Bagawad Gita, Class 181: Chapter 14, Verses 1 to 4


Continuing his teachings Swamiji said today, having completed the 13th chapter, now we will enter into the 14th chapter. As I had pointed earlier, the 14th chapter also falls within the last shatakam or group of the Gita and its focus is on Gyana yoga or self-knowledge.

And in this group of six chapters, the first three chapters, 13th, 14th, and 15th mainly focus upon Gyana yoga or self-knowledge, and therefore all these three chapters are important, and all of them have the essence of the Upanishads. The self-knowledge is the knowledge of our higher nature.

And in the previous chapter, the knowledge of our higher nature was presented as “I” the kshetragnya or the witness principle.  Atma is revealed as the drk the kshetragnya, the observer and everything else is presented the kshetram, the observed, the Drishyam.

The differentiation was done based on the observed-observer principle and this method of teaching is called, Drk-Drishya viveka. It is a popular method used in the shastra, to arrive at my true nature; I go on negating all that I experience. Neti Neti method; whatever I experience, I am not. And if I go on negating everything that I experience, finally there will be only one thing left out, and that is the experiencer who can never become an object of experience. And this method of arriving at the subject by negating every object, including the body, mind and the thoughts; this method is called Drk-Drishya viveka and the thirteenth chapter employed this method.

Now in the 14th chapter also Sri Krishna is going to deal with the same subject matter, but here atma, my nature is going to be revealed as Gunatitha, or Nirguna tatvam and everything that has got gunas or attributes, they are all anatma, the object and by negating everything Saguna, what will be left behind is the gunathitha, the Nirguna atma. So what was presented as the observer in the thirteenth chapter, the same atma is presented here as the attributeless principle. And therefore this chapter is in the form of guna thraya, gunathitha and vibhaga yoga. Previous chapter is kshetra-kshetragnya vibhaga, subject-object differentiation; here the topic is Saguna-Nirguna vibhaga; Saguna means with attributes, Nirguna means without attributes.

And the Saguna is going to be here termed as Guna traya. The three-fold gunas. The details we will see in due course. And the Nirguna tatvam is called gunathitha; that which transcends all the attributes. And we are going to differentiate guna trayah and the gunathitha and we are going to claim that I am the gunathitha atma; I am not the guna-traya anatma. This is going to be the subject matter of this chapter, a small chapter but an important chapter. With this background, we will enter into the chapter proper.

Shloka # 14.1:

The Blessed Lord said I shall speak again of the supreme Knowledge, the best of all knowledges, by realizing which all the contemplatives reached the highest Perfection from here.

The chapter begins with Sri Krishna’s voluntary offer to teach further. In the thirteenth chapter, Arjuna asked a question and therefore Sri Krishna answered,

whereas here Arjuna did not raise any question, at all but Sri  Krishna, out of compassion, offers to teach the same thing once again. Why should Sri Krishna do that?

Shankaracharya  says, often, when the subject matter is very subtle, a teacher has to repeat it again and again. When the subject matter is shallow, you need not repeat. Sri Krishna too knows what deserves repetition. And this atma Gyanam being very subtle, repetition is not a defect. When the subject matter is simple, repetition is not required.

 Therefore, Sri Krishna says O Arjuna, what I taught in the 13th chapter or previously, is extremely subtle; you are a good student; you would have understood; but still for my satisfaction, I would like to present it again. But if I give the same title, you will be bored; and therefore, in another fashion, I will present it from a different angle. Previously it was Kshetra-Kshetragnya vibhga, Purusha-Prakrti vibhaga, now it is guna traya- gunathitha vibhaga.

What type of Gyanam is it; It is the greatest knowledge in the world.

Shankaracharya says, the first ‘greatest’ indicates a knowledge which deals with the greatest thing, Reality in the world. In terms of the subject-matter, this knowledge is the greatest, because it does not deal with the ordinary perishable thing, but it is dealing with the greatest reality.

And then the second greatest means not only the subject matter is the greatest one; that is atma or brahman. The result that we derive out of this knowledge, the phalam also is the greatest. First greatest represents the subject matter; the second one refers to the knowledge which gives the greatest result of moksha whereas all other branches of knowledge can give the result of the perishable artha, perishable kama, perishable dharma, whereas this is the only knowledge, which gives the result of imperishable moksha. Thus this knowledge is the greatest knowledge. And that is why in Mundaka Upanishad, this knowledge is called Para vidya. And therefore Arjuna, I shall give you that knowledge which is the greatest knowledge leading to moksha. So, what is moksha? Sri Krishna explains that by gaining this wisdom, the greatest wisdom, all the seekers, who are Sanyasi’s, (detached) or are sadhana catushtaya sampathi Sampanaha or the detached souls are the one’s who have got all the necessary qualifications in abundance.

In the last class summary, I talked about 4 Ds, Discrimination, Dispassion, Discipline and Desire for moksha. So the one who has got all these qualifications is called a Muni, in this context. Muni here refers to the all those prepared seekers who attained moksha, which alone is the highest accomplishment in life. Gaining which alone the life can be called worthwhile. Kenopanishad points out that any other thing you get in life is not worthwhile; life is validated; made meaningful only if this knowledge is attained; And therefore param siddhim; the highest accomplishment of moksha they have attained while living. Not only while living; even after death; they have gained the videha mukti too. Liberation while living is called Jivanmukti. Liberation after death is called Videha mukti. These people have attained both.

Shloka # 2:

Those who attain identity with Me by resorting of this Knowledge are not born even during creation, nor do they suffer pain during dissolution.

Introduction continues. In the previous verse it was pointed out that this Gyanam is superior most, because it deals with the greatest reality; and the benefit is also the greatest, which consists of jivanmukti and videhamukti.

Now the next question is what is jivanmukti and what is videhamukti? Sri Krishna briefly defines them as by taking recourse to this knowledge, by acquiring this knowledge, the seekers have attained oneness with me. They have also attained Ishvara svarupam, dropping their jivatman. So mama sadharmyam, means Ishvara svarupam.

And what do you mean by Ishvara svarupam? Ishvara has got purnatvam, and these people enjoy the purnatvam even while living. So the first indication of jivanmukti is total inner sense of self-sufficiency. Not missing anything in life; as Sri Krishna said in the 2nd chapter, this Gyani also enjoys purnatvam.

And the second feature or glory of Bhagavan is abhaya svarupa. Bhagavan is free from the sense of insecurity; whereas Jiva is full of insecurity feeling. This Gyanam will remove the sense of insecurity.

So Ishvara svarupam means abhayam, freedom from insecurity; freedom from finitude; freedom from slavery. Bhagavan is called Swami. Swami means the one who is the master of everything while a samsari is called brtya-dasa, a slave. A slave of what; Slave of people; slave of circumstances; a slave of karma. A Gyani, by this knowledge, attains Ishvara svarupam, meaning this Gyani also becomes a swami. He is no more a slave of karma phala.

They are the masters of the situation; and mastery means no regret over the past, and no anxiety with regard to future. So this svamitvam, purnatvam, abhayam, ananda svarupaha, ananda, all these are indicated by the word  sadharmyam This sadharmyam indicates jivanmukti. So even while living, they enjoy the glories which belong to the Lord. This is called jivanmukti.

And then what happens to them after death. After death they attain videhamukti. What do you mean by videhamukti? vidahamukti means freedom from punarjanma. Punarjanma leads to punar maranam and punar maranam will lead to punar janma. They are free from Punarapi jananam, punarapi maranam cycle,.

And therefore, videhamukti is defined in the second line; they are not born again as miserable individuals and therefore in the next srishti, they are not created again.

And therefore they do not come to grief again, caused by mortality. So at the time of pralayam, they do not grieve; they are not afflicted by the pain of death. In short; they are free from janma-marana cycle, which is called videhamukti and therefore Arjuna, if you want to enjoy this jivanmukti and also get the benefit of videhamukti, concentrate on this Gyanam.

Shloka # 14.3:

14.3 My womb is the great-sustainer. In that I place the seed. From that, O scion of the Bharata dynasty, occurs the birth of all things.

The introduction continues. In the first two slokas, Sri Krishna introduced the subject matter of Atma Gyanam, and he also talked about the glory of the subject matter, the glory is that it is a liberating knowledge; so having introduced the subject matter, now in these two verses, the 3rd and 4th, Sri Krishna summarizes the process of creation which he had dealt with in the 13th chapter as well. So as a reminder, Sri Krishna is summarizing the process of creation; because the development of the teaching depends upon the knowledge of the creation. On topic of creation, in Ch 13, he said before the creation, there were originally two principles, known as Purusha and Prakrti. Both Purusha tatvam and prakrti tatvam are anadi; anadi meaning beginningless. They are the cause of the creation; but they themselves are not created entities. There Sri Krishna said both are anadi. And we talked about 4 differences, to recap:

Purusha is chetana tatvam, conscious principle. prakrti is achetana tatvam, inert principle,

Purusha is nirguna tatvam, without any attributes;

prakrti is saguna tattvam, with gunas;

Purusha is Nirvikara tatvam, without any modifications; whereas Prakrti is savikara tatvam, subject to modifiction.

