Ch. 2 Yoga of Discernment of Reality (Part 11)

This article is part 28 of 30 in the series Jīvana-dharma-yoga

Appendix 5. Vyavasāya (Sustained effort)

vyavasāyātmikā buddhirekeha kurunandana || (2.41)

Here vyavasāya refers to sustained effort or continuous industry focused on a single goal. That is penance (tapas). A person needs to be of a single-pointed mind to satisfy any immense objective. If, on the other hand, his mind were to vacillate from one side to another every moment, none of his efforts would go very far.

80 or 90 percent of us need to learn this lesson. Multiple objects of this world attract them. But they get fascinated by each one of those attractions and end up without satisfaction in any of them. 

When a teacher listens to exquisite music, he thinks - “Ah! What a wretched job I have! If only I were a musician”.  The musician longs after the legal profession. The lawyer is interested in medicine. The doctor on the other hand wants to try his hand at business. The same person when listening to the radio in the morning feels - “Aha! If I had learnt music!”. When he sees a civil servant in a cavalcade of cars, he exclaims - “I should have done my IAS!”. When, in the afternoon, he sees rich lawyers depositing money in the bank, he greedily admires the legal profession. When he sees the interminable queue and the fans in a movie theatre the yearning becomes - “Had I been an actor!”. This is the fate of many. They lack respect for what they have but regard what they do not possess very highly. This is a sure path towards spoiling one’s life. 

The one who is desirous of leading a meaningful life must first fix up a goal in his mind. With the goal decided, he must pursue it without letting go. He should not get fascinated by everything he sees and lose his mind. 

Good in this world is of many a kind. Pleasures are myriad. Tastes are teeming. Attractions are endless. All of them cannot be enjoyed by a single person. He might get to enjoy but a few of them. But he should not give up on his goal because of them. When he gets a whiff of fried snacks from a neighbouring house while on a walk, he must not forget that food must be cooked in his own kitchen. He should not forget that he has his own family when he listens to a pleasant melody from someone’s dwelling. He must forever keep his goal in his sights and constantly strive towards it. Arjuna was a kṣatriya. His chief goal was to protect dharma. If he set that goal aside and thought - “I will be a mendicant. I will campaign for animal welfare. I will be a nurse in a hospital. I will do bhajan in a temple”, it would not be dharma; but a deficiency in it. 

When a person wants to set a considered goal, those around him say different things and confuse him. “Oh! What’s in a BA?” - exclaim the neighbours of a family wanting their boy to study for a BA. “Why? Can’t they afford to make him a B.E.?” - object the other neighbours. “You should go in for at least a B.Sc.” - avers the third set of neighbours. The mind dithers. 

My friend was building a house. Five or six of us used to walk every morning in front of the construction site. Someone amongst us would proffer a suggestion every single day. One day I said, “The window should have been bigger”. The next day another opined, “The door now looks smaller in proportion to the window”. The third averred, “You should probably tile the roof”. Another continued on another day, “A concrete roofing is better for such a house”. The owner of the house would listen to all these suggestions with a smile. We went there after twenty such days. No suggestion would come forth that day. “Don’t you have any suggestions today?” he asked us beaming. “Whose suggestion should I have followed? If I had followed all your suggestions, even the walls of the house would not have risen” - he finally declared.

bahu-śhākhā hyanantāśhcha buddhayo’vyavasāyinām | (BG 2.41)

The intellects of the faltering are many-branched and endless. 

This is the fate of those who do not know their own mind. The individual firms up when the goal is known. This brings repose to the mind. Such a mind becomes capable of achieving the goal. Therefore, if life has to become meaningful, the first undertaking is deciding upon the goal. Once the goal is decided, one must not change directions frequently. One must not give his ears to those on this side and that. Arjuna had done so. He was taken in by others’ words and became confused. Therefore, Bhagavān chided him

prajñāvādāṃśca bhāṣase ॥ (BG 2.11) - 

You utter these words of ‘wisdom’!

śrutivipratipannā te ॥” (BG 2.53) - 

When your intellect is uncertain because of the words of the śruti that show multiple possibilities.

and corrected him. “Your intellect has lost faith by listening to others words and is agitated”. This is a caution to all of us. 


ದುರಿತದ ತನುಪಂಜರಮಂ

ಮುರಿದಲ್ಲದೆ ಜೀವಪಕ್ಷಿಗೂರ್ಧ್ವಸ್ಮರಣಂ

ದೊರೆಕೊಳದು ಧರ್ಮಯುದ್ಧದಿ

ಮರಣಂ ತತ್ತರಣಮದುವೆ ದೈವವಿಧಾನಂ ।। 1

Without breaking the body-cage 

of the tendency towards evil, 

the jīva-bird will not attain higher progress.

Thus, in the battle for dharma

death is a path to progress.  

That is Divine decree.


ಜಗದಿಂ ತಾನುಂ ತನ್ನಿಂ

ಜಗಮುಂ ಕೆಡದವೊಲಿರುತ್ತಲವರನ್ಯೋನ್ಯಮ್ ।।

ಮಿಗೆ ಸಾಹ್ಯಮಾಗಿ ಜೀವ-

ಪ್ರಗತಿಯ ಗಳಿಪಂತೆ ಬಾಳನಾಳ್ವುದೆ ಧರ್ಮಮ್ ।। 2

This symbiotic synergy that

sustains the jīva and the world 

without harming one another (and)

the way of life that helps the world 

while ensuring the progress of the jīva

is dharma.


ಇಂದ್ರಿಯದೆ ಜಗಜ್ಜ್ಞಾನಂ

ತಂದ್ರಿತಮಿಂದ್ರಿಯದಿನಪ್ಪುದಾತ್ಮಜ್ಞಾನಂ ।।


ಗಿಂದ್ರಿಯಮಹುದುಚಿತಭೃತ್ಯನುಭಯಹಿತಾರ್ಥಂ  ।। 3

The knowledge of the world is from the senses.

However, Self-knowledge is affected because of these sense organs.

For him who rules with wisdom and discernment,

sense organs become useful servants

and help attain the knowledge of the world and the Self.


ಹಯದಿಂದಿಳಿಯದೆ  ತೋತ್ರ-

ಪ್ರಯುಕ್ತಿಯಿಂ ಸುಗಮಗೊಳಿಪ ಪಟುಸಾದಿಯವೋಲ್ ।

ಜಯಿಪುದು ಕೊಲ್ಲದೆ ನಾಮಿಂ-

ದ್ರಿಯಗಳನೊಡೆತನದಿನಿಳಿಯದೂಳಿಗಕೆಂದಂ ।। 4

Just as the skilled horseman makes his path easy with the whip,

without alighting from his horse, 

it is prudent to employ sense organs without killing them. 

by winning them over.


ನಿಖಿಲಜಗದಸಂಗಂ ಜೀವಲೀಲಾಪ್ರಸಂಗಂ

ವಿಷಯನಿಗಳಭಂಗಂ ಜ್ಞಾತಭೂತಾಂತರಂಗಮ್ ।

ಪ್ರಣಯರಸತರಂಗಂ ಪಾಪತೂಲಸ್ಫುಲಿಂಗಮ್

ಮನುಜಹೃದಯಲಿಂಗಂ ಕೇಶವಂ ಮಂಗಳಾಂಗಮ್  ।।

Unassociated with all the world

the author of this Divine Comedy,

who destroys the fetters of sense objects, 

who knows the inner thoughts of beings.

the wave of the rasa of love,

the spark that burns the cotton-rag of sin.

one who resides in the heart of man,

Keśava (Kṛṣṇa) is the epitome of auspiciousness.


Chapter 2 Concludes.

The present series is a modern English translation of DVG’s Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award-winning work, Bhagavad-gītā-tātparya or Jīvana-dharma-yoga. The translators wish to express their thanks to Śatāvadhāni R Ganesh for his valuable feedback and to Hari Ravikumar for his astute edits.



Devanahalli Venkataramanayya Gundappa (1887-1975) was a great visionary and polymath. He was a journalist, poet, art connoisseur, philosopher, political analyst, institution builder, social commentator, social worker, and activist.



Engineer. Lapsed blogger. Abiding interest in Sanskrit, religion, and philosophy. A wannabe jack-of-all.


Mother of two. Engineer. Worshiper of Indian music, poetry, and art.

Prekshaa Publications

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective...


इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।


अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...


ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...


“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...