Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Pt 22

Part 21

Part 23

6 Moksha 6-1 Preparation
6-2 Jnana, Jnani, and Jnana-Phala
6-2-13 Stithiprajna 2(52 to 59, 69 to 72)

6-2-13-1: 2(52 to 59) Karma yoga purifies the mind and makes it fit to pursue Jnana yoga. Knowledge is an event in mind when it is free from delusion arising due to non-discrimination between Self and non-Self. Before gaining knowledge, the mind is distracted by various goals of life mentioned in Vedas. On gaining knowledge, the mind is steadfast, unshakable, and is established in Self. There is dispassion for what has been heard or ought to be heard as they are irrelevant. Having got an opportunity to learn about one who has Self-knowledge, Arjuna asks Sri Krishna to explain the features of a Stithiprajna. He wants to know about a man of steady wisdom: how does he speak, how does he sit, how does he walk? Prajna means knowledge. Arjuna has some ideas because he describes him as established in samadhi and he wants to know more.

Sri Krishna’s reply is simple. A person who has renounced all desires arising in mind and remains established in Self is a man of steady wisdom. He is referring to a Self-realized person. Self-knowledge is the culmination of karma-yoga, upasana-yoga, and jnana yoga. He is a spiritual giant and is emotionally mature. His mind is pure and has no craving for worldly objects, his mind is stable. Abiding in Self he claims (distinct from experience) the bliss of Self. He is not affected by grief and joy, he is free from likes and dislikes, anger, and jealousy. He is unattached to everything and is the same towards friends and foes. He has complete control over sense organs and can withdraw them from sense objects like a tortoise withdrawing its limbs when there is a threat. It is motionless and stable. When sensory objects pose danger, a jnani withdraws sense organs from them and is stable. A person may restrain himself from sensory objects but their tastes may linger in his mind. However, in the case of a jnani, the taste does not linger. It depicts the total control of the mind by a jnani.

6-2-13-2: 2(69 to 72) 2(69) describes a jnani by a metaphor of day and night. Non-duality is day and duality is night. A jnani is established in the non-dual Self, he is awake to Self and it is day for him. An ignorant person does not know Self. It is night for him and he sleeps when a jnani is awake. An ignorant person is immersed in the duality of non-Self (night), i.e., fleeting worldly enjoyments. He is awake to non-Self when a jnani is asleep. A jnani sees non-duality despite the seeming multiplicity in the world. 2(70) describes a jnani by the metaphor of rivers and an ocean. Waters of different rivers flow towards and enter an ocean. The ocean is already full of water, yet it is undisturbed by river waters. Likewise, a jnani is undisturbed by worldly pleasures.

2(71): A jnani has discovered his completeness. Worldly objects do not add to or subtract from it. In contrast, an ignorant person is not in control when faced with worldly objects. Either he is happy or is sad. A janni has supreme peace as he has transcended desires and attachment. He moves freely in the world. 2(72): Sri Krishna concludes by saying that he has described Stithiprajna in detail. He is established in Self-knowledge and is blessed with supreme bliss while living. He is liberated in this life and is a videha-mukta post-death.

6-2-14 Nidhidhyasana 6(20 to 26), 13(24)

6-2-14-1: 6(20 to 23) Chapter 6 is Yoga of Meditation. It is not yogic mediation where mind is focused on one object. Sutra 2 of Patanjali yoga sutras is ‘yoga chittavritti nirodha’ meaning yoga is the cessation (nirodha) of modifications (vritties) of mind. It alludes to state of thoughtlessness. Vedantic meditation does not require cessation of the vritties. Instead, it is about Atma-vritti. Indeed, yogic meditation is useful as it enables the mind to quieten to undertake Vedantic meditation called nidhidhyasana.

Jnana yoga has three stages: sravan, manan, and nidhidhyasana. Sravan is listening to the teaching from a qualified teacher. Manan is for the removal of doubts to firm up the knowledge. Nidhidhyasana is contemplation on various aspects of Vedantic teaching to make it a living knowledge. If a seeker has got the necessary qualifications for jnana yoga, it is likely that teaching and its assimilation are complete at sravan stage. Nidhidhyasana is necessary for a seeker who has taken up jnana yoga without full qualification. It is necessary to get rid of habitual un-Vedantic thoughts. It is called jnana-nishtha and benefits of knowledge are available in day-to- day life.

Verses 20 to 23 are about Vedantic meditation and its benefits. A person with a quietened mind can do Vedantic meditation and be established in the Self. As he has already completed sravan and manan, abiding is at a subtle level of intellect. The person thinks in a focused (meditative) way about Vedantic teachings, e.g., ‘I am Brahm’. He is convinced to claim Selfhood. As Brahm is infinite and complete, the person is possessed of completeness and contentment. The person established in the Self knows that he is Purna (complete). The other name of Purna is happiness. This happiness is not experienceable happiness.

6(21) makes it clear that happiness is grasped by the intellect. It is beyond the senses meaning that it is beyond any experience. Therefore, it is different from the happiness of yogic samadhi. As happiness is the outcome of knowledge, it is always available. It does not depend on external conditions. All experienceable happiness is a trickle from it. The person so established knows the truth of his Selfhood. Being established in the Self, he is at the summit, he is devoid of any longing. He is ananda-swarupa. This is the greatest happiness because it does not depend on place, time, and object. It is always available whereas all other types of happiness are fleeting.

He is not affected by worldly sorrows because they are mithya belonging to a lower order of reality. No doubt, he deals with them at the empirical (mithya) level. The sorrow is mithya, his effort to deal with them is mithya, and result, whether success or failure is also mithya. He, as the Self, is detached and unaffected. 6(23) redefines yoga in a different manner. Yoga means union. But here it refers to separation from union with pain. Though our real nature is happiness (ananda-swarupa), our normal condition is that very often we get ‘united’ with sorrow due to the veil of maya (ignorance). This union with sorrow is to be broken by reclaiming true nature. In the present condition, there is union, and then there is separation. It is a yoga of separation. It is yoga for it must be practiced with patience for a long time with a focussed mind. There will be obstacles but the mind should not be defeatist.

6-2-14-2: 6(24 to 26) Sri Krishna reminds that meditation is not easy because the mind runs after sense objects. Therefore, by gradual practice, it should be withdrawn from thoughts of sense objects. For a calm mind free from rajasic qualities, meditation on Vedantic teachings is easy.

6-2-14-3: 13(24) Through meditation some realize the Self in (their) intellect with the help of the internal organ; others through sankhya-yoga and others through karma-yoga. Meditation means contemplation on the Self after withdrawing sense organs (into mind) from sense objects, and then withdrawing the mind into the indwelling Self. In meditation the mind is constantly focused on a single thought like flow of pouring oil. By that meditation, some yogis realize the indwelling Self in their intellect. Others through sankhya-yoga: sankhya means thinking, ‘these qualities, viz. sattva, rajas and tamas, are objects of my perception; I am the Self, distinct from them, a witness of their functions, eternal and different from the qualities.’ And others through karma-yoga, i.e., by dedicating actions to God or by selfless action or by doing actions without attachment to fruits of actions. Such actions make the mind pure and which is fit to gain knowledge.

Contd Pt 23

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