Bhagwat Gita as Yog-shastra

Yog means union and shastra means a manual, rules, a step-by-step direction. Union of what? Of the body with the soul, of the soul with the Eternal, of karma with the soul, ‘union’ can be quite a wide topic. From the Sadhak’s point of view union means self realisation this is achieved after the union of the Kundalini with the Para-‘unknowable beyond’ Moksh.

There are several Gita-s. The Bhagwat Gita is recited by Krishna in the Mahabharat, it is in Sanskrit – Devbhasha Samskrutam. It is fundamentally an Advaita experience. The first commentary i.e. Bhashya on the Bhagwat Gita is written by Adi Shankaracharya. In fact before he wrote his Bhashya, the Bhagwat Gita was not very popular, as its real nature is extremely esoteric. This Bhashya clearly establishes the Gita to be a manual for attaining Sadyo-mukti i.e. experience Advaita/ Non-duality. This Bhashya is obviously written in Sanskrit. Most of us have lost touch with our real mother-tongue Sanskrit. Then the more recent commentary ‘Pranab-Gita’ originally in Bengali and available in Hindi was written some 150 yrs ago. Some of us can read these languages so this is very valuable. It also about Advaita. Read these commentaries if you want to understand what the Gita really means. Else read the actual Gita in Sanskrit. Even now in traditional Indian schools, the children are required to learn by heart the actual Gita shlok/verses. Even if you do not understand it, the original Sanskrit will go deep within and trigger changes.

Dhrutarashtra Uvacha, ‘Dharamkshetre Kurukshetre Samaveta Yuyutsavah, Mamakah Pandavashchaiva Kimakurvata Sanjay’.

The first verse of the Bhagwat Gita starts with ‘Dharma-kshetrae Kuru-kshetrae’. Now what is this really, the physical battle-ground? Perhaps yes, when you were a child and your Grandmom told you stories from the Mahabharat. But not anymore. You are a sadhak now, the meaning is different for you.

A quick re-cap. You are familiar with the energy structure of your body. There are 6 chakra, linked to your back, from the base of the spine to the center of the eyebrows, Muladhar, Swadhisthan, Manipur, Anahat, Vishuddhi, Ajnya. Then there are the six chakras in the head, Mula, Vama, Jeyshtha, Raudri, Sahasrara and the Bindu. The Kundalini is the energy of self-identification locked at the Muladhar chakra and it is supposed to reach the top-most chakra complex of Sahasrara+Bindu. Thus you achieve self-realisation or Moksh.

You also know about the 24 Tattva-s of creation. These are Prakruti, Mahat-buddhi, Ahamkar, Manas, the 5 sense organs, the 5 organs of action, the 5 panch-bhoot/ elements and the 5 tan-matra/ perceptions. I have written about these in my earlier posts. This is how your individual soul is created and the differentiated from other souls.

All this energy now forms your energy body and this is the Kshetra.

You know that there are the three Gun, Sattva, Raja and Tama. You, your body and mind are animated by the movements of these Gun. These three Gun are represented by the top-most triangle of the Shri-yantra. Now these three pervade throughout the energy body animating it. Their action divides the Kshetra into 3 parts.

The first part is the Karma-kshetra or simply Kuru-kshetra. ‘Kuru’ in Sanskrit means to act eg ‘kim kuru?’, means ‘what to do?’. So Kuru-kshetra means the ‘field of action’. This is composed of the 11 tattvas ie the 5 sense organs, the 5 organs of action and the Manas. This area is dominated by the Raja and Tama Gun. This part is connected to the actions related to the external world. You sense things, you see, smell, taste, etc. You also move things with your hands, legs and reproduce, create children etc. All this stuff is connected with the external world. These are infinite actions created by infinite permutations and combinations of these tattvas and animated by the Raja-Tama Gun-s in combination. The mind/ Manas is more dominant in this region and it decides what actions are to be taken.

Kundalini and the Shatchakra

Then next part of the energy body is the Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra. This is composed of the Sushumna which extends from the Muladhar chakra to the Ajnya chakra and includes the 6 lower chakras. This part of the energy body is controlled by the Ajnya chakra. Your individual soul resides in the Ajnya chakra. The Bhagwat Gita starts with this word and the first verse/shlok describes this region. This is the real battle-ground of the spiritual aspirant.

