Philosophy of Bhagavad Gita
The philosophy of Bhagavad Gita is the philosophy of the Veda, which is the philosophy of Hinduism. There are various divergent concepts thriving under the name of Hinduism. Hinduism welcomes the diversity. However, there some high level common salient concepts, about which almost all Hindu saints and leaders agree. Some of them are listed here. References to the relevant verses from the Gita are given in brackets.
- All creatures, including human beings seek happiness. If questioned under what conditions we want happiness, the answer is always, everywhere and unconditional. If unconditional happiness is possible, it should be here and now. The only reason we are not happy is because we are not availing the intrinsic happiness and fulfilment. Problems will be there in life. Even in the worst of situations, we always have the freedom to put up a brave, cheerful face and handle the problems head on. This emotional independence by which we can assert our happiness that is independent of people, objects and situations is the goal. This is called Moksha. (2.11, 2.55, 2.56, 2.57, 2.71)
- We are not able to avail the happiness because of wrong assumption about our identity. If we know and assert our real identity, we will be happy naturally, because that is our true nature. We need to go step by step from where we are. First, we need to get out of lethargy into activity. Second, we have to turn selfish activity into selfless activity. Third, we need to develop the capacity to be introvert. Finally, we need to find deep within ourselves our real nature. (5.7, 6.3, 6.10, 6.27, 4.33, 4.34, 18.20)
- Hinduism gives a philosophy, and a way of life based on the philosophy. Most of modern Hinduism is based on the Vedanta philosophy. Almost all of the saints and leaders of Hinduism in the past 5000 years agree upon some basic tenets of Vedanta. They are presented here. On this foundation, Hinduism allows people to have variations in the details and encourages diverse practices to suit different temperaments of people. Hinduism believes in the principle of Unity in Diversity. (4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.11, 7.21, 9.14, 9.15, 12.8, 12.9, 12,10, 12.11)
- The individual, called jiva is the possessor of freewill. As freewill is “free” from matter, memories and emotions, the jiva is not a part or product or property of the body or mind. The jiva is an independent entity, who expresses and experiences through the body and mind. (15.7, 15.8, 15.9, 15.16, 2.12, 2.13, 2.22)
- The jiva is wholly responsible for all the situations faced in life. (6.5) The present situation faced by the jiva is the result of the past actions (physical, verbal and mental) of the jiva. The future situations that will be presented to the jiva will be the result of the past and present actions of the jiva. The jiva cannot escape the good and bad consequences of its actions, even by death. (6.41, 6.42, 16.18, 16.19, 16.20, 9.3, 13.22) This is called the Law of Karma.
- Isvara is the sum total of all that exists. (7.4, 7.5, 11.7, 11.13, 11.38) Isvara is that Supreme Being, to whom, the entire material Universe is the body, the sum total of the minds of all jivas is the mind and identifies with the whole of existence. So, Isvara is everywhere as everything. (11.5, 9.4, 13.14, 13.15-17)
- Devataas are the cosmic equivalents of the various faculties of an individual. For example, the sum total of the seeing faculty of all the jivas put together forms the seeing faculty of the Isvara, and is represented by the Surya devataa. Worship with a desire for specific worldly security and prosperity is done to the corresponding devataa. This kind of worship is inferior to worshiping the Isvara. (7.22, 7.23, 9.25)
- Isvara has created, or rather has become or appears as, the jagat (Universe) for the benefit of the jivas to express and experience, by which they will mature in wisdom, which is the purpose of the existence of the Universe. For this, Isvara creates, sustains and recycles the Universe. (9.17, 10.20, 13.17) The jivas continue to exist with all their past effects and impressions intact even on recycling of the Universe. (8.19)
- Isvara knows the innermost thoughts and intentions of every jiva. (10.20, 18.63) Isvara oversees the reward of every physical, verbal and mental action of every jiva in a fair and appropriate manner. (4.11, 9.19, 7.21, 7.22) This does not make Isvara judgmental because, Isvara is not different from the whole of existence. It is Isvara, as it were, that enjoys or suffers as the jiva itself. (13.15, 13.23, 9.24) Isvara is compassionate to every jiva because the jiva is not apart from Isvara. (7.7) It is just the Law of Nature that results in the reward. Isvara wants every jiva to learn from the good and bad experiences encountered in life and grow in wisdom. (4.33)
- Isvara’s teachings are available in the form of the Vedas, which was revealed to rishis in the distant past. (4.1) Isvara teaches the jivas through various saints in all places and in all ages. (4.2, 4.3, 4.34) Isvara is accessible to any sincere jiva in any place in any age. (7.21, 4.10) Occasionally, Isvara comes in the midst of the jivas in the garb of another jiva (incarnation) to help and teach the jivas. Isvara has come innumerable times in the past and will come innumerable times in the future. (4.6, 4.7, 4.8) Any teaching of anyone in any age is acceptable as authentic if it does not contradict the Vedas. (13.25, 16.23, 16.24)
- By having a relationship with Isvara, which is based on faith, gratitude and love, the jivas can face the ups and downs of life with poise. The relationship will help them to be honest, compassionate, disciplined, unselfish, peaceful and happy even under extreme situations in life. With this equanimity and poise, the jivas will be able to learn from the various experiences, grow in wisdom and understand that they are not apart from Isvara. (12.13-12.20, 9.34, 12.6-7) This relationship is called Bhakti.
- To develop the relationship with Isvara, puja (worship) is a very effective exercise. Isvara can be worshiped as without form or through any form. It depends on the temperament of the worshiper. (12.2, 12.3-12.4) The worship can be physical, verbal or mental. As Isvara is everywhere, knows the innermost thoughts and is compassionate, all that is needed is love and sincerity. (9.26) Isvara will know even if the jiva calls by any name. Isvara can be worshiped as male or female or neither or beyond. Isvara can be worshiped as any aspect of Nature or any form. (11.5) Different forms of mental worship are called upaasana (meditation). Hinduism has developed a detailed system of preparations and procedures of meditation that is suitable to people of different temperaments. (6.10-6.28) Usage of images and other representations of Isvara helps to concentrate the mind and form a personal emotional relationship with Isvara. Stories of incarnations, saints and devotees, stories of divine personalities which incorporate various aspects of Isvara, allegories that help meditation on various qualities of Isvara and various legends help forming a personal relationship with Isvara. Any form of worship invoking an all- pervading, all-knowing and all-powerful entity is accepted as worship of Isvara. (7.21, 7.22)
- As Isvara is the whole of existence, anything that the jiva does is an offering to Isvara and any situation that the jiva faces in life is from Isvara only. Thus, every moment of life is an interaction with Isvara only. So, doing full justice to the current situation in which the jiva is placed by doing its duty as an offering to Isvara, is itself a form of worship of Isvara. (18.46, 9.27, 11.55) This is called Karma Yoga.
- When the jiva understands fully and deeply that it is not apart from Isvara, the goal is reached. Freed from the cycle of desire, action and result, the jiva merges with Isvara and attains real peace. This goal is called moksha – freedom. (13.31, 13.32, 6.29, 6.30, 6.31, 2.71, 2.72)
- The Hindu way of life is harmonious living with the world, people and other living beings in it, knowing the interconnectedness of everything, considering everything as divine. Hinduism encourages and celebrates diversity. All daily rituals, traditional customs, festivals, stories, legends, pilgrimages and art forms of Hindus are designed to imbibe these principles. Engaging with them knowing how they are connected to the principles given here will lead to a rich cultural, emotional, intellectual and fulfilling life. This is the Hindu Way of Life.
Message of the Upanishads
Satyam Jnaanam Anantam Brahma (Taittiriya Upanishad 2.1.1)
The Vedas declare that reality (Brahman) is pure Existence (Sat or Satyam), Consciousness (Cit or Jnaanam) and Infinite (Aananda or Anantam). Here is a way to understand this.
What we see as the world is based on the sense organs and the instruments that extend the sense organs. The human eye can see only a limited range of frequencies. Similarly the ears can hear only a limited range. There are other animals which have a different range of vision and sound. Also, they have much more powerful sense of smell than us. So their world is an entirely different one. For example, when a cat enters a room, it knows who was sitting in the sofa an
hour back based on the smell. It also knows if you have gone to the park or not based on the smell of the flowers on you. Sharks can detect the electrical current in the bodies of animals swimming in the water a few meters away. Even with all the modern technology to extend our access to the various physical phenomenon in the world, there is no reason to assume that what we detect in the world is all that actually exists. There can be entirely new kinds of matter and energy that so far we do not have senses or instruments to detect.
What we see and interpret depend on the state of our mind. If we like someone, we see them as beautiful. The chemicals and hormones in our blood affect the way we think and judge. Also, all our past experience affects our interpretation of the people, objects and situations in the world. Thus, though the world seems to appear outside us objectively, what we know of the world is only what our instruments (senses and mind) show us. We have no access to the bare naked reality that exists. This fundamental reality is referred to as Existence.
What is the nature of Existence which is beyond these apparent properties like color, sound, smell, mass, temperature, charge, momentum, etc.? We know that properties like color, sound, texture, etc. are all emergent phenomenon. When we look at things at their minutest constituents known today like quarks and leptons, these properties do not exist. There are a different set of fundamental properties, which give rise to the perceivable properties at various composite grosser levels.
Vedanta extends this concept and says, “As long as properties are experienced, you have not reached the most fundamental level.” So, every property is only an emergent phenomenon. At the ultimate fundamental level, Existence would necessarily be free from any properties. Vedanta gives an example to understand this: pot-ness does not exist in the clay out of which pot is made.
This fundamental entity, of which the whole universe is made of, is called Sat or Satyam. It cannot have any properties (nirguna). Any two objects are distinguished
only based on properties. As Sat does not have any properties, is has to be only one (ekam eva adviteeyam). Any change is only change of properties. So Sat has to be changeless (nirvikaara). Changeless with respect to space and time. So Sat is all- pervading (sarvagata) and eternal (nityam). Parts of an entity are based on properties of constituents. So Sat is partless (akhanda). So, Sat is One, Infinite, All- pervading, Eternal, Changeless, Partless, Property-less, Absolute Existence.
Let us analyze the subject-object relationship in perception. When I see a flower, I (subject) am the body, including the eye. The flower is the object. Form and color of the flower are properties. When I want to judge the properties of the eye like myopia or color-blindness, I put one step back. The eye is the object. “I”, including the mind, is the subject. Extending this further, the real “I” is the ultimate subject, which can never become an object of perception by the senses or conception by the mind. [Drg Drsya Viveka – 1-5] This ultimate subject is called Cit or Jnaanam.
In any subject-object relationship, properties always belong to the object. To judge the property of anything, it has to be given the status of an object. I need to extend myself to the edge of the instrument that is in contact with the object (internal or external) to experience and evaluate the properties of the object. Thus, I, the Cit, being the ultimate subject, cannot have any properties.
Applying the same logic that we applied to Sat, Cit also is One, Infinite, All- pervading, Eternal, Changeless, Partless, Property-less, Absolute Existence. So, Sat and Cit are not different. They are the same entity.
Thus, real I, the Consciousness is the fundamental entity from which the whole universe has emerged. This is conveyed in innumerable statements in the various Upanishads belonging to various Vedas. As a sample, four statements, each one taken from one of the Vedas, are called mahaavaakyaas.
To understand the relationship between the infinite (Anantam) Sat-Cit and the finite world, let us take an example.
We have the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, … The existence of these finite numbers indicate that we can go on counting forever. So we have the concept of “infinity” in mathematics. From the point of view of infinity, we cannot distinguish finite numbers like 1, 2, 3, etc. This can be seen from the equations below:
- inf – 1 = inf
- inf – 2 = inf From (1) and (2), inf – 1 = inf – 2
Thus from the point of view of infinity, 1, 2, 3, etc do not exist as discrete numbers. As the number line is homogeneous, any point on it is only imaginary. There is really no difference between one point and another point. Thus, from the point of view of the infinite, finite does not exist. But from the point of view of finite, the infinite exists.
Now, we can apply the same logic to the whole of existence. We have seen that Sat-Cit is the Infinite. The world that we see is finite. From the point of view of infinite Sat-Cit, the finite world does not exist. From the point of view of the finite world, the existence of infinite Sat-Cit cannot be denied. So, Sat-Cit has absolute existence and the empirical world has only relative existence.
This relationship between the infinite and finite is called Maaya.
Thus, the whole universe exists in Me, the pure Consciousness, as a relative appearance. My existence is of a higher order of reality compared to the world.
Vedanta gives an example to understand this: When a rope is mistakenly perceived as a snake in dim light, the rope is not affected by the perceived snake.
So, the world and its problems cannot affect me, just like the water in the movie does not wet the screen on which it is projected. The world is just a relative emergent superimposition which exists using me, the Sat-Cit-Ananda – Infinite Conscious Existence, as the support. This understanding frees me from all psychological defects like insecurity, anxiety, sorrow, fear and desire. This freedom is called Jivanmukti.
- Sankara’s Summary
The three points we have seen here has been summarized as the three famous statements by the great teacher Sankara:
- Brahma satyam (from 1) – Infinite Consciousness is the fundamental reality.
- Jagat mityaa (from 3) – The finite universe is a relative appearance.
- Jeevah brahma eva na aparah (from 2) – The real ‘I’ is not different from Infinite Consciousness.
- Jeevaatmaa and Paramaatmaa
The whole finite universe of name (conception by mind) and form (perception by senses) exists as an apparent emergent phenomenon in the pure infinite Consciousness. The Consciousness reflected on a particular body-mind complex is called Jeevaatmaa. The Consciousness reflected on the whole universe is called Paramaatmaa or Isvara.
As long as the person considers himself as an individual, Isvara cannot be denied. When the person understands and identifies himself as the real ‘I’, which is pure Consciousness, he understands that the real Isvara and the real Substratum of the world are also the same pure Consciousness, which is his own real nature.
Thus, the Absolute Reality is not in conflict with the Empirical Reality. They are complementary to each other. This allows us to deal with the everyday life in the world keeping the knowledge of the Absolute Reality in the back of our mind.
- Saadhana and Moksha
A mind that has strong likes and dislikes and is attached to the body, mind, other people, objects and situations cannot understand and accept the real nature of the Self. The mind needs to relax a bit so that the teaching can be absorbed. The way to relax the mind from its strong likes, dislikes and attachments is called spiritual saadhana or spiritual life. Saadhana is in the form of:
- leading a moral, ethical and useful life in the spirit of service and sacrifice
- worship of Isvara as an expression of gratitude and love
- practicing equanimity in accepting the dualities of life like success and failure
- practice of concentration of the mind
- being in the company of holy people
- reading books on spiritual life, devotion and philosophy
- listening to talks and participating in discussions on spiritual life
With sufficient purity of mind (freedom from strong likes and dislikes) and by continual exposure to the concepts in the Upanishads mentioned above, the mind will imbibe them and the person will be able to clearly identify himself with the Pure Consciousness. This switch in identity is called Moksha and he will live the rest of his life as a Jivanmukta.
Chanting and Study
One of the popular and effective ways to understand and imbibe the principles of Hinduism is to chant an assortment of verses everyday remembering the meaning. This sequence of selected verses from the Gita is put together for this purpose.
Gita has about 700 verses spanning 18 chapters. The main topics covered are
- Nature of the individual
- Nature of God
- Nature of world
- Relationship between the individual and God
- Right action with right attitude
- God’s grace
- Moral and ethical values
In this selection of 72 verses, almost all the important topics in the Gita are covered in a systematic sequence. I hope this helps the reader to grasp the message of the Gita and inspires to put them into practice.
Sri Gurubhyo Namah | Harih Om ||
Arjuna’s surrender to Sri Krishna, asking Him to teach, induces the Lord to reveal the Gita.
(O Krishna!) My mind is distracted by the taint of pity and I am ignorant of what my duty is, and so, I ask you to teach me what is good for me. I am your disciple. I take refuge in you. (2.7)
This is where the actual teaching starts. Mukti, the goal, is defined and the means is stated. It is made very clear that the goal is to be free from sorrow arising out of the transiency of things and the means to that goal is wisdom.
The Lord said: O Arjuna! You grieve for those for whom there need be no sorrow, yet you speak words of wisdom. The wise do not grieve for the dead or living. (2.11)
The description of the goal, which is to be a man of wisdom is presented in the next few verses.
- The Lord said: When a man renounces completely all the desires of the mind, and when he is fully satisfied with his mind fixed in Atma, then he is declared to be a man of steady wisdom. (2.55)
- He whose mind is not troubled in sorrow, who does not hanker after pleasures and is free from attachment fear and hatred, is called the sage of steady wisdom. (2.56)
- He who has no attachment to anything anywhere, who does not rejoice and hate when good and bad things happen, his wisdom is fixed and steady. (2.57)
- That man who lives completely free from desires, without longing, devoid of the sense of “I” and “mine,” attains peace.(2.71)
This is one of the several verses that summarize the steps towards the goal.
He who is devoted to the yoga of action, with heart purified, with mind-controlled and senses subdued, though acting, is not tainted. (5.7)
The path is broadly divided into two stages.
For the sage aspiring to ascend to yoga, action is said to be the means; and for the same sage enthroned in yoga serenity is called the means. (6.3)
We are not merely the body.
Just as the man in this body passes through the various stages of boyhood, youth, and old age, like so, he passes into another body after death. The wise know it and are not deluded. (2.13)
The mind is our instrument. A mind that is under our control is a good instrument.
Let a man be lifted up by his own self; let him not lower himself; for he himself is his friend, and he himself is his enemy. (6.5)
A dharmic life is necessary for purity of mind.
Acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity should not be abandoned; they should be performed indeed; sacrifice, charity, and austerity are purifiers for the thoughtful (who do not desire for fruits). (18.5)
The golden rule of all morality:
He who judges pleasure or pain everywhere, by the same standard as he applies to himself, that yogi is thought to be the highest. (6.32)
Best form of charity is defined:
That gift which is made to one who can make no return, and with the feeling that it is one’s duty to give, and which is given at the right place and time and to a worthy person— such a gift is held to be of the nature of sattva. (17.20)
Physical, verbal and mental austerities are listed:
- Worship of the gods, of the twice-born, of teachers, and of the wise; cleanliness, uprightness, continence, and non-violence— these are said to be the austerity of the body. (17.14)
- Words that do not give offence and that are truthful, pleasant, and beneficial, and also the regular recitation of the Vedas— these are said to be the austerity of speech. (17.15)
- Serenity of mind, gentleness, silence, self-control, and purity of heart— these constitute the austerity of the mind. (17.16)
Focus on your contribution. Be contribution-centric instead of consumption-centric. Long- term inner development by learning from success and failure is more important than the short-term external result. The next two famous verses say that.
- You have the right to work only, and not to the fruits of work. Let not the fruit of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction. (2.47)
- O Arjuna! Steadfast in Yoga, giving up all attachment, unmindful of success or failure, do your work. Such equanimity of mind is called Yoga. (2.48)
By offering the fruits of all action to God, work becomes Karma Yoga, the means to the goal of mukti (freedom from all sorrow). The next two verses show that.
I am alone the enjoyer and the Lord of all sacrifices, but they do not know Me in reality, hence they fall. (9.24)
Knowing Me as the enjoyer of all sacrifices and austerities, the Lord and controller of all the words, friend of all beings, man attains peace. (5.29)
Summary of Karma Yoga:
Renouncing all actions in Me with the mind fixed in Self, free from hope and egoism, fight without mental agitation. (3.30)
Special advantage of Karma Yoga compared to mere action:
In this, no effort is ever lost and no harm is ever done. Even very little of this dharma saves a man from the Great Fear. (2.40)
Different types of devotees:
Four types of virtuous men worship Me, Ο Arjuna: the man in distress, the man seeking knowledge, the man seeking enjoyment, and, Ο best of the Bhāratas, the man endowed with wisdom. (7.16)
Jnani is the best among devotees.
Noble indeed are they all; but the man endowed with wisdom I deem to be My very Self. For, steadfast in mind, he remains fixed in Me alone as the Supreme Goal. (7.18)
Who is a Jnani?
At the end of many births the man of wisdom seeks refuge in Me, realizing that Vāsudeva is all. Rare indeed is such a high-souled person. (7.19)
How is Vasudeva everything? The next two verses say that.
- Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, reason, and also egoism – these are the eightfold divisions of My nature. (7.4)
- O Arjuna! This is the inferior (described in the previous verse), Know My other nature, the Higher – Para Prakriti, the life-element by which the universe is upheld. (7.5)
The idea is elaborated further:
- There is nothing higher than Myself, O Arjun. Everything rests in Me, as gems strung on a thread. (7.7)
- I am the Self, O Guḍākeśha, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle, and the end of all beings. (10.20)
- I am the Father of this universe, the Mother, the Sustainer, and the Grandsire. I am the knowable, the purifier, and the syllable Om. I am also the Rik, the Sāman, and the Yajus. (9.17)
More details of the Lord as the dispenser of the results of secular and spiritual actions:
I give heat; I hold back and send forth rain. I am immortality, O Arjuna, and also death. I am being and I am non-being. (9.19)
Whenever people lose faith in righteousness, the Lord comes into the world to reestablish righteousness by teaching everyone and handling the violaters.
- O Arjuna! Whenever there is a decline of righteousness and rise of evil, I manifest Myself. (4.7)
- For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for establishing Dharma, I take birth in every age. (4.8)
God can be worshiped in any form by any method.
Whatever may be the form a devotee seeks to worship with faith— in that form alone I make his faith unwavering. (7.21)
Three stages of bhakti are presented in the next three verses. Doing action in the world and offering the fruits of action to God is the first stage. Devotion and purity is more important than grandeur.
Whosoever offers Me, with devotion, a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water— that I accept, the pious offering of the pure in heart. (9.26)
Worshiping God as the world by offering the action itself to God is the second stage.
Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give away, and whatever you practise in the form of austerities, Ο son of Kunti— do it as an offering to Me. (9.27)
The final stage is to offer the doership itself and thus be free from all bonds of actions.
Thus shall you be free from the bondage of actions, which bear good or evil results. With your mind firmly set on the yoga of renunciation, you shall become free and come to Me. (9.28)
The next two verses describe how to be a bhakta who is dear to the Lord.
Who does not hate any being, who is friendly and compassionate, who is free from attachment and egoism, who is equal-minded in sorrow and happiness, who is forgiving, who is always contented, steady in meditation, who is self-controlled and firm in conviction, who has surrendered his mind and intellect in Me, he (such a devotee) is dear to me. (12.13 & 12.14)
Bhakti Yoga is summarized in one verse:
Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice to Me, bow down to Me. Having thus disciplined yourself, and regarding Me as the Supreme Goal, you will come to Me. (9.34)
God takes care of the needs of people who choose Him instead of the world.
Those persons who worship Me, meditating on their identity with Me and ever devoted to Me— to them I carry what they lack and for them I preserve what they already have. (9.22)
Even a person who has led a bad life earlier, if he chooses God instead of the world, he will become a saint soon. The next two verses mention that.
- Even the most sinful man, if he worships Me with unswerving devotion, must be regarded as righteous; for he has formed the right resolution. (9.30)
- He soon becomes righteous and attains eternal peace. Proclaim it boldly, Ο son of Kunti, that My devotee never perishes. (9.31)
Meditation can be towards one of the following:
- calm the mind, develop concentration or form a personal relationship with God
- assimilate the Vedantic teaching after learning it from a Guru
The former is called Upasana. The latter is called Nididhyasana. The preparatory steps are almost the same for both. They are presented in detail in the next few verses.
