Tag Archives: Spirituality

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 53

Ahankaaram balam darpam kaamam krodham parigraham; Vimuchya nirmamah shaanto brahmabhooyaaya kalpate.
Having abandoned egoism, strength, arrogance, anger, desire, and covetousness, free from the notion of “mine” and peaceful,—he is fit for becoming Brahman.
Interpretation
This is the third and concluding part of the shloka that talks about the qualities that makes a person fit enough to be a Brahman. Lord talks about abandoning the egoism in a person and also the show of strength. He should be free from anger, arrogance and desire. He should rise above being covetousness, which is a quality where a person tends to eye things that belongs to others. He should also get rid of having possessiveness on things and should not look at anything as belonging to him and finally his mind should be peaceful at all times and should never lose the balance. Such kind of a person is fit enough for becoming Brahman says Lord Krishna. 
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
The last thing a sattwik person should have is “ownership” on anything. I say sattwik because, towards his journey towards Brahman, a person has to be sattwik by  nature. A sattwik person also sees everything with detachment and doesnt like to possess anything. But we still have the urges and ownership of things that we possess. When you think something is yours, then it means it doesnt belong to anyone else. This is a false notion and the ultimate truth is also that except God, no one else has any owneship on anything, nor he owns anything. You say that a gold ornament or diamond necklace is yours, you say that because you paid money to buy it and thus you think you own it.
But if you look deeper into it, neither Gold or diamond was created by us and these are the resources that exist in nature and something that exist in nature like air, water, soil etc things like gold, diamonds also belong to everyone. But human being captures these resources that are scarce or something that has demand and sells and makes money. When he is not the real owner, how can he sell it and how can anyone buy it? In the world of spirituality and Brahman there is nothing which is yours and everything belongs to everyone. Sharing both natural as well as man made resources increases your happiness and makes you feel good. So, never say that anything is yours, its everyone’s and sharing it can only bring you the true happiness. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 49

Asaktabuddhih sarvatra jitaatmaa vigatasprihah;
Naishkarmyasiddhim paramaam sannyaasenaadhigacchati.
He whose intellect is unattached everywhere, who has subdued his self, from whom desire has fled,—
he by renunciation attains the supreme state of freedom from action.
Interpretation
This shloka talks about the person who sets himself free from actions. We ourselves choose actions and we only want to get freedom from the actions. All this is a part of the journey of life. Lord says, a person who wants freedom from actions never allows his intellect to influence any person or any object. He also keeps himself subdued from all those things that create various unwanted desires in him. With all this is a person renounces the fruits of the action and then the action itself, such kind of person is said to have attained freedom from actions. 
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
There is a boat on the surface of water and there is a bridge above the water. A boat is used to cross the river and even a bridge is used to cross the river. A person travelling in the boat has to do nothing but remain static and allow the boat which is in motion to cross the river, while the person who uses the bridge has to take the efforts all by himself and cross the bridge. Here the bridge will be static and the person is in motion. Attachment here is like the boat and the bridge, water is like the desires and the person is the action. 
A person who sits on the boat as he is static, experiences the turbulence of boat as he is constantly attached to the movement of boat. But a person who crosses the bridge doesnt bother about the water underneath and quietly crosses it. In life also a person who is unattached to work will not bother about anything and does his work, whereas the person sitting on a boat is constantly worried about how boat manages the turbulence of water. This also teaches an important lesson in life that we should never get attached to anything we do and keep a distance from the fruits of actions just like how bridge keeps a distance from water. That is the secret for getting freedom from actions. 

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 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 30

Pravrittim cha nivrittim cha karyaakaarye bhayaabhaye;
Bandhammoksham cha yaa vetti buddhih saa paartha saattwikee.

That which knows the path of work and renunciation, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation—that intellect is Sattwic, O Arjuna!
Interpretation
This shloka talks about the intellect of a sattwik person. Intellect as we have learnt in the previous shloka is what is right and what is not right. According to Lord Krishna, Sattwik intellect is where a person knows the distinction between the path of work and renunciation, which means he has a clear cut understanding of what is qualified as work and renunciation. Lord also says that sattwik intellect also knows what needs to be done and what a person should not do. It also differentiates between fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation which affects a person and his actions.  Such a kind of intellect is termed as the sattwik intellect. 
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Life is all about choices we make. We are always sceptical and unhappy with the choice we make. Suppose if you were asked to choose between A and B, and if you choose B, while performing the task B, you always think what would have happened if you had chose A, how easy A would have been compared to B, and what rewards it would give compared to what we have chosen. Thus you neither focus on B nor you can shift to A. Thus you end up losing both. Robert Frost in his poem “The Road not taken” very aptly says “No matter which road you take, you will always sigh and wish you would have taken the other road”. This beautifully explains the choices we make and the choices we leave. 

A person with Sattwik intellect will not be affected by this because he knows very clearly what ought to be done and what ought not to be done. Accordingly he plans all his tasks. The other two things that sattwik intellect talks about is bondage and liberation. Love bonds, affection bonds, care bonds and anything that bonds is not sattwik. Liberation is where you love, but you dont love. You say that you love a person, but when that person leaves you, you act as if nothing happened and life will go on. Love, care and affection are never sattwik if they bind you, but not when you are unaffected by the presence or the absence of them. Fear comes when you are bonded to things. If you are bonded to your job, you always fear about losing it. So, the progress of a person from bondage to liberation leads him from fear to fearlessness. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 29

Buddherbhedam dhriteshchaiva gunatastrividham shrinu;
Prochyamaanamasheshena prithaktwena dhananjaya.

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

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

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

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

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

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 26

Muktasango’nahamvaadi dhrityutsaahasamanvitah;
Siddhyasiddhyor nirvikaarah kartaa saattwika uchyate.

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

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

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

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

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