The Greatest Secret of All – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 67-71

Scripture - a book of secrets
Read It Here!

The Diamond Shloka

Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in Me alone, and I will give you freedom from all misfortunes. Grieve not. — Shloka 66

Alternate translation:
Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender only to Me, and I will give you liberation and the end of all sorrows. Fear not!

Requirements

67
This is never to be spoken of by you to one who is without austerity, never to one who is not devoted to Me or neglects seva at any time, never to one who is averse to practice and study, and never to one who does not love Me and protect this teaching.

1.  Austerity (tapasis the purification process brought about by yoga; the melting away of impurities, including one’s karma.

Tapas, usually translated as ‘austerity’, means ‘to burn, heat, melt or warm’. Tapas is brought about by yoga (union) for the purpose of burning away impurities, and putting things not in sync with God and the Real You where they belong. This applies to body, feelings, mind and karma.  

2. Devotion and seva exemplify love and respect for the guru.

Devotion (bhakti, ‘love, respect, commitment’) is love and commitment to God, and the performance of guru seva

Seva is selfless service, service without expectation of return benefits.

Guru’s Grace refers to receiving the initiations of the guru’s lineage. To the degree that one is devoted to guru and performs seva, one gets Guru’s Grace. Seva diminishes one’s karma and protects the guru and the guru’s oral teachings.

3. Study and practice refers to learning and putting the knowledge gained into practice on a regular basis.

Study means learning through the study of scriptures, the words of the Guru, and contemplation of scripture and the guru’s teachings. Study also refers to the study of oneself and one’s Self with self-honesty.

Practice is putting the knowledge gained through Study into action. The form this takes is determined by the Guru. Different gurus have different practices, all of which include meditation.

4. Love Me and protect this teaching means that one does not reveal this teaching to those who do not fit these requirements.

Protection refers to both the teachings and the guru. “Love Me and protect the teaching.” If you love God you also love everyone, and will therefore protect this secret from misunderstandings and misuse in order to protect them. This is achieved by abiding by the requirements.

Now that Lord Krishna has given Arjuna the meaning of the Diamond Shloka (verse 66 above), He tells him to keep it secret. But we have just read it! What can this mean?

A secret written in a book

A secret is something that is not understood. 

Now, having heard this secret, we can’t help wondering if we have missed something. Unless we can honestly say that we fit the above requirements ourselves, we will have missed it, and its meaning will remain hidden to us until we do. When we do meet these requirements, we will come to understand it.

Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender only to Me, and I will give you liberation and the end of sorrows. Fear not! — Shloka 66

68-69
One who teaches this supreme secret to My devotees, performs the highest act of devotion to Me, and surely comes to Me without a doubt. There is no one in the world who is dearer to Me than that one, and never will there be anyone on earth dearer to Me than that one who teaches this Greatest Secret.

Arjuna receives the secret

After all this hoo-hah about keeping this teaching a secret, He is telling Arjuna that teaching it is the biggest way to His heart! He says that “he who teaches this supreme secret to My devotees performs the highest act of devotion to Me.” He has even given Arjuna the standards for determining devotees who are qualified to received it (verse 67).

Once again we are faced with a paradox. If this teaching is secret, how can it be written down for anyone to read? Obviously it is written in such a way that only someone who has met the above criteria will be able to understand it. So have another look at these requirements, and decide for yourself how close you are to meeting them.

In these verses, Lord Krishna is also revealing the power of teaching as a part of one’s sadhanaOnce one has reached the stage in which he or she has received this teaching and gained adequate experience, the guru may appoint them to teach others. 

The best way to learn is to teach.

Such a devotee will ultimately become a teacher of the guru’s lineage and find themself in the Heart of God:

“There is no one in the world who is dearer to Me than that one, and never will there be anyone on earth dearer to Me than that one who teaches this Greatest Secret.”— Verse 69

70-71
And one who hears this sacred teaching with faith, by that one I am loved with the Knowledge Sacrifice.
It is certain that, free of ill-will and scoffing, the man who assimilates this knowledge is liberated and reaches the auspicious worlds of the righteous.

“The man” Though we usually see the word purusha to indicate a male person, here the word is nara, indicating a person who has reached an advanced stage of Yoga. This tells us that this stage is fundamental to the requirements for receiving the secret.

“Assimilates” Takes it in, understands and internalizes it.

“Without ill-will or scoffing” This is mentioned to point out the reaction of someone who hears this secret without meeting the four Requirements mentioned above. Unable to understand it, he may ridicule it and causing harm to those he tells. This further emphasizes the need to protect it in order to protect others from the harm caused by misunderstanding and derision.

“Liberated” Free. By using the word mukti instead of moksha, he is saying that, , even though one is liberated from the cycles of death and rebirth, this liberation is not the final liberation. This suggests that there are stages of liberation and other realms of which we may be unaware.

“The righteous” ‘Those whose actions are pure’; auspicious skill in actionvirtuous, pious’.

I have translated these last two verses (70-71) as the culmination of the teachings concerning the Diamond Shloka. In the next post, these same two verses will reveal another layer of intrigue, and become the prelude to the final verses of this chapter.

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

Action – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 23-28

Action

Previously:
Knowledge, Action and Agent are of three kinds according to the three gunas. — Verse 19

Three Kinds of Action

23 — Sattvic Action (pleasant and illuminating)
Action that is in accordance with scripture and free of attachment and aversion, which is performed without motivation for the results, is said to be sattvic.Meditation is a sattvic action

When one discovers Truth contained in scriptural injunctions, one becomes free of attachment, for attachment is no longer relevant. Then, attachment no longer determines action, and like and dislike also become irrelevant. Then one naturally performs action without consideration of self, and is headed for Liberation.

24 — Rajasic Action (passionate and excited)
Rajas - ExcitementBut self-motivated action performed with effort of will for the purpose of fulfilling desires, is declared to be rajasic.

When action is performed for the purpose of personal gain, the will is automatically engaged. This is what ‘will’ is. Acting to fulfill a desire, no matter what it is, always engages the will. 

25 — Tamasic Action (dark, prone to error)Tamas, dark and prone to error
Action undertaken out of ignorance with no consideration of the consequences of loss or injury to others, is tamasic.

A tamasic person is not self-motivated. His actions do not include pursuing interest in God/Truth. He may like the idea of having a spiritual experience, but he will only credit it if someone else gives it to him. Even if he finds a teacher who inspires him, he may return to that teacher, not for more knowledge or guidance, but for more inspiration.


Using willpower always produces imbalance in the body, feelings and mind. Trying to recover it, we engage our willpower, increasing the imbalance, and causing us to force or resist. Forcing and resisting are two sides of the same coin, and both are either rajasic or tamasic

In Surrender Meditation we surrender the use of our will to God — “Thy will be done, O Lord, not mine.”  The use of willpower in meditation is not in our best interest, and affect others as well … even people we don’t know. So even though we may reclaim the use of our will outside of meditation, we know where to put it when we meditate: outside the meditation room.

Three Kinds of Agents

The following three kinds of Agents address people who see themselves as doers of action, which we now know is not real. Nevertheless, it seems like we are doers of action, so we are going to see how this looks with the gunas, the real cause of action, running the show. 

26 — Sattvic Agent (pleasant, kind, illuminating)
Sattva - pleasant & kindFree of attachments and self-praise, resolved and not affected by success or failure, such an agent is sattvic.

You are a sattvic Agent when, free of considerations of success or failure or self, you will quit all attachments and pride. Until this time, the gunas rule. But when you are in sync with the Real You (the eternal non-doer), you are no longer subject to the sirens of ignorance, and the gunas bow at your feet — they are still there, but they no longer control you.

27 — Rajasic Agent (recklessly excited, self-serving)
Rajas - Ambitious & AgressivePassionately desiring the results of their actions, greedy, violent-natured and impure, influenced by happiness and unhappiness, such an agent is rajasic.

You’ll do it if you like it, you won’t if you don’t. If this fits you, you are a rajasic agent, and your karmic bondage rules. Even though it is the gunas that cause all action in nature, you experience action as your own doing. You have made yourself a slave to the influences of the gunas, and are bond by your karma.  

28 — Tamasic Agent (dark, lazy, procrastinating)
Tamas - lazy & procrastatingUndisciplined, unrefined, inflexible, wicked, overbearing, slothful, noncommittal and procrastinating, such an agent is tamasic.

It goes without saying that you are not one of these people! But you probably know someone who is, or know of them. These are people who never change, and never in their lifetime will they ever change. And they’re proud of it. They may call it tradition, or they may say, “That’s what the Good Book says,” all the while remaining ignorant of its meaning out of pure laziness. Or they say, “Like father like son” and brag about it. They beat their wives and children because they were beaten. And on it goes. This is tamasic action.

Knowledge, action and agent are of three kinds because there are three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas

In this world, nature is always active in these three ways to greater and lesser of degrees and combinations. When we believe ourselves to be the doers of actions, we acquire karma of three kinds according to these three modes of nature. We are responsible people, and we hope we are good enough to acquire good karma.

But there is a trick here, for by identifying yourself as responsible, you identify yourself as the Agent of Action. This keeps you in bondage and compelled to return again and again, life after life, and always short on happiness. But what else is there? What are we to do?

There is only one escape from this continued cycling: You must become a serious seeker of Truth/God, and practice the ‘God-practice’ Lord Krishna is teaching Arjuna in this Gita. You must attain enlightenment, and you must create a regular meditation practice to put your knowledge into action and allow for the Real You to emerge.   

All action occurs in nature, and You are not nature. You are You. Period.

The Real You 

You are a god in a body made of God being human.

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

Knowledge, Action and the Gunas – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 17

Kripalu, eternal non-doer.
Swami Kripalu – Spontaneous Action in Surrender to Absolute God

17
For one who is free of the doer ego, his intelligence is untainted. Even though he kills these warriors, he does not kill, and is therefore not bound.

KriyasIt is not desires that are the problem, but rather the attachment to them. What is ‘killed’ as a result of your realization of non-doership is your attachment to desires. 

Your karma is written into the script of your life based on the dictates of your ego. Free of the sense of doership, your script is swept clean and you attain Freedom and unending Happiness.

  • the doer ego (ahamkara) – “I do”; casting oneself in the role of the doer of action 
  • intelligence (buddhi) intellect, understanding, logic, reasoning, discrimination
  • tainted (lipyate) – attached, polluted
  • not bound (nanibadhyate) – free, not enslaved, fettered, tied or restrained

“His intelligence is untainted” Intelligence is buddhi, the faculty of intellect, reason and discrimination. When your intellect is ‘untainted’, you can tell the difference between things and know the truth. But because we have so many desires, buddhi gets tainted by our attachments to them.

Kriyas“For one who is free of the doer ego”
Ego in Sanskrit is ahamkara, which means, “I do”. This should give you some idea of how surrender to God in meditation works to free you from this bondage and bring you to the highest enlightenment.

What you surrender (yourself), and what you surrender it to (Absolute God), are the two keys to this practice in which you are not a doer of action. No matter what you think, experience, see, or understand, all action is the gunas of Nature interacting, and you are not Nature. 

You must take this on faith until you experience it for yourself as fact. Your mind, with its doer-ego at its core, will try to contradict this new realization, but now, through complete surrender to Absolute God, you have the evidence right before your very eyes!

“Now we see through a glass, darkly, but then, face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.” — Paul: 1 Corinthians 13:12

“Even though he kills these warriors, he does not kill, and is therefore not bound.” The key is in what your dharma is (this is discussed in more detail later in verses 40-45). You may know intuitively, or you may be self-deluded. It is up to each individual to seek the Truth with pure sincerity and self-honesty, and arrive at the correct answer.

Then, once you have this worked out, if you find that your dharma is to be a warrior for instance, you must understand, even if only intellectually at first, that the Real You does not kill, and take this on faith. Then, and only then, are you in a position to proceed without creating more bondage for yourself. With this enlightened understanding, you will quell the fear of death and be the hero you were meant to be. 

Begin contemplating what the Real You and God/Truth are really like by following the “Ten Keys to Success.” Mastery of these universal principles will insure your success at anything, and deliver special powers. 

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