Obstacles to Meditation- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:60

The aggressive and tormenting senses forcibly carry away the mind, Kunteya (Arjuna), even of a man of wisdom and understanding. —  Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 60

We have seen ‘what lies beyond’, reached ‘the Highest’, and have become established in wisdom and understanding, but apparently we have not seen the last of this ever-present obstacle, the pesky senses. And to top it off, even though we try to avoid the eventuality of the mind becoming too active to slip into pratyahara, all our efforts appear to be doomed to failure.

Or are we jumping to conclusions here? When we take everything into consideration, we have to admit that under ordinary circumstances the senses are going to continue doing their jobs of bringing information into the mind in the form of images, sounds, smells, etc. This verse is reassuring us that the senses are going to carry on with their business in spite of our continued success.

Now that we have achieved pratyahara and entered the temple of true meditation and samadhi, what the senses have to offer is nothing by comparison. Although our attention will be attracted to objects of sense, we are not compelled to become attached and desirous of having them. If they come, they come. If they are pleasant, enjoyment is inevitable, but whether they are pleasant or unpleasant is irrelevant to us. It’s just another day on the job for the senses.

The mind gets its data from the senses.

The Power of the Senses

After learning that reaching true meditation is not as simple as sitting down like a pretzel and telling your mind to shut up, you find that even when you have ‘seen the Highest’ your mind still gets carried away by the senses.

As the senses continue to do their jobs of keeping you informed, they continue to attract your attention and bring information into the mind. This shows how powerful you really are. You have these five senses because you have these five inherent powers, five powers of perception and knowledge. These powers of yours have manifested on the physical plane to supply you with information that you need to navigate life, but the powers from which they derive are still what they are: powers.

The only problem is that you have identified with your ‘chariot’, your body, which includes the senses. Your power to know by means of your five powers of perception is very real, but the senses themselves are a part of nature. Trying to control them is trying to control nature. If that’s how you are attempting to deal with them, good luck. Try this Solution instead, or try these Backup Solutions which also work as a stand-alone solutions.

The Mind in Meditation

It is a common dilemma that thoughts and desires arise in meditation. We become disturbed by this, wondering if there is something wrong because the mind constantly thinks about desires, the grocery list, and other silly things, and we become disenchanted with meditation or feel like failures. What this verse is saying is, “Don’t worry about it. This is just nature doing its thing. It has nothing to do with you.”

Will and Surrender

It is said in Yoga that to continue to progress, one gives their powers back to the Source, submits them to God. 

Your own willful efforts can take you only so far. Remember the experiment where you pushed your stiffened arms against the insides of a door frame? You can only maintain this for so long, and when you finally let go and walk away, there is a moment of surrender, albeit unintentional, in which you step away from the door and your arms freely and effortlessly float upward. It wasn’t your willful effort that freed your arms to float, it was that moment when you gave up and surrendered.

Using your will outside the meditation room is pushing your arms against the doorframe. When you go into meditation and surrender yourself to God, you step away from the door and your ‘arms’ float upward effortlessly. This is what Arjuna has done. He has put God in the driver’s seat of his chariot.

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



This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.


Distinguishing desires of the mind from other desires- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:57

One’s wisdom stands firm by remaining unaffected in all situations, neither rejoicing nor lamenting whether encountering the pleasant or unpleasant. — Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 57  

When the mind stands unmoving in deep meditation (samadhi), union (yoga) is attained. When the mind becomes active again, this state is lost. Desires of the mind are the cause of mental activity.

Desires of the Mind
The effects of contact of the senses with their objects.

What goes into the mind gets there through the senses. We like something that is pleasant, and because we like the feeling it gives us, we desire it. These feelings are learned, but there are other kinds of feelings that are not. Distinguishing these will help us to distinguish desires of the mind from other kinds of desires.

Because of the association of desires with feelings, and feelings with emotions, many spiritual people believe that emotions must be done away with in order to do away with desires. This logic is understandable, but it is only logic, another function of the mind. Desires, feelings and emotions are related but are not the same. 


The experience of emotions.

Active configurations in the energy body corresponding to biochemical and neurological events in the physical body.


It is often thought that emotions are in the mind. The event-memory associated with an emotion may be in the mind, but the emotion is in the body.

A natural emotion is seated in the body and is something you will have as long as you have a body. Its primary purpose is survival. A natural emotion is a pure emotion.

A bear comes to the door. Fear produces adrenaline to handle the situation before you even know there is a bear at the door (the body is very smart).

A learned emotion is seated in the mind and happens in the body. Memories of events and the feelings they generated are held in the mind. The emotion this information evokes when revisited, triggered by a similar situation, happens in the body.

You are sitting in your high-chair eating an apple when your father comes in and engages in a heated argument with your mother. As an adult, even though you do not remember this event, you don’t like apples.

How to Know the Difference

When an emotion continues long after the event that triggered it, it is learned. When it goes away soon after the event is ended, it is probably natural.

Emotions remembered by the mind that reassert themselves under similar circumstances are learned emotions. Natural emotions come with the packaging, hard wired, so to speak. But there are also emotions that have been learned by the body, stored in body-memory.


The body has a mind of its own.

Desires of the body, such as its desire to survive, can generate learned physical emotions.

You live where there are bears, Uncle Henry bangs on the door, and bingo, adrenaline rush. There was no bear, but the body remembered the last time when it really was a bear and reacted accordingly.

It can be difficult to distinguish physical emotions from those that are mentally based, for when a physical emotion arises the mind will often come up with something to accompany it.

Physical emotions often happen to people during Surrender Meditation. The experience is one of having an emotion without any mental content. There is a definite knowing that the body is having the emotion apart from any mental association.

The other day, my chiropractor put his hands on my shoulders and gave me a short massage. I found myself in the midst of a physical emotion in which the body was about to cry. Looking closely at this phenomena, there was no mental content at all. The body was having its own emotional response to being touched. I was aware that the body was having sadness even though I wasn’t feeling sad but very peaceful. It was a very positive experience, and one that did not disturb the mind.

One can eventually become able to distinguish among learned, natural and physical emotions outside of meditation. The ability to do this requires experienced self-honesty and comes over time. But just knowing about it can accelerate the ability to distinguish desires of the mind from other kinds of desires by using this criteria:

Natural Emotions
Short Term, Event Related

Physical: Hard wired emotions designed in the best interest of the body’s wellbeing involving biochemical and neurological responses to real-time events.
Not related to Desires of the Mind.

Learned Emotions
Long Term Residuals

Mental: Stored memories, conscious and subconscious, of events associated with strong feelings trigger the same emotions under similar circumstances.
Directly related to Desires of the Mind.

Physical: Body-memories of past events superimposed on natural emotions trigger the same emotions under similar circumstances.
Not related to Desires of the Mind.

Desires of the Mind
All desires of the mind are learned

Because everything that gets into the mind gets there through the senses, all desires of the mind are sense-related and learned:

What feels good is desirable—positive desire: you want it.
What feels bad is undesirable—negative desire: you want to avoid it.


Most of the desires we experience on a day-to-day basis are of the mind. When a ‘want’ or a ‘like’ arises, see if you can determine its source. This is more helpful than trying to make it go away, even if you don’t find the answer. Eventually, because you are paying attention you will become distanced from the experience, and the desire itself will also become distanced, separated from you, and ultimately lose its influence.

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to Truth),
Durga Ma

P.S.  When the same emotional response to the same or similar events occur traumatically or repeatedly or both, a ‘signature’ is recorded in the energy field of the body. This field is called the energy body, emotional body, or astral body. When only the physical body and mind are addressed in the process of changing ‘behaviors’ in order to change the brain, one may continue to experience great suffering. This is because the emotional signatures have not changed, and why it is so difficult to change unwanted patterns. This omission can leave a person feeling like ‘something is really wrong with me’ and resorting to denial out of desperation. The converse is also true: Just dealing with the energy is not the answer either.


This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.


Food, Sacrifice, Tapas & Giving – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 17, Vs 11-22


In these verses Lord Krishna is answering Arjuna’s question on Faith. He began His answer with Sacrifice in verses 2 – 10. The following verses are expansions on this answer and include not only sacrifice, but foods, kinds of austerities (tapas) and giving.

Arjuna spoke: “What is the status of those who sacrifice without consideration of scriptural injunctions but sacrifice with faith? Is it sattva, rajas or tamas?” — chapter 17, verse 1.


