So these are the last few verses of chapter four~ ज्ञान-कर्मसंन्यास-योग: | The topic of this chapter has been संन्यास i.e. giving up completely.
Of what? Not ज्ञानम्; but giving up of कर्म through ज्ञानम् |
Otherwise in giving up, I may give up वेदान्त, but stick on to my कर्म because I’m obsessed with doing and deriving my identity from doing.
So anyway, संन्यास is completely giving up of कर्म through ज्ञानम् |
How is this possible? By recognizing the nature of the आत्मा~ as ever the non-doer, ever the non-experiencer.
So, the nature of the आत्मा that we have looked at is oneself, so one shouldn’t imagine something floating around that is आत्मा |
भगवान् has spoken of the different ways in which we can transform कर्म into कर्म योग with the attitude of surrender, with the attitude of offering which is born of understanding the reality- the reality is that whatever is around me, including this body-mind, is not really mine. All that I have, all that I see, all that I experience is given to me. Even the effort that I am able to put in i.e. the capacity to make the effort to make things possible, all that is given to me. So, कर्म योग is the disposition towards my कर्म, कर्मफल (the results of my कर्म) which is born from objectivity- that all that is here is given to me, and I make the most of it.
So, we looked at different ways in which कर्म can be transformed into कर्म योग | And why कर्म योग? Because we want to be awake to the reality. What is the reality? That I-आत्मा was never the कर्ता nor the भोक्ता |
So, to see this vision of the wise person/तत्त्वदर्शि spoken of in 4.18, we go through a certain process of preparing ourselves such that we gain the शुद्धि i.e. the freedom from my रागद्वेष, freedom from wanting to experience certain things, freedom from the addiction of wanting to feel good. Wanting to feel good is a big addiction, which all of us have- the भोक्ता/experiencer identity is very strong, so I want to feel good all the time, and cannot deal with discomfort of any kind, as one has become a slave of comfort. Comfort creatures/सुख-जीवी-s means that one needs some great infrastructure wherever one is going, because otherwise one may not be in a good mood, because a lot of things are required to make one’s mood okay.
So, we can imagine how much we are enslaved. And what is the altar? The great altar of our worship is our रागद्वेष- whatever I can do in service of my रागद्वेष(cravings & aversions) and then I am fine.
The greatest purifier is ज्ञानम्/knowledge.
भगवान् concluded 4.38 by saying that through this disposition of कर्म योग, in time you gain this ज्ञानम्/knowledge.
Now, भगवान् also mentions a very important qualification for ज्ञानम्/knowledge, which is श्रद्धा | This is an often-quoted verse similar to a मंत्र in छान्दोग्योपनिषद् – आचार्यवान् पुरुषो वेद |
The one who has an आचार्य, knows the truth. This is the declaration of the श्रुति |
So, you have an आचार्य/Teacher, then you know the truth.
If you are floundering around seeking, reading books, trying to understand, then you won’t know. Not that it’s a curse, but the method is such that you need to have a Teacher. So, what shall we do? This is how it is.
* श्लोक ३९ *
श्रद्धावान् लभते ज्ञानं तत्पर: संयतेन्द्रिय: ।
ज्ञानं लब्ध्वा परां शान्तिमचिरेणाधिगच्छति ॥ ३९॥
वान् or मान् ~ whenever it is attached to a word, means ‘the one who has’.
श्रद्धावान् – the one who has श्रद्धा |
What happens to this person?
That person, ज्ञानं लभते (gains the knowledge).
तत्पर: संयतेन्द्रिय: अचिरेणाधिगच्छति |
अचिरेण- Immediately, quickly, no waiting.
What else does this person gain?
With that ज्ञानम् comes an absolute शान्ति: |
Along with श्रद्धा, तत्परत्वम् is important | तत्पर: is commitment.
And also, the person needs to be संयतेन्द्रिय: i.e. a master of his or her senses- how you are using your senses organs in terms of your eyes, nose etc.? Are you overwhelmed by what is being bombarded at you, or are you the master where you decide how you want to use, for what, how much and so on.
So ज्ञानं लब्ध्वा – gaining that knowledge,
परां शान्तिम् – absolute peace is gained.
So now this word श्रद्धा – people translate it as faith, but there is no accurate translation for श्रद्धा, so we stick to the word श्रद्धा | The closest English word for श्रद्धा is ‘trust’.
What do you trust? You trust the one who shares the knowledge/ज्ञानम् |
In तत्त्वबोधः which is a book of definitions of terms used in वेदान्त, श्रद्धा is defined as- गुरुवेदान्तवाक्यादिषु विश्वासः इति श्रद्धा । So, विश्वासः in the गुरु and वेदान्त |
गुरु is the one who is able to remove your ignorance. This is the true definition of a गुरु |
Then, trusting that that person will reveal the truth to me and I will understand, this is श्रद्धा |
But why should you have trust in a person? Nowadays we trust our dogs more, because trusting a person is very difficult.
All of us have to develop some trust in life. Because we start off very beautifully with complete trust. You completely trust your parents.
And we see the pictures of how we have been thrown up in the air and then held- You fully trust that whoever is throwing you up in the air, will hold you. So, imagine if at that time you started to think- I don’t know if this person is going to hold me, then from that time onwards you get a heart attack. It’s a blessing we have been given, which is also called the unconscious, which has its own method and madness within the context of modern psychology.
So, this ability to trust is there because of our sense of helplessness. Because as a child, for everything one is depending on adults (parents or caregivers). So, if one looks at this ईश्वर लीला- because there is helplessness, there is complete trust.
Imagine if there was helplessness, but you could not trust anyone, then you’ll just be crying all day and night, and be dead by now you know.
Then, slowly we realize that the people we trust, who we thought were perfect, they have some faults- sometimes minor, sometimes major. And, you can’t help it- that’s the process of growing up. You realize that your mother, who was always available to you, now has to run errands and cannot pay attention to you, or has to go to the toilet- and how dare she, how dare she leave me alone? But that is how it is. Or, I thought that my mother could take care of everything, but then when she saw a lizard on the wall, she started shouting, and so she also acted helpless. So, she cannot protect me from lizards. And my father is a very brave and courageous man, but the moment his boss calls, his voice changes, and he behaves very meek. So, I don’t know if I can trust. Generally, I can trust but I see a few limitations in the people around me.
Then, there are some small betrayals that all of us go through in childhood- your secret was revealed, your best friend did or did not do something, then boyfriend/girlfriend, partner, children, work…You thought that somebody had your back at work, but then that person betrayed you.
So, in the process of living, even if you’re 20 years old, you would have had enough heartbreak, not necessarily romantically, but someone who has let you down.
Now it’s another story- were you right in putting your trust in that person? We’re not going there. Whether you are right or not, your trust has been broken.
Some of us will still say- no, no, I can still trust a few others. But some of us withdraw into a shell and we become bitter and think that the world cannot be trusted, and so we are angry and sad, and so on.
And so now, it is this person in कलियुग who now wants to learn वेदान्त, and has read lots of books, and has done a lot of exploration, and then is told that वेद says- you need a Teacher. So, this person thinks- what rubbish, everything I figure out on my own. I can read books, I can figure it out.
But, the वेद that reveals the reality, also reveals the method. The method is that you have to be exposed to the one who is wielding the प्रमाण |
What does that mean? And why should I have श्रद्धा?
So here is where some of the talk about प्रमाण is important.
Now, whatever the Teacher says, the Teacher is not giving you information. This is unlike any other knowledge. Why? Because the Teacher is only scraping away ignorance. One already stands revealed. It’s really like the job of a sculptor. So, the sculptor is not creating, though on the face of it, the sculptor is creating. There is a big granite stone. And then with whatever tools the sculptor has, the sculptor will bang/chip away. For example, David by Michelangelo, was sculpted out of the softer stone of white marble, which would be easier to sculpt that granite. And so, suppose somebody is sculpting and banging away- you are already the आत्मा, so what does the Teacher have to do? The Teacher has to do some banging. What kind of banging? In order to take away the ignorance that is there.
Because of अविद्या/ignorance, there are a lot of mistakes we have made regarding our identity, and the कर्म and काम – So, I feel incomplete-> therefore I have to do. Then, no matter how much I do it is not enough. And then I’m on this hedonic treadmill- running & running, but still not okay.
So, to shift attention and say that all this incompleteness that you are feeling is not because you have not tried methods, techniques and processes. All of that is okay to manage life.
– But, what is your true identity?
~ Well of course, I am a human being.
– No, you are not a human being. You are the limitless having a human experience.
~ Oh, come on, don’t talk rubbish. Are you on some substance or something?
– No, that’s the truth. That’s what वेद says. Because it’s true the वेद says it.
So, this श्रद्धा ~ गुरुवेदान्तवाक्यादिषु विश्वासः इति श्रद्धा – how will you have trust in the Teacher?
You have to try, that’s the only way. And you see that what the Teacher is saying sounds
True, so maybe it’s true. So, you start entertaining the possibility.
Even my partner never says that I am the limitless. The Teacher is saying this and does not seem to have an agenda, so maybe it’s true.
So, then your working trust is good enough.
It’s like you sign up for any course. Let’s say you sign up for a course on ‘cryptocurrency decoded’. How do you know whether to sign up or not? You look at the credentials of the person giving the course. Then, you say- okay maybe I’ll give it a shot.
So, similarly, you look at the credentials of the गुरु | Does the person belong to a संप्रदाय? Is the person claiming to teach something that was revealed to him/her in one big dream? Is there a cult? Then all these things one has to watch out for. Does the गुरु have an agenda? Does the गुरु want to gain something from me, and so on and so forth. These are all alarm bells that will start ringing.
So, if this is no, and the Teacher is doing His/Her job, and you are welcome to join- then good.
So now it takes me some time to have working trust, because you remember, I’ve been betrayed in life. I don’t know if I can trust, and all the horrible stories that I have heard about गुरु-s – it’s like rotten apples in any place. So, any group of people who are doing similar things, it would be so very difficult to trust.
But what is the गुरु doing? Just sculpting away what you are not. And that’s only from the point of view of understanding.
How come the गुरु is able to do this? Because He/She had another गुरु | And what was being wielded? What was being wielded is the शास्त्र | Why do we need the शास्त्र? Because it is the sixth means of knowledge.
What do you mean ‘means of knowledge’?
Amazing! how did you transcribe this?
What an awesome job of transcribing! How do you do this?
Earlier Priya would painstakingly transcribe. Now she uses otter.ai which is a great transcription software and manages to get 95-98% accuracy.
The Sanskrit words may need to be entered in.
One can easily play the video on the laptop and switch on Otter while going about one’s errands and
return to the video the second time to fill up the Sanskrit words.