Highest, finest, most subtle yogic Wisdom

The following is an excerpt of the commentary on the Bhagavad Gita by Radhikaji from her forthcoming book to be published in 2017. This article summarizes verses 1-42 from Chapter 10 of the Bhagavad Gita. 

Verses 1-3: Well wishing Divinity

A teacher is a guide, who has only your well-being at heart, just like a mother cares for her child and has only the best interest of her child at heart. Parents understand this well, that children also need discipline. It is not appropriate to give in to their whims and fancies, that only results in the children getting completely spoilt. Love does not mean only sweet words. Sometimes in order to discipline and train the student, the teacher must be firm. A good teacher does everything from this perspective, wishing to benefit the student. 

There is a common misconception that God wants us to suffer and we have to accept it. This is erroneous thinking and creates a fatalistic attitude which is not useful. God as we understand it, is Pure Consciousness. It is Satchitanand, having the qualities of Sat or Truth; Chit or Consciousness and Anand or Bliss. Pure Consciousness witnesses and is not interested in making you suffer. You create your own suffering and then conveniently blame it on some vague concept of God.

Verses 4-6: Duality is also Consciousness

Comfort and discomfort, being and non-being, fear and reassurance, violence and equanimity, these are opposites or dualities. All dualities come from Pure Consciousness. 

All these forms, all these beings and this world is a splendid manifestation and one who knows this splendid manifestation here and now is united in yoga. The four manus, considered to be the first among men, and the seven sages, the guides of humanity, all are manifestations of Pure Consciousness and so are all their progeny, humankind.

Verses 8-11: Satsang, the right company

Those, who are  filled immediately with devotion, having had a glimpse of the Highest cannot be shaken from the path. They seek the company of others like themselves and they help each other on the path. This is satsang. All the traditions of the world emphasise satsang. In the Bible it is referred to as “coming together in the name of the Lord”. In Buddha Dharma, the idea of the sangha is similar to the idea of satsang. Sat is Truth and Sangha is gathering or coming together. Thus, satsang is coming together in the name of Truth. One feels the living presence of the Divine when sincere seekers come together.

Satsang does not mean that you have to participate in a retreat, go to an ashram or spend time with a teacher. While these are all nice, Satsang also means keeping the right company. 

If you spend your time with thieves, sooner or later, even if you do not steal, the police is going to come knocking at your door, asking you, if you were involved in some thefts. Keeping the company of thieves will get you into trouble sooner or later. Keeping the right company is very important for those on the path. If you keep the company of disreputable characters, you will strengthen tamasic qualities. Select your friends wisely. This strengthens your practice strengthens your sankalpa shakti and keeps you on focussed on the path.

Verses 12-18: Only the Self knows the Self

Arjuna has understood that it is not enough to know the sages or the gods, because these are only part of this duality. He has understood that only the Self can know the Self. This is a beautiful line, which echoes the Upanishads.

The Self cannot be known just as you would know another object. To know the objects of the world, you can use the mind. However, it is not possible to use the mind to know the Self, since the Self is subtler than the mind. What light do you use to see the sun? None, since you see the sun by its own light. So also, only the Self itself can know the Self.

Those who have doubts about the existence of the Self, have these doubts, because they have not experienced a glimpse or some sort of direct experience, even if it is only a momentary.

Verses 19-38: The Highest, the finest, the subtle-most 

How can you know the essence? Pure Consciousness is the highest, the finest and most subtle of all. These verses distil the essence of all manifestations. 

Thus of the gods, the highest is the King of gods, Indra. Of the senses, the finest is the mind. Of the lakes, the ocean is the largest and deepest. Of the mountains, the Himalayas are the largest. The thunderbolt is the most concentrated form of energy. Thus of the weapons the thunderbolt is the most powerful. Of the cows, the celestial wish fulfilling cow is the most desirable. Among the beasts, the King of beasts, the lion is most worthy of honour. The Daityas are the Asuras or the demons. Prahlad was the son of the King of Demons, yet he was born with divine qualities, thus he was the best of the Asuras. Most the divine is the finest and subtle-most of all.

Verses 39-42: Knowing That, all is known

Imagine a seed and tree that emerges out of the seed. Pure Consciousness is that seed out of which the entire universe evolves. This latent energy is all pervading, it is the foundation of it everything that takes form. From it the forms emerge. 

Young seekers think they have to read a lot of books, but they only end on the intellectual track. It is not necessary to know all the scriptures, you just need to know the essence of the scriptures. Once you know the essence of the scriptures, you know all the scriptures, echoing the Upanishads: Knowing That all is known. Music can be incredibly complex and varied. Yet, the essence of music is just seven notes. Understand the seven notes and you are able to understand how music is composed, and you can appreciate different kinds of music. Verse 42 is very clear, there’s nothing more you need to know, once you know the essence, and what is this essence? We can summarise the entire Bhagavad-Gita into one line:  Everything is Pure Consciousness.

You sit in the comfort of your homes, with lights, modern air conditioning or heating, laptops, television, household gadgets. You can see all these gadgets, but you do not see the electricity, that makes it work. Without electricity all these gadgets would be absolutely useless. Life is the nature of the Atman, without it, the body would be mere dead matter. When you have a direct insight and see Pure Consciousness as energy everywhere, and everything is interconnected, then you know the essence. 

All these manifestations are only small parts of this greater reality. The mind is not able to hold the whole, it is too vast and too magnificent. Through yoga sadhana, you can train the mind to be able to hold the whole, Purnam, initially only for a few split seconds, but with training you are able to hold it for longer.

The farmers in India have canals running through the fields. When the fields do not require water, the canal is blocked with a mud dam. When the fields require water the farmer breaks open the mud dam which blocks the water. The farmer does not need to carry buckets of water from one side of the dam to the other. Remove your own obstacles and the energy will start flowing on its own. You do not have to make the energy flow, all you have to do is to remove the obstacles. 

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