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Truth Beyond DespairThe Path of Selfless ServiceThe Path of MeditationThe Path of DevotionThe Path of Wisdom

Bhagavad Gita/The Path of Meditation

Meditation and Reading taken from The Bhagavad Gita, trans. Eknath Easwaran
All other text is by Cynthia Stewart

Today's Themes

The Self of Hindu thought (often called the Atman) is not the ego with which we normally identify ourselves, but rather the ageless, endless, divine part that is always at one with Brahman, the Ultimate Reality, even though our perception leads us to believe that we are separate from Brahman and from each other. In today’s reading, we hear about meditation as a path to uncovering this Self and its unity with Brahman.

In other parts of the Gita we read that meditation should be part of the practice for all spiritual aspirants, no matter what path they travel, but for some it is the central practice. Raja yoga, the path of meditation, is known as the “royal road” to liberation (“raja” means “royal” or “kingly”) because it is clearest and most direct path to this Truth.

One of the results of meditation practice is a calm and peace of mind that weathers the storms of daily living, but the results of meditation are not seen only inwardly: it also gives birth, we are told in today’s meditation, to a clear and deep compassion for others.

Words used in this session:
Arjuna – the warrior prince who must fight the army led by his cousins in order to establish his father’s right to the ancestral throne.
Brahman – the changeless Reality behind all of creation
karma – this means both action and the results of action, which can last across lifetimes
Self – the Atman or what might be called the soul, which is one with Brahman

Call To Worship

You came here laden with cares and worries;
      here you may lay them down for a moment.
You came overflowing with thoughts both common and profound;
      here you may set them aside for a moment.
You came as mother, brother, friend, partner, child, co-worker, helper;
      here you may simply be you for a moment.

With all that we bring together, and all that we lay aside,
With all that we become and all that we remain,
Let the infinite presence of stillness bring us into worship together.

Meditation

When a person responds to the joys and sorrows of others as if they were his own, he has attained the highest state of spiritual union.

Chapter 6.32

Reading

When meditation is mastered, the mind is unwavering like the flame of a lamp in a windless place. In the still mind, in the depths of meditation, the Self reveals itself. Beholding the Self by means of the Self, an aspirant knows the joy and peace of complete fulfillment. Having attained that abiding joy beyond the senses, revealed in the stilled mind, he never swerves from the eternal truth. He desires nothing else, and cannot be shaken by the heaviest burden of sorrow….

Whenever the mind wanders, restless and diffuse in its search for satisfaction without, lead it within; train it to rest in the Self. Abiding joy comes to those who still the mind. Freeing themselves from the taint of self-will, with their consciousness unified, they become one with Brahman.

The infinite joy of touching Brahman is easily attained by those who are free from the burden of evil and established within themselves. They see the Self in every creature and all creatures in the Self. With consciousness unified through meditation, they see everything with an equal eye.

Chapter 6.19-22, 26-29

Benediction

May knowledge of your infinite Self and its infinite union with the infinite, unending, Ultimate Reality guide you in times of fullness and sustain you in times of trial. Blessings on your footsteps as they carry you down your path.

OM shanti shanti shanti