VIII:17-18 The Day and Night of Brahmā, Part 1

Previously, we learned about the World of Brahmā, and that we must rise above this realm in order to achieve liberation from death and rebirth. In these verses we will get an idea of how long we have been on this journey to freedom and eternal happiness.

17
Those who know that a day of Brahmā is a thousand yugas, and a night of Brahmā is a thousand yugas, are day and night knowing people.

  • Brahmā – God as Creator
  • Yuga – An age

An age of Brahmā is a maha yuga, a Great Age. There are four ages within a Great Age, which, when added together, amount to 4,320,000 of our years. There are one thousand of these Great Ages in one day of Brahmā, and the same for one night.   

This gives us a another picture that is far bigger than our usual sense of time, and some idea of how long we have been on this journey to freedom and unending happiness. One lifetime is but a blip on God’s radar. This kind of time is beyond our comprehension, but there are some who do comprehend it: the “day and night knowing people”.

In the previous issue, we found that the World of Brahmā not only refers to worlds where those not liberated from death and rebirth will return, but that it also applies microcosmically to the human body. Lord Krishna is revealing all this to Arjuna for the purpose of demonstrating the process by which liberation is attained.

In Sanskrit texts, prana and apana are usually translated as ingoing breath and outgoing breath because the breath is the way the Life Energy noticeably enters and leaves the body. Life Energy functions as sun (prana, the warmth of day) and moon (apana, the cool of the night) in the body—days and nights of Brahmā. Their cycles are yugas.

18
From the un-manifest, all manifestation comes forth at the arrival of day. At the arrival of night they are reabsorbed into what is known as un-manifest, again.

  • Un-manifest (avyakta) – not manifest, invisible, not perceptible to the senses.

From the un-manifest, the night, things are beyond the range of our perception. Everything becomes perceptible by the senses with the arrival of day, to be dissolved again into the night.

These cycles of day and night are the yugas within the body as a whole. At the end of the day you go to sleep, and anything you perceive is not perceived by your senses but by your power of perception. We experience this in our sleep as dreams. 

Day and Night

We are all used to thinking of darkness as being associated with evil. So as you read, try to remember that ‘dark’ (night) is simply the opposite of ‘light’ (day).

Nowadays, we are bombarded with the idea of light as divine (silently suggesting that dark is the opposite of divine, or evil). Many people have had experiences of seeing this divine light in their meditation. This is all well and good, but it creates limitation when we ignore its opposite: darkness.  

Anyone can meditate. Everyone does meditate. Most people who meditate regularly, meditate during dawn or dusk, evidence of innate knowledge that this natural transition, when darkness and light are united together, is the key to a true meditative state. 

‘Day’ refers to any situation in which things are perceived through the senses, causing the attention to become externalized and taking the life energy with it. But the means of reaching our goal requires that the energy be internalized and concentrated so that we can reach a meditative state and equanimity (samadhi). So ‘day’ isn’t really the good guy after all. Night is more to the point.

Night is when we naturally sleep—the attention and prana are not leaving the body but are restrained within it (pranayama), and the gateways to external perceptions, the senses, are closed (pratyhara). 

Sleep is the most natural form of meditation. Persons practicing Experiential (Surrender) Meditation often report that they find themselves meditating in their sleep and having the most inspiring experiences. 

The real reason sleep is not given its due is not because of darkness being associated with evil, but because Yoga and meditation have become misunderstood as things we can only accomplish through control by using our will. Once this error is corrected, we come closer to understanding the mysteries of meditation. For instance, yogic teachings on such things as yoga nidra, ‘the sleep of union (yoga)’, finally become correctly understood. Then we find ourselves in possession of knowledge that is extremely valuable to us in achieving a true meditation state, equanimity and Divine Union.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 1.50.03 PMLord Shiva wears a sliver of the moon in his hair to suggest the dark of the moon. Shiva Ratri is celebrated on the darkest night of the moon each month for this reason. The word Krishna literally means ‘dark, black, the dark half of a lunar month’. So the importance of Night and darkness is inescapable.

  • Shiva Ratri – Shiva, ‘Lord of Yoga’, Ratri ‘dark of the moon’.

So now you can consider yourself a (somewhat) day and night knowing person.

Read a short personal note on the day and night of Brahmā.

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

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VI:45-47 The Final Destination

Now we will end this chapter by hearing about the end result of successful Yoga practice. 

Continued from “From Desire to Fulfillment” (verse 44):

45
By persevering in his efforts, the mind withdrawn from anything else, he is completely purified of faults, and after many births is perfected and goes to the final destination.

“By persevering in his efforts”
Now he keeps going no matter what. This yogi knows something of what is ahead through his own experience, and will not be stopped.

“With the mind withdrawn from anything else”
The yogi is now steeped in Yoga. He thinks of nothing else. Any thought seemingly outside of it that should arise, is associated with God/Truth and his Yoga. Anything that is not, is dismissed.

“He is completely purified of faults”
These ‘faults’ are not really his, they are in the packaging, and Shakti wants to get the package to be like the Divine Individual that this yogi really is.

Shakti – Divine Energy. The intelligent, activating force of Nature.

The purification process that is going on in the body is sometimes uncomfortable, but our yogi knows what is going on, so he doesn’t fight it, but regards it as a sign of progress and happily continues his Yoga practice. 

Purification – The reordering of things to get them in their proper places, inside or outside of the body, mind and feelings. This ultimately gets one in sync with the Real Self. (See Yama and Niyama for descriptions of what this would look like). 

Purity

Because prana (Life Energy) can heal anything, it is often thought to be imprudent to avail oneself of resources considered to be unnatural. But this is unnatural—we are here on earth when we’re here, not at some other time. There are different resources available now than were available hundreds (or thousands) of years ago. Forcing oneself to endure something that might otherwise be relieved can cause more trouble from the stress it creates.

Self-Honesty

At this stage of sadhana, one really must be self-honest. Without self-honesty, mistakes will be made. Because of what is at the core of the mind (‘ego’), self-honesty is a difficult undertaking, so one must start immediately to practice it so that this skill is already developed and in place.

Sadhana – Spiritual practice. Sanskrit: The means of going straight to the goal. Mastering, cure, completion, perfection.

There is often (in any age) some difficulty determining what to do. One eventually gets the means of contacting inner guidance, but that alone isn’t always enough because of the mind’s propensity for interfering and causing mistakes to be made. Inner guidance must be more than just listening to your feelings or your mind, or confusing either with intuition. The mind will cause you more trouble than you can imagine, and feelings have their roots in the mind.

Ideally, you should consult your guru. In the event that your guru is no longer on this earth, the adepts who know their way around yoga can be called upon to advise you. If you don’t have direct contact with them they may send you dreams, in which case you will need to know how to understand dreams.

You should also consult scripture. Its purpose is to help you with this very thing. Then contemplate the yamas and niyamas to determine the correctness of your conclusions. It is also very helpful to talk with others on your path who are having similar experiences.

“After many births he is perfected and goes to the final destination”
I don’t think anyone can make it to or through this stage of sadhana without self-honesty and a whole lot of meditation experience (years). But it is very inspiring to know there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, when one is finally, successfully ‘perfected’. 

46
The yogi is superior to the ascetic, the learned, and those who are active in good works. Therefore, be a yogi!

The yogi, the ascetic, the learned, and those who do good works, are all the greatest of devotees, but in this verse the yogi is ranked the highest. The ascetic is ranked higher than the learned, and the learned higher than those engaged in good works.

For many people, asceticism is the practice of severe self-discipline, sometimes even self-mortification, and abstention from all forms of pleasure. But we learned earlier that this is not the intended message. ‘Ascetic’ was defined as “one who is self-motivated, self-disciplined, and inspired, and can be a saint, sage, seer, monk, devotee or hermit”. The learned, on the other hand, is meant as someone who knows a lot but doesn’t have the personal experience behind the knowledge that the yogi and the ascetic have. 

47
Of all yogis, one who loves Me with faith and considers Me as in himself and himself in Me, is united with Me, and is the highest of all.

This verse speaks for itself.

End of Chapter Six
The Yoga of Meditation

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

 

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 15

When the evolutionary force kundalini completes the transformation of the body, Death loses it power. 

15 Considering them common, Arjuna, one who does not waver on account of these and remains resolute, is ready for immortality. 

“these” refers to opposites as mentioned in verse 14:  

It is perception by the senses that produces the sensations of heat and cold, pleasantness and pain. These appear and disappear and are impermanent, so have patience, Arjuna.”

The keyword in verse 15 is ‘ready’. The ultimate outcome is liberation and immortality. In the Bible and other mystical texts of the East, this reference to immortality is literal — the corruptible becomes incorruptible; the yogi cheats death; etc.

When this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? — 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

Two conditions then, are necessary for this transformation: resolute determination, and indifference to opposites.

When truly indifferent to opposites, such as heat and cold, and pleasure and pain, one is in a state in which opposites have been neutralized through union (yoga). The instant prana and apana* unite within the body, opposition vanishes and the Life Energy takes on an evolutionary function (kundalini), and though this may only last for a moment, in that moment there is absolute indifference to opposites. Attractions and aversions cannot exist where there are no likes or dislikes, and likes and dislikes cannot exist in the complete satisfaction and fulfillment of this moment of union. Thus begins the work of neutralizing the polarized pull of the very things that support ignorance (Dhritarashthra): the desires of the mind (the sons of Dhritarashthra).

* 'prana and apana': The Life Energy moving upward that warms the body is called prana; moving downward and cooling the body it is called apana. When these opposing functions of the Life Energy collide, they are united as one, and the evolutionary force, kundalini, becomes active within the body. This is Yoga ('union').

Self-reference:

Desires of the mind (the sons of Dhritarashthra) appear as things you like as opposed to things you do not like, and visa versa—opposites. Begin by simply noticing these when they arise.

Ignorance refers to non-enlightenment. In the West, this is called ‘ego’, but the Sanskrit word (ahamkara) suggests that what this ‘ego’ is, is the sense of yourself as ‘doing’. This in turn suggests that what you really are is something other than what does things, and begs the question: “What am I?” Begin contemplating this question.

Enlightenment happens when you know through direct experience that what you really are does nothing. This unfolds by degrees.

All activities of the mind having vanished, I sit happily as the ruler within the city whose gates are nine [the body], not acting at all, nor causing action. — Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, ch 5, vs 13

Sensible Spiritual

As a sadhika, I lived in the woods on very little of anything in order to find the time and solitude to practice yoga full time. I had no frills like air-conditioning and often no heat in winter, so I bore up under a great deal of discomfort. I told myself that I was cultivating dispassion and indifference to heat and cold, and pleasure and pain. What was really happening was that I was so miserable, and it took so much will to endure this misery, that I was not only holding myself back, I was getting over-exposed without realizing it. This resulted in the body becoming even more sensitive to heat and cold than it was in the beginning, and I have had to deal with this every day of my life since that time. It was a kind of ‘mortification of the flesh’ that I didn’t realize I was ‘doing’. And it didn’t work. It doesn’t work. It won’t work.

Scriptural injunction insists that we take proper care of the body so that it is fit for sadhana, not beaten down. So now, instead of tents, cars, vacant houses, or huts with quarter-inch cracks between the boards, I live in a simple house with AC and heat, and I do not put up with tolerating anything any more, if I can help it. That’s full circle from an ordinary life, to a determined and devoted spiritual life, and back to where I started from, only now I live a devoted sensible-spiritual life.

Indifference to opposites must come naturally and spontaneously as a result of surrender to God/Truth. You cannot make it happen. If you try, you will pay. The trick is to monitor your own motives as you live sensibly spiritually: Are you taking care of your body for sadhana? or are you using this principle as an excuse for seeking pleasure? And then, when you make a mistake (you will), you must ignore the temptation to put yourself down, forgive yourself, and move on.

I bow to the Divine One that you really are,
Durga Ma
durgama.com

Enlightenment — Click on “Jack Wexler” to see an excellent video. To find an intensive near you, click on “Contacts Around the World”.

The Song of God — The ‘original’ Bhagavad Gita in plain English.

Surrender Meditation — Meditate your way to enlightenment: Apply for Remote Shaktipat.

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