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.
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.
Vairagya-ananda is an oxymoron. Not quite. It is not uncommon that men with few possessions are happier than those with more possessions. One of the impurities of the mind is that it is a wandering mind. A wandering mind may not enjoy even if the content is enjoyable. Controlling it is an important spiritual discipline. Arjuna says (BG 6.34) that it is very difficult to control the mind, as difficult as to control the wind. He expects a reply from Sri Krishna who while concurring with Arjuna (like a good teacher) gives a remedy (6.35) that the mind can be controlled by practice and dispassion (vairagya). Dispassion is one of the four qualifications for Jnana yoga. Continue reading →
5-1 Introduction Bondage is the English equivalent of Bandha. Bondage is by way of suffering and conflicts in life. There are two types of suffering: physical and mental. For physical suffering like disease and old age, medical science provides treatment. Vedanta is not concerned about physical suffering. It is about mental suffering. They are in the form of sorrow, grief, jealousy, likes and dislikes, general dissatisfaction, and disenchantment in life. In the case of the loss of a close family member, there is an emotional setback and suffering. Heavy loss in business shakes a person and he suffers mentally. Vedanta is an answer to such suffering.
4-4 Viswarupa darshan (Yoga of cosmic vision) 11 (1 to 55) In chapter 10, Sri Krishna has narrated divine manifestations. Arjuna says that by hearing divine teachings including the origin and dissolution of the universe, his delusion has gone, and that he wishes to directly see the cosmic form of Isvara, if it is possible. Sri Krishna accepts the request but says that it is not possible to see the cosmic form with ordinary eyes. He provides special eyes, i.e., eyes of knowledge for this purpose. Sri Krishna mentions 12 Adityas, 8 Vasus, 11 Rudras, two Asvins and 49 Maruts divided into seven groups and many wonders not seen before. The entire Universe of moving and the non-moving are in His body. The cosmic form is described in detail.
4-1 Avatara 4(1 to 9,14) Though the main theme of the Gita is jnana yoga, Sri Krishna introduces the topic of Avatara, which is a unique concept in Vedic tradition. He wants to say, nay to remind Arjuna that He is an incarnation (Avatara) of God and has descended on earth to impart the (Vedic) teaching, which is very ancient, as old as creation. The teaching is eternal and cannot be out of date. In the process, He describes the history of the teaching. It was imparted to Lord Sun who gave it to Manu who taught it to Ikshavaku. It is kshatriya tradition different from Brahmin tradition. Sri Krishna and Arjuna are kshatriyas. The royal sages possessed the knowledge handed down from generation to generation. Due to the long passage of time, it was lost in the world. He is giving this teaching to Arjuna as he is a friend and a devotee and through him, this highest and secret teaching will be revived because the purpose of Avatara is to protect the teaching and the humanity. When Arjuna queries that Sri Krishna’s birth is much after the sun, it is clarified that as an Avatara He has many births, and He knows all the births whereas a human being does not know. His birth is different from a human birth. Continue reading →
3 Jagat 2(28), 7(4 to 7), 8(3,4,17 to 19), 9(7 to 10), 13(6,7,26), 14(3,4), 15(1 to 3)
Sri Krishna has talked about different facets of creation at various places in BG. Some are contextual. For example, when Arjuna does not want to fight to kill the enemies who are his relatives, Sri Krishna says in 2(28) that creation is cyclical and there is no death. At the end of one cycle, it becomes unmanifest, rests in Brahm in potential form, and is manifested in the next cycle due to the maya power of Brahm. This process continues. There is no beginning, there is no end. A jiva is a part of creation and undergoes a similar process. Death of a jiva is followed by rebirth and so on. A clear understanding of the cyclical nature of birth and death has a sobering effect on the prospect of death.
Bhagavad Gita (Gita, in short) has an important place in Advaita Vedanta teaching. It is one of the Trai-Prasthanas, the other two are Upanishads and Brahma-sutra. Trai means three and Prasthana means to go. It is held that to know the truth one must take recourse to the said three scriptures. Upanishad is Sruti (revealed) Prasthana, Gita is Smriti (remembered) Prasthana and Brahma-sutra is logic (Nyay) Prasthana. Brahma-sutra provides the logical foundation for Upanishadic teachings.
Gita is the teaching imparted by Sri Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Mahabharata. It was occasioned because Arjuna declined to fight as he was overwhelmed with grief and sorrow by the prospect of fighting his own family members including revered Bhisma and Acharya Drona. The first chapter of Gita is titled Arjuna Vishad (Melancholy of Arjuna). Chapters 2 to 17 are the Vedantic teaching given by Sri Krishna to Arjuna. Gita does not have independent teaching. It is based on the Upanishads. It is said figuratively that the Upanishad is a cow, Gita is the milk and Sri Krishna is the milkman. 18 chapters of Gita are chapters 23 to 40 of Bhisma Parva of Mahabharat. Parva means book. The title Bhisma Parva relates to the period of battle when Bhisma was the commander of the Kaurava army. Bhisma Parva is followed by Drone Parva and so on. Sanjay, the charioteer of Dhritarashtra, blessed by sage Vyasa with divine eyesight narrates the battle scenes to Dhritarashtra. Sri Krishna delivers Gita teachings to Arjun on the first day of the 18-day battle of Mahabharat. Continue reading →
Arjuna asks Sri Krishna (BG 14.21) to narrate the signs and behaviour of a GunAtita, i.e., one who has transcended three constituents (sattva, rajas, and tamas) of nature. Sri Krishna replies that he neither dislikes illumination (knowledge), activity, and delusion when they appear in the form of objects of experience), nor does he long for them when they disappear. Continue reading →
18.66सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज। अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः।।18.66।। Meaning: Abandoning all forms of rites and duties, take refuge in Me alone. I shall free you from all sins. (Therefore) do not grieve. [Gambhirananda]. Bhasyam is extensive as it should be [Translation: Gambhirananda]. It discusses four topics. 1 Renunciation of rites and duties Sarva-dharman includes dhrma (virtuous) and adharma (non-virtuous), i.e., renunciation of all actions as both dhArmic and adhArmic actions are the cause of bondage. That evil actions have to be given up does not need any explanation. Take refuge in Me, the Self, that exists in all beings without exception. The necessary sAdhnA is to identify with the Self and not with the mind and body. As the Self is action-free, renunciation of virtuous ones follows. Furthermore, as the Self is free from birth, old age, and death, liberation is assured. Arjuna should not grieve if he engages in war and kills friends and foes. He will incur no sin. He who has not the feeling of egoism, whose intellect is not tainted, he does not kill, nor does he become bound even by killing these creatures! (18.17-Gambhirananda)