Tag Archives: Gita

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyasa Yoga Verse 51

Buddhyaa vishuddhayaa yukto dhrityaatmaanam niyamya cha; Shabdaadeen vishayaanstyaktwaa raagadweshau vyudasya cha.

Endowed with a pure intellect, controlling the self by firmness, 
relinquishing sound and other objects and abandoning both hatred and attraction;
Interpretation
This is a three part shloka that talks about how a person becomes fit for the union with Brahman. In the first part Lord is talking about four qualities that are required for a person to attain Brahman. The first is that he should have pure intellect, which is knowledge that is of the supreme order. Second is he should be able to control himself by the firmness, which means he should never allow his senses to deviate. Third is he should relinquish sound and other objects of senses and finally Lord also talks about abandoning both the hatred and attraction.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
When you ask a question to a learned person he gives an answer which is very different from an ordinary person. Like for example if you ask a person why sun rises only in the east and sets in the west, then an ordinary person will say that it is the rule of the nature and it happens that way only but a learned person says that since the spin of the earth is from west to east, we see sun moving from east to west. At the basic level both answers are right. Rule of the nature is earth rotates from west to east. Because earth rotates from west to east sun will appear to be moving from East to West. This is the difference between the knowledge levels of an ordinary person and a learned person.
An ordinary person leaves things that he cannot understand to God and says that it all happens because God had made it that way. Like the seasons that we experience. An ordinary person cannot explain why we have summer first in an year, followed by rainy season and finally winter. A learned person sees the tilt of the earth responsible for the seasons. This is something even a small child learns in school but 99% people dont remember them. A learned person because he sees meaning in everything he learns never forgets it. That in short is the basic difference between ordinary knowledge and pure knowledge. A person who is endowed with that pure knowledge also controls himself from doing wrong things and controls his senses and abandons the feeling of hatred and attraction is eligible for attaining Brahman says Lord Krishna. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 48

Sahajam karma kaunteya sadoshamapi na tyajet; Sarvaarambhaa hi doshena dhoomenaagnirivaavritaah.

One should not abandon, O Arjuna, the duty to which one is born, though faulty; for, all undertakings are enveloped by evil, as fire by smoke!

Interpretation

In this shloka also Lord is continuing to talk about the importance of one’s dharma. He tells Arjuna that one should never abandon the duty to which one is born. Here it has to be understood that is not the family to which he is born which does that duty, but the duty for which the person is born that decides. Lord also says that he should never abandon it even though it is faulty in the eyes of everyone including himself. If he doesn’t listen to this and abandons his duty and takes up some other duty then whatever he does will be enveloped by bad karma just like how the smoke envelopes the fire. This is the analogy that the Lord gives to the person who takes up the duty which is not his.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

What is a faulty duty? The first line itself says that one should not abandon the work of his own nature, even if it is faulty. What exactly does that mean? It’s the thought process with which we approach the work. No work in this world is perfect and every work will have some faults or the other. What Lord here means is that just because there is something wrong in the work that a person is doing he should not abandon it. The fault could be anything. There might be a mismatch of your values with the values of the management where you work, a person might have to tell some lies, there can be a lot of obstacles, misunderstandings while doing this work. Whatever they may be, a person should never leave the work of his nature.

Just because your outlook doesn’t match with the management outlook you should not leave that work. He might tell lies for the overall benefit of people, and those lies are worth 100 truths. So, ultimately, doing the work that one is meant to do is the only dharma that a person should follow. But a person might think, why is he in such a bad place? The answer is simple. There are lessons to be learnt and there are debts of your past karma to be repaid. The day they are done, God will shift you to another place.  Thus work is more important, not the place. These hostile situations created by God are like tests to us to see whether we can withstand or not.

If we breakdown and abandon that work and take up altogether new work, then it is considered to be a sin. Even if that work appears perfect to you,  you will not be able to do it for a long time. You will end up accumulating a lot of bad karma in the entire process and that is like smoke around a fire. It’s a common assumption that wherever there is a fire there is smoke. Likewise wherever a person abandons his dharma and embraces someone else’s dharma his actions or karmas will be bad and surround themselves around that work. Whenever you do a work which your soul doesn’t accept, then you don’t do it with full dedication and work without dedication only results in bad karma. 

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 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 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 34

Yayaa tu dharmakaamaarthaan dhrityaa dhaarayate’rjuna; Prasangena phalaakaangkshee dhritih saa paartha raajasee.

But that firmness, O Arjuna, by which, on account of attachment and desire for reward, one holds fast to Dharma, enjoyment of pleasures and earning of wealth—that firmness, O Arjuna, is Rajasic!

Interpretation

This shloka talks about the dhrithi or the firmness of a Rajasic person. Yesterday we have seen the firmness of a Sattwik person where he practices dhrithi for the control of senses. Here in Rajasic it is exactly the opposite. Lord tells Arjuna that a Rajasic person uses his firmness as a tool of attachment and for attaining the reward for his actions. A Rajasic person equates dharma to attachment and rewards that a person looks for. He also says that the main aim of the Rajasic person is to earn wealth and then enjoy with that wealth and he would not look at anything else beyond that. That kind of firmness that a person exhibits is the Rajasic firmness, says Lord Krishna.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

When you are saying that “I am following my dharma”, then what dharma you are talking about? When a person works very hard for his family and earns money for giving comforts to them, then he is following his dharma. But that dharma is a Rajasic dharma. Firstly, Rajasic dharma is not bad or undesirable. It is just a priority that one has in his life. But one needs to know about sattwik and Rajasic dharmas because he needs to be clear what he is doing and what he needs to do in life. It is also clear that one cannot attain salvation, unless he goes through this cycle of performing his Rajasic dharmas and then moving into sattwik dharma. Thus earning money for the sake of enjoyment and fulfillment of desires with utmost firmness is a Rajasic firmness and the one who practices it, firmly believes that it is his dharma. 

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.