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The Bhagavad Gita is the most beloved and read scripture not only of India, but also today more than previously the World over. The pantheistic doctrine of the Bhagavad Gita is that the Supreme (the God-head Divinity) assembling and indwelling everything. This is greatly celebrated in the Gita. The main theme throughout the Bhagavad Gita is that one should be an adherent of “sannayasa”, a renouncer of this egoity ingrained through “avidya” (individual delusion), ignorance, within de physical self of man. The “God Within” realisation cannot be attained by merely reading a book, and then another book, so on and forth, but by dwelling every day of your life on the truth that life is a variety entertainment of dream movies full of the hazards of duality, evil and heroic adventures. Reading and pondering on the 700 verses of the Gita exhorts one to right action, and a return to personal spirituality through meditation, its techniques mainly explained in chapter six. The Bhagavad Gita is a spiritual guide, more than any other sacred writing in the religious world. The Bhagavad Gita is declared to be at the very source of the ponderous four Vedas, 108 Upanishads and the six systems of Hindu philosophy. The entire knowledge of the cosmos is packed in the Bhagavad Gita, and sheds its light to everyone in search of Truth along the earthly pilgrimage. The key figure of the Bhagavad Gita is the Supreme Lord Krishna. The path advocated by Him in the Gita is the perfect answer in this modern and scientific age, more than any other world religion would as in the three Abrahamic faiths. The Gita’s teaching is moderate, the middle way, but the golden path for both the busy person in our present world, and for the highest spiritual aspirant. The Gita’s wisdom is not for dry intellectualism to perform mental gymnastic with its verses and sayings for the entertainment of dogmatists, but is rather a wayshower.
The forty Gita verses intended for brief daily meditation, to create an harmonious in your daily life, before meditation as well as before any other action and daily routine. Reading a few verses will help you to quiet your mind before you enter in the silence of meditation, the Gita being a perfect guide to all those who aspire to build a perfect personality. There are sufficient grounds to grant universalism to the Bhagavad Gita. In unmistakable terms it upholds perfection as the goal of life. Books that point the way to perfection stand on a pedestal of their own. Self-perfection is the acme of human aspiration. Sooner or later all have to pay homage to it and attain it. The Bhagavad Gita is a Clarion Call to this your goal. Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D.
A prayer before any reading in the Bhagavad Gita. Every student of the Bhagavad Gita is a potential Arjuna. May he receive Light in his own way from this Universal Scripture.
The conflict between the contending cousin groups was too sharp to be squared up. One stood for righteousness and possessed legitimate claim to the kingdom. The other was out to usurp it, the rights of the rival, by foul means. In this circumstance, war became inevitable. 5
Though the word "krpa" is translated as compassion, Arjuna is not really endowed with this divine quality. He alone who is the master of his mind can extend compassion to the distressed and seek to allay their sorrows.
The Supreme Lord puts it to Arjuna that while his arguments appear as words of wisdom, actually they are not. The way of the worldly is to classify a man as Pandita; but the Lord does not do so. Keeping the mind constant in all eventualities is the way of the wise. 7
The born one passes through babyhood, youth and old age. It is the same entity that experiences all these changes. It should not be held that the individual that is the baby is quite different from the individual that is the youth. Likewise, the individual that transmigrates from one body into another retains his individuality. The enlightened one sees into this truth and remains unperturbed 8
over death. Changes pertain to body and changelessness to Atman. The knower of this fact is truly enlightened.
It is only after the procurement of new clothing that man rejects the old wornout ones. The snake develops new skin from within and then casts off the 9
slough. The mental makeup does not die along with the gross body. It is variously called the astral or subtle body and it persists with its innate tendencies and dispositions.
The wise should plainly welcome pleasure and pain, joy as well as sorrow, without becoming discouraged. Two types of people are happy in this world of ours. Those who are completely ignorant and those who are intelligent. All others are unhappy.
The fear of failure, coming from being emotionally attached to the fruits of work, is the major impediment to success, because it robs the efficiency by constantly disturbing the equanimity of mind. Therefore, duty should be done with detached attachment.
Karma is classified as good or bad based on the result it produces. Good karma is as much the cause as the bad one, for the continuity of the wheel of birth and death. But the karma-yogi is not affected by karma of any kind.
A ship without a rudder is at the mercy of a strong wind. Nothing can be predicted as to where it will be shoved. Senses are involuntarily drawn to the sense-objects. Mind that follows in the wake of the senses is naturally led astray by them. Sense-pleasures are like itching eczema. There is pleasure in violently scratching it; but the disease gets aggravated thereby. By yielding to sensepleasures mind gets more entangled in them.
The ignorant man is incapable of distinguishing between the action ridden Nature and the actionless Self. When an onion is peeled continually all skin goes away and no substance is left. Similarly on analysing the ego it is found to be no entity. 15
When desire is centred on body, the senses, mind and intellect the "Jiva" consciousness or individualised little self is fostered. This little self is ever wrought with misery. Foolishly do humans think it is imbued with happiness. Every happiness associated with the body, the senses, the mind and intellect is bound, sooner or later, to reappear as misery. 16
Dharma is verily the karma that is conductive to man's what impedes them is adharma. At every time adharma man's evolution, the Cosmic Intelligence (the Supreme) matter of course. Every time humanity has sunk into 17
growth and progress; prevails and prevents embodies Itself, as a confusion leading to
misery, a World Saviour comes along. He comes to put in order all lapses and deviations in the practice of dharma.
Creation is effected by variation in the distribution of Gunas. The worth of man is in the mind and not in the body. Mind has its colour according to Guna. As 18
man evolves, Guna and mind which are interrelated get refined. The colour or the class of man goes up accordingly. The enlightened alone see into the colour of the mind and know who is who among men. The worldly man’s classification of himself into the four castes based on birth and parentage is merely a convention hardly ever tallying with his attainments. The real classification is based on the degree of ethical and spiritual perfection. The actions of the four castes are explained in chapter 18, the verses 41 to 44. Remember that the plan of Nature is that beings low in “Varna” evolve into those high.
All acts are the acts of the Supreme (Brahma), the inactively active actor. One should spiritualise all work by perceiving that one does nothing at all, and everything is done by the energy of Brahma using only our minds as an instrument. 20
He who holds himself the agent to the performance of a sacrifice cherishes the feeling of distinction between himself, the Deity to be propitiated, the things offered, the medium of the fire and so on and forth. However, he who takes to "jnana-yajna", the process of enlightenment, views all these as Brahman, the Thing-in-Itself. 21
The proper practice of karma yoga transforms the life of the yogi into "jnanayajna". His mind thereby gets purified and he becomes competent in course of time for Self-knowledge. The baby takes nine months for its development in the womb. Similarly is there any time limit for the attainment of Jnana. 22
Life blossoms better in him who lives for others than in him who lives exclusively for himself. Just as sound sleep is possible only for him who works hard, deep meditation comes to him who has negated his individuality in the service of others. The one pure in mind becomes one with Brahman who is all purity.
The life, growth and sustenance of the lotus are al dependent on water. It dries away when severed from it. While constantly in touch with it, the lotus leaf does 24
not permit being wetted with water. Man nis born with karma and sustained by it. While fully availing himself of it, the yogi does not get affected by it.
A Self-realised person (the yogi) sees the Supreme in the entire universe and in oneself. 25
Among the humans who believe in the Supreme, these are the four types who seek to contact Him, each according to his understanding and attainments. All the four groups are virtuous because of their correct understanding and doings.
"Beholding diversity is born of delusion; beholding unity is born of enlightenment." (Sri Ramakrishna) The more one is deified, the more the evil in one is eradicated.
An incarnation of the Supreme, like Sri Krishna, assumes a human body, just as the bound souls do. However, he is more bound in the manifested body than the sky seen through a window is bound within the frame of that window. The manifested body of Sri Krishna is mutable; but in reality He is the immutable and unsurpassed by the ordinary human beings. His supreme state remains 28
unknown to the people of poor understanding. They do not therefore seek to worship Him.
But dream is the indicator of the trend of the mind of an individual; it cannot be recast or pre-arranged according to one's will and pleasure. Just as the dreamer 29
is, while in dream, the creature of his own mental makeup, so does the dying man assume at the time of death, a mental makeup based on his bent in the course of that career. Man is the architect of his destiny.
The sacred and the secular are incompatible, is the view of many people. But, the Lord's message is to sanctify the entire life. The so-called secular duty may be converted into the service of the Lord. Whatever man does or thinks ought to be for the glory of the Cosmic Consciousness. So, man's life gets perfectly enriched.
Just as carnal wealth gets added only to those who already own it, so the grace of the Supreme is ever on the increase to those yogis who have made themselves worthy of it. The Supreme is always available to those who seek Him.
This is the sublime statement revealing the law of life at the spiritual level. In the economy of nature the distribution of labour is benignly meted out. It is all right for the body-bound soul or astral being to toil for food and clothing. But he or she who is completely attuned to the Divine loses in calibre when bringing the mind down to the mundane level.
Metaphysical understanding and material abundance are of no avail to gain access to the Supreme Lord. It is pure devotion to which the Lord submits Himself. He who has Bhakti gains Bhagavan easily. A leaf and such like things are mere tokens of love.
As the river gives itself to the ocean and becomes one with it, the devotee gives himself to the Supreme and becomes one with Him.
The wise as such give their mind to the Supreme knowing that He is the source of everything and that the thought of Him alone enriches en ennobles the mind.
This is in the nature of beings to work. The make of an individual is known from the work he engages himself in. To work for oneself is the way of the world. The devoted yogi however works not for himself but for the Supreme. Worldly people strive for prosperity, power and enjoyment. The devoted yogi strives to attain the Supreme Lord.
To feel is the way of the mind and to decide is the way of the intellect. And these are the inner subtle organs of man. Man is truly where his mind is. There are those who live in hell (so to speak) on earth; and there are those others who make a paradise of this earth. It is the mind of man that makes the paradise and the hell. But, when this mind is made over to the Supreme, the human is truly in the Divine Presence of Peace and Rest.
The sun is spreading its light equally everywhere and it is visible in all parts of the entire world. Still a small patch of cloud hides it from our sight. Similarly, “Maya” hides the all pervading Brahman from our cognition. When the veil of Maya is removed the Sat-chit-ananda Brahman is cognized everywhere and in all beings and things. 39
Extreme devotion surges in the heart and mind of the yogi who has made himself or herself over to the Supreme. They have nothing but Narayana to recognize both within and without. This intense fervour ends with becoming Brahman. As darkness disappears when light arrives, the three Gunas disappear when the dawn of the Brahma jnana takes place.
The Supreme Lord resides as consciousness in the hearts and minds of all. Memory of what has been done before is possible because of this consciousness. Knowledge or the faculty of understanding as to how to react to the changing circumstances, this power also comes from consciousness. 41
The origin of the demoniacal disposition is explained here. It is fostered by these three evils. The nature of greed is to appropriate all objects of sense-enjoyment exclusively to oneself. Any one of these three vices mentioned here is sufficient to bind man to abomination. Woe unto man when all the three make an alliance and rule his mind. They do not allow him to emerge from wickedness.
Truth is in some cases unpleasant to hear and untruth or liars pleasant to hear. The best course is to present truth in as pleasant a way as possible. However, there should be no deviation from truth for the sake of pleasantness; truth alone should ever be upheld. “Supreme, Thou art one Truth, one Life, one Face”. 43
Love makes way to the inaccessible. It opens the door to the impossible. The unknown and the unknowable become known to the true lover. What is known through love is the true knowledge and what is done through love is the true service. The yogi understands the Supreme well because he sees with the eye of love.
He, the Supreme who resides as witness in the hearts, the inner psyche, of all humans, does no work; but His Presence propels the beings to perform their duties. Sri Ramakrishna said: “Poison within the teeth of a snake causes no harm to it. But that poison injected into others
causes death to them. Similarly “Maya” that is in “Iswara” causes Him no harm. Rather, it is an adorable attribute of His. And this Maya keeps all beings in bondage.”
When the love for a person overshadows the love of wealth, aal the wealth is willingly sacrificed for that person, even as parents do for their children. To a 46
yogi nothing in the world is dearer than the Supreme. His offering therefore as sacrifice all his possessions and ultimately himself too, is but a matter of course. A man immersed in water struggles hard for air to breathe. A yogi ought to evince a similar restlessness for his self-realisation. In the nearness of the Supreme de yogi or devotee is well protected.
The good and the beneficial in someone increase as and when they are shared with others. He who eats in company or he who shares his food with others keeps better health and strength than he who eats all by himself. Fostering other lives is the sure means to enrich one’s own life. Finally, he who teaches others learns better than he who studies for himself. The more one teaches the more one learns.
All human endeavours ought to be in tune with the Will of the Supreme as found in the Bhagavad Gita, and other Sacred Scriptures of the world, or in accordance to Cosmic Plan as brought forward in sound philosophy and psychology. In that case the attempts would all be ethical and conducive to the progress of man. Sound social life even without religion provides for enormous human 49
endeavours based on dharma and faith in the Cosmic Integrity. Yoga is the union between the Supreme and the human, between Consciousness in all its facets and the human, where in fact there is perfect unity. Humans just ignore their divinity, but the Supreme is first of all within them. This is the message of the Bhagavad Gita.
One makes spiritual progress in proportion to one’s application to the study and practice through meditation of the principles contained in the Bhagavad Gita.
© July 2012 Philippe L. De Coster, Gita Satsang, Ghent, Belgium.
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