"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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Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR 25 May 2016 - Exclusiveness in Devotion
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    Yesterday I was speaking about jnana and how effective generally it is.  If you analyze our own mind, our own understanding, you will find that all are knowledge.

    अनन्याश्चिन्तयन्तो मां ये जनाः पर्युपासते ।
    तेषां नित्याभियुक्तानां योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम् ।।
    ananyāś-cintayanto māṁ ye janāḥ paryupāsate
    teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmyaham
     

    This is an assurance Krishna gives in Bhagavat Gita.  And this verse is repeated during many rituals or all rituals even.

    Ananyāś-cintayanto māṁ ye janāḥ paryupāsate.  Those people who worship me, please mark my words, those people who worship me. So, this is a matter of worship. But worship me, in which manner?  ‘Ananyāś-cintayantah: 

    ‘Ananyāś-cintayantah’. In that worship, there is no idol, there is no flower, there is no mantra, tantra, nivedya nothing.  Then what is the nature of the worship?  It is an all fold and all-around worship. 

    ‘Paryupāsate’, What is that worship like?  ‘Ananyāś-cintayantah’. It is a thought process where one’s mind becomes exclusive.  All these words which I have uttered, are they not denoting and connoting knowledge?  And not only that, Krishna says, the ‘Paryupāsana’ is ‘Ananyāś-cintayantah’:  In their mind, there should be no second thought, there should be no second option.  The mind should exclusively think of God, exclusively think of God.  That exclusiveness, what is that?  God alone is.  God alone is.  Either in the wakefulness or in dream, or in sleep, there is nothing besides God, different from God, above or below Him and that God is all-pervading, He is all-knowing, He is all-powerful also.  If such a God alone is there, if I start thinking about Him, thinking about Him, will it not be sufficient insurance for me for everything?  Whatever is done, whatever is being done, whatever is yet to be done, whatever sin is there, is likely to be there, whatever virtue I have gained, is likely to be gained, I want to gain, if I have poverty, elimination, if I have riches, it’s protection, if I have children, their safety, growth.  For anything and everything, the all-knowing God is sufficient. 

    And what do you have to do?  No propitiation.  You don’t have to please Him.  You don’t have to offer Him anything.  Prepare pudding and the like. No. No. No. No.  All that you have to do is ‘Ananyāś-cintayantah’:  Think about God in an exclusive manner.  Don’t allow your mind to seek astrology, to seek, to depend upon anything.  “This God will be easily pleased and He will suddenly come.  Therefore, let me also seek his favour.”  No. No. No. No. No. No. No.  That ‘Ananyathva’ is the form of worship.  And that too in the ‘chinthan’, in the thought process.  So, it is a worship involving and totally centered on God.  Involving and totally centered on God, on God, on God.  So, the whole worship is a mind process, where the mind becomes exclusive in relying upon God, thinking about Him. You never tell Him anything, because He doesn’t need to be told.  You do not look for anything particular because it is not necessary.  My reliance is exclusive, exclusive, exclusive.  In that exclusiveness, there is no provision for distraction, alternate reliance, doubt, oscillation, nothing. 

    Tell me now, what is this?  Is it not a mind process where the process is examined if at all by the intelligence and this dictum, this maxim is repeatedly reflected upon and we try to implement it, implement it? It is a mento-intellectual effort.  Tell me, is there any other implication?  Now in this level or in this nature, is it not jnana?  You have to know repeatedly that God alone is and He is omniscient.  That God need not be advised, sought, instructed, reminded, persuaded.  No. No. No. No.  So, every conflicting note that arises in the mind is hunted and eliminated, hunted and eliminated.  It is a completely knowledge process. 

    न हि ज्ञानेन सदृशं पवित्रमिह विद्यते ।
    तत्स्वयं योगसंसिद्धः कालेनात्मनि विन्दति ।।
    na hi jñānena sadṛśaṁ pavitram-iha vidyate |
    tat-svayaṁ yoga-saṁsiddhaḥ kālenātmani vindati ||
    (Bhagavad Gita 4.38)
     

    What do you understand by it then?  So, the entire Bhagavat Gita is to be read, is to be understood, is to be thought about, to be discussed, to be debated upon if necessary and the messages imbibed and then every time you think, you understand, you argue, you do, you try to compare notes with what you have read and understood.  Just see?

    सर्वं कर्माखिलं पार्थ ज्ञाने परिसमाप्यते ।। 
    sarvaṁ karmākhilaṁ pārtha jñāne parisamāpyate ||
    (Bhagavad Gita 4.33)
     

    All the activities finally end up in knowledge.  Now, this is that knowledge process.

    ‘Ananyāś-cintayanto māṁ’ -  For such a devotee.

    ‘Yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy-aham’. The safety of whatever he has, if he has a family, two members, children, if he has a house, everything I ensure. 

    Then, whatever he needs for his fulfillment in life, even for the progress of devotion, even for making him a better, better and super devotee, I will do, I will look after. 

    You tell me, if you are trying to practice this and perfect this, what is the whole process called?  It is a purely mento-intellectual process.  I would like you to discuss and debate upon this proposition and arrive at your own conclusion. 

    If you ask me then, “Swamiji, is pooja necessary?”  Not at all! But if you feel like doing pooja, it’s okay.  If pooja will reinforce your exclusiveness, well and good.  If fasting will reinforce, well and good.  But you will do all these only to know that the pursuit is purely inner and it involves the mind and the intelligence alone.  The intelligence is used to make propositions clearer to the mind, so that the mind’s reliance and exclusiveness will remain true, wholesome and consistent.  I don’t know to understand this why should anybody take time?  That is why Sankara says this Brahmavidya is to be pursued by a seeker and the seeker must have pre-requisites and the pre-requisites are called ‘Sadhana Chathushtayam’.  ‘Sadhana Chathushtayam’ - Viveka, Vairagya, Shatka-sampathi and Mumukshutwa.  All these have their seats, relevance and origin in your own mind.  Intelligence remains a tool to understand each proposition and implement it.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

  • PR 19 May 2016 - How to Understand the Mind
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    I am writing “The Science of Inner Redemption” and touching a very, very subtle point, abstruse on the one hand and extremely subtle and transcendental. Naturally my mind thinks about it. The subject is not new to me. In connection with that, I think it is a kind of revelation to me to emphasize this point. I thought of sharing this with you.

    I am discussing the ‘Sapta Bhoomika’ - The four spiritual states of a seeker. These states are pertaining to one’s own personality, but which part of the personality if you ask, it is not a physical transformation as takes place till we grow up to the age of twenty-one. We were in the mother’s womb, we came out and became a child, then grew from there, became a boy or girl, grew from there, adolescence, grew from there, youthfulness, grew further from there or grow, will grow. So, these are all physical transformations. But in that, we reach a stage of full adulthood of the body. Thereafter it will not grow. Now this is not pertaining to the biological growth. This is pertaining to the inner psycho-intellectual growth, maturity, sublimation and refinement. Will you understand it as that?

    There, Vasishta goes on saying, we enter into the fifth bhoomika, then sixth bhoomika and seventh bhoomika. The seventh bhoomika is a state where supreme nirvana is struck. It is something that does not become an object of perception nor does it submit itself to words and description. So, the question necessarily arises, if it cannot submit itself to the words of description, how do people say that there is such a state? ‘There is such a stage and there it can be like this, it can be like this, it is like this.’ - How do they say that? I don’t know whether you get the enigma there.

    If somebody speaks about it, it is very clear that as he is speaking about many other things, this is also very clear. If this cannot submit itself to anything like an object of perception, then how does he say that there is such a state? If it cannot submit itself to direct perception, what else is there? We have got something called reasoning and inferential knowledge. So, I am putting the two and two, one and one together and arriving at a two. I don’t know whether I will be able to explain it well and you can understand it. But still as part of my thinking, I would like to place it before you.

    Whatever we call direct experience, invariably is related to the senses. Though it is related to the senses, you tell me, are the senses capable of perceiving? Then, the eyes in a dead body must perceive. Senses are used in perception. Who uses? The mind uses it. What is the mind? Consciousness. Consciousness may work as the mind, as the intelligence, as the ego, it does not matter. It is just like our legs walking, running, squatting, sitting, lying. All these different poses are had, movements are had by the same legs. Likewise, it is the same consciousness, the supra-physical presence, the body-different presence, that does all these functions. When it functions as the mind, it uses the senses. Though it uses the senses, the senses do not register the experience or keep the memory. Our eyes may see many objects. I don’t think the eyes have any registration of these objects. When we lose our memory, when we grow old or otherwise, the eyes are still there, but whatever is seen, the eyes cannot bring back in the form of a memory.

    Who uses the senses? The mind. And the mind is a supra-physical presence - Consciousness. So, the consciousness employs the senses and employing the senses, it perceives. The actual perception is in the mind, registration is in the mind, imprints are in the mind, the mind uses the senses to have its own imprint and these imprints are stored. So, though it is a sensory experience and we call it direct, the experience itself is in the level of consciousness. Well, normally it is the mind that connects and brings direct experience. Okay?

    Think further. Whatever the mental data are there, the intelligence processes it, rationalize them and arrives at its own finding, knowledge. That knowledge, in what way is it different from direct knowledge? This is my revelation. The direct knowledge is also of the consciousness, by the consciousness, in the consciousness. And you say it is functioning as the mind. What functions as the mind? The consciousness. The same consciousness then, the mental role stops and the intellectual role starts. The mind used the senses to perceive, the intelligence uses the mental data to think, to reason. As are the senses and sensory objects for the mind, so are the mental data, mental objects for the intelligence. But what functions as the intelligence is again consciousness.

    So, if the first direct experience is wrought and it belongs to consciousness, the second experience also equally belongs to consciousness. The mental data are already formed. So, the intelligence doesn’t have to use the senses for it. The data are already there. And these data, the intelligence reasons about and arrives at its understanding. Whether it is an understanding in the level of the mind or in the level of the intelligence, what difference does it make? In both cases, it is consciousness. So, if the mental data are called direct experience, then the intellectual finding data also should be called direct experience. Am I clear?

    You cannot distinguish between one is direct, another is indirect. In both cases, what is inside the body alone works. You call one kind of working, mind and mental, another kind of working, intellect and intellectual. But both are references to the one factor called consciousness. So, at one point of time, please listen to me, at one point of time, the knowledge derived by reasoning and the knowledge derived by the mind sensorily, have no difference. When you become aware of the consciousness, consciousness, consciousness, consciousness, even your body is a recognition or cognition made by consciousness. This is what Krishna says

    बुद्धिग्राह्यमतीन्द्रियम् ।
    Buddhi-grāhyam Atīndriyam |
     
    यं लब्ध्वा चापरं लाभं मन्यते नाधिकं ततः ।
    यस्मिन्स्थितो न दुःखेन गुरुणापि विचाल्यते ।। 
    yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ |
    yasmin-sthito na duḥkhena guruṇāpi vicālyate ||
    (Bhagavad Gita 6.22)
     

    These are statements not by the mind but by the intelligence. So, whether it is a finding by the intelligence or a data collected by the mind, there is no difference. After sometime, the whole of spirituality becomes a beautiful coupling and harmony of the mind and intelligence, means direct experience and inferential finding.

    Rama went on listening to Vasishta. Vasishta spoke words, they hit or touched the ear drum, to that extent alone mind and senses came. Then, the entire rest is a conveyance of knowledge and that knowledge was received, retained, thought about, reflected upon, questions raised, all by the intelligence. The result is that Sri Rama went to do a state of spiritual absorption. So, the references to Saptami Bhoomika, that there is something called the Saptami Bhoomika and it will come and be like this, like this, it is not observable as an object, it is only experiential as a subject and the seeker can get to that level, get to that level, get to that level.

    One idea that comes to me is that we have a number of thoughts and emotions, a full variety. All these thoughts are from the mind, they emerge from the mind, they subside into the mind. So, don’t you think for every thought there is a source from which it emerges and the same source into which it subsides? So, if thought is experiential, please listen to me, if thought is experiential, just one moment before the thought what was there, that is also experiential. And half a moment after the thought, where it has dissolved, that is also experiential. So, if one can be thoughtful, you can also be thought free.

    In thought-freeness there is no different substance. In thoughtfulness also, there is no different substance. The substance is the same. What was free of thought becomes full of thoughts. Again, it becomes free of thought. So, for every thought, before and after, there is thought-freeness. If thoughtfulness can be your experience, why not thought-freeness also? As we are thoughtful now, the seeker at one point of time will become thought free.

