Gita Daily Readings

7th November
Chapter XVI: 23-24
He who acts under the impulse of desire, having cast aside the ordinances of the scriptures, attains not perfection nor happiness nor the supreme goal.

Therefore, let the scriptures be the authority in determining what ought to be done and what ought not to be done. Having known what is said in the ordinance of the scriptures, thou shouldst act here in this world.


Narada in his Bhakti Sutras declares that saints (the supreme devotees of the Lord) invest scripture with authority. Scripture itself has the sage for its author, the sage for its model and the sage as its goal. It is, therefore, reliable and serves not only as an indicator of the “supreme goal,” but as the only tangible trail (barring its living embodiment, the guru) of the intangible and subtle middle path. By telling us what to do and what not to do, the scripture simplifies the greatest problem, indirectly suggesting the solution; and by turning our disciplined gaze inwards, helps us rediscover the middle path ourselves. If the scripture itself creates problems, that is what it is meant to do; the solution should ultimately come from within. The navigator depends upon the charts; but the charts will not steer for him! In the sea of life, steering is trickier than in the field of navigation.

The primary object of the scripture is to halt the waywardness of the mind and to curb the egoistic will and its determination to execute its diabolical intentions. To follow the scripture is freedom from slavery to the dictates of one's own ego - the worst of all slave drivers and tyrants. However, blind obedience will defeat the scripture's purpose; one should not cease to exercise one's own intelligence.

As the great master Shankaracharya has stated: the scripture is of no use to the enlightened one who is already wise, nor to the fool who is not going to change. Krishna asks those in between to “know what is said” in the scripture, whatever it may be, and then act. Neither the ego, nor the scripture, nor an external being is your authority; only this “knowledge” is your authority. The real seeker after truth will find the same message in the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita or any other scripture.

Thus in the Upanishad of the glorious Bhagavad Gita,
the science of the eternal, the scripture of yoga,
the dialogue between sri Krishna and Arjuna,
ends the sixteenth discourse entitled:

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