Baghawad Geeta, Chapter 11 Summary


Swamiji summarized the chapter today. He said the significance of the chapter could be fully understood only if one has an understanding of Chapter’s # 7 through # 10. It is a developmental chapter based on previous four chapters. In previous chapters Sri Krishna talked about nature of God or Ishwara Swarupam.

Ishwara is jagat karanam, the cause of the universe. What type of cause is he? Is he an intelligent cause or a material cause? The carpenter, the intelligent cause, and wood, the material cause, both are required in creation of furniture. God, however, is both the intelligent cause and material cause of this world and hence called the abhina-nimitha –upadana- karana Ishwara.

Of these two causes, we focus upon one cause, that is the material cause aspect in these four chapters; and when we focus on this material cause aspect, we come to know that the material cause alone modifies or transforms to become various effects. Blessed and backed by the intelligent cause, it is the material cause alone that manifests as manifold effect. This we clearly see in day-to-day experiences. One gold alone evolves or manifests into varieties of ornaments; one wood alone

becomes a variety of furniture. Thus we find that cause alone manifests in the form of effect. In fact there is no effect at all separate from the material cause, there are no ornaments separate from gold, there are no furniture separate from wood; there are no products separate from the material cause. To put in another language; one material cause alone appears as manifold effect, by assuming different names and forms. Thus behind all the names and forms of the product, there is only one material cause. So behind bangle nameand form; chain name and form; ring name and form; what I am experiencing is the material cause, the gold alone. That means, if I wish the darshanam of gold; I need not separately attempt it; when I am seeing the ornaments; I am seeing the causal gold alone. I need not dismiss the ornaments; and separately work for thedarshanam of the gold.

When you are seeing the ornaments, you are directly in contact with the material cause alone, with varieties of nama rupa. Material cause becomes various effects backed by intelligent cause. We see this in daily experience where gold manifests as ornaments; wood manifests as furniture etc. There is no effect separate from material cause; there is no product separate from material cause.

Therefore karya darshanam is essentially the material karana darshanam only. This is a very important fact, which we should remember when we see these four chapters. and Lord Krishna applies this principle and points out, O Arjuna, I am the material cause of the creation; not a few ornaments or a few furniture; I am the material cause of this whole universe, consisting of para and apara prakrti; Which means that the universe is nothing but God evolved with different nama and rupa.

Therefore one gold, which is called gold in the karana avastha (potential form); the very same gold is called ornaments in the karya avastha (manifest form). So karanam and karyam are one and the same material only; karanam is with potential nama and rupa, whereas the karyam is with the manifest nama and rupa.

Thus, when we see ornaments, we are in contact with both karya darshanam and karana darshanam.

O Arjuna, I am the material cause of this whole universe, consisting of para prakriti and apara prakriti.

And therefore Sri Krishna wants to say that Ishvara and the world can never be different; when all the names and forms are resolved; like resolving the ornaments, what obtains is called avyaktha nama and rupa; we call it Ishwara and when the very same Ishwara available with evolved nama rupa is called prapancha. So there is no difference between prapancha darshanam and Ishvara darshanam; therefore whenever I am looking at the universe, I am only looking at the Lord with infinite varieites of nama rupa. In short, the world is the very embodiment of the Lord. If I do not have this understanding, I will call it the world. But if I have the understanding, I will call it as the form or the embodiment of Ishwara. When I look at the world as the embodiment of Ishwara; it is called Vishva rupa darshanam,  as the very body of the Lord; that new perception based on the new understanding; that understanding is called the divya chakshuhu; based on this new understanding; when I have got a new attitude towards the ordinary universe; that new attitude is extra-ordinary attitude; the world is the ordinary world; but we are developing an extra ordinary attitude born out of understanding. And the new attitude is that, this which I thought to be world, is nothing but Ishvarasya shariram; and therefore Vishva rupa darshanam is not an extra ordinary object; but an extra ordinary attitude towards an ordinary universe that we experience everyday.

So, Vishwa Rupam is an extraordinary attitude towards an ordinary universe. An ordinary thing, when associated with great people or things, assumes extraordinary value. It is like the Venkateshwara laddu has special significance compared to an ordinary laddu; the same laddu because of association with god becomes revered. This value is a non-physical value; it is an attitudinal value born of understanding called Divya chakshu.

Citing an example of a friend who shows up with a surprise item. When asked, he says it is a broken guitar belonging to Harrison, a Beatle. He sees a special value in the broken guitar due to its association with one of the Beatles. What is the difference between my perception and other, of the guitar? He has a divya chakshu, as he looks at the guitar with an extra-ordinary attitude.

