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(The Philosophical Part)
RELEASE THROUGH RENUNCIATION
THIS CHAPTER IS THE PINNACLE
Dnyaneshwar Maharaj says, "This eighteenth chapter is like the pinnacle of a temple. Once one sees it from a distance then one knows that the goal is near and it gives a feeling that one has actually met the deity inside. Similarly the eighteenth chapter brings the whole essence of the Gita in view. (18:31-32). This eighteenth chapter reviews entire the Gita from beginning to the end." (18:43).
ARJUNA THINKS RENUNCIATION IS BETTER THAT ACTION
At the end of the seventeenth chapter Shri Krishna told Arjuna that actions done without faith in Aum Tat Sat, the name of the Brahman are evil and wrong. Hearing this Arjuna thought "Shri Krishna is faulting the persons involved in the ritualistic path. But the individual doer of actions is really blinded by ignorance and basically does not understand the nature of God. Then how should he know anything about Aum Tat Sat, the name of the Brahman? Besides as long as Raja and Tama have not gone from within him, his faith also will remain impure, then how would he have faith in the name of the Brahman? (18:60-64). These karmas (actions) are very mischievous. Terrible calamities like birth and death are incorporated in them. If by good fortune the actions are successfully completed then the doer acquires the worthiness for attaining knowledge otherwise the same action would cause his downfall. Many impediments are faced by the time an action is completed then when would a follower of the path of action will get his turn to be liberated? Therefore it is better to break away from this trap of the path of actions, to give up all actions and adopt the path of renunciation (sanyas) which has no shortcomings. Renunciation and abandonment are two things in which one does not hear about being affected by the karmas, with the help of which Self-realisation can be attained. With their help the relations with the material world beaks. Therefore it would be better to ask Shri Krishna to explain the nature of renunciation and abandonment. (18:66-72). This eighteenth chapter contains the reply given by Shri Krishna to Arjunaís question on this subject. (18:74).
Arjuna asked, "Shri Krishna, Sanyas (renunciation) and abandonment seem to be have the same meaning. If there is any difference between the two then please explain it to Me. (18:87-89).
ABANDONMENT AND RENUNCIATION
Shri Krishna said, "The two words are really different but they appear to you as having the same meaning which I too agree is also correct in a way. It is true that both words have the meaning which signify abandonment but the reason why their meanings are different is that if all (ritualistic) actions are abandoned then it is called Sanyas but if only the fruits thereof are abandoned then it is called abandonment. Now I shall explain to you about the actions the fruits of which are to be abandoned and which actions are to be abandoned altogether. (18:90-93).
The routine actions take place naturally but actions with desire behind them do not take place without the will. Actions with desire of fruits behind them such as Horse-sacrifice yajna, digging wells, gardens etc., gifting away lands, establishing new owns, performing rituals with a lot of formality are rooted in the personal desire and it binds the doer to the enjoyment of the fruits thereof. (18:97-100).
Arjuna, once you acquire a body you cannot say no to the birth and death phenomena (18:100), similarly one cannot avoid enjoying or suffering the fruits of oneís actions. Just as one cannot avoid repaying a loan, once a desire based action is done, the fruits thereof remain in waiting to make you enjoy or suffer for them. (18:103). Even If a desire based action occurs inadvertently, (18:104) it has the power to make you enjoy or suffer the fruits. Therefore a seeker should be careful not to do such actions even in fun. They should be abandoned like poison. This abandonment (of desire based actions) is called Sanyas or renunciation. Abandonment of desire based actions means complete destruction of passions in oneís mind. (18:106-109).
Routine and incidental actions The ritualistic actions which one has to perform such as at the time of an eclipse or when a guest comes are called incidental (Naimittic) actions. (18:111). These are actually part of the routine duties but performed whenever an occasion arises and then it gets termed as incidental. What one does in the morning, afternoon and evening are the daily routine actions (Nityakarma). (18:114-115). This performance of routine actions is, like the fragrance within sandalwood, intrinsically virtuous and cannot be avoided. (18:117).
Abandonment Some people consider these routine and incidental actions as useless because they must be done routinely anyway. But just as food gives satisfaction (to the taste-buds) and removes hunger, similarly these routine and incidental actions give all round results. (18:119-120). Performance of these routine and incidental actions removes the blemishes from oneís mind, raises oneís worth and because of it one reaches a good state in the after-world. But even though one gets such fruits of the routine and incidental actions, one should abandon those fruits. (18:122-123). Thus, while one should attentively perform the routine and incidental duties keeping oneself within the prescribed bounds, the fruits thereof should be abandoned totally. This abandoning of fruits of the actions is called abandonment. Thus I have explained to you abandonment and Sanyas (renunciation). (18:125-126).
Renunciation When renunciation occurs the actions done with desire do not bother while prohibited actions are not done because they are prohibited and while the routine and incidental actions are automatically nullified because of the abandoning of their fruits.
Trick of abandonment Once all the account of all the actions is nullified then Knowledge of the Self comes searching for you. By this trick those who abandon the fruits of the routine and incidental actions and renounce the actions with desire acquire the knowledge of the Self. (18:127-130). But those who do not adopt this trick but try to practice abandonment by guesswork does not at all abandonment but will get into more complications. (18:131). The actions which are not fit to be abandoned should not be abandoned while those which should be abandoned should not be coveted. If one misses the trick of the abandonment then that abandonment becomes a burden. But a truly detached person does not even think about the prohibited actions. (18:133-134).
People who are not able to free themselves of the desire of fruits of their actions charge that all actions are binding. Just as a person who is slave to the taste-buds eats all sorts of food and blames it if he cannot digest it similarly persons incapable of abandoning the fruits but having desire for them blame the actions themselves and decide that they should be abandoned. Some others say that rituals like yajna etc. must be performed because there is no other means of purifying the mind. If one has to succeed in purifying the mind quickly then there should not be indolence in performing actions capable of doing so. (18:135-139). Actions should not be abandoned saying that they are arduous. Many people turn their mind to ritualistic actions with such thoughts. Thus, abandonment has become a debatable topic. Now I shall explain to you properly the real nature of abandonment and remove the differences in the thinking regarding it. (18:142-144)
THREE TYPES OF ABANDONMENT
Abandonment may be considered as of three types. Now I shall explain to you which these three types are. But even if I explain to you the three types of abandonment, understand that its essence is what I just now told you. Listen to Me who is all-knowing, for my definite opinion as to what truth is. The seeker who is ever alert for liberation from the bounds of this world should follow only this. (18:145-148).
Like a traveller who should not stop taking forward steps, one should not abandon the essential actions namely yajna, charity and tapas. (18:149). As long as one is not sure about Self-realisation one should not be nonchalant about these rituals. On the other hand one should observe them according to oneís entitlement with more attention. Performing more rituals is helpful for non-action. (18:152-154). When actions (rituals) are performed quickly and according to prescribed rules then the attributes Raja and Tama are destroyed completely. (18:156). Action performed with faith destroys Raja and Tama and brings out the importance of the purity of Sattva attribute. To gain the purity of Sattva attribute righteous actions are like places of pilgrimage. The places of pilgrimage remove the external dirt while righteous deeds remove the internal dirt. Therefore righteous deeds are the places of pilgrimage for attaining purity of the Sattva attribute. (18:158-160). Like a river itself coming to the rescue of a drowning person, it is the actions which liberate a seeker from the binding. There is a trick in doing the actions which, though basically they are binding, make them work as the main cause of liberation. Now I shall tell you about the trick which makes actions nullify themselves. (18:162-165).
He (who adopts the trick) does not swell by pride when the principle yajnas are being performed systematically. (18:166). Just as a person going on a pilgrimage at the expense of others does not become proud about it, (18:167) similarly he performs the rituals systematically at appropriate times without carrying the ego that he is the doer. He does not harbour any desire in his mind for the fruits of those rituals. Arjuna, one should first give up expectations about the fruits and then start the action. (18:170-172). He who does actions adopting this trick encounters the Self. Therefore one should do actions giving up the desire for fruits and the I-am-the-body consciousness. This is my message. I repeat again and again that he who is tired of the bindings of life should not disobey this my command. (18:175-177).
Tamasic abandonment When one abandons angrily all actions, thinking that actions bind, I call that abandonment a Tamasic abandonment. It is like cutting oneís head because of the headache. (18:178-179). Because of his confusion, the Tamasic person does not understand the trick of eliminating the affliction of the actions by actions themselves. Therefore he abandons the duties which have come to his lot by his Swadharma. You should not even touch such a Tamasic person. (18:182-183).
Rajas abandonment Even fully knowing what his entitlements and duties are, he is indolent about them fearing the labour involved. (18:184). Or else, he begins an action knowing that it is so prescribed but as soon as it becomes laborious he abandons it in the middle. He says. "It is by great fortune that I have got an admirable thing like this body then why should I make it toil like a sinner? If happiness is to be gained later by doing actions now then I do not want it. Why not make best of the luxuries I have now?" Abandoning actions because they are laborious is called Rajas abandonment. This is also an abandonment but it does not give the fruits of one because he foregoes actions due to of his attachment to the body . (18:189-193, 195).
With the rise of Knowledge, all actions vanish along with the ignorance and that is really an abandonment of actions which leads to liberation. He who abandons actions out of ignorance does not gain this liberation. Therefore the Rajas abandonment should not be considered as an abandonment. Now while on the subject, listen also to which abandonment leads to liberation.(18:196-199).
Sattvic abandonment He performs systematically as prescribed and with love whatever actions have come to his lot naturally as his entitlement (according to his caste). But he does not keep in mind that it is he who is performing them. Also he abandons the desire of their fruits. (18:200-201). Actually, ego of actions and desire for fruits are the two which are called bindings of the actions. One who keeps away from these two while performing prescribed actions does not become unhappy. The most superior tree of abandonment begets the large fruits of liberation therefore this abandonment is known in the world as Sattvic abandonment. (18:205-207).
When actions are abandoned after abandoning the fruits the attributes Raja and Tama get destroyed. Then the pure Sattvic attribute causes the light of Self-realisation to shine and removes the illusion of the reality of the world. (18:210-211).
The duties which fall to his lot due to the past karmas are, in his view, without blemish hence he does not bother about happiness or sorrow. He is not excited by the thought that a duty is auspicious or unhappy by taking it to be inauspicious. He does not carry any doubts in his mind about whether a particular duty is auspicious or not. When the feelings of duality that "This is the duty" and "I am the doer of that duty", separating the duty and the doer, do not enter his mind then it is an abandonment of Sattvic type. With this manner of abandonment actions are completely abandoned. If they are abandoned in any other manner then they bind you more. (18:212-217).
Turning actions into non-actions Those who are indolent about their duties after they acquire the body are rustic simpletons. (18:218). Is it not foolish to try to abandon the actions as long as the impression that I am the body is sustained? One can erase the sandal-paste put on the forehead but how can the writing of oneís future on it be erased? One can stop the prescribed rituals after they are begun but how can the actions of the body be stopped? Because, even if a person is asleep, the action of his breathing continues automatically and even if sit doing nothing it continues. The actions which are associated with the body cannot be abandoned wile we are living or even after death. It can be abandoned only by one trick and that is while doing the actions one should not be in the clutches of the desire of the fruits thereof. If the fruits of the actions are offered to God then by his benevolence one attains Self-realisation and that destroys all actions along with the ignorance. Abandoning actions in this manner is the real abandonment. Therefore he who has abandoned actions in this way is great abandoner. I am again telling you that he alone should be considered as true abandoner in these three worlds who, by abandoning the fruits of actions have turned them into non-actions. (18:222-232).
Unfavourable, favourable and mixed actions Arjuna, action is of three types and those who do not give up the desire for the fruits, they alone have to enjoy or suffer for it. After begetting a daughter her father is released from his ties to her only when he gives her away in marriage and the son-in-law who accepts her gets caught in them. (18:233-234). Whether one does the action out of the ego of oneís capability or after abandoning the desire of its fruits, the action alone cannot bind the doer in either case. The fruits are gained only by him who desires them. But he who does not accept the fruits even after doing the action does not take rebirth anywhere in these three worlds because they are the result of the fruits of the actions. Deities, humans and immovable life is what is known as the world and are themselves three different types of fruits of actions. The same action is of three types, namely, unfavourable, favourable and mixed. (18:236-240).
The fruits of actions of those who are full of lust and transgress in their behaviour by doing forbidden evil deeds are reborn in low forms such as worms, insects, earth, stones etc., and are called unfavourable fruits of action. (18:241-242).
The fruits of actions of those who respect Swadharma and according to oneís entitlement do meritorious deeds as prescribed in the Vedas then the attain the bodies of deities like Indra etc., are known as favourable fruits of actions. (18:243-244).
When truth and untruth are mixed a third type of entity is created, therefore when an action contains good and bad deeds its fruits lead to being reborn as a human being. This is what is called mixed fruits of actions. (18:245-247).
Nullifying the fruits of actions These are the three types of fruits of action in this world. Those individuals who get entrapped in the desire of the fruits of actions are compelled to enjoy or suffer them. (18:248-249). People who continue doing actions while they are living may advance materially but they have to undergo the enjoyment or suffering of those actions after their death. (18:251). When a grain from a ear of corn falls on ground it sprouts and gives rise to another ear of corn. The grain from that ear again falls on ground and again sprouts to give another ear and this cycle goes on. Similarly, while undergoing the fruits of actions other fruits of actions are created. (18:253-254). The burden of the fruits increases in the order - goal and means, and those individuals who do not give up the desire of the fruits of action get entangled in the material world. On the other hand, even while doing actions those who nullify them by giving up the desire of their fruits cause the effects of the fruits to cease. (18:256-258).
With the help of pure moral behaviour and the nectar of Guruís benevolence, Self-realisation comes to fruition and the distress caused by the attitude of duality ends. The three types of fruits of actions which are responsible for the creation of illusion about the reality of this universe vanishes and in that state, the fruits and their enjoyer both dissolve. Those who have been successful in adopting renunciation (sanyas) of knowledgeable actions are liberated from the troubles of birth and death arising out of the fruits of actions. How can they, whose vision has reached the Self due to such renunciation, feel that the deeds are different from the doer? (18:259-262). Once the fruits of actions are abandoned, the material knowledge vanishes (and the seeker attains unity with Brahman) then who is going to enjoy the fruits and who is going to impart the enjoyment? Therefore in the case of an renunciate (Sanyasi) the talk of actions is not at all applicable. (18:266-267).
As long as there remains ignorance within and an individual is induced to do good or bad actions by virtue of his capability and his attitude is dualistic, there exists a separateness between the Soul and the action (18:269), but only when the ignorance shows it as such. (18:275).
CAUSES OF ACTIONS
There are five causes due to which actions of an individual frequently occur. I shall describe them to you (18:277). But perhaps you already know them because Shastras have prominently described them. They are well known through the elucidation of Sankhya philosophy in the realm of the Vedas. These are the basic causes which are essential for success of the actions. But even so do not relate them to the Soul who is the master. (18:278-280). Arjuna, we were talking about how all actions are separate from the Soul. (18:296). It is verily a fact that all actions originate by these causes without the knowledge of the Soul and the five causes combine to give a shape to the actions. The very same five causes are the purpose of the actions. There, the Soul is detached and does not constitute a cause or an incidental motive for it neither does it assist in leading the action to completion. Just as sky is different from the day and night (18:304-308), similarly though good and evil actions do take place in the individual the Soul remains separate from them. (18:313).
First cause Body is the first cause (of actions) and is the seat of action because the enjoyer along with the objects to be enjoyed resides in it. There is no other place for an individual to experience the pleasures and sorrows created by Maya (or nature) after toiling day and night using the ten organs. Hence the term seat of action is used in reference to the body. It is the residence of twenty-four principles and entanglement of the binding and the liberation is resolved here. It is this body that supports the three states wakefulness, sleep and dream therefore it has been named as the body. (18:315-320).
Second cause Second cause of actions is the doer. This doer is the reflection of the consciousness. (18:321). Forgetting its own nature, under the "I am the body" illusion, it appears in the form of the body. The consciousness which has forgotten its true nature of the Self is known as an individual. That individual is pledged to live with the body in every way. Due to delusion he claims that all actions done by the body are actually done by him and therefore that individual is called the doer. (18:324-326).
Third cause Even though the power of understanding of the intellect is same, it appears in different ways through different organs. This is called manifold distinct functions (Prithagvidha Karan). It is the third cause of actions. (18:330-331).
Fourth cause The air has ceaseless power of action which manifests itself differently in different places. When it appears through tongue, it is known as speech, and when it is expressed through hands it is called give and take transaction, when it is manifested through feet it is called walking and when it goes through urine and faeces it is called cleansing. It is called vital air (Pranavayu) when it gives rise to the Aum sound while moving from navel to the heart. The same vital air when it moves around in the upper parts is called Udana, when it comes out through the lower end it is called Apana, while when it occupies the whole body it is called Vyana. When it supplies the alimentary juices all corners of the body and gets filled in all the joints then it is called Samana. And the actions like yawning, sneezing, burping etc. are the manifestations of the minor aspects of vital energy namely Naga, Kurma, Krikal etc. (See Ch 6). Thus the power of action of air which has different names when it behaves differently is the fourth cause of action. (18:333-343).
Fifth cause The intellect alone is the best among all the inner properties of an individual. It excels by the strength of the organs and the strength of the organs is supported by the group of the presiding deities. The presiding deities like Sun etc. give strength to respective organs like eyes etc. This group of presiding deities is the fifth cause of actions. (See Notes at the end of this page) Thus I have explained to you the root causes of all actions. Now, the same root causes lead to countless actions. I shall explain to you the purpose due to which this happens. (18:348-352) [see footnote].
Mind, the cause for intent of actions. Arjuna, mind is the cause for intent for actions and once that intent is born it finds its expression through speech. In the light of the speech the path of action becomes clear and the doer begins the task of doing the action. Because of that the body itself becomes the purpose of the actions of body. (18:357-359). The actions of mind, speech and body become the purpose of mind, speech and body because they are involved in the actions of the body etc.. (18:361).
BIRTH OF ACTIONS
When body, speech and mind join the five causes (body etc.) actions are born. If the action is done as prescribed in the Shastras then it becomes a just action and also becomes the cause for just behaviour. (18:366-367). The action which takes place by coming together of purpose and cause is a blind action. (18:370). But if the same is done consciously with the support of the Shastras then it become a just action. If the unrestrained action which takes place by the combination of purpose and cause is not done as per the Shastras then it is as good as not done. Such action is an unjust action and is the cause of immorality. (18:375-376). Thus the actions which take place due to the five causes also have five purposes and the soul is also involved in them due to its being in contact. (18:377). The soul makes the actions discernible without itself taking their form and without being the doer. (18:378). But a person whose intellect is restricted only to the body because of the I-am-the-body illusion is in the dark about the Self. He who has considered body itself as the Soul, God and Brahman is under the impression that it is the soul who is the doer but really speaking he is not definite even about that for he considers that it is the body that is the doer. That he himself who is the Soul is beyond actions and is only a witness to them is something he has never heard of. Therefore it is no wonder that he gauges the immeasurable Soul with the measure of the body! (18:382-385). It must be said that he who does not even permit the name of Shastras or Guru to be uttered in his presence survives on the strength of his foolishness. With the understanding that body itself is the Soul he imprisons himself within the body with the strong walls of the actions. (18:390-392). He who attributes the actions of nature or Maya to the Soul continues accounting for the actions for millions of aeons. (18:394).
NON-ATTACHMENT TO ACTIONS
Now I shall tell you how to recognise a person who does not get attached to the actions even after doing them. (18:396. While we think of such a liberated person we ourselves become liberated (18:397)- one regains the Self while thinking of the saints therefore one should sing and hear the praise the saints. (18:400). He does not get attached to the fruits, good or bad, of his actions. I shall tell you the characteristics of such a person who has gone beyond the actions through indirect arguments. (18:401-402).
He who was experiencing the universe as a dream during the sleep state of ignorance for a long time woke up to experience the bliss of the Brahman after hearing with the power of Guruís grace, the great dictum "You are that", not just by having him keep his benevolent hands on the head but patting it. (18:403-405). Just as after waking up the dream disappears the feeling of "I" and "mine" does not remain in his mind. (18:408). When a person who has reached Self-realisation sees a visible object the object and the seer both merge with the Self. (18:410). When, due to the misunderstanding that action is different from the doer, an imputation made about the Soul being the doer vanishes only the state of the Self remains. Would he, who is the ruler of this state of the Self, maintain the I-am-the-body feeling? (18:412-413). How would a person who has the knowable and the knower united within him possess the I-am-the-body ego? (18:418). Whatever he does becomes his own form (of the Self) then which actions should he claim as his? (18:420). He too, who feels that the ego as the doer is meaningless, continues doing actions as long as he has his body. (18:422). Even though the I-am-the-body ego has gone the nature which has created the body gets the actions performed by that body. (18:428). Because of the five causes (body etc.) the actions occur naturally without any movement on the part of the Soul. Because of the influence of the earlier lives these five causes and purposes induce many actions whether those actions destroy the entire universe or create a new universe. (18:431-433). Whatever may be the case he remains in the body without the I-am-the-body feeling. (18:435). He is not aware of the happenings of the world but those who see him materially as a body consider him to be the doer. (18:436-437). He who has woken up to the nature of the Self and the attitude of the seer has dissolved along with the scene is not aware of what his organs are doing. (18:441). Bodily movements of a person who is liberated from the birth and death cycles occurs as per the karmas of earlier lives but because they do not realise it people call him the doer. By his natural actions even if the three worlds are destroyed one should not charge him with it. A man of Knowledge does not possess feeling of duality therefore there is nothing else that he can destroy. (18:447-449).
Just as Ganga does not get impure even after another river meets it similarly his intellect is not affected by the thoughts of sin and merit. (18:450). How can the intellect of a person who does not consider his actions different from himself be affected by them? Therefore he who himself has become the triad of the action, the doer and the cause does not get bound by the action done by his body etc.. The individual, considering himself as the doer, works skilfully with the five types of intents doing innumerable righteous and unrighteous actions my means of the ten body organs but the Soul has no connection with this activity. You may say that the Soul helps in the preparedness for these actions but that is also not true because the Soul is Brahman and only a witness (Chidrup or form of Brahman) then how will he permit intent to act? The intent to action which makes people toil does not affect the Soul. Therefore one who has attained Brahman cannot at all be trapped by actions. It is the triad which is responsible for depicting improper type of knowledge in the light of ignorance. (18:450-460).
IMPROPER TYPE OF KNOWLEDGE
The triad of Knowledge, knower and the knowable is the root of the universe. The inclination to act comes from it. Now I shall explain to you forms of each member of this triad. (18:461-462).
