Omniscience – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 9, Vs 15

“Those who engage in sacrifice by offering wisdom, are worshipping Me and are together with Me as the one, the many, and facing in all directions.” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, Verse 15

Four Faces - The ability to see in all directions simultaneously. Unlimited consciousness, perception, knowing. Omniscience.
Four Faces – The ability to see in all directions simultaneously. Unlimited consciousness, perception, knowing. Omniscience.

First we know and then we do, but the Divine has no limitations concerning either, but sees everywhere (the faces) and performs all actions (the arms). This state is indicative of the final form of our journey to God/Truth and liberation from the cycles of death and rebirth.

The wisdom sacrifice has many forms, and all are forms of worship. They differ in their practice, but they all lead to the Ultimate. One obvious form is the passing of the teachings of one’s lineage to others who will in turn, pass them on to their own disciples. This was discussed in earlier chapters as the means of protecting the teachings from loss and misunderstanding. Anyone who reaches a certain point of advancement will naturally experience this “wisdom sacrifice” as a necessary and significant part of their own journey. 

As Bhgavan Jnaneshvara said in answer to the question of why he taught, he replied, “A teacher teaches for their own reasons.”

Alternate translation:
By the wisdom sacrifice, they worship Me as the Absolute formless One, and as the Many and diverse, omniscient, omnipresent and not different than themselves.

Whether one or many, God is essentially Absolute. The practitioner of yoga is not disturbed by this apparent dichotomy, but recognizes it as Truth. God, whatever your word is for That, has no limitations and cannot be confined to the either-or philosophies and belief systems of mortals.

Remember that ‘sacrifice’ is the offering of oneself wholly to Absolute God—it is a spiritual practice, a ‘worship’. The form this worship takes is the subject of this chapter.

“As the one, the many, and facing in all directions”
This teaching is seen in murtis (statues of gods) whose heads have faces on all sides—they are “facing in all directions”. This is a reference to their omniscience. They are individuals with unlimited perception. Their consciousness is not limited to a body or a form. They know all, they are everywhere, they know everyone and know themselves to be not different than That (all Others).

God (the one) and the Many (everyone) are all the same (not different). That this teaching is given in the context of revealing The Secret of Yoga implies that yoga is the action that brings one to this Reality through experience. The trick here is to remember that, however it may seem, this action is not of your own doing, but is the provenance of Shakti, the power of God/Truth.

One cannot successfully take this position without the absolute privacy and seclusion afforded by Experiential (Surrender) Meditation, by any name. In the privacy of your own meditation room, when you offer yourself to God in surrender, actions will happen and you will come to understand that what you always thought of as your own doing has been Shakti all along.

But what about everything you do outside of the meditation room? The world is called an “illusion” for a reason. However, being a divine individual at the core, you have the power of choice. The only limitation to this is that you have only two basic options regarding this power: you can either use it or not. Outside the meditation room you use it all the time. This is called “will”.

In the meditation room, you delegate God to run everything and get out of the way by giving yourself to God. This is called “surrender”, and it is this that prevents and eradicates karma and brings about liberation. The best you can hope to gain through the use of the will is some good karma for the future. (There is one exception to this that is coming up in this chapter, verses 26-28)

As long as you are using your will, you are creating karma, but in your meditation room, you are liberated. In the outside world, however much you may believe that you are surrendering in the midst of life, you are living in bondage every single moment. Only after many years of surrender yoga will this begin to change.

You will know when the time comes through the experience of seeing in all directions simultaneously. You will literally have the experience of seeing equally in all directions even with your eyes closed, in the midst of a crowd, or talking with friends. It is a definite, non-mental experience that is the herald of a new stage. Your life is about to change…again.

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

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VII:24-25 Illusion

We live daily in the illusion of manifestation, but it is not this illusion that prevents us from reaching God/Truth, it is our union with it. To separate ourselves from it, we must look it in the face, for we cannot be anything that we can see. By standing apart from it we will know it for what it really is.  

Because I am not visible to them, those lacking in wisdom think of Me as having acquired manifestation. They do not know my highest existence: the unsurpassed, Imperishable Absolute.

Anything that is perceptible to you is not God to you. Perception takes place when one or more of the five senses opens its door and allows the attention to reach its object (i.e., sight reaches for something that can be seen). The attention will go to whatever attracts it. In this world there is always something, and the attention is always engaged in this process. But God is not perceptible by the senses.

Then what is it that we are perceiving if it isn’t God come into manifestation? You may remember in verse 8 we used the metaphor of seeing the image of a face in a cloud:

Like a face seen in a cloud, it is not that the cloud is a face, but that a face is what is perceived by the seer.

This metaphor describes how ‘those lacking in wisdom’ make this mistake. We, the unwise, tell ourselves that “all is God” and imagine that when we look at something, God is what we are seeing, but what we are seeing is an illusion (not what is seems). 

Remember that Lord Krishna has identified Himself as Absolute. But all perception takes place by means of the senses, which are not absolute. Yes, the face in the cloud is real, but it is not a face, it is a cloud. It is only seen as a face to the one looking. 

‘Illusion’ is perceiving something as other than what it really is. This is what is meant by ‘ignorance’, or ‘lacking in wisdom’.

The deluded and confused of this world are enveloped by their union with illusion and do not not recognize Me, the birthless and Imperishable.

Lord Krishna is saying that because we are in union with illusion, identified with it, we are deceived and defrauded by unreality.

