Attaining Godhood, Part 1
Now learn from Me briefly, how one who has attained perfection also attains Brahman, the Highest State: The senses are restrained, beginning with sound, the buddhi is pure, and attraction and aversion are abandoned.
He is saying that in attaining Perfection, you are attaining the state of Godhood, and that this is the Highest State. He goes on to tell us how this takes place: With the restraint of the senses (pratyahara), sound being the first, attractions and aversions cease and the buddhi is pure.
How It Works
Pratyahara – introversion and withdrawal of the senses. In this state, when the sense faculties are separated from the sense organs and can no longer bring sense objects (sound, sight, etc.) into the mind, then the buddhi is ‘pure’ (nothing is mixed in with it).
Buddhi – intellect, understanding, logic, reasoning, discrimination, judgement, and sorting things out. Buddhi is the part of the mind that knows the difference among things. It differentiates and understands. In pratyahara, the buddhi is ‘pure’ and free to do its job perfectly because it is not disturbed or distracted by objects entering into the mind via the senses. Then one sees only what is Real (God/Truth).
Pure buddhi – your ability to know, understand what you know, and what to do with it, is free. No tantalizing objects of sense can reach the buddhi because there is a disconnect between your organs of sense and your powers of sense.
Attraction and aversion – likes and dislikes. One’s indifference to them is achieved through pratyahara.
“Sound being the first” – The experience of pratyahara, withdrawal or introversion, begins with sound because sound is the subtlest and the most all-encompassing of the five ‘sense objects’. It is directly connected to the whole of Creation, including the body itself. In the state of pratyahara this is experienced as Real and can be heard, felt and seen.
Conditions for Attainment
Living alone and relishing solitude, taking recourse in the highest yoga meditation and eating moderately, the body, speech and mind under control and one is indifferent to worldly objects. Egotism, force, arrogance, passion, anger and possessiveness are abandoned, and this peaceful one is fit for Union with Brahman (Absolute God/Truth).
“The highest yoga meditation” – the primary practice of nivritti marga (the path going straight to the Goal).
“The body, speech and mind under control” – in life, this is monitoring them; in meditation this is pratyahara.
“Union with Brahman” – in life, this unification is evidenced by the emergence of the Real You; in meditation one is absorbed into Absolute God.
One who is absorbed in Brahman neither grieves loss nor desires gain. Propitious and impartial toward all living beings and devoted to Me, he gains the Highest. Devoted to Me, he comes to know Me as great, and also as I am. Upon truly knowing Me, he immediately enters into Me.
“He comes to know Me as great, and also as I am.” Some translators translate ‘great’ to mean all-pervasive, which is certainly true. Lord Krishna is saying to Arjuna that he will not only come to know Him as something bigger than himself, i.e., His Cosmic Form, but also as He is now — appearing as a human being who is Arjuna’s childhood friend and guru, even though He is also the Cosmic lord of all Creation.
“Devoted to Me” means that, through constant devotion to Krishna/God, you will know Him completely.
“Upon truly knowing Me, he immediately enters into Me” is to be taken literally. You really do enter into Absolute God. This is called nirbija samadhi. (‘merging together un-caused’).
Nirbija also means ‘without seed’, without anything left in a potential state of ‘becoming’ because all is now revealed. Samadhi means ‘union, joining together’ as well as ‘sameness’. At this point, you as a human being living on this earth, can enter into Absolute God at the drop of a hat. You will find yourself stopping what you’re doing and going there in an instant, whenever you like.
Even though he performs many actions, he is surrendered to Me, thus attaining the realm of the eternal Imperishable Abode, by My Grace.
“By My Grace” means that it is because of Absolute God Itself that you are able to enter into Absolute God. You have surrendered yourself to That, so That is what you get.
“Even though he performs many actions.” You have surrendered yourself to God, so you most certainly are not the doer of any actions that occur — nothing you do is done by you.
“Thus attaining the realm of the eternal Imperishable Abode” means that you can finally go Home to this realm of existence. At death, rather than some weigh-station where you await your next incarnation and start all over again, you will go Home and you won’t be compelled to return. It also means that while you are here in this world, you have contact with this realm of Immortal Masters.
All of this tells us how little is actually required of us to become God-realized. I cannot otherwise imagine how I have managed to reach this point with so much static, so many obstacles, all my worrying about tomorrow, and so much self-talk of unworthiness, not to mention my feeble attempt at succeeding with this yoga. I am not playing humble, I am telling you this in all honesty, because I want you to understand this one thing: If I can do it, you can do it.
God-realization is not different than Self-realization.
This is where all your reticence should end. Now you know that all these verses, in all these eighteen chapters, are telling you the same thing, over and over in different ways, so that you can finally get the message. If Arjuna can do it, you can do it. In chapter one we heard Arjuna stating his reticence only to find that everything he said was true, even though he did not understand his own revelations.
This last chapter is also telling you everything all over again. The question is, do you understand it? If not, get on board the train that goes there, do the work, and you will discover that this work is not only not difficult, but brings enormous satisfaction and the greatest happiness and joy.
The next question is, Do you want it? If you don’t, or if you’re not sure, consider the alternatives. It’s a no-brainer.
Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),