Yagna on ‘Talks on Vibhishana Geeta – The Chariot of a WINNER’ – February 2018

Talks on “Vibhishana Geeta – The Chariot of a WINNER” – by Swami Abhedananda

(Gyan Yagna conducted from 1st Feb till 6th Feb, 2018)

Key Points from the Discourses

Day 1

The atmosphere in Seva Samaj Hall at the Reservoir Hills was divinely charged as Swami Abhedanandaji commenced his discourses on VIBHISHANA GEETA on the first day of the Monthly Yagna. Devotees were treated to a sublime yet mentally invigorating satsang. We bring to you some of the gems from yesterday’s talk…

Facing Life’s Challenges

  • Life is like a roller-coaster ride with numerous challenges. Nobody’s life is very simple and quiet. We wrongly think that the challenges in life can be faced by money, power, position and contacts, but the truth is that none of these are of any help. How to live smilingly through all kinds of circumstances and all kinds of people around, is what we have to find out here.
  • Being religious is easy, being spiritual is difficult. It is easy to observe fasts and do some puja, but to maintain focus on the ‘One Truth’ day and night, to be unruffled by the outer situations, to be unaffected by honor and dishonor, disease and health, bereavements and associations, is not easy. World is faced with our notions and thoughts and not with our power and positions. Unless we know the right principles of living, we will always be suffering in life.

Vibhishana Geeta – the plot
The plot of Vibhishana Geeta is very interesting. When Ramji and Ravan came forward to fight with each other, Ramji was on the ground, with no sandals on His feet, no armour, while Ravan was on a big chariot, well-equipped with armour, with a lot of arrows in his quiver. Seeing this plight, Vibhishanaji gets worried that how will Ramji win the battle if Ravan was so well-equipped and Ramji was so ill-equipped; how would it be possible to defeat such a terrible Ravan? To dispel Vibhishanaji’s doubt, Bhagwan Ram gave a nice discourse which is called ‘Vibhishana Geeta’.

  • Similar situation of ‘doubt’ occurred at few more places:
    • In the Mahabharat war, when Arjun got worried and had a doubt whether he should fight or not, he went to Bhagwan Krishna and got his doubt clarified.
    • When Sugreev first saw Ramji and Lakshmanji from a distance, he had a doubt whether they were sent by Bali or not. But he didn’t conclude by himself, he asked Hanumanji to go and find out about them. Sugreev was clever to have taken Hanumanji’s help.
    • When Ravan saw that the mighty demons Khar and Dushan were killed by Bhagwan Ram, Ravan also had a doubt, but instead of going to Lord Shiva (who was Ravan’s teacher) and sublimating his doubt, he himself thought of sorting out the doubt.
  • Having a doubt is not a problem, but after having the doubt, whom you approach, that is very important. You may have doubts in your life, but to resolve them, do you go to your ahankaar (ego), or you go to the Guru or the God, what is your choice? Both Arjun and Vibhishana had doubts, but they both went to God and their doubts got resolved.
  • During ‘Amrit Manthan’ (churning of the ocean), when Mandrachal mountain was put in the ocean, it started sinking and then Lord Vishnu took Avatar as ‘Kachhap Avatar’ (tortoise) on whom the big mountain was supported. ‘Mandrachal’ represents ‘Vichaar’ (doubt). This story implies that – to have doubts (vichaar) is not bad, but the base of that should be God alone. God should be the one who is the substratum of our life.

Approaching with Humility

  • When going to God or Guru for dispelling the doubt, it is very important that one should be humble. An egoless person alone can get his doubts removed.
  • Arjun and Vibhishana both approached the Lord with utmost humility. Arjun says in Bhagwat Geeta (2.7) – “shishyasteham shadhi mam twam prapannam”, i.e, “Oh Lord! I am your disciple, and am surrendered to you. Please instruct me what is best for me.” About Vibhishanaji, it is written – “adhik preeti mann bhaa sandeha, bandi charan kahi sahit saneha” i.e., Vibhishanaji first saluted the feet of Bhagwan Ram, and then he expressed his doubt. Extreme humility is required while approaching the God and the Guru so we can offer our doubts to them and they can dispel them forever.

Developing the Right Thoughts

  • Every situation in life demands certain kind of thought for the best response in the circumstances. If that maturity of thinking is missing, you can’t respond in an appropriate manner. If Bhagwan Ram did not have the thought of renunciation, then He would not have gone to the forest.
  • A situation is not just a situation, it is a ‘thought-provoker’;It brings out some kind of thought. Sometimes if the thought is perfect and good, the situation dissolves and after the situation is over, we are fresh and fine, ready to face another bigger situation. But if we don’t have the proper thought corresponding to that situation, the situation dominates on our mind and we are unable to fight the next challenge in the queue.
  • In Vibhishana Geeta, it is enumerated beautifully that which are the thoughts that required in us, which personalities are must to be inculcated in us. Along side developing educational qualifications, we must develop certain traits of our character, and only then we can lead a happy life.

Higher thoughts in Bhagwan Ram

  • When Bhagwan Ram got to know that Mother Kaikeyi wanted to coronate Bharatji instead of Him, Ramji had the developed thought of magnanimity and He said, ‘It is a great fortune of Ayodhya, that it will have a king like Bharat’.
  • An angry and egoistic person invokes anger and ego in us too. It requires a special trait to have humility at that time. In front of Parashuramji, who was extremely angry upon the breaking of Shivji’s bow, Ramji remained absolutely cool and calm. Even in such a provoking situation, Bhagwan Ram had the thought of quietness.
  • Bhagwan Ram lived with Kaikeyi whole life, but He did not live with the remembrance that she was the trouble maker of His life, instead He went and prostrated to her first when all the mothers had come to visit Him in Chitrakoot. Similarly, Sometimes we have to live with people whom we don’t like, but we should not allow any of their weaknesses to highjack our mental peace & positive attitude

Higher thoughts in Lakshmanji, Sumitraji & Urmilaji

  • Lakshmanji was not asked to go to the forest and yet, he went to the forest and served Bhagwan Ram. He had the extreme thought of devotion and seva; and became the ideal for all who want to serve.
  • When Lakshmanji came to mother Sumitra to seek permission to leave for the forest with Ramji, Sumitraji replied, “Just as, where there is sun there is day, similarly, where there is Ramji there is Ayodhya. When Ramji is going to the forest, what work you have here?” Such was the selflessness of Mother Sumitra.
  • When Lakshmanji was leaving for forest, his wife Urmila did not even come to see him off. This was because she was crying and if she had come out, then Lakshmanji would remember her crying face for 14 years. Such was the sacrificing character of Urmila.

Importance of having higher thoughts

  • To succeed in any action, one needs to come out with the best response, and that requires a lot of big thoughts in our mind.
  • We are engaged relentlessly in maintaining our house, relations, family, career etc, but we forget how important it is to maintain higher thoughts in our mind & nurture our character.
  • One should be such that he is ready to proficiently play the various roles in life. The situation can come and demand more seva, more humility, more bravery, more charity, more quietness, more faith, more magnanimity in us.
  • Ravan could not bring out the higher personality of seeing other’s wife as mother. He had a personality of passion & lust, and therefore he was killed. Mandodari (Ravan’s wife), on the other hand, had extreme devotion for Bhagwan Ram and therefore she is worshipped.
  • All the essential higher characteristics required in a person to face the situations in life are mentioned in the Vibhishana Geeta with the example of a ‘Chariot’ which will be discussed in the coming talks.

Day 2

We often say, ‘life is a journey’. But is it a journey we are on or, is our life better described as ‘wandering around’? Do we have a chariot and a dependable charioteer to blaze through the challenges of life? On the second day of the gyan yagna on Vibhishana Geeta, Swami Abhedanandaji encouraged the listeners to do deep self-discovery & assessment on these and many other questions. Below are a few nuggets from the day’s discourse…

Journey of Life

  • When we leave from our home to go somewhere, we know the destination already. Similarly, when we enter some educational institution, we know the course tenure and the degree it provides. We board a flight knowing well when and where it will reach. I ask you one question – Life is also a journey, and before this journey comes to an end, have we decided where exactly do we want to reach? Can we then call life a journey or are we just wandering around? The irony is that we never think about that. This is called illusion and bondage.
  • In Ramayan, there are two characters – one is Dashrath and other is called Dashmukh (Ravan). Dashrathji’s goal was Bhagawan Ram, while Ravan’s goal was enjoyment of material wealth and power. We have to think where we stand between these two. Dashmukh represents having ten sense organs which are constantly running after worldly enjoyment. Dashrath implies having ten sense organs which have a higher goal and they progress towards that goal by all means.
  • This chariot which is being mentioned here in the topic of Vibhishana Geeta is to take us to the destination of life’s journey. Our life should reach some higher goal and there should be growth and evolution of the mind. There should be progress in devotion, dispassion, and detachment. There should be lessening of anger, lust and passion. There should be progress in our inner self.

