Three Kinds of Resolve – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 33-35


Now hear the three kinds of intelligence and resolve, together and separately, according to the gunas, Conqueror of Wealth — Verse 29

Conqueror of Wealth – By calling Arjuna Conqueror of Wealth, Lord Krishna is saying to Arjuna that intelligence and resolve are forms of wealth that he possesses.

Intelligence (buddhi) – intellect, reason, the ability to differentiate, discern and judge. Buddhi is the power of the mind that forms ideas, imaginations, conceptions, and knows how to differentiate and figure things out.

Resolve (dhṛtes) – standing firm in the course of your practice; courageously holding resolute determination without wavering. You don’t quit when the going gets rough, or when you aren’t getting what you think you want.



33 — Sattvic Resolve
That resolve by which the functions of the mind, the vital breath and the senses are held unwaveringly in yoga, is sattvic.

  • Mind (manas) – the part of the mind that receives perceptions.
    • Attention – the flow of consciousness to perceptible ‘objects’.
  • Vital breath (prana) – the Life Energy that keeps you alive.
    • Attention and Life Energy always travel together.
  • The senses (indriyas) – the abilities that you have to hear, see, touch, taste and smell.
  • Held (avyabhicharin, ‘steady’) – withdrawn, stilled and concentrated in one place in the body . When the senses are withdrawn from external objects and steadily concentrated at the throat chakra without wavering, the mind and Prana follow suit. When this is accomplished, one experiences pratyāharā.
  • Yoga (divine union) – the equanimity of samadhi (sameness) and direct experience (experience without any via). Pratyāharā is the turning point of Yoga.
  • In verse 30, we discussed the two fundamental paths (pravṛitti and nivṛitti) in which the first, the use of the will is applied, and in the second it is not. We can look at sattvic resolve either way. This verse is generally translated for the path of the will (pravṛitti marga). Now let’s see what it looks like in terms of nivṛitti marga, the path of non-willful action, surrender to Absolute God:

Determined RenunciateWith the path of the will (pravṛitti marga), to meditate you use your will to (1) withdraw your attention internally, (2) hold your mind still, (3) and hold the Life Energy still.

In the non-willful path (nivṛitti marga), you do none of these. You don’t have to. You have realized through your experience with non-willful meditation that, if you truly surrender yourself to God, God will manage your meditation and take care of all this, and the senses, the mind and Life Energy will spontaneously stop moving.

When this happens you have turned a corner in your meditation. This is known as pratyahara, the magical moment in deep meditation when the door to samadhi opens. In the early stages of samadhi there are journeys filled with unimaginable adventures, places and beings, all wondrous to behold.

  • Samadhi – joining together, uniting (yoga), a unified state of mind, equanimity.

34 — Rajasic Resolve
But the firm hold to duty, desire and wealth, with attachment and desire for the results of actions, is rajasic.

Desire produces willful action. I have said this before, but be reminded that this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is what most people do. It is the norm. Everyone likes to be part of the norm in order to be accepted. But this comes at a cost … you don’t move on to the next phase of life in which your norm becomes the non-willful path of nivṛitti marga. If you do not move on to this, your progress will come to an end. If you do, you will regard your previous phase of pravṛitti marga as a blessing that got you to this place.

I have been accused of being elitist in my teaching of surrender yoga. But it is not a matter of one path being better than the other. It is a matter of one coming after the other, and which is most suitable for each individual according to their personal dharma and their stage of live (see verse 30 for more on this subject). 

35 — Tamasic Resolve
That resolve by which one holds on to the intoxication of imaginings, fears, grief and despair, is tamasic.

Described in this way, tamasic resolve seems to exclude any spiritual path at all. One is encumbered with cravings and sorrows to the point of being so completely distracted by them, that it is almost impossible to see anything else. This is a hard place to be. But one can use imagination to counter fears, sorrows and despair. The problem is that the tamasic person often has little or no contact with others other than those who are also living in this dark place, and so does not make this simple discovery.

A cave for a home is sheer determination!
A cave for a home.

Most people I have come across who are in this bind, cannot allow themselves to get out of it. Just finding a small interlude between traumas is difficult. They are ‘attached’ to this state of darkness. It is ‘who they are’. Identified with this state as who they are, they cannot imagine it changing or disappearing, for this would mean that they would disappear and cease to exist.    

Attachment is not only applicable to desires for likable things, but one may be attached to something not in their best interest and not even realize it. 

Perhaps you have had times like this and can identify with it to some degree. If so, try to imagine what it would be like to live in this state all the time, and allow your empathy to go to these suffering people with the love and compassion they so badly need.

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

The Field of the Body – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 13, Vs 4-7

Abstract of the Human Body
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The Field of the Body: What It Is and What It Does

4 – 5
Now I shall tell you briefly about the Field: what it is, its characteristics, what and how modifications take place within it, its origin, and who the knower of the Field is, and his powers. 

  • The Field – The body
  • The Knower of the Field – You

Pleasingly sung in many different ways by different sages, with evidence coming from founded proofs as revealed in the scriptures:

  • Founded proofs – direct experience of Truth in meditation
  • Revealed in the scriptures – written texts on founded proofs

All this was known to the sages in ancient times. In those days, when not everyone could read, this information was recorded by means of chant and song and passed down to preserve it and be easily remembered. Once these teachings were written down, they were called shastras, what we westerners would call ‘scriptures’. We read them and are able to understand them to some degree through contemplating them, and prove them to ourselves through meditation. 

6 – Characteristics of the Field
The five great elements, ego, intelligence, the imperceptible, and also the eleven senses and the five objects of sense…

7 Modifications of the Field
ttraction and aversion, ease and dis-ease, the body as a whole, consciousness and will, constitute the Field and its modifications. 

The Field

The Body

Five elements are earth, water, energy, air and space.

Ego, the core of the mind, ahamkara in Sanskrit, which means “I do”. 

Intelligence is buddhi, the ability of the mind to differentiate, discriminate and make judgements.

The imperceptible refers to anything that exists that cannot be perceived by means of the senses, and anything in a potential, undeveloped state.  

The eleven senses are the five sense organs (eyes, ears, etc.), the five organs of action (hands, feet, etc.) and the mind.

The five fields of action of the senses are the sense objects (anything you can smell, taste, touch, see or hear).

Modifications of the Field

Changes that take place within the Field of the body

Attraction and aversion – like and dislike.

Ease and dis-ease – happiness and misery.  

The body itself – The actions of the body.  

Consciousness – attention, the ability to perceive, to know. 

Will – intention; using your inherent power of choice to make choices; holding on to something or trying to get or keep it. 

Modifications are changes (actions) within the Field of the body. Today we look to science, but the sages of old knew to keep things simple if they were going to try to talk about it to others. And that is what they did—they taught, and they were not ignorant of science. (There is a word in Sanskrit that can only be translated as discrete, or ‘as small as an atom’.)


The will is always motivated by desire and attachment, creates both good and bad karma, and imbalances the body.

Willpower = grasping

Associating ‘will’ with the body is suggestive of its association with ‘doing’. The Sanskrit word here also means ‘holding, seizing, or keeping’, as well ‘intention, resolution and command’. It is easy to see that they are all connected. 

Willpower‘Will’ is using your inherent power of choice to make choices, resolutions, determinations, decisions, intentions. We make choices in order to make satisfactory determinations based on what we think will fulfill a desire. Desires are always the result of attraction or aversion. You use your will to get or avoid. This is what a desire is and does. 

Desires are always the result of attraction or aversion.
Will is always associated with a desire.

The Field is the body, so we can’t assume that these actions are limited to the mind, so they must be actions that occur with or in the body or the brain. This will make more sense if you remember that you have a brain because you have a mind (it’s not the other way around):


As a Divine Individual you have the power of choice, or free will. When this power is engaged you are in a state of choosing to choose. This is ‘will’. The only purpose of will, choosing to choose, is to get or keep something or someone that you are attracted or attached to. You have the intention to do this, and you use resolution and command to succeed at it. It is all “will”. Remember these?:

  • Attraction and aversion, like and dislike.
  • Ease and dis-ease, happiness and misery.

These are what motivate you to engage your power of choice to get what you want so that you can be happy. But here’s the rub: You can’t keep your success in place indefinitely because of the dual nature of this world. Attraction and aversion, and ease and dis-ease, are pairs of opposites and are therefore bound to change.


Natural Surrender Meditation is active meditation.

Swami Kripalu in MeditationThrough our efforts to advance spiritually we eventually understand this, and begin to try to rise above this trap. No matter how you phrase it, the only solution is to stop choosing to choose — stop using your will to try to get what you want. You must choose not to chose, and surrender to Absolute God (by any name) in meditation.

Surrender Yoga

I say “in meditation” because you won’t succeed at this on the street (if you think you can, you are kidding yourself), and this isn’t the place for it anyway. So you surrender to God/Truth in meditation, and That will meditate you and gradually bring you out of this trap.

By practicing this for an hour or two a day, you will come to see not only God, but your Real Self, and discover that the bliss you experience is the nature of Absolute God and the Real You. And it is always Good, for Absolute God is Absolute Goodness, and will always make you Happy. The question is: Are you willing to take the time for yourself every day in order to achieve this Happiness? How could you not?

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

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