-8th chapter: verses 7, 8, 9 -This lecture was given by Swami Tattwamayananda on April 23, 2021. -7th verse: “Constantly remember Me and fight. Then you shall attain Me.” -Fight here refers to the battle with our own lower self. Lord Krishna says that we should combine contemplation and action, and do our everyday secular duties with a higher ideal in mind. By doing so, we spiritualize the secular. -Lord Krishna chose Arjuna over Yudhishthira and other Pandavas because Arjuna was a man of action, who was eager to learn, and who would put into practice what he learnt. -Lord Krishna asks Arjuna to always think and contemplate on a higher ideal – all the time, in every thought, word and deed. By doing so, he would have peace of mind and be a source of harmony to those around him. -8th verse: “With constant practice and continued effort, one who thinks of the Supreme Being, attains Him.” -In spiritual life, we may encounter two types of problems. First – when we follow an ideal and do not succeed, we may get disappointed. Second – we may develop a liking for the negative, like a camel who enjoys eating thorny bushes despite bleeding in the process. -Continued effort is necessary. As we continue our effort, the resistance slowly disappears, and we are able to follow the higher ideal. -Shankaracharya says in his commentary that we should read spiritual books, understand the teachings of the great sages, contemplate on them, and bring this contemplation to every action in daily life. -Ramanuja says in his commentary that we should do our duty in a way that it does not violate ethical principles, and at the same time contemplate on a higher ideal. -Once a person succeeds in spiritualizing the secular, by combining action and contemplation, his character begins to reflect a sense of contentment. He is able to face difficulties of life with a smile. -9th verse: “The one who meditates on this Supreme Reality – who is omniscient (Kavi), ancient, the ruler, smaller than the atom, the sustainer, self-luminous and beyond the darkness of Maya.” -The word “kavi” is used to imply omniscient. A great poet is able to see far into things and bring out the grandeur of the subject he is writing on. This ability to see beyond the surface of things is an expression of the divine. -One great example is from the life of Valmiki, who was a sage and a poet. Once he was watching two birds playing on a tree. Suddenly, one of the birds fell after being short by a hunter’s arrow. At that moment, Valmiki’s heart was filled with the charm of the innocent bird, the cruelty of the hunter and the agony of the surviving bird. He uttered a profound verse: “O’ hunter – you will not get respect; you will not get existence. You also will perish. For you have killed this innocent, unsuspecting bird.” -We cannot play diplomacy with our own mind at the time of death. The dominant thought at the time of death is linked to what ideas dominated one’s life. If one practices spiritual disciplines during their life, then at the time of death, then can think of something higher, transcendental. -There are two ways of looking upon God. One is through the lens of the world – in this scenario, we won’t have peace of mind. Another way is to see the world through the eyes of God – then we see the world as a fleeting phenomenon belonging to time and subject to change; then we can practice equilibrium of mind, and the world won’t disturb us.
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