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April 2, 2023

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 8: Verse 23 - Verse 28)

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This episode discusses the 8th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 23 - 28. 

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. But before, we do begin, there's a few announcements I would like to make. Please do give your support to the Bearded Mystic Podcast Patreon page, where you can get ad-free and bonus episodes and other benefits depending on the tiers that you select. Details are in the show notes and video description below. Other ways to support the podcast is through SuperCast or Buzzsprout subscriptions or Apple podcast subscriptions.

On Saturdays at 11:

00 AM Eastern Standard Time, there is a free virtual meditation session along with Q and A and discussion, please find the details in the show notes and video description below. Please do like, comment and subscribe on this video if you're watching it on YouTube, and if you're listening to this on your favorite podcast streaming app, please do give this podcast a five star rating. And most of all do write your review if you can, and do follow the podcast, or subscribe to get future episodes. Today we'll be looking at chapter eight, verses 23 to 28. Let's start with verse 23. And now Arjuna, I will explain the times of the year that are favorable or unfavorable for yogis to leave their body and to successfully leave the realm of Prakriti and reenter the transcendental realm of Brahman. We're gonna look at this as a complete verse, and there's nothing much to explain here, but something that we could possibly gain in terms of metaphorically. First of all, Sri Krishna is going to provide Arjuna with some answers on when yogis leave their body and what happens when it comes to the death of the body. How can we leave the body in the best way possible? But I will say to you and I will add that you can do this voluntarily. If you realize and fully abide in this, Formless Awareness and you understand that you are Formless Awareness, leaving this body will be something that you can choose to do if you wish so. That is what they say. Whether this is true or not, I don't know. Obviously I'm still here so I can't verify this, but what I can say is based on some of the things that I've read, it seems that yogis do have that opportunity to do so where they can leave their body when they wish to. The only thing I would like to add is, and, and this is where my warning kind of comes in, there is a lot of people that have claimed that they will die before they actually do. Or they die. Uh, yeah, they die much before, they claim. So for example, Satya Sai Baba is well known for saying that he will live till, some long age. I, I can't remember exactly, but he died before he was meant to. And so yeah, people may forecast things, and to me, if you believe in someone because they can forecast these things and then they miserably fail, well, they don't really have that vision then, and they obviously didn't choose to die. The other thing is, for example, there's another guru called Ashutosh Maharaj. He apparently had a heart attack, but his followers believe he's in Samadhi and they have him locked up in a freezer because they believe he'll come back to his body again. Now, for me, this shows incredible lack of insight. Not only that, but also lack of discernment and intellect when we do certain things like that. And also it shows that we are too attached to a human form. The teacher, the master, always shows us something beyond what this limited frame is. So for example, in the Bhagavad Gita we know that Sri Krishna will show his virat roop, his, his vast form, that vast shared being to Arjuna. Now if Arjuna still gets attached to the human form of Sri Krishna, then he's not really gained anything. He's not really learned anything. This is something we can grasp and something I wanted to talk about when we, we are looking at death here in, in these verses. We have to leave this realm of nature and we have to reenter our true self or realize we have never left this realm of Brahman as it is everywhere and has no specific location. This is mainly for people like me who want jivanmukti, who do not want to come back on this earth and redo this whole journey again. I say this in the sense of I'm very happy with life. I'm very content with life. I don't have anything that I wanna change. So for me, my whole goal is jivanmukti. Now, if that's the case, I'm gonna see everything in a different way. I'm gonna see things in a different light. So even right here I see things in terms of how Nirguna Brahman should be perceived and seeing the text accordingly. I'm giving you an insight into the way I'm thinking. Let's listen to what Sri Krishna has to say about when one has to leave their body and let's see if we agree. And let's have a discussion about it. Tell me what you think. I mean, are you amazed by people who claim that they can leave their bodies at any time? Or do you think that's all hogwash? Uh, well, you know, what do you think I'm interested? I don't, I actually don't judge people by their views. If you believe in it, you believe in it. I mean, I don't really care, but what I can say is that the, this, we still do not understand the fullness of this universe. So that's why I will never say, never to anything, but I will say that I will always doubt something unless I've experienced it or if I care to doubt for it. So, for example, if I wish to entertain it. For some things, I don't really care. And you know, people claiming they can leave their body whenever they want and then they don't. Well, we all know what we can call those people. Verse 24. Those yogis who know Brahman and leave their body during the day in the fortnight from New Moon to Full Moon, and when the sun travels in the north from the winter solstice to the summer solstice, which is known as a time when fire and light rule the sky, go immediately to Brahman and are not ever forced to return to rebirth within matter. This is the one verse for me. That's all I need to consider and the only thing I need to care about. First of all, leaving the body during the day means in the light of knowledge, you have fully understood what this knowledge of Brahman is. And you're fully gone into the insights into Brahman and you're fully abiding Formless Awareness. That's what it means by leaving the body during the day. So there's no darkness of ignorance. You're always in the light of that knowledge. In the light of that wisdom, in the light of viveka, of discernment of the Real and the unreal. Then it means that they're in total illumination or luminosity of Brahm Gyana. So the insights into Brahman, and that's completely what you view and visualize and perceive throughout your whole experience of life. The New Moon to Full Moon is to indicate the beginning of the journey, like maturing to completing one's realization. There's a maturity that actually does occur, a spiritual maturity. Whenever I've seen realized beings, that I consider realized, there's always a playfulness, there's a seriousness, but there's a playfulness and they kind of are a bit self-deprecating. They joke around, they, they're not so serious, but there is a spiritual maturity. So when you see them, when you're in their company, you experience their love their compassion. You see that they have this deep understanding. You ask them a question and they give you an amazing answer that you're just satisfied with, and that's what I mean. And this is also further indicated through the solstice, as the sun is ascending higher, so whenever the sun is ascending higher, that's also meaning that our spirituality is rising and those yogis who follow the light of awareness will ascend to the fullness of Formless Awareness or Nirguna Brahman, this is automatically known. You're no longer going to be living in that state of ignorance. You always are gonna live in that full luminosity of Truth. They attain complete liberation and they will never return to pathy. They will not need to return to nature. Nature will not be able to contain them. In fact, it gets to that point. So one can consider that this verse is hinting towards the complete establishment in Brahman, as Brahman, and Brahman is the only thing that that person knows. Verse 25. On the other hand, those yogis who know Brahman, but leave their body at night in the dark fortnight from full Moon to New Moon and when the sun travels in the south, from the summer solstice to the winter solstice, when smoke and darkness rule the sky are reborn once again within Prakriti in order to complete their yogic practice. Again, we'll look at this as a whole verse. Now, this means that these yogis know Brahman, they are, they have some familiarity with It. There's some association with It. They've read the scriptures, they have something that they can relate to. Despite that, they're still in the darkness of ignorance, hence it is allegorically said to leave at night. So despite them having some sort of wisdom, some sort of knowledge, maybe they've heard about Brahman, maybe they've read the scriptures, but not fully understood what Brahman is. Maybe they've not fully abided in Brahman. So what happens is they leave at night, they're still living in that darkness of ignorance. They're still in that ignorance in the sense of they still do not know what their True Self is completely. They may know it, but they don't feel it completely. So, you know, they're not completely convinced because they still relate to prakriti on some level. Then it says from Full Moon to New Moon indicates that one is always in Formless Awareness. But we start associating ourselves in the ignorance of body mind identity. Even though we know that there is Formless Awareness, we cannot deny this fact, but we don't fully want to abide in that Formless Awareness. We're still identifying as the body and mind. Now what I mean here is someone who knows Brahman and abides in Brahman, like in the previous verse in verse 24, they will still function as body and mind, but they will not identify as body and mind. Here, they will still identify with body and mind. So naam and roop is still something they will be going towards. Raga and dvesha is something they will still be going towards. So attractions and aversions, they will still be going through that whole process because they're still doing their work, they're still doing their discernment. They're doing everything necessary to transcend. Smoke and darkness. Smoke, what I would guess from that is the smoke tends to be mist or kind of fog. That indicates a lack of vision, or full clarity is not attained, is what I would gather from that. There's still this cloudiness that is there, there's this haziness that is there. That still hasn't allowed us to establish ourselves in Nirguna Brahman. One is given another opportunity to complete their yogic practice so they will be reborn into nature for the final time. This is a guarantee that, they'll be only reborn once again in order to complete their yogic practice. That's if all goes well. The other thing I wanted to mention from the summer solstice to the winter solstice in the previous verse, they mention from winter solstice to the summer solstice. What that means. Winter, meaning there's more hours of darkness, and then summer you have more hours of light. That's all that means. You go from darkness to light. Now, in the other sense, in the other way is it's like a descending. You know the truth, but because there's no full illumination, you still end up descending into less hours in the light. You're more in the dark. That's what that means. and I hope that helps. That person, that yogi will be reborn into nature for the final time. Then verse 26. These are the two paths leading to two different


one of light and one of darkness. Following one path, the yogi returns to prakriti for one final birth. Following the other path, one is not forced to return to prakriti again. Let's break this up a little. These are the two paths leading to two different one of light and one of darkness. We know the path leads to two different destinations. We know that each path has its own destination and we get to choose which destination we want to go for. Now, one is to the full luminosity of Nirguna Brahman, which is what people like me want to go for, and the other is back into the darkness of the world where we identify with the body mind complex, we still haven't been able to transcend fully into the full luminosity of Truth. That's all. So there's one of light and one of darkness. We get to pick which one we want, and we get to choose and we get to define what we want at the end. Then the next part of the verse is following one path, the yogi returns to Prakriti for one final birth. So this is what happens if we are not fully realized. If we are still abiding as name and form, we will come back. Simple as that as I mentioned before, and this is in relation to verse 25 as well. If we are still held by desires, our vasanas, our tendencies, our karma, then we have to address it with nature. It's only on this earth can we address those points and observe them and transcend them. It is through nature we transcend and it is through nature that we are bound. We have to understand this unique relationship we have with prakriti. We can utilize prakriti to remove prakriti. That's how incredible it can be. Or we can get more bound by prakriti because we think that is all there is. We have to make prakriti work for us. It will work for us when we know that, okay, we are gonna do as much as we can in this life, but in the next life I'm going to transcend it. The next life is gonna be my final birth. Then the next part of the verse is following the other path, one is not forced to return to prakriti again. This is in relation to verse 24. This is complete realization. We can establish that we fully abide as Formless Awareness. That is the only thing we do. We are always in the awareness of Formless Awareness. It is unbreakable. It is not blemished or mixed in any way. It remains steadfast and still. Our desires are dissolved into awareness. Our vasanas are addressed and again, get dissolved into awareness and we no longer hold onto the fruits of our actions. Therefore, there is no reward to live through. Hence, no karma. We transcend prakriti completely as we no longer identify as a body mind complex, and we are fully abiding as Nirguna Brahman, Formless Awareness. That is the end goal. Verse 27. By understanding these two paths, a yogi is never bewildered. Therefore, oh Arjuna, remain disciplined and steady in yoga under all circumstances. Let's break this up again. By understanding these two paths, a yogi is never bewildered. Once the yogi knows what is expected and fully comprehends what needs to be done, there is no confusion. There's no confusion left. There's no need to be confused. What is there to be confused about? All knowledge is shown. We have that light of the intellect, we have that light of viveka to shine upon those objects, which we can then understand. Once we understand the two paths, a yogi can never be confused. You know what you want and that's it. Once you know what you want, that's it, you're gonna go for it. A Yogi cannot claim to be shocked at the process. Oh, I didn't know this. Well, if anyone has even listened to this verse and has somewhat understood it, you can't turn around and be like, oh, I never knew. No, you now are accountable. Like today, I've read it. Well, I, I obviously, , I obviously had planned this episode before, so I have been accountable since that day. I can't turn around and say, well, I didn't know this, and yet there's a podcast recording, which obviously shows that I know about it. I have to hold myself accountable, so I can't claim either to have ignorance about it and I know where I need to direct my actions. I know where I need to direct my focus. I know where I need to direct my attention. A yogi is never bewildered. You know that this is what's gonna happen. If you haven't fully attained, you got one final birth that will be coming up. But if you can attain and be in the full awareness of Formless Awareness, you will not have to live another day in another birth. You can live another day in this birth, but not another birth. That's up to you. You don't, you, you're not forced to come back as the previous verse said, you don't have to, you're not forced to come back into prakriti. You may make that choice to do so, and mind you, you will never lose your ignorance. But what is the point? That's the question you gotta ask. Then the next part of the verse is: Therefore, O Arjuna, remain disciplined and steady in yoga under all circumstances. Sri Krishna here is really guiding Arjuna that he must remain disciplined. Discipline is really important. So what is discipline? Let's look into that because how do you remain in that discipline? First of all what to be disciplined about? A lot of people think discipline is about being, is about having good behavior. Like, oh, that child is well disciplined because they don't shout. Well, you don't know what's going on in their mind. They could be shouting at you in their mind, and in my opinion, that does not show discipline. Discipline is this where not only are you shant and peaceful on the outside, you also are shant and peaceful on the inside. It shouldn't be that there's a contradiction or a duality where that creates more and more issues in the future. It can cause disassociation where you may have a split personality. That's why, in my opinion, only come onto the path of spirituality if you really wanna do it. Like if you really want to at attain jivanmukti. If you just wanna be half bothered about it, you'll get some merits, but it can cause confusion for your mind. And what I mean by this is you gotta get outta duality. If you think that living a material life, you can be something else and be and go to the mandir, or go to the Gurdwara, or go to a church, or go to a mosque or go anywhere, a monastery. and then pretend to be spiritual. It's not gonna work. That's what I mean. There's gotta be no pretense is what I wanna say. Not necessarily that you have to choose between the two. I'm saying infuse spirituality in all aspects of life instead of seeing life and spirituality are separate. Let's go into what discipline is. Discipline doesn't mean that you just obey commands and act like good moral people like I mentioned. A lot of people think that's what discipline means, and that's what I call spiritual ignorance. They just don't know what it really is. If it's just about obeying commands, well join the army, there's no need to join a spiritual path. The reason why I say that is a spiritual path is not about obeying commands. It's about understanding what the Guru is teaching or the text is teaching, questioning it so you fully understand, and then practicing the teachings. It's not about just saying yes, that's a nonsense way. That's that's a very spiritually childish, immature way of seeing discipline. Discipline here means that there is a continuous process of discernment. Now that discipline means the intellect is fully trained to know what is real and what is unreal. That process of discernment is this, that whenever somebody's confused in life, they just need to go back to that discernment. Well, what is real? I am this Witness Consciousness that is real, because that does not change. That awareness within me is never changing. Oh, what is unreal? What is that which changes? My circumstances change, my taste change, my body changes, my thoughts change, my culture changes. Everything is bound to change that is in prakriti, that is made from nature. If I know that, then whenever I'm going through a situation, I can then see it through the eyes of that discernment. Well, what is real? If I'm angry about something will my anger subside? Yes. Okay. Say you're unhappy with your spouse and you get angry at your spouse, or you get angry at your parents, or you get angry at your kids, or you get angry at your friends. Yeah. You get angry at someone. Then the next minute you find out that you've won the lottery, what happens to your anger then? You will stop being angry and you'll be elated. So that shows that one state of mind in terms of emotions is not real, is ultimately unreal. But remember the one, the one that is observing and is aware of both the anger and the elation is real because that does not change. So that's what we do in a situation like that. When we are angry at someone, we look at that state and we say, well, is this for real? Like, is this gonna change at any point? And when you know that it's going to change because you have memory that suggests to you that it does change, you become aware of the memory, you become aware of the anger, you become aware of the solution, you go back to awareness, and you remain in awareness. That is the method. That is discipline. That's what discipline is. Yeah. Once you are in awareness, then discipline is about remaining in Formless. Awareness, yeah. Staying and abiding in Formless Awareness. That is discipline. That's what it really means. It has nothing to do with the body mind. If it's about the body and mind, then I'm afraid, uh, I'm not entertaining it here. You can go to other, teachers, they'll entertain it. You can go to people that say you need to do these austerities and all this. You can go to them, but for me, it's more important to understand, to remain and abide in awareness and to transcend body and mind. So one needs to be steady in the union with Brahman and in every type of circumstances by utilizing that method that I talked about earlier and in the highs and lows, in the great or the bad times. One is to remain steady in yoga that is discipline. So no matter what is happening in life, no matter whether one is going through the greatest times or the times where it's absolutely depressing, we have to remain steady in yoga. That's the way. Then verse 28. By knowing this process the yogi goes beyond the study of the Vedas, beyond offering yajna to the devas, beyond the performance of tapasya and other methods of personal perfection and beyond, dana 'the distribution of the benefits of material life to those in need'. Surpassing all these indirect processes, the perfected yogi goes directly to the supreme and ultimate abode of Brahman. Wonderful verse, one again, which we have to really understand and it's interesting that what Sri Krishna is, is advising is what a lot of people in Hinduism, in Sanatana Dharma are not understanding. They're not understanding this one point, they think it's all about doing these yajnas, doing all this tapasya, doing chanting mantras, doing all these type of things. That's what they think one needs to do but Sri Krishna obviously is saying something else. But anyway, let's break this verse up a little and let's go into it. By knowing this process, the yogi goes beyond the study of the vedas, beyond offering yajna to the devas, beyond the performance of tapasya and other methods of personal perfection, and beyond dana ‘the distribution of the benefits of material life to those in need’ This is very important to understand. So one can study the Vedas, there's no problem with that, but one needs to transcend it because Formless Awareness is a complete practice. It's not something to just read and chant, chant alone. You know, it's not about just reading the Vedas or chanting the mantras from the Vedas and thinking, oh, we now know this ultimate reality. No, it's about being this Formless Awareness. It's about being that ultimate reality. Just reading alone will not get you there. Um, studying is necessary, but it's beyond the study. It is even beyond providing offerings to the devas. So this yoga is beyond that as well. As I mentioned, devas in the sense of the, the elements that sustain life, you know, we have to go beyond that too. And it's even beyond the performance of tapasya because that's only for the body and mind. Therefore, it has nothing to do with the yoga of Brahman. It's not got nothing to do with the yoga with Brahman, the union with Formless, Awareness, and this is true for any spiritual practice. Only union with Formless Awareness is supreme. Everything else is secondary. You can do all those things, but don't think that that is the most important thing to do. The most important thing to do is to understand what you really are. Understand that you are Formless Awareness and fully abide Formless Awareness. Fully live in that awareness. Everything else is secondary. You want to read the Vedas, do it or read any scripture, go and do it. You want to offer yajnas to the devas. You want to do a havan, you want to do a paath-puja go ahead and do it, no problem. But remember, that will not lead you to abiding in Formless Awareness. By doing tapasya, you will fast or you will not speak for so many days. Fine, do that. You'll walk a thousand miles. Fine. You'll walk the mountains to reach a mandir or a sacred place, fine. Go ahead and do that. But remember, that's related to the body and mind, not Formless, Awareness and any other methods of personal perfection. Anything else that we think will lead us to a higher state. The only way to reach a higher state is to abide fully, to remain fully in the awareness of Formless Awareness. That's the only way. And then there's some, who may claim that this person is very charitable. Uh, you know, they give to the needy, they do all sorts of charity work. Sri Krishna says that this yoga is beyond that action too. So what if somebody. is distributing the benefits of their material life to those in need. Mostly in this world today, we are not seeing that. Yes, they're offering billions to some causes, but when you look at the lobbying that happens in government, well, they're lobbying things that are meeting their needs rather than the needs of the people. One can look into the lobbying in the US government or UK government, things that have come into law or things that are being considered becoming law. Like recently, we've been going through that whole possible TikTok ban, and I don't know, whenever you watch this or listen to this, there may be a ban in place or it may be, considered to be worthless. My view is that it's useless to do such a thing cuz you, TikTok has benefited me. But anyway, that's besides the point. Those people, they may do a lot of charity work, but it means nothing. You know, they're, they're doing things to meet their needs. In some sense they offer things to charity so they pay less taxes. That's cheating the system. Some of them don't even pay taxes, but they do all this charity work. Even worse. Then they complain that the infrastructure of the country is bad. So that's why these people have to, we have to understand that it's beyond dana too. We can offer things to the needy when we should, and we must, but being in Nirguna Brahman has got nothing to do with that. This is only serving prakriti. We have to just understand that point. That's it. People think that being a good human being is spirituality. That is not, I'm sorry to say, and I'm sorry to burst your bubble. A good human being is most likely spiritual, but it's got nothing to do with spirituality. But if you claim to be spiritual, it's the least I expect from you. So, uh, and the least that I think anyone should expect from someone. As I mentioned before, probably that it's a byproduct of living or abiding in Formless Awareness, that's all. We should look to benefit those less fortunate, as I mentioned, and give accordingly. But number one, focus should be on our liber. Then the second part of the verse is: surpassing all these indirect processes, the perfected yogi goes directly to the supreme and ultimate abode of Brahman. As mentioned, all these are the paths that were mentioned in the first part of the verse. They're indirect paths or processes or practices. That's all. Indirect. The direct is what the perfected yogi does, and that is to remain in awareness of Formless Awareness. That's all we need to do. That's all they like to do is go directly to that abode of Brahman. They don't care about anything else because that is the supreme and ultimate abode. That's the only abode they know. The only home they know, the only place they know, the only location they know, which can never be located, which does not, which is absolutely placeless. It's like the Gateless gate is, one can find numerous ways to describe it, but there's no higher place than that. In fact, it's beyond lower and higher too. So the yogi goes beyond all the expected customs that are held for people, who do not make Brahman their everything. One thing I'm gonna mention here is that do those customs if you wish to. I don't think I have the right to say no to you. I don't do half of those things. Um, I, or I do them indirectly. I don't do them purposefully. The one thing I do with purpose, with full awareness is just being in Brahman, being in awareness, and making Brahman my everything. And that's because jivanmukti is my ultimate goal. That's the point of what I want to mention here. 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. You can join the Bearded Mystic Podcast 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, check out the podcast Patreon page details are in the show notes and video description below. And thank you to everyone that is supporting me on Patreon. I love you all. I absolutely appreciate the support. It really helps this podcast running. So all power to you. Please rate and review this podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app. Give it a five star rating. Please do so. And do like and comment on this video, subscribe to this YouTube channel, share it with your friends and family. Follow and subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app. Keep getting notified about future episodes. That'll be awesome. Thank you very much for listening, and we'll end, today's episode with the Soham mantra and the Shanti mantra. Soham Soham I am That. I am That. Aum, Shanti. Shanti. Shanti. Aum. Peace. Peace. Peace. Namaste.