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Oct. 2, 2022

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 5: Verse 20 - Verse 24)


In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 5th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses  20 - 24. Sri Krishna explains how the person that is established in the knowledge of Brahman becomes the same in quality as Brahman too. They are one and the same - therefore they never get over-excited or overly disappointed. Sri Krishna explains how eternal happiness is found in getting the mind united with Brahman. Arjuna is reminded that material pleasures have a finite existence and therefore, he must always discern so he doesn't get trapped in the cycle of seeking pleasure. Sri Krishna is telling us that we can achieve a steady state of happiness in this life itself and it can be practically done if we look into the causes of our desires and anger. Ecstasy and self-illumination become the way of the Sage. They are full of joy, brimming to the top with happiness. They understand they are one and the same in essence as Brahman, this Pure Awareness. 

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 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 start, there's a few things I would like to bring to your attention. If you would like to support the Bearded Mystic Podcast, you can sign up to the podcast Patreon page, where you can get ad free and bonus episodes. Details are in the show notes and video description below. Another way is that you can sign up to have monthly subscription available on Apple Podcast which you will be able to see on the app itself. Now, every Saturday, there is a free meditation session that we do along with a discussion that follows afterwards, if you would like to join, please find the details in the show notes and video description below. If you would like to have a one on one meeting with me as a friend, that can help you with your spirituality. You can find the details in the show notes and video description below on how to sign up to that. Let's do a recap of the last episode. We discussed the fifth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 15 to 19. Sri Krishna explains how this all pervading Paramatma, this Nirguna Brahman, neither drives human actions, nor does it receive the positive or negative effects resulting from the choices made from the deluded and unconscious beings. Sri Krishna explains how the Gyana shows us our true reality and makes it self-evident to us. Sri Krishna reminds us how the straight path towards freedom is to be absorbed in the reality of Brahman. When one season understands that there is only this Reality, they see no difference in plants, animals, or any human being. Once we establish our mind fully into this Brahman, we become flawless and impartial too. This ends the process of reincarnation for that jiva because there is only this one Formless Awareness in the whole of existence. And that is the understanding that we have when we look at this from a non-dual perspective. Now, today we are going to be looking at verses 20 - 24.. Let's begin with verse 20. One who does not rejoice upon receiving what is pleasing and is not disturbed by receiving what is unpleasant, whose buddhi is steady and free of delusion is firmly established in the vidya of Brahman and has become the same in quality as Brahman. This is an important verse because this shows us the non-dual message of the Bhagavad Gita, which I would implore you to understand that you as the Jiva and Sri Krishna and Brahman are one and the same, this verse specifically tells us this. From this understanding, we need to look at the Bhagavad Gita. But I'm going to break this up in parts so we can delve deeper into it. The first part of the verse that we are going to look at: one who does not rejoice upon receiving what is pleasing and is not disturbed by receiving what is unpleasant. Normally human nature rejoices, whenever it receives something that is pleasing to its senses, one is happy and feels like they're at the peak. And that's what happens if we please our senses in any way, whether somebody pleases us with praise, we feel happy by it. We feel joyful by it. And then at the same time, human nature gets disturbed. Whenever something unpleasant is received by the senses or unwanted by the senses, one may feel low and sad or one receives some criticism. And that gets us to feel upset. But a Sage is that one that who never finds themselves in either both states. Neither do they get carried away by getting something that is pleasing or receiving something that is pleasing, nor do they get affected by that, which they receive, which is unpleasant, which is not so great. These states are options that are presented, but they are never followed through. Basically it's not like the Sage doesn't get them. Of course they will be praised and they will have things that will please their senses, or they will have things that will not be pleasant for the senses. They may find repulsion to those things, but they will never follow through with it. So what will happen is the senses may go through a certain experience, the buddhi will be able to discern, whether one should go through it or not, or just move forward or not. The Sage is always balanced. They know that the nature of life is both pleasant and unpleasant, the highs and lows, and therefore they find balance in between both opposites. That's what the Sage finds. Once one is established in the eternal happiness of Brahman. What is pleasant and what is unpleasant? Those two things will not occur when one is in the peaceful nature of the Nirguna Brahman, in the peaceful nature of awareness, of that formlessness that is within. This is established further in the next part where Sri Krishna

says:

whose Buddhi is steady and free of delusion is firmly established in the vidya of Brahman and one has become the same in quality as Brahman. When one's intellect is steady, when it's discernment is focused, when it is strong and nothing can, affect that discernment, that viveka, it doesn't move here or there, nor does it get swayed in any direction, nor does it fall under the delusion that it is a body and mind, but actually it understands completely that it is Brahman, hence firmly established in the knowledge of Brahman. They see that they are one and the same as Brahman. Remember Brahman is Sat, Chit, Ananda. Existence, Consciousness, Bliss. It's Existence is infused within nature and all that we see. It's Chit - it's that awareness or Consciousness. It is conscious of that Existence. And because of that, its nature is blissfulness. It is always in bliss. Bliss is something that like Chit is uncreated, Self-Existent and available 24/7 . These two things are inseparable. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna is explaining how the person that is established in the knowledge of Brahman becomes the same in quality as Brahman too. They are one and the same, therefore they never get overexcited or overly disappointed with whatever life presents to them. They're able to stabilize themselves in the Formless Awareness. So no matter what happens at the forefront, whatever activities occurring, whatever information the senses are producing and deciphering or discerning. One's buddhi, one's intellect is stabilized in the knowledge that they are Brahman. And that's the understanding that one gets, they are not deluded that they are this body and mind. They understand that they are this Formless Awareness. Verse 21. One\ who is unaffected by external sense perceptions, who derives joy only from direct perception of their Atman and who as the Atman is united with and situated within the energy of Brahman, ultimately achieves the highest state of transcendental sukha or happiness or bliss. The first part. One who is unaffected by external sense perceptions, who derives joy only from direct perception of their own Atman. So sense projections will always be there while we inhabit a body and mind. There is also nothing wrong with sense projections. There's no need to abstain away from having sense projections or the senses create any information. There's nothing wrong with that. If you enjoy the taste of a chocolate cake, you enjoy the taste of a chocolate cake. There's no need to feel that one needs to not feel great from having that chocolate cake, all you have to know is that it's a temporary experience. If you know that it's a temporary experience, you're not going to be affected when it ends. You're not gonna fall under sadness or dukha or suffering because it's ended. You know, it's temporary nature. So that's one thing to understand. However, no matter what the senses project, likes or dislikes, attractive or repulsive, the Sage is unaffected by them. We need to understand the Sage's behavior when it comes to these things. The Sage observes the sense projections as Brahman itself, and therefore is never influenced by them and sees them for what they are, modifications within the mind, vrittis - movement within the mind. The only real joy that the Sage has is in the direct perception of their true nature, which is this Formless Awareness. They constantly go back to that Formless Awareness, the blank screen, and they observe the images of the world presented upon it, accepting it all without conflict and without straying away from its essential nature. So utilizing that example of the blank screen, no matter what is presented on that blank screen, it remains itself. It remains as that Formless Awareness, the contents of that Consciousness, the contents of that awareness will not affect that awareness itself. The contents remain as the contents should. And then the next part is, and who as the Atman is united and situated within the energy of Brahman, ultimately achieves the highest state of transcendental sukha or happiness. Due to knowing one's true nature, the mind is united with Brahman. The mind finds that the energy that is powering it is from Brahman itself. Whatever projections are created from the mind due to the senses is coming from that power of Brahman itself. Therefore, why should one condemn it? One does not need to renounce life in that way. That's the option that Sri Krishna is suggesting here. In fact, the mind discovers that it dwells within Brahman. What it understands is that it is powered and therefore dwelling in Brahman and not separate from Brahman, it doesn't have to have any conflict. It doesn't have to feel pain or suffering because it's true nature is happiness and bliss. So the person who does this ultimately achieves the highest state of happiness, which is bliss. That happiness that is transcendental is beyond the scope of the limited sense projections. And it's very true because my Guru once said bliss is true happiness that goes beyond the senses. So we need to understand that bliss is beyond the senses. And therefore what we need to do is go beyond what the senses project to us and present to us and go to that awareness that is observing all these sense projections, whatever it projects through taste, through hearing, through seeing, through smelling, through touch. Remember that true nature within happiness is behind that always, like that screen. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna is explaining how eternal happiness is found in getting the mind united with Brahman. Once the mind understands that it has an eternal connection with Brahman, then all delusion also goes away. Verse 22. The pleasures that arise from contact with the material senses are just like yonis 'material wombs' which give birth to us leading to material pleasures, but also inevitably lead us to pain and suffering. Arjuna this is because all material pleasures have a beginning and an end. Therefore one who is truly discerning, does not seek delight in them. This is a very important verse about how to practically live in this world and yet not be of the world. So let's look at the first part of the verse that we want to look at. The pleasures that arise from the contact within the material senses are just like yonis 'material wombs', which give birth to us leading to material pleasures, but also inevitably lead us to pain and suffering. So Sri Krishna telling us the journey of what happens when we have contact with the material senses. So, what we need to do, first of all, is understand that the origin of everything that is seen or perceived is limited and finite. It does not have a relatively long time span. Therefore, whenever we seek pleasure due to contact with material senses, that pleasure is misguided because it's not ever lasting. It's not going to remain forever. Think about it when you eat a scrumptious meal or you get a new car or a new house in the beginning, there's this great experience. There's this great happiness that you get. But eventually what happens is you forget about that happiness, because then you move on to the next thing. Maybe that car breaks down and that causes great suffering for you. Or maybe you end up getting a stomach ache from eating something that you really like, that ends up becoming suffering and pain. And then on top of that, even if it's a new home, we end up feeling that it may be too small or we need to downsize to a smaller home. Either way, something will lead to pain that eventually may lead to suffering because we constantly think about that pain. Remember that these pleasures keep changing. So the material sense perceptions will also keep changing. Hence, they are Asat. They are at the very base level unreal and because of that, they lead us to pain and suffering. Let me use an example of describing the difference between pain and suffering that remember pain is I have a headache and suffering is why do I always keep getting headaches? What did I do to deserve this headache? Why me? That's suffering. So suffering is all in the mind when we create mental thoughts that keep concentrating on that pain and then make it internalized towards the body and mind because that's how we identify, especially towards the name and form. While pain is simply, you know, you have a headache, you acknowledge the headache and you may do something to relieve the pain or the ache from that particular point in the body, whether it's the head or anywhere else. Now pleasures that arise from material senses, whether that is the sight of an attractive person or the taste and smell of delicacies due to their limited nature, they will never satisfy us. Remember the very nice slice of cake that you had two days ago is not there in your experience today. It literally is transient, that experience and joy does not last. It ends up being something very very limited in time span. Then Sri Krishna the next part of the verse says Arjuna this is because all material pleasures have a beginning and an end. Therefore one who is truly discerning does not seek delight in them. Sri Krishna guides Arjuna that all material pleasures have a beginning and an end. Therefore they are finite in nature. This is why the Sage that is truly discerning and has strengthened their discernment, their viveka, they understand what is Sat and asat and therefore they do not seek delight in material pleasures. The Sage understands at the core, material pleasures are asat they are unreal. They are changing all the time. The only thing that does not change is one's awareness of these material pleasures. The context of the whole verse is that Arjuna is reminded by Sri Krishna that material pleasures have a finite existence and therefore the Sage must always discern, so they do not get trapped in the cycle of seeking pleasure continuously. Verse 23. The person who is able to overcome the vegas 'the urges of the senses' and the 'krodha' anger that arises when they're not fulfilled is established in yoga and establishes a steady state of transcendental sukha. We're going to look at the whole verse here. So Sri Krishna wants us to understand that we can find eternal joy in this life itself, and that it is not poetic language or flowery language or unrealistic expectations and neither is it impractical. We can find eternal joy in this very life itself. Firstly, we need to overcome the vegas, 'the urges of the senses'. So being able to make the choice, whether to follow the urge or not is possible, we need to catch our mind. We may not be successful at first, but the more we are aware, the better. The more we catch our mind falling under the urge of the senses, the better. It will take time for us to get out of traveling with the urges. But the more we observe ourselves, we don't need to feel guilty or anything. We can just understand that we got into the urge of the senses. We fell under the trap. Now we need to look at how we can avoid it the next time. That's all, there's no need to feel guilty. A lot of times people make you feel guilty. You know, they say, oh, you're a sinner or things like that. Don't follow those people. They look to create an inferiority complex in you. And if they create that inferiority complex, then you'll always feel less than Brahman itself. They will always make you feel less than knowing what you really are, therefore do not allow them to cloud your judgment and cloud what you really are in your essential nature. Also due to the urges of the senses, if we don't get what our senses want, then anger will arise because we will have another opportunity to make that choice, whether the anger is justified. So in most cases, if not all, it is not justified to be angry, to have krodha and because anger is arisen only when we feel that there's a lack of fulfillment within, I didn't get what I wanted or I didn't get what my senses wanted. If the senses wanted that extra slice of cake or say it wanted to eat cake and it didn't get cake, it gets really angry and it gets really annoyed. And that's not what we need to do. We need to ensure that if we can control the urges of the senses, that means that we automatically get rid of the feeling of anger because we didn't achieve something. So that's a very good lesson to learn in life. That anger is always caused by the urging of the senses. If we can control that urge, we control our anger. Remember you can never get rid of anger. All you can do is control it and ensure that you can make that choice whether to be angry or not to be angry. It truly is a lack of fulfillment that does give birth to anger. As I mentioned, therefore, a careful analysis of the origin of anger removes both the anger and the cause. So remember the cause will be the urge of the senses. So whenever desire arises or anger arises, we can make the choice to either follow them through or not. That's the choice we can make. That's the discernment we can make. And we all now, as we've been learning all this in the Bhagavad Gita in the previous episodes, and if you've joined this for the first time, I would encourage you to go back to the beginning and listen to the commentary of the Bhagavad Gita that I've given in this podcast, because this will then make it easier for you to understand what we mean right now. Remember that we can strengthen our discernment, strengthen our viveka. So the one who is able to transcend the desires of the senses and anger is fully established in yoga, fully in union with the divine. They are completely in oneness and that is the Ultimate Realization. That's the Ultimate Goal that we need to attain. And Sri Krishna what he means by 'a steady state' means that there's no fluctuations in this transcendental joy or contentment. Contentment is that state of balance where happiness is naturally there for no reason. We feel fulfilled no matter what is happening in our life, maybe things aren't going according to what we want in life, maybe we've lost a loved one, maybe we've lost some money in the stock market. Maybe we've not got the exam results we wanted, but what happens is when we feel content, we understand that this is the nature of life. We are always going to have ups and downs. We are not always going to get the things we want in life. That is just normal. And if we can accept that we are opening their doors to contentment. And if we open the doors to contentment, then we can look at desire and analyze whether our desires are going to give us fulfillment. If we know they're not, then we know that desires have a finite nature. Therefore we do not need to invest too much into our desires. I'm not saying not to invest in our desires. It's important that if you want to be successful in life, it's okay to have that desire to be successful in life. But remember, if one finds that there are impediments in that journey, there are roadblocks in that journey that we don't fall under the delusion that we are failing and therefore we should not try. No. What we need to do is be pragmatic and understand that the road towards success is not straight, but it's one that has to go through many diversions. But remember that the straight path to liberation is by understanding that we are this Formless Awareness. So you have two things, one of the transactional reality, and one of the Ultimate Reality, Ultimate Reality is one that is you can go straight to freedom and understand that you are awareness through experiencing life itself. The fact that you are aware of listening to this podcast or watching this podcast, your awareness is key here. Your awareness is prior to everything that you experience, therefore awareness is everything. That's the Ultimate Reality. That's your way towards freedom. On the other level you have this transactional reality, which is real while we are in this body and mind remember. Second of all, to get our desires because this world is so complex, the path to get what we want may be full of obstacles and obstructions. So all we need to do is be patient and understand whether we want to travel through with that desire or not. Or if we do wanna travel through with that desire, to understand, it may not be simply as just getting there straight away. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna is telling us that we can achieve a steady state of happiness in this life itself and it can be practically done, if we look into the causes of our desires and anger. If we observe the urges of the senses, we can find the fleeting nature of desire. When we observe anger, we can find the fleeting nature of dissatisfaction or the lack of fulfillment. Now we'll go to the final verse of the episode, which is verse 24. Those yogis who only pursue pleasure within, who experience antarama ' ecstatic inner delight' and are always antarjyoti ' enlightened by an illuminating brilliance from within' have achieved Brahman nirvana. They no longer claim ownership over anything and identify themselves to be the same in essence as Brahman. Again the message of the Bhagavad Gita is one of non-duality. There is no room for duality here, and we are understanding this already in chapter five. Let's look at the first part of this verse. Those yogis who only pursue pleasure within, who experience antarama 'ecstatic inner delight and are always antarjyoti ' enlightened by an illuminating brilliance from within' have achieved Brahman nirvana. First of all, yogis look for internal happiness. They don't look for happiness in the external objects at all. They know external objects are finite, but the inner happiness that is eternal because awareness is eternal. Awareness is Sat, changeless. It never modifies. They experience antarama meaning ecstatic inner delight. There is complete happiness here being in ecstasy, happiness without a cause. That is the experience that one feels. And it's true when one meditates and one fully aligns themselves to their awareness and fully becomes aware of awareness, they enter into that state of ecstasy. It's a natural feeling that one gets. And then there's antarjyoti meaning one is enlightened by an illuminating brilliance within. Meaning that the knowledge of Brahman, this Gyana of Brahman is shining forth. It shines by itself. It doesn't need to be given light by anything else. There is no darkness here. The oil of this lamp is endless. There is no end to that oil in that lamp. And that oil is our knowledge of Brahman and Brahman itself is awareness, which is ever present and is always here. Wherever they go, wherever that person goes, wherever the Sage goes, it is the light of Gyana that shines more than the persona of name and form. So remember, even though we may like the charisma of the teacher, it is the light of the teaching that shines the most. That's the light that we love the most and that's the light that we go towards the most. They attain freedom because they are Brahman itself. They understand fully that there is nothing but Brahman and Brahman is the 'I am'. The 'I am' is one's awareness, one's Consciousness, or that moment when one is aware of one's awareness. That is true enlightenment. They attain freedom and Brahman nirvana simply means that I am Brahman by nature, so none of this matter that I see, none of this material that I see and perceive through the senses is mine. Yeah. That's the understanding of Brahman nirvana. Then the second part of the verse is they no longer claim ownership over anything and identify themselves to be the same in essence, as Brahman. So such people cannot claim to own anything. As we said by Brahman nirvana and because of this, they are always in freedom. Think about it. It's things that bind us. Remember it's property that is signed in your name, a car is signed in your name. Everywhere there is something that is binding you to something. You have a passport, therefore you're bounded by a nation, all these things bind you, but this Gyana releases you from all inner things that bind you. So therefore within you, you can actually get rid of the identification that you are belonging to any of these labels, even though you may have them in the transactional reality, in the Ultimate Reality, there is none of this. You're not bounded to a name and form of any kind and therefore whatever is attached or associated with that name and form that you have in the transactional reality has no base in the Ultimate Reality. That is something we understand right here and now. It's only when we think we own something that we think we can lose it. If we think we can lose something that causes stress, that causes depression. If we end up losing it and anxiety in the anticipation that we may lose something or say some pleasant experience is not repeated. We get upset over that as well. Or we may want to have that same experience or own that same experience. Therefore, the true Sage is beyond that. They are always free from that. All material possessions do not belong to the Yogi. It cannot be because it all belongs to bhumi loka, it belongs to the earth. It belongs to nature. It belongs to the universe, to that transactional reality or Saguna Brahman. Nirguna Brahman owns nothing. Nothing belongs to Nirguna Brahman. Therefore, everything that you have is in gratitude towards the earth. The main thing is to see yourself as the same, in essence as Brahman, you're one and the same as Formless Awareness, be aware of awareness, therefore you go straight to Consciousness. You go straight to the direct realization that there is only Consciousness. And this is the only experience where one feels the vastness of that Formless. You understand that you are shapeless. You understand that you are imageless, you are contentless, you are beyond any form, any name, any image, any shape, any location, you are beyond all of this. And when you get to that direct understanding, that's all you need. When you get to that direct realization, that's all you need. When you identify completely as that, that is all you need. Then you can live in the transactional reality, in this Maya with absolute joy and you can participate in Maya because you know it's temporary and you know what is eternal and you've identified completely as the eternal, therefore free from any effects of Maya. The context of the whole verse is that ecstasy and self illumination becomes the way of the Sage. They are always full of joy, brimming to the top with happiness. They understand that they are one and the same in essence, as Brahman, as this Pure Awareness. And these verses today have hinted on one thing with a lot of conviction that there is no other. There is no two. There is only this One. Duality does not have any leg to stand on when it comes to these verses today, There is only Advaita, non-duality There is no twoness, there is only oneness as the Supreme Truth and the Supreme reality. Duality is nothing but pure ignorance of our true nature. And remember that our true nature was, is, and will always be this Formless. Awareness. And that is the end of the episode. Please do share this podcast with your friends and family who may enjoy this content. Follow me on social media to keep getting updates or subscribe to the Monthly Bearded Mystic Newsletter. The details are in the show notes and video description below. If you would like to support the Bearded Mystic podcast as I mentioned in the beginning of the episode, you can sign up to the podcast Patreon page or support the podcast through apple podcast subscriptions. And you can find that on the apple podcast app itself or support the podcast through Patreon, the details for that are in the show notes and video description below. If you would like to have a one-on-one meeting with me as a friend to discuss your spirituality, you can find the details in the show notes and video description below. Please rate and review the podcast on our website www.thebeardedmysticpodcast.com Please do like, and comment on this video and subscribe to this YouTube channel or subscribe to this podcast through the podcast streaming app that you're listening to this on. Thank you very much for listening or watching. Let's end with feeling the peacefulness of this Nirguna Brahman. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti Aum Peace Peace Peace. Namaste