Daily Readings

The Song of God - April

enlarged 4th edition - 1984 - isbn 062007583 CYT, Cape Town, SA

Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Venkatesaya

April 0

introduction to April

Lord Krsna's searchlight illuminates the inside of man!
Religion gets a revolutionary meaning.
Life glows with a divine purpose.
Man's puny individuality receives a fatal blow, only to be resurrected in and as God.
Step by step we are led into the heart of the reality where nothing but God exists and where even the visible universe is but the body of God.
The little ego asserts itself.
It has its own petty desires and cravings, attachments and aversions, dogmas and doctrines.
Krsna warns us: "These must go".
That is the meaning of 'samnyasa' (renunciation).
We should practise true samnyasa without advertising it.
It is not for others, but for our own sake.
Advertisement might provoke some to antagonism and prompt others to hero-worship, thus the purpose will be defeated.
Incidentally, the following is a wise rule if you value your peace of mind: never let anyone know the innermost secrets of your life, what you value most and wish to achieve.
Or else you will be exposing your vulnerable points.
Krsna advocates gradual growth or evolution, not overnight transformation or revolution.
You might be tempted to swear: "I will be totally selfless from this moment".
Avoid that temptation.
Prayerfully hold the ideal in front of the mind's eye every day.
If you take a vow you will only be provoking all the latent inner enemies (and external forces) which will compel you to break the vow the very next day.
Have you not noticed that on the day you resolve to fast, you feel hungry earlier than usual?
When the vow is broken you will waste further time and energy in useless remorse.
By God's Grace, we shall come out victorious, in due time!

April 1


4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:11 - In whatever way men approach me, even so do I reward them; my path do men tread in all ways, O Arjuna.
IV:12 - Those who long for success in action in this world sacrifice to the devata; success is quickly attained through action.

This could well have been the basis of the numerous 'spiritual healing' techniques evolved specially by the westerners.
If one realises that God is good, perfect, full of light, life and love, then he experiences these qualities in him and around him; God himself comes to him as such.
One who has no faith in an abiding truth or reality surrounds himself with darkness.
He who regards God as a tyrant is terrified.
God has bestowed upon man intelligence which is but a spark of God's consciousness, and free-will which is particularisation of God's omnipotence; man can use them for his own uplift or downfall.
He is free within wide boundaries.
Even in the 'religious' approach, the Hindu firmly believes that the countless viewpoints of God (which are the different religions) are all valid and will lead us to the same God.
The ultimate experience, viz., God realising himself, is beyond the pale of the ego; but the highest spiritual experiences, too, may differ from man to man, as is revealed in the 'different' religions.
This conviction fills us with tolerance and understanding, without loss of individuality.
Even they who seek material gains (or even spiritual perfection) resort only to God through the various divinities (powers of God's nature); and God responds to them via the same channel, as the fruits of those actions (success or failure, pain and pleasure and so on).
We adore God alone in various ways.
This knowledge frees us from fear, attachment, anger, intolerance and proselytism.

April 2


4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:13 - The fourfold caste has been created by me according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma; though I am the author thereof, know me as the non-doer and immutable.
IV:14 - Actions do not taint Me, nor have I a desire for the fruits of actions. He who knows me thus is not bound by actions.

Men, desiring worldly rewards, work in different fields.
Their inherent and predominant quality or nature (guna) leads them along these paths of activity (karma). God as we noticed in the last two verses, 'goes' to them along those very paths.
He provides them with the congenial atmosphere in which they can evolve with the help of their own guna and their own karma; the yoga of the Gita does not demand transplantation, but only transmutation.
This congenial atmosphere is the caste system in its pure and uncorrupted form.
God, being the centre of all, is equidistant from all, whatever their caste and whatever be their duty or activity.
God-oriented performance of one's own duty is the direct road to perfection.
This path (the caste system) originates in his nature, but it should not be attributed to him (that is, it should not be regarded as the absolute!), because it is the individual's nature that determines or paves it, and as this nature undergoes transmutation, the path might vanish in the destination!
God is not bound by anything in this universe.
God is not even bound by this notion of 'unbindability'; so he may incarnate himself and appear to be bound! He is beyond all concepts.
The second verse can also be used as a formula to meditate upon, in order to disentangle the soul from the mesh of our body and mind.
The 'me', then, would refer to the soul, the witness consciousness, the true self which is not tainted by any action of the body and mind.
This meditation will liberate us from bondage to karma.

April 3

appropriate action

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:15 - Having known this, the ancient seekers after freedom also performed actions; therefore perform actions as did the ancients.

This is the doctrine of total freedom of the Bhagavad Gita.
In the light of this doctrine, even 'bounden duty' is sublimated into joyous abandonment which is but a synonym of a free participation in the divine will.
We seek not only freedom from external authority (and the consequent mental conditioning) but freedom from inner reaction to authority (which is an expression of vanity).
Glimpses of this freedom are seen in ourselves, during sleep and during deep meditation.
The inner intelligence which had, during its unawakened states known as waking and dream, foolishly bound itself to the body and the mind, which are nothing more than the bricks and mortar of residence, realises upon awakening that pain and pleasure and so on, which it had to endure during those two states were the necessary sequel of its wrong identification of itself with its residence.
As in the human body, so also in the body of God called the universe.
We are tiny cells in that body of God.
His life pulsates in us as our immortal being.
His power flows through us as will.
His consciousness shines in us as intelligence.
None of these is 'ours'.
Yet, if we but joyously offer our little self to the care of the great body, then even as a tiny copper wire becomes charged with formidable electric current on account of its passive contact, we too, shall share his life, power and consciousness.
Not bound to anything in this world we shall still take part in all its activity as a witness, in choiceless awareness.
Realising that both egoistical action and egoistical withdrawal are forms of the false identification of the soul of our soul with the body and mind, we shall surrender ourselves to God's will and live in this house of God, unaffected by its construction, alteration and demolition, freely moving in it and using it in accordance with the divine will, which is natural and appropriate action.

April 4

righteous action

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:16 - What is action? What is inaction? As to this even the wise are confused. Therefore, I shall teach you about action. Knowing which you shall be liberated from Samsara.
IV:17 - The true nature of action should be known, also of unlawful action, and of inaction; hard to understand is the path of action.

People have asked themselves: "What should I do?"
The self-arrogating ego has led them along the by-lanes of varied activities, often described as duties and scripturally ordained injunctions, and sometimes restrained them to a state of inaction on the assumption that all action is tainted with evil.
Are actions good or evil in themselves, or are they to be judged by their results?
If the latter, how is it possible for us to foresee the result?
If the former, who is the judge to tell us which action is good and which evil and what are the criteria?
These problems have worried even the great ones.
As a renowned saint of India declared: "The scriptures differ among themselves and even the sages differ among themselves.
Truly, the secret of righteousness is hidden from mortal gaze.
That path which the holy ones have trodden should be followed."
The Mahabharata illustrates this riddle.
The righteous Yudhisthira is often faced with this fundamental problem: "What is right action?"
On top of all this, lord Krsna himself suggests what appears, on the surface, to be decidedly unrighteous!
Yet, an action may be unrighteous from the standpoint of human law and righteous according to the divine law.
The world has only too often witnessed diabolical rulers impose their will on their subjects with the sanctity and 'cover' of the divine law!
Modern political and religious institutions have taught us that even man's conscience can be so coloured as to regard man-made law with greater veneration than divine law which is deliberately obscured from his vision.
What is right?

April 5


4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:18 - He who seeth inaction in action and action in inaction, he is wise among men; he is intelligent, although engaged in all sorts of activities.

The puzzle can be solved only by 'seeing' the whole universe as the one body of God.
Indwelling this universe is the cosmic consciousness which is the eternal witness since it is uninvolved (like space) in whatever takes place in it.
In God's body the countless cells vibrate constantly; these cells are the different worlds (and the beings in them).
When they vibrate in accordance with the divine law which is the operative part of God's divine nature, they are said to be good and to do good, and to engage themselves in right action.
This atonement, however, is spontaneous and not rationalised or willed.
When the cells, on account of the inherent free-will, fall out of alignment with the divine will, the latter, in order to protect the total organism from injury, allows the rebellious cell to disintegrate by its own power - even as a palm tree defying a storm is felled, whereas a blade of grass which bows to the storm is saved; and, even as a healthy cell in our body is protected and a cell which will not co-operate with the life-force is eliminated.
Vicious actions disrupt the social structure, which is the body of God.
When such disruption has already taken place, the divine will employs other cells to restore harmony by quelling the rebellion - resulting in activity which partakes of the nature of the rebellious cells themselves.
This explains lord Krsna's mysterious ways.
On such occasion, if our atonement to the divine will is blind and impulsive, we might at times find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma.
But if our atonement is based on the right understanding that we who seem to be ever active do nothing and that it is the intangible divine will which is ever active, then we realise the unity of our own little intelligence with his, our finite will with his infinite will and our whole being with his.
The 'I' dissolves in the all, the doer of all actions.
The impulsive man's instinctual action and the rationalist's selfish, clever and calculated action are in truth inaction: both of them are reactions, the former to external stimuli and the latter to circumstances.
A wise man observes himself and the world around him, and this self-awareness acts spontaneously and non-volitionally.
Hence true action is 'inaction'.
Self-awareness is total action.

April 6

fragmentation and holiness

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:19 - He whose undertakings are all devoid of desires, and whose actions have been burnt by the fire of knowledge, the wise call him a sage.
IV:20 - Abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities, ever satisfied and independent, he performs no fruitive action, although engaged in all kinds of undertakings.

The ever-vibrant universe is rooted in the supremely quiescent Brahman (absolute reality) who is supreme peace itself.
The ever active body is indwelt by the self which is the peace that passeth understanding.
Beneath the turbulent surface, the ocean itself is calm.
Fragmentation is conflict, wholeness (holiness) is peace.
Activity is the nature of form, quiescence is the nature of the spirit.
Ignorant superimposition of the characteristics of the form on the spirit is the root-cause of endless suffering.
He who regards the quiescent spirit as the doer of actions paradoxically endeavours to restrain the form (body and mind) from their natural activity!
Such a man is full of tensions.
He thinks he knows what to do and what not to do; he is full of desires and schemes.
Desires and schemes are the generators of tension.
He does not know what he is.
Only self-knowledge removes selfishness.
Hence Gurudev Sivananda emphasised: "Be good, do good", in that order.
The cell that is ignorant of the body entertains selfish desires and has its own private schemes.
When the fire of the knowledge that we are all cells in the body of God burns this ignorance, then contentment born of total self-surrender to the will of God arises.
Selfishness, egoism and their retinue of evil disappear, even as the ghosts of the dreamer's dream vanish on his waking.
A man who is awake in this knowledge is not idle, he is a true channel for the flow of God's will.
The actions of such a man are movements in cosmic consciousness, without cause, without goal, without dependency, and without the idea 'I do this'.

April 7

perfect thinking

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:21 - Without hope and with the mind and the self controlled, having abandoned all greed, doing mere bodily action, he incurs no sin.
IV:22 - Content with what comes to him without effort, free from the pairs of opposites, free from envy, even-minded in success and failure, though acting, he is not bound.

Desire and its consequent 'planned activity', are the generators of evil; when they happen to be in accordance with divine will they confirm the ego in its self-arrogating doership of actions; when they are not and so there is failure, they cause tension which intensifies the soul's ignorance.
The wise man's mind, too, may entertain hope.
If he is a perfected yogi, it will invariably be the reflection of the divine will.
If he is an earnest seeker, he will hope for success, but be prepared for the opposite!
Thus he goes beyond both.
This is not merely 'positive thinking', but 'perfect thinking'.
We strive, for that is our birthright and the expression of divine nature in us, too.
This effort may even be backed by 'positive thinking' and wishing for the best.
But it is free from egoistic projection of self-will, for we are prepared for what at the moment appears to be the worst (in the knowledge that God's will is ever the best).
This fusion of positive and negative is perfect thinking which transcends both.
Pain and pleasure, success and failure, are the egoistic interpretation of the divine will when the egoistic interpretation of the divine will when the selfish man breaks life into fragments or foolishly imagines that the coin of life has only one - the pleasant, successful side!
Corners and patches of a painting appear ugly or beautiful, dark or bright; but when the whole painting is seen, they coalesce into a masterpiece of portraiture.
The yogi is not a gloomy pessimist.
He hopes for the best, but accepts whatever happens as the best.
In him the sins of ignorance, desire and private hope, are absent.

