TJS POST IS CONTINUED FROM PART 2, BELOW--
CHECK OUT THE SONG OF THE MIND/ SOUL..
THESE WORDS OF WISDOM WERE PENNED 6000 YEARS AGO WHEN THE WHITE MAN WAS RUNNING AROUND BALLS FLAPPING DOING GRUNT GRUNT FOR LANGUAGE
Soul is the spiritual seat of man while mind is man's faculty of thinking and reasoning.
6000 years ago, Kerala maharishi Vyasa offered Dhritarashtra the power of sight which would enable him to see the events of war. Unwilling to see the inevitable massacre of his sons, the blind king desired to know the full details of the war.
To fulfill Dhritarashtra's request Vyasa bestowed Sanjaya, the trusted minister of Dhritarashtra, with the divine intuitive vision by which he could know not only the incidents of the battlefield but also the ideas in the minds of the warriors.
Sthitapragya refers to a person of steady wisdom, the one who has experienced the truth from within.
The sthitaprajna is also known as a jivanmukta (one who is liberated while still living an earthly life) ...
According to the Bhagavad Gita, a sthitaprajna:
Is free from worldly attachments and aversions
Does not need to seek the truth because he sees truth
Is free from motives and ego
Has attained full knowledge of the Ultimate Reality
Does good deeds with no expectations of reward
Is aware of the oneness of Reality
Vedantic philosophy and spirituality indicates that our body postures have psychological counter parts. As the mind is, so is the body; bodily expressions being the manifestation of the working of the mind or the effect of psyche. This is what we call ‘body language’ in the modern business school terminology
Metaphorically, Krishna’s chariot represents the human gross body, the horses are the senses and their reins are the mind that controls the senses. The charioteer is the guiding spirit or the soul or Atman in the human beings. Bhagavan Krishna, the divine charioteer, is the soul in all of us.
Once observation starts, analysis is not far too behind and analysis always leads to wavering of mind. So Arjuna analyses the question to fight or not to fight and comes to the conclusion that he should not fight. In all his arguments in support of that conclusion he puts forward several pleadings which apparently look valid and very wise but in fact are very hollow as Krishna proves them to be subsequently.
Arjuna was afflicted with great depression of mind masquerading as compassion
Mortals whose minds come under the sway of the defects of sorrow, delusion, etc. there verily follows, as a matter of course, abandoning their own duties and resorting to prohibited ones.
Krishna classified Arjuna`s mind as confused. Consequently all the utterances of such confused Arjuna would be meaningless and devoid of discrimination. Hence he is termed un-Aryan.
At the end of the conversation with Krishna , Arjuna has changed his mind
The message of Krishna is that the goal of life or success cannot be attained by the weak. To be firm in body, mind and character is born of strength.
Joys and sorrows are all responses of the mind to the conducive and non-conducive world around us. They are but mental reactions - thoughts. Learn to be observer of these emotions rather than get identified with them. Do not react but reflect. Stand apart - be aloof in yourself - be just an uninterested witness to the tumults of the mind. This attitude gives poise and balance.
Titiksha or the power of endurance of the pairs of opposites does not mean a meek submission to sorrows in life (Stoic philosophy) but signifies the equipoise of mind in both pleasure and pain entertained by a wise man based on the knowledge of the Soul’s immortality.
The life is finite. The body changes every moment, mind evolves and intellect grows with the passage of time. Each change in the body for example from childhood to youth and from youth to old age results in the constant death to its previous state.
Body, mind and intellect constitute the continuous succession of the changes and all of them cannot be real. A thing which never remains the same for any given period is un-Real. The whole of the phenomenal world must be unreal because no one state in it endures even for a fraction of the time.
But there must be some real entity behind these changes. For the changes to take place there must be some changeless substratum just as a river bed is necessary for the rivers to flow. In order to hold together innumerable experiences at the levels of body, mind and intellect and to give them a cohesive whole which is called life, a changeless substratum is required for all.
The physical body may be injured or destroyed by illness or death. The soul is subject to neither of these. The soul is said to be incomprehensible because it is not comprehended by the senses, by the mind, or by any other instrument of knowledge.
The soul is svatah-siddha, determined by Itself. Being the knowing Consciousness, It cannot be known by any other instrument. Everything is known by the soul just as no other light is required the see the light of the Sun which is self-effulgent.
This Sanskrit verse was found inside the great pyramid of Giza, Egypt and kept as a great secret.
वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि |
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा
न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही || 22||
vasansi jirnani yatha vihaya
navani grihnati naro ’parani
tatha sharirani vihaya jirnanya
nyani sanyati navani dehi
BG 2.22: As a person sheds worn-out garments and wears new ones, likewise, at the time of death, the soul casts off its worn-out body and enters a new one.
The `worn out condition of the body' does not refer to its biological condition but to the capacity of the body, mind and intellect equipments to earn the required experiences from the available environment for facilitating their evolutionary journey. This evolution and change is for the physical bodies and not for the soul.
The soul is not an object of perception. It cannot be perceived by any one of the senses. Therefore, it is unmanifest. The mind can think only about an object perceived by the senses. As the soul cannot be perceived by the senses, It is unthinkable and beyond comprehension.. As the soul is infinite and without any form it cannot undergo any change. Hence It is changeless or immutable.
He who thus understands the nature of the body and all human relationships based upon it will not allow them to have any influence upon his mind
Yoga or Karmayoga is the path of action. The follower of this path engages in action without any desire for or attachment to the result of such action. He regards himself as an instrument of God. It is desire and attachment that create the subtle impressions in the mind (vasanas) which are the seeds of future action. Action performed without attachment or care for the result does not create new karma, but leaves the will free to devote itself to the achievement of Self-realization. This is the secret of Karma Yoga.
व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिरेकेह कुरुनन्दन |
बहुशाखा ह्यनन्ताश्च बुद्धयोऽव्यवसायिनाम् || 41||
vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-shakha hyanantash cha buddhayo ’vyavasayinam
BG 2.41: O descendent of the Kurus, the intellect of those who are on this path is resolute, and their aim is one-pointed. But the intellect of those who are irresolute is many-branched.
In this Karma Yoga, even the highest achievement of Self-realization is possible because the man works with single-pointed determination with concentrated mind. Those who perform actions with endless desires for results get their inner personality disintegrated and dissipated. With the scattered minds they are not able to apply themselves to the tasks involved and therefore their attempts invariably end in failure.
भोगैश्वर्यप्रसक्तानां तयापहृतचेतसाम् |
व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धि: समाधौ न विधीयते || 44||
vyavasayatmika buddhih samadhau na vidhiyate
BG 2.44: With their minds deeply attached to worldly pleasures and their intellects bewildered by such things, they are unable to possess the resolute determination for success on the path to God.
Thos whose minds are carried away by flowery words (who are attracted by and attached to pleasures and prosperity) are not well-established in the soul (in concentration).
त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन |
निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान् || 45||
trai-gunya-vishaya veda nistrai-gunyo bhavarjuna
nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho niryoga-kshema atmavan
BG 2.45: The Vedas deal with the three modes of material nature, O Arjun. Rise above the three modes to a state of pure spiritual consciousness. Freeing yourself from dualities, eternally fixed in Truth, and without concern for material gain and safety, be situated in the soul..
The three Gunas remain in all the living creatures in varying degrees. The mind and intellect are constituted with these qualities. Going above these temperaments means going beyond the mind and intellect to re-discover one to be the soul..
The sorrows of the pairs of the opposites, the temptation to be impure and the desire for acquiring and preserving all belong to the ego-centre arising out of the soul identifying with not-Self i.e. body, mind and intellect.
बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते |
तस्माद्योगाय युज्यस्व योग: कर्मसु कौशलम् || 50||
buddhi-yukto jahatiha ubhe sukrita-dushkrite
tasmad yogaya yujyasva yogah karmasu kaushalam
BG 2.50: One who prudently practices the science of work without attachment can get rid of both good and bad reactions in this life itself.
Krishna says ‘devote yourself to the yoga of equanimity’ i.e. remain continuously even-minded through realization of God. If a man performs his duties, maintaining this evenness, then his mind rests on God all the while. Work that otherwise enslaves, becomes a means to freedom when performed with evenness of mind.
Work becomes worship. Skill in action, therefore, lies in the practice of this equanimity (of yoga) in success and failure. Krishna does not define Yoga as skill in action but explains the importance of Yoga (equanimity) in action. Otherwise, the action Sunny Leone who carried out porn skillfully ( her Jewish Vohra father told , be good in whatever you do – tee heee ) also can come within the meaning of the Yoga which will be obviously ridiculous.
कर्मजं बुद्धियुक्ता हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिण: |
जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ता: पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम् || 51||
karma-jam buddhi-yukta hi phalam tyaktva manishinah
janma-bandha-vinirmuktah padam gachchhanty-anamayam
BG 2.51: The wise endowed with equanimity of intellect, abandon attachment to the fruits of actions, which bind one to the cycle of life and death. By working in such consciousness, they attain the state beyond all suffering.
The wise i.e those who know the art of true living undertake all work with evenness of mind (renouncement of ego) and abandoning the anxiety for the fruits of their actions (renouncement of ego-motivated desires). Thereby, they have no occasion to enter into the cycle of birth and death as there are no vasanas left in them for fulfillment.
Such an entity who is called a Karma Yogin will attain bliss i.e. the state which is beyond all evils. As knowledge is superior to action, the implication is that selfless actions purify the mind and prepare the individual for higher meditations through which he ultimately discovers himself as the soul which lies beyond all blemish. This is also called as Buddhi Yoga
यदा ते मोहकलिलं बुद्धिर्व्यतितरिष्यति |
तदा गन्तासि निर्वेदं श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य च || 52||
yada te moha-kalilam buddhir vyatitarishyati
tada gantasi nirvedam shrotavyasya shrutasya cha
BG 2.52: When your intellect crosses the quagmire of delusion, you will then acquire indifference to what has been heard and what is yet to be heard (about enjoyments in this world and the next).
Delusion is the non-discrimination between the soul and the non-Self or ego and it turns the mind towards the sense objects. This is the state which favors egoism in this body and attachment for the body, family, kinsmen and objects. When the man gets entangled in this slough of delusion, he is perplexed and therefore cannot think properly.
When the intellect crosses over this delusion and attains purity of mind one develops disgust and indifference regarding things heard (enjoyed) and those yet to be heard (to be enjoyed in future). The things known and yet to be known being finite in nature are considered futile. The means to achieve this goal are by discrimination between the real and the unreal and selfless service.
श्रुतिविप्रतिपन्ना ते यदा स्थास्यति निश्चला |
समाधावचला बुद्धिस्तदा योगमवाप्स्यसि || 53||
shruti-vipratipanna te yada sthasyati nishchala
samadhav-achala buddhis tada yogam avapsyasi
BG 2.53: When your intellect ceases to be allured by the fruitive sections of the Vedas and remains steadfast in divine consciousness, you will then attain the state of perfect Yog.
The mind gets agitated due to the continuous stimuli it receives from the external world through the sense organs. When an individual in spite of such disturbances and agitations of the mind does not lose his cool, inner serenity and equipoise, and remains concentrated in the knowledge of the soul, he is considered as having attained Yoga or Samadhi or Self Realization (God-Consciousness).
Samadhi is not the loss of consciousness but the highest kind of consciousness wherein the object with which the mind is in communion is the Divine Self which is the result of the discrimination between the soul and the Non-Self, the Real and the Unreal.
प्रजहाति यदा कामान्सर्वान्पार्थ मनोगतान् |
आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्ट: स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते || 55||
shri bhagavan uvacha
prajahati yada kaman sarvan partha mano-gatan
atmany-evatmana tushtah sthita-prajnas tadochyate
BG 2.55: The Supreme Lord said: O Parth, when one discards all selfish desires and cravings of the senses that torment the mind, and becomes satisfied in the realization of the soul, such a person is said to be transcendentally situated.
Man is a bundle of desires. They may be strong or weak and have an origin and a seat in his mind for whatever cause it may be. Therefore when the mind along with the intellect rests stable in God, all the desires will vanish. After the cessation of all the desires, when a seeker perceives the Supreme Self and rests in the perpetual calm, he is known as ‘satisfied in the soul through the soul’.
दु:खेष्वनुद्विग्नमना: सुखेषु विगतस्पृह: |
वीतरागभयक्रोध: स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते || 56||
duhkheshv-anudvigna-manah sukheshu vigata-sprihah
vita-raga-bhaya-krodhah sthita-dhir munir uchyate
BG 2.56: One whose mind remains undisturbed amidst misery, who does not crave for pleasure, and who is free from attachment, fear, and anger, is called a sage of steady wisdom.
Times of pain and sorrow hit everybody and a wise man is no exception; but his mind does not get bogged down by them. His pain is localized, and it stops there. Similarly, in times of pleasure, the one who has no craving has no thirst for more of that pleasure. Thus the one who does not feel depressed in times of pain and sorrow, and who in times of pleasure has no craving for more of that pleasure is a wise man.
The one whose mind and intellect are totally free from intense longing or passion for anything outside of oneself, free from fear of any kind and devoid of anger or temporary madness about anything is called one whose is steady and well rooted in self knowledge. Such a person is also called one who is capable of reflection, analysis and proper judgment at all times being always immersed in God Consciousness. He is called the wise person.
The detachment of a sannyasi from the outside world should be coupled with capacity to face all challenges in life - auspicious and inauspicious - with a balanced mind in both. Life by its very nature is a mixture of good and bad. The perfected one experiences both of them with equal detachment because he is ever established in the soul.
The sense organs receive the stimuli from the objects of the external world which are passed on to the mind. The mind has got a natural tendency to run after such worldly objects. The yogi withdraws the mind again and again from the objects of the senses and fixes it on the soul and makes himself free from the disturbances of life.
विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिन: |
रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते || 59||
vishaya vinivartante niraharasya dehinah
rasa-varjam raso ’pyasya param drishtva nivartate
BG 2.59: Aspirants may restrain the senses from their objects of enjoyment, but the taste for the sense objects remains. However, even this taste ceases for those who realizes the Supreme.
The sense objects reach out to only those who is badly in need of them and not to those who do not want them. Even then, the sense objects are capable of leaving their taste behind even in an abstinent seeker who may find it difficult to erase them completely from his mind. Krishna says here that all such longings created even at the mental level because of ego will be made ineffective when the seeker transcends ego and comes to experience the soul - attains wisdom. But the reverse i.e. with the disappearance of the taste a striver attains steadfast wisdom is not true.
यततो ह्यपि कौन्तेय पुरुषस्य विपश्चित: |
इन्द्रियाणि प्रमाथीनि हरन्ति प्रसभं मन: || 60||
yatato hyapi kaunteya purushasya vipashchitah
indriyani pramathini haranti prasabham manah
BG 2.60: The senses are so strong and turbulent, O son of Kunti, that they can forcibly carry away the mind even of a person endowed with discrimination who practices self-control.
Even a man of discrimination falls prey to the temptations of the world. Therefore, the aspirant must not relax his effort for self-control. He should bring all the senses under his control; otherwise his mind will be dragged into the field of sense objects leading to a sorrowful experience. This is more likely to happen even to a highly evolved seeker whereby he will not be able to reach his spiritual destination of final liberation. This is an advice of caution to the seeker.
तानि सर्वाणि संयम्य युक्त आसीत मत्पर: |
वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता || 61||
tani sarvani sanyamya yukta asita mat-parah
vashe hi yasyendriyani tasya prajna pratishthita
BG 2.61: They are established in perfect knowledge, who subdue their senses and keep their minds ever absorbed in Me.
Krishna warns Arjuna here that as a seeker of Self-perfection he should control his mind by withdrawing all his sense organs from their wanderings and should concentrate his entire attention on `me' i.e. The Lord, The Supreme. The idea is that the mind should be made completely calm to meditate on Him, the Supreme Lord.
Such a Yogi, having brought under control all his senses, is called a person of steady wisdom and established in the soul. Self-discipline is not a matter of intelligence. It is a matter of will of the mind and vision of the Highest. This is a technique of Self-Development.
क्रोधाद्भवति सम्मोह: सम्मोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रम: |
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति || 63||
krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smriti-vibhramah
smriti-bhranshad buddhi-nasho buddhi-nashat pranashyati
BG 2.63: Anger leads to clouding of judgment, which results in bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, the intellect gets destroyed; and when the intellect is destroyed, one is ruined.
Krishna explains the theory of fall of man from God-hood to sense-entanglements. The source of all evils is wrong thinking and false perceptions. When a man constantly thinks upon the alluring features of the sense objects the consistency of such thought creates an attachment in him for the objects of his thought. When similar thoughts come to play on his mind continuously they become strong desire for possessing and enjoying the objects of attachment.
He tries his level best to obtain them. When this motive energy encounters with forces creating obstacles in the way of fulfillment of his desires it is called anger.
He starts hating the people who come in the way of satisfying his wants, fights with them and develops hostility towards them. When a person is afflicted with anger, his mind gets confused casting a shadow on the lessons of wisdom learnt by him through past experience. Thus deprived of the moral strength, he loses his power of discrimination between right and wrong which is called destruction of intelligence.
Failing in discrimination, he acts irrationally on the impulse of passions and emotions and thereby he is unable to attain the spiritual goal paving the way for self-destruction. Here Krishna traces moral degradation to those first breaths of thought that come softly and almost unconsciously to the mind.
Desires may prove to be as rebellious and challenging as the most powerful external forces. They may lift us into glory or hurl us into disgrace.
What is called for is not a forced isolation from the world or destruction of sense life but an inward withdrawal. To hate the senses is as wrong as to love them. The horses of the senses are not to be unyoked from the chariot but controlled by the reins of the mind.
रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन् |
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति || 64||
raga-dvesha-viyuktais tu vishayan indriyaish charan
atma-vashyair-vidheyatma prasadam adhigachchhati
BG 2.64: But one who controls the mind, and is free from attachment and aversion, even while using the objects of the senses, attains the Grace of God.
But the self-controlled man, moving among objects with his senses under restraint and free from both attraction and repulsion, attains peace.
The mind and the senses are endowed with the two natural currents of attraction and repulsion - liking some objects and disliking certain others. But a man with mental discipline approaches these sense objects with a mind free from attraction or repulsion thereby attaining the peace of the Eternal. The senses and the mind are his servants but not the masters; he is the Master of wisdom. Running away from the sense objects cannot ensure mental tranquility because mind’s agitations for getting the desired objects or to get rid of the undesired ones will continue.
When the mind is trained in these two aspects viz., (a) to live in self-control and (b) to move among the sense objects with neither attachment nor hatred towards them, its agitations caused by the charm of such objects are brought under control. This condition of the mind, which has the least sense disturbances because of the ineffectiveness of the sense objects upon it, is called tranquility or peace or `Prasada'.
The well-known Upanishadic saying is “The human mind is of two kinds, pure and impure. That which is intent on securing the desires is impure; that which is free from attachment to desires is pure”.
The entire existence with respect to an individual is divided into two categories: 1. ‘I’ or aham and 2. ‘This’ or idam. Soul ( Atman) is ‘I’ and the rest is ‘This’ idam. But due to the ignorance of my real nature, I am always identified with my body, mind and intellect and thus developed a false notion about myself. This false notion is ego.
If I can differentiate what is different from me, I can apprehend my own nature. Thus the enquiry is to know first what is not I and then to assert what is I. In other words it is about knowing what is not I (the body, mind and intellect) and knowing my real nature i.e. soul. This is the study of the nature of the soul and the body which is called Sarira Traya Prakriya.
The soul is also beyond the limitations of body, mind and intellect. It is also beyond space and time because space and time also are creations of the mind.
The purport of Krishna’s advice to Arjuna is that the latter should change the direction of his mindset from the unreal to the real.
Krishna advises Arjuna, while encouraging him to fight, that he should enter the war keeping himself unaffected by the debilitating mental tendencies like pleasure and pain, gain and loss, conquest and defeat etc. This is the Yoga of equanimity of the mind or the doctrine of poise in action.
Equanimity in all challenging situations ensures success in life and enables the purging of ego-sense and egocentric desires. This removal is blocked when the individual starts getting disturbed by all sorts of pairs of opposites when the ego sense overtakes him. To be equanimous is to act detached from ego. This kind of right living results in mental purification or vasana elimination or correction of mental tendencies.
If a person performs an action with the above mental attitude or with a balanced state of mind he will not reap the fruits of such an action. Such an action will lead to the purification of his heart and liberation.
Control of the senses and the mind is prescribed as a stepping stone to spiritual progress as these faculties have a natural propensity to engage with objects. This underscores the fact that the spiritual quest involves directing the mind within by withdrawing it from objects.
When the mind engages in the world it is constantly subjected to attachment, likes and dislikes, and anger because the external factors are not under one’s control. To realize one’s true nature as the Self (Atman) within it is necessary to exercise control over the mind by restraining its tendency to do what it likes.
If the mind is given the freedom to do what it wants only constant restlessness would result as a result of desires that arise one after another. This prods the individual to action to fulfill his desires giving rise to frustration and anger when they are not fulfilled.
Even when he is able to realize his desires the joy that he enjoys is fleeting and thus the quest for worldly joy only subjects the person to further bondage by his actions. To become free from this quagmire, which traps man, is the objective of spiritual quest. The basic requirement then is disentanglement from the world slowly by restraining the mind.
As long as an individual is subject to bondage—due to ignorance of his true spiritual nature—his identification will be with his body and his actions will be to preserve and pamper it, while a man of wisdom (Jnani) will identify with the soul and thus be free from attachment to his body.
The equanimity of mind that a Jnani has is a consequence of his constant abiding in the soul, which is tranquil and blissful. The afflictions of his body will not disturb his mind as he is aware of their transience. The relationship between the body and the mind is an illusion created due to superimposition (Adhyasa), which is primordial. Just as the Moon shines because of the Sun’s light, so also does the mind acquire the properties of the objects it engages with. When the mind attains union with the soul it reflects its serenity and bliss.
Krishna’s advice to Arjuna is to have equanimity of mind to achieve the ultimate objective. He says, “One who has control over the mind is tranquil in heat and cold, in pleasure and pain, in honor and dishonor and is ever steadfast with the Supreme Self”. This is in accordance with the saying in the Rig Veda “The mind is fickle like a fast galloping horse and the only way to control it is by involving it in good actions beneficial for the welfare of all”.
If a man can control his mind he can find the way to enlightenment and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. The mind is like a white cloth. Dip it in red dye, it turns red, dip it in green, it turns green. Put it out in the sun for long, it loses its color. The mind is truly the Self itself with no color.
What we think determines what happens to us. So if we want to change our lives we need to stretch our minds. The world is as the mind perceives it. The world is as the mind thinks of it. (“mano matramjagat, mano kalpitam jagat”).
If the Bhagavad Gita is viewed as a spiritual metaphor the persons portrayed are ingenious depictions symbolizing the various stages in the transformation of spirit into matter. The battle proper represents the real struggle that ensues within a person who realizes that all along it was the mind and its deep-rooted tendencies that were playing a devious game of deception with him, leading to false perceptions of truth and happiness and so, under proper guidance, sets out to rectify all this.
Kurukshetra, the battlefield refers to our own bodily domain, where the action must take place. Pandu was the rightful monarch of Bharata, the bodily kingdom. Pand in Sanskrit means white or pure, referring to the faculty of discriminating between right and wrong, which humans inherently possess. If man lives as per this discriminating power he will live life in such a way that slowly but surely, the soul's body-consciousness ascends to spirit-consciousness and thus one attains independence from false providers of happiness, namely, the five senses.
