Gita Daily Readings

28th August
Chapter XI: 49-50
Be not afraid, nor bewildered on seeing such a terrible form of mine as this; with thy fear dispelled and with a gladdened heart, now behold again this former form of mine.

Sanjaya said: Having thus spoken to Arjuna, Krishna again showed his own form and the great soul, assuming his gentle form, consoled him who was terrified.

Commentary

Stand alone on a sand dune in a vast desert. Float alone on a wooden plank in the middle of an ocean. Sit alone in a dense forest, with not a man or beast around you. You are immediately terror-stricken. The limited mind of man is afraid of the limitless - even if this merely means "vast." If such is the case with mere earthly vastness, how then can the limited mind of man approach the truly limitless infinite being? It trembles with mortal fear unless previously trained; this training is gradual, even as the training of a parachutist is gradual, unless one perceives spontaneously that limitation is itself the cause of fear and the infinite is instant freedom. All the yoga practices are intended to prevent this fear.

In the initial stages of yoga sadhana, when one is asked to meditate (especially if the aspirant does not believe in a personalized form of God and attempts formless contemplation) and when he is at the point of "going into meditation," the aspirant gets frightened and returns to body-consciousness with trembling fear; it makes him feel that he is dropping into a bottomless dark abyss. Hence the vital need to prepare oneself, and kindle the light of understanding.

Hatha yoga prepares the physical and vital being; raja yoga the mental and the psychic being; bhakti yoga the emotional being; and karma yoga pushes the ego out of the way. When jnana yoga eventually opens the door, the entire being is flooded with divine light. Then such light no longer blinds but is gladly welcomed. To ignore this preparation is to look for trouble. Complete self-surrender and acceptance of God's will are the best preparation.

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