Friday, July 29, 2011

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 3 - Karma Yoga - Sloka 11

The entire content of this mail is from Swami Chidbhavananda's translation of The Bhagavad Gita, published by Ramakrishna Mission.
Translations of other slokas of the Gita are available on my blog

The greatness of Yajna -9-13
1 Gita Sloka every day - Chapter 3 - Karma Yoga - Sloka 11
Rama @ Chitrakoot with the rishis

Devan bhavayat anen te devah  bhavayantu vah I
Parasparam bhavayantah shreyah parama vapsyatha II sloka 11
देवान भावयत अनेन ते देवः भावयन्तु वः ।
परस्परं भावयन्तः श्रेयः परम् अवाप्स्यथ ।। श्लोक ११ 

Cherish the devas with this; and may the devas cherish you; thus cherishing one another, you shall reap the supreme good.

Etymologically the word deva means the one that is shining. In the human frame the senses are called devas. They are shining in their own way and they bring light to the dweller in the body. If food is not supplied to the body, the senses become weak and unable to function. If the senses are abused, then also they get worn out. 

But when they are properly cherished they become useful to bring knowledge and efficiency to man. To the extent man gets enlightened, he looks after the senses with added wisdom and attention. Mutual fostering takes place this way causing good to both. Life becomes enriched by this process.

Highly evolved souls are called devas wherever they happen to be. Cosmic forces are also called devas because of their efficient functioning. The characteristic of the good and the enlightened is that they are always engaged in the welfare of all. It is yajna to aid them in their noble and auspicious endeavours. The good and the noble in the world spontaneously come forward to serve the doers of good  and to promote their noble causes. Those who sacrifice themselves completely to God get their reward accordingly. As the fuel that gives itself away to fire, becomes fire in its turn, the devotees who surrender their everything to the Lord, become all divinity. By sacrificing his all to God, man attains Godhood. This is the supreme good that yajna brings.
Whatever you offer to the Lord is returned to you, magnified manifold. Take care therefore, that you do not offer anything bad to him.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ramanuja's Gita Bhashyam - Chapter 3 - Karma Yoga - sloka 9

The entire content of this mail is from Swami Adidevananda's translation of Ramanuja's Gita Bhashya, published by Ramakrishna Mission.

The greatness of Yajna -9-13
Gita Sloka every day - Chapter 3 - Karma Yoga - Sloka 9
Sabari's selfless devotion to her Acharya and Rama
Yajna arthat karmanah anyatra lokah ayam karma bandhanah I
Tad artham karma kaunteya mukta sangah  sam achara II sloka 9
यज्ञ अर्थात कर्मणः अन्यत्र लोकः अयं कर्म बन्धनः ।
तद अर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्त संगः सं आचर ।। श्लोक ९ 

This world is held in bondage of work only when work is not performed as sacrifice. O Arjuna, you must perform work to this end, free from attachment.

The world is bound by the bond of work only when work is done for personal ends, but not when work is performed or money acquired for the purpose of sacrifice., etc. prescribed in the scriptures. So for the purpose of the sacrifice, you must perform acts like the acquisition of money. In doing so , overcome attachments generated by the pursuit of personal ambitions  and then do your work in the spirit of yajna when a person is free form attachment does work for the sake of sacrifices etc., the Supreme Person, propitiated by sacrifices etc., grants him the calm vision of the self after destroying the subtle impressions of his karmas, which have continued from time without beginning. 

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 3 - Karma Yoga - Sloka 10

The entire content of this mail is from Swami Chidbhavananda's translation of The Bhagavad Gita, published by Ramakrishna Mission.

The greatness of Yajna -9-13
1 Gita Sloka every day - Chapter 3 - Karma Yoga - Sloka 10

Has yagna  any place in the cosmic plan?

Sahayagyah prajah srushta purovacha prajapatih I
Anena prasavishyadhvam esha vah astu ishta kama dhruk II sloka 10
सहयज्ञाः प्रजाः सृष्टा पुरोवाच प्रजापतिः।
अनेन प्रसविष्यध्वं एष वः अस्तु इष्ट काम धुक्  ।श्लोक १० 

Having created mankind in the beginning together with yajna, the prajapati said, "By this shall you propagate; this shall be the milch cow of your desires"

The creative force of nature is an aspect of Iswara. Manifesting himself in this aspect He governs and guides human destiny. Then He is known as Prajapati.

Life on earth is wrought with misery, however much a man may pose to be free from it. Still, there is an unfailing way to convert earthly life into a 'mansion of mirth'. When all activities in life are changed to yajna, the spectacle also undergoes a corresponding change. Man is born to give and not to grab. The grabbing man pays the penalty in the form of misery; the giver reaps a reward in the form of undiluted joy. The means to give somehow increases in man who has the mind to give. The resources, the bodily effort and the mental disposition - all these become multiplied in the man of yajna.  His life flowers in being useful to others and fruits in enlightenment.

Kamadhuk is also called Kamadhenu.  It is a mythological milch cow, having a woman's head and a bird's wings. The usefulness of the human the Beast and the Bird are all combined in it. The owner of this divine cow is believed to have all his wants immediately supplied. Allegorically this milch cow is nothing other than yajna. The doer of yajna  is never in want, he is always in affluence. Whatever he wants to offer to others comes to him easily. His bounteous mind is the real kamadhenu.  Because of this frame of mind he is ever in prosperity.  Preyas & Sreyas do both pay homage to him. This is the plan and purpose of the cosmos. 

What is the practical shape that can be given to the spirit of yajna - this is explained in the next sloka

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ramanuja's Gita Bhashyam - Chapter 3 - Karma Yoga - sloka 8

The entire content of this mail is from Swami Adidevananda's translation of Ramanuja's Gita Bhashya, published by Ramakrishna Mission.

Jnana Yoga & Karma yoga are complementary - 3-8
1 Gita Sloka every day - Chapter 3 - Karma Yoga - Sloka 8

Niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyayah hi akramanah I
Sharir yatrapi  cha te na prasiddhayed akarmanah II sloka 8
नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वां कर्म ज्यायः हि अकर्मणः ।
शरीर यात्रापि च ते न प्रसिद्धयेद अकर्मणः ।। श्लोक ८ 

You must perform your obligatory  action; for action is superior to non-action (jnana yoga). For a person following non-action, not even the sustenance of the body is possible

'Obligatory' (Niyatam)  means 'concomitant' (iVyaptam); for action is concomitant with that which is conjoined with prakriti or the body. The contact with prakriti has arisen from beginningless subtle impressions (Vasanas).  You must perform work, because the performance of action is easy and may not cause accidents by reason of its being obligatory. Action is superior to non-action, ie., even to the devotee of jnana. Devotion to jnana alone is indicated by the word 'non-action' (Akarma). Even in the case of one qualified for devotion to jnana, devotion to karma indeed is better because jnana-nishta  is difficult to perform  and liable to accidents; that too, If it has not been practised previously and as it does not come to one naturally. Subsequently it will be described how, one with the knowledge of the true nature of the self can carry on actions along with that knowledge. Moreover, because knowledge of the self too is included in karma yoga, this kind of yoga is superior.

This statement on the superiority  of activity (karma yoga) over gnana yoga  is valid even when there is competency for one to adopt jnana yoga. For, if you abandon all activities to qualify yourself for jnana yoga, then nourishment of the body, which is necessary even for jnana-nishtha, will not be possible. The body has to be necessarily sustained until the means are executed to the full. Performing 'great sacrifices'  with the help of honestly earned wealth, the body has to be sustained by consuming the remainders left after such sacrifices. This is made clear from scriptural texts like, 'When the food is pure, the sattva (mind or inner organ) becomes pure; when the sattva  is pure, then the remembrance (meditation) will be steady (Cha U., 7.26.2). Sri Krishna himself will declare : the sinful ones who cook food for their own sake eat sin (3.13)

Consequently even the sustenance of the body will not be possible in the case of one who practises  jnana-nishtha,  and does not act. Besides the understanding of the true nature of the self is incorporated in karma yoga, as it involves the contemplation of the self as being a non-agent. It is also in line with the nature of life (prakriti). Karma yoga, is for these reasons easier and it is free from danger of downfall. Therefore, you must perform karma yoga only. This is the purport of the verse.

If it is contended that any action such as earning money implies 'I-ness', 'My-ness' etc. and will therefore be disturbing to the senses, and that such a person devoted often to works will be in bondage through subtle impressions of his acts - Krishna replies in the next verse.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 3 - Karma Yoga - Sloka 9

The entire content of this mail is from Swami Chidbhavananda's translation of The Bhagavad Gita, published by Ramakrishna Mission.

The greatness of Yajna -9-13
1 Gita Sloka every day - Chapter 3 - Karma Yoga - Sloka 9
Sabari's selfless devotion to her Acharya and Rama
Yajna arthat karmanah anyatra lokah ayam karma bandhanah I
Tad artham karma kaunteya mukta sangah  sam achara II sloka 9
यज्ञ अर्थात कर्मणः अन्यत्र लोकः अयं कर्म बन्धनः ।
तद अर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्त संगः सं आचर ।। श्लोक ९ 

The world is bound by actions other than those performed for the sake of yajna. Do therefore, O son of Kunti, earnestly perform action for yajna alone, free from attachment.

Competition cooperation and self dedication  are the three ways in which beings make life a fulfillment. The lowest order of creation exists by sheer competition. In this stage, the struggle for existence is an endless warfare. The physically strong and the fittest thrive and prosper while the weak and the feeble are either left in the background or exterminated. This law of survival of the fittest inexorably prevails in life at the physical level. Plants, birds and beasts bear testimony to it. 

In the life at the mental plane, cruel competition gets minimised. Intelligent cooperation gains ground here. This process is also known as social life. Man is a social being though corporate life  is not his exclusive prerogative. Other beings are also found very well at it. Corporate life is more conducive to growth  and progress than the competitive one. The civilization of man is mainly based on his gregarious instinct. Collective peace and security are the bases for prosperity and progress in arts and sciences. Man enjoys these advantages much more than the lower order of creation.

Self dedication is the highest law of life.  It prevails at the ethical and spiritual planes. It is given to the enlightened man alone to practise self dedication. The act of offering the best and the most useful in one for the welfare of the others. Both the giver and receiver stand to gain through this sacred act. It is like draining water away from a copious well into a fertile field. This bounteous act goes by the name of yajna  which literally means sacrifice. As fresh water springs out from an emptied well, the man who performs yajna becomes more and more enlightened and prosperous. BY imparting one's learning to others the capacity to teach increases. By sharing one's knowledge and wisdom with others, one's fund of knowledge and wisdom increases. By supplying manure to the soil its capacity to yield is made more potential. By giving the labourer his due wage the urge in him to turn out more work is made keen. BY sharing one's wealth with all those who have been responsible for its growth, security and further expansion are ensured. the personal weal is ever unfailingly contained in the public weal. Giving effect to this inviolable law of nature is the practise of yajna.  

Meritorious act untainted by selfishness, disinterested service, work of any kind performed for general welfare, adoration of the Almighty, ethical and spiritual endeavours - all these salutary activities are contained in yajna.

Dedicating oneself to spiritual life amounts to performance of yajna.  Waging a righteous war to wipe out wickedness from the world is an act of yajna. Increasing the wealth of the country not for self aggrandizement but for people's welfare is definitely yajna.  Humble and obscure labourers such as the hewers of wood, drawers of water. tillers  of soil and carriers of load are also performing yajna  when they assume the attitude that with the sweat of their brow they are serving the Lord and his creation. It is the attitude that transforms the soul entangling karma into the soul emancipating yajna.  Divinity reveals itself best where yajna  takes place. That "yajna  is Vishnu" is an Upanishadic statement. Performance of yajna  leads man to sreyas.
He lives in vain who does not utilise the human birth which is very rare to obtain, for the attainment of Divinity
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa