|Chapter 13||The Individual Consciousness and The Ultimate Consciousness||Verse 8, 9, 10, 11, 12|
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Now in order to elucidate at length the purely spiritual ksetra-jna as the object to be realised and its distinct difference from the previously described ksetra; Lord Krishna will enumerate in these five verses the means and path to realisation of the ksetra-jna beginning with the word amanitvam meaning humility not seeking recognition, adambhitvam means to be without pride, ahimsa is not causing pain to other living beings, ksanti is tolerance in the face of insults, arjava is uprightness and straightforwardness, acaryapasana means unreserved and unmotivated service to the Vaisnava spiritual master, sauca means purity both internal and external. In the Sandilya Upanisad beginning saucam ca dvividham prohitam refers to two types of purity. External purity is obtained by rubbing earth and water while internal purity is obtained by purification of the mind. The word sthairya means steadfastness on the path of righteousness by one who has accepted it, atma-vinigraha or control over the body and the senses which uncontrolled hinder realisation of the atma or immortal soul, vairagya indriyartha means renunciation of sense objects, ahankarah means relinquishing false ego and identification of the physical body as the self, dukha-dosa-anudarsanam means dispassion by pondering the misery of samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death in material existence, asakti means equipoise and non-attachment to wife, sons and other loved ones, anabhisvanga means remaining even minded to s what life gives whether evil or excellence befalls one, sama-citta means to avoid both happiness or distress by temporary external circumstances. The compound words avyabhicarini bhakti means unwavering, unalloyed loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna and realising the atma in all living beings, vivekta- desa-sevitam is fondness for performing austerities in solitary places, aratir jana-samsadt means indifference to mundane topics and mundane association. The words adhyatma-jnana nityatvam means always interested in spiritual knowledge and self-realisation and atma-tattva or knowledge of the immortal soul within. Continuously reflecting, contemplating and engaging one's total being in understanding the purpose and goal of human existence by comprehending the precise significance of various verses and conceptions in the Vedic scriptures to learn and realise the ultimate truth and upon achieving moksa or liberation from material existence to further attain the ultimate consciousness and eternal association with the Supreme Lord which is the highest apex of all existence. Thus these 20 virtues that have been described by Lord Krishna constitute the essence of knowledge for their attributes are the means which opens the way to this highest existence. Whatever is contrary to these 20 virtues of renowned excellence should always be rejected as it is understood to be ignorance and emphatically antagonistic to truth. This has been confirmed in by gone ages by great sages and seers such as Vyasa, Vasistha and Parasara.
Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:
In these five verses Lord Krishna defines the quintessential qualities and attributes to achieve the means to fulfil the highest purpose of human existence. Realisation of these 24 essential principles means knowledge through the experience of living them in conjunction with the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures. The Supreme Lord Krishna is the object of attainment for these essential principles and is the ultimate goal to be attained. Realisation through experience equates to imbibing and living these 20 principles. That by which things become realised is known as knowledge. Thus knowledge is known to be a means of realisation. Emphasis on jnana or knowledge is herein given as the goal for self-realisation.
Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Amanitvam is absence of desire for honour due to reverence and humilty. Adambhitva is lack of pride due to simplicity and absence of duplicity. Ahimsa is non-violence to others by thought, word or action. Ksantih is tolerance, forbearance even when antagonised. Arjavam is sincerity and straightforwardness even to those duplicitous. Acaryopasana is unmotivated devotion to the guru who imparts spiritual knowledge. Saucam is purity in thought, word and action to enable to qualify for spiritual knowledge. Sthairya is unwavering faith in the spiritual masters teachings from the Vedic scriptures. Atma-vinigriha is self control by withdrawing the mind from pursuits other than spiritual. Vairagyam is renunciation of activities unrelated to the soul. Anahankara is absence of false ego or misidentification of the physical body as the self. Anudarsanam is reflecting on the evils of birth and inevitable old age, disease and death. Asakti is detachment from over attraction to wife, sons and family members. Anabhisvangah is neutrality in both happiness and distress. Sama-citta is equipoise of mind in both favourable and unfavourable circumstances. Bhaktih is rendering exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna. Vivikta-desa-sevitvam is fondness for solitary places out in nature for inhabiting. Adhyatma-jnana-nityatvam is to be permanently established in knowledge of the soul. Tattva-jnana-darsana is contemplating the spiritual teachings of the Vedas to gain insight. Jnana refers to that knowledge where one can achieve atma tattva or realisation of the soul.
