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218. Non-Violence

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  Krishna says, " Ahimsa (non-violence), Satyam (truthfulness), Akrodh (freedom from anger), Renunciation, Peacefulness, Non slanderousness, Compassion for all creatures, Absence of greed, Gentleness, Modesty, Lack of restlessness" (16.2) -are divine qualities. While ahimsa is a divine quality, the violent Kurukshetra battle presents a major barrier that one needs to cross to understand the Bhagavad Gita. Firstly, the answer to this paradox was given by Krishna earlier when he told Arjun that he would incur no sin if he fought the battle by maintaining the inner balance between pleasure-pain; gain-losses; and victory-defeat (2.38). This inner balance or samatva is nothing but ahimsa. Akrodh (freedom from anger), is another divine quality which is also a result of this inner balance. On the other hand, any action that comes out of imbalance is violence. Secondly, Krishna says that the best Yogi is he who feels for others, whether in grief or pleasure, even as he fee

217. Daan cannot be business

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  Krishna mentions antah-karan suddhi (inner purity), steadfastness in the yoga of wisdom, daan (donate), subjugation of senses, yagna, s wa-adhyay (study of self) and uprightness as some of the divine qualities (16.1). One common thread in the Bhagavad Gita is the control of the senses. While senses are essential for our survival, they bind us by generating desires resulting in deviation from the divine path of liberation. Inner purity was earlier referred to as Adhyatma (spirituality) and defined as Swabhav (intrinsic nature) (8.3). While everyone is pure at birth, impurities in the form of divisions are subsequently added by society and the family. As a result, for some consumption of non-vegetarian food is bad, but for others it is acceptable; marrying a cousin is accepted in some areas and prohibited in others; Prayers to the same Paramatma are quite different and sometimes appear contradictory; the list is endless. Attaining purity is nothing but shedding these divisions.

216. Transcending Fear

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The sixteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is titled ' Daiva-Asura Sampad Vibhag Yoga' . It is attaining Union through the distinction of the Divine and Demonic Natures. Each one of us represents several possibilities, which can be clubbed as Daiva (divine) and Asura (demonic). ' Daiva ' is the internal journey towards Paramatma and ' Asura ' is away from HIM. Krishna mentions ' Abhayam ' as the first Daiva quality (16.1). Though Abhayam is interpreted as fearless, it is beyond that. To understand the Bhagavad Gita, we should always keep in mind the third alternative. It is neither raag (fondness) nor viraag (aversion) but transcending both to be veet-raag which is the third stage. Similarly, it is neither aasakti (attachment) nor virakti (detachment) but it is anaasakti . We are quite aware of the polarities of aasakti/raag or virakti/viraag , but transcending to the third stage is the challenge. Similar is ' Abhayam ', wh

215. Open Secret

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  The fifteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is called ' Purushottama Yoga '. The title comes from the following verse where Krishna says, "I am beyond the perishable ( prakriti -nature) and am even higher than imperishable ( kootastha -soul). Hence, I am proclaimed as Purushottama (Supreme Being) in the Vedas and in the world" (15.18). Once awareness starts setting in, two fundamental questions we face are what are we supposed to do and what are we supposed to know? Krishna earlier answered the first question when he told us to relinquish any action (immaterial of what we are doing) unto HIM; to be devoid of egotism ( nir-mama ) and desires ( nir-aasha ) (3.30). Krishna answers the second question and says, "The undeluded knows me as Purushottama , knows all. He worships Me with his whole being"(15.19). Though it is a simple and open secret, 'knowing all' is when the knowing is at the existential level. Krishna earlier said to remember Him all

214. How and Why

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  Paramatma is like an eternal ocean and atma is an imperishable drop that is surrounded by the perishable human body. Krishna describes that ocean and says, "Know that brilliance to be mine which residing in the sun illuminates the world, which is in the moon as well as in fire (15.12). Permeating the earth, I nourish all living beings with energy. Becoming the moon, I nourish all plants with the juice of life (15.13). Having become Vaishvanara (fiery power), I exist in the body of living beings, united with prana (inhalation of breath) and apana (exhalation), I digest the fourfold food (15.14). I am seated in the hearts of all beings; and from Me come Smriti (self awareness), Gyan (wisdom) and Apohan (clarifying doubts). I alone am to be known by all the Vedas, am the author of the Vedant , and the knower of the meaning of the Vedas" (15.15).   Firstly, Krishna says He is the brilliance of the sun (sunlight) and nourishes all living beings with energy. Plants co

213. Paramatma and Atma

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  Krishna explains about 'The Creation' at different places and indicates that the entire existence is the coherence of prakriti  (nature) and  purush  (spirit). HIS womb is the mahat-brahma (great prakriti) into which HE places the seed ( purush ) which is the cause of the birth of all beings (14.3). Gunas (qualities) and vikar (evolution or change) are born of prakriti (13.20) and prakriti is also responsible for cause and effect; Purush is responsible for experiencing the polarities of sukh (pleasure) and dukh (pain) (13.21). Krishna further elaborates and says, "There are two kinds of beings ( purushas ) in creation, the  kshar  (perishable) and the  akshar  (imperishable). The perishable are all beings in the material realm. The imperishable is called kootastha (soul) (15.16). But there exists another eternal Highest Being called Paramatma (Supreme Soul). Permeating the three worlds, HE sustains them (15.17). Essentially, it is eternal Paramatma , imperish

212. Rules of Rebirth

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  Krishna gave a blueprint of life when he said that a part of HIM manifests as an individual soul and attracts the senses which are a part of prakriti (nature). Essentially, it is desire that attracts senses. For example, the desire to see or hear attracts the sense organs of the eye or ear. He further explains about the process of the embodied soul leaving the body and entering a new body. Krishna says, "As the air carries fragrance from place to place, so does the embodied soul carry the mind and senses with it, when it leaves an old body and enters a new one (15.8). The deluded do not perceive the soul residing or departing or experiencing the world of the gunas . Those with the Eye of Wisdom see (15.10). The yogis striving for liberation see Him existing in themselves; but those who are unpurified and undisciplined are unable to perceive Him even when they struggle to do so" (15.11). Purity is nothing but the balance between pleasure-pain; profit-loss; victory-defeat (