Wednesday, July 16, 2014

IX: 21

Chapter 9, Verse 21

"When their merit is spent,
They fall back into the mortal world.
Impelled by desire,
They achieve only that which will pass away.
They are caught
In the chain of personal desires
And continue to take birth."

Father Bede Griffiths:

Their good deeds have limited value.  When they have had their reward, then they must return.  Desire is the root of all limitations.  As long as you desire, you may get what you seek, but you will exhaust these things also.  Only when you go beyond desire altogether are you set free.  That is Liberation.

[The desire to always remember God and to act solely to please God is not the kind of desire that Krishna and Father Bede are talking about here.  This kind of special desire is a way of describing devotion for God.  This desire opens wide the gate to Liberation.]

Paramahansa Yogananda:

Good karma produces only a period of astral enjoyments.  Whether long or short, that period will come to an end.  However, those who single-heartedly love God and who work for God without desire for the fruits of action perform the true worship of Yoga practice.  They offer the self into the Self, purify their bodies and consciousness with the nectar of Divine Life-energy and win the Eternal Liberation.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

IX: 20

Chapter 9, Verse 20

"Those who follow the scriptures
And drink the Soma juice
Are purified of their sins.
They naturally rise to the realm of the gods."

Paramahansa Yogananda:

Those who desire celestial fruits and who purify themselves through Vedic ritual, or other scriptural rites and injunctions, by right living receive the satisfaction of their hearts' aspirations: entrance into the holy astral realms.  However, that entrance leads inevitably to an exit, because they did not desire God, but rather God's gifts.

Father Bede Griffiths:

The Vedic religion employed ritualistic offerings with the object of reaching the state of Heaven, Svarga, where one got one's reward for good deeds accomplished.  This was a religion of law, similar to the Torah for the Jews.  When you do your duty, you get your reward.

Soma was an intoxicating drink which was taken at some Vedic ceremonies,  It was made from a psychoactive plant, and those who drank it felt a kind of divine inspiration.  It was considered to be a purification from sin and a way to Heaven.  Those who drank the Soma went to the world of the gods, the Devas, but they did not go beyond.

The Upanishads and the Gita take you beyond, beyond duty and reward to Realization of God, Union with God in Love.  Anyone who follows the Vedas, on the other hand, anyone who is subject to the law, is still subject to the distinction between a religion of the law and a religion of Spirit.

A Friend:

Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Gospel of Matthew, 6: 33)

Paramahansa Yogananda:

Seeking the kingdom of God first is the cardinal message of Jesus to individuals and nations of the world, because it is the surest way to lasting individual, social, and national happiness.  Perishable material possessions do not contain the everlasting bliss and immortality of the kingdom of God, but his imperishable kingdom contains in it all of the goodness of the world.

To possess God is to own the Universe.  If the ear is pulled, the head comes with it.  When by devotion you pull God into your life, then automatically the eternal prosperity of wisdom, immortality, and ever new blessings are added unto you.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IX: 19

Chapter 9, Verse 19

"I am the heat of the Sun.
I hold back the rain and release it.
I am Death and the Deathless
And all that is and is not.

Paramahansa Yogananda:

The Lord here presents himself as the Great Paradox.  As the Creator of Maya, the Cosmic Magician, he is responsible for the pairs of opposites, the contrasting sense-data accepted by all humans under Maya's hypnotic sway: heat and cold, life and death, truth and falsity, and reality and illusion.

Swami Satchidananda:

Take some soft clay.  Because it is completely unconditioned, you can make it into anything you want:  toys, pottery, plates, and so on; but if it already had a form of its own, could you make it into something else?  No.  Only the formless can be made into form.  Only the nameless can be given a name.  Only the unconditioned can be brought into a condition.

That's why we say that God's Love is unconditional.  If we approach him lovingly, we get love.  If we worship God as Light, we get Light and become enlightened.

However, if we say to the flame on the altar of our Puja, "I don't like you here.  I'll put you up in the attic," will the same Light be blessing us?  No, it will burn down the house.

God's power is neutral, like a zero.  By breaking the circle, you can shape it into any letter or number that you want.  All the numbers and letters are a broken zero.  Originally, it was unbroken, beginningless, and endless.  That's the essence of this and the secret also.  God is above all of these things, and it is God who manifests as all these things.     

Thursday, June 26, 2014

IX: 18

Chapter 9, Verse 18

"I am the Goal, the Infinite Treasure House,
Origin, Foundation, and Dissolution,
Refuge, Abode, Friend,
Witness and Imperishable Seed."

Srila Prabhupada:

If there is a possibility of going to the top of a building by elevator, why go by the staircase?

Everything belongs to Krishna, and everything exists in his energy.  Situated in every heart, he is the Supreme Witness.  No one can be a better Friend than Krishna, the Eternal Cause of all causes.

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

St. Teresa of Avila writes of the deep security that comes when we take refuge in God.  She makes six points.

Nothing upsets you. You become un-upsettable.  None of your energy is wasted.  You live a long life with an abundance of energy to carry out God's work.

Nothing frightens you.  There is tragedy in life for everyone.  You will grieve, but there will be no oppression, for through the drama you will feel the Lord present always.

You will accept that everything is changing.  "Like corn, a person ripens and falls" (Katha Upanishad).  Everything that changes is going to pass away.

You will know that God alone is changeless.  Turn to him, love him with all your heart, and you will be secure always.  You will find fulfillment everywhere you go.

Your patience will bring you to the goal.  Patience outlasts all obstacles.  In the heart of every storm in life there is always the unchanging center which is God.  When you bear with those who rage against you and keep your trust in them, you are helping them to trust and respond to their innermost Self.

You who have God lack nothing.  You live for our benefit and not your own.  Others can take what they like from you.  You will still be full.  You can give anything away.  You will still be full.

Paramahansa Yogananda:

God is the True Friend of humanity, the one who eventually restores to his bosom all of his children.  He is the one Consciousness that creates, preserves, dissolves, and witnesses all of creation.  He is the one Storehouse wherein all of the cosmic-dream blueprints are kept during the periods of dissolution (Kalpas), and at the beginning of the great Kalpas of manifestation, it is God as the Imperishable Seed that fertilizes Nature and quickens her forms.

[Re: "I am the Origin, Foundation, and Dissolution"...Father-Mother God is sower, sustainer, and reaper, all in one.  When we recognize him/her in the reaping, we are less prone to complain: "What kind of a God would allow this destruction to happen?"]

Two Boxes

I have in my hands two boxes,
Which God gave me to hold. 
He said, "Put all of your sorrows in the black box,
And all of your joys in the gold one."

I heeded his words, and in the two boxes,
Both my joys and my sorrows I stored,
But though the gold one became heavier each day,
The black one was as light as before.

With curiosity I opened the black one.
I wanted to find out why it was so light.
I saw in the base of the box a hole
Which my sorrows had fallen through.

I showed the hole to God, and mused,
"I wonder where my sorrows could be!"
He smiled a gentle smile, and said,
"My child, they're all right here with me."

I asked God why he had given me the boxes,
Why the gold one and the black one with the hole?
He said, "My child, the gold one is for you to count your blessings,
And the black one is for you to let go.

~ author unknown

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

IX: 17

Chapter 9, Verse 17

"I am the Mother and Father of the whole Universe and also its Grandfather.
I am the one who gives you the results of your actions.
I am the sum of all knowledge, its essence and goal.
I am the Purifier, the syllable Om, and the sacred scriptures.

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

When parents in an Indian village want their sons or daughters to go to college, they look for a college in a place where they have relatives.  In addition to saving money for room and board, this arrangement provides a family atmosphere.  If students return a little late at night, they will be taken to task as if they were at home.

In this verse, Krishna assures us in his own personal way that he is responsible for us completely.  No matter how old we are, no matter where we stray, we can count on his support.  The other side of this, which he is too tactful to mention outright, is that he is not going to let us get away with a single, solitary thing.  He will keep on taking us to task, and severely if the situation warrants it, until our selfishness dies.

Swami Shivananda:

Ishwara or Saguna Brahm is the Father.  Primordial Nature or Para Prakriti is the Mother.  Satchidananda or Para Brahm is the Grandfather.

Paramahansa Yogananda:

Krishna is God, the Holy Spirit, the Mother or Cosmic Nature, bringing forth worlds through her Creative Vibration and dissolving them as well (Om).

Krishna is God the Son, his own reflection in creation as the Preserver, the Krishna or Christ Consciousness (Tat).

Krishna is the Unmanifested Spirit, the supreme Cause, Ancestor of God, Grandfather of creation, Cosmic Consciousness (Sat).

OM TAT SAT.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

IX: 16

Chapter 9, Verse 16

"I am the ritual and the worship,
The medicine and the Mantra,
The ghee poured into the flames,
The fire into which it is offered,
And he who receives it."

Paramahansa Yogananda:

The ancient, sacrificial ceremonies, in which clarified butter is poured on fire, symbolize the surrender of the self to the Self.  All of the gifts that God has bestowed on humanity are offered in turn to him by the devotee.

Sattvic devotees consider all of their actions, be they secular, spiritual, or ritualistic, as holy rites and offerings into the purifying fire of God-awareness.

As dream objects cannot be separated from their dreamer, the worshiping devotee honors God as the Giver, the Offering, and the Receiver.

Eckhart Tolle:

You think...

I have so much to do.

Yes, but what is the quality of your doing?

You're driving to work, speaking to clients, working on the computer, running errands, and dealing with the countless things that make up your daily life...how total are you in what you do?

Is your doing surrendered or non-surrendered?

This is what determines your success in life and not how much effort you expend.  Effort brings stress and strain in which you need to reach a certain point in the future or accomplish a certain result.

Can you detect even the slightest element within yourself of not wanting to be doing what you are doing?

That is a denial of life and so a truly successful outcome is not possible.

If you can detect this within yourself, can you also drop it and be total in what you do?

Friday, June 6, 2014

IX: 15

Chapter 9, Verse 15

"Others, on the path of Gyan, the Yoga of knowledge,
Worship me by offering up the fruits of their knowledge.
Beholding me both as the One and the many,
Wherever they look, they see my face."

Father Bede Griffiths:

When you offer the fruits of your knowledge, you are offering your mind to God, and only then do you receive the illumination of wisdom.  Then you come to Source, the One, and you realize the many in the One.  That is the goal.

Is there disappearance in the One?

The answer is that you disappear as a separate being, but then are rediscovered as distinct and yet one.  The distinction remains.  Everything in Nature is distinct in God.

Krishna declares that the whole Universe is him.  The Old Testament tradition has little sense of God pervading the Universe.  The Jews were anxious to show God above the Universe.  He overturns the land to make hills, makes the dry lands water, the water dry, and so forth.  He is always overwhelming Nature.  The sense that he is in the water, in the fire, and in the world is lacking.  The transcendence of God needed to be grasped at that point in history in that part of the world, and they were not yet ready to attend to the immanent aspect, which was developed in India with the profound sense that God pervades everything.

This immanent aspect is a function of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is immanent in matter from the beginning of creation.  That same Holy Spirit that is latent in matter brings forth consciousness when matter is sufficiently organized.  It is part of the plan of God from the beginning that the Holy Spirit permeates matter and gradually transforms it.

The human soul becomes more and more penetrated by the Holy Spirit, until it becomes totally transfigured by it and then shares the life of God himself.  It is hidden in matter, coming forth in life, emerging further in consciousness, but it is only in divine consciousness, in the life of grace, that the Holy Spirit fully manifests in us.

What Krishna says is that he is in all.  What he means is that he is immanent in everything.  God is present in everything.  As St. Thomas Aquinus puts it...

God causes the existence of everything, sustains everything in existence at every moment, and causes each thing to act.

No tree can emerge from the Earth unless there is an actual activity of God working in it, making it rise up.  God is active in all things all of the time.

[The Indian view is that God causes the existence of everything, sustains everything in existence, and, too, is the cause of everything's destruction.  Thus, all is included, even what is often perceived as "negative," and there is no room for a devil outside of God.]

