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(Chapter-wise Summary)



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:

Dnyaneshwar Maharaj then proceeds with the second part of Dnyaneshwari, namely the remaining chapters 10-18,


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”.


However, he who

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.


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:

Out of the different aspects, some are useful and help to realise Me but some are not so useful.

Knowing Me or otherwise depends upon one's destiny, hence different creatures acquire different aspects.  Thus this earth is completely entwined in my aspects.


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).

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.


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.


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 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.


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).


But how long should one go on like this? Even hundreds of births will not be sufficient to cover even half of my manifestation.”

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].


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 / 23  / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18

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Dr V. V. shirvaikar,                                     email: vshirvaikar@yahoo.com
A-23 Yashodhan Soc.
Chintamaninagar 2,
Pune 411037, INDIA

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