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Outsmarting Obstacles- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:61

He for whom all the senses are held in restraint, sitting intent on Me with his senses under control, his wisdom stands firm. —  Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 61

Alternate translation:

But submitting to Me according to his wish, when he rests absorbed in devotion to Me all the senses become restrained, and with certainty his wisdom stands firm. 

Throughout our lives and throughout our sadhana, obstacles will arise. We may not be able to change this, but we can outsmart these obstacles. In our last installment, we came up with some solutions to this ever-present dilemma. Now this verse gives us the best solution for that aspect of our lives that is our sadhana, our spiritual practices, the solution to outsmarting all obstacles to reaching union with the Absolute:

Submitting to Me according to his wish”

Surrendering to God by your own choice in the meditation room, the senses will automatically become restrained (pratyahara). 

Translations of mystical texts always take the position of using the will to try to achieve success with each step along the way, no matter what the subject of the text. We humans don’t like to submit. We think it is weak. But this verse is telling you that submission is your greatest strength, your highest choice. It is not telling you to just submit, but to submit specifically to God—this is the key.

When you submit to God, Truth, The Absolute, you have made the ultimate choice and have accessed your ultimate power. You have paved your way to resting absorbed in God. Having chosen God, the senses will come under control, not by you, but automatically they are withdrawn and their activities restrained.

Surrender specifically and ONLY to God
by your own choice
in your meditation room.

“With his senses under control”

Pratyahara, the withdrawal and restraint of the senses, happens in a state of surrender as your awareness leaves the linear world where the senses and their functions are needed. This can happen the way it does because, in this situation, you no longer need anything to bring you information. In the earlier stages you perceive directly. I later stages you don’t perceive at all—you don’t need to perceive; you are beyond being a knower knowing knowable things.

The senses are under control, but you are not doing the controlling. As the lover to the beloved, you have surrendered to That Divine One. The senses are no longer yours to control—you have surrendered them, given them back to God. Thus are pratyahara, meditation (dhyana) and samadhi (merging with God) successfully attained.

Once you have attained samadhi your experience proves this to be so—you know from our own experience that all the senses become spontaneously restrained and under control without any help from you. Until that time comes, you resort to ‘faith’, the assumption that this is so, based on the words of those who have been there. In your meditation room you are free. Once having experienced this freedom, even if only for an hour or two a day, you come to know what freedom is and what it is like to be free. Having had the experience, the way is paved to achieving it fully (moksha, liberation). So the message here is: do your sadhana, meditate.

Reading these verses (from vs 55) as descriptive of a natural sequence of events, one discovers that all this will happen on its own through surrender to God in meditation, where you give up trying to make things happen by using your will.

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma


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Knowledge – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 18-22

Knowledge

18
The knower, the knowing (of the thing to be known), and the knowledge of it, constitute the three factors that induce action. Action, the instrument and the doer are the three components of the action itself.

Knowledge

The knowledge, the knowing and the knower.

“The knower, the knowing (of the thing to be known), and knowledge of it.”

“Knowledge” – what is known.

“Knowing” – the process of getting the knowledge.

“Knower” – the one who receives the knowledge.

Knowledge, knowing, and the knower” is also translated as “Knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the knower.” What is the difference between ‘knowing’ and ‘the object of knowledge’?

“The object of knowledge” is a ‘sense object’ that is perceptible by any of the five senses.

“The knower” is the one who wants to know it.

“The knowledge” is what is received by the Knower — what the knower knows.

“The object of knowledge” is anything your physical senses perceive. Once you have perceived something, whether gross or subtle, you know it. It is now “knowledge” and you are the “knower” of that knowledge.

Once you ‘know’ something you may like it or not. If you like it you act in order to get it. If you don’t like it, you act to avoid it. In other words, the receiving of the perceptions of the physical senses compel action. Whether wanting to have or avoid it, both are ‘desires’.

Desires are considered to be obstacles to yoga, so many yogis try to get rid of them. This is not possible. But it is possible to rise above being attached to these desires by becoming their master (they don’t run you). This is achieved by abandoning attachments and becoming indifferent to their presence.

You are not aware of everything that you know. For instance, it is like looking at something with your eyes while your eyes are also seeing other things in your peripheral vision of which you are unaware but are receiving regardless. 

Also, anything perceived by any of the senses is called ‘knowledge’, but knowledge is not always correct knowledge. 

In this world of human existence, the way we know something requires that the senses reach out to their ‘objects’, perceive them, and bring back what they have perceived to the mind to be known and stored in memory.

KnowledgeIn the world of Yoga, one perceives things in sabija samadhi, but not with the physical senses, but with the sense faculties which have separated from the physical senses. In this situation, what is ‘known’ is Divine, rather than mundane. During this time there is no desire for anything because you are already fulfilled, and any action that takes place is spontaneous and incurs no karma (the bondage accrued by performing action for personal gain).  

In nirbija samadhi however, knowledge is Absolute, so there is no object of knowledge or any process of knowing going on, and the knower is merged into the Divine Absolute. Though he retains his individuality, he is not only beyond any sense of doing, but he is beyond having any sense-of-self. Here there is only all of Us, Divine Love, Perfect Bliss and complete Fulfillment. 

Action

The action, the instrument and the agent.

“Action, the instrument and the doer are the threefold components of action.”

“The instrument” – one or more of the senses and the mind.

“The action” – the act of utilizing the instrument.

“The agent” – the performer of the action.

Knowledge, Action & Agent

19
It is taught in Sankhya, that knowledge, action and agent are of three kinds according to the three gunas. Now here about these:

He is saying that knowledge, action and the doer of action are of three kinds generated by the three gunas. When it comes to action of any kind, including both learning (knowing) and doing (acting), it is always the gunas that are the cause, and it is their attributes of pleasant (sattva), passionate (rajas) or dull (tamas) that determine the nature of the learning and doing, as well as their performer.

Sankhya Yoga is one of the great schools of Indian philosophy that relies on intelligence, logic and reasoning. It takes the only reliable means of gaining proof of knowledge to be perception, inference, and the testimony of reliable sources (those who have proven it for themselves and can give authentic guidance). 

20 — Sattvic Knowledge (pleasant and illuminating)
Sattva - IlluminatingThe knowledge by which one sees one undivided Imperishable Reality in all diverse living beings — undivided in the divided — is sattvic knowledge.

While each of us is a different individual from other individuals in WHO it is that each of us really is, you are the one that you are, and I am the one that I am. As separate embodied beings we appear to be different. But because we are all the same in WHAT it is that each of us Really is — Divine Absolute Individuals — we are undivided in our sameness and our true Reality.

21 — Rajasic Knowledge (reckless, excited)
Rajas - excitingThe knowledge by which one sees numerous living entities in diverse bodies as different and separate, is rajasic knowledge.

Not seeing this undivided sameness in WHAT each of us really is, we see only bodies and personalities instead — we see others as different and separate from ourselves.

22 — Tamasic Knowledge (prone to error)
Tamas - mistake!
But that knowledge by which one irrationally clings to one little thing as if it were all that is, possesses no reason or familiarity with Truth, is tamasic.

Any knowledge that is not based on Truth, but is believed to be true and adamantly clung to for dear life, is tamasic knowledge. We see this kind of thinking all around us in those who ignore Truth, and irrationally adulate what they believe as if it were all that is. This belief — this ‘one little thing’ — is their god. 

Knowledge comes before action, so getting correct knowledge is important. This calls for sattva. This kind of knowledge can be sought in everyday life, or by means of direct experience through meditation.

If you can’t understand sattva or imagine yourself in a sattvic state, look at rajas and tamas and consider how you might manage to avoid them.

Shri Ramakrishna
Shri Ramakrishna in Spontaneous Samadhi

If you are seeking God/Truth (by any name), you will also need direct experience to validate or correct what you determine as Truth. Direct experience is known in scriptures as svarga, or heaven, and in Yoga as samadhi. So you will have to get it from the Source, and there is only one way to do this: you must take up meditation. You can take years learning techniques for meditating and hope to get there in this lifetime, or you can surrender yourself to God/Truth in meditation and get their quickly.

Direct experience is the personal experience of knowing Truth/God directly. ‘Directly’ means ‘without any means’. This includes the mind. You cannot achieve direct experience via the mind. The actual state of meditation, which is what you will need for this purpose, is preceded by six things that occur before it. In Surrender Meditation, these six things will occur in their early stages quickly, and continue to advance over time and practice. Direct experience can occur when these requisite precursors have all been achieved even minimally. 

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

Thy Will Be Done O Lord, Not Mine – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 15, Vs 8-11

Surrender

Previously:
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.

8
When Ishvara acquires a body, and also when He leaves it, He takes them where he goes, like a breeze carrying fragrance through the air.

Purushottama is the first Divine Individual in the Absolute to accept you as the same as Himself. When a part of Him goes with you into a body, He is called Ishvara. The senses and the mind manifest in material nature because of this relationship you have with God, Ishvara. When your body dies, and when you enter a new body, Ishvara goes with you, taking the five senses and the mind along.

You don’t lose your powers of perception or your mind when your body dies. 

It is because of Ishvara, the enjoyer-witness within, that your innate abilities, or powers — five senses and a mind — are manifested in the material world. Why? Because there are two along for the ride: Ishvara and the Real You, and because duality is the nature of this world, the physical senses and mind naturally become a part of it. 

The mind is called the sixth sense because it is connected with all five senses of perception. When perceiving, consciousness, which is the stuff the mind is made of (chitta), goes out from the mind to perceive objects of sense (sights, sounds, tastes, etc.). We know this feature of the mind as Attention.

When you see a beautiful sunset, it is your Attention going out through your eyes that sees the beautiful sunset. The sunset is the ‘object’ of your ‘sense of sight’. This experience is returned to your brain and mind (manas) and stored as a memory. Later, you re-member the sunset, and you see the image of it in your mind, even though you are no longer looking at it with your eyes. If you think about this, you will realize that this is an amazing power that you have!

9
The six senses of hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, and mind being dependent upon Him, He draws them around Himself and enjoys the objects of the senses.

“Dependent upon Him” refers to the senses and the mind as being dependent on that small portion of Absolute God (Purushottama) that came with you as Ishvara when you first embodied.

Ishvara, God within you, stays with you through life after life.  

The mind is made of consciousness (chitta). Consciousness gives you awareness of what the senses bring to you. You perceive these ‘objects’ and their concomitant experiences of pleasure or pain, joy or sorrow, like or dislike, etc.

These six senses are in Nature, and Nature is a dual affair.  

Having powers of perception is one thing. Being conscious of what is perceived is another. Just as we may be unaware of things in our peripheral vision, we are capable of being unaware of things perceived by any of the senses.

The mind is the source of your ability to be conscious of what is perceived by the senses, because it is made of consciousness.

Material things are perceived by the material senses in a material world of dualities. This is the cause of becoming identified with your body, mind and senses as yourself, and why your happiness or unhappiness with what you experience will always be temporal. 

The senses are like satellites around the world of the mind. The mind provides you with consciousness, understanding, and memory of what they perceive.

10 – 11
The unenlightened, deluded by the gunas, cannot perceive Him, whether departing, residing, or experiencing from within the body, but those enlightened by the eye of wisdom, can. The striving yogi can see Him situated within himself, but those who have not performed prescribed action, cannot.

  • Him – Ishvara. Purushottama, the ‘First Purusha’ who is your personal God, is called Ishvara when He goes with you into embodiment.
  • Eye of wisdom – This is a reference to Knowledge of Truth gained by the yogi who practices “prescribed action.” 
  • Striving yogi – The yogi who has dedicated himself to the “prescribed action,” persevered, and achieved yoga (union). This achievement does not happen over night, but the striving yogi persists with it until the goal is reached.

Now we have moved from the material to the subtle, and find that it is also possible to perceive things that are spiritual (non-material) by means of our non-material sense faculties (powers) … if we can see with the ‘eye of wisdom’. This Wisdom is actualized by means of “prescribed action,” the God-practice of surrender to Absolute God/Truth in meditation, which brings about enlightenment and trigunatita (‘beyond the gunas‘).

Surrender Only to Absolute God
Never just surrender. Surrender Only to Absolute God

Yoga means ‘uniting’. Dedicating yourself to this practice is a dedication to the union of self with the divine-other-than-self.

We are often told what not to do, but here Lord Krishna is telling us that there is something we must do in order to overcome our unenlightened state, and become God Realized, Self Realized, and liberated. He refers to this as “prescribed action.”

In the Gita we find different words for ‘action’ (karma). One of these words is kriya. Kriya refers to action that occurs spontaneously through surrender to Absolute God/Truth in meditation. Because non-static meditation is prescribed, kriya is the “prescribed action.”

‘Prescribed action’ does not mean that you use your will to accomplish something, but quite the opposite — you surrender your will to Absolute God in meditation, and the prescribed action takes place of its own accord, under the guidance of Absolute God/Truth. This surrender is the “prescribed action.”

“Thy will be done O Lord, not mine.”

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

Surrender Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of reaching a true meditative state without any effort and 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, Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times, and bring about even deeper meditation and amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona


“Every step you take pulls every one of us with you.”

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