22 Aug 2016

Bhagavad Gita Course 2016: Day 6

"At night when you are sleeping, if you have just one minute, close your eyes and say ‘thank you’ to God. Say, 'God, thank you for the day which you have given me. Thank you for all experiences which you have given me. You are always with me and I surrender that day to your Lotus Feet.' So simple. And with deep trust close your eyes, imagine the Feet of the Lord, you are putting everything to His Feet." - Paramahamsa Vishwananda, 21 August 2016

Day 6 of the Bhagavad Gita course was a particularly significant day, as it was on this day that Paramahamsa Vishwananda covered chapter 12, "Bhakti Yoga," - the path of devotion. In addition to chapter 12, Paramahamsa Vishwananda also gave commentary on chapter 13 and 14.

Chapter 12

After Arjuna had seen the Cosmic form of Krishna, and heard the profound teachings, he wants to know which is the best path: the path of devotion or the path of wisdom. Arjuna is asking if it is better to approach the Lord as an impersonal God, or as the personal deity. Krishna explains in the chapter of Bhakti Yoga, the various qualities a true devotee possesses, and how these qualities make one dear to Him.

“ 'My devotees know that it is Me who calls them, because throughout lives they have been centred in Me and in each life they always progress upon reaching Me alone. Nothing can shake them.' Those which are surrendered into that love, Bhagavan Krishna is saying, 'They belong to Me and they are dear to Me. From wherever they are, I go and get them. They have been mine, they are mine and they will always be mine, even if they are caught in the play of the daily routine, even if they are caught in the play of the mundane activities outside, I shall awake within their heart that love. I shall remind them from where they come from and I shall remind them their goal. Such devotees who have this in mind automatically come to Me.' 

That sattvic bhav, this longing for spiritual life is not something which happens just like this. It’s not a coincidence. Because you belong to Him, because you are dear to Him, that’s why this awakes inside of you." - Paramahamsa Vishwananda, 21 August 2016

Paramahamsa Vishwananda continued to deepen his commentary on Bhakti Yoga in a very practical way, by explaining how to become a dear devotee of the Lord:

"Let every expression of your daily life become a prayer, not only when you sit and meditate, not only when you sit and pray, but every obligation of your life. Even if you are sitting and talking, let it be a prayer. Even if you are joking, let it be a prayer. You are dancing, let it be a prayer. You are eating, let it be a prayer. You are working, and so on. Let all what you do with the senses, let all what you do with your mind transform into prayer onto the altar of the Lord. 

And that...how you will do it? I don’t say that every time you will be able to remember God at 24 hours continuously, you will not be aware of it, but time to time think of Him, chant. Even if one time you say ‘Sri Krishnaya Namaha’, even if it is one time ‘OM Namo Narayanaya’, it’s enough." - Paramahamsa Vishwananda, 21 August 2016

In chapter 13, "Kshetrakshetrajna Vibhaaga Yoga (difference between Kshetra – Field – and Kshetrajna –Knower of the Field)",  Krishna begins to introduce new topics of discussion (Sankhya philosophy). The most prominent of this discussion is, "What is the difference between Prakriti (Kshetra) and the Purusha (Kshetrajna). Arjuna wants to understand his own nature and where he stands in relation to God and His creation. He asks question such as, "What is the body? What is the soul?" Paramahamsa Vishwananda explains in his commentary these various topics and how one can come to live in this world, and yet, not be of this world:

"Here Bhagavan Krishna is saying that this world is like an office. You come here to do your Karma Yoga, Karma Bhumi, then you have to go back home. You don’t belong to this world. You are not from this world. You belong to the world of the Supreme. You belong to Him. That’s why we call Him Beloved, Beloved Lord. Because the soul always longs to be, the lover always longs to be with the beloved. Your soul is an eternal lover of God, and as a lover it always longs to be with the Beloved." - Paramahamsa Vishwananda, 21 August 2016

"Those who are wise know that behind everything is only the Lord. Whatever He does, that is for the right cause and it is only Him which is seated in the core of your heart. So that heart is very unique. That heart is very special. The heart is a manifestation of God itself. It is from that heart that you feel love. It is from that heart that you meet Him. It is in that heart that you speak with Him. It is in that heart that you have your union with Him. I’m not talking about the physical heart right now. I am talking about your heart chakra, the cosmic heart inside this body." -Paramahamsa Vishwananda, 21 August 2016

In chapter 14, Lord Krishna continues to teach Arjuna the Sankhya Yoga philosophy, and it is in this chapter that Lord Krishna focuses on the three gunas (the controlling principles or 'tendencies' of the mind, body, and consciousness): Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. Lord Krishna explains that these gunas pervade all of Prakriti, the material manifestation, and together they form the nature of the creation.

Paramahamsa Vishwananda mentioned that the most important verse in chapter 14 is the final verse, Verse 26: "He also who loves and strives after Me with an undeviating love and adoration, passes beyond the three gunas and he too is prepared for becoming the Brahman." In regards to this quote from Lord Krishna, Paramahamsa Vishwananda said:

"It is Him, the Lord which is giving Himself to His devotee. You see, the devotees think always that they are surrendering to the Master. In reality, no, it is the opposite. It’s the Master which is surrendering to the devotee so that they can raise the devotee to their level." -Paramahamsa Vishwananda, 21 August 2016

Day 6 of the Gita course was a day that continued to deepen each participants understanding of the spiritual path more and more. But as Paramahamsa Vishwananda has reminded, it's up to each person to put the teachings into practice. May we all surrender to the Master and continuously chant the Divine Names!

Jai Gurudev.

During the Gita course, a great resource for many of the participants has been the new Shreemad Bhagavad Gita: Verses and Translations book. This book contains the Sanskrit verses of the Bhagavad Gita with their English translations. Also included are short excerpts from Paramahamsa Vishwananda about specific sections, a Mahabharat Family Tree, and a Sanskrit Pronunciation guide. You can learn more about this resourceful book by visiting: http://www.bhaktievent.de/magento/index.php/books/sri-swami-vishwananda/shreemad-bhagavad-gita-verses-and-translations.html