III:20 Going for God

Improve yourself and serve the world through progress—every step you take pulls every one of us with you. 

Lord Krishna continues giving Arjuna good reasons for going forward with Karma Yoga as represented by the battle of Kurukshetra-Dharmakshetra, by telling him the beneficial outcome for all, of persisting.

BHAGAVAD GITA, CHAPTER 3, VERSE 20

20
Having adamantly persevered, perfection was attained by King Janaka, thus holding together and protecting the world. You should do likewise.

Lord Krishna now resorts to historical reference to add authority to what he has taught Arjuna in the previous verses. He calls Arjuna’s attention to King Janaka, the ruler of a kingdom who succeeded in reaching perfection. He was known as “Videha Janaka”—Videha, not identified with the body, Janaka, progenitor (father).

“He tilled the soil with his own hands, and he was also the greatest of the knowers of Truth of his time…Strictly speaking it is almost impossible to work like that for the good of the world from the householder’s position. In the whole of Hindu scriptures there is the single instance of King Janaka in this respect. But you nowadays want to pose as Janakas in every home by begetting children year after year…” — Swami Vivakananda

Why is Lord Krishna bringing up King Janaka? Perhaps to point out to Arjuna, the previously mentioned requirements as having been accomplished by someone known to him and with whom he has a few things in common, such as notoriety, caste, expertise, and the similar responsibilities of protecting the people.

Though having to carry out the rulership of an entire kingdom, King Janaka was not identified with his body or desirous of worldly things. This is no small matter—“In the whole of Hindu scriptures there is the single instance of King Janaka in this respect”—and is why this Yoga was not generally practiced by those bound by the responsibilities of a householder.

The origin of this Yoga is the Indus Valley and the mountain foothills many thousands of years ago. It has been practiced, tried and tested over millennia by accomplished sages who have attained the perfection it promises. Who are we, the newbies of the western world, to think that we are exceptions to this?

Practitioners of this form of Karma Yoga who have reached perfection, have gotten there by divesting themselves of the worldly life and dedicating themselves solely to their spiritual practices. If you are thinking, or hoping, that you are an exception, I would caution you to contemplate the above.

Also, consider King Janaka: (1) an aristocrat with the responsibilities of a ruler, (2) with the duty to protect the people, (3) completely enlightened as to what and who he was, and (4) completely unattached to the things of this world. Look inside yourself and ask, “Do I fit this description? What would these circumstances demand of me, and could I carry them out and still succeed in this practice?”

King Janaka’s singular position in the annals of history as a householder achieving perfection, gives us some idea of the challenges one could expect to encounter (it’s difficult enough for a renunciate!), and why I say…

“Get your ducks in a row now,
in case you decide to take it all the way later.” 

Coming this mid-week:  Going for God, Conclusion

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

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III:19 Heaven Within, Conclusion

Now that the previous verses have shown us what Heaven Within will be like, we must find out how to achieve it. 

BHAGAVAD GITA, CHAPTER 3, VERSE 19

19
Therefore, constantly unattached, practice that action which is to be done. Indeed, by performing such action while unattached, a person attains The Highest.

‘The Highest': The Sanskrit word for ‘Highest’ is param which means ‘highest, beyond, supreme’, and many other things depending upon the usage, but here ‘The Highest’ works for both those who seek to reach the highest results in their various paths and endeavors, and for those who seek Truth in the Absolute sense.

‘That action which is to be done': Earlier, Krishna explained that the yoga of action, Karma Yoga, was Arjuna’s natural path and that he should get on with it. Now He is reminding him that non-attachment to action as his own doing is necessary, as well as not being attached to the outcomes of actions, and by this, Arjuna will undoubtedly attain contentment and The Highest. The action that is to be done will differ from one person to another, depending upon their path, but for Arjuna, that path is Karma Yoga.

Regardless of one’s path, the thing to remember about these teachings is that, even though they are to be practiced by you, it is really nature causing the action—it is not really you doing it, for you are not nature. This remembrance cultivates non-attachment.

Karma Yoga

When in Surrender Meditation you give up your self-imposed role as the doer of actions, your are sacrificing your control over events. You make this sacrifice to God by surrendering yourself to God. It is a simple thing: All the things you think you are, and all the things you think you have, were never you nor yours. So how can anything be lost?

As you give up your belief in yourself as the ‘doer’, you gradually become detached from the effects of these actions, especially those that occur spontaneously in your meditation (i.e., kriyas). This is very difficult in life. It is easy in Surrender Meditation. As you continue to let go of these things in your meditation, you get better and better at it, and you come to see that nothing is really lost and everything is gained.

Heaven Within In a Nutshell – Verses 17 – 19

When a person finds pleasure within, that person finds that there is nothing to be done. Indeed, for this person there is no motivation for acting or not acting, and consequently, there is no aim or expectation regarding any being. Therefore, practice that action which is to be done, without attachment, for by performing such action while unattached, one attains The Highest.

Regardless of the disinterest in the things of this world that one may experience, sadhana (practice) continues, for once having tasted the nectar, having swum in the ocean of bliss of the Absolute, continuing sadhana is simply the natural order of the day. 

Coming this weekend:  Going for God

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

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II:17-18 Heaven Within

In these ways, one comes to find heaven withinpleasure and contentment, the attainment of the Highest bliss of unification with God, and absolute freedom. 

Now Krishna reiterates what he has already taught Arjuna in such a way as to clarify things simply. So you can see these three verses as a summing up of a huge mass of information that, if practiced, can take you the pinnacle of where you want to go—to the ‘Highest’.

BHAGAVAD GITA, CHAPTER 3, VERSES 17-18

17
Accordingly, such a person finds pleasure in the self, and thus contented within the self, this person finds that there is nothing to be done.

‘Accordingly': What is being said here is relevant to the previous verses.

‘Self': Though it may be tempting to associate ‘self’ with the true Self, it is the human self (mānava) being referred to here. This verse tells us the outcome of the practice that has been presented throughout this chapter on Karma Yoga (Action Yoga), specifically those from verse nine to this one. These teachings show the way to contentment and independence at every level that so inspires the imagination of those seeking inner peace. From here, enlightenment takes care of itself.

18
Indeed, for this person there is no motivation for acting or not acting, and not of all beings is there any aim or expectation.

Having understood and practiced these teachings, one becomes satisfied and content, so there is nothing ‘to do’. This person finds nothing to be the ‘doer’ of—there is no motivation for doing anything. The sense of doership does not arise for this reason, not because of egotism, ignorance or laziness. This person is not constantly looking for company and checking out the nearest bar. Instead, he is probably at home meditating. He does not look to others for satisfaction, fulfillment or contentment, and does not expect it, or need it, from others.

Ego: ahańkāra, ‘I do’.

‘Expectation': We discussed expectations earlier in Great Expectations and Accessing the Abundance of the Field. Might it be that this and the previous verses are suggesting a state in which subconscious expectations have no influence? If one reaches a state in which there is nothing to be done, how can expectations, conscious or subconscious, have any effect?

Subconscious Expectations
saṃskāra – संस्कार )

Hidden expectations based on past events that determine personal tendencies and influence events to come. These samakaras, which are desire-based, have a way of running our lives.

There comes a time in one’s sadhana when one comes to experience complete apathy on a daily basis. There is nothing one is drawn to do. Nothing is of interest, even for a person who would ordinarily find something interesting in just about anything. Now, however, nothing really matters. And sometimes, it seems that something must be very wrong, that one must surely at least be interested in spiritual things, or spiritual people, or spiritual endeavors, or spiritual books. But no, there is nothing.

One tends to not even be all that interested in one’s own personal welfare, and spiritual practices continue as a matter of course, as things that ‘should’ be important are passed over in favor of it. The world seems like a merry-go-round that was once very interesting and exciting, but after so many rides, and having seen such amazing things that exist outside of normal experience (and merry-go-rounds), life is just another ride, and it is perfectly acceptable to just be. And practices continue on their own.

Coming this mid-week:  Heaven Within, Conclusion

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

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III:14-16 The Cycle of Life

A cow produces milk for as long as it is taken. When the calf stops nursing, the cow’s milk dries up. This metaphor demonstrates that we must continue to receive through ‘sacrifice’, for this is the very thing that causes the milk of the Cow of Plenty to continue to flow, fulfilling all our wants and needs. Thus does receiving perpetuate itself—“sacrifice is the milch cow of your desire”

BHAGAVAD GITA, CHAPTER 3, VERSE 14-16

14
Living beings exist from food; food is brought about by rain; the source of rain is sacrifice, sacrifice is brought about by action. 

Sacrifice

Reading this verse, it is easy to imagine why cultures have adopted rituals for the purpose of affecting nature. They have understood this principle, but not its application, and they sacrifice for purposes of their own. But true sacrifice is a natural thing that is accomplished when there is no self-motivated interest, and the action, the ritual, is spontaneous.

The natural cycle of life is rooted in sacrifice. When the meaning of sacrifice is understood, it is easy to see how this is so—the waters of the earth are sacrificed to the heavens and the earth receives rain in return. Sacrifice is simple, spontaneous and natural. Yes, something is given up, but it is not given up in a hard and willful manner, and nothing is really gone or lost. To the contrary, everything and everyone prospers, and life continues.

15
Know that the source of action is Brahma arising from the Imperishable. Therefore all that exists is eternally rooted in sacrifice.

“The source of action is Brahma arising from the Imperishable”

The word Brahma means God. In one form, it means God as ‘growth, expansion, and evolution’. In another form it means ‘absolute’, which by definition never changes, exists independently, is not relative or comparative to anything, and is all-powerful and omnipresent. The source of action is the arising of Relative God from Absolute God which has no beginning or end (imperishable). This arising is the original action, the source of all action.

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, thought, intelligence and ego, are the eight parts of my relative nature. Such is My inferior nature. But know this as different from My highest absolute existence by which this world is sustained.

— Bhagavad Gita, Ch 7, vs 4 – 5

(See also, The Absolute and the Relative)

The Source of Life and All Existence
Brahmākṣara – the sound of OM

It is the arising of the Relative from the Imperishable Absolute that is the source of OM, the sound of Creation. This arising of the Relative from the Absolute produces the oscillation (vibration) that is the original sound. This sound is ‘The Word’, OM (pronounced AUM).

When you, in the all-existent Imperishable Absolute, having become self-aware chose to know one-other-than-self, the situation became relative. This choice was your original act. The awareness flowing from yourself to one-other-than-self produced ‘consciousness’, the sound of OM which produces form.

  • One becomes aware of oneself.
  • One chooses to know what is other than self.*
  • Carrying out this choice produces consciousness.
  • The sound of consciousness is the sound of AUM.
  • The sound of AUM produces form, all life and all existence.
* In this situation there are only perfect others (like you) to be conscious of.

This comes to be known directly when, in deep meditation (samadhi), this sound is heard by the meditator as not only one single tone, but all tones, each of which are at once discernible to the meditator as simultaneously one and many.

The source of life is the sound of OM (AUM, ओम् ) arising from self-existent Absolute.

“Arising from”
samudbhava

The Sanskrit for ‘arising from’ also means ‘coming to life again’, and ‘revival’. So we are reminded by a single word that, through sacrifice, there is a continuing cycle of life, a coming to be that changes and comes to be again.

16
One who, not following this wheel thus set into motion, living for the desirable things provided by the senses, acts opposed to this wheel, causing harm to the world and living in vain.

I am including the often omitted ‘harm’ in this translation. I found it in one other place where the translator says, ‘he is evil in nature’.

‘Harm’ – aghāyuh – ‘intending to injure, malicious’

I believe that, for the most part, people do not take this path out of intent to harm but because they want to have their desires fulfilled, and believing that they cannot be fulfilled through surrender (sacrifice), they try to control things themselves. This harmfulness is simply a byproduct of ignorance that is shared by nearly everyone of us.

Not understanding the truth about this, we live our lives in vain, missing the mark as to what our true purpose is in being in human form. But the stalemate this causes still affects the world and everyone in it, so I have included it to put it in plain view. Otherwise, how can we ever end our ignorance, stop harming each other, and even the world itself?

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

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III:13 Leftovers for Saints

Those who absorb the remainder of the sacrifice overcome karma and approach immortality. In this way, Kundalini Shakti, the divine alchemist, transmutes the base into gold—the human you matches the Real You and cheats death. 

Behold, I show you a mystery:  We shall not all sleep, but all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible and we will be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?

— Paul, I Corinthians 51-55

BHAGAVAD GITA, CHAPTER 3, VERSE 13

REMINDER: My own path of surrender sadhana is strongly reflected in my commentary on these verses, but it is certainly not the only valid perspective. So if your orientation is other than this, you can draw your own conclusions accordingly, with my blessings.

13
Saints, those who eat the remainder of the sacrifice, get relief from their sins, but the wicked, who act for their own sakes, eat their own sin.

  • “Saints” — Sanskrit, santas – virtuous, good, righteous, true.
  • “Sin” — ‘to miss the mark’. Sanskrit, kilbiṣa – fault, offense, sin, guilt, injustice, injury. Acting out of sync with what one really is (divine) is the native sin ‘original (native) sin’ of mortals.
  • “Sacrifice” — Action for which one has no attachment to being the doer of it, or to its results.

Alternate translation:
Consuming the remnants of the sacrifice, the good are rid of their impurities. But those who eat for their own sakes, ingest their own impurities. 

So, if we are to be ‘good’, we consume the left-overs of a sacrifice? And this will release us from our sins, our karma? And those who do not do this, are wicked? What does it mean that they eat their own sin?

Having sacrificed and accepted the remains of the sacrifice, you consume only what is pure. Otherwise, what you ingest is still in its impure* state. This is another way of saying that by surrendering yourself to God in meditation, what you get is purity. Divine Shakti rids you of impurities, leaving you with the remains of the process which are pure.

* Impure - Corrupt. Something that is out of place. Dust dulling the gleam of a golden object is not bad or evil, it is just out of place and the glory of the gold is hidden.

When in the seclusion of your own meditation room you surrender yourself to God, Shakti activates spontaneous actions (kriyas) for the purpose of purification. The ‘impurities’ that you carry are due to errors of the past. Your surrender to Divine Perfection allows for the release of these impurities of body, feelings and mind, leaving only what is pure,* the ‘remainder of the sacrifice’ which, under the influence of Shakti, is consumed. This is the basis for the custom of ritual offerings of food to deities and accepting the prasadam (‘the remainder’) after it has been offered.

* Pure - Incorruptible. The alchemy of transformation in the hands of kundalini-shakti sweeps away the dust to reveal the glory of the pure gold.

Purification is the reordering things to their natural state of divine order (ritam). In Surrender Meditation, what is not eliminated or burned (tapas) by this process, is prasadam. This remainder is therefore pure and is consumed by the body.

Human Sacrifice – The Sacrifice of Surrender

Sacrifice, as we have come to understand it in these verses, is synonymous with surrender sadhana. Surrendering yourself to the Divine in meditation allows for the purification* process to take place. In Surrender Meditation you are a ‘human sacrifice’—the human is sacrificed to the Divine. Only you as a human mortal can make this sacrifice. This is why you are here—the you that you really are is already perfect. Surrender sadhana is for the purpose of getting the human you to be like the divine, already perfect you, your ‘offering’ transmuted into pure ‘gold’.

Only Perfection Can Effect Perfection

While we are here, we have this opportunity to make genuine evolutionary progress. This progress affects seven generations before us, and seven generations after us, and affects the world and everything in it and on it. The body is not only a part of surrender sadhana, it is instrumental.

* Purification. There is nothing wrong with pepper, but when it is in the salt shaker, it is out of place. The process of purification removes the pepper from the salt shaker to leave the salt in its pure state. This process of returning things to their natural, divine order (ritam) is the Divine Alchemy brought about by Kundalini-shakti.

“The wicked*, who act for their own sakes, eat their own sin”

If on the other hand, if you do not surrender but are meditating for a purpose of your own, you remain polluted with errors and imperfections. They will remain with you no matter how much you meditate, fast, or try to rid yourself of them in other ways. Only the most superficial of impurities can be removed by the use of the will (control).

*The wicked - Sinful, dangerous, impure, suffering. The lot of self-motivated action.

So now we see what all the talk about action and non-attachment has been all about. And we are not done with it yet, if you can imagine any more can possibly be said about it.

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

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