"Karmayoga does not mean ceaseless pursuit of karma. It truly consists in the Yoga orientation and discipline given to the buddhi and the mind. Constant preservation and application of Yogabuddhi while doing any work, alone makes one a Karmayogin."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

  • Anna-Vastra Daana Satram 2017 21-06-2017

    32nd Anna Vastra Dāna Satram: This year’s Anna Vastra Dāna Satram (AVDS) will be held between Jul 1 - Aug 15. Distribution in Narayanashrama Tapovanam will be on July 16.

Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR 26 Jan 2016 - How to Remove Hatred from the Mind
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    You must be wondering as to why I am smiling. I am wondering what else shall I do. 

    I understand that every day a bus was going to Trichur during the Atma Tattva Sameeksha. It was in Malayalam, so all the people in the Ashram who have arrived from outside, they were not able to follow it, but still if they felt like going and sitting there, that is at least silence for them. Very good! But I understand that every day, something or the other for you to chew was distributed – biscuits or some cheena badam or something. I asked ‘X’, “Was it distributed on all days?” He says, “I went on three days and all the three days it was there.”

    So I am wondering, is it not very cheap on your part to wait for an occasion like a bus travel like this to rejoice in eating? If you wanted to have some biscuits or anything that is permissible to us, you could have told the kitchen people. We would have arranged it here. Why is it that you waited for an opportunity to get together in a bus? Is it in anyway different from a household social visit?

    All of you have come here to undergo a difference from your household life. Maybe the meals are very regimented here, but I think our meals are reasonably good and it should be sufficient to provide the necessary nutrition for the body. If anybody feels anything insufficient, he or she is free to report it to us and we will consider it. That ‘austerity’ part in staying in the Ashram should not be overlooked at all.

    It is very difficult for you to become austere at home because it is your own house, different types of people are there. If you want to impose austerity on others, they may resent and revolt. You may not like to do it also. But when you come to the Ashram, certainly it is a spell of austerity. Austerity, to some extent in eating, austerity in speaking, austerity in reading and you always have interactions with the ashramites or the visitors. There also it is an austerity. That is why many people do not come to the Ashram and stay for a long period.

    So, I am a little amused that what I can do is only laugh over the whole thing. What is it that is in every one of you which prompts you to do this kind of an act – not one day, every day! So, we were not very happy to hear this episode. I want to make you understand our response and reaction and think about it well.

    The next point I wanted to say is – it is primarily keeping in mind our inmates. See, this is a place of sādhana and we are given to jñāna sādhana. What is jñāna sādhana? The jñāna sādhana always functions or operates on the mind and its emotions, on the intelligence and its reason and knowledge, on the ego, its improper expression and the need for regimenting it and sublimating it.

    In the bodily level, it applies as a sensory restraint and regulation. Our senses are our senses. We should employ them in such a manner that there is a regulation or a refinement in the process which alone will help you to have joy and fulfillment in your mind.

    वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ।। २-६१ ।।
    vaśe hi yasyendriyāṇi tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā || 2.61 ||

    Krishna says right in the second chapter. He, whose senses are under his regulation, his mind and intelligence alone will be stable.

    Vaśe hi yasyendriyāṇi tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā. Krishna was describing the sthitaprajña and sthitadhī and he says one who has enough of self-regulation, he alone can be a sthitaprajña. So, in the bodily level it is sensory restraint. And see what happened in the bus while going for a lecture program. While going for a very serious, in-depth lecture program, what is it that you did? Just think about it. Is it comparable to what Sita did or worse, I am wondering.

    Then, so far as the emotional flux, emotional turbulence is concerned, this is where the whole devotee crowd fails miserably. They never look into the need for mind orientation.

    अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्रः करुण एव च ।
    निर्ममो निरहङ्कारः समदुःखसुखः क्षमी ।। १२-१३ ।।
    adveṣṭā sarva-bhūtānāṁ maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca |
    nirmamo nirahaṅkāraḥ sama-duḥkha-sukhaḥ kṣamī || 12.13 ||
    (Bhagavad Gita 12.13)

    In listing, who are the devotees who are dear to me, Krishna says in the twelfth chapter, adveṣṭā sarva-bhūtānāṁ. See, dvesha is victimizing you, the possessor. When you have dvesha to anybody, even for an ant, you will be victimized.

    Sarva-bhūtānāṁ adveṣṭā – do not be a hater of any bhuta, any being. You should be a non-hater. It is applicable to your own domestic set-up environment, professional set-up and also societal set-up. In all these areas, you should not breed hatred to anybody. There may be many things hateable, but so far as you are concerned, you cannot hate and indulge in hatred.

    Yesterday I was explaining,

    मत्कर्मकृन्मत्परमो मद्भक्तः सङ्गवर्जितः ।
    निर्वैरः सर्वभूतेषु यः स मामेति पाण्डव ।। ११-५५ ।।
    mat-karma-kṛn-mat-paramo mad-bhaktaḥ saṅga-varjitaḥ |
    nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ sa mām-eti pāṇḍava || 11.55 ||
    (Bhagavad Gita 11.55)

    He says, “Always let your activities be dedicated to me. Consider me to be supreme for that. Be a devotee. Don’t practice devotion, be a devotee.” – Means what?

