Beach 8: One’s Nature vis-à-vis one’s Duty

Wave 2: The Secret of Secrets from the bhagavad-gItA

Drop 6: The Secret of Secrets – 3

All references on this page, unless otherwise specified, are to the bhagavad-gItA.

It may be necessary to keep a copy on hand.

The whole esoteric purpose of the gItA is to recover Arjuna from his obsession with his lower Self and convert his attitude into an identification with his higher Self. The lower 'I' of Arjuna is confused with all its whims, passions and fancies. It is this egoistic 'ahaM' that thinks it is the killer, it will be incurring sin by fighting with the kith and kin and killing them. Krishna wants Arjuna (and us) to raise ourselves by ourselves (cf. uddhared-AtmanA-AtmAnaM) to the level of an identification with the 'universal I', which has no selfishness, no hatred, no desire. This 'I' is not the doer, not the killer; it is the prakRti that does everything, and so by identifying with this higher 'I' one becomes actionless. This state of identification is the state of actionlessness (naishkarmya-siddhi); how one 'obtains' this state is what Krishna narrates in brief in the verses 51 to 56 of the eighteenth chapter of the gItA.

In fact these six verses constitute a delightful capsule version of the entire gItA, encapsuled by the Lord Himself!

The word 'obtains' here is actually a misnomer. The brahma-bhAva (being in brahman, becoming brahman) is nothing to be 'obtained'; it is already there, it has only to be realised. There is actually no becoming there. It is not like something being there beyond your reach, you make efforts to reach for it and then you reach it - no, there is no such 'reaching' or 'obtaining'. Then why does the gItA use, in this context, the word 'Apnoti' (= reaches, obtains, gets, takes possession of, meets with, falls upon)? Obviously, words fail - even for the Lord - to describe it properly. Rightly did the Upanishad declare: yato vAco nivartante, meaning: wherefrom words recoil. Step by step the Lord describes, though briefly how one 'obtains' that state of brahma-bhAva. Disciplining oneself by the intellect, (the discerning part of the mind), pure, by will-power, the sound, the noises, the turbulences, disturbances, the tribulations, distractions, having renounced (inner renunciation, tyaktvA) - he uses words carefully - getting rid of the attachment. Meditating, in an isolated place, eating only for the purpose of remaining alive, speech, body, mind controlling, always being in dhyAna-yoga, resorting to dispassion (which is not physical renunciation. It is putting everything in its place). The world might think that one is indifferent. No, that is not indifference. It is just the knowledge of the importance to be given to each matter and not more than what it deserves. Anything that comes has to go. Everything is ephemeral, fleeting. 50 years from now we would not worry about what we are worrying about now. In other words the importance of what we think is our greatest pain now vanishes over the years to almost nothing of value. Knowing this we give only that much importance to things.

Ego, muscle-power, arrogance, lust, anger, thought of possession, - these have to be discarded. This may be an elementary thought. But the very fact that the Lord chooses to list these even when he is quickly summarising the entire gItA, shows their importance. Such a person is already at peace with himself and he is earmarked for the state of that Transcendental Equanimity (brAhmI-sthiti).