Gita Study: Class 1

2017-Sep-30

Topics for today:

  1. Welcome audio by Swami Dayananda:
  2. A two-page transcript of the welcome audio file: Click here
  3. Opening prayers: Click here
  4. Gita Dhyanam audio:
  5. Gita Dhyanam pdf:  Click here
  6. Pages 1 – 10 of “Introduction” chapter of the Study material: Click here

Highlights of today’s class:

Pujya Swamiji in his welcome audio gave the following helpful suggestions:

  • Shraddha is an attitude of questioning our own understanding rather than questioning the teacher’s knowledge when something in the course of study seems self contradictory. In other words, giving benefit of doubt to the teacher pending actual verification by ourselves. Have this attitude of shraddha during the study of Gita towards Krishna, Vyasa and your teacher.
  • Vedanta is the name given to the subject matter which is dealt with in the Gita. It is the subject matter that is the essence of Vedas and is in the form of Upanishads. The essence of Upanishads is presented in Gita, hence Gita is a text dealing with Vedanta. By gaining knowledge and understanding of the subject presented in Gita, we are understanding the essence of the entire Vedas.
  • Repetition of ideas is an intentional teaching method adopted by teachers of Vedanta. Because the teaching dealing with self knowledge could have many obstacles due to our conditioning, repetition of the message becomes necessary and helps to overcome those obstacles.

Understanding human pursuits (“Introduction” chapter):

  • There are four purusharthas or fundamental human pursuits – artha, kama, dharma and moksha.
  • Artha is the pursuit of any kind of security – economical, emotional or social. Things such as money, real estate, relationships, name, recognition, title, influence, power, etc.
  • Kama is the pursuit of any pleasure, from sensory to intellectual to aesthetic pleasures.
  • Dharma is a pursuit of pleasure born of harmony, pleasure derived from doing what is to be done. As we grow in our understanding, our dharma also grows.
  • Moksha is pursuit of freedom. Freedom from something I do not want. Freedom from the notions that ‘I am insecure’ and ‘I am displeased with myself’, driven by which I seek external security and pleasures.
  • While seeking artha, what we are really seeking is freedom from insecurity. Similarly while seeking kama, we are really seeking to free ourselves from being a displeased person.
  • Upon enquiry, we find that what we consider secure or pleasurable in the world is not secure or pleasurable because it is finite and changing. Once a source of security ends, another source of security is sought. Once a source of pleasure ends, another source is of pleasure is sought. This process of seeking security or pleasure in worldly objects or people becomes endless.
  • Vedanta tells us that our problem is not one of lacking security or pleasure, but of not knowing that we do not lack anything. It converts all pursuits into a pursuit of knowledge.

om tat sat

 

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