How to Solve Problems & Change Habits? Ideal Attitude In Challenges (116)


Lesson 116 revises importance of converting ownership (my __) to trusteeship. Lifestyle says nothing about your spirituality. How to change unproductive habits? Ideal attitude towards challenges in life. Your experience is made up of 3 factors. Remaining objective, whether honored or dishonoured. Freedom from specific results. Freedom from attachment.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 16, 17, 18


  • We spoke about converting sense of Ownership (“this is my life / spiritual journey / time”) to Trusteeship.
  • What is trusteeship? Recognize you are entrusted this body by the grand order, for a limited time.
    • Yes, it is “my body”, but only in sense of being given to me to be used in alignment with the very grand order that gave me this body.
    • What is this grand order? Ishvara in form of dharma.
    • And who is closest to Ishvara (hence dharma)? Jīvanmuktaḥ.
    • And what qualities does a jīvanmuktaḥ have? V13-19.
      • Lack of hating, seeing all as friends, accommodating various personalities, freedom from intolerance, lack of emotional dependence, careful not to provoke unnecessary agitation.
    • Suppose you’re after mokṣa, and yet agitated by the environment (Ishvara).
      • EG: My spouse/work is an obstruction to MY liberation. I’m agitated towards them.
        • Mindset of Ownership: Since this is my body, my life, my time… and spouse/work is denying what’s MINE… then they are perceived as an obstruction.
          • Ironically, this attitude leads to regression, because you’re rejecting what’s INFRONT OF YOU.
            • Spouse/work is the very thing you need to dissolve your resistance with, in order to spiritually progress. Thus they’re actually a blessing.
            • If leave spouse/work, then new narratives are born in mind, because so much free time. So there’s no way out. Because you carry the agitated mind with you.
          • Mindset of Trusteeship: The grand order is much more intelligent then my mind. Meaning I’m exactly in the right place, right now.
            • Your only duty is to extract the lessons from what’s present in your life now.
            • While the actual events/people are what’s coordinated by the grand order.
  • Therefore what defines your spirituality is your relationship with what you have/don’t have, and not what you should/shouldn’t have.
    • EG: In Mahabharata, there are 3 wise people:
      • Krishna: Colourful, active, joyful.
      • Vyasa: Renunciate.
      • Vidur: Prince.
      • Externally they are totally different (roles, lifestyle). But they are all WISE. Thus we can't attribute only Vyasa to “being wise”.
      • If don't know this, then will be frustrated all life, unable to express your talents/skills, thinking supposed to be like Vyasa.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 16:

Continuing this verse from last session…

anapekṣaḥ śuciḥ dakṣaḥ udāsīnaḥ gata-vyathaḥ ।
sarva-ārambha-parityāgī yaḥ mat-bhaktaḥ saḥ me priyaḥ ॥ 12-16॥
That devotee of Mine who is independent, pure, resourceful, efficient, impartial, undisturbed, and a renouncer of all actions is dear to Me.

