We are moving on to the next chapter.  Here is the opening lines of this chapter.  Please give us your thoughts, questions and comments.

KRISHNA:

“Hear, O son of Pritha, how with heart fixed on me, practicing meditation and taking me as thy refuge, thou shalt know me completely. I will instruct thee fully in this knowledge and in its realization, which, having learned, there remains nothing else to be known.

“Among thousands of mortals a single one perhaps strives for perfection, and among those so striving perhaps a single one knows me as I am. Earth, water, fire, air, and akasa, Manas, Buddhi, and Ahankara is the eightfold division of my nature. It is inferior; know that my superior nature is different and is the knower; by it the universe is sustained; learn that the whole of creation springs from this too as from a womb; I am the cause, I am the production and the dissolution of the whole universe. There is none superior to me, O conqueror of wealth, and all things hang on me as precious gems upon a string. I am the taste in water, O son of Kunti, the light in the sun and moon, the mystic syllable OM in all the Vedas, sound in space, the masculine essence in men, the sweet smell in the earth, and the brightness in the fire. In all creatures I am the life, and the power of concentration in those whose minds are on the spirit. Know me, O son of Pritha, as the eternal seed of all creatures. I am the wisdom  of the wise and the strength of the strong. And I am the power of the strong who in action are free from desire and longing; in all creatures I am desire regulated by moral fitness. Know also that the dispositions arising from the three qualities, sattva, rajas, and tamas, are from me; they are in me, but I am not in them. The whole world, being deluded by these dispositions which are born of the three qualities, knoweth not me distinct from them, supreme, imperishable. For this my divine illusive power, acting through the natural qualities, is difficult to surmount, and those only can surmount it who have recourse to me alone. The wicked among men, the deluded and the low-minded, deprived of spiritual perception by this illusion, and inclining toward demoniacal dispositions, do not have recourse to me.

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Different Titles for Chapter 7

Wisdom and Realization

God and the World

The Yoga of Discriminative Wisdom

Vijnana Yoga

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What does Krishna mean by striving for perfection?  What are the qualifications for being included in this count?

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Maybe striving for perfection is the same as moving towards enlightenment.  One qualification would be to make a focus of the endeavor.

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What is spiritual discernment? How is this idea relevant to every day existence?

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Might this have something to do with HPB's mention in the Aquarian Axioms of  "perceiving formless spiritual essences."?   In other words seeing the common spiritual essence flowing through all of creation.

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1. Life is built up by the sacrifice of the individual to the whole. Each cell in the living body must sacrifice itself to the perfection of the whole; when it is otherwise, disease and death enforce the lesson.

2. Harmony is the law of life, discord its shadow; whence springs suffering, the teacher, the awakener of consciousness.

3. To obtain the knowledge of Self is a greater achievement than to command the elements or to know the future.

4. Self-knowledge is unattainable by what men usually call ‘self-analysis’. It is not reached by reasoning or any brain-powers.

5. Real Self-knowledge is the awakening to consciousness of the divine nature of man.

6. Will creates intelligently; Desire blindly and unconsciously.

7. When desire is for the purely abstract — when it has lost all trace or tinge of ‘self’ —then it has become pure.

8. Spirituality is not what we understand by the words ‘virtue’ and ‘goodness’. It is the power of perceiving formless spiritual essences.

9. The discovery and right use of the true essence of Being — this is the whole secret of life.

10. You cannot build a Temple of Truth by hammering dead stones.  Its foundations must precipitate themselves like crystals from the solution of Life.

(Ancient axioms from a compliation made by H.P. Blavatsky in 1890)

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Gerry, 
That is a beautiful piece from HPB. Where can I access it ?

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Reply by Tamiko Yamada on Wednesday

What is spiritual discernment? How is this idea relevant to every day existence?

Spiritual discernment is the exercise of spiritual faculty latent in all of us, by which we would be able to distinguish between what is self and what is not self. As we are now, we have confusion. We think our body is our self, or our emotions, thoughts are our self. We become identified with these things and call these as "i"'," "me," mine," and fall into error, whereas, in truth "we,"--the Self--is distinctly separate and stands apart from these things  of matter. 

When we turn our thoughts to the Real, as opposed to what seems to be real, and aspire to obtain it, then Buddhi begins to awaken in us. teachers say that if we persist in our quest, then that Light of Buddhi begins to shine in us and gradually dispel the darkness of the mind.

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How do we acquire spiritual discernment?

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Devotion. Devotion to humanity as collective spirit of the universe, which constitute our Higher Self. By and through reliance on Higher Self and on the Law of absolute Justice in the preformance of duties of our daily lives.

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Thank you Ramprakash that is a beautiful way of putting it.

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By doing what we do to acquire any power or skill, through practice.

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Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 10, 2014 at 12:10pm
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Spiritual discernment and wisdom are one and the same, it seems to me.  The ability to do the right thing, at the right time for the right reason is one way to explain wisdom in a practical setting.  If we have spiritual discernment we have the ability to assist the life process (human evolution) in a significant way.

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on August 23, 2014 at 12:02am
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From your comment it appears as if spiritual discernment is only possible after we have gained full knowledge of the Self.  Can we use spiritual discernment prior to this elevated state is achieved?  Is it not something we build up over time and practice?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 23, 2014 at 9:18am
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 Reply by Tamiko Yamada 9 hours ago

From your comment it appears as if spiritual discernment is only possible after we have gained full knowledge of the Self.  Can we use spiritual discernment prior to this elevated state is achieved?  Is it not something we build up over time and practice?

That is a practical question. 

It should be evident that acquirement of spiritual discrimination is progressive, from stage to stage. First stage is study of the philosophy of the great Masters, assimilate the universal truths intellectually, thus cleansing our minds and hearts of the wrong ideas and tendencies of the mind, and acquire right views, right reasoning,right thinking, right living.

When our whole world view changes and conforms to the Real,and our aspiration is kindled to live the Higher Life, to be governed by Higher Self, Light of the Higher Self gradually and imperceptibly begins to dispel the mental darkness. As Krishna says, spiritual knowledge  springs up spontaneously in the devotee in progress of time.

In Patanjali Yoga Aphorisms also development of Spiritual discrimination is stated to be progressive.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 24, 2014 at 1:26pm
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I agree.  I think we can start to employ spiritual discernment right now.  No waiting needed.  One exercise in this direction is to attempt to see every human being you encounter as an immortal soul that has lived thousands of lives and occupied innumerable roles in life.  That takes spiritual discernment and with practice we get better at cutting through the illusion of appearances and see through to the essence.  You cannot become too good at this.

Permalink Reply by barbaram on August 24, 2014 at 9:12pm
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I take spiritual discernment to mean the ability to discriminate between what is "real" from the "unreal."  It is a continuing process as we purify our lower nature, similar to cleaning our lenses, to be able to see through our illusions. 

The exercise that you recommend is using our imagination to create what we believe to be true.  What if our beliefs turn out to be false?    Is there a difference between creative imagination and discrimination?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 25, 2014 at 12:09am
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 Reply by barbaram 2 hours ago

I take spiritual discernment to mean the ability to discriminate between what is "real" from the "unreal."  It is a continuing process as we purify our lower nature, similar to cleaning our lenses, to be able to see through our illusions. 

The exercise that you recommend is using our imagination to create what we believe to be true.  What if our beliefs turn out to be false?    Is there a difference between creative imagination and discrimination?

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As rightly said discrimination is the ability to discriminate between what is real and what unreal.

In this exercise we do not begin with "beliefs" but with KNOWLEDGE. This Knowledge is the accumulated wisdom of the ages--thoroughly investigated by thousands of generations of Adepts, men who are perfected in their physical, intellectual, psychic and spiritual organizations to the utmost possible degree. In this universal Wisdom Science no vision / experience of one Adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by other Adepts, so as to stand as independent evidence, and by centuries of experience. This is the source of Theosophy.

But it is not offered to us to be taken on blind faith but to examine the axioms on their merit, to put them to test in the crucible of our own reasoning, intuition and experience, and see what light they throw on all the problems of life. 

The test of theorem is in its ability to solve the problem. Solution of the problem by the application of the theorem proves the validity of the theorem. Then we believe the theorem to be true, But such a belief is not blind belief but belief based on knowledge, verified and verifiable knowledge. 

If we carefully study the three fundamental propositions of the Secret Doctrine and the 10 propositions of ancient psychology, and take them as working hypotheses and apply them to life, we find that they throw brilliant light on all the riddles of life, revealing to our intuitive mind the meaning and purpose of whole our existence, as no other science or philosophy ever can.

Unity of life, law of cycles, evolution, Karma, Reincarnation, the dual nature of Mind-Soul, and so on. Truths of these axioms are self-evident.. The more we think and apply them, the clearer will become our perception of what is true and what is not true, what is transient and what permanent, what is Self and what is not-Self. Pursuit along these lines in search of Truth, we are sure to come to possess it someday, by progressive stages. All the problems of psychology, anthropology, evolution, cosmology, history--on all of which we have nothing but speculation in modern thought, stand wholly resolved and cleared in the brilliant light of all-embracing Wisdom Science or Theosophy.

So, following the proven axioms of Wisdom Science there is no danger of our going wrong; going wrong we certainly would, if we adopt as the basis of our thought partial truths, half truths or  dicta wholly unfounded, such as some assumptions of science or theological dogmas enforced by the churches.

