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[Fwd: Gita - Ch 6 44-47

From: Shree (
Date: Mon Sep 29 1997 - 15:49:36 PDT

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I am forwarding a copy of the discourse on chapter 6, verses 44-47.


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Last week, we discussed Slokas 40 to 43. In these Slokas, the lord
consoled Arjuna and all of us that any person who does good deeds can
never have a bad fate. Nothing bad can ever happen to a person who does
good.  He then said that those yogis whose minds deviate from thoughts
of God at the time of death, because of the uncontrolled desires,   will
not have to worry that the spiritual efforts will be wasted. When a
person does any good deed, he gets a certain amount of puNya.

On the other hand, bad deeds have a way of taking care of themselves.
Once a man was accused of stealing a Mercedes Benz car. After a long
court case, finally the man was declared innocent and he was released.
The very next day, he came back to court and said that he wanted to sue
his lawyer. The judge told him, "Why do you want to sue your lawyer?
Only yesterday he won a case for you.". The man said, "Thatís true your
honor. But I did not have the  money to pay him, so he took the car that
I stole"!

As the yogis do a lot of good deeds they will accumulate a lot of punya
and hence, after death, they first  move to the heavens, where they can
stay as long as their punya is not exhausted. In this time, they are
allowed to satisfy all their desires. If their puNya becomes exhausted,
but they still have some desires left in them, they are then born into a
house of wealthy but religious people - wealthy so that they will be
able to exhaust the remaining desires and religious so that, they will
be able to continue their spiritual efforts, once all their desires are
exhausted. In the time that they spend in the heavens, if they
completely exhaust all their desires, then they are born into a house of
enlightened yogis so that they will be in a suitable atmosphere to
pursue their spiritual efforts even from their childhood. However Such
births are extremely rare. But once the yogi is born in such a house,
not only is he thoroughly purified, because he is free of all desires,
but his knowledge is also left intact. Hence,  he will be able to pursue
his spiritual quest and realize God, with renewed vigor.

The Lord then explains how the yogi is able to continue in the spiritual
path, in the next sloka.

puurvaabhyaasena tenaiva hriyate hyavasho.api saH .
jiGYaasurapi yogasya shabdabrahmaativartate .. 6\.44..

This yogi, even though under the influence of his senses,  becomes drawn
towards God because of the force of habit of his previous births. Even
though he tries to seek knowledge  only due to an intellectual
curiosity, he becomes able to understand even the inner meanings of the
scriptural texts.

Puurvaabhyaasena tena - by the force of these habits from his previous
births : eva - only : hriyate - feels drawn (towards God) : hi - verily
: avashaH api saH - even though he is under the sway of his senses :
jiGYaasu api - even though he is just a curious seeker :   yogasya - of
yoga : shabdabrahma ativartate - he understands even the inner meanings
of the scriptures

When a yogi is born again, even in this new life, he becomes once more
attracted to the spiritual path, because of the force of habit from his
previous births. He might only be a jiGYaasu - a curious seeker of
knowledge, but even when he approaches the scriptural texts in a casual
manner, because of the knowledge that he has gained in his previous
births, he is able to understand even the inner meanings.

A personís actions are largely dictated by the force of habit. Once a
group of fisherwomen were returning from the market place to their
village when they got stuck in a storm. They were hence forced to take
shelter in a cottage that belonged to a flower seller. They were given a
room to sleep in. In that room the flower seller had kept many baskets
of flowers that he was planning to sell the next day and so the room was
filled with fragrance of the flowers. But this atmosphere was too
oppressive for the fisherwomen who could not sleep at all and they
finally decided to open their fish baskets and sprinkle the foul
smelling water close to themselves and only then they were able to

All actions are hence dictated by our habits. If a person is used to
pursuing material objects, he will find it difficult to go in the
spiritual path. At the same time, those yogis who spend their lives in a
noble manner and in thoughts of God, find that even in their next birth,
the influence of their habits helps them to realize God easily.

A manís actions are a reflection of his habits. In this Sloka, the Lord
talks about that yogi who is born in the house of the rich and
religious. In this new birth, this yogi has not completely become free
of the influence of his senses or desires - "avashaH api saH". He still
has desires for material objects. But in spite of all these,
"puurvaabhyaasena tena" - due to the habits of his previous lives,  he
finds himself being attracted "hriyate" towards God. He decides to find
out about what the scriptures say, only out of intellectual curiosity.
But he finds that he is able to understand, even the deeper meanings,
due to the spiritual efforts of previous lives. Some of us would have
had this experience. When we hear that somebody is going to give a
lecture on the Gita, we think, everybody is talking about Gita, let me
also go see what this Gita is. It will be useful to talk about it in
front of others so that I can seem knowledgeable. There is just an
intellectual curiosity to know about the Gita, nothing more. This
curiosity prompts us to go and listen to a lecture on the Gita. But when
we start listening to the lecture, we feel - "Aha! Is this not what I
have been thinking about all the time". These thoughts that are
expressed in the lectures donít seem to be mere words, but something
more. Shabdhabrahma means scriptures. Brahman is the absolute reality or
God. shabdha brahman is the reality expressed in words. The scriptures
like the  Gita, which talk about brahman can be called shabdhabrahman.
When this yogi reads or listens to the scriptural texts, because of his
knowledge from previous births, he is able to transcend what is said and
grasp even the inner meanings.

What about the yogi who is born in the house of enlightened yogis? The
Lord talks about him in the next sloka.

prayat{}naadyatamaanastu yogii sa.nshuddhakilbishhaH .
anekajanmasa.nsiddhastato yaati paraaM gatim.h .. 6\.45..

But the yogi who strives continuously, attains perfection  in this very
life, because of the effect of all his previous births. He is thoroughly
purified and so he is able to reach God.

tu - but : prayatnaat.h - by constantly striving : yatamaanaH -
practicing : yogii - the yogi : anekajanmasaMsiddhaH - attaining
perfection in this life, due to the effects of previous births :
saMshuddhakilbishhaH - being thoroughly cleaned of sin : tataH - from
this : paraaM gatiM yaati - he attains the supreme state.

This yogi who strives continuously attains perfection in this very life,
due to the effects of his previous births. He is completely purified and
so he is able to achieve God realization.

The human birth is something that is extremely difficult. Once three men
were sitting in the maternity ward of a hospital. They were looking very
tense, like other expectant fathers would look. After a little while, a
nurse came and told the first man, "Congratulations, your wife has given
birth to twins." The man said, "Oh, What a coincidence. I am working for
Double mint chewing gum company". After a little while, the nurse came
out again and told the second man, "Congratulations, your wife has given
birth to triplets". This man said, "Can you believe this coincidence. I
work for the 3M company". Immediately, the third man got up and started
running away. The nurse asked why he was running and the second man
said, "Oh, he got worried. He works for 7 up"

Only after millions of births, a human birth is possible. Whatever we do
in this present birth, will form the vasanas or impressions for the next
birth. When a yogi who has deviated from yoga is born once again, then
all his knowledge has been left intact. So when a yogi has been
involved in spiritual actions, these are the impressions that will shape
his mind in the next birth. All such impressions of previous births,
help a yogi who is constantly striving to reach God. Moreover, all his
sins and negative qualities get eliminated in each birth and finally, he
is born in a house of yogis in a very pure state and in a position where
he will be able to pursue his spiritual efforts even from his childhood.
So, the Lord says that such a yogi, can definitely achieve God
realization in this birth itself, if he strives continuously.

In chemistry labs, there is a method of purification of water which is
called distillation. In this method, the contaminated water is heated so
that all the impurities are left behind and the steam is cooled to get
purified water. This process is repeated many times to get extremely
pure water. Every time the water is heated, it becomes a bit more pure.
The many births that a person goes through are like the distillation
process. Each birth is intended to make him a bit more pure. When the
yogi is born again into the house of yogis, he has reached the very last
stage of this process and therefore he is already in a highly pure
state. From this stage he is able to reach the ultimate goal of God
realization, by constantly striving in this path.

The Lord  now talks about the superiority of this yogi who contemplates
on the lord.

tapasvibhyo.adhiko yogii GYaanibhyo.api mato.adhikaH .
karmibhyashchaadhiko yogii tasmaadyogii bhavaarjuna .. 6\.46..

This yogi who contemplates on God, is superior to an ascetic, to those
who have mastered the scriptures and even those who are involved in
actions, all of  which are performed with a selfish interest. So Arjuna,
you should become a yogi.

Yogii - the yogi : tapasvibhyaH - to the ascetics : adhikaH - is
superior : GYaanibhyaH api - even to those who have mastered the
scriptures : adhikaH mataH - are held superior :  cha - and :
kaarmibhyaH - those who perform actions with selfish motive : yogi -
this yogi : adhikaH - is superior : tasmaat.h - therefore : arjuna - O
Arjuna - yogii bhava - become a yogi.

In this Sloka the Lord refers to a tapasvi- these are people who
renounce worldly objects and undergo rigorous penance but with a selfish
motive. They want to do this penance for a particular purpose and are
subjecting themselves to such rigorous measures only for certain gains.
The yogi is superior to such ascetics who perform penance with a selfish
motive. The Gyaanis referred to here are those who have mastered the
scriptures but have only bookish knowledge. That knowledge which is not
applied only constitutes ego. Like Sriniji used to say, we have no ego
about the fact that we can walk or open a door because these are
examples of knowledge that we use all the time. But, if we have read
even a little of Gita or other scriptures and do not have any desire or
intent to put it in practice, then this knowledge just becomes ego - we
feel we know so much, only because we are not applying this knowledge.
The Gyaani who is referred to in this Sloka belongs to this category.
While knowing the scriptures is something that is very important, more
important is applying the knowledge that is gained from the scriptures.
So the lord says that a yogi is more superior to a Gyaani also. The last
category that is taken up is a Kaarmi. These are people who do noble
actions, but with a selfish motive. People who might donate to
charities, just for name and fame - or seeing their pictures in the
newspapers or TV, who will donate blood only in front of a camera etc
belong to this category. They do noble acts but with selfish motives and
a yogi is far superior to such kaarmis.

