SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 13, Chapter 3, Verses 21 to 30 – KARMA YOGA

Bhagavan Krishna, through these ten verses, explains the importance of performing actions without desire or attachment to the results. In these verses, Bhagavan Shri Krishna explains the importance of performing actions even by the spiritually awakened in order to set examples for other to follow.  Actions performed in the spirit of sacrifice or Yajna results in the purification of the body, mind and intellect. When the mind is sanctified, one can contemplate on the path of liberation, and all these collectively lead to purification of the Soul (Atma), thus paving the path for liberation. Bhagavan instructs Arjuna to surrendering all his actions works unto Him, with the mind intent on Him, and free from desires for gain, without Doership, Egoism, and lethargy to pick up his weapons and fight.

3.21     Shloka 3.21

यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः।
यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते।।3.21।।

Yad yad acarati sresthas tat tad evetaro janah |
Sa yat pramanam kurute lokas tad anuvartate ||3.21||
Meaning:  Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world follows.

The word ‘Sresthah’ means great personality or a leader. Whatever actions a great person performs others will try to emulate them. People look for inspiration and often look up to a role model or a leader and they try to follow them.  A leader cannot ask his or her followers to adopt high standards if they do not lead by example and practice those high standards. Hence, great personalities should always act in an exemplary manner to set the standard for the rest of the people.

An Acharya or a teacher should follow what he preaches to gain credibility, respect and followership. The Guru’s teaching should be based on the principles set out in the scriptures and practiced by other great Gurus.

3.22     Shloka 3.22

मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन।
नानवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं वर्त एव कर्मणि।।3.22।।

Na me parthasti kartavyam trisu lokesu kincana  |
Nanavaptam avaptavyam varta eva ca karmani ||3.22||
Meaning: O’ Son of Prtha, there is no duty prescribed for Me within all the three worlds. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in work.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna is clarifying that, although He is the Supreme Bhagavan Shri of all, there is no activity prescribed for Him, He has no needs as He already possesses everything but He still performs activities to set examples so that all the world will benefit from it.

In the Svetasvatara Upanishad, it says:
tam isvaranam paramam mahesvaram tam devatanam paramam ca daivatam |
patim patinam paramam parastad vidama devam bhuvanesam idyam ||6.7||

tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate |
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate sva-bhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca ||6.8||

Meaning: The Supreme Bhagavan Shri is the controller of all controllers, and He is the greatest of all the Devas. Everyone is under His control. All entities are delegated with particular power only by the Supreme Bhagavan Shri; they are not supreme themselves.  He has nothing to achieve for Himself, nor has He any bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. No one is equal or superior to Him. His great power alone is described in in the Vedas to be of various kinds, and His knowledge, strength and action are described as inherent in Him.

Without any objective whatsoever the Supreme Bhagavan Shri Krishna according to His creative impulse performs all actions perpetually.

3.23     Shloka 3.23

यदि ह्यहं वर्तेयं जातु कर्मण्यतन्द्रितः।
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः।।3.23।।

Yadi hy aham na varteyam jatu karmany atandritah |
Mama vartmanuvartante manusyah partha sarvasah||3.23||
Meaning:
For, if I did not engage in activities, O Partha, certainly all men would follow My path in all respects.

People cite examples of noble men and leaders to justify their actions as legit. If Bhagavan Shri Krishna, the son of King Vasudeva from the Vrishni dynasty the foremost of the righteous, failed to perform activities then so many others would follow in His footsteps citing Him as an example. Bhagavan Shri Krishna is stating that He would be at fault for leading them in the wrong way if He disengaged from all activities.

3.24     Shloka 3.24

उत्सीदेयुरिमे लोका कुर्यां कर्म चेदहम्।
सङ्करस्य कर्ता स्यामुपहन्यामिमाः प्रजाः।।3.24।।

Utsideyur ime loka na kuryam karma ced aham |
Sankarasya ca karta syam upahanyam imah prajah ||3.24||
Meaning: If I cease to perform My activities, then all the inhabitants of all worlds would ruin. And I would become the cause of an unvirtuous population, and would destroy all living entities.

The word ‘Sankarasya’ means ‘unwanted or not a virtuous population’ and such a populace will disturb the peace and it will eventually lead to chaos in the society. To avoid this decay, duties or dharma is prescribed for everyone which when followed will ensure peaceful and orderly life while creating the path for spiritual progress in life.

The purport is that great harm would come to people if Bhagavan Shri Krishna were to refrain from performing His actions and so He always carries out His actions for the welfare of the world.

When Bhagavan Shri Krishna took birth as the son of the great righteous King Vasudeva, He conducted Himself in a manner befitting his position in the society i.e. as a prince of the Royal Kshatriya or warrior class. If Bhagavan Shri Krishna were to act in any other manner, all of mankind would begin to imitate Him thinking that such actions were virtuous and worthy actions. Bhagavan Shri Krishna is explaining that if He failed to perform activities, everyone would misinterpret this and would try to emulate it or follow His example.  This could lead them down the wrong path causing anarchy and drive them away from the path of Self-realisation.  This would be considered as a serious offence and Bhagavan Shri Krishna would be faulted for setting a wrong example.

The subtle message to Arjuna is that as a great warrior, who is famous for never having been defeated in battle and famed for his righteousness, should not shy away from the battle.  He should fight to protect dharma and lead by example for the other noble Kshatriyas who would be inspired by him and follow him. Thus, it can be understood that for specially qualified people, the prescribed activities become assume greater significance and these must be performed by them as they set the standards for the rest of the world to follow.

3.25     Shloka 3.25

सक्ताः कर्मण्यविद्वांसो यथा कुर्वन्ति भारत।
कुर्याद्विद्वांस्तथासक्तश्िचकीर्षुर्लोकसंग्रहम्।।3.25।।

Saktah karmany avidvamso yatha kurvanti Bharata |
Kuryad vidvams tathasaktas cikirsur loka-sangraham ||3.25||
Meaning: O’ Arjuna, even as the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, the learned must act, but without attachment, for the welfare of the world.

A person established in spiritual consciousness should also perform prescribed actions, but without attachment, in order to guide the masses towards the path of virtue. Those devoid of knowledge, work with attachment totally engrossed in their actions. But the person with spiritual wisdom, being able to discriminate between the Atma (Soul) and the physical body, is not perplexed. Such a person should perform the prescribed duties without attachment, in an exemplary manner that inspires the public, as a matter of duty.

3.26     Shloka 3.26

बुद्धिभेदं जनयेदज्ञानां कर्मसङ्गिनाम्।
जोषयेत्सर्वकर्माणि विद्वान् युक्तः समाचरन्।।3.26।।

Na buddhi-bhedam janayed ajnanam karma-sanginam |
Josayet sarva-karmani vidvan yuktah samacaran ||3.26||
Meaning: Let not the wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are attached to fruitive action. They should not be encouraged to refrain from work, but to engage in work in the spirit of devotion.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna states that a person of Vedic spiritual wisdom should impart knowledge to other in a simplified manner.  More importantly they should not disturb their routine and confuse them with teachings that might lead them to abandon their duties. The spiritually wise should merely encourage the ignorant to continuously perform their daily activities as a matter of duty but without attachment to results and with full devotion and commitment.

Those who have desires and are attached to performing actions to obtain the fruits of such desires and hence, are unable to master Jnana yoga, that requires rigour and disciplined approach.

For a vast majority of people, following karma yoga as a means to achieve self-realisation (Atma-tattva) is recommended.  Let the wise act and behave like one performing karma yoga and set an example by their actions. In this manner the great souls can inspire the whole society to perform righteous activities so that eventually their minds will become purified and they can advance spiritually and attain Atma-tattva. 

3.27     Shloka 3.27

प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः।
अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताऽहमिति मन्यते।।3.27।।

Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah |
Ahankara-vimudhatma kartaham iti manyate ||3.27||
Meaning: The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.

The difference between the actions of a person of wisdom and those who are ignorant is explained in this verse. The person of wisdom recognises that the whole material existence is influenced by the three Gunas or the modes of material nature (Sattvic, Rajas or Tamas).  

The one who is ignorant is dominated by the senses assuming that they are the Doer’s and cause of their actions and thus stricken with false ego they perform all actions with attachment and desires. On the other hand, a person of wisdom recognises that all actions are but the result of the interaction of the three Gunas and performs all actions as a matter of duty remaining detached and free from desires.

A question may arise as to why should the spiritually wise perform actions that are usually performed by the ignorant men? What then is the difference between a spiritually awakened soul and an ordinary person?  Bhagavan Shri Krishna clarifies this point with the word ‘prakriteh’ which means that the actions are impelled through the medium of the three Gunas.  One who is perplexed by false ego believes that they are the physical body and that the physical body is the doer of all their actions.  While the spiritual person performs the actions with no attachment to results and with equanimity.

The Vedas explain that the Atma (Soul) is the doer but this is only experienced when Moksha or liberation from material existence is attained. The impressions of the Atma expresses itself through the medium of the physical body in proportion to the purity of the mind. Yet the ignorant perceive their physical body as the doer of all their actions while in actuality all actions are performed by the interaction of material nature, the three Gunas and the false ego. Because of this misconception, the ignorant person believes that they are their physical bodies and hence doer of their actions.

3.28     Shloka 3.28

तत्त्ववित्तु महाबाहो गुणकर्मविभागयोः।
गुणा गुणेषु वर्तन्त इति मत्वा सज्जते।।3.28।।

Tattva-vit tu maha-baho guna-karma-vibhagayoh |
Guna gunesu vartanta iti matva na sajjate  ||3.28||
Meaning: One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results.

Who is a Tattva-vit?  According to Srimad Bhagavatam, Tattva-vit is one who knows the Absolute Truth. That person of Vedic spiritual wisdom knows the exact distinction between prakriti or material nature and the Gunas along with their agents – the five senses.  Such a person does not get attached or is beguiled into thinking that they are the doer of their actions.

The tattva-vit is competent in discerning in all activities the properties and influences of the three Gunas as they manifest themselves through one’s actions. The one who becomes proficient in discerning the manifestation of the three Gunas in all their actions will not commit the error of assuming that they are the Doer.

3.29     Shloka 3.29

प्रकृतेर्गुणसम्मूढाः सज्जन्ते गुणकर्मसु।
तानकृत्स्नविदो मन्दान्कृत्स्नविन्न विचालयेत्।।3.29।।

Prakrter guna-sammudhah sajjante guna-karmasu |
Tan akrtsna-vido Mandan krtsna-vin na vicalayet ||3.29||
Meaning: Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers’ lack of knowledge.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna says that one should not disturb the minds of the ignorant who are still deluded by Prakriti (Nature) and the spiritually awakened should let them continue to perform their duties.  Although attached to the results of their actions, they are at least doing their daily duties.

One should contemplate and reflect on the Atma and its essential nature which is purely spiritual. The Atma performs no material activity but has association with actions through the Gunas due to its union with Prakriti (Nature). Thus, in its association with Prakriti (Nature), there is doer ship but where the actions are performed without attachment to results and with an attitude of equanimity, there is none.  

The attributes of nature are those that are abducted by the senses thus delusion arises and the conception of false ego enjoying the sense objects impels a reaction. Bhagavan Shri Krishna uses the word ‘Guna-karmasu’ meaning that the reactions from actions influenced by the modes of Sattva (Goodness), Rajas (passion) and Tamas (sloth).  It should be understood that the impulses that come from the sense objects are secondary attributes and they have reactions that bind one to Samsara, the cycle of birth and death.  Such ignorant persons are not qualified for Jnana yoga but are competent for karma yoga or performing their duties. Eventually in the course of their lifetime there will be a glimmer of comprehension of the utter futility for attachment for such actions.

The conclusion is that one situated in Vedic wisdom and is a prominent leading figure in society should also perform prescribed Vedic activities in Karma yoga even though such a person is a knower of Atma-tattva. By acting in this way and performing Vedic activities without attachment lesser men will follow his example and perform in a like manner.

3.30     Shloka 3.30

मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा।
निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वरः।।3.30।।

Mayi sarvani karmani sannyasyadhyatma-cetasa |
Nirasir nirmamo bhutva yudhyasva vigata-jvarah ||3.30||
Meaning: Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with mind intent on Me, and without desire for gain and free from egoism and lethargy, fight.

This verse clearly expresses the purpose of the Bhagavad Gita. In this verse, Bhagavan Shri Krishna orders Arjuna to fight as if He was his Commander.  While Arjuna was also reflecting on how he would be accruing myriads of sins by fighting and slaying all the warriors in the battle. Now he is being instructed by Shri Krishna to cheerfully join the fray and perform his prescribed duties as a “Yagna” or offering in Karma Yoga.

The words ‘adhyatma-cetasa’ means ‘with the mind absorbed in the Atma within the heart’. So dedicate the mind and all activities to the Supreme Being in the heart represented by the eternal atma. The word ‘nirasih’ means one who is free from desires, free from hankering for the rewards of all actions while eschewing all vanity. The word ‘nirmamah’ means without a sense of ego, and by prohibiting all ego constructs of I-ness and my-ness, and relieved from the fever of mental delusion, discharge the duties at once without attachment. Thus, Bhagavan Shri Krishna is instructing the warrior Arjuna on how he get about to fight his enemies.

The person who performs their activities in this ordained manner is automatically exempted from all reactions when performed with dedication but with no attachment.  The Supreme Being accepts such actions as offerings to Him and takes complete responsibility of the surrendered devotee freeing them from bondage. This is the quintessence of Karma Yoga.

In the Svetavatara Upanishad (6.2) it says, It should be known that energy assumes various forms such as  earth,  water, light, air and  ether  at  the  command  of  Him,  who is the master of Gunas and  the maker of time, who is omniscient, who is Pure Consciousness itself , and by whom all this is ever enveloped.

Even the Yagna offered to Him is possible only with His mercy and grace. Devotion to the Supreme is its own reward and bequeaths His mercy and grace perpetually.  With this attitude of performing one’ duties as a service to Him and without any attachment to the results, one is relieved of bondage to actions.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat

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SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 12; Chapter 3, Verses 11 to 20 – KARMA YOGA

Bhagavan Krishna, through these next ten verses, explains the importance of performing actions without desire or attachment to the results. In these verses, Lord Krishna explains the importance of performing yajna for the purification of the body, mind and intellect. By performing yajnas and offering the food as oblation, one’s food is sanctified, and by eating sanctified food, one’s very existence becomes purified; by the purification of existence, the mind becomes sanctified, and when mind is sanctified, one can contemplate on the path of liberation, and all these collectively lead to purification of the Soul (Atma), thus paving the way for liberation.

3.11      Shloka 3.11

देवान्भावयतानेन ते देवा भावयन्तु वः।
परस्परं भावयन्तः श्रेयः परमवाप्स्यथ।।3.11।।

Devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah |
Parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha ||3.11||
Meaning:
The Devas, being pleased by the sacrifices, will also please you; thus nourishing one another, there will reign general prosperity for all.

The Devas are empowered administrators, supplying air, light, water and all other benedictions for maintaining the body and soul of every living entity. Their pleasures and displeasures are dependent on the performance of yajnas by the human being. Some of the yajnas are meant to satisfy the Ishta (chosen) Devas; but even in so doing, Lord Vishnu is worshiped in all yajnas as the ultimate benefactor.

In the Bhagavad-Gita, Bhagavan Shri Krishna say that He is the beneficiary of all kinds of yajnas: bhoktaram yajna-tapasam.  In Chapter 9 Verse 24 Shri Krishna says, ‘aham hi sarva-yajnanam bhokta ca prabhur eva ca – I am the enjoyer of all sacrifices and the Ultimate Lord’.

In the Vishnu Sahasranamam (Shloka 105), the importance of Yajna is explained:

Yajnabhrit Yajnakrit Yajni Yajnabhuk Yajnasadhanah      |
Yajnaantakrit Yajnaguhyam Annam Annaada Eve Ca ||105|| 

Meaning:  He bears the full brunt of the responsibility of taking the Yajna to its successful completion. As the creator, He also created Yajna as a means for devotees to reach Him. He is the Master of all the Yajnas and it is for Him that all the sacrifices are performed. It is He who consumes and enjoys the offerings made in the Yajnas. He is the One Who is sought through the Yajnas. He provides not only the inspiration to perform Yajnas but also the resources to perform the Yajnas. He is the One Who concludes the Yajnas fruitfully and He is the hidden underlying spirit of the noblest of Yajnas. He is eaten by all beings in His form as food and He is the Enjoyer of those who enjoy Him.

When these Yajnas are perfectly performed, there is no scarcity of supplies required for sustenance. Performance of yajnas has many benefits and they ultimately lead to liberation from bondage. By performance of yajnas, all activities become purified, as it is stated in the Vedas:

Ahara-suddhau sattva-suddhih sattva-suddhau |
Dhruva smrtih smrti-lambhe sarva-granthinam vipra-moksah ||
Meaning:
By performing yajnas, one’s food is sanctified, and by partaking the sanctified food, one’s very existence becomes purified; by the purification of existence, the mind is sanctified, and when the mind is sanctified, one becomes ready to contemplate the path of liberation, and all these collectively lead to purification of the Soul (Atma), thus paving the way for liberation.

3.12      Shloka 3.12

इष्टान्भोगान्हि वो देवा दास्यन्ते यज्ञभाविताः।
तैर्दत्तानप्रदायैभ्यो यो भुङ्क्ते स्तेन एव सः।।3.12।।
Istan bhogan hi vo deva dasyante yajna-bhavitah  |

Tair dattan apradayaibhyo yo bhunkte stena eva sah ||3.12||
Meaning: As Devas are entrusted with providing the various necessities of life, they being satisfied by the performance of yajnas [sacrifice], bestow all necessities to man. But he who enjoys these gifts, without offering them to the Devas, is certainly a thief.

One should understand that all the necessities of life that the human society requires are supplied by the Devas who act as agents of the Lord. Take, for example, all the eatables of human society. These eatables include grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, etc., none of which can be manufactured by men. None of the essential things such as heat, light, water, air, etc., which are necessary for sustenance of life—none of them can be manufactured by humans. Without the Supreme Lord, there can be no Sunlight, Moonlight, rainfall, breeze, etc., without which nothing can thrive. Obviously, our life is dependent on the supplies from the Lord.

We should make proper use of all the resources to keep ourselves fit and healthy for the purpose of self-realization, leading to the Ultimate goal of life i.e., liberation from the material struggle for existence. This aim of life is attained by performance of yajnas. If we forget the purpose of human life and simply take supplies from the agents of the Lord for sense gratification and become more and more entangled in material existence, we become thieves, and therefore we are punished by the laws of material nature. A society of thieves can never be happy because they have no aim in life. The gross materialist thieves have no ultimate goal of life. They are simply directed to sense gratification; nor do they have knowledge of how to perform yajnas.

The words yagna-bhavitah means honoured by worship. The worship of pleasing the Devas in whom Bhagavan Krishna resides as the inner-soul or Atma, will confer prosperity and abundance on those who perform the yajnas.

But if one should try to enjoy the gifts granted by them without first offering them back, such a person is a thief – ‘Stena eva sah’ means ‘such a person is certainly a thief’.

3.13      Shloka 3.13

यज्ञशिष्टाशिनः सन्तो मुच्यन्ते सर्वकिल्बिषैः।
भुञ्जते ते त्वघं पापा ये पचन्त्यात्मकारणात्।।3.13।।
Yajna-sistasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbisaih |
Bhunjate te tv agham papa ye pacanty atma-karanat ||3.13||

Meaning: The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is first offered to the Devas to propitiate them. Others, who prepare food for their own consumption, those sinners eat only sin.

The devotees of the Supreme Lord are called santas or virtuous. Such devotees always perform yajnas through different modes of devotional service, such as Sravanam (listening to Lord’s glory), kirtanam (singing kirtans of the Lord), smaranam (contemplating on Him), arcanam (offering mantras), etc., and while performing these forms of yajnas, they always keep themselves aloof from all kinds of contamination of sinful association in the material world. They partake in the food only after offering it to the Devas. Therefore, those that eat food after it has been offered in yagna are faultless.

Those who prepare food from funds honestly acquired with the sole objective of worshipping the Supreme Lord Krishna who resides as the inner-soul within themselves as well as within all the Devas and every living entity; and those who only partake of such duly consecrated food become absolved of all sins accumulated over time.

But those sinful victims who do not first offer to the Supreme Lord what was gifted to them and instead prepare and eat it appropriating it for themselves eat only sin. The word ‘agham’ means ‘sin’ denoting the grave consequences for such wilful actions.

It should be clearly understood that the observance of yagna is essential for one’s spiritual advancement and liberation from the material world.

3.14      Shloka 3.14

अन्नाद्भवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसम्भवः।
यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञः कर्मसमुद्भवः।।3.14।।

Annad bhavanti bhutani parjanyad anna-sambhavah |
Yajnad bhavati parjanyo yajnah karma-samudbhavah ||3.14||
Meaning:
All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rain. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.

Production of food is dependent on rain and rain is dependent on yagna which is dependent upon the activities performed by the Brahmins as prescribed in the Vedas. It has been presented in another way: the oblations offered into the fire ascend to the sun, from the sun comes clouds and rain, from rainfall food is grown and from food beings come into existence.

The Supreme Lord, who is known as the ‘yajna-purushah’, or the personal beneficiary of all sacrifices, is the master of all Devas. When Lord Vishnu is worshipped, all other Devas are also automatically worshiped. So, food offered to Lord Vishnu and then taken by us enables us to counteract all reactions of past material infections, which are impediments to the progress towards self-realization.

3.15      Shloka 3.15

कर्म ब्रह्मोद्भवं विद्धि ब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम्।
तस्मात्सर्वगतं ब्रह्म नित्यं यज्ञे प्रतिष्ठितम्।।3.15।।

Karma brahmodbhavam viddhi brahmaksara-samudbhavam |
Tasmat sarva-gatam brahma nityam yajne pratisthitam ||3.15||
Meaning:  
Activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Lord. Consequently, all-pervading Absolute Truth is eternally situated in performing sacrifice unto the Supreme Lord.

It should be known that actions have its origins in the Brahman i.e. the Vedas. Lord Krishna by stating Brahman wants to emphasise that the all-pervading substratum of all existence is revealed in the Vedas.  Transforming from the mantras into actions as prescribed by the Vedas, one performs yajnas for the forces of nature, sun, moon, clouds and rain etc. for food. Although nature is seen as a force of action, it is actually supported fully by the underlying energy of the Supreme Brahman.

The words ‘sarva-gatam’ means all-pervading or indestructible. The soul is known to be indestructible and all pervading. Through the auspices of the soul the physical body through the manifestations of nature partakes food and gains strength becoming fit for performing actions authorised by the Vedas. The word ‘udbhavan’ means ‘originate from’ and is used to illustrate that this fitness comes from the source that is nature. Therefore, the all-pervading and indestructible atma or soul utilises a physical body which is its substratum, in the same way as the material nature, to perform sacrifices eternally unto the Supreme Lord.

3.16      Shloka 3.16

एवं प्रवर्तितं चक्रं नानुवर्तयतीह यः।
अघायुरिन्द्रियारामो मोघं पार्थ स जीवति।।3.16।।

Evam pravartitam cakram nanuvartayatiha yah |
Aghayur indriyaramo mogham partha sa jivati ||3.16||
Meaning:
My dear Arjuna, a man who does not follow the prescribed duties in the scriptures certainly leads a life of sin wasting their life in pursuit of material gains and are trapped in sense gratification.

The word ‘agha-ayuh’ means ‘full of sin’, and this can be due to someone living a life perpetuated by sin. Food eaten that was not first sanctified by being consecrated in yagna or offering of worship beforehand ignites rajas or passions in one and incites tamas or darkness of intellect. A person in whom these dispositions are prominent becomes hostile to achieving an even rudimentary level of spiritual illumination, let alone self-realisation of the soul. Such a person only pursues actions to pleasure or gratify their senses.

Blessed with the gift of a human body, that is suitable for offering divine worship in yagna, one must nourish it with sanctified food duly consecrated, thus fulfilling the purpose of existence. If one errs and fails to honour and respect this eternal cycle given in the Vedic injunctions, then any hope of spiritual realisation will not be fulfilled and all their efforts are destined to fail thereby rendering the entire life to go to waste.

So, from this it can be understood that performing yagna as prescribed in the Vedic scriptures are essential.

3.17      Shloka 3.17

यस्त्वात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मतृप्तश्च मानवः।
आत्मन्येव च सन्तुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं न विद्यते।।3.17।।

Yas tv atma-ratir eva syad atma-trptas ca manavah |
Atmany eva ca santustas tasya karyam na vidyate ||3.17||
Meaning:
One who is, however, remains satisfied within the Self, who is illumined in the Self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the Self, fully satiated—for him there is no duty.

In this verse ‘trupti’ means ‘satisfied’ by how things come on their own accord, and the word ‘santustah’ means ‘fully content’. The delight which arises from being satisfied is complete contentment. One who has attained atma-tattva is no longer delighted by external events, and such a person is self-satisfied internally. The one who finds self-realisation is content and nothing else can be a cause of joy for them.  Their satisfaction and contentment is based solely on their realisation of their eternal soul within and the glories of the Supreme Lord.

For the one who has attained such a state, there are no prescribed duties as such a person is self-satisfied. In this world only human beings have the potential to achieve atma- tattva. The word ‘manavah’ means mankind and it’s only humans who can strive for self-realisation.

Lord Krishna has explained that those who possess endless desire for the enjoyment of sense objects must offer the food they eat in yagna or worship to purify themselves to perform prescribed Vedic activities.  As such a person makes spiritual advancement, they make progress and eventually can achieve Atma-tattva or soul realisation.  They are then freed from all material desires and become faultless even by not performing prescribed Vedic actions. For such a self-realised soul who has already attained the goal of human existence, no ordinances of the Vedic scripture are required of them.

3.18      Shloka 3.18

नैव तस्य कृतेनार्थो नाकृतेनेह कश्चन।
न चास्य सर्वभूतेषु कश्िचदर्थव्यपाश्रयः।।3.18।।

Naiva tasya krtenartho nakrteneha kascana |
Na casya sarva-bhutesu kascid artha-vyapasrayah ||3.18||
Meaning: 
A self-realized man has no purpose to gain from fulfilling his prescribed duties, neither any sin is incurred for non-performance of duties. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being.

A self-realized man is no longer obliged to perform any prescribed duty, save and except activities in the service of the Lord. For one situated is atma-tattva or soul realisation, there are no demerits accruing for not performing the prescribed actions. One who is in rapt meditation on the soul within, as in a state of Samadhi, there are no dangers of incurring any demerits.

Lord Krishna has declared previously that the performer of yagna prospers and flourishes but now confirms that the knower of atma-tattva has no necessity for performing any action; nor is there any fault or defect in the omission of any such action. Such a person is perfectly equipoised and is indifferent to everything except the eternal soul which is the only medium to the Supreme Lord. Thus, completely satisfied from within, such a person has no dependence on any living being because such a person has no desire for anything from any being.

3.19      Shloka 3.19

तस्मादसक्तः सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर।
असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पूरुषः।।3.19।।

Tasmad asaktah satatam karyam karma samacara |
Asakto hy acaran karma param apnoti purusah ||3.19||
Meaning:  
Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act constantly as a matter of duty; for by working without attachment, one attains the Supreme.

For all those who have not achieved atma-tattva (as was Arjuna at this point), performance of prescribed actions is mandatory. Therefore, desireless, unattached action is necessary for those who are yet to realise the Self.

A person who has not attained atma-tattva or self-realisation must perform activities without desire and remain unattached to the results for spiritual advancement. This illustrates that aspirants for Moksha who are not qualified to tread the path of jnana yoga can pursue the highest goal of Moksha through Karma Yoga.

3.20      Shloka 3.20

कर्मणैव हि संसिद्धिमास्थिता जनकादयः।
लोकसंग्रहमेवापि संपश्यन्कर्तुमर्हसि।।3.20।।

Karmanaiva hi samsiddhim asthita janakadayah |
Loka-sangraham evapi sampasyan kartum arhasi ||3.20||
Meaning:  
Even kings like Janaka and others attained complete perfection by performing prescribed duties. Therefore, you should perform your work for the sake of the benefit and welfare of the world.

Lord Krishna emphasises Karma by giving examples of men who attained atma-tattva while performing actions. It also infers that by performing prescribed actions in an unattached manner one can gain wisdom. It is important to note that even after attaining moksha (liberation) these men continued to perform activities, primarily for the benefit and welfare of the people and to inspire others.

One could argue that if a person has attained atma-tattva and is free from rebirth (i.e. liberated), what is the necessity for such a person to perform any activity. Lord Krishna anticipating this says that one should consider the welfare of the people in general and perform prescribed actions to protect and to inspire them. This is important for the maintenance of the world and the preservation of creation. That is why one should still perform prescribed activities even though such actions have no further impact for the one who is a realised Soul.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat

SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 11 Chapter 3, Verses 1 to 10 – KARMA YOGA

Bhagavan Shri Krishna, in Chapter 2, explained briefly about both Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga. He elucidated the superiority of a person situated in spiritual transcendence (Jnana Yoga).  Understandably, Arjuna is confused and therefore begins Chapter 3 with a question asking Bhagavan to explain which of the two paths will accrue the greatest benefit for him.  Also, why is He encouraging him to fight if he thought spiritual knowledge was better than work seeking rewards.

Krishna then explains ‘karma-yoga’, is a way for reaction-free righteous work and it is a necessary first step.  When work is performed as a yagna (sacrificial offering) to the Bhagavan, it frees the person from bondage of karmic reaction and leads to purification of mind and the person gains spiritual intelligence. He also explains that everyone must engage in some sort of activity in this material world and even to maintain the body one has to work. But as actions can either bind one to this world if performed without the spirit of sacrifice and hence for liberation one has to perform actions and offer it to Shri Krishna (Sarvam Shri Krishnarpanam Astu).

By performing actions with a spirit of sacrifice to the Supreme, without selfish motives, one can be liberated from the law of karma (action and reaction) and attain transcendental knowledge of the self and the Supreme.

Krishna explains that Arjuna should fight, for avoiding sinful reactions and doing one’s duties is better than attempting to escape reactions though renouncing work (Sanyaasa).

Chapter three firmly establishes the Karma Yoga is a necessary first step for all Grihastas. The performance of prescribed duties is obligatory for everyone.  In this Chapter Bhagavan Shri Krishna categorically and comprehensively explains how it is the duty of each and every member of society to carry out their functions and responsibilities in their respective stage of life.

In these first 10 verses, Bhagavan explains that actions performed without attachment and with a spirit of sacrifice does not cause bondage and frees one from karmic reactions, thus freeing one from the repeated cycles of rebirth. 

When one is able to:

  • control the senses and the mind,
  • offers the work as a yajna to the Lord
  • contemplates on the Lord constantly,
  • performs actions diligently without attachment to the results/rewards

such a person becomes pure and attains spiritual intelligence leading up to Self-realisation and liberation.

3.1       Shloka 3.1

अर्जुन उवाच
ज्यायसी चेत्कर्मणस्ते मता बुद्धिर्जनार्दन।
तत्किं कर्मणि घोरे मां नियोजयसि केशव।।3.1।।

Arjuna Uvaca
Jyayasi cet karmanas te mata buddhir Janardana |
Tat kim karmani ghore mam niyojayasi Kesava ||3.1||
Meaning:  Arjuna said: O’ Janardhana, If spiritual intelligence is considered by you to be better than desirous actions, why are you urging me to engage in this ghastly warfare, O’Keshava?

In this verse, Arjuna is expresses his confusion arising from the instruction on the two different paths (Karma and Jnana Yoga while Bhakti was fleetingly mentioned but fully explained in Chapter 7) explained by Shri Krishna in Chapter 2. He is seeking clarity on the most suitable path for him as he was instructed on the merits of both Karma (action) and Jnana (spiritual intelligence).  In verse 2.39, Arjuna was instructed that he had the right to perform actions but not be desirous of the fruits of action. This was further emphasised in 2.47 and 2.48 where he was instructed not to be attached to fruits of actions as well as not to resort to inaction.  He was advised to perform duties with diligence and accept the fruits as God’s grace with equanimity.

He was further instructed on how to train the mind to attain a state of equanimity in 2.53. The rest of the Chapter 2 explains the process to develop spirituality and the superiority of spiritual knowledge which leads to the realisation of the ultimate truth.

Despite the elaborate instructions on spiritual intelligence, Arjuna was still being instructed to rise up and fight. These seemingly contradictory instructions caused confusion in Arjuna’s mind and he was keen to have the Supreme Lord Keshava to dispel his doubts.

3.2       Shloka 3.2

व्यामिश्रेणेव वाक्येन बुद्धिं मोहयसीव मे।
तदेकं वद निश्िचत्य येन श्रेयोऽहमाप्नुयाम्।।3.2।।

Vyamisreneva vakyena buddhim mohayasiva me        |
Tad ekam vada niscitya yena sreyo ‘ham apnuyam ||3.2||
Meaning: My intelligence is bewildered by your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively the path by which I may obtain the greatest benefit.

Arjuna was bewildered with the two set of instructions one explaining the benefits of the Karma Yoga (the path of duty and righteous actions) and another explaining the superiority of Jnana Yoga (the path of spiritual intelligence). Bhagavan did not specify which of these paths are suitable for Arjuna and whether he was qualified for that yet.

Arjuna is seeking a definitive instruction from Shri Krishna as he is confounded by these seemingly conflicting instructions.  It was well explained that jnana yoga or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge is the means to accomplish self-realisation of the soul. So Arjuna is seeking clarity on why he is being directed to take up arms and fulfil his duty as a Kshatriya. Arjuna now wants a single, unequivocal instruction to determine for certain exactly what course he should embark to achieve the highest good.

3.3       Shloka 3.3

श्री भगवानुवाच
लोकेऽस्मिन्द्विविधा निष्ठा पुरा प्रोक्ता मयानघ।
ज्ञानयोगेन सांख्यानां कर्मयोगेन योगिनाम्।।3.3।।

Sri Bhagavan Uvaca
Loke ‘smin dvi-vidha nistha pura prokta mayanagha  |
Jnana-yogena sankhyanam karma-yogena yoginam  ||3.3||
Meaning: Bhagavan Shri Krishna said: O’ sinless one, I had explained this earlier that in this world, there are two kinds of faith. Some yogis are inclined to understand Him by empirical, philosophical and mental contemplation while other yogis seek to realise the ultimate truth through the path of righteous action.

Lord Krishna’s reply begins with O’ sinless one, implying that Arjuna is fit to be instructed. Lord Krishna states that in this world these are the two paths aspirants can take which lead to moksha or liberation. But they both depend upon qualification of the person, as jnana yoga is suitable for some while karma yoga is suitable for others.  Bhagavan explains that Sankhya-yoga is the analytical study of the nature of spirit and matter, and is the subject matter for persons who are inclined to contemplate and understand things by philosophical thinking and experiential knowledge.  This method promotes spiritual knowledge and hence known as jnana yoga.

Men of action, although some may be possessing spiritual knowledge, because of the predominance of their worldly activities are known as karma yogis. 

The word ‘nishta’ means unflinching faith and with proper guidance of a Guru such persons attain liberation.

There is a distinction to be found in this verse, and Bhagavan says that there are yogis who have also cultivated knowledge while performing their activities and realised the soul by sheer dint of their desireless actions. Their minds becoming pure when they perform their actions meditating on the Supreme Lord within their heart without desire for rewards.  Only when the mind has become purified and is completely free from all desires by performing karma yoga without any desire for reward does one become qualified.

Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that he has not clearly understood what has been previously spoken by Him. He clarifies to Arjuna that, in this world abounding in diversity, there are two paths for two types of humans. Not all humans in this world are born with the ambition for moksha or liberation. Neither are all humans able to embark upon the path of knowledge directly. But all of them must engage in actions at all times and they cannot stop these but must perform them without attachment to fruits. Performing actions in this way humans erase their inauspicious qualities lurking in their minds and hearts, and the senses give up their turbulence and become calm and peaceful.

3.4       Shloka 3.4

कर्मणामनारम्भान्नैष्कर्म्यं पुरुषोऽश्नुते।
संन्यसनादेव सिद्धिं समधिगच्छति।।3.4।।

Na karmanam anarambhan naiskarmyam puruso ‘snute     |
Na ca sannyasanad eva siddhim samadhigacchati            ||3.4||
Meaning: A person can never achieve freedom from reaction by merely abstaining from performing prescribed duties. Nor can one attain perfection by simply renouncing them.

A question arises, if the absence of desire for reward is the means for Moksha,  why not give up actions altogether giving no opportunity for the fruits to manifest? In this verse, Bhagavan clarifies by saying ‘na ca sannyasanad eva’ meaning ‘not just by renunciation’. So, it should be understood that not by mere absence of desires or even the absence of actions can liberation be achieved.

If one can attain Moksha merely by abstention of actions or abandonment of all actions, then liberation would be possible for all inanimate things. So, neither by the failing to perform duties nor by renouncing all actions can Moksha be achieved. It can only be achieved by one who is completely free from all desires. Actions when performed as an offering to the Supreme Lord with no desire or expectation for any reward (Nishkaama Karma) leads to perfection. The renounced order of life can be taken up after getting purified by discharging the prescribed form of duties.

As an analogy, when the rain water drops from the cloud, it is pure and uncontaminated, but as soon as it hits the ground it becomes muddy and discoloured. Similarly, we are pure original souls with a pure spirit when we are born, and a part of the Supreme Soul of Shri Krishna. But due to the conditioned life that is engaged in material pursuits, the living entities struggle through life and get contaminated. So, to purify ourselves we have to perform our prescribed duties diligently without any desire for the rewards and develop an attitude of equanimity. This will result in gradually purifying our mind and soul. Without this purification process, it is not possible to attain success merely by renunciation (Sanyaasa).  Only one with a pure heart, free from desire and attachment is known as one situated in spiritual knowledge.  Therefore, even when one is engaged in activities the mind should be fixated on Him and not waver.

3.5       Shloka 3.5

हि कश्िचत्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत्।
कार्यते ह्यवशः कर्म सर्वः प्रकृतिजैर्गुणैः     ।।3.5।।

Na hi kascit ksanam api jatu tisthaty akarma-krt   |
Karyate hy avasah karma sarvah prakrti-jair gunaih ||3.5
Meaning: No one can refrain without engaging in activity at any time, even for a moment; all men are helplessly compelled to act according to the attributes endowed by material nature (Gunas).

No living being in the material existence can remain inactive even for a moment without initiating or pursuing some activity or another.  If one should steadfastly determines to perform absolutely nothing, still one would be compelled by the qualities of the three Gunas, namely Sattva (goodness), rajas (passion) and tamas (indolent), all from prakriti, material nature.

It is the nature of the soul to be always active. Without the presence of the spirit soul, the material body cannot move. As such, the spirit soul has to be engaged in good work, otherwise it will be engaged in occupations dictated by the senses.

Thus, by adhering to Karma yoga, the yoga of actions without desires, one’s accumulated sins will gradually dissolve and mastery over the Gunas and prakriti is achieved and the mind becomes pure and one attains spiritual knowledge or jnana yoga. Otherwise as Lord Krishna states anyone attempting to pursue jnana yoga in lieu of this is a charlatan and all their attempts is merely a charade.

3.6       Shloka 3.6

कर्मेन्द्रियाणि संयम्य आस्ते मनसा स्मरन्।
इन्द्रियार्थान्विमूढात्मा मिथ्याचारः उच्यते।।3.6।।

Karmendriyani samyamya ya aste manasa smaran  |
Indriyarthan vimudhatma mithyacarah sa ucyate ||3.6||
Meaning: One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense objects, certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender.

He who makes a show of being a yogi, while actually searching for the objects of sense gratification, must be called a charlatan, even though he may sometimes speak of philosophy. Such knowledge has no value because such a person’s mind is always impure, and therefore the yogic meditation acquires no merit whatsoever.  A person acting in such a manner is only deceiving himself and surely will never succeed in realising the eternal soul.

One who is able to restrain the body from sense objects, may still find their mind wandering towards sense objects. The mind cannot be free from attachment to sense objects unless there is perfection in karma yoga.  It is not possible to gain spiritual knowledge without first gaining mastery over the senses and control over the mind.

3.7       Shloka 3.7

यस्त्विन्द्रियाणि मनसा नियम्यारभतेऽर्जुन।
कर्मेन्द्रियैः कर्मयोगमसक्तः विशिष्यते।।3.7।।

Yas tv indriyani manasa niyamyarabhate ’rjuna  |
Karmendriyaih karma-yogam asaktah sa visisyate ||3.7||
Meaning: But anyone who controls the senses with the mind and engages in performing actions without attachment to the results is far superior.

Lord Krishna previously spoke of the pretensions of the pretenders renouncing all actions with great effort by forcefully subjugating the desires of the mind. Now to show the predominant role of the mind in influencing our thoughts, he uses the word ‘manasa’. Karma yoga, the yoga of actions, is about performing actions without attachment or desires. By diverting the senses from sense objects by controlling the mind one begins the process of contemplation of the self which when unattached to the desire for anything,  gradually leads one towards self realisation. So, the discipline of karma yoga, the practice of selfless actions, is essential for spiritual development.

3.8       Shloka 3.8

नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं कर्म ज्यायो ह्यकर्मणः।
शरीरयात्रापि ते प्रसिद्ध्येदकर्मणः।।3.8।।

Niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyayo hy akarmanah |
Sarira-yatrapi ca te na prasiddhyed akarmanah        ||3.8||
Meaning: Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction. A man cannot even maintain his physical body without work.

One should note that by the use of ‘tvam’ Lord Krishna is asserting that Arjuna should be detached from his actions and perform his duty. Action is superior to inaction because by performing righteous actions one expends ‘prarabdha karma’. Realistically not performing actions is also not practical because without actions one is not able even to maintain the physical body.

3.9       Shloka 3.9

यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः।
तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसंगः समाचर।।3.9।।

Yajnarthat karmano ‘nyatra loko ‘yam karma-bandhanah |
Tad-artham karma kaunteya mukta-sangah samacara  ||3.9||
Meaning: This whole world is bound by actions except for actions that are offered as a yajna (sacrifice) to the Supreme Lord. Therefore, O’ Son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and that way you will always remain unattached from karmic reactions and remain free from bondage.

Since, one has to work even for the maintenance of the body, the prescribed duties have to be fulfilled. Yajna means Lord Vishnu, and also sacrificial performances. All sacrificial performances also are meant for the satisfaction of Lord Vishnu – ‘yajno vai Vishnuh’.  Any other work done in this material world will be a cause of bondage, for both good and evil work have their reactions, and any reaction binds the performer. Therefore, one has to have a spirit of sacrifice while performing actions and renounce the fruits of their actions.

Lord Krishna uses the word sanga which means attachment will be there when the action is undertaken for self-service but as an offering to the Supreme Lord one is free from such bondage.  The Supreme Lord recognising such devotion, will mitigate all the sins and the merits from such offered actions which bind one to receiving punishment or rewards that result in an unending cycle of rebirth and death, and grant salvation.

3.10     Shloka 3.10

सहयज्ञाः प्रजाः सृष्ट्वा पुरोवाच प्रजापतिः।
अनेन प्रसविष्यध्वमेष वोऽस्त्विष्टकामधुक्।।3.10।।

Saha-yajnah prajah srstva purovaca prajapatih |
Anena prasavisyadhvam esa vo ‘stv ista-kama-dhuk ||3.10||
Meaning:  In the beginning of Creation, Prajapati (Brahma) after producing all beings by performing a sacrifice for Lord Vishnu, blessed them by saying, ‘May you evolve and prosper by this yajna [sacrifice] and let it bestow upon you all desirable things.’

All living entities within the material creation are conditioned by material nature because of their forgetfulness of their relationship to the Supreme.  The Lord says ‘Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah’ meaning that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Him.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Gosvami describes the Lord as pati in so many ways:
Sriyah-patir yajna-patih praja-patir dhiyam patir loka-patir dhara-patih
Patir gatis candhaka-vrsni-satvatam prasidatam me bhagavan satam patih (Srimad Bhagavatam 2.4.20)
Meaning: May the Lord, who is the consort of Lakshmi, who is the object of all Yajns for all devotees, the protector of all and glory of all the Kings like Andhaka and Vṛṣṇi of the Yadu dynasty, the leader of all living entities, the controller of all intelligence, the proprietor of all planets, spiritual and material, and the supreme incarnation on the earth (the Supreme all in all), be merciful upon me.

In Srimad-Bhagavatam a special reference is made to the Sankirtana-yajna:
Krishna-varnam tvisakrsnam sangopangastra-parsadam  |
Yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah ||BG 11.5.32||
Meaning: In this age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient intelligence will worship the Lord, who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of sankirtana-yajna.

In this age of Kali, but the Sankirtana-yajna is easy and sublime for all purposes.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat

SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 10 Chapter 2, Verses 61 to 72 – SANKHYA YOGA

Bhagavan Krishna explains the attributes of a wise man i.e. who is a ‘Sthitha-prajna’.  In these twelve verses, Bhagavan explains how a ‘sthitha-prajna’ acts, talks or engages in various activities, thus providing a user guide for spiritual advancement.

With these twelve verses, Bhagavan concludes Chapter 2 on Sakhya Yoga. A brief summary of the key messages from Chapter 2 is given below:

Summary of Chapter 2 – Sankhya Yoga

Lord Krishna explains that the state of consciousness is achieved by one who performs all actions unattached and is equipoised based on the knowledge of the eternal nature of the immortal soul. This process has for its goal the attainment of transcendent meditation. It is ‘Brahmi’ or that which leads to Brahman, the ultimate truth.

Thus, the following doctrine is to be understood from Chapter 2:

  • That the immortal soul is eternal (‘na hanyate hanya mane sharire’ – 2.20)
  • All activities should be performed as a matter of duty devoid of desire for reward (2.47)
  • There should be no proprietorship or doer-ship (2.47)
  • Engage in devotional service – (yogah karmasu kausalam – 2.50)
  • One should control their mind which will result in control of the senses (2.58);
  • One should perform actions without attachment or aversion (2.64)
  • One should be equipoised (2.68)
  • Constantly contemplate and engage in meditating on the Lord (2.70)
  • One who is spiritually intelligent of illuminated consciousness understands that through either jnana-yoga or karma-yoga, the goal of transcendent meditation can be attained but devotion to the Supreme is essential for realisation of the Supreme. (2.71)

Liberation from the material existence and realisation of eternal bliss (sat chit Ananda) can be achieved through the above process. In essence this results in relinquishment of both the physical body and the subtle body, after which one becomes qualified to realise their spiritual body and experience the sublime bliss of uninterrupted devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna.

  • The primary way of attaining God realisation is certainly pure devotion unto God, whereas self-realisation or soul-cognition, although extremely exalted, is secondary. Devotion to GOD is primary ‘means’ (Upaya) as well as the ‘goal’ (Upeya) to be attained.
  • Through the process of intense devotion one becomes relieved from all unhappiness and free from attachment. Over time they gain spiritual intelligence and become completely equipoised in transcendent meditation attaining the bliss of the Supreme.

These spiritual truths have been revealed in the second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita for curing ignorance and dispelling delusion.

2.61     Shloka 2.61

तानि सर्वाणि संयम्य युक्त आसीत मत्परः।
वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।2.61।।

Tani sarvani samyamya yukta asita mat-parah      |
Vase hi yasyendriyani tasya prajna pratisthita ||2.61||
Meaning: One who restrains his senses and fixes his consciousness upon Me is known as a man of steady intelligence.

In the previous few verses, Bhagavan Shri Krishna had stated that the senses are too powerful to subdue by our own efforts. Yet effort should be made regardless and so, in this verse, he suggests that we subdue our senses by engaging in total devotion to Him. The word ‘yuktah’ and mat-parah’

The words ‘yukta asita mat-parah’ is most significant in this verse.  It means one who is self-controlled, established and meditating on Me. It indicates that devotion to Lord Krishna, with one’s mind firmly established and attuned to Him is the only way to control the senses and maintain it. As Hrishikesha, He is the Lord of the senses, and is the ultimate object of all meditation.

In the Vishnu Purana, it begins with ‘yatha adniruddhata-sikhah’ and explains that just as a blazing fire fanned by blowing wind burns up dry wood, in the same way when Bhagavan Krishna is established in the heart, all sins are burnt. Spiritual intelligence is confirmed in those whose senses are under control. When our minds evolve to realise that Bhagavan Vishnu is the Supreme Absolute Reality, all impurities are eradicated and the mind is purified and clear, free from all desires.

Maharaja Ambarisha’s life is good example on how one can become ‘mat-parah’:
“mad-bhakti-prabhavena sarvendriya-vijaya-purvika svatma drstih sulabheti bhavah”
Meaning: The senses can be completely controlled only by the strength of devotional service to Bhagavan.

Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.4.18 – 20) describes how Maharaja Ambarisha was able to control his senses:

Sa vai manah Krishna-padaravindayor vacamsi vaikuntha-gunanavarnane  |
Karau harer mandira-marjanadisu srutim cakaracyuta-sat-kathodaye     ||9.4.18||
Meaning: King Ambarisha was always engaged and his mind was focussed meditating upon the Lotus feet of Kṛiṣhṇa, his words in describing the glories of the Lord, his hands in cleansing the Lord’s temple, and his ears in hearing the words spoken by Kṛiṣhṇa or singing glories of Kṛiṣhṇa.

Mukunda-lingalaya-darsane drsau tad-bhrtya-gatra-sparse’nga-sangamam   |
Ghranam ca tat-pada-saroja-saurabhe srimat-tulasya rasanam tad-arpite ||9.4.19||
Meaning: He engaged his eyes only to see the Deity or the divine temples of Mukunda in places like Mathura and Vṛindavan. He engaged his sense of touch by serving the Lord’s devotees, he engaged his sense of smell in smelling the fragrance of tulasi offered to the Lord, and he engaged his tongue in tasting the Lord’s prasada (offering).

padau hareh ksetra-padanusarpane siro hrsikesa-padabhivandane  |
kamam ca dasye na tu kama-kamyaya yathottamasloka-janasraya ratih ||9.4.20||
Meaning:  He engaged his legs to walk to the holy places and temples of the Lord, his head in bowing down before the Lord, and all his desires in serving the Lord, all the time. Indeed, Maharaja Ambarisha never desired anything for his own sense gratification. He engaged all his senses in devotional service, in various engagements related to the Lord. This is the way to increase attachment for the Lord and be completely free from all material desires.

All these attributes made him fit to become a ‘mat-parah’ devotee of the Lord and the Lord protects such devotees. When Sage Durvasa wanted to punish Ambarisha, it was Lord’s Sudharsana Chakra that came to protect him and made Sage Durvasa seek pardon from Kind Ambarisha and made the Sage realise his misplaced arrogance towards the Lord’s devotee.

 

Because the uncontrolled senses are the cause of all disturbance, one with spiritual intelligence seeking transcendence should make it their priority to control their senses. Having duly controlled the senses, one should firmly establish their mind by meditating on Bhagavan for maintaining this control. This will lead to the mind slowly becoming free from all desires. The mind, along with the senses completely under control, is then capable of self-realisation and ready for union with the Ultimate Consciousness.

2.62     Shloka 2.62

ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते।
सङ्गात् संजायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते।।2.62।।

Dhyayato visayan pumsah sangas tesupajayate            |
Sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodho ‘bhijayate ||2.62||
Meaning: While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.

Bhagavan Krishna states that one who contemplates sensual objects like form and touch develops in the mind an attachment towards them.  This manifests in the form of lust and deludes one into believing such objects to be the root cause of happiness. From this attachment springs desire and when one is able to gratify by enjoying these sense objects, it leads to attachment to these desires ultimately enslaving the person.  When controlled by these desires any obstruction in sating these desires leads to frustration and anger. 

2.63     Shloka 2.63

क्रोधाद्भवति संमोहः संमोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः।
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति।।2.63।।

Krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrti-vibhramah     |
Smriti-bhramsad buddhi-naso buddhi-nasat pranasyati    ||2.63||
Meaning: From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one perishes.

The word ‘Sammoha’ denotes an illusionary perception of knowledge. Even if the knowledge is right, one will be deluded and recall it incorrectly. Due to wrong perception, the judgement will be compromised and the actions that follow are terrible.

The debilitating effect created by a magnetic attraction to desires for sense objects becomes more and more extreme. From this extreme desire springs lust when this lust is denied it leads to Krodha or anger.  Krodha is the frustrated outrage one feels against that which stands in the way of obtaining the gratification of ones senses.

Bhagavan Krishna explains that anger emerges from delusion which is the lack of discrimination on what righteous actions are to be performed and what actions are to be avoided. From this delusion comes confusion which is the bewilderment of intelligence and forgetfulness of the scriptures that contains knowledge of Dharma. This confusion leads to misinterpretation of scriptures and lack of discriminative intellect in determining the true nature of reality. From such illusory knowledge one is completely ruined and loses focus on the goal of material existence and the core purpose of human life which is to engage in the service of the Lord by serving his devotees. Thus, it must be understood that controlling one’s mind and senses is the most important first step to self-realisation.

2.64     Shloka 2.64

रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन्।
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति।।2.64।।

Raga-Dvesa-vimuktais tu visayan indriyais caran |
Atma-vasyair vidheyatma prasadam adhigacchati ||2.64||
Meaning: But one who controls his senses by practicing the regulated principles and is completely free from attachment and aversion, attains the mercy of the Lord.

Bhagavan Krishna reveals how if one is able to bring their mind under firm control, then senses also come under firm control which will help them to succeed in their pursuit of self-realisation.  And such persons are bestowed with the ultimate coveted ‘prasadam’, i.e. they attain the mercy of the Supreme Lord.

This answers the last question – How does a person who is ‘sthitha-prajna’ walk or act? The self- controlled aspirant who has his mind firmly under control while experiencing various sense objects through disciplined approach which are free from attachment or aversion, achieves placidity and tranquillity of mind. This way the mind becomes purified.

Rejecting all desires for sensual objects with a mind firmly under control, one achieves lucidity of mind along with inner purity and blissful state.

2.65     Shloka 2.65

प्रसादे सर्वदुःखानां हानिरस्योपजायते।
प्रसन्नचेतसो ह्याशु बुद्धिः पर्यवतिष्ठते।।2.65।।

Prasade sarva-duhkhanam hanir asyopajayate  |
Prasanna-cetaso hy asu buddhih paryavatisthate ||2.65||
Meaning: When one attains the precious mercy of the Ultimate personality, the threefold miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such a happy state, one’s spiritual intelligence soon becomes steady.

Bhagavan Krishna now explains that when the mind is placid and pure it has achieved for itself the cessation of all miseries arising from materialism. ‘Prasanna-chetah’ refers to that delightful one whose mind is removed of all impediments that hinders it from realising the eternal soul while bestowing the spiritual intelligence needed for illumination. Thus when the mind has been purified all sorrows are terminated.

One may wonder how sorrows are destroyed on attaining the state of satisfaction. Bhagavan Krishna explains that by achieving tranquillity of mind the intellect becomes established in connecting to the ultimate reality. ‘Prasade’ indicates that by the mercy of the Supreme Lord one neutralises the tendency to gravitate towards experiencing objects of the senses.

By achieving a state of mental placidity all ones physical as well as other sorrows of the aspirant come to an end. The fruition of sorrow and pain is inevitable for one attached to sensual objects. But in the case of one who has purified their mind the sorrows and pains are easily neutralised. By the word ‘hi’ meaning certainly, Bhagavan Krishna is emphasising that such a person becomes firmly established in transcendent consciousness.

2.66     Shloka 2.66

नास्ति बुद्धिरयुक्तस्य चायुक्तस्य भावना।
चाभावयतः शान्तिरशान्तस्य कुतः सुखम्।।2.66।।

Nasti buddhir ayuktasya na cayuktasya bhavana         |
Na cabhavayatah santir asantasya kutah sukham ||2.66||
Meaning: One with an uncontrolled mind cannot gain spiritual intelligence; one devoid of spiritual intelligence does not meditate on the Ultimate Reality and for one who never meditates on the Supreme, there is no peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?

In order to strengthen the points made in the previous verse, Bhagavan Krishna cites all the contrary results that can accrue when one is unable to control the mind. One who is unable to concentrate and focus their mind in meditation on Lord Krishna is known as ayukta, one devoid of spiritual intelligence. One who has not subdued their senses by controlling their mind is bereft of resolve. The intellect of one with spiritual intelligence determines the truth as set out in various scriptures. It is not possible for an undisciplined living entity to have belief of the calibre necessary to contemplate on matters relating to the ultimate truth.

Without having an understanding or devotion of the God, there can be no peace.  And attachment for sensual objects remains. In such a state there can be no happiness.  Thus without being able to comprehend and contemplate on the nature of the eternal soul there can be no tranquility.

2.67     Shloka 2.67

इन्द्रियाणां हि चरतां यन्मनोऽनुविधीयते।
तदस्य हरति प्रज्ञां वायुर्नावमिवाम्भसि।।2.67।।

Indriyanam hi caratam yan mano ‘nuvidhiyate           |
Tad asya harati prajnam vayur navam ivambhasi ||2.67||
Meaning: Whichever among the various senses the wandering mind is engrossed with, that sense certainly leads his intelligence astray just like the wind snatches away a boat on the water.

Unless all of the senses are engaged in the service of the Lord, even one of them engaged in sense gratification can deviate the devotee from the path of transcendental advancement. As mentioned in the life of Maharaja Ambarisha, all of the senses must be engaged on the Lord, for that is the correct technique for controlling the mind.

In this verse Lord Krishna compares the uncontrolled mind that is servile to the senses gives to that of a boat on water being swept away by strong winds. One may ask the question that don’t the senses perform the activities energised by the Supreme Lord? This is only partly true because wisdom is an essential ingredient of meditation and when one is pursuing the senses then wisdom is lost and one is out of control like a boat in a storm causing the senses to lose their essential purpose.

Lord Krishna declares that one who is unable to control their mind and senses cannot be in possession of a discriminative intellect. This is because any one of the rambling senses which the mind attaches itself to in pursuit of sense objects has the power to deviate one away from their pursuit of gaining spiritual intelligence.

2.68     Shloka 2.68

तस्माद्यस्य महाबाहो निगृहीतानि सर्वशः।
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।2.68।।

Tasmad yasya maha-baho nigrhitani sarvasah              |
Indriyanindriyarthebhyas tasya prajna pratisthita ||2.68||
Meaning: Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence.

Lord Krishna is declaring that only by control of the senses in all respects can wisdom be achieved. Therefore, whosoever achieves communion with Him, the most exalted reality for meditation, will surely in every way have their senses under control and completely oblivious to the objects of the senses. Thus, so qualified they gain wisdom and become fit to attain the eternal Soul.

2.69     Shloka 2.69

या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी।
यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः।।2.69।।

Ya nisha sarva-bhutanam tasyam jagarti samyami     |
Yasyam jagrati bhutani sa nisha pasyato muneh  ||2.69||
Meaning: What is night for all beings is the time when the self-controlled is wakeful; and the time in which all living beings are awake, it is night for the introspective Sage.

There are two classes of intelligent men. The one is intelligent in material activities for sense gratification, and the other is introspective and awake to the cultivation of self-realization. Activities of the introspective Sage, or thoughtful man, are night for persons materially absorbed. Materialistic persons remain asleep and it’s like a night due to their ignorance of the Self (Atma). The introspective Sage remains alert in the “night” of the materialistic men. The Sage feels transcendental pleasure in the gradual advancement of spiritual awareness, whereas the man in materialistic activities, being asleep to self-realization, dreams of varieties of sense pleasure, feeling sometimes happy and sometimes distressed in this ignoramus condition. They see nothing except what they can experience with their senses. This is due to being captivated by their senses and unable to concentrate their mind in meditation. The introspective man is always indifferent to materialistic happiness and distress. He goes on with his self-realization activities undisturbed by material reaction.

One situated in transcendent meditation has no connections to their senses whatsoever; but such a being cannot be perceived. As the functions of the senses such as seeing, hearing, and tasting of an ordinary person are the exact same to one situated in transcendent meditation, How is it possible to properly understand what this means?

Here Lord Krishna indicates that the operation of the senses to one situated in transcendent mediation are completely different from an ordinary being. This is because those whose minds are inclined towards sense objects are unqualified to realise the soul, their intellect is likened to the darkness of night. Whereas the self-restrained living entities with their sense organs fully controlled remains awake and realises the essence of the eternal soul and realises the eternal truths of the Vedic scriptures.

2.70     Shloka 2.70

आपूर्यमाणमचलप्रतिष्ठं समुद्रमापः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत्।
तद्वत्कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे शान्तिमाप्नोति कामकामी।।2.70।।

Apuryamanam acala-pratistham samudram apah pravisanti yadvat     |
Tadvat kama yam pravisanti sarve sa santim apnoti na kama-kami ||2.70||
Meaning: That Sage achieves peace who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires and sense objects— like the rivers entering into the ocean which is ever being filled but is always still, and not the man who strives to satisfy such incessant desires.

The Ocean is full unto itself and always maintains the same form even though countless rivers enter into it. Whether the rivers enter or do not enter, the ocean is unaffected. Similarly when a person is in transcendent meditation and comes in contact with sense objects, such a person remains peaceful and maintains an equipoise state of consciousness. Bhagavan Krishna says that this state can never be attained by one who is a ‘kamakami’ full of desires or is controlled by the senses, for such a being can never achieve peace.

All desires are not contrary to liberation nor are all desires opposed to liberation. In the absence of desires, it is not possible to live a normal life. Although they may be experienced, they are not powerful enough to generate any change or deviation internally. Thus such a person who has attained peace in the form of liberation from extreme joy as well as misery because the actions that cause of all types of miseries are terminated but the devotedness to the Supreme does not deviate and does not terminate.

Contrarily one who hankers after sensual enjoyments can never find peace and incessantly revolves in the material existence buffeted hither and thither by the negative and positive reactions of their own desires.

2.71     Shloka 2.71

विहाय कामान्यः सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति निःस्पृहः।
निर्ममो निरहंकारः शांतिमधिगच्छति।।2.71।।

Vihaya kaman yah sarvan pumams carati nihsprhah      |
Nirmamo nirahankarah sa santim adhigacchati         ||2.71||
Meaning: Whosoever has given up all material desires for sense gratification, lives free from attachment, false ego and sense of proprietorship; that person attains peace.

In answer to the question, Who is qualified for this yoga which bestows such a great reward? Lord Krishna states ‘yah vihaya’ meaning whomsoever is able to renounce desires. The use of the pronoun ‘yah’ is to emphasise that there are no restrictions of class, gender, age, caste, education etc. for engaging in this process of self-realisation which is preceded by abandoning attachment to all sense objects. Abandoning fully all desires for sense gratification, free from attachment and hence free from egoism, devoid of doer-ship and ownership.

Due to the firm knowledge about the eternal soul being distinctly different from all of these material designations, wherever and whatever such a one engages themselves they are always situated in a state of perfect peace.

The living entity cannot be desireless or bereft of the senses, but he does have to change the quality of the desires. A person with no material desires certainly knows that everything belongs to Bhagavan (isavasyam idam sarvam), and therefore he does not falsely claim proprietorship over anything. This transcendental knowledge is based on self-realization—namely, knowing perfectly well that every living entity is the eternal part and parcel of the Supreme in spiritual identity. Rejecting egotism in all its forms is understood to be under the control of the Supreme Lord Krishna. This is the goal to fully strive for.

2.72     Shloka 2.72

एषा ब्राह्मी स्थितिः पार्थ नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति।
स्थित्वाऽस्यामन्तकालेऽपि ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृच्छति।।2.72।।

Esa brahmi sthitih partha nainam prapya vimuhyati       |
Sthitvasyam anta-kale ‘pi brahma-nirvanam rcchati ||2.72||
Meaning: O’ Partha, having gained the realisation of the Ultimate Truth, one is never again deluded and even at the moment of death, being situated in this state, liberation from the material existence and attainment of the Ultimate Consciousness is assured.

Nirvana means ending the process of materialistic life.  And ‘brahmi-sthitih’ is liberation from material bondage. Brahman is just the opposite of matter and therefore, brahmi sthitih means “not on the platform of material activities.”

If one is a ‘sthitha-prajna’ and is devoted to the Lord, he at once attains the stage of Brahma-nirvana. There is no difference between the kingdom of God and the devotional service of the Lord.

Lord Krishna extolling the virtues of the process of spiritual knowledge concludes Chapter two with this verse enunciating the performance of actions by being unattached to their rewards. This state of consciousness leads to self-realisation and ‘brahmi’, the ultimate truth. Having achieved this one never again deluded by the material energy.

When one becomes established in this state, even at the last moment when death comes they achieve the eternal spiritual attainment.

Lord Krishna concludes chapter two by revealing the state of consciousness achieved by one who performs all actions unattached and equipoised based on knowledge of the eternal nature of the immortal soul. This process has for its goal the attainment of transcendent meditation. It is ‘brahmi’ or that which leads to Brahman, the ultimate truth.

 

Thus, the following doctrine is to be understood from Chapter 2:

  1. That the immortal soul is eternal (‘na hanyate hanya mane sharire’ – 2.20)
  2. All activities should be performed as a matter of duty devoid of desire for reward (2.47)
  3. There should be no proprietorship or doer-ship (2.47)
  4. Engage in devotional service – (yogah karmasu kausalam – 2.50)
  5. One should control their mind which will result in control of the senses (2.58);
  6. One should perform actions without attachment or aversion (2.64)
  7. One should be equipoised (2.68)
  8. Constantly contemplate and engage in meditating on the Lord (2.70)
  9. One who is spiritually intelligent of illuminated consciousness understands that through either jnana-yoga or karma-yoga, the goal of transcendent meditation can be attained but devotion to the Supreme is essential for realisation of the Supreme. (2.71)

Liberation from the material existence and realisation of eternal bliss (sat chit Ananda) can be achieved through the above process. In essence this results in relinquishment of both the physical body and the subtle body, after which one becomes qualified to realise their spiritual body and experience the sublime bliss of uninterrupted devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna.

  • The primary way of attaining God realisation is certainly pure devotion unto God, whereas self-realisation or soul-cognition, although extremely exalted, is secondary. Devotion to GOD is primary ‘means’ (Upaya) as well as the ‘goal’ (Upeya) to be attained.
  • Through the process of intense devotion one becomes relieved from all unhappiness and free from attachment. Over time they gain spiritual intelligence and become completely equipoised in transcendent meditation attaining the bliss of the Supreme.

These spiritual truths have been revealed in the second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita for curing ignorance and dispelling delusion.

Aum Tat Sat iti Srimad Bhagavad Gitasu upanishadsu brahmavidyayam yoga shastre Shri Krishna Arjuna samvaade Sankhya Yogo Nama dvitiyo adhyayah|  

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Aum Tat Sat

SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 9 Chapter 2, Verses 51 to 60 – SANKHYA YOGA

Bhagavan Krishna explains that those who acquire spiritual intelligence take refuge in the Supreme and renounce the fruits of their action.  Arjuna wants to know the attributes and characteristics of such a wise man.

Bhagavan explains that a person who is ‘Sthitha-prajna’ has total control over his sense and is not disturbed by miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger.  Such a Sage is known as steadfast in consciousness i.e. Sthitha-prajna.

In these ten verses, Bhagavan explains the qualities and attributes of a wise man. He also explains the process to attain spiritual intelligence and how can seek to realise the Self (Atma) and experience the union with Ultimate Consciousness. Krishna also cautions that the senses are so strong and impetuous that they can forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is vigilant and endeavouring to control them.

2.51     Shloka 2.51

कर्मजं बुद्धियुक्ता हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः।
जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम्।।2.51।।

Karma-jam buddhi-yukta hi phalam tyaktva manisinah             |
Janma-bandha-vinirmuktah padam gacchanty anamayam ||2.51||
Meaning:  Endowed with spiritual intelligence, the wise men, take refuge in the Lord, and free themselves from the cycle of birth and death by renouncing the fruits of action in the material world. In this way they attain tranquillity and get beyond all miseries.

Those who are factually situated in spiritual intelligence perform activities as a matter of duty free from conceptions of gain and loss, unconcerned about the resultant rewards. They are assuredly delivered from the bondage of birth and death in the material existence and are liberated to the spiritual realms.

The liberated living entities seek that place where there are no material miseries. Srimad Bhagavatam says:
Samasrita ye padapallava-plavam mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh |
Bhavambudhir vatsa-padam param padam param padam yad vipadam na tesam || (SB 10.14.58)
Meaning: For those who have accepted the boat of the Lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation, and is famous as Murari, the destroyer of Demon Mura, for them the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoof print. Their goal is Parama padam, or Vaikuntha, the place where there are no material miseries. This is not a place there is danger in every step of life.”

One who wrongly thinks that the living entity’s position and the Lord’s position are on the same level is ignorant and therefore unable to engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord. He assumes to be a Lord himself and thus is destined to the repeated cycles of birth and death. But one who, understanding that his position is to serve, engages himself in the service of the Lord, and at once becomes eligible for Parama Padam or Vaikuntha.

Liberation from the material existence is the direction to strive for and attaining the blissful state of the spiritual worlds described in the Upanishads as Vaikuntha which is free from all miseries. The conclusion is that in order to attain the unlimited bliss of boundless joy in the spiritual world one must abandon the fruits of meritorious deeds as well or else they will bestow trivial material rewards.

2.52     Shloka 2.52

यदा ते मोहकलिलं बुद्धिर्व्यतितरिष्यति।
तदा गन्तासि निर्वेदं श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य च।।2.52।।

Yada te moha-kalilam buddhir vyatitarisyati            |
Tada gantasi nirvedam srotavyasya srutasya ca ||2.52||
Meaning:  When your spiritual intelligence overcomes the myriads of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard.

There are many examples in the lives of the great devotees of the Lord who became indifferent to the rituals of the Vedas and were engaged in the devotional service to the Lord (e.g. Gora Kumbhar, Sena Nai, Sant Tukaram etc.).

When a person develops deep devotion and firmly establishes his relationship with Bhagavan, he naturally becomes completely indifferent to the rituals of fruitive activities.

The word ‘nirvedam’ means indifferent and here it is to be understood that in the process acquiring wisdom by spiritual intelligence one becomes indifferent to mundane pursuits. As one’s devotions become well established and focussed, that person advances with spiritual intelligence and develops greater awareness of the Self (Atma) and mundane desires wane. Bhagavan is very attracted to devotees possessing these attributes.

2.53     Shloka 2.53

श्रुतिविप्रतिपन्ना ते यदा स्थास्यति निश्चला।
समाधावचला बुद्धिस्तदा योगमवाप्स्यसि।।2.53।।

Sruti-vipratipanna te yada sthasyati niscala                |
Samadhav acala buddhis tada yogam avapsyasi ||2.53||
Meaning: When your mind is no longer influenced by the actions for fruitive results as prescribed in the Vedas, and when it remains fixed in the trance of self-realisation, then you will achieve a pure spiritual state and unite with the Ultimate Consciousness.

To say that one is in Samadhi is to say that one has fully realised Brahman, ParamAtma or Bhagavan. ‘Shruti vipratipanna’ means not being influenced to perform rituals for rewards as given in the Vedic scriptures.

‘Shruti’ refers to Vedas and scriptures and implies ‘Sravanam’ or learning through hearing them. By listening to Vedic instructions, the mind evolves and begins to reflect and contemplate on the Infinite and subtle nature of the eternal soul. When this consciousness is firmly rooted within the mind and is steadfast and stable, it purifies the mind of all dross and selfish thoughts. One reaches a state of equanimity and the fruit of equanimity is the gradual experience of the soul itself. This eventually leads to achieve yoga and realise enlightenment.

Hearing this Arjuna next desires to understand the components of this unique consciousness. Is it achieved by willpower, by yoga, by knowledge of the soul, by detachment or is it a combination of all of the above?

2.54     Shloka 2.54

अर्जुन उवाच
स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव।
स्थितधीः किं प्रभाषेत किमासीत व्रजेत किम्।।2.54।।

Arjuna Uvaca
Sthita-prajnasya ka bhasa samadhi-sthasya kesava    |
Sthita-dhih kim prabhaseta kim asita vrajeta kim ||2.54||
Meaning: Arjuna said: What are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is situated in perfect knowledge? How does a person in such a spiritual knowledge speak and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?

When the mind becomes fixed remaining steadfast on the Supreme, then equanimity arises. One with spiritual knowledge in transcendent meditation realises the ultimate truth perceiving God within.

Arjuna wants to know the characteristics of a person who has perfect knowledge, is steadfast and is Equanimous. He asks Bhagavan Krishna to describe such a person and wants to know how does such a person speak, sit and walk.

2.55     Shloka 2.55

श्री भगवानुवाच
प्रजहाति यदा कामान् सर्वान् पार्थ मनोगतान्।
आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्टः स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते।।2.55।।

Shri Bhagavan Uvaca
Prajahati yada Kaman sarvan partha mano-gatan          |
Atmany evatmana tustah sthita-prajnas tadocyate ||2.55||
Meaning: Bhagavan said: O’ Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of sense gratifications that arise in the mind, and when his mind finds satisfaction in realisation of pure Self (Soul), then such a person is said to be in perfect knowledge.

In order to answer Arjuna’s four questions Lord Krishna begins from this Shloka and continues till the end of this chapter.

Bhagavan answers the first question by explaining that when one completely abandons all cravings of the mind one is ‘Sthitha-prajna’ i.e. one who is situated in transcendental consciousness. What is the indication that one has abandoned all cravings of the mind? Lord Krishna explains that such a being is immersed in the Soul and is completely satisfied by the Soul. The stability of one’s mind can be known when one becomes pleased and satisfied by the resultant purity of the mind after completely abandoning all desires and lust. Such a transcendentally situated person has no material desires and remains always happy in his natural position of eternally serving the Supreme Lord.

2.56     Shloka 2.56

दुःखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः।
वीतरागभयक्रोधः स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते।।2.56।।

Duhkhesv anudvigna-manah sukhesu vigata-sprhah    |
Vita-raga-bhaya-krodhah sthita-dhir munir ucyate ||2.56||
Meaning: One who is not disturbed in spite of the threefold miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, that Sage is known as steadfast in consciousness.

A ‘sthita-dhi-muni’ mentioned herein by the Lord, is one who has surpassed the stage of mental speculations and has come to the conclusion that the Supreme Lord is everything. Such a person is undisturbed in sorrow.

There are three types of sorrow or pain:

  • Adyatmika (Physical) – pain of the body and pain of the mind. The pain of the body is diseases and ailments attacking it such as fever, gout, diabetes etc. The pain of the mind is due to insult, jealousy, shame and the like.
  • Adhi-daivika (Supernatural) – misery caused by natural calamities such as drought, flooding, cyclones, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.
  • Adhi-bhautika (Natural) – pain caused by demons, animals, ghosts, etc.

Those whose minds remain unperturbed by these afflictions as they have become devoid of expectations and desires in whatever the results as they are free from passion, fear and anger. Passion is the extreme mental attachment to objects cherished with intense desire with the intention of never letting these objects to be dispossessed. Fear is the pain caused by the approaching agony arising from separation from what is cherished. Anger is a specific mental attitude which appears in one who experiences separation at the time of loss of cherished objects. These three passion, fear and anger all arise due to the lack of discrimination regarding the eternal nature of the soul. By gradually developing this discrimination one becomes free from these three impediments and with constant contemplation one becomes steadfast with equanimity.  Such a being is a ‘sthitha-dhi-muni’ or one with a steady and profound contemplation of the soul. This being is known as ‘Sthitha-prajna’, one who is situated in perfect knowledge of transcendental consciousness.

2.57     Shloka 2.57

यः सर्वत्रानभिस्नेहस्तत्तत्प्राप्य शुभाशुभम्।
नाभिनन्दति द्वेष्टि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।2.57।।

Yah sarvatranabhisnehas tat tat prapya subhasubham  |
Nabhinandati na dvesti tasya prajna pratisthita         ||2.57||
Meaning: He who is without attachment, who does not rejoice when he obtains good, nor laments when he obtains evil; he is firmly established in perfect knowledge. 

There is always some commotion in the material world due to good or evil outcomes. One who is not agitated by such material outcomes and is unaffected by good and evil is to be understood to be established in perfect knowledge, technically called Samadhi.

Forming no attachment in any situation means to be indifferent or unconcerned attitude. Lord Krishna is instructing not to be overjoyed by pleasant outcomes nor become despondent over the unpleasant results. One who can successfully be equipoised is said to be a Sthitha-prajna, situated in the perfect knowledge of transcendental consciousness.

Thus, the characteristic of a Sthitha-prajna is such that he uses his words sparsely, praises no one and blames no one. Because such a person possesses neither love nor hatred for any living being he is not afflicted by any sense desires and is said to be situated in transcendental consciousness.

2.58     Shloka 2.58

यदा संहरते चायं कूर्मोऽङ्गानीव सर्वशः।

इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।2.58।।

Yada samharate cayam kurmo ‘nganiva sarvasah         |
Indriyanindriyarthebhyas tasya prajna pratisthita ||2.58||
Meaning: When one can completely withdraw his senses from the sense objects, just like the tortoise withdrawing its limbs within its shell, he is said to be firmly established in perfect knowledge. 

The test of a yogi or a self-realized soul is that he is able to control the senses according to his will. Most people, however, are subservient to their senses and are thus directed by the strong desires of the senses. The senses are compared to serpents which want to act without restriction. The yogi, or the devotee, must be very strong to control the senses—much like a snake charmer controlling the serpents.

Lord Krishna gives the analogy of a turtle which withdraws its limbs within its shell. Similarly, when one is able to control their senses from pursuing sensual objects of mundane pleasure and consciously reflect upon the soul within, such a person is Sthitha-prajna, one who is situated in the perfect knowledge. There are four stages in developing to this plane each of which develops on its preceding stage. 

Lord Krishna answers the question, ‘How does such a one sit’, with the word ‘yada’ meaning when. When one is in meditation they do not let their senses go out, for e.g. mobile message beeps and controls the organs of action to perform only the basic functions of utmost necessity.

2.59     Shloka 2.59

विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः।
रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते।।2.59।।

Visaya vinivartante niraharasya dehinah                       |
Rasa-varjam raso ‘py asya param drstva nivartate ||2.59||
Meaning: The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, even this desire for sense enjoyment ceases for one who has realised the Ultimate Consciousness.

Sensual objects of enjoyment are fuel for the senses. Unless one is transcendentally situated, it is not possible to cease from sense enjoyment. Lord Krishna states that the desire for these sensual objects departs when one starves them by restraining the senses from indulging in them. Although the action is restrained, the craving remains subtly entrenched within the mind. Rasa is taste and raga is attachment. So the craving for taste of sense objects remains. Lord Krishna states that this taste can only be terminated by spiritual intelligence and by the attainment of Sthitha-prajna transcendental meditation.

In the Vedic scriptures it has been stated that the wise master their senses by abstaining from feeding them. But this verse illustrates abstinence alone is not enough because even when abstaining attachment to them continues to grow.

However, when the eternal nature of the soul is realised in all its glorious splendour and it is seen that it is infinitely more attractive than the most delightful sense object. At that time all desire for sense objects completely vanishes along with the residue of craving.

One who realises the Supreme soul within is no longer attracted to the trivial, mundane objects of the material world. The word Param in this verse denotes ParamAtma the Supreme soul in every living entity, the source of eternal bliss, devoid of all material attributes and thus is the exclusive goal of meditation.

2.60     Shloka 2.60

यततो ह्यपि कौन्तेय पुरुषस्य विपश्िचतः।
इन्द्रियाणि प्रमाथीनि हरन्ति प्रसभं मनः।।2.60।।

Yatato hy api kaunteya purusasya vipascitah              |
Indriyani pramathini haranti prasabham manah ||2.60||
Meaning: The senses are so strong and impetuous, O’ Arjuna, that they can forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is vigilant and endeavouring to control them. 

There are many learned sages, philosophers and transcendentalists who try to conquer the senses, but in spite of their endeavours, even the greatest of them sometimes fall victim to material sense enjoyment due to the agitated mind. Even Vishvamitra, a great sage and a perfect yogi, was misled by Menaka into sense enjoyment, although the yogi was endeavouring for sense control with severe penance and yoga. Lord Krishna use of the word ‘pramathini’ meaning ‘turbulent’ to emphasise the force with which it sweeps some away.

Until and unless self-realisation is attained by direct soul cognition the cravings and attachments for sensual experiences will never entirely cease to exist subtly or physically.

The control over the senses is essential for stabilising the mind. The senses are so strong that they forcibly invade the mind, disrupt this meditation and forcibly overpower the mind and indulge it in contemplating sense gratification and bodily attachment. How is it possible that the senses can carry away one’s mind while they are intently striving? It is because the senses are so restless and turbulent that they totally disregarding all efforts in discrimination, besieging the mind they direct it towards sensual objects that will gratify these senses by engaging the mind in sense contemplation.

Thus, the conquest of the senses is ultimately dependent upon realisation of the eternal soul and the perception of the soul is dependent upon control of the senses. Lord Krishna alludes to the difficulty in striving for soul cognition following jnana-nishta by knowledge only. Therefore, it is very difficult to control the mind and the senses without being fully devoted to the Supreme Lord. Without engaging the mind completely in Krishna, one cannot overcome the draw of the sense objects.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat

SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 8 – Chapter 2, Verses 41 to 50 – SANKHYA YOGA

Bhagavan Krishna explains the essence of Karma Yoga in these ten verses. The path of Yoga is to practiced with a single minded purpose and resoluteness.  Bhagavan Krishna explains in the verse 2.47 to Arjuna thus – “You have the right to perform your prescribed activities but never to the fruits of those actions. You should never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and nor should there be any attachment to not doing your duty. You have a right to perform your prescribed activities but never to the fruits of those actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and nor should there be any attachment to not doing your duty.”

Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, and the resultant good birth, power, and so forth.

All actions performed from the platform of spiritual intelligence are not binding and the mind is preserved in a perfectly equipoised state which can be compared to a state of a blissful state (Sat Cit Ananda).

2.41     Shloka 2.41 

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिरेकेह कुरुनन्दन।
बहुशाखा ह्यनन्ताश्च बुद्धयोऽव्यवसायिनाम्।।2.41।।

Vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana |
Bahu-sakha hy anantas ca buddhayo ‘vyavasayinam ||
Meaning: Those who are on this path of Yoga with a focused mind are resolute, and their aim is one. O’ beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are full of material desires is has unlimited diverse branches.

 The Caitanya-caritamrta states:
‘sraddha’-sabde visvasa kahe sudrdha niscaya |
krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta haya ||
MeaningFaith means unflinching trust in something sublime. When one performs actions while constantly meditating on Bhagavan, he need not endeavour for good results in his activities.  All activities performed in that spirit are not subject to dualities of good and bad. The highest perfection is renunciation of the material pursuits of life. This state is achieved by constant meditation of Bhagavan.

A person acting based on the knowledge –“Vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah” – realises the Self (Atma)There is a huge difference between the mentality of one who is involved in actions seeking fruitive rewards and the mentality of one who is spiritually evolved who is engaged in selfless actions not seeking rewards and is devoted to Lord Krishna which brings great happiness. It is single pointed because its aim is solely for the service and devotion of the omnipotent, omniscient, Supreme Lord Krishna, the controller and dispenser of all rewards and the sole destination of all those seeking liberation.

Thus Lord Krishna uses the word ‘vyavasa’ or resolute, to emphasise that the purpose for actions must be resolute. One should perform actions with the thought that it is for the ultimate satisfaction of Lord Krishna, thinking that their action will please Him and not for any other reason. This resolute intelligence gives one the realisation that they will be liberated by the Lords grace, from the samsara of birth and death.

Those of fragmented intelligence who have not perceived reality and whose endless desires for fame, wealth, power, etc. and who by their actions are dictated by procuring and accumulation, work and reward. Their intelligence is fragmented into endless directions each unique unto itself and of diverse types all leading to misery. These things can only be perceived by direct experience.

2.42     Shloka 2.42

यामिमां पुष्पितां वाचं प्रवदन्त्यविपश्िचतः।
वेदवादरताः पार्थ नान्यदस्तीति वादिनः।।2.42।।

Yam imam puspitam vacam pravadanty avipascitah     |
Veda-vada-ratah partha nanyad astiti vadinah          ||2.42||
Meaning: Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, and the resultant good birth, power, and so forth.

Some scholars who have studied the Vedas so fastidiously fail to possess the resolute intelligence. This is because their lack of comprehending the essence of the Vedic scriptures and consequently they have misunderstood the true essence of the Vedas. Lord Krishna emphasises this with the word ‘avipascitah’ meaning the ‘ignorant who are not knowledgeable’ are attracted to flowery descriptions in the Vedas, even as a beautiful flowery creeper may be attractive although it is poisonous. But these living entities are ignorant and not actual scholars of Vedanta because they are only devoted to those parts of the Vedas that help them secure material opulence in this life and the next.

People in general are not very intelligent, and due to their ignorance they are most attached to the fruitive activities recommended in the karma-kanda portions of the Vedas. But all these pleasures are transient as ‘kshine punye martya lokam visanti’ – after they exhaust their positive karmas, they return to the mortal world.

2.43     Shloka 2.43

कामात्मानः स्वर्गपरा जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम्।
क्रियाविशेषबहुलां भोगैश्वर्यगतिं प्रति।।2.43।।

Kamatmanah svarga-para janma-karma-phala-pradam  |
Kriya-visesa-bahulam bhogaisvarya-gatim prati           ||2.43||
Meaning: Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.

So all their activities in this life are enacted solely for the sake of accruing benefits in order to reside in the heavenly spheres where they can enjoy and enjoy for a seemingly unlimited time span. But when their merit expires after enjoying the delights of heaven in various wonderful ways to their hearts content they will again take birth on earth in a rich and learned family who also are following the flowery phrases of the Vedas and they will again follow this path and in the end transmigrate to the heavenly planets once again to enact the process. By being born into situations of opulence and prosperity allows one ample means and facility to perform the various prescribed rituals to obtain the maximum result. Thus, they transmigrate from body to body, again and again, continuously revolving like a waterwheel. In special situations Indra, the ruler of the Devas sometimes appoints one of them as a Gandharva celestial musician or as an Aspara celestial damsel among the Devas for the duration of time their merit warrants.

2.44     Shloka 2.44

भोगैश्वर्यप्रसक्तानां तयापहृतचेतसाम्।
व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ विधीयते।।2.44।।

Bhogaisvarya-prasaktanam tayapahrta-cetasam |
Vyavasayatmika buddhih samadhau na vidhiyate ||2.44||
Meaning: In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination of devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.

Samadhi means having a ‘fixed mind’. Samadhi is never possible for persons interested in material sense enjoyment, nor for those who are bewildered by such temporary things. They are more or less condemned by the process of material energy.

The actions of those who are not resolute are not in conformity with the Vedic scriptures; but those who are resolute possessing spiritual intelligence never act contrary to the Vedic scriptures.

Those who revel only in the words of the Vedas are known as Vedavad-ratah. However, some have a poor comprehension of these and they speak only of revelling in the pleasures derived from actions. Those who are influenced by such words, doctrines and philosophies which are contrary to the Vedic scriptures, consider that the fulfilment of desired objects is the purpose of life. Enjoying whatever pleasures they have managed to manipulate for themselves they are repeatedly born again and again cast down into the material existence or depending upon the method of how they acquired their material opulence even hurled down to be born again in the material world. For these persons spiritual intelligence and comprehensive discrimination does not manifest itself in the form of an equanimity.

The essence and the objective of the Vedic scriptures is knowledge of the Ultimate, which is the Supreme Lord, who is very pleased by those who are devoted to Him. The instructions and injunctions within the Vedic scriptures should be known to be applicable solely to the Supreme Lord and no other. It is the knowledge of the Supreme Lord that is to be sought and understood. This is what is to be achieved by all living entities to make their life in this world purposeful.

2.45     Shloka 2.45

त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन ।
निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान्।।2.45।।

Trai-gunya-visaya veda nistrai-gunyo bhavarjuna                 |
Nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho niryoga-ksema atmavan ||2.45||
Meaning: The Vedas mainly deal with the subject of the three modes of material nature. Rise above these modes, O’ Arjuna. Be transcendental to all of them. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties of acquisition and preservation, and be established in the Self.

If there was no material goal to pursue what would people strive for?  They would lose interest and faith in spiritual knowledge and ritualistic practices and thus they would lose both chances bequeathed to them. So it is justly so that the Vedic scriptures deal with the three modes of material nature as they explain the rituals that bring benefits for all those subject to the influence of these modes.  

All material activities involve actions and reactions in the three modes of material nature. They are meant for fruitive results, which cause bondage in the material world. The Vedas deal mostly with fruitive activities to gradually elevate the doer from the field of sense gratification to a position on the transcendental plane. Bhagavan Shri Krishna advises Arjuna to raise himself above the three gunas to the transcendental position by attaining a mental state of equipoise.

It is quite possible that one may become indifferent to the heavenly delights but the basic requirements for human existence such as food, clothing and shelter which are also actual modifications of the three modes of material nature and are impossible to ignore.  It’s hard to become indifferent to that.

Lord Krishna explains one has to be free from dualities like praise and blame, heat and cold, pleasure and pain. Being free from them means being unattached to them. How can this be done? By enduring them and becoming established in pure spiritual consciousness. Its characteristic is patience and endurance uninfluenced by passion or covered by ignorance. One should always be tempered by patience. As anyone without patience is easily overpowered by passion and ignorance and becomes uncontrolled and fearful in situations involving the three modes of material nature. So we should overcome the hindrances of passion and ignorance and maintain a balanced state of equilibrium.

One may wonder how they can may maintain themselves in the material nature. To this Lord Krishna reiterates niryoga-kshema i.e. become free from the desire of acquisition and preservation.  When Lord Krishna speaks about being free from gain and preservation, this does not mean to deny the things one needs to survive and flourish but relates only to curb the desire or obsession for acquisition of possessions.

But how then would one sustain their lives? By being ‘Atmavan’ meaning firmly established in spiritual consciousness of the Soul. The essence is to understand that the Supreme Lord as the fulfiller and bestower of all desires. So one should only seek His refuge and accept His shelter. Never fear nor seek any other form of succour from any other source for the Supreme Lord will provide all sustenance and maintenance to those who understanding Him fully surrender unto Him.

Continuous remembrance of the Supreme Lord Krishna is ever present within. The full acceptance of the Supreme Lord within one’s own-self effectively to realisation of the Ultimate Truth.

2.46     Shloka 2.46

यावानर्थ उदपाने सर्वतः संप्लुतोदके।
तावान्सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानतः।।2.46।।

Yavan artha udapane sarvatah samplutodake        |
Tavan sarvesu vedesu brahmanasya vijanatah ||2.46||
Meaning: All purposes that are served by a well of water is better served by a vast lake. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas are realised to he who knows the Ultimate Truth (Supreme Brahman).

Whatever benefit is for a person seated in the knowledge of Brahman, the same benefit is available to one who is knowledgeable in Vedic scriptures; however, for the one who has realised the Ultimate Truth, all the meanings of the Vedic scriptures are revealed to him by Bhagavan.

During the course of universal dissolution, whatever rewards are ordained by the Bhagavan Shri  Krishna, who is full of all attributes, independent from any support and transcendental to time; the same fruits are available for one who has knowledge of the confidential meanings in the Vedic scriptures.

2.47     Shloka 2.47

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि।।2.47।।

Karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana |
Ma karma-phala-hetur bhur ma te sango ‘stv akarmani ||2.47||
Meaning: You have a right to perform your prescribed activities but never to the fruits of those actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and nor should there be any attachment to not doing your duty.

This is one of the more popular Shlokas in the Bhagavad Gita in which Karma Yoga is encapsulated. Prescribed duties refer to activities performed while one is in the modes of material nature. And inaction means not performing one’s prescribed duties. Bhagavan Krishna advises Arjuna to perform his prescribed duties without being attached to the results (Nishkama Karma). One who is attached to the result of his work is also the cause of the action. Thus he is the enjoyer or sufferer of the result of such actions.

As far as prescribed duties are concerned, they can be classified into routine work, emergency work and desired activities. Routine work, in terms of the scriptural injunctions, is done without desire for results. As one has to do it, obligatory work is action in the mode of goodness. One who performs actions without desirous of the rewards develops equipoise and does not get attached to the fruits of their actions.  It is also important to understand that it is not that the person will not receive the rewards thereof. To the contrary they will certainly receive rewards as well but the difference is they do not let reward be the reason for the motivation of their activities. We must perform all of our actions without being motivated by the fruit.  Everyone has his proprietary right to perform prescribed duties, but they should act without attachment to the result; such dispassionate obligatory duties doubtlessly lead one to the path of liberation.

Arjuna was therefore advised by the Lord to fight as a matter of duty without attachment to the result. His non-participation in the battle is also another form of attachment. Such attachment never leads one to the path of salvation. Any attachment, positive or negative, is cause for bondage. Hence, there should be attachment for doing nothing as Inaction is sinful.

The question may arise that if one is seeking liberation from the material existence should not one acquire firmness in spiritual knowledge and ignore all forms of actions. To this Lord Krishna instructs that everyone has the right to perform actions in order to purify ones existence and advance in spiritual knowledge. But one should not cultivate the mind to think that with the right to perform actions one is entitled to receive rewards. This mentality is destructive to spiritual advancement because then one will get attachment to the actions and then subsequently to the rewards. So Lord Krishna emphasises never be attached to the rewards of actions or even consider the rewards because this attachment will keep up locked in the material existence.

Therefore, fighting as a matter of duty was the only auspicious path of salvation for Arjuna.

2.48     Shloka 2.48

योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय।
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते।।2.48।।

Yoga-sthah kuru karmani sangam tyaktva dhananjaya         |
Siddhy-asiddhyoh samo bhutva samatvam yoga ucyate ||2.48||
Meaning: O’ Dhananjaya, be steadfast in yoga, perform your duties giving up any attachment and be equipoised in both success and failure. This equanimity is known as the science of uniting the individual consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness. 

Shri Krishna tells Arjuna that he should act in Yoga. Yoga means to concentrate the mind by controlling the ever-disturbing senses by focusing on the Supreme. As Bhagavan Himself is telling Arjuna to fight, Arjuna has nothing to do with the results of the fight. Loss or victory is Krishna’s concern; Arjuna is simply advised to act according to the diktat of Krishna.

What should one do? Lord Krishna states here to remain balanced and in equipoise. Discard the attachment, be in a state of  equipoise in both victory and defeat and perform your duties. Yoga is explained by Lord Krishna Himself as being in the state of equanimity.

2.49     Shloka 2.49

दूरेण ह्यवरं कर्म बुद्धियोगाद्धनञ्जय।
बुद्धौ शरणमन्विच्छ कृपणाः फलहेतवः।।2.49।।

Durena hy avaram karma buddhi-yogad dhananjaya      |
Buddhau saranam anviccha krpanah phala-hetavah ||2.49||
Meaning: O Dhananjaya, with spiritual intelligence, rid yourself of all fruitive activities which are certainly abominable, and surrender fully to that consciousness. Those who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are misers.

One performing actions with the thought of receiving rewards may get the desired results. This appears to be positive but it is repeatedly denounced. Why? Because actions performed for selfish motives are inferior to actions performed with selfless motives. Selfless motives are balanced in equanimity. Equanimity possesses a determinate consciousness. Because of this reality, one should seek the shelter of evenness of mind in equanimity. Arjuna had acquired so many riches before naturally following his duty, so why should he try to avoid his duty worrying about success or failure. Those motivated to perform activities craving only to get a reward for their actions are inferior and wretched.

One who has actually come to understand this and performs actions while constantly meditating on the Lord is said to be in Yoga. As already explained, buddhi-yoga means transcendental loving service to the Lord. Such devotional service is the right course of action for the living entity. Only misers desire to enjoy the fruit of their own work just to be further entangled in material bondage.

All activities performed with the desire of fruitive results are abominable because they continually bind the performer to the cycle of birth and death. One should therefore never desire to be the cause of work and everything should be done in the spirit of offering to Bhagavan Krishna.

Misers do not know how to utilise the riches which they acquire by good fortune or by hard labour. Like the misers, unfortunate persons do not employ their human energy in the service of the Lord. Phala-hetavah are those who sole motivation is dictated by the prospect of reward. It should be understood that such living entities are ‘kripanah’ or ‘misers’ or ‘pitiable’ as acting in this way they are trapped in the material existence, hence unable to attain spiritual knowledge.

For all living entities the Supreme Lord is the only refuge. When this realisation finally dawns upon the intellect of a living entity whether they are ignorant, wise or liberated they surrender unto the Supreme Lord without reservation. Those who live in delusion consider themselves the same as the Supreme Lord who is distinctly different due to His inconceivable potencies and transcendental attributes.

2.50     Shloka 2.50

बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते।
तस्माद्योगाय युज्यस्व योगः कर्मसु कौशलम्।।2.50।।

Buddhi-yukto jahatiha ubhe sukrta-duskrte                     |
Tasmad yogaya yujyasva yogah karmasu kausalam ||2.50||
Meaning: One endowed with spiritual intelligence can get rid of both positive and negative reactions even in this very life. Therefore, be engaged in Yoga, O Arjuna, which is the art of all work. 

Since time immemorial each living entity has accumulated the various reactions of good and bad work. As such, he is ignorant of his real purpose of life. One’s ignorance can be removed by the instruction of the Bhagavad-gita which teaches one to surrender unto Lord Shri Krishna in all respects and become liberated from the eternal bondage of action and reaction, birth after birth. Arjuna is therefore advised to be in Yoga (be equipoised and act with a spirit of surrender), the purifying process of resultant action.

Those whose activities are inherently protected under the secure guidance of spiritual intelligence are released from the bondage of continuous rebirth in the material existence. Hence one should remain steadfast in spiritual intelligence. Although cultivating spiritual intelligence indeed takes enormous effort to achieve, once attained it is not difficult to maintain. All actions performed from the platform of spiritual intelligence are not binding and the mind is preserved in a perfectly equipoised state which can be compared to a state of a blissful state (Sat Cit Ananda).

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat

SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 7 Chapter 2, Verses 31 to 40 – Sankhya Yoga

Bhagavan Krishna further elaborates the importance of doing one’s prescribed duties or follow their Sva-dharma in these ten verses.  Arjuna, as a Kshatriya, is duty bound to engage in a battle to protect Dharma.  Shri Krishna explains that by not choosing to fight, he will not only incur sins but also lose his fame as he will not be lauded as a kind and benevolent. Bhagavan says that he would be ridiculed by his enemies and his people as a coward and for an honourable person like Arjuna that would be worse than death. Lord Krishna makes his final argument that if Arjuna fought and is killed he will get heavenly planes while if he was victorious, he would enjoy in this world and either ways, he had nothing to lose.

