Volume 13 - Issue 04
April 2015
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Right answer on your 1st attempt
3 Points
Right answer on your 2nd attempt
2 Points
Right answer on your 3rd attempt
1 Point

Go to Part 01


In 1964-65, amidst touring the length and breadth of Andhra Pradesh and establishing the ashram in Brindavan, Bangalore, Bhagawan continued to take the pen and out came the glorious Stream of Divine Gospel – the Gita Vahini.

“The Gita is a text for spiritual practitioners, for it emphasises Sadhana, and spiritual attitudes, more than anything else. Every chapter lays down means and methods of reaching the goal of peace and harmony.... The Gita is as a boat, which takes man across from the self-imposed state of bondage to the freedom which is his nature. He is taken from darkness to light, from lustrelessness to splendour,” Swami wrote in his first article in this series which was published in Sanathana Sarathi, the ashram's magazine.

When it was compiled later into a book by Prof. Kasturi, in his introductory piece he urged all devotees to 'listen to these words with as much care and concentration as Arjuna had, even in the turmoil of a battle field, so that we too will declare when the book nears its final pages, "My delusion is dissolved; I have become aware of my reality, which is God."'

The Parthasarathi of yore in the present age as Sai Sanathana Sarathi retold the essence of the Gita in a manner and in the language best suited for the modern man. “This Gita Vahini is the same stream, refreshing and re-vitalising, brought by the same divine restorer to revivify man caught in the mesh of modern dialectics, in the pride of modern science, in the cynical scorn of modern superficiality. The teaching here set forth will comfort, console, and confer strength and faith,” Prof. Kasturi writes.

We in Radio Sai think that in this year of Bhagawan's 90th Birthday it would be an apt sadhana for all of us to revisit this timeless Song Celestial as directly told by the Timeless One Himself. This will definitely help us to find more peace within ourselves and in the world around us. Thus we have a Quiz on Gita Vahini which will continue as a serial through this year published on the website on the second week of every month. Do use this opportunity to dwell on the illuminating ideas that this sacred scripture grants to us so candidly and convincingly.

01. In Chapter 4 of the Gita Vahini, Swami explains the truth and reality of the term ‘karma’ or action. “When desire to attain the fruit of action is renounced with full awareness, then it becomes what Krishna calls the 'yoga of intelligence'. The intellect has to be purified and trained; otherwise, it is impossible to give up attachment to the fruits of action and to continue doing things as either duty or dedication. Such a purified intellect is named yoga-buddhi. Cultivate it and then, through it, liberate yourself from the bondage of action (karma).

“Really speaking, you, the true you, is above and beyond action. You might say you will desist from action (karma) rather than practice the difficult discipline of renouncing the fruits thereof. But that is impossible. No, it is inevitable. One has to do some action or other. Krishna says: ‘Not for a single moment can one free oneself from action. Arjuna! Every deed or activity has a beginning and an end. But desireless action (karma) has no such. That is the difference between the two. When action is done with a view to the gain therefrom, one has to suffer the loss, the pain, and even the punishment. But desireless action frees you from all these. Desire the fruits of action, and get born again and again, caught up in that desire. Give up that desire, and you are liberated from the flux. The practice of this type of renunciation ends the state of bondage. The main point is to stick to the goal. The goal is action, not its fruit.”

In Chapter 6 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shares what Lord Krishna teaches Arjuna about the best way of performing our actions: “If you desist from action, the task of living becomes difficult, nay, impossible. Actions that don’t bind by attachment to consequence are referred to as _____________ .”

  B. Highest Acts of a Good Man

02. In Chapter 6 of the Gita Vahini, Swami elaborates more on what Lord Krishna said about how mortal souls can learn from the actions of realized souls. He says:

“You may wonder why realized souls (jnanis) should still do action (karma); not only you, but many others may be worried at that statement. Well, people usually follow the ideal set by those in higher levels. Their acts form the basis of dharma for all. If realized souls are inactive, how are ordinary mortals to save themselves? They would have no guide, so they would lose themselves in the easy paths of sensory pleasure. The duty of the wise is to foster the right and to practice it before others, so that they too may be prompted to follow, drawn by the hope of becoming as contented and joyful as the wise are. The wise have to do and get done, see and show, so that the rest might be persuaded to follow the example set by them.

“Arjuna! Pay attention to just one fact! How warm is your body now? It may be about 98 degrees; how did that happen? Because the Sun bears many million times this heat at that distance, right? Now, if the Sun feels that it will not put up with all that fire and becomes cool, what will happen to humanity? Again, if I desist from action, imagine what will be the fate of this vast universe of activity! That is why I am engaged in action, remember this! Not that I derive any profit thereby, or get any good, or any fruit.”

Lord Krishna clarifies: “Although wise people have no desire or urge to do action, they come down into the region of action and help those who would not have otherwise ___________________”


03. In Chapter 9 of the Gita Vahini, Swami continues sharing what Lord Krishna taught Arjuna with regards to distinguishing action, wrong action and non-action, Lord Krishna said:

“Pay attention to the fundamental principle, and then you will realize that action, which is basically consciousnessless and material, cannot affect the Atma, which is suffused with consciousness. The Atma is inherently devoid of attachment. It has no awareness of agency or of its own needs or nature of its possessions. It has no ‘ I ’ or ‘mine’, for these are marks of ignorance (a-jnana). Only those afflicted with ignorance will suffer from the ego or sense of ‘mine’. Although it may appear to ordinary eyes that I am the doer, I am a non-doer!

“Not only this. Action does not cease to affect the doer as soon as the action is finished. In fact, it is never finished. Action yields fruits; the fruits of action breed desire for them; desire results in impulses for further action; and the impulses bring about further births. Thus, action leads to the cycle of births and deaths; it is a vicious whirlpool, making you revolve round and round and finally dragging you down into the depths.”

Lord Krishna also specifies to Arjuna: “Whatever the action, if it is done in the darkness and confusion of ___________, however hard you may have exercised your abilities during the activity, its result can only be worry, grief, and travail.”


04. In Chapter 11 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shares how Lord Krishna prods Arjuna to learn to make all deeds perfect:

“Arise, Arjuna! Engage in activity as if duty bound, have full faith in My words, do as I bid with no thought of the fruit therefrom. Be a practitioner of renunciation of the fruit of action. By that renunciation, you will get established in wisdom and win liberation from change, from birth and death.

“Give up the idea that you are the doer and the beneficiary. You can do this by dedicating both deed and fruit to the Lord. Then, no sin can affect you, for you are not the doer and the deed must perforce be holy. Like oil on the tongue, collyrium on the eye, the lotus leaf on water, the deed is with you but not by you. Whatever you do or hear or see, remain unaffected, devoid of deeds, innocent of listening or seeing. The joy derived from the external world opens the gateways of grief; it is fleeting; but you are eternal, the very source of bliss, above and beyond all this, the embodiment of Atma itself. That is your genuine nature. You are unrelated to these activities that are called deeds and these consequences that you now mistake as real. You are not the doer; you are just the witness, the see-er! All your perplexity has arisen from the delusion that you are the doer, from your ego and the sense of ‘mine’.

In Chapter 15 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shares the sublime Truths that Lord Krishna reveals Arjuna: “This entire Universe and all the movements and agitations and activities in it are the direct consequence of primal action (karma), My Divine Will (sankalpa). As long as My ____________ lasts, the stream of action will flow along. It can never go dry as long as I do not Will it.”


05. In Chapter 12 of the Gita Vahini, Swami helps us understand the real meaning of Lord Krishna’s teachings on actions a little more deeply:

“The Lord says that all things, both good and bad, originated from Him and that He is the Prime Cause. But at the same time, He declares that He is neither bound nor affected by the effects or defects of all that has thus originated! He says He has no relationship with them and that He is above and beyond that for which He is the Cause.

“You might infer that people also are not in the least responsible for the good and evil done through them by the Divine, that their real nature is beyond both good and evil, that their acts, however evil, were basically prompted by the Lord Himself, for people have nothing they can claim as their act. True. But faith in this attitude that ‘nothing is done by you’, that ‘it is all the Lord’s Will that is being worked through you’, must be steady, sincere, deep, and unshaken. There should be no trace of ego. If that is so, then certainly such a one has attained the highest goal of life. One is blessed to the utmost. That reality has to be known; that knowledge has to be stabilized. Indeed, those who have the conviction that all this is God, that they have no sort of relationship or kinship with the objective world, that they are above and beyond it, are true souls (sathya-jivis), the individuals whose sojourn here have been worthwhile.

“Words, however, are futile. You may repeat certain set phrases like a parrot that has been taught for a long time - like ‘Everything is the Lord’s,’ ‘I am but a puppet; and He pulls the strings, and I dance as He Wills,’ ‘Nothing is mine; I am just carrying out His Will.’ But what do you usually do? You claim praiseworthy acts for your own and ascribe blameworthy acts to the prompting of the Lord! You shout from platforms till your throats get dry that by your own effort you won honour, fame, status and standards, authority and position, property and possessions, attainments and achievements. But when it comes to confessing your share in earning ill fame and defeat, evil and wrong, you conveniently transfer the responsibility to the Lord, saying, ‘I am but an instrument in His hands; He is the Master, I am but a tool.’ This has become the habit today. Nay, it has developed into a fashion. People swing from 'I' to 'He' like the pendulum of the clock. This is sheer deceit, hollow spiritual sham.”

Swami also says: “Mind, word, and act, all three must be filled with the belief that _____________. That is the genuine path.”

06. In Chapter 5 of the Gita Vahini, Swami clarifies Lord Krishna’s teachings on how to practice equanimity:

“If you have an eye on the fruits of your actions, you are liable to be affected by worry, anxiety, and restlessness. The question may arise: 'If the fruits have to be given up, how can one manage to live?' But why this weakness of heart, this nervousness? He who has assured you, saying, 'I will care for your well-being (Yoga-kshemam vahamyaham),' will certainly look after that. He will give the means and the wherewithal. All you have to consider is: which is more important, a happy life or liberation from the circle of life and death? Happy living is of only short duration; the joy of liberation is eternal, unshakeable.

“On this point, many commentators have exercised their intelligence and written differently. Many have said that the giving up of fruit is advised because there is no right or authority for the doer to desire the fruit. This is a great blunder. The Lord has said in the Gita, 'refuse the fruit (maa phaleshu)' - that is to say, the deed yields results, but the doer should not desire the result or do it with the result in view. If Krishna’s intention was to say that the doer has no right to the fruit, He would have said, 'It is fruitless (na phaleshu - na meaning no)'. So if you desist from action (karma), you will be transgressing the Lord’s command. That would be a serious mistake.”

Swami guides us further: “The desire for the result of your action is a sign of passion. The giving up of action because you cannot benefit by the fruit is a sign of _____________ .

07. In Chapter 17, Swami shares the detailed explanation that Lord Krishna gives to Arjuna of the four different categories of people while performing actions:

“I may tell you that four roads are now used by mankind: (1) beyond or unaffected by action (karma-atheetha); (2) action without any desire for the fruit thereof, unaffected by any craving for the result therefrom (nish-kama-karma); (3) action with ambition to reap and enjoy its fruit (sakama-karma); and (4) action that knows no restraint or control (karma-brashta).

“Those beyond action (karma) are liberated while alive (are jivan-mukthas), all their actions have been burned up by the fire of wisdom; their impulses for action have been scorched by the wisdom they have gained. They have no further need for injunctions and prohibitions. They need no spiritual exercise like charity, virtuous living, or austerity. All that they do or feel or think will be divine, holy, virtuous, beneficial to mankind. The very earth they tread on is sacrosanct; every word they utter will be the word of God; on death, their breath need not take them to realms that are heavenly; on the falling away of the bodily raiment, they merge without delay in Brahman. Such are the souls who were described by Me now as having absolute liberation, attainment of Brahman, or instant liberation.

“Next, the second group, who do action without desire for the fruit. These are the seekers of liberation (mu-mukshus), alert on the path of liberation and intent on attaining it. They perform each act as a step in the realization of the Lord. So they can never do anything bad; they do not look forward to the result; they leave it to the Lord to give it or withhold it. They are not prompted by worldly motives or even by the desire to gain heavenly pleasure. Their aim is just this: liberation from the bondage of the objective world. They win the grace of the Lord in proportion to the steadiness of their faith and practice.

Lord Krishna continues to reveal His teachings: “The third group performs all acts through the desire for the fruit thereof....The fourth group _______________ rule of conduct.”

08. In Chapter 10 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shares the lesson of the distinction between action and non-action that Lord Krishna taught Arjuna:

“Dhananjaya! People are entitled to be called pundits only if they have seen clearly the distinction between action (karma) and non-action. If they have only stuffed in their head what they read in books, they are not pundits. The pundit must have an intellect that grants the vision of the truth. When that vision is gained, all action becomes ineffective and harmless. The fire of wisdom has the power to consume and burn karma.

“Some people say that a wise person (jnani) must perforce suffer the consequences of action in previous births (prarabdha-karma); they cannot be escaped. This conclusion is drawn by other people; it is not the experience of the wise person. The wise person might appear to others to be reaping the fruit of past actions, but the wise person is absolutely unaffected. Whoever is dependent on objects for happiness or pursues sensory pleasures, whoever is motivated by impulses and desires, is bound by karma. But those free from these cannot be affected by the temptations of sound, touch, form, taste, smell and other attractions of the senses. Such is the true renunciant (sanyasin) - he is unmoved. Wise people are supremely happy by themselves, without the need to be dependent on other things. They find action in non-action and non-action in action. They may be engaged in action but they are not affected in the least. They have no eye on the fruit.

“You may ask how they are able to do that. Listen. They are ever content. The contented person is free and does not depend upon others. The person is unaffected by the feeling of doership and is content with whatever happens, well or ill, for the contented person is convinced that the Lord’s will must prevail. The mind is unshaken, steady; the person is ever jubilant. Want of contentment is a sign of the ignorant. Those who give up the goals of human life (purusha-arthas) and walk the path of sloth, how can they be said to be happy? Contentment is the treasure that is won by the wise one; it cannot be won by the ignorant one, who piles one wish on another and builds one plan after another, who pines perpetually, worries, and sets the heart ablaze with greed.”

Lord Krishna continues to guide Arjuna more: “When the mind moves in one direction and the senses in another, you are doubly confused. So, keep _______________ afar. When that is done, whatever you do becomes a sacrifice (yajna).”

09. In Chapter 11 of the Gita Vahini, Swami shares Lord Krishna’s insights on how the yoga of meditation is even more superior to the yoga of action:

“Know the Brahman; take up all tasks but renounce the consequences; giving up the fruit of activity is far superior to giving up activity itself. The yoga of action is far superior to renunciation of action (karma). Well, superior to both these is the yoga of meditation. I shall tell you why. The yoga of meditation needs the support of the yoga of action (karma-yoga), so the yoga of action was first taught to you.

“Those who renounce the fruits while actively engaged in action are very dear to Me; they are the true renouncers (sanyasins). I have no affection for those who give up the ritual fire and desist from all activity except eating, sleeping, and craving sensory pleasures and behave like Kumbhakarna’s kinsmen, idling and wasting their time. I am unapproachably far from idlers. One who has not renounced the pursuit of wishes can never become a yogi, however busy they may be in spiritual disciplines. Only one who is careful not to get entangled in the senses and who is unattached to the consequences of deeds can become a renouncer of all attachments.”

Lord Krishna then asserts very clearly: “A horse without reins, a bull unused to the yoke, and a spiritual aspirant whose senses are not mastered are all like a river without water. Such spiritual discipline _________.”

10. In Chapter 11 of the Gita Vahini, Swami continues to share more dialogues that took place between the ever-so Compassionate Lord Krishna and His confused disciple/friend Arjuna:

“Meanwhile, Arjuna is beset by doubt, and he asks for some elucidation and explanation so that he may get convinced. ‘Krishna! All that You have been telling me is very pleasant to the ear, and I can well imagine that it must be a source of bliss to those who attain success. But it is so difficult, beyond the reach of all.

‘The yoga wherein everything has to be realized as equal (sama-thwam) is fraught with obstacles even for the fully equipped aspirant. What, then, am I to say of people like me who are common aspirants? Is it ever possible for us? Krishna! Is the mind so easily controllable? Alas! Even an elephant cannot drag as the mind does. The mind is the nursery of waywardness; its mulishness and obstinacy are also very powerful; it is a terrible shrew. It can never be caught; it will never halt at one place. The attempt to catch the mind and tame it is like capturing the wind or bundling up water. How can anyone enter upon yoga with such a mind? These twin tasks of controlling the mind and practicing the yoga - one seems as hard as the other. Krishna, You are advising an impossible task, beyond the capacity of anyone.’”

Lord Krishna reassures us: “The mind can be mastered, however difficult the task might be. By systematic practice, _________________, and detachment (vairagya), the mind can be mastered.”



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- Heart2Heart Team

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