The Bhagavad Gita ("Song of God") is a sacred Hindu scripture told as a spiritual epic and intended for no particular religion but to guide the actions of all of mankind. Praised highly by not just the likes of MK Gandhi, but also, Aldous Huxley, Albert Einstein, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Carl Jung & Herman Hesse. It is considered among the most important texts in the history of literature and philosophy.
Out of ignorance and egoism, our desires and our actions prevent us from knowing our true nature and true purpose.
Know that you are the spiritual self
The first lesson that we learn from the Bhagavad Gita is to know who we actually are because most of our problems arise because we tend to identify ourselves with our physical personalities. The scriptures makes it clear that the body is unreal. It is like a garment worn by the self. We are actually the spiritual selves. The individual self that exists in each of us is real and permanent. It is immortal and indestructible. It is an aspect of the Supreme Self and is beyond the grasp of the mind and the senses.
Stabilize your mind by overcoming desires
Our minds are the seat of our desires, thoughts and feelings. Our wandering senses keep our minds in a state of turmoil. They are responsible for our desire for sense objects and attachment with them. Our attachment and desires in turn subject our minds to conflicting emotions as we come into contact with pairs of opposites. An unstable mind is characterized by egoistic thinking and desire ridden actions. A man with unstable mind is not fit for salvation. His consciousness keeps wandering around sense objects and remains entangled in the distractions of the world. Instability of the mind is therefore the first problem we need to resolve to know who we are and experience our real selves.
But do we stabilize our minds? The Gita suggests that through self-discipline a devotee can control the activity of the senses, develop detachment from the sense objects and achieve tranquility of the mind. With the attainment of tranquility of mind all his sorrows would come to an end. He can then easily establish his mind in God and achieve union with Him.
Do your duty with detachment renouncing the doership
By merely restraining our senses and controlling our minds we will not be able to free ourselves from the cycle of births and deaths unless restraining our senses by our minds, unattached, and understanding the nature of action, we engage ourselves in doing our obligatory duties.
The Gita says that none can escape from activity or remain inactive even for a moment. Whoever is born on earth is helplessly driven to action by his in-born qualities.
Therefore a man should perform his obligatory duty, for action is superior to inaction. But while performing actions he should not think that he is the doer nor he should have any attachment for the work he is doing.
The ignorant man acts with attachment thinking that “I am the doer”; But the wise person acts without attachment, desiring the welfare of the world-order. For him there is no interest in what is done and what is not to be done, nor has he to depend upon anyone for anything.
Actions do not taint God, even though He engages in actions, for He has no desire for the fruit of actions. A wise man has complete knowledge of action. He knows the various methods through which sacrifices are performed. Knowing thus, through knowledge, he becomes free from the bondage of action. His actions are burnt up in the fire of wisdom. Through knowledge he attains peace.
Spiritual perfection is not attained by asceticism or by abandoning action, but by giving a new meaning to action - that of detachment from its fruits. Such an attitude of mind does not feed karma and reincarnation. Krishna formulates the famous principle:
This is Karma Yoga, the path of attaining liberation through accomplishing one's normal duties with a totally detached attitude toward personal benefit.
True renunciation is renunciation of doership
Better than renunciation of action with knowledge is renunciation of action by renouncing the sense of doership. The knower of truth while performing actions knows that he does nothing at all. He acts offering all actions to God, without any attachment. He remains untouched by sin as the lotus-leaf by water.
Acknowledge the presence of God in you and in everything and everyone
God dwells in the body as Adhidaiva, as the inner witness. At the time of death he who remembers God alone, attains Him without any doubt. Therefore one should remember Him at all times, with mind and intellect absorbed in Him. By constant practice of yoga, his mind without thinking anything else, constantly meditating on Him, he attains the Supreme Divine.
The Whole universe is permeated by God. All beings exist in him. At the beginning of every cycle of creation, He creates multitude of beings and keeps them under the influence of Prakriti, His Lower Nature. These works do not bind Him, for he is unattached and indifferent to these actions.
Fools do not recognize His greatness and disregard Him. But the wise know His true nature and worship Him with unwavering devotion.
Surrender to God with devotion
Those devotees who worship Him only, always thinking of Him only, and ever united, God takes care of their wants and needs and looks after their welfare. Even those who worship other gods also in a way worship Him because He is the Lord of all offerings.
Those who worship gods go to the gods. But those who worship the Supreme attain the Supreme. Whatever that is offered to the Supreme Lord with love and in pure devotion is accepted by Him.
So whatever we do, whatever we eat, whatever we offer as oblation to the sacred fire, whatever we give as a gift, whatever we do as an act of penance, we should offer it all to Him only.
Through pure devotion, by constantly thinking of Him and worshipping him, doing actions for His sake, taking refuge in him and renouncing all fruits of actions, with self-conquered, with no expectations, steady of mind, a devotee can easily attain God. Such a devotee is very dearer to God and He takes care of such devotees in every possible way.
The body is the field of activity and God dwells in the body as the Knower of the Field. The body is made up of five great elements, the intellect, the unmanifest nature, the ten senses, the mind and the five objects of the senses. It is also the seat of all desires, feelings, emotions and mental energy. The knower of the body is the Supreme Brahman who resides in the body as the indwelling soul.
The body is an aspect of Prakriti. The knower of the body is Purusha. All actions are performed by Prakriti while the Purusha, the witness, the Guide, the Non-doer. Purusha seated in Prakriti enjoys the qualities of Prakriti. Attachment of the Purusha to these qualities is the cause of bondage.
Know the truth about the three gunas
Sattva, rajas and tamas are the three gunas born of Prakriti which bind the imperishable soul to the body through attachment. Sattva is pure and luminous and it binds the soul through attachment of happiness and knowledge. Rajas is born of passion and binds the soul through attachment to the fruits of actions. Tamas is the quality born of the dark ignorance and indolence and it binds the soul through negligence, sloth and sleep. These three gunas bind the soul to the illusion and chain of births and deaths.
A devotee, through the grace of God, can overcome these three gunas and attain salvation.
According to the Bhagavad Gita a man should not renounce action or avoid doing his obligatory duty. He should engage himself in action, but with a sense of detachment, with a steady mind and with self-discipline, casting away egoism and all other negative qualities, without any desire for the fruits of his actions, with a sense of sacrifice, completely surrendering to God and fully devoted to Him, offering the fruit of his actions to Him and partaking the remains of the nectar in the form of sacrifice.
Actions performed in this manner do not bind men. Always engaged in some action, taking shelter in Him, by His grace, he attains the eternal, imperishable Abode.
This should never be spoken to one who is not austere, who is without devotion, who desires not to listen and who speaks ill of God. But whoever with supreme adoration to Him teaches this to His devotees, he will attain Him without any doubt.
Amen, Just finished Bill's class and will begin a Yoga Sutras/Upanishads class some time after the new year. Enlightenment in 2 hour increments at the feet of a fine teacher.
Sweet. I wish I wasn't so far from all the action in St. Pete! Keep me posted on the classes next year, Neil mentioned them too.
jungle jay said:Amen, Just finished Bill's class and will begin a Yoga Sutras/Upanishads class some time after the new year. Enlightenment in 2 hour increments at the feet of a fine teacher.