Text of the Bhagavagd Gita (Mother's Institute of Research) - Session 20: Chapter 5—Verses 5-29 (28 April 1999)

Chapter 5—Verses 6-23

I hope today we will make a good progress in the 5th & 6th chapters.

As I told you last time, the first part in the 5th & 6th chapters is related to show the identity of Sankhya and Yoga and to show that only the children make a big difference between the two, but not the wise ones. We have dealt with this last time. So, I will only add one word that in showing that identity, the one crucial word is ‘sannyāsa’.

Because of the ambiguity of the word Sannyasa a confusion arises; because it seems as if in Sankhya, Sannyasa is the central thing. In Yoga or Karma yoga, continuation of action is emphasised, and therefore it seems there is no Sannyasa in it. So, it seems that Sankhya means Sannyasa, Karma yoga means no-Sannyasa and therefore there seems to be a conflict between the two. Whereas Sri Krishna points out that Sankhya and Yoga both are one, because in both Sannyasa is involved; and the same kind of Sannyasa is required. And this is understood by making a distinction between outer Sannyasa and inner Sannyasa.

Very often those who pursue Sankhya, they seem to do Sannyasa but outwardly. But even in Sankhya, the real Sannyasa is ‘not’ outer Sannyasa. The real Sannyasa is the internal Sannyasa: internally you give up. And that is required in both, both in Sankhya and Yoga, because na kāṅkṣati na dveṣṭi, what does it mean? In the Karma yoga, this is the most important thing: na kāṅkṣati na dveṣṭi nirdvandvo, one who has gone beyond dualities. So, Karma yoga is centred on the inner renunciation of desire. And the same thing is also demanded in Jnana yoga, in Sankhya. Therefore, both are actually one and the same process.

The only difference is that in the beginning, in Sankhya the emphasis is on the pursuit of Knowledge. In Karma yoga, the pursuit is of Action, and refinement of action, and perfection of action. And the method used is not to give up action at all, but to utilise action as a means of Yoga. In Sankhya or Jnana yoga the aim is Knowledge, and the means also is centred upon intellectual pursuit of knowledge, in the outset. So, in the beginning there is a distinction and emphasis, which is different, but as soon as you come in the middle point, in both the cases the renunciation of desire and renunciation of all kinds of rivalry is the central point, in both the cases. In both the cases, as you rise higher you have to pass through the gates of Knowledge. Karma yoga is not Karma yoga unless you attain to the integral Knowledge. Sankhya is not Sankhya unless you attain to the integral Knowledge. When you attain to the integral Knowledge, then follows an action because in the integrality of Knowledge, action is not thrown out, and that is true in both the cases. So, even at the top level, both are one and the same. This is the one important part of these chapters 5 & 6.

As a consequence of this, in the 5th chapter, there are a few verses, which describe the divine worker.

If you want to see the link of the argument that proceeds from 4th chapter to 5th chapter, you may say that the 4th chapter describes divyam janma, divyam karma: what is the divine birth and what is the divine action. Naturally thereafter you are to be told what is the nature of one who does divine action. So, there is a link between the 4th chapter and the 5th chapter that having described what is the divine action in the 4th chapter, in the 5th chapter there is a description of one who performs divine action. What is his nature? Therefore the divine worker is described in the 5th chapter.

In the middle, there is this interlude where the distinction between Sankhya and Yoga, which is very often enlarged in the minds of people, is sort to be abridged and eliminated, so that we see that Sankhya and Yoga are the same. And both, when Sankhya rises to the top, and when Karma yoga rises to the top, then both of them become divine workers; therefore the description of divine worker we get. So, if we read now the 6th verse in the 5th chapter, and a few more verses thereafter, you get the description of the divine worker.

And the divine worker has 5 important qualities. One is that he has given up: Sannyasa; he has given up. That is inner renunciation of egoism. There is inner renunciation of desire. There is a sense of equality. There is impersonality. There is peace. There is joy. These are the important qualities of a divine worker. And these paragraphs, these verses, in one way or the other, describe these qualities. So now, we shall rapidly read these so that we know, every time that we come across these words like: freedom from egoism, freedom from desire, impersonality, equality, peace and joy, these words will occur now and then, and we shall see that all of them describe the divine worker. In fact the whole of the chapter in fact can be seen only as a description of a divine worker.

