Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda


Bhagavad Gita - Song of God - Chapter 13: 10-11

September 17, 2020

mayi cā ’nanyayogena bhaktir avyabhicāriṇī
viviktadeśasevitvam aratir janasaṁsadi (XIII-10)
adhyātmajñānanityatvaṁ tattvajñānārthadarśanaṁ
etaj jñānam iti proktam ajñānaṁ yad ato ’nyathā (XIII-11)

XIII/10. Unswerving devotion unto me by the yoga of non-separation,
resort to solitary places, distaste for the society of people,

XIII/11.Constancy  in  knowledge  of  the  self,  perception  of  the  end
of  true knowledge – this is declared to be knowledge, and what
is opposed to it is ignorance.

Swamiji's Commentary

      Unswerving devotion to God is not possible without non-attachment to the world and non-identification of the self with son, wife, and so on – qualities mentioned in the previous verse. Such attachment and identification are the products of ignorance. There is really no ‘attachment’ anywhere in creation! We came into this world alone and we shall go alone, leaving even the body behind. All are independent, though ignorantly, we do not live that independent life here. We develop sneha (a word for friendship and also for glue!) which makes us cling to things unwisely. Hence our suffering. The fire of wisdom will make this glue melt so that we neither cling nor kick. The capacity to live with or to part from one another is non-attachment; and this process is as simple as life entering and leaving the body. This non-attachment, its counterpart – ‘unswerving devotion to God’ – and the other divine qualities mentioned in these five verses, are the chief characteristics of jñāna or wisdom.

     If they are not found in a man who is otherwise deemed ‘wise’, his wisdom is locked up within his intellect; and it is extremely difficult to teach that ‘great wise man’ once the lock has rusted! The rust should be wiped out by the cultivation of the good qualities mentioned in these five verses. Then the wisdom within will reveal itself.

     Our Master, Śrī Swami Sivananda, was very fond of these five verses. If you cultivate these qualities, the source of all evil, which is the mind and the ahaṁkāra or ego-sense, will come into the open because their existence is threatened! Gurudev used to say that this is the best way to purify the mind and conquer egoism.

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