Om Namah Shivaya - Om Namo Venkatesaya  

The Song of God - Swami Venkatesananda enlarged 4th edition - 1984 - published by The Chiltern Yoga Trust, Cape Town, South Africa

17 - Sraddhatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of Divion of Threefold Faith

Om parthaya pratibodhitam bhagavata narayanena svayam vyasena grathitam purana munina madhye mahabharatam advaita 'mrta varsinim bhagavatim astadasa 'dhyayinim amba tvam anusamdadhami bhagavad gite bhava dvesinim
1. Om. O Bhagavad Gita, with which Partha (Arjuna) was illumined by lord Narayana himself and which was composed within the Mahabharata by the ancient sage Vyasa, O divine mother, the destroyer of rebirth, the showerer of the nectar of advaita (oneness) and consisting of eighteen chapters - upon thee, O Bhagavad Gita, O affectionate mother, I meditate.
namo 'stu to vyasa visala buddhe phulla 'ravinda 'yata patra netra yena tvaya bharata taila purnah prajvalito jnanamayah pradipah
2. Salutations unto thee, O Vyasa of broad intellect, and with eyes like the petals of full-blown lotuses, by whom the lamp of knowledge, filled with the oil of the Mahabharata has been lighted.
prapanna parijataya totravetrai 'ka panaye jnana mudraya krsnaya gita 'mrta duhe namah
3. Salutations to Krsna, the parijata or the bestower of all desires for those who take refuge in him, the holder of the whip in one hand, the holder of the symbol of knowledge and the milker of the nectar of the Bhagavad Gita.
sarvo 'panisado gavo dogdha gopala nandanah partho vatsah sudhir bhokta dugdham gita 'mrtam mahat
4. All the upanisad are the cows, the milker is Krsna the cowherd boy, Arjuna is the calf, men of purified intellect are the drinkers, the milk is the great nectar of the Gita.
vasudeva sutam devam kamsa canura mardanam devaki parama 'nandam krsnam vande jagad gurum
5. I salute lord Krsna, the world teacher, the son of Vasudeva, the destroyer of Kamsa and Canura, the supreme bliss of Devaki.
bhisma drona tata jayadratha jala gandhara nilotpala salya grahavati krpena vahani karnena velakula asvatthama vikarna ghora makara duryodhana 'vartini so 'ttirna khalu pandavai rana nadi kaivartakah kesavah
6. With Krsna as the helmsman, verily, was crossed by the Pandava the battle-river whose banks were Bhisma and Drona, whose water was Jayadratha, whose blue lotus was the king of Gandhara, whose crocodile was Salya, whose current was Krpa, whose billow was Karna, whose terrible alligators were Asvatthama and Vikarna, whose whirlpool was Duryodhana.
parasarya vacah sarojam amalam gitartha gandhotkatam nanakhya 'nakakesaram hari katha sambodhana 'bodhitam loke sajjana satpadair ahar ahah pepiyamanam muda bhuyad bharata pankajam kali mala pradhvamsi nah sreyase
7. May this lotus of the Mahabharata, born in the lake of the words of Vyasa, sweet with the fragrance of the meaning of the Gita, with many stories as its stamens, fully opened by the discourses on Hari, the destroyer of the sins of Kali, and drunk joyously by the bees of good men in the world, day by day, become the bestower of good on us.
mukam karoti vacalam pangum langhayate girim yat krpa tam aham vande parama 'nanda madhavam
8. I salute that Krsna, the source of supreme bliss, whose grace makes the dumb eloquent and the cripple cross mountains.
yam brahma varune 'ndra rudra marutah stunvanti divyaih stavair vedaih sanga pada kramo 'panisadair gayanti yam samagah dhyana 'vasthita tad gatena manasa pasyanti yam yogino yasya 'ntam na viduh sura 'sura gana devaya tasmai namah
9. Salutations to that God whom Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Rudra and the Marut praise with divine hymns, of whom the Sama-chanters sing by the veda and their anga, in the pada and krama methods, and by the upanisad, whom the yogi see with their minds absorbed in him through meditation, and whose end the hosts of the deva and asura know not.
a realistic idealist
XVII:1 - Arjuna said : Those who, setting aside the ordinances of the scriptures, perform sacrifice with faith, what is their condition, O Krishna? Is it that of Sattwa, Rajas or Tamas?
