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

14 - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas

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.
introduction to October
Indian mythology tells the story of the Lord (Trivikrama) who measured the heaven and the earth with two strides and placed his foot on the head of man as the "third" of three strides, thus bringing the three worlds together.
This allegorical story has been esoterically interpreted in different ways.
He, the undying one, appears to be born, to live and to die, in all; he, the ever-wakeful one, wakes, dreams and sleeps in the individual's consciousness.
He is the creator, preserver, redeemer and that which transcends them all and exists as their underlying unity.
Here, in the fourteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, we are granted a vision of that supreme being who forms the substratum:
(i) for all perishable beings,
(ii) for the imperishable divine spark that exists in them all, and
(iii) who, being free from all limitations of individualization and contact with ever-changing phenomena, transcends them all.
He is the supreme being, at once transcendent and immanent.
He is the life-giving substance in the plant; he is the digestive fire in the human; he is the light in the sun.
In fact, one who keeps his eyes and ears open, cannot fail to recognize this supreme being every moment of his life.
According to scientists, the entire universe will implode and become a singularity.
Thus, in that singularity or single point is the whole universe - all one.
This is the most intense mixture of all. We are all one.
Realization of this divine mystery frees one not only from bondage but from grief, here and now.
XIV:1 - The Blessed Lord said : I will again declare to you that supreme knowledge, the best of all knowledge, having known which all the sages have gone to the supreme perfection after this life.
XIV:2 - They who, having taken refuge in this knowledge, attain to unity with me, are neither born at the time of creation nor are they disturbed at the time of dissolution.
Once again we are being prepared for a big surprise.
The Gita is a blazing spiritual fire.
It helps us light the torch of wisdom in our own heart.
A lamp cannot be lighted except from another flame, yet, if the lamp to be lighted is not brought into heart-to-heart contact with the flame it is not lighted, however glorious and fierce the flame may be.
Not proximity, but only intimate contact between the lamp and the flame can ensure lighting.
That is what the words "upasana" (usually translated into "worship") and "upanisad" (unfortunately thought of as the words of a book) mean; and that is the vital factor in guru-disciple relationship.
When you look at someone whom you love, the ignition of the torch of inner wisdom, saktipata, happens instantly.
That look is saktipata - a non-verbal communication even though it may be accompanied by some verbal utterance.
Ramana Maharsi says very beautifully: "When you learn to silence your mind and think with your heart, you can be a recipient of this saktipata."
In the realm of transcendental wisdom, the intellect can only act as the bridesmaid.
The heart is the bride.
When devotion makes a direct approach to divinity, intellect follows and under stands.
Reality is not opposed to reason, but transcends it.
Divinity is not subject to reason and logic (which are the playground of intellect born of ignorance), yet when the heart obtains a glimpse of it, the intellect is able to provide the rationale.
Krishna, therefore, announces dramatically that he is about to reveal a great truth which will free us from birth and death.
reflected glory
XIV:3 - The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth; in that I place the germ, making possible the births of all living beings, O Arjuna.
XIV:4 - Whatever forms are produced, Arjuna, in any womb whatever, the great Brahma is their womb, and I am the seed-giving father.
This is a divine mystery, not because it has been hidden away by any sect or clan, but because it is beyond the reach of the intellect - hence incomprehensible; and of speech - hence indescribable.
Only revelation is of any avail here; this revelation should be devoutly received and then intellectually understood.
God alone is the reality.
That is the deep significance of the simple word "omnipresent" which all of us use in relation to him.
This reality has with it, in an inexplicable way (maya), infinite energy (prakrti or divine nature) which is capable of either remaining latent or becoming patent.
This is logically acceptable because it cannot be disproved!
That energy is called mahat-brahma.
Visualize it a cosmic mirror with infinite reflectors.
The one being is immediately manifested in all these reflectors as infinite beings.
Since the one being is all-consciousness, the reflected infinite beings, too, come to possess that consciousness, but in a reflected way; and it is this reflection we refer to as "intelligence" in the individual.
Essentially is divine, but it is finite and shines in reflected glory.
This perhaps is the meaning of the biblical expression "Man is made in the image of God".
For the purpose of human comprehension, this divine act of reflection is expressed as impregnation.
However the inevitable duality of father and mother should not confuse us into super-imposing duality on the one being.
Rather, the analogy should be modified to a curved mirror (of horseshoe shape) with the two poles reflecting on each other thus producing infinite mirrors within mirrors.
