17. Programme For The Seeker

94. Disciplined Life Makes Mind Relaxed And Free

  1. Dear brothers, now we are gradually approaching the end of the Gita. In the Fifteenth Chapter, we viewed the complete philosophy of life. The Sixteenth Chapter was a sort of annexure to it. In the human mind, and in the society which is its image, a struggle between two types of tendencies, two ways of living or two types of human nature is continually going on. The Sixteenth Chapter teaches us to nurture and develop the divine nature. The Seventeenth Chapter is the second annexure. It can be said to contain karyakramyoga (yoga of daily programme). In this Chapter, the Gita has suggested a daily routine. This Chapter deals with the programme for the seeker.

  2. If we want our mind to feel relaxed and happy, we should have discipline in life. Our daily living should follow a well-thought out design. It is only when life proceeds within particular pre-set bounds in a disciplined way that the mind can be free. A river flows freely, but its flow is bound between the banks. If it were not so bound, the water would scatter in different directions and go waste. Let us keep the example of the jnani in our mind. The sun is the preceptor of the jnanis. The Lord has said in the Gita that he taught karmayoga first to the Sun, and Manu—the thinking man—learnt it from the Sun. The sun is free and independent. The secret of its freedom lies in its regularity. It is our everyday experience that if we regularly take a particular route, we are able to think while walking, without paying any attention to the road. But if we walk on different roads everyday, our attention would be focused on the road and our mind would not be free to think. Thus, discipline in life is a must to have a free and happy life.

  3. In this context, the Lord has suggested a programme in this Chapter. We are born with three institutions or orders. The Gita is suggesting here a programme whereby they can operate in an efficient manner to make life happy. The first of these is the body that wraps us. The vast world, the whole creation around us, of which we are a part, is the second one. The third one is the society into which we are born. It includes our parents, brothers and sisters and neighbours. Everyday we use these three and wear them out. The Gita wants us to endeavour continually to replenish what is lost through us, and thereby make our life fruitful. We should selflessly discharge our inborn duties towards these three orders.

These duties are to be discharged. But how?  Yajna (sacrifice), dana (charity) and tapas (penance and austerities), these three together comprise the scheme for the purpose. We are familiar with these terms, but we do not comprehend them clearly. If we could comprehend them and bring them into our lives, the body, the creation and the society, all would fulfill their purpose and our lives will also be free and happy.

95. Triple Endeavour For This Purpose

  1. Let us first see what yajna means. Everyday we make use of nature. If a hundred of us crowd together in one spot for a day, that will spoil the place, pollute the atmosphere, and thus harm nature. We should do something to recoup nature, to restore its balance. It is for this purpose that the institution of yajna was created. Yajna is intended to reimburse, to put back what we have taken from nature. We have been farming for thousands of years and eroding the fertility of the soil thereby. Yajna says, Return to the soil its fertility. Plough it. Let it absorb heat from the sun. Manure it.  To make good the loss is one of the purposes of the yajna. Another purpose is to purify the things we use. We use a well and make the place all round it dirty and slushy. The harm thus caused should be undone; so we should clean the surroundings. Production of something new is also an aspect of yajna. We wear clothes; so we should spin regularly to produce them. Growing cotton or food grains, spinning—all these are forms of yajna. Whatever we do as yajna should not have any selfish motive behind it; it should rather be done with a sense of duty to compensate the loss we have caused. There is no altruism in it; it is the repayment of what we already owe. In fact, we are born with a debt. What we produce for repayment of that debt is a form of service; we are not obliging anybody thereby. We use so many things in the world around us. Yajna should be done for their replenishment and purification as well as for new production.

  2. Human society is the second institution. Our parents, teachers, friends—all of them toil for us. Dana has been prescribed to discharge our debt to society. Dana too is no altruism. We are already highly obliged to society. We were totally defenceless and weak when we were born. It is the society that looked after us and brought us up. We should therefore serve it. When we serve others without taking anything in return, that is altruism; but we have already taken much from society. The service that is rendered to repay that debt is dana. Dana means contributing to the progress of mankind. While yajna means working for the replenishment of nature’s loss, repayment of the debt to society through exerting oneself physically or through money or some other means is dana.

  3. The third institution is the body. It too gets worn out daily by our use. We daily use mind, intellect and organs. Tapas has been prescribed for removing the defects and distortions that arise in the body and purifying it.

  4. Thus it is our duty to act in such a way that these  three institutions—nature, society and the body—function smoothly and efficiently. We create a number of good or bad institutions, but these three have not been created by us. They have already been given to us. They are natural, not man-made. It is our natural duty to replenish through yajna, dana and tapas the wear and tear in these three orders. If we follow this, all our energy will be harnessed for this purpose. No strength will be left for anything else. All our strength would be consumed for the sake of these three institutions. If we could say like Kabir, O Lord!  I am returning this shawl given by you without soiling it!1, that would be a matter of fulfillment for us.  But for this, the triple programme of yajna-dana-tapas must be followed.

Here we have regarded yajna, dana and tapas as if they were different entities; but in fact, they are not really different. Nature, society and the body are not completely distinct entities. Society is not something outside nature, nor is the body outside it. Therefore, productive labour (yajna), dana, tapas—all these can be called yajna in a broad sense. It is in this spirit that the Gita has referred to dravyayajna (sacrifice with material gifts) and tapoyajna (sacrifice with austerities) in the Fourth Chapter. The Gita has broadened the meaning of yajna.

Whatever service we render to these three institutions is bound to be a form of yajna. But it is also necessary that this service should be without any desire or expectation for reward. In fact, there can be no room whatsoever for expecting any fruit of our actions, as we have already received much from these institutions. We are already burdened with debt. What we have to do is to return what we have already taken. Nature attains a state of harmony and equilibrium through yajna, society attains such a state through dana, and tapas maintains equilibrium in the body. Yajna-dana-tapas is thus the triple programme for preserving balance and order in these three institutions. It will lead to purification and elimination of pollution.

  1. To enable us to serve in this manner, we have to consume something. That too is a part of yajna. The Gita calls it aahaara (food). Just as an engine needs fuel, body needs food. The food is not yajna in itself, but it is necessary for the successful performance of yajna. That is why we say before starting the meals, उदरभरण नोहे जाणिजे यज्ञकर्म(This is not for filling the belly; it is an act of yajna.) Just as offering flowers to the Lord is worship, toiling in the garden to produce the flowers is also worship. Anything done for the performance of yajna is a form of worship. The body can be useful to us only when it is given food. Whatever is done for the sake of yajna is a kind of yajna itself. The Gita calls such actions sacrificial acts (actions for the sake of yajna). Whatever is offered to the body to enable it to be ever-ready for service is a kind of sacrificial offering; it is a form of yajna. The food taken for the sake of service is indeed sacred.

  2. Again, all these things should have faith at their foundation. One should always have in mind the idea that all service is to be ultimately dedicated to God. This is extremely important. Life cannot be full of service if such a spirit is not there. Dedication to the Lord is the key that must never be overlooked.

96. Making Sadhana Sattvik

  1. But, when could we dedicate our actions to the Lord?  Only when they become sattvik. Yajna-dana-tapas—all must be sattvik. In the Fourteenth Chapter, we saw the principle of making our actions sattvik. In this Chapter, the Gita tells us how that principle is to be applied.

  2. The Gita is doing this with a dual purpose. The service that is being outwardly rendered to the world in the form of yajna-dana-tapas should inwardly become spiritual sadhana. Service of the world and spiritual sadhana should not need two different courses of action. They, in fact, are not two different things. For both, the efforts made, the actions performed are the same. Such actions are to be dedicated to the Lord in the end. The yoga that combines service, spiritual discipline and dedication to the Lord should be realised by a single activity.

  3. Two things are necessary to make yajna sattvik. There should not be any desire for the fruit, but the actions must result in some fruit. If there is desire for the fruit, yajna will be rajasik; if it is fruitless, it will be tamasik.

