The Highest Goal of Yoga: The Finishline – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 9, Vs 33-34

“How much easier is this yoga for Brahmans and royal sages! So having acquired this temporal and unhappy world, devote yourself to Me, Arjuna! Devoted to Me, bowing down reverently to Me, having Me as your highest goal, united with Me, you will surely reach the Highest Goal.” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10, Verses 33-34

33
How much easier it is then, for Brahmans and royal sages! So having acquired this temporal and unhappy world, devote yourself to Me!

Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna the practice of yoga, and in doing so He makes it synonymous with the worship of Himself as Absolute God, thus making yoga a ‘God-practice’. In the previous verse (32) and this one, He reveals that this yoga is easier for some than others, which He describes, but that anyone can do it successfully through devotion to God.

“This temporal and unhappy world”
In this verse we have God as Lord Krishna calling this world ‘unhappy’ and making devotion to God an imperative antidote. Although we know that our time in this world is temporary and can accept this, in this our own day and age, we resist hearing statements of an “unhappy world” and put them down as ‘negative’. We go on to reassure ourselves that everything is perfect and just as it should be, and try to take a more ‘positive’ stance. But clearly, Lord Krishna is not going to pull any punches. He tells it like it is to motivate us to get on with this yoga, this God-practice, while we can, so we can reach liberation from having to return.

Alternate translation:  
How much easier it is for those of auspicious births—upper caste men and royal sages! So now in this temporary and unhappy world, while you have a chance, devote yourself to Me!

Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that, being of royal birth, he’s got it made. He has advantages other, more unfortunate folks don’t have (vs. 32). Yet they can accomplish the very thing he has been resisting on several counts (in chapter one). Even though he is a warrior and brave on the field, he has hesitated to go forward with this yoga, and Krishna is urging him (and us) onward.

34
Devoted to Me, bowing down reverently to Me, having Me as your highest goal, united with Me, you will surely reach the Highest Goal.

  • Highest Goal – the Sanskrit also means ‘the final end, chief objective or final aim, finished’.

Lord Krishna reiterates to Arjuna, his description of ‘worship’ as surrendering oneself solely to Him, Absolute God. By this means Arjuna will become united (yoga) with Him. This will take him to the Highest Goal. There being nothing higher, Arjuna (and ourselves) will reach the finish-line liberated from death and rebirth, the journey completed.

Bowing Down

What is it about bowing down before God, God-images, Gurus and Holy People that we westerners find so objectionable? This attitude strikes me as silly.

When I was given my first initiation, even though I had never seen or heard of bowing down, never heard of swamis or even yoga, before I even know what hit me, I had bowed down before this Master with my body fully outstretched on the floor and grasping his feet. I was flooded with love and bliss (there just isn’t a better word) and given experience after experience, and pieces of knowledge, one after the other, until I was steeped in wonder and joy.

From that time to now, I bow down at every opportunity. Done in the spirit of loving worship of God, that is what I get: God, the bliss and joy of God. I get drunk with it. Once I even found myself pranaming to students and had the same experience. But I had to stop doing that because they were disturbed about it. One student even left and never came back. Human beings are, I think, the greatest mystery on earth.

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“Bowing down reverently to Me”
Lord Krishna, who is teaching yoga to Arjuna, is Arjuna’s guru. It is customary to make this pranam by bowing down before Guru and images representative of God. By putting your head at the feet of God or Guru, you also honor your Real Self, for they are all the same. The willingness to make this gesture of devotion is what sends you forward to more advanced stages of yoga and Self realization. 

At the very least, you show your respect. Giving your ego a jolt by placing it at the feet of someone other than yourself, you open yourself to receiving more from the teachings of a guru than you otherwise would do. You draw the Truth to yourself in this way. 

This gesture of pranama is illustrated by a choice that Arjuna made earlier in the story of the Mahabharata:

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 8.16.13 AMArjuna demonstrated his loving devotion for Lord Krishna by placing himself at Krishna’s feet in pranama. Upon Lord Krishna’s awakening, Arjuna was the first to be seen by Lord Krishna, thus giving Arjuna first choice between Krishna’s armies or Krishna Himself. Arjuna chose his guru instead of the much needed armies.

This surrender resulted in Lord Krishna driving Arjuna’s chariot for him. To drive the chariot, Krishna seats Himself in the front of the chariot in a lower position, while Arjuna stands in the higher position behind Him.

Now do you begin to see the significance of this custom?

Reaching the Highest Goal of Yoga

“Having Me as your highest goal, united with Me”
If you have God/Krishna as your highest goal, you will become united with That. If you cannot even pranam to That, how do you expect to ever reach That?

By bowing down reverently to God, God will drive your chariot, and you will become united with God. “You will surely reach the Highest Goal”

You get what you worship.
You get what you surrender to.

End of Chapter Nine

The Secret Science of Royal Yoga

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


Shaktipat Intensive

Saturday, May 27, Phoenix, Arizona

Experiential Meditation Seminar 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM – $50
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(Seminar participants only)
Registration for this Intensive is now closed RE-OPENED for one person.

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The Highest Goal – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 9, Vs 32-33

Janaka, the King who was a Sage
Janaka, the King who was a Sage

“Those who take refuge in Me, even those of inauspicious wombs—women, Vaishayas, and even Shudras—also go to the Highest Goal. How much easier it is then, for Brahmans and royal sages! So having acquired this temporal and unhappy world, devote yourself to Me!” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, Verses 32-33

32
Those who take refuge in Me, Arjuna, even those of inauspicious wombs — women, Vaishayas and even Shudras — also go to the Highest Goal.

“Inauspicious wombs”
The Sanskrit also means ‘boding evil, unfortunate or troubled’ and refers to the caste system whereby the lowest are those who are laborers (vaishayas) or work for others (shudras). As to women, being born female has long been a sub-standard condition everywhere on earth, in the present and previous age, since the end of the Golden Age (satya yuga, Age of Truth) when living in Truth began to decline.

He is saying that, regardless of one’s birth or history, anyone can do this. If a woman can do this Yoga, so can you. If a hard-working man can do it, so can you. And even if you are a servant (employee) to someone else, you can do it.

Women

Anandamayi Ma, saint, sage, avatara.
Anandamayi Ma, saint, sage, avatara.

In our present age, everything is up-side-down. God is worshipped as male, even though there are vestiges the feminine divine that remain in remote places in texts, icons and murtis.

It is now known that everyone starts life as a female. This changes when testosterone attacks the empathy center in the brain and eradicates a large portion of it. At this point the fetus begins to develop as a male body, with amped up action, aggression and anger centers in the brain, brought about by a double dose of testosterone in exchange.

This is not some woo-woo female rant of my own, it is recent science achieved by finally taking a look at the female brain. This is generally not the done thing in science, even where prescription drug testing is concerned, though doctors continue to prescribe these medications for women (what else can they do?—they can only work with what they’ve got).

If you look for it, you will find this relatively new discovery accompanied by denigrating objections, which, of course, is to be expected in our current atmosphere of male supremacy. But you can see it in icons and murtis all over India, where male gods and sages are often difficult to recognize as male, unless you already know who they are. They look feminine—no six-pack abs, no muscle-bound macho males here, just saints, sages and gods. As with many things we in the west believe we are the first to have discovered, the old sages already knew.

The Working Class

When you have to work for a living, which most of us do, you are not in a good position to complete yoga sadhana. The demands of society, especially in the west, make it impossible. You can’t afford to live. You are required to pay for the privilege. It is either work or die unless you are independently well-off.

This situation makes doing yoga, and going very far with it, a very real risk. This is one reason the idea of gambling on the part of the ‘good guys’ is presented in the Mahabharata, the epic in which this Bhagavad Gita takes center stage. Those boys lost the card game and had to spend years in the forest and not make themselves known; no one was supposed to know that they were royalty. That was the deal. So that’s what they did.

Even then, in a society accepting and supportive of sadhus and yogis, completing yoga sadhana was difficult. But as a working man, you can reconsider these consequences because you will be strong enough to plow through. For women this is not the case (no matter what popular media would have you believe in the name of feminine equality and super-powers).

Servants

If your work puts you in the position of working for someone other than yourself, you qualify as a servant, even if that is not your job description. You are working to make money for someone or something else.

In this country being your own boss is punishable—you are taxed for it, and have no ‘benefits’. You are serving others and are ‘owned’ by them—your life, your survival, depends on them. You probably work a forty hour week at least, so when would you have time for taking up yoga seriously enough to make it to the end? Yet Lord Krishna says you can still reach the Highest Goal.

The Highest Goal

Alternate translation:
Those who surrender to Me, even those of unfortunate births —women, the working class man, and servants—can also reach the Highest Goal.

33
How much easier it is then for Brahmans and royal sages! So having acquired this temporal and unhappy world, devote yourself to Me!

Lord Krishna is motivating Arjuna by reminding him that this world is not where he is not going to find genuine and everlasting Happiness. So, before you disagree with this world being an unhappy place, remember who is talking: God. And as I once heard someone say, “God don’t make no mistakes.”

Where do you see yourself in all this? Anyone can reach the Highest Goal through devotion to God and the God-practice of surrender yoga. I am a woman and have made it through, and it was even more worth it than I initially thought it could be. Now I know. And I know that whoever you are, and wherever you fit in the scheme of things, if I can do it, you can do it.

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


Shaktipat Intensive

Saturday, May 27

Experiential Meditation Seminar 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM – $50
Shaktipat Diksha & Initiation 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Donations
(Seminar participants only)
Registration for this Intensive is now closed RE-OPENED to one person.

Be the One – Register NOW