The Greatest Secret of All – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 67-71

Scripture - a book of secrets
Read It Here!

The Diamond Shloka

Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in Me alone, and I will give you freedom from all misfortunes. Grieve not. — Shloka 66

Alternate translation:
Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender only to Me, and I will give you liberation and the end of all sorrows. Fear not!

Requirements

67
This is never to be spoken of by you to one who is without austerity, never to one who is not devoted to Me or neglects seva at any time, never to one who is averse to practice and study, and never to one who does not love Me and protect this teaching.

1.  Austerity (tapasis the purification process brought about by yoga; the melting away of impurities, including one’s karma.

Tapas, usually translated as ‘austerity’, means ‘to burn, heat, melt or warm’. Tapas is brought about by yoga (union) for the purpose of burning away impurities, and putting things not in sync with God and the Real You where they belong. This applies to body, feelings, mind and karma.  

2. Devotion and seva exemplify love and respect for the guru.

Devotion (bhakti, ‘love, respect, commitment’) is love and commitment to God, and the performance of guru seva

Seva is selfless service, service without expectation of return benefits.

Guru’s Grace refers to receiving the initiations of the guru’s lineage. To the degree that one is devoted to guru and performs seva, one gets Guru’s Grace. Seva diminishes one’s karma and protects the guru and the guru’s oral teachings.

3. Study and practice refers to learning and putting the knowledge gained into practice on a regular basis.

Study means learning through the study of scriptures, the words of the Guru, and contemplation of scripture and the guru’s teachings. Study also refers to the study of oneself and one’s Self with self-honesty.

Practice is putting the knowledge gained through Study into action. The form this takes is determined by the Guru. Different gurus have different practices, all of which include meditation.

4. Love Me and protect this teaching means that one does not reveal this teaching to those who do not fit these requirements.

Protection refers to both the teachings and the guru. “Love Me and protect the teaching.” If you love God you also love everyone, and will therefore protect this secret from misunderstandings and misuse in order to protect them. This is achieved by abiding by the requirements.

Now that Lord Krishna has given Arjuna the meaning of the Diamond Shloka (verse 66 above), He tells him to keep it secret. But we have just read it! What can this mean?

A secret written in a book

A secret is something that is not understood. 

Now, having heard this secret, we can’t help wondering if we have missed something. Unless we can honestly say that we fit the above requirements ourselves, we will have missed it, and its meaning will remain hidden to us until we do. When we do meet these requirements, we will come to understand it.

Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender only to Me, and I will give you liberation and the end of sorrows. Fear not! — Shloka 66

68-69
One who teaches this supreme secret to My devotees, performs the highest act of devotion to Me, and surely comes to Me without a doubt. There is no one in the world who is dearer to Me than that one, and never will there be anyone on earth dearer to Me than that one who teaches this Greatest Secret.

Arjuna receives the secret

After all this hoo-hah about keeping this teaching a secret, He is telling Arjuna that teaching it is the biggest way to His heart! He says that “he who teaches this supreme secret to My devotees performs the highest act of devotion to Me.” He has even given Arjuna the standards for determining devotees who are qualified to received it (verse 67).

Once again we are faced with a paradox. If this teaching is secret, how can it be written down for anyone to read? Obviously it is written in such a way that only someone who has met the above criteria will be able to understand it. So have another look at these requirements, and decide for yourself how close you are to meeting them.

In these verses, Lord Krishna is also revealing the power of teaching as a part of one’s sadhanaOnce one has reached the stage in which he or she has received this teaching and gained adequate experience, the guru may appoint them to teach others. 

The best way to learn is to teach.

Such a devotee will ultimately become a teacher of the guru’s lineage and find themself in the Heart of God:

“There is no one in the world who is dearer to Me than that one, and never will there be anyone on earth dearer to Me than that one who teaches this Greatest Secret.”— Verse 69

70-71
And one who hears this sacred teaching with faith, by that one I am loved with the Knowledge Sacrifice.
It is certain that, free of ill-will and scoffing, the man who assimilates this knowledge is liberated and reaches the auspicious worlds of the righteous.

“The man” Though we usually see the word purusha to indicate a male person, here the word is nara, indicating a person who has reached an advanced stage of Yoga. This tells us that this stage is fundamental to the requirements for receiving the secret.

“Assimilates” Takes it in, understands and internalizes it.

“Without ill-will or scoffing” This is mentioned to point out the reaction of someone who hears this secret without meeting the four Requirements mentioned above. Unable to understand it, he may ridicule it and causing harm to those he tells. This further emphasizes the need to protect it in order to protect others from the harm caused by misunderstanding and derision.

“Liberated” Free. By using the word mukti instead of moksha, he is saying that, , even though one is liberated from the cycles of death and rebirth, this liberation is not the final liberation. This suggests that there are stages of liberation and other realms of which we may be unaware.

“The righteous” ‘Those whose actions are pure’; auspicious skill in actionvirtuous, pious’.

I have translated these last two verses (70-71) as the culmination of the teachings concerning the Diamond Shloka. In the next post, these same two verses will reveal another layer of intrigue, and become the prelude to the final verses of this chapter.

