We have come to chapter 15 now.
There are three chapters in the Bhagavad Gita which relate to the mystery of the divine existence: the wonder and mystery of the divine existence, chapter 3, chapter 9, chapter 15, 3, 9, and 15, at the distance of 6 each.
In chapter 3, Sri Krishna speaks of the Divine as the creator of the universe. If you turn to chapter 3 verse 10, we have a sentence:
saha-yajñāḥ prajāḥ sṛṣṭvā purovāca prajāpatiḥ |
anena prasaviṣyadhvam eṣa vo ’stv iṣṭa-kāma-dhuk ||3.10||
“Prajapati created the world…” So, there the description is given of Prajapati as a creator, the Lord as a creator of the world, but He created the world with sacrifice: saha-yajñāḥ prajāḥ, this word ‘yajñāḥ’ is very important, this is one of the mystery of the supreme Divine. This is a connection with the Purusha Sukta of the Rig Veda, where Rig Veda points out that the whole world is created by the sacrifice of the Lord Himself in His own power of creation: it is called the sacrifice of Purusha. That is because the world itself is made of the ‘substance’ of Purusha.
It is not as if God has some ‘other matter’ before Him, and He simply gives shape to the world, to that matter. That is another view of God: God creates the world out of the matter which is beside Him, and He simply gives shape to it.
There is another view of the creation according to which God creates the world out of nothing, nothing beside Him, it is as if it were a ‘magic’ of God: He makes the world out of nothing, He is so omnipotent, so powerful, out of nothing He creates the world.
Another view is that God Himself ‘is’ the world, He does not create the world, He Himself is the world, or the other way round, the whole world is nothing but God: that is another view.
In distinction from all these views, this statement of Bhagavad Gita is extremely mysterious, powerful and something that has a lot of impact and meaning.
So, prajāpatiḥ sṛṣṭvā saha-yajñāḥ prajāḥ: He sacrificed Himself and with the principle of sacrifice, He created the world. That is the substance of the world itself is the Lord sacrificing Himself. Instead of remaining in His own position where He is, (in His own status as it were), He sacrifices that position, throws Himself, and out of Himself He shapes the world.
Now, this is one statement in the Bhagavad Gita, which pervades the whole of the Bhagavad Gita. Because even in the Karmayoga which is the central teaching of the Bhagavad Gita, the Karmayoga itself consists of the principle of sacrifice: all your actions you offer to the Divine, sacrifice to the Divine. Why do you sacrifice to the Divine? It is simply a ‘response’ to the divine sacrifice: the Divine sacrifices Himself to create the world; and then the world sacrifices itself to reach back to the Divine. It is a mutual sacrifice from God to the world and world to the Divine: this is the secret of Karmayoga.
Now, we have dealt with this question at length earlier so I am not going further into it. Then we had seen the 9th chapter where the Supreme is defined in the 4th verse:
mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyakta-mūrtinā |
mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ ||9.4||
And the next verse:
na ca mat-sthāni bhūtāni paśya me yogam aiśvaram |
bhūta-bhṛn na ca bhūta-stho mamātmā bhūta-bhāvanaḥ ||9.5||
These 2 verses once again describe the Divine, and describe the wonder and mystery of the Divine.
Now, let us see what these 2 verses deal with:
“This entire world is pervaded by Me…” Here the translation is not very correct: tatam idaṁ, means ‘that which is spun out of Me’, (not ‘pervaded’). “The whole world is spun out of Me.” mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad, the whole world is spun out, like the spider makes a web out of itself, the entire weaving is done by the spider and the material is also the spider’s own; that is called ‘tatam’; mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad, the whole world is spun out by Me; avyakta-mūrtinā, in My un-manifested form.
Then He says mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni: all the creatures of the world, all the things in the world; mat-sthāni, they are all located in Me; na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ, but I am not seated in them.
We have discussed this matter at length earlier: “They are all in Me, but I am not in them”, this is the mystery of the Supreme.
And then He says:
na ca mat-sthāni bhūtāni: and yet these beings do not exists in Me. First He says ‘they are in Me’, then He says ‘they don’t exists in Me’. ‘Behold My divine mystery, paśya me yogam aiśvaram. He first said ‘they are all in Me’, now He says ‘they are not in Me’.
bhūta-bhṛn na ca bhūta-stho mamātmā bhūta-bhāvanaḥ
“Although My spirit is the source of all beings and sustainer of the beings, yet I do not abide in them.”: I have become all this, bhūta-bhṛn, I am the bearer of all this, bhūta-stho, although I am in them; mamātmā bhūta-bhāvanaḥ, I am also Myself the one who has become the bhūta, bhūta-bhāvanaḥ, I am the bearer of the world, I am Myself the whole world, and yet I am not in them, na bhūta-stho.
So, you can see the contradiction in the statements and therefore that is the mystery of the Supreme. You know very often the question is: ‘Do you believe in God?’ And the answer is: “What kind of God do you believe in”. It is not enough to say: “Yes, I believe in God”. And when you examine this question of ‘belief in God’, the central thing is: “What kind of God do you believe in?” There are so many…
…with this verse very often, so I am not dealing with it again. But this is a very important statement. This is the Lord from whom the whole world has moved out; this is the Lord who bears all the things, the Lord in whom all things reside, the Lord, yet, who does not reside in everything.
Now we come to the 15th chapter. Once again we have a description of the supreme Lord.
Question: What kind of God?
In the Gita, God is of…these three statements which I made:
In the 3rd chapter: God who creates the world by sacrificing Himself, that is the first concept of god. Second is this now we just said just now: God who Himself is spun out into this world, and yet Himself He is not there. He bears all the creatures, all the creatures are in Him and yet He is not in them.
Now, we have the 15th chapter. If you remember even about the 9th chapter, Sri Krishna had said that ‘this is the secret of secrets’ of the nature of the Divine: the very title of the 9th chapter is rāja-vidyā rāja-guhya yoga; it is rāja-vidyā, the supreme knowledge and rāja-guhya, the supreme secret, secret of secrets. Now these 2 sentences which I read to you are the supreme knowledge and the supreme secret.
Now, similarly, if you come to the 15th chapter and you see the last sentence of the 15th chapter, it is verse 20:
iti guhyatamaṁ śāstram idaṁ uktaṁ mayānagha |
etad buddhvā buddhimān syāt kṛta-kṛtyaś ca bhārata ||15.20||
After stating the whole statement of the 15th chapter, He says:
“O Anagha, O Arjuna,…Anagha means the sinless, the one who has committed no sin, Anagha, O sinless Arjuna, I have now told you guhyatamaṁ śāstram, as if the guhyatama śāstra which was given in the 9th was not enough. Now, in the 15th chapter you have a further secret revealed about his being, iti guhyatamaṁ śāstram idaṁ uktaṁ, so this chapter goes even beyond the 9th chapter, the secret nature of the supreme Divine is further revealed in this chapter.
In fact whatever is said in this chapter is implied in all the chapters of the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita cannot be understood unless this chapter is understood explicitly, because implicitly, this chapter is underlying the whole thing. Therefore, this chapter…when we have come to the 15th chapter we have come at the heart as it were, because this is the guhyatamaṁ śāstram.
Now, this is guhyatamaṁ because not only is the nature of the Divine described here, but also the relationship of the Divine with the soul, also the relationship of the soul with the Divine, and the Divine with the soul is stated very briefly and also the secret of bondage and liberation and perfection is very briefly stated. Therefore, the complete answer to Arjuna’s question is implied in this chapter, complete answer.
And because of this importance, I would like to preface this chapter with a long, long statement. It is the most important chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, it is itself called ‘puruṣottama yoga’; the supreme Lord which is described supremely, but very briefly, so briefly that you will not even notice it; excepting at one or two points you will feel little jerk, but otherwise it is so smoothly stated…but when it is very smooth you should understand there is something very mysterious about it. So, I will preface this chapter with a long statement. This is concerning the concept of Purusha. In India the word Purusha is very prevalent, in Indian languages man is described as Purusha.
In its reality Purusha does not mean man or male power, but the Supreme from whom everything emerges, (that’s the meaning of Purusha), the supreme Reality: that is the original meaning of the word Purusha as described in the Veda. The first time that we used the word Purusha, it was in the Veda. Now, this Purusha, according to the Veda, is wonderful and mysterious. I have often quoted from the Rig Veda that very important statement of the nature of Purusha:
न नूनम् अस्ति नो श्वः कस् तद् वेद यद् अद्भुतम् |
अन्यस्य चित्तम् अभि संचरेण्यम् उताधीतं वि नश्यति ||
na nūnam asti no śvaḥ kas tad veda yad adbhutam |
anyasya cittam abhi saṃcareṇyam utādhītaṃ vi naśyati ||
The Veda 1.170.1
It says that “The Reality is neither today nor tomorrow”, in other words Reality is eternal; “kastad veda yad adbhutam, but who can know that Reality which is adbhuta, which is wonderful. Why is it wonderful? That comes in the next sentence: although it is He Himself, anyasya citam abhisancarenyam, it has motion in the other…”
Now, this statement is a mysterious sentence…He Himself is other than Himself, although He is the ultimate reality, the only reality, there is no reality other than Himself, yet He is other than Himself. Whenever there is a motion that motion is qualified by consciousness and that consciousness is other than Himself. This is the actual mystery of the idea of Sachchidananda.
This whole concept of Sachchidananda as the supreme Lord emerges out of this statement. He Himself ‘is’: that is, He is Sat; Sat is ‘to be’. That reality is that which is existent.
Now, ‘That which is existent’ is complex: It is Itself; It is other than Itself. It is existent and therefore immovable, it always exists: nanunaṁ asti no śvaḥ, He is neither today nor tomorrow, He is eternal therefore it exists, unchangeable, immutable. Yet it has a motion, abhisancarenyam: sancara is the movement. The Reality which is eternal, which is immutable still moves, it’s not incapable of motion: ‘the immutable that moves’. But moves anyasya cittam*, moves by consciousness. In Itself It exists, but it is also other than existence namely it is consciousness also: It is not only existent, It is also conscious.
So, there is a distinction between ‘being’ and ‘consciousness’. The two are one, and yet there is a difference between being and consciousness and this is the mystery of the divine Reality.
You might say that this is an illogical proposition because it’s contradictory: It is Itself and It is other than Itself. The answer is that that is the wonder of it; that self contradiction somehow is the nature of the Reality, you cannot help it: such is the nature of the Reality. You examine your own personality; you find the same mystery about your own personality. You are yourself and in doing every action that you are doing you are other than yourself and yet, that other than yourself is also yourself.
Even in ordinary life, when you are busy with cooking, you are also looking after the child at the same time. Now, the action of cooking is yourself and yet it is possible for you to be other than yourself, you have to look after the child at the same time, simultaneously. It is one very simple example to show how you are yourself and yet you are other than yourself and yet the two are not different from each other: it is the same mother who is cooking, the same mother who is looking after the child, at the same time.
Such is the nature of Reality, therefore it is adbhutam, it is strange, wonderful, mysterious. A Reality which is itself and yet which is other than itself, a Reality which is immutable and yet it moves and moves by consciousness, therefore it is Sat and Chit at the same time. it not only moves, but the Purusha is capable of throwing Himself into that which is other than Itself, makes a ‘sacrifice of Himself’ into that which is other than Itself, namely Sat throws Himself into Chit and by this throwing Himself, the world is spun out…
sarvaṁ tatam idaṁ jagad sarvaṁ
…the whole world is, as it were, spun out of Him because of this act, the Purusha makes a sacrifice of Himself into Chit and that movement is a free movement. It is not that it is obliged to throw Himself into the other, there is no compulsion on Him, but He is capable of it, capable therefore He can always do it freely whenever He wants.
This freedom is what is called ‘Ananda’; therefore it is Sat-Chit-Ananda. The freedom by which He can throw Himself into that which is other than Himself, which yet is Himself, and brings out the contents of Himself in the form of all the creatures of the world, such is the mysterious nature of the supreme Lord.
Now, this concept of God which is so much celebrated in India, in the Upanishads particularly and which actually explains the whole world most satisfactorily…there are many questions about the world such as for example the problem of evil, one of the most difficult problem of philosophy is: how evil arises in the world? It can be explained only on the premise that the Divine is Sachchidananda; if you take away that premise, then the problem of evil becomes insolvable. This is the uniqueness of Indian thought, the concept of Reality as Sachchidananda.
So, when you say: do you believe in God? There can be many answers. The kind of God, the nature of God has to be so comprehensive that every problem of the world, the riddle of the world can be solved, and therefore this chapter, 15th chapter particularly, since it brings out this basic proposition very clearly, it is called ‘uttamam’, the supreme word of the Gita is explained in this chapter.
