Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 44

You have unlimited power—you have only to access it. You can afford to be desireless because everything you want is already yours—you have only to realize it. 

44
Being attached to enjoyment and power, the consciousness of the unenlightened is stolen away. They do not have the ability be singularly unwavering and cannot attain samadhi

“Being attached to enjoyment and power.” The purpose of this attachment is to fulfill desires. Attachment is itself a desire, a desire to hold on to something. In this case, one wants to hold on to enjoyment and power. So what does this tell you? This tells you that you must already have enjoyment and power or you couldn’t be concerned about keeping them.

“The consciousness of the unenlightened is stolen away — they do not have the ability to remain unwavering … so they cannot attain samadhi.”  Now we come to the point. ‘Consciousness’ refers to the attention—a flow of consciousness to what the mind is being conscious of. Desires keep the mind extroverted and in constant motion, preventing unwavering attention (stealing it away) and therefore, samadhi.

“Samadhi” — Equanimity, ‘equal-mind’. Remember where this started? With the equalization of opposites. And here is the prize: samadhi, ‘a unified state of mind’, whereby you can discover the real You (Self-realization). But samadhi can only be attained through the meditative state (dhyana) where there is an unwavering, uninterrupted flow of consciousness and life energy in one place for a sufficient length of time.

In addition to stealing the attention away and preventing the very thing we desire most, there is another liability inherent in desire:

Desire is an affirmation of lack.

A desire for something can only exist when there is a belief in the mind that you do not have it. A common technique for alleviating this perceived deficiency is to do positive affirmations, but by doing these affirmations you are strengthening the idea in your mind that you do not have what you want. Desires, especially acting on desires, give energy and strength to the (subconscious) belief of lack. Neither belief of lack nor mental agitation are harmonious with enjoyment and power, or samadhi.

This verse is not trying to make you feel guilty for having desires, for wanting power, for wanting those things in life that make you feel good. That is not its purpose. What it is trying to tell you is that you feel hungry for these things because you know their wonder and worth, and that you can only know this through your own experience.

Desiring something says “I want”, but why would you want something you already have? How could you possibly know what it would be like to have a desire fulfilled if you didn’t already know from your own experience? Chasing desires just drives you around in circles and accomplishes nothing.

Bonus Key

This verse is also giving you the key to reestablishing yourself in your true nature, your real Self. Such a beautiful and blissful state, and you know this, and you are hungry for it. It is not power and pleasure you want, but to reveal the You that is already perfect, powerful, and in-joy.

Namaste — I bow to the divine, powerful and joyous one that You really are,
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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4 thoughts on “Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 44

  1. Galen

    Is ego the summation of desires, mind(thought/emotion) and action if so desire to respond. What is ego? Is it the ignition switch? Does ego turn on and off mind? Does ego draw from the collective experiences held within our minds? Something has to say “GO”.

    Thank you

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    1. ‘Ego’ is ahamkara (‘I-do’) — we mistakenly believe we cause action. But all action occurs in nature and we are not ‘nature’, so this is an error on our part. This sense of doership is ‘ego’, the core of the mind. Without it there is no mind as we know it.

      Desires are the result of the senses being in contact with something we like and are attracted to. (Negative desires, ditto, but with something we don’t like—we have an aversion to these things, but they are still desires.) These experiences, provided by the senses, are recorded in the mind (manas) as things we want, and which the mind then tries to figure out how to get. So you could say that it is the senses coming into contact with objects of sense that produces desires. These desires cause the mind to try to figure out (using reason, intellect, buddhi) how to get them fulfilled, and the mind is now moving around.

      The something that says “GO” to the mind is desires. Is this ego? Well, yes it is, if you think of yourself as wanting something—this is ahamkara in action. On the other hand, if you think correctly, this is not you, but Shakti, the activating force of nature, nature’s go-power, moving the mind around for Her own purposes. Understanding this activity to be Shakti’s business and not yours, it is not YOU desiring something, you will not be compelled to try to get desires fulfilled.

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