II:17-18 Heaven Within

In these ways, one comes to find heaven withinpleasure and contentment, the attainment of the Highest bliss of unification with God, and absolute freedom. 

Now Krishna reiterates what he has already taught Arjuna in such a way as to clarify things simply. So you can see these three verses as a summing up of a huge mass of information that, if practiced, can take you the pinnacle of where you want to go—to the ‘Highest’.

BHAGAVAD GITA, CHAPTER 3, VERSES 17-18

17
Accordingly, such a person finds pleasure in the self, and thus contented within the self, this person finds that there is nothing to be done.

‘Accordingly’: What is being said here is relevant to the previous verses.

‘Self’: Though it may be tempting to associate ‘self’ with the true Self, it is the human self (mānava) being referred to here. This verse tells us the outcome of the practice that has been presented throughout this chapter on Karma Yoga (Action Yoga), specifically those from verse nine to this one. These teachings show the way to contentment and independence at every level that so inspires the imagination of those seeking inner peace. From here, enlightenment takes care of itself.

18
Indeed, for this person there is no motivation for acting or not acting, and not of all beings is there any aim or expectation.

Having understood and practiced these teachings, one becomes satisfied and content, so there is nothing ‘to do’. This person finds nothing to be the ‘doer’ of—there is no motivation for doing anything. The sense of doership does not arise for this reason, not because of egotism, ignorance or laziness. This person is not constantly looking for company and checking out the nearest bar. Instead, he is probably at home meditating. He does not look to others for satisfaction, fulfillment or contentment, and does not expect it, or need it, from others.

Ego: ahańkāra, ‘I do’.

‘Expectation’: We discussed expectations earlier in Great Expectations and Accessing the Abundance of the Field. Might it be that this and the previous verses are suggesting a state in which subconscious expectations have no influence? If one reaches a state in which there is nothing to be done, how can expectations, conscious or subconscious, have any effect?

Subconscious Expectations
saṃskāra – संस्कार )

Hidden expectations based on past events that determine personal tendencies and influence events to come. These samakaras, which are desire-based, have a way of running our lives.

There comes a time in one’s sadhana when one comes to experience complete apathy on a daily basis. There is nothing one is drawn to do. Nothing is of interest, even for a person who would ordinarily find something interesting in just about anything. Now, however, nothing really matters. And sometimes, it seems that something must be very wrong, that one must surely at least be interested in spiritual things, or spiritual people, or spiritual endeavors, or spiritual books. But no, there is nothing.

One tends to not even be all that interested in one’s own personal welfare, and spiritual practices continue as a matter of course, as things that ‘should’ be important are passed over in favor of it. The world seems like a merry-go-round that was once very interesting and exciting, but after so many rides, and having seen such amazing things that exist outside of normal experience (and merry-go-rounds), life is just another ride, and it is perfectly acceptable to just be. And practices continue on their own.

Coming this mid-week:  Heaven Within, Conclusion

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

Links
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4 thoughts on “II:17-18 Heaven Within

  1. Anandi

    Pranams dear Ma,

    There are so many jewels in this entry. Of course having just returned from being with you I am more juiced than usual in contemplating these bits of scripture. I bow at your holy feet for the opportunity to have you as my guru, study with you, and to be able to read your invaluable teachings.

    On the topic of apathy.. In the past I have read this and thought of the guru who wanders around in robes, eyes half closed glazed over and speaking with benevolence to others who are frantically trying to achieve the same “look.” I thought of apathy as an inherently negative term as a result of my education, and can’t help but notice the growing number of people who chase this very “state-look” with the intention of leaving the material world behind for the lands of spiritual promise and endless bliss. I considered myself to be wiser for seeing the fault in this outlook and for always calling back to the very fact that we can’t escape the human experience, and let’s face it, theres a lot of people out there claiming to have done just that. I realize considered myself, in a way (subtle), separate from the human experience (and therefore separate from God) just for having that very observation… and in doing so I fell (in some ways) into that very trap. Enter the subtle realm of samskara’s and the way the hold us captive. Nasty buggers.

    Theres nothing like experiencing first hand in live HD the teaching that is being given to receive a more complete understanding. Ma showed me this brand of apathy she speaks of here in scripture. In all of its divine brilliance as a testament to the very fibers of its intended meaning. It is not negative or boring,two dimensional or any of the learned and associated meanings we attach and act out. This apathy in action is NOTHING short of Love. It is pure God and Grace liberating us within our human experience as spiritual beings so that we may tread the path more genuinely with deeper knowledge.

    In having to make one of the most difficult life choices I have ever made my guru, Durga Ma led me through my own internal hell with this very apathy she talks about. I cried, I pouted, I was angry and resistant. I was proud, heart-broken, suffering and lost. She waited. The outcome of my choices would effect her livelihood and she never once allowed me to outrun or transcend these samskaras.. she led me directly to their door so I could consciously choose my path. Then, when my choice wasn’t the choice that would be of her personal benefit… my heart broke. I felt like I had failed my Mother in every possible way.. it was potentially the greatest defeat of my life. Do you know what happened next?

    She received me with absolute unconditional Love. Despite what this could mean for her she did not waiver from that place. As I wallowed and spun off into another myriad of emotion and overwhelm she stayed with me, an endless river of unconditional Love and acceptance. Without judgement or question she just allowed me to be as I was. Even as I am writing this I am sobbing at the power of that experience. Remembering her face (to my surprise) smiling even though I could not choose what I thought was right.

    Apathy is a beautiful selfless gift to a world of otherwise endless merry-go-round of suffering. I do not possess it, but I have experienced it first hand. It will not be forgotten. THANK YOU Ma, I love you.

    Your daughter,
    Anandi

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  2. Galen

    Thank you Durga Ma

    According to the river it flows naturally to the sea and those things that are in its path it flows over, under or around without attachment; it is when people obstruct natural flow, we lose what was the real course.

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