10. Get Rid of the Phantom
At one point Arjuna actually said that it was better to run away and live by begging than to kill his people.
There has been an idea in the minds of very wellmeaning, good people, that the only way to avoid doing something wrong is to avoid the situation in which you might do something wrong.
This was considered samnyasa, renunciation.
This is not wrong in itself.
But 'you cannot avoid doing wrong by running away from a wrong situation', does not mean 'and therefore you must put yourself in an ugly situation and struggle'.
Totally independent of these two, there is a third attitude or approach, which leads directly to the truth.
That is samnyasa.
This is beautifully described in the words of Jesus Christ: "Give your heart to God."
What is unwise or unsamnyasic (if you permit that expression) is to put something where it does not belong.
That is also the definition of the word 'dirt'.
Dirt is matter out of its place.
The word 'samnyasa' is not only 'placing', but 'placing it very well', so that it does not become a problem to you.
Do thou, O Arjuna, know yoga to be that which they call renunciation. No-one verily becomes a yogi who has not renounced thoughts, scheming or planning. (6:2)
The yogi (or the samnyasi) who has trained himself in this fashion to understand samkalpa (thought, idea and so on), and to understand where what belongs and is able to put it where it belongs, behaves in a certain way.
He who is of the same mind to the goodhearted, friends, enemies, the indifferent, the neutral, the hateful, the relatives, the righteous and the unrighteous, excels. (6:9)
He recognises a friend as a friend, an enemy as an enemy, a sadhu as a holy person.
His heart is always at peace.
The word 'buddhi' does not mean some kind of a rationalising faculty.
Rationalisation is a perversion.
When you are tempted to rationalise something or justify something, please look within.
There is an objection, call it your conscience or the voice of God.
Something says "No, I should not do this", but you do it all the same.
Then you are tempted to rationalise.
Buddhi is an intelligence that is awake, an inner awareness, or insight which does not get agitated.
Why do we react the way we react?
We have all used the expression: 'I should not have done that. Normally I do not do that. I was taken unawares', without really understanding what it means.
Is it possible to remain aware of what is going on in your own heart while being actively and busily engaged in life?
The only problem is that you do not know how.
That is the business of the sixth chapter, the chapter on meditation.
Meditation is not something that is meant to shut out the world.
The world is not your enemy.
'You are your own friend, you are your own enemy'.
You do not have to shut the world out of yourself, you are the world!
But, it may be necessary at first when you are learning to look within.
Krsna gives an elaborate description of how to sit and how to keep the back straight.
After giving all these practical instructions in great detail, Krsna says: "Do not think of anything."
How do you do that?
If you think 'I should not think', you are thinking you should not think!
Meditation is not merely thinking that you are not thinking, nor suppressing all thoughts by sheer use of will force.
In order not to think, there is only one way, and that is to find out what thought is, and what samkalpa is.
It is in that context Krsna gives us a beautiful picture.
As a lamp placed in a windless spot does not flicker - to such is compared the yogi of controlled mind, practising yoga in the self. (6:19)
When you are trying to find the root of thought or samkalpa, it is then that the mind is absolutely still, like a lamp in a windless room.
You can use a mantra and an image of God, provided you can come to this point.
A mantra is a thought, a mental activity.
The mind, the consciousness, is moving within you.
That is what is called a mantra.
If you trace the sound of the mantra to its own source, you know where thought arises.
So, when you are sitting for your initial practice of meditation, the mind is made still - not by suppressing anything, but by trying to find the root of the mantra.
When you have found that, you have found the key to life, the key to samkalpa.
Then you are never taken unawares.
That is the most important feature of meditation.
It is then that you are a yogi, a samnyasi.
You can get angry in an appropriate situation; you can be very loving in an appropriate situation.
The Bhagavad Gita is the gospel of appropriate behaviour or appropriate action.
That is the greatest achievement - if you want to call it an achievement - or greatest gain - if you want to call it a gain.
... having obtained which, he thinks there is no other gain superior to it; wherein established, he is not moved even by heavy sorrow. Let that be known by the name of yoga, the severance from union with pain. (6:22,23)
You find the root of samkalpa.
Instantly you know 'This is the movement of mind.'
This movement is stopped by understanding it, not by suppressing it.
If you are hungry, you know you are hungry.
Go to the kitchen and eat.
If you are not hungry and the cake is on the table, it can stay there.
When you are hungry, you put it in the mouth - when you are not hungry, you leave it on the table.
You have placed it in the right place.
It is quite simple.
Nothing more is expected of us.
The rest is God's Grace.
Find this yoga, and you will not be affected by the worst calamity, the worst misfortune.
Pain and pleasure will be there in your life; you cannot avoid them.
As long as the body is there, it will experience some pleasure, and it will experience some pain.
No problem.
But there is something else which says "I am hurt."
When the body is hurt, it might pull away, it knows how to behave.
But that which says "I am hurt" does not exist, except as samkalpa, as an imaginary entity.
This imaginary entity cannot be got rid of, except through enlightenment.
Yoga is merely disconnecting something which did not exist from contact with what exists.
Then, in whatever condition you are in, you live in God.

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