Three Kinds of Resolve – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 33-35

Determined

Previously:
Now hear the three kinds of intelligence and resolve, together and separately, according to the gunas, Conqueror of Wealth — Verse 29

Conqueror of Wealth – By calling Arjuna Conqueror of Wealth, Lord Krishna is saying to Arjuna that intelligence and resolve are forms of wealth that he possesses.

Intelligence (buddhi) – intellect, reason, the ability to differentiate, discern and judge. Buddhi is the power of the mind that forms ideas, imaginations, conceptions, and knows how to differentiate and figure things out.

Resolve (dhṛtes) – standing firm in the course of your practice; courageously holding resolute determination without wavering. You don’t quit when the going gets rough, or when you aren’t getting what you think you want.

Resolve

Determination

33 — Sattvic Resolve
That resolve by which the functions of the mind, the vital breath and the senses are held unwaveringly in yoga, is sattvic.

  • Mind (manas) – the part of the mind that receives perceptions.
    • Attention – the flow of consciousness to perceptible ‘objects’.
  • Vital breath (prana) – the Life Energy that keeps you alive.
    • Attention and Life Energy always travel together.
  • The senses (indriyas) – the abilities that you have to hear, see, touch, taste and smell.
  • Held (avyabhicharin, ‘steady’) – withdrawn, stilled and concentrated in one place in the body . When the senses are withdrawn from external objects and steadily concentrated at the throat chakra without wavering, the mind and Prana follow suit. When this is accomplished, one experiences pratyāharā.
  • Yoga (divine union) – the equanimity of samadhi (sameness) and direct experience (experience without any via). Pratyāharā is the turning point of Yoga.
  • In verse 30, we discussed the two fundamental paths (pravṛitti and nivṛitti) in which the first, the use of the will is applied, and in the second it is not. We can look at sattvic resolve either way. This verse is generally translated for the path of the will (pravṛitti marga). Now let’s see what it looks like in terms of nivṛitti marga, the path of non-willful action, surrender to Absolute God:

Determined RenunciateWith the path of the will (pravṛitti marga), to meditate you use your will to (1) withdraw your attention internally, (2) hold your mind still, (3) and hold the Life Energy still.

In the non-willful path (nivṛitti marga), you do none of these. You don’t have to. You have realized through your experience with non-willful meditation that, if you truly surrender yourself to God, God will manage your meditation and take care of all this, and the senses, the mind and Life Energy will spontaneously stop moving.

When this happens you have turned a corner in your meditation. This is known as pratyahara, the magical moment in deep meditation when the door to samadhi opens. In the early stages of samadhi there are journeys filled with unimaginable adventures, places and beings, all wondrous to behold.

  • Samadhi – joining together, uniting (yoga), a unified state of mind, equanimity.

34 — Rajasic Resolve
But the firm hold to duty, desire and wealth, with attachment and desire for the results of actions, is rajasic.

Desire produces willful action. I have said this before, but be reminded that this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is what most people do. It is the norm. Everyone likes to be part of the norm in order to be accepted. But this comes at a cost … you don’t move on to the next phase of life in which your norm becomes the non-willful path of nivṛitti marga. If you do not move on to this, your progress will come to an end. If you do, you will regard your previous phase of pravṛitti marga as a blessing that got you to this place.

I have been accused of being elitist in my teaching of surrender yoga. But it is not a matter of one path being better than the other. It is a matter of one coming after the other, and which is most suitable for each individual according to their personal dharma and their stage of live (see verse 30 for more on this subject). 

35 — Tamasic Resolve
That resolve by which one holds on to the intoxication of imaginings, fears, grief and despair, is tamasic.

Described in this way, tamasic resolve seems to exclude any spiritual path at all. One is encumbered with cravings and sorrows to the point of being so completely distracted by them, that it is almost impossible to see anything else. This is a hard place to be. But one can use imagination to counter fears, sorrows and despair. The problem is that the tamasic person often has little or no contact with others other than those who are also living in this dark place, and so does not make this simple discovery.

A cave for a home is sheer determination!
A cave for a home.

Most people I have come across who are in this bind, cannot allow themselves to get out of it. Just finding a small interlude between traumas is difficult. They are ‘attached’ to this state of darkness. It is ‘who they are’. Identified with this state as who they are, they cannot imagine it changing or disappearing, for this would mean that they would disappear and cease to exist.    

Attachment is not only applicable to desires for likable things, but one may be attached to something not in their best interest and not even realize it. 

Perhaps you have had times like this and can identify with it to some degree. If so, try to imagine what it would be like to live in this state all the time, and allow your empathy to go to these suffering people with the love and compassion they so badly need.

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

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Three Kinds of Intelligence – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 29-32

Intelligence - rajas, tamas, sattva

Intelligence (buddhi) – intellect, reason, differentiation, discernment, judgement; buddhi is the power of the mind that forms ideas, imaginations, conceptions, and knows how to figure things out.

Resolve (dhṛtes) – standing firm in the course of your practice; holding, resolute, courageous, determined and unwavering. You don’t quit when the going gets rough, or when you aren’t getting what you think you want.

29
Now hear the three kinds of intelligence and resolve, together and separately, according to the gunas, Conqueror of Wealth:

Intelligence

Buddhi – Reason, Discernment and Judgment

30 — Sattvic Intelligence (correctly discerning)
That intelligence which knows willful action from non-willful action, what is one’s duty and what is not, what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, and what is binding and what is liberating, is sattvic intelligence.

  • Willful action (pravṛitti) – acting to fulfill desires
  • Non-willful action (nivṛitti) – renunciation of action as one’s own doing
  • Duty (kārya) – required action
  • Not duty (ākārya) – action that is not required

Two Paths

Two Paths

There are two fundamental paths of spiritual advancement: pravritti marga and nivritti marga (marga means ‘path’).

The first of these, pravritti marga, the path of the will, is the first path you follow from childhood into adulthood, under the guidance of Guru (your parents are your first gurus, and later your teachers are your gurus). 

Ideally, during this time, your spiritual path, your career path and your life path work together. You learn and practice universal spiritual principles that act as the foundation for sustained success in all three — spiritual, career and life in general. During this time, you practice these principles in daily life, find and implement your career, have a family, and practice the teachings of Guru (a teacher that knows the way and can guide you in this). This prepares you for nivritti marga.

Nivritti marga, the path of non-willful action, is called the path of renunciation. What is being renounced is your sense of action as your own doing. This is not a path in which one remains involved with worldly duties and responsibilities. The only required action is the practice of a teaching lineage in which surrender (by any name) to Absolute God (by any name) is the main practice. This God-practice, which Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna, is your only ‘required’ action.

Old man meditatingThis new lifestyle begins around the age of 50, or when your first grandchild is born, which ever comes first. Because the main practice needs proper conditions, you seek out a proper place and go to that place to live. You are not necessarily estranged from your family, but your Guru and your practice are your first and most important priorities.

Once some headway is gained in your practice, you become experienced and Guru may ask you to teach others. When one will be ready for this path varies from person to person. The age of 50 is a rule of thumb based on what is natural for most people. Here I would cite the exception of Jesus, who began at a very early age. 

31 — Rajasic Intelligence (prone to flaw or confusion)
Intelligence that is incorrect in the distinction between righteousness and unrighteousness, what is right and what is wrong, is rajasic intelligence, Son of Prita.

  • Righteousness (dharma) – what is considered to be proper action; right or correct action (kārya).
  • Unrighteousness (adharma) – that which is considered to be improper action; wrong or incorrect action (ākārya).

32 — Tamasic Intelligence (incorrect, backwards)
Intelligence that is enveloped in darkness and imagines unrighteousness to be righteousness and has everything backwards, is tamasic intelligence.

When one understands righteousness and unrighteousness backwards and the opposite of Truth, one’s intelligence is tamasic.


You are probably wondering which of these three kinds of intelligence applies to you. But in truth, we all have a little bit of all three, though one will probably be more prominent than the others. Suffice it to say that we can all profit by aiming at complete sattvic intelligence until that time as we attain full enlightenment, which comes by means of the God-practice Lord Krishna is teaching. 

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

 

Action – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 23-28

Action

Previously:
Knowledge, Action and Agent are of three kinds according to the three gunas. — Verse 19

Three Kinds of Action

23 — Sattvic Action (pleasant and illuminating)
Action that is in accordance with scripture and free of attachment and aversion, which is performed without motivation for the results, is said to be sattvic.Meditation is a sattvic action

When one discovers Truth contained in scriptural injunctions, one becomes free of attachment, for attachment is no longer relevant. Then, attachment no longer determines action, and like and dislike also become irrelevant. Then one naturally performs action without consideration of self, and is headed for Liberation.

24 — Rajasic Action (passionate and excited)
Rajas - ExcitementBut self-motivated action performed with effort of will for the purpose of fulfilling desires, is declared to be rajasic.

When action is performed for the purpose of personal gain, the will is automatically engaged. This is what ‘will’ is. Acting to fulfill a desire, no matter what it is, always engages the will. 

25 — Tamasic Action (dark, prone to error)Tamas, dark and prone to error
Action undertaken out of ignorance with no consideration of the consequences of loss or injury to others, is tamasic.

A tamasic person is not self-motivated. His actions do not include pursuing interest in God/Truth. He may like the idea of having a spiritual experience, but he will only credit it if someone else gives it to him. Even if he finds a teacher who inspires him, he may return to that teacher, not for more knowledge or guidance, but for more inspiration.


Using willpower always produces imbalance in the body, feelings and mind. Trying to recover it, we engage our willpower, increasing the imbalance, and causing us to force or resist. Forcing and resisting are two sides of the same coin, and both are either rajasic or tamasic

In Surrender Meditation we surrender the use of our will to God — “Thy will be done, O Lord, not mine.”  The use of willpower in meditation is not in our best interest, and affect others as well … even people we don’t know. So even though we may reclaim the use of our will outside of meditation, we know where to put it when we meditate: outside the meditation room.

Three Kinds of Agents

The following three kinds of Agents address people who see themselves as doers of action, which we now know is not real. Nevertheless, it seems like we are doers of action, so we are going to see how this looks with the gunas, the real cause of action, running the show. 

26 — Sattvic Agent (pleasant, kind, illuminating)
Sattva - pleasant & kindFree of attachments and self-praise, resolved and not affected by success or failure, such an agent is sattvic.

You are a sattvic Agent when, free of considerations of success or failure or self, you will quit all attachments and pride. Until this time, the gunas rule. But when you are in sync with the Real You (the eternal non-doer), you are no longer subject to the sirens of ignorance, and the gunas bow at your feet — they are still there, but they no longer control you.

27 — Rajasic Agent (recklessly excited, self-serving)
Rajas - Ambitious & AgressivePassionately desiring the results of their actions, greedy, violent-natured and impure, influenced by happiness and unhappiness, such an agent is rajasic.

You’ll do it if you like it, you won’t if you don’t. If this fits you, you are a rajasic agent, and your karmic bondage rules. Even though it is the gunas that cause all action in nature, you experience action as your own doing. You have made yourself a slave to the influences of the gunas, and are bond by your karma.  

28 — Tamasic Agent (dark, lazy, procrastinating)
Tamas - lazy & procrastatingUndisciplined, unrefined, inflexible, wicked, overbearing, slothful, noncommittal and procrastinating, such an agent is tamasic.

It goes without saying that you are not one of these people! But you probably know someone who is, or know of them. These are people who never change, and never in their lifetime will they ever change. And they’re proud of it. They may call it tradition, or they may say, “That’s what the Good Book says,” all the while remaining ignorant of its meaning out of pure laziness. Or they say, “Like father like son” and brag about it. They beat their wives and children because they were beaten. And on it goes. This is tamasic action.

Knowledge, action and agent are of three kinds because there are three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas

In this world, nature is always active in these three ways to greater and lesser of degrees and combinations. When we believe ourselves to be the doers of actions, we acquire karma of three kinds according to these three modes of nature. We are responsible people, and we hope we are good enough to acquire good karma.

But there is a trick here, for by identifying yourself as responsible, you identify yourself as the Agent of Action. This keeps you in bondage and compelled to return again and again, life after life, and always short on happiness. But what else is there? What are we to do?

There is only one escape from this continued cycling: You must become a serious seeker of Truth/God, and practice the ‘God-practice’ Lord Krishna is teaching Arjuna in this Gita. You must attain enlightenment, and you must create a regular meditation practice to put your knowledge into action and allow for the Real You to emerge.   

All action occurs in nature, and You are not nature. You are You. Period.

The Real You 

You are a god in a body made of God being human.

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