गीता, a recipe for परं श्रेयः ?

(A) From my study of गीता a thought comes to mind that in all his advocacy श्रीकृष्णभगवान् wished not just that अर्जुन be motivated back to fight the battle, but also that अर्जुन should understand परमार्थः the highest or most sublime truth and in turn should attain परं श्रेयः the best attainment. In fact it was not that श्रीकृष्णभगवान् wanted to educate अर्जुन on परमार्थः and परं श्रेयः. अर्जुन himself asked it. See यच्छ्रेयस्स्यान्निश्चितं ब्रूहि तन्मे | शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम् (2-7) also तदेकं वद निश्चित्य येन श्रेयोऽहमाप्नुयाम् (3-2). Does that mean that all advocacy of श्रीकृष्णभगवान् is a sure recipe to attain परं श्रेयः for anyone who is anxious for that ? Should not we too be studying गीता to check what will make परं श्रेयः for us also ? That would be an exciting angle to study गीता.

Here then I embark on some freewheeling exploration from this angle. अथातः परश्रेयसि जिज्ञासा. As is obvious, who will attain परं श्रेयः, will be one, who has become most eligible for it. One, who becomes most eligible is called as योगी. See तपस्विभ्योऽधिको योगी ज्ञानिभ्योऽपि मतोऽधिकः | कर्मिभ्यश्चाधिको योगी तस्माद्योगी भवार्जुन (6-46).

(A-1) Let us grant that everyone may not become a योगी. I know it well that I am myself far too away from becoming a योगी. In fact there is already such caution in गीता. See मनुष्याणां सहस्रेषु कश्चिद्यतति सिद्धये | यततामपि सिद्धानां कश्चिन्मां वेत्ति तत्त्वतः (7-3). In fact one may not become a योगी in this life itself. अनेकजन्मसंसिद्धस्ततो याति परां गतिम् (6’45). Obviously there is no point in worrying about whether I would become a योगी and if yes, when. Let us just keep the focus on, whether गीता has the recipe.

(B) First step on the path of becoming a योगी should be to cleanse one’s mind and intellect of all negativities, rather, the dirts. The dirts which make mind and intellect dirty are primarily six अहङ्कारं बलं दर्पं कामं क्रोधं परिग्रहम् | विमुच्य निर्ममः शान्तो ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते (18’53). They are also mentioned as six enemies षड्रिपु-s कामः क्रोधस्तथा लोभो मदमोहौ च मत्सरः It seems, of these six, अहङ्कारः बलं दर्पः are internal instincts, makings of one’s own mind. कामः क्रोधः परिग्रहः may have external instincts. It is of course quite challenging to cleanse the mind and intellect of all these six. They are challenging even one by one.

(B-1) About अहङ्कारः – Basically taking credit for any job done implies अहङ्कार. This is fallacious and demonstrates ignorance, as stated, first in प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः | अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते (3’27) and reemphasized in तत्रैवं सति कर्तारमात्मानं केवलं तु यः | पश्यत्यकृतबुद्धित्वान्न स पश्यति दुर्मतिः (18’16). Antidote for अहङ्कार is नैव किञ्चित्करोमीति युक्तो मन्येत तत्त्ववित् (5’8).

(B-2) About बलम् / बलः – There is a श्लोक, wherein different types of बल-s are mentioned. तदेव लग्नं सुदिनं तदेव | ताराबलं चंद्रबलं तदेव | विद्याबलं दैवबलं तदेव | लक्ष्मीपते तेऽङ्घ्रियुगं स्मरामि People harbour excessive notions of their strengths, skills and/or capabilities. This is more so with people of असुर-character. See असौ मया हतः शत्रुः हनिष्ये चापरानपि | ईश्वरोऽहमहं भोगी सिद्धोऽहं बलवान्सुखी (16-14)

(B-3) About दर्पः – Its synonym is मद. “.. दर्प [दृप् भावे घञ् कर्तरि अच् वा] 1 Pride, arrogance, insolence, haughtiness; भृतो नार्तो न कुर्याद्यो दर्पात्कर्म यथोदितम् (स दण्ड्यः) Ms.8.215; Bg.16.4. -2 Rashness. -3 Vanity, conceit. -4 Sullenness, sulkiness. -5 Heat. -6 Musk…” This दर्प or मद is also a shade of असुर-character. See दम्भो दर्पोऽभिमानश्च क्रोधः पारुष्यमेव च | अज्ञानं चाभिजातस्य पार्थ संपदमासुरी (16’4). Also आढ्योऽभिजनवानस्मि कोऽन्योस्ति सदृशो मया | यक्ष्ये दास्यामि मोदिष्य इत्यज्ञानविमोहिताः (16-15)

(B-4) About काम – आवृतं ज्ञानमेतेन ज्ञानिनो नित्यवैरिणा | कामरूपेण कौन्तेय दुष्पूरेणाचलेन च (3-39) Genesis of काम is well-explained in ध्यायतो विषयान् पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते | सङ्गात्सञ्जायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोभिजायते (2-62)

(B-5) About क्रोध – क्रोधाद्भवति संमोहः सम्मोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः | स्मृतिभ्रंशाद्बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात् प्रणश्यति (2-63). These two श्लोक-s 2’62 and 2’63 make a textbook on psychology ! Rather, entire गीता is a textbook on psychology, explaining how mind and intellect work, how they should work and how they should not work.

(B-6) About परिग्रह – This word परिग्रह occurs in गीता at four places, 4’21, 6’10, 17’16 and 18’53. Study of this and related words is compiled at the link. The six enemies affect right thinking. Lack of right thinking is अज्ञानम्.

(c) The tool to cleanse mind and intellect of all अज्ञानम् is ज्ञानम् ! See ज्ञानेन तु तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मनः | तेषामादित्यवज्ज्ञानं प्रकाशयति तत्परम् (5-16). If so, one needs to know what ज्ञानम् is. This is well-detailed in 5 श्लोक-s – अमानित्वमदम्भित्वमहिंसा क्षान्तिरार्जवम् | आचार्योपासनं शौचं स्थैर्यमात्मविनिग्रहः (13-7) इन्द्रियार्थेषु वैराग्यमनहङ्कार एव च | जन्ममृत्युजराव्याधिदुःखदोषानुदर्शनम् (13-8) असक्तिरनभिष्वङ्गः पुत्रदारगृहादिषु | नित्यं च समचित्तस्त्वमिष्टानिष्टोपपत्तिषु (13-9) मयि चानन्ययोगेन भक्तिरव्यभिचारिणी | विविक्तदेशसेवित्वमरतिर्जनसंसदि (13-10) अध्यात्मज्ञाननित्यत्वं तत्त्वज्ञानार्थदर्शनम् | एतज्ज्ञानमिति प्रोक्तमज्ञानं यदतोऽन्यथा (13-11). From another angle, what is detailed as ज्ञानम् here are diktats of virtuous conduct. A list of virtues is also detailed in first 3 श्लोक-s in the sixteenth chapter. अभयं सत्त्वसंशुद्धिर्ज्ञानयोगव्यवस्थितिः | दानं दमश्च यज्ञश्च स्वाध्यायस्तप आर्जवम् (16-1) अहिसा सत्यमक्रोधस्त्यागः शान्तिरपैशुनम् | दया भूतेष्वलोलुप्त्वं मार्दवं ह्रीरचापलम् (16-2) तेजः क्षमा धृतिः शौचमद्रोहो नातिमानिता | भवन्ति संपदं दैवीमभिजातस्य पाण्डव (16-3). One can read lists of virtues also in शमो दमस्तपः शौचं क्षान्तिरार्जवमेव च | ज्ञानविज्ञानमास्तिक्यं ब्रह्मकर्मस्वभावजम् (18-42) शौर्यं तेजो धृतिर्दाक्ष्यं युद्धे चाप्यपलायनम् | दानमीश्वरभावश्च क्षात्रं कर्म स्वभावजम् (18-43) Obviously some virtues are repeated in these three lists. Once I tried to make a list of virtues eliminating the repetitions. It became a list of 42 virtues. Most virtuous person will have 42 virtues ! Why अर्जुन was dearest to श्रीकृष्णभगवान् was possibly because he was one such person ! And yet he became afflicted by सम्मोह.

(D) Hence virtuosity, even total virtuosity by itself does not become enough guarantee or insurance against afflictions. In fact for insurance against afflictions it is mentioned यज्ज्ञात्वा न पुनर्मोहमेवं यास्यसि पाण्डव | येन भूतान्यशेषेण द्रक्ष्यस्यात्मन्यथो मयि (4-35) तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया | उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिनः (4-34). I think, import in these two श्लोक-s comes out better by reading them in this order. The ज्ञानम् for insurance against afflictions should be such that भूतानि अशेषेण आत्मनि द्रक्ष्यसि. This ज्ञानम् is not just insurance against afflictions, but by such ज्ञानम् one would undergo such transformation that योगयुक्तो विशुद्धात्मा विजितात्मा जितेन्द्रियः । सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा कुर्वन्नपि न लिप्यते ॥५-७॥ Here, the words जितेन्द्रियः and सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा merit study and deliberation.

(D-1) जितेन्द्रियत्वम् is when one attains command वशः over इन्द्रियाणि. वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता (2-61). जितेन्द्रियत्वम् would lead to or would come by स्थितप्रज्ञत्वम्. It is not that for जितेन्द्रियत्वम् and/or स्थितप्रज्ञत्वम् one needs to forsake all interests. In fact, what is advocated is न बुद्धिभेदं जनयेदज्ञानानां कर्मसङ्गिनाम् | जोषयेत्सर्वकर्माणि विद्वान् युक्तः समाचरन् (3-26). Also, यः सर्वत्रानभिस्नेहस्तत्तत्प्राप्य शुभाशुभम् | नाभिनन्दति न द्वेष्टि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता (2-57). One stays to be सर्वत्रानभिस्नेहः But one does not pursue the interests by oneself. Also, one does not complement नाभिनन्दति the resultant शुभ, nor does one disdain न द्वेष्टि the अशुभ. To be disinterested, to forsake all interests and शुभाशुभम् प्राप्य नाभिनन्दति न द्वेष्टि are three different things. It would be relevant here to note that अपरिग्रहः is non-acceptance, rejection and renunciation. One श्लोक, which I like very much in this context is विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः | रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते (2-59). Realizing that this person is रसवर्ज, विषय-s themselves go away from him विनिवर्तन्ते. That is one way, how जितेन्द्रियत्वम् would happen, would come by. The other way is तस्माद्यस्य महाबाहो निगृहीतानि सर्वशः | इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता (2-68). One who strives for जितेन्द्रियत्वम् would withdraw इन्द्रियाणि from इन्द्रियार्थाः or विषयाः. Basically इन्द्रियार्थाः or विषयाः are five – शब्द, रूप, रस गन्ध स्पर्श. Correspondingly, इन्द्रियाणि, which indulge in the विषय-s are श्रोत्रं चक्षुः स्पर्शनं च रसनं घ्राणमेव च | अधिष्ठाय मनश्चायं विषयानुपसेवते (15-9). To withdraw इन्द्रियाणि from इन्द्रियार्थाः is like the eyes are open but one is not seeing anything. He is not seeing anything, because he is not looking at anything. If a pill of medicine is bitter, but if one gulps it with lot of water, the tongue does not get to taste any bitterness. There are sounds falling on the ears. But one may not hear any of those sounds, if one is not listening. That, I think, is how one withdraws इन्द्रियाणि from इन्द्रियार्थाः. This then becomes स्थितप्रज्ञत्वम्. If one practises it intensely, स्थितप्रज्ञत्वम् would become second nature. Intense practice is तपस्.

(D-1-1) तपस् is of three types. Much detailing in गीता reads like scientific theories. They are scientific theories. Three types of तपस् are detailed in the seventeenth chapter. See देवद्विजगुरुप्राज्ञपूजनं शौचमार्जवम् | ब्रह्मचर्यमहिंसा च शारीरं तप उच्यते (17-14). अनुद्वेगकरं वाक्यं सत्यं प्रियहितं च यत् | स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनं चैव वाङ्मयं तप उच्यते (17-15) मनःप्रसादं सौम्यत्वं मौनमात्मविनिग्रहः | भावसंशुद्धिरित्येतत्तपो मानसमुच्यते (17-16). Intense practice of such threefold तपस् would build up a chaste सात्त्विक personality. श्रद्धया परया तप्तं तपस्तत्त्रिविधं नरैः | अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिर्युक्तैः सात्त्विकं परिचक्षते (17-17). A सात्त्विक person would not have enemies internal or external. It comes to mind that it is more important not to have internal enemies. दुःखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः | वीतरागभयक्रोधः स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते (2-56).

(D-1-2) There are many prescriptions. नात्यश्नतस्तु योगोऽस्ति न चैकान्तमनश्नतः | न चातिस्वप्नशीलस्य जाग्रतो नैव चार्जुन (6-16) युक्ताहारविहारस्य युक्तचेष्टस्य कर्मसु | युक्तस्वप्नावबोधस्य योगो भवति दुःखहा (6-17).

(D-2) Having discussed जितेन्द्रियत्वम् in Para (D-1) and तपस् in (D-1-1), the word  सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा also needs to be discussed. I think five श्लोक-s 6’29 to 6’32 dwell on this. सर्वभूतस्थामात्मानं सर्वभूतानि चात्मनि | ईक्षते योगयुक्तात्मा सर्वत्रसमदर्शनः (6’29) यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति | तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति (6’30) सर्वभूतस्थितं यो मां भजत्येकत्वमास्थितः | सर्वथा वर्तमानोऽपि स योगी मयि वर्तते (6’31) आत्मौपम्येन सर्वत्र समं पश्यति योऽर्जुन सुखं वा यदि वा दुःखं स योगी परमो मतः (6’32). This समदर्शनम् seems to be a much higher plateau than समत्वम् as in सुखदुःखे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ (2’38). For some simple understanding of this समदर्शनम् let us appreciate that there are trillions of microbes hovering around all the time all around us, in all the air around us. Some are bacteria, some are viruses and whatever. Some of them would be offensive, which is why we may suffer viral fever. Does आत्मौपम्येन सर्वत्र imply experiencing समदर्शनम् with all those trillions ? This brings to mind one अभंग by जनाबाई – वामसव्य दोहीकडे | दिसे देवाचे रूपडे | खाली पहावे अथवा वरी | जिकडे पहावे तिकडे हरी || डोळे झांकूनीया पाहे | पुढे गोपाळ उभा आहे | अणूरेणू चक्रपाणी | खूण झाली दासी जनी ||, meaning “On the right or left I see Him. Above or below, wherever I see, I see that हरी. Even when I see with eyes closed, that गोपाल is standing in front. All molecules and atoms are but He, He, who wields the wheel in His hand. Myself, जनी, a mere housemaid, am but a mark of that Omnipresence !” Uumh ! Isn’t that some magnificent समदर्शनम् ?

(E) When I was studying the first मन्त्र in ईशावास्योपनिषत् – ईशा वास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत्, I came to a guess that the word जगत् is derived from धातुः जज् / जञ्ज्. In धातुपाठ, जज् । भ्वा० सेट् प० । जजँऽ [यु॒द्धे] also जञ्ज् । भ्वा० सेट् प० । जजिँ यु॒द्धे. Use of these धातु-s would be यु॒द्धे, in the context of यु॒द्धम्, in the context of fight, struggle. Of course, life is a struggle. जगत् living means undergoing the struggle. But basically fight or struggle is needed, if there are enemies. If there are no enemies, internal or external, there would be no struggle, just peace, absolute Peace ! युञ्जन्नेवं सदात्मानं योगी नियतमानसः | शान्तिं निर्वाणपरमां मत्संस्थामधिगच्छति (6-15). 

(F) A person enjoying such absolute peace would still be living, would still be  जगत्. Is his living so taken care of that he is जगत् and is yet enjoying absolute peace ? The answer is possibly in the assurance अनन्याश्चिन्तयन्तो मां ये जनाः पर्युपासते | तेषां नित्याभियुक्तानां योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम् (9’22). The assurance of योगक्षेम is for those who are नित्याभियुक्त and who render पर्युपासना. Possibly these conditions of being नित्याभियुक्त and rendering पर्युपासना are also explained in मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु | मामेवैष्यसि युक्त्वैवमात्मानं मत्परायणः (9’34). There is further assurance सर्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज | अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः (18’66). Here the assurance is to even absolve the person of all sins. Important words in these three श्लोक-s to understand and imbibe are नित्याभियुक्त, पर्युपासना, मन्मनाः, मद्भक्तः, मद्याजी, मत्परायणः, शरणम्.

(F-1) The word नित्याभियुक्त has in it धातुः युज्. Words योगः योगी are also from धातुः युज्. A योगी observes योगः, nothing but योगः all the time and thus becomes नित्याभियुक्त and hence योगी. अर्जुन got a doubt, whether one can observe योगः, nothing but योगः all the time. He asks योऽयं योगस्त्वया प्रोक्तः साम्येन मधुसूदन | एतस्याहं न पश्यामि चञ्चलत्वात्स्थितिं स्थिराम् (6’33) In reply श्रीकृष्णभगवान् agreed, but added असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलम् | अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते (6’35) असंयतात्मना योगो दुष्प्राप इति मे मतिः | वश्यात्मना तु यतता शक्योऽवाप्तुमुपायतः (6’36). Of course योगः is not easy. It is difficult, but not impossible, can be practised, by वश्यात्मना, अभ्यासेन, वैराग्येण,

(F-2) What is meant by सर्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य merits some deliberation. Usual English translation of the word धर्म is religion. So translation of सर्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य becomes “forsake all religions (and) ..”. Point to deliberate upon is, why here the word सर्वधर्मान् is plural. I would interpret the word धर्म here to mean code related to interpersonal relations. Every person has many interpersonal relationships, as a father, as a son, as husband, as a friend, as a student, as a teacher, as a colleague. In the flow of life one develops in his mind codes of how the relationships are to be cultivated and sustained. अर्जुन also had in his mind, धर्म-s about how his conduct needs to be with भीष्मपितामह and द्रोणाचार्य. However the situation on the battlefield was challenging him to forsake the धर्म-s, which had become entrenched in his mind over so many years of life. He became askance कथं भीष्ममहं संख्ये द्रोणं च मधुसूदन | इषुभिः प्रतियोत्स्यामि पूजार्हावरिसूदन (2’4). In 18’66 श्रीकृष्णभगवान् is advocating सर्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य. This advocacy is in effect an invitation to unlearn long-entrenched concepts and to adapt oneself to the situation on hand. It is not easy to unlearn long-entrenched concepts. One good antidote would be to surrender to a superior command. Hence मामेकं शरणं व्रज. Such surrender demands unquestioning faith in the superior, rather, in the superior-most commandant. That faith also needs to be cultivated by being नित्याभियुक्त, by rendering पर्युपासना, by being मन्मनाः, मद्भक्तः, मद्याजी, मत्परायणः and by शरणम्.

That, I would say, is गीता’s recipe for परं श्रेयः !

शुभमस्तु !

-o-O-o-

P.S. – I have not given meanings of the verses. Giving the meanings would have interrupted the flow of thoughts and would make the write-up too long. People, who need to know the meanings can read in books of गीता with meanings of verses. I am giving links to my posts on those few verses, which  have been covered already in my verse-by-verse study so far.

Verses quoted from गीता, in the order of their occurrence in the above write-up – 2’7, 3’2, 6’46, 7’3, 6’45, 18’53, 3’27, 18’16, 5’8, 16’14, 16’15, 3’39, 2’62, 2’63, 5’16, 13’7, 13’8, 13’9, 13’10, 13’11, 16’1, 16’2, 16’3, 18’42, 18’43, 4’35, 4’34, 5’7, 2’61, 3’26, 2’57, 2’59, 2’68, 15’9, 17’14, 17’15, 17’16, 17’17, 2’56, 6’29, 6’30, 6’31, 6’32, 2’38, 6’16, 6’17, 6’15, 9’22, 9’34, 18’66, 6’33, 6’35, 6’36, 2’4. Verses quoted in the linked article on परिग्रहापरिग्रहयोः 4’21, 6’10, 17’16 and 18’53.

Above index of verses in the order of their occurrence in गीता – 2’4, 2’7, 2’38,  2’56, 2’57, 2’59, 2’61, 2’62, 2’63, 2’68, 3’2, 3’26, 3’27, 3’39, 4’21, 4’34, 4’35, 5’7, 5’8, 5’16, 6’10, 6’15, 6’16, 6’17, 6’29, 6’30, 6’31, 6’32, 6’33, 6’35, 6’36, 6’45, 6’46, 7’3, 9’22, 9’34, 13’7, 13’8, 13’9, 13’10, 13’11, 15’9, 16’1, 16’2, 16’3, 16’14, 16’15, 17’14, 17’15, 17’16, 17’17, 18’16, 18’42, 18’43, 18’53, 18’66.

 

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4 thoughts on “गीता, a recipe for परं श्रेयः ?

  1. Really morvellous, Mahodaya ! I am forwarding this mail to my son, who is now in Barkly University. Originaly he is a psychiatrist. but he wanted to do research on mind connecting his subject psychiatry with spirituality and treat the patients by counselling. So he joined Harvard University and finished his degree (P.hd) and now joined Burkly University. He may contact you. I regularly go through your mails on this group. Thank you..

    • नमस्ते मूर्तिमहोदय !
      Words in संस्कृत for jealousy are असूया मत्सरः. Following references come to mind.
      यदृच्छालाभसन्तुष्टो द्वन्द्वातीतो विमत्सरः | समः सिद्धावसिद्धौ च कृत्वापि न निबध्यते (4’22)
      इदं तु ते गुह्यतमं प्रवक्ष्याम्यनसूयवे | ज्ञानं विज्ञानसहितं यज्ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसेऽशुभात् (9-1)
      श्रद्धावानसूयश्च श्रुणुयादपि यो नरः | सोऽपि मुक्तः शुभाँल्लोकान् प्राप्नुयात् पुण्यकर्मणाम् (18-71)
      In 9’1 श्रीकृष्णभगवान् himself addresses अर्जुन as अनसूयवे ! No wonder अर्जुन is so dear to him.

  2. Abhyankar Sir, I am extremely delighted to go through your recipe. It’s brief, to the point & subtle. I would term it, a capsule course on Geeta. Laudable, adorable effort.

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