"Our body and this complex world around us is meant to reveal and display the Self variously. Spiritual seeking lies in looking for That which animates the body. Turn the mind and intelligence inward to their very Source. Let the thoughts make you search for the thinking substance, the thinker.  Only then the mystery of the Self will be unveiled."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


Articles for Saadhana

Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio

Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

I am discussing the eighteenth chapter of Bhagavad Gita and the various categories of intelligence, jñāna, karma, jñāta. All these categories have been explained and we are entering into or we have entered into a summary statement by Krishna. What is that summary statement?

न तदस्ति पृथिव्यां वा दिवि देवेषु वा पुनः ।
सत्त्वं प्रकृतिजैर्मुक्तं यदेभिः स्यात्त्रिभिर्गुणैः ॥
na tad-asti pṛthivyām vā divi deveṣu vā puna: |
sattvam prakṛtijair-muktam yad-ebhi: syāt-tribhir-guṇai: ||
(Bhagavad Gita 18.40)

Why am I discussing so much the differences brought about by sattva, rajas and tamas? In the human personality, its constituents, and also in different branches and areas of life, because as long as these are in force, the amazing variety and plurality we find in the world will continue to be so.

Sri Rama went on a pilgrimage at the age of sixteen after completing his lessons on archery. He went with a lot of expectation thinking that he would be exposed to the entire country of Bharat. So far he was living only in Ayodhya, a small kingdom and the exposure would be very enlightening and delightful. It was enlightening alright but not delightful. What he found in this world was very disappointing for him. He said, “Even in dream I am not able to find a good person. People are overpowered by greed, by possessiveness. They don’t mind and resent doing any kind of an evil”. Lamentation was very much. He was unable to contain and tolerate his mind.

He went to the extent of telling Vasishta, “If this is the nature and plight of the world, I would like to ask you my dear Sage, is there any way of being relieved from the impact? Did our people get this relief? Do you know of it? Will you tell me and can I understand it and apply it to my life? If the answer to any of these questions is a ‘no’, then this Rama will no more be interested in living. He will live as a painted Rama on the wall. I will not like anything other than the fall of my body and I would like the falling of the body to be as fast as possible. I will not eat. I will not drink. I will not do any princely activity.”

So the determination was even graver than what Arjuna evinced in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This tells you that the story of the world is the same whether it is modern, scientific and technological today or primitive and prehistoric earlier. The human personality has not changed. The surrounding world and its constitution has also not changed. The individual is surrounded by his own nature and the nature of nature. And the interaction will be in the individual level - sattva, rajas and tamas dominated; and in the surrounding levels - sattva, rajas and tamas dominated. So you cannot expect a better world. You can only expect an admixtured world. This point Rama could not understand or grasp.

Arjuna could not understand and grasp the complexity of Mahabharata war. Here, Sri Rama could not understand or appreciate the complexity of the world. You cannot have a world of your choice. You cannot have a world devoid of wicked and cruel people. There was a time when people invented something called hijacking of aircrafts, and suddenly they started flourishing. Now it was something they invented. Naturally they excelled. When a thief runs and a policeman is behind him, the thief is free to take any direction. But the policeman has to follow him. So the follower is at a disadvantage. So our hijacking had to be contented by knowing what all methods they employed etc. and now there is no hijacking.

Similarly terrorists have developed unbridled attacks. They are using passenger buses and drive them into a crowd to show their power. I think if we are intelligent and bold, we must be able to understand their ways and methods and organize our precaution and defense. In that, we should not fail. If they are ruthless, we have to become ruthless squared and ruthless cubed in meeting them. It will take some time.

Hijacking is on the air. But this terrorism is on the ground. It can be on the air very little. So the whole earth is available for them. They are free. Anybody can stay and hide himself anywhere in the earth and then launch his attack. Widespread is the terrorism we are facing. How many countries are there in the world? Something like less than two hundred? All the countries will have to become aware of the danger, mobilize themselves, organize themselves, several classes will have to be held, treatises have to be made, training have to be done before we can face the terrorists all over the world in a uniform manner. And once we are organized, I think it is a matter of days and weeks; these terrorists will be liquidated in no time at all. But to get all the countries of the world to stand on their heels to face the crisis, that organization takes time. Terrorists also would have taken time to organize themselves but we don’t know about it.

So this is the nature of the world. Rama was not prepared for it. So Vasishta advised him, made him understand the problem and enlightened him. In the same way, Krishna is enlightening Arjuna. If Rama lived in Treta yuga, Arjuna lived in Dwapara end.

