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Freedom

Part 74 of the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening

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The great bondage

Without pride or delusion, with the evil of attachment conquered, constantly dwelling in the Self, with desires dispelled, freed from the pair of opposites known as pleasure and pain, the undeluded reach the eternal Goal (15:5).

This is the state of moksha–of freedom.

It is possible to waste a lot of time and struggle on things that prove impossible to accomplish because we are going about it in the wrong way. This first sentence gives us invaluable information about dealing with ego and delusion. “How can I get rid of ego?” is a constant refrain of those who realize how deadly it can be. According to the Gita, pride (ego) and delusion are side-effects of ignorance. So we need to work on ridding ourselves of that. Furthermore, once ignorance is gone, so is attachment to the dream-illusions of this world. For our eyes see clearly both the truth and the untruth of things.

The most important characteristic of the liberated yogi is living in conscious, unbroken union with Spirit, individual and infinite. This is the goal of all those within the field of relativity. Illuminated consciousness is total fulfillment, therefore within it all desire has melted away. In the same way the experiences of the senses no longer control or produce delusive reactions. There is an important implication here: the liberated person still experiences the external world–it does not vanish–but without identifying with it or being influenced by it. This is true mastery. Such a state is beyond all change. It cannot be lessened or obscured, for it is Reality itself.

There the sun, moon or fire illuminate not; going whither they return not, for that is my Supreme Abode (15:6).

Eternal spirit

How is it that what the Gita says about us and our infinite destiny can be true when it seems so beyond anything we know of ourselves? That is because we have no idea of our own nature as part of that Infinite Life that is God. This is why the Gita should be our daily study: to keep us reminded. Now Krishna will explain how we are in a sense incarnations of Divinity.

Merely a fragment of myself, becoming an eternal jiva in this world of jivas, draws to itself the senses, and the mind as the sixth sense, abiding in Prakriti (15:7).

Every sentient being is rooted in Infinite Being and is in an incomprehensible way a part of that Being. Our presence is the Presence of God, however much we keep that divine aspect of ourselves covered up. At no time are we other than eternal beings free within God, but the dream of duality and delusion has overcome us. We think we are cut off from God because we have put on the costume of the material body with the five outer senses and the inner sense of the mind.

There are really two persons inhabiting each body: the individual spirit and the Supreme Spirit. Krishna keeps speaking of the Lord (Ishwara) so we will not lose sight of that fact, and also so we will realize that the Infinite Will is always in control, however the dream may seem otherwise.

When the Lord takes on a body, and when he leaves it, he takes the senses and the mind and goes, like the wind takes the scents from their seats, the flowers and herbs (15:8).

Nothing is really lost to us by death. We take all that matters with us, and we bring it back with us in the next birth to continue our evolutionary path. Each life affects us, and we take those influences along with us. Because they are so subtle they are symbolized as fragrances. But they are none the less real for that.

According to the Upanishads and the Gita, Ishwara lives in the heart, the core, of every human being, and experiences all which they experience. Therefore Krishna underlines that both the incarnating jivatman and the Paramatman enter and depart from the body together. The manner of this is incomprehensible.

Presiding over hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell as well as the mind, this Ishwara experiences the objects of the senses (15:9).

Both we and God are witnesses through the senses and mind of all our experiences as we incarnate in the many mansions of creation. We seem to undergo those experiences–which we do, but as in a dream. God experiences all that we do–this is a manifestation of our oneness with God. God knows it is a dream, but we do not and so we suffer.

Two kinds of human beings

Whether departing, remaining or enjoying, accompanied by the gunas, the deluded do not see him. Those with the eye of knowledge see him (15:10).

There are two basic divisions in this world: those that do not see God and those that do. And those that see God and their own Self never lose sight of those divine realities whether incarnate, dying, or experiencing the modes (gunas) of Prakriti. The others never see anything–but in time they will, for that is the destiny of all sentient beings.

Who sees God?

Who are those that see God? Not the merely religious or virtuous, for Krishna continues:

The yogis, striving, behold him dwelling within the Self; but the undeveloped and unintelligent, even though striving, see him not (15:11).

Only the adept yogis who have entered into their own spirit-consciousness beyond the tossing waves of samsara–including their own gross and subtle bodies–see God. And they do not see him outside themselves, but at the very core of their being, pervading their own consciousness.

Who does not see?

When the scriptures of authentic dharma speak of the ignorant and describe their dilemmas, it is never to condemn or despise them, but to inform us who seek to be wise. In this verse two words are used to describe those that cannot possibly see God, and they tell us much.

The first word is akritatmano, which means one who is unprepared and unperfected. Now this is important, for Krishna is not talking of bad or unworthy people, but of those who have not evolved sufficiently and therefore are unprepared for the Divine Vision–actually incapable of it. This is not a fault, but a stage on the way in which all but a fraction of sentient beings presently find themselves. But we are hereby told what we need: to prepare ourselves and strive to be more complete in mastery of our energy levels and more centered in the consciousness that we really are. We need to become steady practicers of yoga.

The other word is acetasah–the unthinking. This includes both those that are simply unaware and those that refuse to be aware. There are people that live heedlessly throughout life after life, never considering the deeper implications of their existence. Even though they have an intellectual belief in God, they do not live life in the perspective of that truth. Only those who ponder deeply on the eternal mystery of God, man, and life are open to understand and move onward from mere thinking about it to actually walking the Way.

Read the next article in the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening: The All-pervading Reality

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Introduction to The Bhagavad Gita for Awakening

Preface to The Bhagavad Gita for Awakening

Bhagavad Gita for Awakening links:

  1. The Battlefield of the Mind
  2. On the Field of Dharma
  3. Taking Stock
  4. The Smile of Krishna
  5. Birth and Death–The Great Illusions
  6. Experiencing the Unreal
  7. The Unreal and the Real
  8. The Body and the Spirit
  9. Know the Atman!
  10. Practical Self-Knowledge
  11. Perspective on Birth and Death
  12. The Wonder of the Atman
  13. The Indestructible Self
  14. “Happy the Warrior”
  15. Buddhi Yoga
  16. Religiosity Versus Religion
  17. Perspective on Scriptures
  18. How Not To Act
  19. How To Act
  20. Right Perspective
  21. Wisdom About the Wise
  22. Wisdom About Both the Foolish and the Wise
  23. The Way of Peace
  24. Calming the Storm
  25. First Steps in Karma Yoga
  26. From the Beginning to the End
  27. The Real “Doers”
  28. Our Spiritual Marching Orders
  29. Freedom From Karma
  30. “Nature”
  31. Swadharma
  32. In the Grip of the Monster
  33. Devotee and Friend
  34. The Eternal Being
  35. The Path
  36. Caste and Karma
  37. Action–Divine and Human
  38. The Mystery of Action and Inaction
  39. The Wise in Action
  40. Sacrificial Offerings
  41. The Worship of Brahman
  42. Action–Renounced and Performed
  43. Freedom (Moksha)
  44. The Brahman-Knower
  45. The Goal of Karma Yoga
  46. Getting There
  47. The Yogi’s Retreat
  48. The Yogi’s Inner and Outer Life
  49. Union With Brahman
  50. The Yogi’s Future
  51. Success in Yoga
  52. The Net and Its Weaver
  53. Those Who Seek God
  54. Those Who Worship God and the Gods
  55. The Veil in the Mind
  56. The Big Picture
  57. The Sure Way To Realize God
  58. Day, Night, and the Two Paths
  59. The Supreme Knowledge
  60. Universal Being
  61. Maya–Its Dupes and Its Knowers
  62. Worshipping the One
  63. Going To God
  64. Wisdom and Knowing
  65. Going To The Source
  66. From Hearing To Seeing
  67. The Wisdom of Devotion
  68. Right Conduct
  69. The Field and Its Knower
  70. Interaction of Purusha and Prakriti
  71. Seeing the One Within the All
  72. The Three Gunas
  73. The Cosmic Tree
  74. Freedom
  75. The All-pervading Reality
  76. The Divine and the Demonic
  77. Faith and the Three Gunas
  78. Food and the Three Gunas
  79. Religion and the Three Gunas
  80. Tapasya and the Three Gunas
  81. Charity and the Three Gunas
  82. Sannyasa and Tyaga
  83. Deeper Insights On Action
  84. Knowledge, Action, Doer, and the Three Gunas
  85. The Three Gunas: Intellect and Firmness
  86. The Three Kinds of Happiness
  87. Freedom
  88. The Great Devotee
  89. The Final Words
  90. Glossary

Visit our e-library page for Free Downloads of this and other ebooks in various formats.

Read the Maharshi Gita, an arrangement of verses of the Bhagavad Gita made by Sri Ramana Maharshi that gives an overview of the essential message of the Gita.

Read The Bhagavad Gita (arranged in verses for singing) by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri).

Read about the meanings of unfamiliar terms in A Brief Sanskrit Glossary

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