Three Kinds of Faith – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 17, Vs 1-10

 

Faith

1
Arjuna spoke:
What is the status of those who sacrifice without consideration of scriptural injunctions but sacrifice with
faith? Is it sattva, rajas or tamas?

  • Sacrifice – surrender; letting go of something and giving it to God.
  • Sattva, rajas or tamas – the three gunas of material Nature: sattva – ease, light, peace; rajas – excitement, color, passion; tamas – dullness, darkness, ignorance.

2 – 3
The Blessed Lord spoke:
The faith of embodied beings is of three kinds according to their nature as sattvic, rajasic or tamasic. Of this now hear: All beings have some kind of faith according to their nature. 
What one wants to believe, is what he has faith in, and who he is.

“What one wants to believe, is what he has faith in, and who he is.” Lord Krishna is saying that faith ordinarily comes from what one wants to believe, and marks the nature of the individual. In this way, it can be said that everyone has some kind of faith according to their predominant guna — sattva, rajas or tamas.

“According to their nature.” The nature of each of us is most inclined toward one of the three gunas, and that this colors our characteristics, personality and actions, and consequently, our beliefs will also be of this nature.

“What one wants to believe is what he has faith in.” He becomes identified with, and invested in, what he believes to be true. He is uncomfortable outside of this, and only comfortable within it. He sees this as “who he is.”

“Who he is” is what he identifies himself to be as a human being according to his predominant guna — his mind, body, personality and behaviors are predominantly sattvicrajasic or tamasic.

Considering what you now know about faith, Lord Krishna is saying that your essential nature as a human being will be predominately sattivic, rajasic or tamasic, and as such, will reflect your nature as a human being.

The following verses address this by explaining how your predominate guna affects what you surrender (sacrifice), open up to, or let go of, in life or meditation, and what you sacrifice it to.

4
Those who are sattvic sacrifice to the gods, the rajasic to the yakṣhas and rākṣhasas, and others, the tamasic, sacrifice to ghosts and departed spirits.Offerings to the gods 

  • Gods – I think we can take the word ‘gods’ to mean Divine Individuals who have not come into being in this world, but exist on a higher plane than our human selves.
  • Yakṣhas – demigods; those who covet power and great wealth.
  • Rākṣhasas – demigods; those who passionately embody great power, sensual pleasure and wrath.

Sattvic Sacrifice. Sattva is the guna that is the easy-going characteristic of purity and goodness. This guna is closest to your Real Self, so it gets ranked as the best of the three qualities. Sattvic sacrifice then, is the best sacrifice (surrender), until one reaches Absolute God and attains God-realization.

5  Rajasic Sacrifice
Those who perform severe austerities not enjoined by the scriptures, do so out of pride and egoism, impelled by the force of desire and attachment.

Rajas is the guna of passion, and actions done for the purpose of fulfilling desires. It is taught in scriptures that these self-motivated actions must be abandoned in order to reach Divine Union, for they are the backbone of attachment, the real obstacle. These kinds of sacrifices are not in accordance with scripture, for they do not allow for Divine Union and Liberation, the ultimate purpose of Life.

Egoismahamkara in Sanskrit, literally means, “I do,” or “I am the doer.” But what you really are is not a doer of action, but a Divine Individual entity. So as a rajasic human being, you are not aligned with the Divine Individual that you really are, and your sacrifice, your surrender, is made from this position.

Enlightenment. There are those who deem the realization of WHO they are to be the ultimate enlightened state. But the realization of non-doership, which stems from knowing WHAT you really are, is the highest enlightenment. 

6  Tamasic Sacrifice
Ascetics who imprudently cause torment and emaciation of the physical body, also torment Me within the body. Know them to be demonically resolved.

In other words, when you force or resist (that’s what it would take to do these things), you are not only not being nice to yourself, you are also not being very nice to God. The only practical solution is to surrender yourself to God, and let That deal with everything.

Mortification of the flesh is not in accordance with any scriptural injunction, and is thus considered ‘demonic’ and tamasic

Demonic. The word in Sanskrit is āsura. Asuras are powerful superhuman demigods with both good and bad qualities, who battle constantly with the devas (gods). They are sometimes regarded as nature spirits.

Tamas is the state of darkness. In this case, darkness is meant as ignorance. Actions that are harmful to oneself or others are also tamasicTamasic sacrifices are done from a position of doership and motivated by evil or misguided purposes: “demonically resolved.”

Imprudently. The word in Sanskrit for ‘imprudent’ also means ‘unconscious’, or the ‘subconscious actions of the unenlightened, the ignorant’. 

The way you can resolve the effects of the gunas running your life and determining who you are, is by surrendering yourself and your will to Absolute God with complete abandon, and leaving everything to That during this time. This is the ultimate leap of faith that will produce the ultimate pay-off.

As risky as this may seem, I can personally attest to the veracity of this surrender when done correctly under the proper conditions. As Yogeshwar used to say…

“God is not a cheat.” — Yogeshwar Muni

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

The Fast Track

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Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of reaching a true meditative state without any effort and without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were eventually derived.

Increase your knowledge base and begin Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times, and bring about even deeper meditation and amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona


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Spiritual Leadership is not a replacement for anything you may already be doing, but will augment any spiritual avenues you already travel, and open up new vistas.

Please contact me at durgama.com/contact if you would like to know more about this program.

Helping you advance spiritually is my mission.
Saving the world is the result of our success.


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Faith – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 17

Faith - Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 7.32.19 AM

Translations of the verses of this chapter often appear to be directed toward the priesthood as given in the Vedas (specific texts on Truth). But we also find imbedded within the Sanskrit, their association with the God-practice Lord Krishna is teaching Arjuna (and us).

Considering the fear of risk, which the idea of faith naturally invokes, it occurs to me that faith is the essence of ‘surrender’, or sacrifice, as defined in this God-practice. This risk is represented in the Mahabharata as the gambling of Yudhishthira, Arjuna’s brother, with the blind king’s son, Duryodhana. Yudhishthira lost the toss, and he and his brothers were caused to live undetected for eleven years.   

  • Duryodhana (‘hard fighter’) represents ego-centered desire — he fights hard for what he wants.
  • Yudhishthira means ‘standing firm in battle’. He is the epitome of ‘discipline’ — determined, and going ahead anyway no matter what.

Faith

śhraddha – faith, having faith in, believing in, trusting in, having confidence in.

For some people, faith is the same as belief, and for others it is not. The Sanskrit for ‘faith’ (śhraddha) includes both belief and trust. I usually make a distinction between belief and genuine faith. Personally, I consider belief to be a mental position. True faith, on the other hand, is the outcome of proof that establishes it.

I also see Faith as a position one might take to determine if the object of Faith is, in fact, reliably true. In this case, Faith is assumed, and whether or not the object of Faith (i.e., a person, belief or teaching) can be trusted would remain to be seen. One would then use this assumed Faith to prove or disprove it.

For instance, you decide to ‘go on faith’ that there is a God (God is the object of faith) in order to prove or disprove the existence of God. This would require taking some kind of action. Such action would be a sustained practice, such as meditation, as a viable means of testing it. Without proof, it is only an opinion or a belief.

  • Opinion – you think something is true.
  • Belief – your are certain something is true (whether it is or not).
  • Faith – you know something is true because it has been proven to you.

With Surrender Meditation, one ‘goes on faith’ that this practice will deliver what it promises. It is tested by the meditation itself and proved soon or over time. During this time, new realizations arise, and faith is gradually established with the culmination of each realization.

  • Realization – the act of becoming fully aware of something as fact.

Belief alone is prone to error. Just because someone believes something is so, doesn’t mean it is. Belief is especially problematic if a person is subject to self-deception (which most people are), or is desperate for personal validation (which most people assiduously seek). One would not need belief if one knew for certain that a given object of faith could be counted on without reservation, because it has proven itself to be so.

In spiritual matters, true Faith comes as the result of direct experience. Direct experience is experience without any means — mental, physical or emotional — and is neither ‘gut instinct’ nor intuition. Through meditation practiced correctly, one can experience Truth/God directly and know the Truth for certain, whereas anything perceived indirectly is subject to error.

Laboratory
Make your meditation your lab.

In practical matters, proof should show itself the same way numerous times under the same conditions before it is accepted as true.  

Determining your faith or certainty regarding something or someone will require a little risk on your part. However, most people are not amenable to taking risks of this kind. Even those who take risks at the blackjack table or invest the family fortune in a questionable venture, are often unwilling to take any risk in order to find Truth

Whether your quest centers on a person, a thing, or a theological premise, such as whether there is a God or not, or if your Guru is the real deal or not, you must first look within yourself and then take the leap. 

Look Inside Yourself

  • Have I seen correctly?
  • Is there anything within my own mind and feelings that is in error?
  • Might I have some kind of agenda of which I am unaware? What is it?
  • Am I avoiding any red flags? Or am I seeing what I want to see?
  • Am I in denial about anything I perceive about this?
  • Do I really understand this, or this person and their actions and motivations?
  • Have I really looked and attempted to understand, or am I waiting for them to understand me?

Acquiring faith will always involve some sense of risk, whether anything is actually at risk or not. But this is a good thing for it can bring you real faith and real validation, and the only real risk is to your ego.

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

Make a Difference

Have a Positive Impact on the World

Spiritual Leadership will take you where you want to go while you advance spiritually and improve your life. In the process, you will influence the advancement of everyone on Earth, and even the Earth itself.

Spiritual Leadership is not a replacement for anything you may already be doing, but will augment any spiritual avenues you already travel, and open up new vistas.

Please contact me at durgama.com/contact if you would like to know more about this program.

Helping you advance spiritually is my mission.
Saving the world is the result of our success.


The Fast Track

Surrender Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of reaching a true meditative state without any effort and without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were eventually derived.

Increase your knowledge base and begin Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times, and bring about even deeper meditation and amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona


“Every step you take pulls every one of us with you.”

The Whole World Is One Family


The Last Guru

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