Om Namah Shivaya - Om Namo Venkatesaya  

The Song of God - Swami Venkatesananda enlarged 4th edition - 1984 - published by The Chiltern Yoga Trust, Cape Town, South Africa

7 - Jnana Vijnana Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom and Realisation

Om parthaya pratibodhitam bhagavata narayanena svayam vyasena grathitam purana munina madhye mahabharatam advaita 'mrta varsinim bhagavatim astadasa 'dhyayinim amba tvam anusamdadhami bhagavad gite bhava dvesinim
1. Om. O Bhagavad Gita, with which Partha (Arjuna) was illumined by lord Narayana himself and which was composed within the Mahabharata by the ancient sage Vyasa, O divine mother, the destroyer of rebirth, the showerer of the nectar of advaita (oneness) and consisting of eighteen chapters - upon thee, O Bhagavad Gita, O affectionate mother, I meditate.
namo 'stu to vyasa visala buddhe phulla 'ravinda 'yata patra netra yena tvaya bharata taila purnah prajvalito jnanamayah pradipah
2. Salutations unto thee, O Vyasa of broad intellect, and with eyes like the petals of full-blown lotuses, by whom the lamp of knowledge, filled with the oil of the Mahabharata has been lighted.
prapanna parijataya totravetrai 'ka panaye jnana mudraya krsnaya gita 'mrta duhe namah
3. Salutations to Krsna, the parijata or the bestower of all desires for those who take refuge in him, the holder of the whip in one hand, the holder of the symbol of knowledge and the milker of the nectar of the Bhagavad Gita.
sarvo 'panisado gavo dogdha gopala nandanah partho vatsah sudhir bhokta dugdham gita 'mrtam mahat
4. All the upanisad are the cows, the milker is Krsna the cowherd boy, Arjuna is the calf, men of purified intellect are the drinkers, the milk is the great nectar of the Gita.
vasudeva sutam devam kamsa canura mardanam devaki parama 'nandam krsnam vande jagad gurum
5. I salute lord Krsna, the world teacher, the son of Vasudeva, the destroyer of Kamsa and Canura, the supreme bliss of Devaki.
bhisma drona tata jayadratha jala gandhara nilotpala salya grahavati krpena vahani karnena velakula asvatthama vikarna ghora makara duryodhana 'vartini so 'ttirna khalu pandavai rana nadi kaivartakah kesavah
6. With Krsna as the helmsman, verily, was crossed by the Pandava the battle-river whose banks were Bhisma and Drona, whose water was Jayadratha, whose blue lotus was the king of Gandhara, whose crocodile was Salya, whose current was Krpa, whose billow was Karna, whose terrible alligators were Asvatthama and Vikarna, whose whirlpool was Duryodhana.
parasarya vacah sarojam amalam gitartha gandhotkatam nanakhya 'nakakesaram hari katha sambodhana 'bodhitam loke sajjana satpadair ahar ahah pepiyamanam muda bhuyad bharata pankajam kali mala pradhvamsi nah sreyase
7. May this lotus of the Mahabharata, born in the lake of the words of Vyasa, sweet with the fragrance of the meaning of the Gita, with many stories as its stamens, fully opened by the discourses on Hari, the destroyer of the sins of Kali, and drunk joyously by the bees of good men in the world, day by day, become the bestower of good on us.
mukam karoti vacalam pangum langhayate girim yat krpa tam aham vande parama 'nanda madhavam
8. I salute that Krsna, the source of supreme bliss, whose grace makes the dumb eloquent and the cripple cross mountains.
yam brahma varune 'ndra rudra marutah stunvanti divyaih stavair vedaih sanga pada kramo 'panisadair gayanti yam samagah dhyana 'vasthita tad gatena manasa pasyanti yam yogino yasya 'ntam na viduh sura 'sura gana devaya tasmai namah
9. Salutations to that God whom Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Rudra and the Marut praise with divine hymns, of whom the Sama-chanters sing by the veda and their anga, in the pada and krama methods, and by the upanisad, whom the yogi see with their minds absorbed in him through meditation, and whose end the hosts of the deva and asura know not.
VII:1 - The Blessed Lord said : O Arjuna, now hear how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to me, you can know me in full, free from doubt.
VII:2 - I shall declare to you in full this knowledge, combined with direct realisation, after knowing which nothing more here remains to be known.
The scriptures are full of knowledge and wisdom garnered from direct, intuitive, inner experience.
The masters can impart knowledge to you and lead you to the threshold of the highest experience, saving you from pitfalls and inspiring you at every step.
However, the great sage Vasistha says: "Enlightenment is not reached by resorting to a teacher or a teaching; but it is not had without them."
The teacher and the teaching act as catalysts, their purpose is unknown.
They are necessary, but not to be dependent upon.
We ourselves should be intent on God-realization, on the practice of yoga.
We shall have to equip ourselves with the four means to salvation:
virtues conducive to tranquillity of the mind, and
an intense yearning for God.
Knowledge of God is beyond the mind and intellect.
It must be devoutly and lovingly received by the heart.
This wisdom is not something which can be gained merely by studying or listening to discourses.
It is not in words, nor in concepts.
But, unless the mind is calm and the intellect open, that knowledge cannot gain admission into the inner chambers of our being.
And unless the heart is pure, free from passions, attractions, selfishness and worldly pursuits, it will not receive the knowledge.
Only the pure heart is 'intent on God'.
How are we to ensure these receptive conditions?
There is only one aid here - satsang or constant association with the wise, the devout and other spiritual seekers.
Study of their works also constitutes satsang.
Frequent gatherings to talk about God and yoga, to contemplate the nature of the world and life, to meditate upon God and thus to acquire a reassessment of values, are a great help, too.
However, these must awaken us from our slumber of ignorance, keeping us vigilantly watchful of the mind and aware of the sorrow that thought-process is.
called and chosen
VII:3 - Among thousands of men, one perchance strives for perfection; even among those successful strivers, only one perchance knows me in essence.
Humanity can be likened to a pyramid, broad at its base and becoming progressively narrower as we ascend to the top.
The world is full of souls who have risen just one step above the animal, still not secure in their foothold even there!
Yet, they too, shall reach the goal in God's good time, even though they are full of instinctual behavior and are interested only in their own survival.
They are animals in human disguise and are laborers who toil for mere selfish ends.
A few more births of experience chisel them into better human shape and they are elevated to the rank of workers, promoting their own welfare with one hand and the welfare of others with the other.
Experience soon teaches them the futility of such work and they begin to question: "What is the purpose of all this?" They seek an answer, becoming seekers.
This fire of quest burns furiously in their heart, consuming the animal nature, selfishness, and self-seeking.
It also sheds a beam of light on their path to God-realization.
In that light, in course of time, they see the truth and become sages.
The world is full of laborers, few workers, fewer seekers and still fewer and rarer, sages.
The striving seeker will eventually become a sage, perhaps now or a million years hence.
In the words of the Bible: "Many are called, few are chosen."
Nobody knows what determines this, but this doctrine of grace must be understood correctly.
Only he who has completely surrendered himself to the divine becomes eligible for grace.
Not one who is satisfied merely with intellectual understanding, but he whose heart is receptive to spiritual truths.
Yet, he who has truly surrendered himself to God does not know it.
This total surrender is not for the ego to determine; only God can determine it.
Hardly one of the sages, the perfected ones, knows God in essence! Why?
Because on attaining perfection they merge in him.
In that state of complete integration God reveals himself, but only to a few.
It is they who return to the world as God's gift of himself, to guide us as our masters.
VII:4 - Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and egoism, thus is My Nature divided eightfold.
VII:5 - Besides this inferior nature, O Arjuna, there's a superior energy of mine, which comprises all the living entities, who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.
What is nature?
It is God's nature!
This long-forgotten truth is revealed here.
Its realization opens the kingdom of God to all - scientists, biologists, artists and poets, all worshippers of (God's) nature.
Therefore let us never forget again that they who think of, admit the existence of, and are devoted to (God's) nature cannot escape the admission of the existence of God.
The five elements which constitute this material universe, and mind, intellect and egoism are all God's own nature - they do not belong to you!
This is a startling revelation.
The mind is a modification of the same substance - God's nature, though subtler, and so it reacts automatically to the five elements.
Even the ego is part of this nature.
It is ignorance and misconception to regard it as independent.
So, we are told here that all the material manifestations of the universe are the inferior nature of God.
But, just as in our body the life-force is distinct from the skin, flesh, bone, etc., (inasmuch as it can withdraw itself from the body), there is a divine spark in all beings which is called the jiva, the living soul, the "image of God within".
This is God's superior nature.
If we adopt the image of God concept, then we find that mirror and image are mutually dependent - one cannot exist without the other.
What Krishna suggests here is: God is the reality, mirror is the material substance - the elements, mind, intellect and ego - and the soul is the reflection in that mirror.
The reality, God in his essence, is, in a certain sense, beyond the mirror and the image.
It is God reflected in matter (including the mind) that is seen as the individual personality or consciousness - the soul.
So, we are given a new and beautiful vision here: the entire material universe is the inferior aspect of God - the body of God - and the indwelling spirit or soul is his superior nature.
creation and dissolution
VII:6 - Know that these two are the womb of all beings. So, I am the source and dissolution of the whole universe.
VII:7 - There is nothing higher than me, O Arjuna. All this is strung on me as clusters of gems on a string.
There is nothing other than God!
God alone exists.
He alone is the reality.
How can the unreal exist?
God is not an entity that you and I can see or experience through the senses, through the intellect.
But what exists, the complete cosmic entity, is God.
Even the word "God" is unnecessary, because there is nothing outside of him, therefore there is no name, there is no form.
If we must feel that the material universe and all the diverse beings have an existence, we should realize that all of them together constitute the body of God, while the indwelling consciousness, the soul of this universe, is the spirit of God. What a superb vision!
We talk of creation and dissolution of the universe.
All that is nothing but the manifestation and the unmanifestation of the nature of God.
There are some sages who treat even such expressions as "God willed the creation into being" as imperfect explanations meant for spiritual children (the soothing syrup!).
The sun shines without intending to shine; that is God's very nature.
Even so, all the elements and the life-potency (DNA) are God's nature and the manifestation-potential is always present in him.
This potential is made manifest and then unmanifest, alternately; that again is his nature.
In ignorance of the unity of God, we assume that he created the world as a man creates a piece of pottery.
When we clearly realize that there is nothing other than God then we see that whatever arises, arises in that consciousness.
In the analogy used, consider a rosary in which the beads and the connecting string are of the same thread. Thus, one string appears as 108 beads and their connecting link.
So, God alone appears as these myriads of beings and their connecting link, yet he is the only reality.
introduction to June
Yoga is both philosophy and religion - not in their sectarian connotation, but in their true sense.
It is love of the highest wisdom; and it is a practical way to realise that self is God.
"Life is short; time is fleeting," repeatedly warned our Master.
He said: "It is difficult to get a human birth, therefore, try your best to realise the self in this birth."
We know that we shall become perfect sooner or later; but, having attained this human birth, why not realise the self in this very birth?
What happens when one leaves this world'?
Where does he go and what kind of birth does he take?
What can I do to avoid a rebirth in this world of pain and death?
What is the extent of this universe and the length of its life?
All these and many other questions are discussed and answered by the Lord in this holy scripture, Bhagavad Gita.
In the sixth chapter, we noticed how very practical his approach to meditation was.
Now, he gives us more practical instructions which enable us, on the one hand to remember him constantly, and on the other to withdraw the soul from the body, (when the time arrives for us to leave this world) in a special way so that we deliberately take an immense stride towards liberation.
the 'life principle'
VII:8 - I am the sapidity in water, Arjuna, the light in the moon and the sun; I am the syllable Om in all the Vedas, sound in ether, and virility in men.
VII:9 - I am the sweet fragrance in earth and the brilliance in fire, the life in all beings; and I am austerity in ascetics.
Here we are "lured" from the gross to the subtle.
The sense of taste is associated with water.
It is "housed" in the watery portion of all tasteful objects; and when it is brought into contact with our tongue, too, the first reaction is salivation.
What actually is that essence (rasa) in that liquid or watery portion which we refer to as taste?
It is God's manifestation; something which is beyond the reach (at least, yet) of the modern scientist .
Water and even the water-element in sugar, salt, vinegar, pepper, are but the carriers, vehicles or abodes of this innermost essence which is the real secret of taste.
The nature of these vehicles can be altered: if you add pepper-water to a lump of sugar, it will not be sweet any longer!
But there is an unalterable essence within that vehicle called sugar which is so subtle that no sense or instrument can discover it.
That is the reality or manifestation of God.
It is that which gives the distinctive quality to these vehicles.
Scientists have been asking themselves, "What makes the grass green?" Chlorophyll.
"How is that formed?"
The ultimate principle in this quest is the manifestation of God - not God himself, yet!
That is the "life principle" in all beings.
Its existence can be guessed, experienced, but not grasped by the senses or the mind.
We ought to be grateful to God that his divine power is gently leading even the most atheistic and materialistic of scientists of today towards this penultimate step of sheer wonderment.
Wonderment gives rise to quest, enquiry.
Without the latter the wonderment may degenerate into sensuality, emotional exhibitionism or materialism.
Enquiry is discovery.
VII:10 - Know me, O Arjuna, as the eternal seed of all beings; I am the intelligence of the intelligent, the prowess of all brave men.
VII:11 - Of the strong, I am the strength devoid of desire and attachment, and in all beings, I am the desire unopposed to Dharma, Arjuna.
The goal of the modern scientist was reached by the yogi, via pure spiritual enquiry.
Their angle of approach is different, but their goal is the same.
The scientist approaches it from the external form; the yogi from the inner spirit.
Hence, our Master granted that even the scientist was an "externalised raja yogi".
Krsna does not let us abandon this quest of truth at any wayside station.
We must not be satisfied merely with labels and names.
As seekers of the truth we must go to the root or seed of such qualities as asceticism, strength, splendour or intelligence, and there come face to face with that which gave rise to them in the various beings.
If we are vigilant, anything will lead us to the ultimate reality, for all things are rooted in God.
A clear understanding of this philosophy will give us two life-transforming secrets:
(1) Subjectively, if we wish to grow in any of these virtues (like asceticism) we should meditate upon God as their source, and
(2) Objectively, we should see God in the strong, the wise, and so on, and thus avoid jealousy, fear and other negative and destructive emotions.
The qualifying statements in respect of "strength" and "desire" should be meditated upon.
Benevolent strength and desire that do not transgress righteousness are God's own manifestations.
If there were no desire at all, life would come to a standstill.
Therefore God himself, his energy, his consciousness, his power manifests itself as desire in the human heart and in the hearts of living beings, to carry on the function of creation.
What is absent there, is "I desire" or "my desire".
In the heart of the yogi who adopts this vision there is no undivine desire, and therefore he does not judge others.
In one who has such an ennobling vision, what has to be done is done spontaneously by God's will, as determined by him.
sattva, rajas and tamas
VII:12 - All states of being - be they of goodness, passion or ignorance - are manifested by my energy. I am, in one sense, everything - but I am independent. I am not under the modes of this material nature.
VII:13 - Deluded by these three qualities of Nature, all this world does not know Me, as distinct from them and immutable.
Krishna is very cautious! Asceticism, and so on, are the manifestation of his nature, not to be confused with him.
He remains further behind, beneath and within them.
Again, "within" should not be taken to mean that he is somehow encased, limited or restricted by them.
They are all in him, but he is not "contained" in them as a pot contains water!
God is like the crystal which reflects the colour of a nearby object.
It is ignorance that attributes to the crystal itself the colour of the object.
A crude analogy may help.
Look at the flame of a candle.
The extremely subtle, intangible, axiomatic and self-existent power that carries out the process of combustion in that flame is comparable to God.
The flame of fire itself resembles his nature (though in philosophy even his nature and its modes are subtler than the candle-flame).
The fire of the flame has three characteristics: light, heat and smoke, comparable respectively to sattva, rajas and tamas, which are modes of God's divine nature .
All beings in the universe (sentient and inert) participate in these three qualities because they all form part of God's nature.
If we do not see that these qualities flow from the divine, we remain deluded by the manifest phenomena, not caring to probe them to discover the reality.
However, sooner or later man asks the right question, and, pursuing the right line of approach, he discovers that just as the ocean is one indivisible mass of water, so the three distinctions of sattva, rajas and tamas do not exist separately in God. They are made only in order to promote our understanding. The truth is seen to be transcendent - something which embraces all these. They exist in God without division, yet he is beyond them and also changeless.
VII:14 - This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered to Me, can easily cross beyond this divine illusion.
VII:15 - The evil-doers and the deluded, who are the lowest of men, do not seek Me; they whose knowledge is destroyed by illusion follow the ways of demons.
Maya is regarded as an illusion, and illusion is such only to one who regards that illusion as the reality.
A careful study of these two stanzas reveals to us several great truths.
Evildoers are so because they are deluded and their knowledge is destroyed by this illusion.
But their own reality cannot be destroyed by this or even by the worst sin or evil, as Krishna never tires of repeating.
Sin is only a product of delusion demanding nothing sensational or spectacular to remove it.
We must awaken ourselves to the fact that as long as we are in the grip of the delusion of the three modes of nature, the guna, we shall go on erring.
The fact that people are different and that stupidity, dynamism or piety prevail in this universe, is divine nature manifesting in a particular form.
The arising of this vision enables us to cross this illusion.
Nature is God's nature; and the "guna" are modes of his nature.
Yet, they have the power to delude us. Smoke is born of fire; yet, when it enters our eyes, it can compel us to close them against the light of fire.
Tamas - inertia or stupidity - is a quality that effectively prevents us from even perceiving the truth about nature.
This illusory power is divine and hence outside the pale of rationalization.
It is like the 'liquid that will dissolve everything' - where can it be stored?
The human intelligence itself is a reflection of spirit in matter, part of this illusion.
Knowledge of the reality will dissolve all illusion, including the rationalizing power of the intellect!
This knowledge is not intellectual but intuitive, immediate experience, obtainable only by total self-surrender and relentless quest.
Hence, the Kathopanisad warns us: "Arise, awake, resort to the Master and learn.
The path is like the razor's edge, difficult to perceive and to tread."
needle and magnet
VII:16 - Four kinds of virtuous men worship me, O Arjuna: they are the distressed, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the wise, O Lord of the Bharatas!
VII:17 - Of them, the wise, ever steadfast and devoted to the One, excels; for, I am exceedingly dear to the wise, and he is dear to Me.
To pray and to worship God motivelessly is of course good.
Some people feel that it is a sign of depravity to pray for selfish ends and material advantages.
Here, Krishna disagrees: they who worship him for these are surety virtuous men (not necessarily wise).
