Friday, August 15, 2014

GEETAA"S TEACHINGS AND GUIDANCE TO HUMANITY FOR SALVATION

Geeta’s  Teaching and Guidance to Humanity for salvation

(Compilation for a discourse at   by N.R.Srinivasan, August 2014)


The basic spiritual truths are Revelations received and proclaimed by the ancient sages thousands of years ago and consolidated by sage Vedavyaasa who is also a minor incarnation of Vishnu. It is no surprise these basic spiritual truths found in this earlier compilations of Vedas and Upanishads are echoed in Bhagavadgeeta for which he is also the concealed author. The main Truths as reflected in Bhagavadgeeta are briefly as follows: 

1. There is only one Supreme Spirit called Paramaatman who is the Reality or Truth behind all that is seen and experienced in the Universe, who cannot be described by anything we know of. He is called Brahman, Narayana, Akshara, Bhagawan etc.  Mandookya Upanishad says he is invisible, incomprehensible, Om, peace, auspiciousness and without a second. He is often described as Sat-Chit-Ananda--Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. Upanishads address   Brahman with the demonstrative pronoun  “That” (tad ekam) in neuter gender and not He or She though we often address Brahman  as “He” living in the male chauvinistic society.

2. Out of Brahman’s divine will called Maayaa, Nirguna Brahman (formless Brahman) manifests in the form of Eeeswara and Sakti for the purpose of creation, maintenance and final absorption of the universe into Brahman alone which is projected from Brahman, with  various names and forms  and qualities.   Brahman also creates laws of nature and orderliness harmony and rhythm and precision and will of God, coming out of   Brahman and being dissolved into Brahman. Everything in the world is but a part of Brahman alone however minute or however big it may be.

3) Human body with its perceived senses, mind and intelligence does not describe the   individual completely. It is the soul or Aaatman inside which gives the body personality, quality and capacity to function. Even without functioning of the one or more sense organs humans do function with this driving force called Aatman. At the so called death the physical body perishes but the soul takes its journey and more often than not returns to this world and passes on to another body. This goes on from life to life and so we say the soul undergoes a cycle of births and deaths. The soul is not affected by the actions of the body as it is an integral part of the Supreme Being.   Although the Aatman is not affected by the actions of the body being the tiny portion of Brahman   it has to go through the ordeal of births and deaths as it associates itself   with the body by the Supreme Will. Taittareeya Upanishad says the Aatman which is sometimes called Jeevaatman is distressed by associating with the human body and has a longing for joining its source, the Supreme Soul or Paramaatman. This we call Liberation from its bondage with the physical body.

4. The soul which is of the same nature as the Supreme Being gets clouded by the bond of three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas)  as a result  of Paramaatman’s own Maayaa sakti, gets identified with the body creating the sense ego “I” or “Mine” and for a while becomes ignorant of its own divine nature. If this cloud or ignorance is removed it comes in direct contact with its source and identifies itself with the Supreme Being and then after will be in Eternal Bliss thus ending its long and winding journey.

5. Mere learning and mastering of scriptures will not bring the knowledge of the soul or Jnaana.  Kathopanishad says Jnaana can be acquired only by sincere devotion to Paramaatman   and intuition which can be further helped by purity of mind and thought, meditation and prayer (yoga practice).

6.  Once a person realizes by the grace of Paramaatman the only Reality is Brahman and that he is also a part and parcel of Brahman, he will feel  himself one with Brahman.   He will then after feel the God is not only within himself but in everything he looks at.  His journey for search for Eternal Bliss comes to an end (Bhagavadgeetaa says; Yo maam pasyati sarvatra sarvam cha mayi pasyati—One who sees Me in everything sees me alone in himself). What else can be the ultimate goal of life than getting back to its source after wandering for long time through pain and pleasurers!

Bhagavadgeetaa while echoing the thoughts of Upanishads elaborates both on Bhakti Maarga, Path of Knowledge and Jnaana Maarga, Path of Devotion. It strongly recommends Jnaana co-ordinated with steadfast devotion as the only means to attain that Bliss as expressed in Bhagawan’s last advice to Arjuna in the 18th chapter before the commencement of War of Dharma.  Selected verses from Bhagavadgeetaa given below explain the nature of soul and with proper explanation convey the message for Liberation for the guidance of spiritually motivated devotees. Bhagavaan’s teachings and advice are given belo:



Na jaayatae mriyatae vaa kadaachin naayam bhootvaa  bhavitaa vaa na  bhooya- h | Ajoe nitya-h  saasvata-h ayam puraanoe na hanyate hanyamaane sareeray ||  (2-20)

The soul is never born, nor dies, nor does it come into being at physical birth. It is unborn, eternal, everlasting and ancient. Soul does not perish even when the body perishes.


Jatasya hi dhruvo mrityur dhruvam janma mritasya cha | (2- 27 )

For to one who is born, death is certain, to one who dies, rebirth is certain.

Vaasaamsi jeernaani yathaa vihaaya navaani grihnaani nara-h-aparaani |
tathaa sareeraani vihaaya jeernaany-anyaani samyaati navaani  dehee ||  (2-22)

Just as a person gives up worn out clothes and puts on other new ones, even so does the embodied Self gives up decrepit bodies and enter other new ones.

{This soul is born and again and again and subjected to worldly temporary pleasures and pains   through an endless process.  In order to avoid the same and attain permanent bliss   one has to follow the divine advice as given in Geetaa.]

Mamaivaamso mjeevaloke h jeevabhootah sanaatanah |
Manah shashteenderyaani prakritisthaani karshati || 15-7 ||

The Jeevaatman (the eternal individual soul) is My (Paramaatman’s) integral part alone. It associates with the sensory faculties of perception and mind (six Indriyas) and activates them. [Jeevaatman is the prime mover of all sense organs. When Jeevaatman quits the body these sense organs do not function any further.]

Lobah pravittir aarambhah  karmana asamah sprihaa |
Rajasy-etaani jaayante  vivridhe bharatarshabha  || 14-12 ||

When greed, inactivity, undertaking of selfish works, restlessness, desire etc., prevail, Rajoe-guna (passion; ego) predominates.

Aprakaaso apravrittischa pramaado moha eva cha |
Tamasya etaani jaayante vivriddhe kurunandana || 14-13 ||

When darkness, inactivity, inadvertence, as also delusion prevail Tamoguna (inertia; darkness) predominates.

Sarva dwaareshu dehe asmin prakaasa upajaayate |
Jnaanam yadaa vidyaad vivriddham sattvamityuta || 14-11 ||

When through all the sense openings of the organs in the human body the Light of Knowledge radiates, then one should know that Sattva (goodness; light) predominates.  [Though endowed with all Sattvaguna one is not ready yet to enter into Brahmaloka without having the complete knowledge of Brahman. He enjoys the Swarga for some time and returns back  to this world to exhaust even his Sattvagunas,   understands Brahman fully and  then proceeds to Brahmaloka direct or through Chandraloka.]

Gunaan etaan ateetya treen dehee dehasmudbhavaan |
 Janmamrityu jaraadukhair vimukto amritam asnute || 14-20||

Having transcended these three Gunas, which are the cause of this body (reason for our births), the embodied Self, bereft of birth, death, old age and misery, one attains immortality.


Brahman aadhaaya karmaai sangam tyaktvaa karoti  yah |  
lipyate na  sa  papena  padmapatramivaambhasa || 5-10 ||

One who does all good    work as an offering to Lord abandoning selfish attachment to the fruits of action remains untouched by the working of Karma or sin like the lotus leaf which never gets wet by surrounding water.


Karmanyeva adhikaaraste maa phaleshu kadaachana |

To work alone you have the right, but never claim its results.

Vihaaya kaamaan  yah  sarvaan pumaans-charati nihsprihah |
nirmamo nirahankaarah sa saantim adhigacchati  || (2-71)

That person who is giving up all sense-objects goes about unattached, devoid of the idea of ownership and free from egoism attains the bliss or permanent peace.

Na hi Jnaanena sadrisam | (4-38)

There is indeed nothing so purifying here as knowledge (of Brahman). [The intense knowledge of Brahman purifies and illuminates and leads   one to salvation]. Among   Jnaanayoga, Karma yoga and Bhakti Yoga,  Jnaana Yoga which culminates in devotion  is the best.  

Bahoonaam janmanaam ante jnaanavaan maam prapadyate || 7-29 ||

After many births, the enlightened one (one blessed with Jnaana) resorts to the Supreme Being by realizing everything is indeed that Being only and its manifestation.

Abrahma bhuvanaallokaah punraavartino  Arjuna |
Maam upetya tu kaunteya punarjanma na vidyate  || 8- 16 ||

Even from the field of Brahman and from all fields (sameepya; saalokya) there is always a need to return to this world by rebirth; but having merged with Brahman (saayujya) there is no more need for any rebirth.


Aneka-chitaa-vibhraantaa mohajaala samaavritaah | 
Prasaktaah kaambhogeshu patanti narake asuchau  || 16-16 ||

Misled by all kinds of thoughts (self-conceited, stubborn, filled with pride, intoxication of wealth and showmanship with sacrifices with no regard to scriptures) entangled in mental confusion as well as immersed in sensual pleasures, they fall into filthy hell.

Trividham narakasyedam dwaaram naasanam aatmajah |
kaamah  krodhah tathaa lobhaan tasmaad etat trayam tyajet || 16-21 ||

The doorway to this hell is made up of three folds--greed, anger and covetousness,  that lead to destruction of the individual.  Therefore one should abandon these three.

Agnir jyotir-ahah suklah  shanmaasaa uttaraayanam |
Tatra prayaataa gacchanti  brahma brahma vido  janaah || 8-24  ||

The knowers of Brahman who depart during six months Uttarrayana (Northern solstice) attain  Brahman  described as the path of  fire, radiance, day and the bright half of the month.

Suklakrishne gatee hyete jagatah  saasyate mate |
Ekayaa yaaty-anaavritim  anyaavartate punah  || 8-25 ||

The yogis who die during six months of dark half the months of Dakshinaayana (Southern solstice) reach the light of the moon  and return to this world through the path described as smoky, night, and the dark half.  (No doubt they enjoy Swarga because of their meritorious deeds but  have to return back if they have not perfected their thoughts in knowing Brahman). 

[What happens to a person like Bheeshma who know Brahman perfectly well but die in Dakshinaayana. According to Upanishads they rest for a while in the Chandraloka and then proceed onwards to Brahmaloka according to Mahaanaaraayana Upanishad. Bheeshma completed Dakshinaayaana here itselfand proceeded direct to merge with the Supreme. ]

Kaamais taistair hritajnaanaah  prapadyante anyadevataah |
Tam tam niyamam aasthaaya prakrtyaa niyataah svayaa || 7-20 ||

Deprived of discrimination by specific desires, people worship other deities observing various rites and rituals, being swayed away by their own Samskaaras (own nature).

Sa tayaaa nsraddhaayaa yuktam tasyaaraadhanameehate |
Labhate cha tatah kaamaan mayaiva vihitaan  hi taan || 7-22 ||

Endowed with steady faith people worship other deities and get their desires fulfilled. Those     when granted are indeed granted   by Me only.

Antavat  tu phalam teshaam tad bhavyam alpamedhasaam |
Devaan devayajo yaanti madbhaktyaa yaanti maam api || 7-23 ||

But the fruit of worship of these men of limited understanding has an end; the worshipers of these devataas (divines) go to devatas only; but Mydevotees come to me (desirous of Liberation)  
[A distinction has to be made between Devatas and the one and only Deva  (Brahman)]

Yo maam pasyati sarvatra sarvam cha mayi pasyati |
tasyaaham na pranasyaami sa ch me na pranasyati  || 6-30 ||

He who sees Me (Supreme Being) everywhere and sees all things abide in Me, does not lose sight of Me, nor do I of him. [If you want to see, remember, and be with the Lord at all times, then you must practice and learn to see the Lord in everything and everywhere].

Sarvadwaaraani samyamya mano hridi nirudhya cha |
moordhnyaadhaayaatmanah praanaan aasthito yogadhaaranaam || 8-12 ||

Om ity-ekaaksharm  brahma  vyaaharan maam anusmaran | 
Yah  prayaaati  tyajan  deham sa yaati parammam gatim  || 8-13||

When one leaves the physical body by controlling all the senses, focusing the mind on the Supreme, and Praana in the cerebrum; engaged in yogic practice; mediates on Me, utters Om, the sacred monosyllable sound power of Eternal Being, that one will attain the Supreme abode.


Traividyaa   maam somapaah pootpaapaa  yajnairishtva svargatim prarthayante  |
Te punyamaasaadya surendralokamasnaaati divyaandivi devabhogaan || 9-20 ||
Te te bhuktvaa svargalokam visaalam ksheene punye martyalokam visanti |
evam trayeedharmamanuprapanna gataagatam kaamakaamaa labhante || 9-21 ||

Ritualistic spiritualists who attain the knowledge of the Vedas and purified from sins, drink the divine Soma juice and worship   Me with sacrifice and pray for access to Swargaloka (heaven).They having reached the prestigious  sphere of Indra, experience in heaven , celestial enjoyments  of the Gods. Having enjoyed the extensive Swarga, when their virtuesgets exhausted, they enter again the mortal world. Thus the sole ritualistic seekers of religion of the Vedas (who have not known Me fully), desirous of enjoyment, go back and forth to Swarga and this mortal world.

[Mastery of scriptures and elaborate rituals alone are not enough to get Liberation. These are the result of JnaanaYoga and Karmayoga.  Jnana and Karma  has to end in in Bhakti  or devotion and dedication to the Supreme to enjoy eternal Bliss]



Ananyaa- chintayanto maam ye janaah paryupaasate |
tesham nityaabhiyuktaanaam yogakshemam Vahaamy-aham || 9-22 ||

Those person, who think of nothing else and worship Me (Supreme Being or Paramaatman) through meditation, I look after to the accession to and the maintenance of such ever devout persons.
 [Sri Rama said “I always take care of those who worship Me with unswerving devotion as a mother takes care of a child”].

Manmanaa bhava madbhakto madyaajee maam namaskuru= |
Maam evaishayaci yuktvaivam aatmaanam mat paraayanah || 9-34 ||

Fix your mind on Me, be My devotee, worship Me and bow down to Me; thus fixing the mind on Me and having Me as the supreme goal, you will  certainly attain Me.

Sreyo hi jnaanam abhyaasaaj jnaanaad dhyaanam visishyate |
Dhyaanaat karmaphalatyaagas   tyaagaac chaantir anantaram  || 12-12 ||

Knowledge of scriptures is superior to mere practice; meditation is superior to knowledge; superior to meditation is renunciation of the fruit of action; from renunciation results peace.  

Anapekshah suchir daksha udaaseeno gatavyathah |
sarvaarambha parityaagee yo madbktha sa me priyah || 12-16 ||

Independent, clean dexterous, indifferent, untroubled, who has renounced the doer-ship in all undertakings as his (who dedicates all his good doings to Supreme)—such a devotee is dear to me.


Yah saastravidhim utsrijya vartate kaamakaaratah  |
na sa siddhim avaapnoti na sukham paraam gatim || 
Tasmaat saastram pramaanam te  kaaryaakarya vyavasthitau…. || 16-23, 24||

He, who setting aside the ordinances of the scriptures, acts under the impulse of greed, attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme goal of Liberation; So let the scriptures be your authority in ascertaining what ought to be done and what ought not to be done.

[That is why all Upanishads end with the saying; Ya evam veda and Ityupanishat meaning this is the advice from Vedas. Kathopanishad also says: Uttishthata jaagrata praapya varaannibodhata—Arise, Awake, Learn approaching superiors (who have mastered Saastras).]


Patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya Prayacchati |
tad-aham bhakty-upahritam asnaami prayataatmanah || 9-26 ||

Whoever offers   Me (Supreme Being) a leaf, a flower, a fruit or little water with devotion I accept and enjoy the offering of devotion by the pure-hearted and devoted.

[A dedicated heart,  not complicated rituals, is needed to please God to obtain His grace or in other words attain Liberation].


Sarvadharmaan parityjya maamekam saranam vraja |  
Aham tvaam sarva opaapebhyo mochayishyaami maa suchah || 18-66 ||

Giving up all other religious and spiritual duties, take refuge in Me alone (Supreme Being) [it is difficult for us to choose the right path, therefore it is best to surrender to him completely with firm faith after acquiring Knowledge  and acting wisely  in  loving contemplation].

Human mind is always engaged and engrossed in pursuing worldly objectives such as acquiring more and yet more of wealth, fame, and power.  These will lead one ultimately to misery and disappointments and will bring no one any permanent happiness in this life or after. Bhagavad-geetaa gives special prominence to Bhakti as the best of all Yogas. It says a true    Bhakta (devotee) is one who even while engaged in worldly activities, sees God in everything, worships Him, dedicates all his actions to Him and finally surrenders to Him as inferred from  its  concluding gospel.






REFERENCES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

1.      Ramanada Swarup, The Bhagavad-geetaa, American Gita Society, Fremont, CA, USA.
2.      Swami Vireswarananda, Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, India.
3.      Vrinda Nabar & Shanta Tumkur, The Bhagavadgeetaa, Wordsworth Classics, Hertfordshire, UK.
4.      Balakrishnan S, Sankara on Bhakti, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai, India.







[This discourse material is a compilation from the reference above    as well as other sources for a prepared lecture for delivering at Vedanta Class of Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville, TN, USA, which is gratefully acknowledged. I do not claim anything as original though I have included my explanations and comments elaborately suitably editing. Anybody is free to download partly or fully this discourse, modify and redistribute this as well as other  discourses from the blog Hindu Reflections <nrsrini.blogspot.com> for spreading the wisdom of Vedas and scriptures further.  These  lectures are  posted on the blog for the benefit of those who are not able to attend my lectures personally due to personal reasons or due to not living in Nashville or able to go through the various sources as I have done.]