भारोऽविवेकिन: शास्त्रं भारो ज्ञानं च रागिण: ।
अशान्तस्य मनो भारो भारोऽनात्मविदो वपु: ॥
Shastras are a burden for those who lack discernment. Higher knowledge is a burden for those trapped in desires. For those who have no inner peace, the mind is a burden. For those who do not know their true Self, the body is a burden.
Commentary and Vedic Counseling Advice
Identification of the Self with body and mind is the basis of all burdens in life. It also make us unable to appreciate the teachings and knowledge that can liberate us from these.
Shastras and spiritual teachings are a burden for those who lack the discernment (viveka) to ascertain the deeper truths presented. They cannot get beyond the outer or conceptual meaning of the teachings, and get weighed down by the burden of books and ideas, missing light of wisdom behind the words.
Higher knowledge (Jnana) is a burden for those lost in desires and attachments. They do not want to truly know what is of ultimate value. They prefer to run after passing enjoyments and outer shows that leave us exhausted in the end.
The mind is a burden of restless thoughts, disturbed emotions, false imaginations and egoistic aggression. Only when we have peace of mind can the mind be helpful, which means we do not follow the mind’s disturbances, but by calming the mind move beyond its limitations to true awareness.
If we do not know our true Self (Atman), then the body is only a burden that draws us into death and sorrow. If we know our true Self, then we no longer identify with the body, and it cannot pull us down, whatever its condition. Our sense of Being is within, not in our outer material vesture.