2. Bhagavad Gita Online Course – Gita Dhyanam V4-9

Summary:

Lesson 2 covers verses 4-9 of Gita Dhyanam, which explore the origin and universality of the Gita's teachings. Verse 4 compares the Upanishads to a cow, Krishna as the milkman extracting the nourishing wisdom for Arjuna. The teaching addresses both emotional and cognitive needs. Verse 5 explains Krishna as the universal guru, whose words reveal the reality that our true self is eternal, addressing the root cause of human longing. Verse 6 uses the analogy of Arjuna crossing the battlefield's obstacles, representing life's challenges that the Gita's wisdom helps navigate. Verse 7 highlights converting setbacks into learning opportunities, like how Bill Gates persisted to find a solution to water contamination in Africa. Verse 8 describes the Lord's grace earned through one's efforts in applying the teachings. Verse 9 reveals Krishna as the entire manifested universe itself, making our search for the Lord also a journey of self-discovery.


Continuing from last session…

GITA DHYANAM – VERSE 4:

sarvōpaniṣadō gāvō dōgdhā gōpāla-nandanaḥ |
pārthō vatsaḥ sudhīrbhōktā dugdhaṃ gītāmṛtaṃ mahat ||
All the Upaniṣads are the cows. Krsna is the milker. Arjuna is the calf. The pure-minded is the enjoyer (of the milk). The supreme nectar of Gītā is the milk.

  • Verse talks about origin of teaching, shown in example. Upanishad is cow; final wisdom. And Krishna is dogdha (milkman), who is extracting the milk (Bhagavad Gita) for the child (Arjuna; anyone who wants to know).
  • But what is common between you and Arjuna (who lived many years ago)? Every human has 2 sides, emotional and cognitive side. Need to address both. Arjuna was struggling emotionally, although he was cognitively apt. Whereas others are in touch with emotions, able to express love/care, handle situations with a certain calmness/composure. However due to lack of intellectual discernment, one's living in bubbles.
  • Therefore need both sides. One side is cognitive; looking at larger context of life (my role, final purpose) – and putting your role in that context. Other side is emotional, ability to move through challenges with relative composure and enthusiasm.  
    • BG fulfills both emotional/cognitive side.
  • NEXT VERSE: Who is Krishna?

GITA DHYANAM – VERSE 5:

vasudēvasutaṃ dēvaṃ kaṃsacāṇūramardanam |
dēvakīparamānandaṃ kṛṣṇaṃ vandē jagadgurum ||
I salute Lord Krishna, the world teacher, the son of Vasudēva, the destroyer of Kamsa and Chanura, the supreme bliss of Dēvaki.

  • Krishna is explained as jagat-guru (guru for entire universe). What is universal about Gita’s teaching, when world has changed a lot? Every human has search for final fulfillment. No achievement totally fulfills you, until solve fundamental human problem, which is “I can’t accept that my life is finite and I’m mortal”. I want to exist forever, and exist happily without limitation. Krishna shows that your “I” is free from time, and that “I” is one with the Lord. Until person hears and assimilates this, one keeps seeking.
  • BG IS NOT BOOK OF ADVICE, BUT ADDRESSES THE CAUSE: BGita teaching is not advice. EG of advice: “Don’t be angry”. But suppose I say, “Anger comes from unaddressed pain”. This is a fact, which is the language of BGita. Then you’ll being to address the unaddressed pain that’s causing anger, and anger will automatically disappear.   When Krishna says “You are one with Ishvara”, this is a fact, not advice (such as “You pray to me and I’ll take care of everything!”).
    • SUMMARY: BGita throws light on realities. It’s not book of advices.
  • NEXT VERSE: How will this teaching help you? How did it help Arjuna?

GITA DHYANAM – VERSE 6:

bhīṣmadrōṇataṭā jayadrathajalā gāndhāranīlōtpalā
śalyagrāhavatī kṛpēṇa vahanī karṇēna vēlākulā |
aśvatthāmavikarṇaghōramakarā duryōdhanāvartinī
sōttīrṇā khalu pāṇḍavai raṇanadī kaivartakaḥ kēśavaḥ ||
The battle river with Bhisma and Drona as the banks, with Jayadratha as the waters, wih the kind of Gandhara as the blue lotus, with Salya as the shark, with Krpa as the current, with Karna as the high waves, with Asvatthama and Vikarana as terrible crocodiles, and with Duryodhana as the whirlpool was indeed crossed over by the Pāṇḍavās. Lord Krsna was the ferryman.

  • Arjuna had to cross river of battle, as on other side were Bhisma & Drona.
    • Then there was Śakuni (nīla upalā); compared to “Blue lily”, attractive on outside, but when come near, you get trapped.
    • Duryodhana is compared to whirlpool. It has so much force, takes you in.
    • And Ashvathama and Karna like crocodile (ghora).
    • Arjuna had to cross this; seemed like impossible, but was able to cross because followed teaching of Krishna.
  • Real life: We all have such people who pose challenges, who you loved very much, suddenly they’re on the other side. This is what Drona/Bhishma stands for.
    • What about Shakuni, those who say sweet things, but deep inside don’t wish you well. And Duryodhana, who is directly and vocally against you.
    • Range of people we have to deal with. Some people don’t let you move forward. As you become more successful, more are envious of you; so they create obstacles quietly. Then have to negotiate with them, by being clever, and get to other side of the bank.  The only thing you have is Krishna’s teaching to give you right perspective and be successful. Do what needs to be done, so you can die with confidence, knowing you’ve done the best you could, per Lord’s guidance.
  • What are indicators of spiritual progress? Ability to handle challenges, without loosing perspective of the knowledge. Your outlook towards life (enthusiasm, cheerfulness), because life is opportunity to express your endowments. It’s not nihilism (getting away from life).
  • NEXT VERSE: Converting every setback into learning opportunity…

GITA DHYANAM – VERSE 7:

pārāśaryavacaḥsarojam amalaṁ gītārthagandhotkaṭaṁ
nānākhyānakakesaraṁ harikathā-sambodhanābodhitam
loke sajjanaṣaṭpadairaharahaḥ pepīyamānaṁ mudā
bhūyād bhāratapaṅkajaṁ kalimala-pradhvaṁsi naḥ śreyase
May the spotless lotus, Mahābhārata—born of the water of the words of Vyāsa, the son of Parāśara, having the meaning of the Gītā as its sweet fragrance, with its many stories as stamens, blossoming with the revealing stories of the Lord Hari, relished happily day after day by the honey bees who are the right thinking people of the world, and which destroys the blemishes of kali-yuga (may this lotus of Mahābhārata)—be for our good.

  • Verse 7 compares the Mahabharata to a spotless lotus, born from the words of the great sage Vyasa. Just as a lotus blossoms with many petals (stories), the Mahabharata numerous narratives that lead Arjuna to seek Krishna's wisdom.The stories are like lotus' stamens, drawing the “honey bees” — who are the discerning people of the world whose mind is mature enough to see the immense value of Lord Hari (Krishna) teachings. This lotus of wisdom destroys the afflictions of the Kali Yuga, the current age of discord and ignorance.The trials Arjuna faces mirror our own existential struggles – the events that don't align with our expectations force us to confront life's bigger questions. Just as Arjuna's anguish on the battlefield compelled him to seek guidance, our failures and losses create a context that culminates in asking for wisdom.When we finally receive the teaching, to make it work, we must revisit our life experiences and reframe them through the new understanding. The Bill and Melinda Gates story illustrates this – facing the immense challenge of resolving water contamination in Africa, they persisted relentlessly, converting each setback into an opportunity to find innovative solutions that ultimately reduced tremendous suffering.

    STORY OF BILL AND MALINDA SOLVING A BIG PROBLEM WITH PERSISTENCE: Melinda came across a piece highlighting the dire situation in Africa, where many people were suffering and dying from diarrhea-related diseases, often due to water contamination. The Gates couple delved into the issue, quickly realizing that the problem was complex: drinking water sources were often contaminated with sewage, leading to life-threatening diseases. Couldn’t be fixed with a simple pill; the solution required a way to prevent water sources from becoming contaminated in the first place. Through extensive research, they found that separating clean drinking water from sewage was a daunting task. The most effective approach they discovered involved purifying the water immediately after it was used and before it could contaminate larger bodies of water. Initially, Bill Gates believed that the technology needed to achieve this purification process would be readily available, but to his surprise, there was little response to his inquiries. Undeterred, the Gates Foundation spent years funding research into various technologies. Persistence paid off. They found innovative, cost-effective methods to purify water on a large scale, significantly reducing the incidence of diarrhea-related diseases.

  • The verse indicates that those who think rightly, learn from their failures, and are the true “honey bees” capable of extracting the nectar of the Gita's teachings from the “lotus” of the Mahabharata.
  • Conversely, most try to dodge big problems, never facing them, thus missing opportunity to grow. Verse reminds us that what makes a “right thinking person”, is converting every setback into opportunity.
  • NEXT VERSE: Lord’s Grace is earned through your efforts.

GITA DHYANAM – VERSE 8:

mūkaṃ karōti vācālaṃ paṅguṃ laṅghayatē girim |
yatkṛpā tamahaṃ vandē paramānandamādhavam ||
I salute Lord Krsna who is the supreme Ananda, and whose grace makes the dumb eloquent (and) the cripple cross a mountain.

