Attaining Godhood – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 50-56

Godhood is Home
Godhood is Home

Attaining Godhood, Part 1

50-51
Now learn from Me briefly, how one who has attained perfection also attains Brahman, the Highest State: The senses are restrained, beginning with sound, the buddhi is pure, and attraction and aversion are abandoned.

He is saying that in attaining Perfection, you are attaining the state of Godhood, and that this is the Highest State. He goes on to tell us how this takes place: With the restraint of the senses (pratyahara), sound being the first, attractions and aversions cease and the buddhi is pure.

How It Works

Pratyahara – introversion and withdrawal of the senses. In this state, when the sense faculties are separated from the sense organs and can no longer bring sense objects (sound, sight, etc.) into the mind, then the buddhi is ‘pure’ (nothing is mixed in with it).

Buddhi – intellect, understanding, logic, reasoning, discrimination, judgement, and sorting things out. Buddhi is the part of the mind that knows the difference among things. It differentiates and understands. In pratyahara, the buddhi is ‘pure’ and free to do its job perfectly because it is not disturbed or distracted by objects entering into the mind via the senses. Then one sees only what is Real (God/Truth).

Pure buddhi – your ability to know, understand what you know, and what to do with it, is free. No tantalizing objects of sense can reach the buddhi because there is a disconnect between your organs of sense and your powers of sense.

Attraction and aversion – likes and dislikes. One’s indifference to them is achieved through pratyahara

“Sound being the first” – The experience of pratyahara, withdrawal or introversion, begins with sound because sound is the subtlest and the most all-encompassing of the five ‘sense objects’. It is directly connected to the whole of Creation, including the body itself. In the state of pratyahara this is experienced as Real and can be heard, felt and seen. 

Conditions for Attainment

52-53
Living alone and relishing solitude, taking recourse in the highest yoga meditation and eating moderately, the body, speech and mind under control and one is indifferent to worldly objects. Egotism, force, arrogance, passion, anger and possessiveness are abandoned, and this peaceful one is fit for Union with Brahman (Absolute God/Truth).

“The highest yoga meditation” – the primary practice of nivritti marga (the path going straight to the Goal).

“The body, speech and mind under control” – in life, this is monitoring them; in meditation this is pratyahara.

“Union with Brahman” – in life, this unification is evidenced by the emergence of the Real You; in meditation one is absorbed into Absolute God.

Success!

54-55
One who is absorbed in Brahman neither grieves loss nor desires gain. Propitious and impartial toward all living beings and devoted to Me, he gains the Highest. Devoted to Me, he comes to know Me as great, and also as I am. Upon truly knowing Me, he immediately enters into Me.

“He comes to know Me as great, and also as I am.” Some translators translate ‘great’ to mean all-pervasive, which is certainly true. Lord Krishna is saying to Arjuna that he will not only come to know Him as something bigger than himself, i.e., His Cosmic Form, but also as He is now — appearing as a human being who is Arjuna’s childhood friend and guru, even though He is also the Cosmic lord of all Creation.  

“Devoted to Me” means that, through constant devotion to Krishna/God, you will know Him completely.  

Upon truly knowing Me, he immediately enters into Me” is to be taken literally. You really do enter into Absolute God. This is called nirbija samadhi. (‘merging together un-caused’). 

Nirbija also means ‘without seed’, without anything left in a potential state of ‘becoming’ because all is now revealed. Samadhi means ‘union, joining together’ as well as ‘sameness’. At this point, you as a human being living on this earth, can enter into Absolute God at the drop of a hat. You will find yourself stopping what you’re doing and going there in an instant, whenever you like. 

56
Even though he performs many actions, he is surrendered to Me, thus attaining the realm of the eternal Imperishable Abode, by My Grace.

God's Eternal Abode“By My Grace” means that it is because of Absolute God Itself that you are able to enter into Absolute God. You have surrendered yourself to That, so That is what you get.

“Even though he performs many actions.” You have surrendered yourself to God, so you most certainly are not the doer of any actions that occur — nothing you do is done by you.

“Thus attaining the realm of the eternal Imperishable Abode” means that you can finally go Home to this realm of existence. At death, rather than some weigh-station where you await your next incarnation and start all over again, you will go Home and you won’t be compelled to return. It also means that while you are here in this world, you have contact with this realm of Immortal Masters.

All of this tells us how little is actually required of us to become God-realized. I cannot otherwise imagine how I have managed to reach this point with so much static, so many obstacles, all my worrying about tomorrow, and so much self-talk of unworthiness, not to mention my feeble attempt at succeeding with this yoga. I am not playing humble, I am telling you this in all honesty, because I want you to understand this one thing: If I can do it, you can do it.

God-realization is not different than Self-realization.

This is where all your reticence should end. Now you know that all these verses, in all these eighteen chapters, are telling you the same thing, over and over in different ways, so that you can finally get the message. If Arjuna can do it, you can do it. In chapter one we heard Arjuna stating his reticence only to find that everything he said was true, even though he did not understand his own revelations.

This last chapter is also telling you everything all over again. The question is, do you understand it? If not, get on board the train that goes there, do the work, and you will discover that this work is not only not difficult, but brings enormous satisfaction and the greatest happiness and joy.

The next question is, Do you want it? If you don’t, or if you’re not sure, consider the alternatives. It’s a no-brainer. 

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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Attaining Success, Perfection & Special Powers – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 45-49

The Road to Success

45
Content in the performance of one’s own innate kind of action, one attains success. Now hear now how one who is contented in his own innate kind of action finds perfection:

One might be successful at many things in a lifetime, but Lord Krishna is saying that the thing that you are naturally inclined to do, have a natural ability or talent and liking for, will bring you true success and happiness. You may do other things well, and even enjoy them, but the real pay-off comes as a result of doing what is consistent with your innate ability. He has given us four broad categories that cover everything imaginable, so that we have something to go by to make this determination for ourselves (verses 40-44).

BusinessmanYou may know people who are successful and are still not satisfied. Often such a person will go after making more money in order to try to satisfy this gaping hole, but it never really works. Or they may be happy with a particular success but unhappy in love, or other things. So this person’s success is not complete in the way it is meant in this verse.  

  • Successful (sansiddhi) – to gain happiness, success, perfection and special powers.
Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi

46-47
When a person performs his own kind of action, he worships That from which all beings come forth, and attains success. Better one’s own dharma done poorly than the dharma of another done well. Performing action according to one’s own innate nature, one is faultless. 

By focusing your efforts on your own innate kind of action in both career and spiritual practice, you will achieve success and happiness and accrue no karmic debt. At the same time you will be reverencing “that from whom all beings have their source.” By sticking to your own dharma in what you do in life, you can’t go wrong, no matter how it may seem otherwise.

In some cases a person’s dharma may change later in life. Such exceptions show up in the Mahabharata, an epic poem that includes this Gita.  

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 7.58.47 AMThis represents your secondary life purpose. The first is to find God/Truth and live by That, according to That, and sync yourself and your life with That. This comes quite naturally if you live and work according to your own personal dharma. By doing so, you align with That which is your Source.

It is better to perform one’s own dharma poorly, than to perform someone else’s well.

By following your own kind of action, your own dharma, not only will you live a happy and successful life, but the actions you perform that bring you that success, amounts to worship of God/Truth.

48
One should not abandon one’s inherent kind of action, even if it be deficient. Indeed, all undertakings are as prone to error as fire is to smoke.

Success!He is saying not to worry about making mistakes, just do it. If you are inclined to indulge in the self-talk of unworthiness or failure, let it go. It is just an obstacle like any other obstacle you would otherwise not hesitate to ignore or break through.

  • Perfection (sansiddhi) – to gain success, perfection and special powers … in that order.

49
With intelligence detached, self-won indifference everywhere at all times, actionless through sanyasa, one attains the Highest Perfection.

As High as You Can GetCarrying out your own personal dharma, you are free of disturbances caused by attachments. When the ability of the mind to understand and differentiate (buddhi) is free of such disturbances it is devoid of desire. This state is harmonious with the ‘indifference’ of surrender, sanyasa, the state of non-willful action by which one attains the Highest Perfection.

  • Sanyasa – renunciation; the renunciation of action done for the purpose of fulfilling desires; surrender to Absolute God.
  • Non-willful action – action that occurs as a result of the ‘indifference’ of sanyasa. Such action accrues no karma. It is called ‘inaction’, even though action occurs.

Now that we know what to do, and we do it, we naturally become free of attachment, which you may remember is the real obstacle, not the desires themselves. When we are confident in our aim, we are not so easily prone to being affected by attachments and desires. We have experienced things going well. Willfully pushing forward or holding back is not for us. Thus is our daily life led in harmony with our natural dharma, the very thing that leads us to sanyasa, the natural relinquishment of the the state of “I do”. 

“Actionless through sanyasa” – the state of non-doership brought about through the practice of surrender to Absolute God/Truth in meditation, is a state of inaction, regardless of what may be going on. It is called renunciation (sanyasa) because one either realizes, or goes on faith, that he is not the doer of action. This is the meaning of ‘surrender’.

Our success is unaffected by attachments, so the mind is void of desires. This ‘indifference’ is the actionless state of sanyasa (renunciation, surrender to God), by which one attains the Highest Perfection. Now that we have attained success, we can look forward to Perfection and Godhood.

When you follow your dharma, attachments quit and the mind becomes free of desires — they are no longer needed when your have what you want. Then you can live in harmony with the Real You and be happy.  

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

The Four Kinds of People -Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 40-45

The Four Castes

40-41
There is nothing on earth among living beings, or even in heaven among the gods, that can exist free of the three gunas of Nature. The innate actions of people — Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras — are therefore determined according to the gunas of Nature.

1. Brahman (God-person) – Priest, spiritual leader, teacher, scholar.

2. Kshatriya (Warrior) – Warrior or leader of the People.

3. Vaishya (Tradesman) – Merchant, journeyman, businessman.

4. Shudra (Servant) – Laborer. (Originally part of the Kashatriya caste but since degraded. For more details, read “Who Were the Shudras?”).

“Nothing on earth … can exist free of the three gunas” says that there is no such thing as not acting, for the gunas are forms of action in Nature. As beings we have bodily forms that exist in the realm of Nature, so we are not exempt from Action. So there is no one, not even among the gods, who can exist free of Action and its effects.

  • The gods – deva (m) or devi (f) — Divine Individuals on a higher plane of being than our own.

As long as you are being something, you are not exempt from Action. 

When a yogi is ill or suffering, it is often believed by others that he cannot really be a yogi, or even an avatara; he would be immune to such maladies, or would simply cure the problem and remain solidly in Divine Bliss. But they forget that his physical body, which is a part of nature, is as vulnerable to nature’s effects and maladies as anyone else. Bodies do not exist in the Absolute. Bodies can only exist in Relative realms. 

“The innate actions of people” refers to the way people tend to carry out action according to their natural traits, abilities, talents, interests, etc. We are all born with something that we can do well. It is only natural that we use this as an occupation in life. It was once believed, and probably still is, that these traits are inherited, and therefore set in stone.

There was probably a time when people naturally tended to stick to their own kind of people. However, with the descent from a more enlightened time into a darker and overpopulated age, this is no longer as prominent. Nowadays, likenesses are more likely to be based on intolerance. Standards are more likely to be based on class (money), religion and race. But the four kinds of people mentioned here, still have something equally valuable to teach us.

Four Castes

This verse is introducing us to the caste system. It is my opinion that the caste system as we know it today, was not originally meant as a hard rule to be followed at all costs, but as a guide. I also think that it is essentially correct. It provides us with some practical understanding of people and how people are ‘wired’ in general — their characteristics, traits and tendencies, and their various talents and abilities. But one must always leave room for exceptions. Even in the Mahabharata, which was written not so long ago (8th and 9th centuries BCE), and in which this Bhagavad Gita appears, there are instances of these exceptions. 

42  — The Actions of Brahmans (God-People)
Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, patience, integrity, knowledge, discrimination and faith, are the inherent actions of Brahmans.

Speaking in general where ‘people’ are concerned, I think of Brahmans as God-people, and God-people as those who practice God-action and therefore know God, and consequently have the above characteristics.

43 — The Actions of Kshatriyas (Warriors)
Valor, strength, fortitude, skill, not fleeing in battle, generosity and leadership, are the innate actions of Kshatriyas.

“Not fleeing in battle” Not quitting when the going gets rough.

The picture of a warrior is one of valuable traits, whether war is concerned or not. Kshatriyas are leaders of people, kind and wise whether in war or peace. In battle, they adhere to traditional rules, i.e., warriors on elephants battle with other warriors on elephants, not archers; an archer will do battle with other archers, not swordsmen; when an archer runs out of arrows his enemy stands down until he has replenished them.

Well, it starts like that. But in the story of the Mahabharata war, as with all wars, honor in battle ultimately falls apart. But it is interesting to know that these ideals existed among Kshatriyas, passed down from times long forgotten.

44 — The Actions of Vaisyas and Shudras
Agriculture, cow-herding and commerce are the innate actions of Vaishyas, and services are the innate actions of Shudras.

The Brahmans are the teachers, scholars and priests of the spiritual, and the Kshatriyas are the barons, warriors and leaders of the people. The Vaishyas are tradesmen who sell their products in large or small businesses, and the Shudras provide services ranging from healing to house-cleaning.

(It is my opinion that the caste system comes down to us from a more enlightened time, and that what was probably original has degraded. In our present age (kali yuga), we are at the bottom of the bucket, and our so-called traditions must surely be corrupted and misunderstood, for this is a characteristic of this age. I believe these four categories of people came down the slide from the satya yuga, the Golden Age, where intolerance and inequality did not exist, and have been degraded, ranked, and set in stone over time.)

45
Content in the performance of one’s own innate kind of action, one attains success. Hear now how one who is contented in his own innate action finds perfection.

We are being reminded that to do our own dharma poorly is better than doing another’s well, and that by doing this, we will ultimately succeed in our endeavors.

It is clear that the teaching here are centered on success, and that doing what you are best qualified to do is essential for attaining it and living a happy life.

Your Life Purpose lies within one of these four general kinds of people. Once you have determined this, you will consider your options within that category, choose one, and succeed. This places you in a position to attain perfection (siddhi – success, perfection and special powers).

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com