Three Kinds of Intelligence – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 29-32

Intelligence - rajas, tamas, sattva

Intelligence (buddhi) – intellect, reason, differentiation, discernment, judgement; buddhi is the power of the mind that forms ideas, imaginations, conceptions, and knows how to figure things out.

Resolve (dhṛtes) – standing firm in the course of your practice; holding, resolute, courageous, determined and unwavering. You don’t quit when the going gets rough, or when you aren’t getting what you think you want.

29
Now hear the three kinds of intelligence and resolve, together and separately, according to the gunas, Conqueror of Wealth:

Intelligence

Buddhi – Reason, Discernment and Judgment

30 — Sattvic Intelligence (correctly discerning)
That intelligence which knows willful action from non-willful action, what is one’s duty and what is not, what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, and what is binding and what is liberating, is sattvic intelligence.

  • Willful action (pravṛitti) – acting to fulfill desires
  • Non-willful action (nivṛitti) – renunciation of action as one’s own doing
  • Duty (kārya) – required action
  • Not duty (ākārya) – action that is not required

Two Paths

Two Paths

There are two fundamental paths of spiritual advancement: pravritti marga and nivritti marga (marga means ‘path’).

The first of these, pravritti marga, the path of the will, is the first path you follow from childhood into adulthood, under the guidance of Guru (your parents are your first gurus, and later your teachers are your gurus). 

Ideally, during this time, your spiritual path, your career path and your life path work together. You learn and practice universal spiritual principles that act as the foundation for sustained success in all three — spiritual, career and life in general. During this time, you practice these principles in daily life, find and implement your career, have a family, and practice the teachings of Guru (a teacher that knows the way and can guide you in this). This prepares you for nivritti marga.

Nivritti marga, the path of non-willful action, is called the path of renunciation. What is being renounced is your sense of action as your own doing. This is not a path in which one remains involved with worldly duties and responsibilities. The only required action is the practice of a teaching lineage in which surrender (by any name) to Absolute God (by any name) is the main practice. This God-practice, which Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna, is your only ‘required’ action.

Old man meditatingThis new lifestyle begins around the age of 50, or when your first grandchild is born, which ever comes first. Because the main practice needs proper conditions, you seek out a proper place and go to that place to live. You are not necessarily estranged from your family, but your Guru and your practice are your first and most important priorities.

Once some headway is gained in your practice, you become experienced and Guru may ask you to teach others. When one will be ready for this path varies from person to person. The age of 50 is a rule of thumb based on what is natural for most people. Here I would cite the exception of Jesus, who began at a very early age. 

31 — Rajasic Intelligence (prone to flaw or confusion)
Intelligence that is incorrect in the distinction between righteousness and unrighteousness, what is right and what is wrong, is rajasic intelligence, Son of Prita.

  • Righteousness (dharma) – what is considered to be proper action; right or correct action (kārya).
  • Unrighteousness (adharma) – that which is considered to be improper action; wrong or incorrect action (ākārya).

32 — Tamasic Intelligence (incorrect, backwards)
Intelligence that is enveloped in darkness and imagines unrighteousness to be righteousness and has everything backwards, is tamasic intelligence.

When one understands righteousness and unrighteousness backwards and the opposite of Truth, one’s intelligence is tamasic.


You are probably wondering which of these three kinds of intelligence applies to you. But in truth, we all have a little bit of all three, though one will probably be more prominent than the others. Suffice it to say that we can all profit by aiming at complete sattvic intelligence until that time as we attain full enlightenment, which comes by means of the God-practice Lord Krishna is teaching. 

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

 

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Renunciation – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 12

Renunciation

Many people are confused about renunciation, and take it to mean that one must not act at all. Some take it to mean that they must not move a single muscle during their meditation. Others believe that renunciation requires poverty, having nothing and begging your food. Some even become couch potatoes in the name of spirituality. But our world is a place where change and movement are endless. Action is the nature of Nature — it will take place without any help from us, and without the ego attempting to cast itself as the cause of it.

“It is indeed impossible for embodied beings to abandon actions entirely.” — Verse 11

Surrender to Absolute God in meditation (Surrender Meditation) produces active meditation, as opposed to the usual static meditation that is taught in modern times. Active meditation is superior, for it is not possible for human beings not to act; those who try to master inaction are ultimately defeated.