    Saṅga-varjitaḥ - Do not have delusional clinging towards anybody or anything.

    Nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu – Do not have 'vaira', hatred to all the creatures.

    Yaḥ sa mām-eti pāṇḍava – Whoever is like this, comes to me.

    Where is 'vaira' of any order sanctioned, permitted or condoned in our shastras? When you get hatred, your hands and body start trembling. The eyes become red. The cheeks start trembling, lips also. The blood pressure goes up, circulation becomes faster. And whatever you do and whatever you think, whatever you speak, everything will be disorderly. How much time does it require to know that it is so? How can you say, “This hatred, I am not able to overcome. That hatred, I am not able to overcome.”? You cannot say that!

    It is something like inverting a vessel and pouring water. All your sādhana becomes wasteful. And does this hatred help you? Does it help the other? Can you not make it an important point in your sādhana that whatever may be the cause, provocation… ‘Whatever’ may be anything. See, we are living with our diseases, we are living with our disabilities because it is in our body. Do you throw the body away because it is unable to do things? In the same manner, in the family in which you live, in the Ashram in which you live, in the office in which you live, there will be some people who have unpleasant and unacceptable qualities. In fact, it is a struggle for everyone to be free of such qualities.

    I think a thief will be crying and moaning in his own heart saying that “Why have I this stealing tendency?” The tendency is there. Who has introduced this tendency in anyone? Everybody is born in this world and we are imbibing anything only from the world. So the thief, the dacoit, the rapist, everybody has imbibed the tendency from the world and the author of the world is God. Why did he not construct a world where no hateable or unpleasant qualities will be imbibed by anybody? The mind should be structured in that manner and the world also should be designed accordingly. That has not been done. So maybe you are also. Just like you say a rapist is a wrong doer, to hate him in your mind, you are also a wrong doer.

    A person gets angry first, you become counter-angry. He did the mistake, first knowing that it is not correct. You are doing it next, you tell me who is a worse doer than, the worst crimer, indulger? So I think the sādhana is something that one has to think about seriously, think about seriously. It is not a vocal expression, it is not a physical expression, it is a mental, mental, mental and intelligential, intelligential emergence. Until you start feeling that adveshta, adveshta, adveshta, adveshta. Why don’t you drill it into your system? This is called  puraścharya. Puraścharaṇa means take a mantra and as many letters as it has, start chanting it so many lakhs. Akshara-laksha, this is called. This 'puraścharaṇa' is very important.

    So why don’t you go on thinking, adveshta, nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ sa mām-eti pāṇḍava, nirvairaḥ, nirvairaḥ, nirvairaḥ ……… sarva-bhūteṣu, nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu.

    Absorb this idea in your mind. If you are able to absorb it for one or two hours, I think there will be drastic change in your personality. We only speak that “I don’t like. I want to become pure.” We only speak. But you are not trying to implant, remember and reflect upon impurity, saying that it is not it is not acceptable. I think it makes a lot of difference between wanting something at the mind level and speaking about it in the oral level or even in the physical level. What we want is a mental action, a mental pursuit. That is why it is called manana. Will you please think about this and do something about this matter?

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

  • PR 25 Jan 2016 - The Spiritual Dimension
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    For eight days in Trichur I have been discussing the Ashtavakra Samhita. Two years, the discussion have been going on and this is the third year. Even this year, I always had a very strong sense of reservation while I was exposing the Self and its dimensions. 

    See, to praise an unseen God, giving all kinds of attribute to Him is very easy for us and we are used to it by virtue of our custom, tradition, practice and training and all that. But to keep that concept away and then to focus only on what we experience, what is within our reach is something very strange. But it is not strange when you understand that we are a human being and in our being we have always the power of understanding to guide us.

    Can you imagine a child who doesn’t have a properly developed intelligence? He may be good looking, he may also have a mind, but unless he is able to have the intelligence to understand, evaluate his experiences and arrive at proper knowledge and implement the knowledge through the emotional and sensory personality, of what use will that person be? Not only for us, for all the living beings and the creatures also.

    It is not the leaf that matters, trunk that matters, it is the life presence in that cell or in that being – that is what counts at every point of time. If the tree has to grow, it must cast its root. For it to cast its root, there must be soil available. It is a proportionate growth. As the tree grows, it must also have sufficient depth and also root system in the soil so that the growth can be sustained. So there is a measure of intelligence there also. It is not that the tree grows disproportionately between the trunk and the branch, the branch and the by-branch and the branch and the leaves and fruits and flowers.

    There are instances when a jack tree bore a number of fruits on a branch. When the fruit started growing, one day the branch broke and the whole of it fell, because when the jack started growing, a new weight was added. The branch was not able to bear the weight. If we were there to understand that when the fruits grow, the branch will find it too much to bear, then if we had cut and removed two or three fruits, then it would have been different.  

    The role of intelligence is very important, not only important, it is indispensable. Why am I saying it? We may say God. We may say many other things. But what guides our life, on what our life is based is our own senses, our own mind, our own intelligence and our own ego. We have a full personality in which the senses are the outer most. With the outer most senses we interact with the world objects, but the senses cannot do the job all by themselves. The mind has to be active. The mind also is helpless. It can activate the senses, take imprints of the objects, but the mind cannot do anything further in the way of comparison, contrast and inferences. That building up knowledge - it is not the mind’s role. There the intelligence has to come. That is why you will find only the people, the family, the individual who has intelligence, he counts. That is the deepest faculty in us and that is the most powerful.

    I make an assertion – what is that? The entire human world or even the rest of the world, it is ruled by money and intelligence. Money perhaps cannot make intelligence, but intelligence can make money. I don’t want, I say we don’t want, when I was speaking in FRNV – we don’t want money to rule the world, we want intelligence to rule the world. We have intelligence but we don’t have any money.

    Recently there was a murder that was being tried in the Trichur Court but ultimately only life imprisonment was given to the offender. You know it was a play of money, money, money, money! That haughtiness which money brought about, taking the person to the garage, kicking him, pulling him, pushing him, and – what is this? What is it that a man is after all doing? And then the person who died, who was murdered, for nineteen days he lay in the hospital and the police did not go to him to record his version, his words. For nineteen days, one set of police officials did not move at all! Nothing was done! Because there was so much of channel reporting and press reporting, some officer after the other was changed and finally some kind of justice was brought. It’s only because of money, money, money!

    But money is not supreme intelligence. Why am I saying this? In our life, everything proceeds from oneself – not from a group, but from oneself. We are a total unit, an individual. An individual is considered to be indivisible. We cannot divide ourselves. You cannot divide the neck and the leg, the eyes and the ears, the mind and the intelligence, the mind and the senses, ego and the rest. We are an indivisible entity and together with the body, senses, mind, intelligence and ego, we become a distinct unit capable of experiencing ourselves, experiencing the others, interacting with the others.

    So, we ourselves are the fulcrum and the pivot of the whole life and world. Why I say world? Which world are you referring to - the world in which we live, the world in which we interact. So then again the individual is the sole foundation and in the individual we find senses have their specific-ness and limitation. Mind also activates the senses, interacts with the objects, makes imprints and makes the imprints available for the intelligence to study. But the actual thing is done by the intelligence.

    Taking your stand on the intelligence, Ashtavakra Samhita analyses and presents everything. Can you imagine when Janaka says after listening to Ashtavakra that “The entire world is subsisting on me. The whole world is mine, otherwise nothing is there at all.” If the individual were not there, do you think anybody would have been there to sense or report about the world? So there is a dimension in us, that dimension is not belonging to matter or energy. It belongs to something called consciousness.

    What is consciousness? Consciousness cannot be defined but yet it has to be defined. So “it is That”. Then we define ‘That’ – which is capable of being conscious of itself and the others. The consciousness itself becomes conscious of itself, that is why we say ‘I’. For saying ‘I’, we don’t need either the senses or anything else. ‘I’, ‘I’, it is a spontaneous, irresistible feeling. So the first thing is, consciousness has become conscious of itself. Now it is making oneself conscious of the rest. I have an ego, I have an intelligence, I have a mind, I have the senses and around the senses, I have my world.  These are the two properties, twin properties of consciousness.

    This consciousness is consciousness alone. You cannot research into it like you research into matter and energy. The only way to research into consciousness is - Jnanam Jneyam Jnanagamyam – the research can only be through, by and of consciousness. That is why the sphere of consciousness becomes so sovereign and so great. So he says, “However expanse I look at, whatever variety is there surrounding me, it is I who feel it and I pronounce it. So whatever I pronounce as saying there is – am I not responsible for it, does it not rest upon me?”

    Keep away the sphere of matter and energy, think about the consciousness by which you think, understand and know. That consciousness wakes up and through the senses it percieves the world. The entire range of perception is subsisting, resting upon consciousness and in the evening when we sleep, the whole extensiveness, everything is wiped off and we become different from everything and get lost in ourselves.

    So, he says – “Either everything is mine, the whole world or there is nothing. If I am not there, nothing is there, if I am there, I am everything.” Can you imagine? This is a spiritual dimension. A dimension in understanding, it is a realizational dimension. That realizational dimension is supreme in the sphere of realization. This understanding cannot be dislodged by anybody.

    The only point is that a person who is guided by this understanding, will his life in this world be successful and effective? That is where the so called divinity and faith come. If this understanding is resorted to and a man is exclusively pursuing it, we have found that his life is successful. A number of ascetics in our country, their wealth is not money or matter. Whatever they have – you take this Ashram. This Ashram is a result initially of my understanding and whatever I was. Mataji Sulabha Devi was there. There was one more sanyasini here. I decided to leave everything and be on the street  because “on the street” is only a physical explanation. See, if I believe, if I understand, that this consciousness in me, the ‘I’ in me is supreme then nothing else can be of consequence to me. So the sincere mind doesn’t allow itself to be involved in other pursuits.

    So the only way is to leave and we are also having a great tradition in our country that ascetics have been there in every generation. So I left everything. Though I left everything, my body did not fall. It had to eat its food. It had to breathe its air. As it was breathing, it also needed food and nourishment. It also needed a place of rest. All these things came by themselves. You cannot say that I struggled for it, it is my greatness or anything like that. I was devoted to this understanding and I wanted to be zealous and sincere about it. That is why with a lot of humility and openness I say – every particle of Earth, sand or any other piece of matter here in this Ashram, including the walls, the roof, the floor, the various articles we have is – everything is a result and outcome of this spiritual awareness and the dedication I have towards this.

    Gradually others also joined. That is also another wonder. I had it – okay. Why should others also feel inspired by it? So, they also had a parallel inspiration and a parallel dedication and we all living together. The whole Ashram is nothing other than this inner consciousness and the worth, greatness and majesty of this consciousness. Can it deliver money – yes! Can it deliver matter – yes! Can it deliver buildings - yes! Because the whole universe is standing - not on matter. The entire universe, including space, you tell me where is it resting? It cannot be resting on matter and energy. Then what supports it? Some supra-material source is there and that is what this consciousness is.

    Now who can say that – “I am consciousness and the same consciousness surrounds and penetrates this whole universe.” If you are able to say so, I think that is the supreme, the end of it! Then will you be devoted to that understanding and in which manner? There comes the test. The catch point is that.

    So, this consciousness, Janaka was able to say, “Either everything is mine, everything is in me or nothing is there.” There are only two options for every one of you, either the whole world is yours and in you or nothing is there including yourself. This is the choice before you and see what appeals to you.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

  • PR 24 Jan 2016 - The Majesty of 'I'
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    After listening to Sage Ashtavakra, in this text, the initial conversation covers about twenty verses which initially Sage Ashtavakra said. After listening to the twenty verses, their message, Janaka instantly feels the touch, the dimension, magnitude and also potential of what everyone says as ‘I’.

    ‘I’ is only a word or a letter but it denotes something in the way of a presence and a power within your body, other than the body. Not only other than the body, it is other than the mind, other than the intelligence, other than the ego. There is something different from these. That is what we refer to by the term ‘I’. Maybe Janaka had not thought about this ‘I’ anytime at all.

    When Ashtavakra started discussing and exposing the true dimension, magnitude of the ‘I’, it was very, very, surprising, sweepingly so, and enlightening. As a keen listener, enquirer, a disciple, Janaka had the sensitivity to absorb the instruction and he starts speaking about how he was feeling after listening to the instruction and absorbing it.

    Here at one point he says,

    मत्तो विनिर्गतं विश्वं मय्येव लयमेष्यति ।
    matto vinirgatam viśvam mayy-eva layam-eṣyati |
    (Ashtavakra Samhita 2.10)

    Matto vinirgataṁ viśvaṁ mayyeva layameṣyati – We all know that everyone of us is born in this world. After we were born, we start living till the end of our life. The beginning of our life is marked by the emergence of our body from the mother’s womb and the end of life is marked by the body becoming breathless, unable to breathe by itself. So, the life is defined after the body. But truly speaking, it is not so. Life is what makes the body active and animate.

    Electricity passes through a conductor. It lights up or it comes up in the form of a bulb, illumination. In the whole process, it uses the copper or aluminum wire for passing. That does not mean electricity is that metal conductor, material conductor. In the same manner, life is not the body. Life is what makes the body animate and vibrant. That life should be introspected over and understood. When you understand in this manner, while the body is a product evolved by nature – our mother shaped the body in her womb, finally it was delivered off. This point is correct, but in the body what remains and what counts is not the matter-energy part of the body. It is something entirely different from both - the spiritual presence. That spiritual presence is not delivered off by anybody. It is not also taken away by anybody.

    It is true that the body is part of the world but what we refer to as ‘I’ is not at all. So he says that - Matto vinirgataṁ viśvaṁ. The entire world is what we perceive, we see, and we are seeing because we have the potential or ability to see. In the process of seeing, it is true that we are employing our eyes in the body but the eyes and the body are themselves shaped by the ‘I’. Only when I wake up, I employ my senses and perceive the world. Waking up is something that arises in me and world perception is something that follows my wakefulness. As the wakefulness arises from me, the world also arises within me.

    Any perception is an outcome of the perceiver. And the perceiver is inside - it is not the inert body. It is in the perceiver’s plane that all perceptions, thoughts, experiences, everything takes place. So, the entire world is born out of my perception. When I stop seeing, all the sights simply sink. So he says, "matto vinirgataṁ viśvaṁ mayyeva layameṣyati".

    In the evening, how comfortably we forget everything and go into sleep to remain wrapped up in ourselves inside for 6, 7 or 8 hours. So he understood the inner presence and now he goes on saying,

    अहो अहं नमो मह्यं विनाशी यस्य नास्ति मे ।
    ब्रह्मादिस्तम्बपर्यन्तं जगन्नाशेऽपि तिष्ठतः ॥ २.११ ॥
    aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ vināśo yasya nāsti me |
    brahmādistaṁbaparyantaṁ jagannāśo'pi tiṣṭhataḥ || 2.10 ||
    (Ashtavakra Samhita 2.10)

    Janaka is able to strike greater and greater dimensions of what he refers to as the ‘I’. He says, "aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ". My dear children, this is the great culture that we have.

    Aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ. People only know about the so many idols installed by us, consecrated by us, whose divinity is generated by the human mind and they run here and there searching those idols. But very few people know that there is something different from the idol, a material piece, a matter piece we worship. So this knowledge and this kind of a worshipping attitude is also there! So he says, "aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ". That which I refer to as the ‘I’, it has so much of world excelling dimensions. What is this? I never knew about it! My ‘I’ is not a simple point, it is a huge circle, excelling and exceeding the circle of the universe!

    So he says, "namo mahyaṁ" - I prostrate before myself! You cannot prostrate before yourself but you can only say and feel the majesty of the ‘I’ and feel like prostrating before it. It is your mind that makes you prostrate before an idol. The same mind when it has got the true dimension of the ‘I’, it feels that the ‘I’ is the one, the source of the entire universe! So the first and last prostration should be to the ‘I’. So Janaka says, "aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ".

    Brahmādistaṁbaparyantaṁ jagannāśo'pi. The world is created by Brahma, Brahma - the creator. Along with Brahma, when everything that he has created including a blade of grass, when all these things are destroyed, ‘I’ still survive, he says. The ‘I’ that we are referring to, that stills survives. Let the entire creation be dissolved or destroyed but the ‘I’ in me will survive, will survive.

    So, which is the greatest, the loftiest and the most powerful, the source of all? The source of the world is not anywhere outside, it is not within the sensory ken. It is within our body. That a mortal body carries such an immortal presence is the great mystery of creation and mystery of human life!

    He goes on saying several times - "aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ".

    Oh! Wonderful ‘I’! I prostrate before me, before it, before myself! This is also in our country. While religious and devotional practices are rampant in the country, I would like you to understand that this kind of a spiritual introspection and the wonderful effects it is able to produce in the human mind and intelligence have also been there. It is true that many people do not read this Ashtavakra Gita, many people do not read the Bhagvad Gita also. Many people do not read Ramayana and Mahabharata as well. That people do not read does not make the text irrelevant or invalidate what they are saying. So this is also a very important line of thinking and reflection.

    Aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ. aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ

    The way this kind of a reasoning and this kind of understanding should influence you is this – Our mind should drop all kinds of lack, all kinds of negativity. Never blame others. Never feel insufficiency on this account or the other account. All people have children, if one does not have a child, what is there to be worried about? Many have, you don’t have. As they reconcile with their children, I will reconcile with no child. Our mind is always ready to become full and give you the ecstasy of fullness. So it takes away all kinds of lack, all kinds of contradiction, all kinds of disparity, making you feel singular, full, abundant, affluent and ecstatic! The work is psychological effect, intellectual effect. What a wonderful proposition is this!

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.



Poojya Swamiji says that the real focus

  • of devotional practices is not God, but the devotee's own mind and behaviour;
  • of karmayoga is not action but the attitude of the mind with which an action is performed;
  • of knowledge is not knowledge, but the purification and expansion of the seeker's mind.

Swamiji's Teachings


Poojya Swamiji says that the real focus

  • of devotional practices is not God, but the devotee's own mind and behaviour;
  • of karmayoga is not action but the attitude of the mind with which an action is performed;
  • of knowledge is not knowledge, but the purification and expansion of the seeker's mind.


NSJi-HmPgSwami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

Swami Nirviseshananda Tirthaji, a renunciate disciple of Poojya Swamiji, is known for his scientific expositions which are a source of inspiration to seekers.  Read More...


Ma Gurupriya

A disciple of Poojya Swamiji, Ma is the loving mother of Poojya Swamiji's devotees around the world. Devotion and service remain the predominant forces shaping Ma's life.  Read More...

The dialogue now takes us to the fourth chapter, marking a significant phase in the whole text. Whatever Krishna had to convey as an eternal message, a timely instruction for what Arjuna – or any one for that matter – should do when faced with an interactional crisis as in Kurukshetra, has all been stated with clarity, precision and persuasiveness. Krishna now wants to conclude the dialogue by relating the source and lineage of the instructors, who embodied and imparted the message right from the beginning. Narrating thus the parampara (the lineage of instructors) marks the finale of instruction, according to tradition.

But in the course of divulging the message, as is unique with whatever Krishna does, he reveals some lofty dimensions of his perception, thereby bestowing a note of eternality and beginninglessness to what he says. This is, in fact, characteristic of real Knowers of Truth of this land. Only in the jnanins, Knowers, one can find this kind of an ageless identity. It makes them and their message ancient and unnegatable as the very creation itself, as true as the Supreme Reality.

Apart from what many regard Krishna to be, he was verily a unique Self-knower, a matchless Teacher of Yoga. This human excellence of Krishna should not be missed. Only then both Bhagavadgita and Sri Krishna become accessible and actualizable to the seekers and students.

इमं विवस्वते योगं प्रोक्तवानहमव्ययम् ।
विवस्वान्मनवे प्राह मनुरिक्ष्वाकवेऽब्रवीत् ।।
एवं परम्पराप्राप्तमिमं राजर्षयो विदुः ।
स कालेनेह महता योगो नष्टः परन्तप ।।
स एवायं मया तेऽद्य योगः प्रोक्तः पुरातनः ।
भक्तोऽसि मे सखा चेति रहस्यं ह्येतदुत्तमम् ।।

I alone imparted this instruction to Vivasvan, the Sun. Vivasvan instructed it to Manu (the first man), Manu handed it down to Ikshvaku. From Ikshvaku dynasty of Treta Yuga, it was in succession imparted to those of Dvapara Yuga. Thus the great bequest was always held by the Seer Kings (rajarshayah), as an inevitable complement to their ruling skill and excellence. Due to the passage of Time, the all-powerful, this great possession went out of vogue. It is the same generally hidden, Brahmavidya, Yoga, that I have imparted to you today, considering you to be a devotee as well as an intimate friend.

Why does Krishna refer to Sun as the first recipient of Brahmavidya from him? Can this be a merely eulogistic reference? Or, is there enough of depth and purpose in what Krishna states?

Normally any human lineage or heredity will be traced up to the first human. Whereas Krishna, not stopping even with mother earth from which mankind as well as the rest of the beings have emerged, goes back to the Sun and claims his identity to be as old and ancient as to be the Instructor for the Sun! Is he merely driving home how ancient is Brahmavidya, or is there something more for the seeker to reflect upon?

Spiritual words and expositions always have a hidden, profound import. Spiritual truths are experiential, realizable. Thus, what exactly is the experiential link in Krishna’s enunciation is something that we cannot afford to miss.

The only subject exposed in Bhagavadgita is Brahmavidya. Whether explained as sankhya-yoga first and karma-yoga next, or dhyana-yoga subsequently and bhakti-yoga still later, the theme Krishna discusses in all chapters is essentially the same, namely Brahmavidya. That is why all the chapters carry the colophon “Brahmavidyayam yoga- sastre……”. What is this Brahmavidya? Where lies its source?

Brahman denotes the Supreme Reality. Vidya means knowledge. Brahmavidya is that unique knowledge which relates solely to the Supreme Reality. Even though the knowledge is conceived and expressed by humans, the fact remains that Brahmavidya is not restricted to any particular creature or to any specific age or period.

Thus, when Krishna conveys to Arjuna that he first imparted this Brahmavidya to Vivasvan (Sun), he apparently wants to impress on Arjuna that the source of Brahmavidya, if properly reflected upon, is not any one person in particular. Man’s personality itself, is not something bhautik, physical; it is completely spiritual. Sushupti (deep sleep) is a regular instance, when everyone verily experiences extinction of his body, and instead feels the presence of something else. In fact during deep sleep, the Real Subject is realized by all doubtlessly. The experience of deep sleep, wherein bodily existence ceases to be, is obviously not had by the body or its part. It is an experience that the Subject alone gains, all by itself, without any object medium whatsoever. Body is actually an object, which the Subject experiences, in wakeful hours alone.

Even a bacterium has its experience and knowledge or awareness. Or else how does it move and react? It may not have the mouth and tongue to speak. Speaking and expressing are a pronounced display of Consciousness which goes inseparably with existence. It is the self-revealing property of existence. In fact, any form of existence is but a becoming or manifestation of Consciousness itself.

Rigveda, the oldest of Vedas, reveals this truth in its mahavakya (cardinal statement): “Prajnanam Brahma”. This means “Brahman, the Supreme Reality or Ultimate Existence, is no other than Knowledge itself”. That Knowledge is the ultimate source of existence itself, is a unique revelation. Whether anywhere in the world a similar revelation has been made either in religious literature or even in the field of science, remains to be seen.

It is this truth – “Prajnanam Brahma” – that Krishna too discusses as Brahmavidya in the whole dialogue. Krishna wants Arjuna to grasp this fundamental point. Arjuna should not think that Krishna has discovered something new or is imparting an altogether new message, with a view to somehow appease and embolden the listener’s enfeebled mind. The message is the only truth of life, or existence, at any time. It is the only knowledge worth gaining, and which, when gained, will wipe off all psychological ills. As for the authenticity of this Brahmavidya, Krishna wants Arjuna to understand that it is as ancient as existence itself.

“Ajo nityah sasvato’yam puranah” (unborn, eternal, ever-the-same, ancient) were the words he had used in the second chapter (verse 20) while describing the Self. Brahmavidya rests upon Brahman itself, the only Subject in creation, not on any object at all. As is heat inseparable from fire, brilliance from the sun – the independent luminary nearest to earth – so is this Brahmavidya inseparable from Brahman, from existence as such.

People generally think that sentience is evolved from the earth alone, as we find sentient beings only upon the earth. In beings, we generally recognize only the evolution of materiality. The panca-bhutas are combined and evolved into beings, which display a certain sequence, order and gradualness. But even behind this orderliness or evolution, there is the power and presence of original sentience, but for which the insentient matter would not have been animated and organized into any viable, sustainable biological process or aggregate.

Our earth, when we look at it, seems to be insentient, judged on the basis of the sentient-insentient division of existence. But is that so? Think deeply about its place, potential and nature. Then the initial idea is bound to change. On the earth so many sentient beings have emerged and have been surviving. Being the cause and support for all these, can it, the causal source, be insentient? So sentience goes back to the earth, and for the same reason further beyond.

Sun is a luminous body. Its luminosity is inseparable from itself. That brilliance is a becoming of the Consciousness, which Brahman is. Self is Consciousness. Whoever realizes his identity with Consciousness, becomes verily the essence of the Sun’s brilliance (chapter 10, verse 21). The words revealing that he had taught Brahmavidya first to Vivasvan (Sun) are to be understood in such a perspective. Instead of tracing the antiquity to some human in Krtayuga, or even to a sage of the Vedic period, Krishna confidently asserts that any one can go back to any length of time and evolution and identify the source with anything in the universe. You will find that every existence carries knowledge in its core. In fact, Brahman, in other words Prajnanam, is the only Source, the causeless Cause.

At no time can knowledge of any kind emanate from any object whatever. When Newton saw the apple fall and began to wonder why it did so, was it not the Subject in this body that made the enquiry, and that too into its own within? And the answer that he finally found was also not from the apple or its fall, nor from the air or earth around, but from his own Consciousness, Prajnanam. To seek or search is the Subject’s task and to get illumined in the process is also its own fruition. The source, medium and the outcome are all unmistakably the Subject itself.

Does not Krishna say later, in chapter 15: “I alone am the source of memory, forgetfulness as well as wisdom – mattah smrtir jnanam- apohanam ca”? Is this not a clear reference to the Self of man being the real source of all processes of experience as well as knowledge? Whether it is existence or knowledge, or the expression of either or both, understand that Brahman, which is Prajnanam (knowledge), is the source, content and expression. The Teacher-taught relationship is only relative and occasional. There are many instances of original discoveries in science. Is there any Teacher as such in those cases, coming in the actual discovery? The searching individual, his consciousness alone, acts as the enquiring part first, and thereupon as the enlightening counterpart next, to become the discovery and discoverer ultimately.

This impersonality of man, along with the sentient nature of the whole existence, is the one ultimate message of Brahmavidya. In asserting “Aham Brahmasmi”, the Yajurvedic mahavakya meaning “the ‘I’ alone is the Supreme Reality”, is not such an absolute, indivisible, unnegatable position made clear? A seeker of Brahmavidya will complete his seeking and become a knower of Brahman only when he traces Consciousness as the only source, content and medium of whatever he is, irrespective of what he encounters during his life of experience and interaction. And this Consciousness is not alone in the beings of the earth, like cells, animals, birds or mankind. It is there far beyond. It was still earlier, in fact ever and ever.

Krishna wants the Bhagavadgita students to break all the barriers in their perception and visualize the singular subjective fullness of the whole creation. Knowledge is the only content of this fullness. Brahmavidya stands to represent and convey this and this alone.

The reference Krishna makes to the line of heredity and Maharshis equally calls for special attention. Krishna reminds Arjuna that the heritage of Brahmavidya rested specially with the Raarshis. A Raja (King) will become a Rishi (Seer) only when he possesses Brahmavidya and is enriched by its power and lustre. This confirms again that the ascetic sages were not the only custodians of spiritual wisdom of the land. The administrators or rulers were also equally well versed in this knowledge. In fact, to sit on the throne verily meant the compulsion to gain the treasure of spiritual wisdom.

The righteous ruler’s mind must have the sharpness of a sword as well as the softness of butter. He must be as stern with the wicked as he is kind to the virtuous. To punish the cruel and to reward the virtuous, remaining free of either weakness or pride, the royal mind should display exemplary vastness and impersonality.

To rule a whole multitude of people, even today, calls for immense self-control. Self-pity or carelessness has no place in a King’s life. One who is watchful about his own thoughts, actions and behavior can alone be so with regard to the ways and movements of his subjects. How many mutually opposite qualities together must adorn the throne to make it worthy of its task! When Krishna enumerates the spiritual qualities of the seeker and Knower, do they not aptly fit in with those of the throne?

Thus the great rulers of this land took special pains to gain spiritual wisdom and be under its unique grace. Janaka was an illustrious King of this great dimension. Ikshvaku dynasty had preserved a distinguished spiritual heredity, says Krishna. But in Dasaratha was a gloomy contrast. His son, Sri Rama, like Sri Krishna himself, excelled in the merits of spiritual wisdom, shining always with his timely resolve, wholesome resignation and stunning renunciation, whereas his father in crucial moments crumbled with indecision, attachment and possessiveness, the noted curses of ignorance.

Dasaratha was equally present when Sage Vasishthadeva instructed Sri Rama, sitting in the palace of Ayodhya, about the science of the Immortal Soul. But it was of no avail to the elderly King! When Kaikeyi, his Queen, claimed the boons promised to her by him in the past, the King lost his heart and mind, fell on the ground, drenching himself in tears and showering abuses on Kaikeyi!

In utter contrast, when the step-mother confessed her heart to Rama, the prince with no doubt or remorse instantly resolved to abandon the palace and live in the forest for any length of time. Who won in the encounter and who lost? Unable to resist the evil counsel of Manthara, Kaikeyi presents a more illustrious contrast in front of Bharata, her son. Bharata condemned his mother, refusing to imbibe her wicked heredity.

Are these not enough instances to make any one think of the truth of what Krishna states? The great heritage was available to all, but some neglected its bounties altogether.

Krishna points out that such deviations are havoc worked by time. Time, the inexorable force, is noted to cause sometimes grave deviations or even perversions in whatever is present. Even the great legacies prove no exception to the invasions of Time. Thus the good is forced to change into bad in the powerful hands of Time. Sri Rama, when called upon by Vasishthadeva to relate the sufferings of his heart on looking at the complexities of the world, says, in Yogavasishtha Ramayana, that the course of the world is immensely intriguing. He states: “prakrtah prabhrtam yatah, sarvamavartyate jagat – the undeserving rustics suddenly become lordly and resourceful; everything in the world is given to cyclic changes.”

In fact, the nature of events that overtook the Kuru dynasty resulting in the unprecedented Kurukshetra war leading to the emergent scene that evoked the Bhagavadgita dialogue, is itself immensely revealing. Was it not under the same great Bheeshma, with his self-imposed life-long celibacy as well as matchless spiritual wisdom, that the Pandava and Kaurava brothers grew up alike? While the Yudhishthira brothers wanted to be scrupulously governed by the resolve of righteousness and sacrifice, why did the Duryodhana brothers insist on following the accursed path of greed, possessiveness and stealth? Did not both of them have the same great legacy? The conflict and confrontation only grew in intensity as decades passed.

Krishna was equally related and available to both the groups; but his greatness was spurned by Duryodhana. Instead of welcoming him and listening to his wise words when he arrived in Hastinapura with the message of a peaceful pact from Yudhishthira, Duryodhana wickedly hatched a plot to bind Krishna and take him a captive. What except the sheer ravage of Time is at the back of all these developments?

Though Arjuna was righteous and moral in his thoughts and views, he still lacked Brahmavidya, which his grandfather and other elders were amply gifted with. Krishna significantly points out that what he was instilling in Arjuna was thus the same vision and strength which the best of rulers in his own clan had gained and which he failed to imbibe in time.

The effort Arjuna should have made earlier, in a quiet atmosphere of study and seeking, he was now forced to undertake in total haste and strife. Even then, better late than never. As Krishna has already clarified in the last verse of the second chapter: “sthitvasyam anta-kale’pi brahma-nirvanamrcchati – even if one is able to stabilize himself in this knowledge at the fag end of his life, he will still be benefited by its grace and merits, and enjoy the relief and ecstasy they offer”.

Krishna brings in another dimension in the dialogue. He says: “bhakto’si me sakha ceti rahasyam hy-etad-uttamam – you are devoted to me, and you are equally an intimate friend; that is why I disclose to you this highest secret.” What does he highlight in these words? Is not spiritual wisdom, like any other knowledge meant for man, to be openly laid before the seeker? What secrecy does Krishna allude to in imparting it? Where comes the relevance of devotion in receiving the message?

To impart the Soul-science is not a commonplace task. Nor is it easy to do so effectively. The atmosphere calls for the most sensitive response from the bestower as well as the receiver. Krishna emphasizes that it means disclosing or divulging a great secret from its guarded source. The message will have its destined effect only when the giver and the receiver have a full bond of fondness, trust and confidence. It is meant to lead man to the very core of his being – the impersonal, neutral and unaffected identity that he verily is – lifting him away from the sensory and sentimental ties and relationships.

The supreme reliance which adorns the mind and heart of a devotee, the unshakeable trust and confidence which governs the relationship between him and the Teacher, will alone make true spiritual instruction wholesome, powerful and ready to assimilate.


(From Essential Concepts of Bhagavad Gita - Book 2)

Recordings of Poojya Swamiji's Talks

Bhagavad Gita : A Topic for Research - 1

Bhagavad Gita : A Topic for Research - 2


Vicharasethu is a monthly journal in English and Hindi, edited and published by Poojya Swamiji. It is also published in Malayalam by the name Vicharasarani. With Articles, Correspondance, Guidance for Sādhana and News updates from the Ashram, these monthly publications are a great guide for the earnest sādhaka. 

Devotees hold periodic meetings at their own locations wherein the teachings and messages of Swamiji are heard, read and discussed with a view to comprehend and arrive at their essence and make it a functional note in their life. This section provides resources to facilitate the proceedings at such gatherings. Read More ....

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