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.

Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5, sloka 18, part 1

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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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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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

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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.

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, Sloka 1

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Sloka 1

Sree Bhagawan Uvacha:


The Lord said:

I had taught this everlasting yoga to Vivasvaan. Vivasvaan taught it to Manu who declared it to Ikshvaku.


Let us briefly recollect Sloka 15, chapter 3:

“Know that the action arises from the Vedas. The Vedas are born from the imperishable Brahman.”

Knowledge of the Self is the theme of the Vedas. The Vedas deal with the task of bringing out the divinity in man. This is with the sole intention of universal welfare.Vedas being so vast are difficult to understand by ordinary mortals. Upanishads/Vedanta are said to be the final chapters of the Vedas. There are more than 108 Upanishads and again not easy for the ordinary mortals to understand in their life time. Srimad Bhagawad Gita is the summary of all the Upanishads and the simplest form for the humans to understand.

That Sloka 15 says that the Vedas are born from the imperishable Brahman. The Sloka in this chapter says that Krishna taught it to Vivasvaan. We have to understand by these two slokas that Sri Krishna is declaring that He is none other than Brahman.

In the earlier Vedic period, the mode of teaching was “oral transmission” from the learned to the seeker. As there were no institutions like the present universities and as there was no from of written language, it was transmitted by word of mouth.

Vivasvaan taught it to his son Manu.

Vivasvaan is the name of “Sun God.” “Sun” as we know is the source of light for the entire universe. This light is not for any selected few but to one and all, both animate and inanimate. The scriptures always relate the “Light” to the “Light of Knowledge.” Hence, we have to take that “He” has given the light of knowledge to one and all irrespective of religion, caste; sex etc. He has made it the “Universal Knowledge” and not restricted to selected few. It is important to realise that the Sun god represents actions that follow the principle of “Nishkama karma.”

Manu is the first Aryan man, progenitor for the entire mankind. He is considered to be the son of Vivasvat, the sun god. He is said to be the first one to offer oblations to the gods.

Manu, it says, gave the knowledge to Ikshvaku. It is the name of the king, son of Manu Vaivasvat. He founded the solar dynasty.

The role of the kings in ancient India was mainly in upholding dharma and propagating dharma to all its subjects. Hence, the Vedas were taught to the kings for protection of their subjects.

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, Sloka 2

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Sloka 2


This knowledge was handed down in regular succession from generation to generation. The royal sages knew this yoga. But by long lapse of time it has been lost here, O “scorcher of enemies.”


Let us dwell briefly on the word “Rajarshi” mentioned in this Sloka.
“Raja” is “a king.”
“Rishi” is a “Seer.”

The rishis are said to be those who represent the Vedic Aryan current of thought. They are considered as the ideal or the model for others to follow the path to spiritual development. He who has conquered the mind and senses, practices the art of “Nishkama karma and Karma Phala tyaga” and has attained a vision of the “Supreme” is fit to be called “Rishi.”

The post-Vedic mythology classifies the rishis into the following sub-sections:

These are “Saptarshis” who are the primary ancestors because they are said to be the “primal makers of creation”. They followed the command by their creator “Brahma” and created the various forms of life on this earth.

The royal sages are “Rajarshis.”

Priestly seers are “Brahmarshis”.

The seers who possessed virtues that merited the title of “Divine virtues” are “Devarshis.” The example being sages Narada and Atri.

The knowledge given by the Lord is to be known as “Brahma Vidya” as it leads to the union with the Brahman. The kings and emperors who learnt, practiced and propagated the Brahma Vidya are given the title “Rajarshi.” Such kings possessed both the knowledge of the Vedas and the knowledge to rule the kingdom. King Janaka, father of Sita is the prime example of a Rajarshi. It is said that many great sages went to his palace to learn the scriptures. Possession of royalty and wisdom made them great monarchs whose fame remained eternally. The practical application of Vedanta to actual life was the contribution by the Rajarshis to mankind.

Let us be clear of the fact that this knowledge is not just the domain of these elite Rajarshis but really for any individual, who has the deep rooted desire to learn “Brahma Vidya”, be it a politician, professional, businessman or a labourer. The spiritual knowledge should not be a barrier to worldly life.

In olden days, the royal lineage continued from generation to generation and those who practiced Brahma Vidya passed it on to their subsequent generations. As we have seen in history we do get periods of time when there is a break in the continuity of ancestral teaching and practices. Instead of being true karma yogis, some rajas live as karma bhogis. They live to enjoy the life. Such selfish and arrogant people fail to follow the good way of living and the practice of spirituality comes to a halt. One can say it is also natural and is like day followed by night.

The same rule applies concerning the revival of good and dharmic way of living. The night has also to be followed by day. Great people and sometimes the Lord Himself incarnate and bring to life the forgotten spirituality and propagation of dharma. The knowledge can never be lost and the expression by Sri Krishna that it has been lost here is only figurative. In the last Sloka, we have been told clearly that the knowledge is “Avyayam.”

The Lord is Eternal and the Dharma He gave to mankind is also “Eternal.”

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