Text of the Bhagavagd Gita (Mother's Institute of Research) - Session 24: Apara Prakriti, Para Prakriti; Chapter 3—Verses 4-5 (24 June 1999)

Two verses, 7.4 and 7.5, where we are told that there are two Prakritis, where Sri Krishna says that He has two natures, not one nature but two natures. This itself is a surprising statement. Normally we think that everyone has one nature, but He says that, “I have got two natures”. And one nature is the lower nature, and the other is the higher nature. And the lower nature, He has described as consisting of eight elements: the five pañca mahā bhūtā(s); that is starting from ether, to air, to fire, to water, and to the earth. These are the five mahā bhūtā(s), and then mind, intellect, and egoism: these eight elements constitute the lower nature.

Now, there is higher nature, which is not described in full, but which will come later on; but here, Sri Krishna gives only two indications of what is the nature of this higher nature: first is jīvabhūtām; the one that has become the jīva; the higher nature which has become the jīva; yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat, and by which the world is upheld. That would mean: the principle of unity; to uphold the whole world is to uphold the oneness or unity of the world. You cannot uphold anything without unifying principles. So, one aspect of this nature, higher nature is: its power of unity. The other one is that it is that which has the stuff in the jīva.

Now, this concept of jīva is itself a very important concept in the whole of the Gita, and without this concept, we cannot deal properly with the problem of bondage and mokṣa. That is why the question that came was exactly at the right time. While we discuss the question of jīva, the question of the parā prakṛti, which has the nature of unity, it is at this time that we can deal with the question of bondage and liberation. Because bondage is related to aparā prakṛti, which is described earlier; mokṣa is related to parā prakṛti, which is described in the 5th verse. So, if you connect the 4th & the 5th verse, truly you get the answer both of bondage and of liberation. To be in bondage is to be in the aparā prakṛti, to be in liberation is to be in parā prakṛti.

Let us therefore now concentrate upon these two verses. The problem of bondage and liberation is supposed to be the most important problem in Indian thought. No civilisation, no culture in the world has been so concerned with the problem of bondage, and how can one be free from the bondage. In fact every system of Indian philosophy has the most important element in the form of discussion on this subject.

There is only one system, which does not deal with it and that is cārvāka. Charvaka theory is materialistic theory, and does not deal with the problem of bondage and liberation; because it says that as long as you live, live happily, and after the body is burnt away at the cremation, what remains? There is nothing to remain and therefore you don’t need to worry about it at all. Apart from this philosophy all the other systems of Indian philosophies regard the problem of bondage and liberation to be the most important problem. Buddhism, Jainism, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa, Uttara Mimamsa, and Uttara Mimamsa are called Vedanta, and all the systems of Vedanta consider this to be the most important problem.

To state the problem very simply, it can be said that there are two facts which are indubitable, which cannot be doubted. The fact is that every human being feels situated in a circumstance. To be in a circumstance is an indubitable fact: nobody can deny that you are in a circumstance. And every one is required to deal with a circumstance: you are either comfortable with a circumstance, or you are uncomfortable with a circumstance. Even when you are comfortable with a circumstance, you would wish that the same circumstance continues. And because there is a fear that it may not continue, you make an effort to see that the same circumstance continues. If the circumstance is uncomfortable you try to see that it is removed: you either fight with it, and change the circumstance, or you try to escape from it, to come out of it; either of the two things happens while dealing with the uncomfortable circumstance.

Now, both the conditions are conditions of bondage. The fact is that you are required to deal with a circumstance, this “required” is a very important word; you are “required” to deal with a circumstance is an obligation; and obligation is a sign of compulsion; compulsion is a sign of bondage, you are bond to do it, you are obliged to do it. Indian thought therefore assumes that there are two elements: the one, which is subjective, is called Purusha, and the circumstance is called Prakriti. These are the two elements, which are supposed to be confronting each other, or wedded together happily or unhappily, and something has to be done in regard to these two elements.

Now, the concept of bondage goes farther. It is not merely a question of one confronting the other, but one finding oneself ‘in’ the other. It is a further problem. It is as if one is found to be locked up in a prison. Confronting is one thing, it is also a kind of a prison, but a greater confinement arises because we feel as if we are locked up in the Prakriti. Without raising deeper questions we only look at the psychology of this “locked up” condition. In what way are we “locked up” in Prakriti? To be locked up means that there must be a hook on which we are fixed. What is the hook in Prakriti on which we are hanged? And we find ourselves so tied up that we cannot come out of it.

The answer is that this Prakriti has three elements, by which the Purusha gets locked up: manaḥ, buddhiḥ, ahaṁkāraḥ. These are three words, which Sri Krishna speaks of in the 4th verse of the 7th chapter. These are three hooks as it were: the mind, the intellect and the ahaṁbhāva.

These three elements are themselves conscious, but not sufficiently conscious. Our mind is conscious, but not fully conscious; our intellect is conscious, but not fully conscious; our ahaṁkāra is conscious, but not fully conscious. Purusha on the other hand by its nature is conscious and fully conscious. Now, this fully conscious Purusha gets locked into three elements, which are not fully conscious, as a result of which one feels as to, the capacity to come out of it, is adequate or not.

Now, you compare this with the Para Prakriti. Purusha is basically a status of the Jiva, of which mention is made in the 5th verse: parā prakṛti jīvabhūtā, the original Jiva is in Para Prakriti, and Para Prakriti has the capacity of unity, the unifying consciousness: it is fully conscious. Apara Prakriti, particularly these three elements are inadequately conscious, whereas Para Prakriti is fully conscious. Jiva of which Purusha is a status is also fully conscious, because his stuff is Para Prakriti. It is that by which the whole unity of the world is maintained. If therefore this Jiva, of which Purusha is a status, which finds itself locked up in manaḥ, buddhiḥ, and ahaṁkāra, if it can be brought out of this, and turned into Para Prakriti, then Jiva would have an equation, proper equation, which is adequate to itself. Jiva being fully conscious, Para Prakriti being fully conscious, the two immediately unite harmoniously; whereas here, Jiva, which is fully conscious, whereas manaḥ, buddhiḥ, and ahaṁkāra are inadequate in the consciousness; therefore, the harmony between these two becomes very difficult.

There is no synchronisation. The problem is: how to arrive at the synchronisation, so that you shift from here to there; and mokṣa consists in getting released from these three inadequate hooks in the Apara Prakriti, lifting it up and entering into Para Prakriti. Now, these are only preliminary remarks in regard to the problem that you have raised: “what is Moksha?”

Now, let us go into the depths of this important point. If Jiva is fully conscious, if Para Prakriti is fully conscious, how did it happen that this fully conscious being got caught at all into the prison of Apara Prakriti? What is the connection between Para Prakriti and Apara Prakriti? What is the connection of Jiva with the elements of Apara Prakriti in which it gets hooked up? Once you know this, we also know the remedy: the cause, once we find out what is the cause of the bondage, we also have the means of…remedy of that cause.

Now, this is a question, which is not fully expounded in the Bhagavad Gita. How does “this” happen? Because the Bhagavad Gita is not a full-fledged metaphysical treatise; and this is what is very often not understood. The Bhagavad Gita is an answer to an immediate question, which has been raised by Arjuna, it is an episode: in an episode you have no chance to explain everything, and therefore, it is not written in the form of a treatise. It is written in a form of a dialogue: in a dialogue the questions are raised ‘psychologically’, not necessarily ‘logically’. There is a difference between a psychological exposition of a problem and a logical exposition of a problem. Psychological exposition deals with the problems as they rise in the mind of the hearer: the questions which might arise in the mind of the hearer may not be logical, but psychological. A present statement made in a given time makes a hearer very happy. But not…logically, it may not come in the right direction. But you make a statement, which is very pleasing to the hearer and the psychology of the hearer becomes very happy, and then your message is given much more easily. Now, this is one of the styles of any psychological dialogue. In a logical dialogue, whether everything is moved, put forward in a systematic step-by-step manner would be quite different.

Now, in the Bhagavad Gita whatever answer I am going to give is contained, but you will have to dig it out. It is not as if it is stated so clearly that you can find out. If you read the whole of the Gita, you will find that there are three statements, which will explain ‘why’, and ‘how’, this Jiva has got locked up in manaḥ, buddhiḥ, and ahaṁkāra. The one word which you find very often in the Bhagavad Gita is āsakti, āsaktaḥ: ‘attachment’. It is by the process of attachment, this has been found throughout the Gita, that your problem is that you are attached. Every human being’s problem is ‘attachment’. And one answer that Sri Krishna always gives is: “adopt anāsakti, you become detached”. From this you can get a clue as to how this Jiva, which is a product of the Para Prakriti, which is a product of the unifying consciousness, consciousness of unity, how this Jiva has come to be attracted and got hooked to these three elements of Apara Prakriti, of the lower nature. One answer is: by the process of āsakti.

Now, āsakti is a psychological term, which can also be translated into a logical term; āsakti is a word, which we all understand very easily because we have so many relations with so many people; and we are attached to so many people, because of our attachment. It is easier for us to understand. But in logical terms it is called: ‘the process of exclusive concentration of consciousness’. All āsakti is nothing but “exclusive concentration of consciousness”.

In the Veda and the Upanishads, there is a very important term, which is called tapas: tapas is a process of fixing with concentration upon any object. We speak of tapasyā and tapascaryā, and this is regarded as a process by which we can uplift ourselves from the lower to the higher. We do not usually use the word tapascaryā, when we also get downward; it is the same process. In tapasyā, the important point is ‘concentration’ with our force on one-pointedness. Just as to rise from where we are to a higher level, we will require to concentrate on one-pointed object, similarly if you want to drop down from higher to lower you require a similar downward ‘exclusive concentration of consciousness’. So, if the question is asked: by what means does the Jiva get hooked onto the manas, buddhi, and ahaṁkāra? The answer is: it is by ‘exclusive concentration of consciousness’. This is the process by which the Jiva gets hooked to these three elements, which are of our lower nature.

Once we know the cause, you reverse it. Because you are exclusively concentrated upon manas, buddhi, and ahaṁkāra, you withdraw from it by an opposite process. Instead of concentrating upon these three elements, you begin to concentrate upon Para Prakriti, upon unifying consciousness. All movement of liberation is a movement of tapasyā, of tapas, in which you make a reversal of the ‘exclusive concentration of consciousness’. You concentrate upon unity; do not concentrate upon ahaṁkāra; do not concentrate upon buddhi; do not concentrate upon manas. But how do you do that? Once you are already hooked to these three, how will you be able to make a reversal of the process?

The answer is: that among these three elements manas, buddhi, and ahaṁkāra, the one element, which can help you most, is buddhi, because buddhi is the power of discrimination. It discriminates one from the other; it will discriminate between Apara and Para. So, you cultivate the buddhi. That is why the 2nd chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita deals with Buddhi yoga; you reverse the Buddhi, first of all take hold of the Buddhi; make Buddhi clear that there is a distinction between Apara Prakriti and Para Prakriti, and that this Buddhi, which was concentrated upon Apara Prakriti, lift it, and make it concentrate upon the Para Prakriti. In deeper terms you may had say, that usually Buddhi gets concentrated upon Apara Prakriti because of the Tamas and Rajas, because of the power of inertia, the power of vehement pressure of action, the discriminating power of the intellect is hampered.

This can be cured if you can make it Sattwic; it is not very difficult to make Rajas into Sattwa, although it is difficult for Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa to be transformed into Para Prakriti, but to transform Rajas into Sattwa is much more easy. Therefore, the first prescription of the Bhagavad-Gita is…and on this, we shall see later on in the last 6 chapters, where the whole teaching is given as to what is Tamas, what is Rajas and what is Sattwa. You lift the Buddhi from its Tamasic and Rajasic activities, and make it accustomed to the activities of Sattwa. And what is the nature of the activity of Sattwa? Sattwa is an activity of equilibrium; Sattwa is the activity of luminosity; Sattwa is the activity of happiness that does not depend upon any external object: these are the three elements of Sattwa. Increase these three elements in your life, and then the Buddhi will begin to dwell upon higher objects, instead of lower objects. It will discriminate much more easily the lower and the higher.

In the lower, there are two great difficulties, where Sattwa is less dominant, and Rajas and Tamas are more predominant: this is ahaṁbhāva, and manas; manas and ahaṁbhāva are much more entangled into Tamas and Rajas; ahaṁbhāva is either Tamasic, lethargic, or highly Rajasic in which self-will is predominant; manas is cañcalam, it is extremely vivacious, extremely unstable.

Now, if you read the whole of the Bhagavad Gita, you will see these elements constantly emphasised: first we are told, “it is by attachment that we get hooked”, and by attachment we mean: ‘exclusive concentration of consciousness’. Secondly we are told that, you should get over the Tamas and Rajas and enter into Sattwa, and that you should use intellect (or Buddhi), as your instrument for doing it; and you are told that there are two elements, which are very powerfully attached to Rajas and Tamas, and that is cañcalam manaḥ, the vivacious restless mind, and ahaṁbhāva, which either Tamasic, or Rajasic predominantly. Free the ahaṁbhāva from the Tamas and Rajas; make the mind as stable as possible.

And in order to make the mind stable, a very special procedure has been prescribed in the 6th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita: Dhyana Yoga. If you find that the mind is very difficult to control, then the special method of Dhyana yoga is given. Apply that method, if you find it very difficult; it is not absolutely necessary for everybody; it is not that everybody’s mind is as vivacious as it could be. There are certain minds, which are inborn, more stable, more capable of equilibrium, more capable of luminosity, they do not require this special kind of treatment, which is prescribed in the 6th chapter. But if you still find that the mind is very, very restless, then you apply the procedure given in the 6th chapter.

As far as ahaṁbhāva is concerned, the entire 3rd chapter, where Sri Krishna says that it is in the field of action, either Tamas or Rajas, become very powerful, and it is there, the sense “I am the doer, I am the doer, I am the doer”, becomes very predominant. Therefore, Sri Krishna says that in order to cure this, realise that you are not the doer; realise that all action proceeds from the supreme Lord, and offer your action as ‘not yours’, but as offering to the supreme Lord. It is by this means that the ahaṁbhāva will be greatly weakened. Now, these are the special methods, which are remedies, which are given, by which the Jiva, the Purusha’s status of which has become hooked to these three elements; gradually, it will be lifted out.

Now, there is still something further.

Question: Please give an example of how to rise from Rajas to Sattwa?

I think, in our human life, everyday…sleep is one of the most important examples of Tamas; any movement over sleep is a result of the predominant influence of Tamas. When we wake from the sleep, there is still the influence of Tamas very powerful on us. It takes a little time for us to awake from sleep, and to get into the movement of action, or activity. You also know that when you are very active, to get sleep is very difficult. When you are very active, very often people suffer from insomnia, because the mind is so active, to bring the mind to some quietude, and to put it down to some kind of a slumber becomes difficult, because there is too much of an activity.

So, usually there is a conflict between Tamas and Rajas; when you are in one condition, the other is difficult to obtain. In this way if you examine our activities, we shall be able to find out. Each one has his own rhythm of Tamas and Rajas; every one of us has his own tempo of entering into action, and having entered into action to come down again to Tamas becomes difficult, and vice versa. For a human being who is either in the Tamasic condition or in Rajasic condition, to enter into activities of Sattwa is very difficult: for example, even to listen quietly to a dialogue, which is happening is very difficult for the Rajasic consciousness.

