Knowledge – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 18-22

Knowledge

18
The knower, the knowing (of the thing to be known), and the knowledge of it, constitute the three factors that induce action. Action, the instrument and the doer are the three components of the action itself.

Knowledge

The knowledge, the knowing and the knower.

“The knower, the knowing (of the thing to be known), and knowledge of it.”

“Knowledge” – what is known.

“Knowing” – the process of getting the knowledge.

“Knower” – the one who receives the knowledge.

Knowledge, knowing, and the knower” is also translated as “Knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the knower.” What is the difference between ‘knowing’ and ‘the object of knowledge’?

“The object of knowledge” is a ‘sense object’ that is perceptible by any of the five senses.

“The knower” is the one who wants to know it.

“The knowledge” is what is received by the Knower — what the knower knows.

“The object of knowledge” is anything your physical senses perceive. Once you have perceived something, whether gross or subtle, you know it. It is now “knowledge” and you are the “knower” of that knowledge.

Once you ‘know’ something you may like it or not. If you like it you act in order to get it. If you don’t like it, you act to avoid it. In other words, the receiving of the perceptions of the physical senses compel action. Whether wanting to have or avoid it, both are ‘desires’.

Desires are considered to be obstacles to yoga, so many yogis try to get rid of them. This is not possible. But it is possible to rise above being attached to these desires by becoming their master (they don’t run you). This is achieved by abandoning attachments and becoming indifferent to their presence.

You are not aware of everything that you know. For instance, it is like looking at something with your eyes while your eyes are also seeing other things in your peripheral vision of which you are unaware but are receiving regardless. 

Also, anything perceived by any of the senses is called ‘knowledge’, but knowledge is not always correct knowledge. 

In this world of human existence, the way we know something requires that the senses reach out to their ‘objects’, perceive them, and bring back what they have perceived to the mind to be known and stored in memory.

KnowledgeIn the world of Yoga, one perceives things in sabija samadhi, but not with the physical senses, but with the sense faculties which have separated from the physical senses. In this situation, what is ‘known’ is Divine, rather than mundane. During this time there is no desire for anything because you are already fulfilled, and any action that takes place is spontaneous and incurs no karma (the bondage accrued by performing action for personal gain).  

In nirbija samadhi however, knowledge is Absolute, so there is no object of knowledge or any process of knowing going on, and the knower is merged into the Divine Absolute. Though he retains his individuality, he is not only beyond any sense of doing, but he is beyond having any sense-of-self. Here there is only all of Us, Divine Love, Perfect Bliss and complete Fulfillment. 

Action

The action, the instrument and the agent.

“Action, the instrument and the doer are the threefold components of action.”

“The instrument” – one or more of the senses and the mind.

“The action” – the act of utilizing the instrument.

“The agent” – the performer of the action.

Knowledge, Action & Agent

19
It is taught in Sankhya, that knowledge, action and agent are of three kinds according to the three gunas. Now here about these:

He is saying that knowledge, action and the doer of action are of three kinds generated by the three gunas. When it comes to action of any kind, including both learning (knowing) and doing (acting), it is always the gunas that are the cause, and it is their attributes of pleasant (sattva), passionate (rajas) or dull (tamas) that determine the nature of the learning and doing, as well as their performer.

Sankhya Yoga is one of the great schools of Indian philosophy that relies on intelligence, logic and reasoning. It takes the only reliable means of gaining proof of knowledge to be perception, inference, and the testimony of reliable sources (those who have proven it for themselves and can give authentic guidance). 

20 — Sattvic Knowledge (pleasant and illuminating)
Sattva - IlluminatingThe knowledge by which one sees one undivided Imperishable Reality in all diverse living beings — undivided in the divided — is sattvic knowledge.

While each of us is a different individual from other individuals in WHO it is that each of us really is, you are the one that you are, and I am the one that I am. As separate embodied beings we appear to be different. But because we are all the same in WHAT it is that each of us Really is — Divine Absolute Individuals — we are undivided in our sameness and our true Reality.

21 — Rajasic Knowledge (reckless, excited)
Rajas - excitingThe knowledge by which one sees numerous living entities in diverse bodies as different and separate, is rajasic knowledge.

Not seeing this undivided sameness in WHAT each of us really is, we see only bodies and personalities instead — we see others as different and separate from ourselves.

22 — Tamasic Knowledge (prone to error)
Tamas - mistake!
But that knowledge by which one irrationally clings to one little thing as if it were all that is, possesses no reason or familiarity with Truth, is tamasic.

Any knowledge that is not based on Truth, but is believed to be true and adamantly clung to for dear life, is tamasic knowledge. We see this kind of thinking all around us in those who ignore Truth, and irrationally adulate what they believe as if it were all that is. This belief — this ‘one little thing’ — is their god. 

Knowledge comes before action, so getting correct knowledge is important. This calls for sattva. This kind of knowledge can be sought in everyday life, or by means of direct experience through meditation.

If you can’t understand sattva or imagine yourself in a sattvic state, look at rajas and tamas and consider how you might manage to avoid them.

Shri Ramakrishna
Shri Ramakrishna in Spontaneous Samadhi

If you are seeking God/Truth (by any name), you will also need direct experience to validate or correct what you determine as Truth. Direct experience is known in scriptures as svarga, or heaven, and in Yoga as samadhi. So you will have to get it from the Source, and there is only one way to do this: you must take up meditation. You can take years learning techniques for meditating and hope to get there in this lifetime, or you can surrender yourself to God/Truth in meditation and get their quickly.

Direct experience is the personal experience of knowing Truth/God directly. ‘Directly’ means ‘without any means’. This includes the mind. You cannot achieve direct experience via the mind. The actual state of meditation, which is what you will need for this purpose, is preceded by six things that occur before it. In Surrender Meditation, these six things will occur in their early stages quickly, and continue to advance over time and practice. Direct experience can occur when these requisite precursors have all been achieved even minimally. 

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

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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

The Place of No Return – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 15, Vs 5-7

Absolute

5
Those who are free of pride and enslavement by the dark night of attachment, are freed from dualities. Having withdrawn from objects of desire and no longer deluded, they dwell in the True Self, and attain the feet of the Eternal.

  • Pride – self-importance, arrogance, vanity, self-adulation, egotism.
  • Enslavement – bound, attached.
  • Freed from dualities – such as ease and dis-ease, pleasure and pain, etc.
  • True Self – The Real You, a divine, perfect, imperishable individual.

In the previous verse on overcoming Attachment, it was said that one must then seek that place where, once having gone, one will not return again … and surrender at His feet. This verse reveals what happens when you do this: you are free, you are not affected by dualities, and you dwell in your True Self — you are your Real Self, the Real You. That’s what happens when you surrender to God. 

When you “dwell in the True Self,” you will have no desires pulling at you because you will have the very thing you have lived for all these many lifetimes. You have discovered that by surrendering yourself to God, you get God; and when you get God, you get your True Self. This is the easiest way to Self-realization. It happens automatically because God and the Real Self are not different. But trying to get your True Self first, or trying to circumvent God altogether in order to get to your True Self, you will fail. The KEY to Self-realization is God-realization … because God and the Real You are not different.

If you believe that you have achieved Self-realization and did so without first realizing God, you are fooling yourself. Many people start this way, but if they are truly Self-realized, they will be the first to tell you that it was God as other-then-self that made it so. 

The key to Self-realization is God-realization

When you “dwell in the True Self,” dualities, like ease and dis-ease, happiness and unhappiness, like and dislike, good and evil, will become neutralized. “Pride and enslavement by the darkness of attachment” will be a distant memory, and you will wonder how in the world could you ever have been so deluded.

It is not desire itself that binds us, but rather our attachments to our desires.

6
Neither the sun nor the moon nor fire illumine that abode of Mine. Once having gone to that place, one does not return again.

Natural light sources of sun, moon and fire do not illumine His Abode. By now in your meditation, you have visited amazing places where everything shone of their own light, so light sources were not present. This was sabija samadhi. But now, because of the mention of non-return, we find that you have graduated to nirbija samadhi, that ‘place’ where there is no light source because there is no-thing to see. The only thing present here is the unending happiness, rolling bliss, and the complete fulfillment of union with Absolute God/Truth. Having reached it, you are liberated from the cycles of death and rebirth — “one does not return again.”

7
A small part of My Eternal Self, becoming endowed with life in the world of the living, draws the five senses, with the mind as the sixth, to exist in material nature.

Krishna & Radha
Krishna and Radha as Purusha and Prakriti

A part of God went with You when you became embodied. This caused Your inherent powers of perception and consciousness to become manifest in material nature as five physical sense organs and a brain.

The sense organs are your means of perception (consciousness of), which are received by the brain and mind. These are powers that you have as a living being because they are inherent to the Real You (which is absolute). Here in this world (which is relative), they are the manifestations of your power to Know, drawn into material nature (manifested) by God-in-you: Purushottama.  

While God may seem to be many separate small parts in all of the many separate and different Beings, He is nevertheless what He Is: God, unlimited and Absolute God within each of us here in the Relative Realm of this world.

The powers that you have as a Divine Individual to see, hear, feel, taste, smell and know, become manifest as eyes, ears, skin, tongue, nose and brain. Absolute God’s presence within you makes it so.

Parvati & Shiva
Parvati and Shiva as Prakriti and Purusha

Knowing this, one might be more inclined to put aside trying to using these powers to gratify desires, and instead, reach for the Divine Force that is behind them. This Divine Force is not different than You.

Here in this world, all things known by the mind are obtained by means of the senses.

The ‘Highest Purusha’ is the Divine Individual in the Absolute who first accepted you unconditionally, and as the same as Himself. This relationship you have with Absolute God has caused your ability to Know, to become manifest in the material world as five physical senses so that you can experience it.

Purusha & Prikriti in the Absolute

  • Purusha – a Divine Individual who perceives one or more other Divine Individuals
  • Prakriti – a Divine Individual perceived by one or more other Divine Individuals

Purusha & Prikriti in the Relative Realm

  • Purusha – the Real You 
  • Prakriti – Real Divine Others — all Others that you perceive (even though you erroneously perceive them as Nature)

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

Surrender Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

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