Text of the Bhagavagd Gita (Mother's Institute of Research) - Session 23: Devotion; Chapter 7—Verses 1-5 (8 May 1999)

Now, from chapter 7 to chapter 12, we have two larger themes of Knowledge and Devotion; just as we had up till now two larger themes of Knowledge and Action. Now, Action continues even though I speak of Knowledge and Devotion as the themes of these 6 chapters, but the emphasis falls upon Knowledge and Devotion. In fact, the theme of Devotion was already hinted in the first 6 chapters, but only hinted. We had referred to two or three words: madparaḥ, ātmani atho mayi(4.35), “First in the self and then in Me”, and when there was an explanation of offering of action as sacrifice to the Lord. Now, when you make a sacrifice to the Lord, it is Action, which is taken and offered, so action is of course involved, but in offering there is an element of devotion, but nowhere we had an analysis of devotion.

If you read the last verse of the 6 chapters, it introduces the element of devotion in a striking manner, where Sri Krishna says:

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ madgatenāntarātmanā |
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ sa me yuktatamo mataḥ ||6.47||

Here Sri Krishna speaks of the different categories of seekers, and He says that among all the seekers Yogis are the best: Yogis are those who combine Knowledge and Action. But even among Yogis, Bhakta is the best, so:

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ madgatenā, those who are offered to Me; āntarātmanā, with their own inner heart and self, and one who is śraddhāvān, one who has faith; and bhajate yo māṁ, and one who worships Me; sa me yuktatamo mataḥ, he is to Me the best, even among Yogis.

Now, this element of devotion is introduced already at the end of the 6th chapter. So, you might say that there is a link between the 6th chapter and the rest of the 6 chapters: that linking point is here in the last verse of 6 chapters.

Now, Sri Krishna will explain what is madgatena, what is the meaning of that who is devoted to Me, what is śraddhā, and what is bhaja, what is the meaning of devotion. And the main point that is made is that your devotion to the supreme Lord is highest when you know the supreme Highest in all His aspects. There are Yogis who believe that you can be Bhakta even by simplicity of belief. It is said that the heart’s affection for the Lord…automatic, not knowing anything: “I know no worship, I know no rituals, I no nothing, I only know that you are my beloved and I offer myself to the Lord”: it is one kind of Bhakti, no doubt about it. But what Sri Krishna points out is that the real Love, the highest supreme Love, the supreme devotee is one who knows the Supreme integrally: samagraṁ mām (7.1), that is the word: one who knows samagra, in all its totality.

That is why the Bhagavad Gita’s teaching is not simple. The Yoga of the Gita is at a very high level of sophistication: you might say it is an advanced Yoga. Ordinary Yoga is as I told you simply, if you say I know nothing, I simply give my heart to the Divine, it is all right! Good! But you do not become an advanced Yogi or do not expect that by merely doing that, and not attending to action and knowledge you will really get the Supreme. You will have relationship with Him; when needed He will help you; whenever there is a kind of a calamity to come you may be prevented from your life; but to be able to seat at the feet of the Divine for ever, and wanting nothing else than the Divine, that supreme Bhakti comes only when if you start with a simple Bhakti, it is only when you add to it Knowledge and Action, then you will get that supreme Bhakti. You may start with Bhakti, a simple Bhakti, but supreme Bhakti will come only when it is combined with Knowledge and Action. This is the basic point of these 6 chapters, therefore the emphasis on this supreme Knowledge.

Now, the Knowledge also has been given in the first 6 chapters. Just as Bhakti has been hinted, Knowledge is not only hinted but much more elucidated in the first 6 chapters. But not so elucidated as now. Up till now, the Knowledge, which has been given, is that there is a distinction between Existence and Non-existence; between the Real and the Non-real; between the Immortal and the Perishable: this is one knowledge that is given.

The second Knowledge that is given is regarding the process by which you can attain to immobility by discrimination of the Buddhi; when Buddhi is applied, and Buddhi becomes purified, and you can make a distinction between the Real and the Unreal; this is described and given to us. Knowledge of Oneness that all this is one has also been indicated, that the true knowledge is the Knowledge of Oneness. So long as you see multiplicity, and believe that everything is only multiple and divided, it is ignorance. When you know all as one, and when you grow into Oneness that is Knowledge, and that also is given to us already in these 6 chapters. That the mark of true knowledge is equality, samatvaṁ, that also has been given to us. That there is a Lord of sacrifice, so that your idea of “I am the doer of action”, that is a wrong idea, wrong knowledge. The real knowledge is that the Divine Himself is the doer and therefore He is worthy of offering all our actions at His feet: this knowledge also has been given. The knowledge that the supreme takes birth in this world: sambhavāmi yuge yuge (4.8), “I take birth again and again, from time to time”, this knowledge is also given to us already. The question is: is there something more about Knowledge?

Now, ‘that’ is the question, which is now answered particularly in the chapters, which will now follow, although still something more will be told to us in the last 6 chapters. But more than what we have so far known is given, and what is given now is quite difficult, as it ought to be because Knowledge, attainment of Knowledge is one of the most difficult tasks in the world, and here Sri Krishna will tell you that the Knowledge that is to be given is full Knowledge: aśeṣataḥ. He says that after knowing it nothing more will remain to be known. It is a tremendous promise being made here, than once you know what is being given here, nothing more will remain to be known. What is the meaning of this? What is the extent of it? What is the scope of it? What is the grandeur of it? What is the majesty of it? All that is now given here.

And the 7th chapter is a remarkable chapter because of its difficulty, its haughtiness??? 4/5’30, and its brevity. The most difficult things are told in half a sentence. And therefore, anybody who seeks true Knowledge will have to ask again and again, and that is why people have been reading Gita several times again and again to understand what really Gita means. But the beginning of this 7th chapter starts with a mark of devotion because it is the linking with the 6th chapter, which has ended with devotion. So, now the argument is that really speaking you can devote yourself fully to the supreme Divine only when you know the Divine fully. So, this is what he says:

mayy āsaktamanāḥ pārtha yogaṁ yuñjan madāśrayaḥ |
asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu ||7.1||

mayy āsakta-manāḥ, those who are completely attached to Me; pārtha, O Arjuna; yogaṁ yuñjan, who is completely united, (yuñjan means who is completely united); mad-āśrayaḥ, those who are completely surrendered to Me; now, these…asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu, when you attend to this condition, and there the kind of Knowledge that arises, asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ, the fullness of knowledge that arises; tac chṛṇu, now you listen to that. When you have such great devotion, then the kind of knowledge that arises, and ?other one??5/1’30 also, that knowledge which you grasp, which you possess, which you become, and then, from there the kind of devotion that arises, what is that knowledge? asaṁśayaṁ, in which no doubt remains.

mayy āsaktamanāḥ pārtha yogaṁ yuñjan madāśrayaḥ |
asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu ||7.1||

“Hear then, O Son of Pritha! how by practising Yoga, with your mind concentrated unto Me, with Me as your refuge, you will know Me in entirety, without any doubt.”

jñānaṁ te ’haṁ savijñānam idaṁ vakṣyāmy aśeṣataḥ |
yaj jñātvā neha bhūyo ’nyaj jñātavyam avaśiṣyate ||7.2||

Now, in a very short phrase it says…it makes a distinction between jñāna and vijñāna.

jñānaṁ te ’haṁ savijñānam idaṁ vakṣyāmy aśeṣataḥ |

“I shall tell you ‘aśeṣataḥ’, without remainder…” that is to say, “having known what now I am going to describe to you, nothing more will remain to be known”. But it is not only Knowledge: jñānaṁ te ’haṁ savijñānam, “I shall tell you the knowledge, and I shall also tell you savijñānam”, it will be combined with vijñāna.

Now, what is the meaning of jñāna and vijñāna. As I told you there is a brief words given and therefore, one would ask the question, jñānaṁ te ’haṁ savijñānam idaṁ, then only it becomes aśeṣataḥ; it is only knowledge given to you; it is not aśeṣataḥ, it is not without remainder. It is only when jñāna is given with vijñāna: vijñāna means…viśeṣam jñānaṁ iti vijñānam. That which is viśeṣa, that which is additional, that which is more specific, that which is in detail: that is called vijñāna. Even we translate the word science, vijñāna, for the same reason, because vijñāna tells you knowledge in detail. The knowledge that is given in detail is vijñāna. That which is simply given in tattva is of one kind: I can tell you in essence; but when I tell you the detail of manifestation of that essence, then it is vijñāna. If I simply tell you that, “look, in essence this is the whole story”, but to that story in detail with all incidence and plots and the crossing of events, it makes all the difference in your appreciation in the understanding of the main plot, of main essence. So here you will get the knowledge, the statement of the knowledge of the Reality in essence, jñānaṁ; then He will tell you also savijñānam, He will tell you also in detail.

And then He says: “yaj jñātvā, having known which…neha bhūyo ’nyaj jñātavyam avaśiṣyate,…having known it, there is nothing here which remains to be known.” That is a tremendous promise that is made, that it is such a knowledge which is given here, that having known, nothing more remains to be known here.

And now you will see the description of that knowledge with all the details of knowledge in two or three sentences, and that is what creates such a big anxiety in our consciousness, because we could expect that there would be now volumes after volumes because jñānaṁ savijñānam, instead you have only two or three sentences, followed by few other sentences, followed by three or four more other sentences. In every chapter from 6th to 12th, you have one or two more sentences, and you find that it is so intriguing! And what you are expecting, savijñānam, it is savijñānam, there is no doubt about it. But to understand all this is extremely difficult.

We shall see all that as we can now read the text of the Gita:

manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye |
yatatām api siddhānāṁ kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ ||7.3||

“Among thousands of people, manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu, among thousands of people, kaścid yatati siddhaye, only one………

“Among thousands of people, only someone makes an effort to achieve realisation or accomplishment.”

yatatām api siddhānāṁ kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ ||

“Even among those who are accomplished, siddha(s), among them those who try only some one, kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ, only some one really comes to know Me essentially, tattvataḥ.”

So, Sri Krishna gives a warning that what is described here if you do not understand, you try again and again, because even among those who are really accomplished, when they try again and again, then only they come to know the Reality essentially.

Now, there is a simple description, which seems very simple, but you see the sweep of it:

bhūmir āpo ’nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca |
ahaṁkāra itīyaṁ me bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā ||7.4||

This is a description of the whole world: what we call physics, chemistry, biology, if you want to analyse all that in essence, basically, if you want to understand even psychology basically, knowledge of matter, life and mind, as we understand in the world, is described in two sentences:

bhūmi, earth; āpo, water; anala, fire; vāyuḥ, wind; khaṁ is the sky, is the ether; then manaḥ, mind; buddhi, intellect; ahaṁkāra egoism. All these 8 elements put together is the bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā, it is the Prakriti in which there is all kinds of divisions, every word has a meaning: prakṛtir aṣṭadhā, so there is first a word called Prakriti, this is the first starting point of jñānaṁ savijñānam: the knowledge of the essence and the knowledge of all the details.

And you can start with aṣṭadhā prakṛtir. Prakriti itself is the word which means: ‘that which put forth energy of action’. So it says first of all, that “there is in this world energy put forth for action: that is Prakriti; it is bhinnā, it is the energy in which there are lots of divisions. In the action of energy, there are lots of divisions, ‘dividing Prakriti’ you might say, Prakriti itself is something, which constantly divides.