The poor man who prays to God for wealth is surely nobler and more virtuous than the thief or dacoit.
The sick man who prays for relief is better than the drug addict.
In fact, one of the purposes of poverty and sickness is to turn man to God.
Unconsciously the poor and sick recognise this if they are virtuous and that recognition or awareness comes by God's grace.
A hot pan will burn your finger, whether you touch it knowingly or unknowingly.
Even so, the fire of God's power will devour desire and ignorance whether you touch it deliberately or accidentally.
Thus, prayer is good whatever the motive. When the prayer-contact is made, the Lord's love burns to ashes all earthly desires and frees us from all selfishness and egoism.
However, this does not minimise the glory of unselfish love of God for his own sake.
The wise man, jnani, who loves God motivelessly is supreme.
He knows the appearance as appearance, and therefore he knows the reality of the appearance.
He is fully aware that the diverse world phenomena are purely manifestations of God's divine nature.
Hence, he knows that he loves God because he cannot help doing so since God is the very soul of his soul.
He knows, too, that this eternal unity or oneness is expressed in him as irrepressible love.
He is the pure iron needle; God is the magnet.
In his case the devotion and surrender are natural.
He rests in God, in unbroken, eternal communion.
VII:18 - Noble indeed are all these; but I deem the wise man as My very Self; for, steadfast in mind, he is established in Me alone as the supreme goal.
VII:19 - After many lives, he who is in knowledge surrenders to Me, knowing Me as all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.
The wise devotee of the Lord, knows that his love of God is nothing other than a manifestation of his unity with God.
In his endeavor to gain the vision of the truth concerning life, the world, the ego, appearance and the reality, the wise seeker sees one physical appearance as different from another, but inwardly he realizes that these differences are superficial.
Just as all trees grow from the same soil, so all manifest creation has its origin in God.
This is an unalterable, eternal fact of existence.
In that vision there is wisdom, insight, enlightenment and incomparable love.
This sublime state of supreme love of God is not attained in a single lifetime.
We adore the perfected saint, the man of God, but seldom realize that he has not attained this state by chance or even by magic or miracle, but by many lifetimes of persistent and intense endeavor to reach the pinnacle of God-consciousness.
The expression used here is "Vasudeva".
This is a proper name of Krishna which also means "that which envelops all" - the omnipresent.
By which sign can we recognize the "great soul"?
He is so expansive of heart that in his cosmic vision all beings are experienced as the one omnipresent being.
He has been working towards this highest realization by constantly endeavoring to remove name and form and by "seeing" the hidden inner essence - God.
We, too, shall eventually reach this goal, only to realize that what we sought is the seeker's love!
One optimistic note is possible here.
When the Bhagavad Gita tells us: "After many lifetimes of striving one attains this perfection", I think it is proper for us to ask: "How do you know that all of us have not already been striving for many lifetimes, and this is the last one?" It is possible.
do not proselytize
VII:20 - Those whose minds are distorted by desires, surrender to other devas, and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.
VII:21 - Whatever form any devotee desires to worship with faith, that faith of his I make firm and unflinching.
Here is a sample of the most wonderful Krishna-approach to any problem.
A defective or negative aspect of our life, an imperfect or distorted vision of the truth, are not allowed to pass unnoticed, but they are not condemned outright.
Every thing has its own place in creation - that which we call good, evil or neutral.
It is easy to idealize but difficult for many and nearly impossible for the vast majority to put this concept into practice.
How often do we find the disastrous and arrogant attitude on the part of some religious leaders who profess to monopolize the truth whilst vehemently condemning all other faiths!
What a colossal waste of time!
What a loss of a great opportunity to embrace all and thus reach perfection!
If only all religious leaders would mind their own business!
There is no harm in glorifying their own viewpoint, but they should not bother to judge others.
If they can, they should help those treading other paths, encouraging each in his own path, instead of disturbing the faith of others, proselytizing with fervor and then leaving them untended and in the lurch.
The world would be a much happier place for everyone to live in if all were left to worship God in their own way.
This understanding is the divine attitude.
Krishna commands: strengthen everyone in his own faith; never disturb anyone's faith.
The truth is that God or the infinite pervades the entire universe.
There is nothing and nobody outside of it.
Hence, verse twenty-one tells us: whatever the form in which the devotee wishes to adore God, let him do so.
Even the materialist who, encouraged and motivated by his own desires and cravings, worships power or wealth, will eventually, in God's good time, discover the futility of such worship and arrive at the pinnacle of self-realization.
A few seeds of divine thought sown in him will germinate in their own time, but an immature, premature leap will only be ineffective.
concept of god
VII:22 - Endowed with that faith, he engages in the worship of that deity, and from it he obtains his desire, these being verily ordained by Me alone.
VII:23 - Verily the reward that accrues to those men of small intelligence is finite. The worshippers of the gods go to them, but my devotees come to me.
The superficial meaning is clear as daylight.
No-one is compelled to accept or reject any particular method of worship of any form of the supreme being as long as that worship is with the faith that: "I am worshipping God".
The Hindu is not an idol worshipper.
He worships God, the divine presence in the idol which is the medium through which he can contact God.
He worships God in and through his guru and the saints, in and through God's manifestations in the mineral, plant, animal, human and celestial kingdoms; but there is the ever present faith that he is worship ping not the form but the spirit in all these.
This faith is initially based on intellectual or metaphysical grounds and the testimony of sages and saints.
In due course, it becomes a conviction born of direct realisation.
The great declaration of the veda: "The reality is one, sages designate it variously" indicates that whatever religion people profess, they are worshipping the supreme being in their own way, with faith.
God, being omnipresent, responds to the devotee's prayers, meditation or worship in his own way.
Having this attitude, the devotee regards whatever he receives in his life as the gift of God, and he is forever happy and unperturbed.
He who recognises the all-pervasiveness of God and still worships the supreme being alone through his different aspects will go to the supreme; but he who, unable to comprehend this truth, worships the forms themselves as God - even he is not lost!
He will become one with that aspect of God and in course of time realise God's infinity.
What a heart-warming doctrine!
No-one is condemned forever.
Whatever be one's concept of God, faith redeems him, for while the form remains as such, God is made manifest in the heart.
manifest - obvious
VII:24 - Unintelligent men, who know me not, think that I have assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know my higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.
VII:25 - I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by my eternal creative potency; and so the deluded world knows me not, who am unborn and infallible.
The fundamental nature of reality is that it is unborn, unmanifest, unchanging.
But, the infinite has two aspects: one is the unmanifest and the other the manifest aspect. God is the unmanifest being, the infinite which is unmanifest.
This is capable of infinite manifestation, not only limited to this world.
We have very little idea of the manifest infinite, let alone the unmanifest!
Our world consists only of father, mother, wife, children and acquaintances.
Yet, the unmanifest is not exhausted by its own manifestation.
It is infinite.
Just as clouds come together and disperse the elements present various patterns.
The ignorant man imagines that worlds and bodies come into being, grow and die.
These changes pertain to the compounded elements or the interaction of the three modes of nature.
They belong to the inferior nature and not to the essential nature of God.
God is not obvious.
There is an illusion, yoga maya, based primarily on the senses and the intellect, which have limited function and no ability to perceive the truth.
The eyes see, the ears hear, and the mind believes that the messages brought in by the senses constitute the entire truth.
The intellect creates its own limitations, regarding them as absolutes which therefore appear to be obvious.
This is where the danger lies: what is obvious to one is not obvious to all beings.
It is your own mental projection or point of view, a maya.
(We must recognize, too, that even the belief in the existence of God is just one point of view!)
The deluded man, identifying the Lord with the manifestations of his nature, is satisfied and does not pursue further.
He forgets the total truth and considers his individual belief to be the ultimate truth.
Buddha provides the ideal prescription, however: can you see that all points of view are narrow and limited; and refuse to have a point of view of your own?
If you must have one, know that even it is only a point of view.
Then you are totally free.
pairs of opposites
VII:26 - I know, O Arjuna, the beings of the past, the present and the future, but no one knows Me.
VII:27 - By the delusion of the pairs of opposites arising from desire and aversion, O Arjuna, all beings are subject to delusion at birth.
Scientists, discussing the travel through space of light rays, assure us that if at this moment someone on a planet or star one hundred light years away, were able to "see" the earth, he would be witnessing what took place here a hundred years ago!
Similarly, 'the future', too, is already "present" somewhere; only it has not yet come into our view.
This may sound fatalistic, but is only so where the material or physical part of the universe is concerned which is the very least of it!
The seasons and the changes, the floods and the earthquakes are as predictable as eclipses.
However, unpredictable are man's reaction and his inner attitude, for it is life that reveals the depth of our understanding, and it is the depth of understanding that flavours life.
Some sages have conceded that whereas even man's actions and reactions are predetermined, he is free to be egoistic and thus feel bound to sin and suffering, or to realise that he is the witness consciousness and thus be liberated from these.
Each individual conscious soul is, at the very dawn of creation (the birth of the soul), enshrouded in ignorance which gives rise to egoity.
This is followed by attraction and repulsion, attachment and aversion, likes and dislikes, and these in their turn, sustain the whole cycle of delusion-ignorance-egoity-action-reaction.
If the 'I' sits in the judgment seat, trying to determine whether someone is good, bad or indifferent, one cannot understand God.
Objects come into being, exist and disappear in this world - it is God's will.
But ignorant man desires some and dislikes others; thus he is not only bound, but reaps a harvest of pain and pleasure!
He who is able to overcome these is undeluded by the pairs of opposites and to him both past and future are "ever-present", God being the river which touches the beginning, the middle and the end at the same time.
vision of god
VII:28 - But those men of virtuous deeds whose sins have come to an end, and who are freed from the delusion of the pairs of opposites, worship Me, steadfast in their vows.
VII:29 - Those who strive for liberation from old age and death, taking refuge in me, realise in full that Brahman, the whole knowledge of the Self and all action.
VII:30 - Those who know me as the supreme lord, as the governing principle of the material manifestation, who know me as the one underlying all the devas and as the one sustaining all sacrifices, can, with steadfast mind, understand and know me, even at the time of death.
The vision of God cannot be obtained unless the heart and mind are made completely pure through perfectly ethical and moral conduct, when sinful tendencies have been totally overcome.
A man meditating on the form of his guru without forgetting the ideal he stands for, grows in the virtues of the guru.
Through worship of the various manifestations of the Lord, much virtue is gained and sinfulness ceases.
There is no effort, even, to abandon sinfulness (such effort would likely become the seed of future sin - arrogance).
Sinfulness has to drop away.
It is not possible to acquire virtue, to abandon wickedness or to grow in humility.
When the right vision is acquired, these happen automatically.
Till then, one must strive to grow in virtue and reduce wickedness by all means.
Virtue and God-realization are simultaneous, without the relationship of cause and effect.
God is the very essence and soul of this material universe.
He is the basis of whatever concepts of God each one of us may have (however diverse these may be), and the spirit whose supreme sacrifice constitutes creation.
Such a homogeneous and comprehensive truth can only be grasped when the mind is steady and the heart absolutely pure.
In that transparent heart the light of God is truly reflected.
May we all enjoy that vision in this very birth.
Om Tat Sat
Thus in the Upanishad of the Bhagavad Gita, the Science of the Eternal, the Scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, ends the seventh chapter entitled: The path of devotion - Jnana Vijnana Yoga - The Yoga of Wisdom and Realisation

gri ganesaya namah! sri gopala krsnaya namah! dharo 'vaca bhagavan paramesana bhaktir avyabhicarini prarabdham bhujyamanasya katham bhavati he prabho
1. The Earth said: O Lord! The supreme one! How can unflinching devotion arise in him who is immersed in his worldly life, O Lord?
sri visnur uvaca prarabdham bhujyamano hi gita 'bhyasa ratah sada sa muktah sa sukhi loke karmana no 'palipyate
2. Lord Visnu said: Though engaged in the performance of worldly duties, one who is regular in the study of the Gita, becomes free. He is the happy man in this world. He is not bound by karma.
maha papadi papani gita dhyanam karoti cet kvacit sparsam na kurvanti nalini dalam ambuvat
3. Just as the water stains not the lotus leaf, even so, sins do not taint him who is regular in the recitation of the Gita.
gitayah pustakam yatra yatra pathah pravartate tatra sarvani tirthani prayaga 'dini tatra vai
4. All the sacred places of pilgrimage like Prayaga, etc., dwell in that place where the book, the Gita, is kept and where the Gita is read.
sarve devas ca rsayo yoginah pannagas ca ye gopala gopika va 'pi narado 'ddhava parsadaih
5. All the gods, sages, yogi, divine serpents, gopala, gopika (friends and devotees of lord Krsna), Narada, Uddhava and others (dwell there).
sahayo jayate sighram yatra gita pravartate yatra gita vicaras ca pathanam pathanat srutam tatra 'ham niscitam prthvi nivasami sadai 'va hi
6. Help comes quickly where the Gita is recited and, O Earth, I dwell at all times where the Gita is read, heard, taught and contemplated upon.
gita 'sraye 'ham tisthami gita me co 'ttamam grham gita jnanam upasritya trimllokan palayamy aham
7. I take refuge in the Gita and the Gita is my best abode. I protect the three worlds with the knowledge of the Gita.
gita me parama vidya brahma rupa na samsayah ardha matra 'ksara nitya sva 'nirvacya padatmika
8. The Gita is my highest science, which is doubtless of the form of Brahman, the eternal, the ardhamatra (of the sacred monosyllable om), the ineffable splendour of the self.
cidanandena krsnena prokta sva mukhato 'rjunam veda tray! parananda tattva 'rtha jnana samyuta
9. It was spoken by the blessed Krsna, the all-knowing, through his own mouth to Arjuna. It contains the essence of the three veda, knowledge of the reality. It is full of supreme bliss.
yo 'stadasa japen nityam naro niscala manasah jnana siddhim sa labhate tato yati param padam
10. He who recites the eighteen chapters of the Gita daily, with a pure, unshaken mind, attains perfection in knowledge, and reaches the highest state or supreme goal.
pathe 'samarthah sampurne tato 'rdham patham acaret tada go danajam punyam labhate na 'tra samsayah
11. If a complete reading is not possible, even if only half of it is read, he attains the benefit of giving a cow as a gift. There is no doubt about this.
tribhagam pathamanas to ganga snana phalam labhet sadamsam japamanas to soma yaga phalam labhet
12. He who recites one-third part of it achieves the merit of a bath in the sacred Ganga, and he who recites one-sixth of it attains the merit of performing a soma ritual.
eka 'dhyayam to yo nityam pathate bhakti samyutah rudra lokam avapnoti gano bhutva vasec ciram
13. That person who reads one chapter with great devotion attains to the world of Rudra and, having become an attendant of lord Siva, lives there for many years.
adhyayam sloka padam va nityam yah pathate narah sa yati naratam yavan manvantaram vasundhare
14. If one reads a quarter of a chapter or even part of a verse daily, he, O Earth, retains a human body till the end of a world-cycle.
gitayah sloka dasakam sapta panca catustayam dvau trin ekaih tad ardham va slokanam yah pathen narah candra lokam avapnotii varsanam ayutam dhruvam gita patha samayukto mrtomanusatam vrajet
15,16. He who repeats ten, seven, five, four, three, two verses or even one or half a verse, attains the region of the moon and lives there for ten thousand years. Accustomed to the daily study of the Gita, the dying man comes back to life again as a human being.
gita 'bhyasam punah krtva labhate muktim uttamam gite 'ty uccara samyukto mriyamano gatim labhet
17. By repeated study of the Gita he attains liberation. Uttering 'Gita' at the time of death, one attains liberation.
gita 'rtha sravana 'sakto maha papa yuto 'pi va vaikuntham samavapnoti visnuna saha modate
18. Though full of sins, one who is ever intent on hearing the meaning of the Gita, goes to the kingdom of God and rejoices with lord Visnu.
gita 'rtham dhyayate nityam krtva karmani bhurisah jivanmuktah sa vijneyo deha 'nte paramam padam
19. He who meditates on the meaning of the Glita, having performed a lot of good actions, attains the supreme goal after death. Such a man should be known as a jivanmukta (sage liberated while living).
gitam asritya bahavo bhubhujo janaka 'dayah nirdhuta kalmasa loke gita yatah paratn padam
20. In this world, taking refuge in the Gita, many kings like Janaka and others have reached the highest state or goal, purified of all sins.
gitayah pathanam krtva mahatmyam naiva yah pathet vrtha patho bhavet tasya srama eva by udahrtah
21. He who fails to read this Glory of the Gita after having read the Gita, loses the benefit thereby, and the effort alone remains.
etan mahatmya sahyuktam gita 'bhyasam karoti yah sa tat phalam avapnoti durlabharn gatim apnuyat
22. One who studies the Gita, together with this Glory of the Gita, attains the fruits mentioned above and reaches the state which is otherwise very difficult to attain.
suta uvaca mahatmyam etad gitaya maya proktam sanatanatn gitante ca pathed yas to yad uktam tat phalarnlabhet
23. Suta said: This greatness or Glory of the Gita which is eternal, as narrated by me, should be read at the end of the study of the Gita and the fruits mentioned therein will be obtained.
iti sri varaha purane gri gita mahatmyam sampurnam
Thus ends the Glory of the Gita contained in the Varaha purana.

This was a glimpse of the gospel of Lord Krishna - simple, direct, yet profound. It is not one of pessimism or escapism, but is full of robust common sense. And if it sometimes seems to be puzzling, it is because common sense is so uncommon in the complex world of today.
You may be quite certain that one direction is east and the opposite direction west. But, if you move a little, you suddenly discover that east and west meet you! You are the divider, and from another point of view, you are the meeting point. In fact, it is the mind that creates all this duality which multiplies into endless diversity, creating conflicts and confusion all the way through.
There is only oneness and cosmic unity. There just cannot be two infinites or two omnipresences. The origin of the perception of diversity is enshrouded in mystery - maya. But Krishna boldly assumes responsibility for even that! "I am seated in the hearts of all; from me are memory, knowledge, as well as their absence, " says He.
The manifest universe is the body of God, and the supreme spirit is the indweller. Even this distinction was made to suit human analogy and to satisfy the duality-ridden intellect. We make an arbitrary distinction between our body and our spirit which seems to be justified because at one stage - death - the spirit leaves the body. This, obviously, does not apply to the Lord and His Body, for He is eternal and infinite, and does not leave His Body.
What a sublime vision! What a world-uniting doctrine! What a fountain of love! What a soft blow to shatter all distinctions and differences! What a divine cord of love to unite all mankind in oneness - divinity!

Swami Venkatesananda

Om Tat Sat
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