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The Bhagavad Gita Overview

1. Introduction to Bhagavad-Gita

The Mahābhārata

The Author

The Scribe

What is the Gita?

Gita as Yoga-Śāstra

Special Features of the Gita

The reader can identify with Arjuna

This is knowledge given in the battlefield of life

This is a unique, divine dialogue to which the reader is exposed

This dialogue is transformation technology in action

This teaching empowers us to face problems effectively

Facing Life

The Role of the Gita in our Life

The Place of the Gita in the Hindu Shastras





Understanding the Gita

Background of the Mahābhārata War

The Mahābhārata War Within

1. Arjuna-viñäda-yoga

1.1 The Critical Moment

1.2 Arjuna’s Condition


Holistic Vision

1.3 Arjuna’s Surrender

1.4 Śreyas – Absolute Good

At the physical level

At the mental level

At the intellectual level

At the spiritual level

1.5 Arjuna’S MONOLOGUE

War causes destruction of family

Destruction of the family causes destruction of family cultures and values

Destruction of family cultures increases unrighteousness

Increase in unrighteousness causes impurity in women

Impurity in women causes admixture of castes

Failure to make offering

Fall in family values destroys the community

Destruction of family values brings hell

Misplaced Thoughts

1.6 The Gita’s Message

2. Sāṅkhya-yoga (Part I)

2.1 Arjuna’s Problem

2.2 Universal Problem and its Solution

2.3 The Essence of the Gita’s Teachings

2.4 Knowledge Perspective: Jñäna-yoga

2.4.1 Who is the Being for Whom we Grieve?

The Pure Being (Ätman)

The Contingent Being (Jīvātmā)

2.4.2 Who is It That Grieves?


2.5 Dharma Perspective

2.6 Worldly Perspective

2.7 Material Perspective

2.8 Practical Perspective

4. Sāṅkhya-yoga (Part II)

2.9 Karma-yoga

You alone have a choice in action

Your choice is only in action, never in the result

Do not get attached to inaction

Do not get attached to results

Your right is only to act

Motivation Underlying Action

Rights and Duties

2.10 Some Special Features of Karma-yoga: The Win–Win Attitude

2.11 ‘Do your Duty’ and ‘Serve All’

2.12 Dexterity in Action is Yoga – Yogaù Karmasu Kauçalam

2.13 Equanimity is Yoga – Samatvā Yoga Ucyate

2.14 The Goal of Human Life

2.15 A Realised Person

Eloquent Silence and Silent Eloquence

2.16 Some Characteristics of the Realised Master (Sthita-prajña)

2.16.1 Ätma-tuñöiù – Contentment in Self

2.16.2 Niñkämatä – Desirelessness

2.16.3 Anäsaktiù – Total Dispassion

2.16.4 Indriya-saàyama – Mastery over the Senses

2.17 Suppression and Sublimation

2.18 The Ladder of Fall

Brooding causes attachment (dhyäyato viñayän puàsaù saìgaù teñüpajäyate)

Attachment gives rise to desire (saìgät sañjäyate kämaù)

Desires cause agitation and anger (kämät krodho’bhijäyate)

Anger causes delusion (krodhäd bhavati sammohaù)

Delusion makes us forget our past knowledge (sammohät Smṛti-vibhramaù)

When past knowledge is forgotten, the intellect is destroyed (Smṛti-bhraàçäd


A destroyed intellect destroys the individual (buddhinäçät praëaçyati)

Beat, Kill, or Drink!

2.19 Preventing our Fall

2.20 Being Peaceful

Ego – ahaìkära

My-ness – mamatä

Desire – kämanä

Craving – spåhä

5 Chapter 3, Karma-yoga (Part I)

3.1 The Glory of Questioning

3.1.1 What is a Question?

3.1.2 Types of Questions

3.1.3 Universal Questions

3.1.4 Why me?

3.1.5 My Choice: Jñäna-yoga or Karma-yoga?

3.2 Action, Inaction, Actionlessness

3.2.1 Genesis of Action

3.2.2 Action and Inaction

3.2.3 Actionlessness

3.3 Not Doing is your Undoing

3.3.1 Daydreaming

3.4 What is Right Action?

3.5 Characteristics of Duties

Duties come unasked

Ignorance is no excuse

Duties are thankless

Duties have no special rewards

Duties and responsibilities increase with age and stature

3.6 What is the Right Attitude?

Dedicated to the Higher

3.6.1 Attitude of Dedication

Receiving Tips!