We will see verse 16 in this chapter. He says:
dvāv imau puruṣau loke kṣaraś cākṣara eva ca |
“There are two Purushas: the one is kṣara, the mobile, the other is akṣara, is immobile.” The same Purusha, the same Reality, is at once kṣara and akṣara, is at once mobile and immobile. This is also the description of the Reality in the Isha Upanishad. In the Isha Upanishad, describing the Reality, it says: tadejati tannaijati (Isha Upn. 5) ‘that moves, that does not move’, the same reality is at once static and dynamic.
dvāv imau puruṣau loke kṣaraś cākṣara eva ca |
kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni*, all the things that you see in the world are because Purusha is mobile. If He was not mobile, the mobile world would not exist. So:
kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni, but* kūṭa-stho ’kṣara ucyate ||15.16||
But that which is immobile, kūṭa-stho, that which transcends all movement, that which is above movement is akṣara, beyond the movement that is the immobile.
So, you have a contradiction here: the Reality is at once kṣara, and akṣara. Now, the reconciliation takes place between the two in the nature of Reality, which is above both movement and immobility and that is in the 17th verse:
uttamaḥ puruṣas tv anyaḥ: anyaḥ the other one however, there is still another one; kṣara is one, akṣara is another and there is still another; uttamaḥ puruṣas tv anyaḥ: there is still another, uttama, the supreme, there is uttama Purusha; paramātmety udāhṛtaḥ, He has been described as paramātman,
yo loka-trayam āviśya bibharty avyaya īśvaraḥ ||15.17||
“He enters into all the 3 worlds and pervades, avyaya, yet He is inexhaustible, imperishable, even the whole world moves out of Him, He Himself enters into this…”
Now here, when you say: ‘He enters into this world’, we remember in the 9th chapter, He says: ‘they are in Me, but I am not in them’, here He says: ‘I am in them, yo loka-trayam āviśya, I have Myself entered into all the three worlds; bibharty avyaya īśvaraḥ, He is mobile, He throws Himself out and yet He is avyaya, He remains un-expended. One who expends Himself constantly, yet He remains un-expended.
And then He gives the name in the 18th verse:
yasmāt kṣaram atīto ’ham akṣarād api cottamaḥ |
ato ’smi loke veda ca prathitaḥ puruṣottamaḥ ||15.18||
The name given to Himself is: “I am Purushottama because yasmāt kṣaram atīto, I am more than kṣara, I am more than ‘mobility’, I am more than akṣarād api, I am more than ‘immobile’; My immobility does not exhaust Me, My mobility does not exhaust Me. He is the Purushottama; ato ’smi loke veda ca prathitāḥ, in the people and also in the Veda therefore I am described as Purushottama, I am described therefore as Purushottama.”
Now, these three verses give us a complete description of the nature of the ultimate Reality. As I said it starts with the Veda, same concept; same concept is also repeated in the Upanishad: “tadejati tannaijati”. And now here you get a complete exposition of it, clear enunciation of it: “I am 3 Purushas”, that is to say, “although I am one, I am three-fold.” In other words the Reality is of such a nature, it is capable of different statuses. Just as I gave the example of ‘cooking and looking after the child’, the same person has two statuses, and without loosing the other, it is at the same time the other one. This capacity of becoming three-fold, four-fold…in fact it is also said: sahasra akśaḥ, He is also thousand-fold, there is also the Vedic concept: so, you may become million-fold, billion-fold and yet it remains the same Reality. Such is the mystery and wonder of that Reality.
Question: Three statuses going side with the immanent reality, the cosmic reality and the transcendent, or would it be wrong to put the two together? Then He is in them, then it is the immanent reality…
It is difficult to classify absolutely accurately because there are different concepts. I shall at the end join them together after expounding something more which I want to expound, I will come to that question.
Here we have a description of the reality which says: Reality is mobile, immobile and a one who is above both mobility and immobility, which is undescribable because what is it that moves above both mobility and immobility? Such is the nature of that ultimate Reality.
There is another description which says: Reality is transcendental, universal and individual, this is another classification, I will come to that also just now. Another third one is: Reality is transcendental and immanent, (cosmic is the same as universal), transcendental, universal (or cosmic), and immanent. This is another classification of the nature of Reality, all the three are inter-connected. Reality within itself is complex, therefore it has inter-relationships.