Spinning is a yajna. But if you do not pour your soul into it, if there is no concentration of the mind, spinning will be a lifeless and mechanical work. If there is no cooperation from the mind, the work will not be methodical and scientific. Unscientific work becomes lifeless. Tamas creeps into such work. Such work cannot create something excellent. It cannot yield any fruit. Yajna should be desireless, but it must yield the best possible fruit. If the mind is not in the work, if you have not poured your heart and soul in it, it becomes a burden. How can it then yield the best fruit?  If outward work gets spoilt, it is a sure indication of the lack of cooperation from the mind. Therefore, take to work from the bottom of your heart, and have cooperation from your mind. We must work for the best possible returns to repay the debt due to creation. Cooperation from the mind is the systematic way to ensure that the work does yield some fruit.

  1. In this way, when desirelessness gets ingrained in the mind and systematic and fruitful actions begin to take place, only then the purification of mind will ensue. What is the test for the purification of mind?  We should examine our outward actions for this purpose. If they are not pure and well-done, we may take it that the mind too is impure. When does the work become beautiful?  When we work with a pure heart and devote all our energy to it, the Lord, pleased with it, puts His seal of appreciation and approval on it. Beauty manifests in the work at the touch of the happy and satisfied Lord. It is the divine grace showered on pure and sacred efforts. A sculptor, absorbed in carving, feels that the beautiful image that is taking shape is not his creation; beauty somehow manifests itself in the image at the last moment. Can divine art manifest itself unless there is purity in the mind?  We pour the beauty and purity in our hearts in the Lords idol, and that makes the idol holy. The idol is but an image of our mind in the concrete form. All our actions are images of our mind. If the mind is pure, actions too will turn out to be beautiful. We should judge the purity of outward actions by the purity of mind and the purity of mind by the purity of outward actions.

  2. In this connection, one more important point is not to be missed. It is that all the actions should be charged with mantra—with the spirit, with the understanding of their true purport. Actions without mantra are meaningless. While spinning, one should always have the feeling of establishing a bond with the poor. If we spin for hours on end, but without this mantra in our heart, it is all wasted. It would not then purify the heart. Look at the action of spinning as the revelation of the Lord hidden in the sliver; then that action will become sattvik and beautiful. It will become a kind of worship; a sort of sacrificial service. Then that thin yarn will link you to the society, to the people, to the Lord. Yashoda saw the whole universe in the mouth of child Krishna.2 You too will see the universe in the thin yarn when it is charged with mantra.

97. Purity In Food

  1. To enable us to render such a true service, we must be vigilant about aahaara (diet). The state of our mind depends on our diet. We should take food in regulated and measured quantity. How much we eat is more important than what we eat. It does matter what food we choose to eat, but it matters even more that it is in the right measure.

  2. Whatever we eat is bound to have its effect. Why do we eat?  To enable us to render the best possible service. Eating too is a part of yajna. We should eat because it is necessary to make yajna of service yield fruit. Look at the food with this feeling. Food should be clean and pure. There is no limit to an individual’s efforts for making his diet pure and sattvik. Our society too has made strenuous efforts for the same. Indian society made extensive experiments in this regard for thousands of years. It is difficult to imagine the hardships and austerities involved in those experiments. India is the only country in the world where a large number of communities have completely abjured meat-eating. Even non-vegetarian communities do not have meat as a main and regular item in their diet. Non-vegetarians too feel that it is unbecoming to eat meat; they too have renounced it mentally. Yajna was introduced to discourage meat-eating and it was to fulfill this very purpose that it was later abandoned. Lord Krishna changed the very meaning of the word yajna’. He impressed upon the people the value and importance of milk. Krishna did a lot of extraordinary things, but in which form do the Indian people adore Him most?  It is Gopalkrishna—Krishna the cowherd—that Indian people adore most. Gopalkrishna, with a cow by His side and flute on His lips, is the most familiar image for Indians. The great benefit of learning to cherish the cow was that people gave up meat-eating. Cow’s milk came to be greatly valued and the prevalence of meat-eating was reduced.

