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In the previous article, we read how Upanishadists launched a revolution to overthrow Brahmanism and establish Upanishadism in its place using Arjuna Vishada as the vehicle. In this article we will study how they consolidated their revolution.
Every revolution, whether military, political, social, religious or sectarian, is followed by two early preemptive measures: 1. Protecting the revolution from the attacks of well-entrenched vested interests. 2. Destroying, reforming or retiring the recalcitrant Old Guard. The stranglehold of the vested interests on Brahmanism was so strong that Upanishadists had to create a whole new god to accomplish these goals: Lord of beings (4:6). We read elsewhere the two main reasons why people create gods: fulfill their desires and for protection from evil. Presently Brahmanism’s upper classes were obsessed with fulfilling its desires by means of Kamya Karma, and Upanishadists were busy protecting their revolution from the evil of Brahmanism. It is important to note here that the new god’s mandate was only to protect and promote Upanishadism centered on Brahman and to destroy the evildoers (4:7-8). He was not the god of Upanishadism, but just its facilitator. He repeatedly identifies Brahman as the supreme divinity (5:21, 24-26; 6:27-28).
1. Protecting The Revolution: Upanishadists Promote Guru Krishna To Lord of beings
That there was considerable amount of carping going on against the first stage of the Upanishadic revolution could be discerned by several warnings Upanishadic Lord of beings issues to Brahmanic loyalists such as this:
3:32: But those who carp at my teaching (that they should give up Kamya Karma and embrace Buddhiyoga) and act not thereon, deluded (by the Gunas) in all knowledge and devoid of discrimination, know them to be ruined!
Once they realized that opposition was brewing, Upanishadists moved very quickly to protect the revolutionary shlokas from being destroyed by Brahmanic forces. They elevated Guru Krishna to the position of Lord of beings. This Upanishadic Lord of beings was distinctly superior to the Vedic Lord of beings (Prajapati) by virtue of his ability to subjugate the Gunas of Prakriti (4:6). They made all future revolutionary shlokas come out of his mouth to guarantee that no one would dare to destroy them. Upanishadists made clear the purpose of Guru Krishna being elevated to godhood:
4:7-8: Whenever there is decay of Dharma (Brahmanism) and rise of Adharma (as exemplified by Kamya Karma and Varna Dharma), I take birth age after age, for the protection of the good (Upanishadists) and destruction of evildoers (Brahmins and Kshatriyas indulging in Kamya Karma) and for establishing Dharma (resting on the doctrines of Knowledge of Atman/Brahman and Buddhiyoga).
As Lord of beings, Krishna knocks down one Brahmanic element after another. He subjugates Prakriti, the ultimate divinity of Brahmanism (4:6); declares Brahmanism as Adharma (4:7); identifies Vedic ritualists as evildoers (4:8), deluded, unwise, and ignorant (3:25-26, 29); pronounces the Gunas as the enemy of man (3:34); condemns Karmaphalam as evil (4:16); demotes Brahmanic Lord of beings (3:15); declares Yajna as useless (3:17-18), and neutralizes Varna Dharma (5:18-19).
2. Reforming The Old Guard
Upanishadic Lord Krishna’s goals were to replace Yajna of Brahmanism with Yoga of Upanishadism, and convert hedonistic Vedic ritualists (3:16) into Spartan Upanishadic Yogis (4:19-24). Whereas Prajapati was the creator of Yajna (3:10), he declares himself as the creator of Yoga (4:1-2) To be as specific as possible he splits Buddhiyoga into Jnanayoga (Sanyasa) and Karmayoga (Tyaga):
3:3: There is this two-fold path taught by me to the world, O sinless one, since ancient times: The Yoga of Knowledge (Jnanayoga) for the followers of Sankhya (discerning Brahmins), and Yoga of Action (Karmayoga) for the followers of Yoga (active Kshatriyas).
Note here how Krishna refers to Arjuna as sinless. This is to hint that this shloka was meant for the upper classes busy earning sin (Karmaphalam). Now he goes about transforming Brahmins into Jnanayogis and Kshatriyas into Karmayogis. Sanyasa means detachment from sense objects, and so he gives Jnanayoga to Brahmins who were attached to, and constantly hankering after, cows, gold, land, etc. as the fee for officiating Yajnas (Chapter Four). Tyaga means giving up Karmaphalam of Yajna, and so he gives Karmayoga to the Kshatriyas who were hankering after Karmaphalam such as wealth, power and heaven (2:43) by sponsoring ostentatious Kamya Karma (Chapter Three).
