Tag Archives: Gita

Attitudes & behaviors to cultivate Sattva guna

Harih Om!

One of the unique features of Bhagavad Gita among other moksha shastras such as Upanishads, is that it deals extensively with the sadhanas for moksha in addition to the subject of moksha itself. Swami Akhandanandaji Maharaj points this out in his book, “Sadhana aur Brahmanubhuti”.

At multiple places in the Gita, we find lists of qualities that describe a self-realized person. In commenting upon such verses, Sankaracharya states that the natural attitudes or behaviors of a self-realized person are important to know because they are sadhanas for mumukshus.

We find in chapter 2 sthitaprajna lakshanas starting with dukheshu anudvignamanaah (दुःखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः), etc. In chapter 12 we have bhakta lakshanas starting with adveshtaa sarvabhutanaam (अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां), etc. In chapter 13 are given jnana sadhanas starting with amaanitvam adambhitvam (अमानित्वं अदम्भित्वम्), etc. In chapter 14 are gunatita lakshanas starting with prakasham cha pravruttim cha.. (प्रकाशं च प्रवृत्तिं च), na dvesti… na kankshati (न द्वेष्टि न काङ्क्षति) etc. In chapter 16 we find daivi sampada starting with abhayam sattvasamshuddhi (अभयं सत्त्वसंशुद्धिः), etc.

On similar lines, distributed in chapters 17 and 18 are various attitudes and behaviors associated with sattva guna. In one of his Gita classes, Swami Dayanandaji gave an advice to students which is paraphrased as follows: “Compile a list of all Gita verses in chapters 17 and 18 that talk of attitudes and behaviors connected with Sattva Guna. Read them with meaning every day. I did this when I studied Gita. They are the attitudes and behaviors you must cultivate in order to make them your own. Make them your own even by faking or acting them out. All spiritual practices are meant for this only.

Following his advice I compiled the list along with meanings and some notes where I felt necessary, gleaning from Swamiji’s Home study course and Sankara Bhashyam and have been reading and reflecting on them daily. This practice has been helpful as it serves as a reminder for how I must act. I have compiled these verses and am sharing in this post, hoping that it will be of use to others too.

I feel a number of these sattvika qualities boil down to an attitude of karma yoga, viz.

  1. Performing to-be-done karma (svakarma) diligently
  2. Offering performed karma to Isvara because He is in the form of that karma
  3. Remembering not to have an agenda for specific outcomes, which I have no control over
  4. Remembering that ultimately I am not even the doer
  5. Being ready to receive all types of outcomes as prasada from the Lord.. Thy will be done!

Finally, a key point to remember in connection with the gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas – is that all three are in everybody. While we may have a predominance of a certain guna based on prior samskaras, we are not at all stuck with that guna-combination. In fact the process of spiritual growth is to alter the guna-combination to make sattva more predominant. This will eventually lead to rising above all gunas. The above advice is sure to help us grow in this direction.

Download the compiled verses related to Sattva Guna here.

Yours,
Hari & Aparna.

Bhagavad Gita Home Study Course by Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Dear Friends,

Namaste!

I wanted to write a brief note about an amazing book that I recently completed studying. It is the Bhagavad Gita Home Study Course, a set of 4 volumes with commentary by Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati (Pujya Swamiji) of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. Pujya Swamiji’s lectures during one of the 3-year residential Vedanta courses conducted by the Gurukulam were transcribed and published in the form of this Home Study course. The lectures are also available in audio format.

Pujya Swamiji’s presentation was an eye-opener to me and brought about a profound improvement in clarity of understanding the Gita and life on the whole, according to Vedic vision. That moksha is the one goal of human life is Purushartha-nischaya and there are two lifestyles leading to that goal – Karma Yoga and Sanyasa. The moksha sastra dealing with the nature of Self is explained following the teaching methodology of Vedanta as a pramana. Developing virtues in oneself through clear understanding rather than setting ideals as distant goals seemed a practical way to improve oneself without disappointment.

Based on Sri Sankara’s bhashya, Pujya Swamiji’s home study course is elaborate and leaves no stone unturned in delivering the sublime and profound raja vidya. It is truly a blessing that in modern times we have written, audio and video media that give one sitting at home access to the secrets of Upanishadic wisdom taught by teachers of Vedanta. A century ago this would not have been possible. Of course sitting at the feet of the Guru to acquire this knowledge is the best. But if one cannot do that, Bhagavad Gita Home Study course published by Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in book and audio formats is a wonderful resource to acquire and quench one’s thirst for knowledge.

Some useful links:

1) Arsha Vidya Gurukulam bookstore: http://books.arshavidya.org
2) Arsha Vidya Satsangs, a collection of free downloadable audio lectures of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam teachers (Swami Tattvavidanandaji, Swami Pratyagbodhanandaji, Swami Viditatmanandaji and Pujya Swamiji): http://www.avgsatsang.org
3) Arsha Bodha Center website containing many audio lectures of Swami Tadatmanandaji: http://www.arshabodha.org/teachings.html
4) Downloadable audio lectures by Swami Paramarthanandaji: http://www.vedantavidyarthisangha.org

Om Tat Sat
With regards,
Hari