Proper Understanding of the Bhagavad Gita – Part 121

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The Bhagavad Gita, literally meaning The Song of the Bhagavan, often referred to as simply The Gita is a 700-verse scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. In every issue of the Kriya Yoga Sandesh, we discuss the message of the Bhagavad Gita, in a simple, practical style, so that these are properly understood and put to practice in the daily busy life. Care is taken to see that the spirit of the message of Lord Krishna is preserved and unadulterated.

In Chapter 15, Lord Krishna has imparted the detailed knowledge of the Creator, the Creation, and the Supreme. At the conclusion of Chapter 15, Lord Krishna has declared, ‘O Sinless Arjuna, thus, I have described, the mysterious and secret knowledge. Realizing this, man attains knowledge and Self Realization. Life becomes joyful and worth living. Now, we start with Chapter 16 of Bhagavad Gita. Here Lord Krishna teaches about spiritual, God­like people and unspiritual, uncivilized people. 

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
अभयं सत्वसंशुद्धिर्ज्ञानयोगव्यवस्थिति: |
दानं दमश्च यज्ञश्च स्वाध्यायस्तप आर्जवम् || 1||

śhrī-bhagavān uvācha
abhayaṁ sattva-sanśhuddhir jñāna-yoga-vyavasthitiḥ
dānaṁ damaśh cha yajñaśh cha svādhyāyas tapa ārjavam

Bhagavad Gita 16 Verse 1

General Meaning:

The absence of fear, inner purity and firmly established in the yoga of spiritual enlightenment, almsgiving, disciplining the mind and senses, sacrifice, study of the holy scriptures, austerity, and straightforwardness.

Explanatory Notes:

In this opening verse of the 16th Chapter, Lord Krishna describes some qualities of a spiritual person. These are the freedom from fear, freedom from ego-based limitations which prevent animality and evil qualities. The purity of thought, speech and action, straightforwardness, practicing and giving towards charity, sense and mind control, austerity practice and meditation, and study of the holy scriptures.

अहिंसा सत्यमक्रोधस्त्याग: शान्तिरपैशुनम् |
दया भूतेष्वलोलुप्त्वं मार्दवं ह्रीरचापलम् || 2||

ahinsā satyam akrodhas tyāgaḥ śhāntir apaiśhunam
dayā bhūteṣhv aloluptvaṁ mārdavaṁ hrīr achāpalam

Bhagavad Gita 16 Verse 2

General Meaning:

Harmlessness, Dedication to Truth, Freedom from Anger, Spirit of Renunciation, peacefulness, freedom from crookedness, Kindness to all beings, freedom from greed, gentleness, modesty, freedom from restlessness.

Explanatory Notes:

Lord Krishna continues to describe the qualities of a spiritual, noble and civilized person. The spiritual person is free from harmfulness, in thought, speech and action, truthfulness in a beneficial manner, free from irritability and anger, free from crookedness and peaceful, kind to all beings, free from greed and miserliness, is modest and polite, is free from mental and physical restlessness.

Lord Krishna continues:

तेज: क्षमा धृति: शौचमद्रोहोनातिमानिता |
भवन्ति सम्पदं दैवीमभिजातस्य भारत || 3||

tejaḥ kṣhamā dhṛitiḥ śhaucham adroho nāti-mānitā
bhavanti sampadaṁ daivīm abhijātasya bhārata

Bhagavad Gita 16 Verse 3

General Meaning:

Vitality and vigor, forgiveness, courage, cleanliness, free from hatred and hostility, absence of fanatic pride; these are the qualities which enrich the persons born with divine inheritance.

Explanatory Notes:

Lord Krishna further describes the conduct and character of a spiritual person, who is divinely gifted. The divine and positive qualities, as described in the previous two opening verses, Lord Krishna adds the following:

A shining, calm and non-egoistic personality with vigor and fitness, polite and humble and has no hostility and hatred, pure and tendency for forgiveness and courage and patience. These are the qualities of a person born with divine properties.

The following are examples of some of these Sattwik, divinely gifted people.

  • Lord Rama Chandra
  • Lord Krishna 
  • Mahamuni Vyas Dev
  • Emperor Yudhistir (Eldest brother of the Pandavas)
  • Arjuna 
  • Mother Kunti ( Mother of The Pandavas)
  • Sati Anusuya (Wife of Sage Atri Muni, the Guru of Sita)
  • Lord Buddha Jesus Christ
  • Shyamacharan Lahiri Mahasaya
  • Ramana Maharishi Sri Yukteswar
  • Dalai Lama

The list is inexhaustible. These few names occurred to memory readily. In every country, in every civilization, such people and leaders appear. They are God’s appearance and blessings to the Creation. In the following few verses, Lord Krishna describes the characteristics of uncivilized, evil people, with negative and destructive qualities. 

दम्भो दर्पोऽभिमानश्च क्रोध: पारुष्यमेव च |
अज्ञानं चाभिजातस्य पार्थ सम्पदमासुरीम् || 4||

dambho darpo ’bhimānaśh cha krodhaḥ pāruṣhyam eva cha
ajñānaṁ chābhijātasya pārtha sampadam āsurīm

Bhagavad Gita 16 Verse 4

General Meaning:

O’ Arjuna (Paarth), demoniac, and evil, uncivilized people are born with properties of hypocrisy, arrogance, self-conceit, anger, rudeness, ignorance.

Explanatory Notes:

Krishna is describing self-conceit of an evil, uncivilized person. People who possess hypocrisy, arrogance, self-conceit, anger, rudeness, and ignorance and behave accordingly are called uncivilized and evil. These people are dominantly inferior type of Raajsik people. They lack nobility and divinity and are never spiritual.

दैवी सम्पद्विमोक्षाय निबन्धायासुरी मता |
मा शुच: सम्पदं दैवीमभिजातोऽसि पाण्डव || 5||

daivī sampad vimokṣhāya nibandhāyāsurī matā
mā śhuchaḥ sampadaṁ daivīm abhijāto ’si pāṇḍava

Bhagavad Gita 16 Verse 5

General Meaning:

The divine qualities are considered as leading a person to liberation and the evil, uncivilized qualities is considered as leading to bondage. Please do not worry O’ Pandav, you are born with divine qualities.

Explanatory Notes:

The spiritual or divine qualities lead the person to freedom or liberation or self-realization. This is Lord Krishna’s teachings regarding the spiritual, positive, or noble qualities and the destiny of the person, who possesses these. He automatically demonstrates these through his mental, physical and verbal actions, and behavior patterns. On the other hand, the person, who has the negative, evil, uncivilized qualities, behaves in evil, uncivilized ways. These lead him to the bondage of time and space; cause and effect, which are the opposite of liberation or self-realization. To remove the self-doubt of Arjuna regards his qualities or birth properties, Lord Krishna assures him that he is born with divine qualities and propensities. He (Arjun) should not worry or grieve because he is assured of freedom, liberation, or self-realization.

द्वौ भूतसर्गौ लोकेऽस्मिन्दैव आसुर एव च |
दैवो विस्तरश: प्रोक्त आसुरं पार्थ मे शृणु || 6||

dvau bhūta-sargau loke ’smin daiva āsura eva cha
daivo vistaraśhaḥ prokta āsuraṁ pārtha me śhṛiṇu

Bhagavad Gita 16 Verse 6

General Meaning:

In this world, there are two types of human beings: the divine or spiritual and the un-divine or non-spiritual. Detail description of the divine has been told. Now, please listen from Me in detail about the un-divine or non­-spiritual beings.

Explanatory Notes:

In the first 5 verses of the 16th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna spoke in detail about the characteristics and qualities of the people, endowed with divine qualities. To complete the knowledge, Krishna in the following, describes, in detail, the characteristics of the un-divine or evil beings. As this knowledge needs the concentration of the mind to understand, Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to listen attentively to Him.

प्रवृत्तिं च निवृत्तिं च जना न विदुरासुरा: |
न शौचं नापि चाचारो न सत्यं तेषु विद्यते || 7||

pravṛittiṁ cha nivṛittiṁ cha janā na vidur āsurāḥ
na śhauchaṁ nāpi chāchāro na satyaṁ teṣhu vidyate

Bhagavad Gita 16 Verse 7

General Meaning:

What is noble and positive action and what is evil and negative action, this distinction, the un-divine or evil persons do not know. They have no purity, they do not have right moral conduct nor do they have any idea of Truth.

Explanatory Notes:

The people born with dominantly negative or un-divine or un-spiritual evil qualities have no idea, nor the understanding of differentiating between right moral conduct and wrong and evil conduct. Neither do they have any idea of Truth and Non-Truth? They cannot distinguish between outer and inner purity and impurity.

May God bless you with Love, Laughter, Light, Longevity and Life.

With Love and Best Wishes,
Paramahansa Atmananda Ji

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