And therefore we should remember appreciation is two-fold, one is physical and the other is attitudinal; attitudinal appreciation comes out of training and understanding; I should know all the exploits of Tendulkar; I should have been a parama bhaktha; knowing all the statistics; how many centuries; how many runs; how many catches behind the wickets; all these statistics are there; If I study all that and if I become a baktha; then an ordinary bat associated with Tendulkar will have an extraordinary value.

Extending this to this universe; this universe is also something ordinary because we have been contacting it all the time; I should have bhakthi for Ishvara first; which requires lot of training and having developed bhakthi for the Lord; later I should be able to associate this universe as the embodiment associated with Isvara. Then appreciation of Ishvara should be there and understanding that this world is connected with Ishwara.

It requires tremendous intellectual drill and mental refinement because we are not seeing anything new but we are seeing something old with a new attitude. And only then Vishva rupa darshanam can be understood properly and that is why Krishna gives four chapters of training and then in the 11th chapter we get the culmination; this is the background we have to keep in mind.

Shloka # 1-#8:

Introductory shloka: Arjuna asks Sri Krishna, how can I get Vishwa Rupa darshanam? Sri Krishna says Vishwa Rupa Darshanam is not one of the forms of God. To obtain Vishwa Rupa Darshanam a tremendous change is required in one’s attitude. Vishwa Rupam can be seen only with a Divya Chashu. Divya chakshu in turn requires a mind free from Ahamakra and mamakara; a mind that sees everything as belonging to God; thus, all my relations are not my people, but belong to God.

What about the body? Even it is God’s alone when we see everything as belonging to God; that is Vishwa Rupa darshanam. This ahamkara mamakara rahita chakshu is Divya chakshu. Sri Krishna blesses Arjuna with this Divya chakshu and Arjuna is stunned by the vision he sees.

Shloka # 9-# 13:

Sanjaya now gives a description of Vishwa Rupam. Some say, Sanjaya was reportedly given the Divya chakshu by Sri Krishna as well. The word Sanjaya means Sam Jaya, one who has conquered ahamkara and mamakara.

What is Vishwa Rupam? Lord has thousand hands, legs, stomachs etc. We have to understand the Vishwa Rupam of thousands of hands and legs means all the hands and legs of all the people previously I saw as belonging to You and I; now I see all of them as Bhagavan’s only, that is why in the Rudram, towards the end it says, when I am looking at my hands, this is also the hand of the Lord only.

Arjuna, now, has appreciation of Vishwa Rupam. He goes through three stages of appreciation. First he is wonderstruck by the vision. We don’t appreciate it as we are stuck in Samsara. Scientists are wonderstruck by animals and insects. Scientists are still not able to recreate the cobweb of a spider. If you are wonderstruck, the wonder belongs to Ishwara.

In Australia there is an anthill with temperature controls created by ants. What scientists call wonders of nature, Vedas call it wonders of God.

This ascharyam is described in shlokas # 15-# 22.

Then in shlokas # 23- # 30 mouth of God or Kala Tatvam is described. Here he describes all soldiers of both armies that are going to die, entering mouth of God. Kala is Srishti, Sthiti and Laya Karanam, all a part of Vishwa Rupa Drashanam. We are trained to be un-afraid of death. Death is not amangalam, rather it is mangalam for the next generation.

Arjuna saw all this, but he also saw Bhishma, Drona and others die as well. He was not free of Ahamkara. His Divya chakshu is a borrowed one and not one acquired due to his maturity. He could not accept death of his kith and kin. He then experiences fear of the destruction of kith and kin as he sees God devouring them and enjoying it in the process. One with strong Ahamkara can get upset with God, seeing this suffering. So Arjuna asks, O God, who are you?

Shlokas # 31- # 34:

Sri Krishna answers Arjuna’s question. He says, I am kalatatvam, the destructive force in the battlefield. Therefore, Arjuna, Vishwa Rupam involves accepting God as Srishti, Sthiti and Laya Karanam. When you appreciate totality and orderliness of creation, you will also use free will to be in accord with Dharma, the universal order; then there will be surrender. In a violin concert, even one Violinist can’t go off on his own, as the orchestra will be destroyed; thus, he surrenders to the Group.

This surrender requires maturity and when maturity is there; the surrender is natural; Similarly if my mind is trained to appreciate the total harmony; it is called dharma appreciation; I cannot go off dharma; I do have a freewill but my freewill is in alignment, This is called sharanagati; Vishva rupa darshanam makes sharanagati natural; therefore Arjuna you also surrender; follow the dharma which means you have to kill all these people; it is in keeping with the requirement of dharma.

Shlokas # 35- # 45:

Surrender is a mental thing. Alignment of freewill to Dharma is mental, expressed physically, in our tradition, by performing namaskara. It occurs in a mature mind. Shruti is everywhere. I see order, harmony and rhythm everywhere. This invisible harmony is called Dharma.

Shlokas # 35-45:

Of the three steps of ascharya, bhakti and bhayam one remains prominent. Bhayam is due to Ahamakara and Mamakara.

As long as ahamkara and mamakara are there; fear is unavoidable; fear of death; fear of old age; fear of separation; all this will be unavoidable; If I do not have ahamkara and mamakara; all these will appear as the leela of God; we all come together; leela of Isvara; we all get separated; leela of Ishvara; we all grow old; leela of Ishvara; But when aham mama are there; they are terrible thing; therefore Arjuna is frightened; therefore he says O Sri Krishna I only asked for Vishva rupa darshanam; but now I am changing my mind; he says I do not want this darshanam anymore; I would like to return it.  

Sri Krishna agrees that an immature mind can’t appreciate Vishwa Rupa Darshanam. So he says, confine yourself to Eka Rupa Ishwara and reduce ahamakra and mamakara. Our culture is designed to reduce ahamkara. When a new house is built, first action is to place a picture of God, telling him, it is your house.

Next is seeing this body also as God’s. When you think this daily, one day it will come true. Come to Eka Rupa Darshanam.

Sri Krishna now comes to Eka Rupa and with that Arjuna’s Divya chakshu also goes. This was given in shloka’s # 31- # 34:

Shloka # 46-55:

And 46 to 55 is the upasamhara or the conclusion of this teaching; wherein Lord Krishna points out that Arjuna you had the rare opportunity of Vishva rupa darshanam; because of your bhakthi; So, thus, bhakthi as a sadhana for evolution is pointed out.

Arjuna, you had a rare opportunity of Vishwa Rupa Darshanam due to your Bhakti. So, Bhakti is a means of moving from Eka Rupa to Aneka Rupa; a Bhakti, where God is the end in itself and this should result in Vairagyam and when vairagyam increases; the bhakthi becomes the ananya bhakthi.

Concluding in the last shloka, Sri Krishna says, initially stay with Eka rupa, sakama Bhakti; fulfill your material goals; use God to attain them. Let God be your Ishta Devata. You will get Viveka; then you will know the ephemerality of the worldly goals; once you know the limitation; God will become the end; then eka rupa bhakthi also will gradually become anekarupa bhakthi; And ultimately you will attain Me.

Benefits of Vishwa Rupam:

1. The first advantage is we do not hate anything in the creation; because everything is part of the Lord only; So I do not divide the world into raga vishaya and dvesha vishaya; everything has got its place; including a cockroach; including a mosquito; even poison has got its role to play and therefore dvesha becomes lesser and lesser.

2. Then the next benefit is amanitvam; once I know everything is Lord; any glory in any part of the world belongs to the Lord alone; therefore if I enjoy any faculty, any excellence in me; in music or dance or knowledge or intelligence or beauty; I do not claim it as mine; all of them belongs to the Lord; and therefore freedom from conceit; Self-conceit or humility is the benefit of Vishwa rupa darshanam.

3. And then the next benefit is I look upon everything as sacred; there is no secular, sacred division; there is nothing called secular; everything is sacred. Even the earth, water, fire, and akasha, all are worshipped.

4. Then the next benefit of Vishva rupa bhavana is we have respect for all forms of worship; all forms of God; I may be attracted to one form of Lord; I may have vishnu as my Ishta devatha; but I know that any form is Lord’s form; Therefore I do not look down upon Shiva; I do not compare one form or the other; all forms are OK: therefore all religions also are OK for me; sarva matha sama bhavah.

5. The benefit of Vishva rupa darshanam is the expansion of the mind; the narrowness of the mind; the shortsighted of the mind will go away; because I appreciate the totality. Therefore the totality, the more I see it; the more my mind expands.

Take away:

One material cause alone appears as manifold effect, by assuming different names and forms.

Universe is nothing but God evolved with different nama and rupa’s.

So karanam and karyam are one and the same material only; karanam is with potential nama and rupa, whereas the karyam is with the manifest nama and rupa.

This ahamkara mamakara rahita chakshu is Divya chakshu.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy