“The paths leading man to god or Truth are said to be many. I will speak only of the shortest. It is to recognize God as the Self in you and then to find Him out. What is the distance then between you and God, between you and yourself? Ah, there is no distance at all, a full Zero! Yet, how dare you say to find God and Truth is hard?’’ 

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

Whenever we discuss and we hear about spiritual and philosophical, particularly spirituo-philosophical concepts, we hear them with a lot of fondness, inspiration and even commitment. But in spite of hearing, the concepts do not become clear to us. If the concepts are clear, I believe everybody will have the benefit of pursuing them with definiteness and will also have the ultimate benefit of freedom and ecstasy of freedom. Somehow these spiritual concepts are very subtle, very lofty, very wholesome, very fundamental and ultimate. That they are so is a point people are not able to somehow get to.

Yesterday I started discussing the third chapter of Bhagavad Gita. To some extent, I summarized the second chapter and relevantly I related it to Arjuna’s question. Krishna in the second chapter exposed the sankhya wisdom. The sankhya wisdom is the wisdom of the Upanishadic Self. The whole world is non-self. The whole world is consisting of matter and energy, both of which are constantly transforming and therefore changeful, therefore fleeting, short-living. Anything big as well as small, all are short-living.

If the whole thing, creation is transitory, how does this creation survive, thrive? It has to be supported by a substratum. That substratum is the self. That is the only changeless and indestructible substance; we cannot call it a substance, in the whole creation, in our experience. Krishna exposed it and then said that, “Any effort to understand it and to be in tune with it is far greater than whatever the Vedas prescribe in the form of rituals and ceremonies.” This is what He meant by saying,

दूरेण ह्यवरं कर्म बुद्धियोगाद्धनञ्जय ।

dūreṇa hy-avaraṁ karma buddhi-yogād-dhanañ-jaya ।

(Bhagavad Gita 2.49)

The entire sankhya is a yoga pursuit relevant to the buddhi, to be taken up by the buddhi, to be actualised and realised by the buddhi whereas the rituals are focused on the senses and the sensory objects. They deal with an interaction between the senses and the sensory objects. Now, Krishna has not said that activities are to be dispensed with or to be renounced. He clearly said that,

रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन् ।
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति ।।

rāga-dveṣa-viyuktais-tu viṣayān-indriyaiś-caran ।
ātma-vaśyair-vidheyātmā prasādam-adhigacchati ।।

(Bhagavad Gita 2.64)

He only wanted Arjuna to take up activity and perform everything well and effectively, but he wanted raga-dveshas which are products of the mind to be kept away, to be sublimated. Krishna never meant that activity is to be suspended. The whole problem is not to suspend activity but to go ahead with the activity, at the same time not to have any binding or tormenting or afflicting effect of any.

So the whole issue was - How to live in this world and be active and vibrant, at the same time not to be victimised by the activity? Krishna’s reference to activity is not a reference to rituals and ceremonies. He refers to karma as a karma from the human personality. Karma is generally in four levels. We have sensory and bodily activities, oral activity, mental and intellectual. Any activity is called a karma. Krishna does not distinguish between rituals and non-ritual activities. But Arjuna, poor Arjuna is not able to understand it. He has understood - What? The exposition of the soul, the indestructible soul. But he is not able to relate further things exposed. So he raises a question,

ज्यायसी चेत्कर्मणस्ते मता बुद्धिर्जनार्दन ।
तत्किं कर्मणि घोरे मां नियोजयसि केशव ।।

jyāyasi cet-karmaṇas-te matā buddhir-janārdana ।
tat-kim karmaṇi ghore mām niyojayasi kesava ।।

(Bhagavad Gita 3.1)

“You are asking me to fight. It is a very, very cruel act. At the same time you say, buddhi-yoga is great. Buddhi-yoga is to be practiced by the buddhi. It has got no relevance to anything like bodily and sensory activities. So should I not plunge into the buddhi-yoga pursuit straight away? Should I get involved in activity at all? And particularly, this bloody and cruel activity of destroying 4.5 million warriors?”

But he safeguards himself by saying that, “I don’t think you are giving any confusing or intermixed instruction. But it appears to me that you do so. It may be my feeling, but please tell me very clearly, wherefrom and by what can I get shreyas. यच्छ्रेय एतयोरेकं तन्मे ब्रूहि सुनिश्चितम् | Tell me very precisely and definitely, what will give me shreyas?” This was the question of Arjuna in the beginning also.

यच्छ्रेयः स्यान्निश्चितं ब्रूहि तन्मे
शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम् ।।

yat-śreyaḥ syāt-niścitam brūhi tan me
śiṣyas-te-aham śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam ।।

(Bhagavad Gita 2.7)

So he comes back to shreyas. See how Krishna answers it. “In the whole world, right from the beginning, Arjuna, there is only one niṣṭhāNiṣṭhā means a dedicated pursuit or practice. This is to be taken up and done by the human individual. This niṣṭhā is a corollary of human life. It is a coordinate of the human individual. It is the sādhanā of the seeker. The same niṣṭhā is two-phased. It is just like a river flowing from the mountain. At one point, it touches the plains, thereafter it flows in a different manner. It is the same river right from the source till it reaches the ocean. It is something like our educational career, educational skill. We have schooling, then college, then research. It is all the same educational pursuit. Here also, it is the same pursuit.

लोकेऽस्मिन् द्विविधा निष्ठा पुरा प्रोक्ता मयानघ ।
ज्ञानयोगेन साङ्ख्यानां कर्मयोगेन योगिनाम् ॥

loke’smin dvi-vidhā nishthā purā proktā mayānagha ।
jnāna-yogena sāṅkhyānām karma-yogena yoginām ॥

(Bhagavad Gita 3.3)

For the people given to introspection, in whom intelligence is very prominent and they are dedicated and devoted to its pursuit, it is called jñāna-yogam. The jñāna-yoga is also pursued by an individual. Karma-yogena yoginām. And for the others, it is a pursuit involved with karma. But both of them are the same.

He uses singular - dvi-vidhā niṣṭhā. Niṣṭhā is singular. Dvi-vidhā is twofold, two-phased. It has got two different facets or faces. It is just like bālya (childhood), kaumārā (adoloscense), yauvana (youthfulness) and vārdhakya (old-age). You cannot have yauvana without undergoing bālya and kaumārā. We speak about the same individual having kaumārā, the same individual is having yauvana. “Now this is what has been said by me right from the beginning”, he says, “purā proktā mayānagha”. He continues to say what?

आरुरुक्षोर्मुनेर्योगं कर्म कारणमुच्यते ।
योगारूढस्य तस्यैव शमः कारणमुच्यते ।।

ārurukṣor-muner-yogaṃ karma kāraṇam-ucyate ।
yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva śama: kāraṇam-ucyate ।।

(Bhagavad Gita 6.3)

Yoga pursuit is the same. Initially it is associated with karma; thereafter, the karma part to some extent is renounced. Pursuit is the same.

सर्वसङ्कल्पसन्न्यासी योगारूढस्तदोच्यते ।।

sarva-saṅkalpa-sannyāsī yogārūḍhas-tadocyate ।।

(Bhagavad Gita 6.4)

Real yoga-arūḍhata consist in abandoning all sankalpas. Karma will continue to be there. What is karma? चलनात्मकं हि कर्मा (Chalanātmakam hi karma). Any kind of a movement or vibration is called karma. In that karma, Vedic rituals and secular activities do not call for any distinct and separatist consideration. He says,

यत्साङ्ख्यैः प्राप्यते स्थानं तद्योगैरपि गम्यते ।
एकं साङ्ख्यं च योगं च यः पश्यति स पश्यति ।। ५ ।।

Yat-sāṅkhyaiḥ prāpyate sthānaṁ tad yogair-api gamyate ।
ekaṁ sāṅkhyaṁ ca yogaṁ ca yaḥ paśyati sa paśyati ।।

(Bhagavad Gita 5.5)

What does it mean? Whatever the sankhyas are suppose to be reaching, the same is reached by the yogis also. The goal is the same, the means is the same. In one, they use sensory activity. In the other, they use mento-intellectual activity. They have to hear or they have to see, either the application of ear or the application of the eyes. These are used in any kind of an activity, Vedic rituals as well as secular activities. So there is no difference at all. The pursuit is the same. It is a question of how much you can afford and when.

Taking all factors into consideration, Arjuna’s age, Arjuna’s tendencies and what Arjuna has been yearning for till now, he says, “You cannot abandon this war right now. There will come a time when you will abandon everything.” And that is what they did. When Krishna dropped his body, Yudhishthira and party decided to anoint some others on the throne and together with Draupadi, they started walking. Can you think of such an act anywhere? They simply walked up the Himalayas. And one after the other, each fell.

The first person to fall was Draupadi. That is why I always say Draupadi’s nedu-mangalya is superior to Seeta’s and Rukmini’s. She was the first person to fall and within minutes, the others also fell. And she was the most decisive factor in the life of pancha-pāṇdavās in establishing dharma in our subcontinent, which we are able to hold on to even now. But for Draupadi’s insistence, the Mahabharata war would not have been and Bhagavad Gita also would not have been. So this is the point I have explained now, yesterday also I have explained. I will explain it this evening further with greater interconnections. But I am sure you may not understand it properly to make it a living pursuit for you. That is why the Bhagavad Gita dialogue continues up to the eighteenth.

Last point also, the eighteenth chapter begins with Arjuna’s interrogation. There he questions about, “What is sannyāsa and what is tyāga? Throughout the Bhagavad Gita, the message is sannyāsa and tyāga. Nothing else.

But how do you make this sannyāsa and how do you achieve this tyāga? It is not physical at all! A physical abandonment of activity cannot become a tyāga. It cannot become sannyāsa. But everybody feels that renouncing physical activity, putting on the robe of sannyāsa and wearing a rudrāksha-mālā, maybe having an ashram or joining the ashram, this will mean tyāga and sannyāsa. It may pave the way or it does pave the way, but remaining in an ashram, wearing the sannyāsa robe, becoming a sannyāsin, you still have to accomplish real sannyāsa. It is one of dissolving ego, abandoning the mind, abandoning the intelligence. See, this concept itself will be confusing to you. What is meant by dissolving the ego? Can ego be dissolved? Then, what is meant by abandoning the mind and intelligence? Can they be abandoned? Yes. They can be abandoned. You can become mindful and mind free. Mind is a state. That state is full of possessiveness, desires and ego, doer-ship. When possessiveness, desire and doer-ship vanish, you are said to have left the mind.

Can you not live in this world without doer-ship, without desire and without possessiveness? That is the moonlight life, moonlight life. That is the spatial life. You have a spatial mind, an oceanal mind, a spatial mind in which no thought arising will have a binding effect. Any extent you say, “I, I, I” but it will not bring about ego at all. It will turn to be an epithet of the self, epithet of the self. When you say ‘I’, you are referring to the self, you are remembering God, you are in tune with Him, you are declaring your inseparability with God and the Self. Now, it has got a separatist note, then it becomes, then it becomes an identical note. Just see the global transformation that takes place in you. But these are very subtle points which the seekers may not be able to grasp initially. Even if they grasp, it will be one of confusion. That is why this Gita discussion becomes more and more extensive and comprehensive.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 


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