The Divine & the Demonic, Bhagavad Gita, Ch 16, Vs 1 – 5

Heaven

 Because the Divine has already been given much attention, this chapter focuses mostly on the Demonic. Though it begins and ends with Divine characteristics, it addresses the outcomes of both. 


The Divine

1 – 3
The Blessed Lord spoke:
Fearless, pure-hearted, steadfast and firm in the knowledge and practice of uniting (yoga); generous, self-restrained, sacrificing, studying the scriptures and the self, observing austerities (tapas), sincere; 
non-injurious, truthful, free of anger, renounced, peaceful, non-slanderous; compassionate toward all beings, non-covetous, gentle, modest, dependable; vigorous, patient, content, pure, and free of malice and vanity. These are the characteristics of those endowed with Divine qualities.

Fearless (abhaya, ‘no fear’) also means safe and secure. For those of you who practice Surrender Meditation, your surrender is compromised when you do not feel safe and secure. Without this security there is always the possibility of interruption. At some level, you know this and will restrain your surrender, even subconsciously. Hence the need for complete privacy during surrender sadhana.

Self-restrained (dama) means self-controlled, and also, ‘home’. You need a place to live that is home to you, where you are alone and feel safe from interruptions in order to practice non-static meditation. Outside of your meditation however, self-control, the ability to restrain from actions that are inappropriate, will save you from violations of ahimsa (non-injury) that would otherwise impair your progress. This is difficult if you don’t have a meditation practice that is completely private and allows for the purification of such impulses.

Outside your meditation room you must always be mindful of ahimsa, non-violence of any kind. This requires a degree of self-control that will keep you safe from losing ground. This first universal spiritual principle is the most important principle of all and qualifies the remaining nine. Violating it restricts your progress and can even stop it completely.

Sacrificing is the act of surrendering yourself to Absolute God in meditation and accepting what God brings.

Study of the scriptures and the Self is the practice of self-honest self-study and mindfulness, as well as the study of Yoga scriptures, where you can monitor your progress. Studying the self will lead to the study of the Self and Self Realization. The study of yogic scriptures will lead you to mastery, independent freedom and liberation. 

Observing tapas (‘to melt or burn’) refers to the process of purification by fire (energy). You do not stop this purification process that is brought on by the practice of surrender Yoga. You may find yourself witnessing it, you may even want it to go away, or you may find it fascinating, but you don’t interfere with it. 

Free of Anger. Anger is thought to be a destructive emotion. But we know that suppression of emotions is harmful, so how do we manage this? In Surrender Meditation, we are securely private and we don’t worry about this; it is taken care of by the meditation. In Life however, in our normal state we must be self-controlled and able to not react in anger. We do this by observing our feelings and reactions.

This little trick of observing will cause a separation between you and the anger, and put you in a position of extreme power. By observing the anger, you curtail the compulsion to act on it — because it is impossible to be what you observe. Thus suppression is avoided, you have not violated ahimsa (non-violence), and both the other guy and your own progress are safe.  

You cannot be what you can see.

Renounced means essentially the same thing as sacrifice. What you are renouncing is your body, feelings and mind and the use of your will. You sacrifice these to Absolute God in meditation. Renouncing the role of the doer of action in this way, during this time, you accept whatever happens (or doesn’t happen). 

The Demonic

4
Deceit, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance, are qualities the Demonic possess.

Destination: Heaven or Hell

5
Divine qualities lead to liberation, whereas Demonic qualities lead to bondage. Do not worry, Arjuna, for you are born with divine virtues.

We said earlier that Arjuna represents you, so you are also being reassured.

  • Bondage – the state of being a slave
  • Liberation – freedom, including freedom from compulsory rebirths
Jesus and Krishna in heaven
Jesus & Krishna

We in the west have had it very good compared to most people on this planet. Those of you who have had it easy (are educated and not starving or enduring tortures) may opt for returning, believing that you have some control over your next life. So getting free of rebirth may not be of interest to you. But you should think again, and read other chapters, such as chapter fourteen, and clear this up for yourself.

If you insist on believing that you can control the nature of your next life, yes you can, but probably not the way you think. Your control over your future relies solely on your ability and willingness now, in this lifetime, to master the qualities of the Divine as mentioned in this and other chapters, by mastering the ten universal spiritual principles (Ten Keys to Success).

This chapter tells us what we need to know. It clearly says, Divine qualities lead to liberation (you are free), and Demonic qualities lead to bondage (you are a slave). It’s your choice. Saying “I don’t believe in this” is not going to change it.

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

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Contentment – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 12, Vs 13-14

Contentment

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 contentment and the characteristics of the true yogi, the devotee, and the Real You.


Krishna is teaching us Sanatana Dharma, the way of Eternal Truth, the way things really are. Not your truth and my truth, but Absolute Truth, Absolute God. The following verses give the characteristics of one who has succeeded in syncing themselves and their lives with Absolute Truth. 

13 – 14
Free of enmity toward any being, friendly and compassionate, free of  “me” and “mine,” the same in good-fortune and misfortune, composed, patiently enduring and forgiving anything, t
he yogi who is always contented, self-restrained and firmly resolved, devoted to Me, entrusting his mind and intelligence to Me, is dear to Me.

The purpose of Yoga is to ultimately attain these characteristics in order to align with our Real and True Selves. Then there can be no further compulsion for rebirth and we are once again a free, independent and sovereign individuals.

“Free of me”

The word in Sanskrit for “free of me” literally means “free of ‘I-do’.” The sense of self as the doer of action is ‘ego’, the core of the mind. Ego is not a matter of feeling like you’re hot stuff or a know-it-all, but that you consider yourself to be the doer of actions. So “free of me” means that you are free of this delusion.

This teaching is not about not taking responsibility for your actions, it is about renunciation of actions—you are not responsible for actions you do not do. Finding reality in the fact that what you really are does nothing, kills your karma and releases you from compulsive rebirths. 

There is only one way this understanding can truly be accomplished: through the experience of surrender, the surrender of body, feelings and mind to Absolute God in meditation. In daily life, you will revert to taking yourself as the doer of actions, in which case, you are responsible for your actions and their effects. In time, you will you begin to see this detachment from doership spilling over in your daily life.

“Free of mine”

ContentmentThe word in Sanskrit for “free of mine” literally means ‘not mine’ and includes ‘unselfishness, indifference and freedom from self-interest’, especially ‘concerning the physical body and all worldly connections’.

“Not mine”, is not strictly about possessing or owning things (or people), but rather what motivates it. Possessiveness is always motivated by self-interest and attachment to having to have or keep what is desired.

Cultivating indifference and disinterest is the remedy. As one becomes more and more detached from a sense of doer-ship in meditation, one also becomes increasingly detached to having to own things, and always having to get their own way. This characteristic of freedom from doer-ship and self-interest is uncommon indeed! But it produces a genuine perk:

When you can give it up, you’ll get it. 

“The same in good-fortune and misfortune”

This is a case of accepting what comes your way. Cultivating this quality will ultimately relieve you of getting overly excited over good things and feeling miserable over hardships and hurts. This sameness is the home of equanimity. Without it, there can be no peace. 

“Composed, patiently enduring and forgiving anything”

If you accept what comes your way, composure will not be an issue, nor will patience.

The ability to forgive anyone of anything may seem impossible, especially under highly stressful or tragic circumstances, but it is doable. It is more doable than the previous characteristics, and can be practiced without too much effort. Check it out: Spend some time contemplating forgiving someone for something, even if it means you have to use your imagination.

By looking inside and finding those hidden places where you haven’t been able to forgive yourself, you may find the reason you can’t forgive someone else. So if you are having difficulty forgiving, forgive yourself and move on. If you can forgive yourself, you can forgive anyone of anything.

Contented Cat“Always contented”

This is another reference to the willingness to accept what comes your way without being overjoyed or dismayed. When this comes easily, you are contented.

“Self-restrained”

Self-restraint is usually understood as the individual controlling the senses in order to subdue the lure of desired objects.

You must use your will to practice self-control in everyday life according to the yamas and niyamas. Once adept at this, you enter a new phase wherein restraint is in the realm of the Divine. This phase is begun through Surrender Meditation, and eventually spills over into life in general. At this point, restraint is spontaneous, and under the control of God.

When the self is subdued, the Real Self emerges.

Where Surrender Meditation is concerned, self-restraint has to do with letting go of how you think your meditation should go and what you’re going to get out of it. Self-restraint also means not taking the role of the doer of action in meditation, but accepting what comes. Because you are surrendering yourself to God, surrender replaces will for the duration of your meditation.

“Firmly resolved”

Firmly resolved means ‘having certainty and no doubts’. To be firmly resolved is to be stubbornly persistent and never give up, even during those times when you feel that your sadhana is a failure. These things are inevitable and not worth your consideration. You go on no matter what. This determination will take you beyond doubts to genuine faith through personal experience.

“Mind and intelligence fixed on Me” 

This means that the thinking mind (manas) and the faculty of intellect (buddhi) are fixed on God/Truth. When something is fixed, it stays where it is. When the mind and buddhi are fixed on God, one attains the deepest state of meditation and the mind becomes uniform. When the mind is in a state of uniformity, you have reached samadhi.

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

Are You a Spiritual Leader in Hiding?

How would you know?  

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VI:33-36 Yoga – Sameness in the Midst of Change

There are really only two paths to Realization. Both paths are Yoga by any name, and one is not better than the other. We will all use them both at one time or another.

33
Arjuna spoke:
I do not see how this Yoga, which you call ‘sameness’, can have any lasting foundation because of instability. 

Arjuna is asking Lord Krishna how one can enter a state of sameness in a situation in which nothing is stable because of the actively changing nature of life.

34
The mind is unsteady, harassing, powerful and unyielding, Krishna. I think holding it down is, like the wind, extraordinarily difficult to do.

Even the mind is always changing and busy with something or other. It seems impossible to Arjuna that all this activity in the mind can be held in stasis long enough to reach the goal. But Lord Krishna has the solution…..

35
The Blessed Lord spoke:
Without doubt, the fluctuating mind is difficult to restrain, except by practice and indifference to worldly affairs.

Even though this is true about the mind, there is a solution: the practice of Yoga, and indifference to worldly affairs.

The outcome of the practice of Yoga, is yoga (union). Yoga takes place in the midst of action (change) but culminates in a state of sameness. The yogi experiences happiness in his practice, and gradually becomes indifferent to worldly affairs in favor of yoga.

In order to reach this state of union, one chooses the one thing that is eternally the same—Absolute God—and surrenders to That in meditation.

Sameness
Equality, equanimity, evenness, homogeneousness,

impartiality, indifference.

36
Yoga is difficult to attain for one who has no self-control. But if one is self-controlled, it is possible through the proper means by striving. This is my view.

This verse exposes two paths: The path of the will and the path of surrender. This has been the case all along, but this verse was crying out to make it evident. Here are two more translations to demonstrate this, both taken from the Sanskrit:

Will
Yoga is difficult to attain by one who has no self-control. But for one who is self-controlled, it is possible to attain by striving. This is my view.

Surrender
For one who has no self-control, union (yoga) is difficult to attain, except for one who is submissive (surrendered). This is the proper means. This is my view.

There are two different words being used in this verse that are translated as ‘self-control’. One means ‘attentive, self-contained, subdued’. The other word can mean either ‘subject to the will, desire, or control’, or ‘willing, submissive, subject to or dependent upon’.

Will – Desire based action. Subdued by controlling the attention by means of using one’s willpower.

Surrender – Surrendered action. Willingness to subject oneself and be dependent upon God through surrender.

Translators of Sanskrit mystical texts must settle on something, and are inclined to settle where their training takes them. Some are scholars with little or no personal experience of yoga sadhana to draw from. Those who do practice Yoga will draw from the teachings of their own path, most of which will be technique-oriented (using the will). Both of these make up the published translations of this text with one exception: those practicing non-technique-oriented yoga sadhana, which are few, and which represent my own translations.

The issue of self-control is valid for both the path of the will and the path of surrender. If one has not developed any self-control in life, they are not likely to want to follow the path of surrender anyway, for there would be little to surrender, and the experience would be weak and uninspiring. The path of surrender is really only useful to those who have had enough of control and the responsibilities and repercussions that go with it. 

Whether the path of the will or surrender, self-control is necessary just to get yourself into the meditation room, espceially in the beginning. So we can’t ignore it. But we can look at it closer:

Self-control

  • Using the will (to try to achieve a goal)
  • Self-discipline (going ahead no matter what)
  • Self-motivation (you don’t need to be told to do something, you just do it)
  • Correctly and honestly monitoring one’s practice of spiritual principles in life (Yama and Niyama)

In the beginning, it is difficult to keep the attention on one thing long enough to reach a state of yoga. This is true of either path. In the path of the will, you will use your will to try to remedy this. In the path of surrender, you will continue to surrender yourself to God in meditation and let Shakti work this out. Both paths require enough self-discipline to meditate regularly.

“The proper means” for the path of the will is to follow the directions of the guru. The proper means for the path of surrender is to follow the directions of the guru to leave everything to God/Shakti and accept what happens or doesn’t happen in your meditation.

The practice of Yoga as it is presented in the previous verses, and verses to come, will deliver you from any concerns. All you have to do to reach a state of sameness (yoga, samadhi) is to follow these teachings.

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