Go to the bottom of this page.



(Chapter-wise Summary)


Dnyaneshwar Maharaj describes this ninth chapter as containing the substance of the entire Bhagvadgita.

Shri Krishna now tells Arjuna that He is going to reveal to him the greatest secret in His heart, namely the root of Knowledge.  He has chosen Arjuna for this because of his devotion, clean mind, pure intellect, because he does not slander others and is faithful.  It is all right to tell His secrets to such a devotee.  What He is going to tell is about Knowledge of the Self and in addition, about knowledge of the world (i.e.  material knowledge) too.  A seeker leaves the worldly affairs to the world and reaches the state of liberation when he obtained these two types of knowledge.

[NOTE: This topic was first opened in the beginning of Ch 7.  But the stress there was on the description of ignorance (i.e. thinking that worldly knowledge is true knowledge) and how to remove the ignorance. In this chapter the stress is on Knowledge itself and how to gain it through devotion].


This supreme Knowledge (of the Self) is the most secret, most holy and the basis of the entire Dharma.  A person attaining this knowledge is not reborn.  A disciple can easily acquire this Knowledge of the Self from his Guru.  Once obtained, it does not get lost, nor does it get reduced by experiencing it.

People do not gain this Knowledge because though I, giver of all types of happiness, am present right within the hearts of all, yet they fall prey to the worldly desires due to delusion resulting from the influence of Maya.  Ego and affection hinder them from crossing this stream of worldly affairs and reach Me.  Instead, they go on shuttling between the two banks of life and death (i.e are caught in the life-death cycle).


Like the Sun, I am in front of all, but unlike the Sun that appears only during the day and then disappears, I am always present.  My formless, unmanifestable form has taken shape in the form of this vast universe.  All the principles starting from Mahat to the body are really created from Me, but even so, I am not in those principles because everything is Me.  The statement “all principles are in Me” is false because everything is Me.  (See the NOTE in Ch 7 for explanation of Mahat etc.).

Ignorance puts one in the clutches of I-am-the-body attitude.  In this situation, the he does not at all realise himself to be really the soul (that is Me).  That Knowledge comes after Self-realisation.  Between these two states of ignorance and Knowledge there is a twilight zone where thoughts crowd the mind and make the insight dim and I continue to appear to be separate from the beings.  But once the twilight of thoughts vanishes then it becomes clear that I am undivided from the beings.

But the existence of the beings itself is a delusion caused by Maya   Once Maya dissolves, then what remains is My pure form.

Thoughts cause the illusion that the five elements (i.e. material things including creatures) are present in the undivided Brahman.  But when the thoughts are eliminated one cannot even dream that the elements are in Me and I am in the elements.  (Explanation:  The idea that the elements are in Me and I am in the elements implies duality between the individual and Me.  When this duality is destroyed then the idea that all is Me becomes clear).

Therefore, the idea that I am the soul of this universe or I am the support of all creatures is false like a mirage.  But just as the sun is not separated from its brightness, I am also not different from the elements and that is the Divine scheme.  Therefore the creatures are not different from Me and I am also not different from them.

Air, unless it moves, appears to be same as space that contains it.  Similarly, creatures appear to be in Me only if one imagines so.  But in a thoughtless state (Nirvikalpa) of samadhi this illusion vanishes and it becomes apparent that it is only Me everywhere.


The idea that beings exist or do not exist arises because we imagine that it is so.  This imagination originates in ignorance.  Once ignorance vanishes then they also vanish.  **

If you understand this Divine scheme by attaining Self-realisation, then you will realise that what is pervading this living and nonliving universe is only you (because you are the Soul or Brahman or Me).  Therefore, you should  eliminate permanently the dualism in your mind, by following the path of pure Knowledge of the Brahman.


It is only Maya (also known by the name Prakriti) which does the acts of creation and destruction of all creatures.

I have already told you that Prakriti is of two kinds.  (See Ch 7).

At the time of the great deluge, all elements dissolve in Prakriti in unmanifestable form.  Thus, at the end of the deluge all that is created by Prakriti returns to it.

 (NOTE: It is not clear which deluge is implied: the deluge at the end of Manvantara of a period of 1,728,000 years equal to the length of Kritayuga or the grand deluge at the end of Brahmadeo’s day i.e.  4,320,000,000 solar years.  But both are imaginary and besides irrelevant to the basic theme being discussed here).


Listen again to the explanation of the legend about My creating the universe.

When this universe is created I merely establish the Prakriti, which then assumes the form of the universe made up of the five elements.  It is like a person waking up from a dream into the wakeful state.
Once I establish Prakriti, the life forms in the universe develop automatically by its support in the same way as plant-forms sprout and grow from the seeds with the help of the earth.

All life is thus controlled by Prakriti, therefore, the responsibility for creation of life and its support is not mine.  These actions do originate in Me but are removed from Me.  Since these actions also ultimately merge in Me they cannot bind Me.

Though the material world created by Prakriti has My support, I am indifferent to all that and I neither do those actions (of creation etc.) nor cause them to be done.  Though I am in all creatures I have no connection with their actions.

I create this living and non-living universe through the establishment of Prakriti therefore logically I am the cause of its creation.
Therefore in the light of Knowledge, understand the Divine principle that all living things are in Me but I am not in them or (going still further), all living things are not in Me and I am not in them.

(NOTE: This statement appears to be contrary to what has been repeatedly said earlier that “I am in everything and everything is in Me”.  In this context three basic statements have been made in this chapter.

1. First statement is: “I am in everything and everything is Me”.  But this implies duality that vanishes with Self-realisation and leads to the contents of the second statement below.

2. The second statement is “All is Me” which no longer shows duality.  This has been amplified further later in the chapter.

3. The third statement contained in the paragraph flagged by **  above, as well as in Ch 8, states that the very idea of existence of beings arises due to imagining about them.  Since God cannot be in imaginary things, the above statement is true and consistent for Self-realised persons who have experienced Brahman.  However, for persons who still carry duality in their mind, it is not true because the realisation that the world is imaginary has not yet come.  This realisation is same as Adi Shankaracharya’s well known statement  “Brahma satya, Jaganmithya”).

This fundamental principle is My most guarded secret, which should not be forgotten but enjoyed through meditation after dissociating the mind from sense-organs. Nobody can understand My true nature unless this is understood.  However, it cannot be understood through logic, it has to be experienced (through meditation).  People speak about Self-realisation without experiencing it but that is mere talk.  You must remember this fundamental thing if you are afraid of this world and you really desire Me.


Shri Krishna now describes common peoples’ ideas about God and where they stand vis-à-vis Self-realisation.  This has been presented below without summarising but in an itemised fashion.  It shows our shortcomings in the path of Self-realisation.  [Many readers will see their own thinking reflected in it].  Shri Krishna (as Bhagwan) says:
“Some people see Me with gross (materialistic) eyes.  These ignorant people say confidently that they know Me, but actually they do not.  Their shallow knowledge comes in the way of attaining real knowledge.
Those who get deeply entangled in the worldly affairs and yet try to seek Me, are like a person trying to reach the moon reflected in water rather than the real moon; or like a person who drinks rice water and expects the effects of nectar from it.

Such people consider Me to be a human being out of delusion and assign to Me human attributes.  For example

Thus, they attach human attributes to Me and think that it is real Me.
The state of their knowledge is opposite of the real one and comes in the way of their gaining real knowledge.  In short, one who has such ideas about Me lives in vain.  Shame to the life of such fools and their actions.  Their learning of Scriptures is useless.


Similarly, the learning and actions of those who have no control on their mind also become useless.  Such people get caught in the grip of Prakriti, get entangled in worldly affairs.  Their mind comes under the influence of the Tamas attribute that affects their reason and discrimination.  Desire and violence generate dissatisfaction in them leading to unrighteous behaviour.  Knowledge is destroyed by hate.  Persons with materialistic thinking are victims of Prakriti and are affected by delusion.  Afflicted by the Tamas attribute, they do not have righteous thinking and therefore they cannot be saved.


Shri Krishna now describes the qualities of a saint who does not have materialistic thinking.  He says:

Thus, the path of devotion is profound and mysterious and those who follow it realise that I completely pervade everything, living or nonliving.

Understanding that all beings, from Brahmadeo to the tiny gnat, are all My forms, they respect them.  It is natural for them to be humble and polite to every living being.  This is the nature of the great devotion.

[NOTE: The last marked  statement referring to Kundalini Yoga is applicable to Yogi devotees only. In practice, followers of the path of pure devotion like saints Tukaram, Namdeo, Gora Kumbhar etc. are not known to have practiced yoga but to have spent their time mosly in singing the name and praises of their object of devotion, in their case, Shri Krishna or Vithoba of Pandharpur.  But Dnyaneshwar Maharaj was both a Nath yogi as well as a devotee.  That is why probably, at many places in the Dnyaneshwari he combines the yoga path with that of the path of devotion, though Yoga path is really a kind of Karma Yoga].


Having told about people following the path of devotion, Shri Krishna now tells about those who worship Him through the path of Knowledge (Already told earlier in Chapter 4).  He describes this metaphorically in terms of a yajna of Knowledge.

In this yajna of Knowledge, the fire (of Knowledge) is ignited in the two pits (the mind and the intellect) and kept alive by pouring and burning the ghee (of ignorance).  The altar for the yajna is the attitude of equanimity towards pleasure and pain.  The materials to be used in the yajna are the special attributes of the five elements, namely the five organs and the five types of vital breaths (Pranas).  The sacrificial animal is dualism tied to the the pole of thought that “I am one but desire to be many”.

The yajna is performed under the pandal (temporary tent like structure) of the five elements.  The host (the seeker) performs the yajna using Peace as the pair of vessels sruk and sruva. Using the vessels of experience, the mantra of discrimination and rituals of Knowledge, he sacrifices the dualism and destroys the ignorance.  What remains then is only the host (seeker) and the rituals.  And when the seeker gets the purifying bath by the water of Self-realisation, he finds that the elements, organs and their objects are one and not separate from each other.  The talk of his being an individual living being ends and he believes that the Supreme Soul has pervaded everything from Brahmadeo downwards.  Thus do some people worship Me by attaining Brahman through the yajna of Knowledge.

Some others perform the yajna in another way.  They believe that though the material world is varied and with different names, basically they all are aspects of the same fundamental entity.  They recognise that people as well as their nature are different but I am in all of them.  Their minds are full of the knowledge of the Brahman and they know that everything in the world is Brahman.  This also is a Yajna of Knowledge but of a different kind in which they do not allow ideas of duality to touch their minds.  I completely occupy the expanse of their knowledge of the Brahman and this itself is their worship (upasana), which they achieve without doing anything.

But people who do not understand this are not able to attain Me.  This is because they are too foolish to understand that every action done by every person using various means ultimately reaches Me.

But as soon as a person gets that knowledge, it becomes clear to him that basically, I am the Vedas and I am also the Kratu (sacred rite) to be performed according to the rituals given in them.  The yajna that emerges from the sacred rite, in all its main and secondary aspects, is also Me.  The uttering “swaaha” with which offering is made to gods is also Me.  Different herbs like Soma are also Me.  The fire of the yajna is Me.  The offerings in the fire (of the yajna) like ghee and firewood, the mantra with which the offering is made, the priest who makes the offering, are all Me.


This living universe survives and grows only with My support.  I am its father, mother as well as grandfather.

Everything unites in Me I COMMAND THIS UNIVERSE

Under my watchful eye the various agencies of nature perform their tasks by my commands.  It is I who decides that the sky should be everywhere, wind should ever flow, fire should burn, clouds should rain, earth should bear the burden of all living things etc.  Sun moves only if I move it, Prana (life-force) the driving force of the universe moves only if I move it; it is by My command that living things die.  Thus I am the master of this universe.


My Own Forms do not Recognise Me Is there a place where I am not present?  But it is their misfortune that people do not see Me.

It is surprising that those who are My own forms do not recognise Me.  Their Karma comes in the way of their believing in My existence.
Therefore, one cannot do what one ought to do without attaining Knowledge and the good deeds are wasted.


There are persons who perform yajnas and other rituals in order to accumulate merit (Punya) so that they may go to heaven after death.  But during all this they forget that I am the entity to whom the yajnas reach and prefer instead a temporary spell in heaven.  What they really gain from these performances is not really merit but sin under the name of merit.

Actually, people think that there is happiness in heaven because they compare it with the tortures of hell.  They do not understand that oneness with Me is the only perfect and permanent bliss.  Paths towards heaven and hell are actually the two diversions from the path towards Me.

The basic principle concerning merit and sin is that:

Yajnas performed to propitiate deities like Agni, Indra, Sun, Moon etc., all reach Me because I am everything.  But by performing such yajnas, people do not attain Me after they die, but only the propitiated deities;  e.g. Thus, the fruits of the actions are as per the desire behind them.

But those who worship Me only for My sake attain Me even while they live; therefore, how can they go anywhere else after death? A tree has many parts like roots, branches, flowers etc., but only the roots do the task of absorbing water.  Giving water to parts of the tree other than the roots is therefore useless.  In the same fashion, any worship done without knowing Me is fruitless. Actions must be backed by Knowledge and this Knowledge must be pure.


I am the servant of the devotees

The responsibility of taking their care in all respects fell on Me the moment they accepted the path of My worship.  I was compelled then to do whatever they should have done for themselves, (but do not do because they are engrossed in My devotion).

Therefore, like a mother bird taking complete care of her babies who have not yet learnt to fly, I take care of My devotees who have kept complete faith in Me.


