Geetha's Unique Message in a Single Verse
It has been unequivocally determined by the previous acharyas in disciplic succession from the four authorized sampradayas (Vedas) that in order to realize the eternal spiritual truths, which apply to all created beings, Knowledge of the Bhagavad-Gita is essential. As long as ones foundation in spiritual life is not substantiated by the divine revelation originally spoken by the Supreme The Paramaatma (Lord Krishna), known as the Bhagavad-Gita and this knowledge has not been firmly established within the consciousness of a living entity, then regardless of how intelligent or advanced in culture and technology one may appear to be he will not possess a complete and comprehensive understanding of spiritual reality.
The Paramaatma gives five levels of instructions in the Bhagavad-Gita. The first level is the general teachings for everyone. Then in a very sublime way, He gives four more additional levels of teachings each more exalted than the previous. These teachings although extensive are delineated in a condensed form revealing only the essence. How are we to understand what is the essence? The following example will illustrate this for you.
When one milks a cow the first thing one does is bring the baby calf to the mother so she can give it a little milk. This first milk is like the general teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita. Afterwards the milkman finishes milking the cow and puts the milk into a pot. This milk is like the confidential teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita. But on the top of this milk there will be some cream. This cream is like the more confidential teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita. Yet if we take and churn the cream it will become butter. This butter is like the most confidential teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita. Still if we take the butter and heat it on a low fire it will slowly turn into pure golden ghee. Ghee is the essence of milk. From this essence we cannot obtain anything else. This essence is like the most confidential verse of all in the Bhagavad-Gita. But you must remember and consider that to turn milk into ghee is no ordinary endeavour and also to acquire the understanding and realization necessary to comprehend the essence of all 700 verses of the illustrious Bhagavad-Gita is also no ordinary endeavour. These points should be thoroughly contemplated and reflected upon.
So after the general teachings there are the confidential teachings and then the more confidential teachings and then the most confidential teachings and then the most confidential teaching of all which The Paramaatma reveals in the following most confidential verse in the whole Bhagavad-Gita.
man-manaa bhava mad-bhakto / mad-yaaji maam namaskuru
maam evaisyasi satyam te / pratijanae priyo'si mae //
(Gita, chapter 18, verse 65)
Anvaya (word meaning)
man-manaa bhava: absorb your mind and heart in Me, mad-bhakto: become My devotee, mad-yaaji: offer propitiation to Me, maam namaskuru: give humble obeisance unto Me, eva:
surely, yesyasi: (you) will reach, maam: to Me, satyam pratijane: I promise this in truth, tae : to you, priyan : very dear, asi : being, mae : to Me.
Absorb your mind and heart in Me, become My devotee, offer propitiation to Me, or just give humble obeisance unto Me, and surely you will reach Me. I promise this in truth to you, (you) being very dear to Me.
The Paramaatma first gives the topmost instruction man-mana bhava absorb your mind and heart in Me. But if you are unable to do that then The Paramaatma alternatively advises mad-bhakto become My devotee. But if it is not possible to do that then The Paramaatma suggests mad-yaji
offer propitiation to Me and if you cannot even do that then The Paramaatma gives the final request of mam namaskuru
just give humble obeisance to Me. This final request gives everyone a chance because if one can at least humbly offer their obeisance to the Supreme Lord then the previous three instructions will gradually manifest themselves eventually due to the effect activated by the rendering of this last most simple form of devotion.
Who are those who are dear to the Supreme Paramaatman? The Paramaatma reveals that those who contemplate the Bhagavad-Gita are very dear to the Supreme Lord. One who contemplates the Bhagavad-Gita with their intelligence will propitiate the Supreme Lord by that very act as a performance of sacrifice to Him in acquiring this spiritual knowledge and wisdom. So we who now engage in contemplating this sacred scripture are also dear to The Paramaatma. The Paramaatma is so merciful that he accepts even the contemplation of the Bhagavad-Gita as propitiation to Him.
Man-mana bhava means absorb your mind and heart in God. This is the paramount instruction not easy to achieve and accomplish in this world. For a person to absorb their mind in any singular activity then the eyes, the ears and all the senses must be completely focused solely on that activity. If the mind cannot concentrate in this way then it is more or less considered to be uncontrolled. Sometimes our minds are peaceful. Sometimes our minds are agitated. Sometimes our minds desire sense enjoyment. Sometimes our minds desire relaxation. Sometimes our minds are pondering about the future. Sometimes our minds are lamenting over the past. Sometimes our minds are thinking about loved ones and sometimes our minds are thinking about God. This is the conditioned state of human beings everywhere. But if someone's mind is fully absorbed in the name, form, qualities and phenomenal pastimes of the Supreme Paramaatman then this is the most exalted form of worship of all.
When will this be possible? First and foremost there must be sraddha or faith. Without faith nothing can be accomplished. We get up and begin our day each morning solely because of faith. You may wonder what kind of faith allows us to even get up out of bed each day? We will tell you. Faith that the sun will rises each morning. Faith that the air we breathe each second will be full of oxygen. Faith that the water we drink, cook and wash in will be fresh. Faith that our loved ones are well, Faith that the Earth will continue to revolve, faith that we will exist tomorrow. Faith in God. In so many ways we are nonchalantly taking faith for granted but the actual fact is that we are always constantly exhibiting firm faith.
Even firm faith though is not enough to attain the level of absorbing ones mind and heart in God. Along with this faith there must be ruchi or inspiration or it still will not be possible to achieve this. But even with faith and inspiration it will not be enough without aasakti or spiritual attachment and only then at this point can we begin to absorb our minds and after in the stage of bhava or devotional ecstasy we can absorb our hearts also until we attain the stage of prema which is divine transcendental love. The only way we can attain this is if our heart has been purified; but purity alone is not enough to accomplish this. There must also be something very special, something very wonderful, and something very precious accompanying our purified heart and this is the sublime presence and delightful fragrance of loving devotion. If loving devotion is accompanying our purified heart then we will surely be successful in this endeavour.
The Paramaatma gave these paramount instructions to Arjuna while on the battlefield at Kuruksetra. It was very difficult for Arjuna to follow this primary instruction while preparing for war. As it was difficult for him then it is also difficult for us now. We are also at war. You may wonder what we are at war with? We are at war with the tendencies of our own minds, which are very restless and unpredictable by nature.
The Supreme The Paramaatma was the divine driver of Arjuna's chariot but the only driver we have is our imperfect intelligence. Arjuna had an invincible chariot given to him by the fire god Agni that could not be destroyed. But we only have a fragile and perishable human body, which is subject to old age, disease and death. Arjuna had his intrepid Gandiva bow to subdue his enemies. But we have only an undetermined will. Arjuna had a quiver of unlimited arrows that would never become empty but we have only our unlimited desires. Arjuna had so much help and assistance but still he was unable to follow the instruction man-mana-bhava, absorb your mind and heart in God.
Arjuna replied to The Paramaatma that he was about to engage in warfare with so many enemies on the battlefield in front of him. "How will I be able to absorb my mind in this way if I have to absorb my mind in conquering my enemies? I do not see how it is possible for me to do this."
We also have so many enemies opposite us and we are mostly absorbed in them. What are our enemies? They are the desires of the mind, the eyes, the tongue, the stomach and the sexual organs. Our desires are so strong and prevalent that we cannot conquer even one of these desires let alone all of them. There is aphorism in India, which says: If there is no bamboo there will be no flute. The desires of lust, greed, anger and envy are all formidably arrayed against us showing no mercy and it is very difficult for us to overcome them. But anyhow we must endeavour to surmount them one way or another anyway if we are to be successful in our spiritual life. If for some reason due to extenuating circumstances beyond our control we are unable to absorb our mind and heart in The Paramaatma then we can try our level best to follow the advice of the next instruction mad-bhakto become My devotee.
The Paramaatma being very merciful then gives the advice of mad-bhakto - become My devotee. Arjuna reflecting on this said it is very easy for one to say they will become a devotee but to actually be one is not so easy.
To actually become a devotee of the Supreme The Paramaatma there is one requirement that is an indispensable prerequisite and that is one should not have even the slightest material desire that is not directly connected with the service of The Paramaatma. For the attainment of bhakti or loving devotional service to The Paramaatma there cannot even be the slightest trace of any material desires in our hearts. Otherwise it is not possible to attain bhakti. Loving devotion comes solely from the heart and if our hearts are influenced, then a logistical brain with analytical mind spoils all the loving devotion and all our efforts for bhakti are ruined.
Also without karma no one is even able to live. We are always engaged in some form of karma or fruitive activities consciously or subconsciously. Even when we are sleeping we are performing some karma - our hearts are beating, our stomachs are digesting the food, we are changing positions, we are dreaming. Karma is unavoidable. Without these different forms of karma we cannot live even for a second. So since we are always engaged in so many activities how can we neutralize the reactions that are attached to all of these activities that are covering our devotion?
Know that our actions will never cover our devotion if all that we do is for the ultimate satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. Actually all the Vedic scriptures confirm that The Paramaatma is the Supreme Lord of all. In the following authorized Vedic scriptures we find these verses.
All the incarnations are either plenary portions or expansions of plenary portions appearing in various universes to protect the theists; but The Paramaatma is the original supreme lord and the source of all. Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 1, chapter 3, verse 8
The Paramaatma is the supreme absolute controller, whose form comprises immortality, omniscience and bliss. He is without beginning, the origin of all, the cause of all causes and the source of the Vedas. Brahma Samhita, chapter 5, verse 1
Always we need to remember The Paramaatma and always do all that we do for the sake of The Paramaatma. This is the complete understanding of what The Paramaatma means when He says- mad-bhakto- become My devotee. When one uses jnana or knowledge for the service of bhakti then by that process itself it becomes bhakti and when one uses karma or actions for the service of bhakti then by that process itself it also becomes bhakti. This is very confidential information. One performs the very same action in the exact same situation but due to the intention and quality it becomes bhakti. In general everything that we have and everything that we do should be done for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. This means connected directly to Him in His service or service of his creation - the fellow men. Spiritually inclined and pious people all over the world are following this maxim.
The nine ways to perform bhakti in devotion to the Supreme The Paramaatma:
1)sravanam - hearing about The Paramaatma 2) kirtanam - glorifying The Paramaatma
3) smaranam - remembering The Paramaatma 4) pada-sevanam - attending at the feet of lord
5) archanam - worshipping The Paramaatma 6) vandanam - praying to The Paramaatma
7) dasyam - becoming a servitor to The Paramaatma 8) sakhyam - becoming a dear friend to lord
9) atma-nivedanam - fully surrendering unto The Paramaatma
Learning to perform through any or all of these nine types of bhakti is the topmost knowledge because it allows us to establish a personal relationship with the Supreme, The Paramaatma. Bhakti is extremely difficult to attain in life because it also requires that we have some sukriti or pious merit from a previous birth. Without pious merit from spiritual activities performed in a previous birth it is not possible to attain the platform of loving devotional service in this life.
There are two distinct processes within these nine types of bhakti:
1) vaidhi-bhakti -devotion strictly following the rules and regulations
2) raganuga-bhakti -spontaneous loving devotion from the heart
Devotion works in these two ways and we must always follow them both. Externally we must perform vaidhi-bhakti in devotional service attentively following all the regulations and injunctions ordained by scripture while internally we will be performing raganuga-bhakti in devotional service within our mind and heart in so many sublime and wonderful ways. With tears flowing from our eyes due to feelings of separation from the presence of The Paramaatma we should conceive our heart as a beautiful scented flower and offer that flower by our minds and hearts to the lotus feet of The Paramaatma.
One absorbed in raganuga-bhakti should perform devotional service in this manner. Overwhelmed in a great mood of separation from The Paramaatma while having the one pointed desire of uniting with Him eternally we should see all the realizations within our hearts in the form of flowers and collecting them all string these wonderful realizations together just like a flower garland and humbly offer them to the lotus feet of The Paramaatma. Great enthusiasm and eagerness to have the association of The Paramaatma is a prerequisite for attaining bhakti. This expressed in hearing and glorifying the Supreme Lord and is also further sub-divided into two types:
We should have firm faith and complete attachment in our devotion and also to the object of our devotion, which is The Paramaatma. When our inspiration reaches a certain level of attainment it will mature within both of these our heart will never deviate. All this is also included within the advice of mad-bhakto - become my devotee.
Arjuna after reflecting on this second instruction and contemplating the situation on the battlefield concluded that it would also be very difficult for him to engage in devotional service in this way and follow the advice of mad-bhakto while fighting a war and so he humbly requested The Paramaatma to give him a method of salvation more simple and easy.
Then The Paramaatma seeing Arjuna still needed something simpler, then suggests mad-yaji - offer propitiation to Me. Yaji refers to yagna or propitiation by the performance of austerities in sacrifice unto the Supreme The Paramaatma. Even if one has not developed real love for The Paramaatma as yet, if they have at least a little faith they can still execute some austerities in sacrifice. These austerities are the medicine and the treatment to directly disengage us from attachments and alleviate our material entanglement. When one is hungry and thirsty the taste of food and even water will be delicious. Food will be satisfying only to the degree that one has hunger. Similarly if there is no devotion in our activities then they will not be appetizing for The Paramaatma and He will not be satisfied by our individuals' actions. The Paramaatma reveals that if someone simply offers to Him with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or even water He will accept them and He will always accept the love we have for Him with in our hearts. So in this way following the path of devotion store this love in your heart like a treasure chest and always offer in everything you do to The Paramaatma. In the Vedic scriptures it is written that the ultimate reality for all living beings in life is to develop pure unalloyed, loving devotion to the Supreme The Paramaatma. This devotion must be free from any duplicity or ulterior motivation and must be engaged in consistently without interruption to totally satisfy the self.
It is the Supreme The Paramaatma to who we must learn to humbly endeavour to please, just as a loving wife always tries to please her loving husband in every way by everything she does. Arjuna contemplating the suggestion of mad-yaji - offer propitiation to Me, then concluded that it was also not possible for him to perform this on the battlefield and so he beseeched The Paramaatma for still a more simpler way.
The Paramaatma knowing that Arjuna still needed something even simpler, requests him at least to: mam namaskuru - just give humble obeisance to Me. What The Paramaatma is revealing here is that we should offer our obeisance without the false ego attached? What is the false ego? The false ego is the 'I am syndrome'. This is totally our false identification with the physical body, when in truth we are all eternal spiritual beings. So we must offer our humble obeisance to The Paramaatma with the realization that we are all pure, eternal spiritual beings.
Offering ourselves to The Paramaatma with exclusive surrender. This is the actual meaning of The Paramaatma requesting mam-namaskuru - just give humble obeisance to Me. Arjuna realizing that he could fulfill this final request offered hundreds of obeisance to The Paramaatma. The supreme knowledge about The Paramaatma is to be learnt from the preceptor by 1) pranipatena-submission 2)
pariprasnena-relevant enquiry 3)
Now all of these four instructions have become united harmoniously and this is the supreme secret, the most hidden treasure, the most confidential instruction of the Bhagavad-Gita. If anyone earnestly and sincerely follows the instructions of this single verse with great faith and love in a mood of humility following any or all of the nine branches of bhakti fully surrendered to the The Paramaatma, then by His mercy they will surely cross over the vast ocean of birth and death in the material existence and attain pure love and devotion in the spiritual worlds eternally in association with the Supreme, The Paramaatma.
Extending the above core principles, in realizing our chosen goals, to our day-to-day material activities and for success in our endeavours, is now absolutely easy and no better formula for success can be worked out than the above four fold approach. Men of highest class are the ones who completely
absorb themselves in the task they undertake. The next class of beings is the one with perfect devotion. Next in the scale are the ones who carry out their works with dedication of worship and duty. The last in the class are the ones who constantly have the urge to excel in their work.
"Fix your mind upon Me ( totally absorb in perfectly accomplishing the task), be devoted to Me ( approaching with unflinching love and totally enjoying what is chosen as the task), sacrifice for Me (work like a bull for achieving the task). Bow down to Me (at least hold the task as of high priority and constantly try to complete it). You shall come, surely then, to Me (the fruit of the task) alone; truly do I promise to you, for you are dear to Me. "
Is this not the profound secret and enough message for mankind to achieve the whole world? Our Einsteins, our Aristotles, our Veda Vyasas, our Susrutas, our Alexanders, our host of other men of Himalayan achievements are all none other than those who assimilated these messages to the core and who totally absorbed themselves in their fields. This will be the path of light for generations to come. Let us try and script our own sweet success story, how ever small it may be.
Tat Tvam Asi