- Alone, stationed in a solitary place, self-controlled, free from desire, and not receiving anything from others, the yogi (Practising Dhyanayoga) should unite the mind with Atma. (6.10)
- In a clean spot, a firm seat should be made, neither too high nor too low, and it should be covered by cloth, skin, and holy grass one over the other. There, being seated, having made the mind one-pointed, controlling the actions of the mind and the senses, let him practice Dhyana Yoga for self-purification. (6.11-6.12)
- Let him firmly hold the body, head and neck erect, and gazing on the tip of his nose, without looking around, let him sit, serene and fearless, established in the vow of celibacy, self-controlled and balanced, thinking of Me as the Supreme goal. (6.13-6.14)
- Having abandoned all desires born of the ego-centric will, having restrained the group of senses with mind from all sides, one should attain quietude slowly and slowly by the intellect held firmly. And then, fixing the mind in Atma, he should not think of anything else at all. (6.24-6.25)
- Whenever and wherever the restless and unsteady mind wanders, one should bring it back and continually focus it on God. (6.26)
The culmination of Upasana:
When the sage feels no attachment for sense-objects and actions, renouncing the ego-centric will (samkalpa) then he is said to be enthroned in yoga. (6.4)
The culmination of Nididhyasana:
Supreme Bliss comes to the yogi whose mind is completely tranquil and whose passions are quieted, who is free from stain and who has become one with Brahman. (6.27)
All activities are only preparations for knowledge.
O scorcher of foes! Knowledge-sacrifice is superior to sacrifice performed with objects. All actions, O Arjuna, in their entirety, culminate in Knowledge. (4.33)
Three levels of knowledge are presented in the next three verses.
- In all the beings separated into different categories, that knowledge which sees the one inseparable Reality (Atma), know it to be Sattvic Jnana. (18.20)
- That knowledge which sees in all beings various entities (Jivas) of distinct kinds as different from one another, know that knowledge as Rajasic. (18.21)
- The knowledge by which, man clings to one thing (body or image) as if it were the whole, without reason and foundation in Truth, and which is trivial, that is declared to be Tamasic (Jnana). (18.22)
What is knowledge? It is presented in two verses.
- There are two beings in the world: the Perishable and the Imperishable. The Perishable comprises all creatures, and the Imperishable is said to be the Unchanging. (15.16)
- But there is another Being, the Highest, called the Supreme Self, who, as the Immutable, pervades and sustains the three worlds. (15.17)
Seeing the One-ness is knowledge. This is emphasised again.
When he sees that the manifold nature of beings is centred in the One and that all evolution is from that One alone, he becomes one with Brahman. (13.31)
Knowledge is freedom.
Having no beginning and possessing no gunas, this supreme and imperishable Self, Ο son of Kunti, neither acts nor is stained by action even while dwelling in the body. (13.32)
The discipline and preparations of knowledge are presented.
Humbleness; freedom from hypocrisy; non-violence; forgiveness; simplicity; service of the Guru; cleanliness of body and mind; steadfastness; and self-control; dispassion toward the objects of the senses; absence of egotism; keeping in mind the evils of birth, disease, old age, and death; non-attachment; absence of clinging to spouse, children, home, and so on; even-mindedness amidst desired and undesired events in life; constant and exclusive devotion toward Me; an inclination for solitary places and an aversion for mundane society; constancy in spiritual knowledge; and philosophical pursuit of the Absolute Truth—all these I declare to be knowledge, and what is contrary to it, I call ignorance. (13.8-13.12)
We have to approach a Guru to get knowledge.
Know that (Knowledge) by long prostration, question, and service (to the master). The sages who have realised the truth will instruct you in that knowledge. (4.34)
The pre-requisites and benefit of knowledge is given.
The man of faith, having Knowledge as his supreme goal having controlled the senses, obtains knowledge of Atma, and having obtained that enjoys everlasting peace. (4.39)
The three steps to knowledge – hearing, understanding and assimilating – are listed.
With their intellect absorbed in That, their Self being That, established in that, they go from whence there is no return and their sins are dispelled by knowledge. (5.17)
The Absolute and the way to reach it are summarized.
Those who, having restrained well all the senses, even-minded everywhere, rejoicing in the welfare of all beings, meditate on the indefinable, eternal, all-pervading, and Imperishable Brahman – they attain Me alone. (12.3 & 12.4)
Gita teaching finishes by asking for complete surrender.
Having abandoned all duties (Dharmas) take refuge in Me alone. I will liberate you from all sins. Do not grieve. (18.66)
He who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, forbearing and forgiving, ever content, steady in meditation, self-controlled, possessed of firm conviction, with mind and intellect dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me.
Bhagavad Gita – 12.13, 12.14