Three Kinds of Resolve – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 33-35

Determined

Previously:
Now hear the three kinds of intelligence and resolve, together and separately, according to the gunas, Conqueror of Wealth — Verse 29

Conqueror of Wealth – By calling Arjuna Conqueror of Wealth, Lord Krishna is saying to Arjuna that intelligence and resolve are forms of wealth that he possesses.

Intelligence (buddhi) – intellect, reason, the ability to differentiate, discern and judge. Buddhi is the power of the mind that forms ideas, imaginations, conceptions, and knows how to differentiate and figure things out.

Resolve (dhṛtes) – standing firm in the course of your practice; courageously holding resolute determination without wavering. You don’t quit when the going gets rough, or when you aren’t getting what you think you want.

Resolve

Determination

33 — Sattvic Resolve
That resolve by which the functions of the mind, the vital breath and the senses are held unwaveringly in yoga, is sattvic.

  • Mind (manas) – the part of the mind that receives perceptions.
    • Attention – the flow of consciousness to perceptible ‘objects’.
  • Vital breath (prana) – the Life Energy that keeps you alive.
    • Attention and Life Energy always travel together.
  • The senses (indriyas) – the abilities that you have to hear, see, touch, taste and smell.
  • Held (avyabhicharin, ‘steady’) – withdrawn, stilled and concentrated in one place in the body . When the senses are withdrawn from external objects and steadily concentrated at the throat chakra without wavering, the mind and Prana follow suit. When this is accomplished, one experiences pratyāharā.
  • Yoga (divine union) – the equanimity of samadhi (sameness) and direct experience (experience without any via). Pratyāharā is the turning point of Yoga.
  • In verse 30, we discussed the two fundamental paths (pravṛitti and nivṛitti) in which the first, the use of the will is applied, and in the second it is not. We can look at sattvic resolve either way. This verse is generally translated for the path of the will (pravṛitti marga). Now let’s see what it looks like in terms of nivṛitti marga, the path of non-willful action, surrender to Absolute God:

Determined RenunciateWith the path of the will (pravṛitti marga), to meditate you use your will to (1) withdraw your attention internally, (2) hold your mind still, (3) and hold the Life Energy still.

In the non-willful path (nivṛitti marga), you do none of these. You don’t have to. You have realized through your experience with non-willful meditation that, if you truly surrender yourself to God, God will manage your meditation and take care of all this, and the senses, the mind and Life Energy will spontaneously stop moving.

When this happens you have turned a corner in your meditation. This is known as pratyahara, the magical moment in deep meditation when the door to samadhi opens. In the early stages of samadhi there are journeys filled with unimaginable adventures, places and beings, all wondrous to behold.

  • Samadhi – joining together, uniting (yoga), a unified state of mind, equanimity.

34 — Rajasic Resolve
But the firm hold to duty, desire and wealth, with attachment and desire for the results of actions, is rajasic.

Desire produces willful action. I have said this before, but be reminded that this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is what most people do. It is the norm. Everyone likes to be part of the norm in order to be accepted. But this comes at a cost … you don’t move on to the next phase of life in which your norm becomes the non-willful path of nivṛitti marga. If you do not move on to this, your progress will come to an end. If you do, you will regard your previous phase of pravṛitti marga as a blessing that got you to this place.

I have been accused of being elitist in my teaching of surrender yoga. But it is not a matter of one path being better than the other. It is a matter of one coming after the other, and which is most suitable for each individual according to their personal dharma and their stage of live (see verse 30 for more on this subject). 

35 — Tamasic Resolve
That resolve by which one holds on to the intoxication of imaginings, fears, grief and despair, is tamasic.

Described in this way, tamasic resolve seems to exclude any spiritual path at all. One is encumbered with cravings and sorrows to the point of being so completely distracted by them, that it is almost impossible to see anything else. This is a hard place to be. But one can use imagination to counter fears, sorrows and despair. The problem is that the tamasic person often has little or no contact with others other than those who are also living in this dark place, and so does not make this simple discovery.

A cave for a home is sheer determination!
A cave for a home.

Most people I have come across who are in this bind, cannot allow themselves to get out of it. Just finding a small interlude between traumas is difficult. They are ‘attached’ to this state of darkness. It is ‘who they are’. Identified with this state as who they are, they cannot imagine it changing or disappearing, for this would mean that they would disappear and cease to exist.    

Attachment is not only applicable to desires for likable things, but one may be attached to something not in their best interest and not even realize it. 

Perhaps you have had times like this and can identify with it to some degree. If so, try to imagine what it would be like to live in this state all the time, and allow your empathy to go to these suffering people with the love and compassion they so badly need.

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

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