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The Art of Living

Hare Krishna !!

The Bhagavad Gita teaches us the art of living a successful life. From the teachings of Lord Krishna we would get to know how do we behave and perform actions in the practical life in both favorable and unfavorable conditions so that so that we get rid of anxiety, stress miseries, fear and other disorders.

For this, first of all let us understand who we are, what is our introduction? We introduce ourselves with the names Mohan, Sohan, Dinesh, Ramesh etc. This is not our real introduction. I am Punjabi, Bengali, Rajasthani etc. or Collector, Commissioner, Judge, Doctor etc. These names, status and social religion relate to the body, language and position etc.

Ok, I am Brahmachari, Grahastha, Sannyasi etc. This gives my introduction relating to the ashram system mentioned in Hinduism, this is not my real introduction. In that case it may be said that I am a woman, a man and a human being. It is also related to the body born in different life forms. Then I may be introduced as I am a body that has consciousness and I am a member of a particular family. No, that also is not my true introduction.

To eat, drink and be merry, earn a lot of wealth and fame, create property etc., get married, raise a family and then die in the end, is all that that we are concerned with.

Apart from this, we do not know who we are, where have we come from and where would we go next; we don’t even know, having obtained this body, what are our duties? We become happy when a favorable situation occurs, and on getting an unfavorable situation we feel miserable on account of our body and the family members in whom we repose delusion and sense of self. 

Arjuna of Mahabharata faced the same problem. Seeing the presence of acharyas, great grandfather, uncles, brothers and other warriors on the side of Duryodhana and Kauravas who were supporting injustice Arjun renounces the idea of war, and starts giving various pleas, which look appropriate on the first sight to an ordinary person.

Wish to Understand Bhagavad gita and how it can change your life?

We will not be able to know the right path without understanding the teaching of Shri Krishna in Gita. We, like Arjuna, understand that the soul dies. Man gets subjected to sorrows when he makes two divisions of the material objects and living beings—they are mine and they are not mine. Those that he considers his, he gets a feeling of attachment, desire and oneself in them.

The teachings of Gita begin with the body and soul. As long as we continue to consider ourselves as bodies, no matter how much we hear or recite sermons, conduct various spiritual practices, there will be no benefit.

Shri Krishna states that the body is matter, perishable, changeable and it dies and takes birth and the conscious element in it, the soul is indestructible and eternal hence it cannot be known with our senses and intellect. This soul is never born it never dies, it is always present and eternal.

It is not subjected to death even when the body dies (Gita 2.20). The body is asat (not real) and the soul is sat (real). Sat always exists and asat has no existence (Gita 2.16).

Giving various illustrations Lord Krishna explains the difference between body and  soul. There is no greater beneficial action for a kshatriya than fighting a righteous battle (Gita- 2.31). We should focus on our duty, should follow our own religion (Gita-3.35). We usually are not able to correctly decide between sinful and virtuous act. Even Arjun had the fear of committing a sin in fighting the battle.

Shri Krishna clarifies it that if we regard Victory and defeat, profit and loss, happiness and sorrow, as same then sin will not attach to us (Gita 2.38). It means working without considering any personal benefit is the right way of doing Karma according to Gita.

With such equanimity, the beginning of religion is never destroyed and its practice never yields opposite fruit. This would also liberate you from the bondage of karma. But in the matter of this equanimity, a determinate intellect is required.

By not having a fixed intellect man’s wisdom would have infinite branches. The world is ever-changing and God always remains as it is and never changing. We are the fragment of God and have been called the soul. This even-mindedness is the practice for attaining equanimity. Once a firm determination is formed in this regard, then knowledge of the self is obtained. The resolute determination occurs in one’s intellect (Gita 2.41).

But with the objective to get the material objects, wealth etc., we cannot have a determinate intellect, and then that intellect assumes infinite branches. With the intellect having so many branches, man becomes engrossed in desires and considers heaven etc. to be the greatest achievement.

The Vedas describe in detail the enjoyments in heaven. Therefore, human being under their influence gets attracted to those several pleasures in heaven when they come under the influence of vedas. However those knowing Supreme Divinity have no purpose in Vedas and scriptures (Gita 2.46).

Therefore, God has only given us right to work not in their fruits. Hence we should not regard ourselves to be the cause of fruit of work done by us and we should not even have attachment to perform actions. We are not free to achieve results. It means to say that is a separate department for performing actions and a separate one for the fruits of our work.

Man is free only in performing duty and not in its fruit. This is the main formula for performing karma (Gita 2.47).

Therefore, by renouncing attachment and sense of mineness, man must perform his duty maintaining even-mindedness in success and failure. Gita proclaims equanimity is Yoga (union with Supreme Divinity) (Gita-2.48). Whether or not there is any other symptom in man, but if equanimity comes in his life, then Gita calls him perfect.

Actions done with ulterior motives are by far inferior to those performed without any desire for fruits. Actions done with a desire for fruits also cause us to remain in cycle of birth and death. A man having equanimity renounces sin and virtues while living (Gita-2.50). Maintaining even-mindedness in success and failure is being dexterous in performing actions. Hence importance is of yoga and not of actions. In Gita, योग: कर्मसु कौशलम् means remaining in equanimity is doing the actions skillfully.

Hare Krishna !!

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