III:12 Gifts of the Gods

When we act in unison with the truth of what we really are, what we want and need will be the same, and will automatically come to us. 

BHAGAVAD GITA, CHAPTER 3, VERSE 12 

The Golden Womb, 3 of 3 verses 

12
“By sacrifice, the gods give sought after enjoyments. He who enjoys these gifts without offering to them, is really a thief.” 

REMINDER: My own orientation, Surrender Meditation, is strongly reflected in my commentary on these verses, but it is certainly not the only valid perspective. So if your orientation is other than this, you can draw your own conclusions accordingly, with my blessings.

Sacrifice

Sacrifice is spontaneous action not motivated by self-interest. Because the action is not motivated by self-interest, there is no attachment to its outcome and consequently does not create any karma (verses 9 and 10).

So ‘sacrifice’ has an entirely different meaning than what we probably thought. It is ‘food’ for the gods, and causes their favor to be spontaneously returned. Sacrifice is therefore in our mutually beneficial interest. 

So how do we go about making this sacrifice?

Practical Application

We are offering to the gods every time we act in unison with our true nature as God-like beings. The characteristics of our true nature can be found in the following:

Great Expectations, “Characteristics of the Field” –  Blog post
Dharma – Blog post
The Dharma of Karma, “Divine Law” – Blog post
Ten Keys to Success, a Remote Academy, New Moon online course

Spiritual Application

Earlier I said that Surrender Meditation is sacrifice, the sacrifice of offering oneself to God in meditation and accepting what happens as the work of Divine Energy (shakti), and not of one’s own doing. This ‘non-doership’ is the key to ending karma and reaching liberation and union with God/Truth. It moves you forward quickly, and it takes everyone else with you. Because it is without self-interested investments either in actions that occur or in their results, it is sacrifice.

So we see that sacrifice can be made in both ordinary circumstances, and extraordinary circumstances.

The Gods
The Players (Us), Heavenly Shining Ones.

Every one of us is in two states at once. We have a dual existence: we are gods, and we are humans. As gods, there is nothing to be accomplished. We have no wants or needs. As humans we are imperfect, we have wants and needs and we make mistakes. We do not always live in sync with our god-selves. We make mistakes because we are gods with free will being human, and as human beings we don’t always get things right. Still, what we really are is the same as God. In the words of Lord Krishna…

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego (ahamkara, ‘I do’), constitute my eight-fold, inferior nature.
But know that beyond this, My highest nature is the
living souls by which this world is sustained.*
— Bhagavad Gita, Ch 7, vs 4 – 5

* Living souls by which this world is sustained - Embodied ones such as yourself. The Real You being human. You are a god in a body made of all the gods, being human.

“By sacrifice, the gods give sought after enjoyments.”

The Sanskrit word for ‘sought after’ also means ‘wished for, desired, good’. What these sought after things are is suggested by the word bhoga, which means ‘enjoyment, pleasure, feeling, prosperity, and happiness’. And as a wise yogi once said, “You can’t have yoga without bhoga.” This principle is illustrated by the story of Rama and Sita in the Ramayana.

“He who enjoys these gifts without offering to them is really a thief”

Many “sought after enjoyments” come to us in our lives to greater and lesser degrees. When they do come, we accept them without a second thought, and even though it is true that we have a right to happiness because it is our natural state, considering the rarity of such good fortune among the whole of humanity, we would be benefited if we knew how to offer these gifts to the gods instead of just grasping them for ourselves. This is the principle behind the offering plate in churches, tithing, sponsoring pujas and the offering of food, etc., to deities. Ignoring this, we rob everyone else and, according to this verse, this makes us ‘thieves’.

So how do we go about offering our good fortune to the ‘gods’? According to these verses quoting Prajapati, the answer is ‘sacrifice’.

Whether you see ‘gods’ as divine others, or as aspects of one God, or in some other way, it is spontaneous, non-self-motivated action that counts. You let go of, give up, sacrifice, your self-interest—you give up acting to control things for your own sake. Furthermore, you let go of taking the credit for being the doer of actions. Just as the waters of the earth are sacrificed to the heavens and the earth receives rain in return, sacrifice is a natural, mutually beneficial cycle: you to the gods, they to you.

The rewards of sacrifice are monumental, though we don’t always notice this because it is natural. You never lose anything. On the contrary, you benefit yourself and everyone else. Sacrifice can be an everyday affair, or you can sacrifice more fully through Surrender Meditation.

Surrender Meditation

The sacrifice of offering oneself to God in meditation through surrender to God satisfies ‘the gods’—everyone benefits. Because you have gotten yourself out of the way by giving up your control over events in meditation through your surrender, something very interesting happens: you begin your journey of spiritual evolution. Shakti takes over, activating whatever needs activating, and moving whatever needs moving. She always knows what to do and when to do it. Left to our own devices, we would make mistakes. Shakti makes no mistakes. 

Contrary to what one might fear, from this surrender, nothing is lost, for the process of accelerated evolution has begun. 

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

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III:10 The Golden Womb

Creation having been brought forth by sacrifice, by sacrifice you will evolve and prosper. Sacrifice is the milch cow of your desires. 

My own orientation, Surrender Meditation, is strongly reflected in my commentary on these verses (10 -15), but it is certainly not the only valid perspective. So if your orientation is other otherwise, please draw your own conclusions accordingly with my blessings.

Prajapati, originally Hiranyagarbha (‘golden womb’), having created the world and heaven, and who is the sustainer and protector of all born beings, tells us in these next few verses, how sacrifice is not only what creates, sustains and protects, but how it functions for our good.

The Golden Womb

10
Creation having been brought forth by sacrifice, Prajapati anciently said, “By sacrifice you will evolve and prosper. Sacrifice is the milch cow of your desire.

Well, that’s a relief! But what is all this about Creation being brought about by sacrifice? And who is Prajapati? And a milch cow…?

“Creation having been brought forth by sacrifice”

First we have to consider the characteristics of sacrifice as it was described in verse nine: Sacrifice is an action for which we have no attachment either to getting the credit for doing it, or to getting the results of it.

If we apply this idea to Creation, it looks like nothing and no one made Creation happen. It may have happened because of something or someone, but not by anything. In other words, Creation was/is a spontaneous event brought about because of something but not by it. Let us call this something, “God”.

Prajāpati
‘Lord of born beings’
God as Creator (earlier Hiranyagarbha, later Brahmā)

Prajapati, having created the world and heaven, is the sustainer and protector of all born beings. Originally, this role was attributed to the feminine, Hiranyagarbha, and later devolved to the masculine as the yugas (ages) made their way downward from the Golden Age (satya yuga) through ages of increasing strife. The naturally occurring phenomena of Creation is rooted in sacrifice as it is described in these few verses (10-14).

Hiranyagarbha — hiranya (‘golden’), garbha (‘womb’, ‘to conceive’). Also called the Golden Egg, or Cosmic Egg.

Sacrifice is therefore understood to be a spontaneous action. Spontaneous action is void of attachment to action and to the effects of action. In verse nine, we learned that this is the essence of Karma Yoga (Action Yoga).

“By sacrifice you will evolve and prosper.”

Alternate translation:
“By sacrifice you will evolve or prosper.”

Why the “or”?

Two paths are suggested: one will get you prosperity and posterity (pravritti marga), and the other will bring about your evolution (nirvritti marga).

We may be tempted to think of evolution as ‘spiritual growth’, but this often does not include the physical, and Yoga always includes the physical, though not as evidenced by popular trend. Also, evolution is different from growth in that growth is something getting bigger or better or both, whereas evolution is transformation into an improved version of an original. So while evolution may include bigger and better, more importantly, it suggests transformation. Evolution is going on all the time, so to suggest it here means something more. It implies the completion of a stage of human existence: a higher life form.

“Sacrifice is the milch cow of your desire”

Sacrifice as ‘the milch cow of desire’ is Kamadhenu, the ‘wish fulfilling cow’. She is the miraculous cow of plenty who fulfills all desires.

If you are looking for further understanding of ‘sacrifice’, consider the cow. She continues to give her milk for as long as needed. She does not make this happen, it happens because of her—it comes naturally, it is not self-motivated, and there is no consideration of having done anything to make it happen. The cow is an excellent symbol for what is meant by the word ‘sacrifice’.

Sacrifice
Yajña
Karma Yoga (Action Yoga)
Surrender Meditation

A cow produces milk for as long as it is taken. When the calf stops nursing, her milk dries up, and so it is with Kamadhenu. Hence is sacrifice is not only a privilege, but a duty, for sacrifice as described here is the very thing that causes Kamadhenu’s milk to continue to flow and fulfill all our wants and needs.

Checking Your Understanding

I realize that each of you will understand these ideas concerning sacrifice in your own way. This is as it should be. It is the beauty of Sanskrit scriptural teachings that it supplies answers for any of the many paths to Truth. To determine for yourself if your understanding is correct, there are two guidelines:

(1) See that your understanding is consistent with ahimsa (harmlessness—physically, and in thought and speech) because this is consistent with your natural state as a divine individual.

(2) See that it works in context with the foregoing and forthcoming verses, and the text as a whole.

More next week on ‘sacrifice’ and ‘the milch cow of your desire’.

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

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