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Nov. 13, 2022

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 6: Verse 16 - Verse 19)


In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 6th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses  16 - 19. Sri Krishna provides guidance on how to live a balanced lifestyle of eating enough and sleeping enough to feel well-rested. Sri Krishna explains how one should maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep it hassle-free. This Awareness within is absolutely free from all material longings and desires, we become complete in our yoga. We no longer worry about the future nor worry about the past. Sri Krishna explains how we can achieve this transcendental self-knowing when we transcend what we are not and fix ourselves upon Pure Formless Awareness. 

Translation used: The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive: A Radical Translation by Jeffrey Armstrong

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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'll be continuing on with my thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita. But before we start, there's a few things I would like to let you know about and that is if you would like to support the Bearded Mystic Podcast, you can sign up to the podcast Patreon page, you can find out more in the show notes and video description below. But here you will get ad free episodes, bonus episodes, and in December we will be starting my thoughts on the Upanishads. So that will be an exclusive podcast only for Patreon. Another way to listen to those ad-free and bonus episodes is through Apple subscriptions that is on the Apple Podcast app itself. . So do take a look at that, if you're listening to this on the Apple Podcast app. Every Saturday there is a free virtual meditation session,

which takes place at 11:

00 AM Eastern Standard time. Following the meditation session, there is a discussion or a Q and A and if you would like to find out more about that, the details 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 these show notes and video description below. So let's do a recap of the last episode. We discussed the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 11 to 15. Sri Krishna gives us guidance on how to meditate and focus on Brahman whilst we are in the forest. However, we also looked at how we could adapt that in our day to day life today and how to modernize those teachings. So we do not find excuses to not practice it. Sri Krishna also explains how we must fix our attention on the Atman and that is our True Self and we should allow the senses and thoughts to rest on this understanding. In that episode, you can find out more ways on how we can help the mind remain steady and focused in one pointed meditation. Sri Krishna explains how all energy can be transferred and directed to understand that Sri Krishna himself is the Formless Ultimate Reality. Sri Krishna tells Arjuna what one achieved by doing this practice and that is a perfect and complete union with the True Self, Krishna's True Self and your True Self, my True Self, everyone's True Self is one and the same. Today we will be looking at verses 16 to verse 19 of Chapter 6. Let's start with verse 16. To practice this yoga, one must establish a balance in relation to all material activities. Neither eating nor sleeping too much or too little. So we're going to look at this verse as a whole. Now, how should one practice this? How can we create balance in our life? How can we sustain that balance in our life? How can we ensure that we are always steady and in focus? Well, there is a way that Sri Krishna gives us, which we can utilize to help us progress further. Now, obviously, one should aim to remain as balanced as possible, all the time, and neither should we get too excited nor too lazy when it comes to things. We shouldn't overcompensate our emotions at all. We should try to go back to that Formless Awareness that's always there in the background. Now, this can easily be done again if we remain as the observer. So if something happens and it's really great for you, instead of getting overjoyed to an extreme, you can actually just observe how you are feeling and then see how you want to express that feeling. It doesn't have to always be in a celebration. It can, but it doesn't have to be and neither should one get overhyped, you know? So one shouldn't be overcompensating in their actions either. So we should be balanced in that. And the same thing is we shouldn't be lazy. For example, we shouldn't just say, Oh, you know what? I just can't be bothered to deal with this right now. I'm just gonna let go. Sometimes that can be laziness because we do not want to take the right action because we fear what the consequences could be. Sri Krishna also talks about some body actions that we can practice. Now, think about it. He says here that neither eating nor sleeping too much or too little. If we eat too much, we may get food coma. It's unhealthy. We get lethargic, we get tired. We don't wanna do anything. We just want to take a big long nap, and we just get absolutely low energy even though we've eaten so much and this is not good for us either. How can we meditate if we are constantly in that state? Also, we will not be able to sit comfortably if we are eating too much or say you get indigestion, and you're meditating, and say you are in a class or you are in a a meditation group, I don't think the group will actually appreciate that if you have indigestion. So eating too much can be problematic. Then on the same level, he says, even if we eat too less. What happens there is one, again, we may not be able to sit comfortably. The other aspect is we will keep thinking about food because we are constantly feeling malnourished or we may be abstaining from food. So the mind will constantly be thinking about food. That's not good either. And again, if we are malnourished, then we can't sit effectively. We can't keep our mind focused and the whole point is to be in that right balance. And I think the Japanese say that you should only eat up to 80%. Don't get absolutely full, just eat enough so you're satisfied. And for someone like me, I need to probably eat a little bit less sweet stuff so I can maintain a healthy lifestyle. The other aspect that Sri Krishna talks about is either sleeping too much or too little. Now, if you sleep too much. We can start feeling lethargic. We can start feeling tired. We just don't wanna get up from bed. Why would we wanna get up from bed when we are nice and cozy? You know, those are the feelings you'll get if you sleep too much. And if we sleep too little, the body can get tired, it can get ill very easy. You're more prone to getting sick, because the body hasn't been given enough time to repair. It is very important that we must overall have a healthy lifestyle with a decent routine, and that's something we need to definitely do. The other thing I like to mention is that even when we sleep too much, sometimes you wanna sleep more or you're still extra tired. So getting that right amount of sleep for your body is important, and you will know as your own body what is best for you. The context of the whole verse here is that Sri Krishna gives us guidance on how to live a balanced lifestyle of eating enough sleeping enough, to feel well rested and at the same time to be balanced in our responses to things as that helps the mind stay steady and calm. Verse 17. Yoga means to be moderate in saatvic eating and recreation. Yoga is to remain equipoised while performing all actions. Yoga is finding the right balance between time spent, awake and asleep. One who lives as a yogi carefully removes all sources of disturbance from their life. So if we look at the first part of that verse, it's yoga means to be moderate in saatvic eating and recreation. Yoga is to remain equipoised while performing all actions. Yoga is finding the right balance between time spent awake and asleep. First of all, moderate in saatvic eating. So a saatvic diet is a regimen that places emphasis on seasonal foods, fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables that are ripe, nuts and seeds, , oils, legumes, whole grains and non meat based protein. So that's something to think about when we want to have a saatvic diet. Then the other aspect is and I didn't include it in here, and that is dairy. Now dairy is recommended in a saatvic diet, but now people can also have non-dairy substitutes for milk. Like nut milk or soya milk or oat milk, those options are available now. We can have non-dairy alternatives and that can still be part of saatvic eating. Recreation is moderate. Again, it's about channeling the energy, utilizing that recreational energy towards more meditation, towards more focus on the spiritual path, towards our sadhana so that's very important. And recreation can also mean any hobbies we have to make sure that we are being moderate in doing what our hobbies are, so we have that base level of happiness, which is required and what people are looking for today. Then remaining balanced when performing all actions, means is to be a witness whenever possible and be an observer. That's the best way to remain balanced, when you are performing any action, because that way you are not thinking about the results. You're not thinking about what to do. You're not thinking about what other people are going to think about your actions. You're just doing the actions that you've utilized your buddhi with, that you've analyzed with your buddhi to see what is the best thing to do. And as, Sri Krishna mentioned in the previous verse, and even here we must have the right balance between the time spent awake and asleep. So we need to get the perfect amount of sleep, first of all. And then we need to make sure that we give a specific number of hours, to the day to sleep. But everyone has a different body and it's unique to them. But also when we are awake, that we at least spend a decent amount of time doing our spiritual pursuits, whether that's partaking in rituals, going to satsang, so that's spending time with holy people or spiritual people, studying the scriptures or spiritual texts. Anything like that is something that we can do. And that's very important that we utilize both. When we are awake, we focus the mind on spirituality as much as possible. And then when we are asleep, we can focus on making sure the body is well rested. Then the second part of the verse is one who lives as a yogi carefully removes all sources of disturbance from their life. So living as a yogi means to be in balance. When we do that, we remove all sources of disturbances and that means anything that distracts you or attracts you to it. Maybe as a yogi, what you need to make sure is anything that would distract you from your spiritual pursuit. So that may be the notifications buzzing on your phone to somebody at the door or your thoughts while you are meditating. That can be a source of disturbance that distracts you away from meditation, away from your spiritual pursuits, away from doing what you need to do. And the same thing is it can attract you to things that will not help you in life. So we need to make sure we remove all of those disturbances. One needs to try to maintain a minimal lifestyle and be as simple as possible. Remember, the less you have, the less clutter in your mind, the less you have to think about, and therefore you can concentrate more on your spiritual journey and less on looking after the clutter that you may have, not only in your home, but also in your own mind. The context of the whole verse here is that Sri Krishna explains how one should maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep it hassle free. Verse 18. When the Consciousness of the atman is entirely free from all material longings and desires, one's yoga finally becomes complete. We're gonna look at the whole verse together. First of all, we need to analyze our material longings and desire. How much is our mind occupied by all these body and mind related desires? How much does it constantly think about the next car, the next house, the next clothes to buy, the next gear to get? Anything that would take us away from being focused on spirituality. Are there things that we long for, are they gonna end up causing us suffering for ourselves and for others? Sometimes getting a new car, what if it's not comfortable for the people in your family? Then that would be a cause of suffering for them. Or say you get a new car, but it creates ego in you and you feel pride and ego for what you have, and it becomes your identity. So those things are the things that we need to think about when it comes to having those material longings and desires. We have to make sure that the awareness of the atma, that awareness itself is free from those desires, that we understand that the atman here means the mind, that the mind is not looking towards those longings and desires. It's actually looking within and in fact, until we address these very questions, we will always be bounded by our desires, so we have to remain vigilant at all times. We have to constantly think about whether the desires that we have are actually beneficial for us or are they detrimental to our spiritual journey? We really have to think about that and then, when one's consciousness is free from desire, what we find then is that it's free from anger. It is free from fear. It is free from enmity. It is free from delusion. So one, we will not feel anger because it doesn't matter what we've been longing for or desiring for, those things are matters of the body and mind. But for the Atman for the Real Self, for the Pure Consciousness, the Pure Awareness within us, it has no desire. It has no longing. It is complete. So therefore, where can fear arise when one doesn't feel inadequate because they haven't achieved or attained their desire? And if you're longing for something, you're constantly thinking about it, then how can you concentrate on spirituality? Then you'll always be fearful of whether you will achieve your spiritual goals while you're longing for something. So that doesn't help either. Or if we have anger because we are longing for something and it's not happening to us. Therefore, we do not unnecessarily get abusive towards others or neither do we do any self harm by drinking alcohol excessively, or smoking cigarettes, or taking recreational drugs excessively. The obvious one is delusion. We know that these desires keep us bounded to the body and mind, and the more we have these desires, the more we have these longings, the more we feel that we are just this body and mind. But once we break away from the clutches of those longings and desires, that keep us to the material, to this body and mind, we realize that actually we are this True Self and nothing less than that. But more so is we even have to let go of the longing or the noble desire for enlightenment. That has to be removed too. Sometimes we think that enlightenment because it's a pure and noble cause, a noble desire, noble longing, but actually it can cause harm because what if we end up leaving our family for our longing for God? In fact our God is nothing but our own material desires. So that's why it's very important that even if we are longing for enlightenment, that it doesn't become anger, it doesn't become fear that, Oh, if I don't get enlightened, then I'm gonna be reincarnated, or I'm gonna go to hell, or I'm gonna be absolutely judged for my karma, that's fear and that's not something we need to do. We have to remove anything that makes even enlightenment to be a material desire. Remember, enlightenment itself is not a desire, neither is it material. It simply is as it is. And you are simply is as it is. So what you are is what enlightenment is. Sri Krishna says that one's yoga becomes complete. Then one is ultimately in union with Divine Truth. That's all we need. That's what completion means. When we do not require anything else, when all we want is to be in this state of Pure Formless Awareness. Complete means that also we understand the game. We play the game, and we end up going beyond whether we win or lose. It's not about winning or losing when we're playing the game. We just know that the purpose of being on this earth for the body and mind is that this all is one giant game, one giant drama where we are playing our roles as actors, producers, and directors. So once our yoga is complete, then we are always in Formless Awareness. That's ultimately final scene always ends. By being in the Formless Awareness, we do not have to worry about the future, nor do we have to care about the past, nor do we have to keep thinking about the past and pondering about the past, nor do we have to go into imagination about the future. Now, think about it. For example, if we utilize the analogy of a video game, if you are playing a video game and you complete it, you do the absolute best, You achieve all that you need to do in each level and say you completed that game perfectly. Would you then start worrying about the past, about what you did during one game, about what one move you did that wasn't right? Even though you've completed it perfectly? You know, you wouldn't and there's no way you can change the game of the past. Whatever's happened has happened. And then is there a future after the game? Once you complete the game, you turn it off. Either you can restart it all again, or you end the game and let the TV screen just turn off or turn the console off and that's it. That's all. If you understand this in terms of yoga or in terms of spiritual enlightenment or spiritual liberation, then all it's about is that there is no future, there is no past and there is no present because the game was something that was just an appearance in one's own awareness, and that's all we have to remember. The context of the whole verse is that this awareness within is absolutely free from all material longings and desires, and we must complete our yoga and that we no longer worry about the future, nor do we worry about the past. We end up understanding that all of life, all its desires and longings are literally scenes playing across a movie on the screen of our Consciousness, on the screen of Formless Awareness. And neither does this Formless Awareness get mixed in with the game or the longing or the desires. It remains ever existing, ever free from all of that. Now we go to the final verse, which is 19. Just as a lamp in the windless place does not waver so a yogi who has focused the chit faculties of conscious awareness entirely upon their own Atman is once again restored to their true nature by perfecting this yoga of transcendental self-knowing. So we are going to look at the whole verse here. This is a wonderful analogy that Sri Krishna uses about having a lamp or a candle in a windless place, that flame does not flicker. That flame does not move in any way, or that light doesn't move in anyway. It can't, that if there's no wind, how can it move and you can see a wind like our senses or our thoughts, our mind, our manas. We can understand from here that our awareness is a windless place. Nothing can move it. It has to be that way because if it can be moved, if it can waver in any way, then this atman is unreal and that's not true. If it's a, a windless place, does that candle get extinguished ever because of the external environment? No, there's nothing that can influence it. Same way. Nothing from the outside, another person or another thing, or another place, or another situation from outside of you cannot disturb you because your light cannot be wavered in any way. It's complete. So that's something we can understand. Once one's chit or our awareness of being awareness has become complete, once it transcends the pancha koshas or the five koshas, that is the body, the vital airs, the mind, the intellect and happiness related to the other four koshas, the Atman rests upon itself in its true nature. The one thing I do want to mention when we look at these pancha koshas is to define one way, and that is remember, sat or asat, or nitya and anitya. So whatever is changing, whatever modifies, whatever decays in any way. That is asat. That is unreal. So whenever we look at these five koshas, we gotta see whether they change at any point. And then the same way is whatever is changeless that is ultimately real. Now let me explain what the five koshas are very briefly. Obviously you have the Annamaya kosha which is this physical body that we have. We know that this physical body's not us because it's always changing and it's always subject to death, and remember we can see that as being very obvious and that whatever we eat ends up becoming part of the body. We know the physical body for sure. is subject to change, subject to death, to decay, to modification, it has changed as we've grown up and it's going to continuously change. And when it decays, it also changes there. So physical body is not what we are then, that's ultimately unreal because what we are is changeless. The Pranamaya kosha, which is the Vital airs, that also isn't real. And why is that? Even though it is subtler than the physical body and the actions of the vital air of prana is unconsciously done. For example, pranamaya kosha consists of functions like breathing, removal of waste from the body, it's utilized for the circulation of blood, for reactions or reverse processes like vomiting or burping, tears, sneezing, coughing, or even thoughts and also, for the digestion of food, all this happens unconsciously, therefore it also changes. For example, our breathing can change as we get older. It can become more labored. It may be more difficult for our blood to circulate around our body. It may become a lot slower. In terms of the other aspects - coughing. One time we're coughing the next week or so, we may be fine. Sickness does not stay for a prolonged period in terms of the same intensity of sickness. Even the intensity that's always in flux. The same way with thoughts. We know that with thoughts, they pass by. All that, although it's subtler than the body it's still ultimately unreal because of that. For example, thankfully we are not in charge or we are not conscious of some of these things because if we were conscious of digesting food, who knows if we would be able to digest food properly if we have real bad anxiety or anything like that. The third kosha is manomaya kosha, which is the mind. And obviously the mind is a seat for emotions like anger, jealousy, love, compassion. It can constitute of confusion and indecisiveness. The mind perceives the objects of the world through the senses and identified with the mind, we think we are happy or sad. So again, we can go into flux of these emotions. We can either be in confusion or indecisiveness and sometimes we can be overconfident. Things like that is what is the manomaya kosha. And therefore, even though it is subtler than pranamaya kosha, it still is unreal because there is change there. So therefore it's not the Formless Awareness, it's another thing that is impermanent. And then you have vigyanamaya kosha. So that's the intellect, that's the fourth one the fourth kosha. Now this is subtler than and pervades the former three so the body, vital airs, and the mind, it controls all three of those koshas. It also brings thoughts into a framework of decision making, and that is the intellect. The intellect is also the seat of the values that we have in life, based on how we would live in the world. It's also the value that we try to emulate in the world with other people. The intellect also discriminates between right and wrong, or real and unreal like we are doing right now. Also it's there to innovate, create, discover, visualize, or imagine. These are all intellectual capabilities. Without the intellect, we cannot do any imagination, any visualization, any discovery, any creativity, and any innovation. That's why it's very important to have a strong intellect. Also it's based on previous experiences that it recognizes, understands, and decides on the course of action to take. So remember, it is our discernment, our viveka that decides what we are going to do. It decides what's the best course of action to do in terms of karma. Now, the vital air, so pranamaya kosha, the mind - manomaya kosha and the intellect - vigyanamaya kosha, these together form the subtle body. Obviously the annamaya kosha is the gross body. Then the mind and intellect are characterize as two different entities. Now, why is that? It's because they are two names given to thought modifications according to their functions. The function of the mind is when it feels and the function of the intellect is when it thinks. So, thinking is intellect, feeling is the mind. That's why the mind is considered the heart and the intellect is considered the head. You know, when we say someone is so much into their head, what we're saying is they're really thinking too much and if someone feels too much, we say their heart is very sensitive. Then we have the anandamaya kosha, which is happiness or bliss sheath although I would call it happiness. I think that's a more better translation. This is the subtlest and the most pervasive of the koshas and that is this anandamaya kosha. Now it's also called the causal body. So like we had the subtle body with the pranamaya kosha, manomaya kosha and vigyanmaya kosha that is the subtle body and then we had the annamaya kosha as the gross body. Anandamaya kosha is the causal body. Now the causal body or anandamaya kosha that is of the nature of ignorance of the world and the Self. So anandamaya kosha is not aware of what the world is and what the self is. It's still ignorant about what is reality, what is the Formless Awareness, although it is blessed and presented and favored with the bliss of the Self. To give an example here, when night falls, the world is covered by darkness. All objects and their distinctive characteristics also merge into that darkness. And the objects, they're not destroyed, they're just not perceived. So for example, if this room that I'm in, if it goes completely dark, what will happen, Even this plant here, this chair, this mic, this computer screen, it all goes dark. I just cannot perceive it. It's not destroyed. It's still there. As the day dawns, distinctions manifest. So when I wake up, or when I turn the light on, I can then start seeing the different objects. Similarly in deep sleep, when only the causal body is at play, when we are only in that causal body state, all dualities, the ego, anxiety, agitation, the world, the subtle and gross bodies and so on, merge into total darkness. Just think of deep sleep. Even though you are there, this body's still there. This mind is still there. But in deep sleep, they are not distinctive, you're not aware of them. And that's ignorance is what is the causal body. It's a deep level of ignorance. Remember all that merges into the total darkness. So remember using the example of the night falling and how the distinctive characteristics and objects merge into the darkness. Just remember that likewise, that's what happens when we go into deep sleep. Now in this deep sleep state as there are no thought modifications in the mind, and there's an absence of all agitation. So even the pains that you may have in the body, in deep sleep you are not aware of those pains anymore. Because of that absence of all agitation, and there being no thought modifications, the bliss of the self manifests itself totally. But due to ignorance, it is said to be of impure nature. Remember, because when we wake up, we will still be in ignorance. So we have to go to what is called the turiya state, the fourth state. In the deep sleep state, there are no degrees in this bliss but in the waking and dream state, we experience various qualities and intensities of happiness. In deep sleep there's only happiness. There's no differing degrees. But in the waking state and dreaming state, there's differing degrees of happiness. That is what anandamaya kosha is, and because things change, meaning we get outta that deep sleep state or total ignorance, we know that is also changing and therefore it's ultimately unreal. To understand this a bit more, the joy of thinking of a dear object or being is called priya or intense love. The intensity of joy increases when we actually gain the object or meet the person. The joy is maximized when we enjoy the object or become one with it. Sometimes when we get into the zone, we totally are in enjoyment and there, there is no duality of the enjoyer and the enjoyed, but only enjoyment. Again, when we're in the zone, there's no player and playing. The five sheaths, koshas form the covering, which conceals the jewel of awareness or Brahman. So just remember that these five koshas that we've just mentioned and discussed how they are ultimately unreal and they hide what is Real. They cover what is Real, and that is Formless Awareness. So you can say that the five koshas are literally at the forefront and in the background there is this Brahman this Formless Awareness, what we do through spiritual inquiry is we bring Brahman to the forefront, we bring Formless Awareness to the forefront, and we let the five koshas go to the background. They're still there, but we understand that actually there is only the Self. There is only Pure Awareness. These pancha koshas they're made up of or are the modifications of the five elements, that's space, fire, air, earth and water. They are born and they also die. They fluctuate, they change, their states can change too, and they are different from Pure Awareness. Formless Awareness is beyond all modifications. It's unborn, it's Immortal, and the witness of all, the observer of all, and therefore is different from the five sheaths (koshas). This Brahm Gyana removes everything that we are not, and we end up being self-aware of our own self knowing. This Truth becomes very apparent, very obvious to us. Again, relating it to the analogy, our awareness will not be influenced by any external or internal movement, as we have noted from how it is not the five sheaths (koshas). So relating it to the analogy of the windless place that does not waver, our awareness will not be influenced by any external or internal movement as it's not part of any of the five sheaths. So that's something we can understand and fully internalize and practice. What happens there is we bring our mind to its true state, which is this Formless Awareness by perfecting this yoga of Brahma Gyana, of Atman Gyana of knowing yourself and that transcends you from these pancha koshas and also the three bodies, which is the gross, subtle and causal. The context of the whole verses that Sri Krishna explains about how we can achieve this transcendental self knowing when we are able to transcend this body and mind and enter and fix ourselves upon what we really are, which is this pure Formless Awareness and we break down that anything that changes or modifies is simply not what we are. So 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. Subscribe to the monthly Bearded Mystic Newsletter, and you can join the Bearded Mystic Podcast WhatsApp group, all the details are in the show notes and video description below. If you would like to support the Bearded Mystic Podcast, as I mentioned earlier you can sign up to the podcast Patreon page or sign up to the Apple Podcast subscriptions, and the details are in the show notes and video description below. 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Let's end this with Shanti Mantra Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti. Aum Peace Peace Peace Namaste.