As the story goes, Pandu has five sons representing the power of dispassion and the power of persisting therein. The bodily kingdom comes to be ruled by the blind king Dhritarashtra who represents our own infatuated sense and hence "blind" mind. The blind king's eldest son Duryodhana represents vain, material desire, most difficult to fight off. His ninety nine other sons represent other sense-entrenched tendencies of the mind.
लोकेऽस्मिन्द्विविधा निष्ठा पुरा प्रोक्ता मयानघ |
ज्ञानयोगेन साङ्ख्यानां कर्मयोगेन योगिनाम् || 3||
shri bhagavan uvacha
loke ’smin dvi-vidha nishtha pura prokta mayanagha
jnana-yogena sankhyanam karma-yogena yoginam
BG 3.3: The Lord said: O sinless one, the two paths leading to enlightenment were previously explained by Me: the path of knowledge, for those inclined toward contemplation, and the path of work for those inclined toward action.
Those of contemplative mind are born with a clear knowledge of the soul and the non-Self. They easily renounce the world even at the early age of their lives and concentrate their thoughts on Brahman always. For them the path of knowledge is prescribed so that their ideas can mature and blend with Brahman.
The understanding of those who believe in external action as a means of self-unfoldment is still colored by the stain of duality. The performance of unselfish action purifies their souls and enables them to practice knowledge and contemplation.
To consider the path of action and the path of knowledge as competitive is to understand neither of them, they being complementary. Selfless activity enables the mind to exhaust many of its existing mental impressions and the mind thus purified prepares the one for the reception of knowledge of the Absolute through meditation or contemplation. There cannot be any knowledge of Brahman unless the mind is pure.
Those who are endowed with discrimination, dispassion, six-fold virtues, and longing for liberation and who have a sharp, subtle intellect and bold understanding are fit for Gnana Yoga or the Path of Knowledge. The six-fold virtues are control of the mind, control of the senses, fortitude, turning away from the objects of the world; faith and tranquility. Those who have tendency for work are fit for Karma Yoga or the Path of Action.
न कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते |
न च संन्यसनादेव सिद्धिं समधिगच्छति || 4||
na karmanam anarambhan naishkarmyam purusho ’shnute
na cha sannyasanad eva siddhim samadhigachchhati
BG 3.4: One cannot achieve freedom from karmic reactions by merely abstaining from work, nor can one attain perfection of knowledge by mere physical renunciation.
Action as it is generally understood is the outcome of want and desire. Actionlessness does not mean mere idling or abandoning of all actions. Although one can while away his time doing nothing, his mind will be full of thoughts scheming, speculating and planning over several matters. Desires generate thoughts at the mental level which when expressed in the outer world become actions. Thus thought is the real action. If one is free from thoughts, wishes, likes and dislikes and has knowledge of the soul he can be said to have reached the state of actionlessness.
The one who has reached such a state of actionlessness has neither the necessity nor the desire for action as a means to the end. He has a perfect satisfaction in the soul. Thus actionlessness and perfection are synonymous terms meaning, becoming one with the Infinite and free from all ideas of want and desire.
Mere renunciation or abandonment of action or running away from life does not lead to perfection. Through selfless dedicated action, purification of mind is achieved and the purified mind helps in attaining the Knowledge of the soul which is the ultimate Bliss. The natural law is that every action has its reaction and hence the result of the action is a source of bondage preventing the man from his union with the Supreme. What is needed is not renunciation of works but renunciation of selfish desires. This is naishkarmya, a state where one is unaffected by work.
न हि कश्चित्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत् |
कार्यते ह्यवश: कर्म सर्व: प्रकृतिजैर्गुणै: || 5||
na hi kashchit kshanam api jatu tishthatyakarma-krit
karyate hyavashah karma sarvah prakriti-jair gunaih
BG 3.5: There is no one who can remain without action even for a moment. Indeed, all beings are compelled to act by their qualities born of material nature (the three guṇas).
Man is always under the influence of triple tendencies of inactivity- based on his Sattwic quality, activity- based on Rajasic quality, inactivity- based on Tamasic quality. Even for a single moment nobody can ever remain without any activity; even if one remains inactive physically his mind and intellect will always be active. Sattwic actions help a man to attain liberation. Rajasic and Tamasic actions bind a man to worldliness.
कर्मेन्द्रियाणि संयम्य य आस्ते मनसा स्मरन् |
इन्द्रियार्थान्विमूढात्मा मिथ्याचार: स उच्यते || 6||
karmendriyani sanyamya ya aste manasa smaran
indriyarthan vimudhatma mithyacharah sa uchyate
BG 3.6: Those who restrain the external organs of action, while continuing to dwell on sense objects in the mind, certainly delude themselves and are to be called hypocrites.
The five organs of action - the Karma Indriyas - are the organs of speech, hands, feet, genitals and anus. They are born of the Rajasic portion of the subtle elements viz. organ of speech is born of ether element, hands of air, feet of fire, genitals of water and anus of earth. Despite restraining these organs if one sits revolving in his mind the thoughts regarding the objects of these sense organs in order to give an impression that he is meditating on God, he is called a self-deluded hypocrite and a man of sinful conduct.
True renunciation is not just the control of the organs of action or abstention from physical movement. It is the control of the mind and the organs of perception. It is the absence of longing for the activity. An active mind and an action less body do not indicate the life of sanyasa. We may control outwardly our activities but if we do not restrain the desires which impel them, we have failed to grasp the true meaning of restraint.
यस्त्विन्द्रियाणि मनसा नियम्यारभतेऽर्जुन |
कर्मेन्द्रियै: कर्मयोगमसक्त: स विशिष्यते || 7||
yas tvindriyani manasa niyamyarabhate ’rjuna
karmendriyaih karma-yogam asaktah sa vishishyate
BG 3.7: But those karm yogis who control their knowledge senses with the mind, O Arjun, and engage the working senses in working without attachment, are certainly superior.
The science of right action and the art of right living are explained in this verse. Mind gets its inputs through five organs of perception which are also called sense-organs or organs of knowledge (Gnana Indriyas) from the outer world of sense objects. These five sense organs are the eye (sense of sight), ear (sense of hearing), nose (sense of smell), skin (sense of touch), and tongue (sense of taste).
Mind perceives the sense objects by interacting with the sense organs and if that interaction is absent perception of objects by the mind is not possible even though the objects might be within the range of the sense organs. This verse asks the seeker to control the sense organs by the mind. This implies substitution of sense objects by nobler and diviner alternatives for the mind to dwell upon.
तस्मादसक्त: सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर |
असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पूरुष: || 19||
tasmad asaktah satatam karyam karma samachara
asakto hyacharan karma param apnoti purushah
BG 3.19: Therefore, giving up attachment, perform actions as a matter of duty because by working without being attached to the fruits, one attains the Supreme.
After explaining the wheel of action Krishna concludes His dissertation by asking Arjuna to perform actions which are obligatory on his part in his present status in life. Even here Krishna warns him to keep his mind away from the pitfalls of attachments.
Though the liberated man has nothing to gain by action or non-action and is perfectly happy in the enjoyment of the Self, there is such a thing called desire less action which he undertakes for the welfare of the world. The work done without attachment is superior to the work done in a spirit of sacrifice which is itself higher than work done with selfish aims. While this verse says that the man reaches the Supreme performing actions without attachment, Sankara holds that karma yoga helps us to attain purity of mind which leads to salvation. It takes us to perfection indirectly through the attainment of purity of mind.
प्रकृते: क्रियमाणानि गुणै: कर्माणि सर्वश: |
अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते || 27||
prakriteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvashah
ahankara-vimudhatma kartaham iti manyate
BG 3.27: All activities are carried out by the three modes of material nature. But in ignorance, the soul, deluded by false identification with the body, thinks of itself as the doer.
the Gunas modify themselves into the outside world, the body and the senses which are called the modes of Prakriti. They are classified into twenty three categories viz. intellect, ego, mind, the five subtle elements of ether etc., the ten organs of perception and action, and the five objects of senses viz. sound, touch, sight, taste and smell.
These are the performers of all action. The word ‘action’ includes all the functions of the organs of perception and action (jnana indriyas and karma indriyas). The soul looks on without participating in any way in the action done by the body and the senses. Whatever actions take place in this world are nothing but the operations of the aforesaid modes of Prakriti and the absolute and formless Atma or the soul has really nothing to do with them.
An ignorant man, however, identifies the soul with the aggregate of the body and the senses and calls it as ‘I ‘and thinks that the soul is the doer.
Even though the Self or the soul has no relation with actions, the unwise man identifying himself with the body and the senses associates himself with the different actions of the body and thus assumes himself to be the doer of those actions. In other words he thinks it is he who resolves, he who reflects, he who hears, he who sees, he who eats, he who drinks, sleeps, walks and so on and thus traces every action to himself. Thus he ascribes to the Self all the characteristics that really belong to the Gunas. That is why action becomes the cause of bondage to him. It is the reason for him to go through the process of repeated births and deaths to reap the fruits of those actions
तत्त्ववित्तु महाबाहो गुणकर्मविभागयो: |
गुणा गुणेषु वर्तन्त इति मत्वा न सज्जते || 28||
tattva-vit tu maha-baho guna-karma-vibhagayoh
guna guneshu vartanta iti matva na sajjate
BG 3.28: O mighty-armed Arjun, illumined persons distinguish the soul as distinct from guṇas and karmas. They perceive that it is only the guṇas (in the shape of the senses, mind, and others) that move among the guṇas (in the shape of the objects of perception), and thus they do not get entangled in them.
The enlightened man who has obtained insight into the categories of the gunas and actions, attributes every action of the mind, intellect, senses and the body to the fact that it is the product of these gunas in the shape of all instruments of perception such as the mind, intellect and senses that are moving within the sphere of their respective objects, which are also products of the gunas and that he has no relation with either. Therefore, he does not get attached to either any action or to their fruits in the shape of agreeable or disagreeable experiences.
The difference between the active enlightened man and the active ignorant man is that the former is beyond the influence of the gunas and considers himself as a non-doer while the latter is controlled by the gunas and feels that everything is being done by him.
प्रकृतेर्गुणसम्मूढा: सज्जन्ते गुणकर्मसु |
तानकृत्स्नविदो मन्दान्कृत्स्नविन्न विचालयेत् || 29||
prakriter guna-sammudhah sajjante guna-karmasu
tan akritsna-vido mandan kritsna-vin na vichalayet
BG 3.29: Those who are deluded by the operation of the guṇas become attached to the results of their actions. But the wise who understand these truths should not unsettle such ignorant people who know very little.
Ignorant people perform actions with the expectation of results. The wise, who have knowledge of the soul should not disturb the conviction of such ignorant persons (people of insufficient knowledge, or men of meager intelligence) because if their minds are unsettled they will give up actions themselves and plunge themselves into inertia.
Therefore, in the beginning they should be encouraged to perform actions irrespective of their attachment to its fruits and gradually they should be taught the goal of selfless activities for the attainment of Self-realization.
मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा |
निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वर: || 30||
mayi sarvani karmani sannyasyadhyatma-chetasa
nirashir nirmamo bhutva yudhyasva vigata-jvarah
BG 3.30: Performing all works as an offering unto Me, constantly meditate on Me as the Supreme. Become free from desire and selfishness, and with your mental grief departed, fight!
Surrendering all actions to Me, with the mind intent on the soul, freeing yourself from the longing and selfishness, fight unperturbed by grief.
Krishna asks Arjuna to fight on surrendering all activities unto Him, with the mind always concentrated on the Soul.
Purification of motives is possible only when the mind is made to concentrate on the soul and the Divine glory. Actions performed with such mind cannot be ordinary actions but they will be activities performed for the sake of The Lord and are the expressions of the Supreme Will through an individual.
Krishna advocates Karma Yoga as a path that takes one ultimately to the Supreme because through desire less activity alone when performed with full faith and without criticism and questioning we will be able to bring about Vasana-exhaustion and thus make the mind purer for its meditative purposes
Karma Yoga is a way of life and one has to live it if one wants to receive His grace. The path of work is a process of elimination of desires in us. When egoism and egocentric desires are eliminated the work done through such pure mind is a divine action which will have enduring achievements. To the extent an individual does not practice this efficient way of work he loses his discriminative capacity and ultimately will meet his destruction.
इन्द्रियस्येन्द्रियस्यार्थे रागद्वेषौ व्यवस्थितौ |
तयोर्न वशमागच्छेत्तौ ह्यस्य परिपन्थिनौ || 34||
indriyasyendriyasyarthe raga-dveshau vyavasthitau
tayor na vasham agachchhet tau hyasya paripanthinau
BG 3.34: The senses naturally experience attachment and aversion to the sense objects, but do not be controlled by them, for they are way-layers and foes.
Attachment and aversion of the sense organs to sense objects are natural to every one. Although the sense objects as such are not capable of attraction or repulsion it is the mind which produces such agitations because of its being conditioned by vasanas. Thus mind develops attachment for the agreeable objects and aversion for disagreeable one
If we overcome these impulses from our egocentric ideas and act from a sense of duty, we cannot be the victims of the play of Prakriti. Thus in the process of controlling the mind - stopping it from running after the objects of attachment and aversion - lies the personal exertion for the seeker. That is his Purushartha.
Discrimination is blocked by the sense of attachment in the mind for the worldly objects. Desires fall under three categories depending upon the quality of attachments - Tamasic - inert, Rajasic - active, and Sattwic -divine.
इन्द्रियाणि मनो बुद्धिरस्याधिष्ठानमुच्यते |
एतैर्विमोहयत्येष ज्ञानमावृत्य देहिनम् || 40||
indriyani mano buddhir asyadhishthanam uchyate
etair vimohayatyesha jnanam avritya dehinam
BG 3.40: The senses, mind, and intellect are said to be breeding grounds of desire. Through them, it clouds one’s knowledge and deludes the embodied soul.
The senses, the mind and the intellect are said to be its seat; through these it deludes the embodied by veiling his wisdom.
Krishna says the senses, the mind and the intellect are seats of action for the desire to play havoc with the inner serenity and equipoise of a man. The sense organs transmit the stimuli received from the objects of enjoyment to the mind which working in close collaboration with the intellect starts living in the experience of sense enjoyments. To eliminate the inner enemy of desire at its source - sense-organs, mind and intellect- is the crux of the problem.
इन्द्रियाणि पराण्याहुरिन्द्रियेभ्य: परं मन: |
मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिर्यो बुद्धे: परतस्तु स: || 42||
indriyani paranyahur indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu para buddhir yo buddheh paratas tu sah
BG 3.42: The senses are superior to the gross body, and superior to the senses is the mind. Beyond the mind is the intellect, and even beyond the intellect is the soul.
They say that the senses are superior to the body; superior to the senses is the mind; superior to the mind is intellect; and one who is superior even to the intellect is He - The soul..
The physical body is gross, external and limited. As compared to this the senses are superior because they are subtler and more internal and have a wider range of activity. Superior to the senses is the mind as it can direct the function of the senses (as it can undertake the work of the senses also).
Superior to the mind is the intellect because it is endowed with the faculty of discrimination and finality; when the mind doubts, the intellect decides. But The soul is superior to even the intellect because the intellect draws its power to illuminate from the soul alone. The soul is the indweller in the body, the Witness of the activities of the body, senses, mind and intellect.
Krishna advises Arjuna to conquer desire with this understanding of the superior power of the soul, though it is difficult to achieve. Krishna points out that a man of discrimination and dispassion will be able to achieve this by increasing his Sattwic quality and by appealing to the indwelling Presence, The soul, through meditation. This controlling of the lower self i.e. the mind with the knowledge of the Higher Self is termed here as ‘restraining the self by the Self’.
The technique of meditation is a conscious withdrawal of all our identifications with our body, mind and intellect and thereby turning our awareness or desire-faculty towards our diviner existence where the ego is under the perfect control of the soul with no desires to agitate the mind any more.
All beings always remain active. Inaction is against the law of nature. Inaction by external withdrawal of sense organs from the sense objects while the mind remaining preoccupied with the thinking about those objects is hypocrisy or escapism and self deception.
A real seeker of wisdom is the one, who conquers his organs of perception by his mind but employs his organs of action in the selfless discharge of his duty. Performance of one's duty is, in all respects, preferable to utter inaction. One cannot live even the everyday ordinary life without doing anything.
The vasanas (impressions, tastes and inclinations brought over from the previous births) order our intellect and we cannot pursue any path other than that ordered by the direction of our own present vasanas. Man's present behavior and attitude to life are mostly governed by his past actions - vasanas. However, he can raise himself if he masters his senses that produce attachment and hatred. He should try not to become a slave of his own senses.
The mind is the storehouse of vasanas. By giving up selfish actions and attachment to their rewards, the vasanas do not get multiplied and the ego, the sense of `I', ceases to exist.
Man is made up of the physical body, the senses, the mind and the intellect. Beyond all these the pure Atman or the soul shines. The strategy to conquer desire is to govern the mind by the intellect.
Taint and desire can come only to an Ego which is the soul functioning through a given state of mind and intellect. The one who has renounced his identification with his limited ego and rediscovered himself as none other than the soul is no more affected by his actions in the outer world.
It is only the ignorant that regard the soul as active. But the wise person regards the soul as actionless even when he himself is engaged in action. Activity belongs to the senses, the body and the mind. It is a function of the Gunas.
The body, the senses and the mind, regarded by the ignorant as actionless, are perceived by the wise to be active. Hence he sees action in what the ignorant think to be inaction.
The terms ‘action’ and ‘inaction’ are not rightly understood; the one is mistaken for the other. Krishna tries to remove this misunderstanding. The Self of man is actionless. Action pertains to the physical body, the senses and the mind. But an ignorant person falsely attributes action to the soul and says to himself that ‘I am the doer, mine is the action, and by me is the fruit of action reaped’ and so on.
Similarly, he falsely imputes to the soul the cessation of activity, which really pertains to the body, the senses and the mind. So he says to himself ‘I shall be quiet, I may be free from work and worry and be happy’ and so on.
Through right knowledge a man sees inaction in action; he sees that action commonly associated with the soul really belongs to the body, the senses and the mind and that the soul is actionless. Likewise, a man with right knowledge sees action in inaction; he knows that inaction is also a kind of action. Inaction is a correlative of action and pertains to the body. The soul is beyond action and inaction.
निराशीर्यतचित्तात्मा त्यक्तसर्वपरिग्रह: |
शारीरं केवलं कर्म कुर्वन्नाप्नोति किल्बिषम् || 21||
nirashir yata-chittatma tyakta-sarva-parigrahah
shariram kevalam karma kurvan napnoti kilbisham
BG 4.21: Free from expectations and the sense of ownership, with the mind and intellect fully controlled, they incur no sin even though performing actions by their body.
यदृच्छालाभसन्तुष्टो द्वन्द्वातीतो विमत्सर: |
सम: सिद्धावसिद्धौ च कृत्वापि न निबध्यते || 22||
yadrichchha-labha-santushto dvandvatito vimatsarah
samah siddhavasiddhau cha kritvapi na nibadhyate
BG 4.22: Content with whatever gain comes of its own accord, and free from envy, they are beyond the dualities of life. Being equipoised in success and failure, they are not bound by their actions, even while performing all kinds of activities.
Content with what comes to him without any effort on his part, free from the pairs of opposites and envy, even minded in success and failure, though acting he is not bound.
The state of egolessness indicates perfect victory over mind and intellect and so the pairs of opposites - heat and cold, success and failure, good and bad, joy and sorrow, gain and loss etc., cannot affect him because they are only the interpretation of the world of objects by the mind. Such an individual who has conquered his egocentric misconceptions about himself, though acting is not bound by the consequences of the actions performed (Karma-Phalam) because he realizes that the gunas act upon the gunas and is ever steady in the true knowledge of the soul.
From the standpoint of the world such a man may appear to be working or engaged in action, but from his own point of view he is not the agent of any action. The egoistic motive of action has been consumed, in his case, in the fire of knowledge.
गतसङ्गस्य मुक्तस्य ज्ञानावस्थितचेतस: |
यज्ञायाचरत: कर्म समग्रं प्रविलीयते || 23||
gata-sangasya muktasya jnanavasthita-chetasah
yajnayacharatah karma samagram praviliyate
BG 4.23: They are released from the bondage of material attachments and their intellect is established in divine knowledge. Since they perform all actions as a sacrifice (to God), they are freed from all karmic reactions.
For the one who is devoid of attachment, who is liberated, whose mind is established in knowledge, who acts for the sake of sacrifice alone, the whole action dissolves away.
Man’s ego feels fulfilled only through the material world of objects and it develops a sense of clinging to these objects. Thus his body gets itself attached to the world of sense-objects, his mind gets itself enslaved in the world of emotions and his intellect gets entangled in its own ideas and he feels bound and fettered. It is only when one goes beyond these attachments and hand-cuffs he becomes liberated.
Mind established in knowledge - Perfect detachment and complete liberation can be accomplished only when the seeker's mind gets focused on the discriminative knowledge of knowing the difference between the permanent and impermanent. Mind's attachment to the worldly objects is because of its delusion. If, however, the mind were to concentrate on the discriminative knowledge with the support of the intellect all the false attachments will drop off.
When a man of perfect wisdom with the qualities as stated above performs actions in a spirit of sacrifice (Yagna), such actions dissolve away of themselves i.e. they do not leave any impressions upon his mind and cannot produce any reaction of newly formed vasanas.
Krishna gives a new interpretation to the word Yajna to mean the conversion of human day to day activities into worship. The cycle of human activity starts with the receipt of stimuli from the world at large by the organs of perception, which turn them into reaction in mind and intellect, and which are returned as a response back into the world through the organs of action.
This entire cycle has been split into twelve main activities; each of them turned into a ritual, worship, a Yajna. Those who understand this and turn their daily activities into a practice of these yajnas will free themselves from the vasanas / desires.
The knowledge of soul purifies the mind of all agitations and gives supreme Peace. Those devoted to Self control their senses and pursue the soul with consistency until they reach it. The ignorant, ever doubtful of the soul, lack steadiness of purpose. They will not achieve anything in this world or the next nor will they find any enduring happiness. Krishna, therefore, advises Arjuna to gain knowledge and remove all doubts and delusion and thus become established in the Supreme Self.
The limiting accessories such as body, mind and intellect which are super imposed on the soul through ignorance are subordinated and the identity of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul is realized. The offering of the soul in the Brahman is to know that the soul which is associated with the limiting adjuncts is identical with the unconditioned Supreme Brahman. This is called Brahma Yagna wherein the soul is divested of Its Upadhis or limiting adjuncts so that it is recognized as the Supreme Self or Brahman.
Brahman is described in the scriptures as Consciousness, Knowledge and Bliss and as the innermost Self of all. It is devoid of all limitations imposed by time, space and causality. The individual soul is in reality Brahman, but appears as the individual through association with the body, mind, intelligence and senses. To know the conditioned self as one with the unconditioned Brahman is to sacrifice the soul in the fire of Brahman. This sacrifice is performed by those who have renounced all action and are devoted to the Knowledge of Brahman.
Control of the ego by better understanding of the Divine behind it is called atma-samyama-yoga i.e. the Yoga of self-restraint. All the activities of sense organs and the organs of action as well as the objects of the senses together with the functions of the prana are offered into the knowledge-kindled fire of right understanding i.e. meditation which is one-pointed discriminative wisdom. The idea conveyed here is that by stopping all activities, the masters concentrate the mind on the soul.
Those, who know the art of living these techniques, weaken the functions of the organs of action and thereby control their passions and appetites leading to purification of the mind and destruction of sins for achieving the goal of Self-knowledge.
The yajnas are only the means to enable the mind-intellect equipment to adjust itself better for meditation. Meditation is the only path through which the ego withdraws from false evaluation of itself for achieving spiritual growth.
Action means activities performed by body, mind, intellect and the senses. Inaction means renouncing all activities of the body. If action is performed according to rule and one's own order in the society without expecting result, without attachment, without the feeling of possession and egoism, then it is considered as inaction in action.
If one sits quiet without performing any bodily action but thinks about all actions in his mind he is still considered as doing actions i.e. there is action in inaction. He who knows this secret will not renounce duties pertaining to his order in society and stage in life.
Man is essentially prone to be inert and inactive. He prefers to get the maximum benefit from the outside world with the minimum exertion. From this stage of utter inactivity he goes to the first stage where he works because of the promptings of his desires; the second stage of his evolution is from the desire motivated activities to dedicated activities in the service of others with the least ego. In this stage when the ego is subordinated his vasanas get exhausted and mind becomes pure. With the purity of mind he reaches the third stage where he meditates for realizing the ultimate goal of joy and peace.
According to Krishna he is a true Sanyasi who `neither likes nor dislikes'. Likes and dislikes, gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and censure, success and failure, joy and sorrow and similar other pairs of opposites are the attitudes of mind by which it gains life's experiences.
Mind gets purified by performing right actions which enables one to have a deeper meditation leading to renunciation of all activities. If this process is cut short and activities are renounced in the beginning itself it will amount to physical inactivity where the purity of mind and meditative power cannot be gained.
योगयुक्तो विशुद्धात्मा विजितात्मा जितेन्द्रिय: |
सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा कुर्वन्नपि न लिप्यते || 7||
yoga-yukto vishuddhatma vijitatma jitendriyah
sarva-bhutatma-bhutatma kurvann api na lipyate
BG 5.7: The karm yogis, who are of purified intellect, and who control the mind and senses, see the Soul of all souls in every living being. Though performing all kinds of actions, they are never entangled.
With the mind purified by devotion to performance of action, and the body conquered and senses subdued, he who realizes his soul, as the Self of all beings, is not tainted though he is acting.
Krishna explains the different stages of development and change that would take place in an individual through Karma Yoga. One who is established in Karma Yoga gets his intellect purified which reduces agitations caused by desires or emotions from within. With the selfless action and no anxiety for the fruits, his intellect becomes immune from disturbances which are reflected in his mind.
When a man gains inward peace at intellectual and mental levels, it becomes easy for him to control his sense organs from their tendency to run after sense objects. A seeker who controls his body, mind and intellect in this manner is qualified for the highest meditation because all the stumbling blocks for purposeful meditation arise from desire-motivation and emotional agitation. If these obstacles are removed, meditation becomes natural and the rediscovery of the soul is easier to achieve.
This realization of the soul is complete and not partial. He sees the divinity of the soul as all pervading. He finds divinity everywhere at all times. Hence Krishna says `realizes one’s own self as the Self in all beings'.
When an individual after achieving the inner change comes to realize the Infinite Divinity and performs actions in the world, his actions cannot have any reactions on him because no sense of ego is left in him
One should be clear that total detachment is impossible for the human mind. So long as there is a mind it has to attach itself with something because that is its nature. The only practical way of achieving detachment therefore is to disassociate the mind from the false and attach it to the Real.
The advice given is to surrender the sense of Agency and do the actions without egoism and attachment to their fruits, considering all actions as offerings to The Lord. The more the thoughts on The Lord the less will be the attention on one's own ego. Once this is realized, the actions of the body, mind and intellect will not leave any impression on the soul. Such a yogi has no attachment even for liberation.
Having thus realized the soul the Yogi lives in the world of objects with perfect detachment like the lotus leaf existing in the water without getting itself moistened. The sage lives in the world of objects detaching himself from his own perceptions of the world, likes and dislikes etc.
कायेन मनसा बुद्ध्या केवलैरिन्द्रियैरपि |
योगिन: कर्म कुर्वन्ति सङ्गं त्यक्त्वात्मशुद्धये || 11||
kayena manasa buddhya kevalair indriyair api
yoginah karma kurvanti sangam tyaktvatma-shuddhaye
BG 5.11: The yogis, while giving up attachment, perform actions with their body, senses, mind, and intellect, only for the purpose of self-purification.
Yogis perform actions only with the body, mind, intellect and the senses without attachment, for the purification of the heart.
The Karma Yogis always utilize their organs of action, knowledge, mind and intellect renouncing all attachments .The sage remains as if he were a mere observer of all that is happening around him.
सर्वकर्माणि मनसा संन्यस्यास्ते सुखं वशी |
नवद्वारे पुरे देही नैव कुर्वन्न कारयन् || 13||
sarva-karmani manasa sannyasyaste sukham vashi
nava-dvare pure dehi naiva kurvan na karayan
BG 5.13: The embodied beings who are self-controlled and detached reside happily in the city of nine gates free from thoughts that they are the doers or the cause of anything.
Sanyas is not a mere physical escapism but a mental withdrawal from things which have no real significance. It is a state of mind and not an external symbol.
When the sun light passes through a plane glass it comes out clearly but if it passes through a prism it emerges as seven colors which are part and parcel of the same sun light. Similarly the soul passing through Knowledge emerges out as the soul which is all-pervading. But when the same soul passes through ignorance i.e. body, mind and intellect it gets itself split up into the unending world of plurality.
ज्ञानेन तु तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मन: |
तेषामादित्यवज्ज्ञानं प्रकाशयति तत्परम् || 16||
jnanena tu tad ajnanam yesham nashitam atmanah
tesham aditya-vaj jnanam prakashayati tat param
BG 5.16: But for those whose ignorance is destroyed by divine knowledge, the Supreme Entity is revealed, just as the sun illumines everything when it rises.
In the case of ordinary mortals the soul is screened of by ignorance or Avidya whereas the man of realization is the one in whom the ignorance is removed by Knowledge. Ignorance creates the egocentric concept which thrives in the body, mind and intellect and is the root cause of all sufferings. When this ignorance is destroyed by knowledge of the soul, the ego ends and the soul becomes manifest just as the sun illuminates and reveals all the objects of the physical universe when the clouds surrounding it move away.
Knowledge is the very faculty of knowing. So when the ego re-discovers the soul it becomes the soul. Therefore, the soul is awareness, consciousness or the Atman.
इहैव तैर्जित: सर्गो येषां साम्ये स्थितं मन: |
निर्दोषं हि समं ब्रह्म तस्माद् ब्रह्मणि ते स्थिता: || 19||
ihaiva tair jitah sargo yesham samye sthitam manah
nirdosham hi samam brahma tasmad brahmani te sthitah
BG 5.19: Those whose minds are established in equality of vision conquer the cycle of birth and death in this very life. They possess the flawless qualities of God, and are therefore seated in the Absolute Truth.
Even here (on earth) the created world is overcome by those whose mind is established in unity. Brahman is flawless and the same in all. Therefore these persons are indeed established in Brahman.
Created or relative world means all bondages of birth, death etc. All possibilities of bondage are destroyed when the mind attains perfect evenness which in other words means becoming Brahman.
Perfection is not an idealism that has to be realized in the heavens only after death. Contrary to this vague expectation, Sri Krishna asserts that the relative existence of bondage can be ended and the imperfect individual can be made to live in the Consciousness of God and can come out of one's ego sense in this life itself, in this very body and among the very same worldly objects.
The method of achieving this goal is stated in the verse as the one whose mind rests in evenness and gains the Divine tranquility. Where the thought flow is arrested there the mind ends. Where the mind ends, which is the instrument through which life expresses itself as ego, the sense of separate existence also ends and the egocentric slavery of samsar ceases. The ego, devoid of samsaric sorrows, rediscovers itself to be none other than the soul Itself.