We shall come back again. We shall read first all the verses of this chapter as the description of the divine worker, and come back again to a few of them, to emphasise a few important items:

saṁnyāsas tu mahābāho duḥkham āptum ayogataḥ |
yogayukto munir brahma nacireṇādhigacchati ||5.6||

“O Mighty-Armed Arjuna! Renunciation is difficult to attain without Yoga ; the sage who is steadied in Yoga, can attain Brahman without delay.”

yogayukto viśuddhātmā vijitātmā jitendriyaḥ |
sarvabhūtātmabhūtātmā kurvann api na lipyate ||5.7||

“He who is perfect in Yoga, and is pure in heart, having control over the Self and who has conquered the senses, who realises the oneness of himself with the inner Self of all beings, he is not tainted by actions even though he continues performing them.” He is free from the sense of action, egoism, and that is now much more realistic against the next one.

naiva kiñcit karomīti yukto manyeta tattvavit |
paśyañ śṛṇvan spṛśañ jighrann aśnan gacchan svapañ śvasan ||5.8||

pralapan visṛjan gṛhṇann unmiṣan nimiṣann api |
indriyāṇīndriyārtheṣu vartanta iti dhārayan ||5.9||

These two verses are actually one sentence:

“The man who is united with the Supreme and knows the truth thinks, ‘I do nothing at all’,”…he is free from egoism of action,...“while seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting (eating), walking, sleeping and breathing.”

“In speaking, emitting, grasping, opening and closing the eyes, he holds that only the senses are engaged with their objects, and that he is aloof from them.”

brahmaṇy ādhāya karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā karoti yaḥ |
lipyate na sa pāpena padmapatram ivāmbhasā ||5.10||

“One, who performs actions without attachment, surrendering them to the Brahman, is not touched by sin, even as a lotus leaf remains untouched by water.”

This description of padmapatram ivāmbhasā is a very famous analogy in Indian thought, where you are told that you can be in the water and yet you will not become wet. You remain dry even when immersed in the water, and the Karmayogi is exactly like that, that he may seem to be doing exactly all kinds of actions, which the worldly man does. So, outwardly you cannot see but the one thing is that he remains completely dry; he does not get affected, unattached.

kāyena manasā buddhyā kevalair indriyair api |
yoginaḥ karma kurvanti saṅgaṁ tyaktvātmaśuddhaye ||5.11||

“The yogins abandoning attachment…” that was first, abandoning the sense of action, egoism; now there is emphasis upon giving up desire.

“The yogins abandoning attachment perform actions merely with body, mind, intellect and senses, for the purification of their souls.”

yuktaḥ karmaphalaṁ tyaktvā śāntim āpnoti naiṣṭhikīm |
ayuktaḥ kāmakāreṇa phale sakto nibadhyate ||5.12||

Here the emphasis is upon śāntim āpnoti, “he attains to the peace”.

“One who is earnest to Yoga attains Eternal Peace by renouncing the fruits of action, but one who is not in union with the Divine is impelled by desires, and is attached to the fruits of action, and is therefore bound.”

sarvakarmāṇi manasā saṁnyasyāste sukhaṁ vaśī |
navadvāre pure dehī naiva kurvan na kārayan ||5.13||

Here the description is of delight; there it was peace, here it is delight.

“The embodied soul, who has controlled his nature, neither working nor causing work to be done, he attains to great happiness, even though he dwells at ease in the city of nine gates.”

na kartṛtvaṁ na karmāṇi lokasya sṛjati prabhuḥ |
na karmaphalasaṁyogaṁ svabhāvas tu pravartate ||5.14||

“Just as the supreme Lord, even though He creates the world and runs the world and yet He has nothing to do with the world, they exists in the Lord but He does not exist in them, therefore He does not do any action”, na kartṛtvaṁ na karmāṇi lokasya sṛjati, He does not feel that He is the doer; and He, even though He is supposed to be the creator of the world, He does not feel He is the creator of the world; na karmaphalasaṁyogaṁ svabhāvas tu pravartate, He does not even join action with its fruits.

Very often it is said that God has only one function: there are schools of Indian philosophy, which say that God has only one function, ‘He joins Karma with its fruits’. Karma is done by individuals, and fruits are given by God: that is one school of philosophy. And that is the only function of God. Some people believe that God has other functions: He creates the world, He Himself is the world, and He also connects actions with the fruits of action, and He Himself is the doer of action. These notions of God are also mentioned in the Indian thought: all of them are accepted in the Bhagavad Gita. According to the Bhagavad Gita, the Divine is the creator of the world, the Divine is the doer of all things the Divine Himself is the stuff of the world: all that is here is the Divine; the Divine is also therefore the doer of action, and also the fruit giver who combines the action and the fruits.

In spite of that, here Sri Krishna says that even though all this is true, He really has another poise of His Consciousness in which none of these attributes apply to Him. Even while doing actions, He does no action. Even while joining action to the fruits He is not that. Even while creating the world, He is not that. Even while doing everything, He is not that. Such is the condition of the Lord Himself. Therefore, the divine worker also has the same qualities: he creates, he does, he is the master and yet he is free from all that. That is the sign of the divine worker’s freedom.

nādatte kasyacit pāpaṁ na caiva sukṛtaṁ vibhuḥ |
ajñānenāvṛtaṁ jñānaṁ tena muhyanti jantavaḥ ||5.15||

“The omnipresent Lord does not take the sin or virtue of anyone. It is because knowledge is enveloped by ignorance that the individual souls are bewildered.”

If Divine is all, then naturally He takes sin and virtue of everybody; but there is a state of His Consciousness, in which He is aloof from everything; therefore, the Karmayogin, he combines in himself constant activity, and a constant inactivity. He is kṣara and akṣara at the same time.

jñānena tu tad ajñānaṁ yeṣāṁ nāśitam ātmanaḥ |
teṣām ādityavaj jñānaṁ prakāśayati tat param ||5.16||

“For those whose ignorance is destroyed by the knowledge of the self, knowledge shines forth like the sun, revealing the reality of the Transcendental Self.”

All this description was of tat param; tat param is that which is none of these things, even though He is vibhuḥ, even though he is prabhuḥ, He is the Lord; vibhu is one who is spread out, prabhu is one who is the master. Even though He spreads out, even all this is Himself, even though He is the supreme Lord, even then He is tat param, he is still beyond all that.

tadbuddhayas tadātmānas tanniṣṭhās tatparāyaṇāḥ |
gacchantyapunarāvṛttiṁ jñānanirdhūtakalmaṣāḥ ||5.17||

“Who have their buddhi fixed on the self, and who are solely devoted to the self, they with their sins entirely destroyed by knowledge attain a state of liberation from which there is no return.”

So, he attains to a perfect perfection, and he is not obliged to come back to this world: he may come back to this world, but he is not obliged, there is no necessity for him to return to this world, he really becomes free. You might say that these are some of the basic characteristics of a divine worker.

Now, a very important state of the divine worker is set up equality:

vidyāvinayasampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini |
śuni caiva śvapāke ca paṇḍitāḥ samadarśinaḥ ||5.18||

The one who has attained the state of a divine worker, for him, four are equal; and Sri Krishna describes who are all equal:

“The men of wisdom behold with an equal eye, the same self in Brahmins who are learned and modest, as in cows and elephants, or even in dogs and outcastes.”

For him all are equal,

vidyāvinayasampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini |
śuni caiva śvapāke ca paṇḍitāḥ samadarśinaḥ ||5.18||

ihaiva tair jitaḥ sargo yeṣāṁ sāmye sthitaṁ manaḥ |
nirdoṣaṁ hi samaṁ brahma tasmād brahmaṇi te sthitāḥ ||5.19||

“Everything is conquered: ihaiva tair jitaḥ, everything is conquered by them; yeṣāṁ sāmye sthitaṁ manaḥ, whose mind is established in equality.”

nirdoṣaṁ hi samaṁ brahma tasmād brahmaṇi te sthitāḥ ||

“Brahman is always innocent, and therefore when you attain to Brahmic consciousness, you become equal minded, then you are settled in the Brahman.”

na prahṛṣyet priyaṁ prāpya nodvijet prāpya cāpriyam |
sthirabuddhir asaṁmūḍho brahmavid brahmaṇi sthitaḥ ||5.20||

“One should not rejoice on obtaining what is pleasant nor feel sorrow on obtaining what is unpleasant. One who has a firm intellect and un-bewildered, such a knower of Brahman is established in Brahman.”

bāhyasparśeṣvasaktātmā vindatyātmani yat sukham |
sa braḥmayogayuktātmā sukham akṣayam aśnute ||5.21||

We have also earlier spoken of delight; here again, delight is obtained but basically through the state of equality:

bāhyasparśeṣvasaktātmā vindatyātmani yat sukham |

“When the Self is not attached to external contacts of the world, one attains the bliss that is in the self. Having united with the Yoga of Brahman, one attains infinite bliss.”

ye hi saṁsparśajā bhogā duḥkhayonaya eva te |
ādyantavantaḥ kaunteya na teṣu ramate budhaḥ ||5.22||

“Having known”…here the emphasis falls upon knowledge; “Having known that all the things have the beginning and the end, therefore one who is wise, he does not get attached to those enjoyments which are born of saṁsparśa, by touch, because they are all duḥkhayonaya, knowing that they are all the origin of unhappiness, therefore he does not get attached to them, and therefore he remains really in true delight, which does not depend upon any external sensations.”

śaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ prāk śarīravimokṣaṇāt |
kāmakrodhodbhavaṁ vegaṁ sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ ||5.23||

This is one of the most important statements: “You should attain to this condition, prāk śarīravimokṣaṇāt, before you leave the body you should have attain to this condition.” Very often we are told that liberation comes after leaving the body; whereas Sri Krishna here points out that really you attain to liberation only when, while being in the body, before you leave the body, prāk śarīravimokṣaṇāt, if you can bear, śaknotīhaiva, vegaṁ, if you can bear in you the speed, the force of impetuousness, the impetus which arises from *kāmakrodha…

Chapter 5—Verses 24-29

There are two things of which the speed and impetus is so great, it is almost impossible to stop that impetus of kāma, of krodha: the passion and anger. When you are seized by these two, the tendency is to satisfy them on the spot. No delay is allowed as it were by the consciousness: they want satisfaction here and now. So, one who can soḍhuṁ, one who can endure the pressure of kāma and krodha, which is almost impossible because the speed is so great. Therefore, Sri Krishna says that one mark of the divine worker is that in the midst of kāma and krodha, whether he can remain equal minded; and one who can bear the speed of kāma and krodha, it is he and that too before you are able to leave the body, before that should achieve this, that will be the real mark: sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ, it is he who is really happy.

            yo’ntaḥ sukho’ntarārāmastathāntarjyotir eva yaḥ |

           sa yogī brahmanirvāṇaṁ brahmabhūto’dhigacchati ||5.24||

“One who finds his happiness within himself, rejoices within himself and finds an inner light only within himself—such a yogin becomes Brahman, and attains the blissfulness of Brahman.”

brahmanirvāṇaṁ brahmabhūto’dhigacchati: these are the two words to which we will return afterwards because they are very important: “One who can remain within himself and derive all the delight from himself, he attains to brahmanirvāṇa, he attains to the complete liberation that is obtain when you become one with Brahma, brahmabhūto, when you become the Brahman then you attain the Nirvana, the liberation that comes by attainment of the Brahman.”

labhante brahmanirvāṇaṁ ṛṣayaḥ kṣīṇakalmaṣāḥ |
chinnadvaidhā yatātmānaḥ sarvabhūtahite ratāḥ ||5.25||

“They attain to Brahma Nirvana: labhante brahmanirvāṇaṁ, they attain to Brahma Nirvana; ṛṣayaḥ kṣīṇakalmaṣāḥ, the Rishis, the sages attain to it; chinnakalmaṣāḥ, whose sins are washed out; chinnadvaidhā, those whose duality is gone; yatātmānaḥ sarvabhūtahite ratāḥ, but this Brahma Nirvana does not mean that you become aloof from the world, even in Brahma Nirvana, you still remain ratāḥ, you become engaged; sarvabhūtahite, still remain completely engaged in the activities of the welfare of the people.”

kāmakrodhaviyuktānāṁ yatīnāṁ yatacetasām |
abhito brahmanirvāṇaṁ vartate viditātmanām ||5.26||

“In the close proximity to the austere souls who are free from passion and anger, whose minds are under control and who have realised the self, there abides blissfulness of Brahman even here.” …not only there but even here.

sparśān kṛtvā bahir bāhyāṁś cakṣuś caivāntare bhruvoḥ |

prāṇāpānau samau kṛtvā nāsābhyantaracāriṇau ||5.27||

“Shutting out all external objects, focusing the vision between the eye brows, harmonising the inward and outward breaths within the nostrils…”

yatendriyamanobuddhir munir mokṣaparāyaṇaḥ |
vigatecchābhayakrodho yaḥ sadā mukta eva saḥ ||5.28||

“…the Muni controls his senses, mind, and intellect, who is adherent to liberation alone. One who has renounced all desires and anger is ever emancipated.”

And last is the description of the divine worker:

bhoktāraṁ yajñatapasāṁ sarvalokamaheśvaram |
suhṛdaṁ sarvabhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati ||5.29||

“He, knowing Me as the enjoyer of all sacrifices and penances, as the Great God ruling over all the worlds, as the Friend of all beings attains Supreme Peace.”

The real friendship comes at this level, when you know the Divine Himself as your friend and Divine present everywhere, then the automatic friendship arises in the consciousness.

Now the theme of equality which was already given earlier is still continued in the 6th chapter also. And as I told you the 5th & 6th chapters are interrelated, and this theme of equality is so important in the Bhagavad Gita that we need to concentrate upon this theme once again. So, let us come back again to the 5th chapter and see all kinds of attributes, which are given to the state of equality.

The verse 18 onwards, you have several statements about equality of consciousness. Now, to be able to fully understand the whole theme of equality, we need to visit the 2nd chapter also because there too, we have a number of verses, which relate to equality. Since equality is one of the fundamental themes of the Bhagavad Gita, you get in chapter 2 & chapter 5, and also in chapter 6, a great deal of emphasis on equality. All of them are interrelated.

So, first of all we see chapter 2 and verse 56 & 57:

There is a close connection between chapter 2 & chapter 5 and also chapter 6 where the theme of equality, samatvaṁ, is described. Since we are doing the text of the Bhagavad Gita, I am referring to this because you have then a real understanding of the inter-connection of the verses of the Gita.

Why this repetition, if there is a repetition, why? The reason is that the 5th chapter is a kind of a summation, is a summary, in which all that has gone into the first four chapters is taken up, and a full summary is given in the 5th chapter. It is this internet-connection, which has to be understood; it is not as if there is a repetition here and there. Many people say, “Gita has a lot of repetitions”. But that happens only when you do not read the Gita in the context. Why this repetition? Because now this is summation. Ultimately Sri Krishna having described the whole of the Karma yoga…in fact the third chapter, as I told you earlier, is the quintessence of the Karma yoga of the Bhagavad Gita. In the 2nd chapter there is an introduction to the Bhagavad Gita. In the 4th chapter there is a culmination of the Bhagavad Gita. In the 5th chapter therefore there is a summary of all that has gone above, and therefore you get a description of the divine worker; and in the description of the divine worker you have to say the most important element in his consciousness is that of equality.

We have said that the Karmayogin, when he reaches the highest level, his first attributes is that he is free from egoism; secondly he is free from desire; third is that he is equal-minded; the fourth is that he is impersonal, that he is peaceful: śāntim adhigacchati and he is sukhī, he is in delight. These are the few words, which describe the real divine worker. In this description, it is a summary of the whole thing. After the finishing of all the 4 chapters, there is a summary of it. Therefore, what is most important in the Gita as to regard of equality is concerned, we have here the description of the equality; but we have to take into account also where equality is described earlier, so that in our mind there is a connection, and therefore I am referring to these verses 56 & 57:

duḥkheṣvanudvignamanāḥ sukheṣu vigataspṛhaḥ |
vītarāgabhayakrodhaḥ sthitadhīr munirucyate ||2.56||

“He who is not perturbed in mind in the midst of sorrowful conditions and who is devoid of coveting in the midst of happiness, who is free from attachment, fear and anger, such a one is called a sage of steady wisdom.”

He remains equal whether in happiness or in misery.

Then in the next one:

yaḥ sarvatrānabhisnehas tattatprāpya śubhāśubham |
nābhinandati na dveṣṭi tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā ||2.57||

“He who is without attachment in everything and who neither rejoices nor hates in whatever good and evil he may obtain; his wisdom is firm.”

And then you have in paragraph verse 64 & 70, these two:

rāgadveṣavimuktaistu viṣayān indriyaiścaran |
ātmavaśyairvidheyātmā prasādamadhigacchati ||2.64||

“The self-controlled man, though enjoying the sensory objects with his senses restrained and free from attachment and hatred, obtains peace.”

And then if you read 70:

āpūryamāṇam acalapratiṣṭhaṁ samudramāpaḥ praviśanti yadvat |
tadvatkāmā yaṁ praviśanti sarve sa śāntimāpnoti na kāmakāmī ||2.70||

“Just as waters from different rivers enter into the ocean from all sides, yet the ocean continues to be still, in the same way a person who is not perturbed by the incessant flow of desires, he alone attains peace and not the desirer of sense-objects.”

Now, in the 5th chapter apart from this 18, we have also in 19 the same themes, and also again in 22 & 23. In 19 we have:

ihaiva tair jitaḥ sargo yeṣāṁ sāmye sthitaṁ manaḥ |
nirdoṣaṁ hi samaṁ brahma tasmād brahmaṇi te sthitāḥ ||5.19||

“Even here on earth, the world is conquered by those whose mind is established in equality. Brahman is flawless and is the embodiment of equality; therefore, are these steadied in Brahman.”

And then, 22&23:

ye hi saṁsparśajā bhogā duḥkhayonaya eva te |
ādyantavantaḥ kaunteya na teṣu ramate budhaḥ ||5.22||

“The enjoyment obtained by the contact of the senses with their objects are the sources of sorrow; they have a beginning and an end; therefore, O Son of Kunti! The wise man finds no joy in them.”

śaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ prāk śarīravimokṣaṇāt |
kāmakrodhodbhavaṁ vegaṁ sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ ||5.23||

“He who is able to resist the impulse of desire and anger even before departing from the body, is verily a yogin and a happy person.”

Now, these verses may seem to be repeating, but if you study them properly, you will find that there are three important stages of equality, which are described in one way or the other. There is what may be called titikṣā: the equality, which comes from titikṣā. The second is the equality, which comes to you when you are udāsīna, when you are seated above; and equality, which comes to you by nati, by submission, by resignation. These are the three steps or three states in which equality is obtained. Even those who do not do Yoga, sometimes they happen to be in a state of equality, although they can not retain it for long, but sometimes they do come to this state of equality, provided temporally they come into these three conditions, one of these three conditions.

Either in the state of titikṣā: titikṣā is the state in which you are prepared to bear, to endure, when you have decided that you want to bear. Somebody is torturing you and normally we react to it; but if you have decided that, “I will bear it”, it makes all the difference to your reaction. The same kind of torture, which was giving you pain, even if it gives pain to you, your reaction is that you have conquered it, you are not overpowered by the torture, you do not become slave to the torture, you are able to rise above it. If you are walking in the hot sun, if you decided that you want to bear the sun then you will find after sometime that you are not tortured by the sunshine: you are able to receive the heat of the sun almost like a friend; you are able to bear it. It is a question of how you look at it.

There are certain conditions in which the joy is so great that like the “My fair lady”, you want to dance and dance the whole night; such a tremendous pressure of joy, you cannot contain: now, that is a state of inequality, because you cannot contain yourself. But there also if you are able to bear the joy, contain it, to master it, it is also enduring. If you can endure the joy, then you can remain equal.

Question: Doesn’t one endure in the first place because of lack of strength?

Because of the lack of strength, you endure? is it?

Question: Initially, you endure anything because you are not strong enough to oppose it, or is it anything else?

It is a slavish endurance you might say. This endurance is not a slavish endurance. There are different kinds of endurances, and you are quite right that this sense of endurance can be mistaken, if you don’t make this distinction that you are making. At a time you endure something because you cannot help it; it is a kind of resignation, but even less than a resignation of a kind. They will give even disappointed-ness. Because you are disappointed you can do nothing about it, therefore you bear it. This kind of endurance has to be distinguished from this kind of higher kind of endurance, where you can react if you want to, but you have decided that you will be able to bear it, you want to bear it, you don’t want to react, you want to master it, that is what is called “stoic endurance”.

Take for example a soldier who goes to battle, and he is attacked by arrows after arrows; at every strike of the arrow there is pain, but because he has decided, “I want to bear it, I want to bear the pain”, he continues to fight. So, as far as the bearing is concerned, whether five arrows strike or ten, he remains equal; not because he is not able to react, but he has decided to bear it. The wounds are accepted and afterwards when you retrospect you might even say that wounds gave him joy! He feels that he was able to bear the wounds, and then he regards his wounds as medals of the war. If you go to a warrior, and once he has received the wounds, he often shows his wounds and says, “Look I have been able to endure this”; this kind of scar, which only shows that deep wound inside, he enjoys it by saying it is the medal of his war.

Question: But how do you differentiate between the slavish endurance, and this heroic endurance?

The heroic endurance is that you do not get subdued. In the slavish one, you are subdued, here you are not subdued, you bear it, you rise above it and you bear it.

Question: In other words manobala?

That’s right. It is what is called in western philosophy: the attitude of the stoic. There is a philosophy of stoicism, which teaches you that you should be able to endure everything in the world: joy and sorrow, love and hatred, honour and dishonour, success and failure, “Bear everything as it comes, you are greater than all this!”

Question: Is Jainism stoicism?

In Jainism also there is a lot of stoicism, tremendous amount of stoicism.

So, if you study these verses, which I read out to you, you will find that there is no repetition as such. There are three kinds of equality, which are described: the equality, which is the result of stoicism, like soḍhuṁ that which is…the word soḍhuṁ is given, ‘the endurance’: kāmakrodho vegaṁ, the vega is endured, there is a tremendous stuff of stoicism in it.

Then, there is another kind of equality, which comes to you by seeing the world, knowing what the world is. As Sri Krishna says: “Having known that all sense-objects, and the pleasures and pains, which come from the sense-objects, they have a beginning and they have an end, having known this, you are equal-minded.” Here it is not a question of enduring: having seen, having known, it is by process of knowledge.

When you see the whole world impartially, and see the entire process of the world, then you are no more affected by pleasure and pain. Those who have seen that you were in power one day and hundreds of cars used to wait outside your bungalow, and suddenly you drop out, and hardly one or two people come to meet you, and again you rise to power and again hundred cars come before you, having known what has happen earlier you have already learned that you should not now feel exalted or excited when hundred cars again come to you. You have understood that all this is not because of you that these people come to you, they do not desert you because of you, they come to you and they desert you because of something else, which you possessed at one time: you had honey at one time, you have now no honey with you, therefore the bees come or don’t come because of this whether you possess it or not. Having seen this, and all kinds of experiences you gain in the world of ups and downs, by knowledge you now become uplifted. That is called udāsīna. It is what is called in philosophical terms: an equality, which comes by philosophic wisdom.

The third is that you have attained in your state of consciousness what is called ‘resignation’, acceptance; this also leads you to equality. There is a state of consciousness in which you feel that everything that comes to you is equal: “O Lord, whether you give me joy or unhappiness, since it comes from you, it is all the same.” So, one who has this attitude of resignation…in Christianity for example this element is very powerful: submit to the will of God, do not even resist the evil, resist not the evil, even this. If evil comes on you, resign to it, bear it, suffer it, even to such an extent that suffering itself becomes a means of salvation. As Jesus accepted the suffering, and took the burden of the sin of man, and suffered, as a result it becomes a gate of salvation. It is a pure sense of resignation: “it comes to me from the Lord”. Submission: nati. In Sanskrit it is called nati, nama; nama: to bow down; from there the word nati; nati is the state of bowing down. You bow down to the will of God.

Question: When I can’t do anything. Whatever is coming, is coming, I can’t do anything?

No, that is another sense.

In other words, while these three states of which I spoke are at a higher level, there is a lower level of these three also. There is, you might say, a resignation from disappointment: not resignation in the sense that everything that comes from the Lord is joy for me: that is a higher level. But here, there is a resignation that comes from disappointment.

Question: But with a spirit of tolerance?

No, there it becomes higher. We have to distinguish the psychological threads. All resignation is not necessarily at the highest level. In the process of Yoga, since we are at the lower level, very often we pass through lower stages of resignation, higher stages of resignation, and the highest stages of resignation. There are three stages actually, only the last is the best. What is Karma yoga of Sri Krishna is the affirmation of equality at the highest level. But at the lowest level also we pass through, and you find many people mistaking their present condition as if it is the highest. Therefore, psychologically we must be quite aware of it that we should not be trapped, saying that, “Oh! It is now equal to me.” When there is a disappointment…you have tried your best, and you have failed and you know that you are going to fail again, you are disappointed, then whether you succeed or you fail it does not make any difference afterwards once you have become disappointed: that equality is a very low kind of equality.

Question: Is it a tamasic equality?

It is a tamasic equality, or even worse.

Question: How does one keep or sustain…?

…equilibrium. That now Sri Krishna will tell you at the end. I have not even spoken yet about the last, the highest kind of equality.

Question: Does this titikṣā, udāsīna, and nati correspond to Action, and Knowledge, and Bhakti?*

That’s right; you are right, absolutely, very true.

When you are moving on the path of Devotion, then, nati comes in the middle level. If you follow the path of Knowledge udāsīnatā comes in the middle stage of your equality. And when you pursue the path of Action, then stoic equality comes, titikṣā* comes in your way. But there are lower levels also.

So, we must make a distinction between the semblance of equality, and the true equality; the true equality, and the truest equality. So, at the lowest level one would be proud for example, and yet one may feel in that state of pride: “I accept everything; I am high so it does not matter at all”. So, in pride also there is a kind of equality. If you are hard and indifferent, then also you are equal: if your consciousness is hard, there is no softness in your heart, then everything is equal. These are all lower kinds of equality. Very often in the yogic process all these things come, but we must know that this is not the real equality, or this is a higher equality and this is the highest equality.

The highest equality arises when you perceive samaṁ brahman; when you see that in everything there is the Brahman, and equal Brahman in everything. That is the real equality, the true spiritual equality: ekatvam anupaśyataḥ (Isha Upn. 7), when you see oneness everywhere, then there is a real equality, it is even higher than philosophical equality; it is higher than udāsīnatā. In udāsīnatā, you stand above, and you see everything lower than you. But in the real spiritual equality, there is spiritual oneness, you are not higher, you see everywhere ‘oneness’: the Knowledge of oneness. Equality and Knowledge are equated. In fact Sri Aurobindo says that Karma yoga is fully fulfilled when you can combine Knowledge of oneness, and the attitude and the status of equality; when you have both these together, then that is the culmination of the Karma yoga.

Now, this equality, the Knowledge, having seen samaṁ brahman everywhere, and you will see in the verses, which I read out the status of equality when everything is seen as equal and one: sāmyaṁ sthita, when you stand in equality by seeing the real equality: ekatvam. In the 6th chapter again Sri Krishna will repeat in saying that, “when you see Me in all and all in Me”, when you see that, then that is the true Knowledge. You are not only thinking: in the philosophical equality you only think, you have understood. But here you really see the oneness.

There is a distinction between thought and Knowledge: Knowledge is the light by which you grow into oneness with your being. There must be first of all a light by means of which you grow into oneness with your highest being. So, there must be an experience of your highest being, experience of oneness with it, and the light by which you can see this, you can experience it: it is that which is called Knowledge. This is the true definition of Knowledge. That is why we say Knowledge is not information: merely to be told that all is one is not Knowledge. It may be a thought at the most. But Knowledge, the word, is reserved only when there is an experience of your highest self, experience of oneness with it, and the light by which you can experience it: this is Knowledge. In that state of Knowledge, it will be impossible for you to see the divisions.

As Sri Aurobindo says: the mark of realisation is that you see the Truth, and it is impossible for you to see the Falsehood, you cannot even see, even when division are shown, you cannot see divisions anywhere: ekatvam anupaśyataḥ (isha U. 7), you really see everywhere oneness, even if you are told, ‘look this is your enemy and this is your friend’, he does not see that way at all; he sees Sri Krishna smiling here, Sri Krishna smiling here, and everywhere. So, ekatvam anupaśyataḥ, everywhere is the same Lord. Outwardly you may be told, ‘this is your enemy and this is a friend’, but in the real realisation, there is no difference at all, everywhere is…it is impossible for him to see: that is called the state of realisation. This is not merely information that we are all one, in which you don’t see the same Lord presiding over everything.

Similarly, when you have a real Knowledge, then you cannot but do the right thing. When you have only the philosophical knowledge, you may know:dharmaṁ jānāmi na ca me pravṛttiḥ, I know what is dharma but I have no pravṛttiḥ towards it: that is because this is only a philosophic knowledge; what is Dharma and what is Adharma. But if you have true Knowledge, it is impossible for you to do anything wrong: your consciousness is so imbued with Goodness that action will proceed from you automatically, which will be a right action, a good action. You cannot do a wrong action: that is the mark of Knowledge. This is not information but Knowledge. It is that, which gives you true equality.

So, when you perceive oneness everywhere, and then from that perception you see everything equal, and you attain to equality, that is the real equality according to the Bhagavad Gita. All others are only steps; they are not real equality, they are only steps in the process. When you see not only the oneness everywhere, but when you see the supreme Lord everywhere, bhoktāraṁ, one who enjoys everywhere. So, there you do not only have equality, but you equally enjoy everything. Even when what you call ‘misery’ comes, you feel a great delight in it: equal delight in what we call joy, and equal delight in what we call misery,

Question: That is defending, no?

It is defending oneself, saying what can I do?

I am already designed in such a way. But as I told you, the mark of true knowledge is: he cannot but do the right thing. The true sense of true knowledge is attained by you when it is impossible for you to do the wrong thing. It is also the doctrine of Socrates when he said: ‘Virtue is Knowledge’. When you truly know, you really become free, and when you really become free, you cannot but do the Good. And his definition of freedom is not that you are free to do good or evil: that is called a freedom. The real freedom is attained when you cannot but do the good thing: that is the state of freedom.

So, here also in the spiritual teaching of the Gita is also the true freedom. When you are really free you have only the embrace of God. You cannot embrace anything else: you are really free. So, when you see the oneness of Reality everywhere, when you see the same Lord who is enjoying everything, then there is a real equality which is not only enduring, the sense of endurance goes away, you really enjoy it.

As Narsinh Mehta for example, the great saint of Gujarat: the Nawab who had heard that Narsinh Mehta does miracles.

He called him to his court and said: “you show me a miracle.”

He said: “I never do any miracles at all.”

So, he said: “no, no there are so many miracles people are saying, so either you are a hypocrite or you are a real saint you tell me, prove yourself.”

So, he said: “how can I prove anything? I do nothing.”

So, he says: “no, no, you are now telling a lie.”

He says: “no, I am not telling a lie, it is a fact. I never do anything only the Lord does everything.”

So, he said: “you tell your Lord that now you show a miracle.”

So, he said: “it is not up to me to tell the Lord, whenever He likes anything He does it and I enjoy it whatever He does.”

So, he said: “All right, I will send you to prison and remain in the dungeon.”

So, he was sent to the jail, and he was in a state of great joy; and after three, four days, his doctor came to see him and said: “Father I can’t see you in this condition, why don’t you show some miracle? So, you just show and you will be released.”

So, he said: “I cannot do anything at all, only Lord if He pleases, something will happen by itself.”

So, he says: “no, no, you sing one song, one Bhajan.”

So, he sang one Bhajan, and according to the legend, the garland which was worn by the idol of Sri Krishna in a temple, flew from there and came and sat down on the neck of Narsinh Mehta and this was witnessed by the Nawab.

And then of course he said that, “for me to stay outside the jail or inside the jail, both are equally enjoyed experiences: it was a delight in both conditions for me”.

So, when you see the Lord everywhere and Lord not only as “same”, but also as the enjoyer, that is the last sentence of the 29th verse of the Bhagavad Gita in this chapter:

bhoktāraṁ yajñatapasāṁ sarvalokamaheśvaram |
suhṛdaṁ sarvabhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati ||5.29||

You see here now lokamaheśvaram, you see the supreme Lord who is the bhoktāraṁ, who is the enjoyer; He is a mischievous Lord who plays the whole game and even when He gives pain to us, actually for Him it is joy, and if we understand it, it is also for us a joy. If you really understand His game: “He, knowing Me as the enjoyer of all sacrifices and penances, as the Great God ruling over all the worlds as the Friend of all beings attains Supreme Peace.”

This is the real state of equality but in a state of great joy. So, the equality, which is described in these chapters by Sri Krishna is not equality at the lowest level, nor is it even the middle level; it is the highest equality which comes from Knowledge, which comes from the knowledge of oneness, which comes to you as the knowledge of the Lord, of everything, who enjoys everything, and who is at the root of everything, and therefore all experiences are transmuted into delight. This is the equality that is defined in the Bhagavad Gita, and the divine worker is the one who has this equality.

I think we will stop here today and we shall continue next time. We could not finish the two chapters yet.