Gita Study: Class 31


Topics for today:

  1. Opening prayers and Gita Dhyanam
  2. Chapter 2 verse 47 continued

 Highlights of today’s class:

Verse 2.47 (continued from last class)

karmanyevadhikaraste ma phalesu kadacana | ma karmaphalaheturbhurma te sango’stvakarmani ||

Recognition of Isvara (recap):

  • A Karma Yogi has an understanding of the scheme in which karma and karma-phalas function.
  • As a jiva, the doer is limited in terms of knowledge and power. If the jiva had power over results, it would always be successful. There would be no illnesses or accidents whatsoever. If results of actions are not in the control of a jiva, under whose control are they?
  • We find that the universe we live in is governed by numerous laws. There are physical laws, biological laws, psychological laws, physiological laws and so on.
  • The author of these laws in creation is Isvara, the Lord, the all-intelligent being, Brahman. The law of Karma is one such law which determines the results of actions performed. The result is produced by this law and the law itself is produced by Isvara. Isvara is therefore the karma-phala-daata, the dispenser of results of karma.

Nature of Isvara:

  • Veda reveals further the nature of Isvara. Veda says that Isvara, the author of the laws of the universe including the law of karma, is both the nimitta-karana and upadana-karana of the jagat, the universe.
  • Nimitta-karana means the efficient cause. For example in the making of a pot out of clay, the potter is the nimitta-karana.
  • Upadana-karana means the material cause. In the example of making a pot out of clay, the clay is the upadana-karana.
  • The uniqueness of Vedantic vision of creation lies in recognizing this non-separateness of nimitta and upadana karanas of jagat. Isvara is the abhinna-nimitta-upadana karana of jagat. Without this identity, logical issues arise in trying to explain that “a God, who resides in Heaven, created this world”. The logical issues are questions such as “Is Heaven within the world or outside the world? Who created the Heaven where God the creator resides? Using what material did God create the world? Who created that material?”
  • Isvara being the abhinna-nimitta-upadana-karana implies that Isvara is both the creator as well as the creation, the jagat.
  • Isvara is also described as sarvajna, all-knowing, sarva-shaktiman, all-powerful and also dayalu, compassionate.

Role of Isvara in human suffering:

  • If Isvara is compassionate, a question naturally arises as to why he created a world that has so much suffering in it?
  • Isvara provides the infrastructure necessary for jivas to act and experience outcomes of those actions. Jivas have free will due to which they choose how to act and certain results, both seen and unseen, accrue as a result. The specific situations a jiva is placed under is determined only by these results of actions performed by that jiva, sometimes called its destiny or prarabdhaIsvara is said to be the samanya-karana (common cause) of a jiva’s destiny since the karma, karma phala and jagat infrastructure is provided by Isvara, whereas that jiva’s own past karmas are the visesha-karana (particular cause) thereof.

Raga-dvesha psychology:

  • Entire Gita’s psychology is dealt with in terms of raga and dvesha alone. Ragas are likes and dveshas are dislikes.
  • People in samsara are in the clutches of raga-dveshas. Their raga-dveshas propel them to act and react in a certain way. The stronger one’s raga-dveshas, the stronger is one bound by them.
  • Karma-yoga is necessary to come out of the clutches of binding raga-dveshas.
  • Antah-karana-shuddhi is in the form of this relative freedom from binding raga-dveshas. This freedom is necessary for atmajnana to be assimilated.

om tat sat


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