"Thought is the most potent and creative power in the world. It initially takes shape in an individual mind. When shared with others, any benevolent thought starts growing as a vibrant process encompassing more and more people. It is such collective benevolent thoughts that build up great cultural values and treasure in the society."

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. 

Is spirituality a subject of wisdom?  If so, how is it described and defined?  If one wants to become spiritual, what is the way he has to proceed with?  Do we have anything clearly definable in the way of some discipline, pursuits and practices, choices, regulation, refinement and the like?  I am wondering whether any one of you has thought about it.

I am discussing the last part of the Bhagavad Gita, in Muktisudhakaram. When I began the discussion from the thirteenth chapter which I concluded almost yesterday, I was saying that Bhagavad Gita is divided into three sectors.

The first sector consisting of six chapters is devoted to the discussion of karma yoga on the basis of the unborn and the immortal soul.  The primary exposure was the soul.  The scene was one of massive slaughter.  4.5 million warriors were present, and all of them were to be slaughtered except ten, during the course of eighteen days.  Arjuna’s role was very significant, crucial, determining.  Naturally, he had the maximum impact of it.  He felt afraid, he was deluded, he was seeing sin and vice and immense danger in the war.

It was a mento-intellectual crumbling that he faced.  Krishna’s role was to awaken him and somehow make his mind and intelligence firm and stable.  Anything to do with the mind and the intelligence, only wisdom and clarification can achieve.  You cannot feed the mind with food and drink.  You cannot nourish the intelligence with matter and energy.  That is why Bhagavad Gita dialogue became a dialogue of wisdom.  Right from the beginning, what Krishna spoke throughout and also at the end was nothing but wisdom.  Arjuna had to sit very receptive to what Krishna said.  Then, he became a participant in the discussion.  This is how the dialogue draws in efforts.  By the administration of wisdom, Krishna was trying to set right the unstable mind and give clarity to the confused intelligence.  In the course of the discussion, Krishna says how can a person become a seeker and how can he pursue his seeking?

Bhagavad Gita is a text containing the whole subject, the description and definition of it.  So, the first six chapters were revolving around the concept of the soul and then developing a method of action whereby the soul will be constantly in our sight.  So, the entire problem with the mortal body vanishes.

When he enters into the middle sector from the seventh to the twelfth chapters, Krishna was bringing in the concept of God, creation, preservation, dissolution, so many things about God, God, God, religion and also devotion.  To climax the whole discussion, He was describing that existence contains and includes all kinds of things, the smallest and the biggest, the worst and the best, the nectarine and the poisonous.  Everything together, all things together make creation.  And the whole thing is attributed to God and God is defined.  As God remains in creation, the devotee also has to remain in the same creation, one as God, another as one devoted to God.  It was then that He said, “I’ll tell you all the vibhutis, powers and potentials I have.”, God has.  Then Arjuna wanted all those powers and potentials to be visible before him in the same source.  Then He showed the vishwaroopa.  He concludes the middle section by exposing what is the simple and full fold devotion.  Now this part is over.

From the thirteenth to the eighteenth, it is all wisdom, wisdom and wisdom, knowledge, knowledge and knowledge.  Everything is looked at from the knowledge point of view. I would like to say that these chapters are enumerational in character.  He goes on enumerating matters one after the other. 1-2-3, 4-5-6, 8-9-10, 1a-2a-2b, like that.  So, like in mathematics and arithmetic, you learn, here also it’s very, very clear.

There He says, in the individual as well as in the creation, we have three gunas.  The gunas do not belong to us, they belong to prakrti and prakrti is the regulator.  But though prakrti is the regulator, human individual is given enough option to operate on the three and choose one or more of them.  Nobody can escape from the three gunas but he can take his stand on any one of them.  And what is each and how do we identify, this is mentioned.  So, the sattva guna, rajo guna and tamo guna are defined.

To be spiritual is to be sattvik.  And to be sattvik means what -  Be a votary of wisdom.  That is why you are supposed to go to Ashrams and listen to discourses, be in conversation, ask anything about anything that you want to know, particularly the intricacies of the mind and the complexities before the intelligence, raise all your doubts, questions and get clarification.  In the absence of such Satsanga, what you are supposed to do is to read spiritual texts.  The fundamental and ultimate spiritual texts are the Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita, Brahma-sutras also are there, but Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita are sufficient.  Then we have a number of small, independent texts called Prakarana Granthas written by Sankara and a few by others.  Every day you should spend your time reading the original texts of Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita or at least the Prakarna Granthas.  This is what you should do. 

Our Nutan Swamiji when he came here, always used to say, I have mentioned it several times, he said that “I must have Satsang or at least I must read one hour spiritual literature.”  I think he is even now doing it, now for speaking, then for himself.  Nobody has told me anything like this that “I must read at least one hour.”  That reading exposes to you, your own inner hemisphere and dimension.  Any spiritual text should be discussing about the area and the dimension called the mind and the intelligence.

What is this mind?  How does it work?  What are its habits?  What are its options?  How does it go bad?  When does it go good?  What is good?  What is bad?  Can you dissuade it from the bad?  Can you equally dissuade it from the good?  Mind when dissuaded from bad, it can only go to the good.  When you dissuade it from the good, it listens to the bad, there is no in-between.  Intelligence can remain knowledgeable or it can remain ignorant and deluded.  So, spending this one hour in reading is very important. And what is the book which you can read again and again and yet be occupied in its study, this is something very interesting.

