VII: 26-28 Shortcut to Freedom…

“I know the living and the dead and those who are yet to be, but no one knows Me. All living beings are born into the deluding power of opposites that arise at birth: attraction and aversion. But those persons who perseveringly perform virtuous action in surrender to Me, get their faults eradicated and are liberated from the delusion of duality.” — Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, ch 7, vs 26-29 

I know the living and the dead, Arjuna, and those who are yet to be, but no one knows Me. 

Lord Krishna knows all of us, and He knows us completely—as we are now, as we have been in previous existences, and as we will exist beyond this lifetime. He has this knowledge because He accepts us unconditionally. One can only truly know someone by accepting them in this way.

Know – recognize, identify, be aware of, experience, accept, be familiar with, experience directly.

All of us are known to God, but we do not know God. To truly know anyone, we must accept them for what they really are: Divine. We do not accept them for what they look like or what they do, but what they truly are underneath all the packagingperfect, eternal, unborn and imperishable: Absolute. Lord Krishna is saying that although He has accepted all of us, we have not accepted Him, and that by accepting Him we can truly know Him.

Knowledge of another is gained by  accepting them unconditionally.

Understanding this, the meaning of “Jesus saves” is proved. He has accepted each and every one of us unconditionally. If we accept Jesus, we accept someone who has already accepted everyone. By accepting Him we are united with Him, and because He has accepted everyone, we have accepted everyone by default.

Whether through the absolute acceptance of Lord Jesus or another like him, we take a short cut to the full acceptance of everyone as divine and the same as ourselves. It is this that saves us. It is the shortcut to the finish line that saves us now and ends the domination of dual conditions such as birth and death, and the suffering and unhappiness that accompanies them.

If you believe that you have accepted Jesus as your savior but you still deny others as Divine and the same as You, you deny Jesus.

This acceptance is full and complete surrender to the Divine, whether to God, a God-person like Jesus or Krishna, or a true Guru. It is how the guru-disciple relationship works, and how, as the Guru Gita states, “God and Guru are but two names; the truth is they are forever One,” and it is how “God, Guru and the true Self are the same.” 

Each of us is a divine individual that is the same as all other individuals in what it is that we really are: divine, perfect, eternally deathless and unborn: imperishable. But we are blind to this. We do not know the nature of our true selves, and we do not know God. The next verse tells us why this is so:

All living beings are born into ignorance due to the deluding power of opposites that arise at birth: attraction and aversion.

Attraction and aversion arise at the moment of birth. Lord Krishna is telling us how this dual phenomenon causes us to become identified with what we have come to understand as illusion, and are therefore unable to know Him. If one were to be born in a state devoid of these two it might be otherwise, but because we are drawn to the things we like and are averse to things we dislike, we are influenced by them from the very beginning, and illusion, as opposed to Reality, is set in place. The next verse will tell us how to remedy this situation:

But those persons who perseveringly perform virtuous action in surrender to Me, get their faults eradicated and are liberated from the delusion of duality.

Impurities, faults, sins, come to an end when one’s actions are pure—when all action is God-action, actions not willfully done for one’s own purposes. Only surrender to God can bring about God-action. All other actions are tainted with desire, self-interest and willful intent. Thus we do not ‘know’ God.

Through union (yoga) this comes to an end and one is liberated from the illusion of duality. In other words, duality is still what it is—an illusion of the human condition—but now you know it for what it is and are no longer subject to the pull of polarities. This comes about through the resolute and persevering practice of God-action in meditation—complete surrender to Absolute God. By this surrender, you will come to know (experience) God directly.

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

P.S.  I have had one experience of an individual who appeared to have been born free of the grip of illusion. This was a young boy still in the crib in Mother Theresa’s orphanage in India. He sat facing into the room, in full lotus, his hands resting on his thighs, his semi-closed eyes meeting mine. I felt blessed by God and offered pranam (bowing and touching the feet) to this child without hesitation. Even the nuns were is awe of him and treated him so.

VII:24-25 Illusion

We live daily in the illusion of manifestation, but it is not this illusion that prevents us from reaching God/Truth, it is our union with it. To separate ourselves from it, we must look it in the face, for we cannot be anything that we can see. By standing apart from it we will know it for what it really is.  

Because I am not visible to them, those lacking in wisdom think of Me as having acquired manifestation. They do not know my highest existence: the unsurpassed, Imperishable Absolute.

Anything that is perceptible to you is not God to you. Perception takes place when one or more of the five senses opens its door and allows the attention to reach its object (i.e., sight reaches for something that can be seen). The attention will go to whatever attracts it. In this world there is always something, and the attention is always engaged in this process. But God is not perceptible by the senses.

Then what is it that we are perceiving if it isn’t God come into manifestation? You may remember in verse 8 we used the metaphor of seeing the image of a face in a cloud:

Like a face seen in a cloud, it is not that the cloud is a face, but that a face is what is perceived by the seer.

This metaphor describes how ‘those lacking in wisdom’ make this mistake. We, the unwise, tell ourselves that “all is God” and imagine that when we look at something, God is what we are seeing, but what we are seeing is an illusion (not what is seems). 

Remember that Lord Krishna has identified Himself as Absolute. But all perception takes place by means of the senses, which are not absolute. Yes, the face in the cloud is real, but it is not a face, it is a cloud. It is only seen as a face to the one looking. 

‘Illusion’ is perceiving something as other than what it really is. This is what is meant by ‘ignorance’, or ‘lacking in wisdom’.

The deluded and confused of this world are enveloped by their union with illusion and do not not recognize Me, the birthless and Imperishable.

Lord Krishna is saying that because we are in union with illusion, identified with it, we are deceived and defrauded by unreality.

One cannot find the Real by means of the unReal (illusion) 

We look at someone across the room, open ourselves to that person’s divinity, get high, and consider ourselves to have seen the Divine. But such experiences are usually a phenomenon of the mind having kicked off an emotional high that feels good.

I have often heard someone say that s0-and-so (who usually has a book they’ve read) is the Real Deal because they have worked so many paths, and know so much, that they must therefore be ‘very highly evolved’. These people openly express that people like us, who are interested in the Real, are on a ridiculous quest for something that has no real meaning because it is absolute, and too abstract—it’s getting good at Life that counts.

I have met many of these folks. They are, across the board, doing all their seeking in such a way as to maintain control, and they never release their guard. They don’t take risks, they don’t seek the guidance of anyone (especially if they do not concur with their already existing beliefs), and they don’t study the works of those who have attained the Highest. They read all the latest books by others like themselves who are reinventing the wheel with minimal success, and remain eclectic, thinking that this is the smartest and highest road.

But this road comes to a dead end, for they are unwilling to undergo the changes that accompany progress, especially if it doesn’t feel good. They strive instead to maintain the status quo (though they fervently believe otherwise about themselves) and “do not recognize Me, the birthless and Imperishable”.

Correct knowledge will up one’s progress by thousands, but knowledge without action is just knowledge and essentially useless.

Next week, we will learn a short-cut to Freedom and union with God/Truth, that can take us to Eternal Happiness.

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

VII:20-23 Stolen Wisdom

Belief is a fixed mental state of certainty that something is true. Faith on the other hand, is action based. When one trusts the spiritual teachings of their lineage enough to put them into practice, one is acting with faith. Real Faith comes when such action ultimately proves the teachings to be true. 

Those whose wisdom has been stolen away by various desires for this and that, are surrendering to other gods. They follow this and that practice consistent with their own state of self-interest, and are held back by their own material natures.

  • Wisdom – Inherent wisdom reawakened by knowledge gained through personal experience in meditation, and oral teachings from the master.

Stating desires as “this and that” not only indicates a multiplicity of desires, but emphasizes their dual nature (we either like them or we don’t) and puts them in the relative realm of illusion (things aren’t what they seem). 

Lord Krishna is saying that we are deprived of our inherent wisdom because of the intrusive nature of desires (wanting “this and that”) and that we are driven to chase after them in order to get them fulfilled. We go about this in ways consistent with our existing beliefs and tendencies, which keeps us stuck where we are: in ignorance (mistaking the unreal for the Real). 

“Surrender to other gods
‘Other gods’ refers to desired objects, or to deities believed to be able and willing to provide them when worshipped.

Worshipped = Surrendered to

Wanting to get our desires fulfilled, we resort to praying to, or propitiating, “other gods”.  One propitiates fame, for instance, by seeking it. Seeking to obtain the desired objective, it takes a place of superior importance, worshipped as a god.

“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”

“Following this and that practice” refers to the actions taken to get what one wants. Among the multiple means available, one follows whatever strategy is necessary to get their desires fulfilled. 

“Held back by their own material natures” refers to the driving force of tendencies seated in one’s history. Acting on these tendencies causes one’s spiritual progress to get held back by motivating one to pursue the desire, an act of self-interest.  

Acting to fulfill a desire, following a course of action to get it, it becomes more important than God/Truth. The only sure way to reconcile this is to surrender to God/Truth instead. By putting a desire before God and acting on it, one is surrendering to another god, engaging their power of choice to get what they want, rather than to get God.  

If you want to know what your priorities really are, look at how you spend most of your time. 

Those who choose the worldly life over a life lived for the purpose of reaching God (by any name), regardless of religious, professional or social orientation, are worshipping ‘other gods’.

Desires can be especially commanding and controlling when they stem from samskaras. The reason for this is that one is usually not aware of them, or can easily explain them away. These dictators demand the fulfillment of desires, and produce even more desires in the process. And one digs oneself in deeper and deeper. This is the meaning of the worship of the golden calf in Exodus. The calf suggests desires for things of value (the gold) in the physical world (the calf, offspring of the wish-fulfilling cow).

  • Samskaras – Potent governing characteristics and tendencies acquired in previous existences.

21 – 22
For anyone wishing to worship the form of another god with faith, it is I who sustain that faith. Endowed with this faith and propitiating this god to obtain desires, it is I who fulfill them.

When acting to fulfill a desire it is achieved, it is not really you who achieved it, because it is not you who acted in the first place. This is all part of the ‘illusion’. Whether in success or failure, all action in this world is the interaction of the gunas of nature, the basis of which is Absolute God: “it is I (Krishna)”.

Although we may believe with faith that, by this or that technique, we can successfully get what we want, Lord Krishna is informing us that this happens not because of what we do or how we do it, but because God provides it. All such efforts and their results have been God all along. 

However, this fruit, gained by those of little understanding, is perishable. Those who worship the gods, go to the gods. Those who worship Me, come to Me.

You get what you worship.

A distinction is being made between the worship of God, and the worship of gods. To “those of little understanding”, the gods are not only the means of fulfilling desires, but the desire itself, as well as the object of desire.

The result of worshipping these gods can only be temporary because they are temporary—they are of the Relative Realm and subject to change. But the results of worshipping Absolute God is permanent and eternal, because That, and the power of That, is permanent, eternal, and unlimited.

By worshipping, surrendering to, anything in this relative world, you remain separated from God. By surrendering only to Absolute God, you are united with God, in God, of God, and are God your Self.

There are many gods. There is only one God. 

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