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(The Philosophical Part)
WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE
KNOWLEDGE, WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE AND IGNORANCE
Shri Krishna said, “Arjuna, you have now understood what yoga is. Now I shall tell you about Knowledge (of the Brahman) and the worldly knowledge. You may perhaps wonder about the relevance of worldly knowledge here. But it is necessary to know about it first because when Knowledge is experienced the intellect puts the worldly knowledge behind. (7:1-4)
"Arjuna, Knowledge is that where the intellect cannot enter, where thoughts stop, and logic does not work. Worldly knowledge is different from this. And ignorance is to think that worldly knowledge is the true Knowledge i.e. Knowledge of the Brahman. Now I shall tell you the method by which ignorance will disappear, worldly knowledge will burn itself leaving nothing behind and Knowledge will be apparent. (7:5-7). Only one in a thousand longs for this Knowledge and even among those it is rare that somebody will know Me. (7:10). There are millions of people who jump in the floodwaters of desire for Knowledge of the Brahman but rare is he who manages to swim across to the other bank. Therefore this is no ordinary matter. It is very deep and very difficult to explain but I shall try to explain it to you.(7:13-14).
Arjuna, just as our body casts a shadow, this material universe is my projection Maya manifesting itself through the principles like Mahat etc. It is also known as Prakriti. It consists of eight parts and is the one that creates the three worlds. The eight parts are: the five elements earth, water, air, fire and sky, the mind, the intellect and the ego. (7:15-18).
The state of equilibrium of these eight parts is my basic, subtle or Para Prakriti. It is also known as the Jiva (individual being). It makes the inert active, is the principle of action in the life-force, and makes the mind feel sorrow and temptation. The capability of the intellect to know is due to association with it. The ego originating because of it runs the affairs of the world with its support. (7:19-21)
CREATION OF LIFE
When this subtle Prakriti lovingly creates the gross Prakriti it gives birth to the living beings in the world. Four types of life are produced (Jaaraja or born through uterus, Andaja or born through eggs, Swedaja or from sweat e.g. lice etc., and Udbija or born through seeds i.e. plants.) Though all these are of equally important they belong to different species. There are 8.4 million of such species and their number in each is countless. (7:22-24).
The Prakriti (Nature) produces lives in each species with the help of the five elements and controls their population. Nature makes them to be born, to live in the world and then causes them to die and return to the five elements. In this process it demonstrates the working of actions and non-actions by the creatures. (7:25-26). Though it is the Nature which creates this expanse of the material world, it is in reality My projection and therefore I am the beginning, middle and the end of this world. (7:28).
Just as the root cause of mirage is the Sun similarly when this visible universe has dissolved and reached the original state, that original state is only Me. Thus whatever is created and destroyed is in Me and I support it from inside and outside. (7:29-32).
Therefore Arjuna, understand that the liquid principle of water, the feeling of touch of the wind, the light of the sun and moon is Me. The natural fragrance of earth is Me, the sound from the sky is Me and the Sound of Aum from the Vedas is also Me. The virility in man is Me, the essence of the ego is Me. (7:33-35). The basic energy in the fire is Me. There are different kinds of living creatures in this world who survive on different kinds of food and I exist inseparably in the means for their survival. (7:36-39).
