3-42 & 43
indriyani paraanyaahur, indriyebhyah param manah |
manasastu paraa buddhir yo buddheh paratastu sah || (Gita 3-42)
Evam buddheh param buddhvaa samstabhyaatmaanamaatmana |
Jahi satrum mahaabaaho kaamaroopam duraasadam || (Gita 3-43)
It is said that the senses are superior to the gross body, greater (higher, more powerful, illuminating, pervasive and subtler) than the senses is the mind; greater than the mind is the intellect, but greater than the intellect is desire. Thus, knowing that desire is beyond intellect, subduing the self by one’s self, destroy this, O mighty-armed Arjuna, the tough enemy in the form of desire, which is hard to conquer. 42-43
`indriyani paraanyaahur’— Senses are superior to body or objects of senses. It means, that senses know the objects but objects do not know senses. Senses live without objects, but without senses, the existence of objects is not proved. Objects cannot illumine senses, but senses illumine objects. Senses remain the same while objects go on changing objects come within the range of senses, while senses do not come within the range of objects. Eyes (senses) can perceive the physical body and objects, but the body and objects cannot perceive the senses. So senses are greater, more powerful, more subtle and have a wider range of activity, than objects and the physical body.
`indriyebhyah param manah ‘ — Senses, do not know the mind, while the mind knows all the senses. Every sense, knows only its own objects, but does not know the objects of other senses. Ears can perceive only sound, but cannot perceive touch, form, taste and smell. Similarly, tongue can only taste, nose can only smell, eyes can only see, and skin can only touch. But the mind knows the five senses, and their objects. Therefore, the mind is superior, more powerful, more subtle, has a wider range of activity, than senses and is, their illuminator.
`manasastu paraa buddhiryo — The mind, does not know the intellect, but the intellect knows the mind and senses. The intellect, knows whether the mind is quiet or turbulent and whether senses function properly or not. It means, that the intellect knows the mind and its thoughts, as well as the senses and their objects. Therefore, the intellect is greater, more powerful, more subtle and has a wider range of activity, than the mind and is its illuminator.
`yo buddheh paratastu sah ‘ — The master of intellect is ego; therefore, a person says `My intellect’. Intellect is an instrument and `ego’ is the doer. The instrument depends, on the doer. Desire, resides in the insentient portion of ego. But, it is because of the identification of the self with the insentient body etc., that desire seems to reside in the pure self (the sentient).
In fact, desire resides in `ego’ ‘I, because ego has the desire to enjoy pleasures and so becomes the enjoyer. The enjoyer, enjoyment and the object to be enjoyed belong to the same class, otherwise the enjoyer cannot be attracted towards the objects. But, there is no desire in the self, which is the illuminator of the enjoyer, enjoyment and the object to be enjoyed. All the insentient objects, such as the body, the mind, the senses, the intellect and the ego are fragments of nature (prakriti). Beyond ego there is the self, a fragment of God. The self, is the base, the root, the cause, the inspirer of the body, senses, mind, intellect and ego, and is subtler, greater, stronger, wider than all of them, and is also their illuminator.
There is pleasure or pain in the insentient nature (prakriti, inert) of the embodied soul, while the sentient (soul) does not undergo any modifications, such as pleasure or pain etc. The self (soul) is the knower of any modification. But, when It identifies Itself with the insentient (body etc.,) it has to undergo pleasure and pain. The sentient, (soul) by identifying Itself with the insentient (body etc.,) becomes the enjoyer. In the inert only, there is no enjoyership. The enjoyership, remains in the ego (where there is identification of the soul with the body). The term `asya’, used in the fifty-ninth verse of the second chapter, denotes the enjoyer, while the term `Parama’ denotes, God, unattached Universal Soul. `When a striver realizes, `Parama’ (God or Self) his taste or relish also turns away (Gîtâ 2/59). A man, has desire in order to derive pleasure or joy, while the self is naturally a heap of joy. Therefore, on God-realization or Self-realization, desire (desire for sensual pleasure) totally perishes, forever.
`Evam buddheh param buddhvaa ‘ — In the previous verses, it has been explained, “The senses are greater than the body, greater than the senses, is the mind and greater than the mind is the intellect.” But now in this verse, when the Lord declares, that greater than intellect, is desire, He means to say, that desire resides in `ego’, not in the self. Had it resided in the self, it might have never perished. It is born when the self accepts its affinity for the insentient body etc. In fact, it resides in the insentient fragment, (matter), but appears in the Self. Therefore, knowing this desire, which is beyond intellect, a striver should eliminate it.
