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Ruler of the castle of nine gates

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Edited by Marco Ferrini

An evolutionary journey requires a conscious use of our senses, at the risk of being trapped by the illusory nature of our perception of reality: our energy may thus be absorbed by that of the objects around us and the psychological pressure they exert on the mind (vritti).

Every action we enact produces a tendency that is enforced through repetition: these repetitions develop into habits that ingrain attachments that are difficult to dismiss.

Hence the relevance of carefully selecting our experiences. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna (V.5/13) encourages Arjuna to become the ruler of the castle of nine gates: the body is the castle and the nine gates are represented by the orifices that connect him to the outer world. Body and mind are a laboratory where we can experiment elevating our goals: “you where not meant to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge” (Dante’s Inferno Canto XXVI).

Nature (alias prakriti) is actually an expression of the spirit and should be a tool for evolution rather than quagmire that absorbs us in its quicksands. Spirit and matter are not oppository within the conscience of those who have attained spiritual realization. Thus all that is created, all creatures and the Creator represent an undivided triad. It is a single entity that splinters and diffuses itself in infinite expressions. We must experience our knowledge of reality with a proviso: that reality may not become a tomb for our soul. If we are unconnected to superior values we are consumed by vices or by whatever we have come to depend upon simply because it conditions us.

The Bhagavad-gita teaches the art of being rigorous, self controlled, wilful and determined: to what avail? The aim is to rediscover our primeval condition of knowledge, eternity and bliss. Yet even this understanding alone is inadequate because we need to put these qualities into daily practice so as to prevent them from becoming an abstract and purely theoretical knowledge that alienates us from society and the human adventure. Deep-rooted and authentic wisdom leads to compassion, solidarity with all creatures and to the extraordinary experience of sharing and Love.

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