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Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 4

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 4
Yajante saattwikaa devaan yaksharakshaamsi raajasaah;
Pretaan bhootaganaamshchaanye yajante taamasaa janaah.
The Sattwik or pure men worship the gods; the Rajasic or the passionate worship the Yakshas and the Rakshasas;
the others the Tamasic or the deluded worship the ghosts and the hosts of nature-spirits.
Interpretation

This shloka has Lord Krishna talking about the worship of the people of different faith. We have understood in the previous shloka that the identity of a person is known by the faith that he carries. Faith is deeply related to the things that a person worships. We are also know that there are three kinds of faith, the sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic. Lord says that the Sattwik people who are also called pure men worship Gods. The Rajasic people who are also called passionate people worship Yakshas or the Rakshasas. Then Lord talks about the third kind of people who are Tamasic people and they are also called deluded or wavering minds usually end up worshipping ghosts and spirits in the nature. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Why are Sattwik people are called as pure men? We have seen that before, sattwik people only think of others and their benefit. A sattwik person sees his happiness in the happiness of people around him. He sacrifices things for them and does things that pleases them. This is the natural faith of those who believe in God and thus it is quite natural that they worship God. Then if you look at the Rajasic men, they are called as passionate and we know that they are determined and attached to their goals and aims and spend their whole lives in fulfilling them. But why does Lord says that these Rajasic men worship Yakshas and Rakshasas?

Yakshas and Rakshasas are the beings who exist in the lokas below Gods and they are usually associated with power, wealth, enjoyment and revenge. Yakshas usually bestow power and wealth while Rakshasas are worshiped for revenge. When a Rajasic person has revenge in his mind, he never invokes God in him, but he becomes a demon and causes harm to his enemy. If you look at Tamasic people they are called as wavering or deluded minds, who resort to all kinds of black magic, invoking evil spirits and ghosts and believe in tantra. This is a dangerous thing and a person takes to it only because he wants to achieve success and money through short cut sand without putting any efforts which is a typical tamasic guna. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 22

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 22

Etairvimuktah kaunteya tamodwaaraistribhirnarah;
Aacharatyaatmanah shreyas tato yaati paraam gatim.

A man who is liberated from these three gates to darkness, O Arjuna,  practises what is good for him and thus goes to the Supreme goal!

Interpretation

After talking about the three gates of hell that is lust, anger and greed, Lord Krishna in this shloka talks about what can happen to a person if he liberates himself from the three gates of hell. Lord compares this three gates of hell to the three gates of darkness because as hell is nothing short of the darkness and the person who lives in the hell is always in the darkness. Lord says that if a person is liberated from this darkness then he will go on to do what is destined for him. This happens when he realises what he is missing out on by being in the darkness. Once that happens then automatically he will be on his way to achieving the Supreme goal. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Sometimes it so happens that we end up seeing what we don’t see. It happens to everyone. We do things the way we want to. We have our own objective for doing things, which can be money, name fame etc. Let’s take for an example a bank employee who is working in the bank. Every day he meets many people and helps them with their finances. But he will not get attached to anyone nor he is bothered to look at anyone’s financial situation because it is not his job and he is not paid for that. Then suddenly one day if he sees that a retired man taking a loan from the bank to get his son educated, he feels for that person. He empathises him and treats his differently by being more friendly.

What brought this change in the person? He would have met people who were more in need than him and he would not have taken note of them. But now why he is feeling empathy for that old man? It is because somewhere we are shut off from the other people by our own biases and needs. It is also one kind of darkness which prevents us from seeing the other’s problems. But if even for a moment that darkness lifts you will see people differently. Every profession has the same thing. Look at a teacher teaching his students. A teacher only thinks about what he is getting and how many subjects he has to teach and only concentrates on that, never thinking for a minute also about his students.

But once the thought comes to his mind that so many students sitting in front of him are his responsibility and he needs to give them the basic foundation and he in a way is responsible for shaping their interest in studies, he becomes very careful. The way he teaches changes. The same is the case with a doctor who treats patients for his living when he understands that the patient’s life is in his hands, his approach will change. When darkness lifts a new angle emerges and that new angle will make us to see things differently and that is the foundation for us to start doing things in a way that makes you to achieve the Supreme goal, which is nothing but unifying your soul with God.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 19

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 19
Taanaham dwishatah krooraan samsaareshu naraadhamaan;
Kshipaamyajasram ashubhaan aasureeshweva yonishu.
These cruel haters, the worst among men in the world,—
I hurl all these evil-doers forever into the wombs of demons only.
Interpretation

After talking about the actions committed by the demonic people in the previous shlokas Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about the punishment that He would want to give to those people. Lord is seen getting unusually angry here. He says that these people are cruel in nature and hate everyone around them and He calls them the worst men among the people in this world. Then in the second part of the shloka Lord talks about the punishment that He is giving to those people. He says that He is going to throw those dirty evil doers forever into the wombs of the demons.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

How can Lord be so cruel to throw someone forever into the wombs of the demons? This is what you might be thinking when you are reading the interpretation of the shloka. It would have also arisen a sense of fear in you. Anger is an emotion that needs to used only to restore order and God is using that emotion to restore the order here. Anger results in punishment and any punishment with a purpose always yields a positive outcome. But the next question is, what positive outcome will throwing an evil doer into demonic world can do? What change can it bring to him?

Excess of anything is dangerous and when a person leads a demonic life every minute enjoying the world and getting the sensual pleasures of it, there comes a stage when his mind and body will say enough is enough, how much more will I enjoy! That is when the soul wakes up and makes his senses do something for the pleasure of the soul. It could be reading Ramayan or listening to a discourse of a learned person. That is when the soul inside gets awakened and makes the mind feel miserable for all those sins that a person has committed over a period of many births. There is no bigger repentance than realising their own sins and feeling bad about them.
The real meaning of Lord when He says that He will throw these people into the wombs of demons means, He is going to give them all the comforts that they need to satisfy their ugly urges. That is why you might be seeing rich people getting more money and they enjoy more and more. God gives them everything and they enjoy unlimited till the point of realization. All things have to come to end somewhere and when his enjoyment also ends, he then realises how much he lost in that false sense of enjoyment. That feeling is required for self transformation and like I said before, every punishment has something good hidden in it, this also has the secret of realization hidden in it. 

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 13

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 13

Idamadya mayaa labdham imam praapsye manoratham;
Idamasteedamapi me bhavishyati punardhanam.

“This has been gained by me today; this desire I shall obtain;
this is mine and this wealth too shall be mine in future.”

Interpretation

This shloka is a three-part shloka where Lord Krishna gives a first person like the account of those who live with demonic qualities. He starts off the shloka by saying that when a person earns wealth, he says I earned this money. When he has a desire to fulfil he then makes a resolve that I shall fulfil this desire. When a person owns something after a lot of hard work he says, this is mine. Thus this person with demonic nature looks at everything from the “I” point of view. Finally, Lord concludes the first part of the shloka by saying that when a person sees the money earned by him, he says that this is my money and I am going to use it in future.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We all know how crucial and important is this word “I”. It is the shortest word in the English language that occupies the least space, but one can write volumes of books on this single letter word I. Everyone has so much write about them. But is it good to keep thinking about “I” all the time? “I” refers to senses and body but not the soul. You will say I need money, I need power, I need peace of mind. You will never say I need peace of soul nor can “I” take you to moksha just for the simple fact that when the body meets soul it is “we” not “I”. The soul never does anything on its own so it needs body and body if it is ruled by senses, which will only think of “I”. So, the moment we start thinking about the soul, the “I” is eliminated and it is replaced by “we”.

In an altogether different way, this shloka is provoking us to think beyond “I”. Whenever you gain anything you, instead of saying, I gained, if you say we gained, then automatically the soul gets involved with it. It could be either sharing the credit with your soul, who is also the Paramatma living inside you or you share the credit with others, the result will be the same. Once the person comes out of the mode of “I”, he will also start seeing the world from we point of you. Then the whole universe created by the Almighty will look different to him and he will start living with everyone in harmony. He will not fight for credit or for wealth. He will simply do everything in the name of God and leave the result to him. That’s the first step towards moksha.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 1

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 1

Sri Bhagavaan Uvaacha:
Abhayam sattwasamshuddhih jnaanayogavyavasthitih;
Daanam damashcha yajnashcha swaadhyaayastapa aarjavam.

The Blessed Lord said:
Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in Yoga and knowledge, alms-giving, control of the senses, sacrifice, the study of scriptures, austerity and straightforwardness….

Interpretation

This is the beginning of the 16th Chapter of Srimad Bhagavad Gita which is termed as “Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga” or “The Yoga of division between the Divine and Demonic”. This is a 3 part shloka where Lord Krishna is talking about the virtues of a person who has saintly qualities. The first part of the shloka talks about the qualities like fearlessness, purity of heart and steadfastness in Yoga and knowledge. Lord also says that the virtuous person has the quality of giving alms, he has control on all his senses, he has the ability to sacrifice, studies scriptures, maintaining simplicity and straightforwardness in the behaviour also as the qualities required for a person who has saintly virtues. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

This Yoga is about the daivic and demonic qualities that an individual has on his personality. The challenge in attaining moksha is to one by one get rid of all the demonic qualities and replace them with daivic qualities. Daivic or saintly qualities are the pre-requisites for understanding the almighty. If we look at them, Fearlessness, purity of heart and steadfastness in Yoga and knowledge. He should not be afraid of speaking and standing up for truth, he should have a pure heart which is minus of ill-will for anyone and he should always be a seeker of knowledge. 

The second line of the verse talks about this person having control on all his senses and doesn’t get attracted by money or material wealth. He should have a sense of sacrifice where he is ready to give up everything to perform his dharma. Lord also talks about the person reading scriptures. Reading is a very important habit for seeking knowledge and nothing can substitute for reading. When you read something for the second time, the dimension you get of that will be different. The more and more we read the more and wiser one gets. That will make him to lead a simple life and that also installs the quality of being a straight forward person. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 18

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 18

Yasmaat ksharam ateeto’hamaksharaadapi chottamah;
Ato’smi loke vede cha prathitah purushottamah.

As I transcend the perishable and am even higher than the imperishable, I am declared as the highest Purusha in the world and in the Vedas.

Interpretation

After talking about the Supreme being and Him pervading all the three worlds, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking further about His supremacy over the perishable and imperishable beings. He says that as a Supreme being He alone transcends all the perishable beings in this universe. He is also greater than all the beings that have attained imperishability. In the second part of the shloka, He talks about the Supreme being, Himself. He says that Vedas have declared Him as the highest Purusha in this World.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

This is a small shloka that talks about reiteration of Lord as the Supreme being. He rules us all and gives us as well as takes away things from us according to our karmas and he also bestows results accordingly. In that process, Lord teaches discipline to every being and that takes the person on the path of salvation and he attains imperishability. As the Lord is responsible for a person to attain imperishability, He is considered to be higher than the imperishable. The Vedic texts that talks about different rituals have declared Lord Sri Maha Vishnu as the Highest Purusha in this Universe and puts every other being under Him.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 13

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 13

Gaam aavishya cha bhootaani dhaarayaamyaham ojasaa;Pushnaami chaushadheeh sarvaah somo bhootwaa rasaatmakah.

Permeating the earth I support all beings by My energy; and, having become the watery moon, I nourish all herbs.

Interpretation

After comparing Himself to the power of Sun and the light emanating from it, Lord Krishna in this Shloka talks about how He supports and nourishes the entire life on this planet. He uses the word Permeating to explain His presence in the Universe. Permeating means spread across or something which is present everywhere. Lord Krishna says that by spreading Himself across the entire Earth, He supports all the living beings with His energy. In short, His energy is the source of all life. Then in the second part of the shloka, He says that by becoming a watery moon, He is continuously nourishing all the herbs and other life forms on this planet. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Here we are talking about the Lord talking like a parent who is nourishing and supporting all beings with His energy and care. God’s energy is distributed into this universe in two distinctly different forms. The first form is raw energy which has a lot of power and ability to support the growth of the beings. The second energy is the delicate and tender energy that is required to take care of the beings in an intricate way. These two energies are present throughout the universe and all the life forms that have evolved in this World also have these two energies. Every species that was created by God has these two energies distinctly separated. The first energy we equate it to the power of Sun and call it masculine energy and the second is equated to the moon and called feminine energy.

The concept of masculine and feminine is something that is omnipresent and present in every species. The species which is aggressive and the seed of all life is male and thus every male in any species carries the seed of the future species. The nurturer and the holder of species is the feminine energy and thus female who is the derivation of feminine energy becomes the womb or the carrier of the species. Thus all the qualities associated with feminine energy are caring and gentle. One also has to understand that the energies might be different but the soul or the God present in all the energies is the same because God or the Supreme being, that we call Him is the combination of both the masculine and the feminine energies which are protecting every species in the universe. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 10

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 10

Utkraamantam sthitam vaapi bhunjaanam vaa gunaanvitam;
Vimoodhaa naanupashyanti pashyanti jnaanachakshushah.

The deluded do not see Him who departs, stays and enjoys;
but they who possess the eye of knowledge behold Him.

Interpretation

After talking about how the person enjoys his sensual objects neglecting the divinity inside, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about those who have the eye of knowledge to understand the importance of the soul. He says that a person who is deluded and wavering in his mind, when the soul that has the imprint of Almighty departs, he does not notice it and just enjoys. Enjoy here means neglect, this is contrasted with the person who possesses knowledge. The person who has knowledge will not allow this to happen. He will behold the soul and understand its importance through the eye of knowledge. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We have seen Tulsidas’ wife telling him how he is wasting his time focussing on things that are wasteful. This shloka also talks about something similar. Here the moment to capture is the moment of death which departs body from soul. Everyone who reaches that moment knows that his body is no longer going to live and the time is up for him in this material world. What is the thought that occurs at that moment? This is where the difference between a deluded mind and the mind with an eye of knowledge is clearly seen. The deluded mind only thinks about what all he has achieved and doesn’t think about the soul. It allows the soul which has the imprint of God to pass through it without any thought about the suffering soul.

Contrasting it with a mind that has the eye of knowledge. Eye of knowledge here means wisdom. Knowledge is there everywhere but fools just ignore it and pass through it without acquiring it. They do so because they don’t understand the importance of it. A mind that has the eye of Knowledge can see how precious this knowledge is and acquires the same without any questioning. Knowledge increases the wisdom and that wisdom awakens the soul. Then the mind starts thinking about the needs of the soul. Thus such a body that meets the moment of death, beholds that knowledge that the soul has acquired and moves out of the body. Then the search continues for acquiring another body and increasing the knowledge.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 1

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 1

Sri Bhagavaan Uvaacha: Oordhwamoolam adhahshaakham ashwattham praahuravyayam;Cchandaamsi yasya parnaani yastam veda sa vedavit.

The Blessed Lord said: The wise speak of the indestructible peepul tree, having its root above and branches below, whose leaves are the metres or hymns; he who knows it is a knower of the Vedas.

Interpretation

This is the beginning of a new chapter called “Purushottama yoga” or the “yoga of a Supreme Purusha”. Here Lord explains the qualities of the Almighty in detail. The shloka starts off with Lord Krishna talking about the knower of the Vedas. He says that wise men who lived before used to talk about a peepul tree which has its roots in the upward direction and the branches below the roots. The leaves that these branches have are been compared to the Vedic hymns that are recited. Then Lord Krishna concludes that a person who is aware of this is the knower of the Vedas.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

What is this indestructible peepul tree and how is it linked to the knower of the Vedas? The knowledge of this indestructible peepul tree is essential because the secret of salvation is hidden it. This peepul tree is like your soul. Since the soul cannot be destroyed it is called indestructible. Unlike all the other trees the roots of the tree are not below but located above. In fact, the roots are at the highest level and that root is the God. He controls your soul like the way roots control the existence of the whole tree. The trunk and the branches that are there are like the body and the senses of the tree. They are the ones which rule the true and soul is hidden inside the trunk.

The vedas are compared to the leaves of the tree. Vedas are descended upon to explain to an individual his dharma and karma. Performing his karmas and aligning them with the dharma, a person goes to the higher lokas only to come back again and live life all over again. It is exactly like how the river water evaporates due to sunlight and goes up, forms into a cloud and comes back again into the same river as rain. Likewise, a person after knowing the Vedas follows the right rituals, learns things goes to higher lokas and comes back again into this world to lead another life.

This is beautifully explained by the word “ashwattham” used in the first line of the verse. Ashwattham in Sanskrit means “something which is constantly changing”. Our soul is ashwattham, which keeps constantly evolving and changing. It is the peepul tree and it is the life cycle of birth and death makes it to evolve in knowledge and that also keeps it indestructible. A person who is aware of this is the one who knows Vedas. And the one who knows Vedas also knows the fact that to attain moksha, one has to destroy this peepul tree and escape the cycle of birth and death and go back to the Almighty through the roots through which the soul came into this world.