[Advaita-l] On Bhagavat Geeta -Part II
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 7 02:10:04 EST 2018
Bhagavat Geeta - The Song Celestial - II
Fundamental Human problem
The introductory chapter of Gita captures the attention of one and all – Ajuna viShAda yOga - a dramatization of a war within due to inability to face the war outside. The problem is centered on the one’s delusion due to ignorance of one’s own innate nature. Self-ignorance caused misunderstanding leads to incorrect relationships with others. All human problems are centered on that says Krishna with the declaration that ‘you are crying unnecessarily where there is no reason to cry. Those who have the knowledge do not cry –na anusochanti panDitaaH’. Arjuna’s problem was not temporal, whether to fight or not to fight that particular war–but centered on the fundamental assumption about himself and his relationships with others. He took himself to be what he was not, as the body, as the mind, and as the intellect, as we all do. This misapprehension of himself was due to his self-ignorance, as he did not know his true nature. Hence he grieved for the impending death of his kith and kin, his grandfathers and teachers, whom he revered and that too by his own arrows. He felt that it was better to live on alms than enjoy the kingdom tainted by the blood of his teachers and grandsires. He took himself as the killer, a doer of the heinous act. Thus he considered himself as well as others as mortals, unhappy and ignorant – the three fundamental errors that any human makes due to non-apprehension of his true self.
Arjuna’s problem is a fundamental human problem – non-apprehension of oneself causing misapprehension of oneself. Krishna diagnosed Arjuana’s root cause for his grief and declares immediately that his grieving was unnecessary – asOchyAn anvasochatvam. The Bhagavad Gita teaching started only after Krishna discovered a student in Arjuna – that is only after student completely surrenders himself to the teacher– shishyatvOham sAdhimAm tvAm prapannam.
Problem-Centered on the Self:
Fundamental human problem is centered on one own self. Everyone knows that one is an existent and one is conscious – conscious of objects as well as conscious of oneself (self-conscious). Yet one identifies oneself with the non-self or inert entity as “I am this body or I am this mind and I am this intellect”. With this identification with local body follows the exclusion of others as I am different from the rest of the universe that consists of other bodies and other objects. This misunderstanding leads to -“This is me and this is mine” associated with this localization is “ I will be happier if everything becomes mine”. The inclusion of this as mine automatically excludes that as not mine. That is the essence of ego. The human struggles are centered in trying to make even –that- also as mine. When one identifies oneself with ‘not-self’, which is limited space-wise, time-wise and object-wise, the life struggles continue to overcome these limitations. Gaining things, ‘pravRitti’, that are in harmony with one likes, or getting rid of things that one dislikes, nivRitti goes on throughout life, all to gain absolute uninterrupted happiness. This pursuit becomes the central theme of everybody’s life. Krishna declares “ one who is free from all wants and who revels in himself by himself, he is the who is firmly established in knowledge – he has therefore no more ignorance – prajahAti yadA kAmAn sarvAn pArtha manO gathAn, AtmanyEva AtmanA tuShTaH sthitaprajnastadOchyatE’.
Wanting or longing mind is the desiring mind for ‘objects’, gaining which one feels happy until the desire for another object arises. Krishna says gaining happiness by fulfilling desire is like putting out a fire by pouring petrol. One can only cease to have any more desires for objects if one has all the objects in the universe; nay the universe itself. That is similar to trying to gain infinity by adding finite things, which is even mathematically untenable. One can neither gain infinity nor become infinity by adding finites – at the same time, one cannot be happy with perceived limitations of finiteness that he thinks he is. This is the fundamental human problem. Krishna says wise man is the one who has no more desires for ‘anything’ and he revels in himself by himself, recognizing that happiness comes from himself, not from any objects. Unless the self he revels in, is the self that is unlimited and infinite he can never be happy with himself.
A finite cannot become infinite unless the ‘self’ is already infinite but assumes that one is finite due to ignorance of oneself. Hence it is knowledge or liberation involves realization of what one is since all human problems are due to this ‘self-ignorance’. ‘ayam aatma brama’ this self is infinite, and ‘braha vit brhmiava bhavati, knower of Brahman becomes Brahman- says Vedanta. Knower of any object does not become that object. Yet scriptures say knower of Brahman becomes Brahman – implying the knowledge of Brahman is not objective knowledge but knowledge of my own self. Hence Krishna says a wise man does not cry since he understands the self that he is all-inclusive and does not exclude anything, thus limitless and infinite and hence he revels in himself by himself, and hence he has no other desire since is he is self-contended.
How to gain that knowledge and how to prepare my mind to appreciate and recognize the self that I am is the essential teaching of Bhagavad Gita.
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