Tag Archives: Bhagavdgita

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 15

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 15

Anudwegakaram vaakyam satyam priyahitam cha yat;
Swaadhyaayaabhyasanam chaiva vaangmayam tapa uchyate.

Speech which causes no excitement and is truthful, pleasant and beneficial, the practice of the study of the Vedas, are called austerity of speech.

Interpretation

After talking about the austerity of the body in this shloka Lord Krishna narrates what exactly is declared as the austerity of speech. He says that those words that never cause any distress to others should always be spoken. Then those words have to be truthful because pleasant words that are not truthful should never be spoken. The third point that Lord mentions here is that one should always speak beneficial words and stay away from speaking harsh, negative and distressful words. Apart from all this Lord also says that those words which are spoken during the practice of Vedas also comes under the austerity of speech. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

There is this famous quote from Manusmriti which I read a few years ago, that fits aptly to interpret this shloka. Manu says “One should only speak what is true. One should only speak what is pleasant. But one should not speak the truth if it is not pleasant, nor one should speak an untruth which is pleasant. This is the ancient dharma”. This I think I read somewhere at the beginning of 2015 and from then on it has become the cornerstone of the philosophy of my speech. The purpose of our speech is to communicate and we need to always keep the purity of our communication. The austerity of speech can be attain only if you follow this philosophy. 

Lord is telling two things here. First is you should always speak good. You should always speak things that motivate others, makes them positive and brings something good out of them. Second is one should always tell the truth. If you say anything which is untrue, it takes away your credibility and makes you a person who is seen as an untrustworthy liar. The underlying thing is, we speak for our benefit and we also speak for our dharma. We need to align these two, our dharma is our benefit and thus what we speak, if we align with our dharma then automatically we get benefitted out of it. But if we look at only our benefit, side-stepping dharma, then we might end up speaking things that are lies and that if caught, will take away the trust and credibility that we carry. 

If this is about speaking good thing and things which are true, there can be a situation where we have to tell a truth which causes a lot of distress and which is unpleasant. Should you tell that truth and fulfil your dharma? This is where we are in “Dharam sankat” or “dilemma of truth”. Here, Lord says don’t speak the truth which spreads unpleasantness even if it is your dharma. Let time decide the way and means for the truth to come out. You should not be the reason for spreading that unpleasantness. The other part is people feel that they should always speak pleasant things so, in that process, they feel that speaking something pleasant but which is an untruth is allowed. But according to scriptures, it is not allowed. The question is why?

A unpleasant truth makes the person unhappy and demotivates him from the path that is why it should not be spoken. But a pleasant thing which is not a truth creates unrealistic expectation and over estimation of one’s abilities. Though it is pleasant it should never be spoken. Encourage people realistically, don’t make promises or give them something which is unrealistic and beyond their reach. Such a thing can damage them and their confidence forever. Thus we have permission to speak positive, good and motivating things, but those which are truthful only. If one takes this and practices in his life, his words will become so powerful that it will have the power to change millions of people around him. That’s the power of austerity of speech.

Bhagavdgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 23

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 23

Yah shaastravidhimutsrijya vartate kaamakaaratah;
Na sa siddhimavaapnoti na sukham na paraam gatim.

He who, casting aside the ordinances of the scriptures, acts under the impulse of desire, attains neither perfection nor happiness nor the supreme goal.

Interpretation

This shloka talks about the results that the demonic souls who neglect the God get. Lord Krishna starts off by talking about these demonic people who set aside the ordinances of the scriptures. Ordinances of scriptures mean the Vedas and other holy scriptures which suggest a person what to do. They do so because they are drawn by the impulses of desire. They are filled with the bodily desires and when they overpower the reasoning and logic a person becomes impulsive. Lord Krishna in the later half of the shloka goes on to say that such a person will never attain perfection nor he will attain happiness and he will never ever accomplish the Supreme goal of moksha. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Vedas, Upanishads and Vedangas are considered to be the holy scriptures that give directions to an individual on the path to be followed. The scriptures usually gives two types of instructions. The first set of instructions are those rituals and other directives that an individual is supposed to perform to attain moksha. The other is the directives of what a person should not do. These directives are also called a prohibits or nishedh. A person has to always follow the instructions and do things for attaining moksha. A demonic person always disregards the instructions of the scriptures and take the opposite route. The question is why?

