Living the Bhagavad Gita Way
5. Way to Blessedness
‘Way to Blessedness’ is the fifth 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.
Click here or on the image below to see the video on YouTube. (1 hour, 24 minutes)
The last time, we talked about: vairagya or absence of passion; real renunciation, rules of right activity and self-surrender and grace. With this, we completed ‘Spiritual Life and Sadhana’ in two parts. Very often, this part of the Gita is overlooked or not keenly noticed and the Bhagavad Gita is mistaken for a conversation with some philosophic importance. The Gita does expound the loftiest philosophy, giving us insight into sublime and inspiring truths but does not stop there. Everything in the Gita is verified and verifiable and anyone who is sincere and puts forth effort can realize the bold philosophy by one’s direct experience. This process and all it entails to actualize the truth is called spiritual living and sadhana.
Today, we journey to a vision of things that encourages and enables change…
Body and World are Evanescent: In two and a half verses, the Gita tells is the secret of life and death while pointing to a higher attainment which breaks the cycle. All that is born or begins must die or end. When we associate our sense of being and thereby our happiness with anything in the process of change – sorrow and suffering is inevitable. We are here to find the way out of this cycle so we never return – this can be attained by anyone who is sincere and puts forth the necessary effort.
Aspire for the Supreme Alone: The effort put forth is not towards the attainment as though we call it an attainment – it is not since the truth already exists. Effort is put forth towards a complete, wholehearted and irreversible change of heart which makes us aspire for the higher – for the Supreme Alone. God is not just up there but in all and as all. The actualizing of this requires one single aspiration and for this to be the thread that strings through all aspects of our life.
Thought at Death: The thought at death is not one thought that we can somehow pull through by incessant repetition, desperation of some other form of trickery towards the end. The last thought is a cumulative thought that surges from the very depths of the deepest areas of our mind – the fruit of how we have thought and what we have considered most important, worthwhile and the source of our joy. It is not something that can be manipulated in any way and we are told that this last cumulative thought determines the course of the soul on its onward march to perfection. If we have lived a life with one single goal – aspiration for the Supreme alone through all that we have done – this feeling will echo as a loud voice from the soul while departing. If however, our lives have been plagued by desires, attachments and self-centered ways – the last thought authors a remedy to this malady as the next required step.
Jnana or Supreme Wisdom: Jnana or Supreme Wisdom is not a subject, topic or scriptural study. To the Gita, Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and Yoga Vasistha – knowing and being are the same. How you live your life is what you know – all else is hypocrisy and deception. The verses in this section offer hope, assurance, encouragement and guidance on staying on the spiritual path. Along the way, one discovers a way to do what needs to be done without the ‘I’ and realizes that life goes on so much better without this mischief maker. You are at once one with the wider fabric of life and do your part as duty to the whole from which you do not stand apart. Sins are mistakes and no one is condemned. Every saint has a past and every sinner a bright future. The Gita tells us, “Knowledge is enveloped by ignorance – therefore beings are deluded”. This life is an opportunity to give rise to the Sun of Jnana or Supreme Wisdom which dissolves the smoke and clouds of ignorance in its blaze. All other duties are self-imposed and reach out only to return to just where we are if not a few steps lower.
Way to Peace: The verses in this last section sum up most of what we have been talking about till now – a virtual summary of the Bhagavad Gita’s essential teachings for seekers. These can also be seen as a quick guide to spiritual living. In the concluding verse, Sanjaya the charioteer, having seen and heard the Bhagavad Gita, proclaims, “Wherever there is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, wherever there is Arjuna, the archer, there are prosperity, victory, happiness and firm policy; such is my conviction”. Krishna is not just the personality of Krishna but all that Krishna represented and this is the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita. If this Song of God becomes the song of the soul, we are assured, “…there are prosperity, victory, happiness and firm policy…”.