So now, we come to chapter 9.
It is called: rājavidyārājaguhya-yoga: rājavidyā is the king-knowledge; rājaguhya is the secret of secrets.
You might therefore say that this chapter takes you to the very bottom of the essence of the whole teaching of the Gita. The teaching of the Gita is fundamentally an answer to the questions of Arjuna and in his formulation of the question there was one very important missing point: it was the most capital missing point. In his formulation of the question, he had insisted upon himself, his relatives, his sense of right, his sense of wrong, the consciousness of Dharma which arises out of the considerations of the society, kula, and the conflict between one set of right against another set of right. To fight for justice was right; to prevent the slaughter of people which will ultimately lead, according to him, to the destruction of the Dharma of the whole clan, to prevent this kind of a slaughter is also right. Now, both rights, if there was one against the other, there was some difference in the scale, one better than the other, one wrong against one right, it was easy to decide. But when the two things are right, then he could not decide what is to be done, and yet he decided that he will not fight: even undecided, he decided he will not fight. This was the condition of Arjuna’s question when he says: ‘Now tell me decisively what I should be doing’.
And we had pointed out that the very first starting point of Sri Krishna’s answer which begins in chapter 2 is to point out to Arjuna that there is a difference between the Mutable and the Immutable; that which is Perishable and that which is Imperishable and He said that ‘while you seem to be speaking the language of the wise, you are missing out one thing which always the wise think of, and that is to think of the Imperishable’. That is the starting point. In other words the one thing which was missing in the premises of Arjuna was the consideration of the Imperishable, the omission to bring into the picture that there is a Reality which is immortal, Reality which is immutable, Reality which is imperishable. And the entire Gita is nothing but to bring this premise in the centre of the whole teaching, the whole answer. Sri Krishna says that ‘unless you bring that premise into the argument in fullness, you will not be able to resolve the problem that you are facing’.
Little by little this is being expounded: what is the nature of the Imperishable. In the 3rd & the 4th chapters a hint is given that that Imperishable is Himself: mām, mayi, ahaṁ, these are the different words that Sri Krishna uses to describe that Imperishable: ‘It is Me, it is I, it is…’, and then ‘It is the Lord’: it starts with the statement of the Imperishable, then gradually, it enters into a language in which the Imperishable is described as the Lord. Then He also said that the Lord is capable of descending on this earth and the entire idea of the Avatar is described. That is the supreme revelation in chapter 4, where Sri Krishna declares Himself to be the Avatar. In chapter 5 & 6 a kind of synthetic proposition is made to describe how the Imperishable and the Lord it is the same Reality, and the synthesis of the Imperishable and the Lord, the synthesis of the Impersonal and the Personal is indicated; but it is still very slight.
When you come to the 7th chapter, then you have a much more explicit statement of what is this Imperishable which is the Lord, and Sri Krishna explains that this is the Lord who has got two natures. A very striking statement is made and He says: ‘I have got a lower nature and I have a higher nature’, and this is what you have dealt with at length. And in this exposition, Sri Krishna explains what is the origin of the ‘Jiva’, a knowledge which is so important for each one of us because each one of us is a Jiva. Therefore as far as we are concerned for us to know the origin of us, that our own ‘self’ what we call ‘me’ is nothing but a partial manifestation of the Supreme Himself, of that Lord Himself. Therefore to know that our own being is rooted in the supreme Lord and that supreme Lord is manifesting through His own power, which is in itself originally divine, which somehow becomes un-divine; but the origin of the Jiva is in the ‘divine nature’, not in the un-divine nature. So, our own position in the whole world is basically rooted in the supreme Lord who manifests Himself in divine nature as a result of which, we as an individual, each one of us as an individual partakes of the nature of the supreme Lord and the supreme divine Mother: mamaivāṁśaḥ, the individual is my own portion, and parā prakṛtir jīvabhūtā, the Para Prakriti is of the nature of the Jiva, these complex sentences praise about the individual gives us the fundamental self-knowledge. It is always said: ‘know thyself’; ask your question: Who am I? What am I? And this question is particularly answered in chapter 7 and you are told that basically you are not what you think to be: you think to be ‘ego’, as little ahaṁbhāva, which is connected with manas and buddhi, but all the three manas, buddhi and ahaṁkāra, they belong to the Apara Prakriti, whereas ‘you’, you belong to Para Prakriti, you belong to the higher nature. Having belonged to the higher nature you know how to relate yourself with the divine nature and with the supreme Lord, the secret of this relationship is yet not fully manifested in chapter 7.
In chapter 8 this exposition is taken forward and we are told that this reality basically is adhiyajña, is the Lord to whom all is offered, it is the one who is akṣara brahma, it is the immutable, imperishable Reality; this was already explained in 2nd chapter but it is now it is explained much more explicitly that this akṣara brahman, manifests through svabhāva, through manifests karma, through the karma arises the entire bhūta(s), all the beings of the earth and these objects are enjoyed by the Jiva which is the aṁśaḥ of the Supreme and the instruments through which the Jiva experiences all the beings of the earth, all the creatures are faculties; these faculties of will and of knowledge and of sense, these are called ‘gods’ in the Vedic language, the ‘Devas’, and all this is the totality of the whole universe. So if you want to understand the whole of the universe, the origin of the universe that everything is covered in these words, akṣara brahman, svabhāva, karma, adhibhūta, adhidaiva, adhiyajña. If you understand these words the entirety, the totality of the whole world is explained.
We are now ready to enter into the finest statement, so we are now in the secret as it were. Sri Krishna takes us to the greatest formulation of the knowledge of the Supreme. This is the knowledge without which the question that Arjuna had asked cannot be answered. And deliberately this statement is made in such a way that you are awakened as it were from slumber, because it states this proposition in a form which self contradictory and when you hear self contradictions you are immediately awakened because it jars on your mind and you begin to ask the question: how can it be? And it is precisely what you should do when you hear this 9th chapter. What are these statements which are self contradictory (apparently, they are not really self contradictory, but apparently)?
Now let us read:
idaṁ tu te guhyatamaṁ pravakṣyāmy anasūyave |
jñānaṁ vijñānasahitaṁ yaj jñātvā mokṣyase ’śubhāt ||9.1||
“I will expound unto you, you who are devoid of any jealousy, the profoundest secret of knowledge and realisation by knowing which you will be released from evil of the world process.”
jñānaṁ vijñāna-sahitaṁ: this is the supreme secret of secrets which I shall now expound to you and once you know this there will remain no sense of indecision in your mind and all that evil is confronted by you will be removed.
rājavidyā rājaguhyaṁ pavitram idam uttamam |
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ susukham kartum avyayam ||9.2||
“This knowledge is the sovereign knowledge, a sovereign Mystery, best sanctity, pavitram idam uttamam, it is absolutely holy, secret most. It is known, pratyakṣāvagamaṁ, it is known only by direct experience”. At present it is only a statement in language and therefore it is intellectual but in itself this knowledge is verified in experience. It is not a knowledge in which it is believed in because intellectually it seems possible or probable or hypothetically sound, it is something which you can verify, pratyakṣāvagamaṁ, by direct experience you can have it; dharmyaṁ, “It is perfection of Dharma”, it is a knowledge which is so powerful that it manifest in action: to know it and not to be active after knowing it is not possible. To know it and not to act rightly is not possible, therefore this knowledge is dharmyaṁ; susukham, that knowledge to know it and not to be delighted is not possible. It is a knowledge once you know it your heart will be filled.
So, it is a synthesis of the three things: knowledge, action and devotion. Devotion is the aspect of susukham, it is emotionally perfectly satisfying, most delightful; dharmyaṁ, having known it you are bound to do the right action and you will be impelled to do the right action. It will manifest itself to do the right action:
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ susukham kartumavyayam ||,
“It is easy of accomplishment and yet imperishable.” It is this knowledge which can never be destroyed because it is a knowledge of the Imperishable. So is the object is imperishable, the knowledge also is imperishable.
So, these are the qualifications that Sri Krishna makes here and prepares what is called the real synthesis of knowledge, works and devotion. We are always told that the Bhagavad Gita is a synthesis of knowledge, works and devotion. It is not only a teaching which says that you can follow either knowledge, or devotion, or action: that is only a partial statement of the Gita. It says that the knowledge if it is pursued becomes such an integral knowledge that it becomes dharmyaṁ, and susukham, it is that knowledge that you pursue, it becomes so integral that it gives you the right path of action; it opens out the right path of devotion. It is that if you start on the path of action, you are led to knowledge; this is what you had seen in chapter 4, how when you start with action, you enter into highest knowledge, where Sri Krishna says that, “all actions ultimately ends in knowledge”.
This is a movement in Sri Krishna’s teaching that if you start with devotion then you end with the highest knowledge and then the highest action. It is integral knowledge, integral Karma yoga and integral path of devotion, bhaktimārga; or you might say it is completely integral, where knowledge is not knowledge unless it is dharmyaṁ, and susukham. You cannot even define it as knowledge unless it is at once this. It is not devotion if it is not luminous. If it does not take you to the service of the people of the world, to the action in the world, this devotion is such a devotion that you seek the Divine and since the Divine is everywhere, you are obliged to move everywhere; since the Divine is akṣara, this takes you to akṣara, to Immobile, but since the Divine is also all this movement, the real Bhakta cannot but remain merely in the Immobile, he has got to move on the footsteps of God Himself because he is a Bhakta: wherever the Lord is there the Bhakta is. So if the Lord Himself is in the battle then the Bhakta also has to be in the battle: he cannot say, ‘I will be only seeking the Immobile, Sannyasa is the only right thing, when you find, when the Bhakta finds that Bhagavan Himself is in the battle, how can you leave the battlefield. The right action is involved in the very Bhakti with which you approach the supreme Lord. Therefore this Bhakti leads you to the highest knowledge and the highest action. This is the kind of synthesis which you have in this rājavidyā.
This rājavidyā has therefore two sides: the complete knowledge of the Divine and the complete path by which the complete divine is completely realised. It is therefore integral in every sense of the term: the object is integral, the process is integral and the result is integral, this is why this is called the rājavidyā, the supreme knowledge.
Now, at present it is being told completely in the terms of intellect and when it is only intellectually stated it is sub….
Every intellectual statement is subject to doubt. And the Bhagavad Gita has already spoken earlier paripraśnena sevaya, whenever an intellectual statement is made to you, you should approach it with ‘repeated question’ and you should at the same time approach the giver of the knowledge with seva*, the two conditions are laid down and the reason is that if you merely question, then it could be an idle question, because human mind has many levels of questioning. If you are very idle about anything and somebody says: ‘Look! There is something’, then I don’t believe it. You are very idle, you are sleeping, you do not want to wake up and somebody says: ‘Look! Fire!’’ I don’t believe it. So, there is simply a kind of an idle refusal, there is not even questioning, there is only idle refusal. I don’t want to get up from my sleep, therefore I don’t believe it: it is a very flippant superficial answer.
There is a higher level of questioning where you simply say…you tell a child: ‘God exists’. So the child says: ‘Unless you show me I will not believe’. It is a good question. But then one can remain merely at that level in which the onus is put upon the person who has made the statement, you are free, then you don’t need to do anything at all: the one who makes the statement has now to take the trouble to show you where God is; this is also an idle question actually, idle doubt, because you do not want to take the trouble; when somebody says: ‘God exists’, you simply want to put the burden upon another, ‘now, you prove to me, show me, then I will believe in it’.
So, at a higher level the questioning should be: “On what ground do you tell me ‘God exists’?”. Now, when you ask this question you are more reasonable. Merely saying: ‘I don’t believe in Him’ or ‘Show me!’ It is a flippant answer, which most people do in this world. Therefore Sri Krishna says paripraśnena, you should ask questions repeatedly. And the first question is: ‘Please tell me, on what ground do you say that God exists’. Then you can enquire further: ‘Do you say that God exists because you have seen God?’. This could be one question: ‘Is it because you have seen God?’. ‘If you have seen God, have you seen God physically as I see all objects of the world?’. ‘If not, are there many other ways of knowing, of which I am not aware?’. ‘If so, kindly tell me how there are many other ways of knowing?’. ‘Can I enter in those other ways of knowing?’. ‘How shall we go about it?’. Now, these questions arise only if you are only a sincere seeker. A sincere seeker of knowledge cannot remain idle or cannot raise idle questions until any claim that is made about knowledge is ultimately brought to the final conclusion.
