Baghawat Geeta, Class 133: Chapter 10, Verses 17 to 20


Shloka # 17:

कथं विद्यामहं योगिंस्त्वां सदा परिचिन्तयन्
केषु केषु भावेषु चिन्त्योऽसि भगवन्मया।।10.17।। 

O Yogi, [Here yoga stands for the results of yoga, viz omniscience, omnipotence, etc.; one possessed of these is a yogi. (See Comm. on 10.7)] how shall I know You by remaining ever-engaged in meditation? And through what objects, O Lord, are You to be meditated on by me?

Continuing his teaching, Swamiji said, in the first eleven shlokas of Vibhuti Yoga Sri Krishna talked about unique nature of god where he becomes the intelligent cause as well as material cause of creation.

Since the Lord is the intelligent cause of this creation, we come to know that the cause is chetana tatvam, because the intelligence cause should have intelligence and to have an intelligence it should be a sentient being, and therefore Lord being the intelligent cause, God has got the omniscience and also omnipotence or the skill, to create this universe.

But the second unique feature that Sri Krishna pointed out that God himself is the material cause also because of which we come to know that God has the potentiality to manifest as the very Universe. It is like a seed manifests as a tree.

And this first power of Omnipotence and the Omniscience is technically called Yogashakti and the manifestation of the Lord in the form of the creation is called Vibhuthi. And thus God is called yoga and vibhuthi; yoga referring to the Omniscience and Omnipotence by which He is the intelligent cause, and Vibhuthi means the potentiality or the capacity by which the Lord manifests as the manifold Universe.

This topic was also discussed in chapter # 10. Sri Krishna says there is no special effort needed to see God; whatever you are seeing is god alone. So when I am seeing a bangle; I am having svarna darshanam; When I seeing a chain, I am having svarna darshanam; when I am seeing a ring, I am having svarana darshanam, because svarna happens to be the material cause of all these three; extending the same principle, whatever effect in this creation I experience, whether it is akasha, agni or vayu; jalam or prithvi, I am having Ishvara darshanam; when I am seeing akasha, I am having Ishvara darshanam; whenever I am seeing vayu, whenever I am seeing agni as well. In fact I am at every time, in every place having Ishvara Darshanam. I am constantly having Ishvara darshanam only; if only I know this fact that Ishvara is the very substance behind this creation.   For a virat bhakta every place is a temple as he sees god everywhere. Thus, he is a devotee in every place. He is a devotee in all places at all times.

So this conversion of the temporary devotee into a permanent devotee is a very big transformation, which is result of vishva rupa appreciation.  And once I am a permanent devotee, then my very response to situations in life will be different. Naturally raga and dvesha will be heavily neutralized and therefore mental disturbances also will come down. In fact such a virat bhaktha will become sadhana chatushtaya sampannah, effortlessly. And once he has got that sadhana chatushtaya sampannah, he will have only one goal in life. It is to recognize the next higher stage of Ishvara, moving from virat Ishvara to nirguna Ishvara. To remind you, we have discussed before, ekarupa Isvara, aneka rupa Ishvara and arupa Ishvara. Both stages are very important transformations and not that easy to accomplish. Once first conversion is over from ekarupa bhaktha to aneka rupa bhaktha then to come to nirguna Gyanam is not easy; but Sri Krishna promises, “my assistance will be there; I will cooperate with you; I will make sure that his mind is a fit mind. And if guru is required, I will send one; if shastram sravanam is required, I will provide the opportunity; every thing I will do, until the nirguna Ishvara Gyanam takes place, which alone will give liberation.”   Thus Sri Krishna has completed his presentation of Eka rupa, Aneka rupa and Arupa rupa Bhakti.

And now Arjuna asks a question from shloka No.12 up to shloka No.18, which we are seeing now. Arjuna is interested in knowing more about Vishvarupa Isvara. Of course Sri Krishna has pointed out that everything in the creation is Bhagavan’s manifestation alone; Lord plus nama rupa is equal to creation; but even though everything is the manifestation of the Lord, certain things in the creation are more attractive to us than others.

Thus, both a baby elephant and a cockroach are both god’s manifestation. But we find a cockroach repulsive while we love a baby elephant. It is not surprising that Arjuna wants to hear about glorious, attractive things in creation be it from humans, flowers, animals etc. All have attractive things within their groups. Arjuna wants to know them so that he can focus on attractive things. He can use attractive object as a symbol of totality. Our eyes are limited in visualizing totality; so I take a finite symbol in meditation, just as we salute the flag for a country. Such a symbol is called alambanam. There are two types of alambanam.

Pratima almbanam: are figures representing gods such as Rama, Krishna etc.

Pratika alambanam: Shaligram, Shiva linga, Turmeric powder, flame of a lamp etc are examples of ways to visualize the abstract. Mother, Father, Guru, and Gyani are also used as alambanam.

So, Sri Krishna, give me a list. By this upasana I will see god everywhere. Citing an example, say I want to jump into a river. The right way to go into river is to first pray to the river god and then walk in. Same with eating food, we should first make it an offering to God then eat the food. This way we try to see god everywhere.

Shloka # 18:

विस्तरेणात्मनो योगं विभूतिं जनार्दन
भूयः कथय तृप्तिर्हि श्रृण्वतो नास्ति मेऽमृतम्।।10.18।।

O Janardana, narrate to me again [In addition to what has been said in the seventh and ninth chapters.] Your own yoga and (divine) manifestations elaborately. For, while hearing (Your) nectar-like (words), there is no satiety in me.

Arjuna glorified Sri Krishna before asking his favor. Sri Krishna is happy with the glorification. Arjuna asks, O Sri Krishna, constant petition receiver of people, Janaradana, may you enumerate your own Yoga Shakti to become the whole universe.

The mango seed has the potentiality to become only mango tree; it cannot become coconut tree; so also with milk it has the potentiality to give you only butter; but it cannot give you oil. Thus everything in the creation has a limited potential; we also have our own potential; but the greatness of Bhagavan’s potential is that he has the potentiality to become the whole cosmos.

Suppose you have potential to sing, how to know it?  From your singing I come to know your potential.   Therefore yoga is always anumeyam; inferred;

Bhagavan has got infinite power; how do I know this; because he has created this world; the world is the testimony; world is the signature of the Lord; so from the world I know Bhagavan’s yoga; which is nothing but the maya Shakti; yoga is nothing but the maya only;

Thus, Yoga Shakti also means Maya Shakti. Shankaracharya in his commentary says, Yoga here means it is a combination of three gunas; Satva, Rajas and Tamas; hence called yoga.

Vibhuti means when potential is expressed or manifested, it is known as vibhuti and also known as pratyaksham. Arjuna adds, “Please teach me elaborately as well.”

Now Sri Krishna may feel bad as he has already enumerated his glories before in Ch 7 and Ch 9. Keeping this in mind, Arjuna adds, I remember you have taught this before but I like to hear it once more. I am never bored listening to this topic of Ishwara Vibhuti which is amrutam. May you repeat the topic in detail.

Shloka # 19:

श्री भगवानुवाच

हन्त ते कथयिष्यामि दिव्या ह्यात्मविभूतयः
प्राधान्यतः कुरुश्रेष्ठ नास्त्यन्तो विस्तरस्य मे।।10.19।।

The Blessed Lord said O best of the Kurus, now, according to their importance, I shall described to you My own glories, which are indeed divine. There is no end to my manifestations.

Sri Krishna spoke:

With previous shloka Arjuna’s request is over. Now Sri Krishna accepts his request. Sri Krishna does not mind

talking about his own glory. After all, Vedanta is also about talking about God’s Self-alone. The word Hanta in shloka means Very well. So Sri Krishna says, very well, I shall enlist my glories that are extraordinary. Even ordinary things of god are extraordinary; they are laukika vibhuti and Sri Krishna says if I have to enumerate them; it would be endless and therefore I am only going to talk about; Divya Vibhuti; extra ordinary glories of Mine, which can serve as a symbol.

Thus, Taittiriya Upanishad describes each organ of body and their respective glories. Even organ of evacuation is glorified; we realize its glory when it does not work or works too much.

