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3.Duty: An Empirical Manifestation of True Being : 5

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


Part -5.


Kama is a very wide word, with a meaning which is capable of covering every form of longing. When desire intensifies itself, we call it passion. In Sanskrit we have many words indicating the same meaning: raga, kama, etc. An intense longing for something, an intense craving to do something, a yearning to possess something in an overwhelmingly powerful manner, is a passion – a kama, a raga. Any obstacle in the direction of the fulfilment of this passion becomes the target of anger of that person. Krodha follows therefore, as a brother of kama – and when one is, the other one also is. These impulsions are the products or the results of a very active manifestation of rajoguna – rajas – that is present in human personality, and no one can subdue them, normally speaking. A higher meditative technique may have to be employed, and there is no other recipe for this illness of man. The meditational technique that is very, very precisely stated in only…

3.Duty: An Empirical Manifestation of True Being : 4.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


You can sow the seed in a field and expect a harvest. In a way, you may be justified in expecting a large harvest to follow the fact of your sowing a seed, putting the manure, watering it, fencing it, guarding it. But do you believe that this is the only thing that determines the harvest? There are other conditions necessary for the harvest to be reaped apart from your tending it, and apart from all that you have done for it – the rainfall, the seasons, and the other natural conditions necessary may be greater conditioning factors than your need to sow the seed and pour manure and water into it; and many other invisible factors also are involved. Because we are not omniscient, we cannot know all the things in the world, we cannot know what result will follow from what action. Hence, it is not proper on the part of the person to expect a particular fruit from any action because the fruit is not in your hands, while the duty is your obligation. You can…

3.Duty: An Empirical Manifestation of True Being : 3.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


Thus it is that we cannot expect any fruit of our actions, because our actions are duties that we owe and are not something grudgingly that we do under compulsion from outside. There is no 'outside' in this world. You have to listen to every sentence that I uttered last time and earlier; otherwise, I may not be able to repeat the same thing again and again because we have to cover a large area of study within a short time. The debts that we owe to things, if we would like to call them debts, are the same as the duties that we have to perform. It is the acceptance of an organic connection between ourselves and all things. It is the cooperation that follows from the very structure of creation. There is no competition possible; it is a word which has no sense under the sun – there is no such thing as that. There is only cooperation; there cannot be competition in this world. One cannot vie with the other, because there is no 'other' in t…

3.Duty: An Empirical Manifestation of True Being : 2.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


It is difficult to understand what all this means if we study this theme merely as an abstract science of logical philosophy. Perhaps I may place before you an analogy or a comparison that is more concrete and visible to our eyes than this pure abstract principle we are discussing in this context. We owe a duty to the body in which we are enshrined, and every part of the body owes a duty to every other part of the body, but no part of the body has a right over another part. This is something very novel that we see in the physiological organism of our own personality. 

Every limb of our body has a duty which it automatically performs without compulsion or impulsion, without any mandate or governmental enactment; yet, it does not expect anything from that particular limb to which cooperation is extended. If the stomach eats the food, the teeth, which have merely munched it and got nothing out of it, do not complain; and so on, with every other part of t…

3.Duty: An Empirical Manifestation of True Being : 1.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


The study that has been conducted up to this time concerning the teaching of the Bhagavadgita would have revealed to us that we are born with a duty, and we can never be free from some duty or the other. It also implies that we have no rights; we have only duties, contrary to what one would expect from the point of view of common human nature. The fight for rights is out of point in a world of duties, which is inescapable under the set-up of things. The duty that we owe to ourselves, as well as anything that is around us, is a necessary conclusion that follows from the nature of our relationship with things in general. The connection that obtains between us and the world at large is such that there is a mutual obligation, as it were, between ourselves and the world. This obligation is not a compulsion, but a necessary conclusion automatically following from the essential character of Being itself. Thus duty is an empirical manifestation of true being…

Samkhya – Right Understanding : 7.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


Now, here is an introduction given to right understanding. The mulaprakriti that I mentioned is constituted of three forces called sattva, rajas and tamas. We have heard in modern science words like ' statics' and 'kinetics', 'inertia' and 'action'. What you call ' statics' is something like inertia; we may equate it with tamas, non-action – and kinetics is rajas, movement, distraction, etc. But there is no such thing as sattva in the scientific language of modern times. There is either statics or kinetics – there is nothing else. But there is a third thing which is the balancing of the two. That is called sattva in the language of Indian philosophy; the condition of true being is called sattva. In Sanskrit, 'sat' means existence, being; and the condition of being is called sattva. The characteristic of being is sattva, and the characteristic of being is equanimity – not isolation, distraction and separ…

Samkhya – Right Understanding : 6.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :




The third chapter is a very important section of the Bhagavadgita. It is perhaps the whole gospel of human action. There are certain chapters which sum up the very principles of the entire teaching of the Bhagavadgita, one of them being the third chapter. There is no necessity for me to dilate upon this theme in a very large measure inasmuch as I endeavoured to explain this theme of the third chapter in some detail in an earlier discourse I gave, and which has been printed fortunately, and it is available for you in the text called The Philosophy of the Bhagavadgita. It is a larger series of lectures than the one I am giving you now, so I don't think you will be at a loss if I am a little brief in my discourses here, especially as we have to conclude by next month, and also because there is already something that I have told on this theme in the form of a ready textbook. The third chapter of the Bhagavadgita is called Karma Yoga - the yoga of rig…

Samkhya – Right Understanding : 5.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :-


The world is not disassociated from us, because originally we were all united in the Cosmic Self – the universal ahamkara. The world is not an object of the senses, truly speaking. Thus, the reports of the senses may not be considered as a final, reliable information given to us. There is an error sometimes involved mostly in sense perception, because there is an insistence on the part of the senses to consider the world as a total foreigner, without which concept we cannot deal with things in the way we are doing now in our daily life. We are suspicious of the world. Here is the root of all our troubles. 


We are afraid of the world, and our loves and hatreds for things of the world, including persons, are explainable only on the basis of our erroneous concept that the world is not vitally connected with us. It is not possible to hug onto, or crave for any object which is vitally, organically related to me, nor can I hate it for the same reason. Love…

Samkhya – Right Understanding : 4.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita:


Now, the second chapter and the third chapter have some sort of relationship from the point of view of the theme discussed. It is merely pointed out in the second chapter that right understanding is necessary, and only an introductory remark is made as to what samkhya means, so far as the second chapter goes. 


Right from the beginning till the end of the second chapter, the word samkhya is used in many, many places, suggesting that samkhya is the knowledge of the harmony that is there among all things – samatva – the equanimous, organisational, cooperative feature operating between one and another, thus cementing all particularities or individuals into a sort of cosmic organisation or universal society. This is the suggestion of the second chapter when it says: Samatvam yoga uchyate – Equanimity is yoga, balance is yoga, harmony is yoga, cooperation is yoga - not competition, not battle, not war, not exploitation, not animosity, not hatred. Also, a ver…

Samkhya – Right Understanding : 3.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita 


samkhya' is used in the second chapter of the Bhagavadgita, meaning thereby an understanding of the true relationship that oNow, we are lifted to a higher level of thinking when the word ' btains between you and everything that is around you, and not merely that which appears to be around you. Though it may appear that there is nothing around you except people to whom you are concerned positively or negatively, by means of like and dislike, etc., there are more important things that condition our existence than the existence of other people like us. This was revealed to us to some extent by our study of the cosmology of the Samkhya. The very existence of human beings as individuals or isolated personalities is due to an event that has perhaps taken place in the process of the creational or the evolutionary activity of the whole structure of the universe.


You may have to remember what I told you last time; I need not repeat it once again. The in…

Samkhya – Right Understanding :2.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


One of the problems that arose in the mind of Arjuna was the limiting of his notions to his social relations, which means to say, the relations with other people. Mostly, perhaps always, we are likely to think only in terms of other people in this world, which is called 'sociological thinking'. It appears from this limited view of thinking that the world consists of nothing but human beings; there is nothing anywhere in all creation except men and women – human beings. If it is true that we are mostly concerned with human affairs, and perhaps we are not concerned with any other affair anywhere, this was a question which troubled the mind of Arjuna and troubles the mind of everybody, even this moment here. But the 'world', using this word in a very, very large, expanded form of its meaning, is not exhausted by humanity only. Science, which is mostly physical, chemical and biological, has tried to lift the conceptualisations of mankind …

Samkhya – Right Understanding : 1.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :



The second chapter of the Bhagavadgita deals with what is known as Samkhya Yoga, which is the yoga of understanding - an understanding which was not adequately present in the mind of Arjuna at the time when he was very much confused as to the duty to which he was obliged under the circumstance in which he was placed.


One cannot know what one has to do unless one's position in this world is known to one's self. Your duty, your attitude, the functions that you have to perform – all these are determined by the location of your personality in a given atmosphere. Thus, the concept of duty may be regarded as something relative, and not absolute. You cannot prescribe one particular function as the duty of a person forever and ever till eternity. The person we are speaking of, or referring to, is to a large extent identical with what we would call the 'individual' – the so-called 'me', 'you', etc. Our duty in this world, what t…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 20.( Last part )

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita : 


It is a condition of further creation. There cannot be creation unless there is space-time; it is an antecedent to every concept of evolution in any manner whatsoever. When space-time is manifest or evolved by the will, as you may say of this cosmic self-consciousness, ahamkara, there is a further condensation into greater grossness, into more concrete vibrations which you call sensations of sound, of touch, of colour, of taste, and of smell. These principles which are behind these five sensations are called tanmatras in the Sanskrit language. A word used in Sanskrit, tanmatra, means the fundamental characteristic of all things in this world. Basically they are only sensations, which is what modern science also is telling us finally – the whole world is nothing but a huge bundle of sensations. The solidity is not the truth of things.

Now, there is a further condensation by a mixing up of these cosmical principles called tanmatras in certain proportio…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 19.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :



The whole of the Samkhya philosophy is a system of cosmology; it is a description of the way in which things evolve from the Ultimate Reality. Now I am speaking to you the classical Samkhya of Kapila, which is in some respects acceptable to the other schools of thought also, though not entirely. I will tell you in what way they are acceptable and in what way they are not acceptable. The Supreme Being is called purusha in the Samkhya. The essential nature of this purusha is pure consciousness, awareness, brilliance, light, intelligence, self-awareness. The purusha is an Infinite Being, and not something that is in some place; it is not an individual person. 


Creation takes place by the coming in contact, in a novel way, of this pure spirit, purusha, consciousness, with cosmic matter, called prakriti. So, there are two realities: consciousness and matter – the subject and the object, as you sometimes call them. When the subject comes in contact with the…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 18.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita 


The whole of the Samkhya philosophy is a system of cosmology; it is a description of the way in which things evolve from the Ultimate Reality. Now I am speaking to you the classical Samkhya of Kapila, which is in some respects acceptable to the other schools of thought also, though not entirely. I will tell you in what way they are acceptable and in what way they are not acceptable. The Supreme Being is called purusha in the Samkhya. The essential nature of this purusha is pure consciousness, awareness, brilliance, light, intelligence, self-awareness. The purusha is an Infinite Being, and not something that is in some place; it is not an individual person. Creation takes place by the coming in contact, in a novel way, of this pure spirit, purusha, consciousness, with cosmic matter, called prakriti. So, there are two realities: consciousness and matter – the subject and the object, as you sometimes call them. When the subject comes in contact with the …

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 17.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita 


This difficulty arises on account of a lack of sufficient understanding, and understanding is called samkhya in the language of the Bhagavadgita. "Arjuna, you have no samkhya-buddhi," says Sri Krishna. "You are unable to discriminate between the real and the unreal, the true and the false, which means to say you have no right understanding, and samkhya is right understanding." The word 'samkhya' is used in the Bhagavadgita in a different sense from the way you are likely to understand it in the schools of thought. Here the samkhya word does not necessarily mean the jargon of the traditional school which goes by the name of Samkhya, propounded by a sage called Kapila, as one of the six systems of thought in India. 


Though it has some connection with what the Bhagavadgita is telling us, it is not identical with the meaning of the word 'samkhya' as it is used in the Bhagavadgita. In a general way we may say that samkhya…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 16.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita 


These questions are justifiable questions that may arise in the minds of every seeker. "What happens to this world when I reach God?" Even the most intelligent person cannot answer this question. Not even the best exponent will be able to express himself in answering this pose, "What happens to the world when you go to God? What happens to your bank balance?" It's a terror to hear that you lose it, and you will get nothing to eat, nothing to drink, and nothing to possess – 'pauper of the first water' when you enter the kingdom of God. This doubt may harass us, "Is it going to be like this?" Even sincere seekers feel many a time, "What am I supposed to do after reaching God? I go on looking at Him for eternity, by eating nothing, sleeping nowhere, and having nothing to do. What a drab kind of life!" This is also a very serious point that may arise even in the best of us, what to talk about novitiates,…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 15.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita 



Without going into large details, since we have not much time before us, I sum up this principle of a problem arising before a spiritual seeker as put forth by Arjuna in his own words in the first chapter. When you take to the path of yoga, certain difficulties will arise in your mind. Some questions will arise. One: "Is it really going to be a successful adventure on my side? Am I really going to get anything, or am I a fool?" This question will not arise in the beginning. These questions will arise after some time, after years of practice, because you will find that you have achieved nothing, for some obvious reasons. Then the question will arise, "Is this a profitable adventure or is it merely a will-o'-the-wisp that I am pursuing? There is no surety that I'm going to succeed when I've achieved nothing for the last many years. If for the last twenty years I have achieved nothing, what is the certainty that I'm going t…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 14.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


The complacency of a happy person in this world is really a danger to the individual. This was the complacency of Arjuna and the foolhardy heroism that he manifested before he entered the battlefield. A person who may be appearing to be healthy and very pleasant in his life may be attacked by an epidemic tomorrow, and this possibility cannot be prevented merely by a precedent happiness a day earlier. The tentative illness that you seem to be in, psychologically, when you tread the path of yoga is the one in which many of us find ourselves – a sense of having lost oneself and a feeling that one does not know where one is standing, which feeling you would not have had before you took to the spiritual way of living or the path of yoga. 

People are happy in this world. They are travelling all directions and eat well, sleep well, they go to clubs – there is no trouble with anybody in the world. But the trouble arises the moment you turn to the spirit and t…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 13.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


Thus, Arjuna was confounded, as any one of us can be. In this adventure of spiritual life, which is metaphorically presented before us in the form of the Mahabharata, we are likely to be faced with certain doubts and difficulties. While in the earlier stages it may appear that the whole sky is very clear, when you move onwards you'll find that heavy, thick clouds are hanging above your heads, and there is darkness in the front. This is the darkness of the spiritual aspiration. The first chapter of the Bhagavadgita is a chapter of sorrow of the seeker – Arjuna Vishada Yoga. It is the weeping of the seeking individual. However, you will be surprised to note that the colophon or the concluding line of the first chapter is designated Arjuna Vishada Yoga. It is a yoga, and not merely a weeping after a bereavement or a loss. A crying and a weeping, despondency and a melancholy mood cannot be called yoga in any sense of the term. A confounding of the mi…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 12.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


When we take to the path of the spirit, tread the way of yoga or in the true sense of the term we become religious, we do not shrink, but expand; we do not lose, but gain; we do not become disassociated but get more and more associated in a vital, true manner. Religion has many a time, through the process of history, been described as a passage to the other world, so that this world has no connection with religion, yoga, spirituality, or even God Himself. 

This interpretation of the religious outlook as an 'other-worldly affair' has insinuated itself into the blood of people, to such an extent that it has not left us even till this moment. There is always a tendency to look up to the skies when we pray to God as disassociated from our brethren around us and unconnected with the footstool of the earth. Why we are made to think in this manner is a question which takes us to psychology, perhaps psychoanalysis. We are born and bred in an atmospher…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 11.

The Teachings of Bhagavadgita :


Subjectively, we are individuals looking at the world. We – not merely humans, everything that is capable of visualising the world as an external something – is a subject, even if it be subhuman or even superhuman. As this cosmical outward world is constituted in this manner described, the individual also is constituted in some way. The physical body of organic as well as inorganic beings is made up of the same five elements - earth, water, fire, air, and ether. But inside the body there are other things, deeper layers, internal and more pervasive, more ethereal – like electric energy you may say – than the physical body outside. We have the pranas inside. A prana is a vibratory motion of an energy which sustains us, and due to which we feel strength in our system. Internal to the pranas is the mind, which thinks. The senses – hearing, seeing, etc. – are intermediary operations between the prana and the mind. They are connecting links between the prana a…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 10.

The Teachings of Bhagavadgita :


Now, you have to listen to me more carefully, because something happens – the real creation starts now onwards. This concretised, universal self-consciousness, known as ahamkara, is split into the objective side and the subjective side by some miracle of the creative will. Thus it is that we are seeing a world outside, as if it is totally external. Space and time introduce themselves. So, the first conceivable form of the world may be said to be what you call 'space and time', or in modern language you may say 'space-time complex'. It is a condition of further creation. There cannot be creation unless there is space-time; it is an antecedent to every concept of evolution in any manner whatsoever. When space-time is manifest or evolved by the will, as you may say of this cosmic self-consciousness, ahamkara, there is a further condensation into greater grossness, into more concrete vibrations which you call sensations of sound, of touch, of…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker :9.

The Teachings of Bhagavadgita :


The whole of the Samkhya philosophy is a system of cosmology; it is a description of the way in which things evolve from the Ultimate Reality. Now I am speaking to you the classical Samkhya of Kapila, which is in some respects acceptable to the other schools of thought also, though not entirely. I will tell you in what way they are acceptable and in what way they are not acceptable. The Supreme Being is called purusha in the Samkhya. The essential nature of this purusha is pure consciousness, awareness, brilliance, light, intelligence, self-awareness. The purusha is an Infinite Being, and not something that is in some place; it is not an individual person. Creation takes place by the coming in contact, in a novel way, of this pure spirit, purusha, consciousness, with cosmic matter, called prakriti. So, there are two realities: consciousness and matter – the subject and the object, as you sometimes call them. When the subject comes in contact with the obj…

The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker :8.

The Teachings of Bhagavadgita :


This difficulty arises on account of a lack of sufficient understanding, and understanding is called samkhya in the language of the Bhagavadgita. "Arjuna, you have no samkhya-buddhi," says Sri Krishna. "You are unable to discriminate between the real and the unreal, the true and the false, which means to say you have no right understanding, and samkhya is right understanding." The word 'samkhya' is used in the Bhagavadgita in a different sense from the way you are likely to understand it in the schools of thought. Here the samkhya word does not necessarily mean the jargon of the traditional school which goes by the name of Samkhya, propounded by a sage called Kapila, as one of the six systems of thought in India. Though it has some connection with what the Bhagavadgita is telling us, it is not identical with the meaning of the word 'samkhya' as it is used in the Bhagavadgita. In a general way we may say that samkhya me…