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Title: Chapter 18 Moksha Yoga
User: Bhushan Nityananda dasa Date: 2007-06-11 19:35:55
C H A P T E R E I G H T E E N
Arjuna: He Vasudeva, what is sannyasa, and what is tyaga? Are they different or are they the same? If they have separate meanings, then what are those meanings? You are Kesi-sudan , so kill this doubt as You have killed the Kesi demon. You are the great mahabaho --- mighty-armed one --- supremely powerful. I am the small mahabaho. Thus we are friends. I am not omniscient, but because of our friendship I do not hesitate to follow You.
Krishna: Arjuna, giving up activities that are based on material desire is what learned men call the renounced order of life, sannyasa. And giving up the results of all activities is what the wise call renunciation, tyaga. Some learned men declare that all kinds of fruitive activities should be given up as faulty, yet other sages maintain that acts of sacrifice, charity and penance should never be abandoned. Now hear My judgement about renun-ciation. O tiger among men, renunciation is declared in the scriptures to be of three kinds.
Arjuna: But Krishna, I asked about the difference between tyaga and sannyasa, and Your answer is that there are three kinds of tyaga.
Krishna: Please listen, Partha and I will tell you definitively. Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up. They must be per-formed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls and set a good example for others. Show-bottle sannyasa is an excuse for giving up one's prescribed duties. Whereas tyaga is giving up the desire to enjoy the fruit while performing the duty. One should give up the work only on the subtle platform - the platform of renouncing the fruit. These activities have the potency to purify the heart and bring one to the plat-form of knowledge. As the lotus has fibres inside, these three activities have the fibre of knowledge inside. Thus the defects of this world can be overcome without implication. All these activities should be performed without attachment or any expectation of result. They should be performed as a matter of duty. That is My final opinion.
Now I will explain the three types of sannyasa. If one gives up his pre-scribed duties because of illusion, such renunciation is said to be in the mode of ignorance. I've already told you that work is better than renun-ciation. If one thinks that work is binding and that it's better to give it up --- that is illusion and causes further ignorance. One should be very careful about this. Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome or out of fear of bodily discomfort is said to have renounced in the mode of passion. Such action never leads to the elevation of renunciation. This passionate person understands the benefit of performing sacrifice but he thinks by performing it, "This is troublesome and will only cause me physical misery therefore I'll renounce it." However, when one performs his prescribed duty only because it ought to be done, and renounces all material association, and all attachment to the result, his renunciation is said to be in the mode of goodness.
Arjuna: Krishna, what are the symptoms of one who has renounced in the mode of goodness?
Krishna: The intelligent renouncer, situated in the mode of goodness, is neither attached to favourable circumstances, nor averse to unfavorable circumstances, therefore he has no doubts about how to act dutifully.
Arjuna: This is clear Krishna, but what if one forgets the favorable or the unfavorable and just renounces everything. What is wrong with that?
Krishna: No Arjuna! No one cannot stay even for a moment without being active. But he who renounces the fruits of action has truly renounced.
Arjuna: I don't understand, work without fruits? But fruits will come regardless, in some way or other. So how will one act when the fruits come?
Krishna: For one who is not renounced, the three-fold fruits of action ---desirable, undesirable and mixed --- accrue after death. But those who are in the renounced order of life have no such result to suffer or enjoy.
Arjuna: How can one work and not get the fruit of that work?
Krishna: When one works without false ego he reaps no fruit from his work.
By giving up the sense of doer-ship and understanding that I am the Supreme
Doer, one does not recieve any reaction to work. As long as one has some
sense of being the doer one must get some reaction. O Arjuna, according to Vedanta there are five causes for the accomplishment of all action. Now learn of these from Me. The place of action, the performer, the senses, the endeavour, and ultimately the Supersoul - these are the five factors of action. The Supreme Lord is the ultimate cause and worshipable Deity of everyone. The Lord makes everyone perform work. All the senses and airs of the body are controlled by Him. A person who knows this and thinks, "I am not the doer", he is not bound by work.
Arjuna: If the Lord is the ultimate mover, then is the living entity under His control? Does the living entity have any desire or is he like a piece of wood that's moved? And if that's true, then why does sastra tell us to do or not do certain things? This is also against our experience. What is the answer? Is the living entity the doer or not?
Krishna: O Arjuna, please listen as I explain. The Supreme Lord has given the body, the senses and His energy which is the basis of the living entity. The living entity then performs work by his own will, utilizing the body and senses according to his desires. In the heart, the Supersoul percieves the living entity's desires and then instigates him to do the work. The living entity can then utilize his intelligence, read scripture and then decide what to do. He uses the energy of the Supreme Lord according to his own will. Whatever right or wrong action he performs by body, mind or speech is caused by these five factors. Therefore one who thinks himself the only doer, not considering the five factors, is not very intelligent and cannot see reality. The cause of bondage is the feeling that only he himself is the doer. On the other hand, one who is not motivated by false ego, whose intelligence is not thinking himself the doer, though he kills men in this world, does not kill. He is not bound, even if he kills the entire universe, what to speak of Bhisma, Drona and Kripa.
Arjuna: Can you explain more to help me understand that I am not the doer?
Krishna: Yes Arjuna, knowledge, the object of knowledge and the knower are the three psychological factors that motivate action. The senses, the work and the doer are the three practical constituents of action. According to the three different modes of nature there are three kinds of knowledge, action, and performer of action. Now hear of them from Me.
That knowledge by which one undivided spiritual nature is seen in all beings, though they are divided into many forms, is in the mode of goodness. However, when someone sees that in every different body there is a different type of living being, that is knowledge in the mode of passion. And that knowledge by which one is attached to one kind of work as the all in all, without knowledge of the truth, is said to be in the mode of darkness.
That action which is regulated and which is performed without attachment, without love or hatred, and without desire for fruitive results is said to be in the mode of goodness. But action performed with great effort by one seeking to gratify his desires, and enacted from a sense of false ego, is called action in the mode of passion. And that action performed in illusion, in disregard of scriptural injunctions, and without concern for future bondage or distress caused to others is said to be in the mode of ignorance.
One who performs his duty without false ego, with great determination and enthusiasm, and without wavering in success or failure is said to be a worker in the mode of goodness. But the worker who is attached to work and the fruits of work, desiring to enjoy those fruits, who is greedy, envious, impure, and moved by joy and sorrow, is said to be in the mode of passion. And the worker who is always engaged in work against the injunctions of the scripture, who is obstinate, cheating, materialistic and expert in insult-ing others, and who is lazy, always morose and procrastinating is a worker in the mode of ignorance.
O Dhananjaya, now I will tell you in detail of the three different kinds of understanding and determination according to the three modes of material nature.
That understanding by which one knows what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, what is binding and what is liberating, is in the mode of goodness. That under-standing which cannot distinguish between religion and irreligion, between action that should be done and action that should not be done , is in the mode of passion. That understanding which considers irreligion to be religion, and religion to be irreligion, under the spell of illusion and darkness, and strives always in the wrong direction, is in the mode of ignorance.
That determination which is unbreakable, which is sustained with steadfast-ness by yoga practice, and which thus controls the activities of the mind, life, and senses is determination in the mode of goodness. But that deter-mination by which one holds fast to fruitive results in religion, economic development and sense gratification is of the nature of passion, O Arjuna. And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, morose-ness and illusion --- such foolish determination is in the mode of darkness.
Now please hear about the three kinds of happiness by which the conditioned soul enjoys, and by which he sometimes comes to the end of all distress. That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness. That happiness does not come easily, but only by practising for a long time, because this pleasure is not derived from external sense objects, but comes from within. That happiness comes from giving up sense objects, for the happiness of the soul is covered by the tendency for sense gratification.
Arjuna: Why is happiness in goodness like poison, Krishna?
Krishna: In the beginning one has to control the senses and mind which is
painful. One must go through the misery of controlling the mind, but later
he attains the continuous flow of nectar called samadhi. However, that
happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects
and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be
in the nature of passion.
Arjuna: What is this nectar in passion?
Krishna: It is generally understood to be having illicit sex.
Arjuna: And happiness in ignorance?
Krishna: That happiness which is blind to self-realization, which is
delusion from beginning to end and which arises from sleep, laziness and
illusion is said to be of the nature of ignorance.
Arjuna: Krishna, is there a place in this world where we can find beings who are not affected by these modes?
Krishna: There is no being existing either here or among the demigods in
the higher planets, which is freed from these three modes born of material nature. Brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras are distinguished by the qualities born of their natures in accordance with the material modes, Arjuna. Their natures are there from birth, and are cultivated by education. The brahamanas prominent mode is goodness and their natural qualities are peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness. The natural qualities of work for the ksatriyas are heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage and generosity. Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas. And for the sudras there is labor and service to others.
Arjuna: How can these activities be the cause of knowledge?
Krishna: One can attain perfection by doing one's prescribed duty. As fibers are in the lotus stem, the threads of knowledge are in one's prescribed duties providing one worships the Lord by those duties. This means he performs his duties and offers his work to the Lord within his mind. "My dear Lord, be pleased by these activities." The Lord is thus pleased by the work itself which is worship. In this way a man can obtain perfection through performing his own work.