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on August 25, 2014 at 2:02pm
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You could look at it as a thought experiment.  What would my life be like if I treated people as if they were an immortal soul?  How does it change my encounters?  How does it change how I feel about them?  How does it change how they interact with me? 

Permalink Reply by barbaram on August 25, 2014 at 4:38pm
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Yes, as a thought experiment, imagining everyone as an immortal soul or anything else would be very interesting.  It certainly changes our relationships and perspectives of life and people.  If we put on a pair of purple tinted glasses, everything would have the purple hue. 

The question in this discussion is ways to develop spiritual discernment.   I am trying to understand the role of visualization in this process and what is the difference between the use of discrimination and creative imagination?

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 25, 2014 at 5:05pm
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It is fundamental to the process of learning don't you think?  'Realization occurs by dwelling on the thing to be realized."  Physically we cannot see that a person is "an immortal soul" as Tamiko puts it.  But we can reason it, we can contemplate it.   And the more that we do the more we develop perceptive organs than can "see it".  So without the visualization we are stuck in the mud.  This is precisely why Einstein said the single greatest tool of the scientist is imagination.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 25, 2014 at 10:34pm
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Don't you think the very intellectual effort to comprehend these axioms of Theosophy and applying them in all aspects and relations of life itself is creativity ? 

Plato speaks of two paradigms -- one is generated paradigm and the other (and superior) is Eternal paradigm. All artistic and creative work based on the first mentioned can only be productive of ugiiness; whereas, the work proceeding from the second basis will be productive of beauty, goodness and uplifting.

So exercise of imagination is to be on the basis of self-evident truths of Esoteric Philosophy.

Gerry has stated it well.

Permalink Reply by barbaram on August 30, 2014 at 3:47pm
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Gerry - It is fundamental to the process of learning don't you think?  'Realization occurs by dwelling on the thing to be realized."  Physically we cannot see that a person is "an immortal soul" as Tamiko puts it.  But we can reason it, we can contemplate it.   And the more that we do the more we develop perceptive organs than can "see it".  So without the visualization we are stuck in the mud.  This is precisely why Einstein said the single greatest tool of the scientist is imagination.

Hi Gerry,

I think imagination plays an important part in learning and, as you said, the more we dwell on a subject, the more we understand it.  "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." 

I was just wondering about the process or the meaning of visualization.   We live our everyday life like a spectator in a cinema watching a movie and are absorbed by the plots, the characters, colors, scenes, etc.  These are the mental images that we identified with which make up and we see it as our life.   

Imagination is one of the five modifications of the mind, according  to the Yoga Sutra.  When we visualize, I think it is akin to changing the movie we have been watching to, say, a home movie, one that we put together.  This movie brings in a different set of crowd and we can think of them as a group of elementals that we are drawing into our lives.   Since we created this movie ourselves and is based on something very special to us, inevitably it gives off a different feeling and we probably would learn something from it every time. 

The interesting point is that both situations are based on mental images, one created by karma, while the other by visualization.  Perhaps, discrimination come in when we become aware that we are watching a film because it breaks up our identification with the images on the screen. 

Just a thought.

 

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 30, 2014 at 8:28pm
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Barb;

I learned a bunch from your thoughts on visualization.  Thank you.  I think meditation is a form of visualization.  We are asked to take the monkey mind off the hum drum affairs of our private lives and place the mind on universal principles.  This is one form of meditation.  Another idea we are given is to meditate on Men of Meditation (Adepts and Mahatmas).  We try to visualize what they are like, how they think, how they live, how they love humanity. " The mind needs depth and breathe to draw it to the diamond soul."  The Voice of the Silence

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Permalink Reply by Peter on August 8, 2014 at 4:41pm
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Some commentators of the Gita say that it has three parts based on the teaching statement ‘tat twam asi’ (‘That thou art’).  The first six chapters explore the nature of the individual self (‘Thou’) ; the next six explore the nature of Isvara (‘That’) and the final six chapters explore the relation between the two.  From this point of view, chapter seven begins the focus on the nature of Isvara.  This is signified in verse two where Krishna points that the vast majority of humanity do not know His true nature.

7:2  Among thousand of men, one, here and there, strives for perfection; and of those who strive and succeed, one, perchance, knows Me in truth.

In the next few verses Krishna states that he has two natures - lower and higher.  The lower (apara) is eightfold and comprises of earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect (buddhi) and ego (ahamkara).  The higher (para) nature is the indwelling spirit and life of all beings.  Krishna goes on to say that these two 'natures'  form ‘the womb’ from which all beings are born, hence all beings are constituted of ‘matter’ and ‘consciousness’.  Further, He is the source from which all comes forth and into which all returns.  There is nothing in the Universe higher than Krishna.

