Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 37

There is everything to gain and nothing to lose in that most exciting adventure of all: the pursuit of Truth/God. 

Having been slain you will attain heaven, or having conquered you will enjoy this world, so stand up, Arjuna, resolved to battle.

According to this and previous verses, you can attain this most desirable of outcomes by following your svadharma (sva - one’s own, dharma – natural characteristic), your own ability, talent, gift, that you would naturally do best. 

You have two life purposes:
(1) one that is the same for everyone, and (2) one that is unique to you.

Some of you are now taking the Design Your Life online course and will be making this discovery. Bravo to you! It is my hope that, once you have determined your own unique svadharma, you will remember the first purpose of your life and get on with this as well, for it is primary to the fulfillment of the second. Do keep us posted on your progress.

Now let’s see what you will get for your efforts:

“heaven” – traditional
The paradise where one goes to await the next incarnation.

The word for ‘heaven’ is svarga, which means ‘the heavens’. Notice the plural. Is there more than one ‘heaven’ then? Some say there are seven heavens and seven hells, seven levels in either direction from where we are right now.  

“heaven” – in sadhana

There may be a good reason we look up when we talk or think about heaven. When the life energy in the body moves up to the crown chakra through the central channel (sushumna nadi), a loud cacophony of bells can be heard, and divine bliss is experienced. This experience can occur fairly early in sadhana. It is the inspiration behind the bells in church steeples, the ringing of bells at weddings, and the bell rung upon entering a Hindu temple (the temple is heaven).

In the state of sabija samprajnata samadhi, the paradise mentioned above is experienced. You ‘go’ there. Having directly experienced this heavenly place frees you from the fear of death. Later, when nirbija asamprajnata samadhi is achieved, you directly experience the highest heaven of the Absolute, where you are freed from both birth and death.

“heaven” – in life

There is also the idea of Heaven on Earth, that lovely dream of a good and happy life, or at least those perfect moments when everything is prosperous and in place, love is given and received, and life is good.


The point Lord Krishna is making in this verse, is that if Arjuna doesn’t quit and goes forward to take on the battle, he can’t lose — he will either gain ‘heaven’ if he ‘dies’, or have a good life if he doesn’t.

I think you will agree that, with just this short contemplation on one single verse suggesting a heavenly reward as motivation, by putting what we now know into action through the practice of meditation, heaven will naturally follow like a horse follows the groom for the lump of sugar he carries in his pocket.

Self-reference:  If you do well performing your svadharma you will enjoy a good life, or good sadhana, or if you die in the midst of it, you will go to a good place. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Better one’s own dharma done poorly, than another man’s done well.

If you have forgotten what this ‘battle’ represents for you, you may want to refresh your memory by rereading earlier installments. Also, consider what the idea of ‘dying’ may suggest besides the obvious. And contemplate the phrase, “Our Father who art in Heaven…”

Durga Ma

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Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 33-36

You have two life purposes. One is the same for everyone, the other is unique to you.

If you will not undertake this rightful challenge, avoiding your own dharma and glory, you will gain only misfortune and harm.

“your own dharma”: svadharma — (sva, one’s own; dharma, natural characteristic). Your svadharma is your natural purpose, ability, talent, gift. Your svadharma is what you are best suited for, and would naturally do best.

In verse 32, Krishna said to Arjuna that, as a Kshatriya (warrior), by taking up the battle he could attain heaven and happiness. Now he is telling him what will happen if he doesn’t: He could come to harm.

In today’s society, many people work a job for someone else to the point of complete dependency, settling for being a servant to someone else’s cause for money and ‘benefits’, doing something that has nothing to do with their svadhama. They are self-deceived, living in denial of their own denial. I think it is safe to say that they are not happy people.

Self-reference: I previously suggested that you self-reference on whether or not you are performing your svadharma in your life. If you haven’t done this, this is a reminder to do so. The idea is to find your way to the best possible conditions for having the best possible life. This begins with determining your svadharam.

34 – 36
Also, everyone will forever speak ill of you, and for a well-respected person, disgrace is worse than death.

Great warriors will think that you withdraw from battle due to fear, and among those by whom you have been held in high esteem, you will be seen as a coward.

Unfit and hostile people will speak ill of you and deride your ability. What greater hardship can there be than this?

The point that Krishna is making is that Arjuna is not going to like his life if he abandons his svadharma

Whatever happens, we should not give up our purpose, our svadharma, because doing so would make us miserable. In the second paragraph of the commentary on verse 33 above, I insulted practically everyone on Earth for doing just that. I was just writing, not thinking much about what I was saying, and as a result, I have proved Lord Krishna’s point!

The subject is the performance our svadharma, but what does that mean? Presumably, what we want and what we have the ability to do well, naturally go together. So figuring this out shouldn’t be all that difficult. But if you are not one of those rare mortals who know this practically from birth, it can be very difficult.

It is easy to say that we all have the same svadharma which is to seek God/Truth. This is certainly true, but in what context do we seek this? This is where our svadharma comes in. If we seek, do spiritual practices, work at something to make a living based on our svadharam, we will do well. Outside of that context, we will probably not do well. So we need to know what it is, for it is said…

Better one’s own dharma done poorly, than another man’s done well.

It is probably fair to assume that your natural abilities and what you want will go hand in hand, so check what you think you want against your natural abilities, then align what you want with what you do so that you can be successful. If this doesn’t work out to your satisfaction, consider that you may not know what you want.

Some of us do not know our svadharma, so how do we find out what that is? We may think we know, because we think we know what we want, but do we really? Having gotten side-tracked by other things we thought we had to do in order to manifest what we want, without realizing it we got led in other directions, over and over again, until we forgot what it was that we wanted to do with our lives in the first place. If you feel this may be the case for you, and if you want to live your life with the most happiness possible, you must get to the bottom of this. I have written the sixth Remote Academy course, Design Your Life, for this purpose. 

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

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Operating SKY Haven

Abiding by Swami Kripalu’s Standards 

The following is meant to provide more understanding of the purpose and operation of SKY Haven. Everything in this statement is a version of Kripalu’s own words minimally modified to apply to SKY Haven. The word ‘saint’ has been retained, as Swami Kripalu considered anyone doing this sadhana to be a saint.

The place should be beautiful so that everyone can get divine inspiration.

The main saint who resides there may live in solitude and should not have to go out. That person’s word should be final on everything. The board should work as per the orders of that saint. No one person on this board should have all the power; everyone must give cooperative selfless service.

Anyone who creates a dispute or causes trouble shall be immediately relieved of their position and/or evicted from the property. In this group there must be complete cooperation and selfless service. The owner of the land will keep the management of the physical property in their hands, but may accept cooperative help from other members.

It must be run only with a spiritual purpose, and not to amass wealth, which would create politics and make it into a commercial enterprise. Only unpleasantness would result, and no one would be happy and at peace. If peace and happiness are desired, and if we are to give peace and happiness to others, then only selfless service can be of use.

I am not supposed to have to think about any of this, but I have given this outline as Swami Kripalu gave it.

Jaya Bhagavan,
Durga Ma

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Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Vs 28-32

Life and Death and Heaven 

28 – 29 
Beings are such that their beginnings are non-manifest, their middles are manifest and their ends are non-manifest again, so why worry?

Someone experiencing this, amazed and full of wonder, tells another who hears of it and is amazed, but even though he has heard about it he cannot know it.

“Someone experiencing this” — ‘this’ refers to the above and previous verses of this chapter.

Self-reference: You cannot know Truth by hearing about it (or reading about it), but only through your own ‘direct experience‘. Direct experience can be had for a brief moment with the use of certain techniques*, or through spontaneous samadhi attained in Surrender Meditation (shaktipat kundalini yoga, sahaja yoga, natural meditation).

