On the 10th of December 1997, Gita Jayanthi was celebrated at our Satsangh in Bahrain. On this occasion, the satsanghis delivered short discourses on all the chapters. Many of the speakers were attempting this exercise for the very first time. It hence involved a lot of preparation and effort.These discourses will be useful for giving a brief insight into what the Gita is all about, for even a casual internet surfer.
Chapter 1: The hesitation & despondency of Arjuna By Champa Jayaprakash
The entire Bhagavad Gita starts with Dhritaraashtra’s question to Sanjaya. He wants to know what his sons and the sons of Pandavas, who are eager for the battle doing in Kuru-ksetra which is their Dharmasketra.. So Sanjaya starts narrating to Dhritaraashtra the flow of events in the war.
Duryodhana reviews the formation of the army on both the sides in the battle field and starts enumerating to his Guru Dronacharya the names of warriors on both the sides. He weighs the strength of the warriors and concludes that the army of theirs’ protected by Bhiishhma is strong, however the army of the PanDavaas protected by Bhima is still stronger. Saying thus, he commands all the warriors to take up their positions and protect Bhiishhmapitamaha who was their whole strength.
Bhiishhma, inorder to cheer his Grandson blows his conch and all the warriors on the Kaurava side blow their conches, the kettle drums start beating, creating the roar of the war, which is very fearful.
Lord Krishna and Arjuna seated in their divine chariot blow their conches, which sets the tone of the battle that is followed by conches being blown by all other Pandava heroes. It is fearful and shakes the morale of the Kaurava army.
At this stage Arjuna asked Lord Krishna to place his chariot between the armies so that he could see the warriors of both the sides. He wanted to see all the people who were ready to fight for the evil minded Duryodhana. The Lord agreed and placed the Chariot between the armies and said, "Oh Arjuna we are here, look at all of them yourself." This is the first and only verse uttered by the Lord in this chapter,
Arjuna looked up and all around him he saw, his Grandfather, uncles, grandsons, friends, cousins and Guru all arrayed to wage the war against them. At this critical juncture Arjuna was totally overcome with pity and sorrow. He was a man of action, a skilled and adept person who was waiting to wage this war for years against the people who had troubled them in so many ways. His whole intellect was clouded with emotions and he forgot his duty and started telling the Lord "after seeing my relatives eager to join the battle my limbs give away, my mouth is parched, I am trembling, my Ghandiva is slipping, my skin is burning and my mind is reeling. I see bad omens. I can’t stand". Then, he sat down and said, "I will not wage the war. Why should I fight? For what enjoyments? For which kingdom, out of greed? If I kill the very people for whose sake I seek these enjoyments, what is the use? Even if you promise me the kinship of the three worlds I will not fight. It is better that I go away without using a single weapon and save myself from the sin of killing my own people." So saying he dropped the Ghandiva and sits down dejected in the chariot.
Lord Krishna was a patient listener to Arjuna’s prattle and allowed him to
get over his tirade, because he was very confused.
Swami Chinmayananda has brought out the context in which the Upanishads were delivered with that of Bhagavad Gita. He says, "while the Upanishads were delivered in a serene atmosphere, to willing students who were calm and serene by the Guru, the Bhagavad Gita is delivered in the background of the war, where every one is waiting for action, before the first weapon was fired, there is confusion is the mind of the greatest hero which sets the tone to the whole drama which is unfolded. It represents the day to day atmosphere of war and strife we are in the current world. The beauty of the Bhagavad Gita is not only in what is said but how it was said."
The symbolism of the chariot in the Bhagavad Gita is explained well - The Chariot is compared to the body, the Charioteer to Lord Krishna who is guiding Arjuna, the bewildered atman in all of us waging this war of life.
Back to top
Chapter 2: Communion through Knowledge By Venugopal
In chapter 1, Lord Krishna was a patient listener to the thoughts of Arjuna who was overwhelmed with emotions on seeing his own kith and kin at the warfield. In this Chapter which is called the Samkhya Yoga, Lord Krishna tries to cheer up and revive the spirits of Arjuna. This Chapter is said to contain all the essential teachings of the whole of Gita, about the Perishable Body, Imperishable Soul, Importance of discharging one’s duty, selfless action – in other words, man of perfect wisdom.
The lamentation and confusion continue despite Krishna's few strong words to
rouse him. Finally Arjuna surrenders to the feet of the Lord and becomes a
Now Lord explains the Nature of Soul and Body. The Lord says that birth and death are only of the body and not of the aatman or soul. The body in relation to the soul is only like a cloth, which one puts on and throws away when it becomes old. All the stages like boyhood, youth and old age are only passing stages of the body. The body is perishable while the soul cannot be destroyed and a wise man understands this.
Now Arjuna asks the Lord : If birth and death are inevitable, what is to be done with life? Now Lord goes on to explain the duties of a Kshatriya. The Lord says that a Kshatriya has a duty to fight every righteous war. Only to the fortunate among the Kshatriyas comes such a war, opening to them the gates of heaven. He says that there cannot be any loss in war for a Kshatriya because if he wins and lives, he gets all earthly joys, and even if he dies, he gets the pleasures of heaven. On the other hand, if he refuses to fight, he will lose his reputation and be called a coward.
Having explained the philosophy of wisdom, Lord now explains the philosophy of action or the Karma Yoga . Lord urges Arjuna to whole-heartedly plunge into actions expected of him without worrying about the fruits that might come out of them. Our duty is only to work, to act. We should never work with a motive to gain something. As long as persons are motivated by selfish gains in this world, they become attached to the worldly objects, while all actions that are performed without desires and dedicated to God lead a person to spirituality.
Here Arjuna interrupts and asks about a man of steady wisdom or a
stitaprajna. Lord describes such a man as one who has abandoned all his
desires, remains unperturbed by sorrow and happiness, who is free from passion,
anger and greed. He withdraws all his senses from their objects like a tortoise
withdrawing into a shell.
Dwelling in sense objects a person develops attachment, which then leads to desire, anger, infatuation, confusion of memory, loss of reason, finally ruin. Control of senses leads to spiritual advancement while lack of it causes ruin. True happiness therefore comes from sense control and not sense indulgence.
Back to top
Karma means action. The goal of our soul should be to attain a stage where any action is not bound by desire for results. Of course this definitely does not mean that we have to remain action less. Instead by controlling the indriyas by will and remaining unattached to the results can one perform selfless action.
For e.g. The Karma followed by the Head of the household at different levels in a society is like this. He is husband to his wife, father to his children, a host to his guest and maybe boss to many employees working with him. The duties performed by him at various levels is known as Karma.
The second topic in the 3rd chapter is yaGYa or sacrifice. Like one may like to put it this way, that man is bound by every action he performs , unless he does it as a sacrifice. One should not be bound by the outcome of one's action. This implies that mankind will prosper in this world only by giving.