A Hitch: The Need To Study Chapter Four Before Chapter Three
Guru Krishna was elevated to the position of Lord of beings in Chapter Four of the Bhagavad Gita (4:6). However, if you study Chapter Three, in it Krishna is already acting in the capacity of Lord of beings, and it mentions what Krishna uttered (3:1-2) in Chapter Four. Besides, as we will read below, Chapter Four begins where Chapter Two left off. Therefore, originally Chapter Four, in which Brahmins were taken to task, must have come before Chapter Three in which Kshatriyas were chastised. The final editor switched around these chapters for reasons known only to himself, which has resulted in much unnecessary confusion for everyone, including Gurus, studying the Gita. Perhaps the purpose of doing this was to force confused students to take refuge in a Brahmanic Guru for a thorough brainwashing. Or perhaps the editor wanted brawny Kshatriyas to take the whippings first. We will identify many, many such deliberately devious tactics by the final editor of the Bhagavad Gita to confuse readers and thereby conceal the Upanishadic and Bhagavatha revolutions. To complicate matters even further, the final editor interpolated several Bhagavatha shlokas in these essentially Upanishadic chapters. I have eliminated them from this article to avoid making bad matters even worse.
Reforming Brahmins: Chapter Four
1. Krishna Declares That He Is The Author Of Yoga
Chapter Four begins by Krishna explaining the history of Yoga he had taught Arjuna in Chapter Two:
4:1-2: This Imperishable Yoga (Buddhiyoga of Chapter Two) I declared to Vivasvat (Sun god); Vivasvat taught it to Manu (the Lawgiver); Manu told it to Ikshvaku (the king who originated Sun dynasty). Thus transmitted in regular succession the royal sages (not Brahmins) knew it. This Yoga, by long efflux of time decayed in this world.
As you can see, now Krishna is not merely a mortal Upanishadic Guru, but he is the immortal divine Guru of Sun god Vivasvat. Besides, he confirms the fact that Kshatriyas, not Brahmins, transmitted this knowledge of Yoga, and that it fell into disuse over long period of time. Why? Because it was kicked upstairs as Shruthi by Brahmanic vested interests for over five hundred years before it was liberated from the clutches of Brahmanism and revealed in the Gita, a Smrithi.
When Arjuna expresses his puzzlement over Krishna being older than Sun god, the latter explains:
4:5-6: Many are the births taken by you, O Arjuna and me. I know them all while you know not, O Scorcher of foes. Though I am unborn, imperishable and the Lord of beings, yet subjugating my Prakriti (Gunas), I come into being by my own Maya (magic, illusion).
Now Krishna proclaims his supremacy over Prakriti, which was practically the ultimate divinity of Brahmanism. By claiming magical power to subjugate Prakriti, Krishna immediately asserted his supremacy over all Vedic gods, including Prajapati, who were subject to the Gunas of Prakriti (18:40). How did he accomplish this fantastic feat? Well, by his magic. No wonder all the Babas, Sadhus and Sanyasis wandering all over India fleecing naïve people by their magic are great Bhakthas of Lord Krishna the magician. Now, having conquered the supreme god of Brahmanism, he has gained authority to destroy Brahmanism and promote Upanishadic Dharma and no one could question him. In India no one questions magicians.
2. True Purpose Of Dharma
We read in shlokas 4:7-8 in the second paragraph above the true purpose of Guru Krishna’s elevation to godhood: To protect the good, destroy the evildoers and to establish Dharma. The true purpose of all Dharmas is to help people eliminate all deep-rooted evils in their hearts, such as Kama (lust), Krodha (jealous rage), Sanga (attachment), Moha (delusion), Mada (arrogance), Matsarya (envy) and Bhaya (fear, insecurity), and become good people so they could live in harmony and peace with others as equals in the civilized society. However, what today’s civilized society considers as evils were once essential tools for survival for evolving humans in the wilderness, and they became hard-wired into their psyche, and encoded in their genes, and became the life-preserving force, which Brahmanism called the Gunas of Prakriti, roughly Force or Quality of Nature. The roots of these “evils” go back to millions of years. The veneer of civility promoted by various rules, regulations, traditions and rituals of Dharma, which have been around for less than ten thousand years, temporarily moderates or covers up these tenacious evils. When tempted by circumstances, these evils resurface leading to evil acts. Brahmanism became Adharma because it fell prey to these evils rooted in the Gunas, lost the veneer of civility, encouraged selfishness (3:16) and evil acts (3:36-40) in the upper classes, and, falling prey to man’s impulse to dominate others, blatantly perpetrated injustice against the lower classes by means of Varna Dharma. When society reacts severely, these stupid and evil acts become the cause of self-destruction (2:62-63).
