Solving Pessimism/Negativity In Spirituality: Krishna's Optimistic Logic (53)


Lesson 53 shows us that even after 6 chapters of Self-Knowledge, the mind can fall into pessimism/negativity. “I can't. I don't deserve it. I'm too __”. Arjuna describes this universal sabotaging mechanism common to spiritual aspirants, and Krishna solves it.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, verse 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

Revision of Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 36:

  • Previous verse, Krishna answer to Arjuna's question. How to handle the wandering mind.
  • vikṣepaḥ: problem of restlessness during meditation.
  • Solution: viveka and vairāgyam. Meaning, develop an INTEREST in the object of meditation. Possible only:
    • Reading books, talking about glory of those objects.
    • Satsaṅga: having friends who have got such values.
      • Saṅga influences. Because whatever my friend values, knowingly or unknowingly, I also develop a value for that.
      • Śankarācārya said: (Bhaja Govindam V9)
        • satsaṅgatve nissaṅgatvaṁ    (Satsang leads to dispassion/detachment/vairāgyam)
          nissaṅgatve nirmohatvam   (Dispassion takes one AWAY from from delusion into worshiping perishable objects)
          nirmohatve niścalatattvaṁ  (Freedom from delusion causes FIRMNESS in Truth, which is listened in satsang)
          niścalatattve jīvanmuktiḥ    (FIRMNESS in truth, transforms into vijñānam, which is actualized Self-Knowledge or mokṣa)
      • Thus friends change your values, like it or not.
      • What do values do? Create addictions after some time. Can’t imagine life working without those addictions. But see others without addictions, yet do NOT miss anything in life.
        • Then begin reconsider our priorities. We can be happy and we won’t miss even if we give up those things/addictions.
      • Conclusion: satsaṅga crucial to success.
  • Logic:
    • Without vairāgyam (detachment) &  viveka (active prioritizing) > meditation NOT successful.
    • Without meditation > Vedānta can NOT be assimilated.
    • Without assimilation > NOT get full benefit of jīvanmukti. Benefit is permanent indescribable freedom from both joy and suffering, as they're mithyā objects known to Self. Nature of Self is fullness. Only a jñāni understands absolute meaning of fullness, because even “fullness” is an insult to the ACTUAL fullness and freedom enjoyed by jivanmukta.
    • vairāgyam (detachment) is #1 most important qualification in śāstra (Upaniṣad/B.Gītā). Meaning, learn to depend on God alone. How? By “seeing Him” as laws/orders observed in everything around you. This automatically causes detachment/dependence or contemplation on worldly perishable objects/desires.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 37:

arjuna uvāca
ayatiḥ śraddhayopeto yogāccalitamānasaḥ |
aprāpya yogasaṁsiddhiṁ kāṁ gatiṁ kṛṣṇa gacchati ||

Arjuna asked – Oh, Krishna! (suppose there is) one who is endowed with faith, but whose effort is insufficient and whose mind has strayed away from dhyana yōga. Having not attained the result of dhyanayōga, what goal does he attain?


  • Dhyāna Partibandha is over. Meaning 6th on meditation is over. But Arjuna comes up with objection, despite Krishna encouragement.
  • Arjuna continues being pessimistic of teaching. Feels:
    • I do not think possible to manage my mind. Solution may work for others, but NOT for me.
    • Don’t think I will get it in this janma. I am attached too many things.
    • Teacher, you don’t know me personally! Unique situation!
  • Pessimism = human weakness. Universal problem.
    • Seekers gives prescribed sādhana. Becomes negative. Says: “I’m ordinary. Can’t achieve liberation. Only for Shankara, Ramakrishna, Ramana. I’m new at this. They’ve done work for lifetimes.”
    • Reason why Krishna said said 6:5: uddharet ātmanā ātmānam na ātmānam avasādayet
      • Meaning: Never look down upon yourself. Destroys self-confidence.  Then even God cannot help. Because we will argue with God also, “I can’t succeed in life”.
      • IF true, Guru’s AND śāstram helpless, because ONE decided already “I can’t accomplish”.
    • Thus Krishna repeatedly reminds: Faith in oneself (self-confidence) is important.
      • But despite, Arjuna has worry causing his pessimism:
        • Suppose I do NOT get mokṣa in this life…
          1. Will all sādhana done in this life be gone to waste? OR…
          2. Sādhana brought forward next?
      • Arjuna’s pessimism expressed VERSE 37-39.
      • SUMMARY: Arjuna’s question about yoga bhraṣṭa (aspirant who didn’t succeed for final stage in life). What happens to them in next life?…
  • Arjuna describes yoga bhraṣṭa as:
    • yogāt calita-mānasaḥ: Aspirant didn’t succeed in spiritual sādhana.  Grown out of mainstream religion. Dropped karmas/upāsanās, temples. And even pursued jñāna-yoga (path of knowledge).
    • Why didn’t succeed? ayatiḥ. Insufficient/incomplete effort. Put lot effort, but not enough. Proof? New birth!
    • Why insufficient? Various obstacles.
      • EG: Attending class already great effort. But where is revision time?
      • Thus 3 obstacles prevent success:
        1. adhidaivika pratibandha (obstruction): supernatural/unseen/cosmic forces or obstructions. EG: It is not in highest good of TOTAL that one gets the employment at particular place. Thus they won't get the job. This also includes nature forces like tornado, rain. For example, it's a rainy day and one chooses to stay home, and misses opportunity to be taught.
        2. adhibhautika: immediate surroundings/environmental obstacles. Car breaks down and prevents one attending the ONE class which would've changed their life forever! One spots an irresistible babe and decides to marry her, putting Self-Knowledge aside for another lifetime. Unexpected friend invitations. Family or business affairs demand your attention and time. Forced to relocate for new job.
        3. ādhyātmika: obstacles from oneself. Illness. Too desirous of worldly entertainments. Lose hearing/eye capacity. Faithless. Skeptical. Suspicious in all teachers. Breaks leg and can't attend class anymore.
  • Despite obstacles, person is śraddhayā upetaḥ: Sincere. No excuses. Not lack of interest. Values spiritual life. But couldn’t follow-through fully because of obstacles.
  • Thus kāṁ gatiṁ gacchati: What does he/she attain next birth? What will next birth be like?
  • Krishna struggling to bring Arjuna to mokṣa. Arjuna stubborn horse. So he asks:
    • “I’m too busy/occupied for Vedanta. What’s the point when it requires so much effort?”
    • Justifies pessimism in verse 38…


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 38:

kaccinnobhayavibhraṣṭaśchinnābhramiva naśyati |
apratiṣṭho mahābāho, vimūḍho brahmaṇaḥ pathi ||

Oh Krishna! Fallen from (yōga and karma and) deluded in the pursuit of Brahman, does not the supportless (yōgi) perish like a scattered cloud?


  • Arjuna says: Owning to obstacles, seeker who did NOT put sufficient śravaṇa, manana, nididhyāsana effort in earlier janma…
    1. Not only did he/she NOT get mokṣa, but also…
    2. Not performing good-karma, since spent all time in jñānam-yoga, he also will NOT get ticket to svarga loka (heaven).
  • Meaning, ubhaya-vibhraṣṭa, he has fallen/failed from both (yoga/mokṣa AND good-karma > svarga)
  • Therefore, vibhraṣṭa, what will he get next life?
  • Arjuna says, it seems to me, chinnābhram iva naśyati, his condition is compared to scattered LOST cloud.
    • Small cloud = weak. Wind easily dissipates.  Thus person in next life NOT have STRONG support of dharma nor jñānam.
    • Reason why in old days taking sannyasa not easy. At least in gṛhasta-aśrama occupied, responsibility, children, festivals.
      • But imagine person drops out of society and svadharma without ācāryaḥ guidance. And mind NOT have strong śāstra INTEREST.  Mind defaults to sensory pleasures/immoral things. So person regresses further.
  • Arjuna’s fear is: vimūḍho brahmaṇaḥ pathi: If I fail to convert PATH of Brahman into mokṣa in this life, then haven’t I deluded myself / wasted my time?


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 39:

etanme saṁśayaṁ kṛṣṇa chettumarhasyaśeṣataḥ |
tvadanyaḥ saṁśayasyāsya chettā na hyupapadyate ||

Oh Krishna! You should remove this doubt of mine completely. For, there cannot be a remover of this doubt other than You.


  • etat saṁśayam chettum arhasi: My fear is real. Krishna, you should destroy this DOUBT of mine.
    • Because instead of coming to class, I can DO some pūja/japa/prayer/devotion. And despite not getting mokṣa… at least some puṇya will come.
    • Hence must destroy COMPLETELY (aśeṣataḥ), because my further attendance in class depends on your answer. No vagueness please.
  • Why Arjuna asking Krishna, and not someone else? Because: anyaḥ tvat chettā na hi upapadhyate
    • Why ONLY Īśvara in form of Krishna can answer?
      • Because it’s after-birth question. Can’t know because experiencing PRESENT birth ONLY.
      • Person does NOT even know what will happen tomorrow.
      • Therefore Bhagavān alone is karma phala data. He alone fit to answer.
  • Krishna now gives optimistic answer…


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 40:

pārtha naiveha nāmutra vināśastasya vidyate |
na hi kalyāṇakṛt kaścid-durgatiṁ tāta gacchati ||

The Lord answered – Oh Arjuna, neither here or hereafter is there destruction for him. Because, a doer of good does not attain an evil end (My) son.


  • First Krishna consoles Arjuna, “don’t worry!”. Then answer is given…      
  • Suppose person comes to jñāna-yoga. Engages serious study of scriptures. Attempts śravaṇam, mananam, nididhyāsana. Meaning moved away from karma, nāma japa, dualistic worship. Studies Gita/Upanishads.
    • Śāstra says, śrāvanam has 2 fold benefit:
      1. Mukhya phalam: Primary benefit
      2. Avānthara phalam: Secondary benefit / by-product
    • EG: Of coconut tree, Primary benefit is coconut. But how many other secondary benefits?
    • EG: Plant mango tree. Primary benefit = mango fruit. Secondary: shade, bird life.
    • In same way, with Vedānta śravaṇam:
      • If qualifications present in person, PRIMARY = vijñānam.
      • If insufficient qualifications, person not understand teaching, then SECONDARY benefit = puṇyam.
        • Krishna in 18th CH of Gītā: One who allows Gītā to pass through ears (without knowing Sanskrit), produces MASSIVE puṇyam.
    • SUMMARY Śravaṇam:
      • PRIMARY = jñānam > vijñānam/Mokṣa.
      • SECONDARY = puṇyam = svarga
      • Coming to class, MAX benefit = mokṣa. MIN = svarga.
        • Thus why worry Arjuna? Person with śāstra śravaṇam = no downfall either in THIS or NEXT janma.
  • What is reason for NO downfall? kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid: You’re DOING a noble action (maṅgala-kartā)
    • Listening to Gītā = maṇgala-kartā  (auspicious) = 4th CH called: jñāna-yajñā.
    • If DO NOT have full qualifications, noble actions give puṇyam.
      If HAVE full qualifications, noble actions lead to mokṣa.
  • na hi kalyāṇakṛt kaścid-durgatiṁ tāta gacchati: Such person never has a downfall. Go either svarga OR attain mokṣa. No question of downfall from any angle.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 41:

prāpya puṇyakṛtāṁ lokānuṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ |
śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yogabhraṣṭo'bhijāyate ||

Having attained the worlds of righteous people and having lived (there) for many years, one who has fallen from Yoga is reborn in the family of the cultured and prosperous.


  • Krishna tells what happens AFTER death: yoga braṣṭaḥ: person who made NOBLE serious attempt, but didn’t succeed.
  • Having attended śravaṇam, failing to assimilate 100%, the by-product is puṇyam > leads to heaven.
  • Therefore prāpya puṇyakṛtāṁ lokān: Unsuccessful Vedantic students goes to same place as those who done GREAT upāsanās/yajñas/rituals/dharmic action.
    • Meaning study of Gītā equivalent to ALL yajñas/japas.
    • Swami Madhusūdhana Saraswati (1640, Dvaita>Advaita): One min of Vedānta śravaṇam = 100 years of yajñas/offerings/sacrifices.
  • Not only goes to loka, also uṣītvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ: remains many years, enjoyments of svarga.
    • But IF PRIMARY desire was mokṣa, then NOT go to svarga, but Bhagavān gives in next life, appropriate work for resuming spiritual sādhana.
    • Hence, yoga-bhraṣṭa bhi-jāyate: Mokṣa aspirant WHO failed in pūrva janma, is reborn.
  • WHERE reborn? 2 possibilities: FIRST possibility:
    • śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe: Parents/family which is (1) cultured, AND (2) prosperous.
      1. śucīnāṁ: Cultured, dharmic, values, religion, noble karmas.
      2. śrīmatāṁ gehe: Prosperous
  • WHY born in such family?
    • Family provides scope for further spiritual pursuit.
    • EG: Can’t study scriptures if born in extreme poverty, struggling basic needs of life. Tell homeless man of mokṣa, will curse you.
      • OR if ONLY prosperous, THEN no culture. Money = spend on nightclubs. Wake up = no religion. Thus BETTER be born POOR, then in prosperous family WITHOUT culture/dharma.
    • But IF prosperous + dharma, THEN money spent NOBLE cause = more puṇya = PURIFY mind further = gain qualifications = mokṣa.
  • There is 2nd possibility of birth, even rarer…


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 42:

athavā yogināmeva kule bhavati dhīmatām |
etaddhi durlabhataraṁ loke janma yadīdṛśam ||

Otherwise, he is born in the family of wise sages themselves. Such a birth is very rare indeed in the world.


  • 2nd possibility of yoga bhraṣṭa (unsuccessful spiritual aspirant) is: yoginām kule bhavati: born in family of jñānis.
    • Who may not be prosperous. Lead simple life. Poor.
      • In which case, need not work for sannyasa. Already have nothing. Bhagavān makes him sannyāsi from birth.
      • No possessions/WORRIES. Born with jñānis. Whole life about Self-Knowledge.
  • dhīmatām yoginām: Born with wise sages. Advantage = not LOOK for guru. Guru = father/mother.
    • Upanishads like Taittariya/Chāndogya have father/son conversation.
  • Thus birth of child OF jñāni is durlabhataraṁ: RARE
  • Why RARE? Because jñānis are rare. What’s more, gṛhasta jñāni even MORE rare. Most are sannyāsī (not married, SIMPLE life).
  • Previous V41 (prosperous + dharmic family) = difficult. Now in V42 (enlightened family) = most difficult.
  • QUESTION: IF get conducive janma for spiritual sādhana, do I start Gita CH2 again, OR continue from CH7?
    • All understanding is brought forward. Thus born as spiritually evolved person, called: yoga-bhraṣṭa (spiritual genius).
    • Meaning spirituality starts early next life. Talking more about in V43…


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 – Verse 43:

tatra taṁ buddhisaṁyogaṁ labhate paurvadehikam|
yatate ca tato bhūyaḥ saṁsiddhau kurunandana ||

Oh Arjuna there, he attains association with that knowledge which belongs to the previous body and strives more for liberation.


  • tatra: In THAT new janma. Meaning either born in: (1) prosperous/cultured family, OR (2) poor wise jñāni’s family…
  • taṁ buddhisaṁyogaṁ labhate: Jīva gets associated with spiritual maturity ACQUIRED in previous janma.
    • Meaning in next life: he re-discovers WHATEVER acquired in PREVIOUS in previous body (paurvadehikam):
      • Qualifications, VIVEKA amount, vairāgyam intensity, knowledge.
  • Why this ASSOCIATION to previous knowledge? According to śāstra, between TWO janmās…
    • Physical body ALONE is different in birth. Mind is NOT different.
    • When person dies, gives up ONLY physical. But Sūkṣma-śarīram (Mind) does NOT die.
    • This means Mind which sustains all puṇya/pāpa, viveka, vairāgyam… TRAVELS to another body.
      • And when baby born, mind can NOT express itself. Only at 12-20+, mind blooms.
    • Thus mother NEVER gives birth to Mind of child. Only to BODY of child.
    • Every child comes with OWN Mind, own vāsanās, inclinations. EG: 4 children = inclinations vary.
      • Same parents/ENVIRONMENT. CHILD 1 = religion/śāstra/spiritual books. CHILD 2 = boxing.
  • This is why spirituality/skills comes DIFFERENT times. Depends WHEN vāsanās bloom.
    • EG: Vedanta class = age varies. 21-70.
    • Yet some at 80 = no interest. Watch TV.
    • Therefore, age of BODY means NOTHING. Because age of MIND different from Body age.
      • Young body, mind of 90.
      • Old body, mind of 15.
  • Scriptures speak 3 types of ages in person:
    1. Vayaḥ vṛddhaḥ: Possessing wealth of AGE (general experience on Earth)
    2. Śīla vṛddhaḥ: Possessing wealth of CHARACTER.
    3. Jñāna vṛddhaḥ: Possessing wealth of KNOWLEDGE.


Keywords: adhyatmika, Avanthara, ayati, bhagavan, bhijayate, bhrashtha, bhrasta, buddhisamyogam, Chandogya, chinnabhram, dhimatam yoginam, dhyana, durlabhataram, jivanmukti, jnana-yoga, jnanam, jnani, kalyanakrt kascid kashcid, kam gatim, Madhusudhana, mangala-karta, mithya, moksha, nama, nashyati, nasyati, nididhyasana, niscalatattvam, niscalatattve, nishcalatattvam , nishcalatattve, nissangatve, puja, punya, sadhana, sannyasi, sastra, satsang, satsangatve nissangatvam, shankara acharya, shankaracarya, shastra, shila, shraddhaya upeta, shravana, shrimatam, shucinam, shukshma-sharira, sila, sravanam, srimatam, sucinam, suksma-sarira, uddhared, uddharet atmana atmanam na atmanam avasadayet, upanishad, upasanas, usitva sasvatih samah, vairagyam, vedanta, vibhrashtha, vibhrasta, vijnanam, viksepa, vikshepa, vimudho brahmana, vrddhah, yajna, yogat calita-manasa


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

Recorded 11 June, 2019


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