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Difference Between Meaning and Secret


A Brahman poor though he was, was fully contented, virtuous and learned. His wife who was very faithfully devoted to her husband was learned, possessed of knowledge in essence and was liberated from her mundane existence. The ruler of that country was also possessed of knowledge in essence and was an exalted soul free from his mundane existence. The Brahman's wife one day thought to herself that her revered husband was endowed with contentment, virtues and learning and as such he was undoubtedly worthy of attaining salvation. But if he came in contact with the king, he too could be possessed of knowledge in essence and be liberated in his mundane existence. Arguing to herself in that why she requested her husband thus-'O reverted husband, we are passing through great straits these days, it is difficult for us to make both ends meet and we have no source of income. People say that the ruler of this country is very saintly and a great soul liberated in his mundane existence and he greets and entertains the Brahmans in a respectful manner and is very generous. If you could meet him but once he would possibly, entertain you in a befitting manner and needless it is to remind you that according to the scriptural ordinances whatever the king offers without asking is nectarean to a Brahman.'

The learned Brahman said-'That's right but I think it undesirable on my part to accept gratuity from anyone for my subsistence even if it is had without asking unless I earn his gratitude by doing him some good. So I will refrain from doing that even though I am starved to death.'

'You are a learned man and you can earn the king's gratitude by exhorting him in a befitting manner', said the Brahman's wife.

This suggestion appealed to learned Brahman a little but he did not feel inspired to approach the king. At last on repeated requests from his wife the Brahman gave in and reached the king's court. The learned Brahman was well known throughout the kingdom for his good qualities and virtuous conduct. The king greeted the learned Brahman warmly. After making enquiries about his welfare, the king sent for a large number of gold coins and presented them to the learned Brahman. Refusing to accept them the learned Brahman said-'O king, I know you are very generous but I have made it a true not to accept money from any one, even if it is offered without asking, unless. I earn his gratitude by doing him some good. If you entrust me some work and if I am able to do it to your satisfaction in that case whatever you offer will be accepted by me. The king said-'Very well, you are a virtuous and scholarly Brahman. I would like to listen from you the real meaning of the Gita. Be pleased to explain to me clearly the meaning as well as the purport of the sixteenth verse of chapter XII of the Gita.

At first the learned Brahman recited the verse and then went on to explain it-

He who craves for nothing, who is both internally and externally pure, is clever and impartial and has risen against all distractions, who renounces the feeling of doership in all undertakings-that devotee is dear to Me.

After that he proceeded to give a detailed explanation of the verse as follows-He who does not entertain even the least desire, craving are hidden bias for anything who is satiated and has absolutely no concern with any object is spoken of as 'Anapeksha'.

He whose inner senses are absolutely pure whose external behaviours are pure, impartial and free from all agitations whose very sight, touch, speech and conversation lend purity to others is spoken of as truly pure-'Shuchi'.

The accomplishing of the object, for which human body has been vouchsafed to us, i.e., the realization of God is man's true cleverness. He who realizes his object is called clever (Daksha).

He who while giving evidence in a court of law or while acting as an arbitrator does not show any favour out of regard for a kinsman, relative or friend-always remains unbiased is spoken of as impartial (Udasin).

He whose mind does give way to any grief or cause of grief in other words who is not grieved at heart by any anxiety, sorrow or grief is spoken of as unperturbed (Gatavyathah).

He does nothing at all of his own accord but becomes only a puppet in the hands of 'Prarabdha' does nothing at all with a selfish motive, is contented with whatever he gets, who has given up the feeling of doership in all activities impulsed by 'Prarabdha', untainted internally or externally by egoism is spoken of as 'Sarvarambha-parityagi'.

When the learned Brahman had concluded the above detailed explanation the king modestly said to the Brahman-learned sir, you have given a good explanation. Your comments are based on sound arguments and supported by the Scriptures still I have reason to believe that in spite of giving such a beautiful explanation of the verse, you are unaware of its practical aspect. The learned Brahman spoke-'Had I not been aware of its secret meaning how could I have explained it so elaborately. I have learnt by role all the fifty two commentaries on the Gita. Still if you are aware of any further secret meaning you are requested to explain it yourself.'

