KRSHNA'S GITA AND RAJAVIDYA
A radical rethinking on the postulates advanced by some western Indologists and accepted uncritically by most Indian scholars of the 19th and 20th centuries and adoption of a rigorously rational approach while interpreting the ancient Indian works, is called for. Kautilya, who adopted the techniques of Kutila, with whom Brhaspati was annoyed, must have been a colleague of Dvaipayana, Bhishma, Drona and Krpa, who were connected with the events that led to the battle of Kurukshetra. Was he the mysterious Astika, a Brahman believer and jurist who stopped the massacre of the innocent industrial workers by Janamejaya?
I have preferred to adhere to the approach of positive rationalism that has characterized my earlier writings. This approach scrupulously avoids both idolatry and wanton iconoclasm and is wary about all interpretations that are based on the unwarranted postulates proposed and propagated by the western Indologists who had no clear grasp of ancient Hindu social polity. Some of these Indologists were Christian proselytizers who, it has to be regretfully pointed out, deliberately distorted and misinterpreted Hindu concepts.
The present thesis on the Bhagavad-Gita of Krshna as an exercise in Rajavidya (Political Science) is the result of an in-depth study of every one of the 700 verses of the Gita from an angle other than those of the theologians and pontiffs.
What Krshna was imparting Arjuna was knowledge of and training in political endeavour, Rajayoga. Krshna was trying to make him a Rajarshi (a saintly king in common parlance), a sedate sage capable of becoming a dynamic ruler and was acquainting him with the confidential aspects, Rajaguhya, of this training.
The training needed to be an impartial and far-sighted jurist was known as Brahmayoga and the one needed to be an effective administrator or executive was known as Karmayoga.
The relations between Yoga that covered all these three fields and Samkhya, dialectics, the two disciplines emphasized by Krshna are examined in this thesis from the point of view of political sociology. So too are examined Krshnas socio-political theorems on performance of prescribed duty, karma, abstention from permitted but not prescribed duty, akarma, and resort to prohibited and harmful act, vikarma.
What has been highlighted is the real status and role of Krshna. He was an eminent socio-political ideologue and activist who had a precise vision of the structure of the new society that he proposed to bring about. He was heading an academy where the activists who would bring into existence that society were being trained. From which ranks and sectors of the society his trainees and missionaries were drawn and what were his expectations from them are brought out in this work. So too what were the social forces that resisted the reorganization of the society that he proposed is brought out.
Krshna had proposed that the new social order should acknowledge the right and duty of every individual to pursue a vocation in tune with his natural traits. The institutionalization of such an order was known as Svadharma Sthapanam. It assigned the individuals who had selected a vocation in accordance with this principle to the appropriate socio-economic class, varna.
Krshna appealed to every individual who was permitted to join the social class for which he was fit and pursue a vocation that was in tune with his natural propensities, to abide by his svadharma. He warned that no one should try to perform a duty not assigned to his class, or pursue a vocation, which was assigned to another, paradharma.
Svadharma, svakarma, svabhava are concepts that need to be explained more precisely than it has been done in the recent past and so too some other concepts connected with them.
The rights and duties of an individual to pursue a vocation in tune with the hereditary one followed by his clan or community, kula or jati, were not ordinarily interfered with by the society and the state including the judiciary. While respecting the codes of these clans and communities, Kuladharmas and jatidharmas, the Dharmasastras and Arthasastra did not trample on the rights of the individual to strike his independent path.
Krshna acknowledged the existence of only four classes (varnas) and rejected the theory of mixed classes (samkaravarnas). I have pointed out that every one of these classes was asked to accommodate the social groups, clans and communities and individuals who were closer to its main vocations.
While later socio-cultural codes, Dharmasastras, have presented the Brahmans as a class of priests and teachers, Krshna assigned all intellectuals including the technocrats to this class. He treated the jurists who upheld, interpreted and implemented the provisions of the socio-political constitution, Brahma, as the best among the members of the intelligentsia.
What they practised was known as Brahmakarma. It was not priesthood or even teaching. The traits and social origins of the different cadres of intellectuals assigned to the class of Brahmans have been brought out while examining the verses of the Gita.
All those who were required to protect the other members of the society and look after their welfare were assigned duties that were referred to as Kshatrakarma. Only those who were found competent to perform these duties were known as Kshatriyas. Krshna did not accept that mere being born to one in a particular class entitled the son or daughter to claim membership and privileges of that class.
All those persons engaged in economic activities, Vaisyakarma, especially agriculture, pasture and trade were said to be Vaisyas. At that stage varna classification had not yet been extended to the industrial sector. All those who were found fit only to serve others, to perform Shudrakarma, as they did not have the know-how to pursue a vocation independently or as a member of an organized group, were treated as Shudras. The emergence of new ruling elite that had the traits of all the three, aristocrats, plutocrats and feudal lords upset Krshna.
The new state that Krshna outlined was to be dominated by the cultural aristocracy assisted by the intellectual aristocracy that was self-effacing and not selfish. The cultural aristocracy (devas) retained the right to intervene whenever the social order went awry and the pious and innocent were harassed by the mighty and vicious.
Krshna as Vasudeva belonged to the Vasus, one of the four sections of the traditional aristocracy. But he dressed and conducted himself like a commoner, manushya. As a noble, deva, he had no personal interest to pursue but continued to work and perform the duties assigned to or undertaken by him lest the commoners should be set a wrong example.
Though Krshna did not appreciate the commoners following the economic captains, sreshtas, of the other society, he did not condemn them. He permitted every one to worship his own ideal protector and even guided him to be devoted to that devata, model leader of the frontier society.
We have to be firm and consistent in refraining from describing devas and devatas as gods and demigods or the asuras and rakshasas as demons. They were all human beings and so too were gandharvas and apsarases, nagas and sarpas, bhutas and paisacas. These are not to be treated as celestial beings or as preternatural beings. Unless, the composition and structure of the pre-varna Vedic society is interpreted and presented in a rational manner we would not be able to arrive at a correct appreciation of the contents of the Gita or recognize the features and significance of the mission that Krshna had undertaken.
Many sections of ancient works like Manusmrti and even the Upanishads would elude our grasp if we do not discard the misleading clichs and stereotypes. The expression, manushya, indicated a commoner who stuck to the codes of his clan and community, kuladharma and jatidharma.
The term, nara, referred to a free man who had walked out of his family, clan and community to pursue a vocation in tune with his natural traits, svabhava. He was however unable to follow a vocation reserved by and for specific groups.
The term, purusha, is not to be loosely translated as man or male. It referred to one who had talents of leaders, purusha samarthyam. Purushas arose from the commonalty of manushyas or from the free men, naras.
Krshna acquaints Arjuna with the different types of leaders and the ways by which they rose. A purusha, a social leader, was on the threshold of the aristocracy, divam. They were known as divya purushas. These were not angels. There were aristocrats who condescended to step down from their high abodes to guide and lead the commonalty.
The Bhagavad-Gita can be appreciated better by focussing on these fine distinctions. The expression, sarvabhutani, has been interpreted to mean all beings. Bhuta, referred specifically to the discrete individual of the social periphery. He did not belong to the agro-pastoral core society of the plains, comprising the two social worlds (lokas), aristocrats (devas) and commoners (manushyas) or the frontier society (antariksham) of the forests and mountains, which was engaged in industry. These bhutas did not belong to the social universes (jagats), the populations that had not settled down in any territory as families and communities. While the terms, jana (native people), itarajana (other people) and punyajana (blessed people) covered the three social worlds (lokas) and the three social universes (jagats), those on the social periphery were referred to as bhutas.
Many of them did not have definite occupations and were at the bare subsistence level. But they were not antisocial elements though the organized clans kept themselves away from them.
Krshna had undertaken to integrate this large society with diverse social orientations, economic practices and traditions. He was acquainting Arjuna with the problems that the latter would be facing while bringing into existence a new larger society based on the four-varnas scheme.
In this dissertation, I have traced on the basis of the verses of the Bhagavad-Gita that Krshna insisted on the scheme of classification of vocations and pursuits based on the natural traits of the free men (naras) and the unattached individuals (bhutas). But he handed over the task of implementation of this scheme to the school of Brahma, a group of experts in jurisprudence, functioning under the aegis of the Manu.
The school of Karmayoga nurtured and floated by Krshna was a highly influential one. It built effective social bureaucracies that saw the society through without dependence on the state and even during interregnums when there was no state worth the name. The influence of this school on that of Bhrgu and other great social legislators may be seen in the last book of the Manusmrti, Manava Dharmasastra.
The Manavas who supported the four-varnas scheme as outlined in the Dharmasastra and the politico-economic code, Arthasastra, proposed by Pracetas Manu, were citizens of the world, as it were. The Manavas accepted the binding force of svadharma based on svabhava and svakarma, and the codes of the classes, varnadharmas, but not those of the clans, communities and economic corporations (kulas, jatis and srenis).
They respected the codes of the regions (desas) where they resided but felt themselves free to move to any region of their choice provided its native populace (jana) permitted them to stay in its midst.
The active intellectuals who were also manavas practised Brahmakarma and were jurists. They were astikas, realists, humanists and believers in existentialism. Astika does not mean merely one who believes in the existence of God.
Let us try to arrive at more precise descriptions of the concepts on which the classical sociological works were based than we have done till now. This effort at breaking new grounds about the past may help us to lay new paths for the future, recognizing the latent forces from the manifest trends, a method urged by Samkhya dialectics and Yoga endeavour. A rational interpretation of Ancient Indian writings requires rejection of several postulates floated by some western Indologists who were impelled by the feeling that the white Aryan race and the Christian religion and its theology were superior to others. The disputed postulates are enumerated.
Karmayoga was in fact a course meant for the administrators. It was meant for the ruling elite. it could be availed of also by those engaged in economic activities as independent persons or as members of economic organizations.
Reinterpretation of the ancient Indian works is needed to outline Hindu social dynamics correctly and the place of Gita in it. Krshna came on the scene when the Vedic order had become decadent and the intelligentsia incapable of guiding the masses along the right lines. He proposed to revive the Rajarshi constitution that had been proposed first by Samkara the best of the political thinkers of the Rudra school of thought.
The ruler who was trained to conduct himself as a Rajarshi and follow this constitution is extolled by him. Karmayoga, Rajayoga and Brahmayoga are explained tp Arjuna even as he had earlier taught Prajapati Vivasvan (patron of Manu Vaivasvata) the sciences of Rajavidya, Rajayoga and Rajaguhya connected with the administration of the state.
Krshna headed an organization of volunteers drawn from the established clans and classes and also from among the peripheral sections of the larger society. The significance of this training can be grasped only if we note the distinctions among the three traits, sattva, rajas and tamas that he draws.
Krshna had undertaken the task left uncompleted by Vamana who corrected the distortions that Usanas effected in the constitution of Janasthana by Bali. He pointed out to his second in command, Arjuna, when he should introduce a major change in political authority in the states that were suffering from such distortions.
