The Yogi and the Devotee – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 12, Vs 2-4

I AM ETERNAL

The Bhagavad Gita appears in the story of the Mahabharata. It is a conversation between Lord Krishna and his devotee and childhood friend, Arjuna. Listening in, we receive the teachings of Lord Krishna as he relates them to Arjuna.

The subject of this chapter is Devotion.

This post addresses the answer to Arjuna’s question on who has the best knowledge of Yoga, withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara), and equanimity (samadhi).


Previously:
Arjuna spoke:  Of those who are constantly engaged in worshipping You, and those who worship the Imperishable Absolute, which has the best knowledge of Yoga?

The Devotee

2
The Blessed Lord spoke:
Those who are always absorbed in Me as their highest objective, always engaging in worshipping Me with the highest degree of faith, I consider to be the My best devotees who are naturally attached to Me.  

  • Worshipping – ‘surrendering, loving, serving’

Alternate translation:
For those highest initiated, the mind easily becomes absorbed in Me and produces supreme faith, so they are naturally the most devoted to Me. 

In this verse, Lord Krishna is describing someone who worships Personal God as Himself. It seems then, that the answer to Arjuna’s question must be “those who are always engaged in worshipping Me” have the best knowledge. But Lord Krishna hasn’t really addressed this, only that they are the most devoted to Him as Personal God.

This verse is describing someone who has advanced significantly in their yoga practice. By referring to the “highest initiated” He indicates those who know the science of yoga and meditation, and understand the nature of its unfolding over time. But as to who has the best knowledge of yoga, He has yet to say.  

The Yogi

3 – 4
But those who worship the Imperishable Absolute, which by its very nature is inexplicable—eternally unchanging, intangible, invisible and everywhere—with all the senses subdued, the mind indifferent everywhere, delighting in affection for all beings and esteeming them as equal, they also attain Me.

Now we have our answer: both. Whether you worship Personal God or Impersonal God you can attain God, though the path of the invisible Absolute is more demanding..

“The senses subdued”

The subduction, control or restraint of the senses is called pratyahara, that magical state of meditation in which the sense faculties, or powers, withdraw from the physical senses. The ability (power) to hear, see, feel, etc., is separated from their objects (sound, sight, touch, etc.). In this state, the sense organs (ears, eyes, skin, etc.) naturally have no connection to sense objects. Once one has reached this point, samadhi (equanimity) is not far away.

This can be taken two ways: The yogi either tries to control the senses, or the senses automatically come under control. The first is the path of the will, in which one uses the will to achieve the desired results. The second is the path of surrender to God, in which one does nothing and leaves everything to God.

  • Pratyahara, the spontaneous withdrawal of the sense faculties from their corresponding sense organs, allowing for direct perception (without any means, i.e., the sense organs). The gateway to samadhi.
  • Samadhi is a state in which the mind is the same throughout, and either not moving at all, or moving uniformly.

“The mind indifferent everywhere”

This phrase describes the effects of pratyahara as the condition that produces and is present in samadhi.

The Sanskrit for ‘mind’ in this verse, is buddhi. Buddhi is the part of the mind that is intelligent, rational, and makes judgements. 

  • Buddhi: intellect, reason, the discriminative faculty of the mind. 

Outside of Meditation

Pratyahara, the withdrawal of the senses, can also take place in everyday life. For one who practices meditation by surrendering to Absolute God, this will happen naturally. The senses will become disinterested and withdraw from their objects gradually over time. In the beginning, this may show up after the fact with the discovery that something that once attracted you has lost its power. Or you may have simply forgotten it and only realized this change later.

An example of my own experience of this, was finding a bottle of wine in the back of the refrigerator that had been there for weeks. I had been used to having a glass of wine when I came home from work in the evening, but had forgotten all about it. Then, one day when I was cleaning the refrigerator, there it was, an untouched bottle of wine. This heralded profound experiences in my meditation, the result of this phase of pratyahara in daily life.

The senses are otherwise always active, with the attention constantly flowing outward to perceive things, and bringing them back to the mind for storage. For this reason, those who practice willful yoga must work very hard to try to get the senses to stop bringing things into the mind, keeping it busy and aborting yoga. Some avoid people, places and things that keep the mind active. For instance, if a man becomes agitated in the presence of women, he will avoid women. But in surrender sadhana, pratyahara happens spontaneously and powerfully in meditation, and opens the door to samadhi naturally.

Of the devotee who experiences God as Personal, and the yogi who experiences God as Impersonal, both know Yoga and reach God. The only real difference is how.

Regarding Samadhi

Do you think that samadhi, or meditation for that matter, requires that you sit a certain way? If you do, these masters would not agree with you. Kripalu is dancing. Anandamayi Ma has risen in ecstasy. Shri Ramakrishna is in blissful bhava-samadhi with a devotee supporting him to avoid another fall. These saints are beyond caring what we think.

One usually thinks of samadhi as the final frontier of Yoga, but it is really a part of the process of purifying and clearing the mind, though in advanced stages, it is certainly very fulfilling. 

