Essays on the Gita

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And about it, there are these two Rigvedic stanzas. This is a very significant thing to make us understand what was the knowledge that was given to Sri Krishna, is actually contained here:

"Sages behold the glory of the first cause as enveloping all like the day and shedding radiance from the Heaven above. Having beheld that exquisite light, high above all darkness, and having beheld it also in our own hearts, we attain to that God of gods, and noblest of all like the Sun, the noblest of all lights.

This translation is according to me very inadequate, it does not bring out very fully but let us try to read, this is the one sentence in Sanskrit we shall read first:

Ud vayam tamasas pari svaha pasyanta uttaram
Devam devatra suryam aganma jyotir uttamam
 (Rigveda 1.50.19,20)

This is the Sanskrit text.

Ud vayam tamasas pari, pasyanta uttaram, Ud vayam tamasas pari, that is to say, tamasas pari: beyond the darkness; jyotih pasyanta uttaram, there was a higher light: uttara means "higher" uttamam is the "highest". Beyond the darkness was perceived; pasyanta uttaram jyotih, was perceived the higher light. That was the first step.

This was the description of the Vedic knowledge, that there is darkness in this world, but the Vedic Rishis made experiments and found out that this is not the end of the world. There is Darkness but there is also a kind of a Knowledge: there is light of which we are not aware but if you make an experiment, you will see the Light. This was the first secret which is given. Then:

Ud vayam tamasas pari, pasyanta uttaram, jyotih, then, Devam devatra suryam aganma: beyond jyoti is surya, that is to say: beyond jyoti which is just beyond the darkness, which is also called svaha. If you read the whole sentence, you will see the word svaha is also there. So, there is svaha, it is  from this that the word svarga and all this has come. So, beyond this world of darkness there is a realm of jyoti, of light. But beyond that, Devam devatra suryam aganma, but then the gods were approached and the Supreme God was approached, which is described as surya, the supreme light, jyotih uttamam. If you see the last phrase: jyotir uttamam iti jyotir uttamam iti, the uttama light, not only uttaram light, but uttamam light; the supreme light was seen.

It is a revelation of three things: the world is a world of darkness; beyond that there is a world of light; but beyond that, there is a world of the supreme light. It is when you realise these three things that you do not need anything more to know. All that is to be known is known. Knowing which everything is known: yasmin jnate sarvam jnatam bhavati.

There is a distinction between the `higher light' and the `highest light', even this is a distinction which is very important to make. Not many people make a distinction: when they see light, they say I have seen light as if it is the final term. But to know that there are different grades of light as in the Isha Upanishad (Isha U. 15), it is said that there is a 'Golden Lid' which is hiding the Supreme light and that supreme light is the light of the sun, pushann apavranu, it is addressed to pushan, which is the glowing sun, it’s the name of the sun. As in the Isha Upanishad also the highest knowledge is given, where the supreme form of light was made effulgent by breaking the `lid' which was golden, and you might be tempted not to break it, because it seems so bright and so beautiful, so golden: hiranmayena patrena, it was so much golden that to break it was a great task. So svaha jyotih is the jyoti of this golden lid. And beyond that is the highest light. It is this knowledge which Sri Krishna was given by Ghora and having got it, he said, "I am now illumined".

This is given in the Chhandogya Upanishad itself. So there was a Krishna, who was the son of Devaki (chand. U.111,17,6) and who was that illumined man and in a sense you might say that if the Bhagavad Gita has a supreme secret, this is the supreme secret. In the whole Bhagavad Gita's real teaching is contained here itself. Sri Krishna gave this teaching to Arjuna that there is rahasyam, there is guhyataram rahasyam, and there is guhyatamam rahasyam. These are the three secrets of the Gita and there sums up the whole of the Gita. So the guhyam rahasyam is only this that what you are seeing is not all; guhyataram rahasyam is that there is a higher light, svaha; guhyatamam rahasyam is that there is a supreme light and that light is the light of the sun. Now what the word sun meant, if you want to understand the significance of "sun", then of course you will need to read the whole of the Veda. It is because this knowledge was prevalent at that time, the way the word "sun" was used it was understood what was the meaning of "sun". It is a sun in which all the rays of light can be combined together like a laser beam. Today if you speak of laser, people will understand the meaning of it; similarly at that time the sun was one in which all the rays of light can be marshaled together. And when you attain to that knowledge there is nothing which is dark, the darkness is completely dispelled.

Now, this is a historical fact given in the Upanishad; it is an independent body; therefore, there will be no surprise that if Krishna existed, that if Krishna was the son of Devaki, and if He happened to give a knowledge on the battlefield to Arjuna, there would be no surprise at all, even historically. And if the knowledge which is contained in this verse of the Chhandogya Upanishad is actually the  sum and substance of the whole of the Gita; if this is a fact, then why should there be any doubt about the fact that Sri Krishna gave this knowledge to Arjuna?

      I think we shall stop here today.

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