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Talks on the Bhagavad Gita

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This is a series of lessons on the Bhagavad Gita given by Pandit Hari Shankar Dabral. It is advised to read one a week and contemplate it for the whole week.

We need to understand the Bhagavad Gita and, as much as you can, to follow the teaching in your life. It's not enough just reading the book and intellectually knowing the stories and dialogues. When you are in a crisis, or you are going through problems, rough times, hard times, when there is so much confusion in life - that is the time when one should apply the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad means divine and Gita means a song - a song, which was sung by the Lord. A divine song. That's what Bhagavad Gita is all about.

This scripture is a very powerful book. So many things are here that we need nowadays, in this society, the environment we are living in. I've found this Bhagavad Gita is very practical. This is yoga too. It is said in the Gita that this book is the essence of all the scriptures - all the revealed scriptures, philosophy, Bible, Upanishads. You don't need to read all of them. Just read the Bhagavad Gita and you will know about all of them. It's a very compact scripture that deals with the practical aspects of life. 

The Bhagavad Gita teaches us the art of life.

The Gita has so much psychology of the human mind. How does the human mind operate? What happens when we are in a situation where we have the understanding but where sometimes we don't use our understanding. Somehow we are totally blank. Then afterwards, we feel very sorry. We feel guilty - why did we do that? We feel bad and that goes on and on and we build some kind of block to ourselves. We don't understand many things - that we are the doers, that we have created all those blocks in us. That is why we are confused. 

We do not seem to have a clear mind when we need to make a decision. We have several opinions and we also seek others' opinions. We are not sure. Because of that, we are living with such tension. There is always ongoing tension in our lives which then creates lots of commotion. Because of that commotion, we have no idea what's going on and what to do. That is why this scripture is very handy. Just take one example from this book. Try to apply one principle. You will see the difference in you. Your life will change. Your attitude will change.

Swamiji, Swami Rama of the Himalayas, always says that 50% of our unhappiness is created by the mind. We create it for ourselves even though we don't want to be unhappy. We do not know that unconsciously, unknowingly, we are creating unhappiness for ourselves. That is the truth. 

Nobody comes and makes you happy. 
Nobody comes and makes you unhappy.
The real happiness is within.

You can make yourself happy and you do make yourself unhappy. It is not somewhere outside where we have to go and search. And that's what actually we are doing - searching for that peace of mind. We are going from one place to the other. We are never satisfied with what we get. Momentarily we may be happy, there may be some kind of satisfaction. Later on you'll find that wasn't what you were looking for. And then the search begins. It is a never ending search. One day we depart and that cycle goes on and on. You come here, live your life and suffer so much turmoil and then we go and then we come again, so that cycle goes on and on. We are never free because we have not discovered that happiness, that peace, shanti, and liberation.

The Gita can teach us liberation from our mental blocks, confusion, problems, unhappiness, turmoil.

Liberation has many meanings. Liberation does not mean that you just leave the world or leave your body. We are not talking about that liberation here. The Gita can help us with all kinds of turmoil and unhappiness, with the problems we have around us. When we sleep and we get up, we always find ourselves tense. We are never rested, even though we sleep 6 or 7 or 8 hours. There is always a need to have more sleep because we do not get rest. So we are bound. There is a boundary, limitations. The mind has become narrow. We have a narrow mind because our thinking has not been expanded. Our ideas are a certain way, because we do not understand. So all the answers for our liberation is written in this book.

The Gita can take you a lifetime to understand.

This is the book that you read every single day. Read just one verse a day. Apply what you learn. You can read for years and years. The beauty of Gita is that each time you read, it gives you totally different meaning.

Many people I know read the Gita every day. That's their sadhana, their spiritual practice. Whether they know the meaning or not, by repeating it, some samskaras are erased. Every thing you do from morning to evening leaves an imprint on your mind. They stay there forever and later manifest. Which way they will come, what form, no one can predict. That's how our personality and thinking and behavior comes. So people read the Bhagavad Gita every day so they are creating divine samskaras in their mind. Later on, understanding comes automatically. 

Whenever there is a problem, when there is a crisis, 
when they are in a situation where nobody knows what to do, 
their mind is one-pointed, their mind is focused, and they know what to do.

The last moment of your life is the key. All the scriptures say that life is very precious, very important and the last minute of your life is the totality of the years you have lived. All this we are doing is a preparation for the last moment, the last second of your life. That is the time, that is the moment you decide, when you make your destiny for the next lifetime. 

Many people question that if that is the moment, 
then why am I struggling, why do I have to do this all?

Why do I have to meditate, why do I have to do these practices and read this and read that? I will think good things about myself and make the change, right at that last moment. But it does not work that way. You have to prepare. At the last minute, there is so much emotion and memories, it is very painful. You prepare yourself by purifying. 

Purification happens by doing your meditation, by doing your mantra, by reading holy scriptures, by contemplating on the principles of Gita or any scripture, so you are ready for the last moment. Your thoughts are directed that way. Any emotions manifested at that time will be governed by these thoughts and you go to the path of immortality, towards the moksha, towards the final liberation.

The chitta, our unconscious mind, has many thousands of knots. We think being free means you can go anywhere you want to go, you can do anything that you want to do. Actual freedom means being able to prevent something that is not appropriate, that is not good for you or society. Let's say you are going to suffer from a physical disease next month. If you can prevent that, it means you have freedom to keep yourself healthy. 

To be free to think clearly, to concentrate on one 
object as long as you want to - that is real freedom.

Here we sit for meditation and the moment we close our eyes, the mind is all over the place. Hundreds of thoughts come and go. Freedom is when you sit and do a sankalpa that I will sit here for 15 minutes and not move and I will constantly repeat my mantra with full concentration. If you succeeded with that, it means you indeed have freedom. 

In the Gita, Krishna means that aspect of the absolute Lord that attracts you. The moment you read, you will fall in love. Krishna attracts you toward the path of peace, towards the path of spirituality, towards the path of final liberation. 

Krishna represents the teacher 
who guides you on the right path.

Arjuna means a student who is dying for knowledge, who is inquisitive, always seeking for guidance from a competent teacher. He is not wasting time. Arjuna represents all of us. You all are Arjuna if you are seeking the true knowledge. In the first chapter, Arjuna is standing right at the battlefield. It is all symbolic. He is standing right at the battlefield and is very much confused. He does not know what to do. He does not know - what is my duty, what is my dharma now? Not only does he not know but does not want to do anything because he is afraid. There is so much fear in him. 

This world is a battlefield for us. Each one of us has our own battle and we are fighting it every single day. Many times we are frustrated with that battle and most of the time we are confused. There is so much fear and attachment. All kinds of emotions are involved when we are dealing with the real world. Time goes and you look back. You have not done anything, except worry and feeling sorry for yourselves, feel guilty, and it all was wasted. That is the time we do need a true teacher like Krishna.

In the Gita, two families were about to fight - the Kauravas and Pandavas. Arjuna sees his relatives standing on the opposite side - his brothers, cousins, teachers, relatives, uncles. He needs to fight in order to reestablish law and order. This is true in our lives, but we feel sometimes that we are helpless. We want to do the right thing yet are confused with attachment and fear. Why do I have to do this? Why do I have to kill my relatives? 

There are six enemies in us - desire, anger, 
greed, jealousy, attachment and pride.

All our negative emotions and qualities are our relatives. They do not want to leave us. They prosper and are creating problems. Let's say you want to wake up from tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. to do meditation, but you can't get up. You made the sankalpa, the resolve. You have the alarm clock, a powerful one, and you turn it off and go back to sleep. Tamas, inertia, or lethargy is another relative that is not allowing you to do what you want to do. It means we do not have freedom. 

They bind us because of attachment. Any time you try to get rid of them, they will attack you and manipulate your mind so that you cannot do anything. They all will create such excuses for you that you will think, that's fine, today's okay. Or not six o'clock, maybe seven o'clock, and when seven o'clock comes, maybe seven thirty. And by then, it's time to go to work and then you are forced to get up. Your will power is within, covered by the negative emotions. 

We are all Arjuna. Inside, deep down, we all are seeking some kind of knowledge, some kind of guidance, some kind of liberation. We don’t want to be bound. We want to free ourselves, to really feel that we are free. 

The joy of that freedom comes from within.

Many times we don't want to fight, we don't want to face our problems. Many people go to sleep to avoid it or do something else or don't want to talk about it or think about it. It gets buried in a corner of your unconscious mind. A few days or few weeks later it manifests in another form. It's more dangerous when you bury things and do not face them. 

Arjuna dropped his arms, his bow and arrows. He just gave up.

Arjuna drops his arms. He says, I can't do it. I am shaking, he says. So too, we are shaking, because we are confused and have lost confidence. We feel we are too weak. We put ourselves down. Even if you have made some kind of mistake, learn to forgive yourself. Do not keep making the mistake and then keep forgiving yourself. Learn and stop doing it. Self-condemnation is not a right virtue for human beings.Self-condemnation is not recommended on the path of spirituality.

Arjuna does not want to fight because he sees all his cousins, relatives. He says, I do not need this kind of kingdom. He has moha - attachment. 

Take a principle such as moha, anger, jealousy, hatred, or desire. For a whole week, as you go through daily life, as you go through your work and deal with all kinds of people and business, think how you operate. How many times did you get angry? And if you got angry, why did you get angry? Immediately examine yourself. If there was attachment, why was attachment there? Why was greed there? Find out the reason. 

Most of the time you just reacted. Maybe you did not understand and you got angry. How is your patience? If you want to get something done on time, or you are going somewhere and you are late, observe how you run out of patience. What are the consequences of that impatience? You are agitated, angry, tense. Read the Bhagavad Gita and compare how you operate. Your mind will resist, your body will resist so that fighting will begin between you and your principles. Personality is not the true Self. Persona is like a fake. You have to examine yourself. If you do that, then Krishna will guide you. 

Krishna also means inner dweller, who guides you from within.

From within, some kind of guidance will come forward, some kind of inner voice you will hear, do this, and do that and do not. You will not have a good feeling if you are not supposed to do something. Arjuna was so confused and did not know what to do. He is asking for help as we all do.

Arjuna complained "I cannot fight, I am confused, I do not know what to do, I am sweating, I am fearful, I am shaking". Lord Krishna was next to him and did not say a single word to him. Then Arjuna says, "O Krishna, I am your student. I surrender myself and I am ready for your help." The moment he surrenders, the Lord begins to speak.

When you pray, when you meditate, it is because you want to pray, because you need some kind of guidance, so you need to surrender yourself. You need to give yourself at the service of the Lord. If you do not, then you keep asking for help but your mind still will be blocked. When your mind is not open, the teaching will not penetrate. 

Surrender means you are meditating without any 
ego problems or showing off. We want to be liberated 
but don't know that we are blocking ourselves.

That is a very important concept in the path of meditation, in the path of yoga, the path of spirituality, the path of self conquest, the path of liberation. One has to open oneself and surrender. We are blocking ourselves. We want guidance and to free ourselves from all kinds of problems. Help comes and you are closed and it bounces back to the source from where it came. 

They want to teach, but the moment they try, they say, well, he is closed or she is closed, she doesn't want to open. We have so much resistance. Somehow we are so afraid to open ourselves. The guide, the absolute one, the Lord, wants to penetrate, to give the teaching, but we have been closed. 

Work, discipline yourself, purify yourself and one day
you will see. You are now open for the teachings.
One should surrender without any expectation because that creates tension. You cannot actually surrender if you always look to see whether it's working or not. Expectation is a kind of ego. In this book we talk about love - that I love someone or I love everybody or that I love this. The word love has so much power. Love is surrender. 

True love teaches you only to give and give and give
and do not ever expect anything in return.

You must fall in love with your daily practice. Falling in love means that you think about your practice all the time. When you fall in love, what happens? You think about that person all the time. No matter what you're doing. So your mind gets colored. Have your practice become a part of your daily life and you will reach to that point where you look forward to sitting. You will forget other things but you never will forget to sit. That is called falling in love. 

Any time somebody mentions practice, 
a joy arises in your heart, in your mind.

Your heart should fill with happiness the moment you even think of your practice. That does not come unless you surrender yourself completely. Surrendering means opening yourself completely for the guidance that is waiting from the absolute Lord. 

They are always with us. I remember once, Swamiji, Swami Rama of the Himalayas, said "I have very little time and I want to pass on this knowledge, this teaching. I am tired now but I do not find anybody that is willing to take it." It's not a simple willing, okay Swamiji I would like to. That's not what it means. It means you are ready, you are capable, that you can retain and handle it. It is not merely a desire or a curiosity. You have to be a sincere seeker for that truth, for that liberation, for that peace. Then you will receive it. It shall open for you if you seek sincerely.

Adhikari means a qualified one, who has the qualifications to retain and handle the teachings. Studying the Bhagavad Gita helps us become adhikari.
The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita will make you adhikari if you study and apply them into your life.  The first chapter deals with the reality of our being as human beings. It talks of how confused we are in this life, which is indeed a battlefield for us. Kurushetra is symbolic. Shetra is a field. Kuru comes from the root 'to do'. Kurushetra means a field where you are performing your actions. In the Gita, they were standing at the Kurushetra and that's where we are. Our Kurushetra is where we have greed, attachment - all the 6 enemies that we have. We don't want to fight, which means we don't want to face. The first chapter also deals with how we change. One day you love someone, the next day you criticize. Today you surrender, tomorrow you take it back. Why? This is true for all human beings, not just you and me. 

It is the nature of the human mind to wander, question and doubt.

These are the natural behaviors of human beings. Mind will doubt, question, and create all kinds of wonders, problems, obstacles, and hurdles. You see yourself sitting on a roller coaster that is constantly going up and down, up and down. The objects of the world are so symbolic. The roller coaster goes up slowly then immediately takes you down then goes up again. It goes up very gently, slowly, then forcefully goes down and makes you scared. Daily life is indeed a roller coaster as we go. 

You can come out from that roller coaster and make yourself steady and establish an equanimity for yourself. Samata means a level, a platform. That is yoga, when you have created equilibrium for yourself. There is no longer a bumpy road or a roller coaster. Your mind is clear and becoming clearer every day. Confusions are subsiding. You are getting more and more in touch with your true nature, what you truly are. The Gita is a book that teaches the art of life.

It shows us how to deal with situations, how to live your life with a happy peaceful mind, with a blissful mind. Finally you liberate yourself. The Bhagavad Gita - the Divine song, sung by the Lord, right at the battlefield, because that's where we need Him the most.

You don't have time to live two kinds of life, having your meditative life separate from your real world life. That's why you live with confusion. Humans have been given buddhi, intellect. The buddhi is a tool that makes us capable to think. Because of that thinking, we have the power to choose our destiny and the power to come out from the cycle of pain and misery and sorrow. Make a bridge between your meditative life and your daily life and you will that your meditative life affects your daily life and makes it smoother. 
You see the purpose of your life. You understand the nature of yourself and objects. Objects are there and you are here and there is a process in between. You do not take objects as you. You understand the Gita by meditating, making yourself open, and surrendering.
We need emotional purification because we all have many blocks. We understand many things but when we really need wisdom in our lives, it's gone. We find ourselves helpless and confused because the flow of knowledge is blocked. 

We block our mental flow because we have not done enough emotional purification.

The problem is that we react rather than act. Action means you cultivate yourself. Reaction is when you are influenced and confused by situations. Reaction means that the power of certain circumstances will come into yourself, into your mind. For example, if I am mad at you, if you act you won't get mad back at me. If you react, you will be mad at me. You will shout exactly the same way because you have taken my anger. You reacted.

With action, you kept yourself calm and centered and did not get affected by my anger. A person who has not cultivated him or herself becomes angry or agitated by the same situation that makes a yogi laugh. A yogi means a person who has cultivated him or herself. You act rather than react.

If something happens to you and you keep that incident in your mind and you ruin your sleep, your eating, everything, you are poisoning yourself by reacting. 

You don't know why you got that way, why you reacted or why someone else reacted the way they reacted. The buddhi, the intellect, shuts down. Buddhi is the finest portion of our mind that is clear crystal. It acts as a mirror onto which the individual self constantly reflects. If we used our intellect, we would not react, we would only act. 

Life is full of circumstances, crisis, and problems for everybody. The Gita is there to teach us and give you the opportunity to rise. You are a temple, where you visit every day. You light a candle light at the heart center. You bow. You pay your homage to that inner dweller. You sit there. You meditate and receive the mental peace, shantih, then gently you come out from that temple and you do not leave it there. You take that peace everywhere you go. Every single action you do, you perform, you keep that peace in your mind. That is how you cultivate yourself. 

Krit-Atman. Atman is the Self. Krita comes from the word Kri, which means to do. You have purified your Atman. The terminology is not right because Atman itself does not need any purification. It is ever pure, ever free, ever wise. It is a manner of speech because we are not fully aware that the Self is ever pure, ever free, ever wise. We are aware of the things on top of the Self, such as our negative samskaras, karmas, vasanas, our mind, our buddhi. Cultivate yourself every single moment of your life.

A human being is bound to perform actions. Because of those actions we bind ourselves, with exactly the same kind of karma we have performed. Karmas are like a chain. Some karmas are like a golden chain. Most of them are. We get deluded and then we bind ourselves and then one day we see that we have bound ourselves so tightly that it is very hard now to undo.

If you are moving ahead, your language changes. That does not mean that if you speak French, you will speak Spanish the next day. It means your perception will change. The same sentence or same book will have a totally different meaning. In other words, you do not react when someone says something as you would have yesterday or last year. You always wish the best to that person who has harmed you. It is the quality of a meditator, the quality of a saint. 

We do satsang as we are doing. Satsanga indeed means company of saintly. What does that saintly mean? The saintly qualities that we are cultivating within. They are there but we are becoming aware of them. We are purifying the samskaras that are holding us from not being aware of our true nature. 

In the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, we don't know what to do. We don't even believe we have the capacity to do something because there is a curtain in front of the buddhi. If you cultivate your buddhi, you can elevate yourself quickly. Any advice you give cannot be wrong if you give from your buddhi. Buddhi is that source from where intuition flows. It flows from the Atman, from the individual soul, through the buddhi to you. 

If your buddhi has been closed or dusty then you cannot recognize that there is a message or advice for you.

Buddhi, is very faithful, it always gives us indication but we have no idea how to access it. 
Krishna calls Arjuna by different names which represents his different qualities. He does this in order to let him know he has the capacity, that he can do it. Others cannot know about you better than you know yourself. Masters, such as Swami Rama of the Himalayas, are different. Arjuna is that aspect in us who is hungry for knowledge. You have a burning desire for elevation but are still confused. If you have that, you are Arjuna. Then you have Krishna with you, who wants to guide you. Krishna is your buddhi, your Atman. He guides you, leads your chariot in the right way. It depends on how clear the buddhi is. Your chariot will go that way, with that direction.

There are two principles before the Lord speaks to you. You have to feel, that you are a friend to the Lord and the same time, you are disciple of the Lord, a student of that Lord. If you are just a friend, the Lord will not speak to you, if you are just a disciple, the Lord will not speak to you. You have to have both. The same time, there is a third aspect that is just for us. 

You must believe in yourself, that you are ready to receive the teachings. 

If you are not ready then nobody will come forward to teach.

We see or we think that we are ready to have some kind of teachings but we are not really. Because once you say that you are ready to receive the teachings, the very source where the teaching comes from, flows from, will test you, will give you all kind of hurdles to see whether you are indeed ready or not. That is the teacher's duty. To tell you what is the right path. Some people may like, some people may not like. Masters like Swami Rama of the Himalayas test you first until they are satisfied that you indeed have hunger for the knowledge. 

Many times we think we are ready then all the circumstances in life go wrong and you have this problem and that. You thought something was right and it was totally wrong. Your friends do not talk to you. Everything is haywire. You are confused. That is the time when if that desire is still there with the same degree or more, then all the things will subside and then road will be smooth and the teaching will indeed flow and will penetrate your heart. That is how the philosophy and spiritual life goes.

Swami Veda constantly emphasizes perennial psychology and emotional purification because we all have a mental block. We understand many things but when it comes to our life, when we really need that wisdom, or knowledge, that's where we lack. We find ourselves helpless, confused, and do not know what to do, because the flow of that knowledge is blocked mentally. We are blocked because we have not done enough emotional purification. 

He clearly says that he would like to see us not react, just act. You know the difference between reacting and acting? Acting is the action you are supposed to do, at that moment. When you cultivate yourself, that is action. Reaction is that you are influenced by the situation and you are confused by the situation. We give ourselves into the situation where we cannot act. Then we react. Reaction means that the power of certain circumstances comes into our mind. If I am mad at you, if you act, you won't get mad back at me. If you react, you will shout exactly the same way because you have taken my anger. You will answer with the same manner or twice as angry. You reacted. 

When you act, you keep yourself calm and centered and do not get affected by my anger. A situation for a person who has not cultivated him or herself makes them angry or agitated. The same situation, same intensity, makes a yogi laugh. Yogi means a person who has cultivated him or herself, who acts, not reacts.

When you keep a situation in your mind all night, you poison yourself. You ruin your sleep, your evening and you cannot act. You can't find a good reason for reacting the way you did. The buddhi (intellect) shuts down. Buddhi is the finest portion of our mind and is clear crystal, a mirror. The individual Self constantly reflects on that mirror, the buddhi. When we use our intellect, we only act. 

What is your dharma, your duty to do in life? That is the meaning of life. Life is full of circumstances, crises, problems. You cannot find a single human being that is free from this. They are there to teach us and give us the opportunity to learn to rise up. What is important in life?

Celebrate everything within. Your self is a temple. Light a candle at the heart center. Bow. Pay your homage to that inner dweller. Sit there and meditate. Receive the mental peace, the shanti. Gently you come out from that temple. Don't just leave that peace there, take it with you, everywhere you go. Keep that peace in your mind with every single action you perform. Keep that peace in your mind. That is how you cultivate yourself.
Atman does not need any purification because it is ever pure, ever free, ever wise. We are not fully aware of that purity because we're so aware of the things covering the Self, such as our negative samskaras, karmas, vasanas. We need to cultivate ourselves every single moment of our life.

Human beings can't live without performing actions and that leads to being bound by karma. Some day we see we are bound so tight that it is very hard to undo. Reading from the Bhagavad Gita every day helps to keep us on track.

You change as you make some progress. The same sentence or book will have a different meaning. You do not react when someone says something as you did last year. You always will wish the best to the person who has harmed you. This is the quality of a meditator, of a saint. Satsanga means company of the saintly, the saintly qualities we are cultivating within. They are there; we need to become aware of them. We need to purify the samskaras that are holding us back from being aware of our true nature.

In the first chapter of the Gita, Arjuna is confused, he doesn't know what to do. We don't even believe we have the capacity to do something because there is a big curtain in front of the buddhi. If you cultivate your buddhi, any decision or advice is correct. Buddhi is the source of intuition, that flows from the Atman, from the individual soul. It comes through the buddhi to you. If the buddhi is dusty, then you cannot recognize there is a message or advice for you. Buddhi is faithful to us and will guide us in any incident or situation in life. Arjuna is well capable, he has elevated himself, but does not know how to have access. Krishna gives him confirmation he is capable. 

Lord Krishna addresses Arjuna with different names representing qualities within Arjuna. He is trying to tell him not to be confused, to use his will power and self respect and confidence. Arjuna is that aspect in us who is hungry for knowledge. He has a burning desire for elevation but still is confused. If you have that, it means you are Arjuna. And you have Krishna with you, who wants to guide you. Krishna is your buddhi, your Atman. He guides you, leads your chariot in the right way. It depends on how clear the buddhi is. Your chariot will go in that direction.

Arjuna is shaking because he doesn't want to fight his elders and respected teachers. That happens in our life. Sometimes we don't have a choice. You have to rise above your circumstances.
There are two principles before Krishna will speak to us. You have to feel that you are a friend to that Lord and the same time, you are disciple/student of that Lord. If you are just a friend, Lord will not speak to you, if you are just a disciple, Lord will not speak to you. You have to have both. There is a third aspect that is just for us. 

You must believe in yourself, that you are ready to receive the teachings.

If you are not ready then nobody will come forward and teach. We think that we are ready to have some kind of teachings but we are not really. Once you say that you are ready to receive the teachings, the very source where the teaching comes from will test you by giving you all kind of hurdles to see whether you are indeed ready or not. That is the teacher's duty - to test you first until satisfied that you indeed have hunger for the knowledge. 

Many times we think we are ready then all the circumstances in life go wrong and you have this problem and that. You thought something was right and it was totally wrong. Your friends do not talk to you. Everything is haywire. You are confused. Then if that desire is still there with the same degree or more, all things will subside and the road will be smooth and the teaching will indeed flow and will penetrate your heart. That is how the philosophical and spiritual life goes. 

When we start meditating, we become aware of all the junk we have, how our mind wanders and how samskaras come up. Our perception changes. Sometimes now people don't understand you. There are all kinds of adjustments you have to make in your life. 

Do you want to elevate yourself spiritually or not?

In Arjuna's case, he has to rise above to see what he should do. He reacted and dropped all his weapons. All of us know what to do but the next moment we forget. We go back to our own tendencies and way of doing things, looking at things, behaving. Once in awhile we realize this is not good, I should be doing something else. Like the resolution we make for New Years, then after a week, they are gone. Where do they go? At the end of January, you find you have not done anything. You are still at the same level. When you make the resolutions you use your buddhi, your will power, but because we have not cultivated it, it goes away. 
How much have you cultivated your spiritual height? Make a note in your journal. Make a resolution - I have done this much last year, how much will I do this year? Examine yourself - each day, each month. Cultivating is a gradual process, not all at once. Don't just say that from tomorrow I will get up and meditate from 6 to 7 then I will exercise for an hour then I will... You may do out of your ego but it is torturing yourself, then you are tired and your whole system gets into imbalance. If you decrease the amount you sleep by 10 minutes a week, next month you will see a difference.

Examine your capacity and make a very gentle move.

The Gita is in many chapters because Krishna gave Arjuna a very gradual training. The Lord shows Himself to Arjuna in the tenth chapter, not the first. The Gita is a great book in psychology. If you want to train yourself, first you become friends with yourself, establish a relationship with yourself. That aspect can be known as Krishna and you yourself become Arjuna. That's why in the second chapter, Arjuna says, "Oh Krishna, I am your friend and your disciple and I am ready to learn. Please teach me." 

You have to say those things to yourself, that you surrender. Arjuna surrendered himself at the feet of his teacher who is his friend too. Why friend? Friendship has some rules - that you are very direct, very honest, you do not hide anything from a friend, but the same time you do not criticize your friend when it comes to others. You know the faults of your friend but you only tell your friend when you are alone with them. A true friend will guide you and will show you the right path. That is the relationship between Arjuna and Krishna. 

Krishna only comes when you have become friends, when you have surrendered, when you are ready.

The blessed Lord says that you have to perform your dharma, your actions. You have to be a yogi, meaning one who has learned to perform actions without being affected by them. Yoga karma sukoshalam - skillfulness in action - is when you act on behalf of the Lord. You do not react, that's the skill. Is it best for me to act now or later? To say something or not? To remain calm or go away from here? If someone comes in very mad at you, listen to him or her with a peaceful mind. It is a practice to do this. It may be very hard but it is possible.
No matter who comes in front of a master, his mood never changes. Because his mood never changes, when you come in front of him, your mood changes when you come into their presence. 

We have a great opportunity to use the tools of meditation and mantra. You can be aware of your mantra, be in the presence of your own mantra and not let any foreign objects attack you. You are completely covered by your mantra. When we meditate, we cover ourselves with our shawl. It is symbolic, it gives you a feeling of protection, like there is a boundary. Use the shawl of the presence of your mantra and you are covered. Wind will not penetrate because you are wearing the shawl of your mantra. You do not react to people because you are wearing the shawl of your mantra. 

The best part is that the person who was reacting will stop because your presence is so strong they will be affected in a positive way too. We are affected whenever a saint passes by. We go to them to experience the presence of a cultivated saint. When with them, we still only see them at our own level but they have such a presence that we benefit. 

When we go to a sacred place or shrine it gives us something we don't get in other places. Their presence is such that we are affected. So as you reach to a new height, you will influence people who come to you in a manner that is not appropriate to a meditator, to a spiritual person. You manage yourself, you remain with those principles, with a calm and one pointed mind, with awareness. You will see you change a person, very gently.

The reason to read the Gita is to learn to apply principles in your life.

The moment you apply a principle, your mind resists. It has a set pattern that we have established. We act or react in a certain way. The moment you change that pattern, resistance comes. You have to face the resistance. Running will not resolve the problem. Go through it. Face it. Hardship is known in a positive manner as purification. Think about it as a purification and you will not feel you are going through a rough time. A saint says to his students, whenever a rough time comes, I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to check myself where I stand and to purify myself and see how much strength I have got. Rough times will build your strength if faced with a positive manner. It will not make you miserable. It will make you a saint. A rough time is an opportunity given by the Lord.

Read the story of the saints and sages. They have gone through rough times. It is like a goldsmith putting gold into the fire. They keep it in the fire for awhile and when it comes out, it shines. 

When you are in the fire, you are burning and that is very hard, 

very painful, but afterwards when you come out, you will shine.

You will receive peace, happiness and bliss, unexplainable joy and happiness. When you go through problems, increase your practice, launch on the spiritual path and apply these principles in your life. 

We all have experienced pain and misery that comes back over and over. We have the tendency to put it aside, we do not face it because it hurts. That is the time to use the buddhi to understand it. What happened? I am not in that situation but the hurt is still there. Understand you just have the memory of that hurt and slowly it will fade. Do not put it aside. Face it and think about it. The second thing is, go in silence and meditate. There you will face it more. Examine - someone has hurt me, it was very painful, now I have moved from that situation but it keeps coming back to me. 

It is painful because we have not cultivated ourselves to a higher level. Whatever happened in the past should not affect you. That's why buddhi is there. Remind yourself - this is not good. Examine yourself - this still bothers me. Next time it comes, I will face it and I will not allow myself to be bothered. Meditate, go in silence, examine yourself. You will see, slowly it will fade away and disappear. Do not stop problems or ignore them. Facing problems is a strength. Krishna is teaching Arjuna he has to fight. He has to establish law and order.

One who is born has to die, one who dies has to come back. 

It is a process. Why are you sad about this process?

There are past, future and present. Living in the present is a gift. Living in the moment is the great teaching of the Bhagavad Gita. The Lord says, why worry about what is done? The future has not come yet and we don’t know what is coming so don't worry about it. Live in the present, right now. The nature of the human mind is to brood or be disappointed by the past or worried about the future but neither is in our control. The future and past are not in our hands. The present is but we are not using this gift because we don't recognize we have it. 

Krishna says "O Arjuna, live in the present and do what is 

Necessary to do in this moment without any sorrow or pain."
We are here because of our karma and to pay our debts. We are also here as a blessing from the Lord, as an opportunity to realize the true purpose of our life. Who are we really and why do we take birth and have relationships in the world? We have several relationships like son, father, mother, brother, sister, wife, husband. We play many roles when we come to this world and each role demands its own obligations and its own conditions. These create more karmas and we don't want to do that. 

Our goal, the true purpose of life, is to realize the Self, realize 

God within and free ourselves from the cycle of birth and rebirth.

This is known as liberation. Most of us misunderstand the word liberation. Final liberation is not an overnight thing. You have to work towards it. Before final liberation comes, we must go through many sub-liberations. We need to free ourselves from the enemies we have created within ourselves, from resistance, from our negative emotions that take us away from our real goal in life. 

We are pure beings. We need liberation from the emotions that cover that purity of our mind, of our heart. How can we overcome doubts and situations in life? You need liberation from them so you have a free and very clear mind with an intuition that always is guiding you. What is the right thing to do in each step you take in life? The Gita tells you the art of life, the nature of life, of human beings, personality, psychology and the mind. The theory is given then you experience that theory in life and you won't be afraid or create commotion in that moment. 

The Bhagavad Gita is a song sung by the Lord telling all of us the art of life. This life is given to us to enjoy within the decorum that we are human beings, what are our dharmas and our obligations. While dealing with our obligations and dharmas, how can you create your spiritual life so you realize your true nature. 

Read the Gita when you have a chance, at least once a day, one page - not more than that. You plant the seed of the samskara just by reading. Leave the idea about whether you understand it or not. Take the pressure off. After a period of time, you will notice how much you have learned. In a very subtle way, you have understood the Bhagavad Gita. 
The three gunas are Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. They are qualities within your personality and you can change them. Our personality and our mind are governed by these gunas. 

Rajas gives movement to sattva and tamas. They are alive because of rajas. Sometimes rajas or tamas is dominant in us. Sattva doesn't stay for a long time. When sattva is dominant, we make good decisions and lots of commitments. Then tamas takes over and we don't follow through our good intentions. With too much rajas we are too active, have too much hyper energy. Rajas has to be brought into control so you are not all over the place, scattered mind. When dominated by tamas, you are dull with no inclination, no self respect, no divinity, no confidence, full of inertia, tiredness and sloth. The gunas have colors. Black is tamas, red is rajas, and white is sattva. When the mind is black and you don't know what to do, that is tamas.

Sattva is light. When sattva is dominant, you know what is right and wrong and you live with your commitments. You are always aware not to let rajas or tamas take over. You balance. Inclination to dharma, spirituality, and obligations with right attitude is sattva. There are ways to create sattva. Swadhyaya (study of the Self), exercise (hatha yoga), pranayama, mantra, meditation - all these remove tamas. 

We have prana because we eat. Food has a great role in our life.

Yoga science talks a great deal about food. What kind of food should you eat if you are on the path of spirituality, of self realization. Food is also sattvic, rajasic and tamasic. Meat is heavy, full of tamas and you get the tendencies of the animal you eat. Tamas is hard to digest and too heavy. Rajasic foods make you hyper, too active e. g. garlic and onion. When someone is doing a special practice they often stay away from garlic and onions because they want to be stable and grounded, in one place and not too hyper. Sattva food is very light, such as greens, milk and ghee. Food that can be digested easily is always sattvic. The quality of food is quality of mind which is then quality of your body. 

Food is affected by the vibration of the person and the environment in which is was made. If a person is angry and thinking vengeful thoughts while cooking, they are giving that subtle energy to the food. Whoever eats it will of course be affected. Thinking sattvic thoughts while cooking will impart that energy to the food. Eat with awareness to keep the sattvic guna dominant. 
You can make the same dish for a week and it will taste different each time because of our mood. You don't have to quit eating certain foods, like for instance garlic and onion. With a correct state of mind, you can eat and still balance them. 

Silence is critical. Pay attention when you eat.

The state of mind in which you eat makes a difference. Chew 32 times. Don't talk. The awareness with which you chew your food makes the difference. You need the right atmosphere and environment in which you cook the food and eat the food. Say you are eating pizza while changing the channels on TV. The body has eaten pizza without any awareness and you eat too much. All things have to be noticed, brought into your awareness. 

Prayer helps to create the sattvic guna. With the same frame of mind, 

you offer the food to the Lord and then you take prasad.

With awareness, you can take away the negative energy to a great degree. You are eating with the awareness that it came from the Lord because you offered it to the Lord. Don't have discussion or anger while you are eating. 

Digestion becomes smooth when done that way. 

According to yoga and Ayurveda, when you eat your food, make sure your right nostril is open. That makes a difference in the digestive system. Sit straight and open your right nostril before you eat. The solar energy in the right nostril and right side of the body will help you digest your food easily. Opening the right nostril is also good when working on a project. Your mind is kept one pointed and centered when the right nostril is open. 

These are simple observances that one should do. You can create a conducive environment to your sadhana, your path, your spirituality. 
The fifteenth chapter of the Gita talks about the eternal tree which is upside down. The roots are upward and the branches are downward. One who knows that mystery is the knower of the eternal tree, of the Vedas, of Brahman. Whatever we may see through our eyes is not reality. Reality is something else. We must see the reality behind what we see. 

The Truth is behind that truth which we think is the truth.

his inability to see reality is what makes us react in life. It makes all the hurdles and obstacles in our lives. Chapter 15 verse 5 is very important because it outlines the qualities of the saintly. We can learn from the qualities of a saintly person, from one who is titiksha. Titiksha means forbearance. It doesn't mean you tolerate and do not fight. Titiksha is that whatever your dharma tells you to do, you must act upon, but not to react. Titiksha makes us think 10 times before we react with a situation. It is a quality that makes you capable to do tapas, to do the practice of sadhana. 

A person who has not developed titiksha cannot realize the Self.

Whether you receive pain or pleasure, insult or praise, cold or heat - they all are related to the mind. One who has gone beyond those aspects of the mind is a knower of titiksha. If you are having a difficulty, look at yourself and see if you can bear it. Can you bear it with a positive mind, not with a negative approach? A positive mind means you do not change the state of your happiness, you do not criticize, curse, do not put yourself down, and do not change your mood. 

Titiksha is very much needed in one who wants to become a sadhaka, who wants to walk on the path of spirituality. The real test is titiksha. In a monastery there comes a time when they test you to see how much titiksha you have. They create a situation for you that will make you upset, that will create anger, that will make you want to leave the place and go somewhere else where they treat you very nice. The point is not a matter of how you are being treated. It is a matter of purifying oneself. Can you stay with the same state of mind under all types of conditions? When you are in comfort and it is nice, it is very easy to have that frame of mind. To have the same kind of mind where there is no such situation is the real test. That is known as titiksha. 
Moha means attachment. We need to develop non-attachment, to conquer attachment. Non-attachment does not mean you leave and don't get involved. Getting more involved without getting attached is non-attachment. It means your emotions do not get involved. Doctors treat a patient but do not take on the pain of the patient. When doctors do surgery, how do they perform it? You cannot cut a part of the body if you are emotionally attached. You have to detach yourself.

The moment you get emotionally involved it will block your capacity,

clarity and intuition because emotions cloud your mind.

Swamiji gives the definition of love in this Bhagavad Gita. We say I love this person, I love you, I love that but it is an expression of our selfishness. There is love because there is attachment, some kind of expectation in return. Non-attachment means you are involved and do not expect anything in return. You involve yourself and just keep doing for the sake of others. You don't have an idea in your mind that you will receive this or that. You do and you forget. The moment you have done a good thing, you forget because otherwise each thing creates an expectation in our mind. 

Attachment creates anger, hatred, and jealousy. Desires come because of attachment. The moment there are desires, there is krodha (anger) if the desires are not fulfilled. When you get angry, the mind, the buddhi, shuts down. You cannot use your buddhi to know what is right and wrong. 

The moment the buddhi shuts down, you cannot think right, 

you cannot make right decisions. You are totally helpless.

A mother loves her child dearly. That is natural but does she care for the neighbor's child exactly the same way? She doesn't because she is not the mother of that child. If that child has eaten or has not eaten, she doesn't care, but if her child has not eaten, she cares. If you have the same feeling for the child next door, that will be love, it will be non-attachment, because you do not expect anything in return.

Saintly people love everyone the same equally, whether you know them or you don't know them. They don't receive anything from us but they love us the same. Once there are no expectations you will be able to do more and more because expectations hold you back. If an expectation does not get fulfilled then you turn away. With no expectation, you do as much as you can within your capacity. Nothing holds you back.

Adhyatma nitya means one who is always pursuing the spiritual path, always thinking of spirituality, always having conducive thoughts. Nitya means always, all the time. Adhyatma means spirituality. Control over kama (desires) that holds us back, makes us a better person in society, makes us better human beings among humans. It makes us really human. A human is one with a clear mind that has started walking on the path of spirituality, regardless of whether you reach to the final goal or not. Once someone asked a question of Swami Veda - you are teaching, how many people will reach the final goal? He said, that's not the point. 

The point is that we have started walking 
on the path of spirituality. It is our dharma.

If a human being in this lifetime has not walked a step, they have wasted this life. At least we have started walking. Once you have started walking, you are bound to reach to the destination. If you are just sitting, you will not reach. It is like the story of the tortoise and the hare. Within your capacity, with one pointed mind, keep that awareness, just walk at your pace and you will reach. You don't have to jump. These stories are there to tell us why it is important for us human beings to walk on the path of spirituality. That is the real goal. Your effort will make you reach today, tomorrow, day after tomorrow. 

Krishna says, Arjuna, do not get attached, in moha, with attachment. Those who are standing in front of you, they and me and you have come in this world several times. It is not that you are killing them. It is a cycle that comes and goes. Your duty is to establish law and order. The Atman never dies, it is ever free, ever pure, ever wise. No one can kill Atman, so who are you killing? Why are you sad? Perform your actions and do not seek the fruit. Perform your actions and surrender them to me. I am the way; I take you to the final path. All actions that are done for selfishness will bind you. 

All actions that are done for the sake of others without expectations of fruit
and with surrender, will never bind you, they will free you from bondage.
Whenever you perform any action, think of me. I am everywhere, I am omnipresent. If you have that in your mind, you will always do that which is good for you, good for your family, for your neighbor. 

I am the one who is doing, you are not the doer. You are the medium.