Baghawat Geeta, Class 137: Chapter 10, Verses 30 to 33


Shloka # 30:

प्रह्लादश्चास्मि दैत्यानां कालः कलयतामहम्
मृगाणां मृगेन्द्रोऽहं वैनतेयश्च पक्षिणाम्।।10.30।।

Daityanam, among demons, the descendants of Diti, I am the one called Prahlada. And I am kalah, Time; kalayatam, among reckoners of time, of those who calculate. And mrganam, among animals; I am mrgendrah, the loin, or the tiger. And paksinam, among birds; (I am) vainateyah, Garuda, the son of Vinata.

Continuing his teaching, Swamiji said, we are seeing Sri Krishna enumerate the glories of Ishwara. The entire creation is a manifestation and glory of the Lord. Sri Krishna chooses a few specialties as his glory. They can be chosen to invoke God. Even though all rivers are glorious, Ganga can be used to invoke god. Hence Ganga is considered scared. Everyone enumerated can be an alambanam. Many are identified from mythological stories. Thus he cites in shloka # 30 about Prahlada. Prahlada stuthi in the Bhagavatham is a very well known sthothram; in which we find the highest

Vedanta talked about. In the Bhagavatham there are many stuthis or sthothrams; Dhruva stuthi; Prahlada sthuthi; Kunthi sthuthi; Bhishma sthuthi; each character

glorifies the Lord and the beauty is, in those sthothrams not only the puranic glories are there; the highest Vedanta is also packed in those stuthis and among them Prahlada is also a great one.

It is an important one because even though Prahlada is born an asura, by his spiritual sadhana he could change his character and become a Gyani. Therefore one need not feel bad about one’s janma; jati does not indicate superiority or inferiority;

He was son of an Asura who changed. His jati did not matter. It was his guna that finally mattered. Karma with proper attitude makes one a guna Brahmana.

I am also Kala tatvam to ripen karmas at the right time. Karmas of groups of people also fructify at the same time. A sick person’s papam fructifies. Another person serving me (sick person) is my punyam; while it is his papam that he has to serve me even while losing his sleep. So God becomes kala delivering the right karma at right time to right person.

Among animals I am Lion. Among birds I am Garuda, son of Vinata. Garuda is Vahanam of Vishnu. In Vaishnavism there is a Garuda Alwar or a great devotee.

Shloka # 31:

पवनः पवतामस्मि रामः शस्त्रभृतामहम्
झषाणां मकरश्चास्मि स्रोतसामस्मि जाह्नवी।।10.31।।

Pavatam, of the purifiers; I am pavanah, air. Sastra-bhrtam, among weilders of weapons, I am Rama, son of Dasaratha. Jhasanam, among fishes etc; I am the particular species of fish called makarah shark. I am jahnavi, Ganga; srotasam, among rivers, among streams of water.

Among purifiers (ganga jalam, fire, wind etc) I am Vayu. Hence we worship Vayu; we also worship Agni. Among Gods who wield weapons I am Rama with the bow Kodandapani. Thus, gods have weapons to protect dharma.

Thus, Lord Shiva has got his parashu hastha; he has got parashu; he is called Pinakapani; the one who has got a bow called Pinakam; and Rama is called Kothandapani; Vishnu is called Sarngapani; not Sarangapani.

Initially one protects by non-violence. Only as a last resort is violence used. Even Rama gave Ravana one last chance. Even in Mahabharata Sri Krishna met kauravas one last time to avoid war. For Kshatriya dharma yudha is a dharma. It is like a doctor amputating a limb to save a person. In case of devotees, how will god use his weapon? Here too God uses weapon to destroy our inner enemies (kama, krodha, moha etc). So with Sudarashana chakram, right knowledge, Lord destroys Agyanam.

Among water animals I am Makara, the whale. Among rivers I am Janhavi or Ganga. Ganga is a papam remover as well. According to Vedanta Ganga symbolizes flow of spiritual knowledge. Thus following are common features:

  1. Ganga originates from Lord Shiva’s head. Brahma Vidya also comes from Lord Shiva.
  2. River flows from higher level to lower level. Generally Guru’s are seated at higher level and knowledge flows from Guru to Shishya.
  3. Ganga is a perennial river. Brahma vidya also is perennial. What is proof of this? The fact that we are able to learn this Vidya is the proof.
  4. When you dip in Ganga you feel refreshed. In same way, Vedanta teaching is also refreshing to one.
  5. Even though Ganga flows from Gomukh to Calcutta, you can take a dip in it only at Ghat with steps. So also Brahmavidya, you can only dip at Guru’s Ghat.

Shloka # 32:

सर्गाणामादिरन्तश्च मध्यं चैवाहमर्जुन
अध्यात्मविद्या विद्यानां वादः प्रवदतामहम्।।10.32।।

O Arjuna sarganam, of creations; I am the adih, beginning; ca, and ; he antah, end; ca eva, as also; the madhyam, middle-I am the origin, continuance and dissolution. At the commencement (verse 20) origin, end, etc. only of things possessed of souls were spoken of, but here the mention is of all creations in general. This is the difference. Vidyanam, among knowledges; I am the adhyatma-vidya, knowledge of the Self, it being the foremost because of its leading to liberation. Pravadatam, of those who date; aham, I; am vadah, Vada, which is preeminent since it is a means to determining true purport. Hence I am that . By the word pravadatam are here meant the different kinds of date held by dators, viz Vada, Jalpa, and Vitanda. [Vada: discussion with open-mindedness, with a view to determining true purport; jalpa: pointless date; Vitanda: wrangling discussion. [Jalpa is that mode of date by which both parties establish their own viewpoint through direct and indirect proofs, and refute the view of the opponent through circumvention (Chala) and false generalization (Jati) and by pointing out unfitness (of the opponent) tobe argued with (Nigraha-sthana). But where one party establishes his viewpoint, and the other refutes it through circumvention, false generalization and showing the unfitness of the opponent to be argued with, without establishing his own views, that is termed Vitanda. Jalpa and Vitanda result only in a trial of streangth between the opponents, who are both desirous of victory, But the result of Vada is the ascertainment of truth between the teacher and the disciple or between others, both unbiased.

Among creations, I am beginning, end and middle. Sri Krishna said the same in shloka # 20. How to reconcile this? One indicates spatially while second looks at time wise; Srishti, Sthiti and Laya karanam.

Vidya means any disciple of knowledge; any science is called Vidya and there are so many branches of

knowledge in our tradition such as: the four vedas; shiksha, kalpa, vyakaranam, niruktham, chanda, jyothisham etc.; there are so many branches in the sciences and the modern sciences are many as you know, and among all of them, I am the spiritual knowledge.

Among sciences, I am Atma Gyanam. In chapter # 9 it was called Raja Vidhya, self-knowledge that says Atma is the only reality, all others are unreal.

Thus, Apara Vidya is Avidya and Paravidya is Gyanam.

It is only self-knowledge that liberates a human being from our limitations.

The sense of physical limitation is expressed in the form of our desire to accumulate more and more and more because with myself I feel I am limited; So I have a sense of physical limitation, I have a sense of emotional limitation, that I am not loved by all; I am not loved by own children; no one enquires about me; they do not even check whether we are there or not; so all these are all what; emotional deprivation; emotional sense of limitation; Then the next level of limitation is intellectual; any amount I know, I know that I do not know much; the greater I know, the greater the ignorance is exposed; and therefore, this sense of limitation is samsara and any branch of knowledge other than self-knowledge will not remove this limitation; In fact, not only it will not remove, it will create only further limitation; like Newton said; thousands of discoveries he made and at the time of death, he declared that I was playing with a few pebbles on the shore, while the vast ocean of truth is in front. Therefore, material sciences will only increase the sense of limitation; whereas this is the only knowledge give me poornatvam.

No other branch other than self-knowledge can remove these limitations. Material science will increase sense of limitation while self-knowledge alone will give Poornatvam.

This is also the rarest of knowledge. Many don’t come to this knowledge. The number of people who know this are indeed very rare.

Then the next one Vadaha means a discussion for arriving at the truth. In our tradition, they talk about several types of discussions; anything you take, they have studied thoroughly; they talk about vadaha; they talk about jalpa, they about vithanda; they talk about jathi; they talk about chalam; these are all different types of discussions, And vadaha or samvadaha between guru and Shishya, both are meant for only one purpose and that is arriving at the truth; whereas in all other discussions, arriving at the truth is not the aim, winning the argument is the aim; and hence the expression heated argument.

Doing namaskara to teacher means I will set aside without my ego or notions.

Whenever I am in agreement with you, you accept me; which means what; you hold on to your view alone; this is called filtered listening; whichever is convenient you take and the other things you are not able to drop. That means I lack intellectual honesty; therefore a discussion wherein I set aside my ego; wherein I am ready to openly accept, not mentally verbally accept my mistake and I am interested in listening to other persons; it is the most difficult thing in any discussion or dialogue; our mind is itching to talk; and we are waiting for that person to take a breath; at that time you enter and you finish off your arguments; So if I can listen in a relaxed manner to the other person and similarly I talk, that is called vada or samvada; that alone will lead to discovery of truth; and therefore Sri Krishna claims that I am vadaha.

Shloka # 33:

अक्षराणामकारोऽस्मि द्वन्द्वः सामासिकस्य
अहमेवाक्षयः कालो धाताऽहं विश्वतोमुखः।।10.33।।

Aksaranam, of the letters; I am the akarah, letter a. Samasikasya, of the group of compound words, I am the compund (called) Dvandva. Besieds, aham eva, I Myself; am the aksayah, infinite, endless; kalah, time, well known as ‘moment’ etc.; or, I am the supreme God who is Kala (Time, the measurer) even of time. I am the dhata, Dispenser, the dispenser of the fruits of actions of the whole world; visvatomukhah, with faces everwhere.

Among letters I am letter Aa. In English language Aa does not exist. In all Indian languages Aa is first letter. It is most fundamental sound, because when you open your mouth, the sound that comes is Aa. All other sounds are modified versions of Aa alone. By changing your mouth you can show teeth and it becomes Ee .Thus Aa’s modifications result in other sounds. Thus, Aa is Karana Aksharam while others are Karya Aksharani.

Take away:

  1. It is only self-knowledge that liberates a human being from our mental, emotional and intellectual limitations.
  2. Sri Krishna emphasizes non-judgmental and relaxed listening. We need to improve our listening skills.

With Best Wishes,


Ram Ramaswamy