1. Towards Sadharmya Mukti
It is this union and synthesis which is reiterated by Sri Krishna in the twelfth chapter, and while reiterating it, something more is said in order to bring out all the meaning of the great spiritual change. The twelfth chapter leads up to that which is still to be said, and the last six chapters that follow develop that remaining knowledge leading up to a grand final conclusion.
What is that new thing that is said in the twelfth chapter? That new thing is what is repeatedly stated in twelfth to eighteenth chapters by phrases such as dharmamrtam, immortal law,¹¹² parama bhaktas te tiva me priyah, my supreme devotees who are exceedingly dear to Me,"¹¹³ mat parah, entirely devoted to Me,114 mad bhava. My own becoming or My own nature,115 param gatim, supreme status,116 moksam param, supreme liberation,"117 sadharmyam agatah, those who have attained oneness with My law of action,"118 amrtam asnute, enjoys immortality,"119 gunan etan atitya trin dehi, one who is in the body but who transcends all the three gunas,120 sasvatasya dharmasya, of the imperishable immortal law,¹²¹ sarvavid bhajati mam sarvabhavena, one who has integral knowledge, and worships Me in all manner of being,¹²² svabhavah prabhavaih gunaih, gunas that are generated from one's own original becoming,¹²³ svakarma action proceeding from one's own original being,124 swadharma, the law of action proceeding from
one's own original being,125 sasvatam padam avyayam, imperishable and immortal status.126 These phrases indicate references to workings of higher nature, Para Prakriti of the Purushottama, and they provide a key to the larger and integral concept of liberation and perfection. Liberation or mukti has, in the tradition that developed in the Post-Vedic and Post-Upanishadic period, emphasized either sayujya mukti or salokya mukti. But the Gita speaks also of sadharmya mukti, and it thus reiterates the nature of immortality that we find in the Veda and the Upanishads. The immortality to which Parashara refers in Rig Veda,127 as also in several other statements, including those relating to Ribhus, the artisans of immortality,128 can be termed in the language of the Gita as a status of sadharmya mukti. In the sayujya mukti, there is the abolition of the soul's personal being by the absorption into the One, and entire unification with supreme Godhead in essence of being and intimacy of consciousness and identity of bliss. In the salokya mukti, there is an eternal 'dwelling in the highest existence of the Supreme. Both these states of liberation are acknowledged in the Gita, when it speaks of the status of the brahma bhuta129 (sayujya miukti), and when it speaks of that status in which "thou shalt dwell in Me", nivasisyasi mayi eva.130 But the Gita speaks also of the status of those who have become One even as in the Divine becoming, mad bhavam agatah ¹³¹ and saharmyam agatah, those who have become one with the supreme in the law of their being and in the law of their work and nature, bhavayopapadyate.¹³² The Gita thus envelopes all the three states of liberation in its catholic integrality and fuses them all in one greatest and richest Divine freedom and perfection. In that state of perfection, the soul is not only liberated from the workings of Apara
Prakriti, the lower nature of the three gunas, and the soul not only attains to the status of the Immutable, but attains also the status of dwelling in the Purushottama, and of living in the Para Prakriti. That state of perfection goes farther. The soul becomes totally a self-surrendered instrument of the Purushottama through whom the divine action manifests as in Para Prakriti. Thus the soul's own law of action becomes identified with the law of action of the Supreme.
The method of liberation in the Gita is to rise above the inferior nature of existence, to discover its identity with Immutable, aksara, which is above the three gunas, but also the method of rising above the lower nature in which the operations of the higher nature are manifested in the form of divine knowledge, divine love, and divine works founded on the spiritual universality. It is this which is emphasized in the twelfth chapter when it speaks of those who are not only dear, but also exceedingly dear to the Supreme.¹³³
But what exactly is the difference between the two natures, Apara Prakriti and Para Prakriti, the lower nature and higher nature?. And how are our action and our soul's status affected by the liberation, and what exactly is the secret-most method of attainment of the integral liberation and perfection, namely, the largest, fullest self-giving of the human soul to the Divine Spirit that permits the identity of Soul's law of action with the law of action of the Supreme Will? — these are the questions which receive central and detailed answers in the last six chapters of the Gita.
2. Significance of the Last Six Chapters of the Gita
"Dharma" generally means a regulative law relating to the constitution of an object or of a process. In regard to
human actions, dharma would mean the law that regulates different stages of the process of human action, its thrust towards its own maintenance and its growth measured in terms of a goal to be achieved or a standard that is set to be fulfilled. Considering that there are great diversities in humanity and also varieties of stages of development of human beings, there have arisen in the course of history, varieties of standards of conduct in regard to human action. According to the relativist view, this variety of standards and frequent conflicts among these standards shows that it is impossible to arrive at any firm conclusion in regard to the truth and objectivity of any standard of human action. On the other hand, it is maintained that even though there are disagreements in this field, there are also areas of agreement, and therefore it is possible to erect some codes of conduct on which consensus can be obtained. In any case, there have been agreements in every society or even in every country or a group of countries or even in inter-continental groups on the basis of which laws have been framed and implemented, and these laws have served as articles of dharma. In India, laws enacted by the state had to be in conformity with the codes of conduct or systems of dharma which were framed by "wise" leaders of the society, and in all matters, systems of dharma were expected to be implemented. The arguments that Arjuna had advanced were basically rooted in the codes of dharma of his times, and his crisis was a result of the conflict between two major articles of dharma. On the one hand, it was his dharma to fight for a cause which involved the establishment of the rule of justice. On the other hand, he saw that the massive slaughter that would be entailed in the performance of his dharma would inevitably lead to a consequence that would be destructive of social morality and
social dharma. The solution that Sri Krishna presents to Arjuna involves a radical shift in human consciousness and transformation of human consciousness by a synthetic process of Yoga. That transformed consciousness consisted of indubitable self-knowledge, world-knowledge and God- knowledge in the light of which human constructions of Dharma stood out as temporary constructions, which could be useful in the course of the evolution of human consciousness in its long journey, but which can justifiably be transcended. Sri Krishna not only presented a detailed , and reasoned argument as also intricate knowledge of the steps of Yoga by which the knowledge of the Divine Will could be obtained in actual experience; but in the course of the dialogue he lifted up Arjuna's consciousness and provided to him a living experience and vision of the Divine Will in regard to the situation in which he (Arjuna) was placed. The argument was thus not merely intellectual but experiential, and in his transformed state of consciousness, Arjuna was able to have the direct experience and therefore vivid certainty of the command that had issued from the Supreme Divine Consciousness that was visioned by him in unmistakable light of the Divine Himself in His universal Action. There is, he perceived, a divine law of action, a divine dharma of universality proceeding from the divine transcendence, which constantly works in a state of universal harmony and for the promotion of world-harmony (lokasangraha) at every moment in the world-movement. To be one with that law of action, and to work as an instrument of the Divine Will and Action, would be not only a state of liberation, mukti from desire and egoism to which inadequacies and conflicts are inextricably linked, but also sadharmya mukti, liberation in which the individual
instrument enjoys the freedom of the Divine's own transcendental and universal action and spontaneous harmony of the law of that action.
It was in that state that Sri Krishna delivered to Arjuna the supreme secret of the method of Karma Yoga in its synthesis with Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga, namely, the method of progressive self-surrender culminating in the discovery of the Divine Will in actual vision and experience.
That state of self-surrender is not only the third step and climax of Karma Yoga; it is also syntheses of Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and also of Bhakti Yoga. Sri Krishna, in the course of an answer to a question put by Arjuna, describes the state of the Bhakta in the twelfth chapter. These are the marks and signs of the state of consciousness and being of the Bhakta who has followed the swiftest, largest and greatest way of the synthesis of yoga, and who has turned to the adoration of the Eternal. The first insistence is on equality, on desirelessness, on freedom of spirit. In that equality, love and adoration of the Purushottama must rear the spirit towards some greatest, highest perfection of which this calm equality will be the wide foundation. Absence of egoism or I-ness and my-ness, nirmamo nirahamkarah,134 — these are to be the first characteristics. The Bhakta hates none, he is friendly and compassionate to all creatures, free from possessiveness and false ego, even-minded in joy and sorrow and forgiving by nature.135 He is the yogi who is always satisfied, self-controlled and who has fixed his mind and intellect on the Supreme and adores the Supreme. He does not disturb others and is not perturbed by others; he is free from feelings of excitement, anger, fear and anxiety. He has no expectations from anybody; he is pure internally and externally; he is dexterous in action, and passionless, free
from mental distress, renouncer of the feeling of the doership in all undertakings and he adores the Supreme. He neither rejoices nor hates, nor grieves nor desires, he has renounced all that is evil but also all that is considered to be auspicious. He is alike to friend and to foe; he is untouched by honour and dishonour; he is in a state of equilibrium in heat and cold, in pleasure and pain and he is totally free from emotional attachment. To him, praise and censure are similar; he is contemplative, always contented and yet firmly devoted to the Supreme.136
Sri Krishna points out that all who are devoted to the Supreme are all dear to Him. But he adds: "Those who are fixed in the imperishable law of divine nature and action (dharmamrtam), and who are devoted to the Supreme with supreme faith in Me, — they are exceedingly dear to Me."137
Against this vast background, we can now enter into the last six chapters.
3. A New Standpoint for the Yoga of the Gita:
Relationship between Purusha and Prakriti,
Pnrushottama and Para Prakriti,
State of Trigundtita and Sddharmya Mukti
The central problem of yoga is to discover how the soul gets entangled into Prakriti, — into Apara Prakriti, to be more precise, — how the three Gunas of Apara Prakriti act on the soul, and why the Gunas happen to be the cause of the bondage of the soul. In the language of the Veda, the quest is as to how Shunahshepa gets tied up in a triple rope. A farther question is to discover various products of Apara Prakriti, particularly desire and ego, which constitute the central knot
of the bondage of the soul. A still farther point is to discover the role of buddhi, the intelligent-will, which by its power of discrimination, can be utilized in a methodical manner for recognizing the difference between Apara Prakriti and the soul, and how that discrimination can further be utilized by the soul, on the one hand, and by Prakriti concentrated upon buddhi, on the other, to uplift the soul from its bondage to Prakriti.
But the Gita goes farther in its inquiry and its discoveries. The yoga of the Gita discovers that the soul is Jiva, which is a self-representation, an individuation or portion, amsa, an eternal portion, of the Supreme Being, Purushottama, and that this jiva is constituted in Puroshottama's manifestation of multiplicity through Para Prakriti, — mama eva amsah sanatanah138 para prakrtir jiva bhuta.139 The discovery of Purushottama and the analysis of Purushottama that we find in the Gita is central to the yoga of the Gita. Purushottama, according to the Gita, can be discovered by a methodical and persistent process of yoga; Purushottama can be experienced; he can be realized; he can even be seen in a vast and universal form or in different forms, even though, in his complexity, he is also formless, and that formlessness also can be experienced and realized in the immutable state of Brahman, the immutable Purusha. The immutable Purusha is aksara purusa, the kutastha, but there is also the Purusha that is ksara, the Mobile that is manifest as all the becomings of the world. Both these Purushas can be transcended in the experience and realization of the uttama purusa, Purushottama, Supreme Purusha, who is also called paramatman, who, having entered into all the manifestations immutably and imperishably and indivisibly is the Lord, iswara.140 The jiva, being ontologically a self-representation in the mutability
of Para Prakriti! is Purushottama himself, but individuated, a portion of the Purushottama, partial consciousness of Purushottama, but capable of simultaneous identification, by means of a synthetic process of yoga, with the immutable Purusha, the mutable Purusha and the Purushottama, and yet capable of retaining its jivahood, — its individuality, — as long as the Purushottama continues to be manifested in its multiple manifestation, since it is an eternal portion of the Purushottama.
The upliftment of the jiva from the Apara Prakriti by the utilization of the power of buddhi, is the initial process of Buddhi yoga; by the process of that yoga, jiva is able to distinguish between Apara Prakriti and initial experiences of Purushottama. The jiva then becomes aware that Prakriti in which he is entangled has various strands and mixed strands of unconsciousness and consciousness, and that even in its highest state of consciousness which is marked by Buddhi, it is still largely partial and mixed up with unconsciousness. This entire mixture of unconsciousness and partial consciousness that is to be found in the operations of Prakriti is designated as Ignorance. The radical nature of ignorance becomes more and more evident when the jiva is able to lift itself by distinguishing itself from Apara Prakriti and begins to experience its own true nature, swabhava, which is constituted of Para Prakriti, the qualities of which are quite different from the qualities or Gunas of Apara Prakriti. The minimum experience is that of quietude, and even this quietude can be easily distinguished from the Guna of tamas, of inertia, with which it may seem to have some resemblance. But this quietude can be further intensified by developing the capacity to remain longer and longer in that state of quietude. Quietude becomes tranquility, which, in
turn becomes peace and even complete silence, which has a profound consequence. That profound consequence is often marked by a new understanding and a new knowledge, — knowledge which is quite different from the knowledge that is the characteristic of the Guna of sattwa, which is the highest limit of Apara Prakriti. For while the sattwic knowledge, even when at its highest level becomes wider and wider and develops the concept of unity, it easily falls into detailed activities which are marked by activities of differentiations and divisions. The new knowledge, which the jiva realizes in his state of silence, is that that silence is something quite different from any and every kind of activity that can be discerned in Prakriti, and that in that state of silence it can have a clear knowledge of the distinction between silence, on the one hand, and movements of Prakriti, on the other. In that state of silence, the jiva can experience itself as an impartial observer and witness of all the movements of Prakriti. That silence is known by jiva's identity with that silence and in that state jiva is further experienced as an impartial witness, uplifted, udasina (seated above), and capable of observing any and every movement of Prakriti with equality (samatvam). As one intensifies that uplifted state of consciousness, there is a greater self-knowledge, in which the jiva clearly experiences that that witnessing consciousness belongs really to itself, and knowledge at that stage consists of witnessing consciousness as seated above the movements of Apara Prakriti and as a status quite different and capable of sustaining itself, independent of Prakriti, independent of attractions and repulsions, of shocks of pleasure and pain, of honour and dishonour, of desire, ambitions, even of ego, and even of any or every movement. In terms of yoga, this is the
beginning of true knowledge which can further be intensified and stabilized by constancy of the yogic effort, until stabilization becomes perfect and imperishable. During the process of that stabilization, consciousness expands, and consciousness becomes known as truly self-conscious, as self-luminous, a status in which one does not need to exercise discriminating intelligence to produce the spark of consciousness; for it is found to be swayam-prakasa (self- luminous).