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

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Food, Sacrifice, Tapas & Giving – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 17, Vs 11-22

Faith

In these verses Lord Krishna is answering Arjuna’s question on Faith. He began His answer with Sacrifice in verses 2 – 10. The following verses are expansions on this answer and include not only sacrifice, but foods, kinds of austerities (tapas) and giving.

Previously:
Arjuna spoke: “What is the status of those who sacrifice without consideration of scriptural injunctions but sacrifice with faith? Is it sattva, rajas or tamas?” — chapter 17, verse 1.

Foods

7 – 10
Like sacrifices, austerities and gifts, the foods preferred by all are of three kinds. Now hear of these distinctions:

The kinds of foods mentioned in these three verses have their roots in times before the Indus Valley Civilization.Sattvic Foods

(8) Foods that are sweet, succulent, juicy, nourishing and promote life, energy, strength, health, happiness and satisfaction, are dear to the sattvic.

Foods that are sweet, etc. Refined sugar is not what is meant by ‘sweet’, but is considered to be ‘stale’.

Rajasic Foods(9) Foods that are very bitter, very sour, very salty, very hot, very pungent, very dry and burning, are dear to the rajasic, are unpleasant and cause misery and disease.

Too much bitterness, etc. In moderation, these kinds of foods are anti-inflammatory and healing. The admonition is to not take it too far and cancel their positive effects, as rajasic persons are inclined to do. 

(10) Foods that are stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten, foul, impure, and also the leavings of others, are dear to the tamasic.Tamasic Foods

Stale, etc. You may wonder how anyone could even eat these kinds of foods. Anandamayi Ma insisted that no food be left at the end of the day in Her ashram. On one occasion, She was found in the night eating left over flour to make her point. Old foods are dead foods. 

Sacrifice 

11 – Sattvic Sacrifice
Sacrifice that is offered according to scriptural injunction with the only thought, “this is given.” This sacrifice is sattvic.

Sacrifice offered without the purpose of fruits (without using your will to fulfill desires) is sattvic.

12 – Rajasic Sacrifice
But sacrifice offered out of pride and deceit, with the intent of personal benefit, that sacrifice is rajasic

13 – Tamasic Sacrifice
Sacrifice offered without faith and contrary to scriptural injunction, with no food offered, and with no mantras or giving, that sacrifice is tamasic.

Austerity (Tapas)

Austerity of Body

14
Honoring God, the twice-born (Brahmanas, God-people), gurus and sages, through purity, goodness, continence and non-violence, is austerity (tapas) of the body.

  • Twice-born – ‘born again’ or ‘reborn’.

Today, the usual translation of Brahmanas means priests. However, God-people are those who live in harmony with the Real. It is the purpose of their lives. Brahmanas (or Brahmins, temple priests) have more recently (a few thousand years ago) been set aside as the highest caste, but also rightly include scholars, teachers, gurus and sages.

Purity, goodness, continence and non-violence in all your actions is Tapas of Body. 

Austerity of Speech

15
The practice of reciting sacred texts, and the use of words that do not cause distress and are truthful, inoffensive and beneficial, is austerity (tapas) of speech. 

Tantric yogi reciting mantra then drinking whiskey from a skull.
Tantric yogi reciting mantra and drinking whiskey from a skull.

Reciting sacred texts also means reading and study of sacred texts. This was written at a time when not everyone could read and the memorization and recitation of scriptures was customary.

Tapas refers to purification by fire (energy). This is different than the elimination of impurities.

When you are careful not to cause distress when speaking, reciting or teaching, and being truthful in an inoffensive manner that is also beneficial, this is the Tapas of Speech.

Austerity of Mind

16
Clear-mindedness, gentleness, monitoring speech, self-restraint and pure-heartedness, is austerity of mind.

Clear-minded also means peaceful or serene. Monitoring speech also means silence. Self-restraint is self-control. Pure-heartedness is sincerity and empathy. 

Austerities of Body, Speech and Mind

17 – 19
(17) These three austerities — body, speech and mind — practiced with ardent faith by those without expectation of return benefit, are sattvic austerities that last.

(18) Austerities undergone with pride and for the purpose of gaining honor, respect and adoration, are rajasic, unsteady and impermanent.

(19) Austerities performed out of ignorance that torture oneself, or for the purpose of destroying or overpowering others, are tamasic.

Giving

20 – 22
Feeding the needy(20) Gifts given at the proper time and place, without expectation of reward, to worthy persons who have done no prior favor, with the only idea, “this is given,” is sattvic giving.

(21) But gifts given grudgingly, with the aim of personal benefit or the expectation of reward, is rajasic giving.

(11) Gifts given at the wrong time and place to the unworthy without paying respect, but with contempt, is said to be tamasic giving.

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

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Spiritual Leadership is not a replacement for anything you may already be doing, but will augment any spiritual avenues you already travel, and open up new vistas.

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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.

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The Divine & the Demonic, Bhagavad Gita, Ch 16, Vs 1 – 5

Heaven

 Because the Divine has already been given much attention, this chapter focuses mostly on the Demonic. Though it begins and ends with Divine characteristics, it addresses the outcomes of both. 