April 8

god's dream

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:23 - To one who is devoid of attachment, who is liberated, whose mind is established in knowledge, who works for the sake of sacrifice, the whole action is dissolved.
IV:24 - Brahman is the oblation; Brahman is the melted butter; by Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman; Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in action.

The sage who is established in wisdom regards his whole life itself as a sacrifice.
Yajna (sacrifice) is Visnu (God) - God sacrificed his unity, as it were, in the fire of diversity, creating infinite beings and imposing on himself the duty of preserving and redeeming them.
Nothing can be 'outside' the infinite God. Nothing can be apart from his being.
This creation, too, is within him.
All the activity that is experienced takes place within him.
The only suitable analogy is the dream in which the dreamer creates space, time and material diversity within himself and views the phenomenon as if he were apart from the other dream-objects, which derive their power, intelligence and individuality from the dreamer himself.
Hence, the world is often spoken of as God's dream.
This knowledge should be sustained even in our waking state of consciousness.
God is in all.
God is the all.
God is the all-in-all.
The symbol of the Indian ritual of yajna or havan can be extended to include all actions.
The performer of the action, the instruments used, the act itself and the one to whom it is directed - all are God only.
God or the reality is not a static existence but a process, beginningless and endless.
Thus, there is nothing unsacred in the universe.
To live in this spirit is brahma-karma-samadhi or the egoless participation in the will of God, described in verse twenty-one as 'doing mere bodily action' without the least isolation from the totality.
The wise man sees that the bodily functions are already and always will be independent of the ego!

April 9

gradual evolution and sublimation

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:25 - Some yogis perform sacrifice to the gods, while others offer the Self as sacrifice in the fire of Brahman alone.

The highest wisdom is not attained overnight.
Man's consciousness is shadowed by ignorance and superstition, pride and prejudice, false notions and ideologies.
It is not given to all to uproot this mighty tree of ignorance with a single axe-stroke of supreme wisdom.
The path of the majority lies through the gradual evolution and sublimation.
This sounds easy; it is not.
One has to be eternally vigilant if one is not to slide back or to run round in circles.
Eternal vigilance is not different from instant enlightenment!
There are some yogi who 'sacrifice' to the gods.
They engage themselves in ritualistic worship.
When the ritual is performed with right understanding (that the whole universe is God's self-sacrifice), it transforms one's whole life into divine life.
The yogi's vision expands to include in his concept of God, his parents, teachers and guests.
The ritual widens into charity.
The heart is gradually purified, eventually to let the light of God shine unobstructed by the distortion of the ego.
There are others who do not worship the gods, but perform religious rites, for their own sake.
Though these rites promise heaven to the performer, he is encouraged to cut out this desire, in order that his action may lead him to the supreme.
Hence even the oblations are followed by the formula 'na mama' - 'not mine' or 'not for me'.
When these sacrifices purify one's heart the light of God reveals itself.
Eventually, this yogi offers sacrifice itself as an oblation into the fire of Brahman, the absolute.
All activities which were superimposed on Brahman, in ignorance, are offered in the knowledge of the transcendental reality which is the eternal witness of the dynamism of its nature.

April 10

rituals for meditation

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:26 - Some again offer hearing and other senses as sacrifice in the fire of restraint; others offer sound and various objects of the senses as sacrifice in the fire of the senses.
IV:27 - Others sacrifice all the functions of the senses, and those of the vital energy or Prana, in the fire of the Yoga of self-restraint, kindled by knowledge.

These are not external but internal 'rituals'.
External rituals are props for an internal process of meditation.
To the vast majority of people they are necessary.
There are a few spiritual heroes, however, who can dispense with them and enter the inner realm.
1. First kindle the fire of self-restraint within.
Into that burning desire for achieving perfect restraint, offer the cravings and longings of the senses as and when they arise.
The symbolism of the fire-worship will greatly help.
2. In the case of such activity and even such righteous enjoyments as are inevitable to the living of life, visualise the senses themselves as the sacrificial fire.
Offer the objects of enjoyment into this fire; this is a very effective way of getting rid of 'likes and dislikes' which are the result of over-rating the objects of the world.
The objects are like inert firewood, fuel for the senses which are the fire to be sustained so long as it is necessary for the enlightenment of the soul.
3. In a higher kind of meditation, the fire is samnyasa (combined practice of concentration, meditation and samadhi) and the oblation is the action (present and past) of all the senses and even the vital force.
Once the oblation is offered into the fire it becomes one with the fire which alone shines.
Thus, when the senses and the vital force are offered into the fire of atma-samnyasa, the self alone shines, after absorbing the oblations (senses and vital force) into itself.

April 11

spirit of sacrifice

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:28 - Some offer wealth, austerity, Yoga as sacrifice; while the ascetics of self-restraint and rigid vows offer study of scriptures and knowledge as sacrifice.
IV:29 - Others offer as sacrifice the outgoing breath in the incoming, and the incoming in the outgoing, restraining the courses of the outgoing and the incoming breaths, absorbed in the restraint of the breath.

Gradually, the spirit of yajna or sacrifice should widen to include all of one's activities, sacred and secular.
In all these the symbolism of 'sacred oblation', should be well understood and rightly applied.
1. In charity, the receiver is the fire and the gift is the oblation.
The wise man expects not even a word of thanks; the act is complete in itself.
2. In austerity, the fire is renunciation and self-denial, arid desires and cravings are the oblation.
The fire blazes more brightly with each oblation.
3. In yoga, the inner self is the fire and the mental modifications are the oblations.
The fire purifies the latter, transforms them into pure thoughts (sat samkalpa).
4. Svadhyaya or self-study of scriptures: desire for self-knowledge is the fire which is augmented with successive oblations of study of scriptures.
5. Jnana-yajna or the wisdom-sacrifice: seekers after truth are the fire and knowledge itself is the oblation.
The former are enlightened.
6. In pranayama, the solar (positive, prana) force is offered in (united with) the lunar (negative, apana) force; and the negative is poured into the positive at the solar plexus.
The fire thus generated, rouses the latent Kundalini Shakti, whose union with Siva at the crown of the head is enlightenment.

