SEP 02. 2021
Namaste ji and Happy Janmasthami.
The teachings from the Gita are eternal and time-tested. They inspire us in some fashion. Unfortunately, inspirations, however lofty, do not move us to the next step of actualizing the truth we are seeking.
We are always being told by our teachers and preachers of high rank and reputation that the best thing to arrive at is sthita pragya. No doubt. Also, to understand that man should never consider himself to be the actual doer of things. Okay.
Would you be happy simply reading the menu at a five-star hotel when you are hungry? We read. But witnessing bhava, the sthita pragya state, or a balanced state, or all those lofty states – how are we to arrive at them? Our observation says that mere reading or hearing it is of no avail unless we take up the means to achieve all those states in a very practical way. We are always in the dark about those means which are necessary for the purpose. Nowhere can the slightest hint to that effect be traced out in all their discourses.
The result is that those who are listening are wrongly led to this conclusion, that only frequent repetition like mantras, verses after verses, should be enough. Things like, “I am not the doer,” or “I am Brahman,” or “Aham Brahmasmi” – is it enough just reciting? It is detrimental, in fact, to remain under the illusion of having merely done our part of recitation. We must adopt the right means to arrive at the right results, earning the fruits of our practice, like the sthita pragya state of mind, or having a condition like that of a lotus leaf in a dirty pond of water that remains unaffected, or becoming a witness, or joyously embracing saranagati [true surrender], or performing nishkam karma, or the desireless state. Will recitations such as “I am Brahman” or “I am merely a witness” actually give birth to such states? Think over it.
If it was so easy, then by now all reciters and listeners would have attained what Lord Krishna is hinting at in many different ways. I would like to share with you a great revelation, a mercy of my Beloved Master Pujya Shri Babuji Maharaj. Please pay close attention.
Let us visit the Mahabharat scene when the war was just about to begin. Arjuna is despondent and decides not to fight. Now, consider how much time Lord Krishna could have possibly required for speaking out the total text of the Gita as we find it today. The armies were standing face-to-face on the battlefield and war trumpets were sounding aloud, announcing the zero hour for that ultimate action. How much time was there at the disposal of Lord Krishna to bring Arjuna back to the proper course, getting him ready to fight the war by preaching sermons to him? Think over it.
The recitation of eighteen chapters packed with 700 slokas requires at least a few hours. How could that be possible at that critical moment? Evidently, he could not have taken more than a few minutes for it.
The fact is that Lord Krishna actually transmitted to Arjuna within a few minutes, all those mental states necessary for the purpose, at that very moment. Really, they were the very conditions which a spiritual seeker passes through during the course of the spiritual journey. The process brought Arjuna instantly to a higher state of a feeling of spiritual consciousness, and purged out the feeling of undue attachment from his heart.
This can as well be possible today if a personality of that calibre is there, but as too commonly witnessed, people hear and they recite the Gita for the whole life without taking in the least effect thereof. The essence of the Gita never touches their heart. How many have so far turned around like Arjuna in spite of hearing the Gita for years together?
Lord Krishna transmitted the knowledge to Arjuna as witnessed by Sage Vyasa, who transcribed the same in sloka format. This is important to understand – that whatever transpired between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, the unspoken words which were transmitted were transcribed in sloka format later on by Sage Vyasa.
This heart-to-heart transmission from the heart of the Lord to Arjuna was witnessed by Sage Vyasa, who carefully transcribed those emotions and conditions in slokas that became what we read today as the Gita.
The actually recited verses were only seven. These seven gems were imparted to Arjuna through seven verses. The rest were added by many sages over the passage of time, besides what Sage Vyasa transcribed – the heart-to-heart conversation that was between the Lord and Arjuna. The heart-to-heart dialogue was also no less important. Perhaps, more important than those seven verbally communicated verses.
With a lot of reverence to the Lord, to my beloved Babuji Maharaj, with a heart flowing in gratefulness, I would like to share with you all those seven gems, the seven verses:
1) Chapter 2, verse 55, Sankhya Yoga
प्रजहाति यदा कामान्सर्वान्पार्थ मनोगतान्
आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्ट: स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते ||
Śhrī Bhagavān Uvācha:
prajahāti yadā kāmān sarvān pārtha mano-gatān
ātmany-evātmanā tuṣhṭaḥ sthita-prajñas tadochyate
O Parth, one who, having renounced all desires born of the mind,
one who is content in the self, and by the self, is said to be one
whose inside is steady - sthita pragya.
2) Chapter 2, verse 62, Sankhya Yoga
ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंस: सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते |
सङ्गात्सञ्जायते काम: कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते
dhyāyato viṣhayān puṁsaḥ saṅgas teṣhūpajāyate
saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmāt krodho ’bhijāyate
While contemplating the pleasures of the senses, one is attracted
to them. From attraction arises desire, and from desire arises
3) Chapter 2, verse 63, Sankhya Yoga
क्रोधाद्भवति सम्मोह: सम्मोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रम: |
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति
krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ sammohāt smṛiti-vibhramaḥ
smṛiti-bhranśhād buddhi-nāśho buddhi-nāśhāt praṇaśhyati
Anger leads to confusion or delusion of the mind, which results in
loss of memory. When the memory is lost, the intellect is lost,
And the ruin of the intellect leads man to destruction.
4) Chapter 2, verse 64, Sankhya Yoga
रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन् |
rāga-dveṣha-viyuktais tu viṣhayān indriyaiśh charan
ātma-vaśhyair-vidheyātmā prasādam adhigachchhati
But one who controls the mind and is free from likes and
dislikes, raga and dvesha, even while using the objects of the
senses, attains the grace of God.
5) Chapter 2, verse 66, Sankhya Yoga
नास्ति बुद्धिरयुक्तस्य न चायुक्तस्य भावना |
न चाभावयत: शान्तिरशान्तस्य कुत: सुखम् ||
nāsti buddhir-ayuktasya na chāyuktasya bhāvanā
na chābhāvayataḥ śhāntir aśhāntasya kutaḥ sukham
There is no wisdom for a man without harmony, and without
harmony there is no contemplation. Without contemplation there
cannot be peace. How can there be happiness for one lacking
peace of mind?
6) Chapter 3, verse 35, Karma Yoga
श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुण: परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् |
स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेय: परधर्मो भयावह: ||
śhreyān swa-dharmo viguṇaḥ para-dharmāt sv-anuṣhṭhitāt
swa-dharme nidhanaṁ śhreyaḥ para-dharmo bhayāvahaḥ
Better is one’s own duty, though devoid of merit, than the duty of
another well discharged. Better is death in one’s own duty; the
duty of another is fraught with fear.
In short, Babuji would have said, “Mind your own business.”
7) Chapter 3, verse 4, Karma Yoga
न कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते |
न च संन्यसनादेव सिद्धिं समधिगच्छति ||
na karmaṇām anārambhān naiṣhkarmyaṁ puruṣho ’śhnute
na cha sannyasanād eva siddhiṁ samadhigachchhati
Not by refraining from action does man secure freedom from
action. Nor does he secure ultimate perfection by mere
renunciation that he may secure.
Those are the seven gems. Later on, towards the end of the first day of the war, while cajoling Arjuna, the Lord reveals three more personal secrets to Arjuna:
1) Chapter 4, verse 7, Gyana Yoga
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत |
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम्
yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya tadātmānaṁ sṛijāmyaham
Whenever there is a decline in righteousness
and an increase in sinfulness,
O Arjuna, at that time I manifest myself on Earth.
2) Chapter 4, verse 8, Gyana Yoga
परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् |
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे
paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśhāya cha duṣhkṛitām
dharma-sansthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge
To protect the righteous, to annihilate the wicked,
and to re-establish the principles of dharma,
I appear on this Earth, age after age.
And a very important one,
3) Chapter 18, verse 66, Moksha Sanyas Yoga
सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज |
अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुच:
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śharaṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣhayiṣhyāmi mā śhucha
Abandon all varieties of dharma and simply surrender
unto me alone. I shall liberate you from all sinful reactions:
do not fear.
So, all the best my dear friends and celebrate this Janmashtami with gusto, with joy, with fervour, and see if some of you can fast also.
Contemplate the meaning of these verses and, as I said, these were verbally communicated from Lord Krishna to Arjuna. That does not mean that non-verbal communication, which is heart-to-heart, is of any less importance.
The entire Gita is relevant today, more than ever, in our lifetime, and it shall continue to sound and resound for future generations to benefit from.
Thank you and pass on the tradition.
Talk given on 29 August 2021, Kanha Shanti Vanam