Tag Archives: Supreme Soul

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 46

Yatah pravrittirbhootaanaam yena sarvamidam tatam; Swakarmanaa tamabhyarchya siddhim vindati maanavah.
He from whom all the beings have evolved and by whom all this is pervaded, worshipping Him with his own duty, man attains perfection.
This shloka needs to be understood with a slightly higher level of spirituality. Lord wants us to understand here that when you perform a duty which is according to your dharma it is similar to worshiping the God who has created us. Lord also says that this is the God from whom all the living beings have evolved. Not only that the God who created this universe is present in all the living beings. So, one has to understand that identifying and doing actions that is in line with his own dharma is similar to worshiping the God every moment. This is the way a person can attain perfection, says Lord Krishna. 
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
How do you know what is your swa-dharma? Ask your soul. God created all of us and every life is a gradual progression in spirituality of an individual. In childhood you might want be a pilot or you want to be in army. The decision is purely based on senses as at that age one can never understand the urges of the soul. It is the teenage when an individual is able to understand the urge of his soul. If he is tamasic then he will naturally progress towards menial jobs and as the Rajasic quality increases he tends to become a trader and a warrior. That Rajasic guna turns sattwik and he slowly starts to get into philosophy, religion, teaching etc. 
Thus when you talk to yourself in your teenage you will know what you want to be. A Tamasic person would want to enjoy and travel, Rajasic person might want to get into a leadership role and earn money, status and power and a sattwik person will always want to help people. This nature combined with the urges of soul makes a person choose his profession. Thus it becomes important for a person to follow the profession with a devotion that is equivalent to worshiping the God. That can only happen when the individual is 100% committed to his profession and that is the only way he attains perfection. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 43

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

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 42

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

Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness and also uprightness,  knowledge,realisation and belief in God are the duties of the Brahmanas, born of their own nature.
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 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!
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 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!
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!

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. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sanyyas Yoga Verse 19

Jnaanam karma cha kartaa cha tridhaiva gunabhedatah;
Prochyate gunasankhyaane yathaavacchrinu taanyapi.
Knowledge, action and the actor are declared in the science of the Gunas the Samkhya philosophy to be of three kinds only, according to the distinction of the Gunas. Hear them also duly.

After the three fold impulse to action and the three fold impulse to the basis of action, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about the three kind of gunas that are declared in the Samkhya philosophy. Lord says that the Knowledge, the action which prompts to acquire the knowledge and the actor, who is basically the person performing that action are finding a mention in the Samkhya philosophy. Not only that, Lord also says that these three elements of knowledge, action and actor are purely dependant on the Guna that a particular person possesses and then asks Arjuna to listen to them very carefully. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Guna of a person decides the spirituality that he is into. That is the reason why we keep coming back to the same aspect of Guna again and again. The last 6 chapters of Gita have at multiple points referred to the importance of Gunas, and Chapter 14 and 17 dealt extensively only the Gunas. A person who is of Tamasic guna reads Gita, he takes it and personalizes it to his level and does things that suits him and thinks that this is what Gita teaches. Same is the case of a person in Rajasic or in Sattwik state. Everyone understands things in their own way and attach meaning and relevance akin to their understanding, maturity and spiritual levels. 

If we take all this apply to what is being discussed in this shloka, it fits in perfectly. Knowledge comes to a person according to his actions and its primarily his actions that define how much of knowledge that comes in. For example a highly evolved soul like Sri Aurobindo, who also wrote commentaries on Gita, can write not less than one full page on this verse itself, whereas a less evolved person like me is able to write just 2-3 paragraphs. The shloka is the same, but the depth to which you go is different. Its your actions that primarily defines the depth of your knowledge and that remains as your understanding. 
Not only that, the Gunas also make a significant difference in the quality of what is being written. Its not always the quantity that defines something but it is also the quality. As you move spiritually, you will be transported from Tamasic state to Sattwik state and from there to the stage of “om tat sat”. A person who sees God all around him is in the stage of “om tat sat” and none can explain better than the way he explains. If you really want to see that, read Sri Aurobindo’s Bhagavad Gita or his famous work “Savitri” which a poetic work based on the drama of integral self-realisation. The book narrates the legendary “Love conquers Death” concept of Satyavan and Savitri in Shri Aurobindo’s most philosophical ways. 

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.


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 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 17

Yasya naahankrito bhaavo buddhiryasya na lipyate;
Hatwaapi sa imaam llokaan na hanti na nibadhyate.

He who is ever free from the egoistic notion, whose intelligence is not tainted by good or evil, though he slays these people, he slayeth not, nor is he bound by the action.


This shloka talks about the fruits that a person who is free from the ego of being a doer bears. Lord says that anyone who does not attach their ego or attribute their soul alone for any task done, and a person whose intelligence is not affected by the good or bad deeds is an ideal doer. Here the qualities of those deeds are never measured. In that context Lord says that even if a person kills another person and he does the act unattached, he is not bound by that action. Even if he does the act of killing the person he is not bound by the action because his soul is not responsible for that action.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

This shloka brings us back to the very purpose for which Gita is being told to Arjuna. Arjuna asks a question to Krishna that why should he fight against his own people in a war which pits one brother against another. Throughout the last 17 chapters Krishna brought out different dimensions of looking at this question. This shloka tells us that there is no need for a person to take the responsibility for his/her actions and say that I have done this task. Infact you are not the doer you are just a medium. In this context Arjuna is just a medium and he was chosen to do this task of restoring order in the system where adharma prevailed over dharma. 

Ego kills intellect. A very knowledgeable person also because of his ego might lose balance and take a decision which can be counter productive. But there is also the Karma Yoga which says that a person has to bear the fruits of all his actions. To explain this point a bit more, let me tell you one more time that Karma attaches to you only when you get attached to the task. As long as you remain unattached and do the task only as a medium but not as a doer, then neither the task nor the karma resulting out of the task, whether it is good karma or bad karma can be attached to the person. He remains action-less and karma-free and that starts his journey to moksha.