Jai:†††††† Grandma, I have a
hard time understanding the tea
Grandma: †††††† Of
course, Jai, I will be glad to. You should know what this holy book tea
††††††††††† Here is the background situation in the Gita:
††††††††††† In ancient times there was a king who had two sons, Dhritar|shtra and P|ndu. The former was born blind; therefore, P|ndu inherited the kingdom. P|ndu had five sons. They were called the P|ndavas. Dhritar|shtra had one hundred sons. They were called the Kauravas. Duryodhana was the eldest of the Kauravas.
††††††††††† After the death of king P|ndu, his eldest son, Yudhisthira, became the lawful King. Duryodhana was very jealous. He also wanted the kingdom. The kingdom was divided into two halves between the P|ndavas and the Kauravas. Duryodhana was not satisfied with his share. He wanted the entire kingdom for himself. He tried several evil plots to kill the P|ndavas and take away their kingdom. Somehow he took over the entire kingdom of the P|ndavas and refused to give back without a war. All peace talks by Lord Krishn| and others failed, so the big war of Mah|bh|rata could not be avoided.
††††††††††† The P|ndavas
didnít want to fight, but they had only two
†All lives, human or nonhuman, are sacred, and
nonviolence or Ahims| is one of the most basic principles of
Hinduism. So when Lord
spiritual talk between the Supreme Lord,
Jai:†††††† This is an interesting story, Grandma. Can you tell me more?
you come to where I sit every evening, Jai, I will tell you the whole story,
Jai:†††††† Thank you, Grandma. Iíll be there to hear more.
Jai:†††††† I would like to
know first how Lord
came about in this way, Jai. The war of Mah|bh|rata
was about to begin after peace talks by Lord
Jai:†††††† What does compassionate mean, Grandma?
does not mean pity, Jai. That would be looking down on others as poor, pitiful
creatures. Arjuna was feeling their pain and their unlucky situation as his
own. Arjuna was a great warrior, who had fought many wars and was well prepared
for the war, but suddenly his compassion made him not want to fight. He spoke
of the evils of war and sat down on the seat of his
Jai:†††††† I donít blame him. I wouldnít want to fight either. Why do people fight, Grandma? Why are there wars?
there are not only wars between nations, but quarrels between two people,
quarrels between brothers and sisters, between husband and wife, between
friends and neighbors. The main reason is that people are not able to let go of
their selfish motives and desires. Most wars are fought for possession and
power. But all problems could be solved peacefully if people could see both
sides of the problem and work out an agreement. War should be the last resort.
Our holy books say: One should not commit violence towards anyone. Unjustified
killing is punishable in all circumstances. Lord
We humans also have wars inside of us. Our negative and positive forces are always fighting. The negative forces within us are represented by the Kauravas and the positive forces by the P|ndavas.
Chapter 1 summary: Arjuna asked his
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
Jai:†††††† If Arjuna felt so kind-hearted for everyone he was supposed to kill in the war, how could he go out and fight, Grandma?
is exactly what Arjuna asked Lord
††††††††††† Arjuna had a good point. In Vedic
culture, gurus, the elderly, honorable persons, and all other superiors are to
be respected. But the scriptures also say that anyone who acts wrongly or
unlawfully against you or others, or anyone who supports su
was confused about his duty and asked guidance from Lord
Jai:†††††† What is Atm|, Grandma?
Grandma:††††††††† Atm| is the spirit, the soul, or the Self. Atm| is never born, never dies, and is everlasting. Our body takes birth and dies, but not Atm|. Atm| supports the body. Without Atm|, the body becomes dead. Atm| supplies the power for our body, mind, and senses, just as air burns and supports fire. Weapons cannot cut Atm|, fire cannot burn it, wind cannot dry it, and water cannot make it wet. Therefore, we should not grieve over death of the body because the Atm| inside the body never dies. (Gita 2.23-24)
Jai:†††††† What is the difference between Atm| (spirit), soul, and body?
and the same Atm|
dwells inside all bodies. Our body
body is called a garment of Atm|.
Just as we get rid of an old, worn out garment and put on a new one, similarly,
disposes the old body and takes a new one after death. So death is like
Jai:†††††† Then why did Arjuna grieve over deaths of loved ones on the battlefield? Why didnít he want to fight?
was a very tough warrior, Jai, but he wanted to run away from the horrors of
war and lead an easy life of a Samny|si or a
wandering holy man. Lord
Jai:†††††† But Grandma, how could Arjuna fight his best if he wasnít fighting to win and gain something?
Grandma:††††††††† Arjuna should go into the fight to win, but he should not weaken his will by worrying about the result while he is fighting. He should put all his attention and energy into every minute of the fight. That energy is what will bring the greatest result.
We should do our best at the present moment and let the future take care of itself.
you tell me more about the secret of success as told by
Grandma:††††††††† One should be so completely absorbed
in work or study itself as to become unaware of everything else, even of its
results. To a
††††††††††† Action should be done sincerely without worrying about its results. The results of the action will be greater if one puts all attention and energy into the action itself and does not allow oneís energy to be diverted by thinking of results. The result will depend on energy put into action. One is asked not to worry about results during the course of action. This does not mean that one should not care about results. But one should not expect only positive results all the time.
The secret of living a meaningful life is to be very active, and do our best without thinking of our own selfish motives or even the results. A Self-realized person works for the good of all.
Jai:†††††† What is a Self-realized person like, Grandma?
A Self-realized person is a perfect person, Jai. Lord
Jai:†††††† How can we keep from getting angry, Grandma?
Grandma:††††††††† We get angry if our desire is not fulfilled. (Gita 2.62) So the best way to control anger is not to become a slave of our desires. We need to limit our desires. Desires begin in the mind, so we should control our mind. If we donít, we drift like a ship without its rudder. The desire for pleasure takes us to the dark alley of sin, gets us in trouble, and prevents our progress. (Gita 2.67) As a student, you should set a higher goal for yourself than pleasure. Put forth your best effort and concentrate on your studies.
was not only the greatest warrior of his time, but also a compassionate
Whatever work you do, do it with single-minded attention and put your whole heart into it. This is the main theme of KarmaYoga of the Gita and the secret of success in anything you do.
Chapter 2 summary: Lord
PATH OF DUTY
Jai:†††††† Why do we have to control our desires, Grandma?
Jai:†††††† Uncle Hari left his family and home and went to an Ashram last year to find God. Do we have to leave home to seek God?
we do not. In the Gita, Lord
Jai:†††††† Do we have to read all the scriptures to understand and find God?
are many scriptures in our religion, su
Jai: ††††† Uncle Puri is a farmer and has no interest in studying the Gita. He says the Gita is difficult and not for common people like him. So how can Uncle Puri realize God?
Puri should follow the path of KarmaYoga, whi
Jai:†††††† But people will work harder if they have selfish motives, wonít they, Grandma?
Grandma:††††††††† It is true that people may earn more if they work for selfish gain, but they will not find lasting peace and happiness. Only those who do their duty selflessly for the good of all people will find real peace and satisfaction.
Jai: ††††† If people donít work for personal gain, will they still do their best and not become lazy?
†Grandma:†††††††† A true KarmaYogi works hard even without
personal gain. Only the ignorant work just for personal gain. The world runs
smoothly because people do their duty. Parents work hard to support their
family, and the
Jai: ††††† What happens if people work hard just for their own benefit?
Grandma: †††††††† They
get sin, Jai. It is wrong to perform any action without considering its effect
on others. Lord
Jai: ††††† What does a person
gain who follows the tea
Someone once said: What goes around comes around. This is the law of cause and effect or Karma. Help fulfill someoneís dream and your dream will be fulfilled too by the Lord!
Jai:†††††† Please give me more examples of true KarmaYogis, Grandma.
have read the story of R|m|yan. Lord R|maís father-in-law was Janaka, the King
of Janakpur. He attained God by serving his people as his own
Mah|tm| Gandhi was a true KarmaYogi who worked selflessly all his life without any personal motive, just for the good of society. He set an example for other world leaders to follow. There are many other examples of selfless persons.
Jai:†††††† Is that how our leaders should work?
Grandma:††††††††† Yes, a true KarmaYogi shows by personal example how to lead a selfless life and attain God by following the path of KarmaYoga. (Gita 3.21)
Jai:†††††† If I want to become a KarmaYogi, what do I have to do?
requires doing our duty in life the best we can, unselfishly, without atta
Jai:†††††† It would be hard to work without wanting to gain something personally from it. How do we do this, Grandma?
ignorant persons work just for themselves. The wise work for the welfare of
all. The ignorant work to enjoy the result of their labor and become atta
The wise offer all their work to God with no selfish desire of their own. The ignorant work only to fulfill their personal desires. (Gita 3.25)
Jai:†††††† Can a common person like me do what great people like King Janak and Mah|tm| Gandhi have done?
a little effort, anybody can follow the path of KarmaYoga. Think of whatever
work you are doing as your gift to society. If you are a student, your duty is
to attend s
Jai:†††††† What kind of work should I do when I graduate, Grandma?
the work that you like and can do well. The work should be suited to your
nature. (Gita 3.35, 18.47) If you
Jai:†††††† But shouldnít I try
to find good work, like an Engineer, a tea
is no su
Jai:†††††† Is selfish desire the reason why people do bad things?
Grandma:††††††††† Yes Jai, our selfish desire for enjoyment is the cause of all evils. If we donít control our desires, our desires will control us, and we will become the victims of our own desires. Control your wants because whatever you want, wants you also!
Jai:†††††† Then are all desires bad?
Grandma:††††††††† No, all desires are not bad. The desire to serve others is a noble desire. The desire to enjoy most pleasures is bad because it leads to sinful and illegal activities. Always remember that desire never ends after you get what you wanted. It just leads to new desires and creates greed. And if you donít get what you want, you feel angry. People do bad things when they are angry.
Jai:†††††† How can we control our desire for pleasures?
Grandma:††††††††† One way is by the knowledge given in the Gita and by the power of thinking. Before you act from desire, always think first of the results of that action. Desires start in the mind and stay there. You can control your mind by intellect and reasoning.
you are young, your mind becomes dirty just as the clear water of a pond
becomes muddy during the rainy season. If your intellect doesnít control your
mind, your mind will run towards sense pleasures. This will keep you from a
Jai:†††††† Since we know right from wrong, Grandma, why canít we just avoid doing wrong?
we donít control our mind, it will try to weaken our will and take us for a
ride to the wrong road of sensual pleasures. We have to wat
Chapter 3 Summary: Lord
THE PATH OF RENUNCIATION
Jai:†††††† How did the Gita come from, Grandma?
Jai:†††††† So is Lord
††††††††††† The Gita was first translated in
Sanskrit and fully explained by great guru Adi Sankar|
Jai:†††††† Why is Lord
Jai:†††††† Will Lord
Jai:†††††† Will we still have to study if we want to do well in examinations?
Grandma:††††††††† Yes, one must do the work. Do your best and then pray. The good Lord will not work for you. You will have to do your work. Your work should be free from selfish desires so as not to earn any Karma.
Jai:†††††† What is Karma, Grandma?
Sanskrit word Karma means action. It also means the results of an action. The
word ĎKarmaí is generally mispronounced as ĎKarma|.í
Every action produces a result called Karma, whi
Our own Karma is responsible for our rebirth to enjoy or suffer the results of our deeds. Karma is like depositing money in the form of good and bad deeds in the bank. We do not take birth when all our Karma is used up. This freedom from the cycles of birth and death is called liberation, Nirv|na, Moksha or Mukti. In Mukti one becomes one with God.
Jai:†††††† How can we avoid Karma when we live and work in society?
Grandma:††††††††† The best way not to earn any Karma is not to do anything just for yourself, but do it for the good of society. Always keep in mind that Mother Nature does everything; we are not the real doer of any action. If we strongly believe this and work just as a servant of God, we will not earn any new Karma, and all our past Karma will be wiped out by Self-knowledge. When all Karma is finished, we become liberated. This method of uniting with God is called the path of selfless action (or KarmaYoga).
Jai††††††† How do we get rid of the Karma from our past lives?
Grandma:††††††††† A very good question! True knowledge of the Self (or God) acts like fire that burns away all Karma from our past lives. (Gita 4.37) Selfless service (KarmaYog) prepares one to receive Self-knowledge. A KarmaYogi automatically gets Self-knowledge in due course of time. (Gita 4.38) One who has true knowledge of the Self or God is called a Self-realized or a God-realized person.
Jai: ††††† Are there other ways to get liberation, Grandma?
Jai, there are different methods or ways to rea
††††††††††† Lord is pleased by those who
sincerely perform any one of these Yajna and gives them the knowledge to rea
Jai: ††††† How about those who
just worship a deity everyday? Can they also rea
those who worship the deity with full faith also get whatever they want. Most
Hindus worship God in the form of a
Jai:†††††† Do we need a guru
definitely need a tea
When you graduate from a college and enter family life, you will need to find a guru or a spiritual guide. Meanwhile, follow your scripture and culture and never accept defeat in life.
Chapter 4 summary: Lord comes to earth from time to time in a life-form to set things right on the earth. The Lord fulfills the desires of those who worship Him. There are four types of spiritual practices or Yajna. Both selfless service and Self-knowledge free the soul from the bondage of Karma. The Lord gives Self-knowledge to those who do selfless service. Self-knowledge burns all our past Karma and frees us from the wheel or cycles of birth and death.
THE PATH OF RENUNCIATION
†Grandma:†††††††† A person who has the true knowledge of
God believes that all work is done by the energy of Mother Nature and he or she
is not the real doer of an action. Su
††††††††††† Self-knowledge leads to
renunciation. KarmaYog prepares one to automatically receive the knowledge of
God (Gita 4.38, 5.06), So both paths finally lead to God. Lord
Jai:†††††† Doesnít the word renunciation usually mean leaving worldly possessions and living in an Ashram (monastery) or in a lonely place?
word ĎSamny|saí in the strict sense means renouncing
(or giving up) all personal motives, worldly possessions and objects. But it also
means living in society and serving society by doing oneís duty without a
personal motive. Su
††††††††††† Some spiritual leaders, su
am going to tell you the story of a great spiritual leader, hero, guru, Samny|si
and thinker. His name is Adi Sankar|
Chapter 5 summary: Lord
PATH OF MEDITATION
Jai:†††††† Grandma, you said there are several paths leading to God. You told me about the path of duty and the path of spiritual knowledge. Please tell me about other paths.
Grandma: †††††††† The third path is called the path of meditation.††††
††††††††††† One who is united with God is called a yogi. The mind of a yogi is peaceful, and completely united with God. A yogi has control over the mind and senses and desires. A yogi is free from anger and greed. A clod, a stone, and gold are the same to a yogi, who sees God in everything and everything in God. (Gita 6.08, 14.24) A yogi sees every being with an equal eye, whether friend, enemy, hater, relative, saint, or a sinner. (Gita 6.09) The mind of a yogi remains calm even during the worst time. (Gita 6.19)
Jai:†††††† Is there a method
of meditation simple enough for
Grandma:††††††††† Yes, there is, Jai. The mind is your best friend as well as your worst enemy. The mind is a friend for those who have control over it and an enemy for those who do not control it. (Gita 6.05-06) So you should try to control this enemy. The mind is like wind, very restless and difficult to control, but you can subdue it by regular practice of meditation. (Gita 6.34) Guru Nanak said: Master the mind, and you master the world.
A Simple Method of Meditation:
best time to meditate is in the morning before going to s
Jai:†††††† What happens to a yogi who does not become successful in this life?
Grandma: †††††††† No
spiritual practice performed by a yogi ever goes to waste. The unsuccessful
yogi is reborn into a ri
Jai:†††††† How can I become the best yogi, Grandma?
Grandma:††††††††† To be the best yogi, see all beings as yourself and feel their pain and pleasure as your own. Lovingly think of God with supreme faith, and always keep your mind with God. (Gita 6.47)
Chapter 6 summary: The third path to God is yoga of meditation. To be the best yogi, see every being as yourself, and feel the pain and pleasure of others as your own. A very simple method of meditation uses the sound vibration of OM. No spiritual practice is ever wasted.
SELF-KNOWLEDGE AND ENLIGHTENMENT
Jai:†††††† How was our whole universe formed, Grandma? Does it have a creator?
is a creator behind any creation, Jai. Nothing can be created without somebody
or some power behind it. Some power is needed not only to create but also to
support and run it. We call that power God, the Absolute, the Supreme in
Jai:†††††† How does one God become so many things in the universe?
Grandma:††††††††† According to the S|mkhya theory of creation, Godís energy (Atm| or spirit) becomes itself as Nature or matter, made up of the five basic elements. The entire creation is born and sustained by different combinations of these two energies: spirit and matter. (Gita 7.06) He is in the form of light in the Sun and the Moon; He is in the form of mind and strength in human beings. He digests our food and supports our life. We are all connected by the same spirit as jewels in a necklace are connected by the same thread. (Gita 7.07)
Jai:†††††† If God is everywhere and in everything, why doesnít everyone understand and love and worship Him?
Grandma:††††††††† That is a good question, Jai. Generally, people have a false idea of God because everyone is not given the power to understand Him. Just as some people canít understand calculus or even elementary mathematics, so people who have no good Karma, canít know, understand, love or worship God.
Jai:†††††† Then who are the ones who understand God?
††††††††††† There are four types of people who
worship or seek to understand God: (1) those who are sick or in some kind of
trouble or seek help in doing well in their studies or work, (2) those who are
trying to get the knowledge of God, (3) those who want money, and (4) the wise
ones who know God. (Gita 7.16) Lord
Jai:†††††† If I worship
Grandma:††††††††† Yes, He fulfills the desires of all who believe in Him and who always worship and pray with firm faith.
God is both our Father and Mother. You should ask God what you want in a prayer. He fulfills the desires of His sincere devotees. (Gita 7.21)
Jai:†††††† Then why doesnít everybody worship
Jai: ††††† You said that the entire universe is only another form of God, is God formless or can God take forms?
This big question not only confuses
believe everything has a form. Nothing in the world is formless. God has a
God dwells in all beings. God is even in the tiger; but you cannot hug the tiger on that account! Be close only with good people, and keep away from the evil-minded. Keep away from the unholy, the evil, and the impure.
Chapter 7 summary: There is only one God, who is called by many names. Devas, Devis, or deities in our religion are nothing but the names of different powers of One Absolute God. Deities are different names and forms of Godís powers to help us worship and pray. Four types of persons worship God. The entire creation is made up of five basic elements and spirit. God is both formless and with form. God can take any form. One cannot know the true nature of God unless one has spiritual knowledge.
THE ETERNAL BRAHM
Jai: ††††† I donít have a big spiritual vocabulary, Grandma, so I donít understand many words that I hear at the temple. Can you explain some of them in a simple way?
Grandma:††††††††† I will explain some of the Sanskrit words, so listen very carefully. You may not completely understand these terms at your age.
††††††††††† The Spirit that is inside all living
beings is called Brahm in Sanskrit. Brahm not only supports living beings but
also supports the whole universe. This is the formless nature of God, the
Absolute. Brahm is beginningless, endless (or everlasting) and
††††††††††† ParaBrahm, Param|tm|,† Father, Mother is the Supreme Being, Who is the origin of everything, including Brahm (spirit or Atm|).
††††††††††† The word ĎKarmaí has several meanings. Generally, it means to do. It also means the stored up fruits of oneís work over past lives.
