In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 3rd chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 40 - 43. Sri Krishna tells us what happens when those distorted desires hides within our senses, mind and intellect, therefore it ruins our relationship and connection with others, we fail to see our true self and we do actions that only cause harm and destruction. By following the niyamas, we will be able to control our bodily senses, therefore remove any desires that may affect our spiritual liberation. Sri Krishna tells us the ultimate process of what is superior and this is something we must adhere to in order to be successful. Sri Krishna guides us that we must let the mind be conquered by the real King of the self - which is Brahman/Pure Awareness.
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. Before we do that, if you would like to support The Bearded Mystic Podcast, please do sign up to my Patreon page. The details are in the show notes and video description below. And every Saturday, there is a free virtual meditation class. If you'd like to join, please find the details in the show notes and video description below. Let's do a recap of the last episode. We looked at Chapter Three, Verses 36 to 39. Arjuna asks a question that we all may have felt before we started on this spiritual path, about what force makes us go astray. And 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 it becomes a destructive force. Sri Krishna gives examples to highlight how anger and unfulfilled desires distorts our discerning faculty and therefore it distorts our senses. Therefore, we never see a situation clearly. Remember he mentioned about the fire and smoke. Sometimes we may not know that there is a fire because we just see the smoke, but beyond the smoke, there is fire. So for example, beyond anger, there is the unfulfilled desire. 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. So just because you have knowledge, it's not enough, one has to practice and be able to use our discernment our viveka, transforming knowledge into wisdom, which means practice is necessary. Today, we'll be looking at Chapter Three, verses 40 to 43. Verse 40 The indriyas, the manas and the Buddhi are the hiding places of these distorted desires, which covers the dehi, 'the the immortal self' obscuring its true nature and act as its enemy by compelling it to perform degrading and self destructive material behaviors. Remember, Arjuna asked a question about what compels us to do actions, which cause paap, which creates paap, which causes destruction and disturbance in nature and that go against the laws of nature and Sri Krishna is answering these questions or continuing the answer. In the first line, it says the indriyas the manas and the buddhi are the hiding places of these distorted desires, which covers the dehi 'the immortal self obscuring it's true nature. So the senses, the mind and the intellect are the places where distorted desires hide themselves. These desires are hidden within our senses, it is hidden within our mind and it's hidden within our intellect. When our intellect can no longer discern, distorted desires can easily hide. We cannot tell which desire would cause the least amount of suffering or what will lead us to joy. Therefore, when the intellect is gone, the Buddhi faculty is not functioning. Our manas, our mind heart can do whatever it pleases, being guided by our indriyas, the senses. So it's all interconnected. We are set in delusion and therefore this covers and obscures the true self. It obscures the wisdom of what is Sat and asat. So it covers the dehi, we constantly think that we are this body and mind, these senses, therefore, we do not know that we are this immortal self. It covers the immortal self because we think that having desires is so real that we forget about what actually is Real and this is why discernment is necessary, viveka is necessary. Remember Sat means the real, because it's changeless and asat is unreal because it's changing. The senses keep changing its attention. One moment, it's there, the other moment it's looking at something else. It's tasting another thing, it's hearing another thing and we go accordingly. Whenever we are chasing whatever our senses show us, that consumes our manas, therefore, our intellect is dampened, our intellect is unused. Then we constantly are going here and there with our desires, with our senses. Whatever our senses wants us to go towards, we go towards. But the True Self, he says here, which covers the dehi, 'the immortal self'. The immortal self can never disappear because it is Sat, it is changeless, therefore immortal. We have to understand that these desires can only cover the Immortal Self but it cannot get rid of the Immortal Self. You cannot destroy the immortals self. This is what we need to remember. And the next line 'and act as its enemy, by compelling it to perform degrading and self-destructive material behaviors. Therefore these desires will weaken the senses, the mind and intellect, and therefore we would create those actions, which will hurt ourselves, which will disturb us, which is when we lose track of who we are. In a way we do certain actions where it brings not only shame to us, but we see that it destroys others. We do certain actions, which we just feel compelled to do for no reason other than meeting our desires. We will stop at nothing to get what we want. Whenever we do this, we are not going according to our true nature. Our true nature, remember is this Brahman, this Atman, which is this True Self, the Immortal Self, the dehi. That is who we are, but because we're driven by desires because we feel that desire is a tangible and real, we go towards that rather than what is the real deal. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna tells us what will happen when those distorted desires hides within our senses, mind and intellect. Therefore it ruins our relationship and connection with others. Not only that, we fail to see our own True Self and we do actions that only cause harm and destruction. Verse 41. Therefore Arjuna, you must first assert control of the bodily senses by the enlightening principles of the niyamas. Then you must systematically remove any desires that could lead to committing paap, which eventually causes the destruction of both Gyana and Vigyana. There's some concepts being utilized here and we're going to go into them. Sri Krishna gives us a command and a practice, a method about how we can and must assert control over our bodily senses. Here Sri Krishna gives us the principles of niyamas. So let me go over what those are. Niyamas are those that will regulate or control the senses. If you've studied Patanjali's yoga, you will be familiar with this. If like me, you've not studied extensively in that, the niyamas will help you understand. So listen, very carefully. I'm going to go over these things and we can discuss it further. First is Sacha. Sacha in Sanskrit means cleanliness. It has two aspects, internal cleanliness and external cleanliness. Washing away the dirt from the body with water is external cleanliness. Whereas washing the dirt from the mind with dispassion is internal cleanliness. Through cleanliness, the Yogi overcomes attachment to the body and bodily intimacies. So what this means is that we are sacha, we are pure in our approach, not only externally, but internally we look with dispassion, we are able to discern, whether we should be attached to something or not attached to something. That is the real cleanliness, the real purity. Then there's santosha. Santosha means contentment. One is said to be in santosha when they're content with whatever they have and whatever they continue to have. Tapas is training or taming the senses by strict austerities. So austerities, where we may fast or we live very frugal lives, we tame the senses that way. Instead of giving the senses luxury, because we know that our senses are feeble and therefore we'll only keep chasing luxury and keep wanting that dopamine hit. We understand how to tame the senses. Remember it's training the senses. We're not getting rid of the senses. We're just training them differently. Then there's Svadhyaya. Means the study of scriptures. It's often translated by modern scholars as self study. Of course, the core teaching of the scriptures is self-study. Swami Vivekananda translates this as the repetition of mantras. Svadhaya, you could say is the study of scriptures, mantras are part of the scriptures. Again, it's about that self study, the real study. We need to do these things. Then there's Ishvara Pranidhana. So Ishvara Pranidhana is leaving everything to Brahman. It is transferring the ownership of thoughts, speech and deeds to Brahman. Remember, Sri Krishna has talked about this in this chapter, and that is complete surrender. Then there's dhana, dhana means charity. It's giving away things by righteous means to people who follow the path of the scriptures. So not only to the people who follow the path of the scriptures, but to anybody. Earn by righteous means, remember if your cleanliness, the cleanliness of the mind, you have to be honest, sincere in your dealings. Then there's Hree, which is the modesty or shyness felt while doing the act prohibited by scriptures and the world. We do not want to do those things, we're shy about doing those things that are against the scriptures. Remember against the scriptures, not in terms of what to eat and what to drink and all those prescriptions. If it's saying that you must not hate others, you must be humble, you must not have arrogance, you must not have ego. Those are the things that are prohibited by the scriptures. Also a prohibition would be to be controlled by the senses. Instead, we must control the senses. These things are prohibited. Don't just think of material things like, oh, don't eat this, don't drink this. Don't do that. Don't wear this. Don't wear that. Don't sleep on this side of the bed. Your door should be facing north. Those are minor things. The major thing is the human virtues. Then there's mathi, which is a firm and committed belief in things enjoined to scriptures. It is the adherence to scriptures, it's guidelines and injunctions. One should not deviate from those guidelines, even when instructed by his guru. So what it means here is that certain guidelines will not change. What's the one guideline that will never change. What is Sat and asat. If your guru teaches you something different to what is Sat and asat, they are teaching you the wrong thing. That is what is being mentioned here. Not you ate something on a particular day or you brought technology on a particular day. A Guru will never prescribe those things to you and you also have to look at things of time and culture. What existed back then, does it make sense to have today? Then Japa. Japa is the repetition of a mantra. So the rules for japa given in the scriptures and they should be strictly followed. And then vrat is taking an oath and commitment to a strict cause of performing or non-performing a specific activity for a specific period of time. For instance, there are people do mauna vrat, which is the commitment to keep silent for a specific period of time. Fasting is yet another vrat that is commonly taken. So we will not eat for certain amount of hours or certain amount of days, or we will not consume certain foods for a certain amount of days. So all these niyamas are there to help us. Then Sri Krishna says, then you must systematically remove any desires that could lead to committing paap, which eventually causes the destruction of both gyana and vigyana. By practicing these niyamas, we can systematically remove any desires that could lead to committing paap as mentioned. If we don't do this, then these desires will end up causing the destruction of both Gyana and Vigyana. So knowledge of the Self Brahman and vigyana is direct awareness of Brahman as Brahman. So remember this. Gyana is the knowledge of the self, of Brahman. Vigyana is a direct awareness, the direct perception of Brahman as Brahman. So Nirguna has to know Nirguna. The context of the whole verse is by following the niyamas, we will be able to control our bodily senses, therefore removing any desires that may affect our spiritual liberation. Verse 42. The bodily senses are superior to matter. Manas is superior to the bodily senses. Buddhi is superior to manas and the True Self is superior to buddhi. Again, describing the process for us so we can understand. This is a very beautiful verse and one that we should really contemplate upon. The bodily senses are superior to matter, manas is superior to the bodily senses. Remember everything starts from matter and the True Self is the eventual goal. So we are to go towards both. We have to understand the journey there. Clearly the senses of the body is superior to matter or what we can call the body. Whatever the senses look at, the body will follow. For example, if the senses feel like it wants to eat a chocolate cake, it's the matter, this body that will eventually after the senses has met its desire. It's the body that will have to deal with the repercussions. Therefore the senses are superior because it dictates what the body will go through. The mind, which can control and regulate the senses is obviously superior to the bodily senses. If the mind is thinking of Brahman, the senses aren't going to be going here and there. But say we are not aware of Brahman, we are not aware of our True Self, then wherever our senses go, we will be going there. And there our mind will be directing our senses, go after this, go after that, you'll be fulfilled, if you get this. You'll be fulfilled, if you get that. That's why self-help is so intriguing for people and attractive because it promises greater things, without proving any of the greater things. So this is why the mind controls the senses. The mind will say, look at this course, it will gratify your senses. You will be gratified with richness. If you're rich, then you can get this and that. Do you see what I mean? The mind is behind that. Remember the mind will drive wherever it will get satisfaction from, even if it's momentary happiness, or transient happiness. Then the intellect is superior to the mind because we know that this discernment of Sat and asat can control both the mind and the senses. If we keep reminding ourselves of this discernment, Sat and asat are clearly recognizable. Then Sri Krishna says, and we know the True Self, this Brahman, this Atman is superior to buddhi. We know that this Ultimate Reality is the most Supreme. This Pure Consciousness is the most Supreme, this Pure Awareness. We know that that is superior to the intellect because it's beyond the intellect. When we understand that Brahman is not just the words we say, but beyond that, we achieve so much. When we understand that this Brahman is superior to the intellect. Why? The intellect will tell you what is Sat and asat, but the True self is what is Sat. When we understand this, it becomes very easy. This Ultimate Reality has been described by Adi Shankara Ji as Pure Consciousness, Awareness, Infinite and non-dual and it cannot be limited by any name, even by the words Atman, Brahman and the Self. So let us remind ourselves of this. This Self is ever-pure, ever-free, ever-luminous. We must remember this and therefore as long as we know that this True Self is superior, why not go towards that? Again, Sri Krishna is using our words and our mindset to get us to attain the higher things. In reality, there's only the Self, there's no higher or lower, there's no inferior or superior, and Sri Krishna is trying to attempt here is to use our language, to then go for the True Self. When we say something is superior, we most likely want to go towards that thing because we think we will benefit greatly. Even though we thinking of material desires, we're still going to go for something more superior. That's why Sri Krishna says these words. In reality, the True Self is everything, but until we get to that understanding, we will always be subjected to our bodily senses or to our mind. The context of this verse is that Sri Krishna tells us the ultimate process of what is superior and this is something we must adhere to in order to be successful in our spiritual journey. Verse 43. In this way, use your Atman's discernment to strengthen your buddhi. Then use your Atman to steady your Atman, and finally O mighty armed Arjuna with that strength destroy the insatiable enemy kama-roop, 'the endless forms of material desire'. So we'll break this up a little, a very beautiful verse. Absolutely love this verse and this is actually the final verse of chapter three. In this way use your Atman's discernment to strengthen your buddhi. Then use your atman to steady your atman. First of all, the discernment of the Real, and the unreal of Sat and asat, use this to strengthen your intellect as much as possible. Continuously think about it, continuously focus on it, spend time looking at what is changeless and what is changing. We can see everything that is changing. That's the beauty. Look for the changeless in the changing. That's the key. Spend your time contemplating on it and remembering it, remember what is Real, formless, changeless, cannot be modified, is not born nor does it die. Those are the things you want to think about. Then use Brahman to steady the mind, remind yourself of that Pure Awareness in the background and bring it eventually to the foreground of experience, of being. Establishing Brahman or Pure Awareness, fully in spiritual absorption with the help of your own mind. Use your purified mind to help you. Purified, why? Because it's thinking about Brahman therefore becoming purified. Remember, one of the niyamas is cleanliness, purity. Same thing, establishing yourself in that Pure Awareness will purify your mind. Sri Krishna says, use your atman to steady your atman. Use your own being to steady your own being. Use your True Self to stabilize your True Self. What's interesting here is, you can see it in two ways, use your Atman to steady your Atman. Meaning atman here can mean mind. To use your mind to steady your mind. How can you do this? By using the faculty of discernment, of viveka. So that's what we do. And that's what we focus upon. And that discernment again, when you understand what is Real, you will steady yourself. Only the mind can help you. Remember it's the intellect within the mind that allows it to have understanding, therefore if the intellect is correct, if the intellect is sharpened, our mind is also steadied. Use your mind, constantly think of Brahman, constantly remember Brahman, that's using your mind, that's using your atman to steady your atman. To steady your mind, use your mind. Use your Pure Awareness to stabilize in this understanding, if you can. These are the things that we can think about here. Then Sri Krishna says, and finally, O' mighty armed Arjuna with that strength destroy the insatiable enemy kama-roop, 'the endless forms of material desire.' Then speaking to Arjuna as a warrior, as a fighter, as someone part of a battle that he must with all his strength, destroy the endless forms of material desire. What he means by destroy, it means destroy the relationship you have with kama-roop, the endless forms of material desire, whatever forms take our attention all the time. We must use our discernment to get rid of that. Therefore the only desire worth having is being established in the Self. This is what we really want to achieve. This is everything. Establishing our self in the Self. That is everything. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna guides us that we must let the mind be conquered by the real king of the Self, which is Brahman, Pure Awareness. With all our strength, focus on Brahman, focus on the Ultimate Reality. This ends Chapter Three of the Bhagavad Gita and the episode as well. 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