Tag Archives: Bhagavad Gita

Compassion in the Bhagavad Gita…

The energy of Divine love is a specific insight found throughout the Bhagavad Gita. The Divine Self (atma) vibrating throughout the universe is the Divine Master who loves us all equally. Every human person has the ability to hear from within the Divine depth of his/her being: "You are dear to me, I long for you, you are my beloved and my friend" (Gita 18:64, 65 – 4:3). This is not a God speaking from outside, but from within the very heart of reality. The relation with this “inside” God is not just at the mental level of I-thou structure, but within a mystical consciousness of mutual indwelling: "I am in you, you are in me" (9:29)…The true bhakta experiences the Lord as the inner subject (10:8), the true jnani perceives the Divine as one's deeper self (7:18).

With these perceptions then, human life may become a direct response to the Divine love permeating the entire universe and filling one's heart. Every bit of reality communicates the vibration of the contagious power of Divine kama (7:11). One finds themselves and all beings on this eternal journey of Divine love. One feels called to a life of compassion towards all beings, human and cosmic, animate and inanimate. "My true devotee does not feel hatred for any being, but is friendly and compassionate towards all, without the thoughts of I-and-mine" (12:13). Thus the basic trait of a liberated person is compassion.

Compassion takes inner freedom for granted: freedom from any possessive feelings of I-and-­mine. Inner freedom makes a person remain calm through all changes encountered in life: in success and failure, in gain and loss, in honor and disgrace, towards friend and enemy, saints and sinners, relatives and strangers (2:38 – 6:9 – 12:18 – 13:10). A person of inner peace is not easily thrown off-balance by conflicting emotions of fear and fascination, anger and attachment, joy and suffering (2:56 – 5:20).

A compassionate person is not a dispassionate being. Sharing one's life (and possessions) with those in need is the basis of compassion. "The one who cooks food only for oneself, eats poison." (3:13). A passionate concern (rati, 5:25) to bring about welfare to all beings characterizes the life of liberated person. Intense attraction (chikeershu, 3:25) to assisting in the integration of the world is the motivation of his/her commitment. Compassion is the total surrender of a person to the “cause of the other” within the environment of Divine creativity.

Compassion demands an effective appraisal of the dehumanizing behavioral patterns and the oppressive structures of society. The Gita raises an uncompromising protest against discriminative social traditions, exploitative economic systems, aggressive political structures and dehumanizing religious practices (5:18 – 16:13-19 – 2:42-44). A compassionate person is a courageous person because his being is firmly established in the consciousness of the Divine (2:56 – 6:14).

Compassion in the Bhagavad Gita…

Compassion enables a person realize their creativity. The one who acts from the motivation of the ego (ahamkara) has to compete with others in a compulsive way, because their actions are controlled by greed, anger, lust and hate (2:62-63 – 3:25). The one who acts, rooted in the Divine ground of being realizes that the Divine Master is the real subject of one's actions (13:3).  "Ascribing all works to the Divine, one acts with inner freedom." (5:10). With this spiritual realization one naturally becomes more creative, more courageous and more compassionate.

Compassion is not simply a virtue to practice, but a holistic attitude that binds every person to everything with the bond of Divine love. One sees “reflections of the Self everywhere” (6:32) because one realizes that one's Self is the Self of all (sarvabhutatma bhutatma, 5:7). All things are bound together on the Divine chord of life and love (7:7). No being can be alien and no one a stranger to a truly realized person. With all the “things” of nature, we humans all live in the one family of the Divine. There is no room for competition, but only the capacity for compassion. "Mutually nourishing one another we all attain real prosperity" (3:11). Such an integral world-view can be very healthy today, when humanity cuts itself apart through competitiveness, threatening to destroy the cosmic matrix of life.

Rae Indigo is ERYT 500

Yoga, Love and “Connection”

Yoga is “Connection”

There’s numerous ways to define yoga, but each of the definitions are ultimately all about connection. In Sanskrit, the word ‘yoga’ is literally translated as “to join” or “to unite” and is used to signify any form of connection. So yoga means “union,” and the purpose of yoga practice is to connect. We can connect in many ways. We can connect with others or with a higher power. We can also connect our minds with our hearts; with our thoughts reflecting our feelings and vice versa. In fact, we need to connect our minds with our hearts first, because before we can connect to another, whether a thing, person, sentient being or higher power, we need to connect our brains to our emotions.

In its highest philosophical sense, yoga means conscious connection of the individual self with the highest Self, where you feel “at one” with the rhythms and cycles of the cosmos, God or the Universal Divine.

Yoga is first and foremost a science, a system of consciously practiced techniques and processes that enable you to be fully present and to realize your highest Self (aka Atman) which is inherently connected to all that is. Hence there is no dogma or belief system attached to yoga. Yoga simply instructs you to do a certain practice, to feel the effects and then to discover your true Self through that practice. For example, if you practice pranayama and breathe slowly and in a relaxed manner you will notice your heart rate slows, your mind becomes calm and focused, and deep insights are the result.

Whenever you totally experience this connection you are in the state of yoga; a balanced, blissful and life affirming state of being united and no longer a separate ego-based entity.

Love can also be “Connection”

Ironically, romantic and personal love both have their agendas, but “connecting” has no agendas. In order for love to truly be “connection” it must be universal and unconditional, it cannot exclude or choose a specific object (or person) to love. Have you ever noticed that when you love something, you feel connected to it? You start to observe the things you have in common rather than the differences that would tend to separate you. This is a beginning, a starting point where practice can help that love to expand, to become more and more inclusive.

Here you may observe your ability to love goes through different stages where the feeling of connectivity happens on multiple levels. At first you may notice that you wish for your love to be reciprocated, and as that wish is gradually replaced by feelings of selfless love, a new sense of freedom (or expansion) is experienced. This is where yoga practice and the development of selfless love meet.

As you begin to consciously practice love in a broader, less selfish and more expansive way, you’ll feel unity, or connectivity is beginning to dissolve the drama of your separateness and your ego-centered activities are abandoned in favor of a more compassionate approach. So continue to practice yoga and selfless love until you feel that your heart is so big and the love so infinite that you can hold the whole universe in your heart.

Closing thoughts:

The Bhagavad Gita recognizes the synchronous nature of creation and the underlying Divine/cosmic unity. The Hindu term, Brahman, refers to the fundamental connection of all things in the universe. The appearance of this Universal Oneness in the soul is called Atman.

The ancient Hindu mystics said everything in the universe was inextricably interconnected, and they used Indra’s Net to illustrate the concept. Stephen Mitchell, in his book The Enlightened Mind, wrote: “The Net of Indra is a profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality. Imagine a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom. Every jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel.”