In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 3rd chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 22 - 26. Sri Krishna guides Arjuna that despite the fact he has no compulsion to act and there is nothing for him to attain, yet he still acts in the world. We all must follow the example of Sri Krishna - we must act in the world, with detachment, knowing full well that we are the Supreme Being - Brahman, Pure Awareness. If Krishna refused to act, then human beings would do this and it would bring great harm to the balance of this Earth, to the devas. Shri Krishna is giving us an insight into the future if we do not act as enlightened beings. If we act according to our suffering, then we will cause a great extinction on this planet. Shri Krishna wants Arjuna and all of us to understand that we are karma yogis who are not to be attached to any self-serving outcome. And say if we do have to act for own benefit, then we must also keep in consideration the greater well-being of all beings in this universe We do not tell others what to do, but we show others how to perform actions with unselfishness through our own personal example. This is the best way to show someone enlightened living!
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 joining today and for taking out the time to listen or to watch this podcast episode today, we'll be continuing on with that thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita. If you would like to support The Bearded Mystic Podcast, you've enjoyed what you've listened to so far or what you've watched. You can subscribe to The Bearded Mystic Podcast Patreon page by paying a specific monthly fee, you can get exclusive benefits. So do take a look. The link is in the show notes and video description below. Let's do a recap of the last episode. So in the last episode, we looked at Chapter Three, verses 17 to 21. As Sri Krishna guides us that the Sage that has fully realized themselves, they are firmly established in Brahman are always in divine, joy, divine pleasure. They are completely enlightened from within and are totally established in contentment. There 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 us to this. Sri 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 this realization, established in karma yoga. We can be enlightened and live our normal lives established in Brahman and perform actions for the wellbeing of all. We are inspired by the great karma yogis and we follow their example. In the last episode, we learned about how Raja Janaka, lived this sort of life. So at first, we may imitate these individuals, but eventually we realize that those very virtues are already inherent within us. Let's begin this episode with verse 22. My dear Arjuna, in all the Trilokas, the three cosmic realms. There is no object that I seek to attain and there is nothing that I'm compelled to do. Still, I continue to act. Sri Krishna says my dear Arjuna in all the Trilokas, three cosmic realms. There is no object that I seek to attain. So Sri Krishna is trying to get Arjuna to understand where he's coming from. And maybe Arjuna has a doubt that well Sri Krishna is acting. Why is he acting? Why is he on this battlefield? Why does he have a kingdom? Why is he a ruler? So it may be that Arjuna will have this doubt and Sri Krishna is ensuring that he can tackle that doubt before it even arises. But I love the way he approaches him, 'My dear Arjuna.' Bringing that closeness, ensuring that Disciple and Master relationship is entering this beautiful spiritual friendship. Here he says 'That there is no object that I seek to attain.' The way I would interpret the three worlds or the three cosmic realms is closer to the way Buddhism actually describes it. And he makes more sense rationally. It's seen as the world of desires, then the world of name and form and then the world of formlessness. Now Sri Krishna will have nothing to attain with desires nor with associating with name and form. So physical and mental objects are not really going to be in his interest. Then the world of formlessness, there is no object there to even attain. Therefore one has to transcend that too. So if one seeks formlessness, then one is actually still associating with name and form. So if you say you want to get to the formless or attain formlessness, that's still the name and form, you're objectifying something. I really like that explanation for the three cosmic realms. People may see the three cosmic realms as the earthly realm, the realm of hell and then the realm of heaven. Then Sri Krishna in the next line says, 'and there is nothing that I am compelled to do. Still, I continue to act.' So Sri Krishna has nothing to do with any action, doesn't need to act, doesn't feel the compulsion to act. There's no compulsiveness in Sri Krishna. At the same time, Sri Krishna is reminding us that we're not doers of any action. We don't need to have any compulsion to act either. Yet, at the same time, action will be performed because one is to function in this world. We live in this world as a name and form. Therefore we are going to act, we live in this transactional reality. We live in Maya. So we are going to transact with the world. That's part of being natural and it's normal. But what Sri Krishna is saying is you're not compelled to do it. You're not forced to act. The action is a natural thing. At the same time actions are just performed because one is to function in this world, as I mentioned. So what Sri Krishna is also highlighting that even though he has no interest to act, to do anything, He still does. Therefore, Arjuna should remember this. That if Arjuna thinks that he can become a renunciant, there is still action to be done. Also, Sri Krishna is the avatar here, He is seen as the avatar of Vishnu and he's also showing us that he's like one of us, when it comes to the ways of the world, he still has to act. He still has to perform the duties that are assigned to him because that's the natural way to be in life. See, there's no duality here, we need to understand this. A lot of people get confused between why do we need to act in the world? Why do we need to do this in the world? If there's only Brahman, or if there's only consciousness, but that's not what Sri Krishna is telling us because when we do this, we live a life of duality, a life of resistance, a life of conflict within. Therefore, how can we get to the highest stages in spirituality if we're still not understanding or addressing the basic conflict that we have? The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna is guiding Arjuna that despite the fact that he has no compulsion to act and there's nothing for him to attain. There's nothing for him to get because he is the Supreme. Yet, He still acts in the world. When Sri Krishna talks about himself here, remember this is also You. You can also be feeling the same thing. Sri Krishna is not telling Arjuna because Sri Krishna is better. He's telling Arjuna, this is how you can be too. So we need to get rid of this notion also that Sri Krishna is talking about Himself only. No, He's talking about what we can do too. If we've not understood this, then we are still looking at the Bhagavad Gita through the eyes of duality, not through non-duality, not through Advaita Vedanta. Verse 23. Sri Krishna says if I refuse to act for the benefit of all, even though as a Supreme being, I have the power to do so then manushas 'the human beings' everywhere would follow my example. The first line is 'if I refuse to act for the benefit of all, even though as a Supreme being, I have the power to do so...' Here Sri Krishna is telling us that if he did refuse to act, which he has all the right to, because you know he is the Supreme Being, he understands who he really is. And again, anyone who attains that realization can say the same thing. Sri Krishna is just telling Arjuna what the consequence of that action would be, if you refuse to act. Even though he has all the right to, because we have to understand that Sri Krishna is rooted in Pure Consciousness, rooted in Brahman and wants to highlight to us - our own reality, as I mentioned before. He shows us that he is a Supreme Being and if we understand that we are Brahman, then we are also the Supreme Being too. We need to understand this. This is how we need to view this verse. Then Sri Krishna says in the following line, that then 'manushas' human beings everywhere would follow my example.' Then us human beings would also say, well, Sri Krishna didn't act then I'm not going to act. We would also give up when it comes to bringing balance to the earth, therefore Krishna has to support Arjuna in this war because he wants to establish that balance is necessary. That balance is needed. That balance is required. If he just lets Duryodhana do whatever he wants to and doesn't do anything, then that will create havoc in the world. It will create disharmony. Sri Krishna understands that his every action will be evaluated, investigated, it will be analyzed, positively and negatively, he understands this. Therefore, he understands the gravity of his actions or gravity of not acting or not performing any actions. Also, as we see that Sri Krishna is a divine incarnation of Vishnu, we must also understand that we are also divine incarnations, too. I want to keep emphasizing this because I want to ensure that we do not have any duality while we reading this or listening to this or watching this, we must follow his example here in today's world, when it comes to the right understanding. He's already established for us what is Sat and Asat? We should now be living a life based on this truth or attempting to, trying to, or use this podcast as a reminder. And I have to do the same to remind myself that this is the way to be. Let's remember that if Krishna didn't look after his kingdom, if he didn't participate in the geo political sphere, that he didn't help others with their spiritual journey, then we would have done the same. So Krishna is very aware of the importance of every action that he does. So the context of this verse is that we must all follow the example of Sri Krishna. We must act in the world with detachment, knowing full well that we are the Supreme Being, Pure Awareness. If Krishna refused to act, then human beings would do exactly the same. Every person that follows Sri Krishna, those that sing Krishna's praises would do the same thing and it will cause and bring great harm to the balance of this earth and to the devas. It will bring injustice to the Devas. Now verse 24. If I did not perform the necessary and balanced karmas 'actions', then all these lokas would collapse. I would be the cause of great confusion and all living beings would perish. Remember, name and form is necessary. Desires are necessary. Formlessness is necessary. Just see everything as necessary, then you can understand why these lokas would collapse. The first line, if I did not perform the necessary and balanced karmas 'actions' and all these lokas would collapse. So Sri Krishna is highlighting to us that if he didn't perform the necessary actions and balanced actions, then everything would be in disarray, everything would be destroyed. Everything would be imbalanced. And this is not just because of Sri Krishna. It's the responsibility of every one of us, each and every one of us. If we do not perform those necessary and balanced actions, then the three lokas will collapse too. So that is why it's important that we respect the Rishis, the enlightened beings, and that they in return create more enlightened beings. This is important for me because the reason why I mention this is that if you've gone to a guru, it's really important that the guru takes the time out to ensure that you understand the truth and become an embodiment of the truth. That you live the Truth as the Truth. That you live in Awareness as Awareness. That you live in Consciousness as Consciousness, that Pure Consciousness, that Brahman. It's essential that this occurs. Sri Krishna continues in that verse, in the line that 'I would be the cause of great confusion and all living beings would perish. Sri Krishna is showing us the results of a hypothetical situation. If you refuse to act, then it would cause great confusion for people. That's obvious. People wouldn't know whether to do something or not do something. They wouldn't have someone to be inspired by, and this is what he's implying here. And that when humans are confused, when their intellect is tarnished, when discernment has disappeared, humans would only go towards suffering. That's the only path that they would take. So once we keep going towards suffering, we will eventually create our own extinction. And if we're honest, we're seeing this unfold today. Therefore, whenever we see someone on the side of truth, we need to support them. Whenever we see experts giving information, we need to trust them. Because at the end, they are trying to uplift mankind. So the context of this whole verse is that Sri Krishna is giving us an insight into the future, if we do not act as enlightened beings. If we act according to our suffering, then we will cause a great extinction on this planet. And I don't mean just of humans, of all living beings. And let's remind ourselves that if human beings really acted in intelligence. Then this world would be a paradise. Every living being would flourish, but because we are so ignorant, we are seeing other living beings paying the price for it. Even our own fellow human beings, paying the price for it, for our greed for our lack of understanding. Verse 25. Listen, Arjuna those who do not understand, perform their karmas attached to a selfish and limited outcome or those who practice Karma Yoga, do not cling to a particular self-serving result. Therefore, whenever you act on your own behalf, always remain focused on loka samgraha 'the greater wellbeing of all living entities.' Let's break this down. First-line is 'Listen Arjuna, those who do not understand, perform their karmas attached to a selfish and limited outcome.' So those who do not utilize their viveka, their discernment, who do not see their essential and inherent nature will perform actions with an attachment to a result. They will expect something. They will only think about their own benefit. They will be completely selfish and they would only look at what can make them greater than other people. It'll be completely self-centered. The next line is 'While those who practice Karma Yoga do not cling to a particular self-serving result.' So as we see here that those are practice Karma Yoga, who act without any attachment to any outcome, they do not care about their own success or failure. They are beyond this. They will not act just for their own self or for whatever benefits them alone. In fact, they will serve others, for the benefit of others. And the self-serving result may be an outcome of an action. So for example, it may serve them well by doing an action. They will not cling to that result. Yeah. That's the great thing about these Karma Yoga practitioners. Then the next line is 'Therefore, whenever you act on your own behalf, also remain focused on Loka Samgraha 'the greater wellbeing of all living entities.' So Krishna wants us to be established in understanding here. So he can guide us that whenever we act on our own behalf, that we also, at the same time, look for the benefit of others, for the greater wellbeing of others, of every living being in this universe. That simultaneously, even if we are acting on our own behalf, for our own self that we consider what will benefit everybody. So this approach is always universal and our small self is contained in that universal approach. So the context of this whole verse is that Krishna wants Arjuna and all of us to understand that we are karma yogis who are not to be attached to any self serving outcome and say, if we do have to act for our own benefit, that we must also keep in consideration the greater wellbeing of all living beings in the universe. Every single one of them, beautiful verse, beautiful way to practice the truth. Something that we can all do. And the final verse of this podcast episode, Verse 26. In addition, an enlightened practitioner of Karma Yoga should not disrupt or argue with those whose buddhi is still fragmented and attached only to selfish outcomes. Instead they should encourage and teach others by the personal example of their own unselfish actions.' If we look at the first line or two, 'In addition and enlightened practitioner of Karma Yoga should not disrupt or argue with those whose buddhi is still fragmented and attached only to selfish outcomes.' This is very important to understand. And it's very important advice. Advice that we need to consider. Advice that we need to fully embrace. Once we have established ourselves in Brahman, we need to understand that there is only Pure Consciousness, only Pure Awareness, there's only the Formless and then we must not disrupt the actions of those who've not aligned themselves to this understanding. We cannot shout and scream at others for being attached to their own selfish outcomes. We can raise our observation with others, but we should not argue with them. And the reason for this is because the moment you tell someone that they can't do something or they shouldn't do some thing or whatever they do is going to cause harm or is gonna be disruptive. They will go and do it because they don't think about what they're doing. For example, it's very simple one, but it's so true. You know, if you tell a child or you tell anyone that they're not to eat ice cream, but to eat fruit, the child would want to eat the ice cream and even more so, if you eat the ice cream in front of the child after advising so, that child will see you as a hypocrite. And they'd be like, what is this? So if someone's buddhi, their intellect is still fragmented. They're still living in duality. It's best to keep your advice to yourself. Especially if that person's intellect is not open to understanding anything. If they've closed their minds, if they have that tunnel vision, then let them be. It's really important that we do that today. Like there's no way you can convince anyone to do something that they are completely against. There's no way. We don't even listen to our doctors. For example, I know many people that, uh I'll use myself as an example. I was once told by the doctor that I'm now in the pre-diabetic stage, so I had to cut down on sugar. Now I have a sweet tooth and I love eating desserts. But once the doctor said that I controlled my diet and I was like, I have to be serious about this. I know that there are many people that regardless of what their doctor says, they will do the opposite. If the doctor says cut down on eating sweets, cut down on drinking alcohol, cut down on smoking cigarettes, drink more water, eat a more healthy diet. They will not listen. And no matter how much you say it's good for them, they're not going to listen to you because they think they know better than the doctor. The doctor's only study for seven years and practice for so many years, but they who have no qualifications, know better. So only the person who is understanding, who's open-minded will understand you. Sri Krishna says 'an enlightened being, an enlightened practitioner of Karma Yoga should not disrupt or argue with those people.' Yeah, an enlightened being uses their discernment. Should I say anything or should I not? Is it best to remain silence or is it best to say something? And then Sri Krishna says, 'instead they should encourage and teach others by the personal example of their own unselfish actions.' This is the practical advice that we should encourage and teach others with our own example. Forget about telling others what to do. You do it first. You be it first. Why tell other people to meditate, but if you don't meditate? Why tell other people to attend a particular satsang, if you're not practicing the message of the satsang? Only teach others by your own example. As they say, actions speak louder than words. This is what it means. Not anything else. Sri Krishna is telling us that we just cannot be hypocrites. People should not be able to point the finger at us and say, well, you say one thing and you do another. Therefore, we need to show by our own thoughts and actions without shouting through a loudspeaker, we just show them that our actions are unselfish and that they are based on the wellbeing of all. A Karma Yogi simply would do everything that they would tell someone else to do. Those are the real practitioners. They would do the same thing. And this is great leadership advice too. And something we can practice at home, at work, at school, in any circumstance, in any situation, any role that we have, we can practice this very teaching. The one thing that I remember of my elders is that they wouldn't tell me to read a book. I used to see them reading a book and by seeing them, I wanted to read a book. A child looks at you through those very eyes. If they see, for example, in today's day and age, we see kids on mobile phones, on cell phones, on the smartphones, whatever you want to call them. A parent can't tell a child to get off the smartphone if they are on it. They also have to sacrifice. They have to show with their own actions that they are limiting their use of the cell phone. So everything has to be lived according to your own practice. Your own life has to be an open book that people can look at you and say, you know what they're doing exactly what they say. Often there are people in your life, you probably have someone in your life where no matter what you tell them, whatever good intentions you have, they just don't listen to you. They say yes, yes, yes to your face and then do the exact opposite. They go completely against what you said. They don't have any value for what you say. That's why Sri Krishna says don't waste your energy here. Don't try to teach them. Don't try to guide them. Just use your own example of how to be. Just concentrating your own Self. In a way, for example, in the context of the Mahabharata, there's no way that Arjuna can convince Duryodhana to do anything else. He's got a fragmented buddhi, he's not going to listen to Arjuna, but Arjuna can show by his own self, his own actions of how to be this is what Sri Krishna is talking about here. This is really important for me. I want to emphasize upon this, that a spiritual teacher and the disciple, they have to be aligned in such a way that the spiritual teacher needs to be practicing the teachings. If there is someone with a fragmented intellect, he's only attached to selfish outcomes, let them be. Don't disturb them. Don't disrupt them. Don't give your 2 cents. They don't care. I know this sounds harsh, but they don't. And therefore don't waste your time. It's better to just be yourself. Be grounded in Brahman, be Brahman, be this Pure Consciousness, and just enjoy this. Going back to the last episode, where we looked at being atma-rati, atma-tripta, and atma-santushta being in divine pleasure, being enlightened from within, and then being content, just be in that state. There's nothing you can do to change anyone that doesn't want to be changed. I've learned this the hard way round. Trust me. I used to give people my 2 cents now I'm leaning towards more silence. Silence has real power, man. Silence has real power. Silence has this quality that nobody can understand. Not everyone can understand the power of silence. Only when you are in silence, can you understand the impact that it has? This is why it's really important for us as people who've been going through the Bhagavad Gita, we've been studying this, we've been interacting, some of you've been asking me questions about this and we've been discussing it. That we introspect, and we just lived the message of the Gita. Sri Krishna doesn't want us to be bystanders that just listen and then move on. Those are the people with the buddhi that is fragmented and attached to selfish outcomes. They'll attend the Gita classes, they'll attend the big gatherings, or they're chant Krishna's name, but being as Krishna wants says to be is the real lesson of the Gita. Understanding that we are That. Tat Tvam Asi. This is what we need to understand. So the context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna is guiding us that we do not tell others what to do, but we show others how to perform actions with unselfishness through our own personal example. This is the best way to show someone enlightened living. Listen, if you follow this advice that Sri Krishna's given, you will live a life without any disturbance with absolute peace. Trust me on this. Do everything you can to improve yourself. That's it. People will have their projections, their perceptions of you. They will live their life the way they want to, and they don't care. They will carry on. So, no matter how noble you feel you are, it's not going to matter. Therefore, just enjoy being in Pure Consciousness, in Pure Awareness, in Brahman. That's all. Thank you. That is the end of the episode. If you would like to follow me on social media to keep getting updates, to subscribe to my monthly Bearded Mystic newsletter, to join The Bearded Mystic Podcast discord channel, or to attend the weekly meditation, the details are in the show notes and video description below. If you'd like to support The Bearded Mystic Podcast, there are a number of ways you can. I would like for you to utilize Patreon, so for a monthly fee, you get extra and exclusive content and benefits. To check other ways to support, check the link tree link below. Please rate and review the podcast on whatever podcast streaming app you're using. If you're watching this on YouTube, please like comment and subscribe. If you've enjoyed what you've listened to today, do share it with other people. Share the link with everyone that you know, will enjoy this. So thank you very much for listening, we'll end with the Shanti mantra. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti Aum Peace Peace Peace Namaste
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