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25. Knock, knock
The body is able to function only because it has a cohesiveness which makes it one unit; it is not an assemblage of spare parts.
In that vision there is no bondage.
But if you look at the whole body through a microscope, you see different parts put together.
When you view prakrti as composed of sattva, rajas, tamas, you suddenly see chat each one is a rope that binds the dehi (embodied).
Whoever regards the body as 'this I am', or 'this is mine', is bound to that by one or the other of these three, or all the three together.
How do we get out of this?
First of all by realising
When the seer beholds no agent other than the guna and knows that which is higher than them, he attains to my being. (14:19)
There is no word here to suggest that it is the ego or the jiva that does it.
Translated in as simple a way as possible, drasta is 'attention' which becomes aware.
This awareness suddenly wakes to the understanding that there is a sense of lightness, of enlightenment, of understanding, of knowledge; that is sattva - not 'me', not 'mine'.
There is dynamism; that is rajas - not 'me', not 'mine'.
There is dullness; that is tamas - not 'me', not 'mine'.
When this understanding arises, the drasta is aware that it is not involved in any of these.
In the words of Sri Gurudev: "The wise man knows which guna is operating when."
If you know which guna is operating now, you are out of it, you are not caught in it.
You are never satisfied with the prevailing guna.
This is something very peculiar.
Though you enjoy sleep, when it comes to an end, it is painful even to lie in bed.
You may be doing the most splendid job on earth, but it is not satisfying.
Something in you says: 'I want to have more knowledge, because only knowledge is accompanied by the sense of satisfaction.'
Soon you are aspiring to sattva.
What do you do when you have this tremendous enlightenment and understanding of the fundamentals of life?
When you are very happy, bubbling with joy, you want to share it with someone else.
So, you start establishing a relationship, forming a society of happy people.
Even that is bondage.
How does one transcend this?
The blessed Lord said: Light, activity and delusion - when they are present, O Arjuna, he hates not, nor does he long for them when they are absent. (14:22)
In one phraseology or another, this teaching is repeated nearly in every chapter.
'Whatever be the guna that prevails ... ' - how do you complete that sentence - 'The wise man accepts it'?
Krsna does not say so.
Only if you understand this very carefully, might you also understand what appears to be strange behaviour on the part of these great ones.
You and I are subject to changing moods, but they are not - they reflect changing moods.
There is a beautiful sutra in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: 'Like crystal the yogi merely reflects what is happening around him'.
Therefore the yogi sleeps when tamas prevails, is active when rajas prevails, and is intelligent and happy when sattva prevails, without being bound by any of these.
What you regard as jnana or understanding or knowledge (sattva) is not freedom.
Even that is a bondage.
You come into contact with jnana - which means you are still a seeker, looking at jnana as if it were a cloak.
How to be totally free of this is the theme of the fifteenth chapter, which is the most inspiring chapter.
It contains the very essence of the Bhagavad Gita message.
Do not let craving arise, because it is this craving that gives rise to all the rest of it.
When there is a craving, there is attachment, hate, fear.
All these are related to a future.
It is this craving that creates a thing called tomorrow.
Therefore that thing called tomorrow is bondage.
In the fourteenth chapter we were cautioned that sattva, rajas and tamas can bind because you create the division between the experiencer and the experience of sattva, of rajas, of tamas.
Having created that division, you bring them into conflict.
Even on the human plane, we love one another because we regard one another as different.
Yet, at all levels, we are indivisibly one the prana is one; the mind is one; the consciousness is one.
A thing called contact arises only between two separate, independent objects.
When there is only one, there is no contact.
It is the rejection of what is, and the longing for what is not, that is the problem.
That is what causes this becoming - movement from one mood of being to another mood of being.
All these are the products of apparent division in consciousness.
But, as space is indivisible, consciousness is indivisible.
An eternal portion of myself having become a living soul in the world of life, draws to itself the five senses with the mind for the sixth, abiding in nature. (15:7)
This is inexpressibly beautiful.
Its meaning can only be realised within oneself.
It is something which cannot be translated or transmitted.
What you call 'jiva' (living soul) is a cell of my (God' s) own being.
This universe is filled with jiva - embodied or disembodied.
Consciousness or awareness is also everywhere.
The guna are operating everywhere, and this jiva (which is everywhere) is taken for a ride by these guna.
When the Lord (the individual soul) obtains a body and when he leaves it, he takes these and goes with them, as the wind takes the scents from their seats (flowers. etc.). (15:8)
And I am seated in the hearts of all; from me are memory, knowledge, as well as their absence.
I am verily that which has to be known by all the veda; I am indeed the author of the vedanta and the knower of the veda am I. (15:15)
Fantastic statement!
I do not think you will find this in any other scriptural text in the world.
Even forgetfulness of self is part of this game.
So, do not get upset about your own stupidity.
Sit down and realise: 'Lord, I have forgotten you, thanks to your own power.
Aha! But, I remember God.'
By giving thanks to his own maya, you have abolished it!
It is fantastic!
Permeating the earth, I support all beings by (my) energy; and having become the watery moon, I nourish all herbs. (15:13)
The essence of food is also a divine manifestation.
That is why in the ashram we are asked to repeat this chapter before eating.
Having become the fire Vaisvanara, I abide in the body of living beings and, associated with the prana and the apana, digest the fourfold food. (15:14)
'I am this thing called the gastric fire that is able to digest your food'.
Nobody, except God, can really deal with all the stuff that we put into this fire!
This digestive system is not under your control.
It is totally independent.
You are the slave.
It has its own law, its own way of functioning.
The master of that is that divine spark that exists in all beings, that sustains life.
'Life is not mine - I am not this life.'
This is also part of this purusa looking at prakrti, and prakrti looking at purusa.
One who realises this goes beyond the guna.

The Bhagavad Gita - Introduction | EN

Swami Venkatesananda

The Song of God - Introduction - Swami Venkatesananda - enlarged 4th edition – 1984 - published by The Chiltern Yoga Trust, Cape Town, South Africa
1998 - 2017

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