75. Analysis Of Prakriti1
- Brothers, the Fourteenth Chapter,
in a way, complements the last Chapter. The Self has really
nothing to achieve. It is complete and perfect in itself. The
natural movement of the Self is upwards. But just as any object
is dragged down by a heavy weight tied to it, the Self is pulled
down by the body. We saw in the last Chapter that progress is
possible if, by some means, the body and the Self could be
separated. This is certainly difficult, but the reward that we
shall have will also be great. If we could break the fetters of
the body that bind the Self, we shall experience a great joy.
Then the suffering of the body would not make us miserable. We
would then be free. Who can rule over a man who has conquered
his body? One who rules himself is the master of the universe.
Therefore, end the domination of the body over the Self. The
pleasures and pains of the body are all alien; they have
absolutely no connection with the Self.
- I had given the example of Jesus
Christ to give an idea of the extent to which the pleasures and
pains of the body should be separated from our Self. Christ
shows how peaceful and cheerful one should be even when the body
is succumbing to death. But, separating body from the Self needs
discernment on one hand and restraint on the other. Tukaram has
spoken of 'विवेकासहित
(Strength of non-attachment in
association with discernment). Discernment and non-attachment (vairagya),
both are necessary. Non-attachment means, in a sense,
self-restraint and endurance. The Fourteenth Chapter shows how
we could proceed towards self-restraint. The oars propel the
boat, but the rudder sets the direction. The oars and rudder,
both are necessary. In the same way discernment and
self-restraint, both are needed to separate the Self from the
bodily pleasures and pains.
- Just as a doctor examines the
health of a patient and prescribes treatment, the Lord has
examined the entire prakriti, analysed it and diagnosed
the diseases. Prakriti has been neatly classified here.
There is a principle in diplomacy that if we could create
dissensions and divisions in the enemy’s camp, the enemy can
soon be vanquished. The Lord has done the same here.
Prakriti of everything and
every being consists of three constituents. Just as in ayurved
(the Indian system of medicine), nature is divided in three
categories—kapha (phlegm), pitta (bile) and vata
(wind)—, prakriti has three gunas (modes)—sattva,
rajas and tamas. All the things are made of these
three materials; difference being only in their proportion. Only
when we separate the Self from all of them, could we succeed in
separating it from the body. To examine these gunas and to
conquer them is the way to separate the Self from the body. With
restraint and firmness, we have to go on subduing and conquering
them one by one and reach the ultimate destination.
76. Bodily Labour: Cure For Tamas
- Let us take tamas first. We
are observing its terrible consequences in the present social
situation. Its main consequence is laziness which, in turn,
gives rise to sleep and blunders. Only if we overcome all the
three things, we may take it that we have conquered tamas.
Among them, laziness is extremely dreadful. It ruins the best
among men. It is an enemy which destroys the peace and happiness
in the society. It spoils everyone, from a child to an old man.
It spares no one. It always lies in wait to pounce on us, and
strikes at the slightest opportunity. A little more food induces
us to lie down and a little more sleep makes us dull. Everything
is in vain until this laziness is overcome. But, strangely, we
look forward to idleness. We want to earn as much as possible in
as less time as possible, so that we could relax later. The idea
is to earn a lot to provide for idleness later! We believe that
we must get rest in old age. But this is an erroneous idea. If
we lead our life in the right way, we shall be able to work even
in old age. In fact, we could be of greater service in old age
because of our experience. And still we seek rest at that time!
- We should be alert lest indolence
should get the better of us. King Nala was a great man, but once
he did not wash his feet properly and it is said that Kali (the
evil spirit) entered into his body through the dry spot on the
foot. Although Nala was pure and clean in all respects, a little
neglect, a little laziness gave Kali an opportunity to enter
into him. But our negligence is so total that indolence can gain
an entry into us at any time, from anywhere. When the body
becomes indolent, the mind and the intellect follow suit. The
present-day structure of the society rests on laziness. This has
given rise to innumerable miseries. If laziness could be
removed, we would be able to eliminate a substantial number, if
not all, of those miseries.
- At present, everywhere, there is a
talk of social reform. People are discussing about the minimum
comforts that the common man should have, the structure of society
necessary for it, and such other questions. At one end, there
are excessive luxuries and at the other, there is extreme
privation. At one end, there is excessive wealth and at the
other, there is total destitution. How to remove these social
disparities? How could everybody have minimum happiness? There
is only one natural way for everyone to get the necessaries of
life; and it is that all should shake off laziness and be ready
to work hard. Laziness is the cause of our main woe, and this
woe would be no more if all resolve to do physical labour.
But what do we observe in our society? On one side, there are men getting rusty and useless. The rich do
not use their organs, which get rusted due to disuse. On the other
side, some people are required to toil so hard that their bodies get
worn out through overwork. There is a tendency in the whole of the
society to evade bodily labour. Those who have to toil till the
point of breakdown do not do so willingly and cheerfully, but
because there is no other alternative. Clever people devise all
sorts of excuses to avoid physical labour. Some say,
"Why waste time in bodily labour?" But no one ever
says, "Why should one sleep? Why waste time in eating?"
They eat when they are hungry and sleep when they feel sleepy; but
when the question of doing bodily labour arises, they say,
"Why waste time in bodily labour? Why should we do such work? Why should we toil? We are
already doing mental work." To them I would say, "My
dear friend, you talk of mental work; then why don’t you take mental
food and mental sleep?"
- Thus, there are two sections in
the society: some work to the point of breakdown while others
do no work at all. A friend once said,
"In society, some are
intelligent while others are stupid. Some have only heads while
some have only trunks."
The brains think and the trunks work. Society has been divided
in this manner. But, had there actually been some trunks and
some brains, some arrangement for cooperation between themcould have been evolved. The lame can lead the blind and the
blind can carry the lame on his shoulders. But in reality,
everybody has a brain as well as a trunk. This combination of
head and trunk is found in each and everyone. What should then
be done? Everybody must, therefore, shake off laziness.
- To shake off laziness one must do
physical labour. It is the only way to conquer laziness. If we
fail to do this, nature will make us pay for this lapse. The
price may be in the form of diseases or in some other form. As
we have been given a body, it is imperative for us to use it for
labour. The time spent in physical labour is not wasted. We get
its reward in the form of sound health and pure, sharp and
bright intellect. Physical discomforts like headaches are often
found reflected in the thinking of many thinkers. If they work
in the open, in contact with nature, their ideas would certainly
be brilliant and healthy. It is a matter of experience that just
as diseases of the body have adverse effect on the mind, good
health of the body has a positive effect on the mind. What is
the point in going to health resorts after contracting diseases? Why not instead work in the open, do gardening, digging or
wood-cutting to keep healthy?
77. Another Cure For Tamas: To Conquer Sleep
Overcoming laziness is one thing;
another is to overcome sleep. Sleep is, in fact, something
sacred. When saintly persons put in selfless service till they
get tired and then go to sleep, that sleep is a kind of yoga.
Only the blessed ones can have such a sound and peaceful sleep.
The sleep must be deep; its duration is immaterial. It does not
depend on the kind of bed or the time a man is lying on it. The
deeper the well, the purer and sweeter is its water. Likewise,
deep sleep is more rewarding even if it is short. Half an hour's
study with full concentration is more fruitful than three hours'
study done with a wandering mind. Similar is the case with
sleep. It is not that a long sleep is always beneficial.
Patients lie in the bed for twenty four hours a day, but sleep
eludes them. True sleep is essentially sound and dreamless.
Whatever one may have to suffer in hell, one does not know; but
when sleep eludes and nightmares haunt, the torment is indeed
hell-like. Troubled by such a situation, the Vedic sage says,
me not have such a cruel sleep full of nightmares.'
