Kama and wish fulfilment

The following is an excerpt of the commentary on the Bhagavad Gita by Radhikaji from her forthcoming book to be published in 2017. This article summarizes verses 8-23 from Chapter 7 of the Bhagavad Gita.

Verses 8-10: The Highest, Deepest and Finest

These verses go to the heart of the matter. What is the distinguishing quality behind all manifestation, all beings and forms? Pure consciousness is the juice of all life. It is the heart of all matter. The Vedas are full of many mantras and shlokas, such as the Gayatri, but OM or Pranava, as it is also known, is the finest of all because it indicates the Universal Self or Pure Consciousness. 

Verse 11: Kama or desire

One who is free of desire (kama) and attachment (raga) is said to be strong.

Since the goal of yoga is desireless, many misguided teachers as well as seekers  claim that they have no desires.  However desire is neither good nor bad. Desire is the reason you are here. Kama does not refer merely to sexual desire. It is referring to the root or seed within you, the samskaras, that lead you towards a new birth. On death, you separate from the body and return to a latent form and when eventually the desires stir up again and you take another body, so that you can continue to live out these desires. Death is the resting time between two bodies.

Verses 12-14: The three fold aspect of nature

Another word for Gunas is Prakruti. It is known as Prakruti in the Samkhya school, Maya in the Vedantic school and Shakti in the Tantric school. There is no difference between these. 

The Gunas are classified into tamas, rajas and sattva. The word Guna itself means quality. Everything is made up of these three gunas. This is Samkhya metaphysics. Just as modern science break downs the material world in to atoms with protons, electrons and neutrons, the 3 Gunas are the basic building blocks of the Universe. The 3 Gunas evolve into the Antahkarana or the four functions of the mind: Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara. 

The world is a play of the three gunas, tamas, rajas and sattva. Nothing can stop the gunas or prakruti. The wise one transcends these and witnesses all. The wise one identifies with the immutable, unchanging Self. A jnani witnesses the gunas. He does not experience them like any other person. He is in awe of the amazing play of Consciousness.

Verses 15-19: The 4 kinds of seekers

What triggered your interest in spirituality? Why are you asking yourself questions like: Who am I? What will happen to me when I die?  Is there such a thing as rebirth? What kind of a seeker are you? 

The distressed seeker asks these questions because he has suffered. There are different kind of sorrows. Some have suffered the loss of a loved one. Some are suffering due to poverty or illness. Others are suffering because they have been rejected in love.

Those who have experienced deep sorrow, ask themselves why they are they suffering. This kind of questioning eventually leads to deeper spirituality. 

The second kind of seeker is the seeker of knowledge. A seeker of knowledge may not have any particular reason for asking these questions. Such a seeker has a sharp buddhi or sense of discrimination and sees beyond the enchanting glimmer of Maya. This is an adhikari. The Buddha was a prince, he was young, handsome, healthy, educated and prosperous yet he kept pondering over questions like: Why do people become old? What is death? Mahavir, the 24th saint of the Jains was also from a princely background. Lord Rama asks profound questions to Sage Vasishtha in the Advaitic text Yoga Vasishtha. Lord Rama is a young Prince, only 16 years old,  he is wealthy, healthy, handsome and  has everything anyone could want and still he asks these profound questions. The true seeker of knowledge, begins to contemplate deeper matters without actually any particular reason. It is a curiosity about life and the world around you. This is indeed a privileged birth. Only an old soul who has gone through many lifetimes asks such profound questions. 

The third kind of seeker is one who wishes fulfillment of desires. Those who go to the temple or to the church because they want something fall in this category.  They tie a little thread at the tomb of a saint and make bargains with gods, if I get this then I will offer you that. They may be wishing for a partner, for a job, to get rich, to get admission into a certain school, to get a promotion, to be healed of disease. This is the lowest category of seekers, because they are like beggars. 

The fourth kind of seeker is one who has already attained something. He is devoted to the Highest because he has had a glimpse of That and knows that there is nothing beyond this. He has tasted, perhaps only a drop of that reasonless joy, that eternal beauty within. That drop is enough to cure you of innumerable lifetimes of ignorance. Such a soul is very rare, is therefore called Mahatma, the great soul.

Verses 20-23: Wish fulfilment

We always get what we want. If you are not getting what you claim to desire it is because there are conflicts in the mind. Contemplate a little bit and you will see that there are some unhealthy thinking patterns that block you. The one point of mind can help us fulfil these desires, live them out and then go beyond. The more one pointed our mind, the faster our desires manifest. This is one of the ways, we speed up the process of purification. Those desires that can be fulfilled, are fulfilled and those that cannot be fulfilled, must be renounced. The one with the one-pointed mind eventually recognises the futility of these transient objects goes beyond it. The one who is lost in wish-fulfilment eventually discovers that this siddhi or power to fulfil wishes is an obstacle.  They go beyond the siddhis and attain Self Realization.  Those who are devoted to pure consciousness itself will attain that. This is a divine promise. 

The ignorant impelled by their own nature live out their desires. Some worship deities that help them fulfil their desires. The worshippers get lost in transient desires such as the desire for a good partner, a job, children, a car, a house. Fulfilment of desires is very enticing and it can seduce you and pull you deep in to the glimmering world of Maya. Beware of desires, this is the razor’s edge!


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