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Gita Lesson - 1803: What are Values

Bhagavad Gita
Unit - 18
Lesson - 1803: What are the Values?
By Raja Subramaniyan

Lord Krishna has taught the essence of Vedanta. This knowledge is very complicated and not everyone will be able to comprehend the same. Therefore, Lord Krishna prescribes certain values to facilitate the comprehension of this knowledge.

Those who are not able to understand the teaching can work towards gaining these values in life.

Example: If a student is not able to complete his PhD, he can attempt to qualify for MS by writing the exams on the prescribed papers.

Similarly, Lord Krishna has given a sample list of twenty values that can be attempted. Everyone inherently knows meaning of good values and bad values.

A good value is one, which is pleasant to ourselves and liked by others.

Example: Forgiveness is a good quality. If one forgives, it gives peace of mind to the self. It also benefits others.

A bad value is one, which affects others and us.

Example: Short-temperedness will affect us. When we are angry, we are quite upset and unhappy. When we show our anger on others, they are also affected.

We should attempt to increase our good values and reduce or eliminate bad values. For example, we should consciously work towards eliminating short temperedness and increase the forgiveness.

We should reflect and find out the list of good values that are lacking and identify the bad values that are present. It is advisable to have an open mind on this and receive the suggestions / criticism from others with respect to the values.

We should then use one or more of the following tips to improve ourselves.

1. Understand the benefit that will accrue to us if we increase the good values.
2. Understand the loss that is caused due to the absence of a good value.
3. Associate ourselves with those with good qualities so that we can learn from them.
4. Set an achievable target.
5. Give a present to ourselves if we achieve our target or undergo a punishment if we make a slip.
6. Do Value Meditation.
7. Pray to God to help us develop good qualities
If we are successful in our attempt, our mind will become more matured. The Aura element will become more dominant than the other two elements. Just as our physical body requires right food and exercise to maintain health and fitness, our mind requires a good set of values to be fit enough to receive the knowledge on the essence of Vedanta.

If we improve our personality by increasing all the good values and decreasing all the bad values, we will gain the following:

1. We will be a better person. Our thoughts, words and deeds will be aligned.
2. All the five layers of our personality will be working together as a team. This will help us to work towards gaining the knowledge given in Vedanta
3. We will realize that we are not the owner of any part of the world. We cannot control the results. We are part of the world and we can only contribute towards it. We will be doing our best and will gain a matured mind
4. We will know that God is not a means for us to gain material benefits. Instead, we will start using our efforts on material pursuit as a means to reach God.
5. We will become qualified to identify a right teacher who will be able to guide us in our spiritual path and ultimately understand the essence of Vedanta.

Thus, Lord Krishna has given a path of cultivating good values for those who are not yet matured enough to receive the knowledge imparted in Vedanta. They will also reach the destination soon by following the advice given by Lord Krishna on improving the qualities listed in the verses 8 to 12.

Chapter 13: The Observer and the observed [Verses: 08 - 12]

13.8-12 Humility, simplicity, non-violence, forbearance, uprightness, service to the teacher, cleanliness, steadiness and self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratification, absence of false ego, the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; non-attachment to children, wife, home and the rest, and even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me, resorting to solitary places, detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization, and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth--all these I thus declare to be knowledge, and what is contrary to these is ignorance.

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