-Translated from a discourse given by Sant Shri Asaramji Bapu
The Paramatma(Supreme Soul) or God is not bound by time and space. The great Rishis(Saints and Scholars) of India have profoundly described the knowledge, the form, and the human birth of this boundless Supreme Soul in the Vedas, Upnishads, and Puranas. Vedvyasa created the greatest of greatest epic Mahabharata. This epic which is also called Pancham Veda(the fifth Veda) contains various teachings. Shrimad Bhagvad Geeta is the epitome of all such teachings. It is the gem of the complete Mahabharata. There are eighteen chapters containg a total of seven hundred shlokas in Shrimad Bhagvad Geeta. There is a Shloka in the Shastras whish means as follows:
OM! Tied in the middle of the Mahabharata written by the great scholar VedVyasa,
Showering the holy water of the knowledge of oneness of God,
Containing eighteen chapters,
Removing the miseries of the world,
Possesing the richness of the whole world,
Oh Godess Bhagvad Geeta! Oh Mother!
I explore you constantly.
First Chapter: Arjuna's Dejection: (Total Shloks: 47)
When Arjuna saw his friends and relatives in the battlefield for the great battle of the Mahabharata, he felt dejected thinking that he will have to fight with his loved ones and and they might be killed in the battlefield. His heart was filled with so much agony that he left his bow and arrow on the ground and sat in the charriot.
One does comes across agony once in a while. If we speak about our sadness honestly to God, then even the pain takes the form of God's blessings. As Arjuna opened his heart to Shri Krishna and explained his inability to conquer the kingdom by killing his dear ones.
Second Chapter: Philosophy and Spiritual Discipline: (Total Shloks: 72)
When Shri Krishna observed that Arjuna is refusing to fight because of materialistic attraction towards his dear ones, then in the second chapter he advised Arjuna to leave aside the weakness of the heart and to get ready to fight in the battlefield. He reminded Arjuna of his duties which he was forgetting because of his ignorance.
Every human being living in this material world acquires the knowledge of stones, cement, steel and iron, but here Krishna is not talking about this knowledge. He is talking about acquiring the knowledge of God and Truth; perishable nature of the body and immutability of the Soul. He is explaining how to practise the one's own religion and duties.Shri Krishna says,
"That which is born shall die, But the Atman(soul) is neither born nor shall it die. Then what is the reason to be sad? If you do not do your natural duty, do not follow your own dharma(religion), do not fight in a religious war as a Kshatriya(warrior) should do, then dishonour will come to your door which shall be worser than death."
Therefore, each human being should attain the knowledge of imperishable self while performing the natural duties that have been assigned to him. The person who performs his duties honestly and with sincere efforts disregarding the fruit of action becomes even minded. Such a person is liberated from the bondage of birth and death with time and he becomes a man of steady wisdom. He realizes the Supreme Reality.
Third Chapter: Discipline of Action: (Total Shloks:43)
Every body works on this earth, but by working they create bondage. Only a few people who are inclined towards the Great Master perform disciplined action and become united with the supreme soul. Just by being indifferent to the fruit of an action, they (KarmaYogis) are rewarded for that action innumerable times by God. By unattachment alone Janak, the great king of India, realized his true self. Shri Krishna says to Arjuna,
"By constantly surrendering your action with all your heart to my All Knowing Supreme Soul, you fight this battle without any expectations, attachment and agony.
Fourth Chapter: Knowledge:(Total Shloks:42)
In this chapter Shri Krishna says,
I handed down this imperishable supreme discipline, which has decayed over course of time, to the shining sun."
Surprised Arjuna says,"later was your birth and earlier was the birth of sun, then how did you teach the sun?" Then Shri Krishna says,
Whenever sacred duty decays and chaos prevails, I incarnate myself. I've incarnated myself several times and you've taken several births, I know all of them but you don't remember them."
It is good to do one's own duty honestly, but at the same time one should aim at purification of the heart and mind. If work is done by completely surrendering to the God, then that work becomes a Supreme Action. The course of action is very deep and secretive, therefore, intelligent people become free of the bondage of action by understanding the subtle nature of action properly. Unattached action becomes a sacrificial action. Emphasizing on the fact that all actions done to realize this supreme knowledge are the best of actions Shri Krishna says to Arjuna,
"You go to the great men who have realized the true self to understand this supreme knowledge. These great men will shower upon you the sacred knowledge of true self if you seek for this knowledge from them humbly, bow with due respect in front of them, and serve them with a devoted heart. Nothing can purify your heart and mind more than this true knowledge. By seeking shelter in this knowledge, destroy the doubt arising in your heart out of ignorance with the sword of knowledge, arise for the battle performing disciplined action and keeping your mind stable."
This world is also a battlefield. Seeking shelter in the true knowledge, whoever fights the inner and outer enemies, shall only be successful.
Fifth Chapter: Renunciation of Action:(Total Shloks:29)
This chapter talks about the difference between renunciation of action and discipline in action. Both of these paths may appear different physically but both lead to the same ulimate goal of true internal happiness, knowledge of the supreme soul, ecstatic bliss and peace. The one who understands that both the paths lead to the same destination can see the truth. God does not either accept or reject the actions of human beings, but this just appears as an illusion arisen from ignorance. The one who has destroyed this layer of ignorance with the subtle knowledge of the true self is free from the bondage.
Sixth Chapter: Man of Discipline:(Total Shloks:47)
The person who does all his duties diligently by not bothering about the consequences is a man of renunciation and discipline in the true spirit, and not the person who performs sacrifical fire or sacrifices work and action. All self-contemplative people who desire to get engrossed in the spiritual union should work selflessly and there after, the way to progress is is abondoning of desires. Shri Krishna says,
"Arjuna! The one who performs good deeds without having any desires is actually a man of renounce and discipline."
One should definitely work work without any lust, but along with that one should also devote time to becoming at peace with the soul and meditating on the inner self. Shri Krishna says,
"One should work to take oneself out of the ocean of materialism and keep a check on one's downfall, because one itself is a friend and foe of oneself."
Thus in this chapter the inspiritation for self progress has been given. Also the qualities of a self realized man have been descrbed here. By explaining the importance and understanding of meditation, the superiority of a man disciplined in action has been mentioned. Such a man has been considered to be more dear to God as compared to scholars and men of renunciation and knowldge.
"Tasmat Yogi Bhavah Arjuna": Oh Arjun, therefore be a man of disciplined action!
Seventh Chapter: Knowledge and Judgement:(Total Shloks:30)
Describing the experience of true knowledge and the cause of every object to be the omnipresent God, Shri Krishna says,
"Oh Arjuna! There does not exist any object other than me. The whole world is tied inside me, like the pearls in the string of a necklace. Those who are entangled in the material world do not know of this true form of mine. But the person who surrenders himself to me completely and remembers me regularly is able to reach the stage which is beyond birth and death. Even though the solution is so simple, but all those whose mind has been misguided by the spell of materialistic pleasures, have develish tendencies, and are indulged in corruption and petty acts foolishly do not meditate on me."
Thus, in this chapter, the devotees of the Supreme have been praised and people having devlish nature have been criticized. The fruit borne of praying for fulfilling materialistic desires is perishable. Thus people involved in such kinds of worshipping are debarred from the pure bliss acquired from true devotion.
Eighth Chapter: The Infinite Spirit:(Total Shloks:28)
Explaing the fact that all the objects of this world are destructible except for the supreme soul (Brahman), questions related to Brahman, spiritualism and action have been answered in this chapter.
Here, it has been said that the thought that arises clearly and deeply in the mind at the time of death, this very thought only controls the circumstances of next birth. The spiritual knowledge that has been acquired in this life is carried over after waking up from the deep sleep of death in the next birth. The end of this birth is the beginning of the birth. Therefore do all your daily chores while keeping death in mind. Everything else is undecided but death is sure to happen. Each day as the sun sets man loses another day of his life. Each day is getting lost without realizing the supreme reality. Shri Krishna says,
"Oh Arjun! Make your mind steadfast every second of your life, meaning there by, practise constantly towards realizing me."
Ninth Chapter: The Sublime Mystery:(Total Shloks:34)
Shri Krisna says,
"This knowledge of self is the science and mystery of kings. It is supreme, purifier, intuitive, true to duty, joyous to perform and unchanging."
All other kinds of knowledge are good, but the knowledge of the self is the king of all pervading knowledge. Amongst all the existing rules, the art of government is supreme and amongst all types of knowlwdge the knowledge of Brahman is most superior. Art of government itself is not a bad thing but when selfish and mean persons enter politics, the benevolent philosophy behinds politics gets lost. If the king rules the nation keeping in mind the benefit of religion and society, then politics serves its true purpose, otherwise it just becomes a fight for power. If the politics of the nation has true spirit then it's influence can be easily seen in the people of the society. Similarly, this knowledge of self is mysterious, pure, evidently fruit bearing, and easy to acquire.
Surrender whatever you do to the omnipresent God with devotion, and you'll become Godly. Shri Krishna has been talking of acquiring this state.
Tenth Chapter: Fragments of Divine Power:(Total Shloks:42)
For the human being to remember the imporatnce of God Shri Krishna talks about his influence in this chapter and says,
"Oh Arjuna! What is the use of you acquiring such detailed knowledge? I stand holding this entire universe with a single fragment of my manifested divine energy. Therefore, you should understand me through the basics of spirituality."
