तत्परः - Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is the second step to attaining knowledge. Enthusiasm is needed alongside trust. Enthusiasm is the confluence of intense desire, eagerness and engrossment. To not rest at ease until one attains knowledge is intense desire – What can I do to please the guru? How can I swiftly imbibe his precepts in my life? To not want to delay in the slightest is eagerness. To remain focused in the form of the guru and his precepts is engrossment. When a disciple is keen or enthusiastic, they have all of the above. Even if the goal has not been attained, such enthusiasm saves one from gloominess, lethargy or idleness. For such a person endeavour is not a burden, but a delight. For such enthusiasm, Bhagwan Swaminarayan uses words like zeal, attachment, fervour and yearning.
The guru is also enthusiastic to give such a keen disciple knowledge.
संयतेन्द्रियः - Control of the Senses
By indulging in unnecessary or forbidden pleasures, the senses become feeble and one’s ability to grasp knowledge diminishes. Knowledge cannot be attained without concentration. If students do not have control over their senses, their minds are constantly engrossed in trifle matters such as eating, watching and going out; they cannot concentrate. They never feel like sitting down to read, write or listen. If they do sit down to study, they do not like it, do not understand it and do not remember it. They get fed up and feel agitated. If one has self-control, then concentration comes easily, the senses become sharp, one is able to grasp more, knowledge becomes easy to attain and enthusiasm increases. To focus all of one’s senses on the guru is a form of self-control – this means to obey the guru’s commands and to see, listen, eat, etc. as per the guru’s instructions. By doing this, one is ready to attain the guru’s knowledge.
Thus, in this shloka, Shri Krishna explains to Arjuna three imperative qualities a disciple must have – faith, keenness and self-control. Shri Krishna then proceeds to reveal the fruits a disciple who sincerely imbibes these qualities attains.
ज्ञानं लब्ध्वा परां शान्तिम् अघिगत्व्छति॥ - Peace from Knowledge
A disciple who imbibes the above qualities obtains both knowledge and peace. The first outcome of the above virtues is knowledge. But that is not all, ‘Gnãnam labdhvã parãm shãntim achirenãdhigachchhati’ – it is the path to ultimate peace. If one knows a lot but does not have peace, then one has not understood correctly. Where there is true knowledge, peace inevitably exists. True understanding can only be obtained from the guru. Therefore, the knowledge that the Gitã is speaking of is knowledge obtained from the guru by surrendering to him. The Gitã is not speaking of information gathered from contemplation or a variety of books. No matter how much such information is collected, it does not lead to the experience of even a fraction of the ultimate peace.
Therefore, one becomes wise by attaining knowledge from the brahmaswarup guru. One becomes brahmarup by the association of Brahman. Those who are brahmarup do not have to go looking for peace; they are at peace. Knowledge, love, delight, bliss, satisfaction and contentment obtained by the association and grace of the guru all combine to establish inner peace. This peace is the greatest achievement in life.
The Ideal Discipleship of the Brahmaswarup Guru
Our succession of brahmaswarup gurus is a living example of these words of the Gitã.
Doctrinally, Bhagatji Maharaj was a manifest form of the brahmaswarup satpurush, yet, from a worldly perspective, he was also the disciple of Aksharmurti Gunatitanand Swami. All three qualities mentioned in the above shloka, as well as their fruits, can be seen in Bhagatji Maharaj’s life.
Once, Gunatitanand Swami came to Sarangpur. Bhagatji Maharaj was with him. Swami answered a call of nature and, on returning, Bhagatji Maharaj helped him to wash his hands. Swami said to Bhagatji Maharaj, “If I find a truly worthy person, I would like to give him knowledge.”
“Give that knowledge to me!” Bhagatji Maharaj immediately requested.
“This knowledge cannot be easily attained,” Gunatitanand Swami clarified. “It can only be attained by one who is prepared to completely surrender his body and senses.”
Hearing this, Bhagatji Maharaj’s enthusiasm multiplied. He felt ready to do anything for Gunatitanand Swami. He devoted himself to Swami with body and mind, ready to serve at his every word.
His intense zeal to please his guru added self-control to his keenness. He started a repeating cycle of fasting for two days and eating only once on the third day.
Alongside keenness and self-control, he was full of trust. He learnt from Gunatitanand Swami with complete and pure faith. Once, Swami told him to call Mt. Girnar. Hearing this command, those standing by thought it weird, but Bhagatji, without a second’s delay, went and told the mountain of Gunatitanand Swami’s summons. This reflects his paramount faith in the guru’s words.
Faith, keenness and self-control had become natural to Bhagatji Maharaj, and as a result, he attained the utmost state of realization and knowledge, and experienced ultimate peace. This is why Bhagatji Maharaj was always seen to be in a blissful mood.
Shri Krishna wished that Arjuna experience ultimate peace and thus gave him this extraordinary precept.
In this manner, the Gitã has given complete guidance on how to achieve the highest knowledge and experience ultimate peace. In essence, if there is a wise and realized guru, and the disciple bows, enquires and serves with qualities such as faith, keenness and self-control, then brahmavidya is realized of its own accord and the disciple is immersed in ultimate peace.
We are fortunate that we have had this opportunity with Pramukh Swami Maharaj. We have served him and heard his divine words. Today too, we continue to serve Mahant Swami Maharaj and listen to him. It is now our responsibility to put aside any distrust, doubts, argumentative reasoning and differences of opinion and listen to what our guru has said and continue to say with complete faith, patience, keenness and self-control imbibed in our lives. We should please our guru in this manner, realize the knowledge that he wants to give us and become eligible for ultimate peace.