Risk, Efficacy and Victory – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 10, Vs 36-37

Krishna - Arjuna - Victorious

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The manifestations of God in the world, in you, and in the entire universe.

The eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Arjuna and his childhood friend and Guru, Lord Krishna. Arjuna has asked Him to explain how He, as Absolute God, exists within Creation (beginning with verses 19-20, “God in You”):

Risk, Efficacy and Victory

36
Of gamblers I am the risk, and of the noble I am their efficacy. I am the victory of the determined, and the purity and goodness of the resolute.

There are several ways to translate this verse. To keep it down to one, I am using what is most applicable to my own sadhana.

Of gamblers I am the risk. This works for me because I understand from the Mahabharata that the good guys, the Pandavas, were involved in gambling. This kind of behavior is usually looked down on by the religious, but there is a special meaning here:

The Pandavas, Arjuna’s people, were urged over and over again by Lord Krishna Himself, to take up this ‘battle’. He advised this for the purpose of regaining their throne, their inheritance, so they finally acquiesced and surrendered to Lord Krishna and accepted his guidance.

This also applies to us. We have lost our throne, our authority over our own selves and our own lives. Taking a chance and surrendering to Absolute God/Truth will reverse this situation and bring you into your inheritance. Surrender to a God you don’t know yet may seem like a risk, but one takes this risk on faith in order to achieve victory. The end result is union (yoga) with That.

Of the noble, I am their efficacy. Making the choice to engage in this battle and put God in the driver’s seat as Arjuna did, literally, is a noble act that leads to victory. Lord Krishna is saying that He is the effectiveness resulting from Arjuna’s having made this choice.

I am the victory of the determined, and the purity and goodness of the resolute. This tells us that, with resolute determination we will achieve victory, and all that is good and true.

37
Of the Vrishnis, I am Vasudeva. Of the sons of Pandu, I am the Conqueror of Wealth. Of the munis, I am Vyasa, and of poets, I am Ushana.

Vrishnis. Of the descendants of the Vrishni clan, Krishna is the son of Vasudeva. Vasudeva means ‘indwelling god’ or ‘indwelling divine individual’, the Real Self inside all the packaging. He is saying that His birth as Krishna is the result of what is Real that dwells within. This is consistent with being the avatara of Vishnu (‘all-pervader’), the first divine individual in the Absolute to be self-aware and know Other divine individuals as the same. 

Of the Sons of Pandu. The Pandus, Arjuna’s people, are risker-takers. Not only is getting involved in a war a risk, but it all started with Arjuna’s brother gambling with the enemy and losing everything. Lord Krishna is addressing Arjuna as Dhanañjaya, which means ‘winner of wealth’. He is letting Arjuna know that he can expect success. What this means then, is that we can expect success in this facet of our own practice.

What facet is this? Awakening the sleeping evolutionary force (kundalini) so that we can retake our inheritance as sovereign Self-knowing lords by defeating the enemy represented as the Kurus, the ‘doers’. In other words, we will come to accept ourselves as sovereign non-doing divine individuals, knowing that all action occurs in nature, and what we really is not nature and does nothing.

Of the Munis. A muni is a saint, sage, devotee or hermit, a Brahman (God-person) of the highest order. Krishna is saying that of munis, He is Vyasa.

Now remember that it is Vyasa, the Sage, who is writing this conversation between Krishna (God) and Arjuna (you). Once again he inserts himself into the plot, this time as the greatest of munis, Lord Krishna Himself.

I suspect that there have been many authors called Vyasa (‘compiler and arranger’), but this one has a unique signature: his sense of humor finds it way into the text as he puts himself into the plot. 

Of Poets, Ushana. The keepers of spiritual knowledge were sages who were poets and bards. This not only preserved knowledge, but protected it from corruption. Teachings like this Bhagavad Gita (‘God’s Song’), were preserved in rhythmic verse and meter, making them almost impossible to be tampered with or lost, but easy to remember. These poet-sages were very advanced and enlightened yogis who understood what they were chanting and preserving. Krishna is saying that of these poets he is Ushana, the poet most ‘zealous and impassioned’.

  • Poet (kavi) – “a wise man, sage, seer, prophet, singer, bard” and “insightful, intelligent, knowing, enlightened, wise, sensible, prudent, skillful.”

The other device for preserving teachings was sutras, the use of short phrases, or even single words, which were memorized and used as cues for the remembrance of the associated teachings. One famous example is the Yoga Sutras of the sage Patanjali. Many read these sutras and expect that they are the teachings, but this is not so. They are bell-ringers meant to stimulate the memory of the mysteries they hold, many of which are only orally communicated. Perhaps we will take up the Yoga Sutras once we complete the Bhagavad Gita.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one you really are),
Durga Ma
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Kundalini, All-Pervasiveness & Three Worlds – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 10, Vs 21

Vishnu - All-Pervader
Vishnu, ‘All-Pervader’

The Power of God & You

The manifestations of God in the world, in you, and in the entire universe.

The eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Arjuna and his childhood friend and Guru, Lord Krishna. Arjuna has asked Him to explain how He, as Absolute God, exists within Creation. Lord Krishna began answering this question in verses 19-20, “God In You”, and continues:

Kundalini, All-Pervasiveness & Three Worlds

21
Of the Adityas, I am Vishnu. Of heavenly luminaries, I am the radiant sun. Of the Maruts, I am Marici. Of heavenly bodies, I am the moon.

Alternate translation:
I am Unlimited (Aditya) and pervade all that is (Vishnu). Of light appearing in the three worlds (of the body), I am the Sun (Prana, the Life Energy). Of the Storm Gods (Maruts) I am lightening (Marici). Of heavenly bodies, I am the Moon (soma):

Expansion:
As the Unlimited (Absolute), I pervade everything. Of heavenly luminaries I am the Sun, the Life Energy in the three worlds of the body. Of the Storm and Wind Gods (Maruts) I am the lightening (Marici) striking in the heaven of bodies (the head), where I am also the ‘moon of mystery’. 

Aditi with Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva
Aditi with Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva at Her feet.

Aditya means ‘coming from Aditi’. Aditi is one of the most ancient Indian of Goddesses. She represents the Eternal and Infinite. The word aditi means ‘boundless, inexhaustible, abundance, unimpaired, and perfect’.

God Everywhere

Lord Krishna is an avatara of Vishnu embodied in the relative realm of this world. All His vibhutis (powers, manifestations) are evidence of Him as Absolute God pervading everything…this material world, as well as the personal world of your body. Absolute Unlimited God is everywhere in everything, microcosmically and macrocosmically. The Relative could not exist without the Absolute.

Everything is Absolutely Relative

Absolute God is not being anything because It is already everything, and so are You (think about that for a minute).

The light “appearing in the three worlds” is jyoti. This light, or fire (energy), is in the ‘kind and gracious’ central channel (sushumna) of the body through which Goddess Kundalini travels upward. The Absolute exists in this relative world as this evolutionary force. She is not evolution itself, but the force, the power, of itThings change because of Her, but Kundalini Herself never changes. 

Earth, Sky and Heaven

The world of Earth is up to the diaphragm. The Sky, or Atmosphere, is from the diaphragm up to and including the fifth chakra. Heaven is above.

The ascent of the Life Energy with Kundalni through the central channel of the body is brought on by the Storm God, Marici, ‘lightening’, which can be seen in meditation. This visual experience indicates the production of soma by the pineal gland. Soma is amrita, the nectar of immortality, before it is pure. The purpose of amrita is the attainment of your natural state as a Divine, Indestructible, Absolute Individual.

Marici (lightening) is also the name of the first of the Seven Rishis of the first Manvantara  (306,720,000 of our years) whose Manu (ruling force) was Svayambhu. Svayambhu means ‘self-existent’, which describes Absolute God, and You as a Divine Absolute Individual.

WHO you are is the individual. WHAT you are is Absolute. Now that you know this, it is time to move on and put yourself and your life in sync with this Truth.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one you really are),
Durga Ma
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Avatara – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 9, Vs 11-14

“When I assume human form, the ignorant deride Me, not knowing My highest existence as Maheśhvara. The ignorant, whose hopes, actions and knowledges are ineffectual, are harmful, as they cling like demons to whatever enthralls them. But those Great Souls who have attained My divine nature through their singleminded devotion to Me, know Me as the origin of all creation, the Imperishable Absolute. Always engaged in yoga, their continuous practice and devotion glorifies Me. Worshipping Me thus, they are united with Me.” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, Verses 11-14 

Lord Krish
Lord Krishna, Avatara of Vishnu, Sustainer of LIfe

11
When I assume human form, the ignorant deride Me, not knowing My highest existence as Maheśhvara.  

  • Ignorant – at a loss about, stupefied, bewildered, perplexed, confused, a fool.
  • Deride – treat as unworthy of serious consideration, dismiss, despise, disesteem, treat with contempt, look down on. 

Lord Krishna is an avatara, a temporary human manifestation of an eternally existent God. As a manifestation, an avatar looks and acts like a human being, but by calling Himself Maheshvara, Lord Krishna is telling us that He is actually Absolute God, even though He has taken up residence in a human body in the relative realm of this world.

  • Maheśhvara – Great God, great lord, sovereign. From maha (great, mighty, strong) and ishvara (another name of God meaning master or lord). Maheśhvara is God in the highest sense, Absolute God (See “God is One and Two” regarding the nature of God).

The Absolute is the source of creation but not an acting agent. Absolute God does nothing at all, yet an avatara comes to earth from time to time to take bodily form for a reason. According to the Gita, the purpose of an avatara is to mitigate the prevalence of suffering. Aside from any specific mission, an avatara’s mere presence alone is a tonic to the world. 

“The ignorant deride Me”
An avatara is usually not known for what he or she is, but is hated, insulted, completely missed by the ordinary person. The ordinary person sees only the body and is thus unable to recognize an avatara.  

No one who isn’t one can recognize one.

There are descriptions of avataras, but they are not correct but apply to the Divine Bodies of yogis who have succeeded in Yoga. An avatara will fit all of the following descriptions, even though they are not always easy to see:

  • Unusual circumstances surround their birth
  • They are born with an unusual degree of awareness of their surroundings
  • They are born with an identifying mark on the body
  • They do not see the body as the self, but as a place to be
  • An avatara has genius and multiple talents and abilities
  • An avatara has strong empathy, awareness of the suffering in the world, and takes on that suffering to mitigate it
  • They remember coming to this world, and they remember the experience
  • They come with a mission
  • They have special powers not possessed by most humans, but rarely expose them

12
The ignorant, whose hopes, actions and knowledges are ineffectual, are harmful, as they cling like demons to whatever enthralls them.

Lord Krishna is shedding some light on the ordinary person’s inability to discern an avatara by further describing ignorance: Even though what they want, what they do and what they know are ineffectual and harmful, they continue to cling to them. 

Alternate translation
The ignorant, those whose hopes, actions and knowledges are useless, are seduced by attaching demonic entities that delude them and cause harm.

There are thought to be many levels of existence, some better than our own, and some worse. Entities of the lower worlds are considered to be demonic in nature, and have a vested interest in bringing us down to their own level.

I’m not talking about ghouls and ghosts that go bump in the night, but entities that can attach themselves to humans and cause trouble. They particularly like deterring people from any spiritual progress toward liberation and knowing God/Truth. They do this primarily by seducing humans to chase after the glitter of the attractions the senses provide. They have enough knowledge to know that this will work.

This is not a subject that should be dwelt upon, but it should also not be ignored or denied, for secrecy only gives a thing more power.

13-14
But those Great Souls who have attained My divine nature through their singleminded devotion to Me, know Me as the origin of all creation, the Imperishable Absolute. 
Always engaged in yoga, their continuous practice and devotion glorifies Me. Worshipping Me thus, they are united with Me.

Now it appears that not every one of us is ignorant or chasing after glitter that is not gold. There are Great Souls among us. These two verses give us a picture of these Great Souls: They know the Absolute to be the origin of creation, and they are single-mindedly devoted to the Absolute and to the constant God-practice of yoga. Glorifying God through this practice, they are with God, sitting at the right hand of God.

  • Glorify – to make clear by one’s actions; to venerate, worship, and be grateful to, etc. 

What Lord Krishna has taught Arjuna, this ‘profound secret’, glorifies God, making God/Truth more clear to Arjuna (and to us). This ‘secret yoga‘ is a demonstration of gratitude that goes beyond the norm, and is the worship that brings one into union with the worshipped: God, Truth, the Absolute. It is the tonic of the avatara mitigating the sorrows of the world.

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