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HE BATTLE OF LIFE :- We have seen that

the occasion for the delivery of the


Bhagavadgita was a field of war which is
conspicuous in its occurrence in the context of
the Mahabharata. As we have observed earlier,
the Bhagavadgita does not intend telling us a
story for entertaining our leisure hours but to
give a permanent message for the salvation of
the soul of the human being. That is why it is
called a Yoga Shastra or a scripture of yoga.
Whatever is said in this scripture is a sermon
on the practice of yoga, and the necessity for
the teaching arises on account of a conflict in
which one finds oneself at any given moment
of time in ones life; and the whole of the
Mahabharata is a story of conflict. We would
gradually realise that the practice of yoga
resolves itself into a simple system of the
overcoming and the balancing of forces for the
purpose of resolving all conflicts.
THE SPIRIT :- The setting of the occasion of
the Gita, the context of the delivery of the
gospel, is the human situation, which I tried to
liken to the atmosphere of a battle-field, an air
of war, conflict and confrontation, to be
expected at every step, every moment of time,

and under every circumstance. The structure of


the universe appears to be such that it faces us
as a complex of various layers of conflict which
we are supposed to overcome and which are
known as achievements in life. A particular
context or situation has an opposing or
conflicting context or situation. If this
opposition were not to be there staring at
every given occasion in life, there would not be
any impulse to action. There would be no
necessity for any activity. There would be no
such thing as achievement.

OF HUMAN BEINGS:-Member of society to

carry out their functions and responsibilities in their


respective stage of life Here Lord Krishna
categorically and comprehensively explains how it
is the duty of each and every according to the rules
and regulations of the society in which one lives.
Further the Lord explains why such duties must be
performed, what benefit is gained by performing
them, what harm is caused by not performing
them. Plus what actions lead to bondage and what
actions lead to salvation.
THE STRUGGLE FOR THE INFINITE:Bhagavadgita teachings, its ethical principles,
its ultimate aims, are all of such a nature that it

is difficult to accommodate them into the


normal thinking of the human being living in a
world of desires, ambitions, prejudices and
traditional routines of various types, all which
are cut at the very root by the altogether
different outlook of life which the Bhagavadgita
presents. The more we begin to ponder over its
message, the more would we find it difficult to
make it a guideline for our day-to-day life,
though its purpose is nothing but that . The
arguments of Arjuna in the first chapter are our
arguments. The logic of the human mind takes
this body as a final reality and everything
connected with it as equally real, and the
reports of the senses as wholly valid. The
senses, the understanding and the logical
reason are the apparatus of our knowledge in
this world.
THE MORTAL AND THE IMMORTAL: The First Chapter of the Bhagavadgita
pinpoints the basic difficulties which a spiritual
seeker may face in the long run, in spite of the
preparations that he might have made with all
his logical conclusions and sincerity of purpose.
In the earlier stages of our aspirations we do
not fully realise the problems that are hidden
deep, invisibly beneath the outer layers of our
personality, not directly connected with our

daily life. We have an unconscious personality


apart from the conscious one limited to this
bodily existence, and this unconscious level of
ours is larger in its content than the little
expression of it we visualize outside as the
body and its sensory relations. There are fears
of various types which keep us secretly
unhappy, and many of the activities of life in
the conscious level are attempts to brush aside
these fears; and then we imagine that they do
not exist at all. We occupy ourselves so busily
with works of various types as a kind of outlet
or counteracting power against these fears,
usually known in the language of psychology
as defense mechanisms. We protect ourselves
by certain psychic mechanisms which we have
formed within ourselves as a kind of selfdeception, we may say, finally.
THE MEANING OF DUTY: - There is an
objective universe, no doubt. The world
appears to be outside us, and the objectivity of
the event is also something that has to be
taken into consideration. But we, as subjects,
take part in the event that appears to be
objective. Inasmuch as we, as subjects,
participate in the objectivity of the event, there
is also a subjective aspect of the event. So, no
event or circumstance is wholly objective, nor

can it be said to be wholly subjective. There is


an intermingling of the outer and the inner, the
objective and the subjective in the occurrence
of any event. There is also a transcendent
meaning inherent in the occurrence of
anything. It is not merely the world and the
individual that react upon each other; there is
a final deciding factor which requires the
objective and the subjective aspects to react in
that manner.
THE NATURE OF RIGHT
UNDERSTANDING:- The dejection, or the
mood of melancholy in which the
representative man, Arjuna, found himself, has
been described as a spiritual condition. That is
why even the so-called dejection is regarded
as a part of yoga. It is not a morbid condition
of negativity or an earth-bound attitude, but a
necessary condition of positivity in its most
initial stage, the task which a spiritual seeker
has to take upon himself when he girds up his
loins to encounter the universal Reality. The
darkness which one faces at the outset is the
cumulative effect of the tremendous inward
preparation which has already been made
through the earlier stages of self-investigation,
study and reception of knowledge from various
avenues in the world.

THE YOGA OF ACTION: - The famous


doctrine of karma yoga is the theme of the
Third Chapter of the Bhagavadgita. This is one
of the most difficult sections in the whole text
and a very important one which provides the
key to an understanding of the basic principles
of the whole message. It was stated earlier
that action should be grounded in
understanding. There is no such thing as doing
nothing, because of a very important reason,
viz., the activity of the universe. The universe
is ever active, and it can never be inactive. A
person, any individual, anything for the matter
of that, which is a part of the universe, has no
freedom to maintain an independence over the
prescriptions of cosmic laws.
THE DIVINE INCARNATION AND GOD
ORIENTED ACTIVITY: - It was told us that
desire is the obstacle, and it is again told that
desires are so powerful that they cannot be
easily subdued unless we resort to the Atman,
the great Reality. The Omniscience and
Omnipotence of God are of such a nature that
we as units inextricably involved in the Being
of God will have the occasion to receive His
Grace, for God moves in this world in the form

of His Incarnations, manifestations,


expressions, functions and activities. There is a
great truth behind the working of things, which
is more incomprehensible than what is
available to our understanding. We may rack
our heads and try to understand the mysteries
of things, and find that everything is a hopeless
affair. We can understand nothing, finally. Yes,
this may be true when we view things from one
aspect, but there is another aspect; which is
equally important, if not more important than
the other one, viz., the power of God which
surpasses the force of anything in the world.
FORMS OF SACRIFICE AND
CONCENTRATION:- Any sacrifice is also
yoga, because sacrifice means a parting of
ones own self in some measure in the
direction of the achievement of a larger Self, so
that in every form of sacrifice a lower form of
self is surrendered or sacrificed to a higher
form of Self. Whenever the mind fixes its
attention on something other than itself, which
is supposed to be wider in its comprehension
than the contemplating mind or the self, that
process is to be regarded as a sacrifice. A lower
principle has to be sacrificed for the sake of a
higher principle. Contemplation on a Deity, as
we conceive it, is the aim of religion, wherein

the surrender of oneself in such contemplation


is implied. This is one kind of sacrifice, a
religious performance, and it is yoga, because
it is the union of the lower with the higher by
means of adoration.
THE YOGA OF MEDITATION:- The Yoga of
Meditation is the subject of the Sixth Chapter
of the Bhagavad-Gitadhyana-yoga, as it is
called .We have noticed that, for purposes of
meditation, a convenient place, free from
distractions, is necessary. The time that we
choose for meditation, also, is to be such that it
should not have the background of any
engagement or activity which may distract the
attention of the mind from the goal of
meditation. A suitable place, a suitable time
these two are very important prerequisites. But
more important, perhaps, than place and time
is the preparedness of the mind. The mind
should be eager to sit for meditation and it
should not feel any kind of compulsion. We do
not sit for meditation merely because in our
daily routine it is the time allotted for
meditation; that would be something like going
for lunch at noon, even if we are not hungry,
merely because noon is prescribed as the time
for lunch. It is not the time, but the need that is
important. If the mind does not feel the need
for meditation, a mere prescription of place

and time will not be of much benefit. Most


people feel a difficulty in getting any kind of
satisfactory result, because the mind is not
prepared.

GOD AND THE UNIVERSE: - Very few will


be inclined to turn to God. Most people are
distracted in the direction of the objects of the
senses. People are in search of satisfaction
which is empirical, physical and egoistic. The
bliss of God is not the concern of the ordinary
man, it is impossible even for thinking and
understanding. Not many have this endowment
by which the mind will agree to turn to God in
his reality. But even among those who are truly
aspiring for the realization of God, only some
will really succeed in the attempt. It does not
mean that everyone who files an application
will be chosen, because success in this path of
the Spirit is hard to attain in the case of the
individual who is lodged in the body and
limited to the empirical categories of the mind.
With this cautious introduction the Teacher of
the Bhagavadgita takes us to a picture of the
cosmos which is concisely explained in a few
words. The whole universe is constituted of the
five Elements and certain phases of the
universal consciousness, the Elements being
grosser than the latterearth, water, fire, air
and etherthe Mind, Intellect, Ego. And here

the teaching resembles to a large extent the


cosmological explanation offered by the
Samkhya system. We have touched upon this
theme earlier on some occasion.