(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 02 July 2013, Vrndavana, India, Bhagavad-gita 14.22-25)
So when we are looking at the first of these four verses (BG 14.22-25), prakāśaḿ ca pravṛttiḿ ca moham eva ca pāṇḍava, we can see, “O son of Pāṇḍu, he who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present or long for them when they disappear; who is always unwavering, undisturbed.” So if we’re looking at these three words, illumination, attachment and delusion as translations for the words prakāśaḿ, pravṛttiḿ and moham, then we may not get it straight away just by reading through Prabhupada’s verse and purport. But if we look at the commentary of the acaryas, which I did because I was looking – illumination, attachment, delusion – why these words translated like this? Why? And the reason is because Srila Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur, in his commentary, explains these words in a particular way and Prabhupada followed that commentary.
Prakāśaḿ translated as illumination here is representing the mode of goodness, sattva-gun. Then we see pravṛttiḿ or pravṛtta, attachment, is a quality that arises from rajo-guṇa. Delusion, moham, the quality that arises from ignorance, from tamo-guṇa. In that way, it is relating to the three modes of material nature and of course, when one is suffering under the influence of the modes of material nature or hankering to enjoy the modes of material nature, this is material consciousness.
So we see that throughout the verse, a neutral attitude is emphasized because it is pointed out that as long as we are embodied, we cannot be free from the influence of the body – like we feel the heat. It’s not that a maha-bhagavat doesn’t feel the heat. He feels it but he is neutral, he is not getting agitated. He is not allowing his mind get absorbed, “Ah, it’s so hot. Ah, it’s so hot. Ah, it’s so hot. Ah, garam, garam, garam, garam.”
This is a normal conversation topic in India at this time of the year. The word garam is very common, which means hot. So, one gets hot if one says hot, hot, so hot. Naturally. So it is a very practical thing. We can experience it, that if we remain neutral we are not so much affected by the heat or by the cold.
As said earlier in the Bhagavad-gita:mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkha-dāḥ āgamāpāyino ‘nityās tāḿs titikṣasva bhārata (Bhagavad-gita 2.14)
One has to tolerate. So being neutral or to tolerate is the same. The mind is not dwelling on the material
circumstances that are created by the three modes of material nature dhyāyato viṣayān puḿsah sańgas teṣūpajāyate (Bhagavad-gita 2.62). When we start to dwell on material objects, then attachment arises. Either positive or negative attachment so either we start to hate, “I hate, hate, hate or I love, love, love”.
In 1944, in his Back to Godhead which Srila Prabhupada published with so much difficulty, the one for which he had to convince an army officer to release paper because paper was reserved for the war. Prabhupada said, “Yes, therefore my magazine must be published because it is for the war. It is for the war because my magazine will bring peace.” And he got it and then he brought it out. Then he wrote an article and he explained that the other side of love in the material world, is frenzy. He used the word frenzy which is like a state of intense anger or intense aggression which was representing the World War that was going on 1944 – the frenzy of the war. Prabhupada pointed out that the love for one’s country or the love for the homeland creates the frenzy for the others who are not part of that.
So love and hate come together! One can say, I love heat and I love cold or the other way around, like this, the dualities. Generally, loving one means hating the opposite and that is material existence. Neutrality is the position that we take but this is tapas. This is something which is different from the senses because the senses are sending information signals to the mind, like the dashboard. The senses are sending signals like red lights that are flashing on a dashboard.
“Too hot! Too hot! Too hot! Alarm! Alarm!” Or it can be another signal, “Very attractive! Very attractive! You cannot let this opportunity go by, it may never come again. You’ll never forgive yourself if you let it go.” So the senses are sending these kind of signals and they are received in the mind. It is there where the signals come in and it is there where we have to be neutral.
We cannot be neutral in the senses, that is not possible. The senses will not be neutral. Hungry is hungry. You can’t stop being hungry. It doesn’t work. But when we fast, just don’t think about it. Try not to think about it.
“Oh, we’re fasting! Oooooh fasting. Oh I’m so weak. Oh I’m so sick. Oh, I always get sick. Oh, whenever we’re fasting. Actually it’s not good for my constitution to fast. Oh really, it’s like kapha people can fast but vata people can’t fast at all. No, no. And pitta people also, they need to eat otherwise their own fire burns their bodies. Even dangerous. Serious. Yes. Alright, then I’ll fast half a day then.”
So, the more one allows the mind to become pre-occupied, naturally it becomes more difficult. So, one learns to withdraw the mind, withdraw the mind from these sense objects and just as we’re doing in chanting, in chanting japa, we withdraw the mind and bring it back to the holy name, from everywhere just withdraw the mind. So therefore it automatically brings that state of neutrality, we become focused on Krsna.