The Diamond Shloka – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 64-66

Absolute (unconditional) Surrender to Absolute God will get you to Absolute God
God and Me

Absolute God, whether personal God or the abstract Absolute, is Absolute Goodness, Love and Happiness.

Now hear Me again, concerning this most profound secret of all. You are certainly loved by Me, so what I speak is for your benefit:

Now, because you are still contemplating this secret teaching, out of love for you, Lord Krishna is going to try again to bring it home and awaken you, because it is for your benefit to know it. 

Devoted to Me, always thinking of Me, surrender to Me, and offer pranamas to Me, and you will doubtless come to Me. This is my promise to you, for you are dear to Me.

“Offer pranamas to Me” means ‘to bow down to, to make obeisance to, make reverential salutation and show adoration’. This is pranama, ‘bowing down in respectful salutation to God and Guru. If you are able to do this, you are ready and able to surrender to God in meditation (Surrender Meditation: shaktipat kundalini yoga).

The purpose of pranama is to increase your ability to surrender to God.

The Diamond Shloka

(shloka – verse in duple meter) 

Now we come to the Diamond Shloka. It is so called because it is the verse within this Gita that is the KEY to everything Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna (and us), and all of it is contained in this one single verse:

Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in Me alone, and I will give you freedom from all evils. Fear not!

  • Evils – misfortunes and sorrows
  • Fear not, also means, ‘grieve not’.
  • Freedom is from the Sanskrit word, moksha, which has to do with being free of recurring cycles of death, rebirth, and the influences of the past (samsara).

SurrenderAlternate translation:
Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender only to Me, and I will liberate you from all misfortunes and sorrows. Fear not!

  • Misfortunes – The word for misfortunes means just about everything from suffering to bad luck.  

“Abandon all dharmas and surrender only to Me.”
In this verse, the word dharma is plural — rules, laws, duties, responsibilities, etc. This suggests that we should take the meaning of dharmas to be concerned with the laws of man, rather than with the singular law of Truth, the Absolute.

Relying on ‘shoulds’ is not surrender, renunciation, or sacrifice, and does not lead to the highest Yoga (Divine Union), or to liberation. It is only through surrender “to Me”, Absolute God, that one can reach God/Truth, become liberated and freed of all misfortunes, sorrows and fears.

SurrenderLord Krishna is also using dharmas to get across the idea of how to meditate correctly by suggesting what not to do: You do not to try to control your meditation or try to do it yourself, but you leave everything to God.

In this kind of meditation, in the secured privacy of your meditation room, you are to abandon all rules and surrender only to Absolute God/Truth.

  • You do not surrender to anything but God. 
  • You do not surrender to anything that comes up in your meditation.
  • You do not concern yourself with what you think your meditation should be like. 
  • You abandon any sense of doing anything yourself, however much it may seem to you that you have caused everything.

Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender to me only, and I will give you freedom and deliver you from all misfortunes, fears and sorrows.


“Only” means that your surrender should never be mixed with anything that is not Absolute God — no matter what your word is for That. 

After forty years of surrender yoga sadhana, I still catch myself falling into this trap. It’s that easy. I will give you an example:

I am in a dither about what is coming, and it isn’t pretty. I can see ahead to it, and find no solution for it. I can either be a worry-wart and get stressed out trying to find some kind of solution, or I can surrender to God completely. I choose God. And here is where it gets interesting:

My mind pictures me dying of some exotic disease in the streets of Phoenix, friendless and alone, with not a penny to my name, and talking to God and asking for help that never comes. It is such a subtle thing, hanging out in the peripheral vision of the mind, that at first I don’t realize what is happening. Then, the minute I look, it slips away as something else takes it place, and I miss its message. But sometimes I miss it because of correct reasoning. Two and two makes four. Who can disregard correct reasoning, right?

No, not right. I have had so many experiences of being at the edge of the abyss and about to fall in, when God steps in saying, “Well, here we are again, my dear,” lifts the situation, parks it on the side of the road, and takes me Home for a visit.

Yet this still small voice of reason continues to try to exert itself. What is happening is that this world is so dense, thick and demanding, that it seems to be the only reality. The mind says, “Well shucks, All is God, so how can I miss?” And even though one understands that this Relative (‘inferior’) aspect of God is something they most certainly should not surrender to, it is easy to miss seeing it for what it is. 

It is possible to surrender to something without meaning to. There is no awareness of having surrendered. No choice was consciously made to surrender. In this case, it is not a matter of tricky reasoning or intention, or even mentally based coercion. I suspect that, in this case, one is so conditioned to adapt to the wishes and demands of other’s, that it is automatic. One just gives in.  

So between tricky reasoning, inappropriate intention, and mentally based coercion, there lies this unconscious giving-in to circumstances. Anyone can fall into any of these, or any combination of them, at any time — in the meditation room, or in daily life.     

These two verses are what has saved me every time:  

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego constitute the divisions of My eightfold material nature (relative). Such is My inferior nature, but otherwise know My Highest nature (absolute) by which all life is sustained.  — Chapter 7, verses 4-5.

Now do you see why I refer to the God we surrender to in meditation as Absolute God? This distinction is crucial. You do not surrender to the “All Is God” kind of God, but ONLY to Absolute God.

I hope that sharing this with you will help you to remember this critical distinction concerning Absolute God, and surrender ONLY to That. No matter how you think of God, or what name you give It, or whether you conceive of God as personal or impersonal, never, never, never surrender to anything other than Absolute God.

You (absolute) are a god in a body made of God being human (relative).

  • Relative – subject to change; existing only in relation to something else; having characteristics only in comparison to something else; something whose existence is dependent on something else.

This is what you do not surrender to: people, places, things, circumstances, situations, or beings of any kind, even spirits, guides, angles, etc., however divine they may be. 

  • Absolute – unchanging; independent; having unrestricted power; not qualified or diminished in any way; not subject to any limitation; existing independently and not in relation to anything else, or dependent on anything else; Ultimate Reality, God.

This is what you consciously choose to surrender to: Absolute God Only.

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

The Highest Goal of Yoga: The Finishline – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 9, Vs 33-34

“How much easier is this yoga for Brahmans and royal sages! So having acquired this temporal and unhappy world, devote yourself to Me, Arjuna! Devoted to Me, bowing down reverently to Me, having Me as your highest goal, united with Me, you will surely reach the Highest Goal.” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10, Verses 33-34

How much easier it is then, for Brahmans and royal sages! So having acquired this temporal and unhappy world, devote yourself to Me!

Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna the practice of yoga, and in doing so He makes it synonymous with the worship of Himself as Absolute God, thus making yoga a ‘God-practice’. In the previous verse (32) and this one, He reveals that this yoga is easier for some than others, which He describes, but that anyone can do it successfully through devotion to God.

“This temporal and unhappy world”
In this verse we have God as Lord Krishna calling this world ‘unhappy’ and making devotion to God an imperative antidote. Although we know that our time in this world is temporary and can accept this, in this our own day and age, we resist hearing statements of an “unhappy world” and put them down as ‘negative’. We go on to reassure ourselves that everything is perfect and just as it should be, and try to take a more ‘positive’ stance. But clearly, Lord Krishna is not going to pull any punches. He tells it like it is to motivate us to get on with this yoga, this God-practice, while we can, so we can reach liberation from having to return.

Alternate translation:  
How much easier it is for those of auspicious births—upper caste men and royal sages! So now in this temporary and unhappy world, while you have a chance, devote yourself to Me!

Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that, being of royal birth, he’s got it made. He has advantages other, more unfortunate folks don’t have (vs. 32). Yet they can accomplish the very thing he has been resisting on several counts (in chapter one). Even though he is a warrior and brave on the field, he has hesitated to go forward with this yoga, and Krishna is urging him (and us) onward.

Devoted to Me, bowing down reverently to Me, having Me as your highest goal, united with Me, you will surely reach the Highest Goal.

  • Highest Goal – the Sanskrit also means ‘the final end, chief objective or final aim, finished’.

Lord Krishna reiterates to Arjuna, his description of ‘worship’ as surrendering oneself solely to Him, Absolute God. By this means Arjuna will become united (yoga) with Him. This will take him to the Highest Goal. There being nothing higher, Arjuna (and ourselves) will reach the finish-line liberated from death and rebirth, the journey completed.

Bowing Down

What is it about bowing down before God, God-images, Gurus and Holy People that we westerners find so objectionable? This attitude strikes me as silly.

When I was given my first initiation, even though I had never seen or heard of bowing down, never heard of swamis or even yoga, before I even know what hit me, I had bowed down before this Master with my body fully outstretched on the floor and grasping his feet. I was flooded with love and bliss (there just isn’t a better word) and given experience after experience, and pieces of knowledge, one after the other, until I was steeped in wonder and joy.

From that time to now, I bow down at every opportunity. Done in the spirit of loving worship of God, that is what I get: God, the bliss and joy of God. I get drunk with it. Once I even found myself pranaming to students and had the same experience. But I had to stop doing that because they were disturbed about it. One student even left and never came back. Human beings are, I think, the greatest mystery on earth.

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“Bowing down reverently to Me”
Lord Krishna, who is teaching yoga to Arjuna, is Arjuna’s guru. It is customary to make this pranam by bowing down before Guru and images representative of God. By putting your head at the feet of God or Guru, you also honor your Real Self, for they are all the same. The willingness to make this gesture of devotion is what sends you forward to more advanced stages of yoga and Self realization. 

At the very least, you show your respect. Giving your ego a jolt by placing it at the feet of someone other than yourself, you open yourself to receiving more from the teachings of a guru than you otherwise would do. You draw the Truth to yourself in this way. 

This gesture of pranama is illustrated by a choice that Arjuna made earlier in the story of the Mahabharata:

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 8.16.13 AMArjuna demonstrated his loving devotion for Lord Krishna by placing himself at Krishna’s feet in pranama. Upon Lord Krishna’s awakening, Arjuna was the first to be seen by Lord Krishna, thus giving Arjuna first choice between Krishna’s armies or Krishna Himself. Arjuna chose his guru instead of the much needed armies.

This surrender resulted in Lord Krishna driving Arjuna’s chariot for him. To drive the chariot, Krishna seats Himself in the front of the chariot in a lower position, while Arjuna stands in the higher position behind Him.

Now do you begin to see the significance of this custom?

Reaching the Highest Goal of Yoga

“Having Me as your highest goal, united with Me”
If you have God/Krishna as your highest goal, you will become united with That. If you cannot even pranam to That, how do you expect to ever reach That?

By bowing down reverently to God, God will drive your chariot, and you will become united with God. “You will surely reach the Highest Goal”

You get what you worship.
You get what you surrender to.

End of Chapter Nine

The Secret Science of Royal Yoga

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

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