The one in the body is eternally inviolable in the body of all, Bharata. Therefore, you do not deserve to be compelled to lament any born being.

“The one in the body” is the ‘embodied one’ as described earlier. It cannot be slain, cannot die, cannot be harmed, and cannot harm.

“in the body of all”:  This has two meanings: (1) What is said is true for everyone, and (2) what you really are is not located somewhere, but is everywhere. As a non-physical individual, you have no limitations, so you are not limited by space or time.

In other writings, I have talked about our connectedness through our sameness as divine, perfect, non-physical individuals, but this verse demonstrates yet another way in which we are all connected: What each of us really is, is this unlimited, all-pervasive individual. We each ‘wear’ a body made up of everyone. And because we each constitute everyone else’s body, everything we think, say, or do, affects them. Conversely, everything everyone else thinks, says or does, affects us. The way this plays out is determined by the order of our original connection, our original conscious awareness of each other.

Bharata — Krishna is once again referring to Arjuna as Bharata, ‘constantly-knowing’ in the sense of knowing Truth. We all already know Truth, whether we are aware of it or not. Enlightenment is simply becoming aware of what we already know.

Self-reference:  Which of these describes you? (1) Constantly engaged in acquiring knowledge, (2) constantly knowing Truth/God but not realizing that you know It, or (3) enlightened.

“you do not deserve to be compelled to lament any born being” — “to be compelled” are my own words interjected to clarify the statement. Otherwise, we would be left with, “you do not deserve to lament any born beings”, but Krishna is trying to spare you of sorrow, not blame you for an error. He is trying to help you to eliminate errors altogether.

Also, considering your own dharma, you deserve not to feel compelled to hesitate. Indeed, anything superior to battle for a Kshatriya is not known.

Once again my interjection, “‘not to feel compelled’ to hesitate” satisfies the Sanskrit meaning. Krishna is urging Arjuna to get on with it and ignore his compulsions.

“Kshatriya” — A warrior. Kshatriya means ‘to give protection from harm’.

“your own dharma”The word dharma means ‘the way things really are’. The Sanskrit is svadharma, which refers to one’s own personal dharma — your own special condition, the way you really are; your essential quality, unique ability or talent, what is good and right for you to utilize in your life. Ultimately, everyone’s svadharma is spiritual in nature. Meanwhile, we do the best we can.

Self-reference:  One does what must be done in life that is in accordance with one’s svadharma. Arjuna is a warrior. What are you? To consider your own dharma, look in these four basic categories: Are you a (1) God-person, (2) a protector or leader, (3) a business person, merchant or artisan, etc., or (4) do you serve someone else.

Better one’s own dharma done poorly than another man’s done well.
— Bhagavad Gita

Which category do you fit best? What is your special gift, talent or ability? Are you honoring that dharma? Or are you an enlightened or liberated God-person living an exclusively spiritual life without exception (without doing other things, such as working a job, running for office, etc.)?

And if by good fortune they should gain the door to heaven, happy are the Kshatriyas to encounter such a battle.

“the door to heaven” — In the battlefield, a king or warrior fighting in defense against another king, is said to achieve heaven upon death. Heaven refers to the paradise where the virtuous are transferred until the time comes for re-entering earthly bodies.

Self-reference:  Do you defend your ‘kingdom’ from being taken over by another? In order to answer this question, ask yourself, What is my ‘kingdom’?. HINT from chapter two, verse 15:

All activities of the mind vanished, I sit happily as the ruler within the city whose gates are nine [the body], not acting at all, nor causing action.
— Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, ch 5, vs 13

This is also a good time to remember what this ‘battle’ is. Do you remember?

Durga Ma

*  “certain techniques”:  Enlightenment Intensives — Click on “Jack Wexler” to see an excellent video on Enlightenment Intensives. To find an intensive near you, click on “Contacts Around the World”. More links can be found here — scroll down to “Enlightenment Intensive Contacts”.

Surrender Meditation — Meditate your way to enlightenment: Schedule a Shaktipat Intensive or apply for Remote Shaktipat.

Bhagavad Gita — All installments of chapter one in one place on your computer. 58 pages, instant download, $10.


Spiritual Ego

This is just me, Anandi. Writing to you from the top of a mountain. A silently alive paradise that sits suspended in the ether — between the dramatic waves of the Pacific and the gentle giants that are the Redwoods.

I am going to share the dialogue that has been running through my head from the night, early morning into now. Im doing this to help hang onto the things that are arising for contemplation and with the hope that it may somehow be beneficial for you in some way.

Just a recollection of my stream of consciousness … no edits. sorry.

One of the most valuable things I have learned from being with Durga Ma is about ‘identification’ and beginning to understand the spiritual ego. It’s not anything specific she has said, but the way that she has interacted with me on a ‘human’ and personal level.

I had created an idea in my mind unknowingly about what spirituality looked like and how it would behave and present itself. This came after awakening experiences in the wake of phenomenon, and was strengthened by the way others around me were presenting themselves in the spiritual community. None of them were masters.

What I have come to learn and what has had the most profound outward effect for me is the roundedness and down to earth regularity of Durga Ma. I wouldn’t necessarily know that she was a master if I didn’t know. This is really important, I don’t know if it was so important in days gone by.

What I see increasingly in the world is people trying to transcend their humanness. This is like “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” as Ma says… I think transcending the humanness becomes the “danger zone” where the spiritual ego can really take shape and the difficulty on recognizing it and moving beyond it comes from the fact that the mind has used, and will continue to use, the aspects of spirituality (teachings, experience, etc.) in an effort to establish a pure logic (all or nothing) type of state.

What is more, I think that if the mind has a memory of an awakening it can use this to further make the mind’s alibi watertight. Stuck in transcendence. This is a doozy…. really getting stuck in a deeper state of separation in some ways because now the mind has not only gone into transcendence but is constantly working to stay there outside of the body and physical existence and can use the information gathered ‘spiritually’ to keep it there. It is a trap without the guidance of a master, or a stroke of absolute Grace.

I see a LOT of people doing this now. Most of the ‘spiritual’ people I know.

I’m wondering now if what is often needed is just normal, ‘non-spiritual’ company — in other words, real spiritual people, actual yogis, real people — not the people who are riding around in inflated spiritual egos. It’s easier to become relaxed and trusting when we talk about normal everyday things, our experiences, our lives and where we came from. We don’t have to work at conversation to maintain what we think is spirituality and how it should be talked about and communicated…the only real substance (energetic alignment so to speak) comes from the way we actually relate with each other.

The longer I stay with Durga Ma, the more I get out of it. I want to absorb as much as I possibly can, although the speed at which it occurs when I get to be physically present is such that I find myself experiencing a sensation of near explosion. My head literally goes through periods of feeling like its going to explode. I don’t care, because there is this part of me that just doesn’t care and wants to go on ahead regardless.

I want to be here or near Durga Ma wherever she is, but even in the days of being here I feel myself taking off and abandoning my life responsibilities. I use the word ‘abandon’ because of a control aspect…a subtle piece that I can’t exactly identify other than that it is not a completely conscious choice to surrender. It’s what my heart wants, but it’s like there is a piece that is missing and first I have to reclaim it to surrender it. Sounds ironic but its the only way I can manage to say it.

Particularly with Sam at this age (3), Im not boasting but I’m the sanest person he knows, and I’m his mother. I feel it is my duty to keep him close, and my responsibility to do my best to stay with him until I either just can’t anymore or until he’s gotten enough independence for himself to choose otherwise.

This path is sometimes difficult with a family. Not impossible.

Om Shanti, Namaste,