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Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 44

Krishigaurakshyavaanijyam vaishyakarma swabhaavajam; Paricharyaatmakam karma shoodrasyaapi swabhaavajam.

Agriculture, cattle-rearing and trade are the duties of the Vaishya (merchant class), born of their own nature; and action consisting of service is the duty of the Sudra or servant class, born of their own nature.

Interpretation

After talking about the Brahmans and Kshatriyas who are possessed by Sattwik and Rajasic guna completely, this shloka is talking about the duties of Vaishyas and of shudras. First talking about Vaishyas, Lord says that the duties of vaishyas include agriculture and cattle rearing apart from trade. Vaishyas are engaged in the activities related to trade and both agriculture and dairy industry is in a way linked to trade. Then coming to shudras Lord says that those activities which are of a servant class, servant class here means activities which are aimed at only serving the society. Thus people who are born out of this nature are shudras.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

If Brahmanas are Sattwik and Kshatriyas are Rajasic, then what are Vaishyas and shudras and what is the difference between the Vaishyas and Shudras? Lord gives a clear cut differentiation which is Vaishyas have a mix of Rajasic and Tamasic nature while Shudras are complete of Tamasic nature. When an individual has a mix of both Rajasic and Tamasic qualities, he would want to work hard, lead and get into a powerful position, but because of the Tamasic nature in him, he also wants enjoyment and fulfilment of desires. That’s how he gets into trading activity, where he works very hard in his business to earn money and then he enjoys the same wealth. Enjoyment here is with alcohol, women and other materialistic pleasures.

When we look at Shudras, they have very little or no Rajasic qualities in them and they are completely dominated by Tamasic gunas which is enjoyment and ignorance. So, they do not work hard to acquire the knowledge or skill that is needed to become a sattwik or a rajasic person. That leaves him with jobs which are menial and that serve people of higher gunas. He makes pots and sells it to people, he weaves clothes and sells them to the people around. He can be a barber, he can be a tailor who stitches clothes. These are not businesses but only the sources of livelihood. People who work as clerks and other lower level cadre jobs also come under this category. This is primarily due to the absence of Rajasic qualities in them.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 43

Shauryam tejo dhritirdaakshyam yuddhe chaapyapalaayanam;
Daanameeshwarabhaavashcha kshaatram karmaswabhaavajam.
Prowess, splendour, firmness, dexterity and also not fleeing from battle, 
generosity and lordliness are the duties of Kshatriyas, born of their own nature.
Interpretation
In this shloka Lord Krishna is talking about the Rajasic duties in an individual. It starts with prowess and splendor which are the essential elements of any Kshatriya. He is known for his pomp and grandeur and also for the firmness that he shows in dealing with his adversaries and also for the dexterity. Dexterity is a quality of a individual where he performs a task with great precision. Then comes the most important quality of a Kshatriya which is not fleeing from the battle and facing the enemy. Kshatriyas are also known for their generosity as they dont hesitate to give anything that is asked as alms. These are the typical qualities of Kshatriya, says Lord Krishna.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
A warrior is known for his valor. A place where a Brahmin is a soldier, a Kshatriya is either a soldier or a commander or a sportsman. In today’s world of politics, its Brahmins with their power of knowledge and intellect were able to rule the country. Kshatriyas today are confined to their physical prowess and sports is one area, you might have seen football, cricket, hockey stars displaying their valor. Army, police and para military forces are the other places for Kshatriyas today. They have the power and the ability to kill the enemy and they dont hesitate getting killed in a battle. If you look at army men they are very generous and help people and also show a lot of splendor in their life style. A person who has all these abilities is a Kshatriya and he chooses professions that involve physical prowess like sports, army and police. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 42

hamo damastapah shaucham kshaantiraarjavameva cha; Jnaanam vijnaanam aastikyam brahmakarma swabhaavajam.

Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness and also uprightness,  knowledge,realisation and belief in God are the duties of the Brahmanas, born of their own nature.
Interpretation
This shloka is concentrating on the qualities of a person born with the nature of Brahmin. The first aspect that Lord mentions is serenity, which is calmness, second is self restraint which is nothing but self control, then it is purity, forgiveness and uprightness that are mentioned as the qualities of a person born as Brahmin. Lord also mentions knowledge as an important quality for a Brahmin, also with that it is realization and belief in God which are stated to be as the duties that every Brahmin should perform. Together with all these qualities a person is said to be a Brahmin. 
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
If you look at qualities required to be a teacher you see that all those mentioned above must be present in a teacher. A teacher should be someone who should be full of knowledge. A teacher should know everything, because a student can ask anything and everything. A teacher should reflect serenity in him and should be self-restraint always. He should also have the qualities of purity, forgiveness and uprightness. A teacher should always be frank with his students and should give honest opinion to the students, and should always forgive the mistakes that they commit. He should be a firm believer of God because, there is nothing a teacher can achieve without the hand of God on him.
Anybody who has the qualities of a Brahman will always choose teaching as his/her profession because the underlying aspect that lies in this noble profession is the service and sacrifice which is a virtue of a Sattwik person. So, every teacher by nature is sattwik. Here am not referring to teachers, who came into teaching because that was the only job they got, but am referring to those who left other professions and have become teachers. Teaching happens at every level and every age, irrespective of your age. You can be a very young person in mid 20s teaching for people who are much elder to you. So, I would equate a teacher to a sattwik person who is a brahmin by birth, but not by the family in which he is born. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 41

