Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

05 – Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 18 – by Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha – Way to Freedom

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In this series, Swamiji is bringing the Bhagavad Gita concepts to the contemporary listener. He shows by various examples that the concepts have a modern-day relevance and can be practiced by anyone, anywhere in the world to attain peace and expansion.

In this talk, Swamiji continues with the discussion of physical, mental and oral Tapas (austerity). Dealing with mental austerity in detail, he says that one must be very attentive about the thoughts and feelings arising in one’s mind. We must repeatedly replace unwanted thoughts and ideas with noble, good and universal thoughts. This practice will, slowly and surely, purify the mind.

Explaining and connecting verses from the 17th chapter, Swamiji talks about sattvika, rajasa and tamasa austerity to help us understand the profound significance of austerity in a seeker’s life. This scientific analysis of the human personality helps a seeker overcome his rajasa and tamasa traits and incorporate more and more sattvika traits. When we pursue our sadhana attentively, applying our discriminating intellect and keeping our mind free of expectations of external rewards, it is called sattvika tapas. Austerity that is performed with ostentation for the sake of gaining honour, respect, and appreciation is called rajasa tapas. Austerity that is performed with a deluded mind, not understanding its purpose and torturing oneself and harming others in the process is called tamasa tapas.

Acts of sacrifice, charity, and penance should never be shunned as they purify the mind and intelligence. They are practices meant to elevate and enrich one’s life, says Swamiji.

Slokas: 18.4 to 18.6

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Narayanashrama Tapovanam, an Ashram located in Thrissur, Kerala, embodies the unique tradition of Guru-shishya Parampara, disseminating Brahmavidya (Science of Self-knowledge) through regular classes, satsangs, and above all, through learning in the association of a realized spiritual master.

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