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Prashnottara: Daivi Sampathi

There are twen­ty-six ‘Daivi sam­pathi’ or ’ Divine char­ac­ter­is­tics’ that are recit­ed by Bha­ga­van Krish­na to Arju­na in the 16th Chap­ter of the Bha­gavad Gita, as qual­i­ties that are required for a seek­er to obtain the knowl­edge of the Self : abhayam – fear­less­ness, sattvasamshud­dhi­hi – inner puri­ty of the mind, jnana yoga vyavasthithi­hi – con­stant fix­a­tion in the yoga of med­i­ta­tion for the sake of self-real­iza­tion, daanam - char­i­ty, dama – con­trol of sens­es, yaj­na – sac­ri­fice, svad­hyaya – study of the sacred scrip­tures, tapah – aus­ter­i­ty, arjavam – rec­ti­tude or straight­for­ward­ness, ahim­sa – non­vi­o­lence, satyam- truth­ful­ness, akro­dah – absence of anger, tya­gah — renun­ci­a­tion, shan­thi­hi — equa­nim­i­ty of mind, apaishu­nam – absti­nence from mali­cious talk, daya bhuteshu – com­pas­sion for all crea­tures, alolupt­vam – con­trol of sens­es when the sens­es are in con­tact with the sense objects, mar­davam — gen­tle­ness, hrih ‑mod­esty, acha­palam — absence of friv­o­lous activ­i­ty, tejah – splen­dour, kshama – for­give­ness, dhrithih ‑for­ti­tude, shau­cam – clean­li­ness, adro­ha – absence of mal­ice, nathi­manitha – absence of false pride. In hon­our of Gita Jayan­thi day, we present here a deeply insight­ful sat­sang­ha we had at Anaa­di. Adi Sir, in the con­text of this chap­ter of the Gita, speaks about the impor­tance of work­ing towards cul­ti­vat­ing Divine qual­i­ties, so that one’s antahkarana, or inner instru­ment, becomes capa­ble of reflect­ing the Glo­ry of one’s true Self. If one aspires and works sin­cere­ly towards even one qual­i­ty, all oth­er qual­i­ties will come with it, because, to be able to work prop­er­ly towards any one qual­i­ty requires all oth­er qual­i­ties, and they get built up in the antahkarana. Let us look deep­er into the mean­ing of alolupt­vam and arjavam.

Q: What is alolupt­vam When the sens­es come in touch with the sense object, the mind runs after it in an uncon­trolled man­ner. We would have observed this with­in our­selves — if there is some vasana, at the very sight or smell of that object of enjoy­ment, the mind runs after it. You would have observed, while trav­el­ling, when elders just catch sight of a tea shop, imme­di­ate­ly their mind runs after it “Hey, come, let’s have tea.” So when the sens­es come in touch with the sense objects, the mind runs in an uncon­trolled way, seek­ing the grat­i­fi­ca­tion of the sens­es. When this hap­pens, there is no con­trol over the mind, as the sens­es are run­ning after the sense objects seek­ing grat­i­fi­ca­tion. Not allow­ing this to hap­pen and keep­ing the sens­es reined in, is the mean­ing of alolupt­vam.

Q: What is the dif­fer­ence between dama (con­trol of sens­es) and alolupt­vam

Alolupt­vam means, say, you see some­thing you enjoy and you observe that your mind is get­ting ready to run behind it, you pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing by paci­fy­ing the agi­ta­tion of the mind. Ipo atha paathalum, shan­thama irukarthu. Even if you see that object of enjoy­ment, you remain calm and com­posed. Dama means total sub­ju­ga­tion – com­plete­ly putting it down.These (Dama and alolupt­vam) will be applic­a­ble in dif­fer­ent kinds of cir­cum­stances. So depend­ing on the cir­cum­stances, the appli­ca­tion dif­fers. For exam­ple, in the case of kings, ene­mies have to be put down. This is dama. But when it comes to his sub­jects, they would have to be con­trolled, and not sub­ju­gat­ed, isn’t it? It is not like putting them down. If there is a riot, that will have to be put down, while nor­mal cir­cum­stances, there has to be a con­trol. So con­trol is dif­fer­ent from sub­ju­ga­tion. Like this, there are fine nuances in the Bha­gavad Gita. To some peo­ple vers­es in the Gita might seem like rep­e­ti­tion, but actu­al­ly it is not rep­e­ti­tion. These dif­fer­ences are fin­er aspects, that we will have to observe with­in our­selves and under­stand when we encounter dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances in life, and then the fin­er aspects get revealed to us. Oth­er­wise these fin­er aspects do not become vis­i­ble to us. As we go on in the jour­ney of life, we need to take these frame­works in the Bha­gavad Gita and observe them keen­ly in our own life, then grad­u­al­ly, diverse shades of mean­ing will be revealed to us. The words dama and shama are men­tioned as two among the shat­sam­pathi of ‘sad­hana cha­tush­taya’. The shat­sam­pathi declares six qual­i­ties that are to be pos­sessed by a seek­er of Truth for suc­cess in his sad­hana. Dama means sub­ju­ga­tion of the sens­es, shama means sub­ju­ga­tion of the mind. So one may ask, “What is the dif­fer­ence between the two?”. If one sub­ju­gates one’s mind, would­n’t the sens­es also get sub­ju­gat­ed? Man­as adak­i­naale sens­es adan­girnom illa? No, Need not be. This is where one needs to observe the fine dif­fer­ences that exist between them. That is why you need to do man­ana (con­tem­pla­tion) again and again, then the fin­er aspects get revealed. Q:What is the mean­ing of arjavam? Arjavam gen­er­al­ly means straight­for­ward­ness. Now, look­ing at our­self, we can look if we don’t cat­e­go­rize our­selves as bahirkarana and antahkarana, every­thing is one whole. But for prac­ti­cal pur­pos­es, we cat­e­go­rize – body, man­as, bud­dhi. The fun­da­men­tal Truth flows from the bud­dhi down to the body, that is the order actu­al­ly. Fun­da­men­tal is Antarya­mi, the Atma. That is the basis that gives all of this real­i­ty. Oth­er­wise, none of this has real­i­ty. Even though the bud­dhi is extreme­ly suk­sh­ma, or sub­tle, it has real­i­ty only because of the Atma. The Atma is what gives the bud­dhi real­i­ty. But from anoth­er per­spec­tive, all of this does not exist — that is dif­fer­ent. But let us say, all of this gets its real­i­ty from the Antarya­mi, the Atma. Then, what­ev­er is Truth, Real­i­ty, Satyam, that should per­co­late to the last mile. So if That should per­co­late, every­thing should be in align­ment. Only if every­thing – bud­dhi, man­as, and the indriyas (the five organs of sen­so­ry per­cep­tion and the five organs of action) — are in align­ment will the Truth per­co­late. Oth­er­wise it will get dis­si­pat­ed, lost in the process. That is the deep­er mean­ing of arjavam: from the fun­da­men­tal Real­i­ty to the last mile, every­thing is in align­ment, and that is called arjavam. If that has to be put in sim­ple words – thought, word and action are in align­ment. But fun­da­men­tal­ly it is a deep­er prin­ci­ple of all of these — the bahirkarana and the antahkarana — being in align­ment with the fun­da­men­tal Truth. If they are not in align­ment, you will see that it will get dis­si­pat­ed. Life will be one way, but thought will be anoth­er way. One may have thoughts -“I want to turn spir­i­tu­al”, but since one’s lifestyle is not in align­ment, it will not allow that to hap­pen. There will be con­flict, there will be frus­tra­tion. You may feel “Aaargh!” but noth­ing will move. Q: There was one chal­lenge that I faced with respect to man­ana (con­tem­pla­tion): I real­ized the need to mem­o­rize the shloka’s mean­ing in Eng­lish as well. Only then could I con­tem­plate on the shloka’s mean­ing. Yes, that is why, its Eng­lish mean­ing also has to be mem­o­rized, along with mem­o­riza­tion of the shlokas in San­skrit. Only when there is data in the mind­space, does the pos­si­bil­i­ty of con­tem­pla­tion even arise. Oth­er­wise the mind­space would be blank, right? Of course, chant­i­ng the shlo­ka has a dif­fer­ent effect on your con­scious­ness. But, to do man­ana, you need to know the mean­ing of the shlo­ka. If you need to know the mean­ing, you need to mem­o­rize it. After you mem­o­rize, you need to go over it again and again and again. You need to keep “chew­ing” on it, then lit­tle by lit­tle, the essence, which is true jnana, sinks into your being. Kon­jam kon­ja­ma kasiyum, jnanam­garthu­la. So mem­o­riza­tion becomes very very crit­i­cal. So you can say it is rote-learn­ing, and that always helps. So you need to mem­o­rize the shlo­ka. Why you need to mem­o­rize the full shlo­ka is because it will explode in your con­scious­ness as you go along, through all three states – jagrutha (wak­ing), shushup­ti (deep sleep) and swapna(dream). In all three states of wake­ful­ness, deep sleep and dream, the shlo­ka will explode in all three states of con­scious­ness – wake­ful­ness, deep sleep and dream. The fourth state of con­scious­ness, Turiya, is that which tran­scends these three states. So in these three avasthas, it will stay with you and start explod­ing. In the three states, it will come along with you and that is why the full shlo­ka needs to be mem­o­rized. And as you mem­o­rize again and again, you will see — just the way when you lis­ten to a song, it imme­di­ate­ly clings on to you and runs in the back­ground, so too the shlo­ka will be run­ning in your mind all the time. When a song clings on to you, the tune keeps going on in the back­ground, even though you may be engaged in action in the fore­ground. Even when you go to sleep, it will be going on. In fact, even after you fall asleep, it will be going on, actu­al­ly. See, that is the pow­er of these things. So you need to replace the songs with Bha­gavad Gita shlokas! That is why, as time goes by -”Abhayam sattvasamshud­hi, jnana yoga vyavasthithi­hi…” — the shlo­ka, with the tune of recita­tion, will be con­stant­ly on in the back­ground. This has a dif­fer­ent effect, it has a long term effect. Same thing, when you take the shlokas one by one, trans­late it into Eng­lish, and mem­o­rize its mean­ing, and keep “chew­ing” on it, it has a short term as well as long term effect. Hence doing both, that is, mem­o­riz­ing and recit­ing all the shlokas, as well as con­tem­plat­ing on the mean­ing of each shlo­ka with the aid of the Eng­lish trans­la­tion, are impor­tant. That is why in the morn­ing, you mem­o­rize all the shlokas of a chap­ter and recite it, and in the night, espe­cial­ly before you just go to sleep, you take one shlo­ka, and keep going over that shlo­ka in your mind. Only then its essence will soak into you, enter you. Then, insights get revealed to you — “Oh, this is what it is!”. So that is how the con­scious­ness gets light­ened up, dif­fer­ent cor­ners of your con­scious­ness gets light­ened up.

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