Bhagavad Gita Lessons
Lesson 3: Unconditional surrender to the teacher
Session: 027 – 028
The word ‘surrender’ does not generally appeal to intelligent people because it indirectly means acceptance of incompetence or incapability. Conventional education has taught us to stand on our own legs. We consider, especially after acquiring many qualifications, that allowing another person to tell us how to live our life as an insult. Most of us do not meet the final requirement of unconditional surrender due to the following five reasons.
Reason 1: Not being able to accept the superiority of the teacher
We can accept the capability of a doctor or a car mechanic without much hesitation. However, we are not willing to accept capability of a teacher of Vedanta. Without any additional qualification, even the teacher appears to be yet another human being.
Lord Krishna is the cousin and childhood companion of Arjuna. Although people in general are aware of his divine background, Arjuna always treated him as his friend.
Similarly, we feel that no one is capable or has mastery of telling us how to live life.
We can learn something only from a person whom we acknowledge to possess higher knowledge in any given field. If we do not accept the superiority of the teacher, learning does not happen. In case of the knowledge revealed in Vedas, this requirement is even higher because the knowledge revealed cannot be confirmed through our five senses. Therefore, we need to trust the teacher completely. If we are not able to see logic in the teaching, we should assume that the fault lies in our understanding and should not doubt the content of the Vedas or the teacher’s knowledge. Such devotion comes only when one completely surrenders to the teacher.
Reason 2: Teachings in Vedanta/ Gita seem to oppose our practical knowledge
Arjuna shared his predicament to Lord Krishna with a hope that he will get some friendly advice on how to resolve his specific problem. However, Lord Krishna’s words were not comforting.
Whenever we seek advice from others, we generally use the other person as a sounding board of our own thoughts. We would like the other to support us in what we want to do. If the other person says something that is contradicting to our views, we end the conversation and seek advice elsewhere. This is the nature of communication between equals.
Vedanta/ Gita teach us something that is not available from any other source. Besides, it is contradicting our practical knowledge.
Example: Gita says, ‘You are immortal’. We know that we are mortals.
In such a situation, it is difficult to surrender to a teacher who contradicts our knowledge. We normally prefer a teacher who agrees with what we already know.
Learning is possible only if we have an open mind without preconceived notion and willingness to accept that our current knowledge could be wrong.
Reason 3: Complete surrender is misunderstood as surrender of intelligence
Blind belief on the teacher is not expected under the pretext of surrender. We are expected to question the teacher after listening to the teacher completely.
Surrendering does not mean that we become a slave to the teacher for the rest of our lives. It means, while the teacher is teaching, we listen without wondering if he is right. We should not do filtered listening, or in other words listen to only what we want to hear and reject what is not acceptable.
There is a vast difference between the attitude of a child and adult student. A child has an inherent trust in the teacher and learns without doubting the words of the teacher. However, an adult will keep comparing the words of the teacher with what he already knows. Even the very first sentence spoken by the teacher will be validated against what is already known. If there is a contradiction, learning does not happen.
We need to become a child learning alphabets or addition of numbers for the first time. We need such devotion and trust in the words of the teacher since Gita is a new subject to us. We have not learnt anything like that ever before. Once we have grasped the content of the message, then we are free to question and validate it against our knowledge.
Reason 4: Effect of wrong teaching will mislead us
Suppose the teacher does not know the solution and is teaching wrongly, a child will take a long time to realize that the teacher does not know. It may happen to us, while learning Gita also. There are many different teachers, teaching contradicting messages, quoting the very same words of Lord Krishna. Since it is a new subject to us, we are incapable of doubting the words of the teacher. Therefore, we must surrender to any teacher (even to a wrong one, since we do not know how to identify the right one) and accept whatever is taught as the true message of Lord Krishna.
If we do not surrender, we cannot learn the message of Lord Krishna. How do we know that our teacher to whom we surrendered has given the correct solution as taught by Lord Krishna? The proof of the pudding lies in eating. If our problem is solved forever, then it does not matter whether the teaching is correct or wrong.
Example: The old man with cataract in both the eyes becomes nearly blind. He went to an eye surgeon who does not have any educational qualification to practice medicine or perform a surgery. However, the old man regained his eyesight after the surgery and his eyes have become normal. Will he have any grudge against the ‘pseudo-doctor’?
We need to have such an attitude. While the operation is being performed, the patient should have complete trust in the doctor.
Unlike the eye-operation, which can go wrong if we trust a quack, learning Gita from a wrong teacher will not make us blind permanently. Even if the teaching is completely off the mark, we will be benefited. A child is taught addition wrongly; say 2+2 equals 5. However, the damage is not permanent. When the child realizes that the teacher is wrong, it will be better off than a child who is taught 2+2 equals 4 in the first place. This is so because this child knows why 2+2 cannot be 5. Similarly, if we are to learn from a wrong teacher, our knowledge becomes stronger. We will know the teaching is wrong if it does not solve our problems permanently. We can move on to another teacher.
However, it is essential to surrender to the teacher for us to gain the knowledge completely. We can test the knowledge only after gaining it and not while the teaching is going on. We must surrender to the teacher completely like a child and learn the complete message of Gita.
Reason 5: We do not know that our mind is incapable of removing its limitation
All our past education, knowledge and intelligence might prevent us from surrendering. All through our life, we have been trying to correct the environment in order to solve our problem. For the first time, we are going to turn our attention inwards and solve the problem in such a way it does not recur. This technique cannot be learnt from any book (including Gita and Vedanta). Therefore, we need to surrender to a teacher who has mastered this art.
Our sense of incompleteness is not physical in nature and therefore material resources cannot make us complete. The problem is in the mind and we need to resolve the problem only through knowledge.
Experience and knowledge do not always coexist. We assume that as we gain more experience in living life, we will learn to deal with problems in life in a better way. This is not true.
Experience may lead us to higher level of knowledge in any other field but not in the matter of how to live life happily. This knowledge can come only from a teacher who teaches the content of the Vedas. Experience can just prepare our mind and make it mature enough to gain the knowledge.
Our experience shows that we have been continuously working to solve some problem or other and we are never in a position where there is nothing more to do. This means we do not know how to solve all our problems completely. Only when we understand this fact through retrospection or observing others, our mind is mature enough to receive the teaching of Gita.
One who has worked hard and progressed well in material comforts can see the futility of prosperity. Young Siddhartha was brought up in a perfect environment with no trace of suffering. He could see the futility of prosperity when he realized that old age, disease and death cannot be conquered by wealth. Similarly, Arjuna was quite a competent person and he could see that not all his material and physical strength could give him what he wanted. Therefore, he declares to Lord Krishna that he is confused and does not know what to do. Only at that stage, he surrenders to Lord Krishna completely with a request for guidance as described in the verses 4 to 9.
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution
Verses: 04 – 09
2.4 Arjuna asked: Oh Krishna, how can I fight against adorable Bhisma and Dhrona in this battle with arrows. who are worthy, of my worship?
2.5 It is better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of my noble teachers. If they are killed, our soil will be tainted with blood.
2.6 Nor do we know which is better--conquering them or being conquered by them. Those, whom if we kill we should not care to live, are now standing before us on this battlefield.
2.7 Now I am confused about my duty and my intellect is deluded. In this condition, I am requesting You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple. Teach me who has surrendered unto You.
2.8 I can find no means to drive away this grief, which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to remove it even if I win an unrivaled kingdom on earth and heaven.
2.9 Sanjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, told Lord Krishna, “I shall not fight" and fell silent.
Unit 04: The medicine – Self-Knowledge
Number of Sessions: 20
(031 – 050)
Number of Lessons: 10
Versus: 2.10 – 2.37
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Understand the role of Self-Knowledge in solving our problems.
(b) Comprehend the real nature of Atman.
Unit Test: Session: 050
1. There are two reasons for which Lord Krishna smiled. What are they?
2. What are the six statements derived from the teaching ‘wise do not suffer’?
3. If death is not a cause of suffering, what causes suffering when there is a death in the family?
4. Explain how ‘self-knowledge’ differs from psychology.
5. Give an overview of the Gita. How will it help us to end all our sufferings?
6. What is the meaning of the word ‘Atman’?
7. What is the difference in meaning between Atman and Brahman?
8. Prove the statement, ‘I am changeless’
9. What happens to the body, mind and Atman on death?
10. Discuss the validity of experience if it contradicts the result of an enquiry.
11. What are the three conditions that differentiate the real and illusion?
12. How does ‘all pervasiveness’ of the Atman make it indestructible?
13. We cannot perceive the Atman due to two major reasons. What are they?
14. There is only one Atman. True or False?
15. What are the two specific purposes of explaining the nature of Atman when Lord Krishna knows that Arjuna does not fully comprehend the same?
16. Why does Lord Krishna say, ‘Therefore, do your duty’, when he knows that Arjuna did not understand the teaching fully?
17. Who is the doer of actions or enjoyer of the results?
18. Ego refers to arrogance. True or false?
19. State three facts about Ego.
Lesson 1: Smile of Lord Krishna
After Arjuna surrendered, Lord Krishna started talking with a smile. We may wonder how one can smile after listening to a pitiable story of another.
Example: A child is playing with a balloon and suddenly the balloon bursts and the child starts crying. An adult watching it will obviously smile.
When Arjuna cries, giving a ‘valid’ reason, Lord Krishna smiles due to the same reason. Although both Lord Krishna and Arjuna appear to be mature adults, there is a sea change between them with respect to knowledge.
Arjuna is an expert in many fields. However, he, like most of us, does not have the knowledge with respect to himself. Since he has not learnt formally about himself, he is similar to a child. Most human beings have self-awareness but they do not have self-knowledge. Only when we gain self-knowledge, we become wise and grow out of the childishness that is displayed in all our dealings with the world.
Lord Krishna was waiting for Arjuna to meet the last qualification to receive the ultimate knowledge, which is to surrender to the teacher. Since Lord Krishna wants to help Arjuna, he smiles showing his happiness that finally Arjuna confessed his inability to end the suffering and surrendered. This is the second reason for his smile.
Lord Krishna gives the summary of the entire Gita in his opening remark (Verse 11) by saying ‘wise people do not suffer’.
Teaching 1: Wise people do not suffer
From Teaching 1, we derive the following six statements:
1. Wise people do not grieve the death or possibility of death of a near and dear one because they know who they are. (They have gained self-knowledge.)
2. Undesirable events like death will continue to happen in the lives of both the wise and the ignorant.
3. There is a big difference between how such undesirable events are faced by the wise and ignorant.
4. Ignorant people suffer due to reasons like death just as a child suffers when his balloon bursts.
5. Wise people do not suffer because they know the facts with respect to death, just as an adult knows about the nature of a balloon.
6. Ignorant people will continue to suffer as long as they remain ignorant.
This teaching indicates that Arjuna is suffering because he is not wise. Therefore, the solution to the problem is to become wise. Gita shows the path for the ignorant people to become wise, which is the solution to all the problems.
‘Death’ is a cause of suffering to all the human beings. If it is proved that this most important reason for suffering is not really a cause of suffering, then we can understand that no situation in life could be a cause of suffering.
The situation that caused grief in Arjuna is mainly due to the possibility of death of his teacher and grandfather. All of us assume that death is a cause of suffering. It is not so.
Example: In the TV news, it is shown that a plane is being hijacked. Our hearts do not break and we do not plunge into deep sorrow immediately. We enjoy the music program that follows the news clipping. However, if we learn that someone very close to our heart is in that plane (which is being hijacked) then we are shattered.
From this example, it is very clear that the death or the possibility of death of human beings have no impact on us until the words ‘I’ and ‘mine’ are associated with the event.
If we analyze all the miserable situations or sorrowful occasions in our life, we will invariably find that the words ‘I’ or ‘mine’ are associated with all of them and that we are not unduly perturbed by similar happenings in life of strangers. This shows that sorrow is not inherent in any event.
Teaching 2: Attachment is the cause of suffering
Thus, ‘death’ is not the cause of the suffering. Our association with the event like death is the cause of suffering. We need to gain the knowledge about the words ‘I’ or ‘mine’ or in short, we need to gain self-knowledge.
The difference between the ignorant and the wise is the presence or absence of self-knowledge. If we can show the event that happens is not connected with ourselves then we are not affected by the event.
Example: The medical report shows that I have cancer. I am affected deeply. However, if it is shown that the report pertains to someone else with the same name as mine, then I am relieved. I am no longer affected by the event.
Thus, if it can be shown that we are not really associated with the events that we face, and then we will not be affected by such events.
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution
Verses: 10 – 11
2.10 Sanjaya said: Oh Dhrtarastra, at that time Krishna, smiling, in the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.
2.11 Lord Krishna said: You are grieving for those who should not be grieved for. At the same time, you are speaking the words of the wise. The wise do not grieve for the living or for the dead.
Lesson 2: Introduction to Self-knowledge
Session: 032 – 033
We have seen that the unique differentiating factor between human beings and other living beings is the presence of self-awareness. Our capability to know ourselves is naturally present in us and this factor makes us superior to other living beings.
However, this self-awareness is not complete. We are aware that we exist but do not know who we are. In other words, we do not have self-knowledge. We need to spend time and effort to learn who we really are.
Self-knowledge is different from studying our psychology or personality. Self-knowledge is the knowledge about consciousness. Consciousness is not an entity about which we can study. We are the consciousness. Gaining this knowledge is self-knowledge.
The right knowledge does not come naturally. It comes only through systematic learning of the teachings in the Gita under the guidance of a teacher.
Without knowing who we are, we are attached to something or someone, leading to sorrow and delusion. It is like a psychiatrist breaking down after listening to the problems of his patients. We are taking non-existing problems as our problem since we do not know who we are.
Lord Krishna is teaching us that our real identity is not the body/ mind complex and introduces us to our real nature, the Atman.
Teaching 3: You are eternal. (You exist all the time.)
From this teaching, we understand the following:
1. I am not the body. (Since body does not exist all the time)
2. I am the Atman. (Only then, it can be said that ‘I exist all the time’. It is wrong to say ‘I have an Atman’).
3. Since I am the Atman, I am not attached to anything or anyone.
This is the basic difference between the ultimate solution and the temporary solution. Temporary solution attempts to change the situation while ultimate solution changes the perception.
Example: If there is problem in the car engine, we have two solutions. We can repair the car or sell the car. By selling the car, we actually disown the relationship between the car and self.
Similarly, by mentally disassociating ourselves from the objects of our attachment, we can avoid all suffering. It is not like self-hypnosis where we do auto suggestion and negate the fact that we are the body. It is just the opposite. We need to dehypnotize ourselves from our current hypnotic state of thinking that we are this body/mind complex.
We are aware that we are not the car but we have a car. However, we are not equally clear about our body. It is also a vehicle. We are using our body to interact with the world. Without knowing this truth, we are under the constant spell of ignorance (or hypnosis) thinking that we are the body and therefore, we fear death. We need to dehypnotize ourselves so that we know that death is similar to selling an old car and buying a new one. It is an occasion to rejoice.
Example: A man was thinking that he was a mouse and he was quite afraid of cats. A psychiatrist treated him and cured him completely. After a while, when he was trying to avoid a cat, the psychiatrist enquired, ‘who are you?’ he replied, ‘I know that I am not a mouse. However, I am not sure if the cat knows that.’
Similarly, we are wrongly convinced about the fact that we are the body/mind complex and do not know that we are the Atman.
We need to dehypnotize ourselves with the guidance given in the Gita. Like psychiatric treatment, it may be a long drawn effort, but we need to go through the treatment cooperating with the psychiatrist (Lord Krishna in our case)
If we are not the body/mind complex then who owns our car? We cannot answer, “The car belongs to the Atman”. Merely calling ourselves Atman does not change anything. We are just beginning the dehypnotizing treatment. We have a long way to go before we could answer this question.
The man, who was thinking that he was a mouse for two years, cannot be cured in one sitting. We are thinking that we are the body/mind complex from the age 2 or 3 and therefore, we cannot be cured by just listening to a statement that we are the Atman. We need to commence our journey of learning with the detailed description of Atman as given in the verses 12 to 25.
An overview of the Gita
1. All human beings want to live joyfully all the time without any suffering.
2. Self-knowledge is the means to reach that destination.
3. We need to prepare our mind so that we can understand who we really are.
Therefore, the first step is to prepare our mind through work. Then we gain self-knowledge. At this stage, we will learn that we are not the body/mind complex and we are the Atman. Since Atman does not have any connection to the universe, I am not attached to anyone or anything in the world. Since I am free from attachment, I do not have any sorrow. Life is joyful.
Gita helps us to end all our suffering by correcting our attitude based on self-knowledge.
This is similar to:
1. We are hungry and want to satisfy our hunger.
2. Eating is the means to reach our goal. This will take comparatively less time and it is an enjoyable process.
3. We need to cook the food prior to eating, which will take some time and effort. It may or may not be an enjoyable experience depending on our attitude.
Gita explains that we suffer (hunger) and we need self-knowledge (food) to solve the problem. It will also detail the various practices (cooking) to prepare ourselves to receive the knowledge (eating).
The starting point for all human beings is self-awareness, meaning that they are aware that they exist as an independent entity. The concluding point is to know who that independent entity is. Unlike animals, we use the word ‘I’ but we do not know the correct meaning of this word. Since the process of preparation (cooking) is difficult and time consuming, we need to have a proper attitude towards it so that it can also be an enjoyable experience.
People assumed that sun, moon and other planets are revolving around the earth, based on their experience. Experiences do not lead to knowledge all the time. Even when someone (Copernicus) proposes that earth is not the center of the universe after detailed observation and calculation, people did not believe it.
Similarly, when Lord Krishna says, ‘you are not whom you think you are’, people do not trust him. First, we must listen to Copernicus completely and reflect on the facts presented. We can then make a conclusion as to whether the truth revealed by him is acceptable to us logically, although our experience contradicts the knowledge.
Today, we are aware that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, although our experience still suggests that the sun revolves around earth. Similarly, if we systematically study and reflect on the teachings of Lord Krishna, after we complete all the lessons, we will understand that the meaning of the word ‘I’ is not what we always thought it to be.
Teaching 4: You are the Atman
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution
2.12 Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
Lesson 3: The meaning of the word ‘Atman’
Session: 034 – 035
The word ‘Atman’ refers to the true meaning of the word ‘I’. Whenever we use the word ‘I’, due to ignorance, we refer to the combination of two different entities. One is a conscious entity and another is an inert entity. The inert entity does not have any consciousness and the conscious entity is aware of the existence of the inert entity.
The conscious entity is Atman. It can also be called as consciousness, awareness, Brahman or by any other word since it is beyond names and forms. The word Brahman is used when we refer to the entity that supports the whole universe and the word Atman is used when we refer to the same entity in the context of supporting our individual body/mind complex. Although space is one indivisible entity, we refer to the space within a pot as pot-space. Pot-space is like Atman and space is like Brahman. There is no difference between pot-space and space. Similarly, there is no difference between Atman and Brahman.
The inert entity includes everything that is known. Since I know the body and mind, both of them are inert. The entity (Atman) which is aware of the body and mind is me, the consciousness.
However, in the absence of the systematic teaching, both the conscious entity (Atman) and the inert object (body/mind complex)] are completely mixed up. When we use the word ‘I’, sometime we refer to the conscious entity, sometime we refer to the inert body and sometime we refer to a combination of both.
We are not clear whether we have a hand or we are the hand, which is shown by the usage of the words ‘me’ and ‘mine’ interchangeably.
Example: ‘This is me’ OR ‘This is my body’.
Gita educates us systematically on the difference between the two entities (conscious entity and the inert entity) that is referred by the word ‘I’. Thus, gaining the knowledge on the self is called self-knowledge.
Example: I live eternally. (Lord Krishna refers to the conscious entity) Lord Krishna is born. (We refer to the inert entity)
Self-awareness will blossom into self-knowledge, if we are able to differentiate between the conscious entity and the inert entity and identify ourselves with the conscious entity.
It is difficult to understand that mind is inert. However, by definition it has to be inert because we know the existence of the mind. Awareness is the nature of knower (the consciousness or Atman or I). This awareness is reflected on the mind (the inert entity) and mind appears to have an independent capacity to know.
It is similar to a pen writing on a paper. Pen is an inert object and it used by us as a writing tool. Mind appears to be thinking, just as a pen appears to write in the hands of the writer. Mind borrows sentiency from the Atman.
Teaching 5: You are the changeless consciousness
I am the consciousness. I have a body and mind. While the body/mind complex keeps changing, I the consciousness do not change. This can be verified through self-enquiry and through logic. We can observe that our body/mind complex is changing continuously from the time we are born. The observer has to be changeless in order to make judgment whether the observed is changing or not. Therefore, I am changeless.
What happens on death?
When we are living our body/mind complex appears to be alive because it reflects the consciousness.
On death, the physical body is discarded. Mind together with the reflected consciousness, takes a new physical body (called birth).
I remain changeless.
What happens while living?
The body exists within the womb, it is born, it grows, it changes, it deteriorates and finally it dies.
The mind is continuously changing by interacting with the environment.
The environment continues to present situations that are pleasant and unpleasant and the mind is continuously affected by such changes.
There is no change in Atman whether the body is five years old or fifty years old. From our experience we know that whether we are old or young there is no change in our core being.
I remain changeless.
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that there is no reason for him to grieve due to the following reasons:
1. Atman cannot be destroyed since it is eternal.
2. The mind does not die on death. It survives the death and it takes a new body. It is like abandoning an old house and moving into a new house.
3. Physical bodies are continuously deteriorating and will disappear one day whether Arjuna kills them or not.
4. One has to accept the extreme weather change without grumbling since it is part of the nature. Similarly, the pairs of opposites (gain/loss, love/hate etc) will keep alternating. One has to have the understanding and forbearance and not complain about such changes.
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution
Verses: 13 – 15
2.13 Atman continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age. Similarly, it passes into another body on death. A wise person is not disturbed over such changes.
2.14 Oh Arjuna, pleasure and pain are like heat and cold, subject to arrival and departure. One must learn to tolerate the seasonal changes without being disturbed.
2.15 Oh Arjuna, the person who remains steady in both pleasure and pain, due to his wisdom, is certainly eligible for immortality.
Lesson 4: Nature of reality
Session: 036 – 037
The moon is not real for the blind. Since they do not see the moon, it does not exist for them. However, the wise among the blind listen to others and figure out what the moon is, based on the description given to them. Once they understand, the moon becomes a reality to them.
In general, only what we experience is real to us. What we do not experience is not real to us until we enquire. If the blind person does not enquire, the moon is not real for him.
Enquiry is more important than experience. Sometimes, enquiry will show the reality while the experience will show just the opposite as in the case of sun moving across the morning sky. On enquiry, if we find that the reality is different from our experience, we need to accept the result of the enquiry and not hold on to our experience.
An enquiry may show a reality that we do not experience (like the moon of the blind) or it may show that what we experience is not a reality (like the sun of the morning sky). In either case, we need to trust our enquiry and dismiss our experience so that we are aware of the reality.
When the enquiry proves that our experience is wrong, we do not call the experience as unreal or false because the experience continues in spite of the right knowledge. For example, the sky appears to be blue. On scientific enquiry, we find out that the space above is colorless. Our experience of the blue color cannot be declared as unreal or false. It is an illusion.
To be declared as real, an entity has to meet three conditions.
1. It should be present all the time. (Past, present and future)
2. It should remain changeless.
3. It should be independent. (To exist it must not depend on some other entity)
An entity is an illusion if it meets the following three conditions.
1. It is present now. There was a time in the past when it did not exist. There will be a time when it will not be present.
2. It keeps changing.
3. It depends on something else for its existence.
If we examine any entity that is experienced by us, we will find that it is an illusion. The consciousness, which enables us to experience, alone meets the conditions of reality.
This is explained with the example of a rope that is seen as a snake at twilight.
The rope was there in the morning, it is there in the evening and it will be there in the night. It remains changeless all through the day. Even if one does not experience the rope (and sees the snake instead), the rope is real. That means the existence of rope is not dependent on anything. Thus, in relation to the snake, rope meets all the three conditions. Therefore, rope could be stated as real.
The snake was experienced during twilight. Prior to the experience, it was not there and once the truth is learnt, it disappears. The existence of the snake depends on the existence of the rope.
The snake is not real since it did not meet the essential conditions for us to declare that it is real. However, the person who sees the snake in the rope, experiences it and therefore he cannot conclude that it is unreal.
That, which is experienced, but on enquiry fails the test of existence is neither real nor unreal. It is called an illusion. It cannot be said to be unreal, because it is available for experience (during twilight). It is not real, although it is experienced.
Teaching 6: You are the only reality. The universe is an illusion.
From this teaching, we can derive the following:
1. I am the only reality and I will never die.
2. The universe is an illusion and it will keep changing.
3. I am not affected by the changes in the universe.
4. Objects, situations and events in life will change and I am permanent.
5. The universe depends on me for its existence and I do not depend on anything for my existence.
Weather keeps changing (from hot to cold etc) and therefore it does not stand the test of reality. Weather changes can affect our body since both of them belong to the realm of changes and therefore are part of the illusion. I am the only reality. The real is not disturbed or affected by the illusion, just as the mirage water does not wet the sand.
Thus, even though the universe is experienced, on enquiry, it does not stand the test of reality and therefore it is nonexistent. However, since it is experienced, we cannot say that it is false. That which is not real but appears to be real is an illusion. Therefore, the universe, which includes our body mind complex, is an illusion. The real is not disturbed or affected by the illusion, just as drowning in the dream does not physically affect the one who is sleeping.
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution
Verse: 16 2.16
There is no existence for the unreal. There is no non-existence for the real. This truth is understood by the wise studying the nature of both.
Lesson 5: Beyond time and space
Session: 038 – 039
Time and space are tightly bundled together and one cannot talk of space without talking about time or the other way around. Since it is already stated that the Atman is present all the time (past, present and future) it leads us to the next two teachings.
Teaching 7: Consciousness is only one, which is present at all places
Teaching 8: You are not destructible
Lord Krishna gives these two teachings in the verse 17 leading to revelation of many truths.
1. Atman is indestructible. It has no name or form. (We call it ‘Atman’, ‘consciousness’ etc for our understanding. It does not matter by what name we refer to the nameless as long we understand that it is ‘I’).
2. Atman does not have any boundaries nor can any object create a boundary for it. (It does not have a form)
3. Atman is present at all times, at all places and therefore there cannot be more than one Atman.
4. Real and unreal cannot exist together just as light and darkness cannot exist together. However, real and illusion can exist together just as dry sand and mirage water can exist at the same place at the same time.
5. We can perceive only that which has name and form. Name and forms are illusions and the underlying reality is the Atman, we are the observer. Just as light can be seen only as a reflection on some object and not directly, Atman can be experienced only with a name and form.
6. Atman is changeless but the universe undergoes continuous change. Universe is manifested, sustained and resolved cyclically.
7. All inert objects are limited by time and space. If our body is here and now, it cannot be elsewhere at the same time. Atman has no such limitation since it is present everywhere all the time.
8. All inert objects are limited by the form and shape. A horse is different from a dog. Atman has no such limitation since it is the one that sustains all objects
9. Atman is the causeless cause. The entire universe rests on Atman and it is independent.
10. Atman is beyond time and space.
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution
2.17 Know that this imperishable Atman pervades all this. No one else is there to bring destruction to this changeless one.
Lesson 6: Beyond sensory perception
Session: 040 – 041
Atman exists at all times without any change. Universe (consisting of inert objects) is present at all times as a changing phenomenon.
Example: River appears to be present all the time but it is changing all the time. Even if there is no water – during draught – it continues to be called as a river.
Similarly, names and forms (the universe including our physical bodies/ mind) appear, keep changing and then disappear cyclically. The Atman, which remains unchanging supports and sustains this ever-changing universe. Only the illusion consisting of name and form can come within our perception. We cannot perceive the Atman since it is formless, part less, attributeless and one without the second.
Another important reason why the Atman cannot be perceived is that there is no one or nothing existing other than the Atman. It is the knower or perceiver. The knower cannot be the known, as the fire cannot be burnt. The function of the knower is to know just as the function of the fire is to burn.
Atman is immeasurable since it is beyond perception. It is beyond the reach of the mind. Atman cannot be experienced. Our mind can only comprehend the Atman as an entity that is beyond comprehension.
Example: A one-liter-jar is full of stones. In order to fill the jar with space, we cannot measure one-liter of space and try to stuff it inside the jar. All that has to be done is to remove the stones. Automatically space will occupy the jar. Space did not enter the jar after removal of the stones. It was always there but it was beyond perception.
Similarly, by identifying all inert objects, we can remove them from our perception of the word “I”. The remaining part, which is the Atman, is self-revealing. Understanding the misconception of the word, ‘I’ is like removing the cloud that was covering the self-revealing sun. In fact the presence of the cloud is revealed only due to the presence of the sunlight. Similarly, our misunderstanding of the word ‘I’ is also revealed only because of the illumining power of the Atman.
Thus, the Atman is the experiencer and it cannot be experienced. We need to understand what is ‘not Atman’ to gain right self-knowledge.
Teaching 9: You are immeasurable and beyond perception
When we are clear who we are, we will have no doubt about the illusory nature of the world. Since there is only one Atman that is present all the time, everything that happens in the world can be compared to a drama.
Each individual that we encounter in the world are reflections of the very same Atman (that is me). All the living beings that we encounter in life are similar to the reflections on the multiple mirrors in a trial room. When we look into the mirrors, we see different reflections of ourselves. In order to see whether the apparel is fitting us properly, we might keep looking at different reflections. May be the reflection that shows our right profile is better looking than the reflection that shows our back.
Whichever reflection we look at, we are clear that it is me. Even if we feel that one reflection is better than the other we have no doubt in our mind that every reflection depends on our body, which is not many in number.
Similarly, the world is full of people (including ourselves), who are mere reflections of the one and only Atman. It is not possible to destroy the Atman. Even if we destroy a reflection (by breaking a mirror), nothing happens to the body/ Atman.
By explaining these truths, Lord Krishna wants Arjuna to do his duty. All of us need to do our duty and should not try to run away from it. Lord Krishna knows that Arjuna has not fully comprehended his teaching. Still, he says ‘…therefore do your duty’ because only by doing our duty we can hope to comprehend the teaching in full. It will be explained latter that we need to prepare our mind to receive the teaching and doing our duty sincerely is the only way to prepare our mind. Only then, we will see the difference between the changeless Atman and the ever-changing illusion very clearly.
It is like the pictures of food items advertised in a restaurant. The picture of the food, however realistic it may be, will not satisfy the hunger of the customer. On the other hand, even if the customer is not hungry, the pictures may stimulate hunger and make him order some of the items. Similarly, Lord Krishna describes our real nature to us with a hope that we will work for understanding the same. Only after eating the food, the hunger will go. Similarly, only after comprehending the essential difference between the changeless Atman and the ever-changing illusion, will all our sufferings vanish. Giving an overview of our real selves in these verses serves not only as an introduction, but will also stimulate our eagerness to spend time and effort in gaining the discriminative power (to discriminate the real from the illusion). Doing our duty is the means to make our mind mature to receive this discriminative power. Therefore, we need to do our duty.
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution
2.18 Only the physical body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is subject to destruction; therefore, fight, Oh Arjuna.
Lesson 7: Understanding Atman
Session: 042 – 044
We do many actions in a day. If someone asks us, “What did you do yesterday?” we may mention a few actions. If we spend time to reflect, we will see that there are millions of actions done by us during any given day and we claim some of them as our doing. It is an illusion. The truth is we do not do anything. Life happens to us. Life is so intelligent as to make us believe that we do or do not do actions in life. We do not do anything. We are the Atman and the Atman is incapable of doing any action. Nor are the inert objects like body and mind capable of doing any action.
Teaching 10:You do not do anything nor do you cause anything to be done
Atman cannot even prompt anyone to do any action.
Example: The drama is directed by the director.
Atman is not the director of the drama that we call life. The drama of life happens in this universe and it is related to the Atman just as the mirage water is related to the dry sand. Although the water is seen on the sand, it does not wet the sand. Moreover, sand does not cause the mirage water. Similarly, Atman does not cause the action. The action that we see around (including our own action) is an illusion.
Example: A movie is projected on the screen.
Similarly, the universe is projected on the Atman.
There are many characters in the movie but there is only one screen, on which the images are projected. Similarly, there are many living/non-living inert objects in the universe but the Atman is one. Although one object appears to be different from another in terms of forms and colors, in reality all appearances are part of the illusion. Atman is not limited by form and name.
The screen is present all the time, before, during and after the projection of the movie. Similarly, Atman is not limited by time but the universe is manifested, sustained and resolved in time.
The screen pervades the entire movie and the movie cannot be outside the screen. Similarly, Atman is not limited by space but everything in the creation is in space.
The presence of the movie is dependent on the existence of the screen. The screen does not depend on the movie for its existence. Similarly, Atman is independent. The universe is dependent on the Atman for its existence.
The movie appears to be moving but the screen does not move. Similarly, the Atman is changeless.
The blood in the movie cannot taint the screen.
Our attention is on the movie characters and we do not pay any attention to the screen. Similarly, we do not take notice of the ever-present Atman.
When the movie is going on, it is not possible to see the changeless, ever-present screen. One has to understand intellectually that there is a screen supporting he movie. We always experience the screen indirectly by experiencing the movie. Similarly, we continuously experience the Atman (the feeling of ‘I’) by experiencing the world.
Teaching 11: You are neither the doer nor the enjoyer
If neither the Atman nor the inert object (our body/mind complex) is involved in any action, then who does the actions. Actions are part of the illusion. For example, in a drama, the hero kills the villain. We do not go to a police station and give a complaint about the murder since it is a part of the illusion.
Similarly, the action, which is a part of the illusion, is done by an illusory character called our ego. Our ego is the doer of the action and enjoyer of the results of the action.
Ego refers to the reflection of the sentiency of the Atman in the reflecting medium of our individual mind. Ego does not refer to arrogance in this context. The word Ego (meaning ‘I’) has been wrongly construed by people not yet exposed to the teachings of Vedanta/Gita. In reality, ego does not exist. If we keep enquiring ‘who am I’ systematically under the guidance of a teacher, the “I”, who claims to be the doer and the enjoyer will vanish.
Wise people know that the Atman is neither the doer nor the enjoyer. The imaginary ego is the doer and the enjoyer.
We suffer because we consider ourselves to be the doer / enjoyer. It is difficult to shift our focus and realize that we are the changeless ever-present Atman, who is neither the doer nor the enjoyer. In order to get this attitude, we have to prepare our mind by doing our Karma as Karma Yoga, which will be explained in the next unit.
Thus, the description of who we are shows very clearly that we are immortal. This is the central message of the Vedanta. To comprehend this message, we need to do our duty sincerely, so that we can understand the truth after getting the required mental maturity.
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution
Verses: 19 – 25
2.19 He who thinks that the Atman is the slayer or the slain, does not understand. One who is wise knows that the Atman neither acts nor causes any action.
2.20 For the Atman, there is no birth or death. It neither comes into existence nor ceases to exist. It is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, decay less and growth less. It is not affected when the body is slain.
2.21 Oh Arjuna, how can a person who knows that the Atman is indestructible, beginning less, changeless, eternal and immutable, kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?
2.22 Just as a person puts on new garments, giving up the worn out old ones, the Atman accepts new physical bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.
2.23 The Atman can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.
2.24 This Atman is unbreakable and imperishable, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.
2.25 This Atman is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve.
Lesson 8: Role of intelligence
Animals are not as intelligent as human beings are. Human beings use their intelligence and control the environment to their liking. Animals have limited capability to do this. Even among human beings, those who are more intelligent have higher capability than others do. The level of intelligence determines the economic development, which gives us higher level of comforts.
In addition, when life presents varied situations, pleasant or unpleasant, animals do not have any choice but to endure the prevailing situation. Using their higher level of intelligence, human beings can determine how they respond to such situations and therefore, they can maximize happiness and minimize sorrow.
Arjuna faced an unpleasant situation of having to fight with his loved ones. How he deals with such a situation depends on the level of his intelligence. Lord Krishna pointed out that Atman cannot be killed and therefore Arjuna need not grieve. However, Arjuna did not have the required level of mental maturity to understand the nature of Atman. Therefore, Lord Krishna gives another perspective of his teaching ‘wise do not suffer’.
Even if we do not want to talk about the Atman, it can still be shown that Arjuna does not have to grieve, if he thinks wisely.
1. Assuming that there is no Atman and death destroys everything, still Arjuna need not grieve because death is unavoidable. Even if he refuses to kill Bhishma and Dhrona, his brothers will kill them or get killed in the process. Either way death is inevitable in a war. Therefore, if he is wise he should fight.
2. All efforts to avoid war failed. Arjuna is in a situation where he has to fight against those whom he respects and loves. In such a situation, the level of intelligence determines the ability to accept the inevitable and deal with it effectively.
The intelligence of the wise will have sufficient strength to overcome emotional disturbances of the mind.
3. Wise people will understand that running away from the battlefield does not solve the problem. It aggravates it.
Example: A sales executive has not met the target for the third consecutive month and he is afraid to attend the sales review meeting. Fearing the consequences, he resigns the job. This is not the solution. He has to face the situation rather than running away from it.
4. The possibility of death is present for everyone at all times. No one knows when one will die. Only those who are less intelligent are unprepared to die or cause death, when it is unavoidable. The wise face such situations boldly without this unnecessary fear or grief because they know the truth about death.
Example: If the medical diagnosis says that we have cancer, the wise do not lament, ‘How can this happen to me?’ The longer one takes to accept the situation the more the suffering.
There is no point in crying over spilt milk. Only if we keep talking about it or thinking about it does our suffering increase. The wise among see this truth and do not let themselves suffer.
5. In spite of our best effort, life will continue to present unpleasant situations. Intelligent people understand this fact faster by observing their own life and the life history of others. People who are not so intelligent continue to think that it is possible to reach a stage wherein they can create a perfect world with no possibility of any sorrow. They keep striving with a hope to reach the horizon. The wise will understand faster, that the world can never be made perfect. Therefore, they will learn to live happily with the pairs of opposites soon.
The degree of suffering is inversely proportional to the degree of acceptance of the environment. Intelligent people have the wisdom to change what can be changed and accept what cannot be changed. They also have the wisdom to know the difference.
How soon we realize that something cannot be changed depends on our intelligence. If we are less intelligent, we will struggle harder and longer before accepting the unpleasant situation. If we are more intelligent, we realize it sooner and therefore do not suffer for longer duration.
6. Intelligent people know that they can neither predict the future nor change the past.
Our past actions can determine our future situations. If we have done the right actions, we will encounter a favorable future. Wrong actions will lead to an unpleasant future.
However, it is up to us to deal with such situations. Our past bad actions cannot compel us to suffer. They can just make our environment hostile and force us to face the unfavorable situation. If we are intelligent, we can enjoy the negative events also, just as a child who plays with a balloon, has the option to laugh even when it bursts.
Thus, Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna that there is no reason for him to grieve, even if he does not understand the teaching with respect to Atman.
Matter cannot be created or destroyed. It takes different forms and shapes and keeps changing all the time. At the subatomic level, matter appears and disappears continuously. This is scientifically proved. Our experience also shows that there is constant change in everything that we perceive. It is ignorance to expect stability in life. Things will keep changing all the time. Accordingly, our experience will also change.
As a child, when our parents did not buy a balloon, we were greatly disappointed. But now it appears to be silly. Similarly, what we think is a great crisis in our present life, will appear silly years later. Only the wise perceive this irony and therefore they will deal with the situation without naming it as a ‘problem’ or ‘crisis’. Thus, wise do not suffer.
Lord Krishna teaches us this scientific knowledge through the following verses with a purpose of reducing the sorrow of Arjuna.
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution
Verses: 26 – 28
2.26 However, if you think that the Atman is also subject to the cycle of birth and death, still you still have no reason to lament, Oh Arjuna.
2.27 For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, you should not grieve over this inevitable fact.
2.28 Oh Arjuna, all created beings were in the un manifest stage in the beginning, manifest in the middle, and again go back to un manifest stage. So what is the use of grieving over them?
Lesson 9: Application of intelligence
It was seen in the previous lesson that if one is intelligent, suffering could be minimized. Most people do not attempt to eliminate the possibility of suffering altogether. They remain contented in dealing with situations in such a way, that the present problem is solved. They do not attempt to eliminate the root cause of all problems. Human intelligence has the potential to bring about Joyful Living, wherein there is no suffering. We need to use our intelligence to its full potential and eliminate suffering completely.
However, this is not possible if we do not learn about the Atman. Learning about the Atman is the same as gaining self-knowledge, since the word Atman refers to our selves.
Unlike all other knowledge, self-knowledge has a unique feature that makes it easy and difficult at the same time.
With respect to all other knowledge, there is a division between the subject and the object.
Example: ‘I study geography’. In this case, I am different from geography.
This distinction between subject and object is universal, except in the case of self-knowledge. There is no distinct ‘I’ that studies about the ‘I’. We do not gain any new knowledge that was not previously experienced by us. Besides the observer (subject) alone is the reality and the observed (objects) are mere illusions projected on the observer. In other words, observer is the observed. Therefore, self-knowledge is difficult to understand. At the same time, it can be said it is very easy because the knowledge that I am the knower is inherent in every one of us and therefore there is nothing more to learn.
The difficult part is to remove our wrong understanding. When we define who we are, we include many parts (like our house, properties, relatives, friends, family, dress, body and mind) which are not really us.
Example: A rich man sends is personal assistant to the bank. The bank manager insults the personal assistant. The rich man assumes that the bank manager has insulted him personally because as far he is concerned, his personal assistant is included in the word ‘I’.
The level of intelligence determines how many of these external adjuncts are removed from the definition of ‘I”. People who are less intelligent suffer a great deal if they lose some money. Intelligent people do not suffer even if a tsunami takes away everything.
Those who use their intelligence to gain self-knowledge do not grieve any affliction to their own body/ mind complex because they know that they are not the body/mind complex.
It might be a long struggle to gain self-knowledge. However, after gaining self-knowledge one will feel that he was stupid to have struggled so much to see the obvious.
Example: It is like scaling the compound wall and breaking into the house when the main door to the house is open.
Although everyone is prone to suffering in the world, not many attempt to gain self-knowledge through systematic learning. They do not know that self-knowledge will end all their sufferings in life.
Wise people, by gaining self-knowledge, do not grieve for any situation in life because they know that they are the foundation on which the entire universe functions. Whatever happens in the world is an illusion and therefore they know that there is no reason for suffering.
If we do not gain self-knowledge by using the full potential of our intelligence, we cannot hope to eliminate all our sufferings. We need to be satisfied with minimizing them.
Gita guides people to liberation. While the objective and the prescription are the same for everyone, people need to commence their treatment depending on their level of intelligence. Those with a lesser degree of intelligence cannot comprehend the description of the Atman. Even those who are intelligent enough may have to put in lots of effort to gain self-knowledge.
Teaching 12: Atman cannot be understood by all
Some of those who understand the Atman will see its simplicity and assume everyone can learn this. However, it is not possible to expect everyone to comprehend the Atman because of the presence of varying degrees of intelligence and mental maturity among people.
For some of us the teaching may appear to be logical and simple. For others it may appear to be illogical and a superstitious belief. Both Vedas and Gita contain messages for all human beings, which includes these two extreme types of people.
Lord Krishna firstly presents the complete teaching about the Atman. Since it is known that not everyone can understand the teaching, the method to gain the eligibility is taught by Lord Krishna from the verse 31 onwards.
Thus, the final teaching on Atman says that it cannot be understood by everyone. It is very rare that someone not exposed to such teaching may comprehend this easily. It will take time and effort to understand this teaching fully. However, for some it is impossible to understand because they may not have the required level of intelligence and mental maturity.
The major obstacle that prevents most educated people to understand the teaching of Lord Krishna is the wrong knowledge that was gained through the conventional education system. Western scientists wrongly believe that from the inert cosmic soup, one day, living beings walked out. They do not have any proof for such a statement. However, educated people blindly believe in such non-scientific superstition. If we are not a victim to such wrong line of thoughts, we can learn the following.
1. The Atman is the cause and body/mind is caused.
2. The Atman is independent and the body/mind is dependent.
3. The Atman is changeless and eternal. Body grows and disintegrates. Mind is changing and it travels birth to birth carrying the reflection of the Atman.
If we learn the above knowledge, all our suffering will be eliminated. Lord Krishna says that even after revealing this ultimate solution, it will continue to remain as a secret since not everyone has the required level of mental maturity to comprehend the teaching.
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution
Verses: 29 – 30
2.29 Some look at the Atman as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about Atman, cannot understand at all.
2.30 Oh Arjuna, This Atman, present in everybody is eternal and can never be destroyed. Therefore, you need not grieve for any being.
Lesson 10: Complying to our Prescribed Duty
Session: 047 – 049
Every one of us is playing various roles at various points of time in our life. Each role comes with a well-defined responsibility. We need to function to the best of our ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the roles undertaken by us.
Example: The primary responsibility of a student is to study.
Similarly, at each stage of our life as a spouse, parent and grandparent we have well prescribed duties.
In addition to the above, we choose our profession according to our aptitude, skill and capabilities. Each profession comes with its own set of duties and responsibilities. It is very important that we fulfill the responsibilities of the chosen profession to the best of our abilities. We should work sincerely with utmost dedication to the chosen profession.
Most of the roles in our life after we grow into an adult are chosen by us. No one compels us to do work, get married or raise a family. It is our choice. We have the option to choose what we want to do. However, having chosen, we should work to the best of our abilities to fulfill our duties.
This is the recommendation of Lord Krishna for those who do not understand the teachings on the Atman.
Teaching 13: Karma Yoga is the steppingstone to gain Self-knowledge
The real purpose of working is to refine the mind so that it can comprehend the teaching on Atman. Most people choose a particular profession for earning money. Therefore, they may not do their work to their best of their abilities.
Example: I do not do my work properly because the employer is not paying me enough.
At each stage in our life (student, householder etc) and in each profession we undertake, we have to perform our work for gaining mental maturity. This is the only purpose of all our actions. Once we gain the mental maturity by doing our work sincerely, we will be able to comprehend the knowledge about Atman. Then we can lead a Joyful Living. Sincerity in work is a stepping-stone for Joyful Living.
Thus, if we are not able to understand the teaching given out by Lord Krishna, we need to do our work to the best of our abilities as explained the verses 31 to 37. This will lead us towards our destination in our life.
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution
Verses: 31 – 37
2.31 Considering your specific duty as a Ksatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting a righteous war; and so there is no need for hesitation.
2.32 Oh Arjuna, happy are the Ksatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets.
2.33 If, however, you do not fight this righteous war, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation.
2.34 Moreover, people will talk about your unerasable infamy, and for one who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death.
2.35 The great warriors who have highly esteemed your name and fame will also think that you have left the battlefield out of fear only, and thus you will be disgraced.
2.36 Your enemies will describe you in many degrading words and ridicule your ability. What could be more painful for you?
2.37 Oh Arjuna, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up and fight with determination.
Unit 05: The treatment – Karma Yoga Number of Sessions: 20
(051 – 070)
Number of Lessons: 8
Versus: 2.38 – 2.50
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Understand the role of Karma Yoga in removing all the suffering.
(b) Understand the link between the action and results.
1. What are the pairs of the opposites that are called as dualities in life?
2. Why should our life oscillate between the pairs of opposites?
3. What are the two possible ways to deal with such oscillation?
4. What should we do to become eligible to gain self-knowledge?
5. Explain the difference in attitude while doing action in material pursuit and in spiritual pursuit.
6. What are the advantages of Karma Yoga over mere Karma?
7. What are the differences between a Karma Yogi and a person doing Karma?
8. What is the purpose of action by a Karma Yogi?
9. What is the problem of having multiple goals in life?
10. What should be the only destination and the only path common to everyone?
11. What are the three ways to make the intelligence control the mind?
12. What are the five steps required to gain a focused mind?
13. What is the difference between material pursuit and spiritual pursuit?
14. What are the three ways in which one understands the limitation of material pursuit?
15. When will Vedas become useless to a person?
16. Why is the link between action and result not obvious?
17. What is the link between attitude and knowledge?
18. What are the Twelve Laws of Karma?
19. What are the Six Principles required to be followed to convert Karma into Karma Yoga?
20. Why is it said that expectation is the cause of all our miseries?