There is an urgent need to reaffirm our faith in Govinda in order to live a meaningful life & bring peace & happiness.
This blog is therefore a humble attempt to get familiar with Vaishnavism, its basic tenets, through notes, stories etc. It is written based on my personal learnings and experiences.
The Vedas have the 3 gunas for their sphere, O Arjuna. You must be free of the 3 gunas & be free from the pairs of opposites. Abide in pure sattva; never care to acquire things and to protect what has been acquired, but be established in the self.
The word Traigunya means the 3 gunas - Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Here the term Traigunya denotes persons in whom Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are in abundance. The vedas in prescribing desire oriented rituals (Kamya-karmas), have such persons in view. Because of their great love, the vedas teach the means of attainment of heaven etc.,according to the gunas, to those in whom Tamas, Rajas and Sattva preponderate. If the vedas had not done so, then those not interested in liberation owing to absence of sattva and predominance of Rajas and tamas in them, would get completely lost. They would be involved with activities that should not be resorted to, without knowing the means for attaining the results they desire. Hence the vedas are concerned with the gunas. Therefore, be free from the 3 gunas. Try to acquire sattva in abundance; increase that alone. The purport is : do not nurse the predominance of the 3 gunas in their state of intermixture.
Be free from the pairs of opposites; be free from all the characteristics of worldly life. Abide in pure sattva in its state of purity without the admixture of the other 2 gunas. It might be questioned as to how that is possible - Never care to acquire things nor protect what has been acquired what is not required for self realization. You can thus be established in self control and thereby become an aspirant of the essential nature of the self. Yoga is acquisition of what has not been acquired; Kshema is the preservations of things already acquired. Abandoing these is a mustfor such an aspirant. If you conduct yourself in this way, the predominance of rajas and tamas will be annihilated and pure sattva will develop.
To an enlightened Brahmana all vedas are as useful as a tank when there is a flood everywhere
It is evident that a tank containing water is very useful in a place where water cannot be had from any other source. But nobody ever pays any attention to such a tank in a locality submerged everywhere with pure water. Likewise the vedas and the scriptures are of use to those who are still in ignorance. By faithfully following the sacred books, happiness can be obtained on earth and in heaven which are both in the region of the phenomenon. But the various spheres of relative existence become meaningless to the one illumined with Brahma-jnanam. It is infinite beatitude. All earthly and heavenly happiness are mere rays of that endless brilliance. The food consumed in dream does not nourish the body; whereas what is consumed in the wakeful state gives succour both in the wakeful state and in sleep. Like wise Brahma-jnanam which leads to the absolute existence enriches the Prakriti-bound relative existence also abundantly.
The courtesan of a prince heeds not the courting of a beggar on the road. The one enjoying the supreme bliss of communion with the Maker cares not for all earthly joys and enticements
The entire content of this mail is from Swami Adidevananda's translation of Ramanuja's Gita Bhashya, published by Ramakrishna Mission.
The Way of the Worldly - 42-44
1 Gita Sloka every day - Chapter 2 - Samkhya Yoga - Sloka 44
Bhoga aishwarya prasaktanam taya apahrta chetasam I
Vyavasayatmika buddhih samadhau na vidhyate II sloka 44
भोग ऐश्वर्य प्रसक्तानां तया अपहर्त चेतसां ।
व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते ।। श्लोक ४४
Those who cling so to pleasure & power are attracted by that speech (offering heavenly rewards) and are unable to develop the resolute will of a concentrated mind.
The ignorant whose knowledge is little, and who have as their sole aim the attainment of enjoyment and power, speak the flowery language ie showing fruits, which look apparently beautiful at first sight. They rejoice in the letter of the vedas ie they are attached to heaven and such other results (promised in the karma kanda of the vedas). They say that there is nothing else, owing to their intense attachment to these results. They say that there is no fruit superior to heaven etc. They are full of worldly desires and their minds are highly attached to secular desires. They hanker for heaven & its enjoyment, after which one can again have rebirth which offers again the opportunity to perform varied rites devoid of true knowledge. This leads towards the attainment of enjoyments and power once again.
With regard to those who cling to pleasure and power and whose understanding is contaminated by rites related to pleasure and lordly powers, the mental disposition characterised by resolution will not arise in their samadhi. Samadhi here means the mind. The knowledge of the self will not arise in such minds. In the minds of these persons, there cannot arise the mental disposition that looks at all vedic rituals as means of liberation based on the determined conviction about the real form of self. Hence in an aspirant for liberation, there should be no attachment to rituals out of conviction that they are meant for the acquisition of objects of desire only.
It may be questioned why the vedas, which have more of love for jivas than thousands of parents, and which are endeavouring to save the jivas should prescribe in this way rites whose fruits are infinitesimal and which produce only new births. It can also be asked if it is proper to abandon what is given in the vedas. These questions are answered in the following slokas.
The Vedas enumerate the 3 gunas. You transcend the 3 gunas, O Arjuna. Be free from the pairs of opposites, ever balanced, unconcerned with getting and keeping and centred in the Self.
Prakriti or the phenomenal universe is here designated as the vedas; and this is the correct definition. The compiled literary works, Rig, Yajur, Sama & Atharva are also called vedas, because they deal with the working of the universe. They help the aspirant to understand intellectually, the function of Prakriti. So far, they are indispensable. When the vedas are said to be imperishable, it refers to Prakriti which is eternal and not to the books which run the risk of being destroyed or neglected. More than all these, it is Prakriti that is constituted of the 3 gunas - Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
To be Prakriti-bound is not the goal of the enlightened human life. While life here is entangled, what is beyond is unfettered. The means to get into it is also presented here. Heat & cold, pain & pleasure, gain & loss, victory & defeat - duals such as these are called pairs of opposites. They are inevitable in the phenomenal existence. When a person refuses to be affected favourably or adversely by these happenings and when he maintains his even-mindedness, he is said to be making progress in self-culture. The term yoga-kshema requires to be clarified. Yoga is the act of seeking for the needful earthly things and kshema the act of keeping carefully, such things procured. But the spiritual aspirant ought to be unconcerned with getting and keeping them. As all beings get, as a matter of course, the air they require for breathing, the spiritual aspirant gets his bare bodily requirement without effort. Such is the law of spiritual life. The aspirant deviates from the path when he gives undue attention to getting and keeping them. As one gets his being centered in the Self, he transcends the phenomenal existence.
If the word 'Gita' be read rapidly, it would sound, 'Tagi tagi.....' And the word Tagi is a modification of the word Tyagi - the man of renunciation. Renunciation of the phenomenal existence is the gist of the Gita.
Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Whatever a man wants for his earthly life can be procured here and he can live a happy life. Instead, what is it that one gets by transcending the 3 gunas? The answer comes in the next sloka.
Kam atmanah swarg parah janma karma phala pradam I
Kriya vishesh bahulam bhoga aishwarya gatim prati II sloka 43
कं आत्मनः स्वर्ग परः जन्म करमा फल प्रदं ।
क्रिया विशेष बहुलां भोग ऐश्वर्य गतिं प्रति ।। श्लोक ४३
O Partha! the unwise, who rejoice in the letter of the vedas, say, " There is nothing else". They are full only of worldly desires and they hanker for heaven. They speak flowery words which offer rebirth as the fruit of work. They look upon the vedas as consisting entirely of varied rites for the attainment of pleasure and power.