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You are your own best friend – Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:55

The Blessed Lord spoke:
Abandoning all desires of the mind, contented in the self by the self, one’s wisdom stands firm. — Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 55 

Literaly, ‘all desires, longings, cravings, gone away’. 

Your “wisdom stands firm” only when you are contented within yourself, by yourself. To accomplish this, you must be free of mentally based desires. (Ouch!)

In the mystical texts of the East, the most crucial information in its final form is usually given first. This is Krishna’s first statement in response to Arjuna’s questions of the previous verse, so we must take special note of it.

Earlier we read that it is the desires of the mind that are responsible for keeping the mind active, and that only when the mind is inactive does it become possible to enter into deep meditation. 

“Abandoning all desires of the mind”

Abandoning — You leave them, they don’t leave you.

Mentally based desires have their source in the contact of the senses with sense objects—you see it, you like it, you want it.

Our dependence on our senses to navigate this world makes abandoning desires almost impossible. Furthermore, once perceived objects enter the mind they are recorded in the mind, and when the mind has retained them for more than a couple of weeks, they remain. When these bits of stored information are associated with strong feelings, these feelings can resurface under similar circumstances, triggered by the recorded memory, whether you are aware of this happening or not. The like or dislike of the way this feels generates either positive or negative desires—you want it, or you want to avoid it. 

Everything that gets into the mind gets there through the senses, but…

There is one exception to this: There is a state in which one perceives without any means due to the senses being withdrawn. In this state, called pratyahara, desires are effectively abandoned, ‘gone away’. Experiences had under these circumstances are also recorded in the mind, but the nature of what is perceived (Truth) and how it is perceived (directly, not through the senses), does not cause disturbances of the mind-stuff (chitta*).

The beginning stage of pratyahara is a result of advanced pranayama (restraint of prana, life energy). There are various techniques for pranayama and pratyahara, but in surrender sadhana, all of this happens spontaneously, and takes one into the early stages of sabija samadhi very quickly.

Chitta - the surface of consciousness upon which the mind is constructed.

“Contented in the self by the self, one’s wisdom stands firm”

The mind is a part of nature. You are not nature. Nature is outside yourself. When you are finally satisfied within yourself, you are self-sufficient, and because you are content with this internal state, all the desires of the mind, being different from this state, naturally cease to exert themselves. 

With the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind-stuff, one attains yoga samadhi, and one is indeed one’s own best friend, safe from mentally based desires wreaking havoc with the mind-stuff. How one reaches this state is elaborated in the next few verses:

56  He whose mind is free from the passions of desire, fear and anger is easy of mind in happiness or misfortune; steady-minded, he is said to be a sage.

57  He who is non-desirous in all things, encountering this or that, whether pleasant or unpleasant, delightful or repugnant, his wisdom stands firm.

58  And when the senses become withdrawn from the objects of the senses, as a tortoise’s limbs are drawn into its shell, his wisdom stands firm.

Having read these verses through to get a feel for how this firm-standing wisdom can be achieved and maintained, if you want to go for it, try reading them from the bottom up. In the next installments we will take these verses up in more detail.

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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How to learn: Ask questions- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:54

Arjuna spoke:
What is the description of one whose wisdom stands firm? One who is steadfast in deep meditation, Keshava? How should one steady of thought speak? How should he sit? How should he move? — Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 54  

When I was first trying to wrap my wits around the Bhavagad Gita and came across this verse I thought, What strange questions to be asking after such profound teachings! How does he speak? sit? move? Surely there would be a more profound query or two? But that was a long time ago. Now that I have been teaching for a while, I have heard these very questions from students for myself, and recognize these latter day questions in this verse.

“The description of one whose wisdom stands firm … steadfast in deep meditation” 

A closer look at the Sanskrit reveals that ‘deep meditation’ and samadhi are synonymous, so a more concise translation is, “someone of steadfast wisdom absorbed in samadhi”.

“How should one steady of thought speak?”

Since thought precedes speech, how could one whose thoughts have stopped, speak? If in this state the mind is inactive, how is speech even possible?

How should he sit? How should he move?”

What would be his disposition, his character, temperament and personality? How would he behave and conduct himself? What would he be like if you were to met him on the street?

How should he move?”

How would one ‘move, wander, proceed, live, pass the time’ under the conditions we have thus far uncovered? What would his life be like? Could he go to work nine-to-five? Would he make money and have a house, or live in a cave, or would he be a beggar on the street, a monk, or something else entirely? And now that he has reached this exalted stated, is there more? Where does he go from here? What happens next?

“Keshava” — A name of Krishna referring to him as the ‘killer of (the demon) Keshi’.

The word means ‘long haired’ or ‘handsome haired’, so this demon looks good, but the root of the word means ‘pain, trouble, torment, and suffering’. So Keshi is deceptive—what looks good is trouble in disguise.

Keshi is the senses reaching out to sense objects to keep the mind actively engaged, thus preventing samadhi yoga and clouding one’s awareness.

The name of Keshi’s destroyer, Krishna, means ‘black’ or ‘dark’. Krishna is an avatar of Vishunu, the sustainer of life. The Sustainer in the form of darkness kills this demon who messes with your mind to keep you away from Truth. But how can this be? We thought all the good stuff would be Light!

This state is called pratyahara, the ‘withdrawal of the senses’, the precursor of meditation, dhyana. At its onset one experiences this blissful relief as complete darkness (there is no-thing there). This is a case of darkness dispelling the light of illusion, the illusion of a world that relies on reflected light to be seen, and even then is perceptible only indirectly. But with the experience of pratyahara we discover that all that glitters is not gold, and we are now set to experience true meditation.

Meditation that is not reached by means of pratyahara is not true meditation.

____________________________

Arjuna’s response to the wisdom Krishna has imparted to him thus far is to ask questions, and he is about to get an answer. He is eager to know how all this is going to look, how he can recognize this state to know when he has attained it.

In the next verse we will get the answer to Arjuna’s question, and in the verses that follow, the subject is sustained for the purpose of describing how one reaches this state either in terms of what it will take to get there, or how it will come about, depending upon your orientation.

What is ‘dark’ that sustains and maintains your life?
Prana, the Life Force, the Sustainer — you can’t see it.

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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When you stop relying on beliefs you can experience God- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:53

**Our monthly Gita study group will be on saturday, February 27th @ 11am EDT. This is a free virtual gathering. Please contact Anandi for more information anandibhagavan@gmail.com**

Disregarding ritual-centered doctrines (belief-systems), when your intelligence (buddhi) stands unmoving in deep meditation (samadhi), you will attain union (yoga). — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 53

Alternate translations:

Free of the conflicting opinions concerning ritual-centered doctrines, the motionless mind can enter into samadhi and become established in yoga. 

When conflicting belief systems are discarded and the mind remains unmoving in samadhi, you have attained yoga.

It is not enough to read and study, to listen to guru’s teachings, or even to believe your own experience. All three must agree. Until that time, one resorts to faith and determination.

A belief is a mental construct of absolute certainty about something. There is only one exception to this.

Belief is a feature of the mind in which there is certainty of the truth about something, whether it is true or not. The mind is active when it is engaged in sorting out discrepancies among belief systems, but samadhi can only be attained when the mind is inactive. The mind is made motionless through union (yoga). Union begins with the union of prana and apana. The highest union is the union of you with God/Truth.

Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind-stuff
— Patanjali, Yoga Sutras

Samadhi and Yoga.

The words samadhi and yoga are nearly synonymous. Yoga means ‘yoking together’. Samadhi means ‘combining together into a whole’.

Both samadhi and yoga refer to union with the Absolute, but for this to take place, there must first be union of the sun and the moon (ha-tha yoga). The sun and moon, prana and apana, which keep the body alive, unite at the first chakra, and kundalini, the evolutionary force, is awakened. We get to this by …

Disregarding ritual-centered doctrines (beliefs).”

Krishna might just as well have said, “Arjuna, just take my word for it and save yourself the trouble. I am, after all, God incarnate.”

A doctrine is a set of beliefs based on certain ideals and taught as principles that, when acted upon, bring about specific outcomes. In other words, a doctrine is a belief system; acting on it is a technique, or ‘ritual’. We are being asked to abandon both to attain yoga samadhi.

The only exception to ‘belief’ as a mental construct is the memory of God/Truth experienced directly.

Our attention is being called to notice that belief systems keep the mind busy and consequently prevent Divine Union. Belief-systems (‘doctrines’) require techniques (‘rituals’) for the purpose of getting something to be a certain way. This is what a technique is for. This is its sole purpose. But now we understand that what will get us to samadhi yoga requires that we abandon this approach.

Where religion and spirituality are concerned, doctrines are numerous and are not in complete agreement. Constantly fretting over these discrepancies keeps the mind active, as the intelligence is constantly being asked to take up the business of sorting all this out. But keeping the mind busy is the very thing that prevents us from experiencing God for ourselves. For this reason, the disciple relies on guru and saves him/herself the trouble (Krishna is Arjuna’s guru).

Truth can only be reached through union with Truth.

“When your intelligence (buddhi) stands unmoving in deep meditation (samadhi), you will attain union (yoga).

Divine Union is where we are all headed. We are all going to get there eventually, but some of us are ready to stop walking and fly. We all have a choice: we can not bother with any of this, or we can try to make it happen, or we can acquiesce to It through surrender to the Divine.

The difficulty with the last option is that we don’t know how to let go of trying to control everything. We are trained to control things, to make things happen. We don’t know otherwise because it is not our norm. We have experienced little pieces of letting go, but how do we improve our ability to let go, to surrender, to acquiesce without ending up getting into trouble? The answer is simple: we practice it. I think of this as “the road less travelled”, for few are those who take it. I call it, Surrender Meditation.

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

Surrender Meditation (Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga) is the sadhana Durga Ma both practiced and taught while she was here in her physical life. For more information and opportunities for shaktipat initiation, please contact Anandi anandibhagavan@gmail.com


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.