VI:13-15 The Meditation of Yoga

When your consciousness is fastened onto God/Truth, desire, fear and anger are disabled and you see the same everywhere, in everyone, yourself in God and God in You, and the mind is as motionless as a lake on a windless day. 

The body, head and neck aligned, motionless and steady, gazing at the point of the nose and not elsewhere… 

The point of origin of the nose is in the north, the uppermost part of the body. The word for point means ‘where the nose is fastened’. Its origin is in the head, in the middle between the two eyebrows—at the ‘third eye’, the 6th (ajna) chakra, the energy center of wisdom-consciousness. While many meditators try to force the energy into this center by focusing their attention there, for the yogi practicing as described before, this occurs spontaneously.

The body, head and neck are in alignment. This can be accomplished with a posture perpendicular to the ground, or by lying down. If you are a Westerner and prefer sitting, you will first need to train your body so that it can remain balanced in this position without causing discomfort. Otherwise, you will either slouch, or be constantly moving around trying to get comfortable. With movement of the body there is movement of the life energy which in turn keeps the mind active.

Calm, fearless, firmly resolved in brahmacharya, the mind restrained by consciousness focused on Me, the yogi abides absorbed in devotion to Me.

Now you know how to get your mind into a peaceful state: Concentrate your attention on one thing: Lord Krishna—God/Truth. Then, because you are calm, composed and fearless, you will not be in contention with things like brahmacharya, and can remain absorbed in That.

You are not be susceptible to fear or other distractions when your consciousness is fully occupied with only one thing: God/Truth.

The usual translation of brahmacharya is celibacy, the source of the ‘fear’ mentioned in this verse—one becomes afraid of failing.

Brahmacharya is the most powerful means of achieving the required self-control mentioned earlier. If you can succeed in brahmacharya you can succeed at anything. Mastering it will give you physical strength and charisma. Professional athletes and fighters often refrain form sexual activity for months before an event for this very reason.

Brahmacharya is the sublimation of sexual energy. It is usually practiced by using one’s will-power, which only suppresses it. But sublimation comes naturally through surrender sadhana. Without this sublimation, one is always having to deal with a turbulent mind, brought about by the turbulent energy of sexual desire, and prevents one from achieving yoga. But Lord Krishna gives us the key:

“With the mind restrained by consciousness focused on Me, the yogi abides absorbed in devotion to Me.”

If you take the word apart, Brahma (God) + charya (practice, going, going about, wandering or roaming, visiting, behavior or conduct) you can come up with all kinds of interpretations. But when you don’t break it up you get, ‘The state of an unmarried religious student, a state of continence and chastity’. 

If you don’t like the idea of celibacy, or your life is not arranged in such a way as to make it possible, you can look at these other alternatives and see if you can understand their meanings:

God-going:  Going to God
God-wandering:  Walking with God
God-visiting:  Hanging out with God
God-behavior:  Acting the way God would act (try a search for ahimsa).
God-practice:  God-meditation: divine purifying action (kriya) yoga.

Or you can practice restraining sexual activity as best you can. (You don’t have to give in to it, you know. Giving in to something suggests that it has power over you, the very opposite of brahmacharya no matter how you want to interpret it.)

If you are calm and composed you are not in a state of passion. Desire, fear and anger are disabled and brahmacharya isn’t an issue. This is what the ‘sameness’ discussed in chapter five was trying to teach us. Seeing the same everywhere, in others, in ourselves and in God, took us to samadhi, where the mind is in a state of unity, or sameness.

The subtle energy of consciousness (citta), of which the mind is composed, is as motionless as a lake on a windless day.

Practice performed in this manner, the mind withdrawn within, the good and virtuous yogi happily goes to the Highest Nirvana in union with Me.

The ultimate happiness of union with God,
your natural state.

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

VI:10-12 Proper Conditions for Yoga

A yogi knows how to practice Yoga correctly, and resorts to solitude where things are not flitting around in his consciousness, distracting him with desires and creating attachments. 

Desireless and unattached, firm in the knowledge of the mysteries, the yogi always practices yoga alone and in solitude.  

A yogi knows and understands the mysteries and how to practice yoga correctly. He resorts to solitude because he is always engaged in this practice, and solitude insures his success. Yoga comes easily when desirable things are not flitting around in his consciousness, distracting him, stirring up desires and creating attachments.

Desire and attachment are the two most difficult things that confront the yogi, so he abandons them by staying away from them, and surrendering himself to God/Truth in solitude. 

Establishing himself in a clean place that can be relied upon, not to high and not too low, placing himself on kusha grass covered with a tiger skin and a cloth…..

The yogi lives alone in order to be able to rely on solitude, in a clean dwelling that is not too grand not not too humble, not too big and not too small. In this place he meditates on a mat of kusha grass overlaid with a tiger skin and a cloth. 

Tiger Skin
Another translation is ‘black antelope’. Both are traditional mats for yogis. 
I have taken the liberty of choosing the tiger skin for our translation, as my own lineage is Shaivite, and in this tradition Lord Shiva is said to have used a tiger skin. But what does this mean?

Icons of gods and goddesses show them as riding or sitting on various animals or their skins to indicate that they have mastery over the quality represented by that animal. For instance: Lord Shiva sits on a tiger skin, suggesting that he has overcome the aggressive quality of the tiger.

Riding on a live animal suggests that the god or goddess is able to use that quality for their own purposes. For instance: Durga rides a tiger, or in some cases a lion. She uses this quality to destroy obstacles on behalf of the gods (us). Garuda, who dines on snakes (desires), is the mount of Lord Vishnu, the sustainer of life. Garuda is a large, golden human-birdlike creature, suggesting ‘flying in the air’ (khechari) as the means of prana going upward to sustain life.  

Kusha Grass
Kusha grass is a grass with long pointed stalks used in religious ceremonies. Why? It certainly sounds uncomfortable.

First we have to remember when this was written—certainly a time before yoga mats!—and assume that there is something special about kusha grass.

Compounded with the word kusha in this verse, is uttara, meaning ‘upward (like stalks of grass), superior, northern, left’ and ‘most powerful, most excellent’. This mat is placed below the tiger skin, suggesting a base, or foundation, for the practice of yoga that is superior, north, left and the most powerful and excellent.

In the body, left is north and the face is east. We all face east (the senses are in the east, the face)—the sun rises in the east and with its light we can ‘see’, perceive. If you were to stand up right now and face east, north would be on your left, up.

This is a very deeply hidden message that the left-handed path is the most powerful and superior path. It is hidden so well because it is so susceptible to misunderstanding and has been practiced incorrectly at various points in history. Because humankind thinks that one must always be in control and never surrender, and believes it to the bone, this path is almost impossible to find in its authentic form in this day and age.  

A garment or a cloth is a covering, meaning that all of this is covered, not immediately apparent, and hidden from the uninitiated. So we should consider ourselves very fortunate indeed, for having the opportunity to get these teachings straight from Lord Krishna, as we eavesdrop on his conversation with Arjuna.

There in that place, sitting or lying down, the mind and senses subdued by focus on one thing, he practices yoga for the purpose of self-purification.

The yogi is now ready for his practice. He may sit or lie down. Because he is a renunciate—he has set aside desires and attachments and surrendered himself to God/Truth—kriyas (purifying actions) occur spontaneously, and yoga (union) comes naturally of its own accord:

The focus being internally directed to one thing, the senses are withdrawn (pratyahara) and the energy concentrated (dharana), leading to a meditative state (dhyana) and the peaceful equanimity of sameness (samadhi), which is found only in the North.

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

VI:5-9 The Means of Ascension to Yoga

We are each our own means of ascension to union with the Divine. Having attained it, we see the same in everyone and, strangely, we are different. 

One is one’s own instrument of ascension, and should not be the cause of their own defeat. Indeed, one is one’s own friend or one’s own enemy.

You are the instrument of your ascension to Yoga, or your defeat. You are your own best friend or your own worst enemy. You are a friend to yourself when you are ascended to Yoga, but you are like an enemy to yourself if you perform actions for self-motivated purposes (with the intention of fulfilling desires, i.e.,  previous verses).

By winning this victory, one is truly a friend to oneself. If one does not, one will remain like an enemy to themself.

No one can do this for you. The previous verses told us how to go about this (verses 1-2 and 3-4): we surrender ourselves to Truth/God, and Shakti, Divine Energy, plays us like a flute and brings it about with no effort on our part. But only you can surrender yourself to God/Truth. 

Having won this victory, passions are subdued, and one is united in sameness with their Higher Self, and dualities, such as heat and cold, difficulty and ease, honor and dishonor, are all the same.

“Passions subdued” – Fulfillment

Complete satisfaction is a state of dispassion. In this state, you are the same as your Higher Self. Your Higher Self, being beyond all dualities such as difficulty and ease, they are all the same to you. In this moment of dispassion, the you that you thought yourself to be, has become the same as the You that you really are—you and the Real You are the same. The Real You was always in this state of sameness and non-duality, and you have become the same as That.

Through this fulfillment, higher wisdom is correctly comprehended. Therefore, thus established through experience, one is said to be a yogi in a state of sameness, the highest state in which the senses are subdued, and a lump of clay, a stone, and gold are all the same.

The previous verse described a state in which you are essentially the same as your Higher Self. Verses 1-2 and 3-4 told us how this union is achieved. This verse indicates that we come to this point through knowledge and understanding of the mysteries (teachings incomprehensible to the uninitiated and unexperienced), which we have been getting from Lord Krishna by eavesdropping on His conversation with His disciple, Arjuna.

“Through this fulfillment, higher wisdom is correctly comprehended”
Once a desire is fulfilled it no longer exists. When the desire is for Truth, its fulfillment is complete indifference and sameness in all things, because Truth is everything that is. Even if this fulfillment lasts for only a short time, during this time, understanding inevitably appears; one understands the wisdom-knowledge he has been given. 

“Therefore, thus established through experience, one is said to be a yogi in a state of sameness, the highest state in which the senses are subdued
For as long as he remains in this state, the senses are inactive—what have they to do when all has been accomplished? The senses are withdrawn from their corresponding objects, so desire and passion cannot exist, leaving the yogi in a state in which everything is equal, the same. 

Impartial toward friend, companion and enemy, neutral in the midst of enemies and relations, the righteous and the unrighteous, discerning the same in everyone, one is distinguished among others.

In verse 7, we saw the same in subtle things, like difficulty and ease. In verse 8 we saw the same in material things, like a stone and gold. Now we see the same in each other, this last, being the most important, and which makes us distinguished among others—we are different. 

It is an interesting phenomenon that by seeing the same, we are different. The Sanskrit also means that we are ‘taught differently’ and ‘in a different direction’. 

The same day went Jesus out of the house and sat by the sea side.

And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship and sat, and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, “Behold, a sower went forth to sow.

“And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up.

“Some fell upon stony places where they had not much earth, and forthwith they sprung up because they had no deepness of earth,

“And when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away.

“And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked them.

“But others fell into good ground and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

And the disciples came, and said unto him, “Why speakest thou unto them in parables?”

He answered and said unto them, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.”

Matthew 13:1-11, KJV

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