VII:15-19 The Good, the Bad and the Wise

Previously, we learned that to comprehend, transcend and get beyond illusion to God/Truth, we must surrender to That. Now we will learn about the four steps experienced on the way to this surrender. 

15
Those foolish wrong-doers who do not surrender to me are the lowest of men. Carried away by illusion, they are bereft of wisdom and resort to erroneous states of being.

Surely it is fair to say that we have all made mistakes. But to willingly live one’s life in a state of ignorance is another matter entirely. Yet most people are willing to do this, to do most anything, to other people and to themselves, in order to hide themselves from themselves and not have their errors exposed.

But you are different or you wouldn’t be taking an interest in the Bhagavad Gita. You may have short moments of these states, but when they do arise, you can notice them and take refuge in meditation, the haven of Truth and Self-awareness.

It is very easy to fall into doing something wrongly from time to time, and very difficult to avoid. But we unwittingly violate ahimsa (harmlessness) and other yamas to greater or lesser degrees. Even when we try to do the right thing, we make mistakes (sin, ‘to miss the mark’).

By not taking refuge in God, we remain stuck on the bottom rung of the ladder and are left in ignorance and detrimental states of being. Such states are dangerous because we identify with them as who we are. Hanging onto these false identities can only lead to more errors and more repercussions. We are being informed that the resolution to this situation is to surrender ourselves to God.

16
Four kinds of benevolent people worship Me: (1) the suffering and afflicted, (2) those desiring wisdom, (3) those who seek accomplishment, and (4) the man of wisdom.

  • Worship – surrender to, adore, venerate.

This list tells us that all devotees of God fit into one of these four categories. See if you can determine which is the best fit for you.

These four kinds of people listed in order, also imply a natural sequence of four stages that anyone would naturally experience and motivate them to seek God/Truth, and lead them to the ultimate discovery of yoga (union).

From the Sanskrit:

Four Steps to Wisdom

1. The suffering and afflicted – ‘Struck by calamity, in pain, oppressed, suffering, unhappy’.

2. Those who desire knowledge – ‘Desirous of knowing’.

3. Those whose purpose is accomplishment – ‘The most effective means of accomplishing the Goal’. Accomplishing is an action word—now that one has knowledge, one is motivated to put this knowledge into action until he ultimately becomes…

4. The Man of Wisdom – ‘One who knows correctly’. One has succeeded in putting knowledge into action, and is now in possession not only of the Highest Knowledge, but of the Highest Wisdom acquired through personal experience in meditation.

17
Of these, the man of wisdom, constantly engaged in Yoga with singular devotion, is superior. Truly, I am exceedingly fond of the man of wisdom, as he is of Me.

Singular devotion – One is surrendered to God and only God. Thus one’s attention is singularly concentrated and causes the life energy in the body to become concentrated in one place. The fulfilling effects of this devotion causes one to constantly think only of God, and the yoga practice that brought it about, always.

Constantly – Always when in meditation; always at any time; always it is all one thinks about; anything one thinks about or is intent upon is always God.

18
Of these great ones, I consider the man of wisdom to be Myself. He is intent on Me, and abides in Me, the Supreme Goal.

If God sees you as God, who are you to argue? Abiding in God, God is where you live.

Intent on – Sanskrit: ‘committed, insistent, determined, resolved, persistent. Attentive, absorbed, engrossed, fascinated, enthralled, focused, concentrated’.

19
After many births, the man of wisdom, throwing himself down at My feet, knows Me as dwelling in all beings. Such a great soul is difficult to find. 

In four verses we have traveled from utter ignorance and despair to the full joy of union with God. We are being shown how one finally comes to Real Yoga, and the delightful pleasure of surrendering oneself to God in meditation. 

One who has reached this stage is a “great soul” (mahatma) who is difficult to find, yet every day, a new saint is announced as a fully enlightened master or an avatara, and public conjecture begins: Who is the best? Who is the most enlightened? Etcetera. At the end of the day, it usually amounts to fame, for we westerners venerate fame and fortune and use it to validate things and people and raise our social standing. And we are right back where we started from: “bereft of wisdom”. 

But it should be obvious that, unless one fits the bill themself, one does not have the means to know a true master or an avatara when they see one. In the next installment we will learn how this unfortunate state comes about.   

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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