The Baby and the Bathwater -Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 2 :14

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It is perception by the senses, Son of Kunti, that produces the sensations of winter and summer, difficulty and ease. These appear and disappear and are impermanent, so just put up with them, Descendant of Bharata.

Winter and Summer.  The sensations of cold and heat.

Difficulty and Ease.  The meanings of the words for ‘difficulty’ and ‘ease’ include their effects: unhappiness, discomfort, misfortune, and pain (‘difficulty’), and happiness, comfort, prosperity, and pleasure (‘ease’).

Son of Kunti.  Arjuna is the ‘Son of Kunti’ (kunti – ‘lance’). Kunti* is the daughter of a Yadava prince, a descendant of Yadu (‘embracing’), named Shura (‘hero’), who gave her to his childless cousin Kunti, from which her name derives. Favored by Durvasas, an irascible sage thought to be an incarnation of Shiva, he taught her a mantra by which she could have a child by any god she wished to invoke. Arjuna was born to her of the god Indra, lord of the gods of the sky, the senses. Both Arjuna’s mother, Kunti, and Lord Krishna, are descendants of Prince Yadu.

Self-reference:  You can invoke any god you wish, in order to achieve a desired effect. All you need is the mantra. For that, you need the goodwill of the Sage.

Descendant of Bharata.  In earlier verses, we came across the epitaph, ‘Descendant of Bharata’ as that of the blind king, Dhritarashthra. So why is Lord Krishna addressing Arjuna in this manner? By calling Arjuna ‘Descendant of Bharata’, Krishna is not only pointing to Arjuna as being directly related to the king, but He is ranking Arjuna as the king’s equal.

Self-reference: Dhritarashthra represents ‘ignorance’ (unenlightened), but you are equal to the challenge of attaining enlightenment.

* Kunti is also a name of the god of love, often depicted carrying bow and arrow or lance.

Neutralizing Opposites

The example of the opposites of winter and summer are given in this verse. Here the word for ‘senses’ is specifically related to ‘tangibility’ and the sense of touch, and the effect of contact of the skin with temperature, wind, and other tangible things, and the way those sensations feel.

If we want to get esoteric about this, it is not much of a leap to associate the feeling of the warmth of summer and the coolness of winter with the functions of prana (warming Life Energy) and apana (cooling Life Energy). Knowing what we do about these two, we could conclude that by simply putting up with them, the union of the two will occur without any help from us, through surrender sadhana. United as one, their opposition is neutralized and brings forth the evolutionary functions of kundalini.

It has been suggested in previous verses that the polarizing effects of opposites are detrimental to our sadhana and stand in the way of our enlightenment. We have discussed some of the resolutions to this dilemma that will occur spontaneously through our sadhana, but meanwhile what do we do? Apparently, we just have to put up with them and consider them ‘common’, as if one were no better or worse than the other. But this is not so easy to accomplish. Perhaps with a little more understanding, and some conscious personal experience of this phenomenon, we will have better luck.

Equalizing Opposites

The first thing to realize, is that everything that gets into the mind, gets there through the senses moving outward to pick up sights, sounds, tactile sensations, tastes and odors, and storing the information in memory. The difficulty arises due to our like or dislike of what is picked up. If we were indifferent, the stored information would have little or no influence. But everything in this world, and therefore everything in the mind, has a flip side, an opposite—hot and cold, good and bad, black and white, pleasure and pain, and so on—and due to the pull of the polarity of these opposites, we find ourselves favoring one or the other.

If we were to try to do something about this, it would have to involve equalizing opposites, so that one has no more pull than the other. I wrote the Mental Yoga course for this purpose. This is the first step, a step that can be taken and continued outside of meditation, regardless of what kind of meditation you practice.

Many people who are drawn to Yoga leave it when they hear things about abandoning desires, and becoming indifferent to the appealing effects of pleasure, enjoyment, and success, etc., but they misunderstand. The gradual process of Surrender Meditation will take care of this, but we must do the sadhana, maintain the body for its practice, put ourselves in a conducive place for it, and pay attention and be self-honest. Outside of our Surrender Meditation, we can speed up the process with the practice of Mental Yoga. Then, when things begin to change within us, we will find that the results are not quite what we had expected—we do not lose anything, but we gain everything.

So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Durga Ma


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Happiness & Surrender Yoga – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 12, Vs 16-17

Himalayan Sadhu

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 Surrender Yoga, freedom from unhappiness and other characteristics of the yogi and devotee.

One who is impartial, pure, capable, uninvolved, free of unhappiness, relinquishing all undertakings and is devoted to Me, is beloved by Me.

Alternate translation:
The state of freedom from unhappiness is gained by remaining impartial, pure, able and tolerant, and by being devoted to God/Truth, and avoiding projects that demand anything else.

“Impartial” Sameness in all things, or “moderation in all things.” This brings us back to the previous verse where we learned about letting go of our investment in “likes and dislikes” and their effects, “fear and anxiety.” The Sanskrit for ‘impartial’ also means ‘indifferent, irrespective of, disregarding, and irrelevant’.

“Pure” Unmixed. Untainted or mixed with other things, ‘clear, clean, innocent, honest, and virtuous’

“Capable” Able.

“Uninvolved” The Sanskrit means, ‘sitting apart, indifferent, unprejudiced, uninvolved, free from likes, neutral, and ascetic’.

Content dog meditating“Free of unhappiness” Happy, contented, ‘free of sorrow, fear and anxiety’. While you may still find that you experience unhappiness, over time and practice of surrender yoga, you will notice it diminishing and going away after only a few minutes. Then a day will come when you are no longer struck by unhappiness — no sooner does it arise than it is gone.

“Relinquishing all undertakings” means not ‘starting new projects’. All of one’s energy goes into beginning new projects. This stifles the energy when it should be free for yoga.

He who is neither overly pleased nor displeased, neither mourns nor desires, is impartial to good and evil and filled with devotion for Me, is beloved by Me.

When you become devoted to God (by any name) you will be equally devoted to Yoga (by any name), and the qualities mentioned in these verses will naturally become fulfilled through the practice set forth by your guru lineage. I am not saying that you should wait for that day and not try to practice them now, but that you can expect them to unfold spontaneously through surrender to God/Truth in meditation. 

When I use the word ‘meditation’ I am referring to this practice. Only through surrender to Absolute God in meditation, will these things unfold spontaneously without you having to try to master them. When I use the words ‘God, Yoga or Guru lineage’, it is with the idea that this is all in the context of surrender sadhana (by any name). 

By Any Name

I want to make it clear that, while I am addressing all this in terms of Yoga, there are movements afoot wherein those who had formerly had a religion as their context for spirituality, are now seeking out the Truth on their own. In some cases, this has been going on long enough to begin to produce teachers. However, without extensive experience gained through meditation carried out correctly, they will not have much to offer compared to the tried and proved lineages of Yoga. 

But Truth is Truth, God is God, no matter where these words are found, and will always be essentially the same everywhere when knowledge and practice are correct according to the dharma of Absolute God/Truth.

Anyone sincerely open and seeking Truth, will arrive at the same place, even though their path may go by a different name. 

Surrender Yoga

I think it is important to understand that the idea of surrender as I am presenting it in these commentaries is specific. What I don’t mean by ‘surrender’ is just being “open” or “letting go.” What I do mean is presented in this Bhagavad Gita.

I have been accused of being elitist by putting this approach above the willful approach, but it is not I who does this. It is a simple fact of nature that puts it at the top:

The Three Stages of Life

EffortingThere are three stages of life: innocence, will and surrender. We all know about the innocence of childhood that comes first, and the use of the will that is necessary to navigate the second, but hardly anyone makes it to the third: surrender. This is so not because there is anything lacking in us, but because we don’t know about it. We don’t know what to look for, even though it is staring us in the face.

