Volume 13 - Issue 06
June 2015
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QUIZ ON GITA VAHINI -4

Right answer on your 1st attempt
3 Points
Right answer on your 2nd attempt
2 Points
Right answer on your 3rd attempt
1 Point

Part 01 || Part 02 || Part 03

 

In 1964-65, amidst touring the length and breadth of Andhra Pradesh and establishing the ashram in Brindavan, Bangalore, Bhagawan continued to take the pen and out came the glorious Stream of Divine Gospel – the Gita Vahini.

“The Gita is a text for spiritual practitioners, for it emphasises Sadhana, and spiritual attitudes, more than anything else. Every chapter lays down means and methods of reaching the goal of peace and harmony.... The Gita is as a boat, which takes man across from the self-imposed state of bondage to the freedom which is his nature. He is taken from darkness to light, from lustrelessness to splendour,” Swami wrote in his first article in this series which was published in Sanathana Sarathi, the ashram's magazine.

When it was compiled later into a book by Prof. Kasturi, in his introductory piece he urged all devotees to 'listen to these words with as much care and concentration as Arjuna had, even in the turmoil of a battle field, so that we too will declare when the book nears its final pages, "My delusion is dissolved; I have become aware of my reality, which is God."'

The Parthasarathi of yore in the present age as Sai Sanathana Sarathi retold the essence of the Gita in a manner and in the language best suited for the modern man. “This Gita Vahini is the same stream, refreshing and re-vitalising, brought by the same divine restorer to revivify man caught in the mesh of modern dialectics, in the pride of modern science, in the cynical scorn of modern superficiality. The teaching here set forth will comfort, console, and confer strength and faith,” Prof. Kasturi writes.

We in Radio Sai think that in this year of Bhagawan's 90th Birthday it would be an apt sadhana for all of us to revisit this timeless Song Celestial as directly told by the Timeless One Himself. This will definitely help us to find more peace within ourselves and in the world around us. Thus we have a Quiz on Gita Vahini which will continue as a serial through this year published on the website on the second week of every month. Do use this opportunity to dwell on the illuminating ideas that this sacred scripture grants to us so candidly and convincingly.

01. In Chapter 11 of The Gita Vahini, Swami continues to reveal how much Lord Krishna graced Arjuna by bestowing him with great wisdom for his spiritual growth:

“The Lord, who is the embodiment of love, realized the sincerity of the disciple, estimated his attainments, and then detailed to him the benefits and glory of Atmic wisdom. ‘Kauntheya,’ He said, ‘By means of wisdom you can see all beings in yourself and in Me. Then, duality and the consequent delusion will disappear, as darkness disperses before the rising sun.

“‘Arjuna, I know well your past and the background of your birth. Yours is no ordinary birth; you are born with divine accomplishments and heritage. I alone am aware of it, no one else. Since you are unaware of it, you are now condemning yourself as a sinner who kills kith and kin, teachers and elders!

“‘Even if you have sinned, are not sinners saved? Repentance is enough to transmute sin into sanctity. The Lord graciously accepts contrition and pours His blessings. The thief Rathnakara, who was engaged in acts of sin until the moment when wisdom dawned, became a saint through repentance. Didn’t he become the sage Valmiki? His story is proof of the value of contrition. You may ask whether it is enough to be free from the effects of sin. Shouldn’t the effects of virtuous deeds also be given up? Why, one has the freedom to give up merits of such deeds, although one may not have equal freedom to give up the demerit of evil deeds. The roaring forest fire reduces to ashes everything in its way; so too, the mighty conflagration of wisdom will consume and destroy all sin and all good consequences.”

Lord Krishna then asserted: “To acquire this sacred spiritual wisdom, one thing is essential: Faith (sraddha) - steady faith in the scriptures, in the teachers, and in the acquisition of wisdom. Without _____________ born of faith, no task, however tiny, can be accomplished.”

