When we read things in these verses that sound like ‘shoulds’, what is really being presented are characteristics of God/Truth and the Real You. When you manifest these characteristics as Krishna has done, you are on your way to attaining His state. Here’s how….
BHAGAVAD GITA, CHAPTER 4, VERSE 10
Free of desire, fear and anger, filled with Me, looking to Me alone, surrendering only to Me and purified by the fire of Wisdom, many have attained My state.
“Desire, fear and anger”
Fear and anger are said to be the effects of desire—the anger or fear of losing or not acquiring the desired object. The Sanskrit word for desire when it was last mentioned in chapter three was kama, but in this verse it is rāga. Whereas kama is the desire itself, rāga refers to the way a person experiences it.
Rāga refers to feelings, moods, emotions, ambience…..the pleasant, likable feeling of a thing, person, or situation that makes it attractive and generates a desire for it. This does not mean, however, that rāga must always produce desire, for one can find satisfaction in such pleasantness itself, without having to own the object of it.
The next time you experience something that causes you to want it, try allowing yourself to enjoy the moment, enjoy the experience this ‘object’ brings you, and put the desire to have it for yourself on a back burner.
“Purified by the fire of Wisdom”
‘Wisdom’ refers to the knowledge and correct understanding of Karma Yoga, which Krishna imparted to Arjuna in chapter three. ‘Fire’ is the burning or melting away (tapas) of impurities that the application of this knowledge ignites.
“Many have attained My state”
One characteristic of Krishna’s state is the absence of desire, fear and anger. This can be achieved through “surrendering only to Me” (surrendering oneself only to Krishna, God), allowing ourselves to be filled with That, looking only to That, our thoughts (attention) constantly on That, resorting to That on all fronts. This ignites “the Fire of Wisdom”, the awakened kundalini-prana that burns and purifies, leaving desire, fear and anger in the dust. Indeed, the very pleasant state of surrender to God is satisfaction itself.
The study of scripture and the oral teachings of a master are needed here. Experience must be had, but experience alone is not enough. What this tells us is that knowledge correctly understood through personal experience in meditation amounts to Wisdom, and that it is Wisdom that lights this fire and allows Kundalini to awaken and do Her evolutionary work, presenting wondrous experiences along the way.
The study of scripture, oral teachings and the personal experience gained through meditation are all equally necessary.
The impurities aimed at here are desire, fear and anger. But why these particular three? Desire (rāga) is the pleasant influencing experience of an object that causes us to want it. Fear and anger are the effects of becoming attached to having the desired object, and attachment puts us right back where we started: into the clutches of desire (kāma), the ‘enemy’ (chapter three, vs 42-43).
The desire to have and to hold on to.
“Filled with Me, looking to Me, surrendering to Me alone”
When you are attached to something or someone there is always the possibility that you may lose it, otherwise, why would you become attached? Because of this constant threat underlying attachment, there is a great deal of energy going into keeping what you have, along with the fear of losing it. If it is taken away you feel sorrow at the loss and may become angry. We can look upon this condition as ‘attachment’ and remedy it as instructed: “filled with Me, looking to Me, surrendering to Me alone.”
The Mode Sets The Mood
Rāga: ‘feeling, passion, desire’, and ‘the act of coloring or dyeing something’.
One of the effects of coming under the influence of rāga is that it colors the way things appear to the one experiencing it, prompting feelings that may or may not be at all relevant to the object itself.
The influencing of feelings by rāga is apparent in the use of this word in music. In music, a rāga is a mode, a specific order of musical tones around which music is performed to give it its color, creating certain moods, feelings and ambience for the listener. There are several rāgas that produce a variety of musical experiences.
Rāga affects the way one perceives or experiences things, people and circumstances.
We are looking for Truth, but desiring something distorts the way we perceive it (including the desire for Truth/God). There is only one solution to this: We must not bow down to it, but submit only to Lord Krishna, to God, Truth, the Real, for what we surrender to is what we will get.
If we give ourselves over to the influence of something other than Truth, such as a desire, that is what we will get, and desires will always make things look like something other than what they actually are. Desire is only natural, we all have desires, but chasing them is a no-win situation.
Now we must not consider rāga to be a bad thing. This should be apparent in its very effective use in classical Indian music. Also, the path of devotion, bhakti yoga, relies greatly on rāga by putting it to good use, and is very effective. What we must do is remember and be aware of its influence so that we can make intelligent, conscious choices regarding the people, things and circumstances in our lives, and with regard to our quest for Truth and liberation.
Desiring something is one thing.
How we experience it is another thing entirely.
It is possible to find the same satisfaction in the experience of a desire (rāga) without chasing after the object of desire itself.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
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