Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Pt26

Part 25

7 Summary 2(13,15,16,22,46), 4(9,10,15 to 25,35 to 38,41,42), 6(45 to 47), 18 (62 to 66)
7-1: 2(13,15,16,22,46) Fear of death is common. Death happens when the subtle body leaves the gross body making it insentient. The subtle body has the property to manifest consciousness which the gross body lacks. Sri Krishna says that death is a change of state like a change from childhood to youth, youth to old age, and from old age to death. After leaving the gross body at the time of death, the subtle body takes up a new gross body. It is rebirth as an infant. This transmigration of the subtle body is blessed by the all-pervasive Atma. In this sense, it is said that as a man discards worn-out clothes and wears new clothes, Atma discards the old body and takes up a new body. Knowing this cycle, a wise person is not deluded. Life is a flow and changes are inherent, such as hot-cold, pleasure-pain. It is a choiceless situation. As such, a person should endure them and need not unnecessarily suffer from agony and mental disturbance. He can then take up the spiritual path, gain knowledge, and be liberated.

A Jnani is engaged in action without being attached to the fruits of action. He is equipoised, free from the bondage of karma, and attains the supreme state. He knows that a real thing never ceases to exist, and an unreal thing has no existence. Atma which is of the nature of consciousness and existence is real and always exists. It is never created nor does it die. Worldly objects are seemingly existent. They borrow existence from Atma. They have relative existence in contrast to Absolute Atma. They are mithya: neither existent nor non-existent though they are experienced. The horn of a hare and child of a barren woman do not exist at all. They are neither existent nor seemingly existent and not experienced. A wise person has no delusion about the fleeting and mithya nature of worldly possessions and enjoyments and is therefore indifferent to them. In 2.46, Sri Krishna glorifies a jnani and says that for him, even Vedas have no purpose. Vedas have as much use as a man standing in a stream of water flowing from all sides has for a tank of water. However, before one attains the fitness for steadfastness in Knowledge, rites, and duties, even though they have (limited) utility as that of a well, pond, etc. should be undertaken by one who is fit for rites, and duties.

7-2: 4(9,10,11,15,19 to 25,35 to 38,41,42) Bhagavad Gita is a moksha shastra. Knowing God gives liberation. Scriptures say that Self-realization is liberation. God-realization and Self-realization are the same because, in the final stage of teaching, there is no difference between Self and God. The essential nature of both is Sat-Chit-Ananda or Existence-Knowledge-Bliss. In the past also, many who were free from attachment, fear, and anger and had taken refuge in God were purified by austerity of knowledge and attained Godhood. Sri Krishna clarifies that He is not partial to anyone. Relationship with God is reciprocal. The God reciprocates in the same manner as a devotee worships Him.

Sri Krishna wants to remove a misconception that a jnani does not perform actions. He is very much in the thick of every action, albeit with a changed attitude. He knows that it is the mind-body duo that does action whereas Atma, his true nature, is free from action. It is a mental renunciation of action and results of action. A jnani acts out of completeness. An action does not make any addition or subtraction to his completeness. His actions are not driven by personal desires and fancies. Since he lives in the world till Prarabdha is exhausted, he performs actions for the welfare of the world and for his mere bodily existence. He is not bound by actions as they are burnt by the fire of knowledge. He is a sage. Since he has completed all spiritual disciplines, he has control over the mind and sense organs and has no craving for worldly objects. He is satisfied with what he gets unsought and without craving. He is ever content and is free from lust, greed, and jealousy, He transcends all pairs of opposites, like, grief, joy; success, and failure. He is free from karmic impressions. He incurs neither punya nor papa. He is established in Self, and has no identification with mind and body. His actions are of the nature of sacrifice. In the sacrifice, various instruments and objects are used: ladle, oblation, and fire. He sees Brahm in all of them. A Jnani is different from other yogis who perform the sacrifice to please gods. A Jnani has sacrificed ego-like oblation in Self-like fire.

From 4(35) onwards, Sri Krishna presents the benefits of Self-knowledge. Equipped with knowledge, a jnani sees the universe as an extension of himself. The Universe is a manifestation of God. There is no separation between God and a jnani. This knowledge is so powerful that a sinner can cross the river of worldly sufferings with the knowledge-like boat. For this, he must complete preparatory disciplines and then take up jnana yoga. Knowledge is the greatest purifier. It not only washes away bad karma but also good karma because good karma is also a bondage. Knowledge burns all actions as fire reduces wood to ashes. Sanchit karma is burnt, there is no Agma karma, and Prarabdha is defanged

Sri Krishna reminds a person to gain Self-knowledge by sustained practice of karma yoga to purify the mind, dedicating all actions to God and of course practicing jnana yoga in the form of sravan, manan, and nidhidhyasana. In contrast to a jnani, a person who does not discriminate between permanent and fleeting, is critical of time-tested Vedanta teaching, lacks faith, is clueless about the goal of life, and strays away from the spiritual path. He is a failure in this world and thereafter. He has wasted invaluable human life. He may be happy with material success though it is not permanent happiness.

