Knowledge – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 18-22

Knowledge

18
The knower, the knowing (of the thing to be known), and the knowledge of it, constitute the three factors that induce action. Action, the instrument and the doer are the three components of the action itself.

Knowledge

The knowledge, the knowing and the knower.

“The knower, the knowing (of the thing to be known), and knowledge of it.”

“Knowledge” – what is known.

“Knowing” – the process of getting the knowledge.

“Knower” – the one who receives the knowledge.

Knowledge, knowing, and the knower” is also translated as “Knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the knower.” What is the difference between ‘knowing’ and ‘the object of knowledge’?

“The object of knowledge” is a ‘sense object’ that is perceptible by any of the five senses.

“The knower” is the one who wants to know it.

“The knowledge” is what is received by the Knower — what the knower knows.

“The object of knowledge” is anything your physical senses perceive. Once you have perceived something, whether gross or subtle, you know it. It is now “knowledge” and you are the “knower” of that knowledge.

Once you ‘know’ something you may like it or not. If you like it you act in order to get it. If you don’t like it, you act to avoid it. In other words, the receiving of the perceptions of the physical senses compel action. Whether wanting to have or avoid it, both are ‘desires’.

Desires are considered to be obstacles to yoga, so many yogis try to get rid of them. This is not possible. But it is possible to rise above being attached to these desires by becoming their master (they don’t run you). This is achieved by abandoning attachments and becoming indifferent to their presence.

You are not aware of everything that you know. For instance, it is like looking at something with your eyes while your eyes are also seeing other things in your peripheral vision of which you are unaware but are receiving regardless. 

Also, anything perceived by any of the senses is called ‘knowledge’, but knowledge is not always correct knowledge. 

In this world of human existence, the way we know something requires that the senses reach out to their ‘objects’, perceive them, and bring back what they have perceived to the mind to be known and stored in memory.

KnowledgeIn the world of Yoga, one perceives things in sabija samadhi, but not with the physical senses, but with the sense faculties which have separated from the physical senses. In this situation, what is ‘known’ is Divine, rather than mundane. During this time there is no desire for anything because you are already fulfilled, and any action that takes place is spontaneous and incurs no karma (the bondage accrued by performing action for personal gain).  

In nirbija samadhi however, knowledge is Absolute, so there is no object of knowledge or any process of knowing going on, and the knower is merged into the Divine Absolute. Though he retains his individuality, he is not only beyond any sense of doing, but he is beyond having any sense-of-self. Here there is only all of Us, Divine Love, Perfect Bliss and complete Fulfillment. 

Action

The action, the instrument and the agent.

“Action, the instrument and the doer are the threefold components of action.”

“The instrument” – one or more of the senses and the mind.

“The action” – the act of utilizing the instrument.

“The agent” – the performer of the action.

Knowledge, Action & Agent

19
It is taught in Sankhya, that knowledge, action and agent are of three kinds according to the three gunas. Now here about these:

He is saying that knowledge, action and the doer of action are of three kinds generated by the three gunas. When it comes to action of any kind, including both learning (knowing) and doing (acting), it is always the gunas that are the cause, and it is their attributes of pleasant (sattva), passionate (rajas) or dull (tamas) that determine the nature of the learning and doing, as well as their performer.

Sankhya Yoga is one of the great schools of Indian philosophy that relies on intelligence, logic and reasoning. It takes the only reliable means of gaining proof of knowledge to be perception, inference, and the testimony of reliable sources (those who have proven it for themselves and can give authentic guidance). 

20 — Sattvic Knowledge (pleasant and illuminating)
Sattva - IlluminatingThe knowledge by which one sees one undivided Imperishable Reality in all diverse living beings — undivided in the divided — is sattvic knowledge.

While each of us is a different individual from other individuals in WHO it is that each of us really is, you are the one that you are, and I am the one that I am. As separate embodied beings we appear to be different. But because we are all the same in WHAT it is that each of us Really is — Divine Absolute Individuals — we are undivided in our sameness and our true Reality.

21 — Rajasic Knowledge (reckless, excited)
Rajas - excitingThe knowledge by which one sees numerous living entities in diverse bodies as different and separate, is rajasic knowledge.

Not seeing this undivided sameness in WHAT each of us really is, we see only bodies and personalities instead — we see others as different and separate from ourselves.

22 — Tamasic Knowledge (prone to error)
Tamas - mistake!
But that knowledge by which one irrationally clings to one little thing as if it were all that is, possesses no reason or familiarity with Truth, is tamasic.

Any knowledge that is not based on Truth, but is believed to be true and adamantly clung to for dear life, is tamasic knowledge. We see this kind of thinking all around us in those who ignore Truth, and irrationally adulate what they believe as if it were all that is. This belief — this ‘one little thing’ — is their god. 

Knowledge comes before action, so getting correct knowledge is important. This calls for sattva. This kind of knowledge can be sought in everyday life, or by means of direct experience through meditation.

If you can’t understand sattva or imagine yourself in a sattvic state, look at rajas and tamas and consider how you might manage to avoid them.

Shri Ramakrishna
Shri Ramakrishna in Spontaneous Samadhi

If you are seeking God/Truth (by any name), you will also need direct experience to validate or correct what you determine as Truth. Direct experience is known in scriptures as svarga, or heaven, and in Yoga as samadhi. So you will have to get it from the Source, and there is only one way to do this: you must take up meditation. You can take years learning techniques for meditating and hope to get there in this lifetime, or you can surrender yourself to God/Truth in meditation and get their quickly.

Direct experience is the personal experience of knowing Truth/God directly. ‘Directly’ means ‘without any means’. This includes the mind. You cannot achieve direct experience via the mind. The actual state of meditation, which is what you will need for this purpose, is preceded by six things that occur before it. In Surrender Meditation, these six things will occur in their early stages quickly, and continue to advance over time and practice. Direct experience can occur when these requisite precursors have all been achieved even minimally. 

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

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Knowledge, Action and the Gunas – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 17

Kripalu, eternal non-doer.
Swami Kripalu – Spontaneous Action in Surrender to Absolute God

17
For one who is free of the doer ego, his intelligence is untainted. Even though he kills these warriors, he does not kill, and is therefore not bound.

KriyasIt is not desires that are the problem, but rather the attachment to them. What is ‘killed’ as a result of your realization of non-doership is your attachment to desires. 

Your karma is written into the script of your life based on the dictates of your ego. Free of the sense of doership, your script is swept clean and you attain Freedom and unending Happiness.

  • the doer ego (ahamkara) – “I do”; casting oneself in the role of the doer of action 
  • intelligence (buddhi) intellect, understanding, logic, reasoning, discrimination
  • tainted (lipyate) – attached, polluted
  • not bound (nanibadhyate) – free, not enslaved, fettered, tied or restrained

“His intelligence is untainted” Intelligence is buddhi, the faculty of intellect, reason and discrimination. When your intellect is ‘untainted’, you can tell the difference between things and know the truth. But because we have so many desires, buddhi gets tainted by our attachments to them.

Kriyas“For one who is free of the doer ego”
Ego in Sanskrit is ahamkara, which means, “I do”. This should give you some idea of how surrender to God in meditation works to free you from this bondage and bring you to the highest enlightenment.

What you surrender (yourself), and what you surrender it to (Absolute God), are the two keys to this practice in which you are not a doer of action. No matter what you think, experience, see, or understand, all action is the gunas of Nature interacting, and you are not Nature. 

You must take this on faith until you experience it for yourself as fact. Your mind, with its doer-ego at its core, will try to contradict this new realization, but now, through complete surrender to Absolute God, you have the evidence right before your very eyes!

“Now we see through a glass, darkly, but then, face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.” — Paul: 1 Corinthians 13:12

“Even though he kills these warriors, he does not kill, and is therefore not bound.” The key is in what your dharma is (this is discussed in more detail later in verses 40-45). You may know intuitively, or you may be self-deluded. It is up to each individual to seek the Truth with pure sincerity and self-honesty, and arrive at the correct answer.

Then, once you have this worked out, if you find that your dharma is to be a warrior for instance, you must understand, even if only intellectually at first, that the Real You does not kill, and take this on faith. Then, and only then, are you in a position to proceed without creating more bondage for yourself. With this enlightened understanding, you will quell the fear of death and be the hero you were meant to be. 

Begin contemplating what the Real You and God/Truth are really like by following the “Ten Keys to Success.” Mastery of these universal principles will insure your success at anything, and deliver special powers. 

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

The Five Causes of Action – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 13-16

Cause (disciple) and Effect (guru)
Cause —> Effect

14 – 15
The seat of action, the agent, the instrument, the many different kinds of actions, and the fifth, the will. No matter what action one undertakes with body, speech or mind, whether usual or unusual, these are the five components of action.

Reincarnation“Whether usual or unusual.” Usual or unusual also means ‘proper’ or ‘improper’. He is saying that what He is teaching here applies to action, regardless of whether an act is right or wrong, proper or improper, or understood for what it is or not. In other words, this is solely about ACTION itself and its five constituents.

“With body, speech or mind” reminds us that action takes place with the mind, the body, and the emotions and speech.

The Five Components of Action

  • The seat of action (adhiṣhṭhāna, ‘standing at hand’) – the origin or starting point, i.e., where the action is coming from and what prompts it.
  • The agent of action – the performer of the action.
  • The instrument of action – is the means of action, i.e., the body, senses and mind.
  • The action – the action itself, which is of many and various kinds.
  • The willthe faculty by which an action is determined and initiatiated. 

Will

Cause & EffectYou are constantly exercising your power every moment, because you are making choices every moment. This is precisely why you don’t see yourself as having power, and why you are constantly trying to get it. But this is a losing battle because you already have it, and you already use it.

By using your power of choice to make choices, you are “choosing to choose.” This is called ‘will’. Will leads to bondage and compulsory returns (rebirths) where you have another chance to get it right, but will have no control over where you’re going to land: “desirable, undesirable or mixed.

Surrender

When you use your power of choice to “choose not to choose,” this is called ‘surrender’. When you surrender yourself to God (by any name) you are worshipping God/Truth. Surrender is also called ‘sacrifice’ — you are the offering, the human sacrifice.

You always get what you surrender to.

In Surrender Meditation, you choose not to choose, but to leave everything — body, mind and feelings — to Absolute God/Truth. Having made this choice, your meditation is then directed by God/Truth for your benefit, and the choosing is over for the duration of your meditation period.

When things happen in meditation, such as movements of the body, mind or feelings, at first you have to ‘stand on faith’ that this activity was not of your doing. You take it on faith because, at first, it will feel like it is you doing everything. If you persist with this meditation, it will ultimately lead you to the highest enlightenment: the realization that WHAT you truly are does nothing and never has.

16
This being the case, he who, due to small intellect, looks upon himself as the Agent does not truly see, and realizes nothing.

In this verse, Lord Krishna is saying that once you understand what action is, and what you really are, you will no longer see yourself as a doer (agent).

Karma, cause & effect
Karma – Cause and Effect

He is clarifying the apparent contradictions of non-doing, i.e., “How can I do the right thing without being a doer?” “How can I have a meditation practice and somehow manage not to experience myself as the one doing it?” Etc. But all action is, is the gunas of Nature interacting.

All action occurs in Nature. You are not Nature.

Keep in mind that the real Self is ‘Absolute’, and, as we learned earlier in the Gita, the Absolute is The Eternal Non-Doer. Beings see themselves as performing actions, but all action is performed by the gunas of Nature. The Real You never does anything, and never has. The real Agent then, is the gunas.

Even though you perform action, it is really the gunas that are the cause of it.

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