Saturday, March 19, 2016

Whom does God love? - Part 2

            Krishna adds a few more virtues that attract him. We will take the next couple of verses which elaborate this like careful strokes of a master painter.

यस्मान्नोद्विजते लोको लोकान्नोद्विजते च यः ।
हर्षामर्षभयोद्वेगैर्मुक्तो यः स च मे प्रियः ॥12-15
अनपेक्षः शुचिर्दक्ष उदासीनो गतव्यथः ।
सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी यो मद्भक्तः स मे प्रियः ॥12-16

yasmān no-dvijate loko lokān-no-dvijate ca yah|
harshā-marsha-bhayo-dvegair mukto yah sa ca me priyah||

anapeksha shucir daksha udāsino gatavyathah|
sarvārambha parityāgi yo mad-bhaktah sa me priyah||

He, by whom the world is not agitated and who cannot be agitated by the world, and who is freed from joy, anger, fear and anxiety – he is dear to Me.

He who is free from wants, pure, expert, unconcerned, and free from pain, renouncing all undertakings or commencements – he who is (thus) devoted to Me, is dear to Me.

यस्मान्नोद्विजते लोको – From whom the world is not agitated – A person who does not agitate others is one who is not taking sides on issues. It is said that when Buddha walked in a certain mile radius even the tiger will not exhibit its predatory nature. Now this is purely an anecdotal message, which is shared to highlight the nature of Buddha.  But a more recent phenomenon, documented by many, was at the feet of Ramana Maharishi. Many devotees have rushed to his feet with lots of mental turmoil to be meted by his calming silence. This inner calmness radiating from a man of perfection transforms all who come in contact. In fact, the world loves the calming brilliance of such a saint. All creatures love to have peace and are in constant search for it. A saint who has calmed his agitations becomes a powerful source where all agitations coming in contact, within and without, are transformed into peace. 

           This does not imply the man of perfection will have no impact.  Since the actions are not ego centered, even the Silence will be powerful. The World by its nature will be ego centered, but coming in contact with such an individual, the World gains. A skeptical agnostic Narendra blossomed into Swami Vivekananda. An extremely critical atheist Balakrishna Menon shook the Hindu world after coming in contact with Swami Sivananda as Swami Chinmayananda. Such transformations happen only when coming in contact with such men of perfection.
लोकान्नोद्विजते – Who does get not agitated by the world - We have seen that all interactions with the world are through the three instruments – body, mind and intellect. The stimuli from the world interact with our vasanas and activate a reaction through these instruments. A typical person is unaware of this subconscious process. As a piece of reed that is tossed in the waters, the world continues to agitate under the vasana pressure. A man of perfection is not only aware of this process but has significantly eliminated the vasanas. All his actions are complete total actions and not reactions of the stimuli with vasanas. As there are no agitations, there are no future vasanas as well, which is a by-product of our actions. 

This does not imply the man of perfection is emotionless and is like a statue. It means that even though such an individual may display emotions, their mind is calm. For instance, if we tie two logs of wood with a thick rope and if the rope catches fire, the burnt ashes may have the appearance of the rope, yet does not function like one. This is why we see many saints and sages going through their Prarabda, yet are unperturbed. We saw this when Ramana Maharishi went through surgeries without anesthesia and never was disturbed by his painful cancer.

हर्षामर्षभयोद्वेगैर्मुक्तो – Devoid of joy, anger, fear and anxiety – This phrase captures the essence of the above trait. A typical reaction (Stimuli interacting with vasanas) is a strong desire for an object (person, thing, situation). Achieving the desired outcome produces joy. Any obstruction that blocks the desired outcome expresses as anger. (Read more at Vāsanās - A key to understand our past, present and future). Even in the event of achieving joy, it immediately is replaced by a fear of losing it. Anxiety fills the mind either in anticipation of the joy or in perceived situations where anger or fear as the potential outcome. A normal mind is thus, tossed constantly due to its attachment of a desired outcome, which not only agitates the mind, but also strengthens the vasanas.

            A man of perfection is free from performing actions that are vasana driven and outcome centric, which makes him free from being tossed by pursuits of joy, outcomes of anger and fear and anxiety of desired outcome. This does not imply such a person is living in the world as a statue. The emotions that may emanate from such an individual are aligned with the Cosmic order and are not tuned to the individual’s desires. They still may choose to behave like a normal person or exhibit eccentricities, yet they are constantly aware of their true nature.