Since God is consciousness, these infinite reflections are endowed with intelligence.
three qualities
XIV:5 - Material nature consists of the three modes - goodness, passion and ignorance. When the living entity comes in contact with nature, he becomes conditioned by these modes.
Even when the sky is clear, you know there is moisture in it.
When there is pressure or depression somewhere, this moisture condenses into white clouds.
If the atmospheric change continues, while cloud changes into black, rain-bearing cloud.
That black cloud, though one, has hidden in it the potentiality of drop-formation - one yet many!
In a few minutes the drops form and they do not linger in the sky but fall to earth.
In vedanta (Indian philosophy) the clear sky is comparable to Brahman the absolute, with prakrti or nature "hidden" in it.
The pressure is comparable to the original vibration (Om) or the word or logos.
The white cloud, to Tsvara (the supreme personal God).
The black cloud, to hiranyagarbha (the world soul) when you view it as a whole, and to virat (manifestation) when you view it as just an aggregate of individuals.
Rainwater in Australia, America and Africa, is all the same.
The difference lies in what it falls on; then it becomes good, bad or indifferent.
The three qualities belong to divine nature.
Take fire, for example.
The mysterious power that burns in fire is God.
The visible flame is divine nature.
This flame has inherent in it three qualities: light, heat and smoke (comparable to sattva, rajas and tamas respectively).
Similarly, the entire universe is composed of three strands of existence.
One is the light.
In every atom there is something luminous, and it is because of this inner light that we exist and are able to recognize one another.
Then, there is something in every atom that is dynamic, which vibrates; and, in addition, every atom has something that the scientist calls "inertia".
This eventually makes up the mass of material, physical bodies.
The individual soul is pure; it is actually not different from God.
However, it is caught in these three qualities of divine nature.
Why? - We do not conclusively know.
which guna?
XIV:6 - O sinless one, the mode of goodness, being purer than the others, is illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode develop knowledge, but they become conditioned by the concept of happiness.
XIV:7 - The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, and because of this, the embodied living entity is bound to material fruitive actions.
XIV:8 - But know you Tamas to be born of ignorance, deluding all embodied beings; it binds the conditioned soul by heedlessness, sleep and indolence.
These are the fundamental characteristics of the three qualities of nature.
A knowledge of these three qualities is extremely essential.
Our Master often asked: "Do you know which guna (quality)is operating in you at a particular time"?
If we do, then we shall be able to adapt our life and activity in such a way as to utilize the operation of the particular quality and prevent it from leading us away from our center, God.
So long as one is embodied, one cannot completely disentangle oneself from these qualities of nature.
Social workers often delude themselves that the service they render is itself yoga.
Deep meditation on these three verses will awaken them to the truth that their service is often rajasa that is always accompanied by attachment and desire for worldly objects, name and fame.
Introspection will enable them to retain the activity and eliminate attachment or desire.
A man who cares for nothing, who is not sincere enough to love anyone, or daring enough to hate, may pat his own back and think himself nearly a sage.
Verse 8 reminds him that he is tamasa.
He should remove the heedlessness and then maintain equilibrium.
Even knowledge and happiness, though sattvika, are only bondage.
Knowing this, the aspirant is careful not to stop there.
All the qualities must be transcended and the self realized here and now.
the sage's strength
XIV:9 - Satva attaches to happiness, rajas to action, Arjuna, while tamas, shrouding knowledge, attaches to heedlessness negligence.
XIV:10 - Now satva prevails, O Arjuna, having overpowered rajas and tamas; now rajas, having overpowered satva and tamas; and now tamas, having overpowered satva and rajas.
The introspective spiritual aspirant is amazed, shocked and terrified when he discovers that in spite of himself his moods continuously change.
Now he is happy; now he is restless; now he is lazy.
Now he is wise; now he is passionate; now he is idle.
"How is it," he wonders, "that in spite of being one whole, I am sometimes holy, sometimes human and at other times beastly?"
When he is advanced enough in meditation and when he has developed the witness-consciousness, he will realize that these passing moods need not necessarily affect "him", that they do not "belong" to him, but that they are the triple streams of sattva, rajas and tamas - part of the divine nature - which merely cast their shadows on him as they march past.
What is a personality if the wisdom, the dynamism and the stupidity it has are all removed?
All of us, the greatest of saints and the worst of sinners, are subject to these three qualities, though the proportion may vary, because we are part of nature.
