Bhagawad Gita

Meditation, Cosmic Aspect, and Devotion


Mind which has been able to get rid of the strong hold of desires and has started becoming pure & calm, needs to be directed towards God/Self; for this meditation is essential. Hence after explaining Karma-Yoga and clearing Arjuna's doubts regarding Karma-Sannyasa, Sri Krishna now starts elaborating on meditation. Without proper Karma-Yoga, mind does not become calm enough to practice true and deep meditation; and without meditation, mere Karma-Yoga can't take spiritual aspirant to deeper Consciousness levels. Sri Krishna had introduced meditation briefly at the end of fifth chapter, and now at the beginning of sixth chapter, He praises karmayogi as संन्यासी sannyasi (monk) and yogi. Though externally a karmayogi may not be a sannyasi i.e. he/she may not have renounced home and hearth (renunciation of fire निरग्नि niragni) or donned ochre clothes, but he/she has renounced all desires and attachments to the results for his/her actions; similarly externally a karmayogi may not appear to be a yogi i.e. he/she may not be sitting still in meditation most of the time (without action अक्रिय akriya), but like a yogi's mind, his/her mind is balanced and contended being not disturbed by hankering for results and is calmly discharging the required duties of life.

@ In Vedic times, a house-holder had to daily perform fire-sacrifice (यज्ञ: yajna) like अग्निहोत्र agnihotra etc.; for this he had a permanent fire established in his home called गार्ह्यपत्न्याग्नि garhapatyaagni and he had to draw fire from this garhapatyaagni and start the fire for other yajnas. The fire which was drawn from garhapatyaagni was called आहवनीयाग्नि aahavaniyaagni and the yajna fire was called दक्षिणाग्नि dakshinaagni or अन्वाहार्यपचनग्नि anvaharyapachanagni. One who had taken monastic vows and renounced family life had to naturally give up these home-lit fires and thus was referred as niragni (literally - one without fire).

Karma-Yoga is the means to reach the level of meditation; one who has properly performed Karma-yoga and has developed the capacity to practice deeper meditation, has transcended his/her restless (rajas) nature. And hence his/her tendency would be to withdraw himself/herself from external pull of activity. When such an aspirant rises above the plane of senses/karma by giving up all सङ्कल्प sankalpas (mental resolutions) - the cause for desires and actions - related to this or any other world, he/she is called योगारूढ Yogarudha (one who is established in Yoga or Meditation).

@ सङ्कल्प sankalpa - to be attracted towards the objects of the world is itself sankalpa (mental resolution towards something); this in turn gives rise for desire towards the object and then one does action to acquire it.
One who has become सर्वसङ्कल्पसंन्यासी sarvasankalpasannyasi is उदासीन udasin (disinterested) towards pleasures and karma i.e. he/she has no भोक्तृत्वबुद्धि bhoktrutvabuddhi (the notion 'I am the enjoyer') towards sense-pleasures and has no कर्तृत्वबुद्धि kartrutvabuddhi (the notion 'I am the doer) towards karma.

Next, Sri Krishna explains a profound psychological truth, which is applicable to all human beings as well as all societies at all times; He says, 'if we don't discipline our body-mind complex then we are our own enemy and if we properly discipline our body-mind-complex then we are our own friend. Do not degrade yourself but rather raise yourself by developing maturity of the psyche.' Swami Vivekananda expresses this as:

'It is a tremendous error to feel helpless. Do not seek help from anyone. We are our own help. If we cannot help ourselves, there is none to help us. ..."Thou thyself art thy only friend, thou thyself thy only enemy. There is no other enemy but this self of mine, no other friend by myself." This is the last and greatest lesson, and Oh, what a time it takes to learn it! We seem to get hold of it, and the next moment the old wave comes. The backbone breaks. We weaken and again grasp for that superstition and help. Just think of that huge mass of misery, and all caused by this false idea of going to seek for help!'

The spiritual aspirant who has established himself/herself in Yoga (Yogarudha) has complete control over his/her body-mind-complex, is of joyous mind (due to bliss of the Self manifested in mind), is unperturbed in pleasure or pain, heat or cold, and sees One God in all. Thus he/she develops समबुद्धि samabuddhi (equanimity of mind) in all the following types of human relationships:
      सुहृत् suhrut    - benefactor without prior friendship or any prior mutual acquaintance
      मित्र mitra    - benefactor due to love, because of known relationship
      बन्धु bandhu    - benefactor due to family relation
      अरि ari    - one who does harm without any provocation; doing harm is his/her nature (this is different from dweshya)
      द्वेष्य dweshya    - one who is displeased with some of your action and keeps it in mind in order to hurt you (this is different than ari)
      उदासीन udasin    - impartial; does not take any side (different from madhyastha)
      मध्यस्थ madhyastha    - one who wishes to do good to both parties (different than udasin)
      साधु saadhu    - one who acts as per scriptural injunctions (opposite of paapi)
      पापी paapi    - one who acts opposite to scriptural injunctions (opposite of saadhu)

Further, Sri Krishna starts explaining the technique to get established in yoga/meditation. He begins with few practical instructions regarding seat and posture of meditation; one should meditate at a place which is clean, secluded and quiet; आसन aasana (seat) of meditation should be comfortable, not too high, not too low, and should serve the purpose of protecting from dampness, coldness etc. of the ground beneath and also protect from causing disturbance to digestive or any other system of the body; posture should be steady with body-trunk, neck and head in straight line. Mind - which is fearless, peaceful and free from sense-attractions - should be steadily focused on the Self; the spiritual aspirant who thus meditates devotedly & regularly and observes chastity is able to completely purify his/her mind and attain the Supreme Peace of the Self.

The details of asanas and postures here are owing to the topic under discussion namely path of meditation (Raja-Yoga); but Jnana-margis (followers of Knowledge path) have their own definition of asanas, postures etc. Sri Ramana Maharshi - the great Jnani of last century - explains this point as:

D.: What are asanas (postures or seats)? Are they necessary?
M.: Many asanas with their effects are mentioned in the Yoga sastras. The seats are the tiger-skin, grass, etc.; the postures are the 'lotus posture', the 'easy posture' and so on. Why all these - only to know oneself? "I am the body; the body requires a seat; it is the earth," thinking thus, he seeks seats. ... The truth is - Being the Self, the ego rising up, confusing himself with the body, mistaking the world to be real, differentiating the objects, covered by the ignorance of the 'I'-conceit, he thinks wildly and also looks for seats. He does not understand that he himself is the Centre of all and thus forms the basis for all. If questioned he talks of the effects of seats and footwear in terms of gravitation, magnetism and so on. Without them he imagines that the power of his austerities will dwindle away. Wherefrom do they all derive their power? He looks to the effects, seeks their causes and imagines them to be the power of seats and of footwear. ... He is the Power and the wielder of it. He is the Centre of all and their support. He is also the Seat. The seat is meant to make him sit firm. Where and how can he remain firm except in his own real state? This is the Seat. (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 574)

Vedantins do not deride meditation (which involves duality of meditator and object of meditation) but does not give it ultimate position; they stress Self-Knowledge (in which all duality vanishes). Sri Ramana Maharshi's answer to following question, illustrates the point:

D.: What is the difference between meditation and enquiry into the Self?
M.: Meditation is possible only if the ego be kept up. There is the ego and the object meditated upon. The method is indirect. Whereas the Self is only one. Seeking the ego, i.e., its source, ego disappears. What is left over is the Self. This method is the direct one.

From Jnana-Marga point of view and as Sri Ramana Maharshi says, 'Meditation is your true nature'; so meditation should be a full time job for an aspirant and not some technique to be practiced at particular times!

As the guidelines were given regarding asana, posture etc., now Sri Krishna gives some instructions regarding food, sleep, activities etc. One who aspires to be a yogi should neither sleep too much nor very less; should not be a glutton nor should starve himself/herself; should neither be lazy nor hyper-active. Avoiding extremes and practicing moderation in sleep, food, activities is the secret of success in yoga. This very important and reasonable advice regarding yoga is missed by many over-enthusiastic people who practice senseless and mortifying mental or physical austerities resulting in damaged body-mind-complex. Meditation practiced with one-pointed-ness and steadfastness over a period of time makes mind absolutely still, pure, and peaceful; such a mind reveals 'inner Self' - which is transcendent to sense-perceptions - to the yogi, which in turn imparts supreme peace and bliss on him/her. This bliss and happiness of Self is limitless & absolute i.e. it is of the nature of supreme bliss itself and not dependent on or limited by any duality of subject-object division. Self being the highest reality behind personality and world, nothing else remains to be achieved for the yogi (आत्मलाभात् न परं विद्यते aatmalaabhat na param vidyate); nothing in the universe can make his/her mind disturbed again. This highest state of yoga is the goal of spiritual aspirants and hence they should diligently, systematically, and resolutely strive to achieve the purity and concentration of mind, without getting discouraged by occasional downfalls/frustrations; it should be done with tremendous patience.
This chapter being of Meditation, some commentators of Bhagawad Gita explain the terms used here from Patanjali's Yoga philosophy standpoint i.e. steps of संप्रज्ञात Samprajnaata and असंप्रज्ञात Asamprajnaata Samadhi. And in Jnaneshwari, Sri Jnaneshwar Maharaj gives graphic description of awakening and functioning of Kundalini Shakti within the body of a meditating yogi.

अनुग्रहशक्ति संबलित परमेश्वर - गुरु (AnugrahaShakti Sambalit Parameshwar - Guru) God with Favouring/Blessing Power is called Guru
निग्रह शक्ति संबलित परमेश्वर - ईश्वर (NigrahaShakti Sambalit Parameshwar - Ishwar) God with Obstructing/Punishing Power is called Ishwara
सृष्टि शक्ति संबलित परमेश्वर - ब्रह्मा (SrushtiShakti Sambalit Parameshwar - Brahma) God with Creating Power is called Brahma
पालन शक्ति संबलित परमेश्वर - विष्णु (PaalanShakti Sambalit Parameshwar - Vishnu) God with Maintaining Power is called Vishnu
संहार शक्ति संबलित परमेश्वर - रुद्र (SamhaarShakti Sambalit Parameshwar - Rudra) God with Dissolution Power is called Rudra

संकल्प sankalpa (resolution) - to take the sense-objects as real and something external to Self, itself is संकल्प - the cause for desires to rise. Sense-objects are unreal and non-separate from Self, because in spite of enjoying them for log time, they do not produce any lasting satisfaction or feeling of contentment. Hence spiritual aspirant should stop treating them as real.

The aspirant, who realizes the Self, sees the Self in all beings and all beings in Self; God being no different from Self, such a soul can be said to see God everywhere. Thus he/she becomes समदर्शी samadarshi (same or unperturbed state of mind with regard to all i.e. sense of equality). Though such a being can be outwardly seen to act and behave like any other ordinary person, his/her internal awareness is radically different from others because he/she experiences God in and through everything.

आत्मौपम्येन... परमो मत: - In Jnanis (Self-realized seers) following two types can be observed:
(1) कृतोपासक kritopasaka - spiritual practice (सगुण ईश्वर दर्शन/ चित्तवृत्ति-निरोध vision of God/total control of mind) completed; मनोनाश and वासनाक्षय (cessation of mind and eradication of desires) accomplished; जीवन्मुक्ति (liberated-while-alive) evident.
(2) अकृतोपासक akritopasaka - spiritual practice (सगुण ईश्वर दर्शन/ चित्तवृत्ति-निरोध vision of God/total control of mind) not completed; मनोनाश and वासनाक्षय (cessation of mind and eradication of desires) not fully accomplished but ज्ञानोदय (dawn of Self-Knowledge) has occurred; जीवन्मुक्ति (liberated-while-alive) not that evident.
      In this category, following traces of desires may be present:
                (a) शुध्द वासना (clean-desire) - for spiritual practices (श्रवण, मनन, निधिध्यासन, योगाभ्यास etc.)
                (b) मलिन वासना (unclean-desire)/जगत् वासना (desire related to world):
i. लोकवासना - thoughts like 'what will the world say?'
ii. शास्त्रवासना - a sort of addiction to study of scriptures, rituals etc
iii. देहवासना : these could be following types:
1.    आत्मत्वभ्रान्ति - temporary delusion due to ego
2.    गुणाधानभ्रान्ति - wishing to acquire some qualities
3.    दोषापनयनभ्रान्ति - wishing to give up some qualities

The description of highest state of Reality and the efforts required to attain it, may trigger different reactions in different minds like shock, awe, fear, helplessness, confusion, wrong understanding, etc.; or some minds may understand and put in emotional efforts but not sincere, rational, prolonged efforts; very few would understand rightly, introspect and self-analyze thoroughly, and make efforts earnestly. Arjuna, who represents spiritual aspirant's mind, reacted by asking, 'I don't see how this state of equanimity of mind that you mention, can be achieved. The mind by nature is fickle, stubborn, and turbulent; controlling it is as difficult as to control wind!' Now, Sri Krishna kindly acknowledges Arjuna's concern and says, 'Without doubt, the mind is difficult to control; but it can be done with detachment and practice. For uncontrolled mind, yoga is extremely difficult, but for an aspirant who has controlled mind by constant spiritual practice, it is achievable.'
Detachment, which is re-enforced by intelligent discrimination (विवेकयुक्त वैराग्य vivekayukta vairagya), can remove obstructions to mind-control and continuous practice (of tuning mind to Self/God) can make mind calm and equanimous; some of the other aids to spiritual practice are: pranayama, company of great saints, observing the evil effects of worldly (and heavenly) desires and countering them with noble (and spiritual practice related) desires, solitude, repetition of sacred mantra etc. After some practice, the aspirant starts feeling that 'yes I can do this, it is possible', then further progress becomes easier; but he/she may have another vital doubt at this stage - this is now voiced by Arjuna - 'O mighty armed Krishna, what happens to one who has faith in this yoga but due to lack of practice or some other reason falls short of goal-attainment before death? Does such a person fallen from the path gets destroyed like a scattered cloud? Please remove this doubt of mine as I see no one else supremely capable of removing this than you.'
This is an important doubt; Arjuna had understood that spiritual aspirant gives up desires for this world and other (performs actions without expectation of results) and thus he/she may not get results of his/her actions; further if the aspirant fails to reach the Yogarudha state, then he/she may loose both - Mokasha as well as better sphere of existence after death! He/she might be stuck in some kind of halfway state! To remove this doubt completely Sri Krishna answers it with an emphatic assurance - which gives tremendous confidence to all spiritual aspirants for all times - 'My dear child! One who performs good actions, never gets destroyed; never gets into lower state of existence either here or hereafter. Spiritual aspirant, who fails to attain the goal of yoga in this life, EITHER goes to higher spheres of existence after death, enjoys that world for a very long time, and then takes birth again as human being in a pure & prosperous family OR takes immediate birth in a [poor] family of wise yogis, such a birth is rare in this world.' These two गति gati (course of soul after death) are mentioned based on the amount of 'residue of desires' present in the mind of spiritual aspirant at the time of death. Both being rare, the second gati is better and rarer.

@ तात - Arjuna is referred as तात because disciple is same as son; and son is referred as तात - being father in another form (father is तात - तनोति आत्मानं पुत्ररूपेण one who extends oneself as son)

'After taking such a birth here on earth, that spiritual aspirant, impelled by his/her past samskaras, continues his/her spiritual practice in this new body. The force of previous practice exerts its pull, and makes him/her perform further spiritual effort; such an aspirant transcends the sphere of शब्द-ब्रह्म shabda-brahman (phenomenal jurisdiction of Veda/Scriptures), frees mind of all impurities/sins, and reaches the blessed, supreme state of Self-Realisation.' Spiritual aspirants should note that the mental impressions gathered (samskaras) due to spiritual practice are related to the real entity - Self/God, while all other worldly samskaras are related to transient phenomena; and hence even if for some time (may be few births!) worldly samskaras dominate the mind, in the end spiritual samskaras are bound to spring up and take the aspirant to the goal! This is a great message and assurance from Lord Sri Krishna to all spiritual aspirants (as also in Gita II.40). After this great assurance, Sri Krishna asks Arjuna - and all of us - to be a yogi with heart fixed on Him(God); being such a yogi of comprehensive & dynamic spirituality is greater than to be just an ordinary 'performer of scriptural actions' (कर्मी karmi) or mere intellectual person (शास्त्र-पण्डित ज्ञानी shastra-pandit jnani) or performer of some limited austerities (तपस्वी tapasvi).

@ ज्ञानी 'Jnani' word used above (verse 6.46), can mean:
EITHER person with mere intellectual knowledge of scriptures (शास्त्र-पण्डित shastra-pandit)
OR spiritual aspirant without Self-Realization (परोक्ष-ज्ञानी paroksha-jnani)
OR worshipper (उपासक upasaka)
OR person with Self-Knowledge but with no evident Jivanmukti (अपर-योगी apara-yogi)

Many commentators divide the chapters of Bhagawad-Gita into three sets of six chapters each and associate them with the three words of the famous Vedic dictum 'Thou Art That'; first six chapters are related to त्वम् पदार्थ शोधन tvam padartha shodhan i.e. they focus on the enquiry into the nature of 'Thou', the individual aspect of Self. Next six chapters focus on 'That', the cosmic aspect of Self, and hence devotion (of 'part' towards 'whole') is their main theme. At the end of sixth chapter, Sri Krishna points to भक्तियोग Bhaktiyoga (path of devotion) and from first verse of seventh chapter, He starts elaborating it.

