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Gita Lesson - 0903: Removal of Obstacles

Bhagavad Gita
Unit - 09
Lesson - 0903: Removal of Obstacles to Karma Yoga
By Raja Subramaniyan

We should overcome the force of our likes and dislikes through the following three ways:

1. Sensory Control for Third Degree Afflicted people.

This method is suitable for people whose intelligence is covered extensively by their desires. Their past preferences are so strong that mere chance exposure to sense objects will derail them from the prescribed duties.

Therefore, such people should use maximum restraint in living their daily life.

Example: When they receive their salary, they should deposit the same with a wise person and should not walk back home via wine shops with the money in their valets.

Thus, by reducing the chances of exposing to sense objects one can hope to achieve liberation from the strong covering. If such sensory control is implemented for extended period, their preferences will become weaker and their mind will be able to control their action.

Then they can move to the next level of control.

2. Mind Control for Second Degree of Afflicted people

To regain the original shine on a mirror, one has to put lots of efforts and time in removing the rust. Similarly, for the people who are afflicted by second degree of desire, one should control the mind extensively. It is not required that the sensory inputs are completely banned. One should do a thorough quality check before the inputs are processed. This amounts to validating the desires before converting them in to action.

3. Intelligence Control for First Degree of Afflicted people

These people are least affected and they need to improve their intelligence strong enough to direct the mind to do action in line with the prescribed duties. Since majority of the people are engaged in material pursuit, even those who are intelligent, deluded to think that if they become rich all their problems will be solved.

Such people should be exposed to the right knowledge and just as a few blow of air clears the smoke and reveals the fire the internal intelligence in such people will start shining. From then on irrespective of the quantum of exposure to sense objects, they will not be lured into indiscriminate indulgence in sense pleasures.

Example: The process of cutting a tree should start with the branches and end with the root.

Similarly, the deep-rooted desire can be removed only systematically. It is essential that we control our sense organs and mind so that they stop feeding the mind with strength. However, we cannot stop at this stage. Desires cannot be eliminated by controlling the sense organs and mind. It is only the first step. We should strike at the root cause of desire, which can be done only if we gain the right knowledge. Therefore, after imposing adequate self-control on indulging in sense pleasures, one should start learning who we are.

All our desires are rooted on the fact that we feel inadequate or incomplete. The reason for such feeling is our wrong knowledge on who we are. We think we are the physical body, which is mortal and the mind, which lacks complete knowledge. We do not know our nature is happiness and assume that happiness comes from external objects. Therefore we need to discriminate our three bodies divided into five layers from the Atman, which is our real self. The three bodies/ five layers constitute the inert part of the creation and our real self is eternal, conscious and everlasting happiness.

The three bodies are Physical, Subtle and Causal, which can be grouped into five layers, namely, Physical, Physiological, Psychological, Intellectual and Spiritual. We are under the wrong knowledge that the meaning of the word 'I' refer to these three bodies/ five layers. Therefore, we have desire for everlasting happiness. If we know that the real meaning of the word 'I' is ever-witnessing-joy, there will be no more desire to seek happiness from the world.

Teaching 49: Desire is the obstacle to Karma Yoga.

Teaching 50: Karma Yoga prepares the mind to receive self-knowledge.

Chapter 3: Karma Yoga [Verses: 41 - 43]

3.41 Therefore, Oh Arjuna, restraining the sense organs first, may you give up this destroyer of your mind and intellect.

3.42 The sense organs are superior to sense objects; mind is superior to the sense organs; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and the Atman is even higher than the intelligence.

3.43 Oh Arjuna, Thus knowing the self, which is beyond the intellect and steadying the mind with the mind, conquer the elusive enemy, which is in the form of desire.

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