Gita for Children – 4

Continued from Gita for Children – 3

 

Mommy: Well, for the purpose of our understanding, what we call the B-M-I manual is the Bhagavad Gita. We usually refer to it as the Gita.

The Gita has eighteen chapters and the subject matter or the topics are divided into three sections of six chapters each. Actually, the three sections of the Gita somewhat overlap the topics.

The first six chapters

The first six chapters of the Bhagavad Gita predominantly relate to the path of action or karma yoga also known as the yoga of action. (The relationship between the body and the soul is explained in the second chapter).

The middle six chapters

The middle six chapters (7th to 12th) explain the paths of meditation (Dhyana Yoga) and devotion (Bhakti Yoga). The sixth chapter already begins to deal with the mind through the topic entitled as Dhyana Yoga or the Yoga of Meditation. Here, the mind is the equipment that is involved. For the purpose of our understanding, it will help to remember that the mind has two fold tendencies. 1. The mind can be full of emotions and can lead a person to the path of devotion or bhakti. One can sing the praises of the Lord and cultivate the very fine emotions of pure love (eg., Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Mirabai). 2. The second tendency of the mind is its ability to lead a person into meditation. The Yoga of meditation is also known as Raja Yoga.The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Maharaj are the best guide since the ancient times, for the practice of Raja Yoga.

The last six chapters

The last six chapters (13th to 18th) relate to the path of Knowledge or Jnana Yoga. This relates to the intellect portion of B-M-I.

Thus we are able to emphasise four major Yogas of the Bhagavad Gita.

  1. Karma Yoga (Yoga of Action). 
  2. Dhyana Yoga (Yoga of Meditation).
  3. Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of Devotion). 
  4. Jnana Yoga (Yoga of Knowledge).

To be continued………

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Gita for Children – 3

Continued from Gita for Children – 2

The body is subject to constant change. There is not even a fraction of a second when the body is not undergoing change. We can notice, after a few days that our finger nails have grown, and that our hair have grown. The skin is entirely replaced in a month. The lining of the stomach renews itself in a week. Scientists have concluded that all the atoms in the body are replaced within a period of about five years.

The Rishis were seers with highly purified minds who could fine-tune their minds to establish contacts with the cosmic or divine all pervading Consciousness and receive intuitive knowledge. The Rishis had realised since the ancient times that not only the human body was subject to constant change but everything in nature was subject to change. This included animals, birds, insects, plants and trees, rivers, mountains, the earth, the sun and the moon, the planets and the stars; in fact everything that is external to us.

The Rishis also observed that everything that may be described as internal (mind, intellect etc.) was also subject to constant change. The different states of the mind will make us experience happiness that can change into unhappiness, peaceful mind can become restless mind, timidity can change into valour, fear can change into fearlessness, hatred can turn into love.

The Rishis found that the Soul or the Self was not subject to any changes.

To get to know the Soul is our first goal in life. Since I AM THE SOUL, do I not know the Soul? The answer is a definite NO! The scriptures and the Rishis have said so. The reason given is that a veil of ignorance keeps us in the dark from knowing our Self. When we remove this veil or layers of ignorance, then the Self is realised. This is called SELF REALISATION. When we remove a thick layer of dust from the surface of a mirror, then our reflections can be seen in the mirror.

If I feel hungry then I must eat food to overcome the hunger. If I feel hungry in my stomach, it will not help if I ask another person to eat the food to eliminate my hunger. Self realisation is to be experienced by the individual.

The second goal after self realisation is described as SALVATION or LIBERATION. The merging of the indwelling Soul with the all pervading Super Soul (Supreme Reality or God Consciousness). The indwelling soul is liberated from the rounds of births and deaths. Then it is said to have achieved Liberation..

When we buy a new gadget, a new motor car or a television set, an instructions manual comes with, telling how to make the best use of the gadget or the equipment. Similarly, there is an instructions manual that tells how to make the best use of the body-mind-intellect (B-M-I) equipments.

Young girl: Mommy, how nice! I would really like to get to know how to make the best use of the B-M-I equipments. Please tell me where I can find this manual?

To be continued…….

Gita for Children – 2

….. Continued from Gita for Children – 1

One day, Pinocchio was very naughty and did not want to listen to his mother. So his mother scolded him and Pinocchio got upset and was very cross.

Can Pinocchio get cross with his skin or with his ears? Obviously not. Pinocchio will have to be provided with the mind to take care of his emotional needs.

Another day, Pinocchio was very helpful to his mother, and upon being praised by his mother, he was feeling happy and elated. The mind was feeling the emotion of happiness.The mind provides the emotional needs which produce joy and sorrow, happiness and unhappiness anger and peacefulness etc.The mind is also an equipment but it is not visible and therefore it is called subtle. The mind’s work is far more specialised and complex than that of the five organs of perception. In fact, without the mind, the organs of perception will become powerless to register the information or knowledge they gather.

And yet, there is still one more highly specialised equipment, without which Pinocchio will be greatly handicapped in life. To illustrate the point:

One day, Pinocchio was at school and the teacher was teaching maths to his class.The teacher wanted to test the pupils and asked them to spot an error.

On the black board the teacher had written 2 + 2 = 5. Many of the pupils raised their hands to point out to the teacher that two plus two makes four and not five.These pupils demonstrated the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

Now, for doing the job of distinguishing (discriminating) between the right and the wrong, Pinocchio will have to be provided with intellect. Intellect is also an equipment. It’s more subtler than the mind. The intellect will exercise the faculty of discrimination. It can be trained to tell the difference between what is Real and what is unreal. It can make out what is right and what is wrong in the spiritual and social fields connected with ethics, morality, justice, conduct or behaviour, speech etc.

