No More Soft Pedaling – A Commentary on Bhagavad Gita, Ch 10, Vs 6

Recently, I found myself writing some things that I would normally not have written, so I squirreled it away. I have since decided to go ahead and post it for you to read. The context is the many existing worlds and universes and the huge time-frames of the cycles of existences mentioned in previous two posts.

Read the Prelude to this chapter

Long, long ago in earlier ages, seven Great Sages and four Manus, who were brought forth from a notion arising from My essence, gave rise to all living beings of all the worlds. — Bhagavad Gita, chapter 10, verse 6

What Lord Krishna has related to us so far, is so huge, so incomprehensible, that the ordinary person will be unable to understand it. We are ordinary people, so even if we were to reach a point in which these teachings could come through to us, we would have doubts and times of confusion. He means to rectify this by painting a bigger picture that our ordinary minds do have the ability to grasp. If we are wise, we will continue with this yoga as prescribed, and consider this as we go.

The basic message is that the whole journey is very long and consists of many thousands of lifetimes, each one a drop in a very big bucket. The enormity of this should motivate us to stop hanging on to attachments and messing around with trying to get our desires fulfilled. Getting desires fulfilled is not going to bring us happiness anyway, but only a short sense of pleasure that will soon go away.

You get what you want when you can give it up.

Lord Krishna has told us how to go about this in order to hit the finish-line sooner, and no doubt will do so again, so why fool around and waste a perfectly good lifetime in which one might actually score and get the ultimate prize, and advance everyone else into the bargain?

But we are selfish. We think only of ourselves and our own interests, our own welfare, our own self-congratulations for doing the right thing, and we and everyone else are held back.

We live in a (relatively) free society; most of us are privileged in comparison to people in many other places. We are the ‘Brahmins’ of the west for whom the potential for completing this journey is greater and easier by far than most. Yet we are ‘instant gratification’ two-year-olds who can only see in black and white (all or nothing). We can’t or won’t make commitments. We seek out gurus whom we believe can give us instant phenomena ‘experiences’, and instant enlightenment, which we take to mean that we will automatically circumvent any homework. And we seek Truth only where it looks like someone else will do everything for us in a flash, without a lick of effort on our own parts. Yet we tell ourselves that we don’t need any actual help or guidance because can do it all by ourselves.

This behavior is absurdly foolish. It is the very reason we have so much hardship and violence in and of our world. We all have free will, the power of choice, and this is how we use it?

Thus do we squander this gift of Life as if it were guaranteed that the next time around will be just as good (it may not, you know) when in fact, we recklessly waste the good karma we created previously for the sole purpose of moving forward to unification with our Real Selves, and union with the Divine, liberation and Eternal Happiness.

I am here for the sole purpose of helping you. I am being human so that you can see that if it is possible for me, with all my human imperfections, it is possible for you. The reason you are living in a privileged society is so that you can get on with it. You are wasting your life and dragging yourself down (and us with you) if you don’t.

• • • • •

Before today, I have spoken softly to you in my commentaries. Now I see this as an insult, and I apologize. You have read this far and you are still here, so you are someone who is qualified to hear the Truth.

I could offer you words of comfort and hope, and even some techniques for being ‘happier’, but there are enough people out there doing this kind of thing already, and doing very well at it. One more person on this mission is redundant. My interest is in your actual forward movement toward happiness that is not going to go away.

Until now, I have soft-pedaled my way through these commentaries so you could continue to play it safe if that was what you wanted. But it isn’t. You want more, and deserve more, than someone who will just try to make you feel good for a short while, leaving you to go out seeking it over and over again. You want someone who will tell you the truth about Truth. You want lasting happiness.

Some of you who have read this far will be having thoughts about going for the ultimate goal as being selfish—of course it is self-ish!—but this is just another excuse to avoid the inevitable while patting yourself on the back for your humility. So stop it. Let being self-ish in this regard be your strength. If you need an injection to get through this, remember that your forward movement moves everyone forward with you, and go ahead and feel self-righteous. We won’t mind.

There are only two ways to get to God/Truth: You can read or hear it spoken of, or you can experience it for yourself. The first of these will lead to the second if you let it. So from here on out, I am going to do my best to pull out all the stops and give it to you straight. No more soft-pedaling.

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

Somewhere In Time – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 10, Vs 6, continued

You are on a very long journey somewhere in time. Where are you now? 

Read the Prelude to this chapter

Your Personal Manus, Sages and Manvantaras

A microcosmic view of your own Manu and Seven Sages within your current Manvantara

Manvantaras are huge time periods said to be 306,720,000 of our years. There are fourteen of these time periods in a Day of God. A Manu is the ruling force of a Manvantara.

The fourteen Manvantaras can be seen as the fourteen stages of your entire journey through many lifetimes to union with God/Truth and liberation from return (you go Home).

A different Manu rules each of the fourteen stages. The name of each Manu suggests the overall nature, or context, of each stage. A certain characteristic will be the primary subject (Manu) of each stage of your journey from the very beginning of life—your Personal Big Picture of fourteen Manvantaras, or stages of the journey.

Your Personal Sages

There are seven Great Sages in each Manvantara whose purpose it is to guide humankind in living in harmony with Truth and attaining enlightenment and liberation.

The Seven Sages are the Divine Beings who preside over your seven chakras. I experienced the seven chakras as Seven Walls, and met with a Great Sage within each one. At that time in my life, I had no knowledge or awareness of Eastern teachings of any kind. (See Living the Mysteries).  

The way you experience things in your Personal Manvantara is determined by the nature of your mind (the Manu) and chakras (the Sages). Your chakras hold the energy and power of all your abilities and obstacles, all your powers and limitations, all the positive and negative attributes and influences that are to be dealt with during this time period, with the helpful guidance of the Sages. 

The Sages also represent the senses (each sense is associated with a chakra) and the seven gates of your sense organs in the east (antara), the seven openings in the head and face (east). The largest sense organ, the skin, and the sense of touch, covers the whole body, which explains Arjuna’s chariot as the body, and the other four senses as the four horses drawing the chariot, controlled from the reins by the driver. This is usually you, but Arjuna has turned this job over to his guru, Lord Krishna, Absolute God.

Time, Timelessness, and “Now” 

For all beings, “Now” is somewhere in Time

The Christian cross (†) is, among other things, suggestive of the linear nature of time (—) and the non-linear nature of timelessness (|), the linear being the subject of this verse. The cross further represents the dual nature of the world and life as we know it. Consider Noah and his Ark filled with pairs of opposites to save Life on this world. Noah is another name of the Manu, the ruling force, of our current Manvantara (the time-period between Manus) and your current lifetime.

The point at which time and timelessness converge in the cross (+) represents the “Now”. “Now” is no-time and all-time simultaneously. The dichotomy of this convergence of time and timelessness is experienced in nirbija samadhi not as a dichotomy, but as God, Truth Itself. God is a conundrum in a dualistic world, which is why nirbija samadhi is impossible to adequately describe.

Day and Night

In this verse, the subject is huge time periods of Creation that go on for fourteen Manvantaras, and then are ‘dissolved’. At a personal level, your personal world dissolves into Night when you sleep. When you wake, it is Day. Where you are concerned, the Day is all about Time, and Night is Timeless—there is no ‘time’ there, especially in ‘deep sleep’.

Where the horizontal and vertical lines of the cross converge (+) is the point at which time and timelessness exist together. This does not represent destruction, but a specific point in this transition. As day dissolves into night, and night dissolves into day again, one experiences a personal version of the big picture of a Day and Night of God.

The End of the World

We humans see “the end of the world” as a doomsday scenario because we cannot wrap our wits around the concept of simultaneous time and timelessness. But do you experience the horror of disaster when you go to sleep at night? Probably not. Think about that. Then think about death in the same way: it is a transition—Day is winding down into Night. In the morning, Night will melt away into Day and you will be reborn or find yourself in heaven or somewhere that is not this world, but the “un-world” as spoken of in “The Big Picture”. and the “Prelude” to this chapter.

