Realizing the Self in the Self by the Self, Continued – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 13, Vs 25-26

Self Realization

25
Some see the self in the self by the self alone in meditation, others by Sankhya Yoga, and others by Karma Yoga.

Alternate translation:
One can see the Self in themself through correct knowledge (Sankhya Yoga) and active meditation (Karma Yoga).

  • Karma Yoga – union through action, active meditation. Karma Yoga is the path of Action.
  • Sankhya Yoga – union through correct knowledge of Truth. Sankhya Yoga is the path of Knowledge.

Another alternate translation:
The Self is self-known by oneself in meditation that is active and based on correct knowledge.

Knowledge is useless without action.
Action is prone to error without correct knowledge.

The path of Knowledge teaches us that we are not doers of action, that action with intent is the cause of bondage, and action surrendered to Absolute God is the means of liberation.

In my own path, both knowledge and action are included. Knowledge is achieved through the teachings of scripture and guru, and are validated through personal experience gained in meditation.

Personal experience can be prone to error if it is not based on correct knowledge or direct experience. Direct experience requires meditation of a special kind. In this meditation the will is surrendered to Absolute God, and all actions are God-actions, not our own. 

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

This verse is a picture of the direct self-knowing of the True Self through meditation in surrender to Absolute God. When God is running the show, there are no mistakes. 

  • Meditation – A steady flow of consciousness to a single object or place.
  • Sankhya Yoga – Correct knowledge (sāṃkhya) of Yoga (union).
  • Karma Yoga – The act, or practice (karma), of uniting (yoga).

You can see your Self within yourself by yourself alone in meditation, while some try to get there through the path of Knowledge (Sankhya Yoga), and others through the path of Action (Karma Yoga). 

This appears to be three different disciplines (meditation, Sankhya and Karma), but Lord Krishna is saying that it is in meditation that this experience will arise, not by just learning or doing, but through personal experience in meditation. It is only through meditation that your Real Self can literally be seen. This experience is not a mental phenomenon. It is very real. 

Another alternate translation:
Some behold the Self in themselves, by themselves alone in meditation. This is different than the path of knowledge and the path of action taken separately.

Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that the path that He has given him will lead him to Self Realization naturally, whereas other paths will either take him down the path of Knowledge or the path of Action. But what Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna (and us) includes both knowledge and action — putting knowledge into action by meditating naturally according to His teachings.

26
Some who do not know this, but listen to others who do, become devoted to what they hear. They too can transcend death.

Alternate translation:
There are also those who do not know Yoga, but hear about it from a yogi saint (siddha). Inspired, they become devoted, and because they have faith in what they have heard, they are able to achieve liberation, and transcend the cycles of birth and death.

Not everyone learns the same way. Most people learn visually, some through hearing, etc. Those who are not inclined to study will get their knowledge by listening to the teacher. 

If you don’t want to take up the disciplines of Knowledge or Action, then listen to a saint, a Self-realized, God-realized teacher, to get your information and the knowledge of what to do with it.

Swami Kripalu - teachingSome interpret this verse to mean that you can hear these teachings from another person who has also heard them, and still become liberated. But how can you know through the grape-vine if that other person is speaking Truth? Hardly anyone knows this stuff. So we westerners have to be careful with things like this. Do you know any saints?

  • Saintmahasiddha, ‘one who has achieved the final goal’.

We are a chicken-hearted lot, and easily tempted to continue on in our lackadaisical way, or to wait for someone to come along who will tell us what we need to know. Or even better, someone to zap us into that state of … drum roll: SELF-realization. Never mind God.

What are the odds of this approach succeeding? Not very good. And you will not only be taking a huge risk, but you miss out on the joy of grace and good fortune.

So why go this route of complacency and Self over God and Guru? They’re all the same anyway. By not realizing this and acting accordingly, you cannot realize your true Self, and “Self Realization” will be lost to you.

“Know for certain that the Self and the Guru are truly one. For this very reason, one who is wise will seek his Guru.” — Guru Gita

“Self Realization is God Realization, and God Realization is Self Realization” — Anandamayi Ma

Namaste (I bow to the divine one you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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VII:4-7 God is One and Two

God is One and Two, and herein lies a paradox (or two): There is only one God. God is manifold. God is both Relative and Absolute. But such opposites do co-exist without conflict. Lord Krishna explains… 

4-5
(4) Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego constitute the divisions of My eightfold material nature. (5) Such is My inferior nature. But otherwise know My Highest nature by which all life is sustained. 

I have quoted these two verses before in other articles because they answer so many questions and resolve so much confusion about God, Truth, Creation, ourselves and others. In the previous verses, Lord Krishna introduced these teachings as being the Highest Wisdom. 

Our human perspective causes us to think of God as if God were some superior Being that is better and more powerful than any of us. We hear that God created the earth and are awed at such power.

While it is entirely possible that there is such an individual (God has no limitations), or even that there is a Divine Individual for every star in Cosmos that could be logically called “God” or “a god”, this isn’t the whole of the story. The whole story is much bigger, and may be difficult to comprehend. For this reason, we have myths, legends and stories, such as the Adam and Even story. There are multiple versions of these stories, all teaching the same things.

God is One and Two. When you understand that there are two aspects of God/Truth, things begin to clear up. In chapter two this was explained at a personal level as ‘the embodied one’ and ‘the being’. For you personally, the embodied one is you as you Really are: a Divine Individual that is never born and never dies. What you are being however, is human. The first of these two is Absolute, the second is Relative.

  • Absolute – Unchanging, complete, not subject to any limitation, unconditional, unlimited power, independent, not relative to anything.
  • Relative – Existing in relationship to something else, comparable, subject to limitations, dependent.

In these two verses, verse 4 defines the Relative, which is what we humans are able to perceive—earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego. Verse 5 then defines the Absolute, which is beyond all these, and not so easily understood, even conceptually. It is this Absolute God that we are driven to seek, whether we realize it or not. And it is our destiny to find It.

6-7
(6) Understand this: I am the womb of all living beings. I am their coming to be and their coming not to be. (7) Nothing superior to Me exists, Arjuna. On Me all of creation is strung like pearls on a thread.

These two verses continue with the description of the Absolute, as the Highest nature of God. In verse 6, Lord Krishna is saying that He is the cause of life as we know it, and that He is also what ends it (the Relative). Verse 7 is reassuring—there is something Higher that is behind it all that is eternal (the Absolute). 

Remember this?  Earlier, we learned that the womb, or source, of Creation and the dissolution of it, was female, Hiranyagarbha (‘Golden Womb’). Later, after leaving the remnants of the Golden Age behind, the source of Creation became known as male: Brahmā, and later Prajāpati (‘Lord of born beings’).

You as human, with a body, thoughts and feelings, consisting of earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego, is you as a being (Relative).

When you cease being a being, the Real You in all your Divine Glory is revealed. And ultimately, as the sainted Paul says in First Corinthians, you attain incorruptible perfection—“the corruptible becomes incorruptible” (Absolute).

Hence, God is One and Two.

This state cannot be accomplished by belief, by any kind of mental effort, learned knowledge, immense intelligence, insight, direct experience or realization. From chapter three through six, we have Lord Krishna driving home to us that it is the action of yoga (Karma Yoga) that gets us to this point. So now we have chapter seven reminding us of this ultimate aim of yoga.

All that is, is God. Anything that looks like something else is an illusion (not what it seems). This includes the entire relative world we call home. But we are to understand that there is something higher than this that is behind all of creation, a higher aspect of God/Truth that we are missing if we only take it this far—The Absolute, the home of eternal happiness. 

Now we are beginning to see how the Gita teaches us. These concepts are not new, we’ve read them before, but now, as Lord Krishna restates them in different words for his disciple, Arjuna, along with more clues to help him understand, we listen in so we can understand. And we are about to hear more.

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

V:4-6 What Spiritual Path Suits You Best?…

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4
The beginner says that the path of Samkhya and the path of Yoga are different, but not the wise. Undertaken together, one finds the fruit of both. 

Sankhya (सांख्य) – ‘bringing forth knowledge’
Sankhya is known as the path of Knowledge.

Yoga (योग) – ‘union, the act of yoking together’
Yoga is known as the path of Action.

The Path of Knowledge. The word sankhya means knowledge derived through intellect, reason, discrimination and meditation. Sankhya is one of the six major systems of Hindu philosophy.

The Path of Action. The path of yoga, ‘union; the act of yoking together’ gives yoga the distinction of action as its basis.

To the yogi, these two paths are not different. Case in point: The Yoga Sūtras, important aphorisms on the practice of Yoga, was written by Patanjali, a Sankhyist. One who has achieved success in their spiritual path understands this partnership of Knowledge and Action.

5
That which is attained by Samkhya is also attained by Yoga. Samkhya and Yoga are one. One who sees this, sees correctly.

Yoga Brings Forth Knowledge

A person on the path of Yoga naturally finds themself on the path of Knowledge as well, for Yoga brings knowledge both directly and indirectly.

The path of Action is called Karma Yoga (‘action union’). While some see Karma Yoga as devotional service, the yogi understands that action (karma) as described by Lord Krishna, brings the very knowledge sought by the traveller on the path of Sankhya.

No matter through which door one enters a room, it is still the same room. 

Lord Krishna stated earlier that the path of Action is superior to the path of Knowledge. He points out that the path of Action produces Knowledge anyway, and being also the path of Liberation, is therefore the superior of the two. 

The yogi on the path of Action avails himself of knowledge through oral teachings, scripture, and personal experience in meditation. In this way, the yogi is also on the path of Knowledge. Action proves knowledge through experience in meditation, and ultimately leads to liberation. But the path of Knowledge alone does not bring liberation.

Correct action produces correct knowledge.
Correct knowledge is proved through correct action. 

The Path of Devotion

We must not ignore the path of Devotion. It is not mentioned in these verses for one reason only: It is assumed, for one cannot succeed in either the path of Knowledge or the path of Action without it. Devotion is the very foundation for the success of both.

Devotion (bhakti) – love, trust, respect, honor, reverence, faith, humble submission.

Regardless of one’s personal orientation, Devotion, Action and Knowledge are all necessary for success. As one continues with the practice of any one of these three, progress will ultimately bring them together equally. 

The commitment necessary for success on any path is motivated in the Devotee by love and respect for God and Guru, in the Yogi by the desire for union with the Absolute, and in the Knowledge-oriented seeker by the hunger for wisdom and enlightenment. These three united are the bringers of success: the fulfillment of one’s Natural State.

Happiness is Your Natural State

6
Renunciation is difficult to attain without Yoga. Yoked to Yoga and progressing speedily, the wise soon attain Brahman. 

Put another way: Renunciation is easy with Yoga. One who understands Yoga and sticks to it will easily attain God.

Renunciation – Throwing down, laying aside, abandoning, surrender.

Renunciation is generally understood as a vow of poverty and a life of service or yoga practice, and the abandonment of desires. However, in these verses, we have come to realize that renunciation is the abandonment of the role of the doer of actions, which is synonymous with the ‘surrender’ of Surrender Meditation. Yoga (Action) is the means, and yoga (union) is the result.

Lord Krishna says that renunciation is difficult to attain without Yoga. Now, does he mean the path of Yoga, or does he mean ‘union’? When we understand that the path of Action, Yoga, brings about union, then we have it correctly: the answer is both.

If we are practicing Surrender Meditation, we are practicing the path of Action, Karma Yoga. If we pursue knowledge and understand it correctly, we are also practicing the path of Knowledge. As we continue our practice with Devotion, we will experience Truth and gain true Wisdom and Eternal Happiness.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are, even as a being),
Durga Ma
PhoenixMetaphysicalInstitute.com


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