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Feb. 19, 2023

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 8: Verse 1 - Verse 7)

This episode discusses the 8th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 1 - 7. 

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 with my thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita and before we do begin, there's a few announcements I would like to let you know about. Please give your support to the Bearded Mystic Podcast by signing up to the podcast Patreon page for ad free and bonus episodes and other benefits depending on the tier that you select. Details are in the show notes and video description below. Other ways to get bonus episodes is through Supercast and buzzsprout subscriptions. Or alternatively, if you listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, streaming app, through Apple subscriptions, you can get ad-free and bonus episodes on there too. That is on the app itself.

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00 AM Eastern Standard Time, there is a free virtual meditation session along with discussion. If you would like to join, you can find the details in the show notes and read the description below if you're interested in meditating. If you have any questions, you can ask them in the new series, Direct and Unfiltered with the Bearded Mystic. More information is in the show notes and video description below. Please do like, comment, and subscribe if you're watching this on YouTube. If you're listening to this podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app, please give this podcast a five star rating and do review the podcast, and most of all do follow or subscribe to get future episodes. Today we will be beginning with chapter eight and we'll be looking at verses 1 to verse 7. I'm gonna read the first two verses together. Verse one.

Arjuna said:

O Purusha Uttama ‘Ultimate Person.’ What is Brahman? What is adhyatma? What is karma? What is adhibhuta? What is adhidaiva? Who is Adhiyajna? Where does Adhiyajna reside within the body? How is a dedicated yogi to meditate upon Adhiyajna at the moment of the death of their body? These are some questions that Arjuna has for Sri Krishna to answer, and the next couple of verses are to answer those questions. Let's discover the answers that Sri Krishna gives. Verse three.

Sri Bhagavan said:

The Immortal, Imperishable and always brilliant Supreme Reality from which everything arises and within which it exists is called Brahman. That immortal being who resides in the body is known as Adhyatma. Karma is the reaction generated by the atma’s use of free will, by which they put in motion the chains of cause and effect that manifest from life to life. So let's look at the first part of the verse. One, the Immortal imperishable, and always brilliant Supreme Reality from which everything arises and within which it exists is called Brahman. So here Sri Krishna is telling Arjuna, what is Brahman? Who is Brahman? How can we relate to Brahman? And this is the ultimate answer. Now if you want to understand that what is higher or what is the only thing it would be Brahman. Now let's discover this answer a bit more. This Brahman is Immortal. Why? Because it doesn't change. It doesn't go through any process of modification. Therefore, it's Immortal. It's also Immortal because it has no beginning and it has no death. This Brahman is Immortal also because it has never been born and will never die. It is imperishable because it is Formless. It's not made of any substance, therefore, it's beyond being perished. It is always brilliant because it's, it's radiance is for eternity. The radiant light of Brahman is forever. The reason why we have the ability to perceive things is due to Brahman, so that radiance is what allows us to experience all of this beauty. This Brahman does not belong to time, hence Immortal. It is the most supreme reality, nothing is before it, and there is no second to it. It is the ground of existence so of Sat-Chit-Ananda. It is the true Sat, that base of existence and the most supreme reality. There is no reality beyond this, nor any reality that is secondary to this. This is the most supreme reality. Maya has its reflection because of Brahman alone. Without Brahman, there is no Maya, there is no existence. So Consciousness is what gives rise to existence. Without us being aware of this existence, this existence wouldn't exist. And even if it doesn't exist, we don't need to talk about it because it doesn't exist. So we have to understand that this Maya, this reflected Consciousness is there because of Consciousness. So this Brahman is within the whole of existence, in a constant state of oneness. So don't see Brahman as something separate, but something infused within life, infused within existence. Everywhere you look, everything you see, perceive hear, taste, smell, everything is of the essence of Brahman. Do not feel that Brahman is something separate to life. It literally is life Itself.

Then Sri Krishna says:

That Immortal being who resides in the body, is known as Adhyatma. So some people may recall this as the jiva, but basically this Adhyatma is that Witness Consciousness within us, that Eternal Consciousness within us, that Continuous Observer within us, that observer that does not change. And as I mentioned, we may consider this to be the jiva because it's the jiva that goes from one life form to another, but also it's what we are, and this jiva is none other than Brahman. Then Sri Krishna answers the question about Karma, so he says, Karma is the reaction generated by the Atman's use of free will, by which they're put in motion the chains of cause and effect that manifests from life to life. Sri Krishna here explains Karma very simply. There's no complication in this. It's very, very simple. The reaction of any action we do is generated by the mind's use of free will. We are given the free will to act the way we want to. In one way, the choices of action may be restricted. However, we will choose through our discernment what action to take. Hence, it becomes our karma. Now, the mind perceives that it has free will. So we have to understand this. It is the mind that believes that it has free will perceives that it has free will. Therefore, it makes the choices. Although there is an awareness behind those choices that are made. Now due to it thinking that it's the doer, it sets the motion of cause and effect. So the moment you think this body and mind is the doer of all actions, that is when you will then accumulate all that Karma. But if you say that you are not the doer, and actually the doer is Brahman itself. What happens then is the doer changes. We become the non doer, the body and mind, and the doer becomes Brahman. And that way, what happens is we end up doing selfless service because we do not want anything in return. These reactions go from one life to the next. It's these actions which carry on from one lifetime to another. These are stored up in the jiva or in the adhyatma. So whatever we do will have an effect, maybe not in this life, but it may have an effect in the next life. And certainly we can observe in our own lives now, certain things that happened to us, which makes no sense, there's no reason for those things to happen. In Vedanta, what it says is very simple. This has come from the jiva. This is karma, from your past life. Now you can actually untie that knot and get rid of that karma by just being the observer and not reacting towards it. And if there is a reaction, it's a reaction that benefits many rather than becoming a hindrance or becoming suffering for others or for the many. Karma, as I mentioned, is generated because we think we are the body and mind. The moment we understand that we are the jiva, that we are the Atman, there will be no sticking of doership. That doership is not, for example, even though we may say that Brahman does everything, that Brahman does not become the 'I am the doer', even then, because all you do is remain as the Witness Conciousness. ' So the context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna is answering the first three questions of what is Brahman, what is adhyatma and what is Karma? So remember essentially that Brahman is that supreme ultimate reality that is Immortal. That does not change in any way. It's within everything that exists. And therefore, everywhere we look, everywhere we go, it is an act of worship towards the divine. Likewise, we need to know that the Immortal being within the body is the adhyatma, the jiva, and that it is karma that has been created from many lives that is stored up in the Jiva and the Jiva's primary goal is to address those issues and be free from them. And that is called jivan-mukti. Verse 4. Adhibhuta is the totality of prakriti ‘the realm of matter’ functioning as a single cosmic being whose body is the entire universe. Adhidaiva is the Supreme Being who is pervading the entire universe. Adhiyajna is Me, present in the hridaya ‘heart’ of every living being from where I receive all offerings of love and adoration. Let's break this verse up very quickly. Adhibhuta is the totality of prakriti ‘the realm of matter’ functioning as a single cosmic being whose body is the entire universe. When we see the whole universe or manifestation, we can see as the Shared Being or the Ground of Existence, and that is called Adhibhuta. That is the totality of Prakriti, the totality of the universe and that single cosmic being, we can even call that Saguna Brahman or Ishwara , really is up to us how we want to refer that to. The important thing here is to see that there is oneness in nature. There is not a duality in nature. So although there is diversity, there is a single thread of unity within it all. That is ultimately the way we are meant to look at this.

The next part:

Adhidaiva is the Supreme Being who is pervading the entire universe. The subtle energy that pervades the entire universe is the Adhidaiva that is the Supreme Being. So again, it's very similar to the Saguna Brahman, or Ishwara or the personal God. We can see that as the Adhidaiva, the the First Being, so to speak. And Adhiyajna is Me, present in the hridaya ‘heart’ of every living being from where I receive all offerings of love and adoration. So Adhiyajna is Brahman that is present in the heart of everyone. So remember the Adhyatma is within everyone, the Jiva is within everyone. Therefore any offering you give to others, any help you offer to others, any time that you're there for others, that is Adhiyajna. When you devote every action to Brahman, that is Adhiyajna. When you see Brahman in the heart of everyone automatically that feeling of love and devotion arises where you want to serve others and you are kind. You are nice, you are pleasant to be around. People want to be around you. Nobody has any issues about who you are as a person. Your behavior is, you know, completely on par with the scriptures. This is the point. Remember on our podcast, what we discuss here is how there has to be a synchronicity between the teachings and your life. If you are just looking at these as teachings that are just meant to be put up as a poster or something to just memorize and discuss, that is not where it ends. The true discussion, the true understanding occurs when we fully implement it into our lives. So these these values that are there within each and every one of us, within each and every heart has to be explored, and we have to always be in the remembrance of this One and therefore, we have to understand that our behavior has to reflect this One. Now every prayer uttered from the heart goes to the same heart where Brahman is. So there's no separation here. We are not praying to some other entity. You're praying to Brahman itself. It's kind of like Brahman, praying to Brahman. It literally is that type of thing. But what we have to understand here is that we have to have compassion. We have to have empathy. This is the number one thing to understand from these verses. And this Adhiyajna is always available, always present. Therefore, always offer whatever you can to the divine. Well, what I mean by that is not money or material things, I am on about your feelings, your remembrance, your thinking, devote as much as possible towards Brahman. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna guides how Brahman is infused within nature, yet, it is all one cosmic wholeness, one cosmic oneness. Then verse 5. And at the final moment of leaving the body, anyone who remembers only Me is removed from the process of reincarnation and achieves moksha. They are reinstated in their original nature like My own, and come to live in My Brahman abode of this there is no doubt. So we are going to look at the whole verse altogether because it's a pretty epic verse. First of all, we have to establish here that this requires incredible practice. Do not expect it to be easy. Do not expect that, oh, just because you've listen to this podcast or you've taken that wisdom of the Divine, that now suddenly you'll be fine. No. Or you have complete faith even that's not going to be enough because the one thing which we all fear is death. Now, how can we conquer that fear is the question. So the one thing to do here, especially when we are about to leave the body is to ensure that our viveka is strong, our discernment is strong between the Real and the unreal. This has to be concrete. This has to be firmly established. Do not take my words lightly here. You have to be completely strong, completely convinced that the only reality is Brahman, that there is only Formless Awareness. You have to be really convinced. So our discernment has to be fully utilized, it has to be fully concrete in the Real. It is a must that our intellect and instinct have fully immersed themselves into Brahman. So our intellect and instinct has to be transcended into that divine intelligence, which is always here, that divine intelligence, which transcends the intellect and instinct. Instinct we can say we've transcended. How do we transcend the intellect? This again is through the discernment of the Real and the unreal of Sat and Asat. But another way is when we read the scriptures and instead of just answering it intellectually, we need to get to that point where we exhaust the intellect and have to transcend. So this is a must. For example, the way to do that is read a Zen koan, read poetry by Kabir ji, or read any text, read a line from the Ashtavakra Gita. These things will help you transcend the intellect When it comes to the final breath, what do we remember? Our true self or everything related to the body and mind? What is it that we need to remember? What is it that we need to be in touch with? Do we go back to the subject of Consciousness, of Formless Awareness? Or do we go back to the objects of Formless Awareness, of Consciousness? Sri Krishna is very clear that whoever remembers this Formless Awareness attains moksha, mukti. He's guaranteeing it here. He says, anyone who remembers only Me, remember that 'Me' means Brahman, Nirguna Brahman. The Formless Awareness is removed from the process of reincarnation and achieves moksha. So you know all these weird doctrines that have been created by people like ISKCON that say, you will go to Vrindavan. This verse debunks all their claims because it's right here that Sri Krishna talks about freedom, moksha, mukti. So Sri Krishna is confirming here that they are removed from the process of reincarnation. They are not going to come back onto this Earth. They're not going to come back into this universe. In fact, they understand that their Shared Being is the universe, there has been no separation from the very beginning, if there was the beginning. So they've completely removed the ignorance. They're no longer see themselves as an object of Consciousness or that they are this body and mind. They understand that they are the subject. They are Formless Awareness, they are Pure Consciousness. They are aware of all this Now, someone may say, well, what about bad people? What about if they at the last breath, they remember Brahman? What happens to them? Are they also going to achieve liberation? Are they going to achieve mukti, freedom? Will their process of reincarnation end? No. If you remember, someone's intellect has to be strengthened in this. If one is committing acts of suffering, meaning acts that cause suffering, paap, there is no way that person is going to get mukti. No way! Will they remember Brahman at the last minute? I highly doubt that if it's difficult for people to remember Brahman in the waking state, how are they going to remember Brahman at the final breath? The one thing they'd be thinking about is the, the, maybe the issues they've created or what they were not able to achieve because they wanted others to suffer and that, and that suffering never happened. these are the things that we have to think about. You know, some people try to be smart and say, and say, well, does this mean that if you are an absolute horrible person, you'll get mukti if you think of Brahman at the last minute, I'm saying it's impossible that they would think of Brahman at the last minute. It just will not happen. Only those people who are good, who have been practicing this message, who have been discerning completely, who have made their viveka strong, only they will attain mukti, and they are reinstated in their original nature, meaning that the Jiva realizes it's Brahman, that ignorance is removed completely, that they are something separate. Jivo Brahmaiva naparah. Yeah, the Jiva and Brahman is one and the same. They enter the same original nature that Sri Krishna is, and they live in that Brahman as that Brahman. Remember Sri Krishna is Brahman. There's no difference between the two. They're One. Many people think Krishna is a body and mind, hence, they fail to understand the Bhagavad Gita. You understand that Sri Krishna is Formless Awareness, is Nirguna Brahman. Hence, you know that you will enter the same original nature. Again, this is aligned. This is a verse that goes against everything that ISKCON and all the people that believe in that type of philosophy are completely wrong in their interpretation of this. Whether that purpose they have serves something. I'm not saying the, you know, I'm not, I'm not talking about that. I'm just saying that this verse, these lines tells you that you will attain the same original nature as Krishna. You are one and the same as Krishna and that you were always living in Brahman as Brahman, but now you understand this completely because you've completely made sure that any time could be your last breath and you are to be in the remembrance of Brahman at all times. All you do is think of Brahman. You commit to your daily activities, you live a very normal life. But in the back of the mind there is a constant remembrance of Brahman. In the center of the heart, there is a constant remembrance of Brahman. You are always doing this. So Sri Krishna states, there is no doubt about this. It is certain. So do not think that this is 1% chance. This is 100% Sri Krishna is giving his guarantee to you, so enjoy that guarantee. Take in that guarantee. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna guides us on how important it is to train spiritually so that at the time of death we remember Brahman. So remember, from now until the last breath, this is our training. Remember Brahman as much as possible. And if you're in that remembrance, remember your virtues, your deeds will represent that. Remember that Verse six. Whatever state of being one envisions through smaranam ‘remembrance’ at the time of leaving their body, determines their next state of being and the destination to which they will be transported for their next birth. So what if somebody does not remember Brahman at the last breath. What if somebody has not trained their viveka as much? What happens to them? This is what Sri Krishna is talking about. So whatever state you, you are in, so you become. If you remember Brahman, you become Brahman. If you remember Formless Awareness, you become Formless Awareness. If you think you are the body and mind, you will enter another body and mind. If you think you are a deva, you'll enter a deva. So whatever state you're in, so you become. Whatever you think you are, so you become. whatever you worry about, you'll come back to resolve this very issue. If you have attachment, you'll come back onto this earth to resolve those attachments. Therefore, for a Gyani Bhakt, we have to always be in the remembrance of Formless Awareness. We have no other choice. On this podcast, that's what we focus on. Not everyone will have time to prepare for death, so we have to make Brahman our very own nature. We can't make it something else. We can't make it as an add-on. We have to make it the subject, the complete software. So we have to completely embody Brahman. Whatever our last thought is will determine the next state of being. This is the reaction emanating from Karma. So remember that any movement, whether that's thought or through this physical body, remember that will determine everything. Make sure our actions are pure, our thoughts are pure. We are caring for others, loving towards others, kind towards others. We are thinking more doing punya activities rather than paap activities. Those are the things we need to consider. Or alternatively devote everything as a yajna to the divine. Very simple, a simple remembrance to do. Be wise and strengthen your intellect as your next life, or your transcendence depends on it. And this is very true. Now you've listened to this. You cannot turn around and say, you've not been told. You know what the expectation is. You know what you need to do. Stabilize yourself in Brahman and remember Brahman at all times. That's all you have to do. Be completely still in Brahman. Be completely connected in Brahman. Do not look anywhere else because there is no anywhere else. There is only Brahman. There's only Formless Awareness. So the context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna instructs us on what to remember at the time of death, and so we must remain in the awareness of Formless Awareness. Then verse seven. Therefore, always remember Me through yogic smaranam. With your manas and buddhi completely focused upon Me, fight on behalf of dharma, acting for the well-being of all. In this way, you will come to Me without a doubt. So the first part of the verse is, therefore, always remember me through yogic smaranam. Yogic Smaranam is basically remaining in awareness of Formless Awareness. This we must do at all times. This we do not have a choice about. As Sri Krishna says 'always remember'. So there's no condition here of mostly remember, do a bit today, do a bit tomorrow. No. Always remember. Now, what does it mean by yogic smaranam, that union? How do we do that? Well, every act that you have, every thought that you have, just have that Formless Awareness in the background. Do everything you need to do in life but remember Brahman in the background. That's all you have to do. You have a thought, at the end of having a thought, remember Brahman. After you complete an action. Remember Brahman, that's all you have to do. The last thing you do before you go to bed, remember Brahman. First thing you remember when you wake up, remember Brahman. That is yogic smaranam. That's all. Just be in continuous awareness. Then the second part of the verse is With your manas and buddhi completely focused upon Me, fight on behalf of dharma, acting for the well-being of all. In this way, you will come to Me without a doubt. With the mind-heart, with the intellect, we must be completely focused on Brahman. So that's understood. Formless Awareness has to be the complete focus. On behalf of dharma. Meaning for am moksha. Dharma does not mean fighting for a religion or a religious identity. Only fools think that way. That's just like one tiny part. One tiny part. The complete aspect is that every action we do is for our mukti, for our liberation. That is the real result. If we are still coming back on this earth, that means we've not completed what we are meant to do. You want to fight for dharma? You want to get rid of hinduphobia? Show your liberation. Show your jivan-mukti. That is the way. You want to show that our religion has the way out, through the way in. Show them. Instead, what we are doing is just talking points. going on social media and just talking about all this without doing any of the sadhana. So that's what we need to understand. Every action we do must be for the wellbeing of all. It has to support everyone. Think of what we are supporting, think of what we are doing. Is it there for everybody?. Every action we do, are we thinking about the wellbeing of all or is it just for the wellbeing of our community, of our people? Or are we thinking about everybody, even those that dislike us? Are we even thinking on that level? That's that's the thing we have to think about. So it has to support everyone. It has to. Dharma is not cultural, but the very base of our spiritual understanding. Understand this to be Dharma. Anyone who is just dharmic by name and form is not dharmic at all. when Sri Krishna says, fight on behalf of dharma, fight on the base of your (mukti) freedom. If you're fighting based on some identity that you have, you are restricted. Your vision is blurry, limited shortsighted. Expand your vision, expand the vastness, experience the vastness and understand that Dharma is freedom. When you are free from everything that restricts human beings to this prakriti, transcend prakriti. So anything you are aware of is prakriti, nature, transcend it. Like I said anyone can label themselves. Dharmic, show your Dharma through your very being, and nothing can threaten someone who is established in Dharma. No one can even move a single hair in their body. There is that much conviction. There is that much strength. That person is undefeatable. That person is invincible. That person who is always thinking of everyone, who is always for freedom. And nor does dharma threaten or fight back unnecessarily. If you are in freedom, you will not threaten people, threaten other groups. , neither will you fight back unnecessarily. Why would you? There's no need to. So for dharma to win, we have to win over our mind and intellect and establish it in Brahman. Simple as that. This is the way to moksha. This is the way to freedom, to liberation, to jivanmukti. This is what we have to do. This is the expectation. This is what Sri Krishna means when he says, fight for dharma, not some other concocted weird explanation or interpretation to support our ignorance. Understand what Sri Krishna is, and then understand his vision. So we will be one with Brahman. There is no doubt about this, but what we need to do is understand that if there is only Brahman and you are fighting for a limited identity that shows your limitation and that you've not expanded beyond prakriti, you are that witness consciousness, that vast, immense quality of Brahman. You are That. So be That. The context of the whole verse is that Sri Krishna tells us how it is important to have the mind-heart, and intellect established in Awareness as this is the strength of dharma. So that is the end of the episode. Please share this podcast with your friends and family who may enjoy this content. Do follow me on social media to keep getting updates. Join the Bearded Mystic WhatsApp community group to continue the podcast discussion details are in the show notes and video description below. If you would like to support the Bearded Mystic Podcast, do check out the podcast Patreon page details in the show notes and video description below. Please do give this podcast a five star rating and review the podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app, or on www.thebeardedmysticpodcast.com. Please do like and comment on this video and subscribe to this YouTube channel, and please follow or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app. Thank you very much for listening. Let's end this with the Soham and Shanti mantra. Soham. Soham. I am That. I am That. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti Aum Peace Peace Peace Namaste