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.

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.

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


VII:8-11 The Essence of God in Creation

Bhagavad Gita, Volume One, chapters 1-6, is now available for download.

The essence of God is present in all of Creation, like a string sustaining a neckless of pearls, the singular Absolute sustains the Relative Realm of this world of multiplicity. 

I am the fluidity in water, the light of the moon and sun, I am the vibration of all sounds in the sound of OM in the ether according to sacred knowledge, and I am the humanity in mankind. 

The things mentioned in these verses as essences of God are not the Absolute Itself, but are because of the Absolute, and exist prior to their manifestations, i.e., fluidity before water, light before sun and moon, vibration before audible sound, etc.

Everything in Creation exists as a potential in the Absolute. An essence is a characteristic of a potential. All of Creation becomes manifest from its essence. It is not the other way around.

The Absolute does not make these things happen. Like a face seen in a cloud, it is not that the cloud creates the image of a face, but that a face is what is perceived by the seer.

Through surrender to God in meditation, this can be known through the experience of pratyahara, wherein one comes to realize that the power of sight for instance, the ability to see, exists before physical eyes exist.

Fluiditywithout fixed form, changeable, adaptable. Water takes up the biggest percentage of the body and the earth, and takes the form of the vessel that holds it. 

Light – the source of illumination. Light makes perception possible, and knowledge knowable. Everything that is visible to us is visible by the reflection of light off the object seen. When we are attempting to understand something, we ‘reflect’ on it. For us humans, our true existence is in the dark, hidden, but real, even though we do not perceive it…until light has be cast on it and we become ‘enlightened’.

Sound – vibration, the basis of Creation. All sounds are contained within the sound of OM (aum). Vibration (/) begins with the Divine Individual’s choice to engage his power to know. What is sent out returns with the knowledge of the existence of another Divine Individual, and another equal and opposite vibration (\) becomes self-perpetuating upon its return (/\/\/\…). 

The humanity in mankind. The word for humanity is paurusham, meaning ‘belonging to purusha‘. Purusha is You with a viewpoint, but now you are being a member of humanity. This characteristic of your being is the essence of God in you as a human being. Lord Krishna is saying that He is that essence, once again identifying Himself with God, but in this case, this is you, thus making you one with God right now.

I am the pure, pleasant fragrance of earth, the fire of the sun, the fire of life in all beings, and the fire of purification.

Earth is the element associated with the sense of smell at the first chakra, the home of Mother Kundalini, and is the basis of most of yoga sadhana. The Sanskrit word for pleasant also means, ‘pure, holy, sacred, good, right, auspicious and propitious’.

Fire of the sun gives light and life; the fire of life in all beings is prana, the Life Energy in the body; the fire of purification, tapas, ‘to heat or melt down,’ comprises most of yoga sadhana.

Know Me as the eternal cause of all living beings. I am the intelligence of the intelligent and the vitality in the body.

It is the divine, absolute individual—the Real You—that is the essence of what you are being: human. And it is this Real You that is the source of your intelligence, as well as the vitality in your own body. No surprise really, since you are one with God. 

And I am the strength of the strong devoid of desire and passion, and I am that desire which is not contrary to dharma.

Lord Krishna is saying that He is your strength when it is not impaired by desire and passion. Earlier I said that desire is an affirmation of lack. I will stand by this but take it a step further: Desire is a want that we chase because we can’t stand the way it feels to want, and the only solution we know is to fulfill the desire. Then we become obsessed with another desire: the desire to get it. And the chase begins. This is what weakens us, but there is a solution: 

By enjoying the desire itself, the object of desire
loses it power—it is of no further interest.

In this verse Lord Krishna reveals another secret. He says that He is that desire in you that is not contrary to dharma (Divine Law, injunction). In other words, this single desire doesn’t go against spiritual law or impede progress, but is in accordance with dharma because it is actually God. Translators tend to attribute this desire to the desire to procreate, or to desires that are inharmonious with the ordained duties of life.

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

What Is Attachment?

Attachment is of two kinds: (1) attachment to action—you take the role of the doer of action (ahamkara), and (2) attachment to the fruits of action (phalāsańgaḿ)—what you do is for the purpose of getting the results you want. 

Sańgaḿ – “Sticking or clinging to something, especially the addiction to selfish worldly attachment; desire, wish, greed.”

Attachment to Action — The Player Takes the Role of Doer

Let’s be honest. We are all attached to action, for we all see ourselves as doing the things that we do every day. We take this role because we want things to be a certain way. This is the desire behind the continued role of doership that we become inadvertently attached to.

When you act for the purpose of getting a certain result, you are taking the role of the doer.

Accepting this role as your own reinforces the sense of doership, but it is the ego that is taking this role, obscuring the Real You.

Throughout your day, whenever you think of it, begin to notice when you are engaged in an action and ask yourself, “Who or what is doing this?” Over time, regardless of the answers that arise, noticing this phenomenon will cause a separation between you and the action, and you will discover the one that asked the question.

Attachment to the Fruits of Action — The Player Acts for His Own Purpose

Attachment begins with wanting something to be a certain way. This desire is accompanied by the belief that something has to be done to make it so, and action then gets performed for the purpose of getting the desired result. This is realistic, logical—of course A and B have to take place for the desired effect to result, how can it be otherwise? We learned this from childhood.

Two things are happening here: (1) your desire says that you don’t have what you want. This places the object of desire at a distance—it is ‘over there’ somewhere, not within your grasp, and (2) trying to figure out how to get it puts it in time and space, i.e., the future, thereby distancing it from you even further. But the Reality is…

You Are Everywhere Always
What you truly are is omnipresent and without limitations. 

What we learned was not true but we continue to reenact it, slowing or stopping our progress and our ability to manifest what we need. At one level, this is precisely why we are being warned about desires.

Everything is within your grasp because everything is in You, and You are in everything.

The truth is that nothing has to be done. You have only to name it to claim it. All this dancing around with what to do, how to go about doing it, when to do it, is what is slowing you down, stopping you, stopping the very thing you want from landing in your lap.

Name it to claim it.

With regard to yoga sadhana, I think we compound this by obsessing over it, chiding ourselves for having desires, and we miss seeing our continued efforts for what they are: misguided attempts to bring desires to fruition. Again, the key to changing this is Noticing.

Noticing engages the Attention, the flow of consciousness between you and other-than-you.

Noticing is the key to putting distance between you and something else, in this case, desires. Just notice them. That’s really all you can effectively do (pardon the word), for so long as you have a mind you have an ego (ahamkara, ‘I do’, is the core of the mind), and even though it likes running the show, you have the power to choose—you don’t have to bow down to desires (ahamkara) and the compulsion to get them fulfilled (phalāsańgaḿ).

Throughout your day, whenever you think of it, find the desire behind what you are doing by revealing why you are doing it. You will probably find your motivations several layers deep. For example:

You realize that you are going to work even though you would rather stay home. Why? Because you need the money. So you are motivated my money. Why? To pay the bills. But why do you want to pay the bills? You want to pay the bills because you don’t want the electricity turned off. Why? Because you want the house to be warm, to cook food for your meals, and to heat hot water for showers, etc. Why? Because you want a certain level of comfort. Why?…
Read more >>>

By doing this exercise you can uncover the motivation behind any action that you do. It will be at the bottom of a tall stack of answers. The trick is not to judge it, just Notice it.

It is always better to know the truth about yourself, even if you think you should be some other way. Otherwise you will go through life pretending and never knowing what you are doing, why you are doing it, how to change the things you want to change, and how to manifest what you need.

You cannot become truly Self-realized
if you are not self-realized.

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

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