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From: Bharadwaj, Jaganath (jbb0_at_nreca.org)
Date: Fri Jun 05 1998 - 13:59:54 PDT
Arjuna: "Vaasudeva! If karmas meant to fulfil one's desires are prohibited then why did the Vedas and other Saastras, which are the epitome of God's kindness, a thousand times more so than any mother or father, instruct us to perform such karmas? How can one give the rites prescribed as "must do" by the Vedas? If you tell us to give us such karmas, then what is the authority by which the Saastras instruct us to perform such karmas?" Sri Bhagavaan: "On Son of Paandu! The Vedas in general apply to all souls or living entities. The Saastras provide various methods to fulfil each and every type of desire. The Vedas do prescribe the means by which one can gain wealth and fulfil other carnal desires. (Here the use of the word carnal is broad enough to encompass any desire not connected with serving Sriman Narayana.). For those bent upon fulfilling such desires, the relevant instructions in the Vedas are valid. For example, water in a lake provides water for drinking and bathing for the whole community surrounding its banks. A person burning with thirst will take as much water from the lake, as is necessary to quench his thirst. He will not empty the whole lake. Similarly, only those rites in the Vedas that are the means for liberation from the cycle of birth and death, should be performed by those eager to attain liberation. Other than that, the rites for material gain should be avoided." Arjuna: "Hrishikesa! If you require us to give all those karmas not directly connected with liberation, then we would be forced to give up daily (nitya karma) and periodic (naimittika karma) rites, without a clear perception of what should be performed and what should be avoided." Sri Bhagavaan: "Daily, periodic and rites for fulfillment of desires have a few of the fruits of their performance mentioned in the Vedas themselves. Only the performance of daily and periodic rites, ordained by the Saastras as duties for those entitled to their performance, will give one the right to perform other rites. These daily and periodic rites destroy sins caused every moment by the mind and speech. The fruit of performance of such rites is the fact that one does not accrue the sin of non performance of these rites. Someone like you who desires liberation, is entitled to perform the rites ordained by the Saastras. You do not have the right to enjoy the other fruits of the performance of such rites. Do not consider yourself the performer of these actions. Do not therefore consider the fruits of these actions as your possession. (We get paid for working in an office. Similarly, Sriman Naaraayana is providing us with food, clothing, shelter, spouse, children, all our other necessities and protection as well. These daily and periodic rites are required to be performed by us, because He has instructed us to do so.) In this way one should perform these daily and periodic rites in a detached manner, without ever giving them up. You (who is desirous of liberation), do not want to get involved in the consequences of their non performance." Arjuna: "Oh Madhusoodhana! On the one hand you say that one should not perform rites which result in fulfillment of specified desires. On the other hand, you say that we can perform such rites without desiring their fruits. Is it possible for a single rite to give multiple results?" Sri Bhagavaan: "Oh Dhananjaya (winner of wealth)! Even though there is no difference in the rites you perform, it will yield different fruits depending upon the intentions with which you perform them. One who performs the agnihotram sacrifice with a view to securing the fruits of this sacrifice will go to heaven (svarga). The same sacrifice performed with an intention to merely please God will get you liberation. The difference in the intent with which two people perform the same rite will lead to a difference in the fruits they experience." Arjuna: "Oh Janaardana! What is the result that accrues to one who performs Karmayoga along with buddhiyoga?" Sri Bhagavaan: "Arjuna! When a person who has understood the nature of the soul from the Saastras, performance Karmayoga, this performance leads to steadiness of mind in the face of turbulence like pleasure and pain. Such steadiness of mind leads to an experience of the soul." Arjuna: "Kesava! How does one recognize a person who has steadied his mind? How does he talk? What kind of actions does he perform?" Sri Bhagavaan: "Arjuna! There are four stages for one who has obtained steadiness in knowledge. The first stage is called yathmaana samjnya. The second stage is called vyathireka samjnya. The third stage is called Ekendriya samjnya. The fourth stage is called vachikaara samjnya. This is the ripened stage in steadiness of mind by knowledge. In the first stage the practitioner or yogi, stops his senses from dictating terms in all transactions and makes his mind center on the spiritual path. If a desire is fulfilled by Sriman Narayana's grace, he does not become overjoyed by it. If also be Sriman Narayana's grace, an unpleasant situation were to occur, he does not get perturbed by it. One who has neither craving for, nor hatred towards anything is a vyathireka samjnya. One who does not grieve when the prospect of a long cherished ambition is whisked away from almost within one's grasp, or at the prospect of a joyful moment being turned into a sorrowful moment; one who does not rejoice at the prospect of a sorrowful moment being turned into a joyful moment; such a one who has controlled passion, fear, anger etc and is constantly meditating on the soul is called Ekendriya samjnyan. Whoever manages to meditate ceaselessly on the soul without allowing his mind to wander on to the thoughts of any other sense object, and is satisfied with experiencing the soul, is called 'vachikaara samjnyan'." Arjuna: "Madhusoodana! This seems to be leading into a catch 22 situation (anyonyaashraya dosham). Unless one controls desires, one cannot experience the soul. Unless one experiences the soul, one cannot control desires. How does one get out of this dilemma?" Sri Bhagavaan: "Arjuna! Let me tell you the way by which one can suppress desires prior to getting a vision of the soul. If you are unable to withdraw your senses from external (unwanted) objects by your own efforts, redirect your senses from their present attraction to My all attractive divine deity form. Meditate on My divya mangala vigraham or all auspicious deity form. By this process, sins will be burned away. Then you will be able to suppress unwanted desires. You will then be able to easily experience the soul." Thus ends the essence of the second chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad Geeta with Sri Nammazhwar's grace whose thirunakshatram we will be celebrating next week. Please celebrate our beloved Acharya's thirunakshatram by supporting Sri Ranganatha Temple. His vigraham will arrive when the temple is built. There are many temples being built in the country, but never before have Srivaishnavas had an opportunity to build one that will show the path to Moksham so clearly as this temple will do to people fortunate to be associated with it. If you enjoyed the above post please support Sri Ranganatha Temple which made this possible. Send your tax deductible check to Sri Ranganatha Temple. 117 Demarest Mill Road, West Nyack, NY 10994. or visit http://dileepan.busi.utc.edu/ahboard.html for monthly direct debits from your bank account. Please visit Sri Ranganatha Temple homepage at http://www.geocities.com/~ahobilam/ranga.html and enjoy the beauty of this archa avataram from the comfort of your home or office. adiyen jaganath.