At a higher level of silence, even the witnessing consciousness is transcended, or even if there are traces of witnessing consciousness, they are submerged in Silence beyond Silence, and what are called Time and Space disappear in overwhelming infinity, where even the word infinity does not apply; that silence, that infinity, that spacelessness and timelessness is not only indescribable but there can be even no reference to the concept of the indescribable; it is the experience of the One without the Second. That One, tad ekam, of the Veda, ekam eva adwitiyam of the Upanishad, That, tat, is the Brahman, the experience and realization of which is so uplifting, so transcendental that everything else stands extinguished in it; it is the experience of Brahma-nirvana of which the Gita speaks in the sixth chapter. This is akshara Purusha of the Gita and also akshara Brahman, since the two words are used interchangeably, considering that the word Purusha which was used in the Sankhya for the individual witnessing being is taken over in the Gita to be the same as Brahman. (For the individual being, the word that is used is Jiva.)
For the sake of greater clarity, it may be mentioned that each of the words Purusha, Brahman, Ishwara and
Purushottama, has a specific meaning corresponding to a specific yogic experience. Firstly, the experience of immobility is termed the experience of the Brahman; but for the same experience the phrase akshara purusha is also used. Secondly, the experience of the same Brahman as the dynamic being is designated by the word kshara purusha; the experience of the dynamic Brahman is also designated by the word Ishwara, specific meaning of which is the Lord of Para Prakriti and Apara Prakriti and of jiva which, in manifestation, is constituted by the Para Prakriti but is in itself the eternal portion of Purushottama, who transcends all that is kshara and akshara. The yoga of the Gita addresses itself centrally to the jiva and presents to it various methods by which it can approach and know and live in the Purushottama, who transcends the immobile and the mobile, who is himself the immobile and the mobile, and who yet dwells also in the immobile and the mobile, and thus provides the basis of the knowledge of the Reality in its integrality, samagram mam, as also of an integral method by which the jiva, even after being uplifted from the Apara Prakriti, can permanently be one with the immobile Brahman and yet develop relationships with Para Prakriti, with Ishwara and with Purushottama. That integral method also enables the jiva to become itself the pure channel or instrument of the Purushottama for His activities.
To rise into the higher nature and to the Eternal through divine knowledge, love and works founded in a spiritual universality and perfect self-surrender is the key method of arriving at the complete spiritual liberation; that liberation unites sayujya mukti, salokya mukti and sadharmya mukti.
4. Characteristics of the Trigunatita
In the first place, Sri Krishna, after describing how the individual soul is bound to the three gunas,141 affirms that the individual soul has the capacity to transcend the action of the three gunas, and in that state of transcendence, it enjoys the state of immortality. There is then the attainment of sadharmyam, identity of the individual law of action with the divine law of action (XIV. 2, 20). Arjuna thereupon asks a question: "O Lord! What are the characteristics of him who has transcended the three gunas, trigunatita”? In answer, Sri Krishna enumerates the signs of the trigunatita, the signs of his action and how he is said in action to be above the three gunas as follows:
"O Arjuna! He is not disturbed by the movements of enlightenment that comes from sattwa or the dynamism that is expressed by the rajas and delusion that comes from tamas, nor does he get disturbed when these activities cease, nor does he long for the rise and fall of these movements. He is seated far above all the gunas and he is not distracted by them. Gunas are known as those to be operating while he stands above them, and he is not moved by them. He dwells himself in his own self and regards alike pleasure and pain, and looks upon lump of earth, a stone and a piece of gold with a sense of equality; he remains equal amidst the pleasant and unpleasant things; he is steady and treats praise and blame alike. He is the same towards honour and dishonour and alike to friend and foe. He is steadfast in a wise and imperturbable and immutable inner calm and quietude. He initiates no action; he is verily called gunatita, the one who has transcended all the gunas. At the same time, he loves Me and renders service to Me with an undebating, undeviating
yoga of love and adoration; he passes beyond the three gunas and he too is prepared for becoming the Brahman (brahmabhuyaya).142 And Sri Krishna adds: "I am the abode of Brahman, above the Immutability of the Brahman, and I am the abode of imperishable Ananda and of the imperishable law of action."143
In the subsequent chapter, the Gita explains the process by which one can effect the transition from the state in which one perceives impartially that all action of man or creative force is merely the action of the three gunas to a stage where the liberated yogin, whatever he does, he lives, moves and acts in the Divine, in the power of his freedom and immortality, in the law of action of the Supreme Eternal Infinite.
This entire subject has been dealt with tremendous subtlety of analysis and immensity of psychological knowledge which can be expected of the yoga-shastra, science of yoga, which aims at guiding the seeker in varieties of processes and methods of psychological development leading up to that culminating point where the injunction relating to the highest method of the synthesis of yoga is to be enunciated in terms which are radical and which open the doors to highest perfection which uplifts the law of action of the individual and raises it up to the law of action of the Supreme. That final injunction can be applied when the individual has risen far above all the human standards of action and where even the standards of sattwic consciousness are required to be transcended by the help of Purushottama and his Para Prakriti. Then alone, the mahavakya of the Gita can ring out with all the rigour of its truth and force and utter practicability, namely, "Having renounced all dharmas, take refuge in Me alone; become
entirely My-minded (manmana), sacrifice entirely to Me; be entirely devoted to Me; be entirely submitted to Me".144 It is when the individual is united in Purushottama in all his aspects, in his immobility and mobility, in all the movements of Para Prakriti, that the siddhi, the goal of the yoga, is reached.