You should not take even your winking faculty for granted; that is yet another beautiful gift. In everything, I should see the glory; as everything is Bhagavan’s glory; but we are only going to take the extraordinary ones.

Even extraordinary glories are innumerable, so Sri Krishna says; I will choose a few of them as there is no limit to my glories as it consists of the whole universe.

Thus, O Arjuna, among the Kuru people you are also glorious and even you can become a symbol of meditation.

 Shloka # 20:

अहमात्मा गुडाकेश सर्वभूताशयस्थितः
अहमादिश्च मध्यं भूतानामन्त एव ।।10.20।।

O Gudakesa, I am the Self residing in the hearts of all beings, and I am the beginning and the middle as also the end of (all) beings.

The list begins with this shloka and continues till Shloka # 38. He wants to first talk of Nirguna Brahman. Sri Krishna wants to first talk about the Vibhuthi of Bhagavan as Nirgunam brahma, which is the subtlest and which is the highest order of reality.

Chaitanyam is the fundamental glory of God as it makes every living being alive. I am Chaitanya swarupam. So mediation should be on,“ I am alive”. This also indicates respect for life. This also leads to Ahimsa Paramo Dhrama.

Because I see every living being as endowed with God’s gift of life and therefore I revere life. Therefore my aim is to avoid himsa; or at least minimize himsa; even non-vegetarianism is condemned; and vegetarianism is glorified because of the fundamental principle of reverence for any form of life. Therefore first glory is chaitanyam.

Nirguna Ishwara Vibhuti is the very existence principle. Thus when we say the chair is or pen is, the “is ness” is borrowed from material cause. The effect exists borrowing from cause. Cause is manifesting in effect as very existence or “is ness”. Thus, God being cause and world being effect, God is the “is ness”. When creation resolves, existence goes back to God.

Citing an example, an effect exists only by borrowing existence from the cause, an effect does not have its own existence; If an effect has got its own existence; then cause will be sitting there; thus, gold will be sitting there separately as will the bangle, which does not happen. Reality is wherever bangle is; gold must be there as well, because the very Is_ness of the bangle is the blessing of gold.

Similarly, Bhagavan being the cause, world being the effect, it is Bhagavan manifesting in the world as the very existence.

So the two main glories of Bhagavan are Chidrupa Vibhuthi; and Sat rupa Vibhuthi; so Sri Krishna starts with chid rupa Vibhthi in shloka No.20 and He concludes with sadrupa Vibhuthi in shloka No.39. So best form of meditation is sat chid rupam, to see Lord everywhere.

Usually when these two glories are talked about it is difficult to comprehend them. So, Sri Krishna now comes to concrete objects.

He says, O Gudakesha, for you who are a sharp student the ideal meditation will be the consciousness which we have described often before. Do you remember the description of consciousness? Consciousness is not a part; property or product of the body, consciousness is an independent entity pervading the body and enlivening the body; consciousness is not limited by the boundaries of the body, and consciousness survives even when the body dissolves. On such an abstract-formless-colorless-dimensionless-consciousness, I hope you can meditate upon.

And that is why I am giving you the title of gudakesha, means satvik one;( gudaka means tamo guna; or nidra; or a dull of intellect; isa means the master; the one who has conquered the dullness or tamo guna; which means the one who is satvik in nature; And therefore Arjuna, you look upon Me as the very consciousness.

And where is this consciousness? It is there in the mind of every living being; means abiding, indwelling, residing; even in animals and plants; therefore, in my mind also Bhagavan is there in the form of atma, the witness consciousness. This witness consciousness witnesses the presence of thoughts, as well as the absence of thoughts. When I say I have thoughts, I am aware of my thoughts; and when you say my mind is blank, the awareness of blankness is also because of that chaitanyam. That very chaitanyam I am; so; so this is Chidrupa Vibhuthi.

Take away:

In this chapter one more method is given to us as to how to seek God. The best form of meditation is to see god in everything, including all beings.  This witness consciousness, Chaitanyam, witnesses the presence of thoughts as well as the absence of thoughts.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy