As our faith is, so will we be
In the final verse of Book XVI, Krishna makes his stand on and commitment to working for the well-being of the world (lokasamgraha) perfectly patently clear. Krishna tells his friend Arjuna that he should (arhasi) perform (kartum) actions (karma) and work here (iha) in this world (XVI.24).
Working for the well-being of the world (lokasamgraha) is Arjuna’s duty, his Dharma as a warrior. This work is to be rooted in that Knowledge which is found in the sacred writings, the sastra (pronounced shastra). The sacred Sanskrit writings, the shastras, of Hinduism fall into two categories. One is shruti - meaning that which is heard; and the other is smrtis - that which is remembered.
Shruti is valued over smrtis because these are the words which the ancient Seers (Rishis) heard in their deepest states of meditative connection to the One. The four Vedas - the Rig Veda, the Sama Veda, the Artharva Veda, and the Yajur Veda - along with the Brahmanas and the Upanishads are all considered to be shruti. The Vedas are eternal sacred sounds which exist in the element Ether, the Akasha.
The Mahabharata, which contains the Bhagavad Gita, is called the Fifth Veda in India; however many scholars feel that it is ‘remembered’ smrtis. The Bhagavad Gita is exceptional in this regard and is considered by most to be shruti. The Gita ‘extends the thoughts of the four Vedas’ (M.N.Dutt).
The poet-author of the Mahabharata, Vyasa, was obviously an inspired and excellent authority on the Sanskrit scriptures. The name Vyasa means the ‘compiler’ and it is said that Vyasa compiled - meaning put together and assembled - the four Vedas, the Upanishads, and 18 Puranas.
Vyasa was clearly an enlightened being and his profound knowledge of the vast Wisdom found in the ancient Sanskrit texts is the reason I am drawn to the Bhagavad Gita and the Mahabharata. Every time I read these wonderful lines, I deepen my understanding of my relationship with this universe and learn something new. The Bhagavad Gita with unerring brilliance sorts through worlds of Wisdom in the Vedas and the Upanishads, and offers the reader supernal gems of clarity.
The Razor’s Edge
Krishna warns Arjuna to rely on the sastra when he performs his duty and works for this world. The great Kashmir Saivite Abhinavagupta extends this warning, saying that those who ignore the sacred texts and listen only to their own mind ‘undoubtedly fall into hell’ (B.Marjanovic).
The spiritual Path is traditionally compared to walking on the edge of a razor and with good reason. The Creator of this magnificent and awe-filled world, which is packed with innumerable complexities and diversity, would surely not go to such lengths to bind Its Selves in the Illusion of Separation - and then make release and liberation (moksha) from this self-created Delusion easy.
The Way Home is fraught and cluttered with pitfalls, traps, and perils. The Way Home is after all and above all the greatest challenge that human consciousness can and will ever face. You need to become something of a warrior, like Arjuna, but a warrior in Spirit and in Consciousness. The sacred texts can be your Sword of Discrimination.
Self-created distractors, the seducers that snare our consciousness
Anyone who has spent time in meditation knows that voices and visions arise in the silence of darkness. But who and what do you trust? The sacred texts can offer you solid ground, a higher frequency of consciousness to lift you above the temporal illusory ‘temptations’ presented to you by the astral phantoms of what I call the Phantasmal Hierarchies. This also applies to the perils of pride that come with the lower realms. The sacred Sanskrit texts, like the Bhagavad Gita, will help you to discriminate, and know who and what to trust.
The Myriad Worlds are quite properly called myriad because there are so many of them. You can spend lifetimes tuning into and exploring these temporal realms, some of which are exceedingly beautiful, while others only ‘appear’ lovely to seduce you. However - buyer beware! These realms are temporal, not eternal. At the end of a great Cycle of Time, they all face the same fate and experience the Great Dissolution.
