Sunday, 27 December 2015

The technique of meditation.


The  Gita  revisited.
The  technique  of  meditation .

                          The  Lord  goes  on to explain  the  technique  of  meditation in  this  chapter.  He  had  given  all  details  about  meditation  in the  6th  chapter . Here  in this  18th chapter  ,He  just  talks  about a  few  important   things.. The  senses  and  mind  often  rob  a person  of  his  peace  of  mind  and  the  stimuli  from  the  external  world  can  disturb  the  mind  of  one  who  is  going  to  sit  in meditation.  The  mind  can  also  get  disturbed   by going  over  again and  again  in the  mind   of  past  experiences   or  by  anxieties   over  future   events.  .  The  Lord  says  that  one  has  to  renounce  the  sense  objects  ,which  means  one  controls  the   stimuli  such  as  sound,  form  , or  touch  and  so  on   from  entering  the  sense  organs  of  ear,  eyes  ,skin  and  so  on  and  disturbing  the  mind.  The  mind  could  be  in  grief  over  some  past  sorrow  or  be  excited  over  a  future   joyful  experience .  The  mind  has  developed  from  childhood  likes  and  dislikes . The  mind  tries  to  run  towards  the  things  it  likes  and  tries  to  run away  from  what  it  dislikes .  And  in addition  the  intellect  has  to  become  free  of  unhealthy  desires.  So  controlling  the  senses  and  the  mind  (  shama  and  dama  )   becomes  an  important  sadhana  for   tuning  the  mind  for  meditation .

                    After  adjusting  the  inner  equipments  , the  seeker  has  to  select   such  a place  where  he  can  remain  in  solitude  and  not  be  disturbed  by  anyone.  during  his  meditation .  The  Lord  says  that  neither   over indulging  in  food  nor  in  sleep  can  ever  help  a   seeker  to  meditate  peacefully  .  Hence  moderation  is  advised   in  eating  , sleeping  and  all kinds  of  entertainments  which  will  disturb  the  seeker's  mind. .  Food  also  includes  all other   stimuli  entering  the  seeker's  sense  organs  . . The  seeker  has  to  keep  his  speech,  body  and  mind   under  control.  Speech  stands  for  all  the  organs  of  action ,  the  body  for  all  the  organs  of  perception  . Unless  these  two  are  controlled  , it  is  difficult  to  control  the  mind .  Meditation  is   withdrawing  the  mind  from  the  external  world  of  sense  objects  and  contemplating  on  the  Lord  /Self .  When  the  mind  understands  that  there  is  no  true   happiness  in   objects  ,it  develops  vairagya  ,  dispassion  ,which  helps  it  to  stop  running  after  the  world of  objects  and  beings. . It  is  important  for  a  seeker  to  set  before  himself  a  higher  ideal   to  aspire  for. 

Friday, 25 December 2015

State of actionlessness


The  Gita  revisited .
State  of  actionlessness.

                    The  state  of  actionlessness  is  not   a  state   to  be  achieved   by one  running  away  from  life and  all its  duties  and  taking to  sannyasa . Sannyasa  is  not  running  away  from  one's  duties  . This  state  of  actionlessness  in  Sanskrit  is  called  Naishkarmya  Siddhi  and  to  be  reached  by  the  non-identification  with  one's  body  -mind  -intellect  complex.   This  is  a  state  where  there  is  no  ignorance  of  the  Self .  Since  ignorance  is  not  there ,desires  leading  to  thoughts  are  also  not  there. . This  is  a  state  of     full  awakening  and  is  called  as  
Actionlessness,  desirelessness  and  thoughtlessness. 

                 So  the  Lord  tells  Arjuna  ,who  had  earlier  wanted  to  run  away  from  the  battlefield   and  take  to  sannyasa  , that  this  state  of  actionlessness  can  be  attained  only  by  exhausting  his   existing vasanas   through  selfless  actions. . Arjuna  was  a  kshatriya   and  his  duty  was  to  fight  this  righteous  war  and  only  through  fighting  this  war  ,his  existing vasanas  could  be  exhausted. . Only   by exhausting  one's  existing  vasanas  by  selfless  actions  could  anyone  hope  to  reach  this  state. . Only  when  the  intellect  is  unattached  to  anything  ,  only  when  one  has  subdued  his  ego   and  whose  desires  have  left  him  for  good  that  one  could   this  state  of  complete  detachment  from  desires.