Let us now provide a few significant details of the subtle analysis of this siddhi (sadharmya mukti) on which special emphasis is laid in the last six chapters of the Gita. What is underlined in this analysis is that the jiva can, by yoga, utilize Deva-nature, Shraddha, Swabhava, Swadharma, Kartavyam Karma, and various elements of mind, and work for transcending the bondage to the three gunas and for union with higher nature (Para Prakriti). The attainment of that union would, according to the Gita, mean Sadharmya, identity with the divine law of action. Hence, the seeker gains here invaluable help in indentifying those elements in his consciousness by developing which up to pure highest sattwic status, he can ultimately be enabled to transcend the rule of Apara Prakriti, enter into Para Prakriti, and affirm the sadharmya mukti. It is instructive note that the following elements which have been identified in this connection have intimate relationship with the Jiva and Para Prakriti:
1. Daivi sampatti or Divine qualities
2. Shraddha or faith
3. Karma or work
4. Swabhava and Swadharma or one's true nature and one's right law of action
5. Kartavyam karma or indispensable and obligatory work and
6. Tyaga or renunciation
The origin of daivi sampatti or divine qualities can easily be traced to Para Prakriti; as far as shraddha is concerned, the Gita points out that it resides in Jiva and that whatever is one's shraddha, so oneself is; as far as works are concerned, their origin is in the divine's will, for they are distinguishable from the movements of Apara Prakriti which are not works but three-fold reactions which are propelled in Apara Prakriti, which, in turn, is derived from Para Prakriti; Swabhava and Swadharma manifest the inner soul or Jiva of the individual, and since Jiva itself is the becoming of Para Prakriti, Swabhava and Swadharma manifest Para Prakriti; Kartavyam karma, — namely, sacrifice, giving and tapas, — have nothing in them which can be originated from Apara Prakriti, — they have their origin directly in Para Prakriti; and finally, Tyaga or renunciation cannot arise from Apara Prakriti, since Apara Prakriti can only support desire, whereas tyaga consists of renunciation of desire. These six elements do operate in Apara Prakriti, and the Gita does point out the nature of these elements when they operate in Apara Prakriti, but since in their origin, they can be directly related to Para Prakriti, they can serve readily as instruments of uplifting oneself from the Apara Prakriti; when these elements attain their status on the summits of the operations in the highest quality of Apara Prakriti, namely, in the sattwa, they can easily become the path-makers for arriving at the transcendence of the three gunas of Apara Prakriti. Since the aim of the last six chapters is to describe the path and method of the attainment of the status of trigunatita (the status of transcendence of the three gunas of Apara Prakriti) and thus of attainment of sadharmya mukti (attainment of liberation and immortality in the imperishable Para Prakriti, which manifests the law of divine action), the analysis of these six elements can be seen to be here directly relevant.
5. Attainment of Sadharmya Mukti Prakriti, Para Prakriti and Deva-nature (daivi sampatti)
We may, first, give a brief statement of the deva-nature (daivi sampatti) which consists of an assemblage of the highest sattwic habits and qualities; and it can be seen that this nature sparks out from Para Prakriti when the sattwic nature reaches its climactic height. These qualities include self-control, sacrifice, devotion, cleanness, purity, candour, straightforwardness, truth, calm, self-denial, compassion to all beings, modesty, gentleness, forgiveness, patience, . steadfastness, and freedom from all restlessness, levity and inconstancy. There is no place in the composition of deva- nature for the asuric qualities such as wrath, greed, cunning, treachery, willful doing of injury to others, pride and arrogance and excessive self-esteem. The deva-nature has harmless energy of soul-force, and fearlessness of the soul that lives in the right and the truth, tejaḥ, abhayam, dhṛtiḥ, ahimsā, satyam. 145
Injunctions of Shastra and Faith (Shraddhā)
To escape from the asuric nature, the Gita counsels that the light of the sattwic quality enables one to live by the right and the truth, and that if one wants to know what is right and what is wrong, one can seek for it in shastra, in the rule of ethics, rule of best social living, rule of one's right relations with man and God and Nature. Shastra is built on a number of preparatory conditions of dharma, human standards of conduct. But the Gita goes farther and admits a freer tendency which is other than the safe governing rule of shastra. In this aspect, Gita is revolutionary and admits the guidance of śraddhā, provided that śraddhā is neither
tamasic nor rajasic but sattwic, particularly when it expresses something that is beyond even the sattwa, and manifests irresistible perception issuing from the jiva, — the individual Purusha. The Gita recognizes the pressure of the individual who cannot reconcile himself with the injunction of the shastras, even when one has sattwic attitude towards shastra. For that pressure has behind it a truth of the living perception in Purusha, which does not find any corresponding answer in the shastra of the day, such as the pressure that Buddha felt against the Vedic law which had in his days become a ritualistic convention or the pressure that Christ felt in regard to the Mosaic law which led him to abrogate it and yet to fulfill it, — to abrogate the imperfect form and fulfill in a deeper and broader light and power.
Śraddhā ordinarily means faith, and faith ordinarily means acceptance of a belief or a doctrine by an unquestioning attitude. But shraddha as described in the Gita is basically a perception that sparks out from the deepest soul of man, from something that is other than the operations of the three gunas; it is the categorical imperative that is unconditionally brought forth from the profoundest recesses of the being, from the Purusha; and yet that perception is not an unquestioning acceptance, but it has deep impulsion of dynamism that strives and ends ultimately in turning the perception into verifiable knowledge. Shraddha may therefore be defined as a perception of the truth issuing from the Purusha which, while affirming itself, ultimately ends in knowledge. The importance of shraddha is so great in the Gita that it permits shastra to be set aside under the pressure of shraddha, provided that shraddha belongs to sattwic nature and it is discovered to be rooted in Purusha itself. Gita goes farther and points out that the Purusha, the soul in
man, is, as it were, made of shraddha, a will to be what one is within oneself truly and irresistibly. The great statement of the Gita is — Śraddhāmayo 'yaṁ puruṣo yo yacchraddhaḥ sa eva saḥ,146 Purusha is constituted of shraddha and what-ever is one's shraddha, so one himself is.
Work: (a) Knowledge in which work is done
According to the Gita, the work is not the sole thing that matters; the knowledge in which we do works also makes an immense spiritual difference. As a result, there is tamasic ignorant knowledge, which is narrow, lazy, obstinate. There is rajasic knowledge which sees multiplicity in their separateness and this knowledge follows the bent of ego and desire, and there is no firm governing higher ideal. The sattwic knowledge sees existence as one indivisible whole, one imperishable being in all becomings. At the highest top of knowledge, this seeing becomes the knowledge of one spirit in the world, even of the one Master of all works. When sattwic knowledge is transmuted into Para Prakriti, the personal will becomes entirely conscious, illumined, spiritually awake, and it lives and works in One, obeys more and more perfectly the supreme mandate of One and grows more and more into an effortless instrument of His light and power in the human person.
Work: (b) Instrument, work done and the doer of the work
The Gita distinguishes between the instrument of the work (mind and will), the work done and the doer of the work. The sattwic mind always seeks right harmony and right knowledge and it tends to govern the sattwic man and to guide all the rest of the machine. This is quite distinguishable from the rajasic instrument and will which
is supported by egoism and desire-soul. The tamasic instrument, the tamasic mind and will, obeys instincts and the crude vital nature. But when the sattwic instrument reaches its acme, it becomes an instrument of greater spiritual light and power, far higher than the highest sattwic intelligence.
Tamasic work is done with confused, deluded and ignorant mind, in mechanical obedience to the instincts, and effort is misapplied, and it is without strength or capacity. Rajasic action or work is undertaken under domain of desire or with an egoistic sense, and it is done with passionate labour and straining of the personal will to get at the object of its desire. Sattwic work is that which man does calmly in the clear light of reason and with an impersonal sense of right or duty or the demand of an ideal; it is work performed without attachment and it is guided by lucid intelligence and the pure disinterested mind and will and spirit. The sattwic. work, when transformed by higher Prakriti becomes a highest impersonal action dictated by the spirit within us and no longer by the intellect; it will be an action by the highest law of the nature, free from the lower ego; the work will be illumined by an imperative, intimate sense of an infallible power that acts and of the work to be done for the world and for the world's Master.
The tamasic doer of action does not put himself really into the work, but acts with the mechanical mind and follows the common routine. He has even a stupid insolent contempt for those whom he has to deal, specially for wiser men. The rajasic doer of action is eagerly attached to the work and passionately desirous of fruit; he is greedy and impure, often violent; he cares little whom he injures so long as he gets
what he wants. He is excessively happy in success and bitterly grieves by failure. The sattwic doer is free from all these attachments; he is not elated by success, not depressed by failure; his resolution is firm and his enthusiasm is pure and selfless, and performs his action with needed strength and capacity; but the sattwic doer, as he begins to climb in Para Prakriti, begins to become an instrument of the highest soul-force and of the direct God-Power; his steps of action are guided by the seer-will, kavi kratu,147 and his work carries with it the wide delight of the free spirit in the works of the liberated nature.
Work: (c) Intelligent Will (buddhi) and Sense of Balance (dhritī)
There are two other components of the psychology of work. The first is the role of reason, intelligent-will, buddhi. For every work demands will and decision, and if reason is tamasic, it sees all things in a dull and wrong light, a cloud of misconception, a stupid ignoring of the value; of things and people. The action is blind and there is a heavy stress of inertia and impotence. If the reason is rajasic, it is guided by the ego and the will of desire, which misrepresents and distorts the truth and right. It is apt to justify its desire and to uphold as right or legitimate means which best help it to get the coveted fruit of its work and endeavour. It is only when buddhi is sattwic that it strives to seek the movement of the world impartially and to discriminate between the law of action and the law of abstention from action. It endeavours to find out the cause of bondage and the cause of freedom from bondage, and it avoids what causes bondage and persists in the endeavour that causes freedom from bondage. The sattwic reason rises to its summit and it ends at the
control of its senses and the life by clear distinction between the self and non-self; it strives and arrives at union by yoga with the highest Self, the universal Divine, the transcendent Spirit. Through the sattwic guna, one can pass beyond the gunas, and having reached the higher Prakriti, Reason happily obeys the action of the infinite, and therefore it obeys no law but the immortal truth and right of the free spirit; there remains no bondage of karma.
Secondly, there is the functioning of Dhrti, that element which aims at harmony and order, balance and steadiness. The sattwic mind has quiet happiness, and clear and calm content and inner ease and peace. The tamasic mind can also remain well-pleased in its indolence and inertia but dhrti of the tamasic mind is founded in inertia and ignorance. The happiness of dhrti of the rajasic mind consists of drinking of a fiery and intoxicating cup. The joy that it seeks is nectar to the lips at the first touch but there is a secret poison in the bottom of the cup, and it ends in bitterness of disappointment, fatigue, revolt, disgust, suffering, loss, and transience. For the sattwic man, happiness does not depend on outward things but it flowers on what is best and most inward within him. But this happiness is not at first a normal possession; it has to be conquered by self-discipline. At first this means much loss of habitual pleasure, much suffering and struggle, a poison born of the churning of our nature, a painful conflict of forces, much revolt and opposition to the change, but in the end the nectar of the immortality rises in the place of this bitterness, and as one climbs to Para Prakriti, one comes to the end of sorrow. Surpassing happiness descends and the sattwic discipline culminates in that spiritual joy, which is no longer the sattwic happiness, sukham, but absolute Ananda. The liberated man, who is free
from the sense of doership and whose reason is the channel of the faculties appropriate to Para Prakriti, and who is thus free from ego and its desires, lives at last one with his highest self, one with all beings and one with God in an absolute bliss of the spirit.
Swabhava and Swadharma:
One's true nature and one's right law of action
There is one more detail connected with the methods of Karma Yoga and which has also connection with the action of Para Prakriti and of the individual, jiva, which, even though entangled in and clogged by the three gunas of Apara Prakriti, can, if recognized and utilized properly, lift the seeker from the bondage of Apara Prakriti to the varied movements of Para Prakriti. In fact, the manifestation of Para Prakriti on account of its movement through the self- becoming of the individual, Swabhava and Swadharma, is one of the central themes of the last six chapters of the Gita.
That element, which is the key of sadharmya mukti, the liberation that comes by the operation of the law of action of Para Prakriti and Purushottama is contained in the concepts of swabhava, swadharma, sahajam karma 148 Swabhava is normally translated as one's own nature, and, in the ordinary parlance, it refers to one's own nature in Apara Prakriti in which one lives predominantly. Thus one speaks of the sattwic man to designate the individual who dwells predominantly in the nature which is dominated by the sattwa, the principle of light, understanding and predominantly governed by Buddhi and instruments of knowledge. Rajasic man refers to the individual who lives predominantly in rajas, the individual who is dominated by drive, action and reactions of a ruler or a king or a warrior. If
this nature is tempered by sattwa, the concerned individual tends to become guided by ethical norms and inspired by notions of just cause, chivalry and the impulse to protect the weak and the oppressed but the rajasic man is often dominated by desire, creativity and productivity, ordinary impulse to love and to be loved, and it tends to fall into the mechanical routine of life and organizations to which tamas tends to cling. Finally, the tamasic man is totally governed by routine, mechanical repetition of the cycle of life and unintelligent acquiescence to ignorant inertia that does not allow the individual to press beyond the established routine of manual work, unintelligent labour and mechanical service.
Swabhava, in true sense, however, refers to soul's true nature which is inherently related to the expression of the qualities of Para Prakriti. The Gita uses the word swabhava to indicate those essential qualities which are not born from Apara Prakriti but which trace their origin in the jivahood of the individual and to Para Prakriti, which has been described in the expressive phrase, parā prakrtir jīva bhūtā,149 the higher nature which manifests itself in the jivas, individual souls.
The jiva is an eternal portion of the Purushottama (mama eva amśah jīvaloke jīvabhūtāh sanātanah), (My own portion which is eternal and which in the realm of jivas is manifested as a jiva).150 The jiva represents in Nature the power of the Supreme Spirit; he is in his personality that power; he brings out in an individual existence the potentialities of the Soul of the universe. This jiva is to be distinguished from the natural ego, which is a temporary construction arising from the workings of the Apara Prakriti. The jiva is directly
originated from Purushottama and His Para Prakriti; it is not the form of ego. The true force that operates in and through the jiva is derived from higher spiritual Power or Para Prakriti; hence, the mechanical operation of the three Gunas is not the inmost and fundamental truth of its movements. The swabhava of the jiva is the movement of the will of one's own becoming, and the nature of that becoming is the direct manifestation of Para Prakriti. Thus each soul is a force of Supreme Consciousness that formulates a Real-Idea of the Divine, Purushottama; it is guided by the Real-Idea in its . action and evolution, its progressive self-finding, its constant varying self-expression, its apparently uncertain but secretly inevitable growth to fullness. That is our swabhava, our own real nature, our own self-becoming. The process of our self- becoming has its own law, which operates in the processes of self-shaping, functioning, and working. That law of action, which is determined by swabhava, is our swadharma. It is to that principle of that swabhava and swadharma to which the Gita refers in order to show to the individual as to how he can surpass the operations of the three gunas of Apara Prakriti, and how by detecting the swabhava and swadharma, he can apply it in performance of actions which are indispensable in the process of Karma Yoga.
Swabhava and Four Qualities
There are four qualities which express swabhava, and they are clearly discernible as the qualities that impel development of (i) self-knowledge and world-knowledge; (ii) strength and power, (iii) mutuality and creation and relation and interchange between creature and creature, and (iv) works that labour in the universe and serve all in each and turn the labour of each to the service of all others. In
each individual, there is the operation of all these four qualities of swabhava as distinguished from the qualities of gunas of Apara Prakriti; but in most individuals, one or the other of these four qualities tends to predominate. In that context, one can speak of four specific swabhavas, those relating to the Brahmin, the Kshatriya, the Vaishya and the Shudra.151 These four natures are inherent in the jiva, although in human life which is a great admixture of the operations of Apara Prakriti and Para Prakriti, they are mixed up with the three gunas of Apara Prakriti. As a result, the swabhava of the Brahmin is seen to be predominately manifested through sattwa, the swabhava of the Kshatriya appears to be manifested more predominantly in the rajasic nature which is tempered with Sattwa, the swabhava of the Vaishya is manifested through rajasic character, which is tempered with tamas, and the swabhava of the Shudra manifests more predominantly through the tamasic nature. A special aspect of the method of Karma Yoga consists of discovering the predominant order of swabhava and developing it on the lines of its self-expansion. Ultimately, the Karma Yoga leads to the awareness of the Master of existence expressing Himself forever in his infinite quality, anantguna. According to the Gita, a stage must be reached where the individual is able to surrender all actions into the hands of Purushottama, mayi sannyasya karmāni.152 Just as one gets beyond the limitations of the three gunas, so also can one get beyond the division of the fourfold law determined by the fourfold qualities of swabhava of the jivahood; that state is beyond the limitations of all distinctive Dharmas, sarvadhamān parityajya.153
The Gita enjoins the offering of the works determined by our own law of being and nature (swabhāvajena
karmanā)154 From the Divine, all movement of creation and impulse to act originates and by him all this universe is extended, and for the holding together of the worlds He presides over and shapes all action through the swabhava. Our work should be according to the truth of swabhava within us; it should not be an accommodation with outward and artificial standards: it must be a living and sincere expression of the soul and its inborn powers. When, by the process of Karma Yoga, we follow out the living inmost truth of our soul in our present nature, we shall be led eventually to arrive at the immortal truth of our soul in the now superconscious supreme nature. At the end of the journey of Karma Yoga, which synthesizes also the highest integral knowledge and the supreme bhakti, one can live in oneness with Purushottama and our true self in all beings and, perfected, become faultless instrument of divine action in the freedom of the immortal dharma. That immortal dharma becomes manifest when we are liberated from the limitations of all dharmas that we erect in our process of ascent to the attainment of the supreme end of being. We can then manifest the divine birth and divine action, divyam janma and divyam karma.
The Gita speaks of kartavyam karma, the action that has to be performed and never to be renounced; that action is that of (i) sacrifice, offering to the supreme Lord, (ii) self- giving, the action, which by interchanges of self-giving promotes the welfare of all (lokasangraha); and (iii) the action of austerity, tapas, which purifies the will from all its impurities, which pertain to the operations of Apara Prakriti and its three gunas.
Sacrifice is sattwic when it is offered with a disinterested devotion, selflessly for humanity or impersonally for the Right or the Truth, and when that sacrifice is necessary for arriving at perfection of nature. The culmination of sattwic sacrifice is reached when it is offered to the Supreme Divine in one's integral being for the good of the world, and for the fulfillment of the divine will in the universe. And that culmination leads to its own transcendence into the state of sādharmya, immortal dharma. (ii) Sattwic tapasya is described by the Gita at three levels, at the level of the body, at the level of speech and at the level of mental and moral perfection. The physical tapasya or askesis is sattwic when one offers worship and reverence to those who deserve reverence, when one maintains cleanness of the body, when one is sexually pure, and when one avoids injury to others. Askesis of speech consists of kind, true and beneficent speech and careful avoidance of words that may cause fear, sorrow and trouble to others. Finally, mental and moral askesis consists of purification of the whole temperament, gentleness and a clear and calm gladness of mind, self-control and silence. This sattwic tapasya can rise farther and one attains, in higher Prakriti, spirit's immaculate tapas, a highest will and luminous force in all the members, acting in a wide and solid calm and deep and pure spiritual delight. (iii) The sattwic way of giving consists of giving for the sake of giving without any view to a benefit already done or yet to be done to oneself by the receiver of the benefit and without any personal object in the action. The sattwic way of dāna will culminate in the operation of the higher Prakriti consisting of wide self-giving to others and to the world and to the Supreme, ātmadāna, ātma-samarpana.
By referring to swabhava and swadharma, the Gita refers
to a deeper principle of kartavyam karma and provides a more elaborate guidance to the seeker. The three actions of sacrifice, self-giving and austerity, (yajna, dāna and tapas) are to be performed in the light of swabhava and swadharma, in the light of sahajam karma, the action that is inherent in the very nature of one's own individual being, jiva; sahajam karma is the action that is born from the operations of the Para Prakriti appropriate to the individual's specific work that is determined by Para Prakriti on account of the individuals inner place in the harmony of the totality of the world; it is that action which can become an instrument of the self-finding of one's true place in the world and which can, by its rhythmic development, lead the individual to the fullness and perfection of the instrumentality of the individual in the hands of the Purushottama and Para Prakriti. The effect of the method of Karma Yoga that emerges from the recognition of swabhava and swadharma is that of detecting for each individual which of the four qualities described below of swabhava is more predominant in oneself and of utilizing that quality in developing the path of ascent of Karma Yoga; ultimately, when Karma Yoga's ascent reaches its peak, one arrives at fullness of all the four qualities; that fullness is the attainment of sādharmya mukti. In the ultimate analysis, this method does not in the end chain down the soul to any present formulation, but rather it enriches itself most surely by the obedience to the law of development, swadharma; at the end, the swabhava can most powerfully grow and break at its hour beyond present moulds and arrive at higher self-expressions. It is at that point that the Gita speaks of the renunciation of all dharmas, including swadharma, by complete self-surrender to the Supreme Purushottama. At that point, the great and desirable
transformation is effected with rapidity and power in proportion to our progress in self-knowledge.
Sannyasa and Tyaga
As the Yoga ascends into greater heights of experience, the paths of works, of knowledge and devotion tend to become synthesized. An important concept in this synthesis is that of tyaga, which Sri Krishna prefers because it does not have that exclusiveness which the word sannyasa indicates. In all yoga, renunciation is the way to perfection; no yoga is possible, if one tends to accept life as it is. The Karma Yoga of the Gita accepts life, but it intends to transform it. Life and action as we find them in the present stage of human evolution is riddled with desire and with the operation of the three gunas of Prakriti which are born from groping movement of ignorance. Hence, while accepting life and action, the Gita lays down the path of renunciation of desire, an inward renunciation; at the same time, it traces out a path by which various elements and forms of Karma are analyzed in their depth so that their origins are discovered in the lower nature, Apara Prakriti and in the higher nature, Para Prakriti, as also in the nature of the true individual, jiva. This task is more difficult and preferable, because in the path of sannyasa, as it was prescribed in the time of the Gita by the path of Sankhya (the exclusive path of knowledge), one was required to renounce almost everything that was concerned with life and action. The path of tyaga, the path of inner renunciation of desire brings Sankhya, the path of knowledge, and Yoga, the path of action, into a close synthesis. What is obtained by tyaga is a radical operation of the inner functionings of the ordinary motives of action; at the same time, the method of tyaga enables the seeker to rise
from tamasic nature to sattwic nature, and then to the state of transmutation into the dynamic operations of Para Prakriti. The ascetic way of sannyasa is not only concerned with the inward renunciation of desire but also with the recoil from all dynamic Nature. According to the Gita, complete renunciation of life and action, even if attempted, is not possible entirely so long as we live in the body. Indeed, it is possible to reduce the movements of life and action to the most minimum level, but such a rigorous diminution of works is not indispensable, since it is neither really nor ordinarily advisable. The one thing that is needed is complete inner quietism and that is all contained the Gita's sense of naiskarmya, actionlessness. According to the Gita, that naiskarmya is possible, even when fullness of action and life are allowed to operate, provided that the threads of action and life are disconnected from desire and from the operations of sattwa, rajas and tamas, and provided that they are replaced by the movements of higher nature, Para Prakriti. Indeed, the immobility of the inner self is not disturbed by the movement of higher Prakriti, because the movement of higher Prakriti is a movement of the will of the Purushottama; that will is devoid of desire, since the Purushottama has no need to grasp and to acquire what is not yet inwardly realized and mastered. The will of the Purushottama has nothing to gain or acquire, and it makes no difference to him whether He remains without any movement of manifestation. Moreover, the movement of the will of the Purushottama retains always the state of eternal immobility, so that, as the Gita points out, the Purushottama is always akartā, the non-doer, even though he is capable of manifesting all the needed energy of manifestation. The will of the Purushottama is not a desire to acquire something that
he is not; the will of the Purushottama is the will to manifest all that is inherent in him, and even if he does not manifest what is inherent in him, nothing is wanting in him. But just as he is not in need of manifestation, He is not compelled by any need to remain unmanifest. To be therefore as perfect as the Purushottama, and therefore to be akarta, the non-doer, and at the same time to be the manifestor of the divine's will, is the perfection to which the individual jiva can rise by the method of tyaga, which involves inner renunciation of desire, and at the same time, a more difficult task of uniting with the dynamic nature of the Supreme. By inner renunciation of desire, one can assume the status of the self of eternal silence, brahma bhūyāya,155 but also the states of a still greater and more marvellous divine becoming, madbhāva.156 Indeed, to get at that greatest perfection, one has indeed to be immobile in the self, silent in all our members, but also to act in the power, Shakti, Para Prakriti, the true and high force of the Spirit.
6. Conclusion: Three Secrets of the Yoga of the Gita
We may, in conclusion, state three secrets which determine the methods and goal of the Synthesis of Yoga of the Gita. There is, first, the secret of the constant relations between Soul and Nature. The guhyam rahasyam, the profound secret is that the soul, Purusha, and Nature, Prakriti, are not two realities, but Prakriti is the eternal power of the Purusha and that Power always works itself out the will of the Purusha and offers itself always to the Purusha, whether in quiescence or in action or in the results of action as a fulfillment of the will of the Purusha. In the ordinary experience of the individual, the soul is hardly visible, and in all experiences, what is readily visible is the realm and
power and action of Prakriti!; even when the individual fixes himself in his sense of ego, he discovers in it only a centralization of the movements of Prakriti, which are themselves in a state of flux; in that flux, the distinctiveness of the ego is constantly swept away by the rush of forces of Prakriti; apart from all this, nothing else is clearly discernible; only in rare circumstances, the individual feels himself circumscribed by the complex workings of Prakriti which seem to be unacceptable to himself; it is in those rare circumstances that he finds himself as truly distinct from the workings Prakriti. He then finds that he is bound by circumstances and struggles to assert himself against that bondage. The ego-consciousness does give to the individual, from time to time, the impression that it is independent of everything else. But the ego-consciousness is the conscious of the finite which mistakenly thinks itself to be independent in the vast sea of Prakriti; but in that vast sea of Prakriti, all is formation of Prakriti. And yet, there is in the individual's deep self-consciousness, there is some feeling of himself as something other than that of the formations of Prakriti; he feels himself in rare moments as a Presence, Witness, Controller or giver of consent. That Presence, Witness, or Controller is the Purusha, and that Purusha has a will, which is capable of turning the wheels of the movements of Prakriti. At the beginning, precariously and uncertainly, but, in the end, its effect can be enhanced by methods of yoga. It is for this reason that the Gita suggests the method of lifting the self from the clutches of Prakriti by the will of the Purusha, dtmandtmdnam uddharet.157 The methods of yoga by which this movement of upliftment is effected include various means of self-discipline by which our unquiet mind and blinded life are stilled and turned towards the Purusha.
The Purusha is experienced gradually as the quiet witness and observer of the movements of Prakriti in which it need not be entangled. Whether that Purusha is only individual or universal or supreme is at first indistinct, but in one of the lofty experiences, one finds oneself as a vast and inalienable stillness, completely separate and independent of all the mental Ignorance, and therefore no longer compelled at all by the mental Ignorance. According to the Sankhya, the Purusha that is experienced in this way is the individual Purusha, although vast and independent of the constructed ego. According to the Yoga, which came to be formulated later on in its distinctness by Patanjali, the Purusha thus experienced is also the individual, as much as in the Sankhya. In the Yoga as understood as Karma Yoga, and as worked out in the Gita, the Purusha that is experienced is many-aspected One and the secret truth of Self (Brahman or Atman) and God (Ishwara). According to the Vedanta, which was current at the time of the Gita, the Purusha that is thus experienced is the one Brahman, not only vast but eternally transcendent One without the second.
The Gita, however, develops a profounder secret, guhyataram rahasyam and presents to the seeker the reconciling truths of the Purusha, Brahman and Ishwara in its concept of Purushottama. The Purushottama has two aspects: Being and Power. The Power of the Purushottama is his own higher Nature, Para Prakriti which is at the origin of the lower Nature, Apara Prakriti, — in the operation of Para Prakriti is the mystery of the jiva, the eternal portion of the Supreme that is manifested in and conditioned by the Para Prakriti. The Divine Purushottama is the Transcendent, not only transcendent of all movements of Apara Prakriti and even of Para Prakriti, but also of his own status of the
Brahman, that is for ever still and inactive and of his another status of the Ishwara, who is the Lord and controller of the movements of the universe. That transcendental Purushottama, although beyond the worlds, is at the same time Vasudevah sarvam iti, the Supreme who is all things in all worlds; he is the Lord standing in the heart of every creature and the self of all existences and the origin and supernal meaning of everything that he has put forth in manifestation. He is Ishwara, who wills and directs and controls all things, but also Parameshewara, the Supreme Lord that always remains inactive, even while active. He is the Being, the essential Self or the Brahman, but also extended in all that exists in all that moves and manifests, and therefore Parabrahman. But He is also the Purushottama who wills and energizes his own power into action without incurring any loss of being or inactivity or any loss of being and power of energizing the universe. That Transcendent is seen manifested more specially in His vibhutis, and He is the Spirit in Time who compels the action of the world; He is the Sun of all knowledge and the Lover and Beloved of the soul and the Master of all works and sacrifice. On the basis of this profounder secret, the Yoga of the Gita opens out into a synthesis of integral knowledge, integral works and integral bhakti. The assurance of this synthesis is rooted in the simultaneous experiences that one can have of spiritual universality and a free and perfected spiritual individuality, as also of an entire union with the Supreme Reality and entire dwelling in Him as at once the frame of the soul's immortality and the support and power of our liberated action in the world and the body.
Self-finding consists of the discovery that the essence of our true being is the unchanging, permanent, an eternal
silence and Self of all existence and that that is quite distinct and independent of all that is mobile and all that we call to be the ego and its dualities and its identifications with the body, life and mind, with all the movements of the three gunas, of all that is obscure and ignorant or shot through ignorance. According to the Gita, this realization of the self- finding is the indispensable basis on which a more complete self-finding can be securely laid. For one can realize oneself by a supreme identity with the Self that is eternally immobile, indivisible, beyond all limitations of Space and Time in which the finite formations of Apara Prakriti that we call ego cannot subsist, and one realizes the Spaceless, Timeless Silence. By this identity, one becomes the Brahman "brahmabhūyāya”.158 But the Gita opens up further possibilities of self-realization and self-finding. The individual, since it is an eternal portion of Purushottama,159 and also a manifestation of the higher nature of the Purushottama, Para Prakriti;160 the individual has the possibility of recovering his true status and nature in Para Prakriti and also in arriving at his eternal abode in the Purushottama.161
But there is also a farther possibility which opens up to the individual, — the possibility of participating totally in the action and nature of the Purushottama and Para Prakriti. In the realization of that possibility, not only the limitations of laws of action (dharmas or standards of good and evil) which govern the operations of tamas, rajas, and sattwa, but also the limitations of the development of the swabhava and swadharma are also swept aside. In the rush of the flood of Para Prakriti and will of the Purushottama, every door that blocks the invasion of the higher floods is broken, and a state is reached where the seeker pursues that indubitable and immortal law of action (dharmāmrtam), so that one attains
the supreme status of bhakti. That bhakti is inherent in the jiva as an eternal portion of the Supreme, but remains normally veiled in the conditions of the Ignorance; but in the fullness of the conditions of the trigunātīta (transcendence of the three gunas) and of the state of sādharmyam, (full identity with the nature of Para Prakriti and Purushottama),162 that supreme bhakti manifests without any limitations.
Here, too, it becomes necessary to indicate the method by which the attainment of sadharmyam is facilitated and fulfilled. The human consciousness, in ascent to the higher and higher levels of Para Prakriti and in securing its constant identity with the laws of divine action, divyam karma,163 finds that conditioned, as it is, by the past lines of development by the laws of the gunas (dharmas) as also of the laws of swabhava and swadharma, resistances of various kinds occur, and they need to be broken; they can be broken effectively by the power of the Para Prakriti which truly knows how the resistances of various dharmas can be broken. Hence, the supreme word and most secret thing of all, guhyatamam rahasyam, that is given by the Gita, consists of that secret most method. This method is enunciated by Sri Krishna in the following two verses of the Gita: "Be thoroughly fixed and turned to Me, be devoted to Me, offer your sacrifice to Me, offer adorations to Me, verily you will enter into Me — this I truly promise you, because you are dear to Me. Relinquish all Dharmas (all laws of action pertaining to the gunas or laws of swabhava and swadharma that govern the ascending movement), take refuge in Me alone; I will verily release you from all sins whatsoever. Do not grieve".164 The Spirit and Godhead, Para Prakriti and Purushottama are infinite and free from all
dharmas, which belong to the realm of the Ignorance; Purushottama transcends all these dharmas, since He lives and acts in the fullness of light and knowledge, in the state of eternal silence and in the state of the fullness of potency of power of the totality of manifestation in which each thread is harmoniously united with all that exists and all that is brought forth in manifestation. The effective method, therefore, by which we can participate in that action of the Purushottama, is to cast away all dependence on dharmas, to surrender ourselves to the Supreme Lord. Our task would be to take care only to keep ourselves absolutely and exclusively open to him, trust to the light and power and delight of the Supreme. That state of self-surrender, where one is unafraid and ungrieving, and where one accepts only His guidance, is the truest method; that brings the absolute and inevitable perfection of ourselves and nature. This method puts the soul of man into its right relation with the Purushottama, His status of immobility and His status of the universal mobility and individual mobility, as also His status of the supreme Lordship over the universe. This method enables us to permit the Supreme Purushottama to act unreservedly through our instrumentality, where our entire being becomes such an efficient bow in the hands of the Purushottama that He can use it according to His will and in the direction that He wills. It is He who knows how to shape our life in the life of the world in order to promote the continuous harmony of the divine self-expression. This is the state that Arjuna was promised by Sri Krishna, when Arjuna had asked for the knowledge and practice of that action which will be entirely free from all limitations and which would be objectively supremely right and beneficial to the highest workings of the world-harmony.