02. In Chapter 22 of The Gita Vahini, Swami elaborates on some essentialities for practicing devotion.

“Lord Krishna said to Arjuna: ‘Devotion and hate are as fire and water; they cannot dwell together. I love those who feel no difference between grief and joy, affection and dislike, good and bad. If hate, in whatever form, in howsoever slight a quantity, resides in the heart, that person cannot be a devotee. The devotee must be convinced that ‘all this is God (Vasudeva sarvam-idam)’. That is to say, one’s own Atma is everywhere and in everything; this truth must be realized, acted upon, and experienced. Hating another is hating oneself; scorning another is but scorning oneself; finding fault with another is finding fault with oneself,’ Krishna continued.

“Readers might be troubled by a doubt on this point. Can the mere absence of hatred or contempt of another endow one with the full consciousness of the truth of ‘all this is God’? No; the mere absence of hate, etc. cannot secure the ‘Dweller within’ and the bliss of recognizing Him. That will not win the grace of the Lord.

“The task of the farmer who cultivates the crop is a good example of this; if you pay attention to this, the truth will be known and doubts will vanish. Before sowing the seed on a plot of land, the farmer removes all the wild growth, the bush, the scrub, and the other small growths. But that is not enough to bring the harvest home. The plot has to be ploughed and partitioned, watered, and made ready for the sowing; then the sprouts have to be fostered and guarded into maturity until the crop ripens. Then it can be collected and garnered in the granary.

“Similarly, the thorny bushes of affection, hate, envy, pride, etc. have to be uprooted from the region of the heart, and the field has to be ploughed by means of ‘good deeds’. Then the saplings of bliss (ananda) have to be planted therein; the growing crop has to be fostered attentively by discipline and faith; at last, as a result of all this effort, the harvest of bliss will fill one’s granary. The mere removal of hate from the heart will not ensure bliss. Love too should be cultivated. That is to say, uproot hate and plant love. Hill and anthill, tree and twig, mud and mountain - what do these hate? They have no dislikes. But for that reason, do we ascribe devotion to them all? We do not, for that would be absurd. The devotee must first be full of love and free from hate. Besides, the love must express itself as service to the distressed and the grieving, declared Gopala.

“Arjuna was listening to all this with great attention. Then he asked, ‘Krishna! Are these three enough? Or are there any more to be followed and practiced? Please tell me.’ Krishna replied, ‘The removal of hate and the planting of love have achieved only the first stage. As soon as the sprouts have appeared, the two processes of ______________ have to be followed.”

 

03. In Chapter 21 of The Gita Vahini, Swami continues to help us learn great details of how to enhance our devotion: “It is through the weighing of pros and cons that valuable conclusions are reached. Consider, for example, the difference between bhakthi (devotion) as described in popular usage and bhakthi as declared by the Lord. Popularly, bhakthi is described as genuine devotion of the Lord. But it connotes much more than this.

“Devotion to the Lord is only a form of discipline to reach the goal. Seekers should not stop with acquisition of devotion; they should pay attention not so much to the devotion or love that they have toward the Lord but to the love and grace that the Lord bestows on them! They must be always eager to find out which behaviour, what acts of them will be most pleasing to the Lord, which actions will fill the Lord with bliss (ananda). Inquire about that, yearn for that, carry out the things that will secure that objective, be engaged in acts conducive to gain it, that is real devotion (bhakthi).

“But people generally do not follow this ideal of devotion, nor do they think about its implications. They pay attention only to the love that the devotee has to the Lord, and, in the process, they do not pay much attention to the dharma and action that the Lord approves or appreciates! This is why Krishna says, ‘Action that pleases the Lord is superior to action that fulfils the yearnings of the devotee.’ Whatever devotees do or think or plan or observe should draw down the grace of God. Devotees should not be subject to their own will; they should be in accordance with His will. Devotees must test every thought and feeling on the touchstone of the Lord’s declared preferences.”

Swami also reveals: “Devotion is to be identified as the discipline that removes egotism and the limitations of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. That is why the devotee is defined by those who know as one who is ‘_____________’ from God.”

 

04. In Chapter 21 of The Gita Vahini, Swami stresses on the importance of practicing pure devotion: “For many, devotion is a veil that is worn when on pilgrimage, when approaching elders, or when visiting temples. Once back home, they discard the veil, and with it all ideas and feelings of reverence for the Lord.

“These are but exhibitionist stunts. Devotion, however, has to be steady and full; it is the establishment of the mind in the Lord, under all situations, at all times. Many assert that all their acts are dedicated to God (Deva) but their attitude shows that they are dedicated only to the body (deha). Instead of dedicating their acts to God, they dedicate them to themselves, the bodies with which they ignorantly identify themselves. They assert, ‘This I offer to Krishna,’ but really, it is an offering to their son. They declare ‘This is an offering to Rama,’ but their urge reveals that it is an offering to their sense of attachment and passion (raga). How can these acts be dignified by the word 'dedication or offering'?

“Dedication inspires the body, mind, and speech. If what you speak is not approved by the mind, if what is felt in the mind is not whole-heartedly put into action, then it becomes sheer hypocrisy. Be convinced that the doer, the deed, and the doing are all He; be devoted to Him, rather than to riches, wife, and children.”

According to Swami, “Devotion is a matter of _______________, of feeling rather than external behaviour or conduct.”



 

05. In Chapter 21, Swami also describes the different types of devotees:

“The question that Arjuna asked drew these further answers: Of course, there are two different types of devotees, the votary of the Formful (sa-guna) One and the votary of the Formless (nir-guna). Among the devotees, the distressed (artha), the poor (artha-arthi) and the inquirer (jijnasu) are all eager about the nameful and formful aspects of Godhead. Just as for every auspicious act, the right foot is placed first, the right foot of devotion of the formless (nir-guna-bhakthi) must be used for the attainment of liberation. That is the ‘all auspicious’. That is to say, the spiritual discipline of the formless Godhead alone gives illumination. Both aspects have value and are indispensable. How long can anyone have one foot inside and another outside? Even if that were possible, of what avail is it? So devotion of the form (sa-guna-bhakthi) has to be adopted as a spiritual discipline and devotion of the formless is the goal to be reached.

“Either you can see the whole universe as God (viswa as Visweswara) or you can see the universe and God as separate and distinct. But both are the same. You may see the cloth as yarn or you may see yarn and cloth as separate. But whether you realize it or not, yarn is cloth and cloth is yarn. Seeing yarn and cloth as distinct is contemplation (upasana) of God with attributes (sa-guna). Seeing yarn as included in the cloth and the cloth as a collection of yarn, and the two as identical, is contemplation of the formless aspect.”

Swami then says: “Devotion is not something that can be imported from somewhere; it is not something that is supplied by someone. It does not grow from the ground or fall from the skies. It _____________; it is selfless attachment to the Lord.”


06. In Chapter 13 of The Gita Vahini, Swami helps us search within for our own level of devotion:

“Now, a doubt may arise about the one who turns to the Lord to relieve their own suffering. The question may be raised whether such a person can be called a devotee. No single person on earth is free from some want or other. Each depends on someone or other to fulfil their wants, is it not? Now, to have such wants, wants relating to objects, is itself wrong; and to lean on a person like oneself to fulfil them is an even greater wrong. The one who turns to the Lord to relieve suffering turns not to people but to the Lord, who is trusted and revered: that one implores Him only to fulfill them. Although it is wrong to cultivate wants, such a person avoids the greater wrong of putting trust on inferior instruments. Such a person is superior, right? The superiority of this attitude can be seen when you know that it is not what you want that is important but whom you ask for its fulfilment. The goal is the Lord; He is the Giver. His Grace alone can confer boons - when this faith is fixed, you can be certain that the one who turns to God to relieve their suffering is really worthy.

“The first three types of devotees mentioned in the Gita - the suffering (artha), the seekers of material possessions (artha-arthi), and the seeker of wisdom (jijnasu) - all adore the Lord in an implicit form, as the Unseen (Paroksha). They seek the Lord as a means for realizing their desires or goals. Of course, they will always be in a prayerful and worshipful mood and will remember the Lord at all times. The spiritually wise one (jnani), the fourth type of devotee mentioned in the Gita, has one-pointed devotion, while the others have devotion to multiple objects or states; the others are attached to the objects or the states they desire and for their sake are attached to the Lord also. They are devoted not merely to the Lord, but also to the objective world.”

According to Swami, “In the Gita, Krishna declared 'Vaasudeva is all this (Vaasudevah sarvam)' to be the king of mantras...That one mantra is sufficient to save all mankind...That is the highest good, the ______________.”


07. In Chapter 10 of The Gita Vahini, Swami reveals how Lord Krishna teaches Arjuna the qualifications that both a Guru and a disciple should possess:

“Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, ‘The aspirant for wisdom must have not only devotion and faith; they should also be simple and pure. They should not grow impatient and irritate the teacher. Haste ruins chances of success. Whatever the Guru says should be practiced and experienced.

“Don’t try out every single item of advice that you hear or learn, thus changing your spiritual discipline as fancy takes hold, even from the desire to become a wise one quickly. Doing thus, you will only end up completely ignorant. Why, it is sometimes preferable to remain an ignorant, for such people tend to end up in madness. Therefore, one has to be very careful.

“You must try to please the Guru and win favour by obeying orders and serving lovingly. You should have no other thought than the Guru’s welfare and happiness. Give up all else and win the Guru’s grace; then, wisdom is yours. Instead, if you are disobedient and critical through egotism and want of faith, you cannot be blessed by the vision of the truth, and you will be plunged into gloom.

“Just as the cow upon seeing her calf takes it near, so too the Guru will draw the disciple to his presence and give the disciple the milk of grace. The disciple ought to be of sterling character; then, just as a clean piece of iron will be attracted by the magnet, the disciple will receive the immediate attention of the teacher.

“Disciples can inquire into the qualifications of the Guru. In fact, they ought to, for they need a teacher. Arjuna! I shall describe the characteristics that a teacher should possess. The teacher must have not merely book knowledge but the wisdom derived through direct experience. The teacher must be established in the reality, that is, in the steady contemplation of Brahman (Brahma-nishta).

“Mere knowledge of the scriptures is incompetent to grant liberation; it can at best help in gaining a living. Why, there are some who by sheer self-experience have won liberation, without a grain of knowledge of the scriptures. But such people cannot save disciples who are pestered by doubt; they cannot understand their difficulties and sympathize with them.’”

Lord Krishna also tells Arjuna: “No one can claim the name by wandering over the country and learning to argue. Instead, through _________________, the Guru should possess the power to uplift disciples and put them on the track of spiritual disciplines prescribed by the scriptures.”


08. In Chapter 10 of The Gita Vahini, Swami continues to share Lord Krishna’s dialogue with Arjuna with regards to how to be wary of ‘showy’ Gurus:

“Many unwary spiritual aspirants are attracted by the magic of words and the verbal gymnastics of showy ‘Gurus’. The ‘Gurus’ may be called pundits and may give lectures; but, just because of this, they do not become entitled to grant the boon of wisdom. That can be done only by Avatars, people who represent divine attributes and glory, and wise people who have attained the highest good of spiritual discipline and have tasted the supreme bliss, who have realized the Absolute.

“It is no use claiming a fraction of this or that experience. The experience must be of the Full and itself full. Those who know only a fraction will take you up to a certain point and leave you there, in the middle region, like Thrisanku, who was hung between heaven and earth.

“The Guru must study the virtues and qualities of aspirants who seek guidance; the Guru must not be moved or prejudiced by their wealth, status, or position. The Guru must be able to judge the aspirants’ hearts, their real nature. The Guru must act as the alarm clock for disciples who are caught in the sleep of ignorance. If the Guru is a miser and the disciple is a sloth, woe be to both.”

According to Swami: “The natures of the Gurus and disciples of today are in keeping with the low standards of today. In ancient times, a Guru could be found only with great difficulty; thousands of eager seekers searched the forests for them, for they were so _______________.”


09. In Chapter 11 of The Gita Vahini, Swami continues to alert genuine Guru/disciple seekers:

“How can such coddled, comfort-loving persons attain liberation? If Gurus are not able to secure such disciples, why should the Gurus deplore their fate? It is strange that there are Gurus who lament when they are not able to attract such disciples! Opium eaters and marijuana smokers are unfit to be Gurus. They are cheats. How can those who spend all their energies in securing the wherewithal for their living be Gurus? How can those who seek to fulfil their sensual fancies be disciples? These are money Gurus, those are pride disciples! To consider such as Gurus and disciples is to drag those holy names into the dust of disgrace.

“Who, then, is the genuine Guru? It is he who teaches the path of destroying delusion (moha). And who is the genuine disciple? It is he who seeks to control and conquer the outward fleeing mind. The Gurus of today shout every day from platforms what they stuffed into their heads the previous day under the midnight lamp. Their performance is only like regurgitating the food once swallowed, and nothing more. They talk like parrots, reproducing what they have learned by rote. Even children know that greed and anger have to be mastered; but in these people, greed, anger, envy, hatred, lust, and pride pop into their devilish heads through every little word they utter, every little deed they do. If those who claim to be Gurus do not themselves master these propensities, how can the unfortunate disciples who resort to them succeed?”

Describing a few genuine qualities, Swami then shares certain pointers while seeking a Guru: “If the Guru is supremely _____________, seeking to sustain truth, saturated with selflessness, seeing all people as equal..... - then perhaps a few disciples will gather around.


10. In Chapter 7 of The Gita Vahini, Swami makes us realize what an inspiration Arjuna is as an ideal devotee! Swami says:

“If Arjuna were an individual like others, he could not be the recipient and transmitter of this great teaching. So, you must infer that Arjuna was really a great man. He is a hero who has defeated not merely the outer foes, but even the inner ones. Weak hearts cannot grasp the Gita and put it into practice. It is with this full knowledge and this high purpose that Krishna selected Arjuna as the vehicle and showered on him His Grace.

“Once, while Krishna was conversing intimately with Arjuna, He made this statement (note the over-powering grace that Krishna showed!): ‘Arjuna, you are My closest devotee. Not only that; you are My dearest friend. I have no friend as dear as you are. That is why I taught you this supreme, secret teaching.’

“Reflect on this. Many in the world are only self-styled devotees. The Lord has not accepted them as such. To get the title from the Lord Himself is great good-fortune, and that is the highest credential. The devotee must melt the heart of the Lord and get from Him the acknowledgement of devotion. If the title is taken by oneself, it gives paltry satisfaction, not genuine joy. Arjuna was the only person who got the title of devotee from the Lord Himself. So you can understand how pure-hearted, how deserving Arjuna was. You might say a hundred things about yourself; you might advance this claim and that; but you must show the acknowledgement from the Lord. Without that, all your talk is empty boast; devotion must be won by implicit obedience. But that alone is not sufficient. That is also why Krishna uses the word ‘friend (mithra)’. The friend has no fear; that makes him a more perfect recipient.

In Chapter 11 of The Gita Vahini, Swami makes us realize: “To dwell on the sacred Guru-disciple bond of Krishna-Arjuna in the same breath with the relationship of the present day ‘Gurus’ and ‘disciples’ would be a sacrilege. They are unique, incomparable, this Supreme pair, unapproachable by any other. They have to be taken as the ideal by all teachers and aspirants.

“Arjuna bowed in humility and carried out sincerely the precepts of the Guru. Krishna fostered what was really beneficial to Arjuna; He paid full consideration to what would really promote the reputation, Atmic bliss, and dharma of Arjuna; He tended him and fended for him as the very breath of His life. That was the type of Guru the Lord was for him.”

Swami then glorifies the ideal Guru Lord Krishna was to Arjuna: “Krishna is _____________; He watched over Arjuna as one watches over the eye or the heart. He taught holiness and transformed into holiness; He loved and was loved beyond compare. That makes the Guru a genuine Guru.”



 

 

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