This region is dominated by Satva-Raja Gun-s. The lowermost area near the Muladhar chakra is pervaded more by the Raja-gun and the upper areas near the Ajnya chakra is more Satvik. This is the reason why starting spiritual practice is so difficult. The Raja dominated lower chakras, i.e. Muladhar and Swadhisthan, do not allow the mind to focus, there is always movement. These lower chakras are linked more to the field of action ie the Kurukshetra, so are susceptible to greater interference from the tattvas. The gross body moves, the pran moves and the mind also moves under the influence of external forces and it takes significant mental force to still them. Raja means movement. But if you persevere and battle it out here, your body and mind both start getting still and more sookshma/ subtle or fine. Later, things ease out as you approach the Satva dominated upper regions.

The Satva and Raja are in equilibrium at the Manipur chakra. This chakra is the location of the samaan vayu. It is when you reach this chakra that the Kundalini actually starts getting aware. Reaching the 10 petalled lotus of the Manipur is the crucial point in your sadhana. In the Gita this stage is described as the fall of Bhishma, which takes place on the 10th day of the war.

In this Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra region the mind/ Manas and the individual soul/ Jivatma both operate. Your individual soul along with the mind together have control over the actions of this region. Here the 5 subtle perceptions, tanmatra reside. Also the 5 -bhoot, the conscious parts of the earth, water, fire, air and ether. These are the subtle tattva-s. These move outwards and power the sense organs and the organs of action. But when these subtle tattva-s turn inwards they illuminate the real self. If you consciously act here you can influence your mind as well as soul. This happens when you do your Dhyan with pure Om or either of the ajapa mantra-s Soham or Hamsa. Thus is the paramount importance of this Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra region.

If the aspirant wishes to realise himself, he has to fight the battle here in Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra. The tendencies of the Mind fight the tendencies of the Intelligence. The mind and the creations of the mind attack, there is no other word, they really attack, these are the armies of the Kuru.

The aspirant stills the flow of breath by pranayam, thus the flow of pran also starts getting regulated. Then pran is made even finer, ie extreme control over the movement of the pran is achieved. Thus you make this thinnest pran move in a controlled way into the Sushumna. While you are doing this the mind located in the Ajnya chakra also is required to be made still. These things happen simultaneously and spontaneously.

How do you thread a needle? It is the same concept, but here the thread/pran is a million times thinner. You cannot see it with your physical eyes. The eye of the needle is in fact a super-thin tube twisted and re-twisted in complicated knots. You are required to push your pran-thread through all these twists. It requires super-intense focus. Another problem is that you really don’t have the thread-pran available. Pran is being distributed by the Ajnya chakra to the entire body! Your thread is frayed! So first you have to collect the pran at one point. All this happens gradually as you do regular Dhyan. (My Guru, his Guru, his Guru-brothers all are very clear on this, if you do your Dhyan regularly as it should be done, you will achieve your goal within 2 yrs.)

And, the last part of your energy body is the Dharma-kshetra. This extends from above the Ajnya chakra and includes the 6 chakras of the head. This is the region of the Para. This is also called the Bindu Mandala of Shri-Vidya. Here the Satva-Tama Gun dominate. There Raja-Gun does not push things out of equilibrium. Here things are still, stable. The topmost Bindu is the abode of the Para in your own body. The residence of the Bhairav of Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra. Dharma also means the right foundation. This region is neutral in nature. If you reach this level in your Sadhana you move onwards by the inexorable pull of your own Self. Things don’t get easier but the pull is stronger. It is Sahaj/ spontaneous.

The Gita is highly esoteric. It took an entire post to write about just ‘Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra’ and I haven’t even touched 5% of its reality. So read the original Sanskrit Gita, or the Bhashya by Adi Shankaracharya or the Pranab-Gita. For the real Sadhak there is no other option. Any other ‘translations’ of the Gita are ok for the beginner levels but are extremely misleading for the real aspirant. A commentary is only as good as the person who wrote it. A person who has actually practiced and experienced the Gita a Yog-shastra, is an authority, none other.

Every story in Sanatan Dharm aka Hinduism is about the Kundalini its movement and your eventual Moksh. Every single story. There are 3 very valuable books which detail the step by step process on Dhyan and spiritual progress. I keep these with me always for reference because these also describe what happens when you do practice.

  1. Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra
  2. Bhagwat Gita
  3. Devi Mahatmya or Durga Saptashati

The first is a clear precise manual. The other two are written as allegory-stories, but are quite understandable if you know Sanskrit. And they all describe the same thing. The words may be different but they ultimately mean the same.

Vishvam-aatma vinirgatam’. Creation has emerged out from the Singular Atma. A real sadhak does not worship a specific ‘deity’. Hinduism has several gods, goddesses, deities and energies which are worshipped. This is necessary for the initial steps into Sadhana. But a genuine aspirant does not worship a ‘form’, he is an Atma-sadhak, an aspirant of the Self. His goal is Sadyo-mukti. He desires to know himself completely, aatma-pratishtha, and is determined to attain Brahma-sthiti the stability of the Self.

 

Kundalini and the Shatchakra

 

Hindus worship Intelligent Consciousness

There is quite some confusion about what ‘God’, if any, is worshipped by followers of Sanatan Dharma, aka Hindus. We Hindus pray with equal intensity inside temples dedicated to various ‘Gods’, to trees, to coconuts/ areca-nuts, the earth, at the sea-shore or to a mountain, a stone, or a river. We revere animals, especially desi humped-cows and elephants with the same intense faith. Ravens are given their due importance. If we have a living Guru we will do his puja. We touch the feet of our elders with respect. We recognise the divine energy in everyone, we welcome strangers with a ‘Namaste’, which means we recognise the ‘Ultimate power who is focussed infinity’ in them. (Namaste is a Sanskrit word which means, the paradox of the Para. Union of illusion and wisdom together. Depth of stillness and flowing movement together. The eternal unborn one in solitude.)

Hindus worship Intelligent Consciousness

There is quite some confusion about what ‘God’, if any, is worshipped by followers of Sanatan Dharma, aka Hindus. We Hindus pray with equal intensity inside temples dedicated to various ‘Gods’, to trees, to coconuts/ areca-nuts, the earth, at the sea-shore or to a mountain, a stone, or a river. We revere animals, especially desi humped-cows and elephants with the same intense faith. Ravens are given their due importance. If we have a living Guru we will do his puja. We touch the feet of our elders with respect. We recognise the divine energy in everyone, we welcome strangers with a ‘Namaste’, which means we recognise the ‘Ultimate power who is focussed infinity’ in them. (Namaste is a Sanskrit word which means, the paradox of the Para. Union of illusion and wisdom together. Depth of stillness and flowing movement together. The eternal unborn one in solitude.)

However different the external forms of the object of worship may be, the common theme is that we adore the ‘Parabrahma’. One might say he worships Vishnu, Brahmadev or Shiv but he will agree that he really worships the ‘Para’. The Para-brahma is the one beyond-para, the intelligence-brahma, who cannot be described in the limited language of this manifested world, the source of us all. For every Hindu the goal of life is to attain Moksh, ie to experience his own true nature. The individual soul/Jivatma takes several lives, creates and works out his karma. The law of karma is executed by the personal conscience-Antaratma. Whatever you act, think feel etc, this is evaluated by your own personal conscience.  You are your own judge of your act, you pass judgement also allot and demerit/ merit.

So the ‘god’ of Hinduism is the beyond, Para. And everyone of us is that same Para. Just we have forgotten our reality. Everything you see, feel, do etc is the Para which has taken on different forms. Follow whatever you choose. All paths lead to the same destination, enlightenment Moksh. The only difference between your own soul and the Universal Soul-Paramatma is the binding of karma.

Then the question is, if we worship one Singular Para, why this multiplicity of ‘gods’? Shiv, Vishnu, Brahmadev, Indra, Varun, Agni, Savitr, Prajapati, Shakti, Laxmi, Ganapati, Skanda, local gods, family gods, village gods, tree gods, mountain gods, the list is endless. The reason is that there is a multiplicity of human nature, each one is different. Some prefer worshipping a female-Devi deity, some prefer a child-bala form, a terrible-ugra form, a peaceful-saumya form, or the elements rivers- Aap, fire- Agni, etc. There is essential freedom in Hinduism, you can worship any form you choose. There is no compulsion to follow a rule-book. In fact there is no rule-book! You should choose the route which stills your mind’s chattering ’spiritual practice’ should be as per your inclination. And every route you choose will take you to the Source, because everything, including you, is a Ray from that same Source.

Our bodies, are composed of these different energies, the 33 classes of deities, the 5 elements Pancha-bhoot,  the 7 types of essences sapta-dhatu, the 5 sheaths kosh, the different types of vital energies/pran, etc.

Our soul, now that is different, it is Para.

Hindus worship Intelligent Consciousness

The Shri-chakra is my favourite yantra. It is easy to explain too because it is visual. You always focus on the central Bindu. This increases the intelligence levels which is an asset in material life. And acts as a guide map for the internal geometry to copy and set itself correctly. Each point and each line of the yantra is defined as a deity, ie an intelligent consciousness. When you stare at the yantra so many types of tremendous energies look back at you with intent attention. Each of these has a name (listed out in the Khadgamala at 2.41 seconds to 7.50 seconds is the main stotra). All of these points and lines are conscious intelligence increasing in energy intensity. Eg the outermost deities will grant you Siddhi-abilities to manipulate time/space/energy, anima, garima, ishitva, vashitva etc. Siddhi are looked down upon by the really serious practitioners. (Eg my cousin 2000km away was in shock, it took 2 seconds of focus to set his energy and physical body right. But if I feed my ego with this, it will create problems in my practice, my focus will waver.) They all pull you towards themselves. But you should understand that that if you gain the whole, these parts will be yours by default. Gain the Bindu and everything below it is automatically yours. You should focus on the central dot always.

This Shriyantra is You! Your energy diagram, you are focussing worshipping adoring your own Entire Self. Liberation is not going to come from outside, it is within you.

Then as you intensely focus your mind, the deities/ conscious energies of the inner circles also offer you abilities. The concentration of your mind is tested to the extreme at every step. You refuse to get caught in their gifts and focus even more intently till you see just the center-most equilateral triangle and the central Bindu. (You will actually see it in your Dhyan, a downward pointing triangle, the brahmanadi within the Sushumna). This means you have reached the Satva-Raja-Tama gun.

Now the test of focus becomes very subtle, the triangle has to be perfectly balanced for you to enter the inner most Bindu mandala, the region of the central Bindu. The three Gun are the essential substance of manifestation. All three are equal in power and importance. All three Gun are equal and they sort of merge form and reform in random continuous motion. This motion is the cause of manifestation. You need all three in perfect balance.

Without Raja-gun you will have no movement. To set the unbalanced Gun back in balance you will need to use the power of movement with intention. This means you will have to understand Raja-gun in its deepest sense. So the defining mantra of Sanatan Dharm is the Gayatri mantra linked to the active principle of Raja-gun, Sarasvati. Every Hindu is required to recite the Gayatri mantra every day! Raja-gun acts on Satva and Tama and puts them out of balance initially. So Raja-gun will be used intentionally by you to bring it all back into balance again.

You will face these three as your kundalini enters the vama, jeyshtha and raudri chakras. (It is long route but because someone asked I am writing this.) If you practice regularly you experience this in a few years. The 3 Gun are represented by conscious energies called Vishnu-satvik, Brahma-rajasik and Shiv-tamasik. Each one of these are equal to the other, no one is bigger or smaller. All three gun are to be ‘defeated’ as they are a part of the manifested, your kundalini will move beyond them. They are not your focus point, just like the Siddhi-s you gain. You are not Vishnu, Shiv or Brahmadev. You reality is even more deeper than these. But they are important in practice. You need help, support, a crutch, these are the crutches. Your source of faith, your ishta-dev, your family gods, etc are very important as they are the support in your initial practice. As your practice deepens you will gradually link with the central Bindu directly. You leave behind the crutches as you learn to walk on your own.

Hindus worship Intelligent Consciousness

You become what you adore. You practice Dhanur-vidya, science of making war, stilling your mind, with single pointed focus, you will become a warrior. You practice tantra, you will become adept at it. You follow a criminal, you will become a criminal. You do mantra-jaap of Gayatri mantra you will find your internal Light. You follow a Guru you will gain Moksh. What you choose to follow is as per your conscience. Choose a route which appeals to you. But remember the law of karma operates so choose wisely.

The Vishnu Sahastranama is a stotra-mantra where 1000+8 names of Vishnu are given. It is from the Mahabharat. Bhishma recites it and tells Yudhishthir that it is the sure-shot route for Moksh. Each one of these names starting from Vishwam to Sarvapraharnayudha are tremendous. Vishwam means ‘everything’ also ‘individual’ and Sarvapraharnayudha means ‘the one who is ready at all times in all ways to fight’ (but fight what? The vagaries of the mind!). Understanding and experiencing one out of the 1000 words may take a life time as they are all paradoxes. I have recited it innumerable times (takes 30 mins) and done its Homa (takes 1hr). The burst of energy from this practice is infinite. Its energies are healing, even if you cannot recite, listening to it (I like this recital by Uma Mohan) also benefits.

Its phala-shruti which is read last is narrated as a conversation. Here Parvati asks her husband Shiv to reduce the power of this 1000+8 names into one word. Shiv gives this word as ‘Rama’ as being equal to the 1000 names. Then Krishna tells Arjun, ‘the real power of my 1000 names is achievable by the recitation of a single shlok ‘Soham’. So now can you imagine the power Soham has? To understand Soham you have to understand these 1000 Sanskrit words first, each is a mantra in itself. And conversely if you understand Soham you automatically understand the 1000 names! Either way you look at it both outcomes are same. You choose which path you prefer, destination is same. The last shlok said by Brahma is exceptionally awesome, “Namo astu anantaya sahastra murtaye sahasra pada akshi shirh uru bahave sahastra namne purushaya shashvate Sahastra koti yugadhaarine namah”, the energy of this one line!

What is ‘Krishna’? Bhagwat Gita is a Yog-shastra by Yogeshwar Krishna, it has to be practiced in Dhyan. To someone who does Dhyan, Krishna is the undefinable energy seen at the Ajnya chakra. This energy is the Guru/force which pulls the kundalini up to unite with the Kutastha purush. This energy connects you to Reality.

Read the Vignyan Bhairav tantra. Here Shiv/Bhairav, describes the practice which helps attain the state of Para. Every book on tantra is described by Shiv to Parvati. Even Jyotish is described by Shiv to Parvati. Recently am reading a Sanskrit book on Ramal-jyotish ‘Ramal rahasya’, it starts with this, Shiv telling Parvati to teach this only to deserving students! No one book/practice is greater than the other. If you can become a real Jyotishi you can attain Moksh via this route too. Every Vidya, every Shastra every Tantra and each type of Yog will lead you to yourself. There is nowhere else to go! But whatever you choose to follow, you have to practice regularly.

If you are inspired by Vishnu Sahastranam, the last name is Sarvapraharnayudha सर्वप्रहरणायुध​. Be prepared to fight, in every way, at every time, with all possible weapons, against all possible enemies. And there are several. If you are following the Bhagwat Gita route, you will meet the energies of the entire Kaurav army and Kuru warriors on the Kurukshetra of your Asan. Your final enemy will be your ego as Duryodhan. These stories Mahabharat or Ramayan or Devi Mahatmya actually happen in energy terms as you do your Dhyan.

In this life I have done pujas using Mahamryutunjai mantra, Gayatri mantra, Navavarna mantra, Shri-sukta, mantras/suktas/stotras from Devi Mahatmya, obviously I do Dhyan. The end result is the same, stilling of the mind. After you do your recital, homa, whatever practice, you have to sit motionless on your asan for at least 30mins. This stillness is of the mind too, only then it is really Dhyan. Whatever you experience in these minutes is your achievement, a few steps further on the road to Moksh.

 

Hindus worship Intelligent Consciousness

(There was this question. As my answer was too long posted it as a full-fledged post.

Hi, But Shri Vishnu Sahasranama is suggested by Bhishma in the presence of Shri Krishna in the Mahabharat for Liberation. Doesn’t this mean worship of Vishnu as the god among the trinity is superior? Or is it suggestive of worship of Sattva Guna for transcending the Gunas? Thank you.)