Five Paths to Managing Unhealthy Desires & Moksha is the Only Path (171)


Lesson 171 lists behaviors of those with a false/partial perception of truth & their destiny after death. 5 paths for redirected desire to higher means. Scriptures are valid means of knowledge.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24


Verse 7-21 speaks of the causes that develop insecurity, anxiety, bitterness, anger, inadequacy, meaningless-less, confusion, inability to sustain one's natural state of cheerfulness/contentment.

All these are products of bypassing one's relative growth, at cognitive/emotional level. Or living through partial lens, meaning inner psychology is too busy attaching past meaning onto NOW.

For example Draupadi saw Duryodhana come out of the bath (few clothes on), and started to laugh at him. Duryodhana felt humiliated and contributed to him wishing her to be disrobed in the open assembly.

Or from Pañcatantra, book 5 (aparīkṣitakārakam). Story entitled “Bramana's wife and the loyal Mongoose”.

  • STORY: Brahmana’s wife and the loyal mongoose.
    Brahmana’s wife gave birth to a son. Same day, a female mongoose gave birth, but died from labour pains. Brahmana’s wife reared the young mongoose, by feeding and nourishing it. But never trusted it, thinking it may attack her son one-day. One day, she laid son on bed and entrusted husband to care. She went with a pitcher to fetch river-water. Brahmana went out for begging alms. A black cobra appears. Being an enemy of mongoose, it was cut into pieces. Mongoose goes before the mother, with bloodied mouth/fur, to proudly display it’s accomplishment. Mother thinking mongoose killed her son, dashes the water-filled pitcher on the mongoose and kills it. She runs into house, seeing son was saved by the mongoose, she starts crying. After the husband came home, she rebuked him for abandoning his son.

CONCLUSION: In all examples, it shows how we find ingenious ways to justify the status quo of our established beliefs and retain our old behavioural patterns. We twist what we learn in order to convince ourselves that we have understood. In actually, it's a defense mechanism to abide in our comfort zone. Therefore constant willingness to look into ourselves and challenge our existing framework, is crucial to our transformation.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 17:

ātma-sambhāvitāḥ stabdhāḥ dhana-māna-mada-anvitāḥ ।
yajante nāma-yajñaiḥ te dambhena avidhi-pūrvakam ॥ 16-17॥
Honoured by themselves, arrogant, and full of vanity and haughtiness due to wealth, they pretentiously worship through nominal yajñās, disregarding the scriptural rules.

  • [Whole line 1] ātma-sambhāvitāḥ stabdhāḥ dhana-māna-mada-anvitāḥ; Giving honour to themselves, and excessively proud of their identity/knowledge/accomplishments/money, what is their attitude towards religion/sprituality?
  • yajante nāma-yajñaiḥ te dambhena avidhi-pūrvakam; either:
    • They use religious yajnas with intention of increase their name, status, wealth.
    • It’s done to appear religious for sake of gaining public trust, OR to win favour of religious figures.
    • When materialistic oriented mind indulges in artha/kāma, it always generates pride, leading to insensitivity towards others existence.
    • Such individual doesn’t bother about one’s language, nor following customs/tradition, nor honouring others (unless he see agenda).
    • Furthermore, violating rules is justified as being independent, a strong person who doesn’t bow down to the “obedient” society.
    • Then sychophants build his pride. And pride and Bhakti can never go together. EG: Ravana.
    • What’s more, pride/superiority repels gurus. So there’s no one to save him/her.
  • NEXT VERSE: They experience feelings of hatred (strong disapproval) towards God…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 18:

ahaṃkāram balam darpam kāmam krodham ca saṃśritāḥ ।
mām ātma-para-deheṣu pradviṣantaḥ abhyasūyakāḥ ॥ 16-18॥
 Given to egoism, power, arrogance, desire and anger, these slanderers hate Me (who is) in the body of themselves and others.

  • TRANSLATION: Given to power, arrogance, desire and anger (further eroding devotion)… these slanderers hate Me (who is) in the body of themselves and others. They hate the one (God) who is blessing his/her very mind.
  • NEXT VERSE: Destiny of asura/rakshasa after physical death…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 19:

tān aham dviṣataḥ krūrān saṃsāreṣu narādhamān ।
kṣipāmi ajasram aśubhān āsurīṣu eva yoniṣu ॥ 16-19॥
I throw those haters (of Me, who are) not pious, cruel, (and) the lowliest among human beings, perpetually into āsūra wombs which lead to further samsāra.

    • Verse 7-21 is speaking about the fate of those whose primary concern is money (artha) and feeling-good (kāma).
      • These types are further divided into:
        • (a) asura (Raja guna dominant; causes spiritual stagnation), and…
        • (b) rakshasa (Tama guna dominant; causes spiritual regression).
    • Reality is all have mixture of deva/asura/rakshasa. EG:
      • We help others, perhaps reluctantly.
      • We speak truth when doing so won’t hurt us.
      • We give away for free, but stuff we don’t want/like.
      • We’re kind to some, spiteful to others.
      • We accept presence of Lord, but doubt His promise of liberation (as stated in śāstra).
      • We love being good, but don’t mind being naughty once in a while.
  • ahaṃ kṣipāmi tān dviṣataḥ āsuriṣu; I throw those haters (of Me) into asura wombs.
    • Since asuras/rakshasas used their body-minds against the will of God (which is contribution and honest living), next life I give them either inferior human/animal/plant body, or send them to lower time-space realm.
  • NEXT VERSE: What is the life like of a reborn asura/rakshasa?

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 20:

āsurīm yonim āpannāḥ mūḍhāḥ janmani janmani ।
mām aprāpya eva kaunteya tataḥ yānti adhamām gatim ॥ 16-20॥
Entering the āsura wombs birth after birth, these stupid, indiscriminate people do not reach Me at all. They fall into still lower condition, Oh Arjuna!

  • āpannaḥ āsurī yonim; Entering the asuri womb (body), mūḍhāḥ aprāpya mām eva; the indiscriminate one’s do not reach Me [because of binding adharmic samskaras were developed in past life and are carried over].
    • This “carrying over of samskaras” explains why some are innocently attracted to clean/impure things in each life.
  • SUMMARY: Their adharma is perpetuating. Adharmic samskara > no dharmic person wants to be around them > they continue exercising adharmic samskara.  Thus getting further away from isvara-srishti, and more into jiva-srishti.
    • That’s why saying “no” FIRST TIME to things (which don’t support your values) is crucial. Second time is already a potential addiction. First time = free will. Second time = samskara.
  • NEXT VERSE: What specific traits pulled them down the farthest?…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 21:

trividham narakasya idam dvāram nāśanam ātmanaḥ ।
kāmaḥ krodhaḥ tathā lobhaḥ tasmāt etat trayam tyajet ॥ 16-21॥
Desire, anger and greed — this threefold gateway to hell is the cause of one’s own destruction. Therefore one should give up these three.

  • What 3 traits pulled them down to naraka (hell)? Kāmah krodhaḥ lobhaḥ; Desire, anger and greed.
    1. Desire [for material objects or circumstances to turn out according to expectations].
      • Overcoming Desire:
        1. Path of Knowledge:
          • Enquire whether objects have happiness. A finite object can only deliver finite happiness.
          • Immediately redirect attention to something BIGGER.
          • Think about how objects make you dependent, and produce maintenance-anxiety.
        2. Path of Sense Restraint
          • Deliberately control what data senses are exposed to. Prevents triggering the samskaras.
          • Before removing yourself physically, attempt 3 step formula in this order:
            1. Change (change your perception; perhaps you missed something, then attempt to change the situation).
            2. See if it’s worth staying (IE: pluses outweigh the minuses). If not, then…
            3. Remove yourself from it.
        3. Path of Devotion:
          • Redirect your desire, and greed for union with God; just as Gopīs (milk-maids of Vrindavan) did towards Krishna.
          • Redirect anger towards God, expressing your desire to know Him, to end this cycle of rebirth once-and-for-all.
          • Prayer, which is means of developing relationship with Divinity.
        4. Path of Action (Karma Yoga):
          • Accept whatever experience comes to you each day, is specifically cooked-up by Bhagavan just for you.
          • Do your duty wholeheartedly, but remember that results of your actions may come back years later, or not even in this lifetime. But they will come.
        5. The Path of Meditation (Dhyāna-yoga)
          • In meditation, dormant samskaras will pop into the mind. When merely witness them, without acting upon them, that very samskara loses grip.
    2. Anger [when desire is obstructed or expectations are not met].
    3. Greed [since senses and mind is numbed due to not being lubricated by dharma, they’re deluded thinking that MORE artha/kāma will bring some light into their dark world).
      • 2 types of greed: (a) Reluctance to share what I have (b) Insatiable desire for more.
  • Tasmāt tyajet etat trayam; Therefore give up these 3 poisons.
    • CAUTION: “Give up” means “convert”. Because nothing in the universe can be given up (eliminated); only transformed into a different state.
      • EG:
        • Convert DESIRE for feeling-good all the time, into desire that you’re released from rebirth this lifetime.
        • Convert greed for social-recognition, into greed for knowledge which helps your mind expand.
        • Convert desire to always know what to say, when to say, and how to say it… into that small area which you know you’re good at.
      • STEP 1: Convert rajasic/tamasic desires to sattvic-desires.
      • STEP 2: Convert sattvic-desires into non-binding. And non-binding is good as “no desire”.
  • CONCLUSION: Don’t need to worry about Anger/greed, as they’re effects of desire. EG: Obstructed desire = anger.


