The Field of the Body – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 13, Vs 4-7

Abstract of the Human Body
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The Field of the Body: What It Is and What It Does

4 – 5
Now I shall tell you briefly about the Field: what it is, its characteristics, what and how modifications take place within it, its origin, and who the knower of the Field is, and his powers. 

  • The Field – The body
  • The Knower of the Field – You

Pleasingly sung in many different ways by different sages, with evidence coming from founded proofs as revealed in the scriptures:

  • Founded proofs – direct experience of Truth in meditation
  • Revealed in the scriptures – written texts on founded proofs

All this was known to the sages in ancient times. In those days, when not everyone could read, this information was recorded by means of chant and song and passed down to preserve it and be easily remembered. Once these teachings were written down, they were called shastras, what we westerners would call ‘scriptures’. We read them and are able to understand them to some degree through contemplating them, and prove them to ourselves through meditation. 

6 – Characteristics of the Field
The five great elements, ego, intelligence, the imperceptible, and also the eleven senses and the five objects of sense…

7 Modifications of the Field
A
ttraction and aversion, ease and dis-ease, the body as a whole, consciousness and will, constitute the Field and its modifications. 

The Field

The Body

Five elements are earth, water, energy, air and space.

Ego, the core of the mind, ahamkara in Sanskrit, which means “I do”. 

Intelligence is buddhi, the ability of the mind to differentiate, discriminate and make judgements.

The imperceptible refers to anything that exists that cannot be perceived by means of the senses, and anything in a potential, undeveloped state.  

The eleven senses are the five sense organs (eyes, ears, etc.), the five organs of action (hands, feet, etc.) and the mind.

The five fields of action of the senses are the sense objects (anything you can smell, taste, touch, see or hear).

Modifications of the Field

Changes that take place within the Field of the body

Attraction and aversion – like and dislike.

Ease and dis-ease – happiness and misery.  

The body itself – The actions of the body.  

Consciousness – attention, the ability to perceive, to know. 

Will – intention; using your inherent power of choice to make choices; holding on to something or trying to get or keep it. 

Modifications are changes (actions) within the Field of the body. Today we look to science, but the sages of old knew to keep things simple if they were going to try to talk about it to others. And that is what they did—they taught, and they were not ignorant of science. (There is a word in Sanskrit that can only be translated as discrete, or ‘as small as an atom’.)

Will

The will is always motivated by desire and attachment, creates both good and bad karma, and imbalances the body.

Willpower = grasping

Associating ‘will’ with the body is suggestive of its association with ‘doing’. The Sanskrit word here also means ‘holding, seizing, or keeping’, as well ‘intention, resolution and command’. It is easy to see that they are all connected. 

Willpower‘Will’ is using your inherent power of choice to make choices, resolutions, determinations, decisions, intentions. We make choices in order to make satisfactory determinations based on what we think will fulfill a desire. Desires are always the result of attraction or aversion. You use your will to get or avoid. This is what a desire is and does. 

Desires are always the result of attraction or aversion.
Will is always associated with a desire.

The Field is the body, so we can’t assume that these actions are limited to the mind, so they must be actions that occur with or in the body or the brain. This will make more sense if you remember that you have a brain because you have a mind (it’s not the other way around):

Willpower

As a Divine Individual you have the power of choice, or free will. When this power is engaged you are in a state of choosing to choose. This is ‘will’. The only purpose of will, choosing to choose, is to get or keep something or someone that you are attracted or attached to. You have the intention to do this, and you use resolution and command to succeed at it. It is all “will”. Remember these?:

  • Attraction and aversion, like and dislike.
  • Ease and dis-ease, happiness and misery.

These are what motivate you to engage your power of choice to get what you want so that you can be happy. But here’s the rub: You can’t keep your success in place indefinitely because of the dual nature of this world. Attraction and aversion, and ease and dis-ease, are pairs of opposites and are therefore bound to change.

Surrender

Natural Surrender Meditation is active meditation.

Swami Kripalu in MeditationThrough our efforts to advance spiritually we eventually understand this, and begin to try to rise above this trap. No matter how you phrase it, the only solution is to stop choosing to choose — stop using your will to try to get what you want. You must choose not to chose, and surrender to Absolute God (by any name) in meditation.

Surrender Yoga

I say “in meditation” because you won’t succeed at this on the street (if you think you can, you are kidding yourself), and this isn’t the place for it anyway. So you surrender to God/Truth in meditation, and That will meditate you and gradually bring you out of this trap.

By practicing this for an hour or two a day, you will come to see not only God, but your Real Self, and discover that the bliss you experience is the nature of Absolute God and the Real You. And it is always Good, for Absolute God is Absolute Goodness, and will always make you Happy. The question is: Are you willing to take the time for yourself every day in order to achieve this Happiness? How could you not?

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
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The Yogi and the Devotee – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 12, Vs 2-4

I AM ETERNAL

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 the answer to Arjuna’s question on who has the best knowledge of Yoga, withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara), and equanimity (samadhi).


Previously:
Arjuna spoke:  Of those who are constantly engaged in worshipping You, and those who worship the Imperishable Absolute, which has the best knowledge of Yoga?

The Devotee

2
The Blessed Lord spoke:
Those who are always absorbed in Me as their highest objective, always engaging in worshipping Me with the highest degree of faith, I consider to be the My best devotees who are naturally attached to Me.  

  • Worshipping – ‘surrendering, loving, serving’

Alternate translation:
For those highest initiated, the mind easily becomes absorbed in Me and produces supreme faith, so they are naturally the most devoted to Me. 

In this verse, Lord Krishna is describing someone who worships Personal God as Himself. It seems then, that the answer to Arjuna’s question must be “those who are always engaged in worshipping Me” have the best knowledge. But Lord Krishna hasn’t really addressed this, only that they are the most devoted to Him as Personal God.

This verse is describing someone who has advanced significantly in their yoga practice. By referring to the “highest initiated” He indicates those who know the science of yoga and meditation, and understand the nature of its unfolding over time. But as to who has the best knowledge of yoga, He has yet to say.  

The Yogi

3 – 4
But those who worship the Imperishable Absolute, which by its very nature is inexplicable—eternally unchanging, intangible, invisible and everywhere—with all the senses subdued, the mind indifferent everywhere, delighting in affection for all beings and esteeming them as equal, they also attain Me.

Now we have our answer: both. Whether you worship Personal God or Impersonal God you can attain God, though the path of the invisible Absolute is more demanding..

“The senses subdued”

The subduction, control or restraint of the senses is called pratyahara, that magical state of meditation in which the sense faculties, or powers, withdraw from the physical senses. The ability (power) to hear, see, feel, etc., is separated from their objects (sound, sight, touch, etc.). In this state, the sense organs (ears, eyes, skin, etc.) naturally have no connection to sense objects. Once one has reached this point, samadhi (equanimity) is not far away.

This can be taken two ways: The yogi either tries to control the senses, or the senses automatically come under control. The first is the path of the will, in which one uses the will to achieve the desired results. The second is the path of surrender to God, in which one does nothing and leaves everything to God.

  • Pratyahara, the spontaneous withdrawal of the sense faculties from their corresponding sense organs, allowing for direct perception (without any means, i.e., the sense organs). The gateway to samadhi.
  • Samadhi is a state in which the mind is the same throughout, and either not moving at all, or moving uniformly.

“The mind indifferent everywhere”

This phrase describes the effects of pratyahara as the condition that produces and is present in samadhi.

The Sanskrit for ‘mind’ in this verse, is buddhi. Buddhi is the part of the mind that is intelligent, rational, and makes judgements. 

  • Buddhi: intellect, reason, the discriminative faculty of the mind. 

Outside of Meditation

Pratyahara, the withdrawal of the senses, can also take place in everyday life. For one who practices meditation by surrendering to Absolute God, this will happen naturally. The senses will become disinterested and withdraw from their objects gradually over time. In the beginning, this may show up after the fact with the discovery that something that once attracted you has lost its power. Or you may have simply forgotten it and only realized this change later.

An example of my own experience of this, was finding a bottle of wine in the back of the refrigerator that had been there for weeks. I had been used to having a glass of wine when I came home from work in the evening, but had forgotten all about it. Then, one day when I was cleaning the refrigerator, there it was, an untouched bottle of wine. This heralded profound experiences in my meditation, the result of this phase of pratyahara in daily life.

The senses are otherwise always active, with the attention constantly flowing outward to perceive things, and bringing them back to the mind for storage. For this reason, those who practice willful yoga must work very hard to try to get the senses to stop bringing things into the mind, keeping it busy and aborting yoga. Some avoid people, places and things that keep the mind active. For instance, if a man becomes agitated in the presence of women, he will avoid women. But in surrender sadhana, pratyahara happens spontaneously and powerfully in meditation, and opens the door to samadhi naturally.

Of the devotee who experiences God as Personal, and the yogi who experiences God as Impersonal, both know Yoga and reach God. The only real difference is how.

Regarding Samadhi

Do you think that samadhi, or meditation for that matter, requires that you sit a certain way? If you do, these masters would not agree with you. Kripalu is dancing. Anandamayi Ma has risen in ecstasy. Shri Ramakrishna is in blissful bhava-samadhi with a devotee supporting him to avoid another fall. These saints are beyond caring what we think.

One usually thinks of samadhi as the final frontier of Yoga, but it is really a part of the process of purifying and clearing the mind, though in advanced stages, it is certainly very fulfilling. 

  • Samādhi समाधि sama (the same) + adhi (as above)

Also, the idea that samadhi only occurs when the mind is not moving is incorrect. The mind may be moving or not. As to the nature of its movements, the next common error would be that such movement would have to be sattvic (smooth-flowing and peaceful). But this is also incorrect. It is the uniformity that is the key (samadhi means ‘sameness’). The state of mental activity will depend on the nature of the purification. In the highest samadhi (nirbija) one surpasses this process.

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

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V:7-9 Addendum to “Delete Your Karma”…

These three verses describe a person fully established in Yoga as one who understands that, no matter what the senses or the body are doing, he is not doing anything at all. All these activities are just nature doing its thing, and he is not nature. 

A more literal translation:

(7) Yoked to Yoga, self-purified, self-subdued, senses conquered, the self the self of all beings, one is not befouled even when acting. (8) Thus Yoked to Yoga, the knower of Truth thinks “I do not do anything”, whether seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing, (9) talking, excreting, grasping, opening and closing the eyes, but maintains that it is the senses engaging in their objects that sets action into motion.

Yoked to Yoga – At first, Yoga is Hatha Yoga, the union of the sun (prana) and moon (apana) that awakens kundalini. You want union with God/Truth and are committed to getting it—you are ‘yoked’. In my own path, being established, or yoked to Yoga, calls for at least eight hours of meditation daily.

Self-purified – The purpose of Hatha Yoga is purification, the first of the two stages of Yoga. The second stage is Raja Yoga, but you have to go through Hatha Yoga to get there.

Self-subdued – With enough purification, Raja Yoga makes its entrance and begins a subtler kind of purification—the sense of oneself as a being melts away, and any sense of doing anything naturally disappears with it.

Senses conquered – Then the senses do what they do and you are unaffected, indifferent. 

The self the self of all beings – With the sense of self subdued, there is no longer a view point, a place you perceive from. This is the idea behind the images of gods with faces in all directions: everything everywhere is simultaneously perceptible because there is no viewpoint. Purusha and prakriti are united, and you and everyone are the same and all there is: God. The unlimited Real You has risen above being a being who is ‘somewhere’ being conscious of something (or someone) ‘over there’.

Not befouled even when acting – You are not doing anything, so you cannot acquire the effects (karma) of doing, even though action goes on.

The knower of Truth thinks “I do not do anything” whether seeing, hearing, etc. This person understands that actions get put into motion by the senses becoming engaged in their objects, and that he is therefore not the cause. 

The senses act among the objects of sense and send their perceptions into the mind, making it seem as though we are involved in these actions, and that we are attracted to these objects. But now we know that it is not us, but the senses themselves that act and are attracted, and we are no longer fooled.