Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

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

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Swamiji begins this talk with an analysis of the common misconceptions regarding ‘renunciation’. Normally, renunciation is believed to be an external abandonment of activities and possessions. It is not easy to get over this delusion. Bhagavad Gita discusses renunciation elaborately by analyzing sattvika, rajasa and tamasa Tyaga.

Discussing the shlokas, Swamiji says that true renunciation is not in leaving or in not acting, but in living and acting without attachment and desires. The attitude of the mind towards the results of activity and possessions is what is supposed to be changed. A practitioner can strive to enhance his sattva guna, have a comprehensive vision so that he can act without any selfishness.

Swamiji discusses the aim of spiritual pursuit. He says that the aim of spiritual sadhana is to transform the small egoistic “I” into an expansive, universal “I”. To reach this goal, the pursuit can be two-fold—1) Contemplative sadhana and 2) Interactional sadhana. Bhagavad Gita lays stress on interactional sadhana by which we can transform all activities into sadhana. The same activity, instead of creating bondage, will lead to liberation if one keeps away desires. To transform and sublimate the mind, Krishna prescribes the four-fold sadhana of Yajna, Samatva, Transcendence of gunas and Surrender.

Swamiji explains that identification with the body-mind personality generates desires in human beings and drives them to undertake desire-motivated activities. Constant thought about the desired objects creates clinging and we get bound to this cycle of bondage. However, this vicious cycle can be broken by sublimating the senses, mind and intelligence and sublimating our ego and desires. A man who has conquered his inner weaknesses is blessed with placidity of mind and ultimately realizes his own pure Self, says Swamiji.

Shloka: 18.6 to 18.11

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