Gita 101

Basics of Bhagvad Gita (Geeta, Bhagwad Gita)

Archive for the tag “Bhagwad Geeta”

Who Am I?

Has this question been answered yet? Most philosophies and religions focus on this question. Nirvana-shatakam by Jagadguru Shankaracharya beautifully summarizes Bhagavad Gita’s response to this question. Here is the translation:

I am not mind, intellect, ego and the memory.
I am not the sense of organs (ears, tongue, nose, eyes and skin).
I am not the five elements ( sky or ether, earth, light or fire, wind and water).
I am supreme bliss and pure consciousness, I am all auspiciousness.

I am not Prana (life energy) nor five vital airs (PanchVayu),
nor the seven essential material (sapta dhatu ) ,
nor the five sheaths of the body (pancha kosha ).
I am not the organ of speech, nor hand nor the leg,
nor the organs of procreation or the excretion (anus).
I am supreme bliss and pure consciousness, I am all auspiciousness.

I have no hatred or dislike, neither greed nor liking, no delusion,
I have no pride, nor jealousy.
I have no duty to perform (dharma),
no desire for any wealth or pleasure (kama)
I have no liberation (moksha) either.
I am supreme bliss and pure consciousness, I am all auspiciousness.

I have neither virtue, nor vice. nor pleasure or pain,
I do not need mantras (sacred chants), nor pilgrimages.
nor scriptures (Vedas), rituals or sacrifices (yajnas).
I am neither the enjoyed nor the enjoyer, nor enjoyment.
I am supreme bliss and pure consciousness, I am all auspiciousness.

I have no fear of death, nor do I have death.
I have no doubt, nor do I belong to any caste.
I have no father or mother, I have no birth.
I have no relatives, nor friend, nor the guru, nor the disciple.
I am supreme bliss and pure consciousness, I am all auspiciousness,

I am formless and devoid of all dualities
I exist everywhere and pervade all senses
Always I am the same, I am neither free nor bonded
I am supreme bliss and pure consciousness, I am all auspiciousness.

Note: Self or atma is always pure and spiritual and is beyond inert matter. It transcends all material attributes. It is eternal and has no birth and death. It is always full of bliss and therefore, beyond unhappiness. All kinds of impurities seen are in matter (mind and body) and self remains always pure. It is not the doer of any material activity and therefore, it has no duty. These are attributes of the self are from the Absolute perspective i.e. from the perspective of the Real.

(Translation Source:


The Real and the Un-real

Gita scientifically distinguishes between the Real and Unreal. Chapter 2 starts with the description of the Real and Unreal and the discrimination between these two continues till the end. Those who know these two attain the Supreme (Gita 13.24). That which was not in the past and which will not be in the future, but that which seeming exists only in present is called Unreal. Unreal is non-existent in the present and reality seen is considered illusory. All perishable objects including the body and matter are considered unreal or illusory. The Real is that which defies all changes and remains the same in all the periods of time: past, present and future. Atma or the self characterized by the sense of “I” is eternal and real. All living entities are part of the higher nature (real) whereas their perishable bodies are part of illusory nature (unreal). When one misunderstands rope to be the snake, then the appearance of the snake is considered unreal because this hallucination is not permanent and it does not remain after the  discovery of the rope i.e real. Similarly, on waking up from dream we don’t get upset with the incidents in the dream as we realize that the dream is unreal or does not exist anymore. During the dream, it may feel so real but the objects in dream have no factual existence  and therefore, imaginary, illusory and unreal. The self or the know-er of body is real whereas the non-self including body is unreal. The seer is real whereas the seen is unreal. The consciousness is real whereas inert matter is unreal.

While living in this world, we experience death, fleeting happiness and distress, incompleteness and ignorance. Gita is clear that all these experiences are illusory and we are not the bodies. We are part the Real, which is eternal (sat), full of knowledge, conscious (chid), full of happiness, complete (purna), without any change or modification and always existing in all times in its own form. The experiences of the body like heat and cold, pleasure and pain, are unreal, impermanent and have a beginning and an end. Those who know both real and unreal nature endure these experiences understanding that they are transitory and don’t affect the eternal Self.

(Source: Holy Geeta By Swami Chinmayananda)

Post Navigation