Even Though Acting One Does Nothing – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 11, Vs 33

Kali
Kali Ma — The teachings of Yoga revealed in a image.

In our last post we discussed the nature of Time as both personal and cosmic. The above picture of Mother Kali is significant to this, for Her name, Kali, has the same root and the word for Time, and both are said to be destroyers.

In the story of the Mahabharata war, this Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Lord Krishna and his devotee and childhood friend, Arjuna. Listening in, we receive the teachings of Lord Krishna as he relates them to Arjuna.

This post addresses the removal of obstacles to yoga, non-doership, the onset of real yoga, enlightenment and surrender.

Last week:
32  The Blessed Lord spoke: I am Time, the destroyer of all beings and all worlds, come to destroy these people in this world. Even without any action on your part, none of these warriors here in the opposing army will be spared.

Todays post:
33  
Therefore, you, who can shoot an arrow with either hand, stand up and attain glory! Having conquered the enemy, you will enjoy a prosperous and flourishing kingship, for these enemies have already been killed. You are merely the instrument. 

Lord Krishna reminds Arjuna of his prowess and assures him of a victory that will bring about the return of his kingdom, and that he will be pleased with the results. He may as well accept this, for it is already done. No matter what Arjuna does in the way of killing the enemy, this action is not really of his own doing.

The killing of the enemy suggests the purification of obstacles. “It is already done” suggests that the Real You is already perfect.

Krishna (God/Guru) and Arjuna (You) are standing together in the middle between two armies. These two armies represent the two forms of Life Energy in the body (prana and apana) that, with the commencement of the battle, come crashing together. This causes the Life Energy to act as the Evolutionary Force (kundalini).

The warriors on both sides are Arjuna’s relatives. They represent all your personal assets and liabilities (obstacles) because of their relationship to you. What will be killed are all the things that stand in the way of your forward progress. This can only happen when the two armies come crashing together. This is what yoga really is and what the word means: ‘union’.

Once this real yoga begins, purification begins in ernest. Having already prepared the way with proper conditions for your meditation, the dam breaks and out comes all the muck. Your mind speeds irrationally, you are overcome with emotion, your body moves around in strange ways. Kundalini-shakti has taken center stage and aids your progress by killing the enemy: all the things that hold you back. Thus we have an expert archer hero (you) in the leading role of this tale, with Goddess Kundalini doing all the dirty work. 

“These enemies have already been killed. You are merely the instrument.”

Lord Krishna is saying that in killing the enemy, these actions are not really your own, however much it may seem otherwise. Taking up this course of action makes you an instrument of the inevitable destruction of these warriors (obstacles), but not the doer of it. This tells us more about the principle of non-doership.

Through surrender to God/Truth in meditation, even though action occurs, one does nothing. 

Surrender to God/Truth is the means of attaining yoga and enlightenment easily. Through it, the ‘ego’ is automatically overcome during the period of your meditation.

‘Ego’ is ahamkara in Sanskrit. The word literally means, “I do.” The sense of doing, ‘ego’, is dependent on the use of the will. When you surrender to God in meditation, you abandon the use of your will. Only through this practice of surrender to God will you come to understand this experientially. It will not happen any other way.

The sense of doing—’ego’—is dependent on the use of the will. Using the will fortifies the ego.

While it is possible to have direct experience of Truth/God using a technique (will), the experience is very short (1/16th of a second), and though it may justly be called an enlightenment experience, it is only the beginning. Overcoming the domination of the ego is the overcoming of the sense of being the doer of actions. This is true enlightenment, and the beginning of Real Yoga. 

“You who can shoot an arrow with either hand”

Lord Krishna is not only commending Arjuna’s prowess with bow and arrow, but suggesting the nature of the course his path is now taking. Arjuna has reached a fork in the road that leads in a direction that has not been clear to him and is taking eighteen chapters to fully comprehend. The message here is that all this takes Time.

The Sanskrit for “either hand” actually means ‘left, left hand, or North’. It is translated as “either hand” or “both hands” by most translators and diverts the idea of Lord Krishna teaching the Left-hand Path, so despised by most yogis due to misinterpretation.

When you face the east (your face is the east of your body), south is down and on your right, and north is up and on your left. The right-hand path is known to everyone, but yogis seek the upward trending of kundalini going North.

Kali, left knee raised
Kali, left knee raised

I once went into an ashram store looking for a picture of Kali with her left knee raised. She is usually shown with the right knee raised, and the person in charge of the store was horrified at my request. Probably thinking I was depraved and needed guidance, she insisted on the other form of Kali and warned me about the one I sought. But I was adamant. She went into a back room and brought out pictures of Kali. We finally found one with the left knee raised, and she sold it to me, probably saying prayers for my redemption as I left (she was a very kind person). 

