Three Kinds of Faith – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 17, Vs 1-10



Arjuna spoke:
What is the status of those who sacrifice without consideration of scriptural injunctions but sacrifice with
faith? Is it sattva, rajas or tamas?

  • Sacrifice – surrender; letting go of something and giving it to God.
  • Sattva, rajas or tamas – the three gunas of material Nature: sattva – ease, light, peace; rajas – excitement, color, passion; tamas – dullness, darkness, ignorance.

2 – 3
The Blessed Lord spoke:
The faith of embodied beings is of three kinds according to their nature as sattvic, rajasic or tamasic. Of this now hear: All beings have some kind of faith according to their nature. 
What one wants to believe, is what he has faith in, and who he is.

“What one wants to believe, is what he has faith in, and who he is.” Lord Krishna is saying that faith ordinarily comes from what one wants to believe, and marks the nature of the individual. In this way, it can be said that everyone has some kind of faith according to their predominant guna — sattva, rajas or tamas.

“According to their nature.” The nature of each of us is most inclined toward one of the three gunas, and that this colors our characteristics, personality and actions, and consequently, our beliefs will also be of this nature.

“What one wants to believe is what he has faith in.” He becomes identified with, and invested in, what he believes to be true. He is uncomfortable outside of this, and only comfortable within it. He sees this as “who he is.”

“Who he is” is what he identifies himself to be as a human being according to his predominant guna — his mind, body, personality and behaviors are predominantly sattvicrajasic or tamasic.

Considering what you now know about faith, Lord Krishna is saying that your essential nature as a human being will be predominately sattivic, rajasic or tamasic, and as such, will reflect your nature as a human being.

The following verses address this by explaining how your predominate guna affects what you surrender (sacrifice), open up to, or let go of, in life or meditation, and what you sacrifice it to.

Those who are sattvic sacrifice to the gods, the rajasic to the yakṣhas and rākṣhasas, and others, the tamasic, sacrifice to ghosts and departed spirits.Offerings to the gods 

  • Gods – I think we can take the word ‘gods’ to mean Divine Individuals who have not come into being in this world, but exist on a higher plane than our human selves.
  • Yakṣhas – demigods; those who covet power and great wealth.
  • Rākṣhasas – demigods; those who passionately embody great power, sensual pleasure and wrath.

Sattvic Sacrifice. Sattva is the guna that is the easy-going characteristic of purity and goodness. This guna is closest to your Real Self, so it gets ranked as the best of the three qualities. Sattvic sacrifice then, is the best sacrifice (surrender), until one reaches Absolute God and attains God-realization.

5  Rajasic Sacrifice
Those who perform severe austerities not enjoined by the scriptures, do so out of pride and egoism, impelled by the force of desire and attachment.

Rajas is the guna of passion, and actions done for the purpose of fulfilling desires. It is taught in scriptures that these self-motivated actions must be abandoned in order to reach Divine Union, for they are the backbone of attachment, the real obstacle. These kinds of sacrifices are not in accordance with scripture, for they do not allow for Divine Union and Liberation, the ultimate purpose of Life.

Egoismahamkara in Sanskrit, literally means, “I do,” or “I am the doer.” But what you really are is not a doer of action, but a Divine Individual entity. So as a rajasic human being, you are not aligned with the Divine Individual that you really are, and your sacrifice, your surrender, is made from this position.

Enlightenment. There are those who deem the realization of WHO they are to be the ultimate enlightened state. But the realization of non-doership, which stems from knowing WHAT you really are, is the highest enlightenment. 

6  Tamasic Sacrifice
Ascetics who imprudently cause torment and emaciation of the physical body, also torment Me within the body. Know them to be demonically resolved.

In other words, when you force or resist (that’s what it would take to do these things), you are not only not being nice to yourself, you are also not being very nice to God. The only practical solution is to surrender yourself to God, and let That deal with everything.

Mortification of the flesh is not in accordance with any scriptural injunction, and is thus considered ‘demonic’ and tamasic

Demonic. The word in Sanskrit is āsura. Asuras are powerful superhuman demigods with both good and bad qualities, who battle constantly with the devas (gods). They are sometimes regarded as nature spirits.

Tamas is the state of darkness. In this case, darkness is meant as ignorance. Actions that are harmful to oneself or others are also tamasicTamasic sacrifices are done from a position of doership and motivated by evil or misguided purposes: “demonically resolved.”

Imprudently. The word in Sanskrit for ‘imprudent’ also means ‘unconscious’, or the ‘subconscious actions of the unenlightened, the ignorant’. 

The way you can resolve the effects of the gunas running your life and determining who you are, is by surrendering yourself and your will to Absolute God with complete abandon, and leaving everything to That during this time. This is the ultimate leap of faith that will produce the ultimate pay-off.

