Question: I wanted to ask was that our present condition is determined by our past, but is there a way we can move faster, accelerate our growth in spite of the past?
By the law of contagion. There is the law of contagion in this world. What we are at present, if left to itself, because there is inwardly the Divine, inside, there will be a pressure from below all the time, and gradually it can change. But fortunately Divine is also above and behind, not only inside, but also above and behind. So, if this comes into contact with the Divine that is behind, around, more and more, then there will be a rapid progression of this, by law of contagion.
In very simple terms, in India, we speak of satsangha. You be in touch with the Good and the Right and the Beautiful, and the Truthful, the more you are in touch, the greater is your movement towards higher and higher. So, not merely the past determines you, but also the contagion that you receive from the touch, that also determines you and you become freer and freer to move upwards.
Question: Then one tends to keep oneself purely in the company of only like-minded people and does not move into the whole world, so to say, to be contaminated (in other words). Is that what you are trying to say?
If you can do it effectively, my answer is yes. But it is very difficult for you to be isolated. If you can successfully do it, it is good. Many people have tried this experiment, and it has been a great success in many ways. Even the religions have produced monasteries. Ultimate justification of monasteries is precisely this: to keep an isolated group away from all contagion of the lower, so there is only contagion of the better. It does not succeed ultimately because the pressure of the surrounding is very great. Some people went away to the Himalayas, for what reason? To be free from the contagion of the ordinary and you remain alone in the atmosphere of quietude, serenity and in the company of lonely and huge and lofty mountains, and so all the time you think of lofty, of the wide, of the free.
Comment: But is there not a contradiction with this world, be a part of this world?
Therefore, even if you do that, it does not ultimately succeed because when you come to act in the world, even if after you become right, when you come to act in the world, you find you are not competent, you have lost something.
That is the justification of Karmayoga. That you should very gradually move forward in such a way that you constantly fight against the circumstances which have not run away from them, not exclude yourself from them, but fight with them, but fight in a very intelligent manner, and gradually grow. Then when you come out, you have mastery over the circumstances, and you can be an instrument of action, so you can really sovereignly act in the world.
In other words, the problem that you are raising is a very important problem which constantly is raised for everybody who wants to move very fast on the spiritual express train. How to move very fast? Because at a certain time our aspiration becomes so intense that we want to surmount all the difficulties, at one stroke as it were. But the world is not created merely for an express movement. The very intention in the world is a very gradual development. This gradual development comes gradually more and more speedy, so there is a logic in the movement of the world: that’s why Sri Aurobindo says that a good Yogi looks upon time as an instrument, as an aid, and first of all, it seizes its whole field in which it is working, kṣetra, in which you become the knower of the kṣetra.
In fact this is the subject matter of the 13th chapter of the Gita: kṣetra kṣetrajñayoga, “The field and the knower of the field”. So, you first of all take cognisance of what you are, where you are; observe it properly and then find out the best way of moving forward to attain the highest, and to reach that highest position from where the most effective divine action can take place. The knowledge of doing this is the knowledge of Yoga: to find out where you are; to determine the goal that you want to achieve, that goal being the supreme consciousness of Oneness, of Multiplicity, of all manifesting from the One, and the manifestation of the will of the Divine in this world, attainment of that knowledge, and then finding out the best means of ascending yourself towards attaining that. But when we say ‘hastening’, it does not mean that you break all the barriers at once as it were, which you cannot, even if you want to, but to wisely understand the law of graduality following which you will also discover the law of speed. There has to be a judicious rate of speed. For every individual the speed will differ. So one has to see at what speed one can achieve a constant equilibrium.
Therefore Sri Aurobindo says that you have to have two attitudes: one is that there is infinite time available to you for achieving your goal, a lot of time available to you; no hurry at all on one side. On the other side, to aim at reaching a point where you can realise the goal here and now: two contrary attitudes. Now, to reconcile these two contrary attitudes, you take the following course of action: you move gradually, but while moving gradually you cultivate powers in you, more and more so as to arrive at a climax of development of powers, which when fully developed will give the capacity of realising on the spot. So a point will come in your development when wherever you will, it will happen on the spot. For then the time is cut as it were.
Even today for example, the fact that the world today has developed instruments by which time is cut. As we know, if you fly from Europe to America, you reach earlier than the time of your departure. So, this happens because, we have been able to cut the time, because the consciousness, the powers have been created which can realise on the spot what is to be realised. That is why it is very often said that if you have the blessings of the Lord, tatha astu is said and it is realised on the spot. This is the real power of the Supreme, what is called the supramental power is this power: instant realisation of what is willed. Between the will and what is to be actualised there is no time left: the moment it is willed, it is realised.
So, the best means of doing anything in the world is to learn the law of graduality, to learn the law of patience therefore, to learn the lesson of developing powers: this is a very important condition. Not merely to say: ‘it will happen in its own time’. This is the message given by many people: “Don’t worry, at the right time the right thing will happen”: that is not a correct statement, at least it is not a comprehensively correct statement. In due course also it will happen only if in the meantime you develop the powers. So, your immediate action should be towards development of capacities, faculties, powers, will, attitudes, states of consciousness: develop all these in certain directions.
What is the direction? As you move forward, you more and more realise ‘instantaneously’. The Supramental powers are the powers by which, whatever is willed is realised on the spot. In the Supermind the time lag is not a burden or a barrier. It is at the lower levels that there are barriers of time movements. So, this is the reconciling truth: ‘Everything is happening in its own time’ is a truth, ‘The highest should happen now’: these two seem to be contradictory. It can be reconciled by accepting the law of graduality, which however does not look upon immediate need of developing the powers, but insist upon the development of necessary powers, but in a certain rhythm.
Even developing the powers cannot be done in a kind of a very vehement manner, which many Yogis try to do. They do twelve hours of Tapasya to get certain powers, which they can get, but it is a big burden also. So, one should not pull, as Sri Aurobindo says: “Do not pull”. But pulling, certainly some powers can come down, but then it has many defects, because your being may not be ready to receive that power. There is a small instance where a young student in the ashram school in Pondicherry, he was taking part in a competition in sports and he prayed that he must do something tremendously magnificent and he pulled. He succeeded, but thereafter he became unbalanced psychologically: it is only one example, but it is what is happening everywhere even in ordinary life, there are many people who go on working, burning themselves, and they achieve a certain result but then at a great cost of the body to the development of faculties, and so on.
The greatest art of education and therefore of Sadhana is to find for each one the right movement of acceleration. How fast or how slow you should move, that is where the wisdom of the Yogi or the teacher lies: not to put too much pressure upon the child…read, read, read, all the time, and by reading a lot he will certainly get good marks, but then in many other respects he will remain behind for which you have to pay a price afterwards. So, you have to have a judicious understanding of the process of development of evolution, and constantly you should see one important element in it: ‘what is the aspiration?’, ‘what is the intensity of aspiration?’. That will give you the measure. If there is a right aspiration, then you can give a pressure, if there is not that aspiration then don’t put too much on it, wait. It is like a good cook: slow fire, big fire, you must know where to put at what time and so on. So, Yoga is basically ‘cooking’. It is a gradual process by which we can become heated: it is Tapas actually, all heating. So how to heat ourselves properly, in the right way that is the question.
Question: The divine life will be willed by the Divine?
Oh! Yes, Divine is omnipotent. He is not bound by His plans. Oh, yes certainly. That is the freedom of the Divine because He has no barriers at all: what is it that controls Him? His plan is the least that can control Him. It is His plan; He can change it, anytime. Certainly, in fact that is the real hope: all Yoga is the prayer to the Divine to change His plan, so that a new world can be created. His present plan is…He can go on like this for years, and years, and years: etat mangalam idam mangalam, “That is good, this is good”. But if you are unhappy with the present then pray, the plan will be changed.
Comment: ...aspiration is so strong and so burning, and sometimes I find that my progress is not keeping up with that aspiration.
Comment: People placed in identical circumstances react so differently?
In fact, the idea of ‘same circumstances’ is only a superficial idea: there are no two identical circumstances for everybody. Each one lives in his kṣetra, depends on kṣetrajña.
We now come to the 12th chapter. This is quite a short chapter…only 20 verses: it is an elucidation of the last portion of the 11th chapter. It is a statement, a very short statement of one of the most important statements of the Gita, which prepares an exposition of the remaining 6 chapters, a short statement which prepares the ground for a long exposition of 6 chapters thereafter. If that last sentence is not given here in this chapter, then you might say that the Gita comes to a culmination at the end of the 12th chapter. But because of that last sentence, which is very important, it needs 6 more chapters for exposition.
So, in one sense this chapter is an elucidation of the previous chapter. You know, one of the things we have been doing constantly is to see the link in the Gita, constantly, right from the first chapter we have tried to see how the argument gradually develops on, and on, and on, to show the… (Even though it seems a very winding argument sometimes) we have to see the linkages and we have been doing this all the time. So, once again I begin with that statement of linking chapter 11 with chapter 12.
But before that also: ananya bhaktyā (8.22). This is ananya bhakti: this is the linking point.
What is ananya bhakti? There are bhaktis…Sri Krishna, by showing Himself in viśvarūpa darśana, which is the main substance of chapter 11; He expounds the object of knowledge in its integrality. As we have been saying, the entire Bhagavad Gita is a book of ‘Integral Knowledge’ and ‘Integral Yoga’. The object of Yoga is the attainment of integral Divine. The process is also integral and the instruments also are integral. The Divine that has to be realised is not merely the Divine that is immutable and silent, akṣara, the Divine that is to be realised is also kṣara, is also mobile, is dynamic. It is also that transcends both mobility and immobility: He is Purushottama, the Lord who is at once quiet and dynamic; the Divine that unifies the whole universe. He is the one in many, many in one, one in all, all in one. The one who has sovereign will, which manifest itself at many levels and although when it manifests in different levels, it seems contradictory very often, it is still the one will that is manifesting in the world: that is the real meaning of the viśvarūpa darśana, it’s an integral vision of the integral Divine. It is also a manifestation of the integral result of the integral Yoga.
That is to say, if you pursue integral Yoga, then you will attain to the supreme Knowledge and integral Knowledge. There is a difference between ‘Knowledge’ and ‘integral Knowledge’. The difference is: when you know the supreme object as one, immutable, and the source, then it is said to be: you are in a position of knowledge. Again to take the analogy of cooking: the moment you can press a grain which is cooked well, you know what is the state of cooking at a given time, only one grain is sufficient. Similarly, the moment you know the oneness of all, the moment you know the source of all, the moment you know that which remains the same under all circumstances, you can say: now you are in a position of knowledge. But then, when you see also the process of the movement of everything, at least in essence, how everything moves… to know the Divine as Silence is Knowledge basically, everything depends on that, (if you don’t have that, no other integral Knowledge can come about, so it is an integrating point), but to know that this “Silence” is also “Force” is also a part of the integral Knowledge. To see the silent Brahman as also the Brahman that is “Force”, gives the element of integrality. You see how Force and Silence are integrated, how the one and the other are complementary to each other: it’s a part of Integral Knowledge.
If you know the processes by which the whole world is manifested, then you get a further knowledge. In fact it is that integrality of Knowledge which was promised in the 7th chapter, again repeated in the 8th chapter, when Sri Krishna says: “I will now tell you the Reality, having known which, nothing more will remain; I will give you the Knowledge and vijñāna, ‘jñāna vijñāne nasaḥ’, I will tell you what is Jnana and what is Vijnana and having known which nothing more will remain to be known.”
That is why we saw how in the 7th chapter Sri Krishna declares that this Reality has got two natures; now that is the knowledge of the becoming, of the force which is manifesting, that this movement, this force manifests itself in two fold manner: Para and Apara Prakriti. This knowledge of Apara Prakriti and Para Prakriti is the knowledge of the essence of the movement. Wherever you look at the world, once you get this key, you can immediately distinguish between Apara and the Para, wherever there is in the world you can immediately find out what Apara is in anything that is given to you, and what is Para in it.
Then Sri Krishna gives a further knowledge of what is adhibhotika, adhidaivika, adhyātma, what is Brahma, what is Swabhava. Then He further goes and says in the 9th chapter, on which we dwelt a lot, in which we said how the Divine is in all, and yet He is not in all; how all is in Him and yet all is not in Him, how we saw that it is this Reality which can manifest in each and everyone, and yet never exhausted. And then we are told in the 10th chapter that in this manifestation there is a seven fold principle, sapta ṛṣi, the whole idea of seven Rishis came, and then catvāro manavaḥ (10.6), the four Manus: now, these are the essential principles of development which Sri Krishna describes one after the other and then culminates in the theory of Vibhuti in the 10th chapter, so that we see the Apara and Para very clearly. The Apara in the process of evolution, so that gradually greater and greater perfection is manifested in an evolutionary manner and then in the 11th chapter, the entirety is shown, as it were, in one grasp, one vast vision.
So, this vast vision that is given is in one comprehensive view the totality, Knowledge and Integral Knowledge, both combined together is made manifest before us. So, this is the culmination of the process of Knowledge and there is a very important element in the presentation of it saying that this vastness cannot be seen by sight as you have now: you require a sight behind the sight. When Sri Krishna says: “with your sight you cannot see, you require a different sight”, and therefore the divine sight is given. So it emphasises the fact that if you expect that you will get Knowledge and Integral Knowledge merely by remaining what we are, that is an illusion, it can never happen. You must cultivate a new kind of vision, a new kind of power of light, by means of which you can have it.
This is as far as the integrality of Knowledge is concerned, but there is a farther element in this integrality that even this process of mere divine sight is not enough: you require ananya bhakti. Unless your knowledge is joined with devotion, you won’t get this vision. That is why Sri Krishna says: “By Veda you will not get, by Tapas you will not get, by Dana you will not get it, even by Bhakti you will not get it: it is by ananya bhakti”. This is another kind of Bhakti. So, that ananya bhakti is a special element of chapter 11; and even this ananya bhakti is expounded at four stages in the 11th chapter.
First is when the Supreme Divine manifests, Arjuna bows down in front, behind, in all aspects; that is a supreme surrender, that comes about when the Supreme Divine is visualised and seen, that also shows that when there is supreme Knowledge the supreme Bhakti arises, its a connection between Bhakti and Knowledge and integration between the two. Bhakti can in start even on its own, but this Bhakti can be the bhakti of the divine seen as an Avatar. This is what Arjuna, when once he sees the Supreme Divine then he realises that the Supreme Divine is in this one mānuṣaṁ ashritha; it is in this human being that this vastness was present all the time. I did not see Him, it is this Bhakti for the Avatar. This is the bhakti for the Avatar and that bhakti manifests then he realises that he was calling him sakha and even a casual address to Him while on the couch or eating, ahara-vihara all kinds of movements. He realises it but also at the same time does not discard it, that is also a form of bhakti in which he says You pardon me as a father pardons his son, as a friend pardons his friend, as a lover pardons his beloved. This is another kind of bhakti to regard the Divine as the father, as a friend, as a husband, as a child, in many forms of relationships, – there is also bhakti and then he says that now you change this form and show me your four armed form, – Narayan form, He is closer to us then that Viraat Swaroop, which seemed to be temptuous and frightful and horrible and terrible in many ways although behind it there was a great benign face which also was appreciated and understood, but for a human being this Narayan form is much better, – the one who smiles and one who is very close. So there is an integration of these four levels of bhakti in the 11th Chapter. The bhakti of the Supreme Lord manifest in the vastest form, unending form, millions of faces and millions of arms and the bhakti that arises, the bhakti that is to the Lord who is in this human body, the bhakti to the Lord who can be related to us in many forms, and bhakti in the form in which he is very close to us. It’s a statement of all forms of bhakti all related, – integrated. Bhakti, therefore, now you can now approach the Divine in all the four forms but even that is not enough; you arrive at ananya Bhakti. This ananya Bhakti is a special concept which is now to be developed in the 12th Chapter. There is also the culmination of action in the 11th Chapter, culmination of Knowledge, culmination of Bhakti and culmination of Action. There is a link from Chapter numbers 1- 6, as far as action is concerned. The theme of action is subdued in Chapter numbers 7, 8, 9 and 11, because it was already expounded earlier, so a greater emphasis is laid on Bhakti and Gyana – the synthesis of the two, but now in the 11th Chapter action is brought forward because Sri Krishna reveals the secret of action.
The highest secret of Action, – that all action really proceeds from the Supreme Lord; that action is not merely to be done as an offering to the Lord, but you have to see yourself that all action proceeds from the Lord. When you offer the action to God, there is still a feeling that I am the doer and I am offering to the Lord even that is ignorance. In the fullness of Knowledge in the integrality of Knowledge, you know that all action proceeds from Him and that you are only an instrument. Nimitmatram bhava – this is the highest element of Karma Yoga, which gets manifested here. In that highest state you do not have the pride of egoism that I am the instrument even that is to be thrown out, because Sri Krishna says that even if you are not here hrite pritvam – even without you the battle will take place, or whatever is to be done and destruction will take place; you have only the privilege of becoming an instrument; not that without you things would not happen and even God has to choose me to be the instrument, not at all; even that pride has to go, even that egoism has to go; it is Lord’s action and if you are still having the egoism of being the instrument and you will still be blinded, it is not the culmination of Karma Yoga. Culmination of Karma Yoga is that you are not doer at all, even the instrument is made by Him, even the instrument is given a chance to act because of Him; it is He who knows the target it is He who has the arrow with Him, it is He who shoots the arrow and accomplishes His task. The only privilege is that you become a bow, and which if you are not ready He can have any other bows. So this is the culmination of Karma Yoga, which is manifested in the 11th Chapter.
Question: To become a bow would be because of our purushartha?
Not of us, it is the Lord’s. Only He does everything.
The 11th Chapter, is the, you might see now is a complete integration of not only Knowledge, integral Knowledge, integral Bhakti, and integral Action. That is the speciality of Chapter number eleven that is why it is so important. The essence of all this is the most integrating point – is ananya bhakti.
It is this ananya bhakti that is now expounded in the 12th Chapter. So this 12th Chapter the very beginning of the Chapter, is as it were a reminiscence from the original question with which Arjuna was perplexed at the earlier Chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, where he was constantly asking questions: is Sankhya better than Yoga, or Yoga is better than Sankhya. The original question he was asking from the beginning; the was asking repeatedly that is because in the time in which the Gita was expounded there was a strong dose of Sankhya in the atmosphere and a strong idea that renunciation of action is better is lesser than turning to the knowledge; so turn to the knowledge, and that was in the very 1st Chapter. He says to renounce and to run away from here and attain to the sanyasa. So right from the beginning that idea of sannyasa and knowledge and superiority of knowledge, everything else has been running throughout and now the bhakti is added, ananya bhakti is added now. So once again the whole question revolves around this important point, – what is better? To meditate upon the immutable or to be engaged in action and knowledge and bhakti, altogether, – of which you are now speaking, which one of them is better, – so that is how the 12th Chapter begins.
evaṁ satatayuktā ye bhaktāstwaṁ paryupasate |
ye cāpyakṣarmavayktaṁ teṣāṁ ke yogavittamāḥ ||12.1||
Who are uttamāḥ, yogauttamāḥ or yogavittamāḥ, who are better in the Yoga, those who are all the time united, like bhaktas and who worship You, are they better or akṣarmavayktaṁ paryupasate – or those who worship or those who try to attach themselves to the immutable, inexpressible, Silent Divine. Which of these two are better? (Very often the translators say, – is nirguna better or saguna better? This is how the distinction is made, but the distinction is much deeper.) Is the immutable, the Silent Brahman, that which is approached through the silence of the Brahman and therefore those who approach the silence of the Brahman and those who are bhaktas, who are constantly trying to unite themselves with the Divine, which of these two are better? It is similar to the earlier question that he had asked. Yoga implies action, Yoga implies devotion, Sankhya is for Knowledge, Knowledge of the Silence of the Brahman. He was asking the same question earlier; the emphasis was action and knowledge and here knowledge and devotion but the devotion is not only devotion as Sri Krishna has explained, – a real devotee, the real bhakta, – not only goes on worshipping the Divine, adoring the Divine, admiring the Divine but he likes to be with the Divine wherever He is. If the Divine chooses the field of Kurukshetra, then the real devotee should like to be there also. So he is the devotee of the Integral Divine integrally, wherever the Divine is there, he wants to be; if the Divine chooses Kurukshetra, how can I give it up? I am the dasasya dasa, I am the coolie of coolies, I am the labourer among the labourers or the servant of servants. So wherever the Lord is, I must be present with Him. It is that bhakta, it is that path better or this path, and the Yogis who are accomplished in the knowledge are better or the yogis who are great bhaktas are better. This is the question with which the whole thing starts.
Now Sri Krishna expounds the question itself and says who are the bhaktas? To explain what is a bhakta, He expounds the question of Arjuna himself, before answering.
So He says,
mayyāveśya mano ye māṁ nityayukta upāste |
śraddhayā parayopetāḥ te meyuktatamā matāḥ ||12.2||
He says, without any kind of hesitation, very clearly, that bhaktas are better. mayyāveśya manah those who are putting their mind in Me, mayyāveśya mano ye māṁ nityayukta upāste and those who worship Me all the time, nityayukta, – who are constantly united with Me. śraddhayā parayopetāḥ they are constantly perceiving Me everywhere in all forms, – śraddhayā , – a faith which is not a belief as I have told you earlier, in Gita, śraddhā is not a belief, not a trust, it’s a dynamic perception which becomes greater and greater by a great force of tapasya so as to become a realised fact. śraddhā is not a belief; it is a perception which has the capacity of giving you a push to fully realise what is perceived partially in the beginning. śraddhā is already a perception; it’s more than a perception, more than a belief. In most religions belief is regarded to be the end, you believe in God you are a religious man and the highest is realised the moment you believe. But Sri Krishna speaks of śraddhā, which is not that belief which is already a perception, there is a consent, there is a perception which the mind holds and to which the will has consented and it gives you a further push, it does not remain there.
What is partially perceived in the beginning, in the field of ignorance whether it’s a lot of ignorance the perception starts, that is the beginning of śraddhā, a perception in the darkness of the night which has the power and force to push you forward, until that perception becomes a luminous sun of knowledge: that is śraddhā.
So (12.2), śraddhayā parayopetāḥ te, so it is not merely bhaktas but perception which pushes itself towards it sun of Knowledge, me yuktatamā matāḥ, and those who are supremely united, yuktatamā, they are better. So, it is very clear that bhaktas as defined in this form, they are better, their yoga is better. Now the other ones:
ye tv akṣaram anirdeśyam avyaktaṁ paryupāsate |
sarvatragam acintyaṁ ca kūṭastham acalaṁ dhruvam ||12.3||
This sentence is incomplete; it is completed in the fourth one,
sanniyamyendriyagrāmaṁ sarvatra samabuddhayaḥ ||
te prāpnuvanti mām eva sarvabhūtahite ratāḥ ||12.4||
“The other ones, akṣaram, those who move towards the immutable, anirdeśyam, the indefinable, avyaktaṁ, immutable unmanifest, sarvatragam acintyaṁ, which is abroad everywhere, acintyaṁ, unthinkable, kūṭastham, that which is the deepest, acalaṁ dhruvam, that which immobile but always permanent; that which is being worshipped or which is approached, sanniyamya, by controlling, endriyagrāmaṁ, all the senses, sarvatra samabuddhayaḥ, with the power of the intellect which is established in samatva; te prāpnuvanti mām eva, they also reach Me; sarvabhūtahite ratāḥ, even they who are constantly engaged in the welfare of all the people.”
Now, even here you will see that although emphasis is upon knowledge, upon silence there is sarvatragam, it is that which is everywhere, so it is not only immutable, but that which is also that which is found everywhere and those who are sarvabhūtahite ratāḥ, those who are dynamic and who are engaged in the activities for the whole world; so even there, integrality is maintained, although the emphasis is upon the process of Buddhi, the process of concentrating upon the Immutable, but “Even they ultimately reach Me”. So, both the paths ultimately take the individual to the same goal; whether you start with knowledge, then you come to integral knowledge, through you arrive to the action, sarvabhūtahite ratāḥ, and there also you see sarvatragam, “you also see Me everywhere”, dynamically also present, but the beginning is, starting point is: attention to Silent Self. In the other one, the earlier one, the starting point itself is integral, you start on the three wheels of the chariot as it were. And Sri Krishna says that those who start with that one, with three wheels, is the swiftest road, easiest road, better road and they arrive at the best results, although this one also reaches the same goal.
But, (12.5), He now points out what is the difficulty: kleśo. That is however difficulty, if you just try to approach the Silent Self directly it is kleśo, there is a lot of difficulties; dhikataras, greater difficulty than the other ones, there also are difficulties, but here the difficulties are much greater: teṣām avyaktāsaktacetasām, those who are proceeding to realise the Immutable, for them the kleśo, the difficulties are much greater; avyaktā hi gatir duḥkhaṁ dehavadbhir avāpyate ||5||, those who are embodied, for them, the gati, the movement of this Yoga is duḥkhaṁ, is full of suffering.
What is the reason for this? That in this process, where you approach first by going to the Immutable, you are required to concentrate only upon one faculty, namely buddhi; even buddhi is to be controlled and to be fixed upon the Silence. Now, the normal tendency of the buddhi and manas is ‘chanchala’. Now to bring that buddhi constantly on the Silence itself is a very difficult process, particularly when you do not allow any kind of activity at all: you have to withdraw from all movement of will, all movement of emotions: so will, emotions and intellect, intellect also is to be renounced excepting one part, to concentrate upon the Brahman, the Silent Brahman. So you are allowed to do only one activity.
Question: The rest is like a vacuum.
Now, imagine the condition within which activities are withdrawn from you, emotions are withdrawn from you, all relations are withdrawn from you, even intellectual activities are to be thrown out excepting intellect, concentrating upon the Silent Brahman. You can see the difficulties you come across if you do this process. Many do it, some do it. Secondly, to remain without activity is in fact, as Sri Krishna had explained earlier also, that even ‘breathing’ is an activity, ‘eating’ is an activity and if you don’t eat even the body will go away then who will do the yoga. So He says devahat bihi, those who are embodied for them this process is extremely difficult. If you stop your activities of all kinds, then logically you should stop even eating, breathing even: therefore, it is kleśo.
But now the other one…Now, Sri Krishna says, in comparison to this how the other one is swifter, much better, easier:
ye tu sarvāṇi karmāṇi mayi sannyasya matparāḥ||
ananyenaiva yogena māṁ dhyāyanta upāsate ||12.6||
teṣām ahaṁ samuddhartā mṛtyusaṁsārsāgarāt ||
bhavāmi na cirāt pārtha mayy āveśitacetasām ||12.7||
na cirāt, very quickly, that is the swift method. This is a very important word: na cirāt, (cirā means that which takes long), na cirāt means that which does not take much time, very quickly. Very quick is the process of ananyenaiva yogena, the Yoga that I am giving is not only Bhakti Yoga. Many People think that this is only Bhakti Yoga, but it is ‘ananya’ Bhakti Yoga, (‘ananya’ Bhakti Yoga is this ananya yoga, the 12th chapter is actually called ‘Bhakti Yoga’, Bhakti which is ‘ananya’ Bhakti ). It is not an ordinary Bhakti because already in the 11th Chapter Sri Krishna has explained four levels of Bhakti.
And then integration of that problem of Bhakti with the Knowledge which is integral and with action which is integral, it is this Yoga, it is the process of this integral Yoga, instead of following only the process of concentrating upon the Immobile. Now, here you take a much more wide base in which all activities are accepted; even the most difficult activities are accepted; all relations are accepted, all emotional movements are accepted; all kinds of activities of mind and of the heart and intellect are accepted on one condition: mayi sannyasya matparāḥ. “You turn all of them to Me”. Even all activities are not to be thrown out, only ‘turn them to Me’. So, as opposed to the other movements where all activities are to be thrown out, which you cannot normally: all relations to be broken, which is not very easy to do, all activities of the mind to be renounced, that also is not easy to do.
Here there is an easier method: you continue all your life movements with one change (which is very difficult of course), but all Yoga is somewhat difficult, but in the other one it is adhikataraḥ klesaḥ, the other one is also much more difficult. But here if you do all activities and while doing all activities, you see the Divine in all, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti, Vasudeva is everywhere therefore you see the Divine in every movement: my father is the Divine, my mother is the Divine, my son is the Divine, every activity and relationships all are the Divine. You see all and the Divine also manifest Himself in the same way: as you approach the Divine, so the Divine approaches you, this is the proposal of the Bhagavad Gita: ye yathā māṃ prapadyante tān tathaiva bajāmy aham, “As they approach Me, so I also approach in the same way”. If you look upon the Divine as a friend, He will be your friend.
But here Sri Krishna says: ‘take all relationships’. So, He is not only a friend, He is your enemy also, even as an enemy He is your friend. He is your Divine, He is your master. Even as your beloved He is your master: in every way. In every form if you see how it becomes, you continue the same activities, you change and put it all in the Divine: ye tu sarvāṇi karmāṇi mayi sannyasya matparāḥ. Now you can see this is not a description of your bhakti; sarvāṇi karmāṇi, all actions are to be reposed in the Divine; matparāḥ, your mind also should be constantly engaged in Him, in the Divine. ananyenaiva yogena māṁ dhyāyanta, and constantly contemplate on Me by this incomparable Yoga, which is Integral Yoga.
teṣām ahaṁ samuddhartā, I am the one who gives salvation, samuddhartā, I am the gate of salvation to all of them; mṛtyusaṁsārsāgarāt, they are all rescued from this great ocean of the world which is besieged by death:
bhavāmi na cirāt pārtha mayy āveśitacetasām, to all of them I become samuddhartā, I become the rescuer to all of them.
It is for this reason…if you attain, if you only approach the relation-less, then relation-less does not relate Himself to you because you are approaching the relation-less: the Immutable is ‘relation-less’. So, ‘relation-less’ only invites you to climb. He does not come down to lift you up. There is no relationship, He is silent, He is incommunicable. It is you who approach Him so the climbing becomes difficult, He is not there available to you because ‘ye atha mam pravardante’, you approach the Divine as ‘silent’ and He remains silent to you. You approach Him as the one who helps you and He is a helper to you. So, “For them I become samuddhartā’ because they take My help, they want My help, they say ‘give me Your hand’, so, I give the hand to him. Therefore this path becomes swifter, easier and much more integral because in every form, in every activity, in every relationship I manifest.”
There is a continuous unity in the Gita. The whole of the Gita is a united, one, great, teaching.
Question: It is almost like auto-suggestion; whatever you suggest you yourself feel that He is doing.
You might say auto-suggestion theory itself is a partial understanding of a larger secret. Instead of saying it is like auto-suggestion, auto-suggestion is a theory, a partial reflection of a larger understanding. Why does auto-suggestion work? Because the supreme Divine always has this attitude towards you: as you approach Him, so He approaches you, therefore auto-suggestion succeeds, but auto-suggestion is wrong, defective because it only talks of suggestion, coming out by yourself, but suggestion is not the only power; therefore auto-suggestion is a limited theory and does not explains why auto-suggestion succeeds.
So, now Sri Krishna says:
mayy eva mana ādhatsva mayi buddhiṁ niveśaya |
nivasiṣyasi mayy eva ata ūrdhvaṁ na saṁśayaḥ ||12.8||
There is no doubt that you will certainly arrive at Me, nivasiṣyasi mayy eva, you will certainly live in Me, delve in Me, mayy eva mana ādhatsva, fixed your mind on Me; niveśaya mayi buddhiṁ, put your Buddhi in Me, then surely you will come to Me and you will live in Me.
atha cittaṁ samādhātuṁ na śaknoṣi mayi sthiram |
abhyāsayogena tato mām icchāptuṁ dhanañjaya ||12.9||
If you find that this is difficult, that your buddhi is to be fixed in the Supreme, if your mind is to be fixed in the Divine, if this is difficult then I give you an easier path: abhyāsayogena. What is abhyāsayoga? abhyāsayoga is a practise of a method, repetition of an experience; you may not succeed in keeping your mind all the time on the Divine, it does not matter, you repeat your effort, it is broken, repeat again, repeat the same method again and again, repeat the same experience again and again. So, even if you are broken, don’t worry, apply abhyāsayoga.
Question: Somewhat like Japa one by one.
That is one method: whatever method you are following, you repeat it, not only Japa, there can be many other methods, you continue: if you are doing philosophical method, repeat the philosophical method; if you are doing Karma yoga method, do that method, whatever method, repeat it.
(12.10) abhyāse ’py asamartho ’si, if you are incapable of that abhyāsa, then I give another more method: matkarmaparamo bhava, do all actions as if for Me: offer all your actions to Me. So, even the abhyāsayoga is not necessary. Just whatever action you do, you offer to Me.
madartham api karmāṇi kurvan, if you go on doing those karmāṇi, those works which are meant for Me, then siddhim avāpsyasi, then you attain to the highest realisation.
athaitad apy aśakto ’si, even if you are not capable of that also,
athaitad apy aśakto ’si kartuṁ madyogam āśritaḥ
If you are not able to put your actions all offered to Me, then I give further means:
sarvakarmaphalatyāgaṁ tataḥ kuru yatātmavān ||12.11||
Then whatever action you do, you don’t need to offer to Me, you just don’t be desirous of the fruits of action; sarva-karma-phala-tyāgaṁ tataḥ kuru yatātmavān, do all your actions, go on, only don’t expect, only don’t desire the fruits and the enjoyments of the fruits of action: sarva-karma-phala-tyāgaṁ.
All options are given, and now Sri Krishna says which is better of these. He puts a kind of a scale of these four methods:
(12.12) śreyo hi jñānam abhyāsāj. There is a difference between abhyāsa and jñāna: abhyāsa is the repetition of the effort, repetition of the method. Better than that is of course jñāna: jñāna is thought turned luminously towards the object, not only thinking. Thinking which tries to get the meaning of the object and when the meaning of the object becomes luminous, that is jñāna. There must be thought, application of thought on the object and the grasp of that object luminously so that you say: ‘I understand and I know’. So, grasp the object of knowledge luminously, that is jñānam. So, better than abhyāsa, (repetition of experience or of the effort, or the method), there is jñāna; it is much better.
dhyānāt karmaphalatyāgas tyāgāc chāntir anantaram ||12.12||
More than this meditation on that jñāna, (jñāna is an application of the mind, of the thought), but dhyāna is a process which is higher than thought: dhyāna is a concentration of consciousness on the object. When a consciousness not only applies towards the object to know it, but also to experience it, – that is dhyāna. When you simply try to understand an object by thought, it is jñāna; but when you try to experience that object that is dhyāna.
So: jñānād dhyānaṁ viśiṣyate, better than jñāna is dhyāna, because in dhyāna there is not only a thought movement but also an experienced element. In jñāna movement the thought is powerful and in thought you get luminously the understanding of the object; but in dhyāna you also get the experience of it.
Comment: It is beautifully put.
Isn’t it? …jñānād dhyānaṁ viśiṣyate | dhyānāt, more than jñāna, karma-phala-tyāgas, if you just renounce the actions fruits, that is the highest, the excellence path is this because for that tyāgāc chāntir anantaram, by that renunciation you get the supreme Shanti.
Having given this, having shown what is the path of this ‘ananya’ Bhakti, having shown how this process of knowledge leads you to the same goal, (although with more difficulty) having given all this, now Sri Krishna goes to expound the kind of Bhakta who has attained ‘ananya’ Bhakti. This exposition of Bhakta we are now going to have is not merely a Bhakta who is doing only Bhakti. He is a Bhakti who has reconciled Bhakti, Knowledge, Action, integral Knowledge, integral Action, integral Bhakti. It is that Bhakta that is now described. And there also He has distinguished between two: the Bhaktas who are striving in this direction and the Bhaktas who are accomplished.
The last verse of the Bhagavad Gita in this chapter concerns those bhaktas who are accomplished. All the other ones are the bhaktas who are striving, striving the synthesis of Knowledge, Action and Bhakti and the synthesis of Integral knowledge,Integral Action and Integral Bhakti. Those who are striving, their description is now given and the achievements which can come out by that striving.
(12.13)adveṣṭā, one who does not envy; adveṣṭā sarva bhūtānāṁ maitraḥ, friend of all; karuṇa eva ca |, one who is full of compassion; nirmamo, there is nothing ‘mine’ in his consciousness; nirahaṅkāraḥ, there is no ego in him; sama-duḥkha-sukjaḥ kṣamī, in misery or in happiness he is equal, he is constantly forgiving.
santuṣṭaḥ, contented; satataṁ yogī, united all the time with the Divine; yatātmā dṛḍha-niścayaḥ |, constantly making an endeavour, dṛḍhaniścayaḥ, with a firm resolution, whose resolution does not flicker; mayy arpitamanobuddhir yo, one whose…
Question: What I mean is, those who are santuṣṭaḥ satisfied always is a Yogi.*
Actually all these qualities are all interrelated; in fact it is an integrality.
Comment: I thought this is a part.
No, all of them are integrated. You cannot be santuṣṭaḥ unless you are kṣamī, unless you are sama-duḥkha-sukjaḥ: all these are interrelated.
mayy arpita-mano-buddhir yo mad-bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ ||(12.14)
“Who is the Bhakta who is dear to Me?” This is the first definition, one who is:
adveṣṭā sarva bhūtānāṁ maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca |
nirmamo nirahaṅkāraḥ sama-duḥkha-sukjaḥ kṣamī ||12.13||
santuṣṭaḥ satataṁ yogī yatātmā dṛḍhaniścayaḥ |
mayy arpita-mano-buddhir yo mad-bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ ||12.14||
Then comes further elucidation, further qualities
(12.15): yasmān nodvijate loke lokān nodvijate ca yaḥ |
The one who is not scorn by people, one by whom people are not disturbed: the real Bhakta does not disturb anybody. The Bhakta is not a propagandist, who goes on disturbing people, whether the people wants something or not, inflicts upon the people; yasmān nodvijate loke lokān, the one by whom the people are not disturbed; lokān nodvijate ca yaḥ*, he himself Is not disturbed by the people: one who does not disturb the people and one who is not disturbed by the people.
harṣāmarṣa-bhayodvegair mukto, one who is free from harṣa, from excitement, amarṣa, from anger, from bhaya, from fear, from udvega, from anxiety, one who is free from all this, sa ca me priyaḥ, he is dear to Me.=
Question: That mental condition he is not disturbing somebody, but people are coming and disturbing him and he is not disturbed.
…not disturbed, both ways.
anapekṣaḥ śucir dakṣa udāsīno gata-vyathaḥ |
anapekṣaḥ, he expects nothing, śucir, he is pure, at the same time dakṣa, he is very capable. We remember what Sri Krishna has said earlier: kauśalyam, the efficiency in action, karma kaumasu kauśalam, that which is efficiency in action, one who does not…because he does not expect anything therefore he says ‘oh! I don’t bother whether it happens or it does not happen’, he does not put his utmost effort, not that, dakṣa*, he is very capable.
Like Sri Krishna who can be a charioteer in the battle field, one who is a lord of lords and one who is the counsellor, the store of wisdom, the great king himself, the warrior himself, the great lover of human beings, he accepts the task of a charioteer and perform the task efficiently, even though himself He is anapekṣaḥ, He is sure, He does not expect any result out of it, but He is dakṣa, He does His work efficiently; udāsīno, he is seated above, not indifferent, very often udāsīno is supposed to be indifferent, no! ud asīna, ud means above, asīna means seated: one who is seated above; udāsīno gata-vyathaḥ, from whom all vyatha*, all the pain, suffering has gone away.
sarvārambha-parityāgī, it is a very important sentence: sarvārambha-parityāgī, he initiates no action, reason being that all action proceeds from the Divine, so how can he initiate action. All action is initiated by the Divine, He is the doer, He is the initiator, therefore as far as you are concerned, as an individual, you only receive from Him. You are only the doer in the instrumental sense, not as the initiator of action.
You have to see what is divine action? and put yourself into that action. You are a part of that great action so you don’t start.
sarvārambhaparityāgī yo mad bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ ||12.16||
“That is dear to Me.”
yo na hṛṣyati na dveṣṭi na śocati na kāṅkṣati ||12.17||
“One who is not excited, one who does not envy, one who does not suffer, one who na kāṅkṣati, who does not expect anything, has no ambition.”
śubhāśubha-parityāgī, whether what happens to him is good or what happens to him is full of pain or suffering, it does not touch him; bhaktimān, he is full of Bhakti, yaḥ sa me priyaḥ, he is beloved to Me.
samaḥ śatrau ca mitre ca tathā mānāpamānayoḥ |
śītoṣṇasukhaduḥkheṣū samaḥ saṅgavivarjitaḥ ||12.18||
He is equal to the enemy and to the friend, (because he sees the Divine also in the enemy); samaḥ śatrau ca mitre ca tathā mānāpamānayoḥ, he is equal whether there is māna or apamāna, honour or dishonour; śīta uṣṇa, whether there is heat or whether it is cold; sukha or duḥkha, whether there is suffering or there is happiness; saṅgavivarjitaḥ, who is completely free from all attachment, samaḥ*, who is equal.
tulya-nindā-stutir maunī santuṣṭo yena kenacit | (12.19), he is absolutely equal whether people criticise him or praise him, he is maunī, he is silent, santuṣṭo, contented by anything, yena kenacit, by anything whatever happens he is satisfied.
aniketaḥ, he has no residence, sthira-matir, his mind is absolutely established, sthita prajñā, bhaktimān, and yet he is full of Bhakti, me priyo naraḥ, that man he is My beloved.
having given this, having shown what is the path of his Ananya Bhakti; having shown how even the process of knowledge leads you to the same goal, although with more difficulty; having given all this now Sri Krishna goes to expound the kind of bhakta who has attained Ananya Bhakti. This exposition of bhakta which we are now going to have is not merely a bhakta who is doing only bhakti. It is a bhakti which has reconciled bhakti, knowledge, action – Integral Knowledge, Integral Action, Integral Bhakti. It is that bhakta that is now described.
And there also He distinguishes between the two. The bhaktas was striving in this direction and the bhaktas were accomplished. The last verse of the Bhagavad Gita of this chapter concerns those bhaktas who are accomplished. All the other ones are the bhaktas who are striving, striving for the synthesis of knowledge, action and bhakti, and synthesis of Integral Knowledge, Integral Action, Integral Bhakti.
Those who are striving, their description is now given.
And the achievements which can come out by that striving:
adveṣṭā sarvabhūtānāṁ maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca,
nirmamo nirahaṅkāraḥ samaduḥkhasukhaḥ kṣamī.||12.13||
adveṣṭā.. one who does not envy..
adveṣṭā sarvabhūtānāṁ maitraḥ.. friend of all
karuṇa eva ca.. one who is full of compassion
nirmamo.. there is nothing mine in his consciousness
nirahaṅkāraḥ.. he has no ego in him
samaduḥkhasukhaḥ kṣamī.. In misery or in happiness he is equal
kṣamī.. he is constantly forgiving.
saṁtuṣṭaḥ satataṁ yogī yatātmā dṛḍhaniścayaḥ,
mayyarpitamanobuddhiryo madbhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ.||12.14||
satataṁ yogī.. united all the time with the Divine
yatātmā dṛḍhaniścayaḥ.. constantly making an endeavour
niścayaḥ.. with a firm resolution.
Comment: Those who are saṁtuṣṭaḥ, you know, satisfied always.. hamesha ke liye.. they are yogis
mayyarpitamanobuddhiryo madbhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ.
Actually all these qualities, qualities are all interrelated. In fact it's integrality.
Comment: I thought this is the part.
No, all of them are integrated. You cannot be saṁtuṣṭaḥ unless you are kṣamī, unless you're samaduḥkhasukhaḥ. All these are interrelated.
mayyarpitamanobuddhiryo madbhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ.
Who is the bhakta, who is priya, dear, to me? This is the first definition – one who is
adveṣṭā sarvabhūtānāṁ maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca,
nirmamo nirahaṅkāraḥ samaduḥkhasukhaḥ kṣamī,
saṁtuṣṭaḥ satataṁ yogī yatātmā dṛḍhaniścayaḥ,
mayyarpitamanobuddhiryo madbhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ.
