Wednesday, March 27, 2013

VII: 11

Chapter 7, Verse 11

"I am the power
Of those who are strong,
When this power
Is free from selfish desire.
I am desire itself,
When desire is consistent
With authentic selfhood."

Swami Shivananda:

Krishna is saying in so many words, "I am not the strength which generates selfish desire.  I am the desire which is in accordance with the sacred teachings.  For example, I am the desire for moderate eating, drinking and sleeping, which are necessary for the sustenance of the body and which aid you in the practice of Yoga."

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

Sometimes I meet people who amaze me with their physical exploits.  They can run very fast or jump very high or lift immense weight.  However, the strength that Krishna is talking about here is not muscular in nature.  It includes endurance, resilience, stamina and the capacity to face everything that life throws at you squarely so that it can be turned into an opportunity.

Father Bede Griffiths:

God is in all that is good and is the effective power of all that is good.  He is present in evil, too, for there is nowhere where he is not; but he is not the effective power of evil.  Evil is a misuse of a power that is good.  When we are consumed by unskillful desire, our energy becomes deflected.

There is this power in our nature which is essentially good, but when we seek to appropriate that power and use it to indulge ourselves unnecessarily, then we corrupt that power.  It becomes evil, although the power itself is good.  Every power that is used for evil is essentially good.  The power by which a murderer stabs is essentially good, but the intention of the mind and the will in the act is evil, because it is defective.

Sri Aurobindo:

The practical distinction between the original power of essential quality and the phenomenal derivations of the lower nature, between the thing in itself in its purity and the thing in its lower workings, is indicated very clearly here.

How can the divine be desire, for desire has been declared to be our great enemy which has to be slain?

That desire was the desire of the lower mind, which has its native point of origin in the Rajasic being.  This is what we usually mean when we speak of desire.  However, this other desire, which may be characterized as spiritual, is a will not contrary to the Dharma.  Dharma, says Krishna elsewhere, is action governed by the Swabhava, the essential law of your nature.  The desire meant here is the purposeful will of the divine in you searching for not the pleasures of the lower mind for the purpose of self-gratification, but the Ananda, the bliss of its own play for its own sake, the divine unrolling of its own conscious force of action in accordance with the law of the Swabhava, your authentic selfhood.

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