"The power to promote and reward, as also to demote and punish the individual and his fate in this world, lies within his mind, its thoughts and feelings. No external agency is necessary to bring this infallible fruition. As the growth and development of a seed, an embryo, or a cell designed and preserved by its own inner makeup, here too the causal forces for what one rightly deserves lurk within one’s own invisible bosom."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि सन्न्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा ।
निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वरः ।। ३. ३० ।।

mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi sannyasyādhyātma-cetasā |
nirāśīr-nirmamo bhūtvā yudhyasva vigata-jvaraḥ || 3.30 ||

 

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Krishna himself is not a 'renunciate' in the usual sense of the word. But in the Bhagavadgītā he is constantly exhorting the spirit of true renunciation. This may seem to be a contradiction. But it is not. Spiritual wisdom, whatever way it is viewed, is meant to cultivate devotion, dedication and detachment. These triple virtues will necessarily lead the human mind and intelligence to renunciation. The human personality is designed in such a manner that it derives its full enrichment – peace, freedom and fulfillment – only when nursed by renunciation.

In fact, if verse 45 (Aho bata mahat-papam...) of the first chapter and verse 17 (Yasya nahankrto bhavo...) of the last chapter of the Bhagavadgītā are linked properly, the message driven home in between is no other than true and wholesome renunciation. The question is merely how the seeker achieves it. Krishna presents his own yogic way of attaining this lofty state.  For him, the renunciation is the enrichment of the inner personality – it is a refinement, a spiritual accomplishment. It emerges from a process of right understanding and relentless pursuit of that understanding through allied disciplines and practices. When the seeker ripens with the spirit of seeking and derives the true enlightenment, the whole process grows into the sublime renunciation Krishna envisages and imparts.

The ego must dissolve. The possessiveness must vacate the mind. And in their place, the spiritual realization must reign. Then, what results is Sannyasa.

The asakti Krishna has been stressing becomes spontaneous when the seeker clearly knows that Prakriti alone is at the back of everything that takes place in creation. But, if the understanding is delayed, what is the way for the seeker ? He cannot wait unduly for the yoga benefits because of some weakness and insufficiency in him. Krishna is conscious of this point and he makes things easy and practical. The formula he gives for attuning oneself with the true enlightenment is that of surrendering and identifying all that one does with Krishna himself, the Teacher.

In the tradition of this land, a spiritual Teacher's status is supreme, as that of the Almighty Himself. While instructing his disciple on the impersonal Truth, the Teacher has to become quite personal at times. To empower the disciple to follow the instructions and derive their benefits, whatever assurances and inspirations are necessary, the Teacher must give unreservedly. Otherwise, the message imparted will just remain abstract. In the process, if necessary, the Teacher will also have to take the responsibility of whatever adverse or otherwise may apparently come to the disciple, or at least as the disciple may apprehend.

Arjuna is obviously disturbed and even frightened thinking of the consequence of the Kurukshetra war. Despite this, the war has to be fought. In doing so, if Arjuna has still any sense of doership assailing his mind and intelligence, Krishna has to remove it outright. Resolved to accomplish this mission, Krishna says:

मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि सन्न्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा  
निराशीर्निममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वर: ।।    

Surrender all actions unto Me. Keep the mind imbued with spiritual attitude. Rid it of desires and possessiveness. Freed of agitation and worry, fight confidently with a clear resolve.

The word Sannyasya which Sri Krishna uses here needs to be thought of specially. There is no spiritual instruction or philosophical message which does not forge an inseparable bond of loyalty in the disciple and fond concern and grace in the Teacher. In fact, it is the Guru-sishya bond that acts as the backbone of spiritual insight and realization. For doubts of the mind, enquiries of the intelligence, feelings of the heart and the like, the last answer is the Teacher. Spiritual quest grows best and attains fulfillment in the presence and association of the Teacher alone.

Earlier Krishna has said while discussing the Sthita-prajna and Sthita-dhee (verse 2.61):

tani sarvāṇi samyamya yukta āsita matparāh

Regulate all the senses, feeling united with me and considering me as the Supreme.

This was the first time that Krishna hinted at the personal devotion to himself. To be seeking is to be inextricably identified with the Teacher, to be following unquestioningly what he says and imparts. In fact, all questions and doubts would rule the mind only until this implicit loyalty grips the seeker. The words and the actions of the Teacher are the ultimate confirmation and clarity for the disciple in most crucial circumstances.

Krishna now goes a step further and makes himself, the Teacher, the focus even for achieving renunciation. "Abandon or abdicate all actions to me," says he. The fact is that the doership should dissolve in the seeker. If he cannot dissolve it himself directly by virtue of his own understanding and introspection, let him renounce all actions as a dedication to the Teacher. Once the note of total surrender is there, the purpose is served. The ego keeps away making the mind peaceful and the intelligence clear like the sky.

In fact, before the Saankhya seeker and Knower, only the concept of ultimate Reality will shine always. This Reality is no other than the inmost Self within. The religious concept of God is but an epithet of the Self. He who has realized this Truth will naturally identify himself with the supreme Reality, and this fact will find its spontaneous expression in his words, especially while giving spiritual instructions. Krishna gradually uses such identity and expressions more frequently.

To the doubting mind, some specific assurances are essential.  Such assurance  cannot be given on behalf of an assumed God.  For the fond seeker, confidence will come only when the assurance comes directly from the Teacher and the Teacher reveals his supreme identity. The impersonal Absolute, the ultimate Reality, it is obvious, will not resort to articulation before anyone, as we humans do. All statements made on behalf of God are in truth of the Knower himself. This blend of religiosity with spiritual wisdom, is a sublime and effective way of communication between the Teacher and the faithful disciple. In Bhagavadgītā, this distinct note can be found everywhere.

Krishna began his talk citing panditas (learned men) and their viewpoint about the 'living' and the 'dead'. He referred to Tattva-darsinas (Knowers of Truth) while showing Arjuna the difference between sat and asat (the Real and the unreal). In verse 3.20 also he is citing King Janaka and others while explaining the importance of Lokasangraha. The same trend he continues in further chapters too. But the need for himself assuming the position of the supreme Reality and speaking as if the Supreme were speaking, increases gradually, as Arjuna is not able to have a full grasp of the Truth suddenly. But the war situation demands his immediate involvement with firm resolve. Krishna does not lack this spiritual excellence of assuming the role of the Supreme to inspire and empower the disciple to rise to the occasion.

What is needed is not to suddenly deify the Teacher, pronounce him as the Great Invisible God and stand in awe and obeisance. The human excellence and loftiness should not be forgotten. It is a grand dimension of human personality that it can fulfil the dual role of a wise eloquent Teacher as well as the ultimate Divine refuge.

Even the reliance and the fondness of the devotee will become meaningful only when he begins to think distinctly as to what he, as a devotee, should do, and by doing what will his devotional pursuit be fulfilled. Devotion is of the devotee, and it is for him to orient his devotion to make it attain the devotional goal. The whole process is personal, inner and self-subsisting. Krishna wants Arjuna to take to the war by dropping his sense of doership about the whole pursuit. To facilitate such an extinction of the ego, if the ultimate knowledge about the Self and the prakriti does not help immediately, Arjuna should adopt the principle of surrender, making the Teacher Krishna himself the ultimate refuge, the focus for his surrender. Whether he does the first or the second matters little so far as the practical effects are concerned.

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