Gita essays 28
In the previous chapter 15 Lord Krishna talked about Athma jnanam, Self-knowledge which is the direct means for liberation. Now In chapter 16 Lord Kṛiṣhṇa discusses the values to be adopted by a seeker to make the mind fit for absorbing the knowledge when received from a Guru as Vedanta becomes a pramaṇa (means of knowledge) only for a prepared mind. Lord divides all mental traits into two groups; daivi-sampat, qualities conducive to Self-knowledge and asuri-sampat, qualities that are obstacles to spiritual pursuit. Generally speaking all satvic qualities come under the daivi-sampat, divine qualities, while rajasic and tamasic traits come under the asuri-sampat, demoniac traits. Divine qualities are the virtues to adopt and Lord Kṛiṣhṇa lists them in verses 1 to 3, as follows:
Abhayaam – Fearlessness; Fear is the expression of ignorance and where there is knowledge there is fearlessness. Abhayam also stands for spiritual courage, the inner courage to face all the problems that come in the path of spiritual pursuit.
Satvasamsuddhih - Purity of heart; honesty of intentions and purity of motives.
Jnanayogavyavasthitih - Steadfastness in Knowledge and Yoga; ethical purity is difficult to achieve when the mind is turned outward. When it is turned inward it can be trained to renounce worldly desires. Through devotion to knowledge the mind can be persuaded to give up all low temptations and make it opt for the higher values of life and the joys of the inner renunciation.
Dhaanam – Charity; the capacity to restrain one's instinct of acquisition and attachment to wealth and replacing it with the spirit of sacrifice and sharing. Charity can be at the level of head and heart also and need not be merely at the material level. Sharing with others our sympathy and kindness and to distribute one's knowledge are also charities.
Damaha - Sense control; mastery over the sense-organs that enables one’s harnessing of physical and mental energy for the higher purposes of spiritual pursuit.
Yajna – Worship of the Lord; ceremonial worship as well as converting all one’s activities into acts of worship.
Swadhyaya - Study of the scriptures; which includes not only the regular study of scriptures but also the practice of their teachings.
Tapaha – Austerity: the denial of sensual temptations and concentrating on the divine.
Aarjavam – Straightforwardness; avoidance of disharmony in thoughts, words and actions.
Ahimsa – Harmlessness; this connotes not only physical non-injury but also verbal non-injury and avoidance of injury in the thought process itself. In so living any accidental or incidental injury caused in any action with pure and clean motives can do no lasting harm.
Sathyam – Truthfulness; as explained under straightforwardness earlier.
Akrodhaha - Absence of anger; the capacity to check anger as it arises and keep it under one’s control so that it does not manifest in actions, physical or verbal.
Thyagaha – Renunciation; vital to maintain an even temper on all occassions.
Shanthi – Peacefulness; keeping one’s equanimity in all conditions of life; stormy, stressful, joyous etc.
Apaisunam - Absence of crookedness; honesty of conviction and avoiding double-talk, full of devotion, love and sincerity to others.
Daya Bhutheshu- Compassion towards beings; Recognising the imperfections in others and loving them with their imperfections.
Aloluptvam – Uncovetousness; exercising self-control over sense enjoyments.
Maardavam - Gentleness; softness and kindness in attitude, absence of harshness and cruelty’.
Hreeh - Modesty; shyness, also a healthy sense of shame that prevents a person from doing wrong actions.
Achapalam - Absence of fickleness; economy of physical energy in any activity
Tejah - Vigour - This is not of the physical structure of the body but the brilliance of the seeker's intellect, his peaceful nature, quietitude in his activities and his love for all.
Kshamaa – Forgiveness; implies unruffled serenity even in the face of powerful oppositions and provoking situations in life.
Dhritih – Fortitude; strength of faith, conviction of the goal, consistency of purpose, vivid perception of the ideal and the spirit of sacrifice in the task undertaken.
Saucham – Purity; purity of thoughts and motives, purity of environments, cleanliness of habits and personal belongings.
Adroha - Non-hatred; It implies not only absence of hatred but also absence of even a vague desire to injure any living creature.
Natimanita - without exaggerated self-opinion; without notions of exaggerated self-importance and self-honour and without any pride..
These ethical qualities, when pursued sincerely, will contribute to the discovery of the Divine in oneself. After enumerating daivi-sampat, Lord proceeds to discuss asuri-sampat more elaborately starting with a brief enumeration of these demoniac traits in verse 4.
Dambha - Hypocrisy; with reference to dharma, pretending to be a dharmic person, while leading an adharmic way of life.
Darpah – Arrogance; pride in one's learning, wealth, social status or family connections.
Abhiman - Self-conceit; a life of imagined self-importance’
Krodha – Anger; a person of self-conceit looking at the world and finding that its estimate of him is totally different from his own he revolts within and hence gets angry over everything around him.
Parushyam – Harshness; opposite of mardavam; harsh, hurtful, sarcastic and insensitive in one’s speech and behaviour.
Ajnanam – Self-ignorance; knows not and also knows not he knows not which gives rise to self-delusion, self-conceit, arrogance and anger