The Indian philosopher does not encourage evil but he does recognize its inevitable presence in society.
He aims at a perfect society, but realizes that this itself means taking note of the existing imperfections.
He is a realistic idealist.
He is like the wise schoolmaster who wants his students to pass the examination with distinction, but does not expect them to be brilliant on the day of their admission to the school; and is patient enough to correct their errors during their school career.
To adhere to the injunctions of a scripture is, of course, the simple, ideal course.
However, there are those who do not; and whatever be the reason, not all of them are diabolical in their outlook on life.
The revisions and editions of a scripture generate suspicion in the heart of some.
The primitiveness of a scripture shocks others.
A third group may well ask: "When we have the open book of life in front of us, why need we waste our time on other scriptures?"
Still another group may be illiterate and hence cannot study a scripture and may, at the same time, not be able to enjoy the privilege of hearing the scripture from someone else, particularly someone who inspires their confidence.
Life teaches you, if you have faith.
Faith is most important.
Your own inner equipment will fit you into one or other of the three qualities of nature.
Sattva-based activity will increase sattva; tamas-based activity will intensify darkness.
The former, by bestowing peace and happiness, will confirm the faith into conviction; the latter, by bringing restlessness and misery in its train, will be detected by the inner faith as the path to be abandoned but only if there is genuine faith.
This faith is not a religious cult or a doctrine or a dogma.
It is light in the midst of darkness which leads you from falsehood to truth.
Even the most unorthodox are not barred from salvation!
belief, faith and conviction
XVII:2 - The Blessed Lord said : Threefold is the faith of the embodied, which is inherent in their nature - satvic, rajasic, and tamasic. Now hear about these.
XVII:3 - The faith of each is in accordance with his nature, O Arjuna. The man consists of his faith; as the faith is, so is he.
Faith exists in everyone in three stages: belief, faith and conviction.
You believe in your neighbor's words; you have faith in what the guru says; but you are convinced of your own personal experience.
Of these, belief is the weakest, conviction the strongest, but faith exists in the hearts of all.
It is faith that forms the character of a person.
If the person lacks character, it is not so much because his faith is weak, but because he has faith in his weakness!
One's own deeds of past births endow one with the type of faith that is inherent, innate to one's nature.
The universal human weakness of self-justification might blur one's vision and lead to self-over-estimation; but the cautious man is easily able to detect the hidden springs of his character and determine which quality of nature is predominant in him.
This, like the color of one's skin or eyes, is not a fault or disqualification; that is the most important thing to remember.
There is no "normal" person in this world; and, of course, each man is "normal" to his own nature!
The psychologist's "sword" of "abnormality" has ruined the life of many, stifling talents and compelling the psychologist-disapproved characteristics to commit suicide.
Abnormality rarely exists in nature, but abounds in the psychiatrist's clinic, created and confirmed by him. Self-understanding will promote self-culture and self-realization.
One need not fit into another's jacket, but one must be true to one's own self and grow in the image of God - that which one essentially is.
Jealousy, envy and imitation are a waste of time and lead to psychological suicide.
grow steadily
XVII:4 - The Sattwic men worship the gods; the Rajasic men worship the demons; the Tamasic men worship the ghosts.
We should not commit the grievous error, here, of considering that the tamasa people deliberately choose to worship ghosts!
Not at all.
That is their idea of God.
Even the "gods" are the reflections of different aspects of the supreme being in the medium of maya and therefore not really real.
Consequently, they are classifiable into sattvika, rajasa and tamasa.
The good or the "benevolent" gods are sattvika; wrathful and emotional gods are rajasa; and the semi-divine beings of malevolent nature are tamasa.
They are not essentially different from him, the supreme being; for, let us not forget for a single moment that naught exists but he.
Lord Krishna himself has pointed out that even they who worship these other gods worship him only, though the wrong way.
They are the light of the divine looked at through different filters.
The word "worship" is important here.
No one worships any but God.
The aspect of God 'visible' to the individual is that aspect which he is capable of perceiving.
This capability is determined by his innate nature or the quality that is predominant in him.
A clear understanding of this doctrine enables us to grow.
The child does not grow into an adult merely by throwing the doll away.
The subtle inner transformation (growth) continues steadily.
Swami Sivananda used to say very often: "I have sown the seed, it will germinate in its own time. Even if the man does whatever he likes, it will work."
Hence, Krishna warns us: "Do not disturb anyone's faith, but help him grow inwardly."
At each stage, it is God who is worshipped and who accepts that worship if it is offered in full faith.
XVII:5 - Those men who practise terrific austerities not enjoined by the scriptures, given to hypocrisy and egoism, impelled by the force of lust and attachment,
XVII:6 - Senseless, torturing all the elements in the body and me also, who dwells in the body, know you these to be of demoniacal resolves.
These two verses properly belong to the previous chapter!
They contain enough food for a world of thought.
Zimmer, in his book on The Philosophies of India, feels that "The practice of Tapas belongs to the pre-Aryan, non-Vedic heritage of archaic Indian asceticism."
When you bear in mind that Krishna (the dark one) is often regarded as of non-Aryan stock, the puzzle is even more puzzling.
Zimmer rightly claims that the Gita- represents the fusion of all the then-existing cultures and religious faiths - the scripture for the next age.
Spectacular asceticism is not unknown in other parts of the world.
When emperor Constantine recognized Christianity, some of the "faithful", fearing the evaporation of the true Christian spirit in its exposure to political heat, "renounced" the world and lived an extremely austere life in deserts and forests.
St. Anthony was one of them; and even when he eventually came out to preach, he preached extreme asceticism.
It has been said: "With some of these men it is obvious that ascetic discipline had become perverted into an unpleasant form of exhibitionism."
And this is true of their kin in other religions, too.
In Hindu mythology demons are often described as great tapasvin (men of austerity)!
Such ascetic practices as standing in freezing water or sitting on burning sands are against nature.
As Krishna says here, they "torture the body and me also who dwells in the body."
Instead of purifying the self, they strengthen the ego and are therefore a block to insight - the key to God-realisation.
Asceticism on the one hand and sense-indulgence on the other are to be avoided; the middle path is the Gita's.
XVII:7 - The food also which is dear to each is threefold, as also sacrifice, austerity and alms-giving. Hear you the distinction of these.
XVII:8 - Foods which increase life, purity, strength, health, joy and cheerfulness, which are oleaginous and savoury, substantial and agreeable, are dear to the sattwic people.
XVII:9 - The foods that are bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, dry, pungent and burning, are liked by the rajasic, and are productive of pain, grief and disease.
XVII:10 - That which is stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten and impure, is the food liked by the tamasic.
The classification of food is clear enough to need no comment.
There are two important points in these four verses that should not go unnoticed.
The first is: Krishna mentions that certain foods "increase life" - which makes one wonder by what standard the life span is fixed.
Krishna seems to have forestalled the modern biologist by recognizing the "biological age" and by formulating rules that will decelerate the speed with which death overtakes the living organism.
This is the most effective answer to anyone who thinks we are fatalists.
The second is the assertion that only the tamasa or dull-witted, stupid people will like "stale" food (literally, "food cooked over three hours previously").
The refrigerator does the mischief here.
While it arrests decay, it is unable to preserve the life-giving freshness of even fruits.
It is worse with flesh (not that we encourage flesh eating!) which develops toxic qualities.
Furthermore it prevents charity!
While the ancient villager distributed the surplus to poor people and animals, the modern housewife preserves it in the refrigerator.
Krishna does not condemn any, but he merely points out who likes what!
It is for you to choose.
If you choose the tamasa, you are at liberty to; but know where it leads you.
XVII:11 - That sacrifice which is offered by men without desire for reward, as enjoined by the ordinance, with a firm faith that to do so is a duty, is satvic or pure.
XVII:12 - The sacrifice which is offered, O Arjuna, seeking a reward and for ostentation, know you that to be a rajasic.
XVII:13 - The sacrifice performed in defiance of scriptural injunctions, in which no food is distributed, no hymns are chanted and mantras are recited, and no remunerations are made, and which is faithless, that sacrifice is tamasic.
This covers all forms of rituals and worships and could eventually be extended to embrace all departments of life itself.
It is easy to understand who performs the sattvika and the rajasa types of sacrifices, and why.
But it is difficult to understand the true significance of the tamasa type.
If I had not witnessed them, I would have refused to believe such a thing possible!
The ritual lacks scriptural sanction.
No one concerned with its performance knows any mantra.
The whole thing is a big farce and the carnival spirit prevails; and hence no one even thinks of charity (gifts of food, etc.), which might at least provide a relieving feature.
On top of it all, the performer and those concerned have not the least faith in the ritual.
Result: all sorts of sacrilegious words and deeds in the name of God and dharma.
If all this had been done for the sake of earning name and fame, it would at best become rajasa.
But no. It is done mechanically, prompted by a nebulous idea: "My grandfather used to do something like this."
This carcass of a ritual is without justification for its existence.
We should have the courage to revive the spirit of it, if at all possible, or bury it, replacing it by more meaningful rites.
Rituals have great spiritual value.
They can effect a spiritual revolution within, if correctly performed.
constant vigilance
XVII:14 - Worship of the gods, the twice-born, the teachers and the wise, of purity, of straightforwardness, celibacy, non-injury - these are called the austerities of the body.
Tapas is "heat, burning fire".
This fire has three functions symbolized in the three aspects of sakti (God as mother): Durga, Lakshmi and Sarasvati.
The "destructive" Durga burns impurities; the benign Lakshmi purifies; and Sarasvati the goddess of wisdom illumines.
This classification is no gradation of importance!
One is as important as the other.
If illumination is regarded as the most important, it should be remembered that it can come only after the destruction of the baser nature - which is, therefore, more important!
The practices mentioned here will effect this threefold miracle in the physical part of our being.
"Worship of the twice-born" might include those who are "born again" in God, those who are God's devotees and saints, and need not necessarily be taken to refer to the higher castes.
In India, even when the caste system prevailed, there were many "low-caste" saints who were adored by people of higher castes!
When all our talents and faculties are God-ward directed, when they are restrained from wandering along the pleasure grooves of sense-enjoyments, the threefold inner transformation is effected.
It should be remembered that while it is essential that the senses (the external physical organism) should be controlled, it is useless to waste one's inner powers foolishly suppressing their natural urges such as hunger.
The impulse to suppress any natural urge is often a very strong ego.
Once again, the invisibly subtle middle path must be clearly seen, by the grace of God, and carefully trodden.
The only aids in this spiritual march to the goal are constant vigilance, faith and sincerity.
Our Master always stressed the fact that if we take care of the positive side (e.g. worship of the gods), the negative aspects(e.g. Just, anger) will die a natural death.
Otherwise, vain is the struggle to eradicate evil.
The middle path cannot be seen physically or automatically.
"Constant vigilance" (in the words of my Master) is needed, and that itself is the path, the march and the goal.
austerity of speech
XVII:15 - Speech which causes no excitement and is truthful, pleasant and beneficial, and the practice of the study of the Vedas, are called austerity of speech.
Have you seen the mild and watery cucumber igniting, by its root, the grass hidden in rags?
I have!
There sits the cucumber, smooth tongued, smooth skinned, hand-picking his extra polite words to fulfil a double purpose: on the one hand to gain admiration for his "saintliness" from the easily beguiled, on the other to inflame the heart of the person who sees through him.
The picture he thus achieves is of a saintly man confronted by a vicious creature.
But the Lord, seated in the hearts of both, knows that if the "saint's" provocation is subtle, it is infallibly powerful and hence he shares the guilt with the roused.
It is not that the other man is free from guilt!
Fewer of such hypocrites would much enhance the peace of the world.
If your speech is provocative, you share the guilt of the provoked.
The ideal of truth has been debated ad infinitum.
It has been pointed out that tradition (sometimes hacked by scriptural (?) authority) condones untruth in certain special circumstances.
It has also been argued that if we soften truth to make it pleasant, we shall ruin discipline and promote villainy.
No one expects us to be metamorphosed into saints overnight!
Hence, here and there in "scriptures", especially the legends, we find examples of half-truths.
Life is not composed of ideals any more than a house is made of only the roof; but it is highly important to recognizes what is not right, even if we yield to it, rather than elevate it to absolute rightness, because of the circumstances.
Only he who has even tried to practice the austerity of speech can realize the burning, purifying and illuminating power it has.
When the lips close upon an unpleasant truth or a pleasant untruth, the switch is on and the fire of speech austerity consumes baser instincts; it can even be physically felt in the forehead!
XVII:16 - Serenity of mind, good-heartedness, purity of thought, self-control - this is called mental austerity.
With the passage of time and loss of practice, concepts change and words lose their meaning.
Who can explain what serenity (prasada) means?
This word "prasad" has been used several times in the Gita, but in common parlance it refers to fruits and sweetmeats distributed after worship in temples.
Who can fathom the depth of symbolism of the prasad?
The sweetmeat given to us is only an external symbol of the sweetness of disposition that God's grace bestows upon the devotee's mind.
"Serenity" is used for want of an accurate word.
It is not the gravity of a corpse, nor the sour-faced dryness of a pessimist, nor even the unsmiling, worried look of the ascetic who expects the volcano of suppressed emotions to erupt any moment.
Serenity is the radiant, glorious though unexcited joy that glows on the face from the presence of God within.
It is difficult to define or to describe, but easily recognizable when seen.
Good-heartedness is not to be mistaken for mere freedom from blood pressure and palpitation.
Krishna, you have caught us unawares - the heart cannot be good unless you and you alone reign supreme there!
The godless "good heart" is a hypocrite's haven, the devil's paradise.
When God is enthroned in it, goodwill prevails; incidentally, "goodwill" on earth is only God's will flowing freely through a pure egoless and divine heart.
The ego's goodwill is what one pays heavily for in business!
Silence and self-control are disciplines of the mind.
This verse is full of riddles.
We usually associate silence with speech - the absence of speech.
Real silence, however, is a desire-free, disturbance-free, peaceful mind.
When there is peace of mind, the self is seen, and all ignorance born, self-imposed limitations come to light and therefore disintegrate.
A mind that is thus ever peaceful, ever alert, is itself meditation.
Practice these and the ego will go.
XVII:17 - This threefold austerity, practised by steadfast men with the utmost faith, desiring no reward, is said to be sattwic.
XVII:18 - The austerity which is practised with the object of gaining good respect, honour and worship, and with hypocrisy, is said to be rajasic, unstable and transitory.
XVII:19 - The austerity which is performed foolishly, by means of self-torture, or to destroy or injure others, is said to be tamasic.
It is strange that even the three types of austerity (of body, speech and mind) can be practiced in a rajasa or tamasa way! - though the words "This threefold austerity" may apply only to the first verse and the other two may allude to other forms of austerity - in which case the meaning is abundantly clear and simple.
The most noble deeds can be performed hypocritically, but the effect will be the very opposite of what is desired.
There is, however, a saving feature in such hypocritical good work and austerity - they are "unstable and transitory".
Hypocrisy has been unequivocally condemned in all our scriptures, but it has always existed.
Hypocrites have their little day!
It is true that their magic spell ends soon, soon enough to minimize the havoc caused.
The genius of the hypocrite uses a noble garb and sometimes it is impossible to detect him before he has achieved his purpose, though this is always a short-lived one.
Let us be thankful for small mercies!
The third category is an allusion to the demoniacal type of austerity.
It is difficult to see how it can satisfy the standards of the austerity of mind mentioned in verse 16.
There is, however, no limit to the perversions of the tamasa or deluded mind that can always interpret scriptures in its own way!
XVII:20 - That gift which is given to one who does nothing in return, knowing it to be a duty to give in a fit place and time to a worthy person, that gift is held to be sattwic.
XVII:21 - And, that gift which is made with a view to receive something in return, or looking for a reward, or given reluctantly, is said to be rajasic.
XVII:22 - The gift which is given at the wrong place and time to unworthy persons, without respect or with insult, is declared to be tamasic.
The upanisad command us to give, to give with respect and love, and to give in plenty.
That is the spirit.
Our Master always gave and encouraged even indiscriminate giving.
Giving is good; and if the gift is given with a good heart, even a vicious man's heart will be touched and in due course, such a deed may have the effect that one might plan by withholding the gift - the reformation of the wicked man ("unworthy persons").
His conscience is awakened not so much by our denying help as by our giving it freely and making him feel: "Here is one who trusts me and gives, though I am cheating him; I should ensure that I deserve it."
This transformation is not achieved in a day, however.
There are others who are always complaining that they do not find a person worthy of helping or giving to.
They will never find one!
Does God give us food only because we deserve it?
Does the earth produce food only to be eaten by the deserving?
Which one of us truly deserves all the blessings one enjoys?
Moreover, what is ours in this world?
We only give away in charity what belongs to the Lord himself present in the other man!
Did we bring any wealth with us when we were born, or shall we take anything with us when we die?
Well, if you wish to do charity only to the deserving person, then keep that money and do not use it, or go and find the deserving person.
Do not use it for yourself, but give it.
You will immediately find there are many deserving persons in this world!
tat sat
XVII:23 - 'Om Tat Sat', this has been declared to be the triple designation of Brahman. By that were created formerly the Brahmanas, the Vedas and the sacrifices.
The absolute needs no name!
God has no proper names or improper ones.
Incidentally, therefore, the names by which religions are known are also fictitious, man-made, faction-generating tools of the evil mind that perverts even truth for its false ends.
All religion is the individual's path to God-realization; what need has one to distinguish it, and from what?
It is when I wish to establish that "my" religion is superior to "your" religion, that I introduce names!
It is when I wish to assert that "my" God is real and "yours" unreal that I begin calling him names (sorry!).
"Om" has been declared to be the indicator of the infinite, absolute being.
Its proper intonation suggests fullness, perfection, and a subtle transcendence that is indescribable.
It is the simplest of all sounds, as simple as God himself.
In sound it is comparable to the seven colors of the solar spectrum that blend to form the white color.
When you listen to the distant noise of the market place or fair, when no particular sound is distinguishable, it is heard as one big roar of Om.
It is a mystic symbol of the infinite.
Meditation on Om and listening to the inner psychic Om-sound by closing the ears with the thumbs and listening with the right ear, are powerful tranquilizers of the wayward mind.
"Tat" is the word "that".
Not this, but that; where all that is created - phenomenal, material and non-eternal - is included in "this", and what remains when all "this" is negated, is "tat".
This "tat" is not non-existence, a mere negation or void, it is "sat" - the reality.
That reality is not something that is opposed to non-reality, but it is the indescribable substratum of all existence.
That reality alone exists and has nothing outside of itself; where is the need to call it by any name? Yet all names are God's.
XVII:24 - Therefore, with the utterance of 'Om' are the acts of gift, sacrifice and austerity, as enjoined in the scriptures, always begun by the knowers of Brahman.
XVII:25 - Uttering 'Tat', without aiming at the fruits, are the acts of sacrifice and austerity, and the various acts of gift, performed by the seekers of liberation.
XVII:26 - 'Sat' is used in the sense of reality and of goodness; and also, O Arjuna, the word 'Sat' is used in the sense of an auspicious act.
There is really no difference between the implications of one of the three words and those of another.
All three have the same meaning and significance.
"Om tat sat" can roughly be translated into "the infinite is that reality".
The orthodox Hindu may regard it as a great mantra and believe that the words themselves have spiritual, psychic and even magic power; but their real value is in the psychological effect of reminding ourselves of the infinite nature of the reality which is the substratum of all creation.
It acts as a cleansing fire, purifying our heart of all impure, selfish motives and illumining the great reality within the inmost core of our being.
My Master used this formula frequently even during his routine office work.
The mantra silences the ego within and diverts the mind mind from "the world" to God, making us realize that he is the omnipresent reality whom we are serving in all, to whom we are directing our sacrifice or gift.
It has been said that this mantra has the power to transform all acts into holy ones; it is certain that one who keeps in mind the significance of the holy formula will never indulge in any unholy action.
It is good to cultivate the habit of thinking of God before, during and after the performance of every action.
This formula, or any other such formula, will help us here, provided it does not become a mechanical, meaningless, dull repetition.
XVII:27 - Steadfastness, in sacrifice, austerity and gift, is also called 'Sat'; and also action in connection with 'Tat' is called 'Sat'.
XVII:28 - Whatever is sacrificed, given or performed, and whatever austerity is practised without faith, it is called Asat, O Arjuna; it is naught, here or hereafter.
The discussion on faith is thus beautifully wound up.
Adherence to the scripture is good.
It presupposes faith in the scripture and in God.
In the absence of a scripture it is permissible to pursue one's own nature, with faith in oneself.
Here it is good to bear in mind the threefold classification.
Whereas sattva is "close to the sat or truth", tamas is also a quality of nature; even the tamasa man is not damned for ever.
Since "sat" is the inner reality, remembrance of it helps us draw closer to it, thus increasing sattva.
This is the purpose of repetition of mantra.
Constant remembrance of God enables us to become godly: "sattvika".
"Remembrance" here is not an act of memory, for it relates to the reality that has to be discovered from moment to moment; we should remember to discover it!
Not only meditating upon the word "sat", but also upon its significance as the unchanging reality, will enable us to imitate that changeless-ness in our own life and actions.
This results in steadfastness - a quality that is the exact opposite of the diabolical fickleness of the hypocrite.
Steadfastness is the indication and the test of inner faith.
If there is no faith, however, the action is useless.
It is good to remind ourselves repeatedly, that selfless action is not soulless action, and that the desireless man is not a robot, mechanically responding to stimuli in a preset routine fashion.
He knows that action is nature's way of purifying itself, and thus life flows with no difficulty whatsoever.
Krishna's Gita is the very opposite of the gospel of inert and stupid activity.
It is unselfish but supreme dynamism.
Only the small ego stifles life; yoga is joyous participation in the divine will.
Om Tat Sat
Thus in the Upanishad of the Bhagavad Gita, the Science of the Eternal, the Scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, ends the seventeenth chapter entitled: The path of knowledge - Sraddhatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of Divion of Threefold Faith.

gri ganesaya namah! sri gopala krsnaya namah! dharo 'vaca bhagavan paramesana bhaktir avyabhicarini prarabdham bhujyamanasya katham bhavati he prabho
1. The Earth said: O Lord! The supreme one! How can unflinching devotion arise in him who is immersed in his worldly life, O Lord?
sri visnur uvaca prarabdham bhujyamano hi gita 'bhyasa ratah sada sa muktah sa sukhi loke karmana no 'palipyate
2. Lord Visnu said: Though engaged in the performance of worldly duties, one who is regular in the study of the Gita, becomes free. He is the happy man in this world. He is not bound by karma.
maha papadi papani gita dhyanam karoti cet kvacit sparsam na kurvanti nalini dalam ambuvat
3. Just as the water stains not the lotus leaf, even so, sins do not taint him who is regular in the recitation of the Gita.
gitayah pustakam yatra yatra pathah pravartate tatra sarvani tirthani prayaga 'dini tatra vai
4. All the sacred places of pilgrimage like Prayaga, etc., dwell in that place where the book, the Gita, is kept and where the Gita is read.
sarve devas ca rsayo yoginah pannagas ca ye gopala gopika va 'pi narado 'ddhava parsadaih
5. All the gods, sages, yogi, divine serpents, gopala, gopika (friends and devotees of lord Krsna), Narada, Uddhava and others (dwell there).
sahayo jayate sighram yatra gita pravartate yatra gita vicaras ca pathanam pathanat srutam tatra 'ham niscitam prthvi nivasami sadai 'va hi
6. Help comes quickly where the Gita is recited and, O Earth, I dwell at all times where the Gita is read, heard, taught and contemplated upon.
gita 'sraye 'ham tisthami gita me co 'ttamam grham gita jnanam upasritya trimllokan palayamy aham
7. I take refuge in the Gita and the Gita is my best abode. I protect the three worlds with the knowledge of the Gita.
gita me parama vidya brahma rupa na samsayah ardha matra 'ksara nitya sva 'nirvacya padatmika
8. The Gita is my highest science, which is doubtless of the form of Brahman, the eternal, the ardhamatra (of the sacred monosyllable om), the ineffable splendour of the self.
cidanandena krsnena prokta sva mukhato 'rjunam veda tray! parananda tattva 'rtha jnana samyuta
9. It was spoken by the blessed Krsna, the all-knowing, through his own mouth to Arjuna. It contains the essence of the three veda, knowledge of the reality. It is full of supreme bliss.
yo 'stadasa japen nityam naro niscala manasah jnana siddhim sa labhate tato yati param padam
10. He who recites the eighteen chapters of the Gita daily, with a pure, unshaken mind, attains perfection in knowledge, and reaches the highest state or supreme goal.
pathe 'samarthah sampurne tato 'rdham patham acaret tada go danajam punyam labhate na 'tra samsayah
11. If a complete reading is not possible, even if only half of it is read, he attains the benefit of giving a cow as a gift. There is no doubt about this.
tribhagam pathamanas to ganga snana phalam labhet sadamsam japamanas to soma yaga phalam labhet
12. He who recites one-third part of it achieves the merit of a bath in the sacred Ganga, and he who recites one-sixth of it attains the merit of performing a soma ritual.