You are talking to me; you want me to do something. I would like to do what you want me to do; I know that I am not in a position to do it and I tell you: “No I am not able to do it”. But if you are in Rajasic condition, you are bent on doing it because it is the speciality of Rajas: action, emphasis on action, and re-emphasis on action is the fundamental character of Rajas. Now, the moment I say “I cannot do it”, there is a dislike. You said “I should do it”; I would like to do it, but I am not in a position to do it, and I say: “no, I cannot do it”. But you are so much bent on getting it done that you first of all dislike my saying “no”, even though you may be very polite, and you may not show to me that you have disliked my saying “no”. But you don’t like it. Then you don’t even ask me: “Please tell me why you can’t do it”, because there is no rest: you want things to be done. You don’t even ask: “Please explain to me why you can’t do it”. You might either go away from me, saying: “all right, you can’t do it; I will find somebody else who can do it”. This is one reaction. Or even if you talk to me, you simply say: “I don’t understand why you can’t do it”. You don’t ask me first to explain why I can’t do it. You simply say, “Well, I don’t want to understand anything from you”.

This is the usual reaction, if you are polite, you may not say all these words; but in your own mind you, your mind explodes, because I have done something that you don’t like. You don’t have the patience that Sattwa requires: Sattwa requires equilibrium. When I am told: “I don’t do it”, it is opposed to my consciousness, it is opposed to my will. You don’t ask me why I have said “I cannot do it”. I may have all the good will to do it; I want to please you very much; but may be that I am in such a condition that I can’t do it. You see, most of the quarrel in the world arise out of what: it is because one is bent on doing it, and the other is not able to do it, or not able to reply in the way in which you want to do; and then the abhimāna, the ahaṁkāra comes into the front. And since Sattwa normally is absent in both the parties, equilibrium is very difficult. If somebody says: “All right, somebody has said something, which is not pleasant, which is not according to my wishes, then what am I to do?” Usually we are told, if you are rightly educated…this is where education comes in a very important manner. Education fundamentally is to bring children, when they are pliable to explain that when you have Rajas try to be in a state of equilibrium, do not immediately impose yourself upon the other, try to understand. This capacity to understand, and understand again, and still again is, you might say, the most important element in education. If you can tell the child………

Actually speaking, as I said most of the quarrels arise because of the lack of the state of equilibrium. Therefore, in education you should always train a child to arrive at a state of equilibrium.

Question: It is so difficult for me as an adult to arrive at that state and a child is so restless, it is far more difficult to educate a child on that line.

There is one very enabling factor in the children. The children, when they are still pliable, are more obedient than we are, if not immediately, but after sometime…you see, you try on any adult, advise him, he will not like any advice. You advise a child, he will take it more easily: it is the advantage of childhood.

Question: But what about his nature?

It is cañcala, but it is fluctuating. Therefore a moment comes, in that very movement, when equilibrium can be easily introduced, if you are very careful. A good teacher is one who goes on observing the movement of the child. The very fact that it is cañcala, he does not remain fixed to one position. In adulthood, once you take a position, you become very fixed on it. In the case of children, because there is a constant fluctuation, he takes a position, but he is cañcala: that position gets moved after some time.

And another situation arises, more quickly; if you are very observant and if you rare very good, a good teacher does not immediately negate the child’s movement: he waits. When there is an equilibrium, even for a short time, he makes use of it. We know for example, when the children are about to sleep, there is not so much of Rajas; gradually you tell a good story, in the good story you give a good advice, and through that story you inject into the child a new attitude, which during the day time was not so easy. Therefore, the education of children is a continuous process.

Our present system of education is not good because our education starts at 10 o’clock and ends at 5 o’clock; or starts in the morning and ends in the afternoon; but that is not education, properly speaking. Education process is a continuous process, in which the teacher and the parents, both of them are partners in education; and they should see when the child is more pliable, and you will find that the occasions of the child are more pliable, are more frequent than in the case of an adult.

Take for example learning a language: as an adult it is so difficult to learn a language; as a child it is so easy for me to learn a language, why? Although the child is cañcala, why is the child more capable of learning a language? Because of this very movement, it is very easy for him to forget the past, and to become quite free in the new.

Question: But you have two kinds of children: one child’s home environment is completely different from another?

There are differences. I was just talking in general.

Oh! Yes, you have many problems actually. What I am saying is in a general way. In childhood, it is easier to plant a good seed than at a higher level. It is a general proposition, it does not mean that in a higher level you cannot; there is a sense in which in a higher level, certain things are learnt powerfully. But I am not talking about exceptional situations, or more pronounced situations; I am talking in general terms, that in general, if you want to give good education to children, then creates situations in which the children can forget the wrong things more easily; put them into a new situation, in which equilibrium can be brought about more easily, and inject into the child, in the state of equilibrium more and more. In any case if you make an experiment with children, you will find that children give you many more occasions for arriving at equilibrium than many adults can.

In fact, you know that adults, when they fight they don’t forget the fight; but children when they fight, they forget the next moment. Children may be fighting now, after 5, 10 minutes they must be hugging each other, and you wonder what it is, what has happened. It is precisely because of cañcala; there is so much liquidity in child psychology; it is much more easy: that is why we are told that much depends upon the educational system.

You also spoke about the different homes, the different environments. Every home should create a condition basically that the Sattwic qualities predominate in the atmosphere of the home. For example you should not allow quarrels to take place in the presence of children; because quarrels always create a dis-equilibrium in the minds of the children. Some children begin to cry as soon as there is a quarrel among adults. You must have seen it many times. They are not affected, merely witnessing other people quarrelling they begin to cry because they cannot bear it. Therefore, one condition that you should put down in your home is: do not allow quarrels to take place in the presence of children.

Question: I am allowed to say so, in the same family; Vibhishana was completely Sattwic; Ravana completely Rajasic; and kumbhakarna completely Tamasic, same family, three brothers and completely different and three very different Gunas, and though Ravana because of knowledge Sattwic also, but kumbhakarna was completely Tamasic, so…

True, but you know the point is that there are major differences between individuals, why is it so, is on different planes. There are many factors as to why in the same family five children show different qualities, even though they have the same environment. So, mere environment is not an answer to the full question. My present question was only limited to environment and I would say that if you can create a better environment that among all the five children they will derive better benefit than if you create a Rajasic atmosphere, or Tamasic atmosphere. To know why are five people, in the same good environment, become still quite different from each other, and they show marked differences and radical differences, you have to go into deeper psychology.

Comment: May be saṁskara?

Yes, quite true, there are many reasons; there are deeper reasons.

Sri Krishna says: “I give a birth in a good house because he has made an effort”, svalpam matram preyatnam, He says that because an individual has done and effort, and then fallen; therefore He says, I gave him a birth in a good place. So, it is He who is the cause actually. Sri Krishna Himself induced to give a good birth. Why? Because he has made a good effort in the previous birth.

Therefore, the consequence is that if you do good things now, you will get better results afterwards. Therefore the consequences: you continue to do good things every time; this is the ultimate consequence. Every time, you continue to do good things, and then good consequences can be expected, whether now, or later on but this is the key: go on doing the right thing.Therefore my general proposition is that for children’s education, you provide conditions in which children are in the centre first of all: what I call “sovereignty of the child”. Today in a family child is not the sovereign: the sovereign is the father, and mother, and guest, and other interests, which are constantly inflicting upon the family. But if you say that, well, as a parent your first duty is to be a teacher of the child, this hardly parents accept, they say that they will send the children to school, teachers are doing that work, “we can give them food, clothing, shelter and entertainment, what more do we need to do?” But that is wrong. Basically the parents are the first teacher and the last teacher, and a constant teacher. Other teachers are only your helpers. But responsibility of training the child is squarely on the parents.

We have to create a new society today because of this reason. In the whole world today it is now said that we should create a ‘learning society’: the present society is condemned as something, which has created so much of violence and wars. So, education at the highest level has come to the conclusion that if you want a better society, you should create a learning society. And what is a learning society? Learning society is one in which education is conceived as a lifelong educational process, starting from childhood, or even before birth, (prenatal education), and right up to the end. Secondly, every activity of life should be regarded as an educational activity. And thirdly, everybody should regard himself to be a teacher and a pupil, everybody: this is the concept of learning society.

So, it is said that if you want to eliminate wars from the society, two wars engulfed the whole 20th century, (if there are two important events in the whole 20th century, it is two world wars that took place in the last century) and therefore humanity now has come to the conclusion that in future we should eliminate war. And when the best men’s minds were brought together and asked: how shall we build a defence of peace in the minds of man? The answer was: create a ‘learning society’. This is the diagnosis of the doctors! that there is no other alternative that if the parents today feel that they cannot be a part of a ‘learning society’, they are out of date. They have to realise that their basic function is to look after the children; their basic function is to be the teachers of the children, and to be able to become good teachers, you have to be good pupils yourselves. Unless you become a good pupil, you cannot be a good teacher.

So, the conclusion is: everybody should find more and more stages where the state of equilibrium is increased. It is in the state of learning and teaching that the state of equilibrium becomes predominant: that is Sattwa. In other words, the modern times now impose upon us the necessity of increasing Sattwa, which is a helpful thing. In the process of Yoga, the more you can develop this state of equilibrium, the more you are able to deal with the manas, ahaṁkāra, and the more you are able to come out of the hooking, which has taken place of your soul with the lower of nature, Apara Prakriti.

Is this all right for you? You asked me the question.

Now, let us continue our analysis. The most important element in the analysis that Sri Krishna and our Indian philosophy have pointed out is that there is a most powerful enabling factor in this process. And Sri Krishna has said: “uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ(6.5), by your Self raise your self”. Apart from all the stages that we have discussed so far, the most important element comes now: create a will in you to lift yourself. The more you put this will, the more will be the favourable circumstances. Now, this is a great secret that the Bhagavad Gita tells us.

As I said in the beginning, every human being is confronted with a circumstance; and with regard to that circumstance one either wants to escape from it, or wants to change it, or to modify it, or wants to continue it. What is the secret by which you can really do what you want? Sri Krishna’s answer is: ‘will’. There is in you a Purusha, which has the key to the circumstance. There is no circumstance in your life, which is given to you arbitrarily: if a circumstance is given to you, it is a result of what you have willed at one time or the other, in one situation or the other. In other words circumstances are always a result of what you have willed.

If you had not willed ‘ignorance’, ignorance would have not come to you. If you had not willed failure, failure would not come to you: now, these are very important statements, which are controvertible, because we normally think that, “I don’t want failure” and yet failure comes; “I want success”, and yet success does not come. And yet Sri Krishna says that the secret of all circumstances is in your ‘personal will’: what exactly you will. But, when you say, “you will” means: not your superficial self willing; not artificial self willing; not a casual self willing. It is not merely, “oh! My child should pass”: that is a casual will. You must really will that your child must pass; as a result of which what does it mean? You have to work so hard; if you really will it, you have to work at it; the moment you begin to work at it, the result will come correspondingly.

The key to the whole process of liberation is a decision on the part of Purusha to become liberated. As long as you like the bondage, the bondage will continue. And of course people will say, “but we don’t like bondage and yet we are in bondage”; but it is casually that you do not like it; it is not that ‘really’ you do not like it. How much we hug our attachments! How much we like our own successes! How much we like our own pride! How much we like when we succeed! How much we enjoy, we actually go out of the way, to be in that very condition in which we find ourselves to be very comfortable. It is when in our own consciousness… “Go deep and will from the depths!” It is what Sri Krishna means: “uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ”, your ‘self’, which is lower, which is casual, you lift it by your higher will, deeper will, wider will. Discover your deeper truth, deeper will, strengthen it, and bring it up.

nātmānam avasādayet(6.5)”

“You should not allow the lower being to take you down.”

So, both the things you do: do not allow yourself to be brought down and always allow yourself to be lifted up: these are the two answers that Sri Krishna has given.

Then of course, Sri Krishna has given many answers also, which are deeper and deeper, depending upon the state in which you are, and the highest level is the level where you reach to the very nature of Jiva. At present our Jiva has been overpowered by the state of Purusha, which has consented to be in the bondage: we are in bondage because at one stage we have consented (if we had not consented this would have not happened). There is a relationship between Purusha and Prakriti. Prakriti is nothing but ‘the will of the Purusha’ in the process of execution. This is the very nature of Prakriti, according to the Bhagavad Gita. According to Sankhya it is different. But according to the Bhagavad Gita the relationship between Purusha and Prakriti is that Prakriti is a process of execution of the will, which has come from Purusha. So, Prakriti is always an executrix; she is the executive officer of the Purusha who is the commander: this is the relationship, always.

If you find yourself in a given situation today, there must be something in you, which has consented to it. The moment you say, “I don’t consent”, you will see immediately the situation changing: you make an experiment; this is not a dogma. Sri Krishna’s teaching is not a dogma; Gita is not a dogma: it is a book of experimental psychology. It tells you that, “these are principles of psychology”, that all that is happening to you, all your circumstances are products of Prakriti; and these products of Prakriti are entirely because of the will, either in the form of ‘a consent’, or in the form of ‘a wish’, or in the form of ‘desire’, or in the form of ‘a real will’: whatever may be the form, in one way or the other it has produce where you are now.

If you therefore do not want it, do not escape from it: this is a very important statement of the Bhagavad Gita, ‘do not escape’. Usually people like to run away. Arjuna wanted to run away from the battlefield! Sri Krishna tells him that you have come to the battlefield because of your own will. Now, when the situation becomes difficult, you want to run away from it, do not run away from it. How will you do it now? Discover what is the right will; lift yourself from where you are. You are today gripped by anxiety, you are gripped by doubt; you are gripped by despondences. In that situation discover “that” will, which can lift you up.

And the whole of the Gita may be regarded as the supplying of “that” will. Sri Krishna discovers, by digging Arjuna’s consciousness little by little, and presence to him, “that” will by which he can be lifted up; so that at last Arjuna says: mohaḥ naṣṭo, ‘my entire exclusive concentration of consciousness, which was there in my escaping is now gone, naṣṭo mohaḥ, (18.73), all the doubts are dissolved’, and then he says, “now I am ready to fight”. Even when Sri Krishna says: yathecchasi tathā kuru, (18.63), ‘now you do what you like’: He has expounded everything, then left everything to Arjuna saying: ‘now you do what you like’. But by that time the real will had arisen; he does according to the real will and he really meets the situation, and comes out of it.

So, Prakriti according to Sri Krishna is always an executrix of the will of the Purusha. Therefore, if you want to have liberation from bondage, then there is only one important element apart from all the things that I have said just now: “will, will that you want to be liberated.”

Now, let us come to the process by which you will, and you really come out of it. The chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, they all deal with this problem of knowledge, knowledge by which you distinguish between Apara Prakriti and Para Prakriti; you realise the relationship between the two; you realise where you are involved in Apara Prakriti and Para Prakriti, what is your fundamental relationship. You are told that you have no fundamental relationship with Apara Prakriti: normally because we are hooked to Apara Prakriti, we think that we are tied up with it. The knowledge that Sri Krishna gives us is that your fundamental relationship is not with Apara Prakriti. You are fully conscious, your true nature is full consciousness: manas, buddhi, and ahaṁkāra, are not fully conscious; therefore even if there is a wedding now, the wedding is wrong. You are not rightly wedded. You are only rightly wedded to Para Prakriti; you belong to Para Prakriti.

It is almost like an ugly duckling; that story of Andersen where you are a small child, a swan. The story is about a swan, but who grows up among the ducks; and the ducks laughs at the swan because it looks quite different from it, and they say it is ugly; it is ugly according to the standards of the ducks: all the swan basically are much more beautiful; but it is ugly according to the ducks in whose company it is living.

Now, Jiva is usually found to be like an ugly duckling, because in the company of, ahaṁbhāva, buddhi, and manas, they are not really of the nature of the Jiva. It is by mistake somehow, or because of some kind of a consent in you that you have got into it, by exclusive concentration of consciousness. But the moment you realise that you do not belong here; your true nature is different. So, you have to realise that you do not belong to Apara Prakriti.

Question: What is meant by ‘not fully conscious’?

What is meant by it? What is meant by it is: when you make an effort to move from darkness to light, then there are two conditions. Light is full light and darkness is full darkness; in between there is an intermediate stage, where darkness dims a little: there is some light, but not a full light. You have an experience of going from a cave towards the light, which is outside. As we move towards the end of the tunnel, the process is more and more luminous. You come from darkness, where there was utter darkness; there was no light at all, now you are moving towards greater and greater sunshine, which is outside. But some light is coming in. Now, this intermediate stage is what is called the incomplete light.

Let us take an example of the night. Night is usually found to be very dark, but in the Veda the night is the symbol of incomplete luminosity, incomplete consciousness; because in the night, there are stars, which are luminous, therefore, it cannot be called to be completely dark. But if there is a cloudy night, so that even stars are not to be seen, then it is a complete darkness. But when there are stars, there are some lights at least on the heavens from where you get some kind of an indication. Therefore, night is described in our Indian thought as an example of something that is intermediate between complete luminosity and complete darkness.

Now, these are only analogies. To fully explain your question, when in the mind, you will see that the mind has a tendency to find out; one of the natural tendencies of the mind is curiosity: you tend to go out of unconsciousness towards consciousness. Curiosity means that you want to find out; find out about a thing about which you do not know; find out a thing about which you have darkness. So, from darkness you move towards finding out what is luminous: this is the minimum condition of all mental consciousness. Therefore, the mind is an instrument of incomplete consciousness: it is not completely dark, not completely in the state of luminosity because. Even when you have found out something, it is not as if you have arrived at the end of a journey that you have found out everything. Mind is in a constant movement to find out. It is never satisfied with whatever it finds out. Therefore it is a state of incomplete consciousness.

Similarly, ahaṁbhāva: there is a speciality of ahaṁbhāva, it always wants to remain what it is and it always wants to be other than itself; it is a very peculiar condition of egoism. You ask, you contradict an egoistic man, and he will say “I have decided I will do what I have said”, he does not want to change it. This is the mark of his attachment to its own egoism: “I have decided I will not change it”. That is the sign that egoism wants to remain what it is. But if you ask what egoism is constantly doing is: to become better and better, “I have been wealthy today, I will be more wealthy tomorrow; my kingdom is this today, my kingdom will be much bigger tomorrow”. This is all what egoism is constantly striving to become more and more and more. So, it is said that egoism is incomplete consciousness. It does not know what it really wants. When he really gets something, which he is about to get, he says ‘I don’t want it’.

How often good opportunities are lost only by egoism. The very thing that is now at our doorstep, somebody has just come to give you exactly what you want, at that time you are in an angry mood, and you simply shut the door and say ‘get out I don’t want to hear you’. That means that you do not know what you really want; you are not really looking forward to an answer, which can come suddenly; it may be just at the threshold and you throw it away. That is why egoism is called a movement of incomplete consciousness.

Buddhi also, although it has a capacity of discrimination, it is largely under the influence of Tamas and Rajas, gradually it enters into Sattwa: therefore also it is incomplete consciousness.

In the case of Para Prakriti, there is no movement from darkness to light. In Para Prakriti, it is plenary daylight. In plenary daylight you don’t start from darkness into light, it is light everywhere: this is the nature of Para Prakriti. As it is said the movement in Para Prakriti is from knowledge to knowledge. In the Apara Prakriti, the movement is from ignorance to knowledge. This is the fundamental difference between Apara Prakriti and Para Prakriti. As long as we are in Apara Prakriti, you move from ignorance to knowledge. When you are in Para Prakriti, you go from knowledge to knowledge. It is as it were, whatever is given to you is luminous; it will become more luminous; it will become still more luminous, and still more luminous. It is a progressive revelation of light, in which nothing of the previous is cancelled. The difference between going from ignorance to knowledge and from knowledge to knowledge is this: that when you go from ignorance to knowledge, then what was in ignorance is cancelled. In the case of knowledge to knowledge, when you move from one to the other, the next step does not cancelled your previous step; it is only addition: pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idam pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate, ‘This is perfect, that is perfect; that perfect added to perfect is perfect; take out perfect from perfect is perfect’. This is the condition of Para Prakriti. But in Apara Prakriti you go from error into knowledge; therefore, when you get the knowledge, error is cancelled. In the case of Para Prakriti, there is no error. Even though the present formulation of knowledge may be limited; it is completed the next day, next time.

Is that clear to you now, in what sense are manas, buddhi, and ahaṁkāra are condition of incomplete consciousness?

Jiva by nature is also called ‘The eater of Sweetness’: its very nature is sweetness. Sweetness is also a symbol of immortality; the very nature of Jiva is immortality. Jiva cannot really live happily in the conditions of mortality and Apara Prakriti is a condition of mortality. Birth and death is a constant phenomenon in our present world of Apara Prakriti, because we live in Apara Prakriti. Jiva is like stranger who belongs to the amṛtasya putrāḥ (śvetāśvatara. Upn. 2.5), he is a son of immortality. And here he finds himself in this opposite condition of mortality. Therefore, the Jiva must somehow decide: “I must come out of it”. And the moment he wills…this is the promise of Sri Krishna: Prakriti will change your circumstances. Prakriti is the executrix. The moment you will…that is why uttiṣṭḥata jāgrata, ‘Stand up! Rise!’ This is the command of the Upanishads: stand up and rise. The moment you say: “I want liberation”, it is a promise that your circumstances will change. But it is not a casual will; it must be a ‘real’ will. You take a firm stand: “I do not want to live in these conditions of mortality, of bondage to manas, buddhi, and ahaṁkāra, I want to be liberated into the Prakriti of Unity, of Light, of Immortality, Will this!”…and this is the real process of Moksha.

I think we stop here. This is a good point to stop, although I have not completed the answer to your question. And maybe next time we may continue with it, because this is a very important question. And in fact, all the next chapters of the Bhagavad Gita are related to this question. So, your question came exactly at the logical point, and gave me the opportunity of expounding it in a way, which I would not have expounded otherwise. I would have gone more in the text but I got the opportunity of expounding in a different way.

Question: When Sattwa become predominant are the changes in the sleep patterns like Arjuna and like Lakshman, they are supposed to have conquered sleep, so that means that Sattwa guna was very predominant?

It is true that in our Indian education system, everybody was encourage to develop Sattwa guṇa. And it is quite true that among all the Pandavas, Arjuna was pre-eminently “the man of the age” you might say. As Sri Krishna says: pāṇḍavānām dhanaṃjayah aham, I am among the Pandavas, I am dhanaṃjaya, I am Arjuna. That means that Arjuna must be already…otherwise you mean to say that Arjuna would have listened to all this at the time of the war, if he was so Rajasic. There must have been some kind of an equilibrium, so that he is ready to listen at that time. And at a critical moment to be in equilibrium is very difficult. Many people can be in equilibrium when everything is going on well; but at a critical moment to be in equilibrium is very difficult. Therefore even Arjuna’s acceptance to listen to the whole thing implies that Arjuna was highly Sattwic: there is no doubt about it.

Question: But my question was whether the Sattwa guna has a relation to sleep patterns.

Sri Krishna says that you should avoid too much sleep, and lack of sleep. Merely only conquest of sleep is another matter. Conquest of sleep comes when you can rest even without what is called “sleep”. There is another capacity, it is not that you are devoid of rest; but you are in a different condition, you can regain your relaxation automatically, you don’t need to go to sleep. But for most of us it is not necessary to conquer sleep to be able to be Sattwic. We must live nicely. In fact, Sri Aurobindo’s advice is 8 to 9 hours per day is minimum; and have these 9 hours sleep nicely every day; because that gives you a real rest, when you get up you are really in equilibrium.

Comment: Arjuna is appreciated for being able to conquer sleep.

….‘guḍākeśa’, but let us say there is a difference between ‘not sleeping at all’ and to be ‘guḍākeśa’. One who does not sleep … even one who suffers insomnia also does not sleep (laughter). But he has not conquered sleep (laughter). He can’t sleep. The conquest of sleep comes, the real guḍākeśa is one, who can rest whenever he wants to rest, without going into Tamas. This is quite a different quality. The Mother for example never slept. I have seen myself personally. She never slept! For years and years and years I have seen, but it does not mean that…for example 22 hours, we used to see her working all the time, 22 hours! That is, at any time you go to Her room, she is working, so there is proof that for 22 hours she has not gone to sleep. She had no bed in Her room at that time; she had only a chair, armchair. For two hours She used to go into meditation. And when She used to come out, She was fully fresh. And that was day after day, it is not as if that day She was doing, and then there was a rest, no, it was year after year; that was Her condition. This is called real conquest, which is quite different from ‘insomnia’ and all that sort of thing.

…without many He is perfect; when reality is many He is perfect; when He is static He is perfect; when He is dynamic He is perfect. If you take away dynamism from the perfect, His pure staticity also remains perfect. If you add dynamism to staticity, He is also perfect. So, all these adaḥ and idam do not refer to Para Prakriti and Apara Prakriti; it is a description of the Supreme. The Supreme in His Para Prakriti is like this, that whether here or there, this aspect or that aspect, all are perfect.