IV: 38-39 Reaching Raja Yoga…

The fire of Wisdom burns away unTruth leaving only Truth, and fills us with faith, a Knowing that can be remembered during dry spells and keep us on track. 

There is with certainty, no purifier like true wisdom to be found here on earth. In time, one finds on one’s own that it is accomplished on its own, through Yoga. 

We are given a guarantee: The teachings we have received from Lord Krishna, will provide us with experience of Truth. This wisdom is the best purifier on the planet. If we practice this Yoga, we will find that it purifies and validates itself. This practice is Karma Yoga, Action Yoga, the subject of this and the previous chapter.

While we may struggle to understand all this now, if we just go forward with Karma Yoga, over time and experience it will prove itself to us. We will come to see for ourselves that it has its own purpose, and that this purpose is accomplished, not by us, but by itself.

Karma Yoga leads to samadhi. Then samadhi, which comes about through this purification process, becomes the purifier itself. 

Purification – Putting things where they belong in their natural order, and filtering out physical, mental and emotional impurities.

Samadhi – A blissful state of equanimity accomplished through union (yoga), which purifies, upstages the ego, and reveals our true Selves.

“True wisdom,” and the purification it brings through practice, continues to increase over time due to the upstaging of illusion through experience. Illusion slowly loses its power to dominate every-day reality as it becomes gradually replaced with true Reality.  

“Here on earth” suggests that it is here on earth that we have the opportunity to practice this Yoga and reach its pinnacle.

“Through Yoga”  While some say that Yoga is a psychology, a philosophy, or a theology concerning Spirit, others say that Yoga is physical-spiritual in nature. There need be no dispute here, for all these are true.

“Perfected in Yoga”  The Sanskrit word for ‘perfected’ also means ‘successful’, ‘completed’ and ‘hitting the mark’, the exact opposite of sin, ‘missing the mark’. The yogi successfully accomplishes Yoga by completing Raja Yoga. 

Raja Yoga (Royal Union)

Up until now, we have been primarily discussing Hatha Yoga, ‘Sun-Moon Union’, the subject of this and chapter three. Raja Yoga, ‘Royal Union’, occurs as a result of having sufficiently accomplished Hatha Yoga first, which is why Lord Krishna has been spending so much time on it. Once Hatha Yoga is accomplished, Raja Yoga takes the limelight and one experiences samadhi

Raja Yoga cannot be successfully completed without first sufficiently accomplishing Hatha Yoga.

The wisdom of Raja Yoga is different than the wisdom knowledge of Hatha Yoga. The wisdom of Raja Yoga comes about through samadhi, and ultimately the highest samadhi, absorption into the Absolute.

Samadhi is a product of kundalini’s work above the throat chakra, the realm of Raja Yoga.

Absorption into the Absolute is the ultimate proof of God, and of You and everyone else and our eternal existence. You know what you have always known, but now it is proved, right now, right here on planet earth, amongst all this static and confusion and Babble, and your awareness of yourself expands to include all others. This is a game changer, and you will never be the same again. 

Full of faith, one attains true wisdom. Having achieved it, the senses contained, one goes quickly beyond peace.

“Full of faith”  Having faith is a position of trust: you proceed trusting that these teachings are true, and even if you aren’t certain, or aren’t certain your understanding is correct, you go by the book and proceed as if they were the absolute truth.

If you don’t do this, you will never know—you will not have given yourself the opportunity to know, or given these teachings the opportunity to prove themselves to you, one way on the other. 

Your meditation is your ‘lab’.

According to this verse, they will prove themselves to be so, and you will ultimately attain true wisdom and the highest samadhi, the highest fulfillment on earth.

“Having achieved it, the senses contained”  Once you have experienced sabija samadhi for some time, pratyahara (‘the senses contained’) is set to take you into the next stage, nirbija samadhi. Down the line, when this finally happens, it happens quickly.

“One goes quickly beyond peace”  What is beyond peace is the Absolute. The highest samadhi is absorption into the Absolute. In this samadhi, peace doesn’t even begin to cover it, it is profoundly beyond any kind of peace we can know under ordinary circumstances, or even in sabija samadhi, for all opposites, which is what makes up our everyday ‘reality’, are gone. This happens suddenly without warning, in meditation.

There is a shift in one’s practice. One arrives at a new stage of Yoga. What once left the body (i.e., energy and attention flowing outward to objects of sense), stays in the body; what once went out, goes in; what once went down, goes up. Etc.

“To truly understand Yoga, you have to stand on your head.” — Yogeshwar Muni

This is the nature of Raja Yoga, which can only be accomplished to this degree by having gotten there via Hatha Yoga.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma

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Stages of Samadhi

Samadhi – equanimity, a uniform state of mind, union (yoga) with God, fulfillment. 

The First stage of samadhi — sabija, savikalpa, samprajnata.

The Highest samadhi — nirbija, nirvikalpa, asamprajnata.

Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga begins when Kundalini makes her home above the throat chakra, making the highest form of samadhinirbija (without-seed), possible. This is also called nirvikalpa (without-difference) samadhi. Prior to this, one experiences sabija (with-seed) samadhi, also called savikalpa (with-difference) samadhi.

These different names for the same things, arrived at by different people of different lineages, in different locations and times over centuries, provide us with multiple clues for understanding samadhi.

The First Stage of Samadhi

Direct experience of Truth.

‘Seed’ refers to desire in a dormant state. A seed is something in a potential state that is not manifest. So in sabija, with-seed samadhi, a seed of desire is present, and makes the experience one in which there is a distinction between the individual and what is being experienced: savikalpa. Another term for this samadhi is samprajnata samadhi, ‘with-a-knowable’.

Sabija – ‘with-seed’. Dormant desire is present.
Savikalpa – ‘with difference’. Differentiation between the individual and the experience.
Samprajnata – ‘with a knowable’. An object of knowledge is present and knowable, perceptible.

The Highest Samadhi

Absorption into The Absolute, unfathomable bliss and independence without separation.

As samadhi develops, the next stage, in which difference is not present, is nirbija, nirvikalpa, asamprajnata samadhi. There is no difference because there is no desire, not even a desire in a potential state—there are no desires at all. There is no sense of self, no object to know, to perceive, and no experiencing going on. The knower, the knowing and the known are differences that are not present with this highest samadhi. It is asamprajnata, absorption into the Absolute.

Nirbija – ‘without-seed’. Without desire.
Nirvikalpa – ‘without-difference’. Without distinctions.
Asamprajnata – ‘without-a-knowable’. Absorption.

Kundalini & Samadhi

Before Raja Yoga beginsthe first stage of samadhi may be experienced even though Kundalini has not yet made her permanent home at the sixth chakra. This happens when, with sufficient purification, the energy shoots up into the head but falls back to the first chakra (do not underestimate the importance of this chakra).

Although this may happen very quickly, a mere fraction of a second, it can last for several minutes, or even hours, and will go through changes until Kundalini is able to move house and retire to the the sixth chakra. At this point, Kundalini takes a new name: Maruti, Goddess of the Wind. Now the evolutionary force is fully awake, and She means business.

Durga Ma


Who Am I?


I am with a large multitude of people somewhere that is not inside of anything. I know some of the people nearest me but most are strangers. Nevertheless, I feel quite at home and pleasantly comfortable with everyone. Then there is a sound that we are all very much drawn to, and soon, people begin to act strangely:

They (this is very difficult to explain) seem to become confused about the people around them; they are scrambling around looking for them, their parents, siblings, other relatives and friends, and can’t recognize any of them and begin to recognize people that they don’t even know as being people they do know. But these people are also confused and don’t recognize those who think they recognize them as their own people, and the situation becomes more and more complicated and confused, with people running this way and that, trying to find their people. No one can remember anything. No one can remember anyone.

People begin wandering around and taking things from other people (we are all carrying some kind of luggage). Someone sees something in my backpack and says that I have something that belongs to them so they take it. I don’t resist this, and soon, my own luggage is empty so I leave it where it is and move on. I am not disturbed about losing it or anything that was in it.

Someone asks me to identify myself as the daughter of a woman they are trying to claim a relationship with, so I do. I don’t see why this matters so much anyway. A man looks furiously at me, but does nothing. I move on.

I am walking along and watching all this craziness and thinking it over. As I watch I realize that the reason no one knows who their people are is because they don’t know who they are. And I realize, this is God answering the request I made to show me what is going on with this crazy world.

I recall the famous question, “Who am I?” that I had always thought was such a strange question—how is it possible that a person does not know who they are? I realize that what I am being shown is why people don’t know who they are — they identify themselves with their relatives, their belongings, their bodies, etc. People depend on others—people and things—and their relationship with them, to show them who they are because this is the only way they can have some sense of themselves. But this is the very thing that keeps them hidden from themselves.

I have always known who I am. What is going on is that I know who I am and those around me do not, and this mass of confusion is what all this life in this world looks like.

A few years ago, I was asked to address a meditation class at a local church and was surprised that when I arrived they were all sitting in twos across from each other saying, “Tell me who you are” with the partner answering. I was invited to join and sit with someone without a partner. As people answered this statement with various and multiple descriptions of their names, their backgrounds, their homes and belongings, family and friends, what they like and don’t like, their professions, etc. My answer was always the same: “I’m this one.” My partner looked at me like I was nuts.

In the beginning was the Word (the sound we heard in the beginning). Subsequent identification with Creation caused everyone to forget who they are, and to look to others for this to be revealed to them.

At the onset of Creation we became identified with prakriti—nature, otherness—and left the Garden of Eden, the Absolute. The rest is history. A trip into the Absolute will change this. In yoga this is called nirvikalpa samadhi, a subject we will take up in the next few articles.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma

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Lakulisha and the Two Dog-tags, Part 2

Well, that was a pretty good story, but why did Lakulisha give me dog-tags instead of just zapping me? Truly, I do not believe, nor did I then, that such a saint would do something so peculiar for no good reason. The reason was mine to contemplate, and contemplate it I did, for more years that I care to admit—how, after so may years of sadhana, could I be so dense! It was as plain as a pikestaff, but by trying to make sense of it (both ‘trying’ and ‘make sense’ being the operative words here), the answer to this puzzle remained illusive. But eventually my ignorance was resolved, so now I can move on, and tell you.

It is a good thing to be able to understand mysteries, especially mysteries that involve ourselves and the things in our own lives that are important to us. It is my sadhana that is most important to me, but perhaps there are other things more important to you. Still, we both surely have one thing in common: the importance of our own selves! It is for this reason I thought you might like to be in on how my mystery unravelled, as this process is useful for many other things in life, such as sorting out the meanings of dreams and other mysterious circumstances.

The first step is to ask yourself what a thing is and what it signifies. For instance, consider what dog-tags are and what purpose they serve. (At this point you may want to reread Part One of this story, especially if you don’t remember what dog-tags are.) The answer is:


Dog-tags serve the purpose of identifying the wearer. For many years I was comfortable with the realization that I was not a body, not a mind, not a personality, not feelings, actions or anything else my mind would have me believe; I was comfortable not being identified with any of these. But there was still a piece missing. I had been aware of this, but I had not found that piece. Now I can tell you what it was:


The same word again (remember, there were two dog-tags), but with a different application altogether. There are always two dog-tags in a soldier’s kit. This is also the case for you and I. Our problem is that we are only inclined to notice one of them. If you are missing one, it is probably the same one I was missing.

De-identifying with what you are not is only the beginning. This will not serve you until you fill the gap with something else—you will either become self-deluded that you are enlightened, or you will be haunted by this sense of something being missing. This realization will leave a hole as big as the cosmos itself if you don’t identify with something else. But identify with what?

Cease to identify with Creation and identify with the Creator. 

It hadn’t occurred to me that the key wasn’t in de-identifying with what you are not (the first dog-tag). The key was to be found in what one identifies with (the second dog-tag).

Cease to identify with “stuff” and identify with its Source.

Living in Truth is not about being true to yourself, it’s about being your True Self. This begins with seeing your Self. I know that sounds strange (and yes, here comes another story), but in the realms of Spirit, things are often not consistent with what we like to think of as “reality”. In fact, they can be downright opposed to it, illogical, and not make any sense at all.

In my early days of meditating, I found myself crossing a bridge (how symbolic!), and having crossed the bridge to the other side, I noticed someone lying on the ground. She was smiling sweetly and naked as a jaybird, lying on her side, left side up. As I came closer, I observed two things in particular: She was enveloped in divine bliss, and she was me.

Me? How could this be? If she were me, then who was this “me” doing the looking? Yet I knew without so much as a smidgen of doubt that she was my very Self. Which presented another puzzle: What is this form of her’s? Why is there a form at all? And if she is me, why am I thinking of her as “her” as if she were other than me?

The experience was a wonderous joy, but remained a mystery for some time. I later learned about the five koshas (sheaths), which are what you might call five bodies, or five subtle forms. My “Self” had been wearing the ananda kosha (bliss body), the subtlest of the five.

This is what yoga (union) is all about: the union of the self with the Self. That is one way to put it. Union of you with Absolute God is another way, which isn’t really a different statement, but this is actually already a done deal (realizing it is the trick). Union of the self with the Self is more to the point.

This brings me to the conclusion of my story(s). I promised that learning the purpose of the two dog-tags would be enlightening. I meant that in more ways than one (as I often do). I hope you found it so.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that you really are),
Durga Ma


Lakulisha and the Two Dog-tags, Part 1

I have decided to tell you a little story. The memory of a very special event that took place many years ago during a difficult time in my life, entered my awareness this morning in meditation. I have not shared this story with more than two people, but this morning I felt moved to tell it to you.

It happened during my morning meditation many years ago. I had begun remembering Lakulisha and the amazing experiences I had had that caused me to think of him as a “heart magnet”, for that he is indeed: His love is literally magnetic, drawing you to him in waves of joy so intense that you stumble over your own feet (if you happen to be on them). The memory of him brought about this same feeling of being drawn to him. It became so strong it was as if he were in the room with me, and I began to imagine that I could feel his presence, and couldn’t resist the urge to look. And to my astonishment, there he was, just coming out of my closet!

He was dressed in nothing but a ragged old loin cloth, looking like a bedraggled sadhu, and smiling widely. He was so solid, so “real”, that at first I thought, Who is this begger? Who do I know in this part of the world who looks like that who would be in my house, much less in my meditation room?

He was carrying something in his hand that I assumed was a begging bowl, so I went to him to pranam. We spoke briefly and I began to realize who he really was. I was stunned. His grin got wider.

In his hand I saw that he held not a begging bowl, but something that I couldn’t make out. He opened his hand and there were two dog-tags on a long chain, the kind of dog-tags soldiers wear so that when bodies are recovered from the battlefield they can be identified. I thought this was strange (mala beads would have made more sense). It was certainly unexpected. He held them out to me as a gift, which I gratefully, but uncomprehendingly, accepted.

He told me that one the two tags was very special and that I should open it. Well, I’d never heard of dog-tags that could be opened, but who was I do question; after all, I was talking to Lakulisha! So I tried to open one of them but couldn’t figure out how to do it. He said, no, that one didn’t open and to open the other one. So I tried the other dog-tag, and sure enough, it easily slid open. What happened next is the heart of my story:

From the opened dog-tag there emitted a light by which I was instantly encompassed, a light like that of the White Swami** (could Lakulisha have been the White Swami???) and bearing the same characteristics:

“There was simultaneously everything and nothing, an unimaginable light more brilliant than I could ever describe, timelessness, and though there was nothing physical about it, no sensation as we know it, I had a sense of floating. There was no thought, no memory, nothing left to want. Everything was perfect just as it was.” **

Well, that’s a pretty good story, but why did Lakulisha give me dog-tags? Why not just zap me and be done with it? This is the subject of the next installment, Lakulisha and the Two Dog-tags, Part 2, so please be sure not to miss it. I think you will find it enlightening. (I will try not to keep you waiting a whole week.)

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that you really are),
Durga Ma

** You can find this and the story of The White Swami in Living the Mysteries.