Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Part 6

5 Bandha (continued from Part 5)                                                      Part 7

5-5 Karmi 4(12), 9(20 to 26)

God is the giver of results of action, and He is impartial in as much as in whatever manner a person approaches Him, He reciprocates in the same manner. A person who approaches Him with devotion for the fulfilment of three goals, namely, desire, wealth, and dharma, He provides the same. The person performs various rituals of karma kanda and worships various deities. He is a Karmi. There is no sin attached to a karmi so long his pursuits are within the fold of dharma, i.e., not prohibited by scriptures. He gets (quick) success, i.e., in this world. He also gets success in other worlds, e.g., heaven. It is no wonder that common folks are karmis. The downside is that worldly pleasures are not permanent and secondly, they come in combination with sorrow. If the rituals are not performed as per scriptural injunctions, the results may be harmful and counterproductive.

An intelligent materialist should learn from his life experiences and switch over to selfless action (karma yoga) and become a devotee of Saguna God (upasana yoga). He can choose any personal deity. God takes care of such a devotee, brings full security, and fulfils his needs. 9(23) says that if a devotee worships other gods with faith, he unknowingly worships God. The reason is that God is infinite, gods are finite, and finite is included in infinite. God is the repository of all enjoyments and sacrifices. Unfortunately, a karmi does not know this and therefore he moves from death to death and so on. After death, a worshiper of god goes to the world of gods, a worshiper of ancestors goes to the world of ancestors, and a worshiper of spirits goes to the world of spirits. In contrast, another person who worships Him as the goal, He graces him by accepting even a small offering laden with knowledge and faith. Such a seeker takes recourse to jnana kanda for eventual freedom.

5-6 Gunas 14 (5 to 18)

5-6-1 Introduction A human being is born with an innate nature which is a mixture of three qualities, namely, sattva, rajas, and tamas. Sattva represents the quality of interest in knowledge, rajas, dynamism, and tamas represents dullness, laziness, and inactivity. The personality of a person is determined by the proportion in which the three qualities are present. Later, Sri Krishna would say that nothing in the world is free from the three qualities. A person’s thoughts and actions are guided by his nature. Sage Visvamitra became a Brahmin even though he was born a kshatriya. A Brahmin requires a sattva quality. Drona became a warrior because he had predominantly rajasic qualities even though he was a born Brahmin. Even a jnani’s life is not totally free from his nature. All jnani’s have got same knowledge. But their lifestyles are different. Some withdraw from worldly life and some are active.

5-6-2: 14(5 to 18) Chapter 14 is titled Yoga of classification of three qualities. It is a comprehensive analysis of three qualities. Everyone is a mixture of three qualities. It is the lower nature of a human being. The higher nature is consciousness. Consciousness is attribute-free and is beyond the three qualities. The ego is a function of the mind whereby a person identifies himself (I’) with mind-body and not with consciousness. A person will be bound in the world (samsara) so long he identifies with the lower nature. Freedom is possible if there is identification with the witnessing consciousness.

Three qualities are the cause of bondage. A sattvic person is happy in a sattvic setup (serene, calm) conducive to intellectual pursuit. If the setup is different, he is not happy. A rajasic person likes activity and is full of enthusiasm. If the setup is action-friendly, he is happy otherwise he is restless. A tamasic person is lazy, physically, and intellectually. If asked to perform an action, mental or physical, he feels threatened. Sattvic ahamkara, rajasic ahamkara, and tamasic ahamkara bind person, albeit in different ways. Sattva increases by subduing rajas and tamas, rajas by overpowering sattva and tamas, and tamas by dominating sattva and rajas.

The method of knowing a jiva in terms of qualities is explained. If the knowledge radiates from the personality, in words and actions, sattva is dominant making five sense organs bright and alert and the mind has an assimilating capacity to acquire knowledge fast. In the case of dominant rajas, a person pursues action to fulfil desires. He is driven by desire and wealth. The predominance of tamas is manifested in non-discrimination, inactivity, and delusion. The fate of three types of people post-death is described. A sattvic ignorant goes to pure and higher lokas and enjoys greater levels of happiness. He has earned punya by practicing Isvara upasana. He has moved upward spiritually. A rajasic ignorant is spiritually stagnant, is born among people attached to activity and neither goes nor goes down, it is spiritual stagnation. Similarly, when one dies while tamas predominates, he takes birth among foolish and ignorant species and there is spiritual downfall. The result of sattvic work is pure and happiness, the result of rajas is sorrow, and that of tamas is ignorance. Different lokas have different time and space. It is like a dream. Dream time and space are different from waking time and space. A higher loka is qualitatively superior in terms of mind-body system and experience.

5-7 Ajnani 3(27), 7(24,25,26,27), 9(3,11,12), 15(11) In 3(27) it is said that Atma is not a doer. It is because of ego, doer-ship is attributed to Atma. That Atma is not a doer means that it is not an enjoyer of results of action. It is not bound by karma. Merits and demerits do not cling to Atma, and birth and death are out of the question. A human being is born ignorant. He does not know his true nature is Atma which is neither a doer nor an enjoyer. He is also ignorant of God’s true nature. God has two natures, namely, Nirguna Brahm and Saguna Brahm. Nirguna Brahm is unmanifest. Ignorant people are fascinated by Saguna Brahm which manifests as an Avatara like Sri Krishna. An Avatara has a birth and a death.

Ignorant people do not take the trouble to know the unmanifest Nirguna Brahm which is the supreme truth and immutable. It is birthless and deathless. It is all pervasive and ever-evident in one or other of its aspects, namely, consciousness, existence, and infiniteness. The reason for this ignorance is that they are deluded by the maya power of Brahm. Maya has two aspects, projection, and veiling. By the former, the world is manifested and due to veiling power, jivas remain ignorant of their own true nature, i.e., Atma, and God’s higher nature. They are slaves of the maya whereas Brahm is the master of the maya. Due to the veiling power of maya, jivas are carried away by the visible multiplicity in the world and fail to see the oneness behind the multiplicity. The multiplicity gives rise to likes and dislikes perpetuating bondage for ignorant people and they are caught in the cycle of birth and death.

Ignorant people treat the human form of an Avatara as the real form of God. It is ignorance of God’s higher nature. As they do not know the higher nature, they do not take refuge in It which is the only source of security. Instead, they are in the grip of vain knowledge and futile actions. Unfortunately, they do not learn from their experience. They depend on some object, and the object goes away and they are left high and dry. When one perishable object goes away, they go after another perishable and shuttle between one finite and another finite. At the root of this futile and endless pursuit is ignorance.

A human pursuit has three stages: knowing, desiring, and doing. Knowing gives rise to desire and desire leads to action. In the absence of a proper understanding of things in the world; knowing power is misused followed by desire-power and action-power. 15 (11) says that a yogi has discriminating knowledge and ignorant people who lack discriminating power. The former can see the ever-present Brahm as Sat, Chit, or Ananda in every object of the world as its substratum. He sees indwelling Brahm as reflected consciousness. Others fail to cognize Brahm in the worldly objects and in themselves. One reason is over-obsession with worldly objects due to a lack of control over sense organs and the mind. Ignorant takes the body as Self and is engaged in satisfying the bodily needs and ‘kills’ the Self.
Contd Part 7