Gita for Millennia - Eleventh Lecture
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On 18 May 2023, Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) organised the tenth session of ‘Gītā for the Millennia’, an online talk series based on Śrīmad Bhagavad Gītā by Swāmī Mitrānanda of Chinmaya Mission. The Chapter 4 & 5 of the ‘Gītā, was discussed during the session. Swamiji started the session by discussing the 39th verse from Chapter 4 of the Bhagavad Gita, śhraddhāvānllabhate jñānaṁ tat-paraḥ sanyatendriyaḥ jñānaṁ labdhvā parāṁ śhāntim achireṇādhigachchhati. This verse means that a person with faith, who is diligent and has control over his senses, attains the highest knowledge. In this context, Swamiji quotes Swami Vivekananda, who said, “If you don’t believe in yourself, you are an atheist.” While beliefs can be changed or shaken, faith cannot be. Unshakable faith in oneself has to be developed to walk the path towards knowledge.

Next Swamiji spoke about the 1st verse from Chapter 5 (Sannyasayoga) of the Gita, which beautifully defines the term Sannyasa, sannyāsaṁ karmaṇāṁ kṛiṣhṇa punar yogaṁ cha śhansasi yach chhreya etayor ekaṁ tan me brūhi su-niśhchita. Here, Arjuna asks Sri Krishna whether he should choose the path of renunciation (karma-sannyasa) or of actions (karma-yoga). He is confused because Sri Krishna has equally praised both paths. However, he feels both are contradictory in nature as karma-sannyasa is dropping action and karma-yoga is performing action without the attachment towards its result.

The reply to this question is discussed in the following verse, sannyāsaḥ karma-yogaśh cha niḥśhreyasa-karāvubhau tayos tu karma-sannyāsāt karma-yogo viśhiṣhyate. Here, Sri Krishna says, both paths are ideal as both will take you to the same result, which is Liberation. However, of these two, karma-yoga is better in the sense, while practicing karma-yoga one can stay in the world and exhaust his desires provided he is not attached to the results of his actions. Karma Sanyas is vulnerable to a particular predicament. Even after physical renouncement, memories and attachment from their past life haunts them. For a mental renunciation to happen, their vasanas are to be exhausted by performing in this world itself, in the path of Karma Yoga.

Swamiji further discussed the next verse, jñeyaḥ sa nitya-sannyāsī yo na dveṣhṭi na kāṅkṣhati nirdvandvo hi mahā-bāho sukhaṁ bandhāt pramuchyate This verse explains who a nitya-sannyasi is. Sri Krishna explains to Arjuna that a nitya-sannyasi is a person who has overcome the likes and dislikes and is free from bondage. Hence, being a nitya-sannyasi is a state of one’s mind. Both the path of Karma Yoga and Karma Sannyasa can take oneself to nitya sannyasa.

Event Date 
May 18, 2023

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