Eleventh Chapter: The Version of Krishna's Totality:(Total Shloks:55)
Shri Krishna bestowed Arjuna with divine eyes for he desires to be blessed by seeing the universal divine form of the Lord Shri Krishna. By seeing the Lord having uncountable hands-mouth-eyes and having never-ending number of forms, Arjuna not only feels surprised and excited but is also filled with fear. Then, Shri Krishna shows Arjuna his form with four hands(Chaturbhuja). Thereafter, by showing his normal human form again, Shri Krishna tells Arjuna to realize him, the Lord, by true devotion and dedication.
Twelveth Chapter: Devotion:(Total Shloks:20)
In this chapter, the importance of two types of devotion has been described, firstly worshipping Personal God and secondly realization of the Unmanifest Absolute. Also, the nature of love of God towards his devotee has been unfolded here.
Thirteenth Chapter: Knowing the Field:(Total Shloks:34)
It has been explained that body is a battlefield and the Soul is the warrior who has the knowldege and awareness of this battlefield. The body, the heart, and the world is the battlefield; and the warrior is the one who knows about this battlefield, has the divine energy, and is the witness. You are not the body, not the heart, not the mind, but you are the one who has the knowldedge of all these entities.
Fourteenth Chapter: The Triad of Nature's Qualities:(Total Shloks:27)
Here the three qualities of nature: Satva (lucidity, balance of mind or wisdom), Rajas (passion, activity or restlessness) and Tamas (inertia or dullness) have been described. At any time the behaviour of a person is determined by the degree of influence of any of these qualities on him. At times a man appears to be noble, and at other times he appears to be selfish or mean. His attitude and appearence is determined by the quality of nature which is influencing his thoughts at that particular time. Verily, the Soul which is the foundation of all these qualities remains unchanged, stationary, and un-deformed. But man assumes himself to be like his appearence because he identifies himself with his body and mind, and is influenced by the triad of nature. If one wants to realize the imperishable form and wants to acquire the knowledge of soul, then lucidity should be increased. Lucidity increases in a truthful environment, by eating easily digestible pure and light food, and by being in the company of lucid friends. Lucidity leads to the birth of ultimate knowledge.
Fifteenth Chapter: The True Spirit Of the Man:(Total Shloks:20)
This chapter gives the knowledge of the truely blissful lively supreme soul. Nothing is more superior than this supreme soul. Shri Krishna says,
"...Those who are not foolish reach the supreme state. The sun cannot brighten the self-illumined form of the supreme state, neither can the moon or the fire illuminate this supreme state. Reaching this supreme state a person does not come back to the never ending cycle of birth and death. This state is the supreme place where I'm prevalent."
Sixteenth Chapter: The Divine and The Demonic:(Total Shloks:24)
This chapter describes the characterstic traits of people having divine or demonic qualities. The divine traits lead to freedom, but the demonic lead to bondage. One must accept the norms of tradition in judging what to do or avoid and not just fulfill one's own desires.
Seventeenth Chapter: Three Aspects of Faith:(Total Shloks:28)
These chapter explains about the three types of faith in the super natural. The persons with darkly inert faith pray to the ghosts/devils to fulfill their selfish materialistic motive. Such persons acquire some super-human powers and misuse that power for very unrighteous causes. The persons with passionate faith pray to the angels for going to heaven after death. But the soul is the angel of angels and supreme in nature. All those who desire and act to realize this supreme soul, who do not care about the pleasures of earth or heaven, who believe that their soul is the blissful form and they they themselves are the soul and the not body, who desire to realize the "I AM THAT"(So-hum) state, they are the ones who have lucid faith. Such persons are able to go beyond the cycle of life and death. The person with lucid faith never complains and the person with darkly inert faith becomes an extremist and atheist.
Eighteenth Chapter: The Wondrous Dialogue Concludes:(Total Shloks:78)
This is the concluding chapter of the great Shrimad Bhagvad Geeta. "Shri Krishna says,
"Relinquishing all sacred duties to me, make me your only refuge; do not grieve, for I shall free you from all evils."
Here Shri Krishna describes his love for the devotees who have completely surrendered to him and promises of relinquishing the fear of such humble devotees. The greatness of the devotee and the God is undescribeable.
Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta is the key to self realization. To acquire true devotion in life time and freedom after death, practise and follow the contents of this epic. If one desires to acquire the perfect happiness and freedom while still living in this ever changing world full of troubles and mysteries, then Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta has this knowledge, acquiring which not only can you experience the feeling of freedom in this life but you can take others also to the road to supreme bliss and satisfaction.