Verse 22-24: Conclusion

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 22:

etaiḥ vimuktaḥ kaunteya tamo-dvāraiḥ tribhiḥ naraḥ ।
ācarati ātmanaḥ śreyaḥ tataḥ yāti parām gatim ॥ 16-22॥
Oh Arjuna! Freed from these three gates of hell, a man pursues what is good for himself (and) thus attain the supreme goal.

  • Verse 22-24: Krishna says that merely living sattvic-traits (daivi-sampat; Verse 1-3) is NOT enough. Need to complete the circuit by pursuing goal of moksha.
    • DESIRE: We don’t want desires, we want FREEDOM from the pang/itch of bearing the pain of the desire that remains unfulfilled.
    • SECURITY: We don’t want possessions, but FREEDOM from uncertainty/anxiety of unknown. IE: Fear of future economic crash, hence to be FREE from that (imagined scenario), we pursue possessions.
    • DHARMA: We don’t wish to be wise for wisdom sake, but want FREEDOM from the guilt/shame experienced if dharma is not complied with. IE: “I’ll get into trouble if I do/say the wrong thing, hence I want to be free from that possibility”.
  • vimuktaḥ etaiḥ tribhiḥ; freed from these 3, then what? naraḥ ācarati śreyaḥ, tataḥ yāti parāṃ gatim; One pursues the path of the good, and [eventually] attains the supreme goal.
    • Krishna in this verse only says to convert asura-sampat to daiva-sampat, but doesn’t tell HOW. Because teaching is taking place in Vedic culture; whose lifestyle promotes the conversion.
    • Once conversion has taken place, Krishna says, “It’s my job to send him/her the guru that his/her trait is best suited for, since the person doesn’t know who is a proper guru”.
  • NEXT VERSE: Or else…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 23:

yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma-kārataḥ ।
na saḥ siddhim avāpnoti na sukham na parām gatim ॥ 16-23॥
Having given up the scriptural injunctions, he who lives according to the impulse of desire attains neither purity, nor happiness. He does not attain the supreme goal also.

  • Or else, utsṛjya śāstra-vidhim avāpnoti siddhim na sukham na parāṃ gatim; Having given up scriptural injunctions, living within his/her bubble of notions, attains neither purity (sees surface level), nor enjoys extended contentment, nor attains the supreme goal (lives with crude sense of “I’m separate from you”).
    • Meaning, one who discards the scriptures as valid means of knowledge, lives according to likes/dislikes. Over time senses are desensitised/numbed, hence unable to enjoy even one’s own possessions. And to compensate, they resort to BIGGER/LOUDER.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 24:

tasmāt śāstram pramāṇam te kārya-akārya-vyavasthitau ।
jñātvā śāstra-vidhāna-uktam karma kartum iha arhasi ॥ 16-24॥
Therefore, the scriptures are the source of knowledge for you in determining the do’s and don’ts. Having known the teaching of the scriptural injunctions, you should do your duty here.

  • Krishna says that scriptures are the valid means of knowledge since they are revealed by the Lord Himself.
    • Logic: Since Creator is all-knowing, there’s no a single thing He hasn’t accounted for. Meaning He must have ALREADY accounted for those individuals who wish to end their dualistic existence.
      • Thus the Creator must also establish and make available a manual for those seekers which reveals:
        • Nature of the universe.
        • Nature of Creator.
        • Nature of individual and purpose of his/her life.
        • Do’s and don’ts of conducting oneself.
      • That manual is called the Veda.
  • Jñātvā śāstra-vidhāna-uktam arhasi kartuṃ karma iha; Being exposed to the scriptural injunctions, your correct decision would be to practice them in this world.





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

Recorded 17 May, 2022


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