Throughout your lifetime until the next transition, you have a personal Ruling Force, a Manu, and seven Great Sages. Your Manu is the context of your life. Your seven Great Sages are your benevolent guides residing within your seven chakras. They are on your side. They try to influence you throughout your life in the best possible way. It is wise to listen to their guidance in the form of opportunities consistent with the ten fundamental spiritual principles. These opportunities will always be beneficial to your spiritual development (your journey), and consequently, will also bring you greater happiness. 

A Manu and seven Great Sages will be with you in your journey through Time, through the fourteen Manvantaras of the Big Picture until End Time, when your journey is complete and you are Home for good. 

It may seem that you are trapped by Time, but you are not. You can expedite things and complete the journey Home sooner if you wish. This is where Yoga comes in. This is its purpose. 

Yoga

As an embodied being, your acceptance of Divine Others as the same as Your Divine Self is the same as surrendering to Absolute God. The payoff is direct experience and sabija samadhi. The acceptance of ALL Others as the same as You is full and complete surrender. Then the payoff is nirbija samadhi, union with Absolute God: you visit Home.

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

Time – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 10, Vs 6

“In earlier ages, seven Great Sages and four Manus, who were brought forth from a notion arising from My essence, produced all living creatures in all the worlds.” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10, Verse 6

Read the Prelude to this chapter

Having previously stated that He is the source of all creation, Lord Krishna, avatara of Vishnu, now says that the first Four Manus and Great Sages produced all living beings in all the worlds. This suggests that the worlds were already in existence but living beings were not. He created the Manus and Sages to manage the job of populating them. Having created these ‘creators’ He remains the Source of all Creation.

In previous verses we came to some understanding about Creation. Now Lord Krishna is going to expand on this as it pertains to Himself and all the worlds and universes in existence. In revealing His magnificence in this way, He shows us something about ourselves, and the nature of our own personal cosmology and journey through time.  

Ruling Forces, Sages and Time

Lord Krishna is an avatara of Lord Vishnu, the first self-aware individual in the Absolute. With the awareness of His own individual existence, like a ripple effect, all other individuals became self-aware.

  • Self-aware – The awareness of one’s own existence in the Absolute.

The first four Manus are the first four individuals known to Lord Vishnu. The Sages are the first individuals known to the Manus and consequently known also to Lord Vishnu.

  • Known – Upon becoming self-aware, becoming aware of another as the same as oneself.   

That there can be a ‘first’ in a timeless place (the Absolute) indicates the beginning of time and space and relativity, the effect of which is the vibrations of the sound of OM, “The Word” at the beginning of Creation.

The Manus suggest the nature of the mind as the ruling force in huge time periods called a Manvantaras. There are fourteen Manvantaras, so there are fourteen Manus. We are currently in the seventh Manvantara.

  • Manu – ‘Thinker’. The ruling force of a Manvantara. From the root man (pronounced mun), to think, reason, imagine, have notions, thoughts, ideas. 
  • Manvantara Manu (the ruling force) + antara, (between): A Manvantara is the time period between Manus, 306,720,000 of our years.
  • Sages – Seven perfect beings who bring us knowledge of Truth. Their purpose within any given Manvantara is to guide humanity toward the dissolution of ignorance (enlightenment). There are different Sages in different Manvantaras, who go about this differently.

The root of the word Manu, man, is the same for the word for mind (manas) and man (humankind). The four Manus mentioned in this verse are the first four Manus and are said to be the progenitors of humankind.

The First Four Manus

In the Absolute before Creation, the first individual to become self-aware is known to us as Vishnu (‘all-pervader’). It is Vishnu that gives us a sense of Personal God, or a “Supreme Being”.

Vishnu immediately became aware of four Others, knew them as the same as Himself, and went on to know all Others. The first four Others accepted as the same as Himself are the first four Manus of the first four Manvantaras.

Not all Others accepted those of whom they became aware as the same as themselves. These Others became embodied beings. Those who did accept Others and accepted them all, may come into embodiment if they choose. They have no imposed journey to take, but they may take embodiment for the welfare of others who do. Embodied, they are called avataras (ava, ‘descent’ + tara, ‘liberator’).

