YouTube 1 hr, 32 min / video 185mb / audio 45mb / pdf summary

Living the Bhagavad Gita Way

4. Spiritual Life and Sadhana, Part II

‘Spiritual Life and Sadhana, Part II’ is the fourth video in the series, ‘Living the Bhagavad Gita Way’. This series is a study of a better way of living, based on the translation and flow in, ‘Gita Meditations’ by Swami Sivananda. (1 hour, 32 minutes)

Click here or on the image below to see the video on YouTube.

Spiritual Life and Sadhana, Part 2

The last time, we talked about: the three kinds of sukha or happiness, being: sattvic, rajasic and tamasic; great enemies of man where the spotlight fell on rajas; yogic discipline which is positive and not punitive; control of mind which built on control of the senses talked about earlier in yogic discipline and virtues to be cultivated. We ended with Gurudev Swami Sivananda’s ‘Song of Eighteen ‘Ities’, which very nicely sums up the most important of all virtues or qualities that every seeker must possess in good measure.

Today, we continue from where we left off last time and the topics for today are…

Vairagya: translates as dispassion, it is not aversion or hatred which it is sometimes mistaken for. Vairagya goes hand-in-hand with abhayasa which is right exertion or effort towards that which is conducive to your aim. This single, double-sided action required both halves to be addressed as the force of habit is so strong that we are told, “Even the wise who seek to control the mind, get swept away in its currents”. First, we must lead an examined life. This involves seeing the inherent defects in things which actually is an understanding that the value in people, things or conditions is never in them but in our own mind and ultimately, we are running inner circles only. Understanding this, we set our sights to something higher, enduring and fully satisfying. The falling away of the taste of the old by both; understanding that values are never in the outer but within and seeking something more fulfilling – results in a loss of taste for the old. If this is done intelligently and wholeheartedly – the mind does not go back to the old as they have been laid down once and for all.

Real renunciation: is not in the outer but in our peculiar clinging attitudes towards them. Building on vairagya, when we see that all values are self-ascribed, self-sustained and therefore running after the outer is actually running within – we abandon the whole operation and no loss is felt. If any loss is felt in renunciation or, even a tinge of sadness – one has not really understood the true nature of things. In such cases, there will always be remorse and no letting go. The rear view mirror will always be in view – even while we try to drive forward and we will stay parked though the wheels are turning.

Rules of right activity: over a few verses, Krishna tells us ten simple rules to keep as precepts that will keep our actions free of conditioning. This will increase one’s awareness and weaken the ego by disuse. They are listed here very concisely and covered in the video in detail.

  1. Act without any hope.
  2. With mind and self controlled.
  3. Abandon greed.
  4. Doing mere bodily actions
  5. Content with what comes naturally.
  6. Free from the pair of opposites and envy.
  7. Even minded in success and failure.
  8. Devoid of attachment.
  9. With the mind established in knowledge.
  10. Work for the sake of sacrifice.

Self-surrender and grace: these are not two separate things just like vairagya and abhayasa are not. Self-surrender is the invitation to grace and grace is proportional to the degree of meaningful self-surrender. What does it mean to surrender one’s self? How does one surrender one’s self? How does one live if one has surrendered one’s self? The answers start from where we left off – with the rules to right activity and to live life as duty.

Swami Suryadevananda