This is an attempt to awaken curiosity to read the holy Gita. I am sharing a few nuggets verbatim from the chapters of the book, with the hope that this gets you started at your own pace. There are many commentaries on the Gita. This version is based on “The Scripture of Mankind” Translation by Swami Tapasyananda.
This is an overview of the 7th chapter titled “Gnana Vignana Yoga” (Communion through Knowledge & Realisation)
Lord Krishna starts the dialogue by stating “Hear now O Arjuna, how one resigned to Me and absorbed in love of Me attains full knowledge of Me through the practise of spiritual communion”
This chapter focuses on 4 topics
- The two powers of manifestation (Prakriti) – Lower & Higher
- The all embracing Divine
- The 4 Types of devotees
- One God forms the object of all worship
Lower & Higher Prakriti
He starts by stating that very few men strive to know God. Of those who try, only very few succeed after many births.
“Among thousands of men there will just be one here or there striving for spiritual perfection. From among the aspirants so striving, one perchance knows Me in truth”
He goes on to explain that he has two powers of manifestation (Prakritis). The lower Prakriti is material nature comprising of Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Sky, Mind, Intellect & Ego. The higher Prakriti is His manifestation as Jiva or centre of Consciousness. While the former is His unconscious nature, the latter is His conscious nature that supports and sustains the world.
The all embracing Divine
Just as a string supports the beads in a necklace, so are all thing sustained by Him. His immanent self is the essence of all entities. In water He is taste, in Sun & Moon their brilliance, in all the Vedas the sound symbol Om, in the sky element sound and in men their manliness. In the earth element He is the sweet fragrance, in fire He is brilliance, in living beings – the life principle and in austere men, He is the austerity.
He explains to Arjuna that He is the eternal seed of all beings. Whatever manifestations there are of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas they have all come from Him. “They are in Me not I in them”
Who transcends Maya – The 4 type of devotees.
He explains that his divine Maya constituted by the 3 Guna’s is difficult to overcome. The Maya that obstructs the vision of men is also His creation. Only by surrendering to Him with one’s whole being can one get across this obstruction.
The lowest type of men – evil, foolish and demonic in nature being deprived of right understanding by Maya never take refuge in Him with devotion. He then goes on to explain the 4 types of devotees.
- Distressed one or the sufferer
- The Knowledge seeker
- The Wealth Seeker
- and the Knower
While all of them are noble, he says “the Knower I cherish as My very Self ” . The most beloved Bhakta the Knower is also called the Jnani. He is distinguished from the other 3 type of bhaktas in that he seeks nothing from the Lord – not even Moksha. To such a one the Lord gives Himself.
The Knower is forever established in the conviction that He is his highest goal. At the end of many births (of striving) the knowing one makes Him his refuge. A great soul of that type is rare to find.
One God forms the object of all worship
The Lord explains that He is One, He is Supreme. Influenced by their inherent nature and deprived of correct judgement, people adore other deities with various forms of worship. However he manifests himself in whatever form and aspect the devotees adore and makes that particular faith unshakeable.
He then goes on to add
Veiled as I am in my Yogamaya (Divine Power) – I am not revealed to all. the deluded world does not know Me. O Arjuna! I know all beings – Past, present & future. But none knows Me.
He concludes this chapter by saying that only Complete Trust and Full Dependence on Him can help a person to strive for liberation from the travails of old age and death.
- Sattva, Rajas & Tamas – the 3 constituents of Guna’s or Prakriti are explained here for the first time. The whole world of multiplicity is evolved by the permutation and combination of the 3 Guna’s
- It is not that the Vedic religion teaches primitive polytheism. Unity of Godhead is a well known doctrine. God manifesting himself in Deities is an expression of His power. The devotion of most is for attainments of boons or material welfare. For worldly needs like curing diseases, success, securing wealth etc. When worship of a particular deity is found effective people become votaries of that Deity. The Lord explains that the powers of these Deities are derived from the Supreme Being and it is the Supreme Being Himself who gives them the desired fulfilment.
To be continued ……..
Reference for previous chapters