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"The Song of God"
The original, squashed down to read in about 40 minutes
In India's Epic Mahabharat, it is told how Holy Lord Krishna refused to bear arms in the great war between the Kaurava and the Pandava clans, but offered a choice of his personal attendance to one side and the loan of his army to the other. The Pandavas chose the former, and so Krishna became a charioteer for Prince Arjuna. The 'Yogas' (understandings) of the Bhagavad Gita, book 63 of the Mahabharat, are a central text of Hinduism, and deeply influenced the creation of the Sikh and Buddhist traditions.
1. The Anguish Of Arjuna
1: King Dhritaraashtra said to his charioteer: O Sanjaya, what did my people and the Pandavas do before the great battle of Kurukshetra? Sanjaya said: King Duryodhana approached his guru, Drona, and said: Behold this mighty army! Here are heroes such as Yuyudhaana and Viraata, Drupada, valiant Yudhaamanyu, the formidable Uttamauja and their noble commanders.
14: Then great kettledrums, cymbals and trumpets sounded. And Lord Krishna and Arjuna, in their chariot with white horses, blew their celestial conches.
19: Arjuna was shaken with compassion and sorrow, saying: O Krishna, these are my kinsmen, ready to fight and die. My limbs shake, my hairs stand on end. My great bow, Gaandeeva, falls from my hand. What is the use of killing? O Krishna. What is the use of victory, of kingdoms, of pleasure, even of life itself? I have no wish to kill my teachers, my brothers, my relatives, not even for the sovereignty of the three worlds. With the destruction of a family, the eternal traditions will fall, immorality will prevail, women will be dishonourable and social order will collapse. Hell will be the fate of the ancestors, deprived of the proper offerings of rice-balls and water. Arjuna sat down and wept.
2. Transcendental Knowledge
2: The Blessed Lord said: O Arjuna, such dejection is not for a noble Aryan, it is no way heaven. Be strong and prepare for battle.
4: Arjuna said: O Krishna, how can I strike noble gurus, Bheeshma and Drona? My heart rages with weakness and pity. I cannot see here the eternal law of necessity, the eternal Dharma. Teach me, O Krishna.
10: Lord Krishna, smiled and said: Your grief is unneeded, yet your words are wise. You and I, and these kings have always existed, and always will. Just as the underlying self, the Atma, acquires a body as a child, and the child grows a new body to be a youth and so to old age, then the Atma acquires another body beyond death. Pleasure and pain, heat and cold are no more than the senses of the body meeting with sense-objects Such are transitory. Learn to endure them, O Arjuna.
17: Atma is never destroyed. No weapon cuts it, no fire burns it, water does not wet it wet, nor the wind make it dry. Atma is unchanging. Know this, and be at peace. Death is as necessary as is birth. So grieve not over the inevitable. You are a warrior, so do your duty as a warrior. If you do not fight this righteous war, then your disgrace will be famed forever, and to the honorable, dishonor is worse than death. So, get up and fight, O Arjuna.
39: O Arjuna. Listen to the wisdom of the discipline of action called Karma-Yoga, and learn to become free. The unwise delight in chanting hymns from the Vedas, and see nothing above them. They learn from the Vedas of three states or Gunas of mind. Rise above all three, and become Self-knowing, O Arjuna. To a Self-knowing person scriptures are as useful as a reservoir in the midst of a flood. So, do your duty, O Arjuna, with your mind given to the Lord, abandon worry, abandon care for consequence, keep calm in success and in failure. Become a Karma-yogi, O Arjuna!
51: The wise Karma-yogi, renounces all care for the fruits of work, is freed from the bondage of rebirth and attains the divine. When you have pierced the veil of delusion, then you can become indifferent to the voice of mere scriptures.
54: Arjuna said: O Krishna, this person whose understanding, whose Prajna, is truly conscious- how do they sit, how do they walk, how do they talk? Who are they?
55: The Blessed Lord said: When one is completely free from desires, when one is satisfied in the Self, has joy in the Self, then one has steady Prajna, O Arjuna. To have steady Prajna, learn to withdraw the senses from mere objects, as a tortoise withdraws into its shell.
59: Abstain from sensual pleasures, and desire fades. Touch the Supreme, and all cravings fall away. Sensual desires come from attachment to mere objects, and anger comes from unfulfilled desire. And from anger arises delusion, to bewilder the mind and destroy the reason.
66: There can be no peace without Self-knowledge, and no happiness without peace. It is the wandering senses which wreck the Prajna in sight of the spiritual shore.
69: A yogi is aware of Atma, of which others know nothing, but a yogi knows nothing of the sense objects about which others are aware. Peace comes when all and any desires can enter the mind without creating a disturbance, as the river calmly enters the ocean. One who desires material objects is never peaceful.
71: To abandon all desires and becomes free from longing, even of the feeling of 'I' and 'my', is to gain peace. O Arjuna, this is the Braahmee, the state above consciousness, above delusion. To reach this, even if only at the end of one's life, is to be one with the Supreme.
3. On Action
1: Arjuna said: O Krishna, if detachment is so fine, then why must I fight?
3: The Blessed Lord said: O Arjuna, in this world there are two spiritual paths. For the contemplative there is the path of Self-knowledge or Samnyasa, called Jnana-yoga, for the active there is the path of unselfish work or Karma-yoga.
4: But no one attains perfection by merely giving up work. Just to keep your body alive needs some action. In the beginning Brahmaa, the creator, made human beings, and decreed the work of devout worship, called Yajna. Nourish the Devas with Yajna, and the Devas will nourish you, for as all life needs food, and food needs rain, so rain is assured by performing Yajna. It is your duty to keep the wheel of creation in motion by worship, O Arjuna. Just like King Janaka of old, perform your duty as a guide to your people, for whatever standard noble persons set, the world follows.
26: The ignorant may be attached to the mere fruits of work, but it is not for the wise to unsettle them, rather, inspire them by your example of calmness and detachment, for the wise and the foolish alike are followers of their nature.
36: Arjuna said: O Krishna, why do we commit sin against our own will?
37: The Blessed Lord said: It is the spirit of sensuousness, Kamma. Kamma is your enemy. Kamma is the passionate desire for material pleasures, and Kamma becomes anger if it is unfulfilled. As the fire is hidden by its smoke, so self-knowledge is obscured by Kamma. O Arjuna, kill this devil!.
4. Knowing Renunciation
1:The Blessed Lord said: It was I who taught the knowledge of Karma-yoga to King Vivasvaan, and it was he who handed it down through the royal sages. After a long time the science was lost from this earth.
4: Arjuna said: But Vivasvaan was born in ancient time, long before you appeared. How can such be?
5: The Blessed Lord said: Both you and I have had many births. I remember them all, O Arjuna, but you do not remember. I am eternal, imperishable, the Lord of all. It is I who control my own great nature, my Yoga-Maya. Whenever the way of high truth, the Dharma, declines in the world, then, O Arjuna, do I manifest Myself to protect the good and transform the wicked.
11: Whatever way my people worship Me, I return to them accordingly. Those who long for earthly success worship the Devas, and success is granted easily in the human world.
14: Your human acts do not bind Me, for I desire not the fruits of work. To understand this is to be released from the bonds of Karma. The one who sees the inaction in action, and action in inaction, is a wise person, a yogi ready to accomplish everything. Those who abjure attachment, whose work is offered as a duty to the Lord, are liberated.
24: Supreme one and only God is Brahman, and Brahman is the offering itself. Brahman is the clarified butter, poured by Brahman into the fire of Brahman.
25: Some yogis perform the Yajna of worship to the Devas. Some offer the restraint of their hearing and their other senses as sacrifice. Others offer their wealth, their simplicity, their practice of yoga, others, their vows or their study of scripture. Those who follow the yogic way make a sacrifice of their every breath in and out. Others yet, of every bite they eat.
31: From Yajna comes the sweet nectar of wisdom, and union with the eternal Brahman. O Arjuna, if this this world is no happy place for those who do not make any sacrifice, then how can the other world be? But, O Arjuna, the knowledge of sacrifice is greater than any material sacrifice. So, grasp this knowledge by humble reverence, by honest inquiry, and by learning from a guru who has realized the truth. Even the most sinful of all sinners may cross over oceans of sin by the raft of knowledge. Truly, as the fire distills wood to ashes, the fire of Self-knowledge purifies like no other.
5. Renunciation Of Action
1: Arjuna said: O Krishna, You praise the transcendental knowledge of Karma-Samnyasa, and you praise the disinterested action of Karma-Yoga. Which is the better?
2: The Blessed Lord said: Both lead to the Supreme. Karma-yoga may be the greater, but, though the childish see them as different, one who masters either gains the fruits of both.
6: O Arjuna, without Karma-yoga, Samnyasa is far away. A Karma-yogi performs action by body, mind, intellect, and senses, without desires beyond self-purification. Abandoning the fruits of work, they attain Supreme Bliss. Those who remain attached to the fruits of work become bound by selfishness. One who looks at a learned Braahmana, an outcast, even a cow, an elephant, or a dog with an equal eye has realized Brahman because Brahman is seamless and impartial.
27: Renouncing the pleasures of the senses, with eyes and mind fixed only at the point between the eyebrows, with gentle equal breathing through the nostrils, with senses, mind, and intellect under control, free from lust, anger, and fear, the sage becomes truly free.
6. Self-Control And Self-Knowledge
2: O Arjuna, know that no Karma-yogi becomes a Samnyasa who has not renounced the selfish motives behind action.
5: Know that the mind is your friend, and it is your enemy. If you can master your own mind you will be tranquil in heat and cold, in pleasure and in pain, impartial to friends and enemies, relatives, saints and sinners.
11: The yogi should sit in a clean place, on a firm seat, neither too high nor too low, covered with sacred Kusha grass, with a skin, and a cloth. Sitting comfortably and concentrating on a single object, let the yogi practice meditation for self-purification. Hold the waist, spine, chest, neck, and head erect, motionless and steady, fix the whole gaze steadily between the eye brows and nowhere else. Serene and fearless in mind, celibate in body, let the yogi have Me as the supreme goal.
16: This yoga is impossible for the one who eats too much, or too little, who sleeps too much, or too little. But for the one who is moderate, this meditation will take away all sorrow.
19: Steadfast as a lamp burning sheltered from the wind, so is the Yogi's mind shut from all sense-storms and burns bright to Heaven. A bliss arrives, the infinite bliss of contact with Brahman, which is beyond the reach of the senses. After realizing Brahman, one is never separated from absolute reality.
23: This yoga should be practised with firm determination, without any doubts, abandoning all selfishness, and completely restraining the senses. By a training of intellect, by keeping the mind fully absorbed in the Self one gradually attains tranquillity. If the restless mind wanders, one should gently bring it home to reflection of the Supreme.
30: Those who find Me in everything and everything in Me, are not separated from Me, nor I from them. Those who adore Me as abiding in all beings, abide in Me, whoever they are.
33: Arjuna said: But, O Krishna, my mind is restless, turbulent and strong. O Krishna, to restrain the mind is as difficult as restraining the wind.
35: The Blessed Lord said: O Arjuna, perseverance! Detachment!
37: Arjuna said: What of thy faithful failures- those who cannot keep to the path of the yogi? What of them, O Krishna? Do they disappear like clouds, O Krishna?
40: The Blessed Lord said: There is no destruction, O Arjuna. The unsuccessful yogi lives in the heaven, to be reborn into the house of the pure and prosperous, or into a family of the wise. The yogi is superior to the ascetic. The yogi is superior to the scholar of scripture. The yogi is superior to the ritualist. Therefore, O Arjuna, be a yogi.
7. Wisdom And Self-Realisation
1: The Blessed Lord said: O Arjuna, listen well, and you shall learn to know me. Scarce one person in a thousand strives for perfection, and scarce any of the perfected truly understands Me.
4: Know, O Arjuna, that there are eight parts to my Prakriti, my Lower Nature- earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, the understanding called buddhi, and the I-sense called ahamkara. My other, Higher Nature, is the Purusha by which the entire universe is sustained.
6: Know O Arjuna, that all life has grown from this two-part energy, and know that Brahman is the origin of the entire universe, and is as well its dissolution. Everything in the universe is strung on Brahman like jewels on the thread of a necklace.
8: O Arjuna, I am the freshness of water, I am the radiance of the sun and the moon, I am the sacred syllable OM in all the Vedas, I am the sound in the air, I am the strength in men, I am the fragrance of the earth, I am the heat in fire, the life in all beings, I am the intelligence of the intelligent, I am the strength of the strong, I am the lust in human beings that gives rise to life.
16: Know O Arjuna, that four types seek me; the distressed, the searching, the greedy and the wise. They are all indeed noble, but the wise are My very Self, it is they who realise that all things are a manifestation of Brahman.