Kali Ma was originally the Creator (Brahmā), Sustainer (Viṣṇu) and Destroyer (Śiva) all rolled into one dynamic female God. Eventually though, She became relegated to the single and fearful position of Destroyer.

So what is the big deal about the Left-hand Path?

The Left-hand Path has gone through periods of descent into madness over the centuries. Some have taken ‘left’ to mean ‘south’ (probably because of the Ida, the channel for the downward flowing apana on the left of the body) and referring to sexual practices, human sacrifice, and all kinds of craziness. But this was due to misunderstandings of correct teachings off and on over the centuries.

Pingala - channel of prana; Ida - channel of apana; Sushumna - channel of awakened kundalini.
Pingala – channel of prana. Ida – channel of apana. Sushumna – central channel for awakened kundalini.

The only way to get all the Life Energy to rise (north) is for the downward trending energy to be brought up by something equally powerful — the upward trending energy has to descend (south) to do this.

This paints a picture of prana, the upward flowing Life Energy, falling to the basal chakra, uniting with the apana, the downward flowing Life Energy, and both going upward together through the central channel as kundalini. Thus is Kundalini ‘awakened’ and hatha yoga (‘sun-moon union’) begun.

This is the story of the Ramayana, the saga of Lord Rama and his beloved Sita. Rama goes south to get Sita and together they go North. Their journey North is hatha yoga. 

prana – the upward trending warming Life Energy in the body flowing upward through the Pingala channel from the Right: Sun.

apana – the downward trending cooling Life Energy in the body flowing downward through the Ida channel from the Left: Moon.

kundalini – the evolutionary force in the body activated by the union of prana and apana. This union takes place at the first chakra: South.

With Kali’s left knee raised, She demonstrates the upward-going of the normally downward-going energy, apana. Not only is this usually misunderstood, but Kali Herself is misunderstood. Yes, She destroys, but what She destroys is ignorance, impurity and other obstacles to yoga. Kali Ma is seen as another form of Durga Ma, or as Durga Ma’s instrument for this purpose. Thus is Kali revered by all true yogis.

In our next installment, we will have a look at some of the obstacles Kali obliterates.

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

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6 thoughts on “Even Though Acting One Does Nothing – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 11, Vs 33

  1. razielswisdom

    Dear Ma,

    Thank you for the above overview of the process. Would I be correct in assuming that for prana to turn into Kundalini and rise up Shushumna with an hourly daily practice would take several decades?

    So far I have endless neck vibrations, head snaps, torso twists etc. whenever I sit for practice, but is it possible to say when Shakti would begin to address the ego/mind/emotions via an hr a day of sitting (have a feeling it may take a really long time)?

    Physical kriyas are great proof for those of us who are more from the scientific/non religious band wagon as objective empirical evidence of the ‘super normal,’ but the novelty (of those physical kriyas) does wears out. However I have no plans to quit.

    Currently because Shakti has yet to touch my mind/emotions, I have to supplement by separate practices of Buddhist Samatha work as latter directly calms the conscious mind, allows joy to suddenly bleed through (due to attention robbing energy from the mind and thoughts not having energy to operate) and gives access to the inner bliss after around 40 mins (access concentration).

    When I stopped the concentration meditation and gave all the time to Shakti (2+ hrs. a day), I lost the power of concentration and ability to enter those states at will, and Shakti had me trapped in the outer conscious mind. Despite endless physical kriyas I was victimized by my mind all over again. Now I am trying to get back to where I was prior by splitting my practices.

    Linda Clair (author of ‘I am enlightened’ – deliberately to provoke the traditionalists) says she reached a collapsing of thought identification and an end to the internal “I” via Zen practices in 7 years, prompting her statement that she never knew “life could become a fairytale come true.” Can Shakti create similar changes in 7 years? or would it require practice of 8-12 hrs. a day perhaps?

    From what I have learned over the years from various traditions, enlightenment/liberation seems to have these common traits:

    1. End of Attention blending unconsciously with thought.
    2. Opening of Objective-Conscious-Awareness fully and permanently.
    3. End to the internal sense of an “I.”
    4. Attention/Awareness becoming permanently fused into the present (due to the absence of thought capturing attention).
    5. Mind becoming a tool of consciousness instead of driving consciousness (like rest of humanity). Mind attains a kind of hibernation under the complete control of the individual.
    5. Possible permanent state of inner bliss and freedom from suffering of all kinds due to the above.
    6. Additionally certain less essential spiritual awakenings such as : clairvoyance/audience, OOB travel, communion with higher dimensions and their resident beings etc.

    Some people seemed to have been lead to the above via trauma and no practices of any kind: Eckard Tolle (panic/anxiety attacks), Katie Byron (nervous breakdown) and Cindy Teevens (father’s suicide), and others via practices like Linda Clair (Zen) Ian Mckellen (Samatha).

    Does Shaki provide all of the above benefits once it culminates its journey? It would be nice to see a clear overview of the benefits of this path (or maybe you wrote about them previously and I have yet to find the article).

    Many blessings to you for the holidays and New Year!

    Thanks,

    Kavan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is not an overview. The title alone is the Key to everything you mention, and to this sadhana. This kind of clarity will come easily once you decide what sadhana you want to practice. Mixing only messes things up. It does not clarify anything. Reduce dependence on mind (the core of the mind is ego, ahamkara – “I do”). Be rid of control. Surrender to Absolute God/Truth.

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      1. razielswisdom

        Thanks for the reply. In the immediate past when I only surrendered to Shakti and gave up concentration paths I noticed my background anxiety/depression returning during work etc. Samatha meditation had suppressed all that extremely well. I dont like to have to rely on medications to combat that stuff, but I’ll give shakti an exclusive go again. When I did the samatha it was not at the same session as shakti. Latter was usually in the morning and Samatha at night. Both sessions were well apart. Thanks!

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        1. Good. It was Shakti at work trying to deal with your depression and anxiety that made them surface. This is not uncommon. Suppression is not a feature of this sadhana.

          Separating different practices in time will not work. By doing more than one practice, you make it impossible for me (or even yourself) to know what is doing what, and guidance of any kind is impossible.

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  2. Dear Ma,

    I am overhwelmed and overjoyed reading this. My bows at your holy feet for the wisdom you have revealed, are reviving and offering to us. I began weeping as I read about Kai Ma, as it pertains to some apect of forgotten wisdom that has been awaken in me on a very subtle level to create the understanding of Kali/Goddess/Durga Ma/the Feminine as it has been wiped and corrupted out of spiritual wisdom. Since the past two weeks and coming through the solstice I have been on one long ride of initiative expreince into what I presume to be another level of understanding. I know that whatever the expereince, has been made possible by my connection as your disciple and to this lineage… and I thank you a million times over.

    In particluar I love the charged directive at the beginning of this installation: we may as well get on with it, becasue it is already done and we will either move forward kicking and screaming in suffering or we will walk into the mystery and be given the kingdom of heaven. I feel like I do a bit of both- to be honest! In earnest I keep myself honest about this and contemplate the teachings and realitites before me as truth- and they are always revealed in validation ten-fold. My ability to act upon that truth is a work in progress and varying degrees.

    Now I would like to share two meditation expreiences from the past month becuase it feels prudent and I havent done so in awhile:

    1st expereince: About a month ago. I am standing in a field/nature/woods someplace that is like all of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable simultaneously. When I recall it now I just see it as every color of light creating an illusionary landscape of beauty. There is a man walking toward me of exquisite beauty, god-like. As he approaches he says nothing but his eyes are pools of boundless love. His hair is like black silk and skin is luminescent blue-ish white. He comes directly to me and embraces me with a kiss. The kiss changes into a very physical, palpable and blissful experience and I become aware of his presence entering into the pharynx. It is peaceful waves of deep bliss throughout my entire body.

    2nd expereince- last night: I am with Jesus. We are in the desert, or maybe a cave in the desert. After some time together communing, before we part he gives me a clay/dirt? object that looks like an oblong egg or capsule about the size of a small watermelon. Resembles a lingham now that I think of it. This is a gift for me. Then the object, which seems innocuous but I know is not because of who has given it, breaks open. Inside is a smaller object (golden) and absolute perfection, maybe an egg? It begins to shine forth with light and absorbs into me, filling me with bliss and acute awareness of a mental (?) transformation that bestows a kind of wisdom that is not intellectual.

    Love,
    Anandi

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have received the third initiation by the White Swami (even though He was cloaked in a different form, I would know Him anywhere). Congratulations! In this, we are seeing what is possible for someone who can do this sadhana and still live in the world, raise a child, and do all the seva you have been doing for me. This event is a validation of seva as a rewarding practice, and of this possibility for others who might otherwise feel unable to go forward. Bless you my spiritual daughter.

      Ma

      Liked by 1 person

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