अनपेक्षः – Free from Wants/Desires/Expectations, in short free from dependance – A typical human being, craves for conditions that are conducive to the recreation of one’s vasanas. Vasana memory kindles a lingering fondness of certain favorable conditions which the Body-Mind-Intellect (BMI) complex sets to reconstruct. In that sense, the typical western idea of free-will is entirely baseless and bogus. As long as humans are subject to vasana pressures, free will is a myth, as all the choices are constantly biased by the vasanas. It may not be as evident in the case of a drug addict, yet, the choices we make are constantly shaped by the vasanas. It may be noted that Abrahamic religions when confronted with the conundrum of why God could not direct HIS own creation, invented an idea of Free Will to explain this anamoly. The idea of Vasanas lines up along more scientific lines and explains more deeply than a mere over-arching statement of free will.

शुचि – Pure – The common adage “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” captures the external purity. In India, it is documented since Saraswati Valley Civilization times; emphasis has been given to Purity. Modern science corroborates this correlation between the cleanliness of external environs and productivity/peace of mind. Yet Krishna’s emphasis is purity all around from the depths of the mind which gets reflected exernally as well. It is ironical that in such a civilization where millennia of focus on purity, today we choose to turn a blind eye. A large percentage of the society’s ailments be it disease or pollution or relationships within and without the family can be fixed by just simple tweaks of Purity emphasis.

            External purity may be attained by washing, bathing, taking care of pollution amongst others. Yet internal purity can be achieved by twin efforts – the first is to wage a war against the negatives of the mind like anger, jealousy, greed, sorrow and the second is to simultaneously work on strengthening good virtues to replace them.

दक्ष – Alert, Expert – A man of perfection is always tuned to the vagaries of the world. He is always engaged alertly with the changing world be it external or internal. This is due to the fact no energy is dissipated in the worries of the outcome of action or in preparing suitable reaction for what one is subjected to. This allows a complete attention in every action. The slacking of this quality has led to a very poor standard we uphold in our current Indian society. Corruption has replaced being Daksha.

उदासीन – Unconcerned, Indifference – This is foolishly misunderstood as careless. The person suffering from poor intellect takes this as a direction from Krishna to not worry about adharmic acts going around them. Nothing can be such a travesty. The unconcerned udasina attitude referred is to the undue focus one accords to one’s ego, one’s bodily creature comforts. These create unnecessary energy dissipations which take us away from the task on hand. If we are not fixated on the outcome of the task and if a task is based on our svadharma, then having a detachment to the outcome, yet 100% focus on the task, makes one alert and expert. These qualities are strung together. If we develop one, few others come along with it.

गतव्यथः - Untroubled – Once a desire takes roots in the mind, it gets preoccupied with the attainment of the fruits. This causes a mental turmoil. There is anxiety and fear about the desired outcome. There may also be manifestations of this in the form of disturbances from achieving the goal. A man of perfection is untroubled both by these internal and external disturbances.

सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी – Renouncing every initiative – This is one of the most misinterpreted idea. Hindus have literally taken the direct word meaning and turned into Tamasic nature. Laziness has replaced many who still quote Gita asking them to renounce undertakings. We will take a deeper look into this:

            Every action we perform is a reaction to some thought, word or action from the outside world. We saw how the vasanas come in contact with these stimuli and give birth to desire. Once a desire is birthed, the mind gets attached to it and feels ownership. The sense of ego arrogates itself as the creator and owner. With the fruition of the desire, it only gets stronger, as also with its obstruction. The mind clings on to the desire and feels compelled as its idea, its action. In reality, nothing is 100% our action. From a grand scheme of things, we can see it was a mere response to the stimuli and pre-existing favorable conditions. From the point of Jnana, we can safely understand the futility of ego claiming action. From a Bhakti viewpoint, we can feel that we are mere instruments in the hands of Bhagawan. In any case, we can safely conclude that the ego’s claim of commencing the new initiative is blatantly wrong.

            Krishna suggests that renouncing the ego that feels as the creator and implementer of the idea. When one renounces the ego notion, one operates from a higher principle. In short it is easy to perceive that all the qualities highlighted by Krishna are all centered on the same idea of correctly identifying ourselves as a ray of the Paramatman and not to get swayed by the powerful sway of the ego. 

            When one is not approaching the world from an ego stand point of view, then how else can it be approached is a valid question. If we reduce Consciousness in the Universe, there exists Universal Consciousness and Individual Consciousness. If EGO which is centered on the Individual Consciousness is removed from the focus, it is obvious that the Cosmic Will carries out its actions through the individual. Thus, it becomes obvious from Krishna’s prescription that the ego which is constantly resisting the mighty Cosmic Will gains from aligning itself to it.

            How can one describe the impact of the Cosmic Consciousness being the tailwind?

Om Tat Sat
References / Recommended Reading
·            The Bhagawad Geeta – Swami Chinamayananda
·           The Bhagavad Geeta – Swami Sivananda
·           How to cultivate Virtues and eradicate Vices – Swami Sivananda

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