International Forum for NeoVedantins

Gita for the Beginners: Part 11
Chapter IX

The chapter IX is an important stage in the elucidation of the perennial philosophy of eternity of Atman, as well as identity of Atman and Paramatman. In this chapter the Lord elaborates subtlety and nuances of Vedantic thought that goes to prove that all the stages from the realization of "God with Form" (Sakara Brahman) to the final stage of realization of "Eternal and Formless Consciousness" (Nirguna Brahman) are true.

Thus, Sri Krishna calls this knowledge as very sacred, and only the persons with sincerity, perseverance, sense-control, contemplation, and mediation can fathom its deep meaning. Therefore, it sometimes may appear as 'secret knowledge', accessible only to a few, but the true meaning should be taken as 'sacred knowledge'. Everybody is potentially equipped with the means to acquire the same.

In the first verse, the Lord says, "To you, O Arjuna, who are devoid of crookedness, I shall now unfold the knowledge of Nirguna Brahman and Sakara Brahman, knowing which you will be free from the evil of worldly existence." The lord continues: this is a sovereign science, sacred to its core, divine in its appeal, and beneficial to all. It is holy and should be guarded as a treasure. It is an excellent way to fulfill one's goal in life; it gives immense joy, and is attended by virtue lasting forever.

What is required is unshakable faith and honesty of purpose! That One Self permeates this whole world, as water in the ice. Although the ice has various forms its essence is none other than water, similarly this multifarious world of name and form has that Supreme Consciousness as the only substratum as their basis. He is the essence in them all.

Thus, those who cherish the manifest power forgetting the Supreme Self as the essence suffer from ignorance, like the person who is pleased only with counting the mango trees without tasting a single mango! The Maya Power of the Lord deludes people by not allowing them to realize the Truth of Self responsible for illumining the whole world. Purusha is the only sentient being, which is the supervisor and sustainer of whole creation, both animate and inanimate. Not knowing this truth, people are caught in the dreadful wheel of samsara!

Most of us are deluded by the external world, and thus, thinking ourselves to be 'body-mind' complex we are engaged in worldly pursuit of gold and lust. Most of us live on vain hopes, perform futile actions, and boast of fruitless knowledge under the spell of nature, which is outwardly attractive but demonical and delusive at the core.

Fools we are, that we do not know the Supreme nature of Atman and thus, think low of even such great souls as Sri Krishna taking Him to be just ordinary human being. In fact, such rare souls as Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Christ and Sri Ramakrishna etc. are the perfected embodiment of that Supreme Consciousness that incarnates on this earth to show us the path of true religion.

Lord Krishna here tries to tell Arjuna this great truth that God Incarnate and Absolute Consciousness both are true only when "God with form" is worshipped in its true spirit. It should be emphasized that conditions of renunciation, discrimination, and love for highest truth are indispensable for any kind of spiritual practice so as to reach and experience the state of Yoga and know the real nature of Atman.

Various forms of God are but the purer forms of manifest Reality, while as ordinary souls we have potentiality to express the divinity within us. In the state of divine achievement only we can experience the truth of God. Yoga means to attempt by one all means to reach and acquire that state.

After having introduced two paths, viz. of knowledge and of selfless action, now the Lord introduces the third and most simple path of devotion for the benefit of humanity. Thus the Lord says, "Constantly chanting my name and glories, striving to attain Me, and bowing again and again to Me, those devotees of firm resolve, even united with Me through meditation worship Me single-minded devotion." 9/14

Jnana Yogis betake themselves to Him through their offering of knowledge, worshiping God in His absolute and formless aspect as their very self. Still others worship the Lord in His universal form in many ways, taking Him to be diverse in diverse celestial forms (gods). But Sri Krishna is kind enough to reassure such devotees as well, "Arjuna, even those devotees who worship other gods in fact worship Me only, but such devotees are ignorant about this fact." 9/23

"Whosoever offers Me with love a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water I appear in person before that disinterested devotee of purified intellect, and delightfully partake of that article offered by him with love." 9/26

The Lord assures such kind and compassionate treatment towards all, including women, sinners, and low caste people. He assures to look after us in all our difficulties and distress, if we follow the path shown by Him and surrender to His wishes. (End of chapter IX)
Continued Next Part 12 ...

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