Main >> Cultures & Beliefs >> Other Philosophies & Politics
Translated by Dr. Ramananda Prasad
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
AiU Aitareya Upanishad
BP Bhagavata Maha Purana
BrU Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
BS Brahma Sutra
ChU Chhandogya Upanishad
DB Devi Bhagavatam
IsU Ishavasya Upanishad
KaU Katha Upanishad
KeU Kena Upanishad
MaU Mandukya Upanishad
MS Manu Smriti
MuU Mundaka Upanishad
NBS Narada Bhakti Sutra
PrU Prashna Upanishad
PYS Patanjali Yoga Sutra
SBS Shandilya Bhakti Sutra
ShU Shvetashvatara Upanishad
TaU Taittiriya Upanishad
TR Tulasi Ramayana
VP Vishnu Purana
VR Valmiki Ramayanam
YV Yajurveda, Vajasaneyi Samhita
Dhritarashtra said: O Sanjaya, assembled in the holy field of Kurukshetra and eager to fight, what did my people and the Pandavas do? (1.01)
The beginners should not get lost in the jungle of historical proper nouns or the names of the characters of Mahabharata in this chapter and the names of various deities and demigods in other chapters of the Bhagavad-Gita. These names have no bearing on the main theme of the Gita. Readers may skip this chapter, because it has been summarized in the introduction.
Sanjaya said: Seeing the battle formation of the Pandava's army, King Duryodhana approached his guru, Drona, and spoke these words: (1.02)
O master, behold this mighty army of the sons of Pandu, arranged in battle formation by your talented disciple, the son of Drupada. (1.03)
There are many heroes and mighty archers equal to Bhima and Arjuna in war such as Yuyudhana, Virata, and the great warrior Drupada; Dhrishtaketu, Chekitana, and the heroic King of Kashi; Purujit, Kuntibhoja, and the great man Shaibya; The valiant Yudhamanyu, the formidable Uttamauja, the son of Subhadra, and the sons of Draupadi, all of them are great warriors. (1.04-06)
Also know, O best among the twice born, the distinguished ones on our side. I shall name the commanders of my army for your information. (1.07)
Yourself, Bhishma, Karna, the victorious, Kripa, Ashvatthama, Vikarna, son of Somadatta, and many other heroes who have risked their lives for me. They are armed with various weapons, and all are skilled in warfare. (1.08-09)
Our army, commanded by Bhishma, is invincible; while their army, protected by Bhima, is easy to conquer. Therefore all of you, occupying your respective positions on all fronts, protect Bhishma only. (1.10-11)
The mighty Bhishma, the eldest man of the Kuru dynasty, roared as a lion and blew his conch loudly bringing joy to Duryodhana. (1.12)
After that, conches, kettledrums, cymbals, drums, and trumpets were sounded together. The commotion was tremendous. (1.13)
Then Lord Krishna and Arjuna, seated in a grand chariot yoked with white horses, blew their celestial conches. (1.14)
Krishna blew His conch, Panchajanya; Arjuna blew his conch, Devadatta; and Bhima, the doer of formidable deeds, blew (his) big conch, Paundra. (1.15)
O Lord of the Earth, King Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, blew (his conch) Anantavijaya; while Nakula and Sahadeva blew Sughosha and Manipushpaka conches, respectively. The King of Kashi, the mighty archer; Shikhandi, the great warrior; Dhrishtadyumna, Virata, the invincible Satyaki, King Drupada, the sons of Draupadi, and the mighty son of Subhadra, blew their respective conches. (1.16-18)
The tumultuous uproar, resounding through earth and sky, tore the hearts of the Kauravas. (1.19)
Seeing the sons of Dhritarashtra standing, and the war about to begin with the hurling of weapons; Arjuna, whose banner bore the emblem of Hanumana, took up his bow and spoke these words to Lord Krishna: O Lord, (please) stop my chariot between the two armies until I behold those who stand here eager for battle and with whom I must engage in this act of war. (1.20-22)
I wish to see those who are willing to serve and appease the evil minded son of Dhritarashtra by assembling here to fight the battle. (1.23)
Sanjaya said: O King, Lord Krishna, as requested by Arjuna, placed the best of all the chariots in the midst of the two armies; facing Bhishma, Drona, and all other Kings; and said to Arjuna: Behold these assembled Kurus. (1.24-25)
There Arjuna saw his uncles, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, and comrades. (1.26)
Seeing fathers-in-law, companions, and all his kinsmen standing in the ranks of the two armies, Arjuna was overcome with great compassion and sorrowfully said: O Krishna, seeing my kinsmen standing with a desire to fight, my limbs fail and my mouth becomes dry. My body quivers and my hairs stand on end. (1.27-29)
The bow, Gandiva, slips from my hand, and my skin intensely burns. My head turns, I am unable to stand steady, and O Krishna, I see bad omens. I see no use of killing my kinsmen in battle. (1.30-31)
I desire neither victory nor pleasure nor kingdom, O Krishna. What is the use of the kingdom, or enjoyment, or even life, O Krishna? Because all those, for whom we desire kingdom, enjoyments, and pleasures, are standing here for the battle, giving up their lives and wealth. (1.32-33)
I do not wish to kill teachers, uncles, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, and other relatives who are about to kill us, even for the sovereignty of the three worlds, let alone for this earthly kingdom, O Krishna. (1.34-35)
O Lord Krishna, what pleasure shall we find in killing the sons of Dhritarashtra? Upon killing these felons we shall incur sin only. (1.36)
Therefore, we should not kill our cousin brothers, the sons of Dhritarashtra. How can we be happy after killing our kinsmen, O Krishna? (1.37)
Though they, blinded by greed, do not see evil in the destruction of the family, or sin in being treacherous to friends. Why shouldn't we, who clearly see evil in the destruction of the family, think about turning away from this sin, O Krishna? (1.38-39)
Eternal family traditions and codes of conduct are destroyed with the destruction of the family. Immorality prevails in the family due to the destruction of family traditions. (1.40)
And when immorality prevails, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupted; when women are corrupted, many social problems arise. (1.41)
This brings the family and the slayers of the family to hell, because the spirits of their ancestors are degraded when deprived of ceremonial offerings of rice-ball and water. (1.42)
The everlasting qualities of social order and family traditions of those who destroy their family are ruined by the sinful act of illegitimacy. (1.43)
We have been told, O Krishna, that people whose family traditions are destroyed necessarily dwell in hell for a long time. (1.44)
Alas! we are ready to commit a great sin by striving to slay our kinsmen because of greed for the pleasures of the kingdom. (1.45)
It would be far better for me if the sons of Dhritarashtra should kill me with their weapons in battle while I am unarmed and unresisting. (1.46)
Sanjaya said: Having said this in the battle field and casting aside his bow and arrow, Arjuna sat down on the seat of the chariot with his mind overwhelmed with sorrow. (1.47)
Sanjaya said: Lord Krishna spoke these words to Arjuna whose eyes were tearful and downcast, and who was overwhelmed with compassion and despair. (2.01)
The Supreme Lord said: How has the dejection come to you at this juncture? This is not fit for an Aryan (or the people of noble mind and deeds). It is disgraceful, and it does not lead one to heaven, O Arjuna. (2.02)
Do not become a coward, O Arjuna, because it does not befit you. Shake off this trivial weakness of your heart and get up (for the battle), O Arjuna. (2.03)
Arjuna said: How shall I strike Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship, with arrows in battle, O Krishna? (2.04)
It would be better, indeed, to live on alms in this world than to slay these noble gurus, because by killing them I would enjoy wealth and pleasures stained with their blood. (2.05)
We do not know which alternative to live on alms or to fight is better for us. Further, we do not know whether we shall conquer them or they will conquer us. We should not even wish to live after killing the sons of Dhritarashtra who are standing in front of us. (2.06)
My senses are overcome by the weakness of pity, and my mind is confused about duty (or Dharma). I request You to tell me, decisively, what is better for me. I am Your disciple. Teach me who has taken refuge in You. (2.07)
Dharma may be defined as the eternal law governing, upholding, and supporting the creation and the world order. It is the eternal relationship between the creator and the creatures. It also means way of life, duty, righteousness, ideal conduct, virtue, nature, quality, moral principles, and truth. Adharma is an antonym to Dharma. Expert guidance should be sought during the moment of crisis.
I do not perceive that gaining an unrivaled and prosperous kingdom on this earth, or even lordship over the demigods will remove the sorrow that is drying up my senses. (2.08)
Sanjaya said: O King, after speaking like this to Lord Krishna, the mighty Arjuna said to Krishna: I shall not fight, and became silent. (2.09)
O King, Lord Krishna, as if smiling, spoke these words to the unhappy Arjuna in the midst of the two armies. (2.10)
The Supreme Lord said: You grieve for those who are not worthy of grief, and yet speak the words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. (2.11)
People meet and depart in this world as two pieces of wood, flowing down the river, come together and then separate from each other (MB 12.174.15). The wise who knows that the body is mortal and Atma is immortal has nothing to moan about (KaU 2.22).
The word 'Atma' means spirit, soul, consciousness, Brahma, Self, the source of life and the cosmic power behind the body-mind complex. Just as our body exists in space, similarly our thoughts, intellect, emotions, and psyche exist in Atma, the space of consciousness. Atma cannot be perceived by our physical senses, because Atma is beyond the domain of the senses. The senses were designed only to comprehend physical objects.
The word 'Atma' has been also used in the Gita for the psyche, body, mind, Citta, intellect, soul, spirit, senses, subtle senses, oneself, ego, heart, human beings, Brahma, Para-Brahma, Paramatma, Self, and Jivatma depending on the context.
There was never a time when these monarchs, you, or I did not exist, nor shall we ever cease to exist in the future. (2.12)
Just as an embodied soul (or Jiva) acquires a childhood body, a youth body, and an old age body during this life, similarly it acquires another body after death. The wise are not deluded by this. (See also 15.08) (2.13)
The contacts of the senses with the sense objects give rise to the feelings of heat and cold, and pain and pleasure. They are transitory and impermanent. Therefore, (learn to) endure them, O Arjuna. (2.14)
Because the calm person, who is not afflicted by these sense objects, and is steady in pain and pleasure, becomes fit for immortality, O Arjuna. (2.15)
Nothing can hurt if the mind can be trained to withstand the impulse of dualities (or the pairs of opposites). The pain and pleasures are the two sides of the coin of duality. The phenomenal world cannot exist without the pairs of opposites. Good and evil, pain and pleasure will always exist. The universe is a playground designed by God for the living entities. It takes two to play a game. The game cannot continue if the pairs of opposites joys and sorrows, pains and pleasures are altogether eliminated. Cessation of pain brings pleasure, and cessation of pleasure results in pain. Thus, pain is born in the womb of pleasure. Peace is born in the womb of war. Sorrow exists because the desire for happiness exists. When the desire for happiness disappears, so does the sorrow. Sorrow is only a prelude to happiness and vice versa. Even going to heaven is followed by the sorrow of coming back to the earth, therefore, worldly objects should not be the main goal of human life. If one chooses material pleasures, it is like giving up nectar and choosing the poison instead.
The law of nature is to change - change from summer to winter, from spring to fall, from light of the full moon to the darkness of the new moon. Neither pain, nor pleasure lasts forever. Pleasure comes after pain, and pain is followed again by pleasure. Reflecting like this, one must learn to tolerate the blows of time with patience, and learn not only to endure but also to expect, welcome, and enjoy both the joys as well as the sorrows of life. Sow the seed of hope in the soil of sorrow. One should find the way in the darkness of the night of adversity with the torch of the scriptures and faith in God. Einstein said: Opportunity lies in the middle of difficulties.
There is existence of the spirit (or Sat, Atma), and no existence of Asat, the visible world, including the physical body. The reality of these two is indeed certainly seen by the seers of truth. (2.16)
Sat exists everywhere and at all times - past, present, and future. Atma is called Sat. Asat is a notion that does not exist at all (like the horn of a rabbit, or the water in a mirage). The one that has a beginning and an end is neither Sat nor Asat. It is called Mithya. The body is neither Sat nor Asat, or both Sat and Asat, because it has a temporary existence. Mithya is the one that appears Sat at first sight, but is really Asat. The body, like the universe or Jagat, is called Mithya. The word Asat in this verse is used in the sense of Mithya.
Our physical body is subject to birth, growth, maturity, reproduction, decay, and death whereas Atma is eternal, indestructible, pure, unique, all knower, substratum, unchangeable, self luminous, the cause of all causes, all pervading, unaffected, immutable, and inexplicable.
Know the indestructible spirit (or Atma) by which all this universe is pervaded. No one can destroy the indestructible. (2.17)
Bodies of the eternal, immutable, and incomprehensible spirit are said to be perishable. Therefore, fight, O Arjuna. (2.18)
The one who thinks that Atma is a slayer, and the one who thinks that Atma is slain, both are ignorant, because Atma neither slays nor is slain. (A parallel verse appears in KaU 2.19) (2.19)
The Atma is neither born nor does it die at any time. It does not come into being and ceasing to exist. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval. The Atma is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. (See also KaU 2.18) (2.20)
O Arjuna, how can a person who knows that the Atma is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and immutable, kill anyone or cause anyone to be killed? (2.21)
Just as a person puts on new garments after discarding the old ones, similarly embodied soul (or Jiva) acquires new bodies after casting away the old bodies. (2.22)
Just as a caterpillar takes hold of another object before leaving an object, similarly, Jiva obtains a new body before (or after) leaving the old one (BrU 4.4.03). The physical body has also been compared to a cage, a vehicle, an abode, as well as a garment (of the subtle body) that needs to be changed frequently. Death is the separation of the subtle body from the physical body. The word Brahma-nirvana (Gita 2.72, 5.24, 5.25, and 5.26), Parama-nirvana (Gita 6.15), and Mukti in Hinduism means the destruction of all trace of Vasana or Samskara from the causal body. It is uniting of Jiva, the individual soul, with the Supersoul. Some say that the all pervading Supersoul is the causal body who is conducting everything, and remains compassionately detached. Mukti is the final emancipation of Jiva from transmigration. Nirvana in Buddhism is thought to be cessation of worldly desires and ego, similar to Moksha of Hinduism. Moksha is defined as the state of being in which worldly desires such as Samkalpa and Vikalpa, and personal likes and dislikes have been absolutely extinguished. It is getting out of body consciousness and attaining a state of Self-consciousness. It is the liberation from the attachment or Moha of the material body, and achieving a state of bliss with Krishna. The words Mukti, Moksha, Nirvana, and Brahma-nirvana are often used interchangeably.
Jiva is a traveler. Death is not the end of the journey of Jiva. Death is like a rest area where Jiva changes vehicles, and the journey continues. Life is continuous and endless. Inevitable death is not the end of life; it is only an end of a perishable physical body.
Weapons do not cut this Atma, fire does not burn it, water does not make it wet, and the wind does not make it dry. This Atma cannot be cut, burned, wetted, or dried. It is eternal, all pervading, unchanging, immovable, and primeval. (2.23-24)
Atma is said to be unexplainable, incomprehensible, and unchanging. Knowing this Atma as such you should not grieve. (2.25)
If you think that this (living entity or body) takes birth and dies perpetually, even then, O Arjuna, you should not grieve like this. Because death is certain for the one who is born, and birth is certain for the one who dies. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable. (2.26-27)
The inevitability of death, however, does not and cannot justify lawful but unnecessary killing of any creature, unjust war, and even a suicide.
All beings, O Arjuna, are unmanifest (or invisible to our physical eyes) before birth and after death. They are manifest between the birth and the death only. What is there to grieve about? (2.28)
Some look upon this Atma as a wonder, another describes it as wonderful, and others hear of it as a wonder. Even after hearing about it very few people know it. (See also KaU 2.07) (2.29)
O Arjuna, the Atma that dwells in the body of all beings is eternally indestructible. Therefore, you should not mourn for any body. (2.30)
Considering also your duty as a warrior you should not waver. Because there is nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a righteous war. (2.31)
Only the fortunate warriors, O Arjuna, get such an opportunity for an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven. (2.32)
The righteous war is not a religious war against the followers of other religions. The righteous war can be waged even against our own (evil doers) kith and kin (RV 6.75.19). Life is a continuous battle between the forces of evil and goodness. A valiant person must fight with the spirit of a warrior with a will and determination for victory, and without any compromise with the forces of evil and difficulties. God helps the valiant who adhere to morality. Dharma protects those who protect morality, justice, and Dharma.
It is better to die for a right cause and acquire the grace of sacrifice than to die an ordinary but compulsory death. The gates of heaven open wide for those who stand up to vindicate justice and Dharma. Not to oppose an evil is to indirectly support it. Very similar ideas are expressed in other scriptures. The Koran says: Allah loves those who battle for His cause in ranks (Surah 61.04). The Bible says: Happy are those who suffer persecution because they do what God requires. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them (Matthew 5.10).
If you will not fight this righteous war, then you will fail in your duty, lose your reputation, and incur sin. (2.33)
People will talk about your disgrace forever. To the honored, dishonor is worse than death. (2.34)
The great warriors will think that you have retreated from the battle out of fear. Those who have greatly esteemed you will lose respect for you. (2.35)
Your enemies will speak many unmentionable words and scorn your ability. What could then be more painful for you than this? (2.36)
You will go to heaven if killed, or you will enjoy the kingdom on the earth if victorious. Therefore, get up with a determination to fight, O Arjuna. (2.37)
Treating pleasure and pain, gain and loss, and victory and defeat alike, engage yourself in your duty. By doing your duty this way you will not incur sin. (2.38)
The wise should wholeheartedly welcome pleasure and pain, and joy and sorrow, without becoming discouraged (MB 12.174.39). Two types of people are happy in this world: Those who are completely ignorant and those who are truly wise. All others are unhappy (MB 12.174.33).
The wisdom of the transcendental knowledge (or Samkhya) has been imparted to you, O Arjuna. Now listen to the wisdom of Karma-yoga, the selfless service or Seva, endowed with which you will free yourself from the bondage of Karma. (2.39)
In Karma-yoga no effort is ever lost, and there is no adverse effect. Even a little practice of this discipline protects one from great fear (of birth and death). (2.40)
Karma-yoga is also referred to as Nishkama Karma-yoga, Seva, selfless service, Buddhi yoga, yoga of work, science of proper action, and yoga of equanimity. A Karma-yogi works with love for the Lord as a matter of duty without a selfish desire for the fruits of work, or any attachment to the results, and becomes free from all fear. The word Karma also means duty, action, deeds, work, endeavor, or the results of past deeds.
A Karma-yogi has a resolute determination (for God-realization), O Arjuna, but the desires of the one who works to enjoy the fruits of work are endless and many branched. (2.41)
The misguided ones who delight in the melodious chanting of the Vedas (without understanding the real purpose of the Vedas) proclaim, O Arjuna, that there is nothing else (in the Vedas except the rituals for the sole purpose of obtaining heavenly enjoyment). (2.42)
They are dominated by material desires, and consider the attainment of heaven as the highest goal of life. They engage in specific rites for the sake of prosperity and enjoyment. Rebirth is the result of their action. (See also KaU 2.05, IsU 09) (2.43)
The resolute determination (of Self-realization) is not formed in the minds of those who are attached to pleasure and power, and whose judgment is obscured by such (ritualistic) activities. (2.44)
Self-realization is to know one's relationship with the Supreme Lord Krishna and His true transcendental nature. The promise of material benefits of Vedic rituals is like the promise of candy to a child by the mother to induce him or her to take the medicine of detachment from the material life; it is necessary in most instances. Rituals have played a great role in spiritual life, but they have been greatly abused. Rituals create a holy and blissful atmosphere. It is regarded as a heavenly ship (RV 10.63.10) and criticized as a frail raft (MuU 1.2.07). Rituals must be changed with time and backed up by devotion and good deeds. People may pray and meditate anytime, anywhere without any ritual. The Supreme Lord Krishna and Lord Buddha both denied the misuse of Vedic rituals, not the rituals as such.
A portion of the Vedas deals with the three states (or Gunas) of the material nature. Become free from dualities, be ever balanced and unconcerned with the thoughts of acquisition and preservation. Rise above the three states, and be Self-conscious, O Arjuna. (2.45)
Guna means the quality, property, state, and power of mind, matter, and the nature. Refer to Chapter 14 for more details on Gunas.
To a Self-realized person the Vedas are as useful as a small reservoir of water when the water of a huge lake becomes available. (2.46)
A scripture is like a finite pond that derives its water from the infinite ocean of Truth. Therefore, scriptures become unnecessary only after enlightenment as a reservoir of water has no use when one is surrounded by flood water. The one who has realized the Supreme Brahma will not desire the attainment of heaven, etc. mentioned as the fruits of performing Vedic rituals. The scriptures such as the Vedas are necessary means, but not the end. Scriptures are meant to lead and guide us on the spiritual path. Once the goal is reached it has served its purpose.
You have Adhikara over your respective duty only, but no control or claim over the results. The fruits of work should not be your motive. You should never be inactive. (2.47)
The word Adhikara means ability, power, privilege, prerogative, jurisdiction, discretion, right, preference, choice, rightful claim, authority, and control. The right outlook of life develops when we fully understand that we have the ability to put our best effort in all endeavors, but we cannot pick the results of our work. We have absolutely no control over all the factors that determine the results. The affairs of the world would not run if everybody was given the power to choose the results of their actions, or to satisfy all their desires. A person has been given the power and the ability to do his or her respective duty in life, but one is not free to choose the desired results. To work without expecting success or good result would be meaningless, but to be fully prepared for the unexpected should be an important part of any planning. Swami Karmananda says: The essence of Karma-yoga is to go to work just to please the creator; mentally renounce the fruits of all action; and let God take care of the results. Do your duty in life to the best of your abilities as God's personal servant without any regard for the personal enjoyment of the fruits of your work.
The fear of failure, coming from being emotionally attached to the fruits of work, is the greatest impediment to success, because it robs the efficiency by constantly disturbing the equanimity of mind. Therefore, duty should be performed with detached attachment. Success in any undertaking becomes easier if one works hard without being bothered by the outcome. Work is done more efficiently when the mind is not continuously - consciously or subconsciously - bothered with the outcome, good or bad, of an action. One has to discover this fact personally in life. A person should work without selfish motives as a matter of duty for a greater cause of helping the humanity rather than just oneself or few individuals. Equanimity and spiritual progress result from selfless service whereas work with selfish motives creates the bonds of Karma as well as great disappointments. Dedicated selfless service for a greater cause leads to everlasting peace and happiness here and hereafter.
The boundary of one's jurisdiction ends with the completion of duty, it never crosses the garden of fruit. A hunter has control over the arrow only and never over the deer. When one has no desire for the pleasure of victory, one is not affected by the pain of defeat. The question of the pleasure of success and the pain of failure does not arise, because a Karma-yogi is always on the path of Seva without waiting to enjoy the fruit, or even the flower, of work. He or she has learned to enjoy the joy of Seva. The myopia of very limited personal gain caused by Ajnana or ignorance is the root of all evils in the society and the world. The bird of righteousness cannot be confined in the cage of personal gain.
The desire for fruit takes one to the dark alley of sin and prevents one's real growth. Acting only in one's own self interest is sinful. The welfare of the individual lies in the welfare of society. The wise work for all of society, whereas the ignorant work only for themselves. A Jnani (or the one who knows Brahma) does not let the shadow of personal gain fall on the path of duty.
Do your duty to the best of your ability, O Arjuna, with your mind attached to the Lord, abandoning (worry and) attachment to the results, and remaining calm in both success and failure. The equanimity of mind is called Karma-yoga. (2.48)
Pain and pleasure, birth and death, loss and gain, union and separation are inevitable, being under the control of Karma, like the coming of day and night. Fools rejoice in prosperity and mourn in adversity, but a Karma-yogi remains equanimous under all circumstances (TR 2.149.03). Yoga has also been defined in the following verses: 2.50, 2.53, 6.04, 6.08, 6.19, 6.23, 6.29, 6.31, and 6.32.
Work done with selfish motives is inferior by far to the selfless service or Karma-yoga. Therefore be a Karma-yogi, O Arjuna. Those who work (only) to enjoy the fruits of their labor are verily unhappy (because one has no control over the results). (2.49)
A Karma-yogi becomes free from both vice and virtue in this life itself. Therefore, strive for Karma-yoga. Working to the best of one's abilities without becoming attached to the fruits of work is called Karma-yoga. (2.50)
Peace, composure, and freedom from Karmic bondage await those who work for a noble cause with a spirit of detachment, and do not seek any personal reward or recognition. Such persons enjoy the joy of Seva that ultimately leads them to the bliss of Mukti. Karma-yoga purifies the mind and is a very powerful Sadhana. There is no religion better than Seva. The fruits of vice and virtue grow only on the tree of selfishness, and not on the tree of Seva.
Generally, it is thought that one works harder when she or he is deeply interested in or attached to the fruits of work. Therefore, Karma-yoga or selfless service may not be very conducive to the material progress of the individual or the society. This dilemma can be solved by working as a hobby of Seva for a noble cause of one's choice.
Wise Karma-yogis, possessed with mental poise by renouncing the attachment to the fruits of work, are indeed freed from the bondage of rebirth and attain the blissful divine state. (2.51)
When your intellect will completely pierce the veil of confusion, then you will become indifferent to what has been heard and what is to be heard (from the scriptures). (2.52)
Scriptures become dispensable after enlightenment. According to Shamkaracharya, the verse means that the one who has rent asunder the veil of ignorance and realized Brahma, becomes indifferent to the Vedic texts that prescribe details of performing rituals for the attainment of desired fruits.
When your intellect, that is confused by the conflicting opinions and the ritualistic doctrine of the Vedas, shall stay steady and firm on concentration of the Absolute (or the Supreme ), then you shall attain the union with the Supreme in Samadhi. (2.53)
Non-scriptural reading, or reading of different philosophical writings is bound to create confusion. Ramakrishna said: One should learn from the scriptures that God alone is real and the world is illusory. A beginner should know God alone is Sat, and everything else is Mithya. After Self-realization one finds God alone has become everything. Everything is His manifestation. He is sporting in various forms. In Samadhi (or the superconscious state of mind) the confusion arisen from conflicting views ceases and mental equipoise is attained.
Different schools of thought, cult, and system of philosophy are different rungs in the ladder of yoga. People's temperaments are different due to difference in their stage of evolution. Therefore, different schools of thought are necessary to suit different individuals as well as the same individual as he or she grows and develops. The highest philosophy of pure Advaitism of Shamkara is the topmost rung of the ladder. It cannot be comprehended by the vast majority. All schools and cults are necessary. One should not get confused, because they are not meant to confuse, but one should choose wisely.
Arjuna said: O Krishna, what are the marks of an enlightened person whose intellect is steady? How does a person of steady intellect speak? How does such a person sit and walk? (2.54)
The Supreme Lord said: When one is completely free from all desires of the mind and is satisfied in Brahma by the (joy of) Brahma, then one is called an enlightened person, O Arjuna. (2.55)
According to Sarada Ma the desires for knowledge, devotion, and Mukti cannot be classed as desires, because they are higher desires. One should first replace the lower desires with higher desires and then renounce the highest desire also, and become free.
A person whose mind is unperturbed by sorrow, who does not crave pleasures, and who is completely free from attachment, fear, and anger, is called a sage of steady Intellect. (2.56)
Attachment or Moha to people, place and objects takes away the intellect and one becomes myopic. People are helplessly tied with the rope of Moha. One has to learn to cut this rope with Jnana and become detached and free.
Those who are not attached to anything, who are neither elated by getting desired results nor troubled by undesired results, their intellect is considered steady. (2.57)
When one can completely withdraw (or restrain) the senses from the sense objects as a tortoise withdraws its limbs (into the shell for protection), then the intellect of such a person is considered steady. (2.58)
When a person learns to withdraw the senses from the sense objects as a tortoise retracts its limbs inside the shell in times of danger and it cannot be forced to put its limbs out again except when the trouble is over, then the lamp of knowledge becomes lighted and one perceives the self-effulgent Supreme Being within (MB 12.174.51).
The desire for sensual pleasures fades away if one abstains from sense enjoyment, but the craving (for sense enjoyment) remains. The craving also disappears from the one who has seen (or known) the Supreme Being. (2.59)
The desire for sensual pleasures becomes dormant when one abstains from sense enjoyment, or due to physical limitations imposed by disease or old age. But the craving remains as very subtle mental impression called Vasana or Raga. Those who have tasted the nectar of unity with the Supreme Being no longer find enjoyment in the lower level sensual pleasures.
The restless senses, O Arjuna, forcibly carry away the mind of even a wise person striving for perfection. (2.60)
The wise always keep vigilance over the mind. The mind can never be fully trusted. It can mislead even a Self-realized person (BP 5.06.02-05). One has to be very alert and closely witness the wanderings of the mind. Never relax your vigilance until the final goal of knowing Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is reached. Sarada Ma said: It is the very nature of mind to go to lower objects of enjoyment as it is the nature of water to flow downwards. The grace of God can make the mind go towards higher objects as sun's rays lift the water.
The human mind is ever ready to deceive and play tricks. Therefore, discipline, constant vigilance, and Sadhana are needed. The mind is like an unruly horse that needs to be broken-in. Never let the mind roam unwatched into the realm of sensuality. The path of spiritual life is very slippery, and has to be trodden very carefully to avoid falls. It is not a joyous ferry boat ride, but is very difficult to tread like the sharp edge of a sword. Many obstacles and distractions come on the path.
One should fix one's mind on Me with loving contemplation after bringing the senses under control. One's intellect becomes steady whose senses are under complete control. (2.61)
One develops attachment to sense objects by thinking about sense objects. Desire for sense objects comes from attachment to sense objects, and anger comes from unfulfilled desires. (2.62)
Delusion or wild idea arises from anger. The mind is bewildered by delusion. Reasoning is destroyed when the mind is bewildered. One falls down (from the right path) when reasoning is destroyed. (2.63)
A disciplined person, enjoying sense objects with senses that are under control and free from likes and dislikes, attains tranquillity. (2.64)
All sorrows are destroyed upon attainment of tranquillity. The intellect of such a tranquil person soon becomes completely steady and united with Brahma. (2.65)
There is neither Self-knowledge nor Self-perception to those who are not united with Brahma. Without Self-perception there is no peace, and without peace there can be no happiness. (2.66)
The mind, when controlled by the roving senses, steals away the intellect as a storm takes away a boat on the sea from its destination, the spiritual shore. (2.67)
Greed for the pleasures of enjoying the light leads to the destruction of bugs, similarly, desire for the enjoyment of sensual pleasures keeps one away from Self-knowledge and leads into the net of transmigration (MB 3.02.69).
Therefore, O Arjuna, one's intellect becomes steady whose senses are completely withdrawn from the sense objects. (2.68)
The person of self-restraint (or a yogi) remains wakeful when it is the night for all others. It is the night for the sage who sees when all others are wakeful. (2.69)
A yogi is aware of Atma about which others are unaware. A sage who sees is unaware of the experience of sense objects about which others are aware. Ascetics keep awake or detached in the night of mundane existence of life, because they are in quest of the highest truth. A person is considered awake when one is free from worldly desires (TR 2.92.02). The life of an ascetic is entirely different from the life of a materialistic person. While most people sleep and make dream plans in the night of the world of Maya, a yogi keeps awake, because he or she is detached from the world while living in it.
One attains peace in whose mind all desires enter without creating any disturbance, as river waters enter the full ocean without creating a disturbance. One who desires material objects is never peaceful. (2.70)
Torrents of (the river of) desire can carry away the mind of a materialistic person as a river carries away wood and other objects in its path. The equanimous mind of a yogi is like an ocean that takes in the rivers of desire without being disturbed by it, because a yogi does not think about personal gain or loss. Human desires are endless. To satisfy a desire is like drinking salt water; it will never quench thirst, but will increase it. It is like trying to extinguish a fire with gasoline.
Trying to fulfill material desire is like adding more wood to the fire. The fire is gone if no more wood is added to it (MB 12.17.05). If one dies without winning desires the great enemy, one has to reincarnate to fight this enemy again and again till victory (MB 12.16.24). One cannot see one's face in a pot of water that is disturbed by the wind, similarly, one is unable to realize God when the mind and senses remain perturbed by the winds of material desires (MB 12.204.03).
The one who abandons all desires, and becomes free from longing and the feeling of 'my' and 'I', attains peace. (2.71)
O Arjuna, this is the superconscious (or Brahmi) state. Attaining this state, one is no longer deluded. Gaining this state, even at the end of one's life, a person attains Brahma-nirvana (or merges with the Absolute Brahma). (2.72).
Brahma is the ultimate reality or Truth, Knowledge or consciousness, and is limitless or Bliss (TaU 2.01.01). The individual soul becomes blissful and filled with joy (Rasa or Ananda) after knowing Brahma. The giver of bliss is nothing but the bliss itself like the giver of wealth must have wealth (Sivananda). That from which the origin, sustenance, and dissolution of this universe are derived is called Brahma (BS 1.01.02, TaU 3.01.01). The knowledge is not the natural quality or Dharma of Brahma, it is the intrinsic nature of Brahma (DB 7.32.19). Brahma is the substratum, or the material and the efficient cause of the universe. It is both the source and the sink of energy in one. It is also called the Unified Field, Supreme Spirit, Divine Person, and Total Consciousness that is responsible for sense perceptions in all living beings by functioning through mind and intellect.
PATH OF KARMA-YOGA
Arjuna said: If You consider that acquiring transcendental knowledge is better than working then why do You want me to engage in this horrible war, O Krishna? You seem to confuse my mind by apparently conflicting words. Tell me, decisively, one thing by which I may attain the Supreme. (3.01-02)
The Supreme Lord said: In this world, O Arjuna, a twofold path of Sadhana (or the spiritual practice) has been stated by Me in the past. The path of Self-knowledge (or Jnana-yoga) for the contemplative, and the path of unselfish work (or Karma-yoga) for the active. (3.03)
Jnana-yoga is also called Samkhya-yoga, Samnyasa-yoga, and yoga of knowledge. A Jnana-yogi does not consider oneself the doer of any action, but only an instrument in the hands of divine for His use. The word Jnana means metaphysical or transcendental knowledge.
It should be further pointed out that both Jnana-yoga, and Karma-yoga are means to attain the Supreme Being. In life a combination of these two modes is considered the best. Carry both Seva and Sadhana in your lap.
One does not attain freedom from the bondage of Karma by merely abstaining from work. No one attains perfection by merely giving up work. (3.04)
Because no one can remain actionless even for a moment. Everyone is driven to action, helplessly indeed, by the forces of nature. (3.05)
It is not possible for anybody to completely abandon action by thought, word, and deed. Therefore, one should always be active in serving the Lord by various means of one's choosing, and never be without work, because an idle mind is the devil's workshop. Performing action till death with a desireless frame of mind is better than abandoning work and leading the life of an ascetic even after God-realization, because even an ascetic cannot escape the impulse of action.
The deluded ones, who restrain their organs of action but mentally dwell upon the sense enjoyment, are called hypocrites. (3.06)
The one who controls the senses by the (trained and purified) mind and intellect, and engages the organs of action to selfless service, is superior, O Arjuna. (3.07)
Perform your obligatory duty, because working is indeed better than sitting idle. Even the maintenance of your body would not be possible without work. (3.08)
Human beings are bound by Karma (or works) other than those done as Yajna. Therefore, O Arjuna, do your duty efficiently as a service or Seva to Me, free from attachment to the fruits of work. (3.09)
Yajna means sacrifice, selfless service, unselfish work, Seva, meritorious deeds, giving away something to others, and a religious rite in which oblation is offered to demigods through the mouth of fire.
Brahmaa, the creator, in the beginning created human beings together with Yajna and said: By Yajna you shall prosper and Yajna shall fulfill all your desires. (3.10)
Nourish the Devas with Yajna, and the Devas will nourish you. Thus nourishing one another you shall attain the Supreme goal. (3.11)
Deva means a deity, a demigod, a celestial person, the agent of God, one who fulfills desires and protects. The wise seek to serve themselves in the service of others while the ignorant serve themselves at the cost of others. Even the gates of heaven shall be closed for those who will try to enter alone. According to the Vedas, helping others is the best meritorious deed one can do.
The Devas, nourished by Yajna, will give you the desired objects. One who enjoys the gift of the Devas without offering them (anything in return) is, indeed, a thief. (3.12)
The spirit of cooperation, and not competition, between Devas and humans, between human beings, and between the nations seems to be hinted here by the Lord. All the necessities of life are produced by dedicated sacrificial services of other people. We are created to depend on each other. Swami Chinmayananda calls the world as the cosmic wheel of cooperative action.
The righteous who eat the remnants of Yajna are freed from all sins, but the impious who cook food only for themselves (without first offering Me, or sharing with others) verily eat sin. (See also RV 10.117.06) (3.13)
Food should be cooked for the Lord, and offered first to Him with love before eating.
The living beings are born from food grains, grains are produced by rain, rain comes by performing Yajna. The Yajna is performed by doing Karma. (See also 4.32). The Karma or duty is prescribed in the Vedas. The Vedas come from eternal Brahma. Thus the all-pervading Brahma is ever present in Yajna or service. (3.14-15)
The word 'Brahma' in this verse stands for the Vedas, and the word 'Akshara' for the eternal Being also known as Brahma. The word Brahma is also used for Atma as well as for Paramatma, the Supreme Being. The word Brahma has also been referred as Brahman, Akshara-Brahma, eternal Brahma, and Apara-Brahma in English translations. In this rendition 'Brahma' and 'Akshara-Brahma' both - and not Brahman - have been used to denote the eternal Being, and Aksharatita or Para-Brahma refers to Sachchidananda, the Supreme Being, Lord Krishna. Sometimes, words 'Brahma' and 'Para-Brahma' may have also been used interchangeably, because they are two sides of the coin of Reality.
The word Brahmaa is the designation of the creator aspect of Brahma, and the word Brahmana refers to a class (or caste) in India.
The one who does not help to keep the wheel of creation in motion by sacrificial duty, and who rejoices in sense pleasures, that sinful person lives in vain, O Arjuna. (3.16)
A grain of wheat is a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains (John 12.24). Saints, trees, rivers, and earth are for the use of others.
The one who rejoices with Brahma only, who is delighted with Brahma, and who is content in Brahma alone, for such a Self-realized person there is no duty. (3.17)
All obligations and duties are meant to lead one to perfection. Therefore, a perfect yogi has no worldly obligation at all.
Such a person has no interest, whatsoever, in what is done or what is not done. A Self-realized person does not depend on anybody (except God) for anything. (3.18)
Therefore, always perform your duty efficiently and without attachment to the results, because by doing work without attachment one attains the Supreme Person. (3.19)
In no other scripture, written before the Bhagavad-Gita, the philosophy of Karma-yoga - the unselfish devotion for the welfare of humanity - has been so beautifully expounded. Lord Krishna has elevated the idea of altruism to the level of the highest form of worship and Sadhana. By Nishkama Karma one obtains grace, by grace one gets faith, and by faith the ultimate Truth is revealed. Swami Vivekananda said: Work done for others awakens Kundalini, the subtle power (or Para Shakti), within our body.
King Janaka and others attained perfection (or Self-realization) by Karma-yoga alone. You should perform your duty (with apathetic frame of mind) with a view to guide people and for the universal welfare of the society. (3.20)
Those who do selfless service are not bound by Karma and attain Mukti (VP 1.22.52). Nothing is beyond the reach of those who have other's interest in their mind. Swami Harihar says: Selfless service to humanity is the true service to God and the highest form of worship.
Because whatever noble persons do, others follow. Whatever standard they set up, the world follows. (3.21)
People follow whatever great persons do (BP 5.04.15). I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you (John 13.15).
O Arjuna, there is nothing in the three worlds (heaven, earth, and the lower regions) that should be done by Me, nor there is anything unobtained that I should obtain, yet I engage in action. (3.22)
Because, if I do not engage in action relentlessly, O Arjuna, people would follow My path in everyway. These worlds would perish if I do not work, and I shall be the cause of confusion and destruction of all these people. (3.23-24)
As the ignorant work, O Arjuna, with attachment to the fruits of work, so the wise should work without attachment, for the welfare of the society. (3.25)
The wise should not unsettle the mind of the ignorant ones who are attached to the fruits of work, but the enlightened one should inspire others by performing all works efficiently without attachment. (See also 3.29) (3.26)
The mark of a genius lies in the ability to handle two opposed ideas and paradoxes such as living in the world with detached attachment. Most people work hard only when they have some motivating force such as enjoyment of the fruits of work, or a noble goal. Such persons should not be discouraged or condemned. The excessive attachment to possessions, not the possessions itself, becomes the source of misery. Just as one has to pray and worship with single minded attention, so should one perform the worldly duties with full attention, even while knowing fully well that the world and its affairs are transitory. One should not live thinking only of God and neglecting one's duty in the world. Yogananda said: Be as earnest about meditation as about earning money. One should not live a one sided life.
All works are being done by the energy and power of nature, but due to delusion of ego, people assume themselves to be the doer. (See also 5.09, 13.29, and 14.19) (3.27)
God is the doer of everything. All is under the will of God. One is not free even to kill oneself. One cannot see God as long as one feels: I am the doer. If one realizes, by the grace of God, that he or she is not the doer, then one at once becomes Jivana-mukta or free. A Karmic bondage is created if we consider ourselves the doer and enjoyer. The same work, done by a Self-realized master and an ordinary person, produces different results. The work done by a Self-realized master becomes spiritualized, and produces no Karmic bondage, because he or she does not consider himself or herself the doer and enjoyer. The work done by an ordinary person produces bondage.
The one who knows the truth, O Arjuna, about the role of the forces of nature and work does not become attached to the work, knowing that it is the forces of nature that work with their instruments, the organs. (3.28)
Those who are deluded by the power of nature become attached to the works done by the forces of nature. The wise should not disturb the mind of the ignorant whose knowledge is imperfect. (See also 3.26) (3.29)
The enlightened one should not try to dissuade or detract ignorant persons from performing selfish actions that they do deluded by the forces of nature, because the Karma will ultimately lead them to realize Brahma, and not its renunciation in the initial stages.
Do your duty dedicating all works to Me in a spiritual frame of mind free from desire, attachment, and mental grief. (3.30)
Those who always practice this teaching of Mine with faith (or full attention and sincerity) and free from cavil are freed from the bondage of Karma. But, those who carp at My teaching and do not practice it, consider them ignorant of all knowledge, senseless, and lost. (3.31-32)
All beings follow their nature. Even the wise act according to their own nature. What, then, is the value of sense restraint? (3.33)
While we cannot and should not suppress our nature, we must not become a victim but a controller and master of the senses by using the discriminative faculties of human life for our gradual development. The best way to control the senses is to engage all our senses in the service of Krishna.
Likes and dislikes (or Raga and Dvesha) for the sense objects remain in the senses. One should not come under the control of these two, because they are two major stumbling blocks, indeed, on one's path of Self-realization. (3.34)
Raga may be defined as the desire and attachment to experience sensual pleasures again and again. Dvesha is the aversion or dislike for the unpleasant. The search for peace of mind, comfort, and happiness is the basis of all human endeavors including the acquisition and propagation of knowledge. Desire - like any other power given by the Lord - is not the problem. One can have desires with a proper frame of mind that gives us control over Raga and Dvesha. If we can manage our desires, everything we have becomes a luxury rather than a necessity. With this attitude, we can get mastery over all our likes and dislikes. The only necessity is to have a frame of mind that makes everything a luxury. Those who have knowledge, detachment, and devotion have neither likes nor dislikes for any worldly object, person, or work.
One should act with a sense of duty without being governed by personal likes and dislikes. Karma-yoga is the only austerity and penance in this age by which anyone can reach God while living and working in the modern society without going to the mountains and jungles of the Himalayas.
Everybody benefits if work is done for the Lord, just as every part of the tree gets water when water is put at the root of the tree rather than on individual leaves. The Raga and Dvesha are destroyed in a Sattvika (or noble) person at the onset of Jnana and Vairagya (or detachment). The personal likes and dislikes are two big obstacles on the path of perfection. One who has conquered Raga and Dvesha becomes a free person and attains Moksha.
One's inferior natural work is better than superior unnatural work. Death in carrying out one's natural work is useful. Unnatural work produces too much stress. (See also 18.47) (3.35)
One who does the duty ordained by nature, is freed from the bounds of Karma and slowly rises above the three Gunas of nature (BP 7.11.32). One evolves by the work best suited to one's own nature or inborn tendencies. The one who takes on work that was not meant for him or her certainly courts failure. Natural work does not produce stress and is conducive to creativity. Walking uphill, vocationally, against one's natural tendencies is not only more stressful but also less productive, and it does not provide opportunity and leisure time for spiritual growth and development. If one follows a very easy or artistic path, one may not be able to earn enough to satisfy the basic necessities of family life. Leading a simple life by limiting unnecessary luxuries and developing a hobby of Seva, help to balance the material and spiritual needs of life. The balanced life is a happy life.
Arjuna said: O Krishna, what impels one to commit sin as if unwillingly and forced against one's will? (3.36)
The Supreme Lord said: It is Kama born of Rajo Guna that becomes anger (when unfulfilled). Kama is insatiable and is a great devil. Know this as the enemy. (3.37)
Rajo Guna is the absence of mental equilibrium leading to vigorous activity to achieve desired fruits. Kama, the passionate desire for all sensual and material pleasures, is the product of Rajo Guna. Kama becomes anger if it is unfulfilled. When the attainment of fruits is hindered or interrupted, the intense desire for the achievement of fruits turns into fierce rage. Hence, the Lord says that lust and anger, born of Rajo Guna, are the mighty enemies that can lead one to commit sin, and can turn one astray from the path of Self-realization, the supreme goal of human life. Actually, mundane desire compels a person to engage in sinful activities in spite of his or her will. Lord Buddha said: Selfish desire is the root of all evils and misery.
As the fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror by dust, and as an embryo by the amnion, similarly Brahma-jnana becomes obscured by Kama. (3.38)
O Arjuna, Brahma-jnana becomes covered by this insatiable fire of Kama, the eternal enemy of the Jnani. (3.39)
Kama and Brahma-jnana are eternal enemies of each other. Kama can be destroyed only by Brahma-jnana.
The senses, the mind, and the intellect are said to be the seat of Kama. Kama by controlling the senses, the mind, and the intellect deludes a person by veiling Jnana. (3.40)
Therefore, O Arjuna, kill this devil of material desire, that destroys Self-knowledge and discrimination, by controlling the senses. (3.41)
The mortal, when freed from the captivity of desires, becomes immortal and attains Moksha even in this very life (KaU 6.14, BrU 4.04.07).
The senses are said to be superior (to matter or the body), the mind is superior to the senses, the intellect is superior to the mind, and Atma is superior to the intellect. (See also KaU 3.10, and 6.07-08) (3.42)
The mind is superior to the senses, the intellect is superior to the mind, Jnana is superior to the intellect, and Atma is superior to Jnana (MB 12.204.10).
Thus, knowing the Atma to be superior to the intellect, and controlling the mind by the intellect (that is purified by spiritual practices), one must kill this mighty enemy, Kama, O Arjuna. (See also KaU 3.03-.06) (3.43)
The uncontrolled worldly desires will ruin the beautiful spiritual journey of life. The scriptures provide ways and means of keeping the desires born in the mind under proper control. The body may be compared to a chariot upon which the individual soul as a passenger, owner, and the enjoyer is riding on a spiritual journey towards Parama Dhama, the Supreme Abode of Lord Krishna. Duty and renunciation are the two wheels of the chariot, and the love for Krishna is its axle. Seva is the road and the divine qualities are the milestones. The scriptures are the guiding lights to dispel the darkness of ignorance. The five senses are the horses of this chariot. Sense objects are the roadside green grasses, Raga and Dvesha are the stumbling blocks, and lust, anger, and greed are the plunderers. Friends and relatives are fellow travelers whom we temporarily meet during the journey. Intellect is the driver of this chariot. If the intellect, the charioteer, is not made pure and strong by Jnana and will power, then strong desires for sensual and material pleasures will control the mind instead of the intellect controlling the mind. The mind and the senses will attack and take control of the intellect, the weak charioteer, and lead the passenger away from the goal of Mukti into the ditch of transmigration.
If the intellect is well trained and purified by the fire of Self-knowledge and discrimination, the intellect will be able to control the sense-horses with the help of spiritual practice and detachment as the two cords of the reins of mind, and Yama and Niyama as the whip. The charioteer should hold the reins under control at all times, otherwise the sense-horses will lead one into the ditch of ignorance. Most motor vehicle accidents are attributable to a single moment of carelessness of the driver. Finally, one must cross over the river of Maya by using the bridge of Japa (the silent repetitive chanting of a mantra or Lord's name) and transcendental meditation to reach the spiritual shore of Samadhi. Those who cannot control the senses will not be able to attain Self-realization, the goal of human birth.
One must not spoil oneself by wrongful temporary pleasures of the senses. One who can control the senses can control the whole world, and achieve success in all endeavors. Passion cannot be completely eliminated, but is subdued by Jnana. The intellect becomes polluted during the youthful years just as the clear water of even the holy Ganga river becomes muddy during the rainy season. Keeping good company and setting a higher goal of life prevent the mind and intellect from becoming tainted by the distractions of sensual pleasures.
PATH OF RENUNCIATION WITH
The Supreme Lord said: I taught this eternal (science of right action, or) Karma-yoga to (King) Vivasvan. Vivasvan taught it to Manu. Manu taught it to Ikshvaku. Thus handed down in succession the saintly Kings knew this (Karma-yoga). After a long time the science of Karma-yoga was lost from this earth. Today I have described the same ancient science to you, because you are my sincere devotee and friend. Karma-yoga is a supreme secret indeed. (4.01-03)
Karma-yoga, discussed in the previous chapter, is declared by the Lord as the Supreme secret science of right action. According to Swami Karmananda, a practitioner of Karma-yoga, unless the Lord Himself reveals this secret, no one can practice it.
Arjuna said: You were born later, but Vivasvan was born in ancient time. How am I to understand that You taught this yoga in the beginning (of the creation)? (4.04)
Arjuna questions how Krishna, a contemporary of Arjuna, could have taught this science of Karma-yoga to King Vivasvan who was born earlier in ancient times, long before the Lord.
All great masters come to rekindle the fire of the forgotten Truth. Everything we hear or read has been said before by different people at different times. The doctrine of Bhagavad-Gita is not just five thousand years old, but it is primeval. It was restated by the Lord for the benefit of the modern society.
The Supreme Lord said: Both you and I have taken many births. I remember them all, O Arjuna, but you do not remember. (4.05)
Though I am eternal, immutable, and the Lord of all beings, yet I (voluntarily) manifest by controlling My own material nature using My Yoga-maya. (See also 10.14) (4.06)
Yoga-maya is the Ananda Shakti of Lord Krishna. Maha-maya is the fractional reflection of Yoga-maya. Kala-maya is the reflection of Maha-maya. And Maya, the illusory energy, is the supernatural, extraordinary, and mystic power of Brahma. Maha-maya, Kala-maya, and Maya are also called Adi Prakriti; and Prakriti is considered the reflection of Maya. Thus Yoga-maya is the origin of both Maya and Prakriti. Guru Nanak said: "He has created Maya that deceives (and controls) us." The word Maya also means unreal, illusory, or deceptive image of Reality. Due to the power of Maya one considers the universe existent and distinct from Brahma. Brahma-jyoti is the invisible potential energy, and Maya is the kinetic energy, the force of action of Brahma. They are inseparable like fire and heat. Maya is also used as a metaphor to explain the visible world or Jagat to common people.
Whenever there is a decline of Dharma and the rise of Adharma, O Arjuna, then I appear (or manifest Myself). I appear from time to time for protecting the good, for transforming the wicked, and for establishing Dharma, the world order. (See also TR 1.120.03-04) (4.07-08)
Para-Brahma is both transcendent (or divine) and immanent (or human) (AV 4.16.08). Prophets appear from time to time as divine dispensation sees the need for the welfare of the society. Whenever miscreants are born to destroy the world order (or Dharma), the good Lord incarnates to put everything in proper balance (VR 7.08.27). His compassion is the main reason for Lord's incarnation (SBS 49). There are other reasons, besides the protection of Dharma, for the Lord's incarnation. Brahma, which is beyond birth and death, incarnates in human form through a great soul on earth to satisfy the longings of devotees who want to see Him and be in His personal presence. Tulasidasa said: Though devoid of attributes, unattached, and immutable, yet for the love of His votaries the Lord assumes a form with attributes (TR 2.218.03). Ramakrishna said that he would live in a subtle body for three hundred years in the hearts and minds of his devotees. Yogananda said: So long as people in this world are crying for help, I shall return to ply my boat and offer to take them to heavenly shores.
The one who truly understands My transcendental appearance and activities (of creation, maintenance, and dissolution) attains My Supreme Abode, and is not born again after leaving this body, O Arjuna. (4.09)
According to the Bhagavata Maha Purana, one develops love of God by studying and listening to the transcendental birth and Lila (or activities) of the Lord as narrated by the saints and sages in the scriptures.
Many have attained Mukti by becoming purified by the fire of Self-knowledge, acquiring freedom from attachment, fear, and anger, taking refuge in Me, and becoming fully absorbed in Me. (4.10)
With whatever motive people worship Me, I reward them (or fulfill their desires) accordingly. People worship (or approach) Me with different motives. (4.11)
Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you (Luke 11.09). It is due to Maya that most people seek temporary material gains such as health, wealth, and success; and not the knowledge and devotion to His lotus feet.
Those who long for success in their work here (on the earth) worship the demigods (or Devas). Success in work comes quickly in this human world. (4.12)
Would you give to your son a stone, when he asks you for bread? Your Father in the heaven will give good things to those who ask Him (Matthew 7.09-11). When you ask for something in prayer, have faith and believe that you have received it, and it will be given to you (Mark 11.24).
The four divisions based on aptitude and vocation of human society were created by Me. Though I am the author of this system of the division of labor, one should know that I do nothing (directly) and I am eternal. (See also 18.41) (4.13)
Works do not bind Me, because I have no desire for the fruits of work. The one who understands this truth is (also) not bound by Karma. (4.14)
Whoever wants to be first must place oneself last and be the servant of all (Mark 10.44). All works, including prayers, should be undertaken for a just cause, rather than just for personal gain.
The ancient seekers of liberation also performed their duties with this understanding. Therefore, you should do your duty as the ancients did. (4.15)
Even the wise ones are confused about what is action and what is inaction. Therefore, I shall clearly explain what is action, knowing that one shall be liberated from the evil (of birth and death). (4.16)
The true nature of action is very difficult to understand. Therefore, one should know the nature of attached action, the nature of detached action, and also the nature of forbidden action. (4.17)
Attached action is selfish work that produces Karmic bondage, detached action is unselfish work or Seva that leads to Mukti, and the forbidden action is harmful to the doer as well as the society.
The one who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is a wise person. Such a person is a yogi and has accomplished everything. (See also 3.05, 3.27, 5.08 and 13.29) (4.18)
All acts are the acts of Brahma, the inactively active actor. The Bible says: The words you speak are not yours, they come from the spirit of your Father (Matthew 10.20). The wise perceive the inactive, infinite, and invisible reservoir of the potential energy of Brahma (or the Brahma-Jyoti) as the ultimate source of all visible kinetic energy in the cosmos just as the invisible electricity runs the fan. The urge and power to do action come from Brahma. Therefore, one should spiritualize all work by perceiving that one does nothing at all, and everything is done by (the energy of) Brahma using us only as an instrument.
A person whose desires by getting roasted in the fire of Self-knowledge have become selfless, is called a sage by the wise. (4.19)
The one who has abandoned attachment to the fruits of work, and remains ever content and dependent on no one but God, such a person though engaged in activity does nothing at all, and incurs no Karmic reaction. (4.20)
One who is free from desires, whose mind and senses under control, and who has renounced all proprietorship, does not incur sin (or Karmic reaction) by doing only bodily action. (4.21)
Content with whatever gain comes naturally by His will, unaffected by dualities, free from envy, equanimous in success and failure; though engaged in work, such a person is not bound (by Karma). (4.22)
Those who are free from attachment, whose mind is fixed in knowledge, who does work as a Seva to the Lord, all Karma of such liberated persons dissolves away. (4.23)
Brahma is the oblation. Brahma is the clarified butter. The oblation is poured by Brahma into the fire of Brahma. Brahma shall be realized by the one who considers everything as (a manifestation or) an act of Brahma. (Also see 9.16) (4.24)
Life itself is an ever burning fire where Yajna is going on constantly. Every action must be thought of as a Yajna, a holy sacrifice, a holy act. Everything is not Brahma, but Brahma is the root or basis of everything. When a person perceives Brahma in every action, and the things one uses as the reflection of Brahma, and realizes that the very process of all actions is also Brahma, one attains Mukti and becomes one with Brahma.
Some yogis perform the Yajna of worship to Devas alone, while others offer Yajna itself as offering in the fire of Brahma by performing the Yajna (of Self-knowledge). (4.25)
Some offer their hearing and other senses (as sacrifice) in the fires of restraint, others offer sound and other objects of the senses (as sacrifice) in the fires of the senses. (4.26)
Others offer all the functions of the senses, and the functions of Prana (or the five bioimpulses) as sacrifice in the fire of the yoga of self-restraint that is kindled by knowledge. (4.27)
Others offer their wealth, their austerity, and their practice of yoga as sacrifice, while the ascetics with strict vows offer their study of scriptures and knowledge as sacrifice. (4.28)
Those who are engaged in yogic practice, reach the breathless state by offering inhalation into exhalation and exhalation into inhalation as sacrifice (by using short breathing Kriya techniques). (4.29)
Deep spiritual meaning and interpretation of the practical yogic verses (4.29, 4.30, 5.27, 6.13, 8.10, 8.12, 8.13, 8.24, and 8.25) cannot be given here. It should be acquired from a Self-realized master of Kriya-yoga.
The breathing process can be slowed down by: (1) Watching the breath going in and coming out like one watches the ocean waves going up and down. (2) The practice of diaphragmatic (or deep yogic) breathing, and (3) The use of yogic techniques such as So'ham (or Hong Sau), and Kriya-yoga. The aim of yogic practice is to achieve the superconscious or breathless state of Samadhi by gradually mastering the breathing process.
Others restrict their diet and offer their inhalations as sacrifice into their inhalations. All these people are the knowers of sacrifice, and are purified by their sacrifice. (4.30)
Those who perform Yajna obtain the nectar (of knowledge) as a result of their sacrifice and attain eternal Brahma. O Arjuna, even this world is not (a happy place) for the non-sacrificer, how can the other world be? (See also 4.38, and 5.06). (4.31)
Thus many types of sacrifice are described in the Vedas. Know them all to be born from Karma or the action of body, mind, and senses. Knowing this, you shall attain Moksha. (See also 3.14) (4.32)
The knowledge sacrifice is superior to any material sacrifice, O Arjuna. Because all actions in their entirety culminate in knowledge. (4.33)
Acquire this transcendental knowledge from a Self-realized person by humble reverence, by sincere inquiry, and by service. The wise ones who have realized the truth will teach you. (4.34)
The contact of great souls who have realized the truth is helpful. Reading scriptures, giving charity, and doing Sadhana alone may not give God-realization. A God-realized soul can awaken and kindle another soul (Ramdas). But, no guru can give a secret formula for Self-realization without His grace. The Vedas say: The one who knows the land, gives direction to the one who does not know and asks (RV 9.70.09). The precepts of Truth are essentially an individual process (Krishnamurti). People discover the truth by their own efforts. One has to row his or her boat through the turbulent waters of Samsara. The Vedas prohibit the sale of God in any form. It says: O mighty Lord of countless wealth, I will not sell thee for any price (RV 8.01.05). The role of a guru is that of a guide and a giver, and not of a taker. Before accepting a human guru, one must first have - or develop - full faith in the guru, and leave the human frailties of gurus out of consideration; take the pearls of wisdom and throw away the oyster shells. If this is not possible, it should be remembered that the word guru also means the light of Jnana that dispels ignorance and delusion, and the light comes - automatically - from Brahma, the internal Parama guru, when one's mind is purified by sincere Sadhana, Seva, and Surrender.
There are four categories of gurus: a false guru, guru, Sadguru, and Parama guru. In this age too many false gurus are coming to teach (or give a mantra) for a price. These false gurus are the merchants of mantra. They take money from disciples to fulfill their personal material needs without giving the true knowledge of Brahma. Saint Tulasidasa said that a guru who takes money from the disciples and does not remove their ignorance goes to hell (TR 7.98.04). A guru is the one who imparts true knowledge and complete understanding of Sat and Asat. A Sadguru is a Self-realized master mentioned in this verse here. A Sadguru helps the devotee maintain God-consciousness all the time by his or her own spiritual power. When Antah-karana (or the mind and intellect) is purified, Supreme Lord Krishna, the Parama guru, reflects Himself in the Citta of a devotee, and sends a guru, or a Sadguru to him or her. A real guru is the giver. He never asks any money or a fee from a disciple, because he depends on God only. A real guru would not ask anything from a disciple for personal or even for organizational gain. However, a disciple is obliged to do the best he or she can to help the cause of the guru. Sage Yajnavalkya (and his father) also believed that one should not accept any fee from a pupil without giving full instruction and understanding of Para-Brahma, Brahma, Atma, Paramatma, Purusha, Maya, Avyakta, Ishvara, Prakriti, Jiva, etc. (BrU 4.01.02).
