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Obstacles to Meditation- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:60

The aggressive and tormenting senses forcibly carry away the mind, Kunteya (Arjuna), even of a man of wisdom and understanding. —  Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 60

We have seen ‘what lies beyond’, reached ‘the Highest’, and have become established in wisdom and understanding, but apparently we have not seen the last of this ever-present obstacle, the pesky senses. And to top it off, even though we try to avoid the eventuality of the mind becoming too active to slip into pratyahara, all our efforts appear to be doomed to failure.

Or are we jumping to conclusions here? When we take everything into consideration, we have to admit that under ordinary circumstances the senses are going to continue doing their jobs of bringing information into the mind in the form of images, sounds, smells, etc. This verse is reassuring us that the senses are going to carry on with their business in spite of our continued success.

Now that we have achieved pratyahara and entered the temple of true meditation and samadhi, what the senses have to offer is nothing by comparison. Although our attention will be attracted to objects of sense, we are not compelled to become attached and desirous of having them. If they come, they come. If they are pleasant, enjoyment is inevitable, but whether they are pleasant or unpleasant is irrelevant to us. It’s just another day on the job for the senses.

The mind gets its data from the senses.

The Power of the Senses

After learning that reaching true meditation is not as simple as sitting down like a pretzel and telling your mind to shut up, you find that even when you have ‘seen the Highest’ your mind still gets carried away by the senses.

As the senses continue to do their jobs of keeping you informed, they continue to attract your attention and bring information into the mind. This shows how powerful you really are. You have these five senses because you have these five inherent powers, five powers of perception and knowledge. These powers of yours have manifested on the physical plane to supply you with information that you need to navigate life, but the powers from which they derive are still what they are: powers.

The only problem is that you have identified with your ‘chariot’, your body, which includes the senses. Your power to know by means of your five powers of perception is very real, but the senses themselves are a part of nature. Trying to control them is trying to control nature. If that’s how you are attempting to deal with them, good luck. Try this Solution instead, or try these Backup Solutions which also work as a stand-alone solutions.

The Mind in Meditation

It is a common dilemma that thoughts and desires arise in meditation. We become disturbed by this, wondering if there is something wrong because the mind constantly thinks about desires, the grocery list, and other silly things, and we become disenchanted with meditation or feel like failures. What this verse is saying is, “Don’t worry about it. This is just nature doing its thing. It has nothing to do with you.”

Will and Surrender

It is said in Yoga that to continue to progress, one gives their powers back to the Source, submits them to God. 

Your own willful efforts can take you only so far. Remember the experiment where you pushed your stiffened arms against the insides of a door frame? You can only maintain this for so long, and when you finally let go and walk away, there is a moment of surrender, albeit unintentional, in which you step away from the door and your arms freely and effortlessly float upward. It wasn’t your willful effort that freed your arms to float, it was that moment when you gave up and surrendered.

Using your will outside the meditation room is pushing your arms against the doorframe. When you go into meditation and surrender yourself to God, you step away from the door and your ‘arms’ float upward effortlessly. This is what Arjuna has done. He has put God in the driver’s seat of his chariot.

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

 


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Royal Yoga, Bhagavad Gita, Ch 14, Vs 21-27, Continued

From left to right: Kali (darkness), tamas. Lakshmi (wealth and pleasure), ramas. Saraswati (music and learning), sattva.
Trinity of Goddesses from left to right:  Kali (destroyer of darkness and dissolution, tamas). Lakshmi (bringer of wealth and pleasure, rajas). Saraswati (giver of music and learning, sattva).

All action occurs in Nature. The gunas are the active influences of Nature, but you are not Nature. The Real You is not involved in action at all.

The varying degrees of predominance of the gunas cause certain kinds of actions. This chapter has given examples of the influence of each guna. The state of trigunatita (‘three-gunas-gone beyond’) surfaces when the individual is not in a state of assuming doership. This takes place over time through meditation, and eventually becomes the full and complete state of trigunatita.

Three Gunas of Nature (Prakriti) holding people down, with Lord Krishna above it all.
The Three Gunas of Nature (Prakriti) ensnaring people, with Lord Krishna above it all, trigunatita.

When trigunatita has been achieved, the three gunas continue to cause action in Nature, but they do not affect you. You are not influenced by them.

For the Embodied One, even though actions occur in Nature, he is not the doer of actions. All actions are the interactions of the gunas of Nature, and nothing else.

“All action occurs in Nature, but You are not Nature.” If this statement concerning non-doership causes you to wonder what is, this is your answer: the gunas.

Sitting here writing this for you, action is taking place. If I am trigunatita, this action is not taking place under the influence of any guna. Instead, it is under the influence of God, Truth itself, for That is my surrender.

Any action occurring after trigunatita has been achieved, is influenced by Truth Itself.


Approaching the End of the Journey

“Thy will be done, O Lord, not mine.” — Lord Jesus

In the body from the sixth chakra up is Rudra Loka, the world of Rudra (Rudra is another name for Shiva). This is the realm of the storm gods, where Kundalini takes a new name: Maruti, ‘wind’. The name Rudra means ‘roaring, terrifying, wild, fierce’ and also ‘auspicious and kind’. This is where Raja Yoga takes place. It is the last frontier of the journey Home.

Awaking Kundalini
Sun-Moon Union Awakens Kundalini

In this phase of Yoga, the guna of tamas (darkness), the least active of the three gunas, ushers in the onset of  trigunatita  (‘three-gunas-gone beyond’).

This is one of those places where everything seems to be upside-down and one becomes confused. But this is only because, as a human being, you find yourself once again in unfamiliar territory. But this time it is so different that it may seem down right scary. Tamas, darkness, has gotten a bad rap before this, but now it is the star player. Instead of being a word for delusion and ignorance, it is the literal absence (darkness) of delusion and ignorance, and the doorway to the Absolute at the crown chakra.

Three Gunas: States of Mind and Stages of Yoga

Rudra Loka

Rudra is the agent of the dissolution of delusion and ignorance. It is here in Rudra’s World that nirbija samadhi appears. In this samadhi, no-thing exists but Absolute God/Truth, so there is no light, for it would serve no purpose. All is revealed, and one now understands that it is Lord Shiva in the form of Rudra who defeats evil, impurities and fear, leaving only Truth.

Ascent of Kundalini
Royal Union is Ascendent Kundalini

Raja Yoga means ‘Royal Union’, the union of you and Absolute God. Before this, union was ‘sun-moon union’, Hatha Yoga, the awakening of Kundalini. This phase was centered in the body below the sixth chakra, but in the stage of Raja Yoga, most of the work is going on in the head where endocrine glands take the leading role.

In the Absolute there is nothing, not even light. Having reached this place and trying to describe it to others, it may seem to them that you are dealing with a great darkness. So you learn not to talk about it. But for you, this darkness is the rolling bliss of certain Truth and non-stop Happiness. Later, all you have to do is to remember this and it’s right there.

Obstacles to Yoga

Non-achievement refers to not reaching a state or stage that one believes is imminent. It may be that one does not reach the expected stage. Or it may be that one has expectations as to how the that stage will look, and because his experience does not match his expectations, he assumes non-achievement when achievement is starring him in the face. Or he may assume the worst and stop his sadhana in defeat. Or, if he is persistent, he continues his sadhana and the Truth is revealed.

Bhrānti darśana means ‘incorrect seeing’. One might be fooled into thinking he has reached a higher state or stage than he has. He may assume that he has reached sainthood, for instance, or even godhood. He may believe he is the incarnation of a god, or even that he is Jesus Christ returned. This stops his sadhana and he makes no further progress, unless he comes to realize his mistake and moves forward.

Kundalini Fully Awakened
Fully Awakened Kundalini

It is because of these two obstacles that your guru will insist that you continue your sadhana no matter what. If you are devoted (committed) to your guru, you will take his or her advice, for this is the only way you will get past these two walls. Then…

You will enter into Brahman, Absolute God. And because Absolute God is Immortal and of unending Happiness, this is now Your state.

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 effortlessly reaching a true meditative state without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were 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.”

The Whole World Is One Family

Beyond Bondage, Bhagavad Gita, Ch 14, Vs 21-27

Yogini liberated from bondage of the gunas

21
Arjuna spoke:
What are the signs of those who have gone beyond the three gunas? How do they act? How do they get beyond these three gunas?

Alternate translation:
What are the characteristics of someone who has transcended the three gunas? How do they do it, and what does it look like?

22 – 23
The Blessed Lord spoke:
He neither likes nor dislikes the presence or absence of illumination, passion or ignorance. Situated in the neutrality of sameness, he knows that these are merely the gunas in motion, and unshaken, he stands firm.   

One who has transcended the three gunas has transcended the like or dislike of the enlightenment of sattva, the desire-driven activities of rajas, and the non-enlightenment of tamas. Knowing all this to be merely the gunas in action, one is not fooled by them, but remains firm in the practice of yoga (union). 

24 – 25
He is self-composed and the same in difficulty and ease, equally disposed toward the desirable and the undesirable, and looks upon a clod, a stone, and a piece of gold as the same. He remains the same in pleasant and unpleasant circumstances. He is intelligent, and accepts both praise and blame with equanimity. He remains the same in honor and dishonor, treats both friend and enemy alike, and avoids new undertakings. Thus he is said to have transcended the guṇas. 

Anandamayi Ma
Anandamayi Ma

I can see how people might stop their sadhana when reaching this point. This is not familiar territory. One feels like a failure and is self-critical for being useless and not getting anything done. One feels apathetic, and it seems as if one were steeped in tamas. However, this turns out to be the sameness, or indifference, mentioned in these verses, but it is so unfamiliar that it looks like tamas. So it can take a while to see it for what it really is: the onset of trigunatita (‘three-gunas-gone-beyond’).

Shirdi Sai Baba
Shirdi Sai Baba

Have you ever felt intimidated by God, imagining that seeing God, He would be stoic and immovable, and a little inaccessible? I know what you mean. I think about my lineage and see them this way. And yes, I feel … well, I don’t know whether to say ‘humble’ or ‘overawed’ or a little of both. But it turns out that what I am really seeing is a group of people who have transcended the three gunas. There is a striking difference between stoicism or aloofness and trigunatita — they have ‘gone beyond the gunas‘. Nothing rattles them. They fit the descriptions in these verses.

26 – 27
Serving Me with undeviated devotion and transcending the gunas, he becomes absorbed into Brahman (Absolute God). 
For I stand firmly in immortal imperishable Brahman, and the eternal dharma of unending Happiness.

  • Undeviated devotionbhakti (devotion) yoga (uniting) seva (service to guru, the teacher).
  • I – Lord Krishna
  • Eternal dharma – the way things are in the Absolute

Swami Kripalvananda (Kripalu)
Swami Kripalvanandaji (Kripalu)

These verses tell us how we can become absorbed into Brahman: By singular devotion to God to the extent that everything you do in your life is in service to God and Guru. You are fixed on That, so what other outcome could there possibly be?

You become what you worship.

In this way, you become absorbed into Absolute God, and the activities of the gunas no longer have any effect on you. Then, because Absolute God is beyond the gunas, your absorption into God is inevitable. 

To apply this to your own situation, just remember who Krishna really is: He is Arjuna’s guru, so by devotion and service to your guru you can overpower the influences of the gunas and become absorbed in Brahman (Absolute God). Without taking this road, there is no escaping the gunas for human beings. The best most of us can do is to aspire to become more sattvic overall, for sattva is the guna closest to what we are really like as Divine Individuals.

There is, however, this state of trigunatita (‘three-gunas-gone beyond’) in which one is not in a state produced by any of the gunas. Instead, one’s state is Real rather than phenomenal. This state can be experienced in yoga meditation done correctly: the surrender of oneself to Absolute God in meditation.

All actions are the interactions of the gunas of Nature. 

All action occurs in Nature, but the Real You is not Nature, and is therefore not involved in action. It is the predominance of a guna that causes certain actions, not You. What You really are is an eternal non-doer.

This chapter gives examples of what causes certain actions to take place, and how you can rise above these guna influences. The state that is beyond them all surfaces when the individual is not in a state of doership — when there is no sense of ‘doing’ going on. This takes place in small bites through meditation practiced correctly, and eventually becomes the full and complete state of trigunatita.

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 effortlessly reaching a true meditative state without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were 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.”

The Whole World Is One Family