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

13 - Ksetra Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of Knowledge of the Field and the Knower of the Field

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.
the field
XIII:1 - Arjuna said : I wish to learn about Prakriti (matter) and the Purusa (soul), the Field and the Knower of the Field, the knowledge and that which ought to be known.
XIII:1 - The Blessed Lord said : This body, O Arjuna, is called the field; he who knows it, is called the Knower of the field by those who know of them, that is, by the sages.
If this chapter is regarded as a necessary follow-up to the eleventh chapter to amplify certain truths mentioned in it, and if, as many have done, we omit from our study Arjuna's question, then Krsna's statement that this body is called the field may be taken to refer to the cosmic body.
"You were wonderstruck by merely witnessing my cosmic body; even that is only the field, the material playground in which I carry out my divine play."
'This body' may also mean the individual body.
In fact, Indian philosophy insists on equating the microcosm with the macrocosm; the former is but the miniature of the latter.
There is a world within an atom; and the world itself may be an atom in something of greater magnitude!
Within this body, the field, as its all-pervading soul, resides the knower of the body - the soul.
It is an extremely subtle and powerful intelligence.
Thus, the field is a phenomenon which can be observed.
(This could be part of the personality.)
The entity which understands this, the observing intelligence, is the knower of the field.
Correct understanding of the field and its knower constitute wisdom.
Without this our whole life becomes a complete mess because we confuse the observed phenomenon with the observing intelligence.
With this confusion arises ignorance, fear, attachment and wrong action.
The field (body) is like a sports-field or swimming pool, in which the soul exercises itself to grow stronger, purer and to attain perfection.
One must not run away from it or sink, but swim.
Without the body, the soul cannot evolve; and by getting attached to it, the soul cannot evolve either!
Hence, a knowledge of both the body and the soul is essential.
XIII:2 - Also know Me as the Knower of the Field in all fields, O Arjuna; knowledge of both the Field and the Knower of the Field, is considered by Me to be the knowledge.
XIII:3 - What the Field is and of what nature, what its modifications are and whence it is, and also who the Knower is, and what his powers are, hear all that from Me in brief.
XIII:4 - Sages have sung in many ways, in various distinctive chants and also in the suggestive words indicative of the Absolute, and is presented with all reasoning as to cause and effect.
Please remember that God is the soul of all beings.
He is the sole reality, the cosmic consciousness which by virtue of its all-pervasiveness is the substratum for the individualised consciousness, too, though its true nature is veiled by ignorance.
Whether you take the whole universe as one entity, the macrocosm, and accept the Lord as the knower of this mighty field, or you believe that this universe is composed of millions upon millions of beings, each of them being an independent field, God is the knower of them (or it).
Knowledge of exclusively either (the field or its knower) is incomplete; knowledge of both is true knowledge.
As long as diversity is visible to our eyes and as long as the mind thinks in terms of diversity, it will be impossible for it to conceive of another reality; it cannot see what it sees as reality to be unreal.
Therefore, the reality can only be established by ceaseless investigation.
It is true that from the point of view of the absolute this diversity does not exist as diversity; that is not because the absolute is exclusive of 'all these' but because it includes and transcends them.
A knowledge of the absolute can be had, therefore, only by acquiring an integral knowledge of the matter and the spirit, and then transcending them by God's Grace.
Hence the Isavasya upanisad commands man to acquire a knowledge of both 'knowledge and ignorance'.
When he tries to understand matter, it is suddenly transformed into spirit and the veil is lifted.
XIII:5 - The great elements, individuality, intellect, and also the unmanifested Nature, the ten senses and the one, and the five objects of the senses,
XIII:6 - Desire, hatred, pleasure, pain, the aggregate (the body), fortitude and intelligence, all these are considered, in summary, to be the field of activities and its interactions.
The field is the object, and the knower is the subject.
Here we are given a description of the object.
Strange as it may seem, even egoism and the intellect are included in the list of objects!
Viewing the whole universe as the body of God, it is apparent that individualisation is inherent in that body.
When we realise this, a host of puzzling questions is banished.
Even this egoism is not a totally foreign commodity imported in ignorance, but it is inherent in the 'object' of God who is the subject.
However, in states of ignorance it assumes alarming proportions.
Again, since we (the ego) are ourselves objects, limited and veiled, occupying but a small part of the 'field', it is impossible for the little 'I' either to completely understand other 'objects', or to fully understand the subject of whom we are only allowed occasional glimpses.
