«ITEMISING SRI BHAGAVAD GITA» | Talk with Sripad Bhakti Chaytanya Bharati Swami, Morning class on 23rd January 2019 at the Bhakti Yoga Institute of West London.
- The main duty (dharma) in this world (00:00)
- How to realize who you are (08:50)
- The path to devotional service (17:12)
- The potency of bhakti (29:35)
- Djiva and atma (34:30)
- Longing for happiness (43:05)
- What happens in Viradja (46:35)
- Fake-based initiatives (50:40)
ITEMIZING SRI BHAGAVAD GITA
Sripad Bhakti Chaytanya Bharati Swami, January 23, 2019, London
LISTENER: The Bhagavad Gita. How can we itemize it; what should we start, continue, and finish with?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: The Bhagavad Gita is very deep and has very many meanings inside it. So, what should you start with? Every devotee has read The Bhagavad Gita hundreds of times.
The first thing we have to learn from the Gita is that Arjuna finds out there’re many duties for a living entity. Actually, before the battle he thought he had one duty – to fight for the right course, for justice. Being a warrior (kshatriya) his duty (dharma) was to fight; it’s like a single dharma. Suddenly, he realized there’re might be many dharmas for one person. Krishna explains that as a warrior he has one dharma, as a social being he has one dharma but as a family member he has another dharma, and a different dharma as a husband. And he comes to the point that these different duties/obligations coincide, come together. Sometimes to perform one dharma you have to break rules of another dharma/duty; so Arjuna realizes this. Then he asks: is there something as a real dharma, a duty which I can follow, and by doing this can I execute all other dharmas? Is there any harmony? And Krishna says: yes, if you follow — as Srila Gurudev said, the religion of the heart which literally means ‘dharma’ or ‘your own self’. Krishna explains to Arjuna that to follow the duty of yourself, to perform the duty for yourself means you execute all external/other dharmas. I think, this is the first lesson he has to understand. Jesus Christ also said: what is the use if you perform all duties of this world and lose your own self? [What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his own soul? Matt.16:26] He meant the same.
If you fulfill your own self you execute all other duties in this world; if you execute duties towards the society, family, descendants, ancestors… Arjuna says: what shall I do? If I kill my relatives there will be no men left in our dynasty; if we kill each other all will die and our women will be taken by the people of low birth, and the low class progeny will appear; so why should we fight each other? That was his argument, his reason why he should stop fighting. Krishna says: actually you are an eternal living being and you either kill anyone or anyone kills you; you cannot be the cause of someone’s death. Once you realize you’re an eternal being it’s not about fighting or not fighting, you will find out what you do next. If you’re a family member or a social being, or an ancestor of your father, or whatever, then you don’t know what to do because you’re limited by understanding of who you are. I mean, if you think you’re a father you limit yourself with your actions. Krishna says that when you understand you’re an eternal spark of consciousness you’ll know what to do and how to do it. That’s another lesson we learn from the Gita.
We may be trapped in difficult situation in our life and we always ask what to do, and Krishna says: before answering the question what to do you have to answer the question ‘who you are’; that’s the core understanding because when you don’t know who you are you always do wrong; once you realize who you really are, what is your personality non-conditioned in time and space, your real personality, then you will know what to do in a particular time and space, what to do now and then, and afterwards. Then Arjuna asks: but how can I realize who I am? Krishna says: you are nittya atma, which means an eternal self/eternal I. So how to realize it? Actually there are three ways to realize it, Krishna says. Karma yoga; yoga means ‘union’, karma yoga – to be in union with yourself, with your nature; then, gyana yoga and dhyana yoga. He gives three ways to realize who we really are. ‘Karma’ also means not making plans, not to envision fruits of your activity, just according to your duty, and don’t expect/envision how the fruits of your activity look like. Sometimes it is misunderstood as not to be attached to the results of your activity. No, karma doesn’t mean ‘not to be attached’, it means not ‘to imagine what the results of your activity are’. Like, when I take some job I envision that I’ll get as much and buy this or that, as if I’m taking a picture of myself and how the situation will look like. Karma yoga means ‘don’t do that’. Do what is needed and don’t envision what could be because the result does not depend on you.
The second way is gyana yoga which means to analyze the environment; ‘analyze’ is to take by parts the external world, what parts it consists of. Finally, you realize that the classical method of gyana is described by Lord Kapila in His teaching of counting (sankya, in Sanskrit). Counting, or analyzing, is when you take into parts the whole environment, starting with a gross portion, then taking more and more subtle parts, and then, in a time, you will find that the one who analyzes the environment doesn’t belong to the environment; then you realize who you are and know what to do. Actually, at that platform, you can understand that you don’t do anything; you only observe the transactions of gross, medium, and subtle aspects of the environment, but you are not involved into it. When we play computer games we think that we act; you shoot someone but when you switch off the computer you realize that you’re just sitting and watching, you didn’t do anything to anyone; there’re just pixels in the screen that light and fade; you might think that you act but it’s only a play of light. This is the way of gyana when you finally realize that you’re not doing anything. An action without acting.
The third way is not to analyze the external reality and go directly inside. It’s called meditation, or dhyana. You don’t take labor of analyzing what’s around you; you go inside and directly perceive yourself. It is a shorter but more difficult way because we see different things and believe that we belong to this environment. For general people, karma is a more proper way to follow. For a less number of people, yogi, or those who want to find the harmony, gyana is advised. And dhyana is only for the few. Then, Arjuna says: to do that is more difficult than to stop the wind. You know, when a hurricane is coming and you step forward and make a blow with your lips to stop it; the possibility of it equals to zero. What You described, Arjuna says, is even more difficult. Krishna says: yes, and there is the forth way which is called buddhi, or bhakti. And He adds that those three ways are steps to this major staircase called buddhi. Karma, gyana, and dhyana are just parts of the general path called buddhi/bhakti. The purpose of taking this path, Krishna says, is to become liberated/free from limitations, both external and mental. We’re limited by the environment and our mental patterns. So, Krishna gives three methods/ways to liberate yourself and further on, in Chapter 12, Devotional Service (after the chapters where how to sit, what skin to sit onto, how to hold your back, and many other things are described of how to become liberated/get your freedom that are irrelevant in this age), He says that actually freedom can bring you a relief from suffering but the relief is not the final purpose of your existence; happiness is the purpose and the highest goal.
Freedom and happiness are not the same. Freedom is equal to non-suffering but not equal to being happy. You can find the result but after getting this result, the freedom, or relief from suffering/calamities; He counts three calamities: from the environment, mind, and forces of nature that are, in the Vedic literature, called demigods; being liberated from all sufferings/enemies (atmika), you can be free but when, again, you find as a result that you are still in want of something more, you are not fulfilled, you think: I need more. That’s what happened to Vyasa who fulfilled all Vedic goals and got into a very sad, even mourning mood.
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Right, lamenting mood. He was distressed and Narada explained to him: you see, you’re free but still want something. And that something is happiness, harmony. So, having explained all the ways of getting freedom Krishna says: but you won’t be satisfied anyway, won’t be happy; I’ll tell you about the most hidden treasure, the Treasure of Sweet Absolute, the Play of Sweet Absolute; if you follow Me you will not need any other dharma. Finally, He says: forget about all conceptions of what and how to do, just do, now and here, what I tell you. Arjuna says: now I realize it, after the proof of the ‘password’ and ‘address’… Because Arjuna asked: I know You, Krishna, as my friend but could you give me the proof of your greatness. Krishna says: no problem; and explains who He really is telling: I’m the taste of the water… Or was it wine? [LOL] It was a honey drink which is wine anyway. He said: I’m the shark among water creatures; I’m the Sun, the Moon, I’m the highest mountain… It’s a long chapter (in the Gita) where Krishna explains who He really is. He gives the proof so that Arjuna can follow Him: I’m the One in every field. Arjuna agrees but asks for some more evidence and Krishna shows him the Universe, and Arjuna understands that actually the Universe is Krishna Himself. But he was frightened and asked Krishna to return to His friendly form: be my friend again and not because You are so great but because You are my friend. Krishna says: Okay, then forget everything, sarva dharman – not only the dharma but the conception of dharma, even the idea of ‘I am obliged, I have a duty’ – forget it, you have no duties at all, just be My friend, not because you have to but because we’re friends; forget the conception of dharma, what you have learnt before from your grandfathers, forget everything, forget about Scriptures and testaments, everything. And Arjuna says: Okay, Krishna, I’ll do as You tell me.
Krishna also says that the one who retells this conversation will be benefited as much as you are now, will get the same benefit; just by repeating this talk of two friends one will achieve all goals I mentioned before, freedom and inner harmony, just by remembering and telling others about our conversation. Wherever warrior Arjuna and his chariot driver Krishna appear, there always will be victory; wherever Krishna and Arjuna, in their chariot, appear in our memory and mind (smarta) we will always gain victory. This is the meaning: not only in Kurukshetra but also here [in the mind]. When we talk about them they appear in this room, among the audience, and the victory is always there.
LISTENER: I have some questions. The first is: if we stay at the bases of karma, gyana, and all of these parts, do they only have potency if/because there’s bhakti in them?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Yes, this is what Lord Chaytanya told Santana. He said: with bhakti, all achievements are there but without bhakti you’ll fail. This is a good question. I also don’t understand why… That means, by following gyana you won’t get liberation – but why? Maybe – I’m just speculating – because what you achieve without bhakti will terminate in some time; no, not time… When you’re liberated you get eternal liberation, you become an eternally liberated soul, so it’s not in a time but at a certain phase of your liberated existence, not time but phase. That means that, at a certain stage of your existence, you will be attracted to some rupa, some forms or qualities which means you terminate your eternal freedom. You still will be eternally liberated but, for some ‘time’ you’ll be the victim of illusion. But if you have a strong support from bhakti then you’ll terminate your freedom and will not be the victim of maya, illusionary images; you’ll be taken to the ideal world where there’re no forms of ideas but the ideas themselves. Eventually, you’ll lose your freedom but the question is: you’ll lose your freedom and get what? By following karma, gyana, and dhyana you can get freedom, you get liberation but you’ll lose it. There’s no question of losing or not losing but the question is: what you get in return for your freedom – Lila or samsara, two opposites; you can be trapped in this vicious circle. You know, they put a hamster into the circle and it runs and runs but actually it doesn’t, it’s an action without…
LISTENER: Going anywhere.
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Right. What Krishna says about the people who act without acting: there’s a big mystery in action and inaction. So, the hamster acts furiously, it’s a very active guy, but it doesn’t move.
LISTENER: And actually we’re not doing anything, right?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Yes, atma means an observer but djiva means an acting observer. So, when we become a djiva then we’re in samsara and when we stop being a djiva then we become an atma again. Djiva is an acting observer; atma is just an observer. Krishna says: you’ll lose your freedom and you can lose it in samsara circle or in Lila.
LISTENER: So, they become atma? Not the same one?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: No. Atmarama cha munayo. Mahaprabhu explains that cha does not always mean ‘end’; sometimes it means ‘by the way’. So, atmarama – by the way – muni: those who realize they’re atma are muni.
LISTENER: And djiva is a conditioned soul?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Djiva. Not the conditioned soul. The conditioned soul is a moving observer.
LISTENER: What about the phrase djiva atma?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: That’s another word. Djiva atma means djiva soul. There’s atma and when atma is moved by ‘great atma’ which is Lord Shiva then atma becomes djiva. Djiva means atma that was pushed in the back (was given a kick). Technically, Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Observer, He observes the dream in a half-sleeping condition, and He casts a glance on an object of His dream, which is pradhana, that glance is Lord Shiva. This glance is something personal. You know: me, my glance, and the object. When He observes the dream, at first, He casts His glance on what He is going to observe or what He observes. It’s not like He observes the dream and then He pays attention to what He observes. Sometimes you observe something but don’t pay attention. But once He concentrates, that concentration, or glance, is Lord Shiva, and when this glance hits the object of his observation then it crashes into millions/billions/unlimited number of small glances, small observers, and since this very moment, the atma, or theoretical glance, become djiva, or djiva atma, which means ‘living/evolving observers’; djivas are living observers. In the state of atma we’re not evolved, not moving but in the state of djiva atma we’re rolling over. An observer in movement.
LISTENER: Which then entangles?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: And then, after that, not that moment, we become djivas and then we get attracted to different images/forms. Then we identify some of these forms with ourselves. Initially, we don’t identify with any. It’s like when you just start watching a movie you don’t identify yourself with the character but after getting used to it, if you watch it every day, in some time you think you’re Commissaire Maigret or James Bond, or whoever it is.
LISTENER: How does this djiva atma acquire akhankara?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Akhankara means acting, acting by myself; kara means ‘to act’; akhankara is something that acts.
LISTENER: So, when Vishnu glances at Atman, atma starts to act, starts to move, and becomes djiva…
BHARATI MAHARAJ: At first, it starts to move and then starts to act; these are different things. Movement and action are different things. Action is something that you register and movement is when you act yourself.
LISTENER: So, what do movements produce?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: When we are moved the next step is… Oh yes, when we start moving then the conception of space and time, of some environment appears immediately because you cannot move in nowhere and no time; you can move only in time and space. When time and space appear, the next step is the good and evil/bad — I like this and dislike that; and when the good and bad come then the action comes.
LISTENER: May I ask something? But before this all, there must be something in this djiva or consciousness wanting all this?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: There’s only one thing – longing for happiness. You know, when a creator or an artist creates something he impregnates some key feature into it, a key element. What is that? When we say ‘computer’ we mean something that can calculate/compute. If you withdraw the feature of calculation you’ll see a box but don’t call it ‘computer’. Okay? Then, a mirror; what is the key feature of a mirror?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Reflection. If you take out this function it’s not a mirror any more. So, in Sanskrit it’s called dharma, something that is the core feature. So, in atma, the core feature is longing, or looking for happiness, and when we start moving or acting, or dividing things into good and bad, creating forms and images, we do all this only because we long for happiness. We evolve this material world in our consciousness. But, having realized that we haven’t satisfied ourselves with the material world we start devolving it back, and we do this also for the purpose of happiness. We’re involved in acting and we stop acting for the same purpose. Like, we go to some place, leave our Motherland because we want to be happy and we return to our Motherland also because we want to be happy. Sridhar Maharaj names this process ‘looking for home comfort’. And I think this is the end, nothing more to discuss in this life time. We can continue in the next life time, may be. I think we covered all subjects.
LISTENER: Maharaj, I have some questions about Viradja. I’m trying to understand, if it’s possible, what does in this Viradja stage appear?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: It is the stage of moving, moving in one direction. In the Greek philosophy it’s called ‘ocean’. Ocean is not what we call know. Ocean is the water that circumvents the earth. In the Bhagavatam, it’s describes as the Jambudvipa, the main land, surrounded by a ring-shaped ocean, a ring-shaped water. This is called ‘ocean’. And this ocean is not inert, not stable; it goes around like a river flowing in a circle way. So, this is Viradja, an ocean that moves in a ring-way around the material world. But don’t imagine it geographically. The whole material world is surrounded by this moving ‘water’ which is the part of the greatest ocean where Lord Vishnu is lying on the bed of Shesha. He is in the ocean and there’s one portion in that picture, which we call the material world, where all djivas are concentrated, and that is surrounded by the ocean, but only a special part of it, that moves in a circle way. So, djiva starts to exist on the border of this Viradja, of this circling water.
LISTENER: Existing means…
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Having its own identity and realizing itself as an acting one.
LISTENER: Acting as someone?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Yes, and making different actions and getting reactions in a shaped form. Then, the variety comes. According to their actions, some djivas get the forms of rocks, elephants, humans, demigods, serpents, whatever… trees, plants, birds… Eight million four hundred thousand varieties result from our self-identification and action.
LISTENER: This sounds like reality, not like the globe with empty stars.
BHARATI MAHARAJ: No, no, this is just mythology that we talk about. There is science; they discovered the big bang; they knew.
LISTENER: That’s the dumbest thing, right?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Yes, and they always play tricks. When questions arise about something controversial they invent something in their heads. Recently, they invented such thing as a ‘dark matter’. No one knows what that is and what laws subdue the dark matter. When other questions arose they invented a more weighty thing called the ‘dark energy’, more dense then the dark matter, and more crazy. [LOL]
Well, you know, there was a big bang so the universe is expanding, right? That means that the distance between molecules and atoms is expending too but, under the law of Isaac Newton (the universal gravity law), the more the distance between objects is the less gravity is there. Right? So, when I have an apple near the surface of the Earth than the gravity is stronger than when the apple is in four hundred miles from the Earth. This is under Newton’s law. So, if the Earth expands, the distance between atoms also expands but they don’t break away. How? Why? Then, they invented the dark matter and that is (it expands) because of the dark matter; the dark matter keeps atoms from breaking away. And then, they invented an even weightier thing, the dark energy. Nobody can explain it. It’s not like lay people only cannot explain it but even those who gave this idea cannot. So, just take it as it is.
LISTENER: It’s like a religion.
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Yes, it’s a fake-based initiative. Once I saw a film on YouTube; it showed an investigation of a commission of the American Senate on NASA, what they really do, what they spend the money on. A guy started explaining things about going to the Mars and the Senate commission chief shouted: I can understand you just waste our money on a fake-based initiative. It was in 2017, I think, and lasted about an hour and a half. And the guy went like zigzagging (beating about the bush). So, all these scientific things about the globe, big bang, evolution are fake-based initiatives. There is no logic or actual science behind them. Next time, when you hear someone declaring things on the earth globe, dinosaurs, or the big bang, or evolution, understand that it is just another religion. All kids believed in dinosaurs and now even the adults believe in them while it is nothing but mental creation. If you go to the British Museum and ask at the Visitor Department: Could you tell me which bones of that dinosaur skeleton are real and which are plastic or made of white fossil? – then you’ll find out one interesting thing that a couple of bones are real and the rest are made of plastic or that white soft stone, they just cut it in the form of bones. You know, it was a funny story with dinosaurs. British and American archeologists found eggs of dinosaurs, big white eggs. They were millions-years-old and there was no substance inside, just full white stones.
LISTENER: Not hollow?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: No, just solid big eggs like stones. And they found many of them. Doesn’t matter how and where they did, just found. And they put them at an auction, and the price went high. In the late 1970s, I believe, or early 1980s, the Chinese realized what it was and made thousands of the same eggs from… can’t find the word…
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Yes, shell-stone, exactly. After many years shells become solid; they cut eggs from the stone, pretending they found eggs of dinosaurs. And the price went down. Then, the heads of the Royal and American archeologist societies asked those Chinese to not, please, make more. [LOL] So, the bones of dinosaurs are of the same fake nature. The kids were raised up with the dinosaur toy kits and movies like The Jurassic Park and they started to believe all was real…
What was the name of that thing they found in France?
BHARATI MAHARAJ: They found Lucy, with a human skeleton and a monkey-like head. It was found in the late 19th century. And they put this Lucy into an archeology or anthropology museum. At that time, there was no such science as genetics. They took this Lucy’s skeleton saying it was an intermediate section between monkeys and humans. Later, in the 20th century they took the DNA from the skull and the skeleton and found out that the skull belonged to a monkey and the skeleton, according to the DNA test, belonged to a human. But this Lucy was the key evidence of the evolution.
LISTENER: Cheating and cheating all along.
BHARATI MAHARAJ: But still, they teach at schools about evolution and this intermediate chain of evolution which was found and which actually is not it.
LISTENER: This is also preached as a religion, the idea that humans evolved from monkeys.
BHARATI MAHARAJ: The basis is religious.
LISTENER: There were archeologists who combined all evidences, all artifacts showing that the humanity existed long ago…
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Steven Rosewood?
I can remember a funny story. In Mexico, university students started producing fantastic shapes of dinosaurs. They made very many different skeletons from shell-stone and presented this or that dinosaur, a flying one, another one like a fish, not found before. And the American archeology society asked them to stop cutting them. I saw those fancy creatures made according to their (students) fantasy.
There’s another story, from South America. I cannot remember the name of the guy who found very old stones with fantastic creatures, and said these were ancient stones carved by American Indians. Some stones pictured Indians of Aztec and Maya tribes riding dinosaurs. The stones were presented in a museum in the United States but later they found out it was him (the guy) who took the stones and carved the pictures. But the kids were taught, in the books, that long ago people lived along with these creatures; the evidence is the stones found in Peru or elsewhere. The pictures of stones could be found in history books. The books are still there although the guy was acknowledged as a cheater. I’m not sure they were reprinted but when I was young I saw those pictures in history books.
LISTENER: It’s a difficult thing to change the whole machine of education when things once found out proved not to be true. Generations were raised and taught on these things.
BHARATI MAHARAJ: Yes, the same story is with the globe, the ball-shaped Earth. In general, people believe there’re many pictures of the globe, made in seventy years, but all of them are computer-generated graphics. As we know from the media, there’re twenty-two thousand satellites and none of them, since 1957, took a real picture. There’s that Hubble telescope flying somewhere far in the Solar system taking numerous pictures of far galaxies and universes but it didn’t take a single picture of the Earth. Isn’t it easy to take a picture of the Earth and turn back for your galaxies? But since the late 1980s they haven’t done that. Any doubts? We can terminate the class now.
Transcript by Elizabeth D.