`samstabhyaatmaanamaatmana’— The method, to slay this desire, is to restrain, the self by the self viz., to accept the real affinity of the self, for the pure self or for God whose part It is. The same fact, has been pointed out by the Lord, in the fifth and the sixth verses of the sixth chapter when he declares, “One should raise oneself by one’s self alone” and “The self has been conquered by the self.”
The self is a part of God, while the body, senses, mind and intellect are part of the world. When the self having a disinclination for God, has an inclination for nature (the world), desires are born, Desires are born, when there is privation and a man (the self) feels it because of his affinity for the world, eventhough the world is unreal, has no existence (Gîtâ 2/16) but like a mirage, it seems to exist. As soon as, the affinity for the world is renounced, desires perish, because the self has no deficiency as the Lord declares, “The real never suffers any deficiency” (Gîtâ 2/16).
Even when, a man has disinclination for God, and assumes his affinity for the world, his real desire (need or hunger) remains to realize God, whose, fragment he (the self) is. He wants to remain alive forever, he wants to possess all knowledge and he wants to be happy forever—this is his desire to attain God, who is the Embodiment of Truth, Consciousness and Bliss. But, it is because of his affinity for the world, that by an error of judgment, he wants to satisfy this desire (need), by enjoying worldly pleasures. But this desire, can never be satisfied with worldly objects, so it will have to be discarded.
He, who has established his affinity, for the world, is also capable of renouncing it. So The Lord orders Arjuna to slay this desire by dissociating himself from the world through his own efforts.
This dissociation, needs no practice because practice is done with the help of the world (body, senses, mind and intellect). In fact, a man gets established in the self or realizes God by renouncing affinity for the world.
`Jahi satrum mahaabaaho kaamaroopam duraasadam’ — The term `mahaabaaho’ means one possessed of long and mighty arms i.e., a brave warrior. By addressing Arjuna, as `mahaabaaho’, the Lord means that he is brave enough to slay the enemy in the form of desire.
It is hard for a man to conquer this enemy, so long as he has affinity for the world. This desire deviates even the wise from the performance of their duty by covering their discrimination, and so they have a downfall. Therefore, the Lord has said, that it is hard to conquer. So, a striver, instead of losing heart should be aware of this enemy.
Desires appear and disappear, whether these are fully satisfied or partly satisfied, or not satisfied at all, while the self ever remains uniform, and knows the appearance and disappearance of desires. So he can easily renounce his affinity for them, which is merely assumed. Therefore, a striver should not be afraid of desires, if he is determined towards his aim, he can slay `desire’, very easily.
Everyone is independent, qualified, deserving and able to realize God, but it is not so with desire, because these can never be satiated. The Lord, has bestowed upon beings this human body, so that they may attain Him. So they can easily renounce desires, but it is because of their attachment to the worldly persons and objects etc., that it seems difficult to renounce desires.
The Lord, creates unfavourable circumstances so that man may be warned, not to have desire for favourable circumstances, as these will lead him to suffering. It is a rule that he who has a desire for worldly persons and objects cannot escape pain. The Lord declares, “The pleasures that are born of contacts (with objects) are only sources of pain (Gîtâ 5/22).
The soul possesses infinite strength. It is because of the power derived from the soul, that intellect, mind and senses, seem powerful. But It forgets Its strength because of Its affinity for the insentient, and regards itself as subordinate to the intellect, mind and senses etc. Therefore, it is necessary to know the Self, and recognize Its power, in order to kill the enemy in the form of desire.
Desire, is born out of affinity of the self, for the insentient (Matter) and it resides in it, but seems to reside in the self. If one does not accept affinity for the insentient, desire has no existence. Therefore, when the Lord urges Arjuna, to slay desire, He means to say, that desire has no existence of its own. A desire appears and it automatically disappears. So, if one has no new desires, the old ones automatically disappear.
A man becomes aware of something wanting in himself, only when he regards the .worldly objects, such as the body etc., as T, `mine’ and `for me’, but he wants to make up for the lack, by worldly materials. So, he has desire to acquire these. But it is impossible to make up that lack, by those materials because he (the self) is imperishable, while these are perishable. Thus, he by desiring transitory objects, gains nothing, but suffering. Therefore, by calling desire an enemy, the Lord urges Arjuna to slay it.
This desire can be easily eliminated through the Discipline of Action, because an aspirant following the Discipline of Action, performs every major or minor act, for the good of others, rather than to satiate his own desire. All his actions are performed, for the welfare of others without any selfish motive. All his resources, are not his own, but have been acquired and are likely to be lost. So, he uses, them, for the welfare of the world, by regarding these as the world’s, without any selfish motive. Thus, he gets rid of desires easily, and consequently, attains his aim of God-realization. Then, nothing further remains to be done, to be known, and to be acquired for him.
From “The Bhagavadgita – Sadhak Sanjivani” in English by