Bhagawat Geeta, Class 115: Chapter 8, Verses 18 to 22


Greetings All,

अव्यक्ताद्व्यक्तयः सर्वाः प्रभवन्त्यहरागमे
रात्र्यागमे प्रलीयन्ते तत्रैवाव्यक्तसंज्ञके।।8.18

At break of day, all individuals are born of the Unmanifest; when night falls, they are dissolved in the same Unmanifest.

Continuing his teaching Swamiji said, from shloka # 15 to shloka # 22, Sri Krishna is comparing two forms of human goals.

One attainable through karma through a  varieties of actions, loukika and vaidika; scriptural and non-scriptural; secular and religious. They can give one set of results and the other type of goal attainable is through Nishkama upasana.

Sri Krishna wants to point out that Karma phalam is finite while upasana phalam is infinite. We are not comparing gyanam to any other sadhana here. Here comparison is between karma phalam and upasana phalam. Upasana phalam is superior to karma phalam. Karma can give all types of results upto Brahma loka but they are all finite in nature. Nishkama Upasana gives one Krama Mukti, which is an infinite result.

Therefore, karma phalam is parichinnam whereas Nishkama upasana phalam, krama mukthi, is aparichinna. This is the idea Sri Krishna wants to convey through the shlokas beginning from the 15th to 22nd.

While talking of material results, the highest goal possible, within time and space, is Brahma Loka prapthihi, which is also finite.  Sri Krishna admits that while Brahmaji’s life is a long one even he finally faces an end. He spoke about one day of Brahmaji as being 2000 Chatur Yugas. It appears as though it is infinite, while in reality it too is finite.

Sri Krishna gives some incidental information now. When Brahmaji’s day starts, creation comes into being. When he goes to sleep creation goes into an unmanifest condition. Similar process plays out with an individual as well. When he wakes up everything rises. And when he goes to sleep his private world is resolved. This is known as Laya.

In Brahmaji’s world, objective world rises and resolves. In shloka # 18 all Vyaktas arise from Avyakta condition. They were resting in Brahmaji in a potential form.

We   also experience this through our dream world every day. We throw our dream world from our own mind; our today’s dream is potentially there in our mind in form of Vasanas and impressions. We throw out the dream-space; dreamtime and dream objects and we have duration for the dream as well. In the same way, with Brahmaji, he withholds the creation and again throws them out. And that form withheld by Brahmaji is called avyaktam.

Similar idea was discussed in chapter 2 as well. Thus we learn that the universe is never created by anybody. Creation is wrong word to use; nothing is created or destroyed. This applies to the creation of the world as well.  So the question of why god created does not arise for us. For us, the world is there eternally. Nobody created the world. It is against law of conservation of energy. Thus the word creation must be replaced by the word manifestation.  The world was always there, God did not create; it was there in potential form; and the potential matter; the potential world in time acted upon by time, undergoes a modification and the unmanifest, now modified, becomes manifest.

Time is an integral part of matter and creation. Matter and time cannot be separated. They are inseparable. That is the reason we do not know about time before the big bang.

With time everything goes back into unmanifest condition then it comes back as manifest. This cycle of manifest and unmanifest is an eternal process. So, unmanifest does not mean an end of the world.

Shloka # 19:

भूतग्रामः एवायं भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते
रात्र्यागमेऽवशः पार्थ प्रभवत्यहरागमे।।8.19।।

This same host of beings after repeated births, get dissolved, helplessly, O Arjuna! at the time of nightfall and are born at day break.

 If universe goes to unmanifest and then again manifests, what happens to all jivas?

Sri Krishna says the individual will also have the same destiny. They also will go to unmanifest condition; in which all the Jivas will remain potentially inactive, dormant, like the hibernation of some animals; we all will go back to hibernation. And after remaining in potential form for many yugas; again the jivas will emerge with their own karmas, punyam and papam intact.

How will we remain in pralayam? God has given us a simulated experience. We get a taste of it when we go to sleep. In sleep, our ego gets resolved and it remains dormant without destruction.

Citing an example, suppose in tonight’s sleep, all the 8th chapter knowledge was destroyed, then next class I have to again start with the same topic. But how am I able to continue with the same topic? Because, during sleep, your knowledge is not destroyed, it goes to a potential condition. In the same way, during pralaya, all the Jivas go to their potential condition and again come back in the next srishti.

The same group of Jivas will go dormant, but will come back again and again in an eternal process. Thus, no new jiva is created. The question comes up, if no new jiva is created why is there a population explosion? When we think of jivas we tend to think of human beings alone. In reality jivas include all beings including human, animal, plants, insects, lokas, asuras, devas etc. All of them put together, the number remains same as per our scriptures.

Swami Chinmayananda used to say; previously there were many forests with animals. They were hunted and killed. They all were converted to human beings.

New Jivas can’t be created. Even if one can be created what type of body should it get? A Jiva has to have past karmas. Only based on its past karma a body comes up. If there is no past karma available on what basis will a new body come into being? Remember the body is not determined by Bhagavan’s wish; the body is determined by purvakarma; a fresh jiva will never have a purva karma; therefore it is not possible. And this defect is called krita akrita dosha.

If a fresh jiva cant be created, when were we created first and what was its basis? We were never created; we are anadi. Same jiva remains and goes through the manifesting and unmanifesting cycle.  If it is cyclic process why not call it a merry go round. In a merry go round you can get out. Here, in this cycle, one can’t get out, one is a helpless being, Avashaha. Whether I like it or not I have to die. Thus, mortality can’t be escaped so long as you choose time bound results.

Shloka # 20:

परस्तस्मात्तु भावोऽन्योऽव्यक्तोऽव्यक्तात्सनातनः
यः सर्वेषु भूतेषु नश्यत्सु विनश्यति।।8.20।।

But beyond that Unmanifest is another eternal Unmanifest Being; It perishes not (even) when all beings perish.

Up to the previous verse, Krishna has talked about all the finite result, which will come under the field of matter; and any result which falls within matter, is bound by time and therefore it will have two conditions; manifest and unmanifest. In Sanskrit, it is called manifest matter and unmanifest matter, which you may call energy. So energy becomes matter, and matter becomes energy and again energy becomes matter.

There is another goal a human can achieve beyond this cycle of karya and karana prapancha, vyakta avyakta prapancha, where maya becomes the world and then world becomes Maya. They both exist within time. There is another condition known as Unmanifest # 2 also known as Consciousness principle. It is the witness of unmanifest and manifest condition of matter. That witness consciousness does not fall within the witnessed field because the observer is different from and beyond the observed.

To understand this, in the waking state, material world, time and space are experienced. In dream too I experience a world conditioned by time and space.

When I go to the sleep state, the whole material world is resolved; and the time and space also go to unmanifest condition; and there is total blankness; but even at that time, there is someone who is aware of that condition. Who is aware of that; I am aware; how do you know, I am aware; because when I wake up, I am able to talk about the blank state, that means I was continuing, unchangeably, even when the duality came and the duality got resolved, I remained unaffected by that. This observer of the matter, this observer of the change, is the changeless consciousness principle, which is beyond time and space. Consciousness does not fall within time. Consciousness does not fall within space.

It is beyond time and space.

Consciousness therefore does not fall within matter and therefore consciousness does not fall within the physical and the chemical laws.  That is reason the scientists are struggling to understand Consciousness; the physical and chemical laws do not appear to apply to it. It does not follow physical and chemical laws. Therefore, scientists are not able to understand it. Some scientists have started saying consciousness is beyond these laws and cannot be located. Only something in space can be located. Who is this consciousness? It is the witness consciousness. It is God, says Sri Krishna. It is Satyam, Gyanam, Anantam Brahman.

What about various forms attributed to God? A gross mind cannot grasp the subtle consciousness, which is beyond space and time.

Therefore until the intellect gets sufficiently sensitized, until it is sufficiently prepared, we have to attribute a form. We have to worship form. Ultimately God is Shudha Chaitanya Swarupam. O Arjuna! Become one with this God.

And O Arjuna, I want to you to discover oneness with that God. That is the aim of all religious and spiritual struggles.

One, avyaktha is nothing but unmanifest matter; other than that unmanifest matter, there is something else, which is a third entity. So the three entities are:

1) manifest matter No.1;

2) unmanifest matter No.2; you may call it energy and

3) 3rd one is consciousness, which is beyond manifest and unmanifest matter.

These three principles exist. Consciousness is known as Sanatana, one not affected by time. It witnesses time, its arrival and dissolution without being affected by time. Hence it is called immortal or timeless. Where is it present? It does not perish even when all beings perish through un-manifestation. Its location—it does not have a location; rather time and space are located in consciousness.

A God is located in space is the basis for the question where is god? It cannot be answered.

In field of god, cause and effect do not enter. So you cannot ask the when, where, why, how etc in relation to God, all these questions can be answered only with regard to a thing, which are time, space and causality

If you remember Kathopanishad’s definition of

Brahman; it is one which is beyond the concept of causality; so, we have to go to that Brahman. When we say go, it is again a problem, because go is a concept in time, space and travel. That is why any word you use in Vedanta, you get trapped; because intellect can function only in the field of time space and causality; that is why

we say it is a matter to be understood.

Shloka # 21:

अव्यक्तोऽक्षर इत्युक्तस्तमाहुः परमां गतिम्
यं प्राप्य निवर्तन्ते तद्धाम परमं मम।।8.21।।

The Unmanifest is said to be “the imperishable”; they say that He is the supreme goal. My supreme abode is that, attaining which none returns.

Sri Krishna talks more about God, the limitless goal; the real goal of life, which is worth attempting; which is  avyaktha No.2 mentioned in the previous verse. This avyaktha No.2 mentioned in the previous verse is the Consciousness principle; and this consciousness or chaitanyam is also known in the scriptures as akshara.

It is also known as Akshara, the imperishable or timeless. This word is used in Mundako Upanishad.

Mundako Upanishad calls consciousness as aksharam and defines it as: colorless, formless, smell-less; tasteless; touch-less; etc.

Accomplishing such a Brahman is the real goal. Only then you go beyond time and space. Space is within time. Liberation does not mean going to a place. It is going to Brahman, reaching which one does not return.

How to reach Brahman? There is no travel required to reach Brahman. It is possible only through wisdom. It was never away from me. It is “I” myself. So you reach Brahman in the form of claiming Brahman as myself.

Through knowledge you do not reach Brahman,

Through knowledge you drop the notion that Brahman is away.  So all these are the important fundamentals of Vedanta, which you have to reflect upon and it is about reaching one from whom one never returns.

Sri Krishna, Rama etc are my inferior nature or Apara Prakriti. Consciousness is Para Prakriti. Start with AP then one day goes to PP.

Shloka # 22:

पुरुषः परः पार्थ भक्त्या लभ्यस्त्वनन्यया
यस्यान्तःस्थानि भूतानि येन सर्वमिदं ततम्।।8.22।।

The supreme Spirit, O Arjuna! may be won by means of unswerving devotion-the Spirit in whom all beings dwell and by whom all this is pervaded.

O Partha! So this avyaktha No.2; this consciousness

principle is called Para purusha; So he is the supreme purusha; supreme Brahman, the highest reality; the absolute truth. I have given two meanings of the word

purusha. One is that it is the absolute Brahman in which all beings rest.  The other is the idea that Brahman does not exist within the creation rather the whole creation rests in that Brahman.

Purushsa is a description of nature of Brahman.

In him alone all beings rest. By this Consciousness whole creation is pervaded. If anything exists, consciousness must be there. To know it exists, the being requires consciousness. Existence presupposes knowledge; it pre-supposes consciousness. So, this consciousness pervades whole creation. Sri Krishna feels this may be too high a matter to understand. Don’t get disheartened, he says. What is required is sincere desire to get this knowledge.

So, Sri Krishna says, You can go to nirgunam brahma by your Nishkama bhakthi; once you understand that alone is the ultimate goal; because anything else falls within domain of time and space and therefore mortality; I am no more interested in mortality and the tyranny of time. But once you have understood tyranny of time, and once you are sincerely devoted to the timeless Brahman, you are called a Nishkama bhaktha; or a mumukshu; and with this sincere desire, you continue your saguna bhakthi; sooner or later, you will get the qualifications required for that nirguna bhakthi; therefore he says that Brahman is attainable.

So with this Sri Krishna completes his comparative study of God as higher goal and world as the lower goal, and an intelligent person would vote for god and not for

world and if you vote for God you become a Nishkama upasaka.

Take away:

  1. The world was always there, God did not create; it was there in potential form; and the potential matter; the potential world in time acted upon by time, undergoes a modification and the unmanifest, now modified, becomes manifest.
  2. The same group of Jivas will go dormant, but will come back again and again in an eternal process. Thus, no new jiva is created.
  3. Nothing is created or destroyed. Thus the word creation must be replaced by the word manifestation.
  4. Through knowledge you do not reach Brahman;

Through knowledge you drop the notion that Brahman is away.

Ram Ramaswamy