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 right action, or action as such in the light of correct understanding.

Now, again I come to the point of cosmology, which explains our relationship with the world with everything that is around us. From this narration of the story of the descent of man from the higher realms, right from mahat and ahamkara, we learn that our personality – this individuality – is constitutionally not separate from the structure of the world or the universe outside. The substance out of which our individuality is made is not different from the substance of which the world outside is made. Bring back to your memories these principles of descent I mentioned to you – I will repeat it once again if you have not been able to note down these. There is the mulaprakriti, the original material out of which the whole cosmos was formed, something like the space-time of modern physics – or something subtler even than that – from which descended the tanmatras: sabda, sparsa, rupa, rasa, gandha – the principles of sound, touch, colour, taste and smell, which concretised themselves into a greater density of substance by a sort of permutation and combination, and became the solid substances you see here as the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. These things are the building bricks of the cosmos, physically speaking – everything material is nothing but a formation of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether – this body, this building, this tree, this everything.

Swami Krishnananda

To be continued ....   

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