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Obstacles to Meditation- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:60

The aggressive and tormenting senses forcibly carry away the mind, Kunteya (Arjuna), even of a man of wisdom and understanding. —  Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 60

We have seen ‘what lies beyond’, reached ‘the Highest’, and have become established in wisdom and understanding, but apparently we have not seen the last of this ever-present obstacle, the pesky senses. And to top it off, even though we try to avoid the eventuality of the mind becoming too active to slip into pratyahara, all our efforts appear to be doomed to failure.

Or are we jumping to conclusions here? When we take everything into consideration, we have to admit that under ordinary circumstances the senses are going to continue doing their jobs of bringing information into the mind in the form of images, sounds, smells, etc. This verse is reassuring us that the senses are going to carry on with their business in spite of our continued success.

Now that we have achieved pratyahara and entered the temple of true meditation and samadhi, what the senses have to offer is nothing by comparison. Although our attention will be attracted to objects of sense, we are not compelled to become attached and desirous of having them. If they come, they come. If they are pleasant, enjoyment is inevitable, but whether they are pleasant or unpleasant is irrelevant to us. It’s just another day on the job for the senses.

The mind gets its data from the senses.

The Power of the Senses

After learning that reaching true meditation is not as simple as sitting down like a pretzel and telling your mind to shut up, you find that even when you have ‘seen the Highest’ your mind still gets carried away by the senses.

As the senses continue to do their jobs of keeping you informed, they continue to attract your attention and bring information into the mind. This shows how powerful you really are. You have these five senses because you have these five inherent powers, five powers of perception and knowledge. These powers of yours have manifested on the physical plane to supply you with information that you need to navigate life, but the powers from which they derive are still what they are: powers.

The only problem is that you have identified with your ‘chariot’, your body, which includes the senses. Your power to know by means of your five powers of perception is very real, but the senses themselves are a part of nature. Trying to control them is trying to control nature. If that’s how you are attempting to deal with them, good luck. Try this Solution instead, or try these Backup Solutions which also work as a stand-alone solutions.

The Mind in Meditation

It is a common dilemma that thoughts and desires arise in meditation. We become disturbed by this, wondering if there is something wrong because the mind constantly thinks about desires, the grocery list, and other silly things, and we become disenchanted with meditation or feel like failures. What this verse is saying is, “Don’t worry about it. This is just nature doing its thing. It has nothing to do with you.”

Will and Surrender

It is said in Yoga that to continue to progress, one gives their powers back to the Source, submits them to God. 

Your own willful efforts can take you only so far. Remember the experiment where you pushed your stiffened arms against the insides of a door frame? You can only maintain this for so long, and when you finally let go and walk away, there is a moment of surrender, albeit unintentional, in which you step away from the door and your arms freely and effortlessly float upward. It wasn’t your willful effort that freed your arms to float, it was that moment when you gave up and surrendered.

Using your will outside the meditation room is pushing your arms against the doorframe. When you go into meditation and surrender yourself to God, you step away from the door and your ‘arms’ float upward effortlessly. This is what Arjuna has done. He has put God in the driver’s seat of his chariot.

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to Truth!),
Durga Ma

 


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Three Kinds of Intelligence – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 29-32

Intelligence - rajas, tamas, sattva

Intelligence (buddhi) – intellect, reason, differentiation, discernment, judgement; buddhi is the power of the mind that forms ideas, imaginations, conceptions, and knows how to figure things out.

Resolve (dhṛtes) – standing firm in the course of your practice; holding, resolute, courageous, determined and unwavering. You don’t quit when the going gets rough, or when you aren’t getting what you think you want.

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

Intelligence

Buddhi – Reason, Discernment and Judgment

30 — Sattvic Intelligence (correctly discerning)
That intelligence which knows willful action from non-willful action, what is one’s duty and what is not, what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, and what is binding and what is liberating, is sattvic intelligence.

  • Willful action (pravṛitti) – acting to fulfill desires
  • Non-willful action (nivṛitti) – renunciation of action as one’s own doing
  • Duty (kārya) – required action
  • Not duty (ākārya) – action that is not required

Two Paths

Two Paths

There are two fundamental paths of spiritual advancement: pravritti marga and nivritti marga (marga means ‘path’).

The first of these, pravritti marga, the path of the will, is the first path you follow from childhood into adulthood, under the guidance of Guru (your parents are your first gurus, and later your teachers are your gurus). 

Ideally, during this time, your spiritual path, your career path and your life path work together. You learn and practice universal spiritual principles that act as the foundation for sustained success in all three — spiritual, career and life in general. During this time, you practice these principles in daily life, find and implement your career, have a family, and practice the teachings of Guru (a teacher that knows the way and can guide you in this). This prepares you for nivritti marga.

Nivritti marga, the path of non-willful action, is called the path of renunciation. What is being renounced is your sense of action as your own doing. This is not a path in which one remains involved with worldly duties and responsibilities. The only required action is the practice of a teaching lineage in which surrender (by any name) to Absolute God (by any name) is the main practice. This God-practice, which Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna, is your only ‘required’ action.

