Discourse 6: The Third Chapter Begins – The Relation Between Sankhya and Yoga
Eṣā brāhmī sthitiḥ pārtha naināṁ prāpya vimuhyati, sthitvāsyām antakāle’pi brahmanirvāṇam ṛcchati (2.72). The Second Chapter of the Gita, which we have practically concluded yesterday, is the core of the teaching of the whole of the Bhagavadgita, which is elaborated in the subsequent chapters, from the Third onwards. Madhusudhana Saraswati, a commentator on the Bhagavadgita, has pointed out that the teachings of every subsequent chapter are a commentary on one or the other of the verses of the Second Chapter. The Second Chapter is pre-eminently important because the whole of the teaching is on Sankhya and yoga, whose basic principles have been explained during the past few days. If you can remember the details of the Sankhya and the yoga that we have covered during these days, as described in the Second Chapter, you would have noticed that it is a complete teaching on the highest way of spiritual living, wherein there is a rapprochement of the world, God, and the individual at the same time. The world, the individual and God are supposed to be three metaphysical principles on which it is that acharyas write commentaries, and on which it is that theories of philosophy are propounded.
This being the complete teaching, as it were, one who is established in this never gets confounded afterwards. Eṣā brāhmī sthitiḥ—virtually, the establishment of oneself in this understanding, vouchsafed through the Second Chapter, as we have described, is an establishment in the Absolute. It is a rooting of one’s consciousness in the total envisagement of values. “Therefore, O Arjuna, this knowledge that has been communicated to you up to this time is enough for you to get established in that Brahman. Once you are established in this, you will never have any mental confusion afterwards. Everything will be perspicacious, everything will be clear. You will see all things as if in a mirror.”
Even if a person is able to remain in this consciousness only during the last moment of life, that will do. It is good that we maintain a consciousness of this reality throughout our life, day in and day out; but the compassionate Lord says that even if this is not practicable for us, at least if we are conscious of this state at the time of the passing of the breath from this body, then we are blessed. Sthitvāsyām antakālepi brahmanirvāṇam ṛcchati: He shall attain to Brahman. So we can understand the importance of the meaning of the Second Chapter of the Bhagavadgita.
After having heard all this, a question that usually arises in the minds of common people also arose in the mind of Arjuna. Jyāyasī cet karmaṇas te matā buddhir janārdana, tat kiṁ karmaṇi ghore māṁ niyojayasi keśava; vyāmiśreṇeva vākyena buddhiṁ mohayasīva me, tad ekaṁ vada niścitya yena śreyo’ham āpnuyām (3.1-2): “You have been telling me that all action has to be based on knowledge; and the very value of action seems to be dependent on the extent of the Sankhya knowledge in which it is to be rooted. Your emphasis seems to be on Sankhya—knowledge. Then why is that You are goading me to action? Sometimes You say Sankhya, sometimes You say yoga, sometimes You say ‘do this’, sometimes You say ‘do that’; You are confusing my mind.” It is a very clear teaching. There was no confusion in what Sri Krishna said, but it had not entered the mind of Arjuna—as perhaps it has not entered the minds of many of us also. It cannot be remembered always.
Now Sri Krishna takes up the question of the relation between Sankhya and yoga, about which enough has been said in the Second Chapter. It has been mentioned again and again that all our activities have to be based on the knowledge of the Sankhya. But are they two different paths, or are they internally related to each other?
loke’smin dvividhā niṣṭhā purā proktā mayānagha
jñānayogena sāṅkhyānāṁ karmayogena yoginām (3.3)
na karmaṇām anārambhān naiṣkarmyaṁ puruṣo’śnute
na ca saṁnyasanād eva siddhiṁ samadhigacchati (3.4)
Sankhya and yoga, or knowledge and action, are mutually related in an organic fashion. When it was said that action has to be rooted in the knowledge of the Sankhya, the idea was not to bifurcate the adventure of life into two aspects. Sankhya and yoga are something like the two wings of a bird, or like the two legs with which we walk, or the two hands with which we grab and hold. They are complementary; and one being rooted in the other, or one being necessary for the other, does not imply any difference in the structure of Sankhya and yoga; it means that they are inseparable elements in the total perspective of life.