The answers to that are when a person reads in the scriptures what he should not do, he normally gets drawn to it. For example, scriptures say that womanizing is something which is prohibited for the one who is looking at Moksha. But the moment he reads that his senses get drawn to the pleasure of seeking multiple women and those ways he tends to follow most of the times what is prohibited. Scriptures say what should not be done, only to see how strong is the person’s will power to resist this. A person who is daivic will not fall for this, whereas a demonic person gets drawn to this and the result is he neither gets happiness or perfection or attains his goal of moksha.

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 20

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 20

Iti guhyatamam shaastram idamuktam mayaa’nagha;
Etadbuddhwaa buddhimaan syaat kritakrityashcha bhaarata.

Thus, this most secret science has been taught by Me, O sinless one! 
On knowing this, a man becomes wise, and all his duties are accomplished, O Arjuna!

Interpretation

This is the last shloka of Purushottama Yoga. There were 19 shlokas before, which spoke about the Supreme being of the Almighty and how He helps people in understanding the path of salvation. In this shloka Lord Krishna is concluding this Yoga by telling to Arjuna the importance of this Yoga to a person’s life. He says that He has taught to Arjuna the most secret science of understanding Purushottama. He calls Arjuna as a sinless one. Lord also says that, on knowing this secret science a person becomes wise and he will be able to concentrate on his duties and he will also be able to accomplish all everything that he undertakes. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

When we look at this Yoga and the learning that we took, we can understand one thing clearly. There was no other shloka anywhere in Gita that talked about the Supreme being so vividly as we have discussed in this Yoga. A person who understands the Supreme being tends to become wise and all his duties will be accomplished. What He means by this is, when you approach a work understanding the Supreme being, the way you approach the work will be different. You will have seriousness and dedication in the task. When a task is done with seriousness and dedication then he will automatically be able to accomplish any task, says Lord Krishna.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 17

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 17

Uttamah purushastwanyah paramaatmetyudaahritah;
Yo lokatrayamaavishya bibhartyavyaya ishwarah.

But distinct is the Supreme Purusha called the highest Self, the indestructible Lord who, pervading the three worlds, sustains them.

Interpretation

In the last shloka, Lord talks about the two purushas, one perishable and the other imperishable. In this shloka, he talks about the concept of Supreme purusha. This supreme purusha is the creator and sustainer of both perishable and imperishable beings. He says that the Supreme Purusha is also referred to as the highest self and He is indestructible Lord. Then the second part of the shloka talks about how this indestructible Lord is pervading all the three worlds. Pervading here means the person who occupies and rules. So, Lord says that he pervades all the three worlds and also sustains them. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

There is a Supreme soul in all of us, as we have learnt previously that he resides at the centre of the Crown chakra on the top of our head and He is the one who rules everything around and sustains the three lokas. Now the point is what are these three lokas? We have already talked about the 7 lokas that an individual goes before attaining the salvation. But what are these 3 lokas? They are the Bhu loka, Bhuvar loka and Swarga loka. More than 90% of the souls reside in these lokas before going to Mahar loka and the other higher lokas as a part of attaining salvation. If that is the case then why is it that the Supreme soul doesn’t have control over all the 7 lokas?

Lord Sri Maha Vishnu guides us in our path to salvation till a person reaches the swarga loka. Once a soul enjoys the riches of swarga loka and comes back its outlook towards the life as well as the activities that it is engaged into, drastically changes. It then falls into the 10% category of souls that go Mahar loka and the higher lokas. Bhu Loka is where the souls with body live, Bhuvar Loka is for the troubled souls which are also equated with Narak and the 3rd Loka is Swarga Loka or heaven. For the basic understanding of one’s life, one has to travel several times within these three lokas and that is where the concentration of the individual rests most of the times.

Even the sacred Gayatri mantra starts with “Aum bhu, bhuvar swah“, mentioning about the three lokas. These three lokas is where the Supreme being always had control on. It is like the attention a student requires up to his pre-university or 10+2 education. In this stage, he needs a lot of strictness and monitoring by the parent and after that from graduation, he is left free to study on his own. In a similar way, to make the path of salvation easier, one has to cross the Bhuvar Loka and go to Swarga Loka. So, Supreme Purusha controls us strictly in these 3 lokas and ensures that he goes to the Swarga Loka.  Then the path becomes easier and the soul will chart its path to salvation with the minimal help of the Supreme Soul.

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 16

Bhagavadgita Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 16

Dwaavimau purushau loke ksharashchaakshara eva cha;
Ksharah sarvaani bhootaani kootastho’kshara uchyate.

Two Purushas there are in this world, the perishable and the imperishable.  All beings are perishable, and the liberated is called the imperishable.

Interpretation

After talking about Him being the memory in an individual as well as the absence of it, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about the perishable and imperishable purushas living in this world. Lord says that there are two kinds of beings in this world, first, one is called Kshar or perishable and the second is Akshar or imperishable. Then Lord in the second part of the shloka talks about the difference between them. He says that all beings that are living in this world are perishable which means they have death and all the liberated ones who are away from this cycle of birth and death are imperishable. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

What our senses can see is perishable and what it cannot see is imperishable. Look around you once. You will see hundreds of people moving in the busy streets and they are very much like you, perishable. Perishable means those who have an expiry date. Soul gets ejected from the body one day or the other for a perishable being. It can happen by disease or by accident or by natural ageing. People when they get incurable diseases the body perishes and the soul gets ejected. This is a long and painful process of suffering. A person also can have an accident. In olden days, wild animals attacking humans was considered to be an accident. But nowadays accidents can happen by various human created entities like vehicles, buildings, roads, dams, airports etc. 

A person when he doesn’t succumb to any of these will have his body ageing naturally and there comes a stage when his body becomes so old that it cannot move from one place to another. Slowly he starts giving up and soul leaves the body. Whatever it is, death is something that is inevitable for any being who takes birth in the world. Death a being causes enormous pain to those who are attached to the ones who perish and thus pain becomes a part of their lives. If one wants to get liberated from all these cycles of birth and death, pain and pleasure, diseases and accidents the only way is imperishability and that can happen to beings that are liberated. So, the duty of every being in this world should be to move from perishability to imperishability, which is aptly described as “Mrithyoma Amritham gaymaya” in Upanishads.

Bhagavdgita Chapter 13 Kshetra-Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga Verse 27

Chapter 13 Kshetra-Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga Verse 27

Yaavat sanjaayate kinchit sattwam sthaavarajangamam;
Kshetrakshetrajnasamyogaat tadviddhi bharatarshabha.

Wherever a being is born, whether it be unmoving or moving, know thou, 
O best of the Bharatas, that it is from the union between the Field and its Knower.

Interpretation

After talking about the nature and the senses and their integral role in the field Lord Krishna in this shloka talks further about the field and the relationship between the field and the knower of the field. Lord Krishna also compares Arjuna to rest of the Bharatas or the sons of Bharata, and says that Arjuna is the best amongst them. He always held this view that Arjuna is a superior person compared to other pandavas as well as all the kauravas. So, He tells Arjuna that wherever a being is born, in whatever form, whether movable or immovable that is only because of the union between the field and the knower of the field.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We have heard Lord Krishna talking several times about the unmoving beings in the previous shlokas. So, unmovable beings here are the living being that cannot move, which are basically plants. The question that strikes our mind is, do plants also have a field? Does it have senses and feelings like any other movable beings? Do they communicate with each other? We need to know the answers for all these and the common answer is Yes. Several scientific experiments were conducted in last few decades and it has revealed unambiguously that plants do communicate in vibrations that can be caught and understood by other plants. Am sure it sounds a bit odd to some of you.

We have already seen that there are some frequencies that humans can’t hear and only beings like bats and dogs can hear. When such kind of frequencies can exist in animals, then why can’t they exist in plants? Plants also consume food and consume it in a way that no other animal in this world can do. They prepare their own food and consume, something which we humans also can’t do totally. Many of us are still non-vegetarian and consume the meat of other living beings. Look at plants, through photosynthesis by using sunlight and taking carbondioxide from atmosphere, plants prepare their own food and consume. If they are that advanced then why can’t they communicate in a language that we don’t understand?

