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May 7, 2023

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 9: Verse 15 - Verse 19)

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This episode discusses the 9th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 15 - 19. 

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

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Hello and welcome to 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. Before we begin this episode. There are a few things I would like to let you know about. If you are really interested in supporting The Bearded Mystic Podcast, and you've found great benefit in listening or watching these episodes, then please do support this podcast on Patreon where you can get ad free and bonus episodes along with other benefits depending on the tier that you select. Your support means everything, and it really does help the podcast keep running efficiently and smoothly, and also widens the audience that this message can reach to. If you would like to know more about it, the details are in the show notes and video description below.

On Saturdays at 11:

00 AM Eastern Standard Time there is a free virtual meditation session along with discussion and Q&A. If you're interested in meditating with us as a community, then you can find out the details in the show notes and video description below. Please do like, comment, and subscribe if you're watching this on YouTube and if you're listening to this on your favorite podcast streaming app, then please do give this podcast a five star rating. It helps the podcast get up in the charts and allows the algorithm to bring this podcast to new listeners and also do review the podcast if you can and make sure you do follow or subscribe to keep getting future episodes. Today we will be continuing on with my thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita, and today we will be looking at Chapter Nine, verses 15 to 19. Let's get started with verse 15. Other yogis light the sacred fire of knowledge within themselves and make offerings to Me as the one ultimate Being whose vishvata mukha ‘unlimited faces’ are manifesting in every direction as the light shining across the universe. A very wonderful and beautiful verse by Sri Krishna, and one I think we would really like because it brings a kind of aspect of devotion and allows you to think of how to perceive this Nirguna Brahman in existence as the Shared Being. The interesting thing about this verse is that Sri Krishna obviously knows there are multiple paths to attaining this Truth, attaining this realization that there is only this Nirguna Brahman and if you concentrate fully on this, then you will find in every space, in every atom, you will find there is this essence of Nirguna Brahman present. And with that Formless Awareness, you naturally can see it everywhere. A smart thing to do and brilliant in terms of how to get us into that feeling of devotion, which is required even for us that are purely on the Gyana aspect, on the knowledge aspect, we still need to have this element of bhakti. The thing about this verse also is that people always try to be kind of dogmatic, and if we look at Sri Krishna here, we can see that we need to follow his lead in being understanding, in being open to other people's beliefs. There's no point us being so dogmatic and being like, you know, you can't do this. You can't do that. This path is better. That path is better. Follow mine, follow yours, do this, do that and everyone has their own little opinion. My yoga is the best. My yoga teacher is the best. My Guru is the best. All these are just distractions from actually practicing. The amount of people that talk about the greatness of the path spend less time actually perfecting their practice. My opinion here is when Sri Krishna's talking about this, he's saying that don't just think of one way. Understand that there are multiple ways. One can be completely devoted. One can do karma yoga, one can do Gyana yoga. Someone can do Bhakti yoga, someone can do Raja yoga. You know me purely on meditation, on the Patanjali yoga sutras. That's absolutely fine. Let people find their groove, and if you allow people to find their groove, then maybe they will attain the same thing you have. And guess what? You talk about the same thing, and not only that, you actually catch a lot more people because everyone is unique. Everyone has their own groove, and our whole thing is about getting people into the flow of being in awareness. That's it. Here he talks about other yogis that light, that sacred fire of knowledge within themselves. Many people want to know Brahman, and therefore they seek that knowledge. A lot of people really wanna know Brahman. They really wanna be absorbed in Brahman. They really want to understand what it's like to be in that awareness all the time and how to connect and remain in that connection in awareness. And Sri Krishna is saying these people do that. They have that sacred fire of knowledge, which burns away all karma, all desires, all raga and dvesha, all of our attractions and repulsions. It gets rid of all of those things and that's why Sri Krishna wants us to understand, to seek that knowledge. It's fine. Yogis that do that, the main thing is they're uniting with the same thing. He also adds on if you look at the sacred fire of Knowledge, as I mentioned, it burns away all of our desires and so on. But also it removes our ego. It burns away our ego, our personal identity, our ahamkara, that false avidya that we have, that we are this body and mind. It gets rid of that and allows us to unite with that awareness. And that is the whole point of what Sri Krishna is trying to do here is say that's what's more important. Focus on what the goal is and just keep going. You know the goal. Keep the target in mind. What we tend to do is we don't think about the target, we think about the journey, or we think about the practice and we say, my practice is better than yours, but when we do this, we are actually taking away time from actually going towards the practice. So go towards the practice, be at ease with the practice, be in the flow of the practice, but know your destination and enjoy the fact that you are going there. That's all. That's all it is. The other aspect is that some may struggle with Nirguna Brahman, and this is true. Not everyone can focus on something without attributes. That's Formless, that's the witness, that is the observer. They may need something that will ground them, that will make their practice a bit more enjoyable. Maybe they don't have the attention span to focus on Gyana so much, but they've had that spark of knowledge within them ignited. Now what's best for them? What do they need to do at this point? They can make their offerings to Brahman. That's the alternative. And how has Sri Krishna said this? The alternative is that these unlimited faces are basically unlimited forms that are in all directions of existence. So wherever you look, you should see there is this only one divine. Whether you see it as Sri Krishna, whether you see as Saguna Brahman, whether you see as God or if like me, you see it as Nirguna Brahman, it doesn't matter. The main thing is, is that in all directions of existence, you are being reminded to be in the awareness. That's it. Now whether that is the awareness of Sri Krishna, the awareness of God, the awareness of Saguna Brahman, of Isvara or Nirguna Brahman, the main thing is you're being in awareness. What the destination will be is obviously Nirguna Brahman. This is a whole point of the Bhagavad Gita is to get you there. You know, it's all about Tat Tvam Asi . You are that, realizing that You are That. That's the whole point, but, here we have to understand there are multiple ways because we all have different mindsets and we have to embrace that. There's no point being dogmatic, as I said earlier. The real people, the real rishis, the real true seekers, they understand that Brahman has many attributes and these attributes are everywhere. There is nowhere in this existence that you can escape this Nirguna Brahman and that's the way to see it. It is the light of existence. There is, you know, lemme put it this way. Wherever you look, you will see the light of that knowledge, the light of Brahm Gyana, the light of Nirguna Brahman. You cannot deny this. Once you've entered that state of awareness. It is self illumination. It is luminosity itself. It does not depend on anything to give it light because it's just there. It's as clear as day can be, and that's all it is. That's how simple it is. So that's one thing we can gather. And we see this light shining everywhere. Now, it's not a physical light, remember, it's this Formless light of knowledge, it's basically saying that there is absolute clarity in this. Before I get to the next verse, and we look at the 32 specific qualities of these unlimited faces. One thing I will mention is that we are to be at ease with other people's paths and allow them to practice as they will and be comfortable with our own practice. That's the number one thing. Be at ease with your own practice. Focus on your target if your target is just to get a better life in the next one. Fine. If your target is to become enlightened, fine. If your target is to be jivan-mukt, fine. Main thing is have a target and be fully into it. When you've reached that target, if you feel there's some more evolution, go towards that. If you don't and you want to rest now because it's more than enough, then rest now. Be at ease. Okay, let's look at these 32 qualities of this Brahman, this Ultimate Being. Verse 16. O Arjuna. I am the ceremony. I am the process of sacred offering. I am the intention of one who offers. I'm the fragrant healing herbs. I am the sacred word spoken with the offering. I am the 'Ghee' clarified butter poured into the fire. I am the deva Agni as the fire itself. I am the offering which is placed into the fire and the smoke arising from it. These are wonderful terms. He's talking about the 'I Amness' now he's saying I am is the subject, these are the objects that you can recognize Me in and here are some of those objects that we are going to look into now. He says, I am the ceremony. I am the process of sacred offering. The ceremony of any type that we do with a priest, Saguna Brahman is that basically, so right now we'll be talking about the Shared Being. The Shared Being is that ceremony, the object, the existence, the Maya that we see. The ultimate ceremony is when we become one with Formless Awareness or receive Brahm Gyana, which is the insights into the Formless. That's the ceremony. The result of that ceremony is jivan mukti, because we are in the awareness of Formless Awareness at all times. That is the full ceremony. But even if we go part way, it doesn't matter. It's always complete because there's the next life to look forward to. Then the process of receiving a sacred offering, the Shared Being is that too, the sacred offering is our ahamkara our ego that we give away, and also our name and form is offered to this Ultimate Reality because our reality of who we are is then cleared completely. We understand who we really are and what we really are. Therefore, the sacred offering is our ego. Now, others may say what's also attached to the ego is things like your wealth, your body, your mind. Everything. Everything is this Nirguna Brahman's, this Formless Awareness's. Nothing is mine or everything is the Shared Being's. Nothing is mine. Simple as that and that's the sacred offering. That's the process is when we give our ego. So when we do the practice of removing our ego, that's the process of the sacred offering. Then I am the intention of one who offers. I am the fragrant, healing herbs. The Shared Being is even the intention behind the one that offers to the deities. So that's the ultimate one. It offers everything to the deities. We are Brahman whose own intention is to know itself by offering our ahamkara. One's intention matters here. Give yourself to this Brahman. Give yourself, have a pure intention, have an honest intention. That's more than important, but it doesn't matter how somebody offers Sri Krishna is that too. What he's trying to say is don't judge anybody whatever they're offering, whatever their intention is, do not judge them. Let them offer. You remain fixed on your own practice. Yeah, and then I am the fragrant healing herbs. This Shared Being is the fragrant healing herbs, and we offer our health and wellness to all. This Formless Awareness is the healing of all the results of our karma, hence, we are filled with vitality and wellbeing. That's the ultimate stage we want to get to. Then I am the sacred words spoken with the offering. I am the ghee 'clarified butter' poured into the fire. The Shared Being is the sacred mantra, the words that are spoken with the offering. Formless Awareness and its remembrance is the ultimate mantra for us. For us, being in awareness is the mantra that we need to be going towards, but whenever we are offering to the deities, whenever we are offering to the fire of knowledge, we need to make sure that the sacred words are one that is done with awareness. We know what they mean and that they're not just things we recite or repeat. We have to do it with the understanding of what is sacred. Then the Shared Being is a sacred vibrational sound that illuminates the offering itself, and then the one offering, including the one initiating the offering. So it doesn't matter who's taking the offering, whether it's the priest and who's doing the initiation process, whether it is one's name and form that's offering it, it doesn't matter. All of it is the same one. The sacred sound illuminates all of them. The mantra is awareness itself, as I mentioned. It is Brahman as the words, as the ahamkara revealing its own self. So when the reveals what it truly is, this true I am, it then knows there is only this one Brahman. This Jiva is Brahman. I am not separate. I am this one. I am the Deva Agni as the fire itself. I am the offering which is placed into the fire and the smoke arising from it. The Shared Being is Deva Agni itself, and that is absolutely present in the fire itself. It is the fire. That's what we honor. This Brahman is the fire itself. Likewise, this Formless Awareness is the sacred fire that extinguishes our ego. And is the deva of all. That's what we worship and remember, whatever gets rid of your ego, whatever gets rid of separation, that gets rid of conflict, that is that sacred fire - Brahm Gyana. That's why the saints and sages of the past have been pointing towards one thing, receive that knowledge and be in devotion to the Lord. Simple as that. That's how easy it is. But look how complicated we make it by not practicing. It's not about learning, learn, but ask questions, have doubts, but practice. Practice is key. The Shared Being is also the offering and is the cause of the smoke that arises from the multitude of offerings. When we offer our ego, our senses, our karma and pour Brahm Gyana all over it and offer it to the fire, then this all burns and we see the smoke of ignorance that was there and we remove that. All that is Brahman. All of it is Brahman. And we are only offering Brahman to Brahman. That's the reality. But what I want us to understand is that all this offering that we give, remember that it has to be our ego. It's our ego that is offered and Sri Krishna gives us the strength to give that ego. So that's why he's the offering, which is placed into the fire. Before I go to the next verse, what I want us to really look at here and notice is that this is talking about the fire ritual. The most important thing here to note is that everything is Sri Krishna. Let me correct myself. Sri Krishna is in everything, therefore, you cannot escape this beautiful Shared Being. You cannot escape it. It's in everything. Therefore, honor it and cherish it. And when you do it with that awareness, with that alertness, that everything that I see is this Shared Being, this Nirguna Brahman, will you have any angst? Will you have any enmity, any hatred, any jealousy? No. Impossible. Right? That's why. Now let's go to verse 17. I'm the father of this Jagat. I'm the mother of this Jagat. I am the support of this Jagat. I'm the grandfather of this Jagat. I am all that can be known. I am that which purifies everything. I am Aum, the original sound from which everything has manifested. I am the Rig, Sama, and Yajur Vedas. Let's start off with I am the father of this Jagat. I'm the mother of this Jagat.. This Shared Being is the mother and father of this existence and of this world that we see around us, this jagat. As Nirguna Brahman it is the underlying source of all existence and therefore is the Shared Being. That's how we see it. And yes, it is our mother and father. The way to see this is that Sri Krishna is our father and our mother, one that we can find the strictness of both parents and also the tender care and love from those parents as well. What he's trying to say is, don't worry about this. Even if you see me as your parent, I will still be there. I'm still that. But remember, if you can make this Formless Awareness your parent for a moment and be in that duality and entertain it in devotion. You may attain something and it's worth taking a look into. Then he says, I am the support of this jagat. I'm the grandfather of this jagat. The whole support of this existence is Brahman. Without Brahman, this existence will not be able to sustain itself. It's impossible for it to sustain itself. Its whole support is based on this Nirguna Brahman. This Nirguna Brahman is the base of all of this existence, without this Nirguna Brahman, this whole world would collapse. This whole universe would collapse. The Shared Being is the grandfather of existence, and what this is doing is just highlighting the quality that grandparents have, which is mostly warm and very different to parents itself. Formless Awareness can be seen as very caring and warm with affection. Also, it can be seen in another light that you may have the creator like Brahma, but then you have Prajapita who can be seen as the father of creation. So the grandfather can be seen as Brahma, which is also the source of all knowledge and all of existence. There's numerous ways you can see this, but what I like to see as that even if you are not comfortable with your parents, you will always be happy to go to your grandparents and ask for their support, and they always tend to understand you, which is quite an interesting thing, and because of that understanding, they're more approachable and you feel more comfortable going towards them with your issues. I'm all that can be known. And I'm that which purifies everything. This Shared Being is everything that you need to know about existence. There's only this Shared Being that you need to know, nothing more. Once you know this Shared Being, you know this Formless Awareness. It's as simple as that. So once you know Brahman, you know Nirguna Brahman. It reveals its own knowledge. It's Self-Knowledge itself. It doesn't require somebody else to talk about it. It's literally there for everybody, accessible to everybody and as long as we strengthen our discernment, we will get there. As Formless Awareness, you are the observer, and observers are the best type of learners in my opinion. So, you know, if you're continuously learning, you're continuously wanting to learn more, you want to be in the awareness of Formless Awareness more, when you do this you are always constantly wanting to know more, therefore you're all that which can be known. And then the Shared Being with remembrance and practicing of yoga, purifies us all. When we are doing this path of Gyana yoga or it's Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja yoga, any one of those, they will purify us. And that is the whole point is that, we want to be purified by this Shared Being by Sri Krishna, by remembering this Formless Awareness, we remove all doership and become pure and clear. And that is the whole point of this whole journey. And I am aum, the original sound from which everything has manifested. And I am the Rig, Sama, and Yajur Vedas. First of all, this Shared Being is original sound of Aum, and it is this sound that has manifested this whole existence. All of this existence you see has arisen from this Aum, and we do this in our own meditation sessions. We meditate upon any sacred sound and we say that that is the base of all existence. It manifests true to that sound. Therefore, to understand the closest mantra to understanding Formless Awareness is Aum. If we remind ourselves of Aum internally, not so much saying it with our mouth, but even internally through our heart center, there's a lot of power in that. That's why when you are saying 'Aum' you're also doing the, you know, the mahamantra that people do, which is, the Hare Krishna mantra that we hear, that if you say Aum that is all mantras in one. That's the power of Aum. Then Saguna Brahman is also the Rig Ved, the Sama Veda, and also the Yajur Veda, all knowledge is contained within Formless Awareness. This, Formless Awareness is all knowledge that one needs to know, and it's through this knowledge that we awaken ourselves to the higher state, and that's where we want to be. Verse 18. I am the destination. I'm the sustainer. I'm the master. I'm the witness who sees all. I'm the final abode. I'm the greatest shelter. I'm the most dear friend. I'm the origin of all. I am the destroyer of all. I am the support of all. I am that upon which everything rests. I am the undying seed. Let's break that verse up. There's a lot of qualities we need to address here. I'm the destination and I'm the sustainer. The Shared Being is the destination of every being in the beginning because we all believe in duality. So we believe that it's different destinations, but really it's just that one destination that Formless Awareness. We have to understand that Formless Awareness is the destination and not any other deity or even the Shared Being or Saguna Brahman or God or Isvara. It is only Nirguna Brahman or Formless Awareness. That is it. That's what we need to understand, and that is the destination. That's what we need to go to. Then the Shared Being is also sustaining the whole of existence. This Formless Awareness is the source and therefore sustains everything as it is the only thing that is. Remember we have mentioned many times that this Formless Awareness is omnipresent, the only thing present. Then Sri Krishna says, I am the master. I'm the witness who sees all. The Shared Being in the form of the Guru is our master and eventually this Guru shows us the True Master, which is this Formless Awareness, this Nirguna Brahman, which is changeless and everlasting. That is the ultimate step the Guru takes. The Satguru always takes us to that point, and that's how you recognize the Satguru, the one that takes you to Nirguna Brahman. Then the Shared Being is also the witness within the mind that witnesses all the activities, whilst Formless Awareness is the one where it observes the Shared Being, the observer then becomes the observed. That's the way to see this, that at first, you start off being the mind. The mind is watching everything. Then you realize, actually awareness is beyond the mind. So then you start being aware of the mind that is aware of all the activities and the objects. Then you start becoming aware of awareness itself. That's what is meant by the observer becomes the observed, and that's what Rupert Spira means by being aware of being aware. That is the key. Then Sri Krishna says, I am the final abode. I am the greatest shelter. The final abode is Formless Awareness. This is where we have been, where we will go, and where we always were. This is always our home. It has always been our home. It's our first and final home. Even though we think we are going to different places, different homes, we were in different forms, therefore belonging to different places, but really we are just going to that one and the same place, which is this Nirguna Brahman. Formless Awareness is our greatest shelter against all the activities of the mind, positive and negative, profit or loss, pleasure or pain, hot or cold, or sukha and dukha, comfort and suffering. It is beyond those things too. So it's our greatest shelter. It's the one that protects us. It's the one that is there for us when we really need it. Then you have, I am the most dear friend. I am the origin of everything. This Formless Awareness alone is, and therefore it is our most dear friend, our closest friend, our closest ally. And this can be true about our Guru, or our isht-devta or the Shared Being. It is truly our best friend. When we feel that closeness of friendship, we learn more. We have this cordial relationship of pure love and affection, and that's why I always say it's important to have a spiritual friend because when you have that spiritual friend, they're always there for you spiritually. And they're just there for you in through the thick and thin of life. They really are there for you and having their support is what matters the most. It's the one that gives you so much strength, even during the harshest of times, during the most difficult of times, it's the one that gives you peace. That's why we see this Sri Krishna, this Shared Being, this Formless Awareness as our most dear friend, and we talk to it. We converse with it when we are entertaining duality as a dear friend, and that's the way we create that union. And then I am the origin of all. We know that the cause of everything, the cause of this Maya, this universe, this existence is Formless Awareness, Nirguna Brahman. That is the underlying substance and we know this from a lot of the work we've done during vedanta, even during these Bhagavad Gita episodes we've been going into how this is the cause of everything. Understand that this existence is the Shared Being and the Shared Being is Formless Awareness. Then I am the destroyer of all. I'm the supporter of all. The Shared Being can also be Shiva Ji. It can also be rudra of the Vedic gods, who is the destroyer. But even they all function according to this Formless Awareness, to this Nirguna Brahman. They do not act independently. It is all part of this nature. It is all part of this existence. Then I am the support of all meaning, the support of all is the Guru or the isht-devta and whenever we need help and we will have to go to the Guru for that help. And I'm talking about spiritual help or where we can get to a place where we have peace of mind, where we have clarity of thought. That's why we go to the Guru. So once we do that, then we understand what the Guru then tells us. The Guru then tells us to focus on this Formless Awareness, on this Brahman. Therefore, we understand that Brahman is the ultimate support because it's the awareness where we feel all peace. Whenever we feel that conflict is arising, separation is arising, the pull of identity is arising. We go back to Formless Awareness and we get back to being centered in peace. I am that upon which everything rests. I am the undying seed. Everything rests upon this Shared Being upon this isht-devta. We find our peace and happiness with the isht-devta, it's more approachable for us because it has a form, it's more tangible, and this Formless Awareness is eventually where everything subsides and finds its peace. When there is nothing left in this existence, where does it rest upon? Its own self! It doesn't rely on anything else other than its own self, and that's why its Formless Awareness. Then I'm the undying seed. Due to being in constant continuation, it is eternally present. It is the undying seed of creation. This creation will always exist, so even if it contracts in inward, it will also expand outward, and that's what we see now in this existence is it's expanded outward. But at one time it will contract again and everything will go into dissolution, but that seed still remains. One is still aware of that seed. Therefore, there will always be existence and Brahman is that undying seed, that essence of all creation. Now let's get to verse 19. From My tapasya I generate the fire. I withhold the rains or cause them to pour forth. Both death and immortality come from My being. I am that which is Immortal and that which is temporary. So let's look at the first set from My tapasya I generate the fire. I withhold the rains and cause them to pour forth. So it is that the tapasya, it is that action, that penance that we do towards the isht-devta, towards the Shared Being, towards existence, that burns away all types of ignorance that we have, all of our karma that we have, and all the latent tendencies from previous births, all the desires from our previous births that have accumulated into this life. We can burn all that away through tapasya. This tapasya generates that fire of knowledge, that sacred fire of knowledge of I am this Formless Awareness. There is only this Formless Awareness, and there is no other duality. There is no you and me, there is only Formless Awareness. Where is the room for ego or arrogance? There is none. That's how we understand this. And then it's also the Shared Being that decide the ecology of the planet and how it functions. And that is why when people pray to the gods, to the devas, it's really to this Formless Awareness. Then both death and immortality come from My being. I am that which is Immortal and that which is temporary. This everlasting life, first of all, this immortality is in Brahman, and this eternity is within Formless Awareness too. It does not die. It all comes from its own being. We have to understand that all of death and immortality. So even if someone thinks they're going to heaven and they feel they're Immortal, that's all within that Shared Being. It's all within existence, but beyond death and immortality, where jivan-mukti is, that is when we are fully aware of Formless Awareness. And it is Immortal because it can never die or be diminished, and this Formless Awareness is constant. It is unborn and undying. It has never been created. Therefore, it can never be destroyed. It is permanent and never, ever temporary because it's continuously known as the Real thing. Does awareness ever disappear? No. Does awareness ever die? No. Does awareness ever get manipulated by anything? No. Is this awareness belonging to temporary time? No. It's there forever and that's why Sri Krishna goes through these 32 qualities today is to show us what this 'I am' really is. And if we understand 'I am' in the beginning as Sri Krishna, that is fine, but ultimately we need to get to the point where we can see it as the Shared Being or Saguna Brahman or the Isht-devta. That can be still Sri Krishna, but eventually the next stage and the final stage is to get the 'I am' to mean Formless Awareness, to mean Nirguna Brahman, that's the ultimate aim. That is the end of the episode. If you liked what you heard and liked what you watched, 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. 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 as we discussed earlier, do check out the podcast Patreon page. Your support means everything, and it helps this podcast keep running. Details are in the show notes and video description below. Please do rate this podcast five stars and do give a review either on your favorite podcast, streaming app or on our website. Details are in the show notes and video description below. Please do like and comment on this video and subscribe to this YouTube channel. Do follow or subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app. Thank you very much for listening to this episode. Let's end with the Shanti mantra and the Soham mantra. Soham Soham. I am That. I am That. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti Aum Peace Peace Peace Namaste.