The Approaching Clash – Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1: 20-21

Arjuna’s Depression

The Bhagavad Gita (God Song) is a dialogue in verse and meter between Arjuna and Krishna. Krishna is Arjuna’s childhood friend and guru.

The Characters:

Krishna – ‘Dark blue-black’, the color of the night (moon energy, apana). Divine incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu, God as Sustainer-Maintainer.

Arjuna – ‘Pale yellowish white’, the color of the day (sun energy, prana). A master archer, Arjuna is the greatest archer in all the world, He is married to Draupadi (shakti), who is the wife of all five Pandava brothers.

Having seen the Sons of Dhritarashtra [the blind king], arrayed and drawn up for battle, raising his bow as the clash of weapons began, the Monkey-Bannered Son of Pandu [Arjuna]

Monkey-Bannered Son of Pandu – An epitaph of Arjuna referring to Arjuna’s use of the image of the monkey-god Hanuman on his banner to communicate his intentions to the enemy. Hanuman, Arjuna’s standard, is the ultimate devotee of an earlier (prior to Krishna) incarnation of Vishnu, Lord Rama. Because of his supreme devotion, Hanuman achieved liberation, superhuman powers and immortality. With Hanuman as Arjuna’s standard, the message of this banner is clearly “victory”.

Why a monkey? The image of a human-like monkey attaining the highest state strongly suggests evolution and transformation from the animalness of meat and bones, to the perfection of immortal Divine Body, which is said to be the final achievement of yoga sahdana. This state is spoken of in other Sanskrit texts as “cheating death”, and in the Bible in such phrases as “this corruptible shall have put on incorruption”, “this mortal shall have put on immortality”, and “death is swallowed up in victory”. Arjuna’s standards are high indeed, and reveals the degree of his own devotion, commitment and determination.

Arjuna spoke:
To the Bristling Haired one
[Krishna], [Arjuna] then spoke these words: “Cause my chariot to stand in the middle between the two armies, Imperishable One.

Bristling Haired – An epitaph of Krishna meaning ‘master of the senses’.
Imperishable One – Another epitaph of Krishna meaning ‘permanent, firm, unfailing’.

Arjuna has asked Krishna to position his chariot between the two opposing forces. You will recall that Krishna is driving Arjuna’s chariot. Earlier I said that this was “another story”. Here is that story in short:

After having unrelentingly urged the Pandavas to take back their rightful place as rulers of the kingdom, Krishna took a neutral stance by offering his armies to one side, and himself to the other. But who would get what? To determine this, he said to Arjuna and Duryodhana, the two leaders of the two sides, that the first of them that he saw upon awakening in the morning would get to choose. Duryodhana spent the night stationed at Krishna’s head so that he could know the moment Krishna awoke and be seen immediately. Arjuna arrived before Krishna awakened and stationed himself at his feet, and as a result, was the first to be seen. Oddly, but to Duryodhana’s happy surprise, Arjuna chose Krishna, leaving Krishna’s armies to Duryodhana.

What we see here is Arjuna putting God in the driver’s seat. Even though it appears that he may have given up the victory by losing the opportunity to expand his own forces, Arjuna chose God. He did this by placing himself at his guru’s feet, so guru is now able to effectively serve him. (This scene serves as a teaching that explains the custom of bowing at the guru’s feet: It is not for the benefit of the guru, but for the devotee.) 

Being in the middle between the two opposing forces is significant. Earlier we spoke of these two opposing forces as representing the upward-flowing and downward-flowing energies in the body—sun energy that warms, and moon energy that cools. These two energies are about to come crashing together. This crashing together signals the awakening of the evolutionary force, Kundalini. In fact, the union (yoga) of these two forces is Kundalini. So now we know what this dialogue of eighteen chapters is going to be about.

We already have two opposites in union in order for this to have come about: Krishna (dark), God/guru, and Arjuna (light), devotee/disciple, are unified within the vehicle in which Arjuna takes his position: his chariot, the body.

Being in the middle between the two armies gives Arjuna a vantage point for looking things over, and we have the opportunity to listen in on his conversation with Krishna throughout the eighteen chapters that make up the Bhagavad Gita. So the fun has only just begun.

Durga Ma


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VIII: 5-7 At the Moment of Death, Part 1

Last week we learned about our original situation in the Divine Absolute and how we got to where we are now. Now we will learn how to recover this happy state.   

Having abandoned the body at the time of death and thinking only of Me, one achieves My state.
 In this matter there is no doubt.  

Consider that freeing, letting go of, or abandoning the body, also refers to surrendering the body to God in meditation. This is consistent with previous verses. And consider that ‘end-time’ refers to a timeless state resulting from this surrender in which union (yoga) with God is achieved. It all works. 

  • Death – Literally, ‘end-time’. Death of the body, death of the ego, sleep, deep sleep, meditation, samadhi, renunciation. These are some of the ways we can take the idea of death beyond its usual meaning.

When the body is surrendered, whatever one’s thoughts at at end-time, one reaches that, and transitions into that state.

Whether referring to the moment of physical death of the body, or union with God in meditation, whatever you are focused on in that moment of end-time, you transition into that state. This message bears consideration in either case.

For those of you who practice Surrender Meditation, remember that thoughts do not arise as a result of your doing, but as a result of Shakti working in your best interest. So you need not concern yourself with what thoughts are active in your mind when meditating. The cause is Shakti, and no one else, and they cannot cause anything that is not determined by HerSo no matter what transforms into what, it is not your affair. This faith is imperative. Remember that Shakti’s goal is your perfection and eternal happiness, not your immediate comfort. By this practice of giving Her free rein, you will not have to concern yourself with thinking of God at end-time. It will come naturally.

