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


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.


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. 


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

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

To Understand Yoga, Stand on Your Head – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 15, Vs 1-2

Ashvattha Tree

The Blessed Lord spoke:
It is said that the Ashvattha tree has its roots above and its branches below, and that its leaves are the Vedic aphorisms. He who knows this tree, is a knower of the Vedas.

  • Vedic aphorisms, or sutras, are similar to what we would call ‘sayings’, that teach something specific.
  • Vedic, concerning the Vedas. The word veda means ‘sacred knowledge, knowledge of Truth’. The Vedas are a large body of knowledge texts originating in ancient India around 1500 BCE, constituting the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature, and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.

Yogeshwar was fond of saying, “To understand Yoga, you have to stand on your head.” And here we have an upside down tree! So let’s run with it.

Ashvattha Tree 1The Ashvattha tree represents the upside-down purpose of chasing desires. This action is contrary (upside-down) to Truth, hence its roots are above and its branches are below, signifying moving away from God/Truth and down into the earth, the mundane world. Facing endlessly downwards it represents those persons who misuse their lives by acting solely for the purpose of fulfilling desires. In this respect it appears to be indestructible, and yet, as far as the yogi is concerned, this is not maintained for even a day.

Trying to satisfy desires is upside-down because there is nothing you can desire that you don’t already have. You have but to call it to you.

If we think of this tree as the Tree of Life, the message is that we’re seeing Life upside down. We’ve got our roots in the wind and our branches buried in the ground, the earth, the mundane world.

Every time you use your will to get what you want, you move yourself farther away from God/Truth. Yet realizing God and your Real Self is why you are here!

Below and above it spreads, fully developed by the gunas, with the objects of the senses as new branches. Below, the roots keep growing downward, engendering binding action in the world of man.

  • Gunas – The three modes of Nature.
  • Sense objects – Anything perceptible by the senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell).  
  • Binding action – ‘Binding’ (anubandhana) is ‘the state of being a slave’. ‘Action’ (karma) refers to action that binds — acting for self motivated purposes.  

Sense objects are all the things we are made aware of by means of our senses, and which we either like or dislike to varying degrees. We act in order to have the ones we like, and avoid the ones we don’t like. In this way we live in bondage to our senses and our desires, and are constantly collecting more karma that keeps us bound to die and return over and over again, like a merry-go-round that just keeps going around in circles and never gets anywhere.

Acting for the purpose of fulfilling desires is not ‘bad’, it just stops your progress.  

Isn’t happiness what you really want? Isn’t that why you try to fulfill your desires? But your efforts to get desires fulfilled are upside-down — the result is the very opposite of what you want. This is what this verse is trying to tell us.

Remember that what you want or need is already yours. You have but to call it to you.

We are slaves to our desires and the price is bondage. This is upside down from how we really are — it is contrary to our Real Selves, who should properly be situated Above.

  • Aśhvattha – ‘where the horses are’.  Aśhva means ‘horse’, and represents the senses. Tha means ‘stay, stand or dwell’. ‘Where the horses dwell’. The Ashvattha tree is the body and the horses are the physical senses. Submitting to their influence keeps us where we are — we don’t move forward. Why? Because we are acting in opposition to our Real Selves. 

The Real You knows everything.
The Real You has everything.

Thus the Aśhvattha tree is cast in the role of samsara, the bondage of recurring deaths and births, and samskara, the continual resurfacing of previous tendencies. We must cut this tree in order to be free. How do we do this? The remainder of this chapter will tell us how.

What you want or need is already yours. You have but to call it to you.

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

Surrender Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of reaching a true meditative state without any effort and without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were eventually derived.

Increase your knowledge base and begin Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times, and bring about even deeper meditation and amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona

“Every step you take pulls every one of us with you.”

The Whole World Is One Family

Royal Yoga, Bhagavad Gita, Ch 14, Vs 21-27, Continued

From left to right: Kali (darkness), tamas. Lakshmi (wealth and pleasure), ramas. Saraswati (music and learning), sattva.
Trinity of Goddesses from left to right:  Kali (destroyer of darkness and dissolution, tamas). Lakshmi (bringer of wealth and pleasure, rajas). Saraswati (giver of music and learning, sattva).

All action occurs in Nature. The gunas are the active influences of Nature, but you are not Nature. The Real You is not involved in action at all.

The varying degrees of predominance of the gunas cause certain kinds of actions. This chapter has given examples of the influence of each guna. The state of trigunatita (‘three-gunas-gone beyond’) surfaces when the individual is not in a state of assuming doership. This takes place over time through meditation, and eventually becomes the full and complete state of trigunatita.

Three Gunas of Nature (Prakriti) holding people down, with Lord Krishna above it all.
The Three Gunas of Nature (Prakriti) ensnaring people, with Lord Krishna above it all, trigunatita.

When trigunatita has been achieved, the three gunas continue to cause action in Nature, but they do not affect you. You are not influenced by them.

For the Embodied One, even though actions occur in Nature, he is not the doer of actions. All actions are the interactions of the gunas of Nature, and nothing else.

“All action occurs in Nature, but You are not Nature.” If this statement concerning non-doership causes you to wonder what is, this is your answer: the gunas.

Sitting here writing this for you, action is taking place. If I am trigunatita, this action is not taking place under the influence of any guna. Instead, it is under the influence of God, Truth itself, for That is my surrender.

Any action occurring after trigunatita has been achieved, is influenced by Truth Itself.

Approaching the End of the Journey

“Thy will be done, O Lord, not mine.” — Lord Jesus

In the body from the sixth chakra up is Rudra Loka, the world of Rudra (Rudra is another name for Shiva). This is the realm of the storm gods, where Kundalini takes a new name: Maruti, ‘wind’. The name Rudra means ‘roaring, terrifying, wild, fierce’ and also ‘auspicious and kind’. This is where Raja Yoga takes place. It is the last frontier of the journey Home.

Awaking Kundalini
Sun-Moon Union Awakens Kundalini

In this phase of Yoga, the guna of tamas (darkness), the least active of the three gunas, ushers in the onset of  trigunatita  (‘three-gunas-gone beyond’).

This is one of those places where everything seems to be upside-down and one becomes confused. But this is only because, as a human being, you find yourself once again in unfamiliar territory. But this time it is so different that it may seem down right scary. Tamas, darkness, has gotten a bad rap before this, but now it is the star player. Instead of being a word for delusion and ignorance, it is the literal absence (darkness) of delusion and ignorance, and the doorway to the Absolute at the crown chakra.

Three Gunas: States of Mind and Stages of Yoga

Rudra Loka

Rudra is the agent of the dissolution of delusion and ignorance. It is here in Rudra’s World that nirbija samadhi appears. In this samadhi, no-thing exists but Absolute God/Truth, so there is no light, for it would serve no purpose. All is revealed, and one now understands that it is Lord Shiva in the form of Rudra who defeats evil, impurities and fear, leaving only Truth.

Ascent of Kundalini
Royal Union is Ascendent Kundalini

Raja Yoga means ‘Royal Union’, the union of you and Absolute God. Before this, union was ‘sun-moon union’, Hatha Yoga, the awakening of Kundalini. This phase was centered in the body below the sixth chakra, but in the stage of Raja Yoga, most of the work is going on in the head where endocrine glands take the leading role.

In the Absolute there is nothing, not even light. Having reached this place and trying to describe it to others, it may seem to them that you are dealing with a great darkness. So you learn not to talk about it. But for you, this darkness is the rolling bliss of certain Truth and non-stop Happiness. Later, all you have to do is to remember this and it’s right there.

Obstacles to Yoga

Non-achievement refers to not reaching a state or stage that one believes is imminent. It may be that one does not reach the expected stage. Or it may be that one has expectations as to how the that stage will look, and because his experience does not match his expectations, he assumes non-achievement when achievement is starring him in the face. Or he may assume the worst and stop his sadhana in defeat. Or, if he is persistent, he continues his sadhana and the Truth is revealed.

Bhrānti darśana means ‘incorrect seeing’. One might be fooled into thinking he has reached a higher state or stage than he has. He may assume that he has reached sainthood, for instance, or even godhood. He may believe he is the incarnation of a god, or even that he is Jesus Christ returned. This stops his sadhana and he makes no further progress, unless he comes to realize his mistake and moves forward.

Kundalini Fully Awakened
Fully Awakened Kundalini

It is because of these two obstacles that your guru will insist that you continue your sadhana no matter what. If you are devoted (committed) to your guru, you will take his or her advice, for this is the only way you will get past these two walls. Then…

You will enter into Brahman, Absolute God. And because Absolute God is Immortal and of unending Happiness, this is now Your state.

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

Surrender Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of effortlessly reaching a true meditative state without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were derived.

Increase your knowledge base and begin Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga: Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times, and bring about even deeper meditation and amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona

“Every step you take pulls every one of us with you.”

The Whole World Is One Family