Our own Atma inside all of us is the Parama guru. Outside teachers only help us in the beginning of the spiritual journey. Our own mind - when purified by Nishkama Karma, prayer, meditation, Japa, Kirtana (the congregational chanting of holy names), and scriptural study - becomes the best channel and guide for the flow of divine knowledge (See also Gita 4.38, and 13.22). The Divine Person within all of us is the real guru, and one must learn how to tune in with Him. It is said that there is no greater guru than one's own mind. A pure mind becomes a spiritual guide and the inner divine guru leading to a Sadguru, and Self-realization. This is expressed by the common saying that the guru comes to a person when one is ready. The word guru also means vast, and is used to describe Brahma or Paramatma, the Parama guru and internal guide.
The wise spiritual teacher disapproves the idea of blind personal service, or the guru cult, which is so common in India. A Self-realized (SR) master says that God only is the guru, and all are His disciples. Hariharananda says: A disciple should be like a bee seeking honey from flowers. If the bee does not get honey from one flower, it immediately goes to another flower and stays at that flower as long as it gets the nectar. Yatiswarananda said that idolization and blind worship of a human guru may become a stumbling block in spiritual progress, and is harmful to both the disciple and the guru.
Knowing that, O Arjuna, you shall not again become deluded like this. By this knowledge you shall behold the entire creation in yourself, and also in Me, the Para-Brahma. (See also 6.29) (4.35)
The same life force of Brahma reflects in all living beings to support and activate them. Therefore, we are all connected with each other, and a part and parcels of each other.
Even if one is the most sinful of all sinners, yet one shall cross over the ocean of sin by the raft of Brahma-jnana alone. (4.36)
As the blazing fire reduces wood to ashes, similarly, the fire of Brahma-jnana reduces all Karma to ashes, O Arjuna. (4.37)
The Bible also says: You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8.32). The fire of true knowledge of Brahma burns all past (or Samchita) Karma that is the root cause of transmigration. The present action does not produce any new (or Kriyamana) Karma if one truly realizes that all works are done by forces of nature, and therefore, he or she is not the doer. Thus, when knowledge dawns, only a part of the Samchita Karma known as Prarabdha Karma (or fate) which is responsible for the present birth, has to be exhausted before Mukti - the freedom from transmigration - is attained by the enlightened person. Kriyamana Karma is generated by the physical body and mind; the subtle body carries Prarabdha Karma; and the causal body is the repository of Samchita Karma. Karma produces body, and body generates Karma. Thus the cycle of birth and death continues indefinitely. Only Nishkama Karma can break this cycle.
Loss and gain, life and death, fame and infamy lie in the hands of Karma. Fate or Prarabdha is all powerful. This being so, one should neither be angry nor put blame on anybody (TR 2.171.01). People know virtue and vice, but one's choice is ordained by Prarabdha and Samskara, because the mind and intellect are controlled by Prarabdha and Samskara. When success does not come in spite of best efforts, it may be concluded that fate precedes endeavor.
Verily, there is no purifier in this world like Jnana, the true knowledge of Para-Brahma. One who becomes purified by Karma-yoga discovers this knowledge within (naturally) in course of time. (See also 4.31, and 5.06). (4.38)
The intense fire of devotion to God burns all Karma, purifies the mind and intellect, and illuminates Citta as the sunlight illumines the earth (BP 11.03.40). Selfless service should be performed to the best of one's ability until purity of mind is attained (DB 7.34.15). True knowledge of the Self is automatically reflected in a pure mind. Karma and Jnana are the two wings to take one to Mukti.
The one who has faith, practices yoga, and has mastery over the senses, gains this knowledge. Having gained this, one at once attains the supreme peace. (4.39)
The fires of mental grief and sorrows, born of attachment, can be completely extinguished by the water of Jnana (MB 3.02.26). There is no basis for right thought and action without Brahma-jnana.
The irrational, the faithless, and the non-believer (or the atheist) perishes. There is neither this world nor the world beyond nor happiness for the disbeliever. (4.40)
Karma does not bind a Self-realized person who has renounced work (by renouncing the fruits of work) through Karma-yoga, and whose doubts are completely destroyed by Brahma-jnana, O Arjuna. (4.41)
Therefore, cut the ignorance born doubt abiding in your mind by the sword of Self-knowledge, resort to Karma-yoga, and get up (to fight), O Arjuna. (4.42)
PATH OF RENUNCIATION
Arjuna said: O Krishna, You praise transcendental knowledge (of Samkhya, or Karma-samnyasa) and also performance of unattached action (or Karma-yoga). Tell me, definitely, which one is better of the two. (See also 5.05) (5.01)
Karma-samnyasa means renunciation of doership, ownership, and selfish motive behind an action, and not the renunciation of work, or the worldly objects. Karma-samnyasa comes only after the dawn of Self-knowledge. Therefore, words Jnana, Samkhya, Samnyasa, and Karma-samnyasa are used interchangeably in the Gita. Renunciation is considered the goal of life, and Karma and Jnana are the necessary means to achieve the goal. True Samnyasa is attaching all action and possession - including body, mind, and thought - to the service of Lord Krishna.
The Supreme Lord said: Karma-samnyasa and Karma-yoga both lead to the Supreme. But, of the two, Karma-yoga is superior to Karma-samnyasa. (5.02)
A person should be considered a true Samnyasi or renunciant who neither likes nor dislikes. Because free from the dualities, O Arjuna, one is easily liberated from bondage. (5.03)
The ignorant - not the wise - consider Karma-samnyasa and Karma-yoga as different from each other. The person who has truly mastered one, gets the benefits of both. (5.04)
Whatever goal a Samnyasi reaches, a Karma-yogi also reaches the same goal. One who sees the path of renunciation and the path of unselfish work as the same, really sees. (See also 6.01 and 6.02) (5.05)
But Samnyasa, O Arjuna, is difficult to attain without Karma-yoga. A sage equipped with Karma-yoga quickly attains Brahma. (See also 4.31, and 4.38) (5.06)
Karma-yoga provides preparation, discipline, and purification necessary for Samnyasa. Jnana is the upper limit of Karma-yoga, and Samnyasa is the upper limit of Jnana.
A Karma-yogi whose mind is pure, whose mind and senses are under control, and who sees one and the same Brahma in all beings, is not bound (by Karma) though engaged in work. (5.07)
A Samnyasi who knows the truth thinks: "I do nothing at all." In seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing; and speaking, giving, taking, as well as opening and closing the eyes, a Samnyasi believes that only the senses are operating upon their sense objects. (See also 3.27, 13.29, and 14.19) (5.08-09)
Senses need not be subdued if the activities of the senses are spiritualized by perceiving that all work, good or bad, is done by the powers (or the Gunas and Ahamkara) of God.
One who does all work as an offering to the Lord - abandoning attachment to the results - is as untouched by sin (or Karmic reaction) as a lotus leaf is untouched by water. (5.10)
A Karma-yogi does not work with selfish motives and therefore does not incur any sin. Selfless service is always sinless.
The Karma-yogis perform action without attachment with their body, mind, intellect, and senses only for the sake of self-purification. (5.11)
A Karma-yogi attains Supreme Bliss by abandoning (the attachment to) the fruits of work; while others, who are attached to the fruits of work, become bound by selfish work. (5.12)
A person who has completely renounced (the fruits of) all works, dwells happily in the City of Nine Gates, neither performing nor directing action. (5.13)
The human body has been called the City or Puri of Nine Gates (or openings) in KaU 5.01, and ShU 3.18. The nine openings are: Two openings each for the eyes, ears, and nose; and the mouth, anus, and urethra. The Lord who resides in this Puri as Jiva is called Purusha. Purusha also means the Lord of all beings and the universe.
The Lord neither creates the urge for action nor the feeling of doership nor the attachment to the results of action in people. All these are done by the (Gunas of) nature. (5.14)
The Lord does not take the (responsibility for) good or evil deeds of anybody. The knowledge is covered by (the veil of) ignorance, thereby people are deluded. (5.15)
God does not punish or reward anybody. We ourselves do this by the misuse or the right use of our own power of reasoning and will.
Transcendental knowledge after destroying the ignorance reveals the Supreme just as the sun reveals the beauty of objects of the world. (5.16)
Persons whose mind and intellect are totally merged in Brahma, who are firmly devoted to Brahma, who have Brahma as their supreme goal and sole refuge, and whose impurities are destroyed by the knowledge of Brahma, do not take birth again. (5.17)
An enlightened person looks at a learned and humble Brahmana, an outcast, even a cow, an elephant, or a dog with an equal eye. (5.18)
Just as a person does not consider parts of the body, such as arms and legs, different from the body itself; similarly, a Self-realized person does not consider any living entity different from Brahma (BP 4.07.53). After discovering the metaphysical truth, one looks at everything with reverence, compassion, and kindness; because everything is the part and parcel of the cosmic body of the Supreme Lord.
Everything has been accomplished in this very life by the one whose mind is set in equality. Such a person has realized Brahma, because Brahma is flawless and impartial. (See also 18.55, and ChU 2.23.01) (5.19)
To have a feeling of equality for everybody is the greatest worship of the Lord (BP 7.08.10).
One who neither rejoices on obtaining what is pleasant nor grieves on obtaining the unpleasant, who has a steady mind, who is undeluded, and who is a knower of Brahma, such a person eternally abides with Brahma. (5.20)
Such a person who is in union with Brahma becomes unattached to external sensual pleasures by discovering the joy of the Self (through contemplation), and enjoys eternal bliss. (5.21)
Pleasures derived from the contact of senses with their objects (or the sensual pleasures) are verily the source of misery, and have a beginning and an end. Therefore, the wise, O Arjuna, does not rejoice in sensual pleasures. (See also 18.38) (5.22)
The wise constantly reflect on the futility of sensual pleasures and therefore they do not become victims of sensual cravings.
One who is able to withstand the impulse of lust and anger before death is a yogi, and a happy person. (5.23)
One who finds happiness with Brahma, who rejoices Brahma within, and who is illuminated by the Self-knowledge; such a yogi attains Brahma-nirvana, and goes to Para-Brahma. (5.24)
Seers whose sins (or imperfections) are destroyed, whose doubts have been dispelled by Jnana, whose minds are disciplined, and who are engaged in the welfare of all beings, attain the Supreme or Par-Brahma. (5.25)
They who are free from lust and anger, who have subdued the mind and senses, and who have known the Self, easily attain Brahma-nirvana. (5.26)
Having renounced all sense enjoyments, fixing the eyes and the mind (at an imaginary black dot) between the eye brows, equalizing the breath moving through the nostrils (by Kriya techniques), keeping the senses, mind, and intellect under control, having Mukti or liberation as the prime goal, and becoming free from lust, anger, and fear a sage is verily liberated. (5.27-28)
When the cosmic currents - flowing through Ida and Pingala Nadis in the astral spinal cord - are separated by opening up of the Sushumna Nadi by the practice of Mahamudra Kriya, or other similar techniques such as alternate breathing; the breath flows through both nostrils with equal pressure, the mind calms down, and the field is prepared for deep meditation leading to Samadhi.
My devotee attains peace by knowing Me (or Krishna, the Para-Brahma) as the enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, as the great Lord of all the universe, and the friend of all beings. (5.29)
PATH OF MEDITATION
The Supreme Lord said: One who performs the prescribed duty without seeking its fruit (for personal enjoyment) is a Samnyasi and a (Karma) yogi. One does not become Samnyasi merely by not lighting the fire, and one does not become a yogi merely by abstaining from work. (6.01)
O Arjuna, what they call Samnyasa is also known as Karma-yoga. No one becomes a Karma-yogi who has not renounced the selfish motive behind an action. (See also 5.01, 5.05, 6.01, and 18.02) (6.02)
For the wise who seeks to attain yoga (of meditation, or the equanimity of mind), Karma-yoga is said to be the means. For the one who has attained yoga, the equanimity becomes the means (of Self-realization). A person is said to have attained yogic perfection when he or she has no desire for sensual pleasures, or attachment to the fruits of work, and has renounced all personal selfish motives. (6.03-04)
Yogic perfection can be achieved only when one does all activities for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord Krishna (Chimanbhai). Karma-yoga or the unselfish work produces tranquillity of mind. When one performs action as a matter of duty without any selfish motive, the mind is not disturbed by the fear of failure, it becomes tranquil, and one attains yogic perfection through meditation. The equanimity of mind, necessary for Self-realization, comes after giving up Samkalpa, the personal selfish motives and desires. The desireless mind becomes peaceful. Thus Nishkama Karma-yoga is recommended to persons desirous of success in yoga of meditation. The perfection in meditation results in control over the senses bringing forth tranquillity of mind that ultimately leads to God-Realization.
One must elevate and do not degrade oneself by one's own mind. The mind alone is one's friend as well as one's enemy. (6.05)
The mind is the friend of those who have control over it, and the mind acts like an enemy for those who do not control it. (6.06)
There is no enemy other than an uncontrolled mind in this world (BP 7.08.10). Therefore, one should first try to control and conquer this enemy by regular practice of meditation with a firm determination and effort. All spiritual practices are aimed towards the conquest of the mind. Guru Nanak Deva said: "Master the mind and you master the world." Sage Patanjali defines yoga as the control over the activities (or the thought waves) of mind and intellect (PYS 1.02). Firm control of the mind and senses is known as yoga (KaU 6.11). Control of the mind and senses is called austerity and yoga (MB 3.209.53). The mind of a yogi is under control; a yogi is not under the control of the mind. Meditation is effortless control of the natural tendency of mind to wander. Yogi Bhajan says: A one pointed, relaxed mind is the most powerful and creative mind, it can do anything.
The mind indeed is the cause of bondage as well as liberation of the living entity. The mind becomes the cause of bondage when controlled by the Gunas of nature, and the same mind when attached to the Supreme, Lord Krishna, becomes the cause of liberation (BP 3.25.15). The mind alone is the cause of liberation as well as bondage of human beings. The mind becomes the cause of bondage when controlled by the sense objects, and it becomes the cause of liberation when controlled by the intellect (VP 6.07.28). Absolute control over mind and senses is a prerequisite for any Sadhana for Self-realization. One who has not become the master of the senses cannot progress towards the goal of Self-realization. Therefore, after establishing control over the activities of mind, one should take the mind away from the enjoyment of sensual pleasures and fix it on Lord Krishna. When mind is disengaged from the sense pleasures and engaged with Krishna, sense impulses become ineffective because the senses obtain their power from the mind. The mind is the ruler of the other five senses. One who becomes master of the mind becomes master of all the senses.
One who has control over the mind and senses is tranquil in heat and cold, in pleasure and pain, and in honor and dishonor, and remains ever steadfast with the Supreme Being. (6.07)
One can realize God only when the mind becomes tranquil and completely free from desires. They who master their mind get the spiritual wealth of knowledge and bliss. Atma can only be realized when the lake of the mind becomes still, just as the reflection of the moon is seen in a lake when water is still. (See also 2.70)
A person is called Self-realized (or a yogi) who has the knowledge and understanding of both Brahma and Para-Brahma, who is equanimous, who has control over the (mind and) senses, and to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are the same. (6.08)
A person is considered superior who is impartial towards companions, friends, enemies, neutrals, arbiters, haters, relatives, saints, and sinners. (6.09)
A yogi, seated in solitude and alone, should constantly try to contemplate on the Supreme Being after bringing the mind and senses under control, and becoming free from desires and attachments for possessions. (6.10)
The place of meditation should have the serenity, solitude, and the spiritual atmosphere of odor free, noise free, and light free caves of the Himalayas. Massive gorgeous building with exquisite marble figures of demigods are not enough. These often come at the expense of spirituality and help religious commerce only.
Eight steps of meditation based on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras (PYS 2.29) are: 1. Yama or moral conduct. 2. Niyama or spiritual practices. 3. Asana or right posture and yogic exercises. 4. Pranayama or the yogic breathing. 5. Pratyahara or sense withdrawal. 6. Dharana or concentration. 7. Dhyana or meditation, and 8. Samadhi or superconscious state of mind.
One must follow these eight steps one by one under proper guidance in order to make progress in meditation. The use of breathing and concentration techniques without necessary purification of the mind, and without sublimation of feelings and desires by practice of Yama and Niyama (See 16.23) may lead to a dangerous neurotic state of mind. Asana (or the sitting posture) for meditation should be stable, relaxed, and comfortable for the individual's physical body (PYS 2.46).
The Pranayama is not the forcible (and often harmful) retention of breath in the lungs as is commonly misunderstood and wrongly practiced. Patanjali defines it as control of the (Prana, the bioimpulses or the astral life forces that cause) breathing process (PYS 2.49). It is a gradual process of bringing under control or slowing down (by using standard yogic techniques such as Asanas, breathing exercises, Bandhas, and Mudras) the bioimpulses that activate the motor and sensory nerves that regulate breathing, and over which we normally have no control. When the body is supercharged by the huge reservoir of omnipresent cosmic current flowing through the medulla oblongata, the need for breathing is reduced or eliminated and the yogi reaches the breathless state of Samadhi, the last milestone of the spiritual journey. The Upanishad says: No mortal ever lives by breathing (Oxygen in the air) alone. They depend on something else (KaU 5.05). Jesus said: Man shall not live by bread (the food, water, and air) alone, but by every word (or the cosmic energy) that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4.04). The cord of breath ties Jiva to the body-mind complex. A yogi unties Jiva from the body and ties it with the Paramatma during the breathless state of Samadhi.
Pratyahara, or the withdrawal of the senses, is a major obstacle in the attainment of the goal of a yogi. When sense withdrawal has been accomplished, concentration, meditation, and Samadhi become very easy to master. The mind should be controlled and trained to follow the intellect rather than let it be drawn towards and controlled by the gross sense objects such as hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell. The mind is restless by nature. Watching the natural flow of breath coming in and going out, and alternate breathing help to make the mind steady.
The two most common techniques of sense withdrawal are: 1. Focus your full attention on the point between the eye brows. Perceive and expand a sphere of white rotating light there. 2. Mentally chant a mantra as quickly as possible for a long time and let the mind get completely absorbed into the sound of the mantra until you do not hear the ticking sound of a nearby clock. The speed and loudness of mental chanting should be increased with the restlessness of the mind, and vice versa.
Concentration on a particular part of a deity, on the sound of a mantra, on the flow of breath, at various Cakras in the body, at the mid-brows, at the tip of the nose, and on a crimson lotus inside the chest center, stills the mind and stops it from wandering.
One should sit on his or her own firm seat that is neither too high nor too low, covered with sacred Kusha grass, a deerskin, and a cloth, one over the other, in a clean spot. Sitting there (in a comfortable position) and concentrating the mind on God, controlling the thoughts and the activities of the senses, one should practice meditation for self-purification. (6.11-12)
A yogi should contemplate on the beautiful form of Lord Krishna till the form becomes ever present in the mind. Short meditation with full concentration is better than long meditation without concentration. Fixing the mind on a single object of contemplation for twelve (12) seconds, two and one half (2.5) minutes, and half an hour is known as Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, respectively. Dhyana and Samadhi are the spontaneous result of Dharana or concentration. Dhyana occurs when the mind stops oscillating off the point of concentration.
In Savikalpa (or lower stage of) Samadhi, mind becomes so centered on a particular part of the deity such as the face or the feet that it forgets everything. This is like a dream in a wakeful state where one remains aware of one's mind, thoughts, and the surroundings. In Nirvikalpa (or the highest stage of) Samadhi, body becomes still and motionless, and mind experiences various aspects of the Truth. The mind loses its individual identity and becomes one with the cosmic mind.
Nirvikalpa Samadhi is the highest superconscious state of mind. In this state of mind, the normal human consciousness becomes connected to (or overpowered by) the cosmic consciousness; one reaches a thoughtless, pulseless and breathless state; and does not feel anything except peace, joy, and the supreme bliss. Nirvikalpa state is a state when Sahasrara Cakra opens up, the mind is merged into the infinite, and there is no mind, or thought, but awareness (or Citta) of pure peace (Ananda) and existence (Sat) only. A person who reaches this state is called Paramahamsa.
One should sit by holding the waist, spine, chest, neck, and head erect, motionless and steady; fixing the eyes and the mind steadily on the tip (or front) of the nose, without looking around; with serene and fearless mind; practicing celibacy; having the mind under control and thinking of Me; and have Me as the Supreme-goal. (See also 4.29, 5.27, 8.10, and 8.12) (6.13-14)
My Sadguru, His Holiness Paramahamsa Hariharananda Giri, suggests to keep pin-pointed attention penetrating four-inches deep between the eyebrows near the master gland - the pituitary. The Bible says: If your eyes are single, your whole body will (seem to) be full of light (Matthew 6.22). Fixing the gaze on the nose tip is one of the mudras of Kriya-yoga, recommended by Swami Sivananda of Rishikesha, to awaken the Kundalini. After a little practice each day the eyes will become accustomed, and will become slightly convergent and the two sides of the nose are seen. As you gaze at the nose tip, concentrate on the movement of breath through the nostrils. After ten minutes close the eyes and look into the dark space in front of the closed eyes. If you see a light, concentrate on it, because this light can completely absorb the consciousness and lead one to Samadhi according to yogic scriptures. The beginner should first practice fixing the gaze at the mid-brows, as mentioned in verse 5.27, or at the chest center as hinted in verse 8.12. The help of a teacher may be necessary, and is highly recommended.
Celibacy is necessary to still the mind and awaken the dormant Kundalini. Celibacy and certain breathing exercises are necessary to cleanse the subtle body. Subtle body is nourished by seminal and ovarian energy just as gross body needs food for nourishment. Sarada Ma warned her disciples not to be intimate with persons of opposite gender even if God came in that form. The role of celibacy in spiritual life is overlooked in the West, because it is not an easy task for most people. The individual should choose the right life partner for success in the spiritual journey if the practice of celibacy is not possible. It is very dangerous to force celibacy on disciples. The scripture says: Just as a King protected by the castle walls wins over the invincible enemy, similarly, those who want victory over the mind and senses should try to subdue them by living as a householder (BP 5.01.18).
Sublimation of the sex impulse precedes enlightenment (AV 11.05.05). One sense organ, attached to its object, can drain the intellect, just as one hole in a water pot can empty the water, (MS 2.99). One commits sin by engaging senses to sense objects, and obtains Siddhi by controlling the senses (MS 2.93). Transmutation of the life force of procreative energy leads to yoga. One can transcend sex by beholding the presence of the divine in the body of all men and women, and mentally bowing down to them.
Thus, by always practicing to keep the mind fixed on Me, the yogi whose mind is subdued attains peace of Brahma-nirvana and comes to Me. (6.15)
This yoga is not possible, O Arjuna, for the one who eats too much, or who does not eat at all; who sleeps too much, or who keeps awake. (6.16)
But, for the one who is moderate in eating, recreation, working, sleeping, and waking, this yoga (of meditation) destroys (all) sorrow. (6.17)
The Gita teaches that extremes should be avoided at all costs in all spheres of life. This moderation of Gita was eulogized by Lord Buddha who called it Majjhima Nikaya, the middle path, the right way, or the noble path. One must avoid extreme indulgence in uncontrolled desires as well as the opposite extreme of yogic discipline, the torturing of the body and mind.
A person is said to have achieved yoga, the union with Brahma, when the perfectly disciplined mind becomes free from all desires, and gets completely united with Brahma alone. (6.18)
A lamp in a spot sheltered (by Brahma) from the wind (of desires) does not flicker, this simile is used for the subdued mind of a yogi practicing meditation on Brahma. (6.19)
When the mind disciplined by the practice of meditation becomes steady, one becomes content in Para-Brahma by beholding the Lord with the (purified) intellect. (6.20)
Atma is present in all living beings as fire is present in all wood. Friction makes the presence of fire in the wood visible to the eyes, similarly, meditation makes Atma, residing in the body, perceivable (MB 12.210.42). A psycho physical transformation (or the superconscious state) of mind in Samadhi is necessary for God-realization. Each of us has access to the superconscious mind that is not limited by time and space.
One cannot comprehend the Infinite by reason. Reason is powerless to grasp the nature of the beginningless absolute. The highest faculty is not reasoning but intuition, the comprehension of knowledge coming from Atma and not from the fallible senses or reasoning. Atma can be perceived only by the intuitive experience in Nirvikalpa (or the highest) Samadhi and by no other means. Yogananda said: Meditation can enlarge the magic cup of intuition to hold the ocean of infinite wisdom.
One feels infinite bliss that is perceivable only through the intellect, and is beyond the reach of the senses. After realizing Brahma, one is never separated from the Absolute Reality. (See also KaU 3.12) (6.21)
After Self-realization (SR), one does not regard any other gain superior to SR. Established in SR, one is not moved even by the greatest calamity. (6.22)
The (state of) severance of union with sorrow is called yoga. This yoga should be practiced with firm determination, and without any mental reservation. (6.23)
Yoga is attained after a long time of constant vigorous practice of meditation with firm faith (PYS 1.14).
One gradually attains tranquillity of mind by totally abandoning all selfish desires, completely restraining the senses from the sense objects by the intellect, and keeping the mind fully absorbed in Brahma by means of a well trained and purified intellect and thinking of nothing else. (6.24-25)
When the mind is freed - by spiritual practices - from the impurities of lust and greed born out of the feeling of "I and my", it remains equanimous in material happiness and distress (BP 3.25.16).
Wheresoever this restless and unsteady mind wanders away, one should (gently) bring it back to the reflection of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (6.26)
The mind plays tricks to wander and roam in the world of sensuality. The meditator should keep the mind fixed on Brahma by always pondering that one is the soul, and not this body. Just watch and laugh at the wanderings of the mind and gently bring it back to the contemplation of the Supreme Being.
Supreme bliss comes to a Self-realized yogi whose mind is tranquil, whose desires are under control, and who is free from sin (or faults). (6.27)
Such a sinless yogi, who constantly engages the Citta with Brahma, easily enjoys the infinite bliss of contact with Brahma. (6.28)
Yogananda said: In the absence of inward joy, people turn to evil. Meditation on the God of bliss permeates us with goodness.
Because of perceiving Brahma (abiding) in all beings, and all beings (abiding) in Brahma; a yogi, who is in union with Brahma, sees everybeing with an equal eye. (See also 4.35) (6.29)
Perception of oneness of Self in everybeing is the highest Siddhi, or spiritual perfection. Sage Yajnavalkya said: A wife does not love her husband because of his or her satisfaction. She loves her husband because she feels the oneness of her soul with his soul. She is merged in her husband and becomes one with him (BrU 2.04.05). The foundation of Vedic marriage is based on this noble and solid rock of soul culture and is unbreakable. Trying to develop any meaningful human relationship without a firm understanding of the spiritual basis of all relationships is like trying to water the leaves of a tree rather than the root.
When a person perceives one's own Atma in all people and all people in one's own Atma, then one does not hate or injure anybody (IsU 06). Eternal peace belongs to those who perceive God existing within everybody as Atma (KaU 5.13). One should love others, including the enemy, because all are your own self. "Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you" is not only one of the noblest teachings of the Bible, but, is an elementary idea common to all paths leading to God. When one realizes that his or her very self has become everything, whom shall one hate or punish? One does not break the teeth that bite the tongue. When one perceives none other than one's own Lord abiding in the entire universe, whom shall one fight?
In the fullness of one's spiritual development one finds that He who resides in one's own heart, resides in the hearts of all others as well - the rich, the poor, the persecuted, the saint, and the sinner. Therefore, to hate a single person is to hate Him. This realization makes one a truly humble saint. The one who sees One in all and all in One, sees the One everywhere. To fully understand this and to experience the Oneness of Brahma and the individual soul is the highest achievement and the only goal of human birth (BP 6.16.63). The one who realizes that the Supersoul is all pervading, and is none other than one's own self bereft of all impurities collected over various incarnations, attains immortality and bliss.
Those who see Me in everything and see everything in Me, are not separated from Me, and I am not separated from them. (6.30)
A Self-realized person sees Me in the entire universe and in oneself, and sees the entire universe and oneself in Me. When one sees Me pervading everything, just as fire is pervading the wood, one is at once freed from delusion. One attains Moksha when a person sees oneself different from body, mind, and Gunas; and non-different from Me (BP 3.09.31-33). The wise sees oneself present in the entire universe and the entire universe present in oneself. True devotees never fear any condition of life such as reincarnation, living in heaven or in hell, because they see the Lord everywhere (BP 6.17.28). If you want to see, remember, and be with the Lord at all times, then you must practice and learn to see the Lord in everything and everywhere.
The non-dualists, who adore Me abiding in all beings, abide in Me irrespective of their mode of living. (6.31)
One is considered the best yogi who regards everybeing like oneself, and who can feel the pain and pleasures of others as one's own, O Arjuna. (6.32)
One should consider all creatures like one's own children (BP 7.14.09). This is one of the qualities of a true devotee. The sages consider all women their mother, other's wealth a clod, and all beings like one's own self. Rare is a person whose heart melts by the fire of grief of others, and who rejoices hearing the praise of others.
Arjuna said: O Krishna, You have said that the yoga of meditation is characterized by the equanimity (of mind), but due to restlessness of mind I do not perceive the steady state of mind. Because the mind, indeed, is very unsteady, turbulent, powerful, and obstinate, O Krishna. I think restraining the mind is as difficult as restraining the wind. (6.33-34)
The Supreme Lord said: Undoubtedly, O Arjuna, the mind is restless and difficult to restrain, but it is subdued by Abhyasa (or constant vigorous spiritual practice with perseverance), and Vairagya (or detachment), O Arjuna. (6.35)
Detachment (or Vairagya) is proportional to one's understanding of the baselessness of the world and its objects (MB 12.174.04). Contemplation without detachment is like jewels on the body without clothes (TR 2.177.02).
In My opinion, yoga is difficult for the one whose mind is not subdued. However, yoga is attainable by the person of subdued mind by striving through proper means. (6.36)
Arjuna said: The faithful who deviates from (the path of) meditation and fails to attain yogic perfection due to unsubdued mind - what is the destination of such a person, O Krishna? (6.37)
Do they not perish like a dispersing cloud, O Krishna, having lost both (yoga and Bhoga, the heavenly and worldly pleasures), supportless and bewildered on the path of Self-realization? (6.38)
O Krishna, only You are able to completely dispel this doubt of mine. Because there is none, other than You, who can dispel this doubt. (See also 15.15) (6.39)
The Supreme Lord said: There is no destruction, O Arjuna, for such a yogi either here or hereafter. A transcendentalist is never put to grief (or bad state), My dear friend. (6.40)
The unsuccessful yogi is reborn in the house of the pious and prosperous after attaining heaven and living there for many years, or
such a yogi is born in a family of enlightened yogis. A birth like this is very difficult, indeed, to obtain in this world. (6.41-42)
There he or she regains the knowledge acquired in the previous life, and strives again to achieve perfection, O Arjuna. (6.43)
The unsuccessful yogi is instinctively carried towards Brahma by virtue of Samskara (or the impressions) of yogic practices of previous lives. Even the inquirer of Self-realization surpasses those who perform Vedic rituals. (6.44)
The yogi who diligently strives, becomes completely free from all sins (or imperfections) after perfecting (gradually) through many incarnations, and reaches the Supreme Abode. (6.45)
The spiritual journey is long and slow, but no sincere effort is ever wasted. All Jivas are eventually redeemed by reaching the zenith of evolution.
The yogi is superior to the ascetics. The yogi is superior to the (Vedic) scholars. The yogi is superior to the ritualists. Therefore, O Arjuna, be a yogi. (6.46)
I consider one to be the most devoted of all the yogis who lovingly contemplates on Me with supreme faith, and whose mind is ever absorbed in Me. (See also 12.02 and 18.66) (6.47)
Meditation, or any other act, becomes more powerful and efficient if it is done with knowledge, faith, and devotion to Krishna. Meditation is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition for spiritual progress. The mind should be kept ever absorbed in the thoughts of Lord Krishna. The meditative mood is to be continued during the other times through scriptural study, Self-analysis, and service. It is said that no yoga is complete without the presence of other yogas. Just as the right combination of all ingredients is essential for preparation of a good meal; similarly, Seva, Japa, meditation, study, contemplation, and devotional worship are essential for reaching the Supreme goal.
Before one can purify one's psyche by a mantra or meditation, one has to reach a level whereby one's system of consciousness becomes sensitive to a mantra. This means one's mundane desires must be first fulfilled, or satisfied by detachment; and one has practiced the first four steps of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra first. It is just like cleaning the jewelry first before gold-plating it.
KNOWLEDGE OF THE ABSOLUTE
The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, listen how you shall know Me fully without any doubt, with your mind absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, and performing yogic practices. (7.01)
I shall fully explain to you the knowledge of both Apara-Brahma (or Para-vidya, Jnana) and Para-Brahma (or Brahma-vidya, Vijnana) after comprehending that nothing more remains to be known in this world. (See also MuU 1.01.03). (7.02)
Those who have known Para-Brahma become perfect (RV 1.164.39). Everything becomes (as though) known when Para-Brahma is heard, reflected, meditated upon, seen, and known (BrU 4.05.06). The need to know all other things becomes irrelevant with the dawn of Brahma-vidya. All articles made of gold become known after knowing gold. Similarly, after knowing Para-Brahma, all manifestations of Brahma become known. The knowledge of Akshara Brahma is a pre-requisite to fully understand both Para-Brahma and Kshara Purusha. Yogi Chimanbhai says: The one who knows Lord Krishna as Para-Brahma, is considered to have known all; but the one who knows everything, but does not know Krishna, does not know anything.
Scarcely one out of thousands of persons strives for perfection of Self-realization. Scarcely one among those successful strivers truly understands Me. (7.03)
Many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22.14). Few are fortunate enough to obtain knowledge of, and devotion to Para-Brahma, Lord Shri Krishna.
The mind, intellect, ego, ether, air, fire, water, and earth are the eightfold transformation (or division) of My Prakriti (or material energy). (See also 13.05) (7.04)
Prakriti is defined as the material cause or the material out of which everything is made. Prakriti is the original source of the material world consisting of three Gunas, and eight basic elements out of which everything in the universe has evolved according to Samkhya doctrine. Maya according to Vedanta, and Prakriti according to Samkhya is the material cause of creation of the entire universe. Prakriti is also referred to as Asat, perishable, body, matter, nature, material nature, Maya, Mahat-Brahma, field, creation, and manifest state. That which creates diversity (or duality) as well as the diversity itself, and all that can be seen or known, including the mind, is called Prakriti.
This is My lower Prakriti (or Apara Shakti). Know My other higher Prakriti (or Para Shakti) - Chetana (or Purusha) - by which this entire universe is sustained, O Arjuna. (7.05)
Two types of Prakriti are described in verses 7.04 and 7.05. The eightfold Prakriti described in verse 7.04 is called lower energy, Apara Shakti, material energy, or Jada Prakriti. This is commonly called Prakriti. It constitutes the material world. The other Prakriti mentioned in verse 7.05 is called higher energy, Para Shakti, spirit, or Cetana Prakriti. This is also referred as consciousness, Atma, Self, Akshara Purusha, and Chetana. This is commonly called Purusha. Purusha is immutable; and Prakriti, born of Purusha, is mutable. Purusha observes, witnesses, as well as supervises Prakriti.
Purusha, the Spiritual Being, is the efficient cause of creation of the universe. Prakriti and Purusha are not two independent identities but the two aspects of Para-Brahma. Brahma, Purusha, and Prakriti are the same yet different as the sun and its light and heat are the same as well as different.
The water, and the fish that is born in and sustained by the water are not one and the same; similarly, Purusha, and Prakriti that is born out of Purusha are not one and the same (MB 12.315.14). Jiva is Purusha enjoying the Gunas of Prakriti by associating with the senses. The Atma and Jiva are also different, because Atma sustains Jiva, but the wise perceive no difference between the two (BP 4.28.62).
Some of the terms - such as Para-Brahma, Brahma, Atma, Purusha, Prakriti, etc. - have different definitions in different doctrines, and also take different meanings depending on the context. In this rendering the nonsectarian word 'God' stands for the One and the only Lord of the universe whom we prefer to call by a personal name of Krishna. Different terminology does confuse the reader who has to learn full connotation and use of these terms as he or she progresses on the path of spiritual journey.
Know that all creatures have evolved from this twofold energy, and Para-Brahma is the source of origin as well as the dissolution of the entire universe. (See also 13.26) (7.06)
There is nothing higher than Me, O Arjuna. Everything in the universe is strung on Me, the Para-Brahma Paramatma, like jewels on the thread of a necklace. (7.07)
One and the same Atma is present in cows, horses, human beings, birds, and all other living beings just as the same thread is present in the necklace made of diamond, gold, pearl, or wood (MB 12.206.02-03). The entire creation is permeated by Him (YV 32.08).
O Arjuna, I am the sapidity in the water, I am the radiance in the sun and the moon, the sacred syllable OM in all the Vedas, the sound in the ether, and potency in human beings. I am the sweet fragrance in the earth. I am the heat in the fire, the life in all living beings, and the austerity in the ascetics. (7.08-09)
O Arjuna, know Me to be the eternal seed of all creatures. I am the intelligence of the intelligent, and the brilliance of the brilliant. (See also 9.18 and 10.39). I am the strength of the strong who is devoid of lust and attachment. I am Kama (or lust) in human beings that is in accord with Dharma (for the sacred and sole purpose of procreation), O Arjuna. (7.10-11)
Know that the three Gunas Sattvika, Rajasika, and Tamasika also emanate from Me. I am not in (or dependent on and affected by) the Gunas, but the Gunas are in (or dependent on) Me. (See also 9.04 and 9.05) (7.12)
Human beings are deluded by the various aspects of these three Gunas of nature; therefore, they do not know Me who is eternal and above these Gunas. (7.13)
This divine Maya of Mine, consisting of three Gunas or states of mind, is difficult to overcome. Only they who surrender unto Me cross over this Maya. (See also 14.26, 15.19, and 18.66) (7.14)
The evil doers, the ignorant, the lowest persons who are attached to demonic nature, and whose intellect has been taken away by Maya do not worship or seek Me. (7.15)
Four types of virtuous ones worship or seek Me, O Arjuna. They are: The distressed, the seeker of Self-knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the wise one who knows the Supreme. (See also TR 1.21.03) (7.16)
The term 'wise' has been used in verses 7.16-19 for a Jnani or the enlightened person who has true knowledge of the Supreme Being.
Whatever a person does is the product of desire. Nobody can ever do anything without the desire for it (MS 2.04). Desires cannot be completely wiped out. One should transmute the lower forms of selfish desires. The desire for Mukti is a higher or noble form of desire. The desire for devotional love for Krishna is regarded as the highest and the purest form of all human desires. It is said that the advanced devotees do not desire Mukti from the Lord. They long for loving devotional service to Krishna life after life.
The lower desires of devotees who approach Him for fulfillment become as roasted seeds that cannot sprout and grow into a big tree of desire. What really matters is the deep concentration of mind on Lord Krishna through feelings of devotion, love, hatred, fear, or even for material gain (BP 10.22.26).
Among them the wise one, who is ever united with Me and whose devotion is single minded, is the best. Because I am very dear to the wise, and the wise is very dear to Me. (7.17)
All these (seekers) are indeed noble, but I regard the enlightened as My very Self, because the one who is steadfast abides in My supreme abode. (See also 9.29) (7.18)
After many births the wise ones resort (or surrender) to Me by realizing that everything is, indeed, My (or Para-Brahma's) manifestation. Such a great soul is very rare. (7.19)
All this is, of course, Brahma, because everything is born from, rests in, and merges into Brahma (ChU 3.14.01). Indeed, all this is the immortal Brahma. He is everywhere. All this universe is indeed the Supreme Brahma (MuU 2.02.11). The Bible says: You are gods (John 10.34). The Vedas and Upanishads declare: Consciousness is Brahma (AiU 3.03 in Rigveda). I am Brahma (BrU 1.04.10 in Yajurveda). You are Brahma (ChU 6.08.07 in Samaveda). This Atma is Brahma (MaU 02 in Atharvaveda). That which is One has become all these (RV 8.58.02). The entire creation and every order of reality are nothing but another form of divinity.
The male musk deer, after a vain search for the cause of the scent of the musk, at last will have to find the musk in himself. After God-realization, one sees that it is the Spirit of God who has become the universe and all living beings. Everything is consciousness. The creation is like countless waves appearing in the ocean of consciousness by the wind of Maya. Everything, including the primordial divine energy called Maya, is nothing but a part and parcel of the Absolute.
Persons whose wisdom has been carried away by various desires impelled by their own Samskara, resort to demigods (or deities) and practice various religious rites. (7.20)
Whosoever desires to worship whatever deity (using any name, form, and method) with faith, I make their faith steady in that very deity. Endowed with steady faith they worship that deity, and obtain their wishes through that deity. Those wishes are, indeed, granted only by Me. (7.21-22)
The power of the deities comes from the Supreme Lord as the aroma of the wind comes from the flower (BP 6.04.34). God is the bestower of fruits of work (BS 3.02.38). The Lord fulfills all desires of His worshippers (BP 4.13.34). He fulfills all sincere and beneficial prayers of a devotee, if He is worshipped with love. The wise realize that all names and forms are His, whereas the ignorant play the game of holy war in the name of religion to seek personal gain at the cost of others.
It is said that whatever deity a person may worship, his or her all obeisance and prayers reach Para-Brahma as all water that falls as rain eventually reaches the ocean. Whatever name and form of divinity one adores is the worship of the same Para-Brahma, and one gets the reward of deity-worship performed with faith.
Such (material) gains of these less intelligent human beings are temporary. The worshipers of Devas go to Devas, but My devotees certainly come to Me. (7.23)
The ignorant ones - unable to understand My immutable, incomparable, incomprehensible, and transcendental form (or existence) - assume that I, the Para-Brahma Paramatma, am formless, and incarnate or take forms. (7.24)
The word 'Avyakta' has been used in verses 2.25, 2.28, 7.24, 8.18, 8.20, 8.21, 9.04, 12.01, 12.03, 12.05, and 13.05. It takes different meaning according to the context. It is used in the sense of unmanifest (or Adi) Prakriti, and also in the sense of Akshara Brahma. Para-Brahma, the Absolute Consciousness or Lord Krishna, is higher than both the unmanifest Prakriti and Akshara Brahma. 'Avyakta' does not mean formless; it means unmanifest or a transcendental form that is invisible to our physical eyes, and cannot be comprehended by human mind or described by words. Everything has a form. Nothing in the cosmos, including Para-Brahma, is formless. Every form is His form. Para-Brahma has Divya Rupa, a transcendental form and Supreme Personality. He is eternal, without any origin and end. The invisible is the basis of the visible world.
The meaning of this verse seems to contradict the common belief that Lord incarnates as mentioned in verses 4.06-08 and 9.11. It is said here that Para-Brahma is ever unmanifest, and as such He never becomes manifest. In a true sense Para-Brahma does not incarnate. He actually never leaves His Param Dhama, the Supreme Abode! It is the Shakti of His Apara-Brahma (or Avyakta Akshara Brahma) that does the work of creation, maintenance, incarnation, and destruction by using its innumerable powers.
Concealed by My divine Maya, I do not reveal Myself to the ignorant ones who do not know and understand My unborn, eternal, and transcendental form and personality. (7.25)
I know, O Arjuna, the beings of the past, of the present, and those of the future, but no one really knows Me. (7.26)
All beings in this world are in utter ignorance due to the delusion of dualities born of likes and dislikes, O Arjuna. Persons of virtuous (or unselfish) deeds, whose Karma or sin has come to an end, become free from the delusion of dualities and worship Me with firm resolve. (7.27-28)
Those who strive for freedom from (the cycles of birth,) old age, and death by taking refuge in Me fully comprehend Para-Brahma, the eternal nature of Brahma, and Karma. (7.29)
The steadfast persons, who know Me as the Adhibhuta, the Adhidaiva, and the Adhiyajna even at the time of death, attain Me. (See also 8.04) (7.30)
THE ETERNAL BRAHMA
Arjuna said: O Krishna, what is Brahma? What is Adhyatma? What is Karma? What is called Adhibhuta? And what is known as Adhidaiva? O Krishna, who is Adhiyajna, and how does He dwell in the body? How can You be remembered at the time of death by those who have control over their minds? (8.01-02)
The eternal Brahma is also referred to by various other names such as Brahman, Akshara-Brahma, Akshara-Purusha, and Apara-Brahma. We have used the word 'Brahma' in this rendering for eternal Brahma.
The Supreme Lord said: Akshara Brahma is the eternal supreme. The eternal nature (including the inherent power of cognition and desire) of Akshara Brahma is called Adhyatma. Kriya Shakti, the creative power of Akshara Brahma that causes manifestation of Jivatma, is called Karma. (8.03)
Jivatma is the subtle body. Jivatma or Jiva is also defined as Atma accompanied by the subtle (or astral) body. Jivatma is also called the living entity or the individual soul enshrined in the physical body. Subtle body is made up of six sensory faculties, intellect, ego, and five vital forces called Pranas. The subtle body keeps the physical body active and alive by operating the organs of perception and action.
All changeable objects are called Adhibhuta. The expansion of Divine Personality (such as Narayana, Maha-vishnu, Ishvara, etc.) is called Adhidaiva. I am Adhiyajna residing inside the body as
Ishvara, O Arjuna. (8.04)
The one who remembers Me exclusively even while leaving the body at the time of death, attains Me; there is no doubt about it. (See also PrU 3.10) (8.05)
Remembering whatever object one leaves the body at the end of life, one attains that object, O Arjuna, because of the constant thought of that object (one remembers that object at the end of life and achieves it). (See also ChU 3.14.01) (8.06)
If one has practiced devotion and God-consciousness during one's life time, the thought of God may or may not come at the hour of death. Therefore, God-consciousness should be continued till death (BS 1.1.12). Sages continue their efforts in their successive lives, yet at the moment of death they may fail to remember the Lord. Life should be molded in such a way that one should be able to remember God or the Supreme Lord Krishna at the time of death. People should practice God-consciousness in every day life from the very childhood by forming a habit of remembering God before taking any food, before going to bed, and before starting any work or study.
Therefore, always remember Me and do your duty. You shall certainly attain Me if your mind and intellect are ever focused on Me. (8.07)
By contemplating on Me with an unwavering mind, disciplined by the practice of meditation, one attains the Supreme Being, O Arjuna. (8.08)
One gets spiritual awakening and the vision of God by constantly thinking of God in meditation, Japa, and contemplation. The endeavor of the whole life shapes our destiny. Spiritual practices are meant to keep the mind absorbed in His thoughts and fixed at His lotus feet. Ramakrishna said that when you desire anything, pray to Mother Kali in a lonely place, with tears of sincerity in your eyes, and your wishes shall be fulfilled. He also said that it may be possible to attain SR within three days. The more intensely a person practices spiritual disciplines, the more quickly one attains perfection. The intensity of conviction and belief combined with deep yearning, restlessness, intense longing, and persistence determine the speed of spiritual progress. The real practice of Hatha yoga is not the yogic exercises taught in modern yoga centers, but the consistence, persistence, and insistence in one's search for the Supreme Truth, Krishna.
Self-realization is not a simple act but a process of steady gradual spiritual growth starting with Vrat or resolve, proceeding gradually to Diksha (or vow), grace, faith, and finally realization of the Truth (YV 19.30). Para-Brahma is not realized through discourses, intellect, or learning. It is realized only when one sincerely longs for it with vigorous effort. Sincere craving brings divine grace that unveils Para-Brahma (MuU 3.02.03). Brahma is the expansion of 'Sat' nature of Para-Brahma, or the Atma of Para-Brahma, Lord Krishna, to perform cosmic drama. Therefore, Brahma is also called Sat or Atma. If Para-Brahma is the seed, Brahma is the sprout.
The one who meditates on Para-Brahma as the omniscient, the oldest, the controller, smaller than the smallest (and bigger than the biggest), the sustainer of everything, the inconceivable, the self-luminous like the sun, and as transcendental or beyond the material reality at the time of death with steadfast mind and devotion; making the flow of Pranic impulse rise up to the middle of two eye brows by the power of yoga and holding there; attains Krishna, the Supreme Divine Person. (See also verses 4.29, 5.27, 6.13, and YV 31.18, KaU 2.20) (8.09-10)
I shall briefly explain to you (the process to attain) that supreme abode which the knowers of the Vedas call immutable; into which the ascetics, freed from attachment, enter; and desiring which people lead a life of celibacy. (See also KaU 2.15) (8.11)
When one leaves the physical body by controlling all the senses; focusing the mind on God, and Prana in the cerebrum; engaged in yogic practice while meditating on Me and uttering OM, the sacred monosyllable sound power of Brahma; one attains the Supreme Abode. (8.12-13)
The book knowledge has its place, but it is through direct realization that the inner core can be reached and the outer shell discarded. Meditation is the way to inner realization and should be learnt, personally, from a competent teacher. Realization of the true nature of mind leads to meditation.
A simple technique of meditation is described here: (1) Wash your face, eyes, hands, and feet; and sit in a clean, quiet, and dark place using any comfortable posture, with head, neck, and spine straight and vertical. No music or incense during meditation is recommended. The time and place of meditation should be fixed. Follow Yama and Niyama, the good principles of living, by thoughts, words, and deeds. Some yogic exercises are helpful. Midnight, morning, and evening are the best times to meditate for 15 to 25 minutes every day. (2) Remember any name or form of your personal God, Ishta Deva, you believe in and ask His or Her blessings. (3) Close your eyes, take 5-10 very slow and deep breaths. (4) Fix your gaze, mind, and feelings inside the chest center, the seat of the causal heart, and breathe slowly. Mentally chant "So" as you breathe in and "Hum" as you breathe out. Think as if breath itself is making these sounds So and Hum (I am That spirit). Mentally visualize and follow the route of breath going in through the nostrils, up towards the mid-brows, and down to the chest center, or the lungs. Do not try to control or lead your breathing just follow the natural breathing. (5) Direct the will towards the thought of merging yourself into the infinite space of the air you are breathing. If mind wanders away from following the breaths, start from step (3). Be regular, and persist without procrastination.
The sound of OM is a conjugation of three primary sounds: A, U, and M. It is the source of all sound one can utter. Therefore, it is the fittest sound symbol of Brahma. It is also the primeval impulse that moves our five nerve centers that control bodily functions. Yogananda calls OM as the sound of the vibration of the cosmic motor. The Bible says: In the beginning was the word (OM, Amen, Allah) and the word was with God, and the word was God (John 1.01). This cosmic (or Anahat) sound vibration is heard by yogis as a sound, or a mixture of sounds, of various frequencies.
The Omnic meditation, mentioned here by the Lord, is a very powerful and sacred technique used by the saints and sages of all religions. It combines Patanjali's last six steps into three easy steps, and will be given to sincere seekers without any fees upon a written request to the American Gita Society, 511 Lowell Place, Fremont, California 94536-1805. E-mail: gitaprasadnaol.com after they have practiced above discussed meditation technique for couple of months. Briefly, the Omnic method entails absorption of Citta into a continuous, reverberating sound of OM.
I am easily attainable, O Arjuna, by that ever steadfast yogi who always thinks of Me and whose mind does not go elsewhere. (8.14)
After attaining Me, the great souls do not incur rebirth in this miserable transitory world, because they have attained the highest perfection. (8.15)
Human birth is full of suffering. Even the saints, sages, and Avatars cannot escape the sufferings of human body and mind. One has to learn to endure and work towards Mukti.
The dwellers of all the worlds up to and including the world of Brahmaa are subject to (the miseries of) repeated birth and death. But, after attaining Me, O Arjuna, one does not take birth again. (See also 9.25) (8.16)
Those who know that the day of Brahmaa lasts one thousand Yugas (or 4.32 billion years) and that his night also lasts one thousand Yugas, they are the knowers of day and night. (8.17)
All manifestations come out of di Prakriti at the arrival of Brahmaa's day, and they again merge into the same at the coming of Brahmaa's night. (8.18)
The same multitude of beings comes into existence again and again at the arrival of the day of Brahmaa, and is annihilated, inevitably, at the arrival of Brahmaa's night. (8.19)
According to the Vedas, creation is a beginningless and endless cycle and there is no such thing as the first creation.
There is another eternal transcendental existence higher than the changeable Prakriti that does not perish when all beings perish. This is called Avyakta Akshara Brahma. This is also said to be Parama-Dhama, the Supreme Abode. Those who attain My Supreme Abode do not return (or take rebirth). (8.20-21)
This Supreme Abode, O Arjuna, is attainable by unswerving devotion to Me within which all beings exist, and by which all this universe is pervaded. (See also 9.04 and 11.55) (8.22)
O Arjuna, now I shall describe different paths departing by which, during death, the yogis do or do not come back. (8.23)
Fire, light, daytime, the bright lunar fortnight, and the six months of the northern solstice of the sun - departing by the path of these demigods the yogis, who know Brahma, attain Brahma. (See also ChU 4.15.05, 5.10.01, BrU 6.2.15, PrU 1.10, and IsU 18) (8.24)
This Upanishadic verse is considered to be one of the most mysterious and misunderstood verse in Gita according to Yogananda. There are thousands of Nadis (the subtle and gross nerves) in the human body. Only one of them goes towards Brahmarandhra, the cerebral opening in the seventh Cakra. If Prana passes out of the body through that (Sushumna) Nadi, by virtue of meditation on the five fires or Cakras, Jiva reaches the Supreme and attains Mukti (ChU 8.6.06, KaU 6.16, BS 4.2.17).
Anyone who knows the meditation on the five Cakras becomes virtuous and pure, and like a lotus leaf does not become besmeared with sin (ChU 5.10.10). This is known as Krama-mukti, the gradual emancipation of soul from the lower centers (of food and emotions) via Devayana, the path leading to demigods. What appears to refer to the auspicious times of departure of Jiva in this verse, refers only to the presiding deities of various Cakras in the astral plane of the body. The kingdom of heaven is within all of us. All spheres or Lokas of the macrocosm are represented in our body, in microcosmic form, as the seven Cakras or astral centers. Devas, the different aspects of the cosmic intelligence, that govern the forces of nature also reside in the astral centers of the body and control the forces that work upon the body.
The Upanishad (ChU 5.10.01) also refers to a superhuman person or Deva. According to the gurus of Kriya-yoga this superbeing is Kundalini Shakti, the serpent power. This interpretation is thus supported by Shruti, the Upanishad. Ramakrishna also said that spiritual consciousness is not possible without awakening of Kundalini. When the mind rises upward by the power of Kundalini and reaches the seventh Cakra, it merges with Brahma in the eighth plane. Yogic scriptures say: As long as the Kundalini power remains dormant in the lower center, one cannot get success through Japa, meditation, and worship.
Smoke, night, the dark lunar fortnight, and the six months of southern solstice of the sun - departing by these paths, the righteous person attains lunar light (or heaven) and reincarnates. (See also 9.21, ChU 5.10.03-05, BS 3.01.08) (8.25)
Those who attain heaven reincarnate when the fruits of their virtuous deeds are exhausted (MuU 1.02.09). If the soul goes out by any other path, other than Sushumna Nadi, one does not attain emancipation; and undergoes repeated births and deaths.
The path of light (of spiritual practice and Self-knowledge) and the path of darkness (of materialism and ignorance) are thought to be the world's two eternal paths. The former leads to Mukti and the latter leads to rebirth. (8.26)
The Upanishad (BrU 6.02.15-16) describes a third path, the path of the lower creatures such as animals and insects. Unrighteous ones, who do not qualify for either path, transmigrate into the lower wombs such as animals, birds, insects, etc. The immortal soul wanders endlessly through the ocean of transmigration made up of 8.4 million different species of life on this planet. The good Lord, out of His sweet will or mercy and without any reason, bestows the precious gift of the human body that is like a raft to carry one across the ocean of transmigration (TR 7.43.02). It is also said that human birth, faith in God, and the help of a Guru come only by His grace. Our present life provides the opportunity for preparation for the next life. According to the activities in this life, one can either get a promotion or Mukti; a demotion or transmigration; or another chance for Mukti by reincarnating as a human being.
Knowing these two paths, O Arjuna, a yogi is not bewildered at all. Therefore, O Arjuna, be steadfast in yoga with Me at all times. (8.27)
The yogi who knows all this goes beyond getting the benefits of the study of the Vedas, performance of sacrifices, austerities, and charities, and attains Parama Dhama, the Supreme Eternal Abode. (8.28)
SUPREME KNOWLEDGE AND
THE BIG MYSTERY
The Supreme Lord said: I shall reveal to you, who do not disbelieve, the most profound secret knowledge of both Brahma and Para-Brahma. Having known this you will be freed from the miseries of worldly existence. (9.01)
This knowledge is the king of all knowledge, is the most secret, is very sacred, it can be perceived by instinct, conforms to Dharma, is very easy to practice, and is timeless. (9.02)
The word 'Raja' in the Chapter heading may also stand for the Supreme King, Lord Krishna, at His Parama Dhama that is beyond Akshara Dhama. This Chapter may also be entitled: The Secret Knowledge of the King.
O Arjuna, those who have no faith in this knowledge follow the cycle of birth and death without attaining Me. (9.03)
Everything is possible for the person who has faith in God (Mark 9.23). Faith in the Supreme power holds the key to unlock the gates of Mukti.
This entire universe is the expansion of My di Prakriti (or Avyakta Akshara Brahma). All beings depend on (or remain in) Me (like a chain depends on gold, and yogurt depends on milk). I do not depend on them (because I am the highest of all). (See also 7.12) (9.04)
From a Dvaitic or dualistic view point, waves depend on the ocean, the ocean does not depend on the waves. But, from an Advaitic or non-dualistic point of view, as stated in verse 9.05 below, the question of wave abiding in the ocean or the ocean abiding in the wave does not arise, because there is no wave or ocean. It is water only. Similarly, everything is a manifestation of Brahma only (Gita 7.19).
Look at the power of My divine mystery that, in reality, I the sustainer and creator of all beings do not depend on them and they also do not depend on Me. (In reality, the chain does not depend on gold; the chain is nothing but gold. Also, matter and energy are different as well as non-different). (See also BP 2.09.34-36) (9.05)
The wave is the water, but the water is not the wave. The water has become the vapor, the cloud, the rain, the ice, as well as the bubble, the lake, the river, the wave, and the ocean. These are nothing but names of different forms (or transformations) of water. From a non-dualistic view point, there is no ocean, no wave, no lake, but water only. However, a wave is a wave as long as it does not realize its true nature that it is not a wave but water. When the wave realizes that it is water, the wave no longer remains a wave, but becomes water. Similarly, when one realizes that he or she is not this physical body, but Brahma in the form of Atma residing inside the physical body, one transcends physical body and immediately becomes one with Brahma without undergoing any physical change. As a physical body, one is mortal, limited by a form, has color, gender, and temperament. But as Atma, one is free, immortal, and limitless Brahma. This is called Moksha.
Perceive that all beings remain in Me (without any contact or without producing any effect) as the mighty wind, moving everywhere, eternally remains in space. (9.06)
Gross objects, such as planets and stars, remain in the subtle space without any visible connection at all. Similarly, the entire universe, including the space itself, abides in the unified field called Brahma or supreme consciousness. Time has no access to space, similarly supreme consciousness is everlasting, indivisible, and unaffected by everything going on in its field like clouds do not make the sky wet.
All beings merge into My di Prakriti at the end of a Kalpa (or a cycle of 4.32 billion years), O Arjuna, and I create (or manifest) them again at the beginning of the next Kalpa. (9.07)
As a spider spreads out the web from within, plays in it, and again draws the web into itself, similarly, Brahma creates this world or Jagat from itself, plays in it as Jiva, and takes it into itself during dissolution (BP 11.09.21). All manifestations are born, sustained, and finally merge in Brahma like a bubble of water is born, sustained, and merges in water. Brahma manifests itself into the universe by using its own internal power without the help of any external agent. It is possible for one Brahma - by virtue of possession of diverse powers - to be transformed into multiplicity without any outside help. Brahma is thus both the efficient and the material cause of the creation.
I create the entire multitude of beings again and again with the help of My Prakriti (or Maya). These beings are under the control of (the Gunas of) Prakriti. (9.08)
These acts of creation do not bind Me, O Arjuna, because I remain indifferent and unattached to those acts. (9.09)
Maya with the help of Prakriti creates all animate and inanimate objects under My supervision, and thus the creation keeps on going, O Arjuna. (See also 14.03) (9.10)
The ignorant persons despise Me when I appear in human form, because they do not know My transcendental nature as the great Lord of all beings (and take Me for an ordinary human being). Because they have false hopes, false actions, and false knowledge; and possess delusive (or Tamasika) qualities (See 16.04-18) of fiends and demons, (and are unable to recognize Me). (9.11-12)
When Lord Krishna was here on this earth, in spite of the fact that He did many transcendental and extraordinary feats, only few people were able to recognize Him as Paramatma. Even King Yudhishthira was quite surprised to learn from sage Narada that his (King's) cousin brother, Krishna, is Para-Brahma Himself in human form (BP 7.15.79). The moral is that Para-Brahma can not be known without one's good Karma and His personal grace.