However, in ignorance we superimpose their effects upon ourselves.
Even though these qualities may obstruct the vision of the true self, they do not affect or alter it.
The soul is ever pure, unaffected by any of the three qualities of nature.
This is the fountain-source of the sage's strength.
If a colored object is placed near a crystal, the crystal appears to undergo a complete change.
In fact, it remains unchanged in its essential nature - it merely reflects the color of the object in front of it.
A clear understanding of this truth frees man from fear, grief and delusion, and throws open the path to redemption.
knowledge of the guna
XIV:11 - When, through every gate in this body, the wisdom-light shines, then it may be known that satva is predominant.
XIV:12 - Greed, activity, the undertaking of actions, restlessness, longing - these arise when the rajas is predominant, O Arjuna.
XIV:13 - Darkness, inertness, heedlessness and delusion - these arise when tamas is predominant, O Arjuna.
Here and in the seventeenth (and part of the eighteenth) chapter, Krishna classifies the three guna in great detail.
Our endeavor should always be to keep clear of unnecessary tamas (sleep, for instance, may be necessary), and turn even rajasa energy sattva-ward.
Even sattva is not the goal; but it is the quality nearest the center.
It is a transparent veil and hence allows a full vision of the reality.
In all that we engage ourselves in, if we avoid the tamasa category and increase the sattva in us, so that it will utilize the rajasa energy for our own and others' spiritual evolution, we shall soon discover the path to sattva-transcendence.
When sattva prevails, there is wisdom and light in all the senses.
They do not distract the mind.
Knowledge of this will help us utilize these periods for meditation on God (which will sustain the sattva) and for spiritual ministry.
When rajas prevails, there is restlessness within and the urgeto be active.
One may not be able to completely avoid this, nor is it always necessary to avoid it.
Narada in his Bhakti Sutra assures us that even desire, egoism, and so on can be directed towards God.
When there is longing for a worldly object, it is possible with good preliminary training, to turn the longing Godward!
When tamas prevails and there is stupidity in the mind, we should avoid its expression in actions and, by various methods like yoga asana, pranayama, a brisk walk, and so on, drive tamas away.
Knowledge of the guna for understanding of oneself is a great help.
XIV:14 - If the embodied one meets with death when satva has become predominant, then he attains to the spotless worlds of the knowers of the Highest.
XIV:15 - Meeting death in rajas, he is born among those who are attached to action; and dying in tamas, he is born in the womb of the senseless.
Krishna has already emphasized the great truth that one's subsequent birth is determined by the 'bhava' (state of one's inner being) at the time life departs from the body.
Now he expands the idea.
If that bhava is sattvika, he will ascend to higher regions.
Though in the literal sense the verse does imply that even if by accident the wicked man is in a sattvika state, e.g. he is in holy company, he will rise to a higher region; normally this is not possible.
At the time of departure from the world that quality alone will prevail which has been predominant most of our life.
Two conclusions are derived from this:
(i) That we should endeavor to keep the heart and mind always sattvika, by remembering God constantly.
(ii) Whatever has been the biography of the dying man, those related to him would do him.
The greatest service if they, at the slightest premonition of the end, surround him with a spiritual atmosphere, singing of God's names, recitation of scriptures, etc., and prevent any show of worldly affections and attachments that will effectively prevent him from rising higher in evolution.
The fact has been clearly stated here that it is not inevitable that the soul returns to this earth; it may do so, or it may ascend to the regions of pure souls or descend into the worlds of the senseless (human or subhuman).
In photography, the quality of the print depends on the state of the negative.
Similarly with nature. Abandon the complacent attitude that once a human being, always a human being.
If the heart and mind are subhuman, where is the injustice in earning a subhuman birth?
deliberately break through
XIV:16 - The fruit of good action, they say, is harmonious and pure; the fruit of rajas is sorrow and pain, and ignorance is the fruit of tamas.
We should avoid the misunderstanding that these three qualities are gross material objects like fire or water.
Their function is not as simple as the dictum: if you are hot, get into water; if you are cold, go near fire.
They are subtle qualities of nature, being what heat is to fire and coolness is to ice.
Heat and fire have no independent or cause-and-effect relationship, but an intimate and immediate relationship; for the distinction between them is purely academic.
One depends on the other; because one is the other.
The fruit of good action is sattvika or pure; and the manifestation of the sattvika is good action.
Similarly, the fruit of passionate activity is rajasa, manifesting pain.
The quality of rajas, passionate activity and pain are three shades of the same factor.
In the same way, ignorance is tamas; ignorance is the fruit of tamas, and tamas is the fruit of ignorance.
One cannot draw a distinctive line anywhere.
This, however, should not lead us to a vicious circle.
We must deliberately break through somewhere.
We should endeavor, with the help of the "categories" given in detail in the seventeenth and the eighteenth chapters of the Gita, to increase the sattva in us.
This will result in our actions being good, which in turn will result in greater increase of sattva.
Rajas, unless based on or directed towards sattva, is itself pain.
Aimless dynamism will sooner or later result in disillusionment and the painful realization that all endeavors not directed towards the realization of God was waste.
We should beware of this, as also the complacent attitude, "All is well, I don't care", that tamas or ignorance gives rise to.
the ladder of evolution
XIV:17 - From sattwa arises knowledge, and greed from rajas; heedlessness and delusion arise from tamas, and ignorance also.
XIV:18 - Those who are seated in satva proceed upwards; the rajasic dwell in the middle; and the tamasic, abiding in the function of the lowest guna, go downwards.
Krsna gradually unfolds the secret doctrine. When you carefully look at all your activities, you discover to your astonishment that they fall into one or the other of these three categories. They are part of the divine nature. Though the soul itself is independent of them, it vainly clings to them, identifies itself with them, and thereby appears to be coloured by them. An example may be given of a man living in a house with wet paint of different colours on the walls and doors. If he keeps away from the walls and doors, he can still live in the house without being tainted by the coloured paint. But he admires some colour, touches it, and is tainted.He dislikes some colour, wants to rub it off, and is also tainted. In the dark, ignorantly, he leans against a wall or a door to rest, and becomes tainted.
In the same way it is the ignorant soul, the slumbering soul living in the darkness, that vainly imagines it is the doer of the actions and the different consequences.
It is the characteristic of these three quaities to go up -sattva, to go on - rajas, or to go down - tamas. The elevator in a building goes up and down. You will not, unless you you sit in it! However, in spiritual life it is preferable to go up rather than to go down; hence it is is said 'cultivate sattva and remain established in it at the time of death', so that you can have a better life next time from which to realise God.
Even in the case of 'going down', it is not the soul that is thus condemned; on account of its false identification it only believes it has descended the ladder of evolution.
XIV:19 - When the seer beholds no agent other than the gunas, knowing That which is higher than the gunas, he attains to my Being.
XIV:20 - When the embodied being is able to transcend these three gunas, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their sorrow, and enjoy the nectar of immortality, even in this life.
When this dissociation of the self with the guna, or this disentanglement of the spirit from matter, or even this detachment is mentioned, modern man immediately jumps up and exclaims: "That will lead to callousness and disruption of the social structure."
The average man knows only three attitudes in personal relationship: intense clinging, hateful kicking, and indifference, which is often the worst of the three.
There is a fourth, and that is called non-attachment.
In non-attachment, love is not lost, but it is preserved from the corroding influence of selfishness and possessiveness.
This love does not tire or overwhelm.
Its soft touch does not hurt even a rose petal.
It does not demand, but it gives.
It does not cling to the personality, nor does it neglect the spirit that has made the personality its home.
It is a wonderful relationship too sacred for words.
This extends to all activities of the sage.
He does not identify himself with the three guna, but for that matter does not forcibly restrain them.
They work; and he knows their workings.
He is the ever-blissful witness.
He is conscious of his self that is the self of all.
This realization flows through the guna, thus directing their operations towards the welfare of all beings.
He is freed from thralldom to the guna.
He is immortal.
The guna gave birth to the body.
When the body is dropped the self remains as the universal self, infinite and all - blissful.
When the body is living, the guna function on their own without his ego-interference, even as his breathing goes on! He is free.
XIV:21 - Arjuna said : What are the marks of him who has crossed over the three qualities, O Lord? What is his conduct and how does he go beyond these three qualities?
XIV:22 - The Blessed Lord said : He who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present, nor longs for them when they disappear,
XIV:23 - He who, seated like one unconcerned, is not moved by the qualities, and who, knowing that the qualities are active, is self-centred and moves not,
He who, seated like one unconcerned, is not moved by the qualities, and who, knowing that the qualities are active, is self-centered and moves not (is a gunatita).
Once again we should remember we cannot sail in paper boats.
Krishna's approach is entirely scientific:
(i) First, there is the theoretical exposition of a principle.
(ii) Then there is the "model" - the exemplar - the illustration of that principle.
(iii) Then, practice - the model in real life, the application of the principle.
We can ennoble our lives only with the help of these three.
Without the theory, we might misunderstand the example.
We might interpret the theory in our own way, and reach nowhere near perfection.
Without practical application we might make a business commodity of the principle and trade in the name of the example.
It is only when all three are adopted in our own life, one following the other in the given order, that we reach the goal- and we shall, very soon.
The sage, yogi, samnyasi or "gunatita" (one who has gone beyond the guna) is not a sour-faced embittered personality who does not sleep (because it is tamas), does not talk or smile (because it is rajas), and does not study, discuss, or even enjoy a meal (because it may be sattva); such an attitude is tantamount to committing suicide.
It is negatively associating the self with the guna.
The wise seeker should be indifferent, but even then he is only "like one unconcerned" - he is a witness.
Therefore he is in a position to direct the guna to a divine purpose, without foolishly and vainly trying to stifle their operation.
the inner attitude
XIV:24 - Alike in pleasure and pain; who dwells in the Self; to whom a clod of earth, stone and gold are alike; to whom the dear and the unfriendly are alike, firm, the same in censure and praise,
XIV:25 - The same in honour and dishonour, the same to friend and foe, abandoning all undertakings - he is said to have crossed the qualities.
These verses refer to the inner attitude of non-attachment and non-identification with the world, body and senses, not to any physical activity or inactivity.
Ignorance of this great truth will inevitably lead the aspirant to tamasa inertia, heedlessness, delusion and destruction.
Cultivate the inner attitude; the activity will take care of itself.
"To whom a clod of earth, stone and gold are alike" has given rise to grotesque misinterpretations.
People imagine that the sage sweeps away golden ornaments, treating them as dirt.
Only mad men do so; sages are not mad even if their conduct is regarded eccentric by our perverted intelligence!
To them a piece of gold, a stone and a clod of earth all have their own particular use and value none greater than the other.
Hence they are all alike.
"Abandoning all undertakings" has also been taken to mean a life of automation or sheer laziness - a deliberate suppression of all urge to life and activity.
However, the sage knows his body, vital sheath and even his mental frame are all products of matter together with the guna that govern all physical phenomena.
He has crossed over them.
It is only while one is crossing a stream that one tries to float along with the current or swim against it.
Once on the other bank it matters not whether the current stops, flows or dries up.
One who has thus crossed the guna will similarly not bother himself what matter (including his body and mind) does.
However, it is clear that he will not do evil, for the evil fuel of desire is absent.
Through him the divine will works; it knows what to do with God's creation (clay and gold) and in his creation (what activities to undertake).
In such a sage life flows in total harmony and bliss.
XIV:26 - And he who serves Me with unswerving devotion, he, crossing beyond the qualities, is fit for becoming Brahman.
XIV:27 - For I am the abode of Brahman, the immortal and the immutable, of everlasting Dharma and of absolute Bliss.
We should be careful and vigilant when we study the Bhagavad Gita.
Krishna is discussing the sage who has crossed the guna - which suggests a great introvert and philosopher.
But he does not want us to forget that that is only one aspect of the yogi's life.
Even such an evolved yogi does not cease to "serve".
When one attains the state of non-attachment to the guna, the guna that constitute the body still continue to operate, while the detachment directs them along useful channels to do the divine will.
Peace and desirelessness ensure that that service is rendered as God's instrument to his omnipresence.
But service itself is never given up, neither is single-hearted devotion to him.
This synthesis of wisdom-action-devotion leads the aspirant to the absolute, Brahman.
Do not discuss Brahman.
As our Master often said: "To define Brahman is to deny Brahman."
Truth is indescribable.
It is so indescribably simple that every description complicates it!
But the vain human intellect cannot desist from attempting such description and definition.
Krishna tells us here: "All right, if you must say Brahman is absolute, infinite, existence-knowledge-bliss, supreme peace and eternal bliss, go on but I am the abode of Brahman!"
If you are audacious enough to define Brahman, then he is beyond even that!
Somewhere, at some time, the intellect has to stop in silence.
When all this play of logic and reason, intellect and (let us say) intuition, has ceased, when there is supreme silence, what is, is he!
But do not mistake that silence itself for him.
May He guide us to Himself.
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 fourteenth chapter entitled: The path of knowledge - Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga - The Yoga of the Three Gunas.

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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