The aggregate of imbibing these 20 most excellent attributes facilitates atma tattva within the jiva or embodied being. Whatever is contrary and opposed to these 20 attributes is to be considered ignorance and detrimental to any real knowledge of the soul. Next the nature of the ksetra-jna or knower of the field will be delineated by Lord Krishna as was alluded to in chapter 10, verse 3 where He states: One who knows Me.
Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Having described the characteristics of the ksetra or field of activity, Lord Krishna enumerates the attributes that are required to qualify for knowledge of the nature of ksetra-jna or knower of the field of activity. The absence of desire for honour and the absence of pride imply both reverence for the Supreme Lord and absence of hypocrisy. Thus a person becomes righteous by only performing pious activities in accordance with the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures. Such a person automatically follows ahimsa or non-violence to any living being by thought, word or deed and possesses tolerance towards others with an unperturbed mind even if they are antagonistic. Straightforwardness without duplicity is another quality found in such a person and of paramount importance is rendering unmotivated devotion to the spiritual master who illuminates the path and guides the disciple to transcendental knowledge. The Mundaka Upanisad I.II.XII beginning parikshya lokan karmachitan declares: Accept an acarya or spiritual preceptor who is learned and established in the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. A preceptor is only a spiritual master when his knowledge is established in the Vedic scriptures, when he is pureof heart, when he has received Vaisnava initiation in a bonafide parampara or discipliic succession from an acarya devotee of Lord Krishna or any of His avatars or authorised incarnations, when he has learned sacred rituals and holy mantras from such a preceptor, when he is devoted to chanting the Supreme Lord Krishna's holy names and when he has full unwavering faith in the eternal truths of the Vedic scriptures as taught by his spiritual master and the knowledge of these truths is exemplified in his everyday life. Only such an exemplary person is qualified to be an acarya or spiritual master.
Purity both externally in the body by earth and water and internally in the mind by discrimination, removing the mental impurities which pollute the consciousness. This gives equipoise of mind in perturbing situations and obstacles on the path of moksa or liberation from material existence and also gives control over the body, mind and senses, keeping them from impetuously rushing down wrong paths prohibited by the Vedic injunctions. Acquiring a dispassion of disinterest in the sights and sounds of this world and even for the lure of delights in the heavenly planets. Absence identifying the body with soul and lack of false ego with concepts of I- ness and my-ness; or believing one is superior in some way arising from any transitory material conception such as believing one special because one comes from a noble and distinguished lineage. Without spiritual development these conceptions have no value. Reflecting continuously on the suffering and misery of material existence which is unavoidable because inherent in birth is the inevitable old age, disease and death and the perpetuity of this life after life. The Chandogya Upanisad VIII.XII.I beginning maghavanmartyam va idam states: Verily every jiva or embodied being is subject to pleasure and pain. Verily there is no exemption from pleasure and pain for any being while they are embodied. Verily when one is not incorporeal in a physical body pleasure and pain are not experienced. Avoidance of overly attachment to wife, sons and family members as well as wealth, home and property. Not agitated or unperturbed by lifes reversals, equipoise in favourable and unfavourable circumstances.
To have unwavering and unalloyed exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna and to worship His transcendental form both externally in the temple and internally within the heart. Fondness for living in secluded and holy places and avoidance of worldly minded people uninterested in spiritual matters with no attraction to the Supreme Lord. Because association with saintly persons is essential for spiritual development it is indispensable for one seeking to advance their spiritual life. There is an ancient dialogue between the sage Cyavana instructing King Nahusa where he tells him: One should associate with saintly persons. One should hear instructions from saintly persons. One should indulge in discussions with saintly persons and make friendships only with them; but never with the wicked who should be avoided completely. Association with saintly persons is the medicine to remove the disease of materialism but association with the wicked is just like poison.
Finally constant devotion to atma tattva or knowledge of the soul. That true knowledge regarding the soul that is entirely different from the physical body. Observing the Supreme Lord everywhere in everything as the means to surmount ignorance and gain endless bliss from liberation by His eternal communion. The 20 attributes declared in these verses are known to be knowledge and are the wisdom by which the Supreme Ultimate Truth can be realised. Whatever is contrary to these 20 attributes is known as ignorance and is destructive of wisdom leading to the Supreme Ultimate Truth and should by all means in every situation be avoided.