Category Archives: Religion

Hinduism

Hinduism is an organization of spiritual thought that started with the Vedic period and has continued till today. The Vedic period (c. 1500 -500 BCE) was a period of rapid development of thought with little organization. This is the period during which Krishna, very likely, existed as a yogi and had such a great impact that his name became synonymous with Hinduism.

At the end of the Vedic period (500 BCE) there was organization of spiritual thought in the form of Jnana Yoga. Jnana Yoga separated all ritualism, and focused primarily on meditation. It clarified the concept of self, and the goal of meditation became accessing and becoming aware of the unassimilated impressions on one’s Chitta. This awareness brings up unknown sensations, emotions and thoughts that have been buried for a long time. This is followed by the process of assimilation, during which many realizations occur. This phase of spiritual organization became synonymous with Buddha. However, Jnana Yoga just happens to be very cerebral and was successfully followed by relatively few people.

During the next phase of the organization (400-200 BCE) Patanjali and Ved Vyas expanded Jnana to Karma Yoga of detached action. Karma Yoga required giving up the fixation on worldly affairs. There was a fine line here. One engaged in the worldly affairs to the degree that the actions were in line with the natural laws. One’s disposition suited one to follow a certain class of activity in the society. It was mandatory for the person to perform his assigned duty to the best of his ability. This allowed the person to focus on developing his abilities in a detached manner. Karma Yoga is the main subject of the Bhagavad Gita (BG). It has less focus on the mind and more on detached action. In writing BG, Vyasa used the legendary character of Krishna to popularize Karma Yoga. BG introduces Jnana Yoga briefly in Chapter 2, with the concept of Atman, and then focuses on Karma Yoga as a preliminary step to Jnana Yoga. However, Karma Yoga ended up alienating people from their emotions. Like Jnana Yoga, it was successfully followed by relatively few people.

In the centuries following the Bhagavad Gita, the emotional dimension of spiritual thought was explored. This led to Bhakti Yoga. Unlike Jnana and Karma, Bhakti was able to win the hearts and minds of people in large numbers. This makes Bhakti Yoga a fascinating subject.

NOTE: Discrimination, resolute intellect and devotion is present in all yoga; but in Jnana Yoga there is predominance of discrimination, in Karma Yoga there is predominance of resolute intellect, and in Bhakti Yoga there is predominance of devotion.

Subject: HINDUISM

Reference: Course on The Bhagavad Gita

This glossary is an attempt to provide scientifically precise definitions of the key terminology related to HINDUISM. The tool for generating these definitions is Subject Clearing. These definitions shall be regularly updated with clarity in mind.

This is a work in progress.

KEY WORD LIST:

  1. HINDUISM: GOD, YOGA
  2. JNANA YOGA: JÑĀNA, JIVA, ĀTMAN, JIVĀTMAN, PARAMĀTMAN, BRAHMA, MOKSHA, NIRVĀNA, DEHIN, DEHA, CHIT, ANTAHKARANA, MANAS, BUDDHI, CHITTA, AHAMKĀRA, ATTACHMENT, SMRTI, SAṂSKĀRA
  3. KARMA YOGA: KARMA, SANCHIT KARMA, KARMA YOGA, SACRIFICE
  4. BHAKTI YOGA: BHAKTI, BHAKTI YOGA, KIRTAN, SURRENDER TO GOD, AVATĀR, KRISHNA, DEITY, PURĀNA, BHAKTI MOVEMENT, MYTH, REBIRTH, KURU, MAHABHARATA, ĀSTIKA (THEIST), NĀSTIKA (ATHEIST), VISHNU, SHIVA, PRAKRITI, PURUSHA, KALI
  5. OTHER: ABSOLUTE, ANOMALY, DIVINITY, MAYA, STATIC VIEWPOINT, STHULA SHARIRA (GROSS BODY), SUBJECT CLEARING, SUKSHMA SHARIRA (SUBTLE BODY), BHAGAVĀN, CHANGE & CHANGELESS, DESIRE, DHARMA, ENLIGHTENED ACTION, GUNA, IMMORTALITY, ĪŚVARÁ, KSHATRIYA, SAMKHYA, SIN, SVADHARMA,

HINDUISM
Hinduism is an organization of spiritual thought that started with the Vedic period and has continued till today. The Vedic period (c. 1500 -500 BCE) was a period of rapid development of thought with little organization. This is the period during which Krishna, very likely, existed as a yogi and had such a great impact that his name became synonymous with Hinduism.

At the end of the Vedic period (500 BCE) there was organization of spiritual thought in the form of Jnana Yoga. Jnana Yoga separated all ritualism, and focused primarily on meditation. It clarified the concept of self, and the goal of meditation became accessing and becoming aware of the samskāras (unassimilated impressions) in one’s Chitta (mental processes). This awareness brings up unknown sensations, emotions and thoughts that have been buried for a long time. This is followed by the process of assimilation, during which many realizations occur. This phase of spiritual organization became synonymous with Buddha. However, Jnana Yoga just happens to be very cerebral and was successfully followed by relatively few people.

During the next phase of the organization (400-200 BCE) Patanjali and Ved Vyas expanded Jnana to Karma Yoga of detached action. Karma Yoga required giving up the fixation on worldly affairs. There was a fine line here. One engaged in the worldly affairs to the degree that the actions were in line with the natural laws. One’s disposition suited one to follow a certain class of activity in the society. It was mandatory for the person to perform his assigned duty to the best of his ability. This allowed the person to focus on developing his abilities in a detached manner. Karma Yoga is the main subject of the Bhagavad Gita (BG). It has less focus on the mind and more on detached action. In writing BG, Vyasa used the legendary character of Krishna to popularize Karma Yoga. BG introduces Jnana Yoga briefly in Chapter 2, with the concept of Atman, and then focuses on Karma Yoga as a step preliminary to Jnana Yoga. However, Karma Yoga ended up alienating people from their emotions. Like Jnana Yoga, it was successfully followed by relatively few people.

In the centuries following the Bhagavad Gita, the emotional dimension of spiritual thought was explored. This led to Bhakti Yoga. Unlike Jnana and Karma, Bhakti was able to win the hearts and minds of people in large numbers. This makes Bhakti Yoga a fascinating subject.

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GLOSSARY

ABSOLUTE

AGNI
The Vedas start with homage to Agni. Agni implies energy in all its forms. It is animated by an innate impulse. Energy is the basic substance of the universe. Everything physical, spiritual, real, imaginary, postulated or considered, is made of energy.

AHAMKĀRA (अहंकार )
Ahamkāra is the conception of “I” (ego) of the identity (body-mind system). The identity functions according to laws that are inherent in nature, which makes “I” naturally fluid. In plants the identity is very simple and the “I” hardly stands out. But, in man, the identity is very sophisticated and the “I” acquires an individuality. This idea is expressed in BG 3:27. The “I” can be naturally fluid or it can become attached and solid. The latter condition is known as egotism.

ANOMALY
Anomaly is anything that does not make sense because it is inconsistent, discontinuous or disharmonious. It generates doubts, perplexities and problems.

ANTAHKARANA (अन्तःकरण)
Antahkarana literally translates as the “internal organ.” It consists of four parts: Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara.

ĀSTIKA (THEIST)
Astika (आस्तिक; from Sanskrit: asti, ‘there is, there exists’) means one who views deities existing as supernatural beings. 

ĀTMAN (आत्मन्)
Ātman represents the whole range of consciousness. Please see C-SCALE in the Other Glossary.

ATTACHMENT
Attachment starts with with the consideration that one’s identity is above the laws of nature. This fixation on identity then translates to fixation on worldly affairs. Such a person is calm only when he is within his worldly zone of comfort.

AVATĀR
Avatār literally means, “to make one’s appearance.” From its usage in Hinduism, an avatar appears to be a major step forward in evolution. Some of the avatars are: Matsya (fish), Kurma (tortoise), Varaha (boar), Narasimha (animal-man), Vamana (dwarf), Parshuram (warrior-sage), Rama (model of ethics), Krishna (model of love), Buddha (model of wisdom), Kalki (prophesied to end evil). NOTE: An Avatar is a symbol for a major step toward evolution.

BECOMING ONE
To “become one” is to know something so intimately that there is no distance left. For example, when you are expert in riding a bicycle, you have become one with that bicycle. You push pedals and apply brakes without putting attention on them. But you are fully aware of those actions, and you can change them whenever you want. To “become one with God” is to know the universal laws so well that you operate according to them without having attention on them. When one says, “the seer and scenery has become one,” it implies knowingness. See KNOWINGNESS.

BHAGAVĀN
Bhagavān literally means “fortunate”, “blessed”, and hence “illustrious”, “divine”, “venerable”, and “holy”. It refers to one who understands the creation and dissolution, the appearance and disappearance of beings, the wisdom and ignorance. In Bhāgavad Gīta, Krishna is referred to as bhagavān.
BHAGAVĀN
Bhagavān literally means “fortunate”, “blessed”, and hence “illustrious”, “divine”, “venerable”, “holy”, etc. Please see Etymology and meaning.
“He who understands the creation and dissolution, the appearance and disappearance of beings, the wisdom and ignorance, should be called Bhagavān.” — Vishnu Purana, VI.5.78

BHAKTI
Bhakti (भक्ति) literally means “attachment, participation, fondness for, homage, faith, love, devotion, worship, purity”. Bhakti is “emotional devotionalism”, particularly to a personal God or to spiritual ideas. Thus, bhakti requires a relationship between the devotee and the deity. NOTE: A bhakta feels deep emotions, but these emotions should not cut across the faculty to reason and understand.

