerful it may be. As hunger is removed by taking food, so the doubts are removed by having the realisation of the Lord. And in that state alone, a person is fully free from the bonds of Karma. bhidyote hridyagranthi chidyante sarvasamshayah l chiyante chasya karmani tasmin drashte paravare ll The knots of the heart are resolved. With the vision of Brahman, the Supreme Being (Parbrahman Paramaishwara) all doubts are removed and all his (of the person) karmas are destroyed. This is said in the Upanishad. The realisation of the Supreme God (Paramaishwara) is itself knowledge and by it roots of all doubts are totally destroyed. The ignorance (avidya), which is even beyond ego and which is the root of multiplicity, is the cause of doubts. The ignorance is removed by the vision of the Lord. Consequently, the possibility of doubts is also removed. Everything becomes full of Brahman. How then could there be doubts and where could they be? He tells of the third characteristics i.e. atmanvantam. The karmas do not bind the one who is atmavan. The word atmavan was used in 45th verse of the 2nd chapter. There the Lord gave Arjuna the direction to go beyond the three qualities and be nirdwanda83, nityasatvastha84, and niryogakshema85 to become atmavan. We do not find the use of these words elsewhere in the Gita. Atmavan possessed of the self - the lord of the atman. Only he who has full control over his Self is the lord of atman. And, what is this Self or atman? Is this consciousness beyond the mind and the intellect indicated by this word atman? No, it does not indicate that consciousness. In the present context atman is that existence on which that supreme consciousness and our own consciousness has the lordship. Atman here is indicative of a combination of all elements of prakriti, from the body to ego i.e. the body, prana, organs, mind, intellect, and ego. All these elements represent the lower i.e. apara prakriti of the Lord. Then, are we not atmavan? Normally we are not that, rather we are just the opposite. We are just like the cub of a lion who has grown up with a flock of sheep is not aware of his own intrinsic nature and behaves like a sheep. Our state is much worse than that of that cub. We dance to the tunes of the mind, the intellect and the sense organs. We lose ourselves to the demands of our body. We do not know that the entire prakriti is for us and we are not for it. We consider ourselves to be its slave, but in fact prakriti should be our slave.
83

nirdwanda: free from the dualities i.e. the pair of opposites, like pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness, etc. 84 nityasatvastha: firmly fixed in purity, established in Suprme reality 85 niryogakshema: absolutely unconcerned about the fullfilment of wants and preservation of what has already been possessed

216

This Self is a means for gaining experiences at various levels. These experiences are necessary for the awakening of our latent tendencies and possibilities. They are necessary for our evolution. Just as the carpenter has his implements for doing his work, so we have this self of ours for our evolution. Just as a carpenter has to maintain his implements so that he could do his work, so also we have to serve to attain our objectives, but we forget that and instead of considering this self as a means of our experiences, we make it a means for attaining happiness for ourselves. As a result of this adultery we lose our lordship. We become its slave, slave of our sense organs. And so the one, who is the lord of this self, who is capable of making a good use of it, whose prakriti behaves as per his directions, is the atmavan. He is the owner of his self and its lord too. The one, who is possessed of the three characteristics even while doing karmas, remains free from the bonds of karmas. This should have been clear that karmas would bind if there are doubts, if there is no control over ones self or if the karma is not renounced. Therefore, in the end the Lord directs Arjuna thustasmad ajnanasambhutam hrtstham jananasina tmanh | chittvai nam samsayam yogam atistho ttistha bharata || (42) Therefore, cutting this doubt with the sword of knowledge, born of ignorance and residing in your heart, conduct according to yoga. O Arjuna! You stand up. (42) As was mentioned above, at the root of the distress of Arjuna was also his doubt that he would be incurring sin by acting according to his duty as a kshatriya and he and others would be harmed. That was the nature of his doubt. Before this war he had fought many wars. He had defeated and killed many warriors. But that day he was having the doubt whether war was a virtue or an evil? Whether or not it was worth fighting? The ignorance was the cause of Arjunas doubt. The Lord says: Arjuna, you do not know the secret of doing karmas, neither do you know the nature of yagya. Know Me, the Lord, as the deity of the yagya. The doubt is dangerous to you. This will spoil this world as well as the other world too. That will deprive you of your happiness as well as strength. The doubt of Arjuna was very deep. It had taken abode in his heart. As long as a doubt is confined to the intellect it does not become a cause of distress but only causes mental disturbance. But when it sinks deep and influences the heart then the entire body gets listless and the limbs get paralysed. Heart is the center of the body. When that starts sinking then every limb starts sinking. That was the state of Arjuna. He was not able to keep standing. This disease of doubt was in his heart. In order to deal with his enemy one has to find out where the enemy is located. What is the means for removing doubts? Use the sword of knowledge. Knowledge itself is a sword. It may be possible to fight in a war by borrowing someone elses sword, but that is not possible here for the removal of doubts. If my knowledge could have served your purpose then there was no necessity of engaging in such a long discussion and your listening to it. Arjuna, you will have to use your own sword.

217

This is the same knowledge, which has been discussed above. All this is filled with the Lord. Everything dwells in Him. I am also verily His form. Karma also is His worship. With this sword of knowledge kill the enemy of doubt and practice this yoga. By removing your doubts, awaken within yourself a firm devotion and with that firm devotion do your karmas. This act of fighting is your kshatriya dharma and is a yagya for you. This is your means for attaining the Lord. This is the best way for your welfare. Only by doing this you will become totally free from the bonds of karma. Remove your doubts, get ready and get up. Abandon the petty weakness of your heart. You are brave and you must fight like a brave person. The karma-brahmarpan-yoga comes to an end here. We have noticed how well the nature of Brahman (Brahman-tattva) has been explained. That Brahman-Purushottama in spite of being the doer of everything all karmas - remains a non-doer. His worship makes a person like Him. The secret of akarma has been revealed. The method of worshiping the Brahman is to do karmas in the spirit of sacrifice (yagya). It makes the person filled with Brahman consciousness. The sacrifice of knowledge (gyan yagya) has been called superior, and the nature of knowledge has been described. And after having taken a big round, the Lord again advised Arjuna to remove doubts by knowledge and practice yoga by surrendering karmas to the Lord. Awaken firm devotion, for fighting itself will be beneficent for you. The dexterity with which the Lord revealed the secret of karma-brahmarpan is amazing. The same karmayoga now looks so grand, comprehensive, easy and natural in this new form. How simple is the means and even without much effort it is so very beneficent. In the next chapter the same karmayoga, which is yoga of surrendering actions to the Brahman i.e. karma-brahmarpan yoga in this chapter, will appear as the yoga of renunciation of actions i.e. karma-sanyas yoga. What a wonderful play of the Lord is this amazing transformation affected through His magical touch? ****************

218