Topics for today:
- Opening prayers and Gita Dhyanam
- Chapter 2 verse 59-61
Highlights of today’s class:
visaya vinivartante niraharasya dehinah | rasavarjam rasopyasya param drstva nivartate ||
- In the previous verse, the importance of withdrawing one’s sense organs and mind at will, just as a turtle withdraws its limbs, was talked about. A possible question may arise here that withdrawal of sense organs could be accomplished by a number of people, including even a sick person who has no attraction towards sense pleasures due to his sickness, or a striving yogi devoid of knowledge of the self. But in such people, longing will still remain for sense pleasures, therefore they cannot be said to be wise people.
- Addressing this possible question, Krishna says in this verse that even longing for sense pleasures go away when the mumukshu knows the self or Brahman. A sthitaprajna knows the self therefore for him or her, this longing is also absent.
Intellectual and Emotional values:
- An emotional value is a subjective value, different from an intellectual value which is objective. Intellectually our analysis can be clean, “these sense objects do not contain any joy or security. I am secure and remain so, whether I have sense objects or not, whether I have money or not. Therefore i need to discover security within myself.” Even though we may know this intellectually, we may still have emotional value for money and other sense objects.
- For example money has an objective value, in that it provides a house, health, other necessities and comforts. Money usually has a subjective, emotional value, in that is often is used to measure success.
- Emotional value is very important and must be recognized as such. Emotion is part of our lives, a part of our expression. Therefore we cannot dismiss it, nor is it necessary to do so. An emotion needs to be respected because it has a power that can be overpowering. We can be completely overpowered by emotion and, therefore we need to know how to tackle it.
- Emotional value or rasa can be removed by steadiness in knowledge of the self, or in samyag-darsana alone. Therefore Krishna says, “param drstva rasah api nivartate“. “May you work on gaining this steady vision of the truth, again and again”, is what is meant here.
- In Sankara’s words, “na asati samyagdarsane rasasya ucchedah, tasmat samyagdarsanatmikayah prajnayah stairyam kartavyam“, meaning, “in absence of clear and steady vision of the truth, the rasa will not be neutralized, therefore steadiness in right vision, samyag-darsana, is to be gained”.
- We will learn more on how to gain this steadiness in right vision in verse 61 when we see the meaning of “asita matparah“.
Suppression vs Meaningful discipline:
- Sankara clarifies in his bhashya that value, rasa, for sense objects could be there for a person with viveka i.e. a viveki as well as a person without viveka i.e. an aviveki or for even for a fool, murkhah. In all cases sense organs are withdrawn from sense objects, yet the value for them remains (rasa varjam visaya vinivartante).
- In the case of a viveki, there is no intellectual value for sense objects whereas for the aviveki, there is intellectual value as well. Therefore an aviveki’s attempts to withdraw sense organs without pursuing self-knowledge amounts to suppression. When a viveki who pursues self-knowledge and is judicious about his or her present pursuits, withdraws the senses, there is no suppression. The viveki is only living a life of meaningful discipline.
yatato hyapi kounteya purusasya vipascitah | indriyani pramathini haranti prasabham manah ||
- In this verse, Krishna gives the reason why it is important to keep one’s sense organs under one’s control. He says that if they are not kept under control, they could hijack one’s mind even though one may be striving for steady vision of the truth.
- Swami Jyotirmayanandaji in our class gave an illustration of keeping the lights on, so that thieves do not enter. There is no use complaining that thieves came, when we did not take the precaution of keeping the lights on. Similarly knowing that the mind could be carried away by the fancies triggered by sense organs, a seeker of truth must keep them under check. Only when the senses are under one’s control can steadiness in knowledge be accomplished.
- The persons described here are called vipascitah – those who see clearly, and yatayah – those who make efforts. As long as rasa or emotional value is there, the sense organs will continue to take charge of their minds. We saw this in the prior verse.
- Rasa can be overcome only by gaining steadiness, sthairya, in self-knowledge. We will see how this is done, in the next verse.
tani sarvani samyamya yukta asita matparah | vase hi yasyendriyani tasya prajna pratisthita ||
- In this verse Lord Krishna advises the vipascit, yati of the prior verse as follows, “Withdrawing the senses may he sit committed to me, Isvara“.
- “tani sarvani samyamya” suggests dama, control of sense organs.
- “yuktah” suggests sama, or ability to focus one’s mind.
- “asita matparah” means, “may he sit committed to me” or “may be sit in contemplation of me”.
- matparah is one for whom Isvara is the goal, or one who is committed to Isvara. mat means “in me”. “Me” here refers to Isvara who is the innermost self of all beings. In Gita wherever Krishna refers to himself in uttama purusha (Sanskrit equivalent of what is first-person in English grammar), it is to be understood as referring to Isvara, or Vasudeva, who is the innermost presence of all beings, as their own Self.
“Contemplate on me”:
- We have seen above what “me” means. “me” means Isvara who is the innermost presence of all beings as their own self.
- The truth taught by Vedanta is “tat tvam asi” or “aham brahma asmi” or “I am the sat-chit-ananda atma“. This is the truth to be contemplated upon.
- “I am not different from Isvara who is the innermost self of all beings” – is the contemplation. In Sankara’s words, “tasmat aham na anyah“.
Necessity for Contemplation:
- Firmness of self-knowledge requires constant contemplation through which alone rasa towards sense objects goes.
- To know how to contemplate one must know what the reality as taught by Vedanta is. For this, one must do adequate sravana – listening to scripture and manana – reflecting on what is heard. Contemplation is called as “nididhyasana“. Sravana-manana-nididhyasana form the three limbs of Jnana sadhana.
- The purpose of contemplation is to neutralize viparita bhavana or one’s prior conditioning which is opposed to what Vedanta teaches.
- In contemplation one sits and sees oneself as the pratyagatma, inner self, from different angles as taught by Vedanta, viz. the limitless-self – purna-atma, the detached self – asanga-atma, the self as witness – saksi-atma, the action-free self – akartr-atma, the self that is free from the sense of being an enjoyer – abhoktr-atma, the self that is ever-full – ananda-atma, etc.
- By contemplating upon oneself, atma in this manner, rasas will go. When I know, ‘I am all this’, rasa cannot be there.
om tat sat