Tag Archives: Arjuna

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 37

Yattadagre vishamiva parinaame’mritopamam; Tatsukham saattwikam proktam aatmabuddhiprasaadajam.

That Which is like poison at first but in the end like nectar— that pleasure is declared to be Sattwic, born of the purity of one’s own mind due to Self-realisation.

Interpretation
This shloka talks about the pain and pleasure which are sattwik in nature or experienced by a sattwik person. Lord says that for a sattwik person anything that he begins, starts off like a poison in the beginning and finally when he ends the task, it feels like nectar or sweet. Lord Krishna says that this kind of pleasure is said to be the sattwik pleasure. Then Lord also says that this kind of feeling and ability of an individual to take poison in the beginning and end up turning into nector actually comes from the purity of his mind and that purity of mind is the result of the self realization that a person has where his intellect gives him that kind of thought process.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
Any work or activity which you do that tastes like poison and feels difficult or worries you, at the end of the day appears easy, relaxing and sweet it is because you have the ability to do it in a way that it should be done. Many people dont look at a task that is burdensome, they usually avoid it. For the accomplishment of any task, there are two paths, the path filled with pains and the path with pleasures. We usually choose the path with pleasure because you want things to be easier for you, but that path by the end of the day turns burdensome and poisonous, which means something that gives a bad result. But a path which is difficult and appears like poison, as it approaches towards the end will appear like nectar and seems pleasurable. Only a person with sattwik intellect can understand this.
There are numerous examples to illustrate this. Many times, I have seen that a graduate when he has a choice of working and going for further studies are kept infront of him, many choose working over further studies. It is because studies means attending classes, which is hard work and appears like poison in the beginning. Working appears pleasurable because it gives you money and that money brings enjoyment. But a person who completes his higher studies, enjoys the fruits of his efforts and gets settled in good position and gains money and respect. The person who starts to work often hits a saturation point in career and faces crisis and lands himself in a painful situations. A sattwik person looks at the long term implications of his actions though it might be painful and that helps him to reap the benefits of his actions in the long run. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 36

Sukham twidaaneem trividham shrinu me bharatarshabha; Abhyaasaadramate yatra duhkhaantam cha nigacchati.

Now hear from Me, O Arjuna, of the threefold pleasure, in which one rejoices by practice and surely comes to the end of pain!
Interpretation
The last 7 shlokas were mainly concentrated on the effects of intellect and firmness on a person who has a sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic nature. We have seen how a person with Tamasic nature uses his intellect and firmness and same is the case with Rajasic and Sattwik person. Now Lord is going to talk about pain and pleasure. He tell Arjuna to listen from Him, about the three fold pleasures in which one rejoices. The three fold pleasure is again the Sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic pleasure. Lord implies here that the pleasure that people feel also is very much linked to the nature of themselves. So, everyone has their own way of rejoicing the pleasure to end the pain, which again depends on their nature. 
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
Pain and pleasure are inseparable part of anybody’s life and existence. When in pain, everyone wants to come out of that pain and that can only happen when you seek a pleasure. What pleasure you seek is also important. When in immense pain, a person might take to alcohol to overcome that pain or he might read a book or pray to God to overcome that pain. Apart from all this the definition of pain itself needs to be looked into. Pain is sometimes necessary to understand the pleasure but not all pains are required to be borne by an individual. So, understanding pain and pleasure as well as how one tackles the pain and what kind of pleasure he seeks are all important and let us hear what Lord Krishna tells about these pleasures and how it alters the pain of an individual. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 33

Dhrityaa yayaa dhaarayate manah praanendriyakriyaah;
Yogenaavyabhichaarinyaa dhritih saa paartha saattwikee.
The unwavering firmness by which, through Yoga, the functions of the mind, the life-
force and the senses are restrained—that firmness, O Arjuna, is Sattwic!
Interpretation
This shloka again focuses on the sattwik nature in an individual. The shloka starts with the unwavering firmness which is the identity of any sattwik person. Here Lord talks about three types of firmness of mind. The first one is the functions of mind which includes mainly the activities that are controlled by senses. Second is the life force or the forces that control the life in an individual and the third is the senses that one should be restrained. These three activities help an individual in developing the firmness of mind and that every individual should possess if he is sattwik by nature.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
Here we are talking about dhriti again, which we have seen in the previous shlokas. Dhrithi is inner strength of an individual that is usually developed by three aspects. First is if a person regularly practices yoga and through that he develops an ability to control his mind and senses. The moment he is able to do that his mind stops to waver. The life force motivates an individual in performing his tasks where he gets connected to the inner most levels of his sub-conscious mind and the third is restrained senses which are a result of a unwavering mind and the life force. Yoga is the only way through which a person acquires firmness and doesnt waver at all that firmness is called Sattwik in nature. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 32

Adharmam dharmamiti yaa manyate tamasaavritaa; Sarvaarthaan vipareetaamshcha buddhih saa paartha taamasee.
That which, enveloped in darkness, views Adharma as Dharma and all things perverted—that intellect, O Arjuna, is called Tamasic!
Interpretation

After talking about the Sattwik and Rajasic characteristics, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about the Tamasic characteristics in a person. He says that Tamasic guna  is not visible and since it is covered it feels as if it is enveloped in darkness. This guna views the adharmic way of doing things as dharmic and always mistakes it that way only. The next important characteristic that Lord mentions is the perverted way of looking at things. Tamasic people usually looks at things in a perverted way, that usually harms people. He then tells to Arjuna that these are the qualities that a Tamasic person will have.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
When you get knowledge, it is the combination of outer knowledge and inner intellect, which we also call as spirituality. A person whenever he learns something will always try to internalize it and use it by combing it with his inner intellect. Such people are usually Rajasic and Sattwik by nature. But a person who lacks that inner intellect and takes the knowledge as it is, is a Tamasic person. A simple example. Centuries ago it was a tradition which mandated the lady of the household to light up a lamp before God and then the entire house will be lit. It is not a ritual or worshiping of God, but it is a simple tradition that God’s place should be the first place to light, and then only other places can be lit.
Just project this in today’s world. There are many houses where just after sunset they lit up the diya and do puja. It is considered to be bad and inauspicious if you dont do that. Let’s look at the truth. In today’s world houses are made with opaque glass windows and curtains and rooms are lit during day time also. So, what sense does it make lighting a lamp infront of God in an already lit puja room? The very purpose of the first light after sunset going to God is defeated. A person has to understand that it is not a religious ritual but a daily practice. When his inner intellect is covered with darkness he tends to exhibit such behavior. He is called as a typical Tamasic person. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 29

Buddherbhedam dhriteshchaiva gunatastrividham shrinu;
Prochyamaanamasheshena prithaktwena dhananjaya.

Hear thou the threefold division of the intellect and firmness according to the Gunas, 
as I declare them fully and distinctly, O Arjuna!
Interpretation

After talking about certain qualities connected to Sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic guna people, Lord Krishna picks up two qualities that play a very important rule in a person’s life and how they vary in a person who is from sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic minded people. The two qualities are intellect and firmness. Intellect is called “Buddhi” in sanskrit which means the ability to distinguish between the right thing and the wrong thing in a person. The second quality is firmness which also means determination that a person shows towards a task that he undertakes. Now let’s hear from Lord Krishna how they vary from Sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic people.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

“Buddhi” or intellect is something which determines the distinction between the quality and quantity of a particular work. You would have observed that some people look at things only quantitatively but certain other people also look at qualitatively. For example, for a salesman quantity is important because he only looks how many units of a product or a service that he was able to sell. That’s only a partial way of looking at a product and its marketing. If someone has to look at the overall marketing strategy for a product then qualitative aspects like customer satisfaction, probability of the repeat purchase etc becomes important, which a salesman does not look at. 

Thus Buddhi or intellect involves the qualitative and quantitative way of looking at things. Not only that, it also helps a person to distinguish between what is right and what is not. Once that is done, then “Dhrithi” of inner determination of a person comes into picture. It also talks about the ability of a person to withstand the difficulties and hardships that he might encounter while performing a task. No task is easy and it involves a lot of inner determination to complete the task successfully. Now we will get to know how a sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic person approaches the intellect and inner determination and how he looks at them is what Lord is going to tell us in the coming shlokas. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 28

Ayuktah praakritah stabdhah shatho naishkritiko’lasah;
Vishaadee deerghasootree cha kartaa taamasa uchyate
Unsteady, dejected, unbending, cheating, proscrastinating
malicious, vulgar and lazy-such an agent is called Tamasic.
Interpretation

This shloka talks about the Tamasic nature of a person. There are many qualities that are associated with Tamasic nature that are described here. The first is unsteady, where any work they do, they cannot remain steady in that. Next is they are dejected and they are unbending, which means you cannot change them or bend them. Two more qualities that are described here are cheating and procrastination where a tamasic person cheats and postpones all their responsibilities. Finally Lord Krishna calls these people malicious, lazy and vulgar which are the reactions that the Tamasic people usually display in all their actions. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Who feels dejected? A person when he does something wrong and gets caught, is the one who is dejected. If he had not done a wrong thing, will he ever get the feeling of dejection? If you stick to your dharma, do everything that your dharma demands, you will never get a chance to feel bad about anything you do. Dejection comes, when you hide things from others and do things that are wrongful and adharmic. The second point is a Tamasic person ever after the dejection, never bends or changes his path. Till the time everyone remembers his wrong ways, he remains silent and once everything is forgotten, he is onto his bad ways again.

Lord also describes a Tamasic person as malicious, vulgar and lazy. Such kind of person talks very ill about others and doesnt stop himself from character assassination of a person. Such bad words can only be spoken by a Tamasic person. Such people are also vulgar in their actions and they are the ones who verbally and physically abuse women. You would see that category of people commenting on women and even go the extent of assaulting them. The nature of such people is lazy, as they dont believe in doing anything that involves hard work and never believes in that. Such kind of people are described as Tamasic by Lord Krishna. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 27

Raagee karmaphalaprepsur lubdho himsaatmako’shuchih;
Harshashokaanvitah kartaa raajasah parikeertitah.

Passionate, desiring to obtain the rewards of actions, cruel, greedy, impure, moved by joy and sorrow, such an agent is said to be Rajasic.
Interpretation

In this shloka Lord Krishna is talking about the qualities of a Rajasic nature and how he approaches the task. We know that Rajas guna is associated with Passion. Apart from that the desire to obtain the rewards of all the actions that one does is another important quality of a Rajasic person. Then Lord goes on to add some qualities that we didnt discuss before that is a Rajasic person is cruel in his approach, he is extremely greedy in his actions and he is totally impure by nature. Then Lord finally concludes by saying that such a person moves from joy to sorrow and vice versa and such quality is qualified to be called as Rajasic.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s

“Cruel, greedy and impure” this phrase sums up a Rajasic person. In a life of a politician on his way to top he would have done so many acts that are extremely cruel and that also includes killing people, kidnaps, causing physical harm etc. India has 4896 politicians who are either MPs or MLAs of different states. As of March 2018, 1765 MPs and MLAs which is 36% of the total have criminal cases on them and they are being investigated. If you look at this staggering record the three words that prompts a person to commit a crime is clearly mentioned as cruelty, greediness and impurity. Unless you are cruel you cannot take someone’s life and greediness for power prompts you to go for that action and all that leaves you totally impure. 

Apart from politicians, we can quote many people who are leaders and who have desires to get rewards for their actions end up being cruel, greedy and impure. A person taking a bribe falls into this category, a person playing politics in office to get a good name in the eyes of his boss also falls in this category. So, there are many people who come under this Rajasic category. One point they all have to remember is, they will be going through the cycles of joy and sorrow when they are committing these acts. It is because their tricks will not work all the time and when they fail they go through sorrow and sometimes have to pay a heavy price for that. If it works, they will feel joyful but that is only going to be temporary and the cycle again starts. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 26

Muktasango’nahamvaadi dhrityutsaahasamanvitah;
Siddhyasiddhyor nirvikaarah kartaa saattwika uchyate.

He who is free from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with firmness 
and enthusiasm and unaffected by success or failure, is called Sattwik.
Interpretation

In this moksha sannyas yoga Lord Krishna is talking about few more characteristics of the people who have all the three gunas of sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic. In this shloka Lord is talking about characteristics of a sattwik person. He talks about four different characteristics here which are non-attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with firmness, which means he would be firm in all situations and finally enthusiasm. These four are present in every sattwik person and when you do work with these four characteristics, the person never gets affected by success or failure and such a person is called as a sattwik person.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

A very important characteristic about is a sattwik person that we didnt discuss in any of the shlokas and we are discussing here is him being “endowed with firmness”. One needs to understand this clearly. Firmness as defined in dictionary is “resolute determination and strength of character”. We usually associate this phrase to a Rajasic person and not for a sattwik person. But the reality is a Sattwik person alone possesses this quality. There is a difference between being form and being ambitious. We usually mistake firmness with ambition. Ambition means “desire and determination to achieve success”. So, the clarity is firmness talks about strength of character while ambition talks about determination to achieve success.

This sattwik person being firm never looks at success. Firmness is not success, but it is the ability of a person to continue to stick to the task, whatever may be the hurdles that he faces. An ambitious person might assess the returns for his ambition but a firm person never measures it with anything else, other than the task. Simple example, is following the rules. An ambitious person will mend and bend the rules and even break them if its not giving him the returns whereas a firm person sticks to the rules, and does his task by being in the framework of those rules. Its not about blindly following the rule, but it is the trust that he has on the rule. If the rule is no longer applicable he wont hesitate to change it, but he will not mend or break it.
Firmness requires a lot of mental strength and what goes with firmness is enthusiasm. When asked what motivates to go to work, an overwhelming majority of people in today’s world will talk about the financial benefit that they get, and very few will talk about work satisfaction. This is also a point that one needs to observe. Financial benefit can never keep you enthusiastic but it keeps you alert and you will shift wherever the benefits are more. But sheer enthusiasm will always keep you satisfied with what you are doing, and a satisfied person never looks for anything else. These are the typical qualities you will find in a sattwik person. Let’s now see what Lord says about a Rajasic person. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 25

Anubandham kshayam himsaam anavekshya cha paurusham;
Mohaadaarabhyate karma yattat taamasamuchyate.
That action which is undertaken from delusion, without regard to the consequences of loss, injury and undermines one’s own ability—that is declared to be Tamasic.
Interpretation

This shloka talks about the actions that have the trigger and basis which is Tamasic. Lord says that any action that is undertaken from the delusion where the person who is not sure of the path that he is taking is a Tamasic action. Such kind of actions are usually committed with a person having any regard to the consequences of the loss that he is likely to fall. Apart from that, the person while committing such actions allows his ability to get undermined and injured, which means that the person has no regard for his own abilities and skills.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

A tamasic person acts without considering the consequences of the loss, injury to his ability. We see people capable of achieving many things but we also see them wasting their time and energy in things that yield no result. It is because the underlying motivation for doing any task for a tamasic person is comfort that he gets. No task can ever be done by being in a comfort zone and that why he keeps wavering and doing different things that keeps him in that comfort zone to complete a task. Any work that is done with a wavering mind never yields results and when the task fails it undermines and hurts their own abilities. Such is the nature of Tamasic actions and the person who realises it has to come out of it and the only way to do it is by not wavering with the task that he is mandated to do.