In other words, if you look for unity, you will not find it in Prakriti; we used the word Prakriti only as if it is unifying, but real unifying force, unifying reality is not in Prakriti. This Prakriti is eight fold. In this eight-fold, five principles are physically visible to some degree or the other. But three are psychological principles. The five are very well known in India, they have all been called: pañca mahābhūtas, they are the five big physical principles, starting from ākāśa, that is called “kha” in Sanskrit (kha is also Akasha); then comes vāyu, the air; then comes agni, the fire; then comes jala, the liquid principle; and then comes pṛthivi, the physical, purely physical that which you can touch. The others are also physical, but earth is something that is characterised by something that reacts, responds to you in a solid manner, which responds with a striking force, regarding which you can say that action and reaction are equal and opposite, that is Prithvi, the physical principle.

So, it tells us that the whole world you can examine, its multiplications are hundreds and millions, but basically, nothing in the world of physical reality can go beyond this five principles: this is tattvataḥ, essentially told about the whole world in one single sentence: that the whole physical world is nothing but these five principles. And all that is psychological in our ordinary consciousness is in 3 words: manaḥ, buddhi, ahaṁkāraḥ. In your whole psychology there is nothing but manaḥ, the mind; buddhi, intellect; and ahaṁkāraḥ the sense of ego.

Now, you will see that Sri Krishna does not explain what is manaḥ, what is buddhi, what is ahaṁkāraḥ, what are the distinctions; that is because it is already known. In any case He leaves it to the seeker to find out the exact meanings of all this.

Now, what is mind and what is intellect, what is the distinction between the two? Mind is supposed to be the 6th sense, in other words the sense, which coordinates all the senses. We know that there are 5 senses: the sense of hearing, the sense of touch, the sense of sight, the sense of taste, and the sense of smell: these are the 5 senses. Now, these 5 senses are basically specialisations of ‘the’ sense, which is called manas: so, manas is called the 6th sense because normally we feel that we have experience, individual experience of sound, of touch, of smell, of taste, of sight; we feel we understand it quite well; they seem to be visible, they seem to be capable of being caught in our sensations, but manas is not like that. And yet when you examine the psychology of our sensations, and ask ourselves: do we really understand what touch is? Do we really understand what a smell is? What is the vibration that we call smell? And what is the vibration that we call sound? What is the vibration that we call touch? If I am asleep and somebody touches me can I understand what is touch unless I am awakened? And when I am awakened it means something other than touch which happens: awakening is something connected with the mind. Unless the mind becomes awakened, I will not understand what is touch at all. If I am asleep and somebody even speaks loudly, I will not hear it. What is the reason? The sense organ which is called the ear, which is the vehicle of hearing is present; but because something in me which is called the mind is very far removed from the sense organ, it has retire into the hall of rest, therefore even when there is a sensation, the sensation is not cognised; therefore Indian psychology says that all sensations are actually as invisible as the mind; just as mind is invisible, similarly all these sensations are actually invisible. How do you distinguish between touch and smell? By what sensation do you distinguish between the two? The touch is understood by touch, and smell by the nose, fine! But how do you know that the two are different from each other? What is the sense by which you can distinguish between one and the other? How do you know that hearing is not seen? Who is it that distinguishes? The eyes can only tell you what is sight, and hear can only tell you what is hearing, but what is it that tells you that hearing and seeing are different from each other? So, there must be another sense, which is capable of both; then only it can distinguish between the two. And according to Indian psychology the mind can be so trained that even when the eyes are closed you can see. In modern times many experiments have been made; one of the subjects of experiments was asked, because he had a capacity of a certain kind, to travel in the big city without accidents, blindfolded, on a motorcycle. Now, this has been accomplished: that means you can see without eyes.

In fact the Bhagavad Gita starts with the statement of sañjaya, who is seated in Hastinapura, and who gives an account of what is happening in dharma-kṣetre and kuru-kṣetre, in the Kurukshetra, this is quite far. Surely He has not seen with His eyes. There is some other sight which has been given to Him. Such is the real power of manaḥ. This is only stated in one word, a little word, but there is so much in it, that such a huge amount of psychologies are contained in one word: manaḥ. There is a sense of which 5 senses are specialisations, so they are not described here. The moment you describe manas, you have described all the 5 senses and more than that, the 6th sense, manaḥ, and that is called the real sense, because without that sense no other sense can work, can function. And manas is even more than senses, because it can even do the work without the actual sense organs.

It can develop other senses also, which are not normally understood. It is manas, which can read the thoughts of others, which are not normally physically seen by anybody; somebody may smile at you and yet you may know that he is angry. Now, what is that sensation that you know that somebody is angry even when there is a beautiful smile on their face? That also is known; we are capable of knowing it. It is the capacity of the mind, which is called sense-mind; the mind that acts as a sense; or mind which depends on the sense; or mind of which senses are specialisations; or mind which is behind all the senses; the mind which is the only real sense: that is called the sense-mind. That is manas.

Now, this is distinguishable from buddhi. Now, what is the distinction between manas, and buddhi? The distinction is that manas is the instrument of experience; buddhi is the instrument of concepts. So, there is a difference between experience and concept. Whenever there is experience, you will have the following characteristics: directness, intimacy, contact, immediacy and even identity. These are different levels of experience.

Directness: when you directly know something, in which nothing else is involved; when you know that you are happy inwardly, nobody tells you from outside, you don’t touch anything, you don’t smell anything, it is a direct experience of you that you are happy: it is a direct knowledge, because you experience happiness in you. Intimacy: whenever there is an intimate touch, whether it is a physical touch or other touch, there is this intimacy involved; some experience of contact, some experience of identity, you become one. In the ordinary experience of love, the lover and the beloved feel they are one: it is an experience. And the lovers say that unless you have experience you can never understand. The madness of love cannot be understood because that sense of identity is something to be experienced, it cannot be even explained, even if a hundred lectures are given, you won’t understand it. That is identity, which gives you that knowledge.

Now, in all this, there is the absence of what may be called “concept”. There is a distinction between ‘concept’ and ‘experience’. A concept is an abstraction, not concreteness. Experience is concreteness: you can hold, you can touch, you can penetrate; you can feel intimacy; you can feel identity. But in a concept, there is abstraction. You move away from concreteness. The more you move away from concreteness, the more abstract it becomes. All words that we use in our language are abstractions: words we say are not ‘things’; there is a difference between ‘things’ and ‘words’. Things are basically known directly, by direct touch: a blind man can never understand what is “blue”; there is a word “blue”, the word is used, but he can never understand what is blue, because the blue is actually understood by experience: the word ‘blue’ is an abstraction.

Now, along with the word blue, there is what we may call a concept of blue, which is based upon experience of blue, the image of which arises when the word blue is pronounced, in the eyes, in the minds of those who are able to see, not in the mind of those who have never seen at all. In other words, there is what is called image: there is the direct thing itself, thing known directly by direct experience, by manas, but then there is a movement of what is called image; now, image is not direct experience.

If you say ‘I don’t like a person’, that is an experience and when you say that you ‘dislike’, that is a concept?*

No, both are experiences: like and dislike, “I dislike somebody” is also an experience.

But what form that concept? Identity?*

The first step of concept is ‘image’. The thing itself is different from the image of it. You have seen a piece of this chessboard; now, you close your eyes, there is no more direct experience of it, but you have an image of it: visualisation, it is a visual image, but it is not direct vision. When I see this directly and when I visualise it in my eyes by closing my eyes, there is a difference between the two. This is a beginning of concept, beginning, because even an image is still something similar to the outside object. Then, you go further, from the image. One way of going further is to give a word to it, attach a word: ‘chess-piece’ is a word, and when the word is pronounced, the image of it arises in your mind, and then that image can be correspondent with your own eyes and you see by direct experience and you say that ‘this’ is that of which ‘this’ word means ‘this’. But word by itself is not the image. The word pronounced creates an image in your mind, but the word itself is abstract. In the beginning words were themselves images, as you see in Egyptian hieroglyphs, the words, the letters themselves were so designed that there were almost images of the actual things: that language was nearer to experience. Then, language became more abstract. In fact today’s language is very abstract. There are many words that when you pronounce them express immediately the experience: “oh!” is a word, the experience of surprise, the experience of wonder is in the very sound itself. Even when you don’t know the language, the very expression, the very sound creates an image in your mind, and the image gives you the experience immediately, it is very near. But as the language develops the word “surprise” does not…is not like “oh!”: “oh!” mere mind's surprise, but the word “surprise” does not give you that experience of “oh-ness”. So, surprise is a more abstract word. Now, the meaning of ‘surprise’ is a concept; what do you mean by ‘surprise’. When you want to explain to somebody, what is the meaning of ‘surprise’ then you have to explain that ‘something unexpected’, ‘something that’s strikes you’, ‘makes you active, alert’, ‘suddenly pushes into your life’, ‘gives you the kick of some kind’…you go on explaining; but all this is in one concept of surprise.

Yes, but does that mean that words and images are inseparable?*

Words and images, originally, were inseparable. But as the language developed, images and words became remote from each other. Our today’s language is not the original language; it is a very developed language in which we have created more and more abstractions; we have removed ourselves from the concreteness. The original language, if you go to the original language, if you study any original language you will find the word expressive of the actual image like vṛitra, in the Veda there is the word vṛitra, there is the sense of tearing: the very word vṛitra has the sense of tearing because as in tearing there is the sound, that sound is captured in the word vṛitra because when you use the word vṛitra there is the experience of tearing. So, the original language was all very near and concrete and there was a necessary connection between the word and the image. Words like: ‘hélas!’ ‘Oh!’ ‘Wonderful!’ Even if there were expressions, very expressions are such that express to you the images which are involved. But as humanity developed there was a movement of abstraction and then the words became arbitrary. Today’s language is so rich with arbitrary words, that when you simply pronounce them the images don’t arise. You have to learn, especially through a dictionary or through a teacher, that ‘this’ word means ‘this’, but the words themselves don’t carry images with you. Afterwards when you have learnt a language and you know that this word stands for this meaning, then of course the word when it is pronounced gives that image, but you have to learn it. Without learning there are words that can create images, which are original sounds. In fact that is at the root of what is called “Tantric system”, or bij akṣara: they are sound-words. To know the sound-words, which are themselves vibrant of the things themselves; they are the words, which arise from the things themselves and the sounds that the Tantrics teach you are those kinds of words.

The things that arise from the sounds *(??one word??)

Also, correct, same thing.

…like each letter and…*

Letter has its own meaning. But as we go forward, as we move away from experience, and yet try to understand without experience, that is a special activity, which is the activity of buddhi; manas is the activity of experience, of various kinds that I described just now, of various sensations and various direct sympathy and antipathy and intimacy and identity. But when you have removed yourselves from experience and yet you understand…usually understanding comes about by experience directly. But there is a further capacity in human beings, when understanding even continues when you don’t have the experience. This is the speciality of man; that is why man is called “intellectual rational being”. His very speciality is rationality and humans understand only when there is a direct experience of the senses, of the sense-mind. Human beings understand even when there is no experience and yet they grasp. That capacity begins with image making, word making, and still beyond, when you have concepts.

There are three concepts all of which we think we understand, but of which we have no concrete image at all. We all understand the meaning of essence but you ask anybody whether he has experience of essence anywhere, seen essence anywhere: nobody has experienced by his senses, by his images what is called “essence”. And we all say we understand essence, what is the meaning of essence. You have seen a film, you have and I have seen the same film and Sarita asked the question to you, “tell me what is the main substance of the film”, and you describe it, I have also described it. Now, you have also seen the film and you say that, well, the description she has given is the expression of the essence, but I have not given the essence. Now, how do you distinguish between the two judgements? Whether I have given the essence, or she has given the essence; you understand it better, you have also seen the film. How do you understand whether “this” is essence, or “this” is essence? But you know what is the essence. What is that by which you know the essence, of which there is no image? Now, this is one word, which everyone, every human being understands but corresponding to which there is no image. In fact the very definition of essence is: “that which transcends image”. Essence is something that is to be found when you have vanilla taste, you know the essence of vanilla is present, but what is that essence which you call vanilla? Even the liquid that may be vanilla is also that which contains vanilla, it is not itself, that is not seen by you, it is the essence, which is not seen, and yet you grasp it; and you know if it is not present, the whole thing has no vanilla in it. You put a little of it and the whole thing is vanilla, that is the essence. How do you understand this “essence”? We all understand it: that is the special power of buddhi; buddhi is the power of concepts, by which we understand “essence”, and by which we understand “universal”; this is another example.

Nobody has physically seen the “universal”. All that you have seen is only “particulars”. Even when I have seen this entire cloth…but what is cloth itself? This particular cloth is only a piece of cloth I have seen. But what is cloth itself so that any piece of cloth, I can see this cloth. I say it is not wall, it is cloth; how do I distinguish between the two? That is because in my consciousness, there is an abstract concept of ‘universal’, ‘cloth’, which I can apply to any piece of cloth and say this is “the cloth”. So, the concept of ‘the essence’ and the concept of ‘the universal’ are the two minimum examples of what we may call “intellectual understanding”. In fact when you say that a man is a rational being, what do you mean by saying he is a rational being? A rational being is one who understands “essence” and “universal”.

Animals are not rational beings because they don’t have an understanding of ‘essence’; they don’t have an understanding of ‘universal’. In the case of even a small human child, very soon he will understand what is ‘universal’ and what is ‘essence’. Once you show him one piece of cloth; two pieces you try to show him two pieces of clothes one after the other after he will understand himself this is also cloth. There is a capacity of ‘universal’ understanding. This capacity of grasping the essence, grasping the universal is a very special faculty of intelligence, which is called buddhi. So, manas and buddhi are distinguishable in this sense. That manas is ‘sense-mind’, there is concreteness, there is experience; whereas here there is no experience and yet understanding; there is abstraction and yet you understand. The speciality of this capacity is also what is called “discrimination”. How do you distinguish one from the other? It is only by universality. It is only when I understand “universal cloth” that I can say that this cloth is different from the wall, because I understand the universal wall; universal cloth and universal wall having been understood, I can discriminate between this piece of cloth and this piece of wall. Without the understanding of universality, I cannot discriminate.

So, understanding of the essence, of universality and of discrimination is a special faculty, which is called buddhi; and every human being has got this capacity; or you might say it is essentially present, may be developed more or developed less. When you scold a child, that “you don’t have intelligence, you don’t understand: buddhi nehi hai tumhara”. What do you mean actually? It only means that he is not able to discriminate; that means that he has not understood ‘universal’; he has not grasped the ‘essence’. When you say: ‘this boy is very intelligent’. What do you mean? That he is able to grasp the essence very quickly. You just do one sum, he understands the principle and after he applies a hundred of sums very easily, because he has understood the essence of it. The child who does not understand the essence immediately, he is called unintelligent, although he has some intelligence because by some further examples, he is able to understand universal involved in it. The more you give to the child the experience of universal, of essence, of discrimination, the more intelligent he becomes. All intelligence is nothing but maturity of the understanding of the ‘essence’, ‘universal’ and ‘discrimination’.

Now, this capacity is there in the world, you might say in the human consciousness, it is inherent: inherent means it is there even though it may not be developed, it may require to be developed; but that development is always a question of further refinement. There are people who understand, who can grasp differences of colours, there are some others who cannot understand, although they see colours and differences of colours, but they don’t understand so many colours, they mix up one colour with the other. Or even if you ask him to describe so many colours that he has seen, he may not be able to describe them; it requires training, it requires development, but basic capacity exists.

So, just as sense experience exists automatically, similarly in all human beings, there is an automatic intelligence of grasp of the essence, universality and discrimination: that is called buddhi.

Then, comes ahaṁkāraḥ, the third element. In human psychology, whether you like it or not, everywhere you find a principle of division and identification with one division against the other, and this identification leading to say, “this is mine, that is thine, this is me, this is you”, this distinction. A mark of distinction which identifies itself with one as against the other is not only discrimination, something more is added: “this is mine, this is yours, this is me, this is you, I am quite different from others”. What is this sense? “All others may be like this but I am quite different”. What is that sense? It is automatic, you don’t need to teach anybody that, “look, you have to learn what is yours and what is mine and what is thine”, it is automatic, even with a child who does not understand this distinction, in some respect he understands it; you give a slap to his cheek, he understands that, “this slap is mine”. So, that minimum discrimination he understands and it is automatic. Just as sense is automatic, concept is automatic; sense of ‘egoity’ is also automatic: this is something that is inherent in our nature. All these are manifestations of Prakriti. In all that is there in the world, in a few words Sri Krishna describes the whole world of our physical and our psychological experience. This is already a savijñānam, quite in detail it is given, but although in two lines:

bhūmir āpo ’nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca |
ahaṁkāra itīyaṁ me bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā ||7.4||

This is ‘one’ kind of Prakriti of mind; this Prakriti is different from the Prakriti, which are now described latter on: this is one kind of Prakriti.

Now, in the second one, again two sentences, but so heavy, so difficult…let us see:

apareyam itas tv anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām ||7.5||

This is what I call Apara Prakriti (aparā prakṛti): what I have described so far is Apara Prakriti, but there is anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām, but now you understand Para Prakriti, now you understand there is another Prakriti which I have, which is called Para Prakriti. Now, how do you know that Para Prakriti? So He indicates there is one word only again, very brief: jīvabhūtāṁ*, it is that Prakriti…

On what is this ‘egoity’ based on? Discrimination?*

Yes, that’s right…………..

There is another Prakriti, which is a higher Prakriti: parām prakṛti, higher Prakriti, (aparā means lower). “This Prakriti of which I have spoken is aparā prakṛti, but other than that there is a higher Prakriti, which you now know, which now I am explaining to you…jīvabhūtām, it is that Prakriti, (only one word is given), it is that Prakriti, which has become the Jiva”. Now, Sri Krishna does not explain what is the Jiva; it is understood! We shall come to that afterwards. parām prakṛtiṁ is jīvabhūtām; it is that, which has become the Jiva:

“O mahābāho, O Arjuna, it is jīvabhūtām parām prakṛtiṁ. This Para Prakriti is that which is jīvabhūtā, which has become the Jiva.”

Now, there is another sentence: yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat, this is another description: “it is that by which the world is born”, dhāryate, upheld. It is that by which the whole world is upheld. That is to say: aparā prakṛti is not a Prakriti by which the world is upheld; all that may be the world, all that may be all phenomena, but this aparā prakṛti is not by which the whole world is upheld; there is something like an upholding power. That upholding power is something different: it is a higher Prakriti. That higher Prakriti is to be known as jīvabhūtām. If you know the Jiva, then you will understand parām prakṛti. If you understand parām prakṛti, you will understand jīva.

We shall stop here today, because this is another very big subject and we shall have to go into the depths of this. But you will now experience that in every word of this chapter, the knowledge savejnanam savijnanam is all the time oozing out, from every word. Every word of this chapter is full of knowledge: it is as if every word is composed of a lot of knowledge, which is contained in it, so that the moment you touch the word, so much oozes out of it. It is jnanam savijnanam. The very chapter itself is all jnanavijnana yoga, this is regarding knowledge in detail, with detailed knowledge. And having known nothing more remains to be known. So we shall see next time what is the jīvabhūtā, what is this parā prakṛti, what is this yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat, what is it by which the world is upheld.

All right? Next time.