The Five Causes of Action – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 13-16

Cause (disciple) and Effect (guru)
Cause —> Effect

14 – 15
The seat of action, the agent, the instrument, the many different kinds of actions, and the fifth, the will. No matter what action one undertakes with body, speech or mind, whether usual or unusual, these are the five components of action.

Reincarnation“Whether usual or unusual.” Usual or unusual also means ‘proper’ or ‘improper’. He is saying that what He is teaching here applies to action, regardless of whether an act is right or wrong, proper or improper, or understood for what it is or not. In other words, this is solely about ACTION itself and its five constituents.

“With body, speech or mind” reminds us that action takes place with the mind, the body, and the emotions and speech.

The Five Components of Action

  • The seat of action (adhiṣhṭhāna, ‘standing at hand’) – the origin or starting point, i.e., where the action is coming from and what prompts it.
  • The agent of action – the performer of the action.
  • The instrument of action – is the means of action, i.e., the body, senses and mind.
  • The action – the action itself, which is of many and various kinds.
  • The willthe faculty by which an action is determined and initiatiated. 

Will

Cause & EffectYou are constantly exercising your power every moment, because you are making choices every moment. This is precisely why you don’t see yourself as having power, and why you are constantly trying to get it. But this is a losing battle because you already have it, and you already use it.

By using your power of choice to make choices, you are “choosing to choose.” This is called ‘will’. Will leads to bondage and compulsory returns (rebirths) where you have another chance to get it right, but will have no control over where you’re going to land: “desirable, undesirable or mixed.

Surrender

When you use your power of choice to “choose not to choose,” this is called ‘surrender’. When you surrender yourself to God (by any name) you are worshipping God/Truth. Surrender is also called ‘sacrifice’ — you are the offering, the human sacrifice.

You always get what you surrender to.

In Surrender Meditation, you choose not to choose, but to leave everything — body, mind and feelings — to Absolute God/Truth. Having made this choice, your meditation is then directed by God/Truth for your benefit, and the choosing is over for the duration of your meditation period.

When things happen in meditation, such as movements of the body, mind or feelings, at first you have to ‘stand on faith’ that this activity was not of your doing. You take it on faith because, at first, it will feel like it is you doing everything. If you persist with this meditation, it will ultimately lead you to the highest enlightenment: the realization that WHAT you truly are does nothing and never has.

16
This being the case, he who, due to small intellect, looks upon himself as the Agent does not truly see, and realizes nothing.

In this verse, Lord Krishna is saying that once you understand what action is, and what you really are, you will no longer see yourself as a doer (agent).

Karma, cause & effect
Karma – Cause and Effect

He is clarifying the apparent contradictions of non-doing, i.e., “How can I do the right thing without being a doer?” “How can I have a meditation practice and somehow manage not to experience myself as the one doing it?” Etc. But all action is, is the gunas of Nature interacting.

All action occurs in Nature. You are not Nature.

Keep in mind that the real Self is ‘Absolute’, and, as we learned earlier in the Gita, the Absolute is The Eternal Non-Doer. Beings see themselves as performing actions, but all action is performed by the gunas of Nature. The Real You never does anything, and never has. The real Agent then, is the gunas.

Even though you perform action, it is really the gunas that are the cause of it.

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

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The Greatest Secret of All – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 67-71

Scripture - a book of secrets
Read It Here!

The Diamond Shloka

Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in Me alone, and I will give you freedom from all misfortunes. Grieve not. — Shloka 66

Alternate translation:
Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender only to Me, and I will give you liberation and the end of all sorrows. Fear not!

Requirements

67
This is never to be spoken of by you to one who is without austerity, never to one who is not devoted to Me or neglects seva at any time, never to one who is averse to practice and study, and never to one who does not love Me and protect this teaching.

1.  Austerity (tapasis the purification process brought about by yoga; the melting away of impurities, including one’s karma.

Tapas, usually translated as ‘austerity’, means ‘to burn, heat, melt or warm’. Tapas is brought about by yoga (union) for the purpose of burning away impurities, and putting things not in sync with God and the Real You where they belong. This applies to body, feelings, mind and karma.  

2. Devotion and seva exemplify love and respect for the guru.

Devotion (bhakti, ‘love, respect, commitment’) is love and commitment to God, and the performance of guru seva

Seva is selfless service, service without expectation of return benefits.

Guru’s Grace refers to receiving the initiations of the guru’s lineage. To the degree that one is devoted to guru and performs seva, one gets Guru’s Grace. Seva diminishes one’s karma and protects the guru and the guru’s oral teachings.

3. Study and practice refers to learning and putting the knowledge gained into practice on a regular basis.

Study means learning through the study of scriptures, the words of the Guru, and contemplation of scripture and the guru’s teachings. Study also refers to the study of oneself and one’s Self with self-honesty.

Practice is putting the knowledge gained through Study into action. The form this takes is determined by the Guru. Different gurus have different practices, all of which include meditation.

4. Love Me and protect this teaching means that one does not reveal this teaching to those who do not fit these requirements.

Protection refers to both the teachings and the guru. “Love Me and protect the teaching.” If you love God you also love everyone, and will therefore protect this secret from misunderstandings and misuse in order to protect them. This is achieved by abiding by the requirements.

Now that Lord Krishna has given Arjuna the meaning of the Diamond Shloka (verse 66 above), He tells him to keep it secret. But we have just read it! What can this mean?

A secret written in a book

A secret is something that is not understood. 

Now, having heard this secret, we can’t help wondering if we have missed something. Unless we can honestly say that we fit the above requirements ourselves, we will have missed it, and its meaning will remain hidden to us until we do. When we do meet these requirements, we will come to understand it.

Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender only to Me, and I will give you liberation and the end of sorrows. Fear not! — Shloka 66

68-69
One who teaches this supreme secret to My devotees, performs the highest act of devotion to Me, and surely comes to Me without a doubt. There is no one in the world who is dearer to Me than that one, and never will there be anyone on earth dearer to Me than that one who teaches this Greatest Secret.

Arjuna receives the secret

After all this hoo-hah about keeping this teaching a secret, He is telling Arjuna that teaching it is the biggest way to His heart! He says that “he who teaches this supreme secret to My devotees performs the highest act of devotion to Me.” He has even given Arjuna the standards for determining devotees who are qualified to received it (verse 67).

Once again we are faced with a paradox. If this teaching is secret, how can it be written down for anyone to read? Obviously it is written in such a way that only someone who has met the above criteria will be able to understand it. So have another look at these requirements, and decide for yourself how close you are to meeting them.

In these verses, Lord Krishna is also revealing the power of teaching as a part of one’s sadhanaOnce one has reached the stage in which he or she has received this teaching and gained adequate experience, the guru may appoint them to teach others. 

The best way to learn is to teach.

Such a devotee will ultimately become a teacher of the guru’s lineage and find themself in the Heart of God:

“There is no one in the world who is dearer to Me than that one, and never will there be anyone on earth dearer to Me than that one who teaches this Greatest Secret.”— Verse 69

70-71
And one who hears this sacred teaching with faith, by that one I am loved with the Knowledge Sacrifice.
It is certain that, free of ill-will and scoffing, the man who assimilates this knowledge is liberated and reaches the auspicious worlds of the righteous.

“The man” Though we usually see the word purusha to indicate a male person, here the word is nara, indicating a person who has reached an advanced stage of Yoga. This tells us that this stage is fundamental to the requirements for receiving the secret.

“Assimilates” Takes it in, understands and internalizes it.

“Without ill-will or scoffing” This is mentioned to point out the reaction of someone who hears this secret without meeting the four Requirements mentioned above. Unable to understand it, he may ridicule it and causing harm to those he tells. This further emphasizes the need to protect it in order to protect others from the harm caused by misunderstanding and derision.

“Liberated” Free. By using the word mukti instead of moksha, he is saying that, , even though one is liberated from the cycles of death and rebirth, this liberation is not the final liberation. This suggests that there are stages of liberation and other realms of which we may be unaware.

“The righteous” ‘Those whose actions are pure’; auspicious skill in actionvirtuous, pious’.

I have translated these last two verses (70-71) as the culmination of the teachings concerning the Diamond Shloka. In the next post, these same two verses will reveal another layer of intrigue, and become the prelude to the final verses of this chapter.

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

Renunciation – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 12

Renunciation

Many people are confused about renunciation, and take it to mean that one must not act at all. Some take it to mean that they must not move a single muscle during their meditation. Others believe that renunciation requires poverty, having nothing and begging your food. Some even become couch potatoes in the name of spirituality. But our world is a place where change and movement are endless. Action is the nature of Nature — it will take place without any help from us, and without the ego attempting to cast itself as the cause of it.

“It is indeed impossible for embodied beings to abandon actions entirely.” — Verse 11

Surrender to Absolute God in meditation (Surrender Meditation) produces active meditation, as opposed to the usual static meditation that is taught in modern times. Active meditation is superior, for it is not possible for human beings not to act; those who try to master inaction are ultimately defeated.

During the practice of Surrender Meditation, one is a renunciate, and truly free. Because this is so, continued practice automatically leads one to the realization of non-doership and Liberation. Surrender to Absolute God in meditation is the highest and most efficient practice for attaining this joyous state. This is the God-practice that is being taught by Lord Krishna in this Gita.