Relax 1The stage of life that is meant to be one of ‘surrender’ eventually knocks on everyone’s door. We send it away as irresponsible, or even dangerous. But it is neither. It is the third stage of life trying to happen, and, even though it normally arrives around the age of fifty, it can happen at any age. Because we reject it, we go through all kinds of difficulties that could otherwise be avoided. Reaching this stage of life requires that there has been some kind of spirituality at work that is True in its teachings. Otherwise one cannot expect to hear surrender knocking on the door.

The stage of surrender naturally sets in (or tries to) when one has had enough of efforting and trying to control things (using the will).

Surrender means not using your will. This may look like innocence, but there is a huge difference between innocence and surrender: with surrender, we are conscious of what is happening and why.

As a child, one is at the mercy of nature, and our inherent power of choice is given very few options. But now we have been through both innocence and adulthood, made proper use of the will, and are ready for surrender.

When the stage of surrender arrives, we are already experienced in making choices consciously and ethically, and now we can hear surrender knocking on our door. We are well primed for this third stage, and looking forward to more happiness and contentment than all the work and effort associated with willfulness could ever produce.

Spiritual Leadership

Are you a spiritual leader in hiding? How would you know? Take this short self-survey and let me know what you think:  

  • Deep down you feel that your life has a purpose, but you struggle with taking action.
  • You get inspired at the possibility of fulfilling your desire to be a spiritual leader, but you struggle with acting on it.
  • You see your relationships as catalysts for mutually beneficial growth, but feel a lack of support and fulfillment while being emotionally drained.
  • You know that you are meant to have a positive impact in the world in a big way, but you aren’t sure how to do this while maintaining your current responsibilities.

I am interested in hearing your story. On this page, under “Subject,” please write “Spiritual Leadership,” and tell me about it.

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


The Magic of Shaktipat, Part 1

Shaktipat is an initiation, the transmission of the spiritual power that ignites natural, spontaneous meditation and awakens kundalini.  

Shaktipat means ‘shakti-giving’, lighting one candle with another candle.  Shakti is like the ignition on your car. You may have a car with an ignition and lots of gas, but it’s not going anywhere until the key is turned in the ignition to start the car. Shaktipat is the turning of the key igniting the starter.

Once the ignition is switched on in your body, the life energy can get free. It will stay free only so long as you are not trying to control it yourself. In the surrendered state, this energy is not under the control of the mind and is at liberty to act on its own. This immediately or eventually leads to the natural and spontaneous awakening of the evolutionary force, kundalini.

Although shakti may in some cases be transmitted directly by the Divine, it is traditionally transmitted through someone who has been empowered to do so through a teaching lineage. This is because of the inevitable need, sooner or later, for guidance and information as one progresses. The initiator may be a spiritual teacher or someone the teacher has empowered to give initiation.

Shakti is transmitted by means of word, thought, touch or glance, and when received, accelerates spiritual growth and evolution automatically. In some instances however, shaktipat can occur days or weeks before or after an initiation by a spiritual teacher. For example, a fellow I once knew received shaktipat on the way to a teacher he had yet to meet. Only later did he realize what had happened to him. In another case, shaktipat was experienced weeks before the person even knew he would be finding his teacher. People who have experienced spontaneous shaktipat have, even if only for a moment, been in a state of surrender in order to have received it.

Shakti can be broadcast to many people at once or given directly to individuals. It can occur through initiation by a spiritual teacher, formally or informally, or directly from God, individually, in a group, privately or publicly. In the tradition of my own teaching lineage, direct shaktipat is given in the context of formal initiation into Sahaja Yoga, Surrender Meditation.

Once shaktipat has taken place, it remains for the recipient to know what to do with it. For this reason, shaktipat is associated with teaching lineages.  Books alone, or even the mind, cannot provide the necessary guidance.

When you surrender your body, your feelings, and your mind to God and get out of the way, your meditation is managed by God. What could be easier? What could be simpler? What could be more elegant?

From Living the Mysteries, Copyright ©1999,
Durga Ma and Terry Anne Preston, Ph.D.


Durga Ma

P.S. Looking at a post of one of my Followers, I found an excellent article on Kundalini. Have a look at Sohumm’s page on Kundalini Experiences, Part 1.

Go to the list of posts on KUNDALINI.

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