Lord Krishna Returns to His Gentle Human Form – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 11, Vs 47 – 51

Lord Krishna and Radha
Lord Krishna in His gentle form with His beloved Radha

This post addresses the Lord’s affection for Arjuna, spiritual practices that will not produce the vision of His Cosmic Form, the impact of tapas, and Krishna’s return to his gentle human form to pacify Arjuna.

In the story of the Mahabharata war, this Bhagavad Gita 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.

47
The Blessed Lord spoke:

Because I am pleased with you (Arjuna), by means of my Yoga Power I have shown you this glorious and infinite Cosmic Form of Mine, which has never been seen before by anyone but you.

Anyone other than Arjuna? Remember that Arjuna represents You.

48
Not by the knowledge-sacrifice or recitation, not by giving, not even by fearless kriyas or formidable tapas can I be seen in this form in the world of men by anyone other than you, O Hero of the Kurus.

What Krishna is saying is that the vision of the Cosmic Form will not happen as a result of these many well-known practices. These practices are not being faulted, but noted as ineffectual for the purpose of gaining the vision of the Cosmic Form, which, by now, you may be thinking to be a gift you do not especially wish for. However, if you do, the next few posts will be helpful.

Knowledge Sacrifice – the study and teaching of scriptures

Oral recitation – recitation of the scriptures

Giving – charity, imparting, teaching

Kriyas – spontaneous purifying actions occurring in meditation, ‘ritual’

Tapas – the heat that melts away impurities

Knowledge Sacrifice. We have learned that sacrifice is synonymous with surrender as it applies to Yoga, but here it is attached to a word that means ‘true and sacred knowledge’ (veda). These written teachings are scriptures; the ‘sacrifice’ is the study of these texts — one surrenders to Truth as found in these writings, and they in turn present their meanings.

Oral RecitationLong ago, it was customary to memorize scriptures for the purpose of their preservation, learning and teaching, and for contemplation with regard to one’s sadhana (practices) and daily living. The oral recitation of these texts was a common practice.

Giving is a spiritual practice for gaining merit through seva (selfless service) and dana (gifts, donations, charity). With it one acquires positive karma that can be used for improving one’s life and for doing yoga sadhana, and increasing one’s chance of attaining heaven or liberation.

Kriya is often translated as ‘ritual’. Rituals are practiced in temples, in the home, and in meditation, or as meditation.

In surrender yoga, kriya (‘performed action’) refers to actions that arise spontaneously in Natural Surrender Meditation. These actions occur for the purpose of purification, and are performed not by the meditator, but by Shakti Herself: Divine Energy.

This meditation is so profound because it is based entirely on Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Truth, the way things really are): “Even though acting one does nothing.”

In the beginning, the meditator is confused about who or what is performing these actions, but with sufficient practice and the surfacing of amazing new experiences, the meditator gradually comes to understand the source of these actions, these ‘rituals’.

Tapas. As a result of one’s surrender and the occurrence of kriyas, tapas begins automatically. The body leaves behind the coldness that prompted a dozen blankets, and one begins to feel very hot. This is the advent of tapas: ‘to heat, burn or melt’. Now impurities are beginning to get transformed or burned away within the body rather than just getting removed. Over time, the heat is turned up and one’s tapas becomes formidable, heralding the arrival of Kundalini at Her new home at the 6th chakra.

In more recent times, some yogis have taken up tapas as a practice of a most unusual and extreme nature:

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We in the West may see these people as indulging in mortification of the flesh and look down on them and their practices. But we must remember the earlier teachings about thinking only of God/Truth at all times. These men and women have taken this teaching seriously and given up everything for God. They wear no clothes, accept what comes for their sustenance, and maintain tapasya at all times. By living their tapas they live in constant awareness of God. I have the deepest respect for them. Because of our all-inclusive presence within each other as beings, their tapasya is helping to keep this world in tact and your life better than it might otherwise be.  औं नम: शिवाय (Om namah Shivaya).

49
Having seen this terrible form of Mine, be not afraid or bewildered. With your fears dispelled, now see my previous form and be pleased once again! 

  • Terrible form – the Cosmic form described in verses 9-31.

50
Samjaya spoke:
Speaking in this way to Arjuna, the Son of Vasudeva (Krishna) revealed again his gentle two-armed form. The Great Souled One, resuming his previous form of beautiful appearance, pacified the fearful Arjuna.

51
Arjuna spoke:
Seeing this, Your gentle two-armed human form once again, O Agitator of Men, my thoughts are composed and I am restored to my normal consciousness.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one you really are),
Durga Ma
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The Power of God (and You) is Unlimited – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 10, Vs 40-42

The Power Of God Everywhere

The Unlimited Power of God & You

The manifestations of God in the world, in you, and in the entire universe.

The eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Arjuna and his childhood friend and Guru, Lord Krishna. Arjuna has asked Him to explain how He, as Absolute God, exists within Creation (beginning with verses 19-20, “God in You”):

40
There is no limit to My divine, super-human power, Scorcher of the Foe. These accounts I have mentioned are but a small portion of my manifestations extending everywhere.

Scorcher of the Foe. Now Lord Krishna addresses Arjuna as Scorcher of the Foe. The Sanskrit means ‘destroying the enemy’ specifically through heat, or burning. But who or what is the enemy? and what is meant by burning?

The enemy refers to the enemy of yoga. The enemy of yoga is ‘impurities’, things that aren’t where they belong, and which cause interference in achieving yoga (union). Because you are devoted and persevering, the enemy of yoga is your enemy, the infidel.  

The word for heat or burning is tapas, meaning ‘to consume by fire, or heat’, which points to destroying impurities as opposed to eliminating them. This is the job of Prana, the Life Energy in the body. Because this energy really is your life, it is motivated because keeping you alive is its job.

This energy becomes quite fierce during the hatha yoga stage of yoga sadhana (sun-moon union practice), whereas in earlier stages of this practice, one becomes very cold as the cooling energy (apana) rids the body of impurities through elimination. But for a Scorcher of the Foe, they are destroyed. The implication here is that Arjuna is now engaged in hatha yoga as taught by Lord Krishna in this and earlier chapters.

41 – 42
Whatever exists through My superhuman power, you should understand with certainty, that its existence originates from a mere fraction of My power. But what is all this to you, Arjuna?  Just know that the entirety of Creation is firmly situated in a mere fraction of Myself.

A mere fraction. Makes you think, doesn’t it. This is Absolute God, having taken embodiment, speaking to Arjuna (and to us) for his benefit (and ours).

What is beyond this Creation that we don’t see? As beings, we are living in and aware only of this small fraction. More to the point, we are living in and aware of only a small fraction of this small fraction! Doesn’t this make you want to expand your consciousness? I don’t know about you, but I have always found this to be very compelling. I have spent the better part of my life in pursuit of it, and have had a few peaks by practicing the Yoga taught in these chapters by Lord Krishna.

“But what is all this to you, Arjuna?” Lord Krishna wonders why Arjuna is forever wanting to have Him explain more and more about Himself. But we know the secret. We know that Arjuna has become enraptured with listening to Lord Krishna’s revelations. It is not just what He is teaching, but that He is teaching it to Arjuna, speaking to him, His attention fixed on him. Arjuna is wrapped in this loving cocoon of joy and doesn’t want it to end.

For Arjuna, whose banner (standard) is the Great Devotee, Hanuman, nothing could bring him more happiness. So he keeps coming up with questions for his Guru, Lord Krishna, in order to retain his hold on the divine joy of devotion under the very best situation of all: direct contact, direct experience of God.

The Eight Superhuman Powers

1  अणिमन् animan, the power of becoming as minute as the most discrete particle (smaller than an atom); the power to move unobserved; the power to disappear.

2  लघिमन् laghiman, the power of lightness, the power to treat an otherwise serious matter with lightness or humor (traditionally, becoming lighter than a feather: weightlessness) 

3  प्राप्ति prapti, the power to penetrate everywhere (omnipresence) and acquire or attain anything (like touching the moon with the tip of the finger)

4  प्राकाम्य prakamya, the power of irresistible fiat (proclaiming that “it is so”, and so it is—your word is cause; you name it, you claim it)

5  महिमन् mahiman, the power to become Great; greatness, magnitude, might, majesty and glory (the magical power of bigness)

6  ईशिता ishiti, supreme power and sovereignty (independence)

7  वशिता vashita, the unlimited power of irresistible charisma (the power of overcoming or subduing to one’s own will by magical means, i.e., fascination, bewitchment, subjugation)

8  कामावसायिता kamavasayita, the power of mastery over all desires (mastery over something means that is no longer the master over you)

NOTE:  The sequential unfoldment of these powers is best understood by reading them from the bottom up.

End of Chapter Ten

Vibhuti Yoga – The Yoga of Power

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that you really are),
Durga Ma
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The Power of Devotion – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 9, Vs 26-28

“One who offers in devotion to Me, a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I enjoy that pure-hearted devotee’s offering. Therefore whatever you do, eat, sacrifice or give, and whatever tapas you perform, do that as an offering to Me. In this way, you will be liberated from the bondage of action and its good and evil effects. Thus engaging yourself in Sannyasa Yoga, you will be set free and come to Me.” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, Verses 26- 28 

In these verses, Lord Krishna defines Sannyasa Yoga—Union (yoga) through renunciation (sannyasa)—as Devotion to God. It is the power of devotion that sets the true seeker on the path to liberation and union with God. For this reason, he seeks a guru with whom he can practice devotion while learning how to practice yoga correctly.

The offering of a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, is a devotional practice. When the state of the one making the offering is one of pure devotion, the offering is enjoyed.

The Sanskrit word for ‘enjoy’ also means ‘pervade’. The devotee whose offering is given with devotion, is pervaded by God. This is the source of the custom of pranama (bowing down) and placing gifts at the guru‘s feet. This custom is based on the recognition that God, Guru and the real Self are the same.

We have been getting directions for the yoga practice of surrendering ourselves to Absolute God in meditation. This was referred to as ‘sacrifice’. Now our attention moves to the sacrificial offering as a very powerful practice that we can do outside of the meditation room: Whatever we do, we offer to God with loving devotion. This simple form of surrender to God is another form of ‘renunciation’.

“Thus engaging yourself in Sannyasa Yoga, you will be set free and come to Me.”
When you renounce not only the fruits of your action, but the actions themselves, this is ‘renunciation’. It is easily achieved through devotion.

If you cannot or will not renounce your sense of doership of actions, you renounce their results, their fruits. Persons traveling both the path of the will and the path of surrender will benefit from the surrender of the fruits of their actions to God. But for those on the willful path, here is a little known secret: Success in this will take you straight to surrender yoga, for this is what real devotion and renunciation truly are—surrender to God.

It is the Power of Devotion that makes full and complete surrender to God, possible, and it is this that brings about your liberation and ultimate union with God.

NOTE to practitioners of Experiential Surrender Meditation: This practice done during your daily life, will save you from accumulating karma and slowing your progress. Even though you have acted, the renunciation of your actions and/or their fruits with loving devotion, will nip the accumulation of karma in the bud. You may even find that you directly experience God’s pleasure in your offering, a blissful experience you will never forget. 

The specific spheres of action in which this instruction is aimed are “whatever you eat, sacrifice, give in charity, and whatever tapas you perform.” These specific actions are mentioned because they give the best results. All these actions done as acts of your own volition, you offer to God.  

“Whatever you eat” refers to anything you consume, or ingest. This is most obviously food, but applies to anything you intentionally take in—the enjoyment of the music, the fragrance of a flower, the pleasure of a good massage, a day at the gallery. We take in many things in a day, but it is those things we take in of our own volition that are the most effective offerings to God, your chosen ideal or Guru. 

“Whatever you sacrifice” refers to what you offer to God. For instance, you may surrender the food you are about to eat, some difficulty you are having in life, a pleasure you enjoy, a decision you have to make, a desire you want to be rid of.

“Whatever you give” refers to gifts and services to others: to Guru, your church, a charity, persons in need, etc. When you give, give it as if you were giving it to God, because you are.

The chosen tapas (austerity) of this sadhu is to live only on what comes his way and to own nothing, including clothes. His body is smeared with ashes.
The chosen tapas (austerity) of this sadhu is to live only on what comes his way and to own nothing, including clothes.

“Whatever tapas you perform” refers to your efforts toward spiritual progress: meditation, selfless service, mantra, prayer, etc. Tapas (‘austerity’) means ‘to burn’ and refers to purification, a direct effect of this renunciation (surrender).

Living your life this way you not only up the ante on your progress, but your attention will always be on God, so it’s money in the bank. 

28
In this way, you will be liberated from the bondage of action (karma) and its good and evil effects. Thus engaging yourself in Sannyasa Yoga, you will be set free and come to Me.

Sannyasa Yoga
Union (yoga) is achieved through renunciation (sannyasa).

  • Renunciation – To commit to, to entrust, lay down, abandon, surrender
  • Yoga – Union with God

The Purpose of Sannyasa Yoga
Committing yourself (devotion) to abandoning self-doing by entrusting all actions and their results to God in order to achieve union with God.

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