21: Whosoever desires to worship, whatever deity, whatever name, whatever form, if they have faith, I make their faith steady. With steady faith in their way of devotion, it is I alone who grant their wishes.
24: The ignorant think of Me as being like a man, for they cannot comprehend My supreme and imperishable and incomparable existence. Veiled by Divine Power, My Yoga-Maya, they do not know Me as the unborn and eternal Brahman. O Arjuna, I know, the past, the present, and the future, but no one really knows Me.
8. The Imperishable Brahman
1: Arjuna said: O Krishna, what is Brahman? What is the Spirit called Adhyaatma? What is Karma? What is Adhibhuta? Who is Adhiyajna, does He dwell in the body? How can You be remembered at the time of death?
3: The Blessed Lord said: Brahman is the Supreme imperishable. The individual self is called Adhyaatma or Jeevaatma. The creative power that causes the actions of beings is Karma. All transient things are called Adhibhuta, and the soul is Adhidaiva. I am Adhiyajna, the five elements of the body.
5: The One who leaves the abode of his body, at the hour of death, remembering Me attains My abode. Such is certain. If he keeps a mind steady with devotion, making the Pranic energy rise up between the eyebrows, controlling the nine doors of the body while meditating on Brahman and uttering the sacred sound OM, he will attain the Supreme. I am easily attainable, O Arjuna, by the steadfast yogi who thinks always of Me.
17: Those who know that the day of Brahman lasts one thousand ages, and his night lasts one thousand ages, begin to know the meaning of day and night.
23: Know, O Arjuna, that after your bodily death there are two paths. The path of light is the path of spiritual practice of yoga and of Self-knowledge, it leads to the heavenly bliss of nirvana. The path of darkness, of materialism, of ignorance, leads only to another birth. Therefore, O Arjuna, be steadfast in yoga.
9. The Great Knowledge And The Great Mystery
1: The Blessed Lord said: I shall declare to you, who are endowed with reverence, the most profound secret of Self-knowledge, the way to freedom from all the miseries of worldly existence. This most kingly, most secret, and very sacred knowledge which can be known by instinct, is easy to practice, and is imperishable.
4: Know that this entire universe is pervaded by Me. All beings subsist in Me, I do not depend on them. And at the end of each Great Kalpa Cycle, O Arjuna, all things merge into me, and I create them again.
15: Some worship Me by knowledge, others worship in other ways. But I take care of all who worship me with steadfast devotion. Those who worship the Devas go to the Devas, those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors, worshippers of the ghosts go to the ghosts, but My devotees come to Me and remain in me forever.
26: Whosoever makes a pure-hearted offering to Me with devotion, be it a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I accept with joy.
27: O Arjuna, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer to the sacred fire, whatever charity you give, whatever austerity you perform, do it unto Me. For if even the most weak and sinful person resolves to worship Me with single-minded loving devotion, such a person becomes a saint, even women, merchants, labourers, even the evil-minded. Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me, and bow down to Me. Unite yourself with Me.
10. Divine Glories
1: The Blessed Lord said: O Arjuna, listen once again to My supreme word. Neither the Devas nor the great Maharishi sages know My origin, because I am the origin of all Devas and sages. Nonviolence, equanimity, contentment, austerity, charity, fame, and ill fame- all these traits arise from Me alone. I am the origin. Everything emanates from Me.
12: Arjuna said: How may I know You, O Lord?
19: The Blessed Lord said: I am the beginning, middle, and end of all. I am Vishnu. I am the radiant sun among luminaries. I am Maric among the gods of wind. I am the moon among the stars. I am the Sama Veda among the Vedas. I am Indra among the Devas. I am the mind among the senses. I am Shiva among the Rudras. I am Kubera among the Yakshas and demons. I am the fire among the Vasus. I am Meru among the mountain peaks. I am Bhrigu among the great sages. I am the monosyllable OM among the words. I am the Himalaya among the immovables. I am Varuna among the water gods. I am Lord Rama among the warriors. I am the shark among the fishes. I am the Ganges among the rivers. I am logic of the logician. I am the "A" among the alphabets. I am the tricks of the gambler. I am the splendor of the splendid. I am the victory of the winner. I am resolution of the strong-hearted. I am the goodness of the good. I am the power of rulers. I am the statesmanship of the seekers of victory. I am silence among the secrets. I am the Self-knowledge of the wise.
40. O great warrior! I am many, many, more things. Yet with but one tiny fragment of myself I hold up all this whole mighty universe.
11. The Vision Of The Cosmic Form
1: Arjuna said: O Krishna, I hear of Your imperishable glory, yet I wish to see You. I wish to see Your form, O Supreme Being.
7: O Arjuna, you cannot see me with the eye of your body! Take here the gift of celestial sight, and Behold!
10: And Arjuna saw the Form of the Lord, with many mouths and many eyes, many divine jewels, and holding many divine weapons. Wearing divine garlands and divine cloth, anointed with celestial perfumes and ointments, full of all wonders, the limitless God with faces on all sides.
12: If the splendour of a thousands of suns were to blaze forth at once into the sky, even that would not resemble the splendour of that exalted being. Arjuna saw the entire universe, divided in many ways, but standing One in all in the body of Krishna, the God of gods.
15: Then Arjuna, filled with wonder, his hairs standing on end, bowed his head to the Lord and prayed with folded hands: O Lord of the universe, I see You everywhere. I see no beginning nor the middle nor any end. I see You with infinite power, with Your eyes the sun and moon, Your mouth a blazing fire scorching all the universe. I am frightened O Krishna. I find no peace nor any courage. I see Your mouths, with fearful teeth, glowing like fires of cosmic dissolution.
31: Who are You? O greatest of gods, have mercy on me! I wish to understand You, the primal Being, I wish to know Your mission.
32: The Blessed Lord said: Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. Even without your participation the warriors arrayed in the opposing armies shall cease to exist. Therefore, get up and attain your destiny. Conquer your enemies and enjoy a prosperous kingdom. All these men have already been destroyed by Me. You are only an instrument, O Arjuna. Therefore kill those who are already slain by Me. Do not fear. You will certainly conquer the enemies in the battle, therefore, fight!
35: Arjuna, trembling with folded hands, prostrated with fear and spoke to Krishna in a choked voice: You are Vaayu, Yama, Agni, Varuna, Shashaanka, and Brahmaa as well as the father of Brahmaa. Salutations to You a thousand times, and again and again salutations to You. If I have insulted you, if I have scorned you, O Krishna, I implore You for forgiveness.
45: I am honoured to behold that which has never been seen before, yet my mind is tormented with fear. O God of gods, the refuge of the universe have mercy! I wish to see You with a crown, holding mace and discus in Your hand. O Lord with a thousand arms, appear in the four-armed form.
47: The Blessed Lord said: O Arjuna, do not be perturbed. And Lord Krishna revealed His four-armed form, then His gentle human form, and the Great Soul Mahatma Krishna consoled Arjuna in his terror.
1: Arjuna said: Some of your steadfast devotees worship You as a divine person, others worship you as formless or impersonal, which of these has the best understanding of yoga?
2: The Blessed Lord said: Those who worship with supreme faith by fixing their mind on Me as personal God, I consider the best yogis. But those who worship the imperishable, they also attain Me. For Humans, with their bodies, it is a hard task to fix on the formless, so such is a difficult path to Self-realization.
9: If you cannot meditate steadily on Me, then seek to reach Me by whatever spiritual discipline you may. If you cannot do such, then be intent on performing your duty for Me. If you cannot do such, then surrender unto My will with gentle mind, and renounce the fruits of work.
12: Knowledge is better than mere ritual, meditation is better than mere knowledge, renunciation is better than mere meditation, and peace always follows the renunciation of attachment to the fruits of work.
13: One who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate, free from the "I" and the "my", who is even-minded in pain and pleasure, forgiving, ever content, who has subdued the mind, whose resolve is firm, whose mind and intellect are engaged in dwelling upon Me; such a devotee is dear to Me.
20: But those devotees who have faith and who sincerely try to grow these immortal virtues, who set Me as their supreme goal, they are very dear to Me.
13. The Knower And The Known
1: Arjuna said: I have heard of underlying form of matter called Prakriti, of the cosmic spirit called Purusha, and of the holy field called Kshetra, I wish to learn of these, O Krishna."
The Blessed Lord said: "This body is a holy field, a Kshetra, and he who knows it is called the Kshetrajna. Know that I am the creator of all creation, O Arjuna, the knower of all fields.
3: What the Kshetra is, hear from Me. It is the five great elements, it is the I-sense, it is the intellect, it is the Prakti of unformed matter, it is the ten organs of the body along and the mind as an eleventh, it is the five objects of the senses, it is the desire, and the will - such is Kshetra. With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, head, and face everywhere; having ears everywhere, the creator exists in the creation by pervading everything. The light of all lights, He is the knowledge, the object of knowledge, and sits in the hearts of all beings. Such is Kshetra.
19. Know both Prakriti and Purusha are truly beginningless and eternal. Know that all things you know and see are sprung from Prakriti. Prakriti is the cause of the body and of the senses, while it is Purusha that experiences, joy and sorrow. Whoever understands Purusha and Prakriti will be released from the cycle of rebirth, no matter what be his mode of living.
24. There are some who seek to perceive the Atma within themselves through the Jnana-Yoga of pure-minded meditation, others who approach it through the discipline of knowledge or work called Karma-Yoga. Some do not understand Brahman, but having heard of it from others, take to worship. They too transcend death by their firm faith. They who understand the difference between the body of creation and the Atma of the creator and know the technique of liberation, attain the Supreme.
14. The Three Gunas
3: The Great Nature Prakriti is like a womb to Me, O Arjuna, it is where I place the seed and the spirit called the Purusha from which all beings are born. Then the three Gunas bind down the immortal soul to the body and make it what it is.
9: The Guna called Saattva attaches to happiness, the Guna Raajas to action, and Guna Taamas to ignorance. Those who are established in Saattva go to heaven, When Raajas is predominant, then greed, restlessness, passion arises, such persons are reborn in the mortal world. The Taamasika one, abiding in the lowest Guna, goes to the hell of birth as a lower creature.
21: Arjuna said: What of those who transcend all three Gunas?
22: The Blessed Lord said: The one who serves Me with love and unswerving devotion transcends Gunas, and becomes fit to realise Brahman, for I am the abode of the immortal and eternal Brahman, of everlasting Dharma, and of the absolute bliss.
15. Supreme Spirit
1: The Blessed Lord said: The wise speak of the eternal Ashvattha tree whose leaves are the hymns of the Veda, whose branches spread over all the cosmos. Nourished by the Gunas, its shoots are pleasures and its roots, desire. They enmesh the human world.
6: Invisible, that is My abode. I support all beings with My power, and with the sap-giving moon I nourish all the plants. I am in the body of all the living, I digest all four varieties of food.
16: In this world there are things perishable beings and the imperishable Atma. There is also the supreme spirit called Ishvara or Paramaatma, the indestructible Lord who pervades the three worlds and sustains them. Beyond the perishable body, and higher than the imperishable Atma, there am I, Purushottama the Supreme Spirit.
16. The Divine And The Demoniac
1: The Blessed Lord said: Fearlessness, purity, perseverance in yoga, charity, restraint, sacrifice, study of scripture, honesty, nonviolence, truthfulness, renunciation, equanimity, abstaining from malicious talk, compassion for all creatures, freedom from greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness, splendour, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness- these are the qualities of those with divine virtues.
4: Hypocrisy, arrogance, pride, anger, harshness, and ignorance- these are the marks of those born with demonic qualities, O Arjuna.
5: Do not grieve, O Arjuna, you are born with divine qualities.
6: In this world, all persons are either of the divine, or of the demonic. The demonic do not know what to do and what not to do. Forever anxious, certain that pleasures of the senses are the highest goal, they are bound by hundreds of ties of desire and enslaved by lust and anger. They search after wealth and think they are successful, powerful, and happy. They delude themselves that being born into a great family, giving to charity, or performing religious duties are all that is needed. Such hateful people I hurl into the wombs of demons again and time again, to sink to the lowest hell.
21: Lust, anger, and greed are the three gates of hell-, let scripture be your guide and learn to abjure them.
17. Threefold Faith
1: Arjuna said: What of those who perform spiritual practices with faith, but do not follow the words of scripture?
2: The Blessed Lord said: Natural faith is determined by their Gunas. The Saattvika persons worship Devas, the Raajasika people worship demigods, and the Taamasika persons worship ghosts and spirits.
7: Just so with food. Saattvika persons prefer foods that promote health and virtue, such as are juicy, smooth, and agreeable to the stomach. Raajasika persons like foods which cause pain, such as are salty, spicy, and dry. Taamasika persons care for the half-cooked, tasteless, stale and impure.
17: Austerities practiced by the Saattvika are done with supreme faith, without a desire for the fruit. Raajasik austerity is unsteady and done for the sake of respect and for show. Austerity performed without proper understanding, or with self-torture, or for harming others, is Taamasik.
20: The Saattvika performs charity as a duty to the deserving, without care for return. Raajasik charity is given unwillingly, or to get some reward. Charity given wrongly, or to the unworthy, without respect, is said to be Taamasik.
23: OM TAT SAT
24: Good acts of charity and austerity, as are prescribed in the scriptures, are always commenced by uttering "OM" by those who know Brahman, or by uttering "TAT" by those who seek nirvana. The word "SAT" is used for any faithful or auspicious act, O Arjuna.
28: Whatever is done without faith; whether it is sacrifice, charity, austerity, or any other act; is called Asat. It has no value here or hereafter, O Arjuna.
18. Liberation By Renunciation
1: Arjuna said: What is the nature of Samnyasa and Tyaaga, O Lord Krishna?
2: The Blessed Lord said: The wise sages call Samnyasa the renunciation of selfish work, and Tyaaga the renunciation of attachment to the fruits of work.
4: O Arjuna, to renounce obligatory work is not proper, it is your duty, for human beings can never completely abstain from work.
13: Learn from Me, O Arjuna, the Saamkhya doctrine of five causes of action. The physical body is the seat of Karma, the doer of the Guna, the root of the Prajna, the place of natural impulses and the home of the ruling deities. Thus, the fool who considers himself as the sole agent, does not understand. Free from the notion of doership, he knows that even if he kills all these warriors he kills them not and he is free.
29: Now hear of the Buddhi, the threefold division of the intellect, based on Gunas, O Arjuna. The Buddhi which brings understanding of proper work, of right and wrong action, fear and bravery, bondage and liberty, which allows proper regulation of the mind, that Buddhi is Saattvika. It is by the Raajasika Buddhi that one incorrectly distinguishes between Dharma and Adharma, between right and wrong action. Weak resolve, sleep, fear, grief, despair, and arrogance are Taamasika, O Arjuna.
36: Hear now of the threefold pleasure. The pleasure of spiritual practice which makes sorrow fall away, that which is as poison in the beginning but like nectar in the end, is Saattvika. Sensual pleasures come as nectars at first, but turn to poison in the end, are Raajasika pleasures. The pleasure that delude from beginning to end, which come from laziness and confusion; such are Taamasika pleasures.
41: The proper division into the four castes - Braahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra - is also based on the Gunas of peoples' natures, O Arjuna. Those who have serenity, self control, austerity, purity, patience, honesty, knowledge, Self-realization, and belief in God are Braahmanas, the intellectuals. Those who have heroism, vigour, firmness, dexterity, charity, and administrative skills are Kshatriyas, the protectors. Those who excel in growing and rearing, in commerce and industry are Vaishyas. Those who labour for others are Shudras.
45: The highest perfection is found in accordance with one's natural work. Even one's inferior natural work is better than superior unnatural work.
50: Learn from Me, O Arjuna, how living in solitude, eating modestly, controlling thought, word, and deed, ever absorbed in meditation, and in detachment, relinquishing egotism, violence, pride, lust, anger, and desire for possessions, freed from the "my", and peaceful, one becomes fit for attaining oneness with Brahman.
55: By devotion to Me one learns my essence. Knowing my essence, one immediately merges into Me. Setting aside all noble deeds, just surrender completely to the will of God, I will free you from all sins. Keep this knowledge close to yourself, it is not for those who cannot practice austerity, who have no devotion, who cannot listen, or who speaks ill of Me. But the one who can teach this supreme secret to My devotees is performing the highest service to Me and shall certainly attain Me.
72. Have you heard, O Arjuna? Have you understood?
73: Arjuna said: I have learned, and I have understood. By Thy grace my doubts are gone. I am ready to do my duty.
74: Sanjaya said: Thus, O King, did I hear this wonderful secret and supreme yoga from Krishna himself. O King, I stand amazed. O King, I rejoice again and again. Wherever is Krishna, the lord of yoga; and wherever is Arjuna, the archer; there will be everlasting prosperity, victory, happiness, and morality. Such I know.
● Copyright © 2014 Glyn Hughes.
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