Faith – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 17

Faith - Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 7.32.19 AM

Translations of the verses of this chapter often appear to be directed toward the priesthood as given in the Vedas (specific texts on Truth). But we also find imbedded within the Sanskrit, their association with the God-practice Lord Krishna is teaching Arjuna (and us).

Considering the fear of risk, which the idea of faith naturally invokes, it occurs to me that faith is the essence of ‘surrender’, or sacrifice, as defined in this God-practice. This risk is represented in the Mahabharata as the gambling of Yudhishthira, Arjuna’s brother, with the blind king’s son, Duryodhana. Yudhishthira lost the toss, and he and his brothers were caused to live undetected for eleven years.   

  • Duryodhana (‘hard fighter’) represents ego-centered desire — he fights hard for what he wants.
  • Yudhishthira means ‘standing firm in battle’. He is the epitome of ‘discipline’ — determined, and going ahead anyway no matter what.

Faith

śhraddha – faith, having faith in, believing in, trusting in, having confidence in.

For some people, faith is the same as belief, and for others it is not. The Sanskrit for ‘faith’ (śhraddha) includes both belief and trust. I usually make a distinction between belief and genuine faith. Personally, I consider belief to be a mental position. True faith, on the other hand, is the outcome of proof that establishes it.

I also see Faith as a position one might take to determine if the object of Faith is, in fact, reliably true. In this case, Faith is assumed, and whether or not the object of Faith (i.e., a person, belief or teaching) can be trusted would remain to be seen. One would then use this assumed Faith to prove or disprove it.

For instance, you decide to ‘go on faith’ that there is a God (God is the object of faith) in order to prove or disprove the existence of God. This would require taking some kind of action. Such action would be a sustained practice, such as meditation, as a viable means of testing it. Without proof, it is only an opinion or a belief.

  • Opinion – you think something is true.
  • Belief – your are certain something is true (whether it is or not).
  • Faith – you know something is true because it has been proven to you.

With Surrender Meditation, one ‘goes on faith’ that this practice will deliver what it promises. It is tested by the meditation itself and proved soon or over time. During this time, new realizations arise, and faith is gradually established with the culmination of each realization.

  • Realization – the act of becoming fully aware of something as fact.

Belief alone is prone to error. Just because someone believes something is so, doesn’t mean it is. Belief is especially problematic if a person is subject to self-deception (which most people are), or is desperate for personal validation (which most people assiduously seek). One would not need belief if one knew for certain that a given object of faith could be counted on without reservation, because it has proven itself to be so.

In spiritual matters, true Faith comes as the result of direct experience. Direct experience is experience without any means — mental, physical or emotional — and is neither ‘gut instinct’ nor intuition. Through meditation practiced correctly, one can experience Truth/God directly and know the Truth for certain, whereas anything perceived indirectly is subject to error.

Laboratory
Make your meditation your lab.

In practical matters, proof should show itself the same way numerous times under the same conditions before it is accepted as true.  

Determining your faith or certainty regarding something or someone will require a little risk on your part. However, most people are not amenable to taking risks of this kind. Even those who take risks at the blackjack table or invest the family fortune in a questionable venture, are often unwilling to take any risk in order to find Truth

Whether your quest centers on a person, a thing, or a theological premise, such as whether there is a God or not, or if your Guru is the real deal or not, you must first look within yourself and then take the leap. 

Look Inside Yourself

  • Have I seen correctly?
  • Is there anything within my own mind and feelings that is in error?
  • Might I have some kind of agenda of which I am unaware? What is it?
  • Am I avoiding any red flags? Or am I seeing what I want to see?
  • Am I in denial about anything I perceive about this?
  • Do I really understand this, or this person and their actions and motivations?
  • Have I really looked and attempted to understand, or am I waiting for them to understand me?

Acquiring faith will always involve some sense of risk, whether anything is actually at risk or not. But this is a good thing for it can bring you real faith and real validation, and the only real risk is to your ego.

