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Family Feud -Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1: 26-31

Arjuna’s Depression

26
Standing there, the Son of Pritha* [Arjuna] saw fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, brothers in law,

27
Fathers in law and dear companions among both of the two armies. Contemplating all of them, all his kinsmen, standing before him, he, the Son of Kunti* [Arjuna],

28
Was filled with profound despair and said to Krishna, “Having seen these my own kinsmen, all standing right here ready to fight,

29
“My limbs are weak, my mouth is dry, my body trembles, and my hair stands on end.

30
“Gandiva falls from my hand, my skin burns, I am unable to remain standing, and my mind is going around in circles.

31
“I perceive inauspicious omens, O handsome-haired One [Krishna], and I see inauspicious omens in destroying my own kinsmen in this battle.”

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*  In verses 26 and 27 Arjuna is referred to as the “son of Kunti” (spear or lance, sometimes associated with the god of love) and the “son of Pritha”. Pritha is another name of Kunti. The word pritha refers to the palm of the hand extended and used as a means of measuring, which makes this name similar in meaning to ‘Ma’ (‘to measure’), which is often used to refer to the Divine Mother. The idea of measuring, which implies time and space, puts us in the relative realm of this world. Interestingly, both Kunti, Arjuna’s mother, and Lord Krishna are descendants of the same Yadava Prince (Prince Yadu – heroism; valiant warrior, champion; strong, heroic, brave).

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These verses clarify the title of this chapter, “Arjuna’s Depression”. Arjuna’s state is one of despair. He has come to realize that he knows everyone in both armies, that he is related to all of them, and that all of these relatives are about to kill each other. He cannot see why this should be. It was Krishna himself who urged this war in order that Arjuna and his brothers could take their rightful place as rulers, but Arjuna can see only “inauspicious omens” in this situation.

We are given an account of the participants in this war as “fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, brothers in law, fathers in law, dear companions”. For the most part, this seems to just about cover everyone in Arjuna’s life, but there is one group of people mentioned here that I find interesting: maternal uncles. Why not just uncles? Or for that matter, paternal uncles? Why maternal uncles? This has long been a question of mine. Clearly there is something being implied here. Is there something about DNA the sages knew that we don’t (don’t laugh, it’s possible)? If you think you know the answer, please share it with us.

“Gandiva falls from my hand, my skin burns, I am unable to remain standing, and my mind is going around in circles.”:

Gandiva is the name of Arjuna’s bow. This bow was owned by a succession of gods. It was first passed on by Soma (holder of immortality) to Varuna (god of heaven), by him to Agni (god of fire), and by Agni to Arjuna, the son of Kunti (earth) and Indra (god of the gods). It is also said to have belonged to Prajapati, lord of embodied beings, Brahma, the Creator, and Shiva, the destroyer-transformer (evolution). Whew! See what you can do with all these symptoms to come to an understanding of the importance of this bow, Gandhiva, especially to Arjuna, who has just lost his grip.

Now let’s look at the symptoms of Arjuna’s state: weakness, dry mouth, trembling, hackles (fear), burning skin (the word for this also means ‘fully consumed by pain or grief’), instability, and a mind wildly vacillating with confusion. It appears that a combination of sorrow, fear and self-doubt all mixed together are the cause of Arjuna’s depression.

The physical state of depression is lowered energy—directionally or qualitatively or both. A low energy state of the body often causes a low moods, even without a person’s awareness of what is triggering it mentally or emotionally. Just look at what Arjuna is going to lose, even if he wins the war. It’s no wonder he’s in trouble and seemingly throwing in the towel, telling Krishna that this war business is not a good thing and that he can’t bring himself do it.

The Bhagavad Gita is a scripture. At one level it is a manual of yoga. So what are we being taught or told in this section? It is safe to say that in the process of yoga sadhana, all is not roses…or so we think…and we will experience this depression-confusion ourselves at some point. We will say to ourselves, “Hummmm. I don’t know about all this. Doesn’t seem right to me. Must be something wrong with what my guru (Krishna in Arjuna’s case) is telling me.” Well, this is just chapter one, so I think we are going to find out what will happen if we can just get through chapter one of our sadhana. More on this next time.

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma

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V:20 Yoga, Sameness and Samadhi…

Continuing from the previous verses (“See the Same in Everyone”), this verse gives us additional guidelines for achieving God-realization through yoga (union).

20
One who does not exult over getting what is wanted or lament upon getting what is not wanted, understands, is God-knowing, and firmly established in God. 

Alternate translation:
A person who is God-realized doesn’t get elated when they get what they want, or disappointment when they don’t—or when they get something they don’t want.

“Understands”  Understands the previous teachings on indifference (impartiality, neutrality, sameness). He is saying that the person this verse describes understands that indifference is a characteristic of God/Truth and the Real You.

“Is God-knowing” – One who knows from personal experience, that sameness, or indifference, is a characteristic of God/Truth. 

“Firmly established in God” – God-realized, united with God, one with God.

We got here from ‘renunciation’, which is what this chapter is about. We came to understand that renunciation (‘letting go of, abandoning, casting aside’) is synonymous with ‘surrender’ as it applies to Surrender Meditation. This meditation requires our indifference to what happens in meditation as well as the results of it. We see indifference as the unconditional aspect of surrender to God in meditation.

We have been getting these teachings on indifference as it applies to just about everything, all of which point back to ‘action’ as the means of realizing this for ourselves. First, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that his dharma is action. Then he takes several routes trying to get across to Arjuna what action really is, and its place in Yoga as the means of liberation from the bondage it causes (karma means action).

Well, you can see the difficulty in trying to get something like this across to a soldier in the middle of a battlefield. Just think how long it has taken us, sitting here comfortably in our chairs, to get to where we are now! So it is no wonder that, along with Arjuna, we are getting these teachings as they apply to various situations, which gives Lord Krishna the opportunity to repeat the teachings until we can finally get the picture.

But what is the connection between renunciation and action?  And what is the connection of this to indifference, or sameness?

Renunciation refers to letting go of one’s identification with himself as the doer of action. Yoga (union) cannot be achieved without it.

Sameness refers to the indifference, or neutrality, present in this kind of action. We let go of (renounce) expectations, self-motivated desires, and preconceived ideas. This makes yoga possible, and brings about a tranquillity in which it is known through personal experience that this very pleasant peacefulness prevails because of equality and sameness. 

Lord Krishna goes on to give examples of sameness (i.e., verses 18-19), having already shown us that we are in God, and God is in us. So we have gone from renunciation as letting go of our identification as ‘doers’ of action, to realizing our sameness with each other, our unity with God and with all beings. And it is because of this that we reach samadhi.     

Yoga, Sameness & Samadhi

When the mind becomes uniform, equalized (the same), there is tranquillity. In this state, one realizes God/Truth. This state is called samadhi

  • Samadhi A uniform state of mind; equanimity; unity with the Divine. From sama (sameness, equality, impartiality, indifference, homogeneousness, peace) + dhaa (having).

This definition is not so different from the definition of yoga, or ‘union’, from the root yuj, ‘to yoke together; to unite’. So we have samenessyoga and samadhi all linked together by one word: sama.

Samadhi is the ultimate achievement of sameness. It may seem that fluctuating feelings and emotional states can’t exist in the context of sameness so they must be gotten rid of. But we must remember that it is the mind that becomes uniform. Emotions are in the body, not the mind; not all emotions are simply reactions to things in the mind.

In the development of yoga, the earlier states of samadhi are short-lived, but in advanced stages one can be walking around in samadhi, unbeknownst to onlookers. This stage of samadhi doesn’t ‘look’ like anything unusual. The yogi has gone beyond the earlier trance-like stages and landed in a homogeneous state of neutrality where he looks and acts like anyone else, even though samadhi reigns. This advanced stage of samadhi becomes possible by passing through earlier states acquired through the long-term practice of yoga, and all the stages of samadhi that come before it.

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

V:4-6 What Spiritual Path Suits You Best?…

 MEDITATION CAN HAPPEN TO YOU
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4
The beginner says that the path of Samkhya and the path of Yoga are different, but not the wise. Undertaken together, one finds the fruit of both. 

Sankhya (सांख्य) – ‘bringing forth knowledge’
Sankhya is known as the path of Knowledge.

Yoga (योग) – ‘union, the act of yoking together’
Yoga is known as the path of Action.

The Path of Knowledge. The word sankhya means knowledge derived through intellect, reason, discrimination and meditation. Sankhya is one of the six major systems of Hindu philosophy.

The Path of Action. The path of yoga, ‘union; the act of yoking together’ gives yoga the distinction of action as its basis.

To the yogi, these two paths are not different. Case in point: The Yoga Sūtras, important aphorisms on the practice of Yoga, was written by Patanjali, a Sankhyist. One who has achieved success in their spiritual path understands this partnership of Knowledge and Action.

5
That which is attained by Samkhya is also attained by Yoga. Samkhya and Yoga are one. One who sees this, sees correctly.

Yoga Brings Forth Knowledge

A person on the path of Yoga naturally finds themself on the path of Knowledge as well, for Yoga brings knowledge both directly and indirectly.

The path of Action is called Karma Yoga (‘action union’). While some see Karma Yoga as devotional service, the yogi understands that action (karma) as described by Lord Krishna, brings the very knowledge sought by the traveller on the path of Sankhya.

No matter through which door one enters a room, it is still the same room. 

Lord Krishna stated earlier that the path of Action is superior to the path of Knowledge. He points out that the path of Action produces Knowledge anyway, and being also the path of Liberation, is therefore the superior of the two. 

The yogi on the path of Action avails himself of knowledge through oral teachings, scripture, and personal experience in meditation. In this way, the yogi is also on the path of Knowledge. Action proves knowledge through experience in meditation, and ultimately leads to liberation. But the path of Knowledge alone does not bring liberation.

Correct action produces correct knowledge.
Correct knowledge is proved through correct action. 

The Path of Devotion

We must not ignore the path of Devotion. It is not mentioned in these verses for one reason only: It is assumed, for one cannot succeed in either the path of Knowledge or the path of Action without it. Devotion is the very foundation for the success of both.

Devotion (bhakti) – love, trust, respect, honor, reverence, faith, humble submission.

Regardless of one’s personal orientation, Devotion, Action and Knowledge are all necessary for success. As one continues with the practice of any one of these three, progress will ultimately bring them together equally. 

The commitment necessary for success on any path is motivated in the Devotee by love and respect for God and Guru, in the Yogi by the desire for union with the Absolute, and in the Knowledge-oriented seeker by the hunger for wisdom and enlightenment. These three united are the bringers of success: the fulfillment of one’s Natural State.

Happiness is Your Natural State

6
Renunciation is difficult to attain without Yoga. Yoked to Yoga and progressing speedily, the wise soon attain Brahman. 

Put another way: Renunciation is easy with Yoga. One who understands Yoga and sticks to it will easily attain God.

Renunciation – Throwing down, laying aside, abandoning, surrender.

Renunciation is generally understood as a vow of poverty and a life of service or yoga practice, and the abandonment of desires. However, in these verses, we have come to realize that renunciation is the abandonment of the role of the doer of actions, which is synonymous with the ‘surrender’ of Surrender Meditation. Yoga (Action) is the means, and yoga (union) is the result.

Lord Krishna says that renunciation is difficult to attain without Yoga. Now, does he mean the path of Yoga, or does he mean ‘union’? When we understand that the path of Action, Yoga, brings about union, then we have it correctly: the answer is both.

If we are practicing Surrender Meditation, we are practicing the path of Action, Karma Yoga. If we pursue knowledge and understand it correctly, we are also practicing the path of Knowledge. As we continue our practice with Devotion, we will experience Truth and gain true Wisdom and Eternal Happiness.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are, even as a being),
Durga Ma
PhoenixMetaphysicalInstitute.com


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