CHAPTER 1: WAR AS A THREAT TO SOCIAL ORDER
Sanjay reported to Dhrtarashtra, the blind ruler of Hastinapura how the armies of his sons and those of Pandu's sons were arrayed against each other on the battle-field of Kurukshetra, the Dharmakshetra. While Bhima led the Pandava army, that of the Kauravas was led by the veteran statesman and general, Bhishma. The latter blew his conch to enthuse the Kauravas and this marked the start of the battle.
Arjuna (son of Kunti) who surveyed the front-lines of the two armies was filled with sadness and by the feeling of krpa, compassion for the weak and the innocent who might fall in the battle. At the sight of his own people, svajana, arrayed and eager for battle Arjuna felt his limbs giving way. A shiver passed through his body. His bow slipped from his hand and his mind reeled. He told his charioteer, Krshna, that he saw bad omens and found no good following his killing his own people. He did not long for victory or for kingdom or pleasures, for the very persons for whom these were desired stood arrayed in battle renouncing their desires and ready to get killed.
The battle was not one merely between two rival factions. The social issues debated in the Gita are weighty.
He told Krshna that he would not kill his relations even if he should gain all the three lokas (social worlds). Of course the sons of Dhrtarashtra were desperadoes, not eligible to be called protectors, Kshatriyas. Still he would not kill them, for only sin would accrue to the Pandavas if they killed their brothers.
He asked Krshna why even if those, whose thinking (cetas) was blinded by greed saw no wrong in causing the decay of the clan they two should not have the wisdom, jneyam, to turn away from the sin as they clearly deplored the decay of the clan (kula).
The two must have discussed earlier the value of kuladharmas. With the decay of the clan, the ancient, sanatana, traditions, kuladharmas, disappear. As the practices of right conduct, dharmas, and their rationale are lost, adharma takes hold of the entire clan. Arjuna said that preponderance of adharma resulted in resort to prohibited conduct and the women of the clan, kula, became corrupt. With their violations, dushta, mixing of classes, varnasamkara, took place.
Varnasamkara resorted to by the free men, naras, made them lose their status as responsible free human beings. They were condemned to the lowest life, naraka, to a life in the ghetto. The departed 'souls' (pitrs) were deprived of the benefit of offering of rice-balls, pindas, and sip of water that is, the propitiatory rites. The surviving elders too were kept away from. They had to suffer because they did not like to be fed by impure women.
The stains of the destroyers of the clan contributed to varnasamkara, women giving birth to children by men belonging to other varnas, and the traditional values and practices, kuladharmas and jatidharmas got extinct thereby, Arjuna complained. He told Krshna that commoners (manushyas) who had lost their basic orientations, traditions and practices as organised clans were reduced to the level of fallen men and had to reside forever in naraka. Was there no hope for them?
Arjuna regretted that he and his brothers had set their mind on committing a great sin in intending to kill their own people, svajana.out of lust for kingdom and happiness. Would they be really sinners? He felt that it would be far better if the sons of Dhrtarashtra should kill him in battle with weapons while he stood unarmed and unresisting. For then they would be guilty of their destroying the clan and not he. Having spoken thus on the battlefield, with his mind agitated by grief, Arjuna threw aside his bow and arrows and sank in his seat.
CHAPTER 2: SAMKHYA AND YOGA: DIALECTICS AND ENDEAVOUR
Krshna tried to make Arjuna realize that he had to shed his fear and dejection and enter the fray. it was his duty as a Kshatriya to fight. He asked Atjuna who was overcome by pity for the likely victims of his action and whose eyes were filled with tears and who was depressed in mind whence that dejection had come to him at that odd time. He asked Arjuna to shed his weakness and unmanliness for these characterized the heart of kshudra, an agricultural worker. He asked the latter to stand up and assert himself. But Arjuna faced a dilemma.
How could he fight against Bhishma and Drona who were worthy of worship? He hesitated to fight against the mahi-kshitas, the agriculturist chieftains of the Mahi region. He felt that it was better to live on alms (as a student) without slaying honoured teachers though the latter were enamoured of wealth. By killing them he would be enjoying in the world of commoners, only bloodstained pleasures. Arjuna wondered which would be better for the Pandavas, they conquering the Dhartarashtras or the latter conquering them. The Pandavas would not like to live after killing them.
Arjuna said that his very being was stricken with the fault of pity for the undeserving recoiling on the man who has shown pity and that his mind was bewildered about 'dharma', the ethics behind the rules of pity. He asked Krshna to tell him for certain which of the two was good, to slay or to be slain.
Was Kshatra dharma which permitted aggression and destroying the enemies of the society who were bent on upsetting the codes, dharmas, of all classes, and slaying those enemies, better ot Kshatra Dharma which called upon the ruler to fight and die in battle while protecting the weak and the pious? Arjuna (who had been a student of Krpa, Drona and the sage of Saligrama) would now become Krshna's disciple.
He did not see what would dispel the sorrow that was withering his senses, indriyas. Even if he should obtain undisputed control over the treasury and an affluent realm on earth he would not be happy. He refused to fight and fell silent. There was a snag in Krpa's offer of amnesty. Arjuna had been offered by Krpa the status of Brhaspati who controlled the agro-pastoral commonalty (bhumi) and the treasury (sura). It fell far short of his expectations.
Arjuna was sitting depressed in the midst of the two armies. Krshna, smiling as it were at his sorrow, diffidence and dilemma, pointed out that though he grieved for those who were not to be grieved for, he had yet spoken words of awareness, prajna.
He pointed out that the learned panditas (physicians) did not grieve for the departed or for those who had not departed, for the dead or for the living. However there was never a time when "I or you or these chiefs of the people, janadhipas, were not, nor will there be a time when these shall not be".
He pointed out , "Just as in the body, the soul passes through the stages of boyhood, youth and old age, even so is its passing to another body, dehantara. The resolute, the brave and composed is not perplexed by this process." He said that pleasure and pain are results of the contacts made by the senses with their objects and are transitory. Krshna pointed out that only a social leader (purusha) whom the contacts with external objects did not torment and who treated pleasure and pain alike would become fit to enter the aristocracy (amrutatva) whose members could occupy positions permanently and followed higher cultural pursuits,
According to Krshna, the existence of the unreal is not known and so is the non-existence of the real is not known (Sat is and asat is not.) The philosophers (tattvadarshis) have observed that the postulate of an inner gap (anta) between these two clauses is untenable. There is no third thing between real and unreal.
He asked Arjuna to know the fact that what pervades everything is also imperishable. It is inexhaustible and none has the ability to bring about its destruction. It may be noted that Krshna does not use the term, atma, and does not call this as paramatma. It is said that these bodies (dehas) of what is within them (saririnas, dehis) come to an end, But the latter are lasting (nitya) and are aprameya, incomprehensible, and anasina, imperishable.
Krshna points out to the hesitating Pandava that both he who holds that this (soul) slays and the one who thinks that this is slain fail to know (na vijanita) for it neither kills nor is lilled. The commoner (manushya) is asked to realise that the soul neither kills nor is killed. He does not use the terms, jiva, prana, atma, manas or purusha to refer to the 'soul'. In the case of the soul in man, he calls it, dehi and he does not use any term to refer to the higher soul.
Krshna adds, "It is never born nor does it die nor does it come into existence only after it is 'born'. It is not born (aja), is eternal (nitya), everlasting (sasvata), ancient (puratana). It is not slain with the slaying of the body. He expects the social leader to realise that the soul has no birth or death.
Krshna follows Arjuna's hesitation and asks him, "The leader, purusha, who knows that it is indestructible, eternal, unborn and unexhausted, how and whom does he slay, or does he cause to be slain?"
The nara, free man casts off worn out clothes and takes on other new ones (as he changes his vocation). Similarly the soul (dehi) in the body (deha) casts off the worn out body and takes on some other new one. The soul goes from one body to another according to the free man (nara) who changes vocations and is not attached to any social group.Krshna advises Arjuna to realize that the body is like a garment to be cast off. Weapons do not cleave the 'soul', fire does not burn it, water does not drench it and the wind does not dry it. It is eternal, moves everywhere and is yet steady, is immovable and is primeval (sanatana); it is unmanifest and is beyond thought and is often spoken of as immutable. Hence, knowing it as such Arjuna ought not to grieve.
Krshna told him, "if you think that it is repeatedly born and dies repeatedly, even then you should not grieve like this, for in that case, for that which is born death is fixed and for the dead, birth (that is, rebirth) is fixed. You should hence not grieve for the inevitable". Krshna did not postulate the concept of rebirth. He did not try to deny that possibility.
He told Arjuna that (all) beings (bhutas, discrete individuals) were non-manifest in the beginning and will be so on their death and are manifest only in the middle. The views of the members of the social periphery are distinct from those of a commoner (manushya) who is bound by his social group and from that of a free man (nara) who has left that group and also from that of a social leader (purusha) who seeks to join the elite.These discrete individuals do not believe in a past or in a future. They are concerned with the present.
Describing thus the span of existence of the 'soul' Krshna deplored that hardly anyone perceived it to be a marvel or spoke of it as such and even the few who had heard of it did not know it. He declared that this soul dwelling in all bodies is eternal and is incapable of being slain. As the soul cannot be slain, Arjuna should not grieve for those who fell in battle. Considering it as his own (personal) duty (svadharma) he should not waver for there is nothing better than a righteous war (dharmya yuddha) for a Kshatriya.
Dharmayuddha meant not only a battle where the code of war was adhered to but also one that was intended to enable everyone to adhere to his personal duties and exercise the corresponding rights.
He added, "Partha, happy are those kshatriyas for whom war comes of its own accord as an open door to svarga (entrance to the privileges of the nobility). He warned Arjuna that if he did not fight the righteous war, dharmyam samgramam, besides failing in his duty, svadharma, and losing his reputation, he would be incurring sin.
The discrete individuals of the social periphery (bhutas) who were mostly ex-servicemen would also heap undying infamy on him. Infamy brought on one who was enjoying esteem was worse than death. And the great chieftains who fought from prestigious chariots and held him in esteem would think that he had retired from battle out of fear and they would make light of him. And his enemies (ahita, not well-wishers) disparaging his ability would speak ill of him. What could be more distressing than this, Krshna asked him.
Exhorting Arjuna, he said, "Slain, you will win a place among the elite dead (svarga) or winning you will enjoy the land (mahi, the plains on the banks of this river which the Pandavas had lost to Kauravas and wanted to recover)."
"Therefore, son of Kunti, stand up, determined to take part in the action, on battle", he encouraged. "Treating gain and loss, pleasure and pain, victory and defeat, alike, get ready for battle. then you will not incur sin."
Arjuna would be able to throw off the shackles of action, karma, if his intellect, buddhi, was linked to the principles enunciated in the science of action, yoga. According to this discipline, there is no loss, nashta, of effort at reaching higher levels of stability and there is no fear of adverse results, Krshna assures. Even a little of this code of regulated conduct, dharma, protects one from the great fear.
Introducing Arjuna to his academy Krshna contrasts the student who pursues a single discipline and vocation with the one who is associated with its several branches.
