Bhagavad Gita | The Yoga Way of Life

Chapter 3 Verses 1,2,3. The lecture was given by Swami Tattwamayananda on October 11, 2019.

-First and second chapters of Gita provide background on this entire spiritual classic. 55th through 72nd verses of 2nd chapter of Gita discuss the characteristics of an enlightened person.
-Second chapter concludes with: “In this state of Brahmi-Sthithi, one becomes fully established in Brahman, attains oneness with the all-pervading Absolute Reality, and is fully liberated from the life-cycle of birth and death (Brahmi -Nirvana)”. Buddhism’s ultimate goal of human existence through Ashtanga-Yoga is Nirvana, which is more or less identical to this state of spiritual attainment .
-Gita starts with Arjuna’s predicament towards a duty that he is expected to do, but that is unpleasant to him.
-To address Arjuna’s predicament, Lord Krishna first instructs Arjuna with the knowledge of Atman, which is within all of us – which is eternal, imperishable, immortal and cannot do harm to anyone. All things at the empirical level are transient. A man of refined wisdom doesn’t worry about what happens to the body, as he knows that within the body is the immortal Atman.
-Lord Krishna then instructs Arjuna with the knowledge of Karma Yoga. One should do his Swadharma, which is duty that naturally comes to us by virtue of our qualification and fitness.
-Lord Krishna then instructs Arjuna with the characteristics of an enlightened person who remains steady in spiritual wisdom and contented in his true nature.
-Lord Krishna finally instructs Arjuna about the highest state – Brahmi-Sthithi.
-Arjuna misunderstands the essence of all these instructions. He thinks that is he has a choice of (1) Karma Yoga, where action is involved OR (2) Brahmi-Sthithi, where no work is involved (as he wrongly interprets it) . He thinks he can avoid his predicament by choosing the highest state. He did not realize that people like Buddha/Christ, who realized this highest state, were very active after realizing that state.
-Arjuna thinks that he can avoid the problems and work by avoiding it. This is a very serious misunderstanding. That was why Arjuna was in need of a proper understanding of the dynamics of Karma-Yoga.
-Arjuna’s conflict tells us that he was a man of some refinement. Conflict doesn’t exist for people in two categories: (1) Who become like Buddha (2) Who are spiritually no different from animals. All great concepts in humanity came from people who experienced some inner conflicts. Among the five Pandavas, Arjuna was the most fit for Lord Krishna’s teachings.
-Karma-Yoga has three levels. Lowest level reflects as inaction and lethargy and is due to Tamas. Next level is a state of dynamism and is due to Rajas. The state beyond this combines dynamism with spiritual values such as unselfishness, where one looks beyond tangible rewards. In the highest state, whatever we do, we do as an offering to God or for the good of others, with a sense of sanctity and sacredness – we are then able to combine action and contemplation in our life.
-Arjuna had two misunderstandings. (1) He thought that the path of Karma-Yoga and the path of Jnana-Yoga are mutually different AND (2) He thought it is a matter of his own choice, which of these two paths to choose.
-Example is provided of a child who wants to choose between studying alphabets of pursuing a PhD at Harvard. It is not a matter of choice, rather one of evolution.
-In the first two verses of Chapter 3, Arjuna expresses his preference for the path of contemplation. He seeks clarity why Lord Krishna wants him to pursue the path of Karma-Yoga.
-Lord Krishna answers – The path of wisdom is for those who are spiritually evolved. Those who have desires, goals and obligations – such people should follow the path of Karma-Yoga. Once they do their duty without being enslaved by results, they will become free from all forms of desires. Then they...

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