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The flow chart of life PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

annad bhavanti bhutani
parjanyad anna-sambhavah
yajnad bhavati parjanyo
yajnah karma-samudbhavah


All creatures come from anna (food) 
Anna comes from rain (water) 
Rain is directly related to yagya 
Yagya is the result of karma (nishkam karma) ||3:14|| 

karma brahmodbhavam viddhi 
tasmat sarva-gatam brahma 
nityam yajne pratisthitam

Know that all karma is born 
From the Brahma (Vedas) 
And all the Vedas emanate from 
The imperishable Parmatma itself 
Thus the Parmatma by default 
Is established in every yagya as well. ||3:15|| 

evam pravartitam cakram 
nanuvartayatiha yah 
aghayur indriyaramo 
mogham partha sa jivati

Hey partha, this is the flow 
And you should flow with the current 
For if you don’t 
And decide to live only for yourself 
You shall suffer the consequences 
And your life will be wasted 
Your living will prove to be one in vain. ||3:16|| 

yas tv atma-ratir eva syad 
atma-trptas ca manavah 
atmany eva ca santustas 
tasya karyam na vidyate

But a person who walks (ramana) with the self (atma) 
Who is happy with his self (atma) 
And is content and satisfied with his own self 
Has no duty to comply. ||3:17|| 

naiva tasya krtenartho 
nakrteneha kascana 
na casya sarva-bhutesu 
kascid artha-vyapasrayah

He is not interested in doing any karma 
He is not interested in not doing any karma 
He has absolutely no attachment to any one 
He is happy and content with himself 
(karma still flow out of him) ||3:18||


Krishna here is drawing a flow chart and that flow chart starts at the level of food (anna) well especially by the ones who trivialize the material things should understand this. There is connectivity between the basic needs and events and the ultimate. This flow chart also testifies to the fact that we are not little islands. We are all interdependent. Whatever we do has wider implications than we normally conceive.

Krishna says that we are all related. The smallest thing like grains are important and so is the big planet. There is this concept in the west of fighting and winning. Patients are fighting a disease; a scientist is fighting the forces of nature and so on. The whole concept of winning and loosing is based on the theory that man is separate from the rest of the universe. Krishna sees the universe in a different way. Food grains make the man. There is a deep relationship here. There is nothing to fight about. It is like right had and left hand fighting with each other. Once the person recognizes that they are both his hands, it will look foolish to him as well. Nature according to Krishna has to be understood, the flows of nature have to be charted and life lived with the flow. We went rafting recently on the Kennebec River. The whole thrill of rafting is to maneuver the raft with the flow. If you fall down, try to work with the flow and not fight and hope that someone pulls you over in the raft. There is no place for a fight with the water or the falls.

So the flow starts with the food and food sustains our being. All creatures (bhutani) need food. Grains depict the food here. The production of grain is directly related to rain. So far it is simple to understand. We know that rain comes from evaporation of water from water reservoirs be it ocean or be it a small stream. What is Krishna saying here seems rather impractical. Krishna says that the rain comes from yagya. What does he mean?

How can yagya be related to rain? There is though a deeper relationship here. Krishna is saying that there is a relation between how we live and what resources become available to us. The cosmos is sensitive to our way of life and our needs. We have discussed that our birth and death is not in our control. The beginning and the end are not in our control. But we think the middle (our life) is in our hands. We take complete control of our life and suddenly at the time of death everything seems to be slipping away. Krishna is saying that if we live with the yagya methodology (surrendered life) then the cosmos or the universe will take care of our needs. Man is related closely to food (materialism) on the one hand and to the Brahma (cosmic energy) on the other. It is all a harmonious relationship.

Krishna is talking about a harmonious living and says that Arjuna should know the flow and live in harmony with the flow. But, most of us do not know the flow and are always fighting with the flow. We do not have to go far to find out how we live. I am a doctor. I have a wife and two children. I am so proud of all this. I have more than enough to be happy. But, I look at my neighbor. He has a plane and he knows how to fly. This makes me feel unhappy. I have all the reasons in the world to be happy but dig out a reason to be unhappy. There is no cure for this kind of situation. But, in real life this is how we live. We find reasons to be unhappy. And that is what Krishna is talking about in the shloka 16. It is so easy to waste our life in these little quibbles.

Krishna here is pointing out some smarter way of living to Arjuna. ‘Know the flow and live with the flow’ is his message. Make life a harmonious event. And then life becomes a celebration. There is no need for such a person to act, but he works any way. The work will flow out of him. Arjuna will also shoot arrows, but his inner being will have a different quality if he listens to and understands the words of Krishna. Such a person has no enjoyment or attachment to working or not working. He is content with his being and his relationship with the beings of the universe. He is not going to be a lazy bum. On the contrary he will be a blissful active happy being ready for any eventuality with full alertness and proper orientation.

These shlokas of Gita are difficult to comprehend intellectually alone. I will suggest trying to bring some of these into practice and also take part in some centering techniques. There are many methods of meditation available. A meditative man, in my view, will understand these shlokas better. We shall, however, continue with our columns on the songs of Krishna.

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