Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, Sloka 12, part 3

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 12


They, who long for satisfaction from actions in this world, make sacrifices to the Gods, because satisfaction is quickly obtained from actions in this world of men.


***   continuation from last week   ***

Those who study the scriptures and realise that good actions will take them into higher worlds, will follow the texts that describe various yajnas and sacrifices which please the gods above. The word “gods” used in this sloka refers to the demi gods described in the Hindu texts.

The Hindu religion depicts a number of higher powers that are also benign in nature. (in the sense that they do no harm.) They are greater and more powerful than the men on earth. They are designated as “gods.” Each one of these powers, if worshipped with sincere faith and devotion bestows grace and fulfils the wishes.

What we have to understand is that the success is quickly obtained by man for the work he does in this world. To do so one must have a sense of devotion and humility and conduct sacrifices that please the higher powers like Indra, Agni, Vayu etc. Taking the same logic, we can conclude that entry into the lower worlds results from evil actions.

All the other 13 worlds apart from the earth are only places of results of actions conducted on earth either good or evil. We attain hell or heavens depending upon our actions.

The earth is therefore to be considered as the centre of spiritual realisation. When we realise that if we desire fruits of actions we have to be prepared to be born on earth again and again and may be even to fall down into the hellish regions and suffer.

Finally, one in a million realise the folly of going after the fruits of actions and strive for Moksha. Only a rare few achieve the end result of birth as humans which is “Union with the Parabrahman” with no re-birth.

The person who wants to attain the higher worlds is looking for fulfilment of a desire. He is selfish and egoistic and full of pride at his way of living.

The one who looks for Moksha is also in a way looking to fulfil a desire but in the process of sadhana will realise it will come on its own accord as a result of living life of a jivan mukta/sthitaprajna and following in full the practical implementation of the meaning of sloka 47, chapter 2.


It is not easy to understand fully the meaning of this word. The understanding by a common man is “Liberation”. Liberation from what is the next question? With the experience of happiness and sorrow in every stage of life from infancy to old age, at every stage one prays for “Liberation” and hopes the next stage will bring in more happiness. But alas, he finds the same problem. The student would like to be liberated from the disciplined way of study and exams. After graduation and few years of work, would feel to be liberated from the cumbersome work regime and so on and so forth. Life is not just a bed of roses as they say. At every stage, one would pray for Liberation. True feeling of Liberation from desires does come for rare few and the Gita says that among thousand one would think of Him and among thousands of such people one would understand and one among such would really reach His abode.

Majority of us belong to the ordinary class of men and women caught in the web of samsara and our prayers should be to achieve the state of “Liberation from desires.” Jivanmukta, who is a sthitaprajna belongs to this category. Gunatita belongs to this category and true Jnani belongs to this category.

Quote from Sri Swamiji:

“Most people do penance and prayers, either in a demanding way or in a complaining fashion; demanding God to bestow health, wealth, status, etc., and complaining that God did not give anything. Ideal prayer consists of begging God to grant desirelessness. Simple, sensible thinking proves that it is impossible to extinguish the fire of desires. It is funny that man desires so many things that even if somehow they were all granted to him, the life span would be less than the time required for fulfilling those desires.”

Those who reach the level of satva in their purity of gunas, have a great danger of dropping down to lowest levels of tamasica because they look down upon others as inferiors. The greater one climbs up the letter, harder will be the drop.

The three gunas are Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. The aim in one’s life is to achieve purity and lift from lower tamasic to higher Satvic. Suddha satva is a state higher and is to be looked upon as “transcending” the three gunas.

Tamsic  –  stone man
Rajasic  –  animal man
Satvic  –  man man
Suddha satva  –  god man on earth

Vasishta muni showed the right way of living satcvic and reached Suddha satva. By not actually desiring for anything he reached that transcendental level.

Viswamitra, having his pride all the time, wishing to get titles to his name like “Brahmarshi”, failed to transcend the Satvic level he managed to reach several times by his penance. But everytime he reached that state, the ego caused his downfall and he fell down to lower grades again and again.

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