3 Essential Teachings from the Gita

Secret Of Joy,Sorrow And Changing Bodies

The Bhagavad Gita can never be challenged. It offers a synopsis of the scriptural conclusions of Vedanta and the Brahman Sutras. We shall deal with specific verses of the Gita from Chapter 2.

The man of wisdom has a much-enhanced sense of perception. For him, joy and sorrow are one. (Chapter 2 Verse 15).

Only when consciousness becomes vibrant and belligerent can the mind become calm. The mind’s impurities and disturbances are responsible for keeping the consciousness levels low. When consciousness is low, the mind which is inert takes over and under the influence of material energy, Maya. It resorts to unfair means. The body becomes more important than the spirit and it is “misunderstood” as the spirit. Man gets identified with the vagaries of the body and mind. This bondage is solely responsible for the “experience” of sorrow and joy. When the body is satiated, there is a feeling of temporary elation. Man misunderstands this joy as “happiness”. But, one fails to understand that this joy is part of “enjoyment”. Enjoyment relates to the senses and hence is extremely short-lived. Man identifies himself with the distress in his body and experiences sorrow or pain. This is also short-lived. This makes man flicker ever like a dull flame in the midst of a storm. This is the irony of a man who is attuned to the body-mind.

On the contrary, when the mind is free of impurities or the “Ways of the World”, mind loses its potency to interfere with the spirit. Body and mind are seen to be different from the spirit. The spirit, the subject of all experiences, is realized. When this is realized, everything that is ephemeral, fleeting and disturbing is burnt to ashes in the torch-light of such wakeful consciousness. Naturally such a wise man is undisturbed by the happenings of the mind and body. When he is sick, he is cheerful in the light of the spirit. The small disturbances of the mind caused by loss of a job or lack of money for a living cannot cast a shadow on his state of happiness and joy born out of the spirit. Such a person is ever content and satisfied. He is powered by the eternal subject, consciousness.

2) That which changes with time can never be eternal and hence cannot represent the ultimate reality. Ultimate reality cannot change and neither temporary. Seers who have deliberated on these two aspects have come to this conclusion (Chapter 2, Verse 16).

We see that time moves along bringing about changes in the world. We see people dying, people getting old and babies born. What mindsets ruled the world yesterday have become undeniably obsolete and useless in the present. What truths or myths that existed in the world yesterday have become more or less unheard in today’s world. Everything changes, body changes, mind changes then what is it that does not change? That which does not change is the projector of all that is changing and temporary. It is awareness, consciousness alone that never undergoes any change. It is the same consciousness which is behind everything, the eternal witness. When one graduates in one’s observation by inculcating spiritual values and discipline, one shall be able to realize himself as the eternal witness and will be able to witness the vagaries of the mind and observe the workings of nature. Such an individual graduates to the cadre of sages.

3) The clothes for the soul is represented by the body. Just as one discards worn garments, the soul discards worn out bodies and accepts new ones (Chapter 2, verse 22).

The soul stands for the jeev which is a combination of a vestige of mind along with consciousness. The transmigration process continues and individuality remains as long as mind gets attached to consciousness and travels from body to body. It is the mind alone that gives rise to individuality. The association of the subtleties of the individual mind along with Consciousness makes the travel of the individual possible. The same mind gets a bit added, a bit subtracted or modified based on Karma with every lifetime. The individuality is never lost and this is the secret of the endless transmigration process of an individual, whether he takes the body of a lion, a rabbit, woman or a dog. Unless the mind is resolved through spiritual discipline and invoking the Grace of the Lord, there is no freedom possible.