The Sustainer of Life – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 15, Vs 12-15

Light Illumines Sight

The light of the sun that illumines all living beings, and which is also in the moon and fire, know that light to be Me.

  • Light – tejas, the heating and strengthening faculty of the body as a whole. As an energy, it is called Prana (Life Energy).
  • Fire – agni, the faculty of digestion and assimilation of food. As an energy, it is called prana (warming energy).
  • Moon chandra, the cooling and eliminating faculty by which impurities leave the body. As an energy it is called apana (cooling energy).

A faculty is a specific, inherent power.
An energy is the manifestation of the power to act.

Tejas is called ‘the light of the sun’ because the sun makes the body visible in the physical world. As an energy, it is Prana, the Life Energy in the body that maintains and sustains the life of the body. As ‘fire’, it is the prana acting in the capacity of heating to ‘cook’ or digest. As the ‘moon’, it is the cooling and eliminating energy of apana in the body. Lord Krishna, avatara of Vishnu, the Sustainer of Life, is saying that He is all these.

Entering the earth and all living beings, I am the energy that sustains all living beings and plants. And I am the fluid essence of the body becoming the juice of life.

  • Energy ojas, the overall physical energy of the body.
  • Fluid essence – rasa, essential fluids of the body related to the tongue and taste, and also affection and feelings.
  • Juice of Life – soma, the ‘fluids’ of certain endocrine glands that, when purified, become amrita, the Nectar of Immortality.

I am the digestive fire in all living beings, the Prana in the body as both prana and apana, and I cook four kinds of food.

He is the Life Energy (Prana) in the body as a whole and therefore is also the fire (energy) of digestion, so it is He who cooks (digests) the four kinds of food utilizing both prana to cook, and apana to eliminate the refuse and filter out toxins.

By now we are beginning to see that God is in us, as us, in every way possible! 

The Four Kinds of Food

The “four kinds of foods” are what is taken into the body, and ‘cooked’ by the digestive fire (agni).

1. Bhojya – foods chewed with the teeth, such as bread. Enjoying foods that are digested, or ‘cooked’, in the body.

2. Peya – foods that are swallowed, such as juice. Enjoying drinking certain kinds of fluids that are digested, or ‘cooked’, in the body.

3. Kośhya* – foods that are sucked, such as sugarcane. Kośhya also refers to the vessel for holding certain fluids in the body, and is also known as ‘the treasury’ of the five sheaths encasing the five bodies.

4. Lehya – foods that are licked, such as honey. Lehya is the nectar sipped by the tongue entering the pharynx (khechari mudra) wherein the soma (nectar of the moon) becomes amrita (nectar of immortality)

*Kośhya, from kośha – sheaths or bodies. The five sheaths from grossest to subtlest are the physical body, the energy body, the mental body, the wisdom body, and the bliss body. It is said that being aware of the subtle influences of the elements within each kosha, one can discern the True Self.

This will give you an overall feel for the process that is kicked off in advanced stages of yoga sadhana. For instance, enjoying food (bhojya) has to do with what is ingested into the body; drinking (peya) has to do with the seeping of certain hormones through ductless (endocrine) glands, causing the soma (moon-juice) to ultimately become amrita, the nectar (lehya) of immortality. 

In these verses (12-14) you have been initiated into one of the ‘secrets’ of Yoga, and discovered its ultimate purpose.

I am seated in the hearts of all, and from Me come knowledge, memory and forgetfulness. I alone am the knower of the Vedas, and I alone am the author of the Vedanta.

Alternate translation:
I am the feelings (emotions) seated in the heart and the ally of all, and from Me come knowledge, memory and reasoning (understanding). I am known in all the Vedas, and I am the author of Vedanta.

Radha & Krishna in the Moonlight
Radha & Krishna in the Moonlight
  • Vedas – ‘sacred knowledge’, the most ancient Hindu scriptures containing hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual for the priests of Vedic religion. The Vedas are believed to have been directly revealed and preserved by oral tradition. The four chief collections are the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda.
  • Vedanta – ‘Veda-end’, or ‘after the Vedas’, is the name of a division of Hindu philosophy as either teaching the ultimate scope of the Vedas, or as explained in the Upanishads (‘sitting near; sitting at the feet of the guru‘), which came after the Vedas.

Alternate translation:
I am seated in the core of all beings, and from Me come knowledge, the memory of what is known, and the understanding of it. I am known in all the ancient scriptural texts on Truth (the Vedas), and I am the maker of all that came after them (Vedanta).

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

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

VI:40-43 The Wonders of Failure

Ultimate failure is not possible, for it is necessary for achieving success.

In answer to Arjuna’s questions, Lord Krishna speaks…

The Blessed Lord spoke:
Dear One, no one of virtuous action is ever overcome by misfortune, nor is there ever found to be the destruction of this yogi, here or in the next world.

“Here or in the next world”

  • Here: here on earth, now, in this lifetime.
  • The next world: another existence—heaven, another planet, plane, dimension or another lifetime.

Lord Krishna is answering Arjuna’s questions of the previous verses concerning what happens to someone who falls from Yoga, and what will become of him. Using a reassuring endearment, He tells Arjuna that because of the virtuous action of yoga practice, he will not come to harm.

Lord Krishna is glorifying this Yoga to Arjuna with the term, “virtuous action”, which is explained in previous verses (15 and 27). The Sanskrit word for ‘virtuous’ also means ‘fortunate, noble, excellent, beneficial, auspicious, right’.

41 – 42
One who has fallen away from Yoga always reaches the worlds of the virtuous and illustrious, and abides with them for many years, and is born again in the house of prosperous and venerable people, or in a house of wise yogis, a birth which, in this world, is very rare.

This verse seems to indicate that, in spite of the multitudes of people claiming to be yogis, or the equivalent, there must really be very few on earth at any given time. This would suggest that common knowledge of Yoga, religious beliefs and alternative spirituality, is incorrect.

“Born again in the house of prosperous and venerable people, or wise yogis”
Here the issue of yogis having and raising children may arise in our minds. People who have children are considered ‘householders’. It is difficult enough for a yogi to find the right conditions for Yoga practice, but it is nearly impossible for a householder.

This leads us to consider that this is only a rule-of-thumb, and that because there is such a rarity of genuine yogis, there must be an occasional exception. Or we may come to understand ways in which such a hard line between these two modes of life is softened and penetrable, giving our yogi a better chance of winning a house of yogis in his next incarnation.

“Such a birth in this world is very rare”
It is a current trend to assume that one chooses one’s own parents. I find this to be presumptuous, especially when considering that this yogi, who has come so far, is not even assured of getting the best conditions in his next life. Looked at in a certain way, this belief can be gotten away with so some degree, for it is the choices that one makes that determine future lives. But this still does not signify that one can pick and choose parents.

There he awakens to the knowledge derived from his former life as a yogi, and once more strives toward success, Arjuna.

“He awakens to the knowledge derived from his former life”
In his new life, this fallen yogi recognizes the knowledge and experience derived from his former life, is automatically attracted to Yoga again, and takes up where he left off. 


What stood out to me in this verse was the term buddhi samyoga. The usual translations simply state that the yogi regains the knowledge derived from previous births, with buddhi as knowledge, and samyoga as being reunited with that knowledge.

The word yoga means ‘union’. There are two kinds of union: one is to merge, like water and milk, and the other is coming together, like marriage or an alliance. The meaning of samyoga, “direct material contact”, is the latter of the two.

The basis of buddhi is duality, opposites (this and that, self and other, etc.). It means, ‘to observe, discriminate, perceive, know, understand.’ So it should come as no surprise that buddhi is also the name of one of the four parts of the mind, the part that differentiates one thing from another among the myriad paris of opposites of which it is composed. 

Where the mind is concerned, buddhi becomes samyoga by means of the second kind of union (‘coming together’), suggesting that the opposites that make up the mind take on a state of sameness while retaining their individuality—hot is still hot and cold is still cold, but as far as the mind is concerned there is no difference—they are not merged but are married, and have equal value while performing different functions.

If we look at hatha yoga with this in mind, the union of prana and apana is seen both as united but retaining individuality … and merged as one. Merged as one, they function in an accelerated evolutionary capacity (kundalini). But if they were always fully merged, their special functions would be cancelled and the body could not survive.

This reminds us of the story of Rama (prana) and Sita (apana) in the Ramayana. Rama and Sita are united in marriage, but they are still who they are as individuals—they retain their individuality as prana and apana and continue to perform their individual functions, and merged as one, kundalini activates and tries to ascend.

Married, this royal couple go to the North, and Raja Yoga (‘Royal Union’) begins. So yoga, ‘union’, is understood differently in different stages of sadhanaIngmar Bergman’s production of Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute, also illustrates this.

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