Most of us know the story of the Mahabharat when the dispute between the Kauravas and Pandavas over the kingdom went into extreme and resulted in the Great Battle of Kurukshetra.
Yudhishthira and Joy
The battle was over and the Pandavas won but there was no peace, joy, or happiness left. Seeing the magnitude of casualties, Yudhishthira was overwhelmed with grief. This victory didn’t seem like a victory, but a defeat to him. His well-wishers, including Sri Krishna, consoled him and advised that he should carry out his kingly responsibilities to the best of his ability. We should perform our duties and remain indifferent in the results, as we are only the instruments in the hands of Destiny. Everything seemed so meaningless that he wanted to renounce the kingdom and go to the forest to lead an ascetic life – to seek the ultimate goal of human life – to search for the Absolute Peace, Bliss, and Joy. Thus pacified, Yudhishthira agreed and was inaugurated as the king.
But he didn’t have much knowledge to bear such a huge responsibility successfully. On the other hand, grandfather Bhisma was the storehouse of advanced knowledge and experiences. Unless someone inherited this knowledge, all would disappear after his demise. Sri Krishna suggested Pandavas, to consult Bhisma and so they did. Sri Krishna also accompanied them. With due respect, Yudhistatra went on asking questions and Bhisma answered. In the course of time, Yudhistatra asked about Adhyaatma Vidya (Spiritual Knowledge or Knowledge of the Supreme Self).
The 5 Great Elements
Everything in this world – the humans, animals, birds, insects, plants are made of the 5 Great Elements –
- the Earth
- the Air
- the Water
- the Fire
- the Ether (Akasha).
The ether has the vibratory energy, the air has the sound, the water has the liquid, the fire has the heat or light, and the earth has the smell as special characteristics. The human body is a complex combination of these 5 elements and their qualities. We have a corresponding organ to sense these characteristics. Eyelashes to light, ear relates to sound, tongue to water (taste), nose to the smell and skin to touch. The mind controls these 5 sense organs.
The 3 Qualities or Gunas
Besides these, we have 3 qualities – Saattva, Raajah, and Taamah. Saattva brings peace, joy, happiness, and purity. Raajah causes sadness, despair, and grief, restlessness, and Taamah cause fear, forgetfulness, lethargy, ignorance, and confusion. Usually, the mind stays bound within these qualities.
The mind is controlled by “Buddhi” or Consciousness. Every part of our body is vibrating with this Conscious Energy. Whatever we sense, the mind analyses it, and the Buddhi assures it. Without this conscious energy the eyes can’t see, the ears can’t hear, the mind can’t think. Buddhi is like the waves in the ocean which can’t surpass the shores of the 3 qualities.
Soul – The Highest Authority
Buddhi is not the highest authority in our body, the Soul is. Although the soul stays inside the body, it is beyond the perception of the 5 sense organs, Mind or Buddhi. If the body is a machine, then the soul is the operator. When the soul leaves the body, we are no longer living. The Soul stays in the body as the witness of the actions. After our death, the soul carries the results of our actions (
But what is the way out of this cycle?
Bhisma continued with his answer,
Usually, the Mind is associated with the senses. If one can control his mind by controlling the senses like greed, anger, jealousy, the mind usually turns upwards and absorbs in Buddhi. It, in turn, absorbs in the Soul and thus becomes free from Sattva, Rajah, and Tamah and their attributes. In that stage, the results of our actions are not accumulated even if we work. Instead of the Mind, the Soul within the body then becomes our “Guiding Light”. We can then enjoy the Absolute Peace, Bliss, Joy, and Oneness with the Supreme Soul as long as we live. After the body is destroyed, our Soul becomes free forever.
इन्द्रियाणि पराण्याहुरिन्द्रियेभ्य: परं मन: |
मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिर्यो बुद्धे: परतस्तु स: || 42||
indriyāṇi parāṇyāhur indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥThe Bhagavad Gita Ch 3 Verse 42
manasas tu parā buddhir yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ
“The senses are said to be superior (to the body), the mind is superior to the senses, the intellect to the mind, and that which is superior to the intellect is He (the Atman); The Soul.“
एवं बुद्धे: परं बुद्ध्वा संस्तभ्यात्मानमात्मना |
जहि शत्रुं महाबाहो कामरूपं दुरासदम् || 43||
evaṁ buddheḥ paraṁ buddhvā sanstabhyātmānam ātmanāThe Bhagavad Gita Ch 3 Verse 43
jahi śhatruṁ mahā-bāho kāma-rūpaṁ durāsadam
Thus knowing Him who is superior to the intellect, and restraining the self by the Self, destroy, O mighty-armed, that enemy, the un-sizeable foe, The Desire.
Wherever we are, we are in the kingdom of God. Please believe it. You will be Blessed.