Wednesday, November 19, 2014

X: 6

Chapter 10, Verse 6

"The seven great sages
And the four ancient ancestors
Were born from my mind
And received my power.
From them came
All the creatures of this world.

Paramahansa Yogananda:

The Bible refers to Adam and Eve and their descendants as the origin of the human race.  The Hindu scriptures describe the becomings of all creatures from the Prajapatis, the divine "lords of the Universe" born from the mind of God.

The primordial four, mind-born children of the Creator were the initial differentiation of Spirit from which creation evolved.  They are the pure, creative nature of God, Maha-Prakriti, or the Holy Spirit.  These children of the Creator remained ever-pure, innocent youths.

Inherent in Maha-Prakriti, along with God's eternal joy, are the three Gunas, or qualities of creation.  These attributes are equalized in a quiescent state in Maha-Prakriti, but when Rajas, the activating quality, is roused, the other two qualities are quickened and the wheel of creation is set in motion.

Swami Satchidananda:

The seven Rishis represent seven planes of consciousness.  At the highest level are the Devas, the gods; even the Devas are part of creation.  Number two is the human level.  Three is the animals.  Four is the birds.  Five is the reptiles.  Six is the aquatic creatures.  The seventh level is made up of immobile things which are inanimate and stationary.

The creation is divided into the mobile and the immobile.  Certain life forms have mobility.  Others, such as plants, rocks, and metals are immobile.  They don't move by themselves, at least to the naked eye, but even thousands of years ago, consciousness was recognized to be present in the immobile as well as the mobile.  That's why immobile things make up one of the seven categories.

I have described from the upper level down.  Darwin approached it from the lower level moving up.  According to the Hindu scriptures, they are not intrinsically different.  All are created equally; there is no superiority nor inferiority.  That's the difference between Darwin's theory and this understanding.  The Rishis, or great sages, who were in charge of creating various levels of creatures at various levels of consciousness, created them all simultaneously and not one after the other.  It's a misunderstanding for the human being to look down on the so-called beasts, birds, plants, and rocks.  To say that all are created the same way means that the same consciousness pervades everything.

Carl Rogers:

Sometimes people say that if a person were to be what she truly is, she would be releasing the beast in herself.  I feel somewhat amused by this when I take a closer look.  The lion is often a symbol of the "ravenous beast," but what about him?  Unless he has been very much warped by contact with humans, he has a number of endearing qualities.

To be sure, he kills when he is hungry, but he does not go on a wild rampage of killing, nor does he overfeed himself.  He keeps his handsome figure better than some of us.  He is helpless and dependent in his puppyhood, but he moves from that to independence.  He does not cling to dependence.  He is selfish and self-centered in infancy, but in adulthood he shows a reasonable degree of cooperativeness, and feeds, cares for, and protects his young.  He satisfies his sexual desires, but this does not mean he engages in wild and lustful orgies.  His various tendencies and urges have a harmony within him.  He is, in some basic sense, a constructive and trustworthy member of the species Felis Leo.

What I am trying to suggest is that when one is truly and deeply a unique member of the human species, this is not something which should excite horror.  It means instead that one lives fully and openly the complex process of being one of the most widely sensitive, responsive, and creative creatures on the Planet.  Fully to be one's own uniqueness as a human being is not, in my experience, a process to be labeled "bad."  More appropriate words might be that it is a positive, constructive, and trustworthy process.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

X: 4, 5

Chapter 10, Verses 4, 5

"Discernment, wisdom, victory over delusion,
Forgiveness, truth, equanimity, pleasure and pain,
Birth and death, fear and fearlessness,
Non-violence, austerity, contentment,
Generosity, honor and dishonor:
All these are the condtions of mortals,
And they arise from me."

Paramahansa Yogananda:

God alone is responsible for all good and evil, for all contrasts, contradictions, and relativities in the unfolding of human destiny.  This is not to say that a person is good or evil, joyous or sorrowful, because God so orders it.  Rather, all contrasting potentials are God's doing through the laws of Nature, but the way that they manifest in a person depends upon karmic patterns created by the use and misuse of free choice, which sets into operation the Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic qualities of Nature.

All mental states serve a divine purpose.  By discernment, wisdom, self-control, and other righteous means, and by the experiences through many lifetimes of oppositional states, such as birth and death, courage and fear, fame and infamy, joy and sorrow, the human being seeks at last the origin of it all.

Srila Prabhupada:

Of whatever we find, good or bad, the origin is Krishna.  Nothing can manifest itself in this material world which is not in Krishna.  Everything flows from Krishna.

[Many qualities are mentioned in these verses.  The one that is jumping out at me right now as especially worthy of attention is Tushtih, or contentment.]

Swami Shivananda:

Those are content who are satisfied with their possessions and their situations in life.  They are free from greed, and so they have peace of mind.

Contentment makes a person very rich.  It annihilates greed.  Greed makes even a rich person a beggar of beggars.  The greedy person is ever restless.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

X: 3

Chapter 10, Verse 3

"Those who know
I am without beginning,
Unborn and Lord of all,
Are free from delusion.
They do not miss the mark."

Sri Aurobindo:

All the perplexity of the human mind, all the stumbling, insecurity, and affliction can be traced back to the groping and bewildered cognition and volition natural to the mortal mind, but when the divine origin of all things is known, when you look steadily from the cosmic appearance to its transcendent reality and back again, you are then delivered from the bewilderment of the egoic nature.  Assigning to all and everything its real and not any longer its apparent value, you find the hidden links and connections, consciously directing all actions in the light and power of God.

The Supreme who becomes all of creation, while simultaneously transcending it, is not aloof from the creation.  The theism of the Gita is no shrinking and gingerly theism afraid of integrating the world's contradictions, but one which sees God as the omniscient, sole, original Being, who manifests in himself all that there is, whatever it may be, as the stuff of his own existence, governing what he has manifested.

Unbound by his creation, exceeding it, and yet intimately related to Nature and closely one with her creatures as their Spirit, Lord, Lover, Friend, and Refuge, he ever leads them from within and from above through the mortal appearances of ignorance and suffering towards a supreme light, bliss, immortality, and transcendence.  This is the fullness of the liberating knowledge.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

X: 2

Chapter 10, Verse 2

"Neither the Devas, nor the great Rishis
Know where I come from.
I am the origin in every way
Of the Devas and the Rishis."

Sri Aurobindo:

The supreme word of the Gita is first of all the explicit and unmistakable declaration that the highest worship of the Eternal is the adoration and knowledge of him as the divine origin of all that is in existence and the mighty Lord of the world and its peoples.

The divine is the unborn Eternal who has no origin.  There is and can be nothing before him from which he proceeds, because he is one, timeless, and absolute.  At the same time, the divine transcendence is not an absolute which is empty of all relation to the Universe.  All cosmic relations derive from this Supreme; all cosmic existences return to it and find in it alone their true and immeasurable existence.

The gods [Devas] are spiritual forms of the eternal and original Deity.  They descend from him into the many processes of the world.  Nothing is independently created here.  Everything finds its origin and will to be in the absolute and supreme God.

Swami Shivananda:

Krishna is saying in so many words...

Not only am I the source of all the gods and sages, but I am also their inner ruler and the dispenser, ordainer, and guide of their intelligence.

Paramahansa Yogananda:

Even such exalted beings as Devas and Rishis are obliged to work in harmony with the Cosmic Mother to whom the Lord has given full power over the phenomenal worlds.  The beam of light from a motion picture projector produces no images on the screen unless it passes through forms on film.  Similarly, the sole Reality has no form without the presence of the variegated vibratory film of Maya, the principle of duality that divides the indivisible and through cosmic vibration projects forms on the screen of time and space.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

X:1

Chapter 10, Verse 1

"Listen further, O Warrior,
And hearken to my supreme word,
Which I tell you for your greatest good,
Since your heart delights in the telling."

Father Bede Griffiths:

This glory is Krishna's highest word.  It consists of the revelation of the personal God who is known only to those who find their joy in him.

Sri Aurobindo:

We have now come to the inmost kernel of Krishna's Yoga, the living and breathing center of the teaching.  We now see that the ascent of the soul, when it withdraws from the egoic nature into the immutable Self, which is calm, silent and stable, is only a preliminary step.

Now, too, we can see why Krishna speaks always of himself as of some great, omnipresent, Supreme Being, Lord of all the worlds and Master of the human soul, abiding forever and unmoved forever by the appearances of the natural Universe.

Humans approach the Infinite through the finite mind, seeking for some conception upon which the mind may seize.  Some face of that infinite truth is sought, so that by attaching themselves to it, they can arrive through direct experience to the immeasurable reality that it figures.  However narrow the gate, they are satisfied if it offers a way into the wideness which beckons them.  As they approach it, so it receives them.

A passive, relationless identity excludes the joy of adoration and devotion, but Bhakti is the very heart and summit of this richer, more complete and intimate union.  The delight of the heart in God is the essence of true Bhakti.

To make it clear that this is the entire truth of his teaching, Krishna declares in a reiteration of all that he has been saying that this is his supreme word.

Srila Prabhupada:

The more one hears about Krishna, the more one becomes fixed in devotional service.  Discourses among the community of devotees is effective only where there are those who really long to be Krishna conscious.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

IX: 34

Chapter 9, Verse 34

"Think of me constantly,
Fill your heart with my presence,
Become steady on your path,
And you will come unto me."

Sri Aurobindo:

Love of the world, the mask, changes into the love of Krishna, the truth.  Once this secret of the Self is known and embraced, your whole being and your whole life will be uplifted.  In place of the ignorance of the egoic nature absorbed in its own outward works and appearances, your eye will open to the vision of Krishna everywhere, and to the unity and universality of Spirit.  Your weakness and error will be transformed into the all-embracing strength, truth, and purity of the stainless Krishna.

To make your mind one with the Divine Consciousness, to make the whole of your emotional nature one love of Krishna everywhere, to make all of your works one offering to the Self, and all your worship and aspiration one adoration of him: this is the way to rise out of the mundane into the Divine Existence.  This is Krishna's teaching of divine love and devotion, in which knowledge, works, and the heart's longing become one in an intertwining of all their threads.

Paramahansa Yogananda:

Thus does Krishna, in the final verse of chapter nine, summarize the resolution of the mystery of transcendence and immanence of Spirit.  Through the divine science of Yoga, the Yogi unites with transcendent Spirit, beyond the dreams of manifestation, while also remaining immanent and active with Spirit in the cosmic dream drama.

In Yoga meditation, O Bhakta, fix your mind unwaveringly on God.  With devotion, surrender to him the ego consciousness and all of its dream delusions.  In the inner rite of true worship, offer the little self into the Self in the sacred fire of divine communion with Spirit.

Look solely to him who is the Lord of all, for he is the consummation of the rainbow-chases of birth after birth.  In him, all motley-hued desires merge into the one splendor of divine joy in which the soul becomes ever diademed with Spirit.  The Self-realized Yogi is a prince of peace on the throne of poise directing his kingdom of activity, wholly devoted to God in heart and mind, and offering to him the fruits of all actions.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

IX: 33

Chapter 9, Verse 33

"Saintly kings and holy sages, too,
Seek this goal with devotion.
Therefore, in this sad and forlorn world,
Give all your love to me."

Paramahansa Yogananda:

If even sinful men and women
May retrace their footsteps
To the hallowed home,
How unhampered, then,
Will the journey be
For the spiritually inclined?

Swami Shivananda:

The body is impermanent.  It will perish soon.  It brings pain of various sorts.  Give up the efforts for securing happiness for this body.  If you do not aim at Self-realization even after attaining a human birth, you live in vain.  Do not waste your life, only to be caught again and again in the wheel of birth and death.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IX: 32

Chapter 9, Verse 32

"All those who take refuge in me,
Including prostitutes, beggars, and slaves,
Though they are scorned by others,
Will attain the supreme goal."

Srila Prabhupada:

Everyone is eligible for the supreme destination.

Paramahansa Yogananda:

For the Bhakta [practitioner of devotional Yoga], all social inequalities are negated.  Unlike societal norms, God never excludes anyone because of occupation, gender, or birth.

Are we not all children of the Most High, heirs and heiresses to an eternal kingdom?

Sri Aurobindo:

Previous effort and preparation, the purity and holiness of a Brahmin [priest], the enlightened strength of a Kshatriya [king-sage] great in works and wisdom have their value, because they make it easier for the flawed human creature to arrive at this wide vision and self-emptying; but even without this preparation, all who take refuge in the Divine Lover of humankind, such as the Vaishya [merchant] once preoccupied by the narrowness of wealth-getting and the labor of production, the Shudra [outcaste] hampered by a thousand hard restrictions, a woman shut in and stunted in her growth by the narrow circle that society has drawn around her self-expansion, and those too, on whom their past Karma has imposed the worst of births find at once the gates of God opening wide before them.
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