amaanitvamadambhitvamahimsaa kshaantiraarjavam |
aachaaryopaasanam shaucham sthairyamaatmavinigrahaha || 7 ||
Humility, unpretentiousness, non-injury, forgiveness, straightforwardness, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self control.
amaanitvam : humility
adambhitvam : unpreteniousness
ahimsaa : non-injury
kshaantihi : forgiveness
aarjavam : straightforwardness
aachaaryopaasanam : service of the teacher
shaucham : purity
sthairyam : steadfastness
aatmavinigrahaha : self control
Let us do a quick recap. Shri Krishna began this chapter with a brief explanation of what is the field or kshetra, and who is its knower or kshetragnya. He then asserted that there is only one knower of all the fields in the universe. After that, he categorized twenty four items that can be each considered as a field. From this shloka, Shri Krishna changes the topic from theoretical description to extremely practical techniques that help us bring this teaching into our daily lives. These techniques train us to spot the field or upaadhi that we are giving importance and subsequently reduce the level of importance we give to it. The less importance we give to any of these twenty four upaadhis, the closer we are to realizing our oneness with the eternal essence that is beyond any field or upaadhi.
“Maana” means overestimation of one’s own self-worth. This self-worth can be derived from health, wealth, power, beauty, control, position, any of these characteristics. Acknowledgement that we have one or more of these characteristics, a correct assessment of these characteristics is fine, but when pride or “abhimaan” derived from these characteristics makes us crave extra attention or put down someone else, it is to be avoided. “Amaanitvam” is an absence of pride about any of the above-mentioned characteristics. “Dambha” means pretentiousness or falsehood. In the case of abhimaana, we had some characteristic in us that made us puff up with pride. In dambha, we derive a false sense of pride where there is no positive trait to speak of whatsoever. It is completely hollow pride. We see examples in bollywood movies where the boy will rent or steal a fancy car in order to impress his girlfriend. If we have this trait in us, very few people will trust us to do any task well. It is easy to see through people who have dambha. So then, “adambhitvam” is utter absence of pretentiousness.
“Himsaa” means injury in a very broad sense of the word. There are five afflictions that are mentioned in the Yoga school of philosophy: ignorance, arrogance, desire, hatred and fear of death. Whenever we cause any of these afflictions or kleshas in any other person, we are injuring that person. When we do not cause any of these afflications, we demonstrate ahimsaa or non-injury. “Kshaantihi” is an attitude of forgiveness that comes out of extreme titkshaa which is forbearance and tolerance. If we do not have this quality, we will get angry, flare up and lose our equanimity at every little jab or insult that anyone throws at us. In the second chapter Shri Krishna had emphasized the quality of forbearance as a means to achieve equanimity as well. The attitude of forgiveness developed through forbearance is similar to that of a mother who forgives any mistake committed by her child.
“Aarjavam” refers to straightforwardness, an absence of crookedness in dealing with the world. It is derived from the root “riju” which is the root of the word “Arjuna” as well. This quality is reflected in us when our thoughts are aligned with our actions. Even children can see through someone who says one thing and does something else. “Aacharya” refers to someone who collects the essence of the scriptures, like a honeybee collects nectar from flowers. Giving respect to such a learned master is called “aacharya upaasanam”. By doing so, we acknowledge that we do not know everything, and that we are ready to follow the path laid out by the teacher, no matter how much it hurts our ego.
“Shaucham” is purity of the body and the mind. The ritual of pooja is emphasized in Indian children because in that short period of time, we learn to maintain a high degree of external purity. If we reflect on this as we get older, that notion of external purity slowly seeps into our mind, and encourages us to develop purity in thought as well. “Sthairyam” is the strength to remain firm in one’s convictions, to remain steadfast in what we do. If we decide to meditate for ten minutes daily but cannot even do so for a couple of days, we will not be able to tackle much more challenging aspects of our material and spiritual journeys. “Aatmaa vinigraha” is our ability to control our mind from its natural tendency to run after sense objects. The sense organs, which are under the control of the mind, have a natural tendency to go outwards. Through self control, we learn to turn them inward.
Shri Krishna covered nine qualities in tihs shloka. There are eleven more that are covered in the next few shlokas.
amaanitvamadambhitvamahimsaa kshaantiraarjavam |