Before speaking for Muktisudhakaram, I am a person who has been speaking on Bhagavad Gita for sixty years.  I generally wait for Arpitha to come and I ask her to read something, particularly Sanskrit commentaries.  I am looking for Venkatanatha Brahmananda Gireeyam, about which a young priest told me during my wandering life.  Normally priests never refer to anything like this.  They are the ritualistic group.  But this boy said, of all the commentaries, Venkatanatha Brahmananda Gireeyam is the best and worth reading.  I had not seen it or heard it.  Later on, somehow a copy of a book consisting of eight or so, Sanskrit commentaries came to me.  And I found Venkatanatha Brahmananda Gireeyam there.  Whenever I want to say something, I say, “Arpitha, see what this Venkatanatha says.”

You know what a wonderful display he has made!  His thought process is something very, very unique! I don’t even read Sankara Bhashya.  But this Venkatanatha Brahmananda Gireeyam is a very, very, profoundly thoughtful writing.

See, I have been reading, explaining Gita, I have not read so much, but I have been explaining for the past sixty years.  Here, because I have time, I can extend speaking on any sloka or any chapter for any length of time.  And I have to make it interesting, not monotonous.  Very hard and difficult portions come, very abstruse also.  And I always like to make it interesting.  I go and take my seat and begin the talk of the day.  Suddenly my mind and heart take me to a dimension and I find that it is very interesting.

I have been speaking on the thirteenth chapter for quite a number of days.  Only yesterday, I stepped into the fourteenth chapter.  It is not something where I can speak abundantly, because the focus is very briefly on the three gunas.  So, the sattva guna should be taken up.  The sattva guna means knowledge.

सत्त्वात्सञ्जायते ज्ञानं
sattvāt-sañjāyate jñānaṁ
(Bhagavad Gita 14.17)

And this sattva guna is supported by what?  A few items.  One is the food.  The food makes our body.  And the body can influence the mind.  So, you should have sattvik food. And what is sattvik food?  Very tasty, very delicious.

रस्याः स्निग्धाः स्थिरा हृद्या
rasyā: snigdhā: sthirā hṛdyā
(Bhagavad Gita 17.8)

What further adjectives you want?  Rasyā: - very tasty and delicious.  Snigdhā: - not very hard, soft, easy to chew and digest.

Sthirā: -  when you eat, not voluminous eating and suddenly goes away.  It should be substantial, should remain for four or five hours giving you enough energy. 

Hṛdyā: - not only while eating, after eating when it is in the stomach and digestive system and also when is going away you must feel pleasant, it should be pleasing to your mind, not producing hiccups, not producing belching, not producing any uncomfortable sensation.  Suppose you take immensely hot items, it will make you feel hot even in the intestines. 

So very tasty, very tasty, very delicious and stable, lasting with good effect, good not only for the body but pleasing to the mind.  So, there must be a filtration and selection in your food.

Then there must be equally an option exercise in the company and association you keep.  In that, you can take the pictures you have on your wall.  The type of color combination you have in the room and in the house.  And what are the items displayed there?  All of them should be stimulating wisdom, that is very important.  Anything! Anything! Stimulate wisdom, stimulate wisdom, that is the idea. 

Then your thought process.  The emotions you like to indulge in and develop.  The emotion should be love, sympathy and sacrifice, their multiples.  Their multiples, their multiples, their multiples.

Then, every time you try to stimulate your intelligence by asking questions.  Why should one be truthful?  Why should one be value-oriented?  What is the harm in not doing so?  Why should we believe in God?  What is meant by belief?  In believing God, is God the focus?  Or I, the believer is the focus?  What part of my personality believes?  Is it the body, tongue and nose?  Or is it the mind, intelligence and heart?  Always you try to understand this.

Why is that my devotion is not growing?  Why it doesn’t become all fold?  Where the shoe pinches?  In this way, constantly think, think and think.  Why am I disliking people?  Why am I becoming intolerant?  Can I not change my attitude?  Am I interested in which are the things to be disliked or am I interested in my dislike?  So, can I moderate my dislike?  Can I be free of raga, dvesha and bhaya?  In this way you go on thinking, thinking, it is a stimulating process by virtue of which you are benefitted inch by inch, millimeter by millimeter and meter by meter, feet by feet, yards by yards.  Now, this is called the sattva guna  enhancement  process.  It is clearly mentioned. Why don’t you apply it?

And to the extent the sattva increases, then your passion for activity will reduce.  And laziness and lethargy will also dwindle.  Rajas and tamas are there.  If they are to dwindle, progressively you have to take up sattva.  It is like filling a bottle by pouring water.  As you pour water, the air will be emptied.

Now, in the thirteenth chapter and from then on you will find, it is these calculational, arithmetical, enumerational processes that are repeatedly mentioned.  What a beautiful chapter is this!  Twenty lakshanas are presented in the thirteenth chapter which together Krishna says constitute wisdom, jnana, all the rest is ajnana.  So, to be a jnani or to be a jnana-nishtavan, you have to collect, pick up these qualities and then see whether you have them or try to imbibe them, imbibe them by developing fondness, fondness, association and application in them.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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