Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 42-43

Do you want to settle for what you think you want? Or do you want to have what you really want?

The flowery discourses of the ignorant proclaim delight in Vedic doctrine saying, “There is nothing else”.

Sound familiar? Our way is the only way?

Although this verse refers to the Vedas, the message is about religious absolutes in general, and also applies to ‘belief systems’, including those belief systems hidden in our own subconscious minds that were imprinted early in life and are now running on auto pilot.

Being of desirous natures, intent on heaven and rebirth as the fruit of action, they are addicted to many specific rites aimed at the goal of enjoyment and power.

Alternate translation (42-43):
The grandiose chatter of the unenlightened proclaim the beliefs of their religions to be exclusively correct. They are of desirous natures, intent on heaven or rebirth as the result of their good works. They are addicted to many specific activities and ceremonies to this end, but these actions are aimed at power for the purpose of attaining desires and the experience of enjoying them. 


Spiritual paths that rely on beliefs may get you what you think you want for the short term, but they will not get you what you really want in the long term, the ultimate and lasting prize. Even Yoga itself is often misused in this way, but this is not true Yoga science.

Everyone’s primary life purpose is the same:
Union with God/Truth, liberation from rebirth, and eternal happiness.

Many spiritually-minded people are intent on the fulfillment of desires rather than union with God/Truth, which is the primary aim in life we all share (see verses 33-36 on life purpose). Many have even convinced themselves that because ‘all is God’, their desires must also be God, and that the pursuit of these desires is therefore a spiritual pursuit. But what they are chasing is just mental content. Desires are ideas in the mind acquired by the senses that have been judged as being desirable because of a corresponding experience of pleasure. Chasing them is chasing a phantom, and one cannot catch a phantom.

But one can reach union with the Absolute and endless joy. So I ask you: Why would anyone trade That for the endless task of trying to fulfill desires.

Please do not read into this that you should not have desires. Desires are inevitable. The issue is not about having desires, it is about pursuing them. In Surrender Meditation desires are turned over to God to either fulfill or eliminate.

As to power, you should understand that you already have unlimited power, so pursuing it is a waste of time anyway. If you feel powerless, it is because this is how you are experiencing life, not because you don’t have power. The feeling of powerlessness is not a lack of power but the experience of obstacles in the way of accessing it. This is also dealt with in Surrender Meditation. As to control, which is different than power, you can use self-control outside the meditation room to practice dharma

I am that desire in humankind that is not contrary to
the Truth of how things really are (dharma).
— Bhagavad Gita

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!)
Durga Ma

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Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 41

By undertaking this Yoga, no harm will come to you and no progress is ever lost. Even a little of it will protect you from great danger. 

The Science of Yoga 

One must be singularly resolved in this, Arjuna, unlike the irresolute who have many branches flowing in every direction. 

Alternate Translation:
Being determined and focused is necessary to accomplish yoga (union with the Divine). The mind and intelligence of an indeterminate person wanders all over the place in every direction. While Yoga is specific and directly aimed by a determined person, others bounce around from one path to another thinking that they are wise for being so universal.

How would you dig for gold and expect to find it?
Many small holes and keep searching? Or look for the
right conditions and dig deeply?

Remember verse 40? “By undertaking Yoga, no harm will come to you and no progress is ever lost. Even a little of this practice will protect you from great danger”?  To avail yourself of this consolation, you must reach a point in which you understand that your primary purpose in life is the pursuit of God/Truth/Self-realization, and stick to your practice at all costs. You won’t be cheated.

It is imperative that each of us find the path that is meant for us, and the teacher that goes with it. If you insist on boot-strapping it, you will not reach the ultimate goal. Being of a tolerant nature, though at times a little impatient, it is not like me to say something like this, but I realize some of you think you can do this, so I have decided not to soft-pedal it and enable your ego, but to tell it like it is: you are wrong.

If you are sincerely seeking Truth, Self-realization, God, Eternal Happiness, the End of the Road, you are going to need a teacher, a guru. You should find your guru early on. Don’t wait until you find yourself in need of one at some crucial point in your self-directed practice, because you will not get what you need from any guru worth his or her salt until you have established a proper long-standing relationship. Really! Take the advice of scripture and find your teacher.

Self-reference:  Self-inspect your ability to commit. How important is it that you achieve your spiritual aim? Are you willing to commit to a spiritual path/teacher to that same degree?

Your commitment to your path, whatever it is, must be equal to your determination to find and know Truth directly and become Self-realized. Paths that are lineage-based come with a teacher (guru). They require more courage than belief systems (i.e., religions), but such a path may also come with the gold. So you must begin by finding the teacher.

The teachings of the guru constitute the path.
If you follow the path, the path will follow you.

You will find what you need in order to pursue this in the Surrender Meditation course (scroll to number 4 on this page). It has a good section on “Shopping for a Teacher”. This course does not give initiation into my own path of Surrender Meditation, but it does give information about it along with some experiments that you will find useful. You can use this course for the purpose of learning how to find your teacher. It is free to my Followers who apply (below) within the week. 

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!)
Durga Ma

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Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 40

Do you ever worry about losing the progress you have made? Herein lies a secret in…  

The Science of Yoga 

By undertaking Yoga, no harm will come to you and no progress is ever lost. Even a little of this practice will protect you from great danger. 

Over my nearly forty years of yoga sadhana (practice)I have found this to be literally true. The trick is not to underestimate the human propensity for making mistakes, and learn to accept that as long as you are being human, mistakes will happen. But when you surrender yourself to God/Truth, you will be taken care of by That. Just when it looks like you are about to sink into oblivion, you will be rescued. Just as you think you have surely failed, you will be presented with proof of your continuing success. And just when you think your struggle will never end, you will find yourself liberated.

I find this verse to be one of the most reassuring in the entire Gita. After being on the path for so long, retrospect has played its part by reminding me of past difficulties and darkness, and how by continuing onward in the face of all of this, no matter how I felt or what I thought, I was pushed forward in spite of myself, in spite of my ignorance, in spite of my resistance, in spite of my negative thinking, and just in the nick of time I was saved. This comfort is the gift of scripture, the Truth passed on to us in words planted in the gardens of our minds, that aids us in the cultivation of trust in the Truth, trust in God. Faith.

Many times I have heard people say, with an air of authority, that bothering to read or study scripture is a waste of time, that it is experience that counts, not what is written in books. They are partly right. Reading scripture will not get you to the goal. Reading it and doing as it teaches, will. By continuing to contemplate it and increase your understanding of it through the experience gained by practicing what it teaches, multiple levels of understanding will be revealed that will take you to the end of the road.

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

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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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Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 38

Attraction and aversion are opposite sides of the same coin. Attraction is positive desire—you are attracted to things you like and are compelled to pursue them. Aversion is negative desire—you are repelled by things you don’t like and are compelled to avoid them. By achieving ‘dispassion’ you are not compelled. You are free.

Holding pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat to be equal, take up the battle and thus incur no misfortune.

Holding opposites to be equal, or the same, is often referred to as ‘dispassion’. By taking up this challenge one can achieve dispassion. When dispassion is achieved regarding any set of opposites, no misfortune is encountered where that set of opposites is concerned.


The Sanskrit means ‘difficulty’ — being scared, in pain, trouble, hardship, sorrow, and…well, you get the picture.

Pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, etc., are pairs of opposites. Opposites being equal is usually understood as not having excess joy or sorrow over either of a pair, i.e., we should not be unhappy about loss or pleased with gain.

But this verse is not telling us what we should not do. Sukhaduhkhe same kritva simply says, “Ease (sukha) and difficulty (duhkha) have the same effect (same kritva)” — one of a pair is not stronger than the other so the effect is equal. This paints a different picture than simply having no effect at all, one way or the other. It is a picture of two opposites becoming equal in value and strength, and in this way, attraction or aversion to either is also equal, so there is no contest.

However one might understand achieving dispassion, it will happen on its own if you have the means. The simplest means is to surrender yourself to God/Truth in a conducive environment that allows this to take place naturally and fully, such as Surrender Meditation; between meditations, Mental Yoga can be practiced.

Find more on how neutralizing opposites works in verse 15, and in “Neutralizing Opposites” in verse 14.

Self-reference:  The next time you find yourself reacting to something, try to identify it, give it a name, and look for its opposite.


In an attempt to be helpful, a friend says to you, “That outfit you’re wearing looks terrible; you are grossly out of fashion.”

Your internal reaction is that you have been insulted by your friend. You try to identify this feeling and realize that you are angry (even though you have managed not to show it). You quickly contemplate an opposite to anger and decide on happiness — there may be other opposites, but you choose ‘happy’ and try to move into this state, if only temporarily. When you get home, you use this incident to practice moving into the state of ‘angry’ and then into ‘happy’, back and forth, until they are the same and you can move as quickly and easily into one as the other. By using this Mental Yoga, you have increased your degree of dispassion, and where this pair of opposites is concerned, you will incur no ‘misfortune’.

Durga Ma

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