New Study Of Gita Nov 14 Dr Shriniwas J. Kashalikar
Nov 14, 2009, 10:10 am
Gita is the nucleus of conceptual and actual world unity and
When I was more immature than what I am today, I could
not appreciate the benevolence of Gita for the universe.
Those days, I preferred to read Maxim Gorky’s “Mother”
in preference to Gita for the blind children. The “Mother”
and leftist literature in general; analyze the global problems
in a rational way and take you a step forward in breaking
the shackles of individualistic pettiness. Hence they are not
counterproductive or retrogressive, but they should be
transcended by studying Gita. Gita imparts the vision of
universal unity and harmony. Gita frees or liberates
everyone with various characteristics, attitudes, beliefs and
endeavors! Far more important is the enlightenment in
respect of death and immortality in one’s life that
demystified n Gita. Gita gives this freeing knowledge
everyone and guides, to actually realize it and merge with
But this holistic perspective makes Gita somewhat
ambiguous (for most people) and vulnerable to attacks from
fascists, fundamentalists, and extremists and overall those
people; who are trapped in bigotry of one kind or another.
But the spirit of Gita is bound to be triumphant in Her role
for ages to come; as she has been in the past!
Lord Krishna reiterates; that every thing in universe
including the GUNAS; such as SATVA, RAJA and TAMA
result from the cosmic consciousness. This may be
considered to be a kind transduction or transformation of
the consciousness into energy that mobilizes the matter
according to the characteristics of the matter (which also
develop from consciousness).
From the interplay of consciousness, time, space, energy
and matter the world appears as it does; which in turn is
due to our consciousness veiled by our physiological and
Making it simplified; SATVA, RAJA and TAMA indicate
different characteristics of every thing such as being nearer,
in between and away from absolute consciousness!
SATVA therefore is a quality that blossoms knowledge and
activities conducive to freedom i.e. reach the cosmic
consciousness, RAJA multiplies intensity of feelings and
the activities born out of subjective concepts and pursuits;
and TAMA enhances decomposition, degeneration and
downfall in the abyss of darkness of ignorance.
Gita is global, because you can see people with varying
preponderance of; SATVA, RAJA and TAMA all over the
world; contributing to; blossoming, day to day working and
mutilation of the world respectively.
Following account can make this point clearer. Thus:
TAMA constitutes ignorance, indolence, slumber,
irrationality, irresponsibility, fanaticism, viciousness and so
on; RAJA constitutes restless study and collection of
information, dynamism (usually out of petty pursuits),
rational and analytical thinking without synthetic or holistic
perspective, being vigilant and/or anxious, discipline,
readiness to study the point of view of others and analyze
according to one’s own conceptual framework and attitude
conducive to liberal individualistic progress (which
generally come to loggerheads in the course of time) and
SATAV constitutes buoyant serenity of mind, agility and
swiftness in over all behavior, focused attentiveness,
rationality complemented with holistic approach, natural
awareness of SWADHARMA; the culmination of
universally benevolent “discipline”; generosity and loving
attitude towards all variety of perspectives as originating
from one; and perspective conducive to holistic progress
that ensures progressive complementarity and sublime
However, GUNAS generally bind people in some kind of
subjectivity and hence the natural blossoming invariably
leads to freedom from the influence (not absence of) and/or
veils of every GUNA.
This is highly idealistic state, but resides in every heart
though one may be oblivious to it!
Thus in one sense spirit of Gita resides in every heart;
(though some may be unaware of it); and governs the
dynamics of human behavior! As majority becomes aware
of this invaluable treasure of enlightenment and
empowerment in their hearts (through practices such as
NAMSMARAN), the spiritual renaissance would manifest
in every nook and corner of the world. The hallmark of
such spiritual revolution would simply be; the awareness of
this treasure in their hearts; rest all would follow!
In 15th chapter, there is an analogy of ASHVATTHA tree to
describe the universe and universal consciousness on the
one hand; and the individual and individual consciousness
on the other, thereby highlighting the unity between the
From human anatomical and physiological point of view;
human brain is the seat of consciousness. It is at the top,
forming the root or seed of consciousness; the branches in
the form nerve fibers spread up and down into plexuses and
peripheral nerves and billions of receptors; (the nature of
which corresponds according to Gita, to the causative deeds
of the individual in the past, and the individual enjoys or
suffers more or less exactly according to the inputs
(determined by the past deeds) from these nerve fibers and
their receptors! In fact the whole body results from the past
deeds! Indeed the consciousness gets trapped in these sense
organs and the person becomes bonded and suffers to a
greater or lesser extent!!
The human being becomes free after returning of his
consciousness from the periphery to the center or the root!
This is analogous to cosmic consciousness; that also gets in
some way “trapped” in the universe; and returns towards
his origin at the time when the universe gets dissolved back
into its roots!!
In other words Gita beautifully shows the commonality
between the individual blossoming with universal
blossoming. In other words this may be called reorienting
and reestablishing oneself in one’s own position! This may
also be called returning to one’s own self!
This consciousness reachable by an individual is the same
as universal consciousness that illumines the entire
One can always say that this is a poetic imagination, which
it is; but in the sense that it transcends the subjective
reasoning! Gita is beyond human (whether poetic or
Anyone however, can verify the spirit of Gita for himself or
herself (and inevitably with the world, because the light of
Gita cannot remain restricted to one’s petty self!)!
In 16th chapter there is description of qualities conducive to
downfall of a person (getting increasingly distanced from
and oblivious of one’s true self i.e. cosmic consciousness)
and essentially correspond to the preponderance of RAJA
and TAMA described in the 14th chapter.
The way to overcome these influences of negative forces
called ASURI forces; is SWADHARMA and step by step
victory over the KAMA, KRODHA and LOBHA.
The rejection of scriptures by an individual is usually out of
impulsiveness arising from the slavery of KAMA,
KRODHA and LOBHA, (desire, agitation on not getting
the desired and addiction) which are three enemies of an
individual; because they trap one’s consciousness and drag
away from the true self of an individual.
Many times I used to feel that KAMA, KRODHA and
LOBHA are all natural, physiological and normal. Gita
teachings are antinatural.
But now I realize that my standards of “natural,
physiological and normal” were mediocre and born out of
intellectual lethargy and slowness. I now understand that
physiological is not a static term. Hence what is
physiological in immature state would be pathological in
mature state. What is physiological in primitive state would
be pathological in evolved state.
But having considered the differences in many
environmental conditions the scriptures written thousands
of years ago, in one part of the world; may not be exactly
applicable in another part of the world and in present
Hence the emphasis is given by Gita on focusing on devout
love (SHRADDHA) for cosmic consciousness! This
essence is reiterated by saints from all over the world and
from all religions and in terms of remembering the cosmic
consciousness through repetition of a name of God
NAMASMARAN, or OMKAR according to that tradition
In 17th chapter there is explanation about three types of
SHRADDHA, AHAR, YAJNA, TAPA and DANA,
(salient aspects of behavior) for the benefit of an individual
in search of truth!
The sketchy description gives broad guidance about
principles of behavior useful in individual and global
blossoming and global policy making!
In essence, the SHRADHA and consequent endeavors are
differentiated according to the GUNAS.
SATVA type worship divinity, RAJA type worship
affluence, magic and even devilish forces and TAMA type
worship evil spirits and dead bodies.
SATVA type eat the food conducive to inner blossoming
and enlightenment (usually fresh, sweet and empowering
fortitude), RAJA type eat food conducive to multiply the
vigor and indiscriminate desires (usually spicy and hot,
including some types of non-vegetarian food) followed by
ill effects, and TAMA type like stale, fermented, rotten,
stinking (e.g. some types of cheese and fish) leading to
further ignorance, or dullness.
SATVA perform YAJNA a procedure to invoke cosmic
consciousness for satisfaction, RAJA type for petty pursuits
and socio-political gains for prestige and acclaim and
TAMA type do it (for even worse purposes) and without
adhering to the procedure, and without any interest,
concern and expenditure!
The purity, decency, humility of body and conduct, with
respect to deity, teachers and enlightened individuals is
called SHAREER TAPA. The appropriate and benevolent
dialogue and study of the nature is called VANGMAYA
(related to intelligence and speech) TAPA. The observance
of abstinence from speech (unnecessary talk, gossip or any
kind of impulsive expressions), on the one hand and
experience of noble feeling and the expression of this noble
feeling and selfless love; is called MANAS TAPA.
Out of these; TAPA without any petty expectations is
called SATVIKA, with expectations of socio-political or
some other gains is called RAJAS and with fanatic
endeavors with malafied intentions of harming the others is
called TAMAS TAPA.
DANA i.e. donations (cash, or kind) are also categorized.
Thus when given selflessly as a part of SWADHARMA it
is SATVIK, given with discomfort due to excessive love
for money, with intentions to extract excessive benefits is
RAJAS and when given at wrong place, to wrong person
(obviously with ill intentions) it is called TAMAS.
At the end it is summarized (endorsed and reiterated by
saints from all over the world and from all religions) that
every activity should begin and end in thankful
remembrance of the name of God (called
NAMASMARAN or OMKAR) symbolizing cosmic
consciousness (from Whom everything is born)!
It is also clarified that; if intelligence, emotions, instincts
and body are not integrated and not focused in totality on
cosmic consciousness, then the process of blossoming and
enlightenment is jeopardized.
In 18th chapter many points from previous chapters are
repeated and emphasized again in a kind of useful
Thus terms such as SANYASA, TYAGA, JNANA,
KARMA, KARTA, KARANAS, ADHISHTHAN,
KARTA, KARAN, CHESHTA, DAIVA, JNANA,
JNEYAM, PARIJNATA, KARANAM, KARMA,
KARTA, BUDDHI, DHRITI, SUKHAM, BRAHMANA,
KASHATRIYA, VAISHYA, and SHUDRA are explained.
What I understand and deduce, from these is as follows.
SANYASA is giving up all activities of personal desires.
SANYASA is invariably associated with dedication to
cosmic consciousness. SANYASA is associated with
responsibility of the whole world, not just one’s family.
SANYASI is not the same as an inert and indolent creature
incapable of earning. He is not a popper or a beggar. So
besides renunciation, union with cosmic consciousness
(YOGA) is inseparable from SANYASA.
TYAGA is giving up all results or fruits of actions.
According to Gita, the activities prescribed in scriptures for
common welfare should be performed without ulterior
motives or expectations. This is especially true today, when
petty selfishness is dividing the world, individualism is
isolating the individuals and fanaticism in one form or the
other is perpetuating viciousness and destruction. It may be
clear that SANYASA, TYAGA and YOGA are not
separate from; but actually the most essential aspects of
NIYATA KARMA means all activities included in daily
and seasonal or calendar routine for universal welfare. If an
individual abandons them because of petty distractions or
because of indolence, then it is called TAMAS TYAGA.
Abandoning the activities out of fear of bodily discomfort
(loss of money) is called RAJAS TYAGA and does not
lead to individual and global blossoming.
Thus forsaking the fruits and performing actions
(SWADHARMA) is called SATVIKA TYAGA.
Thus a person following SWADHARMA does not give
value or importance to the nature of the work and hence is
free of confusion and doubts.
Every activity has some components viz. ADHISHTHANA
the space or area or field of activity, KARTA the individual
consciousness operating, KARAN the means, CHESHTA
the actual dynamics and DAIVA, which means the unseen
environmental forces influencing the outcome.
JNANA, JNEYAM and PARIJNATA (knowledge, object
of knowledge and knower respectively) are the control
mechanisms bringing about actions e.g. neurophysiological
controls and KARAN, KARMA KARTA (means or tools,
action proper and doer) constitute the actual components of
JNANA is classified as TAMASIK (fanatic and blind),
RAJASIK (rational and analytical but sectarian) and
SATVIK (unifying and holistic).
KARMA also is SATVIK (selfless SWADHARMA),
RAJAS (actions performed vehemently with individualistic
pursuits) and TAMAS (work begun without thought or
conscience and sense of proportion; and usually to harm
oneself or the others).
KARTA (doer) is also SATVIK (selfless, humble, buoyant,
enthusiastic and steadfast and courageous irrespective of
success or failures because of strength of conviction),
RAJAS (motivated by vested interests and hence harboring
ulterior motives and violent and vacillating in excitement
and depression) and TAMAS (ignorant, unskilled, dull,
crooked, vicious, cynical, melancholic and lethargic).
BUDDHI (wisdom) also is SATVIK (discerns desirable
and undesirable and freedom and bondage), RAJAS
(cannot discern and hence misinterprets desirable and
undesirable) and TAMAS (blunderous and disastrous in
DHRITI (fortitude) also is SATVIK (composed and
integrated in every respect and focused completely on
cosmic consciousness), RAJAS (involved in various
activities for petty gains) and TAMAS (full of slumber,
nightmares, and bouts of sadness and arrogance and
shackling the individual in everyway).
SUKHAM (happiness) also is SATVIK (initially
unpleasant but subsequently benevolent), RAJAS (initially
pleasant due to indulgence in objects of pleasure but latter
precipitating misery due to loss of those objects or due to
their ill effects) and TAMAS (one which creates slumber,
perversion, bondage and destruction).
BRAHMANA, KSHATRIYA, VAISHYA and
SHUDRA constitute different aptitudes and constitutions,
suitable for intellectual and enlightening activities,
leadership and brave military activity, trading, rearing
cattle and farming; and patient and sustained provision of
services; requiring different skills respectively.
SWADHARMA i.e. act with complete dedication and
selfless involvement for individual and global blossoming
(through guidance from scriptures or from inner voice
through NAMSMARAN) helps us return towards our root
i.e. cosmic consciousness, even if our aptitude and skills
may appear to be inferior to those of others!!
Lord Krishna explains that following SWADHARMA is
itself the ultimate reward in life and everything else is born
out of ignorance and/or pettiness and hence
counterproductive i.e. taking us away from our root!
In the last few verses He asks Arjuna repeatedly to focus on
the true self i.e. cosmic consciousness and not get
distracted by any other subjective ideological,
methodological or superstitious considerations (SARVA
DHARMAN PARITYAJYA) and assures; in fact pledges
that He would liberate Arjuna of all bondages (PAPA)!
Arjuna understands and agrees to follow Lord Krishna i.e.
cosmic consciousness in the struggle of life!
Sanjay, the narrator, in the ecstasy of having heard this
dialogue and remembered the stunningly glorious persona
of Lord Krishna; declares his opinion that union of
individual consciousness (Arjuna) and cosmic
consciousness (Krishna) is itself the ultimate victory in
every possible way.