Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Bhagvad Gita – Chapter 8 – The eternal Godhead

Arjuna has lots of questions brimming in his mind. He asks the Lord “Please explain to me what is Brahmin? What is the Self? What is the material manifestation? Who is the Lord of sacrifice and how is he situated in the body? Also how can a person at the time of his death realize the Lord?”

Lord Srikrishna explains thus : Brahman is the eternal indestructible living entity. The material nature of the Brahmin or the Self is called the adhyatma. The adhibuta is the physical nature which is ever changing. And the adhidaiva

is the universal form of the Lord. And I, the Supersoul situated in all living entities is the adhi-yajna, the Lord of sacrifice.

At the time of death, whoever remembers me, without any doubt will come to me. Whatever state one thinks of during his/her death, the same state he/she will achieve. The Supersoul is the oldest, tiniest particle among everything and its form is effulgent like the Sun, who is beyond material nature. One who at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and remembers the Lord will surely attain him.

A person seated in yogic-position, devoid of sense attachments , fixing his/her mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, chanting ‘Om’ and thinking of the Lord will surely reach the spiritual planets. He is a true yogi who always remembers the Lord and hence is united with him. On the highest planets and the lowest, there is repeated birth and death, but one who reaches me is unborn.

The day of the Brahma lasts for thousand yugas and do does his night. With the arrival of the day, they are all manifested and obliterated on the arrival of the night. This is the great trance of the Lord. However there is another energy, superior to this, which sees no end or no birth. Those who pass away when the Sun is travelling north (those who know Brahman) during light , he /she does not return, whereas the yogi who departs during the Southern Solistice and the night of smoke, ascends to the Lunar light and returns. Hence at all times remember me through Vedas, charity, austerity and you will surely come to me. Have no doubt.

More in a week’s time.

Thanks for your perseverance.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Bhagvad Gita – Chapter 7 – Self Knowledge and Enlightenment

Lord Srikrishna asks Arjuna to take refuge in him, practicing Yoga. Thus he can be sure that without doubt he will be with the Lord. He further assures him that he is going to explain to Arjuna the truth behind Self Knowledge and its realization, knowing which there will be nothing unsaid or anything that Arjuna does not understand. Out of thousands of men, one may strive for perfection and among them maybe only one may know the Lord in truth. Such a person is rare and dear to the Lord. Besides the eight material energies (Earth, Fire, Water, Air, ether, mind, intellect and Ego) there is a spiritual energy of the Lord which sustains what the entire universe. There is nothing superior to him and all these exist like pearls in a thread around the Lord’s neck.

Hear now what the Lord has to say: I’m the taste in water, the light in sun and moon, the sacred syllable ‘Om’ , the sound in ether and the ability in man. I’m also the fragrance of mother earth, the heat in fire, the life in all human beings and the discipline of the ascetics. Know me to be the eternal seed of all living beings, the wisdom of the wise and the power of the glorious. Of the strong, I’m the strength devoid of desire and passion and I’m the love that is virtuous Also know that all modes of being, of purity, passion and ignorance emanate from me, but I’m not in them.

I’m above the modes of energy. Deluded by the senses, no one understands me in truth. Only those who have completely surrendered to me can overcome this delusion. The demoniac who live in illusion do not comprehend my nature. Among the pious there are four types of people who seek me: the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive and the one who seeks knowledge about me. Of these the seekers of knowledge are dear to me as they live in me always. He is indeed dear, who renders devotional service to me.

There are other believers who worship other demigods without understanding that it is me who they worship indirectly. I make their resolve firm and reward them as per their sincerity. I’m not revealed to the foolish who think that I’m invisible that has become embodied. I know the past, present and future of all, but no one knows me in entirety. All people are born into delusion and some pious souls are able to realize me. They serve me with determination and faith. Some of them who are worried about old age also offer their prayers to me. Such people are also dear to me. Those who know me in life also know me during their death also. And have no doubt – they come to me.

More to come in a week’s time.

Wishes and Blessings,


Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Bhagvad Gita – Chapter 6 – Meditation – The yoga of Self Control

Lord SriKrishna in this chapter extols the virtue of meditation. He explains: One who is always doing his duty without attachments and renounces the fruits of the action that he/she performs is truly a renunciant and a yogi. It is not possible to bypass work or the sacrificial fire and become a sanyasi (A type of yogi) For someone who has just begun, action is the precursor to yoga. And for somebody who is well established in Yoga, he/she has terminated all activities. When attachment towards all objects cease and material impulses die, one becomes grounded in Yoga.

The mind is the friend of one who has conquered it. For the other, the mind is his greatest enemy. Some people also refer this to will power. In the hands of the self, the will is his friend, else a foe. For the one who has conquered the mind, pleasure and pain, sorrow and happiness all seem the same. A pound of hold and a pound of sand is the same. Such a person is a gyani. (truly wise) Whether he/she deals with a saint or an evil person, the disposition is the same. The handling may be different, but he/she remains a friend to both.

Devoid of any material possessions or desires, with body and mind controlled, a yogi must remain in a secluded spot and fix his attention on me. With the mind and the senses under complete control, he/she must engage in yoga for self purification. He /She should keep an erect posture and meditate on me as the highest object. Yoga is not for those who indulge. Not sleeping too much or too little. Everything under moderation. Mind you, this is the key. Like a lamp in a windless place does not flicker, the yogi’s mind also does not waver. Yoga is the name given to a state where all sorrow arising out of material contact dissolves.

Someone who sees the self through the self attains the highest happiness, so much so that, he forgets if there is anything better in this mortal world. Exercising self control, he /she pulls back his/her mind back into a peaceful state. Thus through constant practice, the yogi who is free from all evil easily reaches brahman or the soul or the atman, whatever you may call it, He / She who sees everyone in me and me in everyone is truly special. He/She who considers others happiness and sorrows as his /her own truly reaches me and he has a special place in my heart.

By now a question stirring Arjuna’s mind is ‘How can one control the mind which is so unsettling and wavering?’ And Lord Srikrishna’s answer is thus: Although I agree that the mind is difficult to control, it’s not impossible. With regular practice, it can be achieved. The other question that Arjuna has in his mind is about himself. ‘What happens to a person who keeps doing his/her duty, but mind is not under control?’ To which the Lord replies that such a person is not lost. If you do good, good will follow you. Of this have no doubt. After his/her death, he/she will ascend to the heavens and after spending the requisite time there. he/she will be born in a pious family. Thus he / she continues his/her quest. The yogi is superior to the ascetic, jnani and the ritualist and he/she who abides in me at all times is the best of all. So take your stand in meditation and come to me.

That’s this chapter in brief.

Next in a week’s time.

Please bear with me. Thanks.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Bhagvad Gita – Chapter 5 – Renunciation and Selfless Action

Arjuna asks the Lord “On one hand you advocate renunciation (non-action) and on the other hand you talk of selfless action. O Hari (Lord Srikrishna) please tell me which is better of the two”. The Lord replies that of the two Selfless action is definitely better. A renounced man is devoid of hatred and selfish desire. Indifferent to all dualities, he/she is free from all bondage and attains liberation. Only a childish person thinks that these two people (one who has renounced and the one who is on a path of selfless action) are different. In effect, both of them reach the same goal. The realization of the Lord.

Karma yoga (The yoga of selfless action) and Jnana Yoga( The yoga of knowledge) both lead to the same destination. One who perceives this, sees things from the right perspective. Abandoning action without yoga is difficult. The sage who is established in Yoga quickly attains the absolute. One who practices yoga with senses controlled, the mind conquered and intelligence purified attains the self and remains free and un-entangled even when he/she is grounded in the sphere of action. One who is acting in Yoga  knows that what he hears or sees or his other senses are all that does various things and not him/herself.

Like a lotus leaf that remains unaffected by water, the yogi also remains untouched by evil. A karma-yogi is thus not affected by the impurities around him. Although he/shegita-140 has to use his/her senses, the mind and intellect, the result is absolute as he/she has given up attachment to the fruits of the action. Thus having renounced this, he/she attains ultimate peace. Whereas they who do not practice Karma yoga get attached and hence cannot attain the ultimate Thus mentally even when existing in the city of nine gates (our body has 9 apertures. A woman has 10) he /she is free from delusion.

