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Introduction to Isha Upanishad
Samkhya and Vedanta
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Advaita Vedanta as the Quest for Knowledge
Related to Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda: Short Biography
At The Parliament of Religions: Chicago 1893
Swami Vivekananda and Madame Calve
Nature of India's Contribution
Related to Ramakrishna
Sri Ramakrishna: A Brief life sketch
The Game of Ladder
Glory of Sri Ramakrishna
Related to Hinduism
What is Hiduism?
Introduction to Katha Upanishad
Introduction to Isha Upanishad
Religious Social Movements
Related to Vedanta
Yoga: Part 1 | Yoga: Part 2
Gita for the Beginners: Part 9
Chapter VII contains 30 verses and deals with the concepts of manifest and non-manifest Brahman.
In the first verse, the Lord is gracious enough to volunteer His Real Nature. He wants to impart the knowledge of both Absolute Brahman without attributes and qualifications - nirguna Brahman; as well as Brahman with attributes and form - saguna Brahman. The lord says, "I shall impart that knowledge having known which nothing else remains to be known in this world." Further he says to Arjuna, "O dear, out of thousands aspirants a rare soul strives to realize Me, and amongst these an occasional Yogi knows Me in Reality."
First the Lord explains the basis of saguna Brahman, manifest as universe. The eight fold qualifications, - viz. earth, water, air, fire, ether, mind, intellect, and ego - are the constituent parts of this manifest world. But there is a higher reality as Absolute Consciousness (which the Lord calls as ME), which is the only sentient Being and the substratum of all these eight fold qualifications.
The entire manifest universe is born out of combination of Prakriti and Purusha. In fact, there can be nothing; all qualifications would be superfluous, if Absolute Consciousness is not behind them. 'Like the continuous thread of consciousness I run through the garland of these eightfold attributes.'
"I am the 'wateriness' of water, the light of sun and the moon, I am the basis of sacred syllable Om in Vedas, I am the purity in life, and austerities of the Yogis. Know Me as the eternal seed of all beings. I am intelligence of the intelligent, power of the mighty, and virtuous desires in all. Thus the whole universe is sustained because of My Power."
Then, why such differences as sorrow and hatred, terror and destruction? Love and compassion, happiness and joy!
The Lord answers, "The Prakriti or Nature consists of three gunas -constituent parts - named sattva, rajas, and tamas. The qualities of goodness, purity, and revelation is related to sattva, principle of actions and passion is rajas, and tamas is the principle of inertia, delusion and ignorance."
The three gunas sattva rajas and tamas emanate from the Principle of Pure Consciousness, but they never affect IT. These three modes of nature in various permutations and combinations delude whole of mankind and keep them away form realization their True Self. The only way to overcome this ignorance is to join (unite) with the Lord by taking recourse to refuge (surrender, worship), Jnana, karma, or such Yoga.
Four types of men worship God, and all the four are virtuous.
1) The seeker of worldly objects and joy (prays: God please give me this, give that. I am poor; I need your blessings and grace.)
2) The Sufferer (In distress: Ill health, calamity, financial loss, danger to life, property, etc. Prays for cure, and protection etc.)
3) Seeker of Knowledge, curious to know the real nature of God, World, and self. (Does not ask for any material gains, but wants to know the Nature of Self. Thus prays for the knowledge.)
4) The man of wisdom - Yogi. (Wise man: Seeks only God's Grace and devotion. Does not hanker after anything. Wants to love God for the sake of love. Surrenders himself to the Highest Principle, for the yogi has understood Its Pure Nature. Man of perfected Knowledge!)
Of course, the best amongst these e four bhaktas (worshippers) is the last one, man of wisdom. The Lord says, 'The Yogi is one with me, but such a great soul is rare indeed.' Secondly, says the Lord, 'Because of ignorance born out of desires, people worship various gods. However, knowingly, I stabilize the faiths of such devotees in their respective beliefs. They do not worship the Ultimate Truth (ME) because some of their desires are yet to be fulfilled. I have no objection to such worship, but know Arjuna, even the fruits of such misguided worship are granted by me!'
However, such gains are temporary; after enjoying them such men have to take birth again and again in this cycle of samsara. Only in the last birth one understands the meaning of true worship and devotion (surrender to ME as Supreme Truth). Having thus renounced the sense pleasures, and realized My true nature then the devotee escapes the painful cycles of birth and death.
Therefore, O Arjuna, remember I am not ordinary god; My real nature is Infinite Bliss-Knowledge-Consciousness. I embody Myself as Final Truth for you all. Veiled by Maya Shakti, I am not known to all and do not manifest my true nature to all. Hence ignorant do not recognize Me as 'the unborn and imperishable Supreme Spirit.
"They, who have taken refuge in Me, strive for final liberation to know Me as the Brahman, the infinite. They alone understand my manifold manifest and non-manifest nature and forms: a) Adhibhuta (related to matter -material form), b) Adhidaiva (related to incarnations and divine forms), c) Adhiyajna (non-manifest ultimate Reality -the Brahman)." End of Chapter VII
Continued Next Part 10 ...
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C S Shah