Showing posts from December, 2014

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatam : Ch-1. Part-3.

1: King Parikshit’s Question to Suka Maharishi : 3.

At the very beginning of the second chapter of the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana this question is answered briefly, and reference to this is also made in the beginning of the eighth chapter of the Srimad Bhagavadgita when Bhagavan Sri Krishna says: Our involvements in this life are explained in this beautiful contextual answer of Bhagavan Sri Krishna to Arjuna when He says, “That which is the ultimate good is the Supreme Brahman.” A similar question was raised by Yudhishthira at the end of the Mahabharata war when he went to Bhishma, who was lying on a bed of arrows, and Bhishma’s answer was that it is better to remember Vishnu and recite his name one thousand names, not only at the end of time, but at all times, because the end of time is at any time. Even this very moment can be the end of time. So, when we ask the question, “What is good for us at the end of time?” it is implied that it is that which is good for us at all times bec…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatam : Ch-1. Part-2.

1: King Parikshit’s Question to Suka Maharishi : 2.

This boy, the child in Uttara’s womb who Asvatthama attempted to destroy, was Parikshit, the only descendent of the Pandava brothers. Due to a tragic historical event that took place, which is told in the beginning of the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana, Parikshit was to die by a snake bite. Frightened by this possibility, Parikshit wound up his reign of the kingdom and sat in prayopavesa on the bank of Ganga, wishing to end his life, which was to come upon him within seven days, according to the curse of the son of a great Rishi. It was at that time the great Suka Maharishi happened to pass that way, and he was received with great respect by the audience seated around King Parikshit. When everybody paid obeisance, Suka asked them the reason why they were all gathered on the bank of River Ganga.

Parikshit put a question: “What is good for man, especially at this hour when my life is about to end?” How are we to answer this question? Wha…

A Summary of the Srimad Bhagavatam : Ch-1. Part-1.

1: King Parikshit’s Question to Suka Maharishi : 1.

Asvatthama obtained his astra, which is known as Narayana Astra, as a special gift from his father Drona when he insisted that he should be given something which Arjuna did not know – because, naturally, it should be accepted that a disciple is not as great as one’s own son. Due to this persistence, Drona bestowed an indomitable power known as Narayana Astra upon Asvatthama, knowing well that the boy was mischievous and was likely to use it unwarrantedly. Drona warned him that it should not be used recklessly, yet he knew that he would not listen to his advice. So, as a safeguard, he did not teach him the art of using it a second time or the art of withdrawing it. It could be discharged once only, and then it would extinguish itself.

When, to Asvatthama’s consternation, the attempt to destroy the Pandavas with this missile failed, he ran away from the field cursing everybody and yelling out that even fathers are not to be trusted th…

10: The One Supreme Absolute Alone Is : 8. ( Last Part )

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

The world appears to be there as a prakriti outside, but it is not really outside there. It is immanently controlled by a Supreme Principle – the kshetrajna, the Knower of all things – and even this so-called outside object, this prakriti, is not a solid substance. It is a sea of turbulent energies which attack each other with the force of a cyclone blowing over the surface of an ocean. Above these gunas of prakriti, transcendent to the visible structure of all this creation, beyond the individual seer, is the Supreme Purushottama. The whole universe is guided, controlled, illuminated and ruled by this Supreme Purushottama. God is called Purushottama to distinguish the supremacy of God over the ordinary purushas which are the individuals. While the jivas are called purushas, there is a Supreme Purusha who is the best of all purushas – that is Purushottama.

The fifteenth chapter again describes the nature of this universe, with a different type of …

10: The One Supreme Absolute Alone Is : 7.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

So the prakriti so-called, the matter to which reference has been made in the thirteenth chapter, is constituted of three forces – sattva, rajas, and tamas – which is the theme of the fourteenth chapter. The idea that the universe is a solid, material, brick-like substance is removed from our mind by the teaching that the whole universe is force. Here we have a corresponding philosophy of German philosopher Leibniz – the universe is made of force – and this is also of modern physics.