E.g.. This principle of prospering by giving was created by Lord Brahma - the creator at the time of creation. He knew that if mankind has to prosper, they can do so by caring and sharing things with each other. Since our life span is limited and we are unable to take our material possessions it stands to reason that it is meant for sharing.
Now if we think about a great soul like Lord Krishna by the virtue of his holiness we know that he has no duty to perform, but he worked so that we can may follow his examples and attain a level of spirituality. Like in recent times we can quote classic examples of Mother Teresa, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Baba Amte . They contributed selfless service to the society.
Now in one of the verses, Arjuna questions as to how man commits sin, to which Lord replies that his desire which is born of Rajoguna i.e. Rajas (activity) is responsible for this. Just like flame is covered by smoke, mirror by dirt and embryo by the womb so is knowledge covered by desire. Desire is present in senses, mind and intellect. If we have to attain knowledge we have to control our senses with our mind and mind with our intellect which has higher understanding and thus overcome our desire and attain knowledge. The distinction between the work of the worldly minded man and the enlightened Karma Yogi is that the former is self centred while the latter has overcome self centredness and works for the good of all. Like I can take the example of our own Guruji who finds immense joy in helping others to rejoic. True devotion and surrendering oneself to GOD can one attain this stage i.e. that of a Karma Yogi.
Back to top
Chapter 4: Renunciation of Action in Knowledge By V.K.Menon
In this chapter Lord Krishna reveals the secret of re incarnation(avatar),
the science of self-perfection by pursuing the path of action, the division of
people into four castes ( varnas), knowledge of right duty and prerequisites to
acquire Supreme knowledge and thereby
the divine experience of everlasting peace and happiness.
On hearing in detail about the path of action ( karma yoga) Arjuna comes out
with a genuine doubt. He asks the Lord, "You are the fountain head of
knowledge and hence above all bondages
(vasanas) and desires.Still why have you taken birth in this world?"
Herein, the Lord affirms that He indeed is the Infinite, the Eternal and Imperishable. He goes on to tell perhaps the most popular verses in Bhagavad Gita :
yadaa yadaa hi dharmasya, glanirbhavathi bhaaratha .
abhyutthaanamadharmasya, tadaatmaanaM sR^ijaamyaham.h ..4.7..
paritraaNaaya saadhuunaaM vinaashaaya cha dushhkR^itaam.h .
dharma sa.nsthaapanarthaaya sa.nbhavaami yuge yuge ..4.8..
Whenever there is decay of righteousness, He manifests, in a suitable form
out of His own free will, in the world for the protection of the good,
destruction of the wicked and for the establishment of
righteousness ( dharma )
CLASSIFICATION OF HUMANITY
This is a very controversial and debated issue with even the copies of
Manusmrithi being burnt to ashes by our own fellow men in our Motherland,
questioning the sanctity of such a division of mankind. No doubt, there is
no wonder that an average individual is bound to get misled in this society
where divide and rule is the way of life. But on a closer look, see how
meticulously the Lord has classified the people based on their own essential
nature, their tendencies (vasanas) and action ( karma ).
It is based on this that we have the :
On a very natural doubt raised by Arjuna as to how he would know which is his right Duty, Lord Krishna asks him not to get anxious about thisand goes on to explain what Karma, Akarma & Vikarma is and how a wiseman purses life.
Now, the Lord describes at length the qualities of a wise man. He is a passive spectator or observer of the actions while his mind is constantly in communion with the Lord. His actions are all offerings to the Lord - so desireless that the rewards, whether good or bad, do not affect him at all. He is verily a Saint who never gets disturbed and distracted about past actions as well as dreams of the results. He is calm and tranquil always.
All his actions are performed with such a deep devotion, good will and purity of mind that they are greater sacrifices than the ordinary religious rituals. These naturally brings forth better results.
REQUISITES FOR SUPREME KNOWLEDGE
To conclude, Lord Krishna emphasizes that knowledge alone can, in the end, take a person to Ultimate Reality. The path of knowledge is the highest and the last stage in one's spiritual journey, all other paths being the means to reach this main royal road to Truth.
Now to acquire this Supreme Knowledge it is necessary to have a learned Teacher (guru) who has the intimate experience of Truth. The disciple (sishya) should have firm, unwavering faith in his teacher. He should surrender completely to the teacher and discuss all doubts freely. He should live a pure life of self-control and devotion as per the Guru's directives.
Thus through the pursuit of this personal knowledge of Divine Experience, the
seeker gets illumined and starts seeing all things & beings including the
self as manifestation of the one Supreme Self.
This knowledge alone will ultimately consume all our actions which create the vasanas whether they are sinful (paapa) or meritorious (punya) and purify us.
Back to top
The Chapter called karmasa.nnyaasa yogaH begins with a question by Arjuna. Arjuna was confused whether he should follow Sankhya yoga, which asks him to abandon all action or follow Karma yoga and practice action in a disinterested fashion. The Lord tells him that both these are noble paths but Karma yoga is easier to practice because not every body can abandon action. He also says that a Karma yogi who neither hates nor desires is very much a Sannyasi because he is above the pair of opposites. The Lord says that both are different roads leading to the same destination and hence are the same.
There is, however, this important link between them. Without undergoing the discipline of detached action, it is in vain to abandon all external actions, for it will result in idleness & hypocrisy.
The verses 6 to 13, deal about how these yogis behave. Karma yogis offer all actions to God and gives up doership and attachment. Thus they get peace and realize God. A Sankhyayogi leaves the actions to the sense organs and rests in the body without remaining attached to the body and without acting.
So it comes to this, that the attainment of detachment in action is the very essence of spiritual life & once this is acquired, it is immaterial whether one abandons actions externally or continues to perform them. For, one who is truly detached becomes, through that detachment fit to be united with the self of all the supreme being.
The verses 14 to 16 describe the role of the Lord in our actions. The Lord says that he does not create doer ship or fruits of actions. He also does not connect actions and their fruits. It is nature alone that functions. He also says that he does not take either the sins or virtues of any person. Knowledge is enveloped by ignorance and when this ignorance is removed then the person understands and realizes God.
The Slokas 17 to 20 describe how a GYaana yogi becomes one with God and how he goes beyond the cycle of birth and death, because of his knowledge about the self. It also says that a truly knowledgeable person sees all beings as equal, whether it is an educated and humble Brahman, or an outcast, whether it is an elephant, dog or cow. This is because he is able to see the Lord in all beings. When a person gets this equality in perception, he goes beyond the cycle of birth and death, because he becomes one with God and hence attains the ultimate knowledge and happiness. It describes how a Gyaanayogi also attains equanimity and he neither becomes happy when he gets something pleasant nor does he become sad when he gets something unpleasant. He remains established in God and is the true knower of God.
Slokas 20 to 24 describe that a person who is not attached to external objects, finds happiness within himself. He identifies himself with God, through meditation, and so, he finds eternal happiness. It is also said that the pleasures that are born out of contact with external objects are only sources of pain, because they have a beginning and end and hence no wise man delights in them." A truly happy person is one who is able to withstand the urges of lust and anger. Lastly the Sankhyayogi in his final stage is described. He attains happiness from within himself, by renouncing all attachment, overcoming lust and anger and becoming one with God.
Slokas 25 to 29 say that wise men, whose sins are destroyed, whose doubts are removed, whose minds are disciplined and who rejoice in doing good to all beings reach God. It also describes briefly how dhyaanayoga or the yoga of meditation can help both a karmayogi as well as a sankhyayogi in God realization. Finally, for those devotees who finds it difficult to follow any of these, the Lord explains how Bhakthiyoga can also lead to God realization .
Summing up outwardly performing all action but inwardly renouncing their fruits, the wise man, purified by the transcendental knowledge, attains peace, detachment, forbearance, spiritual vision & bliss.
Back to top
Chapter 6 of Gita is called Dhyanayoga or communion through meditation. It deals with meditation as a means of god realization.
Lord begins by describing a sanyasi or a karma yogi. He says that a person may have renounced all actions but will be a karma yogi only when he performs actions without expecting results. Continuing on the same lines, Lord describes a yogaaruudha as a person who has no attachment to sense objects or to actions and who has totally given up thoughts of the world.
Now in order to put Arjuna at ease, Lord says that one's own self is one's best friend or worst enemy. There are two levels in one mind. One is the lower level which is filled with evil qualities and thoughts dictated by body and mind (like lust, anger, jealousy). The higher level is the divine nature which has all good qualities like selflessness, willingness to help other etc., When the lower level is conquered by the higher self, the self is a person's friend. A young plant requires to be protected with care by a fence or else goats and cows will eat it up; but when the same plant grows into a large tree, the cows and goats will come for resting under the tree !! That is what will happen in our life as well. This example is relevant to most of us before we come under protection of "good people" in Satsang and we will hopefully be the tree for our fellow human beings to rest under us !!
Now Lord describes Dhyanayogi as one who can remain calm when faced by joy or sorrow, respect or disrespect, one who will treat mud and gold alike and also has the same outlook towards all people, friends or enemies.
Having described Karma Yogi and Dhyana Yogi and motivated Arjuna by telling him that he can take it in his own hands, Lord now proceeds to explain on how to meditate. The process of meditation explained by the Lord teaches an yogi to keep a calm mind, be fearless, be firm in his path and be absorbed in thoughts of God so that he can totally surrender to God. When one disciplines his mind and constantly thinks of the Lord, he realizes God. What happens now when one follows this path?
All this leads to greatest happiness, not comparable to any happiness gained from worldly enjoyments. The Lord here also describes Yoga as a state of freedom from sorrow. This state cannot be achieved overnight but should be pursued gradually, by renouncing all desires, restrain all senses, become calm and focus one's mind on God alone.
As if to cover the possible doubts of Arjuna on the process of meditation, Lord says that mind is normally restless and wanders away but has to be brought back every time it happens. And when the yogi becomes god realized, he sees self in all beings and all beings in the self. Such yogis sees Lord in all creations and sees all creations in Lord and never loses sight of the Lord. The highest yogi is not one who merely abandons everything and meditates, but he is that person who serves all beings and thus serves God.
Arjuna, not very convinced, raises a doubt that the mind is turbulent, unsteady and as difficult to control as storm. Arjuna also wonders on the fate of person who is devoted and with full faith attempts to reach God all the time but because of inability to subdue his desires, deviates his mind from thoughts of God at the time of his death.
Lord now proceeds to counsel Arjuna on his concerns : He says that any person who does good deeds can never have a bad fate. They will either be born in a house of wealthy but religious people (if their desires are not exhausted in heaven) or be born in the house of enlightened yogis.
The Lord finally says that the yogi who constantly thinks of the Lord with supreme love and faith at all times is the most superior yogi.
In this chapter Lord explained on how to practice
meditation, and to get rid of desires and vasanas so that mind can be controlled
and focussed towards God. He then emphasized the need to bring the
wandering mind on track again. Lord also explained how a yogi succeeds in this
and attains God realization and then explained the attitude of God realized
Back to top
Chapter 7: Communion through knowledge and Realization By Pankaj
The seventh chapter is known as " GYaana viGYaana yogaH" i.e. knowledge and the application of knowledge. Here the Lord is confiding to Arjuna the absolute truth, the most confidential knowledge, the supreme knowledge and the essence of the knowledge.
bahuunaaM janmanaaM ante GYaanavaanmaaM prapadyate .
vaasudevaH sarvamiti sa mahaatmaa sudurlabhaH ..7.19..
vaasudevaH sarvamiti is the supreme knowledge that vaasudevaH is everything. The Lord begins to say, " Thousands of people try to reach me, try to practice yoga and try to meditate on me and among those thousands it is only one who reaches Me." So the chance is very little and very rare for us to realize the Lord. Arjuna was so dear to him and many times the Lord had told him that, it was because of this that Arjuna was given this knowledge.
Inspite of this the Lord had to proceed further and in the eleventh chapter, we learn that He had to show his vishva ruupa (cosmic form) to Arjuna to convince him who He was. But we are sure that the Lord is not going to show us His vishva ruupa and we may have to go through millions of births to realize Him.
So the Lord tells Arjuna who is the person who can realize Him. He says
"one who has aasakthi" aasakthaH means intense desire. For instance,
when I start for satsang and my wife says, "it is likely to rain today, why do
you want to go?, why don't you stay back?", and I say, "Yes I was waiting
for you to say that", and decide not to go! This is not aasakthi!
Normally if someone gives me a
lift to the satsang venue, and one day that person is unable to come and it is another excuse for me not to go for satsang! Then again, there is no aasakthi! With this attitude, we will never know the Lord and realize Him. We should overcome all the difficulties and strive our best to hear about the Lord and know about the Lord. And it is only then that we may realize Him. It is not as though one just has to pray for a few minutes and then hope to will realize Him. The Lord says manushyaanaM sahasreshu. Among thousands of people, there is only one who will realize him!
Now, the Lord explains further what is His nature. "I am the brightness of the Sun. I am the taste of water, the heat of fire, I am the intelligence of the intelligent, the strongest of the strong." We might wonder, "what is the taste of water?". We may drink a plain glass of water and only when we drink probably it might taste sweet, sour or saltish. When we look at it, however, we will not see whether it is sweet or saltish. This quality of making water sweet or sour is the lord. Science can explain this quality only as the property of water and nothing more than that. Where science stops to explain things, that is where we see the Lord. Anything minus the Lord is zero, the water minus the taste is nothing. The essence of everything is the Lord. That is what the Lord tries to explain to Arjuna here.
The Lord says the whole universe is bound by him. It is just like the thread
going through the pearls in a necklace. It is looking so beautiful
because there is something that is binding it. Suppose it is cut off and
the pearls of the necklace are strewn away, the beauty of the
necklace is gone. Everyday, one can see that the Sun rises in the
East and sets in the West and if we are observing all our lives, when we
look at the sky, we see a lot of stars. They are all in the same
position even now and nothing changes. The prakrithi is so much controlled
by the Lord. Suddenly the Sun does not rise in the West, South or North.
It doesn't happen. For millions of years Lord has controlled the
prakrithi. He is within everything and the moment he is not there
nothing exists and that is what
The Lord further says that there are two types of prakrithi. The
superior energy and inferior energy. Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind,
intelligence and false ego constitute the separated material energy
of inferior energy of the Lord. And the whole living entity is the superior energy of the Lord. The Lord further explains the 3 moods of nature, the sathvik, tamasic and rajasic. The Lord says though all of them emanate from Him, He is not subject to them. He is above everything. And in the tenth chapter the Lord says,
teshhaaM satatayuktaanaaM bhajataaM priitipuurvakam.h .
dadaami buddhiyogaM taM yena maamupayaanti te..10.10..
It is a guide for us. The Lord says those who fix their mind and always meditate on Him, whoever prays to Him and worships Him, to those, He will give buddhi or intelligence to realize or reach Him.
The Lord says that, once this knowledge is known there is nothing more to know, because this is the supreme knowledge and there is nothing superior to this.
Back to top
In the beginning of this chapter Arjuna asks Lord Krishna 7 diffenent questions such as, "What is brahman? What is Adhyatma ? What is action ? What is called the Adhibhuta? Who and how is the AdhiyaGYa in the body ? How are you known at the time of death by the self -controlled person ?"
Not only Arjuna but every one of us should know answers for these questions to progress on the spiritual path. Lord Krishna answers Arjuna's questions one by one.
The Supreme, the Imperishable is Brahman. Its existence as the embodied soul is called Adhyatma. Action pertaining to the development of being is called Karma. Perishable entities are called Adhibhuta. The cosmic being is called Adhidaiva. I myself am called the Adhiyagnya in this body. At the time of death, whoever quits his body remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. There is no doubt about this.
Lord Krishna tells whatever states of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail. Further Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, "therefore you should always think of me and fight. With your mind and intelligence fixed on Me you will attain Me without doubt."
It is a clear instruction to every one of us that the chanting of the Lord's name is the best process for changing one's state of being to transcendental life. In the 16th sloka, Lord Krishna tells that from the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to the Lord's abode never takes birth again. In the 17th and 18th slokas the Lord tells as follows.
"A thousand yugas taken together is the duration of Brahma's one day. Such also is the duration of his night. From the unmanifest all manifested beings are born at the advent of Brahma's day. At the approach of his night all beings get merged in the unmanifest." Lord tells that the fire, the flame, the day, the bright half of the month and the six months of the Sun's northern course - departing by this path, the knowers of Brahman attain Brahman.
Smoke, the night, the dark half of the month and the six months of the Sun's southern passage departing by this path the yogi attains the lunar sphere and returns. According to the Vedas, there are two ways of passing from this world - one in the light and one in darkness. When one passes in light, he does not come back, when one passes in darkness, he returns.
Lord tells that the devotees who know these two paths are never deluded. Therefore he tells Arjuna to be fixed in devotion all the time. It means that one should cling to knowledge and single minded devotion.
Back to top
Chapter 9: The Sovereign science and Sovereign Secret By Tulsi Kamath
Through this chapter Lord imparts the Sovereign knowledge and Sovereign secret to Arjuna. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that he will impart this knowledge to him as he is very receptive. The whole Bhagavad Gita was imparted by Krishna to Arjuna, as he was a openminded & interested student. The Lord says that he is everything in this world, what ever we perceive - like the Yagna, Krutu, father, grandfather everthing manifest and unmanifest.
The Lord says, "People without any belief in Dharma and
people who do not have any knowledge (Adharmis and Aviveki’s) keep coming back
again and again into this world life after life, as they do not have any
knowledge of Me".
"I fill the entire universe, I am in everything yet I am not in them , I am the creator, the destroyer and sustainer, however I am not bound by it as I am not tainted by the karmik law. (I am not interested in the fruits of action)."
"Depending on their nature some people are asurik and some are dharmatmas. The good people identify with my nature and worship me. They worship me as one (Advaita philosopy), and as different (Dvaita philosopy) with different faces and forms. In whatever way they worship me, I give them whatever they want. To grant them their desires is my nature"
ananyaashchintayanto maaM ye janaaH paryupaasate
teshhaaM nityaabhiyuktaanaaM yogakshemaM vahaamyaham.h ..9.22..
"For those who constantly think of me, for my devotees, there is no destruction"; this is the solemn assurance given by Lord Krishna through Bhagavad Gita in the dvaapara yugaa. The same assurance was echoed in raamaavatara by Lord Rama to Vibhishana.
The Lord says if you worship other Gods with desire, like Goddess Laksmi for Wealth, Goddess Saraswati for Vidya, your desires will be fulfilled through me only as even though you are not aware you are worshipping me. But those people are dear to me, who worship me only and they get liberated as they do not want anything else except me. They do not want or think of anything else and hence I take care of their Yoga & Kshema - both their welfare and their connection to me.
patraM pushhpaM phalaM thoyaM yo me bhaktyaa
tadahaH bhaktyupahR^itaM ashnaami prayataatmanaH ..9.26..
Anything that is offered to the Lord be it a leaf, a flower, fruits or even water it will reach Him if it is offered with bhava (purity of mind) and bhakthi (devotion)- when we do poojas when we say ratna shimhasam samarpayami and put askhata because all of us cannot afford a rathna simhasana at all times, and yet God will accept it.
Even if a person has done the most wicked things and he is a dhurachari, once he surrenders to me. he is a Sadhu, he is my bhakta and his past is not of any importance at all. He is not different from the Lord.
manmanaa bhava madbhakto madyaajii maaM namaskuru
maamevaishhyasi yuktvaivaM aatmaanaM matparaayaNaH ..9.34..
The Lord says,"worship me, be my devotee, think of me all
the time and I will be with you. Once you do this you will reach Me without any
Back to top
Chapter 10: Manifestations of Divine Glories By Upendra
This chapter consists of 42 slokas. After having explained Raja vidhya Raja ghuhya yoga the Lord tells Arjuna further about him. The Lord tells Arjuna that he is dear to the Lord and asks him to listen to the Lord for his own welfare
The secret of the Lord's birth is neither known by the Gods nor the
sages. He who knows that the Lord is unborn and eternal and that He is the
supreme Lord of the universe is purged of all sins.
All feelings such as discrimination, wisdom, saintliness, joy and contentment emanate from the Lord. The seven great sages and the four ancient Manus from whom the entire creation came into existence were born from the Lord Himself. He who knows this glory and power gets established in the Lord through unwavering devotion. He is the source of all creations. Everything moves because of Him. Knowing this, the wise worship Him.
The Lord says, "With their minds fixed on me, lives surrendered to me, enlightening one another about my greatness and speaking of me, my devotees remain contended and take delight in me." On those ever united with the Lord and worshipping Him, He confers Budhi yoga through which they attain Him. In order to shower His grace on them, the Lord, dwelling inside them, dispels their ignorance by wisdom.
Arjuna then asks the Lord to describe His divine glories and asks Him how He should be mediatated upon. The Lord then says that His conspicuous glories have no limits. He is self-seated in the heart of all beings and is their beginning, middle and the end. He is Vishnu among the 12 sons of Aditi, Sun among luminaries, Moon among stars, Samaveda among the Vedas, Mind among the senses and Consciousness in living beings.
He is Sankara among Rudras, Kubera among Yakshas and Rakshasas, Meru among mountains, Brahaspati among the priests, Skanda among the generals, OM among syllables, Japa yaGYa among yaGYas, Himalayas among the unmoving.
He is the endless time sustainer of all with face in all sides. He is death
as well as the source of all future beings. He is the Glory of the glories,
victory of the victorious. He is KrishhNa as well as Arjuna. He is the seed and
no creature exists without me. There is no end to His divine glories.
Every such character that is glorious, prosperous or powerful is created just by a spark of His yogic power. God is with form as well as without form. He cannot be described by us as He is beyond all these. He alone knows who or what He is. All the great things around us will however serve to remind us of His glories.
Back to top
Arjuna expresses his complete satisfaction of the glories of the Lord in Chapter 10. However he is not yet convinved and confident. He has no personal experience of the oneness of things and beings, although theoetically at least, his intellect has come to accept this inherent oneness. Having heard the Lord's glories, Arjuna now wants to have a direct experience of the divine majesty, the source and support of all that exists. By giving a comprehensive summary of the things to be expected in the cosmic vision, Lord Krishna has increased the intellectual curiosity of Arjuna. This could also be interpreted as the Lord himself orchestrated Arjuna to request him to show the cosmic form.
Who is Arjuna? He in fact represents us. We all seem to trust only what we see and experience than what we read or are taught. The doubting mind is a quality of sound mind and its good and bad. In Ramayana, Sugreeva doubted Ramas strength to fight Vaali and Rama therefore had to demonstrate his capability.
To concede to Arjuna's request, first of all the Lord says, with your ordinary eyes you cannot see my cosmic vision and therefore I will give you "Divine eyes". The message is that we cannot experience god unless the Lord's grace is there. Lord's grace can only be obtained if we resist being selfish. Quality of selflessness is the only way to obtain the Lord's grace. Instead of spending our entire energy, time and wealth on ourselves, a portion of this can be directed to others. If we are not yet ready to part with wealth, then begin with love. You cannot lose anything when you give love. Love only grows when it is given away. The happiness one experiences when making others happy is immeasurable.
The Lord reveals to Arjuna his cosmic vision. This is not the first time the cosmic vision was revealed. When mother Yasodha forced the little Krishna to open his mouth, she saw the entire universe in the little mouth.
Now, What is this cosmic vision ? This chapter describes the cosmic vision as, in which Arjuna finds in an instant all that exists, past, present and future spread out as it were part and parcel of an all comprehending divine person whose awful majesty and splendor are too much for him to bear.
Everywhere Arjuna turned , he saw the Lord, everything he looked, he saw the Lord. He saw the entire universe rushing into the Lord. There was not anything other than the Lord. the chapter says, Arjuna is frightened. the experience shakes him. A warrior by birth and a warrior by practice, if he is frightened, it must have been a vision that could not comprehend, even with his divine eyes. He was frightened to the extent that he pleads with the Lord to come back to his ordinary form. It is difficult to understand why a divine vision causes fear in the mind was not ready for this experience. When we read this chapter over and over again, we tend to visualize the cosmic vision and that in itself is a wonderful thing.
Cosmic vision is nothing but to say that the Lord is in everything and in
everyone. Entire Universe is Lord. Anyone who does not believe in any form of
God can see the Lord in nature. The sun and the
moon, air and water, trees and the sea all form an integral part of all the living beings and support their existence. Even a slightest variation in any of these means non existence of all the beings. These can be respected, wondered about and meditated upon.
We should develop the ' wider thinking' to see the Lord in everything. People force themselves to be humble while they are in the places of worship where their little minds assume that the Lord is present. In any other place, they may behave differently. The feeling of humbleness should be extended to everyone and everywhere.
If we understand the cosmic vision, that is, the Lord is in everything and everywhere, our approach to life will change. If we want to love the Lord, we have to love everyone and if we want to love everyone, we need to love the Lord. Love does not cost anything but it is more precious than everything in this world. We cannot have friends and enemies. we cannot have people whom we love and people whom we hate. If we hate someone, then we hate ourselves.
In short, the Lord with compassion is telling through Arjuna that he is in everything and everyone and we can experience him only when we are ready. If we want to conceive this, we should get the Lord's grace. If we want to get his grace, we should be selfless. If we want to be selfless, we should love everything and everyone.
Once Arjuna, that is all of us, understand this concept, we will then be ready to learn what is devotion, that comes in the next chapter.
Back to top
It starts with the question from Arjuna to Lord Krishna about the two kinds of devotees. He asked which of the devotees have a greater understanding of yoga? "Those who ever steadfast love and worship thee as the divine person (sargun roop) or the other ones who contemplate on thee as the imperishable and unmanifest (nirguna roop)."
The Lord replied, "Those, I consider as the most perfect in yoga, who with their minds fixed intently on Me in steadfast love, worship Me with absolute faith. The others who believe in the impersonal absolute (nirguna roop) also reach Me alone, striving with their senses controlled and with mind tranquilized and set on the welfare of all. However, this path is difficult for the body conscious man.
The Lord further assured Arjuna that those devotees whose minds are ever set on Him, who surrender to Him the fruits of all their actions, together with the sense of agency thereof and who worship Him, meditating on Him as their sole refuge and their only love (ananya bhakti), He would surely lift them from this ocean of death bound worldly existence. He further said to Arjuna that permanent bliss comes from renunciation.
The gist or the cream of Chapter 12, in my understanding,
can be summarized in just two short sentences:
i. Complete surrender at the lotus feet of the Lord.
In the last seven stanzas, Lord Krishna enumerates the characteristic features of a "Man of perfection" and thereby prescribes the correct mode of conduct and way of life for all seekers - the enumeration of various moral, ethical and spiritual qualities of a true devotee. In short, in 36 artistic strokes, the Lord has brought about a complete picture of a "Man of perfection", his relationship with the world outside, his psychological life and intellectual evaluation of the world of beings and happenings.