  3. Still it cannot be said that we have reached the limit of making our diet pure and sattvik. We need to advance further. Bengalis eat fish and many are surprised at it. But it is not right to condemn them on that account. They have nothing but rice in their diet. It does not provide enough nutrition to the body. We shall have to make experiments for finding equally nutritious vegetarian substitutes for fish. Individuals will certainly come forward for such experiments and make extraordinary sacrifices. Society progresses because of such individuals. The sun keeps burning brightly and that enables us to have a normal body temperature of 98o F. and remain alive. Only when individuals whose vairagya (non-attachment) burns brightly like the sun are born in the society, when they free themselves from the shackles of circumstances and vigorously pursue their ideal, then ordinary beings like us can have a little detachment necessary in worldly affairs. In this context, I often think of the penance and the sacrifices of the sages, some of whom must have even laid down their lives to end the practice of meat-eating prevalent at that time.

  4. 18. We have achieved this much; we have reached this point through the collective quest for making our diet pure and sattvik. We should not lose what our ancestors attained through untold sacrifices. We should not let go this achievement of Indian culture. It is not enough that we somehow manage to exist?  That is easy; even animals live likewise. Are we like them?  No, there is a difference. Cultural development lies in increasing this difference. Our country carried out the great experiment of abjuring meat. Let us continue it. At least we should not slip below what has already been achieved.

Such exhortation has become necessary as some of us have now begun to think that meat-eating is desirable. Today, the cultures of the East and the West are impinging on each other and affecting each other. I am confident that good will come out of it in the end. Our superstitious beliefs are crumbling under the impact of Western culture. There is no harm in it. What is good will endure, what is bad will disappear. But superstitious beliefs should not be replaced by an unbelief which is held equally blindly and uncritically. Just as we should not believe in anything blindly, we should not disbelieve in something blindly. It is not that only belief can be blind; unbelief too can be blind.

People have begun to think again about meat-eating. Whatever may be the reason, the appearance of a new idea delights me. It shows that the people are waking up. Indications of their wakefulness are reassuring. But if we begin to walk without being fully awake, we are likely to stumble and fall. We must not, therefore, hasten to change our habits in a hurry. We may go on thinking furiously from all the possible angles. Do subject dharma to the test of reason. If it does not stand the test, it is good for nothing. Whatever part of dharma fails to stand the test of reason should be discarded. The dharma which is so robust that the tools of reason themselves break down while dealing with it is the true dharma. In fact, a criterion for judging what is true dharma is that the tools of reason fail to cut it up. Dharma is not afraid of reason. One must never restrain thought; but one must not rush into action. Nothing should be done impatiently and impulsively until one is fully convinced of its rightness. One must have patience and restraint while acting. We should not give up the gains which are hard won.

98. The Gita’s Scheme For Harmonious Living

  1. Purity of food keeps the mind pure. It also strengthens the body. One can then serve the society properly. Both the individual and the society will then be happy. There will be no conflicts in the society wherein yajna-dana-tapas are going on in the right manner and are charged with mantra. Just as mirrors reflect the images in each other, happiness in the individual and in his society are reflected in each other. My happiness and the society’s happiness are not two distinct things. This can be tested, and on testing we shall find them to be one and the same. One will experience oneness (non-duality) everywhere. Duality and malice will disappear. The Gita is suggesting a scheme to have harmony and orderliness in society. How nice it would be if we could organise our daily life in accordance with the Gitas plan!

  2. But today, there is conflict between individual and social life. How to resolve this conflict?  This question is being discussed everywhere. What are the proper spheres of authority and action for the individual and the society?  Where is the boundary to be drawn?  Who should have pre-eminence amongst them?  Who is superior?  Some are protagonists of individualism; they regard society as an inert entity, whereas individuals are full of consciousness. A military commander would speak gently to an ordinary sepoy while dealing with him as an individual, but he will not mind ordering a battalion in the way he likes. The battalion is as if inert, like a wooden block which can be moved at will. Even here, while I am addressing a couple of hundred persons, I am saying whatever occurs to me, irrespective of whether you like it or not, as if you all are an inert mass. But when I have to deal with an individual, I have to listen to him patiently and give an answer after thoughtful consideration.

Thus there are some who expound that society is inert and only the individual is a conscious entity, while some others attach importance to society. I may lose my hair, my hand may be amputated, I may lose eyesight, even one of my lungs may cease to function, still I continue to live. Each organ, looked at separately, has no life of its own. If any one of the organs perishes, the whole does not perish. The body is a collective entity; it continues to live. This is the standpoint of the collectivists. These are the two approaches opposed to each other. Your inferences will depend on your point of view. What you see is coloured by the colour of your eyeglasses.

  1. Some give importance to the individual and some to the society. This is because the concept of struggle for existence’ has come to have a hold on our minds. But is life meant for struggle only? If it is so, why not prefer death?  Discord and strife is a recipe for death. It is because of this concept that we distinguish between self-interest and the supreme interest, that is, the good of all. What could we say of the man who invented the idea that self-interest and the supreme good have nothing to do with each other?  He could create the illusion of a difference where none existed!  It is indeed surprising that this non-existent distinction is being widely accepted. It is like erecting a wall like the Great Wall of China, setting bounds to the horizon and then imagining that nothing exists beyond those bounds. All this is due to the absence of yajna in life. Therein lies the genesis of the dichotomy between the individual and the society.

In reality, such dichotomy is unreal. Suppose a curtain is hung in a room, dividing it in two compartments. As the wind blows, sometimes one compartment appears larger and sometimes the other appears so. The sizes of the compartments are not fixed; they depend on the wind. The Gita has nothing to do with such imaginary divisions. It exhorts us to follow the dictates of the law of inner purification. Then no contradiction between the interests of the individual and those of the society would arise. Their respective interests would not then be opposed to each other. It is in ensuring this, in securing interests of all that the Gitas ingenuity lies. A single individual following the Gitas law could make a nation rise. A nation is made up of the individuals comprising it. How can a nation be called a nation if it does not have individuals having wisdom and character?  What gives India its distinctive character?  India means Rabindranath (Tagore), India means Gandhi, and a few such names. People know India as the land of such individuals. Take a few individuals in the ancient times, a few in the mediaeval period, a few in the recent period, add to them the Himalayas and the Ganga, and that makes India as it is. This is the definition of India. This definition can be elaborated further. Just as the quality of milk is judged by the fat content in it, the quality of a society is judged by the moral stature and worth of the individuals in it. There is no conflict between the interests of individuals and that of the society. How can there be a conflict?  In fact, there should be no conflict between different individuals as well. What does it matter if some are better off than others?  If nobody is destitute and the wealth of the rich is being utilized for the society, it should be okay. The money may be in my left pocket or in the right one, it is mine all the same. Individual and social life can be organised skillfully in such a way that whenever any individual prospers, everybody prospers, and the nation also prospers.

Still we erect walls of divisions. But if the head is separated from the body, both the head and the trunk will be lifeless. So do not imagine any division between the individual and society. The Gita is teaching how an action can be done in such a way that it is neither against the doer’s self-interest nor against the supreme good. There is no opposition between the air in my room and the air outside. If I imagine any opposition between them and shut the doors and windows of my room, I am bound to die of suffocation. If I do not assume such opposition between them and open the doors and the windows, the boundless air outside the room flows into it. The moment I imagine opposition between my interests and the society’s interests and cling to my house, my land etc., I deprive myself of the infinite wealth that lies beyond my and mine’. If this small house of mine is gutted by fire or collapses, I cry as if everything is lost. But why should I cry?  What is the point in making petty and narrow assumptions first and then crying?  When I say that a few rupees are mine, I deprive myself of the immeasurable wealth in the world. When I call a couple of individuals my brothers, I deprive myself of having brotherly relations with countless other individuals. But we are totally oblivious of this. How petty a man becomes!  In fact, self-interest of a man and the good of all should be identical. The Gita is showing a simple and beautiful way to have perfect cooperation between the individual and society.

