Talks on the Gita -Vinoba 159

Chapter 14
75. Analysis Of Prakriti[1]

1. Brothers, the Fourteenth Chapter, in a way, complements the last Chapter. The Self has really nothing to achieve. It is complete and perfect in itself. The natural movement of the Self is upwards. But just as any object is dragged down by a heavy weight tied to it, the Self is pulled down by the body. We saw in the last Chapter that progress is possible if, by some means, the body and the Self could be separated. This is certainly difficult, but the reward that we shall have will also be great. If we could break the fetters of the body that bind the Self, we shall experience a great joy. Then the suffering of the body would not make us miserable. We would then be free. Who can rule over a man who has conquered his body? One who rules himself is the master of the universe. Therefore, end the domination of the body over the Self. The pleasures and pains of the body are all alien; they have absolutely no connection with the Self.

2. I had given the example of Jesus Christ to give an idea of the extent to which the pleasures and pains of the body should be separated from our Self. Christ shows how peaceful and cheerful one should be even when the body is succumbing to death. But, separating body from the Self needs discernment on one hand and restraint on the other. Tukaram has spoken of ‘विवेकासहित वैराग्याचें बळ’ (Strength of non-attachment in association with discernment). Discernment and non-attachment (vairagya), both are necessary. Non-attachment means, in a sense, self-restraint and endurance. The Fourteenth Chapter shows how we could proceed towards self-restraint. The oars propel the boat, but the rudder sets the direction. The oars and rudder, both are necessary. In the same way discernment and self-restraint, both are needed to separate the Self from the bodily pleasures and pains.


References and Context

  1. Please see footnote in Chapter 2.13