Baghawat Geeta, Class 100: Chapter 7, Verses 1 and 2


Greetings All,

Continuing his teaching of the Gita, Swami Paramarthananda started chapter 7 today. He said Gita consists of 18 chapters and they are divided into three groups. Chapters one through six are known as prathama. Chapters seven through twelve are known as madhyama and chapters thirteen through eighteen are known as charama. Since each group consists of six chapters they are known as shatakam. Thus, Shankaracharya’s nirvana shatakam verses are famous.

Each of the six chapter segments deals with three specific topics respectively.

Thus prathama shatakam deals with:

  1. Jiva swaroopa or nature of the individual. Individual is neither the boy nor mind. Individual is the chaitanya that is in the body mind container. This satchidananda was brilliantly discussed in the second chapter, from verse 12 to 25; in the third chapter pancha kosha viveka was discussed; in the fourth chapter also, the chaitanya atma was pointed at akarta and abhokta; in the fifth chapter it said (5.13) that consciousness is the essential nature of the individual which does not perform any action.  So this Satchidananda atma which is Jiva svarupam was one of the topics which was there throughout the prathama shatakam; the first six chapters.
  2. Karma yoga as an important sadhana was discussed. It was discussed in chapters 2,3,4 and 6 respectively. Chapter 6 discussed karma yoga at the very beginning.  Importance of individual effort and initiative was also discussed. There is a big confusion that Karma theory is fatalistic. Many people say Hinduism is a fatalistic religion and that it is holding back India. The law of karma, however, says that the present is the result of the past; if that is true, the future is the result of the present action that you choose to do; You are responsible for your life. All four destinations of life known as purusharthas are all goals chosen by human beings.
  3. Self Effort: Sri Krishna says you have to lift yourself; I can help you when you do so. Therefore, individual effort, free will is emphasized in choosing a course of action. When you choose action you are also responsible for the results. Hence the saying:

Watch your thoughts, it will become your words and actions;

Watch your words and actions; they become your habits;

Watch your habits, they become your character;

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Therefore destiny is decided by character; which is decided by habit; which is decided by your words and actions and which are decided by your thoughts; therefore watch your thoughts; and direct your thoughts; and by directing your thoughts in the present, you are ultimately determining your destiny.  All is decided by thought.

Thus three topics are highlighted by prathama shatakam.

Now in madhyama shatakam three more topics are highlighted. They are:

  1. Ishwara swaroopam or nature of God. It represents macro aspect while Jiva swaroopam represents micro aspect of God. Therefore throughout the six chapters, Krishna talks about the definition of God, the nature of God, the function of God; the glory of God, all about God alone.  And while discussing Jiva svarupam we saw that the body mind complex is the container; the cabinet, but the content, the essential Jiva, is satchidananda atma. Similarly for Ishvara also we have got aspects of the container or superficial aspect of God, and then the essential inner nature of God; deha and dehi; Shariram and shariri; anatma and atma. Just as Jiva as a mixture of anatma and atma; Ishvara is also a mixture of both; saguna and nirguna svarupam.  So Ishvara svarupam is topic No.1.
  2. Upasana: In prathama while karma yoga is shown as sharira pradhana; physical body is active in karma yoga; whereas upasana is mana pradhana, we are gradually going from the grosser instrument to the subtler instrument. In Karma yoga, you are heavily active serving the society, contributing through pancha maha yagnas; whereas in upasana, you learn to withdraw and focus; So saguna Ishvara dhyanam; upasana; this is the second topic.
  3. Grace of God is an important factor. Ishwara kripa or anugraha is very important. Individual effort alone does not accomplish everything. So one should not be overconfident or arrogant about it. Over confidence means I can do anything. Then he faces failure. He then lapses into fatalism. Reality is, “ I accomplish things through my effort boosted by grace of god.” When we start our classes we say the dhyana shloka. It says that my effort boosted by god’s grace is needed. Thus three aspects of Ishwara swaroopam, Ishwara Upasana and Ishwara Kripa were discussed.

Now moving on to chapter # 7, the first three shlokas are introductory.

Shloka # 1:

मय्यासक्तमनाः पार्थ योगं युञ्जन्मदाश्रयः
असंशयं समग्रं मां यथा ज्ञास्यसि तच्छृणु।।7.1।।

With mind set on Me and dependent on Me and performing Yoga, O Arjuna! hear how you will know Me wholly without any doubt whatsoever.

Sri Krishna says, “ if you follow my teachings, you will come to know Me”. You will get Ishwara Gyanam. There are two aspects to discovering God. First, you will know me completely. I have two natures. A lower nature that is evident in the bodies like Rama and Krishna.

The lower nature is the visible physical nature of God; like Rama shariram; Krishna shariram; which people worship as God. In fact majority of devotees when they think of God; they think only of God only in a particular form; particular body; that is why the dhyana shlokams describe the physical form alone. Sri Krishna says that the visible, tangible form, known as saguna svarupam is also my lower nature.

Saguna svarupam is however subject to arrival and departure. It is limited in space and time and is known as apara prakriti. And Arjuna I have got a higher nature as well; which is invisible, intangible, eternal, all pervading nature, which is called the nirguna svarupam; paraprakrithi; and only when you know both; saguna and nirguna svarupam; finite and the infinite nature of God; your Ishvara Gyanam is complete. And therefore through this chapter, I am going to give you both saguna and nirguna gyanam; only then your Ishvara Gyanam is complete.

