In the previous verses we learned that through the practice of uniting (yoga) by resorting to God, surrendering ourselves to God, cycles of death and rebirth can be avoided. Now we will learn about the conditions under which this becomes possible.
15 – 16
Having come to Me, those great souls who have accomplished the highest are not born again into this impermanent place of suffering and unhappiness. Worlds up to Brahmā‘s World are subject to successive rebirths, Arjuna, but in approaching Me, rebirth is not found, Son of Kunti.
In this chapter, Lord Krishna has taken to calling Arjuna by epitaphs referring to his mother, Kunti, also known as Pritha, who represents Earth. The name Kunti derives from a root meaning ‘spear or lance’, and Pritha, from ‘battle and strife’, suggesting the difficulties of this world, and urging Arjuna to get on with it.
We who are more fortunate and cannot see this world in these terms, are mistaken. This world is indeed a place of suffering and unhappiness, but we don’t like to hear things like this. We prefer to think that if we can just do better we can find fulfillment here on earth. We believe we can change things if we try harder. Evidence to the contrary is right before our eyes, but we refuse to see it.
I have always said that everyone has two life purposes, one that is unique to each individual, and one that is the same for everyone. Union with God and liberation from repeated births and deaths is the purpose that is the same for everyone. By not putting this first, we waste precious time and the opportunity to accomplish this release, while simultaneously effecting the remission of suffering for the world and those who inhabit it (truly, this is so). We make this mistake by constantly trying for a better part in the play of Life. But happiness is always temporal here. If we open our eyes to the Truth, we can attain happiness that is unending, and benefit everyone in the process.
“The worlds of Brahmā are subject to successive rebirths“
There are many worlds of death and rebirth, some better and some worse than our own. These worlds are the worlds of Brahmā, God as Creator. In the larger scheme of things, Brahmā’s World consists of these worlds where we arrive upon rebirth. But there is another meaning here that translates to something more personal and immediate.
At a personal level, Brahmā’s World of death and rebirth is up to the diaphragm, and encompasses the first three chakras: the first chakra, muladhara, ‘root holder’, the second chakra, svathishthana, ‘one’s own place’, and the third chakra, manipura, ‘jewel city’.
In this diagram, seven chakras are numbered from the bottom up on the left, and three granthis on the right:
Chakras & Granthis
To become liberated from death and rebirth, the escalating evolutionary force, kundalini, must rise above Brahmā’s World. The World of Brahmā lies in the region of the first first three chakras, and is delineated by the brahmagranthi, the ‘knot of Brahmā’. To get past this boundary between Brahmā’s World and the next, this knot must be pierced so that the evolutionary force can ascend through the central channel (sushumna) to the higher worlds. First, however, this force must be activated within the individual—kundalini must be awakened. But there is a catch:
Kundalini is for yogis seeking liberation, and the fettering of fools. — Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Awakening Kundalini is not a simple matter. Those who are not interested in liberation should not disturb Her. One who awakens Her for anything other than this purpose is asking for trouble. But for the yogi (one who has achieved yoga), She is the respected and venerated Divine Mother, and the yogi wants this Divine Goddess on his side, for it is She who will deliver him.
“The worlds of Brahmā are subject to successive rebirths, Arjuna. But in approaching Me, rebirth is not found.”
Brahmā’s World, everything up to and including the brahmagranthi, is associated with the things in life and in ourselves that will cause us to be reborn into another physical world of suffering and temporal happiness. But if we get with the program and resort to God, surrender to God, in the constant practice of yoga (uniting), we are headed in the right direction. We are approaching God. With kundalini ascending to realms above the World of Brahmā, we are positioned to become “great souls who have accomplished the highest,” free of the cycles of death and rebirth.
These two verses are describing the longest part of the journey to liberation and unending happiness. In the next verses we will learn more about how this is accomplished.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),