Devotion by Means of Faith

The Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 12

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From the Judge Rendition:

ARJUNA:

“Among those of thy devotees who always thus worship thee, which take the better way, those who worship the indivisible and unmanifested, or those who serve thee as thou now art?”

KRISHNA:

“Those who worship me with constant zeal, with the highest faith and minds placed on me, are held in high esteem by me. But those who, with minds equal toward everything, with senses and organs restrained, and rejoicing in the good of all creatures, meditate on the inexhaustible, immovable, highest, incorruptible, difficult to contemplate, invisible, omnipresent, unthinkable, the witness, undemonstrable, shall also come unto me. For those whose hearts are fixed on the unmanifested the labor is greater because the path which is not manifest is with difficulty attained by corporeal beings.  But for those who worship me, renouncing in me all their actions, regarding me as the supreme goal and meditating on me alone, if their thoughts are turned to me, O son of Pritha, I presently become the savior from this ocean of incarnations and death.

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Again this is what came out of the Studies in the Gita in New York:

"It is difficult to place one's faith, to put one's mind, on THAT which has no form, which is "indescribable". It is difficult to devote ourselves to that which is formless, yet the source of all form and all beings - a difficulty which has made an opening for the worship of idols, organizations and beings both high and low.

Arjuna can no longer regard his Teacher as he did before having been given the "divine eye." He now knows that Krishna is one of those Perfected Beings who periodically come into incarnation for the purpose of helping humanity; and this raises new questions. He has many steps to take before he will be able to comprehend the true nature of his guide and advisor, but he will never be able to look on him as he did before, or for that matter, see anything the same again. It is similar in a way to the awakening that is felt by the thousands who have gone through a near death experience. They all say they will never fear death again."

Since it is so very difficult to "devote ourselves to that which is formless" we can use the accumulated wisdom of the Masters as a bridge. 

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Hi Margreet,

How do you use the accumulated wisdom of the Masters as a bridge?  I am not sure how to do this. 

Thank you.

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Hi Barbara,

You said that you are not sure how to use the accumulated wisdom of the Masters but you (and we) are trying to do this already by changing your (our) focus by pulling our mind by degree out of the sense-life state and redirect our attention, our focus or our compass to the higher life by studying and investigating what i.e. H.P.B. and Mr.Judge have given us. It also is helpful if we can for instance in the morning and at night still our minds and focus on the God within"        Be still and know I am thy God. 

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I see what you mean.  The right focus seems to be the first step;  it sets the tone and puts things in perspective.  A dedicated life to practice the ageless wisdom invariably will transform our consciousness - as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. 

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The Accumulated Wisdom is the knowledge of the Path.  The Path is the steps needed to transcend conditioned existence.  Great Teachers are the custodians of the accumulated Wisdom, which is the inheritance of mankind.

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Is it not also true to say that Arjuna has to way to go to comprehend his own nature and not Krishna as outside of himself?

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Yes,  I think so.   The Gita is very spiritual and holds many deep lessons couched in symbols.  There are many level of meanings in the story, but if one reads it with the lower mind and interprets the scenes literary, one can easily anthropomorphize the gods and projects the Higher Self outside of oneself

 

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It has been said that the Gita is the study of Sages.

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From the Johnston rendition:

ARJUNA SAID:

They who thus ever united and full of love draw near to Thee, and they who worship the unmanifest Eternal,—which of these are the best knowers of union?

THE MASTER SAID:

They who, resting their hearts in Me, ever united, draw near to Me, full of supreme faith, these I hold to be most perfect in union.

But they who worship the Eternal, undefined, unmanifest, omnipresent, unthinkable, the basis of things, immovable and firm,

Restraining the bodily powers, everywhere equal-minded, they come to Me, verily, who thus rejoice in the weal of all beings.

But the toil of those whose minds are set on the Unmanifest is greater, for the way of the Unmanifest is hard for mortals to attain. 

But they who in Me renouncing all works, are bent on Me, draw near to Me, meditating with single-hearted union,

I am become their Saviour from the ocean of death and rebirth after no long time, O son of Pritha, because they have set their hearts on Me.

Therefore set thy heart on Me, enter into Me, with thy soul! Thou shalt verily dwell in Me in the world above! Of this, there is no doubt.

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Next Section from Judge edition:

Place, then, thy heart on me, penetrate me with thy understanding, and thou shalt without doubt hereafter dwell in me. But if thou shouldst be unable at once steadfastly to fix thy heart and mind on me, strive then, O Dhananjaya, to find me by constant practice in devotion. If after constant practice, thou art still unable, follow me by actions performed for me 3; for by doing works for me thou shalt attain perfection. But if thou art unequal even to this, then, being self-restrained, place all thy works, failures and successes alike, on me, abandoning in me the fruit of every action. For knowledge is better than constant practice, meditation is superior to knowledge, renunciation of the fruit of action to meditation; final emancipation immediately results from such renunciation.

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STUDIES IN THE BHAGAVAD GITA (New York)

"Krishna has manifested as the charioteer, the teacher, the Master, but He is in truth, the Self of All and the Higher Self in each of us - concepts that give our material minds difficult tasks. It is taught, however, that thinking on these subjects while carrying out our daily task will invite help from those higher planes, help that will eventually modify the personal mind to the degree that it can think in terms beyond the bounds of the senses, and accept the idea that the Master in within, universal and impersonal, but within. This is a big and significant step.

A person cannot travel on another's path. He has to travel on the one that his Karma opens up before him. And in most cases, our acts and thoughts, even if they are of a charitable nature, will bring us more personal Karma and make the path longer. Even much of what we call "good Karma," the effects of kindness we do with a lingering thought to the results, can make the path longer, although more pleasant. The acts themselves are not as important as the manner in which they are done. It is pure motive, acts for the benefit of the whole of humanity, devotion, faith and "steadfastness" that bring us closer to the goal. It is the ability to be non-attached to the results of those actions that constitute the steps along the path. These are the qualities of the soul that, when expressed through the personality, purify that vehicle and allow the higher self to shine through.

We have come again to the importance of non-attachment to the fruit of our actions. Krishna places this high on the scale of attributes necessary for attainment. He has placed it above meditation and knowledge, and we must assume that this is because it takes knowledge to form a sound basis for any worthwhile meditation. And it takes constancy in meditation, that is, a meditation that covers our actions all day and every day, to be able to renounce, or separate ourselves from the results of these acts. Karma is often represented as being synonymous with Deity, and if one reaches the point where he has complete faith in the Law he must have realized his innate oneness with his Higher Nature."

This relates very well with what Mr.Judge sais "to put our heart in everything we do" we should stop and think or as the saying goes "sleep on it" meaning to check our motives before we act or react, making sure to check our thoughts and our emotions before we speak and respond to situations, making sure that it brings harmony and not is hurtful but beneficial to all that lives.

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Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on January 21, 2015 at 8:47pm
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Margreet;

What does it mean to you, and anyone else can weigh in too, "to put our heart in everything we do"?

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on January 22, 2015 at 8:14am
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To put our heart in everything we do is the most difficult thing to do but also the most important, it means to live in the moment and with concentrated attention perform every act necessary, from the most mundane to the most difficult. It means to stop our thoughts and think of all the lives we touch in performing anything we do. How many times don’t we think of other things while we are doing what is in front us, or are frustrated, dislike or are attached to the outcome and in doing so are neglecting the lives we are touching in those moments and instead of helping evolution forwards we retard it. The silencing of our thoughts and then try to listen to the Voice of the Silence within seems to me is what Mr.Judge meant when he said “put your heart in anything you do”. This is a lifelong meditation but when thinking of this at the start of each new day and looking how we did at the end of each day we in time become  incapable of doing it any other way and even though that day may be long ways off, the motto is “Try, keep trying.”

Permalink Reply by Alex Papandakis on January 26, 2015 at 9:24pm
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I think it means to do more than just try hard.  It means to become devoted to something, to fall in love with something, to make it the center of one's attention in life.  You think about great artists like Michaelangelo becoming absorbed in the process of creation whether it be a statue like David or a fresco on the Sistine Chapel.  You might say he was devoted to his work because he made everything else secondary.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on January 17, 2015 at 3:07pm
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Next Johnston section:

But if thou art not able to concentrate thy imagination steadily on Me, then seek to reach Me by union through assiduous practice, O conqueror of wealth!

And if thou art incapable of assiduous practice, then dedicate all thy works to Me; and doing all works for My sake thou shalt reach mystic power. (10)

But if thou art unable even to do this, taking refuge in union with Me, then self-controlled, make the renunciation of the fruit of all works.

For wisdom is better than assiduous practice, but soul-vision is better than wisdom. From soul-vision comes renunciation of the fruit of works. From renunciation, peace swiftly comes.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on January 21, 2015 at 8:41pm
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More from Judge Rendition:

My devotee who is free from enmity, well-disposed towards all creatures, merciful, wholly exempt from pride and selfishness, the same in pain and pleasure, patient of wrongs, contented, constantly devout, self-governed, firm in resolves, and whose mind and heart are fixed on me alone, is dear unto me. He also is my beloved of whom mankind is not afraid and who has no fear of man; who is free from joy, from despondency and the dread of harm. My devotee who is unexpecting 4, pure, just, impartial, devoid of fear, and who hath forsaken interest in the results of action, is dear unto me.

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on January 22, 2015 at 8:45am
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In relation to the above this is what it sais in The studies in the Bhagavad Gita (New York)

"When we think about it, we know that there are millions of fine people in the world who have many of these qualities developed to quite a high degree. We don't hear about them on the "Evening New" but without them the world would be in much worse shape than it is. One of the missions of the Theosophical Movement is to offer to these people a rational for their chosen way of life and the assurance that the ethical life is, after all, the practical life - an assurance that it is their lives that keep society from going out like a torch dipped in water.

We all have these characteristics as the fabric of the Reincarnating Ego, but because they are overlaid with false ideas we are hesitant about letting them through. Having been deprived of the Law that assures us that our charitable acts will have their full effect we hold back, telling ourselves that since everyone else is selfish we must also be to keep our heads above water. The other idea that gets in the way of our charity is the one that tells us that we are creatures, miserable sinners, and not the Gods that we are.

By the time of this chapter Arjuna is beginning to see that Krishna is not only a Mahatma but is the same intelligence and divinity that is his own Higher Self, that Krishna is attempting to turn his devotion and his faith inward to his own universal and omnipotent nature. The characteristics here are those that are "dear" to the Ego within, not to any being separate from us. These are the characteristics of that Ego within, and their development can form the connection between it and the aspiring personality."

Permalink Reply by Alex Papandakis on January 26, 2015 at 9:30pm
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Margreet, I found what you shared here to be incredibly helpful and incredibly beautiful.  It offers a sublime perspective on the absolute necessity for access to Wisdom, now and forever.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on January 25, 2015 at 11:55pm
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Last Section of Johnston Rendition

Putting away hate for any being, friendly, pitiful, without desire of possessions, without vanity, equal in weal and woe, patient,

Content, ever following union, self-ruled, firmly determined, with heart and soul centered in Me, who thus loves Me is beloved of Me.

He whom the world fears not, who fears not the world, free from exultation, anguish, fear, disquiet, such a one is beloved of Me. (15)

Unconcerned, pure, direct, impartial, unperturbed, renouncing all personal initiatives, who thus loves Me is beloved of Me.

Who exults not nor hates nor grieves nor longs, renouncing fortune and misfortune, who is thus full of love is beloved of Me.

Equal to foe and friend, equal in honor and dishonor, equal in cold and heat, weal and woe, from attachment altogether free,

Balanced in blame or praise, full of silence, content with whatever may befall, seeking no home here, steadfast-minded, full of love, this man is beloved of Me.

And they who draw near to the righteous Immortal thus declared, full of faith, resting in Me, full of love, they are beyond all beloved of Me. (20)

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on January 25, 2015 at 11:57pm
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Last of the Judge Rendition

He whom the world fears not, who fears not the world, free from exultation, anguish, fear, disquiet, such a one is beloved of Me.

Unconcerned, pure, direct, impartial, unperturbed, renouncing all personal initiatives, who thus loves Me is beloved of Me.

Who exults not nor hates nor grieves nor longs, renouncing fortune and misfortune, who is thus full of love is beloved of Me.

Equal to foe and friend, equal in honor and dishonor, equal in cold and heat, weal and woe, from attachment altogether free,

Balanced in blame or praise, full of silence, content with whatever may befall, seeking no home here, steadfast-minded, full of love, this man is beloved of Me.

And they who draw near to the righteous Immortal thus declared, full of faith, resting in Me, full of love, they are beyond all beloved of Me. 

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on January 26, 2015 at 10:10am
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STUDIES IN THE BHAGAVAD GITA (New YORK)

"These requirements are certainly not easy, and are next to impossible when attempted from the position of the personal self. It is only when one has reached the position that Arjuna has attained in this chapter that he can successfully accomplish an about face in the habitually desire-controlled lower nature. What keeps the mountain climber going is the conviction that the top is there and that it is attainable. Is this faith?                                                                               Paracelsus has said, "Faith must confirm the imagination, for faith establishes the will," an indication of the power of faith when used in conjunction with imagination, one of the creative powers of the Soul. But H.P.B. warns in the Key (p.220), that real faith must be "belief based in knowledge, whether supplied by evidence of physical or spiritual senses." In Letters (p.8) Mr. Judge adds a practical application by saying about faith, "It is the intuitional feeling - 'that is true.' So, formulate to yourself certain things as true that you feel to be true, and then increase them."

Arjuna is convinced of the Divine and the Universal nature of Krishna. He is, at least to some degree, convinced that this Divinity is within himself and within all other beings, and his devotion and growing faith in Spirit has opened him up to some of the power and wisdom of his own Higher Self. He has been able to divorce himself to a large degree from the illusion that reality can be found in the world of matter and has developed strength enough to overcome the pulls of that personal nature. But has he reached to the point to total conviction?                       Conviction has to be complete - no lingering doubts. It cannot be given to us by another. It cannot be taught or forced. There is always help from Those who's conviction has kept the Divine Sciences from being lost to humanity. But in the last analysis, true conviction has to be built from within, step by step, act by act."                         

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on January 26, 2015 at 10:20am
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STUDIES IN THE GITA (New York)

"Faith is of the Heart. It takes over when the mind can go no further.

Faith takes daring. It carries us across that part we haven't actually seen, that we don't know about, but that we feel has to be.

Faith, like love reaches over all the empty spaces.

Faith clears a path to the goodness in everything.

Faith is the light on the path to the Higher Self."

 

Permalink Reply by Alex Papandakis on January 26, 2015 at 9:33pm
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This is certainly an expansive view of faith.  Maybe the word is corrupted by the blind element added to it by dogmatic religion.

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Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on January 31, 2015 at 11:49pm
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Last Section of Chapter  Judge Rendition

He also is worthy of my love who neither rejoiceth nor findeth fault, who neither lamenteth nor coveteth, and being my servant hath forsaken interest in both good and evil results. He also is my beloved servant who is equal-minded to friend or foe, the same in honor and dishonor, in cold and heat, in pain and pleasure, and is unsolicitous about the event of things; to whom praise and blame are as one; who is of little speech, content with whatever cometh to pass, who hath no fixed habitation, and whose heart, full of devotion, is firmly fixed. But those who seek this sacred ambrosia — the religion of immortality — even as I have explained it, full of faith, intent on me above all others, and united to devotion, are my most beloved.”

Thus in the Upanishads, called the holy Bhagavad-Gita, in the science of the Supreme Spirit, in the book of devotion, in the colloquy between the Holy Krishna and Arjuna, stands the Twelfth Chapter, by name —

DEVOTION BY MEANS OF FAITH.