Talks on the Gita -Vinoba 177

Chapter 15
82. The Way of Bhakti Is Not Different From the Way of Efforts

3. There are three brothers in the Ramayana: Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Bibhishana. Kumbhakarna is the embodiment of tamas, Ravana that of rajas and Bibhishana that of sattva. The drama of the Ramayana with these three characters is being continuously enacted inside our body. In this drama, Ravana and Kumbhakarna ought to be killed. Only the Bibhishana-principle, provided it takes refuge at the feet of the Lord, may be nurtured, as it can help our progress. We saw this in the Fourteenth Chapter. This has been repeated at the beginning of the Fifteenth Chapter: Cut down the samsara tree full of sattvarajas-tamas by the axe of detachment. The Gita is thus placing before us the ideal of the lotus flower.

4. In the Indian culture, the best and the noblest things in life are described using the simile of the lotus. The lotus is the symbol of Indian culture. It expresses the most elevated thoughts. It is clean and pure and remains unsoiled by the mud around. Sanctity and detachment are its distinguishing characteristics. Different organs of the Lord are, therefore, described employing the simile of the lotus: He has lotus-eyes, lotus-feet, lotus-heart and so on. It is meant to show and impress on us that everywhere there is beauty, holiness and detachment.

5. This Chapter is intended to take to its consummation the sadhana described in the last Chapter. This consummation takes place when bhakti and Self-knowledge are combined with effort. Bhakti is also a part of effort. Bhakti and Self-realisation are parts of the same spiritual discipline. The Vedic sage says, ‘यो जागार तं ऋचः कामयन्ते यो जागार तमु सामानि यन्ति’ ‘Vedas love him who is awake; they come to meet him.’ It means that jnana and bhakti come to him who is awake. Bhakti and jnana are not different from the effort. They, in fact, make the effort interesting and add flavour to it. This is what this Chapter intends to show. Grasp with full concentration the nature of jnana and bhakti that is revealed here.


References and Context