Back to top
Kshetra : The body consists of five great elements of nature (Earth, water, Fire, Wind and Space), Mind, Intellect, Ego and the vasanas, the 5 organs of perception ( Nose, Tongue, Eyes, Skin and Ears), 5 organs of action ( Vocal chord, legs, hands, genital organs, anus), 5 Objects of senses ( Smell, Taste, Form, Touch and Sound), Seven modifications of these 24 tattvaas ( desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, assembled body, intelligence, fortitude). These 31 elements constitute the matter or field of experience.
Knowledge (GYaana) : The Lord now gives the virtues or values that a seeker needs to practice to gain the right knowledge. The practice of these 20 virtues is called GYaana because only when the mind is perfected with these 20 virtues, the seeker can reach his destination - the greatest knowledge. As we describe these 20 virtues we realize that mere theoretical information on scriptures without their practice cannot take us to the Lord.
20 Virtues: Humility; Self-control; Non attachment; Non injury; Forgiveness; Purity of thoughts; Absence of ego; Even mindedness in success & failure; Love in solitude; Dislike for noisy company; Uprightness; Steadfastness in right faith; Unpretentiousness; Service to teachers; Recognizing with disgust the evils of birth, death, old age, sickness, pain in life; Absence of love for dependents or on those on whom you depend for wealth; Unfaltering devotion in Lord; Addiction to the knowledge of Self; Understanding the ultimate knowledge as liberation;
Goal of Knowledge: The ultimate goal of knowledge is the great truth - the paramaatman. It is the knowledge of the Lord that gets immortality to a devotee.
Description of paramaatman: He is both existent and non existent. He is existent as jiva in living beings and non existent in that which is not readily seen or experienced. Paramaatman is the knowledge as well as the object of the knowledge. When a person possesses the 20 virtues described earlier, the heart of such a man is God. We can experience the paramaatman with a heart that is so purified or trained. His shrine is within the heart of all living beings.
Relationship between purusha and prakriti: It is the matter in which the effects are caused. It is the jiva or purusha that seems to experience the pain or pleasure. Thus the destiny of the purusha seems to be decided by the matter. This is the mystery, that the ever pure purusha comes to play as jivaatma as it undergoes various births and deaths based on past experiences. Jivaatma is the manifestation of paramaatma. It appears that while the jivaatma is conditioned by the body, the paramaatma is untouched. But actually, even the jivaatma is unaffected by body experiences. But due to the identification with the body, it also seems to experience the body imperfections.
Path of reaching the paramaatman: How to identify
the self with paramaatman and not the body?
dhyaana (meditation), GYaana (Study of scriptures), Karma (Selfless service) are path ways.Also following the instructions of a guru and worshipping the Lord as per his advice is a means to reaching the paramaatman.
How a realized man behaves: A realized man identifies his self with the paramaatman. As a self, he becomes a witness to his body's actions. He acts without kaama, raaga (without personal desires or attachments). Just as a mother who plays with her child, although her mind is concerned about the stove in the kitchen, the realized man maintains two levels of awareness - one for the world outside and the other towards the Lord.
Back to top
The three Gunaas are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The cause of birth from good and evil sources is attachment to the Gumaas.
The characteristics of the Gunaas are
Sattva : Stainlessness and luminosity.
Rajas : Representing passion and desire. Desire is hankering for things not attained.
Tamas : Represents ignorance and negligence.
What arises from the three Gunaas ?
From Sattva arises happiness and knowledge.
From Rajas arises attachment and
From Tamas arises delusion and laziness.
The result of virtuous is said to be purity from Sattva, Pain from Rajas and Ignorance and stupidity from Tamas.
What happens to those who abide in each of these Gunaas?
Sattvikaas go upward i.e, the higher spheres or
Raajasikas dwell in the middle and are born in the world of men and,
Taamasikaas go downwards to the lower spheres i.e, in hell.
Why is the study of the guNaas useful for us?
Knowledge of the guNaas, their characteristics and their boundaries helps us in attaining liberation or Brahman. The Atman which transcends these guNaas is untouched by birth and death, decay and sorrow and thus attains immortality.
The proof that somebody has transcended the guNaas can be explained as follows; One who does not dislike light, does not dislike work, does not desire them and behaves in a detached fashion knows that the guNaas are working but remains steadfast.
He remains calm in times of pain and joy or when confronted with a piece of stone or a lump of gold, remains calm in moments of glory and shame, in times of honour and dishonour and has abandoned all worldly undertakings.
Such an unflinching devotee who is stoic at all times is ready for union with Brahman.
Back to top
Chapter 14: Division according to the three guNaas By Shankar
In this chapter, the Lord explains the three modes of material nature, how they act, how they bind and how they give liberation. The Lord proclaims that the knowledge contained in this chapter is superior to the knowledge given so far in other chapters and by understanding this great sages attained perfection and transferred to the spiritual world. The chapter also places a distinction between knowledge and transcendental knowledge (that which is not contaminated by the 3 modes)
In this chapter sloka no 4, the Lord says that he the supreme personality is responsible for all births and that material nature is just a manifestation. e.g. Scorpion and Rice. Lord is the seed giving father of all living forms in all planets ( not just the 9 planets but also where Brahma is situated)
The Lord then explains at length the three gunas, Sattva ( goodness, purity, ) Rajas ( passion ) and Tamas ( ignorance ) Everything in life is bound and dominated by these gunas and man's life is influenced by them. There is severe competition between these three modes to be one up. Although a person can be classified as Satvic, Rajasic or Tamasic even within a person there is a constant interplay of these forces.
A satvic person is rich in knowledge, bright and shines like a crystal. e.g. Scientist or a Philosopher. The difficulty here is that the satvic person becomes conditioned to feel that he is the best and soon pride overtakes him and he cannot move up into the spiritual world ( where there is bliss and no rebirth ) The Rajasic person is full of unlimited desire and lust. He wants to enjoy sensual gratification ( Baywatch ) All the so called career individuals fall in this category. First Oh, Lord let me pass CA/MBA, then job with MNC, then Asst. Manager and so on.
The Tamasic person is full of indolence and sleep and becomes a degraded being. In Bahrain unless we strive to be Satvic or Rajasic we will be Tamasic only. The Tamasic does not want to make any advancement in spiritual advancement. Because of this Satviks make it to Satyaloka the abode of Brahma, Rajasics dwell in the middle and are reborn as men and Tamasics are reborn in the Animal Kingdom. Therefore all of us have to do more goodness to move to Brahma. Also because from goodness real knowledge develops ( inventions, discoveries etc ), from passion greed develops ( Saddam Hussain ) and from ignorance foolishness and madness develop ( Bihar Kaptak aloo) It should be noted here that Satvics do not yet reach Lord's spiritual nature which is the purest form. There is no rebirth in this mode.
To all of Arjuna asks " Ok you have explained all the gunas, but how does one
transcend these gunas " to which the Lord says that only by giving up all
material desires, engaging in devotional service, indifferent to pleasure or
pain, one for whom a piece of Earth and Gold are the same, who treats friends
and foe alike………..he can transcend the gunas.
Back to top
Chapter 15: The mystery of the all pervading person By Usha Ravichandran
The knowledge of the true nature of the Lord, that he is the supreme self is revealed to Arjuna in this chapter called purushottama yoga. The Lord says thus, "He is wise, who knows that the paramaatma, the purushottama is higher than the perishable and imperishable purusha". Such a man, on realizing this truth, strives with his whole being to reach me and such a man, the Lord says, is his true devotee.
What does the word purushottama mean? It means supreme among purushaas. The Lord says that I am something more or uttama or superior among purushas and hence called purushottama. There are two purushas - kshara purusha and akshara purusha. kshara purushas are air water, space, earth and fire or in simple words pancha bhootas or matter plus the manas, buddhi and ahamkaara. These are of perishable nature. Akshara purusha, aatma or jiva in simple words, is the life within us. We mortals are a mixture of imperfect matter (kshara purusha) and perfect aatma (akshara purusha), as the good and evil instinct in us. The good instincts propel us towards the Lord and the bad drags us into the miseries of the world. For an easy comprehension, the Lord gives Arjuna a pictorial description. He describes the world as an ashwatta or peepul tree and the strong roots as the vasanas. Since it is difficult to uproot this tree, which is firmly attached to worldly pursuits, the only way to escape from this world of miseries, to a world of peace, is to cut down this tree of life with the axe of detachment.
The Lord further tells Arjuna that the individual soul or jeevaatma is a ray or extension of his indivisible self. To make understanding simple, when a breeze blows over the reflection of the moon, seen in a lake, it is the reflection that breaks into a million pieces while the moon itself is undisturbed. Similarly the individual aatma, only moves from body to body, from birth to birth, carrying with it the vasanas of previous births. Again, for a better understanding of the jivaatma, the jivaatma is like a government official, on receiving transfer orders, he packs up and on resuming his duties at the next posting, unpacks all his belongings and starts functioning once again. The movement of this aatman, the Lord compares to the wind moving from place to place. The wind is the same but when it blows over a flower bed, it carries the scent of the flowers and when it blows over a garbage dump, the hands will reach the nose instantly. So, the Lord is seated within each of us, in the form of aatma While the ignorant fail to recognize Him, a wise man uses his wisdom to reach Him.
The Lord goes on to tell how His form can be seen in this world, but as sunlight in the Sun, the light of the moon, curative power in herbs, fertility in the soil, the digestive power in living beings. For those who eat all through the day, have pity on the Lord and give Him rest, as he already works three shifts for us whereas we work only one shift a day. Though He is seen in two forms in the world, kshara or akshara, the supreme is distinct from the two and He is called paramaatma, who pervades and supports all the three world - waking, dream and deep sleep. The Lord is called purusha uttama because He says, "I am the best, supreme, highest and above the perishable" and this is the science that the Lord reveals to Arjuna.
Just as a jeweller can instantly recognize the quality of a jewel by just looking at it, unlike an ordinary man, that wise man who ignoring all His worldly pursuits, strives to know Me as purushottama, is the one who has fulfilled his mission in life.
To conclude, we are all victims of this Arjuna disease in varying degrees. The Krishna cure is readily available in the philosophy of the Gita. Take a dose a day, reading a chapter a day. It is immaterial how much of Gita one has gone through. It is important how much of Gita has gone through you.
Back to top
Chapter 16: Distinction between Divine & Demoniac types By Vasanth
In this chapter we find that the entire mankind has been classified into two
categories Daivic (Divinely good) and Asuric (Diabolically fallen).
Further the Lord describes their mental makeup, how they act, their influence
and His advice for them. We will take them one by one.
The first 3 Slokas of this chapter describe the good qualities ascribed to Daivic people. The Lord says that those who have these qualities are Divine, because they are full of spiritual aspiration and are self controlled, loving, truthful, free from pride, vanity and anger. These qualities are comparable to precious wealth and this precious wealth is deemed to lead them to liberation. The Lord declares in this chapter that such people will definitely attain moksha.
Now coming to second type " asuric " in sloka 4 there is a description of the
characteristics. Hypocrisy, arrogance, anger, rudeness, harshness, ignorance are the characteristics of the asuric type and those who have these are born for the demoniac estate / demonic wealth.
Now such people don’t know what they are doing, what they have to refrain from. They think that they are wealthy, noble and that no one else is equal to them. They feel that they can slay their enemies and fulfill all their desires. They neither have purity, nor good conduct and truth. They are tied with hundred types of expectations. They are entangled in the net of delusion. They even go to the extent of saying that this world is without basis and even without God. They destroy themselves and help in destroying the happy world also.
The Lord says that such degraded, lusty ones are thrown by Him into demonical species in the transmigratory world, where they will be born again and again in lower condition.
The Lord further says that that there is no freedom from bondage and eventually no Moksha or liberation, for them. They are far from realizing the Lord. Continuing with asuric qualities Lord has mentioned three qualities in one sloka and gives sufficient warning as mentioned in Sloka No.21.
Lust, anger and greed are the gates of hell. These are destructive of the self. So we should refrain ourselves from lower elements of bad qualities. Restraining from them regulates our morality and leads us to the Gateway of Spirituality. In conclusion through last sloka the Lord has advised and prescribed that the scriptures should be our guide. We should study the commandments written in the scriptures. They will tell us what ought to be done what ought not to be done."
So for our successful life and for any path correct knowledge is important. Let the scriptures, sastras, and teachers be our external authorities to help us in our way of life. Our only attempt is to step forward and study them with devotion. The rest we can leave to that viratpurusha.
Back to top
The faith of a person who does not have discriminative knowledge taught by scriptures arises only out of the impression left in their minds in previous lives on samskaaras and this faith is of three kinds. The saatvikas worship the Gods, the raajasikas worship the yakshas or rakshasa, while the taamasikas worship spirits and goblins.
The food that is liked by each person is threefold according to his type. Similarly sacrifice, austerity and gifts given are also threefold.
The foods that augment life, energy, strength, health, happiness and joy and which are nourishing are liked by a saatvik person. This type of food is mostly in the natural form like fruits and vegetables. That is why our Guruji always recommends that we should substitute one third of our food with fruits and vegetable salads. Actually, If Guruji recommends 100% substitution, then there will be no work for the ladies in the kitchen and their husbands also will be saatvik and healthy.The food that is very tasty and which makes one over eat is liked by a person who is raajasik. This type of food usually results in pain, grief and disease and helps the drug industries and doctors to prosper.The food that is stale, partly eaten and impure is liked by a person who is taamasik.
The sacrifice which is performed by men desiring no fruit and with their mind fixed on it for its own sake is saatvik. The sacrifice which is performed aiming at its fruit as also for ostentation is raajasik. The sacrifice in which scriptural injunctions are not observed, no food is distributed to brahmans and others, which is devoid of hymns and the prescribed gifts to the priests is said to be taamasik.
Austerity is of three kinds. worship of Gods, Brahmans, purity, straight forwardness and non injury are said to be physical austerity i.e. austerity which is performed by the body. Speaking truth without hurting anybody, which is beneficial and agreeable to hear and also the study of the vedas are said to be verbal austerity i.e. austerity performed through speech. Kindliness, self control and purity of heart are said to be mental austerity.
This threefold austerity practiced with great faith by men who are steadfast and are concentrated in mind and who desire no fruit is said to be saatvik.The austerity which is practiced to gain respect, honour and which is unstable is said to be raajasik.The austerity which is practiced out of a foolish notion, with self torture or for the purpose of destroying another like black magic is said to be taamasik.Eg. If your health does not permit you to fast and still you fast, torturing your body, it is tamasik austerity.
The gift which is given with an idea "to give is a duty" without expecting any return, in a proper place and time to a worthy person is known as saatvik. The gift which is given with a view to receiving in return is said to be raajasik. The gift that is given at the wrong time and place to an unworthy person is said to be taamasik.
One who renounces raajasik and taamasik faith and takes recourse to saatvik faith is fit for realization of the truth.
Back to top
Next, the Lord gives an exhaustive analysis of the 3 gunas, varying degrees of which determine each person’s personality and behavior. Firstly Tyaaga based on these 3 gunas. Sattvic Tyaaga is performing one’s duties promptly and well with no attachment either to the action or to the result. A person with this attitude performs the duty not because he gets or wants to get anything from it for himself. Rajasic Tyaaga is abandoning actions for fear of bodily trouble. Tamasic Tyaaga is abandoning one’s obligatory duties, duties that are required to be done due to ignorance.
The Lord, then classifies knowledge based on the 3 Gunas. Sattvic Knowledge is knowing that all beings are made up of the same Lord. One person is no different from the other. The ability to be compassionate to all living beings is possible only for a person who truly understands this. It is because of Rajas that we make distinctions of I, mine and others. Attachments and hatred or dislikes can come only out of this feeling. Tamasic knowledge is one by which persons gets sunk in worldly pleasures to such an extent that they deny the existence of God himself.
Similarly actions and the doers of actions are also classified. A Tamasic doer is one who calculates maximum benefit out of minimum effort. He is arrogant, cunning and complaining in nature. A Rajasic doer acts with the motive of profit for himself. He is not reluctant to harm others to secure his interests. To him work means labor. A Sattvic doer is one who acts joyfully. For him, work means worship of the Lord. It is said that the great philosopher Socrates was able to laugh and drink the glass of Hemlock that was given to kill him. Our actions, however are just the opposite. If our cup of coffee lacks a little sugar, we immediately feel as though it is poison itself! We should not conduct our day to day actions with the expression of being constantly constipated, but do even the smallest tasks with laughter and joy. There is nothing more contagious than a smile and when done joyfully, every job becomes a penance!
Right understanding or Budhi can also be classified in the same manner. Sattvic budhi discriminates between constructive work and destructive. Rajasic budhi misunderstands the right for the wrong and the wrong for the right. Tamasic budhi dictates only mistakes, arrives at wrong judgments. Once in a plane, a Sardarji, was having a tough time struggling with a very bulky hand baggage. The air hostess helps him to finally stuff it the overhead bin. "Do you always carry such heavy luggage?" she asked. "No more," the Sardarji said. "Next time, I will hide in the bag, and my wife can buy the ticket!"
The Lord then classifies firmness or dhriti and then explains sukha or happiness. Sattvic sukha is a lasting happiness. It comes in those actions that seem difficult at first but give lasting happiness. Rajasic sukha is the fleeting joy, produced when the sense organs experience a thrill. Tamasic sukha is the dull joy one gets from sleeping and eating - especially sleeping early in the morning!
Next, humanity is classified into four types by the Lord. Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras. Each individual’s birth in a family, in a given surrounding is determined by his own past actions. The duties allotted to everyone are based upon their nature and fitness to do that particular action or work. By being loyal to one’s allotted duties, one gains happiness. Faithful discharge of one’s own duty is far better in every way than even the very best performance of another’s duty. No one incurs sin by the performance of one’s own work.
Then the Lord tells Arjuna that even if he decides not to fight, nature will compel him. The Lord is present in all our hearts and he makes us function, by his power as though we are all parts of a machine. A small nut in a machine will have any value only as long as it is part of the machine. If we abandon all ego and understand that we are only puppets carrying out the Lord’s predetermined plans, He will decide to use us for His work. Arjuna is thus asked by the Lord to do his duty and cast aside all his doubts and misunderstanding. Having said this, the Lord leaves the ultimate decision to Arjuna’s choice. God does not want us to surrender without our full consent. God does not do the climbing for us, but he is ready to help us when we stumble and comfort us when we fall. God is prepared to wait in patience till we turn to Him. Arjuna is then told,
sarvadharmaan parityajya maamekam sharanaM
ahaM tvaa sarva papebhyo mokshayishhyaami maa shuchaH
"Surrender oneself totally to the Lord and He would release everyone from their sins. Hence there is no cause to grieve". God reveals that He is ready to take possession of us, if only we open our hearts to Him. The Lord then says that these teachings should not be imparted to those who do not have mental discipline, to those who do not have firm faith in the Lord , to those who do not do selfless service and above all those who do not have the inspiring urge to reach the Lord.
Finally, the Lord says, He is dearest to me who imparts this knowledge to earnest spiritual students. Study of the Gita is a great yaGYa or sacrifice because the student offers his ignorance to be burnt up in the fire of knowledge. Even those who listen to the Gita with faith in the Lord reach the land of the meritorious, the world of peace and joy, for the reaction of their past misdeeds will not act upon them.
The Gita concludes with the verse said by Sanjaya to Dhritaraashtra:
yatra yogeshvaraH kR^ishhNo yatra paartho
tatra shriir vijayo bhuthir dhruvaa niithir mathir mama
Where there is Lord Krishna and the bow wielding Arjuna, there reign good fortune, victory, prosperity and justice. The teaching of Gita is yoga and the teacher is yogeshwara. When the human soul becomes united with the divine, victory, welfare and morality are assured. This signifies that human perfection is a marriage between high thought and just action. This verse is called ekashloki giita and is Sanjaya’s answer to Dhritarashtra’s question about the war. Sanjaya says indirectly that there is no doubt that the pandavas will win the war.
The Mahabharata says "sarva shaastramayii giitaa" meaning that the Gita comprises all the scriptures. Sage Vyaasa has said
giitaa sugiitaa kartavyaa kimanyaiH shaastrasaMgrahaiH
yaa svayaM padmanaabhasya mukhapadmaadvinissR^itaa
There is no need for other elaborate scriptures, when one can chant the Gita which has originated from the lips of the Lord Himself, in the following words. It is also said,
Thanks to Saroja Sundaresan who is instrumental in making these talks available in the internet.