Gita Study: Class 28


Topics for today:

  1. Opening prayers and Gita Dhyanam
  2. Chapter 2 verses 39 to 41

 Highlights of today’s class:

Verse 2.39

esa te’bhihita sankhye buddhiryoge tvimam srnu | buddhya yukto yaya partha karmabandham prahasyasi ||

  • Two main topics are covered in this chapter – Sankhya and Karma yoga. Verses 11 to 30 dealt with Sankhya or the knowledge of the nature of Brahman. Verses 31 to 38 were contextual and don’t fall into either of these. From this verse onwards Krishna switches the topic to Karma yoga.
  • Krishna says that by practice of Karma Yoga, one gets freed from the bondage caused by karma. We shall see in subsequent verses how this is the case. But briefly stated, Karma Yoga generates antah karana suddhi, purity of mind, in the form of relative freedom from ragas and dveshas, and thereby paves way for self-knowledge. Self-knowledge ultimately frees one from the bondage of doership and karma. Therefore Karma Yoga indirectly frees one from bondage of karma.

Verse 2.40

nehabhikramanaso’sti pratyavayo na vidyate | svalpamapyasya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat ||

  • In this verse Krishna praises Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga is free from two-fold defects namely (a) abhikrama nasa – destruction of effort invested and (b) pratyavaya dosha – side-effect caused when left unfinished.
  • abhikrama nasa is the term used to describe loss or wastage of what has been invested or put into a project, such as a principal invested but due to losses, the principal gets eroded. Or in case of agriculture, seeds are sown but if the harvest doesn’t come, the seeds are wasted. In Karma Yoga, there is no such loss of any effort put into it.
  • pratyavaya dosha is the term used to describe a side-effect of stopping a course of action mid-way, for example, starting but not finishing a medication may cause side-effects. Practice of Karma Yoga even partially does not cause any side-effects.
  • Even a little effort put into practicing Karma Yoga protects one from great fear.
  • Karma yoga is so praise-worthy and powerful because it reverses the deep-rooted conditioning of doing actions for the sake of one’s raga-dveshas and sets one on the path of freeing oneself from samsara.
  • Once one understands and sets on the path of Karma Yoga, there is no stopping. Even if the journey is not completed in this lifetime, it is continued in the next as we will see in the 6th chapter.

Verse 2.41

vyavasayatmika buddhirekeha kurunandana | bahusakha hyanantasca buddhayo’vyavasayinam ||

  • From verse 41 to 46, Krishna talks about those who have and those who do not have clarity with regard to one’s purpose in life. We already saw in the introduction that in reality there is only one purushartha, fundamental pursuit in life and that is moksha. Even though artha and kama are accepted as fundamental pursuits, they are special expressions of the pursuit of moksha, in the sense that the seeking of freedom from insecurity and sorrow is common to all. In moksha the seeking is to its end whereas in artha and kama, the seeking is endless.
  • Those who have ascertained that their fundamental pursuit in life is moksha, permanent freedom from insecurity and sorrow, are called mumukshus. Such mumukshus have what is called in this verse as vyavasayatmika buddhi. vyavasaya here means niscaya or clarity. A buddhi that is clear is like a river with well-defined banks that flows along its direction without meandering all over. Vyavasayatmika buddhi is also described as nischayatmika buddhi or eka buddhi.
  • On the contrary, the buddhi of those who do not have clarity with regard to the fundamental pursuit of life, meanders all over and take on countless pursuits. bahushakhaah means having too many branches, channels, expressions, pursuits. anantaah means countless in number.
  • We will further see how such people lacking clarity of purpose look upon even the Vedas in accordance to their ragas and dveshas, in the coming verses.

om tat sat


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