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95. Knowledge:

Thus all our physical and mental activities can be classified into the three categories: sattvik, rajas and tamas depending upon the state of our mind and its tendencies. By a habit of such a classification we develop the power of discrimination which weighs good and evil things not by their physical dimensions but by their interior purity. We may perform noble deeds but they may be tainted due to our many shortcomings and the Gita helps us understand this phenomenon by means of this exposition.

Our knowledge becomes pure only when it can understand and comprehend the fundamental principles on which the universe is based. That knowledge is sattvik or pure when we are able to see the permeation of the Supreme God in every object in this universe.
svR-Ute;u yenEk< -avmVyymI]te,
Aiv-Kt< iv-Kte;u tJ}an< iviÏ saiÅvkm!.
sarvabh¨teÿu yenaikaÕ bh˜vamavyayamŸkÿate
avibhaktaÕ vibhakteÿu tajjñ˜naÕ viddhi s˜ttvikam
-- XVIII-20
(That knowledge is sattvik which perceives the one imperishable form in all beings, the undivided among the fragmented.)

Some people have argued in explaining this stanza that non-dualistic knowledge alone is sattvik knowledge and the dualistic knowledge comes under the category of rajas and tamas. The statement, avibhaktaÕ vibhakteÿu (Aiv-Kt< iv-Kte;u) does not lead to confusion, if we closely examine it.

There are many objects in this universe and one is different from the other. There is a lot of mutual difference between living and non-living objects in the universe. But God alone is the one Person who harmonises all these disparate things. The indwelling God is not fragmented, variegated by the difference and modification of things. He is not subject to any modification. The souls in different bodies may be different from each other but we cannot divide the Godhead which dwells controlling each on the basis of the division of objects. It is unbroken, all-pervading and one without a second. Such a knowledge is called sattvik knowledge. The multiplicity of objects has been described clearly by the term "Vibhakteshu" and the knowledge of the avibhakta (Aiv-Kt) undivided form of the Godhead has been called sattvik.

The knowledge which grasps the difference and variety of things but is indifferent to and confused about the Godhead which is immanent in all these objects is called 'rajasik' knowledge. There is a tremendous increase in the rajasik knowledge with the advance of science. Even if the sense of truth is growing with research and an intense study of all things in the universe is going at a fast pace, importance is being given to the knowledge of material things only neglecting the prime truth that is God. This is a manifestation of the 'rajasik' tendency.

Then there are those who accept only the product that is the visible universe but deny its cause, God. Such atheistic knowledge belongs to the 'tamasa' category.
yÄu k«TõvdekiSmNkayeR sKtmhEtukm!,
yattu k®tsnavadekasmink˜rye saktamahaitukam -- XVIII-22
(Those who mistake a part for the whole are engrossed in the effect neglecting the cause; or those who see Brahman (k®taja k«tj) as it were the individual soul or the world, go contrary to reason.)

They mistake a part of the universe for the whole and deny the rest. Such partial knowledge which leads us astray is called tamasik. Accepting the existence of souls alone and denying the existence of God as different from those, accepting only the visible universe as true and denying the existence of its Creator, accepting only the existence of God and declaring the visible universe as illusory, mistaking a part for the whole, all such are but different forms of tamasik knowledge.

96. Happiness:

There are many categories of happiness also. They depend upon the means we employ to get that happiness. The enjoyment of worldly pleasures gives momentary happiness as, for example, the pleasure we feel when scratching an ulcer, but it leads to misery in the end. Such worldly pleasures are classed as 'rajasik' pleasures. There is a perverted pleasure which throws our soul into oblivion, as in nefarious activities like murder, loot and rape. All these belong to the 'tamasa' category. The sattvik happiness is that which perhaps begins in difficulty but ends in permanent bliss and unfailing cheerfulness. This can be obtained only by the knowledge of God, contemplation and His grace. People give up this true joy and instead, mistaking the artificial sensuous pleasures to be more permanent, get anxious about them. Ashwathama, born of poor parents, had never tasted genuine milk in his lifetime. He asked his mother for milk. Being poor she could not procure cow's milk and she had no desire either to disappoint her son. She therefore mixed flour in water and gave it to her son as milk. The boy jumped in joy that he too had tasted milk. Such is the state of most of us. We do not know the natural happiness inherent in our own soul but hanker after the alluring and adulterated happiness from worldly pleasures.

There is a beautiful story in the Mahabharata to illustrate the folly of the people who consider worldly pleasures as the supreme happiness and the summum bonum of life. A man who was walking in a dense forest suddenly found a tiger charging on him. He ran for his life but fell into a dry well, head downwards. The well was full of shrubs and so he was caught midway by these shrubs and was kept suspended head downwards. Down below there was the deep yawning well. Up above, the tiger was waiting for him. A serpent was also climbing up to bite him. The shrubs were slowly giving way under his weight. While he was dropping he had disturbed a beehive and the bees swarmed stinging him all around. In the midst of all those, when a few drops of honey started dripping into his mouth, he greedily began licking it, enjoying it foolishly oblivious of the host of dangers. Such is our state in this world and we are equally foolish Old age and death are waiting for us like the tiger and the serpent in the story; the thread of life is growing thinner and thinner every minute and family troubles are stinging us all around like the bees. Still, we are manifesting the folly of licking the few drops of honey of worldly pleasures, quite oblivious of dangers awaiting us. Eschewing the glamour of the rajasik and tamasik pleasures we should concentrate on the highest type of bliss which can be obtained only by the contemplation and vision of God.

97. Sacrifice and Renunciation:

The more we examine critically our actions in the light of these three tendencies, the more shall we able to penetrate into the soul of our actions, and subject it also to critical examination.
n tdiSt p&iwVya< va idiv deve;u va pun>,
na tadasti p®thivy˜Õ v˜ divi deveÿu v˜ puna× -- XVIII-4O
(There is nothing either on the earth or the heaven, or again among the gods, (which is not touched by them).)

Everyone in the universe is subject to the influence of these three qualities. We carry on our activities in this world utterly unaware of what distorted forms they take under these three tendencies. When we see the perversions worked by rajas and tamas even in our religious practices, we may feel like dispensing with them in utter disgust. However much care we may take, owing to the influence of the gunas: taints creep into our acts. There is a possibility of our feeling that it is better to avoid completely the performance of actions than do these with blemishes.
TyaJy< dae;vidTyeke kmR àa÷mRnIi;[>,
ty˜jyaÕ doÿavadityeke karma pr˜hurmanŸÿiõa× -- XVIII-3
(Some thinkers say that actions should be shunned as they lead to bondage while others think that sacrifice, alms and austerities should not be shunned.)

While some people say that we should not perform actions as they are tainted, there are others who say that for one's own spiritual upliftment duties like sacrifice, almsgiving and austerity should not be given up. Which should we choose is the question before us:
n ih deh-&ta zKy< TyKtu< kmaR{yze;t>,
na hi dehabh®t˜ þakyaÕ tyaktuÕ karm˜õyaþeÿata× -- XVIII-11
(It is not at all possible for mortals to give up actions altogether.)

Is it possible for mortals to give up duties entirely? None can give up actions like eating etc. The desire to give up action since it is tainted ends up only in giving up acts like bath, sandhya, worship of God and social services. As for the activities useful for our routine life, it is impossible to give them up even if we have a mind to. The easiest things to be abandoned are the holy activities which conduce to the upliftment of the soul. what sense is there in performing all the activities of feeding the senses and forsaking only the religious practices? Our mind thus vacillates between the renunciation of action and performance of action. The Gita has a simple solution to this problem. It has reconciled the conflicting positions. Renunciation of action means performing it in a way untouched by blemish, that is giving up attachment and desire for reward. If average people perform actions with an eye on both action and the fruit of action, concentrating on action alone and abandoning the thought of reward leads to the reconciliation of renunciation of action with performance of actions. If we bring in an attitude of detachment or renunciation in the performance of actions, we do not become victims of any taint or bondage.

We are to analyse the difference between non-attachment (ty˜ga Tyag) and renunciation (sany˜sa sNyas). If you perform action and expect results not for your sake but for the sake of others there is the spirit of non-attachment or sacrifice. If you perform action and expect results neither for yourself nor for others and if you perform action only for acquiring true knowledge, devotion and grace of God there is the spirit of sany˜sa (sNyas) or renunciation. But in both cases performance of action is indispensable. Even if there is greatness in the sense of non-attachment in a karmayogi who performs actions out of sheer compassion and freedom from selfish fulfilment, there is a sublimer worth in the attitude of the sanyasi who desires the spiritual upliftment of others as ardently as for his own self. The actions of both of these transcend the taints of action. In the divinely delicious food of action cooked by means of sacrifice and devotion, there is no bitter or bad smell found in the stinking actions performed with attachment and desire. Such an action is called by the Gita, a 'sattvik' action.

98 The Difference between Desireless and Desire-prompted Action:

Desire-prompted action is like the service rendered to the child by a hired nurse. What a difference is there between the nursing done by the hired women and the tender care taken by the mother out of a pure, disinterested affection for the child! Outwardly, the service done by the two might appear similar, but at the heart of these there is a difference. The sweetmeat-seller prepares a large number of sweets; but those from the shop do not have the worth and purity of the things that the mother prepares out of love at home. The shopkeeper prepares them with the desire of return; his intention is to make maximum money. What a holiness is there in the intention of the mother! There is no selfishness in it; hers is desireless service. Action performed desirelessly is perfect and is more beneficial to the society. Everybody agrees that home food is cleaner, healthier and more nourishing than the hotel food. If we perform action with a selfish motive, we shall be more anxious about the result than the action itself. Hence there will be more short comings in our action, which is detrimental to the society. If any one performs action desirelessly his attention is on the action alone. He performs the action with devotion and sincerity and it becomes perfect. Such a perfect action alone is efficacious to the world. By proposing this method of performing the sattvik deeds, the Gita has reconciled neatly the two opposing ideas of action and inaction.

All people cannot perform sattvik action in the form of desireless action. The one who has given up attachment and egoism alone can perform such actions. Attachment and egoism crop up when a person proudly assumes that he himself is the doer. God alone is independent and He alone is the real doer. We usurp His doership and behave proudly. Even while we talk about dualism and devotion to God, all our actions smack of Advaita. Forgetting God and thinking that we are the independent doers is itself a form of Advaita sense. Appropriating to ourselves falsely the stance of independence and power possessed by God itself is a variety of non-dualism. Under this false sense of independence, we get an attachment to our body and things connected with it and we start performing actions vitiated by selfish desires. We forget God's omnipotence and overlordship of the whole universe and divide the world into small working kingdoms in the name of independence and fight with each other. This very notion of independence which is responsible for so much fiction and clash in the world should be uprooted from the mind of man:
tÇEv< sit ktaRrmaTman< kevl< tu y>,
tatraivaÕ sati kart˜ram˜tm˜naÕ kevalaÕ tu ya× -- XVIII-16
(One who thinks that he is the only doer, even if there are several causes for an action, does not see the truth as his mind, unpurified by the shastras, is tainted.)

There are many causes for any particular effect. Nature, the individual soul and the Supreme Soul, all join together to produce an 'effect'. We always function with the aid of several factors which are not under our control. Without realising this we start acting proudly presuming that we are the sole agents, that there is no need of cooperation from any other object beyond our control, that we are masters of our body etc. But if we realise the part played by other living and non living entities in this world, in whatever we do, we shall be more modest and there will be less room for vanity and attachment. God is omnipotent and independent, man is dependent and of limited powers; if we know this and the capacity and limitations of our body, the senses and other elements, we will not be affected by conceit and vanity and be able to perform our duty without any attachment or desire for reward.
ySy nah<k«tae -avae buiÏyRSy n ilPyte,
yasya n˜haðk®to bh˜vo buddhiryasya na lipyate -- XVIII-17
(One who does not think that he is the doer, whose intellect is not tamed (does not kill, even if he kills).)

Non-egotism and non-attachment are the very foundation of desireless action.
$ñr> svR-Utana< ùÎeze=juRn itóit,
æamyNsvR-Utain yNÇaêFain mayya.
Ÿþvara× sarvabh¨t˜n˜Õ h®ddeþe'rjuna tiÿ÷hati
bhr˜mayansarvabh¨t˜ni yantr˜r¨ýh˜ni m˜yay˜ -- XVIII-61
(The Lord dwells in the heart of all the beings, Arjuna, moving all beings, mounted on the machine of the body with his Maya.)

God is immanent in the hearts of all and moves this world. As we set children on the merry-go-round and sport with them, God moves the wheel of the world. One who is aware of the omnipresence and omnipotence of God, and knows the vastness of his field of action will not claim mastery or authority over anything in the world. When we realise that everything belongs to God and all activity emanates from Him, all the conceit and vanity disappears. The proud Shvetaketu is converted to humility when he hears about the greatness of God. The deities once won a war. In their hour of glory they forgot that if Almighty God had not endowed them with power they would not have achieved anything: Only when they realised their mistake wisdom dawned on them and they got true knowledge. The complete knowledge of human dependence and divine independence is the chief aid in the performance of desireless action.

99. Is the Individual a (Free) Doer?:

The notion of the omnipotence and the supreme independence of God has produced some undesirable and unexpected consequences. Some people think that because we have no free will and independence, we are mere playthings of God and hence, have no responsibility for any of our actions, good or bad. God alone, who is the mover of the world, is responsible for everything. Hence, we need not perform any action. Since everything goes according to His will, we need not intrude on Him! Hence we have no duties and responsibilities and we need not perform any action. There is a possibility of such inactivity arising out of these ideas. Some people complain that theism leads to passivity in the world.

But this is a misunderstanding of the part played by God in His creation. God creates the universe but for everything that is happening in the universe, He is not the doer. He is one of the causes. For our misery and happiness we are also the cause in addition to God. The material equipment, God's powers, our will and our inclinations and movements, all together produce an action or consequence. Without the loom, the weaver cannot weave cloth. When there are many causes for an effect, we should not expect anything to happen without a combination of all the factors. Even if God is a cause of our good or ill, He alone is not the cause. God moves on the basis of our will and inclination only. Thus our desire and attitude are as much a cause as God's will and power in producing good or ill; it is not proper on our part to remain indifferent and inactive leaving everything to be done by God alone.

Our desire and activity also must originate from God, you may say. Our desire and propensity in this life are based upon our desire and propensity in the previous life and so on. Since our intrinsic dynamism and inclination as individuals are finally the basis of all our various actions, the final responsibilities for our good or ill falls upon us only. If we turn away from our duties, since God alone is the all-doer, it would be a tamasik tendency. Such people put forward this kind of logic only in religious and social matters. The logic does not present itself to them when they are having their delicious meals. They do not reduce their activity for fending for themselves, thinking that God would do it for them. Do they have the indomitable courage of putting the daily routine on the shoulders of God, firmly believing that God alone would do it? Only to cover their sloth, they put on the garb of Vedanta. Vedanta comes pat to such people. Those who point to God only in matters of spiritual responsibilities and remain unmoved following an equivocal policy are said by Sri Madhvacharya to have a tamasik tendency:
$ñrae yidsvRSykark> karyItma<,
#TyEv<vaidn< äUyat! sda=xaeyaSysIith.
Ÿþvaro yadisarvasyak˜raka× k˜rayŸtam˜Õ
ityaivaÕv˜dinaÕ br¨y˜t sad˜'dhoy˜syasŸtiha -- Gita Bhashya
(Those who put forward the pretext that if God is the all-doer, let Him get all things done by us, would never progress in any way but are always doomed.)

 If the pride that 'I am the doer of everything' leads to wanton self-willedness, and eventually cuts at the root of our spiritual progress, the fatalism that "I am not the doer, God is the doer and I need not do anything" is a big stumbling block to our spiritual advancement. Since an action could be performed only when God and our efforts work together, it is not proper to dispense with one of them and hold on to the other. As both the wheels are necessary for the movement of a chariot, both God and human initiative are necessary for the chariot of life. The Mahabharata describes the sentiment, 'let there be work without human effort,' as amounting to saying 'let the lamp glow without oil.' Sri Madhvacharya has declared that only with the fusion of strong faith, great effort and God's grace is there a possibility of a man's upliftment. According to the scriptures, even though God is an independent doer, man also is a doer.
ktaR zaSÇawRvÅvat!,
kart˜ þ˜str˜rthavattv˜t -- Brahmasutra, II-iii-33
(Man is also the doer; only if he is so, the statements of the shastras about rules of action are worthwhile; otherwise they are meaningless.)

For whom have the Vedas laid down commandments and prohibitions? Certainly not for inert matter, and not for God who is perfect. All are meant for the individual alone. If man has no free will and doership all these injunctions would be meaningless chatter. Brahmasutras support the view that man has a free will. For every act both are doers. If the soul stops its desire and activity, the action must come to a standstill. Every factor must play its respective part before an act is accomplished. As the arrogant feeling that you are the sole doer and God's intervention is not necessary is untenable, so also, the indifference to action on one's part thinking that God will do everything in this universe, is condemnable:
A}> àTy]< TvphayEvdEv<,
mTvakt&R SvaTmkmR àjaýat!,
ajña× pratyakÿaÕ tvapah˜yaivadaivaÕ
matv˜kart® sv˜tmakarma praj˜hy˜t -- Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya
(He who ignores the actual and expects everything to be accomplished by God and neglects his duties is an ignorant man.)
ivÖaÚIv< iv:[uvzeividTv>,
vidv˜nnŸvaÕ viÿõuvaþeviditva×
karotikartavyamajasrameva -- Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya
(The wise man surrenders himself to God and knowing his duties performs them with enthusiasm and sincerity without conceit and vanity.)

Not forgetting the overlordship of God in everything in this universe and not neglecting one's duties under the pretext that God does everything, everyone must discharge his duties and responsibilities without conceit and vanity strictly according to the injunctions laid down in the scriptures. This is the unanimous message of the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita has thus shown us the golden mean between the two extremes of a totally free will and fatalism.

100. Surrender:

From this long discourse, Arjuna has received satisfactory answers for all his doubts and questions. The nature of the individual soul, the Supreme Soul, the inert matter and the relationship between these three and the potency and the part played by each of these have been well explained. From this, we have well understood the role of each individual in this vast universe. The contact of soul with matter has been from time immemorial, and likewise soul is also bound by matter. Whether we like it or not as long as there is this bondage, the soul will be subject to its influence. To get over this bondage is our goal in life and as long as we are in this world we should utilise all our energy and resources in the direction of our goal. We do not achieve anything if we grow inactive out of sheer hatred for the worries and troubles of the world, owing to the bondage of Prakriti. We should realise that we are bound by nature and so lead our lives under discipline and self-control and try to extricate ourselves from this prison. If on the other hand we hate the Prakriti and keep aloof from all its activities, we would but be impeding our spiritual progress. If we ardently desire to cross the ocean of life what is the use of sitting on this shore of Prakriti and simply wasting our time vacillating between whether we should get into water or not? We have to dive boldly into this ocean of life.
$sbek… #΂jaEsbek…
Ÿsabeku iddujausabeku -- Purandaradasa
(We should swim, live and conquer.)

 The Gita has shown us the skill by which even if we get into the water, we do not drown but cross over. If we get down into the stream of life bound with the ropes of desire and attachment, we shall never be able to come out of it. If we perform our allotted duties without attachment we shall not be swept by the stream of karma even in the midst of the current and we shall be able to swim across smoothly.

No amount of precaution is sufficient to see that the tangle of the world is not too fast, that we are not swept off. We should think of the means of getting completely out of this bondage. Getting out of this ancient bondage is almost beyond our reach. If we had the power and the capacity to get out of this bondage and the inner light to set it at naught, we would not have been subjected to all these hardships. For this, the only refuge will be the supreme power of the Lord who is above all souls and inert matter.
tmev zr[< gCD svR-aven -art,
tameva þaraõaÕ gaccha sarvabh˜vena bh˜rata -- XVIII-62
(Surrender to Him alone, completely, Arjuna.)

Unless we surrender ourselves to Him and pray to Him with great devotion we cannot reach our goal. It is true that we have the treasure of our blessedness in our hands like the sweet in the hands of a child. Can the child peel the skin off and eat the fruit? The mother has to peel the skin and give the fruit to the child. Similarly the natural glory of our soul is covered by a skin of matter and thus even if we have the soul of bliss, it is as though we don't. Only God, with a mother's heart should peel off the outer skin.
A}ana< }andaeiv:[u> }ainna<mae]dís>,
ajñ˜n˜Õ jñ˜nadoviÿõu× jñ˜nin˜mmokÿadaþcasa× -- Anu Vyakhyana
(Vishnu is the giver of realisation to the unrealised; He is also the moksha-giver to the realised.)

We have to look to God for our liberation from bond age and ignorance. He is responsible for all that happens in our lives. Knowing that but for His power and grace we cannot do anything, we should surrender ourselves to Him with utter devotion and carry on our allotted duties. Devotion is the essence of action. Piles and piles of action, devoid of devotion, are inert and inconsequential.
svRxmaRNpirTyJy mamek< zr[< ìj,
sarvadharm˜nparityajya m˜mekaÕ þaraõaÕ vraja -- XVIII-66
(Giving up all the ways of the other gods or actions, surrender yourself to Me alone.)

All ungodly acts and those which do not take us to wards God are useless. We should give them up. Only godly acts should be performed. That is the meaning of the phrase that all ways should be eschewed. Or we may even interpret it to mean that we should give up the desire for fruit.
yStu kmR)lTyagI s TyagITyi-xIyte.
yastu karmaphalaty˜gŸ sa ty˜gŸtyabhidhŸyate -- XVIII-11
(He is the tyaagii who gives up the fruit of action.)

Some people have twisted the meaning of this stanza to suit their own school of thought.

Hitherto great importance was given to the performance of action with devotion to God. They interpret this stanza in complete contradiction to what has been said so far by the Lord. They say that this stanza implies that we should give up all actions and feel that we ourselves are nothing but God. Non-dualism and abject surrender to the will of God are poles apart. In the previous stanza only Sri Krishna calls Arjuna as his favourite and vouchsafes to him a great secret:
mNmna -v mÑKtae m*ajI ma< nmSk…é,
manman˜ bhava madbhakto mady˜jŸ m˜Õ namaskuru -- XVIII-65
(Be full of Me, be devoted to Me, offer your sacrifices to Me, bow down to Me.)

He tells Arjuna to perform his actions with devotion to please God and all such actions are the means to the highest fulfilment, and it is utterly inconsistent for Sri Krishna to give a completely contradictory advice in the next sloka. Sri Madhusudhana Saraswati, the author of 'Advaita Siddhi' has clearly stated that such an interpretation is far-fetched and inapt. Here actually Sri Krishna has preached total surrender alone, which is the highest stage of devotion. Surrendering ourselves to God completely and performing our duties with utmost devotion is the only way to cross over the sea of difficulties. The spirit of surrender should permeate every act of ours.
k…é -u'œúv c kmR inj< inyt< hirpadivnèixya stt<,
kuru bhuðkÿva ca karma nijaÕ niyataÕ harip˜davinamradhiy˜ satataÕ -- Dwadasa Stotra, III
(Do your proper duties, enjoy yourself bowing down always humbly to the feet of God.)

The memory of God should always be present in our minds both in performing action and enjoying its fruits. Since to live it is necessary for us that life flows in every sinew of our physical body, similarly the sense of devotion should flow uninterrupted through all our activities for us to attain God-realisation. This message, which comes at the end as it is the ultimate and the most significant, is the quintessential message of the Gita.

101. Conclusion:

Sviviht v&Åya -KTya -gvdaraxn< prmaexmR>,
svavihita v®tty˜ bhakty˜ bhagavad˜r˜dhanaÕ paramodharma× -- Gita Bhashya
(The service and worship of God through devotion and pursuit proper to oneself is the supreme dharma.)

