Gita–An antidote for life in Kali
Contd from previous issue
Maya is derived from the root, ma, to form, to build, and originally meant the capacity to produce forms. The creative power by which God fashions the universe is called yoga-maya. Krishna said, “He in Reality, is birthless, He comes to birth by His own power of yoga.”
Maya is sometimes said to be the source of delusion (moha) due to threefold modes of nature (guna). This whole world does not recognize Me Who am above them and imperishable. (Bg 7.13). God’s real being is veiled by the play of prakriti and its modes. The world is said to be deceptive because God hides Himself behind His creation. But the world is not a deception. Unfortunately man is inclined to turn towards the objects of the world instead of directing his mind to the Creator. The glamour of the world casts its spell on us and we become slaves to its prizes. But the world is full of sufferings. Krishna said, “This divine maya of Mine is hard to overcome.” Therefore, we fail to understand what is behind the universe and its activities. “But those who have surrendered to the Lord can easily cross beyond this world full of divine energy of Mine. (Bg 7.14)
Maya which does not produce ignorance (avidya) is said to be sattviki maya, when it is polluted, it breeds ignorance or avidya.
The Individual Self : Lord Krishna’s purpose of the world is the achievement of the Divine life through the intellectual consciousness. The indwelling God is the inner light and the concealed witness. When the ego is completely harmonized by God, the individual soul ascends into spiritual existence and until that it travels birth after birth. The matter, life and mind are in us as well as in the world. The individual soul leads to the emergence of the individual self.
Arjuna, in the opening scene, faces the world of nature and society and feels utterly alone. He is unaware of his individual action as a Kshatriya required to fight. Most of us as individual selves do not feel that submission is the way of overcoming loneliness and anxiety. By developing our inner spiritual nature, we then become aware of ourselves as active creative individuals. The individual self is a portion of the Lord. “The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts”. (Bg 15.7) The individual self (soul) draws its divine intellect from the Supreme Self. No individual is quite like his fellow. The soul’s expression in life is effected by virtue of its vision of the Divine Who is its father. It realizes the true nature of the self through the development of proper understanding, i.e., the proper functioning of buddhi (intelligence) or vijnana. The integral life is created by the Spirit. The dualism of soul and body is between spirit and nature. The Gita affirms that we can spiritualize body or nature and communicate another quality to it. After Krishna, the teacher describing the whole philosophy of life, Arjuna (disciple or student) was asked to choose what to do. (Bg 18.63) Thus, the whole teaching of the Bhagavad-gita is what a man to choose the good and realize it by conscious effort, however there may be many impediments to this freedom of choice.
Man is a complex multi-dimensional being having different elements of matter, life, consciousness, intelligence and the divine spark. Krishna told Uddhava, His disciple and friend that there are twenty eight different elements of creation in the self. God, the soul, the mahat-tattva, false ego, the five gross elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth), the ten senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, speech, hands, feet, genitals, anus), sound, touch, form, taste and smell (the five subtle objects of perception),the mind and three modes of nature (goodness, passion and ignorance). (SB 11.1-3)
Man becomes a slave to the mechanism of nature when he does not recognize his distinction from not-self. When we subdue our senses, the flame of spirit burns bright and clear like a lamp in a windless place. The self is controlled by intelligence and the light of consciousness is reflected, and then we rise above the play of nature (prakriti). We become no more helpless tools of nature. Every act of the self is a creative one. The ego, in its true self-confinement, is a distortion of the true subject. We should not become the victims of lust which is the enemy of man on earth. If man does not exercise his intellect will he is acting in a way contrary to his humanity. If he acts blindly according to his passions and impulses, then he is more like an animal than a man. Even if we control our passions and ignorance and are influenced by goodness, we are not entirely free. Because, goodness binds us quite as much as passion and ignorance. Only our desires for truth and virtue are nobler. We have to rise above ego and grow into the Supreme Self and make our individual being one with the Supreme. And then we are free from three modes of nature : goodness, passion and ignorance, and finally we are freed from the bondage of the world.
Yoga-Sastra : The Bhagavad-gita gives us not only a metaphysics (brahmavidya) but also a discipline (yogasastra). Yoga means binding one’s psychic powers, balancing and enhancing them. It helps us to narrow down our ego and reach to the transcendental personality or reach to its own innermost being.
(To be contd)