What is Sannyasa? (Renunciation)

What is Saṁnyāsa ?

Desire to give up is as natural as desire to procure. They are both necessary aspects in determining the path of life experiences. Both are healthy desires. Both can prove beneficial or detrimental to survival as well as to the quality of living. The desire to procure can become detrimental when it exceeds a limit. Among the many ills, few are, it makes a person greedy, arrogant and insecure. Whereas the desire to give up, when it exceeds limits can prove dangerous as giving up one’s responsibilities and sometimes, even one’s life. On the other end of extreme, the desire to give up can also pave the path of absolute freedom. Mokṣa. This, the desire to procure can never bring. Mokṣa.

Saṁnyāsa is the healthy desire to give up which paves the path of Mokṣa.

Saṁnyāsa, its essential meaning is त्याग Tyāga. And Tyāga, the essential meaning is ‘To give up’. ‘To abandon’. ‘To leave’. But while Saṁnyāsa involves giving up, mere giving up is not Saṁnyāsa.

What is it that needs to be given up? To know this, we first recognise what is it to procure? What propels the desire to procure?

All procuring is prompted by an inner sense of unfulfillment. An inner sense of security, wanting to be loved, cared for. A felt incompleteness which drives one to seek a projected fulfilment. Upaniṣads call them एषणा eṣaṇa. All our material assets upto, all our relationships, are driven by the same sense of incompleteness. Brihadāranyaka Upaniṣad divides all our fundamental desires into three eṣaṇas. वित्तैषणा Vittaiṣaṇa, पुत्रैषणा Putraiṣaṇa & लोकैषणा Lokaiṣaṇa. They are representing Desire for wealth, Desire for a Son and Desire for a Heavenly life respectively. One desires some material possessions since they are necessary to expand a family. And son is expected to further the family and also grow it further, so son is desired. He is also expected to release his father from his debts, which ensure a heavenly life for the father. In these three fundamental desires, all the complex desires get included, for their ends would fall into one of these three. These remain the fundamental propellers for all forms of procurement. And the Upaniṣads further bring these down to अहंकार – ममकार संबन्ध ahaṃkara – mamakara. Relationships born of the notion “My Body” “I am an individual” one begins to own objects and also exert an authority of ownership on people. This brings relations like, “My family” “My husband” “My children” My house” “My car” “My table” My pen” “My bat” “My doll” Etc. Etc. As long as these remain in limits of universal laws, or even, and also legal laws, they give some happiness and fulfilment, limited and short-lived as they are.

But, when any of these procurements begins to be strenuous, riddled with pain and suffering, man wants to abandon the same. By such a giving up, the physical effort is given up. Even the mental chase of that particular may be given up. But the inner sense of unfulfillment, cannot be given up. It remains nudging inside. Due to this, man resumes to procure something else with a fresh hope, may be now, he gets the fulfilment, which will result in peace, mental relaxation and innermost happiness that will last his lifetime! Such a giving up in the first place, is called Rajasic Tyāga.

Sometimes one just gives up something or someone, without truly having understood the value of the object or the person. It is out of haughtiness or sheer lack of wisdom, or information. Many a times man gives up, only to regret later, when the value gets known. Such a giving up is called Tamasic Tyāga.

Both Rajasic and Tamasic Tyāga are not qualifying for Saṁnyāsa.

In the ahaṃkara-mamakara relationships and their strenuous nature to sustain them, possibly, some see, the futility and falseness of the assumed association, “that the method of procurement of objects and people, gives fulfilment.” It dawns upon them that it is a chase of 99. A spiral leading nowhere. It is simply wrong to assume that outward possessions or relations born due to “me being a body” can ever, can in fact NEVER bring inner fulfilment. They want to now instantly give up this life leading to procurements. They give up. All actions. All relations. All procuring habits. Such a giving up, is Sātvika Tyāga. An essential requirement for Saṁnyāsa. But, it still does not remove the inner felt unfulfillment.

Saṁnyāsa is of two essential kinds.

1.Ceasing activities that promote self procuring. And directing them towards means which help in discovering inner fulfilment. For facilitating this, one may take to the Saṁnyāsa Āśrama. The characteristic of Saṁnyāsa Āśrama is taking on certain vows, along with and including which are; काषायवस्त्र dressing one’s body in ochre coloured clothes, दण्ड carrying a stick, कमण्डलुआदि, a vessel for receiving food Anna Prasadam and मुण्ड shaving off the hair on the head. Without possessing anything, they choose to dwell modestly. This shift of āśrama without inner completeness yet, and for the sake of pursuing, discovering the inner completeness is called Vividiṣa Saṁnyāsa. Many kinds of saṁnyāsi fall in this category. It may be safe to presume the majority are such saṁnyāsi. They may pursue inner completeness through service, devotion or even austerities. But, they put little or no emphasis on ātma jñana as the primary and sole means of inner completeness.

Inner incompleteness is not a truth. It is a false belief. Man is inherently complete. He has to just discover it. And as with any belief, this too gets corrected with knowledge only. In this case, with self knowledge, ātma jñana, regarding one’s completeness.

Few take to vividiṣa saṁnyāsa for pursuing ātma jñana solely. To them, everything else is only incidentally relevant. All service, devotion, austerities will never occupy their life completely. They will spend their life seeking a Brahma Jñani ācharya, who would only be interested in dispersing the ātma jñana for the sake of the seeker. They will do the śāstra adhyayanam (indepth study of śāstra), will reflect, question, exert to understand the Mahāvākya, TAT TVAM ASI. All this, for liberation only. For in their minds they have well observed the endlessness of all other pursuits and the struggles and limitations. They are ready to give up everything for discovering the inner completeness.

Among all such, the One who rises enough in his inner pursuits to discover the Truth which ends all struggles and he is able to claim AHAM BRAHMĀSMI. He gains the Brahmānandam. The absolute, unbroken happiness.
2. There is another route to claiming Brahmāndam. Without taking vividiṣa saṁnyāsa. He remains with his life activities that he generated so far and begins the Tyāga of ahaṃkara-mamakara along with pursuing ātma jñana. This is Mānasa saṁnyāsa. Once his pursuit for the same culminates in discovering the Brahmānandam, he may then choose to give up all his possessions and relations. He has culminated his life journey. He may choose then to remain the rest of his life in his atmajñana. For this sole reason he may take to saṁnyāsa āśrama. It is then called Vidvat Saṁnyāsa. Or he may not take Saṁnyāsa at all and continue living among his life activities as a liberated one!

The following are also possible

3. When one takes to Saṁnyāsa Āśrama born from Rajasic Tyāga, it is referred to as Marakat Saṁnyāsa. Marakat means monkey. Such a person will keep wavering on his decision to have taken Saṁnyāsa.

4. There is a provision of an exception. Under a specific condition as an debilitating or a fatal disease, some wish to take Saṁnyāsa. It is taken almost at the dying moments. Such a Saṁnyāsa is called Ātura Saṁnyāsa.

For Mokṣa, ātma jñana is mandatory, and for ātma jñana, saṁnyāsa is essential. Whether vividiṣa or mānasa. But giving up the ahaṃkara-mamakara is what determines one is a saṁnyāsi or not.

In the world, many take to vividiṣa saṁnyāsa for the sake of filling their bellies and desires. A seeker should know, learn to differentiate and recognise the real from the fake!

In the Bhaja Govindam, verses attributed to Ādi Śaṅkarācharya, his student Padmapāda points out the foolishness of those who fake saṁnyāsa.

जटिलो मुण्डी लुञ्छितकेशः
काषायाम्बरबहुकृतवेषः ।
पश्यन्नपि च न पश्यति मूढो
ह्युदरनिमित्तं बहुकृतवेषः ॥ १४॥

There are many who go with matted locks, many who have clean
shaven heads, many whose hairs have been plucked out; some are
clothed in orange, yet others in various colours — all just for
a livelihood. Seeing truth revealed before them, still the foolish
ones see it not.

Whereas in the Bhagavad Gītā, Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna in the

अनाश्रित: कर्मफलं कार्यं कर्म करोति य: ।
स सन्न्यासी च योगी च न निरग्निर्न चाक्रिय: ॥६.१॥

Anāśritaḥ karmaphalaṃ karyaṃ karma karoti yaḥ
Sa sannyāsī cha yogi cha na niragnirna chākriyaḥ |6.1|

श्रीभगवान् बोले-

जो पुरुष कर्म फल का आश्रय न लेकर, करने योग्य कर्म करता है,
वह सन्न्यासी तथा योगी है;
न केवल अग्नि का त्याग करने वाला और न क्रियाओं का त्याग करने वाला ।।1।।

Śri Bhagavān says –
The one who does what ought to be done, without depending on the results
Such a One is called a saṁnyāsī and He alone is the Yogī
Not the one who merely gives up physical worship, nor the one who gives up actions.

Arjuna wanted to take to Rajasic Tyāga, and Marakata saṁnyāsa, when he saw his close ones standing across him in war, ready to fight him. Overwhelmed, Arjuna collapsed in anxiety at the thought of loosing them all. And suddenly he began to talk all philosophical. “What is the use of war?” “Why should we be greedy?” “Better is a life of Bhikśa (another discipline of saṁnyāsa, where they request to be fed from the householders) than to kill one’s own for the sake of a piece of land?” Etc. Etc. He came up with many such seeming intelligent arguments. But Kṛṣṇa knew him well and also his inner maturity. He was not ready for giving up the ahaṃkara-mamakara. On the contrary he was suffering the attachments born of them. Thus, Kṛṣṇa gives Arjuna the above advice. That it was better for him to act as ought to be done and first begin by giving up his attachments to the outcomes of his actions. That itself will qualify him gradually into a full fledged saṁnyāsi, ready then for Mokṣa. This was the advice to begin Mānasa saṁnyāsa. He tells Arjuna to be a saṁnyāsī, to be a yogī. And by telling Arjuna, Kṛṣṇa is telling us all. To stop leading a deluded life and live a more deliberate and conscious life which raises one’s own being.

© Deepti Vishwanath
24.2.17
Mahā Shivarātrī

Praying for the ‘third eye’ to open. Wishing everyone a blessed  Mahā Shivarātrī. 🕉

Social media and Karma

Social interaction media has entered everyone’s life like televisions did in the 1970’s. The impact of it is huge. In terms of how it is affecting human behaviour. The leisure to get and remain’bored’ occassionally, is getting extinct. That leisurely boredom; which brought spires of creativity.

Imagine the time, when sitting under the stars, gazing into them till sleep took over! Or sitting by the shore, absorbing the environment with all the senses, till the sun rose or set! Or walking in the rain, or the summer thirst! Who was the constant companion then? Who was with us when we were alone?  Our own aware self. In the form of our being aware of the surroundings, people, senses, more aware of our feelings, our own thinking ways. Conscious of our own self, our responses, ready on a guard, for we knew we were being judged by other ‘bored’ people as well. Overall outcome was, there were impressions of physical sensations we carried to sleep. Our minds had a storehouse of impressions gathered from the physical reality! And now, recently I heard from someone a few months ago, “when I go to sleep, which is very difficult for me, in my mind are popping images of the colours of the candy crushes”

It is not unknown that a human takes the longest time to grow. Physically as well as emotionally, few even reach the stage of intellectual growth and very few aspire for a spiritual growth. And for all this she needs a lot of time with herself to know her own person. As a person who are we? What do we like /dislike? Why do we like /dislike what we do? What do we truly desire? What do we want? Who /what makes us uncomfortable? Whose company gives us happiness? Is that happiness my true seeking? Or is this a camouflage; the real person behind, is entirely different from their projected self? How will I know, where I want to be in 10 years from now, if I am unclear what I want? And a thousand such questions are there for a young person whose life has just begun to shape up… leading to experiences she will live in the coming years.

The point is this. Humans have to choose constantly. What to choose requires some fundamental knowledge of the kinds of choices and their outcomes. And all this requires time.

The social platforms is now ever a companion. It has successfully replaced the connection with the elements for most people. Not just the introverts.  And This. Is dangerous! For all. For the human life and its development, even of, the development of survival skills! Social platforms are robbing man of his ‘real time’ with a ‘virtual time’.

Man has a limited life but unlimited potential to live it. His greatest tool as a human being is his choice. This makes him ‘do’or ‘not do’ all the time, throughout the life. This brings experiences back to him as an outcome of his actions. The capacity of this and implications are momentous and also spiralling. Upwards or downwards, depending upon the choice and course taken.

