Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, sloka 21 – part 1

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 21

NIRAASHEER YATA CHITTATMA TYAKTVA SARVA PARIGRAHAHA
SHAAREERAM KEVALAM KARMA KURVANNOPNO’TI KILBHISHAM

He who is free from hope, who is self-controlled, who has abandoned all the possessions though working merely with the body, does not incur sin.

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Kilbhisha means “sin”.
“Na apno’ti kilbhishaha” means “does not incur sin.”

“Sin” is a word commonly used in the spiritual sense. The dictionary meaning for the word is “transgression against divine or moral law.” Any action that results in deviation from the spiritual path is considered as an act of “sin.” Actions conducted according to the divine or moral law accumulate points of merit (in the spiritual journey) and actions opposite to it will result in negative points that take the seaker in a downward path towards self destruction.

Three further qualifications of a “Jivanmkuta” are enumerated in this sloka.

a)  Nirasha:

“Asha” is “Desire, Hope”. “Nirasha” is “free from desire, hope”.

Let us not forget that “Nishkama karma and karmaphala tyaga” are the two main conditions for any actions we undertake. It is therefore imperative that one should not have any desire but do the work as a duty to the divine.

Wishing for “Moksha” is acceptable in the early stages of progress. One has to progress consciously from “Tamas to Rajas”, from “Rajas to Satva” and from “Satva to Shudda Satva.” This does take a long time and one has to pass through so many cycles of births and deaths before reaching this stage. The true Jivanmukta does not desire to enjoy the pleasures of the material world and at the same time he does not even long to enjoy the bliss of the Atman. By his efforts he does automatically experience the bliss but it is not out of any desire on his part. He does not also look for any fame and credit for himself.

We start off with a desire to pass and that too with distinction in our school and college examinations. This is not wrong. Those who seek to go for postdoctorate studies do not do so for the degree but for the sake of progress in acquiring the higher knowledge and becoming masters in that speciality. For the dedication they put in this field, they automatically get the title of “post-doctorate fellow”. This is the nearest one can explain “Moksha”.

Let us take another example of mountain climbing. The climber fixes the end point firmly and makes sure it is totally secure and takes totally the weight of his body in the process of climbing up. He then starts from the bottom end of the rope and starts climbing one step at a time. Even though his final aim is to reach the peak of the mountain, he concentrates on the present and works at climbing one step at a time. He wishes to climb one step at a time. To do so, he holds on to the bottom end of the rope firmly with both the hands. With a fine art, he lets go of one hand, moves it upwards to the next step and gets hold of the rope at the next point. At the same time, he lets go totally of the hand which was holding at the bottom end. Adeptly he moves that free hand and takes it up to the next step of progress and holds on firmly at that point. Like that, he makes progress and attempts at reaching the top.

In the early steps, there is a strong desire to reach the top but the concentration has to be towards the first step to take. There should be and there will be a need and desire to move to the next step. The expert climber, as he moves forward, is confident of his actions and does not have any desire to reach the peak. He aims and works at the end result but does not live in the dreamland during his journey.

 (Let us remember that all these are examples to understand the principle but the experience of divinity and the path towards divinity is totally different. None of the examples can give a totally true picture of the end result of “Moksha” because it is beyond description.)

***   will be continued   ***

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