Swami Veda Bharati, H.H. the Dalai Lama and Pandit Dabral (in white) at the Kumbha Mela.
We need to understand the Bhagavad Gita and, as much as you can, to follow the teaching in your life. It's not enough just reading the book and intellectually knowing the stories and dialogues. When you are in a crisis, or you are going through problems, rough times, hard times, when there is so much confusion in life - that is the time when one should apply the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad means divine and Gita means a song - a song, which was sung by the Lord. A divine song. That's what Bhagavad Gita is all about.
This scripture is a very powerful book. So many things are here that we need nowadays, in this society, the environment we are living in. I've found this Bhagavad Gita is very practical. This is yoga too. It is said in the Gita that this book is the essence of all the scriptures - all the revealed scriptures, philosophy, Bible, Upanishads. You don't need to read all of them. Just read the Bhagavad Gita and you will know about all of them. It's a very compact scripture that deals with the practical aspects of life.
The Bhagavad Gita teaches us the art of life.
The Gita has so much psychology of the human mind. How does the human mind operate? What happens when we are in a situation where we have the understanding but where sometimes we don't use our understanding. Somehow we are totally blank. Then afterwards, we feel very sorry. We feel guilty - why did we do that? We feel bad and that goes on and on and we build some kind
of block to ourselves. We don't understand many things - that we are the doers, that we have created all those blocks in us. That is why we are confused.
We do not seem to have a clear mind when we need to make a decision. We have several opinions and we also seek others' opinions. We are not sure. Because of that, we are living with such tension. There is always ongoing tension in our lives which then creates lots of commotion. Because of that commotion, we have no idea what's going on and what to do. That is why this scripture is very handy. Just take one example from this book. Try to apply one principle. You will see the difference in you. Your life will change. Your attitude will change.
Nobody comes and makes you happy.
Nobody comes and makes you unhappy.
The real happiness is within.
Swamiji, Swami Rama of the Himalayas, always says that 50% of our unhappiness is created by the mind. We create it for ourselves even though we don't want to be unhappy. We do not know that unconsciously, unknowingly, we are creating unhappiness for ourselves. That is the truth.
Nobody comes and makes you happy.
Nobody comes and makes you unhappy.
The real happiness is within.
You can make yourself happy and you do make yourself unhappy. It is not somewhere outside where we have to go and search. And that's what actually we are doing - searching for that peace of mind. We are going from one place to the other. We are never satisfied with what we get. Momentarily we may be happy, there may be some kind of satisfaction. Later on you'll find that wasn't what you were looking for. And then the search begins. It is a never ending search. One day we depart and that cycle goes on and on. You come here, live your life and suffer so much turmoil and then we go and then we come again, so that cycle goes on and on. We are never free because we have not discovered that happiness, that peace, shanti, and liberation.
The Gita can teach us liberation from our mental blocks, confusion, problems, unhappiness, turmoil.
Liberation has many meanings. Liberation does not mean that you just leave the world or leave your body. We are not talking about that liberation here. The Gita can help us with all kinds of turmoil and unhappiness, with the problems we have around us. When we sleep and we get up, we always find ourselves tense. We are never rested, even though we sleep 6 or 7 or 8 hours. There is always a need to have more sleep because we do not get rest.
So we are bound. There is a boundary, limitations. The mind has become narrow. We have a narrow mind because our thinking has not been expanded. Our ideas are a certain way, because we do not understand. So all the answers for our liberation is written in this book.
The Gita can take you a lifetime to understand.
This is the book that you read every single day. Read just one verse a day. Apply what you learn. You can read for years and years. The beauty of Gita is that each time you read, it gives you totally different meaning.
All the scriptures say that the life is very precious, very important and the last minute of your life is the totality of the years you have lived. All this what we are doing is a preparation for the last moment, last second of your life. That is the time, that is the moment you decide, make the destiny for next lifetime.
Many people I know read the Gita every day. That's their sadhana, their spiritual practice. Whether they know the meaning or not, by repeating it, some samskaras are erased. Every thing you do from morning to evening leaves an imprint on your mind. They stay there forever and later manifest. Which way they will come, what form, no one can predict. That's how our personality and thinking and behavior comes. So people read the Bhagavad Gita every day so they are creating divine samskaras in their mind. Later on, understanding comes automatically.
Whenever there is a problem, when there is a crisis, when they are in a situation where nobody knows what to do, their mind is one-pointed, their mind is focused, and they know what to do.
The last moment of your life is the key. All the scriptures say that life is very precious, very important and the last minute of your life is the totality of the years you have lived. All this we are doing is a preparation for the last moment, the last second of your life. That is the time, that is the moment you decide, when you make your destiny for the next lifetime.
Many people question that if that is the moment, then why am I struggling, why do I have to do this all?
Why do I have to meditate, why do I have to do these practices and read this and read that? I will think good things about myself and make the change, right at that last moment. But it does not work that way. You have to prepare. At the last minute, there is so much emotion and memories, it is very painful. You prepare yourself by purifying.
Purification happens by doing your meditation, by doing your mantra, by reading holy scriptures, by contemplating on the principles of Gita or any scripture, so you are ready for the last moment. Your thoughts are directed that way. Any emotions manifested at that time will be governed by these thoughts and you go to the path of immortality, towards the moksha, towards the final liberation.
We talk about freedom and this country is the country of the free, right?
But people are more bound. We are not actually free. Actual freedom means
The chitta, our unconscious mind, has many thousands of knots. We think being free means you can go anywhere you want to go, you can do anything that you want to do. Actual freedom means being able to prevent something that is not appropriate, that is not good for you or society. Let's say you are going to suffer from a physical disease next month. If you can prevent that, it means you have freedom to keep yourself healthy.
To be free to think clearly, to concentrate on one object as long as you want to - that is real freedom.
Here we sit for meditation and the moment we close our eyes, the mind is all over the place. Hundreds of thoughts come and go. Freedom is when you sit and do a sankalpa that I will sit here for 15 minutes and not move and I will constantly repeat my mantra with full concentration. If you succeeded with that, it means you indeed have freedom.
In the Gita, Krishna means that aspect of the absolute Lord that attracts you. The moment you read, you will fall in love. Krishna attracts you toward the path of peace, towards the path of spirituality, towards the path of final liberation.
Krishna represents the teacher who guides you on the right path.
Arjuna means a student who is dying for knowledge, who is inquisitive, always seeking for guidance from a competent teacher. He is not wasting time. Arjuna represents all of us. You all are Arjuna if you are seeking the true knowledge. In the first chapter, Arjuna is standing right at the battlefield. It is all symbolic. He is standing right at the battlefield and is very much confused. He does not know what to do. He does not know - what is my duty, what is my dharma now? Not only does he not know but does not want to do anything because he is afraid. There is so much fear in him.
This world is a battlefield for us. Each one of us has our own battle and we are fighting it every single day. Many times we are frustrated with that battle and most of the time we are confused. There is so much fear and attachment. All kinds of emotions are involved when we are dealing with the real world. Time goes and you look back. You have not done anything, except worry and feeling sorry for yourselves, feel guilty, and it all was wasted. That is the time we do need a true teacher like Krishna.
Should I fight? What are the six enemies? What are my weapons?
In the Gita, two families were about to fight - the Kauravas and Pandavas. Arjuna sees his relatives standing on the opposite side - his brothers, cousins, teachers, relatives, uncles. He needs to fight in order to reestablish law and order. This is true in our lives, but we feel sometimes that we are helpless. We want to do the right thing yet are confused with attachment and fear. Why do I have to do this? Why do I have to kill my relatives?
There are six enemies in us - desire, anger, greed, jealousy, attachment and pride.
All our negative emotions and qualities are our relatives. They do not want to leave us. They prosper and are creating problems. Let's say you want to wake up from tomorrow at 6AM to do meditation, but you can't get up. You made the sankalpa, the resolve. You have the alarm clock, a powerful one, and you turn it off and go back to sleep. Tamas, inertia, or lethargy is another relative that is not allowing you to do what you want to do. It means we do not have freedom.
They bind us because of attachment. Any time you try to get rid of them, they will attack you and manipulate your mind so that you cannot do anything. They all will create such excuses for you that you will think, that's fine, today's okay. Or not six o'clock, maybe seven o'clock, and when seven o'clock comes, maybe seven thirty. And by then, it's time to go to work and then you are forced to get up. Your will power is within, covered by the negative emotions.
We are all Arjuna. Inside, deep down, we all are seeking some kind of knowledge, some kind of guidance, some kind of liberation. We don't want to be bound. We want to free ourselves, to really feel that we are free.
The joy of that freedom comes from within.
Many times we don't want to fight, we don't want to face our problems. Many people go to sleep to avoid it or do something else or don't want to talk about it or think about it. It gets buried in a corner of your unconscious mind. A few days or few weeks later it manifests in another form. It's more dangerous when you bury things and do not face them.
Arjuna dropped his arms, his bow and arrows. He just gave up.
We all have the means to deal with our problems. Our bows and arrows include will power, mantra, and meditation.
Arjuna drops his arms. He says, I can't do it. I am shaking, he says. So too, we are shaking, because we are confused and have lost confidence. We feel we are too weak. We put ourselves down. Even if you have made some kind of mistake, learn to forgive yourself. Do not keep making the mistake and then keep forgiving yourself. Learn and stop doing it. Self-condemnation is not a right virtue for human beings.
Self-condemnation is not recommended on the path of spirituality.
Arjuna does not want to fight because he sees all his cousins, relatives. He says, I do not need this kind of kingdom. He has moha - attachment.
Take a principle such as moha, anger, jealousy, hatred, or desire. For a whole week, as you go through daily life, as you go through your work and deal with all kinds of people and business, think how you operate. How many times did you get angry? And if you got angry, why did you get angry? Immediately examine yourself. If there was attachment, why was attachment there? Why was greed there? Find out the reason.
Most of the time you just reacted. Maybe you did not understand and you got angry. How is your patience? If you want to get something done on time, or you are going somewhere and you are late, observe how you run out of patience. What are the consequences of that impatience? You are agitated, angry, tense. Read the Bhagavad Gita and compare how you operate. Your mind will resist, your body will resist so that fighting will begin between you and your principles. Personality is not the true Self. Persona is like a fake. You have to examine yourself. If you do that, then Krishna will guide you.
Krishna also means inner dweller, who guides you from within.
From within, some kind of guidance will come forward, some kind of inner voice you will hear, do this, and do that and do not. You will not have a good feeling if you are not supposed to do something. Arjuna was so confused and did not know what to do. He is asking for help as we all do.
Arjuna is asking for help but he gives excuses, as we give excuses to ourselves, if we do not want to do anything. Those excuses are created by our mind and we are convinced by them. Then when you ask for help, it will not come to you. Arjuna realizes he has to do something else or Krishna will not speak.
Arjuna complained "I cannot fight, I am confused, I do not know what to do, I am sweating, I am fearful, I am shaking". Lord Krishna was next to him and did not say a single word to him. Then Arjuna says, "O Krishna, I am your student. I surrender myself and I am ready for your help." The moment he surrenders, the Lord begins to speak.
When you pray, when you meditate, it is because you want to pray, because you need some kind of guidance, so you need to surrender yourself. You need to give yourself at the service of the Lord. If you do not, then you keep asking for help but your mind still will be blocked. When your mind is not open, the teaching will not penetrate.
Surrender means you are meditating without any ego problems or showing off. We want to be liberated but don't know that we are blocking ourselves.
That is a very important concept in the path of meditation, in the path of yoga, the path of spirituality, the path of self conquest, the path of liberation. One has to open oneself and surrender. We are blocking ourselves. We want guidance and to free ourselves from all kinds of problems. Help comes and you are closed and it bounces back to the source from where it came.
They want to teach, but the moment they try, they say, well, he is closed or she is closed, she doesn't want to open. We have so much resistance. Somehow we are so afraid to open ourselves. The guide, the absolute one, the Lord, wants to penetrate, to give the teaching, but we have been closed.
Work, discipline yourself, purify yourself and one day you will see. You are now open for the teachings.
Once you surrender do not look to see whether it's working or not. Expectation is a kind of ego. Love is surrender. Love teaches you only to give and give and give and do not ever expect anything in return. That is the true love. We also talk about, in yoga, that you must fall in love with your spiritual practice, with your daily practice. What do you mean, fall in love?
One should surrender without any expectation because that creates tension. You cannot actually surrender if you always look to see whether it's working or not. Expectation is a kind of ego. In this book we talk about love - that I love someone or I love everybody or that I love this. The word love has so much power. Love is surrender.
True love teaches you only to give and give and give and do not ever expect anything in return.
You must fall in love with your daily practice. Falling in love means that you think about your practice all the time. When you fall in love, what happens? You think about that person all the time. No matter what you're doing. So your mind gets colored. Have your practice become a part of your daily life and you will reach to that point where you look forward to sitting. You will forget other things but you never will forget to sit. That is called falling in love.
Any time somebody mentions practice,a joy arises in your heart, in your mind.
Your heart should fill with happiness the moment you even think of your practice. That does not come unless you surrender yourself completely. Surrendering means opening yourself completely for the guidance that is waiting from the absolute Lord.
They are always with us. I remember once, Swamiji, Swami Rama of the Himalayas, said "I have very little time and I want to pass on this knowledge, this teaching. I am tired now but I do not find anybody that is willing to take it." It's not a simple willing, okay Swamiji I would like to. That's not what it means. It means you are ready, you are capable, that you can retain and handle it. It is not merely a desire or a curiosity. You have to be a sincere seeker for that truth, for that liberation, for that peace. Then you will receive it. It shall open for you if you seek sincerely.
Adhikari means a qualified one, who has the qualifications to retain and handle the teachings. Studying the Bhagavad Gita helps us become adhikari.
Make a bridge between your meditative life and your daily life. You will see that your meditative life affects your daily life. Life becomes smoother now you see the purpose.
The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita will make you adhikari if you study and apply them into your life.
The first chapter deals with the reality of our being as human beings. It talks of how confused we are in this life, which is indeed a battlefield for us. Kurushetra is symbolic. Shetra is a field. Kuru comes from the root 'to do'. Kurushetra means a field where you are performing your actions. In the Gita, they were standing at the Kurushetra and that's where we are. Our Kurushetra is where we have greed, attachment - all the 6 enemies that we have. We don't want to fight, which means we don't want to face. The first chapter also deals with how we change. One day you love someone, the next day you criticize. Today you surrender, tomorrow you take it back. Why? This is true for all human beings, not just you and me.
It is the nature of the human mind to wander, question and doubt.
These are the natural behaviors of human beings. Mind will doubt, question, and create all kinds of wonders, problems, obstacles, and hurdles. You see yourself sitting on a roller coaster that is constantly going up and down, up and down. The objects of the world are so symbolic. The roller coaster goes up slowly then immediately takes you down then goes up again. It goes up very gently, slowly, then forcefully goes down and makes you scared. Daily life is indeed a roller coaster as we go.
You can come out from that roller coaster and make yourself steady and establish an equanimity for yourself. Samata means a level, a platform. That is yoga, when you have created equilibrium for yourself. There is no longer a bumpy road or a roller coaster. Your mind is clear and becoming clearer every day. Confusions are subsiding. You are getting more and more in touch with your true nature, what you truly are.
The Gita is a book that teaches the art of life.
It shows us how to deal with situations, how to live your life with a happy peaceful mind, with a blissful mind. Finally you liberate yourself. The Bhagavad Gita - the Divine song, sung by the Lord, right at the battlefield, because that's where we need Him the most.
You don't have time to live two kinds of life, having your meditative life separate from your real world life. That's why you live with confusion. Humans have been given buddhi, intellect. The buddhi is a tool that makes us capable to think. Because of that thinking, we have the power to choose our destiny and the power to come out from the cycle of pain and misery and sorrow. Make a bridge between your meditative life and your daily life and you will that your meditative life affects your daily life and makes it smoother.
You see the purpose of your life. You understand the nature of yourself and objects. Objects are there and you are here and there is a process in between. You do not take objects as you. You understand the Gita by meditating, making yourself open, and surrendering.
Next time: Life is full of circumstances, crisis, and problems for
everybody. The Gita is there to teach us and give us the opportunity to rise.
We need emotional purification because we all have many blocks. We understand many things but when we really need wisdom in our lives, it's gone. We find ourselves helpless and confused because the flow of knowledge is blocked.
We block our mental flow because we have not done enough emotional purification.
The problem is that we react rather than act. Action means you cultivate yourself. Reaction is when you are influenced and confused by situations. Reaction means that the power of certain circumstances will come into yourself, into your mind. For example, if I am mad at you, if you act you won't get mad back at me. If you react, you will be mad at me. You will shout exactly the same way because you have taken my anger. You reacted.
With action, you kept yourself calm and centered and did not get affected by my anger. A person who has not cultivated him or herself becomes angry or agitated by the same situation that makes a yogi laugh. A yogi means a person who has cultivated him or herself. You act rather than react.
If something happens to you and you keep that incident in your mind and you ruin your sleep, your eating, everything, you are poisoning yourself by reacting.
You don't know why you got that way, why you reacted or why someone else reacted the way they reacted. The buddhi, the intellect, shuts down. Buddhi is the finest portion of our mind that is clear crystal. It acts as a mirror onto which the individual self constantly reflects. If we used our intellect, we would not react, we would only act.
Life is full of circumstances, crisis, and problems for everybody. The Gita is there to teach us and give you the opportunity to rise. You are a temple, where you visit every day. You light a candle light at the heart center. You bow. You pay your homage to that inner dweller. You sit there. You meditate and receive the mental peace, shantih, then gently you come out from that temple and you do not leave it there. You take that peace everywhere you go. Every single action you do, you perform, you keep that peace in your mind. That is how you cultivate yourself.
Krit-Atman. Living with awareness of the Atman that is ever pure, ever wise, ever free.
Krit-Atman. Atman is the Self. Krita comes from the word Kri, which means to do. You have purified your Atman. The terminology is not right because Atman itself does not need any purification. It is ever pure, ever free, ever wise. It is a manner of speech because we are not fully aware that the Self is ever pure, ever free, ever wise. We are aware of the things on top of the Self, such as our negative samskaras, karmas, vasanas, our mind, our buddhi. Cultivate yourself every single moment of your life.
A human being is bound to perform actions. Because of those actions we bind ourselves, with exactly the same kind of karma we have performed. Karmas are like a chain. Some karmas are like a golden chain. Most of them are. We get deluded and then we bind ourselves and then one day we see that we have bound ourselves so tightly that it is very hard now to undo.
If you are moving ahead, your language changes. That does not mean that if you speak French, you will speak Spanish the next day. It means your perception will change. The same sentence or same book will have a totally different meaning. In other words, you do not react when someone says something as you would have yesterday or last year. You always wish the best to that person who has harmed you. It is the quality of a meditator, the quality of a saint.
We do satsang as we are doing. Satsanga indeed means company of saintly. What does that saintly mean? The saintly qualities that we are cultivating within. They are there but we are becoming aware of them. We are purifying the samskaras that are holding us from not being aware of our true nature.
In the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, we don't know what to do. We don't even believe we have the capacity to do something because there is a curtain in front of the buddhi. If you cultivate your buddhi, you can elevate yourself quickly. Any advice you give cannot be wrong if you give from your buddhi. Buddhi is that source from where intuition flows. It flows from the Atman, from the individual soul, through the buddhi to you.
If your buddhi has been closed or dusty then you cannot recognize that there is a message or advice for you.
Buddhi, is very faithful, it always gives us indication but we have no idea how to access it.
Arjuna is well capable but still he is confused. How does Krishna determine when we are ready for the teachings?
Krishna calls Arjuna by different names which represents his different qualities. He does this in order to let him know he has the capacity, that he can do it. Others cannot know about you better than you know yourself. Masters, such as Swami Rama of the Himalayas, are different. Arjuna is that aspect in us who is hungry for knowledge. You have a burning desire for elevation but are still confused. If you have that, you are Arjuna. Then you have Krishna with you, who wants to guide you. Krishna is your buddhi, your Atman. He guides you, leads your chariot in the right way. It depends on how clear the buddhi is. Your chariot will go that way, with that direction.
There are two principles before the Lord speaks to you. You have to feel, that you are a friend to the Lord and the same time, you are disciple of the Lord, a student of that Lord. If you are just a friend, the Lord will not speak to you, if you are just a disciple, the Lord will not speak to you. You have to have both. The same time, there is a third aspect that is just for us.
You must believe in yourself, that you are ready to receive the teachings. If you are not ready then nobody will come forward to teach.
We see or we think that we are ready to have some kind of teachings but we are not really. Because once you say that you are ready to receive the teachings, the very source where the teaching comes from, flows from, will test you, will give you all kind of hurdles to see whether you are indeed ready or not. That is the teacher's duty. To tell you what is the right path. Some people may like, some people may not like. Masters like Swami Rama of the Himalayas test you first until they are satisfied that you indeed have hunger for the knowledge.
Many times we think we are ready then all the circumstances in life go wrong and you have this problem and that. You thought something was right and it was totally wrong. Your friends do not talk to you. Everything is haywire. You are confused. That is the time when if that desire is still there with the same degree or more, then all the things will subside and then road will be smooth and the teaching will indeed flow and will penetrate your heart. That is how the philosophy and spiritual life goes.
Next time: Action, reaction and your dharma in life.
Swami Veda constantly emphasizes perennial psychology and emotional purification because we all have a mental block. We understand many things but when it comes to our life, when we really need that wisdom, or knowledge, that's where we lack. We find ourselves helpless, confused, and
do not know what to do, because the flow of that knowledge is blocked mentally. We are blocked because we have not done enough emotional purification.
He clearly says that he would like to see us not react, just act. You know the difference between reacting and acting? Acting is the action you are supposed to do, at that moment. When you cultivate yourself, that is action. Reaction is that you are influenced by the situation and you are confused by the situation. We give ourselves into the situation where we cannot act. Then we react. Reaction means that the power of certain circumstances comes into our mind. If I am mad at you, if you act, you won't get mad back at me. If you react, you will shout exactly the same way because you have taken my anger. You will answer with the same manner or twice as angry. You reacted.
When you act, you keep yourself calm and centered and do not get affected by my anger. A situation for a person who has not cultivated him or herself makes them angry or agitated. The same situation, same intensity, makes a yogi laugh. Yogi means a person who has cultivated him or herself, who acts, not reacts.
When you keep a situation in your mind all night, you poison yourself. You ruin your sleep, your evening and you cannot act. You can't find a good reason for reacting the way you did. The buddhi (intellect) shuts down. Buddhi is the finest portion of our mind and is clear crystal, a mirror. The,individual Self constantly reflects on that mirror, the buddhi. When we use our intellect, we only act.
What is your dharma, your duty to do in life? That is the meaning of life. Life is full of circumstances, crises, problems. You cannot find a single human being that is free from this. They are there to teach us and give us the opportunity to learn to rise up. What is important in life?
Celebrate everything within. Your self is a temple. Light a candle at the heart center. Bow. Pay your homage to that inner dweller. Sit there and meditate. Receive the mental peace, the shanti. Gently you come out from that temple. Don't just leave that peace there, take it with you, everywhere you go. Keep that peace in your mind with every single action you perform. Keep that peace in your mind. That is how you cultivate yourself.
Next time: Confusion and making progress
Atman does not need any purification because it is ever pure, ever free, ever wise. We are not fully aware of that purity because we're so aware of the things covering the Self, such as our negative samskaras, karmas, vasanas. We need to cultivate ourselves every single moment of our life.
Human beings can't live without performing actions and that leads to being bound by karma. Some day we see we are bound so tight that it is very hard to undo. Reading from the Bhagavad Gita every day helps to keep us on track.
You change as you make some progress. The same sentence or book will have a different meaning. You do not react when someone says something as you did last year. You always will wish the best to the person who has harmed you. This is the quality of a meditator, of a saint. Satsanga means company of the saintly, the saintly qualities we are cultivating within. They are there; we need to become aware of them. We need to purify the samskaras that are holding us back from being aware of our true nature.
In the first chapter of the Gita, Arjuna is confused, he doesn't know what to do. We don't even believe we have the capacity to do something because there is a big curtain in front of the buddhi. If you cultivate your buddhi, any decision or advice is correct. Buddhi is the source of intuition, that flows from the Atman, from the individual soul. It comes through the buddhi to you. If the buddhi is dusty, then you cannot recognize there is a message or advice for you. Buddhi is faithful to us and will guide us in any incident or situation in life. Arjuna is well capable, he has elevated himself, but does not know how to have access. Krishna gives him confirmation he is capable.
Lord Krishna addresses Arjuna with different names representing qualities within Arjuna. He is trying to tell him not to be confused, to use his will power and self respect and confidence. Arjuna is that aspect in us who is hungry for knowledge. He has a burning desire for elevation but still is confused. If you have that, it means you are Arjuna. And you have Krishna with you, who wants to guide you. Krishna is your buddhi, your Atman. He guides you, leads your chariot in the right way. It depends on how clear the buddhi is. Your chariot will go in that direction.
Arjuna is shaking because he doesn't want to fight his elders and respected teachers. That happens in our life. Sometimes we don't have a choice. You have to rise above your circumstances.
Is Arjuna ready for the teachings of Krishna?
There are two principles before Krishna will speak to us. You have to feel that you are a friend to that Lord and the same time, you are disciple/student of that Lord. If you are just a friend, Lord will not speak to you, if you are just a disciple, Lord will not speak to you. You have to have both. There is a third aspect that is just for us.
You must believe in yourself, that you are ready to receive the teachings.
If you are not ready then nobody will come forward and teach. We think that we are ready to have some kind of teachings but we are not really. Once you say that you are ready to receive the teachings, the very source where the teaching comes from will test you by giving you all kind of hurdles to see whether you are indeed ready or not. That is the teacher's duty - to test you first until satisfied that you indeed have hunger for the knowledge.
Many times we think we are ready then all the circumstances in life go wrong and you have this problem and that. You thought something was right and it was totally wrong. Your friends do not talk to you. Everything is haywire. You are confused. Then if that desire is still there with the same degree or more, all things will subside and the road will be smooth and the teaching will indeed flow and will penetrate your heart. That is how the philosophical and spiritual life goes.
When we start meditating, we become aware of all the junk we have, how our mind wanders and how samskaras come up. Our perception changes. Sometimesnow people don't understand you. There are all kinds of adjustments you have to make in your life.
Do you want to elevate yourself spiritually or not?
In Arjuna's case, he has to rise above to see what he should do. He reacted and dropped all his weapons. All of us know what to do but the next moment we forget. We go back to our own tendencies and way of doing things, looking at things, behaving. Once in awhile we realize this is not good, I should be doing something else. Like the resolution we make for New Years, then after a week, they are gone. Where do they go? At the end of January, you find you have not done anything. You are still at the same level. When you make the resolutions you use your buddhi, your will power, but because we have not cultivated it, it goes away.
The gradual process of cultivating ourselves.
How much have you cultivated your spiritual height? Make a note in your journal. Make a resolution - I have done this much last year, how much will I do this year? Examine yourself - each day, each month. Cultivating is a gradual process, not all at once. Don't just say that from tomorrow I will get up and meditate from 6 to 7 then I will exercise for an hour then I will... You may do out of your ego but it is torturing yourself, then you are tired and your whole system gets into imbalance. If you decrease the amount you sleep by 10 minutes a week, next month you will see a difference.
Examine your capacity and make a very gentle move.
The Gita is in many chapters because Krishna gave Arjuna a very gradual training. The Lord shows Himself to Arjuna in the tenth chapter, not the first. The Gita is a great book in psychology. If you want to train yourself, first you become friends with yourself, establish a relationship with yourself. That aspect can be known as Krishna and you yourself become Arjuna. That's why in the second chapter, Arjuna says, "Oh Krishna, I am your friend and your disciple and I am ready to learn. Please teach me."
You have to say those things to yourself, that you surrender. Arjuna surrendered himself at the feet of his teacher who is his friend too. Why friend? Friendship has some rules - that you are very direct, very honest, you do not hide anything from a friend, but the same time you do not criticize your friend when it comes to others. You know the faults of your friend but you only tell your friend when you are alone with them. A true friend will guide you and will show you the right path. That is the relationship between Arjuna and Krishna.
Krishna only comes when you have become friends, when you have surrendered, when you are ready.
The blessed Lord says that you have to perform your dharma, your actions. You have to be a yogi, meaning one who has learned to perform actions without being affected by them. Yoga karma sukoshalam - skillfulness in action - is when you act on behalf of the Lord. You do not react, that's the skill. Is it best for me to act now or later? To say something or not? To remain calm or go away from here? If someone comes in very mad at you, listen to him or her with a peaceful mind. It is a practice to do this. It may be very hard but it is possible.
Keeping equilibrium and peace.
No matter who comes in front of a master, his mood never changes. Because his mood never changes, your mood changes when you come into their presence.
We have a great opportunity to use the tools of meditation and mantra. You can be aware of your mantra, be in the presence of your own mantra and not let any foreign objects attack you. You are completely covered by your mantra. When we meditate, we cover ourselves with our shawl. It is symbolic, it gives you a feeling of protection, like there is a boundary. Use the shawl of the presence of your mantra and you are covered. Wind will not penetrate because you are wearing the shawl of your mantra. You do not react to people because you are wearing the shawl of your mantra.
The best part is that the person who was reacting will stop because your presence is so strong they will be affected in a positive way too. We are affected whenever a saint passes by. We go to them to experience the presence of a cultivated saint. When with them, we still only see them at our own level but they have such a presence that we benefit.
When we go to a sacred place or shrine it gives us something we don't get in other places. Their presence is such that we are affected. So as you reach to a new height, you will influence people who come to you in a manner that is not appropriate to a meditator, to a spiritual person. You manage yourself, you remain with those principles, with a calm and one pointed mind, with awareness. You will see you change a person, very gently.
The reason to read the Gita is to learn to apply principles in your life.
The moment you apply a principle, your mind resists. It has a set pattern that we have established. We act or react in a certain way. The moment you change that pattern, resistance comes. You have to face the resistance. Running will not resolve the problem. Go through it. Face it. Hardship is known in a positive manner as purification. Think about it as a purification and you will not feel you are going through a rough time. A saint says to his students, whenever a rough time comes, I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to check myself where I stand and to purify myself and see how much strength I have got. Rough times will build your strength if faced with a positive manner. It will not make you miserable. It will make you a saint. A rough time is an opportunity given by the Lord.
Going through the fire.
Read the story of the saints and sages. They have gone through rough times. It is like a goldsmith putting gold into the fire. They keep it in the fire for awhile and when it comes out, it shines.
When you are in the fire, you are burning and that is very hard, very painful, but afterwards when you come out, you will shine.
You will receive peace, happiness and bliss, unexplainable joy and happiness. When you go through problems, increase your practice, launch on the spiritual path and apply these principles in your life.
We all have experienced pain and misery that comes back over and over. We have the tendency to put it aside, we do not face it because it hurts. That is the time to use the buddhi to understand it. What happened? I am not in that situation but the hurt is still there. Understand you just have the memory of that hurt and slowly it will fade. Do not put it aside. Face it and think about it. The second thing is, go in silence and meditate. There you will face it more. Examine - someone has hurt me, it was very painful, now I have moved from that situation but it keeps coming back to me.
It is painful because we have not cultivated ourselves to a higher level. Whatever happened in the past should not affect you. That's why buddhi is there. Remind yourself - this is not good. Examine yourself - this still bothers me. Next time it comes, I will face it and I will not allow myself to be bothered. Meditate, go in silence, examine yourself. You will see, slowly it will fade away and disappear. Do not stop problems or ignore them. Facing problems is a strength. Krishna is teaching Arjuna he has to fight. He has to establish law and order.
One who is born has to die, one who dies has to come back. It is a process. Why are you sad about this process?
There are past, future and present. Living in the present is a gift. Living in the moment is the great teaching of the Bhagavad Gita. The Lord says, why worry about what is done? The future has not come yet and we don't know what is coming so don't worry about it. Live in the present, right now. The nature of the human mind is to brood or be disappointed by the past or worried about the future but neither is in our control. The future and past are not in our hands. The present is but we are not using this gift because we don't recognize we have it.
Krishna says "O Arjuna, live in the present and do what is necessary to do in this moment without any sorrow or pain."
We are here because of our karma and to pay our debts. We are also here as a blessing from the Lord, as an opportunity to realize the true purpose of our life. Who are we really and why do we take birth and have relationships in the world? We have several relationships like son, father, mother, brother, sister, wife, husband. We play many roles when we come to this world and each role demands its own obligations and its own conditions. These create more karmas and we don't want to do that.
Our goal, the true purpose of life, is to realize the Self, realize God within and free ourselves from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
This is known as liberation. Most of us misunderstand the word liberation. Final liberation is not an overnight thing. You have to work towards it. Before final liberation comes, we must go through many sub-liberations. We need to free ourselves from the enemies we have created within ourselves, from resistance, from our negative emotions that take us away from our real goal in life.
We are pure beings. We need liberation from the emotions that cover that purity of our mind, of our heart. How can we overcome doubts and situations in life? You need liberation from them so you have a free and very clear mind with an intuition that always is guiding you. What is the right thing to do in each step you take in life? The Gita tells you the art of life, the nature of life, of human beings, personality, psychology and the mind. The theory is given then you experience that theory in life and you won't be afraid or create commotion in that moment.
The Bhagavad Gita is a song sung by the Lord telling all of us the art of life. This life is given to us to enjoy within the decorum that we are human beings, what are our dharmas and our obligations. While dealing with our obligations and dharmas, how can you create your spiritual life so you realize your true nature.
Read the Gita when you have a chance, at least once a day, one page - not more than that. You plant the seed of the samskara just by reading. Leave the idea about whether you understand it or not. Take the pressure off. After a period of time, you will notice how much you have learned. In a very subtle way, you have understood the Bhagavad Gita.
Three gunas or qualities within the personality - Sattva, Rajas, Tamas. Food and the gunas.
The three gunas are Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. They are qualities within your personality and you can change them. Our personality and our mind are governed by these gunas.
Rajas gives movement to sattva and tamas. They are alive because of rajas. Sometimes rajas or tamas is dominant in us. Sattva doesn't stay for a long time. When sattva is dominant, we make good decisions and lots of commitments. Then tamas takes over and we don't follow through our good intentions. With too much rajas we are too active, have too much hyper energy. Rajas has to be brought into control so you are not all over the place, scattered mind. When dominated by tamas, you are dull with no inclination, no self respect, no divinity, no confidence, full of inertia, tiredness and sloth. The gunas have colors. Black is tamas, red is rajas, and white is sattva. When the mind is black and you don't know what to do, that is tamas.
Sattva is light. When sattva is dominant, you know what is right and wrong and you live with your commitments. You are always aware not to let rajas or tamas take over. You balance. Inclination to dharma, spirituality, and obligations with right attitude is sattva. There are ways to create sattva. Swadhyaya (study of the Self), exercise (hatha yoga), pranayama, mantra, meditation - all these remove tamas.
We have prana because we eat. Food has a great role in our life.
Yoga science talks a great deal about food. What kind of food should you eat if you are on the path of spirituality, of self realization. Food is also sattvic, rajasic and tamasic. Meat is heavy, full of tamas and you get the tendencies of the animal you eat. Tamas is hard to digest and too heavy. Rajasic foods make you hyper, too active e. g. garlic and onion. When someone is doing a special practice they often stay away from garlic and onions because they want to be stable and grounded, in one place and not too hyper. Sattva food is very light, such as greens, milk and ghee. Food that can be digested easily is always sattvic. The quality of food is quality of mind which is then quality of your body.
Food is affected by the vibration of the person and the environment in which is was made. If a person is angry and thinking vengeful thoughts while cooking, they are giving that subtle energy to the food. Whoever eats it will of course be affected. Thinking sattvic thoughts while cooking will
impart that energy to the food. Eat with awareness to keep the sattvic guna dominant.
Creating a sattvic environment for your spiritual path.
You can make the same dish for a week and it will taste different each time because of our mood. You don't have to quit eating certain foods, like for instance garlic and onion. With a correct state of mind, you can eat and still balance them.
Silence is critical. Pay attention when you eat.
The state of mind in which you eat makes a difference. Chew 32 times. Don't talk. The awareness with which you chew your food makes the difference. You need the right atmosphere and environment in which you cook the food and eat the food. Say you are eating pizza while changing the channels on TV. The body has eaten pizza without any awareness and you eat too much. All things have to be noticed, brought into your awareness.
Prayer helps to create the sattvic guna. With the same frame of mind, you offer the food to the Lord and then you take prasad.
With awareness, you can take away the negative energy to a great degree. You are eating with the awareness that it came from the Lord because you offered it to the Lord. Don't have discussion or anger while you are eating. Digestion becomes smooth when done that way.
According to yoga and Ayurveda, when you eat your food, make sure your right nostril is open. That makes a difference in the digestive system. Sit straight and open your right nostril before you eat. The solar energy in the right nostril and right side of the body will help you digest your food easily. Opening the right nostril is also good when working on a project. Your mind is kept one pointed and centered when the right nostril is open.
These are simple observances that one should do. You can create a conducive environment to your sadhana, your path, your spirituality.
The fifteenth chapter of the Gita talks about the eternal tree which is upside down. The roots are upward and the branches are downward. One who knows that mystery is the knower of the eternal tree, of the Vedas, of Brahman. Whatever we may see through our eyes is not reality. Reality is something else. We must see the reality behind what we see.
The Truth is behind that truth which we think is the truth.
This inability to see reality is what makes us react in life. It makes all the hurdles and obstacles in our lives. Chapter 15 verse 5 is very important because it outlines the qualities of the saintly. We can learn from the qualities of a saintly person, from one who is titiksha. Titiksha means forbearance. It doesn't mean you tolerate and do not fight. Titiksha is that whatever your dharma tells you to do, you must act upon, but not to react. Titiksha makes us think 10 times before we react with a situation. It is a quality that makes you capable to do tapas, to do the practice of sadhana.
A person who has not developed titiksha cannot realize the Self.
Whether you receive pain or pleasure, insult or praise, cold or heat - they all are related to the mind. One who has gone beyond those aspects of the mind is a knower of titiksha. If you are having a difficulty, look at yourself and see if you can bear it. Can you bear it with a positive mind, not with a negative approach? A positive mind means you do not change the state of your happiness, you do not criticize, curse, do not put yourself down, and do not change your mood.
Titiksha is very much needed in one who wants to become a sadhaka, who wants to walk on the path of spirituality. The real test is titiksha. In a monastery there comes a time when they test you to see how much titiksha you have. They create a situation for you that will make you upset, that will create anger, that will make you want to leave the place and go somewhere else where they treat you very nice. The point is not a matter of how you are being treated. It is a matter of purifying oneself. Can you stay with the same state of mind under all types of conditions? When you are in comfort and it is nice, it is very easy to have that frame of mind. To have the same kind of mind where there is no such situation is the real test. That is known as titiksha.
Swami Veda Bharati with Pandit Dabral (in white) at the Kumbha Mela.
Moha means attachment. We need to develop non-attachment, to conquer attachment. Non-attachment does not mean you leave and don't get involved. Getting more involved without getting attached is non-attachment. It means your emotions do not get involved. Doctors treat a patient but do not take on the pain of the patient. When doctors do surgery, how do they perform it? You cannot cut a part of the body if you are emotionally attached. You have to detach yourself.
The moment you get emotionally involved it will block your capacity, clarity and intuition because emotions cloud your mind.
Swamiji gives the definition of love in this Bhagavad Gita. We say I love this person, I love you, I love that but it is an expression of our selfishness. There is love because there is attachment, some kind of expectation in return. Non-attachment means you are involved and do not expect anything in return. You involve yourself and just keep doing for the sake of others. You don't have an idea in your mind that you will receive this or that. You do and you forget. The moment you have done a good thing, you forget because otherwise each thing creates an expectation in our mind.
Attachment creates anger, hatred, and jealousy. Desires come because of attachment. The moment there are desires, there is krodha (anger) if the desires are not fulfilled. When you get angry, the mind, the buddhi, shuts down. You cannot use your buddhi to know what is right and wrong.
The moment the buddhi shuts down, you cannot think right, you cannot make right decisions. You are totally helpless.
A mother loves her child dearly. That is natural but does she care for the neighbor's child exactly the same way? She doesn't because she is not the mother of that child. If that child has eaten or has not eaten, she doesn't care, but if her child has not eaten, she cares. If you have the same feeling for the child next door, that will be love, it will be non-attachment, because you do not expect anything in return.
Saintly people love everyone the same equally, whether you know them or you don't know them. They don't receive anything from us but they love us the same. Once there are no expectations you will be able to do more and more because expectations hold you back. If an expectation does not get fulfilled then you turn away. With no expectation, you do as much as you can within your capacity. Nothing holds you back.
Walking on the spiritual path
Adhyatma nitya means one who is always pursuing the spiritual path, always thinking of spirituality, always having conducive thoughts. Nitya means always, all the time. Adhyatma means spirituality. Control over kama (desires) that holds us back, makes us a better person in society, makes us better human beings among humans. It makes us really human. A human is one with a clear mind that has started walking on the path of spirituality, regardless of whether you reach to the final goal or not. Once someone asked a question of Swami Veda - you are teaching, how many people will reach the final goal? He said, that's not the point.
The point is that we have started walking on the path of spirituality. It is our dharma.
If a human being in this lifetime has not walked a step, they have wasted this life. At least we have started walking. Once you have started walking, you are bound to reach to the destination. If you are just sitting, you will not reach. It is like the story of the tortoise and the hare. Within your capacity, with one pointed mind, keep that awareness, just walk at your pace and you will reach. You don't have to jump. These stories are there to tell us why it is important for us human beings to walk on the path of spirituality. That is the real goal. Your effort will make you reach today, tomorrow, day after tomorrow.
Krishna says, Arjuna, do not get attached, in moha, with attachment. Those who are standing in front of you, they and me and you have come in this world several times. It is not that you are killing them. It is a cycle that comes and goes. Your duty is to establish law and order. The Atman never dies, it is ever free, ever pure, ever wise. No one can kill Atman, so who are you killing? Why are you sad? Perform your actions and do not seek the fruit. Perform your actions and surrender them to me. I am the way; I take you to the final path. All actions that are done for selfishness will bind you.
All actions that are done for the sake of others without expectations of fruit and with surrender, will never bind you, they will free you from bondage.
Whenever you perform any action, think of me. I am everywhere, I am omnipresent. If you have that in your mind, you will always do that which is good for you, good for your family, for your neighbor.
I am the one who is doing, you are not the doer. You are the medium.
Surrender and devotion.
Yogah karmasu koshalam. Become a yogi who performs his or her actions skillfully. Become a jnana yogi who burns all the karmas you have done in the fire of knowledge, jnana agni. Arjuna asks Krishna, what you are saying is very hard, it is like you are asking me to catch the wind, how is it possible? Krishna says it is possible through abhyasa (practice) with vairagya (non-attachment). Practice with non attachment and it is possible to gain the knowledge that is given to you. Vairagya is the philosophy of non-attachment and abhyasa is constant practice.
We must do our abhyasa with vairagya because attachments create sorrow and pain.
We do not know the nature of things because attachment creates a curtain between us and buddhi. Purusha means the Lord in everybody's heart. The Purusha knows everything we do. Once karmas are done with surrender and devotion, without any expectation, then I take care of my devotees. I give them whatever they need in life and I purify them. It is my duty to give you liberation once you have surrendered yourself, your karma.
Krishna says, I am everywhere, unmanifest and manifest. You cannot get moksha without coming to me, so think of me all the time. Nitya means all the time, with devotion. Connect your mind onto me. One who has connected their mind to me, they come to me.
Tomorrow morning, if you are late, everybody see how irritated you get by red lights. If you leave work and haven't finished your work for the day your mood is not so great. How many files of irritation and anger do you bring home with your mind? Leave all the files in the office and be free when you come home. Deal with problems with full capacity, with full mind but do not carry problems along with you. Be free. If you are eating, just think of what you are eating with a free mind. That's how one should practice living life according to Bhagavad Gita and practicing the awareness of the Lord within. See the presence of the Lord within each and every thing. Everything is governed by the Lord and you are a part of the universe. Do your actions and just surrender it. Once you have done your actions you will receive a fruit, a result. You cannot escape this.
Perform your actions with full duty, full capacity, full mind, with an awareness of the Lord. You will see the results will always be positive and conducive.
If you have a burning desire, if you have that intensity, Krishna will come in front of you and will give you the teaching.
The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita are universal. All the characters in the Gita, in every scripture, exist within us. We represent them. Once you start seeing that point of view, you will realize that all the scriptures exist in all of us. All the teachings exist exactly in all of us. It's a matter of being aware. The content of Gita we all know within. It's a matter of turning on the switch and its there. That is why the Lord himself felt a need to sing a song for us.
There is a story that if a lion sits there in the middle of the forest, and waits for deer to come to him, he will starve. In order to have food, he has to make some effort, he has to run after them and catch them. We have to make the effort when we are in the middle of the battlefield. We all have our battles, our struggles. There is a natural need or tendency in every human being to search for that peace, happiness or bliss which is everlasting. In the world, we can buy so called happiness, which may make you happy for a day or a week, then we come back to our own nature and that very happiness does not change our nature. It does not change us.
Happiness comes easily, but it goes with pain. Why? Because it is based on objects outside of you, not based on internal objects which are within you. If I look outside and think that object is going to make me happy, that never will happen. If it does, it will be very temporary and will leave with a lot of pain.
Krishna is that which attracts or pulls us to our final goal of ever lasting peace, harmony, joy or bliss. Something tells you - this is good for me.
Arjuna is a qualified student who is searching and has a burning desire. At the start, Arjuna is confused; under delusion, attachment, confusion. Raga means attachment, and it also means color. Everything that comes in front of your eyes colors your mind to some degree. Attachment means you have developed some degree of emotional tie to that object. That is why you are hurt. If that object is removed or something happens to that object it will cause you pain because it has colored you.
Many times when you are in trouble you know exactly what to do but mind does not work at that time. It looks like it's shut down. You have no mind, no buddhi, no sense of discrimination and you are helpless and hopeless at that time. So that is the time you say your prayers, your meditation, you invoke that which is within, that Krishna. If you have a burning desire, if you have that intensity, Krishna will come in front of you and will give you the teaching.
Understanding the teachings.
As you recite the Gita, it creates a vibration which then turns your mind in a certain direction. That brings harmony, which makes your mind one pointed. A one pointed mind brings peace, bliss, and happiness.
That is one tradition of monasteries or colleges or the kind of school I went. In the morning, you wash yourself, then sit down and start reading. No one has told you the meaning, but behind the meaning there are several meanings that are known to all of us. At one level, you and I are one. There is no difference. We may be brother, sister, wife, husband, father, mother, male or female, have a certain name and so forth. But at that level, there is no difference. We all are one and the same. I know what you know and you know exactly what I know, because there is only one reality that exists.
The verses in the Gita all are mantras in the Sanskrit language, a language based on the sound principle. Sound has currents and cross currents, it has some frequency, a pattern. When you hear a sound, it comes to you in a pattern and it mixes with your pattern. That's how understanding is different for each of us. You each hear the same words but one person understands this way and the next understands a different way. Why? The pattern of the way I spoke and the pattern of the sound has to mix with your pattern because you are the receiver. It will mix according to your pattern, and that's the gist you will get out of it.
When there is a misunderstanding, you say, well that's what I heard. What you remember hearing does not mean that is what was said. There are different levels of understanding.
You may be listening to me but part of your mind is sleeping, part of your mind is here, part is somewhere else. So how is it possible for you to listen exactly to what I am saying?
The ears have the capacity to listen, not the eyes or the mouth. How much coordination do I have with my ears, eyes and mouth? That kind of understanding I will have. If 50 percent came to me, I will forget half of it and keep 25 per cent. That 25 per cent I will misinterpret because I was not there fully. That was the situation with Arjuna and that is the situation with all of us when we deal with the so called real world, out there.
Ego and understanding.
The ego means 'I-ness'. It is given by the Lord, and it is a Lord. Because of that I-ness we prove 'who am I?. Each time you use the word I, you have to put your hand here (on heart center). Why do you put your hand exactly here, not on your head or your leg. It means 'I am'. It has some meaning behind it. It means that you know yourself.
Why is it that no matter which culture you go to, everybody says 'I am' with their hand at their heart center?
The great philosopher and yogi Shankaracharya, in his commentary on Bhagavad Gita, refuses to explain the word I. He said everybody knows about it, so why explain. We know 'I'. That I is actually the Lord in the form of individual soul, hiding. That is why you know it for sure. When you say 'we', you do not put your hand at heart center, because it has a different meaning. I is definite. It is the self-existent factor within all of us.
Gita means a song, Bhagavad means divine, celestial. Lord would have come home or taught the same song somewhere else, like in the monastery or forest, but he has to sing right at the battlefield because that is where we need that very song.
We need to prepare ourselves to listen at that time, the time we need it.
If you hear while sitting here it is different than when you're in a situation where you really need it. You hear it differently, in a more one pointed manner. The battle took place at Kurukshetra. Kuru means 'to do', action. Kshetra means the field. For us, the field is this earth, where we perform our actions every single day. The kurukshetra has to also be a dharmakshetra. Dharma means there has to be some kind of decorum, morals, principles, self dignity. You may be performing your own action, but if there is no righteousness then it is wrong. When a kurukshetra is a dharmakshetra, then you are on the right path.
Who tells you something is not right? A moral character in all of us, which is given by the Lord, tells you. Your mind which is 'I' tells you. You may go ahead with it, that is a different issue. You may hear it for a microsecond and just let it go. When you already made a mistake you will go back and say, gee, a thought did come to my mind that this was not right. These are the proofs that there is something in all of us that is guiding us all along. We need to become Arjuna so that the Krishna within all of us can come in front of us. That is the teaching of the Gita.
Yogah Karmasu Koshalam.
The Bhagavad Gita is a scripture that teaches the art of life. It teaches how to become a real human being, how to re-establish law and order within ourselves first. We all have a universe in the form of individual soul and that universe needs some kind of principle, some kind of discipline. If there is not discipline, there will be chaos. Now discipline is imposed on us, but if you invoke discipline within, then you don't need any imposed discipline from outside. That is what yoga is all about.
Atha yoganushasanam. Now yoga discipline begins. Yoga is not a torture, bending your body and not eating this or that and getting up early and doing your hatha yoga. It is not torture if you really fall in love with it. it is so great, so enjoyable and blissful that you cannot even explain it. No money in the world can buy the joy it gives you. So the Gita is a scripture of yoga and the definition of yoga in Bhagavad Gita is the most profound definition of yoga. It is given by the Lord to his student Arjuna.
Yogah karmasu koshalam. Karmasu means in action. Koshalam means skillfulness. Skillfulness in all action is yoga.
With yoga, I can come to have the skill to perform all my actions in a way that I do not get caught by them. I do not create misery and pain, they do not affect me. I still remain happy, do not lose my temper or get emotional, still keep my frame of mind. It is possible to still keep that joy within while I am dealing with the real world, performing my duties, my dharma. That is yoga. Yoga means that which brings something into balance, a combination of things which are balanced, creating a balance in daily life. That is yogaha karmasu koshalam. Skillfulness in all action is yoga.
The essence and entire wisdom was taken from all the scriptures in the world and put into the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna is the teacher. Arjuna is the student. The analogy is that the entire scripture or wisdom and knowledge is put into Gita and it becomes a cow. Lord is a milk man. Arjuna becomes a calf, and he is drinking it. Milk is like amrita, which means nectar. Amrita means that which makes you immortal.
In the first chapter, Arjuna is sad and confused. He drops his weapons, his bow and arrow. He says, 'I don't need this kingdom, I don't need anything, I may as well just beg and live and then die.' Many times we have those kind of thoughts. Lord is very quiet, he hasn't said a word, he is there.
The Lord speaks.
Part 30 & 31
Lord says, 'O Arjuna, you have to moderate your desires. You have to really think about your karmas, about your actions and analyze or contemplate upon the karmas, the relationships that you are so sad about that you don't want to fight. Then become the yogi who has reached to a state where he performs his or her actions without any turmoil, without any emotional sadness or without any attachment. With skillfulness in all actions, you become that yogi. I would like you to become that yogi', he says to Arjuna. Then Arjuna asks the question 'how do I become that kind of yogi?'.
The sixth chapter in Bhagavad Gita is based on meditation and yoga. It is the path of yoga. Arjuna was taught the system of yoga step by step - how one should meditate, contemplate, how one should even think. He was taught the reality that you are not the doer.
He was taught the philosophy of karma in the second chapter. Lord says, 'Arjuna you are not the doer, the doer is me, you are just a medium. You are performing your action because of your previous actions. The fruit we get here, it is because of the impressions you have created for yourself'. At present in the entire world, any problem you could take from the environment or medical or relationships between countries, families or friends or diseases - it is all to do with karma.. Everything has to have a principle of karma or philosophy of karma involved in it or nothing happens. If somebody has cancer for instance, it is also a part of the kind of karma that one has done previously.
The law of karma operates on the levels of speech, thought and action. Manasa means by your mind, vacha means through your speech or karmana by your action. The moment a slight thought comes to your mind, you have performed a karma. Every karma is done through the mind first. A hand cannot be raised unless I perform that very action in my mind. So the law of karma, of action, means not only performing action, doing your duties, but involves the environment, society, culture, attitude, food, daily life and schedule.
Karmas are not immediate. Some are immediate in a way that it will affect you at the superficial level but the actual result of an action comes later because any action leaves an imprint in your mind. That imprint, when its going to pop up, you never know. Let's say for instance somebody has a heart attack. One day he was fine, today he has a heart attack. Looking at it philosophically, he did not have a heart attack all of a sudden. It was created previously. Karma works over the long term.
Karma and living life skillfully.
Living life good today doesn't guarantee that something bad won't happen to us. Maybe we think that tomorrow something bad could happen anyway so why even try? That should not stop us from doing good things. What we're doing today is based on yesterday and what will come tomorrow is based on today so it is interrelated.
There is no yesterday or tomorrow or day after tomorrow. They all are like a triangle.
Whichever way we look, it is exactly the same triangle. Today will not happen if there is no yesterday and tomorrow will not happen if there is no today. Take someone who has a heart attack. He was fine yesterday and was laughing and talking. The karma that he has performed in previous years created impressions in him and those subtle impressions created that disease in the mind. When a disease is created in the mind, it can manifest any time at the physical level.
The law of karma is a fascinating theory. Our scriptures say even the jnani's, even the philosophical people, are confused about the law of karma and destiny, because it is very hard to understand. We go round and round and round. Sometimes we say it's a vicious circle and we can never come out from it. Anything that we receive today is because of what we did in our past, what kind of frame of mind we had when we did our karma, the food, company, thoughts when we performed that very karma. If we select 10 people to perform the same action with a different frame of mind we will have 10 different results because of the attitude, frame of mind. The frame of mind determines exactly the kind of impressions -- samskaras -- that will form and therefore the kind of result you are bound to get.
In the Gita, Arjuna was taught that he is not performing the karma, the actions. That is how we come out from the bondage of karma. There is a way to perform the karma and yet not allow ourselves to be bound with that golden chain. It's a golden chain that attracts us and we are caught with that chain because it is very beautiful and it binds us. That does not mean that we are not going to perform any action. We need to perform the action but with a skill that it doesn't bind us. Selfless service is the best way, Arjuna was taught. 'O Arjuna, your duty is to perform karma'. That's it. Our duty is to perform, not to expect fruits of karma. That is my duty, the Lord says. That is up to me.
Kama (desire) and karma.
Krishna says to Arjuna, 'your duty alone is to perform that action with an awareness that you are surrendering each and every fruit of your action unto me.' That is the way to be free from karma. Then karma will never bind you. How? Let's say you perform or are about to perform a karma and the thought comes about the fruit, the object that you are about to perform. What will be the outcome of it? An expectation is there. What happens with that expectation?
Half of the mind is with the expectation so you actually perform your action with 50% mind. You aren't there 100% because 50% of the mind is busy figuring out the fruit.
Kama means desire. The moment you have kama, you want to perform the action. If your expectation is not fulfilled, anger will come. You are bound to get angry at yourself. Perform your action, your duties, your obligations. Perform them with pure love, pure trust and pure selfless manner. Don't have expectations. It will give you great comfort that you have performed, you have given and you're not expecting anything in return. Also what will happen is it will never create any anger because you weren't expecting anything. It will not create any sorrow because you weren't looking for anything.
People will say, I did my duty. That was my part. Adhikara means my duty is only to perform karma. That's it. Don't think more than that. Never think of the fruits, leave that to the Lord. That leads you to the different level of reality. Perform your action and offer to the Lord. Lord will take care of it. That way you are free.
You did it, you offered it, and you are free.
As you come from the office, anything that happened there, bad things, you fought with boss, just leave that file there and come out free and do not ruin your day or sleep or dinner. When you bring it home, you cannot eat or sleep because you're still trying to find the solution, thinking about the office. Being free is the training, the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita. It is yoga.
It is not easy. We all hold onto things but Lord has given all of us something, a gift. With the help of that gift, we can achieve anything. We all are bound some degree with the law of karma. With free will, you can take an exit any time you want, because of sankalpa shakti, free will.
The wheel of karma and finding the Lord.
The Gita is Lord's teaching to Arjuna. Lord says they come out from me and they come back to me. It's a cycle. The wheel of karma comes down. When you are down, you are in pain or having a rough time. When it comes up, you are happy. When it's up, it has to come down. The situation today will come down again. So it goes.
The wheel of karma is rotating every day, but when it goes down, you can still be happy if you are not attached to that wheel.
That is the teaching Lord has given to Arjuna. 'O Arjuna, become that yogi.' Bhagavad Gita is such a beautiful scripture that gives you so much comfort. Let's say a guest came to your house and you of course want to please the guest. You want to cook a very nice meal, you want to do what makes your guest happy and comfortable. That's why we say 'feel at home'. How nice if you know all the desires and habits about your guest, what kind of food he or she likes, what kind of things he or she wants to do, then they will be very happy.
If you are guessing, you are always in doubt. If you know there is something, then you can go and get it. You may enter in a dark room and you are searching but you do not know if it is in that room or not. You may be searching for years and years and its not in the room. What do you have to do? Just turn the light on, the light of jnana, knowledge, wisdom. It does not take even a second to turn that light on. Gita is a scripture that has described everything, how to do, what to do, when to do. Now it is up to us whether you want to do it or you don't want to do.
Lord has given even the apartment number and the street number of himself. He has given in which house he lives. Now it's up to us to go.
The Gita is a scripture of psychology. If you want to counsel yourself, read Bhagavad Gita and relate yourself to it. For any relationship, it will give you the answer. Philosophy, religion, psychology, spirituality, yoga, Ayurveda, art of life, anything you want to mention is there. If someone is a psychologist, they must read and contemplate Bhagavad Gita on a daily basis. We all need a psychological treatment like Krishna gave to Arjuna about the Self. The second chapter is based on the nature of Atman, nature of Self. The Self is ever pure, ever free, ever wise. It is untouched.
Arjuna comes out of this moha/delusion and learns about the six enemies of life.
Lord Krishna says, no one can cut the Atman, no fire of the world can burn it. O Arjuna, if you think you are going to kill your enemies, who are you killing? Tell me what you think you are killing? No one can kill the Atman, no can even tear it apart. One who is born, it is the truth that they have to die. The person who is born one day has to die. It depends on our karmas and samskaras and prayers. That is the only truth in the world.
Atman is ever pure, ever free, and ever wise.
O Arjuna, come out from this moha (delusion). There are six enemies in human beings. Those six enemies play a great role in our life. Our personality and moods are based on them. Sometimes your mood is very nice in the morning; sometimes your mood is not nice. You are the same person. How come you have changed? Why can't you have control over your mood? We say, I don't know what happened. It was just different.
I claim this is my body, my breath, and my mind. One hand I claim this is mine, other hand I don't have any control. I cannot change my mood when I really need to. I cannot stop myself from getting sick. If I get flu then I have to suffer from that flu. Why can't I stop getting the flu? We really have no control over ourselves. We think we have but we don't. At night you want to sleep but you cannot. Why not? Who is controlling us?
There is something else; some reality is there which we think is not reality. So Arjuna, remember your dharma, what is needed, what is expected from you. You are a king and you have to save your kingdom, you have to reestablish law and order. The situation has come that in order to reestablish law and order, you must fight. People misunderstand when Krishna told Arjuna to fight. They say, what's the difference when I fight? I have to kill because I feel that I need to.
We all make a mistake when we all have not read one word, which Lord also said, to Arjuna. He says indeed, fight, kill all of them to establish law and order. But how? There is a very beautiful word. If you understand that word, you will feel no need to fight, to get angry with anybody. That is control. If I am able to create an anger that is not anger but will appear as if it is anger, that is control. That is what the Gita is talking about. The control over oneself. If you want to sleep, you should have a very good night. Yogis do that, we don't. Why?
Control and the prison of our samskaras.
Why don't we have this control? We don't prepare ourselves. We prepare one day, we leave it the next day. One day you get up at five o'clock, next day ten o'clock. Why do we fall in the same trap? Yesterday, you said 'tomorrow I am going to go to yoga class' but when tomorrow comes you say, 'I don't feel like it'. Why is that?
Samskaras are the reason. Samskaras are the impressions of the karma that we have performed. That is why performing our action is a very important part in our life. Our pain and misery are because of our karma. You wake up early Sunday and say to yourself 'I will meditate for an hour'. You were so happy when you got up, had your tea, switched off your ringer on the phone and you don't want to be disturbed. You close the door and you want to sit for an hour. Ten minutes later your body wants you to get up. You may be itching or in pain. Before that you were fine but the moment you sit, something happens. You are very sleepy but the moment you go to bed, you are not sleepy. Why?
Samskaras do not want you to do what you want to do. Samskaras want you to do what they want you to do.
That is the control Gita talks about. If you want to meditate for an hour, you should be free to do meditation. That is actual freedom, not the freedom to skip yoga class or eat this or that or go to a movie. That is not freedom actually. You are a slave of your senses. You are in kind of a prison of your senses because senses say I want to do this, and you immediately do because you cannot prevent yourself, you do not have control. Unfortunately we think this is freedom.
Freedom is when I want to meditate for an hour, I am able to meditate and my mind is there because I have decided to meditate for an hour.
So Lord says to Arjuna, fight. How? Vigata jaraha - without being feverish, without anger. Fight without any emotional anger because when we fight with someone we may be hurt. When we remove that fever there is no need to fight. That is called control.
Yoga is a science that makes you aware of your consciousness by your consciousness. You reach to that center of consciousness where there is peace, harmony and bliss.
Yoga and kshema.
When you are in peace, harmony and bliss, you could go anywhere. When you want to show anger to somebody, you show anger. You can create anything in the external world but you are centered. You are not affected. It may look as though you are very mad, but actually you are not. You do it because there is a need to do it. That is how the yogis work. Swami Rama was sometimes so angry you cannot imagine that a person who is that caliber could get that angry. But he has created it, he is not affected by it. When that is done, if he has to make somebody laugh, he does in the next moment. This is yoga, this is the art.
This is 'yogah karmasu koshalam.'
This is freedom from the bondage of karma.
For this freedom and control, we need preparation. That's why Arjuna was taught what exactly he should do. Yoga means to gather or put together. Yuj is the Sanskrit word for yoga. Yoga is to gather what you need to sustain you in this lifetime. Kshema is to protect what you have gathered. Let's say you make ten dollars. You have to put it somewhere you won't lose it. If you lose it, what's the point of making it? That's why we have banks, pockets and wallets. What you earn, you've got to protect so when you need it, you have it. Something you gather is yoga. Kshema is where you save it. Otherwise it will go to waste.
Yoga means to gather what you need for your spiritual path. Kshema means to protect this so it is available to you when you need it. Lord Krishna says, I provide yoga and kshema to one who thinks of me. I provide to one who thinks of me all the time without a second, who worships me, who surrenders him or herself to me, who performs an action and gives it to me. I always provide yoga and kshema for them. The way this happens in the world is that your work will be done just by creating this much effort because some forces will be working in your favor. You will be happy. People will think how everything seems to work for you. When everything works for you, it means you have the blessings of the Lord. If something doesn't work or you have a hard time to get it, it means something is missing.
There is a story in one of the Puranas. Purana means the ancient that becomes new whenever you read it. It becomes present wherever you read it. Once upon a time there was a Pandit, who read in the Gita about yoga kshema. He thought to himself that Lord cannot provide it. So he inked out that line from the Gita then he went to worship and prayers. He figured that since he has to make an effort, go to the temple and say prayers, it can't be true.
On his way out one morning, his wife asked him to bring some vegetables on his way home. Around noon time, his wife opened the door to a beautiful boy who is crying. He is holding a big plate of cooked food covered with a fancy cloth. She says "what's the matter, who are you?" He said, "Panditji has sent me but he said something which I didn't like. He said go home and give this to my wife, we don't have food today and I will be late and by the time I get home with groceries, it will be too late. So here is the food. But what he said I don't like". It was very delicious food and she ate and saved some for him.
The Pandit comes home in the evening very tired. He hands groceries to his wife and says "now you can make our food". She says "thank you very much for sending the food, it was so delicious, would you like to have more?" He says "what are you talking about? I never sent anybody". She told him about the boy with the plate who was crying about something you said that he didn't like.
He asked for a description and it was the description of Lord Krishna, exactly the same hair and eyes and all that. He realized and immediately went to the book and took that ink off. He bowed his head and said "Lord I am so sorry, I realize that you indeed provide yoga and kshema".
This is absolutely true. This is one of the stories from the Puranas. There are numberless stories. If you want to test sometime, the problem with that testing is that you will not test unless you have a doubt.
The problem is the moment you have a doubt, you don't have 100% faith and then you will fail.
A story about Mirabai, one of the great saints of India.
Mirabai, one of the great saints of India, was practically crazy about Lord Krishna. She thought that Krishna is her everything. All she would do is sing bhajans of Krishna all the time. She was always in Krishna consciousness. The time came when she grew up and was of age to marry. Her father, her parents, forced her to marry. Now she has a husband and her mind is all the time singing the glory of Lord Krishna. Her husband doesn't like it because all she does is live in a different world.
Her husband got really fed up and decided one day that it's better that she dies. He called his servant to give a cup of poison to Mira and tell her that Lord Krishna sent it just for her. He knew then she will drink it, she won't question it. She was very happy that finally the Lord heard her prayers and sent prasad (blessings from the Lord). She grabbed it and drank it. Nothing happened to her because of her trust. The poison was changed because of her faith in Lord Krishna.
I could share thousands of stories about faith. Faith can do it. It has to be inner faith. You can't just say, well I have faith and let's see, let me test it. If you test it, you don't have faith. How then could I know that I have faith? Mirabai, the great saint, wrote profound poetry about Krishna that all over India they sing today. Even great sages and yogis sing her poetry that she composed about Krishna.
Vishvasa means faith and vishvasa alone is the giver of fruit.
Whatever kind of fruit you want will come to you if you have faith. Faith has to be within you first, not outside in something else. That's not how it works. If you don't have 100% faith in yourself, how could you have 100% faith in somebody else? Impossible. That's why in yoga and Bhagavad Gita they teach you to improve yourself. The journey begins within. Ahimsa, satya, asteya - all these yamas and niyamas begin within you.
The six enemies that eat you from within.
I left it that there are six enemies within human beings. That's why you are influenced by emotions, moods and types of personalities.
The six negative emotions are:
kama, kroda, lobha, moha, madha and matsarya.
Kama is desire. Kroda is anger. Lobha is greed. Moha is attachment. Madha is pride and matsarya is jealousy. These six enemies eat you from within, like a worm. You don't see them. You deny you have them, but they are there. Each one of them are so profound, so powerful, that it could ruin your entire buddhi.
The buddhi is that factor in the human mind that has the power of discrimination. It is known as a mirror of the mind. Buddhi is a mirror. If a mirror is dusty, you cannot see in it. In order to see in the mirror, you have to wipe it off, right? Then you can see your face clearly. These six enemies are in human beings, and our personalities and moods are based on them. Sometimes I have jealousy, or pride or anger or greed or moha. I am under them all the time. It varies which one but one way or the other I am under them.
Krishna teaches Arjuna to rise above them, urges him "do not let your mind be colored by them".
When you become vairagya, it means your mind is not stained or colored by them. Arjuna says "I don't see that it's possible for me to do what you're teaching. It's like catching the wind or air."
What about love and non-attachment? You may love your spouse, or God. If it has attachment, it's not love. If it has no expectation, then it is love. Swami Rama said: love means to give, give and only give, never expect anything in return.
The problem is, we come to a spouse, because we haven't seen God. We love our spouse because we have some emotional tie and we expect something, one way or the other. If your expectation of someone is not fulfilled, are you as loving and kind towards them exactly the same way as you were yesterday when your expectation was fulfilled? No, your mood will change for sure. Why? There was some motive, or expectation involved with love. That is love also but its not a pure love, it is love based with attachment, it is a love that creates pain.
Love never creates pain if it is pure.
More on love and non-attachment.
Love with attachment is a love that creates pain. Love never creates pain if it is pure. That's the difference. If you have a spouse, you are also a spouse, you are both spouse to each other. Say A has love for B and A wants to have a pure, divine love. Whatever obligations and duties spouse A has, A should do for B whether B reciprocates or not. A should still love the same way. That is called pure love and it is not an easy job.
Pure love needs lots of purification, lots of practice. Whether B responds to what you have done for them or ignores you, if A still is doing the same, I would call it pure love. Love means you get more involved because you are free.
Love makes you free, love never binds.
If love binds you, that's not love. We say it, we call it love, but actually it is not love. Love is limitless. With a spouse there are always some expectations. We do things because there is something or other we want. What if that something was not given? It has to affect your mood, your emotion because it was based on emotion. It was based on some kind of expectation.
Lord loves us; his love is boundless, pure. He loves you and me the same, whether you hurt him and I love him. Lord loves equally to you and to me. That is called pure love. Let's say A loves B very much, and it is pure love. B is still hurting A. If A does not change his or her behavior and degree of love, that I would call pure love. It's the same with the Lord, because love is only one. Form may be different because it's a different object but love is only one.
Those great saints, mystic poets, when they write, they write with that kind of love. They are absolutely in love with Lord. Those who become nuns, some actually haven't understood the whole principle. They are married to Jesus and wear the cross. The real philosophy behind that is that you indeed fall in love with Jesus, you really feel that 'I am in love with Jesus'. Just wearing a cross won't do anything. It's the inner cross, that touches the heart.
When Jesus was crucified, what did he do? He prayed to God to 'forgive them, they do not know what they are doing'. Because of his pure love, he did not have any drop of anger towards them, he still prayed for them. That is pure love. Otherwise, if someone hurts me, I will react. I probably will not talk to them. I would change my behavior, or ignore them. Yesterday you may have said I love you and we are good friends but what happened today? Oh, circumstances changed. Love is forever green. It never changes. It grows each day that goes by. It comes slowly, gradually, as we practice. It doesn't come overnight or just by thinking.
Abhyasa and Vairagya.
Arjuna said to Krishna "I don't think I could practice that. It looks like you are asking me to catch the wind." Krishna replies, "O Arjuna, it can be accomplished by abhyasa, by practice. With non-attachment, vairagya." You may be practicing without non-attachment and you will not succeed. You may have non-attachment and are not practicing and you will not succeed. It can be accomplished by abhyasa and vairagya. They are two sides of the same coin.
You know the definition of abhyasa in yoga? Practice. Patanjali says in his Yoga Sutras that the definition of abhyasa is that effort when you stay wherever you have reached. Abhyasa is when you maintain your level of achievement and are not falling down. If you come to yoga class for one month you could be very flexible. You quit for a week and come back and your body is stiff again. Abhyasa is doing something again and again and also maintaining the level of your attainment.
Do abhyasa with vairagya. Vairagya is non-attachment. I will give you an example of vairagya when doing hatha yoga. You are in a hatha yoga class and teacher wants you to apply vairagya when you are doing hatha yoga. Once you understand this, you will see hatha yoga is nothing. You are attached to something. The teacher says 'do forward bend. Raise your hands, come down'. Lots of people have hard time reaching the floor. Why? They think they are stiff, they are going to hurt their back, they cannot do it. So they are attached to all of those ideas.
Have non-attachment. Let it go. Why are you attached to all those thoughts?, You are attached to any resistance you have. You don't want to let go. You think, 'I'm gong to hurt my back'. How do you know? You haven't hurt, but you think that you are going to hurt. There is a woman in Chicago, Sarla, that used to be with me. She is age of 65 now and she still does 2 hours yoga a day. When she was learning, her teacher told her, do headstand for half an hour. She said, 'for half an hour? Are you crazy? I will hurt my back.' He said, 'back? Why are you thinking of your back? I just asked you to do headstand. Just think of headstand. Why are you bringing your back into it?' She did headstand for more than half an hour. Attachment to the body shows up as fear of hurting it.
Vairagya. Abhyasa. Do hatha yoga with vairagya, let go of your resistance, your fear that you cannot do it.
With consistent rubbing, even a hard rock will develop a mark. So will our buddhi.
Swami Rama of the Himalayas says 50 to 60% of diseases are created by the mind and will only be cured by the mind. Mind has all kinds of resistance. If you practice non-attachment and you practice, you can do it. The human body is made for it. If the human body could not do yoga, people wouldn't have created these postures and written them in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and other texts.
There is one verse my father used to say all the time. If I do something wrong and I am getting mad at myself, saying "oh I did it all and I still failed and ", he will have me sit. It is a very beautiful verse. The gist is that whenever you fail, don't blame yourself. Think and think and think "where did I make a mistake that I failed?" Then try again. If you fail again, then think again, "where did I make a mistake?" And do it again. Don't condemn yourself. Just ask "where is the fault that I failed", then do it again.
There is a mystic poet of India, Kabir. He says by practicing again and again every day, day after day, the same thing, even a dumb person can become very knowledgeable, can become a genius.
If you have a rope and you continue rubbing on a solid rock every day, after awhile you will see there is a mark on that solid rock, just because you were rubbing every day.
If that hard rock can have a mark, our buddhi can have a mark if we practice consistently. Right?
This subject is such that if you read the Gita every day, you will understand differently for yourself
each and every day. You don't have to read the entire Bhagavad Gita. Just read a verse and apply into your life.
I would like to mention three things - shravana, manana, and nididhyasana. Shravana means listening to the information. Manana means contemplating or scrutinizing on what you have gathered, heard, seen. What did I hear, what does this mean? Nididhyasana means applying that very principle in life. Then the fourth thing comes forward. Sakshatkara is the realization that comes after nididhyasana.
When you read the Bhagavad Gita, any verse, surrender all the fruits of all your actions. Just read it every day and practice. If any expectation comes, tell yourself no, I am not going to have any expectation.
Training the mind.
Train yourself to not have any expectation. For awhile you may go back and forth with the battle, then one day you will win because your mind knows now you are training it. The mind does not want to be trained, that's why it fights with you. In Sanskrit, the name for mind is monkey, markata.
Mind is like a monkey which doesn't stay on one branch, it jumps very fast from one branch to the other.
The mind doesn't stay on one object. That is why we have a hard time to focus. We want to focus on our breath and mind jumps to something else. Then it doesn't stay there, it jumps to something else, to another object. A monkey can be brought under control, if you train him.
The teaching of the Bhagavad Gita, in one line, is it teaches us the art of life, skillfulness in all actions, teaches us the reality of the Self. Then we can enjoy life, be happy and fulfill the purpose of being born in the world.
Training the mind takes time. It doesn't come overnight or in a month. Take eating as an example. We think we want to eat a certain way yet do not seem to have control over our eating. We want it superficially but deep down our heart hasn't accepted it. That's why we keep going back and forth to the same habits. The consciousness hasn't heard that we want to do it. If a person says to the consciousness through the consciousness 'from tomorrow morning I want to control', we will be able to, easily.
If everybody speaks the truth when asked how they are doing, only 1 or 2 people will say they are fine. The rest will say they are having some troubles because there is something or the other happening in everybody's life all the time. That is the Mahabharata. This battle in the Gita is the battle we all face. Where? Where we perform our action, at the Kurukshetra. There has to be a Dharmakshetra too, some decorums. When we have a Dharmakshetra and a Kurukshetra, we will win.
That is the message in the Bhagavad Gita, the divine song of the Lord.
Ego means 'I-ness'. It is given by the Lord and it is a Lord. When I want to say who I am, I put my hand here (on heart center). Why do we put our hand at the heart center and not on our head or leg? Why at the heart center - 'I am'. It has some meaning behind it. In every culture, people say 'I am' with their hand at their heart center.
The great philosopher and yogi of India, Shankaracharya, refuses to explain the word 'I' in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. He said everybody knows about it, so why explain. We know 'I'. That 'I' is actually the Lord in the form of individual soul, hiding. That is why we know it for sure. When a person says 'we', they do not put their hand at the heart center, because it has a different meaning. 'I' is a definite, sure, self-existent factor within all of us.
We need to surrender to the Lord without ego and with a pure heart and selfless motive. Then our prayers will be answered immediately. We have to bow down to some degree if we want to find that Absolute One. We cannot just have desire alone. We have to do something.
The analogy is given in our scriptures about the tree that has lots of fruits. A tree without fruit stands up straight. When it gives you lots of fruits, it will bow down. When the tree is capable of giving, it bows down, becomes very humble. If we have something to achieve, we have to surrender as Arjuna has.
Surrender does not mean we do not have any say or right. Ego has to be surrendered because ego gets in the way when we pray. As the Gita begins, Arjuna does not want to fight. Ego and attachment paralyzed him but when he surrendered, Lord picked him up and started teaching.
Gita means a song. Bhagavad means divine, celestial. Very symbolic. Lord would have taught the same song somewhere else, like in the monastery or forest, but He has to sing right at the battlefield because that is where we need the teachings. We must prepare ourselves to receive the teachings of the Gita.
Read from the Bhagavad Gita every day and apply the teachings into daily life, without expectations of fruits. This is how to listen to the divine song of the Lord, the Bhagavad Gita.