Swami Chinmayanand referred to these equipments as B-M-I (body-mind-intellect). The big question is: If the five organs of perception attached to the body,plus the mind, plus the intellect are all equipments,then WHO AM I?

I am the Soul or the Atman also known as the Self. The body-mind intellect (B-M-I) equipments are attached to the body. The indwelling (embodied) Soul enables these equipments to function. Often the example of electricity is cited. Electricity is invisible but the effects of electricity are seen or felt as in an electric light bulb or a heater, an electric fan or a hot plate on an electric cooking stove. A radio or a television set is enabled to function when powered by electricity. Similarly the B-M-I equipments are powered by the Soul.

The body can remain functioning even when some of these equipments are damaged. The body can function without the power of vision in the eyes or the power of hearing in the ears. A person can be mentally deranged and can still be living. Another can be brain damaged, but still be alive. The presence of the indwelling Soul keeps it alive.

The indwelling Soul or the embodied Self is described in the Bhagavad Gita as being:

  • Eternal, indestructible, and immeasurable. (Gita, Ch.2. verse18.)
  • Unborn and inexhaustible (Gita, Ch.2 Verse 21).
  • Stable, immovable, ancient. (Gita Ch.2 verse 24.)
  • Unmanifested, unthinkable, unchangeable. (Gita Ch.2. verse 25.)
  • The Soul passes unchanged from the baby into childhood, from childhood to youth to middle age to old age.Thereafter the Soul passes unchanged from one body and enters into another body. -(Gita Ch.2, Verse 13.)
  • The embodied Self or the Soul is not killed when the physical body is killed.(Gita Ch.2. verse 20.)
  • Just as a man replaces worn out clothes and acquires new garments or clothes, in the same way the embodied Self separates from the worn out body and enters into another body which is new. (Gita Ch.2 verse 22.)
  • An eternal law taught in the Vedas is: That which has a beginning must have an end; the one who is born must die. Gita, Ch.2, verse 27 explains: It is an absolute certainty that the one who is born must die, and birth for the dead is also an absolute certainty.  Therefore, one should not grieve over what is unavoidable or inevitable.
  • The body is said to have an end (Gita Ch.2 verse 18.)

To be continued…….

Gita for Children – 1

Young girl: Mommy! Can you solve this riddle for me?

Mommy: Well, my little darling, I can try.

Young Girl: What is it that can speak any language; does not speak until spoken to and it is sometimes strong and sometimes weak?

Mommy: It must be very clever. Can speak any language, did you say? And very polite too; does not speak until spoken to. I wonder! You can tell me the answer.

Young girl: It’s an Echo!

Mommy: That’s a very clever riddle. I enjoyed that.
Now it is my turn to ask you a riddle. Can I?

Young girl: Yes Mommy.

Mommy: What is it that weapons can not cut it; fire can not burn it; water can not make it wet and the air can not make it dry?

Young girl: Mommy, if weapons can not cut it and fire can not burn it then it is something indestructible, and waterproof on top of it! Mommy, please tell me what can it be? Now I am really curious to know.

Mommy: It’s the Soul also known as the Self or the Atman. This riddle is taken from the Bhagavad Gita, second chapter, verse 23. It is written in Sanskrit language and reads:

Nainam chhindanti shastraani, nainam dahati paavakah,
Na cha enam kledayanti aapah, na shoshayati maarutah
“.

Na=not, Enam=this (Soul or Self), Chhindanti=to cut,
Shastraani=by weapons, Na=not, Enam=this, Dahati=burns,
Paavakah=by fire, Na=not, Cha=and (even), Enam=this,
Kledayanti=wet, Aapah=(by) water, Na=not, Shoshayati=dries,
Marutah=air (wind).

‘Enam’ refers to the Soul within the body (the embodied soul).

Young girl: If the Soul is indestructible, then what happens to it when a person dies? And what happens to the body when a person dies?

Mommy: In order to understand the relationship of the soul with the body, let me make it very simple by asking you to play the part of the wooden puppet Pinocchio. If we want Pinocchio, the wooden puppet, to be alive, and be able to behave like us, then Pinocchio will have to be provided with some highly specialised equipments.

Let us begin with the tongue. Pinocchio will have to have a tongue with which to experience different tastes such as sweet, bitter, sour, salty, pungent (hot) etc.

Going up the face from the tongue, we come to the nostrils. Pinocchio can smell different types of smells, fragrances and odours. When Pinocchio comes home from school, at times he can tell by the smell of the delicious food from the kitchen that his mommy has prepared his favourite dish.

Going further up the face , we come to the eyes. Pinocchio will acquire the power of vision that will enable him to see different types of shapes (forms), and different types of colours as well as intensity of light (bright or dark).

Next to the eyes are the ears. Without the ability to hear, Pinocchio will not be able to learn how to speak. His ability to communicate with people will be restricted. Without the hearing abilities of the ears, Pinocchio will not be able to listen to the sounds of musical instruments or hear songs. In the wilds, he will not be able to hear and thereby be warned of the presence of wild animals.

So far we have talked about the tongue, the nostrils, the eyes, and the ears. One more, from amongst the five highly specialised equipments is still to be considered. Can you tell me what it can be?

Young girl: Something to do with touch?

Mommy: You are absolutely right. Touching by the skin provides information such as cold or hot, sharp or blunt, hard or rough or soft etc.

These five equipments are known as organs of (sense) perception (Gnana indriya); Gnana = knowledge, indriya = organ.

These five organs of perception gather information or knowledge relating to taste,smells,vision,sounds and touch. The eyes are like the lenses of cameras, capturing the vista before the cameras; and the ears are like microphones capturing sound.

Young girl: Mommy, are there any more equipments besides these five organs of perception?

Mommy: Oh yes! Again, to make the explanations very simple, I will relate about an incident in the life of Pinocchio……

To be continued …….