In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 3rd chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 30 - 35. Sri Krishna guides Arjuna that dedicate and perform all actions as an offering to Brahman - that Pure Awareness. Have no selfishness at all and with the confusion gone, Arjuna should follow his individual nature and fight this war. If we stick to the message of Karma Yoga, we dedicate all actions to Brahman, then we will be able to have the strong conviction that will contain no resentment about the supreme influence of this practice - which is liberation. These individuals will face no negative karmic reactions. Sri Krishna warns us of the people that don't practice the Gyana that he has given of Karma Yoga and the results of this is pure confusion. Sri Krishna tells us about how knowledge cannot change the tendencies we have gained from previous lives, they are now our nature. Sri Krishna wants us to follow our own inherent nature and that it is better to die than become the copy of someone else.
Translation used: The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive: A Radical Translation by Jeffrey Armstrong Available here on Amazon
If you would like to dwell deeper in the Bhagavad Gita, I recommend Swami Gambhirananda's translation with Adi Shankara ji's commentary: Available here on Amazon
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Hello and welcome to The Bearded Mystic Podcast and I'm your host Rahul N Singh. Thank you for taking out the time today to either watch or listen to this podcast episode. Today, we will be continuing on with my thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita. If you would like to support The Bearded Mystic Podcast, you can sign up to our Patreon page, the details for this are in the show notes and video description below. Every Saturday, there is a free meditation class that
occurs at 11:
00 AM EST. As it's virtual, anybody can attend. If you would like to join the details are in the show notes and video description below. Let's do a recap of the last episode. We looked at chapter three, verses 27 to 29. Sri Krishna guides Arjuna that nature has a hold over us. The three Gunas have an impact and therefore we get confused that we are the body. The more we understand that we are the Atman through a humble inquiry, we understand that we transcend the ego completely and respectfully. And then we rest in the Atman. With the understanding that we are the Atman, the Gunas of the senses will not lead the seeker away from the spiritual path. They understand the compulsion's for material satisfaction, but they will remain detached. Sri Krishna wants us to understand that we should not disturb those who are deluded by the forces of nature or the Gunas. That is because their intellect is not as sharpened by their discernment, by viveka. That was a recap of the last episode. Now we'll be looking today at verses 30 to 35. So there's a lot to go through and a lot to unpack, but we're going to keep this as concise as possible. So you can take in the essence of what's being said. Verse 30. Dedicate all your actions to me, meditate upon me as the original and all pervading Supreme Atman. Give up all desires and selfish motives. Declare that nothing material belongs to you and with the fever and confusion caused by this conflict entirely gone, abandon your lethargy, act in your svadharma and fight. The first line here is dedicate all your actions to me, meditate upon me as the original and all-pervading Supreme Atman. So every action you do, dedicate that to Brahman. Remember that this 'me' that Sri Krishna is referring to is Brahman. So dedicate all your actions to Brahman. Now we need to understand that the 'me' that Sri Krishna is referring to is not his body, it's not Sri Krishna the name and form, the naam and roop. It's actually that Nirguna Brahman that he's referring to. We need to remember this, and also remind ourselves that all actions are an offering to the Lord. Remember in the previous verses we've looked at that, that everything is an offering. Everything is offered to the Divinity. It is our Yagna. That is what we do. Now many may see this, as I mentioned earlier, many may see this as Sri Krishna is talking about himself and you can either see Sri Krishna as your Ishta Devta, which is fine, but that will not be complete. We need to first understand this completely and this is why I've repeated this again, because I want us to really understand it. However, if you want to go straight to Nirguna, then you will understand that Sri Krishna is speaking from the Atman or from Brahman and not his physical form. This is the real understanding of the Bhagavad Gita, because the whole thing is based on 'Tat Tvam Asi', which is 'You Are That'. If it was based on Sri Krishna, it would be 'Krishna is everything' that will be the base of it. And every scholar agrees that it's based on the mahavakya 'Tat Tvam Asi'. This is something where I think we have to be very clear on. We need to understand. This is the best attitude to perceive things from because this Supreme Atman, it doesn't have any form. It has no shape. It has no image. It's beyond all that is perceived and not perceived. It's Changeless, it's without modification. It's Self-Existent. Then Sri Krishna says, meditate upon me as the original and all-pervading Supreme Atman. So remember all-pervading, everywhere you look, you should find that there is Brahman there, there is Krishna there. Krishna in the formless state. The original he says, as the original. So the original is always formless. It's Nirguna. This is the key word here. A lot of people would like to believe that Krishna still has a form, He's somewhere in some other realm. No. If anything, if He's all-pervading, He's also in this realm too. He cannot be away from us. Maybe opening the whole aspect here of parallel universes, according to this. The next line that we'd be looking at. Give up all desires and selfish motives. Declare that nothing material belongs to you and with the fever and confusion caused by this conflict entirely gone, abandoned your lethargy, act in your svadharma and fight. When you give any sacred offering, you can't have any selfish motives, they just simply will not work in this scenario. We do not care if we win or lose, we neither desire to win nor do we desire to lose? Neither do we desire to be successful, neither do we desire to fail. To be honest, we just perform the actions. That's the only way. As he says, give up all desires and selfish motives. Even that, oh, if I do this, then I will get this. If I do this prayer, I will get this. That is still a selfish desire. That is still a selfish motive. I'm going to pray to God today so I can get higher results. I can pass my exams or I can get a promotion at work. All those things are selfish. Those are not sacred offerings. When we were offering anything to Brahman, we have to make sure that there is no selfishness. There's no inner desire, even of enlightenment or liberation. We are not to desire those things. We are to just be ourselves and just be in the process of doing our karma. Yeah. Doing those actions. Remember that everything that is material will always remain on this earth. So it belongs to the earth. The Atman owns nothing, possesses nothing yeah, nothing material. Declare that nothing material belongs to you. When he says this, it's a calling. That can we say that nothing belongs to me? Can we admit that nothing in this existence is for me. Can we say those things? Can we admit those things? Can we be so courageous to say these things? Declare that nothing material belongs to me. Nothing. Your house, money, your bank account, your investment portfolio, all the items you own, your computer, your phone. Nothing belongs to you. Yes. It may be in your name, but what happens to your name when you die? Nothing. It goes, yeah. So remember the Atman Itself owns nothing. Brahman owns nothing. Brahman has no possession over anything. Brahman doesn't care about these things. Sometimes we like to think that, oh, well, if I don't possess it, that means God possesses it. No, God doesn't even possess it either. If God had it as a possession, that means God accumulates. Therefore if God accumulates, then that means that even God has desires. So if this God has desires, then is it any better than us? Therefore, it is stated that this Nirguna Brahman, this Ultimate Reality has no possessions. Krishna's hope here is that Arjuna's mental state has calmed down. You know, the anxiety has calmed down a little and that he's no longer confused about what to do. He says, and with the fever and confusion caused by this conflict entirely gone. So He's telling him to get rid of the conflict. The confusion and the fever. Remember before his (Arjuna's) body had heated up and then the confusion about am I going to kill people? These are the people I love. Who am I going to kill? And Krishna eliminated all those doubts by saying, there's nobody that can be killed and there's nobody to kill. Everyone that you see is this eternal Atman. This is why he's saying that this fever and confusion caused by the conflict should be gone now. And abandon your lethargy. Remember he was reluctant to act, he was reluctant to do anything. So this is where Sri Krishna is saying give up being lazy, this is now your time. Then he says act in your svadharma and fight. So svadharma here means Arjuna's own path or duty. So Krishna is ensuring that Arjuna fights in this war without any conflict and Arjuna's duty is to win this war. One thing I will note here is that each person has their own svadharma. So you have your own, I have my own, we have to discover this. The context of this whole verse is that Sri Krishna guides Arjuna that to dedicate and perform all actions as an offering to Brahman, to this Pure Awareness. Give all to this One, have no selfishness at all. And with the confusion gone, eliminated, disappeared, Arjuna should follow his individual nature, his individual path and fight this war with absolute conviction that it's all being devoted to the Lord. Verse 31. When human beings remain constant in this teaching of mine, standing ready for it. Always seeing me everywhere while focused in the state of shraddha and never resenting my Supreme influence. Then they are released from the negative karmic reactions from all they do. The first line is when human beings remain constant in this teaching of mine, standing steady for it. What we're learning here from Sri Krishna is to go back to this teaching. We remember it all the time, we remain in the practice of this