The Lord here stresses that however noble any act is, if it is done with
a selfish motive then it does not have any value. This is the first
time, that the Lord openly tells Arjuna that he should become a yogi and
that yoga is the best way to go close to God. Renouncing all objects and
practising rigorous penance, learning and mastering all the scriptures,
doing noble acts are all steps to the final stage. All these have to be
practiced to give a grounding, a base for reaching the final stage. But
practicing yoga with full concentration on God and God alone, with no
desire other than wanting to reach God is the only way that a person can
reach God.

Who is the best yogi? The Lord answers in the next sloka.

yoginaamapi sarveshhaaM madgatenaantaraatmanaa .
shraddhaavaanbhajate yo maa.n sa me yuk{}tatamo mataH .. 6\.47..

Of all the yogis, he who devoutly worships me  with his mind focused on
me, is considered by me to be the best yogi.

SarveshhaaM yoginaaM - of all the yogis : api - too : yaH - that yogi
who : shraddhaavaan.h - full of respect and faith : madgatena
antaraatmaa - with his mind focussed on Me : maaM - Me : bhajate -
constantly worships : saH - he : me - by me : yuktatamaH - the best yogi
: mataH - considered.

The Lord says that the yogi who constantly thinks of the Lord with
supreme love and faith at all times is the most superior yogi. By
calling such a devotee "the greatest yogi", the Lord is glorifying his
loving devotee. He says that the man of noble action, an ascetic who
does penance as well as a man of knowledge are all dear to him, but even
better is that yogi who is engaged in spiritual practices leading to God
realization. But that devotee who offers his exclusive love to the Lord,
regards the Lord as his only goal and is always thinking about the Lord
is the most superior yogi.

We often say
kaayena vaacha manasa indriyairvaa buddhyaa aatmanaava prkR^iteH
karomi yat.h yat.h sakalaM parasmai, naaraayanaayethi samarpayaami.

We say that we are dedicating to the Lord, every action of ours done by
our body, words, mind, intellect and even those that are part of our
nature. This is a great commitment by us, because if this were genuine
then there is no way that we can get anger or hate or jealousy or greed.
Even when we offer a fruit to the Lord, we make sure that it is cleaned
thoroughly. This should be a reminder to us in all our actions and when
we remember that all our actions are being offered to the Lord, then
automatically, we would like to cleanse them thoroughly and perform
actions only in the best way possible. Only when we remember God in each
and every action, in our waking moments as well as sleep, at every
moment of our lives, we can say that we are true devotees of the Lord
and when we are true devotees, the Lord says that we automatically
become extremely dear to Him.

Once there was a blind man who used to go to a temple every day and pray
to the Lord. The other devotees in the temple asked him, "Why do you
come to the temple when it is not possible for you to see the lord?".
The blind man replied, "It is true that I cannot see the lord. But, is
it also true that he cannot see me?"

The Lord once again reiterates in this sloka that devotion is not a one
way road. HE loves his devotees as much as they love Him. Earlier in
this chapter, while talking about the God realized yogis, the Lord said
that these yogis never lose sight of the Lord and the Lord also never
loses sight of them. Once again he says that the devotee who thinks of
Him with love at all times is extremely dear to Him.

In this context, I remember a poem called "Footprints in the sand". This
talks about a man who was an ardent devotee of the Lord. One day, he
dreamt that he was able to meet God and walk along with him. Across the
sky, he is able to see the scenes from his life. For each incident,
there are two sets of foot prints in the sand, one belonging to him and
one belonging to God. He noticed that many times along the path,
whenever he had had trouble or moments of grief, there were only one set
of footprints. This really bothers him and so he asks God, "Oh Lord, Do
tell me, Why are there only one set of footprints in all those moments
when I have had the greatest troubles?  Did you desert me, whenever I
had my moments of trouble?". The Lord replies, "My precious Child, Those
moments when you had the greatest trouble and suffering, you can see
only one set of footprints because, those were the moments that I
carried you".

A true devotee of the Lord hence need not have any cause to worry
because the Lord will always take care of him whenever he has any
trouble or worries. God is always present to bail us out of all our
problems. The Lord considers his sincere devotee as extremely dear to
Him and  it is because of this  that He has accorded him the status of
the highest yogi.