BHAKTI MOVEMENT
The Bhakti movement refers to the trend in medieval Hinduism. It was inspired by many poet-saints, who championed a wide range of philosophical positions ranging from theistic dualism of Dvaita to absolute monism of Advaita Vedanta. It was a revival, reworking and recontextualisation of ancient Vedic traditions. Bhakti refers to passionate devotion (to a deity) to achieve salvation. It provided an individual-focused alternative path to spirituality regardless of one’s birth or gender. The Bhakti movement preached using the local languages so that the message reached the masses. NOTE: Bhakti movement has been a great effort to bring Vedic knowledge broadly to the uneducated masses. It has inspired much progress in arts and culture. However, the diverse symbolism has created much confusion and it requires careful deciphering.

BHAKTI YOGA
Bhakti yoga is a spiritual practice focused on loving devotion towards a personal deity. The personal god varies with the devotee. It may include a god or goddess such as Ganesha, Krishna, Radha, Rama, Sita, Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Parvati, Durga, and Surya among others. In Bhakti Yoga, the personal deity may encourage the person to focus on certain attributes all the time. That is a type of meditation. NOTE: Bhakti Yoga is an effort to popularize knowledge using the emotion of devotion. In no way does it minimize Jnana and Karma Yoga. A Bhakta should, by all means, make an effort to understand self and perform actions according to the natural laws. Some say that Bhaktas use more heart (emotions) than mind (logic). That may be so with common people, but the principles of Jnana and Karma yoga cannot be ignored and have to be followed, ultimately, even by the bhaktas. Bhakti Yoga has inspired much progress in arts and culture. However, the knowledge has become diluted by all the diverse symbolism. This makes it necessary to decipher the symbolism correctly.

BRAHMA (ब्रह्म)
Brahma represents the ultimate metaphysical reality that is self-created. Sākār (साकार) means ‘having form, having any shape or definite figure.’ Sākār Brahma is the qualitative description of the universal reality that is always changing. Nirākār (निराकार) means ‘formless, shapeless, incorporeal.’ Nirākār Brahma is the abstract unifying principle underlying the universal reality. According to this principle, all reality is one, meaning it is continuous, consistent and harmonious.
BRAHMA
The one self-existent Spirit, the Absolute. This is the highest metaphysical reality. More practically, Brahma represents the innate impulse that permeates the fabric of the universe. It lies at the core of what we call SELF. Bhagavad Gita talks about “desire” to exist at this level. That is why desire is so difficult to control. (Verse 2:17)
Brahma is the innate impulse manifested as energy in the form of the whole universe. In modern language one would say that the highest metaphysical reality is the innate impulse, which is the characteristic of all energy. This impulse, on a universal scale, is understood as Brahma (the universal viewpoint). But, on the scale of an entity, it is understood as Atman (the individual viewpoint). There is quite a distance from Atman (or Paramatman) to Brahma in terms of broadness of the viewpoint.

BUDDHI (बुद्धि)
Buddhi is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit root Budh (बुध् ), which literally means “to wake, to know, be conscious again”. The same root is the basis for the more familiar masculine form Buddha and the abstract noun bodhi. Buddhi means the intellectual faculty and the ability to “discern, judge, comprehend, understand” something. It translates as the analytical mind. Please see ANALYTICAL MIND in the Other Glossary.

CHANGE & CHANGELESS
Ātman that carries mental impressions never perishes, but the mental impressions carried by ātman are forever changing. (Verse 2:12-14).

CHIT (चित्)
Chit meaning consciousness or awareness. Chit is associated with Jivatman, Atman and Paramatman meaning that there are different levels of consciousness associated with these viewpoints. Please see CONSCIOUSNESS in the Other Glossary.

CHITTA (चित्त)
Chitta is the term used to refer to the quality of mental processes as a whole. One’s state of mind at any given time affects one’s actions, speech, and thoughts. The chitta is said to go off with a will of its own if not properly controlled. Generally speaking, a person will operate with a collection of changing mindsets, and some will occur regularly. While these mindsets determine the personality, they are not in control of themselves, but fluctuate and alternate. It translates as the reactive mind. Please see REACTIVE MIND in the Other Glossary.

CONSCIOUSNESS
Consciousness is the level of awareness of the mind. The greater is the refinement of the data elements (and the relationships among them) from perception, the higher is the consciousness. Human consciousness is much higher than the consciousness in animals, because the data elements are much more refined with greater number of relationships among them. See MIND.

DEHIN (देहिन्)
Dehin means ‘having a body, corporeal’. It translates as soul. Please see SOUL in the Other Glossary.

DEHA (देह)
Deha means ‘to plaster, mould, fashion’. It translates as the body. Please see BODY in the Other Glossary.

DEITY
A deity or god serves as a symbol for the unknown cosmic influence. It is often defined as a supernatural being whose actions affect the world and the lives of human beings. It is considered divine and sacred. Formation of deities are essentially attempts to understand one’s life and how it is influenced in this universe. Through the “worship” of deities one evolves to new levels of consciousness. The Bhagavad Gita visualizes Krishna as the God teaching Jnana, Karma and Bhakti yoga. The Bhagavata Purana focuses on the worship of Krishna as the cosmic deity, which essentially demonstrates Bhakti yoga.

DESIRE
All desires have deep roots in innate impulse, and they are shaped by the self. (Verse 2:42).

DHARMA
Dharma means, “Established in nature”. For example, the “Dharma” of the sun is to shine and give warmth. Dharma is the basis of all science—physical and spiritual. Nature is continuous, harmonious and consistent. Therefore, dharma exists when there is continuity, harmony and consistency.
DHARMA
Dharma means, literally, “the Law of Being.”  It refers to the natural purpose of something. For example, the “Dharma” of the sun is to shine and give warmth.

DIVINITY
When you meditate on divinity you simply end up realizing that you and the universe are one. Your mental matrix is totally assimilated. You are free of anomalies.

ENLIGHTENED ACTION
When one engages in an action simply to restore the truth of the natural order, then it is an enlightened action. (Verse 2:47).

ENLIGHTENED PERSON
A person who is established in the truth of natural order; who is always seeing things as they are. (Verse 2:46).

GOD
God is perceived as a supernatural being (भगवान्) in Bhakti Yoga only. One worships God in order to seek solutions to their problems. In Jnana Yoga, God is perceived as the Supreme Ātman (परमात्मन्) or The Static Viewpoint. One sees Paramātman as the state he wants to evolve to.

GUNA
Guṇas are “modes of existence” (tendencies, qualities, attributes). It is a philosophical and psychological concept developed by the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy. There are three gunas: sattva (goodness, constructive, harmonious), rajas (passion, active, confused), and tamas (darkness, destructive, chaotic). All of these three gunas are present in everyone and everything, it is the proportion that is different. The interplay of these gunas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life. (Verse 2:45).

IMMORTALITY
Immortality is not identifying with perishable mental impressions of sense-objects. It is the freedom from fixations due to samskaras (karmic impressions). (Verse 2:15).

ĪŚVARÁ
Īśvará means, “one who is capable of”, It is used for master, lord, prince, king, mistress, and queen.
ISHVARA (ईश्वर)
The composite word, Ishvara literally means “owner of best, beautiful”, “ruler of choices, blessings, boons”, or “chief of suitor, lover”. As a concept, Ishvara in ancient and medieval Sanskrit texts, variously means God, Supreme Being, Supreme Soul, lord, king or ruler, rich or wealthy man, god of love, deity Vishnu… [in Vedas,] the contextual meaning, however as the ancient Indian grammarian Pāṇini explains, is neither god nor supreme being. Please see Etymology.

JIVA (जीव)
Jiva means ‘to breathe or to live’. It is the human self that is made of deha, antahkarana and jivātman. Please see HUMAN SELF in the Other Glossary.

JIVĀTMAN (जीवात्मन्)
Jivātman is an individual’s level of consciousness that acts as his frame of reference. Please see C-POINT in the Other Glossary.

JÑĀNA (ज्ञान)
Jñāna means ‘knowledge’. It refers to knowledge that is assimilated. Jñāna yoga (Yoga of Knowledge) is one of the three main paths, which are supposed to lead towards moksha.

KALI
Kālī (काली) is the power (SHAKTI) that emerges from SHIVA. It destroys all ignorance and leads one to the understanding of the ultimate reality (BRAHMA). Kali, as deity, is portrayed standing on Lord Shiva, with one foot forward. Her skin color appears to be dark, and she is wearing a garland of 51 skulls, denoting 51 letters of sanskrit alphabet. She is four armed, holding a Kharag, in her top left arm, denoting strength of divine knowledge. In her lower hand, she is holding a severed head denoting ego. Both of her right hands are in the abhaya (fearlessness) and varada (blessing) mudras. She is often depicted naked which symbolizes her being beyond the covering of Maya since she is far above Prakriti. NOTE: Kali symbolizes the concentrated effort to overcome the very source of ignorance.

KALPA
One day of Brahma equal to 1000 Yugas, equal to 4320 million years. See Hindu units of time.

KARMA
Karma means “action.” In Hinduism, karma refers to an anomaly that is left unresolved after some action is taken. Such anomaly is carried forward until it is resolved. All doubts, perplexities and problems come from such anomalies.

KARMA, SANCHIT
Sanchit (संचित) means “accumulated”. Sanchit karma is the karma accumulated over time.

KARMA YOGA
Karma Yoga is essentially the surrender of the arrogant egotism and letting it reduce to the humble ego by going along with the laws of nature in one’s action. This requires certain faith in the laws of nature.

