Yoga and Freedom -Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 2: Vs 39

Taking into account everything that can be known and what to do with it. 

What I have imparted to you is the wisdom of Sankhya. Now hear the wisdom of Yoga, by which you can free yourself from the bondage of karma. 

“Sankhya”, one of the major philosophical schools of India, is a reference to the teachings of previous verses in this chapter. The word sankhya means ‘taking into account’. Sankhya philosophy takes into account everything that can be known. It is considered to be a dualistic philosophy in that it deals with opposites in the manner we have been discussing.

“Yoga”, ‘the act of uniting’, takes us beyond what Sankhya has taught us, to putting this knowledge into action. The act of uniting (yoga) requires more than one, otherwise what would be uniting with what? Yoga is a natural partner to Sankhya.

“the bondage of karma” refers to the entrapment produced by the union of ignorance with action. Believing that ‘I do’, the principle of cause and effect is put into play, and the ‘I’ automatically becomes trapped by responsibility for the action, be it good or bad.

“karma” means ‘action’. The root of the word karmakri, meaning ‘to do’, is the basis of the ignorance of the Truth of Self as the eternal non-doer.

Alternate Translations:

• Now that you have this knowledge, taking it together with the understanding of action, you can avoid the bondage of action (karma).

• This wisdom has been presented to you from the standpoint of Jnana Yoga (Knowledge Yoga). Now hear it presented as Karma Yoga (Action Yoga) by which you will be able to throw off the shackles of karma.

• I have explained to you the spiritual knowledge regarding the nature of the soul. Now listen to the science of action, which can completely release you from the bondage of cause and effect.

Previously, we discussed pairs of opposites and bringing them into union. Knowledge, what you think or know, and action, things that happen and things you do, are also opposites. In this verse we are presented with the idea of bringing knowledge and action together as a unit: Sankhya (wisdom-knowledge) and Yoga (the act of union) are one.


The science of Yoga is the science of action. The word yoga means ‘union’ and consequently also means ‘action’, for one thing uniting with another is an action.

It is one thing to equalize a pair of opposites, but it is quite another thing to bring them together as a single unit. The process of uniting the solar and lunar energies in the body is hatha yoga (sun-moon union). When this is accomplished, this unit takes on the function of furthering one’s evolution and is called kundalini.

Yes, evolution is going on all the time, but it is taking us thousands of lifetimes to complete. Through the natural practice of Yoga, we stand a chance of reaching raja yoga and getting closer to the freedom and eternal (rather than temporal) happiness that we know awaits us.

Hatha Yoga begins after enough sadhana (practice) has been successfully accomplished to get us there, and will take up nearly all of our sadhana from that point on. Then, sun-moon union having been accomplished and the process advanced sufficiently, we move into raja yoga, ‘royal union’, uniting with God, Truth, the Absolute (whatever your word is for That).

This process doesn’t have to be thought of as religious or spiritual. It is what it is: evolution. We tend to think of all this as spiritual because we need a name for it that expresses an experience that we do not know how to talk about. And because we can’t put it in a test tube and prove it. We have no words for it in English. Some try to avoid the word God with its implication of some deity somewhere in the cosmos directing our lives, and try using words like Divine, or Truth. But whatever you like to call It, think of it as Absolute, for it is absolute. Even the relative is absolute.

Everything is Absolutely Relative

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!)
Durga Ma


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Realizing the Self in the Self by the Self, Continued – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 13, Vs 25-26

Self Realization

Some see the self in the self by the self alone in meditation, others by Sankhya Yoga, and others by Karma Yoga.

Alternate translation:
One can see the Self in themself through correct knowledge (Sankhya Yoga) and active meditation (Karma Yoga).

  • Karma Yoga – union through action, active meditation. Karma Yoga is the path of Action.
  • Sankhya Yoga – union through correct knowledge of Truth. Sankhya Yoga is the path of Knowledge.

Another alternate translation:
The Self is self-known by oneself in meditation that is active and based on correct knowledge.

Knowledge is useless without action.
Action is prone to error without correct knowledge.

The path of Knowledge teaches us that we are not doers of action, that action with intent is the cause of bondage, and action surrendered to Absolute God is the means of liberation.

In my own path, both knowledge and action are included. Knowledge is achieved through the teachings of scripture and guru, and are validated through personal experience gained in meditation.

Personal experience can be prone to error if it is not based on correct knowledge or direct experience. Direct experience requires meditation of a special kind. In this meditation the will is surrendered to Absolute God, and all actions are God-actions, not our own. 

“Thy will be done O Lord, not mine” — Lord Jesus

This verse is a picture of the direct self-knowing of the True Self through meditation in surrender to Absolute God. When God is running the show, there are no mistakes. 

  • Meditation – A steady flow of consciousness to a single object or place.
  • Sankhya Yoga – Correct knowledge (sāṃkhya) of Yoga (union).
  • Karma Yoga – The act, or practice (karma), of uniting (yoga).

You can see your Self within yourself by yourself alone in meditation, while some try to get there through the path of Knowledge (Sankhya Yoga), and others through the path of Action (Karma Yoga). 

This appears to be three different disciplines (meditation, Sankhya and Karma), but Lord Krishna is saying that it is in meditation that this experience will arise, not by just learning or doing, but through personal experience in meditation. It is only through meditation that your Real Self can literally be seen. This experience is not a mental phenomenon. It is very real. 

Another alternate translation:
Some behold the Self in themselves, by themselves alone in meditation. This is different than the path of knowledge and the path of action taken separately.

Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that the path that He has given him will lead him to Self Realization naturally, whereas other paths will either take him down the path of Knowledge or the path of Action. But what Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna (and us) includes both knowledge and action — putting knowledge into action by meditating naturally according to His teachings.

Some who do not know this, but listen to others who do, become devoted to what they hear. They too can transcend death.

Alternate translation:
There are also those who do not know Yoga, but hear about it from a yogi saint (siddha). Inspired, they become devoted, and because they have faith in what they have heard, they are able to achieve liberation, and transcend the cycles of birth and death.

Not everyone learns the same way. Most people learn visually, some through hearing, etc. Those who are not inclined to study will get their knowledge by listening to the teacher. 

If you don’t want to take up the disciplines of Knowledge or Action, then listen to a saint, a Self-realized, God-realized teacher, to get your information and the knowledge of what to do with it.

Swami Kripalu - teachingSome interpret this verse to mean that you can hear these teachings from another person who has also heard them, and still become liberated. But how can you know through the grape-vine if that other person is speaking Truth? Hardly anyone knows this stuff. So we westerners have to be careful with things like this. Do you know any saints?

  • Saintmahasiddha, ‘one who has achieved the final goal’.

We are a chicken-hearted lot, and easily tempted to continue on in our lackadaisical way, or to wait for someone to come along who will tell us what we need to know. Or even better, someone to zap us into that state of … drum roll: SELF-realization. Never mind God.

What are the odds of this approach succeeding? Not very good. And you will not only be taking a huge risk, but you miss out on the joy of grace and good fortune.

So why go this route of complacency and Self over God and Guru? They’re all the same anyway. By not realizing this and acting accordingly, you cannot realize your true Self, and “Self Realization” will be lost to you.

“Know for certain that the Self and the Guru are truly one. For this very reason, one who is wise will seek his Guru.” — Guru Gita

“Self Realization is God Realization, and God Realization is Self Realization” — Anandamayi Ma

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

Natural Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of effortlessly reaching a true meditative state 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, Natural Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times. Through this surrender, you will achieve the deepest meditation and have amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona