Tag Archives: Learnings

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 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 18

Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 18

Jnaanam jneyam parijnaataa trividhaa karmachodanaa;
Karanam karma karteti trividhah karmasangrahah.

Knowledge, the knowable and the knower form the threefold impulse to action; the organ, the action and the agent form the threefold basis of action.

Interpretation

This shloka focuses on the three fold impulse to action and the three fold basis of action. It is a well known fact that there has to be an impulse for an action and then only knowledge can be acquired. So, Lord in the first line of the shloka is explaining about the three things that act as an impulse to action. The three things that he mentions are knowledge, which is information then the knowable which is the kind of information to seek and the knower, which is the person who seeks the knowledge. These three act as an impulse for an action. Then Lord also talks about the basis of action which is the organ, which acts as trigger for the action, the action which is the action itself and the agent, which is the ingredient hidden in the action. All these three are the basis of an action. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The source of existence of us all is knowledge. Where there is no knowledge there is darkness and ignorance and where there is ignorance there is no life. Imagine that our forefathers centuries ago would not have acquired the knowledge of wheel, fire and farming. Today, we would be eating raw meat like other animals in the animal kingdom, we would be walking from one place to another instead of a car, bus, train or aeroplane, all of them use wheel. If we had not able to control fire, we would neither be cooking nor would have the power today to burn coal and produce electricity. Knowledge is the basis of all this. With so much of knowledge around we are just 10% of what we can and if we reach 80% level, we would be at a level which is unthinkable. 

Knowledge takes you to depth and that depth gives you more and more things. Let’s take for example the knowledge of radio waves. This has led to the discovery of walkie talkies used in the army, which then branched into a radio and a telephone. Radio waves integrates the frequency and plays audio when tuned into a particular frequency. Telephone distributes the frequency, attaches a code and the sound waves can be heard to the number code that you are dialling. Once we had the technology of audio then we brought in the element of video in it and that led to the discovery of Television. Meanwhile Telephone started advancing forward and became mobile phone where the instrument can still receive radio waves even if it not in a fixed place. 

Knowledge didnt stop there. It continued when the sound wave turned into text messages and when its transmission along with voice was discovered, that was called as internet, which by far is the best discovery of the previous century. Internet brought text and video into telephone and once that happened, integration of television and mobile phone happened and today we can watch TV on the move, we can watch web TV which is more personalized. This is the power of knowledge, which is not restricted to just one field or area but it is there in every area whether it is physics or biology or medicine or music or literature or business or engineering. At the highest level all knowledge converge and takes us closer to understanding the origin or all this that is God. 

The knower is the person to whom the knowable will come and thus he acquires knowledge. So, it is the organ or the trigger that comes to the knower along with the agent through which he should learn that knowledge and when he performs the action then the resultant is acquiring the knowledge. If I have to simplify it a bit, the organs in the universe decide what knowledge you should seek, this results in an agent, which can be an incident or a person who will come to you as the purpose of learning that knowledge. Many people go through this one in a life time experiences where they meet a person or face an incident which makes them to learn something and that knowledge changes their life forever. This process of learning is called action and together all this is called the basis of action. 

So, the three elements in the basis of knowledge, determine what is knowable. Many people keep a restriction on what they should know and what they should not know, which sometimes makes you do mis-calculation about learning few things. Its the three elements of the basis of action that determine what knowledge you should acquire and one should be open to acquiring that knowledge. Once the knower opens himself to the knowable, then knowledge automatically gets into him and enlightens him and removes the darkness in his mind. Its not a easy process. It takes an effort to light a match stick and both the match box and stick have to scratch each other and take the pain, then only stick will be lit which will in-turn light the lamp. Our soul is like lamp, our senses are the match box and the basis of action is the stick. until they feel the pain one cannot enlighten himself. So, dont stop learning because it is painful. Where there is no pain, there is no gain.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 21

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 21

Trividham narakasyedam dwaaram naashanamaatmanah;
Kaamah krodhastathaa lobhas tasmaadetat trayam tyajet.

Triple is the gate of this hell, destructive of the self—
lust, anger, and greed,—therefore, one should abandon these three.

Interpretation

In this shloka Lord Krishna is advising on the things that are considered to be hell and the things that one should avoid in order to save himself from getting into demonic zone. Lord compares the demonic nature to the hell and says that this hell has three gates. These three gates are also called the gates of the destruction of the self. Lord then names the three gates as lust, anger and greed. Lust is the sexual desires which are uncontrolled, anger and greed are the other two emotions that a person has no control upon. Lord finally advises that one should abandon or leave these three things to understand God and attain divinity.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We need to understand here the concept of “destructive of the self”. What brings this destruction of the self? Lord Krishna says its the lust, anger and greed. When a person is sexually attracted to many people and involves himself in the sexual acts that are sinful, he will go down in spirituality. Similar are the effects of anger and greed. Anger is the result of non-fulfillment of the wants. Anger primarily arises because the person is attached to he results of the work that he doing. The same attachment results in greed of a person. So, in a way lust, anger and greed are linked to one another and are responsible for the destruction of the self, which is also called spiritual degradation.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 17

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 17

Sattwaat sanjaayate jnaanam rajaso lobha eva cha; Pramaadamohau tamaso bhavato’jnaanameva cha.

From Sattwa arises knowledge, and greed from Rajas; heedlessness and delusion arise from Tamas, and ignorance also.

Interpretation

After talking about the fruits of Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasic gunas which are purity, pain and ignorance, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about the results of following these gunas in an individual. An individual can follow any of these gunas depending upon his spirituality and he is bestowed with the results accordingly. He says that by following sattivik nature a person gets knowledge. By following a rajasik way of life he gets a lot of greed and comes out as a greedy person. Finally talking about the Tamasic nature, Lord Krishna says that following tamasic a person gets heedlessness and delusion. These two qualities ultimately makes a person ignorant.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We have talked about these qualities before also, but this shloka primarily focuses on the results that each of these gunas bestows. Sattwa guna is following a life which is dedicated to others. A person lives for the sake of others and most of the things he does are directed towards the well being of others. Such kind of person when he lives Sattvik lifestyle, he acquires knowledge. For instance, a teacher who learns things only for his students. His constant endeavour would be to make his students more knowledgeable which is the motivating factor for him to learn more. Since it is a sattvik activity, as he is not doing it for himself, automatically he will be able to learn more and dispassionately.

Contrary to that is a Rajasik person who does everything for himself and his benefit. So, every bit of information he acquires, he starts looking at the returns that can be generated out of it. Thus he rejects all the inflormation that is not giving him returns terming it useless. If a Rajasik person, even if he acquires knowledge will start looking at how much that knowledge can be helpful to reach the position of power and earn wealth. Thus the result of this action is greediness and the person tends to become more and more greedy as he starts to acquire more and more wealth. Thus the result of any Rajasik action is greed.

A tamasic person lives in a different world. He wants comforts but without working hard. Thus he gets into all wrong things in life like cheating and wrongful ways of doing things. He is not bothered about prestige or wealth. He wants only comforts and if those comforts are coming with wealth he wants to acquire that wealth through short cut and easy methods. This makes him heedless and delusion which is becoming stubborn and wavering in nature. Whoever tells him the easier way of achieving things he will follow them. He is neither bothered about knowledge nor power. He only wants comforts and that nature can give rise to nothing but ignorance. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 16

Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga Verse 16

Anapekshah shuchirdaksha udaaseeno gatavyathah;
Sarvaarambhaparityaagee yo madbhaktah sa me priyah.

He who is free from wants, pure, expert, unconcerned, and untroubled, 
renouncing all undertakings or commencements—he who is devoted to Me, is dear to Me.

Interpretation

Continuing to talk about the people who are dearer to Him, Lord Krishna in this shloka talks about some more qualities that a person should possess to become closer or dearer to Him. He says that a person who is free from all wants is closer to Him. Not only that a person who is also an expert in things that he does, unconcerned and untroubled by situations that arise around him is dearer to Him. Finally he says a person who renounces all his works and commencements to Him and who is devoted to Him is considered to be closest to Him. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

A new phrase to look at is “He who is free from wants, pure, expert, unconcerned and untroubled”. Here we are talking about a person who is totally dedicated his life to the service of the mankind. This person doesn’t want anything in life but he is busy satisfying the wants of people around him. This person is pure and an expert in many things. That means this person doesnt think even for a minute in a selfish way and he has attained mastery in whatever he does. Not only that he is unconcerned by everything around him and is untouched by what people talk and say about him. Have you ever seen or met such people before? Have you ever thought you can be one amongst them?

You cannot meet them because, they are not famous promoting themselves on TV channels. If you want to be one amongst them, then you have to concentrate on what the person wants, rather than focussing on what you want. Its wrong to say that such people don’t exist. They are around and we dont know them. Even you know them, they are not famous and lead a simple life. A person who is pure is not concerned how much popularity he is earning and how many people are talking about him. He keeps silently doing his work and he does his bit to change the world in his own way. If you touch and change even one person’s life also by being like this, you will be dearer to God rather than attracting a lakh people by holding a satsung.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 9 Raja Guhya Yoga Verse 10

Chapter 9 Raja Guhya Yoga Verse 10
Shloka
Satatam keertayanto maam yatantashcha dridhavrataah;
Namasyantashcha maam bhaktyaa nityayuktaa upaasate.
Translation
Always glorifying Me, striving, firm in vows, prostrating before Me,
they worship Me with devotion, ever steadfast.
Interpretation
After talking about the fools who first go to different Gods and then even to demons, Lord Krishna in this sloka talks about the behaviour of wise men. He says that a wise man believes in just one God and keeps singing praises of that God, he strives and overcomes all the difficulties he faces on the route but his belief and vow that he took stays intact. This wise man always bends his head in front of the God, worshipping Him with total and utmost devotion and never ever strays from the path of God that he had taken.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
Do you really have to glorify God and sing His praises? The answer is Yes and No. You should not take this sentence as it is. When we like something we show preference to it. When we like it more we show bias towards it. When we like even more, we want it to be with us. When we like it even even more, we can’t live without it. If we extend that, God is above all this in our liking and we keep God at a place which we give for nobody. If such is the case, glorifying and praise comes automatically out of it. But what we see many people do is the opposite.
Let me explain. When we recite Vishnu sahastranamam or perform Satyanarayana vratam at home, we do recite some verses as a part of the ritual. Actually the meaning of those verses talks about the Supreme nature of the God. 99.9% of those who perform these rituals dont even understand the meaning of it. And 99.99999% of them make a priest to recite those verses. If you are doing the puja why a third and unknown person has to recite them? All this is happening because You have never kept God in that Supreme position. You are performing these rituals out of fear or expecting a favour or to fulfil the requirements of say marriage or house warming etc.
Such things can never bring you closer to God. Worshipping God is never meant to be a showoff. This is the secret of this sloka. It is meant to be a private affair where out of the utmost love, affection and devotion, verses praising Him will automatically flow out of you. It neither has to be read out from a book nor has to be performed as rituals. Instead of going into this secret, many of us feel happy getting those rituals performed by a priest, paying him money and think that we are devotional. This is nothing but illusion and O mind, come out of it and see the reality. This is the secret.