  • When bring Krishna’s teaching into life, what will it do for you, “mūkham karoti vācālam”. Meaning someone who is unintelligent (mūkham), is able to become eloquent.
  • Pangum langhayate girim: Someone who has difficulty in walking, can climb big mountains.
  • What will do this? Give you Ishvara's grace.
    • What is Grace? Positive benefits gained by your efforts, in light of the teaching. That’s why there’s no such category as privileged/unprivileged. Your life is consequence of your efforts. Everyone is capable of making quantum jumps.
      • EG: Stephen Hawkins didn’t wallow in his disease, but used as opportunity to learn. Thus grace-earning is always your choice. Lot of life is about coming out of your self-imposed boundaries.
  • NEXT VERSE: Who is Lord Krishna?

GITA DHYANAM – VERSE 9:

yaṃ brahmā varuṇēndra-rudra-marutaḥ stuvanti divyaiḥ stavaiḥ
vēdaiḥ sāṅga-pada-kramōpaniṣadairgāyanti yaṃ sāmagāḥ |
dhyānāvasthita-tadgatēna manasā paśyanti yaṃ yōginaḥ
yasyāntaṃ na viduḥ surāsura-gaṇā dēvāya tasmai namaḥ ||
Salutations to Lord (Viṣṇu) whom Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Rudra and Vayu praise through divine hymns, whom the singers of Samavēdā invoke through the Vēdās with their limbs, Pada, Krama and Upaniṣads, whom the wise see with a contemplative mind directed towards Him, and whose limit (even) Dēvas and Asurās do not know.

  • Who is Krishna (Ishvara)? It is everything that is here. Every form is Ishvara’s form. The principle of creation (Brahmā), of destruction (Rudra), the elements (Varuṇa). All intelligences assigned for respective things like digestion, gravity, recalling, ability to see – are called Devatās (deities). You didn’t organize nor setup anything in this world; all is manifestations and setup of Ishvara (Krishna), which is making your life possible.
  • Why don’t we see intelligence that enables interactions to take place and from which everything is made of? Because you need means of knowledge. We only see forms.  You have to seek to know it. Until then, remains hidden. While remains hidden, life is isolated, a small being who has to fight one’s way in this big universe.  
  • Rumi said: I went to search for myself, and found Ishvara. Then I went to search for Isvara, and found myself. In otherwords, you and the cause of the universe enjoy the same reality; this is culmination of the BGita, and is called moksha (liberation).

Closing Notes:

  • PURPOSE OF GITA DHYANAM: Sets up a mindset conducive for absorbing the upcoming teaching.
  • WHEN WAS BHAGAVAD GITA WRITTEN:
    • Difficult to answer, as Vedas has Satya/Treta/Dvapara/Kali yuga dating system, different from BCE/CE.
    • What’s important is the teaching is evergreen. Even Krishna person is not creator of the Bhagavad Gita. Teachings are from Upanishad, which reveal reality as it is.
    • EG: Even before Newton observed force of gravity, gravity was true. Newton was a rishi (seer). Einstein was seer in reference to relativity of time-space. Same with raga (structured arrangement of musical notes), a seer captures that sound harmony. The seer is never the author, only discoverer of what-is. What contaminates it is our own stuff.
      • For example, Ganga in Rishikesh is uncontaminated and pure. But the time it reaching Varanasi, it’s contaminated. But Ganga keeps flowing pure. It’s passed on: Upanishads > Krishna > Vyasa > Guru > Student. Nobody claims the knowledge.
  • NEXT CHAPTER: CH1 up to CH2.10, it’ll go quickly as sets-up context. Teaching begins from CH2.11.

Keywords:  

Course was based on Neema Majmudar's Bhagavad Gita & Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya) home study course.

Recorded 5 May, 2024

2 Comments

  1. Is it fair to say that there are other manifestations or descriptions of Ishwara, such as Plato’s allegory of the cave?
    In video you describe we are ignorant and live in the veil of forms; but through knowing the rules we’ll begin to see. I’m wondering, are other descriptions/knowledge are also somewhat accurate and helpful?

    1. Hi Thomas. Plato’s allegory is conveying similar to what was briefly conveyed in 1st lesson with the elephant being observed from different standpoints. Each person convinced their description is final. Ironically it is final, but only from a given standpoint. Thus it’s not absolutely-final. The vision is only complete when all perspectives of Ishvara are understood. The vision is slowly unfolded as we go through the book. So yes, I’d say any allegory/metaphor is helpful… but also limited. Trap is to think any one allegory is suffice to explain the entire reality which is multi-faceted. That’s why the scriptures employ many metaphors, which we’ll be going through.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *