Volume 13 - Issue 10
October 2015
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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 || Part 04 || Part 05 || Part 06


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 26 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shares Lord Krishna’s advice to Arjuna on how to purify oneself through soul-elevating charitable acts. Lord Krishna teaches:

“Some pious people also consider acts of charity to be physical asceticism. It is good that they think so. But when doing charity, one has to do so after pondering over the place, the time, and the nature of the recipient. For example, charities for schools should be given at places where there are no schools until then; hospitals have to be established in areas where diseases are rampant; the hunger of people has to be appeased where famine conditions have been caused by floods or drought. The nature and condition of the recipient has to be considered while imparting teaching of dharma and spiritual attainment (Brahma-vidya), and also while doing service of various kinds. The charitable act that removes from a person the deficiency that is most harmful to progress is called good (sathwic).”

“Krishna,” interrupted Arjuna. “May I ask a question? Charity, however done, is charity, isn’t it? Why do you distinguish between pure, passionate, and dull (sathwic, rajasic, thamasic) charities? Are there any such?”

Krishna answered, “Of course there are. Among those who donate for charities, most are anxious to get name and fame; that is the motive for the act. They are after something in return for what they offer. Very few desire the Grace of the Lord and nothing else. Gifts made with that one end in view, to receive the Grace of the Lord, are good (sathwic). Gifts made expecting something in return, like fame and publicity, public esteem, and power, or gifts made in a huff or made reluctantly under pressure - these are to be classed as passionate (rajasic).”

Lord Krishna asserts: “Charity should be given with reverence and __________. It should not just be thrown at the face of the recipient. Nor should it be given to an undeserving person or at an inopportune moment.”

02. In Chapter 10 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shares Lord Krishna’s guidance on the different types of sacrificial offerings. “When the mind moves in one direction and the senses in another, you are doubly confused. So, keep attachment afar. When that is done, whatever you do becomes a sacrifice (yajna). Whatever you speak becomes a holy mantra; wherever you plant your foot renders that place holy.

“Arjuna! I shall tell you something about sacrifice or spiritual offerings (yajna) also. Listen calmly, controlling all agitations of the mind. People talk of performing a material sacrifice, offering penance as sacrifice, a yogic sacrifice, etc. If a pit is dug, the earth excavated becomes a mound by its side; there is no pit without a mound. When riches accumulate in one place, there must be corresponding charity too. The proper utilization of one’s riches is material sacrifice. What is proper utilization? Gift of cows, of lands, of skill are included under material sacrifice.

“Again, when all physical activities, mental activities, and speech are utilized for spiritual discipline, then it becomes offerings of penance (tapo-yajna). How can it be spiritual penance (tapas) if you have lain down due to weakness arising from missing a meal?

“Doing action but yet remaining unbound by action, that is yogic spiritual offering. And study of the scriptures? That means studying with humility and reverence the sacred scriptures that lead you to liberation. This study is the means to repay the debt due to ___________________________.

03.In Chapter 8 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shares how people are misled and what is the Lord's main task:

“Arjuna! People give up revering and seeking Me, who is their very Self. How foolish! People are not anxious to reach Me. On the other hand, they pursue lesser attainments that are temporary, untrue, and transitory. I will tell you the reason for this strange and stupid behaviour. Engagement in activity gives quick results; people seek only what is available now, in a concrete form, what is capable of being grasped by their senses. Generally, people find reality too difficult to attain, so they are carried away by the attraction of flimsy pleasures, away from the full joy derivable from transcending the senses.

“Achievement of wisdom is the inner victory; it is won after long and arduous struggle. People do not generally have the needed patience. Moreover, they attach greater importance to the gross physical body. The body can be happy only with objects that cater to the senses, so people do not seek wisdom, which will send them to paths where the senses are unwanted. They yearn for success in action, but not perfection in spiritual wisdom.

“Those who are caught by urges of the intellect are fewer than those who are caught by the senses and their urges. The sensual-minded are drawn by the obvious, the patent, the perceptible, and the physical. The few who are spiritually minded yearn for the imperceptible, invisible bliss of merging with the universal Absolute. Theirs is the correct path. Attachment to activity is the incorrect path. My task is to make clear to all the value of _________ , which has to be adopted after due discrimination.”

04. In Chapter 16 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shares how Lord Krishna began describing about how God has to be pictured in the mind during the stages of spiritual discipline and with what feelings and emotions He has to be fixed in the mind.

“Arjuna! People describe Me in three different ways as: (1) without qualities, without form, (2) with qualities, without form, and (3) with qualities, with form (nirguna niraakaara, saguna niraakaara and saguna saakaara). I shall first tell you about the second and how you have to picture the Lord in this aspect.

