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Dec. 4, 2022

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 6: Verse 24 - Verse 28)

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In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses the 6th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses  24 - 28. Sri Krishna wants us to control the senses and abandon the desires that keep us rooted in the world alone. Sri Krishna wants us to always choose the truth of formless awareness over anything else. Sri Krishna puts forward how the atma, this formless awareness stabilizes this restless mind. Sri Krishna how the yogi calms down the mind and no longer goes according to their desires and attains ultimate bliss. Sri Krishna explains this ceaseless joy is gained through direct contact with Formless Awareness.

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

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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 my thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita. And before we do begin, there's a few things I would like to talk about. As you know, last week I did a video, telling you about my situation that's going on in my life, and if you would like to support this podcast and support me going full-time as a content creator, then you can sign up to the podcast Patreon page where you get not only ad-free episodes, but you also get bonus episodes, like my thoughts on the Upanishads, which is starting this month. Also you will be getting extra content according to whatever tier you sign up to. So do take a look at that. You can find the details to the Patreon page in the show notes and video description below. Every Saturday there is a free meditation session along with discussion and Q&A that begins at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. It's free for everyone, available for everyone, anybody can attend, whether you're a beginner or an expert, and you can find the details for that 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 help you with your spirituality, it's priced reasonably and I've made sure that it is affordable and if you would like to book that, the details are in the show notes and video description below. Let's do a recap of the last episode. We discussed the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 20 to 23. Sri Krishna guides us on how important it is to connect our Consciousness with Consciousness itself, and by absorbing one's name and form into the nameless and Formless Awareness one remains in complete content. Sri Krishna also guides how bliss is the absolute state of awareness. Sri Krishna guides that nothing can harm the yogi no matter how bad a situation is, the yogi will never be in distress because they are in that Formless Awareness always. Sri Krishna guides how he must focus on transforming pain and suffering into joy and bliss by remaining in Formless Awareness, and to keep returning to this Formless Awareness as much as possible. Today we will be continuing on with Chapter Six and we will be looking at verses 24 to 28. Let's begin with verse 24. Setting their unwavering resolve to entirely abandon all desires that arise from association with matter and completely restraining the needs of indriyas by controlling the Manas. Let's break this up a little. The first part of the verse is: setting their unwavering resolve to entirely abandon all desires that arise from association with matter. First of all, what we need to do is observe the mind and see from where does desire arise? What is the root cause of desire? How is this desire arisen within me? What vritti, what movement in the mind has created that desire? Is it related to my senses on what it's desiring? Is it related to my past karma? We have to do that constant analysis to find out how this desire arises. We need to closely observe and closely identify what the desire is and how it's arisen and why it is there. Remember, the root cause of everything comes from desire. Now how do desires get created and why do we have desires is because actually it arises from the world and because we think we are this body and mind, we think we are this material, we think we are matter, what happens is because we associate with the world, with our body and mind, we then just go according to whatever the senses want. Here, Sri Krishna is saying setting their unwavering resolve to entirely abandon. Okay, their mind is completely focused and attentive towards the truth. They are focused on Formless Awareness. That's all they look to go towards. That's all they know in this regard. Yes, they may have a body and mind, but the body and mind is not who they are or what they are, and they make that very clear. Their action is complete in making sure that they transcend all desire. It's not about just getting rid of desire. That's not enough. We have to transcend desire. You have to abandon them. That means you consciously have to put them aside so the desire arises, you will see that it's there to connect you to the body and mind. And actually you gotta ask yourself, is it going to put me more in ignorance or is it something that I can just get over and therefore not think about it later? That's the things you have to think about. Using your discernment, using your intellect, that's what you have to use. Viveka is really important, make sure you do utilize your intellect when it comes to analyzing your desires. It is not that desires are bad, but we need to understand that they cause fear, they cause anger, they cause greed, they cause arrogance, they cause pride, they cause ego. They cause a lot of things that are disastrous for the world. So it's not that desire is always bad. You can have a positive desire. For example, instead of desiring, say that you will have millions of dollars, you can think of it in this way, where if one does have a million dollars, then we will utilize that million dollars for helping others. Maybe it is that you give 50% of your wealth away. Maybe it's 80%. Whatever it is that at least you are living a comfortable life and you're then providing the chance that other people can lead a comfortable life. Remember the desire from million dollars is not bad. It's about what you do with a million dollars afterwards, by utilizing your intellect is what helps you going forward. And the spiritual ideal for us is that we do not want to see suffering in the world. We do not want to see pain in the world. Therefore, whatever we can do to alleviate that pain and suffering, we must go towards that path. The second part in verse 24 is: and completely restraining the needs of the indriyas by controlling the Manas. By controlling the mind, we control the senses, that is automatic. Once we tell the mind that, yes, the senses are going to be attracted by whatever it sees, by whatever it hears, by whatever it touches by whatever it tastes or smells. The senses will keep providing information for the mind and therefore creating that individual identity that will cause suffering for us or pain because we then think that this individual identity is everything. If we can control the mind by using our discernment, using our viveka and saying, you know what, if I smell something, if I taste something, if I see something, if I hear something, whatever my senses may project towards me. What I can do is discern if this is going to get me closer to the truth, is it going to make me truly happy? Is it going to give me happiness that is only going to be transient, or is it going to be a permanent state of happiness? That's something that we can analyze and check within ourselves. The manas is controlled in terms of before it processes the information that the senses provide. Again, that's what we can do with the manas, with the mind heart is actually analyze and discern. Remember this as a method that we can do. We are able to actually observe our senses and not get involved with the wants. So for example, if my eye sees something beautiful and sparkling like a jewel or like a diamond, instead of being like, well, I want that diamond, I can actually be like, that diamond is just beautiful. I don't have to make it into I want, or I need that diamond. You can just admire something and then let it go. That's something we can do even when it comes to food. If you are already full, there's no need to eat anymore. Only eat as much as your body can take and should take. Don't overeat, don't undereat. The more balanced you are, the better. Again, even with needs, it needs to be properly observed, and we need to see if it is required. So anything, whether that's a new car, a new house. When you go to grocery shopping, when you go into the aisles and you see all these different things that are available, do you need those things or is it more you want those things and you think that they are your needs. Sometimes, you know, when you go shopping you can turn around and say, well, oh, I need this, and then you never use it. You need to analyze whether we need those things or whether we don't. The context of the whole verse here is that Sri Krishna wants us to control our senses and abandon our desires that keep us rooted in the world alone. Verse 25. Step by step, the yogi should withdraw their focus from matter by focusing their buddhi faculty upon the Atman. A dedicated yogi should not meditate upon anything else. Let's break this up. In the first part, he says, step by step, the yogi should withdraw their focus from matter by focusing their buddhi faculty entirely upon their Atman. The manas is able to process everything regarding the senses step by step. Like the process of Neti Neti or asking a few times why. Literally when you have a desire come up, when you have your senses create this want or desire, you can actually analyze it step by step, see how it happens, watch it, observe it closely, analyze it. See the intricate ways in how desires get formed and how the mind gets affected, how then desire becomes an absolute need and watch your mind do this. Or you can do this, where if your senses keep going towards something and keeps putting its attention towards that rather than the truth, then what you can do is ask yourself why is that happening? What is the reason for this. Why is my attention going away from the truth? Why is my attention not going towards listening to spiritual things? Why is it that I would rather listen to more gossip or entertainment? So the yogi must bring their focus from the world to Formless Awareness. This is the ultimate step and aim for everybody. We are to divert our attention from the outward to the inward. From Awareness outside in front of us of what we can perceive through our senses and whatever sensory information it provides to actually looking at the antaryami, the inner dweller, the Self, Brahman, the Formless Awareness, that is what we can divert our attention to. That's how we can turn our attention from outwards to inwards. By seeing that this Formless Awareness is that aspect of us, which is eternally happy, which has always been happy, but it has been masked by our desires, our wants that we have in this world. That's something that we can also check within ourselves and actually really observe. As a yogi, all of us must focus from the world to Formless Awareness. The intellect is to focus completely upon awareness and nothing else. That is it. That's the ultimate step. Then the second part of the verse is a dedicated yogi should not meditate upon anything else. Now, I love this part because it kind of explains what I really feel about spirituality, and I do believe that one should be absolutely dedicated. Being a yogi does not need your halfheartedness. It needs a full, attentive approach. A lot of people just think that spirituality is if you go to a satsang for a few hours or you go to a kirtan for a few hours, or you read a spiritual text once in a while. Or you listen to a YouTube video here or there, or a podcast, that is not it. A real spiritual life is when you are really dedicating your whole life towards it, where every moment that you get that is free, you can divert your mind from the worries of the world, from the worries of the politics and powers of the world, even of religious and spiritual institutions and bringing it more towards meditating on that Formless Awareness, meditating on Brahman, focusing on Brahman, seeing Brahman in everything. Seeing that Brahman is the only thing but how can we get to that dedicated yogi stage? How can we get there? If that is the need of the hour, frankly, if we are listening to this podcast and we've been following the Bhagavad Gita and we believe in what Sri Krishna is saying, then what I would say is that all of us are already signed up for being a dedicated yogi. I don't think any of us would continue listening to this if we didn't feel that way. what I would say to you is a dedicated yogi is one who is convinced of the truth. You're convinced that Formless Awareness is. This is why I really like the meditation sessions we do, and why I emphasize that if you've been regularly listening to this, I ask that people do attend those sessions because it makes you convinced of the truth. There is a direct perception of that Reality. What we show in that meditation is how this Formless Awareness is closer than you think and actually doesn't require you to be an expert at all. You can be the worst human being, according to your intellect, to your discernment, to your discrimination. But you know what? This Formless Awareness does not judge. This Formless Awareness does not say, well, you do not have the right knowledge. No, it never does because it's beyond all that. And that's why I think in order to be convinced of the truth, we have to experience it. If you do want to experience this, I suggest that you do take some time out, maybe once a month, attend that weekly meditation session. That person who is convinced of the Truth, they are only reliant on the Truth. They are only reliant on Formless Awareness. They don't require anything else. When it comes to the Truth, they're only devoted towards it. They don't care about anything else. Their singular focus is on this truth. That's all they want. They don't want to meditate upon anything else. They don't want to contemplate upon anything else. Yes, the world will continue. Yes, we must speak against the atrocities that happen in the world. Yes. Whenever there is harm and injustice in the world, we must speak up. But at the end of the day, we must understand that we must do this through a contemplative and thoughtful process, not something that is done from anger. It's not something that is done from judgment. These yogis, these dedicated yogis, their whole life is dedicated to this truth. That's all they want, and they don't need the world. They don't want the world. They don't care about the world in terms of possessing it. They understand that it's not their real identity. They understand their true identity, which is this Formless Awareness, and that is what you are. And again, through those meditation sessions, that is what we show. That you are this Formless Awareness, nothing else. Yeah. You have a body and mind. Yeah, but it's not you. You have them, but they're not you. You're not the body, you're not the mind. You have a body and mind. These dedicated yogis are just like Nachiketa from the Katha Upanishad, and that is, they only care about the truth. Like Nachiketa, it doesn't matter what you bring in front of him, whether it is the most beautiful women, whether it is having power over the world, whether it's ruling for a thousand years, whether it's having all the wealth in the world, whatever it may be. Even then he denied that and said he wanted the Truth and Truth alone and we should be like Nachiketa. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna wants us to always choose the Truth of Formless Awareness over anything else. Verse 26. The Manas faculty is chanchala ' restless and flitting from one thing to another', but a determined yogi should immediately bring it back under the control of the Atman. Again, we're going to break this up. The manas faculty is chanchala so it's 'restless and flitting from one thing to another.' The mind, depending on what it processes, it acts accordingly. If the mind is attracted to the worldly pleasures, that's what it's going to act towards. That's what it's going to move towards. Now because of that, the mind is looking in 10,000 directions because it doesn't know what to discern. If it doesn't have viveka, then that means it doesn't have the ability to discern between what is real and unreal or discern what is good or bad or what is better for them or what will cause the least amount of harm. They're not able to make that decision or that choice, and therefore their mind is absolutely restless. So it's either from one desire to another, from one emotion to another, from one thought to another. They're constantly thinking. You see those people, you may have them in your life where they're not able to relax. They're always thinking about what other people would think, or they're worried about what other people will say, or they will be thinking about other mundane things that don't need to be thought of. This is one thing that we need to understand, that the mind should not be restless. But the mind is because we have not brought it under control, through discernment, through our viveka. The mind will never be able to stabilize, and if it cannot stabilize, then how can spirituality even begin? If it's just going to jump from one thing to another, how is there going to be calmness? How is there going to be pure calm, pure peace when there's nothing but disturbance? For example, when you throw one stone into the pond first the pond was stagnant. It was still. It was not moving. But the moment it is disturbed by a stone, you start seeing the ripple effect. Now, same thing the vrittis are like that. They are like that ripple effect. It will create a reaction of so many other thoughts and sense projections and all sorts. But our mind when it is in a meditative state at all times, no matter if there is restlessness, even if the mind jumps from one thing to another, that awareness remains one and the same. And that mind actually, even though it may jump from one thought to another, eventually it is calmed down just by being in that presence. Just by being aware of Formless Awareness, it calms down. The ripples slowly fade away, and they do not cause any real movement. That's the aim that we can all have. Now the second part of the verse is: but a determined yogi should immediately bring it back under control of the Atman. So No matter what the yogi who is absolutely sure of what they want, they will always be composed because they are determined. They are determined to be united with the truth. They are determined for that. Nothing can sway them away. Nothing can divert their attention. The Yogi has only one goal in sight. That is the only thing they care about, so they will bring everything back to Formless Awareness all the time. With Formless Awareness, this restless and incessant chatter of the mind will be calm. It will come to a complete standstill, a complete stillness, and there will be silence. In between the incessant chatter as you watch and observe it, you start watching that incessant chatter start slowing down and more gaps of silence and slowly and slowly you will get to that point where there is only silence, and that mind is what we are looking for. That mind is always present. We put the clouds of thoughts in front of it.. This hyper mind, this monkey mind will be calm thanks to Formless Awareness. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna puts forward how the Atman this Formless Awareness stabilizes this restless mind. Our aim is that we are determined to get to that calm mind, to get to that peaceful state of being. Verse 27. The yogi who has calmed the manas and overcome the powerful drives of the desires created by rajas reclaims their Brahman nature and attains ultimate joy. We're gonna look at the whole verse altogether. Remember, the yogi has calmed down the mind with Formless Awareness. That is exactly what it has done, and that has been the aim. That's the whole point of the Bhagavad Gita, remember Arjuna was going through so many thoughts, so many emotions, and now Sri Krishna is calming him down, is showing him the method, the way in order to have that, and this is not just for Arjuna. Remember, we are all Arjuna right now. We are all there seeking Sri Krishna's help, his guidance. As Arjuna did, we are also at the feet of Sri Krishna, asking for his blessings, asking for his insights so we can enter that same state in which Sri Krishna is in. When we are in that absolute state of happiness, absolute state of stillness and calmness, our desires struggle to ignite movement. Just like a used car may struggle to start, maybe the engine is faulty, but now our desires are considered to be faulty by the mind, and they're not able to create a movement, a vritti. They're not able to stir our Consciousness. They're not able to disturb our Consciousness or our awareness, they are not able to disturb the mind. When the mind looks to jump, the mind is automatically calmed down by just being in that state of Formless Awareness, by just being aware of Formless Awareness. That's ultimately the way the disciple goes, the devotee goes. Rajas is created by the movement of karma, by vasanas, our tendencies, our past deeds, our past actions. Once we are able to calm down these movements, they go back to what they always were, they were always just a figment of our imagination. Nothing more. We created this world of karma. We created this world of vasanas and tendencies. We created this world of emotions and thoughts, and when we realize that this world is just simply an appearance, the mind comes to a complete calmness, peacefulness, stability, of wonder and awe. And there we find param ananda - bliss because that is our very nature. That is who we are, and we attain that ultimate joy. It's always there waiting for us once we reclaim our Brahman nature. So we utilize our rajas in that way because it has that hyperactivity, because it's created by movement, we're able to utilize that and bring it to Brahman. So what we do is whenever we have a thought, we think of Brahman. Whenever we have an emotion, we dedicate it to Brahman. Whenever we have a tendency, we bring it back to Brahman. Whenever we face the results of a past action or an action we just did, we think of Brahman. We stabilize ourselves in that Formless Awareness because that Formless Awareness is the only thing that we are dedicating our life towards, and that is Sri Krishna's message. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna is guiding how the yogi calms down the mind and no longer goes according to their desires, and therefore attains that param ananda, that ultimate bliss. Verse 28. Thus, through the constant practice of the yoga, of seeing oneself as the Atman, the yogi becomes calm and goes beyond the reach of all harmful material influences. Now in direct contact with the reality of Brahman the yogi achieves a state of joyfulness that has no limitations. Very beautiful verse. The first part of this verse is: thus, through the constant practice of the yoga, of seeing oneself as the Atman, the yogi becomes calm and beyond the reach of all harmful material influences. By practicing this union of Formless Awareness, one understands what they are. They know they are this Atman alone. They can only be the Atman. They are not, this body and mind. Matter is unreal because it changes, it's impermanent, it's subject to modification, but the Atman does not change. The Atman forever is the same, and this Atman is the same for everybody. Although it appears to be many, it is actually one and that's what we can understand from this part of the verse. Now, naturally, the yogis now calm because there is little movement in the mind, there's hardly any vrittis in the mind. Karma does not have the same effect. Although karma is still doing its own performance, but the yogi is no longer attached to what's happening because it no longer identifies as the body and mind. Now all the harmful material influences no longer reach them. Yes, the senses will see the same things that it used to see, but now because the mind through discernment of understanding what Brahman is and what Brahman is not, what the real is and what the unreal is, once one is able to do that, then no longer can material influences ever reach them. No desires can ever reach them. They appear and they disappear. They're like a cloud that goes across the clear sky of our mind of the Atman. So they're able to remain forever free from those influences. The second part of the verse is: now in direct contact with the reality of Brahman, the yogi achieves a state of joyfulness that has no limitations. Once in contact with Brahman, remember direct contact, not contact that we do by bypassing something or that we have to go through a whole big journey. No, simply by reminding ourselves of neti neti, of not this, not this. Of understanding that we are not this body and mind, but that we are this Formless Awareness that is watching everything, that is watching the speaking of this, the listening of this, the reading of this, in terms of my notes. All this is happening in Formless Awareness, and there's a direct contact before I even read or before I even say something, before I even listen to what I'm saying. Even then before the thoughts are even created. The Formless Awareness is there, unchanged unmoved by what has been done, said, heard, read, or listened to and there there is nothing but ceaseless joy. Why? Because we are in the constant reality of Brahman. What is that reality? Being in Formless awareness and that is the aim of what we all want to achieve. This state of joyfulness that is achieved from being aware of Formless Awareness, by being aware of Brahman, by understanding the Ultimate Reality, by bringing the Ultimate Reality from the background to the forefront of our mind, the forefront of our attention, then that joy has no limitations. Nothing can bind it, nothing can restrict it, nothing can cage it. It will always be free. It will always be limitless. It will have no limit. It is ecstasy beyond any notion of measurement, and that's why when you look into the eyes of a true yogi, you see those eyes of joy. You see those eyes of deep happiness, of deep peace, of deep tranquility, and you forever want to be in their presence and that's the whole purpose of the Bhagavad Gita. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna is explaining how this ceaseless joy is gained through direct contact with the Formless Awareness. And my prayer at the end of this episode is that may we all get into direct contact with Formless Awareness. This is the end of the episode. Please do share this podcast with your friends and family who will enjoy this content and who you feel needs this content today. Do follow me on social media to keep getting updates. My monthly Bearded Mystic newsletter on Substack I will be moving that onto Patreon. Join the Bearded Mystic Podcast WhatsApp group and the details for that are in the show notes and video description below. The Bearded Mystic Podcast Community Group is where we get together and we can ask questions. We share spiritual things that help us to gain more deeper insights into the Truth. As I mentioned, if you like to support the Bearded Mystic Podcast, you can check out the podcast's Patreon page, and there you can see what tier you would like to join that you can afford. Remember when you join and you subscribe to this, it helps the podcast and it then gives me the ability to spend more time on creating spiritual content. The other way you can support the podcast is through Apple podcast subscriptions, which you can find on the Apple Podcast app itself. If you would like to have a one-on-one meeting with me for 30 minutes to discuss your spirituality and I will guide you as a friend. You can discuss your spirituality, discuss any issues you have, things that you may not be comfortable sharing in maybe the community group on WhatsApp or on the meditation session so you can find the details for that in the show notes and video description below. If you would like to please rate and review the podcast on our website, which is www.TheBeardedMysticPodcast.Com. Please do like and comment on this video and subscribe to this YouTube channel. And if you're listening to this on your favorite podcast streaming app, please do like this episode if you can, and also give it a five star rating, and most of all, do follow the podcast. Thank you very much for listening. Let's end with the Soham and Shanti mantra. Soham Soham. I am that. I am that. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti. Aum Peace Peace Peace Namaste.