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OAPOY – Bhagavad Gita – 8

Arjun replies,

I see all God’s in your body. Oh God.
And all creatures in all their varieties,
the seers all, and the snakes, divine your own.
Infinitude stretching away
Many arms and eyes and bellies and mouths, I see.
And I see no end, nor beginning, nor middle
Universal in you in power and form.

Arjun goes on to explain this in a fantastic poetic revelation that is at once a work of great artistry and imagination and a display of the overwhelming sense of power that is being displayed as the divine reveals to Arjuna the magnitude of the universe and its agency and the consciousness that stands as its directive force.

He identifies Krishna with all the gods of the Veda. He sees him brushing the sky. Ablazed, many hued. He sees all of the worlds and all of the armies before him arrayed in their vastness. And he sees this entire prospect of the, of all of creation through a new lens, through a kind of confusion of orientation to time where past and present and future are once fully present in the moment. That sense of deep eternal punctiliar time in which past present and future are nothing but the moment revealing itself. And all of this, we must recall is a terror to Arjuna. It is an overwhelming sense, not only of the vastness and magnitude of the divine consciousness, but of the way in which that experience of the all, as all is like a headlong rush of a river, he says, and that this is overwhelming us like a moth on wing, even faster aims for a burning fire and his will perish in it.

Krishna’s ubiquity is a horror as much as it is truly a blessing to this great warrior prepared and yet entirely caught off his guard at the enormity and magnitude of a universe that is a divine expressing itself as all things as all potentialities, as all desires, even of our own desire.

Krishna interrupts to proclaim himself time grown old, to destroy the world embarked on a course that will annihilate this world, except for yourself, none of these will survive and of these warriors are raised in opposite armies. So raise yourself. Now, Krishna uses this opportunity of his divine presence of his ubiquity to once again call Arjuna to that very thing that he called into in the first verses when Arjona equated himself with Krishna and the opening salvos of the Gita and dared, as it were to identify his own relationship with Krishna’s experience. Now Krishna has identified his experience of himself with Arjuna his experience of him as Krishna. And now once again Krishna admonishes and and enjoins Arjuna to rise to the task of his heroic role in this war of dharma. And to fulfill that role, telling him he will survive, he will be rich in fame and in victory. And that this will be plentiful that he, this extraordinary left-handed Archer as Krishna calls him, the being capable of doing things that no other being is capable of doing, will succeed in this battle and will wage this war. He invites him once again to do his dharma, but now from the position of transcendental empowerment,

This horror that Krishna explains and reveals Arjuna also experience as enwrapped and flooded with love. It is the fullness of that experience that what is love, leaves us most vulnerable, most terrorized, most accessed and accessible to that source of love itself. It is this original primal eternal person. He Arjuna says that is so confounding to him. This one who merely appeared as his friend,

if thinking of you as a friend,
I have to boldly cried out.
Oh, Yadava oh, Krishna, come here. My good friend,
not knowing of this, your magnificence
out of an absence of mine
or out of mere love for you.
If I have slighted you in any way,
even in gest, however, that might be,
I beg your indulgence.
Oh, measurable in measurable one.

And now Arjuna lays himself prostate, asks for forgiveness.

And as a friend with a friend,
as a lover with a loved one,
pray bear with me.

Arjuna asks for every relationship of intimacy, everyone that honors and humbles everyone that lays him bare and makes him vulnerable to that place where love reveals all desires present as the divine’s own consciousness, choosing the experience of all things, Krishna replies:

It is out of grace for you,
Maya Prasanna and Tava Argentina.
It is out of grace for you Arjuna
That I’ve revealed by my power of yoga.
This highest form full of fire,
universal, primeval, unending,
which no one but you has ever be held.

And in that sense, Krishna is giving us an opportunity vicariously through the Bhagavad Gita to reveal that presence that we, as those who might love Krishna might not have to face this ordeal of Arjuna, but know this experience as that deep embracing experience of love as it were spared from Arjuna’s fire.

Have no more fear,
be no longer bemused by this sight
of this form of me so inspiring
Your terror, gone
Your heart again,pleased
set eyes once more upon
the body that you know,

Arjuna asks for his benevolent four-armed form, a kind of further confusion of his own awareness since clearly Krishna has been standing beside him as his friend, his compatriot, his political ally, his brother-in-law, his dearest one, Arjuna recognizing all of those characters and now recognizing the true identity of the divine as all beings. When we see that very same Krishna in all beings, as all the beings that we know, we will be similarly humbled. We will be similarly embracive of that greatness that all of us share in as the sublime consciousness of Krishna chooses to express itself through our form and as our soul. It’s clearly this sense of entering into the intimacy of Krishna’s identity. The chapter 11 offers a distinctive and perhaps harrowing view of our prospects, not merely to reach or experience the divine as a being, but to find that divine being in us, as all beings and with the eyes that reveal that great terror of love that holds us in the fire of every possibility of our own desires.

Repeating again, and chapter 12, I deem those most adept at yoga who fixed their minds on me and in constant yoga and with complete faith attend on me. And so it isn’t this extraordinary and wild and terrorizing experience that Krishna most content most commands it is this attentiveness, this commitment, this temerity, this sense of fixing a mind in constant yoga that Krishna says is the true source of our empowerment, not the extraordinary kind of great hit that brings us to God, to our knees and God’s terror. But in the everyday, sensibility of find the divine in all things with a constancy of clarity and

equability dispose to everyone he says
and everything where the well-beings of all creatures
are at hark and there they to reach me,
fix your mind on me alone,
let your spirit enter into me.

He tells our Jenna in chapter 12

And ever you shall dwell within me.
And there shall be no doubt about that.

It is with this deep sense of offering one’s heart, one’s feeling one’s commitment to that immeasurable and eternal presence of sublime consciousness that Krishna creates that experience, that our actions are the experience of our knowing heart, our knowing mind, and that in that way, we participate fully by presenting our hearts in the shared experience in the bhakti in the love of the divine as our own sublime nature, as he draws near his conclusion, Krishna says


I dwell in the heart of everyone.

And in that sense, Krishna makes it perfectly clear that in no way, are we ever alienated, separated or held as other, and that in all things, even in those things we may misunderstand or those things that we come to despise, even there Krishna’s presence can be found with that commitment, that constancy of yoga, if we look for that place of sovereignty in our actions, in our understanding and in our commitment.

Then in perhaps my favorite line in the Gita Krishna says

it detained good yacht, kosha untied on my, uh,, uh, Shane, uh, the tea to see the TA kudu

Reflect upon this knowledge,
as I have propounded it to you,
this mystery of mysteries in all of its entirety,
and then, and then <<sanskrit>>  and then do, as you are pleased to do for all Christina’s admonishments his instructions, his injunctions, his admonitions, for all that Krishna offers, he invites us fundamentally essentially to our desire sanskrit>> see, just as you desire to talk could do so do that.

And by inviting us to our desire, Krishna invites us to our freedom to that experience that we are, we are not bound to this yoga, but invited to this Supreme mystery, this sovereign sense of empowerment. Invited by our freedom and through our desire to experience the whole as that great self-expression of the divine’s own sublime nature.

Arjuna that declares himself delusion free and by his grace, his wit’s recovered. He stands without doubt. And he says, I shall do, as you say. And what we know of course is that while Arjuna does rise to the occasion of his own awareness and to receive the Dharma that he has been charged to perform as the general of the Pandava army, as the worthy warrior, we know him to be, he will forget Krishna’s teaching. There will be an AnuGita, a a sequel to the Gita in book 14 of Mahabharata.
And once again, Krishna will remind Arjuna that like all of us, we forget our nature and that in this process of forgetfulness and remembrance, we come to an ever deeper process of our own yoga of our own enjoining upon that process of yoking and yoking, drawing ourselves nearer and nearer to the Divine’s nature that this won’t happen. Simply when we understand, when we get it once we’ll need to be reminded, we’ll need to be awakened. We will forget. And then we will be invited again to yoke ourselves to ourselves and to find Krishna as that possibility in all of our desires.

It’s a world when these last chapters of the Gita, it’s a whirlwind that cannot be quelled by any yoga other than the yoga that stirs us to this passion, to this love as Krishna calls it, that takes us to this mystery of his presence in the heart of all beings.
I hope this conversation has inspired and ignited your own curiosity about the Bhagavad Gita, go and read carefully. I warmly recommend reading at least two translations side by side, and allowing yourself to pause, to reflect, perhaps even to write your own commentary on the Gita and allow every verse to connect to all the myriad other verses, rather than see the teachings as singular aphorisms in isolation, make a yoga out of this study of the Gita, connect all things to all things, never let a verse stand alone as if that summation or as if that reduction could capture the all of Krishna.

Let Krishna’s ubiquity make the great connectivity that allows you to see yoga as this great amalgam, this great confluence, this great confusion and wondrous inclusion of all these magnificent and often contradictory teachings that become this blessing of the Bhagavan of the blessed one. And this song that is sung in our hearts and remains as I think the most pivotal and most critical offering in all of the history of yoga.

We are on the precipice as we turn towards the Kashmiri Shai bites. Uh, next week, I hope this conversation has been illuminating and we’ll make a connection that draws, um, the great evolved and suggestive teachings of Kashmir.
Shaivism all the way through. We will pull that thread of these final weeks of our study together all the way through the eye of the needle of the history of yoga, connecting them to text after text to idea, after idea, and hopefully arrive at a great fabric of consciousness that offers us, um, in some sense, a profound opportunity to consider the warp and weft of this fabric of yoga, that, that, that conjoins and connects the great teachings of, of yogic history through the lens of these great sources.
And contemplations

About Sunday morning

Sunday Morning Contemplation is informed by Eastern and Western contemplative traditions. The first, lectio divina has its origins in 6th century Europe. It unfolds in four steps or stages: reading (lectio), reflecting (meditatio), responding (oratio), and silent abiding (contemplatio). Our Eastern inspiration come from the Indian Upanishads (800-200 BCE), where contemplative practice consists of three steps or stages: listening (śravana), reflecting (manana), and meditating (nididhyāsana or dhyāna). Our contemplative practice on Sundays embraces both approaches, and each contemplation will be based on a reading from either tradition.

The texts and teachers I have chosen played a significant role in my life and I believe have much to offer. I will read presellected texts, slowly, with pauses between verses or quotes. The readings will be accompanied by soothing background music. To lessen distraction, I suggest participants close their eyes and listen. However, the screen will display the text so that people can choose to read along or mute the sound and read on their own. If there is time remaining after the contemplative period, participants can choose to either leave or stay for a short discussion.

As a preface to the reading, I will provide a 10-15 minute introduction to the text. When relevant, I’ll review facts about the author/teacher’s life. I will also present a brief explanation of the terms and language encountered in the reading.

Finally, when the contemplation is over, all texts read will be available online to read and/or download at any time on the website.

What I mean by
The Symbolic Life

This website makes liberal use of classical Indian visual art and refers mostly to traditional Indian texts (for example, the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras) in the courses, seminars, and discussions on offer. However, I am not presenting lessons in Hinduism; in fact, teaching mainstream Hinduism is neither my area of interest nor expertise. Rather, my interest in Yoga and Tantra is grounded in the concrete situation in which we find ourselves, in the places where we arrive and from which we depart. Beginning in the here and now, we will explore the underlying meaning of the symbols, stories, images, philosophies, and techniques found in Indian philosophical texts and practice, in light of our world and our current circumstance. We will excavate the meaning of the aphorisms and teaching stories; the symbolic figures of gods, people, and nature; and the sometimes terse, sometimes poetic, philosophy of the texts. Thus, in referring to the Symbolic Life of Yoga and Tantra, I mean not just the symbols themselves, but the rich explication of life that the symbols represent.

Our lived, concrete situation is wonderfully captured in the Sanskrit word loka, whose ancient meaning is “the world.”  The root meaning of both the Sanskrit loka and the English locate (and local, locale, and location) is identical. In the ancient Indian mind, the world is where we are located, in our current circumstance. Thus, the meaning of the symbols of Yoga and Tantra can occur only in the now, in the places where we find ourselves, and not in any imagined ancient and/or foreign world.

To emphasize our place of origin and return, I use the terms “archetypal” and “symbolic” quite frequently. Archetypal meaning is associated with the universal and collective aspects of human experience—what we intimately share with all others regardless of culture or era or epoch—while symbolic language forms a bridge between the realms of the universal with the culturally specific and local. Symbols are the scaffolding upon which human beings build a world and imbue it with meaning.

Think for a moment of pain and pleasure, sorrow and joy, hatred and love, and greed and generosity—universal experiences that ancient Indian thinkers called the dvandva-s. This Sanskrit term is a combination of two words, or rather, one word spoken twice: the word dva (meaning the same as the English “two”) duplicated. Dvandva is commonly translated as “the pair of opposites” or literally “the two-twos” (dvadva). The ancients who coined this compact symbol gave voice to an archetypal human experience that can be further unpacked to reveal deep insights into the human condition. Once we gain an understanding of the various symbols of Yoga and Tantra, we can further excavate their meaning and the archetypes they convey, and thus gain access to, in a practical and meaningful way, the vision of life experienced by the sages. These insights are available to us and are still relevant today, as are the resilient and adaptable techniques and forms of practice that can help us lead richer and more fulfilling lives