Gita Series –132: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIII. Verse 7 – 11

Humbleness, sincerity, non-violence, patience, uprightness, service to guru, purity of mind and body, steadfastness, willpower, renunciation of sensory objects, devoid of egotism, understanding the inherent pains and evils of life, detachment from son, wife and home; balanced mind both in favourable and unfavourable circumstances, staunch devotion to Me, living in solitude, avoidance of social enjoyment, fixity of knowledge on the Self by ingesting it to the logical conclusion; all this is known as knowledge. Ignorance is just opposite to this.”

Krishna now explains what knowledge is. Knowledge is the basic requirement to understand creation and the Creator. The knowledge which Krishna discusses here leads to realization of the Brahman. It is not materialistic knowledge, but knowledge of metaphysics. Knowing about subtle factors of creation is metaphysical knowledge. Science, philosophy and spiritual belief are the basic constituents of metaphysical knowledge. The kind of knowledge that Krishna talks about, is not out of the boundaries of modern science. For example, consciousness that is spoken of repeatedly in scriptures is proved to be related to material world. Einstein proved conclusively that space, time and field are intertwined in their existence and their independent existence is not possible. Therefore, interdependency in the process of creation plays a very significant role. It was seen in the precious verses as to how soul alone cannot cause a creation without the help of prakṛti. What is being explained today in scientific jargons was already explained in simple terms in sacred scriptures. But at the same time, rituals of recent origin without any valid reasoning have percolated into the minds of true spiritual seekers and act as a deterrent factor for pursuing spirituality. To add to these complexities, religions and spiritualism are often confused leading to ill founded belief that one has to waste money and time to understand the Creator. As the Lord of the universe, Krishna would have foreseen the commercialization of spirituality and had chosen to explain through Bhagavad Gita, that it is not so.

Simplicity, sincerity and non-violence, patience; uprightness – which arises out of conducting oneself in righteous manner; service to one’s spiritual preceptor – this does not merely mean assisting him in all his religious activities. Being inattentive to the teaching of guru, unnecessary questions to guru, unnecessary and unwarranted wastage of his time during assembly, etc are considered as disservice to one’s guru. Purity of mind and body produces more positive energy within. When the mind is clouded with too many thoughts and their consequent impressions in the mind, the mind becomes compressed, leaving no room for generation of spiritual energy. The Lord’s playground is the mind. When it is fully afflicted, the Lord would never like to be present there. The Lord is the symbol of utmost purity. Two opposite poles cannot join together, hence the purity of the Lord and impurity of the mind cannot exist together. Steadfastness is nothing but the inner resolutions made in the mind. Firmness, determination, faith and repeated positive affirmations are capable of leading a person to the ultimate goal of liberation. When a goal is set, one may have to face innumerable hurdles in order to achieve the goal. Without mental stamina, willpower and optimism, it is difficult to cross testing times and hurdles.

Renunciation is spoken of as another important aspect of attaining the Lord. If one is attached to his family, the primary concern would be their interest in his mind, forcing the eternal connectivity with the Lord to be relegated to the second place. In the case of such attachments, the tendency is to show concern for them as they are before him in flesh and blood. On the contrary, though he has understood that the Lord can be attained only by submerging in His thoughts all the time, not giving rise to any secondary thought process, in reality the aspirant inherently thinks about something that is before him in flesh and blood.

Renunciation of sensory objects is the toughest challenge which ultimately may not even be possible. Vision, sound, smell, taste and touch consume major part of one’s life. The lush greenery, the rising sun, the smell of the rain, etc are bound to affect one’s mind as the respective sensory organs provide them to the brain and this natural process cannot be stopped. There is no other way except to live amidst Nature. What the Lord says here that one should not get attached to the sensory inputs. One can continue to see the beauty of the Nature, but one should not get attached to it. Whether it rains or shines, one should not change his mind-set. One has to consider the sensory organs as the Lord’s gift and should use them only for realizing the Lord. It is possible to turn the sensory organs to look within. For example, listening to the subtle sound that emanates within, the vision through third eye, taste of the ambrosia, etc.

One should ask within ‘who am I’? Until one gets an answer for this question, one should continue to ask this question. This is what is known as internal search or internal exploration. This happens as a consequence of turning the sensory organs to look within. When one begins to ask this question to himself, it implies that he is becoming devoid of egotism. If he is an egocentric person, he will not raise this question and instead say ‘I am’.

Pains and pleasures of life are realised only through mind. Having born, one has to undergo both pleasures and pains. There are two factors that cause pleasure or pain. The foremost among them is one’s thought and the second one is his karma, the former leading to the latter. These pleasures and pains are inherent in a birth. There is none who is devoid of these dyads. Elation at the time of pleasure and dejection at the time of pain is a normal human process. If one develops a stable mind, he becomes devoid of emotional swings. Pleasure and pain directly influence the mind and if one’s mind is fully occupied by the Lord, where He alone plays, inputs of pleasure and pain cannot be passed on to the mind, as the mind is preoccupied. When the whole mind is filled with Lord Consciousness, there is no place in the mind for other thoughts to get generated.

Devotion is the foundation for higher spiritual practices. When devotion turns into love for Him, the actual spiritual practice begins. To consolidate his love for the Lord, he has to continue the rest of his life in solitude. Isolation from the humdrum of life enables the mind to have better focus on the Lord. The level of concentration is very important to realise Him. When one continues to live a worldly life, his mind gets preoccupied on commitments as a result of which, the perpetual connection with the Lord is lost. In social gatherings and religious festivities, absolute joy prevails, where everyone’s mood is highly charged with emotions and sentiments, which do not have a place in spiritual pursuit. When one partakes in such occasions, the lingering moments of joy lasts for a long time and it is difficult for the mind to get restored to its original sheen. During this interim period, the connection with the Lord also gets depleted to a great extent. With a weaker connection with the Lord, the mind becomes susceptible to sensory afflictions, because of its inherent nature.

Krishna subtly conveys through these verses, that He can be realized only through one’s mind, when the mind is isolated from other activities. In the present scenario, the teaching of Krishna is equally relevant, if viewed from the angle of mind alone. If one has the capacity to control the mind and isolate it, realization of the Self is sure to happen. However, this becomes possible only when one has developed a tremendous willpower, determination and dedication and supplemented with longer durations of practice. The ultimate result of all this is the pure knowledge, by which alone, the Lord can be realized. It is also to be understood from Krishna's sayings, that one should mentally explore the all pervading Lord within and not otherwise.

Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIII. 1 - 3

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIII. 4 - 6

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIII. 12 -18