Gita series – part 11. Chapter II. Verses– 15-16 After underlying the importance of tolerance, Krishna talks about the eligibility criteria for attaining liberation. Krishna continues to address Krishna: “Oh! The best among men! The influence of the sense objects will not affect a person, if he considers pleasure and pain equally. Such a person becomes eligible for liberation. For the unreal, there is nothing called existence. For the real there is nothing called non-existent. The difference in perception between the two is realized by men of knowledge”. (verses 15 and 16) How can Krishna address Arjuna as the best among men? Such men will not have mental conflicts. But Krishna cannot be wrong. He chooses to forgive Arjuna for his onetime slip. It is natural in the case of even great saints and sages, such slips do occur. God looks into your perception and not the occasional slips. The universe exists only on illusion or maya. If there is pleasure there will be pain too. The pleasure and pain are realized only through the sense organs.

What is the role of sense organs? They convey pleasure or pain to the mind. It is ultimately the mind that receives the inputs from sense organs. One cannot persuade the sense organs not to function. But one can definitely tune the mind away from the inputs of the sense organs. It is like tuning a radio receiver to different frequencies. When duality is realized, mind controls you. No one can prevent the existence of duality as it is a part of creation. But when you train your mind in such a way that it does not recognize the inputs from your senses, duality is not realised and you are the master of your mind. Krishna says that those who could master their minds are eligible for liberation. It is true in the sense that it is difficult to follow this teaching. But, if one wants spiritual advancement, he has to begin somewhere at some point or time. Mind can be surely trained to the level of Krishna’s teachings. The beginning can be made by making a few sacrifices in our life, by sharing a portion of what we have with havenots. This first step will lead to further advancements. Without a proper beginning, no one can move forward. What is real and unreal that Krishna talks about? The unreal is perishable and real is not perishable. Every object that exists in this universe is perishable. Our gross body, the pleasures arising from our senses and all objects are unreal. They will cease to exist at one point of time. But the knowledge, wisdom and intellect are not perishable. Here knowledge, etc mean the quest for realizing the Brahman and not the usual knowledge we talk about.

That is why knowledge about the Brahman is called as the Supreme knowledge. A question may be asked whether they also perish along with the body. No, they do not perish because they are not associated with the body, but with the soul. Knowledge though derived through senses, ultimately gets transferred to the soul. Knowledge gives rise to actions. A person pursuing the path of spirituality will not perform evil actions. Source of karma is only our actions. Therefore the knowledge is not perishable as the end result of knowledge is transferred and gets embedded in our soul. Soul is also not permanent, but we will discuss this in the relevant chapters. Krishna says that bodies are not permanent and that Arjuna should not worry about killing of his cousins and masters. It should not be misconstrued that killing is approved by God. God approves Arjuna’s actions as Arjuna is going to wage a war against evils that are associated with pleasures, desires, money, hatred, etc. That is why Krishna says that such differences are realized by the learned. Krishna carefully chooses His words. (to be continued)