The realization of non-doership is the highest form of enlightenment. Surrender to Absolute God in meditation is the highest form of practice.

Destinations

12
The results of the actions of non-abandoners when they die is of three kinds: desirable, undesirable and mixed. But for renouncers, there are none.

Renouncing the World
A seeker renouncing the seductions of a worldly existence.

“The results of actions of non-abandoners when they die” is a crapshoot. You cannot know what is going to happen at death or in the next life.

“But for renouncers there are none,” because the enjoined action for the renouncer is the surrender of himself to Absolute God, all actions are natural (not created by him) and therefore lead to Liberation (non-return).

The three fruits of action, “desirable, undesirable and mixed,” do not apply to one who is a renunciate, for the renunciate is situated in the knowledge that he is not the actor, the doer of actions. Indifferent to actions and their results, he is headed for Liberation and higher realms upon leaving the body at death.

How to Become a Renouncer

‘Abandonment’ is the abandonment of the results of actions. ‘Renunciation’ is the abandonment of oneself as the doer of actions. 

First, Practice Abandonment in Life

Abandon the Fruits of Action 

A renunciate's house may be a cave
This renunciate’s house is a cave.

The practice of Abandonment is to let go of attachments to desired resultsFor some, it is easier to begin with the practice of Abandonment by abandoning the fruits of action in everyday life. This is easy to practice and doesn’t demand any extra time.

Start by simply noticing those times when a certain result or outcome is important to you, and allow yourself to let go of your attachment to the results being any certain way.

One of the things you may notice as a result of this practice, is that outcomes — ‘fruits’, results — often turn out to be better than originally hoped for or expected. New vistas open up, and you will be inspired to continue this practice.

Another outcome of this practice is that you may make your own discovery that it is when you let go of an attachment to getting something you want, the desired object or objective that you were previously attached to, appears without any effort on your part.

When you give it up, you’ll get it. 

Step 1 — Notice when you are doing something for the purpose of getting a certain result.

Step 2 — Decide to let go of your attachment to the results of what you are doing.

Step 3 — Let go of your attachment to getting this result.

Then Practice Renunciation in Life

Abandon Desire-motivated Actions

Whereas Abandonment has to do with abandoning the results of actions, Renunciation has to do with action itself. 

The practice of Renunciation is to abandon self-motivated actions — acting for the purpose of getting desires fulfilled. Desire drives all actions for anyone who does not take up this simple practice, and can only lead to uncertainty in death and rebirth.

In Surrender Meditation, when actions occur without desire for certain outcomes, they are not considered to be actions. Because you have surrendered yourself to Absolute God, all actions that occur are not yours (even if it seems to you that you have acted) and therefore called ‘inaction’. Such actions are spontaneously carried out by Goddess Shakti during your meditation.

  • Shakti – female God who instigates all actions.

To experiment with this concept, follow these five steps: 

Step 1:  Notice when you are doing something for the purpose of getting a certain result.

Step 2:  Notice what this hoped-for result is, and have a good look at it.

Step 3:  Now let go of your attachment to getting this result. 

Step 4:  “Go on faith” that it is true that WHAT you really are does nothing.

Step 5:  No matter what result the action produces, or whether you like it or not, give it as an offering to Absolute God/Truth (what ever your name is for That). 

Some prefer to begin their journey to Renunciation by first practicing Abandonment, and then practicing Renunciation. Others prefer to do both by practicing Abandonment in daily life, and practicing Renunciation in the meditation room with Surrender Meditation.

Surrender Meditation is the fast track that covers both Abandonment and Renunciation. In this context, Surrender is synonymous with Renunciation and is easy to practice. The only thing that may be difficult at first is getting yourself to do it. You will need to carve out some time every day for it, even if you are profoundly busy. But if you are truly interested in advancing yourself, you will find a way.

Even without specifically practicing Abandonment in life, Surrender Meditation will bring it on anyway, spontaneously, and advance you quickly. It is known as the ‘spiritual jet’ for a reason. 

In either case — Abandonment or Renunciation — through the practice of one, one ultimately comes to both. So it doesn’t really matter where you start, for in either case, you will ultimately be lead to the realization of non-doership, Self realization and Liberation. 

Knowledge is useless if you don’t understand what you know.
Knowledge can only be understood by putting it into action and keeping watch.

Be willing to be right.
Be willing to be wrong.
Be willing to take different points of view about anything.

Make Surrender Meditation your lab and personally experience what you think you know and understand, and then it will be proved to you … one way or another.

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