Tag Archives: Bhagwad Geeta

Krishna compares the world with the Banyan tree

We all know that the Banyan tree is the largest tree and has its root in the deeper side of the land. While I started studying the fifteenth chapter of Bhagwad Geeta, I was a bit confused and amused both at the same time. Krishna started saying that the banyan tree has roots upwards and branches downwards towards the land. How is that possible? 

He further explains that the root of this world is Brahma Loka which is there up in the universe somewhere. The creation of this world is done by Brahma himself. Hence the roots are in the air or up in the sky. The world grew further due to the desire of humankind in all directions. The way our desire is endless with roots all around us, the root of the creation is also not visible. The way the banyan tree grows in all directions, our desire grows in all directions. 

He also has described this world as the reflection of the original world. When a tree is situated by the banks of the river, we see the branches in the water downside and the roots on the top, similarly the material world is the reflection of the spiritual world. The way the tree and branches are nourished with the help of various things like sunlight, water, and manure, the tree of our desire is nourished with all three modes of nature. Satvik, rajasic and tamasic. These triguna play an important role as I had explained earlier in the series. In the tree of the universe, the lower section of the tree are animals, humans, and other species. Whereas the higher part is full of devata, Gandharva, apsara, etc. 

The third shloka of the fifteenth chapter further explains that when we look at the banyan tree, we can never find the root of the same. We only see very big branches moving in the air all around the tree. Similar to it, the root of our desire is never understood by us or we can’t see it or feel it with our senses. A similar thing was explained by Buddha too where he says that desire is the root cause of all suffering. This leads to an argument, so we should desire and how much. Krishna says that if at all you want to desire something, just desire for the place from where you don’t have to come back. Indirectly, he is talking about moksha or nirvana wherein one gets free from the cycle of birth and death. This shloka also proves that there is a mention of Moksha in Bhagwad Geeta. Many new scholars have argued that Bhagwad Geeta only teaches the lessons of life, but it is proved wrong here. So please remember that whenever you desire anything in your heart, think of the place where your atma rests forever and you again don’t engage in this material world. 

Further, he shows the path of moksha or nirvana in the next shloka. Here he has used a word called detachment. Most people misunderstand the word detachment. It is not some trademark of any sadhu or sanyasi who has renounced this world. Detachment is possible for grihastha also. I understand that it is very easy to say and difficult to practice. But Bhagwad Geeta shows us the path and helps us to practice that detachment living in this material world, in spite of being married with kids and family, in spite of being working full time, performing all our prescribed duty with utmost clarity. This is probably the best thing I learned in Geeta because I always thought our scriptures are meant only for those who have decided to give up materialistic life.

Today when I study and read our scriptures, I have realized that they are the manuals of humankind on how to lead a very meaningful, fruitful, content, and successful life. One can have the desire to have kids, a spouse, success, or wealth, all these can be achieved through Vedas and their various rituals prescribed there.

Krishna explains the tamasic nature of humans

We have discussed the satvik and rajasic nature of the humans earlier. Today we will discuss the tamasic nature of the human mind. It is very interesting to know that our mind plays all three nature all the time and may be for the same topic and incident.

The most difficult aspect of human nature is to fight within himself when he feels lazy, angry or lethargic. These are the signs of tamasic nature. Though all three things are important in one’s life but when tamasic nature increases it results in many problems and failures. 

While I was going through the fourteenth chapter to know more about all three modes of nature, I realised that Krishna has narrated the effect of each nature so clearly that one can never miss to understand and implement the right swabhava in life. This chapter also proves that studying of Bhagwad Geeta is possible by any human being, be it from other religions too. As these aspects of personality are found in any human being. Even the animals enjoy the same modes of nature but to a lesser degree. 

There are many other aspects of tamasic nature too. One with delusion or madness or lack of knowledge is also considered to be tamasic. As I mentioned earlier, the degree of each nature is important. The best example of an extremely tamasic person is a killer or a thief or a cheat. These people suffer from a high degree of tamas in them hence inspired to commit any heinous crime. The saddest part of these acts is that one continues committing such crimes till he doesn’t get blessings of the Ishwar or his heart changes or he tries very hard to get out of the cycle of wrong doings. Such people always run away from the sattvic person, can’t manage to stay in religious or holy places, prefer the company of similar types of people, like to indulge into all sorts of intoxication, disrespect gurus or elders, love to wander at night, always lie for every small thing. When you come across anyone with any of these qualities or you suffer from such symptoms, know that you are suffering from tamasic nature. Many asuri powers can rule such people easily. They also become victims of any such ill effects and can be dragged into wrong doings easily. 

Krishna further says that one with a high degree of tamas has a limited chance of getting the human life again. That soul goes down to the animal planets or patal loka. Which is a degrade of a soul and it happens because he couldn’t give tamas guna of his nature. Most of us think that we are bound by our destiny hence it makes no difference if we try to change. But this chapter clarifies that doubt that we all have a free-will due to which we can always elevate ourselves from the lower state of mind to higher state of mind. This is an upward journey, not downward.

In twenty sixth shloka of the fourteenth chapter says that one who surrenders to him and engages himself into any devotional services, can easily outgrow all three modes of nature. It is truly amazing to find that Krishna explains the problems of jeeva and at the same time gives solutions for each problem in the same chapter or the whole Geeta. 

He also clarifies that one need not give up the society or material world but should follow varna ashram and perform duties based on that. The prescribed duties of each varna become the gateway to reach Krishna by overpowering all three modes of nature. When one is challenged by opponents while on the path of dharma, one shouldn’t become weak or fear anything or anyone. Also, the false compassion for any criminal or people who are on the wrong path should be avoided while worshiping Krishna and to get his blessings.

We will discuss other topics from Bhagwad Geeta in the next articles.

Krishna explains the rajasic Tattva in our nature

In the last article we discussed the concept of three guna of prakriti which are controlling us and making us do things we do in this life. The first and the most important guna is satvik guna. If one remains in this guna all the time, he becomes more knowledgeable and also inner happiness increases. Krishna also explains that most of us don’t remain in the same guna. All three guna overpowers us in different circumstances. In difficult situations, we do get derailed and slipped into either rajasic or tamasic guna very often. 

Today, we will discuss what is rajasic guna and what kind of person always dwells into it. The rajasic guna is considered to be the mixture of satwik and rajasic guna. The person who is born with more of this guna, is always looking for activities which satisfy his ego, or desire or always want to excel in life. I always thought this to be a good quality of the human being. But after reading Bhagwad Geeta I realised that even this type of behaviour keeps us away from Krishna and also from the heavenly planet or even vaukuntha. The person has attachment to results or fruitive actions, hence always looking for the victory in every situation. Though this could be a problem in bhakti, but kshatriyas who protect the country or always out in the war, are expected to be in this mode as that is very important for them to win the enemy. One will wonder that when one side Krishna explains various tools and methods to remain aloof and detached from the material world, why he is encouraging Arjuna to fight the battle. The chapter of karma yoga explains that very much in detail. 

Rajasik mode is also important for men and women to develop relationships. It is the main component for the attraction between them and the major reasons why people fall into relationships. In today’s time, when love marriages have increased, it is difficult for one to judge if it was true love or mere physical attraction. Hence Krishna explains that one always needs to look forward to remaining in satvik mode and ensure that rajasic mode is not disturbing one’s sadhana towards any god he loves. 

One more feature of rajasic nature is, every creation comes into existence out of this nature. This raises another question that when the whole creation is born out of this nature, why it is still considered to be the hindrance in the growth of bhakti. But if you are a follower of any Vaishnava samprayas, the first thing which is taught there is that we all got separated from Krishna when the universe was getting formed. Our main goal is to go back to him and be with him in eternal space and time.  Shri Vallabhacharya explains the same thing in the shloka of brahmasambandh. 

In any normal household, we regularly see attachments in relationships. Mother is attached to son, son is attached to mom, husband to wife and wife to husband. The major force behind this attachment is rajasic tattva. This sometimes brings pain and hurt to someone’s life. It also becomes the cause of relationships to break and fights among family members. 

Krishna explains in the fifteenth shloka of fourteenth chapter that one gets birth into the family based on the nature they have lived in. Which means if one remains ambitious and attached to the material world, he gets the same life again and again. He remains in the center of all the loka. The way a satvik person goes to a higher planet, a rajasic person doesn’t go to a higher planet but remains in the atmosphere of the earth so that he can come back to the earth to fulfill his desires again and again. 

This is the best way for any person to evaluate their behaviour with more clarity and lead a life in satvik mode all the time. Next time we will discuss how a tamasic person lives his life.

Seminar on Bhagwad Gita at Nehru Center in London!

The Bhagawad Gita holds an eternal fascination to man and the wonder is that each time you read it, like an onion, you can keep peeling different layers from it. I have always been attracted to the Gita and each and every commentary that I have read has helped me gain fresh insights into this little wonder book. Imagine my happiness then to be invited to a seminar on the Gita which was held at the Nehru Centre in London in September 2015. It coincided perfectly with my trip to the UK so I decided to make the most of it.

The Gita is not a religious scripture followed by followers of a particular religion; oh no it is timeless, eternal and has a universal appeal because it provides solutions to every problem under the sun in a simple, logical and humane way. Thus the Seminar comprised of eminent scholars from all over the world who had gathered there to share their ideas and get enriched in the process. Members of the managing committee were drawn from India and England.

A high point of the program to me personally was when one of the keynote speakers, Mrs. Suryakanthi Tripathi remarked that she referred to my website www.indianscriptures.com everyday and has even bookmarked it. She was full of appreciation at my endeavor and congratulated me for presenting articles on a wide range of subjects from our Scriptures in a language easily understandable to the lay public. Scriptures like the Gita should be presented in a simple manner so that the common man can relate to it and follow it easily and the series Layman and the Gita presented on the site does exactly this.

    

The Seminar saw presentations by well-known academicians and scholars and these are the points what I gathered from them.

Mr. Brian Black is a lecturer of Religious studies in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at the University of Lancaster. He discussed how and why Bhagwad Gita was spoken in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It created an impact in the listener’s mind about the importance of the knowledge shared by Krushna.

I observed that many misconceptions about Vedic scriptures continue to prevail in people’s minds. The western scholars are highly influenced by scholars from the early 1900’s who presented the Veda in a derogatory manner. They still use the words like Brahamanism etc. which doesn’t exist in our scriptural directory.

Prof. Peter Flugel studies and propagates Jain scriptures and has an amazing in-depth knowledge of various Jain sutras. I felt truly proud of our community members who have emphasized on various such scriptures to impart knowledge to millions.

James Mallinson is a lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical Indian Studies at SOAS, University of London. He shared his true life experiences of the Kumbh Mela, how society connects with each other in India, the importance of Yoga in Bhagwad Gita. Prof. Theodore Proferes is a senior lecturer in Ancient Indian Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. I was truly impressed with his way of presenting the Mimamsa point of view in
Bhagwad Gita. He stated that the theory of Karma is well explained in Gita and that it truly helps us to identify where we stand in life and where we want to go.

Swami Sarvapriyananda from Ramkrishna Math and Mission explained the Vedantic point of view of Bhagwad Gita. Vempaty Kutumba Sastryji explained how Gita strides across like a colossus and time stands still in its pages. Therefore its message is relevant to all people at all times. His paper explained the points of Atman and how it is explained in the Gita.

The most impressive part of the talk was the recitation of various verses from the Bhagwad Gita by Stephen Peter Thompson. He has been teaching Panini, Gita and Upanishads at various universities and centers across UK. He traced the connection between the verses of Chapter 2 of the Gita with Katha Upanishad.

It was nice to know the interest of the Indian High Commissioner to UK in such topics. He shared his idea of the Gita and also spoke of the need to hold such gatherings more often in London. On a personal note, I requested him to see my website and share his comments which he agreed to do.

    

           
           
I also met Prof Shaunaka Das, the Head of the Oxford Center for Religious Studies in another occasion. He answered all my queries and inspired me on how to look at scriptures from an academic angle. How to understand them from an international point of view? I can hardly wait, I am eager to take my research to the next level and make it visible on an international platform. His guidance is really going to help me to learn the Bhagwad Gita differently.