                It  is  the  mind  -intellect  which  claims  that  "  I am  a  doer '  and  I am  an  enjoyer  " . The  ego  gets  nourished  by  these  two  thoughts   and  then  one  gets  attached  to things  ,beings  and  situations. . So  the  most  important  pre-requisite   to  attain  the  state  of  thoughtlessness  is  to  exercise  self-control   both  at  the  sense  level  and  the  mental level.   So  scriptures  give  importance   to  the  disciplines  of  shama  and  dama .

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

One's own dharma.


The  Gita  revisited.
One's  own  dharma. 

                         In    verse  47  in  this  chapter 18th  , Lord  Krishna  says  "  Better  is  one's  own  duty  though  devoid  of  merits  than  the  duty  of  another  even  if  well  performed . He  who  does  the  duty  ordained  by  his  own  nature  incurs  no  sin. ". The  first  line  of  this  verse  is a repetition  of  verse 35  in  third  chapter.  The  swadharma  is  not  the  duty  that  comes  to  a person  because  of  his  caste  ,which  is  after all  only  an  accident  of  birth.  Swadharma  here  would  come  to  stand  for  the  types  of  vasanas  that  he  comes  to  find  in his  own  mind  . So  to  live  according  to  his  own  mental  inclinations  will  help  him  to  live  in peace and  find  success  in  life.  The  Lord  says  that  it  is  better  to  perform  one's  own  swadharma  even  if  it  is  imperfect  than  to  perform  of  the  dharma  of  another  ,even  if  it  is  done  well.  By  performing  one's   own  duties  according  to  one's  own  nature  help  him  to  exhaust  his  own  vasanas and  this  would  also  help  him  in  not  creating  new  vasanas. 

                  In  the  next  verse  the  Lord  says  that  one  should  not  abandon  the  duty  to  which  one  is  born  . even  though  it  is  faulty .The Lord  says  that  all  actions  are  covered  with  evil  just  as  fire  is  covered   by  smoke. . When  we  read  these  lines  ,we  are  apt  to think   as  to  how  the  Lord  could  be  advising  us  to  continue  with a  work  that  is  faulty  even  if  it is  according  to  my  own  nature. . Two  factors  play  a part  in  our  actions   and  they are  :  the  mental  impulses  from  within  depending  upon  our  temperaments   and  the  external  force   for example .the  environment  , has  on  us. . The  vasanas  we  are  BORN  WITH  have  to  be  lived  through  but  the  environment  we  are  BORN  INTO   need   not  be  allowed  to  spread  its  evil  effects  on  us.  If  a  person  finds  himself  with  wrong  tendencies  within  him  ,he  should  exhaust  them  through  actions  without  any  ego  or  ego-centric  desires   or  he  could  elevate  his  own  mind  from  the  wrong  impulses  of  his  mind  by  educating  himself  with  right  knowledge . When he  takes  to  the  study  of the  scriptures  under  a  Guru  ,he  gradually  replaces  the  previously  held  wrong  impulses  by  new  positive  affirmations  and  in course  of time  he  creates  new  mental  impressions  ,which  will  remove  his  own  old  impulses.

                 For  many  janmas  ,we  have  been  believing  that  we  are  the  limited  jiva  and  we  continue  to  suffer  . When  this  limited  belief  is  replaced  by  "  Chidananda  Roopah  Shivoham  ,Shivoham  "  in  due  course  of  time  we  will  be  creating  new  thoughts  in  our  own  minds  .

Saturday, 19 December 2015

God's Grace


The  Gita  revisited.
God's  Grace .

                         Arjuna  surrendered  to  the  Lord  when  he  got  confused  and  wanted  to have  the  Lord's  advice  as  to  what  he  should  do . After  hearing  the  Lord's  discourse  , Arjuna  would  have  been  able  to  understand  that  the  righteous  war  had  to  be fought  with  the  right  attitude   in accord  with  his  inherent  aptitude  ,which  was  that  of a  kshatriya  .. For  Arjuna  ,it  would  not  have  been  difficult  to  follow  the  Lord's  advice  if  his  ego  did not  prevent  him  from  doing  so. . We  also  find  ourselves  in  situations  where  our  ego  may  come  between  us  and  God's  Will . Actually  our  nature  forces  us  to do  certain  actions .. We  are  also  under  the  influence  of  our  environment  and  the  circumstances  that we  face  in our  life. . It  looks  as  though  our  bondage  is  enslaving  us. . Does  this  mean  that  we are  totally  helpless  and  that  God  controls  us  in and  out ? God  does  control   everything   but  His  control  is  never  to  punish  us   but  to  reform  us  so  that  we  take  to the  right  path. 

                    God  is  full  of  compassion  and  He  is  ever  ready  to  shower  His  Grace  upon  us. . He  is  the  conscience  within  us  , He  is  the  inner  voice  in us  which  tells  us  what  is  right  and  what  is  wrong  . When  we do  not  listen  to  this  voice  of  God  speaking  to  us  as  our  conscience  , then  He  has  other  ways  to control  our  actions  and  behaviour   through  the  laws  that  governments  make,  through  social  norms  and  laws  of  nature. . He  is  also  the  life-giver  and  He  presides  over  all our  actions   and  is  the  karma phala  data  for  all  our  actions.  He  is  the  witness  of  all  our  thoughts  and  actions. 

              All  our  actions  are  driven  by  our  identifications  with  our  body  and  mind  and  this  identification  goes  on  life  after life  so  long  as  we  continue  to  remain  in  ignorance  of  our  true  nature. . But  we  are  the  only  creatures  on  this  blessed  earth   to  be  blessed  with  a  free will . We  can  exercise  this  free  will  either  to  live  mechanically  with  our  inherent  nature   or  surrender  intelligently  to  the Grace  of  God  and  do  as  He  wills. . The  Lord  says  "  Be  God  centred   and  by  My  Grace  you  shall  overcome  all  difficulties  ,within  and  without. and  attain  the  Supreme  abode  of  eternal  peace  ."

Thursday, 17 December 2015



The  Gita  revisited .
Swabhava .

                      The  Lord  proceeds  to  elaborate  on the  duties  assigned  to  each  varna  ,depending  upon  their  swabhava  , which  again  depends  upon  the  proportion  of  the  three  gunas,  namely  sattva   rajas  and  tamas,  each  person  has  . Naturally  ,the  duties assigned  to a  brahmana  would  be  different  from  that  given  to  kshatriyas  , vaishyas  and  sudhras.  The  same   difference  in  duties  given  to a kshatriya  from  that  given  to the  others  in the  varna  scheme  could  be  seen   and   so  on..... Shastras  prescribe  duties  ,which  when  pursued   sincerely  in  letter  and  spirit  ,help  the  tamasic  to evolve  into  a rajasic  person  and  a  rajasic  to evolve  into  a  sattvic  person. . Even  sattva  has  to  be  transcended  to  experience  the  Infinity  .

                    The   classification  according  to  guna  and  karma  was  made  the  basis  for  the  varna  scheme  when  it  was  introduced  .  But  the  four  fourfold  classification  we  see  now  today is  very much  different  from  what  they  were  really  meant   to  be. . Now,  a  mere  hereditary  birth right  in  the  society  divides  the  society  into  castes  and  sub-castes.  The  present  day  politicians  also  play  a  caste  politics  for  vote-bank  and  in this  process  then  there  seems   to  be  no  end  to the  present  degenerated  form  of  the  caste  system . 

                    A  brahmana  was  a  highly  cultured  man  with  a  great  proportion  of  sattva   and  hence  could  have  a  control  over  his  lower  desires   and   sense  organs  and ,who  had a  mastery  over  the  mind  . Now  a  brahmana  is  one  who  calls   himself  a  brahmana  by  being  born  in a  brahmin  family  ,who  claims  his  distinction  by  birth alone  ,exhibiting  no  good  qualities  that  he  could  be  proud  of. Hence  he  has  lost  all  the  reverence  that  his  forefathers  enjoyed  in their  lifetime .

Saturday, 12 December 2015

The varna vyavastha.


The  Gita  revisited.
The  varna vyavastha.

                        The  varna  system  is  the  classification  of  men  according  to  the attitude  of  their  mind  (  guna )  and  the  profession  undertaken  (  karma ). . The  four  varnas  are  Brahmins (  thinkers  and  teachers )   Kshatriyas (  managers  and  leaders  )   ,  Vaishyas   (producers  of  wealth  and  resources  )  and  Sudhras ( labourers  and  workers ).  The  birth  factor  is  also  taken  into  consideration  because  the  family  environment  a man  is  born  in  depends  upon  on  his  fructifying  karma  which  is  the  result  of  his  gunas  and  karmas . Hence  the  birth  factor  also  becomes  a  secondary  basis  for  this  classification. 

                   The  Brahmin   has  the  greatest  responsibility  of  guiding  a  country  . He has  to  be  self-controlled  and  disciplined , poised,  alert   and  knowledgeable. . The  Kshatriyas  are  expected  to  work  hard   to  carry  out the  wishes  of  the  Brahmins    to  protect  the  country  . . The  vaishyas  must  generate  the  finances  to run the  country   and  the  sudhras  serve  the  others  in  society  . . The  fourfold  classification  is  not  peculiar  to  India  , but  it  is  indeed  a  universal  classification and  applies  for  all  times.  In  modern  times  they  may  be  called  as  creative  thinkers , the  politicians  , the  commercial  workers  and  the  labourers  .

                      The  Lord  brings  up  the  topic  of  the  varna  system  here  again  in this  chapter. He had  already  talked  about  the  same  topic  under  the  discussion  on  caste system  in  the  7th  chapter. . The  Lord  wants  Arjuna  to  understand  that  Arjuna's  guna  and  karma   are  both  designed  as  a  Kshatriya   and  hence  it  becomes  his  duty  to  fight  this  righteous  war. 

The three types of happiness.


The  Gita  revisited.
The  three  types  of  happiness.

                                    All  the  actions  undertaken  by  human beings  are  generally  motivated by  the   need  to  gain  happiness   in  the  here  and  now. . The  happiness  that  man  gains  is  also  classified  into  three  types  by  the  Lord  , namely  sattvik  , rajasik  and  tamasik   happiness.   Sattvik  happiness  is  that  which  is  like  poison  at  first  but  in the  end  like  nectar  because  the  path  of  self-purification  demands  a  lot  of  struggle  and  will power  to  remain  focussed  on  the  goal. . So  the  happiness  got  from  exercising  self  control   and  self  -discipline  is  called  by the  Lord  as  sattvik  happiness  . . There  is  great  joy  in going  through  the  spiritual  sadhanas   and  this  inner joy  is  due  to  the  integration  of  the  inner  nature   and  this  Sri  Krishna  calls  as  ' Prasada '-which  is   nothing  other than  sattvik  happiness. 

                      That  happiness  which  arises  from  the  contact  of  the  sense organs  with  the  sense  objects   and  which  is  like  nectar  at first  but  turns  out in the  end   like  poison  is  rajasik  happiness. . The  happiness  derived   is  temporary   and  leaves  a man  in  sorrow  . Man  runs  after  sense  pleasures  but  the  objects  are  not  always  available  and  the  mind  that  comes  in  contact  with  the  objects  of  pleasure  also  keep  changing   and    even  if  a man  derives  pleasure  from  sense  objects  ,the  sense  organs  cannot  keep  enjoying  the  objects  with  the  same  vigour  and  interest  and  lastly  even  when  enjoying , a  man  is  constantly  having  the  fear  that  the  object  of  his  pleasure  may  leave  him. 

                      The  Lord  says  that  the  pleasure,  that  arises  from  sleep,  indolence  and  heedlessness   continues  to  delude  the  self , is  called  tamasik  happiness. . A tamasik  man  who  is  heedless  of  the  higher  calls   and  indolent  at  his  intellectual  level   and  completely  asleep   to  the  existence  of  the  play  of  Reality  ,seeks  happiness  that  deludes  the  Atma  both  in the  beginning  and  in the  end  . This  the  Lord  calls  as  tamasik  happiness. 

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Buddhi and dhriti


The  Gita  revisited.
Buddhi  and  dhriti  .

                                   Lord  Krishna  goes  on to  classify  understanding  (  buddhi  )  and  dhriti  (  fortitude ) also  into  three  types  -the  sattvik,  rajasik  and  tamasik  understanding  and  fortitude. .. That  understanding  is  sattvik  which  knows  what    tyaga  and  sannyasa  mean  in the  context  of  the  Gita. . That  understanding  is  sattvik  wherein  one  knows  what  are right  and  wrong  actions.  and  wherein  one  knows  the  difference  between  bondage  and  liberation. . Rajasik  understanding  is  that  wherein  one  wrongly  understands  dharma  and  adharma,  and  about  what  are  right  and  wrong  actions  . That  understanding  is  tamasik  which  is  enveloped  in darkness  because  of  which  one  sees  dharma  as  adharma  and  adharma  as  dharma. and  all  things  are  seen  in  a perverted  manner  .

                                 The  Lord  classifies  also  dhriti  into  three types. . The  Lord  says  that  dhriti  is  the  power in us  through  which   we  see  the  goal  to  be  achieved  and  then  putting  a  consistent  effort  to  follow  the  path  chosen  ,though  one  may  face  lots  of  obstacles  on the  path  .  This  is  called  sattvik  dhriti  . . Rajasik  dhriti  is  that  wherein  one  consistently  holds on   to  duty,  wealth  and  pleasure  with  attachment  and  one  craves  for  the  enjoyments  from  the  fruits  of  action. . Tamasik  dhriti  is  the  consistency  with  which  one  holds  on  to  his  sleep  ,  fear,  grief  ,  depression  and  arrogance  . The  Lord  calls  the  one  who  holds  on to  these   five  wrong  values    as  a  fool  (  durmedha  ).