Bhagavad Gita - Chapter XVIII Print E-mail

The eighteenth chapter is Krsna’s final message. It begins with Arjuna asking for precise definitions of the two most important concepts in Vedanta – sannyasa renunciation and tyaga resignation. Krsna quotes the wise sages of the past. He clarifies that sannyasa is giving up of desire-driven actions while tyaga is giving up the fruits of action. Contrary to popular perception neither sannyasa nor tyaga implies giving up action. Action continues, giving up the two things that come in the way of excellence in action – desire from the past and anxiety for the fruit which belongs to the future. Desire is necessary to initiate action. Without desire no action will be undertaken. Similarly there is always a fruit in mind before acting. However, while executing action 100% of the mind must be focussed on the action. If at this time the mind meanders into the dead past or unborn future it is not concentrating on the present action. Action becomes faulty and ineffective, leading to failure.

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Bhagavad Gita - Chapter XVII Print E-mail

In Chapter 16 Krsna says that a person who merely pursues desire and ignores the advice of the scriptures attains neither success nor happiness and does not evolve spiritually. Here Arjuna asks what is the fate of a person who disregards the mandate of the scriptures but sacrifices with sraddha? Sraddha is translated as faith but has a far deeper meaning. It is a combination of devotion and intellectual focus that is maintained with clarity until the goal is achieved. It is the ability to conceive a goal and constantly put in effort towards it until the mission is accomplished.

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Bhagavad Gita - Chapter XVI Print E-mail

Every human being is a fascinating combination of divine and demonic qualities. We all have the devil in us. Something that makes us pursue self-destructive ways. Yet, even the worst among us has extraordinarily divine traits. Our success depends on how well we are able to operate out of our own goodness and marginalize the demonic qualities. The Chapter enumerates 26 qualities of the divine and six qualities of the demonic. Krsna assures Arjuna that he is born of the divine temperament.

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Bhagavad Gita - Chapter XV Print E-mail

With imagery taken from the Katha Upanishad, Krsna portrays the entire universe as the Asvattha or pipal tree with root above and branches below. The root is Brahman, God, the branches are the manifestations in the world. The secondary roots that emerge from the main root are the vasanas, ignorance. The branches are activities that go upward, take you toward evolution, or downward to degradation. In this chapter, Krsna urges you to cut apart this firmly rooted tree of the material world with the weapon of detachment.

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