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

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67 – 68 Fixing Bumps In The Road

Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 67 – 68

Verses 67 and 68 are in answer to the dilemma presented in verse 66: “There is no intelligence or meditation for one whose senses are not restrained, and for one who does not meditate there is no serenity. Without serenity how can there be happiness?”

67 – The Bump
When the mind is filled with the acquisitions provided by the roaming senses, it carries away one’s Intelligence, like the wind a ship on the water. 

You’ve made good progress and have some real wisdom, and along comes a bump in the road and you start missing your meditation practice. Not because it is difficult to meditate, but because the ‘roaming senses’ are busy 24/7 and you’ve gotten caught up in things and can’t find the time. You may think it is because you are a responsible person and have so much to do. But this is not why you are not meditating.

You are not meditating because, looking for a little happiness, you get seduced by the things in your mind “provided by the roaming senses”—your thoughts about these things, your thoughts about your thoughts, and the way they make you feel. And the “I-do-stuff” part of your mind (ahamkara) can’t relax, can’t leave these things alone.

Happiness. Verse 66 above very clearly states that you’re not going to get it without meditation. All that rustling around and duty-doing isn’t going to do it. Meditation is.

You have a right to happiness.
It is your natural state.

68 – The Fix
Therefore, Mighty Armed, endeavor to withdraw completely the senses from the objects of sense, thus reestablishing your Intelligence.

This verse is giving us the remedy for the occasional bump in the road when we get caught up in things. ‘Things’ are always sense objects even when they look like ‘shoulds’—the roaming senses pick up on ‘things’ (that’s what senses do) and into the mind they go, and there they work their evil magic and get us all excited and involved again. Now the mind is a whirlwind of activity, “like the wind a ship on the water”… in a storm.

You may think that something that is up in your life doesn’t qualify as a sense object, so let me clarify that. Anything you can perceive, be conscious of, is an ‘object of sense’ because it is a product of what the senses have brought into your mind where you are conscious of it*.

* The exception to this is memory of direct experience.

“Mighty Armed”

By addressing Arjuna as Mighty Armed, Lord Krishna is calling you ‘strong’; He is saying to you, “You can do this, so make the effort.”

Effort? What happened to surrender? Well, that is for the meditation room, so it’s off to the meditation room and away from all the glitter and guts. That is the effort. Now that we’re here in the meditation room, we can breathe a sigh of relief as we take this opportunity to surrender to the Divine, and turn things over to That—It always knows what It’s doing, even when we don’t—and kick back.

Here in the meditation room we know we’re not doing anything, we’ve delegated all that. In here we are completely free. In here the magic of pratyahara will relieve us of our distress by withdrawing the senses from their objects and bring us serenity and happiness.

So if you want to know why you have trouble getting yourself to meditate, this is it: You are living in a storm of things in your mind creating havoc. Make the effort to walk away from it (it only takes a second or two) and get into your meditation room. Once you’re there, you know what to do: NOTHING. Your mind may rebel, but your soul will rejoice.

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


SURRENDER MEDITATION 
Through shaktipat diksha and initiation into this radical meditation, you will put God in the driver’s seat. Surrender to the Absolute will do all the work for you, and Kundalini will awaken naturally and safely. Schedule a Shaktipat Intensive.

REMOTE SHAKTIPAT
If you can’t manage a Shaktipat Intensive in Phoenix, you will be glad to learn that Remote Shaktipat is back with a new program that provides as much information, teachings, and guidance as a person could ever want, need, or expect to get online.  

PRACTICAL MEDITATION
This link will take you to nine progressive courses in authentic meditation for both beginning and experienced meditators. I have designed these courses to provide basic essentials for anyone on any path (or no path), and so that the meditation that is most natural and comfortable for you becomes apparent to you.


66 The Secret to Happiness, Part 2

There is no wisdom for one who is not yoked. And there is no meditation for one who is not yoked. Without meditation there is no serenity. Without serenity, where is happiness? — Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 66

“Wisdom”
Buddhi

The word for “wisdom” is buddhi, meaning ‘understanding’, ‘comprehension’. Buddhi is that function of the mind that differentiates, is intuitive, makes judgements, and generally sorts things out, and it is that feature of nature that knows what to do and where to go, right down to every single cell and function of your body. The basis of buddhi is duality.

The basis of duality is you as a Divine One having exercised your ability to be conscious. To be conscious, there must be something to be conscious of, so there is you and other-than-you: duality. There is no consciousness without two—you and what you perceive—which brings us back to your means of perception, the senses, which, for the purpose of meditation, must be ‘yoked’.

There is no consciousness without two:
you and what you perceive.

“Yoked”
Yukta

Yukta is usually translated as ‘controlled’. What is to be controlled is the senses. We’re after a quiet mind, which is necessary to enter into a meditative state. So the key is control of the senses since it is they that keep the mind stimulated. But there’s a hitch to this idea of controlling them.

To control your senses you will have to use your will, which means using your mind. But using the mind keeps the mind active and defeats the purpose! So what is one to do? The obvious solution is to submit yourself to That Which Is Already Perfect-Pure-Absolute-Unchanging-Truth (shall we just call it “God”?), and That will do the controlling for you. These are your options: will or surrender, do it yourself or delegate God.

The meaning of yukta is essentially the same as yoga which has the same root, yuj, ‘to yoke together’, ‘to harness’. The senses become harnessed through pratyahara. The mind becomes calm, and you slip into meditation. There is no true meditation without it. Once the senses are harnessed, the concentration (dharana) of prana and attention yokes you and the-divine-other-than-you, and you experience union (yoga).

Attention – a flow of consciousness
Prana – life energy

Where the attention goes, the energy flows.
And visa versa.

“Meditation”
Bhavana.

This broad term speaks more to the experience of meditation than the act of meditating—the effect of being benefited in many ways and how this feels, the feeling of the devotion it fosters, and with direct experience we have this to remember and to call upon as well. Bhavana is a different state altogether than what we are familiar with on a day to day basis, but it begins to affect us on a daily basis, making it more interesting to be meditating than driving the fast lane. 

“Serenity”
Shanti

The word shanti not only means ‘peace, tranquillity and serentiy’, but some things that we have talked about before: ‘the absence of passion’, ‘indifference’. This harkens back to verse 62 where we learned how to get what we want without trying. Now we learn that shanti is instrumental in getting this little trick to work. It tells us that (1) there is no shanti without meditation and that (2) we need shanti in order to achieve…..

“Happiness”
Sukham

This one is rather fun. The word means ‘having a good axle hole’. If your bullock-cart has a good axel hole it will run smoothly and easily, so sukham means ‘ease, comfort, prosperity, pleasure, joy, delight, and happiness’.

(It is tempting to compare the bullock cart with the body, as it is needed for everything in this life, as is the bullock-cart to the farmer. This would lead to the idea that the complete well-being of the body would rely on serenity, shanti, which relies on meditation. I am still playing with this, but it’s looking good. What do you think?)

Here’s the recipe in a nutshell:

Get ‘yoked’
to access wisdom, achieve meditation and serenity,
and
 be happy.

Pratyahara keeps coming up, doesn’t it? It is the turning point where we begin to experience true meditation (dhyana) and its overall effects (bhavana) in our lives. And to get there, all we have to do is meditate. There are different ways to do this, but my personal favorite is to submit to God in Surrender Meditation.

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


SURRENDER MEDITATION 
Through shaktipat diksha and initiation into this radical meditation, you will put God in the driver’s seat. Surrender to the Absolute will do all the work for you, and Kundalini will awaken naturally and safely. Schedule a Shaktipat Intensive.

REMOTE SHAKTIPAT
If you can’t manage a Shaktipat Intensive in Phoenix, you will be glad to learn that Remote Shaktipat is back with a new program that provides as much information, teachings, and guidance as a person could ever want, need, or expect to get online.  

PRACTICAL MEDITATION
This link will take you to nine progressive courses in authentic meditation for both beginning and experienced meditators. I have designed these courses to provide basic essentials for anyone on any path (or no path), and so that the meditation that is most natural and comfortable for you becomes apparent to you.