eka 'dhyayam to yo nityam pathate bhakti samyutah rudra lokam avapnoti gano bhutva vasec ciram
13. That person who reads one chapter with great devotion attains to the world of Rudra and, having become an attendant of lord Siva, lives there for many years.
adhyayam sloka padam va nityam yah pathate narah sa yati naratam yavan manvantaram vasundhare
14. If one reads a quarter of a chapter or even part of a verse daily, he, O Earth, retains a human body till the end of a world-cycle.
gitayah sloka dasakam sapta panca catustayam dvau trin ekaih tad ardham va slokanam yah pathen narah candra lokam avapnotii varsanam ayutam dhruvam gita patha samayukto mrtomanusatam vrajet
15,16. He who repeats ten, seven, five, four, three, two verses or even one or half a verse, attains the region of the moon and lives there for ten thousand years. Accustomed to the daily study of the Gita, the dying man comes back to life again as a human being.
gita 'bhyasam punah krtva labhate muktim uttamam gite 'ty uccara samyukto mriyamano gatim labhet
17. By repeated study of the Gita he attains liberation. Uttering 'Gita' at the time of death, one attains liberation.
gita 'rtha sravana 'sakto maha papa yuto 'pi va vaikuntham samavapnoti visnuna saha modate
18. Though full of sins, one who is ever intent on hearing the meaning of the Gita, goes to the kingdom of God and rejoices with lord Visnu.
gita 'rtham dhyayate nityam krtva karmani bhurisah jivanmuktah sa vijneyo deha 'nte paramam padam
19. He who meditates on the meaning of the Glita, having performed a lot of good actions, attains the supreme goal after death. Such a man should be known as a jivanmukta (sage liberated while living).
gitam asritya bahavo bhubhujo janaka 'dayah nirdhuta kalmasa loke gita yatah paratn padam
20. In this world, taking refuge in the Gita, many kings like Janaka and others have reached the highest state or goal, purified of all sins.
gitayah pathanam krtva mahatmyam naiva yah pathet vrtha patho bhavet tasya srama eva by udahrtah
21. He who fails to read this Glory of the Gita after having read the Gita, loses the benefit thereby, and the effort alone remains.
etan mahatmya sahyuktam gita 'bhyasam karoti yah sa tat phalam avapnoti durlabharn gatim apnuyat
22. One who studies the Gita, together with this Glory of the Gita, attains the fruits mentioned above and reaches the state which is otherwise very difficult to attain.
suta uvaca mahatmyam etad gitaya maya proktam sanatanatn gitante ca pathed yas to yad uktam tat phalarnlabhet
23. Suta said: This greatness or Glory of the Gita which is eternal, as narrated by me, should be read at the end of the study of the Gita and the fruits mentioned therein will be obtained.
iti sri varaha purane gri gita mahatmyam sampurnam
Thus ends the Glory of the Gita contained in the Varaha purana.

This was a glimpse of the gospel of Lord Krishna - simple, direct, yet profound. It is not one of pessimism or escapism, but is full of robust common sense. And if it sometimes seems to be puzzling, it is because common sense is so uncommon in the complex world of today.
You may be quite certain that one direction is east and the opposite direction west. But, if you move a little, you suddenly discover that east and west meet you! You are the divider, and from another point of view, you are the meeting point. In fact, it is the mind that creates all this duality which multiplies into endless diversity, creating conflicts and confusion all the way through.
There is only oneness and cosmic unity. There just cannot be two infinites or two omnipresences. The origin of the perception of diversity is enshrouded in mystery - maya. But Krishna boldly assumes responsibility for even that! "I am seated in the hearts of all; from me are memory, knowledge, as well as their absence, " says He.
The manifest universe is the body of God, and the supreme spirit is the indweller. Even this distinction was made to suit human analogy and to satisfy the duality-ridden intellect. We make an arbitrary distinction between our body and our spirit which seems to be justified because at one stage - death - the spirit leaves the body. This, obviously, does not apply to the Lord and His Body, for He is eternal and infinite, and does not leave His Body.
What a sublime vision! What a world-uniting doctrine! What a fountain of love! What a soft blow to shatter all distinctions and differences! What a divine cord of love to unite all mankind in oneness - divinity!

Swami Venkatesananda

Om Tat Sat
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