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April 16, 2023

Thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 9: Verse 6 - Verse 9)

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This episode discusses the 9th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verses 6 - 9. 

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 in my thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita. But before we do start, there's a few announcements I would like to make. If you would like to support the podcast, you can do so by signing up to the podcast's Patreon page, where you can get ad-free and bonus episodes and other benefits depending on the tier that you select, details for that are in the show notes and video description below.

On Saturday at 11:

00 AM Eastern Standard Time, there is a free virtual meditation along with discussion and Q & A. Please find the details for that in the show notes and video description below, if you would like to meditate with the community around this podcast. Please do like, comment, and subscribe if you're watching this on YouTube and if you are listening to this on your favorite podcast streaming app, do rate this five stars and do write a review, , as it helps the podcast get more noticed and please do follow or subscribe to get future episodes. Today we will be looking at Chapter Nine, Verses Six to Nine, and let's start with Verse Six. Try to understand this Arjuna just as vayu 'the mighty wind' blowing everywhere is always resting within akasha 'space'. So all created beings are always standing within Me. We are going to look at the whole verse together, and this is just a metaphor to kind of get us to understand how our being can be, or our individuality is super imposed onto Nirguna Brahman, onto Formless Awareness. And he's using the analogy of air and space or vayu and akasha. What Sri Krishna wants Arjuna to do, and this is the most important thing about the Bhagavad Gita, is that Sri Krishna wants Arjuna to grasp these messages and fully utilize his intellect. It's not about him just believing what Sri Krishna is saying. It's more about that he's going to follow and adhere to what's being said and and that it's all practical for him. So it's not necessarily something that he just has to believe in. Yeah, it's not something you just have faith in. It's something that he can see as being relevant and true. So we are not here to just listen alone. You know, there is a joy of listening and it's very important to listen, but at the same time, it's not, as I say, 'kan rasa' means that you are just listening, out of enjoyment. You know, there's no real substance going on. There's no real inquiry. And that's the whole point of the Bhagavad Gita is to get us to inquire within about where are we? I mean, if Arjuna is on the battlefield and he's listening to Sri Krishna, what about us? Now we are listening to Sri Krishna. We are reading his words. What's going on with us? Are we feeling the same dread as he is? Are we feeling the same anxiety as he is, or are we feeling part of the anxiety that he is and therefore we can relate to it somewhat? Or do we just need help in our spirituality? For that it can't just be listening. It has to be understanding as well. So you enjoy listening, but you seek to understand. You seek to grasp, you seek to embody those very teachings. That's the whole point of the Bhagavad Gita in my opinion. Now we need to understand clearly that akasha is space and it's not sound or it's not ether as well. So ether was something that was, if you look at some of the old translations for the Bhagavad Gita, ether is mentioned for akasha, and ether was something that the Greeks used to talk about, as being where these energies are, like the spirit type of thing. With Vedanta there's been more refining with the language. And what they have said now is akasha is space. Now, there are some people that talk about akasha-vani and they think that because of akasha-vani they think, akasha means sound. No, it's the space in which sound operates. So without space, there is no sound. Or there's the other way of looking at it is that people say that once you enter that infinite space, then you hear the sacred sound of Aum, and that is also akasha-vani. We have to understand that when we are talking about akasha, it is space and it's the space in which sound exists, or the waves exist, or, electromagnetic waves. It's where all colors reside. It's basically everything operates from that space. Now, as wind is given room within space, likewise, we are given a place within Sri Krishna or Nirguna Brahman. When I say Sri Krishna here, I'm actually talking about Ishvara or Saguna Brahman. Okay? Maybe you believe that right now it's more comfortable for you to believe that there is a God or there is a deity like Sri Krishna that is operating this whole universe and within this whole universe, it is present. Now, likewise you may be operating in this world, but it's all happening within Sri Krishna's being, or Saguna Brahman or for ourselves, we are more likely to say, the Shared Being because when we say Shared Being, there is this Infinite Being that seemingly has parts but is not in parts at all. It's actually one complete holistic, wholeness. And then what you can say is that like air is given room to operate. Likewise, we are given, nature, prakriti is given, the room to operate within that space or within the Shared Being. On an ultimate level, it's about being in Nirguna Brahman. So this whole existence is given space in this Nirguna Brahman, in this Formless Awareness. So that is the true way of seeing it eventually. But again, we're all at different stages and we have to acknowledge that that's the case. As I mentioned, and I just reemphasize this, that existence is contained within that One that cannot be contained, which is Nirguna Brahman. So if we can grasp that, that'd be great, but we may take time and that's why if you feel that you may need to kind of revisit the Bhagavad Gita , or revisit the earlier chapters. I would recommend that you at least look at the first 10 episodes of my thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita because they will help you to understand, and if you're listening to this on the podcast, it's season two. And if you're watching this on YouTube, then there's a playlist in which you can use. So basically you wanna listen to Chapter One and Chapter Two, and my thoughts on that. Let's go to verse seven now. Just see, Arjuna, at the end of one kalpa ‘a day for the creator Brahma’, I withdraw all beings into an unmanifest state within my prakriti. Then by my unlimited energy, as the next day of Brahma begins, I bring them all back into manifestation again, exactly where they're left off, ready for the next kalpa. Let's break this verse up a little. Just see, Arjuna, at the end of one kalpa ‘a day for the creator Brahma’, I withdraw all beings into an unmanifest state within my prakriti. Ultimately what we can understand here is that everything will dissolve into an unmanifest state. Everything will eventually, that is manifested will become unmanifest. Prakriti appears, then it dissolves away. That seems to be its nature. At the end of this creation, we will see it dissolve away. That's what Sri Krishna is basically saying. And just to go back to what we discussed in Chapter Two of the Bhagavad Gita that because it's not constant, because we see that it goes from manifest to unmanifest. We can see that it fluctuates and therefore if it fluctuates, that means essentially that it's unreal. It's not completely real because that which is changing is the unreal. And remember that creator and creation happen within Nirguna Brahman. So Saguna Brahman may be seen as the creator principle and creation is existing within that. But in the end you are aware of the creator and you are aware of creation. Therefore, Formless Awareness is supreme. Then Sri Krishna says, then by My unlimited energy, as the next day of Brahma begins, I bring them all back into manifestation again, exactly where they're left off, ready for the next kalpa. This is really interesting, and again, is one where we kind of see the play of reincarnation. And again, it brings you to more or less believe in such concepts, or makes it more palatable because it's coming from Sri Krishna. Now, first of all, we need to understand that the energy of Saguna Brahman cannot be exhausted because guess where the unlimited source of its energy is coming from? This Formless Awareness. There's no way that this Saguna Brahman or Ishvara will ever face any difficulty in having energy, it, it can never be exhausted. So with that energy, the creative force always awakens. Even though it may be that this whole universe collapses and there's no more universe for a bit, but what Sri Krishna is saying that eventually it all comes back again. And we've looked at what a day of Brahma is in the past, I think. So you can look at the previous episodes for that. What we know is that once this creative force awakens, then this manifestation begins again, and we are back into that flow. And all of us beings who are not able to attain jivan mukti or moksha will start where we left off. So don't think that, oh, I didn't achieve mukti and this whole universe collapsed, or this world got destroyed because the sun ran out of its energy. Even then Sri Krishna is saying, don't worry, because you will be basically continuing where you left off. So don't worry when the next kalpa arises, when our next day of the creator Brahma awakens, do not worry. Nothing is ever forgotten in this creative principle. We do not have to start afresh, we don't have to start from the first step, we will be continuing exactly where we left off. So our karma remains regardless of the manifest or unmanifest state. It's all about, in my opinion, this is also a sign that you wanna achieve jivan mukti and not go for the other option of going through another lifetime. Verse 8. The whole of material existence is resting upon My prakriti and by My will, the entire multitude of living beings are first withdrawn and then sent forth into manifestation again. We'll look at the whole verse again. Two things allow this existence to be. First of all, it's the creative principle within nature itself. So within prakriti, you have Saguna Brahman or Ishvara, and that is what's allowing this existence to be. And then second of all, what Sri Krishna says, it's by the will of Saguna Brahman or the Shared Being that this prakriti and material existence exists. So without the Shared Being, without the desire of the Shared Being, this existence will not be. So it all rests upon that desire. We have to understand that. And then whenever the Shared Being desires to see nature, hence it appears. We are all literally just a thought form of that Shared Being, of that creative principle. That's all we are. And when you think about that it's, it's pretty amazing because now you can take a step back and see everything as a leela and be comfortable with where you are going with your spirituality. You won't need to feel that time is running out. You won't feel that you have too much time either. You will know that you can achieve everything right now, and it's all about understanding. That everything is happening according to the will of the Shared Being and the Shared Being is nothing but Nirguna Brahman anyway. If you're already Nirguna Brahman, what else do you need to worry about? The Shared Being desires to see nature, hence it appears. Remember this nature is just an appearance. It actually has no solid reality because it's always changing. What you can see it as, and the way I I kind of envisioned this was when Thanos in The Avengers, he clicks his fingers, when he has collected all the stones and half of the universe is dissolved away. You know, it just all just dissipates and it's wiped out. Likewise, we can see that the Shared Being, when it desires that existence should stop then every single creature, every single living being, physical or subtle just dissolves away. And that's the way I kind of envision it. So maybe it's not as half-hearted as Thanos, but you could say it's the complete aspect of what Thanos probably would never be able to understand, but it's an interesting way to see it. Then whenever this Shared Being wills it, whenever it desires it, this manifestation appears again. And this continues and continues. This whole process of dissolving and continuing, dissolving and continuing. This is all to show Arjuna that life and death is not really in anybody's hands. Again, if it's the desire of the Shared Being, if it's all resting within Prakriti, then what power do we have over anything? And if at the moment, Arjuna's dharma is to fight in this war, not only is it to fight in this war, but it's because it's going to benefit many people that he needs to do this. But if he is crippled by fear and anxiety, as we saw in chapter one, then he's not going to act. This is another way of Sri Krishna saying, these people are just gonna change their costumes. Don't worry, that's all the body, it's just a costume that you've been wearing from lifetime to lifetime. Now when are you going to have enough of this? And if you just act in the awareness, you can get to mukti. You can get to that point where you will not get the reactions of the actions that you do. You will not get the effects from the cause of action. It's imperative that we understand that this, all these living beings will also go and dissolve too. It's not just us as human beings, but everything. The planets, the stars, everything. Then verse nine. But none of those activities constrain Me in any way. O Arjuna, I sit apart from them in My own asana, unattached to all these actions. Again, we'll look at the whole verse together. Now, this is an important point for Arjuna to really grasp, and he must note this down. This is not a simple point that Sri Krishna is making. He's making a very definitive point that if we lose sight of this, we'll continue to misunderstand the Gita if we've not grasped chapter two either. But also this will not allow us to assimilate the teachings. Allow the teachings to simmer within our being, within our mind and intellect so we can start transcending this body and mind. This is why we must note down as well. So none of these actions of the dissolution and creation of existence affects Sri Krishna. When we think, isn't it cruel to have the world destroyed, isn't it cruel to have the universe dissolve away? Isn't that cruelty, isn't that disastrous? But if this is the part of nature, if this is just a process, then the, the kind of personalization you feel, gets removed, it dissolves, it starts withering away, and that's what Sri Krishna is saying is that none of these activities constrain me. When I manifest it's fine. When it's unmanifest it's fine because Sri Krishna never sees itself as the doer. The Shared Being never considers itself as the doer. Nirguna Brahman certainly does not see anything even happening. So for it, it just witnesses. We have to understand this very important point, that none of this affects Sri Krishna, even on the level of him as a Guru right now in front of Arjuna. Even in his body and mind, it's not going to affect him because one, he already knows the end goal. He has that in mind and he's already at the end goal, for him he's already jivan-mukt, there's no need to continue again. Sri Krishna is not bounded by what he desires, or what he wills and because he never associates with the form. Even though people may worship this form of Sri Krishna, He doesn't know that He is this form. For Him ,He's everything. There's no thing separate to It. For Him, there is no individuality and therefore his desires are not really his. They're each one of ours, each one of us have had a part in creating this universe that we are in. What Sri Krishna is also hinting upon is that he's that Witness Consciousness, Nirguna Brahman, that just witnesses and observes all this, despite all of this happening due to its will, due to its desires, due to its vasanas, you could say. Sri Krishna is one, not affected, but this Nirguna Brahman doesn't associate with any actions either. This Nirguna Brahman just witnesses, it just observes, it just watches and doesn't interfere in anything because the whole point is that It has created these, what you could say, He's created these laws of nature. Why would he interfere in them? He won't, he doesn't need to. So he just remains as that Witness Consciousness, and this is what we have to understand, that he is Nirguna Brahman, he is not being name and form. And yes, he may come back to his name and form to help Arjuna take a step forward or for us to take a step forward. But if we understand that he's still Nirguna Brahman despite appearing as a form, we will be taking a leap forward, not a step forward. That's really up to us what we want to do. Now, he's unattached to all these actions. Sri Krishna is not attached to any action that he's about to do or that he's doing now. As he's reciting this, he's not doing this from his own personal doership. He's beyond this as well. That is the uniqueness in Sri Krishna and something that we need to find within ourselves that is there any sense of, are we in any way still having a sense of doership and is that doership actually doing us harm? Those are the questions we have to ask and investigate and be honest with where we are. We don't have to, pretend to be holier than thou not certainly on this podcast. We certainly don't do that here. We are very honest about where we are and well I don't declare that I'm enlightened. I'm just an average person learning and being a student of the Bhagavad Gita right now, when I talk about it. Let's go back to the, the verse that, he's unattached to those actions. If anyone accuses him of being the doer, he will not understand the suggestion. I mean, for him, he's like, well, I'm just sitting here. I'm the witness. I'm the watcher within everyone. I'm not doing anything. Yeah, even if you claim that I desire it, you are a part of me. You are the one desiring it. And we are not separate here. So even if you like to blame it on God, I said, well, it's God's will. Well, you've just have to understand that Sri Krishna, he's gonna be like, yeah, okay, yeah, yeah. It's God's will, your, your will. Then that's how he will see it. Likewise, Arjuna has to go forth in life and be the witness and be unattached to all the action in his life. So he needs to be in his own asana, in his own seat within and allow the warrior within him to perform the actions. Remember, he will be performing his actions according to the name and form, but him himself Arjuna as in the true nature of who he is - that will not be performing any action. It will not be doing anything. It will just be the eternal witness within that is watching all that activity happen. He needs to be unattached to every action in his life. He must also let go of the fruits of the actions. He must let go not only of the fruits of the actions, but even the doership of the actions and even the memory of the action. He must not come back and be like, oh, I did this, or I was the one that did this in the war. I am the one that did this deed in the war. He is not to do that. One thing I will mention, even though I've talked about Arjuna doing this, I do think that this applies to us as well. We are here to go forward in our devotion, go forward in our bhakti, go forward in understanding this Gyana and being in the practice of meditation and also serving others. All this can be done if we go forth in life, be decent human beings, be good spouses, be good life partners, be good sons, be good daughters. You know, be good children to our parents, be good parents to our children. Doing all those things. We just have to be a witness and be unattached to every action that we do. Do not look for anything in return, like for example, if a parent is doing something for children, for their own children, it's not about, oh, when I become an elderly person, that they should look after me. One should have the mindset that I'm doing this without any expectation, without any reward, and I truly believe that if we did this from the bottom of our heart, our children will never let us go. But I feel that somewhere within us, we do have this aspect of doership and this aspect of doership is what causes a great amount of harm in our spiritual journey. There's a lot to grasp in this episode, it's short, but it says everything that you need to hear and if you practice this, there is so much we can attain as we go forward on our spiritual journey. So that is the end of the episode. 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 I mentioned earlier, you can check out the podcast Patreon page and details are in the show notes and video description below. Please rate and review the podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app, or alternatively on the Bearded Mystic Podcast website. Please do like and comment on this video and subscribe to this YouTube channel, and please do follow, subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast streaming app. Thank you very much for listening, and we will end with the Soham and Shanti mantra. Soham Soham. I am That. I am That. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti. Aum Peace Peace Peace Namaste.