    See, I am sitting in the computer. Very often, I get into a sleepy mode, but I disallow the sleep and continue to work. I am simply wondering, is it only a physical fatigue? I am wondering. I have slept. I have got up. Very briskly I have walked. After my breakfast, hardly half an hour or one-hour passes, I become sleepy. So, I was wondering, what is this sleep mode that comes to me often and what is this sleep? It is only a stillness. Not stillness of the body alone, but stillness of the mind also.

    I am talking to you now. To me it is a strained talk, but I talk. As I hear my sound, I understand the sound is a later formation. There is something preceding it which I am not able to feel, ideational formation. You mean to say sound alone is and not ideation? And if ideation is there, the source from which ideation commences is also there. So, if ideation can be in me, the source of ideation also surely is in me. At least by reasoning, you become conscious of it. That consciousness or realization I can call it, which is brought about by reasoning in this manner is no different from any other experience, my dear souls. I am very sorry to call it reasoning. I am not satisfied but I use it, what can be done? This is what some people would like to call, intuitive experience. It is not striking them as a reason, it is simple. ‘I sometimes feel this is the one. That feeling I don’t know why it comes to me.’ It is not a feeling based upon an objective observation or finding. I call it feeling to distinguish it from reasoning.

    See, whether we will have the global event of Gita or not with my, this kind of a recession that is settling in me, I don’t know, I don’t know. It is good if you can do it. Then, the present information is “Why go in for Varanasi? Let us have it in New Delhi. That is, get better outreach, our own people, our own place etc. are there.” Okay if people say so, it is a fact. Then ‘X’ comes up with a statement “If you are not particular about 108 times recitation etc. why have a five-day or a nine-day event, can it not be three days? The press will find it very difficult to report an event beyond three days.” See where has it come to now.

    If you ask me, I still feel we must hold it in Varanasi. This is a feeling I have, much against reason perhaps. Now this feeling, I call it feeling, I don’t know what else do I have. It is not a strained reasoning that makes me feel so. Reasoning is against Varanasi but I feel Varanasi is a holy place and so many pata-salas are there. We will connect them, connect with them and we will find out what is going on in Varanasi. It is a holy place. Any such holy event, we are giving it a kind of a modern administrative touch, but the fact is that it is holy and it should be best held in a holy place. This is what I am feeling. So that is out of the point or connected to the point. Will you deliberate on this and let me know ‘X’, ‘Y’ and whoever else is capable of doing and feeling like doing?

    A realization that comes to me, a revelation is that, the experience, the resultant experience you get from reasoning is no different from direct experience you get in the mind through the senses. After all, where are the senses? Which are the senses? What do they do in developing an experience? Nothing! You say in the waking state they work. Okay. Think of the dream. The same mind produces all the objects, all the world, all the senses and it is begets the experience. Is it not fully mental in dream? Should it not be equally mental in the waking? But there is a delusion that it is not. It is to overcome this delusion that the whole spiritual effort takes place.

    Just see, Pareekshit only listened to Suka-Muni. If at all, it was a transaction, was it anything direct? Like seeing an object, eating food etc? No. Word was the medium which Vasishta could employ to convey the knowledge he wanted to. So, it was an interaction from the intelligence to the intelligence, not from the ear to the ear, mouth to the ear. No, no, no, no, no, no. It was from intelligence to intelligence. And the only way he could communicate was through sound. When we read Yoga Vasishta Ramayana, Vasishta communicates to us through letters. I don’t know whether I have conveyed anything.

    Harih Om Tat Sat.  Jai Guru.

  • PR 21 May 2016 - How to Enhance Sattva Guna
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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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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

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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...

MaJi-HmPg-White

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...

We now enter into another critical pronouncement in Bhagavadgita. Here again, Krishna assumes the same lofty pedestal as earlier (verse 4.7), and speaks on behalf of the Supreme Reality using the first person pronoun. An experience or statement becomes clear, conclusive and doubtless when it is claimed and expressed as “I am, I have seen or I have known”. Any other reference will only be secondary.