This first fully knowing individual, Vishnu, together with the first four Manus, are responsible for our five senses, and one that is different: the ability to know directly (without the aid of the physical senses).

Manvantaras

At the end of a Manvantara there is a dissolution (not destruction) to make way for a new Manvantara. Our current Manvantara began as taught in the story of Noah and the flood in the Bible, and in the story of the Manu of our current Manvantara in which living beings were gathered into a boat to keep them safe from the waters in order to repopulate a new world.

The current Manu, Vaivasvata (‘sunlight’), is also known as Shraddhadeva (god of faith) and Satyavrata (Truth as our sphere of action in our manner of living). This Manu, our Ruling Force, is like the light of the sun that makes things perceptible to us so that we can see (pay attention), have faith, and live in Truth. This is why the yamas and niyamas are so important. They show us how.

We are provided with the means of succeeding in this with Lord Krishna’s teachings, and we have the Sages to guide us with their Divine Sight—their perception is not dependent upon reflected light as is our ownWe see things indirectly. We need light to shine on things in order to see them. Thus depending almost solely on our senses, with our indirect perception we rely on appearances and judge accordingly. This is what we are meant to rise above in our current Manvantara.

In our next installment, we will look at how Manus, Sages and Time pertain to us and the journey we are on, at a more personal level.

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

The Big Picture – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 10, Vs 1-5

1
The Blessed Lord spoke:
O Mighty Armed One, because you are dear to Me, and because you are taking such delight in listening, hear once again as I repeat in a manner giving you the greatest advantage, these teachings of Mine. 

Read the Prelude to this chapter 

Lord Krishna acknowledges Arjuna’s devotional state, which is discernible by his eagerness to listen to Him. He is going to go over things again, only now He is going to present His teachings on the secret of yoga in such a way that Arjuna can be most benefited. This time he will expand on them and give Arjuna the big picture so that he can grasp the magnitude of what he has been taught.

Before now, Arjuna has gone from depression, resistance, disagreement and confusion, to finally urging Lord Krishna to “please just tell me what to do.” Now that he is in this devotional state and at his most receptive, Krishna determines to put things into a different light and address Time and the Creation of the world on a truly grand scale.

2
Of all the gods and great sages, none know my origin, because I am the source of the gods and the great sages in every way.

To begin, He tells Arjuna of the universality of His greatness by calling his attention to the fact that even the gods and the great sages have their origin in Him. He is the source of their origin. They exist subsequent to Creation which emanates from Him alone, Imperishable Absolute God without beginning or end. 

Even the source of Lord Krishna’s origin as an avatara cannot be known to the gods and the sages because they are beings, and the comprehension of beings is dependent on the senses and the mind, which can only provide indirect perception.

This indicates that it is He, Absolute God, rather than our own willful efforts, who is behind our successful journey, before we even understand all this, before we even understand God and what That really is. He goes on to suggest….

3
He who knows Me as existing eternally without beginning, Lord of all the Worlds, is not confused. He is released, freed from all troubles and misfortunes. 

One who knows God as Absolute, knows God to exist eternally without beginning, and as the ever-present divine force permeating all worlds, and all beings that reside in them. Knowing this as distinct from the relative nature of physical worlds themselves, clears up all kinds of confusion and misconceptions. Knowing God as Absolute, one will not make the mistake of surrendering to God as this world or anything in it, including beings, events, conditions or circumstances, for these are all relative, and we are to resort solely to His Highest existence. 

Although we are beings with the limitations of mind and senses, it must surely be possible to know God. Previous chapters and verses have shown us the way to perception and comprehension without the use of the senses and the mind through true meditation. With continued practice, our comprehension continues to unfold.

He is saying that if we understand all this—what He has taught us and what He is going to tell us next—we won’t get stuck and hold ourselves back; we will flow with greater ease through the ever-changing stages of our journey and its transitions.

Absolute God has no beginning and therefore no end, is not a born being and so has no journey to take. God is with you from the very beginning of your journey and will be with you until the end, when you become one with That, all suffering and sorrow ended.

