Transcending all

November 27, 2015 07:35 am | Updated 07:35 am IST

In his work Gitartha-sangraha, Vedanta Desika sums up the chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, one verse for every chapter. Each chapter of the Gita talks of a yoga and takes its name after that yoga. So it becomes clear that the Gita is a yoga-sastra, said M.K. Srinivasan in a discourse.

The cosmos is made up of 24 elements, known as tattvas, starting from Moola Prakriti, followed by mahat and ahamkara (egotism). From the last entity come the five karmendriyas, which help a man perform various actions and include legs, hands, etc. The jnanendriyas make perception possible — like hearing, smelling, seeing, etc. Manas (the mind) is also one of the 24 tattvas. The five elements, namely, space, air, fire, water and earth, as well as their rudimentary essences called tanmatras also belong to the group of 24 tattvas. Thus Prakriti, mahat, ahamkara, mind, the five karmendriyas, the five jnanendriyas, the five tanmatras, the five elements — all these constitute the 24 tattvas. These tattvas are all non-sentient or achetana and combine in various forms to make up the bodies of those bound souls. Hence they are called kshara because of their repeated births and deaths. Some among them adopt the prescribed means and become liberated souls.

There is a third category called Nityasuris or ever-free souls, who are eternally youthful, have no death, sorrow, hunger, thirst or sin; they attain their desires and can will themselves to make things happen. These two latter types of souls are known as akshara, as they will always remain in the eternal world. The Lord says that He is superior to both kshara and akshara souls and, of course, beyond the non-sentient matter, which constitutes the cosmos. He says that this is the secret knowledge that He is conveying to Arjuna.

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