February 22, 2015

Children’s Program Highlights:
Idhika Turya - शान्ति कैसे प्राप्त हो ।
Praket Ehimay - Sudama and Krishna

Chapter 8 notes : Based on Swami Hari Har Maharaj Jee’s lectures

Chapter 8 is also known as Akshar Brahm Yoga. In this chapter, Arjun asks seven questions to Sri Krishna. Even learned people in this world struggle to answer these questions and get bewildered. However, Bhagvad Gita resolves all the doubts from people’s minds. The questions that Arjun asks is as following:

Q1. What is ‘Brahm’?
Q2. What is ‘Adhyatma’?
Q3. What is ‘Karma’?
Q4, 5 & 6 What is Adhibhoot/Adhidev and Adhi Yagya (most people have not even heard about these words/terms, but atleast Arjun has heard about these and he seeks clarification from Bhagavan about the meaning of these words)
Q7. Will a person ever understand the meaning of these above questions till he/she dies?

Maharaj jee says that there are three steps to action. Applying the knowledge of Bhagvad Gita in action is extremely important to perform the action correctly one needs to understand it first. Therefore understanding precedes action. However; one can properly understand something only when one hears about it; therefore listening precedes understanding which precedes action. In a nutshell proper listening and proper understanding are the key to perform right actions. All the questions that Arjun asks are valid for the entire humankind and not specific to just one religion.

Answer to Arjun’s first question : What is Brahma?
Bhagwan says “Aksharam Brahma Param” or in other words Param Akshar is what is Braham. To understand this fully, we need to understand the words “Param” and “Akshar”. ‘Param’ means the ultimate/absolute or sublime. The word “Akshar” has two meanings. The first meaning comes from the conjunction of the syllables ‘A’ (meaning not) + ‘kshar’ (meaning that which destructs, reduces etc). Therefore; one meaning of the word ‘Akshar’ is that which never destroys. This meaning of Akshar should be related to the unmanifest form of God which never gets destroyed. Therefore; by this definition of Akshar, Brahm refers to the supreme ultimate or supreme absolute God.
Maharaj jee further cites the example of a child who goes to kindergarten to learn the alphabets. The child learns the 26 letters of the alphabet. When the kid goes to higher grades, he/she learns about different subjects and when he/she reaches college he/she learns about these subjects in even greater detail. However; all the knowledge that is obtained from these higher grades or college is all captured, confined and defined by the 26 letters of the alphabets. There is no need for a 27th letter. Even if the books get destroyed and rotten, still the knowledge that has been acquired remains with a person. Similarly Bhagvad Gita is a book about Brahm Gyan. If one is able to apply the knowledge of Gita in everyday practice, then one is able to be successful in all fields of life.

One application of this Gyan (knowledge) is that one should be able to recognize the difference between temporary and indestructible. Even a small child keeps saying ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’, but what is really ‘I’, ‘me’ or mine. This small child one day turns into an old man or woman which means the body which the child thought was his or hers has now transformed into a different type of body. The human body at any stage is a temporary body. Within a single lifetime, the body changes so many times, yet human beings spend a lot of time in fending for this body.
The second meaning of the word ‘Akshar’ is understood by the joining of syllables ‘Aksh’ + ‘R’ . The meaning of ‘Aksh’ is eye and ‘R’ (read as sound) means ‘light’. Therefore ‘Akshar’ in this way can be explained as ‘as far as the eyesight can see’. This meaning of Akshar is in reference to the material manifestation of God.
With this explanation arises another question as to which of these above definitions of ‘Brahm’ is the correct definition? The first definition explains about the indestructible and unchangeable. The second definition talks about the material manifestation which as explained above with the human body example talks about the changeable.
However; both the meanings essentially talk about the same thing. Human beings assume the body they have and their soul are one and the same. Maharaj jee explains further with examples such as when a person says ‘I got burnt’ when he/she gets burnt in finger and he/she says the same thing when his/her toes get burnt, but they don’t think as to which part of the body does this ‘I’ reside? Maharaj jee says just like millions of children go to school, but a rare few get a doctorate degree, similarly of the millions who read and talk about these topics, the true comprehension of the meaning of ‘Brahm’ is rare. He explains that the two meanings can be further explained with the example of a sugar cube. The manifest/visual part is that the sugar cube is white in color. This is what the eyes can deduce. However the eyes cannot deduce the sweetness of the sugar cube, just like tongue cannot deduce the white color of the sugar cube. A sugar cube is not just white or sweet, it is both. Similarly Brahm is not just indestructible, it is also that which can reach the extremities of the eyesight. Brahm should be understood in its totality and not by its independent individual meanings.

This world is a combination of both the meanings of the word Brahm. Bhagvad Gita does not advocate renunciation, but rather it encourages to understand the world. Most people do not understand this basic truth that the more spiritual growth one has, the more he or she grows materially. Only those who live within this world can understand this fact, not the ones who renounce.

Answer to Arjun’s second question : What is Adhyatma?
Bhagavan answers ‘Svabhavodhyatmam Uchyate’. ‘Sva’ means ‘mine’ and ‘bhav’ means ‘to exist’.Therefore ‘My existence’ or the existence of Brahm in everyone is the ‘Svabhava’. The existence of the Akshar Brahm is what is Adhyatma. This Brahm is pervading everywhere . Maharaj jee explains this with an example. He says when he comes to US, he goes to Chicago, he goes to New York and he goes to Cleveland, so he understands what is New York, Cleveland and what is Chicago, but someone needs to show him what America is. All these places have separate existence, but where is the existence of America? Just as America is a sum of all these places plus many more, similarly Brahm is everywhere, in every place and thing, but cannot be seen.

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