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Gita Lesson - 2006: Essence of Jnana Yoga

Bhagavad Gita
Unit - 20
Lesson - 2006: Essence of Jnana Yoga
By Raja Subramaniyan

Karma Yoga enables one to gain mastery over sense organs and the mind. It also allows the intelligence to grow without being tormented by likes and dislikes. Slowly, the Aura content in the person increases and he sees the futility of material pursuit in earning everlasting happiness. Then he attempts spiritual pursuit.

The movement from material pursuit to spiritual pursuit will mostly be gradual. Slowly more spare time will be spent towards spiritual pursuit and when one gains sufficient momentum, Jnana Yoga may become a full time occupation. One has to spend more time and effort to progress in the Jnana Yoga.

One should not renounce physical action until one gains minimum required control over sense organs and mind. After gaining control, one should commence Jnana Yoga. If there is not enough time to pursue the steps of Jnana Yoga, one should renounce physical action since the only goal at this stage is to reach the destination of Joyful Living.

Milk has the potential to become curd. Similarly, everyone has the potential to become enlightened.

Milk has to be heated up as a first step, which can come about with the association with fire. Similarly, our mind has to be matured, which can happen only when we interact with the world. Material pursuit is an essential component in making the mind matured.

Milk should not be continuously on fire. Similarly, if we continue our material pursuit forever it is not possible to learn how to live life joyfully. At the right stage, we should remove the fire. The right stage varies person to person. Doing Karma Yoga is the right way to take off the pressure that arises in the material pursuit.

Milk should not be allowed to cool down completely. When we retire from our profession due to old age, we are completely cooled down and such state is not conducive for further processing. We should still have some fire left in us for us to complete the steps of Jnana Yoga. Besides, the purpose of pursuing Jnana Yoga is to learn to live life joyfully and such knowledge will be of little use if we learn it at the fag end of our life.

Milk cannot become curd on its own and it needs external inputs. Similarly, we can never hope to gain liberation from suffering on our own. We need inputs from a competent teacher. We should learn the contents of Holy Scriptures from the teacher. This is the first step in Jnana Yoga, learning the central message of Vedanta.

Milk has to internalize the external input in order to become curd. Similarly, the teacher can help us by giving inputs. It is not possible for anyone to help us to internalize the teaching. Extensive use of logic and our analytical skill play a vital role. We need to reflect on the same, think about it, write about it and talk about it so that we gain doubtless knowledge and transform ourselves as an enlightened person.

Milk when it becomes curd is not vulnerable to external environment. Similarly, enlightened person is not affected by the events of the world.

World will continue to alternate between pleasure and pain. We need to refine our mind. It is like walking in the forest with appropriate shoes instead of attempting to roll out a carpet or removing the thorns from the forest. Similarly, we need to refine our mind through Karma Yoga and gain the right knowledge through Jnana Yoga instead of attempting to correct the world. If we do not do this, we will have wrong knowledge about the world thinking that it is the source of our happiness and sufferings.

Chapter 18: Science of liberation [Verses: 49 - 54]

18.49 One who has self-mastery, whose intellect is detached from material pursuit and who is free from desire attains the supreme goal of action less ness through renunciation.

18.50 Oh Arjuna, learn from Me in brief how one who has attained purity attains Brahman, which is the supreme culmination of knowledge.

18.51 Endowed with a clear intellect, having restrained the mind with determination, having renounced the objects of sense gratification one should give up likes and dislikes.

18.52 Having gained detachment, resorting to a secluded place, taking limited food, restraining the body, speech and mind, one should be ever devoted to meditation.

18.53 Having given up egoism, power, arrogance, desire, anger and possession, being free from 'I' and 'mine' notions remaining tranquil, one becomes fit for becoming Brahman.

18.54 Having become Brahman, the tranquil-minded one neither grieves nor desires. He is equally disposed to every living entity. He attains supreme devotion towards Me.

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