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March 13, 2022

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 3: Verse 6 - Verse 9)

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 3: Verse 6 - Verse 9)

In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 3rd chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 6 - 9. Krishna’s attempt in this verse is getting us ready to understand the important of restrain even as a householder. If we are still remembering past pleasures, we automatically will go for future experiences. Krishna guides that to control the senses, one needs to not have any attachment and must learn to observe and discern with the knowledge of Brahman. That person is a great karma yogi. Be honest with your life and act accordingly. Do your duties, look after your family. Earn a livelihood with honesty and integrity. Nobody can live a life without action. Sri Krishna would like us to offer every action to the Supreme. To Brahman. 

Translation used: The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive: A Radical Translation by Jeffrey Armstrong Available here on Amazon

If you would like to dwell deeper in the Bhagavad Gita, I recommend Swami Gambhirananda's translation with Adi Shankara ji's commentary: Available here on Amazon

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Transcript

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. So today we're going to be continuing on with our thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita, and we will be exploring more of chapter three. But before that, if you would like to support The Bearded Mystic Podcast and you've liked what you've heard and you would like to offer some support, you can sign up to my Patreon page where you can get exclusive benefits, if you sign up to one, the community tiers, so do take a look. The link is in the video description or show notes below. Let's do a recap from last week. In the last episode, we looked at chapter three, verses one to five, and what we know there is that Arjuna has some questions and he wanted to establish what the best process was going to be for him. Was it going to be the path of knowledge or was it going to be the path of action? His confusion needed to be eliminated and Arjuna wanted to know what would be the best path for him? Was it the path of action or would it be the path of knowledge? So Krishna really guides Arjuna towards two paths and Krishna here says that these paths have been there since time immemorial. So it's been there since the existence of time. And I would add to that saying that these Yoga of Gyana Yoga and Karma Yoga are beyond time, they are eternal practices, eternal paths that one can take. For example, if one is more inclined towards wisdom and knowledge and analytical thinking, they can go towards Gyana Yoga. If someone is more interested in action being in the world and keeping brahman in the background awareness think Karma Yoga is the right way for them. So whatever path they choose, they both can lead to self-realization. It really depends on the seeker. Shri Krishna is ensuring that Arjuna's doubts are answered and just remember that the questions that Arjuna does ask are our very questions too. Don't think, oh, it's Arjuna, he was less of a devotee or he didn't surrender. No, we had those same questions. In fact, at least he's willing to question to then perform the actions. We ask questions to deflect action. So it looks like we're doing action. Our whole aspect of surrendering and everything is just a show, but really Arjuna doesn't want something for show. He wants to do something for real. Krishna answers those questions in that regard and he tells Arjuna why it's important not to run away from action and that moksha is not attained by just taking Sannyasa alone and entering into a monastery or going to the Himalayas and seeking enlightenment. No matter what you are, who you are, we are all subject to performing actions because we are manifested in this world. And so whatever actions we've done, we do, will have a reaction or response to it, whether in this lifetime or in the next lifetime and whatever actions we'd done in the last lifetime, the results will appear in this lifetime or in the next. The whole point of moksha or mukti is to move beyond that and to realize that the results that are being projected onto the Jiva, the individual soul really is a projection and appearance. And the Jiva itself is Brahman. May realize this. This is the recap of the last episode. So I want us to really understand the base of what has just occurred because now we're going to go deeper into things. Shri Krishna, like I said, he is a master in understanding how to respond. So we're going to be looking at verses six to verses nine. Verse six. One who controls the karma indriyas, the active senses by practice of the Yamas 'restraining oneself from harmful actions', but whose manas still remembers the past pleasures of the indriyas arthas 'sense objects' has only partially perfected their yoga. An incredibly important line to understand, especially in today's day and age, because we have a lot of people who are teaching yoga, but they don't teach the yamas. The ethics and the base for every spiritual life has to be an ethical life. You cannot be living a life where you are cheating others, you're a burden upon others, you are hurting others, you are manipulative, you are corrupted. You can't be that. For example, even in today's COVID pandemic, I want to emphasize that the yamas, the ethics will dictate to us that we have to be on the side of public health. We have to ensure that people maintain critical thinking, when it comes to whatever they see on Facebook or YouTube or social media in general. It's important that we look at the science, we look at data. If today we have data to help us. Let's look at that and be unbiased. The funny thing is, is whatever we look at and I find it happening to myself too, whatever I look at. I look at it from a certain bias. So it's very important for me to look at something and then see an unbiased perspective. Or if there are experts that I know. I go to the experts. Now, let me emphasize upon this a little bit more before we go into this verse. For example, you're listening to this podcast because you may feel that I'm an expert in spirituality. I'm not an expert, but you may feel so. I've got a podcast that is about spirituality and we're talking about the Bhagavad Gita, which is a spiritual text. So you see me as an expert in spirituality, hence you're listening to the podcast or watching the podcast. Now the same has to apply, when I look at data about a vaccine or about a pandemic, I would go towards those that know about that field, that have experience in that field, whether that's epidemiologists and then look at their credentials, what is their background? Do they have any other products on the side they're selling. Things like that. Like for example, a lot of these wellness influences that are out there, they all have supplements that perpetuate the fact that they need people to not follow modern science, go for more natural cures. But the thing is we cannot guarantee that those are natural cures and they're not going through any peer review. That's why it's really important that we go towards ethical data and ethical opinions. Now on a side note, I have joined the spiritual integrity association. I think that's what they called. I'll put a link in the show notes because I feel it's very important to have spiritually integrity when you're presenting any spiritual ideas. So if you're claiming to be spiritual or you're talking about anything like yoga, I think you have to have your ethics in line and there has to be a certain code of conduct that you have to live by. This is a side note from verse six, but it's very necessary for me to talk about this in today's time when things are opening up, we're getting back to some normality, but there are certain things you can do because you're a responsible citizen of the world. Yeah do things as normal, but do your precautions, keep your social distancing, wear your mask, get your vaccine, get boosted. That's what the public health experts are telling us and I believe them. I have no reason to doubt them. That doesn't mean that I don't doubt big pharma and business in general. I do. But unfortunately we live in such a society today that we have to go with what we have, unfortunately, and maybe in another podcast, we'll talk about what I think about society in general. Anyway, let's get back to the verse. So verse six, we'll go into the first line that I want to look at in that verse. One who controls the karma indriyas 'the active senses' by practice of the 'yamas' restraining oneself from all harmful actions. It is possible that from restraining oneself, from harmful actions, we can calm our senses. So when you use your discernment, when you use viveka to look at your actions that you're about to perform, remember there's a thought before every action and before a thought there's an intention. When you're able to calm your senses down, you're able to then focus on the intention too. So before the intention arises, you will be able to see what your action is going to be. In this way, you can actually control yourself and then base it upon what is the best path? What is the best outcome? Not just for me, but for everyone around me. Now, it may be that you have an action, which is going to benefit 51% of the people and not benefit 49% of the people. But you have to go with that 51%. If it's 50/50, it's 50/50. What we got to make sure is that we're based on these ethics and those ethics are a moral life. The ones that cause less suffering to others. We can't say we cannot cause suffering to others or we cannot cause suffering to ourselves. But what we can say is that we can choose a path that creates the least amount of suffering. When we restrain ourselves from, my example of the chocolate cake, from eating the whole of the chocolate cake, we can control our senses like our taste buds, our sight, our smell, sound and touch. You can hear the knife cutting through the chocolate cake, all those things. If you can control it and realize it's better to share the chocolate cake than eat it all for yourself, that would be better. We calm our senses and we decide that we're going to eat one slice, and share the rest of the cake with other people. We do need to be vigilant about our actions and we need to ensure that it's for the greater good. So this is really important to understand. Practicing the yamas, if you want to go deeper into the 'yamas' you can look into the Patanjali Yoga Sutras where they go into in more depth but you got to have that ethical life and that's what I'm talking about mainly. Remember that you got to understand that any action you do is going to have a reaction, it's going to have a response. Make sure it's the best one you can do. For example, today, I felt called to talk about the preamble to verse six, before we went into it. That was my action. Now what the result of that action is going to be, I don't know. Some people may not listen to my podcasts again. Some people may not like what I say. Some people may gloss over it. I can't control that reaction, but what I can do is if someone does respond back negatively, I can choose to either respond back or I can choose to ignore it. Or I can choose to address it. So it's really up to me, but does it cause suffering that's where the question has to come into. It shouldn't make me suffer. I've got to ensure that I do not suffer. And remember if we are not in control of our indriyas, we are going to be in suffering. Then the senses are going to go wild and then the suffering is also going to go wild, as much as pleasure is also going to go wild. We'd be seeking pleasure here, there, and everywhere. It's all about controlling it. It's not about getting rid of pleasure or getting rid of suffering. It's just about ensuring that you get the right amount of dose that you can live life comfortably. Yeah. That's the only thing. Yeah. You can't escape suffering. There's been no one, no enlightened being has escape suffering and no one can escape. Pleasure. Those are the things that we must understand. But whose manas still remembers the past pleasures of the 'indriyas arthas' the sense objects has only partially perfected their yoga. If the mind here constantly recalls a taste of an object, for example, the chocolate cake or the sight of the object, the sound of the object, the touch of the object, and is constantly remembering this, they've only partially understood the wisdom that's been provided. A lot of people once they've achieved something they claim, oh yeah, I can control my senses. Oh yeah. I've moved past memories. A lot of people get this pseudo feeling of enlightenment. You have to understand that it really is minute, when you're looking at yourself, you have to be looking at yourself under a microscope. You have to really zoom in. There's no point of just doing things on the outer appearance. So we've got to remember, does our mind constantly recall past pleasures? Does it constantly go there? Do we then bring it back to the present moment. When you bring it back to the present moment, are you thinking about chasing that past pleasure or are you thinking about calming down? Remember, if we're still chasing past pleasures and all that, that means that we have not understood the wisdom that Shri Krishna has been talking about. Remember past pleasures, again, memory, a fluctuation, it's a changing thing. It's a modifying thing. Therefore it is asat. It is unreal and whatever is unreal is something we do not chase. Okay. If we think that by pursuing knowledge alone, we can attain completion of, or self-realization then that is not possible. Our past will always creep up. Our memories will always reappear and that's because we haven't exhausted our karma. I don't think it's possible to exhaust all your karma, while you're alive. If you're alive, there is some karma you have to exhaust. The difference is that you no longer associate yourself with the karma. That's the difference. But otherwise, the past will always creep up, our memories will always reappear and try to disturb us. So the whole point is just to monitor and then focus back on the wisdom, focus back on Brahman, the unflucuating awareness. Go back to that Prajna, that steady wisdom. Something that Shri Krishna is talking about here, which we need to really understand is he's talking about people who are hypocrites. We may appear that we're doing nothing physically, but our mind is going crazy. So you may pretend that you've gone to the monastery or you've gone to the mountains, the Himalayas, and now you're at peace. That's because nobody there is disturbing you. The moment you come back to the marketplace, or to the world and you don't get disturbed, then you can say, you perfected your yoga.. That's why the path of action is more effective. Obviously people who are monks, they tend to be the main teachers in this. They will tell you, oh yeah, it's best to have a monastic life. Of course, they're not going to say everything they've done has been a waste of time. They're not going to say that to you. But what I have felt is that people who are householders, they tend to be more focused because if you can be in the world and not be disturbed, that's better and that's stronger. That means you're more steady. You're more established in this (understanding). But if you still go back to past pleasures, which tends to happen with people who probably get a spiritual experience, then they go back to that state of being from before or their mind catches up or the conditioning of their mind reappears, the vrittis in their mind, the tendencies reappear. We have to ensure that all those things are exhausted, or we are able to discern them against viveka, against wisdom, against discernment. Don't get fooled by the outer appearance. Always remember, we do not know what's going on in someone's mind. Yeah. So we have to ensure that if you really want to know, people, ask their family members, ask their close friends, they will tell you the reality. That's the key. An example, I talked about monks, right? And they still have possessions. For example, they may talk about technology being bad. They may talk about this new age of technology being a distraction. And then guess what you see in their hand, a mobile phone. Not just any mobile phone, a smartphone or they're on social media. Whether they have a team on social media, but the fact is they're utilizing technology, the very thing that they condemn. In my opinion, it's really important to we again, we use discernment to see why they're doing such things. Obviously they have a certain attraction towards fame and getting a good name and chasing money. That's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. Shri Krishna is going to explain the alternative in the next verse. The context of this whole verse that we've looked at is Krishna's attempt in getting us ready to understand the importance of restraint and even as a householder, even as people living in the world. So if you're still remembering past pleasures, we will automatically will go for future experiences and we be chasing that. So how can we control our senses? How can we control the movement of our senses? How can we control the actions that our senses create is by perfecting ourselves in the Sankhya Yoga that was mentioned in Chapter Two. Verse seven. Shri Krishna says, however, O Arjuna, one who also controls the karma indriyas 'the active senses' with the manas, the mind-heart, by means of the niyamas 'the behaviors that lead to self-realization' and without attachment to the results of their actions is a superior practitioner of Karma Yoga. Here Shri Krishna has really defined what is important and what one needs to do to be a superior practitioner of Karma Yoga. He says superior practitioner and a superior practitioner of Karma Yoga means that someone who is remembering the wisdom, being steady in that wisdom and therefore they have no attachment to the results of their actions. That's a superior practitioner. There's another practitioner who may want to focus on Brahman, may focus on the truth, but they keep going back, they have a certain result. Maybe they are hankering for enlightenment. Last week, I was thinking I was hankering for enlightenment. That I wanted it. And then this week I've realized the futility of that idea. I don't know I've been going through that personally myself. So it's really important to understand that we have to get rid of the results that we're expecting. And then there's people that do karma kanda, you know the rituals and stuff. Shri Krishna is talking about the superior practitioner. It's interesting. He doesn't talk about anyone less. He goes straight to the highest more or less, or he compares what would be an okay thing to do and what is a better thing to do. So yeah, let's go into the first line. However, O' Arjuna one who also controls the karma indriyas, 'the active senses' with the manas by means of the niyamas 'the behaviors that lead to self-realization'. So what are these behaviors? This is having control, observation, so being observant, discernment. All of these things control the active senses. So those are the behaviors that we need to imbibe. So we understand that we must let go of the results. This is the ultimate thing to understand, that whatever the fruits of those actions are, we are not to be attached to it. If you get praise, you get praise. Let it go. If you get criticized, you get criticized. Let it go. Don't get attached to anything. Just remain, focus on performing the action. Keep remembering Brahman in the background. This is as simple as one can put it. Brahman or Pure Consciousness, whatever word you feel more comfortable with. That is what you need to go back to. Have that in the background awareness. Someone praises you, give it to that background awareness, bring the background awareness to the forefront. Someone criticizes you bring the background awareness of Pure Consciousness to the forefront. It's as simple as that. Our mind has to be settled. We have to ensure the mind is calm when we're doing spiritual practice. So how can we control our senses, if our mind is not calm? This is a practical question. We need to go towards those actions, which can calm down the mind. Isn't it true that when we go to the gym or we do exercises of some sort, and we truly exhaust ourselves and we get tired, that when we sit down, we feel absolutely relaxed. The body just feels relaxed, at ease and calm, still, and the mind automatically becomes still. The body needs to exhaust itself, then the mind calms. If the body is fidgety, if you're fidgeting all the time, then most likely the mind is thinking about a thousand things or the 10,000 things of the world. How can we sit in meditation with the mind that is only after sense objects? Even with meditation are we looking for a result? You know, that's the thing that we got to look and discern for ourselves. And the next line in that verse, Shri Krishna says that 'and without attachment to the results of their actions is a superior practitioner of Karma Yoga. As established in chapter two, the one who is able to perform actions without thinking of the results, that person is the superior practitioner, they are the best practitioner. Everyone is doing Karma Yoga, but those that do without any feeling of reward or punishment, but utilize their discernment, that person is a superior practitioner. They don't want heaven. They don't want hell. They don't want to win the favor of God, neither do they want to get the wrath of God. There's no such thing as virtue or sin. They are just conducting their actions with the discernment of that background awareness. And because they are established in Brahman and because they established in wisdom, their ethical life is going to be to the point, it's going to be impeccable. The question here that people may say is, well, how can one get there? How can one practically lead that ethical life? What does that ethical life look like? First, I would say, utilize your discernment, get your viveka strong. Understand What is Real and unreal. Establish yourself in this and then you will find that you're automatically leading an ethical life. It's not something you have to build up. You may talk about it afterwards. So for example, we can say, well, when you understand that only consciousness is then why would you want to harm another person? Why would you want to disturb another person? Why would you like to inflict pain on another person? Those are the things that come into your mind because you see them all as divine. You see them all as consciousness. They are your Self. If you're harming another person, you're harming yourself. There's a shared being. So we go back to that. The whole agent of doership is lost because the Atman is our True Self and This does not do anything. This Atman doesn't do anything. This Atman is not the performer of actions, however, our body and mind must act. And therefore the body and mind is doing the action, the Atman is not the doer. When one lives in the understanding that Brahman is, then every action is done only for the basic necessary functions of the body and mind. So for example, you may need ego sometimes because without ego people could end up harming you. Therefore, it's very important to utilize ego when necessary. For example, when someone's calling your name to ensure that you don't get hurt or that you don't get run over on the road, you need the ego there. We've got to understand that everything that you are meant to renounce has to just be controlled. What's the renouncing is the identification, but not the function. Remember this. The renunciation of what you're renouncing is attachment or the identification, but not the function. Let's understand this. Sometimes you may need to get angry. You may need to have a bit of pride. You may need to have these things, but remember they should be controlled by you. You understand their function, that's it. You don't keep thinking about that greed or pride or those things that make you greedy.. You don't think about that continuously. Whatever you get as a result is a blessing. Good or bad. And it is a blessing because one has that steady Prajna, that mind that has unfluctuating awareness of Brahman, of Pure Consciousness. Then that person is a great practitioner. The context of the whole verse is to control the senses, one needs to control the senses. One needs to not have any attachment and must learn to observe and discern with the knowledge of Brahman, the knowledge of Sankhya Yoga. And that person is a great karma Yogi. Shri Krishna continues in verse eight. Therefore perform the karmas, the actions appropriate to your particular nature and stage of life. For action is better than inaction. After all, without working, you cannot even maintain your body. This is why I was talking about monks and householders, and we're going to go into this now. The first line Shri Krishna says, therefore perform the karmas, the actions appropriate to your particular nature and stage of life. So whatever your nature is, act accordingly. If you'd like to paint them paint, if you'd like to write a poem, write a poem. If you'd like to go for a walk, go for a walk. Whatever your nature is, go towards that. What I mean here also is whatever you'd like in life. Whatever your nature is, whatever your preferences are. Act accordingly and one must get rid of any duality. There's no point meditating., If it's not in one's nature. If meditation is not your way and you prefer to be going out there and serving in a food bank or at a homeless shelter or a community kitchen, whatever it is, do that. If you like to ponder about thoughts and get together with like-minded people and think about the deeper realities of life, do that, that's your nature. Go accordingly. Don't do some thing that is not part of your nature, because that will create an alter ego and that will create a false sense of another self because that's not good. Whatever your nature is and I'll also say, if you feel masculine, you feel masculine. If you feel feminine, you feel feminine. If you feel like a particular gender, you feel like a particular gender. If you feel attracted to a particular gender, you feel attracted to a particular gender, all those things are your nature. So don't feel that whatever is in your nature is wrong. No, go accordingly. Don't go against that. Because if you go against that, you're going to create conflict within yourself, and then you're going to feel guilty and fear and all those things, so how can you practice spirituality. So don't go against your nature. If your stage of life is to be a householder, then one must act according to that stage of life. If one is ready to have children, then have children. There's no point being a parent, if you've not understood yourself. A lot of people rush to have children, or they feel that their marriage isn't going well, a child will help or their relationship isn't going well, a child will help. No, first understand yourself, allow your partner to grow and flower and blossom. Therefore when they understand themselves and when you both are ready then have children. I don't know how my wife is going to feel about this, but a lot of people keep asking us, like, when you're going to give us good news? Or you be married for five, six years, it will be our sixth year in June. Why haven't you had children? We wanted to enjoy our married life because they say that once you have children, they become the focus. So for me, I wanted to get to know my wife, understand my wife, understand each other so much that when we have children, we're on the same page and we're not in conflict. But if we haven't dealt with the conflict prior to having children, that conflict is going to go into the children too, they're going to pick up on it and they're going to pick a side. So it's very important that before one even has children, that one must wonder if it's in their nature or their stage of life to do so. There's no need also in the middle of raising a family to renounce that life either. You can still lead a very spiritual life today. You can attend a spiritual retreat online today. Yeah. You can go to a spiritual retreat for a week and come back home. You don't have to completely renounce family life. If you do renounce family life in the middle of raising a family to go and become a monk or something, there's zero benefit in that. At the end of the day, you have left your spouse and your children without any support. That's not cool. That's going to have effects later on. You may think that you're doing a great deed, but your action will have a result and are you ready to face the result of that action? You can say, well, I'm not attached to the result. Yeah, that's one thing, but you still have to face it. You still have to accept that result. For example, if you're young, younger than say 18 or 21, it's very important that you focus your attention on studying or excelling in a particular sport or excelling in a particular craft. It's very important that we do that instead of, going towards pleasures of the body. It's important that that is our main focus. Later on we become grandparents or we have slowed down in life, we retired from our corporate jobs or our businesses, that we look to calm down and focus on the inner life. These are the stages of life that Shri Krishna's talking about. As we know that in Hinduism there's four stages of life. You can look into that yourself. Another line in that verse for action is better than inaction. Inaction is simply impossible and with action, one is able to discern the best outcome. Remember, you've controlled the mind, therefore you can discern. Perform one's duties in life is better than to run away and pretend to be silent and still. As mentioned earlier, how can one sit in meditation, if one has not calmed the mind prior to that? And it's better to be in action and calm the mind than to be an inaction and try to calm the mind because the action of calming the mind is the action. We have to understand this very subtle point that I just mentioned. There's going to be times when we are fully into our work, fully into some form of exercise and we enter that flow state, you must have heard of being in the flow or being in the zone, that is when we attain true inaction. That's when you are beyond the body and mind, and therefore you do not care about the results because you're just in the zone. You're just in the flow. For example, when I'm writing a book, when I'm writing a poem, when I'm writing something, when I'm doing this podcast, I'm in the flow state, I'm not thinking about the results of the podcast. Yeah. I'm just in the zone and that's important. So the outer appearance of inaction is worthless, useless, has no value. When the mind is calm and steady, then inaction is natural. Yeah, even though your whole body and mind is at work yet, something within you is absolutely still. That is a true karma yogi. When you're doing action, you are absolutely calm within. That background awareness of Brahman is actually at the forefront, even though at the same time, simultaneously, the forefront of action is occurring. The body and mind is also functioning. This is the higher state. The next line in verse eight. After all, without working, you cannot even maintain your body. Every action, no matter how subtle it is, is to maintain the body. Whether we eat a single grain of rice or we have a feeling or a thought of being thirsty. Yeah. Those are all actions. Those are all actions that maintain the body. For example, if you eat food, you have to excrete that food, the body has to work. The body has to function. Without the digestive system, we will not be able to live effectively. Everything has to be done to maintain the body. The reason for maintaining the body is the body is the vehicle, where you can attain liberation, attain enlightenment, not attain, discover that you are already enlightened, that you're already Pure Consciousness. It is important we maintain this body because we need to attain the highest spiritual goal as I just mentioned, and without any action or effort, how would this be completed? We cannot let go of our body like that. We have to make sure it's healthy, that you eat good food, you exercise, you meditate to calm the mind down. You do all those things so that you can pursue a spiritual life. Yeah, you can work, you can have a career, you can study, you can do all those things. And at the same time, you can have a spiritual life. These things are necessary. The body must be respected. The mind must be respected. Then we can work effectively, by working, by committing to action, we are able to pursue spirituality. And let me also say, remember that your body and your mind are your servants. Don't make them your masters. That is the simple message here. You let them function, but don't identify with what is meant to be a function. I put here as the last bullet point that don't get fooled by monks. Jay Shetty has a very interesting title for his book. Think like a monk. But I would say and add on to that. Think like a monk, but function as a monk would in the world. So while you're committing to your actions, function as a monk. Don't just think like a monk even act like a monk, while you're in the world, because anyone that is steady in wisdom is a true monk. Yeah. Not if you're wearing the orange clothes, the saffron colored clothes, or got the tilak on. Not those things. Those are the outer appearance, the inner life is more important. The context of this whole verse is be honest in your life and act accordingly. Do your duties, do your responsibilities, look after your family, look after your loved ones. Look after yourself, earn a livelihood with honesty and integrity. You will be feeling fulfilled because one, you have established yourself in the unfluctuating awareness of Brahman and you're living life because nobody, not one single person can live a life without any action. And let me say something, even the one that is meditating, that meditation is an action. That person should not feel or be deluded that they are not doing any action. They still are. Everybody performs actions. Again, if that person is thirsty, they're going to go for that glass of water. Now think about it. If someone is really thirsty and they can't find any water, they will end up seeing mirages around. An Oasis of water, and they're fooled by that image. This is the trick of the mind. So why get your mind to that point? If you feel thirsty, pick up a glass of water and drink it. Simple. That's the context of the verse. Now we go to verse nine. And remember Arjuna, all karmas that are not performed as Yagna, 'the actions dedicated to universal cooperation' lead to karma bandhana 'bondage due to negative cause and effect resulting from action'. Therefore perform all actions as a Yagna and you will be freed from the bondage of cause and effect. The first line there is pretty long one, we going to dissect it. And remember Arjuna, all karmas that are not performed as Yagna 'actions dedicated to universal cooperation' lead to karma bandhana 'bondage due to negative cause and effect resulting from action.' I really like this translation of the verse. Commit to every action as if it is a Yagna, meant for self-realization, for the unity of all. Offer every action to this Supreme wisdom, to that Supreme Consciousness, to Brahman. A yagna, we remember that as a massive puja that occurs, a special puja, a special form of worship, but here Shri Krishna saying commit to every action as if it is a Yagna as if you're offering something to the Divine. So whatever isn't an offering to the Supreme will keep us trapped in karma and therefore we can never be free from its consequences. Once you commit an action to Brahman, to this Nirguna Brahman, yeah, the one without attributes, that is formless, when you offer it to That, guess what the result of the actions going to be? Formless. This is a key understanding. Therefore, how can he be trapped in karma? It's impossible. We must understand also how we are connected to everything. Remember, I mentioned earlier, this is something that I learned from Rupert Spira that consciousness, Pure Consciousness, Pure Awareness is our Shared Being. Therefore, every action we do, is in that understanding of oneness. If we understand, we're connected to everything, our action is going to be different. Because we understand we're connected to everything, are we going to hurt other people? Are we going to harm other people? Are we going to commit those actions, which will cause destruction? No. We see what's happening today with Russia's invasion on Ukraine. This shows that the person in charge is not connected to everything. It does not think of actions that are dedicated to universal cooperation. What they want is power. It's different. When you're at work, make sure you pay your taxes because you're benefiting everybody. That is Yagna. That is again, that is a great offering to existence, offering to society. If you don't pay your taxes and you evade paying taxes and benefiting society, then what you're doing is causing harm. Yes. There'd be crumbling infrastructure, therefore causing destruction, causing disturbance. Here, I want to emphasize that don't think that Yagna is simply the rituals prescribed in the Vedas. That was appropriate for the Vedic times and had a purpose. But today we have to understand it in the modern approach and that has to be understood because Krishna's message is timeless, it's eternal. What is eternal does not mean that it goes from the beginning of time to the end of time. No. It's beyond the beginning and beyond the end. It's timeless. And yet belongs to the present time. Whatever teaching you learn, make sure you can bring it to today's time. If you cannot bring it to today's time, forget about it. Because the one thing that teaching has to be is practical and everything and whatever we've discussed so far in the Bhagavad Gita has been practical. Whenever something is not practical, I will mention that for sure. I'm not someone that is attached to the scripture like that. There are others that are, that will say everything is perfect, but we have to use our discernment. We have to use our viveka. We must understand the message in that approach. Now, whatever is offered in action, do it as an offering to the Supreme, nature, to the harmony of society, to Pure Consciousness. If we perform actions and we just work just to accumulate money and we don't pay our taxes, then this will cause harm for everybody. Don't cheat the system, be honest. I'm relating this to today's time because if you don't do those things, that's going to cause harm for others. So don't cheat the system. Be honest. We can't claim to be realized beings or enlightened beings and then be greedy and find shortcuts to accumulate more money by avoiding taxes or giving less quality to others. Or by increasing our prices, because we don't like a particular customer, things like that. Or we lower our prices to win the business of a particular customer and therefore those that aren't as large or aren't big companies, we don't care about them. We have to be real. We have to be ethical. So if we pay our taxes, we distribute wealth within society equally and rights equally, basic human rights, then everybody benefits in society. Everybody benefits. If we can meet everybody's needs, then society will be fruitful. If we don't do this, then what will wealth provide? Will it give us peace? Will it give us harmony? Will it take us away from conflict? Those are the things we have to think about. Many accumulate wealth, but if it's just for you and you're just selfish about it, just for you and your family maybe. Even though, you may say you're doing everything for your children. That's still being selfish. What about the other children that don't have anything? Remember if we have a Shared Being, if Yagna is about doing those actions for universal cooperation, are we doing those things? Then those children that cannot eat food because their parents can't afford it. Even though they have three or four jobs, we need to understand that and we need to be responsible. Those that can afford it should be able to at least fight for those people to have the right, to have a basic living wage. This is what we talked about needs. We're not talking about greed here or wants. Just needs because one who doesn't understand how we're connected to each other will always cause harm and suffering to others. Once we understand that we are connected, we not going to have those problems. And let me just emphasize one thing here, because it's really important that we understand this in the current situation of the pandemic. Maybe in the future when someone listens to this in a few years time, there might be another pandemic. Remember that anything you do or everything that is done, make sure it's done for the cooperation of everybody. That everybody benefits. When I say everybody, I mean, most people. You can't benefit everybody. Like for example, in this pandemic, people have lost businesses because of lockdowns or mandates, but without those lockdowns and mandates, there would have been another result. So we need to understand the dynamics of this, the moving parts in this. It's very easy in hindsight to say well, the mandates or the lockdowns weren't effective. But you know what? They probably saved a lot of lives and that's more effective. The more people we lose in society, the more our economy is impacted. Those people that had all that knowledge are gone. So we've got to understand that everything has a result, a reaction, and we got to go towards that, which is better, which can be done with universal corporation, which shows a connection to everything. The next line here that Shri Krishna says. Therefore, perform all actions as a Yagna and you'll be freed from the bondage of cause and effect. So offer everything to the Supreme, the One within, you with the discernment of the Real. Remember what is Brahman and you will transcend the binding effects of results of cause and effect. Don't be miserly, be free in all your actions. Be expressive, as much as you can in all of the actions that you do. Offer it for the wellbeing of everybody. When you do this, when you have this outlook, you don't need to think about the results. You won't be bounded by them. You help others because you just want to help. It's your nature. You're flowing, you're in the zone. Yeah. So you do your action, offer it for the goodwill of everybody then you will be respected naturally from society. Yeah. And then the point that I want to emphasize here, who likes billionaires in a country that still has poverty, not everybody likes those billionaires. Even those of us that are pretty comfortable in life, even we feel that the billionaires aren't doing enough. But who likes those people who supports others around them with all their means. Everybody loves those people. So choose what you want to be. There's nothing wrong with being a billionaire. But be a billionaire that is based on the ethical life that is mentioned here in these verses that's what we're talking about here. We're not saying it's wrong to be a billionaire. I hope we have more billionaires, but we got to ensure that nobody should be in poverty. At least everybody should be comfortable in their life. It's very easy to say but people are drug addicts. Some people don't want to work. They're lazy. Well, if their nature is to be lazy, then we need to work with them to make sure they get out of that laziness. By giving up hope on people is useless and that is not the right discernment. That is not the mindset of a Yogi. The context of this whole verse is basically offer every action that you do to the Supreme, to Pure Consciousness, to Brahman and that is the end of the episode. Follow me on social media to keep getting updates. The details are in the show notes and video description below. A new episode is uploaded every Sunday. Subscribe to the monthly Bearded Mystic Newsletter, the details again are in the show notes and video description below. And you can join The Bearded Mystic Discord channel. That's in the show notes and video description below. If you'd like to support The Bearded Mystic Podcast as I mentioned in the beginning, there are a number of ways we can, but I prefer that you utilize Patreon so you can get the extra benefits from offering your support. To check other ways of supporting, you can check the link tree account below. I do appreciate any support that you give. Please do rate and review the podcast in whatever app you're using and if you're able to. Thank you for listening to this episode, I hope it's helped you. Let me know what you've thought about what I said. Are there any things you want to challenge or are there things that you agree with? Let me know, write it in the comments. It's very important for me to know what you're thinking. Thank you very much. Let's now in this time offered this peace mantra that we end the episode with all the time. Let's really focus our attention on this. Let's focus our attention on Brahman, on this Formless Awareness, on this Pure Consciousness and say together. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti Aum Peace Peace Peace Namaste