But great souls, O Arjuna, who possess divine qualities (See 16.01-03) know Me as immutable and the (material and efficient) cause of creation, and worship Me single mindedly with loving devotion. (9.13)
Persons of firm resolve worship Me with ever steadfast devotion by always singing My glories, striving to attain Me, and prostrating before Me with devotion. (9.14)
Some worship Me by knowledge sacrifice. Others worship the infinite as the One in all (or non-dual), as the master of all (or dual), and in various other ways. (9.15)
I am the ritual, I am the Yajna, I am the offering, I am the herb, I am the mantra, I am the Ghi, I am the fire, and I am the oblation. (See also 4.24). I am the supporter of the universe, the father, the mother, and the grandfather. I am the object of knowledge, the sacred syllable OM, and also the Rig, the Yajur, and the Sama Vedas. I am the goal, the supporter, the Lord, the witness, the abode, the refuge, the friend, the origin, the dissolution, the foundation, the substratum, and the immutable seed. (See also 7.10 and 10.39) (9.16-18)
I give heat, I send as well as withhold the rain. I am immortality as well as death, I am also both Sat (or Akshara) and Asat (or Kshara), O Arjuna. (Para-Brahma is everything, See also 13.12) (9.19)
The doers of the rituals prescribed in the three Vedas and the drinkers of the juice of Soma (or devotion), whose sins are cleansed, worship Me by Yajna for gaining heaven. As a result of their meritorious deeds they go to heaven and enjoy celestial sense pleasures. (9.20)
They return to the mortal world after enjoying the wide world of heavenly pleasures upon exhaustion of their good Karma (or Punya). Thus following the injunctions of the three Vedas, persons working for the fruit of their actions take repeated birth and death. (See also 8.25) (9.21)
I personally take care of (both the material and spiritual) welfare of those ever steadfast devotees who always remember or worship Me with single minded contemplation. (9.22)
Wealth and happiness automatically come to the righteous person without asking for it, as the river automatically goes to the ocean (TR 1.293.02). Material wealth naturally comes to the virtuous person as river water naturally flows downstream (VP 1.11.24). Lord Rama said: I always take care of those who worship Me with unswerving devotion as a mother takes care of her child (TR 3.42.03). It is not possible to succeed in any endeavor without the grace of three Mothers: Kali, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati. Therefore, worship of the Mother form of the Lord is encouraged for the seekers of health, wealth, and knowledge.
Father in the heaven knows all of what you need. Give first place to His Kingdom, and what He requires. He will provide you everything (Matthew 6.32-33). Nothing is difficult to obtain when I am pleased, but a pure devotee whose mind is exclusively fixed upon Me does not ask anything, including Mukti, but the opportunity to serve Me (BP 6.09.48). The Lord chooses much better things for you if you let Him be your guide by surrendering unto His will.
O Arjuna, even those devotees who worship demigods with faith, they also worship Me, but in an improper way. (9.23)
There is only one Absolute, the wise call (and worship) Him by various names (RV 1.164.46). The worship of the divine as Mother is also found in the Vedas where the sage longs to be a child of the divine Mother (RV 7.81.04). The absolute has manifested in the glory of creation as Devas, who are the One with many names and forms (RV 3.55.01). Brahma is a woman, a man, a boy, a girl, and an old person. He exists in all forms (AV 10.08.27). All deities, male or female, are representations of the One divine. He is One in many and many in One. One should not worship the material objects in the creation such as family, friends, and possessions; but one can worship the creator in material objects, because He is in all rocks. The Vedic principle of demigods does not diversify the Unity, but unifies the diversity. Deities are just different names and forms, or symbolic representations, of the energies of nature.
The deity is a conduit through which the water of divine grace can be made to flow by the power of conviction expressed through worship and prayer from the reservoir of infinite consciousness. However, the seedling of faith becomes the fruit tree of conviction only when it comes out of the ground of Jnana and survives the frost of logic. We evoke the potential energy of cosmic forces by contemplating on deities. Joseph Campbell said: "The images of myth are reflections of the spiritual potentialities of everyone of us, and deities stimulate divine love." All different types of worship reach One and the same Lord as waters of all different rivers reach the same ocean. External worship with the help of an image or symbolic representation of God is necessary for the beginners. Next step is the chanting of hymns and repetition of divine name, the Japa. The next stage is meditation. The practice of Brahma-consciousness, or seeing Brahma manifested through every individual, is the highest spiritual development.
Because I, Para-Brahma Paramatma, alone am the enjoyer of all Yajna, and the Lord of the universe. But, people do not know My true transcendental nature. Therefore, they fall (into the repeated cycles of birth and death). (9.24)
Worshippers of the demigods go to the demigods, the worshippers of the ancestors go to the ancestors, and the worshippers of the ghosts go to the ghosts, but My devotees come to Me (and are not born again). (See also 8.16) (9.25)
Whosoever offers Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water with devotion; I accept and eat the offering of devotion by the pure hearted. (See also BP 10.81.04) (9.26)
The Lord is hungry for love and the feeling of devotion. A dedicated heart, not complicated rituals, is needed to please God and obtain His grace. One should eat food after offering to God first. He eats the food offerings to please the devotees. The mind becomes purified when one eats food after offering it first to the Lord.
O Arjuna, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as oblation to the sacred fire, whatever charity you give, whatever austerity you perform, do all that as an offering unto Me. (See also 12.10, 18.46) (9.27)
The love for fame is a fire that can destroy all yoga and austerity. The power of Maya is formidable. It betrays everyone, including the yogis, unless one does everything for God.
You shall become free from the bondage, good and bad, of Karma by this attitude of complete renunciation (or Samnyasa-yoga). Becoming liberated, you shall come to Me. (9.28)
The Self is present equally in all beings. There is no one hateful or dear to Me. But, those who worship Me with love and devotion, they are with Me and I am also with them. (See also 7.18) (9.29)
I am with the Father and the Father is with Me (John 10.38 and 14.11). Ask and it shall be given. Seek and you shall find (Matthew 7.07). God's grace is just for the asking. The doors of devotion are open to all, but the faithful and the dedicated ones who burn the incense of devotion in the temple of their heart become one with the Lord. A father loves all his children equally, but the child who is devoted to the father is more dear although he or she may not be very rich, intelligent, or powerful. Similarly, a devotee is very dear to the Lord. One attains perfection - by the grace of God - through the practice of spiritual discipline. Both self-effort and grace are needed. According to the Vedas, God helps only those who help themselves (RV 4.33.11). Yogananda said: God chooses those who chose Him.
The grace of God, like rays of the sun, is equally available to all, but due to free will one must open the window of the heart to let the sunshine come. It is said that divinity is our birthright, however, self-effort in the right direction is also necessary to remove hindrances brought about by our own past deeds. The grace of God comes expeditiously through our own efforts. It is also believed that divine grace and self-effort are one and the same. The self-effort promotes the process of God-realization as manure promotes growth of plants.
Even if the most sinful person resolves to worship Me with single minded loving devotion, such a person must be regarded as a saint because of making the right resolution. (9.30)
There are no unforgivable sins or sinners. The fire of sincere repentance burns all sins. The Koran says: Those who believe in Allah, and do right action, He will forgive their evil deeds (Surah 64.09). Every saint had a past, and every sinner has a future. Yogananda used to say: A saint is the sinner who never gave up. The Bible says: Everyone who believes in Him shall have eternal life (John 3.15). Acts of Japa, austerity, service, and charity done without any selfish motive can atone sinful acts, as darkness vanishes after sunrise (MB 3.207.57).
Such a person soon becomes righteous and attains everlasting peace. Be aware, O Arjuna, that My devotee will never perish or fall down. (9.31)
Anybody, including women, merchants, laborers, and the evil minded can attain the Supreme Abode by just surrendering unto My will (with loving devotion), O Arjuna. (See also 18.66) (9.32)
A Sadhana should be commensurate with the faith, interest, and ability of the person. Some may be disqualified, or not ready to receive the knowledge of the Supreme, but the path of devotion is open to all. No one is disqualified - due to caste, creed, gender, or mental capacity - to receive devotion. The path of devotion is considered the easiest and the best of all paths by most saints and sages.
Then, it should be very easy for the holy Brahmanas and devout royal sages (to attain the Supreme Being). Therefore, having obtained this joyless and transient human life, one should always worship Me with loving devotion. (9.33)
Jiva, under the spell of Maya, goes through the repeated cycles of birth and death. The Lord, out of His grace, gives Jiva a human body that is very difficult to obtain. The human body, created in the image of God, is the jewel of creation, and has the capacity to deliver the soul from the net of transmigration to the higher levels of existence. All other forms of life on the earth, except human life, is devoid of higher intellect and discrimination.
As a tiger suddenly comes and takes away a lamb from the flock, similarly, death takes away a person unexpectedly. Therefore, Sadhana and righteous deeds should be performed without waiting for a proper time to come (MB 12.175.13). The goal and obligations of human birth is to seek Him. The search for God should not wait. One should continue this search parallel with other duties of life, otherwise it may be too late.
Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me, and bow down to Me. Thus uniting yourself with Me by setting Me as the supreme goal and the sole refuge, you shall certainly realize (or come to) Me. (9.34)
MANIFESTATION OF THE ABSOLUTE
The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, listen once again to My supreme word that I shall speak to you, who is very dear to Me, for your welfare. (10.01)
Neither the Devas nor the great sages know My origin, because I am the origin of all Devas and great sages also. (10.02)
One who knows Me as the unborn, the beginningless, and the Supreme Lord of the universe, is considered wise among the mortals, and becomes liberated from the bondage of Karma. (10.03)
Discrimination, knowledge, non-delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, control over the mind and senses, tranquillity, pleasure, pain, birth, death, fear, fearlessness; nonviolence, equanimity, contentment, austerity, charity, fame, ill fame these diverse qualities in human beings arise from Me alone. (10.04-05)
If you forgive others, your Father in heaven will also forgive you (Matthew 6.14). Resist no evil with evil (Matthew 5.39). Love your enemies, and pray for those who mistreat you (Matthew 5.44). Anger, controlled by the forgiver, does great harm and takes away Punya (or the good Karma) of the wrong doer if the wrong doer does not ask forgiveness (MB 5.36.05). The one who does wrong is destroyed (by the same act of wrong doing) if he or she does not ask forgiveness (MS 2.163). The one who truly forgives the trespassers is happy, because the anger of the forgiver is exterminated. Progress in spiritual discipline is impeded if one's interpersonal relationship is full of hurts and negative feelings for even a single human being (See also 16.03). Even the virtue has its own vice. Forgiveness may often be construed as a sign of weakness; therefore, clemency is the strength of the strong, and a virtue for the weak. A person should be forgiven if he or she has sincerely asked forgiveness, if it is the first offense, if the offense was not intentional, and if the offender has been helpful in the past. The tool of punishment may be used, without a sense of revenge, to correct and teach the intentional and repeated offenders.
The seven great sages, the more ancient four Sanakas, and fourteen Manus from whom all these creatures of the world were born, originated from My potential energy. (10.06)
One who truly understands My manifestations and yogic powers, is united with Me in unswerving devotion. There is no doubt about this. (10.07)
I am the origin of all. Everything emanates from Me. Understanding this, the wise ones worship Me with love and devotion. (10.08)
That which is One has become this all (RV 8.58.02).
These wise devotees remain ever content and delighted. Their minds remain absorbed in Me, and their lives surrendered unto Me. They always enlighten each other by talking about Me. (10.09)
To those who are ever united with Me and lovingly adore Me, I give the understanding of the metaphysical knowledge by which they come to Me. (10.10)
Those who receive him and believe in him, he makes them come to the Father in heaven (John 1.12). Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter therein (Luke 18.17).
I who dwell within their inner psyche (as consciousness) destroy the darkness born of ignorance by the shining lamp of transcendental knowledge as an act of compassion for them. (10.11)
All other forms of Krishna can be achieved by different means of worship, but Krishna Himself can be achieved only by devotion and exclusive love (Chimanbhai). The lamp of spiritual knowledge and God-realization can be easily ignited by the intense spark of devotion, but never by intellect and logic alone.
Arjuna said: You are the supreme Brahma, the supreme abode, the supreme purifier, the eternal divine being, the primal God, the unborn, and the omnipresent. All sages have thus acclaimed You. The divine sage Narada, Asita, Devala, Vyasa, and You Yourself tell me. (10.12-13)
O Krishna, I believe all that You have told me to be true. O Lord, neither the Devas nor the demons fully understand Your real nature. (See also 4.06) (10.14)
O Creator and Lord of all beings, God of all demigods, Supreme person and Lord of the universe, You alone know Yourself by Yourself. (10.15)
The Vedas left the final question on the origin of ultimate reality unanswered by stating that nobody knows the ultimate source from where this creation has come. Sages went further by stating that perhaps even He does not know (RV 10.129.06-07). The one who says that I know Brahma does not know; the one who knows the Truth says that I do not know. Brahma is the unknown to a person of true knowledge, it is known only to the ignorant (KeU 2.01-03). The ultimate source of cosmic energy is and will remain a big mystery.
(Therefore), You alone are able to fully describe Your own divine glories the manifestations by which You exist pervading all the universes. (10.16)
How may I know You, O Lord, by constant contemplation? In what form (of manifestation) are You to be thought of by me, O Lord? (10.17)
O Lord, explain to me again in detail, Your yogic power and glory; because I am not satiated by hearing Your nectar-like words. (10.18)
The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, now I shall explain to you My prominent divine manifestations, because My manifestations are endless. (10.19)
O Arjuna, I am the Atma abiding in the inner psyche of all beings. I am also the beginning, the middle, and the end of all beings. (10.20)
Atma has no origin and is a property of Para-Brahma as the sunlight is a property of the sun (BS 2.03.17). Para-Brahma and Atma are like sun and sunlight, different as well as non-different (BS 3.02.28). The spirit or Atma within living beings is called Chetana or Ishvara. The same spirit behind the universe is called Brahma. Atma is different from the body as fire is different from the wood.
Atma, the universal consciousness, cannot be known by the senses, mind, and intellect; because the senses, mind, and intellect get their power to function from Atma alone (KeU 1.06). Atma supplies power and supports the senses as the air burns and supports the fire (MB 12.203.03). Atma is the basis and support behind every form of power, movement, intellect, and life in this universe. It is the power by which one sees, hears, smells, thinks, loves, hates, and desires objects.
I am Vishnu among the (twelve) sons of Aditi, I am the radiant sun among the luminaries, I am Marichi among the demigods of wind, I am the moon among the stars. (10.21)
Similar expressions are also found in the Vedas (RV 4.26.01, and 9.96.06).
I am the Samaveda among the Vedas, I am Indra among the Devas, I am the mind among the senses, I am the consciousness in living beings. (10.22)
I am Shiva among the Rudras, (I am) Kubera among the Yakshas and demons, I am the fire among the Vasus, and I am Meru among the mountains. (10.23)
Among the priests, O Arjuna, know Me to be the chief, Brihaspati. Among the army generals, I am Skanda, I am the ocean among the bodies of water. (10.24)
I am Bhrigu among the great sages, I am the monosyllable OM among the words, I am Japa-yajna among the Yajna, and I am the Himalaya among the immovables. (10.25)
Japa is considered the easiest and the most powerful method of Self-realization in the present age by all saints and sages such as Tulasidasa, Nanak, Lord Caitanya, Prabhupada, and others. Constant mental repetition of a mantra such as Shri Rama, Jai Rama, Jai Jai Rama with faith will drive sound vibrations into the deeper layers of mind where it works like a damper in preventing the rise of the waves of negative thoughts and ideas leading the way to the inner awakening in due course of time. Meditation is the extended and higher stage of Japa. One must first practice Japa before going into transcendental meditation. Swami Harihar says: There should be no desire to gain any worldly objects in exchange for the repetition of the divine name. The spiritual force of divine name should not be applied even for the destruction of sin. It should be resorted to for divine realization only.
The form of the Lord cannot be known, or comprehended by human mind without a name. If one chants, or meditates on the name without seeing the form, the form flashes on the screen of the mind as an object of love. Saint Tulasidasa said: Place the lamp of the name of the Lord near the door of your tongue if you want the light both inside and outside. The name is greater than both transcendental (or impersonal), and personal aspects of Brahma, because the power of name has control over both aspects of Brahma (TR 1.21-26). Guru Nanak said: The best of all efforts is to always remember and repeat the name of God.
I am the Pipal (or banyan) tree among the trees, Narada among the sages, Chitraratha among the Gandharvas, and sage Kapila among the Siddhas. (10.26)
Know Me as Uchchaihshravas manifested during the time of churning the ocean along with nectar among the horses, Airavata among the elephants, and the King among men. I am thunderbolt among the weapons, Kamadhenu among the cows, and I am the cupid for the procreation. Among the serpents, I am Vasuki. (10.27-28)
I am Sheshanaga among the Nagas, I am Varuna among the water-gods, and Aryama among the manes. I am Yama among the controllers. I am Prahlada among Diti's progeny, time or death among the healers, lion among the beasts, and the Garuda among birds. (10.29-30)
I am the wind among the purifiers, and Lord Rama among the warriors. I am the crocodile among the fishes, and the holy Ganga among the rivers. (10.31)
I am the beginning, the middle, and the end of all creation, O Arjuna. Among the knowledge I am knowledge of the supreme Self. I am logic of the logician. (10.32)
I am the letter "A" among the alphabets. I am the dual compound among the compound words. I am Akshaya Kala, the endless time. I am the sustainer of all, and have faces on all sides (or I am omniscient). (10.33)
Akshaya Kala, the endless time, is also called Akala Purusha or Kala Niranjana. It is the time form of Lord Krishna.
I am the all devouring death, and also the origin of future beings. I am the seven goddesses presiding over the seven qualities fame, prosperity, speech, memory, intellect, resolve, and forgiveness. (10.34)
I am Brihatsama among the Sama hymns. I am Gayatri among the Vedic mantras (or meters), I am Margashirsha (November-December) among the months, I am the spring among the seasons. (10.35)
I am the gambling of the cheats, I am the splendor of the splendid; I am victory (of the victorious), I am resolution (of the resolute); I am the goodness of the good. (10.36)
Both the good and the bad are product of duality of Maya. Maya creates a multitude of merits and demerits that have no real existence. The wise do not attach too much importance to it. One should develop the good qualities and get rid of the bad ones. After enlightenment, both good and bad, virtue and vice are transcended as darkness vanishes after the sunrise. Vice and virtue are not two things, but one, the difference being only in the degree of manifestation. It is true that God also dwells in the most sinful beings; but it is not proper that one should hate them or associate with them. Gandhi said: Hate the sin and not the sinner.
One should view the marvelous cosmic drama, full of dualistic scenes of life, with ever joyous heart; because there is no good or evil; only different masks of the cosmic actor. The Vedas denounce the idea of growing rich by unfair means such as gambling, gifts, and bribes. It recommends honest labor, sweat of the brows such as cultivating the corn field, that is good for society as well as the individual (RV 10.34.13).
I am Vasudeva among the Vrishni family, Arjuna among the Pandavas, Vyasa among the sages, and Ushana among the poets. (10.37)
I am the power of rulers, the statesmanship of the seekers of victory, I am silence among the secrets, and the Self-knowledge of the knowledgeable. (10.38)
I am the origin or seed of all beings, O Arjuna. There is nothing, animate or inanimate, that can exist without Me. (See also 7.10 and 9.18) (10.39)
A big banyan tree with many branches, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds remains inside a tiny seed in unmanifest form, and becomes manifest again and again into a tree. The tree again becomes unmanifest into the seed. Similarly, all manifestations (or Jagat) remain in Brahma in unmanifest form and become manifest during the creation and unmanifest during the dissolution again and again. The fruit remains hidden in the seed and the seed in the fruit; similarly, God is in the human beings and human beings in God.
There is no end of My divine manifestations, O Arjuna. This is only a brief description by Me of the extent of My divine manifestations. (10.40)
The variety in the universe, beginning from the highest demigod to the smallest insects and even the inert dust, is nothing but a manifestation of One and the same Absolute.
Whatever is endowed with glory, brilliance, and power; know that to be a manifestation of a fraction of My splendor. (10.41)
Through the word, His cosmic sound vibration, God made all things; not one thing in the creation was made without His cosmic energy (John 1.03). This cosmic manifestation or Jagat is non-separate from Brahma, just as the sunshine is not separate from the sun (BP 4.31.16). Like the sun's rays, we are not fragments, but a partial revelation and the part and parcel of the infinite. The divine manifests Its glory through the creation. The beauty and splendor of the visible universe are only a small fraction of His glory.
What is the need for this detailed knowledge, O Arjuna? I continually support the entire universe by a small fraction of My Yoga-maya, or energy. (See also ChU 3.12.06) (10.42)
Quantitatively, the manifest creation is only one quarter of Him (RV 10.90.03). The universe reflects the divine splendor for human beings to see the invisible Lord. One should learn to perceive God not only as a person or vision, but also through His splendor as manifested in the universe; and through His laws that govern and control nature and life. He is Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram; the existence, goodness, and beauty.
VISION OF THE COSMIC FORM
Arjuna said: My illusion is dispelled by Your profound words, that You spoke out of compassion towards me, about the supreme secret of Brahma. (11.01)
O Krishna, I have heard from You in detail about the origin and dissolution of beings, and Your immutable glory. (11.02)
O Lord, You are as You have said, yet I wish to see Your divine cosmic form, O Supreme Being. (11.03)
O Lord, if You think it is possible for me to see this, then, O Lord of the yogis, show me Your immutable Self. (11.04)
The faith in God rests on a shaky ground without a psychic vision of the object of devotion. All our Sadhana is aimed at this vision. The vision is essential to overcome the last bit of emotional impurity in us; because, to a human mind seeing is believing. Therefore, Arjuna, like any other devotee, longs to see the transcendental form of the Lord.
The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, behold My hundreds and thousands of multifarious divine forms of different colors and shapes. (11.05)
See the dityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Ashvins, and the Maruts. Behold, O Arjuna, many wonders never seen before. (11.06)
O Arjuna, now behold the entire creation animate, inanimate, and whatever else you like to see all at one place in My body. (11.07)
But, you are not able to see Me with your physical eye; therefore, I give you the divine eye to see My majestic power and glory. (11.08)
No one can see Him with the physical eye. His transcendental form is beyond our field of vision. He is revealed through the faculty of intuition of the intellect that residing within the inner psyche controls the mind. Those who know Him become immortal (KaU 6.09). We, like color blinds, are not able to see the full range of cosmic color and light with human eyes. The divine vision, which is a gift of God, is needed to see the beauty and glory of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Shri Krishna.
Sanjaya said: O King, having said this; Lord Krishna, the great Lord of (the mystic power of) yoga, revealed His supreme majestic form to Arjuna. (11.09)
Arjuna saw the Universal Form of the Lord with many mouths and eyes, and many visions of marvel, with numerous divine ornaments, and holding many divine weapons. Wearing divine garlands and apparel, anointed with celestial perfumes and ointments, full of all wonders, the limitless God with faces on all sides. (11.10-11)
If the splendor of thousands of suns were to blaze forth all at once in the sky, even that would not resemble the splendor of that exalted being. (11.12)
He came to tell about the light. This was the real light, the light that comes into the world and sustains everything (John 1.09). O Lord, not even a million suns could match You (RV 8.70.05).
Arjuna saw the entire universe, divided in many ways, but standing as (all in) One (and One in all) in the body of Krishna, the God of demigods. (See also 13.16, and 18.20) (11.13)
Then Arjuna, filled with wonder and his hairs standing on end, bowed his head to the Lord and prayed with folded hands. (11.14)
Arjuna said: O Lord, I see in Your body all demigods and multitude of beings, all sages, celestial serpents, Lord Shiva as well as Lord Brahmaa seated on the lotus. (11.15)
O Lord of the universe, I see You everywhere with infinite form, with many arms, stomachs, faces, and eyes. O Universal Form, I see neither your beginning nor the middle nor the end. (11.16)
Brahma is omnipresent, all pervading, beginningless, and endless.
I see You with Your crown, club, discus; and a mass of radiance, difficult to behold, shining all around like the immeasurable brilliance of the sun and the blazing fire. (11.17)
I believe You are Para-Brahma, the Supreme Being, to be realized. You are the ultimate resort of the universe. You are the protector of eternal Dharma, and the eternal primal person. (11.18)
I see You with infinite power, without beginning, middle, or end; with many arms, with the sun and the moon as Your eyes, with Your mouth as a blazing fire scorching all the universe with Your radiance. (11.19)
The entire space between heaven and earth is pervaded by You only in all directions. Seeing Your marvelous and terrible form, the three Lokas or worlds are trembling with fear, O Lord. (11.20)
The three Lokas are: Kshara Loka (or Vishnu Loka in Brahmandakasha), Akshara Dhama in Paramakasha, and Parama Dhama, the ultimate Krishna Loka.
These hosts of demigods enter into You. Some with folded hands sing Your names and glories in fear. A multitude of Maharshis and Siddhas hail and adore You with abundant praises. (11.21)
The Rudras, dityas, Vasus, Sadhyas, Vishvadevas, Ashvins, Maruts, Ushmapas, Gandharvas, Yakshas, Asuras, and Siddhas they all amazingly gaze at You. (11.22)
Seeing your infinite form with many mouths, eyes, arms, thighs, feet, stomachs, and many fearful tusks; the worlds are trembling with fear and so do I, O mighty Lord. (11.23)
The One has become all. All mouths, heads, legs, eyes are His.
Seeing Your effulgent and varied colored form touching the sky; Your mouth wide open and large shining eyes; I am frightened and find neither peace nor courage, O Krishna. (11.24)
Seeing Your mouths, with fearful tusks, glowing like fires of cosmic dissolution, I lose my sense of direction and find no comfort. Have mercy on met O Lord of demigods, refuge of the universe. (11.25)
The sons of Dhritarashtra along with the hosts of kings; Bhishma, Drona, and Karna together with chief warriors on our side are also quickly entering into Your fearful mouths with terrible tusks. Some are seen caught in between the tusks with their heads crushed. (11.26-27)
These warriors of the mortal world are entering Your blazing mouths as many torrents of the rivers enter into the ocean. (11.28)
All these people are rapidly rushing into Your mouths for destruction as moths rush with great speed into the blazing flame for destruction. (11.29)
You are licking up all the worlds with Your flaming mouths, swallowing them from all sides. Your powerful radiance is filling the entire universe with effulgence and burning it, O Krishna. (11.30)
Tell me who are You in such a fierce form? My salutations to You, O best of all demigods, be merciful! I wish to understand You, O primal Being, because I do not know Your mission. (11.31)
The Supreme Lord said: I am death, the mighty destroyer of the world, out to destroy. Even without your participation all the warriors standing arrayed in the opposing armies shall cease to exist. (11.32)
Therefore, you get up and attain glory. Conquer your enemies, and enjoy a prosperous kingdom. All these (warriors) have already been destroyed by Me. You are only an instrument, O Arjuna. (11.33)
This is My battle, not yours. I use you, O Arjuna, only as an instrument. I do everything through your body. One must remember at all times that all battles are His, not ours. The Koran also says: You are but an instrument, and Allah is in charge of all things. (Surah 11.12). Everything is done by the will and the power of God. No one can do anything without His power and will. It is God only who makes one restless for material life or spiritual life. Those who are not Self-realized mistakenly take their will as God's will and do wrong things.
Kill Drona, Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna, and other great warriors who are already killed by Me. Do not fear. You will certainly conquer the enemies in the battle, therefore, fight! (11.34)
Sanjaya said: Having heard these words of Krishna; the crowned Arjuna, trembling with folded hands, prostrated with fear and spoke to Krishna in a choked voice. (11.35)
Arjuna said: Rightly, O Krishna, the world delights and rejoices in glorifying You. Terrified demons flee in all directions. The hosts of Siddhas bow to You in adoration. (11.36)
Why should they not O great soul bow to You, the original creator who is even greater than Brahmaa? O infinite Lord, O God of demigods, O abode of the universe, You are both Sat and Asat, and the eternal Para-Brahma that is beyond both (Sat and Asat). (See also 9.19 and 13.12) (11.37)
You are the primal God, the most ancient Person. You are the ultimate resort of all the universe. You are the knower, the object of knowledge, and the supreme abode. The entire universe is pervaded by You, O Lord of the infinite form. (11.38)
You are Vayu, Yama, Agni, Varuna, Shashanka, and Brahmaa as well as the father of Brahmaa. Salutations to You a thousand times, and again and again salutations to You. (11.39)
My salutations to You from front, and from behind. O Lord, my obeisances to You from all sides. You are infinite valor and the boundless might. You pervade everything, and therefore You are everywhere and in everything. (11.40)
Considering You merely as a friend, not knowing Your greatness, I have inadvertently addressed You as O Krishna, O Yadava, O friend; merely out of affection or carelessness. (11.41)
In whatever way I may have insulted You in jokes; while playing, reposing in bed, sitting, or at meals; when alone, or in front of others; O Krishna, the immeasurable One, I implore You for forgiveness. (11.42)
You are the father of this animate and inanimate world, and the greatest guru to be worshipped. No one is even equal to You in the three worlds; how can there be one greater than You? O Being of Incomparable Glory. (11.43)
Therefore, O adorable Lord, I seek Your mercy by bowing down and prostrating my body before You. Bear with me as a father to his son, as a friend to a friend, and as a husband to his wife, O Lord. (11.44)
I am delighted by beholding that which has never been seen before, and yet my mind is tormented with fear. Therefore, O God of demigods, the refuge of the universe, have mercy on me; and show me that (four-armed) form. (11.45)
I wish to see You with a crown, holding mace and discus in Your hand. O Lord with thousand arms and universal form, appear in the four-armed form. (11.46)
The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, being pleased with you I have shown you, through My own yogic powers, this (particular) supreme, shining, universal, infinite, and primal form of Mine that has never been seen before by anyone other than you. (11.47)
O Arjuna, neither by study of the Vedas, nor by Yajna, nor by charity, nor by rituals, nor by severe austerities, can I be seen in this cosmic form by any one other than you in this human world. (11.48)
Do not be perturbed and confused by seeing such a terrible form of Mine as this. With fearless and cheerful mind, now behold My four-armed form. (11.49)
Sanjaya said: Lord Krishna, having thus spoken to Arjuna, revealed His (four-armed) form. Then assuming His pleasant human form, Lord Krishna, the Great One, consoled Arjuna who was terrified. (11.50)
Arjuna said: O Krishna, seeing this lovely human form of Yours, I have now become tranquil and I am normal again. (11.51)
The Supreme Lord said: This (four-armed) form of Mine that you have seen is very difficult, indeed, to see. Even demigods are ever longing to see this form. (11.52)
This form of Mine that you have seen cannot be realized even by study of the Vedas, or by austerity, or by acts of charity, or by the performance of rituals. (See also KaU 2.23) (11.53)
No one attains the almighty Lord by Yajna or good works alone (RV 8.70.03, AV 20.92.18). The omnipresent form of Lord cannot be perceived by organs, but by the eyes of intuition and faith. The vision and yogic powers are the special gift and grace of God that may be granted, even without asking, when one is found fit by the Lord to use them in His service. According to Saint Ramdas, all visions of lights and forms have to be transcended before realization of the ultimate Truth, Lord Krishna. The visions are milestones only and not the goal. Do not cling to them. Siddhis or yogic powers may become a hindrance on the path.
However, through single minded devotion alone, I can be seen in this form, can be known in essence, and also can be reached, O Arjuna. (11.54)
The one who does all works for Me, and to whom I am the supreme goal; who is my devotee, who has no attachment, and is free from enmity towards any being; attains Me, O Arjuna. (See also 8.22) (11.55)
PATH OF DEVOTION
Arjuna said: Those ever steadfast devotees (or Bhaktas) who thus worship You (as Krishna, the personal Lord), and those who worship the eternal impersonal Brahma, which of these has the best knowledge of yoga? (12.01)
The Supreme Lord said: Those ever steadfast devotees who worship with supreme faith by fixing their mind on Me as personal God, I consider them to be the best yogis. (See also 6.47) (12.02)
Bhakti or devotion is the highest love for God (SBS 02). True devotion is motiveless intense love of God for attaining Him (NBS 02). Real Bhakti is seeking God's grace, and serving with love to please Him. Thus, Bhakti is Seva or doing one's duty with love for Krishna in one's heart. It is also said that Bhakti is granted by the grace of God. Loving relationship with God is easily developed through a personal God. The faithful followers of the path of devotion to the personal God in human form such as Rama, Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad, etc. are considered the best. The Bible says: I am the way; no one goes to the Father except through me (John 14.06). Bhakti is superior to Jnana (SBS 05). All Yoga Karma, Jnana, and Dhyana is useless in the absence of Bhakti, the deep love of God. The pearl of Jnana is born on the nucleus of faith and devotion only. Ramanuja said that those who worship the manifest reach their goal sooner and with less difficulty. A description of the imperceptible, all-pervasive, and the indescribable Lord has been given by saints and sages for cultivating the love of God in the heart of common devotees that is absolutely necessary for the purpose of worship. The Lord appears to a devotee in a form in order to make his or her faith firm. Therefore, it is necessary that one should respect all forms of God or deity, but establish relationship and worship one form only.
They who worship the unchangeable, the inexplicable, the invisible, the omnipresent, the inconceivable, the unchanging, the immovable, and the eternal Brahma; restraining all the senses, even minded under all circumstances, engaged in the welfare of all creatures, also attain Me. (12.03-04)
Self-realization is more difficult for those who fix their mind on the unmanifest Brahma, because comprehension of the unmanifest by embodied beings is attained with difficulty. (12.05)
Loving contemplation and deity worship of a personal God is the necessary first step for realization of the Absolute. It is also said that devotion to the personal aspect of God leads one to the transcendental aspect. God is not an extra cosmic, all powerful being, but the very self in all beings. The worship of God as a person stimulates divine love that rouses Self-consciousness and experience of unity in due course of time. God, the transcendent, is revealed in one's pure inner psyche after the loving contemplation of God, the immanent.
There is no real difference between the two paths - the path of Bhakti and the path of Jnana - in their higher reaches. In the highest stage of realization they merge together and become one. Other sages also consider the path of devotion easier of the two paths for most people, especially for the beginners. According to Tulasidasa the path of Jnana is difficult to comprehend, to explain, and to follow. It is also very easy to fall down (or retreat back) to the lower sensual plane of consciousness from the path of Jnana (TR 7.118.00). In the next two verses the Lord says that the path of devotion is not only easier but also faster than the path of knowledge.
The personal and the impersonal, the physical form and the transcendental form, are the two sides of the coin of ultimate Reality. According to Shri Ramakrishna image worship is necessary in the beginning, but not afterwards, as a scaffolding is necessary during the construction of a building. A person must learn to fix the thoughts and mind first on a personal God with a form and then after succeeding therein, fix it upon the transcendental form. The highest liberation is possible only by realization of God as the very self in all beings, and it comes only through the maturity of devotion to the personal God and His grace. This realization is the second (or spiritual) birth, or the second coming of Christ. Jesus said: The Kingdom of the Father is spread upon the earth and people do not see.
That (Sadhana) alone which one does with knowledge, with faith, and with contemplation on the deities, becomes more powerful (ChU 1.01.10). Ascetic practice, prayer, charity, penance, performance of sacrifice, vows, and other religious observances fail to evoke Lord Rama's compassion to the same degree as unalloyed devotion does. The Lord is easily attracted by the magnet of devotion (TR 6.117.00).
But to those who worship Me with unswerving devotion (as the personal God), offer all actions to Me, intent on Me as the Supreme, and meditate on Me; I swiftly become their savior from the world that is the ocean of death and transmigration whose thoughts are set on Me, O Arjuna. (12.06-07)
One can easily cross the ocean of transmigration with the help of the boat of unswerving love and devotion (TR 7.122.00).
Therefore, focus your mind on Me, and let your intellect dwell upon Me alone (through meditation and contemplation). Thereafter you shall certainly attain Me. (12.08)
If you are unable to focus your mind steadily on Me, then long to attain Me, O Arjuna, by practice of (any other) spiritual discipline (or Sadhana of your choice). (12.09)
Constantly contemplate and concentrate your mind on God using symbols or mental pictures of personal God as an aid to develop devotion.
If you are unable even to do any Sadhana, then be intent on performing your duty for Me. You shall attain perfection just by working for Me (as an instrument, just to serve and please Me, without selfish motives). (See also 9.27, 18.46) (12.10)
If you are unable to work for Me, then just surrender unto My will, and renounce (the attachment to, and the anxiety for) the fruits of all work with subdued mind (by learning to accept all results, as God-given Prasada (or grace) with equanimity). (12.11)
The main thrust of verses 12.08-12.11 is that one must establish some relationship such as the progenitor, father, mother, beloved, child, savior, guru, master, helper, guest, friend, and even an enemy with the Lord.
The book knowledge is better than mere ritualistic practice; meditation is better than book knowledge; renunciation of (attachment to) the fruits of work, Tyaga, is better than meditation; peace immediately follows Tyaga. (See more on renunciation in Chapter 18) (12.12)
One who does not hate any creature, who is friendly and compassionate, free from (the notion of) "I" and "my", even minded in pain and pleasure, forgiving; and the yogi who is ever content, who has subdued the mind, whose resolve is firm, whose mind and intellect are engaged in dwelling upon Me; such a devotee is dear to Me. (12.13-14)
To attain oneness with God, one has to become perfect like Him by cultivating moral virtues. The Bible also says: Try to perfect yourself just as your Father in the heaven is perfect (Matthew 5.48). Tulasidasa said: O Lord, anyone on whom You shed Your favor becomes an ocean of perfection. The monstrous squad of lust, anger, greed, infatuation, and pride haunts the mind so long as the Lord does not abide in the inner psyche. Virtues and discipline are two sure means of devotion. A list of virtues and values is given in verses 12.13-12.19 by describing the qualities of an ideal devotee, or a Brahma-jnani.
The one by whom others are not agitated and who is not agitated by others, who is free from joy, envy, fear, and anxiety, is also dear to Me. (12.15)
One who is free from desires; who is pure, wise, impartial, and free from anxiety; who has renounced (the doership in) all undertakings; and who is devoted to Me, is dear to Me. (12.16)
One who neither rejoices nor grieves, neither likes nor dislikes, who has renounced both the good and the evil, and who is full of devotion; such a person is dear to Me. (12.17)
The one who remains the same towards friend or foe, in honor or disgrace, in heat or cold, in pleasure or pain; who is free from attachment; who is indifferent to censure or praise, quiet, content with whatever one has, unattached to a place (country, or house), equanimous, and full of devotion that person is dear to Me. (12.18-19)
But those faithful devotees, who set Me as their supreme goal and follow (or just sincerely try to develop) the above mentioned nectar of moral values, are very dear to Me. (12.20)
The development of unswerving love and devotion to the lotus feet of the Lord is the ultimate aim of all Sadhana and meritorious deeds as well as the goal of human birth. The upper class devotees do not desire anything, including Mukti from the Lord, except for one boon: The devotion to the lotus feet of Lord Rama birth after birth (TR 2.204.00). Lower class devotees use God as a servant to fulfill their material demands and desires. A true devotee considers oneself the servant, the Lord as the master, and the entire creation as His body.
The path of Bhakti is a better path for most people, but Bhakti does not develop without a combination of personal effort, faith, and the grace of God. The nine techniques for developing the love of God, known as Navadha Bhakti, based on Tulasi Ramayana (TR 3.34.04-3.35.03), are: (1) Satsanga or the company of the holy and wise. (2) Shravanam or listening and reading the glories and stories of Lord's incarnations and His activities of creation, preservation and dissolution as given in the scriptures such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Maha Purana, etc. (3) Seva or serving God through the service of guru, the needy, the saints, and the society. (4) Sankirtana or congregational chanting and singing of the glories of God. (5) Smaranam or Japa of the Lord's name and mantra with firm faith. (6) Samyama or discipline and control over the six senses, and detachment. (7) Siyaramah Sarvam or seeing your personal God everywhere and in everything. (8) Santosha or contentment and lack of greed as well as overlooking others' fault, and (9) Saralata or simplicity and lack of anger, jealousy, and hatred in the heart. The best thing a person should do is to develop the love of God. Lord Rama said that one needs to follow any one of the above methods with faith to develop the love of God, and to become a devotee.
Satsanga, or the good company of saints and sages, is a very powerful tool for God-realization. It is said that friendship, discussions, dealings, and marriage should be with equals or those who are better than oneself, and not with persons of lower level (MB 5.33.122). A person is known by the company he or she keeps. According to Prabhupada, Bhakti-yoga, the path of devotion, is very simple and easy to perform. One can begin by simply chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare; Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. A drop of water, no matter what route it takes, will reach the ocean.
CREATION AND THE CREATOR
The Supreme Lord said: O Arjuna, this (physical) body (the miniature universe) may be called the field or creation. One who knows the creation is called the creator (or Atma) by the seers of truth. (13.01)
Whatever is here in the body is also there; whatever is there, the same is here (KaU 4.10). Human body, the microcosm, is a replica of the universe, the macrocosm.
O Arjuna, know Me to be the creator of all the creation. The true understanding of both the creator and the creation is considered by Me to be the transcendental or metaphysical knowledge. (13.02)
The body (or Kshetra) and Atma (or Kshetrajna) are distinct from one another. Yet, the ignorant is not able to make distinction between them. That knowledge is the true knowledge by which one is able to make clear distinction between the body and Atma.
What the creation is, what it is like, what its transformations are, where its source is, who that creator is, and what His powers are, hear all these from Me in brief. (13.03)
The seers have separately described Him in different ways in the Vedic hymns, and also in the conclusive and convincing verses of the Brahma-Sutra. (13.04)
The Gita also expounds the truths of other scriptures. All scriptures, as well as saints and sages of all religions, draw the water of truth from the same ocean of Brahma. Their accent varies with the need of the individual and the society at the time.
di Prakriti (or Avyakta), the cosmic intellect (or Mahat), the "I" consciousness or ego, five basic elements, the ten organs, the mind, the five sense objects; and desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, the physical body, consciousness, and resolve thus the entire field has been briefly described with its transformations. (See also 7.04) (13.05-06)
According to Samkhya doctrine (BP 3.26.10-18, 11.22.10-16), Brahma undergoes twenty-five basic transformations in the following order: Purusha or Chetana, and the following twenty-four transformations of Prakriti or Mahat: Manas or the mind, Buddhi or the intellect, Citta or the thought waves, and Ahamkara or the conception of individuality; the five basic elements (space or subtle elements, air, fire, water, and earth); the five sense objects (sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell); the five sense organs (ear, skin, eye, tongue, and nose); and the five organs of action (mouth, hand, leg, anus, and urethra).
Supreme Intellect (or Mahat) is known by various names based on functions performed in the body. It is called Manas when it feels and thinks, Buddhi when it reasons, Citta when it does the act of remembering and wandering from one thought to another, and Ahamkara (or ego) when it has the feeling of doership and individuality. The word Antah-karana, the subtle senses or Jivatma, refers to all four: Manas, Buddhi, Citta, and Ahamkara. It is the Samskara that actually makes the final decision with the help of Manas and Buddhi. When Mahat does the functions in the body it is called Prana or the vital force. The mind and matter are both energies according to Einstein. Shri Ramana Maharshi said: The mind is a form of energy. It manifests itself as the world.
Humility, modesty, nonviolence, forgiveness, honesty, service to guru, purity (of thought, word, and deed), steadfastness, self-control; and aversion towards sense objects, absence of ego, constant reflection on pain and suffering inherent in birth, old age, disease, and death; (13.07-08)
These verses (13.07-08) of the Gita formed the foundation of Buddhism. The constant contemplation and understanding of agony and suffering inherent in birth, old age, disease, and death are called the understanding of the Fourfold Noble Truth in Buddhism. A clear understanding of this truth is necessary before starting the spiritual journey. A disgust and discontent for the meaninglessness and unreality of the world and its objects become a necessary prelude to the spiritual journey. As birds seek the shelter of a tree when tired, similarly, human beings seek the divine shelter after discovering the frustrations and joylessness of the material existence.
Detachment, non-fondness with son, wife, home, etc.; unfailing equanimity upon attainment of the desirable and the undesirable; and unswerving devotion to Me through single minded contemplation, taste for solitude, distaste for social gatherings and gossips; steadfastness in knowledge of the eternal Brahma, and seeing the omnipresent Krishna everywhere this is said to be knowledge. That which is contrary to this is ignorance. (13.09-11)
When one becomes firmly convinced that God alone is everything father, mother, brother, friend, enemy, sustainer, destroyer, and refuge and there is nothing higher than Him to attain, and has no thought of any other object; one is said to have developed unswerving devotion to the Lord through single minded contemplation. In this state of mind the seeker and the sought-after become qualitatively one and the same. The word 'Ananya' has been used in verses 8.14, 8.22, 9.13, 9.22, 9.30, 11.54, 12.06, and 13.10 with slightly different connotations.
I shall fully describe the object of knowledge, knowing which one attains immortality. The beginningless Para-Brahma is said to be neither Sat nor Asat. (See also 9.19, 11.37, and 15.18) (13.12)
In the beginning there was neither Sat nor Asat, no sky, no air, neither day nor night. There was nothing else whatsoever other than Para-Brahma Sachchidananda (RV 10.129.01, AiU 1.01). Para-Brahma is beyond both Kshara Purusha or Asat, and Akshara Brahma or Sat (verse 15.18). Therefore He is neither Sat nor Asat, and is known as Aksharatita, beyond both Sat and Asat. Para-Brahma is also both Sat and Asat (verse 9.19) and beyond Sat and Asat (verse 11.37).
Brahma has His hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth, and ears everywhere, because He is all pervading and omnipresent. (See also RV 10.81.03, ShU 3.16) (13.13)
He is the perceiver of all sense objects without the senses; unattached, and yet the sustainer of all; devoid of three Gunas of nature, and yet the enjoyer of the Gunas (by becoming Jiva). (13.14)
Brahma walks without legs, hears without ears, performs many actions without hands, smells without a nose, sees without eyes, speaks without a mouth, and enjoys all tastes without a tongue. All His actions are so marvelous that one finds His greatness utterly beyond description (TR 1.117.03-04). Brahma may be described only by parables and paradoxes and in no other way. (See also ShU 3.19). Brahma expands Himself as Jiva to enjoy three Gunas.
He is inside as well as outside all beings, animate and inanimate. He is incomprehensible because of His subtlety. He is very near (residing in one's inner psyche) as well as far away (in Parama Dhama). (13.15)
He is undivided, and yet appears to exist as if divided in beings. He, the object of knowledge, appears as: Brahmaa, the creator, Vishnu, the sustainer, and Shiva, the destroyer of (all) beings. (See also 11.13, and 18.20) (13.16)
One planet earth appears divided into so many countries, one country appears divided into several states, one state appears divided into counties and so on; similarly, One reality appears as many. These are apparent divisions, because they have the same order of reality. The term God is used for the generator, operator, and destroyer aspects of Brahma.
Para-Brahma, the Supreme Person, is the source of all lights. He is said to be beyond darkness (of ignorance or Maya). He is the Self-knowledge, the object of Self-knowledge, and seated in the Citta as the consciousness of all beings, He is to be realized by Jnana, the Taratamya or Brahma- vidya. (See also 15.06 and 15.12, and MuU 3.01.07, ShU 3.08) (13.17)
I am the light (or knowledge) of the world. Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in the darkness (of ignorance) (John 8.12). One who knows the almighty much more radiant than the sun, and beyond the darkness (of material reality), transcends death. There is no other way (YV 31.18, SV 3.08).
Thus the creation as well as the knowledge and the object of knowledge have been briefly described by Me. Understanding this, My devotee attains My supreme abode. (13.18)
Know that both Prakriti and Purusha are beginningless. All manifestations and Gunas are born of Prakriti. Prakriti is said to be the cause of production of physical body and organs (of perception and action). The Purusha (or the consciousness) is said to be the cause of experiencing pleasures and pains. (13.19-20)
The Purusha enjoys the Gunas of Prakriti by associating with Prakriti (or matter). Attachment to the Gunas (due to ignorance caused by previous Karma) is the cause of the birth of Jivatma in good and evil wombs. (13.21)
The Purusha is unaffected by the Prakriti as the sun's reflection in water is unaffected by the properties of water. Purusha, because of His nature, associates with the six sensory faculties and ego of Prakriti and becomes attached, forgets His real nature, performs good and evil deeds, loses independence, and transmigrates as Jiva (BP 3.27.01-03). Jiva does not know Maya, Ishvara, and its own real nature. Jiva is a reflection of the moon of Brahma in the water pot of human body.
Akshara Brahma or Atma in the body is also called the witness, the guide, the supporter, the enjoyer, the great Lord and also the Supreme Self. (13.22)
Two birds, Jiva and Ishvara, live in the inner psyche of the body tree. Jiva, being attached to Prakriti, enjoys pains and pleasures, and becomes subject to bondage and liberation; whereas Ishvara, being unattached to Prakriti, remains free as a witness and a guide (BP 11.11.06, See also RV 1.164.20, AV 9.09.20, MuU 3.01.01, ShU 4.06). Ishvara is unaffected and unattached to the Gunas of Prakriti as a lotus leaf is unaffected by water.
Purusha is sentient, and Prakriti is insentient. Prakriti, in the presence of Purusha, produces five Pranas and the three Gunas. Purusha, residing as Ishvara in the physical body which is a house with nine gates and made of twenty-four elements of Prakriti, enjoys sense objects by associating with the Gunas of Prakriti. It forgets its real nature under the influence of Maya; feels pain and pleasure; does good and evil deeds; incurs the bondage of works done by free will due to ignorance; and seeks liberation. When Jiva renounces sense objects and rises above the Gunas, it attains Moksha.
The mind, endowed with infinite power, creates a body to reside and fulfill its Vasana. Jiva becomes willingly entangled and suffers like a silkworm entangled in its own cocoon and it cannot get out. Jiva becomes bound by its own Karma and transmigrates. All actions, good or bad, produce bondage if performed with ego. Good actions are the golden shackles, and bad ones are the iron shackles. Both are fetters. The golden shackle is not a bracelet.
The Jiva is like a farmer who has been given a plot of land that is the body. The farmer should take the weeds of lust, anger, and greed out of the land and cultivate it with the plow of intense desire for the love of God. Fertilize it with the firm faith in the power and omnipresence of God. Depending on the intensity of the desire and the degree of faith, the seedling of devotion will come out in due course of time. This seedling must be consistently and continually irrigated with the water of Japa and meditation on the chosen form of one's personal God. The forgetfulness of Jiva's real nature disappears with the blooming of the flowers of Jnana, and Vairagya. The flowers bear the fruits of Self-realization and vision of God leading to Mukti, the freedom from transmigration.
They who truly understand Purusha and Prakriti with its Gunas are not born again regardless of their mode of life. (13.23)
Some perceive Paramatma in their Citta through mind and intellect that have been purified either by meditation, or by metaphysical knowledge, or by Karma-yoga. (13.24)
Others, however, do not know the yogas of meditation, knowledge, and work; but they perform deity worship with faith as mentioned in the scriptures by the saints and sages. They also transcend death by virtue of their firm faith to what they have heard. (13.25)
Blessed are they that have not understood, and yet have believed (John 20.29). If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for (Matthew 21.22). It is not necessary to completely understand God to obtain His grace, to love Him, and to attain Him.
Whatever is born, animate or inanimate, know them to be (born) from the union of the field (or Prakriti) and the field knower (or Purusha), O Arjuna. (See also 7.06) (13.26)
The one who sees the same eternal Supreme Lord (or Atma) dwelling equally within all mutable beings truly sees. (13.27)
Because, beholding the same Lord existing equally in everybeing, one does not injure the other self and thereupon attains the supreme abode. (13.28)
The one who perceives that all works are done by the power of material nature (or the Gunas of Prakriti) alone, and thus does not consider oneself (or the Atma) as the doer, that person truly understands. (See also 3.27, 5.09, and 14.19) (13.29)
The moment one discovers diverse variety of beings and their ideas abiding in One, and spreading out from That alone, one attains Para-Brahma. (13.30)
Eternal Paramatma, even though dwelling in the body (as Atma), neither does anything nor becomes tainted, because of being beginningless and unaffected by the three Gunas of Prakriti, O Arjuna. (13.31)
Paramatma is called Nirguna, because He does not have the three Gunas of Prakriti. He has sixty-four Divya Gunas.
Just as the all-pervading space is not tainted because of its subtlety, similarly, Atma abiding in all bodies is not tainted. (13.32)
Atma is present everywhere. It is present inside the body, outside the body, as well as all over the body.
Just as one sun illuminates the entire world, similarly Akshara Brahma, the creator, illumines (or gives life to) the entire creation, O Arjuna. (13.33)
According to Shamkara one sees the creation but not the creator behind the creation due to ignorance; just as a person in the darkness of night sees the snake and not the rope that sustains the false notion of a snake. If any object other than Brahma appears to exist, it is unreal like a mirage, a dream, or the existence of a snake in the rope. The absolute Advaitism that negates all manifestation as a dream world is not the whole truth. According to the Vedas, God is both transcendent and immanent in one. The illustration of the world as a dream is a metaphor meant only to illustrate certain points and should not be stretched too far or taken literally.
They who perceive - with the eye of knowledge - the difference between the creation (or the body) and the creator (or the Atma) as well as (know the technique of) the liberation of Jiva from the trap of Maya, attain the Supreme. (13.34)
Brahma emits Maya as the sun emits light, fire emits heat, and the moon gives cooling rays (DB 7.32.05). Maya is the inexplicable divine energy of Brahma that does not exist apart from Brahma, the possessor of power. Maya has the power of creation. Maya also deludes Jiva by making Jiva identify with a body, enjoy the Gunas of Prakriti, and forget its real nature as Brahma, the essence or the basis of the entire visible and invisible universe. Creation is just a partial revelation of that power and is called unreal like a dream world because it is subject to change and destruction. The clay is real and the pot is unreal, because the clay exists before the creation of the pot; while the pot exists; and after the destruction of the pot.
Creation is natural effortless projection of powers of Brahma and is therefore purposeless (MuU 1.01.07). Creative activity of Brahma is mere sport, the Lila of Maya, without any purpose or motive. It is nothing but an apparent natural modification of His infinite limitless energy (E) into matter (M) and vice versa (E=Mc2 of Einstein) (BS 2.01.33). Creation, an effect, is related to the creator, the cause, as a piece of cloth is related to the cotton. In the cloth, however, the weaver is not sitting in every yarn of the cloth, but in creation the efficient and the material causes are both one and the same, a divine mystery indeed! Everything in the universe is connected with each other. The creation is not a mechanical or engineering construction. It is the supreme spiritual phenomena revealing divine splendor. The creation is made by the Lord, of the Lord, and for the Lord.
THREE GUAS OF NATURE
The Supreme Lord said: I shall further explain to you that supreme knowledge, the best of all knowledge, knowing that all the sages have attained supreme perfection after this life. (14.01)
They who have taken refuge in this knowledge attain unity with Me, and are neither born at the time of creation nor afflicted at the time of dissolution. (14.02)
My (Prakriti in the form of) Mahad-Brahma is the womb of creation wherein I place the seed (of spirit or Purusha) from which the objects of creation are born, O Arjuna. (See also 9.10) (14.03)
Prakriti, a product of Maya, is the origin of Mahad-Brahma. Therefore, Prakriti is also called Mahad-Brahma. Mahad-Brahma has several names such as: Mahat, Mahat-tattva, Supreme Intellect, and the Cosmic Mind. Mahat or Prakriti creates when the seed of Purusha is sown in it for germination.
Whatever forms are produced in all different wombs, O Arjuna, Prakriti is their (body giving) mother, and I am the (seed or life giving) father. (14.04)
Jesus said that Father is in the heaven, in our opinion, Krishna is that Father as declared by the Lord Krishna Himself in this verse.
Sattva or goodness, Rajas or activity, and Tamas or inertia - these three Gunas (or states) of mind (or Prakriti) bind the eternal embodied one (or Jivatma) to the body, O Arjuna. (14.05)
Of these, Sattva, being pure, is illuminating and good. It fetters Jivatma by attachment to happiness and knowledge, O Arjuna. (14.06)
O Arjuna, know that Rajas or passion is characterized by intense (selfish) craving, and is the source of desire and attachment. It binds the Jiva by attachment to (the fruits of) work. (14.07)
Know, O Arjuna, that Tamas the deluder of Jiva is born of ignorance. It binds by carelessness, laziness, and (excessive) sleep. (14.08)
O Arjuna, Sattva attaches one to happiness (of learning and knowing Brahma), Rajas to action, and Tamas to negligence by covering the knowledge. (14.09)
Sattva prevails by suppressing Rajas and Tamas; Rajas prevails by suppressing Sattva and Tamas; and Tamas prevails by suppressing Sattva and Rajas, O Arjuna. (14.10)
When the light of knowledge glitters all the senses (or gates) in the body, then it should be known that Sattva is predominant. (14.11)
The sense organs (nose, tongue, eye, skin, ear, mind, and intellect) are called the gateway to Jnana in the body. When senses are purified by Seva, discipline, and sincere Sadhana, the mind and intellect get into Sattvik mode and become receptive to Jnana. It is also said in verse 14.17 that the rise of Jnana takes place when one's mind gets firmly established in the Sattvik mode. As objects are seen very clearly in the light, similarly, one perceives and thinks in the right perspective; senses shun whatever is improper; and there is no attraction in the mind for sensual pleasures when the senses are illumined by the dawning of the light of Self-knowledge.
O Arjuna, when Rajas is predominant, Greed, activity, undertaking of (selfish) works, restlessness, passion, etc. arise. (14.12)
O Arjuna, when Tamas is predominant, Ignorance, inactivity, carelessness, delusion, etc. arise. (14.13)
One who dies during the dominance of Sattva goes to heaven, the pure world of the knowers of Supreme. (14.14)
When one dies during the dominance of Rajas, one is reborn as attached to action (or the utilitarian type); and dying in Tamas, one is reborn as ignorant (or lower creatures). (14.15)
The fruit of Sattvika action is said to be good and pure, the fruit of Rajasika action is pain, and the fruit of Tamasika action is ignorance. (14.16)
Knowledge arises from Sattva; greed arises from Rajas; and negligence, delusion, and ignorance arise from Tamas. (14.17)
They who are established in Sattva go to heaven; Rajasika persons are reborn in the mortal world; and the Tamasika persons, abiding in the lowest Guna, go to lower planets or hell (or take birth as lower creatures). (14.18)
When visionaries perceive no doer other than the Gunas (or the power of Brahma), and know That which is above and beyond the Gunas; then they attain My Being (or Kaivalya Mukti). (See also 3.27, 5.09, and 13.29) (14.19)
The one who does not believe that the Lord controls everything, and considers oneself the doer, enjoyer and the owner, becomes bound by the Karmic laws (BP 6.12.12). The power of doing all actions, good or bad, proceeds from God; but we are ultimately responsible for our action, because we also have the power to reason. God has given us the power to do work, however, we are free to use the power in the right or wrong way, and become liberated or bound.
Due to ignorance created by Maya, one considers oneself the doer and consequently becomes bound by Karma, and undergoes transmigration (BP 11.11.10). Whenever one asserts or even thinks oneself as doing things, one assumes the role of a Karta (or doer), becomes accountable for Karma (or action), and gets caught in the intricate Karmic net of transmigration.
When one transcends (or rises above) the three Gunas that create (or originate in) the body, one attains immortality or Mukti, and is freed from the pains of birth, death, and old age. (14.20)
Arjuna said: What are the marks of those who have transcended the three Gunas, and what is their conduct? How does one transcend these three Gunas, O Lord Krishna? (14.21)
The Supreme Lord said: One who neither hates the presence of enlightenment, activity, and delusion nor desires for them when they are absent; who remains like a witness without being affected by the Gunas, and stays firmly attached to the Lord without wavering thinking that the Gunas only are operating; and (14.22-23)
The one who depends on the Lord and is indifferent to pain and pleasure, to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are alike, to whom the dear and the unfriendly are alike, who is of firm mind, who is calm in censure and in praise, and the one who is indifferent to honor and disgrace, who is impartial to friend and foe, who has renounced the sense of doership is said to have transcended the Gunas. (14.24-25)
Guru Nanak said: The one who obeys the will of God with pleasure is a Jnani and free. Gold and stone, pain and pleasure are alike (only) for such a person.
The one who offers service to Me with love and unswerving devotion transcends three Gunas, and becomes fit for Brahma-nirvana. (See also 7.14 and 15.19) (14.26)
Sattva is the topmost rung of the ladder leading to Truth, but it is not the Truth as such (Yatiswarananda). The three Gunas have to be transcended step by step. First, one has to overcome Tamas and Rajas, and become Sattvika by developing certain values or Yama and following certain disciplines or Niyama. Then one becomes ready to surmount the dualities of good and bad, and rises to the higher transcendental plane by going beyond Sato Guna. The spiritual practices and Sattvika food raise the mind from Tamas and Rajas to the transcendental plane of bliss where all dualities disappear. Sato Guna, the simplicity of character, is the natural result of profound thought generated by firm understanding of the metaphysics. Anybody can easily cross the ocean of Maya, consisting of the three Gunas of nature, by the boat of firm faith, devotion, and exclusive love for Lord Krishna. There is no other way to transcend three Gunas, and attain Mukti.
Because, I am the basis of the immortal and eternal Brahma, of everlasting Dharma, and of the absolute bliss. (14.27)
THE SUPREME PERSON
The Supreme Lord said: They speak of the eternal banyan tree that has its origin above (in Para-Brahma) and its branches below (in the cosmos) whose leaves are the (Vedic) hymns. One who understands this is a knower of the Vedas. (See also KaU 6.01, and BP 11.12.20-24) (15.01)
The branches (of this world tree of Maya) spread below and above (or all over the cosmos). The tree is nourished by the Gunas; sense pleasures are its sprouts; and its roots (of ego and desires) stretch below in the human world causing Karmic bondage. (15.02)
The human body, a microcosmic universe, has been compared to a beginningless and endless tree. Karma is the seed, the countless desires are its roots, five basic elements are the main branches, three Gunas provide the nourishment, sense pleasures are its sprouts, the ten organs (of perception and action) are its sub-branches. This world tree is ever changing, but, eternal without beginning and end. Just as the leaves protect the tree, similarly, Karma Kanda of the Vedas protects and perpetuates this tree of Samsara. The one who truly understands this marvelous tree, its origin, nature, and working, is the knower of the Vedas in true sense.
The two aspects of Brahma, Ishvara and Jiva, make their nest and reside on this tree as a part of the cosmic Lila. Virtue and vice are its glorious flowers, pleasure and pain are its fruits. Jiva, due to ignorance, eats these fruits; whereas, Ishvara sits on the tree; watches and guides Jiva.
The real form of this tree is not perceptible here on the earth, nor its beginning, end, or existence. Having cut the firm roots the desires of this banyan tree by the mighty ax of (Jnana and) Vairagya or detachment; Parama Dhama, the eternal abode, should be sought reaching that one does not come back again; thus thinking: In that very primal person I take refuge from which this primal manifestation comes forth. (15.03-04)
The creation is cyclic, without beginning and end. It is ever changing and has no permanent existence or a real form. One must sharpen the ax of metaphysical knowledge and detachment over the stone of Sadhana; cut the feeling of separateness between Jiva and Ishvara; cheerfully participate in the drama of life made up of passing shadows of joys and sorrows; and live in this world as a Jivan-mukta, free from ego and desires.
They who are free from pride and delusion, who have conquered the evil of attachment, who are constantly dwelling in the Supreme Self with all Kama completely stilled, who are free from the dualities known as pleasure and pain; such undeluded persons reach that eternal goal. (15.05)
The sun does not illumine there, nor the moon, nor the fire. That is My supreme abode. Having reached there they do not come back. (See also 13.17 and 15.12, and KaU 5.15, ShU 6.14, MuU 2.02.10) (15.06)
Para-Brahma existed before the sun, moon, and fire came into existence during creation, and it will exist even after they dissolve into the unmanifest nature during dissolution. The Consciousness is self-luminous; not illumined by any other source. It illumines the sun and the moon as a luminous lamp illumines other objects (DB 7.32.14).
A small part of My energy enters Jivaloka (in Brahamanda) and is known as Jiva, Jivatma, or the eternal individual self. It associates with the six sensory faculties of perception (or Prakriti), and activates them. (15.07)
In essence Atma is Brahma. Atma or Brahma is the true nature of Para-Brahma, and therefore it is called the integral part of Para-Brahma. The difference between Atma and Jiva (or Jivatma) is due to the limiting adjuncts the body and mind; similar to the illusion that the enclosed pot space is different from the unlimited space.
Just as the air takes away the aroma from the source (or flower), similarly Atma takes the six sensory faculties from the physical body it casts off (during death) to the (new physical) body it acquires (in reincarnation by the power of Karma). (See also 2.13) (15.08)
Atma takes the subtle body, the six sensory faculties of perception, from one physical body to another (after death) as the wind takes dust from one place to another. The wind is neither affected nor unaffected by association with dust, similarly, Atma is neither affected nor unaffected by association with the body (MB 12.211.13-14). The physical bodies are limited in space and time, but the invisible subtle bodies are unlimited and all pervading. When Vasana is eradicated at the dawn of Jnana, the physical body seems not to exist any more and the conception of subtle body is firmed up in the mind. Subramuniyaswami says: The astral body is an exact duplicate of the physical body. The beings in the astral world are more advanced in art, technology, and culture. They take up physical bodies to improve and enhance conditions within it. Hariharananda says: One may not perceive, conceive and realize God if he or she does not seek the invisible subtle body.
During wakeful state the physical body, mind, intellect, and ego are active. In a dream state, Jivatma (or Atma associated with the subtle body) temporarily creates a dream world and wanders in it with a dream body without leaving the physical body. In deep sleep Jivatma rests in Brahma without being bothered by mind or intellect. Jiva leaves one physical body and takes another body after death. It is said that Purusha wears the veil of Maya, becomes Jiva, and takes human and other forms just to perform the cosmic drama or Lila in which both the actors and the audience are the same. Jiva becomes bound or lost and then tries to get liberated by discovering its real nature. The reincarnation allows Jiva to change vehicle, the physical body, during the long and difficult spiritual journey to Para-Brahma. Jiva acquires different physical bodies till all Karma is exhausted, and after that the goal of attaining Para-Brahma is reached.
The Jivatma enjoys sense pleasures using six sensory faculties of hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell, and mind. The ignorant do not perceive Jiva departing from the body, or staying in the body and enjoying sense pleasures by associating with the Gunas. But, those with the eye of knowledge can see it. (15.09-10)
The yogis, striving for perfection, behold Atma abiding in their inner psyche or Citta (as consciousness); but the ignorant, and whose inner psyche is not pure, do not perceive Him even though striving. (15.11)
The light energy that coming from the sun illumines the whole world; and which is in the moon, and in the fire; know that light to be Mine. (See also 13.17 and 15.06) (15.12).
The light of the sun is a reflection of His radiance (RV 10.07.03). The knowers of Brahma visualize everywhere - in themselves, in every human being, and in the whole universe - that supreme cluster of light, the source of the visible world, that shines like the all pervading daylight (ChU 3.17.07). The world and its objects are only pictures made of shadows and light cast on a cosmic movie screen (Yogananda). The Koran says: Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth (Surah 24.35).
Brahma-jyoti or Yoga-maya has the shape of a huge shining cluster of bright light energy. It is the light of Para-Brahma that is in Brahma-jyoti, and in all the luminaries of the galaxies such as the sun, the moon, and the stars. It is His light that is in the woods, the lamps, the candles, and as energy in all living beings. His light is behind all lights and the source of all energy in the universe. Without the power of Brahma the fire is unable to burn a blade of grass. This light of Brahma cannot be realized and seen unless one has completely stilled and strengthened the mind, purified the intellect, and developed the power of will and visualization. One must also be strong enough to bear the mental shock generated during experiencing the light of all lights in Samadhi.
Just as the complete spectrum of sunlight is not visible to human eye without a prism, similarly, we cannot see the light of Brahma without the grace of Guru, God, and Gita. The yogis who have merged (or tuned in) their consciousness with the supreme consciousness can perceive the light of Brahma-jyoti in Samadhi. The entire universe is sustained by the energy of Brahma and reflects His glory.
Entering the earth, I support all beings with My energy; becoming the sap giving moon, I nourish all the plants. (15.13)
Becoming the digestive fire, I remain in the body of all living beings; uniting with vital breaths, the Prana and Apana, I digest all four varieties of food; and (15.14)
I am seated in the Citta of all beings. The memory, knowledge, and the removal of doubts and wrong notions (about Brahma by reasoning, or in Samadhi) come from Me. I am verily that which is to be known by (the study of) all the Vedas. I am, indeed, the author of the Vedanta and the knower of the Vedas. (See also 6.39) (15.15)
Brahma is the source of all scriptures (BS 1.01.03). Lord resides in Citta or the inner psyche (Antah-karan) as consciousness of all beings, and not in the physical heart of the body as commonly misunderstood.
There are two entities or Purushas in the cosmos: The changeable Kshara Purusha, and the unchangeable Akshara Purusha. All created beings are changeable or Kshara, and Akshara Brahma (or Akshara Purusha) does not change. (15.16)
Two aspects of divine manifestation or Purusha - Kshara Purusha and Akshara Purusha - are described here. Entire creation from Lord Narayana, Lord Brahmaa, all Devas, fourteen Lokas, down to a blade of grass is called Kshara or temporary. Akshara-Brahma is the divine person or Chaitanya Shakti, and Sarva karana karanam - the cause of all causes - from which Kshara Prakriti and countless cosmos take birth, by which they are sustained, and into which they become dissolved, again and again. Kshara Purusha is also called Ishvara, Narayana, Maha Vishnu, Hiranya Garbha, Mahat Tattva, Shiva, Jyoti Svarupa, etc. Kshara and Akshara are called Kshetra and Kshetrajna in verses 13.01-02, Yoni and seed giving Father in verses 14.03-04. Para-Brahma Purusha is beyond Kshara Purusha and Akshara Purusha, and is referred as Aksharatita Purusha, Paramatma, or Lord Krishna in the scriptures and in the following verses:
There is another Supreme Personality of Godhead (beyond Kshara or Asat and Akshara or Sat) called Paramatma, who, pervading the three Lokas as the Eternal Lord (or Ishvara), sustains them. (15.17)
Because I am beyond both Kshara and Akshara, therefore, I am known in this world and in the Vedas as the Supreme Person (or Aksharatita, Para-Brahma Paramatma, Purushottama, etc.) (See also MuU 2.01.02) (15.18)
Basically, there are three different aspects (or levels of existence) - Kshara, Akshara, and Aksharatita - of One and the same divine reality. The invisible, unchanging, and immutable entity is called Akshara. Kshara is the expansion of Akshara in the material world. Entire creation is ever changing and mutable, and is called Kshara. Both Akshara and Kshara are the expansion (or Svarupa) of Aksharatita Krishna. The highest or the Supreme Self, the basis of consciousness of both Kshara and Akshara, is the Absolute Aksharatita Para-Brahma Paramatma, who is referred by various names. His transcendental or Nirguna aspect is known as Purushottama, Sachchidananda, or the Supreme Person. The personal or Saguna aspect is called by the names such as Krishna, Mother, Father, Allah, Ishvara, and Parameshvara.
The wise one who truly understands Me as the Purushottama, knows everything and worships (or surrenders unto) Me wholeheartedly, O Arjuna. (See also 7.14, 14.26, and 18.66) (15.19)
Thus this most secret knowledge (known as Taratamya-vidya or Brahma-vidya) has been explained by Me, O sinless Arjuna. Having understood this, one becomes enlightened and one's all duties are accomplished, O Arjuna. (15.20)
DIVINE AND THE DEMONIC QUALITIES
The Supreme Lord said: Fearlessness, purity of inner psyche, perseverance in the yoga of knowledge, charity, sense restraint, sacrifice, study of the scriptures, austerity, honesty; nonviolence, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, equanimity, abstaining from malicious talk, compassion for all creatures, freedom from greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness, splendor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, absence of malice, and absence of pride these are the (twenty-six) qualities of those endowed with divine virtues, O Arjuna. (16.01-03)
One must not condemn anybody and commend oneself (MB 3.207.50). We should treat others in the same manner as we would like ourselves to be treated (MB 12.167.09). A person of demonic nature needs to be dealt with and controlled differently than a person of divine nature (MB 12.109.30). We all pay the price for developing others, because no body is perfect. Speaking ill of others is the most heinous sin. One should not talk, listen, or even think about the faults and shortcomings of others. When we think about the defects of others, our own mind becomes polluted. Nothing is gained by finding faults with others, therefore, find your own faults and correct them. To love the unlovable, to be kind to the unkind, and gracious to the ungracious is really divine.
The values may also create problem if one forgets that people will have different values; my value will be different from yours. A conflict of values between individuals ruins the relationships. In practice, sometimes two values of the same person also conflict. For example, if telling a lie saves a valuable life, one should not tell the truth. One should not be blindly attached to the values, because the value is not absolute. We should neither sneer at any ideal, nor judge others by the same standard, because basic unity in variety is the plan of the creator.
All kinds of people make this world. You want to change others so that you can be free, but it never works that way. If you accept others totally and unconditionally, only then you are free. People are what they are, because they have their own backgrounds and they cannot be otherwise (Swami Dayananda). You can love your spouse and not like the way he or she acts. Your enemy might become your friend, if you allow him or her to be who he or she is. If you want to make an enemy, try to change someone. People will change only when it becomes more difficult to suffer than to change. No one is in a position to disqualify another person's way of life, thinking, and ideas. Evolution on the ladder of perfection is a slow and difficult process. It is not an easy task to get rid of Samskaras of the past, but one must try. The changes come by one's own effort and when the season of the grace of God comes, not a day before that. Shri Ramakrishna said: When divinity dawns, the human weaknesses vanish of their own accord as the petals drop off when flower develops into fruit. Also, the manifestation of primordial energy, the consciousness, is different in different beings. Therefore, seek reconciliation with everything in the universe, and everything will become your friend.
Mortals are helplessly tied, like cattle, by the rope of Vasana born of their Samskara. This rope can be cut only if we use the God-given knife of Buddhi that animals do not have. A tiger is controlled by the instinct to kill and is helpless in this regard. Human beings are endowed with intellect and power to reason by which one can slowly and steadily cut the rope. We fail to use our power of reasoning and intellect due to ignorance. One's enemy is none other than the other side of oneself. Sometimes Buddhi is taken away by the trick of Maya before the dawn of Prarabdha-born adversity. One must use Buddhi, the precious divine gift to human beings, to analyze the situation. There is no other way to get out of this vicious circle of Maya.
No one can hurt the one who does not do violence to others by thought, word, and deed (VP 1.19.05). Even the violent animals do not harm those who practice Ahimsa by thought, word, and deed (MB 12.175.27). The one who does not do Himsa to any creature, gets what one wishes and becomes successful in all Sadhana without too much effort (MS 5.47).
The higher form of life uses the lower form of life as food for sustenance (MB 12.15.20). It is impossible to practice Ahimsa or any other value in the absolute sense. Even farming operations involve Himsa of insects, and earthworms. The minimal amount of necessary Himsa in the day-to-day practical life is required. The determination of minimum Himsa is, of course, very subjective.
O Arjuna, the marks of those who are born with demonic qualities are: hypocrisy, arrogance, pride, anger, harshness, and ignorance. (16.04)
It is the universal (or Sanatana) Dharma to return the favor in one way or the other to those who have been helpful to you (VR 5.01.113). An ungrateful person is the worst person. One must abandon such a person (MB 12.168.26). There is no atonement for ungratefulness in this world (MB 12.172.25). It is said that even carnivores do not eat the flesh of an ungrateful person (MB 5.36.42). One must feel and express genuine gratitude for anything received in order to keep whatever is given by someone.
Divine qualities lead to Moksha, the demonic (qualities) are said to be for bondage. Do not grieve, O Arjuna, you are born with divine qualities. (16.05)
Habits of sinful activity are very difficult to get rid of; therefore, one should always avoid sinful acts and practice good deeds (MB 3.209.41). Fundamental morality is the backbone of spiritual life. Self-knowledge without moral virtues is as incomplete as food without salt.
Basically, there are only two types of human beings in this world: The divine, and the demonic. The divine has been described at length, now hear from Me about the demonic, O Arjuna. (16.06)
Persons of demonic nature do not know what to do and what not to do. They neither have purity nor good conduct nor truthfulness. (16.07)
They say that the world is unreal, without a substratum, without a God, and without an order. The world is caused by sexual union of man and woman alone and nothing else. (16.08)
Adhering to this (wrong atheist) view, these degraded souls - with small intellect and cruel deeds are born as enemies for the destruction of the world. (16.09)
Filled with insatiable desires, hypocrisy, pride, and arrogance; holding wrong views due to delusion; they act with impure motives. (16.10)
Obsessed with endless anxiety lasting until death, considering sense gratification their highest aim, convinced that this (sense pleasure) is everything, (16.11)
Bound by hundreds of ties of desire and enslaved by lust and anger; they strive to obtain wealth by unlawful means for the fulfillment of sensual pleasures. They think: (16.12)
This has been gained by me today, I shall fulfill this desire, I have this much wealth, and will have more wealth in the future; (16.13)
That enemy has been slain by me, and I shall slay others also. I am the Lord. I am the enjoyer. I am successful, powerful, and happy; (16.14)
I am rich and born in a noble family. Who is equal to me? I shall perform sacrifice, I shall give charity, and I shall rejoice. Thus deluded by ignorance; (16.15)
Bewildered by many fancies; entangled in the net of delusion; addicted to the enjoyment of sensual pleasures; they fall into a foul hell. (16.16)
Self-conceited, stubborn, filled with pride and intoxication of wealth; they perform Yajna only in name, for show, and not according to scriptural injunction. (16.17)
These malicious people cling to egoism, power, arrogance, lust, and anger, and hate Me who dwells in their own bodies and those of others. (16.18)
I hurl these haters, cruel, sinful, and mean people into the cycles of rebirth in the womb of demons again and again. (16.19)
O Arjuna, entering the wombs of demons birth after birth, the deluded ones sink to the lowest hell without ever attaining Me. (16.20)
A never-ending war between the Devas and the devils is going on in each person's life. One takes birth to learn to purge out the demonic qualities that block the gateway to God-realization. God appears only after the devil within us is completely subjugated. Atma does not have any of the three Gunas. These qualities or Gunas belong to body and mind only. Scriptures say: Maya creates a multitude of pairs of opposites such as merits and demerits, divine and demonic qualities. They have no real existence whatsoever. Therefore, it is wise not to note any merit or demerit in people (BP 11.19.45, TR 7.41.00).
Lust, anger, and greed are the three gates of hell leading to the downfall (or bondage) of Jiva. Therefore, one must (learn to) give up these three. (See also MB 5.33.71) (16.21)
The Upanishad says: A golden gate (of lust, anger, greed, illusion, delusion, and attachment) blocks the passage to God (IsU 15). This gate can be opened by a concerted individual effort only. Lust, anger, and greed were created to control the entry of human beings to the heaven, and to lead them to the gates of hell. Lust, anger, and greed evaporate from the mind only after discovering that there is no 'I' and 'my'. Uncontrolled greed for material possessions of modern civilization will destroy the possessor by destroying the natural environment, the very support of life and civilization.
Selfish desire or lust is the root of all evil. The mundane desires are also the origin of all demonic qualities. These demonic or negative qualities such as anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy, hatred, fraud, etc. are born out of desire and are also called sin. Desire, when fulfilled, brings more desires, thereby breeding greed. The unfulfilled desires cause anger. Anger is a temporary insanity. People do sinful acts when they are angry. They who act in haste under the spell of anger repent afterwards. Ajnana, or the ignorance of metaphysics, is responsible for the desires. Desire also covers Jnana as the cloud covers the sun. Therefore, one must learn to control desires with contentment and anger with forgiveness. They who have overcome desires have really conquered the world, and live a peaceful, healthy, and happy life.
One who is liberated from these three gates of hell, O Arjuna, does what is best for him or her, and consequently attains the supreme abode. (16.22)
Lust, anger, and greed are the commanders of the army of Maya that must be defeated before Mukti is possible.
One who acts under the influence of his or her desires, disobeying scriptural injunctions, neither attains perfection nor happiness nor the supreme abode. (16.23)
The world becomes full of sweetness and beauty for those who live their life according to the law of the scriptures (RV 1.90.06). A scripture is the blueprint for the society. It deals with every aspect of life and lays down the ground rules for proper development of all men, women, and children in the society. For example, Manu said: Women must be honored and adorned. Where women are honored, there demigods dwell pleased. Women must never be independent. Her father protects her in childhood, husband protects her in youth, and sons protect her in old age (MS 3.56). Fortitude, Dharma, friend, and wife; these four are tested only during adversity. To be devoted in thought, word, and deed to her husband is the only religion, the only vow, and the only duty of a wife (TR 3.04.05).
One must not find fault or criticize any scripture; because the scripture is the foundation stone of Dharma and social order. One can get name, fame, peace, Moksha, and Mukti by just following the scriptures (MS 2.09). The study of scriptures keeps the mind absorbed in the high thoughts and is a Sadhana by itself. One is delivered by the practice of the truth of the scriptures and not by mere lip service. Guru Nanak said: The one who preaches to others, but does not practice the same; shall take birth again and again.
Let Guru, God, and the Gita show us the way to enlightenment. People cannot be saved from the spell of Maya just by using their own wisdom. They must follow a scripture with faith; especially in this age when it is difficult to find a true guru. Adherence to the high teachings of the scriptures will ward off all evil and bring about good. If a bridge is built, even an ant can easily cross the river, no matter how big a river is. Similarly, the scripture is the bridge to cross over the river of Maya.
Therefore, let the scripture be your authority in determining what should be done and what should not be done. You should perform your duty following the scriptural injunction. (16.24)
The Ten Commandments of Hinduism, commonly known as Yama and Niyama according to sage Patanjali (PYS 2.30-2.32), are: (1) Ahimsa or nonviolence. (2) Truthfulness. (3) Non-stealing. (4) Celibacy or sense control. (5) Non-greed. (6) Purity of thought, word, and deed. (7) Contentment. (8) Austerity or renunciation. (9) Study of scriptures, and (10) Surrendering to God with faithful loving devotion.
Compare this with the Ten Commandments of the Bible: (1) Thou shall not kill. (2) Do not lie. (3) Do not steal. (4) Do not commit adultery. (5) Do not covet. (6) Do not divorce your wife. (7) Do for others what you want them to do for you. (8) If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn in the other cheek. (9) Love your neighbor as yourself, and (10) Love the Lord with all thy heart.
The Eightfold Noble Path of Buddhism is: Right view, right thought, right speech, right deeds, right livelihood, right effort, right resolve, and right meditation. Abstinence from all evil, performance of good acts, and purification of mind is the doctrine of Buddha.
The five cardinal principles of Islam are: (1) Faith in God, His message, and His messengers. (2) Meditation and prayer on the glory, greatness, and the message of God for spiritual growth. (3) Helping others by giving charity. (4) Austerity for self-purification by fasting in the month of Ramadan, and (5) Pilgrimage to the holy places.
All great masters have given us the truth revealed by the Supreme. Lord Krishna taught us to feel spiritual oneness by seeing divinity in each and everyone. Jesus Christ asked us to love all beings as we love ourselves. Lord Buddha taught us to purify ourselves and have compassion for all creatures. Muhammad taught to submit to the will of God and act like His instruments.
In some religions, however, only the members of one's own sect are considered favorites of God, and others are considered infidels. The Vedas teach not only mere religious tolerance but the acceptance of all other religions and prophets as analogous to one's own. The Vedas say: Let noble thoughts come to us from everywhere (RV 1.89.01). Different religious teachings are but different expressions of the Supreme. They are to be respected, not regarded as instruments of division. The dignity and welfare of humanity lie in the unity of races and religion (Swami Harihar). True knowledge of religion breaks down all barriers, including the barriers between faiths (Gandhi). Any religion that creates the walls of conflict and hatred among people in the name of God is not a religion, but selfish politics in disguise. The differences in scriptures are due to taking the literal meaning and our ignorance.
Arjuna said: What is the state of devotion of those who perform spiritual practices with faith but without following the scriptural injunctions, O Krishna? Is it Sattvika, Rajasika, or Tamasika? (17.01)
The Supreme Lord said: The natural faith of embodied beings is of three types: Sattvika, Rajasika, and Tamasika. Hear that from Me. (17.02)
O Arjuna, the faith of each is in accordance with one's own natural disposition (based on Karmic impressions). A person is known by the faith. One can become whatever one wants to be (if one constantly contemplates on the object of desire with faith). (17.03)
One can attain success in any endeavor if one perseveres with firm determination (MB 12.153.116). Whatever a person of purified mind desires, one obtains those objects (MuU 3.01.10). The doer of good acts becomes good, and the doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous deeds and vicious by vicious acts (BrU 4.04.05). One becomes what one constantly and intensely thinks of; irrespective of the reasons that may be reverence, fear, jealousy, love, or even hatred (BP 11.09.22).
We are the product of our own thoughts and desires, and our own architects. Where there is a will there is a way. We should harbor noble thoughts, because thoughts precede deeds. Thoughts control our physical, mental, financial, as well as spiritual well-being. We have such a great power at our disposal, yet the irony is that we fail to use it. If you do not have what you want, you are not committed to it one hundred percent. You are the cause of everything that happens to you. Success is a series of steps slowly taken. Stephen Covey says: "The best way to predict your future is to create it."
The Sattvika persons worship Devas, the Rajasika people worship demigods and demons, and the Tamasika persons worship ghosts and spirits. (17.04)
They who practice severe austerities without following the prescription of the scriptures; who are full of hypocrisy and egotism, and who are impelled by the force of desire and attachment; who senselessly torture the elements in their body and also Me who dwells within the body, know these ignorant persons to be of demonic nature. (17.05-06)
The food preferred by all is also of three types. So are the sacrifice, austerity, and charity. Now hear the distinction between them. (17.07)
The foods that promote longevity, virtue, strength, health, happiness, and joy; are juicy, smooth, substantial, and nutritious. Such foods are dear to the Sattvika persons. (17.08)
One should eat Sattvika food for protecting and sustaining life like a patient takes medicine for protection from disease (MB 12.212.14). Whatever a person eats, his or her Ishta Deva eats the same (VR 2.104.15, See also Gita 8.24). (Because) I am Thou, and Thou art I (BS 3.3.37). The food we eat becomes divided in three constituents. The grossest part turns into feces; medium component becomes flesh, blood, marrow, and bone. Semen, the subtlest part, rises upward and nourishes the brain and subtle organs of the body by uniting with the vital force (ChU 6.05.01-6.06.02). Food is called the root of the body tree. Sattvika persons like Sattvika foods. One can also become a Sattvika person by taking Sattvika food, because one becomes what one eats.
Foods that are very bitter, sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry, and burning; and cause pain, grief, and disease; are liked by Rajasika persons. (17.09)
The foods liked by Tamasika persons are stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten, refuses, and impure (such as meat and alcohol). (17.10)
Purity of mind comes from purity of food. Truth is revealed to a pure mind. One becomes free from all bondage after knowing the Truth (ChU 7.26.02). Gambling, intoxication, illicit sexual relationships, and meat eating may be a natural negative tendency (or Pravritti) of Jiva, but abstaining (or getting Nivritti) from these four activities is divine. One must avoid these four pillars of sin (BP 1.17.38). Abstaining from meat eating is equivalent to performing one hundred Ashvamedha Yajnas (MS 5.53-56).
Yajna enjoined by the scriptures, and performed without the desire for the fruit, with a firm belief and conviction that it is a duty, is Sattvika Yajna. (17.11)
Yajna that is performed only for show, and aiming for fruit, know that to be Rajasika Yajna, O Arjuna. (17.12)
Yajna that is performed without following the scripture, in which no food is distributed, which is devoid of mantra, faith, and gift, is said to be Tamasika Yajna. (17.13)
A Sadhana is incomplete without a mantra, and a mantra is incomplete without a Sadhana (DB 7.35.60).
The worship of Devas, Brahmana, guru, and the wise; purity, honesty, celibacy, and nonviolence; these are said to be the austerity of deed. (17.14)
Speech that is non-offensive, truthful, pleasant, beneficial, and is used for the regular study of scriptures is called the austerity of word. (17.15)
The path of truth is the path of spiritual progress to Lord Krishna. The Upanishad says: Only the truthful wins, not the untruthful. Truth is the divine path by which the sages, who are free from desires, ascend to the Supreme Abode (MuU 3.01.06). To be truthful is desirable. To speak what is beneficial is better than speaking truth. That which brings the greatest benefit to a person is the real truth (MB 12.329.13). The real truth is that which produces the maximum benefit to people. That which harms a person in any way is Asat and Adharma - although it may appear to be Sat at the first sight (MB 3.209.04). One may lie to protect the truth, but do not speak the truth for the protection of a lie.
A wise person should speak the truth if it is beneficial, and keep quiet if it is harmful. One must speak the beneficial truth whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. Non-beneficial pleasant speech (such as flattery) should be avoided (VP 3.12.44). Pleasant speech is beneficial to all. One who speaks pleasantly wins the heart of all and is liked by everybody (MB 12.84.04). The wound inflicted by harsh words is very difficult to heal. The wise should never inflict such wounds on others (MB 5.34.80). Sweetness of speech and calmness of mind are the marks of a true yogi (Swami Atmananda Giri). One may lie - if it becomes absolutely necessary - to protect life, property, and Dharma; during courtship; and for getting married (MB 12.109.19). Husband and wife should try to improve and help develop each other with a tender loving care as a cow purifies her calf by licking. Their words (to each other) should be (sweet as if) dipped in honey (AV 3.30.01-02).
Truth is the root of all noble virtues. One should present the bitter pill of truth with a sugar coating of pleasantness. Be truthful in a pleasant manner, but do not deviate from truth for the sake of pleasantness. Use candor with courtesy and avoid flattery. Speech should always be beneficial, truthful, and sweet. According to the Bible: It is not what goes into a person's mouth that makes one unclean; rather, what comes out of it (Matthew 15.11).
The serenity of mind, gentleness, equanimity, self-control, and the purity of thought these are called the austerity of thought. (17.16)
The above mentioned threefold austerity (of thought, word, and deed) practiced by yogis with supreme faith, without a desire for the fruit, is said to be Sattvika austerity. (17.17)
Ahimsa, truthfulness, forgiveness, kindness, and control of mind and senses are considered austerity (or Tapa) by the wise (MB 12.79.18). There cannot be purity of word and deed without purity of thought.
Austerity that is performed for gaining respect, honor, reverence, and for the sake of show, and which yields an uncertain and temporary result is said to be Rajasika. (17.18)
Austerity performed with foolish stubbornness, or with self-torture, or for harming others, is declared as Tamasika austerity. (17.19)
Charity that is given as a matter of duty, to a deserving candidate who does nothing in return, at the right place and time, is called a Sattvika charity. (17.20)
Sattvika charity is the best purifying, beneficial, and righteous act. It equally benefits both the giver and the receiver (MB 13.120.16). Nobody does anything for others. They all do for their own benefit. Even charitable works done for others are really done for one's own good (MB 12.292.01). It is the giver, not the receiver, who is blessed. Yogiraja Mumtaz says: When you serve a less fortunate person in any way - material or spiritual - you are not doing him or her a favor. In fact, the one who receives your help does you a favor by accepting what you give, and thereby helps you to evolve and move closer to the divine, blissful being, who in reality is within all.
Charities taken unnecessarily, compelled by greed (for name or fame), do great harm to the recipient. Improper charity harms both the giver and the taker (MS 4.186). Give anything you can - love, knowledge, help, service, prayer, food - but look for no return. Love is the key to enter His Kingdom. Charity is the best use of wealth.
Charity has no value if the money is earned by wrongful means (MB 5.39.66). To obtain wealth for meritorious or charitable deeds using wrong means is like soiling one's dress and then washing it. Not to soil the dress in the first place is better than washing the dress after soiling (MB 3.02.49). You cannot accomplish a worthy end with an unworthy mean. Ends and means are absolutely inseparable (Stephen Covey). It is not possible to help everybody by giving material goods and money. To pray for the physical and spiritual welfare of others in trouble or need - including the ones not on your favorite list - is called mental charity.
Charity that is given unwillingly, or to get something in return, or looking for some fruit, is called Rajasika charity. (17.21)
Jesus said: When you give something to a needy person, do not make a big show of it, but when you help a needy person, do it in such a way that even your closest friend will not know about it (Matthew 6.02-03). Charity given anonymously (or Gupta Dana) is the best charity. To give charity to an unworthy person (or cause) and not to give to a worthy person, both are wrong and are worse than giving no charity.
Charity that is given at a wrong place and time, and to unworthy persons; or without paying respect to the receiver or with ridicule, is said to be Tamasika charity. (17.22)
Be considerate and compassionate to those less fortunate than you. Charity should be given without humiliating the taker. Charity given by humiliating the taker destroys the giver (VR 1.13.33). One should always remember that God is both the giver and the receiver.
"Om Tat Sat" is said to be the threefold name of Brahma. The persons with Brahmanic qualities, the Vedas, and the Yajna were created from this in the ancient time. (17.23)
Therefore, acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity prescribed in the scriptures are always commenced by uttering "Om" by the knowers of Para-Brahma. (17.24)
Various types of sacrifice, charity, and austerity are performed by the seekers of Moksha by uttering "Tat" (or He is all) without seeking a reward. (17.25)
The word "Sat" is used in the sense of Reality and goodness. The word "Sat" is also used for an auspicious act, O Arjuna. (17.26)
Lord Krishna is also called Sat or Truth.
Faith in sacrifice, charity, and austerity is also called "Sat." The selfless service for the sake of the Supreme is verily termed as "Sat." (17.27)
Whatever is done without faith; whether it is sacrifice, charity, austerity, or any other act; is called "Asat." It has no value here or hereafter, O Arjuna. (17.28)
MOKSHA THROUGH RENUNCIATION
Arjuna said: I wish to know the nature of Samnyasa and Tyaga and the difference between the two, O Lord Krishna. (18.01)
The Supreme Lord said: The sages call Samnyasa as the renunciation of selfish work. The wise define Tyaga as the renunciation of (the attachment to) the fruits of all work. (See also 5.01, 5.05, and 6.01) (18.02)
Some philosophers say that all work is full of faults and should be given up, while others say that acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity should not be abandoned. (18.03)
O Arjuna, listen to My conclusion about Tyaga. Tyaga is said to be of three types. (18.04)
Acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity should not be abandoned, but should be performed, because sacrifice, charity, and austerity are the purifiers of the wise. (18.05)
Even these (obligatory) works should be performed without attachment to the fruits. This is My definite supreme advice, O Arjuna. (18.06)
Renunciation of obligatory work (or duty) is not proper. The abandonment of duty due to delusion is declared to be Tamasika Tyaga. (18.07)
One who abandons duty merely because it is difficult, or because of fear of bodily trouble, does not get the benefits of Tyaga by performing such Rajasika Tyaga. (18.08)
Obligatory work performed as duty, renouncing attachment to the fruit, is alone regarded as Sattvika Tyaga, O Arjuna. (18.09)
Renunciation of attachment to the sensual pleasures is the real Tyaga. The Siddhi of Tyaga comes after a person becomes free from the clutches of Raga and Dvesha and in no other way (MB 12.162.17). There is no eye better than the eye of Jnana, no austerity better than truth, no pain greater than attachment, and no pleasure greater than Tyaga (MB 12.175.35). One cannot become happy without Tyaga, one cannot become fearless without Tyaga, and one cannot attain God without Tyaga (MB 12.176.22). Even the bliss of Samadhi should not be enjoyed just for the sake of enjoyment. The Gita recommends renunciation while living in the world, and not the renunciation of the world.
Christ said: If you want perfection, give away everything you have, and then follow Me (Matthew 19.21). No one can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and mammon (the material desires) (Matthew 6.24, Luke 16.13). Christ did not hesitate to sacrifice his own life for the noble teachings. Lord Rama gave up His kingdom and even His wife for the establishment of Dharma. Give up attachment, and attain perfection by renunciation is the message of the Vedas and the Upanishads. "Tyaga" or renunciation is the crux of the Gita as given in this last chapter. A person who is Tyagi cannot commit sin and is released from the cycles of transmigration. One can cross the ocean of transmigration and reach the shores of Mukti by the boat of Tyaga only.
The Nine Types of Renunciation (or Navadha Tyaga) leading to Mukti, based on the teachings of the Gita are: (1) Renunciation of actions forbidden by the scriptures. (2) Renunciation of lust, anger, greed, fear, likes and dislikes, and jealousy. (3) Spurning of procrastination in Sadhana for the search of Truth. (4) Giving up the feeling of pride of possession of knowledge, detachment, devotion, wealth, and charitable deeds. (5) Rejection of selfish motives, and attachment to the fruits of all works. (6) Renunciation of the feeling of doership in all undertakings. (7) Giving up the thoughts of using the Lord to fulfill material desires. (8) Spurning of the attachments to material objects such as a house, wealth, position, and power, and (9) Sacrifice of wealth, prestige, and even life for a noble cause and protection of Dharma.
The one who neither hates a disagreeable work nor is attached to an agreeable work is considered a Tyagi, imbued with Sato Guna, intelligent, and free from all doubts, (18.10)
Human beings cannot completely abstain from all work. Therefore, the one who completely renounces the attachment to the fruits of all works is considered a Tyagi (or renunciant). (18.11)
The threefold fruit of works - desirable, undesirable, and mixed accrues after death to the one who is not a Tyagi, but never to a Tyagi. (18.12)
Learn from Me, O Arjuna, the five causes, as described in the Samkhya doctrine, for the accomplishment of all actions. They are: The physical body or the seat of Karma, the doer or the Guna, various instruments or the eleven organs of perception and action, various Pranas or bioimpulses, and the fifth is the presiding deities (of the eleven organs). (18.13-14)
Whatever action, whether right or wrong, one performs by thought, word, and deed; these are its five causes. (18.15)
Therefore, the ignorant person who considers oneself the sole agent due to imperfect knowledge does not understand. (18.16)
The one who is free from the notion of doership, and whose intellect is not tainted (by the desire to reap the fruit); even after slaying these people, he or she neither slays nor is bound by the act of killing. (18.17)
The subject, the object, and the knowledge of the object are the threefold driving force (or impetus) to an action. The eleven organs, the act, and the agent (or Gunas) are the three components of action. (18.18)
The Jnana (or knowledge), the Karma (or action), and the Karta (or agent) are said to be of three types according to the Guna theory of Samkhya doctrine. Hear duly about these also. (18.19)
The knowledge by which one sees a single immutable reality in all beings as undivided in the divided; such knowledge is considered to be Sattvika. (See also 11.13, and 13.16) (18.20)
The knowledge by which one sees different realities of various types among all beings as separate from one another, consider that knowledge to be Rajasika. (18.21)
The irrational, baseless, and worthless knowledge by which one clings to one single effect (such as the body) as if it is everything; such knowledge is declared to be Tamasika. (18.22)
The obligatory duty performed without likes and dislikes, and without selfish desire and attachment (to enjoy the fruit), is said to be Sattvika. (18.23)
Action performed with ego, with selfish motives, and with too much effort; is declared to be Rajasika. (18.24)
Action that is undertaken because of delusion; disregarding consequences, loss, injury to others, as well as one's own ability is said to be Tamasika action. (18.25)
The agent who is free from attachment, is non-egotistic, endowed with resolve and enthusiasm, and unperturbed in success or failure is called Sattvika. (18.26)
The agent who is passionate, desires the fruits of work, who is greedy, violent, impure, and is affected by joy and sorrow; is proclaimed to be Rajasika agent. (18.27)
The undisciplined, vulgar, stubborn, wicked, malicious, lazy, depressed, and procrastinating agent is called a Tamasika agent. (18.28)
Now hear the threefold division of Buddhi (or intellect) and resolve, based on Gunas, as explained by Me fully and separately, O Arjuna. (18.29)
O Arjuna, the Buddhi by which one understands the path of work and the path of renunciation, right and wrong action, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation, that Buddhi is Sattvika. (18.30)
The intellect (or Buddhi) by which one incorrectly distinguishes between Dharma and Adharma, and right and wrong action; that intellect is Rajasika, O Arjuna. (18.31)
The intellect when covered by ignorance accepts Adharma as Dharma, and thinks everything to be that which it is not, is called Tamasika intellect, O Arjuna. (18.32)
The resolve by which one holds the functions of the mind, Prana (or the bioimpulses), and senses for God-realization only; that resolve is Sattvika, O Arjuna. (18.33)
The resolve by which a person, craving for the fruits of work, clings to Dharma or duty, Artha or wealth and success, and Kama or pleasure and enjoyment with great attachment; that resolve, O Arjuna, is Rajasika. (18.34)
Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha (or doing one's duty, earning wealth, material enjoyment, and attaining Mukti) are the four goals of human life for the householder in the Vedic tradition. A person completely involved in acquisition and preservation of material wealth and possession has no time for Self-realization (MB 12.07.41). Lord Rama said: One who is engaged only in Kama, abandoning Dharma and Artha, soon gets into trouble (VR 2.53.13). The one who uses Dharma, Artha, and Kama in a balanced manner without harming any one of the three by the other two attains Mukti (MB 9.60.22). One can obtain all four by devotion to the Lord (VP 1.18.24). One should first follow Dharma by doing one's duty righteously. Then one should earn money and make economic progress, fulfill all noble material and spiritual desires with the money earned, and progress towards Mukti, the goal of human birth.
As human beings are always afraid of death; a rich person is always afraid of the tax collector, thieves, relatives, and natural disasters (MB 3.02.39). There is great pain in accumulating, protecting, and renouncing wealth. The desire for wealth accumulation is never satisfied, therefore, the wise consider contentment as the supreme pleasure (MB 3.02.46). People are never satisfied with wealth and material possessions (KaU 1.27).
The resolve by which a dull person does not give up sleep, fear, grief, despair, and carelessness; that resolve is Tamasika, O Arjuna. (18.35)
And now hear from Me, O Arjuna, about the threefold pleasure. The pleasure one enjoys from (spiritual) practice results in cessation of sorrow. (18.36)
This pleasure appears as poison in the beginning, but is like nectar in the end, comes by the grace of Self-knowledge, and is called good or Sattvika pleasure. (18.37)
The one who enjoys the ocean of the nectar of devotion has no use for the sensual pleasures, which is like water of a pond (BP 6.12.22). The river of material joy dries up quickly after the rainy season if there is no perennial source of spiritual water. Material objects are like straws to a Self-realized person.
Sensual pleasures appear as nectars in the beginning, but become poison in the end; such pleasures are called Rajasika pleasures. (See also 5.22) (18.38)
Two paths, the beneficial spiritual path (or Shreyas) and the pleasant path of sensual pleasures (or Preyas), are open to us. The wise one chooses the former while the ignorant chooses the latter (KaU 2.02). Sensual pleasures wear out the vigor of the senses, and one suffers from diseases in the end (KaU 1.26). Sensuous pleasure is not the object of precious human birth. Even heavenly enjoyment is temporary and ends in sorrow. They who are attached to sensual delights are like fools who choose poison in exchange for nectar of devotion (TR 7.43.01). The ignorant ones due to Moha, the delusion of Maya, do not think that they are taking poison while drinking the poison. One only knows after the results, and then it is too late (VR 7.15.19). It is the natural tendency of the senses to go easily towards the external sensual pleasures as water flows downstream. Regrets follow the fulfillment of all sensual and material desires.
Worldly pleasures are like a mirage in the desert. The thirsty persons reckon it as water; till one comes to drink it, one finds it is nothing. Ramakrishna said: One does not feel intensely restless for God until all worldly desires are satisfied. Manu is of the opinion that it may be easier to control the senses after senses have enjoyed its pleasures, and one has discovered its uselessness and harmfulness (MS 2.96). Desirelessness comes easily after most of our desires are fulfilled. A person may be healthy and wealthy but still unhappy without a taste of spiritual pleasure. A spiritually grown up person does not miss the worldly pleasures.
Pleasure that confuses a person in the beginning and in the end; which comes from sleep, laziness, and carelessness; such pleasure is called Tamasika (pleasure). (18.39)
There is no being, either on the earth or among the Devas in the heaven, who can remain free from these three Gunas of Prakriti, the material nature. (18.40)
The division of labor into the four categories Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra is also based on the Gunas inherent in peoples' nature (or the natural propensities, and not necessarily as one's birth right), O Arjuna. (See also 4.13) (18.41)
The Vedas compare human society with a person whose four main limbs represent the four broad types of works and workers in the society, and not castes fixed by birth as practiced mostly in India, the land of the Vedas. The Brahmana is His mouth, Kshatriya is the arms, Vaishya is the stomach, and Shudra is His feet (RV 10.90.12, YV 31.11, AV 19.06.06). The Vedas also state that its words are for all mankind and not limited to any single group or caste. Its words are for all people, including the Shudra, and the foreigner (YV 26.02). Swami Adagadananda has put it very nicely. He says: There are only two types (or castes) of people the decent and the indecent (Gita 16.06). The formal caste system in India is an artificial barrier, a social disgrace, and blot on the face of Hinduism according to Swami Vivekananda.
They who have serenity, self control, austerity, purity, patience, honesty, Self-knowledge, Self-realization, and belief in God are labeled as Brahmanas, the intellectuals. (18.42)
A Brahmana is the one who has the above mentioned qualities (MB 3.180.21). Anybody may be called a Brahmana if he or she possesses the divine gift of Brahma-vidya (and not just by being born in a family of Brahmana) (RV 10.125.05, AV 4.30.03). Brahmanism is an acquirement a Guna or the state of mind rather than a caste or creed. The illuminated one who is in touch with Brahma is a Brahmana and is next to God. Manu said that all are Shudra by birth, and can become a non-shudra by deeds only.
Whenever a sector of any society gives predominance to caste, creed, race, religion, color, gender, or place of birth over the ability of an individual; the seeds of downfall and inefficiency of that society are planted and begin to grow. The devil of discrimination knows no national boundaries. It is unfortunately practiced by ignorant persons all over the world in one form or the other. It is a human temptation, and a manifestation of superiority complex. The wise should try to overcome all types and shades of bias. All are the children of God, equal in His eyes, and should be treated as such. A person, for the progress of the society, must be judged by his or her ability, and not by any other standard.
Those having the qualities of heroism, vigor, firmness, dexterity, not fleeing from battle, charity, and administrative skills are called Kshatriyas, the protectors. (18.43)
The ideal of a Kshatriya (or a King) requires uncompromising and unrelenting opposition to the evil doers in society. One who does this is called a Kshatriya (RV 10.174.02, AV 1.29.02). The duty or Dharma of a Kshatriya is to fight all Adharma and injustice in society.
Those who are good in cultivation, cattle rearing, business, trade, and industry are known as Vaishyas. Those who do service and labor type work are classed as Shudras. (18.44)
One attains the highest perfection by devotion to one's natural work. Listen to Me how one attains perfection while engaged in one's natural work. (18.45)
One attains perfection by worshipping the Supreme from whom all beings originate, and by whom all this universe is pervaded through performance of one's natural duty (for Him). (See also 9.27, 12.10) (18.46)
One's inferior natural work is better than superior unnatural work even though well performed. One who does the work ordained by one's inherent nature (without selfish motives) incurs no sin (or Karmic reaction). (See also 3.35) (18.47)
One's natural work, even though defective, should not be abandoned; because all undertakings are enveloped by defects as fire is covered by smoke, O Arjuna. (18.48)
There is nothing in this world that has only good or only bad qualities. There is no perfect undertaking. All ventures have both good and bad aspects (MB 12.15.50). It is not what you do, but how you do is important.
The person whose mind is always free from attachment, who has subdued the mind and senses, and who is free from desires, attains the supreme perfection of freedom from (the bondage of) Karma by renouncing its fruits. (18.49)
Learn from Me briefly, O Arjuna, how one who has attained such perfection (or freedom from the bondage of Karma) attains the Supreme Person, the goal of transcendental knowledge. (18.50)
Endowed with purified intellect, subduing the mind with firm resolve, turning away from sound and other objects of the senses, giving up likes and dislikes; and living in solitude, eating lightly, controlling the mind, speech, and organs of action; ever absorbed in yoga of meditation, and taking refuge in detachment; and after relinquishing egotism, violence, pride, lust, anger, and desire for possession; free from the notion of "my", and peaceful one becomes fit for attaining oneness with Para-Brahma. (18.51-53)
When the torch of meditation fuses together Karma, Jnana, and Bhakti during the thoughtless state of Samadhi, the rays of enlightenment radiate, the divine communion is perfected, the fog of duality disappears, and all material and sensual desires evaporate from the mind.
Absorbed in Para-Brahma, the serene one neither grieves nor desires; becoming impartial to all beings, one obtains My Para Bhakti, the devotional love. (18.54)
By devotion one truly understands what and who I am in essence. Having known Me in essence, one immediately merges with Me. (See also 5.19) (18.55)
Only they know You to whom You make Yourself known; and the moment one knows You, becomes one with You (TR 2.126.02). The knower of Brahma becomes Brahma (BrU 1.04.10, MuU 3.02.09). The Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17.21). No one can see the Kingdom of God unless one is born again (by realizing that one is not this body, but the spirit behind the body) (John 3.03). Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child, will never enter it (Mark 10.15). The Father and I are one (John 10.30).
The knower of Brahma becomes like Brahma. As one cannot see the ever existing salt in the ocean water with the eye but can taste by the tongue, similarly Brahma can only be realized by faith and devotion and not by logic and reasoning. The cowherd girls and boys of Vrindavana did not realize God by Japa, meditation, and Jnana but through ecstatic personal love and intense devotion to Lord Krishna.
One attains the eternal immutable abode (or Mukti) by My grace, even while doing all duties, just by taking refuge in Me (by surrendering all action to Me with loving devotion). (18.56)
Sincerely offer all actions to Me, set Me as your supreme goal, and completely depend on Me. Always fix your mind on Me, and resort to Karma-yoga. (18.57)
Everything we use or eat should be first offered to the Lord, the giver of all things, before we put it to our own use. This includes but is not limited only to food, new dress, new car, new house, and new baby. Offering everything to the Lord is the highest form of worship that one has to learn and practice every day.
When your mind becomes fixed on Me, you shall overcome all difficulties by My grace. But, if you do not listen to Me due to ego, you shall perish. (18.58)
If due to ego you think: I shall not fight; this resolve of yours is vain. Your own nature will compel you (to fight). (18.59)
O Arjuna, you are bound by your own nature-born Karma or Samskara. Therefore, you shall do even against your will what you do not wish to do out of delusion. (18.60)
The mind often knows right and wrong, but it runs after evil reluctantly by the force of Samskara. The wise should always keep this in mind before finding fault with others.
The Supreme Lord Krishna, as Ishvara, abides in the inner psyche (or in Citta as consciousness) of all beings, O Arjuna, causing them to act (or work out their Karma) by His power of Maya as if they are (puppets of Karma) mounted on a machine. (18.61)
Ishvara is the reflection of Atma in the body. The Supreme Lord Krishna in the form Caitanya Brahma or Ishvara organizes, controls, and directs everything in the universe.
The Lord has made Karmic laws as the controller of all living beings. One must, therefore, learn to gladly endure all that fate imposes by taking refuge in Him and following the commandments (TR 2.218.02). Vedas declare that Lord, using Karma, makes us dance as a juggler would make his monkey dance (TR 4.6.12). Without the laws of Karma, the scriptural injunctions, prohibitions as well as self-effort would have no value at all. Karma is the eternal justice, and the eternal law. As a result of working of the eternal justice there could be no escape from the consequences of our deeds. We become the product of our own past thinking and action. Therefore, we must think and act wisely at the present moment using the scriptures as a guide.
The doctrine of Karma and reincarnation is also found in the following two verses of the Koran: Allah is He who created you and then sustained you, then causes you to die, then gives life to you again (Surah 30.40). He may reward those who believe and do good works. No one is able to escape His law of consequences (Surah 30.45). People cannot escape from the consequences of their deeds; for as we sow, so we reap. The cause and effect cannot be separated because the effect exists in the cause as the fruit exists in the seed. The good and evil deeds follow us continually like our shadows.
The Bible also says: Whosoever shedeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed (Genesis 9.06). It is believed that all references to Karma and reincarnation were taken out of the Bible during the second century with the noble aim of encouraging people to strive hard for perfection during this very life. Those who believe in reincarnation must avoid laziness and procrastination, stress intense Sadhana, and try their best to get SR in this very life as if there is no reincarnation. Live as though this is your last day on this earth. One cannot achieve anything through laziness and procrastination.
One cannot take wealth, fame, power, etc. from here to hereafter, but one can convert these into good or bad Karma and carry it. Even the Kala, the death, cannot not touch one's Karma.
Seek refuge in the Supreme Lord (Krishna or Ishvara) alone with loving devotion, O Arjuna. By His grace you shall attain supreme peace and the Eternal Abode (or Parama-Dhama). (18.62)
Thus the knowledge that is more secret than the secret has been explained to you by Me. After fully reflecting on this, do as you wish. (18.63)
Hear again My supreme word, the most secret of all. You are very dear to Me, therefore, I shall tell this for your benefit. (18.64)
Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, offer service to Me, bow down to Me, and you shall certainly reach Me. I promise you because you are My very dear friend. (18.65)
Setting aside all Dharma, just surrender completely to My will (with firm faith and loving contemplation). I shall liberate you from all sins (or the bonds of Karma). Do not grieve. (18.66)
The wise should not be attached even to meritorious deeds for their entire life, but should engage their mind and intellect to contemplation of the Supreme Being (MB 12.290.21). One should develop a spirit of genuine self-surrender to the Lord by offering everything, including the fruits of Sadhana, to Him. We should connect all our work with the divine. The world is controlled by the laws or will of God. One has to learn to abide by His will. Be thankful in prosperity and resign to His will in adversity.
A true devotee perceives: O Lord, I remembered You, because You remembered me first. One breaks away every yoke of bondage, and becomes free in this very life as soon as one gains the knowledge and a firm conviction that everything is done by the will of God; it is His world, His Lila, and His battle, not ours; and regards oneself as a mere actor in the divine play, and the Lord as the great director in the cosmic drama of soul on the stage of creation. Surrendering of individual will to the divine will is the culmination of all Sadhana resulting in joyful participation in the drama of joys and sorrows of life. This is called Jivan-mukti, or Mahayana in Buddhism. One cannot see God as long as one does not completely get rid the notion of doership and ownership. The grace of God is triggered when one becomes firmly convinced that he or she is not the doer, and at once becomes Jivana-mukta or free in this very life.
Surrendering to God does not involve leaving the world, but realizing that everything happens in accordance with His laws, and by His direction and power. To fully recognize that everything is controlled and governed by a divine plan is to surrender to Him. In surrender one lets the divine plan rule his or her life without giving up one's best effort. It is the complete renunciation of individual existence or the ego. It is the feeling: O my beloved Lord, nothing is mine, everything - including my body, mind, and ego - is Yours; I am not Brahma (or Soham), but, Dasoham, Your servant; save me from the ocean of transmigration. I tried to get out of the ocean of Samsara using all the methods given in the scriptures, and failed. Now I have discovered the ultimate process - the process of surrender. Thus, one should start the spiritual journey as Dvaitins, experience Advaitism, and again come back to Dvaitism. A successful journey begins and ends at the same place.
It is the divine grace or power that comes in the form of self-effort. The divine grace and the self-effort, as well as Dvaitism and Advaitism are nothing but the two sides of the same coin of Reality. The grace of God is always available - one has to collect it. To win the grace is not easy. One has to earn it by sincere Sadhana and effort. Grace is the cream of that effort - our good Karma. It is said that self-effort is absolutely necessary, but the last rung of the ladder to the Supreme is not Sadhana or the self-effort but asking for His grace in the spirit of surrender. When everything is surrendered to Him; and one truly understands that He is the goal, the path, the traveler, as well as the obstacles on the path; the vice and virtue become powerless and harmless as a cobra with fangs removed.
According to Shamkara, if any object other than Para-Brahma - the Cosmic Energy Field - appears to exist, it is unreal like a mirage, or the presence of a snake in the rope. When one firmly understands that there is nothing else except Para-Brahma and His Lila, all Karma gets exhausted; one surrenders to His will, and attains Mukti. Shri Yukteswar said: Human life is beset with sorrow until we know how to surrender or tune in with the divine will that baffles our intellect. The Koran says: Whoever follows My guidance, no fear shall come upon them neither shall they grieve (Surah 2.38). The Upanishad says: The knower of Brahma goes beyond grief.
This (knowledge) should never be spoken by you to one who is devoid of austerity, who is without devotion, who does not desire to listen, or who speaks ill of Me. (18.67)
To speak of wisdom to a deluded person, to glorify Tyaga to a greedy person, to advise sense control to an irascible, and to discourse on Lord Rama's exploits to a lecher, is as useless as sowing seed on a barren ground (TR 5.57.01-02). It is not for any soul to believe save by the permission of Allah. You should not compel one to believe (Surah 10.100-101). Anyone to whom God has not granted the light (of knowledge) will have no light (Surah 24.40). According to Ramakrishna, one can understand Him as much as He makes one to understand. Guru Nanak said: O Beloved, only they to whom You give the divine knowledge obtain it.
According to the Bible: Do not give what is holy to dogs. Do not throw your pearls in front of pigs. They will only trample them under their feet (Matthew 7.06). No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him or her to me (John 6.44). The recipient of knowledge must have spiritual inclination, and sincerely seek it. The knowledge given without being asked for it serves no purpose and should be avoided. There is a time for everything under the heaven. We cannot change the world, but we can only change the lives of a few sincere souls whose time for a change has come by His grace.
The one who shall propagate this supreme secret philosophy (or the transcendental knowledge of the Gita) amongst My devotees, shall be performing the highest devotional service to Me, and shall certainly (attain Parama Dhama and) come to Me. (18.68)
Ignorance is the mother of all sins. The giving of the gift of knowledge is the best charity. It is equivalent to giving the whole world in charity (MB 12.209.113). The best welfare is to help others discover their real nature which is the source of everlasting happiness rather than provide material goods and comforts for temporary happiness. The Bible says: Whoever obeys the law, and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5.19). Happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy cause (Helen Keller).
No other person shall do a more pleasing service to Me, and no one on the earth shall be more dear to Me. (18.69)
I shall be worshipped with Jnana-yajna (or knowledge sacrifice) by those who shall study this sacred dialogue of ours. This is My promise. (18.70)
Life in the modern society is all work and no spirituality. Swami Harihar says: Daily study of only few verses of the Gita will recharge mental batteries and add meaning to a dull routine life of the modern society.
Whoever hears this (sacred dialogue in the form of the Gita) with faith and without cavil becomes free from sin, and attains heaven the higher worlds of those whose actions are pure and virtuous. (18.71)
O Arjuna, did you listen to this with single-minded attention? Has your delusion born of ignorance been completely destroyed? (18.72)
Arjuna said: By Your grace my delusion is destroyed, I have gained knowledge, my confusion (with regard to body and Atma) is dispelled and I shall obey Your command. (18.73)
When one realizes Him, the knots of ignorance are loosened, all doubts and confusion are dispelled, and all Karma is exhausted (MuU 2.02.08). The true knowledge of Para-Brahma comes only by His grace.
Sanjaya said: Thus I heard this wonderful dialogue between Lord Krishna and Mahatma Arjuna, causing my hair to stand on end. (18.74)
By the grace of (guru) sage Vyasa, I heard this most secret and supreme yoga directly from Krishna, the Lord of yoga, Himself speaking (to Arjuna) before my very eyes (of clairvoyance granted by sage Vyasa). (18.75)
O King, by repeated remembrance of this marvelous and sacred dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, I am thrilled at every moment; and (18.76)
Recollecting again and again, O King, that marvelous form of Krishna I am greatly amazed and I rejoice over and over again. (18.77)
Wherever is Krishna, the lord of yoga (in the form of His teachings); and wherever is Arjuna (or selfless service), the archer; there will be everlasting prosperity, victory, happiness, and morality. This is my conviction. (18.78)
Where there is Dharma (or the righteous duty) there is the grace of Lord Krishna; where there is the grace of Lord Krishna, there will be peace and victory (MB 6.43.60). Everlasting peace is possible only by performing one's duty with full metaphysical knowledge of Lord Krishna as Para-Brahma Paramatma.
The Farewell Message of Lord Krishna
Lord Krishna on the eve of His departure from the arena of this world, after finishing the difficult task of establishing Dharma, gave His last parting discourse to His uncle Uddhava who was also His dearest devotee and follower. At the end of a long sermon comprising of more than one thousand verses (BP 11.06-29) Uddhava said: O Lord, I think the pursuit of yoga as You narrated (to Arjuna, and now) to me, is very difficult, indeed, for most people; because it entails control of the unruly senses. Please tell me a short, simple, and easy way to God-realization. Lord Krishna upon Uddhava's request gave the essentials of Self-realization for the modern age as follows:
(1) Do your duty, to the best of your abilities, for Me without any selfish motive, and remember Me at all times - before starting a work, at the completion of a task, and while inactive. (2) Practice to look upon all creatures as Myself in thought, word, and deed; and mentally bow down to them. (3) Awaken your dormant Kundalini Shakti and perceive that the power of God is with you at all times; through the activities of mind, senses, breathing, and emotions; and is constantly doing all the work using you as a mere instrument. Yogiraja Mumtaz says: The one who fully knows oneself as a mere instrument and a playground of mind and Prakriti, knows Brahma or Truth. Cessation of all desires by realizing the true essence of the world and the human mind is Self-realization. Paramahamsa Hariharananda says: God is in everything as well as above everything. So if you want to realize Him, you must seek and see Him in every atom, in every matter, in every bodily function, and in every human being with an attitude of surrender.
The essence of God-realization is also summarized in the Bhagavata Maha Purana (BP 2.09.32-35) as follows:
The Supreme Lord Krishna said: O Brahmaa, the one who wants to know Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Shri Krishna, should only understand that I existed before creation, I exist in the creation, as well as after dissolution. Any other existence is nothing but My illusory energy. I exist within the creation and at the same time outside the creation. I am the all pervading Supreme Lord who exists everywhere, in everything, and at all times.
This book is offered to Lord Shri Krishna. May He bless us all with goodness, prosperity, and peace.
Copyright © 1997 American Gita Society, All Rights Reserved.