As risky as this may seem, I can personally attest to the veracity of this surrender when done correctly under the proper conditions. As Yogeshwar used to say…

“God is not a cheat.” — Yogeshwar Muni

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

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Finding the Magician Within – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 9, Vs 22-23

In these verses, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna the secret to accessing the Magician Within and reaching union with God/Truth—and we discover that this works for anything!  

How to Reach a Goal using the Magician Within

“Those who worship Me by constantly engaging in Yoga with their attention not directed elsewhere, I unite them with their goal. Even those who devotedly worship other gods with faith, even if in an uncustomary manner, are actually worshipping Me.” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, Verses 22-23

Those who worship Me by constantly engaging in Yoga with their attention not directed elsewhere, I unite them with their goal.

Alternate translation:
The worship of God through constant attention not directed elsewhere (meditation) is the practice of uniting (yoga) with God.

The definition of worship is also the definition of meditation and Yoga. When the goal is God, that’s what you get: God.

The practice of Yoga is the practice of meditation.
The practice of meditation is worship.

Yoga practiced correctly brings about union with the object of the attention—one is united with what their attention is on. If your attention is on Lord Krishna, you will be united with Lord Krishna. He has declared to us that what He really is is Absolute Imperishable God. You can’t do better than that.

Because prana (the Life Energy in your body) always follows the attention wherever it goes, one-pointed attention is also one-pointed prana. This is so obvious that it is easily missed. It is the key to successful meditation, yoga and union with the Divine. Through this practice, you cannot help but reach the goal.

Life Mastery

Constant one-pointed attention will bring you into union with whatever your attention is on, so this is also the key to accessing the Magician Within to master your life. Here’s how it works:

Where the attention goes, the energy flows.
Master your attention, master your energy, master your life.

Watch the video, Life Mastery Meditation on Consciousness

For us, the goal is Krishna, Absolute God. But as we said before, this is not everyone’s goal. Lord Krishna is telling us that no matter what the goal, it is He who unites us with that goal, and further explains…..

Even those who devotedly worship other gods with faith, even if in an uncustomary manner, are actually worshipping Me.

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You Get What You Worship

No matter what ‘god’ you worship with faith, you are worshipping God. With the certainty and trust of your faith, you will access the Magician Within and your goal will come to fruition.

If you always get bad things in your life, this is because you worship them—your attention is always on them. If you always get good things, this is because your attention is always on good things. For most of us, it is a mix.

In this verse, God is telling you how to get what you want: Keep your attention on it constantly. This is about ATTENTION, not positive thinking. Thinking takes place in the ether of the mind. An affirmative thought spoken aloud is a step in the right direction because it brings the idea out into the physical world. This may not be enough, but if you ‘worship’ your goal—constantly have your attention on it—this is a different matter altogether. 

Attention is The Magician Within
(it can manifest anything)

If you find you cannot keep your attention on the goal, it may be that your goal is set on something other than what you really want. When a goal is right for you, you will be passionate about it, you will feel it in your bones, experience it emotionally, and your attention will automatically be drawn to that goal.

You can’t reach a goal unless you know what it is.

When you fall in love, your attention is constantly on your loved one. You can’t stop thinking about this person you have fallen in love with. When your attention is truly and consistently on something in this way, every part of you is involved—your mind, your body and your feelings.

It is not enough to construct an affirmative statement to say in your mind or out loud. When using an affirmation, the attention is busy remembering and making the statement and is not on the actual goal.

Your attention must be on the goal itself and be able to stay there. If you cannot keep it there, look inside to discover what it is that you really want. This is not as easy as you think. It may be buried very deeply, so don’t give up.

Also, it is not enough to deny the negative side of a goal because this requires moving your attention away from the goal and employing it for the purpose of denial. A negative side will always exist with a positive anyway, so denial is useless. Notice it with compassion and move on. By denying it, it will only become stronger because it is hidden.

Hiding things makes them stronger.

Ten Keys to Success at Anything

The closer your goal is to the Truth of You as you really are, the closer you are to the Magician Within, and the more efficiently your attention can deliver the goal. The farther away, the more fallout there will be, for when you act discordantly with your real Self you create negative karma that will backfire.

There are ten principles called yama and niyama that describe the Real You. Learn them, pay attention to them by noticing them in your daily life, and master them. Acting and living in harmony with the Real You, your goals will easily manifest, and you will achieve unparalleled happiness in the here and now.

If you want to take Life Mastery seriously, take my course in yama and niyama called Ten Keys to Success. Here you will find these ten principles described in plain English, with experiments and techniques for mastering them.

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

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IV: 38-39 Reaching Raja Yoga…

The fire of Wisdom burns away unTruth leaving only Truth, and fills us with faith, a Knowing that can be remembered during dry spells and keep us on track. 

There is with certainty, no purifier like true wisdom to be found here on earth. In time, one finds on one’s own that it is accomplished on its own, through Yoga. 

We are given a guarantee: The teachings we have received from Lord Krishna, will provide us with experience of Truth. This wisdom is the best purifier on the planet. If we practice this Yoga, we will find that it purifies and validates itself. This practice is Karma Yoga, Action Yoga, the subject of this and the previous chapter.

While we may struggle to understand all this now, if we just go forward with Karma Yoga, over time and experience it will prove itself to us. We will come to see for ourselves that it has its own purpose, and that this purpose is accomplished, not by us, but by itself.

Karma Yoga leads to samadhi. Then samadhi, which comes about through this purification process, becomes the purifier itself. 

Purification – Putting things where they belong in their natural order, and filtering out physical, mental and emotional impurities.

Samadhi – A blissful state of equanimity accomplished through union (yoga), which purifies, upstages the ego, and reveals our true Selves.

“True wisdom,” and the purification it brings through practice, continues to increase over time due to the upstaging of illusion through experience. Illusion slowly loses its power to dominate every-day reality as it becomes gradually replaced with true Reality.  

“Here on earth” suggests that it is here on earth that we have the opportunity to practice this Yoga and reach its pinnacle.

“Through Yoga”  While some say that Yoga is a psychology, a philosophy, or a theology concerning Spirit, others say that Yoga is physical-spiritual in nature. There need be no dispute here, for all these are true.

“Perfected in Yoga”  The Sanskrit word for ‘perfected’ also means ‘successful’, ‘completed’ and ‘hitting the mark’, the exact opposite of sin, ‘missing the mark’. The yogi successfully accomplishes Yoga by completing Raja Yoga. 

Raja Yoga (Royal Union)

Up until now, we have been primarily discussing Hatha Yoga, ‘Sun-Moon Union’, the subject of this and chapter three. Raja Yoga, ‘Royal Union’, occurs as a result of having sufficiently accomplished Hatha Yoga first, which is why Lord Krishna has been spending so much time on it. Once Hatha Yoga is accomplished, Raja Yoga takes the limelight and one experiences samadhi

Raja Yoga cannot be successfully completed without first sufficiently accomplishing Hatha Yoga.

The wisdom of Raja Yoga is different than the wisdom knowledge of Hatha Yoga. The wisdom of Raja Yoga comes about through samadhi, and ultimately the highest samadhi, absorption into the Absolute.

Samadhi is a product of kundalini’s work above the throat chakra, the realm of Raja Yoga.

Absorption into the Absolute is the ultimate proof of God, and of You and everyone else and our eternal existence. You know what you have always known, but now it is proved, right now, right here on planet earth, amongst all this static and confusion and Babble, and your awareness of yourself expands to include all others. This is a game changer, and you will never be the same again. 

Full of faith, one attains true wisdom. Having achieved it, the senses contained, one goes quickly beyond peace.

“Full of faith”  Having faith is a position of trust: you proceed trusting that these teachings are true, and even if you aren’t certain, or aren’t certain your understanding is correct, you go by the book and proceed as if they were the absolute truth.

If you don’t do this, you will never know—you will not have given yourself the opportunity to know, or given these teachings the opportunity to prove themselves to you, one way on the other. 

Your meditation is your ‘lab’.

According to this verse, they will prove themselves to be so, and you will ultimately attain true wisdom and the highest samadhi, the highest fulfillment on earth.

“Having achieved it, the senses contained”  Once you have experienced sabija samadhi for some time, pratyahara (‘the senses contained’) is set to take you into the next stage, nirbija samadhi. Down the line, when this finally happens, it happens quickly.

“One goes quickly beyond peace”  What is beyond peace is the Absolute. The highest samadhi is absorption into the Absolute. In this samadhi, peace doesn’t even begin to cover it, it is profoundly beyond any kind of peace we can know under ordinary circumstances, or even in sabija samadhi, for all opposites, which is what makes up our everyday ‘reality’, are gone. This happens suddenly without warning, in meditation.

There is a shift in one’s practice. One arrives at a new stage of Yoga. What once left the body (i.e., energy and attention flowing outward to objects of sense), stays in the body; what once went out, goes in; what once went down, goes up. Etc.

“To truly understand Yoga, you have to stand on your head.” — Yogeshwar Muni

This is the nature of Raja Yoga, which can only be accomplished to this degree by having gotten there via Hatha Yoga.

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

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