KIRTAN
Kirtan is a Bhakti Yoga technique in which attention is diverted away from mental fixations, so that mind is temporarily free to resolve anomalies in a natural fashion. Kirtan includes singing of bhajans and chanting. Bhajan refers to any devotional song with a religious theme or spiritual ideas. The term bhajanam means reverence and originates from the root word bhaj, which means to revere, as in ‘Bhaja Govindam’. NOTE: A technique to more deeply free the mind of fixations is meditation. Of course, one needs to resolve fixations themselves to keep the mind permanently free. Subject Clearing helps in resolving the fixations themselves.

KRISHNA
In Bhagavata Purana, Krishna is considered an avatar that did not undergo a human birth. NOTE: As an avatar Krishna has become a symbol for a major step toward evolution. This means that, at one time, Krishna must have been an actual person who became a great yogi and attained moksha through his efforts. 

KSHATRIYA
Kshatriya is one who protects from hurt or wound. A Kshatriya is a member of the second of the four great Hindu castes, the military caste. The traditional function of the Kshatriyas is to protect society by fighting in wartime and governing in peacetime. (Verse 2:32).

KURU
Kuru (कुरु) was the name of a Vedic Indo-Aryan tribal union in northern Iron Age India, encompassing the modern-day states of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and some parts of western part of Uttar Pradesh, which appeared in the Middle Vedic period (c. 1200 – c. 900 BCE) and developed into the first recorded state-level society in the Indian subcontinent.

MAHABHARATA
Mahabharata describes the first civil war among the Kurus. It seems to have been composed about 800 to 1000 years later after the actual event. Krishna and Arjuna seems to be characters created by the author based on legends.

MAYA
Maya is actually the condition of perplexity, confusion or delusion. But this condition is impermanent, and it can be cleared up.
MAYA
Maya consists of filters generated by karmic impressions that cloud one’s vision.

MANAS (मनस्))
Manas translates as mind (in its widest sense as applied to all the mental powers). The embodied ātman is aware. It has the natural capacity to recognize what is there and what is not. This is its mind. (Verse 2:16).

MOKSHA (मोक्ष)
Moksha is derived from the root, muc, which means “to free, let go, release, liberate”. It refers to freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth. In the context of Hinduism, Moksha is the realization that Paramātman and Brahman are one and the same.

MYTH
Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world, nature, and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society’s religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. NOTE: God is a mythological explanation for an unknown cosmic influence that does not have a face or personality. Ultimate authority resides in universal principles.

NĀSTIKA (ATHEIST)
Nāstika (from Sanskrit: na, ‘not’ + āstika) means one who views deities to be the symbolization of elements of nature.

NIRVĀNA (निर्वाण)
Nirvāṇa literally means, “blown out”, as in an oil lamp. It represents the ultimate state of release from dukkha and saṃsāra. In the Buddhist context, Nirvāṇa is the realization that there is nothing substantial and permanent underlying the concept of Atman.

PARAMĀTMAN (परमात्मन्)
Paramātman (Supreme Atman) is the ultimate level of consciousness to which all jivātmans converge upon expansion. Selflessness is the attribute of Paramatman, where all personality/individuality vanishes. Please see ETERNAL C-POINT in the Other Glossary.

PRAKRITI
Prakriti (प्रकृति) is “the original or natural form or condition of anything” and connotes “nature, body, matter, phenomenal universe”. It is a key concept in Hinduism, where it includes all the cognitive, moral, psychological, emotional, sensorial and physical aspects of reality. Prakriti has three different innate qualities (guṇas): sattva (goodness, calmness, harmonious), rajas (passion, activity, movement), and tamas (ignorance, inertia, laziness). The equilibrium of these qualities is the basis of all observed empirical reality. Prakriti refers to the feminine aspect of all life forms. It contrasts with the male aspect, Purusha, which is pure awareness and metaphysical consciousness.

PURĀNA
Purāna (पुराण) literally means “ancient, old”. It is a vast genre of Indian literature woven with the Bhakti movement. It includes diverse topics such as cosmogony, cosmology, genealogies of gods, goddesses, kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, folk tales, pilgrimages, temples, medicine, astronomy, grammar, mineralogy, humor, love stories, as well as theology and philosophy. Several of these texts are named after major Hindu deities such as Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma and Shakti. The Puranas are known for the intricate layers of symbolism depicted within their stories. They present a form of religion, wherein bhakti ultimately leads to self-knowledge, salvation (moksha) and bliss. They have been influential in the Hindu culture, inspiring major national and regional annual festivals of Hinduism.

PURUSHA
Purusha (पुरुष) means the cosmic being or self, consciousness, and universal principle. It is atman working toward the state of parmātama. Brahma combines Prakriti (nature, matter) and Purusha (spirit, soul) to create a dazzling variety of living creatures, and tempest of causal nexus. NOTE: It is the universal viewpoint that still suffers from some fixations as it works its way towards becoming the static viewpoint.
PURUŚA
Puruśa is abstract essence of the Self, Spirit and the Universal Principle that is eternal, indestructible, without form and is all pervasive.

REBIRTH
The idea of rebirth comes from variations in the characteristics that one is born with, along with the continuation of certain characteristics from one life cycle to the next. Both these factors may be explained through the phenomenon of genes and the programming they carry. However, it still remains to be explained what this genetic programming is and how it comes about. The genetic programming is the blue print that shapes the identity (body-mind system) of the organism. Its content comes from life cycles that have already occurred. Some of this programming contains anomalies that needs to be resolved. It is the resolution of these anomalies that drives the evolution. In Hinduism, these anomalies are referred to as “karma”, because they come to light through one’s actions.

SACRIFICE
Sacrifice means ‘to make holy’. It is an action performed for its natural purpose without self-interest or attachment. It has the effect of freeing you up. This is Karma Yoga.
SACRIFICE
Sacrifice is surrendering one’s self-interests and devotedly working for the sake of the welfare of the world.

SAMĀDHI (समाधि)
Samādhi means concentration of the thoughts, profound or abstract meditation, intense contemplation of any particular object (so as to identify the contemplator with the object meditated upon); this is the eighth and last stage of yoga; with Buddhists samādhi is the fourth and last stage of dhyāna or intense abstract meditation. The deep sleep like state of samadhi is the period of assimilation in which you completely reset your system. But you don’t live in that state. Samadhi leads you toward the universal viewpoint. Being “established in God” would means being established in the universal viewpoint.

SAMKHYA
Samkhya refers to the philosophical school in Hinduism based on systematic enumeration and rational examination. It ‘enumerates’ twenty-five Tattvas or true principles; and its chief object is to effect the final emancipation of the twenty-fifth Tattva, i.e. the puruṣa or Self. (Verse 2:39).

SAṂSKĀRA (संस्कार)
Samskāras  are mental impressions, recollections, or psychological imprints. These samskāras manifest as tendencies, impulses, subliminal impressions, habitual potencies or innate dispositions. Please see FACSIMILE in the Other Glossary.
SAMSKARAS
Karmic impressions brought about by one’s actions and their consequences

SAT-CHIT-ANAND
The bliss of pure thought energy

SHIVA
Shiva (शिव) means “auspicious, propitious, gracious, benign, kind, benevolent, friendly”. The term Shiva also connotes “liberation, final emancipation” and “the auspicious one”. It is the supreme power that recognizes the true nature of reality and destroys all illusion. Shiva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. As a deity, Shiva is identified as the creator of the cosmos and liberator of Selfs from the birth-rebirth cycle. NOTE: The Static Viewpoint comes closest to describing Shiva.

SIN
Sin consists of acting against one’s inherent beingness, or not acting according to it. (Verse 2:33).

SMRTI (स्मृति)
Smrti means “remembrance, reminiscence, thinking of or upon, calling to mind”, or simply “memory”. The word is found in ancient Vedic literature. In later usage, the term refers to tradition, memory, as well as “tradition that is remembered”. Please see MEMORY in the Other Glossary.

STHULA SHARIRA (GROSS BODY)
The Sthula Sharira is a synonym for Jiva (identity).

SUBJECT CLEARING
Subject Clearing is the general technique employed to clear up the confusion of relationships among different concepts. This handles the source of many problems the person is having.

SUKSHMA SHARIRA (SUBTLE BODY)
The Sukshma Sharira is a synonym for Jivātman (viewpoint).

SURRENDER (TO GOD)
To surrender to God means to let the laws of nature take over. You do not avoid, suppress, deny, or resist your tendencies but face them for what they are. This will make you become aware of your conditioning in depth and the laws of nature. This will help you become free of your conditioning and be able to navigate successfully with your basic nature. People suppress their tendencies and think they have surrendered. They have not.
SURRENDER (in yoga)
Surrendering is “not avoiding, not denying, not resisting, and not suppressing.” It is experiencing fully what is there. You free yourself from an unwanted condition only by becoming fully aware of it. Suppressing is not the same thing as surrendering. If a person is suppressing bad habits to become good, he has not surrendered yet. After you have surrendered, only your basic nature is left. The basic nature operates according to the universal laws

SVADHARMA
Svadharma is “one’s own duty”. These are actions that follows naturally from beingness. Svadharma is a property peculiar to the beingness. (Verse 2:31).

VIDHATA
Vidhata means “inherent principles of existence.” Duality is a natural consequence of these principles. Any imbalance straightens out by itself.

VISHNU
Vishnu (विष्णु) literally means the pervader. It is the all pervasive cosmic order that maintains cosmic equilibrium. It forms into universal principles. Vishnu, along with Brahma and Shiva, is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are part of extensive Hindu mythology. NOTE: Vishnu seems to be the description of the innate impulse that energizes every atom of this universe, and, therefore, our very beingness. Obviously, it is formless and the very root of everything. It generates the very sense organs that perceive. It manifests as space,  time, knowledge and all characteristics. It is the ultimate realization that one can have.

YAJNA
Yajna means selfless action done for the welfare of the world. For example, Jnana yajna is performed to spread jnana for larger benefit of community. The ritual of yajna is a symbol for such action. See SACRIFICE.

YOGA (योग)
Yoga means ’yoke or union’. It is the practice of uniting atman with brahma (see MOKSHA) from which develops the detached ‘witness-consciousness’ (See The Static Viewpoint). Discrimination, resolute intellect and devotion is present in all yoga; but in Jnana Yoga there is predominance of discrimination, in Karma Yoga there is predominance of resolute intellect, and in Bhakti Yoga there is predominance of devotion. See MEDITATION in the Other Glossary.
YOGA
Yoga school of philosophy is closely related to Samkhya school. It systematically studies to better oneself physically, mentally and spiritually by renouncing attachment and attaining equanimity(Verse 2:39, 2:48).

Ego Painting by Zuzana R. | Victory Art | Artworks | Victory Art

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My Spirituality

The subject of Spirituality is actually the subject of Self.

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Swami Vivekananda’s Speech on Sep 11, 1893 at the World Parliament of Religions.

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The knowledge of the ultimate Self.

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There is a lot of meaning underlying each of the following. It is in a different language for many of you; but today we have Internet and Google, and the meaning can be researched, found and understood. It is simply beautiful.

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SHIVA STOTRAM

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NIRBHAY NIRGUN LYRICS

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SUNTA HAI GURU GYANI LYRICS

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THE BHAGAVAD GITA: Chapter 18

Reference: Course on The Bhagavad Gita

English Translation By Swami Purohit Swami

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Chapter 18

अर्जुनउवाच
संन्यासस्यमहाबाहोतत्त्वमिच्छामिवेदितुम्।
त्यागस्यचहृषीकेशपृथक्केशिनिषूदन।।18.1।।

18.1 Arjuna asked: O mighty One! I desire to know how relinquishment is distinguished from renunciation.

श्रीभगवानुवाच
काम्यानांकर्मणांन्यासंसंन्यासंकवयोविदुः।
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागंप्राहुस्त्यागंविचक्षणाः।।18.2।।

18.2 Lord Shri Krishna replied: The sages say that renunciation means forgoing an action which springs from desire; and relinquishing means the surrender of its fruit.

त्याज्यंदोषवदित्येकेकर्मप्राहुर्मनीषिणः।
यज्ञदानतपःकर्मनत्याज्यमितिचापरे।।18.3।।

18.3 Some philosophers say that all action is evil and should be abandoned. Others that acts of sacrifice, benevolence and austerity should not be given up.

A fine distinction is being made here between forgoing an action which springs from desire, and surrendering the fruits of action. Shall we abandon all action, or surrender simply the fruits of all action?

निश्चयंश्रृणुमेतत्रत्यागेभरतसत्तम।
त्यागोहिपुरुषव्याघ्रत्रिविधःसंप्रकीर्तितः।।18.4।।

18.4 O best of Indians! Listen to my judgment as regards this problem. It has a threefold aspect.

यज्ञदानतपःकर्मनत्याज्यंकार्यमेवतत्।
यज्ञोदानंतपश्चैवपावनानिमनीषिणाम्।।18.5।।

18.5 Acts of sacrifice, benevolence and austerity should not be given up but should be performed, for they purify the aspiring soul.

एतान्यपितुकर्माणिसङ्गंत्यक्त्वाफलानिच।
कर्तव्यानीतिमेपार्थनिश्िचतंमतमुत्तमम्।।18.6।।

18.6 But they should be done with detachment and without thought of recompense. This is my final judgment.

Actions, such as, sacrifice, benevolence and austerity, are necessary to purify oneself, since the attainment of static viewpoint is the goal. But such actions should be done with detachment and without thought of recompense.

नियतस्यतुसंन्यासःकर्मणोनोपपद्यते।
मोहात्तस्यपरित्यागस्तामसःपरिकीर्तितः।।18.7।।

18.7 It is not right to give up actions which are obligatory; and if they are misunderstood, it is the result of sheer ignorance.

दुःखमित्येवयत्कर्मकायक्लेशभयात्त्यजेत्।
सकृत्वाराजसंत्यागंनैवत्यागफलंलभेत्।।18.8।।

18.8 To avoid an action through fear of physical suffering, because it is likely to be painful, is to act from passion, and the benefit of renunciation will not follow.

कार्यमित्येवयत्कर्मनियतंक्रियतेऽर्जुन।
सङ्गंत्यक्त्वाफलंचैवसत्यागःसात्त्विकोमतः।।18.9।।

18.9 He who performs an obligatory action, because he believes it to be a duty which ought to be done, without any personal desire to do the act or to receive any return – such renunciation is Pure.

Obligatory actions should not be avoided. They must be performed even when they involve physical suffering. One must perform one’s duty without any personal desire to do the act or to receive any return.

नद्वेष्ट्यकुशलंकर्मकुशलेनानुषज्जते।
त्यागीसत्त्वसमाविष्टोमेधावीछिन्नसंशयः।।18.10।।

18.10 The wise man who has attained purity, whose doubts are solved, who is filled with the spirit of self-abnegation, does not shrink from action because it brings pain, nor does he desire it because it brings pleasure.

नहिदेहभृताशक्यंत्यक्तुंकर्माण्यशेषतः।
यस्तुकर्मफलत्यागीसत्यागीत्यभिधीयते।।18.11।।

18.11 But since those still in the body cannot entirely avoid action, in their case abandonment of the fruit of action is considered as complete renunciation.

अनिष्टमिष्टंमिश्रंचत्रिविधंकर्मणःफलम्।
भवत्यत्यागिनांप्रेत्यनतुसंन्यासिनांक्वचित्।।18.12।।

18.12 For those who cannot renounce all desire, the fruit of action hereafter is threefold – good, evil, and partly good and partly evil. But for him who has renounced, there is none.

A person becomes wiser as he resolves his doubts. The biggest doubt exists on the subject of self. A wise person understands that self is temporary and it can be sacrificed. Such a person understands what action is. He neither shrinks from it because of pain, nor desires it because of gain. When there is action he has no attachment to the outcome of it. He can see that other people regard the fruit of action as good, evil or in-between, but he is indifferent to it.

पञ्चैतानिमहाबाहोकारणानिनिबोधमे।
सांख्येकृतान्तेप्रोक्तानिसिद्धयेसर्वकर्मणाम्।।18.13।।

18.13 I will tell thee now, O Mighty Man, the five causes which, according to the final decision of philosophy, must concur before an action can be accomplished.

अधिष्ठानंतथाकर्ताकरणंचपृथग्विधम्।
विविधाश्चपृथक्चेष्टादैवंचैवात्रपञ्चमम्।।18.14।।

18.14 They are a body, a personality, physical organs, their manifold activity and destiny.

शरीरवाङ्मनोभिर्यत्कर्मप्रारभतेनरः।
न्याय्यंवाविपरीतंवापञ्चैतेतस्यहेतवः।।18.15।।

18.15 Whatever action a man performs, whether by muscular effort or by speech or by thought, and whether it be right or wrong, these five are the essential causes.

These are the five essential causes which must concur before any action can be accomplished: a body, a personality, physical organs, their manifold activity and destiny.

तत्रैवंसतिकर्तारमात्मानंकेवलंतुयः।
पश्यत्यकृतबुद्धित्वान्नसपश्यतिदुर्मतिः।।18.16।।

18.16 But the fool who supposes, because of his immature judgment, that it is his own Self alone that acts, he perverts the truth and does not see rightly.

यस्यनाहंकृतोभावोबुद्धिर्यस्यनलिप्यते।
हत्वापिसइमाँल्लोकान्नहन्तिननिबध्यते।।18.17।।

18.17 He who has no pride, and whose intellect is unalloyed by attachment, even though he kill these people, yet he does not kill them, and his act does not bind him.

ज्ञानंज्ञेयंपरिज्ञातात्रिविधाकर्मचोदना।
करणंकर्मकर्तेतित्रिविधःकर्मसंग्रहः।।18.18।।

18.18 Knowledge, the knower and the object of knowledge, these are the three incentives to action; and the act, the actor and the instrument are the threefold constituents.

Self alone does not act as it takes concurrence of natural laws in the form of body, personality, physical organs, their manifold activity and destiny, for any action to be accomplished. For example, the killing of people takes more than just self—it takes pride and attachment. The incentives to action consist of knowledge, the knower and the object of knowledge, And the action itself consists of the act, the actor and the instrument.

ज्ञानंकर्मचकर्ताचत्रिधैवगुणभेदतः।
प्रोच्यतेगुणसंख्यानेयथावच्छृणुतान्यपि।।18.19।।

18.19 The knowledge, the act and the doer differ according to the Qualities. Listen to this too:

सर्वभूतेषुयेनैकंभावमव्ययमीक्षते।
अविभक्तंविभक्तेषुतज्ज्ञानंविद्धिसात्त्विकम्।।18.20।।

18.20 That knowledge which sees the One Indestructible in all beings, the One Indivisible in all separate lives, may be truly called Pure Knowledge.

पृथक्त्वेनतुयज्ज्ञानंनानाभावान्पृथग्विधान्।
वेत्तिसर्वेषुभूतेषुतज्ज्ञानंविद्धिराजसम्।।18.21।।

18.21 The knowledge which thinks of the manifold existence in all beings as separate – that comes from Passion.

यत्तुकृत्स्नवदेकस्मिन्कार्येसक्तमहैतुकम्।
अतत्त्वार्थवदल्पंचतत्तामसमुदाहृतम्।।18.22।।

18.22 But that which clings blindly to one idea as if it were all, without logic, truth or insight, that has its origin in Darkness.

This is beautiful. Pure knowledge is seeing the One Indivisible, which is also indestructible, in all separate lives. This is the recognition of ultimate Self. When one thinks that there are separate selves in each body, that idea comes from Passion. And when one is fixed in that view without logic, truth or insight, then, it has its origin in Darkness. These are the three Qualities of Knowledge.

नियतंसङ्गरहितमरागद्वेषतःकृतम्।
अफलप्रेप्सुनाकर्मयत्तत्सात्त्विकमुच्यते।।18.23।।

18.23 An obligatory action done by one who is disinterested, who neither likes nor dislikes it, and gives no thought to the consequences that follow, such an action is Pure.

यत्तुकामेप्सुनाकर्मसाहङ्कारेणवापुनः।
क्रियतेबहुलायासंतद्राजसमुदाहृतम्।।18.24।।

18.24 But even though an action involve the most strenuous endeavour, yet if the doer is seeking to gratify his desires, and is filled with personal vanity, it may be assumed to originate in Passion.

अनुबन्धंक्षयंहिंसामनपेक्ष्यचपौरुषम्।
मोहादारभ्यतेकर्मयत्तत्तामसमुच्यते।।18.25।।

18.25 An action undertaken through delusion, and with no regard to the spiritual issues involved, or the real capacity of the doer, or to the injury which may follow, such an act may be assumed to be the product of Ignorance.

Actions may also be categorized as above per the three Qualities (Gunas). A pure action is meticulously done for its own sake. One is bound to the results when the action is carried out of passion. And the action, which is the product of ignorance, is simply delusory and injurious.

मुक्तसङ्गोऽनहंवादीधृत्युत्साहसमन्वितः।
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योर्निर्विकारःकर्तासात्त्विकउच्यते।।18.26।।

18.26 But when a man has no sentiment and no personal vanity, when he possesses courage and confidence, cares not whether he succeeds or fails, then his action arises from Purity.

रागीकर्मफलप्रेप्सुर्लुब्धोहिंसात्मकोऽशुचिः।
हर्षशोकान्वितःकर्ताराजसःपरिकीर्तितः।।18.27।।

18.27 In him who is impulsive, greedy, looking for reward, violent, impure, torn between joy and sorrow,it may be assumed that in him Passion is predominant.

अयुक्तःप्राकृतःस्तब्धःशठोनैष्कृतिकोऽलसः।
विषादीदीर्घसूत्रीचकर्तातामसउच्यते।।18.28।।

18.28 While he whose purpose is infirm, who is low-minded, stubborn, dishonest, malicious, indolent, despondent, procrastinating – he may be assumed to be in Darkness.

These verses differentiate the doer according to the three Qualities. A pure doer has no attention on himself or on the idea of success; he courageously and confidently does what he must. A passionate doer has attention on himself and on succeeding; he is driven by his desires and emotions. An ignorant doer is not sure of what he wants to do; he is low-minded, dishonest, lazy, uncaring, etc.

बुद्धेर्भेदंधृतेश्चैवगुणतस्त्रिविधंश्रृणु।
प्रोच्यमानमशेषेणपृथक्त्वेनधनञ्जय।।18.29।।

18.29 Reason and conviction are threefold, according to the Quality which is dominant. I will explain them fully and severally, O Arjuna!

प्रवृत्तिंचनिवृत्तिंचकार्याकार्येभयाभये।
बन्धंमोक्षंचयावेत्तिबुद्धिःसापार्थसात्त्विकी।।18.30।।

18.30 That intellect which understands the creation and dissolution of life, what actions should be done and what not, which discriminates between fear and fearlessness, bondage and deliverance, that is Pure.

ययाधर्ममधर्मंचकार्यंचाकार्यमेवच।
अयथावत्प्रजानातिबुद्धिःसापार्थराजसी।।18.31।।

18.31 The intellect which does not understand what is right and what is wrong, and what should be done and what not, is under the sway of Passion.

अधर्मंधर्ममितियामन्यतेतमसाऽऽवृता।
सर्वार्थान्विपरीतांश्चबुद्धिःसापार्थतामसी।।18.32।।

18.32 And that which, shrouded in Ignorance, thinks wrong right, and sees everything perversely, O Arjuna, that intellect is ruled by Darkness.

These verses differentiate intellect according to the three Qualities. A pure intellect correctly sees what is there. A passionate intellect’s view is colored by his passion. An ignorant intellect sees everything perversely thinking right to be wrong.

धृत्याययाधारयतेमनःप्राणेन्द्रियक्रियाः।
योगेनाव्यभिचारिण्याधृतिःसापार्थसात्त्विकी।।18.33।।

18.33 The conviction and steady concentration by which the mind, the vitality and the senses are controlled – O Arjuna! They are the product of Purity.

ययातुधर्मकामार्थान्धृत्याधारयतेऽर्जुन।
प्रसङ्गेनफलाकाङ्क्षीधृतिःसापार्थराजसी।।18.34।।

18.34 The conviction which always holds fast to rituals, to self-interest and wealth, for the sake of what they may bring forth – that comes from Passion.

ययास्वप्नंभयंशोकंविषादंमदमेवच।
नविमुञ्चतिदुर्मेधाधृतिःसापार्थतामसी।।18.35।।

18.35 And that which clings perversely to false idealism, fear, grief, despair and vanity is the product of Ignorance.

These verses differentiate one’s conviction according to the three Qualities. The conviction and steady concentration by which the mind, the vitality and the senses are controlled, are the product of Purity. The conviction which always holds fast to rituals, to self-interest and wealth, for the sake of what they may bring forth, comes from Passion. And that which clings perversely to false idealism, fear, grief, despair and vanity is the product of Ignorance.

सुखंत्विदानींत्रिविधंश्रृणुमेभरतर्षभ।
अभ्यासाद्रमतेयत्रदुःखान्तंचनिगच्छति।।18.36।।

18.36 Hear further the three kinds of pleasure. That which increases day after day delivers one from misery,

यत्तदग्रेविषमिवपरिणामेऽमृतोपमम्।
तत्सुखंसात्त्विकंप्रोक्तमात्मबुद्धिप्रसादजम्।।18.37।।

18.37 Which at first seems like poison but afterwards acts like nectar – that pleasure is Pure, for it is born of Wisdom.

विषयेन्द्रियसंयोगाद्यत्तदग्रेऽमृतोपमम्।
परिणामेविषमिवतत्सुखंराजसंस्मृतम्।।18.38।।

18.38 That which as first is like nectar, because the senses revel in their objects, but in the end acts like poison – that pleasure arises from Passion.

यदग्रेचानुबन्धेचसुखंमोहनमात्मनः।
निद्रालस्यप्रमादोत्थंतत्तामसमुदाहृतम्।।18.39।।

18.39 While the pleasure which from first to last merely drugs the senses, which springs from indolence, lethargy and folly – that pleasure flows from Ignorance.

These verses differentiate pleasure according to the three Qualities. Pure pleasure increases day after day and delivers one from misery. It may be hard on the senses at first, but it evolves one toward greater skills, as it is born out of wisdom. The pleasure arising from Passion is always pleasing to the senses, but the outcomes are always disharmony, break ups or conflicts. The pleasure arising from Ignorance merely drugs the senses because it consists of indolence, lethargy and folly.

नतदस्तिपृथिव्यांवादिविदेवेषुवापुनः।
सत्त्वंप्रकृतिजैर्मुक्तंयदेभिःस्यात्ित्रभिर्गुणैः।।18.40।।

18.40 There is nothing anywhere on earth or in the higher worlds which is free from the three Qualities – for they are born of Nature.

ब्राह्मणक्षत्रियविशांशूद्राणांचपरंतप।
कर्माणिप्रविभक्तानिस्वभावप्रभवैर्गुणैः।।18.41।।

18.41 O Arjuna! The duties of spiritual teachers, the soldiers, the traders and the servants have all been fixed according to the dominant Quality in their nature.

The three Qualities (Purity, Passion and Ignorance) are part of natural, spiritual Laws. They apply to everything and everybody. The dominant Quality defines a spiritual teacher, a soldier, a trader and a servant.

शमोदमस्तपःशौचंक्षान्तिरार्जवमेवच।
ज्ञानंविज्ञानमास्तिक्यंब्रह्मकर्मस्वभावजम्।।18.42।।

18.42 Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness, as well as uprightness, knowledge, wisdom and faith in God – these constitute the duty of a spiritual Teacher.

शौर्यंतेजोधृतिर्दाक्ष्यंयुद्धेचाप्यपलायनम्।
दानमीश्वरभावश्चक्षात्रंकर्मस्वभावजम्।।18.43।।

18.43 Valour, glory, firmness, skill, generosity, steadiness in battle and ability to rule – these constitute the duty of a soldier. They flow from his own nature.

कृषिगौरक्ष्यवाणिज्यंवैश्यकर्मस्वभावजम्।
परिचर्यात्मकंकर्मशूद्रस्यापिस्वभावजम्।।18.44।।

18.44 Agriculture, protection of the cow and trade are the duty of a trader, again in accordance with his nature. The duty of a servant is to serve, and that too agrees with his nature.

These verses describe the duties of a spiritual teacher, a soldier, a trader and a servant. This spectrum of duties is required for a human society to function. Such duties are natural. They are also part of the natural law. Every person takes up these duties at various times in his or her life, though one of these may dominate.

स्वेस्वेकर्मण्यभिरतःसंसिद्धिंलभतेनरः।
स्वकर्मनिरतःसिद्धिंयथाविन्दतितच्छृणु।।18.45।।

18.45 Perfection is attained when each attends diligently to his duty. Listen and I will tell you how it is attained by him who always minds his own duty.

यतःप्रवृत्तिर्भूतानांयेनसर्वमिदंततम्।
स्वकर्मणातमभ्यर्च्यसिद्धिंविन्दतिमानवः।।18.46।।

18.46 Man reaches perfection by dedicating his actions to God, Who is the source of all being, and fills everything.

श्रेयान्स्वधर्मोविगुणःपरधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात्।
स्वभावनियतंकर्मकुर्वन्नाप्नोतिकिल्बिषम्।।18.47।।

18.47 It is better to do one’s own duty, however defective it may be, than to follow the duty of another, however well one may perform it. He who does his duty as his own nature reveals it, never sins.

सहजंकर्मकौन्तेयसदोषमपिनत्यजेत्।
सर्वारम्भाहिदोषेणधूमेनाग्निरिवावृताः।।18.48।।

18.48 The duty that of itself falls to one’s lot should not be abandoned, though it may have its defects. All acts are marred by defects, as fire is obscured by smoke.

It is one’s nature that determines one’s duty and one must follow it diligently, dedicating his actions to God. This is how one attains perfection. Sin lies in neglecting one’s duty and performing the duty of another.

असक्तबुद्धिःसर्वत्रजितात्माविगतस्पृहः।
नैष्कर्म्यसिद्धिंपरमांसंन्यासेनाधिगच्छति।।18.49।।

18.49 He whose mind is entirely detached, who has conquered himself, whose desires have vanished, by his renunciation reaches that stage of perfect freedom where action completes itself and leaves no seed.

सिद्धिंप्राप्तोयथाब्रह्मतथाप्नोतिनिबोधमे।
समासेनैवकौन्तेयनिष्ठाज्ञानस्ययापरा।।18.50।।

18.50 I will now state briefly how he, who has reached perfection, finds the Eternal Spirit, the state of Supreme Wisdom.

Perfection is the static viewpoint that is viewing everything objectively without being influenced. It lets everything happen per the natural laws. It does not interfere. It does not react. It considers everything for what it is. It does not color anything. Herein lies the Eternal Spirit, the state of Supreme Wisdom.

बुद्ध्याविशुद्धयायुक्तोधृत्याऽऽत्मानंनियम्यच।
शब्दादीन्विषयांस्त्यक्त्वारागद्वेषौव्युदस्यच।।18.51।।

18.51 Guided always by pure reason, bravely restraining himself, renouncing the objects of sense and giving up attachment and hatred;

विविक्तसेवीलघ्वाशीयतवाक्कायमानसः।
धयानयोगपरोनित्यंवैराग्यंसमुपाश्रितः।।18.52।।

18.52 Enjoying solitude, abstemiousness, his body, mind and speech under perfect control, absorbed in meditation, he becomes free – always filled with the spirit of renunciation.

After attaining the static viewpoint one is guided by pure reason, or according to the resolution of anomalies in real time. He uses the sense-objects, senses and feelings simply for the information they provide and does not get fixated on them. Thus, he enjoys solitude; he is well-restrained; he eats and drinks sparingly; his thinking, actions and speech are under perfect control; he is attentive to everything around him. He is free because he does not let anything bind him.

अहङ्कारंबलंदर्पंकामंक्रोधंपरिग्रहम्।
विमुच्यनिर्ममःशान्तोब्रह्मभूयायकल्पते।।18.53।।

18.53 Having abandoned selfishness, power, arrogance, anger and desire, possessing nothing of his own and having attained peace, he is fit to join the Eternal Spirit.

ब्रह्मभूतःप्रसन्नात्मानशोचतिनकाङ्क्षति।
समःसर्वेषुभूतेषुमद्भक्तिंलभतेपराम्।।18.54।।

18.54 And when he becomes one with the Eternal, and his soul knows the bliss that belongs to the Self, he feels no desire and no regret, he regards all beings equally and enjoys the blessing of supreme devotion to Me.

भक्त्यामामभिजानातियावान्यश्चास्मितत्त्वतः।
ततोमांतत्त्वतोज्ञात्वाविशतेतदनन्तरम्।।18.55।।

18.55 By such devotion, he sees Me, who I am and what I am; and thus realising the Truth, he enters My Kingdom.

Selfishness, power, arrogance, anger, desire and the sense of personal ownership, are human traits and are marks of human misery. Such traits fall off when the person attains the Static Viewpoint. He attains inner peace and happiness and regards all beings equally. He feels one with the universe.

सर्वकर्माण्यपिसदाकुर्वाणोमद्व्यपाश्रयः।
मत्प्रसादादवाप्नोतिशाश्वतंपदमव्ययम्।।18.56।।

18.56 Relying on Me in all his action and doing them for My sake, he attains, by My Grace, Eternal and Unchangeable Life.

चेतसासर्वकर्माणिमयिसंन्यस्यमत्परः।
बुद्धियोगमुपाश्रित्यमच्चित्तःसततंभव।।18.57।।

18.57 Surrender then thy actions unto Me, live in Me, concentrate thine intellect on Me, and think always of Me.

One can be deluded about rightness or wrongness of actions. But one can rely on traditions and one’s duty per those traditions. When such is the case, do your action without hesitation and to the best of your ability. You will find such actions backed up by the Static Viewpoint.

मच्चित्तःसर्वदुर्गाणिमत्प्रसादात्तरिष्यसि।
अथचेत्त्वमहङ्कारान्नश्रोष्यसिविनङ्क्ष्यसि।।18.58।।

18.58 Fix but thy mind on Me, and by My grace thou shalt overcome the obstacles in thy path. But if, misled by pride, thou wilt not listen, then indeed thou shalt be lost.

यदहङ्कारमाश्रित्यनयोत्स्यइतिमन्यसे।
मिथ्यैषव्यवसायस्तेप्रकृतिस्त्वांनियोक्ष्यति।।18.59।।

18.59 If thou in thy vanity thinkest of avoiding this fight, thy will shall not be fulfilled, for Nature herself will compel thee.

स्वभावजेनकौन्तेयनिबद्धःस्वेनकर्मणा।
कर्तुंनेच्छसियन्मोहात्करिष्यस्यवशोऽपितत्।।18.60।।

18.60 O Arjuna! Thy duty binds thee. From thine own nature has it arisen, and that which in thy delusion thou desire not to do, that very thing thou shalt do. Thou art helpless.

Arjuna was Kshatriya. His traditional duty was to uphold the rule of just law. He was bound by dharma to perform that duty. If Arjuna could set his pride aside and assumed the Static Viewpoint, he would see the same duty as the optimum course of action. There was no proper alternative.

ईश्वरःसर्वभूतानांहृद्देशेऽर्जुनतिष्ठति।
भ्रामयन्सर्वभूतानियन्त्रारूढानिमायया।।18.61।।

18.61 God dwells in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna! He causes them to revolve as it were on a wheel by His mystic power.

तमेवशरणंगच्छसर्वभावेनभारत।
तत्प्रसादात्परांशान्तिंस्थानंप्राप्स्यसिशाश्वतम्।।18.62।।

18.62 With all thy strength, fly unto Him and surrender thyself, and by His grace shalt thou attain Supreme Peace and reach the Eternal Home.

इतितेज्ञानमाख्यातंगुह्याद्गुह्यतरंमया।
विमृश्यैतदशेषेणयथेच्छसितथाकुरु।।18.63।।

18.63 Thus have I revealed to thee the Truth, the Mystery of mysteries. Having thought it over, thou art free to act as thou wilt.

Man also goes through cycles like the rest of the universe. That is the nature of the universe. You are a part of this universe. Let the nature take its course. You maintain the Static Viewpoint as best as you can to understand the whole scheme of things. You are free to act as you will. May you find the Supreme Peace and Eternal Home.

सर्वगुह्यतमंभूयःश्रृणुमेपरमंवचः।
इष्टोऽसिमेदृढमितिततोवक्ष्यामितेहितम्।।18.64।।

18.64 Only listen once more to My last word, the deepest secret of all; thou art My beloved, thou are My friend, and I speak for thy welfare.

मन्मनाभवमद्भक्तोमद्याजीमांनमस्कुरु।
मामेवैष्यसिसत्यंतेप्रतिजानेप्रियोऽसिमे।।18.65।।

18.65 Dedicate thyself to Me, worship Me, sacrifice all for Me, prostrate thyself before Me, and to Me thou shalt surely come. Truly do I pledge thee; thou art My own beloved.

सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्यमामेकंशरणंव्रज।
अहंत्वासर्वपापेभ्योमोक्षयिष्यामिमाशुचः।।18.66।।

18.66 Give up then thy earthly duties, surrender thyself to Me only. Do not be anxious; I will absolve thee from all thy sin.

This is like the universe pleading to Man, “You are part of Me; you depend on Me; yet you carry forward the evolution of the universe. You have done so by following the laws so far that have built you; just keep following those natural laws. Use the Static Viewpoint that you have always used, only now you are aware of it. Use it and you will grow as you are supposed to.”

इदंतेनातपस्कायनाभक्तायकदाचन।
नचाशुश्रूषवेवाच्यंनचमांयोऽभ्यसूयति।।18.67।।

18.67 Speak not this to one who has not practised austerities, or to him who does not love, or who will not listen, or who mocks.

यइमंपरमंगुह्यंमद्भक्तेष्वभिधास्यति।
भक्ितंमयिपरांकृत्वामामेवैष्यत्यसंशयः।।18.68।।

18.68 But he who teaches this great secret to My devotees, his is the highest devotion, and verily he shall come unto Me.

नचतस्मान्मनुष्येषुकश्िचन्मेप्रियकृत्तमः।
भवितानचमेतस्मादन्यःप्रियतरोभुवि।।18.69।।

18.69 Nor is there among men any who can perform a service dearer to Me than this, or any man on earth more beloved by Me than he.

These teachings are not for those who have not practiced austerities, or who do not love, or who will not listen, or who mock. One who brings these teachings to others is the greatest devotee. He will certainly attain the Static Viewpoint.

अध्येष्यतेचयइमंधर्म्यंसंवादमावयोः।
ज्ञानयज्ञेनतेनाहमिष्टःस्यामितिमेमतिः।।18.70।।

18.70 He who will study this spiritual discourse of ours, I assure thee, he shall thereby worship Me at the altar of Wisdom.

श्रद्धावाननसूयश्चश्रृणुयादपियोनरः।
सोऽपिमुक्तःशुभाँल्लोकान्प्राप्नुयात्पुण्यकर्मणाम्।।18.71।।

18.71 Yea, he who listens to it with faith and without doubt, even he, freed from evil, shalt rise to the worlds which the virtuous attain through righteous deeds.

कच्चिदेतच्छ्रुतंपार्थत्वयैकाग्रेणचेतसा।
कच्चिदज्ञानसंमोहःप्रनष्टस्तेधनञ्जय।।18.72।।

18.72 O Arjuna! Hast thou listened attentively to My words? Has thy ignorance and thy delusion gone?

In this world, most obvious is the right effort of Karma Yoga. Above that is the right emotion of Bhakti Yoga. And above that is the right thought of Jnana Yoga. Krishna has gone over these three aspects with Arjuna. He refers to it as the altar of Wisdom. Worship at this altar leads one to the Static Viewpoint of Krishna. This requires the observation that removes doubt. This is the path of faith in one’s observation. It removes all evil. Krishna is wondering if he has removed Arjuna’s ultimate doubts.

अर्जुनउवाच
नष्टोमोहःस्मृतिर्लब्धात्वत्प्रसादान्मयाच्युत।
स्थितोऽस्मिगतसन्देहःकरिष्येवचनंतव।।18.73।।

18.73 Arjuna replied: My Lord! O Immutable One! My delusion has fled. By Thy Grace, O Changeless One, the light has dawned. My doubts are gone, and I stand before Thee ready to do Thy will.”

सञ्जयउवाच
इत्यहंवासुदेवस्यपार्थस्यचमहात्मनः।
संवादमिममश्रौषमद्भुतंरोमहर्षणम्।।18.74।।

18.74 Sanjaya told: “Thus have I heard this rare, wonderful and soul-stirring discourse of the Lord Shri Krishna and the great-souled Arjuna.

व्यासप्रसादाच्छ्रुतवानेतद्गुह्यमहंपरम्।
योगंयोगेश्वरात्कृष्णात्साक्षात्कथयतःस्वयम्।।18.75।।

18.75 Through the blessing of the sage Vyasa, I listened to this secret and noble science from the lips of its Master, the Lord Shri Krishna.

At this conclusion of the Bhagavad Gita all of Arjuna’s doubts are now removed. Arjuna is now ready to do what is necessary according to his duty as a Kshatriya. Sanjay has been relaying this account to King Dhritarashtra. The philosophy of Sri Krishna is praised and the author of this narrative, sage Vyasa, is acknowledged.

राजन्संस्मृत्यसंस्मृत्यसंवादमिममद्भुतम्।
केशवार्जुनयोःपुण्यंहृष्यामिचमुहुर्मुहुः।।18.76।।

18.76 O King! The more I think of that marvellous and holy discourse, the more I lose myself in joy.

तच्चसंस्मृत्यसंस्मृत्यरूपमत्यद्भुतंहरेः।
विस्मयोमेमहान्राजन्हृष्यामिचपुनःपुनः।।18.77।।

18.77 As memory recalls again and again the exceeding beauty of the Lord, I am filled with amazement and happiness.

यत्रयोगेश्वरःकृष्णोयत्रपार्थोधनुर्धरः।
तत्रश्रीर्विजयोभूतिर्ध्रुवानीतिर्मतिर्मम।।18.78।

18.78 Wherever is the Lord Shri Krishna, the Prince of Wisdom, and wherever is Arjuna, the Great Archer, I am more than convinced that good fortune, victory, happiness and righteousness will follow.

These last three verses wrap up the discourse of the Bhagavad Gita. This philosophy brings joy because it answers questions and removes doubts. It has beauty because of its continuity, consistency and harmony. This philosophy exists wherever is the Lord Shri Krishna, the Prince of Wisdom, and wherever is Arjuna, the Great Archer. This philosophy ensures righteousness and it imparts good fortune, victory, and happiness.

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Final Comment

One cannot forgo all actions. One must perform one’s duty. But an action must be performed with detachment and without thought of recompense. A wise person understands that self is temporary and it can be sacrificed. Self alone does not act as it takes concurrence of body, personality, physical organs, their manifold activity and destiny, for any action to be accomplished. The incentives to action consist of knowledge, the knower and the object of knowledge, And the action itself consists of the act, the actor and the instrument.

BG then analyzes these aspects of action according to the three GUNAS (characteristics) of SATTVA (purity), RAJAS (passion) and TAMAS (ignorance). One of these characteristics dominates a person’s viewpoint. That viewpoint defines the person. This is a brilliant analysis.

A person with RAJAS (passion) thinks that there are separate selves existing in each body, and a person with TAMAS (ignorance) is fixated on the survival of himself without logic, truth or insight. Whereas, a person with SATTVA sees only one indivisible self; to him there is no other.

The three characteristics (Purity, Passion and Ignorance) are part of the spiritual Laws. They apply to everything and everybody. The dominant characteristic defines a spiritual teacher, a soldier, a trader and a servant. This spectrum of duties is natural in a human society. One must follow one’s duty diligently, dedicating his actions to God. This leads to the perfection of the Static Viewpoint. Herein lies the Eternal Spirit, the state of Supreme Wisdom. 

Such a person enjoys solitude; he is well-restrained; he eats and drinks sparingly; his thinking, actions and speech are under perfect control; he is attentive of everything around him. He is free because he does not let anything bind him. Human traits like selfishness, power, arrogance, anger, desire and the sense of personal ownership fall off. He attains inner peace and happiness and regards all beings equally. He feels one with the universe. This starts with doing one’s duty without hesitation and to the best of one’s ability. 

Just keep following those natural laws and you will grow as you are supposed to. These teachings are not for those who have not practiced austerities, or who do not love, or who will not listen, or who mock. 

In this world, most obvious is the right effort of Karma Yoga. Above that is the right emotion of Bhakti Yoga. And above that is the right thought of Jnana Yoga. Worship at this altar of Wisdom will lead you to the Static Viewpoint of Krishna. 

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THE BHAGAVAD GITA: Chapter 17

Reference: Course on The Bhagavad Gita

English Translation By Swami Purohit Swami

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Chapter 17

अर्जुनउवाच
येशास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्ययजन्तेश्रद्धयाऽन्विताः।
तेषांनिष्ठातुकाकृष्णसत्त्वमाहोरजस्तमः।।17.1।।

17.1 Arjuna asked: My Lord! Those who do acts of sacrifice, not according to the scriptures but nevertheless with implicit faith, what is their condition? Is it one of Purity, of Passion or of Ignorance?

श्रीभगवानुवाच
त्रिविधाभवतिश्रद्धादेहिनांसास्वभावजा।
सात्त्विकीराजसीचैवतामसीचेतितांश्रृणु।।17.2।।

17.2 Lord Shri Krishna replied: Man has an inherent faith in one or another of the Qualities—Purity, Passion and Ignorance. Now listen.

सत्त्वानुरूपासर्वस्यश्रद्धाभवतिभारत।
श्रद्धामयोऽयंपुरुषोयोयच्छ्रद्धःसएवसः।।17.3।।

17.3 The faith of every man conforms to his nature. By nature he is full of faith. He is in fact what his faith makes him.

Every person has faith, which shows up as his nature. A person is pure, passionate or ignorant because of his faith. He commits acts of sacrifice out of that faith and not necessarily because he is following scriptures.

यजन्तेसात्त्विकादेवान्यक्षरक्षांसिराजसाः।
प्रेतान्भूतगणांश्चान्येयजन्तेतामसाजनाः।।17.4।।

17.4 The Pure worship the true God; the Passionate, the powers of wealth and magic; the Ignorant, the spirits of the dead and of the lower orders of nature.

अशास्त्रविहितंघोरंतप्यन्तेयेतपोजनाः।
दम्भाहङ्कारसंयुक्ताःकामरागबलान्विताः।।17.5।।

17.5 Those who practice austerities not commanded by scripture, who are slaves to hypocrisy and egotism, who are carried away by the fury of desire and passion,

कर्षयन्तःशरीरस्थंभूतग्राममचेतसः।
मांचैवान्तःशरीरस्थंतान्विद्ध्यासुरनिश्चयान्।।17.6।।

17.6 They are ignorant. They torment the organs of the body; and they harass Me also, Who lives within. Know that they are devoted to evil.

It is interesting to observe that scriptures do not support austerities that may hurt organs of the body. Discipline must be well devised to accomplish a beneficial purpose. One should not be devoted to things that are based on illusion. One should have one’s feet planted solidly on the ground.

आहारस्त्वपिसर्वस्यत्रिविधोभवतिप्रियः।
यज्ञस्तपस्तथादानंतेषांभेदमिमंश्रृणु।।17.7।।

17.7 The food which men enjoy is also threefold, like the ways of sacrifice, austerity and almsgiving. Listen to the distinction.

आयुःसत्त्वबलारोग्यसुखप्रीतिविवर्धनाः।
रस्याःस्निग्धाःस्थिराहृद्याआहाराःसात्त्विकप्रियाः।।17.8।।

17.8 The foods that prolong life and increase purity, vigour, health, cheerfulness and happiness are those that are delicious, soothing, substantial and agreeable. These are loved by the Pure.

कट्वम्ललवणात्युष्णतीक्ष्णरूक्षविदाहिनः।
आहाराराजसस्येष्टादुःखशोकामयप्रदाः।।17.9।।

17.9 Those in whom Passion is dominant like foods that are bitter, sour, salty, over-hot, pungent, dry and burning. These produce unhappiness, repentance and disease.

यातयामंगतरसंपूतिपर्युषितंचयत्।
उच्छिष्टमपिचामेध्यंभोजनंतामसप्रियम्।।17.10।।

17.10 The Ignorant love food which is stale, not nourishing, putrid and corrupt, the leavings of others and unclean.

Food may also be categorized based on the three Qualities (Gunas) as described above. Eating the right food is very much a part of a clean, spiritual life.

अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिर्यज्ञोविधिदृष्टोयइज्यते।
यष्टव्यमेवेतिमनःसमाधायससात्त्विकः।।17.11।।

17.11 Sacrifice is Pure when it is offered by one who does not covet the fruit thereof, when it is done according to the commands of scripture, and with implicit faith that the sacrifice is a duty.

अभिसंधायतुफलंदम्भार्थमपिचैवयत्।
इज्यतेभरतश्रेष्ठतंयज्ञंविद्धिराजसम्।।17.12।।

17.12 Sacrifice which is performed for the sake of its results, or for self-glorification – that, O best of Aryans, is the product of Passion.

विधिहीनमसृष्टान्नंमन्त्रहीनमदक्षिणम्।
श्रद्धाविरहितंयज्ञंतामसंपरिचक्षते।।17.13।।

17.13 Sacrifice that is contrary to scriptural command, that is unaccompanied by prayers or gifts of food or money, and is without faith – that is the product of Ignorance.

Sacrifice may also be characterized based on the three Qualities (Gunas) as described above. Offering sacrifice the right way is also a part of a clean, spiritual life. Pure sacrifice requires the firm conviction of spiritual faith, and it is part of one’s duty.

देवद्विजगुरुप्राज्ञपूजनंशौचमार्जवम्।
ब्रह्मचर्यमहिंसाचशारीरंतपउच्यते।।17.14।।

17.14 Worship of God and the Master; respect for the preacher and the philosopher; purity, rectitude, continence and harmlessness – all this is physical austerity.

अनुद्वेगकरंवाक्यंसत्यंप्रियहितंचयत्।
स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनंचैववाङ्मयंतपउच्यते।।17.15।।

17.15 Speech that hurts no one, that is true, is pleasant to listen to and beneficial, and the constant study of the scriptures – this is austerity in speech.

मनःप्रसादःसौम्यत्वंमौनमात्मविनिग्रहः।
भावसंशुद्धिरित्येतत्तपोमानसमुच्यते।।17.16।।

17.16 Serenity, kindness, silence, self-control and purity – this is austerity of mind.

These verses describe physical austerity, austerity in speech, and austerity of mind. In the sense used, austerity is same as strict discipline.

श्रद्धयापरयातप्तंतपस्तत्ित्रविधंनरैः।
अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिर्युक्तैःसात्त्विकंपरिचक्षते।।17.17।।

17.17 These threefold austerities performed with faith, and without thought of reward, may truly be accounted Pure.

सत्कारमानपूजार्थंतपोदम्भेनचैवयत्।
क्रियतेतदिहप्रोक्तंराजसंचलमध्रुवम्।।17.18।।

17.18 Austerity coupled with hypocrisy or performed for the sake of self-glorification, popularity or vanity, comes from Passion, and its result is always doubtful and temporary.

मूढग्राहेणात्मनोयत्पीडयाक्रियतेतपः।
परस्योत्सादनार्थंवातत्तामसमुदाहृतम्।।17.19।।

17.19 Austerity done under delusion, and accompanied with sorcery or torture to oneself or another, may be assumed to spring from Ignorance.

The way austerities are performed by a person may characterize him or her by Quality (guna). These verses describe that characterization beautifully.

दातव्यमितियद्दानंदीयतेऽनुपकारिणे।
देशेकालेचपात्रेचतद्दानंसात्त्विकंस्मृतम्।।17.20।।

17.20 The gift which is given without thought of recompense, in the belief that it ought to be made, in a fit place, at an opportune time and to a deserving person – such a gift is Pure.

यत्तुप्रत्युपकारार्थंफलमुद्दिश्यवापुनः।
दीयतेचपरिक्लिष्टंतद्दानंराजसंस्मृतम्।।17.21।।

17.21 That which is given for the sake of the results it will produce, or with the hope of recompense, or grudgingly – that may truly be said to be the outcome of Passion.

अदेशकालेयद्दानमपात्रेभ्यश्चदीयते।
असत्कृतमवज्ञातंतत्तामसमुदाहृतम्।।17.22।।

17.22 And that which is given at an unsuitable place or time or to one who is unworthy, or with disrespect or contempt – such a gift is the result of Ignorance.

These verses describe the gifts as affected by the Qualities (guna).

तत्सदितिनिर्देशोब्रह्मणस्त्रिविधःस्मृतः।
ब्राह्मणास्तेनवेदाश्चयज्ञाश्चविहिताःपुरा।।17.23।।

17.23 Om Tat Sat’ is the triple designation of the Eternal Spirit, by which of old the Vedic Scriptures, the ceremonials and the sacrifices were ordained.

तस्मादोमित्युदाहृत्ययज्ञदानतपःक्रियाः।
प्रवर्तन्तेविधानोक्ताःसततंब्रह्मवादिनाम्।।17.24।।

17.24 Therefore all acts of sacrifice, gifts and austerities, prescribed by the scriptures, are always begun by those who understand the Spirit with the word Om.

तदित्यनभिसन्धायफलंयज्ञतपःक्रियाः।
दानक्रियाश्चविविधाःक्रियन्तेमोक्षकाङ्क्षि।।17.25।।

17.25 Those who desire deliverance begin their acts of sacrifice, austerity or gift with the word Tat’ (meaning That’), without thought of reward.

The deeper understanding of spirit is imparted here. Ordained is something ordered, arranged or appointed per the natural law. This applied to the Vedic scriptures and ceremonials. It also applies to all sacrifices, gifts and austerities. This Eternal spirit is designated by ‘Om Tat Sat.’ Such ordination is begun by those who understand the Spirit with the word ‘Om.’ Those who desire liberation begin their acts of sacrifice, austerity or gift with the word Tat’, without thought of reward. ’Tat’ means ‘That’, which points to the ultimate foundation of all existence.

सद्भावेसाधुभावेचसदित्येतत्प्रयुज्यते।
प्रशस्तेकर्मणितथासच्छब्दःपार्थयुज्यते।।17.26।।

17.26 Sat’ means Reality or the highest Good, and also, O Arjuna, it is used to mean an action of exceptional merit.

यज्ञेतपसिदानेचस्थितिःसदितिचोच्यते।
कर्मचैवतदर्थीयंसदित्येवाभिधीयते।।17.27।।

17.27 Conviction in sacrifice, in austerity and in giving is also called Sat.’ So too an action done only for the Lord’s sake.

अश्रद्धयाहुतंदत्तंतपस्तप्तंकृतंचयत्।
असदित्युच्यतेपार्थनचतत्प्रेत्यनोइह।।17.28।।

17.28 Whatsoever is done without faith, whether it be sacrifice, austerity or gift or anything else, as called Asat’ (meaning Unreal’) for it is the negation of Sat,’ O Arjuna! Such an act has no significance, here or hereafter.

Sat’ is the reality (as the result of natural laws), and the complete harmony of action with that reality (the highest good). ‘Sat’ is also the conviction in sacrifice, in austerity, in giving and in being non-judgmental about it all. When it is done without faith or conviction, it is ‘Asat’ (unreal) and has no significance.

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Final Comment

Every person has faith, which shows up as his nature. A person is pure, passionate or ignorant (the three Qualities) because of his faith. He commits acts of sacrifice out of that faith and not necessarily because of the scriptures. It is interesting to observe that scriptures do not support austerities that may hurt organs of the body. Discipline must be well devised to accomplish a beneficial purpose. One should not be devoted to things that are based on illusion. One should have one’s feet planted solidly on firm ground.

Food, Sacrifice and austerities may also be categorized based on the three Qualities (Gunas). Eating the right food and offering sacrifice the right way, are very much a part of a clean, spiritual life. Pure sacrifice requires the firm conviction of spiritual faith, and it is part of one’s duty.

Ordained refers to something ordered, arranged or appointed per the natural law. This concept was used in the context of Vedic scriptures and ceremonials. It also applies to all sacrifices, gifts and austerities. Such ordination is begun by those who understand the Spirit with the word ‘Om.’ Those who desire liberation begin their acts of sacrifice, austerity or gift with the word ‘Tat’, without thought of reward. ’Tat’ means ‘That’, or the ultimate foundation of all existence. ’Sat’ is the reality (outcome of the natural laws), and the complete harmony of action with that reality (the highest good). ‘Sat’ is also the conviction in sacrifice, in austerity, in giving and in being non-judgmental about it all. 

‘Om Tat Sat’ is the designation for the Eternal spirit.

When ordination is done without faith or conviction, it is ‘Asat’ (unreal) and has no significance.

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