Daily Readings

The Song of God - October

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

Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Venkatesaya

October 1


14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:1 - The Blessed Lord said : I will again declare to you that supreme knowledge, the best of all knowledge, having known which all the sages have gone to the supreme perfection after this life.
XIV:2 - They who, having taken refuge in this knowledge, attain to unity with me, are neither born at the time of creation nor are they disturbed at the time of dissolution.

Once again we are being prepared for a big surprise.
The Gita is a blazing spiritual fire.
It helps us light the torch of wisdom in our own heart.
A lamp cannot be lighted except from another flame, yet, if the lamp to be lighted is not brought into heart-to-heart contact with the flame it is not lighted, however glorious and fierce the flame may be.
Not proximity, but only intimate contact between the lamp and the flame can ensure lighting.
That is what the words "upasana" (usually translated into "worship") and "upanisad" (unfortunately thought of as the words of a book) mean; and that is the vital factor in guru-disciple relationship.
When you look at someone whom you love, the ignition of the torch of inner wisdom, saktipata, happens instantly.
That look is saktipata - a non-verbal communication even though it may be accompanied by some verbal utterance.
Ramana Maharsi says very beautifully: "When you learn to silence your mind and think with your heart, you can be a recipient of this saktipata."
In the realm of transcendental wisdom, the intellect can only act as the bridesmaid.
The heart is the bride.
When devotion makes a direct approach to divinity, intellect follows and under stands.
Reality is not opposed to reason, but transcends it.
Divinity is not subject to reason and logic (which are the playground of intellect born of ignorance), yet when the heart obtains a glimpse of it, the intellect is able to provide the rationale.
Krishna, therefore, announces dramatically that he is about to reveal a great truth which will free us from birth and death.

October 2

reflected glory

14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:3 - The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth; in that I place the germ, making possible the births of all living beings, O Arjuna.
XIV:4 - Whatever forms are produced, Arjuna, in any womb whatever, the great Brahma is their womb, and I am the seed-giving father.

This is a divine mystery, not because it has been hidden away by any sect or clan, but because it is beyond the reach of the intellect - hence incomprehensible; and of speech - hence indescribable.
Only revelation is of any avail here; this revelation should be devoutly received and then intellectually understood.
God alone is the reality.
That is the deep significance of the simple word "omnipresent" which all of us use in relation to him.
This reality has with it, in an inexplicable way (maya), infinite energy (prakrti or divine nature) which is capable of either remaining latent or becoming patent.
This is logically acceptable because it cannot be disproved!
That energy is called mahat-brahma.
Visualize it a cosmic mirror with infinite reflectors.
The one being is immediately manifested in all these reflectors as infinite beings.
Since the one being is all-consciousness, the reflected infinite beings, too, come to possess that consciousness, but in a reflected way; and it is this reflection we refer to as "intelligence" in the individual.
Essentially is divine, but it is finite and shines in reflected glory.
This perhaps is the meaning of the biblical expression "Man is made in the image of God".
For the purpose of human comprehension, this divine act of reflection is expressed as impregnation.
However the inevitable duality of father and mother should not confuse us into super-imposing duality on the one being.
Rather, the analogy should be modified to a curved mirror (of horseshoe shape) with the two poles reflecting on each other thus producing infinite mirrors within mirrors.
Since God is consciousness, these infinite reflections are endowed with intelligence.

October 3

three qualities

14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:5 - Material nature consists of the three modes - goodness, passion and ignorance. When the living entity comes in contact with nature, he becomes conditioned by these modes.

Even when the sky is clear, you know there is moisture in it.
When there is pressure or depression somewhere, this moisture condenses into white clouds.
If the atmospheric change continues, while cloud changes into black, rain-bearing cloud.
That black cloud, though one, has hidden in it the potentiality of drop-formation - one yet many!
In a few minutes the drops form and they do not linger in the sky but fall to earth.
In vedanta (Indian philosophy) the clear sky is comparable to Brahman the absolute, with prakrti or nature "hidden" in it.
The pressure is comparable to the original vibration (Om) or the word or logos.
The white cloud, to Tsvara (the supreme personal God).
The black cloud, to hiranyagarbha (the world soul) when you view it as a whole, and to virat (manifestation) when you view it as just an aggregate of individuals.
Rainwater in Australia, America and Africa, is all the same.
The difference lies in what it falls on; then it becomes good, bad or indifferent.
The three qualities belong to divine nature.
Take fire, for example.
The mysterious power that burns in fire is God.
The visible flame is divine nature.
This flame has inherent in it three qualities: light, heat and smoke (comparable to sattva, rajas and tamas respectively).
Similarly, the entire universe is composed of three strands of existence.
One is the light.
In every atom there is something luminous, and it is because of this inner light that we exist and are able to recognize one another.
Then, there is something in every atom that is dynamic, which vibrates; and, in addition, every atom has something that the scientist calls "inertia".
This eventually makes up the mass of material, physical bodies.
The individual soul is pure; it is actually not different from God.
However, it is caught in these three qualities of divine nature.
Why? - We do not conclusively know.

October 4

which guna?

14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:6 - O sinless one, the mode of goodness, being purer than the others, is illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode develop knowledge, but they become conditioned by the concept of happiness.
XIV:7 - The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, and because of this, the embodied living entity is bound to material fruitive actions.
XIV:8 - But know you Tamas to be born of ignorance, deluding all embodied beings; it binds the conditioned soul by heedlessness, sleep and indolence.

These are the fundamental characteristics of the three qualities of nature.
A knowledge of these three qualities is extremely essential.
Our Master often asked: "Do you know which guna (quality)is operating in you at a particular time"?
If we do, then we shall be able to adapt our life and activity in such a way as to utilize the operation of the particular quality and prevent it from leading us away from our center, God.
So long as one is embodied, one cannot completely disentangle oneself from these qualities of nature.
Social workers often delude themselves that the service they render is itself yoga.
Deep meditation on these three verses will awaken them to the truth that their service is often rajasa that is always accompanied by attachment and desire for worldly objects, name and fame.
Introspection will enable them to retain the activity and eliminate attachment or desire.
A man who cares for nothing, who is not sincere enough to love anyone, or daring enough to hate, may pat his own back and think himself nearly a sage.
Verse 8 reminds him that he is tamasa.
He should remove the heedlessness and then maintain equilibrium.
Even knowledge and happiness, though sattvika, are only bondage.
Knowing this, the aspirant is careful not to stop there.
All the qualities must be transcended and the self realized here and now.

October 5

the sage's strength

14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:9 - Satva attaches to happiness, rajas to action, Arjuna, while tamas, shrouding knowledge, attaches to heedlessness negligence.
XIV:10 - Now satva prevails, O Arjuna, having overpowered rajas and tamas; now rajas, having overpowered satva and tamas; and now tamas, having overpowered satva and rajas.

The introspective spiritual aspirant is amazed, shocked and terrified when he discovers that in spite of himself his moods continuously change.
Now he is happy; now he is restless; now he is lazy.
Now he is wise; now he is passionate; now he is idle.
"How is it," he wonders, "that in spite of being one whole, I am sometimes holy, sometimes human and at other times beastly?"
When he is advanced enough in meditation and when he has developed the witness-consciousness, he will realize that these passing moods need not necessarily affect "him", that they do not "belong" to him, but that they are the triple streams of sattva, rajas and tamas - part of the divine nature - which merely cast their shadows on him as they march past.
What is a personality if the wisdom, the dynamism and the stupidity it has are all removed?
All of us, the greatest of saints and the worst of sinners, are subject to these three qualities, though the proportion may vary, because we are part of nature.
However, in ignorance we superimpose their effects upon ourselves.
Even though these qualities may obstruct the vision of the true self, they do not affect or alter it.
The soul is ever pure, unaffected by any of the three qualities of nature.
This is the fountain-source of the sage's strength.
If a colored object is placed near a crystal, the crystal appears to undergo a complete change.
In fact, it remains unchanged in its essential nature - it merely reflects the color of the object in front of it.
A clear understanding of this truth frees man from fear, grief and delusion, and throws open the path to redemption.

October 6

knowledge of the guna

14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:11 - When, through every gate in this body, the wisdom-light shines, then it may be known that satva is predominant.
XIV:12 - Greed, activity, the undertaking of actions, restlessness, longing - these arise when the rajas is predominant, O Arjuna.
XIV:13 - Darkness, inertness, heedlessness and delusion - these arise when tamas is predominant, O Arjuna.

Here and in the seventeenth (and part of the eighteenth) chapter, Krishna classifies the three guna in great detail.
Our endeavor should always be to keep clear of unnecessary tamas (sleep, for instance, may be necessary), and turn even rajasa energy sattva-ward.
Even sattva is not the goal; but it is the quality nearest the center.
It is a transparent veil and hence allows a full vision of the reality.
In all that we engage ourselves in, if we avoid the tamasa category and increase the sattva in us, so that it will utilize the rajasa energy for our own and others' spiritual evolution, we shall soon discover the path to sattva-transcendence.
When sattva prevails, there is wisdom and light in all the senses.
They do not distract the mind.
Knowledge of this will help us utilize these periods for meditation on God (which will sustain the sattva) and for spiritual ministry.
When rajas prevails, there is restlessness within and the urgeto be active.
One may not be able to completely avoid this, nor is it always necessary to avoid it.
Narada in his Bhakti Sutra assures us that even desire, egoism, and so on can be directed towards God.
When there is longing for a worldly object, it is possible with good preliminary training, to turn the longing Godward!
When tamas prevails and there is stupidity in the mind, we should avoid its expression in actions and, by various methods like yoga asana, pranayama, a brisk walk, and so on, drive tamas away.
Knowledge of the guna for understanding of oneself is a great help.

October 7


14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:14 - If the embodied one meets with death when satva has become predominant, then he attains to the spotless worlds of the knowers of the Highest.
XIV:15 - Meeting death in rajas, he is born among those who are attached to action; and dying in tamas, he is born in the womb of the senseless.

Krishna has already emphasized the great truth that one's subsequent birth is determined by the 'bhava' (state of one's inner being) at the time life departs from the body.
Now he expands the idea.
If that bhava is sattvika, he will ascend to higher regions.
Though in the literal sense the verse does imply that even if by accident the wicked man is in a sattvika state, e.g. he is in holy company, he will rise to a higher region; normally this is not possible.
At the time of departure from the world that quality alone will prevail which has been predominant most of our life.
Two conclusions are derived from this:
(i) That we should endeavor to keep the heart and mind always sattvika, by remembering God constantly.
(ii) Whatever has been the biography of the dying man, those related to him would do him.
The greatest service if they, at the slightest premonition of the end, surround him with a spiritual atmosphere, singing of God's names, recitation of scriptures, etc., and prevent any show of worldly affections and attachments that will effectively prevent him from rising higher in evolution.
The fact has been clearly stated here that it is not inevitable that the soul returns to this earth; it may do so, or it may ascend to the regions of pure souls or descend into the worlds of the senseless (human or subhuman).
In photography, the quality of the print depends on the state of the negative.
Similarly with nature. Abandon the complacent attitude that once a human being, always a human being.
If the heart and mind are subhuman, where is the injustice in earning a subhuman birth?

October 8

deliberately break through

14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:16 - The fruit of good action, they say, is harmonious and pure; the fruit of rajas is sorrow and pain, and ignorance is the fruit of tamas.

We should avoid the misunderstanding that these three qualities are gross material objects like fire or water.
Their function is not as simple as the dictum: if you are hot, get into water; if you are cold, go near fire.
They are subtle qualities of nature, being what heat is to fire and coolness is to ice.
Heat and fire have no independent or cause-and-effect relationship, but an intimate and immediate relationship; for the distinction between them is purely academic.
One depends on the other; because one is the other.
The fruit of good action is sattvika or pure; and the manifestation of the sattvika is good action.
Similarly, the fruit of passionate activity is rajasa, manifesting pain.
The quality of rajas, passionate activity and pain are three shades of the same factor.
In the same way, ignorance is tamas; ignorance is the fruit of tamas, and tamas is the fruit of ignorance.
One cannot draw a distinctive line anywhere.
This, however, should not lead us to a vicious circle.
We must deliberately break through somewhere.
We should endeavor, with the help of the "categories" given in detail in the seventeenth and the eighteenth chapters of the Gita, to increase the sattva in us.
This will result in our actions being good, which in turn will result in greater increase of sattva.
Rajas, unless based on or directed towards sattva, is itself pain.
Aimless dynamism will sooner or later result in disillusionment and the painful realization that all endeavors not directed towards the realization of God was waste.
We should beware of this, as also the complacent attitude, "All is well, I don't care", that tamas or ignorance gives rise to.

October 9

the ladder of evolution

14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:17 - From sattwa arises knowledge, and greed from rajas; heedlessness and delusion arise from tamas, and ignorance also.
XIV:18 - Those who are seated in satva proceed upwards; the rajasic dwell in the middle; and the tamasic, abiding in the function of the lowest guna, go downwards.

We should avoid the misunderstanding that these three qualities are gross material objects like fire or water.
Their function is not as simple as the dictum: if you are hot, get into water; if you are cold, go near fire.
They are subtle qualities of nature, being what heat is to fire and coolness is to ice.
Heat and fire have no independent or cause-and-effect relationship, but an intimate and immediate relationship; for the distinction between them is purely academic.
One depends on the other; because one is the other.
The fruit of good action is sattvika or pure; and the manifestation of the sattvika is good action.
Similarly, the fruit of passionate activity is rajasa, manifesting pain.
The quality of rajas, passionate activity and pain are three shades of the same factor.
In the same way, ignorance is tamas; ignorance is the fruit of tamas, and tamas is the fruit of ignorance.
One cannot draw a distinctive line anywhere.
This, however, should not lead us to a vicious circle.
We must deliberately break through somewhere.
We should endeavor, with the help of the "categories" given in detail in the seventeenth and the eighteenth chapters of the Gita, to increase the sattva in us.
This will result in our actions being good, which in turn will result in greater increase of sattva.
Rajas, unless based on or directed towards sattva, is itself pain.
Aimless dynamism will sooner or later result in disillusionment and the painful realization that all endeavors not directed towards the realization of God was waste.
We should beware of this, as also the complacent attitude, "All is well, I don't care", that tamas or ignorance gives rise to.

October 10


14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:19 - When the seer beholds no agent other than the gunas, knowing That which is higher than the gunas, he attains to my Being.
XIV:20 - When the embodied being is able to transcend these three gunas, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their sorrow, and enjoy the nectar of immortality, even in this life.

When this dissociation of the self with the guna, or this disentanglement of the spirit from matter, or even this detachment is mentioned, modern man immediately jumps up and exclaims: "That will lead to callousness and disruption of the social structure."
The average man knows only three attitudes in personal relationship: intense clinging, hateful kicking, and indifference, which is often the worst of the three.
There is a fourth, and that is called non-attachment.
In non-attachment, love is not lost, but it is preserved from the corroding influence of selfishness and possessiveness.
This love does not tire or overwhelm.
Its soft touch does not hurt even a rose petal.
It does not demand, but it gives.
It does not cling to the personality, nor does it neglect the spirit that has made the personality its home.
It is a wonderful relationship too sacred for words.
This extends to all activities of the sage.
He does not identify himself with the three guna, but for that matter does not forcibly restrain them.
They work; and he knows their workings.
He is the ever-blissful witness.
He is conscious of his self that is the self of all.
This realization flows through the guna, thus directing their operations towards the welfare of all beings.
He is freed from thralldom to the guna.
He is immortal.
The guna gave birth to the body.
When the body is dropped the self remains as the universal self, infinite and all - blissful.
When the body is living, the guna function on their own without his ego-interference, even as his breathing goes on! He is free.

October 11


14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:21 - Arjuna said : What are the marks of him who has crossed over the three qualities, O Lord? What is his conduct and how does he go beyond these three qualities?
XIV:22 - The Blessed Lord said : He who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present, nor longs for them when they disappear,
XIV:23 - He who, seated like one unconcerned, is not moved by the qualities, and who, knowing that the qualities are active, is self-centred and moves not,

He who, seated like one unconcerned, is not moved by the qualities, and who, knowing that the qualities are active, is self-centered and moves not (is a gunatita).
Once again we should remember we cannot sail in paper boats.
Krishna's approach is entirely scientific:
(i) First, there is the theoretical exposition of a principle.
(ii) Then there is the "model" - the exemplar - the illustration of that principle.
(iii) Then, practice - the model in real life, the application of the principle.
We can ennoble our lives only with the help of these three.
Without the theory, we might misunderstand the example.
We might interpret the theory in our own way, and reach nowhere near perfection.
Without practical application we might make a business commodity of the principle and trade in the name of the example.
It is only when all three are adopted in our own life, one following the other in the given order, that we reach the goal- and we shall, very soon.
The sage, yogi, samnyasi or "gunatita" (one who has gone beyond the guna) is not a sour-faced embittered personality who does not sleep (because it is tamas), does not talk or smile (because it is rajas), and does not study, discuss, or even enjoy a meal (because it may be sattva); such an attitude is tantamount to committing suicide.
It is negatively associating the self with the guna.
The wise seeker should be indifferent, but even then he is only "like one unconcerned" - he is a witness.
Therefore he is in a position to direct the guna to a divine purpose, without foolishly and vainly trying to stifle their operation.

October 12

the inner attitude

14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:24 - Alike in pleasure and pain; who dwells in the Self; to whom a clod of earth, stone and gold are alike; to whom the dear and the unfriendly are alike, firm, the same in censure and praise,
XIV:25 - The same in honour and dishonour, the same to friend and foe, abandoning all undertakings - he is said to have crossed the qualities.

These verses refer to the inner attitude of non-attachment and non-identification with the world, body and senses, not to any physical activity or inactivity.
Ignorance of this great truth will inevitably lead the aspirant to tamasa inertia, heedlessness, delusion and destruction.
Cultivate the inner attitude; the activity will take care of itself.
"To whom a clod of earth, stone and gold are alike" has given rise to grotesque misinterpretations.
People imagine that the sage sweeps away golden ornaments, treating them as dirt.
Only mad men do so; sages are not mad even if their conduct is regarded eccentric by our perverted intelligence!
To them a piece of gold, a stone and a clod of earth all have their own particular use and value none greater than the other.
Hence they are all alike.
"Abandoning all undertakings" has also been taken to mean a life of automation or sheer laziness - a deliberate suppression of all urge to life and activity.
However, the sage knows his body, vital sheath and even his mental frame are all products of matter together with the guna that govern all physical phenomena.
He has crossed over them.
It is only while one is crossing a stream that one tries to float along with the current or swim against it.
Once on the other bank it matters not whether the current stops, flows or dries up.
One who has thus crossed the guna will similarly not bother himself what matter (including his body and mind) does.
However, it is clear that he will not do evil, for the evil fuel of desire is absent.
Through him the divine will works; it knows what to do with God's creation (clay and gold) and in his creation (what activities to undertake).
In such a sage life flows in total harmony and bliss.

October 13


14 - The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

XIV:26 - And he who serves Me with unswerving devotion, he, crossing beyond the qualities, is fit for becoming Brahman.
XIV:27 - For I am the abode of Brahman, the immortal and the immutable, of everlasting Dharma and of absolute Bliss.

We should be careful and vigilant when we study the Bhagavad Gita.
Krishna is discussing the sage who has crossed the guna - which suggests a great introvert and philosopher.
But he does not want us to forget that that is only one aspect of the yogi's life.
Even such an evolved yogi does not cease to "serve".
When one attains the state of non-attachment to the guna, the guna that constitute the body still continue to operate, while the detachment directs them along useful channels to do the divine will.
Peace and desirelessness ensure that that service is rendered as God's instrument to his omnipresence.
But service itself is never given up, neither is single-hearted devotion to him.
This synthesis of wisdom-action-devotion leads the aspirant to the absolute, Brahman.
Do not discuss Brahman.
As our Master often said: "To define Brahman is to deny Brahman."
Truth is indescribable.
It is so indescribably simple that every description complicates it!
But the vain human intellect cannot desist from attempting such description and definition.
Krishna tells us here: "All right, if you must say Brahman is absolute, infinite, existence-knowledge-bliss, supreme peace and eternal bliss, go on but I am the abode of Brahman!"
If you are audacious enough to define Brahman, then he is beyond even that!
Somewhere, at some time, the intellect has to stop in silence.
When all this play of logic and reason, intellect and (let us say) intuition, has ceased, when there is supreme silence, what is, is he!
But do not mistake that silence itself for him.
May He guide us to Himself.

October 14

the peepul tree

15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:1 - The Blessed Lord said : They speak of the indestructible peepultree, having its root above and branches below, whose leaves are hymns; he who knows it is a knower of the Vedas.
XV:2 - Below and above spread its branches, nourished by the gunas; sense-objects are its buds; below in the world of men stretch forth the roots, originating action.

A picturesque description of the cosmos.
Krishna had already described the peepul tree as one of his special manifestations.
Those who have seen this tree will admit that it is truly majestic and grand.
Its majesty and grandeur qualify it for this special mention.
Its roots go deep into the soil.
Hence Krishna takes it up once again to illustrate the cosmos.
All trees have their roots below; but this tree, which is the image of the cosmos, has its roots above - not literally, but allegorically.
Strange but true it is, that this material universe has its roots in the transcendent reality.
Nothing exists but that.
The substratum of what appears to be, is that; and incidentally, even the power of illusion that makes the illusory appearance possible is in a way transcendent too, for it cannot be properly explained.
The cosmos-tree has its roots above!
To the yogi this tree might mean the susumna-nadi (the psychic counterpart of the spinal cord), which has its root in the medulla oblongata (known as the "Tree of Life" in French).
The trunk extends downwards, and contains the various cakra (chakra) - on whose petals are the various letters (varna) which are here described as the chandas (hymns composed of those letters).
The nadi (subtle counterparts) branch out from this trunk with sense-objects as the buds.
This inverted tree has a root again below, which generates actions; the muladhara and the other lower chakra are thus referred to.
The tree and its root are of one substance - God.

October 15

indivisible one

15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:3 - Its form is not perceived here as such, neither its end nor its origin, nor its foundation nor resting place. Having cut asunder this firmly rooted peepultree with the strong axe of non-attachment,
XV:4 - Then that goal should be sought after, whither having gone none returns again. Seek refuge in that primeval Purusha whence streamed forth the ancient energy.

The cosmic tree, which has its root in the transcendental being, shares its characteristics.
What is hidden in the root becomes manifest in the tree.
It is all God and only God.
Yet, whereas we are ready to admit that God is indescribable and imperceivibly subtle, we boast that we know what this world is!
That is a mistake.
We only see what we wish or fear to see.
The world outside is a cloud with forms and figures projected on to it by our mind.
The cloud is real, but the forms are not.
The substratum of the world is real, but the appearance is a manifestation and projection on to it of our own likes and dislikes, fears and delusions.
These phantoms are the offspring of attachment.
Non-attachment removes them, enabling us to perceive the underlying reality.
Think of a banana.
The skin adheres to it and seems to encase it.
Peel it, and the fruit is left perfect.
Such is the spirit of non-attachment in the Bhagavad Gita.
Do your duty but do not get attached.
Neither must you let detachment make you neglect your duty.
The banana is like the soul, not to be held and encased by its skin body.
That must eventually be dropped, leaving the soul to attain moksha (liberation).
"I seek refuge" as said by Krishna is only initiation where he teaches Arjuna the formula: he who takes refuge in the supreme purusa returns not to this world.
The mature seeker surrenders the idea that he is somehow distinct from the cosmos; the drop joins the ocean and becomes the divinity of the ocean.
That oneness cannot be fragmented, it is indivisible.

October 16

attachment to god

15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:5 - Free from pride and delusion, victorious over the evil of attachment, dwelling constantly in the Self, their desires having completely turned away, freed from the pairs of opposites known as pleasure and pain, the undeluded reach the eternal goal.

How much wisdom can be compressed into a couplet!
How careful, too, are the words chosen by the Lord!
Attachment is the root of all evil - perhaps the only evil - not to be destroyed or annihilated, for that would be contrary to the law of nature, but definitely to be conquered.
However, attachment is deep in our very nature as love, which is a synonym for oneness.
Some attachment is all right as long as it is attachment to God.
Our Master used to say: "Detach the mind from the world and attach it to the Lord."
Wean it from the gross impure attachments and let it incline to the subtle and pure attachments; from them lead it to God.
One may or may not necessarily accept the conventional meanings of "pure" and "impure", but as one matures, this distinction becomes clear in one's own self.
Purity is transparent and impurity is opaque, dense, dull and veiling.
Even so with desire.
The gross impure desire must be weaned from sensual pleasures, refine itself until it is no longer 'desire' in the accepted sense and so incline towards God.
Such desire is like fire which burns everything, but which burns itself out as soon as its task is over.
Pleasure and pain are in a way part of this world-process, samsara, like day and night.
They may be there in the world, but one must free oneself from their sway.
This is possible only if there is attachment to no object other than the self in which the yogi dwells constantly, witnessing the procession of the pairs of opposites without getting involved in them.
The undeluded soul is thus well established in truth and reaches the great goal of self-realization.
One should meditate daily upon this verse.

October 17

the sun, the moon, and fire

15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:6 - Neither doth the sun illumine there, nor the moon, nor the fire; having gone there they return not. That is My supreme abode.

This is the favorite idea of the men-of-God.
It is echoed in at least three principal upanisad.
Our life is governed by the sun, the moon and fire.
We see the world by their light.
All our experiences are regulated and limited by them.
Earlier, Krishna even made it look as though they concern our death too!
Going and coming, time, space and materiality do not operate in the absolute.
Where shall that which is everywhere come or go to?
In it everything is here and now.
Matter is only the spirit perceived through material eyes.
Who can describe it?
It is incomparable to even the grandest objects in the universe, which are perceived by the sun, the moon and the fire.
The Kathopanisad reminds us that even these shine because of that self - "sight" is possible not merely because the sun, the moon and the fire are there, but because "I see"!
The sun is reflected in a mirror, and not the mirror in the sun.
With what then does one perceive the omnipresence?
This supreme state of consciousness can only be found in its own light.
Therefore, an aspirant should constantly resort to this inner light which is independent of external sources.
And who can describe it?
For one who goes there (an expression used only to help our comprehension, not to suggest that there is an actual "going"), returns not.
This is not annihilation but fulfillment.
The individual is not destroyed, but the limitation is removed.
The part becomes one with the whole, is seen as the whole.
Some argue that, assuming all souls attain moksha, if God creates a fresh universe, they are bound to return.
The answer is: the same individual cannot come back!
If you pour a bucket of water into the ocean then immediately plunge in another bucket and take out some water, that can never be the same water.
The first bucketful has become one with the ocean; this is fresh ocean water.
The whole argument is, however, fallacious; infinity minus infinity is infinity.

October 18

the bliss of brahman

15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:7 - An eternal portion of my Self, having become a living soul in the world of life, draws to itself the five senses, with the mind for the sixth, abiding in Nature.

The jiva or the living soul is the Lord himself.
It has a mysterious dual relationship with the supreme being, even as a cell in our body has a dual relation with "us".
If the cells do not constitute our body, what else is the body?
Yet do we not refer to them as being different from the body?
In its essential nature, the jiva is none other than God; yet in a mysterious way (which we call ignorance on account of the fact that the soul thus ignores its identity with the supreme being) it deludes itself that it is an independent particle.
This individual independent existence, however, is in a way willed by God himself - "I am one, may I become many", for the purpose of his experiencing his own bliss nature.
For this purpose the jiva or the living soul "attracts to itself" the organs of perception and action, as well as their Coordinating agent, the mind.
Through these it objectifies its own natural bliss and tastes it.
Yet such is the nature of ignorance that very soon the jiva is deluded into imagining that happiness is in the outside objects and not in its own nature, objectified for the purpose of a certain experience.
In the ultimate analysis even sensual pleasure experienced in the external world is nothing but the bliss of Brahman; but it is veiled by ignorance and sustains the jiva's delusion of duality and plurality.
Whereas the bliss of meditation is unexciting and peaceful, sensual pleasure is preceded and accompanied by restlessness and excitement, and followed by exhaustion.
All pleasure which disturbs the mental equilibrium and the calmness of the spirit is to be avoided.
It is this disturbance which is the only risk in sensual pleasures.
The pleasure inherent in the sense objects is also derived from the absolute, whose perfect expression can only be experienced in perfect tranquillity.
We do glimpse this state occasionally in our life; but the mind jumps in, "enjoys" it, labels it as pleasure and craves for repetition.
This craving turns delight into pleasure and so into pain.

October 19

genetic theories

15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:8 - When the Lord obtains a body and when He leaves it, He takes these and goes with them, as the wind takes the scents from their seats.

The individual soul is, in biblical language, "the image of God".
Now we should change the metaphor.
It is the light of God reflected in buddhi, which is an extremely subtle form of matter.
The mirror is inert material; yet when it is held in such a way that it faces the sun and is able to reflect sunlight on to your face, it dazzles your eyes.
It is this reflection that moves from body to body, from mirror to mirror - not the self, which is God.
Yet, does not the reflection in the mirror have the same brilliance as the sun itself?
Hence, Krishna refers here to the jiva itself as the Lord (Isvara).
We do not deny the validity of genetic theories.
We know that the foetus is the result of a fusion between the ovum and the sperm.
But it is the jiva that brought them together and then, forming a nucleus with them, attracted more and more of other particles of matter, shaped the body of the baby, and finally "entered into it" as the soul.
Hence there are several theories regarding the time that the soul enters the foetus.
After birth, the process of cell-replacement carries on continuously, till the need arises for a wholesale abandonment of the worn-out body in exchange for a new one.
When the old cloth has too many patches, the person finds a new one; when the "surgeon", time, has performed too many operations on the body, nature steps in to help by providing a new one.
The body and its organs were only the gross instruments with which the jiva performed its work and had its experiences.
Though the tools are worn out, the workman is not; he leaves with all his talents intact.
Taking them with him as air wafts fragrance, he enters a new body and begins to work with new tools.

October 20

the mysterious play

15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:9 - Presiding over the ear, the eye, touch, taste and smell, as well as the mind, he enjoys the objects of the senses.
XV:10 - The deluded do not see him who departs, stays and enjoys; but they who possess the eye of knowledge behold him.

Such is the mysterious play of the divine, that the Lord himself, in and through infinite beings, enjoys the bliss of his own nature in his own nature.
That was the object of creation, according to some schools of thought.
To illustrate this they paint a graphic picture: there, on an ocean (of infinite existence), floats the little divine baby on a banyan leaf.
It holds and sucks its big toe as if asking itself: "How sweet is my toe that my devotees kiss?"
The relation between the senses and the sense-pleasure is such that when the former taste the latter they forget the Lord and the purpose of creation, deluding themselves that objective enjoyment is the goal and that pleasure is independent of the self or God.
The Kathopanisad explains why: the very nature of the senses is to flow out towards the objective world, though supreme bliss is in the self (which is all pervading).
When the senses thus flow out, the mind and intellect are externalized and consciousness moves away from the center.
That is when one is said to be deluded.
He does not realize that behind all these activities is the Lord himself, and he sees the world as a playground of havoc, passion, fear and hopes.
However, the senses of the undeluded are avenues of enlightenment and to them the world looks very different.
Since they possess the eye of knowledge, they perceive the Lord alone within themselves and realize that all experiences serve him and are derived from his own nature spread throughout the universe.
Some of the mystifying passages in the scriptures which seem to sanction worldly pleasures can be understood in their right perspective only if we bear this great truth in mind.
But to understand rightly demands great purity of heart and penetrating intelligence.

October 21

the rare hero

15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:11 - The yogis, striving for perfection, behold Him, dwelling in the Self; but, the unintelligent, even though striving, see Him not.

The outgoing tendency of the mind and the senses does not permit the ignorant man to turn his gaze within and behold the self.
The Kathopanisad describes the supreme effort of the rare hero who averts his gaze from the objects of the senses in order to behold the self and thus attain immortality.
This introversion is exceedingly important, as otherwise total ignorance makes one mistake a rope for a snake, and suffer; or perceive silver in mother-of-pearl, and en joy a phantom!
It is an uphill task, like taking a river to its own source on the hilltop.
This is not aversion to (in the sense of hatred towards) anything or anybody here, but an intelligent recognition of the source of all bliss, which is the self.
Once this introversion is truly achieved, life assumes a different meaning altogether.
The yogi begins to see that the same self dwells in all.
"Pleasure" loses its tantalizing attraction for him and its power to titillate.
Cravings cease, because what is outside can be found within.
When the mind is purified by right living, right thinking, right meditation, service and so on, it becomes transparent and instantly abolishes the fictitious distinction between the inside and the outside.
The yogi seems to live in two worlds simultaneously, because to his enlightened vision, their boundaries vanish.
His is the extremely subtle middle path like the razor's edge, which the gross vision of the unrefined and unintelligent cannot behold.
In him there is neither attraction nor repulsion whereas in the deluded there is always either craving or disgust.
Krishna's is the yoga of intelligence.
No amount of idle striving or abstinence from activity will lead to an expansion of consciousness, but refinement of the intelligence and purity of heart lead to the realization of the atman (self).

October 22


15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:12 - That light which residing in the sun, illumines the whole world, that light which is in the moon, and that which is in the fire - know that light to be Mine.

The self-realized yogi is not a nose-gazer nor does he live a life confined to the cave, forest or monastery.
God is the indwelling light, but he is also the light in the sun, the moon, the stars and the fire.
This and the following two verses establish an intimate relation between man and God.
Man is filled with the light of God; he is surrounded by the light of God.
Once the cataract of ignorance is removed, he shall see God everywhere - God and nothing but God.
Even so is it said in the Holy Bible: "And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light; and they shall reign for ever and ever." (Revelations 22:4,5).
When it is said that God gives them light, it does not mean that the scientist's discoveries are untrue.
The scriptural testimony only provides a clue to the ultimate mystery which science has still to approach.
Whilst accepting the validity of the scientist's explanations of the principle of combustion in the sun, its reflection in the moon, and the clash of gasses that keeps the fire burning, the scripture goes one step further, suggesting who ordained the law that all these obey, who limits their powers so that they do not cause a universal holocaust.
All wise men admit that there is some law and an intelligent administrator of that law.
To that power, that cosmic intelligence, the scriptures give an indicative name - God and its equivalent in other languages.
Read with verse 6, this verse reminds us that in the cosmos, the sun and heavenly bodies; and in the individual, the mind and intellect, are like mirrors reflecting God's light.
God is not the subject projecting an object, nor an object which can be seen by the subject.
God is the all.
No part of the all can become aware of the totality - only the all can be aware of itself.

October 23


15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:13 - Permeating the earth by My energy, I support all beings; and, having become the watery moon, I nourish all plants.
XV:14 - Having become the fire in the body of living, breathing beings and, associated with the Prana and Apana, I digest the fourfold food.

"Soma" in the text has been variously interpreted, and in the context of the veda, it has been taken to mean a kind of intoxicating drink.
The sense in which it has been used here makes it clear that 'soma' is "watery" energy or some kind of an "essence" (rasa) which the moon bestows on the herbs.
These verses bring God nearer home, explaining the daily function of our body.
Krishna neither cancels the vitamin theory nor the herbalists' ecstatic belief in the miracle that herbs can work.
He intensifies both!
Mineral salts nourish plant life and plants nourish animals, but the power of nourishment is God's.
Scientists have carefully analyzed the assessed mineral salts and described their composition in terms of different molecules. Krishna only expresses in another way the truth which scientists, in the glory of that intelligence which is the reflected light of God, have made clear.
There can be but one answer to the questions: "Who organized the molecules?", "Who guided the scientists'"intelligence?" - God.
Within the human body, as the gastric fire, it is his power again that digests all kinds of foods.
A study of the process of digestion is amazing indicator of the divine power that functions within our own body!
It is good to cultivate the habit of feeling the presence of God in all these functions.
It will promote the health of body, mind and soul.
It is also good to remember all the time that saying "God"" is not knowing him!
When "God" is given as the answer to our questions, the question is not answered, but the quest is intensified.
The verbal answer is but a word. Truth eludes words.

October 24


15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:15 - And I am seated in the hearts of all; from me are memory, knowledge, as well as their absence. I am verily that which has to be known by all the Vedas; I am the author of the Vedanta, and the knower of the Vedas.

Here is a clear-cut statement of the sublime truth that all is God.
Memory is from God; knowledge is from God; their absence is also from God!
Good is divine, and that which men call 'evil' is also divine (though God does not call it evil) .
If we wish to realise that the classification of good and evil are illusory and that they both are in God and from him, we should at the same time be prepared to regard, with equal eye, pain and pleasure which are extensions of evil and good!
To one who has transcended the latter pair, the former does not exist.
Saiva siddhanta also declares that it is God who veils and it is he again who reveals.
Why does he veil?
In order that we may seek him, and then he unveils, in order that we may realise him.
There is no further 'why'; this is the truth which has to be accepted.
It is this power to which the vedas offer their prayers.
Its glory do they sing.
'Veda' might refer to all branches of knowledge, sacred and secular, including modern science.
All of them will ultimately lead us to a realisation of God's omnipresence.
For, if we pursue with an incisive 'why' , the acquisition of any knowledge, we shall ultimately end up confessing "I do not know."
Only God knows why this unceasing and unquenchable thirst to know is there in the heart of man.
Only he knows all knowledge (veda) and the end of all knowledge (vedanta).
When knowledge as subjectobject relationship comes to an end, it shines in its own light as pure awareness (God) in which there is no distinction between the knower, knowledge and the object of knowledge.
Thus, from a look at the sun in verse 12, Krsna has brought God-consciousness closer to our very self.
In that process the object (the experience) and the subject (the experiencer) seem to merge into one.
This is yoga.

October 25


15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:16 - Two Purushas there are in this world, the perishable and the imperishable. All beings are the perishable, and the Kutastha is called the imperishable.

"Kutastha" is the unchanging rock-like substratum of the individual personality, the unobvious.
The perishable purusa (the para prakrti - VIII: 5) is the living soul, "Adam" after the fall from the Garden of Eden, the "raindrop" that has disconnected itself from the cloud.
The imperishable purusa is the substratum of this second personality - not different from it in the main, yet with a subtle difference.
Like the raindrop in the process of formation.
There is the potentiality of drop formation in the dark rain-bearing cloud; as the water is becoming effective as a drop, it is still one with the cloud.
Just so is the imperishable purusa one with God, though the manifestation-potential is beginning to express itself. One, yet not exactly so!
A mysterious power called maya rules this manifestation-potentiality state in the infinite being.
Mysterious indeed, only to be likened to the atmospheric disturbance which makes subtle water vapor visible to the human eye as cloud.
Krishna calls maya "my power" in order to prevent us vainly arguing about it.
The human being's focus is too puny to comprehend the total working of this power of maya.
In this limited vision, avidya or ignorance, changes are observed.
We can, perhaps, at any given moment, only focus on one "drop" and therefore feel that it is different from another - thus one being assumes independence from the rest.
This fictitious distinction which is jivahood (egoity), caused by avidya, only fades at the dawn of that knowledge which enables us to "understand" maya.
The vision becomes unconditioned and limitless and none of these changes are seen to be true.
We realize that the self is, was, and will ever be one with the infinite.

October 26

god is one

15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:17 - But distinct is the Supreme Purusha, called the Absolute Reality, the indestructible Lord who, pervading the three worlds, sustains them.
XV:18 - As I transcend the perishable, and am even higher than the imperishable, I am declared as the highest Spirit in the world and in the Vedas.

The following analogy is inadequate, as most analogies are, but will enable us to grasp vaguely the distinction between the perishable and the imperishable purusa mentioned in the previous verse, and the supreme purusa mentioned in this.
The "drop in the cloud" is superior to the "drop let loose".
The latter gets caught up in the process of samsara or world-play, whereas the former can still escape that fate if the rain does not fall.
The atma is the purest "creation" of God: Adam was "whole" till Eve was shaped from his own bone.
The jiva (Eve) is imperfect, the mother of Cain (meaning possession or mineness in Hebrew) and Abel (in Hebrew, vanity).
But even the "drop in the cloud", and for that matter the dark cloud, too, is in perpetual danger of falling!
Hence, that also is not the state of supreme felicity.
There is a state higher than that - the state of being, untainted even by the possibility of becoming.
That is the state of the supreme purusa.
In the cloud analogy, it is comparable to the clear sky in which the least trace of a cloud is not visible; before the mysterious maya exerts her influence to generate the "white cloud" (the Isvara-consciousness - the highest concept of a personal god).
God is the supreme purusa, and the name purusa is given only to show that prakrti (his nature ) is ever latent in him, just as water-vapor is latent in the clear sky.
God is the vital factor in all beings.
Without him they have no life, no existence.
That supreme self permeates every atom of existence enabling us to live and function.
Forget all comparison and look within to discover the three planes of the perishable, the imperishable and the transcendent substratum, and to discover the truth that they are not three but one.

October 27


15 - The path of knowledge - Purusottama Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit.

XV:19 - He who, undeluded, knows me thus as the highest Spirit, he worships me with his whole being and heart, O Arjuna.
XV:20 - Thus, this most secret science has been taught by Me. On knowing this, a man becomes wise, and all his duties are accomplished, O Arjuna.

He who knows the unobvious sustaining reality knows that God alone pervades all, and that he is beyond all limitations, beyond maya (illusion) and avidya (ignorance).
God is the substratum of the jiva, that living soul and perishable person, as well as of the atma, the imperishable person or purusa.
However, God is in neither jiva nor atma, for though the waves are part of the ocean, the ocean is not part of the waves.
Such knowledge cures delusion, making evident the unreality of distinction between the three which is born of ignorance; and that the loss of jiva-hood is supreme gain, heralding the realization that the substratum of the immortal atman is the infinite being.
This infinite being is the all, the all-in-all.
Bhakti yoga prescribes five attitudes that the devotee can adopt towards God.
The attitudes of: peaceful contemplation; mother-child or child-parent; master-servant; friendship; and lover-beloved.
Knowing that God is all, the devotee worships him in all the five bhava (attitudes), "sarvabhavena".
He looks upon his parents or children, his master or servant, his friends, his beloved and the stranger as the manifestation of God, and he regards God as all these.
"Sarvabha-vena" is the commandment of the Holy Bible, too: "Love thy God with all thy heart".
In the heart of the devotee there is no room for finite, imperfect, selfish and sensuous love.
He loves all; not the heterogeneous but the homogeneous God-in-all.
If we begin with the obvious and examine the not-so obvious sources of these obvious phenomena, then it is possible for us to be free from self-created problems and eventually arrive at the grand discovery of the profoundest secret.

October 28


16 - The path of knowledge - Daivasura Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Divine and Demonic Gunas.

XVI:1 - The Blessed Lord said : Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in Yoga and knowledge, charity, control of the senses, sacrifice, study of scriptures, austerity and straightforwardness,
XVI:2 - Harmlessness, truth, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of crookedness, compassion towards beings, uncovetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness,
XVI:3 - Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, absence of pride, these belong to one born in a divine state, O Arjuna.

All these qualities belong to the daivi-prakrti or divine nature.
"One born for a divine state" seems to imply a fatalistic slant or determinism.
Either one is born good or wicked!
To some extent perhaps this is true.
Those who have attempted to alter their "nature" would testify that they are carried away by the hidden vasana (tendencies) in spite of themselves.
Yet, on the other hand, the born-good people formed their good tendencies by self-effort in a past birth; otherwise, if one's tendencies unalterably governed one's life, there could be no way out at all.
The Yoga Vasistha gives us abundant hope.
"Our previous and present efforts, in case they are in contrary directions, are like two arms fighting against each other. The more powerful of the two always overcomes the other."
Again, "One should, therefore, overcome one's unfavorable destiny by greater effort in the present, gnashing one's teeth"!
The last phrase recognizes the difficulty of the task, but the optimist treats difficulties as steps to achievement.
Our Master was very fond of these verses; he quoted them often.
He recommended that we should systematically cultivate these virtues, selecting them one by one and deliberately tending them in ourselves.
Special Lord Krishna's Birthday bonus reading!

October 29


16 - The path of knowledge - Daivasura Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Divine and Demonic Gunas.

XVI:4 - Hypocrisy, arrogance, self-conceit, harshness and also anger and ignorance, belong to one who is born in a demoniacal state, O Arjuna.
XVI:5 - The divine nature is deemed for liberation and the demoniacal for bondage. Grieve not, for you are born with divine properties, O Arjuna.

Krishna is very clever.
As our Master often reminded us: "Positive always overcomes negative".
Instead of people worrying themselves over prohibitions, if they concentrated on positive injunctions, the world would be a better place and they themselves would move rapidly towards God.
In the whole of the Bhagavad Gita there are so few verses dealing with the evil side of life that one would have wondered if Krishna had forgotten all about it, had he not made mention of it here.
After a full enumeration (and repetition) of the divine qualities, he now gives the essence of diabolical nature in one verse.
"Hypocrisy" is their chief quality, hence it is extremely difficult to recognize evil beings.
Even other qualities like arrogance, self-conceit and anger, when veiled by hypocrisy, can create the illusion of virtues!
They masquerade as self-respect, righteous indignation and dignified bearing.
The harsh man pretends that he is a strict disciplinarian, constantly striving for "your own betterment".
The ignorant fool lets the devil in him quote scripture.
"Knowledge of scriptures is not necessary, only personal realization is" - a pious sentiment.
But the illiterate fool who says so is not interested in personal realization either!
How wonderful of Krishna to re-assure Arjuna (and through him, you and me) that we are born with divine qualities.
But for them, Arjuna would not have accepted him as his guru; but for them, we would not have turned our attention to his teachings contained in the Bhagavad Gita!

October 30

well, then, choose!

16 - The path of knowledge - Daivasura Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Divine and Demonic Gunas.

XVI:6 - There are two types of beings in this world - the divine and the demoniacal; the divine has been described at length; hear from me, O Arjuna, of the demoniacal.

The expression is extremely well guarded!
This created universe has two aspects.
Both good and evil are found in it, for that is the meaning of creation.
(One alone, would be like painting a portrait in one color on identically colored paper.)
Good and evil differ in their destinations.
The divine path leads to liberation or God-realization; the demoniacal path leads to bondage.
Well, then, choose!
In spite of the warnings contained in our scriptures not to wrack the poor bra in with transcendental questions like the origin of the world, of karma, or "which came first - hen or egg", people do ask: "How did the first man commit sin?"
The answer is simple: "God gave you intelligence and free-will - and you chose to taste the forbidden fruit!
Why did you do it?
Ask yourself!" Even in the biblical story, we read that God, having created Adam and Eve, expressly warned them not to taste the forbidden fruit; yet, the "snake" (obviously created by God himself?) was able to tempt them.
It was Adam's choice.
There is no sense in arguing "why"; it is a statement of fact concerning an event in history!
Never argue beyond a certain point!
If you demand an explanation, the Indian philosopher answers: "It is because of avidya" ("I've no idea" is phonetically similar) or ignorance.
Wijsheid en spirituele rijpheid betekenen dat men alert is, inwendig bewust en waakzaam, zodat bij elke stap en in elke omstandigheid de juiste keuze wordt gemaakt.
We have seen that the entire nature is made up of three guna (qualities), sattva, rajas and tamas.
Sattva is, of course, good; and tamas evil.
Rajas can be both good and evil: if it is based on sattva it is good, and if it is based on tamas, it is evil.
If we compare these three qualities to the three qualities of fire (light, heat and smoke), we realize that light is always good and smoke (which blinds us) is always bad and that heat can be either good or bad depending upon the use we make of it.
Vice holds one down like a vice.
Virtue liberates us.

October 31

educate, not reform or proselytize

16 - The path of knowledge - Daivasura Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Divine and Demonic Gunas.

XVI:7 - The demoniacal know not what to do and what to refrain from; neither purity, nor right conduct, nor truth is found in them.

The basic characteristics of the devil's disciple are detailed in this and the following verses.
Krishna does not want to emphasize evil overmuch, and therefore gives briefly the qualities found in the evil ones.
Do you not detect a tone of sympathy rather than one of condemnation in this verse? "They know not what to do" is an expression parallel to the famous words of Lord Jesus.
Much of the evil in the world is horn of ignorance, for very few people know what to do and what to refrain from.
They are ignorant.
The light of true knowledge has not been lit in them.
I do not suggest that such knowledge will at once lift them into the kingdom of righteousness; but, with the exception of those who deliberately choose to be wicked, the vast majority of people who grope in the darkness of ignorance and whose ignorance confuses them as to their duty, making evil appear as 'necessary in the circumstances', will definitely grow spiritually if more and more people take upon themselves the duty of educating their brethren (especially the younger generation) in the art of right conduct.
There has been grave and universal neglect in this regard, and hence the problems that face the world multiply daily.
Consequently, the world is rolling towards catastrophe after catastrophe.
Is that not the sole purpose of the Bhagavad Gita?
To guide man aright in the daily battle of life, to direct him who stands at the cross-roads, to instruct him in right conduct and to reveal truth in his heart?
The teaching is pure and the teaching is purifying.
Thus, if every one who has understood this message undertakes to educate two more people, we shall all be blessed, and the future would certainly be bright.
To "educate" is to "bring out" the truth which is present in the other man.
Proselytisation destroys the faith, the vital spark in man.
To reform is to give a new form to the old evil.
Thus, we should educate, not reform or proselytize.

November 22


18 - Moksa Sanyasa Yoga - The Yoga of Liberation and Renunciation

XVIII:1 - Arjuna said : I desire to know the essence of renunciation and of abstinence.
XVIII:2 - The Blessed Lord said : The sages understand it to be the renunciation of action with desire. The wise declare the abandonment of the fruits of all actions as abstinence.

At the close of chapter 16 Krsna had emphasised the importance of following scriptural injunctions.
The next chapter answered Arjuna's question: "If one did not know the scriptural injunctions but was endowed with faith, what happens to him?"
Now in this chapter Arjuna asks the other question: "If a man knew the scripture ... ?"
The scriptures emphasise the need for renunciation, tyaga.
'Without tyaga there can be no self-realisation'.
Renunciation meant abandonment of all that was considered worldly.
Only a few could do this; they rose in public esteem and endeavoured to preserve it by perpetuating an error!
The more spectacular and beyond the reach of the common man they made this tyaga, the surer were they of their own position of prestige and power.
It was conveniently ignored that one should renounce only what is one's own - the false ego and its vanity, prestige and possession - and that renouncing what does not belong, to one (e.g. home, property, wealth) is meaningless!
Of course, the position corrupted their heart and their renunciation was a mockery, even by their own theoretical standards.
But they had enough hold on society by now to make an y renunciation unnecessary.
We find this in all holy orders, whatever be the religion.
Lord Krsna opens the door wider, so that all may enter the realm of renunciation.
The swami engaged in self-willed desire-prompted action is no better than a business executive, except that the latter is more honest!
The layman who performs the most prosaic task without egoism or selfish desire qualifies for self-realisation.
If he engages himself in the selfless service of humanity, but has not a single thought for the fruits of such service, he is a man of tyaga.

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