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Yoga as the Science of Inner Transformation Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Day 7: The Actor & The Action

60 min - Talk


We begin in meditation to tune into the mystery and become aware of our magical existence. In today's talk, Ravi transitions to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and the metaphor of the internal battle between our spiritual and animal nature, exploring dharma and sacrifice. We conclude with homework to reflect on who may be our Arjuna and who may be our Krishna.
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Nov 02, 2018
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Chapter 1

It is always a good idea to take a few moments in the beginning of meditation to find the right relaxation, physical relaxation and emotional relaxation. And to find the right alignment of the body as well as of the mind. And it is a great help if I can also connect with my breath, simply breathing in and breathing out, without manipulating the breath in any way. So much of our emotional energy is actually lost in worry or anxiety, of course not to speak about larger negative emotions such as anger or resentment. But even the more pervasive, milder anxieties and worries are like a dripping tap, every moment wasting emotional energy.

In meditation in particular, wishing to be a little free of all these negative emotions, the most important attitude that can help is to cultivate a sense of wonder. Wonder and worry cannot coexist, but wonder also is not quite in our control. We can move towards that a little if we begin to take more and more serious interest in something which is a great mystery and something that cannot in fact be solved by our mind. But it is important for our emotional life. So if I can keep returning to that mystery, it gradually can bring about a state of wonder.

And the mystery which is intimate to each one of us is really simply the great miracle of our own existence. Even a momentary reflection will indicate how absolutely miraculous it is that in this extremely large universe where we also have many very subtle and conscious energies, sometimes called angels or devas, that in this large universe for a few decades I should be alive in this body at this time on this planet. So if I can keep reminding myself of this absolute miraculous fact without artificially imposing anything, naturally a sense of gratitude comes with almost a sense of celebration. And it is a helpful reminder of the obvious fact that the fact that I am alive is clearly indicated by the fact that breathing is taking place. So I keep that as a background awareness that I am alive, that is the wonder.

And I remind myself that I am alive by the fact that breathing is taking place. And if my mind still wants to wander away, I can remind myself of many other movements going on in the organism indicating the fact that I am alive, heart is beating, blood is moving in my arteries and veins. And I remind myself that I am alive by the fact that I am alive by the fact that I am alive by the fact that I am alive by the fact that I am alive by the fact that I am alive by the fact that I am alive.

Chapter 2

If in the awareness of this miraculous fact of my own existence, ordinary mind begins to want to have this answer, that answer, I pay attention to my head as I am breathing as if I am clearing my head space with each breath that I take, especially as I have my out breath as if I use this like air clearing the space so that it's not the ordinary mind that can approach a mystery like this. And a simple reminder that although we ordinarily think that our breathing takes place through the air that we breathe in through our nostrils, remembering that breath or perhaps more helpful expression as chi or prana is a whole spectrum of subtle energies, then the whole of my organism is actually breathing, it's receiving vibrations and energies in and out.

It's not only the ordinary air that I breathe. And recalling the biological fact that the last opening to close after the birth of a baby is the opening at the top of the head, which closing brings a kind of a barrier between subtler worlds and our inner world. So now, intentionally as I breathe in, as if I am breathing through my skull, without tension, receiving subtle vibrations, presence or energy above my head. In the yoga literature, this is what is called as hastradhar chakra, above the organism, breathing in through the head. Now, we take three more breaths without forcing anything and then we'll stop.

Thank you. So far, we have largely been focusing on one really classical text of yoga, namely Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, but another text, which is also a classic of yoga, not speaking about one asana or the other, but yoga as whole science of transformation, that is the Bhagavad Gita. So I will now try to focus on that a little bit. It is my impression, not necessarily everybody would agree with this, that the Bhagavad Gita is very likely the most significant single text to emerge from India. And therefore, it is good to remember that it's not to come to some finished understanding of this, it would each time you come across any passages from that, it is likely to invoke a different impression, different feeling and a different kind of reflection.

Very quick sort of a background to this, Mahabharata, which is really a very great epic in India, is very large. In fact, sometimes people say it is more like a library rather than a book. A war or a battle has become inevitable for a variety of reasons, largely to do with the usual human hankering for more power, more wealth, more control. And the two sides are finally, in spite of the fact that some very good wise people have tried to prevent the war, but the war has become inevitable. So that is more or less, the Bhagavad Gita is one of the books in the Mahabharata.

And it actually opens as the battle is about to begin. But just before that, the two sides, their representatives, and I will just mention one because his name is mentioned again in the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna, who is a very skillful warrior. In fact, even his opponents, when they wish to praise a warrior, they would say, he's as good as Arjuna. And even right now, actually, the government of India has something called an Arjuna award. So it's very much a part of very deep impression in the culture.

So Arjuna is representing one side, and the other side is being represented by another person called Duryodhana, but we don't need to worry about his name so much. The two of them are going to visit all the neighboring kings to ask for their help in the battle, which is about to begin shortly. And so they also visit Krishna, who is at that time known by everybody to be a king in a rather small kingdom around the capital where the battle is going to take place. Very few people in the Mahabharata are aware of any real nature of Krishna. This should not come with any great surprise, just to remind you, even Christ's mother was not aware of his real nature.

And John the Baptist, whose whole function is said to be to announce the coming of Christ, when Christ comes towards him, he doesn't recognize him. So this is not surprising, until we know one's own true nature, we cannot know the true nature of anybody else. But there are a couple of quite wise people in the Mahabharata who are aware that Krishna is not just an ordinary king, that he's really something very extraordinary. But in any case, in general, that is not known. He's just a king in a minor kingdom.

So the two characters representing two different sides visit him, really asking for his help in the battle, as they're visiting every other king. So this is not particularly special. Krishna gives them a choice. One side can have all his armies with all their chariots, and elephants, and horses, and weapons, and the other side can have him alone. And furthermore, in this battle, he's not going to take up any weapons.

Not that he's not accustomed to using weapons, but in this battle, he's not going to take up any weapons. Now any, as you can well imagine, what a reasonable person would do. However, let me slightly jump ahead as something that we need to keep returning to this idea again and again, as far as I am aware. All the sages in India have interpreted this battle to be an internal battle. It is entirely possible that there was an external battle, and then a great writer takes that as the image, and then as it discusses the whole situation of life.

That is possible there was an external battle, but this is not necessary. Writer can imagine one. But all the sages have interpreted this as an internal battle, essentially between our spiritual nature and our animal nature. If we keep that in mind, then this choice acquires a slightly different meaning. Is the battle of my life is going to be won by more action, or by a clearer vision from which the action follows.

So what is the choice that Krishna is giving? A lot of action, a lot of destruction is possible with all the weapons and armies and horses and chariots, or the other side can have him alone. And if those who are even remotely aware of his real nature, which not many people are aware of this, but then what are they going to choose? In any case, Arjuna chooses Krishna, and Duryodhana is delighted about this, because he really wanted to choose the armies in any case. There are two different versions of the story.

One is in which Duryodhana actually had the first choice, and he chose the armies. The other is that Arjuna had the first choice, and he still chose Krishna. So whether Arjuna is stuck with him, or he actually chose him, in either case, that's the situation. Then of course, what role is Krishna going to play? So Krishna becomes the charioteer of Arjuna in the battle.

And this is where actually the Bhagavad Gita opens. Arjuna asks Krishna to take his chariot in the middle of the two armies, so he can survey who he has to fight. And many, of course, as you can well imagine, in the Indian culture, the whole of the Mahabharata is one of the very great epics. Many of these stories would be just known to people just growing up in India. And therefore, all kinds of paintings and sculptures of great armies gathered, et cetera, et cetera, you just go to, you can go on Google and get dozens of these dramatic paintings of the war battles gathered together, or the armies gathered together for that.

Now there, essentially, one thing I should mention here, it is very much a question of an internal struggle. But once a big metaphor or a major metaphor is chosen, then the metaphor has its own logic. As you well know, we have many other instances in which the journey of the soul is described as climbing a mountain. For example, Teresa of Avila has a whole book called Seven Storied Mountain, or it can be described as crossing an ocean. But once you choose a major metaphor, its own logic then imposes certain restrictions.

For example, if I choose the metaphor of mountain climbing, then we don't talk about boat paddles. It will be not quite logical. If I choose crossing the ocean, then we don't talk about ice peaks. So one needs to be clear that in this case, the major metaphor is that of a battle. Therefore the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is largely just describing the various kinds of chariots, various kinds of weapons, what kind of bugles they are playing, et cetera, et cetera.

So the teaching that is in the Bhagavad Gita happily applies to every other situation as much to somebody who is employed as a janitor cleaning the places or as a writer. In fact, I sometimes say, in this case periodically Krishna says, therefore fight if there is a writer who is having a writer's block, which I can assure you is very frequent. Because oh my goodness, everybody knows this. What's the point of writing this? After all great writers have written, why should I be bothering with it?

Many, many things that stand in the way of writing. Then Krishna would not say, therefore fight. He would say, therefore write. And the description of the first chapter will be a study full of various books or it will be a library. So basically the Bhagavad Gita, almost all of it will remain the same, except the difference will be in the first chapter where the whole metaphor is being developed in this case of the battle.

As I said, every sage in India has interpreted this as an internal struggle. But it is extremely important to recognize, in fact I may have said this in passing even earlier, that the transmission of culture from one generation to the next requires that all the subtle internal realities are externalized. If I'm going to say something to my four year old daughter, it is not so easy to convey to her that this is a dialogue or this is first of all a struggle between my spiritual nature and my external nature. So armies of good guys or bad guys, or even if they're not completely good and bad. In India, by the way, in general the struggle is almost never exclusively between good and evil.

It's always between either you could say good one and good two or evil one or evil two. They are, for example, both sides, the major heroes, have common grandfathers, common teachers, etc. So this is, every mythological story in India is like that. So it's never exclusively good and bad. And partly because internally we have both of these things in us, so that is, okay.

So therefore it is necessary to externalize these things. This is exactly where Krishna stood or Arjuna stood or this is where the armies were, etc. But so I will keep going back and forth. Externally it is easier to speak about these things. But keep this in mind that what we are speaking about really are internal, both struggle.

And then soon we will discover that there is actually the whole Bhagavad Gita is essentially really a dialogue. Dialogue is not strictly speaking in the right word here, although that's what they call it. Arjuna has a crisis and he's asking some questions, so Krishna is responding to those. But that also is interpreted by all the sages as two levels of our own self. Krishna representing our deepest self and Arjuna representing our usual worldly skillful warrior self.

And that also, as you can well imagine, how do you convey this to a young kid? And also the artist needs some way to paint something or to sculpt something. So therefore these things are externalized. We have very elaborate sculptures, very elaborate painting. In fact, the greatest sculpture of this is in Jakarta, in Indonesia.

This might interest you to know. Much larger than this whole building, twice the size of this whole building, and seven horses and Krishna and Arjuna on it. Indonesia was, as you can even know from the word, Indonesia, was very much influenced by Indian culture. In fact, Mahabharata stories are often told there. Your own previous president, Obama, who spent some time in Indonesia, actually has often remarked on it.

He surprised people in India when he visited there by telling them stories about Mahabharata. It was quite a surprise. So we come back to the opening of the battle. And now here, actually the very first verse, actually this shloka. Shloka is a form of it.

The whole Bhagavad Gita is a poem. Actually it actually means the song of the blessed one. That's the literal meaning of the word Bhagavad Gita. And the first shloka is actually uttered by the blind king, who, because he's blind, cannot go into the battle, but he's very interested in what is taking place. So temporarily for that occasion, one of his companions or one of his own charioteer has been given the power of clairvoyance and clairaudience.

Sanjay is his name, who can see at a distance, here at a distance. So the whole Bhagavad Gita is actually being told by Sanjay to this blind king, who can hear what Krishna is saying, what Arjuna is saying, and he can see at a distance what is taking place. So now if you look at it internally, each one of us is blind to our own kingdom, occasionally we hear voices, and we wonder what is going on in the struggle of my life. So as I said, it's easier to speak externally with external language, but I keep reminding you that all the sages in India have interpreted this internally. So we shouldn't completely get away from it, but it's much easier, linguistically, to speak externally.

So it's a blind king who is asking his charioteer what is taking place. Now the reason I mention that because of the very first word in the Bhagavad Gita is dharma. This is what the blind king asks him, dharma kshetri, kuru kshetri, samaveta, jayutsava, mamaka, pandavas, shiva, kimkurvata, sanjaya, oh sanjaya, in this field of dharma and in the field of action where my sons and my brother's sons were gathered to fight, their cousins. What did they do? That's the question.

But the reason I am more emphasizing it is really for the word dharma. Because Arjuna, when he sees the armies he has to fight, on the opposite side, he sees his own cousins, for example, his own grandfather, his own teacher, and he has a crisis of dharma. This is exactly what he says a little later, he says, my mind is bewildered about dharma. Dharma samurha chaitasa is the Sanskrit way of saying it but dharma is the important word. And in his case, he then turns to Krishna for advice.

What I want to first of all say here is what is dharma? Dharma has many many meanings and it is almost impossible to find one English word as the proper translation for that. And therefore we will keep that word but nevertheless one tries to say in English more or less what it means. It can mean duty, responsibility, obligation, it can also mean support. For example, its root is the same as the word for the earth, dharti.

So it's a support of the cosmos. Actually the Rig Veda explicitly says that. It can also mean law, what are the natural laws? It can also mean justice. It can also mean teaching, for example, Buddhism, what in English we call Buddhism, in Sanskrit it is called baddha dharma, dharma of the Buddha, teaching of the Buddha.

And it can also mean essential nature, for example, dharma of a serpent is to spread poison. So you see the various meanings the word dharma has. I should by the way mention here that there are three words which I'll be using here. Dharma is one of them, yoga is another one and yoga is another one. You can hardly really understand anything in the Indian tradition, certainly nothing in the Bhagavad Gita without being clear about these three words.

So it's not just pedantic to spend a little time reflecting on these three words. So dharma has all of these meanings occasionally and in my personal judgment rather wrongly it gets translated as religion, especially in the philosophical literature for somehow it got started as being translated as religion, because the motto of the Theosophical Society initially was in Sanskrit, nasti satyopara dharma, there is no dharma greater than truth, but that dharma there is translated, there is no religion greater than truth. That's the motto of the Theosophical Society. I have actually raised this question with, particularly with Radha Bhadia, who was the international president, was also a scholar of Sanskrit herself actually, I said this is completely wrong translation. She says in English it sounds okay, there is no religion greater than truth, which is actually true.

Because the word religion, obviously arising in English, is very much influenced by the understanding of the Abrahamic tradition, what religion is. That is not what corresponds to dharma at all. If one really had to have a sense with word for religion, the closest word would be yoga. Religion comes from really guio, reunite. Yoga also has much of that meaning.

Actually I published a paper exactly on this in 1977 or 78, trying to point out that dharma is completely the wrong translation of, or religion is the wrong translation of this. But in any case, we need to come back to the word dharma, and Arjuna then has a crisis of dharma. Because to kill one's own teachers or one's own relatives, he says is against family dharma and against social dharma. So therefore he actually says that he will not fight even if they kill me. So he gives up his bow and arrow, sits down, but he turns to Krishna.

Now one could therefore say that in this bewilderment, in this crisis, he turns to his own deepest self to see what is required. Essentially one could say that the response of Krishna is that dharma means, as the implication of dharma is what is the right action in any situation. And Krishna's response can be more or less summarized by saying that no action can be right until the actor is right, which is where the whole question of transformation is obviously relevant, that what is required is first of all Arjuna, and therefore by implication each one of us to be transformed to being the right actor, then we can undertake the right action. And there is also another implication of Krishna's teaching, which is if the actor is right, whatever he or she does is right. Now you see this kind of teaching, all serious teachings are potentially dangerous.

I can claim to be the right actor, Christ is speaking to me or God is speaking to me. This is what all our jihaddis do. They're all very fundamentally religious. So it is extremely important to realize that none of the scriptures can actually have meaning at the just ordinary kind of person, because they're all calling for a radical transformation of being. That doesn't mean that even at the ordinary level we can't be inspired by them, but there one has to constantly keep coming back to this actually a remarkable caution by Christ, by their fruits he shall know them.

This is a remark of Christ in one of the Gospels. But if we forget this, anybody can claim to be inspired by God. So this is actually in fact the root of all religious troubles is precisely there. Everybody each side claims to have a special direct order from God, their own understanding of God. But I am reminding you that all serious teachings are potentially dangerous, because you read so much of warfare going on in the Old Testament or in the Quran, this and that.

All this is not intended to be an external warfare, but that's what it will always end up being. So keeping that in mind, first of all, a reminder, something I said some time ago that is actually at the heart of the whole of the teaching in the entire Indian tradition, that the aim is to become Brahma or in the context of the Bhagavad Gita, one would say to become Krishna. Krishna repeatedly says or calls Arjuna to come to his own level of being. The Sanskrit is what is Madbha, my level of being. Krishna repeatedly uses this expression.

But then one has a larger vision. And then Krishna actually points out that there are many levels of Dharma. For example, if first of all, we choose maybe one phrase rather than one word that will more or less indicate what Dharma is, Dharma is responsibility for maintaining order. But you see, this is not one word translation, but I think it can be helpful as a general phrase to keep in mind. But then if I actually accept that, then I realize I'm responsible for maintaining order in myself, in the family, in the society, on the planet.

And if I were, of course, a large being like the Buddha or Christ or Krishna, then I'm responsible even cosmologically, but that's very high. So let's stay up to the level of the planet. Because each one of us sometimes wishes to maintain some order on the planet. And then Krishna's suggestion is that a higher level Dharma may interfere with what one understands is a lower level Dharma. We'll take examples of this in a moment.

I want to point out here that we should not imagine that this is only Arjuna's problem, this conflict of Dharma. Actually practically every day, each one of us encounters some issue. We may not call it conflict of Dharma, but let me therefore take one or two examples. Considering I'm CEO of a company, naturally it's part of my shareholder Dharma to increase the value of the shares for the company. But I discover that my company is producing things which are harmful for the planet.

I'm also responsible for maintaining order on the planet. What do I do? Don't think that this is just a made up example. There are several examples of this kind these very days. So sometimes they want to use other material which raises the price of the share and then the company goes down, etc.

Problems arise. Sometimes the CEO gets fired because he's taking an action which the shareholders think is bad for their share value. So the CEO has to make a serious decision here. What is he going to do? In fact, one can take very ordinary examples whenever we have any choice.

What are we saying? Should I be doing this or should I be doing that? Then to take really, this is a very almost grand example, Christ saying, after all he's not eager to die, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Just to remind you, he could have easily fled Jerusalem. Actually everybody would have been happier about that because the council which condemned him, they were happy if he just goes away.

Nobody is stopping him from leaving town. You read any of the gospels. So that would have been the easiest solution. But then, as he said, but not my will, but thine be done. And that crucifixion, maybe later on I'll have time to come back to this, sacrifice is necessary for the maintenance of order.

I'll return to this in a few minutes because this is part of the teaching also. But very simple examples one can take that I can do this or I can do that and that can lead to a conflict. Now I know the word choice these days has become something I am so free I can choose to do X or Y or Z. It may be useful for me to remind you of a remark of Krishnamurti actually. As long as you have a choice, you are not free.

We generally understand it completely in the opposite way because for him and for any of the sages, the Buddha had no choice, Christ had no choice, we forget this. They do what is necessary to do because they see what needs to be done. For Krishnamurti to have a choice means your perception is not clear. You don't know what is required. That's why you have a choice.

So for him, it's a very important sentence actually. Initially when I first read it, I was very surprised. As long as you have a choice, you're not free. Because for him, freedom means you know exactly what needs to be done and you do it. As I just finished saying, you look at any of the great sages, they don't have any choice, they do what needs to be done.

If you are a serious student, do you have a choice about the examination? You prepare, you do your best. So if you say, well, I have a choice whether I'm going to study this or not, sure, you could flunk. So understand the word choice a little differently than our usual usage of that phrase. To have a choice really means a lack of clarity, exact clarity of perception of what needs to be done.

So Krishna is saying that if you become clear what needs to be done, that's what you do. Even though some of it then, as it were, contradicts lower level dharma. In fact, in the Mahabharata itself, there is a dialogue. This is not in the Bhagavad Gita in which Krishna is actually asking one of these wise person who is quite aware of Krishna's nature, real nature, Bhishma is his name. By the way, here maybe I should just quickly make this footnote kind of a remark.

There are two people in the whole Mahabharata who are bringing the spiritual teaching, Krishna and Bhishma. Both of them are of so-called warrior caste. And the person who is the chief teacher of weaponry is of the Brahman caste. So don't get so attached to this caste business. Certainly in the Mahabharata, Bhishma and Krishna are both of the warrior caste and their teachings are the spiritual teachings.

