Sunday, April 09, 2006

Summary of Gita Bhakti Yoga

Hari Aum

Prostrations to my Guru. Prostrations to all.

The chapter started with question of Arjuna to Lord Krishna on which form of meditation is better, whether meditation on form-god or formless-god. Arjuna learned about the Nirguna Brahman through the scriptures and also saw the Virat form of the Lord. So having known both he wanted to know which one is the Ultimate form of meditation. The Ultimate form of meditation is meditation on the formless god, but it is not easy for a person who has the identification with the body to meditate on the formless god. Hence those who have the mind controlled can easily meditate on the formless god.

The meditation on the form god will be very helpful in getting the mind controlled. The meditation on the form god is characterized by the following:
Complete surrender to the lord: One should surrender completely to the lord by offering all actions unto the lord. When all the actions are offered to the lord, the doer ceases to exist and hence will have peaceful single-pointed mind
Constant thought of the lord: The complete surrender to lord is aided by the constant thought of the lord. When one has the constant thought of the lord and offering of everything to the lord, then whatever that is experienced or perceived will only be the lord and thus the mind will be controlled.
Knowing the god as the Ultimate Goal: The complete surrender and the constant thought of the lord will be meaningful when one knows the lord as the Ultimate goal.

The mind by nature is extroverted and hence the mind has to be controlled and turned inwards. A person who practices the above mentioned characteristics will have mind controlled and hence could easily turn the mind inward to realize ones own nature of Bliss. Thus when one turns the mind inwards and concentrates on the Lord as ones own Self, he realizes “I am Brahman” and all that exist is nothing but that Ultimate Reality of Brahman. Thus the meditation finally leads one to the Ultimate Knowledge of ones own identity with Brahman.

Krishna then mentions the practices that are to be followed to realize ones own nature of Self. When one constantly thinks about the lord, then everything, whatever been experienced in the world, will become that lord. Thus when everything is perceived as the lord, the intellect gets the firm conviction that everything that exists in the world is only lord. Thus when one gets that firm conviction that whatever exist in the world is only lord, all delusions vanish and hence will be easy for such a person to meditate on the lord as ones own Self. But it may not be possible for one to constantly think about the lord as the mind by nature has lot of ripples and hence one has to constantly practice to think about the lord and thus by such constant practice the thought of the lord becomes easier. Even by constant practice if one couldn’t think of the lord the entire time then one has to offer all the work to the lord and has to do actions for the sake of the lord and give up the expectation of the results of the action. When the work is done for the sake of the Lord and the fruits of the actions are renounced, the mind gets controlled of all anxieties and thus becomes peaceful. When the mind becomes peaceful, the mind can easily think of that lord all the time. Having said these practices Krishna said that greater than the practice is Jnaana, Jnaana leads to the dhyaana or constant contemplation, constant contemplation results in the renunciation of fruits of action, and renunciation of fruits of action gives the peace of mind.

Krishna then gives the qualities of a real devotee. A real devotee is one whose mind is controlled, who has the constant thought of the Reality as one own Self. Krishna previously mentioned that to meditate on the lord of ones own Self, one should have the mind controlled. A real devotee, who meditates constantly on the Self, will have the mind controlled. Since the mind is controlled they will not be affected by anything that happens around him. He will always have the mind fixed on ones own Self and hence perceives the Self everywhere. When everything is seen as ones own Self, then he will be free from all the agitations that will disturb his mind and hence he is free from mental agitations like joy, fear, anxiety etc. Since for a real devotee who constantly meditates on the Self, sees only the Self everywhere and hence there is nothing that he would desire to possess and hence are free from all the desires, he doesn’t have any hatred towards anything, doesn’t grieve for anything. He is also free from all good and evil because to experience the good and evil there should be an experiencer, but a real devotee who sees everything as one own Self stays only as a witness to whatever happens and hence is not an experiencer of good and evil. Hence such a realized person doesn’t have any good and evil. He sees everything as one, same to both who sees him as friend and enemy, who is same in honor and dishonor, censure and praise. These are the characteristics of a real devotee and these qualities that are mentioned by Krishna are not different from the qualities of Sthithaprajna or man of steady wisdom which he mentions in chapter 2. The man of Steady wisdom is the one who had realized one own nature of Self sees nothing but the Self everywhere and the qualities such a realized person is same as the qualities of the Real devotee. Thus the path of devotion leads one to the Ultimate Knowledge of “I am Brahman”.

Let us try to be a true devotee by having constant thought of Reality, offering everything to the Reality and there by realizing ones own nature of the Self.

Prostrations to Guru and Prostrations to all

Hari Aum