Resources

6 | On Bhagavad Gita | Discovery of inner eternal presence resolves all conflicts

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

29 August 2022

LineDrawing-PSji

Whoever thinks that the ‘I’, the Self, the inner presence, as indulging in activity, and whoever thinks that this ‘I’ gets killed, both of them fail to grasp the truth about the inner eternal presence. For, the ‘I’, the Self, neither kills nor gets killed.

Dear and blessed souls:

Harih Om Tat Sat.

Arjuna is obsessed by the thought of having to kill numerous warriors. Death and destruction overwhelm his mind and intelligence. Krishna is treating the impact by enlightening Arjuna’s mind and intelligence.

Understanding the Imperishable

To start with, Krishna led Arjuna’s mind from grief to the sukha-duhkha pair and from them to the ‘I’, the Self, the only ‘Sat’ (reality) in creation. The whole dialogue is a knowledge-voyage the intelligence undertakes within the body. The destination is no other than the ‘I’, the Self within.

Krishna now applies the finding to the actual life, activity and interaction. See what he says (2.17):

“By which Arjuna, all this is pervaded, know that to be indestructible. Nothing will be able to cause destruction to it, not even God!”

What a great statement, revelation! In our experiential life, throughout the wakeful hours, we have only sukha and duhkha, one alternating with the other. Being transitory, they have no relevance or utility. Thus, they compel us to think, deliberate and reach at their substratum, the ‘I’.

There is no destruction at the deeper level

In our experience, the whole world consists of sukha-duhkhas our mind displays. They are pervaded by the ‘I’. The ‘I’ is eternal, indestructible. Sukha-duhkhas it displays are transitory. While the sukha-duhkhas are fleeting, the ‘I’, the Self, which manifests and pervades them remains intact throughout. If for 16 hours of the day, in wakefulness, it displays and pervades sukha-duhkhas, at the end of it the whole world and sukha-duhkhas become extinct, wiped off, immersing us in sleep, where the ‘I’, the substratum, alone reigns.

In dream also, the dreamt phenomena vanish, but the sleeper and the dreamer survive intact. That is why Krishna says: That which pervades all this is indestructible. Do not think of its destruction any time at all (2.17).

Arjuna, all you see around are not their bodies. They only have the body. Each of them is the ‘I’, the Self, that dwells in the body. Where is any destruction any time for them then? Know this well and cast aside your delusion about death and killing. You may then ask, why fight at all. I shall answer it.

To fight is the noble act of a kshatriya

The ‘I’ is traceable only in a living body. It animates and activates the physical body. It remains as the animator and activator. The animated and activated body has its own course of expression. It is born, it grows, it then declines, and also falls dead.

During their embodiment, people are given to different tendencies and consequent activities and interactions. For the kshatriya community, fighting is a regular pursuit. They take to it like sport. A kshatriya yearns to die in the battlefield, not in his house or on cot. Battling is a valorous option for him.

What battles is not the ‘I’, the Self. Activity is always by and in the body; and interaction is with the other bodies and objects. Whether one fights or not, the body will fall one day. Let the fighters assembled in this war-field have their desired outcome. By that, the indwelling ‘I’ or the Self is not affected or involved. This is the understanding you must gain and preserve.

The call of Kurukshetra

This is the knowledge that propels your Grandfather and Teacher gracefully standing in your front to fight and to be fought. Learn your lesson from them and let the course of war be. All those who have assembled here are ready to fight. Fighting alone will make them happy and fulfilled.

Dear Arjuna, take away from your mind all sense of conflict and contradiction. Be harmonious, even-minded and poised. This is the spiritual call of Kurukshetra for you (2.18). This is also the only means to attain the shreyas, supreme spiritual felicity, you so ardently sought from me (2.7). Spiritual attainment is solely inner. It is to be gained by your own inner mind and intelligence.

It is not at all an objective pursuit, dealing with external, gross items. Here the whole effort is within the body and done by the emotional mind and rational intelligence. That is why we resort to the subtle pursuit of reason and rationality. The whole discussion is presented by the intelligence and it is to be grasped by the intelligence. The effects will be directly on the mind, as is evident for you.

Thus, the war before you is quite in place, proper. It is to be fought by all means. Any escape from it is altogether wrong, improper. Fight it, dear Arjuna, well. Let the outcome be anything.

Society needs multiple contributions

It is just like any other activity of your life. Like ruling the country and ensuring the welfare of the subjects; like having food to appease hunger and enabling the body, to live, move and act; like marrying and having children to extend the lineage; like worshipping God in any form. It is like fulfilling any other task, duty or mission, like farming on the land, trading in goods, manufacturing products and distributing them to the users in society.

Activity is activity indeed. It is manifold. And war also is included in it. Let it fulfil its place and mission. Do not intercept, hinder or foster resistance of any kind. The world thrives on activity. The wheel of activity cannot stop even for a moment (3.5).

Arjuna grasps the message and aspires to listen to more from his Teacher Krishna. Sensing his mood and response, Krishna continues his exposition with even greater force and realism:

Arjuna, life for anyone, anytime is embodiment. During its term, activity and interaction are inevitable. By their very nature, these will be manifold. Farmers will spend their time and effort on their land ploughing, sowing, tending the crop, harvesting, etc. So too, traders will be involved in various aspects of trade and commerce. Some will be involved in manufacturing goods and providing services. Yet some others will be employed in handling the task of administration and management. The ruling community has to fulfil their task of ruling and ensuring safety and welfare of the subjects. Everywhere it is activity, endeavour and perseverance, dedicated and wholesome.

Role of an administrator

You are a Kshatriya and to rule as well as to handle belligerence is part of your life. Do not differentiate it from others’ respective activities. Look how many have assembled in this war on your side as well as opposite one. 4.5 million warriors have congregated here. Unless it is their own compulsion, could such large number have assembled? None wants to return from the battlefield without fulfilling his mission of fighting to the last. Understand war is an indispensable facet of public administration, without which human society cannot thrive and flourish.

Though the activity is performed by the body and senses, its source and impact are on the mind and intelligence. How one looks at the activity, assesses and evaluates it is what really matters. Body and senses are inert. They are but instruments in doing activity. What motivates the body and senses, and evaluates the whole performance is the combination of mind and intelligence.

The whole war will be fought and it will end in a few days. None of those assembled here would be there, except the few who win and survive (in fact, at the end of the war, only 10 persons survived). So, the physical nature of the whole endeavour will pass away like any other event in life. The memory and the response it creates will alone survive and matter. This is where the human requires correction and improvement.

The Path of Shreyas – Inner Felicity

Grasp what I am saying now with full attention. Whoever thinks that the ‘I’, the Self, the inner presence, as indulging in activity, here in this context fighting and killing, and whoever thinks that this ‘I’ gets killed, both of them fail to grasp the truth about the inner eternal presence. For, the ‘I’, the Self, neither kills nor gets killed. Generally speaking, it never moves, vibrates or acts or becomes subject to any action or vibration.

Like space, the substratum for all the other four elements, this inner presence also is the substratum for the body, mind, intelligence and ego. Substratum always remains as it is, like a driver driving his vehicle. The vehicle alone runs, not its driver!

Therefore, it is not activity that really matters, but the understanding about it. Do not fail or commit mistake in assessing the events properly. Listen to what I say with utmost attention, fix your mind solely on the inner presence, the eternal ‘I’, and you will find all your problems and conflicts are resolved!

“Arjuna, thus, the whole shreyas consists in making the inner probe and un-earthing the impersonal, impartial and absolute presence, the self-evident ‘I’. All that is required for this is a deep inner effort, employing the mind and intelligence.

Engage them in assiduous introspection, tattvavichara. This is done by listening attentively to the words of the enlightened Teacher.”

LineDrawing-PSji

“By which Arjuna, all this is pervaded, know that to be indestructible. Nothing will be able to cause destruction to it, not even God!”

“Arjuna, all you see around are not their bodies. They only have the body. Each of them is the ‘I’, the Self, that dwells in the body. Where is any destruction any time for them then? ”

“It is not activity that really matters, but the understanding about it. Do not fail or commit mistake in assessing the events properly. Fix your mind solely on the inner presence, the eternal ‘I’, and you will find all your problems and conflicts are resolved!”

“The whole shreyas consists in making the inner probe and un-earthing the impersonal, impartial and absolute presence, the self-evident ‘I’. All that is required for this is a deep inner effort, employing the mind and intelligence.”

end
arrow-icon