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Observations placeholder

Bhagavad Gita - Asceticism is dark in kind



Type of Spiritual Experience


The sages who wrote the Bhagavad Gita took a dim view of asceticism in all it forms and roundly condemned it, stating that asceticism was just a gross act of the ego - the direct opposite of what one was trying to achieve when seeking spiritual experience.  Simply put, asceticism is selfishness taken to extremes, desires gone bad.

In some cases the asceticism creates demons, and they state that the practise is thus, by definition, 'demonic'.

There is the implication that actions need to be reserved for what we are here to do -  destiny again - and thus without desire, in service

These observations all attest to this advice

A description of the experience

The Bhagavad Gita [translated by W J Johnson]

Asceticism practised with deluded notions with self torture or with the object of destroying another person, is said to be dark in kind............

A man does not attain freedom from the results of action by abstaining from actions and he does not approach perfection simply by renunciation.
For no one ever, even for a moment, exists without acting; everyone, regardless of their will, is made to perform actions by the constituents which originate from material nature
The man who, having restrained his action organs, then sits with his mind preoccupied with sense objects, is called a self deluded hypocrite
But the man who, controlling his senses with his mind, undertakes through his action organs the discipline of action without attachment, distinguishes himself..........

You should know that men who undertake extreme ascetic practises…. in thrall to exhibitionism and egotism, driven by the forces of passion and desire, mindlessly emaciating the aggregate of elements that make up the body ….  are set on the demonic

The source of the experience

Bhagavad Gita

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