Such persons who have conquered their minds and live in perfect harmony in all conditions of life and its relationships are indeed aware of their identity with Brahman who is even, ever-perfect and uncontaminated though indwelling in all pure and impure bodies.
Brahman is all pervading and homogeneous. Everything happens in it and nothing happens to it. Thus the Truth is changeless just as a river-bed remains motionless though water flowing on it is ever changing. The substratum is changeless and remains the same but the superimpositions and manifestations will change by their very nature. An individual with his identification with body, mind and intellect is changing factor but the Substratum, the soul, remains the same.
Krishna says that a mortal who can maintain his equanimity under all conditions is indeed the one who rests in Brahman i.e. aware of Brahman.
बाह्यस्पर्शेष्वसक्तात्मा विन्दत्यात्मनि यत्सुखम् |
स ब्रह्मयोगयुक्तात्मा सुखमक्षयमश्नुते || 21||
bahya-sparsheshvasaktatma vindatyatmani yat sukham
sa brahma-yoga-yuktatma sukham akshayam ashnute
BG 5.21: Those who are not attached to external sense pleasures realize divine bliss in the soul. Being united with God through Yog, they experience unending happiness.
With the heart unattached to external contacts he discovers happiness in the soul; with the heart engaged in the meditation of Brahman he attains endless bliss.
The happiness from the enjoyment of outer objects is transitory while the Bliss of Brahman is eternal. When the mind is not attached to the external objects of the senses, when one is deeply and constantly engaged in the contemplation of the soul, one finds eternal peace within.
If one wishes to enjoy the imperishable happiness of the soul within, one has to withdraw the senses from their respective objects and enter in deep meditation on the soul within. It is to be noted that through self-control a void is created in the mind and heart which will have to be filled in with bliss through contemplation of Brahman.
Man goes in search of happiness among the external and perishable objects. He finds no permanent joy in them but receives a load of sorrows instead. One should, therefore, withdraw the senses from the sense objects which are not at all a source of permanent joy. One should fix the mind on the immortal, blissful soul within.
The greater the desire for an object the greater will be the anger against any obstacle that comes between the desirer and the objects desired. Lust and anger create an agitation of mind accompanied by appropriate physical symbols.
A Yogi is the one who controls the impulses of desire and anger, destroys likes and dislikes and attains equanimity of mind by resting in the Self. He is always happy because there is neither desire nor hatred in him. The implication of what Krishna says is that in this very world and in this very life one can be perfectly happy if one learns to withstand the avalanche of desire and anger.
To overcome the world is not to become other-worldly. It is not to evade social responsibilities. His body, mind and intellect are offered to the sacred fire of activity for the common welfare while remaining at rest with himself and living in an unbroken consciousness of the Divine, the Eternal.
कामक्रोधवियुक्तानां यतीनां यतचेतसाम् |
अभितो ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं वर्तते विदितात्मनाम् || 26||
kama-krodha-viyuktanam yatinam yata-chetasam
abhito brahma-nirvanam vartate viditatmanam
BG 5.26: For those sanyāsīs, who have broken out of anger and lust through constant effort, who have subdued their mind, and are self-realized, liberation from material existence is both here and hereafter.
Released from desire and anger, the mind controlled, the Self realized, absolute freedom exists for such Yogins both here and hereafter.
When the seeker conquers his lust and anger and can face all the threats coming from within and without, he knows the soul and gains the Bliss of Perfection both here and hereafter.
The import of this verse is that those who renounce all actions and do intense Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana, who are established in the soul and who are steadily devoted to knowledge of the soul, attain liberation instantly (Sankhya Yoga). But Karma Yoga in which action is performed in complete devotion to The Lord and as dedication to Him, leads to liberation step by step; first the purification of the mind, then knowledge, then renunciation of all action and lastly liberation.
स्पर्शान्कृत्वा बहिर्बाह्यांश्चक्षुश्चैवान्तरे भ्रुवो: |
प्राणापानौ समौ कृत्वा नासाभ्यन्तरचारिणौ || 27||
विगतेच्छाभयक्रोधो य: सदा मुक्त एव स: || 28||
sparshan kritva bahir bahyansh chakshush chaivantare bhruvoh
pranapanau samau kritva nasabhyantara-charinau
yatendriya-mano-buddhir munir moksha-parayanah
vigatechchha-bhaya-krodho yah sada mukta eva sah
BG 5.27-28: Shutting out all thoughts of external enjoyment, with the gaze fixed on the space between the eye-brows, equalizing the flow of the incoming and outgoing breath in the nostrils, and thus controlling the senses, mind, and intellect, the sage who becomes free from desire and fear, always lives in freedom.
Shutting out all external contacts, steadying the gaze of his eyes between the eyebrows, regulating the outward and inward breaths flowing within his nostrils, the senses, mind and intellect controlled, with Moksha (Liberation) as the supreme goal, freed from desire, fear and anger, such a man of meditation is verily liberated for ever.
In these two verses Krishna has given a pre-view of the next Chapter. Krishna gives a scheme of practice by which one can gain in himself a complete integration.
The external world of objects by itself cannot bring any disturbances unless one remains in contact with them through body, mind or intellect. But if we shut out external objects - not physically- but through discreet intellectual detachment at the mental plane, we shall discover in ourselves the necessary tranquility for starting meditation.
Then the gaze should be fixed in between the eye brows so that the eye balls remain steady. This is followed by rhythmical breathing which makes the mind quiet and perfect harmony is developed in the system. These instructions relate to physical adjustments.
The instructions relating to mental and intellectual adjustments are then given. The seeker is asked to be free from desire, fear and anger to attain perfect peace of mind. When the senses, mind and intellect are subjugated by dedicating all his outer and inner activities to achieve the goal of realizing the soul he attains liberation.
The mind gets restless because of the agitations caused by desire, fear and anger. When it is desireless, it proceeds towards the soul spontaneously and Liberation becomes one's highest goal. When an individual follows these steps he can remain in the contemplation of Truth without any distractions. Such a man of meditation comes to experience the freedom of the God-hood before long.
A Sankhya Yogi who is established in the soul, does not identify himself even with such activities as seeing, hearing, touching, smelling etc., but feels he is a witness to all the actions of the body, senses, mind and intellect. He lives in a world untouched by the happenings around. He, who has identified himself with the Pure Self, stands aside, not contaminated by the effects of actions and enjoys eternal peace within
total detachment is impossible for the human mind. The practical way of achieving detachment is to disassociate the mind from the false and attach it to the Real. Surrender the sense of Agency and do the actions without egoism and attachment to their fruits, considering all actions as offerings to The Lord. The more the thoughts on The Lord the less will be the attention on one's own ego.
Once this is realized, the actions of the body, mind and intellect will not leave any impression on the soul. Such a yogi has no attachment even for liberation and he lives in the world of objects detaching himself from his own perceptions of the world, likes and dislikes etc.like the lotus leaf existing in the water without getting itself moistened.
In deep sleep all beings feel immense happiness by renouncing all their unnatural superimpositions of personality, whether he is a king or a beggar, because in that state intellect, mind and senses cease to function unconsciously and go towards the Self.
When one consciously renounces the activities of the senses, mind and intellect one will surely merge into one's essential nature of the Supreme Consciousness. Thus renunciation or loss of personality becomes a means to supreme perfection. This is the glory of wisdom of renunciation. The action done with freedom from individuality spontaneously unites one with Universality. Such wise sages see divinity everywhere just like the ocean has no difference of feelings between one wave and the other. He finds no distinction in the world of names and forms.
No one can become a Karma Yogi who plans future actions and expects the fruits of such actions. Only a devotee who renounced the thoughts of fruits of his actions can become a Yogi of steady mind because the thoughts of fruits of actions always cause mental disturbances.
Sanyasa i.e. renunciation consists in the accomplishment of the necessary action without an inward striving for reward. This is true yoga, firm control over oneself, complete self-possession
TO BE CONTINUED
CAPT AJIT VADAKAYIL