God in Qualified and Absolute Aspect

Sri Krishna says, 'Listen the way through which you will understand Me (God with all divine qualities) thoroughly (with qualities and without qualities) and without any doubt. You should practice yoga depending entirely on Me and fixing your heart loving on Me. I will tell you completely both knowledge (परोक्ष-ज्ञान parokshna jnana) as well as realisation of Truth/Reality (अपरोक्ष-ज्ञान aparoksha jnana i.e vijnana), knowing which nothing else remains to be known.'

@ ज्ञान Jnana can be प्रत्यक्ष pratyaksha (sense-knowledge; omnipresence of God not conceivable), परोक्ष paroksha (scriptural knowledge; faith in God can be developed), or अपरोक्ष aparoksha (intimate-knowledge or realisation of 'I Am God')

Sri Krishna also mentions the rarity of spiritual aspirants among humans and extremely difficult nature of Self-Realization; He says, 'rare is an individual among thousands of humans, who tries to realize the Self, and among those who are trying, rare indeed is one who is able to know Me (Self/God) truly.' In vast humanity, we see very few people try to live their lives virtuously, and among those who live virtuously, very few are detached from sense-plane and are becoming introspective. So even the percentage of spiritual aspirants is minuscule, further, spiritual journey being 'walk on razor's edge', extremely rare is any soul, among struggling spiritual aspirants, who reaches perfectly to the goal of Self-Realization!

Sri Krishna then begins explaining His (God/Self) dual nature which constitutes 'totality of Reality'. This dual nature of Reality is the material and efficient cause of the universe, in which, the material cause gives rise to evolution of structures, and the efficient cause (Pure Consciousness) is then progressively manifested through these structures. Here in Gita it is termed as lower Nature (अपरा-प्रकृति apara Prakriti) and higher Nature (परा-प्रकृति para Prakriti) respectively; it is 'manifestations of Pure Consciousness' (five elements of Nature, mind, intellect, and ego) and 'Pure Consciousness' (intelligence, जीवभूता jivabhuta). Sri Ramakrishna has given a beautiful analogy for this dual nature of Reality:

'Suppose you have separated the shell, flesh, and seeds of a bel-fruit and someone asks you the weight of the fruit. Will you leave aside the shell and the seeds, and weigh only the flesh? Not at all. To know the real weight of the fruit, you must weigh the whole of it - the shell, the flesh, and the seeds. Only then can you tell its real weight. The shell may be likened to the universe, and the seeds to living beings. While one is engaged in discrimination one says to oneself that the universe and the living beings are non-Self and unsubstantial. At that time one thinks of the flesh alone as the substance, and the shell and seeds as unsubstantial. But after discrimination is over, one feels that all three parts of the fruit together form a unity. Then one further realizes that the stuff that has produced the flesh of the fruit has also produced the shell and seeds. To know the real nature of the bel-fruit one must know all three.'

The lower Nature (apara Prakriti) is sustained and controlled by the higher Nature (para Prakriti) because higher nature is 'inner' to lower nature and is conscious, not dull.

@ In Gita, many terms from Samkhya Philosophy are used in sixth and seventh chapters, so it is important to remember that though Vedanta accepts some terminology and process of Samkhya (especially related to the explanation of universe), the points of difference between the two philosophies are: Samkhya accept प्रकृति/प्रधान Prakriti/Pradhan as being independent from Purusha and hence Prakriti has कर्तृत्व kartritva ('doership') & पुरुष Purusha has भोक्तृत्व bhokrutva ('enjoyership'); also Purushas are many in number. Vedanta does not accept the independence of Prakriti/Pradhan; it regards Prakriti/Maya as mithya (illusory) and non-separate from Self; hence no kartritva in Maya and no bhokrutva in Self, kartritva and bhokrutva are superimposed on Self due to the limiting adjunct of Maya. Also, Self is One and not many according to Vedanta.

Sri Krishna while using the word 'I' refers to Supreme Reality and hence He says, 'these two Natures (para and apara) are the source of all beings; [and through them] I Am the origin and dissolution of entire universe. There is no other supreme cause to the world apart from Me; the entire universe is strung on Me like pearls on a thread.' All beings are like pearls and God is the common thread running through them! Adi Shankara, in his commentary on this verse, gives another example: God is like 'warp' (of 'warp & woof of cloth') and beings are like 'cloth made out of it'; Sri Jnaneshwar Maharaj also gives beautiful simile: 'pearls of gold' strung on the 'golden thread'! God is not only transcendent but also immanent; He/She is the intrinsic, causal, and essential characteristics of everything in the world. To illustrate the immanence of God, a few examples are mentioned here by Sri Krishna (more would be enumerated in tenth chapter): 'I am the taste & liquidity in liquids, brilliance in sun and moon, Omkara in Vedas, sound in space, manliness in man, pure fragrance (पुण्यो गन्ध: punyo gandhah) in earth, glow in fire, life in all beings, spirit of austerity in austere person, eternal seed of all beings, intelligence in intelligent people, power in powerful, 'strength devoid of sense-cravings and attachment (कामरागविवर्जितम् kaamraagvivarjitam)' in strong, 'desire not opposed to dharma' in all beings'.

पुण्यो गन्ध: punyo gandhah - undifferentiated/un-manifested sense of smell (अव्याकृत गन्ध: avyaakrita gandhah), the subtle essence (तन्मात्रा tanmaatraa) of sense of smell; this is ever pure and uncontaminated. The smell we perceive on gross level is contaminated due to our ignorance and our mental qualities. This is true for all sense-perceptions like sight, taste, hearing etc. In Vedanta sense of smell is associated with Earth as sense of hearing is associated with Sky, sense of taste with Water, sense of sight with Fire, and sense of touch with Air.
कामरागविवर्जितम् kaamraagvivarjitam - Two types of strength are seen: first one arising out of worldly desires (काम kaam) & attachments (राग raag) [kaam - constant longing for an object which is not yet attained and of which there is no immediate availability; raag - clinging to an attained object despite its well-known transitory nature or raag can also mean anger] and the second one, arising out of purity, desire-less-ness, calm and balanced reason; the second strength, which is devoid of sense-cravings and attachment/anger, is referred here.

Sri Krishna says further, 'All mental states and objects, arising out of the three gunas (सत्व satwa, रज: rajas, तम: tamas), are originating from Me; though they are in Me, I am not bound by them rather they are controlled by Me. All beings are deluded by these three gunas and hence do not know Me - the Supreme imperishable Reality transcendent to all gunas. This divine Maya of Mine - which is constituted of three gunas and deludes entire world - is extremely difficult to understand or overcome; only those who take refuge in Me are able to cross it.' We forget our infinite real nature, our real 'I'; thus we are deluded and bound by the three gunas, but our real 'I' (Self/God) never gets deluded/contaminated by these gunas. Sri Ramakrishna gives a beautiful simile for this: 'There is poison in the snake, but it doesn't harm the snake. It is poison to him who is bitten by the snake.' According to Vedanta, the appearance of body-mind-world being an illusory manifestation of Self can't affect it's source i.e. Self, just as the pictures appearing on a screen can't affect the screen. Our unwillingness to give up limited individuality is the cause of our bondage; Swami Vivekananda says, '... we are immortal with regard to the whole; but the difficulty is, we desire so much to be immortal as parts of the whole. We have seen that we are Infinite, and that that is our real individuality. But we want so much to make these little souls individual.'
Sri Krishna continues, 'Deluded and degraded human beings, immersed in evil deeds, can't think of Me; they being endowed with evil tendencies loose their intelligence and are completely taken over by My Maya. As against these, those who perform good deeds and worship Me can be categorised into four types: devotees in distress (आर्त aarta), devotees in need of wealth (अर्थार्थी artharthi), devotees inquisitive about Me (जिज्ञासु jijnasu), and devotees who have realised Me (ज्ञानी jnani). All these four types of devotees are noble-minded but among them the Jnani is excellent as he/she is truly one with Me; he/she considers Me as the supreme goal and is ever united with Me by unwavering one-pointed devotion; hence I love him/her dearly and he/she loves me dearly. Jnani, who sees Lord in everything, reaches this highest state, after struggling to attain it in many lives.'

आर्त aarta devotee examples from scripture: kings jailed by Jarasandha and Draupadi during Vastraharana in Mahabharata
    अर्थार्थी artharthi devotee examples: Dhruva desiring great lordship, Upamanyu desiring milk from Lord Shiva
    जिज्ञासु jijnasu devotee example: Uddhava in Mahabharata
    ज्ञानी jnani devotee examples: Sanak, Sanatan, Sanandan etc., Gopis of Vraja

जगत् jagat - जायते गच्छति इति जगत् (that which comes into being and goes away is world)
    जगत् jagat - गच्छति गच्छति इति जगत् (that which is always changing, is in constant flux is world)

Sri Krishna's exposition about Maya, its power to delude, and way out of Maya, raises the question: then why do not all people surrender to Him and get freedom? Sri Krishna explains that people loose their intelligence due to the desires in their hearts; in order to fulfil those desires, they worship different deities and perform actions according to their beliefs propelled by faith in those deities; further Sri Krishna adds: I do not disturb their faith, instead, make that faith firm and grant their prayers through those deity-forms. The result obtained by these people is obviously limited and temporary; but real devotees of Lord, worshipping only Him, attain to ever-lasting Peace and Bliss. Thus first the evil minded people were described, then devotees of different kinds were described, and lastly these other people - who worship different deities and are midway between 'evil-minded-types' and 'devotee-types' - were described. People under delusion of Maya lack proper discriminative intellect, and hence remain unaware of the infinite, unchanging, un-manifested nature of the Self/God; they consider Him as being manifested, limited and changeful. All beings are always subjected to the duality arising out of desire (इच्छा iccha) and hatred (द्वेष dwesha); and when mind is subjected to the two emotions, right knowledge - even regarding external objects - is difficult to arise, what to speak of Self-knowledge.

Following four types of superimpositions occur due to desire and hatred:
   (1) अशुचौ शुचिबुद्धि (ashuchau shuchi buddhi) - mistaking impure as pure
   (2) असत्ये सत्यबुद्धि (asatye satya buddhi) - mistaking untrue as true
   (3) अनात्मनि आत्मबुद्धि (anatmani atma buddhi) - mistaking non-self for self
   (4) असुखे सुखबुद्धि (asukhe sukha buddhi) - mistaking non-joy for joy

Those who have purified their minds by spiritual practice and steady, firm worship of God, overcome these two emotions, and realise the supreme Self (ब्रह्म Brahman), even at the time of death; thus they cross over old-age and death by knowing completely the nature of body-mind-complex (अध्यात्म adhyaatma), work (कर्म karma), phenomenal world (अधिभूत adhibhoota), subtle elements (अधिदैव adhidaiva), and deity in the body (अधियज्ञ adhiyajna). Thus ends the seventh chapter with potential for Arjuna to ask questions related to terms used by Sri Krishna in last two verses.

Imperishable Reality and Transmigration of souls

At the beginning of eighth chapter Arjuna asks, 'What is ब्रह्म Brahman? What is अध्यात्म adhyaatma? What is कर्म karma? What is meant by अधिभूत adhibhoota and अधिदैव adhidaiva? Who is in this body is अधियज्ञ adhiyajna and how? And how does a yogi, whose mind is well-controlled, know You (supreme Self) at the time of death?'
Sri Krishna answers with following definitions for these terms:

Brahman - The Imperishable Supreme Reality (Self) which never changes despite all changeful universe appearing and disappearing in It.
Adhyatma - Self appearing limited by each body-mind-complex i.e. shuddha tvam padarth (purified meaning of 'Thou');
jiva (soul) - it is the स्वभाव swabhava (inherent nature) of the Self
Karma - Various processes beginning with projection of universe, including projection of souls and continuing within universe; yajna (Vedic and other sacrifices), transmigration of souls etc.
Adhibhoota - All perishable Nature, including bodies of beings, that are projected, maintained, and dissolved from Self; the means and result of Karma (कर्मसाधन karmasaadhana, कर्मफल karmaphala); Virat i.e. cosmic gross body
Adhidaiva - पुरुष purusha i.e. Self interpenetrated throughout the universe; Hiranyagarbha i.e. cosmic subtle body; indicated in the Sun and illuminating light for all senses
Adhiyajna - Self/God as inner controller and witness of individual body-mind-complex as well as of cosmic gross and subtle bodies; the substratum and ruler of all Vedic and other sacrifices; Vishnu
And answer to the last question: at the moment of death, those who think of Lord, definitely attain to Him.

Sri Krishna further says that the thought or consciousness at the moment of death decides the future birth. Swami Vivekananda explains this as, 'A ball is here, and each one of us takes a mallet in his hands and strikes the ball from all sides; the ball goes from point to point in the room, and when it reaches the door it flies out. What does it carry out with it? The resultant of all these blows. That will give it its direction. So, what directs the soul when the body dies? The resultant, the sum total of all the works it has done, of the thoughts it has thought.' This being the fact, Sri Krishna advices Arjuna to always think of Him i.e. God and fight (i.e. perform the designated duty). Thus by constant practice of devoting mind to God alone and nothing else, one attains identity with the Supreme Lord.
This Supreme Lord - who is to be meditated upon always and especially at the time of death with devotion and purified, concentrated mind - is then described as:
      कविम् kavim - far and deep seer; seer of past, present, future; with consciousness 'I Am all', 'I Am Omniscient';
                  One from which all art, science, knowledge emerges
      पुराणम् puranam - though ancient, yet always new; eternal
            (As per Agama :पुण्य-पापादि कथनात् रागद्वेष निवारणात् नन्दनात् सर्ववर्णानाम् पुराणम् इति कथ्यते | )
      अनुशासितारम् anushasitaram - ruler of the world
      अणोरणीयांसम् anoraneeyamsam - subtler than the subtlest
      सर्वस्य धातारम् sarvasya dhaataaram - who sustains and nourishes all; distributor of karmaphala (results of karma)
      अचिन्त्यरूपम् achintyarupam - unthinkable; beyond thought, devoid of subject-object duality
      आदित्यवर्णम् aadityavarnam - luminous & glorious like Sun; self-luminous
      तमस: परस्तात् tamasah parastaat - beyond all spiritual darkness and delusion
The spiritual aspirant who thus meditates and at the time of death, by the power of practice, brings his/her vital forces (all bio-energy) in between the eyebrows, attains to the Supreme Lord. Sri Krishna says that He will now briefly expound the state of supreme Reality which is described by Vedic seers, and aspiring which spiritual aspirants observe celibacy and free themselves from attachments. They follow spiritual practices such as intelligent control of senses and mind, repetition of sacred syllable AUM, continuous remembrance of Self/God, fixing mind in Heart alone etc. They ultimately merge themselves into It (अक्षर ब्रह्म akshara Brahman i.e. imperishable reality) and thus become free from the sorrowful & transitory (दु:खालयम् dukhalayam & अशाश्वतम् ashashwatam) 'transmigration cycle'. All others, ignorant of their real nature and hence of reality of time, go around the cycle of births and deaths moving from lowest spheres of existence to the highest (ब्रह्मलोक brahmaloka). The whole cosmic cycle, appearing out of the 'un-manifested' (अव्यक्त avyakta) and dissolving back into it, lasting millions of years, repeats itself in terms of repetitive forms; Swami Vivekananda gives the example of 'throwing dice' and 'Chicago Ferris Wheel' for this:

'All the forms which we are seeing now have been manifested again and again, and the world in which we live has been here many times before. I have been here and talked to you many times before. You will know that it must be so, and the very words that you have been listening to now, you have heard many times before. And many times more it will be the same. Souls were never different, the bodies have been constantly dissolving and recurring. Secondly, these things periodically occur. Suppose here are three or four dice, and when we throw them, one come up five, another four, another three, and another two. If you keep on throwing, there must come times when those very same numbers will recur. Go on throwing, and no matter how long may be the interval, those numbers must come again. It cannot be asserted in how many throws they will come again; this is the law of chance. So with souls and their associations. However distant may be the periods, the same combinations and dissolutions will happen again and again. The same birth, eating and drinking, and then death, come round again and again. Some never find anything higher than the enjoyments of the world, but those who want to soar higher find that these enjoyments are never final, are only by the way.
Every form, let us say, beginning from the little worm and ending in man, is like one of the cars of the Chicago Ferris Wheel which is in motion all the time, but the occupants change. A man goes into a car, moves with the wheel, and comes out. The wheel goes on and on. A soul enters one form, resides in it for a time, then leaves it and goes into another and quits that again for a third. Thus the round goes on till it comes out of the wheel and becomes free.'

Souls attaining Moksha (Liberation), are freed from this repetitive cycle but all other souls re-emerge, in next cosmic cycle, out of avyakta, during Brahma's day and continue their journey. Mere dissolution into avyakta at the time of pralaya (cosmic dissolution during Brahma's night) does not constitute Liberation (मोक्ष Moksha), otherwise scriptures - which describe the means for Liberation - would be proved futile and it would also mean Liberation for souls which still have 'karma-baggage' in them! Another point to note is that during re-emergence, new souls are not thrown up, since that would mean creation of new soul without any karma behind it - which is illogical; those same souls which have gone into dissolution with 'karma-baggage' re-emerge again. For a true spiritual aspirant, this understanding of real nature of samsara should create 'dispassion for transmigration' (वैराग्य vairagya) and also this makes it clear that the only freedom worth the name is in our real 'infinite Pure Consciousness' nature and the apparent freedom experienced at form level is illusory.

@सहस्रयुगपर्यन्तम् ... sahasrayugaparyantam ... - 360 human years make one year of gods and 12000 years of gods (i.e. 12000*360=4320000 human years) make one chaturyugi (one cycle of four yugas: satya, treta, dwapar, kali, and their intermediate periods). Thousand such chaturyugis make one day of Brahma during which the universe is manifested out of 'un-manifested Self' (अव्यक्त avyakta); during night of Brahma, which is again thousand chaturyugis, the universe goes back into avyakta. In ancient times, Indian astrology had developed this mind-boggling time-scale and they still maintain the meticulous yearly count of various celestial positions!

There is another avyakta (un-manifested) which is greater than the avyakta mentioned above (the one from which cosmic cycle emerges and into which it dissolves); this superior avyakta is the imperishable (अक्षर akshara) Supreme Reality mentioned earlier which is the undivided Pure Consciousness-Bliss (Brahman), transcendent to body-mind-senses. The entire causal, subtle, and gross phenomenon is an appearance 'within' this Supreme Reality which pervades everywhere. Sri Krishna says that this reality is My supreme abode and one who realises his/her real nature, by means of steady devotion, as this Supreme Reality, never again gets deluded by the transitory cycle of births and deaths. Next Sri Krishna talks about the two eternal paths through which souls travel after leaving the body. First is उत्तरायण uttarayan (northern path; path bright with light of consciousness) which leads soul to Brahmaloka - aided by deities representing fire, day, bright fortnight, and six months of northern sojourn of Sun - from which there is no return back to earth and the second path is दक्षिणायन dakshinayan (southern path; path not so bright due to lack of light of consciousness) which leads soul to spheres that are lower than Brahmaloka - aided by deities representing smoke, night, dark fortnight, and six months of southern sojourn of Sun - and from which there is return back to earth. Knowing this fact, true yogis are not deluded; by knowing the answers to the doubts raised at the beginning of this chapter namely what is adhyaatma, karma, adhibhoota, adhidaiva etc. they try to realize the Supreme, here on earth itself and become free from all types of migration. They thus transcend all the possible merits that can be acquired by study of scriptures, by performing great austerities, by performing appropriate charity etc. Sri Krishna encourages Arjuna - and to all of us - to be always established in yoga.

Devotion and Cosmic Aspect

At the beginning of ninth chapter Sri Krishna says, 'since you are free from jealousy, I am now going to tell you about the profoundest of spiritual truth/knowledge (jnana) and its experience/realisation (vijnana); this realisation will free you from the evil of transmigration. This spiritual truth is:
      राजविद्या rajavidya - royal science/knowledge as it is best or king or most luminous among all sciences
      राजगुह्यम् rajaguhyam - profoundest; deepest/subtlest, hidden from dull minds
      पवित्रम् उत्तमम् pavitram uttamam - supremely purifying; best among all purifiers as it destroys all the karmas accumulated over
                 millions of lifetimes
      प्रत्यक्षावगमम् pratyakshavagamam - clear and direct as daylight, as direct perception and can be realised in day-to-day life; grants
                 total freedom here and now and not somewhere else at some future time; not mere faith-based
      धर्म्यम् dharmyam - strengthening society and human bonds not destroying it; in tune with universal moral law
      सुसुखं कर्तुम् susukham kartum - easy to follow, simple, natural being one's real nature
      अव्ययम् avyayam - imperishable and infinite
Those who do not develop faith in this Truth, have to repeatedly take births and keep on transmigrating in phenomenal world. I, the un-manifest Self, pervade all beings and they are within Me but I am not within them; see my divine yoga-power that though all beings originate from Me and are sustained by Me, they have no being in Me (I am not affected or contained by them)!'
The apparently contradictory nature of above statements is essential to understand the transcendental aspect of Self; the analogy of moving pictures on screen can be useful for this - all pictures are 'in' the screen and are 'pervaded' by screen but the screen is completely unaffected by pictures! Pictures may show burning fire or great deluge but it does not affect the screen in the least, hence though the pictures are 'within' the screen and are 'pervaded' by the screen and also have no existence apart from screen, the screen is never 'in' the pictures! Screen stands for the subtle Self which pervades even the all-encompassing space, and from which all phenomenal universe emerges like pictures on screen; still the Self remains unchanged and unaffected. Self is devoid of all causality and yet the cause and effect are 'experienced' in Self. This is again explained by Sri Krishna with the help of analogy of air. Just as the air which appears and blows 'within' the space but all the time remains non-different from the space, the world and all beings appear and function 'within' the Self/God without ever being apart from It. And just as space remains unaffected by air and its activities, the Self remains unaffected by the functioning of world and souls; they 'apparently' appear and disappear into the Self! Self always remain unattached and non-involved. Hence those who wish to realise the Self must give up attachment and entanglement into thoughts and actions.

World and all beings are projected from Self and are functioning by mere 'presence'/'witnessing' of the Self and there is no sense of 'doer' in Self. Sri Krishna says that when the Lord of all creation takes human form as an Incarnation, ordinary people can not understand Him and therefore treat Him as mere mortal which is equal to insulting Him. This can also be understood in our own lives as: we take ourselves as limited beings ignoring our infinite Pure Consciousness-Bliss nature, this overlooking, this ignoring or lack of enquiry on our part constitutes insult to Self/God! Those who are excessively attached to body idea indulge in vain desires and vain actions as they have deluded knowledge about themselves and world; they are of cruel and destructive nature (राक्षसी rakshasi - predominance of Tamasa, आसुरी asuri - predominance of Rajasa, मोहिनी mohini - tendency which destroys scriptural knowledge/guidance). As against these, those who are devotees of all-pervading God or seekers of infinite Self exhibit divine qualities like sense and mind control, compassion, faith, wisdom, broad and liberal mind, one-pointed-firm and continuous devotion etc.

@Srimad Bhagavata mentions नवविध भक्ति navvidha bhakti (nine types of devotion):
      1) श्रवणम् shravanam - listening to glories of Lord
      2) कीर्तनम् kirtanam - singing glories of Lord
      3) विष्णुस्मरणम् vishnusmaranam - remembering Lord (nididhyasanam निदिध्यासनम्)
      4) पादसेवनम् paadasewanam - worshipping Lord with objects; prayer
      5) अर्चनम् archanam - performing recitations (namavali नामावली)
      6) वन्दनम् vandanam - praising, praying, worshipping others as Lord
      7) दास्यम् dasyam - attitude of servant of servant of Lord (das das दास दास)
      8) सख्यम् sakhyam - attitude of friend of Lord e.g. Arjuna
      9) आत्मनिवेदनम् atmanivedanam - Absolute surrender to God (jnanibhakti ज्ञानीभक्ति)

Spiritual seekers worship God/Truth according to their temperament and capacity; some try to become one with Self by Knowledge, others worship by seeing manifested universe as form of God, still others follow diverse methods of Yoga, Karma, Prana etc. God can be worshiped as anything and in anything since everything is manifestation of God; this is the great principle of Hinduism (Vedanta) which has infused in Indian society, for thousands of years, tremendous tolerance and acceptance of all divergent views. Sri Krishna elaborates this as 'I am the various types of Vedic and other sacrificial fires, I am the oblation into those fires, I am the mantras uttered during those fire ceremonies, I am the Karma of the sacrificial fire, I am also the fire lit in those sacrificial fires; I am father, mother, grandfather of the world, I am sustainer and protector of the world, I am purity, knowledge itself, I am all the Vedas, I am the result of all actions and movement of all souls, I am the Lord of all, I am the witness of all, I am the benefactor of all, I am the origination as well as dissolution of all, I am the storehouse of everything, I am the indestructible seed of the universe, I shine as Sun and come down as rain, I am the heavenly life as well as earthly death-ridden existence, I am being as well as non-being, manifest as well as un-manifest, good as well as evil.' Anybody sincerely worshiping God in any form, through any method will ultimately reach God. Tremendous religious freedom obtained in India for centurie is owing to this vision; Swami Vivekananda observes:

' India is the only country where there never has been a religious persecution, where never was any man disturbed for his religious faith. Theists or atheists, monists, dualists, monotheists are there and always live unmolested. Materialists were allowed to preach from the steps of Brahminical temples, against the gods, and against God Himself; they went preaching all over the land that the idea of God was a mere superstition, and that gods, and Vedas, and religion were simply superstitions invented by the priests for their own benefit, and they were allowed to do this unmolested. So on, endless examples there are.'

Those who are full of desires for pleasures, perform noble deeds, ritual sacrifices etc. with an eye on heaven; after death they go to the heaven and enjoy the pleasures there till their stock of पुण्य punya (merit) is exhausted, then they return back to earth. Their transmigration cycle continues unbroken! Sri Krishna points out these types to contrast them with real devotees who are free of desires and seek only Lord and not pleasures. Such true devotees, being immersed in thought of divine, are entirely dependent on Lord for everything including bodily needs of food, clothes, shelter etc.; for such devotees Sri Krishna gives a great assurance here: I see that they get what is required and also protect what they have received i.e. their burden - worldly as well as spiritual - is entirely on Me! He further adds that those who - through their ignorance of My infinite nature - worship other deities & divinities with faith, are also worshipping Me only, though ignorantly; and hence they get limited result (i.e. transmigration) as per their limited knowledge and capacity. Those who worship particular deities attain to that deity; those who worship ancestors attain to the sphere of ancestors etc. But pure devotees of Lord attain to Lord Himself; and worshipping Lord without expecting any result does not require elaborate procedures and rituals, it can be done in most simple manner. Lord is interested in devotee's consciousness/state of mind and not in external formalities. Hence, Sri Krishna says, 'Arjuna, offer every action, every austerity, every sacrifice, every charitable action, everything eaten etc. to Me. Thus you will be free from good and bad results of actions and attain to Me.' Lord is equally available for all but those who purify their hearts can feel Him in themselves as well as everywhere; those whose hearts remain immersed in desires and sense-pleasures can not feel God owing to their own ignorance. If any being worships God with love and devotion then however evil or ignorant he/she may have been in past, he/she soon overcomes the obstacles and becomes pure and awakened. Hence Sri Krishna says, 'Arjuna, proclaim boldly that those who take refuge in Me are never destroyed. Having obtained this rare human birth and seeing the transitory, painful nature of existence, worship Me with full devotion and total surrender. One who thus devotes whole mind to Me and surrenders to Me completely, attains the supreme state of merging with Me.'

From seventh chapter onwards, Sri Krishna is explaining the supreme Self from the cosmic perspective and in first six chapters It was explained with reference to individual perspective. Now in tenth chapter, the important manifested details of the Supreme Self are enumerated in order to help devotee fix his/her mind on God, in eleventh chapter the cosmic form of Lord is revealed to Arjuna, and finally in twelfth chapter, the path of devotion and characteristics of great devotee are enumerated. Thus the second six chapters of Gita expound the 'That' aspect of 'Thou Art That'. The descriptive details of tenth and eleventh chapters are not noted down here, interested readers are encouraged to go through them fully with the help of various books on Gita. We present the notes on twelfth chapter here.

more coming soon....stay tuned!