††††††††††† Daiv (or Deva, Devi, Devat|) is one of the many powers of Brahm. We worship these powers to get our desires fulfilled.
††††††††††† Ishvara is the power of God that stays in the bodies of all living beings to guide and control us.
simply means powerful. This term is used for God. We call Shri
††††††††††† Jeeva or Jiv|tm|
means living beings that take birth, have a limited life span, and die or
††††††††††† Hindus believe in life after death.
Jai:†††††† How often should I remember and worship God to make sure that I remember God when I die?
Grandma:††††††††† We should form the habit of remembering God before taking our food, before going to bed, after getting up in the morning, and before starting any work or study.
Jai:†††††† Are we always reborn as human beings?
Grandma:††††††††† Human beings can take any one of the 8.4 million life-forms on earth.
This is the theory of transmigration we believe in. Some western philosophers believe in reincarnation. The reincarnation theory is based on the assumption that a human soul takes birth only as humans, not as animals. The theory of transmigration seems more universal than the theory of reincarnation.
Jai:†††††† If living beings go through cycles of birth and death, how about the Sun, Moon, Earth, and stars? Do they also take birth and get destroyed?
entire visible creation has a life span. The visible world, su
Jai:†††††† If some people do not come back to this world after death, what happens to them? Do they go to heaven and live there forever?
Grandma:††††††††† Those who have done good work here on earth go to heaven, but they have to come back after enjoying the pleasures of heaven. (Gita 8.25, 9.21) Those who have been naughty and bad go to hell for punishment and also come back to earth. Those who have gained salvation (Nirv|na) do not take birth again. They become one with God and go to His Supreme Abode called Parama-Dh|ma). The Supreme abode is higher than heaven.
Jai:†††††† How can we gain the Supreme Abode, the house of God?
who have the true knowledge of God are called God-realized and rea
Chapter 8 summary: Some of the common Sanskrit terms have
been explained, whi
SUPREME KNOWLEDGE AND
THE BIG MYSTERY
Jai:†††††† If God comes sometimes on earth, is He the same as we are, or is He different from us?
is a very good question, Jai. It has been answered both ways. For example, look
††††††††††† The other viewpoint sees God as one
reality and creation as a different reality but dependent on God. When gold and
the objects made of gold su
Jai:†††††† Is that what people mean when they say God is everywhere and in everything?
Grandma:††††††††† Yes, Jai, God is the Sun, the Moon, and the wind; fire, trees, earth and stones, in the same way that everything made of gold is gold. Thatís why Hindus see and worship God in the stone and the tree as if these are God Himself in that form.
Jai:†††††† If everything comes from the Lord, then will everything become the Lord again, like everything made of gold can be melted into just gold again?
Jai, the cycle of creation and destruction keeps on going. Itís like turning my
Jai:†††††† If Lord is us, and we all come from the Lord, then why doesnít everyone love and worship Lord?
Grandma:††††††††† Those who understand this truth do just that. They know the Lord is our Lord, and we are from Him, for Him, of Him, and depend on Him, so they love and worship Him. But the unwise do not understand or believe in God.
Jai:†††††† If I pray to God everyday and love Him and offer Him flowers or fruit, will He be pleased and help me in my studies?
Jai:†††††† Does that mean that God loves only those who pray and worship Him?
Grandma:††††††††† God loves all of us the same, but if we remember Him and pray to Him, we come closer to God. So we all should think of God, worship Him, meditate, and bow down to Him with faith, love, and devotion.
Jai:†††††† I would like to be close to the Lord
Grandma:††††††††† Just think of all the nice things God does for us. He gives us so many different foods we enjoy. He gave us the Sun for heat and light. Look at the beautiful sky with the Moon, the stars and clouds in the night. This is all His beautiful creation, so think how beautiful the creator Himself must be! Worshiping God is saying thank you for His kindness. Praying is asking for what we need from God. Meditating is connecting with the Supreme power to get help and guidance.
Jai:†††††† If there is only one God who gives us
everything, why do you have so many deities in your prayer (Pooj|)
room, Grandma? Why donít you just worship the one Lord
Jai:†††††† Why do we offer fruits and flowers to God? He does not need them.
††††††††††† Anybody can rea
Jai:†††††† Grandma, what if a person is a sinful thief or robber. Can that person also love God?
††††††††††† The Lord
Chapter 9 summary: The dualistic philosophy sees God as one
reality and creation as a different reality dependent on Him. Non-dual
philosophy sees God and His creation as One. God loves all of us the same, but
He takes personal interest in His devotees because su
MANIFESTATION OF GOD
Jai:†††††† If Lord
Grandma:††††††††† The love of God is called devotion (Bhakti). If you have devotion, God will give you Self-knowledge and understanding of Him. (Gita 10.10) The more you know and think about Godís glory, power and greatness, the stronger your love will grow.
Jai:†††††† God is so great, and powerful, how can I really know Him?