Plants and trees are so advanced that they live for hundreds of years, something which is not possible for any other living being in this planet. If their food, if their life span can be so different, why cant their communication be different? Existence of communication and life is the proof of the existence of the field. And for any being to be born in this universe, it is possible only when there is a union between the field and the knower of the field. For almost all the beings in the universe the knower of the field is God and the field is the being itself

Bhagavadgita Chapter 13 Kshetra-Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga Verse 22

Chapter 13 Kshetra-Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga Verse 22

Purushah prakritistho hi bhungkte prakritijaan gunaan;
Kaaranam gunasango’sya sadasadyoni janmasu.

The soul seated in Nature experiences the qualities born of Nature;
attachment to the qualities is the cause of his birth in good and evil wombs.

Interpretation

This shloka further dwells into the concept of nature and the soul that Lord Krishna is talking about to explain the field. One has to understand the fact that field has different dimensions in it and after knowledge, understanding of the prakruti and purush is important to understand the field completely. In this context Lord Krishna says that the qualities we acquire is because of the soul which is seated inside the nature. It only picks up these qualities and puts them in our personality. Next Lord talks about the reasons we are born in good and evil households. It is because of the soul’s attachment to these qualities that makes it to choose these wombs.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

For me, this is a very important shloka that dwells into the aspects of why some people get certain qualities. Everything is there around us for us to pick up,  but we pick up only the things that we want. If you concentrate on what these “wants” are, then the root to these “wants” goes to the soul. Body, which is attached to senses gives what it has to give, but what we “want” is usually decided by the soul. Like in your childhood, you wanted to become an Aircraft Pilot but you ended up working as a clerk in a Govt agency. Here if you observe, Pilot is what your soul wanted and the clerk is what the senses gave. It is a different story as to why there is a gap between what you want and what you got, which we will not touch today. Today we will only focus on the soul and its wants.

The focus is, why soul wants something? It is because it craves for it and thinks that it is the way to attain salvation. Don’t forget the fact that the soul’s constant aim is to achieve salvation and so, it continuously searches for the ways and means to attain that. For that, knowledge is the only thing that helps the soul in deciding its want. One soul with the knowledge it possess decides to become a pilot, another soul will want to become a doctor and another soul a dancer or a musician. As said, its the knowledge that the soul possesses is the final authority in decision making. Once it is decided then it goes searching those qualities from prakruti or nature for achieving it’s “want”. A soul wanting to become a dancer searches for a right school and a guru to accomplish its goal.

The other part of the shloka is even more interesting. It talks about how the soul chooses its place of birth. It takes you to the point, as to why you were born in a particular household. Its again the soul, when it doesn’t have the body to support from higher lokas like Bhuvar Loka or Swarga Loka or mahar loka decides to take birth in a particular family. Here one has to understand that soul neither has the eyes nor the ears to see and hear things about which family to choose and decide its birth. It only gets the vibrations and based on those vibrations the soul has to decide the place of its re-birth. It’s like a deaf and blind person taking a decision on where he wants to go. That decision is purely dependent on the invisible vibrations he gets from the universe.

So, what causes these invisible vibrations? It is only the knowledge that soul holds within itself that causes these vibrations. With it, it can feel the people who have similar interests and then it gets automatically drawn to them and enters the womb after the union of its parents. As we have discussed in the first part of the shloka there is a gap between what you want to become and what you become, likewise the parents of that soul, which now a small boy or a girl will decide based on the circumstances what they want to make that child into. Sometimes a father might want to make his son a doctor but might not have the necessary financial resources to do so. Unfortunately soul can neither foresee or see its future. It can only feel. So, the point to be understood here is its the qualities that soul has, that decided a soul to be born in good or evil households.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 13 Kshetra-Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga Verse 21

Chapter 13 Kshetra-Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga Verse 21

Kaaryakaaranakartrutwe hetuh prakritiruchyate;
Purushah sukhaduhkhaanaam bhoktritwe heturuchyate.

In the production of the effect and the cause, Nature or matter is said to be the cause; in the experience of pleasure and pain, the soul is said to be the cause.

