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Today I thought, as Mā suggested, I will tell you something about niṣṭā. In Bhagavad Gita, the word niṣṭāappears in the third chapter.
लोकेऽस्मिन् द्विविधा निष्ठा पुरा प्रोक्ता मयानघ ।
ज्ञानयोगेन साङ्ख्यानां कर्मयोगेन योगिनाम् ॥
loke’smin dvi-vidhā niṣṭā purā proktā mayānagha |
jnāna-yogena sāṅkhyānām karma-yogena yoginām ||
(Bhagavad Gita 3.3)
In this world, Arjuna, altogether there is only one niṣṭā - that niṣṭā has got two facets or phases. Initially it is karma niṣṭā, thereupon it is jñānaniṣṭā. So he uses the word dvi-vidhā niṣṭā. The same niṣṭā, but in two stages or two phases. That is the only niṣṭā so far as spiritual wisdom and pursuit are concerned in this world. Initially, the seeker will have to be associated with some karma or the other. When dispassion, discrimination, etc. become sufficiently settled and strong in him, then he can drop the karmic involvement and take to the jñānaniṣṭā hundred percent.
In Bhagavad Gita, in the eighteenth chapter, Sri Krishna refers to this jñānaniṣṭā as:
निष्ठा ज्ञानस्य या परा ।।
niṣṭā jñānasya yā parā ||
(Part of Bhagavat Gita 18.50)
“I shall tell you the Supreme jñānaniṣṭā in a very brief manner”, he says. And in three verses, he explains it.
What is this niṣṭā? Niṣṭā is a principle, or either one value or a set of values, which you adopt to govern all your activities and pursuits in life. If you are a niṣṭāvān or a niṣṭāh, then you will always find, the mind, the intelligence, the will, everything in you, will always be wanting to ensure that whatever you do, think, and speak is governed by the niṣṭā values. Suppose you say, “I am a bhakti niṣṭāh", then everything will have to be subjected to and governed by the devotional principle. What is the devotional principle? Everything including the world, my own body, etc. belongs to God. The world is completely Godly and whatever is done by anyone, anywhere, is part of this Godliness.
The mind will not accept it. The intelligence will argue against it. But ultimately you have to arrive at a position that everything is Godly, belonging to God.
Suppose you have an adverse plight, you’ll have to think that also has been brought about by God. Suppose you want redemption from it, the redemption also will have to be provided for by God. So the complete resignation to the thought and process of devotion, that is called bhakti niṣṭā.
What is jñānaniṣṭā? Jñānaniṣṭā is one where the place occupied by devotion will be occupied by wisdom, jñāna. What is that jñāna? That “I am the Soul and the Soul is above and it transcends body, mind, intelligence and ego. It is different from the body and transcends mind, intelligence and ego. And this Soul is totally unlike the body. So if the body is born, the Soul is unborn. If the body is growing, the Soul does not grow. If the body will die, the Soul will not die. So I am the Soul, immortal. And as such I am independent, I am free, I am not conditioned by any physical state, mental state, or intellectual state or ego state.” You may have to constantly about this Truth…
नैव किञ्चित्करोमीति युक्तो मन्येत तत्त्ववित् ।
naiva kiñcit-karomīti yukto manyeta tattva-vit |
(Bhagavad Gita 5.8)
A man who knows the Truth, will never think “I am doing something.” At the same time, you will find:
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेषु वर्तन्त इति धारयन् ।।
indriyāṇīndriyārtheṣu vartanta iti dhārayan ||
(Bhagavad Gita 5.8, 5.9)
This kind of a feeling and realization is not when you bodily keep quiet. No! The body and the senses will be active as regularly as possible. That is why Gita puts a number of words like gacchan - going, sitting, opening the eyes, closing, eating, hearing, seeing. Whatever you do, the senses are interacting with their objects. While this interaction is going on, at that time, while they are on, the knower of Truth will still feel naiva kiñcitkaromīti. “I am the Soul and the Soul is non-active; it is all pervading; it is still; there is no vibration or movement in it at any time.” So this kind of a notion will always be guiding him. Whenever he slips from it, he will have to bring it back and be fixed on it.
Bhakti niṣṭā, jñānaniṣṭā, similarly Gita uses a word called yuktaḥ. What is meant by yuktaḥ? Sufficiently controlled, moderated and integrated. What is this integration? The senses, mind, intelligence, ego and the Soul - all of them will have to be integrated. The sensory activities will have to be properly governed and guided by the mind. The mind has to be directed by the intelligence. The intelligence has to reflect upon the Soul, and always imbibe and carry the wisdom of the Soul. And all these should be together. It is not that they are divergent - the mind in a direction, intelligence in another, ego in another, and senses in a still different direction. It is not so.
So, the niṣṭā is something very important. Any human being, if he is going to be worthy of himself, especially, according to moral and ethical and spiritual standards, he must have niṣṭā in his life. There cannot be any wavering. There cannot be an unnecessary divergence. There must be a convergence in him. This niṣṭā is very important.
I would like to say, that which guides you in your life, governs you in whatever you do is called niṣṭā. This niṣṭhā will have to be continued and preserved till the fall of the body. That is called niṣṭā. Without having a niṣṭā, I don’t think your inner personality will get refined, will become sublime, will become beautiful, will become orderly and harmonious. Whatever you speak, you have to be careful about. Unless you are careful, there is no point in speaking much. So when somebody asks you, “Will you do it for me?”, say “yes” or “no”. If you say “yes”, do it; if you say “no”, get away from it.
You cannot say “yes” and then go on postponing it, postponing it, and postponing it, not doing it. So, there must be some truthfulness, some integrity, by virtue of which whatever you speak is always whatever you think, and is always whatever you will do. So there must be an integration of the physical action and interaction with whatever you speak and whatever you think. This kind of a coordination and integration is not easy. This is what is meant by yuktatā.
yukta āsīta matparaḥ (Bhagavad Gita 2.61), yoga-yuktaḥ, niṣṭāvān, niṣṭaḥ. That can be bhakti-niṣṭā, jñāna-niṣṭā, vairāgya-niṣṭā, yoga-niṣṭā, all are niṣṭās, and the qualities of niṣṭā are always relating to your mind and intelligence. Mind and intelligence are the two important factors or constituents in your inner personality which have to be refined, integrated and unified. So the word niṣṭāis very important.
Before coming away from Calcutta, many years back, the thought of sannyāsa, embracing sannyāsa, and coming away was there. So I happened to read many of our śāstras, and then one important point that always appealed to me was Gaudapādā’s Kārika. It says that:
What is actually the niṣṭā? The Upanishads are quite emphatic about speaking about the Soul. There is a reference to jīvanmukti, videhamukti, ātmajñāna, sthitaprajña, sthitadhī, so many things are mentioned. Ultimately what is it? Gaudapāda says, “Know the Ādhyatmic truth.” What is that? “That you are the Soul, which is imperishable, unborn, and undying. This doesn’t need anything. It is always blissful. Know that!” What is that external truth? The external truth is that this imperishable Soul is apparently associated with a perishable body. The body is perishable. The entire world and its objects also are perishable. The only imperishable element is, if at all, within the body, denoted by the term “I”, carrying both the perceptions. Never foster that the body you are. "No I am not the body. But the body is perishable. It is available to me to access the Soul."
Tattvībhūtaḥ - Knowing this what should be your feeling about the Soul? “I am the Soul.” Become the Soul. To know God is to become God. To know the Soul is to become the Soul.
Tad-ārāmaḥ - Rejoice, delight and exult in this realization that you are the Soul.
Tattvād apracyuto bhavet - Never slip or fall from this Truth, from its realization. Always look inside and make sure that your mind and intelligence do not fall from this perception or realization. And then take to yatiḥ yādṛcchiko bhavet. Become an ascetic and live on chance. This is what he said.
So these words of Gaudapāda, in the Kārika of Mandukya Upanishad, gave me a very good, what shall I say, assurance or a confirmation or maybe an exhortation even, this is how one should be a full-fledged seeker of truth.
yatiḥ yādṛcchiko bhavet ||
So that yādṛcchikatā becomes the niṣṭā for a true seeker and a renunciate. Similarly for a gṛhastha, his own niṣṭā is there to look after the family, ensure the welfare of the members of the family, do everything for it, sacrifice maximum, and then go ahead. When the time comes, take to renunciation, which is an obligation in order to fulfill your own life in this world.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
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