Wednesday, November 3, 2010

III: 42

Chapter 3, Verse 42

"They say that the power of the senses is great,
And it is.
But greater than the senses is the mind.
Greater than the mind is the Buddhi.
Greater than the discerning faculty
Is the spirit in all."

Srila Prahbupada:

"In the Katha Upanishad there is a similar passage in which it is said that the mind is superior to the senses and their objects. If, therefore, the mind is directly engaged in constant service to the Lord, then there is no chance that the senses will become engaged in other ways. With complete surrender to Krishna, then, even though the senses remain strong, like serpents, they will be no more wayward and dangerous than serpents with broken fangs. Unless the mind is strengthened by association with the divine at all times, there will be chances to fall down due to an agitated mind."

Paramahansa Yogananda:

"When Krishna and Arjuna are pictured in the chariot, the symbol is that of the Supreme Self as charioteer, guiding the spiritually inclined student to use discernment to carry the body-chariot along the road of life. A person needs a sturdy carriage, well-kept horses, strong reins, an alert, well-trained driver, and a wisely chosen path to reach the destination. A student moving towards Self-Realization needs a healthy body, well-behaved senses, strong mental reins to hold them, and a keen, discerning intelligence to guide them. Then the body-chariot can negotiate the path of right action to its destination."

[Again, it cannot be over-emphasized that while "negotiating the path of right action to the destination" is a crucial element of the Yoga path, at the same time, let us not forget that the path IS the destination in the sense that we're not traveling to a "place," but rather we're talking about an inner transformation, the revelation of a state of consciousness which is our true nature, within us right now, waiting for the veils to lift. When this revelation becomes established as steady presence through constant remembrance, we become that pure vessel through which the higher power flows unimpeded.

The process towards complete surrender is nurtured by the gradual purification of the Buddhi, the discerning faculty in all of us. Ram Dass describes the Buddhi as a "swinging door." This image reminds me of a stint in a restaurant as a waiter. There were two doors between the kitchen and the dining room. They both swung freely so that a waiter could pass in and out with a laden tray without having to worry about closing the door behind. One was for the trip from the kitchen into the dining room, and the other was for the return trip. As long as personnel followed the designated traffic pattern, no collisions would result.

When the Buddhi "swings outward," into the world of the senses and their objects, it is easy to get lost in attachment. identify exclusively with the body/mind complex, and wander about in ignorance. But there comes a time when enough becomes enough already, and we thirst for something more. The Purusha, our soul, is calling us from within. The door starts to swing inwards.

What is going on? A sympathetic emotion is being stimulated, arousing communication between the mind and the Purusha through the conduit of the inward-turned Buddhi. This phenomenon quickens our intuitive capacity. My dictionary defines "intuition" as "the power or faculty of attaining to direct cognition without evident rational thought or inference." There is a certainty in this direct perception (Pratyaksha) that is lacking in rational thinking and inferential knowledge. The more we taste it, the more we want to experience it as a steady state of consciousness. We surrender a little more.

Anodea Judith, in her book "Wheels of Life," talks about intuition as "the unconscious recognition of pattern." I like this description, because implicit in it is the wisdom of the Purusha, always there, just waiting for us to tune in. As we learn to become comfortable with our inward-turned Buddhi, both in meditation and in our daily activity, the unconscious recognition of pattern gradually becomes conscious recognition of pattern, and the wisdom of "not my will but Thy Will be done" comes alive in us. This is the spontaneous state of true surrender.]

Robert A. Johnson:

"The mystery is this: There is one right thing to do at every moment. We can either follow or resist."

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