[Advaita-l] Desire and its Management - A brief study

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Jul 10 01:44:20 CDT 2010

Here are some more thoughts on the topic:

In the concluding two verses of the 3rd chapter the Lord gives a very
powerful teaching in the effort to handle the problem of desire -

indriyaaNi paraaNyaahurindriyebhyaH paraM manaH .
manasastu paraa buddhiryo buddheH paratastu saH .. 3\-42..

evaM buddheH paraM buddhvaa sa.nstabhyaatmaanamaatmanaa .
jahi shatruM mahaabaaho kaamaruupaM duraasadam.h .. 3\-43..

3.42 They say that the organs are superior (to the gross body); the mind is
superior to the organs; but the intellect is superior to the mind. However,
the one who is superior to the intellect is He.

The learned ones ahuh, say; that indriyani, the five [Five sense-organs: of
vision, hearning, taste, smell and touch; five motor-organs: hands, feet,
speech, and for excretion and generation-these latter five are also
understood in the present context.] organs-ear etc., are parani, superior,
to the external, gross and limited body, from the point of view of subtlety,
inner position, pervasiveness, etc. So also, manah, the mind, having the
nature of thinking and doubting; [Sankalpa: will, volition, intention,
thought, reflection, imangination, etc. vikalpa:doubt, uncertainly,
indecision, suspicion, error, etc.-V.S.A.] is param, superior; indriyebhyah,
to the organs. Similarly, buddhih, the intellect, having the nature of
determination; is para, superior; manasah, to the mind. And yah, the one who
is innermost as compared with all the objects of perception ending with the
intellect, and with regard to which Dweller in the body it has been said
that desire, in association with its 'abodes' counting from the organs,
deludes It by shrouding Knowledge; sah, that one; is tu, however; paratah,
superior; buddheh, to the intellect- He, the supreme Self, is the witness of
the intellect.

3.43 [The Ast, introdcues this verse with, 'Tatah kim, what follows from
that?'-Tr.] Understanding the Self thus [Understanding....thus:that desires
can be conquered through the knowledge of the Self.] as superior to the
intellect, and completely establishing (the Self) is spiritual absorption
with the (help of) the mind, O mighty-armed one, vanquish the enemy in the
form of desire, which is difficult to subdue.

Buddhva, understanding; atmanam, the Self; evam, thus; as param, superior;
buddheh, to the intellect; and samstabhya, completely establishing; atmana,
with the mind, i.e. establishing (the Self) fully in spiritual absorption
with the help of your own purified mind; O mighty-armed one, jahi, vanquish;
this satrum, enemy; kama-rupam, in the form of desire; which is durasadam,
difficult to subdue-which can be got hold of with great difficulty, it being
possessed of many inscrutable characteristics.

>From the above we can draw these points:

   1. This constitutes the greatest Viveka:  Atma - anAtma
   2. All objects of desire and all locus of desire (mind, senses,
   intellect) are in the anaatmaa group.
   3. Atma is beyond all these and is the supreme.
   4. Atma is unaffected by any of these.
   5. While perceiving defects in the objects is an undoubtedly valuable
   vairagya kaaraNam, this viveka taught in the last two verses of the 3rd
   chapter constitutes the most powerful weapon to quell the problem of desire.
   6. The form this viveka could take is:  I the Atman am the Supreme Being,
   beyond all these anAtma - objects, senses, mind and intellect.  I am the
   prakaasha, light, while these are the prakaashya, the illumined.  I am the
   Chaitanya and these are jaDa.  I am the Uncreated Truth while these are the
   created, adhyasta, anRtam, unreal.  I am eternal while these are only
   seeming to exist.  Such being the unbridgeable gap between Me and these, how
   can these hold a sway over Me?
   7. We can also see a close connection between these two verses of this
   3rd chapter and the  2nd chapter, verse 59:

   viShayaa vinivartante niraahaarasya dehinaH .
   rasavarja.n raso.apyasya para.n dR^iShTvaa nivartate .. 2\-59..

     The objects recede from an abstinent man, with the exception of
the taste (for
     them). Even the taste of this person falls away after realization
the Absolute.

     Although visayah, the objects, (i.e.) the organs, figuratively implied
   and expressed by the word 'objects', or, the objects themselves;
   vinivartante, recede; niraharasya dehinah, from an abstinent man, from an
   embodied being, even from a fool who engages in painful austerity and
   abstains from objects; (still, they do so) rasavarjam, with the exception of
   the taste (for them), with the exception of the hankering that one has for
   objects. The word rasa is well known as referring to the sense of taste
   (hankering), as in such expressions as, 'sva-rasena pravrttah, induced by
   his own taste (i.e. willingly)', 'rasikah, a man of tastes', 'rasajnah, a
   connoisseur (of tastes)', etc. Api, even that; rasah, taste of the nature of
   subtle attachment; asya, of this person, of the sannyasin; nivartate, falls
   away, i.e. his objective perception becomes seedless; when drstva, after
   attaining; param, the Absolute, the Reality which is the supreme Goal,
   Brahman, he continues in life with the realization, 'I verily am That

   In the absence of full realization there can be no eradication of the
   'hankering'. The idea conveyed is that, one should therefore stabilize one's
   wisdom which is characterized by full realization. [If it be held that
   attachment cannot be eliminated without the knowledge of Brahman, and at the
   same time that the knowledge of Brahman cannot arise until attachment is
   eradicated, then we get involved in a vicious circle. In answer it is said
   that gross attachments are eliminated through discrimination which restrains
   the senses from being overpowered by objects. And the full Knowledge arising
   thereof eliminates the subtle inclinations as well. Hence there is no
   vicious circle involved.]

   8. Thus, while doSha dRiShTi (perception of faults) in objects leads to
   vairagya and thereby respite from the problem of desire, the final
   vanquishing of desire takes place from the realization of the Atman.
   9. The other important verse of the Gita in this endeavour is 13. 8:

   indriyaartheShu vairaagyamanaha.nkaara eva cha .
   *janmamR^ityujaraavyaadhiduHkhadoShaanudarshanam.h .*. 13\-8..
   Repeated thinking of the problems with birth, death, old age,
disease and the misery

attached to these will curb the power of desire and the urge for desireful
action to hold a sway over us.

In this way, the Bhagavadgita teaches a multi-pronged attack on the
onslaught of desires.

Om Tat Sat

On Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 11:20 PM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:

> Shrigurubhyo namaH
> The shloka 3.39 of the Bhagavadgita
> आवृतं ज्ञानमेतेन ज्ञानिनो नित्यवैरिणा ।
> कामरूपेण कौन्तेय दुष्पूरेणानलेन च ॥
> 3.39 O son of Kunti, Knowledge is covered by this constant enemy of the
> wise in the form of desire, which is an insatiable fire.

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