Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 3, Sloka 2

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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Sloka 2

VYAMISHRENEVA VAAKYENA BUDDHIM MOHAYASEEVA ME’
TADEKAM VADA NISCHITYA YENA SHREYOHAMAPNUVAAM.

You confuse my intellect as it were with speech which appears paradoxical. Therefore, tell me that “one” path, by which I may attain the Highest.

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In continuation of the first sloka, Arjuna is putting forward the doubts raised in his mind about “the need for right action and his doubt as to what is the right action?”

The important word to note here is “Vyamishrena vaakyena”: it means, “Paradoxical speech.” He says, “You confuse my intellect as it were with speech which appears paradoxical.”

Arjuna is not saying “you are confusing me,” but saying “as it were, confusing me.” This is the quality in a genuine seeker who looks upon his teacher as a “Guru.” After all, “Guru” is a “dispeller of darkness.” “Ignorance is darkness” is what the experts say. The student must be free to express his doubts but not in a spirit of challenge: “You do not know how to tell me.”

“I am confused and I need to have a deeper understanding of your words. The way I have understood your words is wrong and you have to help me to get a clearer understanding” is the plea.

Let us see which the confusing words are:
Sloka 31 – chapter 2: ”For a Kshatriya, a righteous war is the only path to Liberation.”
Sloka 45 – chapter 2: “Go beyond the three gunas.”
Sloka 47 – chapter 2: “You have a right to work.”
Qualities of a “Sthitaprajna.”

By listening to “go beyond the three gunas”, Arjuna probably thought that he should not be in the war and fighting the enemy. “I should not encourage any type of desires”, he thought. Desires meant that he should fight and not encouraging desires meant he should take up sanyasa.

But then Krishna said “you have a right to work”. It means that He is implying that Arjuna should be in the war and fighting the enemy.

Finally the description of a “Sthitaprajna” totally confused Arjuna.

Arjuna understood that “Jnana” meant “realising the Atman within and all around. and to take the individual away from the world of senses.” He understood “Karma” as “actions that keep one in the world of senses.”

He therefore finally asks, “tell me what is for my Shreyas?”

The path Arjuna wanted to take was definitely a noble one as it was meant to attain “Moksha.” As he was in a hysterical state when the advice was given, the message was not understood clearly. Like a sincere student he is asking for clarification.

Indirectly, through the medium of Arjuna, the sage poet Bhagawan Veda Vyasa is putting the question on behalf of all sincere seekers of Liberation. A true Guru is he who encourages his students to clarify all doubts. But the student must at the same time have full faith in the guru. Arjuna on his part also is to be looked upon as a sincere student with full faith in his guru.

The faith that my guru will help me to clarify my doubts and help me in achieving the final aim should be the attitude by all sincere seekers. Any doubt based on sincere trust is “Satvic doubt.” It is like the child putting forward questions to his/her mother to clear the doubts. The child does so with full love and faith towards the mother.

Sri Krishna wants Arjuna to develop the true understanding of the words He has used. Proper understanding only comes when the master encourages doubts in the mind of his students.

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

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 2, new Downloads

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

+++   Seasons Greetings and best wishes for a blessed 2008 to all of you from Dasha and Dr. Nath   +++

Last week we concluded the introduction and next week we will start with the real text of chapter 3. As a little break for the festive season this week you get the still missing downloads for the complete text of chapter 2 for a printout without a lot of breaks and to enjoy browsing through again.

Part 4 beginning with sloka 55 (about 400 KB):

@@@   http://www.TheGita.org/Downloads/Chapter_2_Part_4.pdf   @@@

and the full chapter 2 (about 900 KB):

@@@   http://www.TheGita.org/Downloads/Chapter_2.pdf   @@@

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 3, Introduction, part 7

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

@@@   http://www.TheGita.org/Downloads/News_07_50.pdf   @@@

***   continuation from last week   ***

17.)

The Lord brings in a new word “Yajna” in this chapter. Yajna is offering to the Lord the results of all actions conducted according to the scriptures.

This attitude to work and the result of actions is “Karma Yoga.” Kindness opens up in all the thoughts and actions of such a seeker. This frees the individual of bondage even in this life.

18.)

We, the humans have been given adhikara to work in this world. Escaping from the God given duty and fulfil the purpose of human birth is contrary to the scriptures. Our duties are simple: They are “Loka Sangraha,” welfare of life on the earth and “respecting the nature.”

Karma yoga is therefore a very important chapter. We must understand this chapter and learn the art of living and working within the space allotted.

19.)

According to Sri Ramana maharshi, karma yoga is “purification of the mind.” Purification of the mind is avoidance of all thoughts that are egoistic and filling the mind with thoughts on the divine and the divine duties.

**   this ends the introduction to chapter 3   **

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK.
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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 3, Sloka 1

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

@@@   http://www.TheGita.org/Downloads/News_07_52.pdf   @@@

CHAPTER 3:  KARMA YOGA

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Sloka 1

Arjuna uvacha:
JYAYASEE CHET KARAMANASTE MATAA BUDDHIR JANARDANA
TAT KIM KARMANI GHORE MAAM NIYOJAYASI KESHAVA

Arjuna said:
O Keshava, if your belief is that knowledge is superior to action, why do you engage me in (this) dreadful battle?

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If we can recollect the second chapter, we will note that both action and knowledge are extolled by the Lord.
An elaborate description of karma yoga was given through slokas 47-60 and through slokas 11-46 an elaborate description on jnana yoga.
The Lord ended the chapter 2 with an elaborate description on the qualities of a “Man of steady wisdom.”

We should also recall at this juncture that Arjuna was full of confidence in himself and went to the battlefield with Sri.Krishna as his charioteer. He requested Krishna to take the chariot to the middle of the battlefield so that he could see all the warriors who had assembled to fight for the evil Prince Duryodhana.

Suddenly he developed a serious doubt in his mind about the justification for fighting against the respected elders of his own extended family and his mentors. He lost the nerve and dropped his bow Gandeeva and asked Krishna to guide him on the right path of action.

>From the point of taking for granted that Sri Krishna was his charioteer, Arjuna moved one step higher in his spiritual plane and saw in Krishna the aspect of a “Guru” and asked for guidance. The first step taken by Sri Krishna was to go through the four main paths of “Bhakti, Jnana, Karma and Dhyana” in the second chapter.

We can say that Arjuna, through this question in this chapter has certainly moved another step higher. But he still has in the heart of heart no inclination to fight. We seem to get the impression that he would rather give the kingdom without fight to Duryodhana and take up “Sanyasa ashrama” duties. That is to be understood by the last quarter of this sloka: “Why do you engage me in this dreadful battle?”

We can also presume that by referring to “Karma and Jnana” he has some doubt about his decision not to fight. It appears that he has a flicker of light of knowledge that he should act properly and the guide to help him to conduct the right action was “Krishna.” Krishna not as his charioteer but Sri Krishna as his master.

We must therefore learn the lesson that when we have any doubts on the correctness of our actions, we must approach the “Guru” and request for guidance. Arjuna did follow this path of asking for guidance and the result is “The Srimad Bhagavad-Gita”.
It is a jewel in the crown for the entire mankind irrespective of religion, faith, caste, sex or creed. Let us unfold our mind at the vicinity of the master and learn the lesson of right action in life with the sole purpose of “Loka Kalyana.”

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OM SAHA NAVAVATU SAHA NAU BHUNAKTU
SAHA VEERYAM KARAVAVAHAI
TEJASWI NAVADHEETAMASTU
MAA VID VISHAVAHAI

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.

++++++++++++++

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK.
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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 3, Introduction, part 5

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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***   continuation from last week   ***

13.)

>From the point of view of the material world, “Karma” can also be defined as “actions that are the cause of bondage.”

“Karma Yoga” on the other hand is the word used with reference to the spiritual world. It means all actions should be according to the sastras, dedicated to the Lord and the acceptance of the result of such actions as Lord’s grace.

These should be actions at all the three levels of “Mano, Vak and Kaya.”
“Kaya” actions: these are ritualistic actions as enshrined in the sastras.
”Vak”: this refers to recitation of the mantras and speaking the “Truth”.
“Mano”: this refers to the act of “Meditation”.

14.)

The root cause of sorrow is not the material world around us but our own ignorance. The scriptures call it “Ajnana.” We tend to look for an external source for the sorrow experienced and put the blame on it. It is only a superficial search for the cause of “sorrow.” A deeper search will lead us back to our actions that resulted in the experience of sorrow.

The ignorance and the inability to search within deludes us and makes us experience all types of agitations. Sri Krishna is trying to teach us through the Gita the way to overcome the delusion. He is giving us the “Jnana” or “knowledge” to trace the cause of all our sorrows.

**   will be continued   **

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 3, Introduction, part 4

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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***   continuation from last week   ***

10.)

The sastras tell us that what we are experiencing now, whether it be happiness or sorrow, is the result of
a) Our own actions of the past which includes actions from the previous births also
And/or
b) The results of corporate acts of the society of which we are also part of (through our actions or inactions).

In all cases we must not neglect our obligatory duties. There is no room for happiness or sorrow to rule over us and disturb the daily duties.

11.)

We must learn to discharge our obligatory duties, whatever stage of life we may be in; childhood, teenage, adulthood or old age, for welfare of:
Our own selves,
Our family,
Our society,
The life on this universe,
And finally for
The future generations to come.

We have basically two duties:

Duties to the Lord who resides within us. We must keep the body, mind and speech healthy and clean. Neglecting the body is like insulting the Lord within. Through these three instruments we must let the light of knowledge shine through. The “Light of Knowledge” should reflect the “Divinity” within.

It is better understood if we look at the example of a temple. The temple has the deity of choice installed in the inner sanctum sanctorum. The priests at the temple conduct the prescribed daily worship to the deity. The rest of the temple premises have to be kept clean and tidy to let the public come in and see the deity within and offer their worship. The temple where there are no prescribed worships of the deity or premises which is not kept clean does not attract the devotees.

To the society. The Lord within is not seen and so not realised as such by many. The same Lord is reflecting in the various people around and all other forms of life. We should learn to recognise this divinity and show respect to all. This should reflect in our actions as individuals/families towards the handicapped, the needy and the like. Later on in the Gita, we will learn that every form of life on this earth is the “Vibhuti” or “Glory” of the Lord. We should not only offer worship to the deity of choice as thanks for what little we have received so far but also worship through actions that contribute towards universal welfare. This is true reflection of the light of knowledge shining inside each one of us.

12.)

The actions can be voluntary/involuntary. Respiration and circulation have become involuntary actions and through these we keep the body healthy and alive. Sometime in the life of the foetus in mother’s womb, the light has been switched on for involuntary actions for the rest of our lives.

Similarly, we can make our actions involuntarily divine by keeping His teaching in our memory bank. This is known as “Nidhi dhyasa” one of the three requisites for dhyana/meditation.

**   will be continued   **

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 3, Introduction, part 6

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

@@@   http://www.TheGita.org/Downloads/News_07_49.pdf   @@@

***   continuation from last week   ***

15.)

After the introduction to the Gita and summary of the same in the second chapter, we are taken to the chapter “Karma Yoga.” Irrespective of who the individual is and where he/she hails from, everybody on earth has to “Work.” To experience happiness we have to work and to overcome sorrow also we have to work.

“Karma Yoga” is the conduct of right actions that takes us back to experience the happiness that abides within. We are told that the happiness in not in the objects around us but our own perception of the same. The same object which is the source of pleasure for some is the source of sorrow for others.

The knife used in the kitchen to prepare the food, the knife used by a surgeon to operate on the sick, the knife used by a butcher in his profession is the source of happiness.

On the other hand the knife used to kill somebody or the knife that is taken as a tool to play can turn out to be source of sorrow. It is the bhavana / attitude towards the work and the object of work that makes all the difference.

Karma yoga is to teach the attitude to the work we undertake.
Ajnana is the lack of such knowledge in action.

Opposite to the sorrow is the state of happiness.

16.)

We will also be told in this chapter that even the happiness can turn out to be source of sorrow.

The happiness we experience from the world around us can be traced back also to ignorance. Happiness from around us has a time span fixed to it. After a while, the peak of happiness fades out and in some cases leads to sorrow also.

Longing for a child after marriage and getting a child out of wedlock brings in tremendous happiness. How long does it last? Birth of a child is not the beginning of eternal happiness but a mixture of happiness/sorrow as the child grows.

The day we change our bhavana and think in terms of duties towards the children our whole life changes.

If all our actions follow the code as given in the scriptures we find that our entire life is full of happiness without any room for sorrow to creep in. This state of happiness is “Ananda.” Karma yoga gives us an insight into our duties and warns us of the consequences of wrong actions.

**   will be continued   **

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 3, Introduction, part 3

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

@@@   http://www.TheGita.org/Downloads/News_07_46.pdf   @@@

***   continued from last week   ***

6.)

It is impossible to live without any actions. Our body/mind complex configuration makes it impossible to be free from actions. Likes and dislikes (raga/dwesha) propel one into actions. Human needs are for security and endless entertainment and both cannot be achieved without actions. The results of such actions bind us to further actions and it becomes an endless chain of events. The bondage we thus get trapped into is called “Samsara.”

7.)

Only positive, joyous, affirmative action’s conducted as an offering to the divine will liberate us from bondage. It is necessary for us to be involved in the work we do. After all each of us have duties to our own body, family and the society. Commitment to the work without attachment to the results of the work is the art of true karma yoga.

8.)

Man is in the transitional stage of evolution. He is in between the stages of animal and divine. Our duty is to evolve spiritually and move onwards to the next stag of evolution. Our actions will take us to divinity or let us fall down to lower levels of life. Karma yoga teaches the path to evolve spiritually.

9.)

It is important to note that man is a social animal. We have to live as part of the society and work for the society. From the time of birth till death we are the recipients of benefits in one form or other from the society. We take the same for granted or do not realise the same.

The Lord therefore tells us that it is our duty to offer joyfully the results of our actions to the society. But these actions should not be selfish motivated actions, He stresses. He makes it very clear that selfish actions are the root cause of destruction of the society. Karma yoga teaches us the way to overcome selfish motivated actions.

This chapter teaches us to do so by telling us “think before we act.”

**   will be continued   **

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 3, Introduction, part 1

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

@@@   http://www.TheGita.org/Downloads/News_07_44.pdf   @@@

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

OM SAHA NAVAVATU SAHA NAU BHUNAKTU
SAHA VEERYAM KARAVAVAHAI
TEJASWI NAVADHEETAMASTU
MAA VID VISHAVAHAI

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 3:   KARMA YOGA

There are so many different angles one can look into to understand “karma” and “Karma Yoga”. Herein I have tried briefly to go into some of the different ways to explain the same and hope this helps in understanding the slokas in the chapter.

1.)  The word “Karma” has a number of different meanings and in the context of this chapter we should take it as “action.”

“Yoga” means “Union”.
As the sacred text is about union with the Parabrahman, which is “Liberation”, we should consider “Karma Yoga” as the actions that assist the seeker towards “Liberation.”

The word “Karma” is pronounced with the emphasis on the letter “R” in it. For those who are not familiar with the Indian scripture, the pronunciation to include “r” might be difficult but not impossible. Making the “r” silent, what is said sounds like “kama” and gives a totally different meaning. “Kama” is “desire” and “karma is “action.”

Some of the other meanings of the word “karma”:
a)  Practice of religious duties.
b)  Destiny/fate.
c)  Moral duties.
d)  A ritual.
e)  Funeral rites (antya karma)

**   will be continued   **

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 3, Introduction, part 2

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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###   HAPPY DEEPAVALI   ###

***   continued from last week   ***

3.)

It is a fact of life that to get something we should be prepared to part with something else.

It is like paying money to buy the goods from the market. We cannot demand to get them free.

Without working we cannot get the wages and without wages we cannot buy what we want.

Taking this logic, “Moksha” does not come from “no action.” It needs input of efforts on our part. The individual who puts his efforts towards achieving it is known as “Sadhaka”, a spiritual seeker. Karma yoga gives the path for the sadhaka to attain moksha.

4.)

Yajna is dedicated action. To dedicate the results of actions with total faith and love towards the “Parabrahman” is the sure way to success for the seeker. Actions without faith and love do not get the desired result. Karma according to the instructions by the Lord really is to be considered as “Yajna.”

5.)

Karma yoga tells us what our duties are and teaches us the art of properly conducting the same. It tells us that our actions should not bring disruption or sorrow to any forms of life on this earth. This includes the members of the family and friends, members of the society and citizens in other parts of the world.

Using the intellectual capacity of reasoning, assisted and blessed by the “consciousness” within, conducting actions towards universal welfare is true “karma yoga.” This needs control over desire prompted thoughts/speech/actions at the level of mind/speech/body (Mano/vak/kaya). The Lord refers several times in this chapter to “Loka Kalyana” which means “universal welfare.”

**   will be continued   **

 

 

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