IV:1-3 The Ancient Imperishable Teachings of Yoga

At the end of the last chapter, The Yoga of Action, we discovered that everything Lord Krishna taught Arjuna had been around for a long time and had become lost, but we have listened in and now have these teachings for ourselves. 

This chapter begins where the last chapter left off, with Lord Krishna explaining the circumstances surrounding the subject of Karma Yoga, the Yoga of Action.


The Blessed Lord spoke:
I anciently taught this imperishable Yoga to Vivasvat, who then communicated it to Manu, and he later to Ikshvaku.

I anciently taught this imperishable Yoga”  Krishna recalls the universal and eternal nature of the teachings of Yoga (union) that He has just given to Arjuna.

To achieve yoga, one practices yoga. This takes place in stages. First, there is union of two opposing forces in the body that awakens Kundalini. When this evolutionary force is sufficiently advanced, there is union with the Absolute. The first union is sun-moon union (hatha yoga), or Karma Yoga (‘action union’). The second form of union is royal union (raja yoga), or Knowledge Yoga (‘wisdom union’).

Then why was Knowledge Yoga taught in chapter two before Action Yoga in chapter three?

In Eastern writings, the highest teaching comes first, so Knowledge Yoga was taught first because it is the highest union, union with the Absolute. However, it is Karma Yoga that gets you to Raja Yoga, and it is not successfully bypassed. It is one thing to speak of Raja Yoga as ‘knowledge yoga’ and tuck yourself in with books and contemplations, and quite another to actually achieve it. One cannot place Karma Yoga on a back burner, for it is vital for reaching Raja Yoga and consumes nearly all of one’s practice (sadhana) for many years.

Raja Yoga (‘royal union’)
Knowledge Yoga, Jnana Yoga

Hatha Yoga (‘sun-moon union’)
Action Yoga, Karma Yoga

“Vivasvāt, Manu and Ikṣvāku”

Here we have the first recipients of these teachings from Lord Krishna at the beginning of our present time period, which goes back many thousands of years. Lord Krishna taught it to Vivasvat, who taught it to his son, Satyavrata, the Manu of that time, and he to his son and king, Ikshvaku.

Vivasvat, or Vivasvan (‘the Brilliant One’), is Surya (‘the sun’). Aside from our usual interpretation of the sun as the Life Energy in the body, prana, let us also consider the possibility that every divine individual (i.e., the Real You) is or has an actual sun around which worlds revolve, and that this individual in our own galaxy was known as Vivasvan, or Surya.

Manu stems from the root man, meaning ‘to think’, the same as the root for manas, ‘mind’, and is connected to the English word ‘man’ (humanity). As an entity, Manu is ‘the thinking one’ and considered to be the progenitor of humanity. He is also another version of Noah, with remarkably similar stories about him. The name of the Manu of our time period is Satyavrata, meaning ‘living in Truth’.

A Manu is the progenitor of humanity during the time-period of a manvantara (manu-antara). The duration of a manvantara is the duration of the Manu’s life span:  

Each Manvantara is created and ruled by a specific Manu, who in turn is created by Brahma, the Creator himself*. Manu creates the world, and all its species during that period of time, each Manvantara lasts the lifetime of a Manu, upon whose death, Brahma creates another Manu to continue the cycle of Creation.


* Brahma, the Creator himself - Originally Hiranyagarbha in the Golden Age, also called the Golden Egg or Cosmic Egg. Creation was later attributed to the masculine, Prajapati, and then Brahma, as the ages made their way downward through ages of increasing strife and the decline of higher consciousness.

Ikṣvāku is the name of the king of the solar dynasty in the earliest times in India. The word ikṣvāku is interesting. It derives from the word for ‘sugarcane’ and vak, or vach, meaning ‘to speak’. I can’t help but giggle at the idea of this wisdom-knowing-king being a sweet-talker, and sincerely hope that I do not offend. But there it is. Perhaps it is the knowledge that has been passed down to him that is sweet to hear.

Thus received by succession, the royal seers knew this yoga, but after a long time here on this earth, it was lost, Scorcher of the Foe.

“Royal seers”  In earlier, more enlightened times, a royal was a sage, and a keeper and practitioner of this knowledge which has continued to be passed down to successors, creating lineages of knowers. As time passed, however, this knowledge became lost for the reasons given in the previous verses. But Arjuna, the ‘Scorcher of the Foe’, now carries the torch, having been given it by God in the form of Lord Krishna.

Today, I have taught you this ancient Yoga because you are My devotee and friend. This mystery is definitely the most important of all.

Lord Krishna points out the value of this ancient, secret yoga-knowledge He has given to Arjuna, and why he has had the good fortune to receive it: because Arjuna is His devotee and his friend. This tells us that if we want this knowledge, and want to understand it, we must be the same—His devotee and friend—lest it remain to us an unrevealed secret.

It is true that we have been given these teachings by overhearing the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. To understand them however, we must practice them with persistence until understanding reveals itself. This practice is called Karma Yoga, the Yoga of Action, and is known to us as Sahaja Yoga, Surrender Meditation or Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga (SKY).

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

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