Words of Wisdom – Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1: 32-37

Arjuna speaks to Krishna:

Krishna and Arjuna
Krishna and Arjuna

“O Chief of Cowherds [Krishna was a cowboy in his youth], I have no desire to win this war for the sake of kingship and happiness. What to us is kingly power and the pleasures it brings?

In these verses we see how Arjuna has begun to view this war. He assumes that it is all about having rulership of a kingdom, and having the power and the perks that go with it—pleasure and enjoyment.

“Those for whose sake we desire these things—kingship, pleasure and enjoyment—they are all here ready to do battle, willingly abandoning their lives and riches:

“Teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers in law, grandsons, brothers in law, thus kinsmen.

We read this list before in the previous issue, but now Arjuna is now getting a reality check on who is on this roster. He is coming to realize that the major players on both sides are descended from the same ancestors—everyone is related to everyone else, and every reason they have for getting into this war in the first place is going to leave no one to enjoy the spoils. They are going to kill each other.

“I have no desire to kill them for a kingdom, even though they are bent on killing us, Slayer of Madhu*, not even for the sovereignty of the three worlds.

* Slayer of Madhu – An epitaph of Krishna who is an incarnation of Vishnu, the Sustainer, who killed the demon Madhu (‘destroyer of delight’).

“For the Sovereignty of the Three Worlds”

Arjuna uses this statement to emphasize his opposition to the war, for most would willingly fight for this alone, but Arjuna says no, “not even for the sovereignty of the three worlds”. What is the significance of the ‘three worlds’, and why would anyone covet rulership over them?

The sovereignty of the three worlds refers to rulership, or control, of the body, the emotions and the mind. I think we would agree that most people would see this as a desirable goal worth fighting for, but Arjuna is saying that not even for this will he go forward with this terrible war. This is how affected he is by the realization of who and what he is up against.

Three Worlds

The three worlds are earth, sky and heaven, the worlds of humans, ancestors and gods.

The earth is the body. The sky, or atmosphere, is emotions. Heaven is mind-no-mind.

In the body, the earth is below the diaphragm, the sky is above the diaphragm, and heaven is above the third eye.

The body is the physical plane, the earth. The feelings are the atmosphere, the astral, or emotional body, which permeates and extends beyond the physical body. Mind-no-mind is heaven, the etheric, or causal body that permeates the head and brain.

These are some of the different ways the concept of the ‘three worlds’ is thought of.

“What joy would there be for us in striking down the sons of Dhritarashthra, Krishna? Misfortune would surely cling to us by having killed them.

“Therefore we are not justified in killing the sons of Dhritarashthra, our own kinsmen, O Janardana*. How, having killed our own people, can we be happy?

* Janardana – ‘Agitator of Men’, an epitaph of Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, the divine sustainer, maintainer and protector of life. Arjuna is throwing it in Krishna’s face in this verse—Krishna is the Sustainer of Life, yet he is urging a war.


In a very short time, Arjuna has talked himself out of going forward with the war against his enemies. He cannot justify it. He sees it in terms of his own history, what he knows, and what he has been taught, and it just doesn’t add up. He sees it as logically wrong—remember Drona (‘reasoning’)? He was Arjuna’s teacher, but he is fighting on the side of Arjuna’s enemies.

You will recall that the “sons of Dhritarashthra”, the “enemies”, represent the desires of the mind. Arjuna has begun to doubt the wisdom of doing away with them. After all, if there are no desires to fulfill, whence comes happiness?


The enemy armies outnumber Arjuna’s, and Krishna’s army is among them. But Arjuna has chosen to have Krishna drive his chariot over having the use of His armies—Arjuna has put God in the driver’s seat.

Durga Ma

Beautiful Krishna Images courtesy of rajbgm.wordpress.com


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VII:15-19 The Good, the Bad and the Wise

Previously, we learned that to comprehend, transcend and get beyond illusion to God/Truth, we must surrender to That. Now we will learn about the four steps experienced on the way to this surrender. 

Those foolish wrong-doers who do not surrender to me are the lowest of men. Carried away by illusion, they are bereft of wisdom and resort to erroneous states of being.

Surely it is fair to say that we have all made mistakes. But to willingly live one’s life in a state of ignorance is another matter entirely. Yet most people are willing to do this, to do most anything, to other people and to themselves, in order to hide themselves from themselves and not have their errors exposed.

But you are different or you wouldn’t be taking an interest in the Bhagavad Gita. You may have short moments of these states, but when they do arise, you can notice them and take refuge in meditation, the haven of Truth and Self-awareness.

It is very easy to fall into doing something wrongly from time to time, and very difficult to avoid. But we unwittingly violate ahimsa (harmlessness) and other yamas to greater or lesser degrees. Even when we try to do the right thing, we make mistakes (sin, ‘to miss the mark’).

By not taking refuge in God, we remain stuck on the bottom rung of the ladder and are left in ignorance and detrimental states of being. Such states are dangerous because we identify with them as who we are. Hanging onto these false identities can only lead to more errors and more repercussions. We are being informed that the resolution to this situation is to surrender ourselves to God.

Four kinds of benevolent people worship Me: (1) the suffering and afflicted, (2) those desiring wisdom, (3) those who seek accomplishment, and (4) the man of wisdom.

  • Worship – surrender to, adore, venerate.

This list tells us that all devotees of God fit into one of these four categories. See if you can determine which is the best fit for you.

These four kinds of people listed in order, also imply a natural sequence of four stages that anyone would naturally experience and motivate them to seek God/Truth, and lead them to the ultimate discovery of yoga (union).

From the Sanskrit:

Four Steps to Wisdom

1. The suffering and afflicted – ‘Struck by calamity, in pain, oppressed, suffering, unhappy’.

2. Those who desire knowledge – ‘Desirous of knowing’.

3. Those whose purpose is accomplishment – ‘The most effective means of accomplishing the Goal’. Accomplishing is an action word—now that one has knowledge, one is motivated to put this knowledge into action until he ultimately becomes…

4. The Man of Wisdom – ‘One who knows correctly’. One has succeeded in putting knowledge into action, and is now in possession not only of the Highest Knowledge, but of the Highest Wisdom acquired through personal experience in meditation.

Of these, the man of wisdom, constantly engaged in Yoga with singular devotion, is superior. Truly, I am exceedingly fond of the man of wisdom, as he is of Me.

Singular devotion – One is surrendered to God and only God. Thus one’s attention is singularly concentrated and causes the life energy in the body to become concentrated in one place. The fulfilling effects of this devotion causes one to constantly think only of God, and the yoga practice that brought it about, always.

Constantly – Always when in meditation; always at any time; always it is all one thinks about; anything one thinks about or is intent upon is always God.

Of these great ones, I consider the man of wisdom to be Myself. He is intent on Me, and abides in Me, the Supreme Goal.

If God sees you as God, who are you to argue? Abiding in God, God is where you live.

Intent on – Sanskrit: ‘committed, insistent, determined, resolved, persistent. Attentive, absorbed, engrossed, fascinated, enthralled, focused, concentrated’.

After many births, the man of wisdom, throwing himself down at My feet, knows Me as dwelling in all beings. Such a great soul is difficult to find. 

In four verses we have traveled from utter ignorance and despair to the full joy of union with God. We are being shown how one finally comes to Real Yoga, and the delightful pleasure of surrendering oneself to God in meditation. 

One who has reached this stage is a “great soul” (mahatma) who is difficult to find, yet every day, a new saint is announced as a fully enlightened master or an avatara, and public conjecture begins: Who is the best? Who is the most enlightened? Etcetera. At the end of the day, it usually amounts to fame, for we westerners venerate fame and fortune and use it to validate things and people and raise our social standing. And we are right back where we started from: “bereft of wisdom”. 

But it should be obvious that, unless one fits the bill themself, one does not have the means to know a true master or an avatara when they see one. In the next installment we will learn how this unfortunate state comes about.   

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

V:14 In the City of Nine Gates…

The Wisdom Teachings of Surrender Meditation, Continued 

Mentally renouncing one’s sense of being the doer of actions, the embodied one sits happily as the Master within the city of nine gates, not acting or causing action (13). 

The Master in the city of nine gates, does not create action, the means of action, or the effects of action, but nature proceeds spontaneously in all this. 

“Nature” – Anything other than you that you can be conscious of. 
“Fruits” – Results, effects, outcomes. 

The Master, the embodied one in the city of nine gates (the body), is the eternal non-doer, the divine individual entity that you really are that is never born and never dies: the Real You.

When you truly renounce the role of the doer of actions—surrender specifically to God and only God (whatever your word is for That)—you are taking a neutral position consistent with the Real You that is indifferent to actions and their effects. This allows for spontaneous actions in meditation (verse 11) to return you to your natural state of happiness.

Citizens of the City

The city is Your realm. All other Divine Individuals make up the population of your city. Each of us, being unlimited in what it is that we truly are, is everywhere in everyone. 

The Lord Jesus reveals this when, upon seeing the disciple use his sword against his enemy, to cause him to desist He says, “What you do to the least of these, my brothers, you do to Me.” 

“The Whole World is One Family”
— Sanatana Dharma—the way of Eternal Truth

The City Map

The order and arrangement of Divine Individuals on the map of your city is determined by their state of self-awareness and their power of choice in relationship to each other and to You. This arrangement defines your unique characteristics and how you experience things. 

Self-awareness – You are aware that you exist.
Power of choice – Your inherent ability to choose.

Let us call the Divine Individual a ‘god’ with all the same characteristics as God. In your city, your body, there is a god of every aspect—every chakra, function, organ, etc. Everyone is present within you, just as you are present in everyone else. This is why what happens with one of us affects all of us, and why what you do affects everyone, including you.

When you surrender to the Absolute in meditation, you are surrendering to one or more Divine Individuals. You are not surrendering to them as beings, but as what they really are: Divine Individuals just like You.

You achieve union with the Absolute by surrendering to the Absolute. 

The Absolute

A Divine Individual in the Absolute, before Creation, is either self-aware or not self-aware. One who is self-aware can ‘know’ other Divine Individuals. The choice to know is the choice to employ your inherent ability as a Divine Individual, to be conscious. To be conscious is to ‘know’, perceive, what is other than You. The only thing to know in the Absolute is other Divine Individuals.

One is either self-aware, not self-aware, self-aware and choosing to know, or self-aware and not choosing to know.

If one is self-aware, one can choose to know others or not. These are the only options available to a self-aware individual in the Absolute: to know or not to know. To know or not to know is to be or not to be, for once the choice has been made to know, we have Creation. You have made this choice, and you are here because of it.

The Relative

Once we start talking about life and what we are conscious of, we are dealing with the Relative, not the Absolute. Both are “God”, but God in Its Highest is Absolute. And even though the ability to be conscious is Absolute, consciousness itself is Relative. 

In the Absolute, before Creation, there was no awareness of the perfect, blissful Absolute, but now that you are here, self-aware and conscious, when you return you will be aware of It. For now though, you are the Master in a city of nine gates, a body, being human with your own unique characteristics and experiences. If you wonder why you are the way you are as a being in the Relative Realm of life in this world, and why you have the experiences you do, you will find it on your map.

Surrender Meditation

When we make the choice to stop choosing by turning everything over to Absolute God in Surrender Meditation we are paralleling the Truth of Absolute God and our true Selves. This is why Surrender Meditation works so efficiently and effectively.

When we surrender to Absolute God in meditation, we surrender to other Absolute Divine Individuals (not what they are being). We accept these Others as Divine and the same as Us. The more we meditate the better we get at this, and the closer we come to Real Reality. When we accept all Divine Others, we get nirbija samadhi

nirbija samadhi – nirbija (no Others remain unaccepted) + samadhi (equanimous bliss)

“The Master in the city of nine gates, does not create action, the means of action, or the effects of action” describes the Real You. When you abandon the role of the doer of actions, you put yourself in sync with how things really are, and “nature proceeds spontaneously in all this.”

We surrender only to the Absolute.
We never surrender to nature. 

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

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