Business Management and The Bhagavad Gita

Article by M.P. Bhattathiri, Retired Chief Technical Examiner, to The Govt. of Kerala, Radhanivas, Thaliyal, Karamana P.O, Trivandrum 695002, Kerala. 

Table of Contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Management guidelines from the Bhagavad Gita
  4. Old truths in a new context
  5. The source of the problem
  6. Utilization of available resources
  7. Work commitment
  8. Motivation – self and self-transcendence
  9. Work culture
  10. Work results
  11. Manager's mental health
  12. Management needs those who practice what they preach
  13. In conclusion
  14. A note on the word "yoga"



One of the greatest contributions of India to the world is Holy Gita which is considered to be one of the first revelations from God. The spiritual philosophy and management lessons in this holy book were brought in to light of the world by many great Indian saint's effort and  they call the Bhagavad-Gita the essence of Vedic Literature and a complete guide to practical life. It provides "all that is needed to raise the consciousness of man to the highest possible level" and Self improvement means self guided improvement in physical,mental,social spiritual and emotion. Maharishi reveals the deep, universal truths of life that speak to the needs and aspirations of everyone. The followers in your establishment are continuing the mission by keeping this lantern burning always knowing the wishes of the modern generations. Arjuna got mentally depressed when he saw his relatives with whom he has to fight.( Mental health has become a major international public health concern now). To motivate him the Bhagavad-Gita is preached in the battle field Kurukshetra by Lord Krishna to Arjuna as counseling to do his duty while multitudes of men stood by waiting. Arjuna face the problem of conflict between emotions and intellect. In almost all of the cases, emotions win. Gita teaches Honesty, Sincerity, Truthfulness etc. so that one gets peace of mind to face all situation.

Integrity in public life requires perfect coordination, synchronization in thoughts, action and deeds.  The values one believes, should be the same as one’s practices. The Bhagavad-Gita was delivered by Sri Krishna to boost Arjuna’s declining morale, motivation, confidence and to increase his (Arjuna’s) effectiveness..

Today there are innumerable professionals and industrialists who are great achievers, have great social prestige yet do not enjoy life. On the other hand, there are many who are contended and happy but are not achievers. What is needed today is a combination of these two qualities. One should be a great achiever and at the same time should live a peaceful life.

Quoting Bhagvat Gita to emphasise management principles is very much relevant today. Long before Peter Ducker, Philip Kotler, C.K. Prahalad, Arindam Chaudhuri,Nadiminty Sriram (his book Personality development and Affair management) and other management gurus introduced modern management concepts, saints of India had applied identical strategies in their respective books/treatises, signifying their farsightedness.

Sri Krishna gave not only spiritual enlightenment but also the art of self management, conflict management, stress, anger management, transformational leadership, motivation, goal setting and many others aspects of management which can be used as a guide to increase HRM (Human Resource Management) effectiveness. Unlike the western approach to HRM, which focuses in exploring the external world of matter and energy, the Bhagavad-Gita recommends an HRM approach, which focuses on exploring the inner world of the self.

Today everybody wants to accumulate Wealth; Human wants are galloping in geometric progression.  Greed is the order of the day. Public Life is filled with Private wants, desire.  People in power want more power.    They are power crazy.   Power corrupts – absolute Power Corrupts absolutely. Very few people in public life are honest. Men & Women in public life should follow the principles :- Integrity : Ethics, fairness in all their dealings.   Only a very few people have a conflict-free emotion and intellect. Emotions are required, for, without them, one is a mere robot. They make life pleasant as long as they are sensible and within limits.  It has got all the management tactics to achieve the mental equilibrium and to overcome any crisis situation. The Bhagavad-Gita can be experienced as a powerful catalyst for transformation. Bhagavad-Gita means song of the Spirit, song of the Lord. The Holy Gita has become a secret driving force behind the wisdom of one's life. In the days of doubt this divine book will support all spiritual searches. This divine book will contribute to self reflection, finer feeling and deepen one's inner process. Then life in the world can become a real education—dynamic, full and joyful—no matter what the circumstance. May the wisdom of loving consciousness ever guide us on our journey? What makes the Holy Gita a practical psychology of transformation is that it offers us the tools to connect with our deepest intangible essence and we must learn to participate in the battle of life with right knowledge?. It shows us the path to handle the situation with equipoise mind irrespective of what comes our way and  reminds us time and again, that what the right action is. Developing mindfulness of the connections between mind and body is a form of intelligence just as important as IQ, EQ (emotional intelligence), or social intelligence. As awareness deepens, bodily sensations provide feedback and guidance about every aspect of your life—from nurturing relationships to enhancing effectiveness at work. By acting on this information you can reduce stress, balance your life, and maximize your innate potential for health, creativity, and spiritual growth.            

The Bhagavad Gita contains the essential ideas and governing principles of our cultural life and deal with man’s search for eternal which is the source of truth and joy. Body, life and mind are not to be despised they are the instruments of the life of spirit in man. There is a responsibility laid on man as an individual to integrate his life to relate the present to the past and the future, to live in time as well as among the eternal energies. The man of spirit, those filled with serenity, wisdom and joy are lovers of humanity. Arise awake and approach the worthy ones and learn to realize the truth. Narrow is the path and difficult to tread, sharp the edge of a razor. But success sure to those dare and do.

Indian Vedic contribution is a reservoir of Vibrant Information and Harmonious Creativity. May the womb of nature embrace all with tranquil blessings from this day forward. Let this attract one's attention affecting them positively. It is a Sanctuary of the Self a Creative Venue which serves as an Enduring Expression of Lightness, where a peaceful Atmosphere with Sunlight Flows and serene atmosphere prevail.

In the storm of life we struggle through myriads of stimuli of pressure, stress, and multi problems that seek for a solution and answer. We are so suppressed by the routine of this every life style that most of us seem helpless. However, if we look closely to ancient techniques we shall discover the magnificent way to understand and realize the ones around us and mostly ourselves. If only we could stop for a moment and allow this to happen. May all beings be happy (Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu) The ancient Hindu philosophy of keeping mind and body for the well being has entered the managerial, medical and judicial domain of the world. Today it has found its place as an alternative to the theory of modern management and also as a means to bring back the right path of peace and prosperity for the human beings. Let me bow to Indian Maharishi Veda Vysa with folded hands, who helped in removing the impurities of the mind through his writings on Vedas, impurities of speech through his writings on puranas, and impurities of body through his writings on other sacred texts. The Holy Gita is the essence of the Vedas, Upanishads. It is a universal scripture applicable to people of all temperaments and for all times. It is a book with sublime thoughts and practical instructions on Yoga, Devotion, Vedanta and Action. It is profound in thought and sublime in heights of vision. It brings peace and solace to souls that are afflicted by the three fires of mortal existence, namely, afflictions caused by one's own body (disease etc), those caused by beings around one ( e.g. wild animals, snakes etc.), and those caused by the gods (natural disasters, earth-quakes, floods etc).

Mind can be one's friend or enemy. Mind is the cause for both bondage and liberation. The word mind is derived from man to think and the word man derived from manu (Sanskrit word for man).

"The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy." There is no theory to be internalized and applied in this psychology. Ancient practices spontaneously induce what each person needs as the individual and the universal coincide. The work proceeds through intellectual knowledge of the playing field ( jnana yoga), emotional devotion to the ideal (bhakti yoga) and right action that includes both feeling and knowledge (karma yoga). With ongoing purification we approach wisdom. The Bhagavad-Gita is a message addressed to each and every human individual to help him or her to solve the vexing problem of overcoming the present and progressing towards a bright future. Within its eighteen chapters is revealed a human drama. This is the experience of everyone in this world, the drama of the ascent of man from a state of utter dejection, sorrow and total breakdown and hopelessness to a state of perfect understanding, clarity, renewed strength and triumph. May the wisdom of loving consciousness ever guide us on our journey? What makes the Holy Gita a practical psychology of transformation is that it offers us the tools to connect with our deepest intangible essence, and we must learn to participate in the battle of life with right knowledge. "Freed from attachment, fear and anger, absorbed in me and taking refuge in me, purified by the penance of knowledge, many have attained union with My Being."  (Gita 4:10)

Mind is very restless, forceful and strong, O Krishna, it is more difficult to control the mind than to control the wind ~ Arjuna to Sri Krishna



In this modern world the art of Management has become a part and parcel of everyday life, be it at home, in the office or factory and in Government. In all organizations, where a group of human beings assemble for a common purpose irrespective of caste, creed, and religion, management principles come into play through the management of resources, finance and planning, priorities, policies and practice. Management is a systematic way of carrying out activities in any field of human effort. Management need to focus more on leadership skills, e.g., establishing vision and goals, communicating the vision and goals, and guiding others to accomplish them. It also assert that leadership must be more facilitative, participative and empowering in how visions and goals are established and carried out. Some people assert that this really isn't a change in the management functions, rather it's re-emphasizing certain aspects of management. Management is creative problem solving. This creative problem solving is accomplished through four functions of management: planning, organizing, leading and controlling. The intended result is the use of an organization's resources in a way that accomplishes its mission and objectives. Socio technical systems approach Technical systems such as production and office operation have great effect on social system such as personal This concept places importance on labour and lower-level office work and ignores other managerial knowledge. In this concept managing is treated as a mathematical processes. It is viewed as a purely logical process and is expressed in mathematical symbols and relationships. Managing is not a pure science and hence cannot be completely modeled. Without doubt social management is an indispensable part of Country's future development. However, talking about this issue, we must have a clear answer to some important questions: What is social management, and what are its relations with social construction and social services? What are the most urgent problems in social management we face today? How can we make social management more effective?

Social management refers to all government and private management and services in public fields other than economics, politics and culture and all fields where common men's life is affected. As an important part of the social construct, social management seeks to promote the orderly development of society by coordinating various interests and resolving social conflicts.

Social management is essentially a people-centered concept that can be best realized through providing proper social services. The government plays an important role and shoulders a strong responsibility in social management and services. In implementing these arrangements, we should insist on the basic principle of "people first", which is the initial logic behind scientific development, and realize better social management through the provision of better social services. The social services we provide will directly determine the result of social management. It is through the services they receive that the people decide whether the government has done enough.

The people are the core issue and the ultimate end of all development, whether economic, political or cultural, and social management is no exception to this. The most direct implementation and expression of that principle is the government using all efforts to defend the rights, welfare and interests of the people.

To that end, we can also strengthen the role of social organizations, and encourage public and private participation in the process of social management. That would not only bring fresh life to social services, but also expand the space for government to buy services for society, thus forming a better general pattern for society.

Just as human body is formed of different interdependent systems so is also an organization. A change in any one of these systems may affect all or some other systems to varying degrees. This ‘ripple effect’ influences the effectiveness of the organization. To understand the interactions and the consequences between the various systems of the organization the managers should posses the ability to get a perspective view. Treating an organization as formed of different Systems is known as systems approach. Systems theory was first applied in the fields of science and engineering. It also has found wide acceptance in the practice of management. A system can be defined as essentially a set or assemblage of things interconnected or interdependent, so as to form a complex unity. Cars, computers, television and radio sets are some examples of systems. There are two major types of systems: closed and open. A closed system has definite boundaries; it operates relatively independently and is not affected by the environment outside the system. Stand by generator is an example of a closed system. With its different systems working together in perfect harmony the generator continues to supply power as long as it has sufficient fuel supply without much regard to the external environment. An open system as the name implies, is characterized by its interaction with the external environment. Clearly, an open-system model that includes interactions between the enterprise and its external environment must describe any business or other organization. Today materialism is a great influence in our lives. Wealthy people are getting obsessed with accumulating more wealth in spite of knowing deep in their hearts that the wealth does not create happiness. The poor, are trying hard to become wealthy in spite of knowing that the wealth alone cannot create happiness. The race for materialism is depressing. Human consciousness and values has taken a back seat in this race. Our basic needs have expanded to owning posh villas, enjoying foreign food, costly designer clothing, hi-tech entertainment, pubs, clubs, etc.. Personal ambitions are around individual achievements, power and position. Social consciousness and values does not get into the list of personal ambitions.

Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their weaknesses irrelevant, says the Management Guru Peter Ducker. It creates harmony in working together – equilibrium in thoughts and actions, goals and achievements, plans and performance, products and markets. It resolves situations of scarcity, be they in the physical, technical or human fields, through maximum utilization with the minimum available processes to achieve the goal. Lack of management causes disorder, confusion, wastage, delay, destruction and even depression. Managing men, money and materials in the best possible way, according to circumstances and environment, is the most important and essential factor for a successful management. It is said that people who are more spiritually involved achieve better results in organizational performance. They are innovative and motivated. The time has come to encourage spirituality in workplace. It is time to reclaim India’s own spiritual heritage by returning to our arsha bharatha spiritual ancestry after reshaping it to suit the present situation. In modern management professional and personal lives are considered two separate entities. Nowadays the “tough” and “aggressive” managers who order things to get done are looked upon as “good” managers! The competition and aspiration for a higher lifestyle eliminates any possibility of genuine compassion, ethics, social welfare and integrity in management.

The Bhagavad-Gita was delivered by Sri Krishna to boost Arjuna’s declining morale, motivation, confidence and to increase his (Arjuna) effectiveness due to his (Arjuna) intra-personal conflict, which was to fight or not to fight the war at Kurukshestra Sri Krishna gave not only spiritual enlightenment but also the art of self management, conflict management, stress, anger management, transformational leadership, motivation, goal setting and many others aspects of management which can be used as a guide to increase HRM effectiveness. Unlike the western approach to HRM, which focuses in exploring the external world of matter and energy, the Bhagavad-Gita recommends a HRM approach, which focuses on exploring the inner world of the self. With our current system of education, the possibilities of self discovery or self realization get severely limited. In our commercial world today, these qualities do not have any market value. You cannot make a living by being self-realized. Our education system does not give an insight into the nature and other worldly knowledge.

HRM can understand from Gita the organizational behaviour in terms of the reciprocal causation among the employee (unique personality characteristics), the environment (perceived consequences from the organizational environment, such as result for performance), and the behavior itself (previous successful performances). Because of these combined reciprocal influences, employees are at the same time both products and producers of their personality, their behaviours, and their respective environments. They can suggest that the implications that self-efficacy may have for employee performance in organizations can no longer be ignored by practicing managers. They contend that while traditional motivational and behavioural management approaches are still relevant, expanding the behavioural management approach with SCT and self-efficacy will lead to the more comprehensive understanding and effective management of today's human resources.   Transformational Leadership After hearing 575 verses from Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna was motivated, energized and acted according to Sri Krishna’s instruction. This is transformation management (leadership), as quoted by Narayana (1998) who explained what happened after the Bhagavad-Gita . He (Arjuna) stood steady on the ground with bow and arrow in hand. He lifted his arms ready to fight the war. Sri Krishna demonstrated transformational HR leadership qualities in developing and guiding Arjuna to victory in the war. Transformational leaders (HR managers) exhibit charisma, encourage followers to question their own way of doing things, and treat followers differently but equitably based on follower need.

Modern HR managers and consultants can benefit from the philosophy of Bhagavad-Gita , which can serve as a guide in HRM. Mere imitation of western HRM approaches may not be appropriate in the Indian (Asian) context due to differences in the cultural environment. Many new western HRM approaches will continue to emerge, however the Bhagavad-Gita has remained and will remain to be relevant and continue to contribute to HRM for many centuries to com.

It explains.

  1. Time Management (by Joe Landsberger as an international, learner-centric)
  2. Conflict Resolution (Interpersonal conflict handling grid- Kilmann and Thomas)
  3. Leadership (Blake and Mouton’s managerial grid)
  4. Transactional Analysis (Eric Berne’s theory)
  5. Circle of Influence  (Stephen R. Covey’s model).


Management guidelines from the Bhagavad Gita

Employee and individual benefits:

  • Performance
  • Motivation
  • Decision-making
  • Realistic self-confidence
  • Self-awareness
  • Perseverance
  • Balance
  • Personal integrity
  • Self-regulation skills
  • Relaxation potential
  • Self-care skills
  • Clarity and focus
  • Physical and mental health 


Old truths in a new context

The Bhagavad-Gita, written thousands of years ago, enlightens us on all managerial techniques leading us towards a harmonious and blissful state of affairs in place of the conflict, tensions, poor productivity, absence of motivation and so on, common in most of Indian enterprises today – and probably in enterprises in many other countries. The modern (Western) management concepts of vision, leadership, motivation, excellence in work, achieving goals, giving work meaning, decision making and planning, are all discussed in the Bhagavad-Gita . There is one major difference. While Western management thought too often deals with problems at material, external and peripheral levels, the Bhagavad-Gita tackles the issues from the grass roots level of human thinking. Once the basic thinking of man is improved, it will automatically enhance the quality of his actions and their results. The management philosophy emanating from the West is based on the lure of materialism and on a perennial thirst for profit, irrespective of the quality of the means adopted to achieve that goal. This phenomenon has its source in the abundant wealth of the West and so 'management by materialism' has caught the fancy of all the countries the world over, India being no exception to this trend. My country, India, has been in the forefront in importing these ideas mainly because of its centuries old indoctrination by colonial rulers, which has inculcated in us a feeling that anything Western is good and anything Indian, is inferior. Gita does not prohibit seeking money, power, comforts, health. It advocates active pursuit of one's goals without getting attached to the process and the results. The result is that, while huge funds have been invested in building temples of modem management education, no perceptible changes are visible in the improvement of the general quality of life – although the standards of living of a few has gone up. The same old struggles in almost all sectors of the economy, criminalization of institutions, social violence, exploitation and other vices are seen deep in the body politic.


The source of the problem

The reasons for this sorry state of affairs are not far to seek. The Western idea of management centres on making the worker and the manager more efficient and more productive. Companies offer workers more to work more, produce more, sell more and to stick to the organization without looking for alternatives. The sole aim of extracting better and more work from the worker is to improve the bottom-line of the enterprise. The worker has become a hireable commodity, which can be used, replaced and discarded at will. Thus, workers have been reduced to the state of a mercantile product. In such a state, it should come as no surprise to us that workers start using strikes (gheraos) sit-ins, (dharnas) go-slows, work-to-rule etc. to get maximum benefit for themselves from the organizations. Society-at-large is damaged. Thus we reach a situation in which management and workers become separate and contradictory entities with conflicting interests. There is no common goal or understanding. This, predictably, leads to suspicion, friction, disillusion and mistrust, with managers and workers at cross purposes. The absence of human values and erosion of human touch in the organizational structure has resulted in a crisis of confidence. Western management philosophy may have created prosperity – for some people some of the time at least – but it has failed in the aim of ensuring betterment of individual life and social welfare. It has remained by and large a soulless edifice and an oasis of plenty for a few in the midst of poor quality of life for many. Hence, there is an urgent need to re-examine prevailing management disciplines – their objectives, scope and content. Management should be redefined to underline the development of the worker as a person, as a human being, and not as a mere wage-earner. With this changed perspective, management can become an instrument in the process of social, and indeed national, development. Now let us re-examine some of the modern management concepts in the light of the Bhagavad-Gita which is a primer of management-by-values.


Utilization of available resources

The first lesson of management science is to choose wisely and utilize scarce resources optimally. During the curtain raiser before the Mahabharata War, Duryodhana chose Sri Krishna's large army for his help while Arjuna selected Sri Krishna's wisdom for his support. This episode gives us a clue as to the nature of the effective manager – the former chose numbers, the latter, wisdom.


Work commitment

A popular verse of the Gita advises "detachment" from the fruits or results of actions performed in the course of one's duty. Being dedicated work has to mean "working for the sake of work, generating excellence for its own sake." If we are always calculating the date of promotion or the rate of commission before putting in our efforts, then such work is not detached. It is not "generating excellence for its own sake" but working only for the extrinsic reward that may (or may not) result. Working only with an eye to the anticipated benefits, means that the quality of performance of the current job or duty suffers – through mental agitation of anxiety for the future. In fact, the way the world works means that events do not always respond positively to our calculations and hence expected fruits may not always be forthcoming. So, the Gita tells us not to mortgage present commitment to an uncertain future. Some people might argue that not seeking the business result of work and actions makes one unaccountable. In fact, the Bhagavad-Gita is full of advice on the theory of cause and effect, making the doer responsible for the consequences of his deeds. While advising detachment from the avarice of selfish gains in discharging one's accepted duty, the Gita does not absolve anybody of the consequences arising from discharge of his or her responsibilities. Attachment to perishable gives birth to fear, anger, greed, desire, feeling of "mine" and many other negative qualities.  Renounce attachment by regarding objects for others and for serving others.  Depend only on God (not body, nor intellect), and the dependency on the world will end.  Renouncing attachment is the penance of knowledge, which leads to His Being – Truth, Consciousness and Bliss. ( Bhagavad-Gita 4.10) Thus the best means of effective performance management is the work itself. Attaining this state of mind (called "nishkama karma ") is the right attitude to work because it prevents the ego, the mind, from dissipation of attention through speculation on future gains or losses. Motivation – self and self-transcendence It has been presumed for many years that satisfying lower order needs of workers – adequate food, clothing and shelter, etc. are key factors in motivation. However, it is a common experience that the dissatisfaction of the clerk and of the Director is identical – only their scales and composition vary. It should be true that once the lower-order needs are more than satisfied, the Director should have little problem in optimizing his contribution to the organization and society. But more often than not, it does not happen like that. (" The eagle soars high but keeps its eyes firmly fixed on the dead animal below.") On the contrary, a lowly paid schoolteacher, or a self-employed artisan, may well demonstrate higher levels of self-actualization despite poorer satisfaction of their lower-order needs. The Chief should motivate all the employees by tapping into their pride. Get them involved in planning on what needs to be done. Employees support what they help build. Just doing tasks will mean very little to them. But if they are connected to the big picture and understand its importance, their work now has purpose. Including them in appropriate decision-making provides a high level of ownership. Seeing how their work impacts the overall success of the company fuels their internal motivation to do their best. Treat them as customer for your business. Just as you want your customers to buy your products, you want your employees to buy into your instructions and performance expectations. Just like your customers, your employees are motivated by need satisfaction and will respond to your demonstration of respect, appreciation, compliments and interest in them. It's not just money that motivates. We all work smarter and harder when we are appreciated.


Motivational Factors

Over the years, there have been many studies examining staff motivation and here are just a few examples of what employees feel are their motivational needs or factors:

The working environment – poor or inadequate equipment or work facilities

Working Conditions – too hot, too cold, no breaks, long hours

Social Interaction – isolation, socialization discouraged etc

Job Security – redundancies, feeling not part of company etc

Skill or intellectual use -inability or discouragement to use intellectual or skill

Promotional prospects and job title – lack of promotion, others promoted but not them

Responsibility – not allowed to work off own initiative

Recognition and appreciation – lack of praise or recognition for achievement

Trust and respect – treated as a machine

Participation in decision making – not allowed to get involved with company

A sense of belonging –

Salary – pay poor for job they are doing


Management issues – conflicts with management, etc

This situation is explained by the theory of self-transcendence propounded in the Gita. Self-transcendence involves renouncing egoism, putting others before oneself, emphasizing team work, dignity, co-operation, harmony and trust – and, indeed potentially sacrificing lower needs for higher goals, the opposite of Maslow. "Work must be done with detachment." It is the ego that spoils work and the ego is the centrepiece of most theories of motivation. We need not merely a theory of motivation but a theory of inspiration. The Great Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941, known as "Gurudev") says working for love is freedom in action. A concept which is described as "disinterested work" in the Gita where Sri Krishna says, "He who shares the wealth generated only after serving the people, through work done as a sacrifice for them, is freed from all sins. On the contrary those who earn wealth only for themselves, eat sins that lead to frustration and failure." Disinterested work finds expression in devotion, surrender and equipoise. The former two are psychological while the third is determination to keep the mind free of the dualistic (usually taken to mean "materialistic") pulls of daily experiences. Detached involvement in work is the key to mental equanimity or the state of " nirdwanda." This attitude leads to a stage where the worker begins to feel the presence of the Supreme Intelligence guiding the embodied individual intelligence. Such de-personified intelligence is best suited for those who sincerely believe in the supremacy of organizational goals as compared to narrow personal success and achievement. Indian theorists, of course, have a wide range of backgrounds and philosophies. But many of the most influential acknowledge that common themes pervade their work. One is the conviction that executives should be motivated by a broader purpose than money. Another is the belief that companies should take a more holistic approach to business.   The seemingly ethereal world view that's reflected in Indian philosophy is surprisingly well attuned to the down-to-earth needs of companies trying to survive in an increasingly global, interconnected business ecosystem. While corporations used to do most of their manufacturing, product development, and administrative work in-house, the emphasis is now on using outsiders. Terms such as "extended enterprises" (companies that outsource many functions), "innovation networks" (collaborative research and development programs), and "co-creation" (designing goods and services with input from consumers) are the rage. In our day to day life, whether you are working for an organization or are doing your own business or are responsible for your household work, the most common thing many times is that you get depressed while doing your work. Depressed employees in any organization are a common sight. Dejected employees, depressed employees, unmotivated employees, desolate employees, morose looking employees are very harmful to any organization as they not only decrease the productivity but they also create an atmosphere in which other colleagues may also feel de-motivated & dejected. Similarly if you run your own business & remain depressed while doing your work, certainly you shall not achieve that much in your business if you would have been highly motivated & energetic.

Now, De-motivation, Depression, Dejection, Desolation all these D-words relates to your mind or relate to your mental position. It's only your MIND that gets depressed, dejected. You may be physically fit with blood oozing in your nerves, but if you are not well with your MIND then you are certainly not going to perform to your full potential. Mental health is where the key to success lies. If you are mentally supercharged then you can achieve any milestone in spite of having any physical inadequacy.

Now, how to get out of this depression, de-motivation & how to increase the productivity at work is where the great teachings of "Bhagwat Gita" come into play, now for those who do not know about "Bhagwat Gita".

"Bhagwat Gita" is an ancient religious book of the "Hindus" & in this book are great philosophies of Hinduism. These philosophies teach you all about, how you should do your duty, how you should lead your life etc. This "Bhagwat Gita" teachings were given by "Lord Sri Krishna", God Himself, to his disciple "Arjuna" on the battle field of Kurukshetra in Haryana state of India in ancient times. "Arjuna" was involved in a war against his enemies (some of them his own relatives too) but he refused to do his duty of fighting a righteous battle as he got infatuated & started thinking of his enemies as his own near & dear ones. He told his master "Lord Sri Krishna" that he is going away from the war & do not want to fight on the battle field. Arjuna's mental health became weak & he got deeply depressed. To overcome his disciple Arjuna's depression & to motivate him to fight a righteous war, "Lord Sri Krishna" gave the great teachings of "Bhagwat Gita" to his disciple "Arjuna". After listening to all these great teachings, Arjuna's mental health became well & he became motivated & energetic to fight the war.

Now many of us & many of our employees in our organization find themselves in the same state of mind, as that of "Arjuna". Their de-motivated, depressed state of mind can be changed to motivated & energetic one by these teachings of "Bhagwat Gita". Through these teachings, mental equilibrium of any depressed person can be overcome & he can come out of any crisis situation. The teachings of "Bhagwat Gita" can simply transform a person.

Now Bhagwat Gita teaches about "Mind Control". Mind is that makes the personality of a person. De-motivated mind makes a person depressed one & a motivated one makes a person cheerful. If one's mind is in one's control & he/she can concentrate deeply on one's work, then that person can do wonders at work. Mind is very powerful one & to control it, to keep it in one's control is very difficult. It just wanders like wind here & there & it takes enough of self discipline & practice of meditation to control it, to get it concentrated on any job or activity. As per "Arjuna" to "Lord Sri Krishna" in Chapter Six verse 34:

"chanchalam hi manah krishna pramathi balavad drdham tasyaham nigraham manye vayor iva su-duskaram" (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Six verse 34)

"Arjuna said: For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it, to control it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind."

"sri-bhagavan uvacha asamsayam maha-baho mano durnigraham chalam abhyasena tu kaunteya vairagyena cha grhyate" (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Six verse 35)

"Lord Sri Krishna said: O mighty-armed Arjuna, it is undoubtedly that mind is very difficult to curb & is restless, but it is possible by suitable practices of meditation and by detachment."

"asamyatatmana yogo dusprapa iti me matih vasyatmana tu yatata sakyo ’vaptum upayatah" (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Six verse 36)

"Lord Sri Krishna said: For one whose mind is unbridled, uncontrolled, self-realization is a difficult work. But he whose mind is controlled and who strives by appropriate means is assured of success. That is My opinion."

So in the Bhagwat Gita, "Lord Sri Krishna" first of all asks one to do his DUTY. If a person does his/her duty then half of the problems of that person are solved. Not doing one's duty is very harmful as it produces negative results only in one's life, like frustration, depression, de-motivation etc. If one does at least his/her duty, then such negative factors affect that person to a lesser degree or do not affect at all. As per "Lord Sri Krishna", doing one’s prescribed duties, even though faultily is better to have a better Mental Health.

"sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah para-dharmat sv-anusthitat sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah para-dharmo bhayavahah" (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Three verse 35)

"Lord Sri Krishna said: It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though faultily, than another’s duties perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous." The repeated teachings of The Lord to motivate Arjuna is peculiar method in Gita. This mode of instruction to the mind is not only extremely charming but is also most efficacious. So the setting of the Gita has a glory and greatness of its own.

Another teaching of "Bhagwat Gita" is to do one's work for the sake of work only without caring for the fruit arising out of that work. That simply means to get deeply involved in one's work or to just think single minded about performing the best in one's job without thinking about the results arising out of those actions performed while doing one's work or duty. Just concentrate on your work, that's it. Below verse of "Bhagwat Gita" explains this.

"karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadachana ma karma-phala-hetur bhur ma te sango ’stv akarmani" (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Two verse 47)

"Lord Sri Krishna said: You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty."

Another below verse of "Bhagwat Gita" explains that one should do one's duty equi-poised or to have the equanimity of mind, without caring & renouncing all attachment to success or failure. If one does one's duty efficiently & with single minded devotion, without any fear of success or failure in his/her Endeavour, then certainly that person shall succeed in his/her work, as he/she is doing that work without any fear of success or failure. His/her mind shall be at peace & ease while doing such work without any fear of success or failure. Any person whose mind is at peace, certainly works effectively.

"yoga-sthah kuru karmani sangam tyaktva dhananjaya siddhy-asiddhyoh samo bhutva samatvam yoga ucyate" (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Two verse 48)

"Lord Sri Krishna said: Perform your duty equi-poised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga."

So if a person is dedicated to his work & works for the sake of work only without any fear of success or failure, then that person is going to be certainly successful in his/her carrier. By doing meditation & other yoga techniques, one can control one's mind & a disciplined mind can be made to concentrate on one's job better, producing better results. So by following the teachings of "Bhagwat Gita" one is certainly going to excel in his/her job & in life.


Work culture

An effective work culture is about vigorous and arduous efforts in pursuit of given or chosen tasks. Sri Krishna elaborates on two types of work culture – " daivi sampat" or divine work culture and "asuri sampat" or demonic work culture. •         Daivi work culture – involves fearlessness, purity, self-control, sacrifice, straightforwardness, self-denial, calmness, absence of fault-finding, absence of greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of envy and pride. •         Asuri work culture – involves egoism, delusion, personal desires, improper performance, work not oriented towards service. Mere work ethic is not enough. The hardened criminal exhibits an excellent work ethic. What is needed is a work ethic conditioned by ethics in work. It is in this light that the counsel, "yogah karmasu kausalam" should be understood. "Kausalam" means skill or technique of work which is an indispensable component of a work ethic. " Yogah" is defined in the Gita itself as "samatvam yogah uchyate" meaning an unchanging equipoise of mind (detachment.) Tilak tells us that acting with an equable mind is Yoga. (Bal Gangadhar Tilak, 1856-1920, the precursor of Gandhiji, hailed by the people of India as "Lokmanya," probably the most learned among the country's political leaders. For a description of the meanings of the word "Yoga", see foot of this page.) By making the equable mind the bed-rock of all actions, the Gita evolved the goal of unification of work ethic with ethics in work, for without ethical process no mind can attain an equipoise. The guru, Adi Sankara (born circa 800 AD), says that the skill necessary in the performance of one's duty is that of maintaining an evenness of mind in face of success and failure. The calm mind in the face of failure will lead to deeper introspection and see clearly where the process went wrong so that corrective steps could be taken to avoid shortcomings in future. The principle of reducing our attachment to personal gains from the work done is the Gita's prescription for attaining equanimity. It has been held that this principle leads to lack of incentive for effort, striking at the very root of work ethic. To the contrary, concentration on the task for its own sake leads to the achievement of excellence – and indeed to the true mental happiness of the worker. Thus, while commonplace theories of motivation may be said to lead us to the bondage or extrinsic rewards, the Gita's principle leads us to the intrinsic rewards of mental, and indeed moral, satisfaction. Putting the accent on "sticking to ethics in the workplace", all organizations should attempt to instil the values of honesty, moral virtues of hard work and diligence as preached in the Bhagavad Gita, which has now emerged as a guidebook for motivating numbers-driven managers.   So to help enhance the spiritual quotient of the employees and to ensure that they steer clear of dishonesty and vice, there are frequent yoga lessons, talks and lectures by motivational gurus and a handbook with relevant messages.


Work results

The Gita further explains the theory of "detachment" from the extrinsic rewards of work in saying:

  • If the result of sincere effort is a success, the entire credit should not be appropriated by the doer alone.
  • If the result of sincere effort is a failure, then too the entire blame does not accrue to the doer.

The former attitude mollifies arrogance and conceit while the latter prevents excessive despondency, de-motivation and self-pity. Thus both these dispositions safeguard the doer against psychological vulnerability, the cause of the modem managers' companions of diabetes, high blood pressure and ulcers. Assimilation of the ideas of the Gita leads us to the wider spectrum of "lokasamgraha" (general welfare) but there is also another dimension to the work ethic – if the "karmayoga" (service) is blended with "bhaktiyoga" (devotion), then the work itself becomes worship, a "sevayoga" (service for its own sake.) Along with bhakti yoga as a means of liberation, the Gita espouses the doctrine of nishkamya karma or pure action untainted by hankering after the fruits resulting from that action. Modern scientists have now understood the intuitive wisdom of that action in a new light. Scientists at the US National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, found that laboratory monkeys that started out as procrastinators, became efficient workers after they received brain injections that suppressed a gene linked to their ability to anticipate a reward. The scientists reported that the work ethic of rhesus macaques wasn't all that different from that of many people: "If the reward is not immediate, you procrastinate", Dr Richmond told LA Times. (This may sound a peculiarly religious idea but it has a wider application. It could be taken to mean doing something because it is worthwhile, to serve others, to make the world a better place – ed.)


Manager's mental health

Sound mental health is the very goal of any human activity – more so management. Sound mental health is that state of mind which can maintain a calm, positive poise, or regain it when unsettled, in the midst of all the external vagaries of work life and social existence. Internal constancy and peace are the pre-requisites for a healthy stress-free mind. Some of the impediments to sound mental health are: •       Greed – for power, position, prestige and money. •       Envy – regarding others' achievements, success, rewards. •       Egotism – about one's own accomplishments. •       Suspicion, anger and frustration. •       Anguish through comparisons. The driving forces in today's businesses are speed and competition. There is a distinct danger that these forces cause erosion of the moral fibre, that in seeking the end, one permits oneself immoral means – tax evasion, illegitimate financial holdings, being "economical with the truth", deliberate oversight in the audit, too-clever financial reporting and so on. This phenomenon may be called as "yayati syndrome". In the book, the Mahabharata, we come across a king by the name of Yayati who, in order to revel in the endless enjoyment of flesh exchanged his old age with the youth of his obliging youngest son for a thousand years. However, he found the pursuit of sensual enjoyments ultimately unsatisfying and came back to his son pleading him to take back his youth. This "yayati syndrome" shows the conflict between externally directed acquisitions (extrinsic motivation) and inner value and conscience (intrinsic motivation.)


Management needs those who practice what they preach

"Whatever the excellent and best ones do, the commoners follow," says Sri Krishna in the Gita. The visionary leader must be a missionary, extremely practical, intensively dynamic and capable of translating dreams into reality. This dynamism and strength of a true leader flows from an inspired and spontaneous motivation to help others. "I am the strength of those who are devoid of personal desire and attachment. O Arjuna, I am the legitimate desire in those, who are not opposed to righteousness," says Sri Krishna in the 10th Chapter of the Gita.


In conclusion

The despondency of Arjuna in the first chapter of the Gita is typically human. Sri Krishna, by sheer power of his inspiring words, changes Arjuna's mind from a state of inertia to one of righteous action, from the state of what the French philosophers call "anomie" or even alienation, to a state of self-confidence in the ultimate victory of "dharma" (ethical action.) When Arjuna got over his despondency and stood ready to fight, Sri Krishna reminded him of the purpose of his new-found spirit of intense action – not for his own benefit, not for satisfying his own greed and desire, but for the good of many, with faith in the ultimate victory of ethics over unethical actions and of truth over untruth. Sri Krishna's advice with regard to temporary failures is, "No doer of good ever ends in misery." Every action should produce results. Good action produces good results and evil begets nothing but evil. Therefore, always act well and be rewarded. My purport is not to suggest discarding of the Western model of efficiency, dynamism and striving for excellence but to tune these ideals to India's holistic attitude of " lokasangraha" – for the welfare of many, for the good of many. There is indeed a moral dimension to business life. What we do in business is no different, in this regard, to what we do in our personal lives. The means do not justify the ends. Pursuit of results for their own sake, is ultimately self-defeating. ("Profit," said Matsushita-san in another tradition, "is the reward of correct behaviour." – ed.)


A note on the word "yoga"

Yoga has two different meanings – a general meaning and a technical meaning. The general meaning is the joining together or union of any two or more things. The technical meaning is "a state of stability and peace and the means or practices which lead to that state." The Bhagavad Gita uses the word with both meanings.

Let us go through what scholars say about Holy Gita. "No work in all Indian literature is more quoted, because none is better loved, in the West, than the Bhagavad-gita. Translation of such a work demands not only knowledge of Sanskrit, but an inward sympathy with the theme and a verbal artistry. For the poem it is a symphony in which God is seen in all things. The Swami does a real service for students by investing the beloved Indian epic with fresh meaning. Whatever our outlook may be, we should all be grateful for the labor that has lead to this illuminating work." Dr. Geddes MacGregor, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Philosophy University of Southern California "The Gita can be seen as the main literary support for the great religious civilization of India, the oldest surviving culture in the world. The present translation and commentary is another manifestation of the permanent living importance of the Gita." Thomas Merton, Theologian "I am most impressed with A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's scholarly and authoritative edition of Bhagavad-gita. It is a most valuable work for the scholar as well as the layman and is of great utility as a reference book as well as a textbook. I promptly recommend this edition to my students. It is a beautifully done book." Dr. Samuel D. Atkins Professor of Sanskrit, Princeton University "As a successor in direct line from Caitanya, the author of Bhagavad-gita As It Is is entitled, according to Indian custom, to the majestic title of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The great interest that his reading of the Bhagavad-gita holds for us is that it offers us an authorized interpretation according to the principles of the Caitanya tradition." Olivier Lacombe Professor of Sanskrit and Indology, Sorbonne University, Paris "I have had the opportunity of examining several volumes published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust and have found them to be of excellent quality and of great value for use in college classes on Indian religions. This is particularly true of the BBT edition and translation of the Bhagavad-gita." Dr. Frederick B. Underwood Professor of Religion, Columbia University "If truth is what works, as Pierce and the pragmatists insist, there must be a kind of truth in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, since those who follow its teachings display a joyous serenity usually missing in the bleak and strident lives of contemporary people." Dr. Elwin H. Powell Professor of Sociology State University of New York, Buffalo "There is little question that this edition is one of the best books available on the Gita and devotion. Prabhupada's translation is an ideal blend of literal accuracy and religious insight." Dr. Thomas J. Hopkins Professor of Religion, Franklin and Marshall College "The Bhagavad-gita, one of the great spiritual texts, is not as yet a common part of our cultural milieu. This is probably less because it is alien per se than because we have lacked just the kind of close interpretative commentary upon it that Swami Bhaktivedanta has here provided, a commentary written from not only a scholar's but a practitioner's, a dedicated lifelong devotee's point of view." Denise Levertov, Poet "The increasing numbers of Western readers interested in classical Vedic thought have been done a service by Swami Bhaktivedanta. By bringing us a new and living interpretation of a text already known to many, he has increased our understanding manyfold." Dr. Edward C Dimock, Jr. Department of South Asian Languages and Civilization University of Chicago "The scholarly world is again indebted to A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Although Bhagavad-gita has been translated many times, Prabhupada adds a translation of singular importance with his commentary." Dr. J. Stillson Judah, Professor of the History of Religions and Director of Libraries Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California "Srila Prabhupada's edition thus fills a sensitive gap in France, where many hope to become familiar with traditional Indian thought, beyond the commercial East-West hodgepodge that has arisen since the time Europeans first penetrated India. "Whether the reader be an adept of Indian spiritualism or not, a reading of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is will be extremely profitable. For many this will be the first contact with the true India, the ancient India, the eternal India." Francois Chenique, Professor of Religious Sciences Institute of Political Studies, Paris, France "It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us" Emerson's reaction to the Gita "As a native of India now living in the West, it has given me much grief to see so many of my fellow countrymen coming to the West in the role of gurus and spiritual leaders. For this reason, I am very excited to see the publication of Bhagavad-gita As It Is by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. It will help to stop the terrible cheating of false and unauthorized 'gurus' and 'yogis' and will give an opportunity to all people to understand the actual meaning of Oriental culture." Dr. Kailash Vajpeye, Director of Indian Studies Centre for Oriental Studies, The University of Mexico "The Gita is one of the clearest and most comprehensive one, of the summaries and systematic spiritual statements of the perennial philosophy ever to have been done" __________________________________________Aldus Huxley "It is a deeply felt, powerfully conceived and beautifully explained work. I don't know whether to praise more this translation of the Bhagavad-gita, its daring method of explanation, or the endless fertility of its ideas. I have never seen any other work on the Gita with such an important voice and style. . . . It will occupy a significant place in the intellectual and ethical life of modern man for a long time to come." Dr. Shaligram Shukla Professor of Linguistics, Georgetown University "I can say that in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is I have found explanations and answers to questions I had always posed regarding the interpretations of this sacred work, whose spiritual discipline I greatly admire. If the asceticism and ideal of the apostles which form the message of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is were more widespread and more respected, the world in which we live would be transformed into a better, more fraternal place." Dr. Paul Lesourd, Author Professeur Honoraire, Catholic University of Paris "When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous." Albert Einstein "When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day." Mahatma Gandhi "In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita, in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial." Henry David Thoreau "The Bhagavad-Gita has a profound influence on the spirit of mankind by its devotion to God which is manifested by actions." Dr. Albert Schweitzer "The Bhagavad-Gita is a true scripture of the human race a living creation rather than a book, with a new message for every age and a new meaning for every civilization." Sri Aurobindo "The idea that man is like unto an inverted tree seems to have been current in by gone ages. The link with Vedic conceptions is provided by Plato in his Timaeus in which it states 'behold we are not an earthly but a heavenly plant.' This correlation can be discerned by what Krishna expresses in chapter 15 of Bhagavad-Gita." Carl Jung "The Bhagavad-Gita deals essentially with the spiritual foundation of human existence. It is a call of action to meet the obligations and duties of life; yet keeping in view the spiritual nature and grander purpose of the universe." Prime Minister Nehru "The marvel of the Bhagavad-Gita is its truly beautiful revelation of life's wisdom which enables philosophy to blossom into religion." Herman Hess "I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us." Ralph Waldo Emerson "In order to approach a creation as sublime as the Bhagavad-Gita with full understanding it is necessary to attune our soul to it." Rudolph Steiner "From a clear knowledge of the Bhagavad-Gita all the goals of human existence become fulfilled. Bhagavad-Gita is the manifest quintessence of all the teachings of the Vedic scriptures." Adi Shankara "The Bhagavad-Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value to mankind. It is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity." Aldus Huxley "The Bhagavad-Gita was spoken by Lord Krishna to reveal the science of devotion to God which is the essence of all spiritual knowledge. The Supreme Lord Krishna's primary purpose for descending and incarnating is relieve the world of any demoniac and negative, undesirable influences that are opposed to spiritual development, yet simultaneously it is His incomparable intention to be perpetually within reach of all humanity." Ramanuja The Bhagavad-Gita is not seperate from the Vaishnava philosophy and the Srimad Bhagavatam fully reveals the true import of this doctrine which is transmigation of the soul. On perusal of the first chapter of Bhagavad-Gita one may think that they are advised to engage in warfare. When the second chapter has been read it can be clearly understood that knowledge and the soul is the ultimate goal to be attained. On studying the third chapter it is apparent that acts of righteousness are also of high priority. If we continue and patiently take the time to complete the Bhagavad-Gita and try to ascertain the truth of its closing chapter we can see that the ultimate conclusion is to relinquish all the conceptualized ideas of religion which we possess and fully surrender directly unto the Supreme Lord. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati "The Mahabharata has all the essential ingredients necessary to evolve and protect humanity and that within it the Bhagavad-Gita is the epitome of the Mahabharata just as ghee is the essence of milk and pollen is the essence of flowers." Madhvacarya Yoga has two different meanings – a general meaning and a technical meaning. The general meaning is the joining together or union of any two or more things. The technical meaning is "a state of stability and peace and the means or practices which lead to that state." The Bhagavad Gita uses the word with both meanings. Lord Krishna is real Yogi who can maintain a peaceful mind in the midst of any crisis." Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. Karma, Bhakti, and Jnana are but three paths to this end. And common to all the three is renunciation. Renounce the desires, even of going to heaven, for every desire related with body and mind creates bondage. Our focus of action is neither to save the humanity nor to engage in social reforms, not to seek personal gains, but to realize the indwelling Self itself. Swami Vivekananda (England, London; 1895-96) "Science describes the structures and processess; philosophy attempts at their explaination.—– When such a perfect combination of both science and philosophy is sung to perfection that Krishna was, we have in this piece of work an appeal both to the head annd heart. " ____________Swamy Chinmayananda on Gita I seek that Divine Knowledge by knowing which nothing remains to be known!' For such a person knowledge and ignorance has only one meaning: Have you knowledge of God? If yes, you a Jnani! If not, you are ignorant. As said in the Gita, chapter XIII/11, knowledge of Self, observing everywhere the object of true Knowledge i.e. God, all this is declared to be true Knowledge (wisdom); what is contrary to this is ignorance." Sri Ramakrishna Maharishi calls the Bhagavad-Gita the essence of Vedic Literature and a complete guide to practical life. It provides "all that is needed to raise the consciousness of man to the highest possible level." Maharishi reveals the deep, universal truths of life that speak to the needs and aspirations of everyone. Maharshi Mahesh Yogi The Gita was preached as a preparatory lesson for living worldly life with an eye to Release, Nirvana. My last prayer to everyone, therefore, is that one should not fail to thoroughly understand this ancient science of worldly life as early as possible in one's life. — Lokmanya Tilak I believe that in all the living languages of the world, there is no book so full of true knowledge, and yet so handy. It teaches self-control, austerity, non-violence, compassion, obedience to the call of duty for the sake of duty, and putting up a fight against unrighteousness (Adharma). To my knowledge, there is no book in the whole range of the world's literature so high above as the Bhagavad-Gita, which is the treasure-house of Dharma nor only for the Hindus but foe all mankind. — M. M. Malaviya

Ref.,, gita, vedanta.og,,, bhavan's journal

Prof. Sharma’s talk during the 8th Gita Conference, Bangalore

Prof.Sharma is a Sanskrit scholar from Sheshadripuram College, Bangalore. He has a vast knowledge of the Vedas. During his talk, he quoted so many slokas from the scriptures and many keertanas from great saints. (It has not been possible to put in all these slokas and keertanas in this transcription.)

After offering his salutations to the Gods and Gurus Prof Sharma started by saying that Lord Shiva, the form of Dakhsinamurhty, who was in silent meditation reincarnated on to this earth in the form of  Jagadguru Shankara Bahgawatpada for the purpose of loka kalyana.

Quoting Viveka Chudamani, composition by Sri Shankaracharya, he said that there are three things that are difficult to get in this world. They are, he said:

  1. Birth as human. The soul has to transmigrate through various forms of life 8400000 times before it gets an opportunity to take the form of human.
  2. After having taken the birth as human, it is still more difficult to remember the god, meditate on Him and strive to attain Moksha. Quote sloka 3, chapter 7 of the Gita: “Among thousands of men, one strives for perfection, and among those who strive and succeed, only some will know Me in essence”. (Manushyanam sahasreshu–)

Sadguru who is a realised soul will assist the sincere seeker, he said. We must take shelter under the guru who fulfils the criterion of a jnani as enumerated by Sri Krishna in sloka 7, chapter 13 of the Gita.

Amanitvam adambhitvam ahimsa kshantir Arjavam

Acharyopasanam shoucham sthairyam atmavinigrahaha.

Humijily, absence of pretension, non-injury, fortitude, uprigheousness, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control.

  1. To find such a guru is still more difficult.

It is very difficult to get satsanga. “Shankara’s composition of Bhaja Govindam”

Satsangatve nissangatvam, nissangatve nirmohatvam, nirmohatve nischala tatvam, nischala tatve jivanmuktam, bhaja govindam, bhaja govindam, govindam bhaja moodha mate’.

Bhagavathas spread the glory of the Paramatma, he said. Bhagawatha (sacred text) says that Bhagavathas by visiting, glorifying and singing the glory of the Lord have enhanced the greatness of centres of pilgrimage. Taking shelter at the lotus feet of Sadguru will bestow punya of having visited the great centres of pilgrimage, he reiterated. He who by this course of action shows Sraddha and Bhakti in Sadguru will, by the grace of such Sadguru experience “Sat, Chit, Ananda”.

It is our good fortune that today we have assembled at the ashrama of such a Sadguru, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamy and I offer my salutation at his lotus feet, said Prof Sharma.

Srimad Bhagawadgita which deals with the “Maha Vakya” “Tat, Tvam Asi” brings out the essence of “Tvam” through the first 6 chapters, “Tat” through the next six chapters and “Asi” through the last six chapters.

“Tat, Tvam, Asi” reiterates the fact that each one of us is “That”.

What is “That” it is referring to?

“That” is “Akshara” and this is the topic for the day. This aspect is taken up by Lord Krishna in the eighth chapter “Akshara Parabrahma Yoga.”


Taking up the theme of slokas 9 and 10 from this chapter, he said that Lord Krishna is giving an idea to Arjuna about what type of spiritual seekers come to understand and experience the “Tat Tvam Asi.” This yoga is the best gem in the garland of 18 chapters that adorns the Lord. Slokas 9 ad 10 are the best gems from this chapter.


Kavim puranam anushasitaram anoraniyamsam anusmaredyaha

Sarvasya dhataram achintya roopam adityavarnam tamasaha parastat


Pranyana kale manasa calena bhaktya yukto yogabalena cha

Bhruvor madhye pranam aveshya Samyak sa tam param purusham upaiti divyam


Who, meditating upon the Omniscient, the Ancient, the ruler of the worlds, supporter of all, subtler than an atom, of inconceivable form, self-illumined like the sun and beyond darkness.


At the time of death, by the power of yoga, fixing the “prana” between the eyebrows, he attains the Supreme Purusha.


We are blessed with commentaries on the Gita by famous scholars and we have Shankara Bhashya, commentary by Sri Shankaracharya himself.


He discussed in detail about the interpretation of the words used in sloka 9:


“Kavi” is a “kranta darshi”. (omniscient) Shankaracharya says that “Kavi” refers to “Sarvajna” “Sarvajna” knows everything, conducts all actions and is the controller of all lokas.  It is said in Bhagawatham that He creates, sustains and causes dissolution of what He has created He is Sarvajna. He exhibits rajoguna for creation, Satva guna for sustaining and tamoguna for bringing dissolution but at the same time He remains as the power beyond the three gunas. Only that being is the best Jnani and Parama Purusha.


Kapila Maharshi in his discourse to his mother Devahuti gives answer to the question:

Who is a Purusha?

Purusha is He who is the tatva beyond the 24 tatvas, namely:

Prakriti, Mahat, Ahamkara, Buddhi, Pancha Maha Bhutas, five sense organs, five organs of action, the five tanmatras,

Purusha is omnipresent and supporter of all but is not attached to the actions or the results of actions.


Kavihi karoti kavyani, rasam janati Panditaha.

Kavis compose poetry and the Jnanis know the essence of such compositions . Shankaracharya says the pandita is he who is a jnani in the truest sense. Jnani is he who has understood the “Sarvajna”.

Quoting Vishnu sahasranama: stanza 1:

Viswam vishnum vashatkaro bhoota Bhavya bhavati prabhuhu

Bhootakrit bhootabhridbhavo bhootatma bhoota bhavanaha


He is Viswam, whose manifestation is the total universe of all forms,

Vishnu: that pervades everywhere

Vashatkaro: who is of the form of yajna, he who is invoked and for propitiating whom the oblations are poured in Vedic rituals.

Bhoota Bhavya bhavat prabhuhu: who is the Lord of the past, present and future

Bhootakrit: the creator of all

Bhootabrit: nurtures and nourishes all

Bhavo: one who becomes (into moveable and immoveable forms)

Bhootatma: atman of all beings

Bhoota bhavanaha: who creates and multiplies the creatures


The Vedas are the in-breathe and out-breathe of the Supreme.

The word “Kavi” is to be found in the Vedas.

Saint poet Purandara Dasa in one of his compositions has sung:

You are all-pervading, you know everything in the world,

Vittala, you who is the unseen Atman within all, support me, you are to my right and to my left, you are in front of me and behind me, you are my family and relatives,

You act as though you do not know anything, he proclaims.


The next word in the sloka is:

Puranam:the most ancient

“Adyatana”: the one which is prevailing today

Shwattana: the one which is going to prevail tomorrow

Hestana: the one that prevailed yesterday

Sadatana: the one that is going to prevail at all times

The dharma is “Sadatana” and has four limbs to it:

The Lord is the form of dharma and the four limbs of dharma are: Satya, daya, Tapaha, shoucham. (Truth, Comassion, Austerity and Purity)

He is the Purana Purusha and has been looking after and protecting us from ancient times to this day and will be continuing to do so in the ‘morrow to come.


The “Brahma Tatva” (essence of Brahman) is in the form of a “Kavi” who is Sarvajna and  Purana Purusha.


The next word is:

Anushasitaram:the ruler, administrator over the entire world. “Shasana” means “to give orders” “Shasta” means he who is able to give orders. The sastras say that without His will not even a blade of grass can move. There is a Telugu saying that without the orders from Shiva, not even the ant can bite.

Narayana Teertha in Krishna Leela Tarangini sings:

Kalaya sakhi sundaram

 bala krishnam kalaya sakhi sundaram

krishnam gata vishaya trishnam

jagat prabha vishnum

surari gana jishnum

sada bala krishnam

kalaya sakhee sundaram.

He is “Prabha Vishnu” which means he is the one who can command over anybody. Without any “Arhata” we cannot command. (“Arhata” is competency.)

Without “adhikara” (post of authority) we cannot do or say anything at any place.


Only with adhikara we can:

Adheto Bodha acharana pracharaihi

Adheto Bodha: We must properly study, recollect/understand clearly what we studied/were taught (it is manana and nidhi Dhyasa)

Only then we can put it into practice—“acharana”

“Prachara” is propagating.

Unless we first put into practice what we have studied/were taught we have no right to propagate the same teaching to others is the meaning of this statement.


Who is Eeshwara?

Swatmanaha api eeshwaraha:

The Lord (eeshwara) is the lord over himself (eesha). There is no Lord over Him.


Other Gods like Indra, Chandra, Yama, Varuna can bestow what is within their capacity.

But, the Lord will give Himself over to those who worship Him with Sraddha, Bhakti and Jnana.

The common feature in all of us is that we would like to show/exhibit our power over others but we do not try to be boss over ourselves. Hence the Lord says in the Gita:

Uddharedatmana—(sloka 5, chapter 6.) To uplift ourselves we must first of all know and understand ourselves.

What are we then?

Sloka 24, chapter 2:

Achedyoyamaddhyoyam, akledyososasya eva cha

Nityaha sarvagataha sthanuhu achaloyam sanatanaha


This Self cannot be cut, nor burnt, nor wetted nor dried. It is eternal all-pervading, stable, immovable and everlasting.

Only with this knowledge we can uplift ourselves.

As Sheshashayi, (lying over the thousand headed serpent Adishehsa,) He is actually contemplating about Himself. Similarly, Lord Shiva in meditation at Kailasa, is actually contemplating on Himself.

Every-day we must make it habit of self-analysing ourselves.

We should put this question to ourselves:

Did I conduct like a satpurusha or dushpurusha today? (good or bad person) or did I act like an animal?

Only when we analyse and make corrections in our way of living, we are competent to be “Shasthas” (commanders.) when we learn to be commanders over our mind, we have competency to command over others.

It is a custom to visit the temple of “Lord Shani” and do the circumabulate (pradakshina) clockwise and anti-clockwise directions because we have fear of getting caught by Him and suffer as a consequence.

If we learn to surrender to Him to whom even Lord Shani surrenders to we have greater chance of overcoming the problems in life.

Hence the usage of the word: Anushasitaram.



Anoraniyamsam:subtlest of the subtle.

Sloka 90, Vishnu Sahasra nama:

Anur bruhat krishaha sthoolo gunabhrin nirguno mahaan

Anuh: subtlest

Brihat:greater than the greatest

Krishaha: lean, subtle, delicate

Sthoolo: the grossest

Gunabhrit: supports all gunas

Nirguno: without any properties

Mahaan: great


We consider atom to be the smallest particle and the Lord is even subtler than the atom.

He who is so subtle has pervaded the entire Brahmanda  We use the same superlatives in Sree Lalitha Sahasranama: “Abrahma keeta janani” (the Goddess pervades from the smallest insect to that of Brahma.)

We are alive because of the presence of that atom of the Supreme within us. When Shiva departs from this shareera (body) it becomes a shava (corpse).

Yajur veda: Anter Pravishtuhu shastha jananam: as long as this “shastha” (commander) is inside, we are alive. (susthithi)


Shankara in Moha Mudgara:

Yavat pavanoni vasati dehe’ tavat pruchati kushalam gehe’

Gatavati vayo deha paye bharya bhibhyati tasmin kaye:

As long as the life breathe is inside us all relations like wife and others will be near us and as soon as the life breathe departs (jeevatma) from this mortal body, they are not with us anymore. The dearest wife also cannot and will not sit next to the dead body for ever.

As long as the “anu” is within the body, there is life and all the attachment experienced from it.

The presence of gold gives value to the various ornaments. Many a times we do not recognise the gold within the ornament.

As the Paramatma has pervaded the entire universe as “Anu”, we are all living and experiencing the life.


“anoraniyana mahato maheemana aprameyana adisidalu yashoda jagadoddharana” says Purandara Dasaru.

He says that Yashoda played with the Lord who uplifted the world and that Lord is the subtlest of the subtle and grossest of the gross.

The Lord came down as Vamana to Emperor Bali and requested for a portion of land that can be occupied by his three steps. Bali asks if the portion of land equal to the space occupied by the three steps is sufficient. In reply Vamana says that he who does not get satisfied with the land occupied by the three steps will not be satisfied even if he is given the three worlds.

The Supreme is both subtlest and the grossest. The reason for dwelling on the subtle form so much is because everything arises only from the subtlest form of the Supreme.

Einstein who gave the relation of energy, mass gave quotation: The atom.: e=mcsquare.

“e” is energy and it is equal to the  Mass into the square of velocity.

We have various forms of energy like solar energy, wind energy, water energy etc. The light is coming out of the bulb because of the collision of the electrons present in it. On this topic he has quoted in his life history with a reference to the Bhagawadgita. The science agrees that there are smaller particles than the atom. The “Akshara” is the smallest particle and is most powerful. It is pervading the 14 lokas. The Brahma Tatva is in the form of the special “Anu”.


Sarvasya dhataram:The nourisher and supporter of all.

Sri Krishna once asks his father Nanda as to why they were worshipping Lord Indra?

 Indra is the Lord who holds the post of leader over the devas in heaven.

Even Brahma, the creator is also holding on to the post of office of the creator.

 The life span of Brahma who holds that post is 100years but not the same years we have.100yrs of Brahma is a “Maha Kalpa.” One year of Brahma has 365 days. One day of that year is one kalpa which is equal to 2000 chatur yugas. (1000 chatur yuga for day and 1000 chatur yugas for night) each chatur yugas is made up of four yugas: Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kali yugas. Brahma is in the act of creation for 1000 chaturyugas which form one day of his life. He is in sleep in the second half of the day which also lasts for 1000 chatur yugas. The entire world is in darkness during that period.  The period between this day and night is “Naimittika pralaya.” In this long period of Brahma, our stay is a tiny fraction only. It is important that we do some good work during this short period of existence.  It is a good idea to carry out the good deed the moment when it flashes in front of us (samkalpa: resolve)  rather than postponing the act.

The present day of Brahma is “Shweta varaha kalpa”. 432 crore human years is one day of Brahma. At the end of his 100years Brahma gets merged into the lotus and the lotus into the naval of Vishnu. That is one day of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is the “dhata” (supporter) of “Vidhata “ (supporter of life, Brahma)

Vishnu does come to those who do call him. But for this to occur, we must know whom to call. Those who think of him at the time of death will surely get blessed by Him and get united with Him, says the Lord in the sloka.

He then recited a very popular keertanas, the meaning of which is: “This great Lord came down to receive and eat the fruit offered by Shabari and to protect the dignity of Droupadi. It is a pity that we do not call him the way Droupadi shouted for help and the way Shabari offered the fruit. He consented to enlighten Udhava with the spiritual knowledge and it is a pity we do not approach Him for enlightenment like the way Uddhava did.

 Do not forget His name at the time of death and do not forget His name at the time of happiness or sorrow.”

We can experience the Bliss even in this life and this is “Jivan Mukti.” Vaikunta and Kailasa are not to be found in a far off land. Both are in this world only. We can experience these when we realise our true nature and His aspect of  “Sat, Chit, Ananda”. This is known as the state of “Paramahamsa”.


Achintya roopam:Of inconceivable form.

It means that the moment we think of Him, He can take any form and come in front of us.

In a keertana He is described as the oldest of the old and the newest of the new which is forthcoming. You are there today, you were there yesterday and you will be there tomorrow to come.

 “Ajo’pi Sannavayatma—(sloka 6, chapter 4): Though I am unborn, Imperishable and the Lord (Ishwara) of all beings, the Atma for all, yet subjugating My Prakriti, I come into being by My own Maya

In Lalitha Sahasranama, one of the mantra means that Rajarajeshwari will uplift those who are drowned in the pit of this dirty water of Samsara called Bhava sagara. The Devi is Brahma Vidya Pradayini. (Gives the gift of Brahma Vidya).

Devi mahatmya: The feminine form of the Lord is “Maya” when we visualise Him in “Saguna form”.(imagine Him with a form).

Markandeya Purana: even the Chitta is also made to fall into the clutches of maya. Jnanis are those who know all in relation to a particular field of study. Even Jnanis like Vyasa, Sadashiva Brahmendra were victims of maya for a moment in their lives.

It is said in Srimad Bhagawatham that once Suka Brahma (son of Veda Vyasa) was walking along the banks of a river. His father Vyasa was walking a few steps behind and was shouting “Putra, putra” (son, son) with all the love of a father. Suka who was totally merged in the contemplation of Parabrahman did not hear his father calling. At that time a number of damsels were swimming in that river. Suka passed along that path but the ladies carried on playing in the water of the river. But when Suka passed forward and Vyasa came to that spot, they all ran to cover their modesty. Vyasa asked those ladies: “My son is hardly 16yrs old and is totally naked. I am an old person and fully clothed. Yet, when he passed along you did not feel shy but as soon as I approached you are feeling shy. Shy?”

They replied that Suka was beyond the clutches of “Dwandwas” (pairs of opposites like happiness, sorrow, pain, pleasures etc) and hence was a true jnani.

The two, namely, Suka Brahma and Sri Krishna are both the same and not different people. In the guise of Jnanis, Sri krishna takes the avataras on this earth. Or, in the form of His choice, using the Maya as His tool, He takes the birth (incarnates) eon after eon to protect the righteous, uphold Dharma and uproot the evil. (sloka 7, chapter 4). Incarnations as Rama, Krishna and many more are for this purpose only.

Jaya Deva says that all the 10 avataras of Lord Vishnu were for the same reason.


Aditya varnam tamasaha parastat:Luminous like the sun and beyond darkness.

Vedantameham purusham mahanta, Adityavarnam tamasastu pare, Sarvani roopani vichitya dheeraha;  says the Purusha sooktam.

Sadashiva Brahmendra says:

 Manasa sancharare,

brahmani manasa sancharare,

ada shikhi pincha alankrita chikure,

 mahaniya Kapola vijitha mukhare,

 manasa sancharare

in front of his luminosity, even the mirror gets defeated as it cannot truly reflect His luminosity. The crown of the Lord is brighter than the luminosity of the sun.

Those who recollect him thus, understand that His luminosity is beyond all the known luminous objects including the sun, the entire loka gets illumined by Him:


Brihadaranyaka Upanisad:

na tatra suryaso bhasi, tasya bhasa sarvam idam:

With His luminosity, the entire world is illumined.

Without His luminosity, nothing in this world gets illumined.

Thus the eight qualities of Brahma Tatva have been put forward in this sloka.


We decorate the Nirguna Brahma after making Him Saguna Brahma through the process of images of Him.

As the image of the Lord gets on more beautiful as one carries on doing the alamkara (decoration),

we who are His images (prati bimba) keep on getting illumined like Him with the knowledge of the Supreme.

Shankara Bhagawatpada says:

cheto bringha brahmati

vrita Bhava maru bhoomou

virasayaam bhaja

bhaja lakshmi Narasimha —-.

By doing the chinta on the reflection, we automatically get illumined like him.

Sastras say:

Om ityekaksharam

nama iti dwe akshare

 narayana eti panchaksharani.

On the other hand, we who have taken birth into this world do not recollect Him as such but we keep on recollecting and repeating worlds like tea, coffee etc.

Those who at all times contemplate on the superior “Omkara” and the divya tatva, especially at the time of:

Prayana kale manasa chalena(and rest of sloka 10):

Those who meditate on Him at the time of travel in the form described so far as kavi etc are real Jnanis. They have come out of tamas (ajnana, ignorance) Ajnana is a big hell and to come out of this hell, we have to surrender to the Lord. True sharanagati (surrender) does receive the grace of the Lord.

The confirmation of this promise is given in sloka 22, chapter 9,:

Ananyas chintanto maam –.

Sree Rama has also given such promise.

Purandara Dasa says:

Innoo daya barade dasana mele

pannaga shayana parama Purusha

hari ye innoo dayabarade—.

Have you no compassion on this servant, I who have out of ignorance gone through so many births and has now realised your true nature.


He who, through the practice of Ashtanga yoga, having gone through the stages of Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi and Samyama and having entered into Nirvikalpa samadhi state, remains in that state at the time of death, reaches The Supreme.


“Tam Eva Adi Purusham Upaiti”: such an eternal Purusha, the seeker will enter into.

The same statement reverberates in the keertanas of Purandara Dasaru:

adhara modalada aru chakra sodhisi

bidabeku ishana mooru sadhisi

shumna eru

alli bhedisi nee parabrahma seru.

drop the six wheels like dependence etc, achieve victory over women, wealth and wine, reach the height of sushumna and join the Isha.

The “Ajna Chakra, at the top of our head. On the eight petalled Lotus He is sitting on:

 In this spot is His triangle. The atma Shakti of the yogi, through the process of dhyana, reaches this spot. It unites with the light of the Atman. In the short period of our existence on this earth let us therefore practice the art of equanimity towards the opposites like sukha, dukha, pains and pleasures and victory, defeat.

Please do not get the meaning of the word “at the time” as reaching ripe old age. Learn to control your senses from young age. Develop the Bhakti on the Lord from childhood. We are sure to reach the abode of the Supreme who is of the form of “Akshara Parabrahman.”


Kulasekhara Alwar, in the Mukunda Mala says that if kapha, vata, pitta reach the throat, what chance we have of reaching him?

Sri Krishna says: jnani tu mamaeva me’ matam

He who understands the eight qualities enumerated in sloka 9 and meditates on them, at the time of death reaches the Supreme. “Akshara” and “Supreme Parabrahman” are one and the same. Let us climb the three steps “Sameepya, Saroopya, Sayujya” and unite with Him and attain Moksha in this life itself.

Sameepya: (approaching). Realising that there is God, the all-protector, the friend in need is the first step and this is Sameepya.

Sarupya: (to be seen) it is coming face to face with the object of devotion. The object of devotion is right in front.

Sayujya: (to enter into) entering into the object of devotion totally. It is attaining unity with the Lord. There are now no more two entities. It is only Parabrahman, the all pervading, Omniscient and Omnipotent.

Let us therefore think of Him constantly, develop the knowledge of the Supreme and surrender to Him totally. Let us say “Daso’ham”: I am your servant, My Lord. Following this procedure, let us become eligible to receive the essence of the teaching of the sacred text, “So’ham” (I am no other than You as I am not existent)

Discourse by Poojya Vijayananda Teertha Swamiji

Discourse by Poojya Vijayananda Teertha Swamiji at the 8th Gita Conference in Bangalore.

On Sunday the 28th Nov 2010, Poojya Datta Vijayananda Swamiji inaugurated the eighth Global Gita Conference organised by the International Gita Foundation trust (r) at the Karya Siddhi Hanuman Mandir, Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashrama, Girinagar, Bengaluru. He offered his salutations at the lotus feet of Poojya Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji, blessed the assembled delegates and recited a number of slokas praising the glory of the Supreme Power.

Swamiji felt it was appropriate to address the assembled delegates in Kannada as the conference was held in Bengaluru, capital of Karnataka,

To start off he reported that there was no homa conducted on this day at the ashrama. It was the routine of the ashrama set by Poojya Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji that the homa is conducted every day. As the conference was a “Maha Yajna” (great sacrificial rite) there was no need to conduct the homa, he said.

He expressed his happiness at the progress by the trustees of the International Gita Foundation Trust in the conduct of annual Global Gita Conferences since 2003 and was especially happy at the attempts to rekindle the light of spiritual knowledge by encouraging young children to participate at the conferences. It was the “Prerana” (driving force) of Sadguru Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji, he stressed.

This 8th conference today at Bangalore was on the eighth chapter, Akshara Parabrahma Yoga and he said it was “Ashta Siddhi”. (Eight accomplishments). This chapter is also known as “Abhyasa Yoga” (yoga of practice)

Swamiji wanted the delegates present to consider that the attendance at the conference was not for the sake of attendance but to understand the true meaning of the slokas from the sacred text and to implement them through practice in the daily life. The eighth chapter is the yoga to lead us in the spiritual path.  Just like the parents holding hands of their children and teaching them the art of walking, this chapter will lead the spiritual children in the spiritual path.

Swamiji reminded the delegates that the “Gita Saramu” sung this morning by Sri. Mani and other musicians was the composition by Appaji which summarised the 18 chapters in the Gita into 18 beautiful slokas. The blossom of spirituality takes place on listening to the composition every day, he said.

He dwelt on the blessings sent by Poojya Appaji for the conference and read to the delegates by Swamy Manasa Datta. Appaji was not physically well to come to Bangalore for the conference but his mind is totally on the conference he said. The presence Poojya  Appaji is felt in the hall today even though he is not physically present , he expressed.

He dwelt briefly on the titles given for each of the 18 chapters. He said that one may get a doubt if during the battle of Kurukshetra, did Krishna actually stop at the end of each chapter and went on to the next chapter. According to the experts, the Lord did not break his narration at the end of each chapter but it was a continuous flow of thoughts from Him to His disciple Arjuna. But he has indirectly given a hint for the name of each yoga through the beauty of his narration.


The Mahabharata consisting of 18 parvas is known popularly as “Jaya”he said. “Jaya”is symbolic of the number 18. “Jaya”means “victory”and by reading the 18 parvas of Mahabharata we achieve victory in our life. The Gita, incorporated in the Mahabahrata is a tool for victory.

Please do not tell your children that they will get“Moksha”(salvation) by reading the Gita but stress the fact that they will achieve victory. Every field of activity we undertake in this life of ours is full of problems (like thorns in the path). Tell the children that the Gita gives us the capacity to overcome the obstacles at every step. Each obstacle that is overcome is a victory as far as the child is concerned and the sacred text is the tool to guide the children. The words like “Moksha, Ajnana, (ignorance) Moha(delusion) physical body, subtle body etc”is beyond the child’s understanding capacity.

When we have no time even to think about “ajnana”what is the use of discussions on the subject? Majority consider “ajnana as sujnana”(they do not realise their mistakes and while doing the wrong they think that they are doing it right). Let us learn to help the children to find solutions for the problems they face and tell them that the Gita gives the means to success. Once having understood and experienced the benefits, the children will get immense confidence in the Gita for the rest of their lives.

Even for us, the elders, we should approach the sacred text with the belief that the Gita is not only for success in spiritual path but also in the material world we live in. After all the Gita is the summary of all the Upanisads and a narration by the Lord directly to mankind through the medium of Arjuna. We must develop immense faith in the words of the Master.

It teaches us to take the path of righteousness and achieve victory in any field of activity. It is a fact that many a time we fail to get what we strive for. How do we react to this failure?

  1. We feel sorry for ourselves and cry.
  2. We feel jealous of the other person who managed to get what we wanted for ourselves.


The victory we achieve by studying and applying the Gita in daily life is not only Loka Jayabut also Atma Jaya.(victory in material field but also victory in spiritual field.) Let us be clear when we say “Atma jaya”. There is no such thing as victory over yourself. Fulfilment is the victory

He then talked about “Samjna sadhana.By this he meant that we would dearly love to achieve victory by learning from others who have achieved victory. Learning by observing others is so such a routine part of our life from childhood itself. Learning from members in one’s own family, from the society is almost a  natural act. This is “Sahaja lakshana”(natural quality) for and we find so in the animal kingdom too.


It is a pity that unfortunately instead of learning from observing good people we try to follow the path taken by bad people in the society. We tend to find out how someone became rich overnight and try to imitate his actions.


Some children work hard but feel terribly disappointed when they do not achieve success.

Some others decide to take up the path of unrighteous conduct to achieve success. By this method we not only face problems in this world but the society may even alienate us. We will fail to achieve the goal of spiritual life too.

The present generation do not know the difference between dharma and adharma.


In this context the Bhagawadgita is the tool for success in both material world gains and spiritual victory. The 8th chapter we are discussing today is the light that illumines the previous 7 and the next 10 chapters.


Our life starts by learning about letters and the word Aksharameans letter.The spiritual journey has also to start from the sacred word OMwhich is the Aksharareferred to in this chapter.

Swamiji then went on to explain the significance of the number “18”. He wrote the number on the flip chart and tried to make the delegates understand his explanation.

The digit “1”refers to us, the individuals. If we, the individuals are absent, there is nothing more as far as we are concerned. There is only “0”if we are not there.

The digit “8”is written with two “0”s , one on top of the other. The Vedic mantra “Poorna madaha and poornamidam”was taken up by our Swamiji.

“poornamadaha”(poornam—complete, adah—that)—the top zero on number 8  signifies the physical world and “that”is “Parabrahman”which is always complete.

And “poornamidam”(poornam—complete; idah: this)—bottom zero of number 8  and “this, the body”is complete only when there is Parabrahman.

The two zeros one on top of each other that make the number “8”will be absent for us if we are not present.

This is where we must understand the real significance of the digitI. Iam not existent if the Parabrahmanis not present within this physical body as the Living Forceand this Living forceis the Atman.


Number 18, (the 18 chapters in the Gita):

In the presence of this “Living Force”(number “1”in 18) “That”(world) is “complete”and “This”(the physical body)  is complete. The two zeros one on top of other that make up number 8 In this sense, the “zeros”(in number 8)  signifies “complete”and not empty. “Poornam”means “complete”and in the presence of the Supreme Parabrahman, the world is complete (existent) and we are complete (existent).



Number 108 which is considered as sacred for the Hindus signifies:

The number “0”has no value on its own. But if it is preceded by numbers, its value enhances.  (examples: 10, 100, 1000 etc)  If we, (0) who are non- existent and no value on our own, are preceded by “1”(“Him”number “1”) the world is complete and we are complete (the two zeros that make up number 8)


               We, will be number “1”and if it is so the world around us is complete “0”

               Only if God is within us          and  we, the individuals are complete              “0”



Scenario 1:


Top zero of number 8, it is poornam adam

The bottom zero of 8, it is poornam idam only when we are alive because of presence of God, this becomes “1” and it will be number 18 the Gita is in 18 chapters.


Scenario 2:

If the God is not within, we are zero

The world around ids zero

We, the individuals are zero

O8 the eight will have no value:there is no world outside(top zero) and we are not alive (bottom zero)


Scenario 3:

The value for “0”increases if a number is prefixed to it. It can be 10,100,1000etc.

Pre fixing number 1 before 0,

read 108as follows

the value for us increases because of God within us

1”represents God

0”represents us

8”represents the world around(top zero of 8, poornam adam) and ourselves(bottom zero of 8, poornam idam)


Swamiji then went on to explain briefly about the letter “Om”written in Sanskrit and said that in some ways by minimal modifications the Om in Sanskrit will be like the digit 8.

After this detailed explanation about the significance of number 18, Swamiji went back to the topic on chapter 8 in the Gita. He noted that the introduction to this chapter actually started in the last verse of chapter.7.

The Lord, Jagadguru out of love for His creation has tried to dispel the darkness in us. Swamiji used the words:

Vyajya and Avyaja premaand said the sadguru always has “Avyaja prema”on his disciples. He would like to bring them out of darkness.

Vyajya prema: love for worldly pleasures which are like a business transactions.

Avyaja prema: the love to impart spiritual knowledge into the hearts of mankind has no business motive behind the action.

We are trying to understand chapter 8 so that we can experience the Anandaof Parabrahmanwho imparted the Avyaja premathrough the medium of Arjuna to all of us.

Swamiji at this juncture released the booklet with all the slokas in chapter 8 in Kannada and Gita Saramu in Kannada, English and Sanskrit for the benefit of the devotees, their children, family and friends who would like to learn them. He blessed Sri. KalisaTanwar, a disciple of Appaji.who came to know about the conference the day before and got the booklet ready within  24hrs.

The first sloka of the chapter starts with the word “Arjuna Uvacha”which means “Arjuna said”. Swamiji made it clear that whenever we hear the word “Arjuna Uvacha”in the Gits we must understand that he put questions to Krishna only for the sole purpose of clarifying his doubts and clearing his ignorance. By this action, we can say that he is actually putting forward the questions on behalf of the spiritual seekers who would like to clarify doubts in the discourse by the Lord.

The only sloka which is a statement from Arjuna can be found in chapter 18 when he expresses his satisfaction and said “My doubts are cleared now and O my Lord, I will carry out your command.”

Swamiji wants us all and our children to learn the art of listening carefully to what is taught and ask questions only for the sole purpose of clarifying genuine doubts. Learn the art of single pointed concentration while learning the sacred texthe advocates.Incomplete listening and partial understanding leads to misunderstanding of the discourse. He quoted the slokas “Yada Yada hi dharmasya and Sarva Dharmaan Parityajya”which are the slokas that are not understood by majority.

In this kali yuga, the Lord does not come down with all his apparel as Krishna, Rama etc to annihilate the asuras because there are no asuras as such. What we have is “asuric tendencies”in the form of “ignorance”and to destroy this evil, the lord comes down in the form of “Sadguru”. He comes down in the indirect form of a Sadguru as we have no power to recognise Him as such if He comes down to earth.

Arjuna put forward the questions “what is adhibhoota, adhidaiva, adhiyajna, what is karma”. In this 8th chapter, Arjuna puts forward 8 questions to His Lord.

Swamiji then said that the conference was held in Karya Siddhi Hanuman temple at Girinagar, Bengaluru. He brought it to the notice of the devotees that we worship Lord Hanuman for the fulfilment of the following eight wishes:

Buddhi, Balam, yashas,  Dhairyam,Nirbhayatvam, Arogyata,Ajadvam and Vaksiddhi.

The first question by Arjuna was:

Kim tad Brahma?

What is that “Brahma”?

This question does not come easily from us, the common folk. This is because we are caught in the mesh known as “Maya Jala”. We are enjoying bouncing on this so called spring board of “maya”. We must learn the art of slowly decelerations from the spring board and have a desire to attain unity with Brahman. To do so we must know what is Brahman and  this question has been put forward by Arjuna.

Swamiji recited the 3rd sloka from this chapter and said that “Brahman”is Supreme and imperishable and his essential nature is called “Self-knowledge.”Krishna’s reply to the question “Kim tad Brahma”was “Akshara”and this answer also included the essential quality of Brahman. “Akshara”means “that which does not perish”.

“Aksharabhyasa”is the name given to the samskara ( ritualistic tradition) which is teaching to write and pronounce the alphabets for the young children. The alphabets thus learnt will remain imperishable for the rest of the life of that child and hence the name for the ritual “Aksharabhyasa.”

Sri Krishna is giving“Aksharabhyasa”to Arjuna and  this is true spiritual teaching. Everything in this world has a birth and death except “Brahman”which is the only “Imperishable”. Swamiji said that whatever is seen now is bound to perish sooner or later and the Sanskrit word for it was“Yadrushyam tan nashyati”The entity from which everything arises in this material world and into which it enters back at the end is known as Paramatma. This is the only “Imperishable”and  hence the word “Akshara.”

Bhagawatpada Sri Shanakaracharya explains  in his bhashya about the Supreme: as Na ksharati its aksharam.(It does not perish and hence it is akshara.) Swamiji reiterated the fact that there is no gender attached to this “Supreme Imperishable”and hence the usage of the word “Tat”. We the humans visualise “Tat”in various forms like Krishna, Rama, Jesus etc. The nature/tatva of this Supreme is imperishable. The names/gender attached to this is according to the Bhakti/love of the devotee.

Swamiji used the example of the present day tool used by many—“the computers.”We get all the letters from the computer and make words, essays etc. Many a times we delete few letters/words. Where did all these come and where do all these go?

The Supreme is like the computer,s microchip.Various forms arise from Him and enter into Him but we do not see Him.

There are very few who actually strive sincerely to go back to Him and become one with Him and we call them as “Paramahamsa.”The rest have to go through the process of births and deaths before we unite with Him. Each one of us has a right to unite with Him but we have to have an urge and make efforts to do so.  We can also be “Paramahamsas”It is like the child eagerly wanting to go back to parents after school, the workers in the office wanting to go back home to meet the family.We all have come to work on this earth and we should have to develop the urge to go back to where we have come from.

Twameva maata,  pita tvam eva, tvameva bandhuhu cha sakha tvameva., tvameva sarvam mama deva deva(You are the mother, you are the father, you are relative and you are the friend, you are my Lord in all respects) should be the attitude of the seekers wanting to unite with Him.

Krishna is trying to dispel the fear of Arjuna who was worried about the death of so many near and dear ones during the battle. Akshara parabrahma Yoga by the Lord was to dispel that fear  (out of ignorance of the Self) and is to dispel our fears and help us to unite with Him.


The essence of this yoga is to dispel the fear to face the battle of life.


A person may be an excellent scholar but the stage fear will not help him to show his knowledge.

Students have found that their best efforts all through the year have failed because of fear on entering examination hall.

The one who has no fear is capable of achieving anything.

The true meaning of the word Aksharaused in the context of this yoga is notOmkara or Beejaksharathe word was not used by Lord Krishna with the bhavana (feeling) of Omkara.the Aksharais Brahma tatva(essence of Brahma.)

After giving this reply in a nutshell “Aksharam Brahma”, Sri Krishna goes on to answer another question Arjuna had put on at the beginning of the chapter.

Arjuna had asked in sloka 3:

Prayana Kale cha katham  jneyosi niyatatmabhihiwhich means,

How, at the time of death are you to be known by the self-controlled?


 It is a very pertinent question applicable in the life of all, be it a King or a beggar, Be it a wicked or a very saintly person, at the time of death this question is bound to come. It is therefore essential that every individual despite his/her age, position in the society tries to analytically find an answer to this question by proper analysis. One should be inquisitive to find out the answer for“What is my future after this birth?  Is it not true that each one is eagerly looking for what happiness he is going to get the next moment in his life? We put our best efforts today to experience happiness for tomorrow. Security and happiness for the ‘morrow to come is thought of by most of us.

The moola or the beginning for all is how to get happiness for tomorrow?(bhavishyat sukha)  and bhavishyat chinta (thought of tomorrow.)The sad part is that while we think of happiness of the ‘morrow to come, we do not consider about the next birth in the series of births and deaths we have to undergo.

But we do not discuss or think about the happiness after the death of this physical body of ours. The physical body of ours (sthoola sharira) will not go to the next world but the subtle body and causal body do move on to the next world.

Do not take it as Vedanata and get frightened. Please accept this asThe Truth(satyam)

Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahmais the description of Parabrahman.Brahman is “The Truth, the Knowledge and  is Infinite) It is Vedanta Prajna(true understanding  of Vedanta) Unless we get the true understanding of this eternal saying, the world will not move in the path of righteousness.


If the idea of future births is not accepted will there be a real need to act righteously in this birth? The attitude will be let me enjoy today.

None of us are eternal and we have to leave this world one day or the other. The life span may vary from individual to individual but the day of death has to come in everyone’s life.

Just like we work for happiness for the morrow to come, we should work for the happiness for the life after this birth.The Brahman is “Infinite Happiness”and the only source of eternal happiness is by uniting with Him. We should therefore know how to remember “The Brahman”at the time of death.

We have to take a mode of transport in our journey from place “a”to place “b”. The journey depends upon the type of transport we take.


To reach the destination “Brahman”what transport we should take? How do we get to Him quickly and easily?

We, the devotees of Poojya Swamiji have boarded the “Pushpaka Vimana”(aerial car, mythologically belonging to Kubera, the Exchequer for the Devas. This was taken by force by demon Ravana, won by Sri Rama who returned it to Kubera at the end.) This mythical plane is said to take the passengers to the destination of their wish. The sincere devotees of Poojya Swamiji are on this special plane already and by the blessings of Swamiji we will attain Moksha.

Just by sitting on this plane should not make us proud. A moment’s lapse would end in a nasty fall form great heights. We must be wearing the strong seat belts to keep us secure on the seat in the plane we have boarded. How not to fall down?

To enable us to make our spiritual journey safe, Sri Krishna gave the answer to the question by Arjuna.

The question put forward by Arjuna was:

Prayanakale cha katham jneyosi niyatatmanaha?

Sri Krishna through sloka 10 said:

Prayana kale manasa smarena bhaktya yukto yogabalena cha


At the time of death, by the power of yoga —. Bt giving us the Brahma Tatva Aksharam BrahmaParamamSri Krishna has given us the means to be secure for our next step in the journey of life.


To help us to reach that destination, to get us the vision of the Parabrahman, Sri Krishna has given the “Pranava Akshara”which is “Omkara.”The meditation on “Omkara”should be initiated by the Guru. (Guru upadesha) because it is the most powerful mantra.

This will take us automatically in the path of “Vairagya”(detachment) even without our will.



Today we are going to discuss on this “Omkara”. As we are conducting the “Jnana Yagna”there is no blemish attached for us to discuss about “Omkara”without being initiated by Guru.

Many of us prefix the mantras with the letter “Om”.We say Om Nama Shivaya, Om Namo Ganapataye etc.  We use it in many bhajans we sing. There is no blemish attached by using the “Omkara”in these situations.


Swamiji made the delegates chant the Omkara 5times.

Talking about the significance of Omkara Swamiji said that the sastras recommend japa of the sacred mantra 32000 times which will bestow great punya.


Swamiji repeated the sloka 6 and gave its explanation.:


Yam yam smaran bhavam tyajatyante kalebaram

Tam tamevaiti kounteya sada tad Bhava bhavitaha


O kounteya, whosoever leaves the body, thinking of whatever object, form or being at the end, to that only he goes, because of his constant thought of “that”.


Swamiji said that the great yogis leave the body with the thought fixed on “Omkara”

He said that the word “Pranava”has “nava”in it and the word “nava”means “boat/ship.”We use the ship to cross the ocean and take us to the other shore. Pranava is a special ship. Swamiji used the word “ship”and said that we develop friendship with the “Omkara,with the blessings and guidance by Sadguru, it will take us to the abode of Supreme Purusha. “Pranava”has the power to take us to “Paramdhama”, the abode of the Supreme. It helps us to cross the ocean called “samsara”.

Swamiji told the delegates that the gotra of Omkara is “latavyasa.”As it brings us near the Supreme it is “Latavyasa.””Moksha”is the experience of the Supreme Bliss and Omkara has the power to get us that Bliss. That which does not talk of Omkara is not a sastra at all, Swamiji said.


Using the flip chart, Swamiji then described in detail about the letter “Om”written in Sanskrit.


Concerning writing the letter “Om” Swamiji made the following statement:

There is a tradition of writing the letter “Om”. We should be inquisitive to find out where this tradition has come from and not blindly accept just because so and so said it. (this was brought out in the talk because there are some who write the letter “Om” different to the traditional way and argue that there way of writing is correct) and showed us the way to write it on the flip chart. Writing it differently saying that so and so said it, it does not make it correct. At the same time, saying it is a new way of writing the letter is also not correct and we should not accept it.

Swamiji said that saint poet Tukaram has written an “abhang” on Omkara. He has said in that abhang that the Omkara is Pancha Brahmatmaka and represents five “Brahmas.”

The five Brahmas are:

Manu Brhama

Maya Brahma

Shilpi Brahma

Daivajna Brahma

Twashtra Brahma

There is a mantra which says that the Divine Mother sits on five Brahmas.

Swamiji recited sloka 13:

Om ityekaksharam Brahma vyaharan mam anusmaran

Yah prayati tyajan deham sa yanti paramam gatim


Repeating the one syllabled OM—the symbol of Brahma—remembers Me at the time of death, he attains the Supreme Goal.


Swamiji wrote the syllable on the chart.

Firstly we write the digit “3”—this is symbolic of “Manu Brahma.”

The first part of the curve from the middle of the “3” is considered to be a danda and symbolic of “Maya Brahma”

The actual curve/tail is known as “tunda” and is symbolic of “Twashtra Brahma”.

The half moon on the top is symbolic of “Shilpi Brahma”

The “Bindu” (dot) on top of half moon is symbolic of “Daivajna Brahma.”


This is from Padma Purana and is what Sant Tukaram said in his abhang, Swami told the delegates.

So the way to write the syllable “OM” has come from Padma Purana which is from the Upanisads and we must write it the way Upanisads have told us.


Om ityekshaksharam Brahma, etad alambanam param, etad evaksharam shreshtam, etad jnatva vimuchyate

He who sees this Omkara, hears about Omkara, recollects the Omkara, all their problems in life will be solved. This has been said by Lord of Death, Yama in Kathopanisad to the young Nachiketa.


May the anugraha of Omkara, anugraha of Paramatma be on all of you, let all your difficulties in your life be cleared totally. Finally let the total blessings of Sadguru and Paramatma be on all the members of the International Gita Foundation trust.

May the tatva of the Akshara become clear to you all and blessings of Sadguru Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamy.

Jai Guru datta, Sri Guru datta,

Swamiji ended his spiritual discourse with the peace words “Om Shantihi Shantihi shantihi.

Introductory Podcast

Namaste and Welcome All of you for this new Podcast on Srimad Bhagavad Gita.

International Gita Foundation Trust was founded in 2003.
With the primary objective of promoting the sacred universal philosophy of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita.
We conduct Annual Gita Conferences across the world. Where in savants, saints, sadhus, philosophers, youth have taken part. We like to involve the youth from different religious backgrounds and let them express their views.
The reason for publishing this podcast series is to present the sacred text in a format that is easy to understand for the different age groups, and develop an interest to listen, incorporate it in our daily life and experience the peace. The podcast series is available for your convenience and we will publish them at regular intervals. These recordings will be made available on CDs as well.
Om Shantihi Shantihi Shantihi


Let us take up few simple questions.

What is Gita?
What is Bhagawadgita?
Who composed it?
Who is Veda Vyasa?
Are there any other Gitas?
When did the Gita take birth?

Gita means “a song” and generally it refers to the Srimad Bhagawadgita.
Bhagawadgita is the song that came from the lips of Bhagawaan Sri Krishna.
In the entire Gita consists of 701 verses, sage poet Veda Vyasa, addresses Sri Krishna as “Bhagawan”. He says “Bhagawaan Uvacha” (said by Bhagawaan) and does not say Krishna said.
“Bhaga” means “Glory”.
The glory of Lord Vishnu is expressed in pictorial form with Vishnu having “Six Glories”.
They are:
The conche (shanku)
The wheel
The mace
The lotus
The Crown
The Glow behind (Tejas).

The blowing from the conche (shanku) is to announce His arrival whenever there is upsurge of unrighteousness.
The wheel represents “Wheel of time”. As “Time” I will annihilate anyone at any time I decide to, is its meaning.
The mace warns that He will crush the ego,
The Lotus depicts, “Non attachment.”
The crown represents that He is the emperor of the entire universe.
The Glow is the spiritual glow as he is the Vedas itself.

Hence, the sacred text is known as Srimad Bhagawadgita.”
Srimad Bhagawadgita is considered to be the most sacred philosophical text for Hindus all over the world. As a matter of fact, one can consider that it is for humanity in general and not particularly only for the Hindus. This is so because its aim is “Universal Welfare, Peace and Harmony” not just for the present but for the entire period of life on this universe.

It is the celestial song by Lord Krishna to the mankind through the medium of Arjuna
The Gita is an approved and tested tool by the masters whose only wish was “Universal Welfare.” It the tool for uplifting the individual spiritually and destroying the ego.
It is a navigational tool that helps one to negotiate the obstacles in the spiritual journey in quest of “The Eternal Bliss.”

It is for reorganisation of the minds and brings about “Renaissance.”
It is for reorganisation of lives and brings about “Transformation.”
It is Moksha Sastra for rare few who look for “Moksha.”(Liberation)
It is Dharma Sastra for those who want to lead the life of “Righteousness.”
It is Jnana sastra for those who want have the knowledge of the Purusha and Prakriti.
It is Jnana bhandara as it is never ending store house of knowledge and is available to all.
For majority, it is Jivana Sastra/karma sastra (art of living) for those who want to have a life with minimal pains and sorrows and experience as much happiness as possible.

It is considered to be the summary of 108 Upanisads. The Upanisads in turn are the summary of the Four Vedas. The Vedas are the “Revealed Sacred Texts” of the Hindus and are the most ancient texts on philosophy.
To understand the true meaning incorporated in the sacred text, it is preferable for the reader to have the knowledge of the epic “Mahabharata.” Understanding the story of Mahabharata helps greatly to follow the Gita.
There is a saying: The Gita is summary of the qualities of the various characters encountered in the Mahabharata.”
Mahabharata can be considered as personification of the qualities enumerated in the Gita.”
It consists of 701 slokas divided into 18 chapters. Each chapter has a title and is considered as a Yoga which is a means to unite with Brahman.

Lets go back 3200 BC

Sanjaya, the trusted minister of the blind king Dhritarashtra was bestowed with divine vision by Sage poet Sadguru Veda Vyasa so that he could narrate the events on the battlefield between the Pandavas and the Kauravas.
Sanjaya narrates verbatim the entire Gita as a dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna. It is in Sanskrit language, the most ancient language of the Hindus.

Hari Om Tatsat Sri Krishnarpanamasthu 


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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5, sloka 18, part 1

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Sloka 18


The sage look with equal eye on a Brahmana endowed with knowledge and humility,
a cow, an elephant, a dog and an outcaste who feeds on dog’s flesh.


The sage referred to in this sloka is the seeker who has put into practice the
essence of the last verse and he is recognised as a true pandita. The doctrine
of “Universal love” is the hallmark of Gita and stressed in this verse. It is
not only the doctrine of brotherhood of man but love and compassion to all forms
of life.

We learnt from the last sloka that the seekers by such practice would succeed in
dispelling their sins by acquiring knowledge. The highest knowledge to be learnt
is “Samatvam”. “Equal vision” is “Samatvam.” It is seeing the same “Atman” in
all. It is the true knowledge and he who puts into practice this philosophy is a

*** will be continued ***

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5, sloka 17, part 2

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Sloka 17


Intellect absorbed in “That”, Self being “That”, established in “That”, “That”
being the supreme goal, they go whence there is no return, their sins dispelled
by knowledge.


*** continued from last week ***

Tat Parayanaha: That being the Supreme goal.

This refers to the practice of “Meditation”.
The sastras advice that “God realisation” should be the goal in life. “God
realisation” means realising the presence of God in all and respecting the God
in all.

Gachyanti Apanaravruttim: They go whence there is no return.

In the material world we live in, absorbed in acquiring material gains we spend
our time fulfilling our wishes and dreams. We have examples of businessmen,
industrialists, politicians who have succeeded in their efforts by being totally
absorbed in that and established in that objective. The success gained in the
material world is related to time, space and causation. The happiness of
achieving this success is not permanent.

On the contrary, the “Peace, Bliss” experienced on uniting with the Parabrahman
is the end of spiritual journey. It is union with the “Supreme”. When there are
no more vasanas stored in the mind and the mind does not register any new
vasanas it is said to be the ideal condition to merge with Brahman.

This can happen only when their sins are dispelled by knowledge. The “sins”
referred to here are the “vasanas.” Clearing the stored vasanas in the mind and
not letting new vasanas get registered in the mind comes from “Knowledge”.
Highest knowledge the sastras would like us to develop is understanding the
Mahavakya “Tat Tvam Asi.”

Let us all stop in our path for a moment,
contemplate on what progress we have made and on our future actions in relation
to the goal of life,
make a critical self-analysis of our actions in relation to our life,
and we are sure to succeed and experience “Sat Chit Ananda.”

This takes us on beautifully to the next sloka, which is:

Sloka 18


The sage look with equal eye on a Brahmana endowed with knowledge and humility,
a cow, an elephant, a dog and an outcaste who feeds on dog’s flesh.

*** commentary follows next week ***

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5, sloka 17, part 1

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Sloka 17


Intellect absorbed in “That”, Self being “That”, established in “That”, “That”
being the supreme goal, they go whence there is no return, their sins dispelled
by knowledge.


Tad Buddhaya: buddhi/intellect absorbed in “That.”:

Intelligence/intellect is the God’s gift and privilege to the mankind. It is
important that we learn the art of making proper use of this special gift. For
what good we may have done in the past, we are blessed with the birth as humans.
We have to climb up from the plane of “stone man to animal man,” from “animal
man to man man”, from “man man to God man”. This is possible when our intellect
is totally absorbed in “That.” The role of the intellect in our body is
“Reasoning capacity.”

The reasoning capacity can be either good or bad. If it is bad it is due to the
ego/ahamkara and it is then known as “Durbuddhi”. Selfishness predominates in
all the reasoning tasks.

If it is good, it relates to the Atman within in all its reasoning tasks. It
will then take the individual on towards the upward path in spiritual progress.
Such buddhi which has no ego in it is “Subuddhi.” “Intellect absorbed in That”
refers to “Subuddhi.”

It does not mean that we forget our role in the society. Every act we conduct
has to be in the spirit of “Working for our Master.” We should continue to
discharge our duties to repay the debt to the society and at the same time be
humble servants of the Divine Master. “Intellect absorbed in That” implies
remembering this advice from the spiritual masters.

“Tad Atmanaha”: their self being That:

This refers to the “Mind.” It is not the Atman but “Jivatma”. The Jivatma is the
Atman that has developed contact with the outer world and forgotten its true
identity. “Tadatmanaha” means the mind has to remember its connection to the
Atman, ever pure and in constant bliss. Keeping in memory the true identity of
oneself is “Tadatmanaha.” It simply means that one should not have the “Ego” in
their thoughts, actions and speech.

“Tan Nishtaha”: established in That:

It refers to the state of the mind in relation to the impulses received from the
sense organs. Despite receiving the various impulses from the world around, the
mind should never forget the union with the Atman within.

The search light from the mind focussed externally through the sense organs
should be directed towards the Atman within and,
The mind at the same time must remember that it should be under the control of
the intellect.
Meeting these two conditions is “Tan Nishtaha.”

*** will be continued ***

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Nath at ““.
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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5, sloka 16, part 2

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Sloka 16


But to those whose ignorance is destroyed by the knowledge of the Atman, shining
like the sun, reveals the supreme to them.


*** continued from last week ***

The second half of this sloka gives the beautiful example of the sun and the

The sun is ever shining in the sky during the day time. Many a times, he is not
seen because of the dark clouds in the sky blocking him. Even a small cloud can
block the view of the sun. It does not mean the sun is not there but it only
means that the cloud blocks the sun and benefit of sun is not obtained because
of the cloud.

As soon as the cloud moves away, the sun shines forth in his brilliance. It was
not that the sun was not there. But, he was hidden by the dark clouds.

The sun did not have to move away but the clouds had to disperse.

The sun is to be looked upon as the example of the “Atman”,
The clouds as the “Ignorance.”
The sun, self luminous will shine forth and the,
Atman, self luminous shines forth.

Let us look at the idol of the Lord in a temple in the inner sanctorum. The
tradition is that the inner sanctorum is a dark room with the statue of the Lord
within. Lamps are placed on either side of the idol. As soon as the lamps are
lit, the idol shines forth.

This is not the perfect example.

The best example is that of an article made up of radium. Radium as we know is
“self-luminous.” In a dark room if this article is placed with some item of
cloth covering it, the article is not seen. The owner will keep on searching for
this article.

As soon as he removes the cloth over the article, even in the dark room, the
article shines forth because of its self-luminous property.

“The Atman” within is self-luminous. It is covered by ignorance known as “Ego”.
When we remove the mask of ego, the Atman shine forth in its full brilliance.

“Be still and know that I am God” says the Bible.
The important word is “be still”. It means “do not move.”
It is not physical movement it refers to.
It is the feeling of “I move” with the “I-ness” predominant in it.
The body, mind and the senses have to do their worldly duties without the sense
of ego.
This is the perfect state of “Total, Intense meditation.”
In this state, we can see the God within and all round.

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, Introduction, part 1

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We start with a new chapter today – and so let us start this with our prayer again.


May He protect us both (the teacher and the pupil)
May He cause us both to enjoy (the Supreme)
May we both exert together (to discover the true inner meaning of the scriptures)
May our studies be thorough and fruitful.
May we never misunderstand each other.

Chapter 4:   JNANA YOGA


Jnana yoga is the study of knowledge that leads to ultimate union with the Parabrahman. The subject of “knowledge” is very vast and covers so many different branches. We can broadly divide the subject into:

Knowledge of the Atman and the physical body composed of the mind, intellect and gross physical body and the knowledge of the constituents of the nature with its working mechanism. In brief it is the knowledge of the Purusha (the creator) and Prakriti (created).This is the spiritual science.

Knowledge of the material world.

The knowledge of the material world has its benefit of bringing success and happiness but only in relation to the material possessions. This, the scholars say is momentary happiness as it leads eventually to the state of no more happiness or even to sorrow. This is because none of the possessions in one’s life are permanent and we learn the same by the experiences in our own lives or by witnessing the lives of others. Without the knowledge of the spiritual world, the success in the knowledge of the material world leads to development of “Ego” which is the main cause of downfall of the individual or of the society.

On the other hand, the knowledge of the spiritual science teaches one the art of contentment and the art of detachment in attachment towards the material possessions in life and at the same time guides one towards the ultimate purpose of human birth, namely “Moksha.”

To say the same in a different way, we can say that the knowledge in any field gives one a certain amount of power. The power obtained from the knowledge of the material world makes one develop a sense of “Ego.” On the other hand, the knowledge of the spiritual world gives the power to overcome the “ego” and the power to withstand the turbulences in one’s life.

Spiritual knowledge assists the individual in conducting actions for the welfare of the society because it teaches the art of realising the presence of Atman in oneself and understanding the presence of the same Atman in all forms of life. This is the only means of not developing the ego which is the root cause of destruction not only of the individual but also that of the society.

We can understand this by comparison to that of the car. The car has various parts like the engine, gear box etc. We see various types of cars ranging from simple basic ones to super luxury cars. There is one thing common in all of them. None of them can work without the presence of the fuel inside. The same fuel is needed to run all the cars. The car stops running after the exhaustion of petrol in it. Petrol is the energy that is needed to make the car move.

Similarly, we must realise the presence of divine energy within us in the form of the Atman and the presence of the same Atman in all forms of life.

Of course, we must also learn the art of using the car so that we do not hurt ourselves or the others on the road. Similarly we must use our physical body in a way that does not harm us or harm others around us.

This Jnana is the main gate of entry into the temple of knowledge. The temple with the idol of Atman inside is the living physical body. We block the ever effulgent light of knowledge of the Atman by our ego and Jnana yoga is to assist us in unblocking the ego and letting the light of Atman shine forth.

Our body is like a microcosmic representation of the nature. It is constituted of the Atman and the physical body made up of the Pancha Maha Bhootas. (Space, Air, Light, Water and Earth.) The nature around us, both the known and unknown parts is a macrocosm with the un-manifest energy and the five gross elements.

The subject matter of investigation that leads to ultimate understanding of the Supreme Parabrahman is Jnana Yoga.

**   will be continued   **

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, Introduction, part 2

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Chapter 4:   JNANA YOGA   –   Introduction

***   continued from last week   ***

As we go through the various chapters of the Gita, we will realise that this chapter is only the preliminary or primary course in understanding the Supreme. Real Jnana Yoga is taught by the Lord later on in Chapter 13, Kshetra Kshetrajna Yoga. Initially the Lord takes Arjuna through the comparison of life in an external battlefield of Kurukshetra with the battle between Kauravas and Pandavas. As He unfolds the entire Gita, we find that He reverts back to individual human body and makes us realise that the human mind is the true battlefield between divine and un-divine qualities. Victory for the divine qualities with the assistance of the Supreme knowledge over the un-divine qualities leads to Liberation which the Hindu scriptures say is “Moksha”.

Let me conclude the introduction with a definition of knowledge as given by Swamy Vivekananda. He defines it as follows:
“Knowledge is finding association about things.”

The association of the physical body with the Atman within on an individual basis and the association of the Pancha Maha Bhootas with the divine un-manifest energy with reference to the nature (prakriti) is the knowledge the Vedas and the Gita talk about.

The scriptures talk about “Lighting the light of knowledge.” What does it mean?

When we go to a temple we see the priest lighting the lamp and offering the light to the deity in the temple. This light is to illumine the God inside the inner sanctum sanctorum. (The old traditional temples in India are built in such a way that the inner sanctum sanctorum is totally dark and the installed deity is not seen. The deity is seen only on lighting the lamp.)

Similarly, we are expected to illumine the Atman within and make it visible by lighting the lamp of knowledge. This is possible only by developing the divine virtues, destroying the animal tendencies within and by dropping the “Ego” in all actions. We are expected to understand clearly the “Karma Yoga” and put the same into practice with “Sraddha and Bhakti.” Meditation on what has been taught by the Lord not only on what we have read so far but the contents of the subsequent chapters will assist the seeker in attaining the Liberation.

Sri Krishna, by incarnating on earth has set an example and shown us the way to act on the principle of true “Karma Yoga” and given us the knowledge to understand the principle of correct actions.

So before we embark on sloka after sloka in this chapter, here´s the joyful message we´re heading to:

Sloka 39:

The man of faith having knowledge as his supreme goal, having controlled the senses, obtains the knowledge of the Atman and having obtained that, enjoys the peace for ever.

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK. 
Questions concerning the text please direct to Dr. Nath at ““.

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