He told Partha that the persons whose nature was dominated by desire for pleasure (kama-atma) and who rejoiced in disputation on the letter of the Vedas and who were intent on attaining elite status, svarga, were 'unlearned'. They recommended many special rites for attaining prosperity, enjoyment and wealth. Krshna lashed out at pleasure-seekers.
He advised Arjuna to rise above the two traits (rajas and tamas) and be ever fixed in sattva, gentleness and serenity. He was not to seek only personal welfare, that is, security (kshema) of the fruits of one's exercise (yoga). For one enlightened through reason, vijnana, an intellectual, Brahmana, with vast knowledge, all the Vedas are of as little use as a pond on the edge of a flooded area.
According to Krshna, Arjuna had the right, adhikara, only to work, karmani, and never to its fruit, phala. His motive (hetu) hence is not to be the obtaining of the fruits of work (karmaphala). Nor is he to be attached (sanga) to inaction (akarmani).
Arjuna had to renounce his attachment to goals and to their (siddhi) attainment or (asiddhi) non-attainment. He might not become perfect even after long training. He should not be worried whether he would succeed or fail. He should be even-tempered in both success and failure. For, the state of equanimity is called 'yoga'. He must be fixed in the discipline of 'yoga' and perform his duty, karma.
Krshna points out to Dhanamjaya that ritualistic performance of duty, karma, is inferior to the effort put in by the intellectual, buddhiyoga, mental co-ordination, the planning that precedes execution. He calls upon Arjuna to surrender himself, to seek refuge, in such buddhi, intellectual approach'. For those who seek fruits of work deserve only pity.
Karmayoga was meant not for thosewho sought wages or profit but for the intellectuals and the new elite who had to carry out certain social obligations without seeking reward and with equanimity.
One who has linked his intellect to such performance of duty without expecting rewards discards what accrues from good deeds as well as bad ones. Therefore exert yourself in accordance with the discipline of 'yoga'. It teaches one facile action, Krshna advises.
The intellectuals, the planners who have renounced the fruit accruing from the actions and who are called manishinas, freed from the shackles of birth (that is, from the duties to the families, communities or regions where they are born) attain the status of healthy, robust counsellors.
Krshna told Arjuna that when the intellect of the latter would have crossed the mire of delusion in which it was then trapped he would become indifferent to what had been heard and also to what was yet to be heard. When his intellect which was confused by the conflicting statements he had heard as authoritative versions of guidelines shall stand undisturbed and stable in the state of samadhi, he would attain the status of a yogi.
What did Krshna mean by samadhi? What was his description of the man whose awareness was firmly founded and who was in that state? How did a person with perception sit, speak and walk? Arjuna wanted Krshna to explain to him this basic position which was common to all schools of yoga.
Krshna explained to Partha that when one aborted all cravings passing through his mind unregulated and was personally content he was stable in awareness, sthita prajna. The silent sage, muni, whose mind remained unperturbed, anudvigna, in sorrow and whose thirst for pleasure had left undesired and who was withdrawn from passion, fear and wrath, was said to be one stable in awareness. One who has no affection or attachment for those around him and who while getting good or bad indications does not rejoice or loathe, is established in awareness.
When a person withdraws his senses from their objects, even as a tortoise its limbs within, he is established in awareness. The objects of taste may be taken away from one's presence, from the longing soul, dehina, but the taste for them lingers. Even that vasana, adhesion, will disappear when he perceives the supreme goal, Krshna tells Arjuna.
He points out that even though a purusha, is capable of guiding others and is learned, ever strives, his mind may be taken away forcibly by the turbulent senses. Having brought all the senses under control, with his mind fully collected, unified, he should sit down engrossed on the 'matpara, his alter ego, deuteragonist, which role Krshna was then playing for Arjuna. For, the awareness of one whose senses are under rein is firmly established.
The meditator has to be free from engrossment in the objects of senses, for attachment to them arises by focusing on these objects. From attachment, desire for them springs. From desire, wrath against those who prevent his attainment springs. From wrath, bewilderment about the correct path to be taken arises. Bewilderment leads to amnesia. And as one forgets his past experiences, his intellect is destroyed. As intellect is destroyed, he perishes, Krshna warns. On the other hand one who is complaisant (vidheya atma), one who follows the rules and is self-restrained and is free from passion and hatred for others attains the higher level and tranquillity of mind (prasadam), though moving among various objects, matters of senses, that is, sensuous experiences.
All sorrows of one cease with attainment of placidity (prasadam). The intellect of such a placid and pleased (prasanna) person who is a scholar (chetasa) is soon withdrawn from all sides and is established back in himself, the focusing on the alter ego being no longer necessary. After experiencing tranquillity and satisfaction, prasadam and prasannam, in the identification with that alter ego, the intellect of the scholar is withdrawn.
The above is the proper method. For those who have not disciplined themselves there is no accretion of intellect and little conception. For one lacking in concentration of mind that is necessary to conceive an idea there is no peace. For those who have no peace, there is no happiness.
When the mind runs after roving senses, it carries away awareness, even as the wind carries away the boat in a turbulent river. Therefore one whose senses are all withdrawn from their material objects (artha) has his awareness well-established, Krshna stresses, calling for focusing on an objective higher than those sought by his senses.
What is night for all beings is the time of being awake for the disciplined who has regulated his senses and mind. What is the time of being awake for these individuals (bhutas) is night for the silent sage. He sees (by his inner eye). He unto whom all desires enter as waters of the rivers enter the sea, attains peace; and not he who hankers after desires, pleasures.
He who abandons all desires and moves free from yearning and is without feeling of 'mineness' and is free from egotism attains peace.
This is the state, posture, of the ideal intellectual (brahma). Having attained that state, one is not infatuated. Fixed in that state (brahmasthiti) even if it be only at the last moment, at the time of leaving the institution one may attain (rcchata) intellectual freedom (brahmanirvanam), one can become pure intellect.
CHAPTER 3: THE PATH OF DUTY
Addressing Krshna as Janardana (one who agitated the people, jana), Arjuna asked him why the latter urged him to do the gory' (ghora) work (karma) if he considered intellect to be superior to work. He asked Krshna to tell him decisively the one path by which he could get the greatest benefit.
Krshna said that he had in the past taught the social world (of common men) a two-fold course of disciplined interest. For those who follow Samkhya dialectics he had recommended jnanayoga and for those who opted for for yoga he had recommended karmayoga
A social leader (purusha) does not attain the state of actionlessness by only not commencing any work. Not by mere renunciation (samnyasa) does one come close to perfection. Relinquishment is tyaga.
Neither a serene intellectual nor the idiot can remain totally inactive, for there is some dynamism in every one.
Krshna states that a fool who restrains the organs of action but continues in his mind to remember the objects of senses, the pleasures and comforts given by these objects is said to be a hypocrite. But he who controls by prescribed methods the organs of action and the senses by the mind and is without attachment and undertakes work through organs of action excels in the discipline of action, karmayoga.
Krshna advised him to perform his prescribed duty. For, work (karma) is better than non-work (akarma). Even physical progress cannot be accomplished through non-work.
Krshna says that except when work is performed for purposes of sacrifice (yajna) this social world (of commoners) is in bondage to work (karmabandana). "Therefore, son of Kunti, do your work (karma) in the spirit of sacrifice and for that purpose efficiently in collaboration with others, free from attachment.
He indicates that the (unidentified) Prajapsti, chief of the people, who introduced this system claimed that the wards would prosper by this pure practice and that they would be able to get their desires fulfilled (ishtakarma) through sacrifice. The prajas offered as sacrifice the pure things to the nobles (devas). The prajapati advised his wards, "Let those nobles by this sacrifice foster you. By this mutual appreciation and encouragement you will obtain the highest benefit."
Fostered by sacrifice (yajna), the nobles (devas) will surely bestow on you the desired enjoyments for he who enjoys the gifts bestowed on him without giving them back is a thief.
By partaking what was left of the sacrifice the virtuous, saints, are absolved of all stains. The sinful ones who prepare food only for themselves eat only impurity. All beings (bhutas) come into being from food (anna); for food rain is necessary; rain occurs because of yajna; and yajna comes from collective action. Krshna declares, "Know thou that the origin of work is in the Brahma (Veda) and that Brahma springs from the imperishable letter. Hence the all-pervading Brahma is said to be founded always in sacrifice (yajna).
Krshna says that he who does not follow the above wheel set in motion (dharmachakram) is sinful, belongs to the lower rungs of the society, is engaged in sensual delight and lives in delusion, leads an unprofitable life.
According to Krshna there were some 'manavas' who were citizens of the world and were not bound by any social or state bonds, and were engaged in contemplation seeking delight in self (atmarati). For them there exists no duty (karyam) to be performed.
Such a manava, free thinker, has here, that is, in this social world of commoners (manushyas) no intent or material purpose (artha), whatever to gain by his actions and none to be gained by those he has not gained. He does not depend on all the beings (discrete individuals, bhutas), of the social periphery, for his needs.
A social leader (purusha who heads a social unit like family) too has to go on doing his duty, karma, well and be always unattached, for by doing his work according to prescribed rules and without attachment he attains the highest level, Krshna advises.
He pointed out that Janaka (head of a native agro-pastoral population, jana) and others reached perfection, fulfillment through such actions (karmana). Arjuna should do work also with an eye on lokasamgraha,integration of the three social worlds.
He pointed out to Arjuna and other trainees that whatever a respected man (sreshta, plutocratic chieftain) practised the same alone other people (itara jana) (of the indistrial frontier society followed.
Krshna introduced himself to Arjuna as a charismatic leader honoured by all the three social worlds and as one who had no specific duty, kartavyam, to be performed. There was nothing that he had not already gained and yet he continued to perform action, duty (karma).
He continued to work as the commoners (manushyas) followed his path in all matters and if he did not engage himself in work unwearied it would set a bad example for others and they would harm themselves.
He feared that if (as a leader) he did not perform his duty (karma) the social worlds (lokas) would perish and he would become the person causing 'mixture (samkara) and destruction of the subjects (prajas, domiciles).
"The non-learned (avidvan) act from attachment to their work.The learned too should work, do their duties, but without attachment. They should be intent on social integration.
Krshna asked the non-active scholars not to disturb the progress of this work. The learned should not cause contradictions in intellectual assessments among the ignorant who are attached to work groups.
The learned should himself perform properly his duty and remain correctly trained and should get others perform all their duties, Krshna directs.
All kinds of work are done by the innate traits of prakrti (masses). But the fool who is egoistic thinks that he is the doer (aham karta).
He clarifies that the learned knows the essential principle (tattva) of the spheres of jurisdiction (vibhaga) of gunas (natural traits) and karmas (duties), (which field of action is correlated to which natural trait). The scholar realizes that these traits move amongst the traits (gunas). [The guna-karma paradigm of Krshna tried to avoid both lokasamkara and varnasamkara.].
Krshna adds that the commoners, prakrti, who are deluded by the innate traits get attached to the actions correlated to these traits. However the person who knows all aspects of the social order that is being created and adopts a holistic view should not unsettle the mentally weak and those who are ignorant of this project.
Krshna urges Arjuna to renounce (samnyasya) the issue of the propriety of all the works, duties, to the judgement of the former. He should focus his thought (cetas) on his inner personality (adhyatma) and become free from expectations and egoism and be free from fever, nervousness and proceed to fight.
He assured that those 'manavas' (followers of Pracetas Manu) too who full of faith and free from illwill followed his teaching would be released from (accountability for) their acts.
He declares that those who carp at his stand (matam) and do not follow it are confused in all fields of knowledge and lost and are unintelligent (acetas).
He argues that the scholar too acts according to his nature, prakrti, that is, the composition of his innste traits, gunas. Krshna draws attention to the link between the scholar and his social world. All beings, bhutas (discrete individuals wherever they live) follow their respective natural trait (prakrti). What can repression of natural traits accomplish, he asks the champions of retirement, nivrtti.
He treats passion (raga), and hatred caused by the free play of senses rooted to their objects as the two enemies of man. Let no one come under their sway, for they are waylayers, he warns.They deprive man of the merit he has earned by his virtuous deeds.
Krshna then enunciates his famous thesis: "One's own duty (svadharma) though devoid of guna base, that is,imperfect in correlation between guna and karma, natural trait and vocation adopted, is better than another's duty (paradharma), followed perfectly by the former. Death in performance of one's duty (svadharma) is good, beneficial, for performance of another's duty (paradharma) is perilous and is to be feared."
Arjuna wanted to know what made a social leader (purusha) commit sins even against his will, acting as though driven by force. (Was the individual to be blamed or the social system?)
Krshna clarified, "It is desire and wrath (kamakrodha) begotten of the trait, rajas, which is ravenous and grossly wicked. Know this to be the foe, in this case." As a flame is covered by smoke and a mirror by dust and a fetus by womb so is this covered by that.
Krshna adds, "The knowledge of the wise stands veiled, kept back by this eternal foe who is in the form of kama, an insatiable fire of desire. He explains that the five senses (indriyas), the mind (manas) and the intellect (buddhi) too are said to be the seat of lust.
Veiling knowledge, lust, through these deceives the soul (dehina) which is within the body.
Therefore, Bharatarshabha, you must first control your senses and kill (prajahi) this evil that ruins knowledge. By knowing this (soul) that is beyond comprehension by the intellect and by steadying one's self by oneself (the soul within, atmana) one may kill the enemy who is in the form of desire and who is hard to overcome.
CHAPTER 4:THE NEW SOCIAL ORDER
Krshna claimed that he had taught Vivasvan this Yoga, a discipline whose importance never becomes less and that the latter transmitted it to Manu (Vaivasvata) and that Manu taught it to Ikshvaku. This discipline was transmitted in succession from father to son, from teacher to pupil and was known to the Rajarshis of yore but was lost in course of time.
Krshna told Arjuna that he was teaching the latter the ancient discipline, yoga, as the latter was his devotee and companion. He was imparting to Arjuna a highly confidential knowledge. But Arjuna wondered how Krshna could have taught this discipline to Vivasvan. Krshna claimed that he had passed through many 'births and he knew them all and that though Arjuna too had passed through many births he did not remember them.
He identifies himself with the soul (and not the body). It is unborn and is imperishable. He claims to be the benevolent charismatic leader (Isvara) of (all) discrete individuals (bhutas) (specially, of the social periphery). Yet he establishes himself among the masses (prakrti). He says that he makes himself manifest through his personal (atma) power.
In his famous declaration and commitment, Krshna said that whenever there was decline of righteousness (dharma) and rise of unrighteousness (adharma) he would'shape' (equip) himself(and appear) to protect the good persons anddestroy the evil-doers and to establish righteousness (dharma).
By birth and duties he belonged to the stratum of nobles. He asked Arjuna to recognize the rationale behind requiring the elite to step in when necessary to aid the civil authority. He who knew this did not attain rebirth when hissoul left his body and attained Krshna's status.(Was this what Krshna meant?)
He claimed that delivered from passion, fear and wrath and absorbed in him and dependent on him and purified by 'tapas' in acaquiring knowledge (jnanam) many had reached his stance.
Krshna told Arjuna that even as the commoners sought him he too approached them. For all followed his path and way of thinking and functioning. But he deplored that in the social world of commonalty those who sought the fulfillment of the purposes of their actions offered sacrifices to the chieftains (devatas) of the other society for by that their deeds bore fruit quickly.
Krshna claimed that his model of a society with four classes was based on both criteria, natural trait (guna) of the individual and the vocation (karma) that he pursued in tune with that.
In a significant directive he asks his students to note that he was the author (kartaram) of that scheme of work but he was a non-doer (akartaram), as one who did not expend (avyaya) himself. Krshna was a planner and not an executive of the social polity.
He explained that neither the actions nor craving for the fruits of action contaminated him. It took only others on its path and its fruits went to others. He was neither part of the activity nor its purpose, neither an active worker nor a beneficiary of the work done.
One who knew him as having that trait of not being affected by the action initiated or attached to it was not bound by actions (karmas).
In the past, seekers of liberation from drudgery of work performed actions like this, knowing the value of such detachment from the fruits of work.
Krshna claimed that he was a planner and not an executive. He advised Arjuna not to follow the definitions of action (karma) and non-action (akarma) as given by Usanas (Kavi). He offered to expound his own definition of 'karma' by knowing which he would be free (moksha) from the inauspicious.
Krshna identified three facets in work, karma, vikarma and akarma, approved action, unlawful action and inaction or non-action.
Vikarma covered all harmful acts, dysfunction. But the prescribed and permitted duties may or may not be performed. The duties performed are covered by karma and ones not performed are termed akarma,
He asked Arjuna to comprehend (using his intellect, buddhi) the differences among the three. One who saw action (karma) as non-action (akarma) and saw non-action (akarma) in action (karma) was called an intelligent person (buddhiman) among the commoners.
Who was an intellectual (budha)according to the experts (pandits)? Krshna explained that the experts described as a Budha one whose undertakings, enterprises, had all been at the commencement stage of resolve to reach specified goals within specified time, free from desires. His actions were burned and tested in the flame of wisdom (jnana agni), had been devoted to the spread and acquisition of knowledge.
One who has regulated his thinking (chittam) and has no cravings and has given up all objects of comfort, enjoyment and trappings and is only physically performing his duty does not incur blemish.
One who is satisfied with whatever is gained unsought and who has passed beyond the duality of (pleasure and sorrow) and is free from jealousy and remains in equipoise in success (siddhi) and non-success (asiddhi) though engaged in action is not bound to it.
He advises his trainees that the totality of actions, both the good and bad effects of actions performed by a person whose attachments have left him melt away if he is free to function as he chose. His thinking (cetas) is firmly founded in expertise, knowledge (jnanam) and he performs his duty in the spirit of sacrifice.
The Brahma agni, sacrificial fire lit by the Brahmans witnesses a Brahman offering the oblation. He is the performer, host of the sacrifice. Brahmans themselves officiated as priests at the sacrifices performed by the members of their class. The act of offering and the offering itself are to be pure befitting the concept (Brahma) the status and state of the ideal intellectual who has to honour and observe equanimity. It requires offering all one has in the fire with no beneficiary at all. This is the characteristic of a Brahmans duty. He does not live for himself or for others. Krshna calls this equanimity, Brahmakarma samadhi.
[Brahma was the chief justice who presided over the four-member constitution bench knew all the four Vedas. He had taken over the role of the civil judge (Agni) also. The verdict given by this constitution bench on the civil disputes was known as Brahma-agni. The period when the jurist deliberated alone on what decision he should give on a point pertaining to the constitution was called Brahmakarma samadhi. All points of view were presented by the members of the larger sixteen member judiciary vetted at least three times before the chief justice pronounced his verdict. No member of the executive or commoner or his representative or solicitor could appear before the judiciary. All issues were taken up suo moto by the bench.].Krshna commends a wider and holistic approach to the concept of yajna.
This endeavour, yoga, has to be kindled by the flame of wisdom, jnanam (knowledge in common parlance). Some sacrifice their material possessions, some what they have gained by meditation and persistence, tapas, some by disciplined performance of duty, yoga, some by self-education, svadhyaya or through quest for knowledge. Pranayama is likened to yoga. All who know the purpose of yajna and adhere to it get their guilt destroyed by it. Those who eat what remains after performing sacrifice attain the status of Sanatana Brahma.
Krshna advises Arjuna not to grudge the Brahmana his due though it is no longer necessary to conduct yajna under the aegis of the nobles (devas) or under the guidance of Atharvan priests (Brahmans). If commoners are not liberal how can they expect members of other social worlds to be more liberal, Krshna asks. Many forms of sacrifice confront the Brahmana (priest) and all these have their origin in work (karma), to the scheme of vocations and duties.
If Arjuna realized that the Brahmana (Atharvan) priest (guide) too had a difficult duty to perform as he regulated the practices, he would get freed from his doubts.
Performance of the prescribed sacrifice leads to the realization that what one has is to be given to others and that it has to benefit all. All duties culminate in this realization.
Arjuna has to know that all actions, duties performed, lead to jnanam, enlightenment.
The wise men, jnanina, who have witnessed the essential principle, tattva darsina, (of that academy) who have understood the principle underlying social processes, activities and relations would instruct Arjuna in what is wisdom.
The relationship between work (karma) and knowledge (jnanam) is to be recognized so that one is not bewildered. The Pandava would then notice in himself all beings (discrete individuals) without exception and then in his teacher, his alter ego.
Not only those admitted to the four classes but the sinners too could board this boat of wisdom (jnana) and cross the river of evil, Krshna declared. Even the outcasts were not barred access to the academy.
The flame of wisdom, jnana agni, burns down all actions, good and bad, Krshna states. It purifies.
For the very desire to be taught the principles of right conduct (dharma) burns down the sins committed and purifies the aspirant to knowledge.
What is purity, sanctity, pavitram? Arjuna asked. There is nothing here that is equal tp wisdom (jnanam) in purity, sanctity (pavitram), Krshna declared. He who becomes perfect by yoga finds this on his own in himself, in course of time, he said.
He who is dedicated (sraddha) and is absorbed in (prescribed duty) and has subdued his senses (indriyas) and gains wisdom (jnanam) and having gained that wisdom quickly, attains quickly supreme peace (parama santi). But the man who is ignorant who has no faith and sincerity in what he does who is a sceptic perishes.
The merits and demerits of the duties performed do not bind one who performs actions (karma) according to the rules of yoga. He shreds to pieces all doubts by wisdom (jnanam) and is self-controlled. He has the ability to guard himself (atmavanta).
"Therefore, Bharata, cut asunder the doubt in you which is born of ignorance with the sword of wisdom, get established in yoga and rise up."
CHAPTER 5 : ACTIVIST-INTELLECTUAL: BRAHMAYOGI
Arjuna noticed that Krshna extolled both renunciation of work and performance of duties in the manner prescribed by the discipline of yoga. He wanted to know for certain which of the two was better.
Krshna declares that both are conducive to the highest good, but of the two, karmayoga is better than karmasamnyasa. For those pursuing worldly goals he recommended karmayoga.
He calls for constant neutrality, objectivity and detachment. This is constant renunciation. One marked by this is easily freed from bondage to worldly life.
The immature (bala) speak of yoga and samkhya as being different but not the experienced teachers (panditas). Krshna adds that one who applies himself to either of the two disciplines gets the fruits of both.
The position obtained by the scholars who follow the method of Samkhya dialectics is reached also by those who follow the path of yoga (karmayoga). Krshna declares that he alone sees who looks at samkhya and yoga (theory and practice) as a single discipline.
It is painful to attain the stage of renunciation without training in yoga. The silent sage (muni) who also practises yoga, the path prescribed by the science of action attains soon the level of the highest intellectual, Brahma.
One trained in karmayoga and is a pure individual (visuddha atma), is not guilty of any misdeed and has conquered his senses and has identified himself (atma) with all discrete individuals (sarvabhuta), personally being such an individual (atmabhuta), (not a member of any social group) is not tainted by what he does.
An intellectual who treats Samkhya and Yoga as one discipline is one who knows the philosophy, tattvavid, 'He' does nothing at all. Only senses and organs function, move among their 'objects'. His 'soul' does not get involved in these actiities.
He has no functions renouncing attachment and offering all actions and their fruits to the 'Brahman' the highest sociopolitical authority, remains untouched by sin even as the lotus leaf does not get wet though standing in water.
The karmayogis who perform their duties in the manner prescribed by the science of yoga, perform actions only with their senses of perception and action or with the body or with the mind or with intellect, renouncing (tyaktva) attachment (sangam), for self-purification.
By abandoning attachment to the work being done, by performing it as as duty and by giving up claims to its fruits, the trained (yukta) person (nominated to a post) attains definite peace. (His conscience does not trouble him.)
But one whose actions are caused by desire and who is attached to the fruits of work gets tied down. The untrained (ayukta) are deprived of the lasting benefit, peace and freedom.
The 'embodied' who has kept under his hold the senses and organs of the body and renounces all actions rests mentally at ease, neither doing any work nor causing work to be done.
The nine inlets and outlets of the body are compared to the nine gates of the legendary gandharva city whos chief, Prabhu, did not regulate the actions of his subordinates nor did do any work by himself.
The Prabhu does not connect the works with their fruits. The soul of man does not initiate any action nor does it motivate any through promise of rewards. Then what makes him function? Krshna declares that it is his innate trait which makes the individual function in a particular way.
Many did not realize the significance of the argument advanced by the Vibhu, chief of the local community that self-help was the only way to survive in struggle. This realization (jnanam) was enveloped in ignorance (ajnanam).
This aspect bewilders the jantus, mentally and physically weak persons, the lowest cadres of the population (and the lower species) who are born just to exist briefly. The helpless and bewildered are but 'jantus'.
At the other end of the spectrum of life, for those in whom ignorance (ajnanam) is destroyed by jnanam, knowledge, knowledge about one's self (atma), wisdom (jnanam) lights up like sun (aditya).
Those whose intellect (buddhi) is directed towards That (tat), whose selves (atma) are in That (tat), whose culmination or goal they are intent on is That and who are going towards That, reach the state from which there is no return as their guilt has been wiped out by knowledge (jnanam).
Which stain has to be rinsed off by wisdom? It refers to the failure to treat all individuals as equal.
The well-versed (panditas) treat the Brahmana who is educated and is also humble, the cow, the elephant, the dog and the pig-eater (svapaka) as equal, look at them in the same way (samadarsina).
Even this fluid multitude (sarga) is conquered by those whose mind is steady (sthitam) in equality (samya).
The status of Brahma is faultless and indicates equanimity (samam). Hence those who have these traits are established (sthita) in the class of Brahmana.
Krshna says, "One who does not feel elation when he gets what is pleasing, nor feels perturbed when he gets what is not pleasant, that is, one who is a Brahmavid, a scholar belonging to the Brahma cadre, has his position in the class of Brahmana (jurists). he is free from bewilderment.
A brahmavid was one not attached to things of external contacts. He stayed away from all objects and persons. He derived happiness in himself (atmani).
Intellectual endeavour, Brahmayoga, is exercised in aloofness, away from the humdrum of the society and its worldly activities.
The comfort (sukham) experienced by one trained in intellectual endeavour does not lessen.
The pleasures born of physical contacts are only sources of sorrow. These pleasures and sorrows have a beginning and an end. They are transitory and span only the period from birth to death. Hence the budha(intellectual of the periphery) does not delight in sexual and other physical contacts.
He who is able to resist the rush of the fount of lust and wrath even if only before casting off the body is one properly trained in the path of yoga. Though he is a happy free man (nara) he is properly united with the class of trainees in yoga.
Krshna's academy admitted such free men who came to it late in life. Krshna distinguishes between physical freedom and intellectual emancipation, sarira vimokshanam and brahma nirvanam. The former meant release from physical bondage and the latter retirement from the judiciary.
One who is happy within and finds comfort within and has light within is a yogi who becomes Brahma, an intellectual par excellence.
He is his own guide and goes quickly to the goal, the stage of intellectual emancipation.
The sages whose guilt have been destroyed, reduced and whose equivocations have been cut asunder and who are self-controlled and who rejoice in doing good to all individuals obtain intellectual emancipation.
The yatis were free from lust and wrath. They had no worldly desires and had controlled their thinking, yatachetas. They were moderates and lived within the framework of rules they had imposed for themselves. They had learnt all about themselves. As a result they had reached a stage very close to brahmanirvanam.
As he shuts out all external contacts and fixes his sight on the space between his two brows, balancing the inbreath and outbreath and controls his senses, mind and intellect and is freed from desire, fear and wrath he is freed forever.
As the Brahmayogi after performing his duties gets emancipated from them and is freed forever, he leaves all his tasks, performance of sacrifices, intellectual endeavour to his beneficiary whose cause he has been devoted to.
Since the soul has no death and since the duties have all been performed as prescribed, the yogi is discharged. the recipient of the results of his deeds does not detain his soul any longer. It is permitted to leave for its permanent abode. It thereupon attains peace.
CHAPTER 6: THE DILEMMA OF THE RAJAYOGI
Who is a Karmayogi? One who performs action (karma) to fulfill certain duties (karyam) without depending on their rewards is a samnyasi and yogi.
One who does not sit in front of the domestic fire, that is, fails to discharge his domestic obligations and one who does no work (akriya) are not to be called samnyasis or yogis. They are truants.
Krshna asks Arjuna to know that the teachers spoke of renunciation as yoga for no one who has not given up the prior commitments and resolves to attain certain personal objectives can become a yogi.
The silent sage, muni, tries to climb the wooden dais (with long sharp nails) to become a yogi. One who observes this act states that duty (karma) is the cause (karanam) for the effort at ascent.
When the muni has mounted the seat of the yogi the reason for this act of ascent comes to be known. Tranquility (sama) is what he has been after and hence he prefers to become a yogi. When he gets rid of the doubts vexing him and becomes tranquil he may proceed to get trained and accepted as a yogi.
Krshna explains that one has to be first free from attachment to the objects of senses, to physical comforts and sensual pleasures and to the actions themselves. He must have renounced all resolves. Then only he becomes eligible to sit on the mount ready to embark on the course of training in yoga.
Let one raise oneself and not demean oneself. One's rise and fall in status is because of his good deeds or bad ones. One is not to be dependent on brothers (bandhu) for social ascent. One's self (atma) is one's friend, brother. Similarly one is one's own enemy.
Krshna points out that for one who has conquered oneself, one's atmais one's own kinsman. For one who has not conquered oneself it will be his enemy, working against him.
He tells Arjuna that the position of the highest unattached individual (parama atma) is entrusted for purpose of ensuring the welfare of equally all (samahita) with one who has conquered oneself and is serene (prasanta), is unperturbed in the midst of cold and heat, joy and sorrow, honour and dishonour.
One who has conquered his senses and whose thirst for accumulated knowledge (jnana) and further knowledge (vijnana) (through extrapolation of the former) is satisfied may become such a judge.
He receives all offerings whether only clod of earth or stone, ores or gold and treats them all, rich and poor as equal, sama. He is a person properly trained in rajayoga, a yukta.
As a Rajarshi, he is the best suited to head the circle of states, mandala. While dealing with them this centrally situated (kootastha) ruler exhibits equal-mindedness, intellectual evenness (samabuddhi) and is impartial while dealing with those who hate him or his kin or with those who are pious or with sinners.
A yogi should engage himself constantly alone, situate in privacy as one who has controlled his thinking and be free from personal desires. He must not surround himself with possessions. The yogi selects a clean region and establishes himself on a stable seat, neither very high nor very low, a seat covered by deer-skin, kusa grass and sheet of cloth.
Sitting on the elevated seat, having controlled his thinking (cetas) and the senses and concentrating the mind for self-purification, let him be engaged in yoga, Krshna directs.
Krshna asks Arjuna who took this posture of a yogi to think of the former, the teacher in front of him and fix his attention on his alter ego, matpara.
The yogi who has controlled his mind and keeps himself ever engaged attains quickly peace. He also experiences the greatest (parama) emancipation (nirvanam) by identifying himself with the institution that belongs to his guide (matsamstha)
Yoga is for those who are moderate in food and entertainment, balanced in sport and work and are properly regulated while asleep or awake. Such balance follows the training in yoga that destroys all sorrow. The preliminary training required that the student disciplined his thinking and focused on his self, atma, and was free from all desires.
The faculty of considered thought, chittam, of the yogi, that is under control, yata, does not get disturbed. The yogi is one engaged in harnessing his self (atma)
When curbed by adherence to the rules governing practice of yoga, when one ceases to think, he sees himself in himself and rejoices in himself.
When he finds endless pleasure that he grasps intellectually rather than through sensory organs, he reaches the yogic state. Then he does not move away from the essential philosophy (tattvata) of the discipline of yoga.
He realizes the meaning of the directive, That art thou, Tat tvam asi. On gaining that status of yogi, there is no greater gain beyond it. Established in the yogic state he does not get disturbed by events of deep sorrow.
The disconnection from union with sorrow is to be known by the name, yoga. One must perform this yogaassured and undismayed thought (chetasa).
Krshna advises Arjuna to practise it renouncing all desires without leaving any residue.
The yogi has to be uninfluenced by his prior commitments. He has to discipline the group of senses by the mind on all sides so that they do not cross the limits.
One gains motionlessness, tranquility, slowly by means of intellect which is held in control by one's steadiness and by fixing the mind on the personal sector (atmasamstha). Let him not think of anything else.
Let him restrain and bring back to his control, influence of the self whatever makes the wavering and unsteady mind wander away.
Krshna points out that the best happiness is obtained by the yogi whose mind is serene, peaceful, whose trait of aggressiveness is calmed down and who is guiltless, non-vindictive and who has identified himself with the highest intellectual, Brahma.
The yogi (the Rajayogi in particular) is not to be vengeful. He must ever be concerned with administering the department under his personal supervision and ensure it is smooth. Here he would be in touch with intellectuals (Brahma). This contact would aid him to easily experience the highest happiness.
The person well trained in Rajayoga has to establish himself (atmanam) in all individuals (of the periphery) and has to deal with all persons with the same attitude.
The yogi who is established in studying samkhya and yoga as a single discipline, reasoning and endeavour as a composite study, recognizes and spreads the claim (bhajati) that 'he' is located in all beings, individuals. even though they may follow various types of vocations they abide in 'him'.
Krshna advises Arjuna, "One who sees all as equal and sees every thing as the image of himself (atma) whether in pleasure or in sorrow is the best (parama) yogi".
Arjuna found it difficult to translate this call for evenness into practice. He acknowledged that his mind was restless and saw no stable base. He was not speaking for himself only. Most persons found the mind to be fickle, tormenting and dragging one off course or strong and obstinate and hence unable to be moulded. It is difficult to restrain the mind.
Krshna agreed but claimed that by constant practice and dispassion one could control it. It is hard to master yoga if one is not even and self-regulated. But for one who has his self under his influence it is possible to obtain that mastery.
It is implicit that Arjuna then wanted to know what path one should take if he could not control himself despite faithful adherence to the rules of yoga (that is, system of governmental action). What should he do if the minister (mind) wandered away from yoga (the code) or if the ruler failed to attain perfection in that science of regulation and perfect fulfillment of all duties?
Would the trainee who had failed not perish like a rent balloon without any hold and be deprived of both facilities (both statuses, Rajanya and Brahmana) and be not installed (apratishta)?
The trainee who had failed would be bewildered about the path that led him to the status of an intellectual (a Brahmana), a guardian of the constitution.
One who failed in this training would not be entitled to be either the head of the executive or the head of the judiciary and legislature, either a Rajan or a Brahmana. He could not become either a Rajarshi or a Rajapurohita. Both these positions required training in Rajayoga. Would a trainee who failed to become a Rajarshi under the new constitution be barred from functioning as an ordinary ruler, Rajan?
Krshna clarified that whatever he learnt would not get destroyed. He could only gain and not lose any position. For, never does one who does good tread the path of woe. If Arjuna failed to qualify as Rajarshi, he could yet be an ordinary ruler, rajanya.
Training in Rajayoga is necessary to become the head of the judiciary as well as the legislature besides for presiding over the executive.
The ruler may be one who is gentle and engaged in executing social welfare measures, who upholds and guards the welfare of the society (especially of the commonalty). The training would stand him in good stead even if he does not become either head of the state or head of the judiciary.
As he has attained the social world of those who have done virtuous deeds (that is, the community of gandharvas and apsarases who were known as punyajana)and resided there for many years, almost permanently, the trainee who is expelled from the class of yogis gets entry into the house of the pure and rich, that is to the ranks of abhijana, cadre equal to visvedevas from among whom the aristocrats (devas) were selected.
Or they may join the faculty (kula) of yogis who have the ability to discern between good and evil. Birth in or admission to such a social world is more difficult to attain.
There in the company of other yogis he experiences intellectual endeavour with no dissociation between intellectual pursuits and perfection in performance of duties undertaken (buddhisamyogam). He had already practised this in his earlier career as a student of physical activities. With this new training he would strive for perfection in all fields.
He could join the faculty as a teacher of samkhya-yoga. This was an exciting offer.
The earlier training in the physical aspects of yoga takes him ahead willy-nilly. One who seeks to have an insight in yoga goes beyond the letter of the Vedic prescriptions, Sabda Brahma. Even perfection does not satisfy Krshna.
The yogi who diligently practises what he has mastered and is cleansed of all faults (procedural errors), perfects himself in all fields. For this he has to go through .many births', by going through many stages of training and many courses of study and attain the highest level.
The yogi is superior to the tapasvi. He is also greater than a jnani, the knower. He is greater than the karmi, the executive. Hence become a yogi, Krshna urges Arjuna.
Of all yogis, one who follows, worships Krshna with full faith and with his inner self (antaratma), focused on the latter, on the teacher's steps, is the best attuned in yoga, Krshna says.
CHAPTER 7: KRSHNA AND HIS STUDENTS
Krshna asked Arjuna to practise yoga with his mind linked to his teacher in whom he had taken refuge and without any expectation. While practising yoga he would come to know Krshna's traits and philosophy and thought in full.
Krshna offered to unfold to him in full both knowledge (jnanam) gathered till then since the remote past and new knowledge (vijnanam) obtained by extrapolation of the former. He would not keep back any detail. After knowing these there would be nothing more to be known.
Among thousands of commoners engaged in economic activities to earn their livelihood hardly one became a siddha. Even among these perfect scholars, siddhas, hardly one strived to know Krshna's reality, essential personality, status and role, philosophy of life and school of thought.
Man's psycho-physical nature, prakrti has eight segments--the five elements, bhumi, apa, agni, vayu and kham, and three non-physical features manas, buddhi, ahamkara. These eight pertain to theapara (not external) sector of man's individuality directing his physical and intellectual activities from within.
Krshna offered to describe the external and higher (para) composition that keeps all the living beings (jivabhutas) in this social social universe (jagat).
All beings have their origin in this twofold principle, para and apara, alter and ego, altruism and non-altruism.
He declared that he was the origin of the creation of this social universe (jagat), its coming into existence and its getting dissolved.
Krshna presented two new social sectors, prakrti (undifferentiated commonalty) and jagat (social universe). The former had the five units (agrarian economy, riparian and marine economy, civil administration, free middle class and dark mines). It also had three cadres, thinkers and planners, intellectuals and counsellors, individualistic persons. [Prakrti was also envisaged as a unit of the organised social polity.]
All others outside these eight units were merged in the new social universe, jagat, proposed by Krshna. Its members were mainly discrete individuals who had to struggle to get their food and survive in the struggle for existence. These jivabhutas were outside the organised social polity.
Unlike a commoner who belonged to one of the eight segments of prakrti (apara, ego principle), Krshna belonged to the jagat (para, alter principle)..
There is none like him. No other principle is equal to his, to his readiness to play the role of matpara, the alter ego of his student. He is like the thread passing through the cluster of beads.
Krshna posited the existence of a common spirit that links all the units of the social polity. It may be called paramatma or as common ethos or common will.
He says that he is the pranava (Om) that represents all the Vedas and the sound, Sabda reverberating in the cosmos, in the vacuum, kham. He identified himself with all and called this personalty, paurusham. He explained that a free man, nara, when he became assertive.and led others exhibited this trait of purusha.
As a purusha, social leader, Krshna exercised an unobtrusive but wholesome latent influence. He visualised the agro-pastoral commonalty, prthvi, as men noted for purity in thought and action, simplicity and pure social life, punya-gandha.(He included all the gandharva cadres in commonalty.)
He identifies himself with the Vibha (splendid) group of Vasus who were traditional nobles guiding the agro-pastoral commonalty and had a wholesome influence, tejas, over all men.
Krshna asserts that he is the life (jiva) of sarvabhuta, all beings (discrete individuals). He honours the meditators, tapasvis, for their ceaseless endeavour. He identifies himself with all men whether bhutas (discrete individuals) or talented (with prabha, vibha, tejas) or have credits (punya-gandha).
He claims to be the ancient seed (sanatana bijam) of all beings (sarva bhuta). The life, jiva, with which he identifies himself has to be traced to the first seed (bijam) [which through self-mutation caused the evolution of the different beings and different species of life].
At the top of the social pyramid that has evolved as a result of mutation we notice the intellectuals, (buddhimata), glorious inspirers (tejasvinis). He applauds their traits, buddhi and tejas, intellect and charismatic power of inspiration.
He claims that he honours the might of those mighty persons who are devoid of lust and passion.
He then states that all the three traits, bhavas, gunas, (sattva, rajas and tamas) are present in all and that they have originated in that primordial seed.
The soul (the essential I, aham) has to be distinguished from these traits. In an enigmatic statement, he claims, "These bhavas are not in me, nor am I in them". "I, the soul, am (is) above these traits. Unlike others I am not under their influence."
The social universe, jagat, fails to recognize his real calibre, his being above the three traits, above the cadres marked by them. For, it is under the spell of these traits. He claims to be above (para) (not of) them. He is imperishable, for he considers himself as the 'soul' that has no traits.
The jagat too could be classified on the basis of the three traits. But it did not appreciate the importance of Krshna's suggestion that there could be a cadre superior to the three.
Krshna says that it is hard to overcome the illusion caused by his deva guna, traits of a noble. It has prevented many from recognizing his real role. Those who seek refuge in him and fall at his feet to learn from him may cross this illusion.
Evil-doers who are also fools and are rated low do not seek refuge in him, that is, do not seek to be taught by him. They belong to the cadre of free men, naras.
In them one may notice the presence both of rajas and tamas, a tendency to resort to blind violence. They lack formal education, jnanam. Similarly those who have the traits of asuras, feudal lords, do not fall at his feet.
Krshna identifies four types of people (jana, natives particularly of Janasthana which he had undertaken to reconstruct) among his followers and students. All of them were noted for their good deeds. Some of them were in distress (arta) and sought his help and protection. Some sought only knowledge (jijnasu). Some worshipped him as they sought material gains (artharthi). The fourth group consisted of wise men (jnani).
Krshna treats the wise (jnani) who are constantly united in karmayoga, the activist intellectuals, as the best among his followers. They are devoted to him. He is extremely dear to such a wise person and that jnani is dear to him.
All the four groups who patronized his academy were generous and noble. But among these the wise (jnani) was dear to his 'soul' (atma), for that wise man was perfectly harmonised and hence fit and was established (sthita) in the best path (uttama gati). The other three groups had limited and other goals.
Krshna claims that only after several births one becomes wise, jnanavan and resorts to him, holding that "Vasudeva is all" and that such a great person (mahatma) is rare to come by.
Those persons who lost their wisdom, jnanam, as they yielded to sexual and other desires resorted to other chiefs (plutocrats, devatas). These worshippers of devatas had to observe rules different from what Krshna, the teacher of Yoga had prescribed. They were constrained to function in accordance with their own nature (prakrti). Krshna's students, on the other hand, had to rise above their inborn traits.
He clarifies that if any devotee wishes to worship with faith such a frail form (tanu), he renders that devotee's faith in that form steady. His devotee is free to select the form in which he likes to visualise his 'devata' (deity). Endowed (yukta) with such faith, the devotee seeks to worship and propitiate such form and he obtains from 'it' what he desires.
The fruit gained by these small minds who are not intellectuals is temporary, having an end. Such worshippers of great and powerful persons seek only temporary and material gains and approach those who offer these. "But those who are 'my' devotees come to me only", Krshna says.
