How have we come into the stage of bondage? What is the experience of bondage? What is the process by which we can come out of the bondage? Who are we who are in bondage, who are seeking liberation?
And who annul bondage and enter into liberation? What is the knowledge that we gain in the stage of liberation? What is the state of our consciousness? What happens to our will? What happens to our emotions? What happens to our thought when we are liberated?
And what is the highest state in which we reach?
This whole science is given in this 15th chapter, that’s why the importance of this chapter. In a sense you might say ‘all this is already told’ in all the preceding chapters but not as explicitly as in this chapter, that is why this chapter again śāstram uttamam, the highest Shastra is revealed here.
Now, let us begin with this. First of all we have read one verse we shall repeat again, that is 15th chapter, verse n°7, Sri Krishna describes:
mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ |
manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati ||7|| (XV)
This is the question: who are we? The answer is: mamaivāṁśo, each one of us is the very portion: jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ, each one of us is called ‘Jiva’, so each Jiva is My own portion, sanātanaḥ is eternal.
Just as sparks are eternally present in fire…it is not as if sparks come out of something else than fire; the sparks are eternally present in fire. Similarly each one of us is eternally present in the Supreme. Each one of us is a partial manifestation of the Supreme; essentially we are one, there is no difference between us and the Divine.
That is why Isha Upanishad says: ‘He am I’, so ’ham (Isha Upn. 16), ‘He am I’ this is the supreme word of the Isha Upanishad. That is because each one of us is only a spark of the same fire, and between the spark and the fire, there is no difference basically, all the qualities in the fire are present in the spark, nothing less. In fact it is not as if the spark is slightly less than the fire; all the qualities of the fire are present in the spark.
The only difference is: the spark is a partial manifestation: partial manifestation does not mean there is a division. The Divine is indivisible; therefore the manifestation of it does not rob the Supreme of anything that is in Him, does not rob the spark of anything that is in the fire: such is the nature of the partial manifestation. The word used is aṁśaḥ, not the vibhāgaḥ; the soul is not vibhāgaḥ, not bhāga, it is not a part of the Divine: part would be division, the word used is aṁśaḥ, aṁśaḥ is a partial manifestation.
So: mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ |
It is eternal. Individual is not created, it is unborn; Jiva is called ‘unborn’. One of the definitions of Jiva is an ‘unborn’ portion of the Supreme. Now, it is this mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ, it is he, ‘karṣati’: karṣati means attracts. This word is very important: ‘he attracts, he consents’, he is not ‘attracted’. In many accounts they say that the Jiva is attracted by Prakriti, but here He says: “he attracts”. It is by ‘his’ consent.
He attracts what? manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni: there are 6 senses which are seated in Prakriti: the mind and other five senses, all together are 6. Manas is also a sense, the real sense: the eye sight, the hearing, the touch, smell and the taste: these are the indriya(s), and Manas is the basic. If mind is not there all the senses will not work. If my mind is elsewhere even if there is a big noise, I will not hear it. The mind should be present, then only the five senses will function. That is why the 6th sense Manas is called the real sense: the other five senses are only instruments of Manas.
These six senses which are seated, ‘sthāni’, which are seated in Prakriti… manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati: ‘he’ attracts these.
By this attraction…śarīraṁ yad avāpnoti, by this he obtains the body. By attracting these senses…so if you don’t attract the senses you will be free from the body. Your coming into the body is because you attract these senses:
śarīraṁ yad avāpnoti yac cāpy utkrāmatīśvaraḥ |, now the word used is īśvaraḥ, because Jiva is nothing but Ishwara. As we saw earlier: ‘He am I’. Therefore, Ishwara means the Jiva, Ishwara that is Jiva attracts the body, obtains the body and it is he who leaves the body and while leaving the body…
gṛhītvaitāni saṁyāti vāyur gandhān ivāśayāt ||8|| (XV)
…just as when you pass from a home and the home is full of fragrance, you carry the fragrance outside, similarly, when you go out of the body, then you carry with you whatever is the remnant of your experience of the body: that you carry with you.”
In other words in one sentence, He describes the entry into the body…why do you enter into the body? Because you attract the 5 senses, you live in the body, and when you leave the body, all your experiences, you carry with you just as the fragrance is carried by you when you leave a fragrant house. So, the life in this body, the life after this body, and what is carried, what is called Karma, (Karma is nothing but the bundle of experiences that we gather and what ever remains as it were, the quintessence of your experience you carry with you and that is what is the capital in the next birth.
Now, while in the body:
śrotraṁ cakṣuḥ sparśanaṁ ca rasanaṁ ghrāṇam eva ca |
adhiṣṭhāya manaś cāyaṁ viṣayān upasevate ||9|| (XV)
What happen in this body is upasevate, you only experience and enjoy; this is all that is there in this entire life: to experience and to enjoy. Enjoy does not mean necessarily only pleasure, also ‘suffering’ is also ‘enjoy’, we are…in the highest sense of the term, all experience…if there is pain it is because the pain is a part of a ‘pleasant’ experience,(‘pleasant’ in inverted commas), because you have to pass through it without that pain you will not get a further experience therefore you pass through pain.
So, what happens with the soul in the body, when you are in bondage stage, śrotraṁ, whatever is heard, cakṣuḥ, whatever is seen, whatever is touched, whatever is enjoyed, whatever is smelled, all this you preside over, manaś ca, and then you experience the mind and all the objects of the senses, all that is experienced and enjoyed: this is our condition of bondage. ‘Bondage’ because at hat time you don’t experience other than this thing, because you have attracted the mind and the senses, son, you experience only that. If you did not decide to attract then you are free, so your bondage is because of your consent, you yourself attracted that. This is all that is in the whole life there is nothing but an experience enjoyment, therefore, the Jiva is called the ‘upabhokta’, he is the enjoyer, he is the ‘experiencer’.