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3 | On Bhagavad Gita | With Equanimity float in the Sukha-duhkha world

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

31 May 2022

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All the interactions senses have with the world objects do bring about only the sukha-duhkha dvandvas, nothing more or different. When you are able to meet and dissolve the sukha-duhkhas, you can deal with the world as a whole, in full. Is this not a clear, inner victory over the world?

Dear and blessed souls:

Harih Om Tat Sat.

Nourishing mind and intelligence indispensable

When mind and intelligence are properly fed and nourished, their health and agility will improve considerably. And you know what will then follow? Whatever you do will be exceedingly effective, generating satisfaction for you and appreciation for others around.

The mind enriched and guided by enlightened intelligence will begin to radiate its brilliance every time in greater measure in your thoughts, speech, activity and interaction. This will be quite pronounced. In place of the usual constricted mind spewing desire, hatred and fear, you will have a flexible, facile and radiant mind, broad and wide. It is such an enriched mind that will employ your body and senses in all their activities and interactions. Imagine, how tremendous the impact will be!

None great had more than a body, mind, intelligence and ego

No great man in this world had anything more than his body, mind, intelligence and ego. You also have these in full measure. Bodily growth stops by about 21 years. What grows thereafter are the inner mind and intelligence. Mind becomes pure and expansive, intelligence more and more perceptive and ego sublime, humble and enlightened. And they begin to do wonderful things, which remain great and exemplary for all even today.

Krishna activates Arjuna’s intelligence

This is how Rama of Tretayuga and Krishna of Dwaparayuga continued to live ever fresh and inspiring to men and women of the world. See, Krishna remaining as the charioteer of Arjuna, holding the reins of four horses, turned back and spoke to Arjuna, instilling wonder, admiration, persuasion and enlightenment. He first of all raised Arjuna’s vision from the emotional mind to the rational intelligence. Arjuna’s tears instantly stopped and his intelligence became vibrant.

Arjuna wanted to know for the first time wherein lay his shreyas – everlasting good and joy. That is what Krishna also wanted to reveal to him. By the first verse Krishna uttered, Arjuna took up introspection, finding a new insight, fresh inspiration and significant promise, the like of which he had never thought of earlier. He sat ready to be told more about ‘truthful introspection’ he should pursue to make his life meaningful and fulfilling.

I, you and others were never not nor will ever cease to be

Mark what Krishna says: “Arjuna, do not think I came into existence only when my mother Devaki delivered my body. One’s body alone gets born from the mother. What is present in the body, animating and activating it, namely the ‘I’ you frequently refer to, is the ‘real existence’, which is never born.

“Hear me well. There was no time when I was not, when you were not and when Bheeshma, Drona and others also were not. There will not be a time when we shall cease to be. Arjuna, I am talking to you in terms of reason and rationality, which our intelligence alone will be able to display and pursue.

Senses limited to perceive outer objects alone

“Physical, gross senses are of no use when one delves into the body and tries to unearth the spiritual presence within. They are instruments only to pursue external, physical objects. But the ‘I’ is the inner Presence, which is beyond the ken of the senses. Intelligence alone can penetrate and bring forth inner facts and truths. Where intelligence works, the senses obviously do not and will not.

You are ‘I’, the only unchanging presence

“You are the ‘I’, but you don’t see it. Nonetheless, it is the clear experience and knowledge of one and all, which is not provided by senses. Understand this difference clearly. You started saying ‘I’, when your mother taught you so, say when you were two years old. Ever since, the ‘I’ has not changed, though the body has amazingly. It changed from babyhood to childhood, boyhood, adolescence and then adulthood. In the process the body has changed drastically, yet the ‘I’ remains the same. In fact, the inner ‘I’ is the only changeless presence, existence, in the whole creation.”

‘I’ is never born

Everything in this world – earth, water, fire, air, etc. – goes on changing. All are transitory, fleeting, changeful, but the ‘I’ is not the least. Understand this well. How can it be then born? For, to be born it had to be non-existent earlier. You say something is born only when it was not there in existence. Thus, ‘previous non-existence’ (praag-abhaava) is indispensable for the birth of anything.

Think well, can existence ever become otherwise? Chemistry says that a thing cannot change its original nature. So, if anything exists, it was existing earlier and it will also exist later. No existence can give rise to non-existence. But the ‘I’ in me, in you and in all others is ever present, eternal, indestructible. This is everyone’s true identity. We know it from our own life and experience.

The little one says ‘I’, the boy and the girl equally say ‘I’. What about the adults? They as well as the old persons also say ‘I’. In the decades of life of everyone, does the ‘I’ change the least? Is it not clear then that the ‘I’ was neither born, nor does it grow, decline or die? All the changes including birth transpire only for and in the body. This is the vision of the enlightened. That is why they are able to look at the living and the dead alike and transcend fear and grief.

‘I’, the sole Subject witness

The ‘I’ is the sole subject in one’s personality, nay even the world. All the rest are objects. That is why everyone says ‘my body’, ‘my mind’, ‘my intelligence’ and ‘my ego’. We also say ‘my world, our world’. The Subject cannot become the object, nor the object can be the Subject. Their distinction is quite evident.

The Subject is always the witness. It only witnesses all else. The witnessed cannot be the witness either. The difference between the two is evident, indisputable.

Leave all thought of body and be free

What if the body is born and it also dies? It is not the ‘I’. ‘I’ remains in all experiences as the Subject experiencing, not as the object experienced. Where is the scope for confusion or doubt in this? It is clear to our mind and intelligence, like daylight. So, leave all thought of the body and the doubts and delusion it brings. Be free, clear and light.

We have only two venues of knowledge. One is the senses on our body. With the eyes we see, with nose we smell, with ears we hear, with tongue we taste and with the skin we touch. These are all the sensory knowledge, perceptions, we have. The only other venue is the inner faculties, namely mind and intelligence. The knowledge, intelligence accesses and bestows is as clear, definite, as what the mind gains through the senses.

Like sense findings, intelligence finding is also conclusive

With eyes you see milk as white. Is there any further confirmation necessary in the matter? Is it possible either? There is no scope for any other organ to share in this knowledge and confirm it.

Likewise, when the intelligence brings some knowledge, accessible to it alone, it has also to be accepted, as in the case of sensory knowledge. Even the sensory knowledge is what the mind gains, but employing the senses. Senses are inert and cannot be sensitive at all. In that sense, all knowledge becomes inner, mento-intellectual.

Look at the verdicts of jurisprudence

When thus the knowledge of the ‘I’ is reasoned out and presented, the seeker has simply to accept it honestly, fully. No further confirmation is necessary and should be sought.

Look at the field of jurisprudence. The judge is supposed only to see and hear evidences presented by the contestants. Based on the data available before him, the Judge is supposed to deliberate himself calmly and arrive at the right conclusion. Remember, the District Judge alone has the power and scope to award execution of a criminal, on the basis of the evidence before him and the conclusion his intelligence arrives at. See how absolute and final is the verdict of the intelligence!

The whole process is entirely inner, done by the intelligence, and that weighs over all other factors. The judgement is taken as final. Mind you, it is solely rational and intelligence-based. So, in the case of the ‘I’, the Self, too, there should be no hesitation or delay in accepting the verdict of the intelligence.

Intelligence supreme in Subject-perception

As is the ‘mind together with the senses’ supreme in the matter of object-perception, so is the intelligence absolute in the matter of the Subject-perception. The trouble arises when the seeker is not able to assess matters clearly and proceed with confidence and clarity. That is why the Guru becomes necessary to guide the seeker. In the presence of the Guru the seeker finds confidence and inspiration to assimilate what he says and reach the goal.

Arjuna anointed Krishna as his Teacher and wished that he instruct him appropriately. Krishna is heeding Arjuna’s request. Thus, it becomes easy for Arjuna to listen to Krishna and accept his enlightening tuition. The dialogue progresses beautifully.

Looking at Arjuna’s face and expression, Krishna continues: “Arjuna, you may wonder as to what death is. Let me assure you that death is solely a biological event, outcome. It is the last of the visible transitions the body undergoes. At birth, the body exits from mother’s womb. Then it grows from stage to stage, and after twenty-one years it begins to decline too. And the last transition is the cessation of life forces in the body. Death is solely a bodily event, outcome. It has nothing to do with the ‘I’, which is different from the body, the singular Subject.

Death implies no extinction

“Be sure death does not mark any extinction at all. It is like sleep from which you do not wake up. Every day you go to sleep, but wake up the next morning. From the so-called death sleep, one does not wake up. That is all the difference.”

Arjuna felt clear he has no more any delusion about death, but what about life and living, he wondered. Life consists of multiple experiences and reactions. How to undergo all of them and still be stable and poised? He was wondering what Krishna’s elucidation in the matter would be.

Krishna, sensing Arjuna’s mind, proceeded to describe and discuss life in all thoroughness redressing Arjuna’s doubt and delusion:

Life, sense-object interaction

“Life, dear Arjuna, is an interaction between senses in one’s body and the objects surrounding them. Of the five senses, even if one is there, interaction will continue. To understand life, is to discern the sensory interactions with the objects.

“Whenever such interaction takes place, it instantly evokes a twofold response from the mind. We have only five senses in the body. They can bring about only five sensations – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. The world may have infinite objects, but our body with its five senses, reduces them into a mere five.”

“The objects have no power. It is our senses that contact them and create sensations. The world is inert. So, what even if it contains infinite objects? Our five senses make the infinite just fivefold. Understand the supremacy of the senses in generating sensations. Five sensations converge to cause two mental responses of sukha and duhkha, pleasantness and unpleasantness.’’

Sukha-duhkhas the only interactional resultants

Thus, sukha-duhkhas are the only two resultants of all sense-object interactions. Even the sukha-duhkhas do not remain for long. Every day following wakefulness and wakeful interactions, we go to sleep, when even the sukha-duhkha dual has no prevalence at all. One sleeps, alone, by himself. The sleeper does not need anything! The five sensations together with mental duals are completely wiped off in sleep. Thus, sight, sound, smell, taste and touch as well as sukha-duhkhas are only to be dissolved in sleep. Of what real value then are these?

Sleep delivers and dissolves wakeful world

Every one sleeps for half his wakeful duration daily. Wakefulness and sleep together make the day of 24 hours. We cannot value the waking state disregarding the sleep state, which totally dissolves and invalidates the wakeful state, and hence, the world of wakefulness as well!

Sleep evidences ‘I’s fullness and blissfulness

Sleep thus has two effects, one of obliterating the wakeful state for eight hours a day. Even more important is the fact that it eliminates, dispenses with, the body, mind, intelligence, ego and even the sensory world all at once. The sleeper becomes alone. He becomes the ‘I’ freed from all, devoid of all adjuncts. It is from sleep that you are able to understand very clearly that the ‘I’ in you is separate from everything else.

Sleep is an intransitive verb and does not imply an object. Therefore, the ‘I’ sleeps alone by and in itself. The sleeper does not need anything, he is quite immersed in his own inner contentment. That is why after he wakes up, he says ‘I slept comfortably’. What further proof do you want to understand that there is an ‘I’ and that is totally different from the body, mind, intelligence and ego. Sleep is its singular, exclusive, expression!

Sleep, the source and terminus of wakeful state

Further, everyone wakes up from sleep, lasting for 8 hours. Sleep recurs just like wakefulness. Should you not then say sleep is the source of wakefulness and also its terminus? Whatever anything is in the beginning and also in the end, is verily that itself in the middle state also!

Thus, throughout the wakeful state, the ‘I’ remains the ‘I’. There is nothing to be second to it or to be tied to it in one way or another. Wakefulness is no more than a dream, which the sleep produces now and then. It is a mystic display of the sleeper ‘I’ in himself. Wakefulness also is a similar display. Really, the ‘I’ alone is the one that remains all through!

It is this ‘I’ that wakes up from sleep, activates the senses and brings about sensory interactions and the resultant outcomes like sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. What more? These five converge into sukha and duhkha in the mind, only to be dissolved in sleep. Once you know this, what is your difficulty in forbearing sukha-duhkhas resulting from sensory interactions?

Titiksha is not physical but inner forbearance

Krishna says: ‘’taan titikshasva’’ (2.14). Real forbearance is of the recurring sukha-duhkhas. It is not the physical forbearance like lying in hot sand or dipping in ice cold water. All experiences are mental and inner. The forbearance we need and should cultivate is also equally inner and mental. In the mind level throughout your life you have only sukha-duhkhas arising from sensory interactions. You will derive the strength to forbear them by analyzing and knowing them well.

Krishna says: They are transitory. They come, only to go. They have no power to endure long. Like bubbles surfacing in water, they surge forth in the mind to subside soon. What does and will remain is only your mind. Why then get vexed or afflicted by the sukha-duhkha bubbles?

Knowledge greatest persuasion in human life

Understand that knowledge is the greatest persuasion in human life. Your understanding that sukha-duhkhas are transitory, they come only to go, will make you remain ever in yourself, the ‘I’, that you are. Be so and let sukha-duhkhas fleet as they do. Can you not bring about this elevation in your understanding, the stability that arises from it? Try, strive and be successful as Arjuna was.

Sukha is duhkha itself transformed

There is something more to understand about life and the fleeting sukha-duhkhas. Sukha has to precede duhkha every time. It is also followed by sukha. Between the two, duhkha alone is unpleasant. Mind you, half the lifetime you are all right and only the remaining half has to be handled discreetly.

Are sukha-duhkhas separate from each other? No. Sukha succeeds duhkha. In fact, it is the termination of duhkha that goes by the name sukha. So, before sukha you must have had duhkha. Every time sukha alone leads to duhkha. Is it not clear then that each sukha is betwixt two duhkhas? Is it then sukha itself or the lowest degree of duhkha? Similarly, duhkha is the lowest degree of sukha. In fact, there is only one experience. The differences are merely hypothetical, imaginary. Think well.

Inner probe only through intelligence and reason

This is how we probe into and find out what is within our body, constituting the inner presence, displaying thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, knowledge, sukha, duhkha and the like. This research is like any other objective research pursued by a scientist with telescope and microscope. Here, we do not have to use any instruments or devices. Our own intelligence is capable of conducting this enquiry and arriving at authentic stable findings. See the power of reason, rationality.

Arjuna’s face no more has any effect of sorrow or doubt. He is getting illumined. All his delusion vaporizes. He is shining with clarity, definiteness and conclusiveness. What an amazing magic spiritual introspection imbues in Arjuna, as he himself desired!

Krishna’s definition of life panaceal

Dear souls, Krishna has given a panaceal definition of life. He says: ‘Life is an interaction between our senses and world objects. The interaction takes place in the sensory level. The senses get contact of objects. Instantly they send electrical pulses to brain centres. Brain interprets them as experience and knowledge. All experiences and knowledge are thus inner and mental alone. Understand this very clearly. And they can produce only sukha-duhkha alternates, which at the end of the day all of a sudden dissolve into sleep!

Life can be defined in many ways – biologically, medically, anthropologically, socially, etc. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna gives an experiential definition of life. If you understand it well you will agree that life is interactional. You remain the interacting Subject individual. All the interacted with objects alone vary.

All interactions put together only produce two resultants called sukha and duhkha. Closely analyzed, they are the same and they get dissolved every day by the mind in sleep.

Exclusive means to win over the world

By cultivating forbearance to sukha-duhkhas, you have a great means to face life and win over the world. For, life has nothing more than sukha-duhkhas to give. Every one’s life is interactional by nature. All the interactions senses have with the world objects do bring about only the sukha-duhkha dvandvas, nothing more or different. And when you are able to meet and dissolve the sukha-duhkhas, you can deal with the world as a whole, in full. Is this not a clear, inner victory over the world? See how Krishna provides the great key to live in the world and be a master of it, wherever you are and whatever you do!

When you are able to sublimate sukha-duhkhas, the entire world will stand sublimated in you (2.14). Reflect upon and realize how great is the mastery Gita bestows and empowers you to realize!

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“Krishna raised Arjuna’s vision from the emotional mind to the rational intelligence. Arjuna’s tears instantly stopped and his intelligence became vibrant.”

“No great man in this world had anything more than his body, mind, intelligence and ego. You also have these in full measure.”

“There was no time when I was not, when you were not and when Bheeshma, Drona and others also were not. There will not be a time when we shall cease to be.”

“Life, dear Arjuna, is an interaction between senses in one’s body and the objects surrounding them.”

“What if the body is born and it also dies? It is not the ‘I’. ‘I’ remains in all experiences as the Subject experiencing, not as the object experienced.”

“Death is solely a bodily event, outcome. It has nothing to do with the ‘I’, which is different from the body, the singular Subject.”

“Be sure death does not mark any extinction at all. It is like sleep from which you do not wake up. Every day you go to sleep, but wake up the next morning. From the so-called death sleep, one does not wake up. That is all the difference.”

“Real forbearance is of the recurring sukha-duhkhas. It is not the physical forbearance like lying in hot sand or dipping in ice cold water.”

“As is the ‘mind together with the senses’ supreme in the matter of object-perception, so is the intelligence absolute in the matter of the Subject-perception. The trouble arises when the seeker is not able to assess matters clearly and proceed with confidence and clarity.”

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