  1. Take the matter of food. Is there any opposition between the mouth and the stomach, the two organs involved in eating?  Mouth should provide to the stomach only as much food as it really needs. It should not go on eating something just because it is tasty and delicious. The mouth should stop the moment the stomach signals it to do so. Both the stomach and the mouth are our organs. We are the master of both of them. There is perfect unity between their interests. Why do you create any wretched opposition?  The organs in the body are not opposed to each other; there is cooperation between them. This is true for the society as well. To promote cooperation within the society, the Gita is prescribing yajna-dana-tapas, to be performed with a pure heart. Such karma will lead to the welfare of both the individual and the society.

A man whose life is full of the spirit of yajna belongs to all. Just as every child feels that the mother loves him, everyone feels that such a person belongs to him. The whole world cherishes such a person. Ramdas has said, ऐसा पुरुष ता पहावा    जनांस वाटे हा असावा   (Everybody wants such a man in their midst.) The Gita teaches us how to live such a life.

99. The Mantra Of Dedication

  1. The Gita further says that after infusing life with the spirit of yajna, it should be totally dedicated to the Lord. It may be asked, What is the necessity of dedicating it to the Lord when it is already full of service?’  The point is that it is easy to say that life should be imbued with service, but it is far more difficult to achieve this. It can at best be achieved partially; and that too after many births. Moreover, the actions may be full of the spirit of service, and still they can lack the spirit of worship. Hence the actions should be dedicated to the Lord with the mantra ॐ तत् सत् (Om tat sat).

It is difficult for the acts of service to be fully saturated with the spirit of service. When we seek well-being of others, we satisfy our own interest too. There is no action which is purely in the interests of others. It is impossible to do anything that is free from even a trace of self-interest. We should, therefore, wish that our service should become more and more selfless and desireless. If there is a wish to do increasingly purer service, then you must dedicate all the actions to the Lord. Jnanadeva has said, नामामृत-गोडी वैष्णवां लाधली  ।  योगियां साधली जीवन-कळा. (Vaishnavas, i.e. bhaktas taste the nectar-like sweetness of the Name of the Lord, and the yogis have mastered the art of living.) Sweetness of the Name and the art of living are not two different things. Chanting the Name from within and mastering the art of living—these are in tune with each other. Bhakta and yogi are one and the same. When actions are dedicated to the Lord, self-interest, altruism and the supreme interest (i.e. the supreme good) will become one. I and you are now apart; they should first be united to form ‘we’, which should then be united with Him, i.e. with the Lord. Firstly, we should achieve harmony with the world and then with the Lord—that is what the mantra ॐ तत् सत् (Om tat sat) suggests.

  1. The Lord has countless Names. Vyasa compiled a thousand of them as the Vishnusahasranam (Thousand Names of Lord Vishnu). In fact, any Name that we can think of is His. Whatever Name appeals to us, we should take it to be one of His Names and should see the corresponding attribute present in the whole of creation and shape our life in accordance with it. To meditate over a Name, to see the corresponding attribute present in the whole of creation and to imbibe that attribute—I call it tripada Gayatri (three-stepped sacred mantra of deliverance). For example, if we take the Name dayamaya or Rahim (one full of mercy and compassion), that is, look upon the Lord as merciful and compassionate, we should envision the merciful and compassionate Lord pervading the entire creation. We should realise that He has given a mother to every child, He has given air for all to breathe. Thus, we should see that in the scheme of the merciful and compassionate Lord there are mercy and compassion, and then we should infuse mercy and compassion into our own lives. The Gita suggested the Name that was most prevalent in that age: ॐ तत् सत् (Om tat sat).

  2. (om) means yes. Yes, God does exist. He exists even in this twentieth century!  स एव अद्य स उ श्वः He exists today, He existed yesterday and He shall exist tomorrow. He is always there. The creation too is always there, and we too are ever-ready to continue our spiritual quest in all earnestness. We are the seekers and the worshippers, He is the Lord, and everything in the creation is a means for worship. When our whole being gets charged with this feeling, we may be said to have digested the meaning of (om). The spirit of (om) should permeate our mind and find expression in our sadhana. See the sun at any time. It is always there with its rays; never without them. In the same way, our sadhana should be clearly visible in our life to all at all the times. Only then it can be said that we have assimilated the spirit of (om).

Then comes सत् (sat). The Lord is sat; that is, He is good and auspicious. Look at the creation with this feeling and you will find His goodness and auspiciousness in it. When you remove a pitcherful of water from a river, a pit is not formed there; surrounding water rushes in immediately to fill the depression. What an expression of love and benignity!  A river abhors depressions in its bed. नदी वेगेन शुद्ध्यति । (The water of a river is clean and pure because it is flowing continuously and speedily.’) The river of creation is also getting purified continuously and speedily. That is why it is good and auspicious. Let our actions too be likewise. To understand the Lord as सत् (sat), all our actions should be full of purity and devotion. All our actions, our entire sadhana should be continually examined and progressively purified.

Then comes तत् (tat). Tat means that, something different, something unattached to the creation. The Lord is distinct from the creation and is unattached to it. As the sun rises, the lotuses bloom, the birds leave their nests, darkness disappears. But the sun is somewhere far off, quite aloof from all these outcomes. When our actions become detached and disinterested, we can be said to have digested tat.

  1. In this way, the Gita teaches us to dedicate all the actions to the Lord, using the Vedic Name ॐ तत् सत् (om tat sat). The idea of dedicating all the actions to the Lord had already been introduced in the Ninth Chapter. The verse यत्करोषि यदश्नासि3 tells the same thing. The same idea has been elaborated further in the Seventeenth chapter. This Chapter has particularly pointed out that the actions to be dedicated to the Lord must be sattvik, for only then they will be worthy of being offered to Him.

100. The Name Of The Lord Effaces Sins

  1. All this is very well. Still a question remains. A virtuous man may be able to digest the Name ॐ तत् सत्, but what about a sinner?  Is there any Name that a sinner too could take?  Yes, a sinner too can chant ॐ तत् सत्. All Names of the Lord can lead us from untruth to Truth, from sin to innocence. You must purify your life gradually. The Lord will then certainly help you. He will support you in your moments of weakness.

  2. If I am asked to choose between a virtuous, but egotistic life on the one hand and a sinful, but humble life on the other, I may falter in giving an unequivocal answer, but my heart would certainly exclaim, Let me have the sin which turns me towards the Lord!  If a virtuous life is going to make me forget Him, then let me rather have a sinful life that makes me think of Him. It is not that I am justifying a sinful life. But vanity about the purity of life is a greater sin. Tukaram has said, बहु भितों जाणपणा । आड न यो नारायणा   (Oh Lord!  I am afraid of being learned; let it not separate me from You.’) Let us not have such greatness. It is better to be a sinner and grieve. जाणतें लेकरूं माता लागे दूर धरूं  (A mother weans away from her a child who has grown up.)  But she would hold to her bosom her innocent child. I do not want to be virtuous and independent; rather let me be a sinner dependent on the Lord. His holiness is more than enough to wash off my sins. We should try to avoid sins; if we fail in our efforts, our heart will cry out for His help. He is always there, watching fondly. Tell Him, I am a sinner and that is why I have come to your door. A virtuous man has the right to think of the Lord and seek refuge in Him because he is virtuous; a sinner has the right to do so because he is a sinner.



  1. Here, reference to the famous poem of saint Kabir wherein he tells the Lord that the shawl (i.e. the body) given by the Lord is normally soiled by people, but he has used it with meticulous care and is returning it to Him (while bidding farewell to the world) in the same spotless (i.e. sinless) condition.

  2. Yashoda, the forster mother of Krishna, once suspected that the child had stealthily eater butter and asked him to open his mouth.  When Krishna did so, she saw the whole universe in it and realised that the child was not an ordinary one, but was the Lord Himself.

  3. 'Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as sacrifice or gift, whatever austerities you practice, dedicate all to Me.'—Gita 9.27