For the existence of the world, the first and last proof is that we cognize it. Equally so, for the existence of oneself, the full and final proof is that ‘I am, and therefore I exist’. This direct, subjective, personal note in presenting matters, thus, marks the distinction of spiritual and religious pronouncements. And in our spiritual arena, it has its greatest undeniable place and purpose:

चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः ।
तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम् ।।

The arrangement called varnya, based upon the four categories in the society is instituted by Me; but know that I always remain a non-doer, though the Creator of such a four-fold categorization. As I am a non-doer, I am also the Imperishable.

It appears to be a very simple statement, but Krishna’s words contain and convey a world of meaning and relevance. One has to spend adequate time and attention to grasp what he means and explains in these words, more so to be able to explain the verse to others.

Thus, a great deal of controversy revolves around this verse. Even commentators like Sankaracharya are quoted and abused pitiably, relating the original message in a manner absolutely unrelated to its genesis or relevance. As is the misunderstanding in viewing and interpreting the famous Karma-yoga sutra in the second chapter (verse 47) so also is the failure on the part of the readers and students in relating the statements of this verse properly.

Varna literally means colour. Of the five senses we have for cognizing the objects of the world, the eyes are the most used and sensitive. The objects and the shapes are identified through their varnas, colours. Whether anything is there or not, then again whether the being is a bird, beast, reptile, worm, a cell or a human is first known only through the eye. Only the eye can recognize rupa, colour. In the plant kingdom, we have a number of trees, herbs and the like. Each is identified, and its properties are related, primarily by its looks, as determined by the eyes.

So, varna, the visible distinguishing feature, is important in perceiving existence and its functions. The categorization based upon this property is called varnya, that which is derived from varna (colour). Krishna now says there is something called catur-varnya in the matter of creation. The Creator has brought it into force at the time of creation itself.

It means a four-fold categorization. It is given the name vyavastha – arrangement or order. Like the divisions of beings into birds, animals, mammals, reptiles, humans and the like, this four-fold category is also there. It applies, in truth, to all sentient creation, not alone to human beings. But in human beings it is most pronounced, and we are primarily and ultimately concerned with it. The Gita-sastra also is a reference to human beings, their character, behaviour and interactions.

Krishna says that these four fold categories are on the basis of the guna, quality or character, and karma, actions or pursuits. Quality or guna is something that the human carries with him in his core, deep inside. It is a note or trait inextricably associated with his inner personality, which cannot be readily determined by eyes. That is why an exposition like this becomes necessary.

One has a body. This is a direct knowledge. But that one is not the body, though he has one, and that he is the Soul, which is quite unlike the body, is a truth that none can access through his senses. Hence sastras posit this point, explain and establish it in various ways. This is the basis of our sastras and it should not be forgotten or set aside.

In fact, such a division or categorization was already there as a vyavastha. It was a subject well understood far before Krishna’s birth as Devaki’s son. Krishna only restates what was already known and said.

The four-fold category is on the basis of inner qualities as well as the temptations and physical expressions they give rise to. It is well established that any physical or sensory action results from an inspiration, impetus or instigation arising from inside, from one’s mind and heart. The movements one makes with his limbs, the words he utters with his mouth, and also the thoughts and emotions that emerge from him, are all motivated by the qualities or forces he carries within himself. The inner part cannot be seen or judged by another. But certainly when the inner part comes to expression in the form of visible acts or behaviour, they can be clearly known.

Thus gunas, the qualities inside, and karmas, visible actions outside, both put together determine this categorization, says Krishna. Krishna does not say anything more at this stage here. Later, he has, while describing the qualities and actions of the categories (verse 18.41) said that each category is distinguished by a set of features, enlisted by him briefly. This is all that Bhagavadgita states. The rest is all interpretation and comment.

The gunas are three, as already stated in earlier chapters. Guna is a spiritual word, and naturally its meaning and import are also spiritual. Quality is just an English translation of the word. In fact, the guna means the property of a thing, be it a person or an object. Just like physical and chemical properties are there for substances, human beings have their spiritual characteristics. The Bhagavadgita lists them as sattva, rajas and tamas, about which we have mentioned in the earlier discussions.

The three gunas give rise to four combinations of tendencies, broadly, which express themselves in one’s life during his or her interactions with the world. The invisible gunas are not directly noticeable. They manifest through the activities and tendencies, which of course will be evident.