One cannot have merely an understanding of Sankhya in a theoretical sense minus involvement in the work of prakriti, or action; nor is it possible to be engaged only in action without its being rooted in the knowledge of Sankhya. If there is only an emphasis on Sankhya or only an emphasis on yoga, it is a one-sided emphasis in which knowledge remains a theory and action becomes blind. Unintelligent movement cannot be regarded as yoga. Yoga is an intelligently directed movement in a given fashion. We have already noted that the practice of yoga or the performance of action according to the mandates of the Sankhya is a graduated movement in the direction of larger and larger dimensions of universal existence.
The universality principle rules all actions that we perform, and also the extent of understanding that we entertain in our minds. Merely because we do not do something, it does not mean we have freed ourselves from the impulse to action. Na karmaṇām anārambhān naiṣkarmyaṁ puruṣo’śnute: Freedom from action is not achieved by a physical abstraction of oneself from the performance of action. Na ca saṁnyasanād eva siddhiṁ samadhigacchati: Nor by a mere act of renunciation of involvement in the world does one attain siddhi, or perfection.
We are involved in the world in a very, very mysterious manner. This involvement is actually the determining factor behind our correct way of approaching things. The involvement in the world is such that, as we have noted earlier, we are partly action bound on account of our psychophysical personality being constituted of the three gunas of prakriti. The mind is constituted of the tanmatras, and the physical body is constituted of the physical elements, so both the mind and the body are, in a way, tools in the intentions of prakriti, which is cosmic activity. Therefore, whoever has a mind or a body cannot totally abstain from action. It will be forced upon him because when the world moves, everybody in the world also moves. When the railway train moves, whoever is sitting in the railway train also moves. But yoga does not mean merely performance of action in a blind manner without understanding the rationale behind it. Reason is the philosophical aspect of action, and action is the implementation of reason. Both have to go together as complimentary aspects of a daily routine of our existence.
We have to pursue the course of prakriti, which moves in a process of evolution from lower stages to higher stages with the intention of producing the best species possible. Modern biologists and anthropologists tell us that prakriti—or nature, as they call it—is experimenting to find the best species possible. Nature experimented with the earlier, rudimentary forms of species. There were amphibians, there were aquatic animals, there were wild beasts, there were mammoths, there were dinosaurs, and there were wild human beings. With none of these was nature satisfied. There is a gradual intention of prakriti to produce the best product which, at the present moment, seems to be the human individuality.
It is generally accepted that man is the apex of creation and his intelligence represents the final point that one can reach in the understanding of things. Yet, man has to become superman. The intention of prakriti is not to allow man to be only man forever. The superhuman character implicit in human individuality has to be manifest through further processes of evolution—births and deaths; and in this work of prakriti of producing higher and higher forms of species, it is incumbent on us to participate. The Taittiriya and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishads tell us that the higher species of beings, which are invisible to our eyes, denizens of higher realms which are above the physical realm and, therefore, remain invisible—the Gandharvas, the Devas, Indra, Brihaspati—live in a larger dimension of consciousness. Their power is equally great, and their happiness is a millionfold greater than human happiness. Hence, participation in the work of prakriti is actually our participation in the work of educating ourselves in the direction of a larger knowledge that is available to us and which is our heritage, one day or the other.
Therefore yoga, when it is interpreted as a compulsory activity imposed upon the individual, becomes a necessary participation on the part of the individual in the work of prakriti for the evolution of higher and higher forms of existence. But, human individuals alone are capable of practising yoga. Subhuman species cannot understand Sankhya or yoga because there is a peculiar privilege, as it were, that is bestowed upon the human individual—namely, the worth of reason. There is a kind of mind instinctively operating in the lower animals also, but logic or reason is available only in the human being. That is, human reason can draw conclusions from existing premises, but animals, which are instinctive, cannot draw such conclusions.
The restlessness that we undergo in this world, and the pains that we suffer from, are the premises from which we can draw a conclusion that this is not a happy state of affairs and there must be a state of affairs which transcends this miserable state of existence. That we do not like to undergo pain of any kind, that we do not want to die, that we do not want any kind of sorrow, is a premise from which we can draw the conclusion that we are in a position to conceive the state where there is no sorrow, no pain of any kind, and not even death.
Thus, the prerogative of the human reason is that it is able to draw conclusions which far transcend ordinary sense perception. The senses cannot tell us that there is a possibility of the immortality of the soul. They can only tell us if there is an object of sense outside. But reason is not supposed to always play second fiddle to the sense organs. We have a higher reason and a lower reason. It is the higher reason that draws such conclusions which are capable of lifting us up from the ordinary experiences of life and enables us to have some premonition of the higher existences. The reason tells us that there is a possibility of attaining immortality. But the lower mind is completely conditioned by the sense organs. It is instinctive, and many a time we behave like animals when only the lower mind is predominant and is completely under the charge of the sense organs.
So we have two aspects of nature—the higher and the lower. In the Sixth Chapter of the Bhagavadgita we are told that the higher Self should rule the lower self. “The Self is the friend of the self and the Self is the enemy of the self” is what we are told in the Sixth Chapter. Which Self is the friend of which self, and which Self is the enemy of which self?
The higher Self enables the higher reason to infer immortal possibilities; the lower self is pure mentation and individuality. The higher Self is the friend of the lower self only if our instinctive action and our sensory activity are based on the inferences drawn by the higher reason. That is, in our daily activity we should not behave like unspiritual people. Even in the marketplace, our behaviour should be spiritual. Our higher Self should condition our lower mind which is purchasing vegetables in the market or going to the railway station, etc. It does not mean that we become different persons under different conditions. If this lower mind, which is the jivatva, is not able to accommodate itself with the demands of the higher reason which says that there is a possibility of immortal existence, then the higher Self becomes the enemy of the lower self—just as the law protects those who obey it but can be the enemy of an individual who disobeys it.
Hence, Sankhya and yoga represent two aspects of the behaviour of the human individual whereby there is participation in the work of prakriti in the process of evolution on the one hand, and there is an understanding as to where we are moving on the other hand. As I mentioned, Sankhya and yoga go together like two wings of a bird, as it were, and the bird cannot fly with just one wing. Merely abstaining from physical action is not inaction, because the mind may be acting. Our intention is the action. Our thought is the action. Our feeling is the action. The movements of our hands and feet are not action. If a person is inactive physically but is very active through the mind, he is verily performing action. But if a person has withdrawn his consciousness from the clutches of the sense organs and is conscious of the world as existing in an interrelated fashion, though he is aware of the world, he is not doing any action. Therefore, the mind is the criterion behind the action or the non-action of the individual concerned.
Another injunction that we have in the Third Chapter is that all action is binding unless it is performed as a sacrifice: yajñārthāt karmaṇo’nyatra loko’yaṁ karmabandhanaḥ, tadarthaṁ karma kaunteya muktasaṅgaḥ samācara (3.9). There is a very interesting anecdote from Bhagavan Sri Krishna in the Third Chapter, where he says: sahayajñāḥ prajāḥ sṛṣṭvā purovāca prajāpatiḥ, anena prasaviṣyadhvam eṣa vo’stviṣṭakāmadhuk; devān bhāvayatānena te devā bhāvayantu vaḥ, parasparaṁ bhāvayantaḥ śreyaḥ param avāpsyatha (3.10-11). When we were created by God, He created us together with an impulsion to sacrifice. Sacrifice means the cooperation that has to come from us in respect of other beings in the world. We have to necessarily cooperate with the demands for an equal type of existence from other beings also, whether they are superhuman, human or subhuman. We have to be in harmony with the requirements of the gods in heaven. We have to be in harmony with the requirements of other people in this world. We also have to be in harmony with the requirements of animals in the jungle; we cannot ill-treat them. We cannot ill-treat human beings or even ignore their existence.
Prajapati, the Creator, appears to have created individuals with an injunction that they will survive only by sacrifice. If we are not able to do any kind of sacrifice by way of cooperation with another, we will not be able to survive; our existence as persons will be annihilated. The survival instinct in every individual also implies the recognition of an equal survival instinct in other people. If we want to survive, others also want to survive; and if we want to survive in a qualitatively good manner, others also would like to be equally good qualitatively. We would not like to be servants of somebody, which is to say that we qualify our existence and we would not be satisfied if we are merely permitted to survive. Would we like to survive like pigs or like persons who are ostracised from society? Therefore, permission to survive is not enough. The quantity of survival has to be qualified by another thing, which is the satisfaction that we gain. Hence, we have to be considerate enough in respect of other beings, including subhuman beings, that whatever be the manner in which our survival instinct operates, we must have the capacity to appreciate that the survival instinct operates equally in them. That is, we cannot interfere with the life of another individual. That is the meaning of cooperation.
We cannot consider any human being as a means to an end. Nobody is a means to an end; everybody is an end in itself. The whole universe is a kingdom of ends—which is to say, the whole universe is filled with Self. The end is nothing but that to which everything gravitates. The servitude that we are imposing upon some lesser individual is nothing but the manner in which we are trying to assert ourselves as an end, and using the other person as a tool. But that person is not really a tool; that person is also a self. The person has become a servant due to unfavourable social conditions; but when favourable conditions prevail, the self will rise up and assert itself as an end, and will want you to be a servant. So there can be an evolution and a revolution taking place in nature.
Therefore, Prajapati, when he created human beings, made it necessary for us to be in a state of harmony with other people, with the things in the world, and also with the gods in heaven. The gods in heaven are actually a theological point that Sri Krishna introduces into the concept of sacrifice—that is, we will not be able to extend a servicing hand to others, nor will we be able to recognise the value in other persons and things, unless the gods in heaven permit us to have this consciousness.
What are these gods in heaven? This is very difficult to understand. The Vedanta philosophy tells us that every limb of the body is controlled and directed by some god. There are nineteen principles operating in the body. There are the five organs of perception or knowledge: the eyes, ears, nose, taste and touch. There are also five organs of action such as the hands, feet, speech, etc. The five organs of knowledge and the five organs of action total ten. Then there are the five pranas—prana, apana, vyana, udana and samana—which are the fivefold various functions of the breath in us which function in various ways in the body. So ten plus five is fifteen. Then we have the psychological organs—manas, buddhi, ahamkara and chitta—which perform a fourfold function. Manas merely thinks, chitta remembers, ahamkara arrogates, and buddhi understands. Fifteen plus four is nineteen—the nineteen principles operating in the body.
Ekonaviṁśati-mukhaḥ (Ma.U. 3) is the word that is used in the Mandukya Upanishad. This god that is operating through the individual has nineteen mouths—ekonaviṁśati is nineteen—so it is with these nineteen mouths that we come in contact with things in the world. That is, the sense organs, which are mentioned as nineteen, are the operating media conducted by higher divinities. The Vedanta Shastra tells us that the eye is conditioned by Sun, the nose by the Aswinis, the tongue by Varuna, the tactile sense by Vayu, the ears by the Dik Devatas, the speech by Agni, the mind by Moon, the chitta by Vishnu, the ego by Rudra, the buddhi by Brahma, and so on. So what remains in us apart from the contributions made by these gods? Considering the fact that even the physical body is made up of the building bricks of the five elements, and the sense organs being conditioned by these gods, where are we existing individually? We are living a borrowed existence, as it were—physically, psychologically, socially, and in every way.
The ordinance of Prajapati is that we have to consider the fact of our mutual involvement with not only people outside, not only with nature as prakriti, but also with the gods in heaven. The gods will bless us. Actually, the blessing of the gods is nothing but the recognition of there being a conscious element connecting us with other people. The perception of an object through the eyes is not possible unless there is a superintending conscious medium. For example, you are seeing me here. This knowledge of the fact that I am here does not arise through your eyes, though you are looking at me with your eyes and it appears as if your eyes are telling you that I am here. The eyes are physical eyeballs which can even be removed, so it is not the eyes that tell you I am here.
Then what else is it that tells you that I am here? You have not entered into me; you are sitting far away from me. There is a physical distance between us. If the distance precludes your knowledge of my existence here, and the eyes and the sense organs are physical in their nature and, therefore, cannot know that I am here, there must be something else which is consciously operating. The connecting link between me and you should be a conscious connection. There cannot be only a connection of space and time. There is something like space and time between us of course, but space and time are unconscious principles and, therefore, cannot become the media of your knowing that I am here. Even light is not a conscious element, so you cannot say that you know that I am here because of the light. None of these objects of your perception can be the media for your knowing that I am here. There is an unknown principle superintending all things, a permeating principle—yena sarvam idaṁ tatam (2.17)—which pervades all things; it pervades you, it pervades me, and it also pervades that link between us.
Thus, the gods whom we have to respect and worship every day, by way of the ritualistic worship that we perform either in our house or in a temple, are nothing but an inner recognition of there being a higher principle than ourselves, than others, than even the whole world. With this knowledge, we live in this world by mutual sacrifice, mutual understanding and mutual cooperation among the world, ourselves and God. This is the principle of karma yoga finally, where we can be sensible human beings, worthwhile individuals in the eyes of not only other people but also in the eyes of the gods themselves.
This is a very intricate subject, and not everyone in the world can be taught this knowledge, because people are in different states of evolution. There are varieties of human beings. There are human beings who eat other human beings; they are called cannibals. There are human beings who are not as bad as cannibals, but they are intensely selfish and say, “Tit for tat. If you are good to me, I’ll be good to you. If you are bad to me, I’ll be bad to you.” There are others who will be good to you even if you are bad to them. Higher than this is the saint who lives a holy life of the consciousness of God. Still higher is the sage who is established in God. Hence, even among human beings there are levels, so we cannot give the same teaching to every human being, as it will not be possible for them to absorb it.
Those in the higher stage should not condemn people who are in lower categories and follow one view of life. This is what the compassionate Lord says: saktāḥ karmaṇyavidvāṁso yathā kurvanti bhārata, kuryād vidvāṁs tathāsaktaś cikīrṣur lokasaṁgraham (3.25). We should not think that we are superior to a child that babbles and crawls. Its existence is as valuable and as meaningful to the cosmos as ours, so we must cooperate with it. Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj was like that. If a child came, he would behave like a child; if a sick man came, he would appreciate him; if a rich man came, he would appreciate him; if a dancer came, he would appreciate the dance; if a musician came, he would appreciate the music; if a scholar came, he would talk on philosophy. Whatever be the object in front of the sage, that is reflected in his mind. A sage never considers himself to be superior to others.
The world is not made up of superior and inferior items. In this large machinery of the cosmos, which part can be considered as superior and which part inferior? A nut and bolt in a machine is as important as a pulley or an engine. The wheel of a car is as important as the engine. Hence, those who are blessed with the knowledge of total detachment from involvement in objects, and are established in Sankhya and yoga, should encourage other people to move in the right direction, and should not condemn them. As a matter of fact, we should behave as other people behave.
The great sage does not put on airs. He behaves like a normal human being. He is not an opponent of the existing conditions of life. He is a reformer by the harmonising features that emanate from him, and he does not become a source of conflict. There is no condemnation or sense of inferiority towards others. There is a systematic method in the process of education that gradually takes the child up from the state in which it is; and the best teacher is he who does not tell what he knows but tells what is necessary for the student. He must be able to appreciate the condition of the student, the stage in which he is or she is, and his teaching should be commensurate with the degree of the knowledge of the student. Then only is there a rapport between the teacher and the student.
Digressing a little from the great subject of Sankhya and yoga, Sri Krishna says there should not be an airing of knowledge. The higher we are, the simpler should we look. The greater we are, the smaller we should appear to people; this is a saint. Nobody can know that the saint is a great man, because he does not appear as a great man. In this context, Sri Sankaracharya says in his commentary on the Brahma Sutras that he is the knower of Brahman, by looking at whom, nobody will know whether he is a fool or an intelligent man, whether he is a good or a bad man, or what kind of person he is. Nobody will be able to assess what kind of person he is. Such a person is a Brahmana, a knower of Brahman.
Let your knowledge be inside you, as a guide, as a lamp for others, but never use it to prop up your ego and then project your individuality through that knowledge. Let not your knowledge be broadcast. The light will shine by itself even if it is covered with bushes and, therefore, your existence itself will speak in a louder voice than the words that you speak. Your way of living, your thinking and feeling, your mode of behaviour is your teaching, so let not there be any parading of knowledge. Knowledge makes a person humble; and when you reach the highest knowledge, you become so humble you do not seem to be existing at all because your knowledge has pervaded the hearts and souls of all people. You become what the Bhagavadgita calls sarvabhūtahite ratāḥ (5.25), a person intent on the welfare of everyone. You are a friend of the higher and the lower, the good and the bad, the king and the beggar, the animal and the fool. You are a friend of all, and nobody will show teeth or claws before you because of your being a friend.
Let not anybody know what kind of person you are. Let the Almighty know, it is enough. If all the world knows what you are and God does not recognise you, it is nothing for you; but if you are not known to the world at all and you are known to some central principle of the universe, that is enough for you. He who is last here will be the first in heaven, and he who is first here will be the last there.
Do not always occupy the front seat. You can sit further away. It is said that where the Ramayana Katha is going on, Hanuman appears as an old man sitting near the shoes. Live like a deaf and dumb man, like a man who knows nothing. This state of affairs, this kind of attitude of not exhibiting oneself—not being presentable in any manner whatsoever, looking like a deaf and dumb person or a person with no understanding at all—is the characteristic that the body assumes automatically when the knowledge heightens, like with Jada Bharata.
Jada Bharata was a great saint who is mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana. He was the son of Rishabhadeva. He would not talk at all; people thought he was an idiot. He would not do any work. His brothers told him to tend cattle, but he would simply allow the cattle to go into anybody’s field and eat the harvest. So they told him to remain quiet and not do any work at all. He would not talk. He was a very well-built person, but he looked like an idiot sitting somewhere in a corner. One day some dacoits caught hold of him. They wanted a person to be offered as a sacrifice to Kali, the devata whom they were worshipping. They thought that here is a well-built man who does not talk, so they took him. They tied him up and dragged him into the Kali temple, where they were about to offer him in sacrifice. When the sword was lifted by the priest, the Kali murti burst open, and the divinity rushed forth and grabbed the sword from the hand of the dacoits, destroyed them, and vanished. Can you imagine such a possibility? This is how the shakti which Jada Bharata maintained operated. It could draw energy from a stone. This is only a small digression from the main subject. Sri Krishna’s point is that a person who is wise should not show his wisdom too much before other people. Let him be humble. He may be an educating medium to others to take them higher and higher from the stage in which they are, and not suddenly make them jump into higher realms.
Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ, ahaṅkāravimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate (3.27). We again come back to the main subject. As prakriti is doing all things—the gunas of prakriti are mutating in a cyclic fashion—therefore, it becomes obligatory on our part to act. He who imagines that he is doing the action is really in the state of highest unwisdom. From where then comes the question of our individually participating in a work? We are actually participating cosmically, as an agent of the cosmos, as it were—like an ambassador of a government does not act independently, and only represents the government which has deputed him for a particular purpose. Similarly, we become instruments in God’s hand. We act like ambassadors of God. The ordinance of God is to be in our minds always, and we should never think that we are acting independently. Suppose the ambassador starts behaving as if he is an independent man, as if he is the government himself, then the whole purpose will be defeated. No individual has the right to project the ego to such an extent as to feel that he is doing or she is doing; and if anybody feels that way, that is the height of unwisdom. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ, ahaṅkāravimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate: This sense of agency, or doership, is our undoing.
We have learnt many scriptures, listened to many lectures, studied the Bhagavadgita and the Ramayana and the Bhagavata, but each one of us should get up in the morning and sit for a few minutes and feel: “How far has this teaching gone into my very blood and veins? How many times do I get angry?” The spiritual diary of Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj is a very, very important check that will keep us on track. “How much time have I idled away? How many minutes have I spent in unnecessary gossip and chat? How many minutes have been spent in undesirable company? How many minutes have I spent in telling non-truths, etc.?” These are the checkpoints in the diary that is to be maintained by us. Otherwise, the ego will again and again assert itself, and all our knowledge of the Gita will be buried underground because if whatever knowledge we have gained through our intelligence and through our understanding does not soak itself into our feeling, there will be no blending of our character.
Knowledge is the way in which we are living. Knowledge is not a theoretical book-learning. It is not a certificate from a college. It is the very way and behaviour in which we conduct ourselves in life—not only in respect of ourselves, but also in respect of other people, and perhaps even in respect of God Himself.
How difficult is this teaching! The comprehensiveness of the teaching is so profound that the fractional thinking that the mind is accustomed to will find it very hard to grasp. A total thinking is required of us in the understanding of the Bhagavadgita and the Upanishads, but we are always accustomed to fractional thinking. When we think of one thing, we do not think of another thing. It is necessary for us to think of one thing together with all other things, which are also related in a holistic fashion.
There is a modern system of psychology which has now discovered that the mind works in a holistic fashion. Though it looks as if we are thinking one or two thoughts at a time, the other thoughts which are buried or implicit, and which are not actually on the surface of the mind, have some impact on the present thought, and they condition us so that our actions are not entirely faultless. If our actions are motivated or directed only by one or two thoughts, and we completely ignore the presence of other aspects of our thought, our actions will not be faultless. Sarvārambhā hi doṣeṇa dhūmenāgnir ivāvṛtāḥ (18.48): Every action is subject to some mistake. As where there is fire there is smoke, there is some mistake involved in everything that we do because whenever we act, whenever we do anything, we use a part of our mind because of the fact that we work on the basis of a notion of like and dislike. We have partitioned the world into two blocks: the necessary and the unnecessary.
Hence, the Bhagavadgita teaching becomes necessary for such fractional thinkers. A high standard of purification of the mind is necessary by the yamas and niyamas, as Patanjali puts it, and the Sadhana Chatushtaya, as the Vedanta Shastra puts it. Suddenly jumping into the meditative techniques of the Bhagavadgita will not take us any further unless our mind is prepared for it and we are really asking for God.