“There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much, or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.16)
नात्य्-अश्नतस् ऽतु योगो ऽस्ति
न चैकान्तम् अनश्नतः
जाग्रतो नैव चार्जुन
nāty-aśnatas ‘tu yogo ‘sti
na caikāntam anaśnataḥ
jāgrato naiva cārjuna
1. You mean I shouldn’t sleep more than six hours?
“This is from my reading of Bhagavad-gita As It Is. I love how the translator and commentator, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, just goes for it. He is basically challenging every other person who previously offered their own translation of that sacred text.
“His version is the authentic one. Yours is not. You are bluffing people. You are a fake. This judgment is predicated on the lack of allegiance with the concluding words found within the text itself. Krishna advises Arjuna to surrender, to give up all other versions of dharma. This approach will save him from everything.
माम् एकं शरणं व्रज
अहं त्वां सर्व-पापेभ्यो
मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)
“There is a portion discussing eating and sleeping habits. In the commentary, Prabhupada says that a person who sleeps more than six hours a day is in the mode of ignorance and that such a person cannot properly perform yoga.
“I was so angry when I first came upon that passage. Six hours? That is nothing. I will barely be able to function the next day. Maybe on a given day it will be okay, but eventually it will catch up to me. I need proper rest in order to maintain good health.”
2. I shouldn’t trust women or politicians?
“I realize this is a direct quote from a famous statesman from ancient times, Chanakya Pandita. But still, you can’t even utter those words out loud today. People will scream and yell. They will call you all sorts of names, accuse you of being against equality, that you want women to be slaves, or that you are stuck in a caveman way of thinking.
“Subtly, behind closed doors, where people feel safe sharing their experiences, we otherwise get validation. But I will never admit that to you. If called out in public, I will simply ignore the question. Yes, women themselves have told me the same about the trust issues, but they are hesitant to go against the sisterhood.”
3. You mean I am just wasting my time in sense gratification?
“I never even thought of life in those terms. What is wrong with enjoying food? Why shouldn’t I find members of the opposite sex for association? What is wrong with jumping from person to person? If someone is making me miserable, I should just tough it out?
“Of course, after implementing a little vairagya, I start to see more clearly. A single day of fasting does so much to reset my burning fire of desire. I begin to understand that food has control over me instead of the other way around. Nevertheless, the claim hit me square in the face, and I resisted for as long as I could.”
4. The entire world is suffering from ugra-karma?
“I learned about the free market system while in school. It started with the famous philosophers from Europe, and their teachings eventually clashed with those coming from further east. The idea is that if you have a voluntary exchange of goods and services, with lack of coercion, then there will be an abundance of those goods. At least those which are necessary and useful to the general mass.
“I had no idea that the majority of the jobs within that system today are ugra-karma. I didn’t even know what that term meant. You always hear the politicians talking about the trade deficit and how we need to bring more factories back to the homeland.
“The more I learned, the more I began to see the light. These jobs suck the life out of people. No wonder people become addicted to intoxicants and gradually descend into the mode of ignorance. I also researched and found that the originators of the free market philosophy were highly in favor of an agrarian system, where communities would be self-sustaining, leaving more time for spiritual life.”
The idea is that the acharya is not here to win a popularity contest. They are a genuine representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, willing to lead by example. They are so renounced that they do not mind the lack of any disciples. If a single person should follow their advice and make their life perfect, they are satisfied.
Such honesty is invaluable. Finally, someone to tell me the truth. Someone is giving it to me straight, whether I am offended or not. Krishna also mildly chastised Arjuna in the beginning of their conversation. The guru was surprised to hear Arjuna speaking like a foolish person.
कुतस् त्वा कश्मलम् इदं
kutas tvā kaśmalam idaṁ
“The Supreme Person [Bhagavan] said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy.” (Bhagavad-gita, 2.2)
Whether offended or not, whether feeling belittled from shame or proud over validation, the truths remain. This human life is meant for spiritual understanding, for connecting again with God the person, who is the swift deliverer from the cycle of birth and death for those who genuinely reach out to Him for assistance.
When time in reading extended,
At first somewhat offended.
About limits on eating and sleep,
And distance from women to keep.
But at least someone straight delivering,
Not with fear over reaction considering.
Blessed that now seeing more clear,
That in surrender nothing to fear.
Categories: the four