Krishna divides the characteristics into four groups. The first group, in which sattva guna is in the forefront, is the most spiritual. The predominant sattva guna will afford easy natural contemplation on the Supreme Truth or Brahman, together with the allied level of purity and goodness. Our sastras, even before Krishna was born, called it Brahmasvabhava. It means the proximate nature to Brahman, facilitating Braahmic contemplation as the most dominant aspect of life.

Arjuna, being a warrior, obviously cannot claim inclusion in this Brahma-svabhava. That is why Krishna straightaway refused Arjuna’s proposed impulsive attempt to get away from the battlefield and engage in exclusive spiritual contemplation.

Brahma svabhavins have thus a lifestyle and pursuit dominated by austerity, contemplation and the gaining of extreme level of purity. Their mainstay is knowledge, its pursuit and promotion. Sannyasins and such other people are to be included in this sattvika category.

The next group has rajo guna as the dominant quality. Rajas represents activity and the motivation, passion and prejudice for it. Rajasika people will revel in continuous activities. The taxing and seemingly cruel act of public administration, involving defence and law enforcing activities, comes under this category. Our rulers and armed forces would fall in this category. Kshatra svabhava is the name given to this. It calls for and implies the power of muscle and voice. To say what is to be done, even in emergent situations, and to see that what is so said is adhered to and implemented is the quality of rajas.

In case of insubordination or opposition, the man of rajo guna, kshatra svabhava, cannot and should not close his eyes, relent or retreat. He has to straightaway go into the matter, employing his wish, will and strength, sometimes even risking his own life. Muscle and mind both will have to be arrayed for the purpose, which is something the brahmasvabh¡vins cannot think of doing at all. By the very nature of it, rajo guna may lead to precipitous events and confrontations, as for instance the one facing Arjuna himself.

Arjuna was a kshatra svabh¡vin, and he expressed his nature consistently. He wanted to fight adharma, impropriety, and those who defended it. Thus Duryodhana and the rest were to be contended with. He was ready for the fight.

But when he came to Kurukshetra, he found his grandfather, who had literally brought him up on his lap, and his own venerable teacher, under whose care and guidance he grew to be what he had now become. They were defending Duryodhana. The wrong was to be dealt with. But the persons fighting for the wrong-side were adorable. Thus the conflict became extremely grave, and it unnerved him.

This is a typical instance in the life of the kshatriya. But rajo guna is noted to precipitate such grave crises and conflicts. The kshatriya has nevertheless to go forward. That is how Krishna instills Arjuna with the necessary insight and compulsiveness to assimilate the conflicting notes and yet fulfil the role of rajo guna. But the rajo guna of the kshatriya will have to be closely guarded and guided by sattva. Only then his violent, offensive and remedial moves will remain faultless and benevolent to ensure social and individual welfare. Herein lies the test and also redemption.

The third category of nature is the one that takes naturally to trade and agriculture, including animal husbandry. To trade means to protect the capital. In intriguing circumstances, which are not at all rare, the trader will have to blend good and bad, truth with half-truth, and only then his profession can be sustained. It is said that the trader’s success often consists in the quality of his words than of his goods. Our sastras thus describe vaisya dharma as a mixture of truth and untruth: satya-anrta. Nonetheless, there are many who have affinity for the vaisya dharma and are fit for this pursuit.

Now comes the fourth category, which encompasses always the largest percentage of human population anywhere in the world. Sudra svabhava is the name given to it. In it, the tamo guna is predominant, followed by rajas.

Those given to this combination will have their body and muscle as their wealth. They cannot take up any complex venture that needs subtle thinking and intelligent decisions. On the other hand, they can work hard under the guidance of others. All that they would expect is some reward in the form of remuneration or resources, which will enable them to live with their family.

Neither the austerity with contemplative pursuit of the Brahma-svabhavin, nor the zealous involvement in the challenges of ruling the society, nor again the cleverness and responsibility of the professions like trade and agriculture, can they take up. Theirs is the path of least resistance but comfortable involvement. “I shall not take any risk. Nor would I aspire for anything big or great. Employ me to the extent I can be employed, and I shall be content with what purpose it will serve you.”

These are the four categories which go to make humanity. The first group looks after the knowledge, research and their benefits for the welfare of mankind. The second holds the society in check and balance by placing their might and astuteness, including physical, for the cause of public administration. The third toils in the land and cultivates food materials and also engages in the production and distribution of commodities to meet the needs of the society. And the last is the broadest and largest ‘human resource’, which any other category needs and will employ.

These four together, says Krishna, constitute the complex, mutually fulfilling human society in the world. The creation of these mutually complementing four categories by different combinations of the three gunas, is the role of Nature.

In earlier chapters (verse 3.5), he has already said that all actions and their motivations are a handiwork of Prakrti, Nature, and none has anything to say or do in the matter. Nature has instituted this complex order (vyavastha) in the world. Like the birth of male and female in the society, like the preservation of the various species around, in this too, Nature’s hands alone work, and mankind has nothing to do or to interfere in the process, except to recognize the whole order and be enriched and guided by it.

These svabhavas or guna combinations are ever active and vibrant in humanity. In fact, these are the inner psychological and psychic traits. Similarly, physical and chemical substances too have their respective properties and nature. There is no being in existence, sentient or insentient, dissociated from its nature or svabhava (18.40).

Thus the four-fold combination is a well-knit arrangement one can think of. Does Nature have intelligence to conceive all this with sufficient forethought and caution? The answer is that – if the human, Nature’s best gift, has his level of intelligence and insight, what should be the magnitude and potential of Mother Nature, the very source from which the human intelligence has sprung!

Only because the super-intelligence of Grand Nature shines independently unblemished, the resultant satellites like man and the rest can have their dependent lustres. Have not the Upanishads sung this fact most melodiously?

तमेव भान्तमनुभाति सर्वं तस्य भासा सर्वमिदं विभाति ।
(Kathopanishad 2.2.15)

Only when that independent primordial lustre shines there, the rest shine after it. Indeed by Its brilliance alone are all these empowered with their respective lustres.

None should therefore doubt or wonder whether the cause of all existences, namely Nature, has sufficient intelligence within it. Is it not its intelligence or sentience that becomes manifest in varying degrees in the whole spectrum of sentient beings? The small measure of sentience we possess and display should, in fact, lead our understanding to infer how magnificent the intelligence of the Supreme source of all should be! It is because of that Supreme Master Intelligence that all this well thought-out arrangements, sequences, orders and institutions come to reign around us, in the universe. How is this wonder accomplished? The seeker has to think deeply to fill the gaps in his understanding.

It is important to know that this four-fold category of humanity (catur-varna) is not something that prevails in India or Hindu society alone. It is applicable to the whole human population, wherever people are. In the most modern nations also, where science and technology have advanced to render living standards and amenities copious, one can still find this four-fold division.

Are not farmers and agriculturists in all countries producing food and other articles on the earth and making them available to the society? Equally so, are not the other counterpart too, the traders, taking up the task of distributing the farm-produce to the different users? What about the organized, disciplined police and defence personnel with their resolve and spirit to implement the dictates of law and order? There is also the research group, active with its pursuit of knowledge, constantly endeavouring to discover, invent and popularize various measures and expediencies the society looks for and will cherish from time to time. And, there is always a work-force which serves the society with its muscle-capacity.

Surely, all these together alone make any human society wholesome and fulfilling. This basic and ultimate structure of the complex society cannot be tampered with at any time.

In fact, only when the earth, air, water, sunlight and other elemental sources are already present, the humans and the rest of creatures will be evolved. Only when the laws and processes resulting in the emergence of the insentient world and planets remain ceaselessly active to preserve their respective properties and the mutually complementary forces, the question of human existence arises at all.

In humans too, it is but reasonable that the same orderliness, cycles and constitutional harmony manifest and govern. None can think of drawing a line to divide the sequence of creation or the order of complex Nature. What precedes humanity can alone prevail in humanity and whatever follows it too!

***********

(From the Series Essential Concepts In Bhagavad Gita- Volume 2)

Recordings of Poojya Swamiji's Talks

Bhagavad Gita : A Topic for Research - 1

Bhagavad Gita : A Topic for Research - 2


 

Vicharsetu
Vicharasethu 
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. 
 
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