Bhagavad Gita, demystified, by H.H. Paramahamsa Nithyananda
Many have seen this popular image of Arjuna standing in the chariot preparing to go into battle.
In this image, the horses represent our senses and our mind, ready to lead us into different directions and into the battle of chaos. The story of Arjuna in the chariot depicts the human condition, giving up personal power and allowing the senses or mind (the horses) to lead into confusion as it heads into different directions.
As the Incarnation of Hindu portrays, it is important to understand how the body-mind operates. When we gain an understanding of how the lower mind and our senses command and drive our life, we discover that we are truly, the charioteer, the one who ultimately has the power to drive the life. Through this understanding, we are able to take back our power and break free from the confusion of the senses and the lower mind.
In the same way, we experience the dream state as real when we are asleep. The deeper we go into the dream, the more our identity changes to fit the role and play the story that is running through our dream mind. We begin to believe that the dream story is real, however, when we wake up, we realize that we were only dreaming. Through an immediate perception of the separation, between the sleeping state and the waking state, we realize that we were dreaming.
The same thing happens when we wake up to super-consciousness. We realize that we have been living in an illusion as the separation becomes obvious in our awakened state.
Swamiji explains that our mind is so powerful that it can include every detail of an event or place inside of our dream, such as an auditorium with thousands of people sitting, clapping, the speeches and all the things we would see if we were there in person. He explains further that this is exactly what the mind does in the “real” world. The difference is that we can easily wake up from our sleeping dream state but as long as we continue to believe that this reality is “real”, we continue to suffer.
As we witness the changes from season to season, from light to dark with the movement of the sun and even the waves of the ocean moving from shore and back to the ocean, it is our senses that are perceiving the motion of time.
You can see this observation of how we perceive time through our senses in one simple observation. When we sit and share with someone we love, it seems as though time passes quickly and our visit is over too soon. In contrast, if we are sitting with someone who we have no affection for, it can seem like hours have passed and the day has been long.
The Incarnation of Hindu explains, as long as the mind is observing, time exists. And if we look deeper into our minds habits, we see that the mind moves between past, future and present, continuously, with no distinction. When we can observe this happening inside of us, we become the witness and step into a place of detachment. In this place we can see and realize that all of life is a drama, a dream maintained for our pleasure or to keep the illusion in place.
The more we practice observing, being the witness, the more we realize the distinction of what is real and what is illusory. All transformations are related to our relationship with time and space, which are in turn, related to our mind.
In this verse, Krishna points out and makes very clear, that whatever we see, it is not us. He encourages us to keep moving beyond our present state of being as the witness. First, we see the distinction of time, then we see how our thoughts color our day, then we see how our moods impact our relationships and further yet, we see our emotions and understand that we are not our reactions. This is the witness, observing, awakening and taking the reins of the chariot back into the hands, consciously driving the life.
As one travels deeper and deeper into the place of the witness, observing thoughts and actions, losing the reactions and moving from a centered place, one develops a pure space where divine consciousness can be perceived and experienced. Time loses its grip on our reality and the senses no longer have the power to persuade us towards chaos or confusion.
Poetically, Swamiji explains, this is the teaching behind the Christian Virgin Mary giving birth to Christ. In this prepared, pure space, the divine is experienced. In the same way, this act of witnessing, which is a form of purifying, is what Krishna is teaching us in this passage and is the master key to our spiritual unfolding.
Every being is on a spiritual journey, whether they are aware of it or not. The problem rests in the fact that we often live out other people’s lives and desires, ignoring our own, distracting us terribly from our own evolutionary process. Because of this, we continue to reincarnate and attempt to live another life of fulfillment, over and over.
Once we realize that we are more than this body, more than our mind and that we exist beyond our senses and desires, we realize the absurdity of participating in the worlds madness of the endless pursuit of desires. And when this realization happens, a quantum shift occurs inside of our being.
As Swamiji simply states, “Just an understanding that we are beyond material pursuits is enough to liberate us”.
13.19 Thus the field of activities, knowledge and the knowable has been summarily described by Me.
It is only when we understand the true nature of our supreme Self and the material world with which we have created false identities that we can go beyond this and attain the supreme Self, itself.
13.20 Prakrti or the field and its attributes and purusa or the knower of the supreme consciousness are both without beginning.
All the transformation of nature that we see are produced by the field or prakriti.
13.21 In the production of the body and the senses, praktri is said to be the cause; In the experience of pleasure and pain, purusa is said to be the cause.
13.22 The living entity in the material nature follows the way of life, enjoying the moods of nature.
Due to association with the material nature, it meets the good or evil among various species.
13.23 Yet, in this body there is a transcendental energy. He who is divine, who exists as an owner of the witness, supporter, enjoyer, and the pure witnessing consciousness, is known as Paramatman.
13.24 One who understands this philosophy concerning material nature, the living entity and the interaction of the modes of nature is sure to attain liberation.
He will not take birth again, regardless of his present position.