“Listen, He is described as poet (kavi), ancient (purana), the independent master, subtler than the subtle, the sustenance and basis of all, having unpicturable form, with the splendour of the Sun as His complexion, beyond all trace of ignorance and darkness.”

At this point, Arjuna interrupted Krishna. He asked, “Lord! You said He is a poet (kavi)! There are poets among ordinary mortals too. How, then, can you also call the Lord a poet and discredit Him? Or, does kavi denote something special when applied to Him? Make that point a little clearer.”

Krishna said, “Kavi does not mean merely a poet; it means also one who is aware of the past, present, and future, so it is a description of the Lord. He knows all; He sees all. Hence, the derivation of kavi is mentioned as ‘he who sees the next step (all-knowing [sarvajna], or seeing the next step)’. It is the Lord who revolves in every heart and effects changes from step to step. For all creation, the poet (kavi) is the motivator, the prime basis. He is the poet; His poem is all this.”

Arjuna again inquired, “Lord, secondly, you said that He is ancient (purana); what is the significance of that?” Krishna replied, “Of course, the Lord is the most ancient, but He is as modern as He is ancient. He is eternal (sanathana), primeval, beyond the beginning. He is also new every moment. Purana means formerly new, new every minute of the past, and the present.”

“What about the word ‘master (anusaasitha)’?”

“Independent, unchecked, master. He lays down the conduct of all. The five elements execute His orders. They cannot overstep the limits laid down by Him. His laws also govern the inner world of all beings as no human law can. He operates in the regions of the mind.”

Arjuna then re-confirms: “The fourth expression You used was that He is subtler than the subtle.” To which, Lord Krishna explains: “A thing becomes subtler with the reduction of its ________________; if it has more it is less subtle.”

05. In Chapter 16 of the Gita Vahini, Lord Krishna continues to elaborate: “The sixth too, I shall make clear to you. The sixth is an unpicturable form, a form that cannot be delineated or imagined. For He is beyond the reach of the mind, and it is the mind that pictures, delineates, or imagines. So, His form is incapable of being imagined by the mind. You might hesitate to accept this. The mind is matter; it is inert; it is fleeting. But Brahman, or the highest Atma, is pure ‘consciousness’; Brahman is eternal, everlasting, imperishable. Brahman and mind are at opposite poles; the fleeting and the fixed are totally unrelated. One dies and the other remains. The inert and the active are unrelated.

“The question may arise: what then should spiritual aspirants do? Oh, they are not deprived of hope. Let them picture the highest Atma as unpicturable, that is enough. Dwell on such thoughts as this and the fruit will be vouchsafed unto you. Aspirants must first learn the channels along which the thoughts should run.”

At this, Arjuna pleaded with Krishna thus: “Lord, let us proceed; time is running fast. We cannot be stationary in this battlefield without assuming responsibility or making a decision. War is facing us with open jaws, ready to swallow and overwhelm. I am ready to obey the instruction You may be pleased to give me; only, let there be no delay. Hence, quickly enlighten me about the seventh attribute of ‘with quality, without form (saguna niraakaara)’.”

“Yes, the seventh is ‘with the splendour of the sun as His complexion’. This means, ‘He is self-effulgent as the Sun; He is independent; He is the source of the light He shines with.’ He is the effulgence of the Sun; He makes the Sun shine. So, He is named ‘Sun (Aditya)’.

“I shall tell you about the eighth too, straightaway: ‘beyond darkness (thamasah parasthaath)’. He is the witness of darkness or ignorance. For para means ‘beyond’, one unaffected, and no darkness is as dark as ______________; it is so deep and so dangerous. Delusion (maya) is another word for this ignorance, so ‘beyond darkness’, means ‘beyond delusion’.

06. In Chapter 20 of the Gita Vahini, Arjuna asked with a smile and a little tremor of the lips, “Lord! I realize that You are pleased with undeviating single-pointed devotion. But are You pleased with contemplation of You-with-form (saakaara-upaasana) or You-without-form (niraakaara-upaasana)? Which melts You more and contributes to success in getting Your blessings? Which is easier for the spiritual aspirant and more welcomed by You? Please tell me.”

Krishna was happy that this question was asked. He said, “Arjuna! I do not make any distinction between the two. I am pleased however I am worshipped, provided the mind is saturated with Me and there is steady faith in every act, word, and thought.”

Arjuna intercepted with the query, “Krishna! Are mere purity of heart and steady faith enough? Do not sex or status as fixed by caste or the stage of life form obstacles to success?”

Krishna chided Arjuna and replied, “I am surprised that you should ask such questions after going through all this experience. Don’t you realize that for those who have fixed their minds on God, who have reposed in Me, the personification of truth, eternal and pure, there will not be one iota of ‘false identification of the self with the body’. If they still have awareness of sex or caste or stage of life with all the attendant pride, humility, etc. it only reveals that they have not surrendered their minds to God. For those who have rid themselves of attachment to the body, there will not be the distraction of caste, status, etc.

“But the codes of moral conduct prescribed for those in the four stages of life (student, householder, recluse, monk) and the codes of moral conduct for the castes do not hinder in any way the discipline of fixing the mind on God or of purifying the mind of evil or worshipping the Lord through all one’s actions, words, and thoughts. The distinctions of sex or caste or status or stage of life affect only those who live in the awareness of the body as reality and who act as if the world is absolute and eternal.”

At this, Arjuna said, “Krishna! The contemplation of the formless characteristic-less (nirguna niraakaara) is very difficult for those who identify the Self with the body, isn’t it? The worship of the formful aspect of God, which is within the reach of the ordinary people, can it yield purity of mind and purity of the inner instruments of consciousness?”

Lord Krishna clearly says: “Offering your acts to Me should not be a mere vocal exercise. Take care that you offer them by _____________________, as they say.

07. In Chapter 11 of the Gita Vahini, Swami relays all that Lord Krishna shares with Arjuna with regards to the steps God took towards the evolution of Creation:

“Arjuna! Note that there is nothing higher than Me in the world. All are strung in Me like flowers on a string. The five elements, the mind, the intellect, and the ego - these eight varieties of matter have produced the gross (sthula) and the subtle (sukshma) in creation. This is called the lower nature.

“There is another world distinct from this, known as higher nature. It is neither gross nor subtle; it is consciousness (chaithanya), in-dwelling in the soul (jivi). The world itself is its aspiration.

“The Lord first created the gross world. Then, as the soul, He entered it and rendered it awareness (chit) by His consciousness. This is declared clearly in the Vedas. You must consider the lower world to be the essential nature (swabhava) of the Supreme Lord and the higher world to be His reality (swarupa). Dwell on the meaning of these essential qualities and realities and grasp them well. The gross is bound by the dictates of consciousness (chaithanya), which is the complete master, ever free.

Lord Krishna then explains: “Jivi (individual, soul) means that which assumes breath (prana); the soul holds on to breath through skill and _______________.”

08. In Chapter 22 of the Gita Vahini, Arjuna then asked, “Oh Lord, You often mention creation or nature (prakriti) and the Creator (Purusha). I am eager to know what exactly creation is, what its characteristics are, what exactly its nature is.”

Krishna replied in a simple, easily understandable manner. “Arjuna! Creation (prakriti) has another name too: field (kshetra). Creation means this created world (prapancha), this composite of the five elements. There are two entities in this created world or nature: one is inert matter (jada) and the other active, the consciousness (chaithanya). That is to say, one is the seen and the other is the seer; the knower is ‘I’ (aham), the known is ‘this’ (idam). Nature is the sum of attributes or characteristics. The qualities (gunas) - delusion, grief, and joy (thamas, rajas, sathwa) are the attributes of nature. Nature is but the permutation and combination of these qualities. So also are the attributes of the doer and the enjoyer.”

Arjuna wished to continue his questions. So Krishna said, “My dear brother-in-law! You are eager to question again?” Seizing the chance, Arjuna put in his query. “Krishna! You have explained the nature principle. Now, I wish very much to know what is meant by the Creator (Purusha). What are its characteristics, what is its nature?”

“Arjuna! Whether you call it the Creator (Purusha) or the knower of the truth of life (kshetrajna) or that which is known (jneya), it is the same. Purusha is the soul (jiva) and prakriti is the body (deha). The embodied is the soul (purusha), the person who knows the body. The body has also a number of names, each having a significant meaning. It is the body (sarira) because it wastes away; the body (deha) because it is liable to be burned. The soul is that which activates the body and becomes aware of its limitations.” Arjuna was pestered by doubt at this answer, so he started another series of questions.

“Krishna, how did this wasting and destructible body come to be called the kshetra?” Arjuna was indeed a clever listener. Krishna answered him with a great deal of patience. Krishna replied, “It is through this body that merit can be acquired by engaging in various beneficent activities. The body is the vehicle for earning spiritual wisdom (jnana) or the Universal Vision; the body leads you on to liberation itself. It is the repository of such great achievements, so it is called kshetra. Kshetra means an armour, for it protects and guards the soul (jivi) from harm.

“Another meaning for kshetra is ‘field’, a meaning that is full of significance. Whatever seeds are sown or saplings planted in the field, the harvest depends on their nature and quality. The body is the field, the soul is the protector of the field and the crop. Sowing the seeds of meritorious deeds, one reaps joy and happiness. Sowing the seeds of sin, one reaps the harvest of grief and worry. Sowing the seeds of wisdom, one garners the harvest of _____________.

09.In Chapter 18 of the Gita Vahini, Lord Krishna emphatically stresses: “Realize Me, the primal Cause; that is indeed liberation (moksha). He is liberated in this life (jivan-muktha) who attains that liberation. Therefore, Arjuna, if one yearns to become liberated while alive, to attain liberation, one must accomplish some simple disciplines. That is to say, one has to eradicate fully the attachment to the body.”

Hearing this, Arjuna intercepted. “Krishna! Do you speak of this spiritual discipline of complete detachment as a simple discipline? Is it so easy to practice? Even accomplished ascetics find it difficult, and You recommend it so glibly to people like me! You speak of it as if it were a very simple task, but it is a formidable endeavour. I feel You are putting me on trial with such suggestions. Can I ever attain that state? Can I win liberation, can I attain moksha? I have no hope,” he said, and sat dispirited.

Krishna was watching him steadily losing courage. He went close to him and patted his back in a reassuring manner. He said, “Arjuna! There is no need to get perturbed and desperate just for this. No, no one gets faith as soon as one hears of it. One must delve into it with the help of reason; then it will be found that this discipline is not as hard as it is imagined to be. To become completely detached, it is not necessary to grow matted hair, wear ochre robes, and torture the body into skin and bone. It is enough if you do all acts as dedicated to the Lord, without any desire. This is the secret of liberation.

“Performing all activities in this manner is not difficult. One need only have steady faith and earnestness. Of course, these are essential for every type of activity, so you can realize that they are indispensable for spiritual activity too. Whoever among devotees dedicates all acts to Me with no other thought, whoever meditates on Me, serves Me, worships Me, remembers Me - know that I am always with them, ever providing for them in this world and the next. I bear the burden of their welfare (yoga-kshema). Do you hear Me?” asked Krishna, patting Arjuna again on the back and imparting courage to his drooping heart.

This statement about the Lord guaranteeing the welfare of the devotee has given rise to a great deal of misunderstanding. Even pundits, not to speak of others, have failed to grasp its real import. The commentators on the Gita propagate this declaration in manifold ways. This most sacred sentence is to the Gita as the navel is to body. The navel of Vishnu was the place where Brahma took birth; this verse is the navel or place of nativity for those who thirst for the wisdom of Brahma. If this verse is followed in practice, ______________________.

10. In Chapter 19 of the Gita Vahini, Swami continues to clarify: “The Lord has given the assurance, ‘I shall bear the burden of your welfare, here and hereafter (Yoga-kshemam vahaamyaham)’. He has undertaken this task voluntarily. But for mortals and aspirants to benefit from this, they have to live as ordained; they have to adhere to the lines laid down. When they feel that they are not so helped, they have only to examine their own lives and discover how far they have kept up the commands of God regarding the regulation of life. They fail to examine this. They do not consider the past and future; they complain about the grief of the moment, not knowing that it is caused by neglect in the past and ignorance of the future. This is the root of their suffering.

“While considering this assurance, the condition contained in the same verse, ‘For those devotees who worship Me alone (Ananyaah chinthayantho maam, ye janaah paryupaasathe)’, has to be remembered. ‘I shall bear the burden of your welfare, here and hereafter’ is the crown of this condition, the final fruit. The assurance is the head; but no head can function independently of limbs. Holding fast only to the head, apart from neck and shoulders and the rest of the body, is like putting faith in the key in one’s hand after the iron safe has been stolen! Of what use is the key after the treasure is burgled?

“The conditions for the fulfilment of that assurance are: meditation on the Lord unhampered by any other thought (ananya-chintha) and steady worship (upasana). If unbroken meditation is absent, when worship is not offered with unconditional surrender, what justification is there to complain that He is not bearing the burden?

“You surrender to others; you praise and extol others; you are immersed in other thoughts. How then can He assume the burden? You serve others and press the Lord for reward! How can this be undivided loyalty (ananya-chintha)? The servant of the king must serve the king wholeheartedly; if the servant serves the king and loves his family, it cannot be termed unswerving loyalty. Serve whom you love, love whom you serve. That is the secret of surrender (saranagathi).

Swami clarifies: “The words 'yoga' and 'kshema' used by the Lord here mean: acquisition of something desirable and _________________ what is thus acquired.”



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