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

One day the saint, Narada, asked Krishna to tell him the deepest spiritual truth in life.  The Lord smiled mischievously and vanished, leaving Narada bewildered on a street corner.  He got hungry waiting for the mystery to be solved, so he took out his bowl and knocked on a nearby door to ask for a little food.  The woman who answered the door had Krishna's eyes.  She put food in the bowl.  Handing it back to Narada, she gave him a wink.

Narada then went to the next house where a family was sitting down to their meal.  A little boy with those same eyes ran over to greet him.  It was like that with every person in every house.  Then he got it.  For all of the differences in age and appearance, there was no one in the village but the Lord.

Sri Aurobindo:

Those who lay a predominant emphasis upon knowledge arrive at the same point by a comprehension filled with Bhakti [devotion].  This is not a pursuit of the Absolute as an abstract unity.  It is rather the heart-felt seeking of the Infinite in all that is finite, a vision that embraces the One in all of his innumerable forms here, there, and everywhere.  This knowledge brings an adoration, a vast self-offering, because it is the embrace of the Supreme, Eternal, and Universal Soul who lavishes on us when we approach him all the treasures of his endless delight of existence.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

IX: 14

Chapter 9, Verse 14

"Always singing my glory,
Steadfast in devotion,
They make their lives an unending hymn
To my endless love."

Paramahansa Yogananda:

This verse refers to the devotional path.  The mind and heart of the Bhakta [devotee], immersed in God's love, are always intent on him.  Every thought and action are grasped as new expressions of devotion and worship.  Through their love-emanating eyes and actions, and the magnetic joy of their one-pointed devotion, they draw other souls to God, who is glorified by the eloquence of their exemplary lives.

Sri Aurobindo:

They open themselves to the indwelling divinity and know that the secret spirit in humanity, which only appears to be bounded by the limited human nature, is of the nature of the same ineffable splendor which we worship as God.  They become aware of his highest status as Master and Lord of all existences and yet, at the same time, see that in each existence he is the indwelling Inhabitant.  Him they serve and adore both as the transcendent and as the immanent God in all that exists.

To know God integrally is to know him as one in all manifestation and paradoxically beyond all manifestation at the same time.  To know him so is not enough unless it is accompanied by an intense uplifting of the heart and soul Godwards, kindling an all-embracing love, adoration, and aspiration.  Otherwise, it is only an intellectual seeing, a barren cognitive endeavor.

An all-seizing delight in him and a deep love and adoration of him is the inevitable result, the very essence of this knowledge.  This adoration is not an isolated prompting of the heart, but an offering of the whole existence as worship, a giving of all our works, a surrender of all our inward and outward nature to the God of our adoration in every moment.

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

St. Teresa of Avila, Christian mystic of sixteenth century Spain, founded many convents.  Towards the end of her life, she was struck with a bad case of influenza.  Before she had recovered, in the dead of winter, the call came from her superior to establish a new convent at Burgos.  She hesitated.  After all, she was very ill.  The Lord, she said, reproved her with these words...

I am the true warmth.  What is there to be afraid of?

Teresa and her companions set out in their mule-drawn carts on a day when sky and earth seemed fused in one torrential stream of water.  The carts were so mired in the mud that the nuns had to wade much of the distance in their sandals.  Teresa shook from head to toe with fever.

They came to the Arlanzon River.  There was a makeshift bridge which was so narrow that at the slightest movement of the current, carts, mules and nuns would tumble into the raging waters.  Teresa's carriage moved forward first.  Those still on the bank saw it swerve, stop and then begin to tip.  It was on the brink of falling into the torrent below.  Teresa jumped out of the cart and hurt herself.  With the river raging just below her feet, she exclaimed...

Lord, amid so many ills, why add this to all the rest?

In the depths of her consciousness came the reply...

Don't be upset, Teresita.  This is how I treat my friends.

Teresa replied, as only his beloved handmaiden might...

O, my Lord!  No wonder you have so few of them!

The Lord must not have been displeased with this answer, for the whole caravan made it across unharmed.  Teresa was a great saint.  The Lord made great demands on her, but he tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.  All he asks of little people like you and me is that we remember him as often as we are able in the small, daily encounters of our lives.
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