AGC Class Notes from Week 25 — March 19, 2020
Class Notes by Sharmila
Rishi Kashyapa had two wives — Aditi and Diti , as described in Srimad Bhagavatam. Rishi Kashyapa was always engaged in Sadhana, but Diti wavered.One day, Diti was overcome by lust and broke Rishi Kashyapa’s Sadhana. She then became pregnant, and felt a lot of pain in her womb and a darkness was radiating from her. Rishi Kashyapa then told her that two notorious Asuras will be born since she broke their Sadhana and gave into a vice. Diti repented and asked how she could change, so Rishi Kashyapa told her to never break from Sadhana. Rishi Kashyapa also told her that her sons (Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaskha) will be Asuras but her grandson (Bhakta Prahlada) will be one of the greatest devotees in the history of humanity. The word “Kashyapa” when reversed is “PashyaKa” or someone who can see (seer). Aditi is the one who brings together and Diti is the one who breaks. Rishi Kashyapa knew what would happen, and so he was objective.
Srimad Bhagavatam is an icon of Vedanta. What Vedanta does is ‘reconciles’ every experience in the scripture and in our lives. We go through endless challenges, and Vedanta is the knowledge that will reconcile ‘why it is happening’, ‘what we are supposed to learn’ and ‘how we are supposed to grow’. We are approaching Vedanta in a very tactile sense through the Applied Gita Course.
This month the focus is on ‘resolving’ — conflict resolution outside and conflict resolution inside. In the last verse we studied that, the farther we are from the source/Self, the more conflict there is. This is Tamas. When someone is away from the source, they are away from the oneness — so it requires time and effort for the resolution to come through. If one is Rajasic, they are aggressive, they are closer to the source and feel a greater oneness — and in this case it requires effort for resolution. Those who are closest to the source/Self, feel so much oneness — like we feel towards an infant. Then resolution becomes natural ,it requires no time or effort because the effort has created the momentum for that resolution to happen. When focusing on conflict resolution, the relationship is more important than that which is right. So pick and choose your battles!
In the Happiness Series 3, Vivekji had shared that in a corporate setting, the people that are most talked to in an open and productive way are those who are charismatic. The gauge of someone who is charismatic is that they care about the relationship and not about the promotion/power.
Our desires/Kama is stopping us from being peaceful. Expression of desire is highlighted in this upcoming shloka.
Chapter 6, verse 35: Prince Arjuna feels that practicing contemplation is hard. Bhagavan here is responding to Prince Arjuna and says that undoubtedly practicing contemplation is hard. Bhagavan calls him ‘Mahabaho’. The word ‘Maha’ encompasses five types of ‘Veera’.
The most ordinary type of Veera is ‘RanaVeera’, to be great when it comes to battle/fighting. The next is ‘VidyaVeera’, to be knowledgeable. More refined than this is ‘DharmaVeera’, this is about how to use your brains, it is about Vijnana, or being responsible. More refined than this is ‘DaanaVeera’, where one helps others with their responsibilities. The defining quality of someone who is Mahabaho is ‘DayaVeera’, being empathetic and compassionate. So Bhagavan says this is hard but tells Prince Arjuna that he has the potential to be ‘Maha’!
‘Nigraha’ means to control, ‘Durnigraha’ is uncontrolled. Mind is uncontrollable, and this causes ‘chala’ (goes). When the mind is not directed, the mind is distracted. Purpose pulls performance. A distracted mind will find ways not to practice and engage in resolution. Swami Tejomayananda has shared that so many arguments can be slowed/stopped if we simply said — “I am sorry”. We will only say this if we are directed and value that relationship. More deep than saying “I am sorry” is to be accepting. If we are accepting then there is no conflict. The deeper reason we hold grudges and cannot come to a resolution is desire (in the intellect). The expression of this is thoughts (in the mind).
Abhyasa or practice is the way to still the mind. The way to ‘practice’ is to ‘try’. If we never try contemplation, we will always find it hard.
A framework for resolution is ‘ICE’ — ‘I’ stands for inspiring, ‘C’ is for connected (to us), ‘E’ is for examinable (we should be able to examine if we are reaching our aspiration, or if it changes).
We should find reasons to ‘try’ and reach the end.
In order to hold the mind (Gruhyate), we should practice ‘Vairagya’. We should know what we want and what we don’t want. If what we want becomes more clear, then what we don’t want (what we should give up) will also become clear! Vairagya means independence.