IV:11 Taking a Chance on God

If you want something from God, surrender it to God. If you want God, surrender yourself to God. 

BHAGAVAD GITA, CHAPTER 4, VERSES 11

11
In whatever way one surrenders to Me, I bestow the same in exactly the same way. Thus is the way each person takes refuge in Me the basis of My way of serving them in return.

I study the Bhagavad Gita as God and these teachings reveal themselves to me. You seek to know the truth of these teachings so you read these posts, and to the degree that the Gita is God to you, Truth is revealed to you.

The way you resort to God
determines how God responds to you.

Arjuna surrendered to Lord Krishna, his Guru, in the beginning of chapter two. He complained a lot, argued, got discouraged and threw in the towel saying, “Just tell me what to do!”. He turned everything over to his Guru and just look at what this got him: Krishna has given him the entire Bhagavad Gita! If one just takes in what we have done up to this chapter alone, it is amazing how much Arjuna has received.

The Guru Gita (Song of the Guru) states that God, Guru and The Self are the same. While teaching us this principle it teaches us about Guru and reveals the nature of the guru-disciple relationship enjoyed by Arjuna and Krishna. It also states that to know God, Guru and The Self, one must find their Guru, that everyone has a Guru to be found. Upon finding the Guru, one takes refuge in Guru with the understanding that the way one does this determines how Guru responds. (This is the principle behind guruseva, selfless service to Guru.)

“Surrender to, take refuge in, resort to”
The Sanskrit for these terms is prapadyante, meaning ‘to throw one’s self down at a person’s feet in surrender’. It is customary to make this gesture upon meeting one’s Guru, or for that matter, any teacher of any subject. Such behavior is frowned upon in the west as we do not have a proper understanding of it as being the means of drawing from the guru/teacher the teachings we want and need for our highest good. This custom is not for the benefit of the teacher/guru, but for the benefit of the student/disciple. This gesture places the heart above the head and the ego, which is what needs to happen to receive teachings that will have the desired effect.

Taking a Chance on God

I have always been amazed at how reactive we are in this country to gurus. You would think they were all evil monsters! By just listening to the news or watching a few documentaries, we find that religion has more of these bad-guys for you to worry about than lineages of gurus. A guru is human and may be susceptible to error, but all in all, this is a much safer route than religion, for the teachings of lineages of gurus are not man-made, as is religion, and have been protected for thousands of years.

In the west, we consider taking a guru to be very risky business. Well, it is, but not taking a chance leaves you with nothing but your own mind, which is certainly a dangerous risk, but it is familiar and feels safe. Still, it is important that a person feels that a guru can be trusted before taking him or her as their own Guru.

Some people have histories and internal programming that make for being very poor judges of character, tendencies to be drawn into questionable circles, few or no boundaries, or programming that causes them to be attracted to people (or they to them) who make all the right moves, look good, say all the right things and generally charm them into becoming devoted followers.

Because most of us have some of these kinds of tendencies within us, I think it is very important to keep this in mind when searching for or submitting to a Guru. You absolutely must understand that no one can take away your power of choice, and you absolutely must never allow anyone to manipulate your choices. Some very charismatic people can charm the socks off of some of the most sane, intelligent and self-assured people on earth. P.T. Barnum made his living with this bit of intelligence: “There’s a sucker born every day.” Just about everyone has a soft spot somewhere. 

What you do in surrender to a guru must come from a place inside that is beyond emotional needs, desires, etc., so you would have to be self-honest enough to know what these are. You must proceed with clear and genuine willingness, and you must know without a doubt that you can always change your mind—even if you never would, you must know that you can. This will also make you strong in your surrender to God and Guru.

In whatever way one surrenders to Me
If you want to hear music, you don’t take out a palette and brushes. If you want cake, you don’t reach for the vegetable drawer. The way you resort to God/Guru determines what will come of it. If you think surrendering to enjoyment, for instance, is the same as surrendering to God because ‘all is God’, you will only get enjoyment in return, and we all know how temporary that is.

If you seek God like a scaredy-cat, your withholding will show up as God withholding from you. If you pray to God to do this or that for you and it doesn’t happen, look inside.

Self-referencing:
Are you holding back? Is there something you are unwilling to risk for God? What are you afraid you will lose by taking a chance on God?

You cannot become truly Self-realized
if you are not self-realized.

Now you may be thinking to yourself, well, I’ll just go straight to God, I don’t need to complicate things with some guru. So you must submit yourself to God, and to the degree that you are able to do this, you will be served by That. You can try what I do and go around talking to God a lot, meditating, and studying scriptures. This works for me, but I had many years with living gurus before I fully resorted to God in this way.

When I found my Guru, I knew I was taking a chance, but that is how much I wanted God that I would take such a chance knowing that I had some of the above mentioned programming. And though it has not been easy, it has paid off in spades and has truly been the best thing I have ever done for myself in my entire life.

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

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Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga – Surrender Meditation
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Shaktipat Prep

Shaktipat, along with its subsequent practice, sahaja yoga, was originally given to very few people. Through shaktipat, kundalini, the evolutionary force, could awaken naturally and one could attain yoga, ‘union with God.’

A teacher might have initiated only one or two students in a lifetime. Students desirous of shaktipat initiation would live at the teacher’s residence (ashram) for twelve years practicing selfless service to the teacher (guruseva), repetition of mantra, postures (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama), proper diet, and so forth.

Before you gasp in horror at these requirements, keep in mind that masters of many arts and sciences in many cultures throughout the world also trained their students in this manner, and in many cases, still do.

After twelve years, if rapport with the teacher was sufficient, if devotion and determination was firm, and if the student’s karmic situation was conducive to it, he might be granted initiation. This trend continued for millennia for very good reasons.

The following are some of the qualifications for shaktipat initiation. I recommend that you use them as guidelines for maximizing your opportunity to get the most out of your spiritual practices, whether or not they are the practices of my lineage.

1    Have some sense of who you really are.
By “who,” I do not mean the popular concept of “who” as it is used today, which has to do with personality, lifestyle, likes and dislikes, what you do and how you do it, and so on. I mean who you REALLY are without all that packaging.

2    Have respect or devotion to the teacher who initiates you.
If you do not have respect for this person, and if you do not feel some degree of devotion to this person, he or she will be useless to you when you need them most as you progress to more advanced stages.

3    Set a limit on material possessions.
The purpose of this guideline is to help you to simplify your life in order to make room for your sadhana to bear fruit. Too many things creates too much distraction and steals time.

4    Read and reflect on scripture.
One who reads, studies and reflects on the written teachings of those who have successfully travelled the path, ups the ante a thousand times over one who does not.

5    Find something you feel you can surrender to — God, the Divine, Divine Love, Truth, Higher Power, the Absolute…
Do not try to do this sadhana by surrendering to yourself. This is counterproductive. In this meditation you will get the best results if you surrender to That which is Divine that is Other-Than-You.

6    Be willing to do at least one hour of sadhana a day.
This means an hour of actual sadhana, not including preparations, getting settled down, or any special opening and closing you might want to invent (it is a good idea to do this, by the way).

7    Be willing to do guruseva, selfless service for the teacher.
Do not believe for a moment that this is self-serving on the part of the teacher who initiates you. Guruseva is really for you. It burns up negative karma quickly, gets you out of the red and makes it possible for you to make faster progress. Guruseva also allows time for the teacher to continue his or her own sadhana, which is to your advantage.

8    Be willing to communicate with the person who initiates you about your sadhana.
A teacher who initiates a student will have a sense of responsibility for that student. If you do not communicate with this person, the teacher has no opportunity to contribute to your advancement, and you loosen the bond between yourself and the teacher. If you continue successfully on your own, you may reach a point when you will need this person’s guidance, but by losing your rapport with the teacher, this guidance will not likely be forthcoming.

9    Continue to reflect on and improve your application of yama and niyama.*

If everyone, regardless of spiritual orientation or the lack thereof, attended to these spiritual principles, we would certainly have a better, more peaceful world. But alas, not everyone will. This leaves it up to those of us who would, to do our best to do a good job.

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to God),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

* Yama and niyama: The yamas and niyamas consist of ten fundamental spiritual principles for attaining and maintaining success in spiritual development and in everyday life. See the New Moon elective course, Ten Keys to Success.

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