Arjuna: What is the situation of one who is trained in one duty, but has
the inclination to work in another duty?
Krishna: It is better to engage in one's own occupation, even though one
may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another's occupation and perform
it perfectly. Duties prescribed according to one's nature are never affected by sinful reactions. One should perform the activities of one's
own nature even if those activities are superficialy inferior.
Arjuna: But ksatriyas are passionate, Krishna. Shouldn't I engage in the superior activities of a brahmana? What is wrong with that? Certainly I will be elevated by doing so.
Krishna: Do not think that only your prescribed duties have defects, Arjuna. All duties have defects. Even fire is covered by smoke. Not only the pre-scribed duties of a ksatriya have defects, the work of a brahmana also has defects. One should do one's work simply because it is pre-scribed. All activities are in the modes of nature, so there will always be some fault, but one should not worry about that.
Arjuna: What about one who is pure, Vasudeva, how does he progress in God-realization?
Krishna: There are two stages of renunciation, Partha. The first is when one works but gives up the fruits of that work along with the concept of being the doer. Gradually by performing this niskama-karma, he becomes situated in detachment. Eventually he gives up the work itself. This is the second stage of sannyasa and is called the path of knowledge, or jnana-marga. On this platform he has controlled his senses and mind. He has no desire for material enjoyment even up to Brahma-loka. Therefore he re-nounces all work and attains the perfection of sannyasa. In this situation, his detachment becomes more perfect. Such a person does not even bother for his bodily maintainence. Thus he is free from material defects.
Arjuna: Maybe he is freed from defects, Krishna, but he has not yet achieved Brahman, so what is the good of this?
Krishna: O son of Kunti, learn from Me how one who has achieved this stage
of renunciation can attain to the perfectional stage, Brahman, by following the path of the inactive sage. Controlling the intelligence and the mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense gratification, freeing oneself from attachment and hatred, he lives in a secluded place eating little and controls his body, mind and speech. Such a person becomes fixed in meditation on the Supreme and renounces everything that is not tran-scendental. He gives up anything and everything that increases bodily consciousness. Thus he becomes peaceful like an ocean without waves. One who is thus transcendentally situated above the three modes at once realises the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments nor
desires to have anything because he has no attachment to the body. As a
child sees everyone equally, he is equally disposed towards every living
entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me. This
devotional service is My own svarup shakti, which continues after knowledge
and ignorance are eliminated. It's free from karma and jnana, so it is also
called kevala-bhakti. It was existing before, but it was unmanifest, and
now it becomes manifest. His prior activities had this devotion in it, but
it was mixed with the modes. Therefore it is said he attains devotion, for it already existed. Like a mixture of dahl and gems --- when the dahl is
removed --- the gems remain.
Arjuna: What happens after attaining devotion?
Krishna: Then he knows Me as I am, Arjuna. He may be either a jnani or some type of devotee but he knows Me by devotion. I can only be known by devotion, not by any other process. The knowledge of the jnani who knows Me, goes beyond the mode of goodness. He attains sayujya-mukti and enters into Me --- free from knowledge or ignorance --- beyond maya. At that point he realises Me.
Arjuna: You are saying bhakti is transcendental, Krishna, beyond the modes and beyond knowledge, but Narada-pancaratra mentions bhakti as a part of
Krishna: It is mentioned as a part of knowledge to make jnana-yoga and karma-yoga successful, Partha. But it is part of the internal pleasure potency and is never material. Bhakti is never a part of the three modes of nature or a part of knowledge. Knowledge is simply a tool to get rid of ignorance, but after that, positive knowledge of Krishna comes only from transcendental bhakti. In the mode of goodness knowledge comes, but that knowledge is also in goodness. But knowledge of devotional service is beyond the modes and is called bhakti. It is bhakti, although it is sometimes called knowledge. So there are two types of knowledge --- knowledge of goodness and knowledge of bhakti. In this way after gradually giving up the fruits of activity, then the activity, then knowledge itself, one attains liberation.
Arjuna: But how does your devotee attain You, Vasudeva?
Krsna: Though engaged in all kinds of activities, My pure devotee, under My protection, reaches the eternal and imperishable abode of Vrndavana, Mathura or Dvaraka by My grace.
Arjuna: This doesn't sound logical, Krishna. A jnani takes many births and performs austerities for so long, and undergoes much difficulty. How is it possible that a devotee who has only a little knowledge and isn't
even renounced, attains Your eternal abode so easily? What is the logic?
Krishna: The logic is that it is beyond logic, Partha. It is by My mercy. My mercy has inconceivable power in it. Therefore, in all activities just
depend upon Me, and work always under My protection. In such devotional
service be fully conscious of Me, and I will take full care of you.
Arjuna: You are speaking in general, but what is Your specific order for
me, Krishna? Shall I perform unalloyed devotion, or devotion with material motives?
Krishna: You aren't qualified to perform pure devotion, Arjuna, but at the same time you are above performing sakam-bhakti. Therefore perform devotion that is between these two platforms. Become madhyam-bhakta.
Arjuna: What should I do, Krishna?
Krishna: Perform your prescribed duties and offer them to Me, making Me
your goal. Do not have material goals. Perform your duties without the ego of being the doer. In your mind make Me the object of your work and
remember Me in all that you do. Surrender to Me and then act. Do not
perform your activity and then surrender. In other words, surrender your
consciousness as you perform the activity. If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditioned life by My grace. I am the friend of My devotees and I'll give Myself to them and solve all their problems. So don't worry. But if you do not listen because of your pride, then you will be lost.
Arjuna: It is a fact that I am a ksatriya and it is my nature to fight.
But if I fight and kill my relatives, I'll incur sins, so I don't want to
Krishna: If you say a
ksatriya must be religious and should fear killing his guru or brahmanas
and you decide not to fight, the I say your decision is useless. People will criticize you and mock you for not fighting, then you'll fight anyway and I'll laugh at you. If you don't listen to My words --- My maya will assume the form of rajo-guna and make you fight nonetheless. You have your own nature from previous samskaras and you'll be forced to act --- just like a puppet.
Arjuna: But I know...
Krishna: He Arjuna, if you think you are a great scholar you should know
that the Supersoul is in the heart of all living beings from Brahma to
the insect, and the Lord rotates their bodies. According to their karma
each has a separate body made of maya, and the soul is riding on these machines, and the Lord rotates them. He is like a puppeteer who makes his puppets move. O scion of Bharata, He is inside you as the Supersoul, and ultimately you are under His control so surrender unto Him utterly. Let Him guide you. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme, eternal abode. Take shelter of the Supersoul with your mind, body and words. You'll become completly free from all miseries. He Partha, you should know that the Supersoul is also Me, your friend. I have told you to surrender to Him, as if to someone else, but you have already understood that I am that Supersoul. So become situated in My instructions and act.
Thus I will end My teachings now for I have explained to you knowledge about karma, jnana, and yoga. This is most secret for this knowledge has not been revealed in all the writings of Vasistha and Badarayana. Even the sages do not completely understand this. It's so confidential that I have not given it to them, but I have given it to you. So deliberate on it fully, and then do what you wish to do.
Narrator: Lord Krishna observed Arjuna's silence as Arjuna was deliberat-ing on the meaning of His instructions. Thus Krishna became compassionate and His heart melted like butter. He pointed to His dear friend Arjuna and
Krishna: Because you are My very dear friend, I will now speak the essence
of all I have spoken in eight verses. This is My supreme instruction, the most confidential knowledge of all. This is what I feel is most beneficial for you. Therefore you should act upon it. First, always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. In this way give your senses to Me. And since the mind is the king of the senses, if you think of Me, the rest will follow. Perform kirtan, hear about Me, take darshan of My Deity, offer candan, umbrella, and camara. Engage all your senses in rendering service to Me. Offer incense, flowers, ghee lamp and bhoga. Become My pujari. Or if you can do nothing else, then offer your obeisances to Me, either astanga or pancanga obeisances. And if devotion is there in any activity, it will be pleasing. Out of these four, do all of them or at least one of them and you will attain Me. If you offer these to Me, then what will I give to you? I'll give My very Self to you. To you, not to anyone else. I promise you, so please, do not have any doubts.
Arjuna: But people from Mathura are always promising this and that in
every sentence they speak. I cannot really believe You because You are from
Krishna: I'm raising My hand and taking an oath, Arjuna. I declare
that you are dear to Me. Even though people from Mathura tell lies and
cheat, they never cheat those they love. You are not only dear to Me, but
most dear, so have no doubt. One who loves Me, wins My reciprocation in the same manner. I will not be able to tolerate separation from you. I
have to bring you back to Me, so believe My words that you'll definitely
come to Me.
Arjuna: You have said so many things, think of Me, be My devotee, worship
Me. Make it simple, Krishna, and say one thing!
Krishna: Just abandon all varieties of religion and simply surrender
unto Me. With this one thing, Arjuna, I shall deliver you from all sinful
reactions. Do not fear.
Arjuna: Give up all varieties of religion, how is that?
Krishna: Yes, give up all religious obligations like varna and ashrama and
take full shelter of Me alone. I know that you are not ready to take sannyasa, so keep your duty and surrender the fruits. One should engage in
one's duties until one becomes very attached to hearing My pastimes.
Knowing the strengths and so-called defects of all My instructions and
seeing them in perspective, one can act properly. Previously I said that
you are not qualified to become My unalloyed devotee, and I instructed you
in niskama-karma, like yat karosi yat asnasmi. That was karma-mishra bhakti. But now My heart is over-flowing with mercy. Now, out of compassion, I've blessed you. I've made you qualified for unalloyed devotional service. This can be obtained only by the mercy of My pure devotee. So I've broken this rule and I'm granting this to you directly Myself. Don't think that you'll incur sins by not performing your daily and occasional duties. The Vedas have said to do these, but I spoke that in the Vedas, and now I'm asking you to renounce them. So if you perform your conventional duties now and disrespect My words, that will be sinful.
Arjuna: If I surrender to You, ignoring established morality and all commitments, then should I not worry? You are the Lord, and if Your desire is to engage me in irreligious activity, what will be My fate?
Krishna: I will save you from all sinful reactions in the past, present and future. I have all power and am not incapable of doing it. It is My responsibility to deliver you from the sin of neglecting your prescribed duties. Do not minimise My power. I'm making you the object of instruction to humanity by speaking to you. Do not worry about your destination. The entire universe can give up all their activities and engage happily in My devotional service. The responsibility for their sins is Mine. The responsibility for bringing them to Me is also Mine. As is the responsibility to maintain their bodies, as I've said before. And again I say, Arjuna, you shouldn't lament that, "The Lord has taken this responsibility and it is a burden for Him." It is not a burden for Me. For I am satya-sankalpa. My desire is truth.
Arjuna: O Krishna, should I keep this knowledge hidden, or should I tell others?
Krishna: This condfidential knowledge should never be explained to those
who are not austere, devoted, or engaged in devotional service, nor to
one who is envious of Me.
Arjuna: Then to whom should one explain this?
Krishna: One should explain this supreme secret to the devotees. If one
does, then pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will
come back to Me. There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than
he, nor will there ever be one more dear. And I declare that he who
studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence.
Arjuna: What happens to such a person?
Krishna: One who listens with faith and without envy becomes free from
sinful reactions and attains the auspicious planets where the pious dwell like Dhruvaloka. O son of Prtha, O conqueror of wealth, have you heard this with an attentive mind? Are your ignorance and illusions now dispelled? If not, then I am willing to begin again.
Arjuna: My dear Krishna, O infallible one, my illusion is gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy and understand things as they are. What more can I ask from You? I have given up everything and am ready to act according to Your order. I have no anxieties, and I have complete faith in You. I will now follow only Your order as my dharma, not my official duty by varna. Previously I was confused but that has been removed by hearing Your instructions. Now I understand that there is the Supreme Lord with a transcendental and beautiful form, full of bliss and knowledge. He is the
Supreme Controller, the friend of His devotees, and by His will He creates
the material world. He is so merciful that He can give His devotees anything --- even His very Self. This is the knowledge I've gained and now I submit to You because I have understood that You are that Supreme Person. I am a soul surrendered unto You now, and I'm ready to assist You in Your mission of removing the burden of the earth.
Narrator: Saying this, Arjuna stood up with the Gandiva bow in his hand,
ready to fight.
Sanjaya: Thus I have heard the conversation of two great souls, Krishna
and Arjuna. And so wonderful is that message that my hair is standing on
end. I was given mystic vision and ears to hear these most confidential
talks by the mercy of my gurudeva, Vedavyasa. I've heard it directly from
Krishna, Himself, not in any succession. Thus I am so fortunate. He Rajan, as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I take pleasure, being thrilled at every moment. As I remember the universal form of Lord Krishna, I am struck with wonder more and more, and I rejoice again and again.
Dhrtarastra: Is there any hope for my sons?
Sanjaya: Give up all attachment or hope for your sons because Krishna has
all supreme qualities, and is the Supreme controller of all living beings. He is standing with Arjuna, and is even willing to take up the reins of Arjuna's chariot. And Dhanurdhara, Arjuna, is an pure devotee and an in-carnation of Nara. Arjuna's arrows from the Gandiva bow cannot be counter-acted. These two are both on the side of Yudhisthira and They will have victory.