Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Part 7

Part 6

Part 8

6 Moksha: Preparation, Jnana and Jnana Phala

6-1 Preparation
Amritbindu Upanishad says that the mind is the cause of both bondage and liberation. A mind attached to sensory objects is bondage and a mind dispassionate to sensory objects is freedom. It has three impurities, namely, likes and dislikes, wandering, and ignorance about the true nature of a jiva. The corresponding spiritual disciplines to remove them are karma yoga, upasana yoga, and jnana yoga. A person undertaking them is a seeker of truth. The first two disciplines make him qualified for jnana yoga. On successful completion of jnana yoga, a person is enlightened and liberated.

A seeker is said to be a jnani and enlightened if he has firm and living conviction (1) that his true nature is consciousness and he identifies himself with consciousness instead of mind-body system (2) that the empirical world is mithya, and (3) that his essential nature is same as that of Brahm, the reality because of which the empirical world exists. A qualified seeker is supposed to get enlightenment at sravan stage, i.e., by listening to the Advaita teachings from a qualified teacher. Theoretically. teaching is complete at sravan stage. However, in practice, the removal of doubts (manan) and the removal of habitual non-Vedantic thinking (nidhidhyasana) are required to reap the fruits of Self-knowledge.

Tattva-bodha prescribes four-fold qualifications (Sadhana Chatusthaya) for a seeker to undertake jnana yoga.
1 Viveka: Discrimination between permanent and impermanent.
2 Vairagya: Dispassion towards fruits of action in this world and after.
3 Shataka Sampatti: Six-fold virtues starting from Shama.
4 Mumukshutvam: Burning yearning for liberation.
Shataka Sampatti
1 Shama: Control of mind.
2 Dama: Control over ten organs: 5 sense organs and 5 action organs.
3 Uparati: Observance of one’s own dharma.
4 Titiksha: Endurance, not to be affected by pair of opposites.
5 Shradha: Faith in guru and scriptures.
6 Samadhan: Single-pointed mind.
If a seeker does not possess them, he begins from where he is and gradually acquires the qualifications.

The BG presents qualifying spiritual disciplines albeit in a different manner. For ease of reference, it is divided into two, namely, Preparatory Knowledge and Preparatory Actions.
6-1-1 Preparatory Knowledge
6-1-1-1 Precursor to Action 18(18 to 40)
Verses 18 to 40 contain a summary of the teachings in a different way. Any activity has three stages, knowing, desiring, and doing. There is another division: subject, object, and the instrument. This triad is the promoter of karma. Sri Krishna discusses knowledge, action, and agent. Each is classified based on qualities, sattva, rajas, and tamas.

Sattvic knowledge is one by which one sees a single, indestructible, undivided entity in all diversified things. Rajasic knowledge is one by which one takes differences in different things as real. Tamasic knowledge is one by which one considers one form as if it is all. It treats the body as the only reality and even ignores the mind. A person with tamasic knowledge is materialistic. In his vision, when the body dies, it is the end of the individual. He does not accept the subtle body and its existence and travel after death. He is the slave of sense organs and sense objects.

Action by which obligatory duties are performed without attachment to results and likes and dislikes is sattvic. An action performed with some desire and with an eye on the result is rajasic. Such actions are strenuous and driven by ego. A tamasic action is undertaken out of ignorance, without consideration of the result. A doer who is free from attachment to results, who is not egotistic and is free from notion of doer-ship, who is endowed with fortitude and diligence, and who is unperturbed by success and failure is said to be possessed of sattva. A doer who has attachment, who is desirous of the results of actions, covetous, cruel by nature, unclean, and subject to joy and sorrow is declared to be possessed of rajas. A doer who is unsteady, naive, unbending, deceitful, wicked, lazy and procrastinating is said to be possessed of tamas. A tamasic person lacks an integrated personality. The five sheaths, food, vital forces, mind, intellect, and bliss are not in unison. Integration of personality requires efforts which he disdains.

Intellect and fortitude (willpower) are of three types. The intellect which correctly determines the paths of action and renunciation, distinguishes between what is to be done and what is not to be done, between fear and fearlessness, and between bondage and liberation is sattvic. The intellect which does not differentiate between what is to be done and what should not be done is rajasic. The intellect that treats adharma as dharma, and dharma as adharma is wrapped in ignorance and is tamasic. It is as if seeing all things upside down. For spiritual growth, a person should be emotionally balanced and intellectually refined. He is clear about the goals of life and the means to accomplish them. The sattvic intellect knows the source of security. A person is fearful if he does not know the source of security as he gropes in darkness and experimentation. A sattvic intellect does not entertain doubts about things that promote spiritual growth.

A sattvic firmness is one by which a person controls the mind by meditation and with a controlled mind, he keeps the sense organs under check. He also controls vital forces. In a nutshell, he uplifts himself. The firmness by which a person holds on to dharma, artha, and kama to attain results of action is born of rajas. It is used for material purposes. The firmness owing to which the person does not give up sleep, fear, sorrow, and defeatist nature is tamasic. Such firmness does not give material benefit and causes spiritual downfall.

18(36 to 39) describe three types of happiness. Everybody wants happiness, but there is a choice regarding the type of happiness. An intelligent person chooses the right brand of happiness. The joy which springs from devotion to God, meditation on, and adoration of God is born of sattva. A person gets it by leading a spiritual life. The joy during karma and upasana yogas comes from the inside and not from external objects. It may be painful and like a poison in the beginning but it is nectar later. The joy that is due to contact of the sense organs with sense objects is rajasic; it is like nectar in the beginning and like poison at the end because no contact is permanent. Tamasic joy is delusive, it arises from sleep, laziness, and inadvertence. Tamasic joy is based on the philosophy that ignorance is bliss. Sleep is bliss, laziness is bliss. Such a person is fatalistic and lacks self-belief.

18(40) concludes that nothing in the world is free from three modes. All objects are born of three modes in varying proportions.
Contd (Part 8)

2 thoughts on “Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Part 7

  1. Excellent, Bimal! Really clear and concise. I will endeavor to remember to recommend this to questioners asking for practical advice for seekers attitude and behavior.

    Best wishes,

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