Overcoming Hindering Emotions Through Virtues: Austerity, Renunciation, Tranquility (166)


Lesson 166 re-emphasizes a hard-to-digest truth, intellectual understanding of “tat tvam asi” remains partial long as emotional loads remain. An equanimous emotional make-up is crucial for our contentment, successful dealings and clarity of mind.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 1, 2


  • CH16 is about bridging gap between understanding (vijnanamaya-kosha) and feeling “it” (manomaya-kosha). Until then, there remains a discord/disagreement.
    • The mind which digests the knowledge of reality has 2 parts: Manas (temper, mood) and Buddhi (captures/makes sense of abstract concepts). They are 2 different mechanism, yet entwined. Meaning one may cognitively (buddhi) understand the function and presence of the Order (that maintains the universe), yet continue to be governed by emotional loads of the past (manas), therefore remain untouched by what is understood cognitively.
      • EG: Told as child, “If you don’t fall asleep quickly, ghosts will take you”. Carries into adult hood. Person has trouble falling asleep, even with self-knowledge that “I am the substratum of the ghosts”. This is because knowledge hasn’t sufficiently peculated throughout one’s being.
        • IE: Time-lag between understanding and emotional loads going away.
      • EG 2: A bright fella took up a 3.5 year course with Swami Dayananda. Had great intellectual capacity. But went through lot of emotional pain in the course due to his past. He explained he didn’t know his true parents. Was adopted by abusive father. One day was beaten so badly, he ran away to Rishikesh, Ashram. Eventually heard of the course and joined. But soon lamented “How could this Order be infallible, when I went through so much suffering?”.  His intellect started rationalizing on bases of emotional mind, “If this teaching worked, my suffering would’ve lessoned!”. So his emotional-mind sabotaged the cognitive-understand of the Order. He was eventually convinced to stay and finish his studies.
    • Why bridge the gap between understanding and emotional maturity?
      • If the Order were to have qualities, it would be dānam, damaḥ (as discussed in CH13, 16). If jiva’s values of the unconscious past (memory) are in conflict with Order’s values (divine values), then the jiva can’t receive the full benefits of the Order.
      • System is setup in such a way that it doesn’t give you break until you align your values with that of the Order.
      • In society, measure of success is: (a) money (b) status in society (c) luxury items. Nowhere does it mention “emotional maturity”. Meaning we need to attend to emotional maturity.
  • CONCLUSION: The more we’re aligned are the microcosmic values to that of the Macrocosmic, the more we’re relaxed. The more relaxed the more it allows unconscious to surface at full force.
    • Error most make is panic, believing things are getting worse.
    • Instead, when unconscious stuff surfaces, bring in the knowledge of the Order. Look at it objectively. Investigate into it’s source. This act is what disintegrates the emotional-force.

Resuming: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16 Verse 1:

  • Svādhyāyaḥ: Scriptural Study.
    • 2 kinds of scriptural-pursuits:
      • Śabha-āvṛttiḥ: Repetition of words. Either for (a) Familiarizing with scriptures (b) Reminding what already understood.
      • Artha-āvṛttiḥ: Repetition with purpose (contemplation). Takes longer. Patience needed.
  • Tapaḥ:
    • Mindfully going through a painful experience, for toughening one’s body-mind. Builds tolerance.
    • How increased tolerance benefits?
      • Big things become small/invisible.
      • More tolerable towards inconveniences out of our control.
      • Pain is a teacher. If we can’t stand it for long time, we can’t learn. Contentment is a consequence of learnings gained in times of great pain.
        • EG: CH1 (Arjuna-viṣāda-yogaḥ); Arjuna’s suffering got him to reassess value of life and begin inquiring existential questions.
      • PRACTICE: Give up a certain comfort for X days. EG: Deliberately resist temptation to eat (when readily available).
  • Ārjavam: Straightforwardness / Integrity.
    • Thought, word, deed are congruent. All my personalities are getting along.
    • If not congruent, will feel inner-anxiety; product of personalities in disagreement.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16 Verse 2:

ahiṃsā satyam akrodhaḥ tyāgaḥ śāntiḥ apaiśunam ।
dayā bhūteṣu aloluptvam mārdavam hrīḥ acāpalam ॥ 16-2॥

Non-injury (Ahiṃsā), Truthfulness in words (satyam), Management of anger (akrodhaḥ), Renunciation (tyāgaḥ), Tranquillity (śāntiḥ), Avoidance of slander/defamation (Apaiṣunam), Kindness to all beings (Dayā bhūteṣu), Freedom from temptation (Aloluptvam), Gentleness (Mārdavam), Modesty (Hrīḥ), Freedom from restlessness (Acāpalam)  — all these are there for the one who is born to the wealth of devas.

  • Ahiṃsā: Non-injury.
    • Himsa:
      • Anything unhealthy fed to your body-mind. What’s unhealthy? You’ll know after it’s done; it’ll show up as guilt/regret/discontent.
      • Hurting others in form of selfishness.
        • EG: Loudness (generally anything that forces others to notice like dangerous driving manouver / noise-pollution), revenge (getting back at society), dominating, sadistic.
      • General rule about universal order of non-injury: Doers actions go in doers bank account. Doer can only withdraw (karma-phalam) the quality of actions in his/her bank.
        • Deposit disregard for environment, that’s what’s withdrawn in future.
        • Deposit consideration for other’s needs, that’s what’s withdrawn in future.
      • EXCEPTION: There are moments when non-violence fails, as case with Duryodhana/Ravana or dentist. In which case, only solution is violence.
      • ANIMALS: How one perceives or treats animals is often accurate indicator of ahimsa.
        • EG: In scriptures, saints are often portrayed surrounded by animals. Indicates saint’s pure intentions.
          • Lions and tigers followed Shri Caitanya Mahaprabu (a Vaishnava saint and social reformer in eastern India, 1486-1534 ACE) as he danced through the forest singing the name of the Lord.
  • Satyam: Truthfulness in words.
    • To be honest/truthful, is to speak as IT is seen, known and heard… without either exaggeration/embellishment or omission of what you know.
      • At same time, when speaking truth, words should be: appropriate (timely + consider their mood), pleasant (right tone / build-up), and beneficial (informative) to well-being of others.
    • Speaking truth also involves keeping promises, as portrayed by Yudhishthira.
    • Otherwise, speaking untruth causes a knower-doer Eventually we lose trust in ourselves, saying “What’s the point of committing (knower) to anything; when I won’t follow up (doer)”.
  • Akrodhaḥ: Control of anger.
    • What is anger?
      • It’s mental condition (things are not going according to my standards / expectations). This inner discontent comes out in form of shouting, hitting, insensitivity.
      • Like physical pain, anger is an indicator that I need to reassess my perception towards X.
    • SOLUTION: Anger management: Before it’s voiced out, let it pass through discrimination filter.
  • Tyāgaḥ: Renunciation.

    • 2 fold…
    • Sannyasa: Taking monastic lifestyle.
    • Dispassion (vairāgyam):
      • Right attitude towards possessions. “All THIS was here before I was born, and will be someone else’s after I’m gone”.  EG: Even your-house will be someone else’s in future. / Car’s crushed as unwanted scrap, yet owner was obsessed over it some time in past.
  • Śāntiḥ: Tranquillity.

    • How is tranquillity attained? Life is guided by buddhi. And buddhi holds knowledge that contentment lies in doing your svadharma.
      • When buddhi is not aligned to svadharma, senses attractions take precedence, taking away tranquillity. In fact, pursuing sense objects implies discontent right now, else would not be pursuing.
    • Why is inner peace important? Clarity of thought can only be born in a peaceful environment. Because noise opposes clarity/silence. So what is clarity? It’s a silent mind in which wisdom can take place.


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

Recorded 12 April, 2022


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