Volume 11 - Issue 01
january 2013
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QUIZ ON GITA VAHINI - Part 01

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

Go to Part 02

 

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 1 of the Gita Vahini, Bhagawan teaches us the importance of having respect and value for The Gita:

“The Gita is of universal and eternal value. To study the Gita is to learn the art of swimming across the sea of delusion. The Gita is the very voice of Lord Krishna. The fact that it has provided consolation and liberation to millions of people is evidence of its divine origin. A lesser person could not have given it that authenticity.

“The way it begins and ends gives a clue to the subject that it expounds. The very first verse starts with the words 'in the dharma-field, in the battle-field (dharma-kshethre, kuru-kshethre)', with dharma (righteous action) being the leading word. The last verse of the final eighteenth chapter speaks of 'wherever the Master of Yoga, Krishna (yathra yogeswarah Krishnah)', and the phrase 'Master of yoga' sums up the dharma that is taught. Thus, it is clear that the objective of the teaching in the Gita is just this: Remember dharma; practice dharma.

"Arjuna is the individual (jivi). The body is the chariot and the teacher in the chariot is Krishna, the Lord. The charioteer is the Lord, the inspirer of the intelligence, the Brahman that prompts the intelligence, in answer to the prayer contained in the Gayatri Mantra: 'Awaken my discrimination, oh Lord, and guide me'. The Kauravas represent the demonic nature; the Pandavas, the divine. Those are evil; these are good. And there has always been a struggle between the two. In this conflict between opposing forces, Krishna (the divine Self, the Atma) is always on the side of dharma - the reality that sustains, not the delusion that undermines. If you seek to have the Lord on your side as your guide, equip yourself with divine nature, the qualities of dharma. For the Lord is where dharma is.

"Of course, this does not mean that the Lord is not omnipresent! Butter is omnipresent in milk, although it can be made manifest in one location, in the milk, only by the processes of curdling and churning. So too, the Lord can be made manifest in a specific location by the process of righteous spiritual discipline.

'Where there is dharma, victory is achieved (yatho dharma-sthatho jayah).' Arjuna was engrossed with the physical aspect, so it was necessary to bless him with the knowledge of the real, the Atmic aspect. The entire complex of spiritual discipline is directed to the clarification of the awareness of Atma and the fixing of attention on That. The teaching of Krishna is just this; in fact, this is the sum and substance of the search for truth.”

According to Baba, “The Gita begins with the yoga of despondency (vishada) and ends with the yoga of renunciation or detachment
(sanyasa). Despondency is the foundation; renunciation, the superstructure. Despondency is the seed; renunciation, the ________________”

  B. The Water


02. In Chapter 1 of the Gita Vahini, Baba gives us a glimpse of Lord Krishna’s need for guiding all humanity using Arjuna as His Divine instrument:

Any individual, however scholarly, cannot escape delusion and therefore is subjected to grief, which acts as a brake upon activity. Arjuna, the great hero, capable of great renunciation and of great wisdom, is deluded by the awful needs of war, and his grief handicaps his activity too.

He confuses the body with the Self; he starts identifying the two. He imposes on the Atma (the never-changing divine Self or Spirit) the unreal and ephemeral nature of the world and takes this delusion as true. He believes that his worldly activities, according to that false identification, are his Atmic nature (Atma-dharma)! This is the tragedy not only of Arjuna but of all humanity!”

In Chapter 2, Bhagavan thereby elaborates on Arjuna’s self-described plight-filled condition: “Arjuna asks Krishna, 'Oh Madhusudana! Listen to my words: Those who are in the forefront of the battle line are all worthy of worship. The great Bhishma took care of us when we lost our father, brought us up from childhood, and shaped us into what we are. He is as a father to us, the grand old man of our clan. And what shall I say of Drona? He loved me more than he loved his own son, Aswathama; I had all his love. He is the Guru who, through that love, took me as his favourite disciple and made me into the bowman that I am. Do You want me now to use the skill he taught me to overthrow him? Is it right for a son of India to do such a thing? In battle we have to kill our enemies, don’t we? Or can we fight with fathers and teachers, who deserve reverence?'”

Noting Arjuna’s state of mind, Baba makes us aware: “The reason for all this, if you study the situation carefully, is nothing but ___________.”

 

03. In Chapter 2 of the Gita Vahini, Baba explains:

The first chapter is better named 'Arjuna Gita', rather than Krishna Gita. Overcome by sorrow and delusion, Arjuna turns from war and keeps his weapons aside. He is dejected in his chariot, halted between the two opposing forces. He turns this way and that, puzzled and perturbed. He surveys the faces of his kith and kin; he is overcome by pity. His famous bow slips from his grasp, and he is too weak to stand or even sit; his mind wanders into the dictates of the purva mimamsa school of thought (a theology that interprets the action/ritual oriented portion of the Vedas). He swears he will not engage in fighting.

Arjuna had teardrops falling down his cheeks. There were whirlpools in his eyes. Even the Lord could not bear the sight; He could not remain silent. He felt Arjuna’s pulse beat and diagnosed the malady. He knew in a trice that the malady of delusion caused by false evaluation had penetrated his three bodies: the gross, the subtle, and the causal. He saw that the pity that enveloped Arjuna was not genuine. For, genuine pity will be endowed with divine elevating impulses and motives; it will not disregard the orders of the Lord. Egotism was really under this veil of pity. So the Lord decided to cure him of that weakness. Arjuna was helplessly 'overwhelmed by pity (kripayaa vishtham)', the Gita says, and that had to be cured.

Just as a spirit entering a person has to be exorcised, Arjuna has to be freed from fear and cowardice. People who have the Lord by their side need entertain no fear. What can any spirit do to one who is the Lord of all the five elements (bhuthas)? The Lord is the supreme doctor. Narayana was the doctor Arjuna needed and got. How lucky Arjuna was! Even from the depths of grief, joy will swell.”

According to Baba, “The Bhagavad Gita starts from this point. Up to this point, it is the description of Arjuna’s delusion born of ignorance and dullness of intellect. Krishna acting the role of _________________ allowed the despondency to deepen and darken.”

 

04. In Chapter 1, Baba had already explained:

Krishna answered many doubts that had entangled Arjuna but that he failed to express. 'Oh Arjuna! You are grieving because these kings and princes who are related to you are about to meet death at your hands. You talk glibly of dharma. But remember, the wise mourn neither for the living nor for the dead. Shall I tell you why? Well, you are feeling grief over the body, which alone decays on death. Did you grieve when the body underwent many changes hitherto? The child disappeared in the boy, the boy disappeared in the youth, the youth became lost in the middle-aged man, the middle-aged man was lost in the old man, and the old man is lost in death. You never wept for the changes that affected the body so far, so why weep for this one change?

"Today, do you have the body you had when you were a boy? Where is that frame you had when you tied up Dhrishtadyumna? You still remember that boyish exploit, but the body that achieved it is gone! So too, whatever changes your may body suffer, the Atma, the splendour of the true wisdom, remains immortal. Being established unshakably in this knowledge is the sign of the truly wise.

You may ask whether one would not feel sad when the bodies with which one moved and lived for years go out of sight. But for how many have you to lament, in case it is proper so to grieve? Have you thought of that? Joy and grief are as day and night. They have to be put up with, gone through. If you refuse, they won’t stop happening; if you desire, they won’t start happening! Both are related to the physical, material, the body; they do not affect the spirit, the soul. The moment you escape from these two you have liberation (moksha).”

In Chapter 3, Bhagawan reveals that the wound that will not be healed by external application of balms has to be cured by internal remedies. Krishna prodded Arjuna with queries. “Why do you weep like a coward? Is it because Bhishma, Drona, and the rest are about to be killed? No, you weep because you feel they are ‘your men’. Egotism makes you weep. People weep not for the dead but because the dead are ‘theirs’. Have you not killed until now many who were ‘not yours’? You never shed a tear for them. Today, you weep, since you are under the delusion that those whom you see before you are somehow ‘yours’ in a special way.”

To remove Arjuna’s delusion, Baba shares what Lord Krishna prods Arjuna with: “To cure this ignorance, I must administer the medicine of ________________ itself.”



 

05. In Chapter 2 of The Gita Vahini, Baba had revealed what bought about Arjuna’s surrender when Arjuna confessed:

'My warrior blood rises up in protest when you prod it so; it is pushing me forward into battle. Fear of becoming the murderer of these revered elders is pulling me back. I am helpless. As you guide this chariot, guide me also and show me the way. Moreover, I am no longer concerned with worldly prosperity; I crave only spiritual progress.'

Krishna used four words in this context: faintheartedness (kasmalam), ignoble nature (an-aarya-jushtam), the quality that destroys the Divine in humans (a-swargyam), and the quality that causes the decline of the fame that is lasting (a-keerthi-karam).

"These inspiring words, which would make the blood of any warrior boil, had a tremendous effect on Arjuna. The thick cloud of ignorance that had overwhelmed Arjuna started to melt a little. The dullness (thamas) that had made him forget the truth was removed; passion (rajoguna) returned, and Arjuna found words to ask, 'How?' That term reveals much - it shows that the Gita expounds not merely on what has to be done but even on how it has to be done.

From that moment, Krishna became the guru and Arjuna the disciple. Arjuna prayed for that status and got it. Until Arjuna accepted this attitude of a learner, his heart was filled with egotism and weakness. The hero had become a zero. He had taken a position the very opposite of that taken up by Krishna. He surrendered his judgement to the Lord and saved himself. He said he was but an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Recognizing one’s error is the first excellence of a good disciple; it is the beginning of wisdom. Only the foolish will feel they know all and suffer from the dire disease of a swelled head.”

In Chapter 3, Baba acknowledges that Arjuna thus rose to the height of absolute self-surrender (saranagathi - the state called prapatthi). “Much can be said of absolute self-surrender. People surrender their dignity and status to others for various purposes in life: wealth, fame, possessions, pomp, power, etc. But rarely do they get the chance to surrender to the Lord for the sake of the Lord! How can one get the urge as long as one craves the world and not its basis? One longs for the object, but not for the base on which the object rests. How long can a baseless object satisfy? One wants the gift but not the giver, the created but not the Creator, things from the hand but not the hand! One is running after a non-existent thing. Can there be an object without a pre-existent cause? No; if there is a cause, it can be only the uncaused God. Therefore, it is sheer ignorance to surrender individuality for the sake of the transitory products of action, the 'caused' rather than the cause. Surrender rather to the Basis, the Cause of all causes, the Origin of All. That is genuine self-surrender.”

Baba explains: “The term surrendering devotee (prapanna) used there indicates that Arjuna has the qualification, the ____________ of devotion.”


06. Elaborating further on the mightiness of the act of surrender, in Chapter 1 of The Gita Vahini, Baba quotes Lord Krishna’s promise:

Isn’t this act of surrender enough to save you and to liberate you from the round of coming into, staying in, and leaving the world? Here is what the Lord seeks from you: Seeing Him in every being, being aware of Him every moment of existence, and being immersed in the bliss (ananda) of this awareness. Also, being merged in the relation caused by profound devotion and love to Him. And, dedicating all acts, big and small, to Him, Krishna. Wish, will, attitude, activity, fruit, consequence - dedicating everything from beginning to end. Finally, renunciation of all attachment to the self and performance of all acts in a spirit of worshipful non-attachment. This is what the Lord seeks from you.

Of course, it is hard to effect this full surrender. But if you make but the slightest effort toward it, the Lord Himself will confer the courage to pursue it to the end. He will walk with you and help you as a friend; He will lead you as a guide; He will guard you from evil and temptation; He will be your staff and support. He has said, this course of action, if followed even to a small extent, will save you from terrifying fear. Swalpamapyasya dharmasya thrayathe mahatho bhayath.”

In Chapter 3, we notice that Krishna condemns outright two objections that were haunting Arjuna for so long, saying that the destruction of the body does not mean the destruction of the Atma and that he is grieving for those for whom he need not grieve. 'You talk like a wise man (prajnaa vaadaamscha bhaashase). You say this is dharma and the other is not, as if you really know how to distinguish them,' said Krishna."

According to Baba, “It is attachment to the body that produces grief as well as its immediate precursors: ________________.”


07. In Chapter 14 of the Gita Vahini, Lord Krishna helps Arjuna in getting rid of his grief:

'Arjuna! Everyone is anxious to avoid old age and death; that is human nature. But of what avail is mere anxiety? One’s conduct and behaviour should be in accordance with one’s objective. If one has sincere yearning, and if one places full trust in and faithfully surrenders to the Lord, the fog of grief will be dispersed by the rays of His grace. If, on the other hand, one places trust on the objects of this world, the consequent grief will never end; nor can it be ended by any other than the Lord. Serve the Master of delusion, the designer of all this dreamland, rather than the dream itself. How can attachment to delusion yield anything but disappointment? How can joy be won by such pursuits? If joy is not won and grief avoided, how can liberation be achieved?” Krishna asked.

Then, Arjuna intervened. 'Krishna,' he said, 'Can’t such people attain you? You say that grief must be conquered before one can attain you. Well, what is the origin of that grief? How is it to be tackled? How does it arise? How can one try to overcome it without knowing its origin and course of development? Please tell me how this grief arises in the human mind.'

'Listen, Arjuna,' Krishna condescended to reply. 'The source of all types of sorrow is ignorance. You might now ask Me what the source of ignorance is. I shall tell you. It is identification with the body, the delusion that you are the body. This can be removed only by acquisition of right knowledge. To remove darkness, light is needed. You cannot frighten darkness away or make it yield by prayer or petition or protest. Unless light is on, darkness will not disappear, howsoever you may try. So too, ignorance will not disappear by merely wishing for its disappearance. Once you understand the nature and ramifications of this trait, this ignorance, the truth will be laid bare and grief will vanish. When ignorance goes, grief also goes. So attach yourself to Me, earn the light of true knowledge, and tread the path of no grief,' said Krishna.

'Listen, Arjuna! Between Me and this universe there moves delusion (maya). Delusion (maya) is a name for a ______________ phenomenon.”


08. In Chapter 13 of The Gita Vahini, Baba shares the knowledge that Lord Krishna imparts to Arjuna:

Arjuna, you might ask Me whether this delusion that pervades and injures the very place where it originates has not tarnished Me, in whom it has taken birth. It is natural that such a doubt should arise. But that is a baseless doubt. Delusion is the cause of all this objective world, but it is not the cause of God. I am the Authority that wields delusion. This world, which is the product of delusion, moves and behaves according to My will. So whoever is attached to Me and acts according to My will cannot be harmed by delusion. Delusion acknowledges their authority also.

The only method to overcome delusion is to acquire the wisdom of the Universal and re-discover our own Universal nature. You attribute the limit of life to that which is eternal, and this is what causes delusion. Hunger and thirst are characteristics of life. Joy and grief, impulse and imagination, birth and death are all characteristics of the body. They are all un-Atmic. They are not characteristics of the Universal, the Atma.

To believe that the Universal that is you is limited and subject to all these un-Atmic characteristics, that is delusion. But remember, delusion dares not approach anyone who has taken refuge in Me. For those who fix their attention on delusion, it operates as a vast oceanic obstacle. But for those who fix their attention on God, delusion will present itself as Madhava (God)! The hurdle of delusion can be crossed by developing either the attitude of oneness with the infinite God or the attitude of complete surrender to the Lord. The first is called the yoga of wisdom; the second, of devotion.

Not all people get the inner prompting to conquer delusion by surrendering their all to the Lord. It depends on the merit or demerit accumulated during many births. Those who have only demerit as their earnings will pursue the fleeting pleasures of the senses. Like the birds and the beasts, they revel in food and frolic; they take these as the purpose of life; they do not entertain any thoughts of God; they dislike the company of the virtuous and the good; they stray away from good acts; they become outlaws from the realm of God.

On the other hand, those who have earned merit strive to grow in virtue, in uplifting thoughts, in contemplation of the divine Presence, and they yearn for the Lord. Seekers such as these may be drawn to the Lord through suffering, want, thirst for knowledge, or keenness to acquire wisdom. But the fact that they turn toward the Lord for relief shows that they have grown into the higher path through many births.”

Baba alerts us that: “The Gita does not approve acts done with intention to benefit therefrom or with the result as the prime motive. Only acts done without being concerned with the benefit that may accrue will __________________”


09. In Chapter 7, Baba elaborates:

'When the dharma that has been laid down declines, I incarnate in a human form, from the state of formlessness, in order to revive it and protect it and save the good from fear,' said Krishna. Now, this statement might cause some misgiving. You may ask: will not common people then conclude that dharma is something liable to decline and decay? Will they not condemn dharma as neither eternal nor truth? Well. You will grasp the importance of the task of protecting dharma only when you consider its origin and purpose. God created this world of change on His own initiative, and He ordained various codes for its upkeep and smooth running. There were rules of correct conduct for every being. These form the dharma. The word dharma is derived from the root dhri, meaning 'wear'; dharma is that which is worn. The nation (desa), the body of the Lord, is protected by the dharma it wears; the dharma also gives the body beauty and joy; it is the yellow garment, the holy apparel of India. It guards both honour and dignity; it protects from chill and lends charm to life. Dharma preserves the self-respect of this land. Just as clothes maintain the dignity of the person who wears them, so dharma is the measure of the dignity of a people.

Not only this country but every single thing in the world has its own special dharma, or uniqueness of duty, and nature. Each has its distinctive clothes! Dharma rules the group and the individual. Consider the five elements, the components of the world. Movement and cold are the dharma of water; combustion and light are the dharma of fire. Each of the five has its unique dharma. Humanity for humans, animality for animals, these dharmas guard them from decline. How can fire be fire if it has no power of combustion and light? It must manifest the dharma to be itself. When it loses that, it becomes a lifeless bit of charcoal."

"Similarly, people have some natural characteristics that are their very life breath. They are also called abilities. People can be identified as humans only as long as these abilities are found in them. If these abilities are lost, one is no longer 'human'. To preserve and foster such qualities and abilities, certain modes of behaviour and lines of thought, are laid down. Dharma will not decline if these precepts and procedures are kept up. Dharma is not imported from somewhere outside, nor can it be removed. It is your own genuine nature, your uniqueness. It is the thing that makes a human out of an animal."

According to Baba: “Dharma, since it is associated with truth, is _________________. The real establishment of dharma (dharma-sthapana) is to make the dharma that has become hidden visible once again.”


10. In Chapter 1 of The Gita Vahini, Baba teaches us:

"The highest dharma is for each one to follow their own dharma boldly. Regarding this problem, there is a conflict between religion and morals. 'It is difficult, fraught with danger (Gahana karmanogathih)', says the Lord, speaking of moral discipline. Which act is legitimate, which is not? Which act is sanctioned by morals, which is not? People have struggled and are struggling to decide these.

...To follow dharma is itself a source of joy; it is the path least beset with hurdles. That is the teaching of the Lord...This dharma is not laid down or recommended only for the extraordinary among people. It is within the reach of all, for all have the hunger for God, all have the discrimination to discover that there is something basic behind all this change. Even the most heinous sinner can quickly cleanse their heart and become pure by surrendering to the Lord in anguished repentance. Therefore, the Lord’s command is that each person should pursue the special dharma laid down for them; each should plan their life according to the spiritual foundations of their culture; each should give up the 'objective' vision and listen to the voice of God. Acts in line with that dharma alone can confer the strength of spirit that can encounter all crises and achieve victory. The sacred Gita grants that boon, by indicating the way clearly.

In Chapter 27, Baba reminds us of when Krishna addressed Arjuna and said, 'Give up all dharmas and surrender to Me. I shall liberate you from all sin.' That is to say, give up pride in the ego (ahamkara) and in possessions and mine-ness (mama-kara). Destroy the identification of the self with the body, which is only its cage or prison; get firm in the belief that all this is the highest Atma (Paramatma) and nothing else. There is nothing else to be done except to bow to His will and surrender to His plan. One has to give up the twin activities of commission and omission, resolving (sankalpa) and doubting (vikalpa). One has to follow the Lord’s commands, to accept His will and be happy wherever He has placed them, however He has shaped them. One should keep oneself far from the inquiry into the appropriateness or inappropriateness of their acts, but do them as acts of worship to the Lord, acts for which no reward is expected. That is the sum of duty.”

According to Baba: “For those who follow the path of dharma, ultimate ___________ is certain, in spite of diverse difficulties that might hamper them.”



 

 

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