bhagavad gita

Proper Understanding of the Bhagavad Gita – Part 131

Dear Godlike friends, Pranams, Humble and loving Greetings.
From the material standpoint, it makes a whole of sense. Time and tide wait for none. Life is one-way traffic. Make hay while the sun shines. Try to squeeze out as much pleasure and joy from life. But in the process one gets in the bargain, stress, leading to old age, disease, decay, and death. This goes on repeating in the eternal cycles of life and death. However, spiritually speaking, the situation is different, never so frustrating and hopeless. Time is eternal, the soul is the traveler, and the bodies are the vehicles. After one body falls off, the soul takes up another vehicle, another body. The process is wrongly known as birth and death, death and birth, and so on. The cause of this fact being forgotten or ignored is Avidya or ignorance or restlessness of the mind. This Avidya or ignorance of the Truth is cured by the daily practice of Kriya Yoga techniques and resulting meditations.

A storehouse of the Art and Science of Spirituality

The Bhagawat Gita taught by Lord Krishna is the storehouse and manual of this Art and Science of Spirituality, and spiritually oriented daily life. Life is to be lived – lived happily, healthily, harmoniously, positively, lovingly, and helpingly. Daily practice of kriya yoga, the technical wing of the Bhagavad Gita, is the easiest and most important method of stress-free, joyful and positive living. Living life with a totally material orientation and ignoring the spiritual aspect makes one a victim of the cosmic law of karma, the law of cause and effect, which is the main cause of stress and suffering. In the 18th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna gives the summary and concluding teachings and the most important message of all the important messages taught through the previous 17 Chapters. In the previous issue of the Kriya Yoga Sandesh, we discussed up to verse fifteen of Chapter 18. In verse 15 and a few verses prior to it, Lord Krishna describes the mechanics and causes of a person’s actions, which are, physical, mental, and verbal. The actions include both positive and negative actions.

Egoism – ‘I’ and ‘Mine’

तत्रैवं सति कर्तारमात्मानं केवलं तु य: |
पश्यत्यकृतबुद्धित्वान्न स पश्यति दुर्मति: || 16||
tatraivaṁ sati kartāram ātmānaṁ kevalaṁ tu yaḥ
paśhyaty akṛita-buddhitvān na sa paśhyati durmatiḥ

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 18 Verse 16

General Meaning: 

Even if such is the situation, that person of impure intellect, thinks that his soul only is the doer, such person of evil intellect, neither is able to see nor able to perceive.

Explanatory Notes:

The person who is not practising Kriya Yoga or Self-discipline or spiritual practices, cannot understand the absolute Truth, that, the soul is beyond nature and mind, intellect and ego. The intellect of such a person is, full of negative qualities, devoid of faith. Such is the evil intellect, that he cannot perceive the eternal Truth of the Soul or the spirit.

The Law of Cause and Effect

यस्य नाहङ् कृतो भावो बुद्धिर्यस्य न लिप्यते |
हत्वाऽपि स इमाँल्लोकान्न हन्ति न निबध्यते || 17||

yasya nāhankṛito bhāvo buddhir yasya na lipyate
hatvā ‘pi sa imāl lokān na hanti na nibadhyate

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 18 Verse 17

General Meaning:     

That person in whose mind the egoistic idea of “I am the doer” is not there and whose intellect is not engrossed in worldly things and is not emotionally attached to any action, such a person, even if kills all these people, in reality never kills, nor becomes bound to sins.

Explanatory Notes:

The doer-ship involves egoism and the sense of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’. This biological ego is the cause of slavery to the cosmic law of Karma or the Law of Cause and Effect. But the person, who has realized the Soul or the Spirit, has gone beyond the ego-self identification. In his mind and intellect, he has no idea or the notion of biological ego, or the worldly idea of ‘I’ and ‘Mineness’. Such a person, even if, becomes the occasion of killing many people according to the cosmic law of Karma, neither kills nor is bound by sins.

Knowledge, the Knowable and the Knower

ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं परिज्ञाता त्रिविधा कर्मचोदना |
करणं कर्म कर्तेति त्रिविध: कर्मसंग्रह: || 18||

jñānaṁ jñeyaṁ parijñātā tri-vidhā karma-chodanā
karaṇaṁ karma karteti tri-vidhaḥ karma-saṅgrahaḥ

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 18 Verse 18

General Meaning:

The knowledge, the knowable and the knower, constitutes the threefold “Inspiration or Impulse to Actions”. The organs, the action, and the doer or the agent, constitute the threefold “basis of actions”.

Explanatory Notes:

The motivation or the inspiration or the impulse to perform any action is threefold: these are, the knowledge, the knowable, and the knower. The basis or the foundations of actions is also threefold. These are:

  • the organs,
  • the agent or the doer and
  • the actions.

