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Start with a spirit of adventure and jump in with both feet. Trust the teachings, even if you have to pretend, and persist until they prove themselves to you in meditation one way or the other. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
In these three verses we are rallied to take refuge in Yoga. Yoga is a physical-spiritual science, a skill, an art, a philosophy, a psychology and a theology, as opposed to a religion where belief systems rule.
Yoga is a generic term, as well as a word for a tradition of carefully handed down teachings through many and varied lineages to preserve its authenticity, and to allow for independent discovery through practice. This practice is meditation, the ‘lab’ where one’s understanding of these teachings is either proved, disproved or clarified, and where written teachings, oral teachings and one’s personal experience in meditation ultimately tally to validate something proved.
One who is ignorant, who has no faith and is skeptical, is lost. For one who doubts, there is happiness neither in this world nor next.
Without yoga wisdom, and without experience in yoga meditation, it is easy to doubt everything Lord Krishna has been teaching us. The result of ignorance is unhappiness.
The Sanskrit word for happiness literally means ‘having a good axel wheel’. With a good, well-oiled axel wheel, things run smoothly and one experiences ease, happiness and good fortune.
“For one who doubts”
This can be understood both as doubting the teachings, and self-doubt. By applying the teachings, doubt and Self-doubt are naturally removed when Truth proves Itself to you. If self-doubt persists outside of meditation, one can get to the bottom of it (it can seem impenetrable, but it is probably simpler that you think).
The Sanskrit for ‘faith’ also means trust. If you are burdened by self-doubt, trust in these teachings is thwarted and true knowledge becomes inaccessible. Doubt and self-doubt, the antithesis of arrogance, are the enemy. If you hang on to doubt, it will bring you down. You must defeat it, renounce it, let it go, for…
Happiness is your natural state.
Through renunciation of action through Yoga one is not bound by karma, wisdom cuts away doubt, and one is self-possessed, Conqueror of Wealth.
This is the solution we are looking for.
“Renunciation of action though Yoga”
‘Renunciation of action’ means that one does not take the role of the doer of action in meditation, even when action arises. One has surrendered oneself, including all actions, to God, thereby cutting away karma. This is proved through Yoga (‘union’) and describes Karma Yoga specifically.
“Wisdom cuts away doubt”
Wisdom is attained through Yoga. It is the very thing that causes you to rise above the ego’s attempts to remain in control by taking the role of the doer of action.
You now know what Yoga is and that it is working in your favor. In time, you will gain a new kind of wisdom that will give you the confidence to continue no matter what. There are always obstacles in life, but none are stronger than You.
To be self-possessed is to have self-confidence, self-assuredness. In this powerful neutral zone between arrogance and self-doubt, nothing can stop you.
“Conqueror of Wealth”
Krishna is reminding Arjuna of his good fortune in receiving these teachings by calling him ‘winner of the prize, or treasure’.
Therefore, Descendant of Bharata, with your own sword of wisdom, cut away this doubt in the heart that comes from ignorance. Stand up and take refuge in Yoga.
“Descendant of Bharata”
Bharata is the name of that part of the world known to us as India. It means ‘constantly engaged in acquiring knowledge’. By using this epitaph, Krishna is calling Arjuna an ‘inheritor of knowledge’, referring to the knowledge He has passed down to him in this dialogue, the Bhagavad Gita.
“With your own sword of wisdom, cut away this doubt”
This knowledge is now Arjuna’s means of cutting away any remaining doubts, and subsequently, his own self-doubt and his karma, all in one fell swoop.
“Doubt in the heart that comes from ignorance”
The Sanskrit word for ‘heart’ is defined as ‘the seat of feelings and emotions’, and even ‘the mind and the soul’.
The ‘heart’ of something is its ‘core’, like heartwood is the core of a tree, implying that ‘doubt in the heart’ is wherever the core of ignorance lies within oneself. It may be the heart chakra, or anyplace in the body where the sensation of an emotion lies and how it feels, or in the memory bank of the mind where the event that produced it lives and triggers the re-experiencing of the associated feelings.
When something like this is carried over into another lifetime, it is called a samskara, which is usually defined as an ‘impression’, or a ‘karmic tendency’. The word literally means, ‘with doing’, indicating that the role of the doer of action is the culprit. This shows us the way out, the way out that Krishna has been trying to get across to Arjuna (and to us) throughout this discourse, and which is known as Karma Yoga.
“Stand up and take refuge in Yoga”
Arjuna should now take action by taking refuge in Yoga. Krishna tells him specifically to ‘stand up’ (you will recall that he had become dejected and slumped down onto the seat of his chariot). But now he knows what Yoga really is, and he (and we) should take shelter in it to cut away ignorance and karma, and take us to our Natural State of eternal happiness and freedom.
End of Chapter Four
The Yoga of Wisdom Through Renunciation of Action
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are,
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