Shri Krishna now gives very useful tips on how not to worship Him (i.e. God).


Shri Krishna then tells how He loves even the smallest offerings made by a devotee who loves Him and has completely surrendered to Him.

He says,

Really speaking, fruit, flower, leaf etc., are only means of manifesting the devotion and are useless unless offered with the feeling of devotion.


Shri Krishna continues and tells Arjuna about the attitude one should take regarding one’s actions.  He says:  “Therefore I am telling you a easy way.

Therefore Arjuna, avoid getting trapped into the bonds of the body and thus getting drowned in the ocean of happiness and sorrow and so, by following this easy path, become one with Me.

(NOTE: This appears to be the easiest of the four paths to liberation.  But reader may wonder how he should offer his actions to God.  He cannot very well say to God, “Here I offer my actions to You.” And what about bad actions?  Proper way to offer your actions to God is to understand that every phase of your action was done by His power.  Action first originates in the mind as a thought.  Therefore, you should have the attitude that even the thought of doing a particular action was not your own but was put in your mind by God.  Further, it was only He who put the thought in your mind about how to do it.  Also, that the action was done by the strength provided by Him.  The decision whether the action should succeed or fail was also His.  Thus, the I-am-the-doer ego does not arise at all.  The karma account is therefore not loaded, because it is not you but God who is responsible for the action.  Once you thus surrender to God, question of bad actions also does not arise).


I am present in all creatures equally without making distinction among them.

Those persons who know this nature of mine, who abandon their ego and are devoted to Me with their heart and by their actions, are really in Me even if they are actually in their own body, and I too am fully in their hearts.

The difference between My devotee and Me is in name only.  They are unattached to their body.  Whatever ego is left in them takes My form and therefore is merged in Me.

Those who are thus devoted to Me with love are not reborn whatever may be their nature.


Now, a person gets in his next birth whatever he contemplates on at the time of death.  A person might have been crooked and might have committed sins in the earlier part of his life.  But if his final span of life is spent in devotion to Me, then he should be considered as the finest among people, because I am in his mind and he attains Me on death.  The sins committed in the earlier part of one's life get washed by the devotion in the later part.

Therefore, even a crooked person can become one with Me if he washes his sins with sincerity in the waters of repentance.  He becomes noble and pure and a fulfilment enters his life.  He has the same credit as those who have studied Vedas and Yoga.

Why say anything further? He who has immutable faith in Me alone and with that faith entrusts Me with his mind and intellect, becomes free from the bonds of his actions.

Total devotion to Me

But he does not have to wait for his death to reach My state.  He really attains Me even when living as soon as his consciousness reaches Me.  He who is devoted to Me remains in My form.  Then he attains My permanent qualities of peace and effulgence.

Caste and gender differences do not matter

Differences like Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra, woman, untouchable etc. are relevant only as long as a person does not attain Me.  Once they attain Me, then all these differences of caste and gender vanish completely.

Initial intentions do not matter

It does not matter how or why a person is attracted towards Me.  In the course of time such a person reaches My form.  For example, Gopis attained Me through love, Kamsa through fear, Shishupal through hate, Yadavas through relationship of race, Vasudeva (Krishna’s father) etc. through parental love, and Narada, Dhruva, Akrur, Sanatkumar etc. through devotion.

Thus, I am the ultimate destination of all paths, be it devotion, dispassion or even enmity.  There is no dearth of methods to reach Me.  One may be born in any species, be devoted or inimical to Me, but he should be devotee or enemy of Me alone.  Through either relation he will attain My form.  What matters is the devotion and not who a being is.


I am the existence and liberation of royal Rishis and brahmins who consider Me as their place of pilgrimage, contemplation and shelter.
Arjuna, having been born on this earth full of pain and unhappiness, how can anyone stay away from worshipping Me.

Do they believe they will get happiness from learning and youth without worshipping Me? All the material things are for the enjoyment of the body but that body itself is in the jaws of death.
Who has heard of real happiness in this world? .

How topsy-turvy are the ways of this world?  Arjuna, you have taken birth in this world by virtue of your Karmas.  Free yourself of this burden by following the path of devotion.  That will beget you the pure permanent position in Me.

Concentrate your mind in Me, develop love for devotion to Me and make obeisance to everything, knowing that I am in everything.  He who gets rid of all thoughts and desires by concentrating in Me is known as My devotee.  When you succeed in this then you will reach Me.
I have told this secret of mine to you.  You will reach perfection by knowing this secret which I have hidden from everybody.




CH:  1 / 23  / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18

All rights with

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

  Return to the top of this page.