7:6 and 7.7  Know that these two form the womb of all beings.  I am the origin of the entire universe and also its dissolution.  There exists nothing whatsoever higher than I am,  O Dhananjaya.  All is strung on Me as row of gems on a thread.

Some of the symbology here might remind us of extracts from the stanzas in the SD, for example:

Stanza 3, sloka 7: FATHER-MOTHER SPIN A WEB WHOSE UPPER END IS FASTENED TO SPIRIT – THE LIGHT OF THE ONE DARKNESS – AND THE LOWER ONE TO ITS SHADOWY MATTER; AND THIS WEB IS THE UNIVERSE SPUN OUT OF THE TWO SUBSTANCES MADE IN ONE, WHICH IS SVABHAVAT.

That everything in the universe is strung on Krishna like a row of gems on a thread is also suggestive.  In the individual, Atman is referred to as the ‘thread soul’ which passes through all the vehicles or the sheaths of consciousness. Thus, Krishna, as the supreme and universal Self, Paramatman, is ‘in’ all things and all beings and is the underlying unity within and behind all appearances and diversity.  The reality, though, is, that all things exist within the supreme Self, rather than the reverse (see verse 12). For the supreme Self is the beginning and end of All.  Even though that is the case, Krishna says that individuals deceived by the diversity made up of the three gunas, which is His veil or Maya - all such individuals fail to see Him as the basis of All.  We already know from verse 7:2, above, this comprises the vast majority of humanity with barely a few exceptions.

Krishna says His maya is hard to overcome and that it can only be overcome by taking refuge in Him.  There’s a paradox here, for if everything is at root the supreme self, why are we deceived?  How does the source of that which deceives help us through the web of illusion?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 8, 2014 at 11:59pm
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Peter,

Your correlating the web of Maya of Krishna with the Sloka 7 of Stanza 3 is most excellent. It clarifies.

You have quoted 7.6 and 7.7 thus :

7:6 and 7.7  Know that these two form the womb of all beings.  I am the origin of the entire universe and also its dissolution.  There exists nothing whatsoever higher than I am,  O Dhananjaya.  All is strung on Me as row of gems on a thread.


I was under the impression that the higher nature--the KNOWER-- is the womb from which all spring, not both lower and higher natures. But  I may be wrong.

In Mr. Judge's rendition it is said thus :

It [the  8 fold division of nature] is inferior; know that my superior nature is different and is the knower; by it the universe is sustained; learn that the whole creation springs from this too as from a womb; I am the cause, I am the production and the dissolution of the whole universe. There is none superior to me, O conqueror of wealth, and all things hang on me as precious gems upon a string."

Is not the Knower (Perceiver, the Ego), superior nature, which is the womb (the Cause) from which all proceed, and into which all resolve ? 

Your quotation may also be correct. Because, XIV-3 and 4 seem to say that same thing :

"The great Brahma is my womb in which I place the seed; from that, O son of Bharata, is the production of all existing things.

"This great Brahma is the womb of all those various forms which are produced from any womb, and I am the Father who provideth the seed."

Mr. Judge says in the foot note that Brahma means Prakriti, or nature.

This passage of the BG seems to portray in concrete, comprehensible allegorical way the metaphysical abstraction, to explain which, to minds of ordinary people like us,  would be very difficult for the Teacher. But referring to SD we get the abstract sense of the verses. Mulaprakriti would be then the womb, and the Ray Darkness of Unknown Absolute the Spirit, which thrills through the former is the Krishna who places the seed in the womb from which the universe springs forth. :

"The immutable Infinite and the absolutely Boundless can nether will, think, nor act. To do this it has to become finite, and it does so, by its ray penetrating into the mundane egg--infinite space--and emanate from it as a finite god. All this is left to the ray latent in the one. When the period arrives, the absolute will expands naturally the force within it, according to the Law of which it is the inner and the ultimate essence." (S.D. i, p. 354)

You last question needs thoughtful consideration : If everything and all is ultimately the One, the Supreme Spirit, why are we deceived ?

Permalink Reply by Peter on August 9, 2014 at 11:22am
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Ramprakash - I believe Judge used J.C. Thomson's translation of the Gita as the basis for his 'rendering' and on this point he appears to follow Thomson's translation of verses 7.5 and 7.6:

"This (nature) is an inferior inferior one, but learn my superior nature other than this, of a vital kind, O hero! by means of which this universe is sustained.  Understand that all things are produced from this latter nature."  (trans. Thomson,  p50)

Nearly all other translations state that all beings and things are born from the two prakritis - higher and lower.  Sankara's commentary on this verse also states the same, referring to the two prakritis as Kshetrajna (the field) and Khestra (the knower of the field).

That view makes sense to me if we consider 'the Web of the Universe' as the "two substances made in one" as the SD states in the stanza already quoted.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 9, 2014 at 2:48pm
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Do you think spiritual discernment, in part, is the ability to distinguish between these two natures?  In other wards as Ramprakash mentions above, move closer to not mistaking Non-self for Self?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 10, 2014 at 12:39am
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Thanks Peter, It makes perfect sense. Yes, anything that exists cannot but due to union of Spirit and MAtter--Kshetra and Kshetrajna.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 10, 2014 at 12:06pm
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We are told in various places and in various ways that the separation between spirit and matter, Knower and Known, subject and object is central to the illusion or maya of manifestation. To see behind and beyond this illusion is the challenge of human consciousness. The more we do this the more the concept of the 'other' breaks down.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 18, 2014 at 1:13am
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Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 9, 2014 at 2:48pm

Do you think spiritual discernment, in part, is the ability to distinguish between these two natures?  In other wards as Ramprakash mentions above, move closer to not mistaking Non-self for Self?

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 10, 2014 at 12:06pm

We are told in various places and in various ways that the separation between spirit and matter, Knower and Known, subject and object is central to the illusion or maya of manifestation. To see behind and beyond this illusion is the challenge of human consciousness. The more we do this the more the concept of the 'other' breaks down.

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Very well said. To discriminate between Self and Non-Self, or Sat and Asat, is some thing we can do at our level, as lay students. The more we study, reflect, reason and apply in day-to-day personal lives, the clearer it becomes to our growing intuitive feeling that "we" or " I " is definitely other than my body, feelings, emotions, thought-forms, conceptions, ideas, all of which are changing constantly, but Self is changeless witness, energizer, sustainer, regenerator of all these.

We can fall back on Self in all situations interiorly, and perceive the changelessness of Self. Robert Crosbie has a very helpful thought to offer  us :

"Change cannot perceive change; only changeless can perceive change; and Self, is the Perceiver  and, therefore, changeless."

What is changeless is eternal, because unmodified, beginningless and endless.

My Self is Eternal. there cannot be two or more Eternals of infinities but only one.

Therefore, my - Self is All Self. I am in all, and all are in me. It is One Self which animates the many forms, the creator, preserver and regenerator of all.

This is beautifully stated in, I think, XIII chapter :

As a single Sun illumineth the whole world, One Self illuminates all bodies."

We have, over a long period of practice, one day, separate our Self entirely from personality consciously, and unite with the unconditioned Supreme Universal Self, before the body dies.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 10, 2014 at 11:59am
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All of this underscores the saying that the Gita is the study of Sages.

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on August 17, 2014 at 9:11pm
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And I think this is something important to keep in mind. We can study the Gita now and forevermore and will still be finding more wisdom to unveil in its words. It gives me a sense of the true depth of theosophical study when I consider that the very same text I study, in my fumbling way, is studied by the sages.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 18, 2014 at 11:01am
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I feel the same way.  It helps us to understand the critical idea that a Sage is nothing other than a really good student.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 9, 2014 at 2:49pm
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Is the term prakriti as used in the Gita different in any way from the way it is used in the Secret Doctrine?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 10, 2014 at 12:51am
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Seems to be so. In the SD Prakriti is treated as differentiated Matter and Mulaprakriti as undifferentiated Matter. The latter is called Sub-stance, rather than as Matter, and said therein to be co-eternal with Spirit. First Fundamental Proposition speaks of these two as conjoined, the two aspects of One Reality.

Undifferentiated Pre-cosmic Substance (mulaprakriti) is also called SPACE

In Gita Prakriti is implicitly taken to be the three qualities which cause illusion, and bind Purusha to conditioned existence.

Undifferentiated Substance is also referred to as Avyakta and Prakriti as Vyakta. Another word used for the former is Pradhana, which is referred to, and used, in SD.

In SD the three qualities are not spoken of, except where Sanscrit works are referred to or quoted. 

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Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on August 17, 2014 at 9:20pm
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In my recent studies I've finally delved into the Upanishads and, as you no doubt know, the three gunas or "qualities" (sattva, rajas, tamas) are also not spoken of there. The terms sattva and tamas are used, in a different context it would seem, but no rajas, and the three aren't used together to describe the gunas as they are in the Gita.

I wonder then, how we account for this? Do the Upanishads and SD simply approach the same subject from a different angle and thus not specifically explore the gunas as such? The gunas seem to play a rather significant role in the Gita, so their absence elsewhere continues to strike me as rather odd. Would love insights into this, if anyone has them to offer.

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on August 18, 2014 at 11:06am
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Good point, there is no need to record that which is commonly known. 