Instead of saying anything in reply the king very modestly said-'O learned Brahman, I am quite satisfied with the beautiful explanation, based on the scriptures, that you have given. I am greatly obliged to you. So please accept the presents I have offered you.'

The learned Brahman said-'O king, there is actually no cause for satisfaction when you say that I am unaware of the secret meaning. The satisfaction is only verbal. So long as you aren't truly satisfied I do not intend to accept anything whatsoever from you.' In spite of repeated requests from the king the learned Brahman returned home without accepting the present. On the other side the king called for trusted spy and said-'The revered Brahman is very selfless, virtuous and self-respected scholar. You follow him in his foot step and find out how he behaves at his house and what sort of conversation takes place there and then inform me about it.' At the order of the king the spy followed him and marked the behavior and conversation of all the members of his family.

On returning home being asked by his wife the learned Brahman told her the detailed account of the happenings at the court. The wife modestly and lovingly said-'O husband, whatever the king has said seems to be proper. You shouldn't have taken ill of it.

The Brahman: (displaying a little anger and agitation). O ! You too are supporting the king's statement.

Wife: It is you who often say that a just cause must be supported.

The Brahman: (a little more agitatedly in order to prevail on her at once). It is king's statement justifiable when he says that my explanation is beautiful but I do not know its secret meaning?

Wife: Please excuse me. The king's observations are quite correct for it is easy to explain a verse but it is very difficult to know its true and hidden meaning.

The Brahman: How is it so?

Wife: In the same way as the gramophone record, which is set on the machine plays the music but is unable to know its secrets.

The Brahman: Do you mean to compare me to a gramophone?

Wife: What difference could there be between the gramophone and the man who commends and exhorts others in a beautiful manner but does not live up to his own ideals? Do you live up to the ideals you talked of, while explaining the verse to the king?

The Brahman: Why not? Where do you find me lacking?

Wife: Please listen to my humble submission unagitatedly. Pray, explain again to me each word of the verse. What do you understand by the term 'Anapaksha'?

The Brahman: He does not entertain any desire, craving or bias for anything and has no concern with anything is unconcerned (Anapeksha).

Wife: Is this term truly applicable to you?

The Brahman: Why not? I entertain no desire, craving or bias for anything whatsoever. It was on your insistence that I went to the king and in spite of repeated requests from the king I did not accept anything from him.

Wife: Very well, I take it as true that you went there on my insistence. It is your favour on me, I suppose. But tell me what does the term 'Shuchi' imply?

The Brahman: He whose inner senses are quite pure, whose external behavior is also pure, impartial and free from agitation whose sight, speech, touch and conversation even purify others, is spoken of as 'Shuchi'.

Wife: Are you internally and externally pure like that? Do people get purified by your sight, touch, speech and conversation? Are your inner senses free from all taints? Is your external behavior free from agitation, pure and unbiased? If it is so how did the feeling of anger and agitation arise in your mind and why did you utter words expressive of your ego to the king?

The Brahman: (Perplexed) well, I admit I lack that quality.

Wife: Now, how did you explain the word 'Daksha' (clever)?

The Brahman: The realization of the object for which human form has been vouchsafed to man i.e., realization of God is the true cleverness of man. He who achieves his object only he is said to be clever (Daksha).

Wife: Is it then that you have realized the great object for which you came to this world? Have you achieved the Supreme Abode? If not, there is hardly anything to demur at the king's observation.

The Brahman: You are right. I am lacking in this respect also.

Wife: What do you mean by the term 'Udasin'?

The Brahman: He who while giving evidence in the court, sitting in judgment or working in the capacity of an arbitrator makes no allowance for the members of his family, friend or kinsman out of attachment, malice, greed, infatuation or fear and remains unbiased and impartial in each and every circumstance is spoken of as unconcerned (Udasin).

Wife: Then, are you impartial? Did you not plead your own points before the king? Did you think seriously over the king's observation that you did not know the secret meaning of the verse? If not, why is the king's observation not valid?