Knowledge is the name given to that which makes an individual experience pleasure and pain and vanishes while in deep sleep. The individual is the knower. That which is experienced by the individual is what is called knowledge. This knowledge born of the ignorance of the Self, distributes itself in three parts as soon as it is created. It keeps the knowable in its front and knower at its back and connecting them creates interaction between the two. This knowledge, the reach of which is limited up to the boundary of the knowable and which gives different names to different things is without doubt ordinary knowledge. Now listen to the characteristics of the knowable. (18:465-471).
Sound, touch, form, smell and taste are the five ways through which knowable becomes known. Just as the same mango is known by taste, colour, smell and touch, similarly even though the knowable is one it is known through five organs. Therefore knowledge is of five types. (18:472-474). The place where knowledge obtained through organs ends is the knowable or the sense object. Thus I have explained to you the characteristics of knower, knowledge and the knowable. (18:475-477).
This Knowable becomes the cause of three types of actions. (18:477). Though the Knowable is of five types by virtue of the five senses viz. sound, touch, form, smell and taste, it is only of one type either liked or disliked. When the knower knows even a little about a knowable object he tends to either accept it or reject it. (18:478-480). Just as a crane rushes to catch a fish as soon it sees it, similarly this knower rushes to the sense objects. (18:480, 484). Therefore Arjuna, all actions originate from the knowledge, the knowable and the knower .(18:485).
If the knowable sense object is liked by the knower then he cannot tolerate a moments delay in enjoying it. But if he dislikes it then very moment of delay in abandoning it seems to him like aeons. (18:486-487). Then he does actions in order to accept or reject it. (18:489). Thus the knower becomes the doer of actions. (18:491). He who, with the desire of sense pleasures, makes the organs work becomes the doer and then knowledge becomes the cause or in other words the means and consequently the knowable becomes the action. In this manner the basic nature of the knowledge changes. (18:493-495). By giving impetus to the organs knower is caught in the ego of being the doer. Listen to the characteristics of the doer under these conditions. (18:497).
Intellect, mind, mindfulness and ego are the four internal organs and skin, ears, eyes, tongue and nose are the five external sense organs. The doer takes a measure of the possible actions with the help of inner organs and if he thinks that the action is going to give him pleasure then he makes the eyes etc. the ten external organs (five organs of sense and five of action) work until he gets the outcome. On the other hand if he thinks that the action would result in pain or unhappiness then he inspires the ten organs to abandon it. Like a king makes people toil day and night for unpaid revenue he makes the organs work day and night until the pain or unhappiness is completely removed. When the knower thus engages the organs to accept or abandon the action he is called the doer. (18:498-505).
We call the organs as means of action because the doer engages them to do actions. That which encompasses the acts done using these means is what is meant by action in this chapter. (18:506-507). Just as the intellect of a goldsmith encompasses the ornament similarly, without doubt, that which encompasses the acts of the doer is the action. (18:508, 510). Thus I have told you about the characteristics of action, doer and the means of action. Here, the knower, knowledge and knowable are the provokers of actions while the doer, the means and the deed are the aggregation of actions. (18:511-512). The triad of doer, means and the act of doing are the lifeline of action therefore wherever there is an ego "I am the doer of this deed" the Soul keeps away from such actions. Therefore there is no need to tell you separately that Soul is different from actions. You already know it. (18:514-516).
KNOWLEDGE, ACTION AND THE DOER
The knowledge, action and the doer which I explained to you become of three kinds due to the three attributes (Sattva, Raja and Tama). You should not trust the triad of knowledge, the action and the doer because two of the attributes lead to binding and the Sattva attribute alone is capable of leading to liberation. I shall explain to you the features of Sattva attribute which are clearly explained in the Sankhya doctrine. That Sankhya doctrine is an ocean of thoughts, it is the moon which makes the lotus of Self-realisation bloom and the best among the knowledge giving doctrines. It is the Sun which distinguishes between Prakriti and Purusha (Nature and the Supreme Self) who are enmeshed together like the day and the night. This doctrine gauges the immeasurable ignorance by means of twenty-four principles and leads you to the experience of the bliss of the Supreme Principle. Arjuna, the features of the three attributes described by the Sankhya doctrine is as follows. (18:517-523).
These three attributes are so great that they have turned all things in the world into three types by their power and consequently everything from Brahmadeo to a tiny insect have been transformed to the three types of attributes. But first I shall tell you about the principle by which this entire universe have come into the clutches of these three attributes. In order to see anything clearly the eye-sight has to be clear first similarly if the knowledge is pure then it is possible to understand the real nature of things. Therefore I shall tell you about Sattvic knowledge. (18:524-528).
Sattvic knowledge Arjuna the knowledge into which the knowable merges together with the knower is Sattvic knowledge. (18:529). This Knowledge sees no difference between individuals from Shiva to a blade of grass. (18:531). When the knowable is seen by the light of this knowledge no difference is perceptible between the knower, knowledge and the knowable. (18:533). Knowledge which does not notice visible things is the Sattvic knowledge. Just as a observer sees his own reflection in a mirror similarly knower sees knowable as knowledge (which is also himself). His Sattvic knowledge is the temple of liberation. Now listen to the characteristics of Rajas knowledge. (18:535-537).
Rajas knowledge That which goes by presupposing differences among creatures is Rajas knowledge. That knowledge has splintered itself into pieces by assuming diversity among creatures and tricked the knower. That knowledge spreads the paraphernalia of Maya around the premises of Self-realisation and shows the individual the play of the three states of wakefulness, dream and sleep. (18:538-541). Because of the differences in the name and form this knowledge is distanced from the non-duality. (18:545).The feeling of one-ness has vanished from the knowledge by the understanding that there are differences among creatures. The knowledge which considers things differ from each other in many ways and distinguishes them as big and small is the Rajas knowledge. (18:547-548).
Tamas knowledge Now I shall tell you about the characteristics of Tamas knowledge. That which is bare and not covered by the fabric of the rules of the Shastras is the Tamas knowledge. Therefore Shrutis (Vedas) turn their back to it. The Shastras which follow the Vedas have also charged that this knowledge as despicable and relegated it to the hills of the Mlenccha (non-Hindu) religion. Such knowledge does not get hindered by any rules in corporal relations, nor does it find any object objectionable. (18:549-552). In the heat of enjoyment of sense pleasures it does not think about avoiding objectionable actions and do those prescribed by the Shastras. It rushes to enjoy whatever sense pleasures it comes across. Without bothering about what should be eaten or avoided, what is proper or improper, it thinks that what it likes is only sacred. It only knows that women are only for sexual enjoyment and it is eager to keep relation with them. It keeps friendship only with those whose contact is profitable to their selfish motives and not with those who are its relatives. Tamas knowledge thinks that the whole world is meant for their benefit. It feels that the whole world is something that should be enjoyed. It thinks that all actions are for filling the belly. He is ignorant about what actions should be done and what should be avoided. His intellect does not go beyond the thinking that body is the soul and god is a stone idol. He thinks that after death the soul is destroyed along with actions and no one is left to experience the fruits of action. (18:557-568). If God is a witness to oneís actions and makes him experience the fruits thereof then one can simply sell away the idol of God and spend the money. If one says that the village (local) deities control them then why do the hills (stones from which are used for making idols) over the rest of the country keep quiet?. And if at all the Tama knowledge believes in God then it considers the stone idol only as God and the body itself as soul. It thinks that the concept of sin and merit is false and one should voraciously enjoy the sense pleasures. They are certain that what is seen and what pleases the sense organs is the only reality and this understanding of theirs grows day by day. (18:569-573). The Tamas knowledge is meaningless and useless like the life of a eunuch. We call it as knowledge in the same way as we call a undrinkable liquid as drink. Actually instead of knowledge it should be considered as Tama attribute itself. (18:578-581).
Thus I have told you about the three kinds of knowledge along with their characteristics. Now, the doer does actions in the light of these three kinds of knowledge. The same action becomes of three kinds due to these different kinds of knowledge. Now first listen to the characteristics of Sattvic actions. (18:582-585).
Sattvic actions Just as a faithful wife embraces her husband by herself similarly that action which comes to oneís lot by oneís entitlement, the action which gives decorum to the entitlement when regularly performed, is the proper routine action. If it is joined by incidental action then the combination is good like fragrance dabbed on a gold ornament. Action should be performed with all oneís mind and heart, making an offering of it to God without keeping desire for fruits thereof or without feeling happy if the action is successful or sorry if it is not. Actions done in this skilful way are may be called Sattvic actions. (18:586-594).
Rajas actions Now I shall tell you about Rajas actions. A person doing Rajas actions does not speak properly with his parents but like a fool shows respect to everybody else in the world. (18:595). He does not get up from his seat to perform the essential routine and incidental actions but when it comes to actions of pleasure and lust he does not spare any efforts. (18:597-598). Such a Rajas doer labours a lot keeping in view the future fruits of his efforts but feels that he has not laboured enough. With desire of fruits in mind he does many actions as prescribed and systematically and after he has done them announces to the world about them distributing tokens of gift to establish that he is religious. Then his mind is filled with so much ego that he stops respecting his parents. Whatever actions he does with ego and desire of fruits in mind he does without sparing any efforts. (18:601-606). Such people like labours. They do this labours with the attraction of the pleasures in heaven. The action which is thus laborious and done with desire of fruits is Rajas action. (18:608-610).
Tamas action Now listen to the characteristics of Tamas action. That which is the dark dungeon of slander and which is the successful culmination of the birth of prohibited actions and sin is Tamas action. (18:611). Just as drawing a line on water does not result in anything similarly the fruits of such action cannot be seen and the action is wasted. (18:612,615) The action done by toiling the valuable body and spending wealth destroys the happiness of the world. (18:616). Tamas action not only destroys everything belonging to the doer and injuring his body but it injures others as well. (18:619). The Tamas doer does actions without thinking about his own capability. While doing that action, due to indiscretion and ego, he sets upon for the work without bothering about his own capability, propriety of the occasion, and whether he will gain anything by it. (18:621-623). He proceeds without thinking of the past and future, without distinguishing between right and wrong ways and does not distinguish between proper and improper or whether a particular thing belongs to himself or to others. Thus, I have explained to you how action has become of three types due to the differences in the three attributes. (18:625-627).
Due to the three types of actions the doer also becomes of three types. Now I shall describe to you a Sattvic doer first. (18:628-630).
Sattvic doer A Sattvic doer performs his routine and incidental acts but they should not be called fruitless. These acts never go waste because Arjuna, how can fruit itself beget fruits. He does many acts with respect but he does not keep ego of being the doer. In order to do acts worthy of offering to God he selects proper time and place and decides with the help of the Shastras which acts should be done. Combining the organs and the inclination he binds himself with a set of rules without letting his mind waver towards the fruits. He takes care throughout his life to develop excellent courage in order to succeed in the control of the organs.. And while doing his duties driven only by the love for Self-realisation, he does not bother about physical happiness. While doing these duties he loses sleep, does not feel hungry and his body is away from sense pleasures. His enthusiasm for doing his duties increases. Because of the intrinsic liking for the Self he treats even his life as insignificant. Will he, who is in love with his soul, feel sorry if his body has to labour? As the desire for sense-pleasures vanish and physical tendencies vane his joy in performing duties doubles. Even if performance of his duties is interrupted he does not feel sorry for it neither does he feel he has won a victory if he has finished his duty successfully. He in whom such qualities are found should really be called Sattvic doer. (18:632-648).
Rajas doer Now the sign by which a Rajas doer may be recognised is that he is full of worldly desires. (18:649). He is the meeting place for all the desires and failings in the world. He starts with acts which give fruits easily and he will not even leave a paisa from whatever profits he can get from it for which he will sacrifice even is life. He is ready to swallow other peopleís property while guarding his own. (18:651-654). He uses all his faculties to give trouble to others and without bothering about their welfare he works for his own gains. He does not let thoughts of distaste arise in his mind for any type of work even if he has no ability to complete it. He is poor in keeping sanctity. If he succeeds in any task he mocks at the world in the surge of happiness and if he is unsuccessful then stricken with grief he denounces it. A person who does actions thus is a Rajas doer. (18:655-661).
Tamas doer After this I shall now tell about the Tamas doer who is like a repository of evil deeds. (18:662). Just as strong poison does not know its own power of destruction, he is inclined to do evil deeds which can destroy others and while doing it he is not aware of what he is doing. There is no relation between his acts and his intentions. This Tamas doer surpasses a madman. He lives by enjoying the pleasures of the organs. His behaviour is unrestrained and being controlled by nature he does not know what is proper or improper. He swells by the satisfaction of his own evil acts. And under the influence of pride he does not bow even before God. He is always deceitful about enjoying the sense pleasures. His behaviour is stealthy and his looks are like a prostitute taking away other manís possessions. In other words his whole body is made up of falsehoods and his life is like a gamblerís den. His life should be considered as home of a selfish robber. Therefore nobody should get involved with him. He gets enraged when he sees good deeds of others. (18:664-675). The good deeds of others turn into bad deeds by his involvement. He considers good qualities of others as bad qualities and he turns nectar into poison. When some good deed which can make the worldly life bear good fruits and give a better position in the after-world comes to his lot it is most certain that he would be sleeping at that time. But when it comes to doing evil deeds the sleep goes away immediately. (18:677-681). When it is the time to do beneficial deeds he feels lethargic, and contrarily when evil deeds are to be done the lethargy is under his control. He burns with jealousy when he sees the advancement of others. He remains jealous throughout his life. And he starts labours of fulfilment of desires which will last him for aeons. He does worry about matters beyond this world but is not able to gain even a blade of grass. Such a person who is definitely a pile of sin may be considered as a Tamas doer. Thus I have explained to you three kinds of acts, doer and knowledge. (18:683-689).
THREE TYPES OF INTELLECT
Now the intellect which, covered by delusion and embellished by doubt moves in the realm of improper knowledge and is the mirror through which an individual sees himself is also of three types. Arjuna, is there anything in this world which has not been turned into three types by the three attributes? What is there in this visible world which is not of three types? Therefore the intellect has also become of three types due to the three attributes. Fortitude is also similarly divided. Out of these two I shall explain to you about the three divisions of intellect first. (18:690-695).
Superior, medium and inferior ways There are three types of ways for every creature to be reborn in this world namely, superior, medium and inferior. These three ways are respectively known as not doing prescribed acts, doing fruit motivated acts, and doing forbidden acts. Because of these the creature develops fear for this world.
Superior way Therefore doing the prescribed routine acts according to oneís right, is the superior way. The same should be practised keeping in view the attainment of Self-realisation. Thus practised, the doing of the prescribed routine acts frees one from the fear of this world and facilitates liberation. A wise person who acts in this manner becomes free from the fear of this world and by this behaviour set himself on the path of liberation. The intellect which by keeping trust in the prescribed routine deeds decides on the behaviour of the individual guarantees liberation. Therefore why one should not base oneís renunciation on the foundation of the inclination to act and engage oneself in actions? (18:696-704).
Sattvic intellect Doing the prescribed routine deeds definitely leads to liberation. The intellect which has the inclination towards doing the prescribed routine deeds and which knows which deeds are not proper, the intellect which does not turn towards fruit-motivated deeds that create fear of the world and towards forbidden deeds which should not be done and which entangles one in birth-death cycles (18:707-710), the intellect which is definitely afraid when it notices a forbidden action. The intellect which knows that forbidden action binds one to birth and death cycles and fearing it keeps away from it, the intellect which after carefully considering actions and non-actions and measuring them with the scale of inclination to work and renunciation understands which deed is good and which is evil, is the Sattvic intellect. (18:713-717).
Rajas intellect The intellect which does deeds without understanding which is a good deed conforming with the code of Dharma and which is an evil deed against Dharma (18:720), missing the latter only by good luck, the intellect which considers both kinds of deeds as alike, the intellect which does not know how to choose between proper and improper deeds is Rajas intellect. (18:722-723).
Tamas intellect The intellect which considers all religious deeds as sinful and real things as false, which interprets the meaning of the Shastras in reverse manner and considers good qualities as bad, which considers matters agreeable to the Shrutis (Vedas) as perverse, should be called Tamas intellect. How can such intellect which is like a dark night be proper for religious deeds? (18:726-729).
THREE TYPES OF FORTITUDE
Thus I have explained to you the three divisions of intellect. Now, when the intellect decides do perform a deed, then the fortitude which supports it is also of three types. I shall tell you about the three types of fortitude also. (18:730-732).
Sattvic fortitude When the Sattvic fortitude is created, the activities of the mind, the life-force and the organs stop. Then the association of the ten organs with the sense-objects breaks and they enter the womb of the mind (i.e. instead of turning towards sense objects they turn inwards towards the mind). Since both the upper and the lower pathways of the life force are blocked it brings together its nine aspects and goes to the Sushumna Nadi. Since mind is freed of will and doubt it is exposed and the intellect rests quietly in its rear. Thus, the peerless fortitude which by stopping the activities of the mind, life-force and the organs imprisons them to the confines of meditation and keeps them so without getting lured by them, until they are handed over to our emperor the Supreme Soul, is the Sattvic fortitude. (18:737-744).
Rajas fortitude The individual who, by occupying the body gets engrossed in the worldly affairs and those of heaven by means of righteous living, earning and family life attains his ambitions on the basis of the Rajas fortitude. That fortitude with which he puts in efforts making certain that they would give four times as many gains is called Rajas fortitude. (18:745-748).
Tamas fortitude Now I shall tell you the characteristics of Tamas fortitude. This fortitude is made up of all mean qualities. Why should it be called a quality when it is inferior and mean? The word has been used in the case of Tama attribute without thinking. It shelters lethargy and just as when It shelters lethargy and just as unhappiness does not leave the support of sin similarly sleep never leaves him. Since he loves his body and wealth, fear does not leave him. Just as sin of an ungrateful person is not mitigated, similarly because of his friendship with everything and everybody grief resides in him perpetually. Because he has tied himself to dissatisfaction, sorrow makes friendship with him. Discontent does not leave him until death. And because of the attraction for youth, wealth and lust grow within him arrogance also resides in him. He is always afflicted with fear, the enemy of the whole world. Just as Death does not forget the body similarly in a Tamas individual, arrogance is continual. The fortitude which has clutched the five failings of sleep etc. should be considered as Tamas fortitude. (18:749-762).
Intellect decides about three kinds of actions and three kinds of fortitude takes the actions to completion. Even if one can see the path clearly after sunrise, individual has to walk on the path by his own feet but for that walking also fortitude that is determination of mind is necessary. Thus I have told you about three types of fortitude and the three types of action which are completed due to it. The fruit one gets from the action is called happiness. That is also of three types according to the nature of the action. I shall explain to you how this happiness in the form of fruit becomes of three types due to the three attributes. (18:763-768).
THREE TYPES OF HAPPINESS
When a little happiness is gained, then proceeding in the same manner it grows until the sorrow of the state of being in a body vanishes, that happiness is the bliss of the Self. That bliss of the Self also has become of three types. I shall tell you the characteristics of each of them. (18:776-777).
Sattvic bliss In order to achieve that bliss of the Self one has to suffer the pains of observing the self-restraints, rules etc. in the beginning itself. When the strong detachment which swallows all the likes and dislikes develops it uproots the binding (liking) to the heaven and the world. The weakness of intellect etc. gets severely mutilated while listening to strict discretion and while observing strict austerities. Surge of the vital airs Prana and Apana are required to be swallowed through the Sushumna Nadi and all these efforts are required to be made in the beginning itself. (18:781-784). The organs suffer and feel as if it is the end of the aeon while leaving the sense objects but with detachment these pains are to be faced with courage. Thus by suffering the pains in the beginning itself they achieve the highest kind of bliss. (18:787-788). After the detachment gets matured by the knowledge of the Self, all sorrows originating in ignorance including the detachment vanishes. 91. Intellect becomes one with the Soul and the mine of non-duality automatically pens up for it. In this way, the bliss which is rooted in detachment and ends in the peace of the Self-realisation may be called Sattvic bliss. (18:791-793).
Rajas happiness When the sense-objects and organs come in contact the Rajas bliss overflows. (18:794). This happiness which is fattens the individuals is like the company of a confidence trickster or the behaviour of a prostitute which appears to be pleasant in the beginning but is harmful in the end. It exhausts the stock of happiness fast, destroys life and drains the wealth of merit. All the sense pleasures which were enjoyed earlier look like a dream and it only remains to suffer sorrow. Thus in this life this happiness results in calamities and in the after-life also it gives fruits like poison. Those who pamper their sense organs by sacrificing the righteous ways of living and celebrating the pleasure orgies, strengthen the sins which lead them to hell. The worldly pleasures thus lead to ruin in the after-world. Worldly happiness which is sweet in the beginning but leads to a bitter end is Rajas happiness. Do not even let it touch you. (18:797-805).
Tamas happiness That pleasure which is obtained from drinking the undrinkable, eating the uneatable, or in the company of a woman of loose morals, or by ruining others, snatching other peopleís wealth, or by listening to the praise by others, that which proliferates by lethargy or sleep and in the beginning and end of which one misses the road to progress because of delusion, may be considered as Tamas happiness. I am not going into its details because it is impossible. Thus I have clarified how by the divisions of the action the resulting happiness has also become of three types. (18:806-810).
No escape from attributes There is nothing in this world apart from the doer, deed and the fruit thereof. The three attributes are woven in this triad. Therefore keep in mind that there is no object on this earth or in heaven which is not bound by the attributes of nature. (18:811-813). No creature has escaped from the arrangement of the attributes in this world. Therefore all objects in this world are made up of these three attributes. It is these attributes which have turned one god into three (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh). It is because of these three attributes that the three worlds (heaven, earth and nether) were created and the four castes and their duties have become different. (18:815-817)
DUTIES OF FOUR CASTES
The four castes At the top of the four caste system are the brahmins. The next two, kshatriyas and the vaishyas are of the same level as brahmins because they are entitled to perform Vedic rites. The fourth caste of Shudras do not have the right to Vedas therefore its sustenance is dependent upon the first three castes. Since he comes in close contact with the three castes brahmin etc., it has been counted as the fourth caste. Because of their contacts with the twice born, Shrutis included Shudras also in the caste system. Thus the caste system divides people into four types. I shall tell you what the duties of the four castes and the nature of the duties. By virtue of these duties these four castes escape from the clutches of the birth and death cycle and attain God. These duties are assigned to the four castes according to the three attributes of nature. (18:818-825).
Attributes and castes In this system the Sattva attribute has entered equally in brahmins and kshatriyas. Raja attribute mixed with the Sattva attribute has entered the vaishyas while the Tama attribute mixed with the Raja attribute has entered the shudras. Thus the mankind which is basically one has been divided into four types b the three attributes. Shastras clarify the duties which are separated due to the attributes. Now listen to which duties are proper for each caste. (18:828-832).
The nine qualities of a brahmin Controlling the bodily tendencies and desires the intellect meets the Self in solitude like a wife embracing her husband in private. This peaceful nature of the intellect is called "Shama" or serenity and all actions (fit for brahmins) start from it. That which restrains the external organs by showing them the fear of the scriptural rules and does not let them turn towards unrighteousness is called "Dama" or restraint and is a helpmate to "Shama" It is the second quality of the action. Ever thinking about God is called "Tapas" or austerity and is the third quality of the action. This action has two types of purity or "Shouchya", the internal purity of the mind with pure emotions and the external purity of the body with good deeds. This is the fourth quality of this type of action. To tolerate all pains like the earth does is called "Kshama" or forbearance which is the fifth quality and is sweet like the "Panchama" tone (equivalent to "G" scale). To behave in a straightforward manner with an individual who is against you is the sixth quality called uprightness. Understanding that behaving as prescribed in the scriptures leads to God-realisation is Knowledge and is the seventh quality of action. Steadfast unification of the intellect with the Supreme person by means of the power of knowledge of the Shastras or by meditation after the mind is purified is called wisdom (Vidnyan) and is the eighth quality. And accepting what is prescribed by the Shastras is the ninth quality of action is the belief in God (Astikya) and the action which has this quality is the true action. Thus the action in which these nine qualities i.e. serenity etc. are faultlessly present .is the natural duty of a brahmin. (18:845-851). This string of nine jewels of the nine qualities is an ornament of a brahmin and he is never without it. (18:854).
Seven qualities of a Kshatriya Now I shall tell you what is proper action for a kshatriya. (18:855). Just as a lion does not seek anybodyís company while going hunting similarly he is strong and exhibits inborn bravery without external support. This bravery is the first and best of the qualities of a kshatriya. (18:856-857). To astonish the world by oneís strength and qualities and not getting disturbed under any circumstances is the second notable quality exhibited by kshatriyas known as martial lustre. Courage or fortitude is his third quality by means of which his mind and intellect do not experience fear even if heavens come down. (18:859-861). Overcoming the emotional effects (joy, sorrow, fear etc.) resulting from many calamities and guiding the intellect to pass through them and get favourable results is the fourth quality of a kshatriya called dexterity (alertness). Extreme fighting spirit is his fifth quality. He faces the enemy and avoids retreat from the enemy. This fifth quality is superior among all the qualities just as devotion is among the four worldly obligations of a person. (18:863-867). Giving limitlessly in charity as per peopleís wishes and needs is the sixth quality of a kshatriya called generosity. (18:869-870). To protect and foster the subjects with love and to receive their services is the sense of Godly duty (King is considered as representative of God). The storehouse of all power is this sense of being Godís representative which should be reflected in the behaviour of a kshatriya and is the seventh quality which is the king among the qualities. A kshatriya is adorned by these seven qualities. (18:871-873). The action which becomes sacrosanct by these seven qualities is the natural action of a kshatriya. (18:878).
Duties of a Vaishya Now I shall tell you about actions which are proper for a vaishya. (18:879). To make a lot of profit from farm, seeds and ploughs, in short, to live by farming, maintaining cattle, or buying goods cheaply and selling them at higher price are the natural actions of a vaishya. (18:880-882).
Duty of a Shudra The three castes vaishya, kshatriya an brahmin are termed as dwija or twice born. To serve them is only the true prescribed duty of a shudra. There is no duty for shudras other than serving the twice born. Thus I have told you about the actions proper for the four castes. (18:883-884).
Duties to be done as per caste entitlement Just as joining the river is proper for rainwater and joining the ocean proper for the river, similarly it is proper for a person to do whatever actions fall to his lot as per the rules of the four caste system. One should resolve firmly to do the natural actions as prescribed in the Shastras. Oneís duties and entitlement as per oneís caste should be understood from the Shastras. (18:886-889, 891). A person who does actions in this manner but laying stress on doing them gladly with body and mind without lethargy and without desire for fruits of the actions does them exactly as prescribed by the Shastras and reaches the gates on this side of liberation (i.e. detachment) because he does not allow himself to be tainted neither by not doing the prescribed deeds nor by doing the prohibited ones. He is therefore not affected by the ills of the worldly affairs. He considers actions with desire like shackles of sandalwood and does not even look at them. And because he gives up the fruits of the other actions namely the routine actions and thus nullifies them he reaches the boundary of liberation. In this way he avoids the traps of sin and merit in this world and stands at the gates of liberation in the form of detachment. (18:893-894, 896-900).
IMPORTANCE OF DETACHMENT
The detachment which is the limit of all fortunes and giver of knowledge for attaining liberation and which is the endpoint of the labours of the path of action is the guarantee for liberation and is the fruit of the tree of merit. The bee that is the seeker sits on the flower of detachment. That detachment is the dawn signifying that the sun of Self realisation is about to rise. (18:901-903).Thus by observing the rules of prescribed actions he becomes entitled to liberation. Arjuna, performing this prescribed action is my one and only call and is the highest kind of service to Me who is the Soul of everything. (18:905-906).
Prescribed duties puts burden on God The faithful wife exchanges pleasures with her husband in all sorts of ways and the very same is her tapas or a child has no means of life support except or its mother therefore its righteous action is to serve her. (18:907-908). One should not abandon oneís prescribed duties. When the prescribed duties are performed it puts an obligation on God. It His desire that everybody should do appropriate duties prescribed for him. Therefore when these duties are done one doubtlessly attains God. (18:910-911). Not to default on behaving as desired by Him is the highest service to Him. Doing anything other than this in purely business. Therefore when prescribed duty is performed it does not amount to action. It amounts to obeying the commands of God from whom the five principles came into existence. That God wraps up the rags of ignorance to make puppet dolls of individuals and makes them play with the strings made of ego with the strands of three attributes. God has pervaded the universe from inside as well as outside like the light from a lamp and when He is worshipped with the flowers of good deeds he is pleased. Therefore the Soul who is pleased with the worship gives him the prasad of detachment. In that state of detachment the attention is concentrated on God and he dislikes the entire world like a vomit and all the pleasures in the world also appear to him like sorrows. Even before achieving the final success he achieves oneness with God by his total attention to Him and becomes worthy of Self-realisation. Therefore, he who observes austerities for achieving liberation should practice own Dharma with deep faith. (18:913-922).
FOLLOW OWN DHARMA
Arjuna, though own Dharma is difficult to observe one should keep in mind what fruits one would gain from it. (18:923). If we start disliking our own Dharma because it is difficult then shall we not miss the bliss of liberation? (18:926). Even if our mother is a hunchback, her love on which we survive is not hunchback. (18:927). Even if ghee has better qualities than water can fish live in ghee? What is poison to the world is like nectar to the organisms living in it. Therefore, even though it is difficult to observe everyone should do only what is prescribed for him and which will liberate him from the worldly troubles. To adopt other peopleís behaviour because they appear good is like walking on your head instead of by your feet. Therefore Arjuna, is it not necessary to make a rule that one should practice oneís own Dharma and avoid others? As long as there is no Self-realisation actions are going to be there and doing any action will always be difficult in the beginning. (18:929-935).
When every action has its difficulties then why should we blame our own Dharma for them. (18:936). If doing even those actions which we like involves labours then how can we say that actions prescribed by Shastras are difficult. (18:945). Is there any fruit other that sorrow when one accumulates sins by labouring oneís organs and spending time of our life? Therefore one should practice only oneís own natural Dharma because it will mitigate your labours and fetch you liberation, the highest among the four obligations of man. (18:948-949). Then God, pleased by the great worship of observation of oneís own Dharma destroys the Tama and Raja attributes from the mind and directs oneís eagerness towards Sattva attribute resulting into the conviction that this earth and heaven are like poison. The person then achieves the detachment of the type implied by the word "Sansiddha" used earlier (in the Gita Shloka No 45) to explain the meaning of detachment. I shall now tell about how he becomes a seeker once this state of detachment is mastered and what he gains by it. (18:952-955).
BECOMING A SEEKER
Such a person is not caught in the web of worldly things like the body etc. His love for the world becomes dulled. He does not consider his sons, wealth and family as his even if they go by his wishes. Then his intellect scalded by the sense pleasures reverses into seclusion (become introspect). His conscience does not break the vow of not turning towards external objects. Then that seeker grips his mind in the grip of oneness with God and turns its interest towards Soul. At that time his desire for worldly and beyond the world subjects vanishes. Therefore if mind is controlled then desire also vanishes. Thus the illusions about the realness of the world vanishes and he comes to the state of true knowledge (of the Self). His past karmas are nullified by going through the process of enjoying or suffering for them and new karma is not created because the ego of being the doer of the actions has already vanished. This state is called "Karma-samya-dasha" or the state of null karmas. When this state of null karmas is attained he meets his Guru automatically. (18:956-966). Once he meets his Guru, his actions and his responsibility as doer stops. (18:968). The ignorance of the seeker then is destroyed by the blessings of the true Guru. (18:970).
State of actionlessness Once the ignorance gets destroyed then the triad of actions, the doer and the act of doing vanishes and karma is abandoned automatically. Thus when the visible world is wiped away by destroying the ignorance which is the root cause of all actions then the seeker realises that what he was endeavouring to know is he himself. (18:971-973). When ignorance goes, it takes with it the knowledge also vanishes what remains is the actionless consciousness. Therefore that state of pure knowledge is called non-doing (or actionlessness). He then remains in the state of his original form. The state of complete actionlessness is the Siddhi of actionlessness and is naturally the most superior among the Siddhis. (18:977-980). There is nothing more to be gained beyond the state of actionlessness. (18:983). This state is attained by the blessings of a true Guru. (18:984). Who can say that a person whose inclination has become steady in the Self by the destruction of duality after listening, due to his good fortune, to the advice of his true Guru has any action remaining to be done? Without doubt, such a person has nothing left to be done. (18:987-990). But everybody cannot reach that state. What a person who has not been able yet to reach the state of Self-realisation should do is explained in the following. (18:991).
Getting ready to meet his Guru That seeker should first burn the Raja and Tama attributes along with desire and prohibited actions in the fire of prescribed actions using the fuel of actions. (i.e. burn prohibited actions as well as the two attributes.) Also he should see that the desire about children, wealth and heaven should be under his complete control. The organs which were exposed to various sense pleasures should be controlled (Pratyahar or control of organs). And acting as prescribed by the own Dharma and making the offering of their fruits to God attain a steady state of detachment. Means should be obtained by which knowledge would grow and Self-realisation would be attained. After being so prepared if one meets his true Guru and he gives advice on Self Realisation without reservations (18:991-997), then in time he will receive the fruits. (18:999).
When one achieves detachment and also meets True Guru and discrimination takes root in the mind and the mind has decides using that discrimination that Brahman alone is real and all other worldly things are an illusion. But the state of becoming one with the all-pervading and superior Brahman which is the final goal of the path to liberation, in which the Knowledge by which the three states of wakefulness, dream and sleep dissolve, where the oneness of unification and even a trace of bliss of the Self does not remain but which still has a remainder even when nothing remains, is achieved only step by step in due time. (18:1001-1006). The lamp of thoughts is lighted by the oil of detachment and he gets the treasure of the Self. The essence of the steps by which as seeker who has become permanently worthy of enjoying this treasure of the Self achieves Self-realisation is the what I shall tell you now. (18:1008-1010).
STEPS TO SELF-REALISATION
That seeker reaches the banks of holy waters of discrimination by the path shown by the Guru and washes the dirt from his intellect. Then that intellect becomes pure and reaches its original state and abandoning the conflict between happiness and sorrow gets engrossed in contemplation of the Self. He eliminates, by means of controlling the organs, the five pleasure subjects to which the organs had given importance leaving the life of knowledge. Then he sets the now pure organs made introspective to the path of yoga on the strength of his courage. Similarly if he has to enjoy or suffer the fruits of the karmas of past lives he does not long for those fruits. In this way giving up liking for beneficial subjects and dislike for harmful subjects he lives alone in a cave forested hills where there is no disturbance from people and only company he has there are his own organs. His pastime is to control the mind and the organs, his speech is silence. He does not know how much time passes in the contemplation of the mantra given by his Guru. And while eating he does not bother about three things namely to become strong, to satisfy is hunger or to satisfy his taste buds. The satisfaction he gets by eating little has no measure. The body will die if hunger is not satisfied therefore he eats just enough to sustain life and that too in quantities which will not make him sleepy or lethargic. His body touches the ground only when he prostrates before the deity for worship otherwise he does not lie on ground thoughtlessly. He moves his limbs only for survival of the body for getting food. In this way he keeps his mind and organs under control. (18:1011-1029).
He does not permit his tendencies reach the threshold of mind then where is the question of expressing them in words? Concurring the body, speech, mind and external organs, he masters meditation. He constantly guards the steady interest in the Self-realisation awakened in him by the Mantra given by his true Guru. The customary way of meditation is to meditate in such a way that the meditation and the subject on which he meditates become one. For this one has to meditate until meditation, meditator and the subject of meditation become one therefore the seeker with his attention on attaining Self-realisation resorts to the practice of yoga. By pressing the joint midway between the anus and the genitals and thus contracting the anus, he practices the three postures namely, the Mula Bandha posture (the knot at the root or base), the JalandharBandha and the Odhiyana Bandha (knots, see 6:192-200) and unites the pranas thus awakening his Kundalini. Clearing the path of the Sushumna nerve, he brakes through all the Chakras from Muladhar to Adnya and then releasing the shower of nectar from the Sahasrar or the thousand petalled lotus at the top of the head, he brings the stream of nectar down to the Muladhar Chakra. Then he makes an offering of his mind and the pranas to the consciousness active in the Adnyachakra. While this power of Kundalini is being activated he continues in the background his practice of meditation. In order that the practice of yoga and meditation should continue uninterrupted, he has already attained detachment which accompanies him right from the beginning until he attains the final unification with the Self. (18:1030-1043). If detachment is present in a seeker of liberation until his tendencies dissolve in the Self then how can impediments come in his spiritual path? Therefore that fortunate person becomes worthy of knowledge of the self by practising yoga with detachment. Protected by the armour of detachment he rides the horse of Rajayoga, and holding the sword of meditation fast in the grip of discrimination, he cuts through all difficulties big and small and marches in the dark battlefield of the world and conquers the liberation. (18:1045-1049).
Enemies to be conquered
First enemy- Body ego Now, the first among the enemies in the form of failings who have come to stop him in this battle and whom he has beaten is the ego of the body (I am the body feeling). This ego of the body does not leave you after death nor does it allow you to live properly after you take birth, he traps you and keeps you languished in the stockade of the skeleton. But that brave seeker captures the fort of the body which is the shelter to this ego.
Second enemy- Strength And strength is the second enemy he subdues. This enemy that is strength quadruples itself at the mention of sense-pleasures and the entire world is threatened by it leading it to the state of death. It is thus a basin of the poisons of the sense-pleasures and king of all failings. But how can it tolerate the blow of the sword of meditation? (18:1050-1054).
Third enemy- arrogant pride And the third traitorous enemy which he kills is the arrogant pride, which makes a person feel happy when he gets the things he likes and shout in that fit of joy, which makes him go astray from the good ways and pushes him towards non-righteous ways leaving the seeker in the clutches of hell. And anger, the biggest of the failings that even the greatest of the tapaswis dread arises from it.
Fourth enemy-lust And the next failing is lust which, more you satisfy it more demanding it grows. If you destroy it then anger also gets destroyed.
Fifth enemy- Parigraha Just as the king makes the shackles be carried by the person for whose feet are meant, similarly, Parigraha or tendency to possess is the enemy which grows with possessions. It influences the seeker and introduces bad qualities in him and makes him dependent on family attachment. By means of activities like acquiring disciples, collecting books, building religious centres, exhibiting yogic prowess like Khechari Mudra etc, it has enticed even hermits into company of people. Even if he leaves home and goes to forest then the Parigraha manifests itself in the form of forest creatures and articles and Parigraha pursues him even if he is naked. He seeker destroys the unconquerable Parigraha and enjoys the pleasure of having conquered the world. (18:1055-1066).
Therefore the group of the qualities like pridelessness etc. ( See 13:201) come before him under his command. Then the tree states of wakefulness, dream and sleep hail him as he traverses the path of actions. The discrimination using knowledge of the self drives away the visible world and the state of yoga welcomes him. He is showered by Riddhi and Siddhi, the occult powers. And as the kingdom of unity with Brahman approached near he finds the three worlds full of bliss. At this stage everything becomes equal and no duality is left which might have made him say that this is my friend and that is my enemy. In fact there is nothing left in the world which he can say belongs to him because he has become one with the Brahman. Since he has embraced the entire universe narrow feelings like attachments are cast away. (18:1067-1075).
Worthiness of becoming Brahman Thus when the enemies are conquered and the realisation that the entire universe is unreal has been gained, the Rajayoga practice becomes automatically steady and he loosens the strong armour of detachment for some time. There is nothing left to be destroyed by meditation therefore he restrains his actions. (18:1076-1078). When attainment of Brahman approaches his practice also stops. (18:1080). As soon as it is apparent that Self-realisation would soon be experienced he does away with the means of spiritual practice therefore his means progressively become less and less. Then when the detachment has reached perfection, the study of knowledge matured and the fruits of yoga practice are seen in the form of peace which pervades throughout his person then the seeker is worthy of becoming the Brahman himself. (18:1083-1086). The unsteady nature of the river after is seen only where it enters the sea, the water which has become part of the sea remains calm. The relation is similar between the Siddha who becomes Brahman and by virtue of the pervading peace he soon becomes Brahman itself. But when instead of becoming Brahman a seeker experiences It then it is called worthiness of becoming Brahman. (18:1088-1090).
That person who has reached the state of worthiness of becoming Brahman gains cheerfulness of mind. (18:1091). The labours made for attaining Self-realisation are mitigated. This is the state which is gained by Self-realisation which is well known by the term Atma-bodha-prashasti or serene cheerfulness. Because of being full of equanimity he neither grieves because something is lost nor desires anything particular. (18:1094-1096). After he experiences Self-realisation differences disappear wherever he looks. Because of this, whatever improper knowledge is gained during the states of wakefulness and dream dissolves in ignorance. When Self-realisation increases that ignorance also continues to decrease and dissolves into that Knowledge. (18:1098-1101).
Fourth kind of Devotion As the knowable becomes less and less and the knower merges with Me along with Knowledge, then all ignorance vanishes. (18:1106). He gains the fourth kind of devotion to Me wherein he cannot see anything other than Me. Because there are other categories of devotion (Ch VII) like Arta (distressed), Jijnasu (curious), Artharthi (desirous of wealth), this devotion is called the fourth type. Actually if you think then there is nothing like devotion of the first type or fourth type, that devotion is the name given to my natural state. (18:1111-1113). It is the same devotion which manifests itself as deep desire in a Arta (distressed) devotee and the subject of the desire also is Me. In Jijnasu (curious) devotee the same devotion becomes the desire for knowledge. The same devotion becomes the desire for wealth and the wealth which means everything also becomes Me. (18:1119-1121). Thus this devotion to Me, because of ignorance, considers Me, the seer as an object to be seen. It is devotion to Me that is practised everywhere but the visible form imagined for Me is due to ignorance. After the ignorance is removed I again am understood as a seer. (18:1124-1125). Like the perfect moon on the full moon night, I am seen through the path of Knowledge also but in a different way. When I am thus seen, I gains Me and the seer also vanishes as a seer. Therefore Arjuna this fourth type of devotion to Me is beyond the visible paths. (18:1127-1129).
You have already heard that the devotee who becomes one with Me with this knowledge based devotion, becomes nothing other than Me because in the seventh chapter I have sworn to you that a person of Knowledge is my soul.† That this very same type of devotion is the best is what I advised Brahmadeo through Bhagwat (Purana) in the beginning of the aeon.† Persons of knowledge call it ďSwasanvitiĒ (Knowledge) and the Shaivaites call it Shakti. We call it ďExtreme devotionĒ. A Kramayogi (A yogi who progresses towards Self-realisation step by step. †This is different from Karmayogi who is only at the stage of the path of action.) attains it at the time of becoming one with Me.† Then he realises that it is I who has pervaded the whole universe. In this condition, detachment with discrimination, binding with liberation and activism with renunciation totally disappear.† Just as the sky principle remains even after swallowing the other four principles, in the same way he remains aloof and attains unity with my pure and immaculate form, which is beyond the means and the goal and enjoys the bliss of the Brahman.† This experiencing of the bliss of the Brahman is like the distinct shining of Ganga even after it joins the ocean. A mirror kept before another mirror sees its own reflection.† That is the manner in which he experiences the bliss of the Brahman.† Even after the mirror is removed and the reflected image vanishes, the looker enjoys the bliss of the form of the Self in himself.† When one is awake the dream vanishes and the realisation that he is alone comes and even when nobody else is there one enjoys the aloneness, it is similar in this case. (18:1130-1141).
BEING ONE WITH ME
Somebody may say on this that there cannot be enjoyment after oneness. (18:1142). But how can he who has not been one with Me know who I am? Then how can it be said that he is devoted to Me? Therefore that Karmayogi becomes one with Me and enjoys my form even without doing actions. (18:1145-1147, 1149). In non-duality there may not be any action but there is definitely devotion and that can be understood only from experience. It cannot be expressed in words. (18:1151). When such a person, by previous influences utters anything or calls Me then I respond to his call and it is as if I who made those utterances. When one who speaks to himself there cannot be any speaking and under these conditions silence constitutes my best praise. Therefore when he speaks since it is only I that is speaking, what is produced is silence and that silence is my praise. (18:1152-1154). In the same way whatever he sees through his eyes or intellect that seeing pushes aside the object to be seen and shows the form of the seer himself instead. (18:1155). Thus when the visible object disappears and is experienced as the seer himself then in that oneness even the consciousness of his being the seer does not remain. (18:1157). Thus when the seer becomes one with my form and sees anything then the object to be seen and the seer both vanish along with the action of seeing. (18:1161). Once the seer becomes one with my form the visibility of the visible object does not remain. This state in which the object is seen as well as not seen is my real vision. He experiences this vision with any object and he attains the sight which is beyond the visible object and the seer. And because he has entered the form of the Self he is never unstable. (18:1163-1165). Because he has attained my form completely he becomes quiet (18:1166), and his coming and going stops and that itself becomes pilgrimage to the non-duality that is Me. (18:1168). He had gone away from Me because of his I-am-the-body feeling and he has returned to Me therefore this going and coming is his pilgrimage and he becomes my pilgrim. (18:1172). If due to the disposition of his body he started doing some actions then it is only I who meets him on the pretext of the action. Arjuna, in this state the difference between the deed and the doer vanishes and seeing Me through the Self he himself becomes Me. (18:1173-1174). How can any action done after becoming one with Me become an action? If while doing action one does not maintain the ego of being the doer then all his actions become non-actions and that is the sign of my worship. Therefore Arjuna even if he has done any action in prescribed way then it does not imply he has done any action, instead it becomes my superior worship. (18:1176-1179).
In this way whatever he speaks becomes my praise, whatever he sees becomes my vision and his walk becomes pilgrimage to non-duality that is Me. Arjuna, whatever he does becomes my worship. Whatever he thinks becomes my Japa, and the state he is in becomes my samadhi. He becomes one with Me through the yoga of devotion. (18:1180-1182). With his exceptional devotion he sees Me as the seer in everything that can be seen. He dances wildly with the knowledge that the visible universe apparent in the form of the field and the knower of the field in the three states of wakefulness, dream and sleep is all Me who is the seer. (18:1185-1187). He knows that when he awakens then all emotions he saw in the dream were not different from himself. Similarly he experiences that what appears to be existing and not existing is all himself the knower. He knows that I am the birthless, ageless, inexhaustible, indestructible, without past and limitless bliss. He also knows that I am also immovable, not liable to fall down, infinite, incomparable, root of everything, formless as well as with form, bender of the ruling powers as well as the ruler, without beginning, indestructible, fearless, support of as well as the supported objects. He also knows that I am the master of everything, and am ever, natural, unceasing, everything and in everything and beyond all. That which is most recent and also oldest, with form of nil and complete, biggest and tiniest, is all Me. That which is actionless, companionless and without sorrow is also Me. All things are in Me and I am in all things. Thus I am the Superior Person. I am without words, without ears, form or lineage. I am the uniform and independent Brahman the ultimate. Thus by becoming one with Me he knows Me through his incomparable devotion and also realises that this knowledge is also Me. (18:1191-1200).
After the knowable has dissolved and only the knower remains and one who knows this is also the knower himself. Arjuna, he also realises that the power of knowledge which knows this non-duality is also Me. (18:1203-1204). When he knows that the one and only one Soul beyond the duality and non-duality is undoubtedly only Me and actually experiences it (18:1205), then in the awareness that "I am he" having dissolved in the bliss of the Self he enters my form. Therefore the reference to "he" becomes irrelevant and consequently reference to "I" also becomes baseless and he merges into my form. (18:1209-1210). Just as when one is subtracted from one, the remainder is zero, similarly when being and non-being are subtracted from each other what remains is Me. In that state there is no meaning to talking about the terms Brahman, Soul and God and there is no meaning to saying that nothing exists also. (18:1212-1213); Just as not speaking is as good as speaking a mouthful, realisation comes without the awareness of knowledge and ignorance.† In that state realisation realises realisation, bliss enjoys bliss, happiness becomes happy, gain begets gain, brightness becomes bright and surprise dissolves in surprise; control of mind becomes silent, repose relaxes, and experience gets obsessed with experience.† In short, he gains the pure fruits of becoming Me through the practice of Kramayoga (or the yoga of step by step progress). (18:1214-1218).†
I am the crown of that emperor i.e. Kramayoga and in exchange for it he becomes the jewel of Knowledge.† Or he becomes the expanse of sky above the pinnacle of liberation, of the temple of Kramayoga.† In these woods of the world, Kramayoga is the proper road that takes one to the town of unity with Me.† Or, with the waters of knowledge with devotion, the seeker reaches the ocean of bliss of the Self which is Me, by the current of Kramayoga.† Arjuna, I am telling this to you again and again because of the greatness of Kramayoga.† Arjuna, I am not attainable by means of choosing a place, time or substance because I am naturally present in all, therefore no difficulties are faced in attaining Me.† I can be attained easily by following the Kramayoga. (18:1219-1225).
THE GITA SUPERIOR TO SHASTRAS
The Guru-disciple system has been established for learning how to attain Me. (18: 1226). Though I am always available, I can be attained only by certain means just as wealth present in the earth requires efforts for extracting it. (18:1228). One may ask why Shri Krishna is talking about means after talking about the fruits so far. The excellence of the Gita lies in the fact that liberation is achieved by all the means suggested in it. The methods told in other Shastras are not necessarily all proved. (18:1229-1230). Shastras remove the grime of ignorance but beyond this they are not qualified to give knowledge of the Self. The place the Shastras have to go for proving their authenticity is the Gita. Gita guides the Shastras on proper path. (18:1233-1235).
Shri Krishna has discussed in detail various methods for Self realisation in the earlier chapters of the Gita. But thinking that Arjuna might not perhaps have understood the subject by hearing once, Shri Krishna is telling the same thing again as a summary. And now the Gita is nearing its conclusion, therefore he has tried to bring uniformity of objective between the beginning and the end, the reason being various principles have been discussed in the middle parts to explain the various topics raised during the discussion. Therefore somebody might say without considering the context of the earlier and later parts of the Gita that these principles are the main principles giving the essence of the Gita. Therefore we are ending the Gita by proving that the various principle are included in the consideration of the main principle. (18:1236-1242).
THE ESSENCE OF THE GITA
Destroying ignorance is the main topic of this Gita, attaining liberation is its fruit, and the means for these two is the knowledge. This Knowledge has been discussed in various ways in detail in this book. Shri Krishna is telling the same thing again in concise form. Therefore Shri Krishna has set upon to discuss the means for achieving the goal even if the goal is achieved. (18:1243-1245).
Shri Krishna said, "That Karmayogi by becoming one with Me with such dedication remains so eternally. By worshipping Me with flowers of prescribed duties he gets the faith in knowledge of the Self by my favour. Once this faith in is achieved then the devotion to Me grows and he becomes happy by becoming one with Me due to that devotion. He observes Me the Soul, illuminator of the whole world as pervading everything (18:1246-1249). While he follows Me and takes shelter under Me with intellect, words and body, he may sometimes do improper deeds but just as when the stream of dirty street water and the big river are same once they meet the Ganges, once my knowledge is attained good and evil become same. (18:1251-1252). The differences like good and evil appear only until one gets my all pervading illumination. (18:1255). Therefore as soon as he meets Me his karma in nullified and he occupies the seat of unification with Brahman. He achieves my eternal position which is not affected by location, time or nature. All in all Arjuna, what gains will he who has gained my pleasure miss?. Therefore Arjuna, surrender all actions in Me. (18:1257-1260).
Without abandoning the routine duties keep your attention in discrimination. With the strength of that discrimination you will see my blemishless form which is different from action. You will observe that nature or Maya in which all actions are rooted is far from you. You will find that just as there is no shadow without form similarly Maya also is not separate from the Soul. Once Maya or nature is negated then total renunciation of all the actions (karmas) will occur without efforts. Once all karmas vanish only soul remains. Now you dedicate your intellect to it. This way your intellect will remain singularly united in Me. At that time your mind will abandon all other issues and be devoted to Me. In this way act rapidly to see that abandoning all subjects of contemplation the mind will be concentrated in Me. (18:1261-1268).
When your mind will become one with Me with this exceptional devotion you will receive my complete favour. Then the sorrows of birth and death which all creatures have to suffer become pleasurable however hard they may be. (18:1269-1270). How can he whose I-am-the-body attitude has been completely destroyed by my favour be afraid of the worldly matters. But if under the influence of your ego you ignore my advice then you will have to suffer injuries due to the awareness of the body even after being liberated and indestructible. In this realm of body awareness there is not a momentís respite in suffering death at every step. If you do not listen to my advice then you will have to suffer terrible pains of death without dying. (18:1272-1277).
By despising discrimination if you foster the ego and because of that ego you called, using your own intellect, your own body as Arjuna, bodies of others as relatives and battle as sinful action and be firmly determined that you will not fight, even then your inborn nature will make that determination infructuous. (18:1279-1285).
By your possessing the nature of a kshatriya you have in you inborn qualities like bravery, martial lustre, alertness etc., therefore by virtue of these qualities of a kshatriya our nature will not let you keep quiet without fighting. Because you are bound by these qualities you cannot go against your nature. (18:1287-1291). A sick person does not like his illness nor does a poor person like his poverty but he has to suffer it due to his strong destiny. The same destiny due to the power of God will not let you do otherwise. That God also resides in your heart. (18:1297-1298). That God has manifested himself by wearing the ego of all beings. Through the veil of His Maya he singly moves the strings of 8.4 million shadows and makes them dance. He gives shape to everybody from Brahmadeo to a worm according to its worth. And the creature before whom He sets up the appropriate body occupies it with the feeling "I am this body". (18:1302-1305). It accepts the form of the body which is separate from itself as being itself. In this way by seating the creatures on the contraption of the body God moves the strings according to their karmas. The particular creature for whom independent string which is allocated according to its pre-birth karmas goes according to that string. (18:1307-1309). Affairs of all creatures are carried by the power of God. (18:1311). One God, through basic nature makes all creature play and the Same is in your heart. Arjuna, the Self which generates in your mind when you do not have the feeling that "I am Arjuna" is only His true form. Therefore that God will incite you for battle through your nature and make you fight even if you do not desire so. God is the Master of all and controls Prakriti (nature). Therefore one should use oneís organs to do actions appropriate to Prakriti pleasurably. Therefore you leave the decision about whether you should fight or not to Prakriti. Keep in mind that Prakriti is under the control of the God in your heart. (18:1314-1318).
Offer body, speech, mind and ego to HIm Merge into God by making an offering to Him of body, speech, mind and ego as Ganga water merges into the ocean. Then you will attain complete peace by his grace and you will be engrossed in the Self with bliss of the Self. You will be the master of that indestructible state of the Self where creation is born, where repose takes rest, and which experience experiences. (18:1319-1322).
Gita the essence of Vedas This science well-known by the name Gita is the essence of the Vedic literature and one achieves priceless Self through it. Knowledge of the Self which is customarily known only as knowledge and by praising which Vedanta became famous in the whole world, of which intellectual subjects are mere reflections and through which even I, the unmanifestable seer of all and, can be seen is my secret treasure. But how can I hide it from you? Therefore Arjuna, because I feel the greatest sympathy for you I have given you this treasure. (18:1323-1327). I, the knower of all. having considered all aspects have told you the true knowledge. Now you think about it properly and do what you consider proper.
The Gita is the Knowledge by which ignorance about the real nature of the world is destroyed and only I am seen in everything, the knowledge explained through the use of examples and similes. I have advised on Knowledge of the Self in various ways. With that knowledge shed the ignorance which creates confusion about proper and improper codes of behaviour (Dharma and Adharma respectively) which lead one to heaven and hell. (18:1388-1391). Just as when dream goes away with the sleep and only the dreamer remains similarly nothing other than Me remains. Then with the idea that he is Me he becomes one with Me. Shedding the separateness from Me and realising the oneness with Me is what is called surrender. Once you surrender to Me you will become one with Me, therefore surrender to Me and be one with Me. (18:1396-1400).
How is it possible to surrender to Me as well as live as an individual at the same time? (18:1402). After you meet the God of the universe do not at all listen to the ominous talk that binding of the worldly life does not go. To serve Me by being one with Me is my natural devotion. Gain knowledge through it. (18:1403-1405). After you surrender to Me by the realisation of non-duality you will not be touched by the issues of prescribed and prohibited actions. (18:1407). Is there any reason for anything other than my all encompassing form after becoming one with Me? Therefore do not worry about these things or about sin and merit. Understand that I shall become your sin and merit. Being separate from Me is the sign of binding to the karmas. That sin will be dissolved by knowledge about Me. Wise Arjuna, when you surrender to Me with undivided mind you will be one with Me and in this way automatically be free of all bindings. Accept Me and I shall free you by my light. Therefore there is no need for you to worry any more. Wise Arjuna, surrender to Me alone. (18:1411-1416).
So saying Shri Krishna embraced Arjuna by extending his right arm. (18:1418). It was just a pretext to impart to Arjuna that which intellect does not understand and words cannot describe. Once the two hearts touched the secrets from Shri Krishnaís heart entered Arjunaís heart and by demolishing the non-duality he made Arjuna attain Self-realisation. (18:1420-1422).
Thus, Shi Krishna presented the holy Science of Gita which all are entitled to read, and which is the basic theme of the Vedas. Now, if you ask how you (Dnyaneshwar Maharaj) know that the Gita contains the basic theme of the Vedas, then the explanation is as follows. The same truthful God through whose breath the Vedas were born, is telling this science of the Gita on oath through his own lips. Therefore it would be proper to say that the origin of Vedas is in the Gita. (18:1426-1429). Just as a tree is contained in a seed, similarly the three Vedas are contained in the Gita. Therefore I think that the Gita is the root of the Vedas and I can also see it clearly. (18:1431-1432). I shall now clearly indicate where the three parts of the Vedas namely action, worship and knowledge have been imprinted in the Gita. (18:1434).
In the first chapter is mentioned how the science of The Gita originated. In the second chapter is shown that this science of the Gita stresses on the importance of knowledge and is independently capable of leading to liberation. (18:1435-1436).
In the third chapter the beginning of the discourse on the means for attaining liberation of persons who are in the grip of ignorance has been made. Those who are shackled by the I-am-the-body feeling should abandon actions with desire for fruits and prohibited actions and should do the prescribed actions with care. Actions should thus be done with good intentions is what Shri Krishna has recommended in the third chapter. This should be considered as the Path of Action. (18:1437-1439).
If one thinks how the same routine and incidental action frees one from ignorance then the explanation given by Shri Krishna is that when bound persons reach the stage of a seeker then they should do all actions with the attitude of being an offering to the Brahman. Whatever prescribed action occurs through body, speech or mind should be done with the intention of attainment of God. This expression of devotion to God through the path of action has been discussed from the fourth chapter until the end of the eleventh chapter on the vision of the universal form. Thus in these eight chapters I have unveiled the section on worship. (18:1439-1445).
The true knowledge, the knowledge of love which is created through the benevolence of God and through the Guru-disciple system is described in the twelfth chapter from the Shloka "Adweshta" (Shloka No 13) or in the thirteenth chapter from the Shloka "Amanitva" (Shloka No 7). Therefore the twelfth chapter has been included in the section on knowledge. In the four chapters from the beginning of the twelfth to the end of the fifteenth, the topic of discussion is the matured fruit of knowledge. Therefore the section on Knowledge has been covered by the four chapters up to the end of the fifteenth. Thus the Gita which elucidates the three sections is like a loveable Shruti. This Shruti which contains the three sections tells you loudly to gain the fruit of liberation. The class of ignorance which is always inimical to the means of knowledge has been described in the sixteenth chapter. One should conquer this enemy with the help of Shastras is what has been told in the seventeenth chapter. In this way from the first chapter to the end of the seventeenth, Shri Krishna has discussed the Vedas created from his breath. The essence of all these chapters is contained in this pinnacle that is the eighteenth chapter. (18:1446-1455).
The dissertation named Bhagavadgita which has been perfected in 700 shlokas is the very form of the Vedas itself and is more generous than them. The Vedas are full of Knowledge but the is none more miserly because it speaks only with the first three castes. Others like women, shudras etc. who suffer tortures from this world are not allowed under his shelter. I feel that in order to remove these earlier mentioned faults and with the intention of giving benefit to all Vedas have reappeared in the form of the Gita. Not only that, by the entry of the meaning in the mind, by hearing through the ears or by reciting by the mouth the Vedas are available to anybody through the Gita. (18:1456-1460).
BENEFITS OF THE GITA
He who always reads this Gita or remains in the company of one who reads it or distributes it to people by making copies of it gives food of the bliss of liberation to all. (18:1461-1462). If anybody comes to listen to the Gita, then without calling them as good or bad he gives away the bliss of liberation and peace to the world. The Vedas entered inside the Gita being afraid of the earlier criticism and attained dazzling fame. For this reason Shri Krishna personally told Arjuna the Gita which is the form of the Vedas and which enables one to savour them. (18:1464-1466). Making Arjuna as a pretext Shri Krishna has unveiled the Gita and emancipated the world and reduced the burden of worldly matters from the people. (18:1470).
Shri Krishna said, "Because of your many meritorious deeds you have become worthy of listening to the Shastra of the Gita which is the best among all the Shastras. Therefore understand the traditional method of behaviour according to this Shastra and perform accordingly with proper rituals. (18:1480-1481). When a disciple gets knowledge through Guruís pleasure, it becomes fruitful only if the customs of the (Guruís) sect are observed. I shall now tell you the customs appropriate to this Shastra. (18:1484-1485).
This Shastra of the Gita which you have acquired with great earnestness should never be told to a person devoid of austerity. And if he observes austerities but is unsteady in the devotion to his Guru then keep him away as Vedas have kept Shudras away from themselves. Or if a person observes austerities and is devoted to Guru and God but does not like to listen then also he does not deserve to listen to the Gita. (18:1486-1490). Now, if he observes austerities, possesses devotion as well as liking for listening but considers Me the author of the Gita and ruler of all people as an ordinary being or slanders Me or good persons then also he is unfit to listen to the Gita. (18:1497-1499). The austerity, devotion and intellect of a person who slanders Me or my devotees are deceitful therefore even if such a person is devoted, intelligent and austere do not let him come in touch with this Gita Shastra. (18:1504-1505).
Therefore Arjuna, install the idol of the Gita in the heart of the superior devotee who has laid a firm foundation of austerity and built the temple of devotion to Guru above it, and installed a pinnacle of the gems of non-slander over it and kept the main door of desire of listening of that temple open, and you will be like Me and come to my level of worth. Because the single letter Pranava sound Aum was trapped in the sides of the three monosyllabic letters A, U and Ma. That root of the Vedas has evolved further in the Gita or the Gayatri Mantra itself flowered and grew fruits in he form of shlokas from the Gita. He who explains the secret contained in the shlokas becomes one with Me after death. I love the devotee who explains the meaning of the Gita with my heart even if he is separated from Me by his body. I like him more than person of learning, an observer of ritualistic actions and an austere person. There is none dearer to Me on this earth than he who tells the Gita to a group of devotees. He who reads the Gita making his mind steady with the love for Me becomes an ornament in a gathering of saints. (18:1507-1517).
And the sins of one who with pure mind keeps faith in listening to the Gita by abandoning slander in whatever possible way, run away instantly as soon as words of the Gita fall in his ears. (18:1529-1530). (The philosophy part ends here).
TRIBUTES TO GURU
I Have composed this book in the form of ovis which are beautiful to sing or interesting even if they are not sung. In the ovi metre are strung letters which give a taste of the Brahman for young and old. One goes in trance just by listening to it then will it not cause an obsession if one listens to its discussion? Even a simple reading of this book makes the learning bloom and one forgets about nectar in presence of its sweetness. The perfected verse gives such satisfaction that listening to it gives more satisfaction than contemplation and meditation. This listening will impart bliss of the Self to the listener and all organs will be satiated. Persons of spiritual authority understand the secret of the science of spirituality but others become happy even by skilful presentation of it. This is all the greatness of Shri Nivruttinath therefore this is not really my book but the result of his blessing. (18:1741-1750).
On some occasion, Shri Shankar told the spiritual knowledge in Parvatiís ears. That knowledge was obtained by Matsyendranath who was hiding in the stomach of a fish in that sea of milk. When Matsyendranath met the limbless Chouranginath at Saptashringi, the latter regained his limbs. Then, in order that he himself should enjoy the bliss of the samadhi without interruption, Matsyendranath gave his state of the yoga to Gorakshanath and installed him in his own position being the only one in whom yoga can bloom and who can fight sense pleasures. (18:1751-1755). Then by tradition the bliss of non-duality which has descended from Shri Shankar was obtained from Gorakshanath by Gahininath. Seeing that people of the world are troubled Gahininath instructed Shri Nivruttinath to take up the tradition which has descended to him from Adi Shankar and save these people immediately from the influence of Kali. Shri Nivruttinath was already compassionate by nature and in addition his Guru had instructed him therefore he immediately set upon to bring peace to the world. (18:1756-1760). By feeling pity for the distressed he showered peace on them on the pretext of explaining the Gita. At that time I was before him anxiously waiting for his favour therefore he elevated Me to the position of fame. Thus he handed over the wealth of meditation to Me through this book. Otherwise I have not studied, nor I have read and I do not know how to serve my master then how can I achieve the worthiness for composing this book. But in reality Guru Maharaj has given shelter to the world by composing this book making Me the incidental pretext. (18:1761-1765).
book which all you saints have caused to be completed through my hands so that
it is useful to the three world, is incomparable. Only thing that now remains
for me is the service to you.
PRAYERS FOR THE UNIVERSE
Now, may the Supreme God who is the soul of all the universe be satisfied by this discourse and grant me a handful of boons.
May the wicked shed their sinister outlook and
May they develop liking for good deeds and
May all individuals develop friendship with each other.
May the universe lose its darkness of sin and
May the dawn of righteous duties come and
May the desires of all creatures be fulfilled.
May the assemblies of devotees of God who shower all that is auspicious on this earth meet all creatures.
These devotees are walking seeds of the wish-trees, living community of wish-stones or talking oceans of nectar.
May these saints who are like moon without spots or sun without the scorching heat, be the friends and relatives to all creatures.
Why ask for more?
May all creatures in the three worlds be perfect and happy and
May every creature carry desire for ceaseless devotion to the Primeval Supreme Being. And,
those who live by the support of this book gain happiness in this world and the
On hearing this the Lord of the universe said,
have given you this boon."
And by that boon Shri Dnyanadeo was very happy.
(The Philosophical Part)
Offered at the feet of my Guru Shri Shankar Maharaj
FIFTH CAUSE (18:348-352). Bhagvadgita (Shloka 14) uses the term Daivam which is interpreted by Shri Dnyaneshwar Maharaj as referring to deities presiding and controlling the various organs. Others e.g. Saint Mukteshwar and Dr S Radhakrishnan interpret it as (unforeseen) providence. In both interpretations a supernatural hand is indicated but in the latter case it is implied that there is always an element of providence and luck in all actions. Some actions are inspired by the past karmas and by the will of God. This is in conformity with the principle of desireless actions in which one is entitled only to do actions but not to its fruits as mentioned in Chap. 2.
ORIGINALLY UPLOADED FEBRUARY 2000 - REVISED AUGUST 2004/NOV.2010
” Copyright V. V. Shirvaikar email: † † firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Dr V.V.Shirvaikar, A-23 Yashodhan Soc. Chintamaninagar 2, Bibwewadi, Pune 411037, INDIA OR:
7 Ridge Terrace, Short Hills, NJ 07078† USA
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