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July 17, 2022

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 4: Verse 30 - Verse 33)


In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 4th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 30 - 33.  Sri Krishna instructs us to dedicate everything to Brahman, as a sacred offering as this will keep the mind focussed on worship and this naturally creates selfless acts, and no reactions from karma will have its effect upon you. Sri Krishna explains to only consume that which you have offered to the devas, thinking of Brahman. Without this, material success at the very least is not even achieved. Yajna is essential. Sri Krishna explains everything is Brahman and is offered to It. To get freedom is to understand yajna and then practice it. For everything is the Lord’s, to the Lord it returns. Sri Krishna guides Arjuna that this Gyana of Brahman is worth far more than anything material. Giving yourself to the Divine is the most important and supreme offering.

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

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Transcript

Rahul N Singh:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Bearded Mystic podcast and I'm your host, Rahul N Singh. Thank you for joining 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 a few things to announce. One is if you would like to support the Bearded Mystic podcast, you can support me through Patreon where you will be able to get some extra benefits and extra content. If you would like to practice the teachings that we talk about on this podcast, you can do so by attending the free virtual meditation class that occurs every Saturday 11:00 AM Eastern standard time. It's available to anyone, wherever you are in the world. And if you would like to know more, do check the video description and show notes below. In the last episode, we looked at chapter four verses 24 to 29. Sri Krishna instructs us to be completely one in Brahman and to offer all actions to Brahman. Sri Krishna highlights two differences between spiritual aspirants. Some do it to please the devas, some offer their mind to the Ultimate Reality. The choice is with us, what we want to do. Sri Krishna gives us two options on how to deal with the senses. One is to eliminate any information perceived from the senses before they reach the mind. The other is to let the senses give the information to the mind and the mind burns its effects by offering everything to Brahman, both paths lead to the purification of the mind, which makes us ready for liberation. Also, there is a process through thorough negation, through neti neti, we can reach Brahman. So we can give up different things. Take up certain practices, become monks, some offer their life breath as a sacred offering to Brahman, whichever way we would like to. There's always a way towards Brahman. There's a way to reach the Ultimate level of awareness, the Ultimate level of reality, and that is available to all of us. Today we'll be looking at verses 30 to 33. Verse 30. Still others restrict their intake of food while offering each breath into the next. Living directly on Prana, the Universal life force, all these yogic practitioners know and utilize the principles of Yajna to remove the imperfections in their being. We'll break it up a little bit so we can understand it. Still others restrict their intake of food while offering each breath into the next, living directly on Prana, the universal life force. These are certain practices that some do. They transcend their attachment to food and decide to just keep their breath in the remembrance of that Ultimate awareness Brahman, that Formless Awareness. What it is, you just restrict your intake and it's actually a really good practice. They say that in Japan, what they do is they don't get completely full. They get three quarters full and then just stop eating. This is actually a good practice, when you think about it. Generally, when we look at intaking food, if we like the taste, we fill ourselves to the point where we would vomit. It's very important that we look to restrict our intake of food. In general, it's good for our health, but you know, obviously consult your doctor before following my advice. But it's just good to have that less attachment. Normally what we do is we get attached to a particular food and we must have it each and every day. But to be honest, if it's not gonna do our body any good, is it worth it? What we need to do is lessen our attachment to food. What we can do is whenever we feel hungry or whenever we feel a disturbance in the mind, or whenever we want to just offer some gratitude to existence, what we can do is observe the breath and remember that Formless Awareness. Remember that Nirguna Brahman and just by remembering is our gratitude, remembering is our prayer remembering is our connection, remembering is our becoming and being Brahman Itself. So their individual life force, which is their prana is poured into the universal life force. The way to see that is when you're breathing in, you could say that you're breathing in that expansive, vast Brahman. You're breathing that in and you're filling your whole body and mind with the presence of that everlasting eternal, infinite Brahman. And then what you're doing is you're breathing that out into existence. So whatever individuality you have, whatever remnants of the ego you have, you can just put that into the vastness of Brahman. And what happens there is you are getting from the individual to the universal, and this is a great way to practice meditation in general. The next part is all these Yogic practitioners know and utilize the principles of Yajna to remove the imperfections in their being. So by offering everything you have as a sacred offering to Brahman, we purify our mind because we think of Brahman all the time. That's the whole point thinking of Brahman. That is our sacred offering. Why not do that? So when we offer everything we do, when we are about to eat a meal, when we're about to walk or while we are walking, when we are listening to something, when we're drinking something. We can do everything as an offering to Brahman, that way we purify our mind because we're constantly thinking of that universal life force, that universal Brahman and therefore we're constantly removing any negative thoughts, negative reactions and we're constantly going to be thinking about positive results or we have an outlook which will seek better outcomes than worse outcome. By utilizing this way of Yajna, our mind concentrates on Brahman. It's very important that we concentrate on Brahman. We keep all our attention on Brahman. This Ultimate, formless Awareness. The more we keep the awareness in the background while we are conducting our life, the better. And when we are sitting during meditation, when we can bring that Formless Awareness to the forefront, even better because you know what, the more we bring it to the forefront, the more we perceive it in everything, the more our senses are cleansed. And that's the whole point. Everything that is done must have a divine purpose. Whatever action you do, whatever thought you think of will have a divine purpose behind it. Automatically, it will start thinking of a divine purpose. It will think of a way to be more divine. Everything we do will have some aspect of divinity in it because we are constantly thinking of Brahman. This is how we can give life true meaning and it's the true art of living is living in the state of Brahman, functioning as Brahman, being Brahman. While we are talking about this on the podcast, if you've been on the journey here while we've been listening and learning about the Bhagavad Gita, what I've noticed within my own self. And I'm sure you've noticed this with your own self too, is that we are growing in our understanding. We are growing in our attention. We are growing in our focus with Brahman. We are constantly in the remembrance of Brahman, constantly thinking of Brahman, bringing Brahman to the forefront and therefore this is the true art of living. Nothing bothers us as much as it used to. We don't get angry as soon as something irritates us. We are more calm. We are more centered in ourselves. We're more silent in terms of our thoughts. That's the whole purpose behind it. That's where we get true meaning towards life. We see beauty in the things that once we found ugliness in, and this is what happens when we purify our mind. Our mind before was viewing things through ignorance, now views things through the state of Brahman, that Formless Awareness in the background and that Formless Awareness only has lens of beauty, of love, of compassion, of silence of that fragrant stillness. That is the way we start living. When we function in such a way, no karma is created from such actions. The context of the whole verse is dedicate everything to Brahman as a sacred offering, as this will keep the mind focused on worship and a natural worship, not something you have to just cultivate. It's something that is naturally done, and this creates selfless acts and no reactions from karma will have its effect upon you and that is the promise. Verse 31. Those who only consume that, which has first been offered to the devas eat amrita 'the nectar of immortality' and thereby enter into the timeless realm of Brahman. Oh, Arjuna even here on Bhumi Loka 'mother earth', no one can achieve material success without performing Yajna and cooperating with the laws of nature. What to speak of attaining the Ultimate destination. A lot to dissect here, but let's go through each part. Those who only consume that, which has first been offered to the Devas eat amrita 'the nectar of immortality' and thereby enter into the timeless realm of Brahman. Whatever we offer to the devas, whatever we are about to consume, we offer it to the devas. It doesn't have to be physical, but it can be a mental practice. Even if you do it mentally, within that is still good enough, that is offering it to the devas. Offering everything to the world within your own mind is absolutely good enough such people because they see all as one and their own. They see everything as the shared being, seeing all as devas, they take amrita, they take that nectar of immortality. Amrita is that nectar of immortality. And it is the drink of eternity, the whole of existence will end up looking after you because now you are immortal, it will look to provide you with everything necessary. Therefore, we enter the timeless realm of Brahman, and that is because it is about becoming Brahman itself. And that's what we need to do. That timeless realm means immortality. If it's timeless, it means that there is no time and space here. And when there's no time and space, we know that this is an eternal realm. This is a realm we are constantly going to be in. And if you think about it, our awareness is that direct understanding of that timeless realm. When we are in that Formless Awareness, when we understand that is our true nature, we understand that we are always in the timeless realm of Brahman. This is the beauty and joy of this practice. After we've offered anything to Brahman or offered anything to the devas, and we offer it mentally, and then we consume it ourselves. That will be amrita, that will be the nectar of immortality.

Then the second part is:

oh Arjuna, even here on Bhumi Loka 'Mother Earth', no one can achieve material success without performing Yajna and cooperating with the laws of nature. What to speak of attaining the Ultimate destination. You always have to give back to this Earth. We must do. We must look after the planet and it's the sustenance of our existence. Therefore looking after the planet is a natural thing to do. We shouldn't be thinking about just taking things as we've learned throughout the Bhagavad Gita, but we have to also give back. Even if we do an offering just to our close family, it will be not the same as cooperating with the laws of nature. So it's very important that we do cooperate with the laws of nature. We also look to cooperate with the laws of the land as well. And we look to look after everybody because everyone and everything is part of nature. We become more conscious of our actions. We become more conscious of the things that we do, the things that we consume as a natural byproduct of cooperating with nature. So not just to offer things to our family and look out for our family, for posterity, it's important that we also look after nature and cooperate with nature, and we don't go against it because if we go against nature, nature will be against us. It's a natural consequence of doing things that are not right for this planet. We know from earlier, from studying this, that such selfishness and greed does not have positive effects. Inevitably it will create a situation of ultimate destruction. Do we look after our planet and make sure that for the future generations, it is a habitable place, it's a place of peace and prosperity. Is that what we are going to give to our future generations? Or are we going to continue to slander others? Take the rights of others. Be greedy. Be selfish, and make sure that only we consume things and only we get the maximum amount of profits. We avoid paying taxes. If we continuously do that, that's going to have a negative effect. And therefore it's not just your own generation that may suffer. But definitely the future generation. If you think about it, there have been kingdoms that have fallen in the past, great families that had so much wealth come to poverty in the next generation. We have to think more broader and think less of just our own home, but think more larger, think more about society, the community. That's how we gotta be. And if it means that currently the global economy does not work in that favor. If this system does not work for everybody, then we need to think of a way that will work for everybody. That's what our aim should be. Now, this may sound like a liberal or a Marxist approach, but to be honest, it's a more common sense approach. It is one of equity and justice. We do have to look out for each other and there's no reason why we should let others be deprived of the things that we have. We must look to improve not only our own lives, but the lives of others too. Material success is mostly attained, if we perform the sacred offering and look after the planet without doing so success will end eventually, as I mentioned. Just to reemphasize that great empires have fallen. We shouldn't assume that bad people get good things. We have seen invaders. We have seen people who have harmed others who have destroyed the lives of others, who has brought pain to other people's lives, who has discriminated negatively against others. We have seen that, although it looks like their prosperous at that time, we see their empire fall down. We see it get crushed. We see people take over, and this is what happens when we watch and observe how tyrants eventually have nothing. We see autocratic, leaderships come crashing down and it's inevitable because when you go against the nature of human beings, when you put them under such great distress, the majority will rise up. It's inevitable. Right now, my assumption is that the economy will crash. And when it does crash, most likely it will create a wave of people standing up for their rights. Because right now we are seeing that things aren't looking great for the planet, if we continuously are going to go down the path, we're going. If we are gonna continue to put a blind eye to corruption, whether on a low level or high level, we will all suffer at the end of the day. Either we correct our ways and look to uplift those that are suffering and are in poverty or we have to all face the consequences of not looking after the people that we should be looking after. We even see today, rich people have marriages that end up in divorce. So money cannot buy happiness. Money cannot buy relationships. We see friendships fall apart. We see half of their money go in an instant. We know that money cannot bring happiness, money cannot sustain relationships. What does sustain relationships is love, compassion, caring about others, uplifting others, understanding each other. And it all begins at home. Forget about being a good citizen outside for society, if you're a tyrant at home. If you're nice at home, you're naturally gonna be nice in the community. If you're loving at home, you're naturally gonna be loving for the community. But if we start living a life where we are horrible at home, but nice in society. This is what happens when people tend to be spiritual, but they don't practice the teachings at home. A number of things happen, one, they may have a nice image outside in society, but the family is not happy. If the family is not happy, then it means that the person is a hypocrite. When I say the family's not happy, the family's not happy with the person's actions, with the way they're treating people in the home and they're saying one thing and doing another. Then what happens is say, if they have children, why would the children be inspired? Why would they want to go on the same path? A lot of people want their children to be part of the same spiritual path or religion that they're part of. But if your actions are totally against what is said in either the scripture or in that place of worship that you go to or in that spiritual community. I'm sorry, those children aren't going to stay because they're gonna look at, well if the people in my home cannot be changed, what hope do I have? And this is something that everybody has to think of. I have to think of, there should not be a moment where my wife should say to me that I'm a hypocrite. There's no way. No one in my family should turn around and say that. If I say something or do something, I should be held accountable for what I say and do. Be clear in what you follow and what you don't follow. Be open with the community about who you are as a person and what you are so that when it comes to your family life, they understand that you know your imperfections. But claiming to be a perfect devotee or disciple is not going to help. This tends to happen when we create complicated paths or we start adding rules and really spirituality is about freeing yourself. So when we have rules that end up controlling us and controlling our lifestyle, we start to see things go bad from there. Really all you need is to be aware of the Formless Awareness and naturally you should become a better person. You should naturally get the virtues of compassion, acceptance of others, understanding, love, humility, caring, all those virtues, forgiving others, all those will be part of just being in the Formless Awareness and that's the way to be. Taking care of nature, as nature takes care of you, then you can attain the ultimate destination. Otherwise, what's the point? In fact, what tends to happen if we don't look after the environment or the community or our family, what will end up happening is those things will end up creating conflict within us. When we have conflict, how can we think of the Ultimate destination? It's impossible. Even if you have a palace or you create an empire or you have the largest corporate business in existence, even then you'll be fearing that it could come crashing down. So how are you going to think about mukti or liberation or freedom? It's impossible. The context of the verse here is that Sri Krishna explains that we should only consume that, which we have offered to the devas or what we offer while we think of Brahman. Without this material success at the very least is not achieved. Yajna is essential. . So if we want to achieve material success, not material just as in possessions or wealth, but also happiness and prosperity in the home and community and society. We need to at least give a sacred offering to the devas mentally, at least. Or offer it to the deva in your own home, which is your family members. Verse 32. Thus through the many kinds of Yajna, a wide variety of offerings are placed into the mouth of the transcendental Brahman. They are all born of various human actions. One who understands this will achieve moksha 'freedom from bondage to material existence' through the performance of Yajna. Let's look at the first part. Thus through the many kinds of Yajna, a wide variety of offerings are placed into the mouth of the transcendental Brahman. So much is offered into this eternal Brahman, this transcendental Lord. What can be offered is aplenty. Your breath, your food, drink, your feelings, through devotional worship, your thoughts, your possessions, like money, property, possessions, all those can be offered to Brahman at least mentally, you don't have to offer it physically, but psychologically you can do so. This is because all is from Brahman and all will go back to Brahman. Nothing is going to remain with this body here or with this mind, it will end up being transcended one way or another. Whether through death or through liberation. Liberation is a path that we choose to take, death is a path that we ultimately will take regardless of our choices. The second part is they are all born of various human actions. One who understands this will achieve moksha 'freedom from bondage to material existence', through the performance of Yajna. So our actions have caused all these things to be considered as mine. When we do something, we go to work and earn money, therefore it's mine. I go to the shop and I buy this. This is mine. I procreate, this is my child. I marry, this is my spouse. Our actions are what causes us to consider things as mine, or this is my property or my thing. By understanding this beautiful practice of Yajna, we will achieve mukti, which is liberation from all that is seen. So what we can do is understand that everything is born from our human actions. Therefore, if we offer our actions to Brahman, we will naturally be free from its reactions. So by offering everything to the Lord, we are left alone with ourself and the Lord. And if we give up the Lord too, the concept and ideal. What is left is your own self. You will discover that this is Brahman itself. A very interesting idea, but basically if you offer everything to Brahman, then you get rid of the notion that you're giving something to an external deity. You get rid of the concept and the ideal, the Saguna aspect, then you're left with your own self, and then you realize, well, actually this self is Brahman. This Formless Awareness is Brahman itself. It is the Lord itself. So this real self that, that there is, is Brahman. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna explains that everything is Brahman and everything is offered to It. To get freedom is to understand the Yajna and then practice it. For everything is the Lord's and to the Lord it returns. If we remember this cycle, we'll be fine. If we don't, that's where the problems begin. Everything that we achieve through our human actions can be offered to Brahman, can be offered to the Ultimate Reality, to that Formless Awareness. And naturally when we do so we will have peace and we'll be free. We will feel that freedom and we will pass that freedom to others because we will be emanating that fragrance of freedom. That's ultimately what we want to be giving to people. Therefore, let's become free and offer that to others. Verse 33. But listen carefully Arjuna, the Yajna of cultivating Gyana, 'Knowledge of the Supreme Reality' is the Ultimate Yajna the offering of oneself to the Divine. Such cultivation of Gyana, produces results that are far beyond what is possible through any material offering. Let's look at the first part. But listen carefully Arjuna, the Yajna of cultivating Gyana 'the Knowledge of the Supreme Reality is the Ultimate Yajna, the offering of oneself to the Divine. This is very beautiful. First of all, we must listen carefully, not just Arjuna, but we should. When Sri Krishna says this, we must assume that this line that he's saying or this verse is very, very important and we must consider it and give our full focus and attention to it. Now the sacrifice or the offerings that we make are there to cultivate this Gyana. When we cultivate practice, what happens is we are making the mind ready and fertile enough to understand this knowledge. And this knowledge is of Brahman, the Ultimate Reality, the Supreme One. What is that sacrifice and offering? It is yourself to this True One. That is what is being offered. Moving from this individual form of awareness to the universal Formless Awareness. This is what we are doing. What we do know is that we can experience the directness of this Supreme reality. We can feel the directness of this Ultimate Reality, of this Formless Awareness. Prior to anything we think of, prior to any thought is this Formless Awareness. We are aware of thought. Now, when we are aware of thought, we can become aware of awareness and that is Brahman directly experienced, or we get rid of everything in existence, that we can see and perceive through the five senses, we get rid of the whole of the universe, we get rid of this body and mind, therefore, what remains is awareness itself. This is the Ultimate Realization. This is the Ultimate Understanding. This is the knowledge of Brahman. This is the Gyana. The second part is such cultivation of Gyana produces results that are far beyond what is possible through any material offering. So what can Gyana offer? What Gyana can offer, what this Supreme knowledge can offer, nothing else can offer. That is why they say that receiving this Gyana is no ordinary matter. Reading the Gita with a competent Guru or a friend of the path is no ordinary matter either. The attainment of mukti, of freedom beats any money, property, or whatever we find appealing in this world. Having access to this Gyana is rare indeed. Talking about this Gyana is rare indeed. How many people really want this truth is rare. Only a few ever really want to contemplate on such matters. Otherwise, we can make ourselves busy with achieving worldly success, nothing wrong with that. That is the path we choose for ourself, but those people that really want to gather together and talk about this truth is extremely rare. Even those that claim that they have this Truth. It's only a few that really even go further in the contemplation and practice of it. When we continuously, remember this Formless Awareness, the cultivation of this Gyana, it does produce results that are far beyond what is possible. Imagine the bliss that you can feel and experience. Once you understand you are this Formless Awareness. Imagine the ecstasy that you can experience. And it does exceed far more than anything material. Whatever this earth can provide is nothing compared to the experience that this Knowledge can provide, this Gyana can provide, this Brahman provides by just being it. This peace and calm and bliss is phenomenal. Sri Krishna is offering this to us. The question is, are we willing to take that step or not? And that does mean that we have to discern whether we want material success or spiritual success? And the choice is ours, which one we want to take. Whatever we pick, ultimately that will decide our destiny, our fate. That's all it does. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna guides Arjuna, that this Gyana of Brahman is worth far more than anything material. So therefore give yourself to the divine is the most important and Supreme offering. Give yourself is more than enough, and that is spiritual success. When you are able to say that Brahman, you are the only thing in existence. You're the only thing that is, there is only this Formless Awareness, this little self that I thought I was, I no longer want to identify as. This body that I identified with, I no longer want to identify as completely. Let me live in this body and mind, but let me offer it to You. Let me offer every action to You. Let me offer every thought to You. May I be in the constant remembrance of You. That is what we can do, and this is what Krishna wants us to do. That is the end of the episode. Please do share this podcast with your friends and family who may enjoy this content. Do follow me on social media to keep getting updates. You can subscribe to the monthly Bearded Mystic newsletter or join the Bearded Mystic podcast Discord server, all the details or in the show notes and video description below. You can rate and review the podcast on our website, which is www.thebeardedmysticpodcast.com. Please like, and comment on this video and subscribe to this YouTube channel. Thank you very much for listening and we'll end with remembering this peaceful Aum. Aum Shanti, Shanti, Shanti Aum, Peace, Peace, Peace Namaste.