Baghawat Geeta, Class 119: Chapter 9, Verses 4 to 8


Shloka # 4:

मया ततमिदं सर्वं जगदव्यक्तमूर्तिना
मत्स्थानि सर्वभूतानि 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.

Continuing his talk on chapter 9, Swamiji said, in the first three shlokas of Chapter 9, Sri Krishna has introduced Ishwara Gyanam. This comes in the middle section of the Gita. Chapters 1 through 6 dealt with Jiva swarupam while Chapters 7-12 deal with Ishwara swarupam. While talking about the nature of Ishwara, his higher nature, PP, and lower nature, AP, PP is beyond conditioning of space and time. It is not subject to space and time as such not subject to divisions.

So that which is the absolute principle, which is the relative empirical world, and therefore that which is not subject to time and space and consequently not subject to division and change. So this division-less, changeless, timeless, space-less Being is the absolute form of God.

In Upanishad Para Prakriti is called Brahman while Apara Prakriti is called Maya. The knowledge of PP is known as Gyanam while knowledge of AP is known as Vigyanam. Having introduced both now Sri Krishna is dealing with PP or Brahman.

From Shloka # 4 through # 10 the topic is Brahma Swarupam. These shlokas are considered to reveal the essence of the Upanishads.

First feature of Brahman:

In last class we noted that PP, the higher nature, is formless and not available to any sense organs, as such it is not revealed by any sense organs as well. It does not have properties that can be perceived by sense organs of shabda (hearing), rupa (sight), gandha (smell), rasa (taste), and sparsha (touch) respectively.

The PP is described as Avyaktam meaning beyond all sense organs or formless.

Second feature of Brahman:

The second feature of Brahman is it is Sarvagatam. It is all pervading, with no spatial limitation; a natural consequence of Avyaktam, meaning having no form and as such it has no boundaries. Form is determined by boundaries. Since God is formless, he is boundless or all pervading. He is here and now. You need not travel to merge with the Lord, if at all there is a merger it is only through the wisdom that the Lord is never away from me. So in Vedanta, merger is the wisdom that the Lord is never away. Dropping the notion of division is merger.

Third feature of Brahman:

Whole world is resting in Me. I am Vishwa Adharam. Thus, in the following shloka we see this description of Lord as: Shantakaram bhujagashayanam padmanabham sureshsam vishvadharam gaganasadrsham. This is a description of God lying on a snake. The snake is his bed. Snake is the adhara or support for the Lord; However, in the second line it says, Vishvadharam; meaning snake does not support the Lord; the truth is that the Lord is not supporting the snake alone; the Lord is supporting the whole creation.

Thus, I am not supported by this world. I am the supporter, not the supported. Jagat adhishtanam is the third feature or support of all.

Shloka # 5:

मत्स्थानि भूतानि पश्य मे योगमैश्वरम्
भूतभृन्न भूतस्थो ममात्मा भूतभावनः।।9.5।।

Neither do beings exist in Me-behold My sovereign Yoga! My Self brings beings into existence and sustains them, yet does not dwell in them.

Fourth feature of Brahman:

Brahma satyam; jagan mithya

Sri Krishna says this world or the beings do not rest in Me. They are not in Me at all. Here Sri Krishna is contradicting his previous shloka. Gita has several seemingly contradictions. Sri Krishna said previously, all beings are in Me; now he says, all beings are not in Me.

Shankaracharya resolves this contradiction. He says, suppose you say X exists and then you say X does not exist. Both are coming from the Lord. Shankaracharya says there is only one way this can be resolved. He says, X should be considered as seemingly existing (meaning it appears as if it is there); however, upon closer examination one sees that the seeming existence is not real existence.

Thus, from one angle it seems to exist; from another angle, it is really non-existent.

Several examples of this exist. One example is our own dreams. Did your dream exist? Yes, you have experienced it and it was very tangible during the dream. A Nightmare can, after all, even frighten you.

So, from dreamers point of view the dream exists. From Waker’s point of view the dream is not real. Whatever you dreamt did not exist other than as a thought in mind.

