Undesirable Limitations

Chapter II, Verse 44

Sri Nerode’s Translation:

44

For them who desire wealth and power most and whose minds are fascinated by such flowery words of the unwise, is not meant Yoga or this fixity of soul on divine meditation.

Helpful Translation:

Attachment creates the limitations associated with desire. It also creates the anger associated with frustrated desires. Surrendering to an expanded consciousness, and becoming non-attached to specific illusions is the only way to achieve freedom. Yoga is for those seeking freedom from their personal desires.

Commentary:

Follow your heart and you will be led to the next step needed in your life.

Individuals who desire wealth and power may find some satisfaction in the religions of men but not in the company of the Divine. It is easy to embrace the words of both the wise and unwise alike. The intellectual man who seeks power gladly memorizes scriptures, proclaims their veracity and then forces their tenants upon others.

Yoga, meaning any of the seven established methods of expanding one’s awareness, is not helpful to those who seek power for themselves by limiting others. The ignorant see a paradox between the self-discipline required by yoga and the claims of being beyond limitations with ever-new joy.

Perhaps this explanation will help. The materialistic man obsesses with little pleasures. Enjoy vanilla ice cream? Try chocolate. Enjoy various flavors, then try different brands. Enjoy one favorite brand, then try making your own! Finally, a day arrives when the lover of ice-cream no longer enjoys trying new flavors and brands. Only one specific flavor and brand will satisfy the ego that has been trained to create a hierarchy in sensual experiences.

Suddenly, the “expansive” pursuit of sensual experience reveals its true nature. In the pursuit of trying every ice cream with a goal of expanding ice cream appreciation, the lover of ice cream finds that only one kind satisfies. This sort of sensual “expansion” is learned limitation. The ego and intellect build their own prison.

Personally, I was very promiscuous in my youth. I claimed that if sex is related to love then more sex must equal more love. I was sadly disappointed. Sensuality, intellectual pursuits, the research of the material scientist, literally any “thing” sought out by the ego leads to greater limitation. When I hear someone proclaiming to be an expert, I immediately know that they are limited by specificity. (Of course, experts are needed to perform some material tasks.)

Now, an enlightened human is given vanilla ice cream and enjoys it. When given a different flavor, again it’s enjoyable. Different brands, love them. Homemade, perfection! The enlightened individual has decided to be happy all of the time. This is only possible by fully embracing the moment. Enjoy the ice cream at hand and find greater enjoyment in life.

When a society becomes more materialistic, the choices of favorite pastimes become more plentiful. Wherever the desire is focused, whether on ice cream, sneakers, cars, or religious idols, the objects of desire multiply.

The paradox of self-discipline arises in the ignorant mind because the “wise” have stated both in person and through scriptures that without relinquishing material desires, enlightenment is impossible. The ignorant wonder, “Without desire, how will I enjoy it?”

One phrase from the poem “Samadhi” by Paramahansa Yogananda comes to mind, “I swallowed, transmuted all.” The enlightened person enjoys all. The person filled with desires, full of likes and dislikes, lives in a constant state of dis-ease. Desire makes a person restless and unhappy, how is that enjoyment?

The object is neutral. Desire taints the object. The egoistical intellect that follows desire accepts the limitation. Through the self-discipline of non-attachment offered by various methods of yoga, the enjoyment of every object becomes unlimited. So, rather than seeking the “best” ice cream, have the self-discipline to fully enjoy what each flavor and brand of ice has to offer.

Enjoy the ice cream at hand.

Easter Eggs:

Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:

ParthaSon of Pritha

Pritha is the birth name of Arjuna’s mother Kunti. (His “father” is Indra, the lord of heaven, Svargaloka, who has a thunderbolt, Vajra, in his hand.) Partha indicates the state of human consciousness that is innocent or naïve. Contrast with Kaunteya. The feminine origin of this moniker indicates it is related to the ida nadi.

This is the third verse addressed to naïve Kshatriya caste member represented by Partha.

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