Thursday, October 27, 2016

[Happy Diwali 2016] Vedas - 3 or 4?

|| Hari OM ||

Wishing you a Very Happy Deepavali and 
A Prosperous New Year - 2016


The Vedas - 3 or 4?

There is a popular way of describing verses and associating with one particular veda-s. In order to distinguish verses of different veda-s, verses in each veda are called differently

rig vedic verse is called as rik (ṛk),

yajurvedi mantra as yajus, and

sAmavedic mantra as sAman

Note: atharvavedic mantra as not known by any different name like atharvan, etc.

Based on this classification, some say that atharva veda is late text and so cannot be compared to other three veda-s. In order to support their claim, they also cite verses from shAstra-s which say there are three veda-s like BG 9.20.

Some historians believe that rg veda is oldest and atharva veda is youngest amongst veda-s.

However, this understanding of classification is wrong. Kanchi Paramacharya says, ṛg veda manDala 10 contains the name of atharva veda and hence atharva veda is as old as ṛg veda.

There are only three styles to sing a vedic mantra - padya (poetry), gadya (prose), sāma (singing in an intonation which is pleasing to the Gods).

ṛk-s are padya पद्य (poetic) in nature,
yajus are gadya गद्य (prose) and
sāman-s are geya गेय i.e. that whose intonation is pleasing to the Gods.

There are many ways to categorize vedic mantra-s. This categorization is based on mantra. ṛg veda contains majority of sloka-s sung in ṛk way (Hence it is called as ṛg veda). yajurveda contains maximum number of yajus and sāma veda contains maximum number of sāmans. Atharva veda contains all three types of mantra-s - ṛk, yajus and sāma

So a rik verse i.e. verse sung in rg style can be present in yajur veda too. Likewise atharva veda contains yajus. So when one talks of yajus mantra-s (in general), they mean all the mantra-s sung in yajus style and not of yajur veda. It does not mean mantra-s of yajurveda. Traditional Brahmins are aware of this classification. Similarly, gAyatrI mantra is called as trI-padI and it covers three veda-s. Here, those well versed in tradition do not interpret the word 'veda' as proper noun i.e. it is associated with a particular veda. The word 'veda' means vidyA. trIpada (trIpadI) means sung in three different styles.

sAmaveda has most verses similar to rig veda but they are sung in a different way so as to please deva-s. It is believed that sAma veda has 95 mantra-s not found in rg veda. Singing originated from sAma veda. The sargama (7 basic sounds used in traditional Indian singing), sA, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni originated from sAma veda.

Ways of classification of vedic mantra-s are

1. karma-kāṇḍa

Vedic mantra-s are used in yajna-s. The one who is qualified to perform yajna is called as ṛtvika. There are four gaṇa-s of ṛtvika-s - hotṛgaṇa, adhvaryugaṇa, udgātṛgaṇa and brahmagaṇa. vedic mantra-s to be used by these four gaṇa-s are divided into four saṃhitā-s. saṃhitā useful for hotṛgaṇa is called as ṛgveda. Since this veda contains maximum number of ṛk-s (padya, poetry), it is called as ṛgveda. In order to conduct a yajna, saṃhitā useful to adhvaryugaṇa is called as yajurveda. In these veda, yajuḥ type of mantra-s i.e. gadya or prose are found to be maximum in nature hence this veda is called as yajurveda. In a yajna, those mantra-s which are useful to udgātṛgaṇa-s are called as sāmaveda as they have maximum number of sāma i.e. verses taht can be sung in intonation pleasant to Gods. In order to protect a yajna, someone has to kēp a watch on the entire process. Such a Brāhmin is called as brahmagaṇa. Mantra-s suitable to him are present in atharva deva. Since mistake can be done by either of three styles, atharva veda has mantra-s of all three types to correct or repent mistakes.

2. Based on application

In this category, mantra-s called categorized into matra and braahmaṇa. Those verses used in yajna-s are called as mantra-s. mantra-s used to perform yajna by the way of step-by-step procedure, stories, explanations and stuti-s, to explain procedure, further explanation, inner meaning, etc - all these is done by sloka-s is called as brāhmaṇa-s.

3. Based on type of mantra-s

We have already explained this type of classification. Here, the style of mantra is taken into account viz ṛk, yajus and sāma. Since ṛg veda contains maximum number of ṛk-s, it is calleda s ṛgveda. Similarly, yajurveda is so called as it contains maximum number of yajus and sāma veda contains maximum number of sāman-s. Atharvaveda contains all three types of mantra styles - ṛk, yajus and sāma. Hence when shāstra-s describe veda-s as vedatrayī i.e. three veda-s, all four veda-s are referred to.

4. Based on content or literature

Here the mantra-s are divided into four parts - saṃhitā, brāahmaṇa, āraṇyaka and upaniṣad. The mantra part of all four veda-s is called as saṃhitā. So there are five saṃhitā-s - ṛgdeva-saṃhitā, kṛṣṇa-yajurveda-saṃhitā, śukla-yajurveda-saṃhitā, sāmaveda-saṃhitā and atharvaveda-saṃhitā. In brāhmaṇa-s, step-by-step procedure of application of saṃhitā mantra-s, further explanation, phalaprāpti (fruits of yajna), etc are given. In āraṇyaka grantha-s, spiritual significance of various step-by-step procedures, mantra-s, phalashruti, etc are given. They indicate retirement and were told in araṇyaka, hence are called as āraṇyaka. The last part or the essence of veda-s is called as vedānta or upaniṣad. It teaches renunciation of karma and gives knowledge about highest truth - Brahman. Upaniṣads give brahma-vidyā.

General explanation given about categorization of Vedas
Following is the general explanation that is commonly given to explain categorization or division of veda-s. This explanation is repetitive, but is given for readers to get acquainted with standard replies to avoid confusion.

veda-s are divided into two main categories or groups. First one is mantra samhitā simply known as 'samhitā' and another group is brāhmaṇa as known as brāhmaṇagrantha. The word, according to Śrī Yaskāchārya jī, who developed nirukta, is that the word mantra has originated from the root 'man' (मन् ). The root word is called as 'dhātu' in sanskrit.

Pāṅchrātra saṁhitā, an āgamic text, defines mantra as 'that which protects when repeated' meaning by continuous repetition of any mantra, one gets protectd by it. The collection of mantra-s is called as samhitā.
Brāhmaṇa grantha-s give a direction on how to apply or use the mantra-s (given in saṁhitā). They give detailed explanation on the application of mantra. They are like a commentary on mantra, giving further insight into the dēper meaning of mantra. Brāhmaṇa grantha-s are divided into three parts - brāhmaṇa, āraṇyaka and vedānta or upaniṣada (Upanishad). Brāhmaṇa part deals karma kāṇḍa (vedic rituals, Yagna, Havana). Āraṇyaka deals with inner meaning of mantra-s and with the upāsanā kāṇḍa. The last i.e. vedānta covers the Jñāna kāṇḍa. Upanishads talk about the highest truth, the true import of the veda-s. vedānta means end of veda-s, after knowing which nothing more needs to be known. Here knowing refers to Direct Experience of one's True Nature.

To sum up:

Vedas are divided into four parts – samhitA, brAhmaNa, AraNyaka, upanishad (vedAnta)

samhitA-s are collection of mantras used for vedic rituals. They form major part of veda-s. Traditionally when one says 'veda' it means samhitA part.

brAhmaNa-s explain which and where a mantra or a collection of mantra-s are to be applied. They are further split into AraNyaka-s and vedAnta.

AraNyaka-s give inner meaning behind any ritual or practice. It is more connected with inner or mental practice.

vedAnta, i.e. veda-anta, as the name suggests is the end part of veda-s. anta means end. Here 'end' does not literally mean the 'end part' or the ‘last portion of veda’. It means the core or essence. Certain section found in samhitA and brAhmaNa-s are known as upanishads (vedAnta). For e.g. IshA upanishad is in the samhitA part, still it is called as an upanishad. samhitA-s are collection of mantra-s used for vedic rituals (yaGYA-s). 

आ नो भद्राः करतवो कष्यन्तु विश्वतो.अदब्धासो अपरीतास उद्भिदः |
ā no bhadrāḥ kratavo kṣyantu viśvato.adabdhāso aparītāsa udbhidaḥ |

MAY powers (thoughts / intelligence) auspicious [in nature] come to us from every side, never deceived, unhindered, and victorious - RV 1.89.1

OR Let Noble thoughts flow from all Directions - RV 1.89.1
|| Hari OM ||

Monday, September 5, 2016

Prayer to Lord Ganesha

On the auspicious occasion of gaNesha chaturthi on 5th Sept 2016, let us pray to Lord Ganesha

|| ॐ श्री गणेशाय नमः ||

|| Om shrI gaNeshAya namaH ||

May Lord gaNesha, by whose grace, auspicious muhurata becomes auspicious, grant us intelligence, the discriminative power (viveka), as taught by veda-s.

O gaNesha, bless us with AtmA-anAtmA-viveka. Let the right logic guide us on spiritual path and not contrary to it.

o gaNesha, grant us vairAgya, which, along with viveka makes abhyAsa and meditation easy.

O gaNesha, we pray to you, who resides in the mulAdhAra, from where our spiritual journey begins, to direct the prANa (energy) of this chakra from material obsession, to spiritual progress.

O gaNesha, those who do not find any need to control their lower three chakra-s, and thik they can directly activate anAhata by chanting the holy names of Ishvara, let them know that there is no way for them to ignore controlling lower chakra-s, which needs thy grace.

o gaNesha, let them know that lower chakra-s are the base of spirituality and can be regulated by right dhArmika conduct and by thy grace. Neglecting them, is dangerous, as spirituality without the dharmic base, can be anything, but not spirituality. It becomes center of ego, and an opportunity of fulfilling vested interest. May you guide us properly on our spiritual path that best suits us and that we are capable of.

O gaNesha, give us initiation into spirituality, as without thy grace, nothing can be started, nothing started without grace can be fruitful.

O gaNesha, grant us the nature of thy elephant form, curiosity, the curiosity to know thy Brahman

O gaNesha, grant us the quality of being ever alert and remove laziness and procrastination.

O gaNesha, please grant us the quality of thy trunk, which is strong, flexible, and sensitive.

O gaNesha, please grace us with the quality of alertness and constant focus on Brahman, which is depicted in your eyes,

O gaNesha, grace us with the quality of thy ears, receptivity. Make us receptive to spiritual teachings and hearing the inner voice, as they are necessary for a disciple and spiritual progress.

O gaNesha, grace us with the quality of thy big belly, which is capable to digest the teachings of Atma-vidyA that the sages and gurus teach.

O gaNesha, thou residing in mUlAdhAra, no work can be accomplished if mUlAdhAra is not activated by thy grace. Please grant us thy blessings and direct all our actions towards you, the unborn, of the nature of praNava, the only creator, preserver and destroyer of the world.

O gaNesha grant us riddhi (success, accomplishment), on the spiritual path. May we, at all times, remain focused on Brahman.

O gaNesha, bless us so that our heart always longs for Brahman, as longing is the means to realise Brahman. Bless us riddhi (success) in longing.

O gaNesha, grant us dhyAna siddhi
grant us, Asana siddhi
grant us, dhyeya siddhi
and grant us, o guardian of Atma-vidyA, the best amongst all, Atma-siddhi

O gaNesha, I may forget you in extreme favorable circumstances and I may doubt your very existence in bad circumstances, but you never forget us and always do what is necessary and good for spiritual upliftment of humanity.

O gaNesha, forgetfulness may be considered a sin, but it is indeed a boon, as it is good to forget our sins after repenting and making decision not to repeat them again, as one cannot live in guilt, nor under the burden of sins. With thy blessings, we forget what is unnecessary, but we may never forget you.

O gaNesha, may I not live in past, nor do I worry about future, may I always live in present moment, as that is what I am. Let me accept 'this moment' and dissolve in it to realise truth.

o gaNesha, bless us with detachment so that we can be extra gentle on ourselves and do not need to use any force or extra effort to stay detached, but stay as witness effortlessly simply by surrendering to this moment (the presence).

O gaNesha, the foremost of all deva-s, may we all know and abide in our true nature in this life itself.

।। ॐ शन्ति शन्ति शन्ति।।

।। हरि ॐ तत् सत् ।।

।। ॐ गम गणपतये नमः।।

Om shAnti shAnti shAnti

Hari Om Tat Sat

|| Om gam gaNapataye namaH ||

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How does one progress spiritually (on the path of Jñāna)?

|| Hari OM ||
While veda-s teach us performing rites and rituals, Gītā teaches us to renounce them. What should we do? How does one progress spiritually?

As per Gītā, there are two ways - path of action (karma kāṇḍa) and path of renunciation (Jñāna mārga). While first portion of veda-s prescribe rites and rituals which is a part of karma kāṇḍa, last portion or better the essence of veda-s is known as vedānta (upaniṣad-s). Performing one’s duties, living a moral and ethical life, civil codes (laws), āchāra, vichāra, vyavahāra (conduct), etc, is prescribed in dharma smriti-s. In this section, we will discuss about Jñāna mārga.

Gītā is an essence of vedānta. Gītā is a moksha śāstra and not a dharma śāstra. Hence renunciation of karma kāṇḍa and agnī is recommended. karma kāṇḍa is said to be kāmya karma, hence a sanyāsī has to renounce ajnī i.e. yajña, havan, not even for the well being for society.

However, we are all attached with our body, mind and ego. Hence knowingly or unknowingly whatever karma we do, happens to be kāmya or sakāma karma. Hence our journey is to move from sakāma to niśkāma bhāva.

IMHO, There are three ways to progress spiritually on the path of jñāna.

1. Surrender all work and it's fruits to Īśvara. (karma and karma phala). When one surrenders karma phala, karma is automatically surrendered to Īśvara.

2. Do all karma for Īśvara and not for anybody else. Here one believes oneself to be a blessed instrument of Īśvara.

3. Do karma with sākshī (sāxī) bhāva i.e. by being a witness.

As I understand, these are the reasons for 3 types of approaches while doing karma.

1. When we say that we have 'surrendered' or 'offered' all our karma and it's phala to Īśvara, it has a pre-condition. The word 'surrender' or 'offer' can only be possible if we have something to 'surrender' or 'offer'. We can only give what we have. It means that we possess something and are willing to give. this implies there is an attachment with what we have done and it's results. Hence there is 'mama bhāva'. With 'mama bhāva', there is 'aham bhāva'. This 'I-ness' or 'mine-ness' is that which should be offered. This 'I-ness' or 'mine-ness' is our attachment with karma. Hence along with offering of karma or karma phala, our attachment to it also gets fade away. With repeated surrender with strong bhāva, comes humility and faith in Īśvara. 'I-ness' and 'Mine-ness' fades away. In this way we proceed from sakāma to niśkāma karma.

2. Whatever we do, kēp Īśvara in center or say kēp Īśvara in between work and you. For example when you are helping someone condition your mind such that, in reality, one one can help anyone except Īśvara. Hence I am not doing any favour by helping him. On the other hand, feel blessed and recipient of grace of Īśvara that he has chosen to work through you. In this way, you will not get attached to the one whom you are helping, but will remain humble. Likewise, when helped by someone, though for practical purposes you are obliged to say 'Thank you', in reality know that, 'It is Īśvara who has helped me through him'. Hence there will not be any dependency upon a person, nor will be a feeling of being 'under debt'. In either cases, our faith in Īśvara will increase and since we have already surrendered to Īśvara, by his grace, work will be niśkāma. As our faith and surrender in him increases, we will move from sakāma to niśkāma karma.

3. Being sākshī is very difficult. This last way is for the ones whose consciousness is loosely bound to body. During meditation, they can separate themselves from the thoughts, emotions, ego and physical body. In this path, one abides in jñāna sthiti, stays we a witness and then do all work. This state is difficult to explain. Even while talking, one feels separateness or a kind of detachment. When the work is over, mind effortlessly turns introvert. Even in neti-neti, one has to abide in the state of jñāna and then be a witness and negate whatever is non-Self i.e. anātmā. In case of such a blessed soul, s/he is not much attached while doing work, just like we are not totally conscious while driving. We talk, think, sing or listen while driving, still we change gears, apply brakes, overtake vehicles or down speed to let others overtake you. All these krīyā-s happen without paying special attention. In the same most work can be done in this way. In Sri Ramakrishna's words, "While doing work, keep one hand in God and another in work When work is finished, keep both hands in God". Even when one does work with full concentration, the mantra or the feeling of being brahman, which is consciousness, persists in subconscious mind. After work gets done, mantra or feeling of being a witness comes to conscious mind (jāgrata mana). Hence there are no more thoughts on the topic which was finished few moments ago. In this way the one stays 'in presence', does not think of past. So such a man never thinks of any unsolved problem after leaving the place. For example, after we leave from office, no thought about pending work comes in mind.

For this to happen, Īśvara kṛpā (Kripā), guru's kṛpā are necessary. Equally important is that the only goal of Life is 'moksha'. Moksha is the primary and the only goal and one is ready to renounce anything for the sake of this goal. 4 qualities like viveka, vairāgya, ṣaṭasampatti, mumukshutva have to be cultivated and has to be present in much more percentage then in neophyte.

Hence practice either 1st or 2nd approach. Diligent practice will open doors for 3rd approach. Also remember that when one wants to achieve anything or is not ready to renounce any desire or object, one has to follow rules of karma kāṇḍa.Hence dharma is to be carried our in a scripturally prescribed way. But when one wants to leave anything, there is no discipline or step by step procedure. When shifting from old house to new house, we step into new house at an auspicious moment (śubha muhurat), but do we care much about leaving old house in auspicious moment? to leave anything, or renounce anything from our mind i.e. remove attachment of anything, there is no need of waiting for muhurat or help of friends or family members. It's all up to you. It's inside your mind. Hence none but you can help you. If none can help you, none can obstruct your path to moksha, except your own mind.

Awakening and meditating during brahma muhurata, etc is prescribed even for sanyāsīn-s as though one is a renunciate, one has not risen above māyā. When one is still under the influence of māyā and so prakṛti, one has to be in tune with nature and take advantage of sātvika vātāravaṇa, as there are no worldly thoughts before Sunrise. After day-2-day activity begins (which begins after sunrise), worldly thoughts begin to float in atmosphere and efficiency and quality of meditation is reduced.

There is one more way of progressing spiritually. It is the path of yoga. It is to control the mind. abhyāsa and vairāgya are two wings that one needs to fly. Do dośa darśana in samsāra to develop vairāgya. abhyāsa is to practice dośa darśana daily, read scriptures, attend discourses dealing with moksha, stay in presence of a guru and meditate sincerely.

This while process is explained in Madhusūdan Sarasvatī in his Gītā commentary Guḍhārtha Dīpikā in chapter 6, specially in 6.15 and 6.35 where he quotes Patanjalī Yoga Sūtra 1.15, 1.13, etc, along wtih Vyāsa Bhāśya. Hence it's study is also required. Bhagavān Vyāsa's commentary is not easy to understand. It adds many new terminology which is not found in vedānta or in prakaraṇa grantha-s. This makes it difficult to understand and explain yogic way of spiritual progress. If you are interested in exploring depths and are interested in yogic approach and control mind, it is worth reading, else stick to 3 ways and develop vairāgya. Sant Jñānadeva's commentary on chapter six is also considered important. Important thing to remember is that we must always keep moksha as only goal of life to succeed.
|| Hari OM ||

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Introduction of Madhusūdana Sarasvatī’s Gūḍārtha Dīpikā, a unique commentary on Bhagavad Gītā

Update: 01/08/2016. Verses 8 and 9 are corrected. 'Thou' is correctly translated to 'tvam' and 'that' to 'tat'.

Intro of Madhusūdana Sarasvatī’s Gūḍārtha Dīpikā, a commentary on Bhagavad Gītā

Short intro about the author Madhusūdan Sarasvatī

Madhusūdan Sarasvatī (MS) is a well known, celebrated and respected name in the dvaita-advaita debates. MS was a great Kṛṣṇa bhakta and an ardent Advaitin. MS combined Bhakti and Jñāna for common man. MS is also credited to create a military monk organization or martial monk otraining centers known as Nāgā Sādhu akhārā-s in order to save Hindus and Pundits from persecution of Muslim clerics. MS has written many popular works defending Advaita and giving clarity on advaita concepts Few of his works are advaita-siddhi, siddhanta-bindu, bhakti-rasāyaṇa, Sivamanimna stotra-ṭikā and the celebrated commentary on Gītā known as Guḍhārtha Dīpikā. Dīpikā means annotations on the original verse or commentary. His commentary is considered unique and close to original meaning, not highly influenced by any other āchārya or taking concepts from a pūrvāchārya. MS in the beginning of intro of Gītā Bhāshya salutes Ādi Śankarāchārya jī in most reverential terms and declares that only after thoroughly studying āchārya’s (Ādi Śankara’s) bhāshya, he has composed his Dīpikā. MD has virtually explained every word of Gītā. Most of the explanations that we hear from the discourses on Gīta done with monks following Advaita tradition are influenced by MS’s works. Introduction to Gītā is very important and clears many doubts, gives clarity about the spiritual path as taught in Gītā. Hence it is very important to read, understand and digest his introduction. To me, this introduction is an essence of Gītā. 

Further Information about MS can be found by reading ‘Bhagavad Gītā with Annotation of Madhusūdan Sarasvatī’s Gudhārtha Dīpikā’ by Swami Gambhirananda of Ramakrishna Math or by visitng following links

Note: In the beginning, sanskrit words in shown in italics for easy identification and reading. Later on, they may not be shown in italics, as reader is expected to be well acquinted with them.

|| Hari OM ||

|| Śrī Kṛṣṇa Parabrahmāpaṇamastu ||


OM ! Salutation to Rāmachandra who is possessed of divine qualities, the nectar - in the form of Consciousness - issuing from whose lotus-feet is enjoyed by the monks of the highest class (parama-haṁsa-s), and who resides in the minds of devotees.


1. After having assiduosly delibrated on the meaning of the Commentary of the venerable one (Śrī Ādi Śankarāchārya jī), I write this elucidation, called Gūdhārtha-Dīpikā (Exposition of the Subtle meanings), of almost every word of the Gītā.

2. It has been said that the purpose of the scripture Gītā is absolute Liberation, which consists in the complete cessation of transmigration together with its causes.

3. That is the supreme state of Viṣṇu which is identical with absolute Existence-Knowledge-Bliss (sat-chit-ānada), for the attainment of which the Veda-s, consisting of three parts, have commenced.

4. The three parts succesfully stand for rites, meditation and enlightenment. In confirmity with them, the Gītā, consisting of eighteen chapters, has three sections.

5. Here (in the Gītā) each section of six (chapters) should be understood as referring to one part (of the Veda-s). Karma, i.e. Steadfastness in Action (rites and duties) and Jñāna i.e. steadfast in Knowledge are taught in the first and the last (sections).

6. Since the two cannot be combined because of their extreme opposition, therefore bhakti i.e. steadfastness in devotion to the Lord has been declared in the middle.

7. As that devotion is inherent in both of them, therefore it removes all the obstacles. That (devotion) is of three kinds – mixed with rites, pure, and mixed with Knowledge.

8. There again, in the first section, the pure Self meant by the word ‘thou’ i.e. ‘tat’ (in ‘Thou are That’, ‘tat tvam asi’ Ch. 6.8.6) is ascertained rationally through the Path of Action and its renunciation.

9. In the second (section), by way of describing steadfastness in devotion to God, is ascertained the meaning of the word ‘That’ i.e. ‘tvam’ as the Lord who is supreme Bliss.

10. And in the third is presented clearly the meaning of the sentence (‘Thou art That’ ‘Tat tvam asi’) as the identity of the two. Thus, here (in the Gītā) also there is an interconnection among the (three) sections.

11. The speciality of each chapter, however, will be spoken of in the respective dchapters themselves. These (following) steps in the disciplines for the Liberation are being presented as the purpose of the scripture (Gītā).

12. (The first step is) the performance of selfless work (niṣkāma-karma) by rejecting rites and duties meant for personal gain (kāmya-karma) and the prohibited actions (niṣiddha-karma). There again, the highest merit lies in repeating the name (japa) of and praising (the Lord) Hari.

13. When after the dissipation of sins from the mind it becomes fit for discrimination, then there arises a firm discrimination between the permanent and the transient.

14. Gradually follows detachment from things here or here-after, called vaśīkāra[1] (vairāgya, detachment, dispassion) (complete control over the mind and the organs). Then, through the perfection of śama (curbing or controlling mind) etc.,[2] renunciation becomes fully established.[3]

[1] Vairāgya, detachment, is of two kinds, para (superior) and apara (inferior). The later is classified under four heads - yatamāna, vyatireka, ekendriya and vaśīkāra.

[2] Four qualities or purushārtha-s as mentioned in Viveka Chūḍāmaṇi are

  1. Viveka – discrimination between real and unreal, nitya and anitya
  2. Vairāgya – dispassion obtained through proper understanding or discrimination i.e. viveka
  3. Ṣaṭ-sampatti – six qualities śama, dama, uparati, titikṣā and shraddhā, samādhāna
    1. śama – restrain or control of mind i.e. control over thoughts and emotions
    2. dama – restrain of sense organs – seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting. One knows any objects using five senses.
    3. uparati – Reaching a saturation point i.e. getting tired of mind running behind sense objects or peace and happiness. Keeping mind and sensing under control and not let them drift them back to sense objects.
    4. titikṣā – endurance, to stay neutral with likes and dislikes.
    5. śraddhā – Faith (in yourself, guru, Īśvara and śāstra-s).
    6. samādhāna – concentration of mind. To stay focussed on goal and be satisfied in communion with Brahman or Īśvara. Never let youself get astray from your goal.
  4. mumukṣutva – Burning desire for Liberation.

[3] A different reading is sannyāse niṣṭhito bhavet: one shold become fully established in renunciation.

15. Thus, from the renunciation of all things springs the firm hankering for Liberation. From that follows approaching a teacher, and from that the receiving of instructions.

16. Thereafter follows śravaṇa (hearing and understanding of Vedānta) etc for the elimination of doubt. In this matter the whole of the Uttara-mimāṁsā (Vedānta) scripture becomes useful.

17. Thereafter, through the perfection of that follows nidhidhyāsana (profound meditation, comtemplation-nidhidhyāsana is not dhyāna). The whole of the Yoga scripture, indeed gets its purpose fulfilled at this stage.

18. As a result, when the mind becomes freed from all the defects there arises the Knowledge of Reality from (hearing) the (Upaniṣadic) sentence (‘Thou art That’ i.e. ‘tat tvam asi’). From the word (of the Upaniṣad) itself springs Unitive Vision (i.e. immediate Knowledge of the identity of Brahman and the Self).

19. As for the complete eradication of neiscence (ajñāna), that occurs on the rise of the Knowledge of Reality (tatva-jñāna). Then, when the covering or veil of neiscence (ajñāna) is removed, error an doubt become dispelled.

20. Through the power of the Knowledge of Reality (tattva-jñāna) the results of actions (done in past lives) (karma-phala), that have not commenced bearing fruit (anārabdha or saṅchita karma [4]) get wholly descriyed, to be sure, and the results of actions (done in the present life after after the dawn of Knowledge) that are to bear fruit in the future (āgāmīnī or āgāmī karma [4]) do not accure.

21. But, because of the disturbance created by the results of actions that have started bearing fruit (prārabhdha [4]), vāsanā (past impression, dissatisfied desire) does not get destroyed. That is eliminated through saṁyama (meaning explained in next verse) the strongest of all (the disciplines).

[4] sañchita-karma: karma done in past lives stored in mind. (ref BG 2.55)

sañchita-karma-phala: fruits of sañchita karma

prārabhdha-karma: karma in past lives, whose fruits is to be bored in this life. A person takes birth to pass through the fruits of prārabhdha karma.

āgāmī-karma: karma done in present life, whose fruits are yet to materialize. In case of jñānī, āgāmī karma does not arise at all, as a jñānī does not do sakāma karma i.e. his karma are not a reaction to any situation, but extinguishing of prārabhdha karma. Work done by jñānī does not yield any result as a jñānī is a witness and not a doer, he does not have to suffer to fruits of karma anymore.

22. The five disciplines, viz. Yama (restraint), etc. (P.Y.Sū 2.29) [5], practised before become conducive to that saṁyama, which is the triad consisting of dhāraṇā (concentration), dhyāna (meditation), and samādhi (absorption, merging in Brahman). (See P.Y.Ṣū 3.1-4)

[5] In Patanjali Yoga Sūtra-s P.Y.Sū 2.29, eight disciplines or limbs are mentioned mentioned. Amongst eight, first five involve physical activity. This means they are of external nature, while rest three (dhāraṇā, dhyāna and samādhi) are purely mental. Hence last three are of internal or mental nature. Five restrains or disciplines are basic foundation pillars upon which later three rests. Amongst these five, the first one Yama (restrain) is very importance and first one to be practised. There are five types of restrains are mentioned in Interestingly, these five fundamental disciplines are commented on by the great Maharṣhi Veda Vyāsa in his commentary on P.Y.Sū 3.30. In later verse P.Y.Sū 3.32 five niyama-s (observences) are mentioned. In other verses in this chapter, explanation related to these 8 disciplines are further elucidated. All explanations are adapted from Bhagavān Veda Vyāsa commentary on P.Y.Sūtra-s. When not quoted, certain parts of explanation are adopted.

Eight disciplines or puruśārtha-s are

  1. Yama – Five restraints. Five restrains as mentioned in P.Y.Sū 2.29 are -
    1. Ahiṁsā – Non-violence. Absention from harming others even mentally. Benovelence. Bhagavān Veda Vyāsa says - “Benovelence consists in frēdom from ill-will against all beings at all times and in all ways”.
    2. Satya – Truthfulness. Bhagavān Veda Vyāsa says - “Truthfulness consists in thought and speech being in strict accord with the reality of things; that is to say, what one thinks and speaks is in strict accordance with what he has actually perceived or inferred or heard. Speech is used for conveing one’s own knowledge to others; if then, this speech is not deceptive or mistaken or unintelligible, (then it is ‘truthful’); but it is so only when it is used for benefiting all living beings, not when it is used for injuring them”.
    3. Asteya – Non-Stealing. Abstinence from false-hood, inappropriation. Obtaining things in a manner not sanctioned in scriptures.
    4. Brahmacharya – Chastity, Celebacy, sexual restrain.
    5. Aparigrahāḥ – Restrain of or Freedom from Greed, Avarice. Bhagavān Veda Vyāsa says - “Freedom from Avarice consists in not seeking to acquire things. - on account of realising the fact that such acquisition is beset with evils involved in the acquisition, protection and destruction of the things, attachment to them and ill-will (against rivals).
  2. Niyama – Five Observances. Five observances as mentioned in P.Y.Sū 3.32 are-
    1. Śaucha - Cleanliness. Cleanliness is external and internal. External involves cleaning physical body with soap, clay water, etc and cleaning internal body parts by various kriya-s like nauli, etc or by de-toxification procedures. While internal consists of purifying mind or discarding impurities of mind.
    2. Santoṣa – Contentment, Satisfaction. “Contention consists of not desiring to obtain anything more than one has already got” - says Bhagavān Veda Vyāsa.
    3. Tapaḥ – Austerity, intense effort, constant practice. ‘Suffering pair of opposites’ like -hunger and thirst, heat and cold, sitting and standing, etc. Austerity also includes passing through fasting penances like chāndrāyaṇa says Bhagavān Veda Vyāsa. As per Sri Ramana Maharshi, tapa is to merge (laya of mind) in the origin of mantra.
    4. Svādhyāya – Self-Study. Bhagavān Veda Vyāsa says - “Reading scriptures dealing with Liberation and repeating of praṇava mantra OM”
    5. Īṣvara-praṇidhāna – Worship of Īṣvara or Self Surrender. Devotion to God.
  3. Āsana – postures. Postures help strengthen body and make it fit to sit for long hours in meditation. They also help kēp body healthy.
  4. Prāṇāyama – Control of prāṇa by will or by controlling breath (breath regulation).
  5. Pratyāhāra – Withdrawal of the mind from sense objects. Abstraction.
  6. Dhāraṇā - Concentration. Concentrate on prāṇa, kuṇḍalini or mantra or form of Īśvara (Īshvara) with goal to unite prāṇa, kuṇḍalini with paramātmā or merge in the origin of mantra or form of Īśvara.
  7. Dhyāna – Meditation on the supreme Brahman or Paramātmā.
  8. Samādhi – Adsorption in Brahman / Ātman / Paramātmān / Īshvara tatva

23. However, absorption (samāhi) is quickly accomplished through special devotion of God. From that follows mano-nāśa (desctruction of mind) and vāsanā-kṣaya (destruction or dissipation of past impressions, desires).

24. Tatva-jñāna (Knowledge of Reality), mano-nāśa (desctruction of mind) and vāsanā-kṣaya (destruction or dissipation of past impressions, desires) -when these three are practised together. Liberation while still alive (jīvanmukti) becomes firm.

25. Total renunciation of all actions as a results of enlightenment (vidvat-sanyāsa) is mentioned in the Upaniṣad-s for this purpose - that there may be effort for comtemplating that very part (among those three) which remained incomplete before.

26. When the mind is first held back fully from fluctiations by means of savikalpa-samādhi, there occurs in it the nirvikalpa-samādhi[6], which has three levels.

[6] Savikapla-samādhi is a state of consciousness where one is aware of distinction of knower of unity of God and devotee.

Nirvikapla-samādhi transcends this feeling and none other that Atman or Brahman exists.

27. In the first the person awakes (from nirvikapla-samādhi) by himself, (and) in the second he is awakened by others. In the last he is does not awake at all; he remains ever absorbed in it.

28. He who has become such a Brāhmaṇa (knower of Brahman) is the foremost amongst the expounders of Vedānta. He is spoken of as having gone beyond guṇa-s, a man of steady Wisdom (sthita-prajña), and a devotee of Viṣṇu.

29. (He is) also (called) a transcender of the castes and stages of life, one who is liberated while still alove (jīvanmukta), and a delighter (only) in the Self. The scriptures keep away from such a person because of his being self-fulfilled.

30-31. On the authority of the Upaniṣadic text, ‘He who has supreme devotion to Īshvara (God), and equal devotion to the guru, to him, indeed, to the great-souled one (pure-souled one), these sibject-matters that have been spoken of become revealed’ (Śv. Up. 6.23) etc., it follows that devotion to Īshvara (God) with body, mind and speech, under all conditions, becomes useful in this context.

32. The devotion cultivated in the preceding stage leads to the next stage. Otherwise, attainment of success is very difficult owing to the abundance of obstacles.

33. And there are the words of Hari: ‘Verily, by that past habit itself he is carried forward, even in spite of himself!’, ‘...attaining perfection through many births, (thereby achieves the highest Goal)’ ( B.G. 6.44-45, etc)

34-35. If, however, owing to the unpredictability of the impressions acquired earlier (in past lives) i.e. (vāsanā-s of past lives, as a result of meritious sachita-karma-phala), someone becomes self-fulfilled in the beginning itself, like the dropping of a fruit from the sky, then the scriptures cannot be accepted as having been promulgated for him, because they have already served their purpose. The grace of God that descends as a concequence of persistence in the disciplines that were perfected in the previous lives is inscrutable!

36. Although the preceding stage is thus acquired, devotion to Īshvara (God), should still be cultivated for later stages. They cannot be attained without that (devotion).

37. But in the state of being liberated while still alive, (jīvanmukti), no ‘result of devotion’ is to be imagined: Adoring Hari is natural to them, like their being devoid of hate, etc.

38. Such is the greatness of Hari (Viṣṇu) that, though free from bondage, the sages, who delight (only) in the Self, render spontaneous devotion to Viṣṇu (Bhāgavat Purāṇa - B.P 1.7.10.)

39. According to the verse (of Gītā), ‘Of them the man of Knowledge (jñānī) excels since he is endowned with constant steadfastness and onepointed devotion’, etc (B.G. 7.17), this one who is full of loving devotion is declared to be the highest (best amonst all four types of devotees).

40. All this has been revealed by the Lord in the scripture Gītā. Therefore my mind is intensely eager to explain this scripture (śāstra) i.e. Gītā.

41-42. Performance of selfless work (niṣkāma-karma) is declared to be the root cause of Liberation, and the hinderances to it are the demonical sins such as sorrow etc, from which follow deviation from one’s natural duty, recourse to what is prohibited, or action performed with selfish motive or egoism.

43. Being thus ever under the influence of the demonical sins, a person becomes unfit for gaining the human Goal and suffers a series of afflictions (pain).

44. Pain is naturally repulsive to all the living beings in this world. Therefore sorrow, delusion, etc., which are its (pain’s) causes, should always be shunned.

45-46. The Lord has uttered this most esteemed Scripture with a view to enlightening a person who, being filled with this desire to know the means of eradicating sorrow, delusion, etc, which are inherent in the beginningless chain of mundane existence, and which are the causes of affliction and difficult to be got rid of, has become eager to attain the highest human Goal (puruṣārtha)

|| Śrī Kṛṣṇa Parabrahmārpaṇamastu ||

|| Hari OM ||

Source and Credits: 

1) ‘Bhagavad Gītā with Annotation of Madhusūdan Sarasvatī’s Gudhārtha Dīpikā’ by Swami Gambhirananda of Ramakrishna Math

2) Patanjali Yoga Sutras - Swami Prabhavananda of Ramakrishna Mission
3) Yoga Darshan - Sutras of Patanjali with Bhashya of Vyasa - Ganganath Jha
4) Kriya Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Siddhas - Marshall Govindan

Featured Post

Introduction of Madhusūdana Sarasvatī’s Gūḍārtha Dīpikā, a unique commentary on Bhagavad Gītā

Update: 01/08/2016. Verses 8 a nd 9 are corrected. 'Thou' is correctly translated to 'tvam' and 't hat...