In this one statement Sri Madhvacharya has summed up the entire message of the Gita: 'Man's great dharma is to worship God through a vocation proper to oneself and devotion.' This is the only means by which one can escape the bondage of Prakriti and the cycle of birth and death. If we give up our duties either by fear of Prakriti or by indifference, we shall not achieve any fulfilment. On the other hand if we indulge in actions smitten with desire for the sake of pleasure with selfish ends, the very sensuality will devour us.
SvkmR[a tm_yCyR isiÏ< ivNdit manv>,
svakarmaõ˜ tamabhyarcya siddhiÕ vindati m˜nava× -- XVIII-46
(Man achieves his consummation by worshipping Him through one's own vocation.)

We should perform our duties as a sacred worship of God without any selfish desires. We can achieve this if we develop a sense of detachment and aversion to worldly pleasures. If devotion to God and non-attachment to carnal pleasures become the ingredients of our action we can fearlessly march forward in the world without being swept off by the flood of adversity. We can swim across the ocean of life and vanquish it without exhaustion. We should not be too much involved in life nor should we turn our face away from it completely. If we see callous inertia and irresponsibilities in performing one's duties at one end, at the other, we see too much involvement in selfish activity out of greed for power and wealth. If there is total inactivity among souls under the pretext that the world is an illusion and leading to bondage, there are others indulging in worldly activities for carnal pleasures utterly ignoring or forgetting the existence of God. Both these attitudes are detrimental to our spiritual advancement. We do not want life which is devoid of righteousness; nor do we want righteousness which is anti-life. We should shape for ourselves a noble life based on devotion and righteousness. We should not bow down to the forces of tamas and rajas. We can achieve our loftiest fulfilment if we perform our allotted duties against the deep background of devotion to God. This is the great lesson preached by the Gita for the whole mankind.

By this nectar-like advice out of the mouth of the Lord, all doubt and ignorance were washed away from the mind and conscience of Arjuna. The knowledge which was lying dormant within him sprouted up and blossomed:
nòae maeh> Sm&itlRBxa TvTàsadaNmya=Cyut,
iSwtae=iSm gts<deh> kir:ye vcn< tv.
naÿ÷o moha× sm®tirlabdh˜ tvatpras˜d˜nmay˜'cyuta
sthito'smi gatasandeha× kariÿye vacanaÕ tava -- XVIII-73
(With Your grace, 0 Lord, my delusions are eradicated; I have regained the awareness of dharma; I stand weaned of doubt. I shall do as You say.)

"My mind has been disabused of delusion. I have recovered, by Your grace, my knowledge which I had lost temporarily under delusion. All my doubts and problems are cleared. At Your command I shall now straightway plunge into my field of duty," says Arjuna to God out of absolute cheerfulness, devotion and enthusiasm. The situation encountered by Arjuna is faced by us everyday in our lives, The lesson of the Gita is not confined to Arjuna alone. It wards off the confusion and turmoil of the whole mankind and inspires it with a sense of duty. In the Mahabharata war, in the same chariot, the Lord of the universe is seated side by side with Arjuna and guides him at every step and inspires him to activity. If Arjuna is 'Nara', Sri Krishna is 'Narayana'; where the two are together, there is goodness and peace, triumph and glory:
yÇ yaegeñr> k«:[ae yÇ pawaeR xnuxRr>,
tÇ ïIivRjyae -UitØuRva nIitmRitmRm.
yatra yogeþvara× k®ÿõo yatra p˜rtho dhanurdhara×
tatra þrŸrvijayo bh¨tirdhruv˜ nŸtirmatirmama -- XVIII-78
(Where there is the Lord of Yoga, Krishna and where there is full-armed Arjuna, there are sure to be the wealth of kingdoms, victory, lordliness and justice, that is my conviction.)

Even in the battle of life, Narayana alone should be the charioteer of the Naras. Only because Narayana has been separated from Nara in our life there has been immorality, need and misery everywhere around us. In our lives there should be a union of Nara and Narayana. We must choose the Lord as our charioteer, guide and inspirer. Only then will our whole life be a treasure house of spiritual wealth.

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This page prepared by  Ramadas
Created March 02, 2000; last modified March 08, 2000