So Bhishma is quite aware of Krishna's real nature. So he asks Krishna, why don't you stop this battle? And Krishna says, this is a battle of dharma, what do you think? Is it more important to preserve dharma or to preserve a family? Serious.

So stakes are very high. But keep in mind it's really an internal struggle and therefore external metaphors has to be exaggerated almost to make the point more again and again. So coming back then to Krishna's remark that unless the actor is right, no action can be right. So to become the right actor, he needs to undergo a radical transformation and that is what yoga is for. So otherwise this is a text, the whole of the Mahabharata is regarded as a dharma text.

And in fact, Krishna himself, as I just finished saying, the first word is dharma and at the end is almost the last remark of Krishna. He asks Arjuna, have you listened to our dialogue about dharma carefully? So it's really in a way a dialogue about dharma, but dharma meaning what is the right action. But in order to do the right action, he's required to become the right actor and therefore it becomes a classic of yoga. So yoga and dharma are very intimately related with each other.

Right action and the right actor. But then another thing that Krishna says, first of all, as I just finished saying, it becomes a classic of yoga because then Krishna teaches many different forms of yoga. But always to keep in mind, this is not so obviously striking in the case of Patanjali Yoga Sutras, that this is a whole teaching of struggle in life. And in a certain way, it can therefore be probably much more relevant to our ongoing daily life situation if we actually struggle with it and try to understand what Krishna is teaching. Many different forms of yoga.

Just as a quick reminder, for example, the word love does not occur even once in Patanjali Yoga Sutras. Whereas Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita ultimately comes very much to Bhakti Yoga, which is the yoga of love and dedication. I'll return to this later. So there are many differences, many common things as well, actually, because when Krishna speaks about what is called Dhyani Yoga or the yoga of meditation, he is essentially more or less summarizing the yoga sutras, Patanjali. Very much emphasis on Abhyas and Vairagya, the two words that I used the other day.

But the other remark here, which is very important, is Krishna says that yoga cannot be accomplished without Yajja. Now this word Yajja, it's actually Y-A-J-N with an umlaut on top of that and a Yajja, some people pronounce it, but in North India, especially, it's pronounced as Yajja. Yajja is almost always translated as sacrifice, which is why I said earlier also that sacrifice is actually at the core of all spiritual teachings. But the contemporary usage of the English word sacrifice has lost some very important feature in it, which is relationship with a level subtler than myself. Literally, etymologically, the word sacrifice comes from two Latin words, sake, fakaya, to make sacred.

That's the root of it. And for something to be sacred requires some connection with a level subtler than one's usual level. So whether we call it devas or angels or just more consciousness or greater being, these are different ways of trying to express this idea. That very strong suggestion, in fact in all the teachings, but I will now just stay with this word Yajja, that unless a subtler level is involved, which is also within me, then my yoga cannot be accomplished. So it is not a matter of just me deciding, okay, I'm going to practice yoga, unless something deeper in me accords with it, subscribes to it and helps.

So Yajja or Yajja, if you like, is very much a reciprocal assistance from two sides. Krishna explicitly says in the Bhagavad Gita, this is in the third chapter, that the devas nourish you through Yajja, you must nourish the devas through Yajja. But now Yajja has become in the culture, in India generally, as just an external ritual. Just again to remind you, in the Rig Veda, the very first deva is fire, Agni. Then that Agni, to be understood internally, is the fire of inspiration, fire of effort.

Then it can take us to higher devas, higher levels. Think of devas as a level, higher levels. So Krishna's remark then, that yoga, strictly speaking, cannot be accomplished without Yajja. Therefore, it's not only sacrifice, it is sacrificing my attachment to my usual level. If I keep imagining that I can control everything, then I'm not allowing anything else to intervene.

I actually raise this question often with my so-called religious friends. They all claim that there is God, but when do we make any room for this Mr. God to interfere, to intervene in our lives? This is actually a very important question to raise for each one of us. How do I make room for a subtler level in me to intervene, which may even mean that I need to shut up or sit down, not do something, wonder, meditate, relate with something deeper until it is clear? So whatever form it may take, but it's very important to understand what Krishna is actually saying here.

In fact, let me take a moment here, first of all, to remind you, the greatest sage in the Rig Veda actually said, Yajja Bhuvanasyanavi, sacrifice, if you like, or Yajja, is the very navel of the cosmos around which everything turns. You take any spiritual teaching. The suggestion also is that if I undertake sacrifice for somebody else's sake, I can also assist them, which is the whole basis in Christianity of the doctrine of vicarious atonement, that Christ undertook the sacrifice, therefore everybody who can relate with Him is already atoned by Him, vicarious atonement. This is the whole basis of the doctrine in Christianity. So it's actually at the heart of all spiritual teachings, let me assure you, you need to reflect on this, sacrifice, and Krishna again explicitly says in the Bhagavad Gita, Sarvagatam Brahma, Yagya Nityam Pratishthitam, although Brahma is all-pervading, but specially established on Yajya, and then later on He says, unless one is engaged in Yajya, nothing is possible, but how can one imagine anything in a future life, if even in this life nothing is possible without Yajya, this is an explicit remark in the Bhagavad Gita.

If you're interested in this, particularly the third and the fourth chapters specially deal with this much more than else, after that it is just assumed. But now, let me summarize this a little bit, that in order to become the right actor, one needs to be transformed, but then that requires undertaking the practice of yoga, and in that practice to actually succeed, or to accomplish, it requires also a collaboration from a deva, or a deeper level within oneself. Don't think of the devas outside. This is always a little bit of a tricky thing to keep reminding people, subtler level within oneself. This will be one of the reasons why one would then, in a crisis, should you just start doing something more actively, or should you sit down and wonder, what is coming from your deepest level, what is the need, what is required.

So now, let me therefore bring this together here. The reason why the Bhagavad Gita becomes a whole text of yoga, classical text of yoga, is because of the necessity for undertaking the discipline of yoga, for transformation. And then, very strong suggestion that as the yoga is accomplished, then it will have consequences, first of all certainly the right action, you can follow from it, and that this whole practice of yoga has become very externalized, otherwise, for example, just to remind you, every sacrament in the Hindu tradition is supposed to be accompanied by a yoga. For example, the whole universe is called a yoga, and a marriage is called a yoga. Of course, a male might think it is a sacrifice, or a female might think the same, that marriage is a sacrifice, but not in the ordinary sense of the word.

It is really, actually, the classical Christian marriages used to be that they are marrying each other in the name of Christ. But we forget all this, you see. What does it mean in the name of Christ? Something higher, something subtler. So this idea has been there, actually, in practically all traditions, but one tends to forget it, therefore we need to remind ourselves this again and again.

So the whole universe is like a yoga, and there is a reciprocal maintenance between different levels. As Krishna said, the devas nourish you through yoga, you must nourish them, and if you take only what the devas give and don't reciprocate, then you are verily a thief. I think I mentioned that even the other day when we were talking about the Indiyavasutras, yam and niyam there.

Chapter 3

As I have repeatedly said, that it is always important for us to see how do I relate any of these great texts or scriptures to myself. So to search for what is my Arjuna, I recommend you think of what is your skill, and what does that skill serve?

That is your Arjuna. Arjuna was a skillful warrior, and then also to search for what is your Krishna. Here I recommend, who is it or what is it that you turn to in a situation in which you are bewildered or you have a crisis? Do you, for example, ask your husband, father, mother, or you sit in deep meditation, you wish to see what is deep down in it? What is it that you turn to?

What or who? Some people will turn to the Bible, some will turn to the Bhagavad Gita itself. That is fine. So that then acts as your Krishna. So what is my Krishna and what is my Arjuna?

We need to actually apply these things to ourselves.


Hoda G
1 person likes this.
What is my Arjuna?
What is my Krishna?
Lifetime discover, as I evolve the answers change.
Thank you...
Maria K
Listening to these lectures makes me feel like I am covered in layers and layers of  memories, thoughts, fantasies, imagined and real and just beginning to put the picture together of who I am, what is true , and where all this ,called my life is possibly going.
Caroline S
This was an amazing talk thank you.  It is not chance the BG's first word is dharma, which requires yoga, which requires yajña, there is no transformation unless we understand / apply / are all three !!

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