Bhagavan has now set the scene for explaining the discipline of Karma Yoga in his next set of verses.

2.31     Shloka 2.31


स्वधर्ममपि चावेक्ष्य न विकम्पितुमर्हसि।

धर्म्याद्धि युद्धाछ्रेयोऽन्यत्क्षत्रियस्य न विद्यते।।2.31।।
Sva-dharmam api caveksya na vikampitum arhasi
Dharmyad dhi yuddhac chreyo ‘nyat ksatriyasya na vidyate ||2.31||
Meaning: Considering your specific duty as a Kshatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation.

Svadharma means specific or ordained duties. The of “Varna-Ashrama Dharma” defines specific duties in terms of the specific modes of one’s field of specialisation. Kshatriyas are warriors and hence duty bound to take up arms to protect and maintain rule of law.  Brahmins are ordained to acquire and impart knowledge and are required to lead a life of austerity. Discharging one’s specific duty in any field of action in accordance with Varna-Ashrama Dharma serves to elevate one to higher planes of life.

Following of Svadharma is ordained by the Lord and this is elaborated in the Fourth Chapter. Until the attainment of “Jivanmukti” or liberation, one has to perform the duties in accordance with the “varna” principles in order to achieve liberation.

‘Kshat’ means hurt and one who gives protection from harm is called Kshatriya (trayate—to give protection).  Bhagavan Krishna responds to Arjuna’s question of what is the highest good with the explanation of “Svadharma” or the principles of righteousness. For a Kshatriya there is nothing more righteous than to engage in a battle to protect dharma.

2.32     Shloka 2.32


यदृच्छया
चोपपन्नं स्वर्गद्वारमपावृतम्।
सुखिनः क्षत्रियाः पार्थ लभन्ते युद्धमीदृशम्।।2.32।।
Yadrcchaya copapannam svarga-dvaram apavrtam              |
Sukhinah kshatriyah partha labhante yuddham idrsam ||2.32||
Meaning: O’ Partha, happy are the Kshatriyas who get such opportunities to engage in a righteous battle that comes on its own accord, thereby opening the doors of the heavenly planes for them.

As Supreme teacher of the world, Lord Krishna censures the attitude of Arjuna who said, ‘I do not find any good in this fighting as it will cause perpetual habitation in hell.’  For a Kshatriya, it is his prime duty to engage in a battle to protect dharma. In the Parasara-smriti, Sage Parasara (father of Vyasa) states:
Kshatriyo hi praja raksan sastra-panih pradandayan |
Nirjitya parasainyadi ksitim dharmena palayet ||
Meaning: A Kshatriya’s duty is to protect the natives from all kinds of harm, and for that reason he has to engage in violent acts where required to maintain law and order. Therefore he has to conquer hostile kings and govern righteously.

Considering all aspects, Arjuna had no reason to refrain from fighting. If he should conquer his enemies, he would enjoy the kingdom; and if he should die in the battle, he would be elevated to the heavenly planes whose doors will be wide open for him.  Either ways, there was no reason for him to lament.

The words ‘Yadrcchaya upapannam’ means ‘arrived at on its own accord’; Bhagavan is emphasising that this opportunity has presented itself and any Kshatriya would embrace it with glee.  It is only the most fortunate among Kshatriyas who get such unsolicited opportunities. For a Kshatriya who fights bravely, a war brings fame and opulence in this life and the next. By engaging in battle for a righteous cause exhibiting outstanding valour one’s glory is guaranteed. But what happens to those who are slain in battle? Here Lord Krishna confirms that for the valorous who fall in battle there is an open door directly to the heavenly planes, the same as for the yogis who fall short of achieving liberation.

2.33     Shloka 2.33


अथ
चैत्त्वमिमं धर्म्यं संग्रामं करिष्यसि।
ततः स्वधर्मं कीर्तिं हित्वा पापमवाप्स्यसि।।2.33।।
Atha cet tvam imam dharmyam sangramam na karisyasi      |
Tatah sva-dharmam kirtim ca hitva papam avapsyasi       ||2.33||
Meaning: If, however, you do not fight this righteous war, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter.

Arjuna was a brave warrior who attained fame by fighting many great adversaries. After fighting Lord Shiva, who was in the guise of a hunter, Arjuna pleased the Lord and received Pashupata-Astra as a reward. Everyone knew that he was a great warrior and even Dronacharya gave him the special weapon, the Brahmastra (which Drona didn’t even teach his son, Ashwatthama). But if he abandoned the battle, he would not only neglect his ordained duty as a Kshatriya, but he would lose all his fame and good name and incur sins.

Now Bhagavan Krishna responds to Arjuna’s distress of not wanting to slay his kins such as Bhishma and Drona but instead is willing to be slain by them. The use of the word ‘atha’ is to emphasise another point of view that if Arjuna declines to fight this righteous war and chooses to disregard the instruction he will neither be happy this world or the world beyond.

2.34     Shloka 2.34


अकीर्तिं
चापि भूतानि कथयिष्यन्ति तेऽव्ययाम्।
संभावितस्य चाकीर्तिर्मरणादतिरिच्यते।।2.34।|
Akirtim capi bhutani kathayisyanti te ‘vyayam
Sambhavitasya cakirtir maranad atiricyate ||2.34||
Meaning: People will always speak of your infamy, and for one who is honoured, dishonour is worse than death.

Both a friend and philosopher to Arjuna, Lord Krishna now gives His final view on Arjuna’s refusal to fight. The Lord says, ‘Arjuna, if you leave the battlefield, people will call you a coward and taunt you.   For an honourable man like you, infamy is worse than death’.

By abandoning this war of righteousness, Arjuna would not only lose his excellent reputation but great misfortune would also befall on him. Bhagavan Krishna uses the word ‘akirtim’ meaning ‘infamy’ to emphasise that for an honourable man is worse than death. Instead of being called a valiant warrior, Arjuna, the wielder of the intrepid ‘Gandiva’ bow, would be known as a timid and meek person who fled the battlefield. Not only will happiness and fame elude him but the people will chastise him and speak of his act of cowardice openly.

The Supreme Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that forever history will brand him for his cowardice. If Arjuna was to reply that public opinion is of no consequence to him, the Supreme Lord neutralises that by stating that for a person of honour possessing the qualities of heroism, determination, strength, courage etc., to accept infamy is worse than death. If he was to acquire disgrace of this kind death for him would certainly be much better.

2.35     Shloka 2.35


भयाद्रणादुपरतं
मंस्यन्ते त्वां महारथाः।
येषां त्वं बहुमतो भूत्वा यास्यसि लाघवम्।।2.35।।
Bhayad ranad uparatam mamsyante tvam maha-rathah |
Yesam ca tvam bahu-mato bhutva yasyasi laghavam ||2.35||
Meaning: The great generals who held you in high esteem will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear; thus they will consider you a coward and you will fall into disgrace.

Bhagavan Krishna continued to give His discourse to Arjuna: ‘Do not think that the great generals like Duryodhana, Karna, and other contemporaries will think that you have left the battlefield out of compassion for your brothers and grandfather. They will think that you have left out of fear for your life. And thus their high opinion of your personality will be ruined’.

Arjuna would belittle himself in front of all the mighty warriors headed by Bhishma, Drona and Karna if he was to leave the battlefield exhibiting grief.  All the warriors on both sides would think he left the war out of fear. As a Kshatriya never refuses to engage in battle.

2.36     Shloka 2.36


अवाच्यवादांश्च
बहून् वदिष्यन्ति तवाहिताः।
निन्दन्तस्तव सामर्थ्यं ततो दुःखतरं नु किम्।।2.36।।
Avacya-vadams ca bahun vadisyanti tavahitah     |
Nindantas tava samarthyam tato duhkhataram nu kim ||2.36||
Meaning: Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful than that?

Arjuna should properly fortify his mind and prepare for war with the firm conviction that embarking on the course of a righteous war is the guaranteed means for him to achieve moksha or final salvation.

2.37     Shloka 2.37


हतो
वा प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्गं जित्वा वा भोक्ष्यसे महीम्।
तस्मादुत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चयः।।2.37।।
Hato va prapsyasi svargam jitva va bhoksyase mahim |
Tasmad uttistha kaunteya yuddhaya krta-niscayah ||2.37||
Meaning: O’ son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planes, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up and fight with determination.

Even though there was no certainty of victory for Arjuna’s side, he still had to fight; for, even being killed there, he could be elevated into the heavenly planes. Arjuna is called as Kaunteya to remind him that such conduct is indeed expected from him as the son of the great Queen Kunti.

In this verse, Bhagavan emphasises the word ‘hata’ meaning ‘slain’ that there is benefit in both scenarios i.e. if slain in the line of duty, he would be elevated to heavenly plane and if he was victorious he can enjoy the kingdom in this world. As both results give benefit,  Arjuna should rise up and fight.

2.38     Shloka 2.38


सुखदुःखे
समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ।
ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि।।2.38।।
Sukha-duhkhe same krtva labhalabhau jayajayau       |
Tato yuddhaya yujyasva naivam papam avapsyasi ||2.38||
Meaning: Being equipoised in happiness and distress, profit and loss, victory and defeat; thereafter prepare for the battle with that mind-set and, by so doing, you will never incur sin.

That everything should be performed as a righteous duty with equipoise and without attachment to the results, so that there is no sinful reaction. He who acts for his own sense gratification, either in goodness or in passion, is subject to the reaction, good or bad. But he who has completely surrendered all the activities in the name of the Lord, that person no longer accrues any karmic reaction from the course of his activities. It is said:
Devarsi-bhutapta-nrnam pitrnam na kinkaro nayamrni ca rajan    |
Sarvatmana yah saranam saranyam gato Mukundam parihrtya kartam ||(SB 11.5.41)
Meaning: O’ King, one who has given up all material duties and has taken full refuge of the lotus feet of Mukunda (who offers shelter to all), is not indebted to the Devas, the great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives, friends, mankind or even one’s forefathers who have passed away. Since all such classes of living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, one who has surrendered to the Lord’s service has no need to serve such persons separately.

Now Lord Krishna refutes Arjuna previous worry about accruing sin by killing his kins with the words ‘sukha’ and ‘dukha’ meaning happiness and sorrow. Although the pleasure of happiness and the pain of sorrow in fighting this righteous war is inevitable; it must still be considered as pertaining to the body only and not to the soul which is distinctly different from the physical body. Profit and gain, victory and defeat even without considering the goal of heaven, Arjuna should prepare to fight for the sole purpose of exclusively fulfilling his duty. Thus fixed in this determination with proper understanding if he slays anyone he will not incur sin. By doing so, Arjuna will avoid the sin he would otherwise incur by refraining from the battle and not performing his duty.

2.39     Shloka 2.39


एषा
तेऽभिहिता सांख्ये बुद्धिर्योगे त्विमां श्रृणु।
बुद्ध्यायुक्तो यया पार्थ कर्मबन्धं प्रहास्यसि।।2.39।।
Esa te ‘bhihita sankhye buddhir yoge tv imam srnu |
Buddhya yukto yaya partha karma-bandham prahasyasi ||2.39||
Meaning:  Thus far I have explained to you the spiritual knowledge of Sankhya philosophy. Now listen to the knowledge of Karma Yoga which will bestow you with spiritual intelligence when you perform actions without fruitive desires. This will completely release you from the bondage of reactions arising from actions.

The use of the word ‘Sankhya’ in this Shloka denotes proper understanding. The principle of Soul as the eternal, immortal and unchanging must be understood properly and once Arjuna comprehends it fully, he would know that there is no cause to grieve as the soul is immortal.

The word ‘Yoga’ in this Shloka denotes ‘Karma Yoga’ which is the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness through desire-less actions. It is to be understood that the spiritual intelligence acquired by following the yoga of actions when based on Sankhya or proper understanding of the knowledge of the soul is the path that leads to salvation. Imbibing the wisdom from it will cut asunder the bonds of karmic reactions.

It is important to draw the distinction between ‘Sankhya’ mentioned in this Shloka and the Sankhya philosophy of Sage Kapila which is atheistic. The Sankhya mentioned here takes an analytical approach to explain the distinction between the body and the soul. Bhagavan Shri Krishna gives a description of the soul to make Arjuna understand it from a different perspective.

Having instructed the true knowledge of the soul as being distinctly different from the physical body and seeing that this knowledge has still not been firmly embedded in Arjuna’s heart, Lord Krishna reiterates this truth again in order to illustrate that this knowledge never becomes firmly embedded without practice of the means which is yoga. To do this He introduces the yoga path of selfless actions as the means to this end.

Thus, the reality is to perform all actions under the direction of one’s mind well nurtured with spiritual knowledge. Bhagavan explains that the performance of actions by the renunciation of the rewards, Arjuna will be completely free from transmigration in the material existence.

2.40     Shloka 2.40


नेहाभिक्रमनाशोऽस्ति
प्रत्यवायो विद्यते।
स्वल्पमप्यस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात्।।2.40।।
Nehabhikrama-naso ‘sti pratyavayo na vidyate |
Sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat ||2.40||
Meaning: In this endeavour there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.

While one should strive to achieve a complete state of equipoise and perform duties without desiring fruitive results, even a small advancement towards such a path is better than engaging in actions purely for material gains. Bhagavan basically is saying “well begun is half done” and even if such pursuits are not fully completed, it will protect one from the gravest of fears. In the case of Ajamila, while he performed his duty in some small measure early in his life, he still benefited from it in the end by the grace of the Lord.

In Srimad-Bhagavatam, it states:
tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer bhajan na pakko ‘tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim ko vartha apto ‘bhajatam sva-dharmatah ||SB 1.5.17||
Meaning: If someone gives up material pursuits and occupation and then falls short on account of not being able to fully complete it, what unfavourable thing can happen to him (i.e. nothing is lost)? And, what can one gain if one performs his material activities perfectly?” 

All actions executed by a living entity as a Yoga, by surrendering the results to the Supreme, it leads to attaining salvation, which is the science for the Soul (Self) to attain communion with the Ultimate Consciousness.

The essence of this verse is that all ordained daily duties (nitya karmas) and all occasional rites (naimittika karmas) for specific times as prescribed in the Vedic scriptures shall be performed with the sole aim of ultimate salvation. Although each rite individually is capable of giving its own temporary material reward; but all such rewards are to be accepted with humility (as ‘Ishwara prasada’) while holding focus solely on salvation.

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Om Tat Sat