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May 21, 2023

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 9: Verse 25 - Verse 29)

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This episode discusses the 9th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 25 - 29. 

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 we will be looking at chapter nine verses 25 to 29. Let's get started with verse 25. Those who make their offerings to the devas, go to live with the devas. Those who make their offerings to their departed ancestors, go to live on the lokas where those ancestors reside. Those who make their offerings to ghosts and disembodied beings, go to wherever they are, while those who make their sacred offering to Me, come to live with Me. Very interesting verse and quite detailed to see where one will go if one follows a particular path. Sri Krishna makes it very clear and it's very clear cut. There's no negotiation here. It's simply whatever you worship, whatever you offer yourself to, is what you will become. So use that as your guidepost for the next couple of lines. Let's break this verse up. Those who make their offerings to the devas, go to live with the devas. Those who make their offerings to their departed ancestors go to live on the lokas where those ancestors reside. The first thing we must understand and what seems to be quite obvious is you will decide the outcome once you die. That seems to be in your hands, and it's not necessarily that you will do every action and that will lead to that result, but you kind of know where you want to go. So for example, if I keep doing rituals, I know that that's going to be pleasing the devas, and therefore I'm gonna go to Deva Loka. That's where I'm going to go. That seems to be the most common sense approach. Now if I do the same for my departed ancestors, well I'll go to their loka, where I believe they will be. Remember that all of these states, these lokas are also subject to change. Therefore, they are an aspect of prakriti, of nature. The way to understand this may be on a deeper level, actually taking it to another level is we go to live in kind of like a simulation or another kind of dream world where these things reside. So there may not be actually a physical location where these are, it may be in the whole universal mind, more so in the mind of say the shared being rather than actually existing. So it could be, what I say is a world of imagination, not in a crude sense, but in a very realistic sense. It'll seem real like you're in a dream and that's the way I would see it. Sri Krishna says that those are offer for the devas only in mind go to live with the devas. That's exactly what they would get. If you offer everything to the devas, they will give back to you and you will live and reside with them. Now, if you offer things with the ancestors in mind, you will go wherever the ancestors are. It's simple as that. Not so complicated. Pretty easy to understand and a lot of us may care about our ancestors. You know, it's very important, especially in the Indian culture. We definitely lay a lot of emphasis on looking after our loved ones and our parents and, and all that. Obviously ancestors are people who have died. Now what I will say is that in my case, I think of my ancestors in the sense of they've given me a spiritual path, and I have to honor that spiritual path. If they've planted the seeds for me to progress spiritually, I owe it to them to not just eat the fruit of the very seeds that they planted, but to actually plant the seeds from the very fruits that I now consume. My grandparents had very humble beginnings. They didn't have much at all. They migrated during the partition and when I think about the sacrifices they made in terms of not just materially, but even spiritually to focus on a path that more or less took them away from the norm, it is incredible and I do believe that it's their service to humankind, to people in general that has got me where I am today and I honor everything to them. It is their service that I am benefiting from today. If I keep that in mind, I don't need to offer anything to my ancestors other than need to make sure that I am planting the same seeds. I'm inspired by the way they were spiritual, and I want to do that with my own life. And I think it's really important that we learn from our grandparents and even if we never met them, I never met my grandparents except for my maternal granddad. But even then, I was too young when he passed away. But I do believe that if you don't pass on the very good deeds that they did, and you, and you don't practice what they did, then you're not really honoring them. You know, the real honor is when you show that their teachings have surpassed culture. And what I mean by culture, culture belongs to time, right? So their teachings are more or less universal. From my grandparents, I learned that seeking the truth is really important. Challenging what you believe is important. Serving others with love and compassion is important. Being devoted to a Guru is important. Keeping the truth in mind and being honest in our dealings is important, and those values are something I hope that one I'm doing right now, but also I continue to do because there's no point in me praising my grandparents or my parents if my deeds aren't aligned, so hope that when my children look at me, or any kid that I know like my nieces or nephews, when they look at me, they don't look at me like I'm a hypocrite, that I'm just the same old person just saying a lot of good stuff, but not practicing it. For example, I'll put it down to, to such a minute detail that even the people that I vote for, is going to be under scrutiny. The people that I support is under scrutiny and I have to move with the times. Once I find out new information, I have to move with the times. I can't just stay stuck. So that's what I wanted to say when it comes to ancestors, I know it's not necessarily part of the Bhagavad Gita teachings here, but it's an important thing to think about. Then the second part of the verse is: those who make their offerings to ghosts and disembodied beings, go to wherever they are, while those who make their sacred offering to Me, come to live with Me. Now, some even give offerings to ghosts and disembodied beings. You may hear about it a lot in India. I am agnostic when it comes to things like this, and the maximum you'll get from me is I don't deny that they exist. So that may tell you a lot, and I do believe there's certain things that we just can't explain. Some of them can be psychological issues that people claim, oh yeah, there's a disembodied being in me. But I think some people may genuinely have this happening, and I don't even disagree that there aren't tantric mantras or not just tantric actually just any mantras that can actually cause harm to others. I do think that can happen. What Sri Krishna is saying here is that they will go wherever they are, and that's true. Let me make it clear. If you're doing stuff like that, then don't expect to get jivan mukti or to expect that you will achieve something spiritually, because what you're doing really could be harmful. And again, these things always change. A disembodied being will go into an embodied being. Actually, if you think about it, those things are changing, therefore unreal. To elaborate on what disembodied beings are, they simply are jivas looking for another body because they don't have one and they want to get into a body because at that point, when you have disembodied, so you are no longer in this form. If you have come across the concept of jivan-mukti or liberation, you will want that freedom. You will realize how you were, you were trapped in a cage, but really even when you left this cage, you're still trapped. You're probably trapped in a bigger cage. Those jivas then look for a body for reincarnation. The most important part is this one, that those who make their sacred offering to Me, come to live with me. Obviously Sri Krishna is referring to himself, not again as the body and mind, the naam and roop, no, no, no. Don't go down that route. He's talking about being in Brahman, offering everything to Brahman, to this Formless Awareness and live in this Formless Awareness as Formless Awareness. Live in Brahman as Brahman. Don't be separate. Keep it really relatively simple, and enjoy the journey, you know, make your sacred offering to him, meaning make the sacred offering of your ego, of your intellect, of your mind, of your senses, of your thoughts, of your tendencies, your desires, everything, offer it to all to this Brahman. Simple as that. And again, I must always emphasize this, so we do not misunderstand because it's very easy to do. So this is not about the idol of Sri Krishna, because if it was, then everybody would be enlightened. Everybody would be jivan-mukt and everybody would have the right understanding, and we know that isn't the case, so we must understand what that really means. Then verse 26. If anyone offers Me with love and devotion, a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or some water. I accept their offering as an act of love. We are gonna look at the verse as a whole. If anyone offers me with love and devotion, first of all, the most important point here is with love and devotion. One has to first have that pure essence of love where there is nothing wanted in return. You give, but not for something to come back to you, you give because there is nothing more you want to do. It's just to give to the divine, as simple as that. And devotion, everything you have, every breath you have, every thought you have, every intention you have, every desire you have is fully devoted to Brahman, to this Ultimate Reality. We must do it with a pure heart, with kindness and selflessness. There should be no selfishness within us that, oh, I should achieve this, I should achieve that. I should get that. I'm doing this for my own benefit, not for the benefit of others. That's not the way a true seeker thinks, and it doesn't matter what we offer. Brahman accepts everything with unconditional love, there's no condition. You offer a leaf, a flower, a fruit, water, anything. If you are offering it with love and devotion Sri Krishna will see it as an act of love. Therefore, what we are getting here is Sri Krishna taking us to the base of what we are, which is love itself. And there's no stronger emotion than love. Hate is nothing compared to love. Love is such that when you look at somebody with unconditional love, with genuine compassion and care, and you really accept others for what they are. When you do this, then people just, they melt towards you because not everybody loves in that way. Everyone's love is conditional. You do what I say, I love you. You go against what I say. I don't love you. Someone says by accident, some bad words, some curse words. Accidentally happens .Suddenly it's mayhem in the house, mayhem in the relationship. Even worse now, people ghost each other and then people talk of these high ideals of love. Jay Shetty right now has a book on love. You think love is going to increase in the world. You think marriages are gonna get better in the world because if they read Jay Shetty's book, they will get there. How many books have been written on love and how many people have benefited from it? Why haven't they? Why haven't they got better with love? Because they expected from the other person, not to bring it about in themselves. First step of love is understand what love is first. Discover that love and the way I discovered love for the, in the true sense, there's two ways. One was connecting with this awareness, connecting with the Formless automatically gets you into the ocean of love and you see all the existence full of love. Okay. Then the most important point, and this is incredible. When you meet somebody who loves you unconditionally, you naturally understand from that point, this is possible. Before it looks impossible. How can I love unconditionally? Everything in this world is based on condition, so how can I love unconditionally? It's impossible. And then you'll meet somebody who shows you that. Now, for me, the first person who showed me this was my Guru. He showed me that there is unconditional love. He didn't expect anything from me and I had never felt someone love me as much as He did. And I only met Him maybe once a year, and that was for, 20 odd years of my life and just think every single meeting that I had with him, I remember with a sense of love and devotion. And that's the feeling if, if you've had access to that type of love. You have to share it, otherwise you can lose it. You then love seems impossible because you lost touch with the source. So for me, I was very lucky in the sense of there were two ways that I connected to that source of love. Now, what I'm trying to emphasize here is that don't get so comfortable that you lose both in return. You forget about that ocean of existence, of love, of this Shared Being, of Nirguna Brahman, of awareness. And then you lose the love of your Guru or anyone. So someone may turn around and say, well, maybe like my guru's now passed on, but that love doesn't go anywhere. That love does not die. You can ignore it, but it does not die. Just because you've ignored it does not mean it is gone away anywhere. It's gone to a distant land, it's gone to heaven or some, no, it's still here. It's just that we have ignored it because we are still stuck in Maya. Still stuck in give and take. One thing that we must understand from our teachers, from our gurus, from our mentors, from our spiritual friends, is that love is possible. The other aspect is Brahman has no desires. Krishna has no desires, so there's no favoritism. You give a LamborGanesh jini or you give a a stone to Sri Krishna, to Brahman or to Formless Awareness, there's gonna be no judgment, happily accepting. People want you to give more and more because it helps their organization or whatever, but for example, you give anything to somebody. And you see it as a divine offering, it's done. That's it. That's the way to see it. Now, Brahman has no desires, so there's no favoritism. There's not gonna be anyone that's going to treat you any differently. This is one thing that Sri Krishna is saying, don't look at what other people are giving. Look at yourself. Look at your intention. Are you full of unconditional love or are you on some other planet? And just remember that these are just acts of worship. Ultimately, only jivan mukti should be our focus. That's all that matters is jivan mukti. Focus on jivan mukti and you will get where you need to go. That's what ultimately I will say here. I'll go to this point to say that integrating this unconditional love into your life is a sign of jivan mukti happening because only somebody who is free, who is full of love and compassion, who is truly liberated in every sense, beyond the ego, can do unconditional love. Verse 27. Therefore Arjuna, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you distribute and circulate as dana to others. Whatever you offer into the sacred fire of a yajna as an offering to the devas and whatever tapasya you perform to perfect yourself, just do all of these as a sacred offering directly to me. These are very beautiful words, and one again, if we just practice, if we just truly understood what Sri Krishna is talking about here. If you look at the world today, it's full of greed, full of selfishness. Greediness has gone to the next level. People are just absolutely greedy. They're thinking about how to consume more, how to take away more rights from others. Look at the way politicians are handling women's rights and the rights of trans people. Look at the way they're treating people. Look at the way they won't handle this gun control crisis we have where people are going to schools and hurting children. How is all this normal? This is greed. Greed for power, greed for more money. They have greed for donations through lobbying, this attitude of greediness has really overpowered us. Then we think, oh, if we give some money to some charity as dana, then we're doing everything. I put it this way and I'll be very clear. In the UK you have food banks, over here, you have shelter homes in the States. If you have, I've mentioned this on the podcast once before, if you have one person in poverty, you have failed your job as a politician, as a government, there should be no excuse in the world's richest country for anyone to be in poverty. So what Sri Krishna is saying here is, if you remember this, Formless Awareness, if you remember your isht-devta, if you remember this Shared Being, and then you distribute and circulate as dana, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you get, if you circulate it as dana, dana meaning an offering to others, that will be a sacred offering to Sri Krishna. Now imagine all these people, these politicians that claim they believe in Jesus. They claim all, all these church leaders, all, all these rich, any leader, any spiritual leader that you see that is really rich, have a look at how much are they giving to others? How much money they've accumulated? And how much of that money that they've accumulated has gone to others? If it's less than 10, 20% and they're raking in millions, it's horrifying. It's disgusting. Here Sri Krishna is making sure we know, don't be greedy here. You must offer things to others. You must look after everybody. Not just yourself. That's the number one thing to get from this is offer things to others. Think about the long term. Whatever we eat, you offer it to Brahman directly. Whatever you do, offer it to Brahman directly. All the karma you offer it to Brahman. Whatever you distribute as a sacred donation to others. You offer it to Formless Awareness directly, nowhere else. If you're giving me money on Patreon, see it as giving it to Formless Awareness. If I receive that money from Patreon, I should see it as a sacred offering from Formless Awareness itself, and I must treat it with the respect and honor that it deserves. That is how it should be seen. Whatever is offered in the sacred fire for a yajna. If we do a havan at home, maybe we want the devas to favor us. We want Ganesh ji to bless the house. We want Maa Lakshmi to bless the house? Whatever it is, do it directly to Brahman. They're all, who are they gonna go to? Brahman! They are Brahman, so you're offering it to Brahman, and Brahman is giving it to you. And then whatever tapasya you do to perfect yourself as a yogi, do that as a sacred offering to Brahman. And I will say, go to another level. Offer every breath, every silent moment as a sacred offering to Formless Awareness. Do that. Try that out. See how you feel from it. Imagine every breath, every silent moment in contemplation is offered to Brahman in the awareness of Formless Awareness. Imagine the intoxication you will feel. Imagine the joy you will feel. Then you talk about unconditional love. It's natural. Always hold yourself accountable and offer everything to Brahman. Verse 28. If you perform this sannyasa yoga, you will achieve moksha 'release from the bondage of karma resulting from your actions within matter', and your Atman will come directly to Me. Interesting verse. We're gonna look at it completely. First of all, sannyasa yoga is, none of this is yours. None of the things that you offer are yours, so everything you give is not from you is going back to Brahman, right? Your thoughts, your actions is all being offered to Brahman. That is the yoga of renunciation. Nothing is yours. You cannot own a single thing that's sannyasa yoga. So nobody can say, oh, I did this tapasya then it's not sannyasa yoga. It's not renunciation. That means you've remembered it as ego. That's why, remember Sri Krishna has already mentioned how this type of yoga is very difficult and that is better if you do bhakti or the karma yoga that he showed as a householder. But we know that if we do that renunciation and we do it properly, then that will lead us to moksha. And here moksha is the release from the bondage of karma, resulting from your actions within matter. This needs to be understood that all your karma from your past, your present, and even the result of the past and present karma that you'll get in the future, all that will be exhausted, you'll be removed from that cycle of karma completely. The reason for this is karma is completely extinguished because there is no doer, there's no action. There's only Formless. Awareness. That's all that matters. Yeah, that's the only thing that matters. And in that light, the Atman goes directly to Brahman. What does Sri Krishna really mean here. Now if I hear that, I think how can the Atman go directly to Sri Krishna or to Brahman because isn't it the same? Brahma satyam jagat mithya jivo brahmaiva naparah adi Shankara ji says this. Why would Sri Krishna, say anything different? He isn't, once the Atman understands, it is nothing. It is not this body and mind. Once it fully renounces this body and mind, at that moment, it understands that there is nothing but Brahman, and that is what it is. It is as simple as that. Nothing more is to be revealed in that light. That's all that needs to be established. So that's how the Atman goes directly to Sri Krishna. It's through that process that one goes there. Ultimately, we have to uncover all the veils that have stopped us from realizing what we really are. Verse 29. I am within all beings and view them all the same way. None is disliked by Me or is dearer to Me than the others. But those who adore Me directly, and who constantly show their dedication through acts performed in the serving moods of bhakti yoga are in me and I am in them. I always reciprocate and think of them just as they think of Me. Let's break that verse up. An interesting one, one where we will have to do a lot of exploring on. I am within all beings and view them all the same way. None is disliked by Me or is dearer to Me than the others. This is very, very amazing in terms of understanding what that means and this is how we understand Formless Oneness as the Shared Being. When we see that the Shared Being is the interconnectivity that between all objects of existence and is existence itself, we then understand what Formless Oneness is. Then we understand that Brahman is within all beings. So how can I discriminate another? And how can Sri Krishna discriminate when all Sri Krishna will see is Brahman. Sri Krishna sees the leela, but ultimately sees Brahman that is behind that leela. Brahman will always see everything with an equal vision. It be viewed in the same way. There'd be no reason for one action to be seen as different because karma is there to handle that. Sri Krishna does not need to handle that. Sri Krishna doesn't have to deal with that. Also, how can Brahman dislike anybody? That makes no sense. How can, how can Brahman, how can Formless Awareness dislike anybody? How can it hate anybody? It is impossible because that would be disliking oneself. If Brahman sees itself as everything and is within everything, then how can it dislike itself? Impossible. That's why I talked earlier about unconditional love that is the same all the time, and how can one dislike the one that is full of peace, contentment, and joy. Nobody can. The other wonderful aspect of this verse, of this part of the verse, Sri Krishna saying, there's no favoritism here because there's nobody else here to favor. There's no separation here. There's a oneness here. We're united. I don't dislike you and I don't think that your dearer to me than others because it is within all beings. How can it favor anybody? How can it not favor anybody? That would be not the way that Sri Krishna operates. Brahman is and simply remains pure as it is. It will not change in any way. It remains pure, simple, joyful, loving, and always has the same vision towards everybody. Then the next part of the verse: But those who adore Me directly and who constantly show their dedication through acts performed in the serving moods of bhakti yoga are in Me and I am in them. I always reciprocate and think of them just as they think of Me. Let me take a step back in the previous verse. Remember, Sri Krishna says how he views everyone the same way and that none is disliked by him, and none is more dearer to him. The moment we see a difference there, once we say, oh look our guru, or our isht-devta favors one person over another, or I'm more dear to the isht-devta than you. When all that silliness appears, we are highlighting separation. We are highlighting duality. This truth is non-dual. Sri Krishna is non-dual. Sri Krishna is one. Therefore, do not think that Sri Krishna discriminates between anyone, then it will not be Sri Krishna, it will not be Bhagavan, it it'd be something else. This is why in bhakti, we are always in Brahman and Brahman is always in us. Wherever we look, wherever we go, whatever direction we look in, there's only Brahman. Only Brahman, nothing else. In this level of devotion, we serve everything as Brahman. You see everything in that light. You see everything in that spirit, and you will not discriminate. You will not say that person is better. That person is not. This person is from that caste, that color, that nationality. None of those things will work here. We serve everything as if it is Brahman. We show this with our devotion, including how important spiritual acts are for us, like reading the scriptures, contemplating on the Gyana, serving others, giving donations to others, helping others, caring for others, attending spiritual discussions, all those things is how we show our devotion. How we treat others, how we are honest with others is what shows. If you are dishonest, if you are cheating others in business, if you are causing harm in any way, for the majority. Then you're not practicing spirituality. You're not adoring Sri Krishna. That's just a facade and the quicker you accept it's a facade, the better. When we, when we can't accept, we're doing a facade, we are not going to advance. It's simple as that. I have to accept when I'm doing a facade, I can't escape that, and neither should you. Neither should anyone, so this is important. Don't do spirituality as a facade. We must always adore Brahman directly. No other way, go direct. Don't look for an intermediary or a middle person. Go direct. And with the love and adoration you give to Brahman, Brahman will reciprocate this and offer it to us in the same manner. What more do we want? What more Brahman will reciprocate that same love, that same devotion, and think of them in the same way. You are worshiping Brahman and Brahman is worshiping you because essentially Brahman knows you are one. People say, how can you, how can you have devotion if you're non-dual? When did bhakti ever say there's another, when did devotion ever say there's another? Never has. These are misconceptions. When you know there's only the one then who's doing the devotion? If you say you are doing the devotion, then you're entertaining duality. Then it's not devotion. Of course, devotion only happens in oneness. Only! The practice of dualistic devotion or dualistic bhakti is just a good training, an essential step towards the real practice, but that real practice will only happen when there is right understanding. That's why without Gyana, Bhakti is impossible and without Bhakti, Gyana is impossible. Simple as that. That's what I've learned in my life. I, I love Gyana. I, that's basically my way of dealing with spirituality. But put on a kirtan and I feel it. Put on some quwallis, I'm feeling the mystical fervor. Listen to some Gurbani Shabads, I'm feeling that connection with Waheguru. Sri Krishna says, who constantly show the dedication through acts performed in the serving moods of bhakti yoga are in Me. What does he mean by that? Not only just serving others. Like in terms of helping others who need help and doing a lot of aid work, and those are all good things that we must do. But more important is when we are participating in an aarti, you see somebody's hesitating to take the tray. Maybe they think they are a lower caste. You know what would be a wonderful thing to do? In devotion, give them the tray, insist that they praise their deity. That would be amazing. You know, another one, this may be a practice we don't do much of, but I really do believe that when you touch the feet of someone that you admire, where you see Brahman in them, there's incredible power that comes from that. You know, people see this as a negative thing, and I think it's negative because it's not understood properly. But if understood this devotion can really take someone, it really eliminates the ego and not just some pious person you know. Do to your spouse, do it to your children. In, in Indian culture, we say don't touch the feet of a child because for whatever reason people say they come up with all sorts of reasons. Is Brahman not in the child? Is Formless Awareness not in the child? If Sri Krishna was a child, you're telling me you would not touch his feet? Oh, no. Then he's an avatar. Don't give such hypocrisy. That just shows one's attitude, one's real vision. These are things we can do. And just remember that Brahman reciprocates this, this Formless Awareness reciprocates this. See everything as the Divine and look where you go. Look where it takes you. Once you do this, once you really see Brahman in all beings, and you really, honestly, you see this, you feel this, you experience this, then there is complete oneness when only Brahman is known, because only Brahman is. When that self luminous truth becomes a reality that you only see everywhere, your senses cannot deny it. Your mind cannot deny it. Your intellect cannot deny it. This Gyana does not deny it. Your bhakti cannot deny it because this is the only thing present. When this becomes a reality, then there is oneness, and I dare you to try and think there's dualistic thinking now. If you believe in oneness, if you say there is oneness, then you cannot have any iota of duality. If you entertain duality even for a second, even between you and God. There's no oneness, and don't fool yourself and don't fool others in cunning talk. The real spiritual friend will always reciprocate what you give. You touch the feet of that spiritual friend, they will also touch your feet. I say this understanding that there may be teachers that do this and it may be difficult. It's safe to have a thousand people there. They may not be able to touch the feet of the other devotees, but even if they are bowing, even slightly with the head, that's a lot of work too, to do that continuously. It's not easy if they even do that, that shows how much they honor, oneness, and experience and embody that oneness and this has to be the aim, and that's what Sri Krishna is really hinting in these verses. This is the end of the episode. Let me know what you think. 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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.