Discernment & Discrimination
Those who want to find the Way Home leave the temporal Illusions of this world behind in order to acquire the Knowledge of Discrimination that is the Primordial Wisdom. They seek the eternal (avyayam) - that which does not perish, the imperishable (akshara). Real Freedom is the final Liberation from the repetitive permutations and inequities of the Cycles of Time and release from this impermanent (anityam) unhappy (asukham) world (loka - IX.33).
On your Way Home, whenever you are in doubt, or tempted and bedazzled by visions or voices, the Bhagavad Gita is there to rely on as your Cosmic Sword of Wisdom. The words of Vyasa’s Krishna, the loving blue one who plays the flute, will purify your consciousness and quickly sweep away the dark forces - that you created - which seek to bind your consciousness in the temporal.
The Bhagavad Gita will always reveal a deeper meaning each time you read it. There are moments when I repeat of few of the Sanskrit words from the Gita, like a prayer to raise the frequency of my consciousness. These Sanskrit words have power!
भवामि नचिरात्पार्थ मय्यावेशितचेतसाम् .. १२- ७..
teṣāṃ ahaṃ samuddhartā
bhavāmi na cirāt pārtha mayy āveśitacetasām 12.7
I particularly like mayy avesita cetasam (XII.7), pronounced something like, mah-ah-y-ah-vey-shee-tah chay-ta-sahm (no long a's, except for the chAy). It means something like - may our consciousness be directed to enter into the Lord, the Supreme One. I trust the Bhagavad Gita to surround me with the Light of Truth that leads me Home on the Razor’s Edge, safely passing over and beyond all forms of ignorance and the pitfalls of the Myriad Worlds.
Book XVII: The Three Kinds of Faith
Arjuna: If men forsake the holy ordinance,
Heedless of Shastras, yet keep faith at heart
And worship, what shall be the state of those,
Great Krishna! Sattwan, Rajas, Tamas? Say!
- Ganguli XVII.1
Arjuna asks Krishna what state of consciousness will emerge in one who has faith but who does not follow the laws, rites, injunctions of the sacred writings (XVII.1). In response Krishna teaches his friend the profound implications of faith (sraddha) on consciousness. Whatever we are is the result of our faith.
‘...as our faith is, so will we be’
What we believe truly does matter, for our faith reflects our beliefs and lays the foundation for our consciousness. The etymology of ‘faith’ is connected to the word ‘trust’ and in this world, the shifting temporal illusory hologram, we must all come to trust something.
Some trust only money and power, some place their trust in human love and relationships, while others trust only God. Those who believe that there is nothing in this world beyond their own selfish desires will find it easy to use and abuse others. Those who love God and see God in All will feel a compassionate gentleness for All.
It’s only human nature to ...
The faith (sraddha) of each one of us follows the form (anurupa) of our own unique individual nature (XVII.3). This is what we call our ‘human nature’ when we say ‘it’s only human nature’ to behave in a particular way. This ‘nature’ is produced by the relative distribution of Prakriti’s (Nature) three qualities, the three gunas in each of us.
The gunas are ever in motion, one seeking dominance over the other, shifting our consciousness. The gunas operate on their objects in the external hologram through the internal organs of the five senses. The five senses are always transmitting information as frequency waveforms to the brain. Our consciousness is formed by our reaction and attachment, or non-attachment to these transmitted waveforms.
When the guna sattva predominates, our consciousness resonates with that frequency which is represented by the gods (Devas) who are the embodiment of primordial metaphysical Principles (XVII.4).
When the guna rajas is dominant, then consciousness resonates with and becomes open to the spirit worlds and those worlds that are inhabited by the demonic forces. In my view this includes the so-called extraterrestrials, which only means beyond earth. The ETs range in frequency from those who are evolved and have high-minded intentions towards human beings, to those whose actions show that they are plainly nasty.
Whatever experiences anyone has with these entities is - by the Law of Magnetism - in perfect resonant alignment with their own consciousness. If you want to leave these beings behind, simply ignore them and raise the frequency of your consciousness. If you fall back down to their level of frequency, you will find them waiting. They cannot liberate you from the temporal illusory hologram. Only you, through your own efforts, can liberate your Self (atma).
Ghosts & nature spirits
Krishna says that those who have allowed the guna tamas to dominate their consciousness resonate with and attract ghosts (pretan) and the hosts of ‘nature spirits’ (bhutaganan). I assume that this category of spirits refers to those energies which are connected to Nature, perhaps something like the term ‘elementals’ which are not of human origin.
I have ‘seen’ my share of ghosts and my way of understanding this phenomena is that these are the waveform-energies left by gunas operating in the subtle bodies of people who couldn’t let go - people who were irrevocably attached to some desire, a person or place. There are cases of those who were thrown into shock by an unexpected or violent death; or those who had committed an act so terrible that it generated an energy not easily dispersed.
Pride in penance
Krishna’s total disdain of torturing the body as a form of religious penance is made abundantly clear (XVII.5). Perhaps those same people who in worldly matters are high-powered achievers may tend to bring their competitive drive and arrogant egos to their spiritual practices.
... penance which hath its root
In self-sufficient, proud hypocrisies -
Those men, passion-beset, violent, wild,
Desiring to display their grand superiority, they undertake severe austerities (tapas) which torture the flesh and/or starve themselves. But Krishna says that this self-inflicted torture is hypocrisy, and he considers these acts to be demonic (asura). He says that they are torturing the God within their body (XVII.6).
... the witless ones - My elements
Shut in fair company within their flesh,
(Nay, Me myself, present within the flesh!)
Know them to devils devoted, not to Heaven!
Food that nurtures, or is dead and deadly
The three qualities (gunas) create three types of human nature and their preferences, even the kinds of food we like. The sattvic types like food that is flavorful (rasyas), smooth (snigdhas), firm (sthiras), and agreeable (hrdyah). Sattvic foods nurture long life (ayuh), strength (bala), health (arogya), and happiness (sukha). They satisfy and augment virtue (XVII.8).
... food which brings
Force, substance, strength, and health, and joy to live,
Being well-seasoned, cordial, comforting ...
When the guna rajas dominates the consciousness, food is preferred that is bitter (katuh), sour (amla), salty (lavana), and hot with pepper (usna). These foods cause burning (vidahinah) and cause pain (duhkha), sorrow (soka) as mental anguish which follows burning pain, and eventually disease (XVII.9). The increasing number of commercial advertisements for acid-reflux disease and heartburn reflect the rajasic nature of our consumer society.
And there be foods which bring
Aches and unrests, and burning blood, and grief
Being too biting, heating, salt, and sharp,
And therefore craved by too strong appetite.
The descriptions of foods liked by people who have the guna tamas predominant in their consciousness are a bit gross, however one could say they accurately describe ‘fast food’. One of the predictions for the Kali Yuga is that ‘pre-cooked food will be readily available’ - and when I first read this, I laughed; but it was this one prediction that sealed my belief that we are indeed living in the Kali Yuga.
And there is foul food - kept from over-night,
Savourless, filthy, which the foul will eat,
A feast of rottenness, meet for the lips
Of such as love the "Darkness."
Tamasic foods are said to be half-cooked (yata-yaman) and as Gambhirananda points out, they have ‘lost their essence’ and are tasteless (gata-rasam). Processed food needs artificial flavors and preservatives because it is ‘dead’ food - food which has lost its essence.
Wherever the EDCs, endocrine disrupting chemicals, go in this world - obesity quickly follows. EDCs mimic estrogen in the body and a certain percentage of the population is vulnerable to these false signals. EDCs are said to cause not only obesity, but gender-bending in both humans and animals/fish, infertility, diseases such as cancer and diabetes, and even memory loss.
For further information on EDCs and how they are changing our world:
Our Stolen Future
Theo Colborn, etc.,
The Detox Diet: Eliminate Chemical Calories
by Dr. Paula Baillie-Hamilton
Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Books; 2002, London
The Estrogen Effect
How Chemical Pollution is Threatening Our Survival
St. Martin’s Griffin 2000, New York
Chlorine, Health, & a New Environmental Strategy
MIT Press, 2000, Cambridge Mass. & London