Obstacles to Yoga – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 11, Vs 34-35, Continued

Each of us is a two-part package
Most of your obstacles are in your head.

You Are Not Your Body, Your Feelings or Your Mind

The biggest obstacle to Yoga is the body, but it is only an obstacle because of how we use it, such as identifying with it as ourselves. Otherwise, it is our greatest gift and greatest asset.

3 Bodies / Worlds
Three Bodies – mental (etheric), emotional (astral), physical (material).

Of your three bodies (mental, emotional and physical), the physical body is the least subtle of the three. Consequently, what transpires with the physical body is immediately received by the mental and emotional bodies, making the physical body the most effective instrument for Yoga. 

What happens on the physical plane immediately translates to the astral and etheric planes, but it doesn’t work the other way around. It is much more difficult to try to affect a thing by using something subtler. It is far easier and quicker to use something gross to affect the subtle.

Yoga cannot be effective if we try to do it in our heads. Feelings will get us closer than mind, for the emotional body spans all three bodies and beyond and is less subtle than mind. But nothing at all will happen if the physical body is ignored. Why else would we have become embodied? Our first purpose for living is to reach God/Truth and liberation. The physical body is paramount for achieving this goal. 

The Purpose of Life

Everyone has two life purposes. The first is to reach God/Truth and complete freedom and sovereignty. The second purpose is uniquely different for everyone, and is the purpose most people are aware of, and the one for which they seek resolution and happiness. But the fulfillment of this purpose will only bring partial satisfaction if the first purpose is ignored.

Verse 34:  Drona, Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna and the others also, all warrior heroes, will be killed by Me (Krishna). So do not hesitate, but fight. You are destined to conquer these enemies in this battle.

In verse 34, four people are named who would obstruct the attainment of your first purpose. They are intellect (Drona), will (Bhishma), body identification (Jayadratha), and listening to the ego (Karna). They are all warrior heroes. They are good at their jobs and can be very useful, but at this point in Time they are fighting on the side of your enemy. However, because you have taken refuge in God/Truth by surrendering to That, God will rid you of these enemies to assure your certain victory ….. if you “do not hesitate, but fight.”

“Fight” does not mean to try to combat these four with your mind and your will. When Lord Krishna tells Arjuna to “fight” he means it literally, but not in the way you might expect. He is saying that you must combat them by physical means. The simplest and most expedient way of doing this is by surrendering your mind, your feelings and your body in meditation, to God/Truth. Then “you are destined to conquer these enemies”.

The Mind is the Domain of the Ego

Mind and Consciousness

If we use the mind (Drona) alone, we are subject to the ego (Duryodhana) and the will (Bhishma). The source from which the mind emanates is ego (ahamkara in Sanskrit). It is the core of the mind. The mind, the will and the ego are interdependent.

The mind depends on ego to exist at all. It has a different agenda than the body. The ego-mind’s agenda is “me” and “mine.” The will is propagated by the ego-mind for the purpose of bringing this agenda to fruition. Because these things turn on automatically, one who is wise will seek a guru who has correct knowledge and can guide them.  

Correct knowledge is crucial to yoga, but
knowledge without action is useless.

The Power of Emotions

Emotions are in the body and beyond. This is your greatest body, both in size and in power. Your body and brain are surrounded and permeated with the energy of emotion. In Yoga this energy is called Prana-shakti. Prana is the intelligent Life Energy in the body; outside of the physical body this energy is called Shakti, spiritual power. All forms of power are feminine in Yoga, and in the language of Yoga, Sanskrit.

This energy, which is crucial to attaining your first purpose, is stifled by suppression. It must have freedom if you are to have freedom. If it is free, it will deal with the body and bring about kriyas (spontaneous purifying actions). Giving this energy complete freedom is easy if you can give the body complete freedom, and visa versa. This is best done in the privacy of surrender meditation.

Outside of meditation, one must use the will to be vigilant of the yamas, especially ahimsa, non-injury of any kind. But in the privacy and security of your meditation room, you must not suppress, but leave it to God to resolve any and all emotional distortions.

By freeing the body, you free not only the energy of emotion, but the energy of the mind as well. The mind is constructed of the subtlest energy of all: the energy of consciousness (chitta). So by allowing this freedom in meditation, consciousness is also freed and expanded. 

You cannot free the mind or emotions if the body is under control.

It is true that you can make some progress through control of the body, feelings and mind by using certain techniques, but only up to a point. This is nothing new to you, you have been doing this all your life. But a time will inevitably arrive when you will become drawn to the next phase of life in which progress can only be made non-willfully. Most people never reach this phase. It is not because they are unworthy but because they are unaware of this, and unaware of the necessity of it for further progress and finally reaching the ultimate goal. You are now aware of this. It is what Lord Krishna has been teaching all along.  

Hatha and Raja Yoga

In chapter two, Lord Krishna took care of mind and enlightenment right away and moved quickly to action. It was here that we learned that Yoga is synonymous with Action, as well as the means of attaining yoga and His state. This suggests that attention is first given to the mind to placate it long enough to get on with Yoga. Dealing with knowledge and enlightenment starts the game, but is not the final frontier; it is a beginning.

In previous posts I have described this war as Hatha Yoga (sun-moon union). This is the longest period of yoga sadhana, and ultimately leads to Raja Yoga (royal union). Raja Yoga involves the full awakening and upward trending of the evolutionary force (kundalini). It leaves behind its previous home at the first chakra and settles in the sixth. Then one experiences the divine union, the union of oneself with God. You cannot succeed in uniting with God by using your will. 

By taking up this ‘fight’, which involves the body and action, you will destroy the enemy of yoga through yoga. Lord Krishna has continued with this subject since chapter three, so it must be important.

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

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4 thoughts on “Obstacles to Yoga – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 11, Vs 34-35, Continued

  1. Eric Forgues

    Thanks Durga Ma. One question. You say: “What happens on the physical plane immediately translates to the astral and etheric planes, but it doesn’t work the other way around.”

    When we do energy (chi) work, we are working the other way around: the “energy/chi/prana” has some effect on the physical level. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Regarding the “energy/chi/prana” has some effect on the physical level: I agree. It does work, but not as quickly. Sometimes it is better to approach things this way (not as quickly), and sometimes only sensible option.


  2. Kavan Rambukwelle

    Dear Ma,

    When you say Kundalini has to reach the 6th chakra in the last paragraph, are you referring to the ajna chakra?

    In some books it says Kundalini has to come to rest in the heart for stability. i.e. after it enters the crown. Which is correct? Txs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kundalini has to reach the 6th (ajna) chakra and make it Her home for Kundalini to be fully awake; prana and apana are united and up-trending for this to happen. Then Kundalini becomes known as Maruti (perhaps this is why there is confusion about the 4th chakra).


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