Interpretation

This shloka further talks about the nature and the soul and its importance in understanding the field. Lord Krishna says here that nature or prakruti which is linked and perceived by the senses, as we have discussed in the previous shloka is responsible for all the effects and causes. This simply means that whatever cause and effect phenomenon that we experience in life is the result of nature. The other part of the shloka talks about pain and pleasure. Here Lord Krishna says that the soul is said to be the one that gives us the experiences of the pain and the pleasure that the body experiences.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

When we talk about nature here we are not just talking about the human beings alone but about every kind of species that exists in this universe. According to puranas, there are around 84 lakh varieties of species in this universe and all of them are the part of the prakruti or nature. We need to understand the fact here that prakruti is nothing but what we see externally. A lizard on a wall or a dog barking outside your home or a money plant in your balcony all are examples of nature or prakruti. They all combine to produce an effect on us that will have a lasting impact on our minds. Its true that other humans have a maximum impact on us than these animals, but we cannot completely rule out the possibility of the effect that other species can have on us.

Simply to put it, when we see nature in its full glory our mood changes and with that lot of our thought processes also change. Here the cause is the beauty of the nature that is perceived by the senses and the effect is the happiness and content feeling that our mind experiences. Conversely when we see a snake or an ugly lizard or a cockroach we experience feelings of hate, fear and disgust. The cause is the appearance of these species as perceived by our mind and the effect is the feelings of fear and disgust. so, nature does have an impact on all our thought processes. The other part is how the cause and effect of the nature can create the feelings of pleasure and pain inside us.

Here we have to understand that the effect is the result of nature as perceived by our senses and where body and soul both get affected. In the previous shloka yesterday, we have read that soul remains untouched and its the nature or prakruti which is responsible for all the modifications. But one has to also understand that soul cannot be isolated from the body. Pain is felt by the body, but will soul not get affected by it? It will. Body is the window for soul and though soul remains unaffected and is immortal, it will take all its learnings from the senses connected to the body and it is quite natural for it to feel the pinch of all the emotions that a body will feel. That is why when body cries loudly in pain, soul silently weeps.

Bhagavdgita Chapter 13 Kshtra-Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga

Chapter 13 Kshtra-Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga

Sarvendriyagunaabhaasam sarvendriyavivarjitam;
Asaktam sarvabhricchaiva nirgunam gunabhoktru cha.

Shining by the functions of all the senses, yet without the senses;
unattached, yet supporting all; devoid of qualities, yet their experiencer.

Interpretation

After taking about the power of senses in the previous shloka, Lord Krishna in this shloka is describing about the senses and their characteristics. The first part of the shloka talks about a very complex thing of the Lord’s sensory perceptions. Here Lord says that His senses are shining with glory by performing all the sensory activities, yet it appears as if there are no senses attached to God. The second part of the shloka speaks about the functions. He says that His senses are not having any qualities that are expected of the sense organs but they support all the beings in this world and gives them the experience of those senses. Last but not the least, Lord uses the word unattached to these senses.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

I would like to start with a quote from puranas which says “Viruddha dharmo ruposa, vaishvaryat purushottamah” which means God is the powerhouse of the infinite contradictory attributes existing at the same time. Last shloka we had understood how the sensory perceptions of the God exists in multiple dimensions unlike ours that exists only in three dimensions. Now this shloka talks about God possessing and not possessing senses at the same time. The understanding of this is simple. When we see sun during the day, we say sun is there. When we dont see it in the night, we say, sun has set and will only rise tomorrow. Till then sun is not there. Just because sun is invisible to us it doesnt mean that sun is not there. Sun is there but our senses cant see his existence.

If we take the same analogy forward, none of the beings existing can see God’s senses and its only visible to God. There would be times where God Himself doesnt use those senses and He Himself gets a feeling that it is not there. It is just like the feeling of sleep that a person has. If you are asleep, all your senses go to sleep but that doesnt mean they dont exist. In the same way, during Brahma’s night, when Brahma is asleep, He also thinks that His senses are not there. This is a part of Vishnu maya which Brahma, who is the creator of the Universe experiences.

The second part of the shloka focuses on Him being unattached. What is this in-attachment that Lord is talking about? Being a supreme sense and the sustainer of all the creations, Lord Sri Maha Vishnu sits in every person’s sensory mind and keeps track of all their karmas and gives results to their actions. Yet, he is unattached to any person or his soul. If He finds a good person committing all good things, He doesnt become attached to that person or wants to do good to him. He only looks at their acts and judges them and gives appropriate results to all their actions. Only at the time of Moksha Lord Sri Maha Vishnu, comes in His true form and shows His vishwaroopam for one last time to the senses so that the soul gets that knowledge of the God. With that knowledge soul goes to Jana loka, to meditate upon it and never to returns again to this world.