The Breathless state and Ajna Chakra

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 14-29 from Chapter 5 of the Bhagavad Gita.

Verses 14-17: Light of Consciousness

How does illumination take place? Knowledge is compared to the sun, to the immense light of a hundred thousand or million suns. During the process of meditation, you see the memories from the past, your desires, your fears, your emotions. This is all the stuff in chitta. When the hidden comes forward and you see it in the light of consciousness it loses its power over you. As long as it remains hidden in the darkness of the unconscious mind, it yields a power over you.

If you grope around in the dark in a room you may feel there is a sofa, table or chairs, but what you are missing is the overview. Switch on the light and immediately you see where the different objects are placed and how they stand in relation to each other. What happened to the darkness? It disappeared. It is the same with the darkness of fear in the mind. 

In the dark, what appears to be a snake is in reality just a rope. You were very scared of the so-called snake, but in the light you discover, your mind played tricks on you. You see the rope for what it is: only a rope, not a snake. The fear in the mind turned the rope into a snake, and light of knowledge freed you of the fear.

Verses 18-19: Traits of a Wise One

How would you be, if you would attain eternal wisdom and remain at all time identified with Vibhu, the All Pervading One? These verses specify 3 traits of a wise one:

1. A wise one has complete understanding of the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. In the Indian tradition of Sanatana Dharma,  the concept of creation does not exist. All manifests from that pure consciousness, take on gross forms and return back to the original pure consciousness. Such a a wise person has gained this knowledge through direct experience and not through books.

2. A wise person is very humble, vinayaka. Book knowledge makes you proud and arrogant. Wisdom does not. Wisdom makes one humble and so the emphasis on humility. 

3. A wise one would see Pure Consciousness in a person as well as a dog. This is called ‚ÄúSama darshina", equal vision or even vision. 

Verses 20-21: Contemplating the Limitless

Do this thought experiment: Close your eyes and feel yourself getting lighter and feeling like a balloon. Imagine you are flying out of the window into the sky, rising through the clouds. Observe yourself rising still higher until you can see the entire planet below and the stars unlimited and endless above. You keep going higher and higher until you leave the atmosphere and the planet behind you. You see this vast cosmos, around you, seemingly limitless. 

Now you get a sense of what that word limitless means. This is a kind of feeling you get when you are established in the Self, an expansive feeling of limitless joy.

Verses 22-23: The Limitless and the limited

Though the limited form of the body causes sorrow and suffering, the body you have is also a blessing. It has become very fashionable in spiritual circles to condemn the body and mind; the body is just a filthy thing and the mind is a mad monkey. This kind of condemnation of your body and mind, the only instruments you have is a form of violence. If you do not look after the body and mind they can be a great obstacle for you. Use this limited body wisely to attain limitless happiness in this lifetime. Make the mind your friend, and it will not be an obstacle to unlimited happiness. Both body and mind can serve you to attain the highest.

This merging of the limitless and the limited is a hallmark of the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita merges the non-dual Pure Consciousness and the dualistic world that we live in. Followers of Advaita tend to reject duality or the world completely but as long as you have a body you must learn to live in the world with the right attitude learning to use our mind and body and the objects of the world to help us attain the highest, so that they do not become an obstacle. This is known as Advaitadvaita; both non-duality as well as duality are embraced and celebrated.

Verses 24-26: How to be a royal sage

You find delight within, when you find the light (jyotir) within. Finding delight in themselves, they also find delight in the welfare of all beings like King Janaka, the royal sage. Delight is one of the many beautiful ways to express how it feels to be established in That. Madhu or sweet, amrita or nectar, prasadam or grace are different words of expressing that same joy experienced at that height of attainment.

Verses 27-28: The Breathless state and Ajna Chakra

This verse mentions the most essential criteria for attainment through dhyana or meditation. 

Keeping out all external stimuli and having no contact to the external world means going within through a gradual and systematic process of internalization from gross to subtle. It also means withdrawing mentally from the world. If your thoughts still dwell on the worldly objects then you cannot be said to have retreated to the deeper and subtler level of the unconscious mind. Withdrawing from the external world means the mind does not dwell on external objects. Eventually prana and apana, that is, inhalation and exhalation, are both withdrawn in to the breathless state. Having attained this the internal gaze naturally fixes between the brows at the ajna chakra, the gateway to the highest chakras. One who can attain this, his senses, mind, buddhi, are well regulated and co-ordinated, such an adept, who desires liberation can attain moksha.

Verse 29: The Friend Within

You attain freedom when you are Self-realized, identified with the Pure Consciousness, the friend of all beings.  In one of the finest practices atma vichara, also known as internal dialogue you learn to be friends with yourself and converse with the friend within. This friend within is Atman, Pure Consciousness or inner light. This is Self-realization.

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