April 12

spirit of sacrifice

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:30 - Others who regulate their diet offer life-breaths in life-breaths. All these are knowers of sacrifice, whose sins are destroyed by sacrifice.
IV:31 - Those who 'eat' the remnants of the sacrifice, which are like nectar, go to the eternal Brahman. This world is not for the man who does not perform sacrifice; how then can he have the other, O Arjuna?

Lastly, there are those who are abstemious in their diet.
They eat merely to keep body and soul together.
When the life-force in them clamours for more, they turn it upon itself (offering, as it were, the life-force itself as the oblation into it).
The spirit of sacrifice destroys sin.
All these practices are neither good nor bad in themselves.
For example, austerity (tapas or fire) can either lead to the destruction of the sinful nature or increase one's vanity - depending on the inner spirit.
The spirit of yajna 'detaches' the self from the activity itself, thus allowing the latter to wipe the mirror clean so that in it the ever-pure self is instantly reflected in all its glory.
Failure to understand and adopt this symbolism will often result in our wiping the mirror with the face, thus transferring the evil tendency from the mirror (the body and mind) to the skin of the face (the ego).
The spirit of sacrifice also warns us not to expect anything in return; only the ashes of purity or sattva will remain after the sacrifice.
The sacred ashes are so dear to lord Siva (the divine auspiciousness itself) who naturally bestows upon us all that is good.
This residue of the sacrifice is nectar which confers immortality on us.
We must let it nourish our life in every way.
(It also refers to the remnants of charity, specially of food, which become holy and soul-purifying.)
He who is devoid of the spirit of sacrifice - the selfish man given wholly to sense-indulgence - is a burden on earth.

April 13

the flavor of life

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:32 - Thus, manifold sacrifices are spread out before Brahman. Know then all as born of action and thus knowing, thou shalt be liberated.
IV:33 - Superior is wisdom-sacrifice to the sacrifice with objects. All actions in their entirety, O Arjuna, culminate in knowledge.

The sacrifices given here in the Gita are only examples.
They indicate the essence of the art of life, the spirit of sacrifice or unselfishness.
It is not an ideal known as unselfishness, but the direct realisation that there in no self independent of the totality.
With this shall men flavour all the actions of this life.
The Creator intended that this spirit should govern all activities of all beings here.
Whereas the so-called 'lower' orders of creation (the plants, and the animals to a great extent) instinctively live in this spirit, man, instead of consciously participating in God's will which this spirit inculcates, dares to flout it and arrogate the action to himself.
He who knows that all sacrifices involve action and all actions should be performed as sacrifice, is liberated - from ignorance and egoism, sin and suffering.
Of the sacrifices described in this chapter and of the many more alluded to, the wisdom-sacrifice is the best.
All other gifts and all other activities are transitory in their effect.
Life itself is short, and even the most spectacular action is reduced to a few lines in a book of history and one more tendency in the soul - if it is not accompanied by right knowledge.
Knowledge, on the other hand, liberates the soul from bondage to samsara or the ever-revolving wheel of birth and death.
Do not forget that the giver of knowledge is a devotee who considers the recipient as his lord!
Whereas actions are inevitable, knowledge is the goal.
The inevitable actions should be performed in the spirit of sacrifice; but knowledge should be acquired and imparted at every turn.
For self-knowledge is the goal of actions themselves.

April 14


4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:34 - Know that knowledge by prostration, by question and by service; the wise who have realised the truth will instruct thee in it.
IV:35 - Knowing that, thou shalt not again get deluded like this, O Arjuna; and by that thou shalt see all beings in thy self and also in me.

This knowledge which is the goal as well as the basis of all actions, the knowledge of the spirit of sacrifice, has to be acquired from the 'knowers of truth' , but they wait till the seeker approaches them in the attitude of discipleship.
Prostration is only a symbol of surrender - prapatti.
This Sanskrit word has a wonderful import.
The student realises in his heart that he is sunk in grief for lack of knowledge, that he cannot obtain it on his own (from books etc.), and that the guru alone can guide him to it.
Before this three-fold fact is immediately and directly 'seen', and one's own vain 'knowledge' firmly rejected all of which enables true humility to arise in one's heart - no knowledge is of any practical use.
Even if some knowledge is acquired, it only acts as an intellectual burden, sinking man a little lower into the mire of vanity.
But once the right attitude is acquired, there is deep and genuine yearning at heart and we can learn from anything and anybody.
Dattatreya had twenty four guru.
The jnani or the guru is like a bridge.
The bridge is the 'other shore's' helping hand reaching out to this.
The guru is God's helping hand reaching out to the seeker.
The seeker must surrender his vanity to the guru and prove his devotion by whole-souled service.
The guru will then impart the highest knowledge to the disciple, understanding, grasping and assimilating which, the latter will experience cosmic consciousness.
Incorrect understanding of any of the factors involved will lead to a dreadful caricature of the beautiful guru-disciple relationship.

April 15

intuitional knowledge

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:36 - Even if thou art the most sinful of all sinners, yet thou shalt verily cross all sins by the raft of knowledge.
IV:37 - As the blazing fire reduces fuel to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge reduce all actions to ashes.

This jnana or intuitional knowledge or wisdom is fire.
It burns. It purifies. It illumines.
It burns all the impurities within the human heart.
It purifies all that it touches.
It illumines the truth.
The self, hidden in the heart of man by the veil of ignorance with its heavy encrustation of sinful deeds birth after birth, is the truth.
It is the veil that is affected by sin.
The self - like space - is unaffected by whatever happens; it is unlimited and ever pure.
When the fire of knowledge is kindled in the human heart by the sage-guru, this fire reduces the evil - (which is veil misspelt) - to ashes.
The heavy encrustation of sin only makes the fire grow more fierce!
The thickness of this encrustation is immaterial; fire is unaltered by what it burns, and fire burns all!
Quantity is not the criterion here; a spark can reduce a whole forest to ashes.
Unlike most forest fires, but like the fire that catches a veil, this fire of knowledge destroys the very roots, the entire veil of sinfulness.
With ignorance is burnt desire along with its ramifications as sinful tendencies.
The fruits of past actions (sancita karma) are burnt too, for they were themselves part of the dream from which the wise man has been awakened.
The future actions (agami karma) are egoless and desireless and so bear no fruit.
But 'sarva karmini' is plural, not dual.
Even prarabdha karma (the effect of past actions which have begun to fructify) which governs this incarnation, is 'cheated' by the wise man who does not identify the self with the body and the mind.
(Parabdha karma can afflict only the body and the mind.)
Thus freed from karma and ignorance, even the most sinful man shines as a sage in the light of knowledge of the self.
Neither the veil of ignorance, nor the evil action, nor to live in sin and suffering (note the three words in bold type have the same letters) is based on truth.
They are born of non-understanding and die on understanding.

April 16

the purpose of creation

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:38 - Verily, there is no purifier in this world like knowledge. He who is perfected in yoga finds it in the self in time.
IV:39 - The man who is full of faith, who is devoted to it, and who has subdued the senses obtains knowledge. And, having obtained the knowledge, he goes at once to the supreme peace.

No-one is barred from knowledge of God or self-realisation.
No-one is eternally damned here.
All beings will gradually evolve into perfection.
In due time, every living being (even a worm which you may tread on!) will attain perfection in yoga and find knowledge in the self.
That is the purpose of creation; the world exists to provide schooling for the individual so that it may attain perfection.
Perfection is the direct experience that imperfection (self-limitation, sin and sorrow) is but a dream.
Self-realisation is the truth; self is ever real!
There are some who say: "We shall get it in due time - why bother?"
They fail to see that only when the time has come does one bother.
The pregnant woman bides her time.
It is only when the time arrives that she bothers!
Not that she bothers because she wants to.
The seeker cannot help it; his time has come.
For the others, too, the time will come, for all are evolving towards perfection.
How can we recognise whose time has arrived?
By faith.
The seeker who is at the threshold of knowledge is full of faith.
This faith is totally different from the faith (blind, biased belief) that breeds conflict.
This faith is born of a veiled vision of truth.
In the ignorant the truth is veiled; in the faithful truth shines trough the veil.
This faith compels him to be devoted to that, the self or God, with his body, mind, heart and whole being.
This whole-souled devotion is accompanied by its natural corollary - he is self-controlled and his mind and senses do not run riot.
All this burns the veil and reveals knowledge.
This knowledge quickly leads the seeker to the supreme peace or Brahman.

April 17

doubt is a great destroyer

4 - Karma Jnana Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom.

IV:40 - The ignorant, the faithless, the doubting self goes to destruction; there is neither this world nor the other, nor happiness for the doubting.
IV:41 - He who has renounced actions by yoga, whose doubts are rent asunder by knowledge and who is self-possessed - actions do not bind him, O Arjuna.
IV:42 - Therefore, with the sword of the knowledge cut asunder the doubt of the self born of ignorance residing in thy heart and take refuge in yoga. Arise, O Arjuna.

He whose time has not yet come is known by his faithlessness.
He goes to 'destruction', not total annihilation, but destruction of this precious opportunity granted by the Lord.
This human birth is the door to liberation.
He who utilises it for this great purpose is saved; he who does not, slams the door in his own face.
He destroys, as it were, the raft that could have taken him across the ocean of samsara.
Doubt is a great destroyer.
We are commanded by the Lord to question our preceptors.
Towards the conclusion of the Gita, Krsna further commands Arjuna to reflect over what he had told him.
We should question the guru and then reflect over what he tells us; but with faith, not with a doubting intellect!
Questioning and doubting are two very different mental actions.
Questioning is a necessary step to the acquisition of knowledge; doubting is refusal to listen, refusal to think, refusal to look within, refusal to understand.
Under cover of doubt, the ego thrives - the ego manages not to doubt itself.
The man whose heart is full of doubts has no peace, no happiness even in this world; he does nothing good which could earn him a better world hereafter.
What a loss!
Doubt must be slain by knowledge.
The seeker must quickly begin the practice of yoga!

April 18

real renunciation

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:1 - Arjuna said: Renunciation of all actions, O Krsna, thou praisest, and again yoga. Tell me conclusively that which is the better of the two.
V:2 - The blessed Lord said: Renunciation and the yoga of action, both lead to the highest bliss. But, of the two, the yoga of action is superior to the renunciation of action.
V:3 - He should be known as a perpetual renunciate who neither hates nor desires. For, free from the pairs of opposites, O Arjuna, he is easily set free from bondage.

The confusion arose over a misunderstanding of verse forty one of the previous chapter!
The word 'samnyasa' meant (and means even now to the narrow-minded, orthodox bigot) giving up of all activities and enjoyments.
Enjoyment was supposed to cause attachment and action provided the fuel to keep the wheel of karma revolving.
To talk of samnyasa and activity in the same breath was obviously a contradiction in their eyes.
The famous story of queen Cudala in the Yoga Vasistha brings out the kernel of renunciation graphically.
Renunciation should be of that which is 'mine'.
Worldly objects belong to the world; renouncing them would be like the beggar in South India renouncing his claims to the throne of England: they do not exist!
Attachment to worldly activities may be replaced by attachment to so-called spiritual activities, with no real spiritual benefit!
If a king enjoys his cup of wine, a mendicant might sip a cup of milk with equal pleasure!
Patanjali warns us that even the 'bliss' of savikalpa samadhi is an extremely subtle substitute for sense-pleasure.
Real renunciation is abandonment of egoistic acceptance and rejection, love and hatred, likes and dislikes.
Real renunciation is renunciation of the only thing that 'belongs to me' viz., ignorance, the foolish ideas of 'I' (in relation to the body) and 'mine' (in relation to the objects of the world).
Longing and aversion both spring from false values.
By giving both up one is freed from their bondage while remaining active.

April 19

the value of pleasure

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:4 - Only the ignorant speak of devotional service as being different from the analytical study of the material world. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both.
V:5 - One who knows that the position reached by means of analytical study can also be attained by devotional service, and who therefore sees study and devotional service to be on the same level, sees things as they are.

Why does man 'renounce' objects of sense-enjoyments?
When a scorpion falls into your lap, why do you throw it away?
Because you fear it will sting you.
The sting will give you pain and take away happiness - sense-pleasure, which you wish to enjoy!
You value that pleasure and you credit the scorpion with the power to take it away.
Similarly in the case of other objects; you super-impose on them a certain exaggerated value in relation to your own egoistic pleasure-instinct.
So long as this valuation lasts, even their renunciation is of no value.
For, the renunciation of pleasure is motivated by the desire for pleasure (euphemistically called supreme bliss or heaven).
Knowledge deflates this value.
In the light of knowledge the man of wisdom perceives the whole universe (of which his body and mind are parts) as the body of God with the countless beings doing their duty as cells in it.
Likewise, such a man's body and mind obey his will, unfettered by his self-arrogating ego.
Being established in this knowledge, he finds that the only factor to be renounced is ego and its private reactions (likes and dislikes): even this is not 'renunciation', as the ego as an independent entity is non-existent - knowledge enables one to realise the unreal as unreal.
God rules the wise man's body and mind which function according to his will.
It cannot be otherwise.
Knowledge of God gives knowledge of his will and this will is done by the yogi spontaneously.
Knowledge and action are two sides of the same coin.
To be established well in one is to practise both!

April 20

dynamic living

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:6 - Merely renouncing all activities yet not engaging in the devotional service is hard to realise. But the wise engaged in devotional service can achieve the supreme without delay.
V:7 - One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.

This renunciation of egoism, private desires and hopes is impossible without the practice of yoga (which is described in the next two verses).
It will be seen therefrom that the practice of this yoga involves dynamic living.
Without this dynamism one might fall into the error of clinging to inflated, subtle, false values, after unwittingly renouncing the right values - even as a man who peels a banana sitting inside a railway compartment might throw the fruit out of the window and put the skin into his mouth!
The ever-watchful yogi acts in this world in the right spirit.
He finds that life itself offers him countless opportunities of discovering his own hidden evils, of purifying his heart, of detecting the wiles of the cunning ego, of understanding the innumerable guises in which his own lower self might appear and lead him astray, and of piercing the veil of maya.
He who practises the yoga described in the next few verses will discover that the world, far from being a hindrance, is truly a great help in the practice of yoga.
The Bhagavatam assures us that that is truly the purpose of the Lord's creation - to help the souls to evolve, to awaken and to lead them to enlightenment.
The yogi must realise that his self is the self of all; and how can he do that if he 'renounces' the world and all activities?
It is in the context of an active life in the world that yogi discovers how the momentary experiencer (the ego) is turned into a permanent entity by a trick of memory (the me).
This discovery is the ending of the ego, and the arising of the spirit of yoga.

April 21

a subtle snag

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:8 - A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all.
V:9 - Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them.

There is a subtle snag here; it is not as though the 'I' feels greatly superior to all these activities and makes this declaration as a business executive might: "I do nothing, my staff is efficient."
The 'I' itself loses its first person-ness, being absorbed in the cosmic being.
Failure to appreciate this will land us in perversion and terrible vanity.
The truth has to be discovered, not assumed and asserted.
This is possible not by a physical or even psychological withdrawal from the world but by an unceasing enquiry into the source of all action - not 'I' but 'God'.
Is it possible for one to be devoid of this and yet continue to live and act?
Yes; though, in the very nature of phenomena such people are bound to be extremely rare.
To give a crude analogy, they function like plants.
Plants have life and perhaps wonderful intelligence.
Even today scientists are struggling to discover what makes the grass green and why it is capable of manufacturing food direct from the elements, whereas man has to depend upon plants for his nutrition.
The plants have no individual ego-sense.
They respond to God's nature, to his will.
Similarly the egoless man responds to God's will rather, he serves as a clear channel, absolutely nonresisting, for his will.
But in his case the guiding factor is intuition, a ray of God's own omniscience, which lets him do God's will spontaneously.
Since there is no egoistic intelligence in him, he is not even aware of this intuitive wisdom.
But we can recognise him by the total absence of personal selfish desires in him and by the unbroken peace that he radiates.
He is no longer man, but he is God.

April 22

the ego is not permanent

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:10 - One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results to the supreme, is not affected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.
V:11 - Yogis, having abandoned attachment, perform actions only by the body, mind, intellect and also by the senses, for the purification of the self.

The emphasis on 'abandoning attachment' is worth meditating upon.
Those two words are like a double-edged sword without even a handle - it is difficult to hold!
Likewise it is difficult to realise this state of nonattachment.
The man who says: "I am not attached to anything" is terribly attached to that estimation of himself!
It is not 'doing this' or 'refraining from this' that is the criterion; for both may be born of 'attachment'!
No guidance whatsoever can be given here - the mind may get attached to the guidance, and mistake the description for the truth.
Only the vigilant yogi knows what this means.
The yogi is ever mindful of the presence of God in himself (which he had mistaken for the 'I') and the omnipresence of God in all beings.
He endeavours to keep this awareness steady in his mind all the time.
But the mind might play wonderful tricks with him, too.
A pleasurable object or person might appear to be truly full of God; and the yogi might find his mind sticking to it (incidentally, the Sanskrit word for 'friendship' is 'sneha' which also means 'glue'!).
He has to retrieve his heart from it with skill but retain the right attitude to God's omnipresence.
Again, the ego might assert itself and proclaim that God is the indwelling presence, specially manifest in the yogi's heart, goading him to keep away from this or that.
The ego might speak in God's voice!
The ego might spread a subtle net of self-importance in which the yogi might be caught.
If, however, he is able to find the subtle middle path - without withholding himself and without getting attached - he will live in God, doing his will, never tainted by the sin of egoism.
The second verse gives freedom of action not only to the body and the senses, but to the mind and the rational faculty.
The ego? It has no permanent existence.

April 23

renunciation is liberation

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:12 - The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union with the divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes entangled.
V:13 Mentally renouncing all actions and self-controlled, the embodied one rests peaceful in the nine-gated city, neither acting nor causing others to act.

Whether the doer of all actions is God himself, or whether it is his nature (prakrti), it is certainly not the individual ego.
The individual ego rises and falls with every action or experience; the real ego is part of God's nature!
The whole universe is the body of God in which his will prevails, guided by his consciousness.
In this context, renunciation of desire for 'fruits of actions' is the most natural and sensible thing to do!
Even the most vital organ in our body (the heart), which functions day and night, does not demand a reward!
Yet we, who are little parts of a cell of the body of God do nothing unless assured of a reward!
This desire is bondage.
Its renunciation is liberation.
When this is clearly seen, the desire does not arise at all.
Even as every cell of our body receives its nourishment and life-force as long as it does its job, even so we shall receive from God what we deserve.
Why beg for it?
Krsna asks us to atomise ourselves and regard our self as the citizen of this nine-gated city, the body.
The body has its own king (God) and administration (God's nature or prakrti).
The citizen enjoys peace, prosperity and security by merely living in obedience to the law.
It is useless on his part to suffer the king's headaches.
The same analogy can be applied to us who are cells in God's cosmic body.
He is the doer or perhaps he causes his nature to do; but we neither do anything nor do we cause anything else to do.
It is the motor which rotates the many wheels, not the other way round.
God is the Cosmic motor.

April 24

how does one wake up?

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:14 - The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does not create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature.
V:15 - The Lord accepts neither the demerit nor even the merit of any; knowledge is enveloped by ignorance, thereby beings are deluded.

There is plenty of work to do in the Lord's good world - but it is his world, his body.
His life, power, nature or Shakti is the motive force.
His consciousness or intelligence is the guiding force, His own body, the universe, is the field.
The innumerable microcosmic beings are cells in that body, joyously and purposefully participating in his work, sharing his life, power and nature, and united with his consciousness or intelligence.
The individualised fraction is not the whole; but it is nondifferent from the whole and when it realises its true nature as such, it is indivisibly one with the whole.
Egoism is a mysterious deluding power.
Individuation is inherent in the infinite as a potentiality all the time.
Creation is the actualisation of this potentiality.
Like the unperceivable dot on the circumference of a circle, like the raindrop which has not isolated itself from the rain bearing cloud, it should be (and is) ever one with the infinite (though misunderstood to be only part of it).
How this assumes independence of the infinite is a mystery!
Is it ever independent of the infinite, in truth?
But, thank God, such division is a product of ignorance.
When this ignorance is removed it will vanish.
Even the law of cause and effect is based on this ignorant and egoistic idea of agency.
In God, in his eyes, there is neither cause nor effect, neither merit nor demerit, neither heaven nor hell, neither bondage nor liberation.
None of these affects him; and none of these helps him in us to reveal himself.
All of them function in the darkness of our soul-slumber.
They will vanish when we wake up.
How does one wake up? Wake up!

April 25


5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:16 - When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime.
V:17 - Their intellect absorbed in That, their self being That; established in That, with That as their supreme goal, they go whence there is no return, their sins dispelled by knowledge.

When one wakes up, his dream with all the dream-objects (pleasant and unpleasant), dream-experiences (happiness and misery), dream-actions (good and bad), dream-creations (heaven and hell) and the dream-personality (bound to a delusion) vanish.
Man immediately realises that he is a cell in the body of God, that his self is the self of all, that by virtue of his oneness with the all, he is the all!
Not the deluded and ignorant 'I', but God's nature prevails here, and functions in him, as it functions in the entire universe.
This, however, is not mental activity, nor intellectual assent, nor a pious belief.
It is realisation; one who has it need not intellectualise it or verbalise it.
The yogi who has this knowledge enters the state of sleepless sleep.
In sleep, too, our entire physical organism functions, in obedience to God's nature.
We are at peace and we commit no sin.
The man who lets God's nature or will prevail even during the waking hours is at peace and commits no sin.
He lives in the constant awareness that Brahman alone is true, the 'world' as such is false perception, and the individual soul is, in essence, one with Brahman.
His self realises its identity with the supreme self.
It is not a question of faith or belief, but firm conviction, an unshakable one like the conviction 'I am a human being', needing no proof.
This conviction, permeating every thought, word and deed, itself is his goal.
With ignorance, egoism and self-limitation gone, he is not subjected to limitation (birth) any more!

April 26

sin is ignorance

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:18 - The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and an outcaste.
V:19 - Those whose minds are established in sameness and equanimity have already conquered the conditions of birth and death. They are flawless like Brahman, and thus they are already situated in Brahman.

This doctrine of essential equality or 'sameness' is difficult for the ignorance-conditioned intellect to grasp.
It is not the dull and drab sameness of uniformity in which all skins will be treated to have the same colour, all noses and faces will be standardised by plastic surgery, all men (and all beings) will eat the same food, wear the same clothes and will be treated in identical manner.
The sage views all in the same light.
He does not forget that they have different duties, places and needs - as cells in different parts of the one body of God.
He recognises that the dog and the cow are one in God, and this recognition takes the form in him of attitudes and actions as befit the different roles allotted to them.
The application of this doctrine is not as simple as it sounds!
For, it is the seeing of sameness that is vital, and any action that substitutes this seeing will lead us astray.
This 'sameness' is the nature of God.
God is faultless and spotless.
We see that also in his nature, the five elements are all pure and purifying.
The self is identical with God and thus free from sin.
Sin is ignorance.
In the dark, you see some animals moving in the backyard.
You throw a stone and go to sleep satisfied that they have gone.
They were but shadows!
But the 'stone-throwing' created an impression in your mind.
In our lives such actions give rise to tendencies that lead to sin and rebirth.
The enlightened soul does not get involved in delusion, sin, and therefore birth and death!
Absorbed in 'sameness' it realises its eternal oneness with Brahman, the infinite.

April 27

a double-edged sword

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:20 - A person who neither rejoices on achieving something pleasant nor laments on obtaining something unpleasant, who is self- intelligent, unbewildered, and who knows the science of God, is to be understood as already situated in beyondness.
V:21 - Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure or external objects but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realised person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.

The knowledge outlined in the preceding verses is a double-edged sword.
The clever, cunning and pleasure seeking ego often uses it in pursuit of its own revelry in the darkness of ignorance.
Hence, the ancient sages had wisely withheld this knowledge from the unclean hands of the undisciplined soul.
Krsna, while throwing the gates of knowledge open to all, exposes 'the other edge' of the sword clearly.
It is easy to say "God's will" or "I see God in all", when the mind and senses are pampered and the ego is inflated.
It does not demand spiritual heroism to demonstrate brave equanimity when life is smooth and fortune is smiling.
But, just as night follows day, their counterparts follow them.
Then is the time to demonstrate true equilibrium of mind! If you can truly be indifferent to misfortune, dishonour, failure and pain, you are a yogi.
This is possible by a twofold sadhana:
1. Detach the mind from external contacts.
Reduce the self to zero.
In your own heart experience the bliss of God.
2. Expand.
Know that the self is the all-pervading Brahman.
Realise you are the all.
Enjoy the perennial bliss.
In (1) the external disturbing elements do not even touch you.
In (2) you identify yourself with them too; you are the robber and you are the robbed - you have only changed the lost object from one hand to the other!
You will ever be happy.
However, unless this sadhana springs from, or is at least accompanied by self-knowlegde, it will lead either to hypocrisy or, worse, to repression of emotion.

April 28

sense pleasure is not eternal

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:22 - An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, O Arjuna, which are due to contact of the senses with the material objects; such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.

This applies even to our own physical body!
When there is a rash on the skin, scratching it feels pleasant, but the result is a worsening of the condition.
When there is high fever the tongue likes food and drink which aggravate the misery.
As cells in the body of God, this is true of us.
These 'cells', conditioned perversely by the pleasure-seeking ego, indulge in 'contacts' which are harmful.
The soul, which is forever one with the supreme being, is carried away by these momentary sense-pleasures.
They are not eternal.
When they come they appear to be pleasant, but this is soon followed by their departure which causes unpleasantness over prolonged periods.
This tragedy, however, is the direct result of the mind labelling and liking the momentary experience as 'pleasure', thus making it desirable and giving rise to a craving for repetition.
A careful observation will reveal that, in truth, the so-called worldly pleasures are 'the mothers of pain'.
By looking at the offspring, it is possible to know the genes of the parent.
We know that in this world every indulgence in worldly 'pleasure' is sooner or later followed (as its offspring) by great pain.
The pleasure that gave birth to this pain should, logically, have been pain only.
It was; but was mistaken for pleasure.
This definition must qualify the wise man whose characteristics we studied in the foregoing verses.
He is naturally not interested in worldly pleasures.
Mark that Krsna does not ask him to shun them!
There is no struggle involved in this.
He who is blissful in God is just not interested in worldly pleasures, in perpetuating them by thought.
Even the description of these pleasures as 'wombs of pain' and 'limited by time' is but a statement of fact and not a preventive threat!
We should not forget that the yogi is tranquil, not even frightened by contact with worldly objects.

April 29

the goal of man

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:23 - He who is able, while still here in this world to withstand, before the liberation from the body, the impulse born of desire, he is a yogi and a happy man.
V:24 - One whose happiness is within, who is active within, who rejoices within and is illumined within, is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme.

In the inner depth of one's being is the point of contact with Brahman the absolute.
It is significant, therefore, that modern science has turned its searchlight of analysis on the 'nucleus', the subtler than the cell structure, for a knowledge of the fundamentals.
No wonder, either, that herein is discovered amazing intelligence, power and order.
Are we on the threshold of a scientific discovery of God?
We, too, shall find our peace and bliss, light and life, in that innermost depth where the soul is God.
We shall realise that the force of God's love holding the whole universe together is misunderstood by the soul as the source of that sense-pleasure which is easily experienced.
The soul foolishly desires such pleasure, transferring it to external objects.
The yogi clears this mist of ignorance and rejoices within the self.
Pleasure is not the goal of Indian ethics or religion.
If personal pleasure is good (and so the goal of man), then there would be chaos in this world; for what is pleasant for one causes pain in another; and someone's pleasure is always bought at the expense of another's.
Krsna, therefore, deliberately turns man's vision away from pleasure-seeking desire.
Pleasure and pain will still seek us out, on account of past karma, but if we refrain from desiring pleasure and hating pain, karma will work itself out and we shall be liberated.

April 30

the bliss of the wise

5 - Karma Vairagya Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Renunciation and Action.

V:25 - One who is beyond duality and doubt, whose mind is engaged within, who is always busy working for the welfare of all sentient beings, and who is free from all sins, achieves liberation in the Supreme.
V:26 - Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who are self-realised, self-disciplined and constantly endeavoring for perfection, are assured of liberation in the Supreme in the very near future.

The whole series of verses describing the nature of a wise man should be read together in order to obtain a clear picture of Krsna's idea.
Half-knowledge is like jumping half the width of an abyss.
'Sameness' is Brahman; and if we get firmly established in perfect equanimity and equilibrium of mind, we shall realise our oneness with the absolute.
That sounds simple! But that is only part of the definition.
The wise man is full of dispassion.
He does not allow himself to be led away by desire and hatred - the two emotions (e-motion, i.e. externalised movement) that lead the soul away from its centre, Brahman.
That seems simple, perhaps, especially to a dry kill-joy ascetic.
But this again is only partial description.
Such dispassion must be born of an inner experience of supreme bliss.
The wise man is full of it.
He is convinced of its reality.
You may think: "Perhaps even this is not so difficult after all; people have discovered drugs which will create an inner wonderland." Oh, no....
This bliss is not hallucination, but an inner light. It is not a fool's paradise, but the paradise of the sage who sees the self in all and is, therefore, vigorously engaged in the promotion of the welfare of all beings!
Such bliss is the true, perfect, perfection.

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