3.6.2 Attitude of Cheerful Acceptance

3.6.3 Attitude of Obedience

3.6.4 Attitude of Gratitude






3.6.5 Attitude of Continuous Giving

Party in Vaikuëöha

3.6.6 Attitude of Giving and Giving Up

3.6.7 Attitude of Detachment


6. Karma-yoga (Part II)

3.7 Characteristics of a Realised Master – Full and Filled Life

We will gain something by doing them

We will lose something by not doing them

We are dependent or attached to the action, thing, being, or result

3.8 Are You an Ideal?

When to Advise?

3.9 The Greatest Ideal

As the supreme Truth

As the Lord

As an Incarnation

As a great Person

3.10 Universal Question: How should a Leader Guide Others?

Be clear about the goal – the welfare of all (loka-saìgraha)

Be established in the path – karma-yoga

Do not unsettle others

Mingle with others


3.11 Characteristics of a Realised Master – Death of the Doer

The Witness

3.12 Secret of Success

Law of Conservation

Secret of Dedication

3.13 Universal Questions

3.13.1 Why do People Do what they Do?

3.13.2 What is Nature and How is it Formed?

3.12.3 Can we Change our Nature?

Can You Kick a HABIT?

3.14 Arjuna’s Universal Question: Why do People Commit Sins?

3.14.1 What is Sin and Merit (päpa and puëya)?

3.14.2 The Enemy Within

3.14.3 Know the Enemy

3.14.4 Deal with the Enemy

7. Jñäna-karma-sannyäsa-yoga (Part I)

4.1 The Glory of Spiritual Knowledge

Spiritual Knowledge is Eternal

Spiritual Knowledge is Universal

Spiritual Knowledge is Time-tested

The First Guru

Great Lineage

4.2 Divine Birth (Divya-janma)

4.3 Incarnation (Avatära)

4.3.1 What is an Incarnation?

4.3.2 Is Incarnation Possible?

4.3.3 Why does He Incarnate

4.3.4 What is Dharma and Adharma?


Integration of the individual

Integration in the family, community, nation, and world

4.3.5 What does God do when He Incarnates

Protects the Good

Destroys the Bad

Establishes Dharma

4.3.6 Why should we Worship His Incarnations? Why not the Lord Himself?

4.3.7 How can the Incarnations of the Past Help us in the Present?

4.3.8 Which is the Best Form to Worship

4.3.9 The Ephemeral versus the Lasting

4.3.10 Divine Actions (Divya-karma)

4.4 The Caste System (Varëa-vyavasthä)

4.4.1 Basis of Categorisation

Guëa categorisation





4.4.2 Karma Categorisation





4.4.3 Relation between Guëa and Karma

4.4.4 The Common Dharma

4.4.5 Is Varëa Based on Birth?

4.4.6 Who Created the Varëa System?

4.4.7 Misuse of the Varëa System

4.5 To Do or Not to Do


8. Jñäna-karma-sannyäsa-yoga (Part II)

4.6 Characteristics of a Realised Master

4.6.1 Intelligent Action

Action and inaction

Action-less Self and instruments of action

Competition (spardhä), jealousy, (érñä) and envy (matsara)

4.6.2 Brahma-karma

4.7 Practice Makes One Perfect

4.7.1 Spiritual Practices














4.7.2 Best Practice: The Glory of Self-knowledge

4.8 Guru: The Direct Means to Self-knowledge

4.8.1 Falling Prostrate (Praëipäta)

4.8.2 Serving the Guru (Sevä)

4.8.3 Asking Questions (Paripraçna)

4.8.4 Faith (Çraddhä)

4.8.5 Readiness to Act (Tatpara)

4.8.6 Self-control (Saàyatendriya)

4.9 The Roadblocks to Self-knowledge


4.9.1 The Ignorant (Ajña)

4.9.2 The Faithless (Açraddhadhäna)

4.9.3 The One who Doubts (Saàçayätmä)

4.10 Clarion Call of the Lord

9. Karma-sannyäsa-yoga

5.1 Arjuna’s Question: To Do or Not to Do

5.1.1 Arjuna’s Questions Translated into Commonly Asked Questions

5.2 For You, for the Majority, Doing is Better!

5.2.1 Choosing between Opposites

5.2.2 Opposite Paths, Common Goal

5.2.3 Common Questions Answered

5.3 The Two Levels of Renunciation of Actions

5.3.1 The Preparatory Level

5.3.2 The Highest Level

5.4 Karma Yoga Revised

What did you Gain?

5.4.1 The Karma Bridge

Passive Sentence Construction

5.5 The Nature of the Self with Respect to Action

5.5.1 The Nature of Things

5.6 The Characteristics of the Realised Master

5.6.1 Neither Doing nor Prompting

5.6.2 Holistic Vision

5.6.3 Blemishless (Flawless) Vision

5.6.4 Vision of Oneness

5.6.5 World Conquerors

5.7 Happiness versus Pleasure

Passion and Realisation

5.8 Towards World Conquest

5.8.1 Desire and Anger


5.8.2 Desire and Anger Management


5.8.3 Result

5.9 A Peace Message

10. Dhyäna Yoga (Part I)

6.1 Meditation – Style or Lifestyle?

6.2 The Role and Glory of Karma-yoga Re-emphasised

6.3 The Universal Message of Gita

6.3.1 ‘Raise Yourself by Yourself. Do not Allow Yourself to Fall’

6.3.2 How can we Rise in Life?

6.3.3 Mind – Friend or Enemy?

6.4 Meditation (Dhyäna) and its Practice (Dhyäna-abhyäsa)

6.5 Who is the Meditator (Dhyätä)?

6.6 The Object of Meditation (Dhyana)

6.7 The Purpose of Meditation

6.8 Lifestyle Conducive to Meditation or Tips for Happy Living

Appropriate Food (Yukta-ähära)

Appropriate Sleep (Yukta-svapna-avabodha)

Appropriate Entertainment (Yukta-vihära)

Appropriate Work (Yukta-ceñöä)

6.9 Meditation – The External Preparation

Place (Deça)

Alone (Ekäké)

Uncluttered (Aparigraha)

Seat (Äsana)

Posture (Äsana)

Sense Organs

6.10 Meditation – The Inner Preparation

No Expectation (Niräçé)

No Hoarding (Aparigraha)


Calm Mind (Praçäntätmä)

Fearless (Vigatabhé)

Renounce other Identities (Brahmacäri-vrata)

God-minded (Mat-citta)

Supreme Respect (Mat-para)

Regularity (Satatam)

Determination (Niçcaya)

Enthusiasm (Anirviëëacetas)

6.11 Resolutions to be Taken at the Practice of Meditation


11. Dhyäna-yoga (Part II)

6.12 How to Meditate?

6.12.1 Withdrawing the Mind

When called from outside

When prompted from within

6.12.2 Absorption in the Self

6.13 Self-realisation

6.14 The Role of the Intellect in Realisation

6.15 Obstacles in Meditation

6.15.1 Laya (Sleep)

6.15.2 Vikñepa (Agitations)

6.16 One more Definition of Meditation

Viyoga is yoga – separation is union

Saàyoga-viyoga is yoga – dissociation from the lower is association with the

higher (yoga)

Duùkha-saàyoga-viyoga is yoga – dissociation from union with sorrow is

union with God

6.17 The Result of Meditation

6.17.1 Supreme Peace (Paramäà Çäntim)

6.17.2 Total Satisfaction

6.17.3 Eternal Bliss


6.17.4 Infinite Gain

6.17.5 Unperturbed State

6.18 Vision of a Realised Master

6.19 Characteristics of a Realised Master

6.19.1 Circumstances

6.19.2 Inert Objects

Right Evaluation

Right Importance

Human Beings

6.20 Universal Question: Can the Mind be Controlled?

Cañcalam – extremely restless

Pramäthi – turbulent

Balavat – very strong

Dåòham – unyielding Content

Nigrahaà suduñkaram – uncontrollable

6.21 Mind the Mind

6.22 Causes for Mind’s Restlessness





6.23 Remedy for Mind’s Restlessness

6.24 FAQ – Why do Good People Suffer?

6.25 A Meditator’s Anxiety

12. Jñäna-vijñäna-yoga (Part I)

7.1 The Art of Listening

7.2 Finding Knowledge and Wisdom

Ourselves (jéva)

The world (jagat)

The nature of God (Éçvara)

7.3 The Rarest of Rare

7.3.1 Why are the Majority not Interested in Scriptural Knowledge?

7.3.2 Why do Some Rare Ones Seek God or Spiritual Knowledge?

7.3.3 Why does the Rare One Alone Attain God?

Blessed are We

7.4 The Cause of Creation

7.5 God in Creation

7.5.1 God is Great

7.5.2 Divine Might and Desire

7.6 Bondage and Liberation

7.6.1 God’s Great Power – Mäyä

7.6.2 God – the Saviour

He Commands His Mäyä

7.6.3 Knowledge – the Dispeller

13. Jñäna-vijñäna-yoga (Part II)

7.7 The Devotees of God





7.7.1 Ärta and Arthärthé are Devotees too

7.7.2 Can a Realised Master be Called a Devotee?

7.8 Lifetime’s Award

7.8.1 How Long does it Take to Know God?

7.8.2 Divine Vision – The Award

7.9 Worshipping Finite Gods

7.10 Considering God Finite

7.11 God’s Great Mäyä

7.12 Can God ever be Known?

7.13 Concluding Connection


14. Akñara-brahma-yoga

8.1 What is Brahman?

8.2 What is Adhyätma?

8.3 What is Karma?

8.4 What are Adhibhüta, Adhidaiva, and Adhiyajña?

8.5 Karma Theory

8.6 Rebirth Theory

8.7 Death-time Experience

8.8 Remembering God All the Time

8.9 Final Meditation

8.9.1 Path of Knowledge

8.9.2 Path of Haöha-yoga

8.9.3 The Path of Devotion

8.10 The Realms of Experience

Earthly Realm

Heavenly Realm

8.11 Creation – Dissolution Cycle

8.12 Permanent Abode (Paramaà Dhäma)

8.13 Types of Liberation

Jévan-mukti – Liberation whilst Living

Videha-mukti – Liberation after Death

Krama-mukti – Sequential Liberation

8.14 The Heavenly Routes

8.15 Management Tips from the Gita

Vedas – Books of Knowledge

Tapas – Austerities

Yajña – Rituals

Däna – Charity

8.16 Çré Kåñëa’s Reminder


15 Räjavidyä-räjaguhya-yoga (Part I)

9.1 The Glory of Self-knowledge





Susukhaà kartum


9.2 God and Creation – The Relation-less Relationship

9.3 God and the Creation–Dissolution Cycle

Nitya-såñöi-pralaya – Daily Creation – Dissolution

Naimittika-såñöi-pralaya – Partial or Occasional Creation – Dissolution

Präkåta-såñöi-pralaya – Total Creation and Dissolution

Ätyantika-pralaya – Final Dissolution

9.3.1 Who actually creates the world?

9.4 How does God Create the World?

9.5 Not Knowing God

9.5.1 Symptoms of Delusion

Moghäçä – Living in False Hopes

Mogha-karma – Doing Wasteful Activity

Mogha-jñäna – Useless Knowledge

Vicetas – Wrong Thinking

9.6 Knowing God

9.7 How do the Good Worship God?

9.7.1 Kértana

9.7.2 Namaskära – Prostrations

9.7.3 Jñäna-yajña

9.8 Attitudes of Worship



Bahudhä Viçvato Mukham


9.9 God is All

Where No One Is!

Divine Photographer

16. Räjavidyä-räjaguhya-yoga (Part II)

9.10 Return Ticket to Heaven

9.11 Living in Bliss

Not for God!

My Contract with God

He Takes Care

Being Connected to Him

9.12 Worshipping the Finite

Where Lies True Satisfcation?

9.13 Worshipping the Infinite

9.14 Is God Partial?

9.15 Can I Improve? Am I Qualified to Know God?

9.16 Uniqueness of the Path of Devotion

9.16.1 Resolving Confusion

9.17 Management Tips from Gita

9.18 Çré Kåñëa’s Concluding Assurance


17. Vibhüti-yoga

10.1 The Teacher–Student Relationship

10.2 Vibhüti and Yoga

10.3 Divine Tour of Creation – Vibhüti-yoga

10.4 Çré Kåñëa – The Divine Tour Guide

10.5 Devotees – The Blessed Tourists

10.6 Arjuna – The Blessed Tourist

10.7 Special Divine Tour of Creation

10.7.1 Some Glories from Nature


The Brilliant and the Soothing – Sun and Moon

The Shoreless Ocean

The Shaded Grandeur – Açvattha

The Snow-capped Spectacle – Himalayas

10.7.2 Some Glories from the Vedas and Purāṇas

The Celestial Royalty – Indra

The Divine General – Skanda

The Infallible Arsenal – Vajra

The Musical Scripture – Säma-veda

The Famous Metrical Gäyatré

10.7.3 Some Glorious Incarnations

The Long-strided Vämana

Attraction and Love Incarnate, Lord Çré Kåñëa

10.7.4 Some Glories as Devotees and Sages

The Audacious Astrologer – Bhågu

The Celestial Missionary – Närada

The Incomparable Hero – Arjuna

The Omniscient Sage – Vyäsa

10.7.5 Some Glories Experienced by Man

Most Precious Life

The Incredible Mind

The Fruitful Discussion – Väda

The Ultimate Knowledge – Adhyätma-vidyä

Timeless Time

The Easiest Spiritual Practice – Japa

The Feminine Beauties

Everlasting fame and wealth – Kérti and Çré

Gracious speech – Väk

Lasting memory – Smṛti

Meaningful retention – Medhä

Indefatigable patience – Dhåti

Forever forgiving – Kñamä


The Superhuman Effort – Vyavasäya

The Punishing Stick – Daëòa

The First Alphabet ‘A’

The Fascinating Gamble – Dyüta

The Winning Strategy – Néti

10.8 The Concluding Words of the Divine Tour Guide

18. Viçvarüpa-darçana-yoga

11.1 Bird’s Eye View

11.2 Arjuna’s Special Request

11.3 Divine Vision

11.3.1 What is Divine Vision?

11.3.2 Who else had this Divine Vision?

11.4 Divine Cosmic Vision

11.5 Wonderstruck Arjuna

11.6 Some Features of the Divine Cosmic Vision



Beginningless and Endless



11.7 The Fear-struck Arjuna

11.7.1 Arjuna’s Question

11.8 Lessons of Life from the Death-show


The Lord Loves His Squirrels

11.9 The Reverence-struck Arjuna

Arjuna’s Prayer

All is as it should be

The great, no wonder, salute Thee

Again and again I prostrate to Thee


For all mistakes, do forgive me

You are the One and Only for the world and me

Your auspicious (four-handed) form, now I wish to see

11.10 The Priceless Vision

11.11 Love Begets Love


19. Bhakti-yoga (Part I)

12.1 Subject Matter of the Chapter

12.2 Arjuna’s Universal Question

12.3 Çré Kåñëa’s Answer

12.4 The Altar of Devotion

12.4.1 Nirguëa Brahman – Attributeless Reality

12.4.2 Saguëa Brahman – God with Attributes

Éçvara – the Lord of the Universe

Viräö – the Cosmic Form

Avatära – Incarnations

12.5 What is Devotion?

All Absorbing Love for God – (Mayi Äveçya Manaù)

Total Steadfastness (Nitya-yukta)

Unflinching Faith (Parayä Çraddhayä)

Faith and Love

12.6 Nirguëa-upäsanä – Meditation on the Attribute-less God

12.7 Nature of Self

12.8 Saguëa and Nirguëa-upäsanä

Strong Detachment

12.9 How does God Uplift His Devotees?

12.10 The Crux of the Teaching

20. Bhakti-yoga (Part II)

12.11 Means of Devotion


Practice makes Perfect

Doing without Doing

Your Ego

Enjoying without Worrying

Renouncing Attachment to Results

12.12 Practising and Renouncing – the Right Way

Mechanical Practice

Practice with Understanding

Understanding and Meditating

Meditating and Renouncing

Meditate Without Worry

Renunciation and Devotion

Love and Sacrifice

12.13 Some Characteristics of a Perfect Devotee

12.13.1 Loving, not Hating (Adveñöä Sarvabhütänäm)

12.13.2 Friendly and Kind (Maitraù, Karuëaù)

All His Friend

12.13.3 Revelling in the Welfare of All (Sarvabhütahite Ratäù)

12.13.4 Forgiving (Kñamé)

Loving and Forgiving

I am No One to Forgive

Forgetting and Forgiving

Punishment and Forgiveness

Strength of Forgiveness

12.13.5 Unagitated and Unagitating (Na Udvijate Lokaù, Lokän Na Udvijate)

So Be It

12.13.6 Pure and Purifying (Çuci)

12.13.7 Fulfilled and Content (Santuñöaù Satatam, Santuñöo Yena Kenacit)

12.14 Practical Reasons for Cultivating a Devotee’s Characteristics

12.15 God’s Special Devotees


21. Kñetra-kñetrajña-vibhäga-yoga (Part I)

13.1 The Context and Subject

13.2 The Knower and the Known

13.2.1 Differences between the Knower and the Known

13.2.2 The Known as Kñetra

13.2.3 God as Knower

13.3 Who am I?

13.3.1 Exploring the Field (kñetra)

13.3.2 Exploring the Kñetrajña

13.4 Knowing, yet not Realising the Knower

13.5 Understanding Values

13.6 Some Essential Values

13.6.1 No Arrogance, No Ego, No Pretence (Amänitvam, Anahaìkära, Ad-


Amänitvam – No Arrogance


Are you the Owner or Container?

Pride Versus Humility

Anahaìkära – No Ego

Adambhitvam – No Pretence

Pretending for How Long!

13.6.2 All Acceptance

13.6.3 Looking Critically at Life

13.6.4 Detachment, No Over-attachment

His Prasäda

13.6.5 Interested in Solitude and Disinterested in Company of Extrovert People

13.6.6 Consistent Enrichment

An Ounce of Practice

13.7 Life without Values


22. Kñetra-kñetrajña-vibhäga-yoga (Part II)

13.8 Realising the Knower (Kñetrajña or Jñeya)

13.8.1 Realising the Knower One Becomes Birthless

13.8.2 Beyond Sat and Asat

13.8.3 Creation Proves the Creator

Proving God

13.8.4 Uninvolved Nourisher

13.8.5 Both Inside and Outside

13.8.6 Both Near and Far

13.8.7 Illumines All

13.8.8 Realising the Oneness

13.9 Bondage and Transmigration

13.10 The Liberating Knowledge

13.11 Divine Grace at Work

13.12 The Means of Realisation

13.12.1 Determination and Meditation

13.12.2 Discrimination and Faith

13.12.3 Dedication and Devotion

13.13 The Relation Between the Knower and the Known

13.14 The One-in-all Vision

What is liberation?

13.15 The Self-destructive Vision


23. Guëa-traya-vibhäga-yoga

14.1 Subject: Mind Management

14.2 Result: Perfection (paräà siddhim)

14.3 The First Step: Know the Mind

14.4 Prakåti and Creation

14.5 The Tri-coloured World

14.5.1 Three Qualities of Prakåti





14.5.2 The Working of the Mind

The Veiling Power (Ävaraëa-çakti)

The Projecting Power (Vikñepa-çakti)

The Discriminating Power (Viveka-çakti)

14.5.3 The Tri-coloured Bondage




14.5.4 The Tri-coloured Senses




14.5.5 The Tri-coloured Lifestyles




14.5.6 The Tri-coloured Awareness




14.5.7 The Tri-coloured Results Hereafter




14.6 The Second Step: Tuning the Mind

14.6.1 By Being Intellectually Alert

14.6.2 By Analysis

14.6.3 By an All-round Sattva Diet

14.6.4 By Observing Others

14.6.5 Sequentially Conquering the Guëas


14.6.6 By Spiritual Practices

14.7 The Third Step: Transcending the Mind

Thou Art the Witness

14.8 Result: Living in Perfection beyond the Mind

14.9 Some Characteristics of a Realised Master (Guëätéta-lakñaëa)

14.9.1 Beyond Internal Moods

14.9.2 Beyond External Moods

14.9.3 Seated in Perfection (Svastha)

14.10 Alternate Means – Loving the Lord of All Minds

24. Puruñottama-yoga

15.1 The Subject: The Content of the Entire Gita Summarised

15.2 The All-in-one Tree

15.2.1 The Roots Above3

15.2.2 The Branches Below

15.2.3 The Innumerable Leaves

15.2.4 The Upcoming Buds

15.2.5 Teeming with Life

15.2.6 The Adventitious Roots

15.2.7 The Ever-changing, Strange Tree

15.2.8 Axing the Tree

15.2.9 Route to the Roots

15.3 Who Sees the Roots?

15.3.1 Free to Attain Freedom

15.3.2 Right Direction

15.4 Who is God?

15.5 His Supreme Abode

15.6 Me and my God

15.6.1 Part–whole Relationship

My Closest Relations

15.6.2 Lasting Relationships


15.7 Journey through Lives

15.8 Traveling Tips

Minimise possessions

Travel light

Pack the best

Help fellow travellers

Enjoy the journey

Learn from the journey

Learn about the journey

15.9 The Glorious Sights on the Journey of Life

15.9.1 The Enlightening Glories

15.9.2 The Supporting Glories

15.9.3 The Glory Within

The Famous Food Verse

15.9.4 The Closest Glory

15.9.5 The Glorious Mind

15.9.6 The Glorious Known, Means of Knowing, and Knower

15.10 The Supreme Being (Puruñottama)

Sanskrit grammar and Self-knowledge

15.11 The Characteristics of a Realised Master

15.11.1 Highest Intelligence (Buddhimän)

15.11.2 Total Fulfilment (Kåtakåtyatä)

15.12 The Complete Scripture

25. Daiväsura-sampad-vibhäga-yoga

16.1 The Divine Disposition

16.2 Some Divine Virtues

16.2.1 Fearlessness (Abhaya)

16.2.2 Non-injury (Ahiàsä)

16.2.3 Truthfulness (Satyam)


16.2.4 Absence of Backbiting (Apaiçunam)

16.2.5 Non-covetousness (Alolupatvam)

16.2.6 Gentleness (Märdavam)

16.2.7 Modesty (Hré)

16.2.8 Stillness and Steadiness (Acäpalam)

16.2.9 Glow (Tejas)

16.3 The Demonic Disposition

The Decisive Factor

16.4 The Fate of the Divine and the Evil

16.4.1 Heaven and Hell

16.5 The In-between Disposition

16.6 Bondage and Liberation

16.7 Gateways to Hell

16.8 Overcoming Desire-Anger-Greed

16.8.1 The Path of Knowledge (Jñäna-yoga)

16.8.2 The Path of Devotion (Bhakti-yoga)

16.8.3 The Path of Action (Karma-yoga)

16.8.4 The Path of Meditation (Dhyäna-yoga)

16.9 The Scriptures – The Mind Management Tool

26. Çraddhä-traya-vibhäga-yoga

17.1 Universal Question of Arjuna

17.2 Inherent Universal Faith

Why is It So?


17.3 The Three Faiths

17.4 The Tri-colored Ideals

17.5 Food for Thought





17.6 Management Tips from Gita

17.6.1 The Right Yantra (Medium or Instrument)

17.6.2 The Right Tantra (Methodology)

17.6.3 The Right Mantra (Vision)


17.7 Prime Activities for All




17.8 Yajña – The Three Worships

17.8.1 Sättvika

17.8.2 Räjasika

17.8.3 Tämasika

17.9 Tapas – Austerity

17.10 Tapas – The Three Types

17.10.1 Sättvika




17.10.2 Räjasika

17.10.3 Tämasika

17.11 Däna – Giving for Good

The Great Renunciation

17.12 Däna – The Three Types

17.12.1 Sättvika

Kanyä-däna in Hindu Tradition

Respecting the Receiver

Däna-véra Karëa

Can I Help You?

17.12.2 Räjasika

17.12.3 Tämasika


17.13 The Ultimate Fulfiller

17.14 Faithless and Fruitless

The Power of Faith


27. Mokña-sannyäsa-yoga (Part I)

18.1 The Summarising Finale

18.2 Universal Question of Arjuna

18.3 Tyäga and Sannyäsa






18.4 Life and Yajña, Däna, and Tapas




18.5 Threefold Tyäga

18.5.1 Sättvika

18.5.2 Räjasika

18.5.3 Tämasika

18.5.4 The Essence of Tyäga

18.6 Understanding Results

18.7 Understanding Actions

18.7.1 The Mechanism of Action







Non-doer and Non-enjoyer

18.7.2 The Prompter of Actions

The knowledge of the object of pleasure (jñänam)

The object itself (jñeyam)

Memory or impression of past enjoyment (parijñätä)

18.7.3 The Success Factors


28. Mokña-sannyäsa-yoga (Part II)

18.8 The Success Factor – Vision of Life (Jñäna or Dåñöi)

18.8.1 Sättvika

18.8.2 Räjasika

18.8.3 Tämasika

18.9 The Success Factor – Undertakings (Karma)

18.9.1 Sättvika

18.9.2 Räjasika

18.9.3 Tämasika

Acting without Thinking

According to Stature

18.10 The Success Factor – Attitude of the Doer (Kartä)

18.10.1 Sättvika




Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda

18.10.2 Räjasika

18.10.3 Tämasika

18.11 The Success Factor – Intellect (Buddhi)

18.11.1 Sättvika

18.11.2 Räjasika

18.11.3 Tämasika

Wrong Conclusion


18.12 The Success Factor – Fortitude (Dhåti)

18.12.1 Sättvika

18.12.2 Räjasika

18.12.3 Tämasika

18.13 The Success – Happy Ending (Sukha)

18.13.1 Sättvika

18.13.2 Räjasika

18.13.3 Tämasika


29. Mokña-sannyäsa-yoga (Part III)

18.14 The Caste System (Varëa-vyavasthä) RevisitedBhagavad-Gita

18.14.1 The Birth Factor (Janma)

18.14.2 The Head Factor

18.15 The Success Formula

18.15.1 The Attitude Factor in Success

18.15.2 The Aptitude Factor in Success




18.16 The Secret of Large Profits

18.17 Reaching Perfection through Imperfection

18.18 The State of Perfection

18.19 Meditation Revised

18.20 The Ego Factor

18.21 The Nature Factor

Nature Dictates!

18.22 The Grace Factor

18.23 The Choice Factor

30. Mokña-sannyäsa-yoga (Part IV)

18.24 The Final Teaching


18.24.1 Surrender in Jñäna-yoga – Know God, the Self

18.24.2 Surrender in Bhakti-yoga – Love God, the Ultimate Truth

18.24.3 Surrender in Karma-yoga – Serve God

Message of Gita

18.25 Statutory Warning

18.26 The Secret and the Sacred Gita

18.27 Benefits of Gita – Phala-śruti

Listen to the Gita

Read the Gita

Chant the Gita

Study the Gita

Write the Gita

Enact the Gita

Distribute the Gita

Teach the Gita

Gitai at Jail

Gita and Chinmaya Mission

18.28 Arjuna’s Realisation

18.28.1 Delusion and Grief

18.28.2 Self-knowledge (Ätma-jñäna and Ätma-Smṛti)

18.28.3 Surrender

18.29 The Special Correspondent’s Realisation

18.30 The Special Correspondent’s Comment

Lasting Prosperity (Dhruvä Çré)

Total Victory (Dhruva-vijayaù)

Abiding Laws (Dhruvä Nétéù)

Ever-shining Glory (Dhruvä Bhütiù)

Mama Dharma

About Sunday morning

Sunday Morning Contemplation is informed by Eastern and Western contemplative traditions. The first, lectio divina has its origins in 6th century Europe. It unfolds in four steps or stages: reading (lectio), reflecting (meditatio), responding (oratio), and silent abiding (contemplatio). Our Eastern inspiration come from the Indian Upanishads (800-200 BCE), where contemplative practice consists of three steps or stages: listening (śravana), reflecting (manana), and meditating (nididhyāsana or dhyāna). Our contemplative practice on Sundays embraces both approaches, and each contemplation will be based on a reading from either tradition.

The texts and teachers I have chosen played a significant role in my life and I believe have much to offer. I will read presellected texts, slowly, with pauses between verses or quotes. The readings will be accompanied by soothing background music. To lessen distraction, I suggest participants close their eyes and listen. However, the screen will display the text so that people can choose to read along or mute the sound and read on their own. If there is time remaining after the contemplative period, participants can choose to either leave or stay for a short discussion.

As a preface to the reading, I will provide a 10-15 minute introduction to the text. When relevant, I’ll review facts about the author/teacher’s life. I will also present a brief explanation of the terms and language encountered in the reading.

Finally, when the contemplation is over, all texts read will be available online to read and/or download at any time on the website.

What I mean by
The Symbolic Life

This website makes liberal use of classical Indian visual art and refers mostly to traditional Indian texts (for example, the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras) in the courses, seminars, and discussions on offer. However, I am not presenting lessons in Hinduism; in fact, teaching mainstream Hinduism is neither my area of interest nor expertise. Rather, my interest in Yoga and Tantra is grounded in the concrete situation in which we find ourselves, in the places where we arrive and from which we depart. Beginning in the here and now, we will explore the underlying meaning of the symbols, stories, images, philosophies, and techniques found in Indian philosophical texts and practice, in light of our world and our current circumstance. We will excavate the meaning of the aphorisms and teaching stories; the symbolic figures of gods, people, and nature; and the sometimes terse, sometimes poetic, philosophy of the texts. Thus, in referring to the Symbolic Life of Yoga and Tantra, I mean not just the symbols themselves, but the rich explication of life that the symbols represent.

Our lived, concrete situation is wonderfully captured in the Sanskrit word loka, whose ancient meaning is “the world.”  The root meaning of both the Sanskrit loka and the English locate (and local, locale, and location) is identical. In the ancient Indian mind, the world is where we are located, in our current circumstance. Thus, the meaning of the symbols of Yoga and Tantra can occur only in the now, in the places where we find ourselves, and not in any imagined ancient and/or foreign world.

To emphasize our place of origin and return, I use the terms “archetypal” and “symbolic” quite frequently. Archetypal meaning is associated with the universal and collective aspects of human experience—what we intimately share with all others regardless of culture or era or epoch—while symbolic language forms a bridge between the realms of the universal with the culturally specific and local. Symbols are the scaffolding upon which human beings build a world and imbue it with meaning.

Think for a moment of pain and pleasure, sorrow and joy, hatred and love, and greed and generosity—universal experiences that ancient Indian thinkers called the dvandva-s. This Sanskrit term is a combination of two words, or rather, one word spoken twice: the word dva (meaning the same as the English “two”) duplicated. Dvandva is commonly translated as “the pair of opposites” or literally “the two-twos” (dvadva). The ancients who coined this compact symbol gave voice to an archetypal human experience that can be further unpacked to reveal deep insights into the human condition. Once we gain an understanding of the various symbols of Yoga and Tantra, we can further excavate their meaning and the archetypes they convey, and thus gain access to, in a practical and meaningful way, the vision of life experienced by the sages. These insights are available to us and are still relevant today, as are the resilient and adaptable techniques and forms of practice that can help us lead richer and more fulfilling lives