The sleep is meant to give rest, but if all kinds of dreams and
thoughts assail therein too, where is the question of rest?
- How can we have deep and sound
sleep? The cure for laziness is applicable here too. The body
should be continuously used; then one will sleep like a log the
moment one retires to bed. Sleep is like death on a small scale.
One must prepare thoroughly throughout the day to have such a
beautiful sleep. The body must get completely exhausted.
Shakespeare has said, 'Uneasy
lies the head that wears a crown.'
A king cannot sleep. One of the reasons is that he does not do
any bodily labour. One who is sleepy during the day is bound to
be awake when it is time for sleep. Keeping the body and the
intellect idle during the day is nothing but sleep. Then the
mind wanders at the time of sleep and the body too does not get
real rest. Then one just keeps lying in the bed. Life is given
to us to attain its highest ends, to fulfill its mission. If it
is eaten up by sleep, how can we achieve anything worthwhile in
- When a lot of time is consumed in
sleep, the third manifestation of tamas—blunders—occurs
naturally. A sleepy man’s mind is not alert. That results in
inattentiveness. Too much sleep gives rise to laziness which
results in forgetfulness; and this forgetfulness is detrimental
to spiritual progress. It is, in fact, harmful even in worldly
affairs. But it has become a normal phenomenon in our society.
Nobody feels that it is a grave fault. We fix up an appointment
with somebody and miss it, and then say casually that we forgot
about it. We have no sense of having erred and do not feel bad
about it; and one to whom this answer is given is also satisfied
with this explanation. It looks as though people think that
there is no remedy for forgetfulness. But such negligence is
harmful both in worldly and spiritual matters. Forgetfulness is
a serious disease. It corrodes the intellect and saps the
vitality of life.
- Lethargy of the mind is the cause
of forgetfulness. If the mind is awake, it will not forget
things. An inattentive mind is bound to contract the disease of
forgetfulness. Hence Lord Buddha had said,
Forgetfulness is death itself.
To overcome it, one must conquer
laziness and sleep, do physical work and be ever alert. Whatever you
do, do it after due deliberation. Nothing should be done casually
and impulsively. Thinking should precede as well as follow action;
thought should be present at all the stages of an action. If such a
habit is ingrained, the disease of inattention will be cured. The
whole of the time at our disposal should be carefully planned. One
should keep an account of every moment, so that laziness does not
get any opportunity to penetrate one's life. Efforts should thus be made to conquer tamas in all its
78. Cure For Rajas: Living Within The Bounds Of Swadharma
- Thereafter, we should turn to rajas. Rajas too is a terrible foe. It is the other
side of tamas. In fact, 'rajas' and 'tamas'
should be considered interchangeable terms. After resting for
long, the body feels like doing something and after too much
activity, it seeks rest. Thus rajas follows tamas,
and vice versa. Wherever one of them is there, the other is
invariably present. Like bread in the oven with the flames below
and the embers above, man is caught between rajas and
tamas. They toss him towards each other. They together ruin
him. His life is spent in getting kicked around by rajas
and tamas, like a football.
- The main characteristic of
rajas is the itch and ambition to engage in all sorts of
activities. There is an intense desire to do daring deeds.
Rajas gives rise to limitless association and attachment to
actions. It is essentially greed that binds a man to actions.
Then it becomes impossible to withstand the onslaught of desires
and passions. Man wants to do something or the other. He feels
an urge to move mountains, to fill up lakes and create new ones
in the deserts. He wants to dig a Suez canal here and a Panama
canal there. He is completely seized with such wild ideas. There
is no thought except that of doing this or that thing. A child
takes a piece of cloth, cuts it up and tries to make something
out of its pieces. Activities impelled by rajas are of
the same kind. Man is then never satisfied with what exists and
wants to interfere with everything. He sees a bird, wants to fly
and make aeroplanes; he sees a fish, wants to live like it in
water and makes submarines. Thus, in spite of being a human
being, he feels a sense of achievement in being like the birds
and the fish. Although residing in a human body, he yearns to
enter into the bodies of other beings to have different
experiences. Some want to go to Mars. The mind is thus never at
rest; it wanders all the time. A multitude of desires possess
man like an evil spirit. He wants change, activity, excitement.
He is not satisfied in letting things where they are. He feels
that if the things remain in their places in spite of him, it is
an affront to him! A wrestler cannot contain the energy within
him and bangs anything which comes in his way, without rhyme or
reason. Rajas is always gushing forth driving man to do
this or that. It makes man dig the earth and bring out stones
which he calls diamonds; it makes him dive deep into the sea and
bring out rubbish which he calls pearls. He then pierces holes
through them, and through his own nose and ears as well, so that
those could be worn there! Why does a man do all this? All
this is under the influence of rajas.
- Another effect of the rajas
is the loss of stability and patience. Rajas wants
immediate results. A slight obstruction therefore makes man give
up the activity. He starts new projects endlessly, leaving
earlier projects incomplete. A man full of rajas is
always vacillating between different activities. The result is
that nothing concrete is achieved.
A rajasic activity is invariably marked with fickleness,
wavering and lack of firmness. A man with rajas is like a
child who sows a seed and impatiently digs after a few minutes
to find out whether it has sprouted. He is impatient to have
everything quickly and lacks restraint. He does not know how to
plant his feet firmly on the ground. Having done some work at a
place and earned some recognition, he wants to go to other
places seeking recognition there. Rather than doing concrete
work steadily at one place, he prefers hopping from place to
place in the pursuit of name and fame. His mind is fixed on that
only. This lands him in a terrible condition.
- Under the influence of rajas,
man intrudes into all sorts of activities. He forgets his
swadharma. In fact, performance of swadharma implies
giving up all other activities. Karmayoga as enjoined by
the Gita is the cure for rajas. Everything in rajas
is unsteady and fickle. If the water falling on the
mountain-top runs down in different directions, all of it
disappears eventually; but if it flows down in a single stream,
it becomes a river, gathers strength and benefits all.
Similarly, if a man concentrates all his energy and applies it
to a single task in an orderly manner instead of frittering it
away in a variety of activities, it will prove fruitful. That is
why pursuit of swadharma is important.
One should, therefore, always reflect
upon one’s swadharma and devote all energies to it. The mind
should never be drawn to anything else. This is the test for
swadharma. Karmayoga does not mean excessive or
stupendous work. Karmayoga is not about how much you work.
Karmayoga of the Gita is something quite different. The
distinctive feature of karmayoga is the performance of
swadharma, which is in tune with our nature and which comes to
us naturally and inescapably, without any attention to the fruit,
and progressive purification of the mind thereby. Otherwise,
activities are continually going on in the world. Karmayoga
means doing everything with a particular frame of mind. Sowing seeds
in the field is not the same thing as throwing them here and there.
There is a world of difference between these two actions. We know
what we gain by sowing seeds and what we lose by throwing them.
Karma that the Gita prescribes is like sowing the seeds. There
is tremendous potency in performing one’s swadharma which is
one’s duty. Here no effort is too great. There is, therefore, no
scope for running around helter skelter.
79. How To Determine One’s Swadharma?
- How to determine one’s
swadharma? If someone asks this question, the only reply is
that it is natural. Swadharma comes naturally to
everyone. The very idea of going in search of it is strange.
Swadharma of a man is born along with him. Swadharma,
like one’s mother, is not chosen, but pre-determined. It is
given to us in advance, before we are born. The world existed
before we were born and it will be there when we are no more. We
were born into a stream of existence; we are a part of a
continuum. Service of our parents and our neighbours is our
naturally accrued duty. We also have the experience of our
inborn natural urges; they are common to all. We feel hunger and
thirst; it is therefore our natural dharma to feed the
hungry and give water to the thirsty. Serving others, doing good
to others, is thus our dharma which we do not have to go
in search for. In fact, if we find that there is a search on for
swadharma, it is a sure sign that there is something
vitally wrong, that something is being done which is neither
rightful nor righteous.
A man devoted to service does not have
to search for the type and form of service; he finds his work laid
out before him. But it has to be borne in mind that what appears to
have come unsought is not necessarily a righteous duty. Suppose a
farmer comes to me at night and says,
"Let us shift the fence of
my farm by a few feet so that the area of my farm will be larger. We
can do it unnoticed."
Although this work has certainly come unsought before me, it is
clearly not my duty, as it is unethical.
- The chaturvarnya2system
appeals to me essentially because there are naturalness and
dharma (duties) in it. Nothing can be gained by evading
one’s swadharma. My birth gives me my parents. Can I say
that I do not like them? Whatever I might feel, they will
continue to be my parents. The parent’s calling comes naturally
to the children. It is a distinguishing characteristic of
chaturvarnya that the people should continue to follow their
ancestral callings, provided they are not unethical. This system
has now decayed and adherence to it has become difficult. But it
would be nice if it could be properly reformed and revived.
Nowadays first 25-30 years of life are spent in learning a new
vocation and thereafter people try to get a job or start a
business. Thus, man is getting educated for the first 25 years of his life
without doing anything else and this education has absolutely no
connection with life. This period is taken as the time for
preparation for the life ahead, which perhaps means that it is
not part of life; life is to come later! It is as if one has to
get education first and live thereafter. Learning and living
have thus been divorced from each other. But anything unrelated
to living is akin to death. The average expectation of life in
India is 23 years and people spend 25 years in learning a
best and the most precious period in life, which should be used
in fulfilling oneself through energetic and enthusiastic service
of the people, is thus wasted. But life is not a child's
play. It is indeed tragic that a valuable part of life is wasted
in finding a calling. To avoid this, Hinduism has devised the
concept of varnadharma.
- But, even if the concept of
chaturvarnya is set aside,everybody in all the nations of
the world has his swadharma accrued to him even where
there is no such system. All of us are born in a stream, in a
continuum, in a particular situation, and that defines our
duties. It is, therefore, imperative that one is not attracted
to duties which are out of context from the situation that one
is placed in, even though they appear good and attractive. In
fact, they should not be called duties at all. Often, a distant
thing looks attractive and man is taken in by it. A man
surrounded by fog feels that the fog is denser at a distance,
although it is equally dense everywhere. Thus, things that are
closer often go unnoticed and man feels attracted to what is
distant. But this is a delusion that must be shunned.
Swadharma may appear to be commonplace, imperfect and
uninteresting; still that alone is good and beneficial. When a
man is drowning in the sea it is the log floating near him,
however rough and gnarled, that will save him. There may be a
number of beautiful pieces of polished and carved wood in a
they are of no use to the man who is struggling for life in the
sea. It is in his interest to catch hold of the log that happens
to be at hand. Likewise, the calling that has come to me as
swadharma is beneficial to me even if it appears
unattractive and commonplace. I should follow it and be immersed
in it. Therein lies my redemption. If I set out to search for
another sphere of service, I may end up in losing both of them;
and also the very urge for service. One must, therefore, be
ever-absorbed in the performance of swadharma.
- When one is absorbed in
swadharma, rajas loses its force because the mind
gets concentrated; it then never swerves from swadharma.
Fickle rajas then becomes powerless. If a river is deep,
it can contain within its banks the onrush of any quantity of
water without getting unduly disturbed. The river of
swadharma can likewise hold all the force and power of man.
Energy spent in the performance of swadharma is never too
much. Pour all your energy into it and then the restlessness,
which is a distinctive characteristic of rajas, will
disappear. The sting of fickleness will be broken. This is the
way to conquer rajas.
80. Sattva And The Method To Deal With It
- What now remains is sattva.
One must be very careful in dealing with it. How can one detach
the Self from sattva? It is a matter for subtle
thinking. Sattva is not to be completely destroyed.
Rajas and tamas are to be completely rooted out; but
the matter is different with sattva. If a big mob is
gathered at a place and it is to be dispersed, the police are
ordered to shoot below the waist, so the people are not killed,
but they do get wounded. Sattva is also to be wounded; it
is not to be killed. After the disappearance of rajas and
tamas, pure sattva remains. So long as the body is
there, one must be in some mode or the other. What then does
detachment from sattva mean?
When we have sattva, we become
proud of it. This drags down the Self from its true nature. If we
want bright light from a lantern, the soot deposit inside its glass
cover has to be wiped off; but this is not sufficient. The dust on
the outer surface of the glass cover has also to be removed. In the
same way, the soot of tamas has to be wiped off and then the
dust of rajas should also be removed, so that the radiance of
the Self could spread. Then only the clean glass of pure sattva
remains between the light and us. Does removing sattva
mean breaking this glass? No. The lantern will then become useless.
It needs glass. Therefore, instead of breaking the glass, one should
fix a piece of paper on the glass so that we can have the light but
avoid its glare. Conquering sattva means elimination of pride
about and attachment to sattva. We should make use of
sattva, but that has to be done with care and skill. Sattva
should be freed from pride.
- How to overcome the pride that 'I have sattva in
me’? There is a way. Sattva should be imbibed through
constant practice, so that it becomes our second nature.
Continuous performance of sattvik actions withers away
the pride about it. Through such actions, sattva becomes
an integral part of our being. It should not remain a guest; it
should rather become a member of the family. We feel proud of
things that we do once in a while. We sleep daily, but do not
consider it something special and do not talk about it. But if a
patient has no sleep for days, and then sleeps for a while, he
would tell everybody about it. An even better example would be
that of our breathing. We breathe for twenty four hours a day,
but never talk about it or brag about it. A piece of straw may
be carried along the stream of a river for miles; it will not
brag about it. But swimming a few feet against the current will
make one extremely proud of it. In short, one does not feel
proud of something when it is natural.
- We feel proud when some good
action gets done through our hands. Why? Because it has not
happened in the routine course. When a child does something
good, the mother pats it on the back; otherwise the child is
familiar with the mother’s scolding only! When in the thick
darkness of night there is only one firefly, look how proudly it
shows itself off! It does not display its light steadily all
the time. It twinkles and stops and twinkles again. That intermittent light fascinates us. A steady light does not
attract us. Unbroken continuity makes a thing appear natural.
One does not feel that there is anything special about it.
Likewise, if our actions become sattvik, sattva
will become part of our nature. A lion is not proud of its
prowess; it is not even conscious of it. Sattvik attitude
should thus become so natural that one is no longer conscious of
it. Giving light is natural to the sun. It takes no pride in it.
In fact, for it, to exist means to give light. A sattvik
man should attain the same state. Sattva should be deeply
ingrained in him; it should pervade every pore of his being.
Then he would not feel proud of it. This is one of the ways for
subduing and overcoming sattva.
- Another way is to give up
attachment even to sattva. Pride and attachment are two
distinct things. This is a subtle thought which can be
understood more readily by means of illustrations. The pride of
sattva may disappear, but attachment to it may remain.
Take, for example, breathing. One does not feel proud about it,
but attachment to it is very much there. We cannot stop
breathing even for a few minutes. It goes on though there is no
sense of achievement. Socrates was snub-nosed and people
used to make fun of it. But the witty Socrates would say,
"In fact, it is my nose
which is beautiful as wide nostrils take in more air."
The point is that one feels attachment to sattva. Take, for
example, compassion for all creatures. It is a good quality, but we
should be able to keep away from attachment to it. We should have
compassion, but no attachment to it.
The saints can guide others because
they possess sattva. Their compassion attracts people to
them so much so that the whole world showers love on them. As love
has reached its zenith in them, they receive love from the whole
universe. They give up attachment to their bodies, but the whole
world gets attached to them. It cares for them. But the saints
should give up this attachment too; they should get free from this
bondage also. They should separate the Self from this love and
adoration, which is their great reward. They must not feel that they
are somewhat special or exceptional. Sattva should thus be
- Thus, first pride about sattva
should be conquered and then attachment. Pride can be
conquered through constant practice of sattvik actions.
To conquer attachment, one should work without desire for fruit
and dedicate to the Lord the fruit that is received because of
sattva. When sattva is fully assimilated in life,
the fruit of sattvik actions appears before us in the
form of supernatural powers or fame. But that should also be
regarded as worthless. A tree never eats its own fruit,
howsoever attractive and delicious it may be. Renunciation is
sweeter than enjoyment.
- Dharmaraj rejected the ultimate
fruit of all the merits acquired in life: the enjoyment of
pleasures in heaven. That was the crowning finale to his
sacrifices. He was entitled to enjoy that sweet fruit. But had
he enjoyed it, it would have been consumed.
पुण्यें मृत्युलाकास येती.’ ('Enjoyment of the heavenly pleasures consumes the merits and one has then
to take birth again on the earth.')
He would have again got caught in the cycle of births and
deaths. Dharmaraj’s great sacrifice always stands before my
eyes. How great it was! Thus, pride about Sattva is to
be vanquished by ceaseless performance of sattvik actions
and then attachment to it should be conquered by remaining
detached from the fruit of actions and dedicating it to the Lord.
81. The Concluding Point: Self-Realisation And Refuge In Bhakti
- Now, to conclude, one last point.
Even if you have imbibed sattva, vanquished your ego and
given up attachment to the fruit of actions, you shall continue
to be vulnerable to the onslaught of rajas and tamas
from time to time, so long as you are saddled with the body.
You may for a while think that you have conquered rajas
and tamas, but they will return again and again with a
vengeance. You must, therefore, be ever alert. As the sea-waves
rush in and make inroads into the land, the waves of rajas
and tamas dash against the mind and make inroads into
it. They should never be allowed to do so. Vigilance should not
slacken even for a moment. And it must also be borne in mind
that danger continues to lurk in the background despite all the
vigilance so long as there is no Self-knowledge, no Self-realisation.
You must, therefore, attain Self-realisation at all costs.
- This is not possible through mere
vigilance. Then how could Self-knowledge be attained? Will
constant practice be sufficient? No. There is only one way, and
that is bhakti with all the earnestness and love. You may
conquer rajas and tamas, become steadfast in
sattva and make renunciation of the fruit a habit, but still
this is not enough to attain Self-knowledge; and there is no
redemption without Self-knowledge. The grace of the Lord is
essential for this purpose. Through loving devotion, we should
make ourselves worthy of it. I see no other way. Arjuna asks the
same question at the end of this Chapter and the Lord answers,
"Be devoted to Me with
mind absolutely one-pointed and without any desire for reward.
Serve Me. He who serves Me thus can cross the maya.
Otherwise this mysterious maya is hard to cross.” This is
the easy method of bhakti. This is the only way.
- Please see footnote in Chapter 2.13
- Please refer footnote in Chapter 1.8. The system pf
chaturvarnya has been under fire from different quarters for
being iniquitous. Vinoba too held that as it has been
distorted because of hierarchical stratification, it has become
irrelevant. However, he looked to it as a social
arrangement which avoids unnecessary competition and is,
therefore, conducive to peace and order in the society. He
held that all the varnas or occupations should have equal
social and spiritual status and should earn equal remuneration.
He also believed that all should have the good qualities
irrespective of their varna or occupation. It must
also be pointed out that although Vinoba spoke of
chaturvarnya in appreciative terms at times, referring to
the basic idea underlying that system, he was against the caste
system. He believed that it has nothing to do with the
chaturvarnya and called it a blot on Hinduism.
- This was the expectation of life at the time of these talks.
Now it is well over 50. However, this does not affect the essence of the argument.