7-3: 6(45 to 47) Spiritual journey of Self-realization is long. The bad news is that it may take one or more lives depending on the efforts put. The good news is that spiritual progress made in one life is carried forward to the next life. A seeker begins from where he has left in the previous life. It may happen that with little effort he gets Self-realization. There are instances where a person takes birth and is Self-realized. A seeker who is a dhyan-yogi, i.e., who has finished sravan and manan and is in the final stage of nidhidhysana is superior to ascetics who perform many austerities. He is superior to a person well-versed in the scriptures. He is superior to those who perform actions with motive and desire. He is superior because his goal is infinite whereas others are stuck in finite goals. He is very close and dear to God because he is on the threshold of becoming a Jivanmukta.

7-4: 18(62 to 66) 18(62): Sri Krishna advises Arjuna to become the highest devotee who knows God fully and is established in the knowledge that he is not separate from God. He is complete and ever content and satisfied. It is a state of supreme peace and serenity. 18(63,64): Sri Krishna has completed his teaching and advises Arjuna to decide what he wants to do in the light of the teachings. He does not want to force himself on Arjuna. He gives the briefest summary in 18(65,66), the last two verses of teaching. 18(66) is therefore called charam (final) sloka. Verses 67 to 78 are winding up verses. In 18(65), Sri Krishna assures that one who is devoted to Him exclusively reaches Him. The same message is in 18(66). It has four parts. Literal meanings of the first two quarters may be confusing. Sri Krishna asks Arjuna to renounce not only evil deeds but also virtuous actions, not one or two but all whereas He has incarnated to establish dharma [4(7)]. Therefore, literal meaning is to be discarded and recourse to suggestive meaning is to be taken. No doubt, immoral actions are to be given up. The dilemma is to perform moral actions and yet ‘renounce’ them. For this, the teachings in earlier chapters are to be recollected. The mind-body duo performs actions. Therefore, the way to ‘renounce’ moral actions is not to identify with mind and body. It is possible if I identify myself with a different entity. That I am a conscious being is beyond doubt. The real nature of the jiva is consciousness and the mind-body is an adjunct. Thus, giving up virtuous actions, while performing them, is possible if a person cognitively disassociates himself from mind and body and identifies with consciousness. It is not a fantasy as jiva’s real nature is consciousness and habitual identification with mind-body is a mistake.

Sri Krishna asks Arjun to take refuge in Him. He is an Avatara. God has two natures, Saguna Brahm and Nirguna Brahm. Saguna Brahm is one form or multiple forms, i.e., personal deity or cosmic form. Nirguna Brahm is formless: Existence and Consciousness. 18(66) refers to Nirguna Brahm. Taking refuge in Him means removing any difference of time and space between jiva and Nirguna Brahm. Figuratively, it is surrender (Sarnagat). 18(66) is a Sarnagat sloka implying the identity of Jiva and Brahm. Sri Krishna assures that a person established in this knowledge is freed from all sins. Later in 18 (72), He asks Arjuna if he has listened to the spiritual instructions with a concentrated mind and if his ignorance and delusion are destroyed. Arjuna confirms in 18(73) that he has gained wisdom and he is from doubts and delusion.


Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Pt 20

Part 19

Part 21

6 Moksha
6-1 Preparation
6-2 Jnana, Jnani, and Jnana-Phala
6-2-6 Action, inaction, non-action 4(16 to 18), 18 (13 to 15) 6-2-6-1

 4(16 to 18) Sri Krishna says that even sages are deluded about the nature of action, non-action, and inaction and offers to explain them so that upon knowing them, one is freed from the bondage of karma and samsara. An inquiry is important as people suffer from vague ideas about them. Action refers to action prescribed by scriptures. Non-action means prohibited action, i.e., not sanctioned by scriptures. Inaction is being idle. It is a cardinal mistake to think that the true nature of a person does any action and that it reaps the fruits of action.

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Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Pt17

Part 16

6 Moksha
6-1 Preparation
6-2 Jnana, Jnani, and Jnana-Phala

6-2-1 Atma 2(17 to 25, 29,30) 3(27,42)
A human being is a mixture of inert matter and consciousness. Consciousness is very subtle. Sense organs are superior to the gross body, the mind is superior to the organs, and intellect is superior to the mind. However, consciousness is innermost and the subtlest as compared to all the objects of perception ending with the intellect and is its witness. Consciousness provides sentiency to the mind and body which are otherwise inert and incapable of any function. Self is consciousness and is the true nature of a jiva. It is the real ‘I’.

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‘sarvAtmabhAva’ – 4/4

Part – 3

Words play a significant role in any communication. In imparting the Truth of the Truth, which is the aim of Advaita Vedanta, words, however, lose their rigidity and attain certain fluidity in pointing to something beyond or prior to what their immediate referent stands for. Therefore, it is often suggested that a seeker on the Advaitic path has to approach a teacher who is well-versed with scriptures so that a correct meaning for the words as per the context in the shruti are obtained by a seeker.

In our normal parlance, words refer to something that has one or other of a ‘distinguishing mark such as name, or form, or action, or heterogeneity, or species, or qualities.’ Continue reading

‘sarvAtmabhAva’ – 3/4

Part – 2

We shall continue with the shruti and bhAShya citations on sarvAtmabhAva in this Part of the Series. Continuing from Part – 2 :

(iv)  विद्यायाश्च कार्यं सर्वात्मभावापत्तिरित्येतत् सङ्क्षेपतो दर्शितम् । सर्वा हि इयमुपनिषत् विद्याविद्याविभागप्रदर्शनेनैवोपक्षीणा यथा एषोऽर्थः कृत्स्नस्य शास्त्रस्य तथा प्रदर्शयिष्यामः   — 1.4.10, BUB.

While the effect of Knowledge (meditation) has been briefly shown to be identity with all, the whole of this Upanishad is exclusively devoted to showing the distinction between the spheres of Knowledge and ignorance. We shall show that this is the import of the whole book. Continue reading

‘sarvAtmabhAva’ – 2/4

Part – 1

In this and the next two parts of the Series, we shall try to map the occurrence of the word सर्वात्मभाव (sarvAtambhAva) in the prasthAna trayI and/or the Shankara bhAShaya-s there on so that the meaning of the word stands out by itself in its usage and the context. Continue reading

‘sarvAtmabhAva’ – 1/4

The single most important word in the entire Lexicon of Advaita Vedanta can be said to be, without any contest, ‘sarvAtmabhAva‘ (सर्वात्मभाव). It, at once, abstracts the totality of the ancient Non-dual teaching and also expresses it most elegantly and efficiently striking a close chord within us. The word is the ‘Touchstone’ to distinguish the brawn from the brain, the grain from the chaff, the True Knower of Truth from the also-rans. It is far less esoteric and ethereal to my mind compared to another popular summation of Advaita Vedanta as the teaching of jIvabrahmaikya (जीवब्रह्मैक्य) – the Oneness of Atman and brahman.

We shall, therefore, try in this and the next few articles to tease out in detail the meaning and the usage of the word, ‘sarvAtmabhAva‘ (सर्वात्मभाव), in the various  canonical texts and the commentaries on them by Shankara. Continue reading

Vedanta the Solution – Part 50

VEDĀNTA the solution to our fundamental problem by D. Venugopal

Part 50 explains the concept of sarvAtmabhAva – how upAdhi-s account for the apparent existence of many, even though there is only AtmA. And it explains how we can know ‘I’ as AtmA whilest still acting as an individual jIva.

There is a complete Contents List, to which links are added as each new part appe

Conversation with ‘H’ (Knower, Witness) Prelude & Part 1

H. ‘… as regards the somewhat artificial distinction (ontologically speaking) that I make between awareness and consciousness, then this is something I do of my own choosing, accepting that there is an objectless state of mind that cannot correctly be termed ‘consciousness’ as it is not ‘with knowledge’ of any kind. In its stricter, more formal sense, then in the language of Pali this would be one of the Arūpajhāna, as you may well know – i.e. neither perception nor non-perception. I often find myself in dispute with phenomenologists over whether an objectless awareness is possible. Although the (8th) Arūpajhāna itself is of course a very rarified state, the very fact that it is a state gives me – I hope – the liberty to introduce the idea of a Tabula Rasa of mind, and which, again due to the ubiquity of the term, I call ‘awareness’ for the purposes of creating a template for learning only. I do not consider it to be its own ontological category.’ Continue reading