This is part two of an excerpt from the Bhagavad Gita in the Light of Kashmir Shaivism revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, which we studied during our Weekly Sangha #76. You can read part one here… We played an unpublished earlier recording, that John made in 1978, when Swamiji first revealed the Bhagavad Gita in English. This will really start to give the crux of Shaiva philosophy and what Shaivism means in regard to meditation and practice.
In Chapter 12 verse 11-12, Krishna tells Arjuna, “If you cannot do that also, that public-serving, if you are not capable of doing that service also; sarva karma phalatyāgaṁ tataḥ kuru, then don’t put the individual desire in it, bas, keep away individual desire from your mind.”
atastannāśāya karma – pūjājapasvādhyāyahomādīn kuru // (comm. verse 10)
To get rid of those obstacles you should do service, public service.
And you should worship: you should go in temples, you should go in mosques, in churches, and do that those prayers, recite those prayers, and do public good – that is also way, one way.
DENISE: That gets rid of the distractions in meditation, the sneezing and the itching?
JOHN: But it may take lifetimes.
SWAMIJI: It may take one or two lives, what does that matter?
Well begun is half done.
DEVOTEES: (laughing . . .)
अथैतदप्यशक्तोऽसि कर्तुं मद्योगमास्थितः ।
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागं ततः कुरु यतात्मवान् ॥११॥
athaitadapyaśakto ‘si kartuṁ madyogamasthitaḥ/
sarvakarmaphalatyāgaṁ tataḥ kuru yatātmavān //11//
If you cannot do that also, that public-serving, if you are not capable of doing that service also; sarva karma phalatyāgaṁ tataḥ kuru, then don’t put the individual desire in it, bas, keep away individual desire from your mind.
DENISE: What does that mean?
SWAMIJI: Whatever happens it is His doing.
Go on eating, drinking, everything, and feel that everything what is going on, is going on by the free will of Lord Śiva; I have nothing to do, I have nothing to worry. If you lose your husband, if you lose your child, if you lose everything, you will remain calm.
JOHN: Is this what Indians do when they say that it’s all karma, when they?
SWAMIJI: Yes, “what can I do?”
ERNIE: “There’s no bisley [electricity], what can I do?”
DENISE: But doesn’t this create laziness?
SWAMIJI: No, this doesn’t create laziness, this creates peace of mind.
You will never cry.
DENISE: You’ll never want to rise, you don’t care if you fall, right, like that?
SWAMIJI: No, just surrender to God and see that everything is done by God himself, I have nothing to do, I have nothing to worry.
“He has given me a child, he has taken it back.
“He has given me a husband, he has taken him back.
“He has given me money, he has taken it back, and I am nothing.”
DENISE: He has given him a body, he is going to take it back.
SWAMIJI: . . . take back, what to me – remain calm.
This is also one way to get fitness for that God consciousness.
yadi ca bhagavat karma kartuṁ na śakto’si; (comm. verse 11)
If you are not capable of doing bhagavat karma – bhagavat karma is actions for the sake of people, for the benefit of your . . .
ERNIE: . . . fellow man. Benefit for fellow man.
SWAMIJI: . . . fellow man, yes.
JOHN: The literal meaning is actions for God, isn’t it? Bhagavat karma means . . .
SWAMIJI: That is also.
JOHN: . . . actions for God.
SWAMIJI: That is also.
If you help people, if you help your neighbors, if you help trodden downs, that is His service. You are doing service of God. If you help only . . .
If she [some poor person] is starving, she has nothing; I have everything, I have got wife, I have got child, I feed them with the best milk; and I give her only water with sugar . . .
SWAMIJI: . . . to satisfy, to quench her thirst and hunger.
This way you should not!
Whenever you feed Viresh with the best milk, feed a poor man also with that milk.
That is bhagavat karma, that is the public service.
Public service is not restricted, it is not restricted service. There should not be any restrictions, i.e., for you something good and for others . . .
My mother used to prepare ‘saag’ (collard green) in two ways. Best saag was for me, and wretched ‘saag’ is for people that come to dine there.
This should not be done. I was always crying there.
DENISE: You were telling her to give them the best also?
SWAMIJI: I would throw that cup of that best sweet dish from the window on the ground.
And everybody does like that.
JOHN: Keeps the best for themselves and gives the worse . . . worse for others.
SWAMIJI: That is not public service. Public service must be the same.
DENISE: Does that mean, Swamiji, when someone gave the best milk to their baby they run out and find a poor baby and give milk to him? Or is that only when it comes to their house?
SWAMIJI: No, if there is in front of you. You have not to find out and waste your time all the day . . .
JOHN: But this happens all the time. This happens with visitors and everything. That they have some dishes in the kitchen and some visitors come and then they give them the worse cookies or the broken ones or . . .
DENISE: That’s why it’s thought in India to treat a visitor as God, right?
DENISE: You should give him everything best.
yadi ca bhagavatkarma kartuṁ na śakto’si; – ajñatvāt śāstroktakramāvedanāt /
tatsarvaṁ mayi saṁnyaseḥ ātmanivedanadvāreṇetyāśāyaḥ / (comm. repeated)
If you cannot do this public service, because being ignorant and śāstrokta-kramāvedanāt, and because of ignorance of the rules and regulation of the śāstras, you don’t know the ways and regulations of śāstras, tatsarvaṁ mayi saṁnyaseḥ, then you should surrender everything to Me and feel that “I am only a toy.”
Omar Khayyam was also like this, residing in this position.
You know Omar Khayyam?
JOHN: He was the writer of poetry or something.
I have come in this universe . . . why?
My question is why I have come?
Not knowing, I don’t know
Like water, willy-nilly flowing
I am flowing just like water
I don’t know how I flow in this world.
And He who tossed thee down in this world,
and He – God – who tossed thee, kicked thee, down in this world,
He knows about it all, He knows . . . HE knows . . . what to me!
DENISE: That’s really nice, surrender.
Surrender ātmanivedana, just to offer everything to Him.
amumevāśayamāśritya laghupraktiyāyāṁ mayaivoktaṁ; (comm. verse 11)
I have composed one or two ślokas on this subject.
SWAMIJI: Abhinavagupta says.
ūnādhikamavijñātaṁ paurvāparyavivarjitam /
yaccāvadhānarahitaṁ buddherviskhalitam ca yat //
tatsarvaṁ mama sarveśa bhaktasyārtasya durmateḥ /
kṣantavyaṁ kripayā śambho yatastvaṁ karūṇāparaḥ //
anena stotrayogena tavātmānaṁ nivedaye /
punarniṣkāraṇamahaṁ duḥkhānāṁ naimi pātratāṁ //
(not recited in full…)
Whatever I have done in this world, not knowingly and knowingly; whatever mistakes I have committed in this universe, knowingly and not knowingly; whatever state I have possessed of being unaware of your truth and of your real existence.
Tatsarvaṁ mama sarveśa because I am your devotee, I am filled with the torture of this world, durmate, I have no intellect, kṣantavyaṁ you should forgive me for that, yatastvaṁ karūṇa, you are forgiver, you are the embodiment of forgiveness.
Anena stotrayogena, by this way, this way, tavātmānaṁ nivedaye, I surrender my everything before You, punar-niṣkāraṇam-ahaṁ duḥkhānāṁ naimi pātratāṁ, and then I won’t be the victim of torture and crises in this world.
pārameśvareṣu hi siddhāntaśāstreṣu ātmanivedane ‘yamevābhiprāyaḥ //
In this Śaivism, how you should surrender to Lord Śiva, this is the way which is explained in Śaivism.
श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानं विशिष्यते।
śreyo hi jñānam-abhyāsāt-jñānāddhyānaṁ viśiṣyate /
JOHN: This is the verse again?
SWAMIJI: This is verse twelve.
Jñānam abhyāsāt, knowledge is [more] superior than meditation.
Jñānāt dhyānaṁ viśiṣyate, because by knowledge your meditation becomes firm-fixed – if there is knowledge. And you must find out in each and every moment of your life that your mind is not astray, mind has not become astray. Focus your mind towards God consciousness. If you cannot focus your mind towards your meditation, towards breathing exercise, still focus your mind to the center of the two, between two eyebrows, or anything. Go on doing all otherworldly activities but focus your mind there.
JOHN: Where, in some point or on your breath or maintaining awareness in the center?
SWAMIJI: Some point, some point . . . maintaining awareness.
Or think of God . . .
JOHN: Do something.
SWAMIJI: . . . think of God, that “I am residing in Him.”
Do everything and reside in Him.
Dhyānāt karma phala tyāga, then meditation becomes strong and you can abandon the ego very easily, you can shun your limitation of ego very easily. Tyāgāt śāntiran antarā, and then, when once you have shunned your own limited ego, you’ll get eternal peace afterwards.
JOHN: So is this the Shaiva karma yoga they are talking about here, i.e., of doing something and doing your activity, doing something, either maintaining breath or . . . but always doing some . . .
SWAMIJI: Do every each and every act, but watch that center; watch that center, and it will be surrender to Him; every action will go to Him, every action will be surrender to Him.
Jñānam, knowledge is āveśātma, knowledge (it is commentary), knowledge is āveśātma just ‘entry in God consciousness’, fixation in God consciousness.
Fixation is correct?
SWAMIJI: Fixing your mind on the point of God consciousness.
Abhyāsāt śreyaḥ, it is better than practice.
It is why in Śaivism it is said that:
“Yoga in action is divine, yoga in action.”
Yoga in a meditative mood is not so divine as yoga in action is divine. The more you work, and at the same time you are aware of your breath, you are aware of your center of meditation, you will become divine.
SWAMIJI: Very quickly!
It will be a difference of one thousand years and one day.
JOHN: Between . . .
SWAMIJI: One day’s practice of this way will be as good as one thousand practices in your mediation room.
DENISE: That is quite a difference!
tasmādevāveśāt dhyānaṁ – bhagavan-mayatvaṁ viśiṣyate –
abhimata prāptyā sati dhyāne,
It is why because of that āveśa, dhyāna becomes purified, dhyāna (meditation) becomes strong. Abhimata prāptyā, because it fills your desires . . . desires of getting entry in God consciousness.
Sati dhyāne, when meditation becomes strong . . .
bhagavanmayatve karmaphalāni saṁnyasituṁ yujyante /
. . . then you can surrender everything to him, Lord Śiva.
Surrendering action also becomes very easy for you then.
anyathājñātarūpe kva saṁnyāsaḥ /
What can you surrender if you don’t know what to offer?
BRUCE P: Or where?
SWAMIJI: Or where!
karmaphalatyāge ca ātyantikī śāntiḥ /
When you surrender all your activities to Lord Śiva, at the feet of your master, then supreme peace will shine in you.
ataḥ sarvamūlatvādāveśātmakaṁ jñānameva pradhānam//
So, the predominance you should give to āveśa, ‘just focus your mind towards Lord Śiva.’
[ END ]
Source: Chapter 12 verse 11-12 of the Bhagavad Gita in the Light of Kashmir Shaivism audio recording,
from an unpublished earlier recording, that John made in 1978 when Swamiji first revealed the Bhagavad Gita in English.
We studied this at the Weekly Sangha #76.
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