Volume 13 - Issue 05
MAY 2015
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QUIZ ON GITA VAHINI -3

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

 

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 5 of the Gita Vahini, while going over the different steps that lead to the yoga of wisdom, Swami reminds us: “In the second chapter, Krishna has made clear in a general way four principal points: the principle of renouncing the fruits of action, or absolute surrender (saranagathi), the sankhya teaching, the yogic attitude (restraint, self-control), and the nature of the person of steady integral spiritual wisdom (sthitha-prajna). We have noted the first three already. Now about the fourth.

“When Arjuna questioned him Krishna taught Arjuna the nature and characteristics of the person of steady wisdom. Arjuna prayed ‘Oh Kesava!’, and when that appellation was used, Krishna smiled, for He knew then that Arjuna had understood His splendour. Do you ask how? Well, what does ‘Kesava’ mean? It means, ‘He who is Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, the three forms.’ Through Krishna’s Grace, Arjuna had reached that stage of realization.

“When Arjuna prayed for Kesava to tell him the true characteristics of a person of steady wisdom, He replied, ‘Partha! Such a person will be free from all desire and stable in the knowledge and awareness of the Atma only.’ Now, there are two processes in this: To give up all the promptings of desire in the mind is the negative process; to implant ever-present joy therein is the positive aspect.

“The negative process is to remove all the seedlings of wrong and evil from the mind; the positive process is to grow, in the field thus cleansed, the crop of ___________________!”

  B. Attachment to God


02. In Chapter 5 of the Gita Vahini, Swami continues to remind us: “In Chapter 2, Krishna had to clarify to Arjuna in simple terms the characteristics of a person of steady wisdom: Joy or grief can be met with in three forms: caused by one’s self (adi-atma), caused by the five elements or the material world (adi-bhauthika), and caused by fate, i.e. natural disasters (adi-daivika). It is well known that sins bring grief as retribution and meritorious deeds bring joy as reward. So, advice is given to avoid sins and perform meritorious deeds. But the person of steady wisdom knows neither the pain of grief nor the thrill of joy. Such a person is not repulsed by one or attracted by the other and does not retreat before pain or run toward pleasure. Only those ignorant of the Atma will exult or droop when stricken with joy or grief.

“The person of steady wisdom (sthitha-prajna) will be ever engaged in contemplation and rumination. The person is called a sage, and their intellect is steady, because the senses do not harry it. One point has to be understood here. Conquest of the senses is essential for spiritual discipline, but that is not all. As long as the objective world continues to attract the mind, one cannot claim complete success. That is why Krishna says, ‘Arjuna! Establish mastery over the senses; then you need have no fear, for they become serpents with the fangs removed.’ But there is still danger from thoughts and impulses that draw you outward. Desire has no limit; it can never be satiated. So, along with mastery of the senses, one must also establish mastery of the mind. That is the sign of a person of steady wisdom. If this double mastery is absent, the person is a wisdomless individual, not one of steady wisdom. Where does the wisdomless individual go? To perdition; nowhere else.

“The upward path, the higher stage is for the person of steady wisdom. Of these two masteries, if the mind is subdued, that alone is enough; it is not necessary then to conquer the external senses. If the mind has no attachment to objects, the senses have nothing to cling to; they perish by inanition; love and hate are both starved out of existence. The bonds with the objective world are cut, although the senses may yet be affected by it. For the one who has been blessed with awareness of the Atma, how can anything worldly bring grief or joy?

“Just as the stars fade into invisibility when the sun rises, so too, when the sun of knowledge or wisdom rises, grief, agitation, and ignorance vanish. People have three chief instruments: the mind, the intellect, and the senses. It is when these three work in unison and cooperate with one another that either ‘immersion in the flux’ or ‘liberation in the knowledge of the Atma’ is realized. Krishna anticipated that Arjuna would be puzzled to know what would happen ‘when which operates with which’. So Krishna provided the answer. ‘Arjuna,’ He said, ‘when the mind cooperates with the senses, you enter into the flux called the objective world (samsara); when it subordinates itself to the intellect, you attain the knowledge of the Atma. One path leads to surrender to the world; the other, to surrender to God. The intellect must resolve; the mind must carry out the resolution. That is the correct procedure.”

Swami then also reveals: “When ordinary people are pursuing the senses and their demands, the person of steady wisdom is asleep. This can also be put in other words: forget the stage of Atma consciousness and you relapse into _______________ .

 

03. In Chapter 6 of the Gita Vahini, Swami reveals the sacredness behind the initiation of the Yoga of wisdom: “Krishna told Arjuna that spiritual wisdom (jnana) is the final goal and gain of action; wisdom is the treasure that is won by efforts to purify the mind and to earn the Grace of God; wisdom not merely grants bliss but is itself the seat of bliss. Thus, He initiated Arjuna into the path of spiritual wisdom. This subject is carried on until the fifth chapter. The yoga of wisdom shines as a precious jewel amid the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna declared ‘nothing as holy as spiritual wisdom is known here’! Even later, in the seventh chapter, He said, ‘I consider the realized soul (jnani) as Myself (jnaanithwathmaiva me matham)’.

“The excellence of the yoga of wisdom has been similarly extolled in many other contexts in the Gita. That is why it is believed to be the most fruitful of all spiritual disciplines. All scriptures find their fulfilment in wisdom alone. Meditation is just contemplation of the embodiment of spiritual wisdom, which is one’s real nature.... For achieving liberation, wisdom is the direct road. Hence, it is declared to be incomparably sacred. Naturally, it follows that ignorance is indubitably the most despicable. ‘See the Universal in the particular; see the particular in the Universal - that is the essence of wisdom’, said Krishna.

“Krishna, who is All-knowing, began to teach Arjuna this yoga, in order to cast off all doubt from Arjuna’s mind. ‘Arjuna! I taught this sacred yoga of wisdom to Surya. Then it was handed down from one generation to the next until Manu and Ikshvaku, and, from them, saint-kings came to learn it. Then it was lost in the world. That ever-existing yoga had to be restored to the world, so I had to come.’

“You won’t fail to notice the discrepancy of the yoga being described as ever-existing and the statement that it was lost! Of course, the statement was not made without thought. Here, the indestructible is spoken of as having been destroyed! It is called indestructible for two reasons. Its origin is the Veda, which is free from decline. Its consequence is liberation (moksha), which is also free from decline. This yoga, on account of passage of time, neglect and disuse, was forgotten. That is to say, it disappeared, it was lost to view, and it declined. The statement means nothing more. Bringing it to life means bringing it once again into use, not creating it ab initio! ‘Lost to view’ is the sense in which the word ‘destroyed’ is used in a general way. That is how you have to interpret it, for the Lord will never devise a thing that will suffer ‘destruction’.”

Swami then shares one of the many reasons behind the initiation of the yoga of wisdom to the Sun God: “Above all, consider the service the Sun does to this world! The Sun is the source of all life, plant and animal, upon this planet...He is ever the deity of __________, scattering His rays equally on all.”

 

04. In Chapter 7 of the Gita Vahini, Swami reveals Arjuna’s confused state of mind at the timing of the teaching to the Sun God: “When Arjuna listened to Krishna’s words, he developed a head full of doubts. He became agitated. Not only he but all people nowadays are worried by doubts. Moreover, in the complex spiritual field and the field of knowledge concerning Godhead, there are two possible interpretations: the outer and the inner. Ordinary people accept the outer, while those who have some experience of the Lord seek to know the inner.

“As the saying goes, ‘like the mole in the eye, the stone in the shoe, the thorn in the foot, the faction in the home’ is this ‘doubt in the brain’. When such doubts assail Arjuna, who is the representative human, it means they are humanity’s own doubts. They can be solved only by Madhava (Krishna), who is beyond and above humanity. That is why Krishna is ready, by Arjuna’s side, to remove any doubt and plant joy in the heart.

“Now, what exactly is the doubt? Krishna was born at the end of the third era (the dwapara-yuga); Surya and Manu are people of the past. How then could these two meet Krishna? It cannot be a physical relationship, for many generations separate Krishna from the other two. Krishna is Arjuna’s contemporary, so how did Krishna teach this yoga to Surya? To sit quietly, listening to unbelievable stories, is itself a sign of poverty of intellect. Every moment, Arjuna’s uneasiness increased. This was observed by Krishna, who is everywhere and in everything. He said, ‘What is the cause of the restlessness that I notice in you? Tell Me,’ prodding Arjuna with a smile.

“Arjuna was glad he got a chance. ‘Madhava! I do not understand Your words. They confuse me so much that I am losing a little of the faith that I have in You. But, I pray, excuse me for asking this, please solve my doubt. I cannot stand it anymore,’ Arjuna pleaded with folded hands. Gopala (Krishna) was glad, and He asked him what the doubt was.

“Arjuna then said, ‘You said that this yoga was taught to Surya and Manu; of what distant past are these two? And to which age do You belong? Did You teach them while in this body? That is unbelievable, for Your body is only four or five years older than mine. You are not older than that. When did You teach them, without my being aware of it? And the Sun! He is greater than You, many times greater. He is there from the very beginning, from a past that is beyond our imagination. I cannot believe it; no, not even the most intelligent person can prove it true. Let it be! You may say. ‘This is not the body, this is not the age; it was while I was in another body and during another age’. That makes it still more strange. How can anyone remember what happened in a previous birth? If You say that it is possible to have such memory, then it must apply to me also, right?”

Revealing His Omniscience, Lord Krishna said: “I am conscious of all My appearances, all My manifestations. I am Almighty, I am Omniscient (sarva-jna). Not only I, even you know everything. But your power of wisdom is overwhelmed by ____________. I am Wisdom itself, so I know everything.”



 

05. In Chapter 13 of the Gita Vahini, Swami teaches us by enlightening us on some main characteristics of the spiritually wise people: “Wise people will not raise the eyes toward anything other than the Lord. Even if they do, they see the Lord wherever their eyes are cast. That is why the Lord has declared that the wise are dearest to Him. Of course, all are the same for the Lord; but among those who have reached His presence and are present there, love is explicit, direct, immediate, directly cognizable and experienceable. Therefore, it can be inferred that the wise one is nearest to the Lord and thus is the dearest.

“Of course, it is the nature of fire to warm you when you shiver from cold. But how can it help you keep warm if you do not approach it but keep away at a distance? Similarly, those who are earnest to remove the chill of worldly ills have to seek the fire of wisdom, which is won by the grace of God, and be in the immediacy of God.

“Spiritual aspirants in the midst of their efforts sometimes imagine God to be less glorious than He really is! They feel that the Lord differentiates between sinners and saints, good and bad, wise and ignorant. These are unsound inferences. The Lord doesn’t separate people thus. If He really did so, no sinner could survive His anger on earth for even a minute. All are living on the earth, since the Lord has no such distinction. This truth is known only to the spiritually wise one. Others are unaware of this. They suffer under the false belief that the Lord is somewhere far, far away from them.”

Swami then shares Lord Krishna’s appeal: ‘...Therefore, yearn always for the vast, the immeasurable. Do not limit your desires to the little. Those who crave for little things are misers. Those who yearn for the Lord are generous, large-hearted,’ said Krishna.

“The devotion of the spiritually wise one is termed natural or direct devotion. The devotion of the others can be called indirect or derived devotion. The wise one cognizes the Lord as their own _____; devotion is deep attachment to or affection for God.”


06. In Chapter 10 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shares with us the qualities one should imbibe to gain wisdom: “Lord Krishna tells Arjuna: ‘Wisdom (jnana) means also the eagerness to realize the reality of the soul (Atma-thathwa) through inquiry from elders and those who have spiritual experience.

‘Arjuna! You may ask Me how this wisdom can be acquired. Those anxious to get it have to go to realized souls, win their grace, study well their moods and manners, and await the chance to ask them for help. When doubts arise, they should approach the realized souls calmly and courageously. Studying bundles of books, delivering hours-long discourses, and wearing the ochre robe do not make a genuine wise one. Wisdom can be won only from and through elders who have experienced the Absolute. You have to serve them and win their love. How can doubts be ended by the study of books? They tend only to confuse the mind. Books can at best inform; they cannot demonstrate by direct proof. Only the realized can convince by direct demonstration. So, they have to be sought after and served reverentially. Only then can this precious wisdom be won. No amount of sea water can slake one’s thirst; no amount of study of the scriptures can solve doubt. Besides, the aspirant for wisdom must have not only devotion and faith; they should also be simple and pure.”

In Chapter 13 of the Gita Vahini, Swami continues sharing more pointers to elevate us even more to reach our ultimate spiritual goal of self-realization: “The wise one becomes so as the result of merit accumulated through many lives. The stage is not attainable on the spur of the moment, nor is it available ready-made in shops for a price. It is not a marketable commodity. It is the culmination of spiritual endeavour practiced in many lives.

“It is desired that many good doctors be produced for ministering to the people. But years of study and experience alone can supply them; if those unequipped are appointed as doctors in the hospitals and start prescribing and operating, they are bound to kill where they should cure. So too, if a person became a wise person today, you can imagine the years and years of spiritual discipline that won that height. The inheritance of spiritual impulses from previous births also helps in this endeavour.

“All kinds of people now call themselves wise. They don’t know, perhaps, that a spiritually wise one is marked by certain characteristics. The mark that proves them genuine is, of course, the declaration based on their own experience that _____________.”


07. In Chapter 18 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shared Arjuna’s interest about wanting to know the full meaning of spiritual wisdom. “Arjuna said, ‘Krishna! I do not quite understand the meaning of what you call spiritual wisdom (jnana). Is it knowledge learned through the ear from the teacher? Or knowledge culled from the scriptures? Or knowledge imparted by those rich in actual experience? Which among these liberates one from bondage?’

“Krishna replied: ‘The types of knowledge you mentioned now are all useful at some stage or other of one’s spiritual development, but by none of them can you escape the cycle of birth and death! The knowledge that releases you is known as self-experience, the knowledge that you yourself experience; that alone can help you to be free. The teacher can be of some help in the process but cannot show you your real Self. You have to visualize it yourself. Besides, you have to be free from vices like envy. Only then can you be called a complete wise person, one who has attained full wisdom. Only the one who has faith in this wisdom, who is devoted to acquiring it, and who is full of yearning to earn it can realize Me.”

Swami had started Chapter 14 of the Gita Vahini by reiterating the Sanskrit phrase from the 4th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita : “There is nothing to equal wisdom (nahi jnanena sadrisham).”

Swami had then elaborated in detail: “And what is wisdom? That which makes you cross this sea of change (samsara). Of course, wisdom is of two kinds: objective knowledge (vishaya-jnana) and integral spiritual knowledge (a-bheda-jnana).

“The first type is knowledge of the world; the second is knowledge of the identity of Brahman and the individual Atma, which is called undifferentiated or integral (a-bheda) wisdom. This wisdom is not a function of the intellect (buddhi); it is a feature of something beyond it, something that witnesses the activities of even the intellect. It destroys the delusion about this constant flux, which is mistaken to be a reality; it removes fear from the heart; it reveals to people the Brahman that they and all this is. So it is called the right (samyak) wisdom, the nearest (sameepa) wisdom.

“There are two paths by which people can approach this integral knowledge: the inner and the outer. The outer spiritual discipline is engagement in activity without attachment (nish-kama-karma), dedicating the result of activities to the Lord. The inner spiritual discipline is meditation and total absorption (samadhi). In Vedantic terminology, this is inner concentration (nidi-dhyasana). Listen and meditate on what you have listened to - these two steps are the bases of this inner concentration. Without these, meditation is impossible to achieve.

“This is the meaning of what is called control of the senses, detachment from the outer sensory world, and withdrawal of the mind from the outer world. This is the goal of all life: knowing the highest Atma, attaining liberation. There can be no second aim for people. People are endowed with life not to build bungalows, acquire estates, accumulate wealth, add progeny, earn titles, or ascend to higher rungs of social life. Their greatness does not depend on these. The chief success in life lies in winning permanent bliss, permanent escape from grief and agitation.”

Swami elaborates more on what spiritual seekers must ponder internally: “Real wisdom consists in recognizing that one is pure bliss; bliss that persists from the past into the present and the future.... ‘If you seek this steady, genuine, pure state of bliss, you must be ______________,’ said Krishna.”


08. In Chapter 23 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shared the knowledge that’s essential in order to gain wisdom that Lord Krishna bestowed on Arjuna. “Arjuna listened attentively and asked: ‘Oh Lord! What qualities should a wise one possess?’ Krishna replied, ‘Partha! One must have twenty virtues in ample measure. You might ask what they are. I shall tell you about them; listen. But do not conclude that the goal can be reached when you have them all. The goal, Immortality, can be reached only by experiencing Brahman, since all this is indeed Brahman (Sarvam Khalvidham Brahmam).

“Arjuna asked, ‘Oh Lord! You said that twenty virtues are essential for becoming entitled to wisdom. What are they? Please describe them to me in some detail.’ ‘Arjuna! I am delighted at your earnestness’, said Krishna. ‘Listen.’

1. Humility. ‘The first virtue is humility, the absence of pride. As long as you have pride, you cannot earn wisdom. A person’s behaviour should be like the behaviour of water; whatever colour you pour into water, it absorbs it and never asserts its own colour. It is humble without conceit. But now the behaviour of people is quite contrary. When they do the smallest service or donate the slightest amount, they are anxious for people to know about it. For this, they go about prattling or arranging to get it published. The absence of such pride and ambition is what is recommended as humility.’

2. Absence of vanity. ‘The second is absence of vanity. This is a very great virtue in people. It means the absence of pretense, pompousness, boasting that one is great when one is not, claiming that one has power when one has nothing, that one has authority when one has no such title.’

“Here, readers will note one point. The world today is full of this false pretense, this hypocrisy. Whichever field of activity you watch, whomever you observe, you discover this dire defect. The governments of nations are in the hands of people who are pretenders to power, authority, and capacity. Those with no knowledge claim to know everything. Those with no one even to help them at home claim that they have a huge following. In every activity, this hypocrisy is the very first step. It ruins people in every field, like a pest that destroys the crop. If this hypocrisy is wiped away, the world will be saved from disaster. Pretense will make you lose this world and the next. It is harmful at all times and places. It does not suit ordinary people; how can it then be beneficial to the spiritual aspirant?

3. Non-violence. ‘The third virtue is non-violence (ahimsa). This also is an important virtue. Violence is not simply physical; it means even more: the mental pain that is inflicted, the anxiety and worry that are caused to others by your actions and words. If you desist from causing physical pain to others, you cannot claim to have non-violence. Your activities must not cause pain and must be unselfish. Your thoughts, words, and deeds must all be free from any motive to cause such pain.’


One of the virtues that Lord Krishna states is Cleanliness: “Water cleans the body; _____________ cleans the mind. Knowledge cleans the reasoning faculty; penance and discipline cleans the individual.”


09. In Chapter 23 of the Gita Vahini, Swami continued to share the knowledge that Lord Krishna bestowed on Arjuna to be entitled to gain wisdom:

8. Steadfastness: ‘The eighth virtue is called steadfastness (sthairyam), fixity of faith, the absence of fickleness or waywardness. Aspirants must hold fast to what they have once fixed their faith upon as conducive to their spiritual progress. They should not flit from one ideal to another, changing their goal from day to day. This is also referred to as dedication. Fickleness, the product of weakness, has to be scrupulously avoided.’

9. Control of the senses: ‘The ninth is control of the senses. Be convinced that the senses have to subserve your best interests, not that you should subserve the interests of the senses. Do not be the slave of the senses; rather make them your slaves.’

10. Detachment: ‘Next, the tenth virtue: detachment or renunciation (vairagya) - the loss of appetite for sound, touch, form, taste, smell, etc. The senses run after these things because they titillate and give them temporary joy. However, the senses are not interested in the goals virtue-wealth-desire-liberation of the sublime type. The Atma can be discovered only through pursuit of the sublime.’

11. Absence of egotism: ‘The eleventh virtue is absence of egotism - the breeding ground of all vices and faults. The ego-centric individual pays no regard to right and wrong, good and bad, godly and wicked. That person doesn’t care for them, doesn’t even know about them. That person is completely ignorant of dharma and morals and will not conform to justice. To be devoid of this poisonous quality is to be endowed with absence of egotism. Egotism is a foe in the guise of a friend.’


As Swami keeps sharing on the virtues needed to gain wisdom, He says: “Aspirants who seek liberation and realization must rid themselves of _________________, for, like grease, once contacted it sticks and is difficult to remove.”


10. In Chapter 23 of the Gita Vahini, Swami continued to share the knowledge that Arjuna was bestowed on to be entitled to gain wisdom. Arjuna continued to listen to it attentively:

15. Equanimity: After this, attention has to be paid also to another virtue, the state of equanimity, of undisturbed peace during joy and grief, prosperity and adversity, happiness and misery. This is the fifteenth virtue of a wise one (jnani). Being elevated or depressed by success and defeat, profit and loss, honour and dishonour is a futile activity. Accept all equally as the grace of God, His consecrated food (prasadha). Just as you wear shoes to tread over thorny places, or hold an umbrella to escape getting wet in rain, or sleep inside a mosquito curtain to escape the stings of insects, so too, arm yourself with an unshaken mind that is confident of the Lord’s Grace and bear praise or blame, defeat or victory, pleasure or pain with equanimity. To live bravely through life, this equanimity is declared essential.

16. Devotion: Next is devotion without any other feeling or thought. When grief overtakes you, you run to God. When difficulty overpowers, you take refuge in the Lord of Venkata. When joy is restored, you throw Him overboard. When you are down with fever and your taste is ruined and your tongue is bitter, you crave for some hot pickle; but when the fever subsides and you are normal again, you do not relish the same pickle. Devotion is not a temporary salve. It is the unbroken contemplation of God without any other interposing thought or feeling. Whatever the activity, recreation, or talk, it must be saturated with the Love of God. That is undivided, undistracted devotion.

17. Dwelling in solitude: Thereafter comes dwelling in solitude (ekantha-vasam). One must be fond of being alone. This does not mean keeping the body in some solitary place, far from the haunts of humanity. There must be solitude and silence in the mind; all its occupants must be forced or persuaded to quit. The mind should be contentless (nir-vishaya), turned away from the objective world.


While describing the 20th virtue, Swami says: “the spiritual aspirant should have a keen desire to visualize _________.”



 

 

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