Chapter 10 – Divine Splendor
Yoga Teacher – Annie Carpenter
Breathwork Teacher – Michael Brian Baker
In the “Love Service Devotion – Ram Dass on the Bhagavad Gita” talks from 1974, Ram Dass proposes some interesting instruction in reading the Gita. He suggests reading it three times: once just as a story, the second time from the point of view of Arjuna and the third from the point of view of Krishna.
The latter two are both fascinating depending on where your at with your own personal trip. If you’re reading the Gita while going through a very difficult life challenge then perhaps taking it in from Arjuna’s perspective might suit you. And if your reading it from a place of trying to make sense of what, or perhaps who, God is then imagining it from Krishna’s perspective is very very extraordinary.
In Chapter 10 Arjuna is really starting to understand who Krishna is but he’s not all the way there. Basically he says “Krishna. Dude. Who the hell are you?!?” The secrets of the universe are becoming evident to Arjuna and it’s blowing his mind so hard that he has no choice but to make Krishna a) tell him who he is and b) prove it. Krishna does both.
Back to the previous point, of taking it in via Krishna’s POV, there is something so graceful here that it’s worth exploring. Imagine that you are guiding your friend through the most chaotic and challenging situation here but your manifestation of Godhead is so sound and secure that in the midst of this chaos everything is calm, cool and collected. You’re basically telling your friend “whatever’s going on is going to be ok. just remember me and know that I’m everything.” Krishna’s grace in this chapter is really beautiful, fierce but beautiful.
Krishna says in Verse 4 “Discrimination, wisdom, understanding, forgiveness, truth, self control, and peace of mind; pleasure and pain, birth and death, fear and courage, honor and dishonor, nonviolence, charity, equanimity…all of the living qualities found in living creatures have their source in me.”
This is a very important discourse here because Krishna is saying he has both positive and “negative” forces within him. He is resolute in telling Arjuna that duality of the world, the sometimes confusing dichotomies of life, are all necessary and are all aspects of God. How many times have we asked ourselves in life “If there is a God why does such and such happen?” It happens because it’s the order of things and with positive there sometimes can be negative. If you add science to the equation you know that all positive charges have an equally negative charge. The polarity of the universe is what keeps it in balance.
I’m not suggesting that we pretend to be Krishna or anything that outrageous but I am saying that if you believe there’s even a sliver of Gods supreme wisdom living inside of you then you can apply this wisdom when facing whatever challenge you may face. In this grand example Krishna is telling Arjuna that since I’m everything anyway, whatever you’re gonna do is going to be ok because it is the order of how I made it. Great stuff, and a great circle of thought to chew on.
And if you explore the Chapter even further the specifics of what Krishna says he is exactly is equally fascinating – especially when he refers to himself as being the “atman” and the syllable “om.” Many other, more involved, Hindu concepts are described here and are well worth looking into.
When applying this to a daily Yoga practice it helps to remember that not only am I a perfect manifestation of Gods (in this case Krishnas) creations but the practice itself is as well. Literally, when we engage in yoga we are doing a sacred dance that honors God.
I’ve reached a new level of comfort for sure in the practice, I can’t say that I’ve ever done 10 days in a row of yoga at a studio before. If I have I surely can’t remember. Now the challenges have reversed themselves. It’s the writing that’s become difficult while the practice is becoming easier and easier. On a technical note I noticed today that when doing Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) that I can go down a good 50% more than I could 10 days ago. So for anyone wondering about what’s happening with the physical practice, there ya go. I found it incredibly gratifying and liberating.
I waited late to post today because I concluded the day with adding a different modality into the mix. I went to one of Michael Brian Baker’s breath work workshops with the intent of deepening my practice through the stuff that comes up doing that work. Too much to get into here, but my heart and mind is wide open and I’m very grateful that this world has an endless amount to offer.