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(The Philosophical Part)
SOVEREIGN KNOWLEDGE AND SOVEREIGN MYSTERY
KNOWLEDGE OF SELF AND OF WORLD
Shri Krishna said, “Arjuna, I shall once more tell you about the root of Knowledge which is the greatest secret in My heart. But you may wonder why I am revealing My secret to you. It is because you are the sense of devotion personified and will never ignore what I tell you. Therefore I am eager that whatever is in My heart should enter your heart once for all.” (9:34-37).
One may by all means tell his secrets to a devotee who is of clean mind, of pure intellect, who does not slander others and is faithful. And right now there is nobody else possessing these qualities here except you. Now I am going to tell you about Knowledge of the Self as well as knowledge of the world ( i.e. material knowledge). (9:40-42). When these two types of knowledge are obtained, a seeker leaves the worldly affairs to the world and reaches the state of liberation. (9:46).
This Knowledge, which is of highest status, most secret, the peerless among the holy things, and the basis of the entire Dharma is the best among the best. Once a person gets this Knowledge he has no reason to be reborn. Once the Guru utters it, the disciple easily acquires the Knowledge of the Self already present within him. (9:47-49).
It has another quality. Once obtained it does not get lost. It does not get reduced by experiencing it. Now you may very well ask how people did not get hold of this incomparable thing so far? (9:52-53). But you need not have any doubts. (9:56). You see, though I, giver of all types of happiness, am within the hearts of all but under the influence of Maya (delusion) they fall prey to the worldly desires. (9:60). Due to ego, instead of crossing this stream of the worldly affairs to reach Me, they go on shuttling between the two banks of life and death. (9:62).
If you ask what My nature is, then understand that like the Sun I am always in front of all and not like something which appears now and disappears sometime later. If you ask My expanse, then understand that this whole universe is Me alone, like a tree growing out of a seed. My formless unmanifestable form has taken shape in the form of this universe. Though I am formless, I take form and create this expanse of the three worlds. (9:63-66). All the principles starting from Mahat to the body are really created from Me but even so I am not in those principles as I have explained earlier. (9:67, 69).
EVERYTHING IS ME
If you see My form beyond Maya without using your imagination then you will realise that My statement that all principles are in Me is false because everything is Me. Thought creates a twilight zone between the ignorance and knowledge. In this twilight zone, the intellect becomes dim and in that dim light, even though I am undivided from everything I appear to be separate from the beings. But once the twilight of thought vanishes then it becomes clear that I am undivided from the beings. (9:71-73). He who imagines beings to be within Me has those beings only in his imagination, but when the Maya which is responsible for the thoughts dissolves, the false existence of the beings also vanishes and what remains is My pure form. (9:79-80). Thought causes illusion of the five elements in undivided Brahman but if the thought is abandoned then one cannot imagine even in a dream that the elements are in Me and I am in the elements. Therefore, to say that I support the elements or that I am in the elements is like talking in a delirium caused by the fever of thoughts. (9:81-83). Therefore Arjuna, the ideas that I am the soul of this universe or I am the support of all creatures are false. It is like the mirage caused by the sun's rays. But just as the sun and its brightness are the same I am also not different from the elements. Did you understand this Divine scheme? Therefore the creatures are not different from Me and I am also not different from them. (9:84-88).
The air appears to be different from the space which contains it only if it moves, otherwise it appears to be same as space. Similarly if one imagines that creatures are in Me then it appears to be so but in thoughtless state (Nirvikalpa) of samadhi this illusion vanishes and it becomes apparent that everywhere it is only Me. Existence or otherwise of the beings is due to the imagining about them and once this imagination which originates in ignorance vanishes they also vanish. Therefore understand carefully this Divine scheme. Be a wave in this ocean of Self- realisation and then you will realise that what is pervading this living and nonliving universe is only you. (9:89-93).
Arjuna, has the dream of dualism which you were having vanished? In order that you should not get it again you should follow the path of pure Knowledge of the Brahman which I am going to explain to you. (9:94- 96).
I CREATE EVERYTHING THROUGH MAYA
Arjuna, keep in mind that it is only Maya which does the creation as well as destruction of all creatures. (9:97). This Maya is also known by the name Prakriti. I have already told you that it is of two kinds. (See 7:15) One of them manifests itself in eight forms (Earth, water, air, fire, sky, mind, intellect and ego) and the second is in the form of life. At the time of the great deluge all elements dissolve in Prakriti in unmanifestable form. (9:98-100). At the end of the deluge all that is created by Prakriti returns to it. (9:103). Listen to the explanation of the legend about My creating the universe again. (9:105).
When I establish this Prakriti it assumes the form of the universe made up of the five elements. (9:106-107). When I establish it, it is like a person waking up from a dream into the wakeful state. Just as when a king builds a city he himself does not have to do anything, similarly when this universe is created I do not have to do anything. (9:110-111). 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. (9:117-118). All life is thus controlled by Prakriti, therefore the responsibility for creation of life and its support is not mine. These actions are removed from Me though they originate in Me. How can the actions which ultimately merge in Me bind Me? (9:122-124). 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. (9:126-127). Though I am in all creatures I have no connection with their actions. (9:129).
This living and non-living universe is created by Me only through the establishment of Prakriti therefore with this logic I am the cause of its creation. (9:132). Therefore understand in the light of Knowledge 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. Do not forget this fundamental thing which is My most guarded secret which you should enjoy through Meditation after shutting of your sense-organs. Nobody can understand My true nature unless this is understood. Normally, it is thought that this principle is understood through logic but it is useless unless it is experienced. (9:133-137). People speak about Self-realisation without experiencing it but it becomes clear that it was not so and they miss it. (9:139). If you are afraid of this world and you really desire Me then you remember this fundamental thing. (9:140).
DELUSION THAT I HAVE FORM
Some people consider Me as a human being. Those who see Me with gross (materialistic) eyes do not really know Me but these ignorant people confidently say they do. It is their shallow knowledge that comes in the way of real knowledge. (9:142-145).
Those who got entangled in the worldly affairs with strong determination to seek Me are like a person trying to reach the reflection of the moon in water rather than the real moon or like a person who drinks rice water and expects the effects of nectar. (9:150-151).
Because of delusion they consider Me a human being and think that the laws of birth and death apply to Me. Thus they assign a name to Me who is nameless; attribute actions to Me who is actionless; bodily functions to Me who is without body; they imagine a form for Me when I am formless; social behaviour by Me who is beyond all rules of conduct; a caste to the casteless, attributes to one without attributes, limbs to one without any, a measure to the immeasurable Me; location to one who is everywhere; They imagine ears, eyes, race and form in Me when I am without any; though I am unmanifestable, desireless and self-satiated they assign manifestability, desire and satiety to Me; I am without clothes or ornaments but they put them on Me; and I am the creator of this universe and they look for My origin. When I am self-born they make My idol and install it with ritualistic breathing of life into it. They invoke My presence and revoke it. They assign childhood, youth and old age for Me; when I am immortal they imagine death for Me and grieve imagining that I died; when I am present equally in all they assign the feelings of friendship and animosity in Me. Though I do not belong to any family or race they describe it so. Though I am the storehouse of bliss they describe Me as desirous of various pleasures. Though I am the soul of the entire universe, they slander Me saying I am partial to some and destroy others out of anger. Thus they attach human attributes to Me and consider it to be real Me. If they see an idol they say it is God and if it breaks then they throw it saying there is no God in it. Thus the state of their knowledge is opposite of the real one and comes in the way of their gaining real knowledge. (9:155-171) In short, one who has such ideas about Me lives in vain. (9:172). Shame to the life of such fools and their actions. Their learning of Scriptures is as useless as weapons in the hands of a girl or a mantra told to an unclean person. (9:175-177).
