Baghawat Geeta, Class 101: Chapter 7, Verses 2 to 4


Shloka # 2:7.2

ज्ञानं तेऽहं सविज्ञानमिदं वक्ष्याम्यशेषतः
यज्ज्ञात्वा नेह भूयोऽन्यज्ज्ञातव्यमवशिष्यते।।7.2।।

Exhaustively I shall set forth that knowledge together with its realization; once it is grasped, nothing more will remain to be known.

Continuing his teaching of the Gita, Swami Paramarthananda said, in the first three shlokas of chapter 7, Sri Krishna is introducing the subject of the Ishwara Svarupam. It is discussed in chapters 7 through 12. This topic discusses who is God; what is God etc. This knowledge of God introduces us to two aspects of god; God as Gyanam (lower nature, Saguna) and God as Vigyanam (higher nature, Nirguna). Where God is seen as Saguna, there is duality; with form comes duality. Saguna swarupam is also known as Bheda swarupam. Thus Rama, Krishna and Shiva all have plurality. This is God’s lower nature.

Higher nature is without form; all attributes are eliminated; there is no division. Thus, formless space represents advaitam (nirguna). Since higher nature is without attributes it is difficult for a beginner to conceive. It is too abstract for a beginner. Therefore, everyone has to start with Saguna Ishwara. Therefore scriptures prescribe Gyanam and the Vigyanam. Thus one goes from dvaitam to advaitam. Sri Krishna says, Arjuna, I will give you knowledge of both completely and convincingly. This knowledge will be so comprehensive that all your questions regarding God and yourself will be answered.

Three questions arise within us. They are:

  • What is this world?
  • What is God? Is there a God?
  • Why am I born? Where am I going?

We have asked these questions of our parents but never got a clear answer. Until these questions are answered humans will be curious. Sri Krishna says, I will answer all these questions for you.

Mundaka Upanishad asks, what is that, knowing which everything else will be known? The Upanishad says, it is Paravidya, knowing which everything is known.

Shloka 3:7.3

मनुष्याणां सहस्रेषु कश्िचद्यतति सिद्धये
यततामपि सिद्धानां कश्िचन्मां वेत्ति तत्त्वतः।।7.3।।

Just one man among thousands strives to win it; among those who know and strive, only one comes to know Me in truth.

In this shloka Sri Krishna talks about the glory of knowledge of God as Saguna and Nirguna. This knowledge is glorified as “rare knowledge”. Anything rare, we want to possess.  You want something nobody else has. Why is this knowledge rare? Majority of people are busy pursuing other things than Gyanam. The scriptures talk about four purusharthas; dharma, artha; kama, and moksha; artha meaning security or wealth; kama means entertainment; dharma means punyam for higher loka, and moksha means, inner freedom. Most people are running after dharma, artha and kama but not moksha.  Even if one has desire for moksha, most do not know how to get it. Sri Krishna says the only method obtaining Ishwara Gyanam is through Guru Shastra Upadesha Sravanam.

Now number of people wanting moksha are few; among them number of people, who want Ishvara Gyanam are fewer still; and even among majority does not know how to get Ishvara Gyanam. While they try all kinds of things for getting knowledge. They are stiil not able to obtain it.  If there are say six billion people; out of this four billion are not interested in moksha; of the one billion left, fifty percent, they want moksha but they do not know the means to obtain it. And half of that, they know that Ishvara Gyanam is the means but they do not know guru shastra Upadesha is the means; therefore they are all gone; after filtering; there are only very few who know that Shastra Vichara is important.  Among thousands of people only a few strive in right direction of guru shastra sravanam to obtain inner freedom.

Now the word Siddhi in shloka means inner freedom; inner security; because according to shastras; ultimately insecurity is only a notion in our mind born out of ignorance; insecurity is a sense and that is why as long as we do not attack that inner sense of insecurity; whatever be the security you have outside; that will never give the sense of security, because really security does not come from outside. In India, one of our prime ministers was killed by her own security detail.

So a few people have understood and they want to get rid of inner sense of security, but among them also, very few people succeed in discovering that inner security; and therefore even among those who strive in the right direction; a few people gain my knowledge. Here My knowledge is Ishvara Gyanam. So very few people know Ishvara Gyanam in reality; in totality; which should include both saguna, nirguna Ishvara Gyanam. Having glorified this knowledge Sri Krishna now wants to enter the topic proper hereafter.

Shloka # 4:

भूमिरापोऽनलो वायुः खं मनो बुद्धिरेव
अहङ्कार इतीयं मे भिन्ना प्रकृतिरष्टधा।।7.4।।

The earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect and the ego-sense constitute My distinctive eight fold nature.

