In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 2nd chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 66 - 69. Shri Krishna guides that the person who is not able to connect to the True Self, due to the lack of discernment of what they really are, will have a mind that is unsteady and there will be nothing but turbulence and not peace. Therefore, this person can never experience contentment as there is no peace within their mind. Our mind is uncontrollable if it runs after whatever the senses want. Therefore, we lose all knowledge of the Atman and Brahman, the Real and Unreal. We lose our focus on liberation. Shri Krishna describes how one with a steady mind can withdraw the senses away from objects and remain in that steady wisdom, where Brahman shines and illuminates all. By controlling our senses, understanding wisdom and knowing what our Real Nature is, which is Brahman, when this illumines the mind, we are truly awake even though we may look like we are sleeping to those that just chase after the objects in life, like cars, wealth, bigger houses. But really the Sage knows the real difference between who is awake and who is asleep.
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 another episode of The Bearded Mystic Podcast and I'm your host, Rahul N Singh. Thank you for taking the time today to either watch or listen to this podcast episode. And we will be continuing with my thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita today. If you would like to support The Bearded mystic podcast, you can sign up to our Patreon page, the details are in the show notes or video description below. A recap of the last episode, where we looked at verses 62 to 65 of Chapter Two. Krishna explained how our downfall is when we are constantly thinking and are in the pursuits of the objects of our senses. It leads us to attachment and anger from those unfulfilled desires. Krishna shows us what the issues are when we forget our true self and go towards those worldly sense objects, and they end up conducting destructive actions. In order for the Atman or even our mind, it must not go into opposite directions. It must understand that the senses go through what it must and remain at peace with it. Instead of getting too attached or getting aversion from it. When we are in that state of Aham Brahmasmi, I am Brahman. We are constantly in a tranquil state. That is Prasada, that is a real offering and a person with a tranquil mind and a well-established wisdom, attains fulfillment, or liberation. Therefore, a person of concentration, ought to deal with the only thing that Is and that is this Brahman, the ultimate reality. Let's begin with exploring verse 66. When the Buddhi is not connected with the Atman, and when the manas is not steady, there is no shanti. Without Shanti, how can they be lasting sukha? The first line, when the Buddhi is not connected with the Atman and when the manas is not steady, there is no shanti. So what Krishna is describing here is what happens when there is no tranquility or serenity within our own mind. When our intellect, our discernment is not connected with the true self, then our mind is not steady. It is absolutely turbulent and manas is going here, there, and everywhere. The Atman is the True Self. If the buddhi cannot see this, then we are going to go against our true nature. And this is what occurs when we are not established in the true understanding of who we are. If we've not understood what we've been learning in chapter two, which is of the Real and the unreal. Remember the changing and the changeless. We are to go towards the changeless. We are not to go towards that, which is always changing, which is subject to modification, which is always going to deteriorate or decay. We're not to go towards those things. We are to go towards that, which is Real and that, which is Real is this Brahman, this Atman. Our buddhi faculty, our intellect needs to fully understand this. So when our intellect and that wisdom is not connected to the Atman, to the mind, we find that our mind-heart is not steady, our manas is not steady. Therefore this question then arises well, if someone is not connected with their Atman, and their manas is not steady and there is no peace for that person, there's no shanti for that person then how can that person even meditate? That's why before we think of meditation, before we think about having a practice of meditation, it's very necessary to have that discernment that viveka to know what to meditate upon. It's very important for us to establish this. If one doesn't know what that true understanding of meditation is, then how can that person design Brahman or Pure Consciousness? How is it even possible? If they do not know what the Formless is, what Brahman is, what Awareness is, if they cannot recognize it, then how can they meditate? How can they be mindful? We need to understand that that person cannot have peace. How can there be peace? How can we be at peace? Especially when all we are doing is giving turbulence to others. It's really important that we can steady ourselves in the wisdom of what we've been learning of, what is Real and unreal. What is Sat and asat?Shri Krishna continues:
Without shanti, how can they be lasting sukha? So we know what sukha is, which is contentment. Without this everlasting peace, how can we find joy? How can we find comfort? How can you find contentment? It's impossible? Peace and contentment are interrelated and are the state of the one who understands this Pure Awareness, this Brahman. When one is at peace, one can automatically be in contentment. One is always content with life because one is at peace with themselves. It's when we are not at peace with ourselves, when we feel they are unfulfilled desires, that we are no longer content and this person who struggles to meditate will only be at the mercy of the senses. There will be no peace for that person. Adi Shankara ji states that happiness is when there is freedom of the senses from the thirst for the enjoyment of objects, including the thirst of the objects itself. So neither will their be a thirst for the enjoyment of the objects? Neither do we want thirst for the objects themselves. This is what happens for the person that is free from their senses and that is where happiness is. It is being free from the senses because otherwise what happens is how can the mind be free when it's pulled in a thousand directions? If we have that thirst for enjoyment of the objects, and then also have a thirst for the objects, what will happen is we will create dukha. We will create suffering. Therefore there cannot be an iota of happiness. The context of the whole verse is the person who is not able to connect to the True Self, due to the lack of discernment of what they really are and who they really are. They will have a mind that is unsteady and there will be nothing but turbulence. Therefore, this person can never experience contentment as there is no peace within their mind. Let's remind ourselves that contentment is the ultimate state of being, when you're living in the world and you're functioning in the world. Being content is the most important thing. Only a self-realized person can live in that state. Verse 67. When the Manas runs after the objects of the wandering indriyas, the senses, they carry away one's prajna, exactly as a ship on the water is driven by a strong wind. When the manas runs after the objects of the wondering senses, the indriyas. So this is simply understood that this is describing the action of that person that cannot concentrate on Brahman and therefore remains in that state of duality. They are constantly in that state of duality. For them there is only the objects of awareness and then there's Brahman. They think spiritual life is different to material life. So they live in that delusion. And whatever the senses objectifies, the mind runs after it. If it hears a sound, the mind travels towards the direction of the sound. If it sees a chocolate cake, it creates and imagines the smell, the taste, and the texture of that cake. This is what the senses do. This is what will happen when the manas is not steady. It will continuously run after those objects. As Shri Krishna says in the next line they carry away one's Prajna, exactly as a ship on the water is driven by a strong wind. Here it's very clear, that it says that they carry away one steady wisdom, one's steady, unfluctuating awareness of the Atman and Brahman, that established knowledge of what is Real and unreal is no longer steady. It's no longer still, it is carried away. It's moved away. It's pushed to the side. And the senses, they take one out of that state because Prajna is our natural state, it's who we are. When we go towards the objects of the senses, what happens is we lose that inner fulfillment that we have by being Brahman, by knowing we are Brahman, by being that awareness, in that state of awareness there is complete fulfillment. Yeah, pure awareness, being aware of awareness and then what happens from that is we realize that there's an endless emptiness that we need to fulfill. And we think that by fulfilling our desires, we will be able to fill that endless emptiness, with transient experiences and transient objects. As we know, that's not the case. We know that what happens to us is that this endless emptiness is only an appearance because that fulfillment is always there within us. We just don't recognize it, we are just distracted. Shri Krishna uses the example of the ship on water that is driven by a strong wind. It will be hard to control that ship, if there's a strong breeze. If there's a storm, it will face issues, damages and it will probably go away from the direction of the destination that it needs to go to and that's what happens to our mind. We start losing discernment. When we lose discernment, we lose that direction towards our own liberation. We lose the direction towards knowing that we are Brahman. And we start feeling that spiritual wisdom is impossible to attain and impossible to live by. In fact, I would say living a material life is impossible because you can never be fulfilled, but with spiritual life, you can feel fulfilled. It is possible. That's the difference. The context of the whole verse is this, that our mind is uncontrollable, if it runs after whatever the senses want. Therefore we lose all knowledge of the Atman and Brahman, the Real and the unreal. And we lose our focus and our attention towards liberation, which is required in the spiritual life. We need to be continuously focusing on liberation until it is attained, until our mind fully accepts that we are liberated. Verse 68. Therefore Arjuna, one who can restrain the indriyas from the compelling attraction of the objects of the senses is able to stand firm in their Prajna (the unfluctuating awareness of both the Atman and Brahman). So here, the first line is therefore Arjuna, one who can restrain the indriyas, the senses from the compelling attraction of the objects of the senses. Arjuna here in the Sanskrit is referred to as the mighty armed one, showing and highlighting that he is strong and he is capable of achieving what Shri Krishna is talking about. Shri Krishna brings the attention to the one who has strength and that is the one who can control their senses from getting attracted to the objects that he perceives. For example, the classic example I use, if a chocolate cake is seen, the wise one does not automatically go crazy for that chocolate cake for that object, it sees it, it checks their ability to eat it. Is it being eaten out of necessity or is it being eaten because one just wants it and it doesn't matter how full our stomach is?. If we eat it, we haven't done enough exercise to counter those calories. Maybe we are diabetic and we should not be eating too much sweet things, but because we are attracted to that, it's a compelling attraction. So that's what tends to happen. We see the chocolate cake, we're compelled to eat it. We may say something within me, forced me to eat it. Really, if someone is alert enough, they will know that it is their senses that made them eat it. And the senses had eaten it, not because they were wrong. It's because we do not know what we truly are. Now a person of realization will see that cake and will assess do I need to eat that cake? Is it going to do me good? Maybe I can have a little slice, that would be sufficient enough. That's the difference? If they are full, they won't eat again, because then that will cause harm to the body. If there's harm to the body, how can one meditate, therefore, whenever possible to avoid discomfort, the Sage must go that way. That's why it's very important for us to have a healthy. Now, some things are inevitable. We may have ailments that occur to the body. Those we cannot stop. But whatever, we can avoid, we must try to do that. Shri Krishna says in the next line that they are able to stand firm in their Prajna, the unfluctuating awareness of both the Atman and Brahman. So that person who's able to do all the above, control their senses, not get pulled by the objects, that person can stand firm in their Prajna. Their wisdom is totally established and can withstand any objects of the senses. That wisdom is the unfluctuating awareness of both the Atman and Brahman. The mind can discern and remind itself that it is Brahman, therefore living in both the mind functioning in the world as effectively and efficiently as possible. And also remembering that Brahman is beyond all of this. Brahman is the awareness that is observing all of this. It is that blank screen where all these images are appearing on. Therefore, the Sage is alert that Brahman is infused within the world, and yet he beyond the world. Adi Shankara ji in his commentary says that the man of wisdom with that unfluctuating awareness, has the knowledge of discernment. The ordinary and Vedic dealings cease when ignorance is removed eradicated, as these are effects of ignorance. The ignorance ceases, because it is incompatible to the knowledge of Brahman or the knowing of awareness. What Adi Shankara ji is talking about here is that what we would normally do, like in terms of Vedic rituals or the ordinary aspects of life, they cease when the ignorance is removed. So we will not want to do rituals to attain things. Remember the flowery language of the Vedas. So those things are eradicated because they are the effects of ignorance. We do those rituals so we can avoid pain and we can avoid suffering in this world. We do not think about liberation. While here, this ignorance ceases because it's incompatible to the knowledge of Brahman. Once we know this Brahman ,once we have Brahm Gyana, once we know that we are this awareness, this pure consciousness, there is no need for us to deal in the ordinary and vedic rituals. There's no need for it. The context of the whole verse is that Krishna describes how one with a steady mind, can withdraw their senses away from the objects and remain in that steady Prajna where Brahman shines and illuminates all. Verse 69. Those who can control their indriyas are enlightened and aware, while those with uncontrolled senses are still asleep to what is happening. And so, even when the uncontrolled appear to be awake, the wise muni knows that they are asleep, dreaming, unconsciously driven by matter. The first line is those who can control the indriyas, their senses are enlightened and aware. So we have understood that the one who can control their senses, they are enlightened, they are aware, they are fully aware of Brahman. They're fully aware of their true nature, their true self. There is no confusion about who they are. They are completely aware. Then, while those with uncontrolled senses are still asleep to what is happening. Those that go wherever their senses take them, they're asleep to their own condition. They do not even know they have a problem. They do not see the harm that it's doing to them. They are still fast asleep. They're in a deep sleep. And Shri Krishna continues 'even when the uncontrolled appear to be awake, the wise Sage knows that they are asleep, dreaming, unconsciously driven by matter. Here, the people who are going towards the objects of the senses, they are called uncontrolled, or you could say ignorant. This is interesting. So the wise one knows that even though it looks like the ignorant one is awake, the wise Sage understands that they are sleeping or fast asleep. The ignorant ones are still dreaming of the world. They're so consumed by it. Therefore, wherever the objects take them, they allow themselves to be driven by them. The Sage is aware of the illumination of its true nature. When the ignorant ones are asleep and dreaming during the dark night of striving for objects. At the same time, the understanding and realization of Brahman is like nighttime for the ignorant ones and they feel that the sages are asleep and dreaming, as they cannot see that the darkness is where they are roaming. They think it is light. In short what that means is that the ones that are striving for liberation, they going to be seen as being asleep or boring for the ones that are attracted to the objects of their senses. They think they are awake, but really the wise Sage knows that they (the ignorant) are really asleep because they do not know their true self. Only those striving for liberation, those that implement wisdom and practice wisdom are truly seeing things as they appear. Adi Shankara ji in his commentary states that it is established that for a knower of the self, there remains no need for rites and duties. Someone who is ignorant is going to be thinking about doing those rites and duties, those rituals because it's going to give them something, it's going to give them heaven or something. And he says that the attainment of liberation is only for the Sage, the man of enlightenment, who has renounced all desires and is of steady wisdom, but it is not for those who have not renounced and they are continuously desiring the objects of the senses, including the people that conduct rites and rituals for the attainment of objects. So it's very clear here that yes, there's one thing about desiring objects as an individual, you desire that car, you desire that house, but say you do these rites and rituals so you can get that car and a house. Here Adi Shankara ji is saying, even though you may get it from the Vedas and it seems like it's spiritual, really it's still ignorance. So a deeper point that Adi Shankara ji states also, is that the means of having Brahm Gyana or the knowledge of Brahman is to remove the possibility of the Self becoming a perceiver. It loses its own authority like how a person wakes up from a dream. So Pure Consciousness does not have to depend on anything to bring itself, back to itself. Again, we're talking about that steady wisdom. What Adi Shankara ji is saying is that the knowledge of Brahman is to remove the possibility of the self becoming a perceiver. So it's not the Self that perceives. If that was the case, then there is a moment where the self is perceiving and then not perceiving. Here Adi Shankara ji says that is removed. Like how a person makes it from a dream. Now, you know that whatever you saw in a dream is not real once you wake up, right? So same way, you have to let go of the images from the dream when you are awake. And likewise here you have to let go of the perceptions that you perceive through that awareness of Brahman because it is pure consciousness. Let me repeat this pure consciousness does not have to depend on anything to bring itself back to itself. Awareness does not need to bring itself back to awareness. The formless doesn't have to bring itself back to being the formless. It's always in that state, it's always in that way of being. The context of the whole verse is controlling our senses, understanding wisdom and knowing what our true nature is, which is Brahman, this illumines the mind, and we are truly awake, even though we may look like we are sleeping to those that just chase after objects in their life, wherever their senses take them, if their senses perceive an object like a car or wealth or bigger houses, they just chase over those things. They just chase those things. But really the Sage knows the real difference between who is awake and who is asleep. The Sage understands that it is Awareness, it is Pure Consciousness and does not have to continuously remind themselves of that because they are now steadied in Prajna, they are now completely still in Prajna, that wisdom, that Unfluctuating Awareness between the Atman and Brahman. So this episode now comes to its end. A new episode is uploaded every Sunday. You can follow me on social media to get updates about the podcast or for more content. 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