Gita: Chapter 4- Gyan Yoga

When the seeker is burning in the fire of knowledge, all his desires are burnt to ashes. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that He taught the secret knowledge to Vivaswan, who taught it to Manu. Manu passed on this knowledge to Ikshvaku. Over the ages this knowledge had been passed on from generation to generation. However, with time this knowledge got lost in translation. Lord Krishna is teaching this Supreme secret to Arjuna, who is his devotee and friend because a devotee is very dear to the Lord. Arjuna was surprised at this. He remarked that Lord Krishna was born after Vivaswan was born. How could You, Lord Krishna, have taught this at the beginning of time? The Lord answered. Even though I am unborn and unchanging and the ruler of Nature, I take birth in this material world of Maya. Whenever, chaos rules and there is decay of righteousness and Evil rules the world, then I manifest Myself. For protecting the people who are engaged in good deeds, for destroying those who are taking the side of wrong and for establishing pure values of mankind, I am reborn in every yuga ( period of time that is more than 20,000 years). Dear Arjuna, the human being, who realizes this Supreme Truth and My true nature, after abandoning his material body, is not born again but unites with Me. In the past, being free from fear, anger and attachment, taking refuge in Me and purified by the fire of knowledge, many devoted souls have attained union with Me.

In whatever way they perceive Me, I carry out their desires. Men and women tread My Path in many different ways, O Partha. People dream or wish something and finally through their ceaseless effort it becomes reality. That aspect of consciousness, from where thoughts and dreams arise is Divine. The driver of every invention, that which results in every dream fulfilled is hidden in the same source. Everyone is seeking the Divine in different ways. When one recognizes Divinity, one is awe. It appears only momentarily. One is in awe when one’s mind is open and empty and not cluttered with routines. There is divinity everywhere, where one recognizes it , depends on one’s predisposition. Same God is adored in different forms for attaining definite and different results. Same wheat is used in roti, pasta, noodles or pizza to achieve different tasting dishes. There are many forms of worship that allows people to obtain success through actions. People need to perform actions to fulfill their desires. In this world, only action can result in dream fulfillment. According to their inclination and the nature of their action, I have created the four-fold caste system among the people. There are four types of doers – the intellectuals, the fighters/protectors, the business people, and the working class. Every community all over the world has these four types of people. This differentiation is based on the nature and action of a person. This caste system is not according to one’s birth. It was misinterpreted in India, in the recent past, when the profession was getting passed on through generations within the family.

Even though I am the author of this differentiation on the basis of action, know Me as the Non-doer and Immutable. The Self is untouched by the action. A part of the inner Self that is unchanging is not bound by this inclination towards one type of action. One many change the nature of their action during their lifetime. They can be a worker and later become a business man. One may study engineering but later on become a sportsman. It is important to recognize one’s limited sphere of action and qualities. One may be qualified to a businessman or teacher etc. However, there is one aspect of us that is not tainted by these qualities of action and remains unchanged. This knowledge of the unchanging Self gives one tremendous strength in the midst of tremendous external changes. Nothing really matters. The Self is indestructible and will never be destroyed. Knowing this, keep doing your actions, as many seekers have done in the past. They are living examples

Even the intelligent people are perplexed about what is to be done and what is not to be done. So I will tell you about the true nature of action and inaction so that you are freed from evil and the cycle of Karma. It is necessary to discriminate right action, wrong or forbidden action and inaction. One needs to understand when one has to act, when one has be indifferent and what actions are forbidden. Unfathomable are the ways of Karma. No action is totally perfect. Every good action has imperfections and some imperfect actions have good coming out of it. There is a lot of confusion about the analysis of action. Hence Lord Krishna says ” He who recognizes inaction in action and action in inaction is the wise one, the Yogi and the achiever of all actions.”

When mind is clam and free from desires and worries, then awareness dawns. Awareness is the mother of all wisdom. Mistakes happen because of lack of awareness. When desires are dropped, mind is steady and settled, then the brilliance/ wisdom in you comes up. You are consumed by awareness as fire consumes the wood. The fire of knowledge burns the past karma —frees you of any blemish of the past. In this world there is nothing more purifying than knowledge. The arrogance of knowledge is counterproductive though. The seeker can go through the path by himself but cannot reach the perfection. One has to achieve perfection only through yoga with the Self. Only time will bring that to you. Willingness to learn and having a control over the senses. One who doubts, will never be happy in this world or the next. Divine is a rhythm (Ritam) , wave function of the Universe. Get in touch with the being that is sitting in a throne in your heart. Through this union (Yoga), you will be centered and get over the doubts through wisdom and knowledge. Such a seeker will not be bound by karma.

Bhakti Manifestations

Divine love or devotion may manifest itself in the following 11 flavors.

1. Gunamahatmaskti – Such a devotee is praising all the qualities of the Divine. Small things are a wonderful. A simple glance brings the heaven to the devotee. They always talk about or singing the glories of Divine.

2. Rupasakti – The Divine form is imprinted in the mind of the devotee. An artist is born within the devotee. They write poems, make paintings or create music or sculpture describing the unfathomable beauty. Divine is manifested in various forms. . Honoring the forms is one form of devotion. Adore one form at a time and surrender to it. To fathom the formless you move through devotion to a form.

3. Poojasakti – Worship is born out of the feeling of completeness.This a way to express the love. There are different rituals of expressing the gratitude. The devotees offer water, fruit, flowers, light a deep and finally themselves. The purpose of worship is also to feel complete.

4. Smaranasakti – The devotee is remembering Divine constantly. Feeling grateful for what you have have received from the Divine. Rejoicing the memory of the connection. This comes very naturally. When you remember the Divine day and night all other things appear trivial. There is no space in the mind for other thoughts.

5. Dasasakti – The devotee has an attitude of a servant. The servant gives every drop of his existence to his Master. He is shifting all the responsibility to the Divine. So the servant feels free. This attitude that the devotee are serving divine, gives him great power. Like Hanuman, the devotees receive great capacity to serve. Their joy lie in this act of serving the Divine. A Guru is, in fact, serving his followers as well.

6. Sakhaskti -The devotee sees the Divine as his companion or dear friend. They tell everything to the friend. Open up and share all that they have. They feel close to the divine.

7. Vatsalyasakti – Some devotees are parenting the Divine. Krishna is worshiped as Gopal. Parents feel close to the kids. The devotees think of them day and night, considering the divine as their baby. A mother is in love with her kid. She looses sleep to nurse her baby. She serves with out complaining without getting anything any return.

8. Kantaasakti – The devotees consider the Divine as their lover or spouse. Monks and nuns feel they are married to the Divine.

9. Atmanivedanaskti – The devotee offers the whole being/ the self to the divine.

10. Tanmayataskti – The whole being of the devotee is absorbed in the divine. No more room left. They do not exist as a separate entity. There is total oneness just like the hand is part of you. You do not say hand is not part of me. Divinity becomes part of the devotee. In sleep one is totally absorbed in the divine.

11. Kamanaskti – Devotees experience intense longing. If there is no longing if there is no love. If there is love, there must be longing.

All these flavors of love can come to the same devotee at different times or only one flavor may be present for another devotee. No flavor is better than the other. Sometimes kids argue over which flavor is the best. But there is no best flavor. Chocolate may be my favorite flavor while strawberry may be your favorite flavor. But that is just a personal preference or inclination.

A deep devotee is a little crazy. They take a stance and do not care about others. This is necessary in order to blossom fully. Honest sharing of your inner thoughts is essential to blossom. Idea of being proper is restrictive. Then there is no expression of love. The devotee is not afraid of expressing their love. The learned people (Jnanis) differ in their opinions. Devotees feel unified. People are afraid of emotions as it brings longing and deeply hurt by people you love. Love makes one vulnerable. This over protection drags one towards inertia. In interia one become like a machine. Because of fear of hurt , they avoid being emotional. Meera says that divine love is blissful pain. Love is a storm of emotions. The path of yoga avoids the misery. In the path of love, none of that matters. The joy is more than the inconvenience caused by it. Mother wakes up when the baby cries. Mother ignores the pain because the love fills her heart.
When you take refuge in Bhakti, there are challenges. There will be all types of people. Some you naturally like. Others you will not like. One needs to adjust to all situation and expect appreciation / respect. One should keep the equanimity . One who has faith in the rules of devotion explained by Maharishi Narada attains the beloved and experiences divine love. A number of devotional figures from Puranic scriptures are quoted as being agreement with the truth of the process given, including: KumarasVyasaŚukaSandilyaGargaVishnuKaundinyaSeshaUddhavaAruniBaliHanuman and Vibhishana.

Day 11: Exploring Bhakti

The great sage Narada advises us not to depend on arguments to understand the Divine. An argument may go in any direction. In the spiritual journey depending on limited logic, we cannot fathom the infinite Divinity. He encourages us to drop fear, desire, greed and wait patiently for the divine love to blossom. Love manifests itself as benevolent actions. So Narada motivates us to utilize every moment to engage ourselves in devotional service. In devotional service, one is singing God’s glory through action. The Maharishi inspires us to carry an unshakable faith in the beloved’s love. Whatever action one is doing, it is to be dedicated to the Divine.

Great Narada prescribes the rules of devotion: Practice faith, nonviolence, compassion, truth, cleanliness — inner and outer purity.

Faith keeps one at ease. Low pranic energy leads to loss of faith. Healthy body and mind instills faith.

Violence spurs from weakness. It rattles one’s nervous system. Non-violence requires heroism. Mahavir, whose name means “great hero”, is the champion of non-violence.

Compassion evokes subtle emotions. Emotions make us human. Every human being experiences various types of emotions. The trees feel emotions and even water harbors emotions. A strong connection with Divine is felt through the subtle emotions.

Lies makes the mind uncomfortable. Dirt makes one cringe and cannot feel comfortable. Ease of mind and body are essential to experience bliss.

While through yoga our goal is to go towards Emptiness, Bhakti evokes emotions. In this path all kinds of feelings manifest itself but are always directed to the Divine.

Out of the three dimensions of reaching the Divine — knowledge, action and devotion, wise Narada says devotion is the highest. Without passion one cannot gain the knowledge. Amazement that is invoked through deeper understanding leads to love. Complete knowledge is bliss. Passion and bliss are flavors of devotion. The fruit of knowledge is devotion. Likewise, without devotion no action is perfect. The fruit of action is bliss. Beginning and end of knowledge or action is devotion. Hence, devotion is the highest dimension. Only through devotion, we will wake up and recognize that the divine love is within us.

Moko kahan dhoonde re bande

Moko kahan dhoondhe re bande
Main to tere paas mein
Na teerath mein na moorat mein
Na ekanth niwas mein
Na mandir mein na masjid main
Na Kaba Kailash mein

Where do you seek for me O human? I am right next to you. I am not in any place of pilgrimage, nor in the idols, nor in a secluded retreat. I am not in any temple , nor in the mosque nor in Kaba or Kailash.

Na main jap mein na main tap mein
Na main varat upaas mein
Na main kiriya karam mein rehata
Na hi yog sanyas mein

I cannot be reached through chanting nor through penance nor through religious rites nor fasting. I am not attainable by meditative practice, neither through complete detachment from the worldly activities.

Khoji hoye turat mil jaoon
Ek pal ki taalas mein
Kehat Kabir suno bhai saadho
Main to hoon vishvas mein

The true seeker can find me in a moment. Saint Kabir says “I reside in your unwavering faith”.

Day 10: Exploring Bhakti

The devotees are not seekers. They have figured out the hide and seek game. The songs composed by such devotees like Kabir (Moko kahan dhoonde re bande), Meera (Paayo ji maine Ram-ratan dhan), Nazrul (Antare tumi achho chorodin) , Rabindranath ( Amar Hiyar majhe lukiye chhile) and others are testimony to this. The devotees are aware of the presence and their union with the beloved.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji gives a lovely analogy for this . Like the fish knows it is in the in water and that it cannot live without the water— devotees know that they cannot let go of the divine love. They cannot survive even a moment without loving God. They also have a unwavering conviction that God loves them. They never question the love of God. As a result, they are radiating love that is felt by others as well.

The Siddha are completely absorbed in the bhakti. When one is soaked in devotion, the ancestors rejoice, the angels are celebrating and Earth finds a lord. The people and animals and all life form feel comfortable with the Siddha. All the species and even every atom of material — everything resonates with the same vibration.

Saint Narada says anyone can be a devotee. All devotee are on the same footing. Their occupation, cast race or religion, their appearance or form, their qualifications etc do not matter to the Master. They are inseparable from the Master, through the faith of their devotion. God loves them dearly. No logic can prove this. Logic leads to endless arguments and no definite conclusion.

The devotees are not qualified by knowledge. “I do not know” that is knowledge in itself. Likewise, the devotees understand the rules of devotion. The songs of saints and other devotees are knowledge to them. The devotees contemplate on the stories of devotion to the Beloved. They continue their worldly duties alongside their devotion.

Day 9: Exploring Bhakti

Imagine if we can offer our past present future to the Divine with the gesture of Anjali (respectful surrender) . At this point we are free now. We are innocent, intelligent, joyful and full of self-esteem.

Self- esteem exists in the state of union. Pride and vanity needs duality or plurality. Wanting to show off to others are at the root of pride and vanity. When love is present pride and vanity vanishes. Focused devotion to the master or beloved is the best kind of love. A true devotee has no pride other than the pride of the beloved. All the actions of the devotee is surrendered to the Divine. Such devotees are excited to talk about their beloved. Tears roll from their eyes when they speak of the beloved. Purity exudes from them naturally.They are like a beacon of light that guides the masses. In this rare situation the devotee is one with the Beloved just like Radha and Krishna. Such divine love for the Unseen is easy and difficult at the same time. It can happen in a moment or it can take several lifetimes.

Day 6 Meditation- Exploring Bhakti

Let us imagine that we can convince our mind to let go the input coming through our five senses.(1) The body is sheathed in a touch sensitive skin. When the skin is in contact with another object, we may feel the warmth, the coldness, the smoothness, the sharp edges. It creates the feeling of liking or disliking. (2)The eyes are tuned to the information of color. When we have our eyes open we are bombarded with signals about color texture form and these create in our mind the feeling of beauty, love or the opposite. (3)Our nostrils are breathing in fragrance. Pleasing fragrance of flowers, delicious smell of food or strong offensive smell ultimately create feelings of attraction or aversion. (4)The connection with food is enhanced with the sensation it creates when the tongue is in contact with these chemicals. The gamut of sensations ranging from mouth watering, bland, soft or chewy are getting translated to either attraction to the particular dish or aversion there from. The tongue is also an organ of communication and reaches out to the outside with word intonations to express what the individual feels. What he feels is various forms of “love” like devotion, respect, trust, doubt, hatred, greed, jealously, pity, sympathy, empathy and you can add to this list generously. (5) Last but not the least we focus on the receiver, who hears the words. It is arguable that the communication channel through sound vibrations may not capture the full depth of the emotion of the communicator (sender). Neither can the receiver, reflect back exactly what ripples those words created in the fluidity of his mind.

If we got rid of all these complexities and detached from the five senses, our inner world is simple either we are in a sensation of love or some variation of it. Unfortunately, we cannot measure this state. How much love, how much hatred, how much greed is always going to be obfuscated by the means of measurement. The result of measurement is no good as it is not the truth.

Imagine we are in the depth of an experience where we are not focusing, not acknowledging or even measuring by the 5 senses. We are vibrating in love and in a realm that is not bounded by space or time. We feel one with the vastness that encompasses ALL. We melted into One — not red, yellow, brown, black or white but One ( that is infinite and inexplicable).