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 18, 2014 at 9:45am
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This question has also been lingering in my mind for quite sometime and I am unable to resolve it. The discourse on the three qualities as the basis of manifestation, of matter, is very ingenious and realistic. I always wondered why HPB did not speak of it, and no reference to it found in SD. except where she extensively quotes from Puranas (for Eg. in the chapter on the Seven Creations, in Book II of VOl. I, where in she gives an account of Seven Prakritis.

I suppose the three qualities are tacitly admitted, as Maya or Prakriti.

Somewhere (I am unable to recollect where) HPB says that even Parabrahm, though considered as Nirguna, cannot be entirely so, but must have  qualities or attributes of some sort, because even Non-Being, by Law of Analogy, must be septenary, though highest Dhyan Chohans are unable to penetrate the Absolute Mystery.              

Philosophy of the three qualities forms the bedrock of the 6 Schools, especially, Yoga and Sanhkya.

Excellent discourse on the three qualities is to be found in that superb mystical treatise, The Dream of Ravan. There Schlegel is said to have rendered in Latin the three qualities as Caligo. Impetus and Essentia (p. 40)

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 12, 2014 at 2:58pm
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Next Section:

“Four classes of men who work righteousness worship me, O Arjuna; those who are afflicted, the searchers for truth, those who desire possessions, and the wise, O son of Bharata. Of these the best is the one possessed of spiritual knowledge, who is always devoted to me. I am extremely dear to the wise man, and he is dear unto me. Excellent indeed are all these, but the spiritually wise is verily myself, because with heart at peace he is upon the road that leadeth to the highest path, which is even myself. After many births the spiritually wise findeth me as the Vasudeva who is all this, for such an one of great soul 2 is difficult to meet. Those who through diversity of desires are deprived of spiritual wisdom adopt particular rites subordinated to their own natures, and worship other Gods. In whatever form a devotee desires with faith to worship, it is I alone who inspire him with constancy therein, and depending on that faith he seeks the propitiation of that God, obtaining the object of his wishes as is ordained by me alone. But the reward of such short-sighted men is temporary. Those who worship the Gods go to the Gods, and those who worship me come unto me.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 13, 2014 at 9:43pm
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Some reflections :

Four classes of men who work righteousness are said to worship Krishna. The order in which the four classes are mentioned seems to be progressive. The first category of people are those who are afflicted. It is the afflicted who search for truth, not those who are comfortably and happily circumstanced in life. But when sorrow, suffering, pain, disappointment come to us, we question "why this should have happened to me." We look for the cause and the remedy. The search may be long, wandering through many lives, testing various panaceas which are offered by different schools, but at last one must come to the right philosophy which teaches true cause of suffering and sorrow which afflict mankind, and the right remedy. Then one becomes a searcher for truth.

The possessions such a seeker after truth--one who works righteousness--will be pure knowledge or Wisdom (Jnana).After obtaining knowledge he applies himself to practically realize it, leading, finally, to realization of the Self to be the Self of All. Such an one becomes a Jnani, Knower of SELF.

Vasudeva etymologically seems to mean 'Divine dweller" : deva-divine or divinity, vasu-dwell, live : All pervading divinity.

To realize this, it is said that it takes many births or reincarnations, and such an Enlightened Soul is, say the great Teachers, is an efflorescence of an age : "For such an one of great soul is difficult to meet."

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 15, 2014 at 10:01am
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Some thoughts on the following passage :

"Those who through diversity of desires are deprived of spiritual wisdom adopt particular rites subordinated to their own natures, and worship other Gods. In whatever form a devotee desires with faith to worship, it is I alone who inspire him with constancy therein, and depending on that faith he seeks the propitiation of that God, obtaining the object of his wishes as is ordained by me alone. But the reward of such short-sighted men is temporary. Those who worship the Gods go to the Gods, and those who worship me come unto me."

Who are the "other Gods"--other than Krishna-- whom people worship? 

Mr. Judge suggests that these gods are not idols but verily the objects of our desires. So, the statement of the Gita applies not only to Hindu idolaters but to even people who are agnostics and materialists.

Hindus are not the only idol worshipers. Christians and Mohammedans too have their idols whom they worship. Christian worships and prays to the idol of Jesus, of Mother Mary, of Infant Jesus, and hundred and one canonized saints; and Mohemmedans worship and pray to the their Sufi saints entombed in Dargas. Ancient Greeks built temple to Olympian gods and goddesses and prayed to them; kings and commoners alike consulted Delphic and Eleusenian Oracles and sought guidance, as much as Hindus do today in their temples. 

What do they in effect worshiping ? Surely not the gods but the object of their desires which are worshiped, which the "gods" prayed to  are believed to have the power to grant.

In this sense even those who have no such formal religion and religious ritual have nevertheless objects of desires which they pursue, and which is their "other gods," which Krishna is speaking of. In other words, whatever object or desire on which our hearts are set--they may be a particular career, a certain vocation, an academic pursuit, or success in business, and so on and so forth, infinitely, which are the :other gods," as numerous as the thirty three crores of gods of the Hindus.

The power of faith in our ability to achieve what we dersire, and persist in our endeavor, comes, in the final analysis, from the Higher Self, Krishna, the source and the sustainer of all. Power of the Higher Self is infinite and so the power of faith, and we direct that power for achieving the objects of our desires. It is the exercise of Will, and this Will, moved by desire, accomplishes what we ardently seek.

But whatever we may obtain, which may give us personal satisfaction, is temporary; it is short-lived, and, moreover, ends in loss when we die, leaving behind only a strong tendency in our Inner Self ; when we come back to another incarnation the affinities engendered in previous life bind us to the old desires and objects, which we again pursue impelled by the old undying desires. Thus we go the gods whom we worshiped, not to Krishna, the Higher Self.

In all this we pursued many things of transitory nature, other than Truth--Truth of the true Self, the Ultimate Reality. Only those can attain to the Truth--Paramartha, the Supreme Goal or the Supreme Spirit--which are variously called as Krishna, Buddha, Christos, Ormazd, Ahura Mazda, Osiris, etc., -- who have their heart set on that and pursue with a single minded determination. After much effort they do reach it, the highest perfection.

This is what also Jesus seemed to have meant when he said, 'Seek you first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all these things will be added unto you." (not verbatim quotation).

"All these things" of Jesus is the "other gods" Krishna is speaking of, and . Krihna, Kingdom of Heaven, Christ are the many appellations for the Higher Self.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 15, 2014 at 12:39pm
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So are you saying that when we desire something (comfort, car, fame, house, praise etc.) and give our thought to it continuously we are in a sense in a mode of worship?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 15, 2014 at 11:36pm
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Judge says so, and it seems to me to be right. See his Notes on the BG, chapt. 7. We are in a mode of worship of a thing on which our heart is set. The word worship has not merely a religious sense; it literally means "worthy of relationship." We go after a thing we think it is to be worthy of obtaining and possessing.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 18, 2014 at 10:47am
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Thank you this is very helpful Ramprakash.  What we dwell on what we believe to be of enduring value and important.   The problem, we find, is that we want what we don't have, and have what we don't want, to paraphrase the Buddha.  What we want becomes undesirable because when we get it we discover it is does not last.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 19, 2014 at 3:32am
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 Reply by Grace Cunningham 9 hours ago

What does it mean to be free of the taint of matter?

That's a very thoughtful question. Thinking about it, the following ideas crossed the mind :

Part I

What is Matter ? Our ordinary conception is that matter is what is palpable and experienced with our 5 senses. In 19th century scientists thought that matter, divisible into atoms, is the ultimate basis of all phenomena and life. But today, in 21st c. the whole concept has undergone a sea change. Matter was found to be infinitely divisible into sub-atomic particles ; that particle is not merely a tiny sold something but a centre of force, having location, which also at the same time behaved like a wave, which is non-local--the famous particle-wave duality. Most interestingly, quantum physics finally came up with the startling discovery that subjective self or consciousness (or observer) and  "objective reality" or what is called matter, are not separate (as Rene Descarte had postulated) but forms one continuum. This is a marvelous modern scientific corroboration of the age old wisdom that spirit and matter, or Mind and matter are two aspects of One Reality in which the two are synthesized, and which, therefore, are essentially One. This is in perfect accord with the Secret Doctrine.

 They found that the subjective determination of the observer influenced the objective phenomena. When they set up experiment to ascertain whether photon s a particle or a wave, it showed up itself as a particle when experiment was set up with the object of seeing it as a aprticle; and when experiment arranged to study it as wave, it showed itself as wave. In other words, our thoughts, beliefs, ideas, expectations influence and shape our "objective" reality. Science has come closer to Theosophy.

Which means that we can never know Reality unless we become wholly free from all desires and biases. Scientists thought that they can be free from all bias and be objective. Now they find that even their unconscious biases affect what they see. Their theoretical framework itself is a bias.

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Part 2.

To be free from Matter is to be free from illusion of the senses and Egotism; Egotism is our Lower Mind in bondage to Kama-desire, the desire for a separate individual existence and enjoyment. This Kama is the one which generates “matter;” it is a prolific blind, unintelligent, creator. All that we call life, value it so much, as if it is the be-all and end-all, is the product of our mind / thoughts, and has no existence apart from the illusion of mind, any more than our dreams have any intrinsic reality, though seeming to be real so long as it lasts.