teaching. It's not a point, just remembering the theory, we have to practice. It's very important that we practice this teaching. So standing steady for it. Seeing it as stabilizing ourself in that wisdom, sharpening our buddhi, sharpening our intellect, with our discernment, with viveka of what is the real and the unreal, Sat and Asat. And that way we go back to that original understanding, the real understanding. We need to stabilize ourselves in this. Then Sri Krishna says always seeing me everywhere while focussed in the state of shraddha and never resenting my Supreme influence, then they are released from the negative karmic reactions from all they do. One thing we need to understand is always seeing me everywhere. So remember this Pure Awareness, this Pure Consciousness, this Ultimate Reality, Brahman is everywhere. It pervades everywhere. So remember to see this Brahman in everything. We're not talking about the physical form of Krishna. We're talking about the non-physical, the Formless. Otherwise it's not possible. For example, my mobile phone or this microphone will turn into Krishna. No. Remember the Formless is within each form. That's how to remember this. And then Sri Krishna says that focus in a state of shraddha. So shraddha here is the conviction and determination, the faith in the perception of seeing the Pure Awareness everywhere. In a state of shraddha, when we focus on this, then we see everything, when we perceive everything, we remember that the essence is this Nirguna Brahman. Therefore we have a lot of devotion towards it. A lot of faith in it, a lot of conviction in its Reality. That's the key. Then it says, and never resenting my Supreme influence. If there's resentment, that means there's ego there. Only the ego will resent something like that. And the Supreme influence here is that once you understand the true nature of what Nirguna Brahman is, of what the truth is, what happens is you internalize it and you eventually become the Truth yourself. The influence is that, that the influence will change you, it will transform your life, will transform the way you think and see and perceive life. That is the influence. What tends to happen, even if we improve, sometimes we do not like the improvement because it takes us away from certain things. But Sri Krishna here is saying, don't be offended by it. Just keep going with it, don't resent it. It's okay. The Supreme influence here is the spiritual attainment that can be gained and don't feel bitter or displeased at this way towards liberation. They are released from the negative karmic reactions from all they do. This is moksha, this is mukti. These people face no negative karmic reactions from anything they do. That's because they don't act as themselves as a body and mind, the naam and roop, they actually act as an offering to Brahman. Remember whatever is an offering to Brahman, only Brahman can give that offering. So when we understand this, it becomes a lot easier. The context of this whole verse is that if we stick to the message of Karma Yoga, we dedicate all actions to Brahman, then we will be able to have the strong conviction that will contain no resentment about the Supreme influence of this practice, which is liberation. These individuals will face no negative karmic reactions, all that is needed is we never give the results of our actions to the ego, but we give it to Brahman. Verse 32. But those who are against this Gyana that I am teaching and do not put it into practice in their lives, have lost their discernment and live in a state of constant confusion. The first line that we're going to look at, but those who are against this Gyana, that I am teaching and do not put it into practice in their lives. So this is one thing, if you do not practice this Gyana, you are against it. It's as simple as that. If you do not follow it, if you do not put into practice, you don't really accept the Gyana, the wisdom. That's one thing. Another thing is people may find it's unpractical without even taking a single step towards practice. First, check it out, see if you can practice it, do the steps first and then come out and say whether it's impractical. The whole point is, is that we have to make that effort. People may find many reasons as to why they cannot do what the Gita says. Like, I'm a householder, I've got this problem in my life, I've got this issue in my life, I've got that problem. We can come up with many justifications for not doing anything that Sri Krishna says or what the Bhagavad Gita instructs us to do, but those would not be good enough and they will refuse to practice it and yet deny its power. Like I said, how can you deny something without fully practicing it? Only when you can fully practice something, can you then say, well, actually there's a method better than this or this doesn't work because of this reason. I practiced it. Yeah. That's using your Buddhi, that's using your intellect. So using the intellect is very necessary when it comes to practice as well. Then Sri Krishna says have lost their discernment and live in a state of constant confusion. These people will lose their viveka, their discernment of the real and the unreal. They will not be able to tell the difference. They will not be able to see the difference. Therefore, they'll be in that constant state of confusion and that's because they don't act upon the knowledge. They've not practiced it. Without practice, this knowledge does not become a reality. This Gyana does not become a reality. This Gyana is Supreme. Without this Gyana, it will not happen. So it's very important that we must act upon the knowledge, otherwise, nothing will be gained. Nothing at all. The context of this whole verse is that Sri Krishna is warning us that the people who do not practice this Gyana that's in the Bhagavad Gita, especially of what is given of Karma Yoga, the results of this is just pure confusion. Just remember even the non practice of this will bring out results and it will be confusion. Yeah, because nothing is a lived reality. We're not living it as our own teaching. This is why Sri Krishna mentioned svadharma, your own path, you got to find your way to put it into practice. Nobody can give you the answer. They can guide you, for sure. They can say this may work, that may work, but you have to put in the action. I have to put in the action. None of us are exempt from this. Verse 33. Every being within matter has a specific prakriti, a body type that must be expressed. No amount of knowledge can change this intrinsic genetic structure. What then will one gain by fighting against their unique material nature?
The first-line is:
Every being within matter has a specific prakriti, a body type that must be expressed. So every being human, animal and plant has a specific nature, that's understood. Each human has their own nature and they have to act in a particular way. Again, same with animals and plants, etc. This nature will consist of their impulses from their senses. The senses will be guiding them and they will be attached to the external world all the time. We will constantly be utilizing our life outwardly, we will not spend any time on the inward path. Everyone has a specific nature. The mind will follow the senses and goes after those pleasures that are outside. This then creates samskaras or vasanas and these are our innate tendencies or conditioning. We will always go back to our tendencies if we do not sharpen our intellect. If we just go according to our nature, we will go according to our tendencies. And these are the accumulation of so many lives of what we've perceived in life, whatever we've experienced, all those form our tendencies, our habits in life. Then the next line. No amount of knowledge can change this intrinsic genetic structure. Nobody can do anything about this genetic structure. It cannot be changed. If you have a tendency that you're born with, that's it, that's what you have. The senses will have its own nature. It will taste things. It will hear things, it will smell things. It will see things, it will touch things. Our personality will be according to whatever our nature is and what we allow our senses to explore and experience. These are things that will always be there. We cannot change those things. What we can change is the attachment or association with those things. Sri Krishna then says what then will one gain by fighting against their unique material nature? This is an interesting question by Sri Krishna that what will one achieve by being in conflict with oneself? Allow your nature to explore itself. For example, if you feel really tired, go to sleep. If you feel really hungry, go and eat. Unless you're looking to do some tapasya, that's different. Otherwise just go according to your unique nature. Maybe you have a thing where you don't like pineapple on pizza and prefer chocolate cake. Or maybe you love pineapple pizza. The thing is everyone has their own unique material nature. We cannot tell someone don't be like this. You can't be like this. You cannot like this. This is not nice. This is not tasty. We cannot do things like that. People have their own choices to make. People have their own tastes. People have their own unique qualities. Allow them to be is what Sri Krishna is saying. Why should we fight against our unique nature? Again, our svadharma, why fight against it? If we don't live our svadharma, we're not living our individual purpose to life, which is necessary. Each person has something unique in terms of their vasanas, their tendencies. Everyone has their own tendencies, their conditioning, their personality, allow them to be. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna tells us how knowledge cannot change the tendencies we have gained from previous lives. They are now part of our nature and also the nature of the human body has its own genetic structure. But the question here is whether people can change because Krishna is saying no knowledge can change us and nobody can fight what is in their nature. If not, then why practice at all? Sri Krishna must know this as a thought or doubt that we may possess. And I think he will answer this in the future. Verse 34. By our nature the senses are automatically raga or dvesha 'attracted to or repulsed by' various material objects. One should not come under the control of either of these impulses. So remember the tendencies that I talked about, raga and dvesha are part of those tendencies. What you're attracted to and what you're repulsed to. Let's look at the first line. By our nature, our senses are automatically raga or dvesha 'attracted to or repulsed by' various material objects. Our nature is simple. Either we are attracted to something or we are repulsed by something. Something we like, something we dislike. According to our day-to-day, we go according to what we are attracted to, and we stay away from what we are repulsed by. For example, like I said, if I had to choose between eating a pineapple pizza or not eating at all, my dislike of pineapple pizza, shouldn't be that I should starve myself. I should be beyond that and say, at this moment, only the pineapple pizza is available. Logically can I wait a couple of hours to eat something? Maybe I can. Or maybe I'm at someone's house. So if I don't eat the pineapple pizza. It might be disrespectful. It may be out of a sign of respect, you go beyond what you dislike or what you are repulsed by. Repulsed is a very strong word. I'm not repulsed by pineapple pizza, but yeah, so then I will eat that pineapple pizza because I'm at somebody's house and I want to be respectful. The senses will always do that. The senses will always be repulsed by something. It'll see something and you know, it'd be like, I don't wanna eat that and that is not the right way to be. Or I dont want to look at that, that's disgusting. But that's repulsion. Or we are attracted to something. We see this ring that we like, or we see a person that we are attracted to and all we keep thinking is about that. Our senses are automatically going to be attracted to things and it's going to be repulsed by those things. Remember, our senses are the sight, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching. It's always going to be going towards those things. This seems to be the game that we play, and we are constantly in the hold of raga and dvesha. So if we love something, we are always attracted to it. If we dislike something, we run away from it and avoid it as much as we can. And then Sri Krishna says one should not come under the control of either of these impulses. Before I go there, remember that we have this attraction and repulsion, this raga and dvesha and then what we learned in the previous line was our material nature. Our material nature automatically is raga or dvesha. Our genetic structure is going to be towards raga and dvesha because we go according to our senses. Our senses are part of the body and therefore it will go according to that. Sri Krishna says and one should not come under the control of either of these impulses. Now the aim is not to be influenced or controlled by what we are attracted to or repulsed by. We should remain as a witness. We are that awareness where the senses does its thing against our awareness, meaning not against as in fighting against, but see that the senses are like the images on the screen and our awareness, the witness is the blank screen. No matter what the senses portray on the screen, this blank screen is not affected. Remember your witness state, your awareness, the Pure Awareness, Brahman is not affected. Yeah, that background awareness is not affected at what's going on at the forefront. If you're going towards the senses, that awareness is not going to be affected, whether you know it or not, it remains unaffected. That will always be free from any notion of what you want through the senses or what I want from the senses. Now the aim is not to be influenced or controlled by what we are attracted to or repulsed by. We should remain as a witness as much as possible, try and live as the witness. So you are repulsed by something, you are attracted to something, watch it, observe it, be the witness, don't get affected by it. If you're repulsed by something, don't feel like vomiting everywhere. Don't feel nausea. If you're attracted to something, don't feel like you must go towards it and grab it automatically, grab it and be impulsive. No, that's not the way to be. When we notice that these feelings arise, we can look to analyze them and go beyond where they want to take us. We see where they want to take us, but we don't have to go there. Yeah. We don't have to go wherever they say. We don't need to control them. Yeah. We just have to ensure that we don't get controlled by them. That's the only difference. So that way is you make the choice. You use it against the viveka that you have, what is real and unreal and then you see whether it's worthy of going towards. For example, if you see that slice of chocolate cake and you're attracted to that chocolate cake, your senses are processing the information, your brain is receiving it, then you make the choice. Am I hungry in order to eat this chocolate cake? If I'm not hungry, I'm not going to eat it. I'll wait for it for later or I pass. Or say, I am hungry, then you can eat it. But eat until you are content, but don't overeat. Don't be controlled by the senses is what Sri Krishna is saying. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna gives hints about how we can transcend our nature. And that is by becoming an observer, a witness to our raga and dvesha, what we are attracted to and what we find repulsive. Verse 35. This is a unique verse. It is better to follow your own svadharma imperfectly than to follow another's path perfectly. Death as a result of being true to one's svadharma is preferable to any outcome that might be achieved by going against it.
The first line is:
It is better to follow your own svadharma imperfectly than to follow another's path perfectly. Sri Krishna wants us to understand that everyone has their own psychological makeup, their own genetic makeup, their own body structure, and everyone has differences or the appearance of differences. What I would like to call diversity in what they do, in what they are, everyone is diverse. It's really important that we establish that everybody is diverse and unique. Now, nobody is the same and everyone has nuances or you can say uniquely diverse. Therefore, following your own path towards liberation is better than trying to fit in another person's shoes. Now, if you follow someone else's path perfectly, you will not be able to overcome your raga and dvesha, or you will not be able to attain liberation because you're only going upon someone else's path, which is unique to them. It's unique to them because they are uniquely diverse to you. They are different to you. Your uniqueness is not their uniqueness. Therefore, we need to understand that following another's path is not going to give you the same joy. You will not feel like you've achieved the purpose of your life. Svadharma is when you're achieving your own purpose to life. It's very important that no matter how perfect you may practice someone else's path, it will never make you happy. How many of us have a nine to five job, but we're not happy because it's not made for us. Some of us love the nine to five job. It makes us happy. Everybody's different. How many of us love studying? Not everyone does. I remember being at school, I wasn't a fan too much of studying, but now I love studying. You know, people change, people develop. But I'm following my own path. When I didn't follow my own path, it brought anxiety, sadness, irritability, it brought anger, having a temper, I was moody. When you're following your own path, that means you have to be ethical and be considerate of other people. Whatever action you do should not harm another person. A lot of us think that because I'm living my purpose in life, you know, you get a lot of this self-help nonsense. I see people say I'm unique. I'm this, I'm that. I'm doing what I need to do. I'm empowering myself, I do not care what other people think I'm just going to do what I need to do. It's not about caring about what other people think, but you have to put others into consideration. You have to think, you have to think of other people, not about what they think, but what reaction or response will another person have with your action. But if you are following your own path and even though it is imperfect, that's still fine because with the lessons that you will learn, you will be able to perfect it. You're going to make errors especially if you don't think about it. So with svadharma, what I would say, if you want to practice it perfectly is to utilize the wisdom that Sri Krishna has given about understanding what is Sat and Asat, Real and unreal, remembering what is Brahman and Maya and remembering the differences. The transactional reality is important for the transactions and the exchanges that we do in the world. The Ultimate Reality is that background awareness, which does not get influenced by anything that happens in the world. It's unaffected. Then Sri Krishna because in the context of the Mahabharata, he's is giving Arjuna the advice that in the next line, that death, as a result of being true to one's svadharma is preferable to any outcome that might be achieved by going against it. Sri Krishna here is telling us that it's better to die, being true to your nature than any other outcome. You're living life, according to how you want to live it, what makes you happy in living it and that's good. But again, remember you're being ethical. Svadharma means your purpose of life. And to be honest, we all have one eternal purpose in life, which is moksha or mukti. We will have different ways of getting there according to our tendencies and our genetic structure. We'll have all those things to consider. Everyone is unique. That's why their svadharma is uniquely to them. Now it may be that your purpose to life is to have a flourishing business or release the next best seller or get the next promotion or pass your exam, so you can enter into a particular profession. That may be your svadharma, but eventually once you've fulfilled that aspect, you will want moksha, you will want liberation because you'll feel that there is something more than this, something within you will speak, it's not something that someone can tell you, but you will feel it internally. You will feel the calling yourself that there's something more. The context of this whole verse is that Sri Krishna wants us to follow our inherent nature and that it is better to die than become the copy of someone else. Remember, we are not there to copy anyone, be like anybody. We are there to just be ourselves. This is the end of the 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 The Bearded Mystic Podcast Discord server, 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. You can either utilize my Patreon page, the link is in the show notes and video description below, or you can check my link tree on other ways you can support the podcast. Please rate and review the podcast. Please take some time out and do review it on my website www.thebeardedmysticpodcast.com. Thank you very much for listening and we'll end with the shanti mantra. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti, Aum Peace Peace Peace Namaste.