Today I am going to speak about a comparison. Krishna concluded saying that:

na tad-asti pṛthivyām vā divi deveṣu vā puna: |
sattvam prakṛtijair-muktam yad-ebhi: syāt-tribhir-guṇai: ||

Either in the world or in the heavens, either among humanity or among the Gods and Goddesses, you will not find a single being freed from the clutches of guṇās. See, it a very great, sweeping statement. I don’t know whether people think about it. And as long as the three guṇās, one different from and opposed to the other are there and we are under their grip, how do you expect to be saved? So the saving is only not in destroying the guṇās or coming out of them but to insulate yourself sufficiently inwardly. That comes to you from the knowledge of the self which is itself unaffected by the guṇās. So you have to hide so to say in the self and be protected by it.

So the insulation is not wearing an armor and facing the bullets. It is on the other hand, discovering the impenetrable level that you have within you as the soul and that discovery and enlightenment will give the mind and the intelligence enough power and enrichment to become free. You cannot get out of the encirclement of the guṇās. But you can remain free inwardly from them.

Krishna was middle-aged when he advised Arjuna. Now, he was 125 years when he advised Uddhava. So I think something like seventy or seventy five years, more than that would have passed. Almost ninety years would have passed. And when he was speaking to Uddhava, there also he is asking Uddhava to become free from the guṇa hold. For Arjuna it was to fight the war. But for Uddhava, it was to develop detachment and go from Dwaraka and Krishna to Badarikashrama. One was a peaceful departure and goodbye. Another was a bold attack and killing. For both, the same self-knowledge was given.

So I was turning into the last message of Krishna and I wanted to take quotations. At one point, Krishna says, “This is a point that Arjuna raised in the battlefield of Kurukshetra and I answered him.” Krishna is saying about Kurukshetra dialogue when he was 125 years before Uddhava. Our scriptures are all interconnected. The message is the same. How they beautifully interconnect them! In the last chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam there is a verse in which Suta concludes the narration by saying – “यं ब्रह्मा वरुणेन्द्र रुद्र मरुतः स्तुन्वन्ति दिव्यैस्तवैः |” When did this happen? Much later. Now that shloka has been taken and grafted to Bhagavad Gita as one of the meditational verses in the beginning. Just see, how they are interweaving the scriptures! It is an art!

Guṇasya māyāmūlatvād, The guṇās have no reality. They are only illusory. So we should not worry about whether it is sattva, rajas or tamas. Suddenly you see, how many people have died? The fishermen and their boats. They were simply driven off! The fishermen it is said, they lighted their towel and showed it to the helicopter but the helicopter people could not see. They dropped something for him to hold and he was not able to hold. Somebody got down, lifted him up. A few people are gone!

Now, whom will you blame for all this? Can you blame the sea? Can you blame the wind? Can you blame the earth? Can you blame time? Can you blame nature? When some person kills another, we consider it to be cruelty and we take action and book the case. Can you book nature? Everywhere it is the same guṇās that are at work. So it should make us think repeatedly, if you live in this world you can only be under the influence of the three guṇās yourself and you can only face a world which is again under the grip of the same three guṇās, but in a larger or a greater magnitude.

This Guṇatraya philosophy is something very important that Krishna presents. It is not Kapila’s Sankhya where Sattva, rajas, tamo guṇās as constituents of pradhāna remaining in balance, balance disturbed by a big bang and the creation started from action, reaction, re-reaction pro-reaction, further reaction. It is not that! Here we are contending and dealing with different types of qualities and enrichments in people and the escape, the saving is not outward, but inward, inward, inward. You can remain free from the guṇās and their impact. You cannot outlive them, outstrip them or gain victory over them.

Just like the self remains encircled by gunas, let your mind and the intelligence also live encircled by the guṇās but unaffected by them. So today I am going to draw a parallel from Srimad Bhagavatam, I have not seen the verses, I have to see them and also think how to connect them well. We are thinking whether the rest of the portion can become a very good subject to be discussed for about four or five days in Naimisharanyam. For that, I must extend today’s lecture and not come to the actual next verse but before that I would like to speak in an extempore manner but bringing about these connections.

You should understand Krishna was middle-aged in Kurukshetra and he was 125 in Dwaraka. How many years have passed? I think about eighty-five years have passed according to the calculation given by Srimad Bhagavatam. So after eighty five years, he is discussing the same subject with a different application to make Uddhava get away from Dwaraka and Krishna, drop all his attachment and go. But in Kurukshetra, Krishna advised Arjuna using the same soul, “now remain here, fight, kill, gain victory, but not with saṅga, dropping saṅga.” There dropping saṅga, go to Badarikashrama, dropping saṅga remain here and fight. I don’t know my dear souls whether you attach importance to what I say. It is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

I am saying it is just like fire. How many different items of food are cooked by fire? And all the garbage is disposed of in fire. Our own dead body is burnt in fire. Similarly, the self fire is used to fight the war and also to leave everything and go - opposite actions. See the wonder, the amazement, the beauty, the bewilderment! There is a lot to think.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

Pin It