Knowledge – A Gateway to Freedom – Gita Chapter IV

Knowledge, Action and Renunciation – Way to Freedom

Freedom can be obtained by either following the path of Knowledge, Action or Renunciation and the path differs based on the individual’s latent tendencies.

Why birth:

As per Hindu philosophy, there is reincarnation. Everybody has had multiple births and death but are not aware of it. And that there is a definitive pattern behind taking birth. Natures decide the course. Everyone is born with certain tendencies and these latent characters of one decides one’s preferences and orientation in life. There also exists the reason behind everyone’s birth and the success is in knowing our purpose of being born, our areas of work, field of operation and tendencies which we must harness and fine tune so that our purpose in life can be fulfilled. In Bhagavad Gita Krishna states his life purpose as – “whenever there is decay of “Dharma” – morality, virtue, righteousness – and there is rise of “Adharma” – decay, decadence, injustice, wickedness, – I am born in this world; for the protection of good people, for the destruction of evil-doers, for re-establishing the right.” Only different being his birth and ours is that his is not guided by the desires and karma but by his own determination and based on the needs of time. He is not bound by the life-death cycle which we are. And the ultimate freedom for a human being is supposed to be getting liberated from this cycle.

Knowledge as-a-way to freedom:

Krishna says – Those who know me, my action, my birth obtains freedom. Those who can get rid of desire, fear and anger, worship me, get purified in the fire of wisdom, or whichever way they reach out to me get liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Ways of Action and Organizing Society:

Men are endowed with different temperaments and tendencies. All are not equal and each one has some tendencies that are prominent. Action is the easiest way to achieve material success in this world. For this purpose, the society and people working are divided into four divisions, based on the energy requirements for effective functioning, each function being complementary. The four castes or varnas are created, are aligned with types of tendencies and actions, being the tendency for knowledge acquisition and exposition, for warrior-ship, for commerce and business and for production involving ground level work. Four division of labors, based on their tendencies and capability, each meant for specific purpose or excelling in certain works to express themselves to fulfill societal functions. There is no work that is low or high and all are equally important for the effective functioning of the society. This division helps in one expressing themselves freely based on their inherent tendencies. It is not that others cannot do it but something like the economic concept of comparative advantage. This we find still prevalent in organizations and more akin to consultant, architects, authors, teachers forming intellectual class, Military, Police, CEOs, Controllers, Sales and Marketing, forming part of warrior clan.  And Business, trading, Farming and producing class constituting the third section and service oriented work forming the other sections of the society.  It is important to note here, that as Krishna says in the opening verses of this chapter, these knowledges has however deteriorated and collapsed in the course of time, when being handed over from generations to generations and societal imperfections that this has becomes the most mis-interpreted concept in Hinduism and India currently.

Way of doing work:

Do work without doers-ship. Do without enjoyer-ship. Work. Engage.  Be amidst work. But do not think that you are doing it. Because the nature that is present in the world does it. Circumstances make it happen. It is a collective action.  To understand this better, if you have put a seed to grow, for it to start giving fruit, in addition to you, the sun, water, nutrients from soil, may be birds for pollination need to work together for the tree to start giving fruit. And when it starts fruiting may be the enjoyer could be somebody else. In the same manner, your duty is just to work without bringing into thinking that it is who you are doing and you are the enjoyer. When engaging in action, understanding that the circumstances and my inherence tendencies is making me do this, without getting impacted by the ego, you are free from the sorrow of individuality and not bound by the suffering born out of work.

Action, Inaction, Prohibited Action

In familiar parlance action means movement and inaction is absence of movement. Any action against law is prohibited action. Life means activity, a way to evolve, is dynamic and cannot even for a second cease to work. When life cases death occurs. So, action is inevitable.

Action is imperative if one lives. One cannot renounce action. Every action has a reaction and one has to bear the fruit of their karma.  However, any action that is performed without attachment, that I am the doer or for the fruits of action does not bind the soul.  Work is needed for purification of the self. Even if one is high up in the ladder in the society and can do without performing any work, it has to be done so that no wrong precedent is set for others still in the lower spectrum of evolution.

Action in inaction and Inaction in Action:

Performing action with an understanding that it is being done by body and mind, not induced by once nature, one self and the soul is not involved in it is inaction though action is being done. Here action essentially means those actions that is needed to be done and not the ones impelled by one’s desires, likes and dislikes and circumstances.  Similarly, when one thinks no action is being performed while say sitting, sleeping etc., it means no perceptible bodily action is taking place. It needs to be understood that the bodily action of breathing, digesting, circulation of blood etc. is happening involuntarily. Our mind may be busy in thinking, dreaming, extrapolating and visualizing. So seemingly inactive one is active.

And the man whose work is devoid of desires and purposes to enjoy the result of action, and whose actions are based on knowledge he is called a sage by the wise. Such a man, even when involved in worldly action performs it because he had to do it and to set example for others rather than for fulfilling his desires or expecting any results. If he is a renunciate he works to maintain his bodily functions only. Free from desire, with the mind and the self-controlled, having relinquished all  possessions doing mere bodily action, he incurs no sin.

Satisfied with that which comes to him by chance, or in course of nature, rising above the dualities or like and dislikes, pleasure and pain, hot and cold etc., being equipoise both in success and failure, working with such frame of mind even though he is working he would not be bound by the actions.

That man from whom all attachment is gone, from whom all cause of bondage, right and wrong has fled away, whose mind is ever fixed in wisdom alone, who acts  with a view,  to  the  performance of a sacrifice, his action with  its result is reduced to  nothing meaning does not create bondage arising out of action. Thus, work not prohibited in scriptures, work performed with the right knowledge of doing, without the desire for its action and with a sacrificial mindset frees one from the bondage arising out of such actions.

Know that, Brahman is the “Real, Consciousness and the Infinite”. He is cognized by all and is the innermost self of all.  It is instrument of action. He is all pervading. He manifests himself as an instrument of action, and the five forms actions and its accessories.

Work as a Yagna-Sacrifice:

Sacrifice is not limited to fire sacrifice or yagna alone as known in the traditional circle. It includes all work done with restraint, focus and effort. Thus, there are multiple ways in which sacrifice is performed.  Controlling one’s senses, Imparting knowledge one had gained to others, charity by donating wealth, following austerity, sacrifices by way reading, writing, acquiring knowledge, following scriptural vows are of different ways of sacrifice. Essentially all works that require discipline, excellence and renunciation of something is what is meant as Yagna here. It is work for work’s sake and duty for duty’s sake.

Controlling food, sensory intake, engaging in pranayama – Controlling one’s incoming and outgoing breath, and performing the sacrifices one is said to obtain freedom.

The sacrifices performed with material objects produces material effects, whereas wisdom-sacrifice does not. Therefore, sacrifice where knowledge is involved is superior to the sacrifice performed with material objects.  For, wisdom, which is the means to moksha comprehends all action.

Superiority of Wisdom:

Wisdom being the means to one’s freedom, Krishna says that it should be the basis for all actions. Then he describes why, how, from whom, with what mindset one gets to acquire wisdom. And what is this wisdom and benefit of acquiring this wisdom.

Approach the Guru, the teacher who is a realized self, with a sense of humility, enquiry and respectful mindset and by providing him service. Enquire what is the cause of bondage and how to get relieved from it.  And What is wisdom (Vidya) and what is ignorance and mistaken belief (Avidya). Guru can then impart knowledge of action, renunciation and wisdom.

Once this wisdom is obtained, clarity sets in and one will not be confused again as one is now. One is also able to perceive that all beings, all manifestation say from self to grass is of same Creator (Brahma), consciousness and the whole universe exists in oneself and one in the universe. There is a oneness, a unity of all things and all beings which is essence of Upanishadic wisdom.

With the right knowledge one can cross this samsara. While prarabdah karma, responsible for this life, that has commenced has to run its course, the result of future action, accumulated karma from actions of previous life that has not commenced (sanchita karma), yet to start and yet to fructify can be nullified by right knowledge.

Thus, the seeker of freedom, who has perfected himself by practice in yoga of action, knowledge and renunciation will attain peace and spiritual wisdom. On the other hand, the man who knows not  the Self, the man who has no faith in the teachings of his Guru, the main whose mind is full of doubts is  ruined.

Therefore, the man by practice of Karma Yoga has all his doubts and ignorance cleared and by knowledge acquires wisdom.  Hence Krishna commands – Arise! O Arjuna! Fight.  And thereby energizing us also to get out despondency and perform in this world with knowledge and wisdom.

* * * * *

25th April, 2017

Advertisements

The Nature as Teacher – 24 Gurus around us -III

continued from previous post…..

  1. Pingala: There was a dancing girl named Pingala, she was tired of looking for customers. As time went by no one came and she became anxious and frustrated. At the height of frustration she gave up her wait for customer and went to sleep. At that moment it also dawned on her that she does not need anyone for her happiness and bliss, decides to give up her pursuit of wealth and pleasing customers. She teaches that abandonment of expectation from people leads to contentment and infinite joy. Also with Atma contained in oneself there is no need to search outside for happiness and contentment.
  2. The kurara bird (hawk):A hawk carrying a prey was attacked by other birds like crow, eagle and other larger animals eyeing for same prey.  After some fierce fight, the bird carrying the prey, out of fear for its life,  let it fall so that other birds immediately went after the prey  allowing the original bird that had the meat to escape. From this one learns that there is intense competition and aggression in the world to acquire  material objects and for worldly pleasures. One who yearns for it is likely to come into contest and clash with fellow being who also compete for the same leading to avoidable aggression, strife, worry and stress. By balancing, managing and controlling ones wants one can save himself much of the unhappiness, have  and enjoy peace of mind.
  3. The child:Two children fight for some time. Their parents intervene to end the fight and they end up being enemies for life. But the children who were fighting initially  after some time forget and start playing together again. This is because they are free from ego and innocent. Be like a child to be happy.
  4. The young girl:There was a young girl who was doing work with hands full of bangles. During work it jangled against each other and was making noise. Since she had guest then, she did not want them to know that she was doing work. So, to reduce noise she removed all bangles except two. This reduced the noise to a great extent, but still was making noise, then she removed one more and was wearing only one in each hand. This way she could work without making noise and desist other from knowing what she was doing. So too, when many people live together, there will be noise, clashing of interests, disturbance, discord, dispute and fighting. Even when there are only two people difference of opinion and resultant discord is bound to be there. So, the ascetic is better of living in solitude. This is what the maiden working with hands full of bangle teaches one.
  1. The arrow maker: Once there was an arrow maker who was so absorbed in his work of making a straight arrow that he did not notice the king’s procession passing by. Then I learnt that to produce excellent result focus is necessary.
  2. The snake: The snake never builds a place for itself. It moves around and changes its place and sheds it outer skin. Thus it is able to lead safe life. An ant though puts effort and makes ant hill and later that is taken by snakes. Likewise, the householders endure difficulty in building and running their house by themselves while ascetic lives free by roaming around and not being rooted in one place. Thus one should know that people aspiring for carefree life should live lite, know his true self, and understand that at the end of his life time one will shed this body and get a new life as per one’s actions in this life time.
  3. The spider: The spider weaves its web from the thread in the form of a fluid. After sometime, it gathers up the web into itself. Thus the God projects the whole world during creation phase and after sometime, withdraws it into itself at the time of dissolution. The individual soul too takes birth in the body as per its past action, and in alignment with its inherent tendencies acquires intellect, mind, sense organs and bodies of action. Its latent tendencies direct the role play and actions while in this world and space. And at the end of allotted time-frame, death occurs when the soul again withdraws its senses, mind, and tendencies acquired in the life time and leaves the body. Thus, birth and death, creation and dissolution happens is what one learns from Spider.
  4. The wasp/Caterpillar: Wasp trapped a weaker insect in his hive. This insect took on the mentality of a wasp out of intense fear of the wasp, and thus became a wasp in its next life. This illustrates how one attains in the next life what one’s mind is fixed upon. You are the company you keep and what you think you become is what one learn from caterpillar. Good thoughts, company and action will lead one to higher level/birth.

Thus are the advise of Dattatreya to Yadu on what he has learnt from nature around him and how inculcating it in his life has made him blissful.

***

 

The Nature as Teacher – 24 Gurus around us -II

continued from earlier post…..

Of the following 24 teachers from around us we saw The earth, Air, Sky, Water, Fire, Moon, Sun, and Pigeon in the previous post. In this let us see what the stories of python, sea, moth, honey bee, elephant, honey collector, deer and fish teaches us.

The Earth The Air The Sky Water Fire Moon
Sun Pigeon Python Sea Moth Honey Bee
Elephant Honey Thief Deer Fish Prostitute Pingala Kurara Bird
The Child Young Girl Arrow Maker Serpent Spider Wasp
  1. Python: Python does not roam around looking for food instead waits for food to come to him and eats whatever comes it way, be it sufficient or not. It teaches us to accept whatever one comes across in the life, taking sufferings, hardships, miseries in life, joy, happiness, wealth in ones stride. Be rest assured and content with one’s state and be peaceful, you will get what is needed.
  2. Sea: Sea is deep. Sea is Clear. Sea cannot be crossed easily. Can’t churn it. Because of monsoon or the rivers emptying in it, sea does not swell or shrink. A sage, like sea is clear minded, unmoved amidst the tribulations of life. His wealth of knowledge is available to all those who associate with him.
  3. Moth: A moth is captivated by the radiance of flames, gets attracted, approaches flame, gets burned and dies. Thus being attracted by the outward look of things, we get deceived and fall prey. Man is foolishly gets tempted by the illusory pleasures of the visual sense and gets caught in the ceaseless cycles of birth and death. The wise one, understand the illusion of the sensory world and controls it and thereby obtains freedom.
  4. Honey Bee: A honey bee obtains honey from all flowers, without harming the flower and within the limit. Also note that the honey bee does not drink honey but it gets killed for it by honey gatherers. Thus a wise man should be able to know how, where and how much obtain necessary things, without harm for the self and the giver, without being greedy.
  5. Elephant: A bull elephant is captured by using female elephant as bait. Thus is man/woman gets lured by infatuation and sex and uncontrolled and unrighteous attraction to opposite sex is harmful is what elephant teaches one.
  6. Honey Thief: Honey being greedy collects honey, stores it, does neither eats it by self or allow other honey-bees to eats it. And one fine day it looses it to honey collector. Similarly man accumulates wealth by hard work, over a period of time, by umpteen sacrifices, forsaking enjoyment, and may lose it suddenly to fire, flood, treachery, tax, or if he were to die to his heirs or third party if issue less who may use of misuse his wealth. Thus being greedy leads one to loss is what honey bee teaches
  7. Deer: The deer is very fond of music and is very much attracted by it thus is trapped by hunter using music. It is trapped by the sense organ of listening – the ear. Thus excessive passion and sensory pleasure of listening to music and dance is thus harmful is what Deer teaches.
  8. Fish: The fish in search for food, due to greed is caught by the tasty bait and dies. Similarly, man meets his destruction by his craving for delicious food. Among the senses, tongue is the most powerful and difficult to control, and once controlled it makes it easy for one to manage other sensory pleasures. Learn to eat healthy and balanced food and be saved. Control your tongue, the sense organ for taste is what one learns from Fish.

To be continued

The Nature as Teacher – 24 Gurus around us

Life comes in various shapes, sizes and flavor. We share this world with natural elements of earth, space, fire, air, water, animals, plants, minerals and people. Of course there are supposed to be unknown elements and let us leave it out. We interact with them. A man who learns from his own experience leads a miserable life. the one who learns from others also leads a average life. The one who learns from anything and everything around us leads an exemplary life.

There is a converstation between “Dattatreya”, a Sage, and “Yadu”, a King in “Bhagavatham” where Dattatreya, when asked,  explains the reason for his happiness to the king, that it is because he has learned about the world from his Surrounding, Nature, and 24 Gurus follows it, he is happy, though from worldy point of view he might be considered a impoverished.

Now what are the 24 teachers around us. They are:

The Earth The Air The Sky Water Fire Moon
Sun Pigeon Python Sea Moth Honeybee
Elephant Honey Thief Deer Fish Prostitute Pingala Kurara Bird
The Child Young Girl Arrow Maker Serpent Spider Wasp

The Twenty-Four Gurus:

1.Earth: We use and abuse earth. We dig it out, load it, scorch it, dirty it and what not. Yet it provides us the plant, minerals, water bodies for our survival. It brings us stability. It is patient. Despite doing all this it supports us. Thus people may insult us, cheat us, ignore us do whatever may be keeping patience and not taking on us and not worrying about it helps us keep our mind stable and worry free. Learn the art of patience, performing ones duty, forbearance and helpful tendencies from Earth.

2. The Air: The air has no smell but carries the scent from the surroundings be it good and bad. But it is not tainted by it. The aromatic smell of flowers, spices, perfume or bad smell from dump yard, pollution does not affect the inherent quality of air. Same way the air goes into pipe in one but the sound that comes from it is varied. The cow is of different color but the milk is of white. Likewise the Atma-soul in all of us is Real, Happy and Eternal and is not affected by the happening to the person.

3. The sky: The sky is vast. Atma is so. Though the sky extends everywhere and everything rests within it, it does not mix with anything. The sky is never implicated or affected by the blowing action of the wind, water, rain, thunder or clouds. In the same way the living entity, the atma, is never affected though it may enter a body of material elements, the life.

4. Water: Water is essential for living. It is needed for our livelihood – drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, extraction, factory production etc. It is a great coolant and provides taste for food. It is a wonderful cleanser. The great seers of the world are like water. The yogi like that cleanses all the people who come in contract with him. Essentially that in being touch with great people everyone achieves greatness. Connecting with good people, help one in providing direction in leading the life.

5. Agni: The fire has beauty. It Illuminates.It is not easily reachable. Anything you put in it digests. It burns everything it comes into contact. It is impartial to shape, size and type of product. The Yogis and great people have charisma akin to Fire. He is not impacted by his company or the food he eats. He is able to maintain his purity under all conditions. Like fire he comes into contact with people for some time but he goes back to his work. He helps those who approach him also to achieve greatness. Similarly Atma is not affected by the body it takes, works based on it and comes and goes. From fire  learn to glow with the splendor of Self-knowledge and austerity.

6. Moon: The moon waxes and wanes but because of that the moon is not any less. So also the person who is born gets modified throughout his life – Being, born, change, growth, decline and death. And because the body is changed it is incorrect to assume the soul also gets transformed. Soul remains inviolate. As the man changes his cloths the Atma drops the body when it is not able to support him and gets into new one.

7. Sun: Sun is the cause for water cycle and clouds but it never takes credit for the same. The sun in the pond seems like moving but it does not. Sun Illuminates. Same way the soul and a Yogi does not take credit for the acts of body. The Atma seems to be affected by the acts of body but it is not.

8. Pigeon: Once in a family of pigeons, the father sees its wife and children are caught in hunter’s net and goes to free it, fails and it also gets caught in the same web. This is because of the excessive attachment, for the father pigeon thinks that without them life is not worth living. Had it thought for moment that it is difficult to free them it would not have attempted this and thus saving self. So also, we, the human beings get muddled into life because of our excess attachment. Attachment is bondage. The right way, learning from pigeon would be to love and yet be not excessively attached. Loving yet being discriminatory and detached our life would be peaceful.

  • to be continued

24 Gurus from Bhagavatam

 

Why Suffer

The Fault is of the Sufferer

Suffering is inevitable aspect of life. All of us suffer. When we suffer the first questions that crosses our mind is why, why me, why now, what did I do wrong, is there a reason for it, will I recover and where do I go from here.  And many a times that answers we get, if at all we get, would be more complex and confusing. And rarely we get answers that are simple, profound and to our liking.

When we suffer, due to some reason after the first set of questions, we want to know who is at fault. And when a problem resulting in suffering occurs, be it in home, school, college, office, public space, it happened because of so and so, or an incident, or accident or a natural cause.  If one were to go by psychiatrist, after analyzing our life, one identifies that our parents, siblings, teachers, Government etc. are the reason one is suffering.

In his book “The fault is of the sufferer”, Ambalal Patel, A Jain Guru gives an interesting says that, Sufferings happen because of three cause – one’s Karma (Action) which is Law of the Nature, mistakes committed by us in the past, and ignorance of the ways of the world.

Karma and Nature’s Law

“Nature’s law governs this world at all times. The simple rule being -Those who deserve merit receive their merit and those who deserve punishment are punished. Nothing operates outside the law of nature. The law of nature is completely just, but because one does not understand it, he does not accept it. When one’s understanding becomes pure, he will be able to accept nature’s justice. “This law is exact and no one can ever change it. There is no law in this world that can inflict suffering upon anyone, not even the law of the government”.

Past Mistakes

One is free of sufferings, but we suffer because of our past mistake, be it of this life or past life, and are bound by it. Because of our mistakes, be it of understanding, thinking, action in any area of the field we work, mistakes happen resulting in failure, accidents, loss, gain and so on. And once we identify the mistake and eliminate it we can be free of resultant suffering.

Ignorance

Majority of the People do not have the knowledge of the Reality of this world and how it functions. They only have the knowledge of ignorance, the relative world, which causes them to wander endlessly, life after life. To give an example, if someone steals your wallet, need to identify whose fault is it and why is that only your wallet was stolen and not anyone else’s?

Karma is Relentless

We read newspapers or watch TV, we get to know about lots of untoward incidents like, theft, accidental death and atrocities happening. This leads to worry, anxiety, negative thinking, unwanted imagination causing us suffering. One needs to know that You will only be robbed if it is in your karmic account. If it is not in your karma, then no one in this world can touch you, so be fearless  and not afraid of what is happening around us. No one has any control over you. If you happen to get robbed, all you need to do is ask yourself who is really suffering and then move on. The world is not meant for suffering, it is meant for enjoying. People receive that which is due to them according to their karmic account. Some people are happy and some are suffering all because of our legacy. Most importantly, if you are suffering, it is your own fault. Therefore, do not see anyone else’s fault, otherwise you will create new karmic accounts for your next life.

Learn to Live

One must learn how to live life. Suppose you fight at home, say between father and son, or husband and wife, and one of them is suffering and not able to sleep while the other has no concern whatsoever and is able to go about himself/herself, and sleeps soundly, know that the one who is suffering is at fault. The fault is of the sufferer.

There is no one in this world that can inflict the slightest bit of suffering upon you, and if someone does, he is merely an instrument in it. And do not blame the instrument, but know that the fault is of the sufferer. Once this fact is understood all problems and quarrels at home will cease and then one can use the energy to do other things.

If you just understand that the fault is of the sufferer, the burden of this worldly life will be lifted significantly. God’s law says that at any given time, at any given place, the person who suffers is at fault. A pickpocket is happy when he steals a person’s wallet. He will enjoy himself with the money he stole, whereas his victim will be suffering. He must have stolen in his past life and so today nature has caught him and therefore he is paying for his mistakes. Therefore, the sufferer is at fault.

Freedom from Suffering

No one is at fault. The fault is of the person who blames others. There is nobody at fault in this world. Everyone gets what he or she deserves according to his or her karma. They are not creating new faults today. Today’s situation is the result of past karma. Today one may repent but since he has already made a contract in his previous life, he has no choice but to fulfill it. If you want to know who is at fault in this world, find the one who suffers. He is at fault.

Problems between people are escalated and exacerbated by each placing the blame on the other. If they continue to blame each other, they will create new accounts and they must suffer them all over again. Their accounts can only be settled through awareness and intelligence that the fault is of the sufferer. Therefore, if you want to be liberated from this world, accept whatever comes your way, whether it is good or bad. This way, your accounts will be settled.

World as Machine

If your finger gets stuck in the gears of a machine, the machine is not at fault. Similarly think everyone around you is like a machine. All these parents, children, husbands, wives, colleagues, partners, society, Government are nothing but machinery. They are not responsible for your suffering. By thinking like this shift the blame to self and thereby reducing the suffering gain control. If you do not let yourself be affected by the actions of others, then you do not suffer. So, understand that fault is yours and that is why you suffer. Comprehend this one will be at peace.

The Action Reaction Cycle

There is nobody at fault in this world. Everyone gets what he or she deserves according to his or her karma (Actions). They are not creating new faults today. Today’s situation is the result of past karma. Today one may repent but since he has already made a contract in his previous life, he has no choice but to fulfill it. If they continue to blame each other, they will create new accounts and they will have to suffer them all over again. Therefore, if you want to be liberated from this world, you have to accept whatever comes your way, whether it is good or bad. This way, your accounts will be settled. Whatever you have given to others, you will receive in return. If you accept it gladly, you will be settling your account. If you do not accept it, you will have to suffer. Know that the fault is of the sufferer.

Your inner enemies of anger, pride, attachment and greed (krodh, maan, maya, lobh), makes you see faults in others. The vision of the Self, does not see any faults in others.

Our sufferings are either physical, mental or intellectual. Sometimes it is the ego that suffers and so the ego is at fault. Sometimes the mind suffers and so the fault is of the mind. Sometimes the chit (the subtle component of the mind that is composed of both knowledge and vision) suffers so the chit is at fault. The Real Self is detached from the mistakes of the relative self. In situations at home, in the business, at work, everywhere, just look to see who is suffering; the one who suffers is the one who is at fault and exists as long as there is ault. Once the faults are gone, no one in this world, no event in this world, will have the power to give any suffering to you.

***

Excerpts fromThe fault is of the Sufferer”, by Ambalal B Patel, A Jain Guru.

Gita – Working your way through Life – Chapter III

Karma Yoga Chapter III

Knowledge or Action which is superior, what should one go after is the theme of Chapter III of Bhagavad Gita, which is the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, Krishna being the Guide. This is one question perplexing to us for it is generally seen that either one is good in execution or good in strategy, planning and design and there is a general mistrust between these two set of people. Arjuna was not an outsider to this. And like many of us he is lazy to contemplate and decide for himself and wants Krishna to give a directive answer. Let us see what are Krishna’s answer to this.

Action Vs. Inaction

There are two paths, path of knowledge and action each having its own virtue. Man, does not get freedom from action by not participating in it nor by renouncing it. And by nature of birth, man cannot be without performing action. On the other hand, by shunning physical action, sitting in meditation controlling the action of mind and sense organs, man can achieve perfection is sheer hypocrisy. But the one, while controlling his mind and senses, does his duty in this world, action in alignment with his Dharma is superior. Hence perform right action, for action is superior to inaction and that action is needed even if one must just maintain the physical body. (Even though it is not considered action in normal parlance, actions of breathing, eating, pumping of blood by heart, excretion etc. are the acts of maintaining the body also need some action from one though could be involuntary and when this stops the life ends.) the world is bound by action and as such one has to perform action free from desire, attachment and for the common good. For action, free from desire and attachment, both which is the cause and effect of calm mind, and results in superior result, gaining knowledge and excellence

The Action Cycle

Food is essential for man and he comes from food. Food comes from the bounty of rain gods for rain is needed for production of food which is followed by sacrifice and action. And action comes from knowledge that comes from consciousness that is eternal and all pervading. So for a man who participates in this wheel of action, not indulging in sense pleasures, content and rejoicing in self there is nothing to do. He is self sufficient that he does not depend on external ideas, objects or actions for his happiness. Hence please perform work without any attachment for therein lies freedom.

Role Model

People follow a role model. What a leader does everyone follows. Leaders set standards for other to follow. Krishna gives the example of self that though he is not going to gain anything from the work he performs (Creation, sustenance and destruction), he still has to continue for if he stops the whole world stops leading to destruction. Thus no body is exempt from working.

How to Work

An ignorant man acts with attachment to his work and a wise should act without attachment. And at the same time wise man should not denounce the act of ignorant ones who act with attachment. All actions follow the natural cause and yet man thinks that he is the doer. So each man performs work that is appropriate to his state, nature and knowledge. Thus a man who is superior in knowledge and experience does work according to his inherent nature, his evolutionary state and yet should not delude those who work in different stratum of hierarchy. For doing this would confuse them and hinder their work and the society. The wise many by virtue of his performance would anyway be able to lead them towards improvement.

Work within the Laws of Life

There are various laws existing – laws of nature, society, organization, political, economic, moral and ethical etc.- those who are aware of these laws and work within the framework of these laws appropriate as per the ground reality progress and prosper in this world and those who defy and break them come to grief and debasement.

Man by nature is varied in his disposition. One is introvert or extrovert, knowledge oriented or action oriented, thinking or intuitive and so on. And all his action would be in alignment with his nature. Each one is encouraged to evolve in line with his temperament. Attaining perfection in their way of action is the goal for him. For following ones nature aids in his growth and evolution and actions against their nature is not conducive for his welfare.

This leads to the next question – If one is to follow his own nature for freedom then what is the role of self-control and self-discipline. While working as per ones natural tendencies man gains and with the help of senses, mind and intellect understands reality, performs his action and leading to fulfillment, yet man has to learn to work controlling the senses rather than being controlled by it. By taming the senses, beyond likes and dislikes, man has to learn to work. And in work the best philosophy is each according to his own, that is doing one’s own duty is superior to performing duty of others however good one may be at it and pleasurable and adept at it.

What Induces man to commit sin?

Krishna says that desire, that is all consuming is the cause for sins or problems of the world. It is insatiable as fire and covers like smoke covers the fire, dust the mirror and water the fetus, meaning is not easily visible. The desire is created by senses, mind and intellect where in mind is greater than senses, and intellect that mind for each is subtler that the previous. But Atma, Brahman, Self or consciousness as you may call it is greater than all the three. Thus discriminating and being aware of the action created by desire, induced by sense, mind and intellect and transcending it restraining the self the man over comes the desire and attains freedom.

To summarize,

Thus Krishna advises  that Knowledge and action are both needed in this world. And when performing action, do your duty, as per your stature, nature, and instinct. Be you the president of country, rich, poor, leader, follower, lecturer, blue color worker, bachelor, married, monk, young, old does not matter. All have to work and carry out the responsibilities applicable to them. It may be varied yet they are the same. There is no escaping the fact.  Perform and acquire excellence through the directed, disciplined action using senses, mind and intellect yet not giving into their domination. Action is unavoidable for those who have born in this world. So work selflessly for only through work the world runs, and one attains perfection in their chosen course of work and work without being egged by likes and dislikes and with calm disposition to succeed in life. By controlling desire, sense organs, mind and intellect, performing ones duty one can attain freedom from the life. Each work according to his own.

***

 

“The Power of Silence” Carlos Castanda – Quotable Quotes

During our active lives we never have the chance to go beyond the level of mere preoccupation, because since time immemorial the lull of daily affairs has made us drowsy. It is only when our lives are nearly over that our hereditary preoccupation with fate beings to take on different character. It begins to make us see through the fog of our daily affairs. Unfortunately, this awakening always comes hand in hand with loss of energy caused by aging, when we have no more strength left to turn our preoccupation into a pragmatic and positive discovery. At this point, all there is left is an amorphous, piercing, anguish, a longing for something indescribable, and simple anger at having missed out.

***

Perception is the hinge for everything man is or does and the perception is ruled by the location of the assemblage point. Therefore, if the point changes positions, man’s perception of the world changes accordingly. One who knew where to place his assemblage point could become anything he wanted.

***

Transformations were strategical. They are determined by the need of time.

***

I was young and stupid that only the obvious had value for me.

***

Wisdom always comes to us painfully and in driblets.

***

Plans of action is appropriate only if one were dealing with average human beings. In the human context, we can plan and plot and depending on luck, plus our cunning and dedication can succeed. But in the face of the unknown, the only hope of survival was to acquiesce and understand.

***

Stalking was an art applicable to everything and that there were four steps to learning it; ruthlessness, cunning, patience and sweetness. And ruthlessness should not be harshness, cunning should not be cruelty, patience should not be negligence and sweetness should not be foolishness. And these four steps should be practiced and perfected until they were so smooth that they were unnoticeable.

***

Women are natural stalkers. And only in a woman’s disguise could any man learn the art of stalking it is about being ruthless but charming, cunning but nice, patient but active, and sweet but lethal.

***

People have no idea of the strange power we carry within ourselves. At this moment for instance you have the means to reach infinity.

***

Words are tremendously powerful and important and are the magical property of whoever has them.

***

The very first principle of stalking is that a warrior stalks himself. He stalks himself ruthlessly, cunningly, patiently and sweetly. Very succinctly stalking is the art of using behavior in novel ways for specific purposes. Normal human behavior in the world of everyday life is routine. Any behavior that broke from routine caused an unusual effect on our total being. The unusual effect was what sorcerers sought because it was cumulative.  The seers of ancient times, through their seeing, had first noticed that unusual behavior produced a tremor in the assemblage point. And if unusual behavior was practiced systematically and directed wisely, it eventually forced the assemblage point to move.

***

The real challenge for those sorcerer seers, was finding a system of behavior that was neither petty nor capricious, but that combined the morality and the sense of beauty which differentiates seers from witches.

***

Heightened awareness – what would the survival value be. Would one be able to assess the situations better? Be quicker than the average man or perhaps be intelligent? Heightened awareness was the entrance to the portal of intent.

***

The knowledge was there for everyone. It was there to be felt, to be used but not to be explained. One could come into it by changing levels of awareness and therefore heightened awareness was entrance. But even the entrance could not be explained. One could only make use of it. The natural knowledge of intent was available to anyone, but command of it belonged to those who probed it.

***

Thinking and saying exactly what you want to say requires untold amounts of energy.

***

Cutting our chains is marvelous, but also very undesirable for nobody wants to be free. The chains imprison us, but by keeping us pinned down on our comfortable spot of self reflection, they defend us from the onslaughts of the unknown. Once our chains are cut we are no longer bound by the concerns of daily world. We are still in the daily world, but wo don’t belong there anymore. In order to belong we must share the concerns of people and without chains we can’t.

***

Normal people share a metaphorical dagger; the concerns of our self-reflection. With this dagger, we cut ourselves and bleed; and the job of our chains of self-reflection is to give us the feeling that we are bleeding together, that we are sharing something wonderful; our humanity. But if we were to examine it, we would discover that we are bleeding alone; that we are not sharing anything; that all we are doing is toying with our manageable, unreal, manmade reflection. Seers are no longer in the world of daily affairs for they are no longer prey to their self reflection.

***

Extraordinary perception, seeing occurs when by the force of intent a different cluster of energy fields energizes and lights up both within us and outside us. And awareness takes place when the energy fields inside us were aligned with the same energy fields outside. Thu alignment of energy sources is the source of heightened awareness. Awareness was the glow of energy fields being lighten up and the force that did that is called will.

***

Our great collective flaw is that we live our lives completely disregarding that connection. The busyness our lives, our relentless interests, concerns, hopes, frustrations and fears take precedence and on a day to day basis we are unaware of being linked to everything else.

***

It did not matter what out specific fate is as long as we faced it with ultimate abandon. If we had to go under it should be fighting, not apologizing or feeling sorry for oneself.

***

Stalking is a procedure, a special behavior that  is secretive furtive, deceptive and is designed to deliver a jolt. And when you stalk yourself your jolt yourself using your own behavior in a ruthless, cunning way.

***

The idea of death is of monumental importance in life. The knowledge of our impending and unavoidable end is what gives us sobriety. Our most costly mistake as average men are indulging in a sense of immortality it is as thought we believe that if we don’t think about death we can protect ourselves from it. Not thinking about death certainly protects us from worrying about it but that purpose is an unworthy one for average man a travesty for seers. Without a clear view of death, there is no order, no sobriety, no beauty.  This crucial insight is needed to help us realise that the life will continue beyond the moment. This realisation gives one the courage to be patient and yet take action, courage to be acquiescent without being stupid.

***

Death is not an enemy as though it appears to be. Death is our challenger. Death is the only worthy opponent we have and we are born to take that challenge. Life is the process by means of which death challenges us. Death is the active fore. Life is the arena. And in that arena there are only two contenders at any time. Oneself and death. If we move it is only when we feel the pressure of death. Death sets the pace for our actions and feelings and pushes us relentlessly until it breaks us and wins the bout or else we rise above all possibilities and defeat death.

***

What we need to do to allow magic to get hold of us to banish doubt from our minds, once doubts are banished anything is possible.

***

The place of not pity is the site of ruthlessness.

***

I had learned through life fearful experience that nothing in life is free.

***

Silent knowledge is something that all of us have. Something that has complete mastery, complete knowledge of everything, but it cannot think, therefore, it cannot speak of what it knows. When man became aware that he knew and wanted to be conscious of what he knew he lost sight of what he knew. This silent knowledge which you can not describe is of course intent – the spirit, the abstract. Mans error was to want to know it directly the way he knew everyday life. the more he wanted, the more ephemeral it became meaning that the more he clings to the world of reason the more ephemeral intent becomes.

