VI:3-4 Ascension to Yoga

With ascension to Yoga, sameness-of-mind sets in and the mind becomes calm. Wonderful experiences begin to happen: you explore other worlds, see the adepts and receive their guidance, get messages, have dreams that are not dreams… 

3
For a muni wishing to ascend to yoga, action is said to be the means. For one who has already ascended to Yoga, equanimity is said to be the means.

  • Muni a saint, sage, seer, ascetic, monk, devotee, hermit.

Once you have ascended to yoga (union), tranquility becomes the instrument of your advancement. There is a shift. Things have been active until now, but now the mind is calm, and wonderful experiences begin to happen. You explore other realms, see the adepts, get messages, and have dreams that are not dreams. Purifications take place. Purification of the mind begins and you get to see what shape your ego is in—not always pleasant, and often embarrassing, but necessary for going forward.

Practically, this pleasant peacefulness even becomes necessary in one’s living conditions. You need conditions that will allow for this shift to happen and not dissipate because of distractions.

4
When one is not attached to actions or to things, and has renounced all self-motivated purposes and intentions, one is said to have ascended to Yoga.

This verse gives us standards for determining where we are in the process of ascending to Yoga. 

  • We are not attached to actions – Not attached to being the doer of actions.
  • We are not attached to things – Not attached to objects of the senses—anything that can be perceived by the senses: odor, flavor, touch, sight, sound.
  • We have renounced all self-motivated purposes and intentions – Given up acting for the purpose of getting the results of action (getting what we want).

We can ascend to yoga when we are not attached to objects, objectives, actions, or the results of actions.

“Attached”
We perceive things through our senses. What we perceive is relayed to the mind where we judge the worth of these things—we either like them or not to varying degrees. We become attached to the things we like and desire to have them. If we get something we want, we get attached to keeping it.
Attachment is a fixed state of mind and works against us. It is for this reason that it is discouraged.

Attachment is a fixed state of mind.

When the mind is fixed, the Life Energy is fixed. When the Life Energy is fixed, the wellness and maintenance of the body is impeded. This is one of the reasons that we die.

“Renounced all self-motivated purposes and intentions
Intention is a popular concept for getting what you want. That this can be effective is not in question here. We are simply being reminded that when we have and act on intentions, we will not reach God/Truth; we will not become liberated; we will not achieve our natural state of happiness; we will remain desire-ridden, attached, bound to temporal happiness at best. The workings of this chain have been repeatedly explained in previous verses.  

All intentions are based on desire.

The ascent to Yoga can only happen when we have let go of desires—trying to make things be the way we want them to be, trying to get what we want—and acting with the intention of fulfilling them. 

This seems like a tall order, but when we understand this as a practice, and not something we have to be able do 24/7 in our daily lives, it becomes doable. This practice, which is something we usually call ‘meditation’, needs certain conditions for it to work. So we must find a way to implement this practice—give ourselves the right place and time—and then do it regularly.

Yes, it is possible to live like this 24/7, but it takes many years, and maybe many lifetimes, to get to this point. We first need to be able to do it as a practice so that we get the experience of it in order to know what this state is like. Then, when it begins to come naturally and easily in our meditation, it will begin to spill over into our lives, and we will be able to recognize it, and not be fooled by the ego. So let’s not put the cart before the horse, get in over our heads, and get discouraged.

Renunciation is Surrender

Surrender in meditation is the choice not to choose, but to delegate God/Truth to determine what happens or doesn’t happen during meditation.

In Surrender Meditation we abandon all pre-conceived ideas about meditation, and any expectations and desires we may have. We leave everything to God/Truth, thus unburdening ourselves of all purposes and intentions. During this time, we are free of all responsibilities, and the concomitant need to be in control. God/Truth is in control. Actions may arise, but we do not take ourselves to be the doer of them, for we are not attached to their effects

Choice is the very essence of your very great and mighty power. If you have not contemplated this, you have not begun to know yourself. This power is innate. It will not go away, ever.

Earlier, we came to understand that self-surrender is what is meant by ‘sacrifice’, that sacrifice and worship are synonymous, and that you get what you worship. When you use this inherent power to choose not to be the chooser but to surrender yourself to God/Truth in meditation, you will get God/Truth. It is an adventure like no other.

Yoga = Renunciation = Surrender = Sacrifice

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

 

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VI:1-2 The Real Meditation of Real Yoga

Real Yoga is usually thought of as requiring renunciation by taking vows of poverty, wandering, begging for food, having no possessions and no desires. But the truth is, by virtue of being a yogi with a sacred fire and action, one is already a renunciate.

1
One who performs actions while renouncing their fruits is a renunciate and a yogi. But not one who is without the sacred fire and action.

This verse defines renunciation and Yoga.

Alternate translation:
One who performs prescribed actions (kāryaḿ karma) without any pre-conceived or desired expectations regarding their results, is a renunciate and a yogi. But one who performs prescribed action without the sacred fire, his are not purifying actions (kriya) and he is not a renunciate or a yogi.

“Actions”
The interaction of the qualities of nature (guna)

‘Prescribed action’ is sometimes translated as ‘ritual actions’ and taken to mean sacred rituals (pujas) and/or the duties of ones stage in life (ashrama). This interpretation of ‘ritual actions’ is pertinent to the student and the householder stages of life, but not to the yogi.

  • Prescribed action (kāryaḿ karma) – proper specific actions to be done.
  • Prescribed action (kriya– purifying actions.

The yogi understands that prescribed actions (kāryaḿ karma) arise spontaneously in meditation, that he is not the doer of these actions, and that this kind of action (kriya) is purifying and only possible with the sacred fire. The same actions without the sacred fire do not purify. Actions performed without it, are not the actions of a yogi

“Sacred Fire”
Divine Energy

To the yogi, the sacred fire is Shakti, the activating energy of nature that initiates and directs spontaneous actions for the purpose of purification (kriyas). When this primal force operates as the life force within the body, She called Prana; when She operates in an evolutionary capacity, She is called Kundalini.

“Renouncing their fruits”
Setting aside all desires and intentions regarding the results of actions that occur in meditation

By letting go of expectations and desires for certain outcomes (renouncing) through the surrender of oneself to God/Truth in meditation, purifying Divine Action (kriya) occurs spontaneously as directed by Shakti.  

“A renunciate and a yogi”
Renunciation is Yoga

We are used to thinking of renunciation as taking vows of poverty, wandering, begging for food, having no possessions and no desires, and so on. But here we are told that by virtue of being a yogi with a sacred fire and kriya, one is naturally a renunciate.

Meditation

You may wonder why I am assigning this idea to meditation. Meditation practiced correctly requires a place of assured privacy and solitude. This affords the proper conditions to be surrendered enough to accept the unknown, what these kriyas will be like, and what effects they will produce.

Purification is taking place through kriya, and all purifications have effects of their own. If we are not in a situation where they will not affect others, we will not let them happen. One can apply this to life in general in a limited way, but it will not get you to liberation because you cannot go beyond the ego without the proper conditions. (These conditions are described later, beginning with verse 10).

  • Ego – Identifying oneself as the doer of actions (ahamkara, “I do”).

2
Know that what is called ‘renunciation’ is Yoga, for without renounced purpose one cannot be a yogi, Son of Pandu.

“Renunciation is Yoga”
We are to understand that a yogi is a renunciate: the yogi renounces, lets go of, having to have things be any certain way. He renounces all actions to God/Truth in meditation, and accepts what happens as the Divine Action of Shakti.

“Renounced purpose”
Abandoning self-motivated actions, actions performed for purposes of one’s own. Without the right conditions for abandoning self-motivated purposes, one cannot surrender enough to become a renunciate and a yogi.

“Son of Pandu”
Lord Krishna is addressing Arjuna by this epitaph for a reason. Arjuna’s people, the Pandavas, represent risk-taking. Now it may seem strange to you that the ‘good guys’ in this tale are gamblers. But that is exactly what you are every time you enter into spontaneous meditation by letting go of your control over what happens. When you truly surrender yourself to God/Truth, it is a gamble. You won’t know what the outcome will be.

Until you do surrender yourself to God, you may never know God. In the beginning you don’t know God but you surrender to That anyway. You are taking a chance on God now, but in time, you will come to know what That is, and your surrender and your meditation will get easier and deeper.