The Lord further says that he is not bothered by a man’s good/bad actions. Because our knowledge is covered by ignorance, we act in such a manner. This knowledge which shining like the Sun is to be attained. For the wise, a pound of Gold and Sand is the same. There is no distinction between a Brahmana or a Chandala (High and Low caste) One who is thus unattached and absorbed in action / contemplation in the service of the Lord achieves unbound happiness.The wise do not rejoice in temporary sense pleasures, as in retrospect, they bring only pain.

The seers who attain this knowledge and work for the happiness of others are truly realized. They attain the absolute. The way to attain the Supreme is to focus on the centre of the two eye brows, inhale and exhale in rhythm equalizing and control the senses and the mind and give up anger. One who realizes that it is God who controls the actions and the fruits and also knows that he is the supreme to be attained, who is the friend of all, he/she attains supreme peace.

That’s concisely this chapter on Renunciation and Selfless action.



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bhagvad Gita – Chapter 4 – The meaning of Wisdom

Lord SriKrishna further explains to Arjuna the meaning of Wisdom or jnana (note that jnana actually means knowledge and wisdom is the awakening of the same. The Lord extols to Arjuna that this knowledge was given to Vivaswan who in turn gave it to Manu (all our ancestors) and so on. Arjuna may have forgotten as he is a mortal being, but the Lord knows it all. Arjuna has a hint of doubt as to how the Lord knows this all. To which Lord Srikrishna replies that he is the master of his material energy. He further says that when evil increases (decline of dharma – dharma is duty), the lord manifests himself in a form and descends upon Earth.

gita-102 There were many people in the past who got rid of attachment and attained the Lord. Those who worship the Gods using rituals have also benefitted from their blessings. However please remember that all happens with the power of the Lord. As discussed in the earlier chapters, we dare sometimes deluded into believing that we are doers, when actually it is the three gunas which are responsible for driving us towards action. Taking into consideration the gunas and the effect of ones own karma, the good Lord had  divided people into four divisions: The brahmana (holy priests),  the Kshatriya (warriors), the Vaishnava (merchants) and Shudra (Those who do menial tasks). This division mind you is strictly for discrimination purpose and does not apply stoically.

The Lord has no desire for the fruits of action, but he still keeps acting. Whoever realizes this aspect of God, knows him truly. Lord Srikrishna now gives away the secret of action and inaction. He mentions that wise is  the person who understands this subtle distinction. So here it is. Action performed without attachment to  its fruits is inaction in action and action performed with attachment is action in inaction. Did you understand it ? Let me explain further. He who acts in the spirit of action for action is not doing any work at all. Because he/she does not feel that he/she is working. Work is pleasure or there is no action (inaction) whereas when one is feeling that he is working truly is active in inaction (actual work). Complicated. Not that much.

One who has been purified by his very thoughts acts like a sage. He/She acts really, who has understood the meaning given above. Detaching senses, they work towards only one goal. That goal is action and nothing else. If one’s thoughts are fully absorbed in the absolute, all his/her spiritual offerings also become a part of the absolute. Some offer their hearing, some sight and some others charity into the sacrificial fire. And let me tell you that there is nothing bigger than a sacrifice. It’s brahman. (atman or soul) The fire is brahman, the offering is brahman and the offerer is also brahman. That is how the term ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ comes. It means I’m brahman.

The person who realizes all this through wisdom is the highest of all. True transcendental knowledge is the knowledge of the self, and he/she is wise  who  has realized this truth. Wisdom has the power to burn all karmic activities to ashes. (of course with the Grace of God) So there is nothing above wisdom. All that is above it is the supreme soul. So arise Arjuna, the slayer of enemies, arise and awake to this call. Take the sword of discrimination and shed this illusion into pieces and be firmly established in  Yoga.

More in a week’s time.



Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Bhagvad Gita – Chapter 3 – Selfless Service

Here’s the third chapter of this great epic. Arjuna is embattled with questions, by now. He asks the Lord if Knowledge is better than Action, why is he asking him to engage in this war? And the Lord replies thus: You are a sinless one, dear Arjuna. As explained earlier, there are 2 paths you can trod: the path of jnana (for a knowledge seeker) or the path of karma (for the action oriented) There is a state beyond action also which requires real grit to achieve. However,note that there is no one in this world who can be free of action. The deluded think that they are the doer, but in truth, the gunas (sattva, rajasic or tamasic) are acting, at any point of time. Great is the man who can use his mind to control his senses and do his karma without attachment. Action is very important because we cannot sustain even our body without it.

All action binds us. The only action that does not bind us is sacrifice. The action performed in the name of God, without any attachment. The Gods satisfied with your action shall reward you aptly. Those who eat their food without thanking the Gods is a thief. Hence offer your food to the Gods. This food which has been blessed by the Gods is the leftover that we should eat. As you know food is  responsible for our thoughts. Food is nourished by the  rains, which again downs on us with a sacrifice. (the duties well done without expectation).


One who is free from duties and who is content in himself, derives happiness from the Self. He/She is truly happy who is content internally. There is no purpose that motivated a wise man. He/She does his/her duty as demanded, without any expectation of the fruits. Remember, we covered this in Chapter 2. There were great kings like Janaka who did their duty in this sporting manner and achieved results beyond their wildest imagination. Whatever such great men do, others follow. They set an example for others. Then the Lord says that there is nothing in all these 3 worlds that he doesn’t have, but he keeps working away like the Sun, spreading his light silently without any expectation. Imagine if God were to take a break, the whole world would be in Pandemonium. Hence he keeps working always and sets this example in front of others.

O great Arjuna, just like the ignorant are attached to their actions, the wise do it without expectations. The wise should not try to influence the souls which are ignorant, lest they may forget their duty in between. All people act according to their nature (gunas acting actually) and those who understand this concept, have a good understanding about themselves. Just like smoke covers fire, lust hides a human beings potential. Above the senses is the intellect. Hence as a parting gift the Lord asks Arjuna to control his senses through action with unalloyed devotion.

The secret behind this chapter is understanding the meaning of duty, the path of jnana and karma and doing things without attachment. Desires are fine, but selfish desires are not.

Hope that gave you a brief overview of this lesson.

More to come in a week’s time.

Stay tuned.


Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Bhagvad Gita – Article 2 – Transcendental Knowledge

There are totally 18 chapters in the Bhagvad Gita. We have covered chapter 1 in the previous article. Here is the continuation viz. the second chapter. By now you know that Arjuna has surrendered himself  to the Lord out of pure frustration and despair. Lord Srikrishna smiles at him and instructs him on the way ahead. The Lord asks him a question ‘Where has this weakness come into you, at the hour of action?’ Then he begins to tell him the way. Lord Srikrishna mentions that life and death are not something to grieve about. The wise neither lament for the living nor cry over the dead. There was never a time when all these kings did not exist. Who is killing and who is the killed one ? How can somebody slay the eternal – the atman. The atman or the soul is indestructible. And we are all souls within this body. That is our real identity. The atman is eternal, timeless and has always existed. Joy and Sorrow are passing feelings and one must learn to tolerate them. That which changes with time is not eternal. Hence arise ‘O Arjuna’ and shed this impotency and get ready to fight.

The bodies for the soul are like clothes. They keep changing with every birth. The self (soul / atman) cannot be wetted with water, nor be destroyed by fire. It is eternal. Knowing this you should not lament. Even if you are to think that the soul takes innumerable births, then also you should not despair. Birth and Death are inevitable matters. Those who are born will die and those who die will be born again. All beings are invisible except at the time of birth and death. The in between is the period of manifestation which seems like a dream. But you have to live it, as this is as real as it gets. Being a warrior you have to fight, because that is your dharma. This war will open the gates to heaven if you die else you will get the kingdom. In any which ways, you have to fight. If you turn away from your duty now, others will think that you were scared and they would ridicule you throughout your life. Can you live with such a thing? So prepare yourself for this holy war and do not fear that you will be sinning …

So fix your concentration on the goal and go for it. People who believe in rituals somehow get attached to them. That is not the way of the wise. You may know a lot, but unless you put it to action (use) there is no point. The three gunas (sattva, rajas, tamas) are to be transcended in order to achieve eternal happiness. And now the Lord speaks one of the most important things. You have a right to your work, but not to its fruits. Think about it. Can we ever guarantee results? , although we try for it. The action is ours, the whole effort is ours, but the results are awarded by the God himself. You have to deeply believe in this. Your mind fixed on duty and without thinking about the fruits of action, you have to achieve equanimity. That is Yoga in short. When your mind is fixed on your goal and you are not confused, you will attain yogic samadhi (oneness with the soul).

Arjuna further enquires about how such people speak or move or sit? And the Lord replies thus : One who has renounced his desires born of the mind is satisfied in the self, by the self and his insight is steady. Such a person is a sage. One who is free from material desires, passions, anger and fear is said to be a sage of tranquil mind. He / She stands firmly in wisdom. So focus yourself and surrender yourself to the Lord. Only then can you engage in meditation which will bring you peace. And where there is peace there is happiness. The one who hankers after desires does not attain peace. Mind you the Lord does not say that desires are bad. Just attachment to them is. In simple words, do not worry as to what will happen? Whether the desires will get fulfilled? Desire less, because the more the desires, the more we become anxious. But desire, one must, in order to have a goal towards which one can work. Do not worry. It doesn’t mean complete giving up of desires. If you can, then good going.

In a nutshell, this chapter is about transcendental knowledge which means knowledge about the soul, yoga and duty.

Please excuse me if I have missed out something.

That’s for now. I’ll write the next chapter in a week’s time.

Thank You.


Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Bhagvad Gita – Article 1

I do not know if I’m qualified enough to write on something as vast as scriptures. But from the little that I have read, I would like to share with you some things that I have learned. Every one of these treasures has profoundly affected me and I believe that it has made me a new man. The one that I have understood to some extent is the great scripture Bhagvad Gita. So let me try to extrapolate my understanding of the same. Those who have already read this great book, please feel free to skip this article.

The Bhagvad Gita is a a part of the great epic ‘Mahabharatha’. I have not read the Mahabharatha, but I do know some background about the same. Allow me. The story is of two kings – Dhrithrashtra and Pandu. Their dynasties are termed as Kauravas and Pandavas. The eldest son of Dhritharashtra is Duryodana and that of Pandu is Yuddhishtra. The two dynasties engage in war over land issues. The Pandavas (Yuddhishtra, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakul, Sahadeva) ask their right to 50% of the land from Duryodhana, who simply refuses to give even 5 villages. Hence there is a war for what is rightly theirs.

Now let’s focus on the war. The war takes place in a place called Kurukshetra, a place in UP(Uttar Pradesh) in India. The Kauravas (Duryodhana’s team) is headed by the great grand sire Bhishma. On his side are also other famed warriors like Karna and Dhronacharya. Similarly on Pandavas side are also many famed warriors but the most dexterous being Arjuna, the brother of Yuddhishtra. Driving the chariot of Arjuna is the incarnation of God, Lord SriKrishna himself. Before the war is about to start, Arjuna requests the Lord to drive his chariot to the middle of the battlefield to view the mighty armies.

The story is being narrated to Dhrithrashtra (who is in the Kingdom and he is also blind) by Sanjaya, who has the supernatural vision to see the war sitting besides Dhritharashtra in the Kingdom. Sanjaya is away from the battlefield but can see clearly the scene and narrates the same to the blind king.

As the Lord drives the chariot to the midst of the battlefield, Arjuna sees all kings and their followers assembled in glory. And then something strange happens – he gets overawed by emotions. He sees all people in the battlefield being his relatives, his gurus, his cousins and his very own people. And the mighty warrior falters for the first time in his life. He loses his will to fight these people and gets confused about his duty. He does not know clearly where it lies. Whether to fight or be killed. He would prefer to be killed, than killing his kin or backing away from the battle. As his knees grow weak, he succumbs to his emotions and asks the Lord to guide him during this emotional turmoil.

He pleads to God (Lord Krishna) to show him the way. What follows is a series of versed narrated by the Lord himself to clear his confusion.

Continuation in the next article. Please give me a weeks time to collect my thoughts together.

Thanks for having read this far. Hope you will find this interesting.

Best Wishes,