***

What is continuity – the idea that we are a solid block. In our minds what sustains our world is the certainty that we are unchangeable. We may accept that our behavior can be modified that our reactions and opinions can be modified  but the idea that we are malleable to the point of changing appearances, to the point of being someone else, is not part of the underlying order of our self reflection. Then that order is interrupted the world of reason stops.

***

Human being are creators of inventory. Knowing the ins and outs of a particular inventory is what makes a man a scholar or an expert in his field. When an average persons inventory fails the person either enlarges his inventory or his world of self reflection collapses. The average person is willing to introduce new items into his inventory if they don’t contradict the inventory’s underlying order. But if the items contradict that order, the persons mind collapses. The inventory is the mind.

***

Continuity is so important in our lives that if it breaks it always instantly repaired. If there is break uncertainty is to be expected till a new continuity is established.

***

If you think of life in terms of hours instead of years, our lives are immensely long. Even if you think in terms of days life is still interminable.

***

My benefactor did not believe in handing down knowledge. He thought that knowledge imparted that way lacked effectiveness. It was never there one needed it. On the other hand if knowledge was only insinuated the person who was interested would devise ways to claim that knowledge.

***

***

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.

* * *

 

 

Arjuna’s Dilemma – Gita I

“Vande Guru Paramparam”

The Bhagavad Gita, “Song Celestial” has been a guiding force for man. It is born out of quandary, in the war zone, amidst action, inaction and numbness. Arjuna the great archer the world has ever produced, eulogized for his valor is at loss: How can he fight a war – a war with his relatives, teachers, kinsman; with whom he is to enjoy his kingdom when he wins the war and when he wins the war it would be at their demise. What do one do with kingdom, luxuries and life thus obtained? If such a war is won is it worth it. At what cost: when this thought comes to his mind he is in a dilemma. He wants to stop the war and call a truce. To fight or not to fight is the raging war on his mind. He is putting forth his doubts and questions that plague his mind to Sri Krishna.

Gita is a dialogue that happens then between prince Arjuna and Krishna who is to be the charioteer to him in the Mahabharata war being fought between Kauravas and Pandavas. The conversation is mind opening dialogue where the profound philosophy of life is enumerated in 18 chapters and 700 slokas. The Gita is supposed to have answers to all the ills that plague the mankind. It has also had profound impact on western philosophers, scientists and vedantins. The question that arises is can a song advised to a warrior in the battle ground be applied to ordinary folks. What are the lessons that Gita proposes for ordinary human beings to lead a healthy life? This is the doubt that arises in common man.

The first chapter of Gita known as “Arjuna Vishada Yoga” discusses the questions that arises in the mind of Arjuna. While Arjuna laments about not needing to fight the war considering the consequences of it and leaving the warfront, the central theme of issues raised by him are generally faced by each one of human being, whatever be their place, role, status, time etc. For aspiration, desire, Loss, illness, pain, suffering, sorrow- No one is immune to it. No vaccine for that has been found yet. But yet life must continue. For the sake of living, dead and living dead.  Do one continue to wallow in their personal misery, debating who is big, yours or mine, or get over it, face it boldly and overcome it.  This depends on how we respond to sorrow. Some overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, grieves, mourns, laments, beats his breast and becomes bewildered. Or one overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, comes to search outside. This was exactly the scenario in which Arjuna finds himself to be and raises the questions to Krishna for answer.

Some of the questions that Arjuna addresses to Krishna explains the scenario of every one of us faces in life. That is what makes the Gita the first philosophy and psychology book.

  1. How do we face the obstacles, problems, sorrow, suffering that we face in doing our duty and living in this world, whatever may be our age, role, status, aspirations, field of operation and country to name a few?
  2. How do we address the conflicting, emotions, desires, thoughts that rage war in our minds? How do we control the mind that runs riot?
  3. What happens when the problems that we face or not due to any external enemy from across the border, or even our house, ourselves but our own – starting from body, mind, intellect, our possessions, family and relations.
  4. What happens when one has to face demonic qualities of hypocrisy, arrogance, conceit, anger, and harsh speech of our own or our enemies. What is the effect. How do we handle it?
  5. How do we keep our spirits high or rather remain in equanimity in all circumstance, good and bad and indifferent?
  6. Do I allow my senses to run free? And when that happens mind follows senses and intellect the mind and all of them creating havoc. How do I rein them in and keep them in control?
  7. How can we remain fit enough to fight the battle? As weak man is not capable of fighting the battle
  8. How do we battle between compassion and justice? Should our enemy be vanquished or do be become nonviolent and let him go especially when compassion is more as a sign of run-away emotion.
  9. It is known that dejection has to fill the heart before compassion can enter. How do one handle the transformation state.
  10. How do one decide? Does one go after what you desire or what is good?
  11. What should one do in the mental state of dejection be it cause of physical, mental, or intellectual reasons.
  12. How do one purify mind and intellect. How to overcome weakness. Become bold.
  13. Will I succeed is overcoming sorrow. How do I vanquish the mental anguish of having to fight a war with my near and dear?
  14. How do we overcome ambiguous thinking, and gain knowledge and the discriminative capacity – the capacity to judge what is right and what is wrong
  15. How do we equip ourselves to execute our appropriate duties that we face in life effectively?

For a man action, struggle, effort, engagement, work and striving decides the life, growth and evolution. Without these one is in a state of inertia, a comfort zone where status quo is maintained. In comfort no growth happens. Yet in a state of movement life is a constant struggle and uncertain. And evolution is to happen whether one wishes or not. Under these condition how does one live. How does one be and what is the purpose of this life is what Gita teaches.

******

P.S: This is the first in series of article where I try to write my understanding of Gita. And Gita being profound, subjective is the reason why it has attracted many philosophers and commentaries. Nothing is like original. So I would recommend you read the original. Following are some of the References that I would be using.

  1. Sri Gita Rasa Ratnakar, by Swami Akhandananda Saraswatiji Maharaj, Satsahita Prakasan Trust
  2. Commentary on Bhagavad Gita, Swamy Krishnananda, The Divine Life Society
  3. Bhagavad Gita, Swamy Nikhilananda, Ramakrishna Vivekananda Central
  4. Holy Gita, Swami Chinmanayananda
  5. Gita Home Study Course, Swamy Dayananda Saraswati
  6. The Bhagavad Gita, Swami Chitbhavananda, Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life, Struggle, Evolution and Liberation in the words of Vivekananda

What is Life

Life is the unfoldment and development of a being under circumstance tending to press it down, and the environment not allowing it to express itself. Life is a tremendous potential power that is trying to express itself against the circumstance and environment that is thwarting it from expressing it fully. So in order to succeed in this fight against environment and circumstances the power is shedding itself, dying now and taking new bodies again and again and evolving with each birth. Like waves on ocean, what differentiates one wave from the other being, nothing but its form that in turn is differentiated by time, space, causation which is dependent upon the waves themselves so is the life of every one of us.

Struggle leading to Evolution

The awakening of the soul to its bondage and its effect to stand up and assert itself is called life. Success in this struggle is called evolution. The eventual triumph when all slavery is blown away is called liberation, freedom or salvation. Everything in this life is struggling for freedom for one in bound by nature, name, form, time, space, and causality and one does not realized one’s true self. One strains against these bonds one by one, becomes conscious of the self becomes aware of the innate grandeur which leads to liberation.

In physical level this fight is characterized by the continuous struggle of whole humanity against the so called laws of nature with the man succeeding in the end. In the mental level the struggle continues in the form of fight between the animal man and spiritual man, between light and darkness, and all types of dualities from which man needs to overcome to become victorious.

Evolution

A man is great among his fellows in proportion as he can sacrifice for others. Mans’ struggle  is in mental sphere. A man is greater in proportion as he can control his mind. When the mind and its activities are perfectly at rest then the consciousness manifests itself. The struggle which is observed in the animal kingdom for the preservation of the gross body obtains in the human place of existence for gaining mastery over the mind or for attaining the state of balance. Physical improvement is necessary for how will one struggle with mind as unless the physique is strong.

Without a knowledge of the truth there will be no life worth living. Life will be a desert and will be vain if we cannot know beyond. So if man rests content with the present and gives up all search into beyond, mankind will have to go back to animal plane again. It is this enquiry into the beyond that makes the different between man and animal.

The looking upward and seeking perfection are what is called salvation and sooner a man begins to go higher the sooner he raises himself towards this idea of truth as salvation. It does not consist in the amount of money one has, nor the dress one wears or of the house you live but the wealth of one’s mind, intellect and spiritual power that decides the man’s evolution. This is what makes human progress, that is the source of all material and intellectual progress, the motive power behind the enthusiasm that pushes mankind forward. It is not sensual pleasure but knowledge that is the goal of life.

All world is a play

The world is a playground. A drama theatre. The creator is playing, he is the producer and director and all of us are his crew. Each one of us is assigned a different role, put in different garb and led into the world. A beggar now, king in the next and saint in the succeeding play. Thus we are putting on different garb to let the creator spin his plan.

When the baby is at play, she will ignore that calls of her mother and once she finishes she rushes back to her mother. Similarly, when our play in this world is over and done with we want to move from here to here after. Then all our toil will be of no value. Our family, name, fame, wealth, joys and sorrows, success and failures will be no more and the whole life will seem like a show. We shall see only the infinite rhyme joining an endless and purpose less going not knowing where to.  Only this much shall we say our play is done.

Path to the freedom

Liberation is not attained by the weak. It needs setting aside all theories and dogmas. It needs one to be conscious of our dignity, reflect calmly every day, by oneself, the acts and dealing of us with others and find out that one is not just being an intermediate specie between an animal and man, which we are when all our energies are spent in eating, sleeping, procreating and struggling to live and die and trouble by the desires, hatred and jealousy.  The path to freedom requires one to shed weakness and control our mind, thought, and intellect which is acquired by cultivating the right attitude.

  1. I am here to play

We are here to play. What was started with hope became a task amidst play and terrifying somewhere along the way. How do we avert it? Like we see a painting a terrible one, but not affected by it. We may even enjoy it, comment upon its techniques, wonder about it, all despite the picture being a horrible scene. That is because of not internalizing it, not being part of it, merely of being a witness and not being attached to it. That is the secret to living – The feeling “I am the spirit”, “I am the witness” and when something sad or evil thought occurs saying “I am the spirit. Nothing external can touch me. I am ever blessed and has no reason to suffer”. “This universe is my museum and I am looking at successive paintings. They are of all shades, good and evil but yet are outside of me and these event have no impact on me”.

  1. Balanced Mind

The balanced mind does more work. The less passion there is better the work. The calmer the one better it is for one to deliver more work. When feelings are let loose more energy is wasted, nerves become weak, mind is disturbed and because of this wasted of energy in many fronts one is able to deliver only less work. The energy that ought to have gone out as work is spent as more feeling which counts for nothing. The man for whom nothing can make angry accomplishes much more than one who gives way to anger, hatred or any other passion.  It is the calm, forgiving equable, well balanced mind that does greatest amount of world.

  1. Control Your Thoughts

By renunciation and practice is the mind brought under control. Like waves in a lake, thoughts and sense impression keep rising and continue in mind. From these waves raise desire. From these desires comes will and that will then get translated into various action through body. Like waves are endless so also desires, thoughts and actions. Hence mind is always being tossed by countless impressions of wants. The mind has to be divested of all disturbances or modifications, taken back to the earlies state of calmness such that there is no trace of various modification and desires. Then will consciousness manifest.

  1. Meditate on this

“I am neither the body, nor the mind, nor the intellect then who am I”. Then only one will be established in the real nature of the soul/atman. The atman is everything. You are none other than the relative consciousness born in this world to experience, work and enjoy. You are the only reality, the all-pervading atman. If and when you realize this, then only you will attain peace.

Liberation

Everyone from creator down to blade of gross is advancing towards the realization of his real nature. And none can escape the rounds of birth and death until he realizes his identity with Brahman. Getting the human birth, when the desire for freedom becomes very strong, along with it comes the grace of a person of realization and then man’s desire for self. Knowledge becomes intensified

Each soul is potentially divine, the goal is to manifest divinity within by controlling nature, both external and internal. We do this either by work, or worship, by mind or intellect, by one or all of these and be free.

Break your chain and be free. The strong shall inherit the world.

***

Notes from – I am a voice without a form – Thoughts of Swami Vivekananda” – Published by Ramakrishna Math, Hyderabad, India