The Bhagavad Gita appears in the story of the Mahabharata. It 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 subject of this chapter is Devotion.
This post addresses contentment and the characteristics of the true yogi, the devotee, and the Real You.
Krishna is teaching us Sanatana Dharma, the way of Eternal Truth, the way things really are. Not your truth and my truth, but Absolute Truth, Absolute God. The following verses give the characteristics of one who has succeeded in syncing themselves and their lives with Absolute Truth.
13 – 14
Free of enmity toward any being, friendly and compassionate, free of “me” and “mine,” the same in good-fortune and misfortune, composed, patiently enduring and forgiving anything, the yogi who is always contented, self-restrained and firmly resolved, devoted to Me, entrusting his mind and intelligence to Me, is dear to Me.
The purpose of Yoga is to ultimately attain these characteristics in order to align with our Real and True Selves. Then there can be no further compulsion for rebirth and we are once again a free, independent and sovereign individuals.
“Free of me”
The word in Sanskrit for “free of me” literally means “free of ‘I-do’.” The sense of self as the doer of action is ‘ego’, the core of the mind. Ego is not a matter of feeling like you’re hot stuff or a know-it-all, but that you consider yourself to be the doer of actions. So “free of me” means that you are free of this delusion.
This teaching is not about not taking responsibility for your actions, it is about renunciation of actions—you are not responsible for actions you do not do. Finding reality in the fact that what you really are does nothing, kills your karma and releases you from compulsive rebirths.
There is only one way this understanding can truly be accomplished: through the experience of surrender, the surrender of body, feelings and mind to Absolute God in meditation. In daily life, you will revert to taking yourself as the doer of actions, in which case, you are responsible for your actions and their effects. In time, you will you begin to see this detachment from doership spilling over in your daily life.
“Free of mine”
The word in Sanskrit for “free of mine” literally means ‘not mine’ and includes ‘unselfishness, indifference and freedom from self-interest’, especially ‘concerning the physical body and all worldly connections’.
“Not mine”, is not strictly about possessing or owning things (or people), but rather what motivates it. Possessiveness is always motivated by self-interest and attachment to having to have or keep what is desired.
Cultivating indifference and disinterest is the remedy. As one becomes more and more detached from a sense of doer-ship in meditation, one also becomes increasingly detached to having to own things, and always having to get their own way. This characteristic of freedom from doer-ship and self-interest is uncommon indeed! But it produces a genuine perk:
When you can give it up, you’ll get it.
“The same in good-fortune and misfortune”
This is a case of accepting what comes your way. Cultivating this quality will ultimately relieve you of getting overly excited over good things and feeling miserable over hardships and hurts. This sameness is the home of equanimity. Without it, there can be no peace.
“Composed, patiently enduring and forgiving anything”
If you accept what comes your way, composure will not be an issue, nor will patience.
The ability to forgive anyone of anything may seem impossible, especially under highly stressful or tragic circumstances, but it is doable. It is more doable than the previous characteristics, and can be practiced without too much effort. Check it out: Spend some time contemplating forgiving someone for something, even if it means you have to use your imagination.
By looking inside and finding those hidden places where you haven’t been able to forgive yourself, you may find the reason you can’t forgive someone else. So if you are having difficulty forgiving, forgive yourself and move on. If you can forgive yourself, you can forgive anyone of anything.
This is another reference to the willingness to accept what comes your way without being overjoyed or dismayed. When this comes easily, you are contented.
Self-restraint is usually understood as the individual controlling the senses in order to subdue the lure of desired objects.
You must use your will to practice self-control in everyday life according to the yamas and niyamas. Once adept at this, you enter a new phase wherein restraint is in the realm of the Divine. This phase is begun through Surrender Meditation, and eventually spills over into life in general. At this point, restraint is spontaneous, and under the control of God.
When the self is subdued, the Real Self emerges.
Where Surrender Meditation is concerned, self-restraint has to do with letting go of how you think your meditation should go and what you’re going to get out of it. Self-restraint also means not taking the role of the doer of action in meditation, but accepting what comes. Because you are surrendering yourself to God, surrender replaces will for the duration of your meditation.
Firmly resolved means ‘having certainty and no doubts’. To be firmly resolved is to be stubbornly persistent and never give up, even during those times when you feel that your sadhana is a failure. These things are inevitable and not worth your consideration. You go on no matter what. This determination will take you beyond doubts to genuine faith through personal experience.
“Mind and intelligence fixed on Me”
This means that the thinking mind (manas) and the faculty of intellect (buddhi) are fixed on God/Truth. When something is fixed, it stays where it is. When the mind and buddhi are fixed on God, one attains the deepest state of meditation and the mind becomes uniform. When the mind is in a state of uniformity, you have reached samadhi.
Namaste (I bow to the divine one you really are),
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How would you know?
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