[Advaita-l] GITA - 2.42-44

Amuthan aparyap at gmail.com
Mon Aug 28 08:30:13 CDT 2006

namo nArAyaNAya!

to show the futility of merely doing vedokta karma-s (i.e., without
phalatyAga), shrI kRShNa admonishes those who hold such views,

yAmimAM puShpitAM vAchaM pravadantyavipashchitaH.
vedavAdaratAH pArtha nAnyadastIti vAdinaH.. 2.42.

kAmAtmAnaH svargaparA janmakarmaphalapradAm.
kriyAvisheShabahulAM bhogaishvaryagatiM prati.. 2.43.

O pArtha, ignorant men filled with desires and having heaven as their
goal utter flowery speeches based on the vedAs and maintain that there
is nothing else apart from (the performance of) numerous specific
rites (in the vedAs) meant for gaining pleasure and wealth but which
(actually) lead to repeated births after yielding their fruits.

bhogaishvaryaprasaktAnAM tayA.apahRtachetasAm.
vyavasAyAtmikA buddhiH samAdhau na vidhIyate.. 2.44.

the firm conviction (regarding the nature of the self) does not arise
in the intellect of those whose minds are attached to pleasure and
wealth. (2.44)

as shrI kRShNa taught in the beginning of his upadesha on karma yoga,
a steady intellect (vyavasAyAtmikA buddhi) is necessary in order to
gain a knowledge of the nature of the self or of the temporary nature
of any objective experience. the establishment of the intellect in the
knowldge of the true self is referred to as samAdhi in 2.44. it can
also be interpreted to mean that the absence of a firm intellectual
conviction regarding the nature of the self as taught in the shrutI-s
prevents the mind from entering the specific form of samAdhi in which
the intellect assumes the form of the self (brahmAkAra vRtti).

the main obstacle to achieve such a conviction is the natural
attachment to pleasures and wealth. the karmakhANDa of the vedAs teach
various rituals which promise such pleasures in this life and also in
heaven after death. those who do not have a knowledge of the temporary
nature of the results of these karmAs, always insist on the exact
performance of the numerous rites. this only leads to repeated births.
it is important to note that these verses do NOT condemn the
performance of vedic rites. rather they teach the way in which they
have to be performed - without attachment to their fruits. thus, the
purpose of these verses is to instill in our minds viveka - a
discrimination between what is permanent and what is temporary.

though 2.42-44 specifically condemn those who perform vedokta karmAs
with an eye for their fruits, the above condemnation has to be
extended to those who perform actions in general to live a
'comfortable' life. the tendency to live a comfortable and secure life
along with the tendency to enjoy pleasures (known as bhubhukShA) is
very subtle and deep-rooted in the mind. in fact, it is this
bhubhukShA characterized by asanA (hunger) and pipAsA (thirst) that
fundamentally causes the identificatin of the self with the body-mind
aggregate. as long as this bhubhukShA exists, the mind does not grasp
the temporary and miserable nature of worldly existence and continues
to revel in ignorance. for such a mind, a steady contemplation of the
nature of the self (nididhyAsana) is not possible and hence there is
no scope for liberation. only by renouncing this fundamental thirst
for physical and intellectual pleasures (experienced or yet to be
experienced) can the mind become calm and fit for vedAnta vichAra,
which alone leads to samAdhi in the form of samyag j~nAna.

a mere understanding of the temporary nature of the fruits of action
and of the pleasures experienced alone is not sufficient. since habits
are more powerful than knowledge, the desire for pleasure which is the
cause for any form of action must be continuously checked till it no
longer arises. the method to destroy the outgoing tendency of the mind
is the content of karma yoga. it's aim is to permanently destroy the
mind by means of samAdhi i.e. by a direct knowledge of the self.

vAsudevaH sarvaM,

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