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Raising of Awareness PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

The third chapter has come to an end. This has been termed the Karma Yoga and a lot of emphasis is put by some on this term, “Karma Yoga.” Karma yoga to me does not mean that Krishna is telling us what is a right or wrong karma. Krishna is not making a distinction between good and bad either. Krishna is trying to raise the awareness of Arjun and we have to try to benefit from that as well.

We looked into sum-bhava and meditative practices in the last column. I want to continue from there into how Gita is practically applicable to our daily lives. Gita is not pure theory. It is not a philosophy either. Gita is practical. What has happened to Arjun happens to us all the time. It may happen on a different scale but it does happen to us in our daily lives.

Most of us live on a low level of awareness. At this level of awareness we are very touchy. We call it sensitivity. Gita calls it Moha. Mahabharata war is about to start. Arjun suddenly sees possibility of impending death of his friends and relatives. There is a higher cause for the war. Arjun stops seeing them. He gets fixated on this issue of whether war is right or wrong at the time.

Recently a Krishna Bhakta wrote to Times of India where some of my Gita articles are published that the paper should stop publishing my columns. He is a Krishna follower. I am sure he loves Krishna and Gita. But something in my columns touched his feelings. In his eyes, I do not put Krishna on the highest pedestal of Godhead. Now, this issue is so important to him that he stops looking any further. He may not even stop to think how much respect and love I may have for Krishna and Gita.

I was in India recently. Fifteen of us were going to Haridwar. We were all happy and the journey was wonderful. But, watch carefully when a group of you travel together. How most of us react, think and talk. It does not take much to touch someone’s nerves or his ego. Which road to take or where to stop becomes major issues. Someone becomes happy and the other becomes unhappy. That is considered normal. It does not take a genius to upset somebody in a group. We are all so ready to react on the smallest things in life. We had one of our group members who wanted to go to one of the temples on the mountain called Neelkantha. It is a noble thought. How can you oppose somebody going to another temple? The car driver was questioning whether his car will be able to take the whole group. He was not sure if his car will make it. Before you know it, ‘touch buttons’ got pressed (stimulated). The individual decided to take a bus and was on the bus leaving everyone else wondering what to do. You can understand the sentiments and comments going around. The car has to go back to Delhi, but you can’t leave this member behind. The story continues. I am not writing this story here because what happened was wrong or right, but I want to make this point that what happened to Arjun 5000 years ago happens to us all the time. The scale may be different, but it does happen today.

We are all so eager and waiting to react. The opportunity to react presents itself all the time. Krishna will rather respond. There is a big difference between a considered response and a reaction. Krishna was against the Mahabharata war and made all efforts for peace. When this did not work, he agreed to be the saarathi of Arjun. He knew what he was doing. Arjun was also ready for the war. He was more for the war than Krishna was, but suddenly some button in his body has been touched and he is now ready to sacrifice.

This is where most of us live and we hide behind the shield of, “This is but human.” If this is human then we do not need to read Gita. Gita teaches us the methodology to raise our awareness. When the awareness is raised, our touchiness goes down and sensitivity goes up.

Rising of awareness in some sense is gyan yoga. When karma happens from this level it becomes karma yoga. The two are inter-related. Sum-bhava is the result. If we want to bring gravity in our lives and reduce the touchiness, then we all need to bring Gita in our lives. We all do not only need to read Gita or its interpretations, but have to practice it as well. Meditation is the way. There is need for us to become meditative. This is one sure way to increase our awareness. One of the shloka I want to mention again from this chapter is the shloka about Rajoguna (3:37). Rajoguna is the source for kaama energy and this also leads to krodha (anger). We have already addressed this issue before. I do want to emphasize here that Rajoguna, Kaama or Krodha are not necessarily evil or bad. When Krishna drives the chariot or when Rama fights the war, they also use the energy of rajoguna. When the samudra (ocean) does not listen to prayers of Rama, he uses the energy of krodha (anger). It is not a question of right and wrong, it is a question of being aware of the details of the energy.

The purist will say that Krishna and Rama are gunateet (they have transcended the gunas). That to me means that relationship of Krishna to gunas is different. Krishna is driving the chariot for Arjun and Shailya is driving the chariot of Karna, but that does not make Krishna and Shailya the same. Similarly, Krishna using rajoguna and me using rajoguna does not mean that I and Krishna are the same. The relationship is different and I have miles to go. Let us continue our journey of Bhagavadgita. We shall start Chapter 4 from next column.

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