Thank you for all your gurupurnima greetings and gifts. May you be spiritually and prosperously blessed through out the year. ¶
What is it that hides our inherent power from us? our power to know our true Selves, the entire cosmos, and Truth Itself? It is that our perception is indirect; only direct perception will suffice in this.
BHAGAVAD GITA, CHAPTER 3, VERSES 38-41
Just as fire is hidden by smoke, a mirror by dust and the fetus by the womb, so by that is this concealed.
“So by that” refers to the force mentioned in verses 36-37, “is this” refers to the Knowledge-teachings of this chapter becoming “concealed”, hidden and lost.
“Just as fire is hidden by smoke, a mirror by dust, and the fetus by the womb”
Why has Lord Krishna chosen these particular items for this metaphor—fire, a mirror, and the womb?
The ‘fire’ is referring to a bearer bringing an offering to a sacrificial fire, and in the process becoming enveloped and hidden by its smoke, so the Sanskrit word, vahnir (‘bearer’), is taken as synonymous with ‘fire’. When I see things like this I know there is something more afoot hidden in the cracks, and I go looking around…
Vahnir (‘fire’) is also a name of Soma. You may recall that soma, ‘moon-juice’, is amrita, the nectar of immortality, before it is made viable through purification by the ‘sacrificial fire’ (kundalini). Moon-juice suggests something ‘fluid’ associated with the internal ‘moon’ of the body, the hypothalamus*, where the ‘lake of the moon’ is located, and which is visible to the meditator at a certain stage of sadhana.
*Hypothalamus - A region of the forebrain that coordinates both the autonomic nervous system and the activity of the pituitary, controlling body temperature, thirst, hunger, and other systems, and involved in sleep and emotions.
Who or what is the ‘bearer’ of this fire? Smoke envelops the fire, or smoke envelops the bearer of the fire…which is it?
It is both. The ‘fire’ is the bearer. There are two kinds of fire: Surya and Agni. The ‘fire’ in the body is prana, the fire of the sun, Surya. When prana is in the sushumna nadi, the central channel, it is Agni, the sacrificial fire, kundalini.
In this world, our ability to see requires using our sense of sight, which requires that light reflect off the object we want to see, thus making our perception indirect. When we want to see ourselves, we use a mirror. So when we see our image in a mirror, our perception is doubly indirect, and a mirror covered in dust takes this even further afield.
The dust is ignorance (non enlightenment). The dusty mirror is ignorance of ourselves. Ignorance is how we see when we see by indirect means—the senses pick up data and feed it to the mind, and we ‘know’ of it. The data is then stored in memory, and we are able to revisit it.
The word for fetus or embryo also means ‘the inside or interior of anything’, even a sanctuary of a temple (the inner sanctum of a temple is called the garbha, ‘womb’).
Then what is inside?
I am reminded of Hiranyagarbha, the Golden Womb, Golden Egg, or Cosmic Egg, and that the entire cosmos is what is inside, just as an embryo or fetus, which consists of the entire cosmos, develops into a human body.
So we conclude that our metaphor is telling us that to achieve a sacrificial fire, Self-realization and cosmic consciousness, the smoke, the dust and the membrane must first be removed. Indirect perception will not do. Our perception must be direct.
Sacrificial Fire > Self-realization > Cosmic Conscious
We can be encouraged in this by noticing that the thing that is hidden is much more substantial than the thing that is hiding it.
We can only see inside with direct perception.
By this constant enemy in the form of sensual desire, which is like an insatiable fire, the knowledge of the wisdom-knowers gets obscured.
Here we go again with ‘fire’, and again it is associated with kundalini. So the message here is that sensual desire looks a lot like kundalini, and visa verse, to someone who does not understand the knowledge that has been given, and that this misunderstanding is the very thing that obscures these teachings and causes them to become lost.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
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