A Bird's Eye View of the Uddhava Gita

Uddhava Gita
God’s ’ Prayer to Krishna
One day Brahma, the Creator,  surrounded by his sons, Siva, Indra and other Gods visited Krishna at Dwaraka.  After paying obeisance to Krishna they requested Him to return to Vaikuntha,  His Heavenly abode as the purpose of His descent was over.

Krishna then explained to them  why the Yadavas had to be exterminated before his return to Vaikuntha. He told  them that “made insolent by prowess, heroism and fortune, and inclined to take  possession of the whole world, this celebrated race of Yadu has been kept in  check by me as the ocean by its shore. If I depart (from this world) without  destroying the huge race of the Yadus, who have grown impertinent and haughty,  the entire humanity will meet its destruction.”

Krishna assured them that he  would be leaving the world very soon and returning to Heaven after the Yadu  dynasty in which the Lord Himself was born is wiped out by their own  infighting.

Greatly saddened by this Uddhava beseeched  Him to take him also along when He leaves this planet earth. During that time the  Lord expounded the truth to Uddhava which is known as Uddhava Gita.

Real Nature of the World
Krishna tells Uddhava
Now due to the curse the Yadu  dynasty will certainly perish by fighting among themselves; and the ocean will  rise up and inundate this city of Dvaraka. In the near future I will abandon  this earth, then, being overwhelmed by the age of Kali, the earth will be bereft  of all piety and therefore you should not remain here on the earth once I have  abandoned this world.

Shake off all attachment to your  family and kinsmen and move about the world with a mind wholly centered on me.  You must always remember that whatever is thought by the mind, perceived by the  eye and the ear and spoken by the tongue is creation of the mind and therefore  illusory. The mind falls victim to the illusion of diversity, which leads to  the concept of good and evil and discrimination between various types of  actions. By controlling the mind you will see the whole world in your own self  and your own self in me, the Supreme Lord. He who knows the truth of the self will  be a friend of all beings and will have peace of mind. Such a person will not  undergo transmigration.

When Uddhava replied that it is  not easy to abandon attachment and adopt renunciation, Krishna told him that  those who take to the investigation into the nature of the world lift  themselves up by their own efforts and go beyond their sensual cravings. The  Self itself is the guide to itself through direct observation and inference. He  says “I cherish most the human body because through it, keen and vigilant  seekers can have a direct knowledge of me, who am otherwise difficult to  perceive.”  Krishna illustrates his  statement that the human body can be made the best instrument for the  attainment of the Supreme Goal, by telling a story of an Avadhuta who learnt  wisdom of life from twenty four teachers like earth, air, tree, birds, wasp,  bees, python etc. The Lord stresses the importance of performing one’s own duties  without any desire for rewards and with mind fully engaged in the enquiry of  the Self.

This Self, as the jiva under the influence of avidya or ignorance, pervades every point of the  body. The question is then how the Jiva is said to remain free from the  activities of the body or to put it differently, having no connection with  them, how does the jiva get tied to them? What are the characteristics of the  liberated person? Is it one and the same jiva bound and liberated too?

Characteristics of Souls Bound and Free As Well As Devotees
Krishna clarifies: the  characterization of a jiva as bound or emancipated is determined by its being  subject to or not subject to the Gunas of Prakriti controlled by the Lord  himself and has nothing to do with its essential nature. It is like  experiencing happiness or sorrow in a dream which ceases on waking. So long as  there is ignorance Jiva is taken to suffer the bodily sufferings which get  cleared once the individual realizes the knowledge of the Self. The man of  knowledge, though has a body, is not conditioned by it any more than a dreamer  just awakened from the dream is unaffected by the experiences of his dream. The  man of ignorance assumes that he is the doer of all actions which are actually  done by organs of action and perception. He is really free who remains  unaffected though his senses feed on objects of senses.

If a man becomes a scholar in the  scriptures but does not practice and become one with the Self is as useless as  keeping a cow which does not give milk or an unchaste wife. A wise man who  always chants the name of the Lord and hears his stories will surly attain to  his state.

