Self & Other-Than-Self – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 13, Vs 20-21

Self and Other-Than-Self

Self & Other-Than-Self, A World of Opposites

20
Know that both Nature and Spirit are beginningless. Know also that the modifications of the Field and the gunas arise from Nature. 

  • Nature – anything other than you that you can be conscious of, or perceive.
  • Spirit – the one who perceives
  • The Field – Nature, the body
  • Gunas – modes of Nature’s modifications: easy-going (sattva), excited (rajas) and fixed (tamas)

“Both Nature and Spirit are beginningless”

In verse 13 we learned that Brahman is the beginningless Absolute. Now Lord Krishna is going on to say that both Nature and Spirit are also beginningless and therefore Absolute.

  • Spirit, Purusha – You, a Divine Individual with a viewpoint
  • Nature, Prakriti – Other Divine Individuals that You view
  • Beginningless – Absolute
  • Absolute – Unlimited, unrestricted, unchanging, existing independently; Ultimate Reality

Purusha, a Divine Individual with a viewpoint, and Prakriti, a Divine Individual being viewed, are both beginningless and therefore Absolute. 

“The field and the gunas arise from Prakriti”

The Field can be understood as the entirety of the physical-material world, which comes about due to our taking other Divine Individuals to be something other that what they really are. But more specifically, the Field is the body, the result of mistakenly taking another Divine Individual as different than ourselves.Your Body is Your World

The physical-material world and other cosmic bodies are the macrocosm of the Field of which the body is the microcosm. Your body is your World.

Nature’s modifications, or changes, are called gunas. Nature as we know it, and its modifications (changes), are not beginningless, for anything that can change is by definition not Absolute, but Relative. So Nature is not beginningless, but what Nature really is — Prakriti, other Purushas — is beginningless and therefore Absolute.

Creation appears from Prakriti because Purusha sees Her as different than Himself. Though Prakriti is Absolute (She is another Purusha), Nature is Relative and has changes, modifications—gunas. This is why it is said that the world is an illusion (not what it seems).

“Beginningless”

The Sacred Syllable OMBeings have beginnings, Absolute God does not. The Sanskrit for ‘beginningless’ also means ‘without sound’. Creation is the effect of vibration, the basis of duality: OM, the sound of Creation, “The Word” — the product of vibration. In the Absolute there is no vibration, no sound. The experience of this is called nirbija samadhi, the highest state of samadhi in which the mind dissolves and becomes non-mind. It is a journey into the Absolute.

“Modifications”

In verse 7, the modifications that take place within the Field (the body) were listed as “attraction and aversion, ease and dis-ease, the body as a whole, perception, and will.”  

21
It is said that Prakriti is the performer of cause and effect, and that the cause of happiness and unhappiness is Purusha experiencing it.  

Prakriti (f) is the agent and the source of cause and effect. Prakriti, who has been misperceived as Nature, is the object of Purusha’s (m) experience.

Neither Purusha nor Prakriti is an intentional designer of Creation. While Prakriti Herself is Absolute, nature is Relative. Creation comes forth from Prakriti as the result of Purusha’s having viewed Her as different than himself. This causes the apparent separation of himself from Prakriti, the Divine Other. The result of this is Creation.

Creation was not a result of some God’s intention, but the spontaneous result of us as Divine Individuals viewing other Divine Individuals as different than ourSelves. We are here in bodies for the purpose of correcting this error.

This error is the source of the idea that we were “born in sin” (sin, ‘error’). The body is the agent for rectifying this mistake. We are embodied for this purpose: to accept everyone as Divine Individuals who are the same as ourSelves.

Spirit (m) is the experiencer of happiness and unhappiness

The cause of happiness and unhappiness is Purusha (Spirit, You) experiencing Prakriti as cause and effect rather than what She really is: Other Purushas who are just like You.

Spirit, Purusha, is the experiencer of Nature, Prakriti, where everything, including happiness, has an opposite, and nothing is what it seems.

You, Spirit, are purusha experiencing this world as Nature and thinking that it is real. But “Nature” is prakriti misperceived, an illusion — it isn’t what it seems. How can you ever find lasting happiness where nothing is what it seems? If you’re lucky, you might find illusory happiness, but it would be subject to dissolution! So it dissolves, it ends, and you go looking to experience something else that will make you happy, but it will also be temporary. (The good news is that unhappiness also comes to the same end!)  

It is a merry-go-round and a trap. It is better to seek and surrender to Brahman, Absolute God, Absolute Truth, and get the real deal. Once you have experienced this directly, you will know that It is always there for you (because it is), and that you can not only reach it, but you can achieve Its eternal state of Absolute Goodness and Eternal Happiness

You get what you surrender to.

Think about that.

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

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