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

Faith

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.

Previously:
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.

Foods

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. 

Sacrifice 

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

14
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

15
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

16
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.

Giving

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
durgama.com

Make a Difference

Have a Positive Impact on the World

Spiritual Leadership will take you where you want to go while you advance spiritually and improve your life. In the process, you will influence the advancement of everyone on Earth, and even the Earth itself.

Spiritual Leadership is not a replacement for anything you may already be doing, but will augment any spiritual avenues you already travel, and open up new vistas.

Please contact me at durgama.com/contact if you would like to know more about this program.

Helping you advance spiritually is my mission.
Saving the world is the result of our success.


The Fast Track

Surrender Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of reaching a true meditative state without any effort and without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were eventually derived.

Increase your knowledge base and begin Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times, and bring about even deeper meditation and amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona


“Every step you take pulls every one of us with you.”

The Whole World Is One Family


Thy Will Be Done O Lord, Not Mine – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 15, Vs 8-11

Surrender

Previously:
A small part of My Eternal Self, becoming endowed with life in the world of the living, draws the five senses, with the mind as the sixth, to exist in material nature.

8
When Ishvara acquires a body, and also when He leaves it, He takes them where he goes, like a breeze carrying fragrance through the air.

Purushottama is the first Divine Individual in the Absolute to accept you as the same as Himself. When a part of Him goes with you into a body, He is called Ishvara. The senses and the mind manifest in material nature because of this relationship you have with God, Ishvara. When your body dies, and when you enter a new body, Ishvara goes with you, taking the five senses and the mind along.

You don’t lose your powers of perception or your mind when your body dies. 

It is because of Ishvara, the enjoyer-witness within, that your innate abilities, or powers — five senses and a mind — are manifested in the material world. Why? Because there are two along for the ride: Ishvara and the Real You, and because duality is the nature of this world, the physical senses and mind naturally become a part of it. 

The mind is called the sixth sense because it is connected with all five senses of perception. When perceiving, consciousness, which is the stuff the mind is made of (chitta), goes out from the mind to perceive objects of sense (sights, sounds, tastes, etc.). We know this feature of the mind as Attention.

When you see a beautiful sunset, it is your Attention going out through your eyes that sees the beautiful sunset. The sunset is the ‘object’ of your ‘sense of sight’. This experience is returned to your brain and mind (manas) and stored as a memory. Later, you re-member the sunset, and you see the image of it in your mind, even though you are no longer looking at it with your eyes. If you think about this, you will realize that this is an amazing power that you have!

9
The six senses of hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, and mind being dependent upon Him, He draws them around Himself and enjoys the objects of the senses.

“Dependent upon Him” refers to the senses and the mind as being dependent on that small portion of Absolute God (Purushottama) that came with you as Ishvara when you first embodied.

Ishvara, God within you, stays with you through life after life.  

The mind is made of consciousness (chitta). Consciousness gives you awareness of what the senses bring to you. You perceive these ‘objects’ and their concomitant experiences of pleasure or pain, joy or sorrow, like or dislike, etc.

These six senses are in Nature, and Nature is a dual affair.  

Having powers of perception is one thing. Being conscious of what is perceived is another. Just as we may be unaware of things in our peripheral vision, we are capable of being unaware of things perceived by any of the senses.

The mind is the source of your ability to be conscious of what is perceived by the senses, because it is made of consciousness.

Material things are perceived by the material senses in a material world of dualities. This is the cause of becoming identified with your body, mind and senses as yourself, and why your happiness or unhappiness with what you experience will always be temporal. 

The senses are like satellites around the world of the mind. The mind provides you with consciousness, understanding, and memory of what they perceive.

10 – 11
The unenlightened, deluded by the gunas, cannot perceive Him, whether departing, residing, or experiencing from within the body, but those enlightened by the eye of wisdom, can. The striving yogi can see Him situated within himself, but those who have not performed prescribed action, cannot.

  • Him – Ishvara. Purushottama, the ‘First Purusha’ who is your personal God, is called Ishvara when He goes with you into embodiment.
  • Eye of wisdom – This is a reference to Knowledge of Truth gained by the yogi who practices “prescribed action.” 
  • Striving yogi – The yogi who has dedicated himself to the “prescribed action,” persevered, and achieved yoga (union). This achievement does not happen over night, but the striving yogi persists with it until the goal is reached.

Now we have moved from the material to the subtle, and find that it is also possible to perceive things that are spiritual (non-material) by means of our non-material sense faculties (powers) … if we can see with the ‘eye of wisdom’. This Wisdom is actualized by means of “prescribed action,” the God-practice of surrender to Absolute God/Truth in meditation, which brings about enlightenment and trigunatita (‘beyond the gunas‘).

Surrender Only to Absolute God
Never just surrender. Surrender Only to Absolute God

Yoga means ‘uniting’. Dedicating yourself to this practice is a dedication to the union of self with the divine-other-than-self.

We are often told what not to do, but here Lord Krishna is telling us that there is something we must do in order to overcome our unenlightened state, and become God Realized, Self Realized, and liberated. He refers to this as “prescribed action.”

In the Gita we find different words for ‘action’ (karma). One of these words is kriya. Kriya refers to action that occurs spontaneously through surrender to Absolute God/Truth in meditation. Because non-static meditation is prescribed, kriya is the “prescribed action.”

‘Prescribed action’ does not mean that you use your will to accomplish something, but quite the opposite — you surrender your will to Absolute God in meditation, and the prescribed action takes place of its own accord, under the guidance of Absolute God/Truth. This surrender is the “prescribed action.”

“Thy will be done O Lord, not mine.”

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

Surrender Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of reaching a true meditative state without any effort and without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were eventually derived.

Increase your knowledge base and begin Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times, and bring about even deeper meditation and amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona


“Every step you take pulls every one of us with you.”

The Whole World Is One Family

How to Attain God – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 12, Vs 8

Lord Buddha
Lord Buddha

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 mind, thought, buddhi, consciousness and ego, and how to remain in God.


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.

When your Attention is fixed on only one thing, your power of discernment (buddhi) will become fixed there, too. With this power anchored in God, your consciousness (citta) is anchored in God.

“Your power of discernment”

Your power of discernment is the part of the mind called buddhi. When you put your Attention on God, this power goes with it. Buddhi knows a good thing when it sees it. In this case, this is God/Truth, Lord Krishna. Once situated in God, buddhi has served its divine purpose. 

  • Buddhi – Intelligence, reason, discernment, judgement, differentiation; the ability to comprehend and understand.
    .
  • Attention – The fluid substance of consciousness that flows from you to things that you can be conscious of.

The mind collects and stores things that you have become conscious of. We call the feature of the mind that does the collecting, Attention. This function usually involves the senses, but here, Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that it is the Attention itself that is the key. It is by this power that you can know God.

The Four Parts of the Mind

These four parts of the “mind” are not separated by walls. They are forms of consciousness that make up the mind, beginning with the subtlest form of energy, chitta. 

  1. Chitta – Consciousness, the stuff of which the mind is made
  2. Buddhi – Intelligence, reason and discrimination
  3. Manas – Mind, storage and thinking
  4. Ahamkara – Ego, the self taking the role of the doer of action

Consciousness is the subtlest of energies. It is everywhere in everything. Consciousness itself does nothing, but ‘moves’ by means of Attention

Attention is the fluid substance of consciousness (chitta). Where the Attention goes, this energy goes with it.

Buddhi (intelligence) is connected with consciousness (chitta) and therefore, with Attention. It is a manifestation of your power as a Divine Individual to perceive what the Attention delivers, and to know God/Truth. 

Manas is the part of the mind that stores this information and uses it for thinking. Lord Krishna is urging us not to rely on the mind (manas), but to use the Attention for the purpose of bringing the power of consciousness and buddhi, and consequently you, to Him. It’s a free ride.

Anything can get into the mind via Attention, but it is buddhi that judges its worth.

When your Attention is drawn into God, you are also drawn into God. Jesus said, “I and my Father are One.” Now we understand how ‘oneness’ with God takes place. This is what the Buddha achieved by this very means, and why he is called Buddha.Lord Buddha

Buddha means Awake. A buddha is one who is enlightened, has achieved knowledge of Truth, is liberated, and knows and can reveal the means of attaining this state.

Mind

We have come across the word ‘mind’ before, once as buddhi (intelligence) and once as chitta (consciousness), and now we have this new word for mind: manas. Manas is the thinking mind, that part of the mind where all the contents brought in by the senses are stored, and where you go to think about them. Manas is the most superficial part of the mind, the easiest to access. 

Buddhi, the function of the mind that is discriminating and makes judgements, can use these ‘memories’ for its own purposes. Buddhi knows what’s what. Buddhi knows the differences among all things.

By now, you have been meditating for a while, and you may have had perceptions and experiences that were direct. ‘Direct’ means that the senses were not involved because they weren’t needed (you will recall our earlier conversation about pratyahara). Now these experiences are stored in your mind, and buddhi knows the difference between these experiences and the other things in the mind’s memory bank that were not gained directly, but via the senses. In this way, buddhi helps us to move forward and evolve spiritually, even though we may be unaware of it.

Spiritual advancement is conducted by buddhi. If buddhi enters into God, you enter into God. Buddhi knows the difference between mental content and Truth, and now, so do you. You will no longer be interested in all that mental content when you have God/Truth. You will choose God every time. If you want “feel-good” experiences, this is for you.

The world can be very demanding and will constantly disrupt this state. This is why yogis (Buddha was a yogi) head for hermitages and caves. The mind becomes a nuisance. You lose your peace again and again. So what will you do? You will either give in to the world and all that clatter, or you will find a way to live that will protect you from losing this state. (Buddha gave a speech under a tree and took off up the mountain.)

Manas

The thinking mind (manas) is like a little child constantly tugging at its mother and never settling down or becoming quiet. Using the mind (manas) to reach God has to be the most difficult path imaginable. It is almost impossible to quiet the mind. It is a part of nature, so it is always moving. Only the predominance of sattvas (smoothly flowingness) will bring any peace. So we must rely on something more powerful than the mind to reach God. And herein lies a dilemma:

Westerners seem to worship the mind, rely on the mind, believe in the mind, and some even consider it to be God, Spirit, the Divine. (In a way, this is true, but it is non-specific and non-Absolute.) Even in Yoga, the mind is excessively adulated. This is a mistake. Not because the mind is bad, but because it is its nature to be active.

Any technique you use to try to tame the mind, uses the mind, which makes it even busier. However much a person doing this believes that he has succeeded in quieting the mind, the most that can be achieved this way, is to bring the mind into a sattvic state. In this Bhagavad Gita, “intelligent mind” (Drona) is a main character fighting on the side of the enemy, and he was killed. Worshipping the mind will always end in disaster, for it can only lead to more mind!

You get what you worship.

Ahamkara

At the core of the mind is the ego, that unenlightened sense of oneself as the doer of action. This core is called, ahamkara, meaning “I do.” This state of “I do” constitutes the will, for ‘doing’ is always motivated by desire. The entire mind, and all its parts, is built around this core.

Krishna has said over and over again to rely on, resort to, surrender to, only Him: Absolute God. Yet people continue to try to meditate using techniques. Techniques require the use of the mind and the will. Some try surrender sadhana for a while and, more often than not, they either combine it with some willful practice, or abandon it altogether. Their need to feel in control must be overwhelming. The solution is to give it up. Give it to Absolute God in meditation by surrendering only to That. 

You get what you surrender to.

“With your mind fixed on Me only, your buddhi will follow and cause you to stay with Me henceforth. Of this there is no doubt.”

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

It’s Only One Week Away! 

Reserve your place NOW

AWAKE! Phoenix

A Mini Retreat with the Masters


AnandiWith Anandi, and a special intimate gathering with Durga Ma

Experience effortless Natural Meditation. Relieve overwhelm and stress. Rekindle your joy, generate energy and inspiration, and access your power to do the things you want to do.

Saturday, March 24, 12 -4 pm

Kharma Life Center, 700 W Campbell Ave, Suite 1, Phoenix, AZ
Registration is limited so reserve your place TODAY
$47.00


Natural Meditation & Life Mastery

Become a “Spiritual Leader” who knows the science of meditation and the path to liberation and endless happiness.

Natural Meditation
Spontaneous, surrender meditation. Take the most amazing journey you will ever experience. Explore shaktipat kundalini yoga meditation in three forms.

Life Mastery
Synchronize yourself and your life with your naturally divine characteristics, and the Real You emerges. Attain and maintain success and happiness.

Every step you take pulls every one of us with you.
JOIN THE MISSION