During the practice of Surrender Meditation, one is a renunciate, and truly free. Because this is so, continued practice automatically leads one to the realization of non-doership and Liberation. Surrender to Absolute God in meditation is the highest and most efficient practice for attaining this joyous state. This is the God-practice that is being taught by Lord Krishna in this Gita.

The realization of non-doership is the highest form of enlightenment. Surrender to Absolute God in meditation is the highest form of practice.

Destinations

12
The results of the actions of non-abandoners when they die is of three kinds: desirable, undesirable and mixed. But for renouncers, there are none.

Renouncing the World
A seeker renouncing the seductions of a worldly existence.

“The results of actions of non-abandoners when they die” is a crapshoot. You cannot know what is going to happen at death or in the next life.

“But for renouncers there are none,” because the enjoined action for the renouncer is the surrender of himself to Absolute God, all actions are natural (not created by him) and therefore lead to Liberation (non-return).

The three fruits of action, “desirable, undesirable and mixed,” do not apply to one who is a renunciate, for the renunciate is situated in the knowledge that he is not the actor, the doer of actions. Indifferent to actions and their results, he is headed for Liberation and higher realms upon leaving the body at death.

How to Become a Renouncer

‘Abandonment’ is the abandonment of the results of actions. ‘Renunciation’ is the abandonment of oneself as the doer of actions. 

First, Practice Abandonment in Life

Abandon the Fruits of Action 

A renunciate's house may be a cave
This renunciate’s house is a cave.

The practice of Abandonment is to let go of attachments to desired resultsFor some, it is easier to begin with the practice of Abandonment by abandoning the fruits of action in everyday life. This is easy to practice and doesn’t demand any extra time.

Start by simply noticing those times when a certain result or outcome is important to you, and allow yourself to let go of your attachment to the results being any certain way.

One of the things you may notice as a result of this practice, is that outcomes — ‘fruits’, results — often turn out to be better than originally hoped for or expected. New vistas open up, and you will be inspired to continue this practice.

Another outcome of this practice is that you may make your own discovery that it is when you let go of an attachment to getting something you want, the desired object or objective that you were previously attached to, appears without any effort on your part.

When you give it up, you’ll get it. 

Step 1 — Notice when you are doing something for the purpose of getting a certain result.

Step 2 — Decide to let go of your attachment to the results of what you are doing.

Step 3 — Let go of your attachment to getting this result.

Then Practice Renunciation in Life

Abandon Desire-motivated Actions

Whereas Abandonment has to do with abandoning the results of actions, Renunciation has to do with action itself. 

The practice of Renunciation is to abandon self-motivated actions — acting for the purpose of getting desires fulfilled. Desire drives all actions for anyone who does not take up this simple practice, and can only lead to uncertainty in death and rebirth.

In Surrender Meditation, when actions occur without desire for certain outcomes, they are not considered to be actions. Because you have surrendered yourself to Absolute God, all actions that occur are not yours (even if it seems to you that you have acted) and therefore called ‘inaction’. Such actions are spontaneously carried out by Goddess Shakti during your meditation.

  • Shakti – female God who instigates all actions.

To experiment with this concept, follow these five steps: 

Step 1:  Notice when you are doing something for the purpose of getting a certain result.

Step 2:  Notice what this hoped-for result is, and have a good look at it.

Step 3:  Now let go of your attachment to getting this result. 

Step 4:  “Go on faith” that it is true that WHAT you really are does nothing.

Step 5:  No matter what result the action produces, or whether you like it or not, give it as an offering to Absolute God/Truth (what ever your name is for That). 

Some prefer to begin their journey to Renunciation by first practicing Abandonment, and then practicing Renunciation. Others prefer to do both by practicing Abandonment in daily life, and practicing Renunciation in the meditation room with Surrender Meditation.

Surrender Meditation is the fast track that covers both Abandonment and Renunciation. In this context, Surrender is synonymous with Renunciation and is easy to practice. The only thing that may be difficult at first is getting yourself to do it. You will need to carve out some time every day for it, even if you are profoundly busy. But if you are truly interested in advancing yourself, you will find a way.

Even without specifically practicing Abandonment in life, Surrender Meditation will bring it on anyway, spontaneously, and advance you quickly. It is known as the ‘spiritual jet’ for a reason. 

In either case — Abandonment or Renunciation — through the practice of one, one ultimately comes to both. So it doesn’t really matter where you start, for in either case, you will ultimately be lead to the realization of non-doership, Self realization and Liberation. 

Knowledge is useless if you don’t understand what you know.
Knowledge can only be understood by putting it into action and keeping watch.

Be willing to be right.
Be willing to be wrong.
Be willing to take different points of view about anything.

Make Surrender Meditation your lab and personally experience what you think you know and understand, and then it will be proved to you … one way or another.

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

Abandonment & Renunciation and the Difference Between Them – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 1-2

Abandonment & Renunciation

I am treating this chapter of the Bhagavad Gita based on the ancient, original God-practice, which I call Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, or Surrender Meditation (I doubt it originally had a name that long ago — over 40 thousand years!). This does not mean that I see other translations as invalid or wrong, but we already have many editions from this perspective, and we have none that represent this branch of original Yoga.

There are two original branches of Yoga: One that was understood by means of seeing it practiced, and one that was understood by means of the oral teachings of the one who was seen practicing it.

From the branch relying on observation, techniques were born. From the branch relying on the experience of the one who was seen, the surrender of oneself to God/Truth was employed exclusively. It is this surrender to Absolute God/Truth in meditation that has been virtually unknown and kept hidden from the masses for millennia. This Surrender Yoga is my own path, so I will be addressing these verses from this perspective. 

1
Arjuna spoke:
I wish to know the truth about renunciation, O Mighty Armed One, and of abandonment, Master of the Senses, and the difference between the two, Vanquisher of Demons.

Abandonment - Give it to God
Give Yourself to God

Here we have three epitaphs for Lord Krishna: Master of the Senses, which is associated with abandonment, Mighty Armed One, which is associated with renunciation, and Vanquisher of Demons, which is associated with victory over that-which-is-other-than-Divine, by means of abandonment and renunciation.

We learned about good and evil in chapter sixteen, and followed it up with Faith in chapter seventeen. Now we are in a chapter about renunciation, and Arjuna want’s to know how this is different from abandonment — he wants to get it right so that his knowledge is true and divine knowledge.

Interestingly, Arjuna’s use of these epitaphs reminds us of his innate ability to see the Truth (chapter one) without even realizing what he is seeing. Through his Guru’s grace however, his inner Knowing is brought forth. Like you, Arjuna already knows the Truth and only has to awaken to it. 

You already know everything. You have but to learn what you know.

2
The Blessed Lord spoke:
According to the wise, the abandonment of desire-motivated actions is renunciation, and the abandonment of the fruits of actions, is abandonment.

Surrender
Leave everything to God in meditation.
  • According to the wise (vichakṣhaṇa) – clear-sighted and wise through learning and experience.
  • Abandonment (tyaga) – the abandonment of the results of action.
  • Renunciation (sanyasa) – the abandonment of desire-motivated action.

Everything we do is motivated by desire. Renunciation then, boils down to non-doing. But how can we actually accomplish this? 

Spontaneous Action in Surrender Meditation
Spontaneous Action

We can start with Abandonment — we surrender all the things our actions produce to God/Truth. This is the abandonment of the fruits of action, which is something we can easily practice anytime, anywhere. Then, through meditation practiced correctly, we can let God take over and not take the credit or blame for anything that happens in our meditation. Now our meditation is a period of Renunciation.

The only reason this is not easy to do is because the mind, with the ego at its core, will always try to take the lead role and convince you that you were the one doing all those actions. Then, even though you know better, because you feel like you were the doer of these actions, you may believe there must be something wrong with you. These tricks of the ego are best ignored.

Everything we do is motivated by desire.

Spontaneous Action in Surrender Meditation
Spontaneous Action

But we learned in previous chapters that this is the ‘demon’ ego tricking you into thinking that you are the one doing the action. But the real doer of action is always Nature. So this is the thing to remember.

We start all this simply by surrendering the ‘fruits’, or results, of our desire-motivated actions to God/Truth in meditation. 

Now we have two practices: One that can be practiced outside of meditation (abandonment) in our daily lives, and one that takes place in meditation (renunciation).

If we are willing to take a chance on God and surrender ourselves to God in meditation, we can easily accept whatever God brings. We have let go of desires and expectations for certain results (abandonment) and now we are truly free for the duration of our meditation. Thus begins the God-practice we have been taught over and over, again and again, in this Gita. Through your experience with it, you will come to see that the Real You is never the doer of action. 

All action occurs in Nature, and you are not Nature. You are You. Period. 

Having gained experience through this meditation, you will ultimately reach this realization on your own. You are a renunciate now, already established in abandonment, and you are headed for Divine Union and Liberation. 

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