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Outsmarting Obstacles- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:61

He for whom all the senses are held in restraint, sitting intent on Me with his senses under control, his wisdom stands firm. —  Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 61

Alternate translation:

But submitting to Me according to his wish, when he rests absorbed in devotion to Me all the senses become restrained, and with certainty his wisdom stands firm. 

Throughout our lives and throughout our sadhana, obstacles will arise. We may not be able to change this, but we can outsmart these obstacles. In our last installment, we came up with some solutions to this ever-present dilemma. Now this verse gives us the best solution for that aspect of our lives that is our sadhana, our spiritual practices, the solution to outsmarting all obstacles to reaching union with the Absolute:

Submitting to Me according to his wish”

Surrendering to God by your own choice in the meditation room, the senses will automatically become restrained (pratyahara). 

Translations of mystical texts always take the position of using the will to try to achieve success with each step along the way, no matter what the subject of the text. We humans don’t like to submit. We think it is weak. But this verse is telling you that submission is your greatest strength, your highest choice. It is not telling you to just submit, but to submit specifically to God—this is the key.

When you submit to God, Truth, The Absolute, you have made the ultimate choice and have accessed your ultimate power. You have paved your way to resting absorbed in God. Having chosen God, the senses will come under control, not by you, but automatically they are withdrawn and their activities restrained.

Surrender specifically and ONLY to God
by your own choice
in your meditation room.

“With his senses under control”

Pratyahara, the withdrawal and restraint of the senses, happens in a state of surrender as your awareness leaves the linear world where the senses and their functions are needed. This can happen the way it does because, in this situation, you no longer need anything to bring you information. In the earlier stages you perceive directly. I later stages you don’t perceive at all—you don’t need to perceive; you are beyond being a knower knowing knowable things.

The senses are under control, but you are not doing the controlling. As the lover to the beloved, you have surrendered to That Divine One. The senses are no longer yours to control—you have surrendered them, given them back to God. Thus are pratyahara, meditation (dhyana) and samadhi (merging with God) successfully attained.

Once you have attained samadhi your experience proves this to be so—you know from our own experience that all the senses become spontaneously restrained and under control without any help from you. Until that time comes, you resort to ‘faith’, the assumption that this is so, based on the words of those who have been there. In your meditation room you are free. Once having experienced this freedom, even if only for an hour or two a day, you come to know what freedom is and what it is like to be free. Having had the experience, the way is paved to achieving it fully (moksha, liberation). So the message here is: do your sadhana, meditate.

Reading these verses (from vs 55) as descriptive of a natural sequence of events, one discovers that all this will happen on its own through surrender to God in meditation, where you give up trying to make things happen by using your will.

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma


TERMS OF USE AND SHARING:

This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.

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Obstacles to Meditation- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:60

The aggressive and tormenting senses forcibly carry away the mind, Kunteya (Arjuna), even of a man of wisdom and understanding. —  Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 60

We have seen ‘what lies beyond’, reached ‘the Highest’, and have become established in wisdom and understanding, but apparently we have not seen the last of this ever-present obstacle, the pesky senses. And to top it off, even though we try to avoid the eventuality of the mind becoming too active to slip into pratyahara, all our efforts appear to be doomed to failure.

Or are we jumping to conclusions here? When we take everything into consideration, we have to admit that under ordinary circumstances the senses are going to continue doing their jobs of bringing information into the mind in the form of images, sounds, smells, etc. This verse is reassuring us that the senses are going to carry on with their business in spite of our continued success.

Now that we have achieved pratyahara and entered the temple of true meditation and samadhi, what the senses have to offer is nothing by comparison. Although our attention will be attracted to objects of sense, we are not compelled to become attached and desirous of having them. If they come, they come. If they are pleasant, enjoyment is inevitable, but whether they are pleasant or unpleasant is irrelevant to us. It’s just another day on the job for the senses.

The mind gets its data from the senses.

The Power of the Senses

After learning that reaching true meditation is not as simple as sitting down like a pretzel and telling your mind to shut up, you find that even when you have ‘seen the Highest’ your mind still gets carried away by the senses.

As the senses continue to do their jobs of keeping you informed, they continue to attract your attention and bring information into the mind. This shows how powerful you really are. You have these five senses because you have these five inherent powers, five powers of perception and knowledge. These powers of yours have manifested on the physical plane to supply you with information that you need to navigate life, but the powers from which they derive are still what they are: powers.

The only problem is that you have identified with your ‘chariot’, your body, which includes the senses. Your power to know by means of your five powers of perception is very real, but the senses themselves are a part of nature. Trying to control them is trying to control nature. If that’s how you are attempting to deal with them, good luck. Try this Solution instead, or try these Backup Solutions which also work as a stand-alone solutions.

The Mind in Meditation

It is a common dilemma that thoughts and desires arise in meditation. We become disturbed by this, wondering if there is something wrong because the mind constantly thinks about desires, the grocery list, and other silly things, and we become disenchanted with meditation or feel like failures. What this verse is saying is, “Don’t worry about it. This is just nature doing its thing. It has nothing to do with you.”

Will and Surrender

It is said in Yoga that to continue to progress, one gives their powers back to the Source, submits them to God. 

Your own willful efforts can take you only so far. Remember the experiment where you pushed your stiffened arms against the insides of a door frame? You can only maintain this for so long, and when you finally let go and walk away, there is a moment of surrender, albeit unintentional, in which you step away from the door and your arms freely and effortlessly float upward. It wasn’t your willful effort that freed your arms to float, it was that moment when you gave up and surrendered.

Using your will outside the meditation room is pushing your arms against the doorframe. When you go into meditation and surrender yourself to God, you step away from the door and your ‘arms’ float upward effortlessly. This is what Arjuna has done. He has put God in the driver’s seat of his chariot.

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to Truth!),
Durga Ma

 


TERMS OF USE AND SHARING:

This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.

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Meditation Isn’t What You Think- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:59

(Yes, it’s a double entendre.)

Last week we discovered that there is something that comes before meditation and that without it there can be no true meditation, and without meditation there can be no samadhi (merging with God). This ‘something’ is pratyahara, the internalization of the attention through the withdrawal of the senses from their objects. Previously we looked at this withdrawal and what the experience of it is like. Now we will look at how it comes about.

STAGES of PRATYAHARA

1. You begin to lose interest in sense objects. (Sense objects are anything the senses can perceive.) Once you have begun to make real progress in your sadhana you soon find that you are more attracted to it than to the things of this world. (This happens soon and effortlessly for people doing SKY* for more than an hour or two a day.) 

2. The mind becomes inactive in sadhana. There are no desires, no likes and dislikes, no sensory input, nothing to be conscious of. You have traded your cravings for fulfillment and you are about to get it.

3. The powers of sense separate from the physical sense organs. This allows you to sense (see, hear, feel, taste and smell) without the use of the sense organs. You perceive directly, as clearly and definitely as you do under ordinary circumstances only more and better—you see things for what they really are, you see things other people can’t see with their ordinary sight (ditto with the other four senses). This sounds like psychic stuff when put into words, but that is a different experience.

4. You become disinterested in the things of the world in and out of sadhana. This stage sets in in a very real way after much experience with Stage Three and samadhi which is dependent upon it. At this point, you are not only disinterested in the things of the world, but you find them irritating, lacking, overstimulating, and a poor substitute for the real thing, which you have by now seen for yourself. This is when you will never give up your sadhana no matter how difficult it gets, however hopeless you think you are at it, no matter what it costs you to continue.

With the withdrawal of the senses there is true meditation. With true meditation, there is samadhi, merging with God/Truth and the ultimate fulfillment. 

*SKY — Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, the sadhana (practice) of Surrender Meditation.

Read another person’s experience of pratyahara.

CHAPTER TWO, VERSE 59
In this verse we find that pratyahara is not easily attained, but hidden within it is the secret to attaining it.

The objects of sense turn away from the fasting embodied one, except for taste. But even taste turns away from one who has seen the Highest. — Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 59

Delving deeper into the Sanskrit . . .

The influence of sense objects will cease for one who doesn’t feed them even though cravings for them persist. But even the cravings for them cease for one who has beheld what lies beyond.

Avoidance is the usual means of not ‘feeding’ the senses, i.e., the sense of sight: a man intent on avoidance who sees a beautiful woman walks the other way. This technique is why we find spiritual commentaries naming ‘woman’ as poison and the downfall of man. It isn’t woman that is the problem, it is the craving stimulated by the sense of sight coming into contact and becoming attached to a desirable sight. So a woman would walk the other way to avoid the sight of a beautiful man for the same reason. It is not sense objects themselves that are the problem but the influence they have on the mind (vs. 57).

Even though this technique is useful, the relish for sense objects remains intact. Faced with this, we suddenly remember ‘indifference’ and are taken into the realm of non-attachment.

Non-Attachment
It is not you that is attached but the senses.

 

Because you are identified with your body and mind, you mistakenly believe that you have desires, but this is just the senses becoming attached to attractive objects. For as long as this misidentification is in place however, you deal with desires as if they were your own, so remember this: It is the nature of the senses to attach themselves to their objects. It is their job. But you are not nature, and you are not the senses.

RENUNCIATION

Non-attachment comes about naturally as a result of Stage Three pratyahara and the deep meditation of samadhi. This is what renunciation (sanyasa) really is. 

Having experienced Truth directly, you have beheld ‘what lies beyond’—the Highest, God, Truth—and nothing in this world can touch it or even come close. You no longer have an issue with the senses becoming attached to their objects, for acquiring these objects could never satisfy you now. Only God is enough. And when something is enough, we are fulfilled.

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to Truth!),
Durga Ma

 


TERMS OF USE AND SHARING:

This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.