I am treating this chapter of the Bhagavad Gita based on the ancient, original God-practice, which I call Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, or Surrender Meditation (I doubt it originally had a name that long ago — over 40 thousand years!). This does not mean that I see other translations as invalid or wrong, but we already have many editions from this perspective, and we have none that represent this branch of original Yoga.
There are two original branches of Yoga: One that was understood by means of seeing it practiced, and one that was understood by means of the oral teachings of the one who was seen practicing it.
From the branch relying on observation, techniques were born. From the branch relying on the experience of the one who was seen, the surrender of oneself to God/Truth was employed exclusively. It is this surrender to Absolute God/Truth in meditation that has been virtually unknown and kept hidden from the masses for millennia. This Surrender Yoga is my own path, so I will be addressing these verses from this perspective.
I wish to know the truth about renunciation, O Mighty Armed One, and of abandonment, Master of the Senses, and the difference between the two, Vanquisher of Demons.
Here we have three epitaphs for Lord Krishna: Master of the Senses, which is associated with abandonment, Mighty Armed One, which is associated with renunciation, and Vanquisher of Demons, which is associated with victory over that-which-is-other-than-Divine, by means of abandonment and renunciation.
We learned about good and evil in chapter sixteen, and followed it up with Faith in chapter seventeen. Now we are in a chapter about renunciation, and Arjuna want’s to know how this is different from abandonment — he wants to get it right so that his knowledge is true and divine knowledge.
Interestingly, Arjuna’s use of these epitaphs reminds us of his innate ability to see the Truth (chapter one) without even realizing what he is seeing. Through his Guru’s grace however, his inner Knowing is brought forth. Like you, Arjuna already knows the Truth and only has to awaken to it.
You already know everything. You have but to learn what you know.
The Blessed Lord spoke:
According to the wise, the abandonment of desire-motivated actions is renunciation, and the abandonment of the fruits of actions, is abandonment.
- According to the wise (vichakṣhaṇa) – clear-sighted and wise through learning and experience.
- Abandonment (tyaga) – the abandonment of the results of action.
- Renunciation (sanyasa) – the abandonment of desire-motivated action.
Everything we do is motivated by desire. Renunciation then, boils down to non-doing. But how can we actually accomplish this?
We can start with Abandonment — we surrender all the things our actions produce to God/Truth. This is the abandonment of the fruits of action, which is something we can easily practice anytime, anywhere. Then, through meditation practiced correctly, we can let God take over and not take the credit or blame for anything that happens in our meditation. Now our meditation is a period of Renunciation.
The only reason this is not easy to do is because the mind, with the ego at its core, will always try to take the lead role and convince you that you were the one doing all those actions. Then, even though you know better, because you feel like you were the doer of these actions, you may believe there must be something wrong with you. These tricks of the ego are best ignored.
Everything we do is motivated by desire.
But we learned in previous chapters that this is the ‘demon’ ego tricking you into thinking that you are the one doing the action. But the real doer of action is always Nature. So this is the thing to remember.
We start all this simply by surrendering the ‘fruits’, or results, of our desire-motivated actions to God/Truth in meditation.
Now we have two practices: One that can be practiced outside of meditation (abandonment) in our daily lives, and one that takes place in meditation (renunciation).
If we are willing to take a chance on God and surrender ourselves to God in meditation, we can easily accept whatever God brings. We have let go of desires and expectations for certain results (abandonment) and now we are truly free for the duration of our meditation. Thus begins the God-practice we have been taught over and over, again and again, in this Gita. Through your experience with it, you will come to see that the Real You is never the doer of action.
All action occurs in Nature, and you are not Nature. You are You. Period.
Having gained experience through this meditation, you will ultimately reach this realization on your own. You are a renunciate now, already established in abandonment, and you are headed for Divine Union and Liberation.
Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),