  • Samādhi समाधि sama (the same) + adhi (as above)

Also, the idea that samadhi only occurs when the mind is not moving is incorrect. The mind may be moving or not. As to the nature of its movements, the next common error would be that such movement would have to be sattvic (smooth-flowing and peaceful). But this is also incorrect. It is the uniformity that is the key (samadhi means ‘sameness’). The state of mental activity will depend on the nature of the purification. In the highest samadhi (nirbija) one surpasses this process.

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

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Anandamayi Ma

 

Surrender & Self Realization – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 11, Vs 38 – 40

Eternal Divine Purusha
Eternal Divine Purusha – The first Individual in the Absolute to know and accept all Others.

This post addresses the first god, all-pervasiveness, the sound of Everywhere, and Self-realization.

In the story of the Mahabharata war, this Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Lord Krishna and his devotee and childhood friend, Arjuna. Listening in, we receive the teachings of Lord Krishna as he relates them to Arjuna.

Arjuna now speaks to Lord Krishna:

38
You are the first god, the most ancient Purusha of all, the ultimate resort of all the universe. You are the knower, the knowable and the highest state, pervading the universe in endless forms.

Purusha – a Self-aware Divine Individual in the Absolute who knows one or more Others. Another Divine Individual known to Purusha is called Prakriti.

The first god – the first Divine Individual in the Absolute to become Self-aware and accepting of all Others as divine, and who therefore does not come into Being but remains the first and highest ‘god’. Those who regard God as an individual entity have accepted this Purusha as Personal God.

Eternal Divine Purusha who knows and accepts Another as Divine.
Prakriti, a Divine Individual, and Purusha, knower of Prakriti.

Gods and Ancestors

39
You are Vayu, Yama, Agni, Varuna, the Moon, Prajapati, as well as the Ancestors. I surrender, I surrender, I offer myself to You a thousand times over, and again and yet again I offer myself to You over and over again.

Ancestors – those who came before us. When one reaches perfection, one is liberated from rebirth, and the ancestors of that individual are also freed, even though they did not attain liberation in life or death. Not only are the ancestors those who came before us, but they are present in our DNA.

I am saying they are actually present in our DNA, that DNA is not just genetic information, not just hereditary traits, but the actual presence of unlimited and all-pervading Divine Individuals just like You.

Yama – Yama is said to be the lord of death, the lord of the spirits of the dead and the ancestors. But yama also means ‘pair’ and ‘that which holds pairs together’. Yama presides over the double helix of the DNA.

Of the eight limbs of Yoga, Yama is self-restraint, brahmacharya, the means of attaining the deepest form of concentration, meditation and wisdom.

Agni – fire, the fiery energy in the body that burns away impurities; the heat of tapas (‘to burn’).

Varuna – water, or fluidity; the eliminator of impurities. Fluidity also refers to adaptability, and the ability of hormones to pass through the walls of endocrine glands.

Moonsoma. In advanced stages of Yoga the moon represents the potential for perfection: Soma passes through endocrine glands to be purified by tapas and alchemically transformed into amrita, ‘the nectar of immortality’ which brings about perfection.

Vayu – wind, the breath, one of the five elements (air). In the body, vayu is called Prana, the Life Force.

Prajapati – a ‘god’ who brings forth and protects born beings.

Surrender

40
Surrenders to You from in front and behind, and surrenders to You from all sides. You pervade everything, therefore You are everything. 

Having seen Lord Krishna’s true form, Arjuna has caught on to His all-pervasiveness, and the magic of surrendering to Him as Absolute God. And now he knows that he will never take any other course. He knows this surrender to be the God-action spoken of before, and his joy is heard in his words.

All-pervasiveness

OM, the sound of Everywhere
OM, the Sound of Everywhere

One of the characteristics of the Divine, of God, and therefore of You, is all-pervasiveness.

This idea is difficult to grasp because it is not intellectually rational (remember that intellect is fighting on the side of the enemy in this ‘war’). The reason for this is that we are all identified with our bodies, which consist of physical matter located in space. But we are not physical bodies, and we are not confined to one place in space. What we really are is everywhere. The Divine Individual You is present in every body. The only difference between us as human beings, is that the arrangement of individuals within each body is uniquely different. This difference shows up in the skin ridge patterns on our hands and fingerprints, and in our DNA.

Self Realization

Most of us recognize that, in some way, we are all connected. But this connectedness is not something running between each of us, connecting each of us to other individuals. Everyone of us is within every one of us. We really are Divine Absolute Unlimited Individuals, and we are everywhere in everyone. This is why we have essential spiritual principles for living in sync with this Truth: What you do affects everyone.

Jesus said, “What you do to this man, you do to Me.”

This is the Truth that is behind Self Realization, the emergence of the Real You. This is revealed in life when you are in sync with the Real You—living like That, acting like That, being like That. This in turn brings you happiness and joy, a good life, and the ability to reach complete freedom and perfection if you so choose.

Living and being in sync with your True Self will ultimately bring you to Self Realization. Moving yourself in this direction is the greatest service to the world that you can ever give. All other kinds of service are temporal, but this service to others by making your own progress toward Self Realization, can only grow.

Anandamayi Ma

“I am what I was and what I shall be.”
Born April 30, 1896, died August 27, 1982

 

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“Self-realization IS God-realization, and God-realization IS Self-realization.” — Anandamayi Ma

I was lost in the bliss of Her presence while putting this slideshow together (it took a long time).

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

Natural  Meditation & Life Mastery

Natural Meditation is spontaneous and non-forceful. It will take you on the most amazing journey you will ever experience. Explore shaktipat kundalini yoga meditation in three forms.

Life Mastery synchronizes you and your life with your naturally divine characteristics and the Real You emerges. Attain and maintain success. Gain greater self-awareness and a happier life.

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

The Highest Goal – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 9, Vs 32-33

Janaka, the King who was a Sage
Janaka, the King who was a Sage

“Those who take refuge in Me, even those of inauspicious wombs—women, Vaishayas, and even Shudras—also go to the Highest Goal. How much easier it is then, for Brahmans and royal sages! So having acquired this temporal and unhappy world, devote yourself to Me!” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, Verses 32-33

32
Those who take refuge in Me, Arjuna, even those of inauspicious wombs — women, Vaishayas and even Shudras — also go to the Highest Goal.

“Inauspicious wombs”
The Sanskrit also means ‘boding evil, unfortunate or troubled’ and refers to the caste system whereby the lowest are those who are laborers (vaishayas) or work for others (shudras). As to women, being born female has long been a sub-standard condition everywhere on earth, in the present and previous age, since the end of the Golden Age (satya yuga, Age of Truth) when living in Truth began to decline.

He is saying that, regardless of one’s birth or history, anyone can do this. If a woman can do this Yoga, so can you. If a hard-working man can do it, so can you. And even if you are a servant (employee) to someone else, you can do it.

Women

Anandamayi Ma, saint, sage, avatara.
Anandamayi Ma, saint, sage, avatara.

In our present age, everything is up-side-down. God is worshipped as male, even though there are vestiges the feminine divine that remain in remote places in texts, icons and murtis.

It is now known that everyone starts life as a female. This changes when testosterone attacks the empathy center in the brain and eradicates a large portion of it. At this point the fetus begins to develop as a male body, with amped up action, aggression and anger centers in the brain, brought about by a double dose of testosterone in exchange.

This is not some woo-woo female rant of my own, it is recent science achieved by finally taking a look at the female brain. This is generally not the done thing in science, even where prescription drug testing is concerned, though doctors continue to prescribe these medications for women (what else can they do?—they can only work with what they’ve got).

If you look for it, you will find this relatively new discovery accompanied by denigrating objections, which, of course, is to be expected in our current atmosphere of male supremacy. But you can see it in icons and murtis all over India, where male gods and sages are often difficult to recognize as male, unless you already know who they are. They look feminine—no six-pack abs, no muscle-bound macho males here, just saints, sages and gods. As with many things we in the west believe we are the first to have discovered, the old sages already knew.

The Working Class

When you have to work for a living, which most of us do, you are not in a good position to complete yoga sadhana. The demands of society, especially in the west, make it impossible. You can’t afford to live. You are required to pay for the privilege. It is either work or die unless you are independently well-off.

This situation makes doing yoga, and going very far with it, a very real risk. This is one reason the idea of gambling on the part of the ‘good guys’ is presented in the Mahabharata, the epic in which this Bhagavad Gita takes center stage. Those boys lost the card game and had to spend years in the forest and not make themselves known; no one was supposed to know that they were royalty. That was the deal. So that’s what they did.

Even then, in a society accepting and supportive of sadhus and yogis, completing yoga sadhana was difficult. But as a working man, you can reconsider these consequences because you will be strong enough to plow through. For women this is not the case (no matter what popular media would have you believe in the name of feminine equality and super-powers).

Servants

If your work puts you in the position of working for someone other than yourself, you qualify as a servant, even if that is not your job description. You are working to make money for someone or something else.

In this country being your own boss is punishable—you are taxed for it, and have no ‘benefits’. You are serving others and are ‘owned’ by them—your life, your survival, depends on them. You probably work a forty hour week at least, so when would you have time for taking up yoga seriously enough to make it to the end? Yet Lord Krishna says you can still reach the Highest Goal.

The Highest Goal

Alternate translation:
Those who surrender to Me, even those of unfortunate births —women, the working class man, and servants—can also reach the Highest Goal.

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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 is motivating Arjuna by reminding him that this world is not where he is not going to find genuine and everlasting Happiness. So, before you disagree with this world being an unhappy place, remember who is talking: God. And as I once heard someone say, “God don’t make no mistakes.”

Where do you see yourself in all this? Anyone can reach the Highest Goal through devotion to God and the God-practice of surrender yoga. I am a woman and have made it through, and it was even more worth it than I initially thought it could be. Now I know. And I know that whoever you are, and wherever you fit in the scheme of things, if I can do it, you can do it.

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


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