And therefore the question is, is there a dream or not? From dreamer’s angle, it is there; from waker’s angle, it is not there; from a lower order of reality, it is there; from a higher order of reality, it is not there; and this unique phenomenon in Vedanta is called mithya; mithya means experientially available, but factually non-existent. Anything experientially available, apparently available; capable of invoking responses from you; but upon waking (from a higher angle) it is not there; such a thing is called seemingly existent. In Vedanta, it is defined as sad-asadbhyam-anirvachaniyam.

You cannot say it is there; you cannot say it is not there also; you cannot say it is not there because it frightens you; you cannot say it because when you wake up, it is not seen. Otherwise the lottery you won in dream; that money should be available to you upon waking; in reality, it does not benefit your bank balance; but in dream state it did give you enough happiness.

That which is in lower order of reality is called Mithya; or from body’s stand point the world exists. From Brahman’s stand point World does not exist.

So, therefore, Sri Krishna says may you appreciate my higher yoga. And what is my higher yoga? It is my higher nature. In Vedanta, the higher order of reality is called paramarthika satyam; the worldly (lower) order of reality is called vyavaharika satyam; thus, from Vedanta’s perspective: empirical reality is non-existent from the standpoint of the absolute reality; empirical reality is existent only from the standpoint of the ordinary worldly perception. And therefore this is My higher nature; may you recognize Brahma satyam; jagan mithya. This is the Vedantic essence that Sri Krishna gives us here. Not only that; this is the third feature; I am formless; I am all pervading; I am the substratum of the mithya universe.

Then what is the fourth feature: Krishna says: I am the srishti, sthiti, laya karanam of this entire universe; thus the waker is the srishti, sthiti, laya karanam of the dream world; the dream world comes out of me; and the irony is I create the dream world and I myself get frightened by the dream. Then I wake up and entire dream world is resolved back in me, the Waker.

Similarly, the Universe is a dream in Brahman that rises and resolves in Brahman.

Therefore my atma; the higher nature; the PP, is bhutabhavanah; bhavana is srishti karanam.  So I am the srishti kartha.  Just as the waker is the supporter of the dream world, I am also the Sthiti karta. Thus, once you wake up, the dream world cannot be sustained. Therefore you project; you support; similarly Brahman projects, Brahman supports:

I am the supporter of the creation; but I am not

supported by the creation; I do not depend on the world; that means the world cannot exist without me but I can exist without the world. That is the definition of the Satyam. Satyam can exist without mithya; mithya cannot exist without Satyam. Dream cannot exist without Waker but Waker can exist without dream.

You exist without dream; but dream cannot exist without you. Lord can exist without the world; World cannot exist without the Lord. This is called sathya-mithya sambhanda in the Upanishadic literature.

Shloka # 6:

यथाऽऽकाशस्थितो नित्यं वायुः सर्वत्रगो महान्
तथा सर्वाणि भूतानि मत्स्थानीत्युपधारय।।9.6।।

Just as the vast (expanse of) air, eternally subsists in space while moving everywhere, even so know that all beings exist in Me.

Fifth Feature of Brahman:

Here Sri Krishna introduces the fifth feature of Brahman as Asangatvam or unsullied nature of Brahman. It is an important shloka that says, I support the whole universe and the universe is resting in me.

Then whatever impurities of universe will also affect God? Sri Krishna says, this does not happen. I am not tainted by anything.

Space also is formless; the real Ishvara is also formless; space is all-pervading; the higher nature of Lord is also all pervading; space accommodates everything; everything is in space. Similarly the Lord accommodates everything. Fourthly, even though space accommodates everything, space is not burned by fire, wet by water; you cannot cut space, you cannot burn space, even though fire is in space. So this nature of space is called asangatvam. Similarly, the Lord accommodates everything including all akramams that are going in the world; but Lord is not tainted by kramam and akramam.

Sri Krishna says, God is beyond good and bad; because good and bad belongs to the relative empirical world, in which pairs of opposites are there; if Lord comes within the pairs of opposites, Lord will again be within the empirical world of time and space. And therefore here, Sri Krishna says, I am neither beautiful nor ugly; neither good nor bad; neither punyam nor papam; who am I; I am beyond dvandatvam. God is not in a pair of opposites; it is beyond dvandva.

Space accomodates Vayu. What type of Vayu? Vayu that is sometimes fragrant and sometimes not so fragrant. Akasha accommodate both, but Vayu does not affect Akasha. Vayu is located in space. Vayu moves everywhere; all this does not affect Space. So, also, there are good and bad people, but they don’t impact Me.

Shloka # 7:

सर्वभूतानि कौन्तेय प्रकृतिं यान्ति मामिकाम्
कल्पक्षये पुनस्तानि कल्पादौ विसृजाम्यहम्।।9.7।।

All beings, Arjuna! at the end of a cycle repair to My nature; again, at the beginning of the (next) cycle, I loose them forth.

In the sixth shloka Sri Krishna pointed out that he is Srishti Sthiti Laya Karanam. This is now explained further in shlokas # 7 and # 8.

How does Lord create? Before I created the Universe, universe was already in Me in an un-manifest form. Nothing in universe can be newly created. The world already existed in Me in a seed form.  Thus, a huge tree exists within a seed and a baby exists in the womb of the mother. So when she looks up at a grown up child and the mother says, this is my son; you wonder; how can such a big person be in the stomach of the mother; even though he is so big now; previously he was a tiny fetus, who was existing in an un-manifest form.

They say the information contained in DNA is equal to 300 books of information. If hair has to turn gray at 43, it was coded in the gene. It is same with disease. This is called Avyakta rupam.

Similarly, Sri Krishna says, all the details of this universe is already coded in me in ayaktha rupam; that unmanifest universe is called prakrti or maya or the world in seed form or matter in potential form. You may also call it energy; and it is this un-manifest universe that evolves into manifestation. The world comes to manifestation and again it goes back to unmanifestation; like the expansion and contraction of the heart; the creation also expands and contracts; unfolds and folds.

This is also true of the dream world. Everybody gets dreams; it is universal. All dreams one has are impressions from our observations or experiences, including one’s from previous janma. Therefore, your dream already exists in a potential form in you, the Waker. Similarly the dream-like-world is in Brahman, in an Unmanifest form, which is called maya or prakrti.

All the beings come back to me alone; in what form; prakrti form; unmanifest form; otherwise called maya form. That prakrti is also dependent on Me, just as the manifest world is dependent on Me.

Similarly, the unmanifest prakrti is also dependent on Me. Just as the manifest dream is dependent on the waker; similarly the unmanifest dream vasanas; the imprints or samskaras are also dependent on the Waker. So the imprint becomes dream; dream again becomes the vasana; I am the substratum for both.

Similarly, Sri Krishna says, the world resolves into prakrti; which is dependent on Me.

And when does this happen? It happens at the end of a kalpa; a Brahmaji’s day, which is 2000 chatur yugas; So therefore at the end of a kalpa, they all

resolve into Me. At the beginning of the next Kalpa; when Brahmaji gets up again the creation comes;

There is no end to creation, only a temporary rest.

Shloka # 8:

प्रकृतिं स्वामवष्टभ्य विसृजामि पुनः पुनः
भूतग्राममिमं कृत्स्नमवशं प्रकृतेर्वशात्।।9.8।।

Resorting, again and again, I loose forth this entire multidude of bound beings, swayed by and dependent on that nature.

This is also an explanation of Jagat karanatvam. In a cyclic process, I repeatedly create this world. Per Vedanta, creation is not a linear process; i.e., a process with an end. Rather it is a cyclic process, endlessly manifesting and un-manifesting. It does not have a beginning or an end. So, when did creation begin is an illogical question.

For Brahman, for creation, Prakriti, the potential universe, has to be there. So multitudes of beings are created. They are helpless beings. So even committing suicide is not a solution. One can’t stop the process. One can only get out of it through Moksha.

Take away:

  1. In Upanishad Para Prakriti is called Brahman while Apara Prakriti is called Maya. The knowledge of PP is known as Gyanam while knowledge of AP is known as Vigyanam.
  2. In Vedanta, merger is the wisdom that the Lord is never away. Dropping the notion of division is merger.
  3. From dreamers point of view the dream exists. From Waker’s point of view the dream is not real. Strangely, you are both the dreamer and Waker.
  4. The lower order of reality is called Mithya; thus from body’s standpoint the world exists. From Brahman’s stand point World does not exist.
  5. Brahma satyam, jagan mithya. This is the essence of Vedanta.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy