[Advaita-l] GITA - 2.45

Amuthan aparyap at gmail.com
Tue Sep 19 01:58:38 CDT 2006

namo nArAyaNAya!

in the last couple of verses, shrI kRShNa taught arjuna that a desire
prompted performance of vaidika karmAs is not condusive to attaining a
firm intellectual conviction regarding the true nature of our self. He
now teaches the way these vaidika karmAs are to be performed while at
the same time showing the goal one should achieve by doing so,

traiguNyaviShayA vedAH nistraiguNyo bhavArjuna.
nirdvandvo nityasattvastho niryogakShema AtmavAn.. 2.45.

the vedAs are concerned with the (interplay of the) three guNAs. O
arjuna, go beyond the three guNAs and the pairs of duality. be
established in sattva, be indifferent to gain and loss and be alert!

the vedAs (karma kANDa) set forth numerous rites for attaining the
desired ends. the purpose of these rites is primarily to turn the mind
towards the truth by channeling and regulating the base instincts
which are opposed to a search for the truth. as long as true and firm
dispassion has not dawned in the mind, these karmAs have to be done.
this and the following verses teach us how we can perform them

all the rites mentioned in the vedAs have results either in this world
or in heaven. the entire set of worlds come under the influence of the
three guNAs (sattva, rajas and tamas). since a longing for these
worlds and the pleasures therein lead only to repeated birth and
death, kRShNa exhorts arjuna to discard the desire for this world and
the ones beyond with the knowledge that all these are only
modifications of the three guNAs.

a karma can produce it's fruit only if it is done perfectly *and* with
a desire to attain that fruit. however, if actions are done perfectly
without any desire for the fruits, then purity of the mind alone
follows as a consequence of these actions. since it is only with a
pure and calm mind that brahma jij~nAsA can be undertaken, kRShNa
teaches arjuna to discharge his duties without any desires.
('nistraiguNyaH' in this context is interpreted by bhagavatpAda as

the second half of the verse teaches us how we are to become
nistraiguNya. so long as intellect differentiates between pleasure or
pain, heat or cold etc., it is not possible to go beyond the three
guNAs. hence the need to be a nirdvandva - one who is indifferent to
the full spectrum of bodily and mental experiences.

the inevitable pain that initially arises because of such an
indifference (say to heat and cold) is to be counteracted by ever
retaining the sattva guNa. though the goal is to transcend all the
three guNAs, kRShNa instructs us to lead a sAttvik life after
destroying rajas (passionate activity) and tamas (dulness) as long as
the truth of the oneness of the self with brahman is not a living

avoiding kAmya and niShiddha karmAs and developing indifference to
heat, cold etc. are *relatively* easy compared to being indifferent to
fundamental urges like hunger and thirst since the suppression of the
latter may lead to death while that of the former does not. in order
to succeed in overcoming even these attachments, the desire to acquire
objects like food etc. (yoga) and the desire to protect or save them
for future use (kShema) are to be given up. the way to do this is by
complete surrender to Ishvara and transfering the entire burden to
Him. all the while, one has to be alert so that desires do not creep
into the mind in other disguised forms. AtmavAn can also mean one who
depends on the self, i.e. one who conquers the natural tendencies of
the mind and body with a knowledge of the self.

though most of these requirements sound very rigorous, there isn't
much choice regarding their performance. the purpose of such rigor is
to eliminate all attachments to the mind and the body so that one
becomes eligible for sannyAsa. however, the easiest way to accomplish
them is through Ishvara bhakti. it is impossible to acquire these
characteristics all of a sudden and we must constantly strive to
perfect these qualities. complete perfection is possible only after
the dawn of aparokSha j~nAna.

vAsudevaH sarvaM,

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