Fourthly and finally, Purusha is satya tatvam having independent existence of its own; whereas prakrti is matter; it does not have independent existence or it is Mithya.

So Nirguna, Nirvikara, Satya, Chetana Tatvam is Purusha; Saguna, Savikara, Mithya, Achetana Tatvam is Prakrti.

In English, consciousness and matter, both existed from beginningless time. And He also pointed out that this mixture Purusha-prakrti, consciousness-matter, is the cause of the creation. And this mixture alone is called Ishvara. Ishvara is neither pure-Purusha, nor pure-prakrti, but it is a mixture of these two. And either of them cannot independently become the cause of the creation and to convey this idea, Sri Krishna takes the comparison of the Father principle and the Mother principle. The Purusha tatvam is compared to the father principle and the Prakrti tatvam is compared to the mother principle. It is only a comparison: because male alone can produce; female alone can produce a child; male and female together alone can be the cause of the creation; and therefore Purusha is compared to a male and Prakrti is symbolized as female. It is only a symbolism. Do not extend it too much and ask whether all the ladies are inert!!! When I say females are compared to prakrti, it is only a comparison; do not extend it too much; you will have problem. Then why this comparison, only to show that both the tatvams put together alone can cause the creation.

Then Sri Krishna wants to point out that the Purusha and Prakrti, are like an inseparable father and mother.

Citing example, they are like inseparable Shiva and Parvati; or like Vishnu and Lakshmi, or like Brahma and Saraswati.

Similarly father principle Purusha, mother principle Prakrti, put together is called Ishvara the cause of the creation.

And then Sri Krishna wants to point out that if this mixture is the cause of the creation; all the products will have the features of both the father and mother. Because the general rule is the features of the cause will Inhere and pervade the effect also. If gold is the cause of the ornament, the ornament is also golden in nature. And if the cause-Gold has a percentage of copper, the ornament also will have a percentage of copper. If the children are born out of the couple, the children will have some features of the father; some features of the mother; both will be there. Only thing is the proportion. One child might have more of the mother and less of the father; another might have more of the father and less of the mother; but the principle, the causal features, will inhere in the effect. And therefore Sri Krishna wants to extend that principle and say every individual is a mixture of Purusha and prakrti tatvam. Every individual jiva, whether it is plant or ant or elephant; whether it is a human being, male or female; every one of us is a mixture of Purusha, father principle, as well as prakrti the mother principle.

If we do not recognize this nature of ours, that I am a mixture of Purusha tatvam, (nirguna-nirvikara-sathya-chetana Purusha Tatvam); and saguna-savikara-mithya-achetana prakrti tatvam, if I do not understand my composition very clearly, I will not know how to handle myself properly.

Self-knowledge is required for self-mastery. Anything you want to master, the first step is learn to understand. If a disease has to be cured, before finding a remedy for the disease, I have to understand the nature of the disease. If I do not know how to handle myself, how am I going to be the master of my family.

Therefore, self-mastery requires self-knowledge. Self-knowledge involves knowing my composition.

And Sri Krishna wants to say that I am composed of Purusha aspect as well as prakrti aspect. And to show and proof that I am the mixture of both, Sri Krishna wants to point that I am the mixture of both, because my cause, Ishvara, is a mixture of both. So karanam is a mixture of both, karyam the jiva is also a mixture.

For that, he is introducing the creation. Therefore, Sri Krishna says here: O Arjuna, I am the Purusha Tatvam and inseparable from me is the prakrti tatvam, otherwise called Maya tatvam and maya is comparable to my wife. Therefore I am Brahman, the husband; Purusha, the husband; and maya is like my wife, and I cannot create the universe without prakrti, the maya. Thus Soundarya lahari begins with that.

If prakrti is not there, Purusha cannot do anything.

And therefore Sri Krishna says the female principle, my wife, Sri Krishna says; is Mahat brahma. Yoni here means wife. It is a very misleading verse; the word brahma here is Maya, the prakrti tatvam; the word brahma in this context means prakrti. The matter principle, the mayatatvam.

And what type of wife she is? mahad brahma, is a universal mother, and therefore mahat means infinite; because the pregnancy of the universal mother should be a great pregnancy because the universal mother has to conceive the universe. Therefore Sri Krishna says Mahat brahma, infinite maya, is my wife as it were; and who am I, we have to supply, I, the Purusha tatvam am comparable to the father principle. I, the consciousness; am the father, maya is the mother principle.

And what do I do; when the right time for creation comes; what do I do?

I transfer the garbham; means the life principle, the power to create; power to reproduce; I hand over, I transfer to the Mother. Just as at the time of conception, the male transfers the seed of the baby to the female. Similarly at the time of creation, I bless maya with the power to produce the universe. Tasmin garbham dadhamyaham. And philosophically speaking, garbadanam is supposed to be blessing the maya tatvam with the chidabhsha or the reflected consciousness; blessing the maya is considered to be garbha danam. I activate the maya. I impregnate maya, I give maya the power to evolve itself into a universe.

And once the conception has taken place; father, male principle has done the job, female principle has conceived, and thereafter the male principle need not do anything, the baby foetus will grow in the body of the mother, perfectly, according to the law of nature. Father need not know all the laws. Even the mother need not know all the laws to conceive the baby and every week growth appropriately and whatever transformation is needed in the mother’s body, that also will take place;

Similarly, here also Sri Krishna says: once I bless the maya, I need not do anything; maya will evolve into this creation.

Just as the baby grows in the mother’s body, and at the appropriate time, 9th month or the 10th month, by the same law of nature, it emerges.

Before big bang one cannot talk about time and space. Even the concept of time and space is impossible before big bang; During the time of singularity (scientists call it singularity) you cannot talk about anything, it is a state of non-information.

Singularity they call, it is a state of non-information. In Vedanta non-information is called maya. It means that you will not understand. This, people call it, state of non-information.

In Sanskrit it is called maya. In this place what is there, If we say maya, we will not understand. If you have understood maya well, then you know maya is un-understandable.

Anirvachaniyam means where information is lacking. At the time of big bang, information was not there; but out of that evolved this universe; Similarly, thereafter, we can trace how the creation evolved.

Everything happens, therefore, Sri Krishna says the origination of all these things and beings; in that moment of big bang, the inexplicable moment, from that moment, everything evolves naturally, O Arjuna. So then what happens:

Shloka # 14.4:

14.4 O son of Kunti, whatever forms are born from all the wombs, of them the great-sustainer is the womb; I am the father who deposits the seed.

So Sri Krishna said that I am the universal father; and maya is the universal mother; and we the universal couple, are comparable to any local couple, there also because of their combination the child is born, the child has the features of both of them.

Then what is the difference between the universal couple Bhagavan and Bhagavati and the worldly couple; Sri Krishna says even though many things are common; there is one main difference. If you take any couple in the world; any male and female, humans species, you take, the human couple can produce only human child;

So when you take any one couple in the universe that couple is the cause of only one species, whereas the universal mother has given birth to all the species.

And therefore Sri Krishna says, I am the universal father; who activate, who impregnate maya, who enliven maya by blessing it with reflected consciousness, chidabhasha pradhanena, I bless the Maya and therefore I am the universal father;

And blessed by me; the maya becomes the universal mother not for one species, but for all the species. And therefore Sri Krishna says, so whatever species of living beings are born in the world; whatever we see, the monkey species is there; buffalo species is there; locally the buffalo child is born out of buffalo mother; monkey child is born out of monkey mother; whatever species is born out of the corresponding mother; all of them when you go to the original cause, the original cause is only one maya, that is the cause of all the monkey species also; buffalo species also; octopus also; snails also; whatever.

Therefore Sri Krishna says; whatever types of bodies or whatever species you experience here, born out of the local mothers. For all of them, the immediate cause may be the immediate mother, but the original cause is maya only.

Whatever living being is born; for all of them, brahma yoni, maya is the universal mother. And therefore we are all children of brahman plus maya; Purusha plus prakrti; Consciousness plus matter; nirgunam plus sagunam. And therefore we also will have a mixture of both.

Take Away:

Ishvara is neither pure-Purusha, nor pure-prakrti, but it is a mixture of these two. And either of them cannot independently become the cause of the creation

Gyani: Ishvara svarupam means abhayam, freedom from insecurity; freedom from finitude; freedom from slavery.Gyani has both.

Nirguna, Nirvikara, Satya, Chetana Tatvam is Purusha; Saguna, Savikara, Mithya, Achetana Tatvam is Prakrti.

Every individual, every being, is a mixture of Purusha and prakrti tatvam.

In Vedanta state of non-information is called maya.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy