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TEACHINGS OF DNYANESHWARI
CHAPTER 10 -DIVINE MANIFESTATIONS
EARLIER CHAPTERS SUMMARISED
The first nine chapters of Dnyaneshwari/Gita contain the essence of the Bhagvadgita. Dnyaneshwar Maharaj summarises the intent of these nine chapters after first praising his Guru Nivruttinath and humbly asserting that it was due to his Guru’s grace alone that he could succeed in writing this commentary on Bhagvadgita. His summary is as follows:
- The first chapter describes how Arjuna felt despondent due to the thought that his friends and relatives would be annihilated in the war.
- In the second chapter, Karmayoga (the yoga of action) is explained and at the same time the difference between it and Jnyanayoga, the yoga of knowledge of the Sankhyas is also discussed.
- In the third chapter, Karmayoga is recommended.
- The fourth chapter explains the same Karmayoga, in combination with knowledge.
- In the fifth chapter the principle of Yoga is extolled.
- In the sixth chapter the same principle is explained further. Details about its practice, starting from the initial posture to the state of union with the Brahman are given. Also explained are what the state of yoga is and the fate reached by the yogis who have deviated from the path.
- In the seventh chapter, four types of devotees who worship God by destroying the effect of Maya are described.
- In the eighth chapter, seven questions (about Brahman, Karma and Adhyatma, Adhibhuta, Adhidaivat and Adhiyajna) are first answered. The topic of the state of the mind at the time of death is discussed in rest of the chapter.
Dnyaneshwar Maharaj then proceeds with the second part of Dnyaneshwari, namely the remaining chapters 10-18,
- Regarding the ninth chapter, Dnyaneshwar Maharaj states that the greatness of the ninth chapter cannot be stated in words. The philosophy of the Vedas is contained in the hundred thousand shlokas of Mahabharata; whatever it contains may be found in the dialogue between Shri Krishna and Arjuna, which is the Gita, and the substance of its seven hundred shlokas is concentrated in the ninth chapter alone.
I AM DIFFICULT TO KNOW
Shri Krishna has by now tested Arjuna’s powers of concentration and finds him fit to receive a complete explanation about knowledge of the Self. He really likes him and likes to chat with him.
Shri Krishna now tells his profound secret namely, what Arjuna was seeing as Shri Krishna was really the Universe. But nobody really knows Him. He says,
“Vedas have been unable to describe Me. No god can know Me because they are born from within Me. Even after aeons the great Rishis have still not come to a definite conclusion as to who I am, how big I am, where and to whom I was born”.
GIVE UP PLEASURES AND EGO TO KNOW ME
However, he who
- gives up the worldly pleasures by being disinterested in them;
- gives up the ego and the I-am-the-body attitude; and by remaining steady in this condition of mind,
- sees my form, which has no beginning, in the light of Self-realisation and
is, among all men, a part of Me. Even though he may appear outwardly to be an ordinary person, his sins get automatically nullified. He who knows Me becomes freed of all desires.
- understands that I am the original power behind the universe,
MY NATURE AND ASPECTS
If you are thinking about how to realise Me, then listen first to what my nature is and what my different aspects (Bhava) are. These aspects of Mine occur in different beings according to their nature, and are spread throughout the universe. Among these aspects:
- The first is the intellect, then come the infinite knowledge, freedom from delusion, tolerance, forgiveness and truthfulness.
- Next come both self-control and victory over the senses, happiness and sorrow in the world and birth-death.
- Fear and fearlessness, non-violence and even-mindedness, contentment and austerity are also my aspects.
Out of the different aspects, some are useful and help to realise Me but some are not so useful.
- Charity, success and fame, which are seen everywhere are generated in the creatures from Me.
Knowing Me or otherwise depends upon one's destiny, hence different creatures acquire different aspects. Thus this earth is completely entwined in my aspects.
DIVINE MANIFESTATIONS AS THE CREATOR
There are eleven more aspects which are the guardians of this universe and who influence the behaviour of all people. These are the seven great rishis (Kashyap, Atri, Bharadwaj, Vishwamitra, Gautama, Jamdagni and Vashistha) and the four main Manus (Swayambhuva, Swarichisha, Chakshusha, Vaivaswat) from among the fourteen Manus.
In the beginning I was alone. Then mind was created from Me. From that mind the seven rishis and the four Manus were born. They created the eight Prajapatis (governors), who in turn created various types of creatures. All the living population in the universe has thus been generated.
(NOTE: This again is the description of creation given in the Puranas. It has no scientific base. Historians consider it as a distorted and metaphorical description of how the great Rishis organised the society; and together with the Manus, increased the human population, a great need of those times. Of the above Manus, Vaivaswat Manu is the only really historical person).
- Thus I have created this entire expanse and therefore these aspects are my divine manifestations with which this universe is filled.
- Thus, from Brahmadeo down to an ant there is nothing in this universe that is not occupied by Me.
- One who understands this realises the Brahman and becomes free from the thoughts of differences like big and small, good and bad.
As explained in Ch 6, this yoga of devotion goes on uninterrupted even if the devotee dies while leading his life of such devotion qualified with the realisation of oneness with Me.
- He who experiences that I, my divine manifestations and creatures showing these manifestations are all same, becomes without doubt one with Me. I surrender myself to such a devotee.
TRUE BHAKTI (DEVOTION) PATH
Now Shri Krishna explains about the nature of the devotion with oneness with God with an apt simile. He says,
“Just as waves are generated in water, remain in water and are dissipated also in water, so is the creation and sustenance of this universe done by Me. (i.e., the universe is created by Me, remains in Me and dissolves in Me). Just as the waves cannot occur without water, there is nothing in this universe without Me.”
Self-realised persons know my all-pervading nature and are devoted to Me with true love. They remain aware of the fact that place, time and the present are not different from Me; and they live happily while keeping their minds occupied with Me. They consider every creature they meet to be the God. Such persons are the followers of the real Bhakti (devotion) path.
DEDICATED LOVE IS THE ONLY PATH TO KNOW ME
When Self-realised, liberated persons meet each other, they mutually exchange only the bliss of the Self-realisation. Satiated by gaining Me, they loudly sing my praises and utter even the secret mantras told by their Guru. They forget the consciousness of the body and suddenly become quiet and dissolve themselves in that forgetfulness. Due to this excessive emotion of love for Me, they are not aware of whether it is day or night. Heaven and even liberation are nothing compared with the pure and complete bliss of my form they have gained for themselves.
(NOTE: Shri Krishna points out here the significant difference between followers of the path of devotion and followers of others paths. The latter are interested in Self-realisation, attainment of Brahman and liberation. But a devotee longs for the object of his devotion (in this case Shri Krishna), and prefers not to be liberated since it means separation from this object. Thus, this is a case of oneness with duality).
Love and devotion for Me is the gift I wish to give them but they have already obtained it. Only thing that now remains to be done is to see that this love grows and does not decrease later.
For the superficially devoted persons I have created the two paths of heaven and liberation and have put myself bodily, along with my consort Laxmi, in their hands. But bliss of the Self, which is beyond the consciousness of the body, is something I have reserved only for My loving devotees. I am their vanguard holding the torch, destroying the darkness of ignorance and creating the permanent illumination of Knowledge.
ARJUNA WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT DIVINE MANIFESTATIONS
Arjuna is now fully satiated with the Knowledge Shri Krishna has given him. He has now realised the real meaning of life. He is now free from the fire of birth and death. He praises Shri Krishna calling him the ultimate Brahman and the master of the Soul and the universe. He requests Shri Krishna to show him His Divine manifestations (aspects), especially the principal Divine manifestations (Vibhuti) by which you pervade throughout the universe.
INNUMERABLE DIVINE MANIFESTATIONS
Shri Krishna said, "My Divine manifestations are innumerable and I myself am not able to understand them nor am I able to understand My nature and My magnitude. Therefore, listen to the well-known manifestations and then you will understand not only the minor manifestations also but actually the whole world.
I exist in every living being as the Soul. I am present in their inner self and in the outer shell or body. I am their beginning, their existence and their end. Now I shall tell you about My principal manifestations.
(Note: Sequence in the original text has been changed in the following).
SOME DIVINE MANIFESTATIONS
- I am Vishnu among the twelve Adityas; Marichi among the forty-nine Maruts; Agni among the eight Vasus; Shankar (Shiva) among the eleven Rudras; Kuber the guardian of wealth among the Yakshas and demi-gods; Chitraratha among the Gandharvas.
- I am Indra among the gods. Among the generals I am Skanda, son of Shankar; I am Madan the god of love among the creative entities. Among all the aquatic entities I am Varuna the master of the Westerly direction. Among all the Manes (Pitras) I am Aryama. Among the controllers, my principal manifestation is Yama who takes note of all the good and bad deeds of creatures, examines their conscience and gives reward or retribution according to their karma.
- I am Brihaspati among all the priests; Narada among the divine Rishis; Bhrigu among the great Rishis; Kapilacharya among the great Siddhas. I am Vyasa among all the sages and Ushanacharya among poets.
- I am the Sun among all the shining bodies and the Moon among the stars;
- I am the Margashirsha (lunar month which falls in December) among the twelve months and Vasant (Spring) among the six seasons.
