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Gyanatapasa puuta PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

Veetraagbhayakrodha manmaya maamupashritah
Bahavo gyantapasa puuta madbhavamaagatah

Freed from the attachments (veetraga), fear and anger
Mind surrendered unto me (Parmatma)
The fire of knowing flowing inside them
Many have attained me in this way ||4:10||


We discussed about knowing by merging in our last column. We also discussed about different kinds of drives that work on us in different circumstances related to our state of being at the time.

Krishna now tells us what the factors that keep us away from him are. He names three such factors. In fact I see only one factor here; the other two are shadows of the first one. But, before I get into the factors themselves, let us understand one thing very clearly.

We actually are one with Krishna’s swarup (identity) but we do not know about it. The reason we do not know about it is because we keep our focus somewhere else. It is as if we are in our house but are constantly looking at the stars with a telescope. We may learn a whole lot about the stars but will not know anything about our house. So, how do we do it. We are born and then get a name. This name becomes our identity. We start gathering more attachments as we grow along e.g. my parents, my school, and my college and so on. This is the beginning of our attachments (raag). We also learn on the way to become detached with things that we do not like (viraag). Fear is a byproduct. I love money and have ten dollars in my pocket. I am holding on to the ten dollars and am afraid to loose it. My whole life starts depending on these ten dollars. Fear takes roots. Some one wants those ten dollars from me. He tries to get it from me by force. Anger arises in side me in defense. I am not saying that fear, anger or attachments are bad or good. There is no need to give these values to these attributes. We just need to realize the existence of these three attributes and how they interact.

Krishna does not put any value statements either. He simply says that these three attributes keep someone from getting to him. As long as we are attached or detached to something or some one, we will not reach to Krishna’s true self. Some of us do not even want to know what Krishna’s true self is is and Krishna’s message is not for those people any way. Krishna is talking to Arjun who is ready to take the jump. We have to individually decide whether we are ready or not. Simple curiosity will not do. It is okay if you or I is not ready. We can spend few more years or lives trying to figure out what we want. Once we come to that state of readiness, Gita’s these verses will be there to understand.

Krishna is not asking Arjun to become detached from desires, fear or anger. He is using a word veetraag which simply means beyond attachment or beyond detachment. He wants Arjun neither to be attached nor to be detached. We are not used to being in that situation. We like to love some one or hate some one. It is difficult to be in a situation that we are not used to. Let me try to come close to this scenario. You are driving your car on the highway. There are many other cars going by. There are many bridges and there are many service stations on the way. Are you attached or detached with all these places. You get hungry as you drive along. You find a service station in the USA or a Dhaba in India, stop, eat and go back to your journey. Do you become attached or detached to the Dhaba or the service station. This is close to what Krishna is talking about. It is easy to work from here because you have no investment in the dhaba or the cars going by. There may be many instances where these principles can apply. We have to start applying it to different aspects of our life and slowly and slowly we can understand what Krishna is talking about.

In the second part of the verse Krishna uses a very sweet word gyantapasa. This is a beautiful word. Gyan is knowing and tapa is austerity. How can we turn gyan into tapa. That is what takes one to Krishna. Just veetraga (going beyond attachment and detachment) is not enough. Just dropping of fear and anger is not enough. The tapa of gyan is important too. This simple shloka has so much to offer. So much has been said in this beautiful verse. It is worth meditating over this verse to get the gist of it fully.

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