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May 15, 2022

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 3: Verse 36 - Verse 39)

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In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 3rd chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 36 - 39.  Arjuna asks this question that we all feel, that we may have felt before we started on this spiritual path about what force makes us go astray. Paap is powered by a force that starts with an unfulfilled desire that transforms into anger and then is fueled by raja guna -which is when the mind becomes hazy with overthinking and this consumes us and becomes that destructive force. Sri Krishna gives examples to highlight how anger and unfulfilled desires distorts our discerning faculty of our senses, therefore we never see a situation clearly. Sri Krishna gives us a great analysis on why material desires can catch our attention and take us away from the spiritual path. It creates unbalance, which is not great for the truth seeker. Even the wisest suffer.

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 28th 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 another episode of 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. And before we do start, if you would like to support The Bearded Mystic Podcast, you can do so by signing up to the Patreon page and the link for that is in the show notes and video description below. Also every Saturday, there is a free meditation class. If you would like to join, you can find the details in the show notes and video description below. Let's do a recap of the last episode, which we looked at Chapter Three, verses 30 to 35. Sri Krishna guides Arjuna that he must dedicate and perform all his actions as an offering to Brahman, to that Pure Awareness. He needs to give all to this One. And remember this one is Krishna's true formless state. That is what Krishna is. Basically Arjuna should have no selfishness at all and with all the confusion disappeared, Arjuna should follow his individual nature and fight this war. If we stick to the message of Karma Yoga, then we will dedicate all our actions to Brahman. Then we will be able to have strong conviction, that shraddha needed, that will contain no resentment about the Supreme influence of this practice, which is liberation. We will have that shraddha, that conviction that we can achieve liberation. These individuals in fact will face no negative karmic reactions. All that is needed is that we never give the results of our actions to the ego, but we always give it to Brahman, that Eternal Witness within us. Sri Krishna warns us of the people that don't practice this Gyana that is given of Karma Yoga and of Sat and Asat. He says that those who do not practice it, they cannot change their tendencies and they remain in complete confusion as a result. Therefore, it's important that we practice to get rid of our confusion. The tendencies that we have gained from previous lives, they are now our nature. Krishna wants us to follow our inherent nature and that it is better to do so than to become the copy of someone else. We have to follow our own svadharma and not follow anyone else's path. That's for them. It's unique to them. You have your own unique path. I have my own unique path. We have to find that calling. We have to find what that path is by introspection and by utilizing the wisdom that Sri Krishna has given. Today, we'll be looking at Chapter Three, verses 36 to 39. Verse 36. Arjuna then asked, O' Krishna what is the force that compels a person to perform actions that are paap 'in violation of the laws of nature'? O' Krishna, what is the force that compels a person to perform actions? First thing here is he wants to know what compels someone or what is the thing that makes someone act in a certain way. Then he specifically says that are paap, that are in violation of the laws of nature. Whatever is in violation of the laws of nature will end up causing suffering. This is what we need to understand, but this question that Arjuna does ask, it is something that we would ask too. We all probably feel this, that even though we try to be good, something always compels us to do things that cause suffering to others, that goes against nature. Sometimes we feel compelled to do things that just are not us and it's totally not our normal behavior. Sometimes you hear of scenarios where people get really angry and they're like, I don't know where that came from. You know, things like that, is what Arjuna is referring to as well. What is that energy? What is the source of that which creates suffering for us? What is it? What's that thing that compels us and I just want to emphasize the definition of paap that is given in this context is the violation of the laws of nature. Not just activities that cause suffering. So remember with sanskrit words, a word may change its definition based on the context. In the previous verses we've been talking about one's nature. The nature that is referred to here is one that we cause destruction or disturb the peace of others by our own actions. Maybe it's something we do, something we say. The context really of this verse is what is that force that compels someone to act in the wrong manner? Verse 37.

Sri Bhagavan replied:

When unfulfilled desire is transformed into 'krodha' anger and is fueled by the hungers of raja guna, it produces an all consuming and destructive force that drives humans to cause paap. Know this to be the unseen enemy of all. To really understand this, we have to break it down a little. when unfulfilled desire is transformed into 'krodha' anger and is fueled by the hungers of raja guna. Sri Krishna really breaks down the answer beautifully here in addressing Arjuna's question, his inquiry. It all starts with an unfulfilled desire. And that desire always takes our attention and our peace. It consumes our thoughts and when we desire something or someone and we don't get it, we don't have it. This energy then is transformed into anger. So if you ever go into why you are angry and what is causing your anger. You will actually see that it goes back to an unfulfilled desire. Now, an example of this would be that maybe you wanted your football team, your soccer team to win a game. Say you supported Liverpool and Liverpool didn't win the game. Your desire was that they should win. If they won the game, it will be a fulfilled desire, but because they didn't win the game, they lost, it became an unfulfilled desire. Now what happens when you go home? Say something triggers you, maybe you wanted to eat when you get home, but nothing is made for you. Or maybe you go home and your children or someone else is fighting and what happens there, it creates anger. You're angry about something else, but you're going to project that anger, that you're really angry at, at other people that have no relation to your anger. Instead of going there with peace in mind, you go there with anger and you just get triggered by it. Someone pushes past you when you're walking to the train station and then you just start cursing them. Really you're angry that you lost the game, that your team lost, but you take your anger out somewhere else. Once this anger arises, then it is further fueled by raja guna, which tends to be filled with so much energy that it can lead to anxiety, over thinking, pushiness, aggressiveness, and hyperactivity. Remember raja guna is activity, it wants us to act and therefore, if we want to act, then no matter what happens, we will commit to those things. Like he uses the words fueled by the hungers of raja guna. So that raja guna is hungry for activity. So it must do something. Then Sri Krishna says it produces an all consuming and destructive force that drives humans to cause paap know this to be the unseen enemy of all. This force is all consuming. It overpowers us. We can't think straight and we end up destroying everything that is precious to us because we cannot think straight. For example, like I mentioned that anger that we will then project to somebody else because our soccer team or football team lost the game. We then allow that anger to consume us, our thinking goes hazy, our mind goes hazy, we can't think straight, we can't think clearly, we can't see clearly. When they say that you get so angry or when you're upset, everything becomes blurry for you. This is what is being meant here. It's an all-consuming, it's a destructive force. One it's destroyed your own vision, but then it's also going to hurt other people as a result or you'll hurt the environment. For example, do we think about our carbon footprint? Are we considering those things? Those are little things that we need to understand here. This is the force that drives people towards paap, towards those things that are in violation of the laws of nature. Remember because it stems from an unfulfilled desire, this is the unseen enemy of all, the unfulfilled desire and due to our own lack of discernment, how can we know that this enemy is within us? It's unseen. We do not see it as an enemy because we think it's normal to do. If my team loses, I'm going to be angry, but what happens? What have we been learning about? Raga and dvesha in the last episode, Raga is that you're attracted to win and dvesha is that you're repulsed by the losing but Sri Krishna told us to go beyond those two things. What happens is whenever we are angry, this is the first thing to check. Do I have an unfulfilled desire? Go back and see. Before you get angry at somebody else, that may be the right approach, but first check is my anger being caused by something else. For example, if you get angry at your child for not getting the best grade, is that anger because your child didn't get the best grade or is it triggered because you didn't get the best grade when you were at school? Your desire then is being projected to the child to pass rather than addressing that unfulfilled desire that you had. The context of the whole verse here is that paap is powered by a force that starts with an unfulfilled desire, that transforms into anger, and then it's fueled by raja guna, which is when the mind becomes hazy with overthinking and it must act in a certain way. It gets hazy with overthinking and then this consumes us and becomes that destructive force where we feel that we must be aggressive, we must be hyperactive. We must push towards what we think is the best thing to do in that situation. Even though our thinking is