Chapter 7 – Wisdom from Realization
Yoga Teacher – Saul David Raye
It only takes someone slightly aware to look around the world and to see that we are a species run amok. We are insane by the very definition of the word. We are destroying our ability to live on the planet. We kill people who might believe in different ideas. We are poisoning our food. The list goes on and on. The same could be said if you go throughout human history and plot mans rise from birth to where we are now. It’s just that in today’s world the insanity is much more pronounced and rapid because the world has gotten smaller.
The path of yoga, while not an immediate fix, has long term benefits to quieting the insane mind because realization of love and compassion for everyone comes from the practice. Even in spite of yourself, the wisdom will still come. With all of the chatter in the mind, the misplaced ego, the hurt feelings and the lashing out against love – yoga will still win when practiced with sincerity. Of course, I don’t believe that it’s everyones path and without our species is doomed. However, I support the notion that we all must do our part, again with sincerity, to quell the thirst of destruction that is reaping our very existence. And yoga is a good start for some.
Chapter 7 deals much with the knowledge that can arise when engaged in focus of the divine – here it’s called “jnana.” However, this chapter has always taken finesse for me to understand because you have to step back to look at the difference between dualism and non-dualism when reading it. I, myself, am a non-dualist (advaita in sanskrit) so some of the language that Krishna uses here can throw you off if you don’t recognize the subtle variations when applying it to daily life.
Krishna starts the chapter very directly by saying “With your mind intent on me, Arjuna, discipline yourself with the practice of yoga. Depend on me completely. Listen, and I will dispel all your doubts; you will come to know me fully and be united with me.”
To some people who are automatically anti-spiritual this sort of talk might get mixed up with the radical dogma majority we see around the world today in wars and on TV. This, however, is not the case here. The advaita view on Vedanta states that when you view the self (atman) as part of the whole (Brahman) you can seek liberation through the practice of yoga. Therefore, Krishna is brahman and he is serving as a doorway for Arjuna to recognize his true divine self by merely telling him to seek refuge in God. And that God may be accessible always, even at times dwelling right inside of him. And when this is realized the supreme knowledge is granted and there is “nothing more you need to know.” (verse 2)
The chapter goes on and deals with complicated topics like finding peace after many many births and peoples misunderstanding that Krishna transcends birth and death. These are very important when understanding the Gita but too much for this blog.
The practice of yoga, ongoing with sincerity, when ones mind is transfixed on nothing but prema (love) will settle even the most insane thoughts. Today, my struggle is with acceptance. My ego and desires want some things to be a certain way. They may actually turn out that way which is great, but if they don’t the work is knowing that result must also be great. Otherwise I’m trapped.
Krishna says: “Delusion arises from the duality of attraction and aversion…every creature is deluded by these from birth.” (Verse 27)
Today’s yoga practice was so sweet, gentle and reminded me that it’s only my perception that mucks things up. I haven’t been talking too much about the specific teachers in previous posts because I’m going to save that for the end. Anyone who practices yoga in Los Angeles knows that we have access to some of the best practitioners of this science and my cup runneth over. I’m so grateful to be part of this community and to have access to such amazing teachers and teachings. Looking forward to tomorrow. Perhaps this is getting easier?