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.