SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA: CHAPTER SEVEN
Knowledge and Realization of the Supreme
sri-bhagavan uvacha–The Supreme Lord said: (he) partha–O Arjuna; srnu tat–hear; yatha–how; asakta-manah–with mind attached; mayi–to Me, the Supreme Lord; yunjan yogam–linking your consciousness with Me; mat-asrayah–taking refuge in Me alone (without any attempts of karma, etc.); asamsayam–without doubt; jnasyasi–you will be able to know; mam–Me; samagram–in full—along with My abode, My opulences and My associates.
1 The Lord said: O Partha, hear from Me how, with mind attached to Me, the Supreme Lord, linking your consciousness with Me and taking refuge in Me alone, you will without doubt be able to know Me, My holy abode, My opulences, and My associates.
jnanam te 'ham sa-vijnanam, idam vaksyamy asesatah
aham–I; vaksyami–shall now describe; asesatah–completely; te–to you; idam jnanam–this knowledge of My absolute power (aisvaryamaya-jnana); sa-vijnanam–with the knowledge to be realized of My sweetness (madhurya-anubhava); jnatva–knowing; yat–which; bhuyah–again; anyat–any other; (tava) jnatavyam–thing to be known by you; na avasisyate–will not remain; iha–on this supreme path.
2 Now I shall reveal to you this knowledge of My absolute power as well as the realization of My sweetness, knowing which, nothing will remain to be known, here on this supreme path.
manusyanam sahasresu, kaschid yatati siddhaye
manusyanam sahasresu–Of thousands of men; kaschit–a rare one; yatati–endeavours; siddhaye–for self-realization and Supersoul-realization; yatatam siddhanam api–and of thousands who have attained such realization; kaschit–a rare one; tattvatah–truly; vetti–knows; mam–Me, Syamasundara.
3 Of countless souls, few reach the human form; of thousands of human beings, very few may try to realize the soul and the Supersoul; and of thousands who have attained such realization, hardly one can actually know Me, Syamasundara.
bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh, kham mano buddhir eva cha
bhumih–Earth; apah–water; analah–fire; vayuh–air; kham–ether; manah–mind; buddhih–intelligence; ahankarah eva cha–and ego; iti–thus; iyam–this; prakrtih–nature, Maya-sakti, illusory potency; me–of Mine; bhinna–is divided; asta-dha–eightfold.
4 Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and ego are the eight divisions of My illusory potency in this world.
In this verse, it is expressed that jnana, or knowledge, in the true sense of the word and in accordance with the precepts of devotion, is actually bhagavad-aisvarya-jnana, or knowledge of the supremacy of the Lord. The general seekers of knowledge may consider realization of the soul—as distinct from the body and material elements—to be enlightenment, but this does not constitute ultimate knowledge. Thus, to explain the conception of His Lordship, the Lord reveals His forms, His potencies and their characteristics:
"My different aspects are Brahman, Paramatman, and Bhagavan. Brahman is a non-differentiated, formless aspect of My potency. Paramatman, the Supersoul, is also an appearance of My potency (in relation to the cosmic manifestation), and this aspect of Mine is not eternally manifest. Only My form of Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord, is My eternal Self, and in this form My three eternal potencies exist as antaranga- or chit-shakti—the internal, divine potency; bahiranga- or Maya-sakti—the external, illusory potency; and tatastha- or jiva-sakti—the marginal potency comprising the innumerable living beings."
In this verse, the Lord has described His external, illusory potency.
—Srila Bhakti Vinoda Thakur
apareyam itas tv anyam, prakrtim viddhi me param
(he) maha-baho–O mighty hero; iyam–this external nature, external potency; apara–is inferior; tu–but; param–superior; itah–to this; viddhi–you should know; anyam–another; prakrtim–nature, the marginal potency; me–of Mine; jiva-bhutam–in the form of the individual souls; yaya–the conscious potency by which; idam jagat–this world; dharyate–is adopted for enjoyment through fruitive actions.
