In simple terms, these two statements, when translated come to this:
“By Me has been spun out all this world, avyakta-mūrtinā, I am the one who is avyakta, who is non-manifest; avyakta-mūrtinā, even My form is non-manifest.”
And then He says: “mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni, in Me are located all creatures, all the beings, all the existences:
matsthāni sarvabhūtāni na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ ||
, but I am not seated in them. They are all in Me, but I am not in them.”
Now, this statement is a very startling statement, in a sense paradoxical statement. But a greater paradox comes now in the next one:
na ca mat-sthāni bhūtāni, “Even these creatures, these things, these objects, these existences are not in Me”.
This is a direct contradiction of the statement He had made earlier where He said that ‘All objects, all existences are in Me’; and here He says: ‘none of these objects are in Me’.
paśya me yogamaiśvaram, “Behold this great majesty of My yoga”
“They are in Me; I am not in them; they are not in Me.” And then, He says: bhūta-bhṛn, “I am the bearer of all the creatures”, na ca bhūtastho, “and yet I am not Myself seated in them; I bear all the things, all the existences, but I am not seated in them; mamātmā bhūta-bhāvanaḥ, “I am Myself all these objects”.
Now, you see in every statement a contradiction of the other; that is why this is one of the most important statements in the Bhagavad Gita. Some of the critics maintain that the Bhagavad Gita is riddled with self-contradictions and they point out to these two verses to show what self-contradictions are in the Bhagavad Gita, because they are stated very clearly, blatantly you might say, openly. But like a master who is not afraid of his own contradictions, Sri Krishna states them Himself very clearly and then says: paśya me yogam aiśvaram, “Behold the majesty of My yoga”. He is aware that all these statements He is making are self contradictory. But He poses these statements in order to be understood to point out to know the Reality, this reality is a wonderful reality, is a mysterious reality, it is the reality which should really make you wonderstruck; it is of such a nature that you should get perplexed. It is this perplexity that we were trying last time to discuss.
I shall spend some time on this because this is the most important statement of what is called “integral divine”. This chapter may be regarded as a chapter describing ‘integral divine’, and ‘integral yoga’; knowledge of the integral divine and the yoga which is also integral.
Every Yogic system has three aspects. Every Yoga states his objects, what is the aim to be achieved. Secondly, it gives you the instrument by which the object is to be achieved. And thirdly, the method which has to be pursued for achievement of the object: the object, the instrument and the method. These are the three things regarding every system of Yoga. Every student of Yoga should ask these three questions in regard to any system of Yoga: what is the object of Yoga? What is the instrument which is used for the achievement of the object? And what is the method which has to be pursued?
Take for example: Hatha Yoga. The aim of Hatha Yoga is: the achievement of the perfection of the human body, so that that body becomes capable of realising the ‘spirit’. This is the aim: perfection of the body by means of which spirit is known. Very often people believe that Hatha Yoga is concerned only with the perfection of the body, which is not true. The aim of Hatha Yoga is certainly perfection of the body, but by means of which spiritual knowledge is gained. What is the instrument? Instrument is the human body itself. The body is utilised, the body is purified, the body is cultivated, the body is exercised, the body is refined, the body is sublimated and all the organs of the body are strengthened, made healthy, tuned to perfect health. So, the instrument is the body. What is the method? The method is Asana and Pranayama. Posture, Yogic posture is the method and Pranayama, the control of breath. These are the two methods which are adopted by Hathayogin for achieving his object.
In Raja yoga, the aim is to attain complete stillness of the mind, attainment of silence of the mind: cittavṛttinirodhaḥ [yogasūtra 1.2]. The modifications of the mind are stilled. This state of the stillness of the mind is the state of Samadhi. In that state of Samadhi, the object of knowledge is known intuitively, so the object is the knowledge of the object, intuitive knowledge of the object by attaining silence of the mind: this is the aim of Raja yoga. What is the instrument? The instrument is mind. Just as in Hatha Yoga the instrument was the body, in Raja Yoga the instrument is the mind. All things which have to be done in Raja Yoga are connected with the mind. It is the mind which is observed, the mind is purified, the mind is refined, cultivated, exercised, brought to perfection. Now, what is the method? The method is eightfold. We had seen earlier the eight steps of Raja yoga: yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhāraṇā, dhyāna, and samādhi.
These are the eight steps, this is the method. First you purify yourself; the mind is purified by means of Yama and Niyama, rules of conduct and rules of cleanliness, purification, then the capacity to seat comfortably for long hours in a state of equilibrium, and the capacity to control the breath. These are the four preliminaries until you arrive at the fifth stage of Prathyahara where the mind is withdrawn from all external objects. Then comes the sixth step in which the mind is now focused upon one object. In the fifth step, the mind is withdrawn from all other objects, in the sixth step mind is concentrated upon one object: that is Dharana. When the object is held for quite long time in focus, with concentration, that is Dhyana, meditation. And last stage, when meditation reaches its climax, in which the subject and the object of knowledge, both becomes united and the state of trance is achieved and the complete stillness is attained, that is the Samadhi, last step. So, here again there is an object, instrument and the method.