VII:12-14 States of Being

Bhagavad Gita, Volume One, chapters 1-6, is now available for download.

A state of being is just a state. It is not really you—it is not Who you are, and it is not What you are. It is only the way you are being. When you say to someone, “That’s who I am,” you have told them about your state of being, not about You.

Know that all states of being, whether sattvic, rajasic or tamasic, emanate from Me only, but I am not in them, they are in Me.

When one sees the image of a face in a cloud, the form of the face is in the cloud, but the cloud is not a face. 

“Sattvic, rajasic or tamasic”
These three states are representative of the three modes of nature that cause all activity, gunas. Because we humans are identified with nature and consider ourselves to be doers of action, we get identified with these gunas. This superficial identity is a state of being.

  • Guna – A single strand of a whole; an attribute, mode or property of nature (prakriti).

A state is not really you—it is not Who you are, and it is not What you are. It is only the way you are being. Prakriti, the Divine Other-than-Y0u, seen from your viewpoint, looks like nature: stuff, things. The three gunas are the properties of this stuff, and prakriti is actually God.

Lord Krishna has already identified Himself as Absolute God, but these states are not Absolute. Though God is both Absolute and Relative (verses 4-7), these states can only exist in the Relative because they are changeable. Anything that can change is relative, such as this world where everything is changeable and relative to everything else.

Illustration: The Three Gunas

The gunas determine your basic state of being overall, and they also determine your state of being at any given moment. For instance, when you say, “I’m sad”, you are saying that what you are being is sad. You have identified yourself with ‘sad’. But you are not sad, you are being sad.

Mindful Self-Referencing
How to free yourself from false identities 

When, throughout your day, you notice that you are experiencing something, notice that you are in this state, that this is your state of being at this moment, but it is not You.

When you think “I’m angry,” try changing that thought to “I am being angry.” When you are feeling afraid and think “I’m afraid,” change it to “I am being afraid.” By noticing your experience and recognizing that you are in a state, you begin to loosen the chain of false identity with these states.

You can’t be what you are looking at, so you are separated from it by simply noticing it.

The Gunas and the Body

The gunas are often taught as goodness (sattvas), passion (rajas), and ignorance (tamas). But there is more to it that that. My eyes were opened to this by a yogic text I was reading many years ago. In it, the highest state of samadhi (union with the Absolute) was described as tamas. Whereas the usual sequence of gunas in relationship to the body is (from the bottom up) tamas, rajas, sattvas, in this text the sequence was rajas, sattvas and tamas. This intrigued me.

Since I had reached the point of considering what I read in these texts to be true, even when they seemed to be at odds with each other, I considered that this difference must be due to the difference in stages of yoga. That the highest samadhi is tamas has since been proved to me through experience, so I am confident that this lesser known concept of the gunas is also correct.

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Because of these states of being produced by the three gunas, all this world is stupefied and unaware of Me, who am eternal and beyond them.

  • The word for ‘eternal’ also means ‘unchanging, imperishable and non-decaying’.

The reason we do not know God is because we are blinded by the three gunas of material nature—we take the face in the cloud to be a real face. What we see is real, but because we see it from a viewpoint, our view is limited and we see it for something other than what it is. This is the meaning of ‘ignorance’; the stuff we see is ‘illusion’. 

The whole world, bewildered by these three modes of material nature, finds my divine illusion to be unfathomable. Only those who surrender to Me transcend it.

Science will keep on trying. But Lord Krishna has given us the key to making our way to the Real by reminding us that God’s existence as this world is inferior to His True and Absolute nature. So it is up to us to surrender to Absolute God to transcend, comprehend and get beyond our delusion. It is a choice we make. Or not.

Outs from this issue.

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

VII:8-11 The Essence of God in Creation

Bhagavad Gita, Volume One, chapters 1-6, is now available for download.

The essence of God is present in all of Creation, like a string sustaining a neckless of pearls, the singular Absolute sustains the Relative Realm of this world of multiplicity. 

I am the fluidity in water, the light of the moon and sun, I am the vibration of all sounds in the sound of OM in the ether according to sacred knowledge, and I am the humanity in mankind. 

The things mentioned in these verses as essences of God are not the Absolute Itself, but are because of the Absolute, and exist prior to their manifestations, i.e., fluidity before water, light before sun and moon, vibration before audible sound, etc.

Everything in Creation exists as a potential in the Absolute. An essence is a characteristic of a potential. All of Creation becomes manifest from its essence. It is not the other way around.

The Absolute does not make these things happen. Like a face seen in a cloud, it is not that the cloud creates the image of a face, but that a face is what is perceived by the seer.

Through surrender to God in meditation, this can be known through the experience of pratyahara, wherein one comes to realize that the power of sight for instance, the ability to see, exists before physical eyes exist.

Fluiditywithout fixed form, changeable, adaptable. Water takes up the biggest percentage of the body and the earth, and takes the form of the vessel that holds it. 

Light – the source of illumination. Light makes perception possible, and knowledge knowable. Everything that is visible to us is visible by the reflection of light off the object seen. When we are attempting to understand something, we ‘reflect’ on it. For us humans, our true existence is in the dark, hidden, but real, even though we do not perceive it…until light has be cast on it and we become ‘enlightened’.

Sound – vibration, the basis of Creation. All sounds are contained within the sound of OM (aum). Vibration (/) begins with the Divine Individual’s choice to engage his power to know. What is sent out returns with the knowledge of the existence of another Divine Individual, and another equal and opposite vibration (\) becomes self-perpetuating upon its return (/\/\/\…). 

The humanity in mankind. The word for humanity is paurusham, meaning ‘belonging to purusha‘. Purusha is You with a viewpoint, but now you are being a member of humanity. This characteristic of your being is the essence of God in you as a human being. Lord Krishna is saying that He is that essence, once again identifying Himself with God, but in this case, this is you, thus making you one with God right now.

I am the pure, pleasant fragrance of earth, the fire of the sun, the fire of life in all beings, and the fire of purification.

Earth is the element associated with the sense of smell at the first chakra, the home of Mother Kundalini, and is the basis of most of yoga sadhana. The Sanskrit word for pleasant also means, ‘pure, holy, sacred, good, right, auspicious and propitious’.

Fire of the sun gives light and life; the fire of life in all beings is prana, the Life Energy in the body; the fire of purification, tapas, ‘to heat or melt down,’ comprises most of yoga sadhana.

Know Me as the eternal cause of all living beings. I am the intelligence of the intelligent and the vitality in the body.

It is the divine, absolute individual—the Real You—that is the essence of what you are being: human. And it is this Real You that is the source of your intelligence, as well as the vitality in your own body. No surprise really, since you are one with God. 

And I am the strength of the strong devoid of desire and passion, and I am that desire which is not contrary to dharma.

Lord Krishna is saying that He is your strength when it is not impaired by desire and passion. Earlier I said that desire is an affirmation of lack. I will stand by this but take it a step further: Desire is a want that we chase because we can’t stand the way it feels to want, and the only solution we know is to fulfill the desire. Then we become obsessed with another desire: the desire to get it. And the chase begins. This is what weakens us, but there is a solution: 

By enjoying the desire itself, the object of desire
loses it power—it is of no further interest.

In this verse Lord Krishna reveals another secret. He says that He is that desire in you that is not contrary to dharma (Divine Law, injunction). In other words, this single desire doesn’t go against spiritual law or impede progress, but is in accordance with dharma because it is actually God. Translators tend to attribute this desire to the desire to procreate, or to desires that are inharmonious with the ordained duties of life.

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

VII:4-7 God is One and Two

God is One and Two, and herein lies a paradox (or two): There is only one God. God is manifold. God is both Relative and Absolute. But such opposites do co-exist without conflict. Lord Krishna explains… 

(4) Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego constitute the divisions of My eightfold material nature. (5) Such is My inferior nature. But otherwise know My Highest nature by which all life is sustained. 

I have quoted these two verses before in other articles because they answer so many questions and resolve so much confusion about God, Truth, Creation, ourselves and others. In the previous verses, Lord Krishna introduced these teachings as being the Highest Wisdom. 

Our human perspective causes us to think of God as if God were some superior Being that is better and more powerful than any of us. We hear that God created the earth and are awed at such power.

While it is entirely possible that there is such an individual (God has no limitations), or even that there is a Divine Individual for every star in Cosmos that could be logically called “God” or “a god”, this isn’t the whole of the story. The whole story is much bigger, and may be difficult to comprehend. For this reason, we have myths, legends and stories, such as the Adam and Even story. There are multiple versions of these stories, all teaching the same things.

God is One and Two. When you understand that there are two aspects of God/Truth, things begin to clear up. In chapter two this was explained at a personal level as ‘the embodied one’ and ‘the being’. For you personally, the embodied one is you as you Really are: a Divine Individual that is never born and never dies. What you are being however, is human. The first of these two is Absolute, the second is Relative.

  • Absolute – Unchanging, complete, not subject to any limitation, unconditional, unlimited power, independent, not relative to anything.
  • Relative – Existing in relationship to something else, comparable, subject to limitations, dependent.

In these two verses, verse 4 defines the Relative, which is what we humans are able to perceive—earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego. Verse 5 then defines the Absolute, which is beyond all these, and not so easily understood, even conceptually. It is this Absolute God that we are driven to seek, whether we realize it or not. And it is our destiny to find It.

(6) Understand this: I am the womb of all living beings. I am their coming to be and their coming not to be. (7) Nothing superior to Me exists, Arjuna. On Me all of creation is strung like pearls on a thread.

These two verses continue with the description of the Absolute, as the Highest nature of God. In verse 6, Lord Krishna is saying that He is the cause of life as we know it, and that He is also what ends it (the Relative). Verse 7 is reassuring—there is something Higher that is behind it all that is eternal (the Absolute). 

Remember this?  Earlier, we learned that the womb, or source, of Creation and the dissolution of it, was female, Hiranyagarbha (‘Golden Womb’). Later, after leaving the remnants of the Golden Age behind, the source of Creation became known as male: Brahmā, and later Prajāpati (‘Lord of born beings’).

You as human, with a body, thoughts and feelings, consisting of earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego, is you as a being (Relative).

When you cease being a being, the Real You in all your Divine Glory is revealed. And ultimately, as the sainted Paul says in First Corinthians, you attain incorruptible perfection—“the corruptible becomes incorruptible” (Absolute).

Hence, God is One and Two.

This state cannot be accomplished by belief, by any kind of mental effort, learned knowledge, immense intelligence, insight, direct experience or realization. From chapter three through six, we have Lord Krishna driving home to us that it is the action of yoga (Karma Yoga) that gets us to this point. So now we have chapter seven reminding us of this ultimate aim of yoga.

All that is, is God. Anything that looks like something else is an illusion (not what it seems). This includes the entire relative world we call home. But we are to understand that there is something higher than this that is behind all of creation, a higher aspect of God/Truth that we are missing if we only take it this far—The Absolute, the home of eternal happiness. 

Now we are beginning to see how the Gita teaches us. These concepts are not new, we’ve read them before, but now, as Lord Krishna restates them in different words for his disciple, Arjuna, along with more clues to help him understand, we listen in so we can understand. And we are about to hear more.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma