Yoga and Freedom -Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 2: Vs 39

Taking into account everything that can be known and what to do with it. 

What I have imparted to you is the wisdom of Sankhya. Now hear the wisdom of Yoga, by which you can free yourself from the bondage of karma. 

“Sankhya”, one of the major philosophical schools of India, is a reference to the teachings of previous verses in this chapter. The word sankhya means ‘taking into account’. Sankhya philosophy takes into account everything that can be known. It is considered to be a dualistic philosophy in that it deals with opposites in the manner we have been discussing.

“Yoga”, ‘the act of uniting’, takes us beyond what Sankhya has taught us, to putting this knowledge into action. The act of uniting (yoga) requires more than one, otherwise what would be uniting with what? Yoga is a natural partner to Sankhya.

“the bondage of karma” refers to the entrapment produced by the union of ignorance with action. Believing that ‘I do’, the principle of cause and effect is put into play, and the ‘I’ automatically becomes trapped by responsibility for the action, be it good or bad.

“karma” means ‘action’. The root of the word karmakri, meaning ‘to do’, is the basis of the ignorance of the Truth of Self as the eternal non-doer.

Alternate Translations:

• Now that you have this knowledge, taking it together with the understanding of action, you can avoid the bondage of action (karma).

• This wisdom has been presented to you from the standpoint of Jnana Yoga (Knowledge Yoga). Now hear it presented as Karma Yoga (Action Yoga) by which you will be able to throw off the shackles of karma.

• I have explained to you the spiritual knowledge regarding the nature of the soul. Now listen to the science of action, which can completely release you from the bondage of cause and effect.

Previously, we discussed pairs of opposites and bringing them into union. Knowledge, what you think or know, and action, things that happen and things you do, are also opposites. In this verse we are presented with the idea of bringing knowledge and action together as a unit: Sankhya (wisdom-knowledge) and Yoga (the act of union) are one.


The science of Yoga is the science of action. The word yoga means ‘union’ and consequently also means ‘action’, for one thing uniting with another is an action.

It is one thing to equalize a pair of opposites, but it is quite another thing to bring them together as a single unit. The process of uniting the solar and lunar energies in the body is hatha yoga (sun-moon union). When this is accomplished, this unit takes on the function of furthering one’s evolution and is called kundalini.

Yes, evolution is going on all the time, but it is taking us thousands of lifetimes to complete. Through the natural practice of Yoga, we stand a chance of reaching raja yoga and getting closer to the freedom and eternal (rather than temporal) happiness that we know awaits us.

Hatha Yoga begins after enough sadhana (practice) has been successfully accomplished to get us there, and will take up nearly all of our sadhana from that point on. Then, sun-moon union having been accomplished and the process advanced sufficiently, we move into raja yoga, ‘royal union’, uniting with God, Truth, the Absolute (whatever your word is for That).

This process doesn’t have to be thought of as religious or spiritual. It is what it is: evolution. We tend to think of all this as spiritual because we need a name for it that expresses an experience that we do not know how to talk about. And because we can’t put it in a test tube and prove it. We have no words for it in English. Some try to avoid the word God with its implication of some deity somewhere in the cosmos directing our lives, and try using words like Divine, or Truth. But whatever you like to call It, think of it as Absolute, for it is absolute. Even the relative is absolute.

Everything is Absolutely Relative

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!)
Durga Ma


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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