Importance of Satsanga
When asked who is  a pious soul, the Lord replies : A pious soul  will be compassionate towards everybody, harms nobody, is forbearing, has  truthfulness, has no attachment to pleasures of senses; is self-disciplined,  solely depending on the Lord and is given to contemplation. Free from passion  and anger, he does not seek honor for himself but bestows it on others.  Possessed of right knowledge, a devotee should direct his worship to the Lord  alone. Krishna says; “they are considered by me to be the foremost of all  devotees, who worship me with exclusive devotion, knowing in reality how great  I am, what I am and what like I am.”  Devotion to the Lord consists of touching and  worshipping his representations in the form of pictures, images etc, rendering  bodily service to the people devoted to him, repeated recounting his  excellences and exploits and developing reverence to hearing his stories etc.

Then Krishna emphasizes the  importance of Satsanga or association with great souls. He says “neither Yoga,  Sankhya, righteousness, austerities, nor study of the Vedas, sacrifices, and  philanthropic works, mantras, yamas, niyamas, can win me as does the  association with the saints - satsanga. Satsanga puts an end to all  attachments.”

Giving numerous examples of those  who reached him despite having never studied the scriptures the Lord praised  the fellowship of the saints.  Krishna  says “the Gopis with their minds fastened to me with the cords of love attained  to me. Therefore seek as your refuge me alone with all your strength. With me  alone, you can be rid of all fears.”

Extinction of The “I” Sense
Uddhava remarked that most men  know that the sensuous pleasures are baneful in their results, inviting endless  troubles, yet like dogs, donkeys and goats they heartily plunge into them and  asked why it is so.

The Lord answered:
“It all begins with perverse  sense of ‘I ‘which causes Rajo Guna to invade the mind and induces it to  conceive the objects of enjoyment and the means of enjoying them. Brooding over  such sensory objects creates an uncontrollable passion for them which  overwhelms the mind and impels irrevocable actions. Although the perception of  their evil consequences of such actions is present, the impetuosity of the  passion is too strong to arrest them. But the man of discrimination exerts hard  to control his infatuation and thus spares himself from the suffering. Such a  man will turn his mind to me, away from everything else, and will be finally  established in me. This is the Yoga I taught to Brahma and to his sons, the four  Kumaras.”

The Lord then tells Uddhava how  he took the form of a Swan (Hamsa) and clarified the doubts raised by  the Kumaras as to the relationship of the mind with sense objects and how the  seeker of Liberation can disentangle himself from such relationship. This  teaching is known as ‘Hamsa Gita’ or ‘Hamsopadesam’

Path of Devotion
Uddhava asks Krishna
“Various ways of liberation have  been taught by various teachers. You also teach the path of devotion. Are all  these ways equally good?”

Krishna replies
“Many are the means described for  the attainment of the highest good, such as love, performance of duty,  self-control, truthfulness, sacrifices, gifts, austerity, charity, vows,  observance of moral precepts etc. But of all these the path of love and devotion to me is the best. To the man who finds delight in me alone, who is  self-controlled and even-minded, having no longing in his heart for anything  other than me, the whole universe is full of bliss. Such a devotee who has  surrendered himself to the Lord does not even desire salvation and finds bliss  in me alone; this devotee is very dear to me. His happiness is unconditional.  Although he may not be a master of senses, he is not a servant to them, either.  As fire kindled into a blaze burns the wood to ashes, devotion to me completely  consumes all evil.

Neither by the study of  scriptures nor by Yoga or by any other method could I be easily attained?  I, the Self, dear to the devotee am attainable  by love and devotion. Devotion purifies even the lowliest of the low. Without  love for me virtues and learning are unfruitful. He who loves me is made pure  and is a purifying influence upon the whole universe. Let not your mind run  after worldly things. Give your mind to me, meditate upon me.”

Then Krishna teaches Uddhava the  process of meditating upon him. A Yogi practicing meditation regularly with  intense devotion rises above all limitations of knowledge and action by realizing  the one all pervading reality. Krishna says that while practicing such yoga,  many occult or mystic powers accrue to the devotee, but makes it clear that  they are all obstacles to the Union with him.

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