One cannot find the Real by means of the unReal (illusion) 

We look at someone across the room, open ourselves to that person’s divinity, get high, and consider ourselves to have seen the Divine. But such experiences are usually a phenomenon of the mind having kicked off an emotional high that feels good.

I have often heard someone say that s0-and-so (who usually has a book they’ve read) is the Real Deal because they have worked so many paths, and know so much, that they must therefore be ‘very highly evolved’. These people openly express that people like us, who are interested in the Real, are on a ridiculous quest for something that has no real meaning because it is absolute, and too abstract—it’s getting good at Life that counts.

I have met many of these folks. They are, across the board, doing all their seeking in such a way as to maintain control, and they never release their guard. They don’t take risks, they don’t seek the guidance of anyone (especially if they do not concur with their already existing beliefs), and they don’t study the works of those who have attained the Highest. They read all the latest books by others like themselves who are reinventing the wheel with minimal success, and remain eclectic, thinking that this is the smartest and highest road.

But this road comes to a dead end, for they are unwilling to undergo the changes that accompany progress, especially if it doesn’t feel good. They strive instead to maintain the status quo (though they fervently believe otherwise about themselves) and “do not recognize Me, the birthless and Imperishable”.

Correct knowledge will up one’s progress by thousands, but knowledge without action is just knowledge and essentially useless.

Next week, we will learn a short-cut to Freedom and union with God/Truth, that can take us to Eternal Happiness.

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

VII:20-23 Stolen Wisdom

Belief is a fixed mental state of certainty that something is true. Faith on the other hand, is action based. When one trusts the spiritual teachings of their lineage enough to put them into practice, one is acting with faith. Real Faith comes when such action ultimately proves the teachings to be true. 

Those whose wisdom has been stolen away by various desires for this and that, are surrendering to other gods. They follow this and that practice consistent with their own state of self-interest, and are held back by their own material natures.

  • Wisdom – Inherent wisdom reawakened by knowledge gained through personal experience in meditation, and oral teachings from the master.

Stating desires as “this and that” not only indicates a multiplicity of desires, but emphasizes their dual nature (we either like them or we don’t) and puts them in the relative realm of illusion (things aren’t what they seem). 

Lord Krishna is saying that we are deprived of our inherent wisdom because of the intrusive nature of desires (wanting “this and that”) and that we are driven to chase after them in order to get them fulfilled. We go about this in ways consistent with our existing beliefs and tendencies, which keeps us stuck where we are: in ignorance (mistaking the unreal for the Real). 

“Surrender to other gods
‘Other gods’ refers to desired objects, or to deities believed to be able and willing to provide them when worshipped.

Worshipped = Surrendered to

Wanting to get our desires fulfilled, we resort to praying to, or propitiating, “other gods”.  One propitiates fame, for instance, by seeking it. Seeking to obtain the desired objective, it takes a place of superior importance, worshipped as a god.

“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”

“Following this and that practice” refers to the actions taken to get what one wants. Among the multiple means available, one follows whatever strategy is necessary to get their desires fulfilled. 

“Held back by their own material natures” refers to the driving force of tendencies seated in one’s history. Acting on these tendencies causes one’s spiritual progress to get held back by motivating one to pursue the desire, an act of self-interest.  

Acting to fulfill a desire, following a course of action to get it, it becomes more important than God/Truth. The only sure way to reconcile this is to surrender to God/Truth instead. By putting a desire before God and acting on it, one is surrendering to another god, engaging their power of choice to get what they want, rather than to get God.  

If you want to know what your priorities really are, look at how you spend most of your time. 

Those who choose the worldly life over a life lived for the purpose of reaching God (by any name), regardless of religious, professional or social orientation, are worshipping ‘other gods’.

Desires can be especially commanding and controlling when they stem from samskaras. The reason for this is that one is usually not aware of them, or can easily explain them away. These dictators demand the fulfillment of desires, and produce even more desires in the process. And one digs oneself in deeper and deeper. This is the meaning of the worship of the golden calf in Exodus. The calf suggests desires for things of value (the gold) in the physical world (the calf, offspring of the wish-fulfilling cow).

  • Samskaras – Potent governing characteristics and tendencies acquired in previous existences.

21 – 22
For anyone wishing to worship the form of another god with faith, it is I who sustain that faith. Endowed with this faith and propitiating this god to obtain desires, it is I who fulfill them.

When acting to fulfill a desire it is achieved, it is not really you who achieved it, because it is not you who acted in the first place. This is all part of the ‘illusion’. Whether in success or failure, all action in this world is the interaction of the gunas of nature, the basis of which is Absolute God: “it is I (Krishna)”.

Although we may believe with faith that, by this or that technique, we can successfully get what we want, Lord Krishna is informing us that this happens not because of what we do or how we do it, but because God provides it. All such efforts and their results have been God all along. 

However, this fruit, gained by those of little understanding, is perishable. Those who worship the gods, go to the gods. Those who worship Me, come to Me.

You get what you worship.

A distinction is being made between the worship of God, and the worship of gods. To “those of little understanding”, the gods are not only the means of fulfilling desires, but the desire itself, as well as the object of desire.

The result of worshipping these gods can only be temporary because they are temporary—they are of the Relative Realm and subject to change. But the results of worshipping Absolute God is permanent and eternal, because That, and the power of That, is permanent, eternal, and unlimited.

By worshipping, surrendering to, anything in this relative world, you remain separated from God. By surrendering only to Absolute God, you are united with God, in God, of God, and are God your Self.

There are many gods. There is only one God. 

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