Then comes further elucidation of further qualities.
yasmānnodvijate loko lokānnodvijate ca yaḥ,
harṣāmarṣabhayodvegairmukto yaḥ sa ca me priyaḥ.||12.15||
yasmānnodvijate loko lokānnodvijate ca yaḥ,
the one who is not scorned by people, one by whom people are not disturbed. A real bhakta does not disturb anybody. The bhakta is not a propagandist who goes on disturbing people whether the people want something or not, infix upon the people.
The one by whom the people are not disturbed.
lokānnodvijate ca yaḥ..
He himself is not disturbed by the people. One who does not disturb the people and one will not disturbed by the people.
One who is free from harṣā, from excitement; āmarṣa, from anger; from bhaya, from fear; udvega, from anxiety. One who is free from all this, such a man is priyah, he is dear to me.
Comment: So the mental condition is that he's not disturbing somebody but people are coming and disturbing him, but he's not.
Not disturbing.. both ways.
anapekṣaḥ śucirdakṣa udāsīno gatavyathaḥ,
sarvārambhaparityāgī yo madbhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ. ||12.16||
anapekṣaḥ śucirdakṣa udāsīno gatavyathaḥ,
anapekṣaḥ.. he expects nothing.
śuci.. he is pure
At the same time dakṣa, he is very capable. We remember what Sri Krishna had said earlier.. kaushalyam the efficiency in action.
Yoga karmasu kaushalam.. that which is efficiency in action. One who does not.. because he does not expect anything therefore he says.. O, I don't bother whether it happens, does not happen, does not put his utmost effort. Not that, dakṣa.. he is very capable, like Sri Krishna who can be a charioteer in the battlefield, one who is a lord of Lords and one who is the counsellor, the stone of wisdom, the great king himself, the warrior himself, the great lover of human beings, He accepts the task of a charioteer and performs that task efficiently even though he himself is anapeksha. He's sure he doesn't expect any result out of it. But he is dakṣa, he does his work efficiently.
udāsīna.. he is seated above, not indifferent. Very often udāsīna is supposed to be indifferent. No, ut-āsīna, ut means above, āsīna means seated. One who is seated above, udāsīna.
gatavyathaḥ.. from whom all the vyatha, all the pain, suffering, has gone away.
It's a very important sentence: sarvārambhaparityāgī..
He initiates no action. The reason being that all action proceeds from the Divine. So how can he initiate action? All action is initiated by the Divine. He is the doer. He's the initiator. Therefore as far as you are concerned as an individual, you only receive from him. You're only the doer in the instrumental sense, not as the initiator of action.
Comment: Those who don't understand make majak of this..
Comment: ..that your Krishna says you have not to start any work.
Haha.. but that is wrong. Yes, you have to see what is the divine action and put yourself into that action. You are a part of that great action so you don't start anything.
..not at all.. wrong, wrong meanings. Yes.
sarvārambhaparityāgī yo madbhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ.. that is dear to me.
yo na hṛṣyati na dveṣṭi na śocati na kāňkṣati,
śubhāśubhaparityāgī bhaktimānyaḥ sa me priyaḥ.||12.17||
yo na hṛṣyati na dveṣṭi na śocati na kāňkṣati..
One who is not excited, one who does not envy, one who does not suffer, one who is not kāňkṣati, one who does not expect anything, has no ambition.
śubhāśubhaparityāgī.. whether what happens to him is good or what happens to him is full of pain or suffering, it doesn't touch him.
bhaktimānyaḥ.. he is full of bhakti.
sa me priyaḥ.. he is beloved to me.
samaḥ śatrau ca mitre ca tathā mānāpamānayoḥ,
śītoṣṇasukhaduḥkheṣu samaḥ saṅgavivarjitaḥ.||12.18||
Now comes the last sentence: ’tīva me priyāḥ, these are all my beloved, but there are some who are ’tīva me priyāḥ, they are even much more dear to Me. Who are they? śraddhānā, as I told you, śraddhānā are those who have got a perception, who are constantly striving to arrive at realisation, mat-paramā, for whom ‘I am the supreme goal and nothing else’.
Comment: A complete surrender to Me?
Yes, mat-paramā, all the time engaged in Me.
But what is most important is:
…dharmāmṛtam idaṁ yathoktaṁ paryupāsate, it is a new concept now which is manifested here; dharmāmṛtam, those who are pursuing amṛta dharma, immortal Dharma, they are even dearer to Me. All these are wonderful, they are all dear to Me, but those who follow Me with the amṛta dharma, there is an immortal Dharma: what is this immortal Dharma? It is the subject matter of the next 6 chapters.
All the last 6 chapters are given to explain this dharmāmṛtam. What is this immortal Dharma, it is a new concept which has come; now, you can see now the novelty of this concept. You can also see that the author of the Gita is so wonderful how he links one idea with the other, expands the idea, puts them all into order, into harmony and suggests, gives the hint of what is to come later. In other words, this amṛta dharma, is even higher then what is achieved by pursuing Karma, Bhakti, Jnana. There is a movement of pursuit and there is a stage of accomplishment. Whatever you achieve by pursuing, in the course of pursuing consists of various experiences; but when it becomes accomplished, the highest consequence is achievement of ‘amṛta dharma’. You arrive at immortal Dharma. What is that immortal Dharma? We shall see next time.
Question: is the dharmakṣetra described till now or will it begin now?
No. the dharmakṣetra is the field already in which Dharma is being explained. The arrival of all of them on the Kurukshetra was to be seen in the light of all this, as dharmakṣetra.
Question: What is to be expounded further is…
It is not only dharmakṣetra but the meaning of Dharma itself. What is Dharma? Because that Dharma is being actually practised, is to be practised through this particular battle, therefore that kṣetra becomes dharmakṣetra.
But what is this Dharma? And not only ‘what is Dharma’, but amṛta dharma; there is a distinction between Dharma and amṛta dharma, immortal Dharma. Every word is important. And not only: we are not going to expound here merely ‘Dharma’. Dharma will be described, but the idea is to arrive at this ‘immortal Dharma’, supreme Dharma, that will be explained and that is the substance of all these 6 chapters.
Very often many people when they read these last 6 chapters, they simply get tired because it describes Sattwa, Rajas, Tamas in ‘this’ form, in ‘that’ form and they say: what is all this? The real purpose is to explain Dharmas of various kinds and then to point out what is immortal Dharma. And those who are accomplished in ‘immortal Dharma’ are dearest to the supreme Lord and this is the highest condition in which Sri Krishna says: ‘You should constantly live in that Dharma which is immortal’. That is the real goal of the Gita.