As we are told, all great men think alike, whether they are from the East or the West. When we reach the top of the mountain, we will see the same thing, whoever we are. So all these great men – Plato or whoever he is, they have reached an apex of perception of things, so they have the same explanation, finally, of the internal character of things. We have to overcome our subjection to the gunas of prakriti – this is a teaching towards the end of the fourteenth chapte…

10: The One Supreme Absolute Alone Is : 6.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

The Bhagavadgita accepts the Samkhya principles of the dualism of prakriti and purusha, with a great proviso that there is something beyond these two principles which are like the two wings of the bird of the Supreme Being, but the wings themselves are not the bird. We have a similar thought in Spinoza in the West, who had a notion of the Supreme Being by way of what we call substance, with two attributes of space and time. The attributes of Spinoza are something like the purusha and prakriti of the Samkhya according to the Mahabharata, the Manu Smirti and the Bhagavadgita – not Kapila's or Ishvarakrishna's Samkhya. There is a practical utility in taking for granted that there is such a thing called purusha and prakriti. Whether they are really there in the last word is a different matter, but they have to be taken as existent, like an 'x' in an equation; it is not there, but it must be there because it has utility. Human beings, w…

10: The One Supreme Absolute Alone Is : 5.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

We have practically understood the essentials of religion and spirituality with this long discourse, right from the beginning of the Gita till this present level we have reached now. But the vision of the All-Being – Vishvarupa, if it remains mainly a vision which passes, and it actually passed in the case of Arjuna, we have to conclude that he did not enter into it and dissolve himself there, because he was still there as an individual. He had a flash, he had an intuition, he saw with the third eye, but he did not conduct a pravesha into it.

(Gita 11.54)

Jnatum    drashtum   ca   tattvena    praveshtum    ca    parantapa  –

the three words are mentioned towards the end of the eleventh chapter. He knew it and he saw it, but he did not enter into it, evidently.

Whatever it is, these are very hard things to understand. There is a persistent assertion on the part of every seeker that there is a universe outside. With all our practices and our philoso…

10: The One Supreme Absolute Alone Is : 4.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

(Gita : 12.10)

Abhyasepyasamarthosi    matkarmaparamo    bhava,

madarthamapi   karmani    kurvan    siddhimavapsyasi.

(  Gita : 12.11.) Second line.

Sarvakarmaphalatyagam    tatah    kuru    yatatmavan .

So this seems to be teaching on karma yoga. "The abandonment of the fruits of action at least may be your way, if everything is not possible and any other thing is not practical. Neither can you reason and argue and unite your total understanding with Me, nor can you find time to concentrate on My Being. You have not got the will, nor will you be able to feel My presence, love Me whole-heartedly. Then do your duty as per your station in society." Our duty will depend upon our station in human society, or station in a particular given circumstance or environment. But this duty that we perform should be such that it does not get tagged-down to a result that we expect to follow for our own personal benefit or advantage or personal satisfact…

10: The One Supreme Absolute Alone Is : 3.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

Yamas, niyama, asana, pranyama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana are the graduated techniques prescribed for those who cannot at one stroke attain this union with the All. But we are not in a position to concentrate our minds even in this manner; it is very difficult for us. Even for a few hours of the day this type of concentration is hard, due to the power of the sense organs – the desires, the passions, the grief, the frustrations, and the many troubles to which a man is heir. Then what can be done? 

(Gita: 12.10). 
Abhyasepyasamarthosi     matkarmaparamo    bhava, 

madarthamapi    karmani    kurvan    siddhimavapsyasi.    

Here I am trying to follow the reading of Madhusudana Saraswati who seems to be more generous in his understanding, because it is hard to make out the true implications of these statements of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. The very shrewd interpretation given by Madhusudana Saraswati is that here in this third verse the teacher seems to s…

10: The One Supreme Absolute Alone Is : 2.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

It is rarely we see people with all these faculties in proper proportion – such an integrated individual is difficult to see.

