Philosophy

Ch. 2 Yoga of Discernment of Reality (Part 9)

The Characteristics of a Knower

The teaching must have affected Arjuna a wee bit. He asks, “You mentioned about the state of being in samādhi and talked about a sthitaprajña (one of steady wisdom). What are his characteristics? How does he speak?” Bhagavān enumerates the marks of a knower which forms the education of a seeker. The nineteen ślokas from the 54th to 72nd were apparently Mahatma Gandhi’s favourites. These ślokas are useful for contemplation and practice. 

Ch. 2 Yoga of Discernment of Reality (Part 8)

There are several tiers of instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā from the level of "patraṃ puṣpaṃ phalaṃ toyam" (offering a leaf, flower, fruit or water) to the level of nistraiguṇya (being beyond the three qualities). Not all of us can follow these teachings at all times. It is like a library wherein we select what we need. Though there are hundreds of lessons, it is up to us to choose what fits us. One’s itch cannot be relieved by another person. Only the experiencer knows what and where the itch is. 

Ch. 2 Yoga of Discernment of Reality (Part 6)

Dharma is a word not used just by the vaidikas but also employed reverently by the Buddhists and Jains. The vaidikas have employed this term in different śāstras and as part of different terminologies. Śrī Śaṅkara gives the following meaning:

jagataḥ sthiti-kāraṇam prāṇināṃ sākṣād-abhyudaya-niḥśreyasa hetuḥ yaḥ sa dharmaḥ...
Śāṅkara-gītā-bhāṣya upodghāta

The system and set of acts that bestows

(i) Welfare upon beings in the world now and

Ch. 2 Yoga of Discernment of Reality (Part 4)

It may be apt to recall the maxim of the English philosopher John Stuart Mill. It is not enough if one person forms an opinion or follows a certain set of actions because of faith in the words of others’ words. One should yearn to understand the exact reasons why a certain thing is good through one’s own analysis. Then the thing becomes truly beneficial. A belief that arises from blind faith may not be as fruitful.

The same words are stated by the Vedas that are thousands of years old –

Ch. 2 Yoga of Discernment of Reality (Part 1)

Gist

ಸ್ಮಿತದಿಂ ಸೌಹೃದವೀಕ್ಷಾ-
ಮೃತದಿಂ ಫಲ್ಗುಣನ ಸಂತವಿಡುತವನುಲಿದಾ
ಮತಿಮೋಹವ ನೀಗುವ ಜೀ-
ವಿತತ್ತ್ವವ ಪಾಡಿದಂ ಜಗದ್ಗುರು ಕೃಷ್ಣಂ || 1 ||

With a smile and a nectar-like glance of friendship,
the world-teacher, Kṛṣṇa, sang the essence of life,
curing Phalguṇa’s (Arjuna’s) mind delusion 
that caused him to utter words of unhappiness.

 

ಅವಿಚಾರದ ಕೃಪೆಯೇಂ ತ-
ತ್ತ್ವವಿಮರ್ಶಾಧಾರಮಿರದ ಧರ್ಮಾಸ್ಥೆಯದೇಂ
ಸವಿಷಾದ ವಿರಕ್ತಿಯದೇಂ
ನವಕುಸುಮಾಸ್ತರಣಗುಪ್ತಗರ್ತಂ ಸುಖಮೇಂ || 2 ||