Braahmanakshatriyavishaam shoodraanaam cha parantapa; Karmaani pravibhaktaani swabhaavaprabhavairgunaih.

Of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, as also the Sudras, O Arjuna, the duties are distributed according to the qualities born of their own nature!

Interpretation

Starting from this shloka, the next few shlokas are going to be concentrated around the type of distribution of work among different people living in a society. Lord here talks about four varnas or four types of individuals arising out of the distribution of the work. They are Brahmanas or Brahmins, the Kshatriyas or the warriors, the Vaishyas or the sheths or traders and finally the sudras or the menial job holders. Then Lord goes on to talk about the main criterion for classifying them into these four varnas. Lord says that the duties of each varna are based on the person’s own nature that he is born with but not on the kind of family that he takes birth in.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

One of the most prominent social evils that prevail in India today is the caste system. We do everything according to our caste prescriptions. We socialize and mix with people of our caste, marriages happen within the same caste and even voting and electing their representatives is also based on the caste system. What exactly is this caste? Caste is the varna that we have discussed above. People who belong to a particular occupation are known by their caste. A Brahmin is someone who should be a scholar, a philosopher, a doctor and a wise man who is suited to be the Prime Minister for any kingdom because of his knowledge. So, if you have the inclination to read and master yourself in various subjects you are called as Brahmin.

Suppose a person is interested in ruling, taking decisions and in warfare, he is called as Kshatriya and the ruling class of people in different areas were called Kshatriyas. Then you have the trader community who are called as vaishyas and they are responsible for the trade activity and making the kingdom rich. Apart from this there are people who are engaged in different activities like weaving, pottery, artisans, painters etc who are called as shudras. What is the yard-stick for deciding the caste of a person? Lord Krishna in Gita clearly mentions that it is the interest of the person that should determine his occupation and thus his caste. Suppose if a Brahmin’s son is interested in business activity he can become a vaishya by engaging in trading activity. 

But if you see, this system was abandoned long back and was not practiced even during Lord Krishna’s time. We all know how Karna was ill-treated and barred from competing with Arjuna just because he was not a Kshatriya. Though this caste system was evolved to give freedom for an individual to pursue his interests, slowly it became hereditary. The eldest son of Kshatriya king alone can succeed him as King and son of Brahmin should do the work that a brahmin does and so does the son of a vaishya or a shudra. This is one of the greatest ills that has crept into our system only because of greediness and till the time the caste system is completely thrown out, human dignity and respect for work can never come into Indian ethos. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 40

Na tadasti prithivyaam vaa divi deveshu vaa punah; Sattwam prakritijairmuktam yadebhih syaat tribhirgunaih.

There is no being on earth or again in heaven among the gods that is liberated from the three qualities born of Nature.
Interpretation
This shloka is explaining clearly the nature and importance of the three gunas. Lord Krishna says that these three gunas are very important for every individual on this planet or anywhere else in the universe will be affected by these gunas. Not only the beings on this planet but also those who go to heaven also and the gods living in heaven also are affected by these gunas. In the end Lord says that all these beings on this planet as well as those living in the heaven are not liberated from the three qualities of sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic gunas are born with.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
Gunas are universal and they are present in all individual, nobody in this world or in heaven can actually escape the three qualities of Sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic gunas. One has to understand the fact that all these threee gunas are affected by Maya, which we have seen in the previous shlokas also. The only way that one gets rid of this maya is in the stage of “om tat sat” where the person comes out of the maya of these three gunas. If Tamasic is maya that is black and filled with ignorance, Rajasic is a maya that is red with passion and Sattwik maya is pure white. White doesnt mean absence of maya but it means presence of a different type of maya.
But the question that would be asked then is how can those in heaven, including gods be under the influence of these three gunas? The answer is why not? Indra, who is the king of heaven is known to be a rajasic person who has hunger for power and lust for women. We have seen so many instances whenever rishis are performing Tapas, he sends beautiful women to entice them and deviate them. Everyone knows how Bramharishi Vishwamitra fell into the trap of menaka sent by Indra. So, swarga loka is no different from Bhu loka in exhibiting these gunas. Its only after a person crosses the swarga loka and goes into the mahar loka that he will slowly starts to get rid of this maya.  

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 39

Yadagre chaanubandhe cha sukham mohanamaatmanah;

Nidraalasyapramaadottham tattaamasamudaahritam.
That pleasure which at first and in the sequel is delusive of the self, 
arising from sleep,indolence and heedlessness—such a pleasure is declared to be Tamasic.
Interpretation
Lord in this shloka is talking about the Tamasic pleasure in an individual. According to Lord Krishna a pleasure a person is experiencing which is delusive is a tamasic pleasure. Delusive is something which is false or which gives a misleading impression. Not only that person begins to do the activities with delusion but he also continues to do activities as a never ending chain. Lord Krishna also says that these tamasic qualities arise from sleep, indolence and heedlessness. Indolence is the quality of avoiding a particular task due to laziness and heedlessness is lack of care or attention in an individual.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
When an individual wants to enjoy life he can go to any extent to keep himself happy. Yesterday we were looking at a Rajasic person who ends up losing many things and feeling immense pain as he approaches towards the end of a task. A Tamasic person actually doesnt feel the pain at all because he never allows pain to come to him. Any painful situation coming, he will run away from that and he will embrace only those things that bring him happiness. Happiness that an individual creates for himself is a false happiness but a Tamasic person can never understand this. He takes God on his side and makes multiple deals with Him to win happiness. If that happiness is not coming he will run from that God as well as from that situation.
Am sure you would have seen many people who go to many temples, sometimes even to churches and dargahs only for their wish fulfillment. Even after all this if the wish doesnt fulfill he runs away from it and starts finding a new wish for himself. There are many examples you can take. A person who changes multiple jobs in his career but never went to the top position is an example. A person who starts multiple business ventures but ends up losing money is another example. A person who believes in luck, lottery and who is into betting, gambling and easy way of earning money is also an example. We have many examples of such people because they exist everywhere in our society and they always keep running away from one situation to another. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 38

Vishayendriya samyogaad yattadagre’mritopamam; Parinaame vishamiva tatsukham raajasam smritam.

That pleasure which arises from the contact of the sense-organs with the objects, which is at first like nectar and in the end like poison—that is declared to be Rajasic.

Interpretation

After talking about the Sattwik pleasure and pain, this shloka concentrates on the Rajasic person’s way of looking at the pleasure and pain. Lord says that for a Rajasic person the most crucial triggers are the senses and he gets all his likes and dislikes from the contact of the objects with the senses. When they come in contact with the senses, these objects will appear sweet like nectar and give him a lot of pleasure. But as the task comes to an end the result is like a poison. So for a Rajasic person any task that he does start off like nectar and ends like a poison and that quality is declared to be Rajasic says Lord Krishna.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Take a young management graduate who just got out of his college with a placement in a top MNC with a handsome pay. His life starts off on a dream note. He earns his first salary, his first hike, his first promotion and with the position his salary also keeps rising and so is his pleasure. Life for him is like a fairy tale and a dream come true. He buys a car, a 3BHK apartment in a upmarket area, gets married goes on an exotic vacation and has every comfort that he can afford. He couldn’t complain because life gave him everything- wealth, power, happiness, prestige, fame. But he is a very little idea of what is building inside.

Power, position, wealth everything comes at a cost, and that is the cost of delivery and performance. As a new digit gets added to his pay package every time, his responsibilities also keep adding up, but what doesn’t add up are his age and his inner knowledge, that we call as spirituality. With age, his impulses slow down, his health starts deteriorating because of stressful lifestyle and it begins to take a toll on his performance. Added to this is a fast changing business environment where people who are younger to him have ideas that are more contemporary. Because of the lack of spirituality, he will not be able to adapt himself to the changing environment and that begins to show up on his delivery and success.

As his performance starts to affect, his aura gets depleted and his position becomes vulnerable. That is the time of his life when his children are moving into college and his financial security gets paramount. Work pressure, health issues can drag him to the brink, where he lands up either jobless or in a hospital. What started as a pleasure has turned into a poison. This is the story of many professionals today who started their work in 90s. Even businessmen like Vijay Mallya of UB group or Naresh Goyal of Jet Airways, because of their lack of spirituality which prevented them to adapt to the changing business environment have ended up losing control on the very companies that they have started years ago. Another possible victim is Subash Chandra of Zee group who is fast selling his stake in the company.

Pleasure in the beginning keeps you away from spirituality and lack of spirituality leads to lack of learning. Spirituality is not renunciation, spirituality is discipline, punctuality and value for time. A person when he gets power and authority, if he is Rajasic loses all the three things mentioned before and that stops him from learning the changes that are happening around him. Slowly he gets cut off from the changing world and becomes a victim of his own web. That ultimately brings his downfall and anyone who remained Rajasic throughout his life has to face this, irrespective of how powerful he is.

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.