To get there, you abandon all your own desire-based purposes. You are taking a change that God is Good, that God is perfect, divine and absolute, that God loves you. You are taking a chance that you have not had the wool pulled over your eyes by some guru telling all this, and telling you that by taking this risk, you will find God and be liberated.

Well, this is exactly what Arjuna has done, and he has been having his doubts, so if you have doubts, you are in very good company. You are here, reading the Gita to see how all this works out. This is wise. You have taken this gamble, and you deserve some answers. You came to this juncture because you wanted God and liberation. Now you want some reassurance that you’re going to get it. Bravo for you! You have come to the right place. The Gita will give you the answers to all your doubts. You have but to read and realize them for yourself.

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

V:23-24 Nirvana…

The gentle and pleasant happiness we arrive at through yoga (union) is the very condition that can lead us to the Real, and our natural state of true and lasting happiness.  

23
The yogi who endures the agitation of passionate desire and anger here, before liberation from the body, is a happy man. 

“The yogi”
One who has achieved yoga (divine union). 

“Passionate desire and anger”
As discussed in “Outfoxing the Force”:

Desire and anger are forms of passion. Desire refers to sensual desire. Anger refers to the reaction brought about by thwarted desire. In this way, they go together, anger being instigated by (thwarted) desire.

  • Desire is a function of the senses and the mind; anger is an emotion.
  • Desire is a want; anger is a feeling.
  • Both desire and anger rely on passion.

The fact that we are expected to patiently endure these two here in this world, implies that we will continue to be faced with them until death. 

This may seem like bad news, but for those of you who have been toiling to rid yourself of them, you should be relieved to know that you can stop. You will have to apply your self-control to not act on them when they arise, but there is nothing wrong with feeling the way you feel. It is what you do or don’t do about it that counts.

You can put up with passionate desire and anger by consciously experiencing them without acting on them. This can be difficult, which is why they have the reputation of being ‘the enemy’ of Yoga, for yoga is otherwise very simple. But on the up-side, this is the ultimate means of mastering self-control, which manifests great power, so you’ll not be cheated out of anything.

Once you understand yoga, you have the solace of yoga, which will bring you greater happiness and pleasure than this turbulent pair. And ultimately, through the practice of yoga, they will cease to have power over you.

“A happy man”
Sukhī, ‘one who loves pleasure’; nara, ‘a man’.

24
One whose happiness and delight is within, illuminates what is within, becomes identified with it, and ascends to God-nirvana.

  • “Nirvana”  ‘Blown or put out, the breath extinguished, dead’.

The extinguishing of the the breath indicates the cessation of the movement of Prana, and therefore the mind. Happiness is peaceful and gentle when the mind is peaceful and gentle. 

“Illuminates what is within”
Makes it apparent.

“Ascends”
The use of the word ‘ascends’, indicates rising from one place to another—from hatha yoga (sun-moon union) to raja yoga (union with God)—kundaini-shakti draws the life energy through the fifth chakra and into the head: Heaven. When one is no longer attached to contact with what is outside oneself, but finds happiness within through union (hatha yoga), one ascends to God-happiness (raja yoga).  

  • God-nirvana – ‘Union with God at death’. One ascends from Nirvana to the Nirvana of God, the ultimate happiness of union with God in Heaven.

Samadhi, the equanimity of divine union, yoga, is a form of death, the death of the unReal. So God-nirvana can be arrived at in meditation (samadhi) where one experiences God without the use of the mind or the senses. This is an example of an early stage of samadhi:

The Sound of Sameness

In meditation, you become absorbed in the vibratory phenomenon of the Divine Sound that creates and sustains the world. The sound of OM is heard directly (nothing is making it). There is no other sound, and no silence. There is only the Divine Sound consisting of all tones and pitches as one tone—you hear only one tone, and simultaneously all tones. Every individual tone is an overtone of all other tones, placed  within a specific harmonic order that is always the same. All is One and One is All. The unReal has been extinguished, and now you know the True nature of the Real.

When you hear the music of the cosmos, you are hearing God. We are the music.

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