That is why it is said that if you put śruti… śruti means a revelation in regard to that which cannot be easily seen by physical eyes, if śruti is given to an individual and the individual is of the right kind of seeker, then he cannot rest until śruti becomes pratyakṣāvagamaṁ, unless it becomes a direct perception, direct knowledge. So, from śruti to sākṣātkāra, this is the step which is proposed in Indian thought. You start with śruti, and Sri Krishna says: ‘I am telling you what is the highest knowledge and you are allowed to ask questions, but ask questions with sincerity. Now, that sincerity is also called in Indian terminology śraddhā; this word śraddhā is very often misunderstood; śraddhā very often means acceptance without questioning. When we say: ‘I have śraddhā in what he says therefore I don’t question’; śraddhā also means to rest in the belief without question; that is also another meaning. To accept without questioning is one; second is to rest in that belief without questioning. It is one thing to accept when somebody says such and such is a reality, for the time being you don’t raise any question, that is one state; another is a farther state in which you say: ‘I will never raise a question, I accept it forever’: to rest without questioning. That is also how śraddhā is meant; this is also a meaning of śraddhā.
Now, this is not the sense in which the Bhagavad Gita uses śraddhā. What is śraddhā? Because the third verse speaks of śraddhā. And it says:
aśraddhadhānāḥ purṣā dharmasyāsya parantapa |
aprāpya māṁ nivartante mṛtyusaṁsāravartmani ||9.3||
“Those who are aśraddhadhānāḥ, those who do not have the faith, they once again return to mṛtyu-saṁsāra-vartmani; vartmani means to pass, they arrive at the path of mṛtyu-saṁsāra, of the death and of the wheel of the cycle of the world; aprāpya māṁ, they never reach Me; nivartante, without reaching Me, they come back.”
Why is this statement made here? Immediately after saying pratyakṣāvagamaṁ; what I am telling you can be realised directly by your experience; but at the moment this statement will be only intellectual statement; therefore there is process between present intellectual statement and the pratyakṣā; in the middle there is a process of śraddhā, and if you don’t have the śraddhā at all, then forget about it, you are sure that you will never reach Me. Between the intellectual statement and the direct experience, the middle path consists of śraddhā, and if you do not take on the path of śraddhā, then you will remain where you are and you will return again to where you are. But by śraddhā is not meant ‘acceptance without questioning’ or ‘to rest in the acceptance without questioning’, because Sri Krishna has already spoken of paripraśnena sevaya. Already He has spoken of it. He does not say that you should not question.
What is ‘this’ śraddhā? What is śraddhā is of course explained by Sri Krishna towards the end of the whole book and as I have said often the Bhagavad Gita is to be read as a whole. It is a very holistic teaching. Therefore we can anticipate what is said of śraddhā later on, and we can supply the meaning of śraddhā over here. By śraddhā is meant “a living perception” of a truth, to perceive a truth as truth, therefore there is an element of belief: perception of truth as truth means belief. But the word belief I don’t normally use because belief normally means belief without questioning or belief for the sake of belief. So to make a distinction between belief and what I mean I use the word perception. A truth which is perceived as truth, but not yet realised as truth. There is a distinction between ‘perceiving a truth as truth’ and ‘not yet realised as truth’: śraddhā is a stage in which you perceive a truth, but you have as yet no ground to perceive it and yet you perceive it. This is the state to which Sri Krishna makes a reference: you perceive as a truth as yet not realised and yet you perceive it; there is a perception.
It is a kind of intuition, but there are many kinds of intuitions, but this is one kind of intuition. There is intuition also in which…realisation is also intuition. This is an intuition which has not yet arrived at a stage of realisation. There are many levels of intuition, for example ‘instinct’ is also an intuition. When you see instinctively you feel: ‘Oh! Something is wrong’, instinctively and ultimately you find yes, there was a reason why you felt it was wrong. So even instinctively also you feel that there is something which you believe in, you act on it and ultimately you find that your action was on the right lines.
Like, you want to ride on the horse; you mount on the horse, you spur the horse, the horse does not move. You spur again and the horse rears up, but does not move forward. It is said in the villages which are very acquainted with the movement of the horses: ‘do not force the horse any further; the horse instinctively feels that this is not the moment to run’ and there are many examples to show that when this has happen there was a storm ahead which the horse feels here and therefore refuses to run. It is both a protection for yourself and for the horse itself.
So, this happens by instinct; the horse instinctively feels that there is a danger and therefore it does not move forward. This is a stage…you cannot say the horse has an intuition, it is instinctively felt. You are hungry: how do you know that food only can satisfy you? It is instinctive knowledge that only food can satisfy you. If you are very hungry and you go to a place of a lecture or something which has a very nice lecture going on, but you are very hungry, you will first go to the kitchen, if you are very hungry, instinctively you will rush to that. So there is an instinctive knowledge and what I need now is not the lecture but the food; after the food comes everything else. Now, who tells you this? It is instinct.
This śraddhā is not mere instinct; but it is an intuition, it is a perception which feels the truth to be truth but for which there is as yet no ground.
Question: The Jiva, is it not endowed with śraddhā?
Absolutely. Jiva becomes it is born from the Supreme, born from the Para Prakriti (parā prakṛtir jīvabhūtā), it is one thing that the inmost individual knows, knows the supreme Lord, knows the supreme Mother, each one of us. Now, this knowledge however is covered; if it is fully covered, there is complete ignorance; but if slightly it is opened up, then it is śraddhā: there is a perception that this truth is truth, but not yet realised.
Therefore Sri Krishna says that when a statement of rājavidyā is being made, it is made in the form of intellectual statement, but it is something which is pratyakṣāvagamaṁ; right from the beginning He says: this is a knowledge you can gain by direct experience. But in the meantime when you want to make an assumption from an intellectual statement to that pratyakṣāvagamaṁ, I make an appeal to śraddhā which is in every individual. There is always some opening. In fact some people even if they are not awakened, the moment they hear about it, it is awakened. Some people of course are so obstinate that they refuse completely: therefore they are aśraddhānaṁ; they are so obstinate, they are so covered! Therefore Sri Krishna says that if however the person who hears it happens to be aśraddhāvān, then you can tell him in advance that this is the consequence. Do not expect that he will come out of this world of death and this ‘wheel’, and that he will attain to Me: that will not happen. But I do not want that somebody takes it for granted “‘this is true”, I want him to have śraddhā; it means there must be an awakening of a perception.
Now, what is the fundamental difference between the belief and śraddhā is this: a belief may be an intellectual state in which you decide not to doubt. Or you have grounds of sufficient basis on the basis of which you say I will further not ask any questions. A belief has certain grounds but not fully grounds, and then say: ‘the rest I’ll believe’; ‘this is the belief, the rest I’ll believe’; śraddhā is different from this; śraddhā is a perception of a truth that it is true, but it does not rest at that point: this is a mark of a śraddhā; śraddhā does not rest in the perception of truth as truth.
The true śraddhā is one which is a perception of truth as truth which strives incessantly, which strives constantly to turn it into sākṣātkāra. It goes on, and on, and on, and on, until that perception becomes sākṣātkāra; it is realised: that is the mark of śraddhā. Therefore śraddhā is not taking for granted and resting there; it is not acceptance of a dogma: śraddhāvān is one who perceive that the truth is truth and constantly strives, there is a dynamic movement; śraddhā is by nature dynamic, it does not rest where it is; it does not fall back upon saying, ‘Well I believe now, now let me continue my life, I believe in God, I‘ll go on Sundays to the church, but the rest of the life let me do, I believe in God, I accept it’: this is not śraddhā; śraddhā* is that in every action, every movement, I will pursue dynamically to arrive at a stage where my perception becomes a realisation: I feel it is true. In a sense, you might say, faith is always blind, blind in the sense that I have a perception which is not yet matured into a realisation therefore it is blind, but it is not dogma because it does not rest there, it moves forward, until it becomes a realisation.
Sri Krishna will say later on that every individual whether he is a believer or non believer, his whole life is based upon a perception: perception of what he is, what he has to do, what he must do. This perception every individual has, as a result of which he reacts in the way he reacts. Every individual therefore has śraddhā of a kind of which he is not aware, but there is in him, ‘I must do this, this has got to be done, this must be right’. Even if it is proved to be wrong, he feels ‘no, no, there must be wrong in my perception of what I have perceived, I must revise my perception, I was perceiving something’. Basically, every individual perceives the Lord and the supreme divine Mother, every individual, this is his basic śraddhā; it is covered up therefore there is ignorance of it; even there is refusal of it; there is lack of faith in it, but even if there is a slight opening, and basically every individual in his own way moves by that śraddhā, and whatever is that śraddhā, ‘that’ he becomes. That is the speciality of that śraddhā: śraddhā does not remain merely a belief. There is to be a dynamic movement until you become ‘that’. Whatever is one’s faith, ‘that’ he becomes: this is one of the great statements of the Bhagavad Gita. . Whatever is one’s faith, ‘that’ he becomes.
In any case now we have got a statement of rājavidyā, and Sri Krishna prepares Arjuna by saying that this rājavidyā, is actually a matter of verification and experience. It is not a dogma that I am giving you. I am giving you a statement of a knowledge, and a knowledge which can be experienced, which can be verified, which can be realised. But when I give you only an intellectual statement, I warn you that anybody who is aśraddhā in it will not attain to the realisation of it: ‘Start, open up that perception in you and when that perception is open up to you then further process will start.’ And that process which is involved is one of the most important elements of this chapter 9. If you have real śraddhā, what will you do? You will take to paths, you will make a journey, you will take staff in your hand and say: ‘Now I will set out, I will make a journey’. What is that journey? That journey is the synthesis of knowledge, devotion and action, the path which unites knowledge, action and devotion.
Therefore this chapter has got two aspects: the revelation of secret of secrets, the revelation of the King-knowledge, the revelation of the knowledge of the supreme Reality in all his aspects, jñānaṁ vijñāna-sahitaṁ in which all that is to be known jñāna and viśeśajñānaṁ: Jnana which is essential and that which is phenomenal, all this combined together in totality, this is one aspect of this chapter; the second aspect of this chapter is path of union of Jnana, Karma and Bhakti.
Now, starts the statement of the rājavidyā, of the king-knowledge. This thing is a summary; this thing is known in a certain way, therefore many people feel it is a repetition. This is not a repetition because this is a complete statement. Up till now statements were made from time to time; sometimes hints were given; sometimes partial statements are made, but now for the first time in the Bhagavad Gita in the following verses, you get a complete statement of the knowledge of the supreme Reality and relationship of the Reality with the world and with the individual: this complete statement is now given:
mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyaktamūrtinā |
matsthāni sarvabhūtāni na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ ||9.4||
na ca matsthāni bhūtāni paśya me yogam aiśvaram |
bhūtabhṛn na ca bhūtastho mamātmā bhūtabhāvanaḥ ||9.5||
These two verses contain all that has to be said. This is the rājavidyā, in two verses. This is the speciality of Vyasa, the author of the Mahabharata and of the Gita, very brief, pregnant, complete, nothing is left out once these 2 statements are made, complete statement of the ultimate Reality and everything that is to be known is given. Therefore some of the people, if you ask them: what is the sum and substance of the whole knowledge of the Gita? They refer only to these two verses. If you want to say: in brief what is the whole teaching, quintessence, but the full, without remainder, then these are the two statements, two verses:
mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyakta-mūrtinā |
mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ ||9.4||
mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad: sarvaṁ means ‘all’; jagad means ‘this world’. This entire world is tatam, fabricated, woven. In the Upanishad we have got an example of a spider and the web: out of oneself the tatam, all the threads of the web are brought out of the spider itself. It is not as if some other web or like a nest has been built by a bird, not like that; but mayā tatam idaṁ: all this world is woven, is brought out; tatam means that which is spread out. “All this world is spread out and woven; mayā, by Me”. avyakta-mūrtinā: mūrti is a form, now all the forms that we see are all vyaktamūrti, but the Supreme has a form which is avyakta, so between the vyaktamūrti and the Supreme, there is an intermediate which is avyaktamūrti.
Sri Krishna uses words which waken us from slumber because mūrti and avyakta, these two are contradictions: all forms are vyakta, they are formed, but avyaktamūrti, and Sri Krishna means it, therefore be awakened, don’t say: ‘I don’t accept this contradiction’: “Fine! Start with śraddhā, that what is being stated is ultimately to be realised by you, you will realise it, it is already given, pratyakṣāvagamaṁ, this knowledge is that which you will gain if you persist, I don’t say you take it for granted and I am making statements which will startled you”.
And this is the first startling statement:
mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyakta-mūrtinā
There is a form which is not manifest: ‘I am also unmanifest but between Me who is unmanifest and all the forms which are manifested there is another form which is unmanifest.’
We shall continue with this: these are all contradictory statements. We shall first listen to them very, very sharply, without being startled, or even if startled we will take the shock of them: “mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni, all these creatures, mat-sthāni, they are all located in Me; na cāhaṁ teṣvavasthitaḥ, but I am not located in them”: they are in Me but I am not in them. Now, this is a self contradiction. Normally when somebody is in you, in some way you are in them; this is the normal experience of our life; in some way something is…when you put ‘something’ here, then it is impossible that ‘that something’ is not here. But Sri Krishna says very clearly, in a startling manner: matsthāni sarvabhūtāni na cāhaṁ teṣvavasthitaḥ. But then again He says: na ca matsthāni bhūtāni, even they are not in Me. First He says: “They are in Me and I am not in them”; but now He says na ca matsthāni bhūtāni, it is a sharp contradiction. Here He says: “They are in Me”, there He says: “They are not in Me”. paśya me yogamaiśvaram: see My supreme aiśvara, My supreme royalty, this is the king-knowledge, aiśvaram, see My Yoga which is so powerful, so mysterious, so wonderful;
bhūta-bhṛn na ca bhūta-stho mamātmā bhūta-bhāvanaḥ ||
bhūtabhṛn, I am the bearer of all these creatures; na bhūta-stho, and yet I am not in them; He repeats, na ca bhūta-stho, I am not in them, I am not seated in the bhūta(s); I am the bearer of all the bhūta(s), and yet I am not in bhūta(s), not in the creatures; mamātmā, My very Self is bhūta-bhāvanaḥ, My very Self has become these very creatures; bhūtabhāvanaḥ, one who has become all these.
“I am the bearer of all the creatures, I am Myself all these creatures, they are all in Me, they are not in Me, they are in Me but I am not in them, such is my wonderful nature.” And this is all that is to be known, king-knowledge is given, perfect, full knowledge is given.
Now, let us try to understand. These are only two statements and we shall dwell upon it today, these two important statements.
Question: May the knowledge of mother and child be associated with this?
You mean, if you make an analogy with the mother and child? It could not be wrong. Statement is true, therefore, in a sense you might say, this statement is such which is anupama. Basically this statement does not apply to anybody in the world. It is a statement which is true only of the supreme Divine, therefore there is no analogy. So now you cannot say I have explained to you by bringing an analogy: look now this is how, this is it. Sri Krishna Himself will give another analogy afterwards in the next paragraph, but we shall wait for it. Basically, there is nothing comparable to the Divine. if it was comparable, then the Divine would not be divine, He is the Supreme, therefore He is anupama. Therefore, no analogy will take you to understand it properly, but you can approximate.
But first, let us try to understand the statements in two or three different ways. There are in the history of thought three conceptions of God. I now refer to these historical conceptions because here we have an exposition of the knowledge of God: mayā tatam-idaṁ, mayā means ‘Me’, He is the Supreme, Supreme says: ‘all this world is manifested by Me’, therefore this is the knowledge of the supreme Reality. This was the knowledge of the Reality which was missing in Arjuna’s question, and therefore the question had become so grave. If you bring this knowledge into all that Arjuna has said that question will be dissolved and answered, because it is the rājavidyā, it is the capital king-knowledge and king-knowledge which wipes out, rubs out all the doubts, everything is to be made clear now. So, we need therefore to understand this concept and one of the ways by which we can understand this concept is to see how, throughout the history of the world, people have tried to understand God.
All those who have striven to know God, they have declared: God is very difficult to know. All have declared; there is nobody who can say very clearly, ‘I have known God and I am now perfect. Even the Upanishad: there is Kena Upanishad where it is said that ‘One who knows the Divine does not know; one who does not know really knows.’ He says ‘I cannot say that I know the Divine, and yet I cannot say that I do not know Him.’ These are some of the last statements made by one who has realised the Supreme, and he states this statement in the Kena Upanishad (2.1&2).
Elsewhere also, wherever anybody who has come to realise, he describes, Sri Krishna also describes the Reality in these many words, many have described but they say ultimately: ‘He is ineffable’; ‘He cannot be expressed’. This is also the report of many people who have gone to the Divine and seeing Him they feel: ‘This is ineffable; it cannot be described; it cannot be expressed’. In the Upanishad we have one description of the Divine: neti neti, whatever you say of Him, you add, He is not that. You say everything that you want to say and then you add to it: neti neti, it is not so, it is not so. You say, He is akṣara, then you say He is not so; you say, kṣara, then you say it is not so. You say it is sat, it is not so; it is asat, it is not so. It is ‘Infinite’, it is not so. It is ‘Finite’, it is not so; neti neti, whenever you make any statement…because the moment you make a statement you fall short of that reality, it would not be applicable to that reality.
At the same time in saying ‘it is not this, it is not this’, it does not mean that He is nothing, because neti neti, could be also applied to something that is nothing. About ‘nothing’ also you can say ‘whatever you can say it is nothing’: it is not that, it is not that, it is not that. It is something about which you can say: it is this, it is this, it is this, it is this, it is this: this also can be said. It is such a reality about which you can say: it is not this, it is not this. It is such a reality about which you can say: it is this, it is this, it is this, it is this, it is this, endlessly.
Now this is the way in which God has been described in many different ways. As a result, historically three concepts have come out. All the three concepts are inadequate and as expressed exclusively, all are wrong. But if they can be combined together, synthesised together, then you have to say what Sri Krishna has said here in these two verses. If you can combine these three statements, then you are bound to say what Sri Krishna has said here.
These three concepts are what are called: ‘Deistic’ concept of God; ‘Pantheistic’ concept of God; and ‘Theistic’ concept of God: these are the three concepts of God. ‘Deistic’ or ‘Deism’; second is ‘Pantheism’; third is called ‘Theism’; there is also a fourth concept called ‘Monism’; there is also another concept which says: the Divine is “a-cosmic Monism’, it is ‘Monistic’ but also ‘a-cosmic’: the reality is one in which there is no place for the world. Now these are the different concepts.
Now, ‘Monism’ is very often identified with ‘Pantheism’, therefore I did not count four concepts but only three concepts. ‘Monism’ itself is either ‘Pantheistic’, or ‘a-cosmic’; so you might say there is a ‘Monism’ which is ‘Pantheistic’ or ‘a-Cosmic’. There is ‘Theism’ and then there is ‘Deism’. Basically there are three concepts: Deism, Pantheism, or Monism which is Pantheistic, or Monism which is a-Cosmic and Theistic.
Now, let us first ask: what is the Deistic concept of God?
According to Deism, God is superior to anything that you can think of. He is superior, supreme, (not only superior but supreme), and so supreme He cannot be judged by any concept that you have about the world and man. Now, there is a ‘crude’ Deism, there is a ‘very refined’ Deism, but there is also a ‘crude’ Deism which says: man is man, God is God, you cannot compare God with man: to compare God with man is blaspheming, it is sinful ev meaning there by: man can make mistakes, God can never make mistakes. This is one of the distinctions. As a result, if there is evil in this world, evil can be the result only of man’s actions, but evil cannot be traced to the Divine. God cannot be responsible for evil. You have to explain the world in such a way that God does not become responsible for anything that is wrong in the world, because God is God; He is perfect, supreme, no blemish in Him. Now, these statements are correct statements and yet…now, you see God, according to this view is the creator of the world, not necessarily ‘manifester’ of the world, He is the creator of the world: there is a difference between ‘manifester’ of the world and ‘creator’ of the world. According to this view, God is not the ‘manifester’ of the world. God is not like the spider: God is like the bird who makes the nest out of the materials which are available, but makes the nest. So, according to this view, God is the creator but not the manifester. God is so different than this world, how can it be the manifestation of God! this world of dirt and mud and all kinds of conflicts and all kinds of evils. God is the ‘creator'; He has put together many materials: what is good in it is because of divine governance, divine creation; whatever is evil is because of nature of matter itself is such; what can you do! It is not God’s fault. Whatever is wrong in this world is because of the very nature of matter is like that: God has done His very best whatever out of whatever is available. If there is something wrong in the world, it is because man is such a stupid, such a wicked, such an evil person, therefore whatever evil is there is because of man’s nature, not because of God. It is true however that God is very kind, He is doing his very best, all the best things manifest in God. So what He does is He is trying to put an order upon this world: this matter and this man, these are the two elements in the world; the world only consists of two things: matter and man. Matter is dirty by itself and man is capable of error and sin; therefore all that is disorderly, all that is wrong, all that is evil is due to man and matter. God has created in the sense that He has put them all together and having put them together puts an order on them. Now, this order He has imposed upon these two. So whatever order you find in the world is due to God, but the rest only man and matter are responsible for it: there is a schism between man and God; schism between world and God. There is a gulf between the two.
Now, this order which is put on the world and on man is what is called “The Law”. All order is due to The Law. So, you might say that God has put a Law upon the world and upon man: this Law is the ‘Divine Law’; therefore this ‘Law’ is the ‘Law of Justice’: God is ‘just’. And this Law, if broken is unjust, all injustice arises when this law is broken: all the evil is nothing but breaking of the Law of God. Therefore God, whenever there is breaking of the Law, intervenes and puts you into the just-ness; that implies that God punishes you. So God as ‘Judge’ and God as a ‘Punisher’, these two concepts are derived from what is called ‘Deistic’ concept of God.
Now, most of the people who have studied different concepts of God, they find great justification in this concept and yet some feel extremely uncomfortable. Why has He created this kind of world? Even if matter is what it is, even if man is what it is, if He is really supreme, can’t He rub out the dirt of the world? What is this order that He has placed here in this world, in which this disorder continuously goes on? So, this question is not answered by the ‘Deistic’ concept. Why has He created this world in which man can commit so much of an error? Can’t He enlighten him so well; if He is really supreme can’t He enlighten him, so he does not commit any error at all? Instead of judging and all that sort of thing, why this cumbersome process? If He is really supreme, why does He not do this? These two questions are unanswerable. Even though many people tried to make somersaults in answering these questions, those who are ‘Deists’, they tried to answer these questions, but ultimately these two questions remained unanswered, if you rightly, impartially examine these questions. If God is supreme, even if He has created an order, why has He created such an order in which disorder continues to go on? Why not complete order? Why not that kind of world? What is the justification of it? Even if you say that the nature of matter is itself dirty, what can He do? He has done His best! What is this supremacy? Why can’t He mirror out and polish it so well? Is this so important as that? And why can’t He enlighten these individuals, men, so well that they really do the right thing all the time? Why is this judge’s judgement whether he will do right or wrong? He knows that these individuals, poor human beings, are so incomplete, imperfect, ignorant. Having known that they are ignorant, why should you punish them if they do wrong? It is natural that they are imperfect if they are so ignorant, doing wrong things would be natural; if it is natural why do you want to punish them? What is this kind of system that God has created that when something naturally happens, you still punish! Child naturally would like to see television: you have a television, then you say to the child, ‘now, don’t see the television’; it only means that you are not like God, omnipotent, so that you will also give such an inspiration to the child at the right moment only he will see the television and at the wrong moment he will not. But this method of punishing the child is very wrong. Even educated parents today believe that punishment is not the right method of educating the children. So, that which is not right even for an educated parent, would it not be more right for God himself, If he is a real educator, a true inspirer, true merciful, then why this system? This was the argument of Buddha against ‘Deism’.
Buddha said that the world being what it is, it cannot be the creation of God. Therefore to say ‘God, the creator of this world, is a supreme Being’, He says ‘I don’t accept; I only see that the world is nothing but what it is: partly good, partly evil, full of suffering, pain, such cannot be the creation…if there is a God and if he is the creator, such cannot be the creation. So, he totally rejected this idea. And he said the whole world is nothing but Karma; there is only the law of Karma and which is not a supreme creator, this criticism cannot be applied to Karma. Karma is simply a law which gives results of action according to the nature of actions and that is all. But Buddha could not answer this question: if this is the nature of the world, how can you come out of it? And Buddha said: you can come out of it. If this is the very nature of the world, Karma is the only thing and nothing else, then, how can you come out of it? And yet Buddha said: you can come out of it that means there is something else also. Apart from Karma there must be something else also.
Comment: Because coming out of it, is also a Karma.
No, when you come out of Karma, Karma ceases, there is no further Karma: Nirvana is the extinction of Karma. If there is extinction of Karma, then there is something which is no-Karma, then how does Karma come out, at all? This mystery… actually Buddha preferred not to answer this question. In fact Buddha even said: do not take down what I am saying because Buddha was opposed… He said the moment you write down my answers, people will take them to be dogmas and people will start saying ‘Buddha said this and Buddha said that’, therefore He said ‘I am making no metaphysical statements, I don’t make ultimate statements: metaphysical statement means ‘ultimate statement’.
These two verses that we read just now are called metaphysical statements, statements which are ultimate in regard to the ultimate Reality: that is metaphysical statement. So, Buddha said ‘I am not a metaphysician, I am not making any metaphysical statement, I am only saying: ‘you are suffering, this suffering is because of Karma, but I tell you, you can come out of Karma. Now, whether it gives you any metaphysical statement out of it or not, that is up to you, but I can only, like a doctor, I can only tell you that you can come out of suffering’. That ends Buddhistic teaching. It does not claim to be metaphysical, therefore, you cannot even go to Him and criticise Him, because it is not a metaphysical statement.
But in any case as far as ‘Deism’ is concerned, now you can see very clearly that there are some statements in Deism which seem to be very, very appropriate because it says ‘God is God’, incomparable; God is the creator, marvellous, supreme, superior, and you can see even in these statements of Sri Krishna something of this: mayā tatam-idaṁ, ‘all this, is created by Me’; then, ‘they are in Me but I am not in them, I am superior to them; I am not in them, I am superior’; even ‘they are not in Me, because how they can be in Me?’ Can men be in God? God is God: so, it is absolutely ‘Deistic’ you might say. To say that ‘all this, is from Me’ or ‘created by Me’. Second statement that ‘they are in Me but I am not in them’; and a further statement even ‘they are not in Me’. These statements seem to very much satisfy the ‘Deistic’ concept of God.
But as I told you, the moment you take this deistic concept to show the complete gulf between men and God, complete gulf between world and God, you have difficulties.
So, now you have the ‘Pantheistic’ concept: there are pantheists which reject the idea of Deism. According to Pantheism, God is not above the world. According to Deism god is above the world, above man. According to Pantheism, God is not above the world: God is ‘the totality of the world’. The whole world is one unity; this totality of unity is God. The difference between man and God is only this: whereas God is the totality of all men and all things in the world, man is only one portion of it, one part of it, but he is a part of God. In Deism man is not a part of God: man is man, God is God. Whereas here man is a part of God, everything in the world is a part of God and the totality is God: all is God, (‘pan’ means ‘all’; ‘theos’ means ‘God’). All is god is Pantheism.
Now, if this theory is now advanced further, then many problems arise. So, there have been thinkers who have advocated Pantheism because they could not accept Deism, but there are other thinkers who neither accept Deism, nor Pantheism, because of certain difficulties. What are the difficulties in Pantheism? If all is God, man being part of God, he is ‘godly’; if he is godly, then the present nature of man, which seems to be not-godly cannot be explained. Secondly whatever man does, if he is a part of the totality, he is not responsible for anything that he does: he does only a part of the totality. Totality being what it is, an individual can do nothing but what totality happens to do as a whole. Therefore, according to this view man is not responsible for his actions and yet man ‘feels’ to be responsible. This is an experience of any human being. If Pantheism was valid, then no individual would have felt that he is responsible: actually pantheists believe that the idea of responsibility is a false idea: you should not feel responsible. This is the teaching of pantheists. If you feel that you are doing right or wrong, this feeling itself is wrong, it is based upon your ignorance. If you know that the totality is what it is, you are a part of it, then, whatever you do is inevitable; you cannot help it. There is nothing like ‘sin’ according to Pantheism, nothing like wrong.
Question: Many of the Renaissance thinkers were also pantheistic?
Many of them, yes, you are right. Spinoza for example, he was a perfect pantheist and this is their belief. Bradley (Francis Herbert, 1846-1924) for example, even in the 19th, 20th century, he was a pantheist of this kind. In fact Bradley wrote a chapter in one of his books, (Physical Studies) ‘Vulgar notions of responsibility’: responsibility is a vulgar notion, that is to say an unscientific, an un-metaphysical statement. So, he said that human being should be cured of this sense of responsibility: the sense of responsibility arises when you do not know that the totality is the whole thing which is divine and it even means that whatever actions you are doing ultimately constitutes divinity; even your evil actions, what you call evil actions, they are part of the totality and the totality as a whole is God, divine, therefore your wrong doing is a part of the totality of the good; it is evil only when you see it partly, but when you see it fully, in the totality, it is all perfectly fine, perfectly good. Now, this Pantheism is attacked by those people who believe that responsibility is not an illusion, sense of responsibility is not an illusion, it is not merely a question of ignorance, it is something much more. It is by a sense of responsibility that you overcome the evil and you come to the good. If everything that happens is ultimately good, then there is no need to transcend what you are, and yet there is a movement in you to transcend. How will you explain this sense of transcendence? Then you should be other than what you are, there should be something other than what you are doing, you ought to be something else. This very sense of ‘ought’ has to be explained. If everything is according to the totality, why should this concept of ‘ought’ should arise at all? This ‘ought’, sense of ‘ought’, according to these critics is not explained by Pantheism.
And secondly, more seriously, if all is a manifestation of God, if all is nothing but… is not a creation, here is a question of manifestation, there is only one Reality, one God, who is all, then the question is: is this manifestation complete at any given time? But we see that it is continuously going on, if it is not complete, then there must be something which is not yet manifested. If that which is not manifested is not yet a part of all, therefore at the root, there must be something more than all. if all is manifested, then the world is manifested fully now and nothing further is to be done which is not the case, something is going to manifest today, tomorrow, or the day after, therefore something is still not yet manifested. Something which is not yet manifested must be yet in the Reality. Therefore that Reality which is manifesting is not fully manifest; therefore that Reality must be containing something more than what is manifest. Therefore Reality must be more than the manifest world; Reality must be more than all. Therefore God is not all, all is not God: God is more than the whole. This is the conclusion that is put forward. Therefore Pantheism on these two grounds is rejected by most of the thinkers.
Now, there is a third concept which is of ‘Theism’. Now, Theism maintains that it is a synthesis of both ‘Deism’ and ‘Pantheism’, but what kind of synthesis? According to Deism God is more than the world; according to Pantheism God is all, not more than all, God is all. According to Deism God is transcendental because more than the world, according to Pantheism god is immanent because God is ‘all’. According to Theism God is both transcendental and immanent. It comes therefore to say that now I have resolved all the problems about God, I have synthesised both of them. According to Theism, God is more than the world; God is however the creator of the world: more than the world therefore He can create. (God is not the ‘manifester’ of the world, according to Pantheism God and manifestation are one and the same therefore God manifests the world). God is superior to the world; God is creator of the world and yet can enter into the world: He is not only superior but He is also in the world. God enters into the world therefore He is immanent; but immanence can be of two types: ‘the clay’ and ‘the toy’. ‘Clay’ is immanent in the ‘toy’, in what sense? The entire ‘toy’ is nothing but ‘clay’: this is one kind of immanence. The other kind of immanence is…in which you are an element among many other elements: these also are immanent. Now, according to Theism, God is immanent in the second sense: He is above the world, but He is also capable of entering into the world. It is therefore said that God is historical in character: God enters into the history of the world. God not only watches the world and its history, but He Himself is historical, He enters into the world. God not only judges from above, that is the ‘deistic’ concept; God also enters into the world, He is a judge, but of a different kind, an ‘immanent judge’.
One of the best examples of ‘Theism’ is Christianity: Christian view of God. Christianity when it expounds its philosophy, it claims itself to be theistic, and if you therefore examine Theism, Christianity would be a very good example, and if there is to be any criticism of Christianity, it could be a good criticism of Theism also. In what sense is God immanent in the world? This is the basic question in Christianity. As I told you there can be two kinds of immanence: like ‘clay’ in the ‘toy’ in which ‘toy’ is nothing but ‘clay’, the entirety. This is not the sense in which Christianity uses the word ‘God’s immanence’. Actually, according to Christianity the world consists of matter and when the question is asked: from where has matter been created? Christianity’s answer is: God creates the world out of nothing. So this may be a shocking answer; that is to say there is between God and the world a gap, a gulf. God creates the world, but matter can’t come out of it because God is ‘pure’; matter is ‘impure’: how can matter come out of God? Therefore according to this view, matter cannot come out of God. Then, from where has it come? Is this something original there: this also Christian does not accept? According to some of the concepts in Indian philosophy, the world and matter already exists somehow, it is self-existent and God only shapes it. According to Christianity, the world cannot exist by itself, matter cannot be self-existent, therefore it must come out of God, but it cannot come out of God: such a dirty thing cannot come out of God. Therefore the answer that Christianity gives is: matter is created out of nothing, and they admitted it, this is a dogma and it cannot be answered, it is a question: it is unanswerable. There is no other way except saying that God creates the world out of nothing. And man what about man? The answer is that man is ‘breath’ of God, therefore ‘divine’ in nature; but while the soul is manifested by God, by His breathing, God gives freedom to it. Because of that freedom, he is capable of doing wrong things. If you ask the question: why could God not give him such a freedom that whatever he does is freely good? The answer is that freedom itself is good and God gives only what is good: freedom is good, therefore freedom is given to man; but out of that freedom man makes a mess of it because of the freedom. The question is that if freedom is good how can good be the cause of evil? How can good produce evil, even if it is used by somebody or the other. If freedom itself, its nature is good, how can it produce evil? This question, Christianity does not answer. According to them freedom being good, God has only given a good gift to man but man having received this freedom, uses freedom in such a way that evil is produced. In other words this is a question which remains unanswered or at least an answer which is given which is not satisfying to many people at least.
Now, you can see that all the three views that we have presented are questionable. Now, in this statement that we have read, we will find ‘Deism’, ‘Pantheism’, and ‘Theism’ altogether. When Sri Krishna says: bhūtabhāvanaḥ, all this is nothing but…I am bhūtabhāvanaḥ, not that I am immanent in the world, only as an ‘element’, but the world is nothing but my bhāva: matter, life, mind, everything is nothing but mayā tatam, like a spider it is giving out: so it is pantheistic in that sense. It is deistic in the sense it says: ‘they are in Me, I am not in them, I am more than all, I am more than the world’, therefore deistic in its concept. It is theistic because: ‘I am the bearer of all’, bhūtabhṛn. Bearer means: one who is superior and yet giving my back to it, everything is supported by Me. So, I am not only ‘all’, I am also the bearer of all, therefore I am an element in all; therefore immanence of the kind that ‘Theism’ wants is also there, both the kinds of immanence are given to God, to the Reality, in the Bhagavad Gita, these two verses.
In other words, these two verses give you a concept of God which has been variously described in the history of thought, but each of which is given exclusively, but not synthetically and here all the three are brought together. But in bringing together the question is whether we are not also subjecting this view to the criticisms of all. If Deism is invalid from one point of view, in what way is the deistic, the questions against Deism are answered here? If Pantheism is not fully valid, then how is this pantheistic question regarding Pantheism, how are they answered here? If there are defects in Theism, how are they answered over here?
This is the basic question which is now to be taken up in the 9th chapter, 10th chapter, 11th chapter, 12th chapter. All this is now to be seen in fullness. So, we shall do that in the next one. All right?