AUM — Vol. 6, No. 1,2, Aug. — 27 Sep. 1970

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The Bhagavad-Gita — The God Song. Chapter VI: Self-control

No more hesitation! No more fear! No more confusion! The first verse of the sixth chapter tells Arjuna that a Sannyasi and a Yogi are one. “He who does his duty with no expectation of the fruit of action is at once a Sannyasi (Sankhya-yogi) and a Yogi (Karma-yogi).” Abstention and selfless dynamism are one.

Needless to say that it is renunciation that unites Sannyasa and Yoga. This renunciation is the renunciation of desire and the renunciation of expectation. Action, right action, must be one. Action is no bondage. Action is aspiration. Action is realisation. The Gita demands our freedom from the stark bondages of action and not from action. The evil bondage that is our foe is within us and not without us. So also is our divine friend, freedom. It seems that we are at the mercy of our mind. Milton in his ‘Paradise Lost’ speaks of the mind. “It (mind) can make a Hell of Heaven or Heaven of Hell.” But a true devotee can easily transcend this deplorable fate. His aspiration and rejection make him one with God’s Will. He soulfully sings:

"If I ascend to heaven, Thou are there;
There too, Thou, if I make my bed in hell.”"

In this chapter Sri Krishna has used the words Yoga and Yogi at least 30 times. Here he tells Arjuna whom is the yoga meant for. “Arjuna, this yoga is neither for an epicure, nor for him who does not eat at all, neither for him who sleeps overmuch, nor for him who is endlessly awake.”

Self-indulgence and self-mortification are equally undeserving. To a self-indulgent person, the Goal will always remain a far cry. He who follows the philosophy of Charvaka lives in the world of indulgence which is nothing other than frustration. And this frustration is the song of destruction. The philosopher Charvaka declares:

"“The pain of hell lies in the troubles that arise from foes, weapons and diseases, while liberation (Moksha) is death which is the cessation of life-breath.”"

To be sure, liberation is the life-breath of the human soul. And this life-breath was before the birth of creation, is now in creation and also beyond the creation.

We have dealt with self-indulgence. Now let us focus our attention on self-mortification. The Buddha tried self-mortification. And then what happened? He came to realise the true truth that self-mortification could never give him what he wanted — Illumination. So he gladly adopted the middle path, the golden mean. Neither did he accept starvation nor indulgence. With this peerless wisdom the Buddha won his Goal.

Arjuna’s sterling sincerity speaks not only for him but also for us. Yoga is equanimity. How can a restless mind of a human being be controlled? Unsteady is the mind. Unruly like the wind is the mind. Krishna identifies himself with the poor Arjuna’s state of development. Krishna’s very consolation is another name for illumination.

"“O Arjuna, the mind is unsteady, indeed! To curb the mind is not easy. But the mind can be controlled by constant practice and renunciation.”"

What is to be practised? Meditation. What is to be renounced? Ignorance.

Krishna’s firm conviction, ‘Yoga can be attained through practice’ transforms our golden dream into the all-fulfilling Reality.

Practice is patience. There is no short cut. “Patience is the virtue of an ass”, so do we hear from the wise-acres. The impatient horse in us or the hungry tiger in us will instantly jump to this grandiose discovery. But the revealing peace in the aspirant and the fulfilling power in the aspirant will dearly and convincingly make him feel that patience is the light of Truth. The light of Truth is indeed the Goal.

A great Indian spiritual figure on being asked by her disciples as to how many years of strenuous practice brought her full Realisation, she burst into a roaring laughter.

"“Practice! my children, what you call practice is nothing other than your personal effort. Now, when I was like you at your stage, unrealised, I thought and felt that my personal effort was ninety-nine per cent and God’s Grace was one per cent, no more than that. But my utter stupidity died the moment self-realisation took birth in me. I then, to my amazement, saw, felt and realised that the Grace of my merciful Lord was ninety-nine per cent and my feeble personal effort was one per cent. Here my story does not come to an end, my children. Finally I realised that that one per cent of mine also was my Supreme Father’s unconditional and soulful concern for me. My children, you feel that God-realisation is a struggling race. It is not true. God-realisation is always a descending Grace.”"

What we truly need is patience. When impatience assails us we can, however, sing with the poet:

"“Thou, so far, we grope to grasp Thee —"

But when our consciousness is surcharged with patience, we can sing in the same breath with the same poet:

"“Thou, so near, we cannot clasp Thee —"

It is not quite unusual for us to see that even an earnest seeker fails in the spiritual path. In spite of the very fact that he had faith and devotion in ample measure, he fails to complete his journey. This question haunts Arjuna’s heart. He says to Krishna: “Though endowed with faith, a man who has failed to subdue his passion and whose mind is wandering away from yoga, (at the time of passing away) and who fails to attain to perfection, that is, God-realisation, what fate does he meet with? Does he not meet with destruction like a rent cloud? He is deprived of both God-realisation and world-pleasure. His fate has deluded him in the path of yoga. He has nowhere to go. He has nothing to stand upon.”

Alas, the inner world does not accept him, the outer world rejects him and condemns him. He is lost, totally lost. If he were successful, both the worlds will embrace him and adore him. If he fails, he becomes an object of ruthless ridicule.

Before Sri Krishna illumines Arjuna’s mind, let us bring Einstein into the picture. The immortal scientist declares:

"“If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am Jew.”"

To come back to the Teacher and the student. The Teacher illumines his student’s mind with the rays of consolation, hope, inspiration and aspiration.

"“O Arjuna, no fall there is for him either in this world or in the world beyond. For, the fatal evil destiny is not for him who does good and who strives for self-realisation.”"

The Teacher also says that he who falls from the path of Yoga in this life enters into a blessed and hallowed house in his next life to continue his spiritual journey.

Each human incarnation is but a brief span and it can never determine the end of the soul’s eternal journey. None can achieve perfection in one life. He must needs continue to go through many more (hundreds and thousands) of incarnations until he attains to the Spiritual Perfection.

A devotee always remains in the breath of his sweet Lord. For him there is no true fall, no destruction, no death. How he has apparently failed, or why he has failed can be only his surface story, but his real story is to be found in his ever-cheerful persistence, in his ultimate victory over ignorance, in his absolute oneness with the Supreme. Let us recall the significant utterance made by Jesus:

"“Martha, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Martha said to Jesus: “Yes, Lord, I do believe.”"

Similarly Arjuna and we can in all sincerity and devotion say to the Lord Krishna: “O Krishna, the eternal Pilot of our life-boat, we believe in you. We can go one step ahead. Krishna, you are our eternal journey. You are our Transcendental Goal.”

The God Song — Chapter VII: Knowledge illumined

Out of his infinite Bounty Sri Krishna tells his beloved disciple that he will give him all that he has and all that he is: Infinity and Eternity. He expects only two things from the disciple in return: Yoga and dependence. We may call this dependence devoted surrender which is the indivisible oneness of the finite with the Infinite. To know Sri Krishna is to know the Knowledge Supreme. To realise Sri Krishna is to realise the life of everything in essence.
"Manushyanam sahasresu... — “Among thousands of men scarcely one strives for spiritual perfection and of those who strive and succeed scarcely one knows me in essence.”"

It seems that the 3rd verse is throwing cold water on the seeker. But Krishna’s intention is anything but that. Krishna is not only all-Wisdom, but also all-Compassion. He wants to tell the truth that actually takes place in the spiritual marathon race.<a href="#fnsknd" id="fnrefsknd">1</a>

Not for him the Knowledge Supreme, to be sure, who owns childish curiosity, shallow enthusiasm, weak determination, flickering devotion and conditional surrender. Any of these undivine qualities will, without fail, fail the inner runner.

The sixth and the seventh verse describe the relation that exists between Sri Krishna and the universe. “I am the beginning and the end of the universe. I am the Source of creation and I am the place of Dissolution. Beyond me, nothing there is. All this is threaded upon Me as pearls on a string.”

When we concentrate on ‘all this is woven unto Me like gems into a necklace’, we immediately vision the peerless poet Krishna.

Three qualities of nature: Sattva, Rajas, Tamas — Harmony, activity and inactivity. Sri Krishna says that these three qualities are from Him, in Him, but He is not in them.

Sattva:

Sattva is the chief of the qualities of nature. It embodies harmony. Let us know the existence of harmony in relation to the universe. To quote Dryden:

"“From harmony, from heavenly harmony
This universal Frame began:
From harmony to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in Man.”"

The possessor of the Sattvic quality has undoubtedly a heart of gold. He knows that his life has a significance of its own. His breath is pure. His patience is luminous. Unparalleled is his fortitude. Infallible is his certainty.

Rajas:

Rajas is the second quality. A man with the rajasic quality is always filled with dynamic passion. He wants to possess the world. He wants to rule the world. He has practically no time to enter into the world of inner Illumination. His life cherishes just two things: Fight and conquest. He has the possibility either to be a divine warrior or to be a warrior of stark Falsehood. He has the strength to build a temple of Truth. He has also the strength to break and destroy it. Unfortunately he often breaks and destroys the temple owing to this unlit vision and the mad elephant in him.

Tamas:

Tamas is the third quality. It is sloth, darkness, ignorance, sin and death. It is also the worldly delusion and the deluding illusion. Sattva is the soul with clear vision. Rajas is either the fruitful or fruitless life. Tamas is the dance of death.

Sattva manifests itself through the aspiring light.
Rajas manifests itself through the desiring might.
Tamas manifests itself through the darkening night.

A man of virtue wants to live the truth.
A man of action wants to enjoy the world.
A man of inactivity enjoys nothing. On the contrary, he is enjoyed constantly by darkness, ignorance and death.

A man of virtue has a friend: aspiration.
A man of activity has a friend: inspiration.
A man of inactivity has a friend: delusion.

A man of virtue tries to live in the truth of the present, past and future.
A man of action wants to live in the glorious present. He does not care much for the future.
A man of inactivity does not live in the proper sense of the term. He sleeps. His days and nights are made of lightless sleep.

The first one wants to transcend himself soulfully. The second one wants to expand himself forcefully. The third one destroys himself unconsciously.

Those who follow the inner path have four distinct roles to play.

Arta, the depressed, the afflicted. Life is a bed of thorns. He has realised this truth and cries for life’s transformation. He wants to possess a bed of roses. Pain is his painful possession. He can successfully sing with Francis Thomson:

"“Nothing begins and nothing ends,
That is not paid with moan;
For we are born in other’s pain,
And perish in our own.”"

Jignasu, the seeker, the enquirer. What he wants is knowledge. Knowledge tells us why a man suffers. Further, since knowledge embodies power, it transforms the breath of suffering into the breath of seeing and kindling knowledge.

Artharthi, the seeker of true wealth, the Truth absolute. He has no sorrow. He has no earthly desire. He wants to live in perpetual freedom, liberation.

Jnani, the wise. He who is wise knows that the Supreme is everywhere and the Kingdom of Heaven is within him. He lives in the Supreme. His life is the life of oneness with the Supreme. His world is the world of true fulfilment. Thickest is the intimacy between him and the Supreme.

Sri Krishna continues: ‘Noble and good are they all, but I hold the wise, the enlightened as my chosen soul and my own Self; fully united, absolutely one we are. When his life has played its role, when the hour of silence knocks at his door, I place him in my Heart where the Breath of Eternal Life grows.’


  1. 573,3. Original read "He wants to tell the true that actually takes place..

The God Song — Chapter VIII: The Imperishable Infinite

Brahman is the Imperishable Infinite. Another name for Brahman is AUM. AUM is the Creator. AUM is Creation. AUM is in Creation. Also AUM is beyond the Creation.

This chapter begins with a volley of most significant questions. Brahman, Adhyatma, Karma, Adhibhuta, Adhidaiva — what are these? The Lord answers: The Imperishable Absolute is Brahman. Adhyatma is the self-revealing Knowledge of Brahman’s primeval Nature. Karma is the birth of activity, natural and normal. Adhibhuta is the perishable material manifestation. Adhidaiva is the knowledge of the Shining Ones. Adhiyajna is the sacrifice made by Me in order to unite the manifestation of finite forms with my Infinite Life.

Krishna affirms that self-realisation or the realisation of immortality must be achieved during life in the body and nowhere else. As each human being creates limitations, imperfections and bondages, so also is he capable of transcending them. He will finally enter into the planes of Fulness, Perfection and Freedom.

Our existence is the result of a previous existence. This earth of ours is the result of an earth that existed before. Everything is evolving. The essence of evolution is an inner and outer movement. This movement or change takes place even in the world of Brahma. Even after attaining Brahma’s world, one cannot escape the snares of rebirth. To be sure, our earthly days and nights are nothing but an infinitesimal second in comparison to the Days and Nights of Brahma. A thousand ages breathe in Brahma’s one single day and a thousand ages breathe in Brahma’s one single night.

No use in taking shelter in our earthly days and nights, for they are fleeting. No use in taking shelter in Brahma’s days and nights either, for they are also not eternal. We can, we should and we must take shelter only in the Lord Krishna’s Eternal Heart, which is our safest haven, where no day is required, no night is required since His heart is Infinity’s Light and Eternity's Life.

Nothing else do we need save devotion. Our choice supreme is devotion. Our heart of devotion responds to His Heart of Love. Says He: “Only the devotion unswerving has the direct and free access to my Life Immortal, my Truth Absolute.”

What is within will sooner or later be manifested without. The possessor of divine thoughts will also be the doer of divine deeds. It is possible only for a dedicated and aspiring man to think of God consciously while leaving the earth scene.

Krishna tells us how a yogi enters into the Ultimate after leaving his mortal sheath. “His senses are under control. His mind is placed in the heart. He meditates on Me. AUM he soulfully chants. He gives up Prana, the life-breath and enters into the Ultimate Realisation in Me.”

AUM

If you read my “The Significance of Aum”, you will know in detail about Aum. Madame H. P. Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy, observed AUM in a very simple and significant way. She said “AUM means good actions, not merely lip-sound. You must say it in deeds.” In order to know what AUM is and what it stands for one is well advised to study the Upanishads that speak of AUM. The Mandukya Upanishad offers us the significance of AUM explicitly. The meaning of AUM can be known from the books. But the knowledge of AUM can never be had by studying books. It must be achieved by living an inner life, a life of aspiration, that will transport the aspirant to the higher levels of consciousness. The easiest way and the most effective way to go up high, higher, highest is to surcharge oneself with pure love and genuine devotion. Doubt, fear, frustration, limitation and imperfection are bound to surrender to devoted love and surrendered devotion. Love and devotion have the power unparalleled to own the world and be owned by the world. Love God’s Manifestation, you will find that the cosmic creation is yours. Devote yourself to the cause of the cosmic manifestation, you will see that it loves you and claims you as its very own.

It is true that knowledge can give you what love and devotion give, but very often knowledge is not cultivated for the sake of truth, but for the fulfilment of desires. Fruitless is the pursuit of knowledge when desire looms large in it. When the aspirant is all love and devotion, he soars.

During his journey’s flight he sings:

No more my heart shall sob or grieve.
My days and nights dissolve in God’s own Light.
Above the toll of life my soul
Is a Bird of Fire winging the Infinite.

At the end of his journey’s flight he sings:

I have known the One and His secret Play;
And passed the sea of Ignorance-Dream.
In tune with Him, I sport and sing,
I own the golden Eye of the Supreme.

He has now grown into his own Goal. Self-amorous he sings

Drunk deep of Immortality,
I am the root and boughs of a teeming vast.
My Form I have known and realised,
The Supreme and I are one — all we outlast.

Three types of disciples

1. The flaming disciples are those in whom the Master has his perfect faith.

2. The sparkling disciples are those who have perfect faith in their Master.

3. The disciples waiting to be lit are those who embody the unawakened faith in the Master.

A flaming disciple is his Master’s pride.
A sparkling disciple’s pride is his Master.
A disciple waiting to be lit is the pride of the serving and dreaming Mother-Earth.

A flaming disciple sits at the Feet of the Master.
A sparkling disciple stands in front of the Master.
A disciple waiting to be lit sleeps and dreams lying beside the Mother-Earth.

A flaming disciple is he who feels that the Master is always pleased with him.
A sparkling disciple is he who really knows how to please the Master.
A disciple waiting to be lit is he who thinks that to please the Master is beyond his capacity and almost an impossibility.

Cry soulfully and unreservedly. Lo, you have become the flaming disciple of the Master.

Smile spontaneously and devotedly. Lo, you have become the sparkling disciple of the Master.
Dive courageously and speedily. Lo, you have become the disciple absolutely ready to be lit by the Master.

Open your life’s door. Your Master says: “My child, you are my flaming disciple;”
Open your heart’s door. Your Master says: “My son, you are my sparkling disciple.”
Open your eyes’ door. Your Master says: “My true future son and child, you are my striving disciple to be lit."

Absolutism

I know. This is absolute. I don’t know. This is absolute. I am doubtful. This is absolute. These are the standards of human belief, worldly reality and earthly action.

We all need illumining knowledge. This knowledge comes from the divine light within us. This light is called the soul.

Our knowledge of God is limited. Our knowledge of creation is also limited. If we are apt to believe that creation came into existence out of nothing, then we are ourselves nothing but unreality’s nothingness. If we are blessed with the inner belief that creation is an emanation from God, then our existence can be flooded with time’s creativity, soul’s potentiality and life’s reality.

We are told that God transcends all our human comprehension. Therefore our search for God will eventually end in a sad fiasco. But again we know perfectly well that God does not deny our soulful love and unconditional surrender. Either He can enter into us, smilingly and compassionately, or we can enter into Him devotedly and triumphantly. At this point He does not remain beyond our comprehension. Once we have divinely established our inner union with God, we shall forever transcend His creation with Him. Today’s unrealised man is tomorrow s realised God. Today’s unachieved reality will be transformed into tomorrow’s fulfilled Immortality.

Ignorance says: “Man is often the doer and not the knower."

Knowledge says: “Man is often the knower and not the doer."

Self-Realisation says: “Man is neither the doer nor the knower. God is the only doer. God is the only knower.”

Each man can live in three houses: the body, the heart and the soul. When he lives in the body, he is a member of the family. When he lives in the heart, he is a member of his nation. And when he lives in the soul, he is a member of the universe.

Absolutism tells us that existence is experience and experience is existence. Existence sings the song of Reality. Experience sings the song of Divinity. Man’s Reality is God’s responsibility. Man’s divinity is God’s necessity. God is not only the Creator, but also the Creation. God is not only the Creation, but also the Cosmic movement. God is not only the Inner Will, but also the Freedom. With His freedom, God is all Bliss. In His freedom, God is all Compassion.

My absolutism demands truth, aspiration and inspiration. Inspiration tells a man to run towards the Goal. Aspiration expedites his journey towards the Goal. Truth offers him the breath of the Goal. Absolutism means the accomplishment of human knowledge. Knowledge is action divinely fulfilled.

Henry Van Dyke affirms: “It is better to burn the candle at both ends and in the middle, too, than to put it away in the closet and let the mice eat it.”

Well, if we divinely work for God and divinely work for God’s sake, then we shall not require a man-made candle, for God Himself will come and stand in front of us as the everlasting flame for our own precious, endless use.

The present-day world is run by express human opinions. Sometimes dark doubt looms large and important in our opinions. Sometimes bold certainty looms large and important in our opinions. Let us charge our memory with what Bertrand Russell says: “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt.”

Not to speak of the intelligent who are full of doubt, even the stupid who are cocksure do not and cannot have inner joy, inner peace and inner fulfilment. To have inner joy, peace and fulfilment what one needs is the soul’s full awakening and life’s implicit faith.

We want to be happy. In order to be happy we have first to make others happy. Now if we really and truly want to make others happy, then we must stop contradicting others. Further we must stop adding to their fond and cherished opinions. Our contradiction will cause disaster. Our additional support will cause meaningless superfluity. What we must do to make others happy is to silently subtract imperfection from their possession.

Absolutism, what is it after all, if not absolute opinion? This absolute opinion is the only thing that a man has and he is. How can he afford to lose it? What happens when he loses it to mankind? Mankind uses him as his slave, his football. What happens when he loses it to God? He becomes God’s immediate pride and constant joy.

Finally, I have to realise that my opinion is nothing short of my journey. The easiest journey is my journey downward. The darkest journey is my journey backward. The surest journey is my journey forward. The bravest journey is my journey upward. The rarest journey is my journey inward.

Meditations

1.

God does not want to enslave man by a miracle. He wants to guide man with an embrace.

2.

Deliverance is the perfect manifestation of renunciation. Renunciation is the embrace of freedom’s all-fulfilling light.

3.

Man has two experiences: the experience of his soul’s responsibility and the experience of his body’s stupidity.