The pursuit of Upanishadic Goal of Self-realization was generally reserved for renunciates who had withdrawn from all worldly activities. Bhagavadgeeta’s revolutionary presentation of spiritual saadhana made the same goal attainable by anybody engaged in any field of activity, provided one changes his aim and attitude with which he acts.
One must take up any activity as and when it comes, guided by his viveka, but should never cling to the desire of gaining happiness only when the desired result is had. Then, activities will no more be a hindrance to saadhana. Rather, they will be an opportunity to purify our being. Instead of creating bondage they will work as instruments for liberation.
Instead of withdrawing from the world in search of divinity, the message of Bhagavadgeeta is to purify our mind and divinize our life by making our interactions free of raaga-dvesha (desireful clinging to what we like and hateful intollerance towards what we dislike).
In this CD/discourse series, the saadhana presented in Bhagavadgeeta has been summarised as a four-fold saadhana. Although the saadhana is the same leading to the same qualities, enrichment, and result, it is only looking at it from four different perspectives:
1.Samatva Yoga : In Bhagavadgeeta, the ‘Yoga’ is defined as ‘Samatva’ (samatvam yoga ucyate. shloka 2.48). Initially it is keeping evenness of mind in success-failure, sukha-duhkha, gain-loss, etc. This eventually means getting rid of raaga-dvesha or cultivating impartiality and impersonality.
But the ultimate level of samatva or equal vision as presented in shlokas 5.19 (ihaiva tair-jitah sargo ...) and 6.32 (aatmaupamyena sarvatra …), is nothing less than brahmajnaana. So, the practice of samatva must lead one to the transcendental Oneness resulting in fulfillment. Or, in other words, the Knowledge of the Transcendental Reality enables one to attain the ultimate level of samatva.
2.Yajna Vision : In Bhagavadgeeta, the concept of Yajna has been raised from the ceremonial yajna to a Universal dimension independent of any religious connotation (shlokas 3.9, and 4.23 to 4.33). All the infinite varieties of activities taking place in the Universe constitute the Yajna of the Universal Lord or Nature. Our body-mind personality being a product of Nature, whatever one does is also a small speck in this Universal Yajna.
Till this truth dawns as a natural revelation, its remembrance enables a spiritual saadhaka to offer all his actions and results, his ego of doership and desire to enjoy, as an oblation to this Supreme Yajna. By such Yajna Vision, the ego (ahankaara) gets sublimated, finally merging in the supreme impersonal Self. Yajna Vision also naturally bestows samatva.
3.Transcending Gunas : In our spiritual literature, we have some very efficient graphic models. The3-guna model of Nature (sattva-rajas-tamas) is one such. In Bhagavadgeeta, a saadhaka’s personality is analyzed in striking detail in terms of these three gunas or modes or characteristic qualities. Saadhana is to attain the Gunaateeta level by transcending the bondage created by each guna. To actualize one’s real Transcendental Identity is to liberate one’s personality from the binding and constricting influence of all the three gunas.
Here the Gunaateeta concept has been explained by referring to Shlokas from the 14th chapter and the 18th chapter. In fact, this 3-guna model presents before us a strikingly realistic, step by step saadhana to be in tune with the fundamental rhythm of Nature, to discover and follow one’s own ‘svabhaava’. In the process, the samatva also dawns spontaneously.
4.Surrender (Saranaagati) : Surrender or ‘saranaagati’ is the last word in spiritual saadhana. When we understand surrender properly, we realize that it needs the greatest self-effort to surrender. A saadhaka has to “practice surrender” to the supreme Reality till he realizes that he is already surrendered, and he has nothing to surrender.
Surrender must result in a “feeling of having an unfailing refuge” (aasraya-bodha). It bestows to the seeker tremendous confidence to face anything in the world. The saadhana of surrender too leads to samatva and complete merger with the Supreme. The real meaning of surrender has been explained referring to shlokas 3.30, and18.56 to 18.66.