Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15 Verse 5
Free from Vanity and Delusion, victorious over the evil of attachment, dwelling constantly in the self or God, with desires completely stilled, liberated from the dualities, namely pleasure and pain. Such highly placed undeluded strivers reach the Eternal Goal.
The Problem of Self-Identification and its Solution
Verse 5 of Chapter 15 of the Bhagavad Gita needs to be studied from both a worldly and a spiritual standpoint. As soon as a living entity comes into the world, he starts identifying himself with everything around him. His childhood, name, parents, and physical appearance strengthen his identification. This is the beginning of Maya in his life. This identification increases in degree and variety as he ages. Thus, he distances himself from his essential nature which animates him, the spirit.
A devotee on the other hand is an individual who has undergone a severe reversal as compared to the common man. The devotee disengages himself from earlier identifications developed during the course of his lifetime. It is not possible for one to let go of one’s identification through a simple decision. This process of disengagement is the subject matter of Sadhana. In the course of spiritual discipline, the devotee trains to attach himself with the Supreme Spirit and subsequently learns to disengage from worldly entities.
This process is not easy as it seems to be. The devotee has to first realize within his heart that other than the Supreme Spirit nothing belongs to him. With firm conviction, he must realize that he deserves nothing of this world. This view is not a psychological suggestion that he gives to himself. It is not achieved through autosuggestion or any other western practices.
Can Autosuggestion help us develop Bhakti?
Western practices are outright rejected since spirituality does not fall under the purview of psychology or mental speculation. A person considered adept in psychology can never understand topics directly related to spirit. Only through sadhana, a person becomes eligible for grace. Spirituality does not look at the material qualifications. Instead, it can reject the highly qualified and accept a person considered to be a failure in the material world. A person, educated or uneducated must bear purity of intention. Only then can grace flow. Once grace is attained, he graduates out of the psychological games that the world plays.
Placed in the field of perfect spiritual knowledge, one breaks free from psychological inducements. The individual develops one-pointedness towards the Supreme Being, the source of creation. An individual who dedicates himself to God becomes utterly disinclined towards the world. Worldly activities disinterest him/her as they are mere manipulations of the psychological phenomenon.
Signs of True Devotion
Once an individual becomes disinclined towards the world, he becomes interested in God. Attachment to God is called Rati and the dispassion to the world resulting thereby is called Vairagya. By taking refuge under God, the individual becomes free of all materialistic emotions. Because what existed as materialistic emotions get transformed into Love for God or Bhakti. This is devotion. Objective of devotion is to become immersed in God by serving Him through thought, word and deed. Remembering the Lord at all times is the hallmark of cultivated devotion.
Only when devotion grows in the heart can attachment to the body be severed. All worldly actions are born out of the fundamental misunderstanding that the body and mind are the Self. When this misunderstanding gets defeated, the living entity is awakened to the original Self. All desires relating to the world then come to an end and the world loses all attraction.
Nature of desires
The mind belongs to the world when it is not purified. The world is transient and so is the mind. Just like newer things start cropping up and older things vanish, the mind too starts nurturing desires. With time the mind starts clinging from one desire to another like a dissatisfied monkey. The body ages and starts becoming weak but the mind continues its madness like a busy ghost and never lets peace descend on the heart. This is the nature of desires. Even if an object is attained by the mind, it is unable to enjoy the same object for a long time. The interest levels fall and the mind looks for a change.
This endless process keeps the mind in constant agitation. The more one tries to satisfy desires, the greater shall be the agitation and unrest. Trying to satisfy desires is like trying to extinguish fire with clarified butter! So a striver has to become conscious of the mind’s workings and pull away from those things which the mind desires. Instead, cultivate the habit of desiring the Lord. Except the Lord, nothing else has the capacity to put the mind to rest.
King Nimi and the Fire sacrifice supervisors
In the Srimad Bhagavatham Canto 11, Discourse 3, the reasons for getting attached to desires are discussed in detail from the viewpoint of Maya, the deluding potency of the Supreme Being. In the course of a conversation between King Nimi and supervisors of a fire sacrifice, there arose a conversation on the nature of Maya. King Nimi desired to know about Maya from the adepts of the fire sacrifice, who also happened to be the knowers of the Highest Truth. King Nimi himself was an Enlightened being. But, he asked this question on behalf of the living entities of Kali Yuga who suffer the pangs of Maya without relief.
One of the fire sacrifice supervisors by the name, Antariksha gave a thorough understanding of Maya. He explains that the Supreme Being split Himself into the mind and the ten senses. The ten senses include five senses of Knowledge and five senses of Action. These eleven components are said to be the body of Maya. The living entity or Jiva is then made to enjoy and suffer through these eleven components. The object of sense enjoyment emanates from the combination of these eleven components. When consciousness interacts with the mind and the senses, variety of sense objects come to being. The Jiva gets attached to these sense objects which are the product of his own senses and the mind.
Caught in repeated Births and Deaths
A Jeeva gets attached to the pleasure and pain experienced as a result of committing himself to sense objects. As he attaches himself to these objects, he gets identified with everything he perceives. He gets identified with the experiences and claims them as his own. Instigated by desires and inner motives the Jeeva puts to action, his senses. Thus, he undergoes agreeable and disagreeable consequences. Not only that, he even gets attached to those consequences creating a whirligig of cause and effect around him. This is the nature of his mundane life.
Once caught in the cycle of cause and effect, exhausting the past, accumulated effects cannot come to an end in just one lifetime. There is an insurmountable carry-over of causes that get created in each lifetime. Continuation and accumulation of ’cause and effect’ is called Karma. Karma is unresolved action and forms the cause of a futuristic effect.
Thus, the living entity cycles through repeated births and deaths without any relief. The whole cause-effect cycle is like an ever-increasing avalanche that proceeds in intensity from one life into another. This represents the insatiable cycle of Maya, the cosmic illusion born out of attachment to sense objects and the result of actions performed with the senses.
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