What’s Krishna’s take on Rebirths?

In 4:4 of Gita, Arjuna asks an interesting question to Krishna.

Arjuna is inquisitive as to how Krishna had instructed the science of Yoga(union) to the Sun God who thereafter passed this knowledge to Manu.

Arjuna wondered how is it possible for Krishna to have taught the Sun God and Manu had died long time ago. How the heck did Krishna exist then and now.

A genuine doubt, isn’t it?

To that Krishna’s answer was that anyone who is situated in wisdom,like himself and who had slained Maya for good would remember all his births.

And, what about the rest?

They go round and round and remain in this cycle of rebirths till they are ready and willing to fight Maya, the Goddess of Illusion 🙂

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4, Shlok 5

śhrī bhagavān uvācha
Bahūni me vyatītāni janmāni tava chārjuna
Tānyahaṁ veda sarvāṇi na tvaṁ vettha parantapa//

The Supreme Lord said: Both you and I have had many births, O Arjun. You have forgotten them, while I remember them all, O Parantapa.

Image: cartoonstock.com

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Longing Will Only End…

Longing for a thing will only come to an end when we finally understand that the ‘Thing’ is neither us nor it is going to last forever. That ‘Thing’ can be our body, our people, our wealth, or whatever vapid that we are pining for.

Until this gets into our head, neither will the longing stop nor the desire to amass things will end. We can talk and write infinite things around it but we can never put a step further from where we stand.

Worry Not, for the mind can still operate without attributing ‘IT’ to be whatever it has been falsely taught it is. In fact, it can guide us better when ‘IT’ realizes that it is not the one who is performing the feats. Really, you have to experience that to believe it.

The problem with us is that we keep running as if there is a finish line. But do we see one? Has anyone who ran before us seen it? Nevertheless, we keep running and panting till we crash.

With racing, we conveniently stopped thinking and thereby adding layers of personalities around one poor mind. It now carries a lot of baggage of varied characteristics that not only commands its attention but also consumes its energy while protecting them.

But what if we could take a moment and think whether we are as complex as we made ourselves to be. Is there another way of running the race? or Are we really in a race?

Why do I not see a finish line? What am I running for? How much ever I run and whatever trophies I had won, had it made me happy? Has that happiness lasted?

I think sometimes it is better to stop and ask these. We are so consumed in this run that at times we end up destroying others dreams on the way. All because of our wrong identifications and blindly conforming to whatever we were told.

It is really something that we should ponder upon….

And, an Interesting chapter in Gita on the same subject:

śhrī-bhagavān uvācha
Idaṁ śharīraṁ kaunteya kṣhetram ity abhidhīyate
etad yo vetti taṁ prāhuḥ kṣhetra-jña iti tad-vidaḥ//B.G 13.2

O Arjun, this body is termed as kṣhetra (the field of activities), and the one who knows this body is called kṣhetrajña (the knower of the field) by the sages who discern the truth about both.

 

Egotism-Can’t Afford It

This morning I reminded my husband(jokingly) how lucky was he to have me in his life and to that he noded, with the sardonic smile leaving his face. The smile said it all 😉

Also recently, I met a friend who was all miserable- she felt all her hard work went unnoticed. She said there was no reciprocation and nobody loved her as much as she did. And this continued till I acknowledged what she went through and only then did we end the topic.

I believe we all might have felt this at one time or another that we are doing more than what is required. But if you look at it closely, we need others more than they need us, don’t we?

Besides we need someone to certify our actions. I struggle with this myself and this is the most horrible thing that we can put ourselves through. A consenting nod, an acknowledging smile, appreciating our benefaction, a warm hug(& the list is endless). It is not just begging for somebody’s attention but the worse is looking for constant approval. This is a dangerous disease in itself. Although, consciously being aware of these is a step towards finding a cure for such pining.

I truly think we commit to something only if we need a certain kind of environment. Rather than complaining about getting a raw deal, think why are we doing it when we know the ROI is low or none. That is the question that we need to ask.

Why do we feel so incomplete? Can someone really complete us? What is in us that is seeking this? Is that us? Is there a cure?

Arjuna had a similar question and Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, 35 prescribes the cure. And how we go about it? Maybe in the next blogpost…

Chañchalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛiṣhṇa pramāthi balavad dṛiḍham
tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye vāyor iva su-duṣhkaram// 34
The mind is very restless, turbulent, strong and obstinate, O Krishna. It appears to me that it is more difficult to control than the wind.

śhrī bhagavān uvācha
Asanśhayaṁ mahā-bāho mano durnigrahaṁ chalam
abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa cha gṛihyate// 35
Lord Krishna said:
O mighty-armed son of Kunti, what you say is correct; the mind is indeed very difficult to restrain. But by practice and detachment, it can be controlled.

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Govindam Bhaja Mooda Mathe

If you have a sibling, what I am about to say would be in your experience.

when I was a kid, my dad bought me a toy and I can’t remember what I liked about it but I always carried it. Whoever visited our house, I showed them the toy and said it was mine.

Then my brother came and he watched me carrying the toy everywhere. Now he wanted it. My dad had to buy another toy so I could start sharing the old one with my brother. Slowly I outgrew the old one. It didn’t amuse me anymore. My brother played with it and it became his toy. After a while, he also left the old one for new.

Now the old toy had no takers. Whose is it anyway? Before my dad bought it, it was the storekeepers and then mine and then my brother’s and now nobody’s. Down the lane, someone would pick that old toy and start calling it theirs.

So, is our thoughts. They are an accumulation of stuff we read, heard, liked or observed. They were never ours in the first place. There is no such thing as an original thought; it is always borrowed. A little tweaking wouldn’t make it authentic. Like the old ’80s, fashion trends are back in fashion now.

A thought is like that old toy. The kids called it theirs till they outgrew it but here we are not even calling it ours but we are calling it ourselves.

We sometimes call the body as our self and at times our mind becomes our self. Are we suffering from multiple personality disorder?

So, when the Seers look at us. They are unsure how else to explain this very phenomenon. They have written multiple scriptures, all boiling down to this very idea. Out of compassion and unable to digest the way we identify with things; they call us mooda mathe.

Therefore praise the lord..Sing his glory, talk about him, think about him until the difference between you and him blurs out.

Which is that lord, Govindam do we sing of?
Stop assuming ;). Let’s hear it from him.

Meditate on that formless Brahmanimmortal, imperishable, eternal and of unending divine bliss.

Bhagavad Gita

Brahmaṇo hi pratiṣhṭhāham amṛitasyāvyayasya cha
Shāśhvatasya cha dharmasya sukhasyaikāntikasya cha//14.27

I am the basis of the formless Brahman, the immortal and imperishable, of eternal dharma, and of unending divine bliss

 

Which Guna Are You Leaning Toward?

Gita doesn’t ask you to renounce the world. Neither does it ask you to live a satvik life in the Himalayas. So, what does it ask of you?

Look, how brilliantly Ved Vyas Maharshi has set the stage for Bhagavad Gita. It was not said by a sage dressed in saffron nor was it said in a quiet ashram. But by a teacher who is married with kith and kin, the stage is nothing peaceful-it is a battlefield and the advice given was to wage the war.

What was the Maharshi thinking? The essence of the Upanishads could easily be retold in a more pacific setting but he chose otherwise. He did it again when he told the story of an Enlightened butcher who imparted knowledge to a Sage in Mahabharata.

What is he trying to convey? He is trying to teach us something very subtle. That it doesn’t matter what you do here but what matters is your Intention & Thought behind that action. How should you act and what should be your thought?

So, in Chapter 14- he explains the gunas in detail

  • Their source
  • How they bind you to the perishables
  • What causes them
  • How they come in cycles
  • How to identify which is predominant at the moment
  • What would happen to you if you favour one over the other
  • What would be the fruits of action performed in these modes
  • How should you be when the gunas are in action
  • Characteristics of those who have transcended the three gunas(14:22-25)

At last, Gita recommends you to transcend all three. How do you do that? Now when these are in action, you witness them and do not own their actions nor their consequences.

Who transcends these gunas? Who believes and thinks
Naiva Kincit Karomiti-“I am doing nothing at all”

Now….You may ask:”what am I to do with these” “Do I keep telling myself I am doing nothing at all”

Just by repeating, no change would come by. If you believe you are what you think then only pay attention to those thoughts that don’t paralyse you. Those would be satvik in nature and slowly such thoughts would multiply.

If you keep practising the above. You will know this-

  • That you have the power over your thoughts(whatever they may be in nature(sattva, rajas, tamas))
  • You can choose over them
  • You are giving power to the thoughts of your choice
  • When you do not pay attention, they die down.

So you can safely come to this conclusion that the gunas/modes are not YOU. Also, You should be someone above them in authority.

With this knowledge, stop owning them. You are not the action nor the result. The gunas are doing their job and they are in your field of awareness.

So, whatever needs to be done, the body & mind combined would do it. We aren’t helping anyone here so we needn’t boast about it or vice versa.

Finally, give credit where its due.Don’t take it on you 🙂

Image: Internet

 

Dare to question. Don’t Just Confirm

We may ask,

  • OMG! How can I dare to think I am God or a part of Him?
  • Why meditate on ‘That’ when I am already ‘That’?
  • Isn’t ‘freedom’ also a desire?
  • The ‘Atman’ is like an operating system/Electricity/Space/Water- boring by itself. Am I boring?

These questions appear in anybody who is really interested. There is nothing wrong in probing and no God would be disappointed if questioned. Krishna himself answered numerous questions and he might not be here in person but we are a part of that Infinite reality. So, don’t be hesitant.

Our scriptures do not ask for conformity but they want us to challenge it. They are not asking us to follow a God, per se but they are reminding us that we are God ourselves(Aham Brahmasmi-I am the Infinite Reality).

God in this culture is not greedy or infatuated. He is not a punisher or a slayer or a dictator but Ishvara is the provider, friend, witness, teacher, guardian, wisdom and the supreme goal.(9.18).  We are born into this and it doesn’t deem right to flock like herds in fear of some God.

Ishvara in Gita 13.29 is explained as the Supreme soul – equally present everywhere in all living beings. Samaṁ Paśhyan hi Sarvatra Samavasthitam Iśhvaram.

We are a part of him(15.17). It is not just about scriptures telling this; don’t we get that feeling that we’re being served our past lifetimes on a platter? Do we quietly eat up and continue making more such impressions? Or do we dig past those impressions to find our self?

Everything here is pointing us to our limitless nature. From where does this insatiable desire for things come from? It is unquenchable- how much ever we get we still need more & more. We are always seeking something limitless-be that be the material desires or for immortality or liberation. What does this longing for Infinite limitless experience mean?

Does any of the dualities have boundaries? Love, hatred; happiness, sorrow; loss, gain

Think…

To be continued………………

Image: Internet

 

About Atman(Cont..)

How am I to look beyond the name and form? I do not see anything.

You are right. The teacher would suggest you look within before you venture out. Therefore, for now, do not try to see ‘Atman’ in all.

  • First, we should know what to look for?
  • Second, it doesn’t have a form; it cannot be described(like space).
  • Most importantly, you and I are also part of ‘All’. So, the search should start within.

You might worry that ‘Atman’ may vary from being to being. For example, the aloe vera plant sitting in the balcony might have less of ‘Him’ compared to ‘Him’ in me. Or the Himalayas would have more of ‘Him’.

Arjuna pretty much had the same doubt. To which Krishna answered: “Ajuna, I, Atman is equally disposed to all living beings(BG 9.29). Everything rests in me, as beads strung on a thread.”-Bhagavad Gita 7.7

Since he doesn’t have a form. How do I experience him?

Let’s apply the basic meditation here-Observing the Thoughts.

  • Sit with your eyes closed in a quiet place. why? Because we give way too much importance to our sense perceptions. So, shut them out for some time. Bhagavad Gita 8.12
  • You see your thoughts coming & going? Do not go with them however interesting they may seem.
  • Where are the thoughts appearing and disappearing? Watch that space that is helping the thoughts come and go. Hmm, interesting. That doesn’t have a form, either.
  • Now, what is that which is observing that space? Your eyes are closed but there is something which is witnessing the flow & intensity of thoughts.
  • If you have ever dreamed, you know that something was watching that dream too.  That is when you say I dreamt. Your body lay there like a corpse while dreaming. So, who was watching that dream?
  • Even in your deep sleep state, there is that thing which is observing nothingness(cessation of activities) Who is That?

Now our scriptures say, that ‘Observer’ who is observing all the three states is ‘YOU’. Unless someone is walking in and out of you, ‘That’ should be YOU 😉

Now we may realize, what do we mean by “Man having a body and mind”?

So, the ‘Man’ is Atman. He is not different from us but He is us.

I suppose we also understand who we are addressing when we use ‘I am’. And the Vedantic phrase “Nitya Shuddha Atman”.

Why am I Nitya? Because I do not come and go. I am there as an observer in all the states at all times.

Why Shuddha? Because the thoughts/emotions/dream/waking doesn’t taint me. They exist in Me. Like what we do under the Sun, doesn’t malign the Sun. Gita in 13.33 reiterates the same with another example of space.

I observe the mind & body in the waking state and the mind building a dream. I also observe when all the activities cease.

I am there. I am That.

As my teacher would put – we are like the Musk deer which spends its entire life searching outward for its own scent. Completely unaware that the smell is from its own navel 🙂

Note: This is my understanding. I might never be able to understand another person, or for that matter, even my mind or body. Though we do not wish for situations/people in our lives to change yet they change and so do we. But you might notice that we are longing for permanence – our very nature.

We should not stay unhappy with what we get. We should find our happiness and trust me, that isn’t anywhere outside. Change is the only constant thing in this world and we are seeking the opposite. So…..

Bhagavad Gita:

Bahir antaśh cha bhūtānām Acharaṁ charam eva cha
Sūkṣhmatvāt tad avijñeyaṁ Dūra-sthaṁ chāntike cha tat// 13.16

Exists outside and inside all living beings, those that are moving and not moving. Subtle, and hence incomprehensible.  Always near yet at the unspeakable distance- such is imperishable He!

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