This article is continuing the War Within blog series. Please see the first part here for the introduction and overview: Part 1: Overview.
Jnana Yoga, Self knowledge
Quoting Lord Krishna’s words from the Bhagavad Gita,
Never will there be a time when I do not exist, nor you, nor kings of men. Never will there be a time when any of us will cease to be….Even as an embodied Self passes, in this body, through the stages of childhood, youth and old age. So it [the Self] passes into another body…
Atman, the Eternal Self
n the preceding quote Lord Krishna is speaking about the atman, the Self which is eternal, unchangeable, indestructible, imperishable, and immutable. Lord of the past, present and future. Atman resides in duality in the human body, but transcends time. Time symbolizes change, and atman symbolizes the endless ceaseless mobility. To find the secret of steadiness of mind, body, and spirit in the midst of change means to discover the knowledge of the Great Beyond. The analogy of being in the eye of the storm works perfectly here. Look past your changeable individuality to the eternal Indweller Within, the atman — the Self which is indestructible and an absolute transcendent aspect of a person. Atman resides in the heart, the seat of the unstruck sound of the Universe, the anahata, no bigger in size than a thumb.
Following this passage, Lord Krishna goes on to appeal to Arjuna’s intellect and gives the timeless message of the Jnana Yoga path. Jnana Yoga is the path of light, where the aspiring follower puts his knowledge and wisdom to work. He uses will and discrimination to dis-identify from body, mind, and senses by recognizing differences between the finite self (jivatman) and the Real Self (paramatman).
Maha Vinyasa, the Great Cycle
The following is an extremely powerful quote from the Bhagavad Gita, which I find calming during stresses of everyday life:
For that which is born, death is certain, and to that which is dead, birth is certain. Therefore do not grieve the unavoidable… (2. 26-27)
Krishna further explains the permanence of the Self. Births and deaths are not real events, except when they are viewed as points along the continuous process of death and renewal… becoming, being, and passing away. The maha vinyasa (term which roughly translates from Sanskrit to mean “great cycle”) of human life is being born, living, and finally dying. This cycle has happened in the past, it is happening now and will happen in the future. The process of living life is important. Did we enjoy every moment? Life is not about a destination or reaching a goal but instead about playing & savoring every unfolding life process with gratitude.
To continue reading my War Within blog series, click here: Part 3: Karma Yoga.