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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
I have been discussing some of the salient statements in the form of verses from the sixth chapter of Bhagavad Gita which carries the title “Dhyāna-yoga” or “Ātmasamyama-yoga”. Dhyāna-yoga is yoga of meditation. Ātmasamyama means the yoga of self-restraint. Both the names are given to the sixth chapter. Ātmasamyama-yoga is the only coinage that you have to think about.
In the human world, whenever anybody gets born with a body, I would like you to think what is very important or most important here. All bodies in this world have to thrive on food and nourishment. The need for food and nourishment, the impetus for taking food, these are all inbuilt in the biological aggregate called the body.
If you look into the sky, you will find early in the morning by about six o’ clock, so many birds will start flying in their respective directions. Why are they going? They are going in search of food and by the time they come back, it will be dusk. There are special concentrations on the Earth in different parts where the birds come back and rest during the night. What does it mean? Every creature has to have its food. This food has to be sought and eaten. The effort has to be done by each creature. Except the python, every creature as far as I am able to understand, makes its own specific effort to get its food.
In the case of a python, it is not able to move fast and prey. So it remains wherever it is, coiling or lying keeping the mouth wide open. Whenever some birds happen to pass through that area, it just catches and swallows. What does it mean? Why don’t you think about it? This python is also a creature upon the Earth like so many others. Poor being, it is not able to crawl or run in order to catch hold of a prey. Suppose there is a frog, a snake starts chasing it. The frog leaps, but the snake moves faster and somehow gets hold of the prey. In the case of a python, it is not able to do so. But even for the python, nature has provided food and nourishment. Otherwise how can the creature be alive for as many generations as the others are?
Why I say this? In the human world, if we live primarily or solely for having our food, making it as colorful, as civilized as possible, we have so many different packets of food sold in the market, some call it fast food, some call it slow food, so many different things, after all it is only feeding the body and nourishing it. If this is alone our goal, I don’t think we are worth our status as a human being. This is what every animal, bird, reptile, everything does.
Human being is noted for the knowledge and what all knowledge can bring about in his life. The knowledge takes place in the form of deliberations, mental and intellectual deliberations within, and articulation through the mouth. So this articulation and understanding - these are the two important facts in human life. Unless we identify them and harness them, that is why we have so many schools, kindergartens and all that.
A question arises. What is that knowledge which will fulfill and complete human life? That is another consideration. When you start probing in this manner, it is in answer to this that we find our Vedas and Vedic Upanishads. Our Vedic Upanishads were evolved by virtue of the dedicated enquiry as to what is that kind of knowledge which will give us fulfillment. We are not interested in the usual care and concern for the body. Our entire civilization looks after the body and bodily requirements and attainments. Unless the civilization incorporates this knowledge evolution, knowledge fulfillment, it cannot be complete. It is in this area that India had distinguished itself right from the past, prehistoric times.
Now in the sixth chapter, there is one verse which I may take up.
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः ।।
ātmaiva hy-ātmano bandhur-ātmaiva ripur-ātmanaḥ
uddhared ātmana ātmānaṁ, Krishna says to Arjuna, “You have to elevate yourself by yourself.” Every time, if you are born as a human being, our interest, objective and understanding should be, “I must elevate myself, elevate myself.” It is not lifting your body up into the sky. Elevate your status as a human being, as a being. This elevation can come only from articulation and knowledge exercise and effort.
Articulation is audible and visible. But intellection is invisible. It takes place within. One has to elevate oneself. If you don’t elevate oneself, what will happen? You will get enervated. Unless there is a conscious effort to elevate oneself, the result will be the opposite.
Nātmānam-avasādayet. Do not allow yourself to be degraded. So there are two propositions. One is, one has to elevate oneself by one’s own effort, discrimination, discretion, viveka, and if it is not done, you will get degenerated. Do not allow it.
Ātmaiva hy-ātmano bandhur-ātmaiva ripur-ātmanaḥ. Oneself is one’s own friend and oneself is one’s own enemy. See, very simple - thirty two letters, four lines and a few words. I think this contains the entire nature of human life, the message and what you are supposed to do with it.
अनात्मनस्तु शत्रुत्वे वर्तेतात्मैव शत्रुवत् ।।
bandhur-ātmātmanas-tasya yenātmaivātmanā jitaḥ
anātmanas-tu śatrutve vartetātmaiva śatru-vat
When your personality is sufficiently restraint, regulated, refined and sublimated, it becomes a friend for you. If not, it becomes an enemy. Will you carry this message and work on it? The entire world is not your hindrance. Never blame anybody in this world for your life, its progress or fulfillment. The entire cause of everything that you do lies within yourself, within yourself, in your own mind, in your own intelligence. The task is to elevate oneself, not allow degradation. And this elevation is done not by increasing the physical and sensory amenities but by developing and employing your viveka, discrimination.
I don’t know whether you will accept my statement when I say, not a speck of matter in this world can bring and bestow happiness for you. Happiness, happiness is an emotion. All emotions belong to the human mind. They are generations and creations of the mind. The mind need not feel happy if it has an affluence of objects and luxuries around. But the mind can be happy with nothing around because happiness is an emotion. As an emotion, it is a creation of the mind. Make your mind generate whatever happiness you want, all by itself not in a dependent manner.
We can have a few things of the world and you can be happy about them. Many things are needed in order to facilitate life. I call them conveniences for life, not comforts, conveniences. You have to travel, there is a bus, a public bus transport, maybe private. You can travel by air, travel by water, whichever is convenient you can go. These are all facilities there. Quite good. I have no objection. But understand that none of these is the source of happiness.
The source of happiness is the mind within your body. It can be happy with a few things or nothing. It need not be happy with an affluence of things. So, where should be the focus? The focus should be in your own mind. This mind can be reformed, touched up, refined and enriched to any extent but by a mento-intellectual process. This is what spirituality is.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.