The Greatest Secret of All – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 67-71

Scripture - a book of secrets
Read It Here!

The Diamond Shloka

Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in Me alone, and I will give you freedom from all misfortunes. Grieve not. — Shloka 66

Alternate translation:
Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender only to Me, and I will give you liberation and the end of all sorrows. Fear not!

Requirements

67
This is never to be spoken of by you to one who is without austerity, never to one who is not devoted to Me or neglects seva at any time, never to one who is averse to practice and study, and never to one who does not love Me and protect this teaching.

1.  Austerity (tapasis the purification process brought about by yoga; the melting away of impurities, including one’s karma.

Tapas, usually translated as ‘austerity’, means ‘to burn, heat, melt or warm’. Tapas is brought about by yoga (union) for the purpose of burning away impurities, and putting things not in sync with God and the Real You where they belong. This applies to body, feelings, mind and karma.  

2. Devotion and seva exemplify love and respect for the guru.

Devotion (bhakti, ‘love, respect, commitment’) is love and commitment to God, and the performance of guru seva

Seva is selfless service, service without expectation of return benefits.

Guru’s Grace refers to receiving the initiations of the guru’s lineage. To the degree that one is devoted to guru and performs seva, one gets Guru’s Grace. Seva diminishes one’s karma and protects the guru and the guru’s oral teachings.

3. Study and practice refers to learning and putting the knowledge gained into practice on a regular basis.

Study means learning through the study of scriptures, the words of the Guru, and contemplation of scripture and the guru’s teachings. Study also refers to the study of oneself and one’s Self with self-honesty.

Practice is putting the knowledge gained through Study into action. The form this takes is determined by the Guru. Different gurus have different practices, all of which include meditation.

4. Love Me and protect this teaching means that one does not reveal this teaching to those who do not fit these requirements.

Protection refers to both the teachings and the guru. “Love Me and protect the teaching.” If you love God you also love everyone, and will therefore protect this secret from misunderstandings and misuse in order to protect them. This is achieved by abiding by the requirements.

Now that Lord Krishna has given Arjuna the meaning of the Diamond Shloka (verse 66 above), He tells him to keep it secret. But we have just read it! What can this mean?

A secret written in a book

A secret is something that is not understood. 

Now, having heard this secret, we can’t help wondering if we have missed something. Unless we can honestly say that we fit the above requirements ourselves, we will have missed it, and its meaning will remain hidden to us until we do. When we do meet these requirements, we will come to understand it.

Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender only to Me, and I will give you liberation and the end of sorrows. Fear not! — Shloka 66

68-69
One who teaches this supreme secret to My devotees, performs the highest act of devotion to Me, and surely comes to Me without a doubt. There is no one in the world who is dearer to Me than that one, and never will there be anyone on earth dearer to Me than that one who teaches this Greatest Secret.

Arjuna receives the secret

After all this hoo-hah about keeping this teaching a secret, He is telling Arjuna that teaching it is the biggest way to His heart! He says that “he who teaches this supreme secret to My devotees performs the highest act of devotion to Me.” He has even given Arjuna the standards for determining devotees who are qualified to received it (verse 67).

Once again we are faced with a paradox. If this teaching is secret, how can it be written down for anyone to read? Obviously it is written in such a way that only someone who has met the above criteria will be able to understand it. So have another look at these requirements, and decide for yourself how close you are to meeting them.

In these verses, Lord Krishna is also revealing the power of teaching as a part of one’s sadhanaOnce one has reached the stage in which he or she has received this teaching and gained adequate experience, the guru may appoint them to teach others. 

The best way to learn is to teach.

Such a devotee will ultimately become a teacher of the guru’s lineage and find themself in the Heart of God:

“There is no one in the world who is dearer to Me than that one, and never will there be anyone on earth dearer to Me than that one who teaches this Greatest Secret.”— Verse 69

70-71
And one who hears this sacred teaching with faith, by that one I am loved with the Knowledge Sacrifice.
It is certain that, free of ill-will and scoffing, the man who assimilates this knowledge is liberated and reaches the auspicious worlds of the righteous.

“The man” Though we usually see the word purusha to indicate a male person, here the word is nara, indicating a person who has reached an advanced stage of Yoga. This tells us that this stage is fundamental to the requirements for receiving the secret.

“Assimilates” Takes it in, understands and internalizes it.

“Without ill-will or scoffing” This is mentioned to point out the reaction of someone who hears this secret without meeting the four Requirements mentioned above. Unable to understand it, he may ridicule it and causing harm to those he tells. This further emphasizes the need to protect it in order to protect others from the harm caused by misunderstanding and derision.

“Liberated” Free. By using the word mukti instead of moksha, he is saying that, , even though one is liberated from the cycles of death and rebirth, this liberation is not the final liberation. This suggests that there are stages of liberation and other realms of which we may be unaware.

“The righteous” ‘Those whose actions are pure’; auspicious skill in actionvirtuous, pious’.

I have translated these last two verses (70-71) as the culmination of the teachings concerning the Diamond Shloka. In the next post, these same two verses will reveal another layer of intrigue, and become the prelude to the final verses of this chapter.

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

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The Diamond Shloka – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 64-66

Absolute (unconditional) Surrender to Absolute God will get you to Absolute God
God and Me

Absolute God, whether personal God or the abstract Absolute, is Absolute Goodness, Love and Happiness.

64
Now hear Me again, concerning this most profound secret of all. You are certainly loved by Me, so what I speak is for your benefit:

Now, because you are still contemplating this secret teaching, out of love for you, Lord Krishna is going to try again to bring it home and awaken you, because it is for your benefit to know it. 

65
Devoted to Me, always thinking of Me, surrender to Me, and offer pranamas to Me, and you will doubtless come to Me. This is my promise to you, for you are dear to Me.

“Offer pranamas to Me” means ‘to bow down to, to make obeisance to, make reverential salutation and show adoration’. This is pranama, ‘bowing down in respectful salutation to God and Guru. If you are able to do this, you are ready and able to surrender to God in meditation (Surrender Meditation: shaktipat kundalini yoga).

The purpose of pranama is to increase your ability to surrender to God.

The Diamond Shloka

(shloka – verse in duple meter) 

Now we come to the Diamond Shloka. It is so called because it is the verse within this Gita that is the KEY to everything Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna (and us), and all of it is contained in this one single verse:

66
Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in Me alone, and I will give you freedom from all evils. Fear not!

  • Evils – misfortunes and sorrows
  • Fear not, also means, ‘grieve not’.
  • Freedom is from the Sanskrit word, moksha, which has to do with being free of recurring cycles of death, rebirth, and the influences of the past (samsara).

SurrenderAlternate translation:
Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender only to Me, and I will liberate you from all misfortunes and sorrows. Fear not!

  • Misfortunes – The word for misfortunes means just about everything from suffering to bad luck.  

“Abandon all dharmas and surrender only to Me.”
In this verse, the word dharma is plural — rules, laws, duties, responsibilities, etc. This suggests that we should take the meaning of dharmas to be concerned with the laws of man, rather than with the singular law of Truth, the Absolute.

Relying on ‘shoulds’ is not surrender, renunciation, or sacrifice, and does not lead to the highest Yoga (Divine Union), or to liberation. It is only through surrender “to Me”, Absolute God, that one can reach God/Truth, become liberated and freed of all misfortunes, sorrows and fears.

SurrenderLord Krishna is also using dharmas to get across the idea of how to meditate correctly by suggesting what not to do: You do not to try to control your meditation or try to do it yourself, but you leave everything to God.

In this kind of meditation, in the secured privacy of your meditation room, you are to abandon all rules and surrender only to Absolute God/Truth.

  • You do not surrender to anything but God. 
  • You do not surrender to anything that comes up in your meditation.
  • You do not concern yourself with what you think your meditation should be like. 
  • You abandon any sense of doing anything yourself, however much it may seem to you that you have caused everything.

Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender to me only, and I will give you freedom and deliver you from all misfortunes, fears and sorrows.

Only

“Only” means that your surrender should never be mixed with anything that is not Absolute God — no matter what your word is for That. 

After forty years of surrender yoga sadhana, I still catch myself falling into this trap. It’s that easy. I will give you an example:

I am in a dither about what is coming, and it isn’t pretty. I can see ahead to it, and find no solution for it. I can either be a worry-wart and get stressed out trying to find some kind of solution, or I can surrender to God completely. I choose God. And here is where it gets interesting:

My mind pictures me dying of some exotic disease in the streets of Phoenix, friendless and alone, with not a penny to my name, and talking to God and asking for help that never comes. It is such a subtle thing, hanging out in the peripheral vision of the mind, that at first I don’t realize what is happening. Then, the minute I look, it slips away as something else takes it place, and I miss its message. But sometimes I miss it because of correct reasoning. Two and two makes four. Who can disregard correct reasoning, right?

No, not right. I have had so many experiences of being at the edge of the abyss and about to fall in, when God steps in saying, “Well, here we are again, my dear,” lifts the situation, parks it on the side of the road, and takes me Home for a visit.

Yet this still small voice of reason continues to try to exert itself. What is happening is that this world is so dense, thick and demanding, that it seems to be the only reality. The mind says, “Well shucks, All is God, so how can I miss?” And even though one understands that this Relative (‘inferior’) aspect of God is something they most certainly should not surrender to, it is easy to miss seeing it for what it is. 

It is possible to surrender to something without meaning to. There is no awareness of having surrendered. No choice was consciously made to surrender. In this case, it is not a matter of tricky reasoning or intention, or even mentally based coercion. I suspect that, in this case, one is so conditioned to adapt to the wishes and demands of other’s, that it is automatic. One just gives in.  

So between tricky reasoning, inappropriate intention, and mentally based coercion, there lies this unconscious giving-in to circumstances. Anyone can fall into any of these, or any combination of them, at any time — in the meditation room, or in daily life.     

These two verses are what has saved me every time:  

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego constitute the divisions of My eightfold material nature (relative). Such is My inferior nature, but otherwise know My Highest nature (absolute) by which all life is sustained.  — Chapter 7, verses 4-5.

Now do you see why I refer to the God we surrender to in meditation as Absolute God? This distinction is crucial. You do not surrender to the “All Is God” kind of God, but ONLY to Absolute God.

I hope that sharing this with you will help you to remember this critical distinction concerning Absolute God, and surrender ONLY to That. No matter how you think of God, or what name you give It, or whether you conceive of God as personal or impersonal, never, never, never surrender to anything other than Absolute God.

You (absolute) are a god in a body made of God being human (relative).

  • Relative – subject to change; existing only in relation to something else; having characteristics only in comparison to something else; something whose existence is dependent on something else.

This is what you do not surrender to: people, places, things, circumstances, situations, or beings of any kind, even spirits, guides, angles, etc., however divine they may be. 

  • Absolute – unchanging; independent; having unrestricted power; not qualified or diminished in any way; not subject to any limitation; existing independently and not in relation to anything else, or dependent on anything else; Ultimate Reality, God.

This is what you consciously choose to surrender to: Absolute God Only.

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

Attaining Godhood, Part 3 – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 60-63

Shirdi Sai Baba
The murti of Shirdi Sai Baba

Attaining Goodhood, Part 3

Previously:
If you resort to ego and rationalize, “I shall not fight,” your resolve will be in vain, for your own nature will compel you. — Verse 59

60
What you want to avoid doing through delusion, you will do even against your will, Son of Kunti, bound by your own actions, born of your innate nature.

“What you want to avoid doing through delusion, you will do even against your will.” If this is true, we can’t help but see that the glamour of utilizing willpower in the spiritual journey to Truth, is completely absurd. It comes in handy in day to day life, but it is not a panacea for spiritual advancement but the very opposite.   

Lord Krishna is teaching us something that most of us won’t like to hear for fear of losing control. He is saying that your willpower is useless. You will do what your dharma will cause you to do. All the effort and willpower that you can muster is not what will win this conflict. It is only through surrender to God that you will reach God. If you think otherwise, you are deluded. The good news is…..

You always get what you surrender to. 

How much simpler and easier can it get? Many people reject spiritual Yoga because they believe it to be difficult, complicated, demanding, and time-consuming. Well, now you know. Practiced correctly, it is none of these. 

61
Ishvara, the Lord in all beings, dwells in the region of the hearts of all. By the power of illusion, they are caused to move as if riding on a machine. 

We not only live on a world that revolves like a machine, but we who live here in this world are also on a merry-go-round going nowhere but in circles. This is the price of ignorance — buying the illusion. It is our constant effort to be in control of things and other people, that keeps the illusion (maya) and our ignorance in place.

Any attempt at controlling anything requires the use of the will, and will always keeps us on the merry-go-round. You can make progress at first, even spend years and years in this kind of endeavor, but it never lasts. Sooner or later you must surrender to that Great Absolute God of Goodness and Happiness, which is what you have been looking for all your life … and all your lifetimes. 

“Ishvara”  Personal God is known as Purushottama. Abiding in living beings, Purushottama is known as Ishvara, ‘lord, God, supreme soul’, where He abides in the region of the hearts of all. It is His presence within us that causes us to move spontaneously, without intent.

  • The heart (hṛid) – the region of the heart is the center of the Live Force (Prana) that keeps us alive.

“Spontaneously, without intent” Such movements are experienced in Surrender Meditation, the primary practice of shaktipat kundalini yoga.

Though we have God within us, as human beings we do not experience this, but continue to assume responsibilities, along with the pride and guilt this inevitably brings. This keeps us on a merry-go-round to nowhere. The only way to change this is to surrender ourselves completely to Absolute God, whether as Absolute Truth or as Absolute Personal God. This begins with the practice of Surrender Meditation — Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga.

  • Purushottama (‘first and highest purusha’) – The first Divine Individual (purusha) in the Absolute to awaken to It’s own existence and accept all other Divine Individuals as the same, and as the same as Itself. We experience this Divine Individual as Personal God. (That God is in masculine gender is the result of the fall from the Golden Age to the present Age, the Kali Yuga. Assigning any limitation to God, such as a gender, is absurd.)  
Anandiamayi Ma
Anandamayi Ma

62
With all your heart, surrender yourself only to Him, and by His grace you will attain perfect peace and the realm of the Eternal.

Surrender yourself only to Absolute God — as Personal God, or as Truth. Then, because you have done this with all your heart, by God’s grace (kindness and graciousness) you will attain perfect peace and the realm of the Eternal. 

“With all your heart,” wholeheartedly. This is essentially an emotional state in which feelings are stirred by your affection for God (remember where God dwells?). Your motivation is strong because your love is strong, and so complete as to bring you into a blissful state of happiness by just thinking about it.

63
I have now explained to you still more secret knowledge, which is the greatest secret of all. Reflect on this deeply, and then do as you wish.

In mystical texts, a ‘secret’ is not something that someone is trying to hide from you, but something that you are hiding from yourself. It is something that you are not consciously aware of. Calling it a ‘secret’ tells you that there is something hidden within you that motivates you as a true seeker, to contemplate it, and be lead by it. 

You Already Know Everything

All that remains is for you to remember what you know.

The greatest, easiest and most satisfying means of remembering is Surrender Meditation. 

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