DANGERS FROM WORLDLY ENTANGLEMENT
Similarly, all the knowledge and behaviour of those who have no control on their mind becomes useless. They are caught in the grips of Prakriti thus getting entangled in worldly affairs and their mind gets afflicted by the Tama attribute affecting 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 specially victims of Prakriti and are affected by delusion. Affected by Tama attribute they cannot be saved by righteous thinking and are lost. (9:178-185).
I AM WHERE THE SAINTS ARE
Now listen to the description of saintly persons which gives pleasure to the tongue. (9:187).
I remain confined like an hermit in the clear conscience of such saintly persons whose detachment does not leave them even in their dream. Their benevolent concern is governed by righteousness and their intellect has the touch of discrimination. By bathing in the river of Knowledge, they have experienced the perfect Brahman and attained peace. Their devotion has reached such a peak that they do not desire liberation. Ethics is apparent even in their normal behaviour. They are full of peace and their consciousness has spread so much as to pervade even Me the pervader of all. Thus these great souls, by knowing My true nature become devoted to Me with increasing love without the slightest thought that they are different from Me. Thus they serve Me even after they become Me, but there is an interesting aspect to it. (9:188-196).
Such devotees, by dancing freely during Kirtans (discourses) have made the process of atonement obsolete because in their case there is no sin left. They are personifications of self-restraint, self-suppression and of places of pilgrimage. Thus by My name alone they destroy the sorrows in the world. (9:197-200). They brighten the world with their effulgence and by singing My name everywhere. (9:203-204). You may search for Me all over the universe, but one place you can always find Me is the place where these devotees sing My name under the spell of which they forget everything and remain happy. Continuously uttering My names: Krishna, Vishnu, Hari, Govinda and discussing spiritual matters they sing My praises and move about everywhere. (9:205-211).
And Arjuna, they keep their body and mind in complete control and sitting in vajrasana position and practising pranayama they go in samadhi state and experience complete Self-realisation in the light flashes of Kundalini helped by the mind and the life-force. Thus the path of devotion is deep and mysterious and those who follow it realise that I completely pervade everything living and nonliving. From Brahmadeo to the tiny gnat and the creatures between these two extremes are all My forms. They thus identify everything with My form and respect it. To be humble and polite to every living being becomes their nature. Thus I have explained to you the nature of the great devotion. Now I shall tell you about those who worship Me through performance of Yajna or sacrifice of Knowledge (i. e. through the path of Knowledge) though I have already told you about this earlier (4th chapter). (9:212-229)
YAJNA OF KNOWLEDGE
This Yajna of knowledge is as follows. The original thought that I am one but I desire to be many is the pole for tying the sacrificial animal and dualism is that animal. The five elements are the pandal (temporary enclosed shelter), the special attributes of the five elements namely the five organs and the five types of vital breaths (Pranas) are the material to be used in the yajna and ignorance is the ghee (clarified butter used in Indian households for cooking and for lamps) to be burnt in it. In this Yajna, the mind and the intellect are the two pits in which the fire of knowledge is ignited. The feeling of equanimity towards pleasure and pain is the altar. The dexterity of the intellect to discriminate is the Mantras in the yajna. Peace is the pair of vessels sruk and sruva used in the yajna. The seeker is the host who performs the yajna. Using the vessels of experience, the mantra of discrimination and rituals of Knowledge, he sacrifices the dualism and destroys the ignorance and then what remains is only the host and the rituals. And when the seeker gets the purifying bath by the water of Self-realisation then he does not find the elements, organs and their objects to be separate from each but considers all of them to be one. When he experiences Brahman in the entire universe the talk of his being an individual living being ends and he believes that from Brahmadeo downwards the Supreme Soul has pervaded everything. Thus some people worship Me by attaining Brahman through the yajna of Knowledge. (9:239- 248)
Some others believe that the material world is varied right from the beginning and it has different names too but basically they are same like the different organs belonging to the same body. (9:250). They believe that even if people are different and their nature different too, I am in all of them. Thus they behave with the knowledge that everything in the world is Brahman and this also is a Yajna of Knowledge but of a different kind in which they do not allow ideas of duality touch their minds which are full of knowledge of the Brahman. (9:252-254). My expanse is same as 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. (9:261). Actions of all persons done by various means ultimately reach Me, but fools do not understand this and therefore do not attain Me. (9:264).
When that knowledge is obtained it becomes clear that basically I am the Vedas and the Kratu (sacred rite) to be performed according to the rituals given in them is also Me. The yajna which emerges from it in all its main and secondary aspects is also Me. The uttering “swaaha” with which offering to gods is made is also Me. Different herbs like Soma is also Me. Offerings in fire like ghee, firewood, the mantra with which the offering is made, the priest who offers it in My form as fire are all Me. (9:265-268).
I AM THE FATHER AND THE MOTHER OF UNIVERSE
I am also the father of this universe created by the eight types of Prakriti by association with Me. Just as in the half-male-half-female form of the Supreme Dancer (Lord Shiva as Nataraja) both the male and female parts are present I am also the mother of this entire living and non-living universe. He with whose support this living universe survives and grows is none other than Me. I am also the grandfather of the universe because it is through My mindless state that the pair Prakriti and Purush which gave birth to the universe was created. (9:269-272)
The place where all paths of knowledge meet, where all Vedas came together, that which is the subject of knowledge, that about which different streams of thought merge to agree unanimously, that which is known as `holy', all these are only Me. (9:273-274).
I am the AUM sound which is the source of the primary sound sprouted from the seed of the Brahman. The letters A, U and Ma contained in the AUM gave birth to the three Vedas namely Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda. Therefore these Vedas and the family of the subsequent literature is also Me. (9:275-277).
The highest place where Prakriti, in which this entire living and non-living universe is contained, takes rest when tired is also Me. I am the husband of that Prakriti who lives with My support and gives birth to the universe. I am the one who enjoys her attributes in her association. I am also the master of all the universe. (9:278-280)
It is My command that sky (space or ether) should be everywhere, that wind should not be quiet even for a moment, that fire should burn, clouds should rain, mountains should not move, oceans should not cross the limits and earth should bear the burden of all living things. Vedas speak only if I make them speak, 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 under whose instructions they perform their tasks and it is I who am the witness to all this. (9:281-285).
Arjuna, I fill this world with name and form and I am the support of the name and the form. The universe is in Me and I am in the universe. I liberate one who surrenders to Me with single-mindedness from the birth and death cycles hence I am the only proper shelter for such a person. (9:286-288). I become many and by means of the different attributes of Prakriti perform actions through the living universe. I am the one who exists with equal affection in all creatures from Brahmadeo to the lowest form of life. (9:289-290). I am the support of all this universe and the cause for its creation, sustenance, destruction and re-creation. The universe is rooted in the original thought and finally dissolves in it. The place where that thought returns to rest at the end of the Kalpa period (See note below Ch VIII) until the thought to recreate occurs is also Me. (9:291-295)
When I take the form of the sun and radiate heat, the water bodies become dry and when I take the form of Indra and make rain they fill up. Wood burnt by fire itself becomes fire similarly creatures who die and those who are their killers are both My form. Therefore I am both perishable and imperishable. Is there a place where I am not present? But it is their misfortune that people do not see Me. It is a surprising thing that those who are My own forms do not recognise Me. Their Karma comes in the way of believing in My existence. (9:296-302). Therefore Knowledge is essential without which one cannot do what one ought to do and the good deeds are wasted. (9:305-306).
SIN AND MERIT
Those who are models of behaviour based on the rules of the caste system and who perform yajnas attain the fruits of their performance. But what they have gained by all this is not merit but sin under the name of merit because they have forgotten the one to whom the yajnas reach and instead opted for the heaven where their stay would be limited only to a period appropriate for the quantity of merit. (9:307-310). Actually people think that there is happiness in heaven because they compare it with the tortures of hell. Actually oneness with Me is the only perfect and permanent bliss. Heaven and hell are the two diversions from the path towards Me. The rule is that sin in the form of merit leads one to heaven and pure sin leads to hell while pure merit leads to Me. (9:314-316).
I serve those who have completely surrendered to Me, who think there is nothing better than Me, consider that their whole life belongs to Me and thus, with extreme faith meditate on Me and worship Me. When they accepted the path of My worship, at that time itself the responsibility of taking their care in all respects fell on Me and I was compelled to do what they should have done for themselves. Just as mother bird takes complete care of her babies who have not yet developed wings and lives only for them, I also take care of My devotees who have kept complete faith in Me. If they want moksha (liberation) leading to oneness with Me, I take them towards it and if they like to serve Me then I offer them My love. I give them whatever they want and having given, I guard it also for them. I provide maintenance to all those who give themselves to Me completely. (9:335-343).
Now, there are people who follow other paths who, not realising My all-encompassing quality, perform yajnas to propitiate deities like Agni, Indra, Sun, Moon etc. , but all the yajnas reach Me because I am everything. This type of worship is indirect. Just as, even though roots, branches, flowers etc. have their origin in the same seed, the task of absorbing water is done by only the roots and it is proper to give water at the roots alone and not to other parts of the tree, in the same fashion any worship done without knowing Me is fruitless. (9:344-346). Actions must be backed by Knowledge and this Knowledge must be pure. (9:349-350)
By performing such yajnas therefore, they do not attain Me after they die but only those deities for whose propitiation they performed them. Those who performed rituals for propitiating Manes reach the world of Manes and those who propitiate Vetal and other ghost deities for evil ends attain the ghost state when they die. Thus the fruits of the actions is as per their desire. (9:354-358). But those who worship Me only for My sake attain Me even while they live, therefore how can they go anywhere else after death? (9:359-365)
MY REAL DEVOTEES
Those seekers who worship Me with whatever rituals and have surrendered themselves to Me, attain Me. Arjuna, no other method will make a seeker attain Me unless he totally surrenders to Me. (9:366-367). He who claims to know Me does not really know Me. He who boasts about his achievements is imperfect and immature. Similarly the Yajnas, penance and other rituals which people perform and boast about are not even worth a blade of grass for attaining Me. Vedas stumble while describing My nature and describe Me as "Not this and not that" making Sanaka and other sages confused about Me. (9:370-371). One can attain Me only when he gives up all thoughts about how great and scholarly he is and becomes humble. (9:378). Therefore one must give up the love of the material body, consciousness about his qualities and pride about his possessions and surrender himself completely to Me. (9:381).
Then, when with boundless love the devotee offers Me a fruit from a tree I anxiously spread My palms to receive it and eat it without even waiting to remove the stem. If he offers Me a flower, I should really smell it but overcome by his love I put it in My mouth and taste it. But why talk of flower? Even if he offers a leaf I do not bother to see whether it is fresh or dry and eat and savour it. And may be even that leaf is not available, but there is no dearth of water which is available free. But when that devotee offers that water with complete devotion, then even if it was free, I feel as if he has built immense temples for Me, given Me jewels more valuable than Kaustubha and served Me delicacies better than manna. You are aware how I devoured the fistful of rice brought by Sudama. (See notes at the end of the Chapter. ) I only look at the devotion and accept the offering without differentiating between rich and poor, big and small. Really speaking, fruit, flower, leaf etc. are only means of manifesting the devotion and are useless unless offered with the feeling of devotion. Therefore I am telling you a easy way. Do not permit yourself to forget Me. (9:382-397)
Whatever work you do, whatever things you enjoy, whatever yajnas of various types and other rituals you perform, whatever donations you give to worthy persons and pay your servants or whatever penance or observances you do, do them for the sake of love for Me. And after they are done make an offering of them to Me with such pure and desireless attitude that you should not even remember having performed them. (9:398-401). Then, just as a roasted seed does not germinate, the actions offered to Me do not bear fruit. Arjuna, it is only when Karma remains that it gives rise to fruits of happiness and sorrow and leads to rebirth in order to go through them. On the other hand, if the action is offered to Me then immediately the rebirth is avoided and one is saved from the pains accompanying it. 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. (9:402-406).
If you ask Me "What is your nature?" then the answer is, “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 actions are really in Me even if they are actually in their body and I too am fully in their hearts. The difference between Me and My devotee is in name only. Though they are in their body they are unattached to it. 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. (9:407-415).
DEVOTION NULLIFIES PAST SINS
If you consider such a person’s behaviour then you should note that even if he has committed sins in his earlier life, his final span of life has been spent in devotion. Whatever a person contemplates on at the time of death is what he gets in his next birth. Therefore he who has spent the final part of his life in devotion to Me should be considered as the finest among people even though he might have been a crooked person during the earlier part of his life. 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. And he becomes noble and pure and then there is fulfilment in 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 is beyond the effects of all actions. He who has enclosed the affairs of mind and intellect in the box of faith and entrusted it to Me thus becomes free from the bonds of his actions. (9:416-424).
You may think that he may reach My state only after death but how can a person who is ever immersed in nectar die? Is not an action done without devotion to Me a sin? Therefore Arjuna, as soon as his consciousness reaches Me he really attains Me. He who is devoted to Me remains in My form. Then he attains My permanent qualities of peace and effulgence. He who wants to attain Me should not forget devotion to Me. All greatness about wealth, nobility and caste are in vain in the absence of devotion. A devotionless person accumulates only sins and his life is an invitation to sorrow. Therefore one may not belong to a noble family, one may be a low caste person or be an animal, what matters is his devotion. When the king of the elephants prayed to Me when he was caught by the crocodile, did I not rush to his aid? (See note on Gajendramoksha at te end of Chapter. ) And as soon as I helped him he was free of his elephant body. (9:425- 442).
Arjuna, some may be born in such unspeakably low type of species that even uttering its name may be considered a sin and are not different from a stone as far as knowledge is concerned, but if they have a steady feeling about Me, always utter My name, see My form, think of nothing else but Me, listen to nothing except My praise, whose organs are proud to be of service to Me, whose intellect is unaware of sense objects and thus know Me alone and if not so would rather prefer death and keep all their feelings in Me, then they are not less than Me. Remember that Prahlad, though a demon was tortured because of his devotion to Me and I had to take avatar of Narasimha to save him. (See note on Prahlad at the end of chapter. ) What I gave him was what he asked on the strength of his devotion which even Indra could not surpass. The moral is what matters is the devotion and not who a being is. (9:443-452)
Once a seeker's mind is filled with devotion to Me then his earlier life history is erased. As long as a person does not attain Me there are differences like Kshatriya, Vaishya, woman, Shudra, untouchable etc. But once they attain Me completely all these differences of caste and gender vanish. (9:456-461)
Whatever may be the motive, it is enough that a person's mind is attracted towards Me. Such a person then, in the course of time, reaches My form. (9:463). Gopis attained Me through love, Kamsa through fear, Shishupal through hate, Yadavas through relationship of race, Vasudeva etc. through parental love, and Narada, Dhruva, Akrur, Sanatkumar etc. , through devotion. (See the note on these devotees at the end of chapter. ) I am the ultimate destination of all paths be it devotion, dispassion or even enmity. Arjuna 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. Therefore those who are born in the species of sin, or Vaishya, Shudra or women, if they carry devotion for Me then they reach Me. (9:465-474).
I am the existence and liberation of royal Rishis and brahmins who consider Me as their place of pilgrimage, contemplation and shelter. (9:489).
Arjuna, having been born on this earth full of pain and unhappiness, how can anyone stay away from worshipping Me. Or do they believe that they will get happiness from learning and youth without worshipping Me? It is true that all the material things are for the enjoyment of the body but that body itself is in the jaws of death. (9:492-495). Who has heard of real happiness in this world? (9:501). The lack of concern of the people who have taken birth in this impermanent world is really surprising. People do not spend even a paisa ( a small denomination coin) on things which would help them in this and the after-world. But they spend huge sums of money on harmful things. They consider a person engrossed in sense pleasures as a happy person and consider a person who is burdened by lust and desire as a man of wisdom. They make obeisance to elders whose strength and intellect are weakened and whose death is approaching. As a child grows the parents are full of joy and celebrate birthdays not realising that as it grows its life is getting shorter. People cannot tolerate the word “death” and cry when a person dies. But they do not think about the fact that their own life is also getting shortened day by day. (9:507-513). How topsy-turvy are the ways of this world! (9:515). Arjuna, you have taken birth in this world by virtue of your Karmas. Free yourself of this burden by following the path of devotion which 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. (9:515-520).
Sudama (9:382-397). Sudama, a poor brahmin boy studied along with Shri Krishna under the same Guru Sandipani. After the studies were over and both returned to their respective homes. Shri Krishna who was a prince consequently became king of the Yadu tribe and established Dwaraka as the capital of his kingdom on the west coast of Saurashtra, Gujarat. Sudama went to his own village and led the life of a poor brahmin. Unable to make the two ends meet and at the suggestion of his wife he decided to visit Shri Krishna in the hope of getting some help. It is a custom that when one goes to visit somebody he should not go empty-handed but should carry some gift. Sudama had nothing with him except some Poha (rice which is boiled, beaten flat and de-husked). On reaching Dwaraka and meeting Shri Krishna he offered the fistful of Poha to him who, mighty king that he was accepted the gift of love and ate it then and there with equal love. After being well entertained by Shri Krishna Sudama left without asking for anything. But when he reached his home he found it to be golden.
Gajendramoksha (9:425- 442). Gajendramoksha means liberation of the elephant king. There is a story in Bhagavat Puranas which runs as follows: King Indradyumna was cursed by Rishi Agasti and was born as an elephant. At the same time a gandharva (one of the demi-gods who are known for music) named Hoohoo also was born as a crocodile due to the curse from another Rishi. One day while the elephant had gone to a lake to drink water, the crocodile caught his leg and triedd to kill him. The elephant in the throes of death prayed to lord Vishnu offering Him a lotus which he had picked by his trunk. Hearing the prayers lord Vishnu rushed to save His devotee and killed the crocodile thereby liberating both the king and the gandharva.
Prahlad (9:443-452) Prahlad was the son of the powerful Daitya kingHiranyakashipu from his wife Kayadhu. Hiranyakashipu had received a boon from Brahmadeo after a long difficult Tapas that he will die neither on land nor on water, neither in the open nor in a house, neither by man nor by animal, neither during day nor at night, neither by weapon nor by mantra etc. On the strength of this boon Hiranyakashipu conquered the Devas and started an an oppressive rule where worship of Lord Vishnu whom he hated was prohibited. However, his wife Kayadhu was devoted to Lord Vishnu and while she was pregnant, Narada the divine Rishi gave her spiritual advice which was heard by Prhlada while in the uterus. Thus, Prahlada was born as a keen devotee of Lord Vishnu which was not liked by his father. Hiranyakashipu, out of his hate for Lord Vishnu tried to kill Prahlada by poisoning him, putting him in boiling oil, by pushing him over a cliff etc. When Prahlada escaped all these attempts Hiranyakashipu confronted him one day demanding to be told where this Vishnu was so that he can catch and kill him. Prahlada replied that He was everywhere. On hearing this Hiranyakashipu angrily asked pointing to a pillar whether he was in that pillar. When Prahlada answered in the affirmative Hiranyakashipu kicked the pillar hardand broke it. Out came Lord Vishnu in the form of a ferocious lion-headed man (Narasimha). This is considered as the fourth avatar of Lord Vishnu. Narasimha caught hold of Hiranyakashipu, and sitting on the threshold of the house held him on his lap and killed him by tearing open his intestines with bare hands. Thus Lord Vishnu could kill Hiranyakashipu while still honouring the conditions of the boon and save Prahlada, his devotee.