Now, let us come to the 2nd one: Reality is at once transcendental, cosmic and individual (not immanent). So, since we all are ‘individuals’, for us this is the most important idea. We want to know ourselves. What are we? Everyone has this question: what am I? What is my function in the world? What am I to do in this world? Supreme question of every individual! And this question cannot be answered unless in the concept of this broad idea of this relationship of the Supreme and the individual, Supreme and the Cosmic.
Now, we have in the Bhagavad Gita two statements which give us the idea of the concept of the individual. In the 7th chapter, in the verses 4&5, Sri Krishna declares that the Supreme Purushottama has got two natures: one is the lower nature, another is the higher nature, Apara Prakriti and Para Prakriti. Apara Prakriti consists of eight elements, if you read 7th chapter, 4, the last word is prakṛtir-aṣṭadhā, I have a Prakriti which is aṣṭadhā, which is eight-fold. What is this eight-fold? He has described in the first two sentences:
bhūmir āpo ’nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca |
ahaṇkara itīyaṁ me bhinnā prakṛtir-aṣṭadhā ||7.4||
It consists of eight things: bhūmi means earth, pṛthvī; āpo means water, liquid principle; anala means the fire; vāyu means the Air or wind; khaṁ means ākaśa the ether; manaḥ the mind; buddhi the intellect; and ahaṇkara egoism. These eight elements constitute My lower Prakriti, aṣṭadhā prakṛti.
In the fifth verse it says:
apareyam itas tv anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām, this is Apara Prakriti, apara-yam, this is Apara, but beyond that, anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ, there is another Prakriti of Mine, that also you should know, viddhi; me parām, it is My higher Praktiti.
Now, this Para Prakriti is described as: jīva-bhūtāṁ, it is that Para Prakriti which has become the Jiva, it’s the individual, each one of us is ‘Jiva’. Each individual is actually born out of Para Prakriti. So, if you want to know ‘who am I?’, we have to distinguish ourselves from Apara Prakriti: ‘I’ am not Apara Prakriti, because I am jīva-bhūtāṁ parām, I am actually born out of the higher Prakriti. This is the first statement about our ‘self’ knowledge: ‘who am I?’. I am not the child of Apara Prakriti. My body, my life, my mind may be belonging to Apara Prakriti, but ‘me’, my ‘self’, my truth, my being is born out of Para Prakriti:
jīvabhūtāṁ mahābāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat ||7.5||
“It is by a higher nature that the whole world is upheld”. Apara Prakriti does not uphold the world; it is by higher Prakriti that the world is upheld; this Prakriti is divya in nature, is divine in nature. Apara Prakriti is not divine in nature: Apara Prakriti is a mixture.
Later on we learn Apara Prakriti consists of Tamas, Rajas, Sattwa, it’s a mixture of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas of which these are the 8 elements, but Para Prakriti consists of Sat-Chit-Ananda: that is the real nature of divine nature. The lower nature, the Apara Prakriti, consists of mortality. The higher nature is immortal, is imperishable, immortality, amṛtaṁ. That is why in the Veda it is declared: you as far as ‘you’, individual, are concerned you are ‘amṛtasya putrāḥ’ (Shvet. Upn. 2. 5): “you are the children of amṛta”, of the immortal. So, this is one answer to the question as to ‘who am I?’.
Now, in the 15th chapter, we have another answer as to ‘who am I’? verse 7. Now, here the description is of the supreme Lord. In the 7th chapter we had the description of the Prakriti, of the power of the Divine. Here now, we have the description of the Divine Himself:
mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ |, this individual is mamaivāṁśo, “I am Myself that Jiva”. In the 7th chapter we had the description: jīva-bhūtāṁ: that is Prakriti herself is Jiva, the supreme Prakriti, divya Prakriti, divya power. Here, “I have Myself become the Jiva”, mamaivāṁśo sanātanaḥ, this is eternal: that is ‘you as an individual are an eternal portion of the supreme Lord Himself’.
If you combine these two propositions together you find that Jiva is at once the portion of the Supreme and something that is constituted by the supreme power: Supreme Being and supreme power. The individual shares therefore both the aspects: the being of the supreme Lord and the power of the supreme Lord. Reality itself is also Supreme Being and supreme power: when we say Reality is Sat and Chit, (Chit is power, Sat is being). So, when we say: Reality is Sat-Chit; it means the Reality is at once Supreme Being and also supreme power. And individual is the aṁśa of Supreme Being and supreme power. So, when you put both the statements together, you get the correct answer to the question as to ‘who am I’? “I am the portion of the supreme Being and the supreme Power”.
Therefore, just as the Reality is at once static and dynamic, even so, ‘I’ too is at once static and dynamic. Every individual therefore shares in the nature of the supreme Reality: I am also immobile and mobile; I am myself the supreme Lord, or supreme Lord Himself is myself, but aṁśa, the only difference between Him and me is that I am only a portion.
But basically the stuff is the same: the fire and the spark, the basic nature is the same; the ocean of water and the bubble, the nature is the same, (whether you drink one bubble or you drink the whole ocean, experience is of the same nature).
Now, this is the first part of my preface, because this chapter as I said is one of the most important chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, it tells you the entire story of creation; it describes the whole Reality, describes where I am in this Reality, in what way I am bound, why am I in bondage, why do I feel so restrained, full of suffering, sorrow, painful, why do I feel? And what is the means by which I can be liberated from it: the entire story is given in these brief twenty verses of this chapter.
Now, let us go back to the first verse of this chapter:
ūrdhva-mūlam adhaḥ-śākham aśvatthaṁ prāhur avyayam |
chandāṁsi yasya parṇāni yas taṁ veda sa veda-vit ||15.1||
This world is now described. This world is a very curious world:
ūrdhva-mūlam Its roots are above: contrary to our normal trees where the roots are below, but this world has a root, but this root is above, not below; ūrdhva-mūlam adhaḥ-śākham: śākha, the branches are adhaḥ, are below. In ordinary trees the branches are above and the root is below, but this world is the contrary of it; ūrdhva-mūlam adhaḥ-śākham, that is because this world is created from high on, this world is not created by itself. This world has an origin which is higher than itself. The supreme Lord and supreme Prakriti is at the basis, is the root, the supreme is the highest: it is from there that the world proceeds downward.
It is as it were, if you look from top, you will find that the whole world is hanging downward, from above, the Supreme holds the whole world: mayā dhāryate jagat; the whole world is held by Me. He is the one who is the holder.
This is compared an Ashwattha tree: Ashwattha is ‘People tree’: ūrdhvamūlam adhaḥśākham aśvatthaṁ prāhur avyayam |, this world is inexhaustible, chandāṁsi yasya parṇāni yas taṁ veda sa vedavit ||, all the leaves of this tree…this tree has parṇāni, all the leaves of these are the chandāṁsi*, are the Vedic Mantras and whoever knows this, is the knower of the Veda. Whoever knows that this world is hanging downward and whose leaves are all the Mantras of the Vedas, he himself becomes the knower of the Veda.
In this world, we come to the 2nd verse:
adhaś cordhvaṁ prasṛtās tasya śākhā: the branches are all spread out downward and upward.
adhaś cordhvaṁ prasṛtās tasya śākhā guṇa-pravṛddhā viṣaya-pravālāḥ |
But all these branches, they are griped, they are constituted by Guna, (Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas); guṇa-pravṛddhā viṣaya-pravālāḥ, all the objects of all these branches, it is full of desire: if is full of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas.
adhaś ca mūlāny anusantatāni karmānubandhīni manuṣya-loke ||15.2||
These branches cast their roots…of course they are hanging from the top root, but also, these branches also cast their roots downward. Downward where? anusantatāni karmānubandhīni manuṣya-loke, they enter into human beings and they bind human beings: all the human beings are bound by the roots which have been cast by the branches of the cosmos.
This is the bandhana, the description of bandhana is beautifully given; where is bandhana? The whole world is full of parṇāni, of leaves which are hanging on the śākhā, on the branches and these branches cast their roots, they take up every individual as it were and bind every individual to the whole world, entire saṁsāra. This is the description of the bandhana, of the bondage, where is our bondage?
na rūpam asyeha tathopalabhyate nānto na cādir na ca sampratiṣṭhā |
It has no form, this whole world na rūpam asyeha, it has no form; nānto, it has no end; na cādir, it has no beginning; na ca sampratiṣṭhā, it has no foundation;
aśvattham enaṁ su-virūḍha-mūlam, this Ashwattha tree is binding us all by its branches, the roots of which have been cast below, and through those lower roots we are all bound by the various kinds of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. Now, this Ashwattha tree with its roots has to be cut asunder, chitvā; asaṅga-śastreṇa, there is one weapon by which you can cut yourself from this bondage and that is ‘non-attachment’, asaṅga-śastreṇa dṛḍhena, with a firm ‘non-attachment’, you have to cut asunder this bondage. (15.3)
In the fourth verse we are told:
tataḥ padaṁ tat parimārgitavyaṁ yasmin gatā na nivartanti bhūyaḥ |
tam eva cādyaṁ puruṣaṁ prapadye yataḥ pravṛttiḥ prasṛtā purāṇi ||15.4||
“tataḥ padaṁ tat parimārgitavyaṁ: having used the weapon of non-attachment, you make your path, tataḥ padaṁ, from there you make your path to that padaṁ, to that state of consciousness; yasmin gatā: having enter into which; na nivartanti bhūyaḥ: from where there is no return.”
You attain to that state of realisation, which is permanent: this is the definition of realisation actually. When somebody is ‘realised’, he enters into a state permanently, which is divine in nature and from which it is impossible to return. It is different from ‘experiences’ of the Divine: when we experience the Divine, it is for a short time, you enter into a new state, but again as we all do from time to time, we return back.
But one who is realised, he seats permanently, it is impossible for him to see the world as we see it now. All the relationships of the world are seen differently now by one who is realised: he is then liberated; till that time there is no liberation. Mere experiencing of the Divine is not liberation, it only gives you a state, a kind of a foretaste, but it does not give you the realisation. He again falls down, only memory remains. That memory, of course, can become again a path, therefore repeated experiences prepare you for the realisation, having entered into which yasmin gatā na nivartanti bhūyaḥ, you do not return from there.
And how do you attain to it? tam eva cādyaṁ puruṣaṁ prapadye, always say to yourself that ‘I am surrendering myself’: prapadye; tam eva cādyaṁ puruṣaṁ, the supreme Purusha, cādyaṁ puruṣaṁ, the original Purusha, it is to that supreme Lord that I am surrendering myself; yataḥ pravṛttiḥ prasṛtā purāṇi, it is that Purusha from which this ancient Prakriti, the power of the Divine has spread out Herself.
When you do this, then what will be the character of your nature? This is described in the remaining verses. The nature of the individual who has liberated himself, there have been many descriptions of the ‘liberated ones’ in the Bhagavad Gita starting from the 2nd chapter in fact, where we have the description of the one who is settled in the consciousness ‘brāhmi sthiti’. Then we have a description in the 6th chapter. Then we have the description in the 7th chapter, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th chapter, in every chapter you have a description of this nature of the liberated ones.
If you examine all of them, one common quality that you will find everywhere is ‘equality’. The one who is liberated is equal-minded: there is a complete equilibrium. Right from the 2nd chapter to the present chapter this is one common feature. There are other differences: somewhere the experience of Jnana is emphasised; somewhere the emphasis is upon Karma; somewhere the emphasis is upon Bhakti, but among all these descriptions, the one common thing that is, is ‘equality’…and something more, equality and something more. Now here, in the 15th chapter, equality is again described but there is still something more, something more because of the fact that as we have seen in the 14th chapter, there was a demand to go beyond the three Gunas.
Let us refer to the 14th chapter for a minute, so that in our mind it is fixed quite well, 14th chapter, 19th verse:
guṇebhyaś ca paraṁ vetti mad-bhāvaṁ so ’dhigacchati ||
“guṇebhyaś ca paraṁ one who goes beyond all the Gunas, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas, all of them are transcended; mad-bhāvaṁ so ’dhigacchati, and one who is My own nature, no only My being…there is a difference between the divine being and the divine nature.
Question: Is it turiya?
turiya, is both at the same time: divine being and divine nature, but normally it is only referred to ‘divine being’.
What the Bhagavad Gita points out is the nature which is beyond the three Gunas. It is not only the being but also nature: there is a nature of the Divine, which goes beyond the three Gunas. And beyond the three Gunas is not only the being of the Divine, but also the divine nature, so mad-bhāvaṁ is given. The word ‘mad-bhāvaṁ’ means not only My being: mad-bhāvaṁ, what I become, My nature. So, if you go beyond the three Gunas you arrive at the mad-bhāvaṁ, the supreme nature of the Divine.
And therefore the next one in the 20th verse of the same chapter:
guṇān etān atītya trīn, atītya means: having transcended; trīn means three guṇān etān, having transcended these three Gunas, dehī, the one who is in the body now, the soul…* dehī deha-samudbhavān |
janma-mṛtyu-jarā-duḥkhair vimukto ’mṛtam aśnute ||14.20||
He becomes free from birth, death, old age, from all sorrow, and amṛtam aśnute, he enjoys the amṛta, he becomes immortal.
It is this immortality which has been described here. Now, having described it here and now when you have gone to the supreme, with this transcendence of your nature, the description is not only of equality but also the description of divine nature.
So, now in the 5th verse (XV) we have:
nirmāna-mohā jita-saṅga-doṣā adhyātma-nityā vinivṛtta-kāmāḥ |
dvandvair vimuktāḥ sukhaduḥkhasaṁjñaiḥ gacchanti amūḍhāḥ padam avyayaṁ tat ||
“nirmāna-mohā, they are free from pride and delusion; jita-saṅga-doṣā, the defect that arise out of attachment is conquered jita-saṇga-doṣā; adhyātma-nityā, they are seated in their soul; vinivṛtta-kāmāḥ, where all the desires are finished, exhausted.”
“dvandvair vimuktāḥ, there are no dualities; sukha-duḥkha-saṁjñaiḥ, there are no signs of either sukha, or duḥkha, it is to that padam, gacchanti amūḍhāḥ, those who are awakened, gacchanti amūḍhāḥ padam avyayaṁ tat, they reached that avyayaṁ padam, that inexhaustible, immobile Reality, which is beyond immobility also, that avyayaṁ tat, that stability you reach.”
That Reality is so luminous, na tad bhāsayate sūryo, sun is not needed to illumine it; na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ, you don’t need the moon to make it illumined, you don’t need fire to illumine it;
yad gatvā na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama ||15.6||
“Having reached there, having reached My paraṁ dhāma, My supreme abode, you do not return.”
mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ |
manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati ||15.7||
Now comes a detailed description of the bondage and liberation. The bondage was just described a little when we were told that the branches of the cosmos which are full of various leaves, which are desires of various kinds, they enter, they cast their roots in the human beings and bind them: that is the bondage. Now, who is bound? The one who is bound is the Supreme Himself, mamaivāṁśo, supreme as My own portion, mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ, the Jiva is bound. But Jiva is who? mamaivāṁśo, it is Myself, I am Myself, My own portion which is sanātanaḥ, which is eternal, which is immortal, it is that Jiva, he karṣati, he himself attracts…there is a purpose in it. So, he…karṣati manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni; there are six indriya(s), the five senses of which we are aware and manaḥ, is also the sixth sense because without manaḥ, indriya(s) would not function:
manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati, “it is this Jiva who attracts by bondage, it is not by force, not by compulsion. It is My own Self that has decided to enter into bondage.”
This is quite a different view from bondage which is known normally.
Comment: The fourth portion is in the world.
That’s right. No, the fourth portion…It is the Vedic idea, the three portions are above and the fourth is in this world, it is to show that “I am not in them, although they are in Me”…that the whole cosmos, not only Jiva, it is the whole cosmos, it is only one fourth of the Supreme. So, three fourth is out sided, therefore He is not in them in that sense.
But here, the bondage is now explained: “How have you become bound to this world and to this body?” It is because the soul itself, the Jivatman itself has attracted, has decided, consented, this bondage is not out of compulsion. We ourselves have consented to be bound, the moment you decide that you do not want bondage, bondage will not be. We are attracting, jīva-bhūtaḥ mamaivāṁśo karṣati, it attracts, it attracts the indriya(s), all the senses.
Basically, all our bondage is nothing but the attraction of all the senses towards the Self, towards our soul. It is as it were, we enter into the body and all the senses are, as it were, captured, that is because the soul itself attracts them, and as the result of that, there is a bondage.
This is one of the great truths of the Rig Vedic knowledge. Nothing happens to any individual which is not consented to by the individual. It is because we have consented to it, for a special purpose that this happens.
Question: Can you elaborate on this a little?
Let me speak, but now it is 12.30 already.
We do one thing, if I get time on Tuesday, I shall answer this question; if it is possible for you to find time on Tuesday afternoon, at about 5’o clock, if it is convenient to all of you. All right?
So, we shall deal with this very important question, it is a most important question you asked in fact. Alright we shall do it. Today we will finish now. Alright?…….