Gita Study Nov 8 Dr. Shriniwas KashalikarDocument Transcript
November 8, 2009 11:30 am
In 5th chapter the discussion begins with a doubt;
about the choice between SANYASA and YOGA.
I think the word SANYASA here, pertains to
renunciation or asceticism; i.e. departure from all the
day to day activities required for the normal social
life and YOGA pertains to participation in these
activities; by following SWADHARMA.
Why should Arjuna repeat this question?
The answer is; understanding supremacy of
SWADHARMA is not adequate. Because, in spite of
understanding; the inertia keeps on surfacing and
prompting an individual; to escape from the worldly
responsibilities giving one excuse or another. In
India; there were tides of ideologies glorifying
irresponsible “asceticism” from time to time. Even
today, there are various breeds of “spiritualism” and
“SANYASA” spreading like pandemics in the world
and cause masses to move into irresponsible inaction,
indolence and parasitism probably as a reaction to
harrowingly and violently stressful petty pursuits.
Arjuna’s repetition of the question underlines the
importance, span and sway of such irresponsible
Krishna reiterates the vital or shall we say life saving
importance of SWADHARMA for individual, social
and global growth and blossoming. He confirms that
SWADHARMA more meritorious than “asceticism”
in which one may conquer one’s petty selfishness but
can succumb to the escapist, defeatist and
irresponsible indolence and inertia, which drags the
individuals, society and the world into abyss of
Krishna makes it clear that SANYASA i.e. external
renunciation (due to incidental cause) is usually
impulsive and not true renunciation. Such
renunciation is because of repulsion for day to day
activities (SWADHARMA); which appear mediocre;
but can serve the purpose of blossoming one and all
and engenders misery.
It is true that some individuals are born more evolved
than the rest and hence neither get interested nor get
involved in the day to day transactions of family and
society. They renounce the world and accept
SANYASA just as ripe fruit falls from the tree. Some
other individuals understand and realize the true
nature of the world through SANKHYA philosophy
without going through the experiences a common
Being aware of this, Krishna clarifies that we should
not get enamored by the SANYASA and SANKHYA
philosophy but stick to our SWADHARMA, because
even as the SANYASA, SANKHYA and YOGA
(SWADHARMA) look different; ultimately
culminate into the same pedestal of cosmic
Having said this Krishna elaborates the sublime
characteristics of practitioner of SWADHARMA,
which elevates the individual in a blissful state that is
beyond physiological boundaries and beyond all
petty and subjective considerations of life!
In 3rd chapter it is stated that one who cooks and eats
merely for his petty pleasures (which are actually
detrimental to his blossoming) is a thief.
This is a very important aspect of Gita.
Gita encourages individuals to be active physically,
instinctually, emotionally and intellectually and
according to one’s capabilities and skills, but with the
goal getting freed from the subjectivity and merging
with the cosmic consciousness.
Gita states that one should never dissuade (which is
referred to as BUDDHIBHEDA) any other person
from his or her activities of livelihood such as crafts,
arts and other skilled and productive activities; and in
fact encourage and try to do all such activities in life;
but with the sole aim of conforming to the absolute
Krishna reiterates this even in 5th chapter.
The 6th chapter Krishna reinforces this point and
describes certain ways by which man can merge with
the objective reality.
He therefore makes it clear right in the beginning that
any one who works without attachment to the results,
is a SANYASI and also a YOGI and not the one who
does not do his duties as prescribed by the scriptures
(with the intention of individual and global
Just as he imparts the insight in SANYASA by
pointing out the dangers of inaction and indolence
and importance of getting rid from the results, he also
espouses and elucidates the nature of YOGA (which
means all activities done to merge with the absolute);
in the sense that YOGA is impossible in presence of
SANKALPA i.e. subjective (erroneous) projections
or utopia! You can imagine that SANKALPA or
individual or subjective goals act as leakages and
hinder the merger of individual consciousness with
the absolute consciousness! It is exactly like leakages
in the pipes through which you cannot pump water to
Even though these concepts pertain to individual and
global blossoming, they also make sense in day to
day activities. Thus if you don’t depend on results
you can avoid self destructive responses (out of
excitation or depression) to results.
But it has to be appreciated; that in everyday life
action is usually associated with results. Thus some
understanding and anticipation of results is bound to
be there and has to be there, so that you can perform
the action elegantly and diligently. Gita upholds such
continued improvement in technique and does not
contradict such anticipation; on which your feelings
There are many postures, mudras, pranayamas etc
apart from proper nutrition, sleep etc. which are
important aspects of life, which ought to be cultivated
right from childhood, so that YOGA becomes
Krishna does not elaborate in details on this, but
suffice it to say that once the goal viz. self realization
is identified and given topmost priority and
importance, then one can adopt suitable techniques
according to one’s physical and social environment,
conducive to reach the goal!
Krishna reassures Arjuna (and everyone) that
dedication and consistent study and practice of make
YOGA possible. Krishna also maintains that even if
an individual loses his body before reaching the goal,
his efforts are never wasted and realizes the YOGA
i.e. self realization in the next birth, adorned with the
Krishna also clarifies the importance of YOGA in
terms of actual practice (which seems to alter the
physiology rather than mere reading and
understanding) and further emphasizes the
importance the focus on the goal viz. self realization
i.e. complete submission of the subjectivity to
Krishna i.e. objective or cosmic consciousness.
It is easy to understand how this would have far
reaching and beneficial impact on the world in terms
of perspective, policies, plans and implementation;
for individual and global blossoming, which is
imperative today, because; no individual nation can
grow or perish in isolation, without beneficial or
adverse impact on the other nations; for long period.
The practical relevance of this is on policy making.
For example, global reduction in the production of
two wheelers and small cars; in preference to mass
transport vehicles such as buses, has impact on global
environment, fuel consumption, traffic jams,
accidents, pollution, wearing out of roads, crowding
of local trains (in metros) and so on.
If principles of Gita (the essential nutrients for
individual and global blossoming) are imbibed and
digested by decision makers of the world, then such
globally beneficial policies can emerge in all the
fields of life.
In 7th chapter Krishna reveals his omnipresent nature
to Arjuna and indicates how only few realize this
nature and how others do not! He explains that he is
the light beyond the physical light and remains
unseen by eyes!!
In tune with 6th chapter, where he says that you i.e.
your higher self has emancipate yourself (your lower
self) and not allow your lower self to perish.