Chapter IX: 20-21
The knowers of the three vedas, the
drinkers of the soma, purified of
all sins, worshipping me by sacrifices, pray for the way
to heaven; they reach the holy world of the lord of the
gods and enjoy in heaven the divine pleasure of the gods.
They, having enjoyed the vast heaven, enter the world of mortals when their merit is exhausted; thus abiding by the injunctions of the three vedas and desiring objects of desires, they attain to the state of going and returning.
CommentaryThe realization of the absolute is our goal. We may take the smooth path or the rugged one. We may swim across or ride in a ferryboat. The path of holiness and the path of diabolical beings are not different. Life is the same, but the insight of the holy ones shines brightly whilst the eyesight of the insight of diabolical beings is closed. In our quest we should never for a moment forget the goal.
The vedas and other scriptures are like the ferry-boat, and they are also like the mighty banyan tree that provides cool shade to the weary traveller scorched by the sun (of austerities and of the intense inner effort to transcend the mind). They encourage the despondent soul by providing him with tangible versions of the intangible, clothing the immaterial with the material, the spirit with form. He who complacently surrenders to these and goes to sleep under the banyan tree, abandoning the quest, exposes himself to the danger of wild animals (of desires and evil actions later in this life and subsequent lives).
Rituals, forms and scriptural injunctions are useful only so long as we do not forget the real, ultimate goal, which is realization of the absolute. They do not take us to the destination, but are only pointers without which it may be difficult to find the way. However, they should never be regarded as the goal or a substitute for the goal.
Do all the good you can - obviously because you are convinced that you will go to heaven. This conviction moulds your chitta (subconscious mind). And, it determines your next incarnation - meaning: on dropping this body you will be convinced that you are in heaven!
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