Now Sri Krishna enters the main topic of the chapter or its central teaching. Shlokas 4-12 discuss this topic. It is one of the most important portions of the Gita discussing Ishwara Swarupam. All teachings of Gita in this area are based upon Upanishads. Nothing is considered Sri Krishna’s own philosophy. Here he is reviving Upanishadic teachings. To understand this section we have to recapitulate the upanishadic background and upanishadic view.

All Upanishads define God as jagat karanam, or cause of the universe. Everything has two causes. Citing example of a desk, it has: 1) raw materials needed to make a desk; this is known as upadana karanam and 2) An intelligence principle to convert the raw material known as nimitha karanam.

Citing example of a hall, its nimitta karanam is an architect or an engineer while the upadana karanam are the bricks and mortar and all such things, Now the Upanishads point out that the Lord is the cause of the universe; and before the creation came into being; this Lord, which is the cause of the creation or who was the creation alone, was existent Creation includes time and space. If he was alone before creation, what kind of a cause was he? It presents a dilemma. Scriptures say, since he was alone, he was both the causes, intelligent and material. From the standpoint of the intelligent cause, we say God created the world; from the standpoint of the material cause, we say God evolved into this universe. As intelligent cause, God is the creator, and as the material cause, God Himself has evolved into this creation.

How can I accept this as a fact?

Normally intelligent cause and material cause are different. The rice is different from the cook. Cook is different; rice is different; is there any doubt that rice is the material cause and the cook, the intelligent cause? They are also not identical.

How can one principle be, both causes? Upanishads say exceptions to the general law do exist. Mundako Upanishad cites example of a spider. All beings create their living space from external raw materials. A spider’s web, however, is strong, light and is different. It is a wonder of creation. Spider spins the raw material from within itself; thus it is it’s on material and intelligent cause. It is the Abhinna nimitha upadana karanam. God also is such a karanam.

What is nature of such a God? Upanishads say God consists of two principles put together. In our religion Ardhanarishwara symbolizes the two principles.

The two principles are:

1) Apara Prakriti (AP); the lower nature.

2) Para prakriti (PP); the higher nature.

Both have some common features and some uncommon features.

Common features: Both are eternal. Both are never created or destroyed. We can only transform matter.

Uncommon features:


  1. PP is chetana Tatvam or the conscious principle. It can’t be created or destroyed. Even some scientists are coming around to this conclusion. AP is material principle. Matter is also never created or destroyed and is known as Achetana. This conscious and material principle mixture is known as God.
  2. Consciousness (PP) in pure form is without any attributes. Physical and chemical properties belong to matter. Consciousness is nirguna chaitanyam.  AP is saguna; it has all properties. All of science is studying AP. PP, however, is not available for study. Some scientists also believe it will always be a mystery.
  3. Chetana nirguna Tatvam does not undergo change under any conditions. It is free from any modifications.

Whatever changes are happening occur only at matter level; that is why some of the scientists have come to the conclusion that all our studies which are based on the physical and chemical properties will deal with only matter; consciousness will never be available for scientific study.

PP: Nirvikara, no change possible.

AP: Savikara, subject to change all the time.

The book Tao of physics also discusses this phenomenon. It says Nataraja represents the eternal dance of creation.

  • PP is said to be Satyam; meaning it has independent existence.  AP is dependent on PP and is a Mithya.  PP+AP=Ishwara, the cause of creation.

Now you can imagine the state of evolution when God alone was there with both AP and PP within him. Then creation evolved and is called Srishti Prakaranam. It happens in two stages:

  • Seed to plant;
  • Plant to tree.

How does it happen or how does cosmology occur? Cosmology is mindboggling. Many theories exist for cosmology.

Sri Krishna presents evolution as per Samkhya philosophy of Kapila. It is a slightly different view from Vedic point of view. According to this, creation happened at two levels:

At the first level is there is only one para prakriti and one apara prakriti; this is at the pralaya or deluge stage;

Then came the intermediary stage; here the one-apara prakriti multiplies itself into eight-fold principle. It is similar to amoeba that multiplies itself into many.

All the while Para Prakriti, the consciousness principle remains the same. It is the material aspect alone that multiplies into ashtada or 8-fold apara prakriti.

Thus there were 8 fold apara prakriti’s plus one fold para prakriti; totalling 9 at the intermediary stage of God.

And there afterwards comes the final explosion; final magnification wherein the ashtada prakriti multiplies into the manifold universe and now purusha comes into being.

During all this what happens to PP? Nothing happens to PP. It does not change. Conscious principle remains same. Only the materials cause changes.

Where is that para prakriti now? Sri Krishna says stop running; that para prakriti is You the observer. So the very jiva tatvam; the very observing conscious principle, you who are the observer is para prakriti; and whatever is observed is apara Prakriti.


Take away:

So the very jiva tatvam; the very observing conscious principle, you who are the observer is para prakriti; and whatever is observed is apara Prakriti.

With Best Wishes


Ram Ramaswamy