7 – 10
Like sacrifices, austerities and gifts, the foods preferred by all are of three kinds. Now hear of these distinctions:

The kinds of foods mentioned in these three verses have their roots in times before the Indus Valley Civilization.Sattvic Foods

(8) Foods that are sweet, succulent, juicy, nourishing and promote life, energy, strength, health, happiness and satisfaction, are dear to the sattvic.

Foods that are sweet, etc. Refined sugar is not what is meant by ‘sweet’, but is considered to be ‘stale’.

Rajasic Foods(9) Foods that are very bitter, very sour, very salty, very hot, very pungent, very dry and burning, are dear to the rajasic, are unpleasant and cause misery and disease.

Too much bitterness, etc. In moderation, these kinds of foods are anti-inflammatory and healing. The admonition is to not take it too far and cancel their positive effects, as rajasic persons are inclined to do. 

(10) Foods that are stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten, foul, impure, and also the leavings of others, are dear to the tamasic.Tamasic Foods

Stale, etc. You may wonder how anyone could even eat these kinds of foods. Anandamayi Ma insisted that no food be left at the end of the day in Her ashram. On one occasion, She was found in the night eating left over flour to make her point. Old foods are dead foods. 


11 – Sattvic Sacrifice
Sacrifice that is offered according to scriptural injunction with the only thought, “this is given.” This sacrifice is sattvic.

Sacrifice offered without the purpose of fruits (without using your will to fulfill desires) is sattvic.

12 – Rajasic Sacrifice
But sacrifice offered out of pride and deceit, with the intent of personal benefit, that sacrifice is rajasic

13 – Tamasic Sacrifice
Sacrifice offered without faith and contrary to scriptural injunction, with no food offered, and with no mantras or giving, that sacrifice is tamasic.

Austerity (Tapas)

Austerity of Body

Honoring God, the twice-born (Brahmanas, God-people), gurus and sages, through purity, goodness, continence and non-violence, is austerity (tapas) of the body.

  • Twice-born – ‘born again’ or ‘reborn’.

Today, the usual translation of Brahmanas means priests. However, God-people are those who live in harmony with the Real. It is the purpose of their lives. Brahmanas (or Brahmins, temple priests) have more recently (a few thousand years ago) been set aside as the highest caste, but also rightly include scholars, teachers, gurus and sages.

Purity, goodness, continence and non-violence in all your actions is Tapas of Body. 

Austerity of Speech

The practice of reciting sacred texts, and the use of words that do not cause distress and are truthful, inoffensive and beneficial, is austerity (tapas) of speech. 

Tantric yogi reciting mantra then drinking whiskey from a skull.
Tantric yogi reciting mantra and drinking whiskey from a skull.

Reciting sacred texts also means reading and study of sacred texts. This was written at a time when not everyone could read and the memorization and recitation of scriptures was customary.

Tapas refers to purification by fire (energy). This is different than the elimination of impurities.

When you are careful not to cause distress when speaking, reciting or teaching, and being truthful in an inoffensive manner that is also beneficial, this is the Tapas of Speech.

Austerity of Mind

Clear-mindedness, gentleness, monitoring speech, self-restraint and pure-heartedness, is austerity of mind.

Clear-minded also means peaceful or serene. Monitoring speech also means silence. Self-restraint is self-control. Pure-heartedness is sincerity and empathy. 

Austerities of Body, Speech and Mind

17 – 19
(17) These three austerities — body, speech and mind — practiced with ardent faith by those without expectation of return benefit, are sattvic austerities that last.

(18) Austerities undergone with pride and for the purpose of gaining honor, respect and adoration, are rajasic, unsteady and impermanent.

(19) Austerities performed out of ignorance that torture oneself, or for the purpose of destroying or overpowering others, are tamasic.


20 – 22
Feeding the needy(20) Gifts given at the proper time and place, without expectation of reward, to worthy persons who have done no prior favor, with the only idea, “this is given,” is sattvic giving.

(21) But gifts given grudgingly, with the aim of personal benefit or the expectation of reward, is rajasic giving.

(11) Gifts given at the wrong time and place to the unworthy without paying respect, but with contempt, is said to be tamasic giving.

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

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