The Brahman: (Confessing his own drawback with a pure and upright mind) You are right to tell the truth. You have opened my eyes today. I very much lack the quality of being impartial. Often in debates, I do not desist from pleading my own stand point too far in spite of knowing that my arguments hold no water.

Wife: And what does the term 'Gatavyathah' imply?

The Brahman: He who does not grieve even when confronted with the greatest sorrow or even at the presentation of a cause of sorrow, whose inner senses do not give way to any grief, anxiety or sorrow is spoken of as 'Gavyathah'.

Wife: Don't you grieve at heart for anything at all? If you do not, why were you so much agitated and grieved at the king's remarks and subsequently on my supporting the king's statement?

The Brahman: You are right indeed; I do not possess this quality in the least. When things go against my expectations, I not only feel grieved at every step but fear, agitation, envy, sorrow and such other evils make their way into my mind.

Wife: How do you interpret the term 'Sarvarambha-parityagi'?

The Brahman: One who has given up all activities internal or external impulsed by Prarabdha and does nothing with a selfish motive, who is satiated with whatever he gets unasked, who has renounced the feeling of doership in all actions impulsed by Prarabdha-such a renounced of actions, internal or external, is spoken of as 'Sarvarambha-parityagi'.

Wife: An excellent exposition indeed! But tell me whether you have renounced all actions internal or external. Do your inner senses not entertain any worldly desire? If not, why should you nurse so much of ego notwithstanding that you are performing all actions only externally?

The Brahman: True it is that I am totally devoid of this quality. All my shortcomings have been brought home to me. It is true that I reveled only in giving literal explanations and remained unaware of its secret import. Now the true meaning is being revealed to me gradually. Now I intend to become a recluse give your consent to my resolve-saying this the learned Brahman renouncing all finally resolved to proceed from his house on his spiritual quest.

Wife: (Imploringly) I too want to follow suit and accompany you.

The Brahman: I do not want to keep any sort of botheration for me far less to speak of allowing a woman to stay with me.

Wife: Please do not consider me to be a burden on you. I shall put no hindrance in your spiritual practice. My intention in sending you to the king today was surely not of procuring money. I made money only a means to an end. My only intention was that you should attain the principal object of life. The king is verily possessed of the knowledge of Truth, and is great soul liberated in his mundane existence. You too are the knower of duties, virtuous, a renouncer of actions, contented and learned as well. By virtue of your contact and association with the king who is possessed of the knowledge of Truth. You will certainly be able even to attain God-realization. Such was my intention in sending you to the king. Now if you are pleased to allow me, I would like to accompany you.

The Brahman: (expressing his gratitude) Now I stand correct. Your presence will not be of any disadvantage to me. You alone are a true benefactor and friend to me. In fact the truest friend are they who help their kinsman attain God-realization. Come alone, there too you will rather be helpful to me in God-realization.

Therefore the couple renouncing all went out of their house never to return. Thither the king's spy who had heard their conversation and witnessed the occurrences went to the king and precisely reported to him the whole affair. The king who had already handed over the charge of the state and the royal treasury etc., to the prince, after receiving the report of the spy and renouncing his state started from there. On the way he came across the Brahman couple coming towards him from the opposite direction. The king joyfully exclaimed, 'O revered Brahman, now, I see, you have understood the secret meaning of the verse of the Gita.'

The learned Brahman modestly replied-'I have not understood it yet, but am fairly on my way to understand it.'

The king too accompanied them. Then the three retiring to a solitary and secret place settled down there. The king and the Brahman's wife were verily great souls, and possessed the Brahman's wife were verily great souls, and possessed the knowledge of Truth and were liberated in their mundane existence. By virtue of his association with them the learned Brahman also succeeded in attaining God-realization.

(This story has been designed to exemplify the interpretations of the verse XII. 16 of the Gita corresponding to the 'discipline of renunciation' (The cessation of activity). Its inter-pretation and exemplification corresponding to the 'discipline of action' will be quite different from the present one).

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