Various devotees (9:465-474). Shri Krishna belonged to the Yadava clan ruling from Mathura. Vasudeva the king of Yadavas was married to Devaki. Because of a Divine prediction that the eighth child of Devaki will kill Kamsa the cousin (uncle’s son), the latter seized the kingdom and put Vasudeva and Devaki in prison. Kamsa kept a close watch on the couple in the prison and killed seven children born to Devaki immediately after birth. When the eighth child was to be born Vasudeva decided to smuggle it out. The child was a son and taking advantage of torrential rains managed to take it to Gokul, a village of cowherds or Gopas across the river Yamuna. In Gokul, Yashoda, wife of Nanda the chief of Gokul had just given birth to a female child. He exchanged his son for the female child and returned to the prison. Nanda and Yashoda were happy that a son was born to them and being of dark complexion they named him Krishna. Back in Mathura, the female child was seized by Kamsa and killed. But since he found the child to be a female he had his doubts.
Krishna grew as a healthy naughty child who became a leader of the boys from the village. He was also very dear to the Gopis the wives of the Gopas and it a legend now that Radha one of the Gopis loved him very dearly. Readers should note that Radha is not a historical but a legendary person and the love between Krishna, Radha and other Gopis is transcendental and not physical. Radha is not mentioned in Mahabharata even in the post-Christian era additions to it, and even in Bhagavat Purana known for its teaching of devotion to Lord Vishnu there is only a passing mention of her in a single place but not as a lover of Shri Krishna. But by the time Dnyaneshwar Maharaj wrote Dnyaneshwari, the love legends of Shri Krishna and Gopis especially Radha were well established, hence the mention of their attaining Him through love.
Kamsa came to know that his enemy was growing in Gokul and sent emissaries to kill him but in vain. (Because of his evil deeds Kamsa and his acomplices are referred to in the legends as Asuras or demons. This attribute is well fixed in the public mind.) When all efforts failed, Kamsa decided on a different strategy. He arranged a wrestling competition and invited his nephew Shri Krishna to it. He sent Akrura one of his courtiers to invite Shri Krishna for the event. But Akrura was a keen devotee of lord Vishnu and warned Shri Krishna of Kamsa’s motives. But confident Shri Krishna accepted the challenge and went to Mathura with his brother Balaram who was also almost equal in martial qualities. In Mathura Shri Krishna killed Kamsa and freed his real parents. Being the son of Vasudeva and Devaki he is also known as Vaasudeva and Devakinandan. In spite of having hated Shri Krishna, Kamsa attained liberation because it was Shri Krishna who killed him.
Shishupal was the king of Chedi and a nephew of Shri Krishna. Rukmini the princess of Vidarbha was in love with Shri Krishna but her brothers forcibly arranged her marriage with Shishupal. But Rukmini, when the ceremonies for her marriage to Shishupal began, secretly contacted Shri Krishna and arranged a scheme by which Shri Krishna would abduct and marry her. Shri Krishna did so. Shishupal became a strong enemy of Shri Krishna. Once during a yajna, Shishupal began berating him in public Shri Krishna beheaded him using his Chakra, a wheel shaped missile. As in the case of Kamsa Shishupal also attained liberation.
Narada was created by Brahmadeo through the power of mind. He was a great philosopher and is well known for his devotion to Lord Vishnu. He is depicted as moving everywhere in the three worlds (Heaven, earth and nether) singing the name Narayana which belongs to Lord Vishnu preaching devotion. He is notorious for passing news from one person to another and often instigating quarrels.
Dhruva was the son of King Uttanpada who had two wives Suniti and Suruchi. Dhruva was the son from Suniti. Dhruva got a real step-motherly treatment from all because it was Suruchi who was liked by the king. Once Dhruva was unbearably insulted by Suruchi and in anger he left home and went to the forests in search of God. There he met Narada who gave him a mantra and asked him to do tapas. Ultimately Vishnu was pleased with him and gave him several boons including the kingdom and best of all a permanent position in the sky as a steady star. The star is named Dhruva and is the same as the Pole star. The name Dhruva is synonymous with steadiness in all indian literature.
Sanandan and Sanaatan Like Narada, these four are also
sons of Brahmadeo created by power of the mind for the purpose of procreation
of mankind. But all four were dispassionate from birth and decided
to remain celibate and follow spiritual path.
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