External Qualifications vs. Inner Personality

  • In life, talents and qualifications do not work all the time. These external things do not give that much of strength; otherwise all the people with these external resources would have been happier. But something internal is required. More than hardware, software is important. Even with the most advanced computer hardware, if the software is spoilt, it will only keep crashing!
  • Generally, we are in a hurry to accumulate outer things, but we have no urgency to mend our inner thoughts and inner personality. Our goal is very external. From the childhood one thinks what he wants to become when he grows up. But rarely, there is a spiritual ambition like, ‘I want to have a mind which is very quiet, free from all sorrows, which gets absorbed in Lord’s name and leelas.’ Kabirdasji says in one of his dohas that – Everybody says ‘I am fine’ but neither the mind is controlled nor Maya has gone from the mind – then how can you be fine?
  • There should be some vision that – ‘I should be unperturbed by the difficulties of life, I should be having dispassion and devotion. I should be detached from the closest person. I should sit in meditation for hours. Before my eyes close for good, I should be immersed in Lord’s leela and his name. I should have no fear, no desire to see anybody before I leave my body. Such should be my state.’ Therefore, satsang is required. Satsang is the compass to guide the journey of life.
  • This portion is indicating that what kind of mind we should have, what kind of goal we should have. Family, children, money, they are all very good means, but they are very bad goals. They are good means to attain God, to purify ourselves, to propitiate God, but they should not become the goal of our life. Goal of life should be Lord alone and nothing else.

‘Wheels’ of the Chariot of the Winner
When Vibhishanji raises his doubt about defeating the mighty Ravan, Bhagwan Ram describes the chariot (wheels, flag, horses etc.) which makes one truly victorious in life. Ramji says that the two wheels of that chariot are – ‘Sauraj’ and ‘Dheeraj’. ‘Sauraj’ means bravery and ‘Dheeraj’ means perseverance or patience.

  • One should have both – bravery and perseverance. Bravery is important because sometimes we must take risks in life and move ahead. Other times, when things don’t work and situation is totally out of your control, we must have perseverance.
  • All great characters of our scriptures possess these two qualities. Bhagwan Ram had bravery and lots of perseverance. When Vishwamitra went to Dashrathji to ask for Ramji and Lakshmanji, Dashrathji called both the brothers and said, “You both have to go.” At that time, patience was required. To live with the Guru one needs a lot of patience and perseverance. Ramji folded his palms and went with Vishwamitraji. When Tadaka demon came in front of Bhagwan Ram, Vishwamitraji said, “Ram, she is Tadaka, kill her!” At that time, Ramji didn’t have any doubt or hesitation, He instantly took out his arrow and shot her down.

Combination of Bravery and Patience in Hanumanji’s life

  • When none of the monkey’s were ready to go to Lanka in search of Mother Sita, it was Hanumanji who exhibited bravery and got ready to cross the huge ocean and do Bhagwan Ram’s work.
  • When Hanumanji left for finding mother Sita, he first encountered Mainak (mountain). When Mainak offered him to rest and eat, Hanumanji touched his offerings and requested if he could leave. Here, Mainak was elderly and Hanumanji’s patience is exhibited. In front of an elder, one should have more perseverance and respect.
  • When Sursa wanted to test Hanumanji, Hanumanji exhibited both shaurya (bravery) and dhairya (patience) by first becoming big in front of her and then immediately becoming small to enter into her body and come out. Hanumanji knew when to grow big and also when to become small and so He was blessed by Sursa.
  • Similarly, in the case of Singhika, Hanumanji exhibited bravery by hitting and killing her, but Hanumanji did not kill Sursa. Where to be fiery and where to be cool one should be clear.
  • When Hanumanji went over Vibhishanaji’s house and heard the Lord’s name, He did not have any ego; He got himself introduced to Vibhishanaji. This was his courage.

Having Courage for the Higher

  • Bali was very brave, but his braveness was prompted by ego. When braveness is prompted by ego, the system makes sure that you fail somewhere in life.
  • Like Bali, Ravan too was also very brave. Ravan was so courageous and steadfast in his sadhna that Brahmaji and Shivji themselves used to go to him to accept his puja.
  • Even though both Bali and Ravana had bravery, they had no humility, their bravery was self-centered and in due time they had to bite the dust. On the other hand, the bravery of Hanumanji and Angadji was to do the work of Bhagwan Ram and bring out the glory of Bhagwan Ram.

Importance of having both Shaurya & Dhairya

  • If a person only has courage, he will break after sometime and if he has only patience, he won’t do anything constructive, he would just wait for the conducive situations to occur.
  • Bravery has to be there in us because we have to take tough decisions in life, he have to take risks. If a person doesn’t exercise his shaurya, his hidden energies don’t come out.
  • Patience and endurance are equally essential to have. When Hanumanji was tied by Meghnad, everyone kicked him and teased him, but he waited patiently until the tail started burning completely and then he jumped and burnt the whole Lanka. It was due to his patience that he understood the Lord’s Sankalp of burning Lanka.
  • If shauraya is not there, a person becomes passive, dull, and looses vibrancy. He will never try to change the system and if dhairya is not there, the person will be very impatient.

Importance of Shaurya & Dhairya in Sadhna

  • In sadhna too, one can do more japa or take bigger vows of puja and path only when he has shaurya. Similarly, only the one who has dhairya will continue his sadhna despite all physical and mental difficulties.
  • Life needs a lot of tolerance. The result of tolerance is always sweeter. It always gives very big rewards.
  • Life is not about achieving outer goals, success, it is about fulfillment, it is about pleasing the Lord, increasing our dispassion. Life is about loving unconditionally. Life is about accepting the one who does not accept us also, life is about embracing the one who doesn’t embrace us also. Life is about going through the situation even if we fail repeatedly. Life is doing justice even to the one who has not done justice with us. All these thoughts require a lot of faith that ‘God is behind us’.
  • Therefore, in this chariot of success and fulfillment there are these two wheels, one wheel is bravery, and another is patience, without even one of these, the chariot will fall down.

Day 3

Is honesty still the best policy in today’s world? Are white lies acceptable? Using the example of a Chariot as captured in the Vibhishana Geeta, Swami Abhedanandaji beautifully described the role of truth in shaping one’s character and the other key traits that one’s personality should possess. Below is a synopsis of the day’s discourse…

‘Flags’ on the Chariot of the Winner

In the chariot that Bhagwan Ram describes to Vibhishanaji, there are two types of flags – ‘dhwaja’ and ‘Pataka’. ‘Dhwaja’ is placed in the front of the chariot and ‘Pataka’ on the top of the chariot. Bhagwan Ram says, ‘satya sheel dridha dhwaja pataka’ – the two flags in the chariot of life should be – ‘Satya’ i.e. Truth and ‘Sheel’ i.e. Joy-giving cool conduct.

Importance of Satya (Truth) in life

  • In the modern era, people often believe that the time of truth has gone. But that understanding is very wrong. The reality is that – Truth alone prevails! Be it office or house or an institution, you cannot live with a person if you know that he doesn’t abide to truth and resorts to lying. No husband and wife can be close if either of them lies.
  • There are primarily two reasons for lying – fear of rejection upon telling a mistake, or getting something that cannot be obtained by honest means.
  • Truth is based on dharma. Speaking the truth is dependent on how much righteous life one has lived.
  • The dignity of a person is that he has Satyam in his life. One should have a life where he has nothing to hide. Speaking satya implies that the person has metal in him; he follows the life of austerity. To speak the truth one should do the right thing, and to do the right thing, one should be an austere person.
  • A character flaw will keep truth away from a person. A selfish person, a greedy person, an angry person, a lusty person, all these will never speak the truth.
  • Gandhiji used to say, “Truth is God.” Our life should be such that we have the assurance that – ‘I have done exactly what I had to do. I have not cheated anybody anywhere.’

Satya of a Jeeva & Satya of the Ishwar

There are two things – ‘Satya of a jeeva’ and ‘Satya of the Ishwar’. This concept confuses many and hence it is important to be clear on this. In Bhagwan Ram’s life, there was more satya of a jeeva, and in Bhagwan Krishna’s life, there was more satya of the Ishwar.

  • During the Mahabharat war, Dronacharya was fighting and killing the army of the Pandavas. In order to stop him, Bhagwan Krishna told Yudhishthir to tell Dronacharya – ‘Ashwatthama (Dronacharya’s son) is killed’. At that time Ashwatthama was not yet killed from the perspective of ‘jeeva satya’ but from the perspective of ‘Ishwar satya’, he was killed because he was killed in the Lord’s sankalp. Ishwar doesn’t do what is the law, but what Ishwar does, becomes the law!
  • In Bhagwan Ram’s life, only once He spoke false, but again that false was to protect the higher Truth. It is said in Valmik Ramayan that the moment when Ramji left from Ayodhya for exile, Dashrathji ran behind Ramji’s chariot and insisted Ramji to return. Ramji stopped his chariot multiple times to explain to Dashrathji that he should go otherwise it will bring bad name to Dashrathji as well as to him, but still Dashrathji kept calling Ramji from behind. At that time, Ramji told Sumant (who was the charioteer) to keep going ahead and pretend as if they didn’t hear Dashrathji’s calls. That was the only instance when Ramji, to protect the higher truth, renounced the lower truth.
  • As a jeeva, if you have to say false, say false for the higher. If you have to lie, lie for dharma, lie for God, lie for the protection of the country, protection of the cow, protection of the Brahmin.

Truth is not Bitter when said with Sheel

  • When we criticize other’s we usually say truth is bitter. Truth on the other hand is very sweet when said with sheel (joy giving good conduct). Ramayan is full of characters who have Satya and Sheel.
  • When Satiji on seeing Bhagwan Ram crying tested the Lord and then lied to Lord Shiva about the test, Lord Shiva did not react. Lord Shiva knew all what Satiji had done and yet he smiled and remained quiet. Only thing was, because Satiji had taken Sitaji’s form to test Bhagwan Ram, Shivji decided He could not accept her as his wife. He had no harsh words or abuses for Satiji.
  • Houses break because somebody spoke very harsh words. If somebody has distanced from you, or you feel distanced from somebody, it is because of some harsh words. We must speak truth of ourselves and not of others.

Sheel of Ramji

  • Bhagwan Ram’s sheel was such that even when Kaikeyi gave Him the news of exile, he said, ‘Mother it is my fortune that I can follow your command’ and He went to mother Kausalya and said, ‘My father has given me the kingdom of forest’. Even for such a Mother (Kaikeyi) because of whom He had to wander from forest to forest, Bhagwan Ram was full of praises.
  • Sheel is a thing with which a person becomes very non-hurting. Sweetness is not against being straightforward. A person’s presence should be like a cushion where one gets rest by his words. Best rest and quietness can be gained only by somebody’s good words.

Day 4

Our conduct in day-to-day life plays a definitive role in defining our relationships and the future. On the fourth day of the Gyan Yagna Swami Abhedanandaji through the examples of Shri Ramji, Lakshmanji, and Bharatji beautifully explains the importance of having sheel (joy-giving right conduct) in one’s life. We bring to you short snippets from the day’s discourse:

Importance of Satsang

  • If we have the right attitude at the right time, and know the right role which we are meant for and if we are able to do the right actions, then life becomes easier. If somebody thinks that his life is difficult or if someone experiences a lot of sorrows, then one thing is clear that the person doesn’t know where to go.
  • Ignorantly, in our lives, we are being dragged by situations, carried away by circumstances, and our moods and emotions, sorrows and joys. We are oblivious of the facts where we have to go, how we have to go, what are the right means, what value system we should have, and therefore life becomes difficult. So there is some training required, some education required. Satsang is that which makes our understanding right, our clarity right.

Sheel of Shri Ram, Lakshman and Bharat

We had seen that Ramji described Satya and Sheel as the two flags that are required on the chariot of life. ‘Sheel’ means having such a conduct that gives joy to others. Sheel has been glorified a lot in Tulsi Ramayan. How Satya and Sheel go together, should be learnt from the characters of Ramji, Lakshmanji and Bharatji.

  • In Lakshmanji’s character, you will find he has more of Satya. Lakshmanji was more blunt at times than Ramji and Bharatji. When Parusharamji came and shouted, “Who broke the bow?” Lakshmanji stood in front of him and said, “In my childhood, I broke many small-small bows, but you never came. Why are you so attached to this bow?” Lakshmanji went on saying something or other to tease Parshuramji and to provoke him.
  • At the same time, Bhagwan Ram was standing with his palms folded and said to Parshuramji, “Please forgive Lakshman. I am your culprit who broke the bow. You can please punish me.” On one hand was the sheel of Bhagwan Ram and on the other hand was the Satyam of Lakshmanji. Whatever Lakshmanji said, the same Bhagwan Ram also said but Bhagwan made it sound very sweet. Sheel is like the sugar syrup and thus Ramji’s words were as if dipped in sugar.
  • When Parshuramji knew that Ramji was Lord Himself, Parshuramji sought forgiveness from both Ramji as well as Lakshmanji because if Lakshmanji hadn’t been there, Parshuramji would not have known the glory of Ramji.
  • Some people are very humble, but that doesn’t mean they are weak. Behind humility there has to be bravery. Behind Ramji’s humility, there was bravery and not cowardice.

Epitome of Sheel – Shri Bharat

  • Bharatji is the epitome of Sheel. When Ramji, before going to exile, asked Lakshmanji to stay back to take care of the Kingdom and the mothers, Lakshmanji said to Ramji, “I don’t know Guru, I don’t know father, mother, I don’t know anybody. You are the only one I know!”
  • The same happened to Bharatji when he was told by everyone (mothers, teacher, ministers) that, “Ramji left the kingdom for Satya. You should also take the kingdom for Satya.” Listening to that Bharatji’s eyes went down and he said with his voice dipped in nectar, “Whatever father, mother, teacher says, one should not think and just obey them. But I am suffering badly. I can’t live without my brother. You are trying to make a sinner like me, the King? Please forgive me, I cannot become the King. I am not worthy of that.” Lakshmanji and Bharatji communicated the same, but Bharatji communicated with so much sheel.
  • When Bharatji and the people of Ayodhya started going to Chitrakoot to bring Ramji back, Bharatji was walking bare foot thinking about Ramji. Bharatji didn’t want to use the palanquin. At that time, mother Kaushalya called Bharat and told him, “People will see that you are going by foot, and all would want to get down and start walking, and they are already not well. They are mentally very disturbed. I think you should also sit on the palanquin.” Bharatji was so considerate that he thought his vows should not become a source of disturbance to anybody and thus he immediately obeyed Mother Kaushalya.
  • Sheel is that quality which makes a person very much aware about his speech, his behavior, even his looks and expressions. A person with sheel feels that he should not be a source of disturbance and sorrow to anybody. A person with sheel also has hesitation and thus Shri Bharatji had lot of shyness.

Importance of having Sheel:

  • A person with sheel conquers more people with his beautiful conduct. It is very easy to give pain to anybody but very difficult to be a source of joy for others. People confuse the sweetness in a person’s personality with diplomacy. One must not be a blunt speaker, instead it is the sheel of a person which makes the facts palatable to the listener.
  • It is the sheel of a person which gives other’s confidence about a person’s conduct. It makes others feel comfortable with you. We have to be an asset for others. The beauty of a person is that he cares about other’s emotions. Sheel is that through which, there is no sore remembrance of any person in your heart.
  • Making somebody else win in life and letting somebody else get fame in life, is another kind of sheel. This was the sheel of Bhagwan Krishna when He took the weapon in His hands in the Mahabharata war, to fulfil the vow of Bhishma Pitama, even though he had taken the vow of not touching any weapon during the war.

The Four horses of the Chariot:
Bhagwan Ram further enumerates that the four horses of the chariot are – Strength, Discrimination, Self-control and Serving others.

  • Bal (Strength):
    • Life demands a lot of strength. Strength primarily comes from three sources: Dharma, God and right notions. Academic qualifications, talents, beauty, family, material wealth do not give strength to a person.
    • A person should have strength to fearlessly face any situation in life and such a strength comes from detachment, it comes from devotion, and when a person has not done any wrong. Swami Vivekananda used to say, “If you are pure, if you are strong, One Man Equals to the Whole World”.
  • Vivek (Discrimination):
    • The second horse is discrimination. One must develop right discrimination regarding his own duties according to his stage in life. Discrimination is the realization that if we don’t perform our duties then we will be in a soup.
    • Discrimination is in knowing that dharma is our friend and that the people in our lives are not meant to enjoy but are means to propitiate the Lord. They are our puja samagri like flowers, kumkum etc. World is meant to get rid of the dirt of our mind.
    • The biggest vivek (discrimination) is – not forgetting that the goal of life is not world, but the goal of life is Truth alone. Life is not meant to earn money, and build houses, or make foreign trips, but life is meant to get out of our weaknesses. Life is meant to get out of our expectations, demands, anger etc.
    • Vivek should be there otherwise we keep wandering aimlessly without the right knowledge.
  • Dama (Self-control):
    • A person must be self-controlled. When a person is self-controlled he has a reservoir of energy. When you have conserved your energy, you can use it for meditation, puja, japa etc. In spiritual life we need a lot of energy to sit for long sessions of sadhna.
    • To do something good, a lot of energy is required, but when a person falls for everything he will have no energy to march ahead. The lack of dama makes a person graceless.
  • Parhit (Serving others):
    • ‘Parhit’ means – a person is measured by how many people he are ready to do good for. Human life is not meant to live for ourselves, human life is meant to die for others. Life should be for someone bigger and higher.
    • How many freedom fighters gave up their life, they went to jail and went through such trials which we cannot even see with our eyes. And such people are the ones who are a source of joy for the community, for the nation.
    • At the time of death, no one can take his money, or clothes, or luxury items with him. Then why not distribute the clothes before you go, why not distribute the money before you go, at least you will earn some punya from that! Nobody can snatch your power of giving.
    • The sun is shining for others, the moon is giving light to others, the river is not drinking its own water, the trees are not eating their own fruit; every element in this nature is selflessly giving to everyone else. This selfless creation tells that the creator would also be selfless. Thus, let us work for the community, let us work for God. Why not die serving others!
    • ‘Parhit’ also means that to live our life such that the Lord uses us to do His work. It is for such kind of people that we say, ‘He is a living God’. We can do so much for others but we do very less because we are very occupied with our own life, with our own small mind, and with our own problems. If one can rise above these, God uses him as His instrument!

These are the four horses of the chariot, and with these horses a person becomes fearless as he has nothing to lose because he does not want anything in return.

Day 5

After having elaborated upon the wheels, the flags, and the horses of the Chariot of the winner as mentioned by Bhagwan Ram in Vibhishana Geeta, Swami Abhedanandaji beautifully explained about the reins and the charioteer of the chariot on the 5th day of the yagna. We share below the synopsis of the enlightening discourse:

The Reins of the Chariot

Bhagwan Ram describes to Vibhishanaji that the chariot of the life should have three reins namely – Forgiveness, Compassion and Equanimity (kshama, kripa, samta raju jore). The reins are that part of the chariot which helps give direction and also control speed.

  • Forgiveness – In life, many people give us the treatment and response that we don’t deserve. But we should not forget that we may have also done the same to others at times. We should pray to God that we have such a mind that doesn’t keep others faults in it. Remembering fault is like putting ourselves in a prison for somebody else’s mistake.
  • Equanimity – Equanimity is a very important aspect to keep the chariot of life going in the right direction.
  • Compassion – One should have a lot of compassion in life. Bhagwan Ram is the epitome of compassion. It is said that when Ravan was killed, Vibhishanaji told to Ramji, “I won’t do Ravan’s cremation because he troubled You so much and he did a lot of atrocities.” But Ramji explained to Vibhishanaji, “All the animosity is till the body is alive. You should do proper rituals that need be performed at the time of death.” Also when Ravan died, a jyoti (light) came from Ravan and entered into Bhagwan signifying that Bhagwan Ram gave Ravan the gati of Vaikunth.

The Charioteer – Lord’s Bhajan

Howsoever good the chariot may be, but a lot depends on the charioteer. It is the charioteer alone who controls the reins and the horses and decides the direction of the chariot. Ramji says – the charioteer of the chariot of life should be ‘Bhajan of Bhagwan’.

  • Bhajan means – submitting to the will of God. Bhajan means – attainment of God. There is no other purpose of life other than getting fulfillment inside and harmony outside, and both cannot come without bhajan of God.
  • The purpose of life is not indulgence otherwise indulgence wouldn’t have given sorrow. There is not a single person who is indulgent and is still satisfied with his life. The purpose of life is not to have a lot of relatives, or to eat and drink, and marry and play with grandchildren. The purpose of life is not to show to the world how good you are.
  • Life’s purpose is only one and that is to please God and attain Godhood while living. Everything else in life is just the means for that. All experiences are meant to take us closer to God, and if this purpose is forgotten, you will always have sorrow.

Life devoid of Lord’s Bhajan

The biggest misfortune of a person would be that he is not a devotee of the Lord. When a person doesn’t have devotion, Bhagwan sees that he fails in life even after possessing all the good qualities. One character who depicts this best is – Karna (from Mahabharat). He had everything that the chariot should have but didn’t have ‘Lord’s bhajan’ as the charioteer.

  • Karna’s Courage – Karna’s personality was very brilliant. When Karna and Arjun used to compete, their teacher Dronacharya used to get scared because Karna was little better than Arjun. Dronacharya always used to discourage Karna as Karna was exceptional in fighting.
  • Karna’s Patience – It is said that Karna had such an immense Guru bhakti towards his Guru Parshuramji. All day and night he used to serve his Guru. One day, while his Guru was resting his head on Karna’s thighs, a worm entered Karna’s thigh. Karna thought that if he moved, his Guru would get disturbed. So Karna remained still; didn’t budge at all. The worm went on penetrating inside but Karna didn’t move. Such a Guru bhakti he had. There was so much pain that Karna’s whole face became full of blood. When Parshuramji got up and saw Karna’s face, he said, “A Brahmin cannot tolerate so much of physical pain. You are a Kshtriya (warrior). You cheated me by telling me that you were a Brahmin. You will forget all what I have taught you!” Thus Karna got a curse. When Lord is not there in your life, the end product of any effort won’t be good. Karna’s life didn’t have bhajan.
  • Karna’s Satyam – Karna is famously known as the one who kept his words under all circumstances. He did that even when Indra went to him and asked for his armour. Karna had an armour (kavach-kundal) which was attached to his body due to which the arrows could not harm him. When Indra went to Karna in the guise of an old Brahmin and asked for his armour, Karna replied, “It is attached to my skin, but I will not gulp my words. I will give it to you.” He took out his dagger and scratched over the skin and even after being full of pain and blood, he took out the armour and gave to Indra.
  • Karna’s Sheel – When Kunti (mother of Karna as well as the Pandavas) tried to persuade Karna to not take part in the Mahabharat war, Karna promised her that at the end of the war she would still have five sons and other than Arjun he won’t fight with anybody.
  • Karna’s Loyalty – It is said that before the end of Mahabharat war, Bhagwan Krishna went to Karna and said, “Pandavas alone will win and you are elder than Yudhishthir. We will give the throne to you.” But Karna didn’t take that offer; he said, “I should be loyal to Duryodhan.” Karna left Bhagwan Krishna for being loyal to Duryodhan. This was Karna’s ignorance. More than being loyal to some jeeva, we should be loyal to the Lord because it is the Lord alone who has been taking care of us since births together.

Thus, we saw that Karna had everything, he had courage, patience, sheel, satyam, but he didn’t have bhajan of God, and hence whatever Karna did in his life ended up in a mess.

Who is the Charioteer of our life?

  • In life, if we don’t make the Lord as the charioteer, our ahankaar (ego) will become the charioteer. Karna was dictated by his ahankaar. Ahankaar takes a person high and then smashes him down. When we know that God alone is the controller of our life, then how can we have abhimaan (ego) about anything? God alone has the master key.
  • If one tries to go against God, his chariot is bound to get stuck in due time. This is because we get everything from God alone. There are numerous things in life we got even without putting any efforts. If we think logically then we would understand that Lord has loved us a lot and it is our responsibility to love Him even more.
  • Life is meant to offer to God, life is meant to be lived for God, to please God. Bhakti is not opposing to work and relations. But all work and relations should be for the One.
  • Duty is that which brings out your beauty. Worldly duty should take us to duty towards God. Life is meant to purify our mind. Our whole life should be for attainment of the Truth and the Lord.
  • From the childhood we are trained and programmed to earn money. It is never taught to us that we have to attain God. We must define the purpose of our lives to make ‘Lord’s Bhajan’ (devotion to the Lord) as the charioteer of our life.

Day 6

Swami Abhedanandaji concluded the monthly Gyan Yagna on ‘Vibhishana Geeta’ with wonderful elucidation of all the other aspects of the chariot of life such as the shield, the sword, the axe, the bow, the quiver and the armour, each signifying a must-have indispensable virtue to be imbibed by a seeker. We are pleased to share with you Swamiji’s concluding advice from the final day’s satsang.

Shield of ‘Dispassion’

  • Bhagwan Ram, while describing the chariot of the winner says to Vibhishanaji that – one should have the shield of dispassion in life (birati charm); ‘birati’ means dispassion and ‘charm’ means the shield.
  • World appears very tempting; many things here appear bright and shiny. And the moment you want a certain thing, you become preoccupied with it, and eventually you become a victim. World throws temptations at us, but if we have dispassion, we will have the conviction that there is no joy in them.
  • This understanding should be very alive in us that this world is not for enjoyment and if we enjoy something, we will end in suffering.
  • Gurudev used to say – “live in the world but don’t be of it.” This is called dispassion. Life should be such that nothing should tempt you, and if anything comes in front of you, your shield should be ready. Love everything in this world, but don’t want anything. Joy of not wanting is more than the joy of wanting.

Sword of ‘Satisfaction’

  • Bhagwan Ram further says ‘santosh kripana’ which means the ‘sword’ (kripana) in our life should be ‘santosh’ i.e., satisfaction. Satisfaction means not wanting or desiring the things/situations that we don’t have in our lives. Even more dissatisfaction is experienced when we don’t have something and others have it in plenty. This is when the virtue of feeling satisfied with what we have becomes important.
  • When a person has satisfaction, he has lot of energy and lot of joy to invest in something bigger. Every moment there is some or the other duty that we have to perform, there is something to be done. But our mind is eaten away by the thoughts of dissatisfaction and thus we are unable to perform our duties.
  • Here the Lord asks us to cut our inner unfulfilled desires by the sword of satisfaction. Problem in life is, what we have, gives us less joy and what we don’t have that gives us more sorrow.

Axe of ‘Charity’

  • Bhagwan Ram calls Daan (charity) as an axe. Daan cuts our mamta (attachment) towards objects and people. Daan takes away our attachment from an object and put somebody else’s attachment in it by giving it away.
  • Our heart should be magnanimous to do daan. Those people are happy who give more than what they take. One who has magnanimity, is the one who is loved. Everything is meant to be distributed here, what comes to you has to be given. We must thus cut our attachment to everything through daan.

Power of ‘Intellect’

  • Right intellect (Buddhi) is the biggest power of a person. People like Tulsi, Sur, Kabir, etc. became what they were because they had proper intellect.
  • There is a crisis of understanding in us regarding what is right and what is wrong. We fail to understand that the purpose of all our relations is to offer them to the Lord, and this world is meant to serve the Lord alone.
  • Satsang is an ‘understanding making institution’. It is in a satsang that our understanding is improved, and our notions are corrected.

Bow of ‘Self-Knowledge’

  • Knowledge of the Self is the highest knowledge – it is the firm conviction that we are not this body or mind. Ramana Maharishi saw his body as different from himself, and as something which is just made of five elements.
  • Food modified is called body, and it is eventually consigned to flames. Beautiful person becomes a wrinkled person someday, then which one among them is real? This knowledge that the world is false and only the Self is real, is called the Self-knowledge.

Quiver of ‘Unwavering mind’

  • Here the Lord says that this charioteer has a quiver of pure and unwavering mind. And the practices of Sama (being just), Jama (Steadfastness) and Niyam (self-discipline) are the arrows in that quiver.
  • Mind has tremendous power. Tulsidasji wrote 12 granths (holy books), Surdasji wrote so many padas (poems), Namdevji manifested God, Meerabai got one with Bhagwan Krishna – all these were done by mind alone. Mind can have such beautiful thoughts; it can have immense devotion, compassion and tapasya.
  • It is only a desire-less mind which can manifest these powers. Desiring mind is a flickering mind. A desire-less mind alone can meditate for hours. We need to do tapasya (austerity) to train the mind and only from a trained mind, great ideas and higher thoughts emerge.