21st Century Bhagavad Gita

Manifest your ideal life through the Bhagavad Gita…

Category: Introduction

The Ashvattha Tree Chapter 15

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The branches of this ancient tree.

Are the perishable jivas or embodied beings from Brahma the secondary creator who lives for trillions of years down to humans who may live for a hundred years down to an insect that may live only for some hours. All regardless of their span of life have their limiting adjuncts and restricted effects and represent the branches of this tree. Of those jivas who have the inclination for evil and demoniac activities their births will be in the reptile and insect species. Those jivas who are oblivious to their divine nature and act like beasts will correspondingly take birth in the animal kingdom and those jivas of virtuous and pious nature nature will take birth among the Brahmins, Vaisnavas and demigods. All jivas constitute the unlimited branches of this ancient banyan tree represented in the mundane material existence. Furthermore it should be understood that they are nutured by the three gunas or modes of goodness, passion and nescience according to their qualifications and propensities. The tips of the branches are the senses and the innumerable sprouts and shoots are the sense objects. The roots are spread out above and below with the central primary tap root representing the Supreme Lord alone with the roots below representing desires for enjoyment and the roots above representing subtle impressions of past enjoyments. The effects of such are specifird by the words karma anubandhani which refers to actions according to the proclivity to perform righteous or unrighteous activities which results in corresponding reactions some positive, some benign and some negative. When past reactions eventually have been finally exhausted the jiva once more takes birth in the world of humans directly related to the influence of the subtle impressions accumalated from enjoyments experienced in the previous lives and worlds which are the subtle motivating impetus for the inclinations and propensity to experience these activities again. The ability to experience these actions is limited to the worlds of humans alone and so Lord Krishna states manusya-loke meaning the world of men.

Describing the roots and branches of the asvattha or banyan tree allegorically to symbolise material existence. Lord Krishna further explains that the branches that rise upwards symbolise the higher level jivas or embodied beings such as the demigods and humans. The branches that turn downwards are lower level jivas such as animals, birds, fish and plants. The roots extend upwards to Satya loka the highest material planet of Brahma and extends downwards also into the worlds of humans where innumerable new sub-roots manifest which are the karma or reactions to actions performed by every human. The twigs are impressions from past desires and the sprouts are the desired sense objects. All parts of this tree are within prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and are nourished by the three gunas or modes of material nature which are sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or nescience. Those lower level jivas who have degenerated into various forms of demoniac entities due to performing evil activities to others as well as degraded activities unto themselves inevitably sink into the fiery hellish worlds for aeons and aeons of atonement. Contrarily the higher level jivas who adhered to the injunctions and prohibitions of the Veidc scriptures receive meritorious births in the heavenly worlds of the demigods. Possessing the nature of good or evil each jivas karma binds them in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and is manifested in manusya the worlds of humans.

The purport is that after exhaustion of all karma and its residue of the jiva enjoying ecstatically in the heavenly worlds or suffering in misery in the hellish worlds due to either following or ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. One is rewarded after death by performing meritorious deeds or punished by performing degraded deeds during each human lifetime in pursuit of pleasure and sense gratification. After hundreds of thousands of such lifetimes these desires for pleasure become deep rooted tendencies that causes subtle impressions to be imprinted upon the subtle body of the jiva who takes birth in the worlds of humans. These impressions are so resolute that subconsciously the jiva craves and seeks the same pleasures enjoyed in the previous life and performs the same and similar activities in which they had achieved fulfillment before.

The reality of this asvattha or ancient banyan tree having its roots above and branches below is not perceivable by jivas or embodied beings habitating material existence in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death for 43,200,000 lifetimes that transpire for a human in one day of Brahma. Neither can its end be discerned or its beginning determined. It is unlimited and its continuity and how it exists is unknown. Since this tree is extremely difficult to uproot and surmount and is also the actual cause of all suffering, a spiritually knowledegable living entity should sever all ties from this tree by the weapons of nonattachment and dispassion and strive for attaining atma tattva or realisation of their immortal soul. Enunciated clearly having severed all ties to this deep rooted and all encompassing tree with the powerful discriminative weapon of renunciation which consists of relinquishing all concepts of ego such as I and mine and instead see oneself as belonging fully to the Supreme Lord Krishna in complete communion with Him, who is the ultimate source from where this tree has arisen. Upon realising the Supreme Lord one achieves moksa or liberation from material existence and is no longer subject to samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. In conclusion one must wholeheartedly seek communion with the Supreme Lord and take full shelter of Him by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion.

This asvattha tree with roots above and branches below that keeps the jiva enslaved in samsara can only be destroyed by the sword of non-attachment to objects of the senses. This renunciation arises from bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna which is the highest good and apex of all to be attained by every jivas and paramount to every other conceivable activity in existence throughout all of creation. Demolishing this strong and durable asvattha tree by the sharp weapon of detachment from sense objects produces disike and disdain for sense gratification which creates a desire for pure, sublime spiritual experiences which when one attains can no longer be subjected to the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature. How can such a state of consciousness manifest and detachment from the gunas which causes delusion be guaranteed?

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Gyan or Knowledge

Qualities of a Gyani, Wise Person, Knowledgeable Person

  1. Free from Hatred, he is naturally accommodative, friendly.
  2. He has compassion, and makes all beings feel secure in his company. Same towards friends or enemies.
  3. He is free from Raaga Dvesha which are Likes & Dislikes, the pairs of opposite forces.
  4. He is happy in all situations, Contented, Sat Chit Ananda. He does not grieve as he does not desire.
  5. He has No Ego, nor egotistical attributes. (I ness) Given up doership.
  6. He has no ownership of anything as everything belongs to the Universe. (My ness, This belongs to Me) Free from attachment.
  7. Equanimous in Sukh and Dukh, Joy and Sorrow. Not swayed by the pair of opposites.
  8. He has Kshama, forbearance & forgiveness. He does not internalize any anger or discomfort. Is peaceful and calm. Insulated. Same in censure or praise.
  9. His Knowledge is Well Determined. He knows that Atman is Brahman.

10. He is not after Artha or Kama as Moksha is his goal.

11. He works only on the principles of Dharma & Adharam.

12. A Gyani does not disturb people nor does he get disturbed by them.

13. He is free from elation or exultation, hostility & intolerance, fear and pain.

14. He is not dependent on anything. He does not depend on his physical body, sense organs or sense object for his sense of well-being.

15. He is Clean both from outside and inside.

16. He understands situations quickly & objectively and knows what action has to be taken.

17. He is fair, does not take sides, impartial.

18. He has no afflictions, illnesses, sufferings or fears.

19. He never has to start anything as he is always in the midst of it.

20. Does not chatter incessantly. Comfortable in silence.

Knowledge of the senses is inferior to the knowledge of the intellect. But knowledge of something beyond the intellect; intuitive knowledge, knowledge from the pure consciousness is even superior to intellectual knowledge. Intellectual knowledge can be proved and disproved, but a discovery which is beyond the intellectual calculation is something very different.

We do not know …

We do not know where we came from, we do not know why we are here, we do not know where we are going. Mystery behind and death ahead! Still we imagine that a deep investigation of life is not necessary??

The Vedas

The Word ‘Veda’ is derived from the root Vid, ‘to know’; Veda, therefore, means ‘Knowledge’. The ‘Knowledge’ of divinity lurking in man and the technique by which it can be brought out to full manifestation are the theme of the Veda textbooks and the Truth of this theme is eternal.

The aphorisms of the Vedic scriptures propound that actions in life are to be performed and what activities are to be performed and the results of violating or adhering to the Vedic injunctions determines the karma or reactions to actions that one will have to experience in joy or misery.

The four qualities of Vedanta

1)   Rise above the pairs of opposites like pleasure & pain. Have an evenness of the Mind

2)   Free from anxiety of acquiring and protecting material objects. Have discretion in action.     Use of objective intellect to decide on the right choices.

3)    One who is master of one self (established in the self) Has a certain Dissociation from the association of pain.

4) Our choice is only in the action never the results thereof.

The Kalpas or Yugas

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It is roughly calculated that a whole cycle of the four yugas, namely Sat, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali-yuga together, total about 12,000 celestial years in length.

“The learned say that these 12,000 celestial years form what is called a cycle. A thousand such cycles form a single day of Brahma. The same is the duration of Brahma’s night. With the beginning of Brahma’s day the universal entities come into being. During the period of universal dissolution the Creator [Brahma] sleeps in Yoga-meditation. When the period of sleep expires, He awakes. What is Brahma’s day covers a thousand such cycles. His night also covers a thousand similar cycles. On the expiry of His night, Brahma, waking up, modifies the indestructible intelligence by causing it to be overlaid with ignorance. He then causes Consciousness to spring up, whence it originates Mind which is at one with the Manifest.”

Satya-yuga is 1,440,000 human years in length, Treta-yuga is 1,080,000 years, Dvapara-yuga is 720,000 years, and Kali-yuga is 360,000 years in length. The Linga Purana (4.24-35) also agrees with this except for Treta-yuga, which it says is 1,800,000 years in length.

“Twelve thousand years of the demigods is the duration of the four yugas on earth. The duration of Satya-yuga is four thousand celestial years, Treta-yuga is three thousand celestial years, Dvapara-yuga is two thousand celestial years, and Kali-yuga is one thousand celestial years. The transitional periods of the four yugas are four hundred, three hundred, two hundred, and one hundred celestial years respectively. In this way, the total comes to twelve thousand celestial years. The duration of the reign of each Manu is seventy-one cycles of the four yugas. Fourteen Manus reign during one day of Brahma. This is also the duration of Brahma’s night [which is as long as his day].”

Chronological Chart of Brahma the Creators divine100 years.

Divine100 years = 41,500 days & 41,500 nights (83,000 cycles)

Each Divine year = 360 solar years (sun)

So Brahma’s life is 36,000 solar years (sun)

Each Day = 12,000 years Ascending Arc (days of Creation)

Each Night = 12,000 years Descending Arc (nights of Dissolution)

4800 years Spiritual Age or Sat yug ( Golden Age) Spiritual Age

3600 years  Mental Age or Treta yug (Silver Age) Psychical Age

2400 years Atomic or Dwapar yug (Bronze Age) Electrical Age

1200 years Material Age or Kali Yug (Iron Age) Physical Age (total delusion)

at Night all living creatures perish and a new age dawns of another 12,000 years.

This cycle continues 83,000 times.

83,000 (cycles) x 24,000 years = 1.99 billion years

Each Day and Night of Brahma= 8.64 Billion years

Life span of the Universe is supposed to be 300 trillion years.

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The Vedas

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The 4 Vedas & 108 Upanishads

Rig Veda The Rigveda Samhita is the oldest extant Indic text. It is a collection of 1,028 Vedic Sanskrit hymns and 10,600 verses in all, organized into ten books (Sanskrit: mandalas). The hymns are dedicated to Rigvedic deities. Consist of Rituals and Rites.

Yajur Veda The Yajurveda Samhita consists of archaic prose mantras and also in part of verses borrowed and adapted from the Rigveda. Its purpose was practical, in that each mantra must accompany an action in sacrifice but, unlike the Samaveda, it was compiled to apply to all sacrificial rites, not merely the Somayajna.

The Sama Veda The Samaveda Samhita (from sāman, the term for a melody applied to metrical hymn or song of praise [consists of 1549 stanzas, taken almost entirely (except for 78 stanzas) from the Rigveda. Like the Rigvedic stanzas in the Yajurveda, the Samans have been changed and adapted for use in singing. Some of the Rigvedic verses are repeated more than once. Including repetitions, there are a total of 1875 verses numbered in the Samaveda recension translated by Griffith.

The Atharva Veda The Artharvaveda Samhita is the text ‘belonging to the Atharvan and Angirasa poets. It has 760 hymns, and about 160 of the hymns are in common with the Rigveda. Most of the verses are metrical, but some sections are in prose. It was compiled around 900 BCE, although some of its material may go back to the time of the Rigveda, and some parts of the Atharva-Veda are older than the Rig-Veda though not in linguistic form.

 108 Upanishads

The Upanishads are a continuation of the Vedic philosophy, and were written between 800 and 400 B.C. They elaborate on how the soul (Atman) can be united with the ultimate truth (Brahman) through contemplation and meditation, as well as the doctrine of Karma— the cumulative effects of a persons’ actions.

Types of Yoga

Types of Yoga

  1. Karma Yoga : good deeds, action
  2. Jnana Yoga : discrimination/ wisdom
  3. Bhakti Yoga : prayer & devotion
  4. Mantra Yoga : chanting & incantation of beej (seed) mantras :  OM (brahman) kshrim (lakshmi) gam (ganapati)  fraum (hanuman) , hrim (Shakti). Each Chakra also has a specific beej mantra associated to it.
  5. Laya Yoga : dissolving the ego completely.
  6. Hatha Yoga : bodily discipline thru physical asana, postures etc.
  7. Raja Yoga or Kriya Yoga: specific breathing techniques, pranayama. Used to withdraw the senses and get locked in ecstasy of communion with the universal spirit or savikalpa (1st) and nirvikalpa (2nd) Samadhi states.
  8. Dhyana Yoga: Meditation

Rebirth & Moksha

The Bhagavad Gita states that the cycle of life is continuous, Physical Death is Astral Birth and Astral death is Birth on the earth. Where the soul is embodied. In the astral world we exist but without the body. The cycle of Life is eternal and man takes more than 8.4 million births. Moksha is to be released from the physical Rebirth cycle.

to be a student:

All this anguish, sorrow, doubt, uncertainty, filled into Arjuna’s mind. He was a renowned warrior and yet he went cold, shivered, broke into a sweat, with clammy hands dropped his heavy bow down on to the ground. Standing in front of him was the huge, mighty army of the Kaurava’s. Behind him were the smaller Pandava army, that he led. He asks Krishna, “Would you be my Teacher Guru mentor?” Lead me into this war and validate for me the reasons for my impending action. What am I to do? Will you guide me?Image