Starting his talk on chapter 9, Swamiji said, we have completed chapter 8, a unique chapter dealing with Krama Mukti, a topic discussed by the Upanishads as well. Sri Krishna is trying to cover all aspects of the Upanishads including Krama Mukti.
And in this krama mukti topic, a person is asked to follow saguna Ishvara upasana throughout the life and a person need not come to Vedanta at all; because Vedanta deals with nirguna Ishvara Gyanam which some people may find either difficult or may not be able to follow and therefore without coming to
Vedanta, a person follows saguna upasana, and even dies thinking of only moksha or Ishvara as the goal, and such a person will not have punarjanma at all; which means no punarjanma in this loka; he will go to Brahma loka and attain Gyanam and moksha from there.
Sri Krishna is not interested in promoting Krama Mukti as it is meant only for inferior people. I too do not consider all of you inferior in any way. So Sri Krishna wants everybody to obtain Jivan mukti in this very lifetime because we would like to live a happy life here. After death whether we will be reborn or not, it is not even verifiable; whereas here the benefit is something verifiable and therefore Sri Krishna wants to emphasize only jivan mukti.
In this chapter, we are not gong to be confined to Saguna Upasana since we are interested in Jivan Mukti. We wish to spend more time on Nirguna Ishwara Gyanam, which means Vedanta sravana manana nidhidhyasanam; which will give jivatma-paramatma aikya Gyanam in this life itself; and we will be able to enjoy jivan mukti.
Thus in Chapters 9,10, 11 and 12 respectively, Sri Krishna is going to prescribe Upasanas as the means of Vedanta Vichara. Ch 9 concentrates on Nirguna Ishwara Gyanam as a means of liberation. Saguna Upasana is only a stepping-stone towards it. In this regard this chapter is similar to Ch 7.
Shloka # 1:
इदं तु ते गुह्यतमं प्रवक्ष्याम्यनसूयवे।
ज्ञानं विज्ञानसहितं यज्ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसेऽशुभात्।।9.1।।
Now I shall reveal to you, who carp not, this most recondite knowledge and its realization by mastering which you will be liberated from evil.
Sri Krishna introduces the subject in the first three shlokas. Subject is Ishwara Gyanam. Ishwara consists of inferior and superior natures i.e., Apara Prakriti and Para Prakriti. AP is Saguna Swarupam, the personal God. Even Vishwa Rupam is AP as it has name and form. Whatever is subject to change is inferior.
On the other hand the higher nature of the Lord is beyond time and space, which is the absolute nature, which is called chaitanya svarupam, which is also called para prakrti (PP); If you remember the seventh chapter the higher nature that is attribute-less; change-less; division-less; consciousness; is the higher nature of God.
The lower self is full of modifications, divisions, and is material in nature. In this chapter Arjuna, I am going to give you information on both Gyanam (lower nature) and Vigyanam ( higher nature). Gyana Vigyana Yogam was the title of Chapter 7 as well.
When you have got saguna Ishvara Gyanam; certainly you will see the differences between Ishvara and you; therefore saguna Ishvara Gyanam comes under bheda Gyanam or dvaita Gyanam. God is different; I am different; God is perfection; I am imperfection; God is great; I am miserable; this is always saguna; whereas when a person comes to the higher nature of God; since there are no attributes at all; there will be nothing to differentiate between God and me; Therefore when I come to vigyanam; it will be abheda Gyanam; or advaita Gyanam; and O Arjuna! I will give you both bheda and abheda Gyanam; I will give you both dvaita and advaita Gyanam; both saguna and nirguna Gyanam this is what I am going to impart to you.
What is the glory of this teaching? It is a rare knowledge that you cannot get anywhere else.
Citing an anecdote Swamiji said, I used to teach in Govindappanayakar Street; a very crowded street. Here there was a huge temple but not many frequented the temple. Even the few that came only wanted to talk about Saguna Ishwara.
The word secret, in shloka, is used to capture everybody’s interest as well. It is not mere study. You will obtain practical benefits.
Therefore Sri Krishna promises that gaining this knowledge, you will be released from the ashubham samsara. You will be released from a samsara; which consists of all kinds of psychological problems such as raga-dvesha; kama krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya, etc. All kinds of agony and pain that you have, will all go away and you will have a free life called Jivan mukti; this is the benefit of this knowledge.
Why did I choose to teach you? I chose you because you have a rare quality of a non-critical mind. The word Asuya means critical indicating a negative attitude and even intellectual arrogance. It is also called Vidya Garvam. This is a weakness. Arjuna is intellectually humble and has an open mindedness. Arjuna! You have that attitude and hence you are Ansuya, one who is not looking for faults. Dayanada Swamiji used to say, Asuya means looking for faults, or one with a proofreader mentality.
Shloka # 2:
राजविद्या राजगुह्यं पवित्रमिदमुत्तमम्।
प्रत्यक्षावगमं धर्म्यं सुसुखं कर्तुमव्ययम्।।9.2।।
It is the sovereign science, the sovereign mystery, the best of purifiers. Its apprehension is immediate; it is righteous, imperishable and exceedingly easy to achieve.
Sri Krishna continues with glory of this Ishwara Gyana Mahima. This Royal Knowledge is greatest among all disciplines of knowledge. Why is it called Raja Vidya? The higher Nirguna Swarupam is the highest knowledge. So therefore this knowledge deals with reality; all the other disciplines of knowledge, deal with the unreal or mithya; Therefore this is glorious.
And secondly, this is the only liberating knowledge; which will give you fulfillment at all levels. We generally have a sense of limitation at different levels:
A physical sense of limitation as such not satisfied with my physical personality.
Then there is dissatisfaction with my psychological personality; I am not loved by all people; I am not loved by my son; my daughter does not talk to me; these are psychological deprivations that cause other problems. So, psychologically dissatisfied.
There is greater dissatisfaction for the intellectual; an intellectual person wants to understand the creation in its totality but there are many questions unanswered, even though he has studied a lot; and therefore intellectual dissatisfaction is another sense of limitation.
So, for a rational person, there is a sense of limitation at intellectual level.
Vedanta is a wisdom that destroys the limitations at all the levels. It solves the emotional problems as well as intellectual problems. That is why in the 7th chapter, Sri Krishna said you do not have anything further to know for intellectual satisfaction; it gives total intellectual satisfaction also; and therefore it is greatest knowledge; it is rajavidya and at the same time it is the greatest secret as it is not easily available.
The next glory of this knowledge is that it is greatest purifier. It removes all impurities such as punya, papa karmas, psychological impurities and Agyanam. All impurities are destroyed. It is the greatest purifier. We will also not acquire impurities in future after obtaining this knowledge.
This knowledge is available here and now. The experience can be obtained here and now. This knowledge is in keeping with Vedic teachings.
We consider Vedas as basic source of knowledge. Anything not in keeping with Vedas cannot survive. Buddhism is an example. Buddha rejected the Vedas as nastika. Nastika means non-believer of Vedas. For, this reason Buddhism was not accepted in India.
During time of Sri Krishna Vedas were very important; hence his emphasis on Vedic tradition. Sri Krishna does not claim to be the originator, rather, he says, it is the Vedic teaching. Even though Buddha is accepted as an Avatara, his teaching is not.
And gaining this knowledge and jivanmukti is far easier; you can get nirguna Ishvara Gyanam and Jivan mukti more comfortably than krama mukti; because for krama mukthi there are rules to be followed; not only you have to do upasana throughout, with consistency, more importantly at the time of death, you have to sit in proper position; you have to withdraw all the pranas and sense organs and bring it to the heart and then you have to force it through the sushumna nadi, and carefully release it through bramarandram and then you go to Brahma loka and attend Vedanta classes there. Therefore, krama mukthi is tough. Compared to kramamukthi jivanmukthi is easier and you can get the benefit here and now. And therefore Sri Krishna says compared to krama mukti, jivan mukti is far easier.
Finally, this knowledge is imperishable. One gets benefit of Moksha. Remember even going to higher Lokas is a perishable benefit. Such a wonderful Gyanam I am going to impart to You, O Arjuna.
Shloka # 3:
अश्रद्दधानाः पुरुषा धर्मस्यास्य परन्तप।
अप्राप्य मां निवर्तन्ते मृत्युसंसारवर्त्मनि।।9.3।।
Men who have little faith in this spiritual law, O hero! Return to the way of repeated deaths, failing to reach Me.
Sri Krishna says in spite of all glorifications of this wisdom unfortunately many people don’t resort to this Ishwara Gyanam. It is even provided freely. But still, many people don’t vote for it. People don’t trust it as it is free and touts the highest benefits. Many people don’t have shradha in this teaching.
Dharma here means Vedantic teaching. What happens to them, the one’s who don’t opt for this teaching? All such people lose an opportunity to attain Me, the infinite Ananda. The loss of infinite ananda is an infinite loss for them. They will definitely continue in Samsara in the cycle of birth and death. In Samsara, Mrithyu is the biggest problem or fear. It is a permanent source of insecurity. Such a person stays in this insecurity.
Shloka # 4:
मया ततमिदं सर्वं जगदव्यक्तमूर्तिना।
मत्स्थानि सर्वभूतानि न चाहं तेष्ववस्थितः।।9.4।।
The entire world has been pervaded by Me in my unmanifest form. All beings dwell in Me, but I dwell not in them.
With the previous shloka, introduction is over. Subject of Ishwara Gyanam and its glory were introduced. Shradha and Anasuya were also introduced.
Citing story of Athri, Anasuya is Atri’s wife.
And why has Athri got Anasuya? Atrihi means the one who has transcended the three. The three are: stula, sukshma and karana sharira trayam; another way of seeing it is as one who has transcended satva, rajas and tamo gunas. Such a person will never have the problem of asuya and whoever is atri, his wife, will be anasuya; this is the symbolic significance Atri and Anasuya.
Now Sri Krishna enters subject matter, the central theme of chapter # 9 and this continues from shloka # 4 till Shloka # 10. This central theme is said to contain the essence of all Upanishads. Here the higher nature of God, Para Prakriti (PP), is discussed.
God, in his higher nature, is formless. Vyaktam means perceptible to Indriyas. Avyaktam means it is not perceptible to senses of sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing.
Lord in his higher nature is not available to any sense organs. Lord is free from all attributes. So, God with a form, is a lower nature of God. Thus Krishnamurthy, Ramamurthy are all forms of god. If you experience God as an object, it is a lower form of God. Vedanta says they are still not the real one. How do you experience the higher God? It is free from all attributes. Once you understand God is formless, the question comes where will he be located; you cannot have location; when will that Lord come; that Lord can never come; that Lord can never go as well.
All this is possible with Saguna Ishwara. The Ultimate one is one who never comes and goes. Once you discover this God, he is always there.
And the next glory or feature of that God is that he is Nirgunam or avyaktam. He is also all pervading.