But, when the social media engagements increase, man spends away this great choice without significant outcomes, except, may be entertainment! His connections with people, are reduced to formal responses. An adapted social behaviour. Not necessarily obliged to follow his character.

Entertainment and connection with other humans was always a human need. Perhaps, television was also an outcome of the same! Once it took centre stage of his life, there was no stopping man’s dependency for entertainment. It was becoming available at a button.

But, with entertainment also come a varied other emotions. Amongst all, dislikes also grow propotionately. We become ‘choosey’. Not based on knowing what we want, or Is good for us, but based on what entertains us!  Infact, we now believe it is our right to get entertained! Many ills in the society are known to have been generated from this.

What televisions triggered; an uncontrollable upsurge of want, to get entertained, the social interaction platforms has aggravated the situation! It is alarming, how much time averagely a person spends with their social media… television still a part of life along with all other forms of entertainment.

The issue is this.

It takes away man’s focus from the real situations! The real reality. At the slightest opportunity he plunges into the virtual reality and an imagined entertainment. It is great to connect with people. But, does the independence, in seeking independent modes of entertainment improve the social skills? Is it improving the communication between people? Is it helping her to discern the projected person from the real person? Is it teaching her to adapt to physical responses. Is it in anyway, helping the human to mature! It would be interesting if there were studies taken up, to show how man’s incessant urge for entertainment is affecting his life, physical, emotional, intellectual, social. And most, spiritual, if that is even understood to be a criterion of importance! But, any such study (of course may be there) will ever be taken up – seriously. The virtual world has reduced us to ‘a moment of pleasure seekers’.

Human being has a very short span of life and thus available opportunities to make any changes within himself. Human goal is liberation. This is the final goal. Very few, or maybe even none in a generation can ‘practically’ visualise this goal for herself. But that does not reduce the potential of a human birth. The potential of every human being is finding his limitless nature, the changeless, the birthless, the object free state of unconditional joys, the source of all knowledge and many more such expressions as a human capacity to enjoy life here on the planet (which alone is called liberation)! But, alas! Not paying heed to this, we, ignorant of our potential, barter it away for perpetual sorrows in the name of imagined possibility of a moment of pleasure seeking! That is a pity.

To come close to having Liberation as goal, even a possibility to be entertained, one has to live more in the earthly world which is to do with his connect with the physical elements. His opportunities to make a difference to his life does not come with social networking, but with elemental networking! The hand which operates the gravity or the movement of the Moon around the Earth, while the Earth rotates and revolves round the Sun, call whatever name to that Hand, it is the same, which governs the Law of Karma! For which you have to be in touch with your earthly actions, emotions and thoughts and touching the virtual keys and creating images, is not touching the full utilisation of the Hand! It has no seed capable of creating ‘adrusta phalam’, the capacity to generate an invisible result! Generating a positive adrusta phala (commonly called punyam) is essential in the beginning stages of one’s spiritual growth.

Virtual world based karmās fall in the category of only a loukika karma (worldly activity) which produces only some visible result -‘drusta phalam’. Usually,  it ends with getting entertained, being subject to misery, when not getting entertained! The problem with such an approach to life? It is not adequate, is grossly insufficient for inner maturity! And far undermining the human potential of life. Yet, as Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gītā, “यथा इच्छसि, तथा कुरु ।” “(After knowing), Do as you wish to choose!”

– ©️Deepti Vishwanath

Law called Karma – what does it mean?

Since karma has found itself in the mainstream English dictionary, here, I will continue to use it as an English word instead of, and alongwith, interchangeably with action.

No karma is done without a reason, purpose, intent, motive. It is not possible to generate the will to act without them. While the physical action obviously brings a physical manifestation-as the result, the reason for your body to be propelled to act,  it is the intent also, which affects the outcome.

How much does the intent affect the result?

For very apple seed sown you get an apple tree, is the physical aspect of the law. A दृष्ट फल Drusta phala. An observable, seen result. Then there is the delayed result, which is subtle. And also not immediately experienced. It is called the अदृष्ट फल adrusta phala. The immediately unobservable, unseen, but will surely be seen at a proper time, some time. It is a delayed result. How many apples will the tree yield? What would be the taste? This cannot be known when the seed gets sown. This remains unseen. But get known when the tree matures and yields fruit.

Karta  —> karma  —> drusta phalam + some adrusta phalam.

Karta -the doer, the decider of the action, engages in the karma, action. And that action will bring back to him results in two pronged way. The immediately observable, which will be seen shortly after the completion of the action and the immediately not observable result, which will be seen much later. And so remains unrecognised, ambiguous when it fructifies. Best known only as Luck. Good / Bad are decided by the experiencer of it.

The Drusta phala gets destroyed once it is expereinced, consumed. The adrusta phala gets destroyed when it becomes Drusta phala. Take it as in the analogy of an apple seed sown. It takes time to yield the fruit. While the fruit has not matured yet, it lays latent in the tree. But, once it has, it is now ready to be consummed. That fruit gets destroyed but its seed is still there. Lives long enough. But is perishable.  Before it does, it can possibly restart the cycle of seed-fruit-seed, or perish from its ‘seed-ness’ loosing its seediness.

No karma can be disconnected with the karta-the doer. And no karta can be disconnected with his motive for the karma. Thus, common sense says, the result of karma must be enjoyed by the karta and also that each one’s differing intentions must be a major reason for the differing results for each. Since it is a common observation, that even when the same physical action is done by different people, the same result is not experienced by them.

Law of causation explains only the Drusta phala -seen aspect. For every cause there is an effect. This is a linear equation which covers only the immediately seen. Where Law of karma explains both the immediately seen and the also immediately unseen, but will-become-seen-later aspect. Understanding the Law of Karma means understanding that karma has adrusta phala, which is far greater in implications than the drushta phala.

 

Deepti Vishwanath

Iśvara is Bhagavān

Iśvara comes from the root Isha- ‘to rule’ ‘ईश्-शासने’। The one who governs. Bhagavān is a word which is a गुण वाचक । Guṇa vāchaka means, those words which indicate the inherent qualities of the one it is used for. It is derived as भग + वान ।  All Sanskrit words have a root base from which derivations are formed as per the intention of the usage. In the word ‘Bhagavān‘ the root is ‘bhaga‘ and it has the meanings of six qualities. Bhaga भग – ऐश्वर्य  aiśvarya, वीर्य vīrya, यश yaśa, श्री śrī, वैराग्य vairāgya एवं and मोक्ष mokṣa freedom. ऐश्वर्य aiśvarya means majesty, Lordliness. वीर्य vīrya means strength,  यश yaśa means fame, श्री śrī means wealth, prosperity, वैराग्य vairāgya means detachment and मोक्ष mokṣa means absolute freedom. These are mentioned in various Purāṇas, with a slight change in the list of the six. This specific list mentioned above comes in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa and has been quoted by Śri Ādi Śaṅkarācharya, in the Bhagavad Gītā, Ch4, Vs 37 as –

“ऐश्वर्यस्य समग्रस्य वीर्यस्य यशसः श्रीयः । वैराग्यस्याथ मोक्षस्य षण्णां भग इतीरणा ।।(विष्णुपु. ६।५।७४)

Aiśvaryasya samagrasya vīryasya yaśsaḥ śrīyaḥ . Vairagyasyātha mokṣasya ṣaṇṇām bhaga itīraṇā . (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.74) 

The -वान्, vān suffix is used to denote the ‘possessor of’; so Bhagavān means the one who possesses the above mentioned qualities inherently, in wholeness. Like in the example of धनवान dhanavān means the one who possesses wealth in abundance. Buddhimān means one full of Buddhi – discerning thinking.

Idea being, all the qualities which we perceive as wonderful, extraordinary, or even  ultimate ends, the one who has them in full measure, developed fully, and the qualities are there constantly, steadily and not sporadically, such a one is called a Bhagavān.

Iśvara means Bhagavān – with such a definition. Iśvara who is Bhagavān.

If there are two words, Iśvara and Bhagavān can they not mean the two are different?

The difference is this only. Iśvara is used as a noun. And Bhagavān is used as an adjective. Thus when Iśvara has been given a name like Brahmā -the originator; Viṣṇu – the sustainer, or Śiva the destroyer, he is qualified as Bhagavān Viṣṇu etc. which in understanding becomes the Iśvara with all the complete qualties himself is now The Viṣṇu etc.

Difference of usage between Bhagavān and Devatā? None. Since Bhagavān is an adjective, even Devatās are called Bhagavān. In fact, due to the meaning of Bhagavān, it gets used even for someone whom we look upon as great. We do address them in Hindi as ‘Hey Bhagavan!’ हे भगवन्!

Thus, we do see that in the translations of the Vedic thought in English, Bhagavān is also God, Iśvara is also God, Devatā is also God. But in the Vedic thought they are all distinct. This has been one of the major sources of confusion among the seekers of mokṣa born and brought up in the era – “independent India.”

Vedās talk about kārmā – the realms of Vedic actions, upāsanā -the realms of worship and meditations, and jñana – the realm of knowledge of oneself, ātmajñana. This is for the sake of man alone. And not for Iśvara or God. But Iśvara and Devatās are important for those ends to be achieved respectively for which Karma, Upāsana and Jñana are the means, sādhanās.

Deepti Vishwanath

Śāstram is an educational text book. Don’t term it religious.

img_0553The worst occurrence in the abolishing of a cultural identity is to disconnect the present generations from their ancestoral roots, and the easiest way is to change the language. The way the ancestors spoke should no longer be understood to the new generation! How important it is to recognise that language controls the generation! It modifies with time, but to make the child in a family begin to think in an acquired language which his parents or grandparents did not know of! This is sure staple for a gap in thought.

All Vedic śāstram is in Sanskrit language. Actually, there is a Sanskrit specifically devoted to the Vedās, it is referred to as the Vedic Sanskrit or also termed the classical Sanskrit. Almost all the spoken languages in India, and neighbouring countries are rooted in it. (Some say, even far of foreign languages also, like German, but I am not qualified to comment on that). This classical Vedic Sanskrit graduated to the modern spoken Sanskrit whose grammar rule were codified by the great Pānini. Most of the now available śastrās are written in this and thus are still capable of being understood!

But, in the history of India, we find there have been centuries of infiltrations, and in their attempts to know the culture, have eroded it gradually. And in the very recent times, what has completely usurped us from our roots in thought, is the fact that I am writing in it and not in my mother tongue or Sanskrit. Infact I am made to believe it is my primary language. I have an aunt who does not know it! How can this then, be my primary language?  That besides, when our principal texts, our śastrās got translated, here is where the seed for a ‘confused generation hereforth’, in terms of knowing their śāstrās, got sown. Many a word in the Sanskrit language have no parallel word in English, how can they then be translated??

This where Bhagavad Gītā, got or was, falsely or deliberately, covered in a religious robe! Every word in language is nothing but a representation of an idea in thought. Take the example of the word Dharma. Vedās talk of Dharmas. Dharma is a whole concept which has a certain flexibility to its meaning. It adapts its meaning to the context in which it is used! The context automatically gives away the meaning to the one who knows the language completely. But imagine 350 years ago, some Englishman, who saw on the banks of river Gangā, some people performing their early morning sun worship! He is alien to such an action! Worshipping the Sun! And in his attempts to know genuinely, he believes they are praying. And praying is religious to him. And when he asks the person, what are you doing?” That person must have answered “I am only doing my Dharma.” Our Englishman got confirmed that Dharma means religion! And thereafter, till today, in all the translations, whereever word Dharma comes, it is translated as religion! It has got so accepted, that we have forgotten what Dharma means! We can’t pray to the Sun now without being religious! Utter confusion!! How would the dear English soul know, Dharma is a Karma. And Karma is not action. Even praying is a Karma. 🙏  Namaste! …… is also a greeting, not a prayer.

Deepti Vishwanath

Bhagavad Gītā is a śāstram. Not a religious doctrine.

Bhagavad Gītā is a śāstram. Śāstram is defined as, “instruction, advice, good counsel; rule, theory; compendium, institutes (of any branch of learning), code, scientific or canonical work, scripture; learning (rare):” -Macdonell Sanskrit dict.

Vedās are śāstrās. They talk of four human goals. Called purushārthas पुरुषार्थ । All humanity will have one of them as a predominant goal of life. It may change order within a life, but at any stage, one of them will be more dominant. These are-

1. Artha अर्थ – The objective world, characterised by acquisition of money or means which contribute to the sense of security.

2. Kāma काम – Fulfillment of pleasures, desires.

The above two are by default and everyone has them.

3. Dharma धर्म – Earning merit, पुण्यम् । This can be utilised in two ways. One, as earning the invisible merit which can later be utilised for one’s Artha and kāma. As one does with bank deposits. Save now, for a later use! Two, it can also be used as, earning a conducive, struggle free environment so that one can pursue the 4th goal, purushārtha.

4. Moksha मोक्ष – Absolute freedom from embodiment and allied notions!

3rd and 4th goals one has to choose and deliberate them. They are not a default mode! The urge for them is there, but they have to be activated!

However, all the 4 goals are equally recognised as valid for man. For each and every one of the goals we have the respective śastra, the instructions on how to pursue them in such a way that we are successful in the pursuit.

For Artha we have Artha śāstra. The famous Chānakya Neeti is well known as a part of Artha śāstra, which Chānakya had authored to revive it. For Kāma we have kāma śāstra, the famous kāma sutrās are indeed kāma śastra; for Dharma, the dharma śāstra. Manu Dharma smriti being most known, but there are a few others a sense well. And for Moksha the Moksha śāstra. Upanishads are the principal texts for moksha, dealing only with this purushartha.

Bhagavad Gītā is a Moksha śāstra. Instructing man how to rise above his sense of limitations and everyday struggles and know the source of his being, which alone can give him eternal peace! And to be qualified for such a fragile innermost journey, the Gītā also serves as an guide.

Let me ask you, think of someone who is an ‘angel’ 😇? What comes to you? A person. Why that person, above all the others whom you know? Certainly it is the qualities the person inhabits which make him stand above the average. Who is an angel is referred to the cognition of certain qualities, which are humanly possible; just that, most of us, common folks, think it to be beyond us to put in “that sort of an effort”, or we deem them an unnecessary aspect to the running of our life or whatever else be the reason. But, that it is possible, we all know. Moreover, we may not be very clearl what those qualities are till we see them distinctly in someone! All we know is, angel must be above our level for sure. The weakness I have, an angel would not have them!

Now, think of a ‘devil’? The same comes to you, the qualities first, that a person exhibits. Along with also comes an underlying expectation, that person should have put in some effort to ‘not be so devilish’. And that, they can change, if and only if they want too!

Look at the verses below from chapter 16 of Bhagavad Gītā.

अभयं सत्वसंशुद्धिर्ज्ञानयोगव्यवस्थितिः । दानं दमश्च यज्ञश्च स्वाध्यायस्तप आर्जवम् ।।१।।

1. Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in Yoga and knowledge, alms-giving, control of the senses, sacrifice, study of scriptures, austerity and straightforwardness,

अहिंसा सत्यमक्रोधस्त्यागः शान्तिरपैशुनम् । दया भूतेष्वलोलुप्त्वं मार्दवं ह्रीरचापलम् ।।२।।

2. Harmlessness, truth, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of crookedness, compassion towards beings, uncovetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness,

तेजः क्षमा धृतिः शौचमद्रोहो नातिमानिता । भवन्ति सम्पदं दैवीमभिजातस्य भारत ।।३।।

3. Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, absence of pride—these belong to one born in a divine state, O Bhārata (Arjuna)!

These are the दैवी सम्पत्त – wealth or accumulation of characteristics; and one who has them is called divine, angel in our definition! While angel is stil a gender, ‘daivi’ is not gender based! Any human being can aspire to be rich with them. Irrespective of caste, colour, creed, gender or religion!

दम्भो दर्पोऽतिमानश्च क्रोधः पारुष्यमेव च । अज्ञानं चाभिजातस्य पार्थ सम्पदमासुरीम् ।।४।।

4. Hypocrisy, arrogance, self-conceit, harshness and also anger and ignorance, belong to one who is born in a demoniacal state, O Pārtha (Arjuna)!

These are the अासुरी सम्पत्त accumulation of the characteristics of the demonic, one we call a devil!

Is this ennumeration of human qualities, a religious mandate? They are called daivi or āsuri only as reference to two opposite spectrums that a human being is capable of gravitating towards.

They give a demarcation, a definition of what are the qualties which can be lived and which to be avoided or falling into. These are clearly, only aspects of self-development.

If someone asks, “why should I put in that effort, when the whole world is busy developing the devil in them?” The answer is the next verse.

दैवी सम्पद्विमोक्षाय निबन्धायासुरी मता । मा शुचः सम्पदं दैवीमभिजातोऽसि पाण्डव ।।५।।

5. The divine nature is deemed for liberation and the demoniacal for bondage. Grieve not, O Arjuna, for thou art born with divine properties!

So, why should anyone want to put in the work of developing the daivi sampat and avoiding the āsuri Sampat is dependent upon, if you want peace in life or strife! The divine nature is deemed fit for mental peace and the demoniacal for strife!

The message here is, even though it takes greater courage and effort to amass the ‘developed qualities’; in the long term, they have greater benefits and returns. In the immediate gain is the peace of mind and culmination is, it help one in knowing his own true and essential nature. This is the highest benefit.

Whereas, though it is easy to fall for instant ‘reactive-ness’, it results in greater stress and strife later on! Called bondage. Bondage to people, circumstances, and an alarmingly high proportion of dependence on external factors for one’s happiness. A cyclical struggle in life. A frustrated, unhappy, dejected and even violent expression to life, which is counter to one’s happiness.

Arjuna had succumbed to self doubt on the battlefield after the war cry was made. It was time for his skills to be in action. But instead, self doubt had paralysed him, making him incapable, even to lift his bow. Kṛṣṇa, here as a friend assures Arjuna, that he is equipped with all the capabilities to fight injustice, and he should shrug out this mental depression he had slipped into born of his attachments.

Is this religious ?

How and when in time did the śastrās take a religious outlook? Another post, some other time. 🙏

Deepti Vishwanath

Bhagavad Gītā-A Life encyclopaedia.

Gīta is like an encyclopaedia and no encyclopaedia is religious. Encyclopaedia consists of a concise of various informations regarding several topics. Bhagavad Gīta is exactly that. The several topics in it pertain to everything to do with a human life and his journey in creation. To call it religious, is to call a dog mad and kill it.

Bhagavad Gītā is well known to be a part of Bhīṣma Parva (Parva means section) in Mahābhārata. Mahābhārata is an ingenious story, and the characters, the protagonists, the antagonists, the side characters, all of them depict what a human journey goes through. But the genius lies in tracing and highlighting the events to
the inner mind of man. How his choices taken, unfolds the events in his life! The depth of the unfoldment is such that it takes an individual to know the source of his own being.

In the 17th chapter of Bhagavad Gītā, the three types preferences of food by three different kinds of people is mentioned. By knowing this, you know what sort of temperament you exhibit. It is a great tool of self-assessment!

आयुःसत्त्वबलारोग्यसुखप्रीतिविवर्धनाः ।
रस्याः स्निग्धाः स्थिरा हृद्या आहाराः सात्त्विकप्रियाः ।।८।।

Foods which increase life, purity, strength, health, joy and cheerfulness, which are oleaginous and savoury, substantial and agreeable, are dear to the Sattwic people.

कट्वम्ललवणात्युष्णतीक्ष्णरूक्षविदाहिनः ।
आहारा राजसस्येष्टा दुखशोकामयप्रदाः ।।९।।

The foods that are bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, dry, pungent and burning, are liked by the Rajasic and are productive of pain, grief and disease.

यातयामं गतरसं पूति पर्युषितं च यत् ।
उच्छिष्टमपि चामेध्यं भोजनं तामसप्रियम् ।।१०।।

That which is stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten and impure refuse, is the food liked by the Tamasic.

(Translation from Bhagavad Gītā by Swami Sivānanda).

Is this classification of preference of food in anyway making a religious statement??

Every verse of the Gītā is useful to humankind to find his peace, even more so when he gets overwhelmed by how his life has unfolded and he gets clueless in many a moments during his life.

Gītā is a śastra vidya. Regarding this, in another post.