Grandma:††††††††† Nobody can fully know God. He is the cause of cosmic energy and power, a cause that will always be a big mystery. God is unborn, without beginning or end. Only God can really know God! If anyone says, I know God, that person does not know. Anyone who knows the Truth says: I do not know God.
Jai:†††††† Then what can we know about God, Grandma?
Grandma:††††††††† God knows everything, but nobody can know God. According to Sankara, the entire creation is nothing but another form of God. The creation has come out of Godís energy called M|y|. Everything comes from Him and eventually goes back to Him. God is One, but has become many. He is everywhere and in everything. (Gita 10.19-39) He is the Generator or creator, Operator or maintainer, and Destroyer of all beings. He creates everything, including the sun, moon, stars, wind, water, air, fire, and even our thoughts, feelings, intellect, and other qualities. We can see His glory and greatness throughout creation. The beautiful sky with earth and all the planets you see is only a small part of His glory. Seeing God everywhere purifies our mind and makes us a better person.
Those who argue about the nature of God have seen only one aspect of His Reality. Thatís why sages say God is ďneither this, nor thatĒ.
Jai:†††††† What about people who do not believe in God?
Chapter 10 summary: Nobody can know God, the Supreme Being, because He or She is the origin of all beings, the cause of all causes. Everything, including our body, mind, thoughts, and feelings, comes from God. He is the creator, supporter, and destroyer of all. He is infinite and has no beginning or end. The entire universe is the expansion of a tiny fraction of His energy. All deities are just the names of His various powers. Worshiping God, using any name and form, with faith gives us what we want and helps us become good and peaceful.
THE VISION OF GOD
Jai:†††††† Is it possible for people to see God, Grandma?
Grandma:††††††††† Yes, Jai. But not with oneís physical eyes. God does not have hands and legs like we have in our world. But when God is pleased by our selfless service (Sev|) and devotion, He may come in a vision in dream. He can come in any form, or in the form of oneís personal god (IshtaDeva).
Jai:†††††† Is there any other way to see God?
best way to see God is to feel His presence in everything because, everything
is part of God. Yogis see the whole world as Godís expansion. Everything is
just another form of God. Knowing this, we can see God all around us. The
entire universe is God, and we are His
What we seek is very near and all around us. Everything is God in different forms. Everything in creation is within His gigantic form!
way to see God is to develop good habits. The Lord
Jai:†††††† Has anybody seen
many saints and sages have seen Lord
is a brief description of the cosmic form of
Chapter 11 summary: We cannot see God with our human eyes. We can see Him only in a vision or trance (Sam|dhi). We can also see Him all around us. The entire creation is nothing but the body of the creator, and we are part of the cosmic form of God.
PATH OF DEVOTION
Jai:†††††† Should we worship or meditate every day, Grandma, or just on Sundays?
Grandma:††††††††† Children should do some form of worship, prayer or meditation everyday. Good habits must be formed early.
Jai:†††††† You said that God
is formless but also has forms. Should I worship God as R|ma,
Jai:†††††† How should I worship, Grandma?
to the worship or meditation room before going to s
Jai:†††††† When I start to meditate, I canít concentrate my mind, Grandma. My mind starts to go everywhere. What should I do?
worry, this even happens to adults. Try to concentrate or focus again and
again. With practice, you will be able to focus your mind well, not only on God
but also on your study materials. This will help you get good grades. You can
also pray to God and worship (Pooj|) by offering
fruits, flowers, etc. to your IshtaDev with love. Also, remember the Lord of
Jai:†††††† Is that all I have to do, Grandma? Did Khrisna say anything else?
should also develop good habits su
Chapter 12 summary: The path of devotional love of God is very easy to practice. This path consists of daily deity worship, offering fruits and flowers, singing hymns (Bhajans) in praise of the glory of God, and developing certain good habits.
CREATION AND THE CREATOR
Jai:†††††† Grandma, I can eat and sleep and think and talk and walk and run and work and study. How does my body know how to do all this?††††
whole world, including our body, is made of five basic elements or matter.
These elements are: earth, water, fire, air, and ether or an invisible element.
We have eleven senses: five sense organs (nose, tongue, eye, skin, and ear);
five organs of action (mouth, hand, leg, anus, and urethra); and a mind. We
smell through our nose, taste through our tongue, see through the eyes, feel
Jai:†††††† You said God is the creator of the universe. How do we know there is a creator or God?
Grandma:††††††††† There has to be a creator behind any creation, Jai. Somebody or some power made the car we drive and the house we live in. Somebody or some power created the sun, the earth, the moon and the stars. We call that person or power God or the creator of this universe.
Jai:†††††† If everything has a creator, then who created God?
Grandma:††††††††† This is a very good question, Jai, but there is no answer. God has always existed and will always exist. God is the origin of everything but God has no origin. Good Lord is the source of everything, but He or She has no source!
Jai:†††††† Then, what is God like, Grandma? Can you describe Him?
Grandma: ††††† It is impossible to describe God directly. The Supreme Being can only be described by parables, and in no other way. His hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth, and ears are everywhere. He can see, feel, and enjoy without any physical sense organs. He does not have a body like us. His body and senses are out of this world. He walks without legs, hears without ears, does all works without hands, smells without a nose, sees without eyes, speaks without a mouth, and enjoys all tastes without a tongue. His actions are wonderful. His greatness is beyond description. God is present everywhere at all times, so he is very near (living in our heart) as well as far away in His Supreme Abode. He is the creator (Brahm|), the sustainer (Vishnu) and the destroyer (Shankara) all in one. (Gita 13.13-16)
We canít describe Brahm. In a trance we can know Brahm, but in trance reasoning and intellect stop altogether. This means one does not retain the memory of experiences in trance (Sam|dhi). One who knows Brahm becomes Brahm-like (Gita 18.55) and does not talk. Those who talk about God have no real experience. Thus, Brahm can only be experienced and felt.††
Jai:†††††† Then how can we know and understand God?
Grandma:††††††††† You canít know God by mind and intellect. He can be known only by faith and belief. He can be known by Self-knowledge. One and the same God lives in the body of all beings as spirit and supports us. That is why we must not hurt anybody and must treat everybody equally. (Gita 13.28) Hurting anybody is like hurting your own Atm|. The Spirit in the body is the witness, the guide, the supporter, the enjoyer, and the controller of all events. (Gita 13.22)
Jai:†††††† What is the difference between the creator and His creation?
Grandma: †††† From a non-dualistic point of view, there is no difference between the two. The difference between the creator and creation is like the difference between the sun and the sunís rays. Those who have Self-knowledge truly understand the difference between the creator and the creation and get salvation. (Gita 13.34)
If Godís blessing comes to you, He will let you know who you really are and what your real nature is like.
have been thinking that we are this body whi
Chapter 13 summary: Our body is like a miniature universe.
All bodies are made up of five basic elements and powered by the spirit. Any
creation must have a creator or some creative power behind it. We call that
power by various names su
THREE MODES OF NATURE
Jai:†††††† Grandma, sometimes I feel lazy, and at other times I am very active? Why is that?
Grandma:††††††††† We all pass through different states in order to do certain things. These states or modes (Gunas) are three types: the mode of goodness (Sattvika mode), the mode of passion (R|jasika mode) and the mode of ignorance (T|masika mode). We come under the influence of all three modes. Sometimes one mode becomes more powerful than the other two.
mode of goodness keeps you peaceful and happy. In this mode you will study
scriptures, will not harm anybody and will work honestly. If you are in the
mode of passion, you are greedy for wealth and power. You will work hard to
enjoy material pleasures and will do anything to satisfy your selfish desires.
If you are in the mode of ignorance, you canít tell between right and wrong
action, and are atta
Jai:†††††† Do these three modes of nature control us, Grandma, or do we have control over what we do?
Grandma:††††††††† Actually, these three modes or Gunas are the doers of all actions. (Gita 3.27) When we are under the influence of the mode of goodness, we do good and rightful actions; under the influence of the mode of passion, we do selfish actions; and under the influence of the mode of ignorance, we do bad things or become lazy. (Gita 14.11-13) We must rise above the three Gunas to attain liberation (Niv|na). (Gita 14.20)
Jai:†††††† What are we like when we have risen above the three Gunas?
we have risen above the three Gunas, we do not get too mu
Jai:†††††† It must be very hard to rise above these three modes. How can I rise above the three Gunas, Grandma?
Grandma:††††††††† To rise above
the three Gunas is not very easy, but it can be done with a little effort. If
you are under the mode of ignorance, you must stop being lazy and stop putting
off what you should be doing and try to be a good boy. If you are under the
mode of passion, you must give up selfish desires. When you are in the mode of
goodness, you remember God and do your duty as a service to God. After rea
Chapter 14 summary: Everything in nature can be broadly
classified into three types called Gunas. Mother Nature puts us into these
three modes or gears to get her work done through us. Actually, all work is
done by the three Gunas of nature. We are not the doers, but we are responsible
for our actions because we have been given intellect and free will to decide
THE SUPREME PERSON
Jai:†††††† Grandma, I am confused by the difference between Supreme Spirit, Spirit, divine beings and individual souls. Will you please explain them?
Grandma:††††††††† Yes, Jai, these are terms you should understand well.
Supreme Spirit is also called the Supreme Person, the Supreme Being, the
Supersoul, the Absolute, Father, Mother, God, Ishvara, Allah and many other
names. The Supreme Spirit is called ParaBrahm, Param|tm|,
Spirit (Brahm or Atm|) is a part of the Supreme Spirit that expands and supports the entire cosmos.
Beings (Devas, Devis), su
Souls (soul or Jeeva) su
Supreme Spirit and Spirit do not
you compare the creation with a tree, then Supreme Lord
Jai:†††††† How about planets,
entire visible world, su
Chapter 15 summary: Brahm cannot be destroyed and is the
cause of all causes.
DIVINE AND DEMONIC QUALITIES
Jai:†††††† How many types of people are there, Grandma?
Grandma:††††††††† Basically, there are only two types or castes of people in this world, the good and the bad. (Gita 16.06) Most people have both good and bad qualities. If you have more good qualities, you are called a good person, and if you have more bad qualities, you are called a bad person.
Jai:†††††† If I want to be a good person, what qualities must I have?
Grandma:††††††††† You must be honest, nonviolent, truthful, without anger, calm, without malicious talk, kind, not greedy, gentle, forgiving, and humble. These are also called divine qualities because they lead us to God.
Jai:†††††† What bad habits should I avoid?
arrogance, pride, jealousy, selfishness, anger, greed, harshness,
ungratefulness and violence --- these are called demonic qualities because they
lead us away from God. Bad qualities also lead us to do bad things and get us
into trouble. Do not be friends with people who have bad qualities because they
do not know what to do and what not to do. Always be grateful to those who have
helped you. Ingratitude is a great sin for whi
††††††††††† Desire, anger and greed are very
Greed can be overcome by contentment. A contented person is a happy person. A greedy person cannot find true peace and happiness in life.
Jai:†††††† How can I know what to do and what not to do?
Grandma:††††††††† Follow your scriptures or holy books, Jai. Saints and sages in the scriptures tell us what to do and what not to do. Have faith in God and listen to your parents and elders.
We should cultivate as many good qualities as possible. But no one has only virtues and no bad habits. Good Lord usually puts virtue and vice in the same package.
Chapter 16 summary: Basically, there are only two kinds of human beings: the good or divine and the bad or demonic. Most people fall between these two boundaries. Getting rid of bad habits and cultivating good qualities are necessary for spiritual progress.
Jai:†††††† Grandma, how do I know what foods to eat?
are three types of foods, Jai. (Gita
17.07-10) The foods that promote long life, virtue,
strength, health, happiness, and joy are juicy, smooth, substantial, and
††††††††††† Foods that are very bitter, sour,
salty, hot, oily, and acidic are called Rajasika or undesirable foods. Su
††††††††††† Foods that are not well cooked,
spoiled, tasteless, rotten, burned, left-over, and impure (su
Jai:†††††† How should I speak to others?
should never tell a lie. Your words should not be harsh, nasty, or insulting.
They should be pleasant, useful, and truthful. (Gita 17.15) A wise person
should speak the truth if it is useful and keep quiet if it is harsh. One who
speaks politely wins the heart of all and is liked by everybody. To help those
in need is the universal tea
Jai:†††††† How should I help others?
Grandma: †††† It
is our duty to help those who are unlucky and canít help themselves. Give to
anyone who needs help, but never expect anything in return. Charity is not only
the best, but also the only use of wealth. We all should support a good cause.
Give back what belongs to the world. But there are responsibilities. Money
Jai:†††††† Will God give us what we want if we sincerely pray for it?†††††††††
Grandma:††††††††† Full faith in God makes things happen. There is nothing impossible for faith. Faith works wonders. One must have faith before starting any work. It is said in the Gita that we can become whatever we want to be if we always think about it with faith. (Gita 17.03) Always think about what you want to be, and your dream can come true.
secret of success is to keep thinking about what you want all the time and
never give up until you get what you want. Do not let negative thoughts, su
Before starting or ending any work or study, repeat OM TAT SAT, the threefold names of Brahm.
Jai:†††††† What does OM TAT SAT mean, Grandma?
Grandma:††††††††† It means Almighty God is the only Reality. OM is used before starting any work or study. OM TAT SAT or OM Shantih, Shantih, Shantih, is also used at the completion of any act.
Chapter 17 summary: There are three types of food --- S|ttavik,
R|jasik and T|masik --- and
they affect our wellbeing. Tell the truth in a pleasant way. Give
LIBERATION THROUGH RENUNCIATION
Jai:†††††† What is the difference between renunciation (Samny|sa) and KarmaYog?
might think that renunciation or Samny|sa means
walking away from family, home, possessions, and going to live in a cave or the
forest or any other place outside society. But Lord
Jai:†††††† Does that mean I canít do anything that gives me pleasure?
depends on what kind of pleasure you have in mind. Su
Jai:†††††† What kinds of activities in society are available, Grandma?
the ancient Vedic system, activities of human beings were divided into four
orders of human labor described by Lord
who were interested in learning, tea
People are born with certain qualities or could develop them through training and effort. Birth into a family at a certain social level, whether high or low, does not determine oneís worth.
Jai:†††††† How can a person living and working in society attain liberation?
becomes worship when done as a service to the Lord and without selfish atta
you take on work that was not meant for you, su
is no perfect occupation. Every occupation has some faults. (Gita 18.48) You
should not be concerned about su
peace and prosperity are possible only when you perform your duty well and also
have the spiritual knowledge as given in the Holy Gita by Lord
Chapter 18 summary: Lord
OM TAT SAT