Values: Commitment & Mastery or Management of Mind (135)


Lesson 135 is Value 7, 8, 9. Commitment to your highest value. Management of the mind.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 7.


    • Acceptance without resistance, choiceless situations of life. Meaning, intelligently working WITH the present situation, rather then turning it into an enemy.
      • EG:
        • Covering wrinkles with powder doesn’t actually make you younger. Thus accept age.
        • Come home tired… but pet, spouse and children want attention.
    • Straightforwardness.
    • Matching close as possible what you think and say/do. Otherwise split personality. EG:What’s wrong? Nothing!
    • Service to teacher, knowing their role matters in reference to your aim in life.
    • Why need a teacher/guru/ācārya for mokṣa?
      • Teacher conveys meaning of śruti sentences. Without him/her, śruti cannot be understood. It’s said, Jñāna without guru is inadequate for moksha, because it's not śruti that conveys, but sampradāya (methodology). Without guru, the śruti sentences seem contradictory. That’s why few have tolerance towards the sacred books.
    • In operation of śruti-pramāṇa, you are not the kartā (doer) or listener.
      • Scriptures operate like instrument of sight. If eyes are open, knowledge takes place of eyed-object.
      • If ears work and rain falls, one gains knowledge of “rain”, whether want to or not.
      • Similarly, śruti (scriptures) is an instrument for self. But it’s unable to convey accurately, unless it’s words are handled by an objective expounder. Else ahaṅkāra interprets per likes/dislikes.
    • Inner/Outer-Cleanliness.
    • External: Adjusting an external environment that cultivates healthy thoughts, and encourages an organized mind.
      • External surroundings can sustain old associations/ways. Making it impractical for learning.
    • Internal: Cleaning-up inner house of thoughts/perceptions.
      • Reasons to clean up the mind:
        1. Keeping an engaged, active, healthy mind = fulfilling life.
        2. When person is happy (meaning full light of dharma is shining on the mind), one is compelled to reconcile differences with one’s enemies. Because there is perception of CLARITY.
          • Similarly, after death, jīvātmā is compelled to reconcile unresolved issues (out of love for itself), because it inherently understands, “All those I’ve hurt, are myself”. Thus incarnates again.
        3. Self-knowledge can’t prove itself to your mind, unless it’s manifested via thoughts, actions… in form of values (that represent self-knowledge).
          • EG: Sports person can’t realize his potential unless competes. Similarly, self-knowledge can’t be fully actualized unless practiced in real-world through thought, word, actions.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 7:

Value 7: Śaucam: Inner and outer cleanliness or purity


  • How to APPLY inner-cleanliness when experiencing:
      • Reinterpret the meaning.
      • What specific action/word is bothering you?
      • Pratipakṣa-bhāvanā: “Yes, they treated me like THIS, but maybe person was intolerant that day because someone treated them cruelly. “
      1. Selfless:
        • You’re of little concern to yourself. Always thinking of others. Constantly letting-go.
          • EG: Yuddhisthira towards Duryodhana.
        • This goes against natural program, because you’re the center of life while alive.
          • When people say “Don’t lose your center”, it means, “Remember the value of possessing a human body”.
      2. Selfish:
        • Ignore needs of others. Protect self-interest. EG: Duryodhana.
      3. Noble:
        • Recognize, “I’m the center of my life”. But not totally self-absorbed (narcissist). Sensitive to needs of others.
        • Contributing to your/others welfare.
          • Because when giving to others, it’s impossible to NOT be compensated (future).
    3. ENVY:
      • Comparing yourself to another, who has more of something which you consider important.
        • EG: Soccer player can’t feel envious of #1 swimmer.
      • Antidote:
        • Appreciate how hard person worked to enjoy their position. Helps you recognize what you value.
        • Person is good at one thing, but shortcomings in another. But you see them superior in everything.
        • You too have brilliant qualities desired by many.
      • Common complaint to justify envy: He/she is born privileged.
        • Everyone is given capacity to KNOW, DESIRE, ACT. (jñāna, iccha, kriyā śakti)
          • EG: Oprah Winfrey born into poverty to single teen mother. Molested as child. Pregnant 14. Son died. She took responsibility > billionaire.
    4. HAPPINESS: (Correcting distortions)
      • 3 levels toward happiness…
        • Level 1: Uneducated.
          • When others are unhappy, I’m unhappy.
          • Deformed:
            • When others are unhappy, I’m happy (other’s suffering makes me accept my suffering better). IE: Deriving comfort from other’s misfortunes.
            • EG:
              • Person falls and says, “I broke my finger, but that person broke his leg!”.
              • Immobile grandma takes joy in Covid-lockdown, because it makes entire nation immobile.
        • Level 2: Empathy.
          • When others happy, I’m happy.
          • When others suffering, it impacts me… hence I do something to help. Because others comfort is my comfort.
        • Level 3: Active contribution (Karma-Yoga).
          • Consciously and innocently contributing to well-being of others. Because helping others is helping myself.
      • SUMMARY: What gives you happiness, defines how evolved you are.


Value 8: Sthairyam: Steadfastness / Commitment / Perseverance

* Starts at: 39:31

  • What is steadfastness (sthairyam)?
    • Self-motivation. Capacity to remain committed throughout tough/discouraging times.
    • Despite curiosity for many things, duties in world, ups/downs… one’s commitment in something/someone remains unshakable.
  • Everyone has perseverance in something.
    • EG: Complaining “I lack perseverance!”, eating, exercise, hobby, work, cleaning house/garden, design, games, etc…
  • Suppose we desire persistence in something valuable/good, but lack regular-consistent involvement. What could be some reasons? Why do we give up easily in some things?
    1. Weak emotional connection. Inadequate attachment.
      • SOLUTION: Make it fun. Introduce some variety. Bring in emotion with music. Reward yourself after small successes.
    2. Why” isn’t big enough. It’s not a “MUST” yet, because unclear about the benefits/relevance to you.
      • SOLUTION:
        • Discover what qualities should X have for it to become a MUST for you?
          • How to discover? Ask, “What makes eating-sleeping a MUST?”. EG: Painful future consequences.
    1. Mind perceives challenge as overwhelming. Intimidated. Task is bigger then your confidence.
      • SOLUTION:
        • Break down the task/endeavour into digestible portions.
          • One word at a time. Sentence. Verse. Page. Chapter. Book.
        • Change attitude towards the challenge. It’s an opportunity to stretch/bloom further.
    1. Involved in too many things. Comes from fear of missing out on other things. Hence doesn’t master anything.
      • SOLUTION:
        • Infer: You’ve already said/done/tasted everything imaginable in previous lifetimes. Decide this lifetime be of FOCUS/MASTERY on 1-2 things.
        • Come to accept, no matter how much you experience… end of life, it was all an infinitesimal speck within infinity.
        • What brings contentment in life is fewer things done immersively. Rather then many things done shallowly.
          • EG: Some years ago, hot-topic was multitasking. Today it's mindfulness (focus on one thing at a time).
    1. Negative association to change/improvement. Meaning mind invented story how it’s pointless committing.
      • SOLUTION: Ask, “If there was a story, what would it be?”. Write it out.
    2. Addiction (binding likes/dislikes to particular object). It kills encouragement to do something different.
      • Being alive… compels self-expression. Self-expression = likes/dislikes = no problem. EG: Cook/designer.
      • Problem is when likes/dislikes convert to “I HAVE TO, or else!”. Binding.
        • Makes person sacrifice ahiṃsā, so one cuts corners. Comes at expense of self-hate.
      • SOLUTION:
        • Say, “I don’t have to! Why do I have to?”. Evaluate what absolutely need? Air, food, shelter.
        • Be firm with binding likes/dislikes. Say, “No!”.
        • Understand: You’re not here to hang around. But ACT (participate & contribute). Acting promotes growth. Growth demands commitment. Commitment cultivates contentment.
  • Why don’t we apply suffice sthairyam (dedication / commitment) in spirituality?
    • Because spirituality (more often then not) is presented partially or out of context.
      • EG:
        • Mr X one said, “You can’t do anything about Enlightenment. It’s out of your control”.
        • One-liner FB posts.
        • Chasing highs.
        • Living in Sanskrit
    • SOLUTION: Redefine what “spirituality” means. It means:
      • HARD, HARD work until last breath. Relooking at every area of life, dispassionately.
      • Converting every opportunity at home/work, into opportunity for inquiry (Karma-Yoga).
        • EG: Even after Arjuna received discourse from Krishna (Lord’s words)… Arjuna went to heaven (didn’t end cycle of rebirth). Meaning merely listening to BGita is insufficient. Follow it up with ongoing contemplation.
  • Examples where Steadfastness (Persistence) is Needed:
    1. Relationships:
      • Partner-A suddenly points out some improper act of Partner-B. Partner-B feels confronted, and Partner-A decides to keep quiet for sake of sustaining harmony.
      • This approach doesn’t sustain harmony, because Partner-A feels uncomfortable inside, which comes out in subtle behaviours.
        • EG: Yuddhisthira kept quiet regarding Duryodhana’s adharmic-acts, to sustain superficial harmony.
    2. Raising Children & Teaching them Dharma:
      • Make it LESS of a lecture. And focus on the question, “How can I make this RELEVANT to his/her stage of life?”. Speak their language.
        • EG:
          • Demonstrate how dharma helps them achieve goals. How it increases chance of a cheerful tomorrow.
          • Show them case studies of those who lost perspective, who didn’t think twice before accepting an offer, who succumbed to peer pressure.
      • Help child see, “Behind your drive for ___, what is your real search?”. To be happy.
  • CONCLUSION: Steadfastness is capacity to continue our pursuit especially upon set backs/disappointments, whether empirical or imagined.


Value 9: Ātmavinigraha: Mastery or Management of Mind

* Starts at: 1:11:20

  • What is ātmavinigraha referring to?
    • Ātmā: Gross/Subtle Body. Not referring to Awareness.
    • Vinigraha: Mastery / management.
    • Therefore, self-mastery / self-management of 17 instruments.
      • 5 organs of action.
      • 5 organs of perception.
      • 5 prāṇās.
      • Manaḥ: Emoting / remembering / doubting.
      • Buddhi: Thinking.
  • What are EXAMPLES of ātmavinigraha?
    • Universal Example:
      • In Katha Upaniṣad:
        • 5 Horses: Should be tamed/obedient. 5 sense organs.
        • Reins (attached to horses): Should be firmly gripped/steering by the driver. Mind.
        • Driver: Driver should be informed.
    • Situational Examples:
      • Suppose wish to sit for 1 hour continue yesterday’s work. But restless. Need to get up often. Overcoming this need to fidget/move is ātmavinigrahaḥ.
      • Sit down, but start taping leg up-down when topic is boring. Intentionally keeping leg still is ātmavinigrahaḥ.
  • Conclusion: Thus ātmavinigraha is asking, “Where are leaks throughout my individuality? Where is energy seeping out?”. Then plugging them one-by-one.


— NEXT SESSION: Value 9 continues. —


    • Value 1: amānitvam: Absence of demanding validation/respect.
    • Value 2: adambhitvam: Absence of pretense (making up stories).
    • Value 3: ahiṃsā: Deliberation of thought/word/action.
    • Value 4: kṣānti: Accommodation / Glad Acceptance of WHAT-IS.
    • Value 5: ārjavam: Straightforwardness (Alignment of thought/word/action).
    • Value 6: ācāryopāsanam: Service to teacher.
    • Value 7: śaucam: Inner & outer cleanliness.
    • Value 8: sthairyam: Steadfastness (Persistence).
    • Value 9: ātmavinigraha: Mastery or Management of Mind


Keywords: atma-vinigraha, atmavinigraha, death, horses, jivatma, kathopanishad, review process, shruti-pramana


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

Recorded 20 July, 2021


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