Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 15

When the evolutionary force kundalini completes the transformation of the body, Death loses it power. 

15 Considering them common, Arjuna, one who does not waver on account of these and remains resolute, is ready for immortality. 

“these” refers to opposites as mentioned in verse 14:  

It is perception by the senses that produces the sensations of heat and cold, pleasantness and pain. These appear and disappear and are impermanent, so have patience, Arjuna.”

The keyword in verse 15 is ‘ready’. The ultimate outcome is liberation and immortality. In the Bible and other mystical texts of the East, this reference to immortality is literal — the corruptible becomes incorruptible; the yogi cheats death; etc.

When this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? — 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

Two conditions then, are necessary for this transformation: resolute determination, and indifference to opposites.

When truly indifferent to opposites, such as heat and cold, and pleasure and pain, one is in a state in which opposites have been neutralized through union (yoga). The instant prana and apana* unite within the body, opposition vanishes and the Life Energy takes on an evolutionary function (kundalini), and though this may only last for a moment, in that moment there is absolute indifference to opposites. Attractions and aversions cannot exist where there are no likes or dislikes, and likes and dislikes cannot exist in the complete satisfaction and fulfillment of this moment of union. Thus begins the work of neutralizing the polarized pull of the very things that support ignorance (Dhritarashthra): the desires of the mind (the sons of Dhritarashthra).

* 'prana and apana': The Life Energy moving upward that warms the body is called prana; moving downward and cooling the body it is called apana. When these opposing functions of the Life Energy collide, they are united as one, and the evolutionary force, kundalini, becomes active within the body. This is Yoga ('union').


Desires of the mind (the sons of Dhritarashthra) appear as things you like as opposed to things you do not like, and visa versa—opposites. Begin by simply noticing these when they arise.

Ignorance refers to non-enlightenment. In the West, this is called ‘ego’, but the Sanskrit word (ahamkara) suggests that what this ‘ego’ is, is the sense of yourself as ‘doing’. This in turn suggests that what you really are is something other than what does things, and begs the question: “What am I?” Begin contemplating this question.

Enlightenment happens when you know through direct experience that what you really are does nothing. This unfolds by degrees.

All activities of the mind having vanished, I sit happily as the ruler within the city whose gates are nine [the body], not acting at all, nor causing action. — Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, ch 5, vs 13

Sensible Spiritual

As a sadhika, I lived in the woods on very little of anything in order to find the time and solitude to practice yoga full time. I had no frills like air-conditioning and often no heat in winter, so I bore up under a great deal of discomfort. I told myself that I was cultivating dispassion and indifference to heat and cold, and pleasure and pain. What was really happening was that I was so miserable, and it took so much will to endure this misery, that I was not only holding myself back, I was getting over-exposed without realizing it. This resulted in the body becoming even more sensitive to heat and cold than it was in the beginning, and I have had to deal with this every day of my life since that time. It was a kind of ‘mortification of the flesh’ that I didn’t realize I was ‘doing’. And it didn’t work. It doesn’t work. It won’t work.

Scriptural injunction insists that we take proper care of the body so that it is fit for sadhana, not beaten down. So now, instead of tents, cars, vacant houses, or huts with quarter-inch cracks between the boards, I live in a simple house with AC and heat, and I do not put up with tolerating anything any more, if I can help it. That’s full circle from an ordinary life, to a determined and devoted spiritual life, and back to where I started from, only now I live a devoted sensible-spiritual life.

Indifference to opposites must come naturally and spontaneously as a result of surrender to God/Truth. You cannot make it happen. If you try, you will pay. The trick is to monitor your own motives as you live sensibly spiritually: Are you taking care of your body for sadhana? or are you using this principle as an excuse for seeking pleasure? And then, when you make a mistake (you will), you must ignore the temptation to put yourself down, forgive yourself, and move on.

I bow to the Divine One that you really are,
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.


The Baby and the Bathwater -Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 2 :14

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It is perception by the senses, Son of Kunti, that produces the sensations of winter and summer, difficulty and ease. These appear and disappear and are impermanent, so just put up with them, Descendant of Bharata.