Therefore, always remember and think of Me. Offering your buddhi-mind to Me, fight, and you will certainly attain Me.

Many years ago when I first read this, I valiantly tried to constantly remember and think only of God, and found that, inevitably, I would catch myself thinking about something else. This was especially bothersome because the translations I had read were about death of the physical body, and the idea of transforming into some of the things in my mind was unbearable. But having discovered the value of mantra (repeating Sanskrit names of God) as a means of keeping my attention on God, I applied it in these moments, and was relieved of this concern.

Mantra has the very fine quality of becoming addictive, and after practicing for a while, it will show up on its own when least expected. In the early days of sadhana, outside of meditation I often had recurring visions that were horrible and frightening. But once I had a mantra and had practiced it, I found that it would spontaneously intervene in these visions and send them scampering away. I recommend the practice of mantra to everyone, regardless of their path. At the very least, it will clear the mind. 

One way to understand ‘buddhi-mind’ is to think of it as the mind’s function of differentiation. Another way is to  remember that the body has a mind of its own, and that buddhi-mind refers to the body’s mind. In an earlier chapter on Action, we found the word buddhi used to suggest the action of the instrument of yoga (uniting). So we might take “offering your buddhi-mind to Me” to be referencing this ability of both the mind and the body to sort things out through Action, by offering (surrendering) them both to Krishna (God). 

Remember that the setting in which this conversation between Krishna and Arjuna takes place, is a battleground. The war, though historic, is getting used as a metaphor for hatha-yoga (sun-moon union), the first stage of yoga sadhana in which Kundalini is awakened.

Also remember that Arjuna initially refused to fight. But the clashing together of the two opposing forces (awakening kundalini) must happen in order for Arjuna’s people to take their rightful place as rulers of the kingdom (you’ll catch the metaphor here). So Krishna is encouraging Arjuna to get with the program and ‘fight’—to get on with his sadhana (practice).

Continued next week….

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

VI:45-47 The Final Destination

Now we will end this chapter by hearing about the end result of successful Yoga practice. 

Continued from “From Desire to Fulfillment” (verse 44):

By persevering in his efforts, the mind withdrawn from anything else, he is completely purified of faults, and after many births is perfected and goes to the final destination.

“By persevering in his efforts”
Now he keeps going no matter what. This yogi knows something of what is ahead through his own experience, and will not be stopped.

“With the mind withdrawn from anything else”
The yogi is now steeped in Yoga. He thinks of nothing else. Any thought seemingly outside of it that should arise, is associated with God/Truth and his Yoga. Anything that is not, is dismissed.

“He is completely purified of faults”
These ‘faults’ are not really his, they are in the packaging, and Shakti wants to get the package to be like the Divine Individual that this yogi really is.

Shakti – Divine Energy. The intelligent, activating force of Nature.

The purification process that is going on in the body is sometimes uncomfortable, but our yogi knows what is going on, so he doesn’t fight it, but regards it as a sign of progress and happily continues his Yoga practice. 

Purification – The reordering of things to get them in their proper places, inside or outside of the body, mind and feelings. This ultimately gets one in sync with the Real Self. (See Yama and Niyama for descriptions of what this would look like). 


Because prana (Life Energy) can heal anything, it is often thought to be imprudent to avail oneself of resources considered to be unnatural. But this is unnatural—we are here on earth when we’re here, not at some other time. There are different resources available now than were available hundreds (or thousands) of years ago. Forcing oneself to endure something that might otherwise be relieved can cause more trouble from the stress it creates.


At this stage of sadhana, one really must be self-honest. Without self-honesty, mistakes will be made. Because of what is at the core of the mind (‘ego’), self-honesty is a difficult undertaking, so one must start immediately to practice it so that this skill is already developed and in place.

Sadhana – Spiritual practice. Sanskrit: The means of going straight to the goal. Mastering, cure, completion, perfection.

There is often (in any age) some difficulty determining what to do. One eventually gets the means of contacting inner guidance, but that alone isn’t always enough because of the mind’s propensity for interfering and causing mistakes to be made. Inner guidance must be more than just listening to your feelings or your mind, or confusing either with intuition. The mind will cause you more trouble than you can imagine, and feelings have their roots in the mind.

Ideally, you should consult your guru. In the event that your guru is no longer on this earth, the adepts who know their way around yoga can be called upon to advise you. If you don’t have direct contact with them they may send you dreams, in which case you will need to know how to understand dreams.

You should also consult scripture. Its purpose is to help you with this very thing. Then contemplate the yamas and niyamas to determine the correctness of your conclusions. It is also very helpful to talk with others on your path who are having similar experiences.

“After many births he is perfected and goes to the final destination”
I don’t think anyone can make it to or through this stage of sadhana without self-honesty and a whole lot of meditation experience (years). But it is very inspiring to know there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, when one is finally, successfully ‘perfected’. 

The yogi is superior to the ascetic, the learned, and those who are active in good works. Therefore, be a yogi!

The yogi, the ascetic, the learned, and those who do good works, are all the greatest of devotees, but in this verse the yogi is ranked the highest. The ascetic is ranked higher than the learned, and the learned higher than those engaged in good works.

For many people, asceticism is the practice of severe self-discipline, sometimes even self-mortification, and abstention from all forms of pleasure. But we learned earlier that this is not the intended message. ‘Ascetic’ was defined as “one who is self-motivated, self-disciplined, and inspired, and can be a saint, sage, seer, monk, devotee or hermit”. The learned, on the other hand, is meant as someone who knows a lot but doesn’t have the personal experience behind the knowledge that the yogi and the ascetic have. 

Of all yogis, one who loves Me with faith and considers Me as in himself and himself in Me, is united with Me, and is the highest of all.

This verse speaks for itself.

End of Chapter Six
The Yoga of Meditation

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