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

18 - Moksa Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Liberation and Renunciation

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.
XVIII:1 - Arjuna said : I desire to know the essence of renunciation and of abstinence.
XVIII:2 - The Blessed Lord said : The sages understand it to be the renunciation of action with desire. The wise declare the abandonment of the fruits of all actions as abstinence.
At the close of chapter 16 Krsna had emphasised the importance of following scriptural injunctions.
The next chapter answered Arjuna's question: "If one did not know the scriptural injunctions but was endowed with faith, what happens to him?"
Now in this chapter Arjuna asks the other question: "If a man knew the scripture ... ?"
The scriptures emphasise the need for renunciation, tyaga.
'Without tyaga there can be no self-realisation'.
Renunciation meant abandonment of all that was considered worldly.
Only a few could do this; they rose in public esteem and endeavoured to preserve it by perpetuating an error!
The more spectacular and beyond the reach of the common man they made this tyaga, the surer were they of their own position of prestige and power.
It was conveniently ignored that one should renounce only what is one's own - the false ego and its vanity, prestige and possession - and that renouncing what does not belong, to one (e.g. home, property, wealth) is meaningless!
Of course, the position corrupted their heart and their renunciation was a mockery, even by their own theoretical standards.
But they had enough hold on society by now to make an y renunciation unnecessary.
We find this in all holy orders, whatever be the religion.
Lord Krsna opens the door wider, so that all may enter the realm of renunciation.
The swami engaged in self-willed desire-prompted action is no better than a business executive, except that the latter is more honest!
The layman who performs the most prosaic task without egoism or selfish desire qualifies for self-realisation.
If he engages himself in the selfless service of humanity, but has not a single thought for the fruits of such service, he is a man of tyaga.
true renunciation
XVIII:3 - Some philosophers declare that all actions should be abandoned as an evil; but there are yet other sages who maintain that acts of sacrifice, charity and penance should never be abandoned.
XVIII:4 - Hear from me the truth about abstinence, O Arjuna. Abstinence has been declared to be of three kinds.
Society in those days was divided into two sections.
There were those who followed the karma kanda (ritualistic portion) of the veda and to whom those rituals were too sacred ever to be abandoned.
There were the others who followed the jnana kanda (wisdom portion) of the veda and were convinced that to do anything was to invite rebirth, to enjoy or to suffer the consequences.
The basic philosophy of the latter is sound; but how few can realize that renunciation of the "world" means total abandonment of all attachment, even to one's own body and the modifications of one's own mind?
Krishna recognizes that that is the goal, though for its achievement no hypocritical abandonment of the world is necessary, but a revolution in the inner attitude, which he has already clearly stated: "While doing all your actions, feel you are not doing anything".
This necessarily implies that the samnyasi, who realizes, "I am not doing", is incapable of withdrawing from life or activity.
If, on the other hand, formal renunciation is overemphasized, then the evil pointed out on the previous page cannot be avoided.
Such renunciation cancels out the spirit of the scripture.
Who but the Lord can conclusively tell us what the true spirit of renunciation is?
Only he knows where and how the devil of human vanity quotes scripture to exploit the gullible.
Arjuna had also prayed to the Lord to be definite and conclusive in his instructions.
Hence, Krishna's declaration that what follows is the final truth.
without desire for rewards
XVIII:5 - Acts of sacrifice, gift and austerity should not be abandoned, but should be performed; sacrifice, gift and also austerity, purifiy the wise.
XVIII:6 - But even these actions should be performed leaving aside attachment and the desire for rewards. This, O arjuna, is My certain conviction.
It has been said that Krishna's Gita is a synthesis of the best in Aryan and non-Aryan traditions.
Krishna accepts the ancient Aryan yajna (sacrifice), the non-Aryan tapas or austerity, synthesizes them and shows that this synthesis is superior to either of its components.
Then he rejects routine ritual (the vaidika sacrifices) and foolish tapas to give us buddhi yoga.
This is indeed the highest statesmanship.
Tapas or austerity has already been dealt with in great detail.
Suffice it to say here that simple life itself is tapas.
Simplicity enables one to be free from slavery to the world and makes charity possible.
Charity alters values.
What is mine, becomes another's by charity; and freedom from attachment spares me the worry concerning it.
Objects have value only on account of attachment!
Realization of this deflates the value of even those objects that we retain out of necessity; then they can be given away without leaving a dent in our heart.
Charity, too, has been dealt with earlier.
It is really giving away what actually does not belong to one!
But sacrifice, which to me sounds like making something sacred, something leading to self-knowledge, is self-sacrifice or the abandonment of all that one identifies one's self with.
In the ritual yajna, when pouring ghee into the fire one utters the mantra "svaha" which literally means "killing of the self."
It frees one from the prison-house of the ego, to roam in the realm of the infinite.
The ego is just an idea.
The assumption that it is real is one's only "possession" that must be sacrificed.
Then one sees that one's other possessions were not possessions at all and charity becomes natural.
All these should be performed without desire for rewards.
Charity done with an eye to name and fame is only payment of advertisement charges!
the mirror of buddhi
XVIII:7 - The renunciation of obligatory action is improper; the abandonment of the same from delusion is tamasic.
XVIII:8 - He who abandons action on account of the fear of bodily trouble, he does not obtain the merit of renunciation by doing such rajasic renunciation.
Again, the razor 's edge of lord Krishna.
Here he mentions that one should not renounce obligatory duties (including the scripturally enjoined rituals); earlier he said that the performance of all these would only gain for us a holiday in heaven; and later again he commands us; "Abandon all dharma"!
Narada, in his Bhakti Sutra, also declares that the true devotee of the Lord has no use for worldly and scriptural duties.
How does one reconcile all these?
By practicing buddhi yoga.
Turn the mirror of buddhi (the value-giving discriminative faculty) towards God.
Recognize only God as the stable value, and let his light be reflected through the buddhi.
Let the mind and the senses function in that reflected light.
There is no need to abandon any duties, for when the time comes they will drop away.
When we go to sleep, we do not abandon the world; it fades into nothingness.
Let that also happen to the duties of the world.
However, the deluded man, by prematurely abandoning the world and its duties, only strengthens egoism!
"I am a holy man; this I shall not do, for it is beneath my dignity" - where is holiness in this trend of thought?
It is the seed of immense inner conflict.
There is yet another type of renunciation.
The man who cannot earn, renounces wealth.
Even in the practice of yoga, what we feel is difficult for us, we renounce with a high-sounding philosophy to justify it.
Man is unable to face the problems of family life and so with great fanfare renounces it.
That is not renunciation, but impotence, cowardice, and never leads one to the goal of life.
This, again, should not be misunderstood; the man who refuses to renounce "worldly life", even after realizing that it is painful, is attached to it!
Let the inner light of wisdom decide!
deserve his grace
XVIII:9 - Whatever obligatory action is done, O Arjuna, merely because it ought to be done, abandoning attachment and also the desire for reward, that renunciation is regarded as satvic.
XVIII:10 - The man of renunciation, pervaded by purity, intelligent and with his doubts cut asunder, does not hate a disagreeable work, nor is he attached to the agreeable.
The wise man abandons what ought to be abandoned attachment and desire for reward.
He may adopt what the popular mind regards as the "monastic life", if he feels that that is his obligatory action.
But that is not because he is attached to his own ideas of holiness, or because he expects honor and worship.
(We have already been told that these cravings are demoniacal.)
His stable value is God. In him God is "awake", for the ego is in a comatose state.
His life progresses smoothly because he sees that he does not determine his own destiny.
With that enlightened understanding, what has to be done (God's will) is done without any thought of a reward or consequence.
There is no egoistic pushing on his part.
A word of caution here: we are again facing the razor's edge!
It is foolish to camouflage our own desire-prompted egoistic activities on the pretext that it is God's will that we should continue them.
The manifestations of the ego, lust, anger and greed, attachment and desire for reward, must be abandoned.
Non-abandonment of these will revive and maintain the ego.
This philosophy seems to be easy to understand and apply, but actually it is difficult for the simple reason that it elevates us so much, we are confused as to both direction and path.
If there is the least impurity of heart, delusion or non-intelligence present, and if there is the least doubt alive in the heart, the ego will once again play havoc in the garb of self-surrender.
Only God can guide us; we must ensure that we deserve His Grace.
We should constantly and vigilantly look within for the reality.
Then attachment and "possession" are realized to be unreal and are dropped by the mind.
When this happens, one lives in God, one realizes God.
all is divine harmony
XVIII:11 - It is not possible for an embodied being to abandon actions entirely; but he who renounces the rewards of actions, is verily a man of renunciation.
XVIII:12 - The threefold fruit of action - evil, good and mixed - accrues after death to the non-abandoners, but never to the abandoners.
It is God's Will that has brought spirit and matter into being.
It is His Will that sustains this world-play by the projection of his apparent diversity.
The universe dances to his tunes.
The individual's own body and mind, being part of the universe, are caught up in this cosmic dance; who but God himself can stop it?
One who tries to stop the dance is egoistic and, therefore, cut off from God.
That kind of renunciation is delusion.
The true man of renunciation, on the other hand, renounces the desire for reward.
A little contemplation will reveal to us the utter stupidity of expecting a reward for something that is done by God's will, by his own instrument (each individual soul), with the help of objects of his own creation!
It is as if 'I' expected a reward for some work you have done, which is entirely illogical.
Abandonment of this delusion is true renunciation.
We then let God's will flow through us, without egoistic motive, and this itself is liberation or God-realization.
Karma binds only the deluded egoistic soul.
It has no meaning in God's eyes; for he is the all-pervading, eternal being.
He pervades heaven, hell and this world, but he also transcends them.
It is only the deluded soul that believes it does something, expecting some reward.
After death, it sometimes gets a good reward, sometimes an indifferent one and sometimes an evil one.
To one who has abandoned egoism and does God's will without personal profit-motive, to whom the whole universe is God's own manifestation and this world-play is a solo act by God - there is no pain, no pleasure, no sin, no virtue, no hell, no heaven.
Seen from that universal focus, which is God, all is divine harmony.
principle of egoism
XVIII:13 - Learn from Me, O Arjuna, these five causes for the accomplishment of all actions, as declared in the Sankhya system:
XVIII:14 - the body, the doer, the various senses, the different functions of various sorts, and the presiding deity also as the fifth.
Look at it from any point of view you like; you cannot escape the conclusion that the self is not the doer or the enjoyer.
However, the doubter says: "But, I do feel the pain" or "But how can anything be done if I don't want to do it?"
That "but" is a dangerous conjunction, which muffles the voice of truth and amplifies the ego's alluring and deluding whisper.
Here Krishna flashes the light of truth on the truth.
As he said to Arjuna, so he says to every man:
"You say you will fight or you will not fight. You want to do what is right and avoid what is wrong.
You feel that that choice alone will determine whether you go to heaven or hell after death, whether you will have an auspicious or inauspicious birth.
All these hinge upon a central fallacy: the feeling that you are the doer! Now listen to my analysis."
"There are the five factors that enter the accomplishment of all actions: the body, which obviously seems to do and to en joy, is of course the first.
In that body itself we see the various subtle sense-organs which, to some extent, seem to be distinct from it.
The sense organs of knowledge and of action are Coordinated and they function - this is the third factor.
Then we have the gods who preside over these functions (this may also refer to the jiva or individualized self, or to the light in which the senses function - "deva" means light).
Finally, there is a mysterious principle of egoism, ignorance and delusion which identifies the functions and activities of all these with the self which is the silent witness, thus creating the idea of doer-ship."
If you look within, you suddenly discover that all your experiences are made possible by the intelligence that functions in you.
That intelligence is not yours, it is a fragment of the cosmic consciousness.
The ego, which arose with those experiences is also part of that consciousness; it, itself, does not exist.
an uninvited guest
XVIII:15 - Whatever action a man performs by his body, speech and mind, whether right or the reverse, these five are its causes.
XVIII:16 - Now, such being the case, he who, owing to untrained understanding, looks upon his self as the agent, sees not, because he is of perverted intelligence.
The body, senses and the mind perform their duties with the energy invested in them by the divine nature of the Lord.
The Lord's own consciousness (apparently looked upon as the various deities) presides over the senses and carries on the activities of the world.
His energy, as the sun, the celestial body, illumines the objects of the world; his energy as the sun within, perceives the world through the medium of the eyes.
The self is but a silent witness of all these diverse functions.
This is one view.
From this view the "daivam" of the previous verse refers to the deities presiding over the various sense-functions.
The supreme Lord (daivam) has willed this universe into existence and he himself dwells within each body inspiring the mind and the senses to function.
'I' does nothing at all! "I do nothing, it is the Lord who does everything", feels the devotee of the Lord.
This is another view.
Whichever be the attitude adopted, in accordance with one's own training and temperament, and one's own discovery, the 'I' is seen to be a shady impostor who belongs neither to the material side nor to the spiritual side of one's being.
A story is told of how a vagabond entered a village where a four-day wedding feast was in progress.
Uninvited he entered the bride's house and received honor due to the members of the groom's party.
He mingled with the latter pretending to belong to the bride's party.
Then someone asked him: "Who are you?"
At that he quietly slipped away.
That is just what the ego does when confronted with the question, "Who is 'I'?"
It is a mirage, a shadow, a robber seen in a dream.
It is an uninvited guest, which can, however, cause a lot of havoc.
turn the gaze
XVIII:17 - He who is free from the egoistic notion, whose intelligence is untainted, though he slays these people, he slayeth not; nor is he bound by the action.
This mysterious egoistic notion is the cause of all our sins and sufferings.
In fact it is this notion that sins and that suffers, too.
The 'I' creates its own ghosts desire and hatred, clings to them and fears them.
In the one it sees many and gets bewildered.
Forgetful of God, the supreme bliss, it is subjected to frustration.
Frantically working for happiness, it loses it!
Man walks the burning sands of the desert in order to quench his thirst at a far lake, only to find that the lake is a mirage.
How can these unreal causes produce such real effects?
Because in the darkness of unawareness the 'I' arises and thinks it is real, vainly imagining (and creating) evils and sufferings.
This is the only sin.
Hence our Master insisted again and again: "Turn the gaze".
When you turn the searchlight of truth on this mysterious 'I', you will discover, not the 'I' nor its vanishing trick, but the substratum for the 'I' and for the whole universe, which is God, Brahman, the paramatman.
Even a dry blade of grass cannot be wafted by the wind except by God's Will.
This has been the unanimous verdict of all sages, saints and prophets.
The whole universe is run by his will.
Actions do not bind; it is only the egoistic identification that binds.
The hateful murderer is sent to the gallows, yet the executioner gets paid for a similar action.
In war, the same action on a larger scale wins the hero a medal! Look within and you will know the difference.
The understanding and knowledge, "Thy will be done" frees us instantly, enabling us to perceive the truth, to experience that God is good, that the universe is good and that the soul is eternally good.
The 'I' was but a bad dream. Forget it.
But, beware, let the 'I' not create a God for you to fear, to love, to worship and to realize.
God here is the truth, the reality who is "present" when all thoughts march out, following the I-thought.
introduction to December
The goal is in sight.
That is all even the most purified ego can independently (though with the inevitable help of divine grace) achieve.
The golden shackle still binds and the golden needle will still prick.
Goodness is good.
To live is to turn away from evil (reverse spelling).
But that is not enough, for "live" contains in it the seed of all evil (anagram of veil ) - "i" (ego).
When that "i" is replaced by its self-negation "o", live becomes "love" which is God.
This vowel is a constant: 0+0=0; 0-0=0; 0x0=0; 0/0=0.
And, when looked at from any side, this "O" is still a zero.
It is beginningless and endless.
Only total and complete self-surrender makes the seeker divine, perfect, and eternal (constant).
That is the culmination of evolution (just as zero is full, complete and the fulfillment of the point, the arc, the semi-circle and even the "straight" line).
Strangely enough, such surrender is impossible without control - which perhaps implies the exercise of the ego in the right direction.
We cannot consciously and deliberately surrender our body, mind and soul to God unless we know what they are!
All ethical discipline, all moral codes, all psychophysical yoga practices aim at coming to grips with our personality; not in order to make it more powerful, but to affect the realization that all our moods and actions, whether dull, dynamic or divine, originate in God.
With this realization the ego dissolves, humility arises and true surrender follows naturally.
"Renounce all, everything, to me", says Krishna.
Lip service to surrender will not do.
Between conscious self-surrender and unconscious passivity, there is the same difference as there is between super-consciousness and sleep; between offering a fruit to God and, having forgotten its existence, allowing it to rot.
When the egoistic self is surrendered, the higher self (God) shines in its own glory.
That is our goal, nothing short of it will do.
May we reach it, here and now.
XVIII:18 - Knowledge, the knowable and the knower form the threefold impulse to action; the organ, the action and the agent form the threefold basis of action.
XVIII:19 - Knowledge, action and the actor are declared in the science of the gunas to be of three kinds, according to the distinction of the gunas; hear them also duly.
Krishna does not split hairs in philosophy, and consequently does not give us a splitting headache.
On the other hand, fear of analysis often leads to vague generalizations.
Krishna 's teaching is entirely free from this, too.
The word of God has the invariable characteristic of being clear, succinct and direct.
I have seen this in our Master's approach to all problems.
He could go to the root of any problem without beating about the bush and getting lost; and without dabbling on the surface and getting nowhere.
Self-purification is a delicate art.
It is surgery without incision.
It demands a subtlety of vision without magnification.
What is the "self" and what are the components that should be purified?
Ignorance of this might land us in semi-purification (which is not purification!).
What constitutes an action?
Listen to the wonderfully precise analysis.
Action springs from knowledge (theory); we have an idea of the "knowable", the experiencable, the object, the goal; and the knower is the subject.
Subject-object-predicate: these are the three invariable constituents of an action.
Purify them and all actions are pure.
The physical being, its activity, and the idea of agency - are the mechanics of action.
Purify them, too.
These six are then reduced to three: knowledge, action (directed towards the right "knowable" or object) and actor (the self, the knower, the agent who identifies himself as the organ of action).
These three are classified into the threefold division in the following verses.
XVIII:20 - That by which one sees the one indestructible reality in all beings, not separate in all the separate beings, know you that knowledge to be sattwic.
XVIII:21 - But that knowledge which sees in all beings various entities of distinct kinds as different from one another, know you that knowledge to be rajasic.
XVIII:22 - That which clings to one single effect as if it were the whole, without reason, without foundation in truth, and trivial, that is declared to be tamasic.
This doctrine can be applied to religion, speculative philosophy, sociology, human relations and ethics generally.
One can meditate upon these three verses and derive a wealth of meaning and inspiration from them.
Since the ultimate reality is one, the wise man, the sattvika person sees the one reality in all; the perception of the all being the inevitable consequence of the perceiver's limitation as the individual.
The eyes have neither microscopic nor telescopic vision and cannot, therefore, perceive the grand unity.
Even if that were possible, there would still exist the distinction between the perceiver and the perceived 'unity'.
The sattvika knower, however, intuitively feels the unity that underlies the diversity.
Rajasa knowledge confers on this diversity not an apparent but a real existence.
It enables us to realize that there are others, other paths and so on, and leads us to a 'live and let live' policy.
Tamasa knowledge does not recognize any but its own point of view.
It is the "frog in the well".
It is dogmatic.
It is a wonder that people who call themselves knowledgeable assert that there is only one viewpoint!
Have they actually ascertained that there are no others?
How can one assert that his religion or concept of God alone is true, till he knows how many religions there are (which is of course impossible)?
Everyone's viewpoint is valid, but especially valid for himself.
We should recognize the validity of others' viewpoints and ultimately the one that runs through all.
a fine art
XVIII:23 - An action which is ordained, which is free from attachment, which is done without love or hatred by one who is not desirous of any reward, that action is declared to be sattwic.
XVIII:24 - But that action which is done by one longing for the fulfilment of desires or gain, with egoism or with much effort, that is declared to be rajasic.
XVIII:25 - That action which is undertaken from delusion, without regard to the consequences of loss, injury and one's own ability, that is declared to be tamasic.
Lord Krishna's path is one of "adventure with calculated risk".
He does not encourage weak-heartedness or impotence.
Nor does he encourage self-destructive foolhardiness.
The third of the above verses warns us that we should calculate the consequences, not with pessimistic withdrawal but in order that the effort may be matched with the task, that unnecessary loss and injury may be avoided, and that we may not try to jump on to our own shoulders.
It should not be misconstrued as cowardice.
Many there are who waste precious talent and life battling with impossible situations.
I have seen a young man whose only spiritual sadhana was to develop powers to endure the severe Himalayan cold!
His motive: to be acclaimed by the public as a great yogi.
He did not live long enough to enjoy that renown.
What a waste!
Our Master, on the contrary, gave such practices a lesser value, realizing their doubtful spiritual consequences.
If your body cannot endure the cold, put on a coat.
But then study the first of the three verses and act on it.
Such action will promote sattva (divinity, purity or light within).
Gita-action is a fine art: finer than the best dancing, the most delicate painting or the most soulful music.
We should know what to do (our duty) and what not to do (useless task); yet we should do what we do without an eye to its reward ("usefulness"), without attachment (which a sense of duty might lead to) and without egoism.
a series of concepts
XVIII:26 - He who is free from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with firmness and enthusiasm and unaffected by success or failure, is called sattwic.
XVIII:27 - Passionate, desiring to obtain the rewards of actions, cruel, greedy, impure, moved by joy and sorrow, such action is said to be rajasic.
XVIII:28 - Unsteady, dejected, unbending, cheating, malicious, vulgar, lazy and proscrastinating, such an agent is called tamasic.
If the light within (knowledge) that illumines our life and the actions that proceed in that light are sattvika or pure, obviously the agent will also be pure. But no.
Krishna does not let us take anything for granted.
In the bloodless, weaponless inner warfare, a moment's non-vigilance might undo a lifetime's hard work.
The inner agent (the ignorance born ego) cannot be destroyed because it is a shadow.
It has to be discovered.
In reality, the ego (the agent) is not a devil, but God-asleep.
The veil of ignorance or deep sleep has to be removed.
This is achieved by sattva (the quality, "va", of reality, "sat").
The agent with the veil on is the little self or ego; the agent minus the veil is the self identical with the supreme self whose thought is spread out as the universe and whose will maintains the cosmic play.
Sun shines, earth revolves - but ignorance calls it the passage of time!
There is a constant change of atoms in this universe; the ego superimposes on this an endless series of concepts - birth, death, success, failure, pain, pleasure, heat, cold, etc.
Thus deluded, the ego lives a completely isolated and self-centered life (tamasa).
By evolution and effort it graduates to the passionate life (rajasa).
Then, through deliberate avoidance of the nature of the above two, and by the conscious cultivation of the sattvika attitude, the ego becomes non-ego, joyously surrendering to the divine, participating in God 's Will and enjoying the Bliss that He is.
light, insight and perseverance
XVIII:29 - Hear you the threefold division of the intellect and firmness according to the gunas, as I declare them fully and distinctly, O Arjuna.
With unambiguous clarity the dynamics of action have been dealt with.
We have been told what our inner self should be like, what the characteristics of our actions should be and in what light they should be performed.
Yet Krishna is not satisfied!
"Knowledge" (the light) itself is often classified as superior and inferior.
The superior aspect of this knowledge (the light) was described in verse 20.
A novice seeker, not very spiritually evolved, might not find that description quite satisfying; and even in the case of an intelligent seeker whose ego still revels in the deep slumber of ignorance, that description might be misinterpreted to the ego's own advantage.
The compassionate Lord comes down to the level of the seeker and analyses this factor still further.
Here we have the classification of knowledge as the discriminating principle, buddhi.
This buddhi itself can also be either pure, passionate or dull.
A clear understanding of the classification makes it possible for one to ascend the ladder and attain a sattvika state.
In following verses, another wonderful truth unfolds itself.
In order to reach our destination, we need three things: a light outside (the sun, the moon, a lamp, etc.); the sense of sight within; and the spirit of perseverance.
The last is what has been called "firmness" in this verse.
Firmness is a quality, neither good nor bad - as is everything in this universe.
All too often we tenaciously cling to childish ideas and ideals, resisting all good influences that endeavor to guide us, in the false belief that it is the devil tempting us and that we should tenaciously stick to our own ideas and practices.
Degenerate forms of idolatry, patriotism, a sense of social and domestic responsibility - are some instances where tenacity might mean bondage.
It is good to remember that any theory or idea that distracts the attention from the simple truth is to be discarded, while one which leads towards the center, towards the simple truth within, is useful.
XVIII:30 - That understading which knows the path of work and renunciation, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation, that understanding is satvic, O Arjuna.
XVIII:31 - That by which one incorrectly understands dharma and adharma, and also what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, that understand, O Arjuna, is rajasic.
XVIII:32 - That understanding which, enveloped in darkness, views adharma as dharma and all things perverted, that intellect, O Arjuna, is tamasic.
No one can lay down a universal "do's and don'ts" code in great detail.
The "guiding light", knowledge, is universal but the code of morals is not.
It is based on the divine law, but adopted to time, place and circumstance.
This is what we call tradition, or dharma in its restricted sense.
The tradition concerning the path of work (household life) and that concerning the path of renunciation are different.
One should know them.
Tradition has great use: it keeps a society together and organized, thus freeing each one from the unnecessary task of carrying another' s burden and from being weighed down by little cares and petty anxieties.
A sage rises above tradition, but does not willfully abandon it.
The man with the middling intellect, in the heat of passionate dynamism, misunderstands the moral law and the tradition, but can be taught and trained to give up these wrong notions.
But not so the last category!
The man of tamasa buddhi is not so much a sinner as an unevolved brute stupid and ignorance-ridden.
His "permitted actions" are deluded actions, thus he deliberately violates moral law and tradition.
It is in this respect that laws which approve of exploitation of man by man, divorce and so on, on the plea that they are in conformity with "changed times", are immoral.
Even if all of us tell lies, it is still unrighteous.
Recognition of this leaves the door open for the abandonment of these notions.
a puzzling paradox
XVIII:33 - The unwavering firmness by which, through Yoga, the functions of the mind, the life-force and the senses are restrained, that firmness, O Arjuna, is sattwic.
XVIII:34 - But that firmness, O Arjuna, by which, on account of attachment and desire for reward, one holds fast to Dharma, enjoyment of pleasures and earning of wealth, that firmness, O Arjuna, is rajasic.
XVIII:35 - That by which man does not abandon sleep, fear, grief, despair and also conceit, that firmness, O Arjuna, is tamasic.
The classification and the description of each category is very explicit.
But a great thought is hidden in a simple expression in the last verse.
It leads us once again to a puzzling paradox.
The word paradox means something that is beyond teaching, something that cannot even be caught, but glimpsed - like the beauty of a flower.
Once caught, the flower is broken into a thousand pieces; truth that is caught is destroyed instantly.
Thus, we should know our own limitations.
We should know what to fear, but should not cling to fear - it is tamasa.
Neither should we cling to despair.
That, too, is tamasa.
Millions in the world today waste their lives in hiding, through sheer despair and morbid fear.
They do not realize how illogical they are.
Would it not be better to face the situation and either die, or live happily?
We should not throw away life by valuing life itself more than the living of it.
Rajasa firmness is also not very highly commended and is not our goal.
However, it is better to be functional with a doubtful motive or even in selfishness, than to crouch under a blanket of fear and despair.
This dynamism will in due course lead us to the firmness of a yogi described in the first verse.
We should be firmly rooted in contemplation of the Lord and carefully avoid clinging to anything else.
"Attach your mind to the Lord and detach it from the world," sang our Master.
XVIII:36 - Now hear from me, O Arjuna, of the threefold pleasure, in which one rejoices by practice, and surely comes to the end of pain.
Whatever a man does, he seeks happiness through it.
In fact, this pursuit of happiness is one of the fundamental motive-forces of evolution.
Intuition of this truth has given rise in sages to the vision that the self-experience and self-expression by the supreme self of its own bliss-nature, is the reason underlying this mysterious process of becoming (creation and evolution).
Consciousness locked in the mineral grows as a plant, moves about as an animal with a simple consciousness, thinks and contemplates as man with self-consciousness, till it arrives at the destination, which is self-realization where bliss is experienced as one ' s own essential nature.
Man, the crown of creation, is a complete picture of this world-process.
He bears within himself the impressions of the beginningless struggle to attain self-realization - the impressions left in him by the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, and the impressions left in him by his own past lower-human incarnations.
Hence, he is torn (as no plant or animal is) between the higher aspirations and the lower appetites.
It is good to know, therefore, when our pleasure seeking promotes our evolution and when it halts it.
Man, with a self-consciousness and a will of his own, can choose between sagehood or beasthood.
Few would knowingly choose the latter but it is possible in a state of ignorance to knock at the wrong door.
The pleasure-seeking mind has a tendency to grab the nearest pleasure-source.
Yet, if the nature of the choice is clearly defined, the wise man might be saved from error, and discover that moments of happiness or pleasure generally lie in the interval between two experiences of excitement or craving.
When a craving subsides, we think we are happy!
Hence, the following clear-cut classification of pleasure or happiness.
rajasa pleasure
XVIII:37 - That which is like poison at first, but in the end like nectar, that pleasure is declared to be sattwic, born of the purity of the Self.
XVIII:38 - That pleasure which arises from the contact of the sense organs with the objects, which is at first like nectar, and in the end like poison, that is declared to be rajasic.
XVIII:39 - That pleasure which at first and in the sequel is delusive of the self, arising from sleep, indolence and heedlessness, such pleasure is declared to be tamasic.
There is a declaration in the Upanishads that all the pleasures of this universe are a drop in the ocean of bliss that is God.
Yet, tamasa pleasure is "delusive of the self," i.e. it prevents us from arriving at our destination - that bliss which is the essential nature of the self.
Like smoke which compels us to close our eyes, and thus prevents us from utilizing the light and heat also generated by fire, tamasa pleasure blinds our vision to the light of truth, and to the energy within us which could be put to good use.
Rajasa pleasure is all that falls under the heading of "happiness" in the civilized man's dictionary - wife, children, property, position in society, good food and drink, amusements, and pastimes.
These are all better than tamasa pleasure, because they give us temporary pleasure.
The saving feature here is the impermanence of this pleasure, which might awaken an intelligent man to look for its sattvika counterpart.
The unintelligent man, however, might switch from one type of rajasa-pleasure to another, and discover the truth about them too late.
It is difficult for embodied beings to be completely free from the taint of rajasa pleasure.
Even in the seeker, the taste for pleasure remains long after he has begun to restrain the senses.
The recognition of true sattvika pleasure (bliss of self-absorption) is the fruit or reward of self-realization.
That alone is sattvika pleasure which is born of, leads to and enables us to remain established in the self.
whatever happens, happens
XVIII:40 - There is no being on earth or in heaven, among the gods, that is liberated from the three gunas, born of material nature.
All motion and manifestation are subject to the three qualities of nature that have been described so vividly by lord Krishna.
Not only the gross, but the extremely subtle objects of nature are subject to them.
Gross and subtle, heaven and hell, earth and the beyond are all relative terms, one serving as the frame of reference for the other.
They are not absolute.
The absolute (the subject, unknowable by the intellect and hence not a concept) is intuitively realized, in an indescribable transcendental experience, as beyond the qualities.
This should not lead us to the absurd position of regarding the qualities as something "outside" the one.
God, who is pure existence, is unsullied and unaffected by anything that happens in this universe, because whatever happens happens not because of His Will or His Grace (these are imperfect , inadequate human expressions ), but because that is His nature.
The one is unaffected by the qualities, even as the cobra is unaffected by its venom.
Through the veins and arteries of our body run impure and pure blood; together they form one system and we do not regard the arteries as "good" and the veins as "injurious" to our physical well-being.
The three qualities constitute divine nature which is indistinguishable from the supreme reality.
Even the sage's body and mind are subject to the qualities, though sattva preponderates in them.
But the sage resting in the self witnesses the play of the guna without identifying himself (his self) with them.
Hence, in our approach to them we should beware of judging them by our ignorant and intellectual standards.
Krishna also warns us here that we can grow in sattva only by consciously choosing the sattvika in all things and, eventually transcending sattva by his grace, we passively offer ourselves in total surrender to him.
XVIII:41 - Of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, as the Sudras, O Arjuna, the duties are distributed according to the qualities born of their own nature.
At each incarnation we bring forward with us our "nature".
This nature manifests the preponderant quality which determines our "caste".
This is nothing more than a cast- a mould for casting.
The Oxford dictionary's definition of it as 'any of the E.Ind.
Hereditary classes with members shunning intercourse with the other castes' is plain mischievous mis-statement.
The "nature" that is brought forward undergoes incessant change.
It is true that the basic aspects do not change, e.g. one who is born a male dies a male, but a great degree of change in other aspects is possible.
After all, the "brought forward" nature was the cumulative effect of the continuous interaction of the self and environment, of aspiration and limitation, of the upward pull of spiritual evolution and the downward pull of animal urges.
If that nature determined the caste in which we were born, the latter, too, would undergo the same change as the former.
As we shall presently see, the gulf that separates one caste from the other - the gulf of fundamental nature - is wide enough to make it difficult for one to jump from one to the other.
But we should bear in mind:
(a) that it is impossible to assert that any human being falls entirely within one category - he always has some element of the other categories, and
(b) that the transfer, though difficult, is not impossible, as is demonstrated in the legendary heroes who achieved it, and also in modern sex-change experiments.
What is perhaps more difficult and vitally important is to be efficient and diligent in the righteous expression of one's own essential nature, without the presumption that one is superior or inferior to another - which is false and artificial.
So, dharma can be looked at from two extremely simple angles.
Firstly, your own essential nature and secondly, a certain built-in balance that sustains the entire universe and the human personality - a universal vibration.
XVIII:42 - Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness and uprightness, knowledge, realisation and belief in God, are the duties of the Brahmanas, born of their own nature.
XVIII:43 - Prowess, splendour, firmness, dexterity, fearlessness, generosity and lordliness, are the the qualities of work for the Ksatriyas, born of their own nature.
XVIII:44 - Agriculture, cattle-rearing and trade are the duties of the Vaishya, born of their own nature; and action consisting of service is the duty of the Sudra, born of their own nature.
Where is it said that the mere accident of birth or erudite scholarship are the qualifications of a brahmana?
Elsewhere, the word "brahmana" has been defined as one who knows Brahman or the absolute.
Shankaracharya defines "pandit" as one who knows "panda" or knowledge pertaining to self-realization.
It is said in the Bhagavatam that in this kali age, "members of the three castes are mostly converted into sudra" (12.II:4).
Even here, it is not because people value service or realize the dignity of labor, but because the qualifications for belonging to the other three are absent.
This moral degeneration and ethical apathy often assume strange roles: the brahmana and the ksatriya fight to stay as such, not because they are qualified to, but because such fighting is easier than the acquisition of the qualifications.
Even the vaisya do not produce wealth or food in the right spirit, but in order to become wealthier and stay wealthier than the others.
Wealth is the god of the present (kali) age.
Says the Bhagavatam: 'In the kali age wealth alone will be the criterion of pedigree, morality and merit' (12.II:2).
All people, including the sudra, serve...not one another, not the neighbor, not God, but wealth.
Thus they are not even sudra in the real sense!
The caste system is gone (though a new caste or class system has taken its place).
Has this led to real unity and understanding?
Oh, yes, in one way - for we are all worshipping wealth as the only god.
But wealth engenders hatred, jealousy and enmity, not love.
God is love, and it is God we should worship.
the heart of the gita
XVIII:45 - Each man, devoted to his own duty, attains perfection. How he attains perfection while being engaged in his own duty, hear now.
XVIII:46 - By worship of the Lord, the source of all being,s and who is all-pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty, attain perfection.
In our day to day activity, this truth that God pervades everything in the universe is not reflected.
Our cravings, our hate, our fear, our jealousy, our envy and the competitive spirit which characterizes all our thoughts, words and deeds, are the direct denial of the reality we seem to understand intellectually.
With what green eyes the poor brahmana looks at the rich farmer or trader!
With what envy the ksatriya, with all his pomp and power, views the status that the brahmana enjoys!
What would the trader not do to "buy" the political boss or the pandit!
And, lastly, how fervently members of the workers' union wish to assert their superiority over everyone else!
All this is unnecessary.
Is salvation the exclusive privilege of men of only certain castes or professions?
An emphatic "No" is the reply, for the simple reason that (a) all are born of God and (b) God dwells in all of us.
(If it can be asserted that one born in a "low" caste cannot attain God-realization, then it should also be proved that God does not dwell in him!)
This eternal oneness already exists between God and every man; no one can cancel it.
All that is needed now is to realize that relationship.
The man is asleep in his own house.
All that he has to do is to wake up, to realize that fact.
You cannot say: "Unless you become somebody else the house cannot be yours."
Do your own duty - whatever that "work" be.
But adopt this wonderful life-transforming inner attitude: treat that work as worship of God.
Who is that God?
He who created all beings and who further pervades all of them.
He and he alone exists. You are not serving anybody here, but God.
Service of fellow-men, service of all creatures is worship of God.
Realize this and be free - that freedom from ego and desire is perfection.
The second of the above two verses should be inscribed on the tablet of our heart. It is the heart of the Gita.
The caste system is gone (though a new caste or class system has taken its place).
Has this led to real unity and understanding?
Oh, yes, in one way - for we are all worshipping wealth as the only god.
But wealth engenders hatred, jealousy and enmity, not love.
God is love, and it is God we should worship.
XVIII:47 - Better is one's own duty, though destitute of merits, than the duty of another well performed. He who does the duty, ordained by his own nature, incurs no sin.
The word "svadharma" in the text, translated into "one's own duty ", can be extended to cover everything that a man is expected to do - expected not only in the obligatory but in a more natural sense, e.g ., you expect a dog to bark at a stranger.
That single word is difficult and delicate to translate; it is capable of triggering bitter controversy.
The tiger killing other animals incurs no sin.
Perhaps the savage cannibal incurs no sin either, for he is still on the animal plane.
A butcher carrying on his family trade incurs no sin.
They can attain God-realization by realizing that all these activities pertain to their physical nature and that the self is the witness-consciousness.
It is "desire born of rajo-guna, passion-quality" that holds man in bondage, not the performance of his duty whatever that may be.
The detached performance of his duty will ensure, in the case of a butcher, that it will drop away in God's good time; but its willful abandonment by him in favor of a more esteemed occupation will only strengthen his ego and fulfil its desire for respectability.
The due performance of one's own duties, even mechanically, will gain for the man a natural promotion on the path of evolution.
But a wise performance of the same duties, ascribing them to nature, whilst the seeker stands by as witness-consciousness, will secure self-realization for him.
Where "the expression of one's nature" involves antisocial activity, society will curb it; and that again is lawful.
The verse also unequivocally affirms Krishna's firm view that proselytization is a spiritual crime.
One who is converted, and one who converts, blasphemes against the omnipresence of God.
detached dynamism
XVIII:48 - One should not abandon, O Arjuna, the duty to which one is born, though faulty; for, all undertakings are enveloped by fault, as fire by smoke.
XVIII:49 - One can obtain the results of renunciation simply by self- control, by becoming unattached to material things and disregarding material enjoyments. That's the highest perfetional stage of renunciation.
The previous injunction is reinforced.
The goal of Gita yoga is detached dynamism, egoless activity.
Dynamism and detachment, efficiency and egolessness are possible only if one applies oneself to one's innate talents and faculties, if one discovers oneself, instead of struggling to imitate someone else.
Abandoning them and looking for something else decreases efficiency and feeds the ego.
With the exception of those who are born, for unknown reasons, into the "wrong" families, the vast majority of human beings find it easier to carry on the professions natural to them.
It is "in the blood", as we say. Hence, the carpenter's son has great chances of shining as a skilful carpenter.
Barring exceptions, if he attempts to become a singer,
(i) his natural talents are suppressed and lost to the world,
(ii) he has to work against too many odds - upbringing, environment, etc., and so is constantly frustrated and worsted by those who are 'born to sing', and
(iii) the unnaturalness of the situation makes him vain over little successes and the least defeat hurts his vanity deeply.
Krishna tells us: "All beginnings, all undertakings are enveloped by evil; why are you anxious to abandon what is natural to you and struggle to achieve the unnatural?"
Your goal is to make your life so easy and smooth-flowing that you can rise above the idea of "I am the doer", so that you may rest in the supreme state of actionlessness.
When you begin to do something strange and new, the desire that goads you, the effort that accompanies it, and the expectancy or fear of the consequences will conspire to keep you away from your own center, i .e., witness-consciousness.
The correct understanding of this makes life clear and enables you to live in total harmony and bliss.
XVIII:50 - Learn from me in brief, O Arjuna, how he who has attained perfection, reaches Brahman, the supreme state of knowledge.
XVIII:51 - Endowed with a pure intellect, controlling the self by firmness, relinquishing sound and other objects, and abandoning both hatred and attraction,
What does the one who wants to realize God abandon?
Not any particular occupation or form of life.
There is no purpose in jumping from frying pan to fire.
When someone approached Ramana Maharsi for permission to take samnyas, the latter significantly remarked: "So long you have identified yourself with a householder's life and status, and now you wish to identify yourself with a swami's life and status.
What is the use?
Remove all such identifications by self-realization."
Indian history and legend contain countless illustrations of this vital truth: God-realization does not depend upon learning or upon particular professions or accidents of birth, but solely upon self-discipline which is elaborated upon in the three verses, 51 to 53.
One should have an extremely pure intellect ("visuddha" in the text does not mean merely "pure", but exceptionally pure).
Only that exceptionally pure intellect (the perfect mirror) will be able to reflect the true glory of the self.
The self must be controlled.
We can effectively do that only by making the self obey the dictates of the divine within and not by acceding to the (self's) demands.
It is the self that clamors for recognition; the will of the divine will naturally and inevitably assert itself.
The latter requires no special effort or endeavor.
The former involves self-aggrandizement, with love of those who promote it and hatred of those that thwart it - these are the factors to be abandoned.
How does one ' s birth or the expression of God-given innate talent hamper this self-discipline?
the middle path
XVIII:52 - Dwelling in solitude, eating but little, with speech, body and mind subdued, always engaged in concentration and meditation, taking refuge in dispassion,
XVIII:53 - Having abandoned egoism, strength, arrogance, anger, desire, and covetousness, unselfish and peaceful, he is fit for becoming Brahman.
The three verses, 51 to 53, may indicate what we should do after establishing ourselves in the perfection mentioned earlier!
They may also be construed to indicate the symptomatology of perfection itself: perfection and 'becoming Brahman' being two sides of the same coin.
The practice of "seeing God in all" and serving and loving all as the manifestation of the supreme reality, which was described in previous verses, is an essential preliminary and auxiliary to what is taught in these verses.
The seeker who shuns the world will only drive it into his subconscious and revive it in solitude.
His world hatred may appear to be a qualification for retiring into seclusion.
If he is sincere, however, he will soon discover that isolation is a function of thought, it is not a feat, and therefore he has no control over himself, and his speech, body and mind are not subdued but suppressed.
Again, to be "always engaged in meditation" demands the use of mighty intelligence.
Whereas this is easy for the man who has perfected himself by the method of worshipping God with every action, it is impossible for others.
Any forced egoistic attempt towards this end will only dig the pit of tamas from which it is extremely difficult to rescue oneself!
Our Master insisted that the seeker should intelligently combine a number of spiritual practices to prevent this.
In all cases, one should be honest with oneself, never yielding to hypocrisy and showiness.
All this may take a lifetime, but then the reward is well worth the effort.
If yoga is made extremely unpleasant, the mind will revolt; if it is made too pleasant, it will be caught.
The middle path alone is good.
para bhakti
XVIII:54 - Becoming Brahman, serene in the Self, he neither grieves nor desires. The same to all beings, he attains supreme devotion to Me.
XVIII:55 - By devotion he knows Me in truth, what and who I am; knowing Me in truth, he enters into the Supreme.
"The more one knows, the better one knows how little he knows."
The fool is complacent; the sage is ever peaceful; but the sincere (sin-seer) seeker is acutely conscious of his own imperfection and so is dissatisfied.
The closer to perfection he gets, the more magnified the defects appear.
In a market-place even a major explosion is mild: in a sound-proof studio, the dropping of a pin sounds like thunder.
There is an ever-present danger in reading a textbook on yoga: one becomes intellectually conscious of a 'goal' on the authority of the author of the text.
This often tempts one to imagine having reached the goal or to despair of ever getting there!
To us even the yoga prescribed in verse 46 looks like the ultimate goal!
The one who has reached it discovers that the goal is further on.
The perfected seeker (verse 46) acquires fitness for becoming Brahman (51 to 53).
Becoming Brahman is still a state of becoming, not being! He sees his own self in all and he realizes that the same God dwells in all beings, but still there is a subtle (and hence powerful) sense of individuality.
There is no selfishness or vanity: there is no grief or desire.
The mind is serene and the heart is filled with supreme devotion (para bhakti) to the Lord.
('Me' in the text is not a reference to the personalized Krishna, but to the impersonal omnipresence.)
Inferior devotion leads one to the threshold of this state of 'becoming Brahman that generates supreme devotion, enabling the seeker to know (in the sense, realize) God by identity: "I am Brahman".
There is just a trace of the 'I' now and by God's grace, the seeker forthwith enters the supreme.
That is the supreme fulfillment of human life, the goal of all evolutionary process.
Do not mistake this for idle reverie! For...
XVIII:56 - Doing all actions always, taking refuge in Me, by My Grace, he obtains the eternal, indestructible state or abode.
XVIII:57 - In all activities just depend on Me, and work always under My protection. In such devotional service, be fully conscious of Me.
Egoistic action and selfishness are incompatible with this yoga.
But not activity in itself.
Our Master emphasized he who would aspire to become one with God will be as busy as God himself!
More active than the worldly man, he will, unlike the worldly man, be utterly unselfish.
He who takes refuge in God naturally shares God's nature - his compassion for all creatures - even as he who takes refuge tin a motor car, railway train, ship or airplane moves as fast as these vehicles.
One does not have to run within the railway compartment and even so, the spiritual aspirant does not exercise his egoism to do his duty.
His body and mind move within the Lord and as the Lord wills that they should.
In such complete self-surrender, he obtains the grace of the Lord.
Once more Krishna reminds us that that the goal is not to be reached by individual self-effort but only by the grace of God.
The ego has no admission there: and if the ego is surrendered, who enters?
The aspirant's highest and only duty is again clearly stated in verse 57.
The word 'renouncing' is a poor equivalent for the word 'samnyasya' in the text.
How does one describe the action of flying in an airplane?
You may say: "I flew to South Africa" but what do feel inside you?
When you realize your error, how do you express the truth?
That is "samnyasya".
Meditate upon this with keen discrimination.
"I flew".
"No, the plane flew me".
"But I flew too".... Silence! That is "samnyasya".
The ego is absent in all yoga activity.
But the ego has never been present, never been real.
How did it appear to be, and who asserts that is is absence now?
Again, silence.
XVIII:58 - Fixing your mind on Me, you shall by My Grace overcome all obstacles; but if from egoism you will not hear Me, you shall perish.
The word "maccittah" in the text is one of Krishna's favorites.
The translation "fixing thy mind on me", is rather weak.
It is not like fixing a stamp on an envelope, but more like fixing a pot of water over a fire - the water is converted into vapor which shares with the fire its energy and heat.
A closer similarity is coal thrown into fire: it becomes fire - it is fire now.
However, no comparison is valid, because the duality thus presumed is not there in reality.
When the devotee's mind is thus fixed on God, he no longer remains a man but becomes a divinity, sharing the Lord's power and glory.
But he must not test or measure that power or that glory.
The yogi, being tempted to test his psychic power, loses contact with God.
Psychic powers, mental distractions and physical ailments are all regarded as obstacles on the spiritual path.
If the seeker remains "fixed" in his devotion to God, calmly and patiently awaiting the descent of his grace, that grace itself will remove all the obstacles for the seeker and enable him to realize God.
What form this grace takes, one cannot say.
Our Master used to say that God removes the pleasure-centers of those whom he wants to bless.
If wealth, wife and children are the obstacles, God will remove them.
If psychic powers are the obstacles, his grace will take them away.
Whatever stands in between God and the seeker, his grace will remove, if the seeker sincerely and perseveringly applies himself to yoga.
'Thou shalt perish' is only a dramatic juxtaposition of ideas.
If you are truly devoted to the infinite and if you have discovered that whatever be your pursuit and whatever blessings you derive from your life, they all come from the one infinite being, then your heart is wedded to the infinite and you merge in the infinite.
If you are devoted to egoism, you will waste this precious life.
understand nature
XVIII:59 - Filled with egoism, you think, "I will not fight"; but your resolve is vain; nature will compel you.
XVIII:60 - O Arjuna, bound by your own karma, born of your own nature, that which from delusion you do not wish to do, that you shall do helplessly.
These verses may sound fatalistic and seem to sanction predestination - perhaps justifiably so.
Man has striven day and night to conquer nature, yet he has not succeeded in making the sun rise in the west nor in making the apple fall upwards.
At great trouble and expense, he pumps water up, but it quickly flows down.
Death freezes all individual into a pleasant memory.
Time bulldozes civilizations into non-existence, creating a pastime for archaeologists.
Hunger and thirst, illness and death, heat and cold, and numerous other forms of suffering inherent in earthly life always have the last laugh.
Nature whether cosmic or personal, cannot be cancelled.
A nature law is inviolable, eternal; and all the realities of nature are constant.
Thus, nature can only be understood.
If such understanding creates the impression that we can defy nature, it is a delusion.
Nature will continue her play.
The ego standing in front of her and defying her will be crushed the ego pushing her from behind will frustrate itself.
We can neither desire nor desist egotistically.
This nature includes hat we call 'my' body and mind.
All these function.
It is natural.
But where is the ego, the self?
Who or what is it?
Why does it wish to desire or desist?
And, what does the egoistic man achieve?
Sin is neither in God nor in nature, but is hidden in the defiance and the desire.
Knowing this, the wise one does not incur sin.
Yet, repressed desires still remain within the ignorant man, indicating that he is only clinging to illusion and turning what seems to be valid knowledge into a tool of this illusion.
Whatever one does in ignorance is sinful.
Even egoistic virtue is only postponed vice.
Egoism born of ignorance is the sinner - thank God it is only born of ignorance and hence not real.
isvara and maya
XVIII:61 - The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are subject to the mechanics of time and material energy.
God and his inscrutable illusive power (maybe constitute the entire universe.
God's real nature is veiled by this illusive power which cannot even be understood, because the understanding power in us is also a manifestation of maya.
Our own intuition and the direct realization of the great sages confirm the truth which has been beautifully expressed by Tulsidas, the author of Ramayana in Hindi; thus: "I realize t at the whole universe is Sita-Rama; Sita representing maya and Rama representing the Lord.
Though Isvara and maybe are two-in-one (symbolized in the beautiful picture of Siva and Parvati sharing the two halves of one body), they are the opposite poles.
In the text, the word used for "dwells" is "tisthati" (stands firm).
So, the Lord stands firm in all beings; but maya is dynamic and makes everyone revolve.
Thus, when we are at peace within ourselves, we may understand that we are in the light of the Lord: and when the mind is restless, it is caught in maya.
We can learn a wonderful lesson by watching a merry-go-round.
The children farthest from the center whirl wildly.
Those midway move more slowly, and the one at the center is at peace.
You have the free-will to choose where you wish to be.
God dwells in the hearts of all beings; these beings are part of nature.
The infinite reflections of God in his own nature are misunderstood as there is naught else which you may hold up as "ego"!
Another great lesson is alluded to here.
Anything that leads us to our center is the grace of God (Tsvara).
Anything that tempts us away from there is the work of maya.
Thus, pleasure, prosperity and success make us extrovert: they are the tempting baits of maya.
Pain, adversity and failure (should) bring us back to ourselves.
Obviously they are the signs of the grace of God!
XVIII:62 - Fly to Him for refuge with all your being, O Arjuna. By His Grace you shall obtain supreme peace and the eternal abode.
"Saranam" in the text means "asylum", "refuge."
Until we take refuge or seek asylum in the center of our being, we shall be whirled helplessly on the wheel or the merry-go-round of birth and death.
We can take birth again and again, experiencing newer joys and suffering up-to-date agonies, but we shall remain where we were ages ago, bound to individuality and the fleshy tabernacle.
The center, referred to as the "heart" in the previous verse is equated to God in this verse.
"The heart of all beings" neither confines God to a limited space (though the physical heart has been used as the focal point for meditation by all devotees) nor cancels his omnipresence
It is the "heart" of each cell in living beings, of each atom of existence.
Science indirectly admits of the existence of a mighty intelligence (which it calls 'nuclear power') within the nucleus of an atom, where, contrary to all known laws of electromagnetism, several protons (having positive charge which should normally compel them to repel one another) live in unity, and which at the same time keep the electrons vibrating around the nucleus.
That intelligence is God or God's.
In him all disharmonies are harmonized all opposites are integrated.
By taking refuge in him man shall be able to transcend the puzzling and tormenting pulls of the extremes; in him alone can one find lasting and unalloyed peace.
"Sarvabhavena" in the text has been translated "with all thy being."
It can also mean: "Convert all your emotions into devotion and direct that to God. Love him as your master, your friend, your parent and your lover: seek him in all these attitudes (bhava)."
At every turn it is good to remind ourselves that all this is not ego-activity, but its dissolution in the light of knowledge, in the light of love
With the descent of this light of knowledge into your heart, a perception of the truth arises which transforms the world into the love of God without touching it.
And this perception transforms your life, too, without changing it, so that established thus in God's supreme love, you will know no sorrow nor will you ever be subject to sin.
awakening of the insight
XVIII:63 - Thus has wisdom more secret than secrecy itself been declared to you by me. Having reflected over it fully, then act, as you wish.
XVIII:64 - Hear again My supreme word, most secret of all. You are dearly beloved of Me and steady, I will tell you what is for your benefit.
In verse 63 above, we are given a hint of the divine Law.
Having bestowed intelligence and free-will upon man and having revealed the greatest of all secrets to him, the Lord does not make a mockery of that gift by depriving man of its use!
"Reflect over what I have said fully and then act as thou wishest"
This exercise of the individuality and its concomitant free-will is the fundamental principle in the law of karma.
God created Adam and warned him specifically not to taste the forbidden fruit: yet, the serpent (also God's creation?) was able to lead him astray!
"Why did the first man choose to subject himself to evil?" asks the wiseacre.
Why do you make a wrong choice?
It is impossible for the limited human understanding to unravel this mystery.
The problem of right or wrong action is guided by the act of vigilant observation.
What is needed is insight.
There is absolutely no guidance except the kindling of this inner light - the awakening of the insight.
If this is there, it is able to take care of life's problems as they arise.
The problem is not what you should do or if you should do something, but to remain aware of the source of the impulse to act.
In the light of the insight, that source is revealed, and then the necessary changes in one's personality are brought about in order that one's actions are proper.
As lord Buddha said, instead of worrying our poor little head with these transcendental questions, we should listen to God's supreme word, the greatest secret, in the full knowledge and faith that God loves us dearly and that he has revealed this knowledge to us because it is good for us.
"Listening" is our foremost duty!
This listening implies neither acceptance nor rejection, but a "tuning in."
When we thus tune in to the song of God, the truth unveils itself.
integral yoga
XVIII:65 - Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice to Me, bow down to Me, then you shall come to Me. I promise you, you are dear to Me.
Krishna sums up the yoga of the Bhagavad Gita in this single verse.
It is integral yoga.
It is the yoga of synthesis.
It carries out a concerted attack against the worst human enemy - ignorance, and its offspring - the individualization of consciousness.
As our Master often warned us, one-sided development is no development at all.
It is like is like trying to empty the ocean with a bucket.
The ego will withdraw itself from the point of attack and build itself up elsewhere, only to return and reassert itself when the seeker is non-vigilant.
The meditator, the devotee of God, the "selfless" worker - can all fall into the great error of developing atrocious spiritual vanity.
The exclusive meditator might shun the world' and even devotional practices as well as service; the devotee might look down upon the non-devotee: the selfless worker might feel that he is the saviour of mankind - these attitudes are more dangerous than plain wickedness.
They were quartered in the human personality by the urge to specialize by an eagerness to shine "above all others".
Hence Krishna adds here: "Practice all these: meditation, devotion, selfless service - and at the same time bow down to me, the omnipresent."
True humility is born of the realization of God's omnipresence and the unreality of the ego.
When the head, the heart and the hand are all offered to God when the thought, will and emotion are all sublimated into holiness, there is less chance of vanity creeping in.
But complacency here is dangerous.
While practicing all these, observe the arising of an evil or distracting thought or a temptation.
That is the 'me'.
Push it out.
Bow down to all feeling the presence of God, so that you will not even mistakenly feel you are superior to anyone.
Then you will become pure, self-controlled and therefore divine.
XVIII:66 - Abandoning all duties, take refuge in Me alone. I will free you from all sins; so do not grieve.
"Dharma" here can be interpreted variously.
Let us look at it in two ways:
(1) Narrow, sectarian and organized religion is often confused with dharma.
To an extent it is true that organized religion supports the masses thus shielding them from degradation: it unites and keeps them together.
But when foolishly clung to, it strangulates the very people whom it kept together.
"Abandonment of all dharma", however, does not mean that we should egoistically and deludedly give them up, but we should not cling to them as if they were an end in themselves, as if they were the truth.
The various 'religions' were created by man, not by God they were born after God and man.
They can help man find God but should never be substituted for God.
(2) The inherent nature of the body, mind, etc., is often designated as their dharma.
Its abandonment implies a vigilant non-identification of the divine with the functions of the body, mind, etc.
This renunciation, however, is not possible unless we are rooted in God and we take refuge in him.
Taking refuge in him itself is freedom from all sin and sorrow.
In him there is no darkness.
God is bliss.
Bliss is not something he possesses and which he therefore gives us in answer to our prayer.
Even the happiness we derive from prayer is merely the fruit of contact with him.
We should surrender ourselves to him, to bliss.
As long as our ego separates us from him, so long shall we continue to be unhappy.
All the gross and the subtle manifestations of this ego (selfishness, love of the individualized existence, private desires, one's own philosophy, sectarianism, bigotry, a superiority complex, an air of holiness) should be vigilantly avoided, so that nothing stands between us and Him.
Then this very world becomes the playground of the spirit, and everything connected with it (whether it was previously called pleasure, pain, happiness or sorrow) is instantly transformed into bliss - the play of God.
mad for god
XVIII:67 - This is never to be spoken by you to one who is devoid of austerites, to one who is not devoted, to one who does not render service, who does not want to listen, nor to one who cavils at Me.
XVIII:68 - He who teaches this supreme secret to my devotees, shall without doubt come to Me.
XVIII:69 - There is no servant in this world more dear to me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.
Krishna obviously knew that his instructions to Arjuna would live for ever as the spiritual guiding light for humanity.
In the present day context when the printing machine, public address system radio, television and tape recorder have to some extent replaced personal tuition, the admonition of verse 67 above, seems to be out of place.
Yet one cannot fail to notice that they who fall within the qualifications of this verse do not care to visit assemblies where the Gita is taught; and the teaching is so sublime that even if they went but once, out of curiosity, they would not go for more, unless, by God's grace, there came a change within them.
The message of the Bhagavad Gita will not produce a lasting impression upon the mind of one who has no devotion, who is given to sense-indulgence, who is selfish or atheistic.
Hence, if one with these qualifications comes to discuss the Gita with you, keep quiet!
In a public meeting, your words are received eagerly by the devout.
In private conversation, give the knowledge only to those who are faithful, eager to learn, unselfish and full of devotion to God.
Spreading the knowledge of the Gita itself can build an inner fortress of divinity into which we can retire when assailed by temptations; and an outer fortress, too, in as much as worldly-minded people will not bother us and we shall have excellent company of the devout all the time.
Even they who at first think we are mad, will, in God's good time, get the infection and be happy that they are mad, too - mad for God.
jnana yajna
XVIII:70 - And he who will study this sacred dialogue of ours, by him I shall have been worshipped by the sacrifice of wisdom; such is My conviction.
XVIII:71 - And one who listens with faith, and without envy, gets free from sinful reactions, and attains to the planets where the pious dwell.
Jnana yajna (sacrifice through wisdom) is a form of worship.
It is worshiping God as the light of knowledge.
The Gita is God's word, uttered by his lips.
In days of yore, fire was produced by rubbing two pieces of wood together.
The divine fire of the Gita has been produced by the rubbing together of the two lips of the Lord.
It is of the Lord, it is he himself.
A lamp lit from another is a lamp, too.
Jnana yajna is dissemination of spiritual knowledge, which was dear to our Master, too.
You study the Gita with others.
You are benefited and so are they.
Krishna uses the symbolism that was familiar to Arjuna - yajna, in which a priest, surrounded by devotees, offered clarified butter into the sacred fire.
In jnana yajna the article offered is wisdom (Ghana).
The priest does not create clarified butter: the lecturer does not create wisdom.
If the fire is dull, the clarified butter will augment it: but if it is dead it is wasted.
The audience is the fire here.
If it is eager, though not wise, the discourse will augment the wisdom in the members.
But if the audience is totally disinterested then the wisdom falls on deaf ears - it is wasted (hence the warning in verse 67).
Hearing is the first part of jnana yoga (the yoga of wisdom), if the heart of the hearer is pure, the wisdom blossoms in it quickly and the seeker is liberated from this world of pain and death.
The hearer is not asked to accept everything blindly, but to "listen", to reflect over it and to meditate on it, so that the knowledge becomes one with him.
XVIII:72 - Has this been heard with one-pointed mind, O Arjuna? Has the delusion of your ignorance been fully routed out?
XVIII:73 - Arjuna said : Dear Kriskna, routed out is my illusion. I have gained my memory through Your grace. I am firm. My doubts are gone, and I will act according to Your word.
If one-pointedness of mind is not gained, we shall not understand or profit by even the word of God.
There are many in this world that ask but will not hear!
There are others who sit in front of the master, but only physically their mind is elsewhere.
They merely nod their heads at the truths, but the heart is untouched and the gut-level, where the action is, is completely untouched.
There are still others whom, while listening, mentally carry on an argument, accepting some ideas and rejecting others.
This multi-activity only tires them, preventing them from grasping the real meaning of the lesson imparted.
They might hear the words, but unless they are supermen, they will miss their depth and complain that the explanations are not satisfactory.
Whilst we do not advocate slavish blind acceptance of any teaching, we do assert that it is better (and less strenuous) to do the hearing first, receive (not necessarily accept) the ideas and "reserve judgement."
Once rapport has been established by the teacher and the taught, it is more profitable to self-hypnotize ourselves (not in the technical sense) in order that our finite little egoistic intellect may not interrupt the free flow of supreme wisdom from the lips of the master to our heart.
Only then will we be able to declare with Arjuna that "my delusion has been destroyed" and "I have regained the knowledge which was there always" (the knowledge that the body is not the self).
The mark of enlightenment is given as doubtlessness - a heart in which there is no doubt at all, and "I am firm" reminds us of the state of the sthitaprajna (sage of firm wisdom) mentioned at the end of the second chapter.
Where does this lead to?
We do God's will, joyously participating in the dynamism of nature, egolessly.
sanjaya's privilege
XVIII:74 - Sanjaya said : Thus have I heard this wonderful dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, which causes the hair to stand on end.
XVIII:75 - Through the grace of Vyasa I have heard this supreme and most secret Yoga, declared by Krishna Himself.
XVIII:76 - O King, remembering this wonderful and holy dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I am thrilled with joy all over.
XVIII:77 - And remembering again and again that most wonderful form of Hari, great is my wonder, O King. And I rejoice again and again.
How could Sanjaya hear this dialogue direct from God?
How could Sanjaya see the divine cosmic form when he was seated in the palace and w as not on the battlefield?
These questions would have been valid in the last century, not in this.
Radio and television have enabled us, even in this totally materialistic age, to hear someone's voice over thousands of miles and to see someone as if in person.
Even if we are reluctant to accept the validity of psychic phenomena and the possibility of a psychic communion between Sanjaya and Krishna (initiated by sage Vyasa himself), what prevents us from accepting the possible existence of radio and television in that remote time?
One may ask why these things did not exist in India a hundred years ago.
But consider this: should a nuclear war destroy modern civilization, the generation that will live in this world a couple hundred years hence might ask the same question and doubt the richness of the present civilization.
If we cultivate the necessary faith and the necessary power of inner communion, we can still experience the thrill that was Sanjaya's privilege.
Throw away the books and commentaries; dive within your self and listen to the Gita direct from God's lips.
To foster that spirit within you is the only purpose of any commentary.
the true archer
XVIII:78 - Wherever Krishna, Lord of yoga is, wherever Arjuna the archer is, are prosperity, happiness, victory, firm policy, and righteousness. That is my conviction.

Om Tat Sat
Thus ends the eighteenth discourse, entitled: the yoga of renunciation through liberation.
This simple verse has attained the high status of being regarded as "Gita in one verse", yet on the face of it, it does not seem to contain the least portion of the Gita's message! Moreover, the condition prerequisite is frighteningly impossible.
Krishna and Arjuna lived thousands of years ago.
May be, what Sanjaya said applied then - how does it help us now?
The answer is: look within.
Let your whole soul become Arjuna, the seeker.
Mentally repeat the famous verse in the second chapter: "Lord. I seek refuge at thy feet. I am thy disciple. Instruct me."
But you should also be an archer-Arjuna!
The Kathopanisad compares the self with the arrow, in relation to Brahman the absolute - the target.
Om is the bow.
String the bow by the utterance of Om.
Fix the self to it, firmly.
With intense concentration of mind, let the arrow (self) fly towards that supreme being who is the self of your self. Then you are the true archer-Arjuna.
When you seek God thus, you shall discover him within the innermost chambers of your being.
He who is dark to the worldly man's eyes will shine as the light of lights for you, as if a thousand suns arose simultaneously.
There within you, you will 'see' both Krishna and Arjuna, once again, as they have always been - together, as one.
This is self-realization: this is the goal of all human life: this is the truth that all the scriptures point out.
In self-realization alone is there true prosperity and victory, for so-called worldly prosperity is adversity only, leading you away from the goal.
In self-realization alone is there ever-lasting happiness all else is only non-happiness.
In self-realization alone is there firm justice: only the sage of self-realization is established in truth.
May you reach this goal in this very birth, nay "here and now," as our Master used to say.
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 eighteenth chapter entitled: Moksa Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Liberation and Renunciation.

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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