The Divine

1 – 3
The Blessed Lord spoke:
Fearless, pure-hearted, steadfast and firm in the knowledge and practice of uniting (yoga); generous, self-restrained, sacrificing, studying the scriptures and the self, observing austerities (tapas), sincere; 
non-injurious, truthful, free of anger, renounced, peaceful, non-slanderous; compassionate toward all beings, non-covetous, gentle, modest, dependable; vigorous, patient, content, pure, and free of malice and vanity. These are the characteristics of those endowed with Divine qualities.

Fearless (abhaya, ‘no fear’) also means safe and secure. For those of you who practice Surrender Meditation, your surrender is compromised when you do not feel safe and secure. Without this security there is always the possibility of interruption. At some level, you know this and will restrain your surrender, even subconsciously. Hence the need for complete privacy during surrender sadhana.

Self-restrained (dama) means self-controlled, and also, ‘home’. You need a place to live that is home to you, where you are alone and feel safe from interruptions in order to practice non-static meditation. Outside of your meditation however, self-control, the ability to restrain from actions that are inappropriate, will save you from violations of ahimsa (non-injury) that would otherwise impair your progress. This is difficult if you don’t have a meditation practice that is completely private and allows for the purification of such impulses.

Outside your meditation room you must always be mindful of ahimsa, non-violence of any kind. This requires a degree of self-control that will keep you safe from losing ground. This first universal spiritual principle is the most important principle of all and qualifies the remaining nine. Violating it restricts your progress and can even stop it completely.

Sacrificing is the act of surrendering yourself to Absolute God in meditation and accepting what God brings.

Study of the scriptures and the Self is the practice of self-honest self-study and mindfulness, as well as the study of Yoga scriptures, where you can monitor your progress. Studying the self will lead to the study of the Self and Self Realization. The study of yogic scriptures will lead you to mastery, independent freedom and liberation. 

Observing tapas (‘to melt or burn’) refers to the process of purification by fire (energy). You do not stop this purification process that is brought on by the practice of surrender Yoga. You may find yourself witnessing it, you may even want it to go away, or you may find it fascinating, but you don’t interfere with it. 

Free of Anger. Anger is thought to be a destructive emotion. But we know that suppression of emotions is harmful, so how do we manage this? In Surrender Meditation, we are securely private and we don’t worry about this; it is taken care of by the meditation. In Life however, in our normal state we must be self-controlled and able to not react in anger. We do this by observing our feelings and reactions.

This little trick of observing will cause a separation between you and the anger, and put you in a position of extreme power. By observing the anger, you curtail the compulsion to act on it — because it is impossible to be what you observe. Thus suppression is avoided, you have not violated ahimsa (non-violence), and both the other guy and your own progress are safe.  

You cannot be what you can see.

Renounced means essentially the same thing as sacrifice. What you are renouncing is your body, feelings and mind and the use of your will. You sacrifice these to Absolute God in meditation. Renouncing the role of the doer of action in this way, during this time, you accept whatever happens (or doesn’t happen). 

The Demonic

4
Deceit, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance, are qualities the Demonic possess.

Destination: Heaven or Hell

5
Divine qualities lead to liberation, whereas Demonic qualities lead to bondage. Do not worry, Arjuna, for you are born with divine virtues.

We said earlier that Arjuna represents you, so you are also being reassured.

  • Bondage – the state of being a slave
  • Liberation – freedom, including freedom from compulsory rebirths
Jesus and Krishna in heaven
Jesus & Krishna

We in the west have had it very good compared to most people on this planet. Those of you who have had it easy (are educated and not starving or enduring tortures) may opt for returning, believing that you have some control over your next life. So getting free of rebirth may not be of interest to you. But you should think again, and read other chapters, such as chapter fourteen, and clear this up for yourself.

If you insist on believing that you can control the nature of your next life, yes you can, but probably not the way you think. Your control over your future relies solely on your ability and willingness now, in this lifetime, to master the qualities of the Divine as mentioned in this and other chapters, by mastering the ten universal spiritual principles (Ten Keys to Success).

This chapter tells us what we need to know. It clearly says, Divine qualities lead to liberation (you are free), and Demonic qualities lead to bondage (you are a slave). It’s your choice. Saying “I don’t believe in this” is not going to change it.

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

The Fast Track

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


Make a Difference

Have a Positive Impact on the World

Become a Spiritual Leader

Spiritual Leadership will take you where you want to go while you advance and improve your life. In the process, you will influence the advancement of everyone on Earth, and even the Earth itself.

Spiritual Leadership is not a replacement for anything you may already be doing, but will augment any spiritual avenues you already travel, and open up new vistas.

If you would like to know more about this program, please contact me at durgama.com/contact 

Helping you advance spiritually is my mission.
Saving the world is the result of our success.
Durga Ma

He who hesitates is lost.
Swift and resolute action leads to success.
Self-doubt is a prelude to disaster.
Joseph Addison


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

The Whole World Is One Family