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Opposites Neutralized -Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 2: 16-21

Enlightenment, Self-realization, God-realization, Christ Consciousness… 

16  
There is no coming to be of the non-existent. What is not non-existent is Real. These statements are understood by Knowers of Truth*.

The subject is sat — ‘the real; truth, existence; that which is without change, that which really is’.

“There is no coming to be of the non-existent. What is not non-existent is Real.”

• What is not real goes through changes. What is Real never changes.

• The unReal never is. The Real eternally remains.

• With the unReal nothing remains the same. The Real is ever-existent without modification.

• The changeless is what exists and is Real. Anything that can change does not really exist so it is not Real.

* The Knowers of Truth are the enlightened ones, the sages, those who have reached this understanding through direct experience.

17
Understand that that by which this universe is pervaded is imperishable, and that no one can destroy that which cannot be destroyed but endures always.

‘The Real’ is given more descriptors — it is ‘all-pervasive’, unlimited, everywhere always.

Self-reference:  What you really are has no limitations, is not located anywhere, is everywhere. You seem to have limitations and to be located somewhere, due to identification with the unReal.

18
These bodies, inhabited by the eternal, indestructible, immeasurable embodied one, come to an end. So fight, Descendant of Bharata!

“immeasurable” — all-pervasive and unlimited.

‘Descendant of Bharata’:  Krishna uses this epitaph of Arjuna’s to remind him that, having come into being from an original state of ‘continuous knowing’ (Bharata), he already knows all this and just needs to realize it.

Self-reference: God is reminding you that you already know this for the same reason.

19
He who imagines the embodied one to be a slayer, and he who imagines that the embodied one can be slain, does not understand. The embodied one does not slay, nor is it slain.

Krishna subtly weaves in the reality of ‘non-doership’ here:  What Arjuna truly is does nothing, so his arguments in previous verses have no foundation.

Self-reference:  What you really are is invulnerable, and what you really are never harms anyone. This is the basis of the first yama, ahimsa (harmlessness). Hurting others doesn’t work and can only cause your own downfall, because it is not possible for the Real You.

20 – 21
The embodied one is never born, nor does it die at any time. The embodied one is not a being, does not become a being, and will never become a being at any time in the future. It is birthless, eternal, and ever-existent. It is not slain when the body is slain.

How can anyone who knows this embodied one to be indestructible, eternal, birthless, and imperishable, kill or be killed?

Well obviously, this simply cannot happen. We are convinced!

Our bodies come into being, live for a while, and then they die, so by definition they are not Real, nor is anything in the world Real. If you don’t believe this, just try finding something that NEVER changes.

Self reference: The above verses suggest that what is Real is something that is constant. In other words, it is something that is always present no matter what is happening, what is going on around you, in the outside world or within. Think this over and look for this constant. Ask yourself what it is. There is an answer. It is below. Don’t look yet. Think it over and see if you can come up with the answer first, then take a peek.

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Opposites Neutralized

In the unReal, the ‘relative’, everything is relative to and dependent upon everything else. The Real, the ‘absolute’, is unchanging, never-ending, true and constant existence. The relative (non-existent) describes what we are ‘being’, i.e., physical beings in a world of change. The absolute (existent) describes us as we really are.

Realizing this to be true, we can understand now, why polarizing opposites ultimately become neutralized, and why this is inevitable: they are unReal and we seek the Real. During the process, there is a state we can achieve in which opposites do not arise, where heat and cold, pleasure and pain, attraction and aversion, etc., do not arise and therefore do not exert any influence on us. This state is called Yoga (Union).

Namaste — I bow to the Divine One that you really are,
Durga Ma

Self-reference:  That which is constant no matter what, is YOU.

_______________________________

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The Place of No Return – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 15, Vs 5-7

Absolute

5
Those who are free of pride and enslavement by the dark night of attachment, are freed from dualities. Having withdrawn from objects of desire and no longer deluded, they dwell in the True Self, and attain the feet of the Eternal.

  • Pride – self-importance, arrogance, vanity, self-adulation, egotism.
  • Enslavement – bound, attached.
  • Freed from dualities – such as ease and dis-ease, pleasure and pain, etc.
  • True Self – The Real You, a divine, perfect, imperishable individual.

In the previous verse on overcoming Attachment, it was said that one must then seek that place where, once having gone, one will not return again … and surrender at His feet. This verse reveals what happens when you do this: you are free, you are not affected by dualities, and you dwell in your True Self — you are your Real Self, the Real You. That’s what happens when you surrender to God. 

When you “dwell in the True Self,” you will have no desires pulling at you because you will have the very thing you have lived for all these many lifetimes. You have discovered that by surrendering yourself to God, you get God; and when you get God, you get your True Self. This is the easiest way to Self-realization. It happens automatically because God and the Real Self are not different. But trying to get your True Self first, or trying to circumvent God altogether in order to get to your True Self, you will fail. The KEY to Self-realization is God-realization … because God and the Real You are not different.

If you believe that you have achieved Self-realization and did so without first realizing God, you are fooling yourself. Many people start this way, but if they are truly Self-realized, they will be the first to tell you that it was God as other-then-self that made it so. 

The key to Self-realization is God-realization

When you “dwell in the True Self,” dualities, like ease and dis-ease, happiness and unhappiness, like and dislike, good and evil, will become neutralized. “Pride and enslavement by the darkness of attachment” will be a distant memory, and you will wonder how in the world could you ever have been so deluded.

It is not desire itself that binds us, but rather our attachments to our desires.

6
Neither the sun nor the moon nor fire illumine that abode of Mine. Once having gone to that place, one does not return again.

Natural light sources of sun, moon and fire do not illumine His Abode. By now in your meditation, you have visited amazing places where everything shone of their own light, so light sources were not present. This was sabija samadhi. But now, because of the mention of non-return, we find that you have graduated to nirbija samadhi, that ‘place’ where there is no light source because there is no-thing to see. The only thing present here is the unending happiness, rolling bliss, and the complete fulfillment of union with Absolute God/Truth. Having reached it, you are liberated from the cycles of death and rebirth — “one does not return again.”

7
A small part of My Eternal Self, becoming endowed with life in the world of the living, draws the five senses, with the mind as the sixth, to exist in material nature.

Krishna & Radha
Krishna and Radha as Purusha and Prakriti

A part of God went with You when you became embodied. This caused Your inherent powers of perception and consciousness to become manifest in material nature as five physical sense organs and a brain.

The sense organs are your means of perception (consciousness of), which are received by the brain and mind. These are powers that you have as a living being because they are inherent to the Real You (which is absolute). Here in this world (which is relative), they are the manifestations of your power to Know, drawn into material nature (manifested) by God-in-you: Purushottama.  

While God may seem to be many separate small parts in all of the many separate and different Beings, He is nevertheless what He Is: God, unlimited and Absolute God within each of us here in the Relative Realm of this world.

The powers that you have as a Divine Individual to see, hear, feel, taste, smell and know, become manifest as eyes, ears, skin, tongue, nose and brain. Absolute God’s presence within you makes it so.

Parvati & Shiva
Parvati and Shiva as Prakriti and Purusha

Knowing this, one might be more inclined to put aside trying to using these powers to gratify desires, and instead, reach for the Divine Force that is behind them. This Divine Force is not different than You.

Here in this world, all things known by the mind are obtained by means of the senses.

The ‘Highest Purusha’ is the Divine Individual in the Absolute who first accepted you unconditionally, and as the same as Himself. This relationship you have with Absolute God has caused your ability to Know, to become manifest in the material world as five physical senses so that you can experience it.

Purusha & Prikriti in the Absolute

  • Purusha – a Divine Individual who perceives one or more other Divine Individuals
  • Prakriti – a Divine Individual perceived by one or more other Divine Individuals

Purusha & Prikriti in the Relative Realm

  • Purusha – the Real You 
  • Prakriti – Real Divine Others — all Others that you perceive (even though you erroneously perceive them as Nature)

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
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The Yogi and the Devotee – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 12, Vs 2-4

I AM ETERNAL

The Bhagavad Gita appears in the story of the Mahabharata. It is a conversation between Lord Krishna and his devotee and childhood friend, Arjuna. Listening in, we receive the teachings of Lord Krishna as he relates them to Arjuna.

The subject of this chapter is Devotion.

This post addresses the answer to Arjuna’s question on who has the best knowledge of Yoga, withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara), and equanimity (samadhi).


Previously:
Arjuna spoke:  Of those who are constantly engaged in worshipping You, and those who worship the Imperishable Absolute, which has the best knowledge of Yoga?

The Devotee

2
The Blessed Lord spoke:
Those who are always absorbed in Me as their highest objective, always engaging in worshipping Me with the highest degree of faith, I consider to be the My best devotees who are naturally attached to Me.  

  • Worshipping – ‘surrendering, loving, serving’

Alternate translation:
For those highest initiated, the mind easily becomes absorbed in Me and produces supreme faith, so they are naturally the most devoted to Me. 

In this verse, Lord Krishna is describing someone who worships Personal God as Himself. It seems then, that the answer to Arjuna’s question must be “those who are always engaged in worshipping Me” have the best knowledge. But Lord Krishna hasn’t really addressed this, only that they are the most devoted to Him as Personal God.

This verse is describing someone who has advanced significantly in their yoga practice. By referring to the “highest initiated” He indicates those who know the science of yoga and meditation, and understand the nature of its unfolding over time. But as to who has the best knowledge of yoga, He has yet to say.  

The Yogi

3 – 4
But those who worship the Imperishable Absolute, which by its very nature is inexplicable—eternally unchanging, intangible, invisible and everywhere—with all the senses subdued, the mind indifferent everywhere, delighting in affection for all beings and esteeming them as equal, they also attain Me.

Now we have our answer: both. Whether you worship Personal God or Impersonal God you can attain God, though the path of the invisible Absolute is more demanding..

“The senses subdued”

The subduction, control or restraint of the senses is called pratyahara, that magical state of meditation in which the sense faculties, or powers, withdraw from the physical senses. The ability (power) to hear, see, feel, etc., is separated from their objects (sound, sight, touch, etc.). In this state, the sense organs (ears, eyes, skin, etc.) naturally have no connection to sense objects. Once one has reached this point, samadhi (equanimity) is not far away.

This can be taken two ways: The yogi either tries to control the senses, or the senses automatically come under control. The first is the path of the will, in which one uses the will to achieve the desired results. The second is the path of surrender to God, in which one does nothing and leaves everything to God.

  • Pratyahara, the spontaneous withdrawal of the sense faculties from their corresponding sense organs, allowing for direct perception (without any means, i.e., the sense organs). The gateway to samadhi.
  • Samadhi is a state in which the mind is the same throughout, and either not moving at all, or moving uniformly.

“The mind indifferent everywhere”

This phrase describes the effects of pratyahara as the condition that produces and is present in samadhi.

The Sanskrit for ‘mind’ in this verse, is buddhi. Buddhi is the part of the mind that is intelligent, rational, and makes judgements. 

  • Buddhi: intellect, reason, the discriminative faculty of the mind. 

Outside of Meditation

Pratyahara, the withdrawal of the senses, can also take place in everyday life. For one who practices meditation by surrendering to Absolute God, this will happen naturally. The senses will become disinterested and withdraw from their objects gradually over time. In the beginning, this may show up after the fact with the discovery that something that once attracted you has lost its power. Or you may have simply forgotten it and only realized this change later.

An example of my own experience of this, was finding a bottle of wine in the back of the refrigerator that had been there for weeks. I had been used to having a glass of wine when I came home from work in the evening, but had forgotten all about it. Then, one day when I was cleaning the refrigerator, there it was, an untouched bottle of wine. This heralded profound experiences in my meditation, the result of this phase of pratyahara in daily life.

The senses are otherwise always active, with the attention constantly flowing outward to perceive things, and bringing them back to the mind for storage. For this reason, those who practice willful yoga must work very hard to try to get the senses to stop bringing things into the mind, keeping it busy and aborting yoga. Some avoid people, places and things that keep the mind active. For instance, if a man becomes agitated in the presence of women, he will avoid women. But in surrender sadhana, pratyahara happens spontaneously and powerfully in meditation, and opens the door to samadhi naturally.

Of the devotee who experiences God as Personal, and the yogi who experiences God as Impersonal, both know Yoga and reach God. The only real difference is how.

Regarding Samadhi

Do you think that samadhi, or meditation for that matter, requires that you sit a certain way? If you do, these masters would not agree with you. Kripalu is dancing. Anandamayi Ma has risen in ecstasy. Shri Ramakrishna is in blissful bhava-samadhi with a devotee supporting him to avoid another fall. These saints are beyond caring what we think.

One usually thinks of samadhi as the final frontier of Yoga, but it is really a part of the process of purifying and clearing the mind, though in advanced stages, it is certainly very fulfilling. 

  • Samādhi समाधि sama (the same) + adhi (as above)

Also, the idea that samadhi only occurs when the mind is not moving is incorrect. The mind may be moving or not. As to the nature of its movements, the next common error would be that such movement would have to be sattvic (smooth-flowing and peaceful). But this is also incorrect. It is the uniformity that is the key (samadhi means ‘sameness’). The state of mental activity will depend on the nature of the purification. In the highest samadhi (nirbija) one surpasses this process.

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