- I am Meru, the tallest among the mountains; Himalaya among all the stationary mountains; the ocean among all the water bodies. Among all the trees my principal manifestation is the Ashwattha (Peepul or Ficus Religiosa) tree. I am the wind among the speedy entities that can go round the seven seas on the vast expanse of this earth at one stretch in less than a Ghatika (24 minutes). Ganga is my principal manifestation among the rivers.
- Among the organs I am the eleventh i.e. the mind, the natural consciousness in creatures.
- Among all the syllables I am the AUM the abode of eternal Truth; I am Samaveda among the Vedas. Brihatsam within the Samaveda and Gayatri metre among all the metres.
- I am the Japayajna, the best among all the yajnas. Namajapa with syllables AUM etc. leads to liberation from all the Karmas, and its performance does not need external rituals like taking bath etc. Both proper and improper deeds get sanctified by it. According to Vedas it is the path that leads to the realisation of the Brahman.
- Among the alphabets I am the first letter "A" and among the compound words I am the Dwandwa mode of compounding (double syllables).
- I am Ucchaisrava among the horses; Airavat (Divine elephant) among the elephants; Kamdhenu the wishing cow among the cows. Among the snakes I am the King Vasuki and among the cobras I am the Cobra Ananta. I am the lion among predators and forest animals. Garuda is my principal manifestation among birds and therefore he is able to carry Me on his back. Among the aquatic animals having tails I am the crocodile.
- I am Amrit (immortalising nectar) among the objects obtained when the ocean was churned.
- Among men I am the king whom all people obey and serve.
- Vajra is my principal manifestation among all the weapons.
- Among the demons, Prahlad is my principal manifestation and that is how he was not affected by their qualities.
- I am Shri Rama among all the weapon wielders because it was he who, by means of his bow alone succeeded in saving Dharma, which had come in great danger from Ravana during the Tretayuga. He saved the honour of the gods and revived the Dharma and became the sun of the Solar dynasty.
- I am the brightness of all the shining objects and success among all desires.
- Among the manifestations expressed by feminine gender there are seven main ones. I am the fame that never fades, and the fortune which is accompanied by generosity. I am the speech that uses discrimination and is supported by justice. I am the memory that comes as soon as one sees an object. I am also the intellect that is beneficial to one's well-being. Courage and forgiveness are also my principal manifestations. Thus these seven powers expressed as feminine gender are Me only.
- Knowledge of the Self is my principal manifestation among all branches of knowledge.
- Among debates I am the debate that does not end, but creates more and more interest among listeners and sweetness in the speech of the speakers.
- I am the destroyer who swallows everything from an ant to Brahmadeo, the earth along with all the mountains, the ocean which floods the entire universe during the deluge and which accommodates the entire space.
- And I am also He who creates the universe again. It is I who creates all creatures, sustain them and finally destroy them therefore I am also the Death.
- I am the gambling among all the games of cheating; therefore, nobody can help a person who is looted even in public by gambling.
- Among all professions I am that which brings out justice.
- I am the goodness among all the good people
- I am Shri Krishna among all the Yadavas whose life history and actions you (Arjuna) have seen for yourself. Even though you eloped with my sister Subhadra, I did not feel inimical towards you because you and Me are one.
- Among all administrators, I am the sceptre that administers control over everybody from an ant to Brahmadeo.
- I am the moral science among all the sciences.
- I am the Silence among all the secrets because even Brahmadeo cannot do anything to a person who observes silence.
But how long should one go on like this? Even hundreds of births will not be sufficient to cover even half of my manifestation.”
- I am the knowledge that occurs in the learned.
Recognising a divine manifestation
Shri Krishna then tells Arjuna a broad characteristic by which His manifestation may be recognised. He says, “In whichever creature you see wealth and kindness occurring together, know that that is my manifestation. He who is obeyed by all, should not be considered as lonely or poor. Actually the splendour of the universe is within him. The signs by which one can recognise such a person is that the whole world bows to him and obeys him. Persons with these signs are my Avatars, and to say that a particular Avatar is better than the other is committing a sin because I am all the universe”.
“I am the seed which causes the propagation of life; therefore, one should never qualify anything as big or as small, should not differentiate between high and low and realise that all beings are my forms.
[NOTE: By the above description of manifestations, one can see that every excellence in the universe, in nature or in individuals, like leadership and wisdom, has a divine element in it. This applies even to bad practices like gambling. One cannot achieve such best qualities without divine grace].
KNOWING MANIFESTATIONS NOT ENOUGH
Therefore, trying to measure the extent of my limitless form through consideration of My manifestations in order realise Me is simply a waste efforts. It takes just a fraction of Me to cover the entire universe. Therefore abandon the idea of duality and be devoted to Me with an attitude of equality.
CH: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18
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