Faith – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 17

Faith - Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 7.32.19 AM

Translations of the verses of this chapter often appear to be directed toward the priesthood as given in the Vedas (specific texts on Truth). But we also find imbedded within the Sanskrit, their association with the God-practice Lord Krishna is teaching Arjuna (and us).

Considering the fear of risk, which the idea of faith naturally invokes, it occurs to me that faith is the essence of ‘surrender’, or sacrifice, as defined in this God-practice. This risk is represented in the Mahabharata as the gambling of Yudhishthira, Arjuna’s brother, with the blind king’s son, Duryodhana. Yudhishthira lost the toss, and he and his brothers were caused to live undetected for eleven years.   

  • Duryodhana (‘hard fighter’) represents ego-centered desire — he fights hard for what he wants.
  • Yudhishthira means ‘standing firm in battle’. He is the epitome of ‘discipline’ — determined, and going ahead anyway no matter what.


śhraddha – faith, having faith in, believing in, trusting in, having confidence in.

For some people, faith is the same as belief, and for others it is not. The Sanskrit for ‘faith’ (śhraddha) includes both belief and trust. I usually make a distinction between belief and genuine faith. Personally, I consider belief to be a mental position. True faith, on the other hand, is the outcome of proof that establishes it.

I also see Faith as a position one might take to determine if the object of Faith is, in fact, reliably true. In this case, Faith is assumed, and whether or not the object of Faith (i.e., a person, belief or teaching) can be trusted would remain to be seen. One would then use this assumed Faith to prove or disprove it.

For instance, you decide to ‘go on faith’ that there is a God (God is the object of faith) in order to prove or disprove the existence of God. This would require taking some kind of action. Such action would be a sustained practice, such as meditation, as a viable means of testing it. Without proof, it is only an opinion or a belief.

  • Opinion – you think something is true.
  • Belief – your are certain something is true (whether it is or not).
  • Faith – you know something is true because it has been proven to you.

With Surrender Meditation, one ‘goes on faith’ that this practice will deliver what it promises. It is tested by the meditation itself and proved soon or over time. During this time, new realizations arise, and faith is gradually established with the culmination of each realization.

  • Realization – the act of becoming fully aware of something as fact.

Belief alone is prone to error. Just because someone believes something is so, doesn’t mean it is. Belief is especially problematic if a person is subject to self-deception (which most people are), or is desperate for personal validation (which most people assiduously seek). One would not need belief if one knew for certain that a given object of faith could be counted on without reservation, because it has proven itself to be so.

In spiritual matters, true Faith comes as the result of direct experience. Direct experience is experience without any means — mental, physical or emotional — and is neither ‘gut instinct’ nor intuition. Through meditation practiced correctly, one can experience Truth/God directly and know the Truth for certain, whereas anything perceived indirectly is subject to error.

Make your meditation your lab.

In practical matters, proof should show itself the same way numerous times under the same conditions before it is accepted as true.  

Determining your faith or certainty regarding something or someone will require a little risk on your part. However, most people are not amenable to taking risks of this kind. Even those who take risks at the blackjack table or invest the family fortune in a questionable venture, are often unwilling to take any risk in order to find Truth

Whether your quest centers on a person, a thing, or a theological premise, such as whether there is a God or not, or if your Guru is the real deal or not, you must first look within yourself and then take the leap. 

Look Inside Yourself

  • Have I seen correctly?
  • Is there anything within my own mind and feelings that is in error?
  • Might I have some kind of agenda of which I am unaware? What is it?
  • Am I avoiding any red flags? Or am I seeing what I want to see?
  • Am I in denial about anything I perceive about this?
  • Do I really understand this, or this person and their actions and motivations?
  • Have I really looked and attempted to understand, or am I waiting for them to understand me?

Acquiring faith will always involve some sense of risk, whether anything is actually at risk or not. But this is a good thing for it can bring you real faith and real validation, and the only real risk is to your ego.

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

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V:16-17 Enlightened by Knowledge

We have just discovered that who and what we are is enveloped by a veil of illusion that hides our Real Selves from ourselves. Now we are going to find our way out of this situation by becoming enlightened by knowledge. 

“Real Reality” continued: 

When one is enlightened by the knowledge that expels ignorance, wisdom shines like the sun illuminating what is beyond. 

We are affected by external influences until we become One with the Divine, or when we are in union (yoga) with That, even temporarily in meditation. Authentic meditation provides the opportunity to experience this oneness with God until it becomes permanent and we can say without reservation, “I and my Father One.”

