Wednesday, May 16, 2012

VI: 8

Chapter 6, Verse 8

"Those Yogis,
Fulfilled in wisdom and resolute,
Are called Yogis in harmony.
For them, gold or rock or dirt are one."

Swami Shivananda:

Various kinds of iron pieces get hammered and shaped on the anvil, but the anvil remains the same.  Similarly, the Yogis' center within remains unaffected in spite of their involvement in the world.  They are called Kutastha, which is another name for the Self, the silent Witness of the mind."

Father Bede Griffiths:

The aim is to see the one Reality in every manifestation.  See God in everyone and everything.  Recognize that the good is present in the midst of evil.

This understanding can have a downside.  It can give the impression that it does not matter whether a person is good or bad.  There can be a kind of indifference which takes no notice of any differences at all.  Everything has the same value.  Among many Hindus, there is a tendency to think like this.

In a certain sense, it's true; because the same Spirit is present everywhere.  Spirit, however, manifests in different ways.  The differences are important and to be appreciated.

Simply to think that gold and dirt are the same is valuable in one way.  It can free a person from the attraction to gold and the aversion to dirt.  At the same time, it is important to be able to discern the difference.  There is a story of a student who was taught by his master that all is Brahm.  All is the Self.  One day he was walking along a road when an elephant broke loose and charged towards him.  He stood transfixed, saying to himself, "All this is Brahm.  Nothing can happen to me."  The elephant took him in his trunk and heaved him off the road, where he was picked up in an unconscious state.  After he recovered, he was brought before the master and complained, "You said all is Brahm.  The elephant was Brahm.  How could it have hurt me?"  The master answered him, "The man who was riding the elephant shouting to you to get out of the way also was Brahm."

God speaks to us through everything, and we have to discern the presence of God in every situation.  It is indeed difficult to discern the will of God.  We are bombarded from so many different directions.  Discernment is the ability to recognize what is the will of God for me here and now in this concrete situation.

Sri Aurobindo:

These verses comprise the description of Sattvic equality.  They sum up what is familiar to the world as the calm, philosophical equality of the sage.

What, then, is the difference between this Sattvic equality and the larger equality taught by Krishna?

It lies in the difference between the philosophical discernment and the Vedantic experience of unity on which Krishna bases his teaching.  Philosophers maintain their equality by the power of the Buddhi, the discerning faculty of the mind; but even that, by itself, is built upon a shaky foundation; for though masters of themselves by a cultivated habit of the mind, in reality they are not free from their lower natures.  The lower nature at any moment may exact revenge for its rejection, for always the play of the lower nature is a triple play.  The Rajasic and Tamasic qualities constantly lie in wait for the Sattvic person during a weak moment.

Perfect peace and security can only be internalized by resorting to something higher than the discerning mind, not the intelligent self of the philosopher, but the divine sage's spiritual Self beyond the three Gunas and consummated by a divine birth into the higher spiritual nature.

The philosopher's equality is like the Stoic's, inwardly a lonely freedom, remote and aloof.  Those born to the divine birth have found the divine not only in themselves, but in all beings.  They have realized their unity with all, and their equality is therefore full of compassion and oneness.  They see all as themselves and are not intent upon their lonely salvation, even taking upon themselves the burden of others' happiness and sorrow.  Sages of steady wisdom, Krishna more than once repeats, are ever engaged with a large equality in doing good to all creatures.  In that abides the occupation and delight.

They do not retreat to their ivory towers of spiritual isolation, but rather are engaging, many-faceted, universal workers for the good of the world, for God in the world.  They are the Bhaktas, lovers of the divine who love God wherever they find him and who find him everywhere.  What they love, they serve.  Action does not carry them away from the joy of union, since all their acts proceed from the One in them, and to the One they are all directed.  The all-encompassing equality that Krishna will reveal to Arjuna in due course is a large, synthetic equality in which all gets lifted up into the integrality of the divine being and the divine nature.

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