And the Bhagavad Gita after all will tell us, and that is reserved in the next block of teaching of Sri Krishna. Even here it is there, but it is much more expounded that Prakriti itself is supervened by a higher Prakriti. Above the Prakriti of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas, there is a higher Prakriti: this Prakriti as we see is not all. Sri Krishna will tell us in 7th chapter that there are two Prakritis: the Apara (aparā) Prakriti and the Para (para) Prakriti. So Prakriti alone is not there to determine our actions. There is something else than that. Then, that is not all; above this Prakriti as we see it, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas, there is Jiva (jiva) in us, which is of the nature of Para Prakriti: parā prakṛtir jīvabhūtā (VII, 5), this is the famous statement of the Bhagavad Gita. Apart from the Apara Prakriti, and even as a portion of the Para Prakriti is the Jiva; and Jiva himself is not only made of the stuff of the Para Prakriti, but it is also mamaiva aṁśaḥ, the Jiva is also “My own portion”: ‘My’ means the ‘supreme Lord’, and then Sri Krishna will describe “who am I”, who is Sri Krishna Himself, who is the supreme Lord. The supreme Lord Himself is Kshara and Akshara: so, there is immobile, there is the mobile. So, all this Prakriti is not all. It is on the ground of that proposition: ‘the Prakriti is not all’.
There are two selves in us: one which is subject to Prakriti and one which above Prakriti. That which is constituted by Para Prakriti, that which is a portion of the Supreme and that there is a Self, which is absolutely immobile. And there is a supreme, which is at once mobile and immobile. Now, all these elements are present. It is these elements, which are above the Apara Prakriti, which constitute in their own ways what is called “the Self”, (higher self). So, Sri Krishna says that, “uddhared”, one should raise up: ātmanātmānam, one should raise up the self (that is the self, which is subject to Prakriti), by the Self, which is above the Prakriti, which is a portion of Para Prakriti, which is itself a portion of the supreme Lord, which is also reflective, which is capable of being Akshara, identifying himself with Akshara. It can become immobile, completely. So that even the necessity to be completely and confined to activity, even that is not imperative. You can be completely free from all activity; so that is even a possibility of the higher self. It is that Self, which Sri Krishna here refers when He says:
uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ nātmānam avasādayet | (VI, 5)
One should not degrade oneself; one should raise the self by the Self.
ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur, the Self itself is the friend of the self.
ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ, the self itself is the enemy of the Self.
If you don’t conquer the lower self then that lower self will act as your enemy; if you conquer that lower self then that lower self will collaborate with you and will help you to rise up. That is why this statement gives the justification of the entire process of Yoga. All that has been told so far, in these previous chapters and up till now, finds its justification by this proposition that there is in you a higher self; there is in you a lower self: lower self is that which tided up with Apara Prakriti; higher self is above this Prakriti, it is by the help of that Self that you can raise yourself.
Therefore if Arjuna says: “What can I do, I am now overpowered”, Sri Krishna says: “There is in you a Self and the nature of this Self is ‘freedom’; this Self is really free. It has simply to take a decision, but it is free to take a decision. Because the argument may be that “Even if I am free, if I am bound, how can I be free?” The answer is that “The moment you begin to perceive it, you will perceive that it is free; and it can take a decision at any time, it can break all the laws; even the destiny it can break; even if the whole past has been designed, and you are moving in one direction, if there is a Self which is awaken in you, then it can break all the destiny.” And the question whether ‘I can be awakened’: ‘Am I free to be awakened?’ The question may be raised; or that is also dependant upon determinism of the past. The answer is: “The moment you begin to think whether I am free or not, you are already awakened.” Therefore, the law as whether I am free or not, the moment you begin to ask this question, it means that you are already awaken; otherwise you would not even ask this question.
The Tamasic man does not even raise this question whether I am free or not; the moment you begin to ask whether I am free or not, the answer is “yes you are free and therefore, now it is up to you”. And the whole of the Bhagavad Gita, all Yogic Shastra is nothing but an answer to this question: it is addressed to anybody who has come to a stage where he has become aware, and he begins to ask whether ‘this bondage in which I am, is it inevitable?’ ‘Am I bound to be what I am?’ ‘Is it an absolute imperativeness?’ The answer is ‘no’; you are really free, and you can therefore be told. Therefore the justification of giving these Shastra that once you become aware of it, you have to be told you are free. And then the question is how that freedom is to be utilised, what is the Shastra of that freedom? You might say the entire Yogic Shastra is nothing but Shastra of freedom: how to awaken that freedom? How to exercise that freedom? What are the steps that you have to take in the exercise of the freedom? Even when you decide that you want to be free, even then you are not entirely free, that also has to be seen: prakṛtiṁ yānti bhūtāni are very great truths, even when you decide to be free, you are still clutched by the lower Prakriti but think that even that is not imperative, there is still a possibility for you to rise up. It is a Yogic Shastra, a Shastra of gradual development in which you rise from bondage to freedom, and a greater freedom, and supreme freedom.