Review of “The Wise & the Otherwise” – Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 – Free Public Talks in Brisbane Australia – 31st March to 4 April 2019
Pujya Swami Swaroopanandaji discoursed on the last 18 verses (Verse 54 to 72) of Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Geeta, from the 31st of March to the 4th of April, under the title “The Wise and The Otherwise” in Brisbane Australia. Providing a context to the discourse, Pujya Swamiji explained that the pursuit of happiness from worldly pleasures was and continues to be the motivation for all human action. Not realising that whatever a person seeks temporally is all but fleeting moments of happiness that is temporary, one’s mind is in a constant state of agitation until the fulfilment of the desire. Once the desire is fulfilled, it leaves a strong impression or Vasana in one’s mind that keeps leading one’s senses to more pleasures and the cycle repeats all over again. With the intellect subdued by the ascendancy of desire fulfilment, a person is never at peace.
Pujya Swamiji explained that the verses to be discussed, dealt with Lord Krishna’s explanation to Arjuna’s question as to who is a Sthithaprajna, a person established in Yoga, perfect in mind and action, and how such a person carried on in the midst of the worldly temptation and desires. Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna that a person who is free from desires, likes and dislikes, and has the senses fully controlled is ever established in knowledge and peace.
Elaborating on this, Pujya Swamiji explained that attachment is the root cause of all desires and the pursuit of temporal happiness. In such a pursuit of impermanent happiness, driven by attachment, a person’s intelligence is led astray by the senses and the mind is in a constant state of turmoil.
Pujya Swamiji drew upon Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s poetic metaphor of how each of the animals, endowed with a preponderance of one of the five senses, meets its end in the slavish pursuit of happiness resulting from attachment to just one of those five senses and how much more compounding and tragic would a human’s pursuit of sense gratification be, when endowed with a preponderance of all the five senses.
As Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna, Pujya Swamiji conveyed that there can be no permanent happiness from temporal pleasures. With the senses subdued and by being oblivious to the objects of the senses, one should carry out the tasks with a sense of duty, free from attachment, and not disturbed by the results. It is only by restraining one’s sensual pursuits and seeking that permanent happiness that can be had from the realisation of the peace and quietude within oneself and by meditating on the Lord that the mind becomes free from all the emotions and becomes established in knowledge and peace.
On behalf of all the Brisbane Chinmaya Sevaks and attendees, I thank Pujya Swamiji for visiting Brisbane and sharing the import of the divine conversation between Lord Krishna and his disciple, Arjuna, in a simple and effective manner, interlaced with anecdotes, leaving us with no doubt that the teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjuna are timeless and ever relevant to humanity.