In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 2nd chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 52 - 54. Shri Krishna guides on how to be absorbed in samadhi, the transcendental realm of Brahman and the root is knowledge. Then Arjuna asks Shri Krishna how an enlightened person lives.
Translation used: The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive: A Radical Translation by Jeffrey Armstrong Available here on Amazon
If you would like to dwell deeper in the Bhagavad Gita, I recommend Swami Gambhirananda's translation with Adi Shankara ji's commentary: Available here on Amazon
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Hello, and welcome to The Bearded Mystic Podcast and I'm your host, Rahul N Singh. Thank you for taking out the time today to either watch or listen to this podcast episode. Today we're continuing on with our thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita. It's a new year. we will be beginning with the first episode of 2022 looking into the Bhagavad Gita. Before we begin, like I mentioned in previous podcasts, The Bearded Mystic Podcast does have a Patreon page. So if you would like to support me as a podcaster, as a content creator, then you can subscribe and you will get extra content, some bonus episodes. You will have blog posts and live streams that are exclusively for Patreon so please do take a look at that. And there is a great merchandise loyalty scheme. if you remain the patron for over a year, you get some really nice goodies. If you'd like to subscribe, the link is in the video description and the show notes below. We're going to start with verses 52 to 54 in the previous episode we looked at 49 to 51. Let's begin with exploring 52. Verse 52. 'When the clarity of your awakened buddhi carries you beyond the dense forest of material illusions, then you will no longer be disturbed by what you've heard in the past or will hear in the future.' Let's look at the first line. 'So when the clarity of your awakened buddhi carries you beyond the dense forest of material delusions.' What does that mean? The clarity of the awakened buddhi is when this shows one is firmly established in Brahman. This awakened buddhi is not simply, you now are awakened and you will not be affected by anything, or it is someone that has been able to still the mind. No, even when one has still the mind, there may be a subtle notion of thought or thinking or feeling or sensation. But when one is established in Brahman, there is none of that. That is an awakened buddhi but in a more realistic manner, because we deal with the world, we live in a transactional reality, then it's about whether we know what is Real and unreal. Remember Sat and Asat. This continuous understanding has to be the way we function in the world. That clarity is needed. This individual is clear on what is Real and unreal as we mentioned. And there is no doubt in their mind. They know that what is Real can not be changed. It does not change. This consciousness is Pure Consciousness. It cannot change. It does not change. It is not subject to modification. It does not feel heat. It does not feel cold. It does not feel pain. It does not feel pleasure. It doesn't feel any of those things anything that links us to this body, to this earth, to this mind. That is not Pure Consciousness. Pure consciousness is within all sensations, but sensations cannot be Pure Consciousness Because that is consciousness in a reflected form and this is something that we need to understand now that we're getting deeper into the Bhagavad Gita. The individual is clear on what is real and unreal. They are beyond that sense of doubt. Now they are established in Brahman. The wisdom takes someone beyond the dense forest of material illusions. What are material illusions? What do they mean? Material illusions are there because we have material desires and they are forever changing. Think about her own desires. They're constantly changing. One minute, we have one desire. The next minute we see something on the TV, we want something else. Or we see something on social media. Someone has something better than us, and suddenly we're back into that dense forest of material illusions. And this material illusion begins with our desires. Our desires begins with our sensations, with our feelings, with our intentions. Anyone that is looking for spiritual enlightenment is not going to take their desires very lightly in terms of the inquiry. The inquiry will be full and it will be investigated that where has this desire come from and what purpose does it have? Is it going to benefit my life or is it not going to benefit my life? Is it going to benefit others or is it not going to benefit others? Is it solely for my benefit? But does that come to the detriment of others? So this is something an awakened person thinks of. They do not simply do things based on a hunch or because they are impulsive. No, impulsive people are full of material desires. They're continuously in that rat race of getting more, gaining more, instead of learning what to let go of, what to lose, what to remove because that investigation hasn't occurred. We know that desires are never, ever lasting. Never. They are continuously changing, they are temporary, therefore, whatever is temporary is unreal. Our desires are unreal. Now we can know this from the awakened point of view, but let me make this clear that we do have to live with desire. If we didn't live with desire, we can't be alive right now, we would be thinking about our death. But we have desires, so we must live with them. The most important thing is, is learning how to make something more beneficial for ourselves and for others. The word dense forest, because if we are attached to the material, then it is very hard to see beyond it. It's very true. Take a look at our own selves. When we inquire into this, inquire into our own being. Then we can see that when we have these desires, we cannot think about Brahman. We can not think about the Higher Knowledge. We cannot think about what is wisdom. We cannot think about how to live a wise life. We cannot think about how to be attached to the good aspects of life, the beautiful aspects of life. Instead of seeing the beauty of the world, we're just entrapped in our desires of the world. Instead of observing the beauty of our family, of our friends, we look at how we can have more desire so we can do better than them. You can see from here that our desires are like a dense forest. Therefore, if there's a dense forest, how can you see clearly? It's like when you're driving in fog, it's very hard to see, the visibility isn't there. Therefore someone who is completely in desires or even has desires that are more than what they need I would say, those people, their visibility for Brahman is very less. Their visibility for awakening is very less, their visibility for enlightenment, next to nothing. By chance if something happens, a tragedy happens, then they may wake up, but otherwise people remain asleep. Hence clarity of the Real allows us to live in this forest that is no longer dense for us. So it's not like the awakened person does not live in the forest. No, they live in the forest, but now they have the light and have an extended visibility. Now they can navigate, this is the way of a Sage the way of a knower of Brahman, an awakened being. This is what they can do. Therefore clarity's very necessary. And like we mentioned, that clarity is when we know what the Formless is, what this Brahman is, this Pure Consciousness. Let's think about Brahman for a second. We know Brahman doesn't have an image. We know Brahman, doesn't have a figure. We know Brahman doesn't have a persona. We know that Brahman doesn't have a shape or a form or a color. We know that Brahman doesn't have a limit. We know that Brahman doesn't have a particular form in any sense, neither solid, neither liquid, nor gas. This Brahman doesn't belong to time. It has neither been born nor does it die. This is the clarity of someone who understands this Brahman and they are established in this. They can perceive this at anytime. The moment a dense forest may approach, the light will illumine the way. That is the way of a pure being, a being that really wants to be enlightened. That really wants to see reality as it is. This is very important. And the further line in that verse says, 'then you will no longer be disturbed by what you've heard in the past, or will hear in the future.' This is very true. Now, if you think about in the context of the Mahabharata, Krishna is guiding Arjuna, not to worry about what happens in the future or whatever he has heard in the past. He is to move on. He now needs to go beyond this and just remember, he needs to understand that in the future, people may condemn him. People may praise him. He has to go beyond that. He has to go beyond time. He has to attach himself to the present moment. This is what Krishna is saying, and this does apply to us as well. This tells us what the results will be, if we are in the awareness of Brahman. There'll be no disturbance in our mind, if we do not want to be attached to our past and neither do we want to be attached to our future. If we do this, then we can go beyond this past and future and remain in the everlasting present moment. If our mind replays, what it heard in the past, good or bad, it will no longer disturb us. So sometimes the mind may come up with a memory or when you're sleeping, you have a dream. And in that dream, you have a particular emotion come up, but you will no longer be affected. You wake up from the dream and you realize it was just a dream. It has no purpose now. Even happier memories when replayed can disturb our mind and make us sad about the past. Happy moments. We think about the great times in the past, but guess what is happening? We are moving away from the present. Yes. Learn from the past, learn how to be happy in the present, but also being in the present does not mean that we'd be happy, if something wrong is going on. No, at that time, we need to understand how to utilize our emotions. Being in the present means that you still have the clarity. You still have the awareness. That is very necessary. And then if we hear anything in the future that could potentially disturb us, we are able to go beyond it. It no longer has anything to do with us. We don't care about it. We move on. We know it is simply words and we live by our own Truth. These memories that we have, they are simply images of the mind. Words that people say to us in the past and in the future they're are simply words, they will pass by. They become the past as soon as you hear them. So there's no need to feel aggravated by them in the next second. So live by your own Truth. The Truth is Pure Consciousness. That is your Truth. That is my Truth. It's a shared Truth. Even someone who denies this Pure Consciousness, this Formless Consciousness, they are still This! It cannot be away from them. One it doesn't need approval, nor disapproval. If I approve of Pure Consciousness, it doesn't mean anything. It remains there. It remains here. So therefore we need to be like Pure Consciousness. Neither do we need approval, neither do we need disappoval. And this is the way of those that are established in Buddhi Yoga. Those that are established in this yoga of knowing what is Real and unreal. This is Buddhi Yoga, this is a sign of a true Enlightened being. The context of the whole verse is simply this, that let clarity guide you and let clarity brighten up both the past and the future, along with its thoughts, memories, and actions. So the mind is forever in peace thanks to the discernment of the Real and the unreal, very simple. Very beautiful verse. Something we need to think about and introspect about. Don't simply listen to this right now. When you leave this podcast, when you turn it off and you go back to the world and you end up bringing back those habits. No, the Bhagavad Gita is asking for change. It's asking for a transformation, so this is what we need to do. Transform ourselves. Verse 53. 'When your Buddhi remains steady and unwavering in meditation upon your Atman, you True Self, you will no longer be distracted with the details of Vedic rituals, then absorbed in samadhi, you will directly perceive your true nature and achieve the perfection of Buddhi Yoga.' So let's look at the first line: 'When your Buddhi remains steady and unwavering in meditation, upon your Atmam, your True Self, you will no longer be distracted with the details of Vedic rituals.' Shri Krishna is reiterating certain points, but in a more clear and concise manner. He has said these things in the past, the flowery language of the Vedas. He's mentioned this, but he now wants to be more concise. He's summing it up, so Arjuna can move forward. For any follower of Dharma or spirituality, it is important that the wisdom attained of what is Real, the Supreme Reality, this Brahman, this Pure Consciousness, this Formless Consciousness, remains steady and unwavering in meditation. This is very important, that when one meditates, even if it's for two minutes. I sometimes tell people don't even meditate for too long. Meditate for two minutes. If you can make it pure, purely about Brahman and you remain steady in this Formless Consciousness, there's a lot that can be achieved. It is better to meditate, focus like that for two minutes, than 30 minutes of unfocused meditation. Steady as in nothing can disturb it. Nothing subtle nor gross. It remains focused without a single break. This is how we need to be. Now we can do this even in the actions of the world. It is mentioned 'hath kar val dil Yaar wal' What that means is that you're doing work as you do with your hands. So you're either typing on a laptop or you're studying, but 'Dil Yaar Wal' that your heart is towards the Divine Friend meaning Brahman, this Pure Consciousness. So this has to be the way of focusing with that. A single break. At the forefront, maybe, yes, you're working, but in the background, there's Brahman, there's this Pure Consciousness. This can only be attained firstly, by having that focussed meditation. Being absorbed in Brahman, then it can happen. Being absorbed in your True Self, this Atman. Unwavering. It remains on the Real, on Brahman, on the Atman. It doesn't think of anything material. It is completely focused on the Formless, Changeless Reality. Remember when we are meditating, this is what happens. But when we are working, we know how to keep Brahman in the background. Allow your focus on the Real to be steady, practice this throughout the day. What is Real? What is unreal? Negate what is unreal and fix yourself on the Real? This is all it is. And then what is Real? Your Atman, your True Self, because your True Self is not subject to change. It is Brahman itself. It is Pure Consciousness Itself. You can see here Krishna is telling Arjuna the very reality of what he is, but our mind doesn't accept it. That's why Arjuna will continue to ask questions and his questions are our questions because we feel the same way. We want to ask those questions because we have certain doubts. We have certain questions about practice, so Shri Krishna will make those things clear for us. The Atman is your True Self and Krishna from the beginning of chapter two has been pointing this out very clearly. We have seen that once Krishna has spoken, he has been talking about the Real and the unreal in many different ways. So now let's look at what he means by 'No longer are you distracted with the details of Vedic Rituals.' And this reminds me of Adi Shankara Ji's beautiful composition of Bhaja Govindam because he talks about why are you stuck on knowing the grammar of something. Know what is Real. Actually, praise Brahman, praise the True Self. It doesn't matter if you know the grammar, the pronunciation, praise Brahman. It's good to know if you can know it. If you have the wisdom to know it, get to know the real pronunciation, but you're not going to get in trouble. Yeah. Some people say, oh, if you say a mantra incorrectly, something will happen to you. Don't believe them. They don't know what they're talking about. If Shri Krishna is saying not to get distracted by the details of Vedic rituals, the Vedic rituals are also mantras, that's the details. So if you think that if you pronounce something wrong, that something bad will happen to you, that is misguided thinking. Then you're still in a dense forest of material illusions. You haven't moved forward. So you see the connection between the last verse and this verse. Many people are worried about the pronunciation, the order of steps in the ritual. They worry about minor details like wearing shoes in the temple. These are all distractions. When the Real, the Atman, Brahman is everywhere. And this is very true. Please tell me where Brahman is not. If you believe that there is no reason at all, for someone to wear their shoes in the temple, because God is living there. Then this shows that this person does not have the wisdom that Shri Krishna has been referring to. These are minor details. Say if someone runs to the temple with shoes, but has great devotion. Are you going to condemn them? Are you going to condemn their devotion? No. In that ecstatic spirit, they entered, they forgot all rules. That's fine. Now if someone is aware of their senses. They know that in the temple, we are not to wear shoes, they won't wear shoes, but if they do, it's no big deal. And like I said, tell me where this Brahman is not? Tell me where the Lord is not? Tell me which direction Shri Krishna does not reside? Tell me which direction that Brahman does not reside? Tell me where this True Self is not? Frankly speaking, the True Self is in the bathroom and It's in the temple. That's the reality. Now, if someone denies this, then they simply do not understand Brahman. They do not understand what the True Nature is. They are just parrots of rituals. They are merely friends of the priestly class, seeking to ensure that people remain in their places. This is oppression, and this is something Krishna does not agree with. Let us understand that everywhere is Brahman. There is not a single space where this Pure Consciousness is not. And if you have truly meditated, then you would feel this to be true. It's the only Truth. The only Truth that needs to remain. The Vedic rituals are nice forms of worship, but they don't bring about wisdom. Let us understand this, that only knowledge can bring about wisdom, knowledge about what? Brahman or the Real and the unreal, this Buddhi Yoga. Vedic rituals have their place. I've mentioned this before they have their purpose, but the best thing to remember is that Knowledge is Supreme. Knowledge of Brahman is Supreme. Not knowledge of the world, knowledge of the material world will remain in the material world. Knowledge about Brahman is most Supreme and it is very simple to understand. If you do a particular ritual wrong, or not as it is prescribed to be, it will not affect you. If you are steady and unwavering on Brahman and have transcended the attachment to all the fruits of your actions. That person has a freedom to do whatever they like. If they miss something, that's fine. They have the freedom to make mistakes, but they remain fixed upon Brahman because only Brahman is permanent. Then the following line in that verse 'Then absorbed in Samadhi, you will directly perceive your true nature and achieve the perfection of Buddhi Yoga.' Absorbed in samadhi. They are in that Transcendental Peace where only Brahman is, the true nature of who we are. There only peace is. There only beauty is. There only wisdom is. There only bliss is. That is where we transcend to when we are absorbed in Samadhi, when we really feel the presence of Brahman and understand that this presence is no different to me. I am this very presence. I am this Brahman when this is really felt and experience, then one transcends this material realm and enters that state, which is beyond the world. And it is within all of us to achieve this. Anybody can achieve this. One simply has to be prepared for it. And so far in the Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna has been preparing Arjuna and he's been preparing us at the same time. Once someone reaches this state of transcendental peace, of absorption in Brahman. They achieve the perfection of Buddhi Yoga. They now understand the Truth. They are those that are Knowers of Brahman, they are the Brahm Gyanis. Meditation is key when it comes to this, nothing else can lead you to this state of samadhi, maybe, you know, this podcast or any podcast or a talk by anybody can lead you to feel that there's a certain level of transcendence, but it's actually in the silence and meditation where there is real absorption. Only in silence and this can happen even when there's great noise around you. You can be in the marketplace and suddenly there's a moment where there was complete silence, complete peace, and that just takes over. That is Brahman. That's when Brahman becomes the guest that now takes full residence. Now it is taking the citizenship of you. Let Brahman take the citizenship of you. This is absorption in samadhi. This is the beauty of being totally absorbed and in Oneness with Brahman, with your true nature, with your True Self. At the same time, a warning needs to be given that don't make flowery words out of the Gita. Directly practice the message that has been shared. Think about your actions. Focus on the Changeless, this Formless Infinite One. And remember that You are THIS. The more I emphasize this, I hope the more it becomes your reality. This is my hope. Be absorbed and allow yourself to achieve perfection in this. This is your natural state. Achieve a completed state in this, be complete in Brahman. Everything else you have to become with this (Realization). You simply are. What I mean by this is that once you have achieved that state of Brahman, when you know you are Brahman, then whatever the world chooses to call you, it chooses to call you. You simply are. You are beyond the ways of the world. So the context of the whole verse really is to meditate on the Formless, enter that Supreme State within and remain in that natural state of who you really are. Perform your duties, but have no attachment to them. You belong to no religion, no spiritual path, no modes of worship, no code of conduct when you reach this stage. When you're totally absorbed in the world, you have to follow the rules of the world, the necessary law that has been created, the natural laws of the world, you have to follow those. But remember that when you are in that meditation of Absorbed Samadhi, that Transcendental State then remember, there is no religion. There is no spiritual path. There's no modes of worship and there is no code of conduct. This is the state of that Knower of Brahman. Verse 54. 'Arjuna inquired. Tell me, O' Krishna, how do we recognize someone who has direct realization of this Yogic Awareness, of the Transcendental Brahman and who is unwavering in deep Samadhi? How do they sit? How do they speak and how do they move through life?' The first part is Arjuna inquired. Tell me, O' Krishna, how do we recognize someone who has direct realization of this Yogic Awareness, of the Transcendental Brahman and who is unwavering in deep samadhi? So Arjuna asks a question that every seeker would ask. Although Arjuna may be asking about how to recognize it in others, really he wants to know how about, how to recognize it within his own self. He wants to recognize it by himself. So he's asking as if he's wanting to know about someone else in that state, he wants to know how they function. So this is what he is doing. Arjuna just wants a good description of an enlightened being. Adi Shankara Ji refers to this as a person of steady wisdom of whose realization I am this Supreme Brahman remains steady. Now, the reason that Adi Shankara ji makes this very clear is because this is the ultimate state. Aham Brahmasmi, Tat Tvam Asi, You are This, I am Brahman. A person of steady wisdom is always fully conscious that they are Brahman. It is important for anyone that saying 'Aham Brahmasmi' is not enough. It is about cementing oneself in It. Not just saying the words, but being Brahman, attaining that state, and then remaining in that state. To be a person of steady wisdom, then one needs to ensure that the knowledge of the Real and the unreal is perfected. It becomes complete. Being absorbed in the Self, this deep samadhi needs to be happening at all times. This state of,Aham Brahmasmi. In the forefront, it is Maya. In the background, it is Brahman. Even there, there is a background absorption of Brahman. At the forefront action looks to be the way. It seemingly looks like action is happening, but actually there in the background, there's a complete absorption in Brahman, a deep samadhi. That is that state of being for that person. When it comes to actions in themselves, seeker or enlightened beings, the flow of activities continues without any change. Adi Shankara ji mentions this, that it doesn't matter what you are, a seeker or enlightened being, the flow of activities continues. We still have to act in the world. This is why I say at the forefront, it is Maya. At the forefront, is this transactional reality. And in the background, it is Brahman. Aham Brahmasmi that state, that is the absorption. So actions will continue. Don't get confused with actions and don't be affected by what the world is doing. Does the world want to know it's Brahman? That is something not to think about. That is mindless thinking. Why is it important to know if other people want to know Brahman? If they have that desire, they will come across your content naturally. They will come across you naturally, but being upset because nobody wants to know their True Self is not going to help. Then that means you do not know that you are Brahman. Is Brahman affected if people know Brahman or not? No! Brahman is not affected. So therefore, if you are affected, then that means you do not understand that State of Brahman. You do not understand what Aham Brahmasmi means. You simply remember it as words, but not as a Living Reality. These words are here for our Living Reality, to live in the Real. So remember the flow of activities, the flow of actions remains. It does not change. And then the next line, how do they sit? How do they speak and how do they move through life? Arjuna wants to know how that person sits. He wants to know how they speak. There must be a certain way this person speaks. There must be a particular pose in which this person sits in. Basically, he wants to know the everyday things about that person. And how do they interact with life? How do they perceive life? How do they interact with others? And with this information, Arjuna will be able to know how to balance committing to actions and remaining in the awareness of what is Real, of the Truth and being absorbed in Oneness, being absorbed in that Samadhi State, that Transcendental Realm of Peace, of Tranquility, of Bliss. When one looks at interacting with life, it means how do we interact with others in their pains, in their good times, in their suffering, all this is considered. The context really of this whole verse is very simple. Arjuna is asking a question that we would all ask and we all do ask this question. How can I practically live this spirituality? Arjuna is basically asking that question. How can I make spirituality practical for me? How can I make Aham Brahmasmi practical for me? How can I function in the world? This is a question we all have and Arjuna has asked that question. And in the next episode, Shri Krishna will answer these very questions. That will be a very interesting episode. So just to remember, a new episode is uploaded every Sunday. A new change has happened to the structure that the last Sunday of every month will have a podcast episode based on a particular topic. You can follow my social media accounts and they are in the video description and show notes below. Please rate and review the podcast. If you do write a review, do let me know and I will read them out in the podcast episodes as well. Thank you very much for listening. Take care. I hope this new year brings enlightenment to all of you. So let's end with this mantra, that is our natural state. That is who we are. Aum Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Aum Peace, Peace, Peace. Namaste.