These faculties in the human being are the instruments of the practice of yoga, so that we cannot contact reality except through the apparatus with which we are endowed. These four features mentioned determine and decide our encounter with God, the Supreme Being; and the way in which we visualise the Supreme Being through these faculties goes by the names of the various yogas: jnana, yoga, bhakti, karma and the like. In the Bhagavadgita we have a large detail opened up before us of all these methods of spiritual practice, though we cannot say that anywhere does the Bhagavadgita create a watertight compartment among these procedures or ways of approach.

 In every slokam of the Gita there is a touching of everything practically, and there is no airtight distinction of one from the other. However, to be more precise and to mak…

10: The One Supreme Absolute Alone Is : 1.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

The faculties of knowledge and action in the human individual correspond, practically, to the functions of reason, will, emotion, and the impulse to act. We rationally and intellectually consider the pros and cons of a particular step to be taken – this is the rationality behind our way of living. Apart from pure intellectual or rational assessment, there is also a faculty in us which goes by the name of will – volition – which decides and determines a course of action or a purpose to be fulfilled. There is also a very important contributory factor in all of our engagements in life, namely emotion or feeling, and there is also the vigour which impulses to act. Practically, the human being is exhausted by these operations: reason, will, emotion, and an impulsion to vibrate as activity in some direction or the other.

The way of life of the human being is also the way in which we live a religious life. Even our practise of yoga and our concept of God…

9: The Majesty of God-Consciousness : 9. ( Last Part )

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

Bhaktya   tvananyaya   cakya    aham   evam   vidho  (Gita : 11.54):

This bhakti, this devotion spoken of here, is not a little lip sympathy that we show to God. It is not a bowing of the head, it is not the folding of the hands or the striking of the cheeks – it is the melting of ourselves in the menstruum of God-Being. We can only speak, but our reason cannot grasp what all this means.

Matkarmakrnmatparamomadbhaktah   sangavarjitah,

nirvairah    sarva-bhuteshu   yah    sa   mameti.   (Gita 11.55).

Again to repeat,

ananyah    cintayanto mam   ye    janah    paryupasate,

tesham    nityabhiyuktanam    yogakshemam   vahamyaham.  ( Gita : 9 - 22)

Recite this sloka every day – contemplate its meaning. Nobody can harm us. There is nobody who is not under the subjection of God's rule, and therefore when we are in communion with this Great Master of the World, who can do harm to us? The whole army of God will protect us, provided we are honestly in f…

9: The Majesty of God-Consciousness : 8.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

These sentences we are using are inadequate to the purpose; we are using fragile words of mortal language for describing the characteristics of Immortal Existence. Like a frog in the well describing the ocean – this is how we are describing the Almighty. Whatever be our description, it falls short, badly, from that Mighty, Super-Nature. It is impossible to describe the meaning of the eleventh chapter. It just stands unparalleled in poetic excellence, and an exuberance of philosophic abundance. We have to read it for ourselves; our soul has to read it – not merely our eyes. Vyasa, the great author of the Bhagavadgita, goes into raptures, as it were, in giving a description of this rapturous experience of Arjuna, and poetry is the only way of expressing such miracles and wonders and marvels and majesties.

 Prose is poor – poetry is supreme here, and the poetry in Sanskrit here goes to its heights. When we are in a state of rapture, we speak anything…

9: The Majesty of God-Consciousness : 7.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

Deluded man, totally oblivious to his glorious goal, foolish in his pursuits, regards himself as all-master in this world, which may carry on and continue for some time until God takes up his rod and tolerates it no more. And there cannot be a greater evil in this world than self-justification. Every other evil follows from this: audacity, tyranny, despotism – all these follow from self-justification.

A little bit of long rope is given by God Himself to every one of us, so we may live in our own fool's paradise for the time being and we may rule in the hell that we have created here. That is okay; for some time, enjoy your hell. But when adharma, incomparable adharma which is this egotism of man, goes to heights, to the breaking-point, then God Himself cannot tolerate it anymore. He takes up His cudgels and there is a dissolution of the cosmos. And, when He takes up the reigns of rule in His Hands, the rule in the kingdom of individuals not on…

9: The Majesty of God-Consciousness : 6.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

There is some sort of message that we seem to receive from the meaning that we can read between the lines in the ninth and the tenth chapters – everywhere He is present, sometimes more pronounced in His manifestations, sometimes not so manifest.

Yadyadvibhutimat     sattvam    srimadurjitameva   va,

tattadevavagaccha    tvam    mama    tejomasambhavam    (Gita 10.41):

Wherever there is exaltation of any kind, power, knowledge, capacity, whatever it is, a super-normal manifestation of anything in this world, it may be artistic capacity, literature, music, administration, whatever it can be – where there is a super-normal expression of this characteristic or endowment, know thou, I am present there." Not that He is not present anywhere else; this will be seen in the eleventh chapter that He is present even there where He is not pronouncedly present or markedly visible.

We are taken gradually to giddy heights where God's preponderance, super…

9: The Majesty of God-Consciousness : 5.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

There is an immediate fulfilment of all that is essential; there is a flood of all that one needs. This verse has been understood in many ways by different types of understanding. God provides us with every kind of need and necessity – not even a thousand mothers can equal Him in compassion and in love for us. The mothers of the world are nowhere before this Supreme Parent, because the love that proceeds from God in respect of us is the love that emanates from every corner of the universe. It is not one person like another person. A mother is one person, and even if there are ten-thousand mothers, they are only in some place. But this is a single mother who works from every corner; every nook and cranny, every particle of creation responds when God speaks.

 The quarters of the world begin to pour upon us the tribute which God sends to us. A single thought, which is the total surrender of the whole of one's personality to this God-Being, evokes…

9: The Majesty of God-Consciousness :4.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

The ninth chapter reveals before us the majesty of this deepened religious consciousness. In the earlier stages of religion it appears that the world is ruled by powers – divinities, angels, masters, adepts who are hidden behind the forms and the things of the world. There are many divinities, and every form has a divinity which ensouls that particular body. There is an extreme externality of these divine presences in the widespread expanse of the universe before us – this is the outer reach of the religious consciousness. When we go deeper in our studies and experiences in religion, there is felt an inwardisation of this concept.

The presence of these divine powers in the far-fetched distance of the cosmos seems also to be in harmony with the deepest essences of all the jivas, individuals, so that that which is present in distant space has also to be present immediately in the heart of even the thinker himself. Thus the so-called thing-in-itself,…

9: The Majesty of God-Consciousness : 3.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

Anything can happen to the soul after death. One can be reborn into this world, one can rise to a higher level, a higher region or superior plane of existence, and if we are to follow the trend of the thought given to us in the Upanishad, one can go to heaven and hell also. One can go to Brahmaloka, one can move along the Uttaramarga or Dakshinamarga, the Aksharadipatha – the path of light, or the path of smoke – as the Bhagavadgita puts it. We need not go into minor details of these eschatological studies.

The point that we may bear in mind is that we have to be very cautious in thinking, feeling, and willing. We should not be fools when we start thinking through our minds, under the impression that we are masters in this world. No individual can be a supreme master here, because of the very fact of a different type of relationship that seems to obtain between ourselves and the whole creation into which we had a peep when we studied the cosmologi…

9: The Majesty of God-Consciousness : 2.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

The peregrination of the individual consciousness through the various stages, which were touched upon in our scheme of cosmological studies, is an interesting part of philosophical studies. Briefly it was told us that the last thought decides the future, and I mentioned that the last thought is not an isolated link but a culmination, a fruit, a maturity, the finality of the total psychological operations of the individual throughout one' s life. So it is not a chronologically disassociated last thought, but a logical development of the entire thought process, fructifying in this total thought. We can describe it only in that way – the total thought, and not one among the many thoughts.

This complete thought would be the factor that determines the future of the soul. Whatever one aspires for, that one shall attain to.

Yam    yam    vapi    smaran    bhavam    tyajatyante    kalevaram, tam    tamevaiti   (Gita 8.6).

This is a great theme in the …

9: The Majesty of God-Consciousness : 1.

From self-discipline, the Bhagavadgita now takes us to the level of God-Consciousness as its discourse proceeds, and especially in the ninth, tenth and eleventh chapters we reach the climax of the description of this state. Here we seem to find God taking possession of everything. Human individuality and human responsibility do not anymore stand as an outside principle when God begins to rule His kingdom. The kingdom of the jiva, the individual, is no more an isolated factor requiring separate attention on the part of the individual. As we noted in earlier stages in the preceding chapters, the Gita concentrated itself upon the training which the individual has to undergo, until there is a complete preparation of oneself for the final onslaught, which is the great yoga of union with the whole cosmos.

We were discussing the other day the implications of the teaching in the eighth chapter. The whole universe is envisaged in various facets as adhideva, adhibhuta, adhyatma, adhiyajna etc.…

8: Creation and Life After Death : 9. ( Last Part )

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

The last thought is the cumulative outcome of the total force exerted by us throughout our life upon our mind. So it is not the last thought in a chronological sense; it is only a 'logical last', not the 'historical last' – we have to understand this very clearly. So, do not be under the impression that death is very far, and the last thought shall be taken care of after some time. It is not so. Whatever we have sown will decide what we will reap, and therefore the thoughts, the feelings, the preponderating impulses in us throughout our life will be the determining conditions of our last feeling, last thought.

This last thought is not merely a psychological operation; it is a surge of our total being. The nerves will crack, the muscles will melt, as it were, we will feel as if the bones are breaking and the whole of us will rush out of this body. It is not merely shallow thinking as we think that the tree is outside us. This kind o…

8: Creation and Life After Death : 8.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

Now, the Bhagavadgita still keeps God away from us a little bit, and does not want us to jump into God immediately, though much has been said about our relationship to creation and the existence of God as the Supreme Creator. There is a necessity felt by us to understand what happens to us after we quit this body. "Well, I understand what you say. Here I am, here in this vast world, this universe, and the Great God is there as the Creator. Yes, perfectly okay; but when I leave this world, what happens to me?" This is the subject of eschatology – the life after death subject. "When a person dies, what happens?" This was the question of Nachiketas as we have it recorded there in the Kathopanishad. What happens when we quit this world? When the soul leaves this body, where does it go?

Yam   yam   vapi    smaran    bhavam    tyajatyante    kalebaram,

tam   tamevaiti   kaunteya   sadha   tadbhavavitah   (Gita 8.6) –

Here is a psycho…

8: Creation and Life After Death : 7.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

Bhutabhavodbhavakaro   visargah   karmasamjnitah  (Gita 8.3) –

karma is understood to be action, Everybody knows what this word means – action. Karma, karma, karma – it is understood in a thousand ways.

 "Oh, it is my karma," people say when they wail, weep over something, by which they mean their fate, or rather, more properly, the effect of what they did in the past, or what they do, what they have done, and so on. But more profound thinkers have understood by this word 'karma' here in this context – visarga, or the very process of the emanation of things from the Supreme Being. Visarga karmasamjnitah – the cosmic action, the original, universal impulse to diversify and project itself into this multiplicity of creation, this original creative will, as it were, may be said to be the visarga, the coming out of beings that is the karma, the original yajna, the first action.

This is one interpretation, and I am not trying to go int…