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April 10, 2022

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 3: Verse 17 - Verse 21)

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 3: Verse 17 - Verse 21)

In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 3rd chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 17 - 21. Shri Krishna guides us that the Sage that has fully realized themselves, that are firmly established in Brahman are always in divine joy, pleasure. They are completely enlightened within and are totally established in contentment. They are no longer compelled to complete material actions but their every action is done as an act to bring others to the Divine. Happiness is only found from within when we are established in Brahman. No action can lead us to this, no achievement can lead to this. Shri Krishna tells us to do what seems impossible and that is to perform actions without attachment to the outcome. The more we practice this and perform every action as a sacred offering to Brahman, we realize that the most supreme and ultimate abode is within us and around us, this Non-dual Brahman. All of us that live in the world have the capacity to attain the realization established in karma yoga, we can be enlightened and live our normal lives established in Brahman and perform actions for the well-being of all. We are inspired by the great karma yogis and we follow their example. At first, we may imitate them but eventually we realize that those very virtues are inherent already within us.    

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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Transcript

Rahul N Singh:

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 will be continuing on with our thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita. But before we start, I would like to ask if you would like to support The Bearded Mystic Podcast, you can subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can subscribe for a monthly fee and receive exclusive benefits. So do take a look at that. That's in the show notes and video description below. We will be doing a recap of the previous episode, where we looked at Chapter Three, Verses 14 to 16. In that episode, we understood that Sri Krishna guided us to understand how we are all interconnected on this planet. Therefore we need to be grateful for everything that allows us to feel alive, to be alive on this planet, in this human form and ensure that we share our resources with the wellbeing of everybody 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. Sri Krishna gives a stark warning that society will be consumed by going against the balance of nature and that society will only destroy its own self and the world along with it, this earth itself. Let's begin with verse 17. One who is atma-rati 'in a state of divine pleasure from their true self' and is atma-tripta enlightened from within' as well as atma-santushta entirely content with their own self' is no longer compelled to any external material action. The first line. One who is atma-rati 'in a state of divine pleasure from their true self'. So what does that mean? Before I go into this first aspect of divine pleasure or pleasure itself, I'm going to be talking about sex. You may want to skip a little ahead if you feel uncomfortable about it, but it's something that we need to discuss. So 'rati' means delight or pleasure, and it can even mean the pleasure, that is derived from the orgasm as a result of sex. Now, when we have an orgasm, there is a moment when the mind goes blank. And for some time the mind is calm and at peace, that silence that we attain is extremely deep. Now, this is also the base of what Osho meant when he said from sex to samadhi. So these little pleasures in life that we attain, when we have sex, that orgasm, it gives us little peeps into what the complete pleasure feels like of the Atman, which can only be from Brahman or Pure Consciousness or Pure Awareness. So the orgasm with the silence that it provides that deep sense of formlessness that we get when we have the orgasm is similar to the complete experience of Being Aware, of Being in Pure Consciousness. When we understand that we can understand a bit deeper on what we mean by that samadhi state or as Osho said. Therefore the Realized Being rooted in Pure Awareness is always in complete joy, in bliss, in pleasure, just from their own self. For example, when you have the orgasm, it's from your own self, it's being created from you. Yeah. The same way when you realize who you are, you realize what this Isness is, it brings great joy from within. Yeah. So this is the ultimate enjoyment. This is the ultimate pleasure. So you get this all from your own self. It's not something you have to get from somebody else or something else, or an action is going to lead you to it as this whole verse talks about because sex is still an external material action. But it can be an external material action that can lead to a spiritual inaction as an experience. This is how we can understand it. Now, Pure Awareness does not need any content to be joyful. Yeah. It doesn't need a specific experience to be joyful. Brahman does not need any aspect of Maya to be in pleasure. It is joy by Itself. The contents of Maya gives us little peaks, little ideas into the full joy that is there for the Realized Being. So don't see these contents or Maya as completely devoid of any consciousness. When we understand that it is an appearance against consciousness or awareness, we understand that it has a value. Therefore, these little things point us towards that Awareness. Suffering points as to Awareness. Joy points us to Awareness, this is the way to see it. So this is the meaning of 'rati', it's a divine pleasure from your own self. When you realize who you are, that is 'atma-rati'. Now the next line is: and is atma-tripta enlightened from within.' That person is fully enlightened from within because they know their true self. Whatever they Perceive through the senses is done through Pure Awareness, through Brahman. Everything is seen through that lens. They are completely Brahman, inside and out, internal and external. This is the foundation of non-duality. Yeah. Remember that when you're enlightened from within, enlightenment is then everywhere and you're completely in that light. You're completely in that true self. As well as atma-santushta entirely content with their own self'. So being in contentment is no ordinary matter. In fact, what I would say is that being in contentment is the true sign of an enlightened being. When they are content within themselves, they don't want any external material desire, or for that to be met, don't see contentment as an ordinary matter. It is a very spiritual virtue and it also means that you feel complete and have no desire for any wants to be met. If they aren't met you, aren't taken away by it. And if they are met your desires, then you aren't taken away by it either. You remain established in the Self, you remain established in Brahman, you remain established in Pure Consciousness. These people, they don't need anything. They can be happy just by themselves. If you leave them in an empty room, they will not see it as empty, but they will see it as their True Self, that they will see that is full of Brahman, it's full of this fullness and what the world sees as empty the sages see as full. This is simply what this means. Therefore, how can this person ever be dissatisfied or ever feel bored? Impossible, because contentment cannot bring boredom. That is impossible. The next line is: Is no longer compelled to any external material action. That person, which is atma-rati, atma-tripta and atma-santushta that person does not have any strong desire to be number one, to be part of the rat race, that no longer drives them. They see that external material action is just there for the basic needs of life. Remember the previous episode, where we looked at that's the basic necessities of living. That's what Sri Krishna established for us and then he's talking about the enlightened living. This is the way of the karma Yogi. This is how that superior practitioner of Karma-Yoga responds to life, lives within life practically. So everything they do in life is simply a play, it's simply an act, to enjoy and remain in that mindset of being in Brahman, being in Pure Consciousness, being in Pure Awareness, everything they do will eventually lead to that. Therefore they can't harm anybody because that will be going against Pure Awareness because Pure Awareness is simply being in pleasure. If you causing pain to somebody that will eventually cause pain to you, but this is the way to see it. They will never chase experiences, but experiences will chase these enlightened beings for their beautiful attention. That's the way it is. So experiences are at your beck and call, not you are looking for experiences. That's what it means to be really content with life. The context of this whole verse is that the Sage that has fully realized themselves, that are firmly established in Brahman and they are always in divine joy and divine pleasure. They are completely enlightened from within, and they are totally established in contentment. They are no longer compelled to complete any material actions. But their every action is done as an act to bring others to the Divine. That's the natural occurrence. They don't need to do anything specific as divine, to bring people into divinity. Their being brings people to the divine naturally, it's a natural process. Verse 18. Their internal experience of satisfaction does not depend upon anyone or anything external. So they are not compelled to any action as a source of their pleasure. So the first line here is: 'Their internal experience of satisfaction does not depend upon anyone or anything external.' Frankly, the one who is full of internal joy, they will never be dependent on anyone or anything. That's just the way it is. They are continuously satisfied as they remain in, in two ways. They remain in the first bit where they keep Brahman at the forefront, Consciousness at the forefront. And the world at the background. And at the same time, when they have to keep the world at the forefront or their actions at the forefront, they can keep Brahman and Pure Awareness and Pure Consciousness in the background. They maintain that Pure Awareness in the background at the very least, that's the way they are. They are never going to rely on anything external to give them joy, peace or contentment. We have to remember this. So nothing external can influence them. And the second line is that 'so they're not compelled to any action as a source of their pleasure.' We can understand here that their actions aren't going to be chasing the worldly pleasures. That's not what they're going to be doing. While the people established in greed will consume and amass wealth and power at the cost of human and planetary suffering, these beings will not be doing this, these enlightened beings, they have met all their desires now and therefore, no action can be the source of their happiness because they are established in Brahman. That's the ultimate happiness. That's where they get their joy from. In fact, it's not that they get joy from there. That is joy. The source of their happiness is Brahman, which is neither action nor non-action. Just remember this, that non-action is Brahman, action is Brahman. Whatever you do as a sacred offering as a Yagna is an action in Brahman as Brahman. So the context of this whole verse is that happiness is only found from within when we are established in Brahman. No action can lead us to this. No achievement can lead us to this. Verse 19. Therefore always engage in the action that is appropriate to the situation with no attachment to the outcome. The person who performs their karmas in this way eventually goes to Param Dhama, the Supreme and ultimate abode of Brahman.' This is an incredibly deep. The first line. 'Therefore always engage in the action that is appropriate to the situation with no attachment to the outcome.' When we hear the work with detachment or have no attachment to the outcome. We automatically feel that this is impossible. You know, whenever we do something, we expect a result. We want a particular result. For example, when you take an exam, you want to pass. When you go for a job interview, you want to get the job. When you put out a video on TikTok or YouTube, you want people to see it, you want the views. So those things are pretty natural in people, but here Sri Krishna is saying that we're not meant to have any attachment to the outcome. Neither do we want lots of views, neither do we want no views. And neither do we want to pass, neither do we want failure. How do we live in such a life? It seems impossible. But if we really look at this logically and with rationality then for example, if a hundred years ago, or a few hundred years ago, if somebody once told humans that they will walk on the moon or send vehicles to Mars. They would say it's impossible. No way that cannot happen. If 500 years ago, you told someone that they could reach India from London in eight hours. They would laugh at you. But all these have improved to be possible. We have made those things possible. What seemed impossible one time is now possible today. Again, for example, many people may see the theory of evolution as impossible, but today more and more evidence is there to prove that it's valid and it is real, it's what's happened. So likewise we can start with small acts in the beginning with detachment to the outcome. Or without attachment to the outcome. Like cooking food for others, cleaning our room, holding the door for somebody, all this can be done regardless of how others will see it. For example, if you clean your room and you have parents in the home, you do it without your parents being pleased with you. You do it without getting some pocket money. If the pocket money comes to you, that's great but you don't do it for the pocket money. You do it because you just like a clean room. Now someone may say well, what if I have a job? Should I expect a salary from it? The salary is the natural outcome of you performing work. It's not something that is going against anything. So you can work for a salary. If, for example, someone subscribes to my Patreon page. Now, if they pay that money, they're going to expect benefits, it's just a natural result. Yeah. It's not something that they will live for, or anticipate for. All this can be done regardless of how others will see it. If they give you a positive reaction, that is great. If they give you a negative reaction, that is great. But just start small and then go towards bigger actions accordingly, without any attachment to the outcome. This is eventually how we got to go. And I remember once my Guru once quoted that we must do acts for a cause, not for an applause. And this is incredibly insightful and it helps you to understand that the only reason why you do something is for the cause. That's it. You don't have any other outcome. You don't want something to be positive or negative. The first line, we've obviously mentioned doing something without any attachment to the outcome, but the first line is always engage in the action that is appropriate to the situation. This is really important because what Sri Krishna is saying here is that we need to utilize our discernment, our wisdom, our viveka, to analyze how to approach a situation, how to act in a situation. Let's put this way. We've all seen videos where someone is on the subway or on the, the train and or on a bus, and they getting racial abuse or homophobic abuse. And we know that this is wrong. The person is recording it, but are they're defending the person that is being subjected to that discrimination? Is it important to record it alone? And can we both record the situation and also defend the person that is being abused? Or are we just going to be silent spectators? So this is what Sri Krishna is talking about that we need to engage in the action that is appropriate to the situation, defending the vulnerable is incredibly important. So if I was in a situation where I saw somebody getting abused for their gender, for their sexuality, for the color of their skin, their ethnic background, I certainly would speak up and defend them because it's not right. So you do what's appropriate to the situation. And obviously every situation is different and unique and you have to use your discernment in that situation. But again, now if I defend that person or if I support the person that's being abused, I don't want to be a hero, I don't care about being a hero. I'm doing it because I care about someone. I care about them being safe and I don't like bigotry. That's the only difference. That's the only thing you do. That's important. So I hope you've understood that line 'do things for a cause not for an applause'. Then the Sri Krishna in another line says the person who performs their karmas in this way eventually goes to the Param Dhama, the Supreme and Ultimate Abode Brahman. This person goes to Param Dhama. The person that can do acts that is right for the situation. That is the best for that situation. That causes less harm for this situation and therefore, they do not look for any attachment to any outcome. They have no attachment that if I do this, this is what I'm going to get. They just do the action. They don't think about anything else. They let the world do the rest. That person goes to Param Dhama. Now this Param Dhama is not some physical place out there. It's found right here right now, centered within you. That is Param Dhama. The Param Dhama, you can also refer back to being atma-rati, atma-tripta and atma-santushta. That is what is meant here as Param Dhama. So within us, we have that eternal state of Pure Consciousness of Brahman and that is available. It's always there for us. It's always here for us. What happens is that the person performs every action as a sacred offering to Brahman. Therefore Brahman becomes their natural state. This then becomes their abode, their home. You can never be a guest in Pure Consciousness because you are Pure Consciousness. They have reached home, which is the most Supreme and Ultimate State. Don't think Param Dhama is somewhere out there, somewhere you have to go or somewhere you're going to go after you die. It's right now. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna tells us to do what seems impossible and that is to perform actions without attachment to the outcome. But the more we practice this and perform every action as a sacred offering to Brahman, we realize that the most Supreme and Ultimate Abode is within us and around us, this Non-Dual Brahman. Yeah, this Formless Pure Consciousness, right here, this is Param Dhama. Where you are right now. There is Param Dhama. Verse 20. In previous times, the great ruler Maharaj Janaka and after him, many other noble leaders achieved completion by performing karma yoga. Like them, everyone should act unselfishly for the sake of loka samgraha holding the world together for the well-being of all.' In this first line, Sri Krishna says in previous times the great ruler Maharaj Janaka and after him, many other noble leaders achieved completion by performing karma yoga. So Sri Krishna wants to tell us that this process of Karma Yoga is a legitimate path to realization, to enlightenment. Therefore, we shouldn't discourage ourselves with words like 'enlightenment is impossible.' I will get it in another life.' It's only available for monks.' 'You have to be really serious in spirituality, then you will get it.' No. We all know about the story of Maharaj Janaka. Raja Janaka, he's the king that was enlightened by the wisdom of Ashtavakra. We all know about the Ashtavakra Gita. In my TikTok lives, I've being discussing verses from the Ashtavakra Gita. Even a few weeks ago, I did a meditation based on the Ashtavakra Gita. So we know that Raja Janaka had a kingdom. He was a political leader. He was also a family man. He had friends, he had a social life. and he was a complete Karma Yogi. And after him there's been many of the noble leaders. In fact, Sri Krishna is a noble leader in that sense, he has shown even as the divine incarnation, that he has done the same thing. The word here that we need to understand is they've achieved completion. They've achieved the purpose of life and they've reached the last stage of evolution for the human, which is enlightenment. So that is what we mean by completion. They achieve completion by performing karma yoga. Some people might use the word perfection. The reason why I don't use perfection is because it has this kind of, stainless, unblemished state. But this can only be understood if you see everything as Brahman, then perfection is the right word to use. But the reason why I use completion is to show you that this is the last stage of evolution for somebody, but here what Sri Krishna is doing is telling us that this can be achieved. It is not impossible. It is completely possible to achieve enlightenment as a Karma Yogi, as a householder. And then Sri Krishna in the next line says that like them, everyone should act unselfishly for the sake of Loka Samgraha holding the world together for the wellbeing of all.' Sri Krishna doesn't praise monks here actually, he's telling us that those people that lived in the world in all areas of society, who attained enlightenment and then they've functioned in that enlightened state. Monks do that just by their complete and utter surrender to the study of the scriptures and practicing meditation. Here the householder is able to function in the world, be in the world, be in all areas of society, they can attain enlightenment and they can function in that enlightened state. Therefore, whatever they did, held the world together, they always had the outlook for the wellbeing of all. Raja Janaka, he was a king, therefore he had to do all his Royal duties and he did so by remaining established in Brahman. We know he remained established in the Self. We know this by reading the Ashtavakra Gita. So we know this is possible. I would say and apply it to today's time, that it is entirely possible for a CEO of a company today, or the president of a country or a photographer or an Uber driver can be a complete Karma Yogi. They can act unselfishly for the sake of the well-being of all. They love to keep the world together to keep the world in harmony. The context of the whole verse is that all of us that live in the world have the capacity to attain the realization established in karma yoga, which is this Param Dhama, the Supreme and Ultimate Abode of Brahman. And we can be enlightened and live our normal lives and normal day-to-day lives established in Brahman, as Brahman and perform actions for the wellbeing of all, keeping harmony in, society, seeing the interconnectedness of everybody. Now verse 21. Whatever actions are performed by a great Dharmic leader or Acharya 'one who lives the noble truths that they teach', people are inspired to imitate their actions and whatever standards they set by their personal example, the whole world pursues. So here in the first line, Sri Krishna says, whatever actions are performed by a great dharmic leader or Acharya one who lives the noble truths that they teach.' People are inspired to imitate their actions. If you look at it in seriousness, we are all inspired by our gurus, we are all inspired by our spiritual teachers, as they live exemplary lives and we're inspired by them. We completely are enamored by their beautiful lives and very colorful lives. And we see that every act they did, they did as an act of the divine. And we perceived the divine in them. So we've always been inspired by them. They give us the opportunity to think beyond ourselves, not just in spirit, but also in the world. They guide us to take care of the world. For example, they will tell us to do initiatives that will protect the environment, that will fight against the climate crisis. That will help us do acts that can alleviate the climate crisis, alleviate the poverty of the world. They do all sorts. For example, one tradition that I like to mention is the Sikhi tradition of doing langar, where they have a community kitchen that feeds thousands or hundreds of thousands of people every day and they've been doing this since the 1600s, 1700s and they do this unselfishly. Why? Not because they're now imitating the guru in their actions, they've seen the standards that were set and they're now living according to that standard. We all see this, you go to any Sikh temple, they will always offer you food. It will always be available to you. But one thing I want to note here as a particular warning, that when acharya or teacher is mentioned here, or dharmic leader, this teacher is not necessarily going to be famous or one that would give you good sound bites. You know, nowadays you see gurus that put out special clips on reels or TikTok videos or on YouTube, just to get interesting sound bites, but they have really little to offer in terms of substance. What we need to ensure is that these gurus live accordingly and exactly as they prescribe. Yeah, whatever they say to you, you see it in their actions. There's no hypocrisy there. So sometimes you may hear that a guru will say we should live simple lives and we need to look at the nuance here. So I'm not, actually, this is not a criticism. This is an observation that a guru may say that we need to live simple lives and then we may see them traveling in a luxury car or in a first class ticket on an airplane. Now, however, this can still be seen as living simply, and being simple and the way to do this, we need to know if the guru's personality is changed by this experience? Are they changed by sitting in a Mercedes-Benz or a Rolls Royce or a Bentley? Are they different because they sit in first class in an airplane. Do they put, if they're traveling in an entourage, is the rest of the entourage in the economy class, or are they sitting with them in the first class, things like that are the things that you can notice. Do they remain humble regardless of this? So this is what we need to look for. Don't look at the external that, oh, look, they're traveling in a really luxury car, or they have a luxury residence. That's not the thing to look at. Does it change them as a person? And by the standards that they live by, do they also give that to others that are around them? So this is what we need to look for. So don't go by the external, go by their nature. We need to see that these teachers are living by example and therefore we want to imitate them. So imitating is always a first step. The first stage, we may imitate their nature because you see that if we imitate them, then eventually we may be able to practice with that nobility, simplicity and love. There is a method in tantra where you act as if you are the guru. Whoever your guru is, whoever your teacher is, you see life and perceive life through the way they would. You act according as they would act. And this is a way of holding yourself to higher spiritual principles. And this is what Sri Krishna means when he says that people are inspired to imitate their actions. How the guru speaks, they will also speak. We can practice that with nobility, simplicity, and love and humility. So eventually we see that we don't need to imitate, but that these values, these virtues, this nature is available within us too. And that we can function and that these virtues can actually function around our own specific and exclusive personality that we have. Eventually we become our own person, living with those same spiritual values that the Acharyas have given, that the spiritual dharmic leaders have given to us. The next line is and whatever standards they set by their personal example, the whole world pursues.' So then as we know, whenever a guru arrives on this planet, whenever a guru is in our lives, we see that they set the bar high for us, and we all try to aim for that. If they raise the spiritual bar, we look to increase our ability and work on ourselves to reach that spiritual bar. So for example, Sri Krishna came on this planet and we're all trying to live according to the standards that He set as He gave in the Bhagavad Gita. So the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, we are trying to live according to that spiritual bar that he has held so high and we need to reach there. And the same goes for Jesus Christ and Mahatma Buddha and Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Kabir ji, all of these people, they've set the spiritual bar really high for us, and we need to go for that. We pursue the practices that they've given so we can attain what they have attained. What I want to say here is that praising their names is not what I'm talking about here. I'm not interested in you praising their names. I'm talking about living, according to what they prescribed, living with the mercy and love that they showed. Yeah. The very virtues they had, you live according to those. Those are your very virtues as well. Therefore, whatever standards your Guru sets today, you pursue that. It is as simple as that. It doesn't have to be a guru that initiates you. It can be anyone that inspires you to live a life established in Brahman, in Pure Awareness. So the context of the whole verse is that we are inspired by the great karma yogis and the great dharmic leaders and we follow their example. At first, we may imitate them, but eventually we realize that those very virtues are inherent already within us. And this is the end of the episode. If you would like to follow me on social media to keep getting updates or to subscribe to my monthly Bearded Mystic Newsletter or to join The Bearded Mystic Podcast 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, you can utilize Patreon to get extra content and benefits for a monthly fee. Link is in the show notes and video description below. Please do rate and review the podcast. Whatever podcast streaming app you're using, please do give a rating to the podcast. And if you're watching this on YouTube, please do like comment and subscribe and share this channel to others. And do share this podcast with others that you feel will greatly enjoy this message. Thank you very much for listening. Thank you for supporting the podcast. Truly appreciate it and we'll end with the shanti mantra. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti Aum Peace, Peace, Peace Namaste