4-5
Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from delusion, patience, veracity, self-restraint, tranquility, pleasure, pain, birth, death, and fear and fearlessness…
Non-violence, impartiality, contentment, austerity, charity, fame, disrepute, the manifold conditions of beings, arise from Me alone.

These Relative (changeable) characteristics of human beings suggest His presence as the Absolute (unchanging) behind them. Here we see yamas and niyamas mixed with other states (intelligence, knowledge, enlightenment) as well as opposites (pleasure and pain, birth and death, fear and fearlessness) and other characteristics.

It is God who guides our complete journey Home through time; these things will arise within us in the process of becoming successful due to the purification process that is inherent in change. When they do arise, we can remember this verse telling us that they arise from God and be comforted—progress is being made.

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

Prelude to Chapter 10, The Big Picture

During the last solar eclipse, which was also Maha Shivaratri and my birthday, my meditation was long and truly wonderous. When I came out after a full night’s meditation, I sat down to write the next installment of the Gita, and begin this chapter. I started with my usual pranams to the Board and before I knew it, the following script was on the computer. The Big Picture had emerged:

The Big Picture

Last night, my meditation was an odyssey, a Grand Tour of hundreds of worlds. It went on throughout the night, a long, complex journey too long to relate in any detail here. I don’t think I could do it even if I tried, even if I had the time and the space. Writing about these worlds would fail in any case. You would have to have been there and seen for yourself.

Beginning this chapter with an Odyssey has given me a perspective that would otherwise have sent me on an entirely different path in writing the translations and commentaries on these verses. But now I have a Big Picture. I think it was not a coincidence that this took place just before beginning this chapter.

We established in previous chapters that there are many worlds. We also learned that these worlds exist at different levels in both directions from our own world, some better and some worse. I thought I had some idea of a few worlds at each of these levels, but there are hundreds, perhaps even thousands. The residents of the worlds I visited on my tour carried the same characteristics mentioned in the fourth and fifth verses of this chapter, and in each world, one of these characteristics seemed to be more prevalent.

These worlds and their denizens varied greatly. They looked different, they thought differently, they did things differently and they lived differently. Some we would not recognize as human, though most did look human. I went through a number of plights on these worlds with a degree of equanimity I didn’t know I had. Then, near the end of the tour, I met someone on one of these worlds and asked where one went after this (i.e., after death). “They go to the the un-world,” she said.

In one short sentence this person revealed a different way of thinking about life after death as the absence of “world”, as if it is the world that goes away, not us.

This leaves us with a new way of considering the meanings of statements from avataras such as Lord Krishna when they say that all this creation arises from them, rather than saying that they actively make it happen.

As we move along in this chapter, I will be seeing what is being said in terms of a much bigger picture. I invite you to bring your imagination (you’ll need it) and try to see what is being taught on a much larger scale: The Big Picture. It all begins next week, and I am as curious as you may be, to see what unfolds.

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


Shaktipat Intensive

Saturday, May 27, Phoenix, Arizona

Experiential Meditation Seminar 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM – $50
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Registration for this Intensive is now closed RE-OPENED.
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The Highest Goal of Yoga: The Finishline – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 9, Vs 33-34

“How much easier is this yoga for Brahmans and royal sages! So having acquired this temporal and unhappy world, devote yourself to Me, Arjuna! Devoted to Me, bowing down reverently to Me, having Me as your highest goal, united with Me, you will surely reach the Highest Goal.” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10, Verses 33-34

33
How much easier it is then, for Brahmans and royal sages! So having acquired this temporal and unhappy world, devote yourself to Me!

Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna the practice of yoga, and in doing so He makes it synonymous with the worship of Himself as Absolute God, thus making yoga a ‘God-practice’. In the previous verse (32) and this one, He reveals that this yoga is easier for some than others, which He describes, but that anyone can do it successfully through devotion to God.

“This temporal and unhappy world”
In this verse we have God as Lord Krishna calling this world ‘unhappy’ and making devotion to God an imperative antidote. Although we know that our time in this world is temporary and can accept this, in this our own day and age, we resist hearing statements of an “unhappy world” and put them down as ‘negative’. We go on to reassure ourselves that everything is perfect and just as it should be, and try to take a more ‘positive’ stance. But clearly, Lord Krishna is not going to pull any punches. He tells it like it is to motivate us to get on with this yoga, this God-practice, while we can, so we can reach liberation from having to return.

Alternate translation:  
How much easier it is for those of auspicious births—upper caste men and royal sages! So now in this temporary and unhappy world, while you have a chance, devote yourself to Me!

Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that, being of royal birth, he’s got it made. He has advantages other, more unfortunate folks don’t have (vs. 32). Yet they can accomplish the very thing he has been resisting on several counts (in chapter one). Even though he is a warrior and brave on the field, he has hesitated to go forward with this yoga, and Krishna is urging him (and us) onward.

34
Devoted to Me, bowing down reverently to Me, having Me as your highest goal, united with Me, you will surely reach the Highest Goal.

  • Highest Goal – the Sanskrit also means ‘the final end, chief objective or final aim, finished’.

Lord Krishna reiterates to Arjuna, his description of ‘worship’ as surrendering oneself solely to Him, Absolute God. By this means Arjuna will become united (yoga) with Him. This will take him to the Highest Goal. There being nothing higher, Arjuna (and ourselves) will reach the finish-line liberated from death and rebirth, the journey completed.

Bowing Down

What is it about bowing down before God, God-images, Gurus and Holy People that we westerners find so objectionable? This attitude strikes me as silly.

When I was given my first initiation, even though I had never seen or heard of bowing down, never heard of swamis or even yoga, before I even know what hit me, I had bowed down before this Master with my body fully outstretched on the floor and grasping his feet. I was flooded with love and bliss (there just isn’t a better word) and given experience after experience, and pieces of knowledge, one after the other, until I was steeped in wonder and joy.

From that time to now, I bow down at every opportunity. Done in the spirit of loving worship of God, that is what I get: God, the bliss and joy of God. I get drunk with it. Once I even found myself pranaming to students and had the same experience. But I had to stop doing that because they were disturbed about it. One student even left and never came back. Human beings are, I think, the greatest mystery on earth.

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“Bowing down reverently to Me”
Lord Krishna, who is teaching yoga to Arjuna, is Arjuna’s guru. It is customary to make this pranam by bowing down before Guru and images representative of God. By putting your head at the feet of God or Guru, you also honor your Real Self, for they are all the same. The willingness to make this gesture of devotion is what sends you forward to more advanced stages of yoga and Self realization. 

At the very least, you show your respect. Giving your ego a jolt by placing it at the feet of someone other than yourself, you open yourself to receiving more from the teachings of a guru than you otherwise would do. You draw the Truth to yourself in this way. 

This gesture of pranama is illustrated by a choice that Arjuna made earlier in the story of the Mahabharata:

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 8.16.13 AMArjuna demonstrated his loving devotion for Lord Krishna by placing himself at Krishna’s feet in pranama. Upon Lord Krishna’s awakening, Arjuna was the first to be seen by Lord Krishna, thus giving Arjuna first choice between Krishna’s armies or Krishna Himself. Arjuna chose his guru instead of the much needed armies.

This surrender resulted in Lord Krishna driving Arjuna’s chariot for him. To drive the chariot, Krishna seats Himself in the front of the chariot in a lower position, while Arjuna stands in the higher position behind Him.

Now do you begin to see the significance of this custom?

Reaching the Highest Goal of Yoga

“Having Me as your highest goal, united with Me”
If you have God/Krishna as your highest goal, you will become united with That. If you cannot even pranam to That, how do you expect to ever reach That?

By bowing down reverently to God, God will drive your chariot, and you will become united with God. “You will surely reach the Highest Goal”

You get what you worship.
You get what you surrender to.

End of Chapter Nine

The Secret Science of Royal Yoga

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


Shaktipat Intensive

Saturday, May 27, Phoenix, Arizona

Experiential Meditation Seminar 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM – $50
Shaktipat Diksha & Initiation 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Donations
(Seminar participants only)
Registration for this Intensive is now closed RE-OPENED for one person.

Be the One – Register NOW