hazy. Verse 38. Just as a fire is covered by smoke, a mirror is covered by dust or an embryo is covered by the womb. So varying degrees of material energy constantly distort the discerning faculty of human perception. Let's break this down a bit. Just as a fire is covered by smoke. First of all, Krishna provides us some imagery to help us understand the point. For example, he uses just as a fire is covered by smoke. So say a room is full of smoke, but we don't know exactly where the origin of the fire is in that room until we can see through that smoke. Sometimes the smoke may be black, due to chemicals, we cannot see at all. The other thing is if one doesn't have discernment, if they walk in the smoke, they may be walking directly into the fire. We can get fooled by our human perception. And then a mirror is covered by dust. So it's not that the face is dirty. The mirror is dusty and needs to be cleaned. If we constantly think about washing our face, but really it's the mirror that needs cleaning, we're not seeing clearly. So varying degrees of material energy constantly distort the discerning faculty of human perception. So what that means is that different energies that we have materially, they can distort our viveka and therefore we may not see things as they appear to be. It's really important that we look at whether we are seeing reality as it is according to the best ability of our senses. Remember, we can't transcend our senses in that sense, in terms of human perception but we shouldn't allow raja guna to overpower us. Whatever level it's at. We shouldn't allow that aggressiveness, that pushiness, that hyperactivity to overpower our thinking. We should be able to understand that these things distort the discerning faculty. They distort our viveka. If we do not have a strong viveka, if we do not utilize the strength of our viveka, then we will always not see things clearly. Therefore you may get angry at the wrong thing. You may become disturbed by the wrong thing. That one thing never happened, but you get disturbed by it. Think of it in this way, sometimes we may be thinking about our own thing and somebody says something and we totally misunderstood what they say. And yet, because we've heard what we wanted to hear or what we thought we heard, we then say the other person didn't know what they said. Even though everyone in the room, maybe saying, this person said this, they didn't say what you think they said. That can distort the human perception too, because one is aggressive, one is already overthinking, one sees things as something else. The context of the whole verse here is that Sri Krishna gives us examples to highlight how anger and unfulfilled desires distorts our discerning faculty of our senses. Therefore, we never see a situation clearly. Our perception is therefore not clear. The thing to highlight here is we need to go back to seeing what causes our anger and what is our unfulfilled desire. And then looking at that unfulfilled desire, we need to see whether it is applicable to today, or should I let it go. Verse 39. Oh Arjuna, even the wisest of Gyana Yogis are sometimes overcome by kama-roop, the endless forms of material desire that are the perpetual enemy of all truth seekers and which are insatiable as a blazing fire. Again so much to unpack in this verse. Oh Arjuna, even the wisest of Gyana Yogis are sometimes overcome by kama-roop. This wisdom, this Gyana that is given and those that practice this Gyana should be able to go beyond the material desires, the endless forms of material desire or lust. Lust is not just sexual. Lust can be for anything. It can be for power. It can be for wealth. It can be for recognition. It can be for success. Anything, and kama is not just lust for something sexual, it's much more than that, much more deeper than that. It's anything that we long for that will not completely satisfy us. The end result is not true satisfaction. For example, if you get something that you really desire, you get the car that you want. Eventually by two years time, that model is old. Now you want a new model. Therefore that means that desire is endless. It will never be satisfied. Same when it comes to sex as well, you will have the orgasm, but again, it doesn't give you eternal satisfaction. You'll want to continue to keep getting the orgasm. That's what is meant here by the endless forms, it will find new ways of how to get your attention. So even the wisest of Gyana Yogis are sometimes overcome by kama-roop. This is to show how attentive we need to be about our own self. Even if we say we understand this knowledge given by Sri Krishna, there may be a point where we are suddenly taken away by these desires. These never end, kama will never end. The body will feel it, it will need it. The mind will feel it, it will want it. Those things will not stop. What can happen is if you continuously utilize your discernment. And the one thing that I mention in this podcast, which is so important and I constantly say this, we need to keep sharpening our intellect, our buddhi, with the knowledge of the Real and the unreal, of Sat and asat. When we know something is changing, we know it's not going to satisfy us. Therefore we go back to the changeless, that which will satisfy us because the changeless is blissful. It is joy. It is happiness. It is peace. If a Gyana Yogi, at one point stops this practice, then they will be overcome by kama-roop. Practice is continuous. It doesn't matter if you are a Paramhamsa or you're the Highest Guru of any kind, the param guru, you may be the Messiah of the whole world. But even here, you may be overcome by kama-roop. Don't think for a second, that anyone is exempt from this. It's true kama-roop is the never-ending enemy. For everyone that seeks the Truth. You never know when we can be overcome by our material desires. It's interesting. The more you seek the Truth, the more you find things are against it. At the same time, more things are for it. But you have to understand whether you want to go for the things that will help you or not help you. At the same time I do give this warning. That you have to come to the realization that the things that we call kama-roop or the endless forms of material desire or lust, you have to see them through. You have to analyze them and allow your mind to transform itself continuously. It may be that you need to fulfill those desires a few times, depending on the situation and as long as it's ethical, then it may be that you need that. And then you see the futility in fulfilling that desire. Therefore, you end, you cut the process there and then. Normally you may find that you are improving in your spiritual journey and then suddenly an attractive desire appears, and your mind transfers its attention. No longer do you seek liberation, but you would like to gain the attention of that, which you desire. And then you will feel victorious if you get that desire. You see the game will play. Remember we go back into the raga and dvesha. And this time we're going more towards the raga, the things that will attract us. The things that grab our attention. So we have to see here that even when we're improving in our spiritual journey, we don't get into the raga and dvesha aspects, the likes and dislikes, the attractions and the repulsions . And just like a fire consumes, whatever enters it must be burnt to ashes and likewise, it will never be fulfilled. It will continue to grow. It has no boundaries. These desires are the same way. They actually will never make you feel complete. They will never make you feel like you've had enough. This is when you have to take the step to say, I do not want to strive for those things anymore. They will never fulfill me. One example I will use and this is a wonderful example because it's someone alive right now. Jim Carrey is probably one of the few actors and stars that has now said that he's looking to retire, which one is sad because I think he's a phenomenal actor. He's an incredible human being, a spiritual being, but you see for him, he realizes that now he's got everything he's desired and the desires are futile, he doesn't need any more wealth. Can you imagine if a billionaire thought the same way as Jim Carrey? How better the world would be? Like that level of thinking shows his spiritual development. And sometimes even Gurus in these ashrams do not have the same way of thinking as Jim Carrey. Even today, you may see gurus, who may be in their seventies or eighties or sixties, and they're still looking to consume more. They'll put out a new course that will cost you a thousand dollars. What I would say here is we even have examples of those that do not fall under the grasp of desires, of kama-roop. It's really great when we have those great examples. Jim Carrey, one example of someone who has transcended or at least is considering it because they feel they have enough. Phenomenal. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna gives us a great analysis on why material desires can catch our attention whenever we're off guard and they can take us away from this spiritual path. No matter how wise we are, no matter how much we read the Gita, no matter how much we do chanting of the mantras of Hare Krishna. We can easily get swept by kama-roop. This can create imbalance and that is not great for the true seeker and even the wisest suffer. We need to understand that this is a perpetual enemy, perpetual meaning a continuous enemy. kama-roop is a continuous enemy. Therefore, until the day we die, we have to constantly be in check. And that is the conclusion of this whole episode really. If you would like to follow me on social media to keep getting updates or subscribe to my monthly Bearded Mystic newsletter or join my Bearded Mystic Podcast Discord Server, all 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 is utilize Patreon and there you can get extra content. Or you can check other ways to support the podcast in the link tree link below. And please do rate and review the podcast. You can do so on apple or rate it on Spotify, or you can go on my website, www.thebeardedmysticpodcast.Com and write your review. Go there. I'll put the link in the video description and show notes below below. Do check it out, do write me a review. I greatly appreciate it. Thank you very much for listening and we'll end with the shanti mantra. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti Aum Peace Peace Peace Namaste