Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 2 (Part-2) Saankhya Yogah- Yoga Of Knowledge

Concepts  and Issues

Krishna  started the sermon of the Gita by stating that
1. The Self within is eternal, indestructible.
2. The bodies enveloping the Self are ephemeral and have a  beginning and an end.
3. Death is certain for the born and birth for the dead.
4. Beings pass through this cycle of birth and death  repeatedly but the indwelling Self remains eternally the same.

The  one who understands these concepts is said to possess true knowledge which  postulates that the soul or self or the atman alone is real and all things  other than that are unreal.

The  entire existence with respect to an individual is divided into two categories:  1. ‘I’ or aham and 2. ‘This’ or idam. Atman is ‘I’ and the rest  is ‘This’ idam.  But due to the  ignorance of my real nature, I am always identified with my body, mind and  intellect and thus developed a false notion about myself. This false notion is  ego.

If  I can differentiate what is different from me, I can apprehend my own nature. Thus  the enquiry is to know first what is not I and then to assert what is I. In  other words it is about knowing what is not I (the body, mind and intellect)  and knowing my real nature i.e. Atman (I). This is the study of the nature of  the atman and the body which is called Sarira Traya Prakriya.

The  personality of an individual is considered to consist of three bodies or ‘sarira’ viz. gross body (sthula sarira), subtle body (sukshma sarira) and  causal body (karana sarira).,

  Gross  body (Sthula Sarira): It is that which is composed of the five great  elements viz. space, air, fire, water and earth. The volume of the body  occupies ‘space’, the breathing and respiratory system is due to ‘air’, the  warmth in the body is due to ‘fire’ and the body is made up of ‘water’ and the  ‘minerals’(earth). This physical body is considered to have been acquired as a  result of past good deeds. This body is the locus or the hutment or the counter  for experiencing pain and pleasure and such other pairs of opposites. It is  subject to six modifications (shad vikaras) viz. existence, birth,  growth, change, decay and death.

Subtle  body (Sukshma Sarira or Linga Sarira): It is the counterpart of the  gross body that keeps the latter alive, performs all the physiological  functions and operates the organs of action and perception. The physical body  dies when the subtle body departs. The subtle body consists of seventeen components.They are the five organs of  perception, the five organs of action, the five vital airs (Pancha Pranas),  the mind and the intellect.
  The  five organs of perception are 1. Ear (sense of hearing), 2. Skin (sense of  touch), 3. Eyes (sense of vision), 4. Tongue (sense of taste) and 5. Nose  (sense of smell). The five organs of action are 6. Mouth, 7. Hands, 8. Legs, 9.  Anus and 10. Genitals. The five vital  airs are: 11. Prana - its function being respiration - located in Nose 12.  Apana - Evacation or Excretion - Anus & Genitals 13. Vyana - Circulation - Entire Body 14. Udana - Reaction or Throwing out upwards - Throat 15. Samana-Assimilation  or Digestion - Central Region of the Body. 16. The Mind - Receives Stimuli  through organs of perception from external sources and 17. The Intellect -  Analyses situations or stimuli received and determines - Cognition faculty.

According  to some the mind and intellect only are treated as the causal body and the  other fifteen components mentioned above form part of the gross body. The  subtle body is the instrument of experience while the gross body is the hutment  or the place of the experience.

Causal  body (Karana Sarira): It is inexplicable, beginingless and in the form  of ignorance of the Reality and the cause for the other two bodies, ignorant of  one’s own real nature, free from duality or division. According to some our  inborn tendencies or vasanas are treated as causal body.

Atman  (Self, Soul): It is not any of the three bodies mentioned above. It is the  “awareness” or “consciousness” by which we are aware of the three bodies. It is  called ‘chit’.  The Atman does not  undergo any change during the three states of consciousness viz. waking, dream  and deep sleep (avastha traya) or during the passage of time because it  is beyond time. It is therefore called Sat or ever-existent. The atman  is also beyond the limitations of body, mind and intellect. It is also beyond  space and time because space and time also are creations of the mind.

It  is in a constant state of bliss or ananda. Atman is therefore sat-chit-ananda or Existence-Knowledge-Bliss. It is the principle that is self-effulgent, that  pervades everything including space and which is complete (Purna). The Sat-Chit-Ananda  Svaurpa is the natural state of every living being but it is not  experienced because we are struggling in a wrong direction and squandering our  energies on inconsequential matters.

Thus  the purport of Krishna’s advice to Arjuna is that the latter should change the  direction of his mindset from the unreal to the real. 

Live as the Gita Teaches You to Live
1. Don’t be carried away by emotional attachment  but be guided by rational analysis.
2. Distinguish between the real and the unreal,  appearance and reality, shadow and the substance, grain and the chaff.
3. Discard the defeatist mentality and face whole  heartedly and sincerely all the situations in every field of activity at any given  moment of existence in life.

Points  to Ponder
1. Krishna’s virtual smile.
2. Grieving for those who are not to be grieved.
3. Real and Unreal.
4. Pairs of opposites and why to endure them?
5. Three kinds of bodies.
6. Immutability of the Self.

Next time we will proceed from the Verse 2.23

Harih Om

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