What is Grief -

What is Grief

What is Grief


One of the smears in Canadian history is the residential schools in which 150,000 indigenous children were forced into schools to become like a “typical Canadian”. 

Tens of thousands were sexually abused and thousands died in those schools. This was done by force to create “oneness”. 

This is an example of wrong intention and wrong implementation. The Canadian government has accepted this wrong and is trying to make amends.

The Varna Vibhaghasa (color classification) explained in the Gita by Lord Krishna applies to all humans according to their natural propensity in order to bring out the best in them. 

When one is able to express the best from themselves, this naturally leads to Oneness. However, the implementation of this teaching has been distorted over time. 

This is an example of right intention but wrong implementation. We too have to accept that the implementation is wrong and work toward correcting it.

In this course, we are learning about right intention and right implementation by not just reading or memorizing the Gita but also by acting according to the Gita. Hence the name of this course.. Living the Gita.


Peace is quietude of mind; sin is agitation of the mind; righteousness means responsibilities.

Prioritization means following responsibilities which will lead to us achieving the purpose of our life or svadharma (which is independent joy). 

What we are able to give in terms of time, effort and resources will change as we enter various phases of our lives and we should continually ensure we are giving our maximum in following shreyas. 

This is why we should remember and practice perpetual betterment. When we do the minimum, there is a personal agenda due to kama (desire). 

When we don’t follow our responsibilities, selfishness creeps in. We should feel honored when given the opportunity to help someone and this will help us to evolve from selfish actions (sakama) to selflessness (nishkama).

Prince Arjuna’s Question: Chapter 2, Verse 4:

“How, O Madhusudhana, shall I in battle fight with arrows, against Bhishma and Drona, who are fit to be worshipped, O destroyer of enemies?”

Prince Arjuna is giving more importance to the context (the physical battle) rather than content. 

Bhishma is his Sadhguru (sacred teacher) and Drona is his guru (secular teacher). 

He is asking Lord Krishna how can I shoot arrows at my teachers whom I worship. 

He addresses Lord Krishna as the destroyer of enemies as he is starting to ask for Lord Krishna’s help to destroy his inner enemies. 

In the hierarchy of sacred learning in Sanatana Dharma, the shishya (seeker) is at the bottom, above the seeker is the Sadhguru and higher than the Sadhguru is the shastra(scripture). 

Prince Arjuna only sees the Sadhguru and does not expand his vision to follow the shastra.

Lord Krishna’s Answer: Chapter 2, Verse 11:

“You have grieved for those that should not be grieved for; yet, you speak words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor the dead”

This message is the first and final teaching of the Bhagavad Gita and is THE message for life. 

Lord Krishna says that the wise do not grieve by being content (Chap 2, verse 55) and by surrendering (Chapter 18, verse 66). The wise do not cry, they do not complain, and they do not criticize.

Prince Arjuna is deluded/confused (moha) and it devolves to fear (bhaya) which further leads to sorrow or grief (shoka). 

Moha is when we give reality to that which is changing or asat. We can remove moha by focusing on sat (or that which is permanent). 

Fear comes from that which is unknown and fear can be removed through cit (awareness). 

Finally, sorrow is overcome when we know that we are ananda. Hence, realizing that we aresat-cit-ananda will remove moha-bhaya-shoka and all other vices.

What is grief?

Grief is the opposite of ananda (joy).Ignorance of our true nature as the infinite Self and identification with our finite personality (body, mind, and intellect) is what subjects us to sorrow. 

The feeling of sadness is not warranted because ananda is our nature! 

The only way we can live this is by giving specific time and specific effort to understanding and to practice what we are learning.

Reflection: How can you honor the legacy of those individuals who have passed away in your life? 

We should live more by values than just by sustenance of the body. 

We should follow our responsibilities, facilitate others to follow responsibilities, and felicitate those who do follow responsibilities.


  1. Is it ok to be sad or to cry?
  • The first answer is no because your nature is joy and that will never change. If we remember this and still are sad, then we won’t normalize being sad and can come out of it.
  • The second answer is yes as long as the sadness/crying is helping with your development. It should not be normalized since this can then become an escape.
  • This is not the case for those with a mental health matter since there is a difference between the brain and the mind. The issues with the brain must first be addressed and balanced. Then one can address issues with the mind through self-development.

2. How does one convert patience from a value into a virtue?

  • A value is something we know at an intellectual level
  • A virtue is something that you implement and it becomes part of you
  • Two practices to start converting patience into a virtue: 1. Simplify your lifestyle. 2. Ask for forgiveness when you are impatient; the ego can’t handle saying sorry so the next time you won’t repeat that mistake

3. If all is pre-planned, what else can we do but surrender?

  • To be content with doing nothing, one has to be extremely pure of mind
  • Until then, one must continue to act and learn the meaning of true surrender

Reflection on RAW from Oct 8th: The RAW was to buy a planner. “Don’t agonize, organize” by Florynce Kennedy. If you are not organized, you will agonize.

RAW for Oct 15th: Identify and dissect the saddest/lowest point of your life.

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About Chinmaya Mission

The Chinmaya Mission Northwest Indiana Center was established in 2002. It has now evolved into an organization serving the entire Indian community in Northwest Indiana. Chinmaya Mission is an excellent opportunity for spiritual learning.

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