This post addresses the Lord’s affection for Arjuna, spiritual practices that will not produce the vision of His Cosmic Form, the impact of tapas, and Krishna’s return to his gentle human form to pacify Arjuna.
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.
The Blessed Lord spoke:
Because I am pleased with you (Arjuna), by means of my Yoga Power I have shown you this glorious and infinite Cosmic Form of Mine, which has never been seen before by anyone but you.
Anyone other than Arjuna? Remember that Arjuna represents You.
Not by the knowledge-sacrifice or recitation, not by giving, not even by fearless kriyas or formidable tapas can I be seen in this form in the world of men by anyone other than you, O Hero of the Kurus.
What Krishna is saying is that the vision of the Cosmic Form will not happen as a result of these many well-known practices. These practices are not being faulted, but noted as ineffectual for the purpose of gaining the vision of the Cosmic Form, which, by now, you may be thinking to be a gift you do not especially wish for. However, if you do, the next few posts will be helpful.
Knowledge Sacrifice – the study and teaching of scriptures
Oral recitation – recitation of the scriptures
Giving – charity, imparting, teaching
Kriyas – spontaneous purifying actions occurring in meditation, ‘ritual’
Tapas – the heat that melts away impurities
Knowledge Sacrifice. We have learned that sacrifice is synonymous with surrender as it applies to Yoga, but here it is attached to a word that means ‘true and sacred knowledge’ (veda). These written teachings are scriptures; the ‘sacrifice’ is the study of these texts — one surrenders to Truth as found in these writings, and they in turn present their meanings.
Oral Recitation. Long ago, it was customary to memorize scriptures for the purpose of their preservation, learning and teaching, and for contemplation with regard to one’s sadhana (practices) and daily living. The oral recitation of these texts was a common practice.
Giving is a spiritual practice for gaining merit through seva (selfless service) and dana (gifts, donations, charity). With it one acquires positive karma that can be used for improving one’s life and for doing yoga sadhana, and increasing one’s chance of attaining heaven or liberation.
Kriya is often translated as ‘ritual’. Rituals are practiced in temples, in the home, and in meditation, or as meditation.
In surrender yoga, kriya (‘performed action’) refers to actions that arise spontaneously in Natural Surrender Meditation. These actions occur for the purpose of purification, and are performed not by the meditator, but by Shakti Herself: Divine Energy.
This meditation is so profound because it is based entirely on Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Truth, the way things really are): “Even though acting one does nothing.”
In the beginning, the meditator is confused about who or what is performing these actions, but with sufficient practice and the surfacing of amazing new experiences, the meditator gradually comes to understand the source of these actions, these ‘rituals’.
Tapas. As a result of one’s surrender and the occurrence of kriyas, tapas begins automatically. The body leaves behind the coldness that prompted a dozen blankets, and one begins to feel very hot. This is the advent of tapas: ‘to heat, burn or melt’. Now impurities are beginning to get transformed or burned away within the body rather than just getting removed. Over time, the heat is turned up and one’s tapas becomes formidable, heralding the arrival of Kundalini at Her new home at the 6th chakra.
In more recent times, some yogis have taken up tapas as a practice of a most unusual and extreme nature:
We in the West may see these people as indulging in mortification of the flesh and look down on them and their practices. But we must remember the earlier teachings about thinking only of God/Truth at all times. These men and women have taken this teaching seriously and given up everything for God. They wear no clothes, accept what comes for their sustenance, and maintain tapasya at all times. By living their tapas they live in constant awareness of God. I have the deepest respect for them. Because of our all-inclusive presence within each other as beings, their tapasya is helping to keep this world in tact and your life better than it might otherwise be. औं नम: शिवाय (Om namah Shivaya).
Having seen this terrible form of Mine, be not afraid or bewildered. With your fears dispelled, now see my previous form and be pleased once again!
- Terrible form – the Cosmic form described in verses 9-31.
Speaking in this way to Arjuna, the Son of Vasudeva (Krishna) revealed again his gentle two-armed form. The Great Souled One, resuming his previous form of beautiful appearance, pacified the fearful Arjuna.
Seeing this, Your gentle two-armed human form once again, O Agitator of Men, my thoughts are composed and I am restored to my normal consciousness.
Namaste (I bow to the divine one you really are),
Natural Surrender Meditation is spontaneous and non-forceful. It will take you on the most amazing journey you will ever experience. Explore shaktipat kundalini yoga meditation in three forms.
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