Old man meditatingThis new lifestyle begins around the age of 50, or when your first grandchild is born, which ever comes first. Because the main practice needs proper conditions, you seek out a proper place and go to that place to live. You are not necessarily estranged from your family, but your Guru and your practice are your first and most important priorities.

Once some headway is gained in your practice, you become experienced and Guru may ask you to teach others. When one will be ready for this path varies from person to person. The age of 50 is a rule of thumb based on what is natural for most people. Here I would cite the exception of Jesus, who began at a very early age. 

31 — Rajasic Intelligence (prone to flaw or confusion)
Intelligence that is incorrect in the distinction between righteousness and unrighteousness, what is right and what is wrong, is rajasic intelligence, Son of Prita.

  • Righteousness (dharma) – what is considered to be proper action; right or correct action (kārya).
  • Unrighteousness (adharma) – that which is considered to be improper action; wrong or incorrect action (ākārya).

32 — Tamasic Intelligence (incorrect, backwards)
Intelligence that is enveloped in darkness and imagines unrighteousness to be righteousness and has everything backwards, is tamasic intelligence.

When one understands righteousness and unrighteousness backwards and the opposite of Truth, one’s intelligence is tamasic.


You are probably wondering which of these three kinds of intelligence applies to you. But in truth, we all have a little bit of all three, though one will probably be more prominent than the others. Suffice it to say that we can all profit by aiming at complete sattvic intelligence until that time as we attain full enlightenment, which comes by means of the God-practice Lord Krishna is teaching. 

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

 

The Five Causes of Action – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 13-16

Cause (disciple) and Effect (guru)
Cause —> Effect

14 – 15
The seat of action, the agent, the instrument, the many different kinds of actions, and the fifth, the will. No matter what action one undertakes with body, speech or mind, whether usual or unusual, these are the five components of action.

Reincarnation“Whether usual or unusual.” Usual or unusual also means ‘proper’ or ‘improper’. He is saying that what He is teaching here applies to action, regardless of whether an act is right or wrong, proper or improper, or understood for what it is or not. In other words, this is solely about ACTION itself and its five constituents.

“With body, speech or mind” reminds us that action takes place with the mind, the body, and the emotions and speech.

The Five Components of Action

  • The seat of action (adhiṣhṭhāna, ‘standing at hand’) – the origin or starting point, i.e., where the action is coming from and what prompts it.
  • The agent of action – the performer of the action.
  • The instrument of action – is the means of action, i.e., the body, senses and mind.
  • The action – the action itself, which is of many and various kinds.
  • The willthe faculty by which an action is determined and initiatiated. 

Will

Cause & EffectYou are constantly exercising your power every moment, because you are making choices every moment. This is precisely why you don’t see yourself as having power, and why you are constantly trying to get it. But this is a losing battle because you already have it, and you already use it.

By using your power of choice to make choices, you are “choosing to choose.” This is called ‘will’. Will leads to bondage and compulsory returns (rebirths) where you have another chance to get it right, but will have no control over where you’re going to land: “desirable, undesirable or mixed.

Surrender

When you use your power of choice to “choose not to choose,” this is called ‘surrender’. When you surrender yourself to God (by any name) you are worshipping God/Truth. Surrender is also called ‘sacrifice’ — you are the offering, the human sacrifice.

You always get what you surrender to.

In Surrender Meditation, you choose not to choose, but to leave everything — body, mind and feelings — to Absolute God/Truth. Having made this choice, your meditation is then directed by God/Truth for your benefit, and the choosing is over for the duration of your meditation period.

When things happen in meditation, such as movements of the body, mind or feelings, at first you have to ‘stand on faith’ that this activity was not of your doing. You take it on faith because, at first, it will feel like it is you doing everything. If you persist with this meditation, it will ultimately lead you to the highest enlightenment: the realization that WHAT you truly are does nothing and never has.

16
This being the case, he who, due to small intellect, looks upon himself as the Agent does not truly see, and realizes nothing.

In this verse, Lord Krishna is saying that once you understand what action is, and what you really are, you will no longer see yourself as a doer (agent).

Karma, cause & effect
Karma – Cause and Effect

He is clarifying the apparent contradictions of non-doing, i.e., “How can I do the right thing without being a doer?” “How can I have a meditation practice and somehow manage not to experience myself as the one doing it?” Etc. But all action is, is the gunas of Nature interacting.

All action occurs in Nature. You are not Nature.

Keep in mind that the real Self is ‘Absolute’, and, as we learned earlier in the Gita, the Absolute is The Eternal Non-Doer. Beings see themselves as performing actions, but all action is performed by the gunas of Nature. The Real You never does anything, and never has. The real Agent then, is the gunas.

Even though you perform action, it is really the gunas that are the cause of it.

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