“The paths leading man to god or Truth are said to be many. I will speak only of the shortest. It is to recognize God as the Self in you and then to find Him out. What is the distance then between you and God, between you and yourself? Ah, there is no distance at all, a full Zero! Yet, how dare you say to find God and Truth is hard?’’ 

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

Today Mā was asking me about a śloka in Bhagavad Gita.

चेतसा सर्वकर्माणि मयि संन्यस्य मत्परः ।
बुद्धियोगमुपाश्रित्य मच्चित्तः सततं भव ॥
cetasā sarva-karmāṇi mayi sannyasya mat-paraḥ |
buddhiyogam-upāśritya maccittaḥ satatam bhava ||
(Bhagavad Gita 18.57)

What is exactly the import? On the one hand, it is some knowledge communicated, there is a spiritual wisdom. So what is the influence actually in the whole? What is the message of the śloka and how to understand it and what are the different phrases indicating? So I will try to explain it, she wanted me to explain.

चेतसा सर्वकर्माणि मयि संन्यस्य मत्परः ।
cetasā sarva-karmāṇi mayi sannyasya mat-paraḥ |

Bhagavad Gita speaks about renunciation. Arjuna first said: “I don’t want to fight. I will boycott the war and go.” He also said: “I will go begging, śreyo bhoktuṁ bhaiksham-api-iha loke. I am a kshatriya, I am supposed to live as a ruler with all the comforts, glories and luxuries a ruler will have. This war is so sinful that I can never think of fighting so I abandon my dharma and I take to become a bhikshu, a sannyāsin and I will go and beg for my food.” This much he had said.

So this renunciation becomes the subject of Bhagavad Gita. Even otherwise, Bhagavad Gita has only two subjects to speak about, tyāga and sannyāsa. How to accomplish this tyāga and sannyāsa and how does it reflect in the interactions? Can interactional sādhanā accomplish it? These are the questions Krishna discusses because the discussion is between the two kshatriyas who are given to intense activity for the benefit of the world. This is a point that all of you should know.

Now, Krishna cannot allow the sannyāsa that Arjuna proposed, leaving all activity and battlefield and to look after the body, simply beg for his food. Krishna said, no, this is not becoming of a kshatriya. Then what can be done? So Krishna is explaining that being in this world, doing our regular interactions, they themselves can be as effective as sannyāsa is. Sannyāsa is for the few and interactions and activities are for all. If sannyāsa cannot be done, can the benefit of sannyāsa be had by the interactional people? The answer is yes. How to make our interaction such that they will give you benefit, outcome and blessedness of sannyāsa? This is the subject of discussion of Bhagavad Gita.

First He presented sāṅkhya where life was analysed. Life is interactional, interactions between the senses and objects of the world, senses in the body and objects in the world. These interactions by their very nature will produce sukha and duhkha. So you don’t have to strive for sukha or duhkha, either to get sukha or to avoid duhkha, because both are irresistibly had during our interactions which cannot be avoided. So if sukha doesn’t have to be sought and duhkha cannot be prevented, then what do you have to do? Accept them and forebear them with equal measure. That means you have to be even-minded in sukha-duhkhas. This even-mindedness is called sāṅkhya. And what is actually equal in the world? The Soul is equal, God is equally present in everything. This practice of samatva means practice of Godliness, practice of selfhood. This is a catch; you people are not able to grasp it.

Actions and activities cannot be avoided even for a moment. Prakṛti’s guṇās keep us active, so we cannot avoid them. So never speak in terms of renouncing interactions. It is impossible. Then, are we to lose the benefits of spirituality - no. Krishna makes sure that the spiritual benefit is had by the interactive people. So the whole explanation is towards this.

What does this śloka mean? Cetasā sarva-karmāṇi mayi sannyasya mat-paraḥ. First of all, you become a votary of God, one interested in God. All people are not interested. Become interested in God. Let God be the primary and ultimate object or subject of interest for you in life. Once it has become so, this acceptance has to become express and active in your life. How can it be done? He says, renunciation you do but physical renunciation of all activities is impossible. So what level of renunciation, what kind of renunciation is possible? He says, cetasā, by the mind.

Mind is within the body and within the body in the mind level you can be clinging to or detached from, both are equally possible. So what you have to do is abandon but abandon not physical karma or physical activity. Abandon in the way of an offer of all your activities to God. All your activities should be equally offered to God.

What do you generally do? You take up a special activity called pūja, worship or austerity and then make it an offer to God. There also you have selected an activity and you are offering it to God. Here he says, sarva-karmāṇi cetasā mayi sannyasya. Don’t make any differentiation between your activities. It may be personal, familial, societal, national, global, this worldly and other worldly. Any activity that you do, all activities that you perform, just make an offer of them to God.

What is meant by offering them to God? I don’t need, I am not interested in, I am made to be active by your guṇās, so in my being active there is certainly a point for you. So all the activities that you perform, offer them to God. By offering them to God, you have virtually renounced them. You don’t possess them and you don’t expect the rewards also. You ascribe both to God. So far as you are concerned, these actions are renounced once and for all. But it is renunciation, renunciation not a physical one. You are renouncing, dedicating, offering all your activities to God. Is it possible? According to me this alone is possible.

The entire world is designed by God, preserved by God. We are one set of beings in them. The entire creation is not to serve our purpose or our needs. If creation has any purpose, it is with the creator. If creation has any purpose, that purpose is of the creator, for the creator. Why is that your body was born? Did you play any part in it? We are breathing, we are eating, drinking. All these are possibilities that we have and we have not designed them. So all your activities including your own existence, the whole world’s, consider them to be God’s. So these actions also are His. But you feel they are mine and I am subject to their results, these feeling should go. In other words, the kartṛtva and bhoktṛtva should go. The sense of doer-ship, enjoyer-ship and sufferer-ship, you should completely abandon them. This abandonment is possible provided you consider God to be supreme and you are interested in Him.

बुद्धियोगमुपाश्रित्य मच्चित्तः सततं भव ।।
buddhiyogam-upāśritya maccittaḥ satatam bhava ||

When all the activities that you perform are renounced attitudinally by the mind, then it is in the way of a knowledge and response, so it becomes the yoga for the buddhi. What is buddhi yoga - treating sukha duhkhas evenly and not preferring or having prejudice for another. The same will be had here also. But here it is not sama-duhkha, it is offering fully in the form of dedication to God all your activities. Result-wise it is renunciation but not action-wise. You are acting consciously, effectively, maybe activities increase, even then. That this part of it is pursued by the intelligence, so it is called buddhi yoga. Whether you have renounced or not, nobody knows. You know and a man of intelligence can also know.

I think you should introspect and find out how this verse makes meaning to you. Buddhiyogam-upāśritya maccittaḥ satatam bhava. We generally perform austerity and worship for a short period of time, selecting a particular act and doing it. Here it is not so. All activities are left, mind is the seat of experience and that is causal. So what should we do? This process is done by the mind, but it is made so by the intelligence. So it becomes an intellectual pursuit, a buddhi yoga.

Maccittaḥ satatam bhava. Whether you do or not do, what you do, this, that, anything, your mind should be rivetted to God. I am doing because I am a product of God. I am moving in the world of God which is another product. Everything that you think is all God’s production. So this thought you foster and find out whether the mind slips from it, slips from it, slips from it. If it slips, restore it. So it is a whole inside pursuit.

So the sādhanā is in the form of an introspection. You introspect over your body which is active. The whole process is in the intelligence! So in the intelligence level, just like we say samatva yoga, that is also in the buddhi, here also it is buddhi yoga. Then let the mind constantly think of God. You are in the world of God, with a body made by God, with a mind, with an intelligence, with an ego. You are breathing God’s air, drinking God’s water, living in God’s earth. So that wholesome understanding of God.

Then only maccittaḥ. You have nothing else to think, only God, there is no God plus, God minus. It is God alone. I don’t know, you should think! Initially it is a question of reading, thinking, reading, thinking.

in her room reads Gita everyday in the morning. So she is asking me questions about what is this meaning, what is that meaning? Unless you start thinking and reflecting, the sādhanā will never be and every verse can be a cause or a subject for introspection.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

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