Winter and Summer.  The sensations of cold and heat.

Difficulty and Ease.  The meanings of the words for ‘difficulty’ and ‘ease’ include their effects: unhappiness, discomfort, misfortune, and pain (‘difficulty’), and happiness, comfort, prosperity, and pleasure (‘ease’).

Son of Kunti.  Arjuna is the ‘Son of Kunti’ (kunti – ‘lance’). Kunti* is the daughter of a Yadava prince, a descendant of Yadu (‘embracing’), named Shura (‘hero’), who gave her to his childless cousin Kunti, from which her name derives. Favored by Durvasas, an irascible sage thought to be an incarnation of Shiva, he taught her a mantra by which she could have a child by any god she wished to invoke. Arjuna was born to her of the god Indra, lord of the gods of the sky, the senses. Both Arjuna’s mother, Kunti, and Lord Krishna, are descendants of Prince Yadu.

Self-reference:  You can invoke any god you wish, in order to achieve a desired effect. All you need is the mantra. For that, you need the goodwill of the Sage.

Descendant of Bharata.  In earlier verses, we came across the epitaph, ‘Descendant of Bharata’ as that of the blind king, Dhritarashthra. So why is Lord Krishna addressing Arjuna in this manner? By calling Arjuna ‘Descendant of Bharata’, Krishna is not only pointing to Arjuna as being directly related to the king, but He is ranking Arjuna as the king’s equal.

Self-reference: Dhritarashthra represents ‘ignorance’ (unenlightened), but you are equal to the challenge of attaining enlightenment.

* Kunti is also a name of the god of love, often depicted carrying bow and arrow or lance.

Neutralizing Opposites

The example of the opposites of winter and summer are given in this verse. Here the word for ‘senses’ is specifically related to ‘tangibility’ and the sense of touch, and the effect of contact of the skin with temperature, wind, and other tangible things, and the way those sensations feel.

If we want to get esoteric about this, it is not much of a leap to associate the feeling of the warmth of summer and the coolness of winter with the functions of prana (warming Life Energy) and apana (cooling Life Energy). Knowing what we do about these two, we could conclude that by simply putting up with them, the union of the two will occur without any help from us, through surrender sadhana. United as one, their opposition is neutralized and brings forth the evolutionary functions of kundalini.

It has been suggested in previous verses that the polarizing effects of opposites are detrimental to our sadhana and stand in the way of our enlightenment. We have discussed some of the resolutions to this dilemma that will occur spontaneously through our sadhana, but meanwhile what do we do? Apparently, we just have to put up with them and consider them ‘common’, as if one were no better or worse than the other. But this is not so easy to accomplish. Perhaps with a little more understanding, and some conscious personal experience of this phenomenon, we will have better luck.

Equalizing Opposites

The first thing to realize, is that everything that gets into the mind, gets there through the senses moving outward to pick up sights, sounds, tactile sensations, tastes and odors, and storing the information in memory. The difficulty arises due to our like or dislike of what is picked up. If we were indifferent, the stored information would have little or no influence. But everything in this world, and therefore everything in the mind, has a flip side, an opposite—hot and cold, good and bad, black and white, pleasure and pain, and so on—and due to the pull of the polarity of these opposites, we find ourselves favoring one or the other.

If we were to try to do something about this, it would have to involve equalizing opposites, so that one has no more pull than the other. I wrote the Mental Yoga course for this purpose. This is the first step, a step that can be taken and continued outside of meditation, regardless of what kind of meditation you practice.

Many people who are drawn to Yoga leave it when they hear things about abandoning desires, and becoming indifferent to the appealing effects of pleasure, enjoyment, and success, etc., but they misunderstand. The gradual process of Surrender Meditation will take care of this, but we must do the sadhana, maintain the body for its practice, put ourselves in a conducive place for it, and pay attention and be self-honest. Outside of our Surrender Meditation, we can speed up the process with the practice of Mental Yoga. Then, when things begin to change within us, we will find that the results are not quite what we had expected—we do not lose anything, but we gain everything.

So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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.

III:1-3 Arjuna’s Angst

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Three
“The Yoga of Action”
Verses 1 to 3

Arjuna is rattled at this apparent contradiction of Krishna’s and addresses him as Agitator of Men, and in the same breath tries to mend his own agitation with a compliment calling him Handsome Haired One! Clever boy. But his question is a good one, for in chapter two, verses 38 and 39, Krishna extolls buddhi*, which we have mostly read as ‘knowledge’ or ‘wisdom’, yet He urges Arjuna to act. Arjuna is still confused about all this, so with his next breath he says to Krishna, Just tell me what to do!

Arjuna spoke:
If you consider knowledge to be superior to action, O Agitator of Men, why do you urge me to terrible action, O Handsome Haired One?

With speech that seems equivocal you confuse my mind. This one thing tell me for certain: By which shall I attain the highest good. 

Buddhi is the ability to form and retain concepts, ideas, etc. It translates as knowledge, wisdom, intellect, reason, discernment, discrimination, judgement, mind, opinion, perception, thought, belief, and so on, depending upon its usage in the text.

The Blessed Lord spoke:
In this world there are two paths taught previously by me, Blameless One: the Knowledge Yoga of the followers of Sankhya*, and the Karma Yoga of the Yogis.

* Sankhya means 'taking into account all that can be known'. Sankhya is one of the divisions of Hindu philosophy. The followers of Sankhya are said to be knowledge-oriented.

“Blameless One” Oh, good. Krishna has exonerated Arjuna’s angst, so we too, can relax.

Krishna previously addressed Knowledge Yoga and Action Yoga in chapter two, but by attempting to discover which is better, it appears that Arjuna has not understood that both are valid paths to the same end. It is not a question of one being better than the other, but that Arjuna’s personal orientation is best suited to Action Yoga.

“The Knowledge Yoga of the followers of Sankhya”

The word for knowledge, jñāna ( ज्ञान ), refers to ‘knowing’, not just knowing by learning from an external source, but the knowing that is gained through meditation. In meditation, one comes to ‘know’ without the aid of the senses and the mind, and though one might not be able to prove the veracity of what gets ‘known’ to anyone else, it is proved to the meditator with certainty. This kind of knowledge is very different from the knowledge gained through conventional sources. It is in this sense that followers of Sankhya refer to Knowledge Yoga, knowledge (jnana) gained through union (yoga).

“The Action Yoga of the Yogis”

The word for action is karma ( कर्म ). Karma and yoga are practically synonymous terms, for one cannot have yoga (union) without action—the action of uniting one thing with another. Where the follower of Knowledge Yoga has knowledge as his focus, a yogi’s focus is on the action that delivers it.

Beyond this enlightenment, the yogi also seeks liberation from rebirth, which can only be attained when both the credits and debts of previous actions are settled. To this end, the yogi seeks the realization of non-doership and considers all actions as not his own.

Three Paths

It is generally taught that there are three paths—Knowledge, Action and Devotion. These three are said to reflect the different natures of people and their personal orientations: mentally-oriented, action-oriented, and feeling-oriented. So why are only Knowledge and Action mentioned in this verse?

Devotion, or bhakti, is necessary for Knowledge Yoga and Action Yoga to be effective, so it is automatically included in both. Some take the path of Devotion solely, believing that it alone is sufficient. It is conceivable that Devotion is enough, for when practiced comprehensively it will inevitably lead one to knowledge and action as well, as these two are inevitable for the serious seeker.

Knowledge Yoga – Jnana Yoga
Karma Yoga – Action Yoga
Bhakti Yoga – Devotional Yoga

Self-reference: To which are you most inclined? Throughout your day, whenever you think of it, see if you can determine which motivates your own actions the most. Are you mostly knowledge oriented, action oriented, of feeling oriented? Which one appeals to you, inspires you, and motivates you the most? Which is strongest for you?

Ultimately, whatever one’s personal orientation, after a time, sadhana (spiritual practices) will lead to all three, and one will be no stronger or weaker than the other.

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

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