"The non-intellectuals think of' 'me' who am unmanifest (avyakta) as having acquired a manifest identity, not knowing my higher, other nature, trait, that is imperishable and is the best (uttama)".
The power of a yogi is not to be revealed to all. It is veiled by the technique of creating illusion, yogamaya. The light is focused on the 'truth' only for the benefit of the few suitable practitioners of this discipline.
The foolish and bewildered world of commoners does not know his real calibre, personality and thought. 'He" is the soul (atma) that is unborn and is imperishable.
He knows the beings and persons who have passed away and also those who are still existing and those who will come to be in the future. But none knows Krshna's real nature.
Krshna says that all bhutas (discrete individuals) are overcome by attachment to the two, pleasure and pain. They are allured to these which arise from desire and dislike. They are infatuated and are carried down into the undifferentiated moving multitude (sarga).
But those natives (janas) of virtuous deeds in whom sin has come to an end and who are freed from the delusion of duality worship me, steadfast in their vows, Krshna says.
"Those who take refuge in me and strive for deliverance from old age and death may be said to know all about Brahma, Krtsnam, Adhyatman and Karma."
Krshna clarifies that those who know him to be adhibhuta, as the basic discrete unattached individual and as adhidaivam, the ideal noble know his real personality. He is at the bottom as well as at the top in the social hierarchy. He is adhiyajnam, the greatest personage to whom one offers all his talents and wealth. Those who know this are said to have their thought (chetasa) properly harmonised and as ready for instruction in yoga.
CHAPTER 8 : THE YOGI AND THE TWO PATHS
Arjuna requested Krshna to clarify the terms, Brahma, Adhyatmam, Adhibhutam, Adhidaivatam, and Karma. Which feature of the body was referred to as adhiyajnam and why? How could one who had regulated his conduct recognize Krshna at the time of his final departure, 'prayanakala'?
The indestructble (letter) (akshara) which occupies highest (parama) place is meant by the term, Brahma. It represents the highest level of knowledge. The essential nature of an individual 'svabhava' is called 'adhyatma'
Brahma is the principle of creative action, udbhavakara. It brings into view the varied, fluid multitude (sarga) of individuals, bhutas.
While Brahma is indestructible (akshara), the essential trait of the different beings, individuals, adhibhutam is destructible, kshara, finally ceasing to be. Adhibhutam is individual will and it is bound to wane away while the common will as enshrined in the constitution will reign forever. The basis of the trait of a noble is adhidaivam. His purusha character gives him influence over the undifferentiated masses, prakrti.
Yajna is offered to Krshna, a leader, purusha, by the individuals (bhutas) and by the nobles (devas). His personality is noted by theterm, aham. He is a purusha, social leader rather than a deva, noble.
Addressing Arjuna as the best of beings with a body (deha) Krshna says that his claim that one who remembers him at the time of his departure attains the attitude of the latter (Krshna) need not be doubted. One who with his mind and intellect placed himself at the command of Krshna would surely reach him.
One who contemplates along Krshna's lines with his thought (chetas) attuned, harmonised by constant practice of yoga steps and does not wander after other systems reaches the highest level, splendid, noble personage, divya purusha.
He was not advocating any view that was not in consonance with the traditional regulations. One who followed Kavi (Usanas) (the erstwhile head of the academy of Janasthana which Krshna had taken over from Vamana) would come to the conclusion that the benevolent supporter (dhata) of all is subtler than the atom and one cannot even conceive its form.
At the time of his death one should be steady in mind. With strength (bala) gained from constant practice of yoga steps he should set his life-breath (prana) well on the middle of his eyebrows. As he passes away at that stage he will attain the highest state (divya purusha). The membership of aristocracy was open to yogis who were recognized as divyapurushas.
Yatis who were free from lust tried to enter that stage by practising celibacy. The trainee has to regulate all the entrances of his body and confine the mind in the heart and fix his life-breath in the head. In this position for beginning yoga exercise he must utter the single letter (om) that is known as Brahma.
As the practitioner of yoga departs, as his soul leaves the body, he remembers his teacher, Krshna. Then he goes to the highest destination, parama gati, giving up his body.
One who constantly remembers his teacher (Krshna) and thinks of none else is always united in yoga. He reaches the level of his teacher easily.
Krshna honours his adherents who come to him at the last momentfor guidance, as mahatmas, great souls. Having come to him they do not recede to the stage of one liable to undergo retraining, punar-janma. They are not sent to the abode of sorrow, to the penitentiary to repent for his errors and crimes. Some new trainees have to go through a temporary (asasvata) period.
The experienced who had gone through old systems are not required to recant or repent. Those who have not overcome the feelings of desire and wrath, love and hatred and those who seek material gains from their efforts cannot attain the highest stage, that is, the level of the jurists, satyaloka.
According to the Upanishada sages the community of the highest intellectuals who manned the constitution bench was known as Brahmaloka. Even they were not exempt from 'rebirth', re-orientation courses.
The members of Brahmaloka did experience day and night like the commoners. As the day dawns all the things that are not manifested get manifest and as the night sets in, they merge in that same, called 'non-manifested'.
The different generations who people the villages where the unattached individuals are directed to stay are born, live and die and are born again and again.
Soul has periods of manifestation and non-manifestation. Beyond this period of non-manifestation (that is, pre-birth and post-death) there is another non-manifested eternal, primal (sanatana) (force). It does not perish even when all beings (sarva bhuta) (discrete individuals of all regions who have no patrons) perish, Krshna clarifies.
Krshna explains that the higher non-manifested (soul) is called akshara, the imperishable. They speak of it as the supreme status (parama gati). Those who attain that status do not return (to their earlier positions). This was Krshnas highest abode (parama dhamam).
All these unattached individuals, sarva bhuta, have established a charismatic relation with this other (para) personage (purusha). They reside in his heart (antasthana) and are pervaded by him. His status, abode, can be gained (labhya) by those who are devoted to him alone (ananyaya bhakti).
Instead he contrasts the two paths, the one that would take his disciple to a goal from which there is no return and the other that would bring him back to the present life, a second birth, after a brief acquaintance with an intermediate goal.
Krshna offered to tell Arjuna the time when the yogis, departing (for making their acquired talents to projects over wide areas), prayata, do not return, and when they return.
Krshna follows the conventional description of the two paths, northern and southern, uttarayana and dakshinayana, (as in Prasna Upanishad).
He says that the days during uttarayana suklapaksha when Agni and jyoti are worshipped are the time recommended for travel to the Brahmaloka by the people who have studied and known the Vedas. The six months when the sun is seen to move northward from the tropic of Capricorn to the tropic of Cancer are known as the holy period of uttarayana.
The other six months when the sun is seen to move southward are known as dakshinayana. The fortnight after new moon is suklapaksha and it is preferred to the other fortnight, krshnapaksha when the moon wanes.
The term, jana, implied the legislators who followed the political treatise, propounded by Usanas who was Balis guide. With the discomfiture of Usanas at the hands of Vamana, the authority of the Brahmavadis, the ideologues who followed the socio-political constitution laid down by Atharvaveda, known as Brahma was restored. The legislators of Janaloka began to accept this constitution, Brahma.
Resort to the northern path implied that there would be no rebirth for the intellectuals who followed this code. Usanas and his school conceded that there would be no return to the autocratic ways of the feudal lords, after Vamana (Urukrama) routed them in debate.
The southern course represented by night and smoke was the path taken by the yogis who had taken the guidance of Chandra (Soma, moon). Agni represented the Brahman intellectuals and the agro-pastoral commonalty. Soma represented the frontier society of the forests and mountains and its intellectuals. These yogis had to return to their academies to receive proper training.
For the people who are constantly on the move, the unorganized social universe, jagat, (who unlike the jana, were not settled native communities of the rural areas), light and darkness, sukla and krshna, are thought to be two permanent, sasvata, alternative paths. By the one, the northern path, one goes never to return and by the other, the southern, he comes back.
The yogi who knows the difference between the two paths is never deluded (na muhyati). Hence Krshna exhorts Arjuna to be always firmly attached to the discipline of yoga (yogayukta bhava).
The deluded have to be retrained while the one who recognizes the errors and goes along the right path does not need to return to the academy for such retraining.
The yogi who has realized all this (sarvam idam) goes beyond (atyeti) the fruits of meritorious deeds (punyaphalam) assigned to (pradishtam) the study of Vedas, the performance of sacrifices, yajnas, the observance of tapas rigorous meditation (concentrated intellectual endeavour) and the offering of gifts, dana.
He gains more than what the performers of these duties which the three educated higher classes or varnas were required to discharge. It may be noted that later social codes did not prescribe performance of tapas as an essential duty.
By performing his duties, the yogi (Rajayogi, Brahmayogi and Karmayogi) attains (upaiti) the high status (paramam sthanam) of the foremost person (adyam) in order of protocol. He secures precedence. The Rajarshi who adheres to the codes laid down is recognized to be superior to the three respected cadres, Rajanyas (the power-elite), Brahmanas (the jurists) and the officials (executive).
CHAPTER 9: RAJAVIDYA: SCIENCE OF POLITY
Rajaguhya---Confidential Affairs of the State
Krshna offered to expound to Arjuna the secret knowledgeof the polity together with the knowledge how to extrapolate and apply it as the latter was not uninitiated. This knowledge would free him from misfortune leading to the decay of his clan while seeking revenge.
Krshna says that this science of polity is highly sacred and is known by personal participation in the affairs of the state and exercise of authority. It is in accordance with social and moral laws, Krshna explains. There can be no political code, Rajadharma that is in conflict with the basic principles of dharma.
Rajavidya is easy to be implemented. Its principles and provisions never become obsolete or cease to be of avail.The disinterested trainees would have to return to their earlier positions and economic pursuits in the social life marked by inertia and insentience, Krshna warns.
This entire social universe (jagat) is pervaded by his unmanifested personality, he claimed.
Krshna says, "All the individuals (sarva bhutani) are located in me (matsthani). But I do not abide (avasthita) in them."
But the Rajarshi could not deny any individual his right to his own will. Nor would he thrust his own will on his subjects, as Krshna conceded in this statement.
Krshna says: And the bhutas do not abide in me. The Rajarshi represented the common will, the will of all individuals, sarva bhutani, but not their discrete wills. Krshna asks Arjuna and other students to notice the distinction betweenmatsthani sarva bhutani and na matsthani bhutani.
He considers the presence of this distinction as the trait of a ruler who has acquired charismatic legitimacy, aisvaram, through training in yoga.
He implies, The personality and individuality (atma) of the Yogesvara which shapes the traits and attitudes (bhavana) of the bhutas, individuals, and bears the responsibility (bhutabhru) for their conduct is not located in these individuals (na bhutastha).
The Rajarshi moulded the peoples attitudes as their charismatic leader and guide. He also owned the responsibility for their acts of omission and commission. But he did not seek his personal interests in their interests (na bhutastha).
Krshna then states, As the great wind which is situate in the sky however moves, blows everywhere (sarvatra ga), so are all beings (sarvani bhutani) situate in me.
The Rajarshi represents the common will and functions in the interests of all individuals. He grants them total freedom to pursue their personal interests and does not call for total surrender to his authority and dictates.
At the end of the prescribed period these rights and duties of individuals were withdrawn and all these individuals, bhutas, were treated as belonging to the undifferentiated masses, prakrti.
The state could not then assign new individuals, bhutas, to any of these. It could not take over the role of the society or interfere in its affairs. Yanti mamikam needs to be interpreted in this light.
The parting with and distribution of powers by the Rajarshi among the incumbents is implied in the expression aham visrjami.
Krshna explains, Taking charge of (avasthabhya) my own (svam) prakrti, I again and again distribute (visrjami) (the work and the personnel). (8) He was referring to the svami prakrti, one of the eight constituents (prakrtis) of the state and not to his personal nature as an incarnation of God.
Instituting Svadharma----Personal Rights and Duties
The non-settled groups and individuals, bhutas,who lacked social organisation and valid orientations and stable vocations, needed the protection of the state. They expected the king to help them to settle in villages. These villages, bhutagrama, had only individuals and no clans or communities. We would be missing this significant note if we interpret this term as indicating the group of five or six senses which every being is composed of. It was the duty of the state to assign these individuals to different classes and vocations on the basis of their innate traits, svabhava.
This was institutionalized as svadharma sthapanam. But the discrete individuals, bhutas, were not constituted into clans or communities.
Svadharma, personal rights and duties, assigned to the individuals were only for a short duration when they remained in specific assigned posts. These new villages had individuals and classes but had no clans and communities. The new villages of individuals and classes ensured rational choice of vocation but did not prescribe inheritance of vocation. Vocations were inherited only in clans and communities. It needs to be recognized that only some sectors of the larger society came under the purview of organized clans and communities, kulas and jatis, which pursued their traditional and reserved vocations.]
Krshna points out that when groups of individuals, bhutas, are settled in villages, these individuals who were earlier under the influence (vasam), of prakrti, the undifferentiated mass society are created (krtsnam) into free units (avasam) not subject to prakrti.
The identity and freedom of the individual is suppressed when he functions as an unidentifiable speck in the mass society, prakrti. It is thwarted equally in clans and communities. It is ensured only when these individuals are constituted as rationally structured autonomous village societies.
The duties (karmas), dissolution of the existing social order and taking over the entire authority and redistributing the works among the personnel, creation of new non-autonomous villages and direct supervision of these villages of individuals and instituting the dharmas of these individuals, svadharma sthapanam, did not circumscribe (na nibadhnanti) the discretionary powers of the Rajarshi.
As the procedure of dissolution (of the bureaucratic machinery) and redistribution of authority has been laid down by it, while performing his duties, the Rajarshi remains indifferent and unattached to his action (karma).
Krshna explains that the Rajarshi is the presiding officer, adhyaksha, with respect to atmasamstha, his personak department and the constituent of the state directly under him.
Krshna complains that fools think low of him who has assumed the form of a commoner, not knowing his other, higher trait as the great charismatic chief, mahesvara of discrete individuals (bhutas) (especially of the social periphery).
Who were the detractors with whom Krshna was annoyed? There were some sections of the masses, prakrti, who were under the deceptive influence of rakshasas and asuras.
Krshna warned that the efforts of these detractors to present him as a leader of undesirable elements would not succeed. Their hopes would be frustrated and their actions would not succeed. Their knowledge was faulty and clouded. They were scatter-brained.
Those persons who had become subjects of asuras and rakshasas and placed their services and knowledge at the disposal of these feudal leaders and militants were only wasting these.
But there were great persons mahatmas, present in the cultural aristocracy, daiva prakrti, who acclaimed Krshna's concept of the Rajarshi as bhuta mahesvara, as the great charismatic leader of the unorganized sector of the social periphery. Their minds were not distracted by other schools of thought. They knew that Krshna was the first to declare the 'bhuta' as imperishable.
The mahatmas acknowledged Krshna's contributions and claim to the status of Mahesvara, the charismatic chief of the unorganized sectors of the larger society and bowed to him and worshipped him.
Krshna pointed out to Arjuna that there were other scholars who worshipped him by spreading knowledge, by performing jnana-yajna, by spreading his school of thought. They took divergent stands on his status, role and orientations. Some who were not part of the cultural aristocracy advocated the concept of undivided sovereignty (ekatva, monism as interpreted by theologians). Some others advocated the concept of separate identity (prthaktva, non-monism) of the diverse units.
Others must have favoured mulitpilicity(bahudha), of centres of authority, decentralisation (visvato-mukham) among all sections of the larger society (which was sovereign to be looked up to even by the king).
Krshna pays due attention to both practices, centralization of powers in one authority (ekatva) and distribution of powers among many units (bahudha) and even total decentralization leading to stateless society and anarchism (vairupa and vairajyam).Unity vs diversity, centripetalism vs centrifugalism were major issues he had to contend with even as Mahadeva had to.
Krshna however did not reject the traditional ritualistic school and did not hesitate to identify himself with its salient features. The tradition visualized the Ultimate as the father, mother, benefactor and patriarch of the entire social universe (jagat), groups constantly on the move.
He claims in a flowery and almost sublime verse, "I am the goal, the upholder, the lord, the witness, the abode, the refuge and the friend. I am the origin and dissolution, the ground, the resting place and the imperishable seed".
Krshna's Rajarshi offers to house all who accept his reign and to give asylum to all who take refuge in his realm.
Reverting to the issue of sovereign powers, Krshna explains that the theory of sovereignty originating in the head of the society and getting dissolved in the masses with its being ever in equipoise has to be given attention.
He threatened to cause dissolution of the existing social system. But it would be only for a brief time. A new order had to be installed.
The power from which all activities proceed is likened to the seed from which the plant grows.
The state is to be neither soft nor harsh. Krshna claims to be one who could withhold his benevolence as well as unleash his aid. he is both a noble and a commoner. He is both the real and the unreal.
Krshna claims that the scholars who had mastered the three Vidyas (three Vedas, Varta, Dandaniti, humanities, economy and polity) and been admitted to one of the three higher classes, that is, the Manavas, those who followed Pracetas Manu pray to be admitted to the cultural aristocracy, devas".
They have to first drink 'soma juice to be granted peer approval by the nobles. They had to be exonerated of all sins. These aspirants worshipped Krshna with sacrifices and prayed to be shown the path to the areas reserved for the nobles.
The Rajarshi would decide who could become a noble and have the privilege of drinking nectar. Deathlessness was immunity against being awarded death sentence even for heinous crimes.
Having enjoyed the facilities of the wide liberal social world of nobles, as their merit began to decline they had to return to the social world of the commoners marked by mrtyu, insentience. Krshna holds that this procedure is in accordance with the code of conduct (dharma) that is implicit in the three Vedas.
Those who were desirous of pleasures could proceed to enjoy the comforts of the aristocracy for a short period but had to return. They could not become permanent members of the aristocracy.
Krshna says, "To those native people (jana) (of Janasthana) who worship him thinking only of him, always united with the higher level of appointees to administrative posts, I bring security in what they have gained by working in accordance with the code of karmayoga".
[The new constitution based on Vaisalaksham created a larger Kshatriya aristocracy and admitted the intelligentsia of the frontier society and the groups (like gandharvas, siddhas) known as punya-jana, blessed people.]
These scholars who had mastered all the three Vidyas (Trayi, Varta, Dandaniti) as recommended by Pracetas Manu, could join the company of the cultural aristocracy.
Did Krshna accept this new arrangement? He insisted on training in yoga for all officials including the king. This alone could ensyre security for the earnings (yogakshema) of the people.
The new Rajarshi constitution while promising social security honoured the right to rightfully earned personal property. This verse has to be read in the context of the formation of new janapadas.
An enlightened unselfish cultural aristocracy should guide a trained impartial bureaucracy.
The Rajarshi constitution did not prevent the plutocrats and technocrats (devatas) being offered sacrifices with faith by their devotees. Even the members of the agro-pastoral commonalty could accept their leadership. Though not in tune with the earlier rules, these offerings to devatas were treated as equal to the offerings made to devas at yajnas.
As the offerings made at all sacrifices whether to devas or devatas, reach the head of the state ultimately and do not get retained by them as their personal earnings the Rajarshi is the beneficiary and also director of the sacrifices.
'Aham' (I) indicates that Krshna is pleading the stand taken by the Rajarshi as an authority to be entrusted with what has been offered to devas and devatas as yajna or bali. It was state wealth and the Rajarshi was its trustee and distributor.
The detractors did not know his real position as the proponent and spokesman of the Rajarshi constitution as incorporated in Rajavidya. Their objections hence fail to stand, the polemicist, Krshna contends.
Krshna explains that according to this amended constitution those who have taken the vows prescribed for devas, nobles attain that status. Similarly those who have taken the vows for being an elder (pitr) and are exempted from the duties prescribed for householders and abide by them are granted that status.
The new rules envisaged Rajarshi as the guardian of the interests of the bhutas. The organized communities and clans were saddled with the duty to maintain their own members and to finance the state headed by the Rajarshi. He would support the vast class of unorganized and unemployed individuals on the social periphery.
This was a major shift in the purposes of the sacrifices brought into effect by Krshna. This was a state secret, Rajaguhya that Krshna acquainted Arjuna with.
The Rajarshi could be trusted. He (Krshna, playing the role of Rajarshi) accepted even the simplest of offerings, a leaf or a flower, a fruit or even water. It had to be offered with devotion and willingly. This was the only condition he laid.
"Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer, whatever you give, whatever strenuous endeavour you practise for achieving your goal, do that as an offering to me."
He says, "Karmayoga calls for total renunciation of the fruits of labour, whether good or bad. By such renunciation, one becomes freed from bonds of work."
Such renunciation (samnyasa) becomes the way of life for one who is harmonised with the discipline of yoga. If one who is bound to do work offers not to accept wages, he is freed from his obligations, as he is conducting himself as a yogi.
Krshna (as a Rajarshi) treats all individuals as equal (sama). None is hateful to him and none is especially dear to him. But those who acclaim him and are devoted to him 'are in him' and 'he is in them'.
Statesmanship as prescribed by Rajavidya required that the Rajarshi deemed (mantavya) the unruly followers as being pious and innocent and as having taken the right decision to follow the system he had established (vyavasta). Such an unruly person soon becomes one adhering to the code of conduct, a dharmatma. He becomes permanently settled and peaceful and does not wander. His follower never perishes.
Among Krshna's followers there were some who were born of adultery or prostitution. They were not guilty though their parents might have been.
If even a commoner or a child born to an adulteress can rise to the highest level through training in karmayoga that enables them to perform their duties efficiently, surely meritorious Brahmans and devoted Rajarshis who follow Krshna's code of Rajavidya are bound to rise to the highest level. This profound and subtle note of Rajaguhya is not to be missed.
Hence his advice, "Fix your mind on me, be devoted to me, worship me, revere me; thus having disciplined yourself, with me as the goal towards which you proceed, you shall come to me."