The most important personality who influenced the society to adapt to the transcendental theories of the Vedas was Sri Krishna.  Legend says that he was born in a prison and did not enter a school of academic learning until he was fourteen years of age.  It appears that during his early years in school life he did come up with the emphatic revelation that the universe must have an origin and because of such origin everything in the universe must be related.  The Vedas do hint about this stating that the Creator created the universe and then became a part of it by entering into the creation.  But Krishna went steps further; he declared that the Creator is infinite in content and extent, and that every living entity carries a life force which itself is infinite in concept and extent.  The corollary of this revolutionary thought was that the path of discovering the Creator is towards the inner sanctum of the living entity than doing any exploration outward.


By analyzing further, he concluded that the human life though appears to be significant while it exists, has to be trivial in the larger concept of the cosmos.  Thus he agreed with the Sankhya assertion that the individuality is a feeling of the mind and is not the truth of life.  The shallow feeling of the individuality wraps the individual with vanity thus creating a distorted view of the true self.  He made the brilliant enunciation that our physical and mental pleasure or pain is only a limited outcome in the perception of our local existence; our true self remains always in bliss.  The true self is pristine all the time (nitya) and is insulated from the local events of win or loss.   Since the society was entrenched with the procedures of rituals in looking for means to alleviate pain or postpone the eventual death, his statement that the pain or death happens to be a perceptual illusion was a radical departure.


Though possibly he took his cues from Sankhya, his analysis was more empirical and sharper.  He observed that the pain in life is due to the perception of the senses and a scare of ineptitude that builds up when we are confronted with a task.  We become nervous to perform the task because we think more of the outcome than the execution.  In isolating the outcome from the process, Krishna made the important and powerful observation that at any given moment an individual has only the ownership of the process and not of the outcome.  The outcome is a larger product based on the dharma in the universe, to which the individual has little access and trivial understanding.  Hence it is futile to speculate the future than perform to one’s excellence in the present task.


While the separation of the process from the outcome made sense, he was confronted with the problem of the definition of a task.  Every day there are scores of tasks that show up pulling us in different directions; how do we know which task to pick up?  Is there a right task?  This is where Krishna brought individuality back into the analysis stating that we are conditioned by our individuality and so, every scene or object is perceived by us through oursvabhAva, and not by the bhAva of the scene or the object.  Because of our svabhAva we are apt to have a diversity of views;  no unique course of action can be designated.  Each of the views can contest with each other, conflicts may arise depending on the strength of the views; and eventually the dharmawould triumph.  In such analysis, whatever happens is indeed real and everything that happens is a part of the grand design to sustain the universe by the rules created, engineered and played in by the unseen Creator.


But there is a catch.  We said the part of the theory is that the Creator is inside each of us and is not necessarily external.  So in principle we can influence the course of our action by being in communication with the Creator, which is supposed to be hiding in our inner self.  He used the label yoga for such communication. The word in Sanskrit means a linkage or a connection.  So he asserted that it could be possible that we can release ourselves from oursvabhAva and soak ourselves in the universal bhAva that could reveal itself to us.  Given this as the basis of the theory, he proceeded to devise methods that people may adopt such that they can transition from their svabhAva to the universal bhAva.  As we have said earlier the universal bhAva contains the truthfulness built into each object like the humanity built into each human being. In the universal bhAva, we immerse ourselves not in touch and feel of the flower, but in the beauty of the flower; not in the touch and feel of our life, but the beauty of our life.  The universal bhAva has no physicality.  When manifested, the bhAva carries the object (bhUta) qualities and becomes svabhAva.


If we understand the thesis so far correctly, we can understand that Krishna’s assertion of yoga is a call for individuals to go beyond their physicality and relish the infinite expanse of bliss and joy pertained in the universal bhAva.  Given where we are in our svabhAva, he prescribed four paths for people to follow in order to discover the true self.  The first path is plain work, just keep on doing, sincere and industrious, don’t look back and forth, be in the present, always perform to your endowed excellence.  He gave it the label Karmayoga.   Never look for the results, never have an expectation.  His assertion was that we are propelled to work anyway; all we can do is give our best.  Die we must, but we died after giving our best.   We are truthful to our perception in the present.  This thought has influenced many people in the world, the most well known in the recent history is the path of Gandhi.


The second path he declared is one of love, interpreted as devotion, in Sanskrit the label is bhaktiyoga .  This path assumes that others exist and you are offering yourself and your resources for a cause that is dear to you.  Love is service and we serve.  The offering of our service is spontaneous and not engineered to gain favors.  The difficulty in the path is to remove the “I”ness in the service rendered and keeping a memory.  Here the assertion is that the love in our heart is infinite and does not dry up by giving.  Resources get created through the power of love and we never have any wants as we offer our love.  We don’t distinguish between the recipients and we carry compassion and friendship to all.  We become loving individuals who love all, including those who may not love us.  We discover that the universal bhAva is love and it is love that sustains the universe.  Many people on the earth have followed and refined this message; the foremost as we know is Jesus Christ two thousand years ago.


The third path deals with the mind and disciplining it with restraint, the Sanskrit label is samyamayoga, popularly called Rajayoga.  Samyama is a purification of our sense and mind aberrations such that we are purposeful in our pursuit.  The logic here is to depart from the temporal gains such that we can visualize the permanence; we divorce ourselves from the scare of our mortality but perform our actions with conviction and authority of permanence (nitya).  The path declares that we must restrain ourselves from our sensual allurements but every time act with discrimination and high acuity.  We must not have any duality in our mind and thought, but perform every action with our heart and mind together.  Connecting our mind to our heart is the technique of meditation and is achieved by regular exercises and good physical health. We need a healthy heart that has disciplined rhythm.  Mind’s aberrations are overridden by the healthy heart and this is the restraint we look for.   The technique of meditation has been adopted in all world cultures, one of the early pioneers being Gautama Buddha some two thousand five hundred years ago.


The final path and possibly the most difficult one is the one to do with knowledge, the Sanskrit label being jnAnayoga.  Knowledge here stands for curiosity, a thirst to know the truth.  It is an exploration inside and out to check if the world is real as it looks or if there is a different world hidden under.  It is a desire on our part to discover if we perform through our will or if we are the means through which the Divine Will performs its play.  If it is the former, where does our work lead us to; if it is the latter, can we nail down to discover how Divine will operates.  The assumption here is that the key to knowledge is inside of us and we have to discover it by analysis and discrimination.  The difficulty here is that the advance in our understanding could be extremely slow and we can tire out in our life without any visible success.  Krishna himself was a follower of this path; he announced that all pursuits in knowledge need a rejection of all acquired knowledge such that one can contemplate with an open mind.  People to follow the path of knowledge are few and far between, the latest known person was Shankara in india around 800 AD.


Sri Krishna’s message was possibly orally retained and eventually recorded in Bhagavadgita which becomes the part of the epic Mahabharata as we know today.  We will analyze further on these paths as we move further.


Let Sai bless all.

Bijoy Misra