Our waking and dreaming consciousness is filled with objects acting as subjects, such subjects acting as objects for others in their turn.
The object is thus a projection of the subject on to something else, another subject!
Hence, any scene is the object of the eye, the eye is the object of the nerves, the nerves of the brain, the brain of the intellect and the intellect of the ego-sense, which itself is the object of the self - the sole subject.
Even thoughts and emotions (desire and so on) are objects of the self or consciousness.
One who knows them thus has full control over them and does not identify with them.
When we are tempted to be certain about the source of our emotions and thoughts, whether happy or unhappy, we should remind ourselves that what is obvious may not be true.
Let us enquire into the emotion till we arrive at the reality that is hinted at.
It is the ego's ignorant identification of the knower with the field that gives rise to karma, sin and rebirth.
The wise man is free from this bondage.
The body is not his, yet it functions; the mind is not his, yet it thinks.
In his case there is instant harmony within, and great love.
XIII:7 - Humility, unpretentiousness, non-injury, forgiveness, uprightness, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control;
XIII:8 - Indifference to the objects of the senses; absence of egoism; perception of the evil in birth, death, old age, sickness and pain;
XIII:9 - Non-attachment, non-identification with son, wife, home; constant even-mindedness on the attainment of the desirable and the undesirable,
Jnana or true wisdom is recognition that the silent and tranquil spectator enjoys the show.
It is common experience that our wisdom is overpowered by the heat generated by intense activity; yet, in calmer moments, all of us 'know' what we should have done!
Mental modifications are events that take place in our mind (brain).
The ego sense, the 'I' seated in the heart, need only watch those mental modifications without getting involved in them.
Then life would flow smoothly and our thoughts, words and deeds would be full of wisdom.
But the ego-sense has the age-old habit of identifying itself with these mental modifications.
For instance, when the body needs nourishment, we say: "I am hungry", and not "the body is hungry".
When the mind is confused, we say: "I am confused".
The 'I' jumps from the heart, into the whirlpool of thought-currents; this is e-motion (motion outwards).
Hence the ignorant man is subject to wrong emotions, which are the symptoms of ignorance.
However, wisdom must not be confused with intellectuality.
Jnana is knowing that the 'I' is a silent witness of the world, the senses and even the mental modifications and is not necessarily involved in them.
Can you be good and do good without intention?
If, in being or doing good, there is an intention or motivation, it is not goodness but something else.
Can the qualities mentioned in these verses be present in you?
If they can, you will behave like one who has this jnana or wisdom.
XIII:10 - Unswerving and unalloyed devotion to Me by Yoga, resorting to solitary places, detachment from the general mass of people,
XIII:11 - Constancy in Self-knowledge, perception of the end of true knowledge - this is declared to be knowledge; everything what is opposed to it is ignorance.
Unswerving devotion to God is not possible without non-attachment to the world and non-identification of the self with son, wife, and so on - qualities mentioned in the previous verse.
Such attachment and identification are the products of ignorance.
There is really no 'attachment' anywhere in creation!
We came into this world alone and we shall go alone, leaving even the body behind.
All are independent, though ignorantly, we do not live that independent life here.
We develop 'sneha' (a word for friendship and also for glue!) which makes us cling to things unwisely.
Hence our suffering.
The fire of wisdom will make this glue melt so that we neither cling nor kick.
The capacity to live with or to part from one another is non-attachment; and this process is as simple as life entering and leaving the body.
This non-attachment, its counterpart - 'unswerving devotion to God' - and the other divine qualities mentioned in these five verses, are the chief characteristics of jnana or wisdom.
If they are not found in a man who is otherwise deemed 'wise', his wisdom is locked up within his intellect; and it is extremely difficult to teach that 'great wise man' once the lock has rusted!
The rust should be wiped out by the cultivation of the good qualities mentioned in these five verses.
Then the wisdom within will reveal itself.
Our Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, was very fond of these five verses.
If you cultivate these qualities, the source of all evil which is the mind and the ahamkara or ego-sense, will come into the open because their existence is threatened!
Gurudev used to say that this is the best way to purify the mind and conquer egoism.
paroksa and aparoksa
XIII:12 - I will declare that which has to be known, knowing which one attains to immortality, the beginningless supreme Brahman, called neither being nor non-being.
XIII:13 - With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads and mouths everywhere, with ears everywhere, It exists in the worlds, enveloping all.
Now Krsna describes the knower of the field, the subject.
One should know what this subject is.
Such knowledge is twofold: paroksa (indirect and intellectual) and aparoksa (direct and intuitive).
The former is knowledge by contact, via a medium (e.g., scripture, guru) and the latter is knowledge by identity.
It is immediate knowledge, without a medium, and arises from direct experience.
Such knowledge is real knowledge and puts an end to all doubt and uncertainty.
The power to reveal that immediate knowledge is vested only in God; only he really knows.
To him the whole universe and the power and the intelligence in it are 'objects' of his own 'thought' (if there be such) .
The ego and the individual intellect are themselves objects and products of ignorance.
Hence Krsna says: "I will declare that which has to be known" (first indirectly, from the lips of the guru - here Krsna himself), and "knowing which (i.e. having knowledge by identity) one attains to immortality".
That supreme subject of all can be described neither in positive nor negative terms.
As our Master often said: "To define Brahman is to deny Brahman."
The intellect can grasp and speech express only finite entities.
Yajnavalkya asks an extremely pertinent question in the Brhadiranyaka upanisad: "With what shall one know the knower'?"
Here, the Lord reveals the great truth: 'that' is omnipresent.
What you call the world is really God seeing through the eyes, ears, tongue, skin and so on.
What you call a thought or an idea is God conceived, grasped by thought.
So, there is nothing other than God here.
Such is his glory that he himself appears as all this diversity.
It all belongs to God, whether the immediately visible form be that of a saint or an ant.
XIII:14 - The supersoul is source of all senses, yet He is without senses. He is unattached, although he is the maintainer of all living beings. He transcends the gunas, and at the same time he is the master of all gunas.
XIII:15 - The Supreme Truth exists both internally and externally, in the moving and nonmoving. He is beyond the power of the material senses to see or to know. Although far away, he is also near to all.
These verses are not for discussion or rationalisation, but for meditation.
When you say: "I see that" (pointing to an object) you are really singing the glory of God!
The 'I' in you is God and he is in that object, too; and, the sight itself has been made possible by his power.
Yet, he is not limited or conditioned by the senses.
Because he is all-pervading, the soul of everything, he is not attached to anybody or anything.
This apparent diversity is nothing but the manifestation of God's power and glory.
Hence he supports them all in the sense that they do not and cannot exist but for him.
He is free; yet all our experiences are possible only because he is the consciousness in them.
God is all-pervading, but because he is extremely subtle, being the one homogeneous essence when all names and forms are reduced to their fundamental homogeneity, he is (intellectually) unknowable.
In other words, he is the supreme subject, and therefore can never be objectively perceived.
To those who realise him through intuitive knowledge, he is indeed near, for what can be nearer than our innermost self?
Yet the ignorant man relates to the world in a distorted way, pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain and unhappiness.
He is subject to endless misery and delusion, and in his state of ignorance God seems to be far away.
The Isavasya upanishad asks: "If one realises that the self (God) is all, how shall he ever experience grief or delusion?"
In that realisation (not mere intellectual knowledge), the world is seen as it is and there is no attachment, hate or fear.
With that vision the world and life are transformed into something very beautiful - you do not manipulate the world or try to revolutionise your life, yet everything flows.
XIII:16 - Although the supersoul appears to be divided, He is never divided. He is one. Although he is the maintainer of every living entity, it is to be understood that he devours and develops all.
XIII:17 - That, the Light of all lights, is beyond darkness; it is said to be knowledge, the Knowable and the goal of knowledge, seated in the hearts of all.
If the ultimate reality, the supreme subject or Brahman is dismissed as indescribable, teaching and consequently realisation would be rendered extremely difficult, and people undergoing varied experiences in this world, even if they see that all life is afire with sorrow, will not turn to God, but seek to quench that burning by resorting to remedies worse than disease.
Remember that half-knowledge has always been used as the ladder to ascend to full knowledge.
The mathematics teacher in a primary school is sure that a point is a point and a straight line is a straight line.
If he told his little students that a point is only a concept and cannot be described on paper and that a straight line will curve when drawn long enough, their confusion would make it impossible to teach them mathematics.
As Sri K.M. Sen says in his book on Hinduism: "Statements about Brahman, to be intelligible, must be empirical forms. The wise recognise these forms to be necessities of concrete thought, but fools take them to be real truth".
Thus definitions like creator, supporter, destroyer or redeemer, light, and 'seated in the hearts of all' are to be taken figuratively.
They are given to enable us to know that which is beyond the pale of rational knowledge.
Krsna does not want to get lost in the maze of descriptions of the indescribable and reminds us that he is undivided, omnipresent.
The previous verses (especially verse 12) might lead to a void; hence the hint here that God is beyond darkness, he is the light of lights.
He is the soul of all - human, sub-human, super-human, animate and inanimate.
He is the knower, known and knowledge.
However, all these are mere pointers.
Even so all teaching is a pointer; the guru's role, too, is to be a living pointer.
They remind us that there is some kind of mist hiding the truth within.
This truth is: God alone exists.
XIII:18 - Thus the Field as well as knowledge and the Knowable have been briefly stated. My devotee, knowing this, enters into My Being.
XIII:19 - Know you that matter and spirit are beginningless; know that their transformations and the modes of matter are products of material nature.
The genius of Krsna has compressed into just a dozen verses an inexhaustible wealth of knowledge and deep wisdom.
Whole volumes can be written explaining each verse; but they would be hopelessly inadequate compared to deep meditation on each one.
But wait, there are some posers here!
Such meditation is possible only to 'my devotee' - God's devotee, not only the devotee of the God-form Krsna.
Without love, knowledge is hypocrisy, for true knowledge brings complete understanding and understanding engenders love.
On the other hand, love, even of God, without knowledge may perhaps lead us to superstition, not to God-realisation.
Ramanuja Acharya holds that knowledge is one of the most essential aids to God-love.
So if God's devotee attains this knowledge, what becomes of him?
He 'enters into my being' - he becomes one with God.
No true seeker after God is interested in the academic disputation about whether he retains his individuality or becomes God himself.
Perhaps we live in him as fish in the ocean - part of him and yet distinct.
What is significant, however, is the fact that such a devotee shares God's nature (mat-bhavam).
He sees the world as God sees it; he does God's will.
Hence, he does not remain inert and inactive, but joyously participates in the divine will.
He realises that God and his nature are eternal; not distinct and separate, but related like fire and heat.
The potentiality of manifestation is inherent in the spirit; and when this activates, nature becomes manifest, undergoes modifications and possesses qualities.
But the wise devotee knows that even in and through such manifestation God alone exists.
XIII:20 - Nature is said to be the cause of all material activities and effects; the spirit is the cause of the various sufferings and enjoyments in this world.
XIII:21 - The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature, due to his association with that material nature. This is the cause of his birth in an evil or good womb.
Krsna's genius is synthesis and here is a synthesis of subjective idealism and materialism.
There are those who say that the outside world is a projection of one's own mind; and others who assert that matter alone is real and that the spirit is the fermentation of matter.
Krsna points out that both spirit and matter exist though of course not as two but as God and his nature.
Our experiences of 'pleasant' and 'unpleasant' are merely subjective (to drink ice-water is pleasant in summer yet agonizing if the teeth are sensitive).
However, although butter and lime look alike, one is soothing and pleasant, the other caustic and irritating.
There is a mysterious power in lime which distinguishes it from butter.
That power is skakti or prakrti or (God's) nature.
The entire universe is vibrant with life, prakrti, and that nature functions.
The nature of water is to flow; the nature of fire is to burn.
Counterpart to this mysterious power is a mysterious consciousness in us which experiences that nature - purusa or the individual soul.
The two, prakrti and purusal seem to understand each other very well indeed.
Since purusa was the experiencer, some philosophers accorded this a superior status and regarded nature as inert.
Others saw that the qualities in nature were able to influence purusa and so declared that nature is para-shakti (supreme power) and purusa is powerless without her.
(You, the purusa, could not drink water and enjoy the sweetness of honey but for prakrti)
Let us then accept both, together!
For nature is God's nature - they are not two but one.
A clear understanding of this indivi(sible)duality frees us from confusion, likes and dislikes, craving and aversion the 'ought to be' and the 'ought not to be'.
Nature prevails in God's sight.
XIII:22 - Yet in this body there's another, a supernatural enjoyer, who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the supersoul.
XIII:23 - One who understands this philosophy concerning material nature, the living entity and the interaction of the modes of nature is sure to attain liberation. He will not take birth here again, regardless of his present position.
It is good to have a clear idea of the two-in-one and their distinct functions, as that will enable us to undeludedly recognise their manifestations.
In that light of clarity we shall not, like king Canute, order the waves of ever-changing phenomena to stop; nor shall we get entangled in the web of these changes, regarding them as inevitable.
The supreme soul 'in this body' is called the jiva, though on account of ignorance, this jiva considers himself limited.
He is a 'spectator': and that is when he is happy.
He is the 'permitter': having the prerogative to say "Yes" or "No", and is not as helpless as he sometimes imagines himself to be.
Recognising this power of the soul, one is able to freely exercise his free-will.
The jiva is the 'supporter': it is sheer delusion which makes him feel dependent upon material phenomena.
Yet he is also the 'enjoyer', and because of the fact that he enjoys the material phenomena, he may come to feel that they are indispensable for his happiness.
Nevertheless he is the 'great lord and the supreme self', if only he wakes up from his slumber of ignorance!
He who knows this secret will neither resist nor cling to the world.
He will not blame the world, or himself for living in such a world.
He knows the depth of the ocean, but he also knows his own power to swim or float on its surface.
He does not get drowned.
Convinced of this, it does not matter what profession he is engaged in, he is a jnani (sage).
He is not born again for whatever may be his mode of living, such a yogi lives in God. (VI:31).
infinite ways
XIII:24 - Some by meditation behold the Self in the Self, others by karma yoga, and others through working without fruitive desire.
XIII:25 - Again there are those who, although not conversant in giant knowledge, begin to worship the supreme person on hearing about him from others; because of their tendency to hear from authorities, they also transcend the path of birth and death.
The goal was described in the previous verses; now the paths are pointed out.
There is variety in creation; the infinite can be viewed from infinite angles and approached in infinite ways.
Temperament and tradition are the main guiding (not deciding) factors here.
The waters of the ocean are the same, whatever be the name given to the ocean at different points on the globe.
The man of mystic temperament 'beholds the self in the self by the self' in deep meditation.
Note that Krsna cleverly avoids the subject-object experience in meditation and the 'I see God' or 'I see a brilliant light' type of psychic phenomenon so widely confused with meditation and raja yoga.
'I' do not see the self, but the self itself sees the self in the self.
Self-realisation is merely seeing that what you and I previously regarded as the self, never existed!
Others, endowed with an intuitive temperament, may use reason to transcend itself, intellect to silence itself, and in the searchlight of their self-knowledge realise that the ego was never an entity.
The whole universe shines as God and his nature.
Those of a dynamic temperament may reach the same goal by self-effacing, self-sacrificing and selfless service, feeling 'God serves God'.
Even devotees of the Lord who humbly worship him as they have been taught by their ancestors and preceptors, will reach God.
This is a gentle rebuke for so many yogi and intellectual giants who sigh with grief that these devotees, 'ignorantly' worshipping God, are 'lost souls' whom it is their duty to 'save'!
Leave them alone.
The Lord whom they worship will look after them.
Moreover, they must awaken themselves, save themselves.
No-one else can do it for them.
They must find and go their own way.
XIII:26 - O Arjuna, whatever you see in existence, both living and not living, is only the combination of the field of activities and the Knower of the field.
Creation itself involves both the subject (knower) and the object (the field) .
Creation can be viewed from two standpoints.
'I think; therefore, I am' is true.
Though not in the Cartesian sense of a division.
For awareness or consciousness is consciousness's awareness of itself, which is the universe.
'I am, therefore, I think' is equally true.
For, in order to be able to project a thought, the thinker should exist and the thought (as well as the thought-subject) must also exist.
There is actually no conflict or contradiction between these two viewpoints; they are complementary to each other.
Here, again, it is obvious that the apparent contradiction springs from the fact that we regard matter and spirit as two eternally separate and distinct factors and, in accordance with our own bias, tend to exaggerate the importance of one over the other.
In fact, God exists because God is you!
God and his nature, subject and object, matter and spirit, the field and its knower - are in truth one and indivisible.
All beings that exist in the universe are the products of the perpetual union between the two (God and his nature).
Creation is never ex nihilo; God's nature has ever been his, and its manifestation has always been in a potential state - even when all beings return to the state of formless dissolution during the 'night of the creator'.
Once again, when consciousness (cit) actively engages itself in becoming aware of its own potentialities (shakti), the diverse beings are 'created'.
Hence the universe is but cit-shakti made manifest.
He who knows this lives in cosmic consciousness, and he realises that animate and inanimate objects pulsate with cosmic life and float in cosmic consciousness.
XIII:27 - One who sees the eternal Lord accompanying the individual soul in all bodies, and who understands that neither the soul nor the supersoul is ever destroyed, actually sees.
XIII:28 - One who sees the supersoul in every living being and equal everywhere does not degrade himself by his mind. Thus he approaches the supernatural destination.
'Samam' has been translated 'equally'; but 'samely' would express it better.
'Equally' suggests quantitative similarity.
'Sameness' is much more than quantitative or qualitative similarity, for it expresses identity.
Some philosophers hold that this 'sameness' has in part been 'transformed' (parinama-vada) into the visible diversity; though they assert that the substratum of this diversity is the same.
The fundamental hydrogen atom has combined and re-combined to produce the various elements; but it is clear that this reversible process suggests that the 'reality' of matter is the simple hydrogen atom (if that is the ultimate material particle which cannot be further reduced).
Another view is that this diversification of the one, this complication of the simple, is only apparent, not real.
The 'sameness' has not actually been transformed into the diversity, but only appears to be so.
What exists is just one thing, like space.
There is infinite diversity that seems to exist in space merely because we think in terms of diversity.
The popular simile is that of the snake in the rope.
When in the darkness the rope appears to be a snake, the rope has not even in part been transformed into a snake.
Thus, according to this view, the combination of atoms (which scientists themselves declare are ever independent of one another) is an idea; and the fusion of several simple atoms into more complex atoms is similarly an idea.
Although a group of trees is called a forest, each tree is a tree and nothing more - 'forest' only being an idea in the mind.
The elements are thus only a mode of thought, the reality being the Lord (and his nature which is forever one with him).
Knowing this, one does not become egoistic.
The egoist 'destroys' (veils) the self by his little self (the ego) and thereby destroys his wisdom, peace and happiness.
XIII:29 - One who can see that all activities are performed by the body, which is created of material nature, and sees that the self does nothing, actually sees.
The cause of sin and suffering is the self-hypnosis of the purusa (the individual soul) in feeling that he is somehow involved in the world and particularly in the body; that it is he who sees, hears, tastes, grasps with the hands, walks and works; and that it is he who enjoys and suffers.
Suffering arises on account of isolation, and the purpose of yoga and all spiritual practice is to de-hypnotise the purusa, ultimately to lead him to the realisation that the reality alone is, and that the manifest universe, including himself, and all the changes that take place in it are but the expression of the qualities of God's nature - neither good nor evil, neither pleasant nor unpleasant.
All self-isolation is sin, because it is inevitable that when you consider yourself an entity totally different from another, you must enter into some relationship.
Then you begin to love one and hate another.
Out of that, sin and sorrow arise.
Death of a dear one is painful, but death of an enemy causes rejoicing in the heart!
An earthquake in mid-ocean or unpopulated territory, which throws up fresh land or fertilizes the existing land, is a welcome event; whereas when it affects objects of one's self-identification, it is a great evil.
One has to pass through the process of disentangling oneself from this web of illusory super-imposition of the not-self upon the self.
Hence, as a sort of de-hypnotising autosuggestion, the yogi is asked to assert and realise that his self does nothing at all, and that nature alone is ever active; thus making it look as though nature is an independent agent.
Once this dissociation has been achieved, it will be clear to the enlightened soul that even this duality is only apparent, and that in reality God alone exists, the universe is his nature and the changing phenomena occur on account of the qualities inherent in that nature.
Arriving at this wisdom, the enlightened one does not isolate himself and is ever happy, at one with nature.
parinama and vivarta-vada
XIII:30 - When a man sees the whole variety of beings as resting in the One, and spreading forth from That alone, he then becomes Brahman.
Taken literally, this verse can give rise to all sorts of misconceptions.
The variety of beings does not rest in the one as, for instance, 'birds rest on a tree'.
If we adopt the 'actual transformation' (parinama-vada) of creation, (see verse 27 above), a more apt simile would be the fish in the ocean - born in the ocean, existing in it and dissolving in it - truly part of the ocean, but with a distinct personality.
It is possible to catch the fish and show that it is separate from the ocean only because ocean is not omnipresent.
Since God is omnipresent this paradox does not arise in him.
If, however, we adopt the second view that there is only an 'apparent transformation' (vivarta-vada) which is illusory, then this variety and the one bear the same relationship as the different oceans, seas and bays of the world bear to the one vast homogeneous mass of water that the ocean really is.
It is not as though the Indian ocean, the Atlantic ocean, the Pacific ocean, and so on, rest in the one ocean that encircles the world, but there is in truth only one ocean - the variety being a mere idea.
'All beings' includes one's self, too.
It needs no special emphasis that he who thus sees the one reality realises that even his own individuality is but an idea, for in truth only God exists.
He then becomes Brahman, in the same way as the Arabian sea becomes the ocean when the name and the limitation are removed.
Krsna, however, does not permit us a day-dreaming phantasm of oneness; that oneness is not exclusive of the diversity.
The obvious (the diversity), in a manner of speaking, clothes the unobvious (the oneness) which is the reality.
Nothing that is of value, of sense or of importance in our lives is obvious.
He who has realised that unobvious oneness knows that the variety spreads forth from that alone, and shares the dynamism of the diversity, while inwardly enjoying the peace of the one.
XIII:31 - Being without beginning and devoid of qualities, the Supreme Self, imperishable, though dwelling in the body, O Arjuna, neither acts nor is tainted.
XIII:32 - As the ether is not tainted because of its subtlety, so the Self seated everywhere in the body, is not tainted.
The statement that the supreme self is devoid of qualities seems to suggest exclusiveness and a distinction between the self and (its) nature.
This is not so.
The difference lies in the viewpoint: a dark cloud hangs between earth and outer space.
A man standing on earth says: "The sky is dark"; whereas a man flying above, in the sky, says: "The earth is dark".
The truth is, all of them are as they are.
The cosmonaut flying aloft in outer space will not even notice the thick cloud covering our particular town.
We see it because our vision is limited and circumscribed; his (and God's) vision is vast and unrestricted!
Smoke pouring out of a factory chimney taints that chimney with soot; but the sky remains untainted even after years of this sort of pollution.
The chimney is gross an limited, hence it receives and keeps the taint.
The sky is subtle and unlimited; no taint can stick to it.
From the empirical or individual standpoint, the qualities of nature exist in God; but from the absolute standpoint, the self is devoid of any quality.
The yogi realises the distinction between truth and viewpoint - truth being that which exists and viewpoint being the mental activity.
Realising this his mind and heart (the gross an limited) are totally surrendered to God (the subtle an infinite).
What a golden message of courage and hope!
Your Soul is ever free and pure.
Let not the 'past' depress you or dampen your spirit.
Acquire the eye of wisdom and the ghost of sin and suffering will vanish.
You are a sinner only so long as your own grossness and ignorant limitation make you believe yourself to be.
Wake up!
You are the ever-pure immortal self.
XIII:33 - Just as the one sun illumines the whole world, so also the the Self illumines the whole Field, O Arjuna.
XIII:34 - They who, through the eye of knowledge, perceive the distinction between the Field and its Knower, and also the liberation from the Nature of being, they go to the Supreme.
The scientist tells us that the earth was part of the sun and broke away from it long ago.
Even today, the same sun sheds light and life on the whole of the earth.
Though apart, the earth is still 'part' of the sun (the solar system) enjoying the benefits of a close 'commonwealth' association.
In the same way, when consciousness remembered its own potentialities, the manifestation-potential was actualised into infinite combinations of atoms and molecules, giving rise to a variety of beings together called the 'ksetra' the field, the body of God.
This body is not inert and useless but is indwelt and illumined by the light of God whose power dances in every atom of existence, inviting us to realise him and thus go beyond sin and suffering.
The common man's vision is so gross that only the grossness of diversity is visible to him.
He is sense-limited, sense-bound and mind-enslaved.
It is necessary for him first to acquire subtlety of vision, delicacy of understanding and freedom from the bondage of ideological slavery, before he can arrive at cosmic consciousness.
Hence Krsna demands that the wise disciple should first acquire that sharpness of wisdom which will enable him to pare nature from God, by which process alone he can glimpse the universal substratum (God) and then proceed to liberate himself from the illusion of 'bhuta-prakrti' or elemental nature.
He discovers that he is not even part of the world, he is the world - if one point is removed from the circumference of a circle, there is no circle!
There is one solid mass of awareness which is able to respond to every situation in life as it arises.
We are all swimming in that ocean of awareness.
Thus the wise disciple will know the supreme and realise that he and he alone exists - one without a second.
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 tirtheenth chapter entitled: The path of knowledge - Ksetra Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of Knowledge of the Field and the Knower of the Field.

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
scroll to top