5 O mighty hero, Arjuna, this external, worldly nature is inferior. But know that superior to this nature is My marginal potency, comprised of the individual souls. Worldly existence is adopted by the souls for enjoyment through fruitive actions. (The divine world emanates from My internal potency and the mundane world from My external potency. The potency of the living beings is known as marginal as they are constitutionally situated midway between these planes. They may choose to reside either in the mundane plane or the divine.)
etad yonini bhutani, sarvanity upadharaya
upadharaya–Understand; iti–that; sarvani bhutani–all living species, moving and stationary; etat yonini–are manifest from these two types of prakrti, or natures, as ksetra and ksetrajna (vide 13:12). aham prabhavah–I am the source of manifestation; tatha pralayah–and dissolution; krtsnasya–of the entire; jagatah–universe.
6 Know that all species, either moving or stationary, are manifest from these two natures as the field of action and the knower of the field; and I alone am the cause of the manifestation and dissolution of the entire universe.
mattah parataram nanyat, kinchid asti dhananjaya
(he) dhananjaya–O Dhananjaya, conqueror of riches; na anyat kinchit–nothing else; asti–is; parataram–superior; mattah–to Me. idam sarvam–This whole world; protam–is threaded; mayi–in Me; iva–like; mani-ganah–gems; sutre–strung on a thread.
7 O Arjuna, there is nothing superior to Me. All existence depends on Me, like gems strung on a thread.
raso 'ham apsu kaunteya, prabhasmi sasi-suryayoh
(he) kaunteya–O son of Kunti; aham asmi–I am present; rasah–by My power as the essential taste; apsu–of water. (aham asmi)–I am present; prabha–by My power of radiance; sasi-suryayoh–in the moon and sun. (aham asmi)–I am present; sarvavedes u–in all the Vedas; pranavah–as the origin of the Vedas, Omkara. (aham asmi)–I am present; sabdah–as the element of sound; khe–in the ether. (aham asmi)–I am present; paurusam–as masculinity; nrsu–in men.
8 O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, I am the radiance of the sun and the moon. I am Om, the fundamental vibration in all the Vedas, I am the sound in the ether, and I am the masculinity in men.
punyo gandhah prthivyam cha, tejas chasmi vibhavasau
(aham)–I; asmi–am present; punyah gandhah–as the unmixed fragrance; prthivyam cha–in the earth; tejah vibhavasau cha–and as the force of radiance and heat in fire; asmi–(I) am present; jivanam–as the life-span; sarva-bhutesu–of all beings; cha–and; tapah–the power to endure duality, etc.; tapasvisu–in the performers of austerities.
9 I am the pure fragrance of the earth, I am the radiance of fire. I am the life-span of all beings, and in ascetics, I am the power to endure duality such as cold and heat.
bijam mam sarva-bhutanam, viddhi partha sanatanam
(he) partha–O Arjuna; viddhi–know; mam–Me; sanatanam bijam–as the eternal cause, known as pradhana; sarva-bhutanam–of all life-forms. aham asmi–I am present; buddhih–as the intelligence; buddhi-matam–of the intelligent; tejah–and as the prowess; tejasvinam–of the bold.
10 O Partha, know Me as the eternal, original cause of all life-forms. I am the intelligence of the intelligent, the power of the powerful.
balam balavatam chaham, kama-raga-vivarjitam
(he) bharatarsabha–O best of the dynasty of Bharata; aham asmi–I am present; bala-vatam–for the strong; balam–as strength of sattvika quality, or goodness, which enables one to execute his religious duties; kama-raga-vivarjitam–without selfishness and attachment; cha–and; (aham asmi)–I am present; bhutesu–in the living beings; kamah–as the desire to procreate; dharma-aviruddhah–without crossing the universal principles of religion, i.e. to beget offspring only in one's wife.
11 O Arjuna, I am the strength of the strong, without selfishness and attachment; and I am the desire for procreation in the living beings which does not contravene the universal principles of religion.
ye chaiva sattvika bhava, rajasas tamasas cha ye
ye ye bhavah eva–Whatever exists; sattvikah–of the nature of goodness; rajasah cha–and of the nature of passion; tamasah cha–and of the nature of ignorance; viddhi–know; tan (sarvan)–all these; iti–as; mattah eva–manifest from Me alone. aham na (varte)–I do not reside; tesu–within them; tu–but; te (vartante) mayi–they are in Me.
12 Furthermore, know that all things, of the nature of goodness, passion, and ignorance, are manifest from Me alone. Nevertheless, I am not in them. They, subordinate to Me, are in Me.
tribhir gunamayair bhavair, ebhih sarvam idam jagat
idam–This; sarvam–whole; jagat–living world; mohitam–is deluded; ebhih bhavaih tribhih gunamayaih–by this manifestation of the three modes of material nature. (atah)–Therefore; na abhijanati–no one knows; mam–Me, Krishna; ebhyah param–who am transcendental to these modes; avyayam–and immutable.
13 The entire world of living beings is deluded by the three modes of material nature. Therefore, no one can know Me, the Supreme Lord, who am transcendental to these modes and immutable.
daivi hy esa gunamayi, mama maya duratyaya
esa–This; daivi–supramundane (alluring); maya–external potency; mama–of Mine; guna-mayi–composed of the three modes of material nature; hi–certainly; duratyaya–is difficult to cross. (tathapi)–However; ye–those who; prapadyante–take shelter; mam eva–in Me alone; te–they; taranti–are able to cross; etam–this almost insurmountable; mayam–Maya, illusion.
14 My alluring, 'trimodal,' illusory potency is practically insurmountable. However, those who take shelter in Me can overcome this powerful obstacle.
na mam duskrtino mudhah, prapadyante naradhamah
duskrtinah–These four kinds of wrongdoers or unfortunate persons; na prapadyante–do not surrender; mam–to Me; mudhah–(1) the karmis, or fruitive workers; naraadhamah–(2) fallen persons, or those who take the path of devotion but later reject it, considering it inadequate or worthless; apahrta-jnanah–(3) those whose knowledge is covered; mayaya–by Maya, illusion (—despite their study of the scriptures, they consider that only the form of Lord Narayana is worshippable, and that Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, and other factual forms of the Supreme are merely mortal); asuram-bhavamasritah–and (4) the demoniac (Mayavadis, the impersonalists, who dismember My form by their arrows of false logic, resembling demons like Jarasandha).
15 These four kinds of wrongdoers do not surrender unto Me: fruitive workers, comparable to animals; fallen persons who take the highest path, devotion, but later reject it, considering it inadequate or worthless; those whose knowledge is covered by illusion, Maya (-despite their scriptural study, they consider that only the form of Lord Narayana is worshippable, and they think that Lord Krishna, Lord Rama and other factual forms are merely mortal); and the demoniac (impersonalists who dismember My form by their arrows of false logic, resembling demons like Jarasandha).
chatur-vidha bhajante mam, janah sukrtino 'rjuna
(he) bharatarsabha–O great scion of Bharata; (he) arjuna–O Arjuna; artah–one suffering from disease or other afflictions; jijnasuh–one seeking scriptural knowledge or knowledge of the soul; artha-arthi–one desiring earthly or heavenly happiness; cha–and; jnani–the purified knower of the soul; (iti) chatuh-vidhah janah–these four kinds of persons; sukrtinah (santah)–being fortunate—influenced by devotion for Me; bhajante mam–worship Me (though their motives may be mixed with action or knowledge).
16 O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, four kinds of persons have the fortune to worship Me: the afflicted, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of happiness, and the self-realized.
tesam jnani nitya-yukta, eka-bhaktir visisyate
tesam–Among them; jnani–the self-realized person; eka-bhaktih–My pure devotee; nityah-yuktah–whose consciousness is completely absorbed in Me; visisyate–is the best. hi–For; aham–I, Syamasundara; ati-artham–am very; priyah–dear; jnaninah–to that enlightened soul; sah cha priyah–and he, too, is dear; mama–to Me.
17 Of these four types of devotees, best is the self-realized person who is My pure devotee, and whose consciousnesss is fully absorbed in Me. For I, Syamasundara, am very dear to him, and he is dear to Me.
udarah sarva evaite, jnani tv atmaiva me matam
eva–Certainly; sarve–all; ete–these persons are; udarah–noble, unselfish souls dear to Me; tu–but; jnani–the spiritually self-realized soul; atma eva–is as dear to Me as My own self. (iti)–This is; me–My; matam–opinion; hi–since; yukta-atma eva (san)–having fully dedicated his heart unto Me; sah–that jnani; eva asthitah–has fully determined; mam–Me, Syamasundara; anuttamam–as the supreme; gatim–goal.
18 Certainly they are all noble souls, dear to Me, yet the spiritually self-realized soul is as beloved to Me as My own self, for he has given his heart to Me as his only shelter and ultimate goal of life.
bahunam janmanam ante, jnanavan mam prapadyate
ante–After; bahunam–many; janmanam–births; jnanavan–the enlightened person (by the fortune of sadhu-sanga, devotional association); iti–thus realizing; sarvam–everything, the entire world of moving and stationary beings; vasudevah–is of the nature of Vasudeva, Sri Krishna; prapadyate–he surrenders; mam–unto Me. sah–Such; mahatma–a great soul; su-durlabhah–is very rare.
19 After many births, the enlightened soul (blessed with devotional association) realizes that everything is of the nature of (subordinate to) Vasudeva, and thus he surrenders unto Me. Such a great soul is very rare.
kamais tais tair hrta-jnanah, prapadyante 'nya-devatah
hrta-jnanah–Persons whose intelligence is misled; taih taih kamaih–by particular worldly desires based on likes and dislikes; niyatah (santah)–being governed; svaya prakrtya–by their own natures; prapadyante–worship; anya-devatah–other godly personalities—the demigods—the sun-god, etc.; asthaya–after adopting; tam tam–the corresponding; niyamam–rituals of fasting, etc.
20 Persons misled by worldly desires, being governed by their own natures, worship other godly personalities like the sun-god and the many demigods, adopting the corresponding rituals to attain their objectives.
yo yo yam yam tanum bhaktah, sraddhayarchitum ichchhati
yam yam–According to whichever; tanum–demigod, representing a form of Me; yah yah–a particular; bhaktah–devotee; ichchhati–desires; architum sraddhaya–to worship with faith; aham–I, as the Supersoul dwelling within his heart; eva–certainly; vidadhami–ordain; achalam–firm; sraddham–faith; tasya tasya–in that particular devotee; tam–for that form.
21 According to a person's desire, as his faith grows to worship a particular demigod, I, as the Supersoul in his heart, make his faith strong in that demigod (representing a form of Me).
sa taya sraddhaya yuktas, tasyaradhanam ihate
yuktah (san)–Being linked; taya sraddhaya–with that firm faith; sah–that devotee; ihate–performs; aradhanam–worship; tasyah–of that demigod's deity; cha–and; hi–actually; vihitan–arranged; maya eva–by Me alone, as the Supersoul of the demigod; labhate–(the devotee) attains; tan kaman–his desired results; tatah–from that deity.
22 His faith nourished by Me, such a devotee continues worshipping the deity of that demigod and attains all his desired objects from that deity. Again, this happens by My sanction alone, since I am the Supersoul, situated within the heart of the demigod, too.
antavat tu phalam tesam, tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam
tu–But; tat phalam–that fruit; tesam alpa-medhasam–of those unwise worshippers of the demigods; bhavati–is; antavat–temporary. deva-yajah–The worshippers of the demigods; yanti–reach; devan–the respective demigods; mat-bhaktah api–and My devotees; yanti–reach; mam–Me.
23 But the fruit obtained by those unwise worshippers of the demigods is temporary. They reach the gods they worship, but My devotees come to Me.
avyaktam vyaktim apannam, manyante mam abuddhayah
ajanantah–Not knowing; mama–My; avyayam–eternal; anuttamam–superexcellent; param–transcendental; bhavam–nature—form, birth, qualities, activities and pastimes, etc.; abuddhayah–unwise persons; manyante–think; mam–of Me; avyaktam–as the impersonal or formless Brahman; apannam–which has accepted; vyaktim–birth in Vasudeva's cell as an ordinary human being.
24 My eternal superexcellent nature-My form, qualities, activities and pastimes are all transcendental, but unwise persons cannot know the truth, and they think, "The formless Brahman took birth in Vasudeva's cell as an ordinary human being."
naham prakasah sarvasya, yoga-maya-samavrtah
aham–I; na (bhavami)–am not; prakasah–manifest; sarvasya–to all; yoga-mayasamavr tah–being concealed by My Yogamaya potency; (atah)–therefore; ayam–these; mudhah lokah–foolish persons; na abhijanati–cannot know; mam–Me, Syamasundara, the son of Vasudeva; ajam–birthless; avyayam–and immutable.
25 By My sweet will, remaining concealed by My own potency, I am not manifest to anyone and everyone. So the foolish cannot know Me, the son of Vasudeva, unborn and ever-existent in My divine Syamasundara form of beautiful feature like a blackish rain-cloud.
vedaham samatitani, vartamanani charjuna
(he) arjuna–O Arjuna; aham–I; veda–know; samatitani–all past; vartamanani–present; bhavisyani cha–and future; bhutani–mobile and immobile beings; tu–but; kaschana–anyone (either in this world or beyond it); na cha veda–cannot know; mam–Me (due to their knowledge being covered by Maya and Yogamaya, My external illusory potency and the internal potency of My will).
26 O Arjuna, I know all living beings of the past, present and future, but no one can know Me in truth.
ichchha-dvesa-samutthena, dvandva-mohena bharata
(he) bharata (he) parantapa–O Arjuna, chastiser of the enemy; sarge–at the manifestation of the universe; sarva-bhutani–all beings; yanti–become; sammoham–deluded; dvandva-mohena–by the illusion of duality; ichchha-dvesa-samutthena–arising from likes and dislikes.
27 O Arjuna, chastiser of the enemy, at the manifestation of the universe, all beings become deluded by duality based on likes and dislikes.
yesam tv anta-gatam papam, jananam punya-karmanam
tu–But; jananam–persons; punya-karmanam–who are performers of virtuous deeds; yesam–whose; papam–sins; anta-gatam–have been eradicated (by the fortune of association with My pure devotee); te–all such persons; dvandva-moha-nirmuktah–free from the illusion of duality; drdha-vratah–and fixed in consciousness of Me; bhajante–worship, serve; mam–Me.
28 But the performers of virtuous deeds are purified of all sin (by the fortune of association with My pure devotee). Thus freed from the illusion of duality, they worship Me with firm resolve.
jara-marana-moksaya, mam asritya yatanti ye
ye–Those who; yatanti–strive; jara-marana-moksaya–for freedom from disease and death; asritya–taking shelter, placing their trust and devotion; mam–in Me; te–they; viduh–know; tat brahma–that Brahman; adhyatmam–the individual soul; krtsnam–in full; cha–and; akhilam–all; karma–the action by which the souls are bound to worldly existence.
29 Those who strive for freedom from the world of disease and death, placing their trust and devotion in Me-they know Brahman, they know the soul, and they know karma, the action that binds the soul again and again to this mundane plane of suffering.
sadhibhutadhidaivam mam, sadhiyajnam cha ye viduh
cha–And; ye–those who; viduh–know; mam–Me; sa-adhibhuta-adhidaivam–in relation to the worldly plane and to the celestial plane; sa-adhiyajnam cha–and in relation to sacrifice; te–those persons; yukta-chetasah–of consciousness absorbed in Me; viduh–know; mam–Me; prayana-kale api–even at the time of death.
30 And those who know Me in relation to the worldly plane, the celestial plane, and the plane of sacrifice—such persons, their consciousness absorbed in Me, know Me even at the time of death. (Afflicted in the face of fearful death, they do not forget Me.)
iti sri-mahabharate sata-sahasryam samhitayam vaiyasikyam
End of Chapter Seven
Knowledge and Realization of the Supreme
from the conversation
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