[Advaita-l] Geeta Navaneetam-2

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 23 19:33:28 CDT 2016

Geeta Navateetam – 2

Bhagavad Gita is applicable for all centuries to come and for the whole humanity, since it deals with eternal reality and man’s struggles to realize the supreme.  Thus, it deals with the science of yoga.  Its approach is catholic taking one beyond the narrow corridors of fanaticism, which involves exclusiveness that is contrary to the oneness of the totality.  

Dramatization of the teaching with superior intellect Krishna in the driver’s seat with rains in his hand teaching Arjuna who is confused in the battle field is a symbolic representation depicted in Kathopanishad.   

Bhagavaan Shankara in his introduction to Gita bhaashhya states that Lord Narayana having brought forth the entire universe from unmanifest to manifest provided a two-pronged approach to humans for their evolution; pravRitti, the path of action and nivRitti, the path of contemplation. 
loke2smin dvividhaa nishhTaa purA prOktA mayAnagha| 
jnAnayOgEna sAnkhyAnAm karmayOgena yOgena yOginAm|| 3-3.

The pravRitti is set forth by the creation of prajaapatis, who were imported with the knowledge of action, and nivRitti is set forth by the creation of Sanat kumaaras who were imported with the knowledge of contemplation. Both aspects are essential for the prosperity and stability of the world. The first is needed to ensure the socio-economic welfare (abhyudaya) and the second is for spiritual freedom of all beings (niHshreyasa).  This is both for individual growth as well as for the stability, welfare and prosperity of the world. Thus, Shankara summarizes the teaching of Gita in terms of Karma yoga as essential ingredient to develop the human faculty for Jnaana yoga. Karma yOga involves the five-fold duties (panca mayA yagnas) ordained by the Vedas, which purifies the mind for jnAna yOga.  JnAna yOga helps to acquire jnAna which helps to cross the thresholds of samsAra, that is to nirvaNa or liberation. Thus, pravRitti to nivRitti to mOksha is the path emphasized in Gita.  Bhakti is the essential ingredient needed for the success in each path. 

Bhakti, pure love or devotion, involves complete surrenderance to the Lord or prapatti or sharaNAgati.  In the path of pravRitti or KarmayOga, it manifests as unconditional offering of all actions to the Lord or kainkaraya bhaava or Iswaraarpita bhaava, and accepting the results with prasAda buddhi or blessings from the Lord.  In the path of nivRitti or path of contemplation, Bhakti manifests as unconditional surrenderance of the ego at the alter of the truth, in the awakening of the knowledge of the unity with the totality.   

Goal of a Human Life: Pursuit of happiness seems to be the fundamental goal of all living beings.  Hence either it is pravRitti or nivRitti, what one is seeking for is the absolute uninterrupted happiness. Hence, whether he is religions or irreligious, whether he is Hindu or non-Hindu, whether he is young or old, whether he is married (grahastha), bachelor or sannyaasi, what one is seeking for is not the Lord, not the soul, not moksha, but absolute eternal happiness.  Happiness is not an object nor does it come with any object.  It is a state of mind that is contended, with no more wanting or no more desiring mind, which feels adequate with itself.  Such moments of happiness are achieved momentarily whenever a desire is fulfilled.  A desire is an expression of feeling of inadequacy.  Fulfillment of desire eliminates that inadequacy at lease momentarily until another desire props up in the mind.  One cannot reach adequacy and thus happiness, by fulfilling the desires, since fulfillment of desires only broods more desires, like pouring gasoline to putout the fire.  Hence, it is said in manusmRiti 

sarvam paravasham duHkham sarvam Atmavasham sukham|
yetat vidyAt samAsena lakshaNam sukhaduHkhayOH||

Any dependence on other than oneself is sorrow and any dependence on oneself is happiness.  Know that this in brief is the definition for happiness and sorrow. 
Liberation or mOksha or nirvANa, in brief, is freedom from dependence.  Any freedom or mOksha that makes one to depend on something other than oneself is only another form of bondage.  Longing for freedom is an inborn desire.  Search for happiness is also an in born pursuit.  When one goes after something, be it wealth, power, sensuous pleasure, etc, or one goes away from or avoids or gets rid of things, in both cases one is only after happiness or freedom.  Every pursuit of human being is dictated by his likes and dislikes or raga-dweshas, which propel him to go after a thing or to get rid of a thing.  His happiness depends on the fulfillment of his desires or likes and dislikes or vAsanas.  Hence as long as he depends on his likes and dislikes for him to be happy, he is not free.  Any fulfillment of his likes and dislikes only reinforces his likes and dislikes and enslaves him further. It is like getting happiness by drinking alcohol or taking drugs.  Hence, any dependence on fulfillment of his likes and dislikes for his happiness is only slavery. 

Freedom from dependence on his likes and dislikes then becomes a gate way for his mOksha or liberation.  One cannot easily get rid of one’s likes and dislikes nor can one reach fullness by fulfilling his likes and dislikes.  Thus, a human being is caught up in a whirlpool of desire – actions – desires giving rise to birth-action-birth (janma to karma to janma), an unending cycle.  There cannot be any freedom until and unless one is free from the onslaught of ones likes and dislikes.  Krishna teaches yoga of action and yoga of knowledge to free oneself from the pressure of these two, which He calls as two great enemies for a human being. 

Freedom is freedom from limitations.  Any limitation makes one to be dependent and not independent.  It can be at the body level or mind level or intellect level.  A sense of limitation causes a feeling of inadequacy, which propels the mind to go after objects.  By gaining objects or getting rid of objects one wants to get rid of the sense of limitation.  However, a state of limitlessness cannot be reached by adding or subtracting finite things or objects.  Yet, a state of limitlessness alone is state of absolute inexhaustible happiness that one wants to be (anantameva aanandaH), while a limited human being cannot gain limitlessness by adding any limited things or beings.  In fact, a limited human being can never attain limitlessness or infiniteness, yet the longing for limitlessness or happiness is in born and universal.  We are caught up with dichotomy; we cannot stop longing for limitlessness and we cannot gain limitlessness.  

Vedanta comes to our rescue to teach us that we are that what we are seeking for.  Happiness that we seek comes from our own nature since we are by nature limitless that we want to be. Limited can never become unlimited. If we are already unlimited then what makes us to be longing for limitlessness?  If we assume that we are limited not knowing that we are unlimited then there is search for unlimited.  Ignorance of our true nature is our fundamental problem and only solution to the problem is to understand the problem in correct perspective and recognize our true nature.  MOksha or liberation is therefore not gaining something, since infinite cannot be gained, not going somewhere since infinite cannot be reached, but by recognizing our true identity.  Vedanta declares that our true nature is sat-chit-ananda – which is existence-consciousness-limitless.  These are not attributes but very essence, since sat is chit and chit is sat which is limitless and limitless is ‘I’. 

Hence, freedom is not something to gain but recognition of our fundamental nature. Bondage is only due to misunderstanding or mistaking ourselves to be this unconscious, limited inert object such as body, mind or intellect.  Here limitlessness is infiniteness in absolute sense which can only be one without a second, ekam eva advitiiyam, hence Brahman.  ayam aatma brahma, that this self that I am is Brahman, one without a second, is the declaration by the shruti.  

To be continued.

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