by Shri Lakshminarayan Aithal
“O अर्जुन , this itself is lust, this itself is anger; this is born from the passion – quality; it has insatiable appetite, this is the great sinner; this itself is man’s enemy which impels him to commit sin.” Not only that, the composer of the स्मृतिs tells :-
यच्च कामसुखं लोके यच्च दिव्यं महत्सुखम् । तृष्णाक्षयसुखस्यैते नार्हतः षोडशीं कलाम् ।।
मो. ध. 174-46.
‘The happiness obtained by the enjoyment of lust in this world, the great happiness experienced in the heaven by performing the meritorious and religious rites; and the happiness obtained by eradicating the first two happiness; the one sixteenth part of the third one cannot be equated even to the sum total of the first two ones.’ Then, how does the one who desires the desires obtain Peace ?
कामबन्धनमेवेदं नान्यदस्तीह बन्धनम् । कामबन्धनमुक्तो हि ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते ।।
मो. ध. 251-7 [कामबन्धनमेवैकम्]
“This whole worldly life is made up of the bondage of lust alone and, other than this there is no bondage at all, here. The one who has obtained freedom from the bindings of lust achieves the Liberation which is freed from birth.” In this manner, our ancients have ridiculed the lust. Such being the case, how does the love of the form of lust become an expedient to obtain God ?
This objection has arisen without knowing the difference between lust and love in God. This Love is not of the form of lust; and it is of the form of restraint .
30. For, this Love is of the form of destruction of all desires .
प्राप्यान्तं कर्मणस्तस्य यत्किञ्चेह करोत्ययम् । तस्माल्लोकात् पुनरेत्यस्मै लोकाय कर्मणे इति नु कामयमानोSथ अकामयमानो योSकामो निष्काम आप्तकाम आत्मकामो न तस्य प्राणा उत्क्रामन्ति ब्रह्मैव सन् ब्रह्माप्येति ।। बृ. 4-4-6. तदेतत् प्रेयः पुत्रात् प्रेयो वित्तात् प्रेयो अन्यस्मात् सर्वस्मात् ।। बृ. 1-4-7.
A lustful one, under the subjection of desire, does actions; in the other world, he decreases all fruits of his performed actions; and, again, coming to this world, he engages in action alone. But, the one who is free from lust doesn’t have any action; by obtaining God alone, his all desires are fulfilled; therefore, he becomes the one who has obtained his desire (आप्तकाम) which is his Self only (आत्मैककाम ); hence, he has become free from desires (अकाम). He doesn’t have either another birth or any bondage. He being the Form of God, unites with God alone. This Self is more beloved than money, son, etc. Thus the श्रुति declares clearly the difference between lust and Love in God.
31. Restraint (निरोध)) means giving up all desires. But, for whom is it possible to remove all desires ? In this world, whatever a living being (जीव) does has the desire – root.
यद्यद्धि कुरुते जन्तुस्तत्तत्कामस्य चेष्टितम् ।। मनु. 3-4.
Thus, the स्मृति also tells. Suddenly it can be seen that for certain activities like : breathing, heart beating, etc. – man’s desire is not the root. Still, if one examines the origin of such activities desire itself is the root. It can be told that if any one wishes he can with full of effort stop breathing; therefore, only a desire to live is the cause for it. योगि’s are capable to stop their heart beating for some time. Similarly, one can have the knowledge that all activities of animals are conducted only through desires. One can ask that some people are interested only in helping others; do they have any desire ? The answer is yes; they also have the desire of fame that gives happiness to their mind. Then, how do the devotees overcome all their desires ? The answer is as follows :-
निरोधस्तु लोकवेदव्यापारन्यासः ।। 8 ।।
8. But, the restraint means giving up of all worldly and Vedic activities.
32. There are two types of actions; some of the worldly actions are needed for the conduct of affairs of the world; and some of the Vedic – actions are connected to the happiness of the other world. Only the desire of enjoyments of respective worlds is the cause for the two types of actions; therefore, the devotee who, giving up all desires, has turned towards God doesn’t need any one of the actions. Not only that :-
इत्यच्युताङ्घ्रिं भजतोsनुवृत्त्या भक्तिर्विरक्तिर्भगवत्प्रबोधः ।
भवन्ति वै भागवतस्य राजन् ततः परां शान्तिमुपैति साक्षात् ।। भाग. 11-2-43.
Sage कवि tells to निमि named king : The best भागवत-devotee has devotion, absence of passions(विरक्ति) and the Knowledge of the Form of God; therefore, why should he perform any
देहस्थोsपि न देहस्थो विद्वान् स्वप्नाद्यथोत्थितः । अदेहस्थोsपि देहस्थः कुमतिः स्वप्नदृग्यथा ।।
इन्द्रियैरिन्द्रियार्थेषु गुणैरपि गुणेषु च । गृह्यमाणेष्वहं कुर्यान्न विद्वान् यस्त्वविक्रियः ।।
दैवाधीने शरीरेsस्मिन् गुणभाव्येन कर्मणा । वर्तमानेsबुधस्तत्र कर्तास्मीतु निबध्यते ।।
एवं विरक्तः शयनेsआसनाटनमज्जने । दर्शनस्पर्शनघ्राणभोजनश्रवणादिषु ।।
न तथा बध्यते विद्वांस्तत्र तत्रादयन् गुणान् । प्रकृतिस्थोsप्यसंसक्तो यथा खं सविता निलः ।।
भाग. 11-11-8तः 12
The one who knows the Reality of God, even if he is in the body, doesn’t feel proud of it, as awakened person doesn’t egoistically attach to the dream – body. An ignorant one, though really he is not in the body, as a dreamer, feels proud of his body. While organs made up of three fundamental qualities function in their respective objects made up of same qualities – the wise – devotee doesn’t egoistically attach to their functions. The functions like : sleeping, sitting, moving, bathing, seeing, touching something, smelling, eating, listening – are conducted by a respective quality in a particular quality; and this wise – devotee is least attached in such functions. Neither the Sun, nor the Air – is attached to the sky, so the wise, though he appears to be in the nature, he is always least attached. Though the sky is all – pervading, it doesn’t have the touch of anything; the Sun illumines everything and the former doesn’t come in contact of either merits or demerits of illumined objects; the air carries dust or fragrance of flowers without attaching to them; similarly, the prudent one though he works, he never becomes an agent of any work. In this manner, the devotee has given up all worldly and Vedic actions; therefore, his Devotion is of the form of restraint of all desires.
Some have given a different meaning to लोकवेदव्यापारन्यासः . According to them, all actions should be performed and fruit of them should be given up. To support this opinion, they quote one verse from the गीता : सर्वकर्मफलत्यागं प्राहुस्त्यागं विचक्षणाः (गी. 18-2). It is true that in the eighteenth chapter of the भगवद्गीता, the dialogue between श्री कृष्ण and अर्जुन has come to determine the meaning of संन्यास (asceticism) and त्याग (generosity) words. It is not proper to determine the meaning of लोकवेदव्यापारन्यासः by partly meaning of त्याग of the गीता. In order to determine the opinion of the Lord, the has to study the whole subject matter of the work.
The context is this :- अर्जुन asked : ‘Please, tell the principle of संन्यास and त्याग’(18-1). Then the Lord said : ‘ A few have given discriminating meaning to these words : asceticism and generosity. They tell that asceticism is to give up desirable actions (काम्यकर्म) and generosity is to give up fruit of all actions (सर्वकर्मफलत्याग). Some others tell that actions like : sacrifice, donation and penance – should not be given up - thus people have different opinions’. But, the Lord tells his theorem : ‘According to Me : the Eternal Actions (नित्यकर्म) should not be given up; by giving up attachment and fruit , these actions should be performed. This is the conclusion.
Up to the 11th verse : यस्तु कर्मफलत्यागी स त्यागीत्यभिधीयते (गी. 18-11).
In this part, it is clear that the meaning of त्याग is giving up only; for, here, the subject of deliberation is – whether an action should be given up or should be done ? And, it is not the subject of discussion that – whether the fruit of action should be given up or not. Then, in the next verse, one can find the praising of ascetics who have given up all actions .
अनिष्टमिष्टं मिश्रं च त्रिविधः कर्मणः फलम् । भवत्यत्यागिनां प्रेत्य न तु संन्यासिनां क्वचित् ।। गी. 18-12.
In this verse, the Lord has raised a theory : Those who perform an action obtain – desired, not-desired and mixed fruits in the other world according to their respective actions; and those real ascetics who have given up action don’t obtain any fruit. Here, also, asceticism and generosity have the same meaning : giving up. Further it, is explained :-
तत्रैवं सति कर्तारमात्मानं केवलं तु यः । पश्यत्यकृतबुद्धित्वान्न पश्यति दुर्मतिः ।। गी. 18-16
Thus body, agent, organ, activities of vital airs and deity – these five are causes for an action; therefore, there is no agency itself for the mere Self; the one who imagines agency to the Self is a fool ; the one who is devoted only in God has no action; and the Lord has upheld this theorem itself. Hence, this is the conclusion : The ignorant – seeker of liberation should perform action; attachment and fruit should be given up by the performer; and, great devotees who are wise have no work. On the authority of the भागवत – sentences, we have already shown and decided that the devotee has no agency; isn’t it ? In the same भागवत –
नैष्कर्म्यमप्यच्युतभावविवर्जितम् न शोभते ज्ञानमलं निरञ्जनम् ।। भाग. 1-5-12.
The asceticism conducted without devotion doesn’t shine; thus, a mere asceticism is condemned. Therefore, the decision what we have taken is the right one. न्यास has only the meaning : giving up of worldly and the Vedic activities. In spite of this, those who hold the sentence : सर्वकर्मफलत्यागं प्राहुस्त्यागं विचक्षणः as the authority never obtain the theory that ‘giving
Up of fruit itself is न्यास’. For, काम्यानां कर्मणां न्यासं संन्यासं कवयो विदुः . Thus in the same verse, it is told that giving up of desirable actions (काम्यकर्म) is न्यास; therefore, by the authority of that verse one should get the same meaning to that word. But, they don’t like this meaning. Therefore, the great devotee, in the view of conduct, doesn’t perform any action for his sake; he doesn’t have a desire of any fruit to be obtained either in this world or in the other one; therefore, he gives up all actions.
यस्त्वात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मतृप्तश्च मानवः । आत्मन्येव च संन्तुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं न विद्यते ।। गी. 3-17.
(The one who rejoices only in the Self, is satisfied only by the Self; he, pleasing only by the Self, has no desire; and, he has nothing to do for himself.) In the vision of Reality, he doesn’t have agency; therefore, though he externally appears to do works, really he does nothing. This itself is giving up of worldly and Vedic activities.
तस्मिन्ननन्यता तद्विरोधिषूदासीनता ।। 9 ।।
(Lakshminarayan Aithal has served for over 3 decades in Swami’s institution and is the former Principal of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions at Muddenahalli. Inspired by Swami’s direct message to study the Upanishads, he first learnt Sanskrit and then studied the direct works of Adi Shankaracharya and Swami. Sincere perseverance led him to the reality of Aham Brahmasmi and He realized and experienced Swami’s words: “I am God and so are you”. He shares the import of the Upanishadic teachings with us in this series of articles)