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

Knowledge

18
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.

Knowledge

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. 

Action

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

19
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
durgama.com

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The Sustainer of Life – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 15, Vs 12-15

Light Illumines Sight

12
The light of the sun that illumines all living beings, and which is also in the moon and fire, know that light to be Me.

  • Light – tejas, the heating and strengthening faculty of the body as a whole. As an energy, it is called Prana (Life Energy).
  • Fire – agni, the faculty of digestion and assimilation of food. As an energy, it is called prana (warming energy).
  • Moon chandra, the cooling and eliminating faculty by which impurities leave the body. As an energy it is called apana (cooling energy).

A faculty is a specific, inherent power.
An energy is the manifestation of the power to act.

Tejas is called ‘the light of the sun’ because the sun makes the body visible in the physical world. As an energy, it is Prana, the Life Energy in the body that maintains and sustains the life of the body. As ‘fire’, it is the prana acting in the capacity of heating to ‘cook’ or digest. As the ‘moon’, it is the cooling and eliminating energy of apana in the body. Lord Krishna, avatara of Vishnu, the Sustainer of Life, is saying that He is all these.

13
Entering the earth and all living beings, I am the energy that sustains all living beings and plants. And I am the fluid essence of the body becoming the juice of life.

  • Energy ojas, the overall physical energy of the body.
  • Fluid essence – rasa, essential fluids of the body related to the tongue and taste, and also affection and feelings.
  • Juice of Life – soma, the ‘fluids’ of certain endocrine glands that, when purified, become amrita, the Nectar of Immortality.

14
I am the digestive fire in all living beings, the Prana in the body as both prana and apana, and I cook four kinds of food.

He is the Life Energy (Prana) in the body as a whole and therefore is also the fire (energy) of digestion, so it is He who cooks (digests) the four kinds of food utilizing both prana to cook, and apana to eliminate the refuse and filter out toxins.

By now we are beginning to see that God is in us, as us, in every way possible! 

The Four Kinds of Food

The “four kinds of foods” are what is taken into the body, and ‘cooked’ by the digestive fire (agni).

1. Bhojya – foods chewed with the teeth, such as bread. Enjoying foods that are digested, or ‘cooked’, in the body.

2. Peya – foods that are swallowed, such as juice. Enjoying drinking certain kinds of fluids that are digested, or ‘cooked’, in the body.

3. Kośhya* – foods that are sucked, such as sugarcane. Kośhya also refers to the vessel for holding certain fluids in the body, and is also known as ‘the treasury’ of the five sheaths encasing the five bodies.

4. Lehya – foods that are licked, such as honey. Lehya is the nectar sipped by the tongue entering the pharynx (khechari mudra) wherein the soma (nectar of the moon) becomes amrita (nectar of immortality)

*Kośhya, from kośha – sheaths or bodies. The five sheaths from grossest to subtlest are the physical body, the energy body, the mental body, the wisdom body, and the bliss body. It is said that being aware of the subtle influences of the elements within each kosha, one can discern the True Self.

This will give you an overall feel for the process that is kicked off in advanced stages of yoga sadhana. For instance, enjoying food (bhojya) has to do with what is ingested into the body; drinking (peya) has to do with the seeping of certain hormones through ductless (endocrine) glands, causing the soma (moon-juice) to ultimately become amrita, the nectar (lehya) of immortality. 

In these verses (12-14) you have been initiated into one of the ‘secrets’ of Yoga, and discovered its ultimate purpose.

15
I am seated in the hearts of all, and from Me come knowledge, memory and forgetfulness. I alone am the knower of the Vedas, and I alone am the author of the Vedanta.

Alternate translation:
I am the feelings (emotions) seated in the heart and the ally of all, and from Me come knowledge, memory and reasoning (understanding). I am known in all the Vedas, and I am the author of Vedanta.

Radha & Krishna in the Moonlight
Radha & Krishna in the Moonlight
  • Vedas – ‘sacred knowledge’, the most ancient Hindu scriptures containing hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual for the priests of Vedic religion. The Vedas are believed to have been directly revealed and preserved by oral tradition. The four chief collections are the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda.
  • Vedanta – ‘Veda-end’, or ‘after the Vedas’, is the name of a division of Hindu philosophy as either teaching the ultimate scope of the Vedas, or as explained in the Upanishads (‘sitting near; sitting at the feet of the guru‘), which came after the Vedas.

Alternate translation:
I am seated in the core of all beings, and from Me come knowledge, the memory of what is known, and the understanding of it. I am known in all the ancient scriptural texts on Truth (the Vedas), and I am the maker of all that came after them (Vedanta).

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

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Knowledge & Action – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 12, Vs 12

 

Knowledge & Action

The Bhagavad Gita appears in the story of the Mahabharata. It is a conversation between Lord Krishna and his devotee and childhood friend, Arjuna. Listening in, we receive the teachings of Lord Krishna as he relates them to Arjuna.

The subject of this chapter is Devotion.

This post addresses correct knowledge, practice, meditation, abandoning action, peace, and the order of their importance. 


12
Knowledge is superior to practice. Meditation is superior to knowledge. The abandonment of the fruit of action is superior to meditation. From abandonment, peace ensues.

Alternate Translation:
Knowledge is superior to practice. Meditation is superior to knowledge. Abandonment of the results of action in meditation is superior to the meditation itself, and peace comes as a result.

Correct knowledge is superior to the discipline of using the will to repeat the same practices the same way over and over again. The Sanskrit for ‘repeated practices’ means ‘the act of disciplined reduplication’. While we may use this tactic to get ourselves into the meditation room in the beginning, once real meditation has begun, it has served it purpose and is no longer needed, so it is naturally abandoned.

In Natural Surrender Meditation, the idea of ‘discipline’ has a different meaning: “Go ahead anyway.” Continue no matter what you think about what happens or doesn’t happen in your meditation.

Correct knowledge comes before meditation, for it is necessary in order to know how to meditate correctly and to succeed. Correctly practiced, meditation is superior to the knowledge of it. It is superior because it is experiential, proves the knowledge, and transforms and purifies the meditator, which knowledge alone cannot do.

Also, it is meditation that has provided this knowledge in the first place: Your guru gives you knowledge passed down through the lineage, you study the works of those who have already succeeded as found in the shastras (scriptures), and you experience the truth of these teachings for yourself in your meditation. Knowledge is static, but meditation changes the meditator and turns him or her into a superior being, a saint or a god.

The abandonment of the fruits of action is superior to meditation because true meditation relies on this. This describes Surrender Meditation. Meditation done without this abandonment, is not real meditation. By letting go of attachments to the outcome of your meditation, you have effectively abandoned desires and achieved ‘indifference’ for the duration of your meditation.

This surrendered state is the way to peace. Acting to get desires fulfilled only keeps the mind and energy agitated, and peace at bay. This is why Lord Krishna has spent so much time on this subject.

He is saying that the correct knowledge He has been teaching us, beginning with verse 6, is what makes this meditation possible, and puts it above the knowledge of it. And because surrender, the abandonment of the fruits of action, is what makes it work, it is the Highest Knowledge and the Highest Action. Once one truly renounces — surrenders, throws down at the feet of God — all expectations for certain results, one finds peace.

Willful discipline of repeated practices is nothing next to this knowledge and understanding of surrender sadhana. Surrender is synonymous with abandonment. Surrender is the surrender of the fruits of action, and even of action itself. When you have surrendered to God/Truth, all actions are God’s, and not yours.

Correct knowledge of meditation is necessary in order to know how to practice meditation correctly. Once you have correct knowledge, meditation will come effortlessly and spontaneously, and you will finally get peace. Not all meditation brings peace, but by letting go of your attachments and expectations in meditation through surrender to God/Truth, peace will come of its own accord.

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

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