Sunday 23 July 2017


2017 0923 30  Bhagavad Gita 13.7: Top 9 Virtues for Wisdom [ ज्ञानं ]

Bhagavad Gita

[Twenty virtues are listed as Jnanam, in the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13 verses 7 to 11. We consider here the first nine virtues from verse 13.7]

अमानित्वं अदंभित्वं अहिंसा क्षान्ति आर्जवं  |
आचार्य उपासनं शौचं स्थैर्यं  आत्म विनिग्रहः ||   BG 13.7

Amaanitvam adambhitvam ahimsaa kshaantir aarjavam |
aachaarya upaasanam shaucham sthairyam aatmavinigrahaha || BG 13.7 
Humility or absence of pride, unpretentiousness, non-injury, forgiveness, straightforwardness, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self control.

अमानित्वं  amaanitvam : humility or absence of pride
अदंभित्वं  adambhitvam : unpretentiousness or absence of hypocrisy
अहिंसा  ahimsaa : non-injury
क्षान्ति  kshaantihi : forgiveness
आर्जवं  aarjavam : straightforwardness
आचार्य उपासनं  aachaarya upaasanam : service of the teacher
शौचं  shaucham : purity
स्थैर्यं   sthairyam : steadfastness
आत्म विनिग्रहः  aatma vinigrahah : self control

1] अमानित्वं  amaanitvam: “Maana” means overestimation of one’s own self-worth. This self-worth can be derived from health, wealth, power, beauty, control, position, any of these characteristics. When pride or “abhimaan” derived from these characteristics makes us crave extra attention or put down someone else, it is to be avoided. “Amaanitvam” is an absence of pride about any of the above-mentioned characteristics.

2] अदंभित्वं  adambhitvam: “Dambha” means pretentiousness or falsehood. In the case of abhimaana, we had some characteristic in us that made us puff up with pride. In dambha, we derive a false sense of pride where there is no positive trait to speak of whatsoever. It is completely hollow pride. It is easy to see through people who have dambha. So then, “adambhitvam” is utter absence of pretentiousness.
अहिंसा  ahimsaa:  “Himsaa” means injury in a very broad sense of the word. There are five afflictions that are mentioned in the Yoga school of philosophy: ignorance, arrogance, desire, hatred and fear of death. Whenever we cause any of these afflictions or kleshas in any other person, we are injuring that person. When we do not cause any of these afflications, we demonstrate ahimsaa or non-injury.

4] क्षान्ति  kshaanti:  “Kshaanti” is an attitude of forgiveness that comes out of extreme titkshaa which is forbearance and tolerance. If we do not have this quality, we will get angry, flare up and lose our equanimity at every little jab or insult that anyone throws at us. Forbearance is a means to achieve equanimity as well.

5] आर्जवं aarjavam: “Aarjavam” refers to straightforwardness, an absence of crookedness in dealing with the world. This quality is reflected in us when our thoughts are aligned with our actions. Even children can see through someone who says one thing and does something else.

6] आचार्य उपासनं  aachaarya upaasanam: “Aacharya” refers to someone who collects the essence of the scriptures, like a honeybee collects nectar from flowers. Giving respect to such a learned master is called “aacharya upaasanam”. By doing so, we acknowledge that we do not know everything, and that we are ready to follow the path laid out by the teacher. 

7] शौचं  shaucham: “Shaucham” is purity of the body and the mind. The ritual of pooja is emphasized in Indian children because in that short period of time, we learn to maintain a high degree of external purity. If we reflect on this as we get older, that notion of external purity slowly seeps into our mind, and encourages us to develop purity in thought as well.

8] स्थैर्यं sthairyam: “Sthairyam” is the strength to remain firm in one’s convictions, to remain steadfast in what we do. If we decide to meditate for ten minutes daily but cannot even do so for a couple of days, we will not be able to tackle much more challenging aspects of our material and spiritual journeys.

9] आत्म विनिग्रहः  aatma vinigrahah:  “Aatma vinigrahah” is our ability to control our mind from its natural tendency to run after sense objects. The sense organs, which are under the control of the mind, have a natural tendency to go outwards. Through self control, we learn to turn them inward. 

Swami Guruparananda in Tamil[Click Here]

Study Guide on Virtues to Wisdom BG 13.7-13.11: [Click Here]

Twenty Virtues for Essential Wisdom: Satya Sai Baba: [Click Here]


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