Discipline & Mental Preparation Needed for Self-Knowledge (40)

Discipline & Mental Preparation Needed for Self Knowledge (40)


Lesson 40 revises basic discipline and quality of mental preparedness required for householder and/or renunciate (sannyasa)… to properly assimilate jnana-yoga (Self knowledge leading to Liberation). We also revise how our raga/dvesha (likes/dislikes) decide our world views – if left mismanaged.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, CH5 – verse 22-24

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 5, Verse 22:

ye hi saṃsparśajā bhogā duḥkhayonaya eva te |
ādyantavantaḥ kaunteya na teṣu Rāmate budhaḥ ||

Oh Arjuna ! Those pleasures which are born of contact are indeed sources of sorrow only, (because) they have a beginning and an end. The wise (person) does not revel in them.


  • Kṛṣṇa speaks of universal human problem in this verse.
  • Every sense object which contacts sense organ, is capable of giving pleasure/fulfillment/happiness (bhogāḥ/sukhaṃ).
  • All pleasures are born out of sense objects. Basically any worldly object is capable of giving sense pleasure to one person or another. This is is described in “saṁsparśajā bhogā”, meaning:
    • Pleasures and joys are BORN out of contact / interaction between: (1) Sense organs (eg: visual, auditory organ), and (2) Sense object (eg: sunrise).
    • Meaning, mere presence of just sense object OR just sense organs, can't give pleasure. They both need to interact.
  • Problem regarding “saṁsparśajā bhogā” as described above: Every pleasure is mixed with pain also.
    • And there are 3 types of pains, in correct order, each more painful then previous: (1) Acquisition (2) Preservation (3) Loss
    • We all related to 1-3 because truth of all pleasure is: It has beginning (pleasure), thus ends (pain). Ending can also mean, changing it's condition; doesn't always mean total loss of object. EG: When the only son leaves parents home to live independently, parents will generally undergo pain of #3 (loss).
    • Reality of living:
      • Arrival = pleasure, THEN Departure = pain.
      • Departure = pleasure (he/she finally left me, yipee!), THEN Arrival = pain (thought of him/her)
      • Above scenario is called: Zero-sum game. Individual neither wins, nor loses while living. To think “I won” OR “I lost” proves one is under spell of Māyā, owning to explanation above.
  • SOLUTION which doesn't work:
    1. Decide to posses objects to experience pleasure. This works, but problem is person gladly accepts the rose, but denies or doesn't consider the hidden thorns which come with it. Thus, certain future pain is highly likely; eg: has to preserve the object.
    2. I'll renounce everything… since all objects have inbuilt pain!”.  This also doesn't work because it in time arouses emptiness/loneliness of mind. Sense of missing or craving for some ownership of something/someone. So it cause one to eventually submit to this craving and own things, or to fantasize in mind “what's it like to own X”.
      • Method 1 above: Lot of work = complain!
      • Method 2 above: No work = bored!
      • Meaning method 1/2 continue bondage to saṃsāra.
  • SOLUTION according to Vedānta:
    1. Sannyāsa (renunciate): Decide NOT to posses anything
      • Solution:
        1. Discover fulfillment in Self. Learn to be happy with Self. (pūrṇatvam)
    2. Gṛhastha (householder): Don't wish to give up things.
      • Solution: 
        1. Discover and develop sufficient mental strength to withstand consequent pain.
        2. Discover fulfillment in Self. Learn to be happy with Self. (pūrṇatvam; meaning “fullness”)
  • How to discover pūrṇatvam (inner strength owning to one's inherent fullness)?
    • For both lifestyles above, only Self-Knowledge (jñāna-yoga) alone will work. We are not saying other methods don't work, only that the highest solution for BOTH methods is Self-Knowledge.
      For example, if one applies affirmations (I am confident) to develop sufficient mental strength, then what about affirmation (I am sensitive to my and others needs)? Thus world of affirmations or any modality (within world of self-help) solves one problem, while simultaneously revealing there are 2 more problems to address. While Self-Knowledge addresses them all in one go by disassociating with false “I” (which personal development keeps building up).
    • Summary of 2 lifestyles we mentioned so far:
      1. Give up all (sannyāsi): Solution is (a) discover pūrṇatvam within Self.
      2. Possess things: Solution is (a) face the pain, and (b) pūrṇatvam.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 5, Verse 23:

śaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṃ prāk śarīravimokṣaṇāt |
kāmakrodhodbhavaṃ vegaṃ sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ ||

That person who is able to manage the impulse born of desire and anger here itself before the fall of the body is disciplined. He is happy.


    • This verse is about HANDLING one's:
      • rāga: attractions/likes – leading to attachment or desire (kāma) about the object.
      • dveṣa: aversions/dislikes resulting in fear or anger (krodha) towards the object.
      • Rāga / dveṣa are BOTH born out of FALSE NOTION that world is either source of joy or source of sorrow. In truth, world is NOT source of joy/sorrow, but “I AM” (meaning one's intellectual notions about world, which then owned by aham kāra; ego “I”).
    • Rāga: false notion born that world will give me permanent happiness/security. In truth, no person/object in the world has ever brought consistent, unceasingly pure happiness/security.
    • Dveṣa: notion that world is capable of giving me sorrow. Not true because to one person music is a joy and silence a death sentence. While to another, music is a death sentence while serene silence is heaven! Therefore, only persons dislikes (dveṣa) determine what is considered sorrowful.
    • Until person acknowledge that “I am the source of my sorrow/joys”, then by product of non-acceptance will be BLAMING society, parents, siblings, environmental obstacles, weather, tornado, rain, customers, boss, etc.
      • Consider this: Why are you alive yet again? Because one has not “attained” mokṣa in previous life. Thus one more life has to be lived and endured. Just being born in flesh yet again… is your doing for not fulfilling the highest purpose to mankind in last life, being mokṣa.
        So in actuality, I have no right to complain, and say “I am undergoing the challenges of this life one more time, only because I refused to fulfill the highest purpose in last life. Thus I got exactly what I deserve! For this reason alone, I shall fulfill the highest purpose of existence in THIS life… mokṣa… and end this silly cycle of painful birth, limited living and unfair death once and for all.”
    • Formula:
      • With rāga/dveṣa: subject world for MINE.
        • This is world of projecting my ideas/notions onto things.
        • EG: Yellow is happy. Black is evil. White is angelic. Man/woman = yummy. Car = status! Nuclear explosion = result of human greed and need for power.
          • Basically this is taking a world object like “Sun”, then slapping onto it an adjective like “beautiful”.
          • Problem is subjective world reinforces Mithyā (saṃsāra). Because one can only say “beautiful house” from one point of view. But is it really a house, or just 4 corners of bricks put together and a roof over it? Or just bricks, pipes, glass, wires put together.
        • Subjective world of personal opinions/notions/ideas unsupported by rock-solid scientific evidence is called: jīva-sṛṣṭi OR prātibhāsika
      • Without rāga/dveṣa: objective world of God (Īśvara)
        • EG: Sun is sun. Tree is tree. Ant! Cloud! Man/woman = man/woman. Car = car. Nuclear explosion = result of neutron striking nucleus of an uranium or platinum atom and splitting it.
          • This is saying WHAT IS, without adding personal view/though about it. It generally represents world of SCIENCE.
        • Objective world of WHAT-IS is called: īśvara-sṛṣṭi OR vyāvahārika
      • Both are necessary to engage in this world. Important lesson is: Move as much away from jīva-sṛṣṭi as possible, and start seeing and speaking about things in light of īśvara-sṛṣṭi.  Highest purpose is to finally shift to asṛṣṭi (no creation; Brahman).
    • Shifting from prātibhāsika TO vyāvahārika is a lifelong process, thus one has until “śarīra-vimokṣaṇāt” (fall of body), to take care of overpowering rāga/dveṣa (likes/dislikes).
      • Important: One is NOT supposed to get rid of all likes/dislikes. Realistically this is impossible and unnecessary, just like it's not necessary for body to be 100% healthy. In fact body is never 100% healthy. There are cancerous cells  and bacteria in the body at any moment. Yet we go about our daily business claiming “I am healthy”.
        • Similarly, one doesn't need to eliminate all likes/dislikes, but just enough so they don't steal all one's attention into worldly pursuits. Just like you can't do things 100% properly with a headache, similarly you can't 100% comfortably concentrate on self-inquiry with rāga/dveṣa headache It's possible, but very hard. For that reason, manage your likes/dislikes by constantly immersing yourself in śāstra and keeping the vision of mokṣa present as frequently as possible.
    • One who has managed and continues to manage rāga/dveṣa is called a yuktaḥ (integrated person), and alone is worthy of name “human being”.
      • NOTE: Did you notice “human being” generally stands undefined. It's just associated with entity which has form of human. According to śāstra, human being is an integrated person. Meaning one who isn't constantly driven by emotional impulses majority of world operates by.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 5, Verse 24:

yo'ntaḥsukho'ntarārāmastathā'ntarjyotireva yaḥ |
sa yogī Brahmanirvāṇaṃ brahmabhūto'dhigacchati ||

That yogi whose happiness is within, and whose recreation is within, and whose vision is within has become Brahman (while living) and attains oneness with Brahman (after death.)


    • What is life like for an integrated person (yuktaḥ / jñāni / jīvan-muktaḥ)? yaḥ antaḥ sukham (Inner essence is happiness). Meaning, all entertaining is within Self. I am happy with Self.
      • What do some travel? To see, to experience life, to find love of their life, etc. Basically because one is not happy with themselves HERE and NOW. So to full the void of boredom, emptiness, unimportant, no meaning in life… one DOES an action to temporarily free oneself from this emptiness/boredom.
        • In short: An extroverted mind (mind of most travelers) fuels the billion/trillion dollar travel industry yearly. Today, some 3rd world countries heavily depend on tourism income. What is tourism? A solution provided for extroverted minds. What is an extroverted mind? One whose “I” is associated to body-mind.
      • Integrated person can be with or without objects, and never loses sight of one's freedom. Such a person is called: yogī (jñāni), meaning he/she has discovered “I am Brahman”.
      • How long does an integrated person (yogī) “enjoy” one's freedom? Until prārabdha is over. When body dies, nothing happens to him/her. Because one has discovered “I am NOT the BMI (Body-Mind-Intellect)”.
        • yogī (jñāni) while living = embodied Consciousness.
        • yogī after death of BMI = unembodied Consciousness. This is called: brahma nirvānam (Brahman without parts).


Keywords: bhoga, dvesa, dvesha, ishvara, ishvara srishti, isvara, jiva srsti srishti, jivan mukta, jivanmukta, jnana yoga, jnani, maya, nirvana, pratibhasika, raga, samsara, samsparsaja, sannyasea, sansparshaja, sarira, sharira, srshti, sukham, vedanta, vyavaharika, yogi, yukta

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching is given to Swami Paramarthananda

Recorded 12 March, 2019

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