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Credit: Wikimedia (CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0))

TL;DR — I am pursuing a part-time Ph.D. in Hindu Studies through the Hindu University of America. I am planning on specializing in Sanskrit studies. This post is about why I am doing this and what I would like to achieve out of this.

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Hindu University of America

Aspirations

I want to learn the Hindu scriptures in their original verses (in Sanskrit), be able to apply the rigor of logical reasoning into them, and be able to bring out their relevancy to current times objectively.

Inspirations

I often find myself at the intersection of what appear to be dichotomies — technology and tradition, fact and faith, and conservative and progressive. While they appear to be dichotomies, are they really — Is it not possible to be factual and faithful? Are there scientific reasons behind traditions/ rituals? …


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Verses Discussed

संन्यासस्तु महाबाहो दुःखमाप्तुमयोगतः।

योगयुक्तो मुनिर्ब्रह्म नचिरेणाधिगच्छति।।5.6।।

सर्वकर्माणि मनसा संन्यस्यास्ते सुखं वशी।

नवद्वारे पुरे देही नैव कुर्वन्न कारयन्।।5.13।।

Key Points

We discussed the following concepts this week.

1) What is sanyasa?

Sanyasa refers to the renunciation of actions. This is different from the common understanding of sanyasa (renunciation of relationships).

2) Types of Sanyasa

Vidwat Sanyasa (renunciation arising from knowledge), vividisa sanyasa (renunciation arising after a life of karma yoga), and apat-sanyasa (renunciation arising out of emergency)

3) How karma yoga prepares one for sanyasa?

One is ready for true renunciation of action after purification through antah-karana-shuddhi, gaining equanimity, and prasada-buddhi through disciplined life of karma yoga. At this point, one does only the actions needed for sustenance and without any attachments to the results of those actions. …


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Key Concepts

Isvara: intelligent cause (nimitta-kāraṇa) and material cause (upādana-kāraṇa)

Discussion

This week we started discussing how karma yoga and jnana are connected and the role of bhakthi in karma yoga. We also discussed how surrender to Isvara is central to karma yoga. Last week we discussed how just being ethical is not karma yoga.

This week’s discussion clarified how devotion is central to karma yoga.

One of the common misunderstanding of karma yoga is — it involved just doing one’s action without the need for devotion to Isvara. This week demonstrated a significant shift in my understanding of karma yoga.

Questions

What is the role of jnana?

What exactly is renunciation?


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Verses Discussed

बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते।

तस्माद्योगाय युज्यस्व योगः कर्मसु कौशलम्।।2.50।।

कर्मजं बुद्धियुक्ता हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः।

जन्मबन्धविनिर्मुक्ताः पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम्।।2.51।।

योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय।

सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते।।2.48।।

Key Points

Kaushalam

Kaushalam refers to discretion in action. Why is it important?

Discretion in action helps one decide what is the right thing to do. We discussed the concepts of dharma, adharma, and swadharma. This also brings up the concept of free-will. Performing one’s work based on dharma is then worship (work is worship).

Samatvam

Samatvam refers to equanimity. Samatvam helps one ‘how to do one’s action’. We discussed the concepts of prasada-buddhi (accepting the results of the action as blessing from Isvara), how to let of attachments to the results of an action (phalam-tyatva) one can overcome raga-dveshas.

Summary

karmasu kaushalam” & “samatvam yogah ucyate” capture the essence of karma yoga: Discretion in action performed with equanimity.


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Verses Discussed

Chapter 9, Verses 4–10

मया ततमिदं सर्वं जगदव्यक्तमूर्तिना।

मत्स्थानि सर्वभूतानि न चाहं तेष्ववस्थितः।।9.4।।

न च मत्स्थानि भूतानि पश्य मे योगमैश्वरम्।

भूतभृन्न च भूतस्थो ममात्मा भूतभावनः।।9.5।।

यथाऽऽकाशस्थितो नित्यं वायुः सर्वत्रगो महान्।

तथा सर्वाणि भूतानि मत्स्थानीत्युपधारय।।9.6।।

सर्वभूतानि कौन्तेय प्रकृतिं यान्ति मामिकाम्।

कल्पक्षये पुनस्तानि कल्पादौ विसृजाम्यहम्।।9.7।।

प्रकृतिं स्वामवष्टभ्य विसृजामि पुनः पुनः।

भूतग्राममिमं कृत्स्नमवशं प्रकृतेर्वशात्।।9.8।।

न च मां तानि कर्माणि निबध्नन्ति धनञ्जय।

उदासीनवदासीनमसक्तं तेषु कर्मसु।।9.9।।

मयाऽध्यक्षेण प्रकृतिः सूयते सचराचरम्।

हेतुनाऽनेन कौन्तेय जगद्विपरिवर्तते।।9.10।।

Chapter 13, 1–6

अर्जुन उवाच

प्रकृतिं पुरुषं चैव क्षेत्रं क्षेत्रज्ञमेव च।

एतद्वेदितुमिच्छामि ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं च केशव।।13.1।।

श्री भगवानुवाच

इदं शरीरं कौन्तेय क्षेत्रमित्यभिधीयते।

एतद्यो वेत्ति तं प्राहुः क्षेत्रज्ञ इति तद्विदः।।13.2।।

क्षेत्रज्ञं चापि मां विद्धि सर्वक्षेत्रेषु भारत।

क्षेत्रक्षेत्रज्ञयोर्ज्ञानं यत्तज्ज्ञानं मतं मम।।13.3।

तत्क्षेत्रं यच्च यादृक् च यद्विकारि यतश्च यत्।

स च यो यत्प्रभावश्च तत्समासेन मे श्रृणु।।13.4।। …


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Last week, we discussed the most quoted and probably the most important verse of the BhagavadGita (2.47), along with few more.

Verses Discussed

Chapter 3, 1–3

arjuna uvaca
jyayasi cet karmanas te
mata buddhir janardana
tat kim karmani ghore mam
niyojayasi kesava

vyamisreneva vakyena
buddhim mohayasiva me
tad ekam vada niscitya
yena sreyo ‘ham apnuyam

sri-bhagavan uvaca
loke ‘smin dvi-vidha nistha
pura prokta mayanagha
jnana-yogena sankhyanam
karma-yogena yoginam

Chapter 2, 47

karmany evadhikaras te
ma phalesu kadacana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur
ma te sango ‘stv akarmani

Knowledge or Action?

Arjuna appears to be lost between the path of knowledge and the path of action. Lord Krishna talks a lot about what knowledge is, how only consciousness is real, and attributes of the realized. This confuses Arjuna further, and he is now conflicted between the reality of Oneness, and the immediacy of action at hand — gruesome war. …


<originally posted here>

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Verses Discussed

Chapter 2, 54–59

arjuna uvaca
sthita-prajnasya ka bhasa
samadhi-sthasya kesava
sthita-dhih kim prabhaseta
kim asita vrajeta kim

sri-bhagavan uvaca
prajahati yada kaman
sarvan partha mano-gatan
atmany evatmana tustah
sthita-prajnas tadocyate

duhkhesv anudvigna-manah
sukhesu vigata-sprhah
vita-raga-bhaya-krodhah
sthita-dhir munir ucyate

yah sarvatranabhisnehas
tat tat prapya subhasubham
nabhinandati na dvesti
tasya prajna pratisthita

yada samharate cayam
kurmo ‘nganiva sarvasah
indriyanindriyarthebhyas
tasya prajna pratisthita

visaya vinivartante
niraharasya dehinah
rasa-varjam raso ‘py asya
param drstva nivartate

Chapter 12, 13–20

advesta sarva-bhutanam
maitrah karuna eva ca
nirmamo nirahankarah
sama-duhkha-sukhah ksami
santustah satatam yogi
yatatma drdha-niscayah
mayy arpita-mano-buddhir
yo mad-bhaktah sa me priyah

yasman nodvijate loko
lokan nodvijate ca yah
harsamarsa-bhayodvegair
mukto yah sa ca me…


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Verses Discussed

Chapter 2, 54 — 59

arjuna uvaca
sthita-prajnasya ka bhasa
samadhi-sthasya kesava
sthita-dhih kim prabhaseta
kim asita vrajeta kim

sri-bhagavan uvaca
prajahati yada kaman
sarvan partha mano-gatan
atmany evatmana tustah
sthita-prajnas tadocyate

duhkhesv anudvigna-manah
sukhesu vigata-sprhah
vita-raga-bhaya-krodhah
sthita-dhir munir ucyate

yah sarvatranabhisnehas
tat tat prapya subhasubham
nabhinandati na dvesti
tasya prajna pratisthita

yada samharate cayam
kurmo ‘nganiva sarvasah
indriyanindriyarthebhyas
tasya prajna pratisthita

visaya vinivartante
niraharasya dehinah
rasa-varjam raso ‘py asya
param drstva nivartate

Chapter 12, 13 — 20

advesta sarva-bhutanam
maitrah karuna eva ca
nirmamo nirahankarah
sama-duhkha-sukhah ksami
santustah satatam yogi
yatatma drdha-niscayah
mayy arpita-mano-buddhir
yo mad-bhaktah sa me priyah

yasman nodvijate loko
lokan nodvijate ca yah
harsamarsa-bhayodvegair
mukto yah sa ca me…


Bhagavad Gita — Week 2 Reflections

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Last week we discussed select verses from Chapter 2 (2:15–2:21), where Lord Krishna continues to explain the ultimate truth through a series of negations. Here are the verses

2:15–2:21

yam hi na vyathayanty ete
purusam purusarsabha
sama-duhkha-sukham dhiram
so ‘mrtatvaya kalpate

nasato vidyate bhavo
nabhavo vidyate satah
ubhayor api drsto ‘ntas
tv anayos tattva-darsibhih

avinasi tu tad viddhi
yena sarvam idam tatam
vinasam avyayasyasya
na kascit kartum arhati

antavanta ime deha
nityasyoktah saririnah
anasino ‘prameyasya
tasmad yudhyasva bharata

ya enam vetti hantaram
yas cainam manyate hatam
ubhau tau na vijanito
nayam hanti na hanyate

na jayate mriyate va kadacin
nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah
ajo nityah sasvato ‘yam purano
na hanyate hanyamane…


<Originally published at https://medium.com on April 26, 2019>

It has been three years since we lost our father to cancer, and like most of those that grieve, I went through different stages of grief as well. While I can’t say if I will ever be completely over the loss, I am certainly not depressed, angry, or in denial. I am able to recollect his fond memories without any sadness. Most importantly, I am not guilty about what-if scenarios.

While I am no expert in grievance counseling or support, here are some ways one to help someone going through a loss (or yourself). …

About

Sriram Subramanian

Research Director, IDC. Previously, Founder CloudDon; Yogi; Son; Brother; Husband; Dad;

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