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Beyond the empire of I PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

brahm|’rpa[a= brahma havir brahm|gnau brahma[| hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavya= brahmakarma sam|dhin|

Eternal Being (Brahma) is the oblation. Brahma is the clarified butter. The oblation is poured by Brahma into the fire of Brahma. Brahma shall be real¬ized by one who considers everything as (a manifestation or) an act of Brahma. (Also see 9.16) (4.24)

Brahma is the only cosmic energy
That pervades the entire existence.
In yagya methodology
Brahma (e.g. butter) is offered to Brahma (e.g. fire)
Brahma is the flame
The process is Brahma
All the doings is Brahma
And all the results is also Brahma
(Once centered in Brahma
This knowing is revealed). ||4:24||

We discussed about the empire of “I” in our last column. As long as we live in the empire of I, there is no way we can see what lies beyond the “I.” We all live our lives around ourselves. We are all I-centric. This I-centricity allows us to live in this world comfortably. This focus also brings all the misery in the world. Buddha has gone as far as to tell us that life as we live is misery. Buddha says that life is misery and that we ought to do something about this once we realize it.

The first step is to realize that life is misery. The second step is that we should do something about it. Many of us do not realize the first part itself. We live and we die but do not for a moment stop and think about the process called life. Buddha also was living like any of us. Actually he lived a better life than most of us. He was a royalty, a prince. One day he saw death and another day he saw an old man. That was enough for him to get to the first step. Most of us see death and old age all the time. We have become desensitized and immune to this existence around us. We live as if we do not want to see. Misery is all around us. We just want to ignore that part. Let us enjoy as we are. Buddha will say that it is not possible to enjoy as we are. We will never know happiness if we continue to live in misery. We have to face life as it is and once we are ready to face it then we can see the truth and then we can truly see what our life is.

The second step in terms of Buddha is that we should do something about it. And Buddha really means what he says. Once he realized that life is misery, he was out of the house. He really did something about it. Many of us come to a point where we start seeing that life as it is misery. But, how many of us do something about it? We start talking about it. We exist like a stuck record player. We speak the same tune again and again. We become preachers and start telling others about our new found treasure. Life is misery becomes a slogan.

We do not want to budge an inch from where we are. We are miserable, but we kind of know our misery. We are familiar with it. Who knows what will happen if we loose our misery. Will we ever find the true happiness that Buddha found or Krishna is talking about? Buddha almost missed it. He was tired and exhausted. We would have given up long before. Was Buddha going to give up? Who knows?

Krishna does not really take the same approach, but he does imply to us and Arjun that we are not at the right place. He shows Arjun that the empire of I has its disadvantages. He also shows us what lies beyond. He also tells us about the process of dissolving and burning the empire of I. That is when yagya becomes significant.


There is always something to offer (havan)
Havan has to be offered to something that has a flame
A flame that can burn and purify

Yagya is surrendering,
Yagya is dissolving,
Yagya is purifying by burning
Surrendered in the invisible flame
It is an art and
It is a science
Yagya is a technology
It is a methodology
It applies to the highest, the Brahma
And to many other levels apart from the Brahma.

We have not talked much about this shloka (4:24) so far. This is a realization where we can reach once the empire of I is transcended and we get established in gyana (wisdom). Once the ultimate is reached, this is the realization. Santa clause becomes a fiction. The real person is exposed. This is where we can reach if we do something about what Buddha is saying or if we follow where Krishna is taking us. This shloka which talks about the ultimate is difficult to deliberate on. It is more a description about an experience than it is about understanding by logic. Krishna has described the ultimate here in few words; the words which may only be really understood by getting beyond the empire of I. We will try to explore this shloka again in more detail in our next column.

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