“The knowledge that expels ignorance
This knowledge refers to the learned wisdom-knowledge of the oral teachings of the sages. To obtain this knowledge, sincere and determined seekers first seek their guru, become devoted to their guru and serve their guru. Then, with sufficient time and progress, this relationship yields these teachings that expel this ignorance. (This verse is telling us that there are things we need to know that we will not come by on our own, and that can only be obtained in this manner.)

“Illuminating what is beyond”
Now we want to know what we are going to be able to see when the blinders come off. The word in Sanskrit for ‘beyond’ also means ‘on the other side of, subsequent, later, future, next’ and ‘the Highest, the Supreme Absolute’. I think we can combine all these and arrive at a proper conclusion: Once we have this wisdom-knowledge we will discover what is next, and by continuing from there, we will discover the bliss of the Supreme Absolute. The next verse explains this.

This wisdom having shaken off all evils, one who yields to That as their foundation and highest objective, goes not to return again. 

‘That’ refers both to “what is beyond” the veil of ignorance, and to the wisdom-teachings of the sages who know the way (previous verse). 
If you yield to this wisdom-knowledge, you will get what is beyond: the Supreme Absolute. The way you do this is to yield to the Absolute: surrender to It.

“All evils having been shaken off”
In this verse, the word for ‘evil’ is different than in verse 15. In that verse it meant everything from harm and guilt, to sin and misfortune. Here, evil means things like ‘darkness’ and ‘impurity’, and ‘destroying virtuous action’. So the wisdom we are to come by is for the purpose of ridding ourselves of these obstacles.

  • Darkness – Ignorance of the Truth of what really is, how things really are. (One cannot ‘see’ in the dark.)
  • Impurity – Anything that isn’t where it belongs.
  • Virtuous action – Placing all action on God, self-surrender to the Absolute.

“Evils having been shaken off”
The inauspicious becomes auspicious.

“Goes not to return again”
Having become enlightened by knowledge, the things that threatened to destroy our success are now gone, shaken off. Holding this knowledge as the foundation and highest objective of our practice, we will be liberated and rebirth will cease to be compulsory.

All evils having been shaken off by this knowledge, one who yields to it as their foundation and highest wisdom, is liberated from rebirth.

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

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   Three Hour Meditation Workshop with Durga Ma
A Mindfulness Life Center, Scottsdale, AZ
Saturday, February 27, 
11 AM- 2 PM 
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Yoga Nidra 

I am with my parents. I am seeing and interacting with them as they really are, not as ‘divine individuals’, but as beings who, like all of us, came here from a different plane. But in their case, they have left their physical bodies and are now denizens of this wonderful place, and able get around without the cumbersome and deceptive cloak of a physical body. And I liked them very much. There was no tension and I was able to relate well with them and enjoy being with them.

In this life I was not able to connect with my parents; we were not close. I didn’t know what made them tick, nor they me. But now I have seen them as they really are as beings.

In the plane we came here from—let’s just call it an astral plane—we were not so heavily cloaked; we were happy, at ease, peaceful, kind, and filled with a quiet joy. Here, our cloaking is massive, and relentlessly requires our attention and care. It yells and screams at us with pains and discomforts, demands food, and gets involved with all kinds of things, especially other people equally cloaked—what we are relating to is only a fabricated cloak…we don’t have a clue who’s behind it. One cloak relating to another cloak, we are all invisible.

Most people hearing about ‘liberation’ as not having to come back here and become hidden behind these cloaking devices again, not only do not want to hear it, but they will actually state that they do want to come back. If you tell most people that you are seeking liberation, they will likely find you wanting in sanity, or at the very least, they will tell you that you need to ‘think more positively’, not realizing that this is exactly what you’re doing!

This cloaking device we wear, and that we think of as ourselves, is nothing more than a pile-up of misinformation, more of a robot than a being—and you’re not even the one at the controls! (If you think you are, you are fooling yourself.) Returning to the astral world at death, this mechanical device is gone, and one is able to be a being that is much more Real than what is possible here in this world—maybe one person in five-hundred years manages it.

So call me “Negative” if you like, but what I really am is neither negative nor positive. I am just the one that I am, and not the least bit different that you. Personally, I would rather live life as a being on that lovely astral plane and see if they have any classes in Real Yoga over there (one doesn’t like to make too many assumptions about what might be next!).

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

P.S. Chapter 5 of the Bhagavad Gita begins next week.

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