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April 3, 2022

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 3: Verse 14 - Verse 16)

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 3: Verse 14 - Verse 16)

In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 3rd chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 14 - 16. Shri Krishna guides us to understand how we are all interconnected on this planet. Therefore, be grateful for all that brings you to be alive and ensure that we share our resources with the wellbeing of all in mind. Understanding that Brahman is the underlying reality of everything that is manifested, we must perform these sacred offerings knowing that all is divine, all is Pure Consciousness. Shri Krishna gives a stark warning that society will be consumed by going against the balance of nature and will only destroy its ownself and the world along with it.  

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

I hope you enjoyed listening to the 23rd episode of the Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita and if you are interested in listening to more episodes like this on further chapters and verses, or on Non-Duality, or you want to learn more about the wisdom of the Mystics please follow/subscribe to this Podcast.

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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. If you would like to support The Bearded Mystic Podcast, you can do so by signing up to The Bearded Mystic Podcast Patreon page, and the details are in the show notes and video description below. In the last episode, as I mentioned, we looked at Chapter Three, Verses 10 to 13, and we're going to do a little recap of that episode. What we understood from the episode was that Shri Krishna guides us from the beginning of time that humans have always been guided on how to live with nature, to respect, nature, and that we must continuously give back to nature. We are to respect its laws and then we will get aplenty back. We have to look after nature, give to nature as you take from nature and therefore there can be universal harmony. This is only if we show our appreciation and our gratitude towards nature. It is not enough to just simply thank God. We must thank everything that sustains us, even if in the end, it is just a projection or an appearance. If we care for each other, for every living being on this planet, then this earth can be a paradise. It can be a heaven for everybody. Shri Krishna is warning us that we must not simply be people that just take things and we do not love others or care for others. We must offer back to the universe, to the earth, to living beings with an open heart. Then the universe can give back, but if we just take and not give back, then what can the universe offer back to us? Eventually it will exhaust itself and whatever greatness is in your accumulation, it will mean nothing. Shri Krishna will say that if you are just accumulating , whilst at the same time, allowing the world to be destroyed, allowing poverty to increase, then you are merely a thief. Don't be selfish, be selfless in all that you do, and that you attain. Give everything and do everything as an offering to others and therefore you will receive positive results. It's really that simple. But if we have a speck of selfishness, then nothing can stop the negative reactions from any action that we do. Now we'll begin with Verse 14. From food, all human beings come into existence. From rain, all food comes to be. Rainfall is produced by the performance of Yagna to the devas and Yagnas were designed to balance human consumption of natural resources with their production by the devas. So the first line's that we'd be looking at 'from food, all human beings come into existence. From rain, all food comes to be. Rainfall is produced by the performance of Yagna to the Devas.' Now, as we know, the human body is formed from food. Whatever we eat becomes part of our body. If we eat a banana, the banana becomes part of the body. If we eat an apple, it becomes part of the body. If we eat a particular meat, it becomes part of the body. So every food that we eat becomes a part of this body that we see, this body that we have. Now, if the food that we eat is healthy, it provides vitality for us. If the food is unhealthy, what we notice is that it can make us feel lethargic. So for example, when you eat McDonald's and you eat the Big Mac, you feel full for a while, but after a bit you feel hungry again. Yet, if you eat two apples, I can guarantee you'll be feeling full for quite some time, because it's, it's a natural food. It's fibrous. We need to understand that without food, human beings cannot that exist. We cannot say that food is Maya or if we desire food that's bad. No, we need food for living. We need it to have a healthy lifestyle. It helps us if we are yogis in terms of doing yoga exercises and meditation practices. It's very beneficial. So we cannot say that food is not important. It is but for our health, not for our greed, not for our taste, but for the sustenance and maintenance of the body. So we need to understand that the desire should be just for food to sustain our body. Yeah. We may enjoy food in terms of it's taste here and there. That's fine. Eh, don't to get carried away, but it shouldn't make us unhealthy. That's the main thing. Shri Krishna gets us to think a little bit deeper when he says with rain, we understand that the power of water is such that it helps in the farming process for food Rain waters crops and the grass for animals, and that it replenishes creeks, reservoirs and the water table. It washes away all the summer dust and turns dry grass into decomposing carbon for soil microbes. So water is essential for the production of food and therefore we see the connection and importance of rainwater for food, the soil for food. And therefore that food is what eventually becomes part of the human being. So we see the connection there and when we produce crops to serve the whole of the population, instead of for a few people's greed or for the 1%, then we are respecting this earth, we are respecting the devas, we are respecting the devas in the forms of the earth, the soil, the water, the sun, and therefore nature provides everything back for our existence. Yeah, it would like to sustain us because we are always giving, we are sharing our resources with everybody, with equity, with a sense of ensuring that everyone has enough for their need at the very basic level. So we have the capacity to be thankful as human beings. We can be thankful to existence. We can be thankful to the specific forms of nature that have helped food appear. And if we believe in a God, we can be thankful to that God as well. And say that because that God has created nature and this created the earth, the soil, the rain water, the whole process, the whole system, along with the sunlight. Therefore we can thank God. But we must be thankful and at the same time, if we're thankful to all of these elements, including God, then we need to think of everybody and hence Yagna must be performed. So everything is a sacred offering. Let's remind ourselves about this because we cannot just eat for our own greed. We have to ensure that at least, in the current system that we're in, that we are at least aware that we need to do more. As long as that first step is done, then naturally I believe we will perform certain actions, do certain things that will raise awareness to get rid of poverty, to ensure that people have enough to eat every single day. The next line 'and Yagna is we're designed to balance human consumption of natural resources with their production by the devas.' So these ceremonies are there thanking the earth, the water, the air, the sun, they help the Earth's population to have enough food for its needs. This is what is meant here by the Yagna. And again, this Yagna is a ceremony to be thankful. It's to see everything as a sacred offering. There is a popular saying that was attributed to Mahatma Gandhi when he says there is enough food for man's needs, but not for man's greed. And this is very true. If you think about it, it's our greed that loves to accumulate more and more, but really we need to just have enough for our needs, enough to keep us healthy, enough to keep us functioning and therefore, we need to ensure that other people have the same capacity. There should be no single person on this planet that should be begging for food. Food should be a basic requirement for everybody. And, you know, as we see that our greed becomes our wants, that's all they are. And sometimes we cannot discern between what food we need and what food we want, because we're so consumed by our own selfishness. And here's Shri Krishna saying, this is not good. This is not the way to be. Therefore, when we do these ceremonies or these acts of gratitude and seeing everything as a sacred offering, we remind ourselves of the interconnectedness between our planet and ourselves. And we see how we need to maintain this relationship of respecting the planet as it continuously provides for us. You see here, Shri Krishna wants us to understand how we are connected to the earth, He's not making us think of being in heaven and having a life after this life in paradise. He's telling us of how to make this life itself, this earth a paradise for what it is, which it is a paradise. If we consume things for our basic needs and being thankful and ensuring that we give back to the earth and as we provide for everybody around us. These devas, they are the controllers of those particular material domains, we need to ensure that if we want food that will sustain us, then we need to respect the Devas so that they can continue to give us the natural resources so that we can live our lives comfortably. You want everyone to live in comfort and that's the whole emphasis of this verse is to ensure that we understand the interconnectedness of everything and how we are to balance things with our needs rather than our wants and that is basically the context of the whole verse. Verse 15. 'The rules of dharmic actions emanate from Brahman as the Vedas, that all pervading Brahman is continuously established through Vedic Yagna, which aligns with the ritam. Therefore, the immortal Brahman is perpetually manifesting within Prakriti through the performance of Yajna.' So 'the rules are dharmic actions, emanates from Brahman as the Vedas.' So the rules of living with nature and in nature and in our natural state all all comes from the Vedas and they are inspired by Brahman, from Pure Consciousness. They emanate from that Pure Consciousness. They appear from that Pure Consciousness. And the Vedas is our guide on how to live a life based in Pure Awareness, in Pure Consciousness, to live a life that has Brahman, at least in the background of our Awareness. So these dharmic actions are those that help us to understand that. The next line is 'that All Pervading Brahman is continuously established through Vedic Yajna, which aligns with the ritam.' so when we unite the wisdom of the Vedas, with the practice and awareness of Brahman then everything we do is a sacred offering. It's a sacred act. Each time we perform that sacred act of the Yajna, we join our awareness with our true self, which is Brahman. This is the ultimate point. The All-Pervading is mentioned here so that we can understand that Brahman is in all of the Devas. Therefore, although we thank the devas in ceremonies and in the process of Yajna, really it is going to Brahman. We are thanking Brahman, that Pure Consciousness for everything. Without Pure Consciousness how can we even experience all of this? Brahman is the cause of everything and therefore we have that respect. Now, what is ritam? Ritam is the underlying patterns or laws of nature, the regulating structural and moral principles that underlie and sustain the universe. Therefore, the more we perform the Yajna, the more we live an ethical life based on living within our means, within our basic needs, the more we live according to the moral principles. This is something we've emphasized before about living in ethical life. And really what we need to ensure is that our morality is aligned to the Vedic scriptures. And that is one of seeing the whole world as one family, that universal family. Therefore, if one family member is starving, that's not good. That's not enough. So the ritam, you could say is living an ethical life. We live a life based on ethics, where we care for one another. We have compassion for one another. We look out for one another. We are not there to take away people's rights. We are there to ensure that everybody is treated fairly. That is living an ethical life. Without this basic element of an ethical life, we cannot claim to be going towards spirituality. Therefore the ritam is living in ethical life. The next line, therefore the Immortal Brahman is perpetually manifesting within prakriti through the performance of Yagna.' Once we see that Brahman or that Pure Consciousness Itself is manifesting within Prakriti within nature, we naturally see everything as divine. And this is what we need to understand that if Brahman is manifesting within Prakriti, within Nature, then why are we not seeing it in that way? Why do we not see things as divine? Why do we see things as separate to us? It's because we do not know who we are. We are not able to discern between what is Sat and Asat, between what is Real and Unreal, between what is formless and what is form. And that is where it needs to be understood. Everything is divine. So once we do see everything as divine, then every act, every intention, every thought is based on Pure Consciousness and is presented through Pure Consciousness, it's based on that Pure Awareness. We see everything through that Pure Awareness. When we are able to be Brahman, understand that our being is Brahman, this Ultimate Reality then everything we do is an act of divinity, a thought of divinity. It's a higher state of living, and this is something we can all achieve. It's not something difficult. It's not something even we have to achieve, it's what we already are. So once we understand what Brahman is and what consciousness is. Then we can understand that everything is in appearance within that Pure Consciousness and therefore we can live a more fulfilled life because we see everything as divine. We have a higher respect for it. We respect others a bit more and we live in a different way of thinking. We have this unconditional love towards others. This compassion towards others. We love to give our presence to others. This is something that happens naturally when we have an ethical life based on the realization of what Brahman is, of what Pure Consciousness is. So the context of the whole verse is that understanding that Brahman is the underlying reality of everything that is manifested, we must perform these sacred offerings, knowing that all is Divine, all is Pure Consciousness. Verse 16. If one lives on Bhumi Loka, 'Mother Earth' O' Arjuna receiving benefits from the turning wheel of the seasons, but does not give back to restore the ecological balance of nature, they live only to please their indriyas, their senses. They are selfish and ungrateful and they eventually cause harm to themselves and the world.

So the first few lines are:

if one lives on Bhumi Loka, Mother Earth, O' Arjuna receiving benefits from the turning wheel of the seasons, but does not give back to restore the ecological balance of nature, they live only to please the indriyas, the senses. So Shri Krishna here really wants to ensure that Arjuna understands, and that we understand that we must always give back to nature that provides the basic necessities for our life. So we need to always give back. We can't receive the benefits and do nothing about it and do nothing in return. What's worse is if you're not thankful for what we have. If we just consume and consume, accumulate and accumulate, without thinking of giving to others, or if we have enough, if we are just blinded by our accumulation of wealth and power. So this is not enough. People thank God, but they don't thank the creation that gives them the ability to thank their God. This is a deep point that I want to mention. A lot of us, we thank God. And we say, thank you God, for the food we eat, for the shelter we have, for protecting us, for being in our life, then at the same time, we are willing to put creation under dire circumstances. We allow creation, this earth, to be destroyed for our benefit. So we even forget that without this Earth, this food that we eat, that which becomes our human body, without this food, we wouldn't be able to thank our God. We wouldn't have the strength to do so. Therefore, we need to look at the source of our vitality, the source of our being and understand that this nature has provided for us. So what Shri Krishna is really doing is allowing us to understand that it's important to see our interconnectedness to the planet. If we do not do this, we're entering a very slippery slope when it comes to living a fulfilled life. Therefore if we all receive the benefits of the world and still only live to please our senses, then are we living a fulfilled life? At the end of the day, there are people that only please their senses, and there are people that exhaust everything their senses can experience. They see that the senses and the pleasure of the senses is rather limited and does not allow us to live a fulfilled life, we still feel rather empty. Therefore, we understand that pleasing our senses is not enough. There's something more, what is behind the pleasing of the senses? What is behind the experience of the senses, this Pure Consciousness, this Pure Awareness? Therefore to live when we truly get everything we need, then we are ready for that deeper wisdom. We are able then to utilize our discernment because our basic desires are now met, but if we do not live in that way, if we just look to accumulate things and we don't give back to restore that balance, then the earth can never be in balance. If the earth is not in balance, then neither will our senses be in balance, our senses will be going crazy, just like the earth would be suffering, our senses will also show suffering. And the next line is 'They are selfish and ungrateful and they eventually cause harm to themselves and the world.' So those people that just consume whatever their senses sees, hears, touches, tastes and smells, they are truly selfish and ungrateful. They don't care about giving back. They just want to accumulate, just please their senses, that's enough. They live a life where there is no real purpose. They are just living life to consume. They don't care about the cries of those impoverished, as long as their desires are met. Once their desires are met, their greed is met. That's all they care about. Due to their unconscious actions, they will ultimately cause harm to themselves, but they would also harm the world. Like it's mentioned, if we do not restore the ecological balance of nature, then everything will be causing harm. There will be destruction and it shows us that we have unconscious actions. We are not conscious of what we're doing. If we were conscious and alert and aware, we will be very careful about how we live our lives and also be careful about how we will receive things. For example, It's very customary in Indian households that whenever we go to visit somebody's house, we give a gift. Or whenever somebody visits our own home, we look to give them a parting gift. Even though we may have served them dinner, we think of giving them something more and that's the way it is. And that's how we need to be with nature. But if we do not do this, then we're not restoring balance, then there will be imbalance. And once there is imbalance, then we can only see destruction. And what we see is ultimately that because people are unconscious, they ultimately cause harm to themselves as I mentioned, but they will also cause harm to the world. They will continuously pollute the world. They'll drive their big trucks that consume a lot of gas, that cause harm to the climate, but they don't care. They don't need that truck, but they will do it too because of some social status, because of some symbol of masculinity. But it means nothing. It doesn't help us. If we don't need it, then we can avoid it. And that's what I mean by unconscious. We're not even aware that we're doing such harm to the world. It's even worse, if we know we're causing harm to the earth by using this truck for our status, shows how blind we are and if we do it. And like I mentioned, if we do it knowingly, even worse, then we're choosing to cause harm. That is what is mentioned by being a selfish and ungrateful. So again, these people, like we see others that they will kill endangered species, treating them like trophies, as if it is a sign of masculinity, when really it just shows the fragility of their existence and values and principles. Therefore they cause harm to the world, to the balance of the ecological existence. Everything is required for this ecosystem to sustain and continuously to be in balance, to serve us, to serve the earth as it is meant to be served. But what happens is because we get rid of animals, we don't care about how much we need to destroy as long as we can live comfortably. Even if other animals are rid of their homes and their habitats, we don't care. This ultimately will cause harm. And those are people are worse that kill endangered species, that go to Africa or India or any other place just to hunt those endangered species. That shows their ignorance, how dark their lives really are. Can someone of awareness, of consciousness, of compassion, do such things? No, they can't lead such blind lives. What Shri Krishna is saying in these three verses that we've been looking at today, before I go into the context of this whole verse is really showing us how we need to be, how we need to live in the world. Practical steps. Thanking the world, thanking the earth, thanking the water, thanking the rivers, thanking the soil, thanking the sun, because without this, we will not be able to sustain our human body. The moment these things stop providing for us, it doesn't matter how rich you are, you will not survive. This is why it's important that as spiritual beings, we also understand our place on this Earth and the importance of this earth. Do not be dualistic in that thinking that the Earth is separate and you are separate. Or Consciousness is separate and the earth is separate. The earth is an appearance in consciousness and this appearance needs to be taken care of because we are connected to it. We are an appearance too. We are also a content of that Consciousness. Therefore, we must take care of it. The context of the whole verse is that Shri Krishna gives a stark warning that society would become extinct, if we keep going against the balance of nature and that we will eventually destroy our own selves and the world along with it, by our selfishness, by our greed and because of our lack of gratitude towards everything. This is the end of this episode. If you would like to follow me on social media to keep getting updates or subscribe to the monthly Bearded Mystic Newsletter or to join my discord channel, the details are in the show notes and video description below. If you would like to support The Bearded Mystic Podcast, there are a number of ways you can do so. One way is to utilize the Patreon page that we have to get extra content and extra benefits on a monthly subscription, the details are in the show notes and video description below. Please do rate and review the podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app, and do share it with others. If you've been watching this podcast on YouTube, do like, comment and subscribe to the YouTube channel. Thank you very much for listening. We'll end with the shanty mantra. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti Aum Peace Peace Peace Namaste