“Those familiar with the Vedas, drink the soma to be free of sin and misfortunes, and worship Me with sacrifices desiring to go to Indra’s world and enjoy the pleasures of the gods in heaven. Having enjoyed the extent of heaven, when their merit is exhausted they enter the world of mortals once again, thus conforming to the edicts of dharma. With desire after desire, they come and go. But those who worship Me by constantly engaging in yoga with their attention not directed elsewhere, I unite them with their goal.” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, Verses 20-22
Those familiar with the Vedas, drink the soma to be free of sin and misfortunes, and worship Me with sacrifices desiring to go to Indra’s world and enjoy the pleasures of the gods in heaven.
- Sin – evil, misfortune, bad luck, trouble, harm, guilt
- Indra’s world – the heaven of the gods
Freedom or Heaven?
We in the West are used to thinking of sin as doing bad things, but the Sanskrit expands this to include the ramifications of bad behavior: it comes back to us in the form of trouble.
The word for ‘sin’ in the Bible means ‘to err’. Combining these two concepts of sin gives us a more complete picture. It inspires us to not make mistakes, and to know when we are making a mistake and turn to the yamas and niyamas, the first teachings and practices for doing anything completely and successfully. Anything done that is not consistent with them is ‘sin’ and backfires as ‘trouble’.
NOTE to initiates: Some of you who have come to understand surrender to God in practice, write to me about what to do in life outside the meditation room. This is my answer: Notice, observe and practice yama and niyama in your daily life.
To Do or Not To Do
The deepest meaning of sin is assuming the role of the doer of actions. It is a sin, a mistake, because it is an action that is not consistent with Truth—that what you really are never does anything in the first place. This error limits spiritual progress and leads to return (reincarnation). So performing actions in order to be free of sin cannot get one to God and liberation but only leads to heaven and return. To reach Absolute God, one resorts to sacrificing oneself, surrendering oneself, to Absolute God. But this is not everyone’s objective.
For most, the highest objective is heaven. That there is something higher than heaven is beyond their comprehension. Laying the responsibility for sins on someone or something else, or performing ritual acts in order to reach heaven, is the goal of the majority.
Drinking the Soma
The real soma is not an herbal concoction of the priesthood, but a biochemical product of the pineal gland, and is not even consumable under ordinary circumstances. It is naturally consumed by the body without any help from us when it is in its purified state as amrita, the nectar of immortality. This cannot happen by the use of one’s will, for acting willfully only takes us back to the ‘sin’ of taking the role of the doer, and keeps karmic bondage in place.
References to soma: The ch 9, vs 9-10, ch 8, vs 24-25, ch 9, vs 2-3, and the previous verse.
Having enjoyed the extent of heaven, when their merit is exhausted they enter the world of mortals again, thus conforming to the edicts of dharma. With desire after desire, they come and go.
- The edicts of dharma – Spiritual injunction. Duties enjoined by scripture.
- Dharma – Actions, behaviors and practices consistent with Truth.
Those who follow the duties and practices of scriptural knowledge for the purpose of ridding themselves of sin and impurity in order to go to heaven when they die, follow the edicts for reaching this goal. Because they act in good faith and are virtuous, they attain their goal. Even so, their actions are motivated by desire, so they can only reach this temporary situation called heaven (svarga loka, the world of heaven). When their merit is exhausted, they will be returned to physical embodiment again. And around and around it goes.
But the yogi has a different goal The yogi seeks liberation, freedom, and union with God. So the yogi’s injunctions are somewhat different. The yogi follows the ten yamas and niyamas (Ten Keys to Success) first and foremost, as the foundation for everything that comes next in his path so that he can traverse it successfully, reach union with Absolute God and become liberated.
But those who worship Me by constantly engaging in yoga with their attention not directed elsewhere, I unite them with their goal.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
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