Way of Intelligent Life – Sankhya yoga – Gita II

In Gita, second chapter, Krishna after listening to the lamentation of Arjuna arising out of his fear, attachment, worry that makes him weak and ready to leave the battle field, shows him the glimpses of life and how one has to face it valiantly.

We are all like Arjuna, in dire need of guidance, redemption from the conflict, sorrow and having to fight every step of the life and for us Knowledge is the only way out. Understanding, knowledge and action is that which can pull up the man from misery. The person who fights, gets up every time falls, bold, gives up cowardice is respected. Weakness is never appreciated. This and other world is for the one who is strong, fights a righteous war, strong of body, mind and intellect. Strength is life and weakness is death. Weak cannot achieve anything in this life and bold person can do wonders.

Grief is Meaningless:

Grief is meaningless. Keeping mind constant in all eventualities is the way of wise.  Wise are not tossed by the ups and downs of life. He who harmonizes his thoughts, word and deed is able to maintain his integrity and character. These are necessary quality to avoid conflict and disharmony.

Regarding death, people come and go but the atman/soul is eternal. Like a baby is born, becomes youth, then middle age, old age follows ending in death. During these times the body changes – baby dies, youth is born and so on at every stage. But the identity of the person remains the same. The change is to the body and not to the atman. Thus, birth and death is for the body only and atman is eternal.

Sense organs are the organs of pleasure and pain and that originates from what one sees, hears, eats, does, smells and understands with mind. These pleasures of bodily origin start and ends with body. And they also change with time, and place that what is enjoyable once many not be other times. And the fact that body is perishable so also joy and sorrow. understanding this and training the mind to treat both equally is what makes one healthy and competent.

Correspond this with soul the indweller in the body. It is eternal. Was there before we were born and will be there after our death. And through birth, childhood, youth, middle age, old age and death it remains unchanged and unaffected. It has taken this body to experience this world made of sense objects and body. Understanding this and leading the life removes one from ignorance and pain and pleasure. Life is a series of experiments where we are born again and again to learn until our liberation.

Body is only an agglomeration of elements hence as good as nonexistent. It is like water that remain in states of water, waves in ocean, ice berg, vapor, rain clouds and so on. But the wateriness is common. So change is natural. And what changes cannot give everlasting pleasure. What is born is sure to die. So grieve not. And as one discard the old cloth and gets a new one, atman acquires bodies.

Atman is awareness. Pure consciousness, it is untouched by time, space and causation, states of mind such as sleep, dream, wakefulness are beyond it. Consciousness is ultimate reality. It is unaffected by all changes that happen to the body. The body changes but atman does not. This is similar to the sky that remains unaffected by all the movement of clouds, electricity in it. Atman is unborn, eternal, constant and ancient. It is not killed when the body is slain. Weapons do not cleave the atman, fire burn it not, water does not wet it and so does wind not dry it. Essentially meaning that it is beyond elements. Hence it is eternal. Hence unmanifested, unthinkable and immutable. Therefore Grieve not. Many people come in to our life midway and go away some time same way. Hence, no point in lamenting for the changes that are bound to happen.

Death is certain of Birth and birth of that which is dead. Do your duty. Like Warriors is to fight a rightful war. And fighting war, being your duty is better than renouncing and walking off.

Grieve not for death. one has to do his duty to the best of his ability. While doing his duty thus, time comes when he becomes successful. When the time is right little effort becomes appropriate and leads to great results. No matter what, diffidence and despondency should be avoided. Pursue the right course of action. Between what one likes and what is good, and when they are contradictory, follow what is good. For the tide of fortune and the opportune time comes to one and all consistent with law of growth and evolution. Fame and honor are for those who lead a righteous life in this world. So also, that ill will, misfortune and dishonor comes to those who forsake their duty.  And dishonor and ill-fame is worse than death. So withdrawing from war front is not advisable for generations will talk ill about this and there is no way that can be remedied.

Be fearless. Don’t Be a weakling:

A man given to fear does not achieve anything in this world and any deed done out of fear will cause the need for repentance in future. If you avoid fight now, you will be scorned as one who ran out of fear. And your enemies will slander and ridicule you which could be worse than fighting the war and facing the consequences thereof. To explain further, people who have been praising one hitherto for valour, courage, strength, capability, achievement, success etc., when find that one has withdrawn fearing setbacks will talk ill about the same person at the back.  So, don’t give into this. Either way, if you win you will enjoy this earth and if you perish fighting then will reach heaven. So, get up and fight.

In pain and pleasure, gain and loss, victory and defeat engage in work be equipoised that way you would be successful. Not to rejoice in pleasure, gain, victory as it is done in the mundane world and on the contrary slump when things do not go in one’s way. Doing work during all times, is the way to prosperity.