These are highly technical and scientific and philosophical knowledge and information, given out by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. Lord Krishna is speaking this inner or secret knowledge, dealing with duties, morals, personal considerations, and cosmic laws and the consequences of performing duties. Arjuna had a crisis of confidence and a nervous breakdown caused by the misunderstanding of these factors.

Classification of Knowledge, Action, and Doer

ज्ञानं कर्म च कर्ता च त्रिधैव गुणभेदत: |
प्रोच्यते गुणसङ् ख्याने यथावच्छृणु तान्यपि || 19||

jñānaṁ karma cha kartā cha tridhaiva guṇa-bhedataḥ
prochyate guṇa-saṅkhyāne yathāvach chhṛiṇu tāny api

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 18 Verse 19

General Meaning:

According to the science of natural tendencies, knowledge, Action, and Doer are divided into three types. These classifications, according to temperaments, are described as 3 types. These also hear from me sequentially.

Explanatory Notes:

Here Lord Krishna describes three types of knowledge, three types of actions, and three types of doers or performance of actions. This division is based on the three types of Gunas or three types of natural tendencies or temperaments, as determined by Mother Nature or Prakriti. This depends on the results of actions, the fate of the doer, and the perpetuation of the creation and the cosmic law of destiny. So Lord Krishna reminds Arjuna to listen carefully and attentively so that all his confusions born out of ignorance will be banished.

The Saatwik Knowledge

सर्वभूतेषु येनैकं भावमव्ययमीक्षते |
अविभक्तं विभक्तेषु तज्ज्ञानं विद्धि सात्विकम् || 20||

sarva-bhūteṣhu yenaikaṁ bhāvam avyayam īkṣhate
avibhaktaṁ vibhakteṣhu taj jñānaṁ viddhi sāttvikam

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 18 Verse 20

General Meaning:

That knowledge, by which the spiritual seeker perceives the one indestructible Reality deep inside all beings, Itself undivided, in the divided, Know, this knowledge as SAATTWIK. (Pure and Illumined).

Explanatory Notes:

Knowledge, actions, and the doers are three types; each of these can be Saattwik, Raajasik and Taamasik. Here Lord Krishna describes the Saattwik knowledge. That knowledge is pure or Saattwik, which enables the seeker to perceive the Absolute One Reality, abiding deep inside all beings. All beings are divided and destructible, but inside these the one Reality is undivided and Indestructible. Such knowledge is Saattwik.

The Raajasik Knowledge

पृथक्त्वेन तु यज्ज्ञानं नानाभावान्पृथग्विधान् |
वेत्ति सर्वेषु भूतेषु तज्ज्ञानं विद्धि राजसम् || 21||

pṛithaktvena tu yaj jñānaṁ nānā-bhāvān pṛithag-vidhān
vetti sarveṣhu bhūteṣhu taj jñānaṁ viddhi rājasam

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 18 Verse 21

General Meaning:

But the knowledge, which teaches all beings as various units of different kinds and different from each other, remember that knowledge or Raajasik.

Explanatory Notes:

Here Lord Krishna teaches about Raajasik knowledge. The knowledge, which does not know or ignores the One Absolute Indestructible spirit abiding inside all the different destructible beings is Rajsik Knowledge. It enhances restlessness and passion. This Raajasik knowledge is material, teaches separateness and transitoriness and multiplicity and more multiplicity, forgetting the spirit and spirituality basis of all beings. This leads to doubts, fear, suffering, and stress. And stress leads to psychosomatic diseases, leading to suffering and premature death.

The Taamasik Knowledge

यत्तु कृत्स्नवदेकस्मिन्कार्ये सक्तमहैतुकम् |
अतत्वार्थवदल्पं च तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् || 22||

yattu kṛitsna-vad ekasmin kārye saktam ahaitukam
atattvārtha-vad alpaṁ cha tat tāmasam udāhṛitam

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 18 Verse 22

General Meaning:

That knowledge which gets confined to the awareness of one single limited physical unit, as if this is the total or entire thing, without any logic, without any spiritual basis and is narrow, such knowledge is declared to be Taamasik (dull and dark).

Explanatory Notes:

In this verse, Lord Krishna describes the Taamasik knowledge. That knowledge which keeps a person strictly attached and confined to the instrument of action, the body, the knowledge which is illogical and devoid of spiritual basis, is insignificant and narrow, such knowledge is declared as Taamasik. In the subsequent follow-up issues of Kriya Yoga Sandesh, we will take up the three categories of actions and the three categories of Doers of these actions. One’s destiny depends on this knowledge and actions. Saattwik knowledge leads to Saattwik actions and the result is happiness, joy, health and Self Realization. As birth is sure, so, death is sure, so birth also is sure and so on. How one wants to spend the time between birth and death, accordingly will be his result, destiny.

May God and Gurus, Bless you with life and love, light and knowledge, peace and harmony and Self Realization.

With Love and Best Wishes,
Paramahansa Atmananda Ji

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