by Loknath – January 2018
Dear Sisters and Brothers :
I am reading Eknath Easwaran’s translation of The Bhagavad Gita. I find its’ ancient text and wonderful commentaries very resonant of Babaji and so offer this invitation.
What if we in the Babaji community instituted “Community Yoga Conversations” with the Gita? Conversations with this time-honored guide to which readers have returned for centuries – even practiced readers marveling when they discover texts as if for the first time. Can conversations create heart space for present and future devotees to explore as a door to Babaji?
Physically, we experienced Babaji as a loving presence, cosmic and universal. Those experiences still support us as an open and inviting community. As a particular expression of the divine, Baba was Lord Shiva-Yogeshwar, the bringer and lord of yoga.
Though an open revelation of yoga, Babaji was not easily read or understood. The Gita, as the premier and ancient text on yoga, gives us access to the yoga worldview, both the philosophical and general practices that Babaji was and is. One old devotee, now deceased, used to relate that Babaji had a copy of the Gita with him when he first appeared at Haidakhan
Whether or not you are familiar with the Gita, there are several things you might consider. The Gita offers numerous subjects to be explored and questioned. It is not structured as dogma but rather as a love poem of practice. It invites first-hand experience. It meets us all, in all of our uniqueness and sameness.
The verses open on the battle field of Kururkshetra. Arjuna and Lord Krishna are in conversation about the impending battle. The battle, as we learn, is an inner one. It is about, as Krishna says, “ [Realizing] that which pervades the universe and is indestructible; no power can affect this unchanging imperishable reality. ” (2:17) – within us all.
With this point, The Gita joins in conversation with the new physics, the modern quantum field and neuroscience. The mutual understanding, common to the “fields,” is that our universe is both an observed and a participatory phenomenon. Mind, energy and matter are not discrete; they are a continuum. The material universe is not separate from the mind that perceives it. As Krishna says: “I am ever present to those who have realized me in every creature. Seeing all of life as my manifestation, they are never separate from me. Wherever they may live they abide in me” ( 6:30-31) Krishna insists Arjuna must, as a human, discover that unified field himself. Discover it here and now.
The Gita expounds, too, on the various “yogas” and practices around Babaji.
Speaking of Karma yoga, Krishna says, “You have the right to work but never to the fruit of work” ( 2:47 ) This is selfless action whereby the yogi dissolve their identification with the mind and body by identifying with the whole of life. It is a letting go of the small self in service to others in order to realize the true Self. Doing stops being a by-product of the ego’s survival mechanism and becomes, instead, an outpouring of the brilliant radiance of love/Atman/Self. In daily life it is to be the eyes, ears, hands, feet, heart and voice of God.
Addressing Bhakti yoga, The Gita offers that we come to know our true selves by identifying completely with Babaji. The lord, as the Haidakhan Aarti puts it, who “Ever resides on the Lotus of our hearts–full of compassion and so beautiful…”
The Japa, Puja, Aarti and Haven celebrations encouraged by Babaji are heard as Krishna speaks directly to our practices: “I am the ritual and the sacrifice; and am true medicine and the mantrum. I am the offering and the fire which consumes it; and the one to who it is offered. (9:16)
Embedded throughout The Gita, is Babaji’s scheme of “ Truth, Simplicity and
Love.” Truth is seeing beyond the perceived dualities of life. It is engaging in action in the unified consciousness where the actor knows: “I am not the doer.” Simplicity is “The radiance in all that shines.” (10:36) It is the crucible of the present moment. It is the be-here now, Real love is “ [Beholding] the entire cosmos turning within my body.” ( 11:7) Division resides in seeing the other as outside of ourselves and imagining that we can bestow love on them–affection, yes; but not love. To love, Krishna says, is to “[fill] your mind with me; love me; serve me always.” (9:34) Love is to recognize the Self in others.
Our conversations, individual and collective, can be both informative and unifying. Our community is not about like mindedness; it’s about openheartedness–not only to our human brothers and sisters but to every entity, from the tiniest microbe to the vastness of the planet earth and the cosmos.
Will you consider reading Eknath Easwaran’s brilliant translation and commentary of The Bhagavad Gita? Do you prefer another translation and if so why?
How can you imagine creating Community Yoga Conversations ?
– Does the idea of hosting a 4-6 week “Gita Book Club” once a year interest you?
– Can you see an accessible online site in your country for sharing?
– Can we make space for conversations at Gurupurnima , Navaratri and other gatherings?
– Can we bend ourselves to the expression of intellectual, emotional and worship practices that share with future generations what Babaji pointed us toward?
How would you go about initiating Community Yoga Conversations in your Center / Ashram, among your friends , in your neighborhood or Country?
If it is interesting, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
BBKJ and love