Sri Krishna asks how am I going to teach? I will teach so that you are left without any doubts. What are the conditions you need to fulfill? You should have a desire to know Me; else you will be bored. You should have a desire to know if God is your destination. “I” or God must be your goal. Should God be my goal or moksha? God and moksha are identical. In the language of spirituality it is called moksha while in religion it is called Bhagawan.

Every person wants independence;  wants security;  wants ananda and wants peace. Therefore peace, security; fulfillment; these are the destinations of everyone.

God alone is ever secure. Anything finite is bound by time and space; anything bound by time and space is subject to fluctuations and destruction; even the stars cannot escape destruction; they might have a very long life; but you ask the astronomers; they will say that even the Sun will collapse but in a few billion years!; therefore we are saved. But remember, the stars explode which is known as nova; and supernova; which indicates that anything finite is insecure; seeking security from finite thing is the most unintelligent approach; Even stars die eventually. Anything finite is insecure. So true security is available only in the infinite called bhagawan. So, it has a symbol in the form of Rama and Krishna etc. Infinite is called Bhagawan in Religion. Moksha and Bhagawan are synonymous.

If your mind is fixed on Me as the ultimate destination and you work, it is known as devotion. This condition one.

When you fulfill an earthly goal you get fulfillment but you start on another goal; as such they are only intermediary goals. Poornatvam alone gives you complete fulfillment.

Yoga in shloka means all the required sadhanas depending on my level. Thus all children cannot be admitted into the same class; depending upon the level of the student; he is admitted in the first standard or sixth standard etc. Therefore depending upon my need, I have to take to karma, or upasana, or sravanam; whatever is required and practice those relevant sadhanas or put individual effort with the grace of God. A devotee should not challenge God.  Take refuge in God. Citing an example of a long train being hauled by two engines one in the front and another in the back. Spirituality is similarly an uphill climb and while you can be engine that is pulling you still need God’s push. This God’s push is bhakti.

Thus conditions imposed by Sri Krishna are:

  • Keep God as destination.
  • Do what you should or exert self-effort.
  • Seek grace of God.

With these three you will attain Me. The secret of knowing Me is same as attaining Me.

Shloka # 2:

ज्ञानं तेऽहं सविज्ञानमिदं वक्ष्याम्यशेषतः
यज्ज्ञात्वा नेह भूयोऽन्यज्ज्ञातव्यमवशिष्यते।।7.2।।

 Exhaustively I shall set forth that knowledge together with its realization; once it is grasped, nothing more will remain to be known.

Sri Krishna continues with the introduction. In shloka # 1, he said you would get divine knowledge or saguna and nirguna Ishwara Gyanam.

Saguna Ishwara Gyanam is Dvaita Gyanam.

Nirguna Ishwara Gyanam is Vigyanam or advaita.

A secret: When a person is at Saguna Ishwara Gyanam, there is a difference between God and the individual.

At nirguna Ishwara Gyanam level the difference between God and individual is removed.

Citing example of wave and ocean, as long as you look at the wave and ocean; from the name and form standpoint; they are different; names are different; one is called wave; other is called ocean; forms are also different; wave has got a small wavy form; whereas ocean has got an ocean of vast magnitude; So when you observe at the name and form level you see the difference; but when you go to the essential nature of both; wave is essentially water;  ocean is essentially water; or satchidananda; and you find that wave and water are no more distinct. Similarly saguna gyanam means bheda gyanam; nirguna Gyanam means abheda gyanam.  Bheda means difference between God and Jiva; and abhedananda means oneness; thus Gyanam is equal to bheda gyanam.

Sri Krishna says I will give you this knowledge thoroughly.

What is the benefit of this knowledge? Having gained this knowledge you have nothing more to know.  All your intellectual questions are resolved. Samsara is experienced at three levels:


  1. At the gross body level people for whom samsara is only at the physical level; they talk about their diseases;  they talk about their old age; they talk about their death; their samsara is at the grossest body level.
  2. At the emotional level they are not bothered about the physical condition; but they feel the emotional needs of life more; they say, I am very fine; my health is very good; my children take care of me very well; but they do not spend time with me; they do not even know whether I am alive or not.
  3. At the intellectual level, such as quest of a scientist. He is intellectual. They have questions, regarding the creation; when did the creation come; when did the first human being come; how did life start; what is the individual; what is consciousness; etc.

Vedanta solves all three levels of fulfillment. it gives you emotional fulfillment; it gives you even intellectual fulfillment; you find all the fundamental questions regarding Jiva, Jagat and Ishvara get resolved.

Take away:

  1. When you choose action you are also responsible for the results.
  2. Hence the saying:

Watch your thoughts, it will become your words and actions;

Watch your words and actions; they become your habits;

Watch your habits, they become your character;

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

  1. By directing your thoughts in the present, you are ultimately determining your destiny.

Everything is decided by thought.

  1. The law of karma says that the present is the result of the past; if that is true, the future is the result of the present action that you choose to do. You are responsible for your life.

With Best Wishes

Ram Ramaswamy