That which expands with the sprouting of the space (Sky) at the time of the creation of the Universe and swallows the sounds A, U and M comprising the AUM at the time of its annihilation; that which does not vanish even after the form of the Universe, which had remained apparent as long as it existed, vanishes at the time of the final annihilation, that formless entity, that self generated seed of the Universe is Me. I am giving this knowledge to you. You will realise its relevance when you ponder over it deeply and compare it with the Sankhya philosophy. (7:40-43). Now I shall explain this knowledge to you in short. (7:44)
I AM EVERYTHING
The penance of the ascetics is My form only. Understand without doubt that I am the strength of the strong and the intellect in the intelligent. (7:44-45). I am the desire in all creatures by virtue of which the prescribed behaviour (Dharma) and earning the livelihood are possible. Though this desire is controlled by the sense organs it does not let them go against the prescribed code (Dharma). Whenever the desire is not tending towards the prohibited actions it is guided by the self-restraint. Because of this the prescribed actions come to a successful conclusion and a worldly person achieves liberation. (7:46-49). How many things like this should I tell you? All this expanse of the material world has been rooted in Me. (7:51)
MAYA CREATED BY ME BUT VEILS ME
The feelings of the mind, having the three attributes Sattva (pure), Raja (passion) and Tama (sloth) have been created from me but even so I am not in them. (7:53- 54). [Simile: seed gives rise to a tree and then to wood, but this seed is not in the wood]. (7:55- 56). But this Nature or Maya which is my projection and has been created from Me, veils Me. Therefore creatures do not realise Me even though they have been created from Me. Just as pearls formed from water do not dissolve in it similarly all living creatures are My own parts and have acquired life due to Maya but though they have been created from Me, instead of becoming one with me they get blinded by desires due to selfishness. (7:63- 67)
GOING BEYOND MAYA
Arjuna, the problem is how to go beyond this Maya of mine and realise Me. (7:68). Whatever steps one takes to cross this river of Maya become harmful. (7:82). Those who try to cross it on the strength of their intellect get lost. Those who try to cross using knowledge are completely swallowed by pride. Those who take the help of the Vedas are burdened by the ego and are consumed by arrogance. (7:83-84). Those who tried to use their youthful strength were caught in the sexual lust and eventually, becoming old and demented, died sad and frustrated. (7:85-88) Those who perform Yajnas get trapped in the wedge of heavenly enjoyment. (7:89) Those who, desiring liberation, perform ritualistic actions get caught in the issues of right and wrong. (7:90). To say that detachment and discrimination are not sufficient and even all round yoga practice also is rarely useful for crossing this River of Maya, is like saying that a sick person who neglects to observe diet will get cured. (7:91-92). A person cannot cross this river of Maya by his own efforts. (7:96). Only those who are single-mindedly devoted to Me can cross it. Actually they do not even have to cross it because they have rid themselves of the illusion of Maya even before they die. (7:97)
Those who are guided by a True Guru, who hold on to their experiences and have taken the route to Self-realisation, those who by shedding the ego, calming the mind, avoiding desires followed the path of knowledge for ease in attaining unity with the Brahman, leap towards liberation and attain it with the strength of detachment and with the conviction "I am that". But such devotees are very rare. (7:98-102). Except for that one devotee all others are affected by ego and therefore they forget the Self. They remain unaware of their lack of religious observances, are not ashamed of impending degradation and develop the tendency to do what Vedas forbid. (7:103-104)
Arjuna, they get engrossed in sense-pleasures totally forsaking the purpose of their rebirth and are full of passions with feelings of "I" and "mine". There is no realisation even when they get hit by pain and sorrow because their minds are clouded by the effect of Maya. Because of this they missed attaining Me. (7:105-107)
FOUR TYPES OF DEVOTEES
The devotees who gained spiritually from their devotion to Me may be divided into four types. Arta (distressed), Jijnasu (curious), Artharthi (desirous of wealth) and Jnani (enlightened). (7:108-109).
Arta becomes my devotee because of his desire to be rid of his distress. Jijnasu worships me because he wants to know about me out of an intellectual curiosity. The reason for which the third i.e. Artharthi type worships me is obvious, it is for wealth. But it is fourth type, i.e. Jnani who is my real devotee, for he wants nothing but Me for My own sake. He, by the light of his knowledge has destroyed the darkness of duality between him and Me and achieved oneness with me and even then wishes to remain my devotee. (7:110-112). From his external actions he appears to be my devotee but internally he has become Me and in the light of this knowledge he knows that I am his soul. Therefore feeling satisfied, I too consider him as My soul. How can he who lives realising the signs beyond life be different from Me even when he is in body? (7:113, 114, 116-118). I like a devotee who comes to Me with selfish motives but the devotee I really love is the Jnani type. (7:119). He is nothing but my soul. (7:126).
MY BEST DEVOTEE
Avoiding the obstacles of desire and anger in the wilderness of sense-pleasures he acquires good tendencies and in the company of saintly people he avoids bad behaviour and treads the straight path of righteous actions. How can one who, desireless of fruits of his actions, treads the path of devotion through hundreds of lifetimes bother about the goal of those actions? (7:127-129). As he travels alone in the darkness of possessing the body during successive rebirths, the dawn of the end of the burden of his karmas comes. (7:130). Now the morning light of the benevolence of the True Guru removes the darkness of ignorance, and with the bright illumination from the rays of Knowledge he realises the wealth of equality. (7:131). Wherever he casts his eyes he sees only Me and nothing but Me. Just as water is within and without a vessel dipped in it, so is he within Me and I within him and outside him also. But all this cannot be expressed in words. (7:131-134). Great soul like this is rare (7:137).
WORSHIP WITH INTENT
Rest of them worship
Me only for pleasures and get blinded by desires. (7:138). And lust
enters the heart once they are possessed by the desire for the fruit of
their actions, extinguishing the light of Knowledge. Thus, remaining
internally and externally in the darkness of ignorance, they are distanced
from Me and start worshipping other deities with all their heart. (7:139-140).
Having already become slaves of Maya and overcome by lust they worship
other deities with elaborate rituals paying elaborate attention to the
rules, means and offerings. (7:141-142). But it is only I who fulfils
the desire of the devotee worshipping these deities, because I am present
in all the deities. However, he does not believe so and therefore
he keeps different feelings towards the various deities. (7:143-144).
Such devotees do not know Me because they do not come out of their narrow
thinking. Though their desires are fulfilled, the fruits of their
efforts are impermanent like a dream and only help the continuation of
their life cycles. They reach the realm of the deities whom they
worship (and the deities are also impermanent). On the other hand,
those who choose the path of My devotion with their body and mind alone
attain on death, oneness with Me who is eternal. (7:147-150). But
common man does not do so and put himself to loss. (7:151). Why should
ne not leave the cage of desire of fruits and fly high on the wings of
Self-realisation in the sky of Knowledge? Why should he try to measure the immeasurably bliss of the Self? Why should he consider the formless, unmanifestable Me as manifestable and having form? Why should he try to create rituals for reaching me when I am in all creatures? (7:155-157). Even though I am in the form of light, people are not able to see me because of the I-am-the-body feeling since they are blinded by the veil of Maya. Otherwise, tell me, is there anything in which I am not present? I alone am pervading the entire universe. (7:158-160). Arjuna, I was in all the creatures who ever lived; and at this moment I am in all creatures who are living and I am not separate from those who will be born in the future. But this is only in a manner of speaking. Actually nothing is born and nothing dies. (7:161-162). All life is illusion. Thus, though I am eternally in all, yet they are still caught in the birth and death cycles. But there is a reason for it. (7:165)
PITFALLS FROM DESIRE
Desire was born out of ego and body. Due to its combination with hate the delusion that one is different from soul was born. This delusion was fostered by the ego. Shunning courage and self-control this delusion started growing due to hope. Under the influence of dissatisfaction it got tirelessly engrossed in sense-pleasures and started behaving perversely. It brought impediments in the path of devotion and paved the paths of evil deeds. Because of it people got confused, went astray in life and came under the heavy burden of sorrow. (7:166-171)
But those who are aware of the useless thorns of doubts and do not get caught in the trap of delusion produced by them, who tread the path of unstinted devotion, crush the doubts, avoid sinful actions and with the speed attained through meritorious actions come near Me and thus escape the clutches of desire and anger. (7:171-174). Then they develop a desire to end this saga of birth and death. Sometime or other they succeed in their efforts and attain the perfect Brahman. Having reached their goal and once the novelty of this Self-realisation fades away they find the world full of bliss, gain peace of mind and there is no more need for actions. They then develop a sense of equality and attain unity with Me. (7:175-179).
Experiencing the aspect of My supremacy over the elements they reach My aspect of Adhibhuta (Supreme deity). When, with the impetus of their Knowledge they look at Me as the Supreme deity of the sacrifices or the Supreme Soul they do not grieve death. Otherwise, when death approaches, people feel that a big calamity is about to fall. But nobody knows how, those who have become one with me do not leave me even when they die. Those who have gained this perfect Knowledge are the real yogis. (7:180-184).
Prakriti, Mahat etc.
Prakriti literally means "exceptional ability". It is the wonderful nature
out of which the vast material world in all of its intricate aspects takes
shape. Prakrti is characterized by the three gunas of Sattva, Raja, and
The first principle created by Prakriti is Mahat, the Cosmic intelligence, equivalent to the intellect or Buddhi in humans. The next principle is the Ahankara or ego, the sense of self-identity (not personal pride), and the centre in our consciousness from which we think, act and react. This false sense of identity separates one's real Self from everything else and focuses it upon matter leading a person to think, "I am this body, this is mine, and this is for me." This Ahankara is what is responsible for the material universe. Ahankara expresses itself in three universal attributes or qualities: Sattva, Raja and Tama.
-- The mind, the five senses and the sense organs and the five organs of action are born from the essence of the Sattva attribute (the attribute of stability, purity, wakefulness, clarity and light);
-- Sensations, feelings and emotions are caused due to the Raja attribute that represents dynamic movement;
-- The five elements (earth, water, fire, wind and the sky) that form the material world are created from the Tama attribute (the attribute responsible for the tendency towards inertia and lethargy, darkness, heaviness, deep sleep, ignorance and confusion).
For more details one should consult some work on Sankhya philosophy.
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