In these verses we are preparing for Real Meditation in the next chapter. And we are discovering that there is much more to meditation than we thought.
Having excluded external contacts, the gaze between the two eyebrows, inhalation and exhalation moving equally within the two nostrils; desire, fear and anger disabled, the senses, mind and intelligence restrained, the muni whose highest aim is liberation is always liberated. Having known Me, the consumer of sacrificial austerities, Mighty Lord of the World, friend and ally of all beings, the sage ascends to peace and blissful happiness. — Ch. 5, vs. 27-29
28. Desire, fear and anger gone, the senses, mind and intelligence subdued, the muni whose highest aim is liberation is always liberated.
“Desire, fear and anger gone” and “the senses, mind and intelligence subdued”
Some while back, we learned that desire, fear and anger are the ‘enemies of Yoga’. This verse tells us in one sentence why this is so:
The senses, mind and intelligence cannot become subdued unless desire, fear and anger are out of the picture, and we need the senses, mind and intelligence to become subdued in order to achieve samadhi.
What is meant by subdued? And what is samadhi?
Subdued senses, mind and intelligence (three components of the mind as a whole) means that they are not active and not running the show. If you go back to chapter one, you will find them on the side of the ‘bad-guys’. (They’re not really bad, they’re just misinformed and in the dark about all these things you and I are learning by eavesdropping on this conversation between Arjuna and Lord Krishna.) Samadhi, the highest rung on the ladder, is the state of sameness-of-mind that is the result of their subduction.
“The muni whose highest aim is liberation is always liberated”
For the muni whose highest aim is liberation, this subduction of the senses, mind and intelligence is spontaneous due to his renunciation (self-surrender), and he is headed for samadhi and final liberation.
- Muni – One who is self-motivated, self-disciplined; an inspired or ecstatic person; a saint, sage, seer, ascetic, monk, devotee, hermit.
You may or may not want what the muni wants. So that is up to you. But if you do, you should start right away to cultivate these characteristics, and to discover his means of ‘renunciation’ (self-surrender to God/Truth).
Two words are used in this verse for ‘liberation’. One is moksha, which is what the muni is after, and one is mukta, which he will ‘always’ get. Moksha is final liberation from the cycle of rebirths. Mukta is liberation here in this world, meaning that it is conditional and concurrent with the achievement of subduction of the senses, mind and intelligence, and sameness of mind. The muni ‘always’ gets it. Because of his self-surrender, the necessary conditions happen spontaneously. This paves the way for moksha, final liberation.
Having known Me, the consumer of sacrificial austerities, Mighty Lord of the World, friend and ally of all beings, this Sage ascends to peace and blissful happiness.
“Having known Me”
‘Known’ also means ‘understood’. This is not learned knowledge, but personal experience of God in meditation.
“The consumer of sacrificial austerities”
Now Krishna is identifying Himself with the Sacrificial Fire. ‘Sacrificial austerities’ is the burning of sacrificial offerings in this Fire (energy) of purification.
‘Austerities’ is from tapas, which means ‘to burn, heat or melt’. The sacrifice of self-surrender ignites the Sacrificial Fire of yoga (union) and burns away impurities—anything that doesn’t belong is ‘consumed’, ultimately leaving you with your natural state of lasting happiness.
The word in Sanskrit for ‘consume’ also means ‘to enjoy’, so ‘sacrificial austerities’ takes on new meaning. It takes nothing away from you, but brings you the very thing you seek.
“Mighty Lord of the World, friend and ally of all beings, this Sage ascends to peace and blissful happiness”
Here Lord Krishna is identifying Himself as Maheshvara, Lord of the World, and friend and ally of all that live there. In other words, He has already accepted everyone and invites us to accept Him.
This would make our surrender complete, because we will have accepted someone who has already accepted everyone. Because we are all connected through our sameness, whether we accept everyone as the same as ourselves, or we take the short-cut and accept someone who has already accepted everyone, we will achieve the pinnacle of our journey. Arrived at either way, this acceptance is surrender to God.
Substitute “accepts me” for “believeth in me” and see what you get:
Jesus said unto her (Martha), I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
— John 11:25-26 (KJV)
How does this apply to the liberation mentioned in the previous verse?
If we are fully surrendered to God, who is without limitation and is Divine Happiness Itself, how could we not be liberated? We have surrendered to That and now we are like That. We are in cahoots with God, united with God, who loves the World and everyone in it. The whole world is one family, and we are each and all of us together, our own ally and friend.
So we are not to worry about the cost, there isn’t any. There is only a payoff: the ascent to Peace and Blissful Happiness (śānti) in God/Truth, our natural state.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
End of Chapter Five
The Yoga of Renunciation