  • CLEANLINESS: Śuciḥ, both external and internal cleanliness.
    • External: Clean office, home, healthy-body.
    • Internal:
      • How to change unproductive habits?
      • Write on sheet of paper ONE impure habit you’d like to reduce. Put as wallpaper, stick in office. Then resolve to do it 10% less today.
      • What is lacking in me, that's causing me to [UNDESIRED BEHAVIOR/HABIT]?
        • Have the need to be acknowledged/seen/respected.
        • Not put knowledge into practice.
        • Have unworthy feelings about myself.
      • What is it that I don't know, that if I knew, I would [BENEFIT].
        • Integrate knowledge faster.
        • Enjoy other’s success as my own.
        • Be more creative.
      • Ask these 3 questions before sleep:
        • 1) What have I learned today?
        • 2) What have I enjoyed today?
        • 3) What have I improved on or contributed today?
      • Pratipakṣa-bhāvana: Finding a lighter perspective of the heavy one.
        • EG: If perspective towards X is jealousy, then think “They deserve it because of their prior hard work”.
  • OBJECTIVITY: Dakṣaḥ, honouring your mind’s discriminative power (viveka śakti). Meaning assessing situations, and thus capable of performing actions with optimized efficiency and deliberation.
    • Contrast to saṃsāri who goes into 2 extremes:
      • Carried away emotionally, producing impulsive action. Loss of viveka. Aggressive.
      • Allowing oneself to be mistreated/exploited/walked over, in the name of being compassionate/forgiving. Submissive.
      • Dakṣaḥ is neither extreme. But Pausing. Assessing. Acting within the limits of your abilities.
    • Dakṣaḥ means jñāni’s vision is impersonal. “I only ACT within my limited sphere of influence, and leave everything else alone”.
  • INDIFFERENCE: Udāsīnaḥ, means “I am neither on YOUR side, nor YOUR side. Because I don’t belong to anyone”. Thus jñāni’s mind stands in-between BOTH, assessing BOTH sides, then responding accordingly.
    • EG: Often family stands up for each others opinion in front of non-relatives.
    • It also means: I choose to not get entangled in relative arguments (unless needed at work, domestic).
      • EG: What’s the oldest language in the world? Is there freewill? What is right and wrong? What is healthy eating? What you think of Mr D.Trump?
      • Because:
        1. My mind doesn’t have all-knowledge
        2. Relative topics are strictly between teacher-student
        3. Jñāni’s vision of the WHOLE is complete. If every object is made out of clay, then pot loses it’s fascination.
  • FREE FROM SORROW: Gatavyathaḥ, free from sorrow.
    • Jñāni understands that each experience is sculpted by 3 factors: (deśa) environment, (kāla) time, prārabdha (cause-effect). Thus unrealistic to look forward to constant bright future. Future is mixture of highs/lows.
    • All you can do is develop a HEALTHY ATTITUDE towards WHAT happens. What is the attitude?
      • Every experience is specially chosen for me to learn something from. It’s ordained by Ishvara in form of the 3 factors. And Ishvara knows NO injustice. Thus there’s no unjust event.
      • Therefore look at each event as a blessing, rather then “Why me?”.
  • GIVEN UP BINDING ACTIONS: Sarvārambha-parityāgī, given up binding actions. Meaning given up the need to keep doing karmas which I think will bring enjoyable results.
    • Logic:
      • Every action is finite. Every result is finite. My body-mind can only experience finite.
      • Finite + finite = finite. Thus life becomes struggle for MORE.
    • Jñāni’s mere existence is fulfillment itself, which can’t be topped by any karma-phalam.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 17:

yaḥ na hṛṣyati na dveṣṭi na śocati na kāṅkṣati ।
śubha-aśubha-parityāgī bhaktimān yaḥ saḥ me priyaḥ ॥ 12-17॥
The devotee who neither rejoices nor grieves, neither desires nor hates, and gives up good and evil is dear to Me.

  • NOT OVERPOWERED: yaḥ na hṛṣyati na śocati, not emotionally overpowered by elation nor depression.
    • Because jñāni appreciates that viveka śakti is the greatest gift only given to human species, thus doesn’t let emotional highs overshadow reasoning. Intellect is the guide of life. Emotions subserve to buddhi.
      • EG:
        • When Daśarath exiled Ram to forest, people of Ayodha/Lakshman overpowered by disappointment. Yet Ram remained composed.
        • Sadhaka has a intense emotional spiritual experience and doesn’t apply self-reflection, thus no learning.
    • As sādhana:
      • The least viveka to maintain is to know WHEN you’re losing your viveka.
      • Meaning never lose connection to your power of discretion. Just as angry person driving a car can’t afford to lose total self-control (else accident).
  • GIVEN UP INSISTENCE TO SPECIFIC RESULTS: na dveṣṭi na kāṅkṣati, freedom from expecting a SPECIFIC result from your past actions.
    • NOTE: It doesn’t mean that jñāni’s body-mind doesn’t have rāga/dveṣa (they’re natural part of having a human experience), but doesn’t INSIST on getting a specific karma-phalam.
      • EG: Even a wise person will express likes/dislikes when looking at restaurant menu.
  • GIVEN UP PUṆYA/PĀPA: śubha-aśubha-parityagī, mind has matured over the need to DO good action in hopes to enjoy future benefit. Because puṇyam is finite, thus exhausts eventually, then aftermath crash.
    • Also disinterested in pāpa-karma (taking advantages of loopholes/vulnerabilities of people), because nothing to gain.
    • Puṇya is golden shackle. Pāpa is iron shackle. Both shackles.
    • Whatever puṇya-karma jñāni does, it’s for sake of nididhyāsanam (antaḥkaraṇa śuddhi).

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 18:

samaḥ śatrau ca mitre ca tathā māna-apamānayoḥ ।
śīta-uṣṇa-sukha-duḥkheṣu samaḥ saṅga-vivarjitaḥ ॥ 12-18॥
He is the same towards friends and foes, as well as in honour and dishonour. He is the same in cold and heat as well as comfort and discomfort and is free from attachment.

  • ACCOMMODATING: Samaḥ śatrau mitre ca: Accommodating attitude towards all personality types. Has no need to mentally classify “Who I like and don’t like on bases of their past and present statements/actions”.
    • Because recognizes:
      1. Everyone’s behaviour are temporary and always in context. EG: Angry car driver could’ve been unfairly cheated by someone.
      2. Which specific behaviour.
      3. Behaviour is result of many past influences.
    • Thus when wise person receives Agreement OR Disagreement, he/she remains objective and friendly.
    • Although others may consider jñāni a likeable/dislikeable person, because saṃsāri’s vision is unconsciously dictated by rāga/dveṣa.
  • SAME IN DIS(RESPECT): Tathā māna-apamānayoḥ: Continues being factual, whether honoured of dishonoured.
    • Honoured/respected:
      • Flower can't help itself but to bloom. It's blossom commands respect without trying. Similarly, wise person can’t help but to shine insights. Respect is incidental.
    • Dishonoured:
      • To experience a sense of dishonour, means: You want people to treat you in certain way. You've rigidly defined what it means to receive “respect”.
        • Reality is:
          • 1) You may receive respect, according to your “rules”: (a) exact (b) opposite (c) more (d) less of.
          • 2) People are subject to moods. Thus so are their opinions. EG: Feeling good = neutral. Lousy = disrespectful.
          • 3) Cultural differences.
          • 4) Others show honor in different ways to your “rules”.
      • Why else jñāni remains objective towards honour/dishonour?
        • Because honour/dishonour is always in reference to mithyā names-forms. It’s like boxing ornaments into honorable/unhonourable. They’re all gold.
      • What about avatāras?
        • Even avatāra like Krishna/Rāma are subject to being dishonoured, no different then common man. Because it takes a relatively wise man to recognize another wise man.
        • RIDDLE: In some Vedic stories, when Lord is dishonoured, then Lord gives them Mokṣa. EG: Sugriv’s brother Bali was killed by Rām’s arrow.
          • Mokṣa in this case means “removal of impurities through gradual repentance/self-reflection”. Not Vedantic mokṣa (gained via ātmā-jñānam).
  • SAME IN HOT/COLD: Śīta uṣṇa sukha duḥkheṣu: Not thrown off by pairs of opposites (cold/hot), because dvanda (duality) is nature of reality from standpoint of vyāvahārika. EG: Pleasant/unpleasant. Up/down. Cold/hot. Union/separation. Strength/weakness.
    • How to NOT be thrown off by ongoing opposites? Focus on problem solving mode. Complaining only amplifies the opposite.
      • STEP 1: BREATH: Remain deliberately calm, like police. Because when emotion high, discrimination subsides and impulse kicks in. Best way, deliberately breath slower and deeper.
      • STEP 2: GET CLEAR ON THE SITUATION: What am I noticing? What seems to be out of place? Define the issue out-loud OR paper.
      • STEP 3: RE-FRAME: Could this be an opportunity calling me to see things differently?
      • STEP 4: IDEAL: What is the ideal outcome (which addresses the well-being of both parties)? Define it. Envision in.
      • STEP 5: DO: What one action can I apply TODAY to progress one step closer to the ideal outcome?
    • Lastly, can’t put life into any ONE formula. Spontaneously create as you go.
  • ATTACHMENT FREE: Saṅgavivarjitaḥ: free from attachment.
    • What is an attachment?
      • I need THIS to give me a sense of fullness/well-being.
      • If it’s not present, I immediately notice it’s absence, and start missing it.
    • Why is wise person free from need to control the environment (attachment)?
      • Because one’s own fullness is greater then any object’s capacity to match.
        • This also means, jñāni is free to go wherever is necessary for sake of fulfilling svadharma. Instead of being influenced by “where I want to live” or “being near friends I’ve made”.
      • As things come, take it as Bhagavān prasāda. Each experience is a teacher. An opportunity to learn something from so you can enjoy a milestone.
        • EG: We all want to grow. And yet, when we’re uncomfortable with X, we want to avoid it, thinking it’s a hindrance to my liberation. Thus unwilling to embrace the present.
          • And yet the present is the closest manifestation of Bhagavān.
        • However becoming comfortable with X is the very teaching you need to advance. Because you happen to be with X.
    • Dependence is reinforced culturally: You’re my better half. My life is empty without you. I need you.
      • Seeker questions these statements.
    • Reality check: it’s impossible to be completely un-attached to things while having a human experience. Thus saṅgavivarjitaḥ refers to binding attachments.


Keywords: antahkarana shuddhi, atma-jnanam, avatara, bhagavan-prasada, dasarath, dasharath, desa, desha, dvesha, jivanmukta, kala, mithya, papa-karma, prarabdha, pratipaksa-bhavana, pratipaksha, punya-karma, raga, samsari

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 9 March, 2021


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