Be firm of mind. Be concentrated. Don’t dissipate energy in multiple directions. Understand the purpose of life is not to enjoy life but attain perfection. Be beyond the three Gunas that favor knowledge seeking, action orientation and languishing in darkness. Be free from the pairs of opposites, ever balanced, unconcerned with getting and keeping and centered in the self.

Work, Not in anticipation of results:

The most repeated, famous and misunderstood verse of Gita – You have right to your duty and not to the fruits there off. Be you not the producer of action so also of inaction. Work has multiple aspects and participants to it. One cannot control every aspect of it. You can do your duty to the best of your ability according to the prevailing circumstances. Having done that whatever be the result, you would not be affected by it. So also by not focusing on the results, not worried about it you can gather all his energy and focus it on the execution. Clarity, understanding and efficiency increased there by producing superior results inevitably.   So be active. Shun inaction. And when you work, work righteously without worrying about the fruits of action.

When work is done despite ones likes and dislikes of a mind in equilibrium new Karma does not accrue to him and old bad karma vanishes. And one who works likes that acquires perfection in mind. Slowly indifference to the world of actions sets in. and when ones intellect, till then tossed about various dualities of pain and pleasure, likes and dislikes, conflict of ideas and opinions has become poised and reaches equilibrium such a man reaches yoga and nearer to godhead.

Being  a steadfast man

Arjuna asks Krishna about the quality of man who is steadfast, wise, and in Samadhi. How does one with these attributes walk, sit and speak. How does one understand the eternal consciousness. Self on its own, when contented gives one happiness. However when a man reaches outside for sense objects and presumes that it gives him happiness, he needs to understand that it is verily the self, the atman, the indweller in every one that gives happiness. Thus shunning desire helps one to avoid pain and related pleasure that accrues from it. Remaining self satisfied and not running after world outside is the first step towards steady state of mind.

A man of steadiness is of calm mind where all his sorrows have been destroyed. He is in a state of equilibrium, unaffected by joys and sorrows and anchored in intellect.

Pacifying the mind

He whose mind is not perturbed by adversity, who does not crave for happiness, free from attachment, fear and anger is the man of constant wisdom. One has to face endless problems, trials, tribulations, adversities, untoward events in life. some have it more and some are lucky to have their life untouched by these events. The man of wisdom is one who remains unperturbed by these happening, view them as unavoidable and ignore them. If not ignored then man ends up adding fuel to the fire and worsens the scene and ends up increasing the volume and intensity thereby getting affected more.

Detrimental Effect of Anger

Once senses are brought under control, conflicting thoughts are arrested in its initiation state itself and thus mind is subjugated. Then focusing on eternal power, leads to wisdom. Alternatively giving way to sensual pressures leads to attachment to them and from the attachment comes the desire to have more and when the desire leads to expectation and the failure of fulfilling it leads to anger. From anger arises delusion, which in turn results in confused memory which becomes the cause of ruin and one’s ultimate fall. Two things that are noteworthy. Anger. Anger is temporary insanity. When the mind is occasionally upset it results in anger and when permanently affected it is lunacy. Both results in delusion. State of mind given to anger obscures thought, reasoning and vision resulting feeling is confusion.one loses the power of discriminating good from the bad resulting in delusion leading to indiscriminate violence  paving way for self-destruction.

Control Mind for Peace:

There is no wisdom in fickle minded, nor is quietness. To the unmeditative mind there is no peace and without peace no joy or happiness. Hence disciplining the mind becomes essential.  Uncontrolled mind, the mind that runs after sense objects results in lack of discrimination and dispersion of mind power. Like a rudderless ship we cannot predict where the mind would take one to. Thus the mind that follows sense objects leads one to astray away from desired result. To avoid this use of senses should be under the control of mind rather than mind running behind the senses. Rather than man who desires desire, the one who works with equanimity would attain peace. When the sense organs brings contact with the outside world the man of steadfastness, is able to work on them consciously thereby preventing the changes to the desire from resulting in unwanted feelings, longings, aversion etc. and does not allow them to affect his mind. This steady state of mind leads to liberation. His state of mind produces peacefulness on those who come in contact with them. Thus the man who lives devoid of “I”, and “Mine”, free from desires is said to live a peaceful life.

Viewed from worldly point:

Chapter II of Gita that proposes the way to intelligent life is makes an interesting reading, profound in its impact. Yet if one is to ask a question, is it practical, implementable the answer would be easier said than done. While it is difficult but not impossible. And all things that are said impossible at one time, it means it takes longer time to accomplish.  The first step in any redemption effort is the knowledge of how it is done. once the understanding is reached, constant contemplation will pave way for actionizing and that we start following it. To start with may be one out of ten time you remember and that is o.k., to start with.  both in sorrow and joy I should be same and maintain my equanimity, that would be successful. Then slowly by discipline, practice, constant repetition in mind one start internalizing it and follow the teachings of Gita. Therein lies the way to freedom.

* * *