The Field and the Field Knower – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 13, Vs 8-11

The Field & the Field Knower - The Embodied One & the Being

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The Field and the Field Knower

God is both Absolute and Relative:

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and the sense of self as the doer of action, are the eight parts of my Relative nature. Such is My inferior nature. But know this as different from My highest Absolute existence by which this world is sustained. — Bhagavad Gita, Ch 7, vs 4 – 5

When we talk about the Field, we are talking about the Relative, which covers everything we know of this life and this world. It is all Mother God, Prakriti, Other-than-You, Nature. The nature of this Relative Realm is duality in multiple layers.

There are many gods.

When we talk about the Field Knower, we are talking about the Absolute, which covers all of us as Divine Absolute Imperishable Individuals who have taken residence in material bodies. This is Father God, Purusha, the Embodied One (You), Spirit. The nature of the Absolute God is singular and unchanging.

There is only one God.

At the beginning of this chapter, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna, “I consider knowledge of the Field (the world of the body) and the Field Knower (the Real You) to be True Knowledge.” 

You are a god in a body made of God being human.

He also says, “I am the Knower of the Field in all Fields.” So now we are going to hear what He is really like and how this emerges within us as we master the following characteristics.

Verses 8-11 (My input is in parentheses):

(8) Absence of pride (humility), sincerity (honesty), harmlessness (non-violence), forgiveness (liberation), simplicity (effortlessness), service to the Guru (giver of the grace of knowledge and practice), purity (clearness), perseverance (firmness and persistence) and self-control (self-discipline).

(9) Renunciation (letting go of) of sense objects (desires and attachments), non-doership (acting without doing), and realization of the evils and faults of birth, disease, old age and death (you know these to be flawed characteristics of human existence, for they do not conform to the Truth of what you really are).

(10) Indifference (to worldly attractions), non-attachment to spouse, children and home (by which one also becomes better at managing these), and always even-minded amidst the desirable and undesirable (you are neither eager nor upset in these situations).

(11) With no desire for mundane society but having an inclination for solitary places, he practices uniting with Me exclusively, with unfailing devotion.

Solitary places suggests complete privacy for practicing yoga (uniting). Or, for some, this might mean taking time everyday to be alone to meditate. If you are seeking liberation, you should live alone in a quiet place, or with others on the same path as you, but even then, your own living quarters where you will practice, should be for you only.

An aversion to mundane society means that you aren’t a party goer any more, you don’t hang out in over-stimulating places, and you choose your friends and company carefully. You are interested only in being with others who are doing what you are doing. If you are seeking liberation, you will want to avoid unnecessary interaction with most of society (most of society is not interested in liberation and will not be like-minded).

These are the things we need to do in order to live in sync with our True Selves. They are characteristics of us as Divine Individuals who have become embodied in order to do this.

Practical Knowing

Remember that the Field Knower is also the witness within each of us, and that this witness is not only God, but our very Selves.

We are reminded that there are things to do, things we have to learn and practice in order to make genuine progress. These verses show us that instant gratification handed to us by someone else is not useful. We all have work to do. So how do we go about it?

Here is a practice that you can do in your everyday life that won’t take any extra time out of your day:

1. First, copy the above characteristics into your journal as a list, and cross out the ones you think you are already good at (do this in such a way that you can still read them).   

2. Contemplate these good characteristics. You will be surprised at how good you already are with some of them.

3. Now select one of your weaker charactersistics. Pay attention to this quality in your everyday life. Don’t judge yourself, just notice, and see if you can get a little better at it. Do this for a few days before you move on to another of your weaker qualities until you have completed the list.

4. Then go through steps 2 and 3 again and again until you come to understand them better. You will now have built an auto-pilot that will cause you to notice when you need to cultivate necessary changes. 

All of the divine characteristics listed in these verses also represent the Real You living as a human being in everyday life. Living and acting in harmony with them, your Real Self will begin to emerge. This is the key to a good life, happiness, contentment and success in your endeavors.

Living in harmony with your Real Self puts you in an excellent position to finally achieve Self Realization, for your can’t become Self Realized if you are not self-realized. This study of the self and the Self is called svadhyaya, the fourth niyama. Mastery of this niyama will bring about certain siddhis (powers).

“Self Realization is God Realization and God Realization is Self Realization.” — Anandamayi Ma 

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

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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. 

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

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If You Can’t Do That, Do This – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 12, Vs 9 – 10


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The mind is made of consciousness. You have a brain because you have a mind.
The mind is made of consciousness. You have a brain because you have a mind.

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 what to do if you are unable to practice as taught in the previous verses in order to reach Self Realization as described in verse 8.

Previously in verse 8:
With your mind fixed solely on Me, your power of discernment will follow and cause you to stay with Me henceforth. Of this there is no doubt.

Now we begin a string of what are usually considered to be different ways of proceeding if you can’t do as taught in verse 8. But they can also be seen additional practices. Or you might consider them as different ways to understand the same thing. Those of you who practice surrender sadhana will find that they represent different forms your meditation will naturally take with the arising of kriyas.

If you are not able to keep your attention fixed on Me, practice Yoga with your desire to reach Me.

Alternate translation:
If you are unable to be firm, fix your attention on your desire for Me and then practice Yoga.

Your Attention flows from you to Other-than-you so you can be conscious of it.
Your Attention flows from you to what is other-than-you so you can be conscious of it.

“Keep your attention fixed on Me”

The Sanskrit for Attention is chitta. The root (cit) is the same as for ‘consciousness’.

The sole purpose of Yoga is to reach God/Truth, and liberation from the cycles of birth and death. This is accomplished by establishing a steady flow of Attention on Absolute God/Truth. This is also the definition of ‘meditation’, and reveals the dependence on meditation for successful spiritual development and self-improvement.

  • Attention is a flow of consciousness to anything you can be conscious of.
  • Meditation is a steady flow of attention to one thing..


Your perception is dependent on your Attention flowing to something that can be perceived, so you may see in some translations, “Meditate on Me.” This is saying that your Attention must become established on only one thing—”Me”, God—so that only God/Truth is what you are conscious of.  

The simple expedient of surrendering to Absolute God/Truth is the obvious shortcut. By surrendering yourself to God in meditation, the attention becomes established on God without you having to do anything to make it so.

We westerners like to think that all we need to do to meditate is to think about something, even if it is the the now, the silence, the void. Even dictionaries define meditation as ‘thinking things over’. But “meditate on Me” does not mean that you should think about God and try to sustain that thought. Well, this is close, but the Attention must be anchored and established exclusively on God, not on a thought. Attention is the key.

Attention is consciousness moving from the mind to perceive things so that you are conscious of them. In this verse, you are being asked to choose Absolute God/Truth instead of other things, and if you can’t do that, to allow your attention be drawn to, and fixed on, your desire for God/Truth.


“Practice Yoga with your desire to reach Me”

The practice of yoga has been described over and over again, most recently in verses 6 – 7. This verse is telling you what to do if and when you can’t keep your attention on God: Let your Attention go to your desire for God, and allow your Attention to stay on that desire. This is a tricky little subterfuge, for with your Attention on your desire for God/Truth, your Attention is on God. You are using desire, which can otherwise be troublesome, to bring you into union with God. In this case, desire is not the enemy. Instead, it will save you. 

This desire is the key to yoga. In another place in the Gita, Lord Krishna says, “I am that desire in man which is not contrary to dharma (Truth).” So by letting your mind become fixed on your desire for God, on the fulfillment of this desire for God, and your feelings of devotion for God, you will get God because this desire IS God.

Your desire for God is God

If you try repeatedly and still cannot keep your attention on Me, hold My action as the Highest Action and assume My state. Thus by performing action you will attain success.

Alternate translation:
If you try repeatedly and still cannot do this, then hold My Highest Action as My state, and assuming My state, perform action anyway, and you will attain success.

In Meditation

Lord Krishna is calling this meditation His ‘Highest Action’. Everything He is saying is in this context. There is a saying among those of us who practice this yoga, that one acts “as if” until it is so. So if you are not successful practicing according to the former instructions, act as if you were—assume His state as a non-doer, and perform actions anyway.

“Mentally renouncing one’s sense of being the doer of actions (you surrender yourself to God), the embodied one (You) sits happily as the Master within the city of nine gates (the body), not acting or causing action.” Ch 5, Vs 13By following this instruction, actions will occur spontaneously on their own.

He is saying in effect, “Don’t worry about it, just go ahead anyway. Don’t get caught up in trying to figure out who or what is doing these actions, just let action take care of itself.” If you assume His state you won’t interfere with actions that want to take place. So in your meditation, act as if actions are happening on their own and that you are doing nothing, even if it seems like you are.

The reason this works is because you really are not doing it. All action occurs in Nature, and you are not Nature. So taking this position will get you to a place where all doubt and confusion about who or what is doing or causing action, will disappear.

This Highest Action refers to this spontaneous action that occurs as a result of surrendering yourself to God in meditation. When you approach yoga with this surrender, you are guaranteed success. How could it be otherwise?

In Everyday Life

You may not always find yourself in a situation where this yoga can be practiced. In this case, whatever you do in your daily life, do it for God. You can think of this in more than one way: You can offer whatever you do, whatever you have, whatever you enjoy, to God. You can offer the results of what you do to God. Or you can see God as the actor and yourself as the instrument for God’s purposes rather than your own. This easy practice is very clever, for it will serve to keep your Attention on God, even in the midst of chaos!

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

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