It is this Kama-desire, then, which brings us back into life again and again, in endless cycles of reincarnation, a phantasmagoria we are weaving ourselves, like the spider weaves the web from its own saliva, and become entangled and suffer. To be free from this entanglement is to reach Nirvana or Reality, which is the natural state, whereas our personal existence which we value so much is unnatural, a distortion, a disease, in the sense of being other than, and the opposite pole of, the Real. The only true happiness can be found only in our natural state. This is why, we, in our personal existence find happiness ever eluding us, because we are chasing shadows, thinking them to be real. The moment we acquire the object of desire, satiety and disgust follows, after a brief illusory enjoyment.

This dynamics is given very well in Isis Unveiled, vol. ii, p. 320 :

Nirvana means the certitude of personal immortality in spirit, not in soul, which is a finite emanation, and hence perishable; this soul is a compound of human sensations, passions and a yearning for some objective form of existence. The human soul then has to overcome this which generates matter to reach Nirvana.

What binds Soul to the bondage of matter is called Upadhana = which is state of longing for life, more life—not only life in gross matter of physical body-life but even in subtler enjoyments of subjective life of mind and soul (of heaven worlds)—which generate subtle forms of supersensuous existence. How it produces these is :

“ ‘Upadhana’ or the intense desire which produces WILL, and it is the Will which developsforce, and the latter generates matter, or object having form. Thus the disembodied Ego, through this sole undying desire in him, unconsciously furnishes the conditions of his successive self-procreations in various forms, which depend on his mental state and Karma, the good or bad deeds of his preceding existence, commonly called ‘merit and demerit.’ “

How do we then break this jinx, this painful cycles of birth, growth, decay, decrepitude and choking death, and rebirth, and on and on….

“This is why the ‘Master’ recommended to his mendicants the cultivation of the four degrees of Dhyana, the noble ‘Path of the Four Truths,’ i.e., the gradual acquirement of stoical indifference for either life or death; that state of spiritual self-contemplation during which man utterly loses sight of his physical and dual individuality, composed of soul and body; and uniting himself with his third and higher immortal self the real and heavenly man merges, so to say, into the divine Essence, whence his own spirit proceeded like a spark from the common hearth. Thus the Arhat, the holy mendicant, can reach Nirvana while yet on earth; and his spirit, totally freed from the trammels of the ‘psychical, terrestrial, devilish wisdom,’ as James calls it, and being in its own nature omniscient and omnipotent, can on earth, through the sole power of thought, produce the greatest phenomena.”

This is called freeing oneself from the taint of matter.

Matter then is Kama, not matter as we think it is. To be free from Kama is to be free from the taint of matter.

 

 

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 22, 2014 at 11:44pm
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If according to the Secret Doctrine Spirit and Matter are essentially one, then is the taint of matter only referring that level or plane of matter that appears separative and distinct rather than unitary?

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 20, 2014 at 9:36am
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Perhaps we might define discernment?  What does this concept mean to people?

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 21, 2014 at 9:44pm
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Gerry, your query :

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe yesterday

Perhaps we might define discernment?  What does this concept mean to people?

I think your above query is best answered by your subsequent post which is cut and pasted below.

 Reply by Gerry Kiffe on Monday

Thank you this is very helpful Ramprakash.  What we dwell on what we believe to be of enduring value and important.   The problem, we find, is that we want what we don't have, and have what we don't want, to paraphrase the Buddha.  What we want becomes undesirable because when we get it we discover it is does not last.

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That is a very important point. It is a universal experience of mankind--whether one recognizes it or not, whether one accepts it or denies it--there is nothing in our material life, in the life of personal self, which gives us a permanent satisfaction, a lasting happiness. Why ?

Simply because, "we" are not of this world but Spiritual Beings = Higher Manasic Beings rooted in Atma-Buddhi = the Man that was, is and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike. 

We are exiles from our real Home and have wandered into this conditioned illusory existence and have mistaken it to be the real life. What we call real life is indeed death. HPB teaches our personal existence in which we have lost perception of our true Self and Nature is indeed death. 

Hence we can find no happiness here which ever eludes us. The only happiness we can ever find is in our true Self and nature, that true Self is inseparably bound up with ALL. Altruism alone gives happiness, whereas selfishness plunges in sorrow.

Conviction of this, disenchantment with life of relativities, and a yearning to regain the "paradise Lost" is the virtue of viraga, dispassion, which is a pre-requisite condition for arising of spiritual discrimination.

The parable of the prodigal son Jesus teaches sums it up admirably. 

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 22, 2014 at 11:40pm
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OK that was very interesting. Thank you.  If we refine the capacity for discernment are we more likely to see more clearly what is essential in every circumstance?  Finding what is essential seems so difficult.