The Upanishadists correctly identified the Gunas as the source of these evils (3:28-29; 34, 36-40). The Upanishadic Dharma’s goal was to give the fallen upper classes Yoga as a tool to control these hard-wired, Guna-based evils, and learn to behave in a civilized manner towards others by seeing their own Self in others (6:29, 32). In this Dharma, unlike in Brahmanism, there was no room for selfishness and discrimination against others in the society as Brahman was the same in all (5:19). Upanishadism was trying to eliminate the decadent Brahmanic Dharma based on the Gunas (desire, attachment, possessiveness) and Karma (selfishly gaining this or that thing) and to establish a new Dharma resting on totally desire-less state known as Atman -which was nothing but the mind devoid of the evils; and Buddhi, which is the seat of moral values, noble virtues, sound reasoning, clear insight, good judgment, proper knowledge of the world within and without, and memory of lessons learned (experience). Archaic Brahmanism and enlightened Upanishadism were light years apart. Yet, Brahmanism claims Upanishadism as its part.
3. Krishna Offers His Divine Self As A Model Of Selfless Action
4:13-14: I created the fourfold Varna by the different distribution of Guna and Karma. Though I am the author thereof, know me to be eternal non-doer (I act so selflessly that it is as if I did nothing at all). Nor do my actions taint me (I am not bound by Karmaphalam), nor is Karmaphalam desired by me. He, who thus knows me (follows my example of selfless action), is not bound by Karma (does not earn any Karmaphalam).
This shloka has three main agendas: 1. Krishna, as Upanishadic Lord of beings, takes responsibility for creating Varna Dharma and so Brahmanism has no more say in it. 2. Since he created this system without any desire for fruit, any good or bad Karmaphalam arising from it will not taint him. He can also eliminate it without anyone questioning him. 3. Since he neither desires Karmaphalam nor earns it when he acts, he offers himself as a model of selfless action for Brahmins to emulate. In this shloka, Krishna is not promoting Varna Dharma like all Brahminic commentators claim. In fact, as we will read below, his goal is to destroy it by dismantling its very foundation: the Gunas and Karma. He is merely giving it as an example of selflessness in action. His goal is to convert hankering Brahmins into selfless Yogis. How do we know this to be the case?
4. Krishna Offers Brahmins A Refresher Course In Performing Yajna
4:15-17: Having known thus (that one should perform Karma neither desiring fruits nor gaining them) even the ancient seekers after liberation (from the debt of gods) performed Yajna; therefore you should perform Yajna as did the ancients in olden times.
In this shloka Krishna recommends that they should revert back to doing Yajna like ancient Brahmins did, merely to liberate themselves from the debt of the gods (3:10-14). The liberation mentioned here is not Moksha like Brahmanic commentators claim.
Even (contemporary) sages are confused as to what (proper) Yajna is (because they are deluded by their desire for and attachment to Karmaphalam) and what Akarma is (referring to disgusted Sramanas who gave it up). Therefore, I shall explain to you what (the right way of performing) Yajna is, knowing which you shall be liberated from the evil (of Karmaphalam). One must know the nature of (proper) Yajna, Vikarmanas (wrong Yajna, meaning Kamya Karma) and Akarma (no Yajna, as is the case with Sramanas), for inscrutable are the ways of Yajna.
The ways of Yajna, as created by Prajapati (3:10), are too complicated for these dull-witted ritual-obsessed Brahmins to understand. Therefore, Upanishadic Lord of beings will have to explain the three kinds of sacrifices: Proper way (the original), wrong way (Kamya Karma) and no way (Sramanas). Note here that thus far Krishna’s goal is limited to taking away the element of greed from Yajna. He does not want to shock them by dismissing Yajnas as useless all at once.
5. Perform Knowledge Sacrifice, Not Fire Sacrifice
Now Krishna attempts to replace Yajna with Yoga. He does this by using the term Brahmins are most familiar with: Yajna. He starts out by telling them to perform Jnana Yajna (Knowledge Sacrifice) instead of Dravya (material) Yajna. What is Knowledge Yajna? This is nothing but Jnanayoga in disguise. In this Yajna one sacrifices his deep-rooted evils noted above:
4:19-24: He whose actions (Yajnas) are all devoid of Sankalpa (design to gain Karmaphalam in Yajna) and desire for personal gains (“I want gold, cows, land”), and whose Karmaphalam are all burnt by the Fire of Knowledge of Atman (instead of gaining them in the Fire of Yajna), him the sages call wise (Jnanayogi).
Note here how Upanishadists use fire as metaphor. Fire of Kamya Karma earns Karmaphalam; Fire of Knowledge (Yoga) burns it. What else does one burn in the Fire of Knowledge?
Having abandoned attachment to Karmaphalam, ever content (with what he has), depending on nothing (such as fee), though performing Yajna, verily he does not do anything (does not earn any Karmaphalam). Craving for nothing (such as cows, gold, land), his mind and self controlled (being Buddhiyukta), having abandoned all possessions, performing Yajna by body alone (without emotional element such as Kama and Sankalpa for fruit), he incurs no sin (Karmaphalam).
Content with what he obtains without effort (manipulations and coercion), free from Dwandwam (“I like this, I don’t like that; I want this, I don’t want that”), without envy (“why does that Brahmin have more cows and gold than I?”), balanced in success and failure (“If I get it, fine; if I don’t, that is fine, too), though performing Yajna he does not earn Karmaphalam.
Of one unattached (to sense objects), thus liberated (from Dwandwam), with mind absorbed in Knowledge of Atman, performing work for Yajna (worship) alone (and not for personal gains), his entire Karmaphalam (both good and bad) melts away.
The basic goal of the above shlokas is to encourage Brahmins to give up their evils while performing Yajna. By removing any selfish motive in Yajnas, Krishna reduced them to meaningless petty rituals. So, Knowledge Yajna is nothing but Knowledge Yoga (Jnanayoga) by means of which one burns his hard-wired weaknesses one by one in the fire of Knowledge of Atman. His next step is to eliminate Yajnas entirely.
6. All Elements of Knowledge Sacrifice Are Made Up Of Brahman
4:24: The oblation is Brahman, the clarified butter is Brahman, offered by Brahman in the fire of Brahman; unto Brahman verily he goes who cognizes Brahman alone in his Yajna.
In this metaphoric Fire of Knowledge (Jnana Yajna), all its aspects are made up of all-pervading Brahman. In this Yajna there is no real altar, no real fire, no real oblation, no real ghee, no real burnt offering, no nothing. Whereas the goal of Kamya Karma was to please Vedic gods (Indra, Varuna, etc.) to fulfill one’s desires here on earth, the goal of Knowledge Yajna is to attain Bliss of Brahman here on earth (5:21). The performer of Kamya Karma goes to heaven of the Devas (or at least that is what he hopes) hereafter; the performer of Knowledge Yajna goes to Brahman hereafter, meaning he attains Nirvana. The remnant of Kamya Karma is whatever food is left after the Yajna (3:13); the remnant of Knowledge Yajna is whatever remains after a Yogi sacrifices the functions of the Senses, the Mind and the Intellect. That remnant (nectar) is Atman (4:31). What Krishna is telling these Brahmins is that instead of performing material Yajna take up Knowledge Yajna, that is Jnanayoga. He then gives them a list of “Knowledge Sacrifices” (4:25-30), which represent Yoga, all of which culminate in Knowledge of Atman.
7. Jnana Yajna (Jnanayoga) Is Superior To Material Yajna
4:33: Jnana Yajna (Jnanayoga), O scorcher of foes, is superior to material Yajna (sacrificing grains, ghee and animals). All Jnana Yajna in its entirety, O Partha, culminates in Knowledge of Atman.
Jnanayoga is superior to material Yajnas in which materials (ghee, animals, etc.) are sacrificed. Why? The side effect of material Yajna are Shokam, Dwandwam and Karmaphalam engendered by attachment to sense objects and Karmaphalam. Jnana Yajna has no such side effects (2:40).
8. Krishna explains to Brahmins The Benefits Of Jnanayoga
4:35: Knowing this, you will not again fall into this confusion (caused by the Gunas); by this (Knowledge of Atman) you will see the whole of creation (Brahman) in your Atman and in me. (Mundaka Up: 3:2:9: Aham Brahmasmi -I am Brahman).
This is the ultimate goal of Upanishadism: Seeing one’s own Self in everyone else and everyone else’s Self in one’s own Self (6:29, 32). Such a person develops ‘same-sightedness’ -Samadarsheenah- toward all living beings (5:19). This person is said to be Self-realized.
9. Krishna Teaches Sinful Brahmins How To Redeem Themselves
4:36: Even if you are the most sinful of all sinners (who have accumulated a lot of Karmaphalam by indulging in animal sacrifices, etc.), yet you shall cross over the (river of) sin by the raft of Jnana (of Atman).
Note here the metaphor of raft by which one crosses over the river of sin. This is a veiled reference to the flowing river of blood of countless animals routinely sacrificed at the altar of Kamya Karma.
4:37-38: Just as the blazing fire (of Yajna) reduces fuel to ashes, so does the fire of Jnana reduce all your sins to ashes. Verily there is no purifier in the world like Knowledge of Atman. He who is perfected in Jnanayoga realizes Atman in his own heart in due time.
The Fire of Kamya Karma merely burns fuel to ashes; the Fire of Knowledge burns all Karmaphalam and deep-rooted evils to ashes, because one neither desires nor gains fruits while performing it. In these and several shlokas, fire is often used as metaphor. By giving up desire, attachment, possessiveness, the Jnanayogi realizes Atman in his heart. The Upanishadic seers believed that Atman resided in the heart.
1O. Krishna Tells Skeptic Brahmins To Cultivate Faith To Counter Their Doubt
4:39-42: The man of Shraddha (Faith), devoted to the Knowledge of Atman, the master of the Senses (the Gunas), obtains the Knowledge of Atman. Having obtained that Knowledge he goes promptly to Peace Supreme (here on earth and hereafter). The ignorant (one who is deluded by the Gunas), the man devoid of Shraddha (to this Dharma), and the doubting self (ritualists) go to destruction (as explained in 2:62-63). The doubting self has neither (the Bliss of) this world, nor the next (Abode of Brahman). With work absolved in Jnanayoga, and doubts (about Atman arising from the Gunas) rent asunder by Knowledge of Atman, actions do not bind him (he earns no Karmaphalam) who is poised in Atman. Therefore, severing with the sword of Jnana this ignorance-born (Guna-born) doubt about Atman that is dwelling in your heart, be established in Jnanayoga. Stand up, O Bharata!
Note here how Upanishadists introduce a new concept “Shraddha” (Faith). This is the predecessor of Bhakthi of the Bhagavathas. We will read later how Brahmanism used Maya (Magic) and Shraddha (Faith) to delude the masses and make them unthinking zombies.
Reforming Kshatriyas: Chapter Three
We read in article # 9 how Guru Krishna laid down the Law to Kshatriya ritualists:
2:47: Your entitlement is only to perform Yajna, never at any time to its fruits (for fruits belong to the Devas, 3:10-14). Never be motivated by Karmaphalam when you perform Yajna (and if you do, you are thieves, 3:12); and yet never become attached to inaction (do not become Sramanas who do nothing useful at all.)
The questions arose: “If we have no right to its fruits, what is the point in performing Yajna? What are we to do with our boundless energy? Since we cannot become Brahmins, and we know no other trades, do we become Sramanas?” Just as he told Brahmins to perform Yajna like the ancients did in olden times (4:15), Lord Krishna tells Kshatriyas to do what they were supposed to do in the first place: Serve their subjects selflessly and guide them by exemplary behavior. He calls this Karmayoga.
1. Mere Sanyasa And Tyaga Are Not Enough For Perfection
3:4: By merely abstaining from Yajna one does not necessarily become free from Karmaphalam; nor does he attain perfection by renunciation (of sense objects) alone.
The point is Kshatriyas must do constructive work selflessly and guide their subjects if they want to redeem themselves.
3:7-9: He excels, Arjuna, who, restraining the Senses (desires, impulses and cravings) by the Mind (which is superior to the Senses), unattached (to wealth, power and heaven), willfully directs his Organs of Action to the path of (selfless public) work. Engage yourself in your obligatory Kshatriya duty, for action is superior to inaction, and if inactive, even mere maintenance of your body would not be possible. The world is bound by actions other than those performed (selflessly) for the sake of Yajna. Therefore earnestly perform your obligatory Kshatriya duty as if it is Yajna, but free from attachment.
The point is Kshatriyas are not helpless at all in the face of the Gunas as declared by Brahmanism in 3:5, 27, 33, and 18:59-60. They are quite capable of restraining their Senses (desires) and redirecting their energy. Now they can define the quality of their actions, not the Gunas.
2. Krishna Explains The Original Purpose Of Yajnas To The Ignorant Kshatriyas
3:10-12: Having created mankind in the beginning together with Yajna, (Vedic Lord of beings) Prajapati said: ‘By this you shall propagate; this shall be the milch cow of your desires (rains, food, etc.). Nourish the Devas with this (Yajna); and may they nourish you (with rains); thus nourishing one another, you shall reap the supreme good (of the society). Nourished by Yajna, the Devas shall bestow on you the enjoyment you desire.’ 3:14: From food beings become; from rain food is produced; from Yajna rain proceeds; Yajna is born of Karma (“sacrificial works”).
In the ancient times, this well-oiled Wheel of Yajnas was a quid pro quo system between the gods and people for mutual benefit and welfare of all in the society (5:25). It was not meant to fulfill selfish desires of just the upper classes.
3. If You Take Karmaphalam Of Yajnas You Become Thieves
3:12-13: A thief verily is he who enjoys what is given by the gods without returning them anything (for this is a breach of contract). The good that eat the remains of Yajna (as a sign of gratitude and humility) are freed from all sins (since they have not earned any Karmaphalam); but the sinful ones who cook food only for themselves (perform Yajna only for personal benefit), they verily eat sin (earn Karmaphalam). 3:16: He who does not follow on earth the Wheel thus revolving, sinful of life and rejoicing in the Senses, he lives in vain.
These Yajnas were not meant to be drunken barbecue parties.
4. Krishna ‘Upanishadizes’ Vedic Yajna
As he did in shloka 4:24, Krishna appoints Brahman as the object of Yajna in the place of Devas. Once Brahman enters into the equation, Yajna becomes Yoga.
3:15: Know Karma (sacrificial activities) to have risen from Brahma (Prajapati), and Brahma from the Imperishable (Brahman). The all-pervading Brahman (not Vedic gods) is, therefore, ever centered in Yajna
5. Krishna Now Drops The Bomb: Yajnas Are Useless To Enlightened People
Remember Krishna telling Brahmins the Vedas are useless to enlightened people (2:46, 52-53)? Now he tells Kshatriyas that Yajnas are useless to people whose satisfaction comes from within. Krishna’s message to Kshatriya ritualists is loud and clear: Go back to doing what you were supposed to do and serve your subjects selflessly and guide them.
3:17-19: But the man who rejoices in Atman, is satisfied with Atman, and is centered in Atman, for him verily there is no obligatory Yajna. For him there is in this world no object (wealth, power and heaven) to acquire by doing a sacrificial act; nor is there any loss by not doing a sacrificial act (since there was no desire for anything to start with); nor has he to depend on anybody (the Devas or their brokers, the priests) for anything. Therefore, constantly perform your obligatory (Kshatriya) duty without attachment (to fruits), for by doing so man verily obtains the Supreme (Brahman).
6. Krishna Gives Kshatriyas A Model To Follow
Just as he posed as the model of selfless action for fallen Brahmins to emulate (4:13), Krishna gives corrupt Kshatriyas Janaka, the king of Videha, Rama’s father-in-law in Ramayana, as an example to follow:
3:20-21: Janaka and others indeed achieved perfection by (selfless) action; having an eye to the guidance of men you should also perform (selfless) action. Others follow whatever a great man does; people go by the example he sets up.
Note here that even though Ramayana was well known at the time of composition of this shloka, Krishna does not recommend Rama as the model to follow. The obvious reason for this is that whereas king Janaka was a brilliant Upanishadic royal sage endowed with superb faculties of critical and freethinking (Brahadaranyaka Upanishad 4:1:1), Rama was quintessentially a Brahmanic Kshatriya, albeit a great wielder of weapons (10:31), who meekly and helplessly submitted to the dictates of Brahmanism. He was not above trickery in conflicts (as in the case of Vali-Sugreeva conflict), ruthlessness in dealing with the lower classes (as in the case of punishing Sudras for asserting themselves), and cowardly to boot before public opinion (as in the case of exiling his wife Sita). Also note here how Janaka and ‘others’ resemble Ashoka the Great in every respect.
7. Change People Only By Your Exemplary Behavior
Krishna tells Kshatriyas not to unsettle unwise, ignorant and dullard ritualists except by being models of exemplary behavior. All activists and reformers must heed to this advice. No one can change others without being models of rectitude themselves. All movements begin with self-improvement.
3:25-26: As the unwise (ritualists) act (perform Kamya Karma) from attachment to action (Karmaphalam), O Bharata, so should the enlightened (Karmayogi) act (do obligatory Kshatriya duties) without attachment, intending to maintain the welfare of the people.
Let not the wise man unsettle the mind of ignorant people (ritualists deluded by the Gunas) attached to (Kamya) Karma. Let them perform all Yajnas for their enjoyment while the wise man performs his actions in a disciplined manner.
3:29: Those deluded by the Gunas of Prakriti (ritualists) get attached to the function of the Gunas (desire, attachment and possessiveness). The man of perfect knowledge (Karmayogi) should not unsettle the dullards (ritualists) whose knowledge is imperfect (due to the deluding effect of the Gunas).
8. Know Your Mind
If one wishes to conquer the force of the Gunas, he would first need to know the hierarchy and function of various component of mind. We studied this in the article titled Upanishads Attempt To Reform Brahmanism. Krishna now teaches Kshatriyas the structure of the mind and how to destroy Rajas Guna, the Guna assigned to Kshatriyas:
3:42: The Senses are said to be superior (to the body and sense objects); the Mind is superior to the Senses; the Intellect is superior to the Mind; and what is superior to the Intellect is He (Atman).
9. Rajas Guna Is Your Enemy O Kshatriyas!
Arjuna poses a highly suggestive question:
3:36: But compelled by what irresistible force does a man, though unwilling, commit evil act?
Krishna identifies Rajas Guna as the foe of Kshatriyas. This is the Guna assigned to them by Brahmanism. Krishna gives a predictable reply:
3:37-40: It is Kama (lust for sense objects), it is Krodha (jealous rage against other Kshatriyas) begotten by the Rajas Guna, all consuming (like the fire of Yajna), all sinful (incurring Karmaphalam), know this (Rajas Guna) as the foe here on earth. As smoke envelops fire, as dust covers mirror, as womb surrounds an embryo, so is this (Knowledge of Atman) covered by that (Rajas Guna). Knowledge (of Atman) is covered, O son of Kunti, by this insatiable fire of desire (Rajas Guna), the constant foe of the wise. The Senses, the Mind and the Intellect are said to be its seat; by these it deludes man by veiling his Knowledge (of Atman).
Note here how smoke, dust and embryo are used as metaphor for the Gunas, which keep one in darkness (ignorance).
10. Slay Rajas Guna If You Want To Redeem Yourself
3:41: O Eminent of the Bharatas, first master the Senses (learn to say NO to your desire for, attachment to and possessiveness of sense objects), and slay Rajas Guna, the destroyer of Knowledge of Atman and its realization.
Anyone wishing to overcome Rajas Guna must train himself to say NO to his cravings for this material thing or that, and give up desire for fruit in his actions. How does one learn to say NO?
3:43: Knowing Him (Atman) as superior to the Intellect, restraining the self (Senses, Mind and Intellect) by Atman (which is totally desire-less), slay, O mighty armed, the enemy (Rajas Guna) in the form of desire, (which is very) difficult to overcome.
The trick to destroy Rajas Guna is to control the lower components of mind by means of the higher components. Once a Kshatriya gives up Rajas Guna, his thirst for power, wealth and heaven disappears and he becomes a royal sage like Janaka or Ashoka the Great. Note here how though Brahmins looked down upon Ashoka the Great as a fallen Kshatriya, Upanishadists would consider him as an ideal Karmayogi. In fact, several of Upanishadic shlokas in the Bhagavad Gita resemble Ashoka’s edicts. This is not surprising because most teachings of Buddhism were derived from the Upanishads.
The True Purpose Of Yogas In The Upanishadic Gita
As you can see these Yogas were not meant for Arjuna on the battlefield. No warrior in his right mind could go to war being a Sanyasi or Tyagi. A Kshatriya was expected to perform his duty (fight) for wealth, honor, glory and victory here on earth, or gain heaven if he died performing it (2:31, 37). This is the best advice for any warrior anywhere in the world. An Upanishadic Karmayogi, on the contrary, was told to fight without regard to victory or defeat, gain or loss, pleasure or pain, heaven or hell (2:38)! What is he fighting for? To him a clod, a stone and a piece of gold are the same (6:8). This is the worst advice for any warrior in any setting. A Brahmanic Kshatriya was expected to avoid dishonor among his peers (2:34-36). To an Upanishadic Karmayogi honor and dishonor meant nothing (6:7). He is the same to agreeable and disagreeable, censure and praise, honor and dishonor, friend and foe (14:24-25). Obviously, these Yogas were not meant for Arjuna the warrior, but were designed to reform corrupt upper classes of Brahmanism obsessed with gaining wealth, power, honor, glory and heaven.
Monumental Ignorance Leads To Nonsensical Commentaries
If you now read commentaries on Chapters Three and Four by Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya and Madhvacharya, or by anyone else such as Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, you will realize how senseless they come across for the simple reason that all of them are totally ignorant of a) the three distinct Gitas embedded in the text of the Bhagavad Gita: Brahmanic, Upanishadic and Bhagavatha; b) the three distinct pairs of doctrines: the Gunas and Karma of Brahmanism; Knowledge of Atman/Brahman and Buddhiyoga of Upanishadism; Lord Krishna as the Supreme Lord and Bhaktiyoga of the Bhagavathas; c) the three distinct contexts and goals: The goal of the Original Gita (Arjuna Vishada) was to stop the exodus of Kshatriyas (3:35; 18:48); the goal of the Upanishadic Gita was to overthrow decadent Brahmanism mired in Kamya Karma and Varna Dharma (2:39-53); the goal of Bhagavatha Gita was to destroy Brahmanism’s counterrevolution and end Brahmanism once and for all (18:66).
To these Acharyas and countless other commentators who blindly followed them, the Bhagavad Gita is a monolithic text, written in one stretch by one author (Vyasa), with one context (Mahabharata), with all three pairs of doctrines thoroughly scrambled for no particular reason, and Lord Krishna delivering his hodgepodge of Yogas to Arjuna on the battlefield to serve one goal -to motivate him to fight! If Brahmanism believed in its own doctrines, there would be no need for all these Yogas: 18:60: “Bound by your own Karma born of your Svabhava (Guna), that which from delusion (of Ahamkara) you wish not to do, even that you shall do helplessly against your own will, O Kaunteya!”
Nor, if I may add, were these commentators aware of the five distinct roles Krishna played in the text of the Bhagavad Gita: Prince Krishna of the Mahabharata (1:22), Guru Krishna of Upanishadism (2:7), Lord of beings of Upanishadism (4:6-8), Lord of beings of Brahmanism (17-1; 18:1-3), and Supreme Lord (Parameshwara) of the Bhagavathas (11:3). They have no clue that in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna comes across as one suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder: Saying one thing now and exactly opposite the next moment! Either they were totally unaware of the anti-Brahmanic tenor of the Upanishadic and Bhagavatha Gitas, or they simply did not want to acknowledge it: A denial of psychotic proportion. The result is cartloads full of nonsensical commentaries.
How Upanishadists Unwittingly Gave Brahmins Two Powerful Weapons
First, Upanishadists created a god endowed with the supernatural power, Maya (magic, illusion). Next, they created Shraddha (Faith) in the religion of that god. Even though these two concepts were created to reform the upper classes of Brahmanism, just as they used Ashoka’s negative image to beat him over the head, clever Brahmins used these two weapons to capture the minds of Hindus over the next two thousand years. To this day, people such as Sai Baba have effectively used these two weapons to make zombies out of even so-called intellectuals of India. Every day, ministers, bureaucrats, politicians, scientists, professors, doctors, software engineers, bankers, industrialists, businessmen, stockbrokers, NRIs and who is who of India go to him, patiently stand in line hoping to be called by him for a personal Darshan! Oh, what an honor it is even if he so much as glanced at them! Better if he produced a Swiss watch, a plastic Ganesha or some stupid ash by the sleight of his hand! Wonders of Maya and Shraddha -two great gifts Upanishadism gave to Brahmanism!
We will study in the next article how the incorrigible Brahmins used this very term -Shraddha- to beat Upanishadists over their heads (17:1); engineered a counterrevolution; reintroduced the doctrines of the Gunas and Karma into the text, neutralized Brahman and Yoga, and took back the Gita, which they considered legitimately theirs.
(To be continued)
Dr. Prabhakar Kamath, is a psychiatrist currently practicing in the U.S. He is the author of Servants, Not Masters: A Guide for Consumer Activists in India (1987) and Is Your Balloon About Pop?: Owner’s Manual for the Stressed Mind.