CHAPTER IX

 

The Lord is more than His Creation

 

Highlighted Text & Comment by Dr. Radhakrishnan

 

Sanskrit Text, Transliteration & Word Meaning by

 

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj 

The Sovereign Mystery

श्रीभगवानुवाच 

इदं तु ते गुह्यतमं प्रवक्ष्याम्यनसूयवे ।

ज्ञानं विज्ञानसहितं यज्ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसेऽशुभात् ॥९- १॥

śrībhagavān uvāca
idaṁ tu te guhyatamaṁ pravakṣyāmy anasūyave
jānaṁ vijānasahitaṁ yaj jātvā mokṣyaseśubhāt 9.1

śrībhagavān uvāca

idam1 tu2 te3 guhyatamam4 pravakṣyāmi5 anasūyave6

jānam7 vijāna8 sahitam9 yat10 jātvā11 mokṣyase12 aśubhāt13 9.1 

śrībhagavān uvāca  = Sri Bhagavan said: pravakṣyāmi5 = I shall declare; e3 = to you; [who are] anasūyave6 = not jealous; [of Me]; idam1 = this; tu2 = yet; tguhyatamam4 = supreme secret; [of] jānam7 = knowledge; sahitam9 = with; vijāna8 = wisdom; jātvā11 = knowing; yat10 = which; mokṣyase12 = you shall be liberated; aśubhāt13 = from miseries. 9.1

The Blessed Lord said:

(9.1) To Thee, who dost not cavil, I shall declare this profound secret of wisdom combined with knowledge, by knowing which thou shalt be released from evil.

vijāna8 sahitam9, anubhavayuktam. S. We take jāna, however, as meaning wisdom and vijāna as detailed knowledge. If the former is metaphysical truth, the latter is scientific knowledge. We have at our disposal these different and complementary means of obtaining truth, an intuitive as well as an intellectual expansion of the human mind. We must acquire wisdom and knowledge, penetration of reality and a profound grasp of the nature of things. The philosophers prove that God exists but their knowledge of God is indirect; the seers proclaim that they have felt the reality of God in the depths of their soul and their knowledge is direct.1 See III) 4I; VI, 8. 

I asti brahmeti ced veda parokṣaṁ Jānam eva tat

aham (or asmi) brahmeti ced veda aparokṣaṁ tad ucyate. 

राजविद्या राजगुह्यं पवित्रमिदमुत्तमम् ।

प्रत्यक्षावगमं धर्म्यं सुसुखं कर्तुमव्ययम् ॥९- २॥

rājavidyā rājaguhyaṁ pavitram idam uttamam
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ susukhaṁ kartum avyayam 9.2

rāja-vidyā1 rāja-guhyam2 pavitram3 idam4 uttamam5

pratyakṣa6 avagamam7 dharmyam8 susukham9 kartum10 avyayam11 9.2

idam4 = This; [is] rāja-vidyā1 = Sovereign Knowledge; rāja-guhyam2  = Sovereign Secret; pavitram3 = the purest; [and] uttamam5 = the best; [realized by] pratyakṣa6 = direct; avagamam7 = comprehension. [It is] dharmyam8 = righteous;  susukham9 = easy; [to] kartum10 = practice; [and] avyayam11 = imperishable. 9.2

(9.2) This is sovereign knowledge, sovereign secret, supreme sanctity, known by direct experience, in accord with the law, very easy to practice and imperishable.

rājavidyā rājaguhyam. literally king-knowledge, king-secret, the greatest wisdom, the greatest secret. pratyakṣāvagamam. It is not a matter for argument but is verified by direct experience. It is knowledge by acquaintance and not by description, hearsay or report. The truth is there shining by its own light, waiting to be seen by us, if the obstructing veils are removed. The Supreme is to be seen by one as one's own self, through one's developed and purified intuition.1 Cp. pratibodhaviditam.

Kena Up., II, I2.

1 na śāstrair nāpi guruṇā drśyate parameśvaraḥ

drśyate svātmanaivātmā svayā sattvasthayā dhiyā. -- Yogavāśiṭha VI, 118, 4.

अश्रद्दधानाः पुरुषा धर्मस्यास्य परन्तप ।

अप्राप्य मां निवर्तन्ते मृत्युसंसारवर्त्मनि ॥९- ३॥

aśraddadhānāḥ puruṣā dharmasyāsya paraṁtapa
aprāpya māṁ nivartante mṛtyusaṁsāravartmani 9.3

aśraddadhānāḥ1 puruṣāḥ2 dharmasya3 asya4 parantapa5
aprāpya6 mām6 nivartante7 mṛtyu8A saṁsāra8B vartmani8C   9.3 

puruṣāḥ2 = People; aśraddadhānāḥ1 = without faith; asya4 dharmasya3 = in Dharma as said earlier;  parantapa5= O Parantapa; [and] aprāpya6 = without attaining; mām6 = Me;  nivartante7 = come back; mṛtyu8A saṁsāra8B vartmani8C  = along the path of8C  the mortal world8A of Samsara or transmigration8B. 9.3

(9.3) Men who have no faith in this way, not attaining to Me, O Oppressor of the foe (Arjuna), return to the path of mortal living (saṁsāra).

The sovereign knowledge is the identity of Kṛṣṇa, the Incarnate Lord, with Brahman the source of all. Final illumination will dawn on us if we worship the Incarnate with this knowledge. The direct contemplation of the Absolute is more difficult, Because Arjuna is a man of faith, he is taught this secret. The faithless who do not accept it, do not gain release but return to birth again. The faith demanded is the faith in the reality of saving wisdom and man's capacity to attain it. The first step to grow into the freedom of the Divine is faith in the Godhead in us, which supports our being and action. When we surrender ourselves to that inner Divine, the practice of yoga becomes easy.

The Incarnate Lord as the Supreme Reality

मया ततमिदं सर्वं जगदव्यक्तमूर्तिना ।

मत्स्थानि सर्वभूतानि न चाहं तेष्ववस्थितः ॥९- ४॥

mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyaktamūrtinā
matsthāni sarvabhūtāni na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ 9.4

mayā1 tatam2 idam3 sarvam4 jagat5 avyakta-mūrtinā6
matsthāni7 sarva-bhūtāni8 na9 ca10 aham11 teṣu12 avasthitaḥ13 9.4 

idam3 = This; sarvam4 = entire; jagat5 = world, universe; tatam2 = is pervaded; mayā1 = by My; avyakta-mūrtinā6 = unmanifest form. sarva-bhūtāni8 = All beings; matsthāni7 = exist in Me; ca10 = and; aham11 =I; na9 = do not; avasthitaḥ13 = exist; teṣu12 =  in them.  9.4

(9.4) By Me all this universe is pervaded through My unmanifested form. All beings abide in Me but I do not abide in them.

See VII. 12.

This whole universe owes its being to the Transcendent Godhead and yet the forms of this universe do not contain or express Him adequately. His absolute reality is far above the appearance of things in space and time.

न च मत्स्थानि भूतानि पश्य मे योगमैश्वरम् ।

भूतभृन्न च भूतस्थो ममात्मा भूतभावनः ॥९- ५॥

na ca matsthāni bhūtāni paśya me yogam aiśvaram
bhūtabhṛn na ca bhūtastho mamātmā bhūtabhāvanaḥ 9.5

na1 ca2 matsthāni3 bhūtāni4 paśya5 me6 yogam7 aiśvaram8
bhūta-bhṛt9 na10 ca11 bhūtasthaḥ12 mama ātmā13 bhūta-bhāvanaḥ14 9.5 

ca2 = And; na1 = not; bhūtāni4 = all beings;  matsthāni3 = exist in Me.  paśya5 = Look at; me6 = My; aiśvaram8 = divine; yogam7 = Yogic power.  [I am]  bhūta-bhṛt9  = the sustainer of beings; ca11 = and; bhūta-bhāvanaḥ14  = the Origin of all beings. mama ātmā13  =  My Atma; na10 = does not;  bhūtasthaḥ12 = remain in the beings.  9.5

(9.5) And (yet) the beings do not dwell in Me; behold My divine mystery. My spirit which is the source of all beings sustains the beings but does not abide in them.

yogam aiśvaram: divine mystery. The explanation of the rise of the limited phenomenal universe out of the Absolute Godhead is traced to the power of the Divine. The Supreme is the source of all phenomena but is not touched by them. That is the yoga of divine power. Though He creates existences, God transcends them to such a degree that we cannot even say that He dwells in them. Even the idea of immanence of God is, strictly speaking, untenable. All existences are due to His double nature but as His higher proper nature is ātman which is unconnected with the work of prakṛti, it is also true that beings do not dwell in Him nor He in them. They are one and yet separate.

''The Jīva or the embodied self, bearing the body and maintaining it, remains clinging to it by ahaṁkāra or self-sense. Unlike the Jīva, I though bearing and maintaining all beings, do not remain in them, since I am free from ahaṁkāra or self-sense."-- Sridhara.

The Gītā does not deny the world, which exists through God and has God behind, above and before it. It exists through Him who, without the world, would yet be in Himself no less what He is. Unlike God, the world does not possess its specific existence in itself. It has therefore only limited and not absolute being. The teacher inclines not to pantheism which asserts that everything is God but to panentheism that denotes that everything subsists in God. The cosmic process is not a complete manifestation of the Absolute. No finite process can ever finally and fully express the Absolute, though this world is a living manifestation of God.

यथाकाशस्थितो नित्यं वायुः सर्वत्रगो महान् ।

तथा सर्वाणि भूतानि मत्स्थानीत्युपधारय ॥९- ६॥

yathākāśasthito nityaṁ vāyuḥ sarvatrago mahān
tathā sarvāṇi bhūtāni matsthānīty upadhāraya 9.6

yathā1  ākāśa-sthitaḥ2  nityam3  vāyuḥ4  sarvatragaḥ5  mahān6
tathā7  sarvāṇi8  bhūtāni9  matsthānī10 iti11 upadhāraya12  9.6 

yathā1  = In a manner [as] ; mahān6 = the great; vāyuḥ4  = wind; nityam3  = ever; ākāśa-sthitaḥ2 = remaining in the sky;  sarvatragaḥ5  = moves everywhere;  tathā7  = likewise; upadhāraya12  = know or understand;  sarvāṇi8  = all; bhūtāni9  = beings; iti11 = thus; matsthānī10 = abide in Me.   9.6

(9.6) As the mighty air moving everywhere ever, abides in the etheric space (ākāśa), know thou that in the same manner all existences abide in Me.

Space holds them all but is touched by none. The teacher gives here an analogy. The space is the true

universal, all-pervading infinite background on which aerial phenomena take place, but its nature is stable and immutable. So also the Infinite Self is one, not many. Though it is immutable being, it is the support of all that moves. It is not contained in any of the moving entities which are all ultimately dependent on the Self. And yet the Self supports the many. Air exists in space but it does not consist of space and has nothing essentially in common with it. It is only in such a sense that we can say things exist in God.

God's utter transcendence, which is later developed by Madhva, comes out here. Even in R.'s account, the universe is the manifestation of the Divine; but in this verse it is said, that, while God causes things to exist, He does not exist in them. They are there on account of His wondrous power. God so completely transcends the universe that He is separated from all worldly being and is opposed to it as the "wholly other." This is the expression of a profound religious intuition.

सर्वभूतानि कौन्तेय प्रकृतिं यान्ति मामिकाम् ।

कल्पक्षये पुनस्तानि कल्पादौ विसृजाम्यहम् ॥९- ७॥

sarvabhūtāni kaunteya prakṛtiṁ yānti māmikām
kalpakṣaye punas tāni kalpādau visṛjāmy aham 9.7

sarva-bhūtāni1 kaunteya2 prakṛtim3 yānti4 māmikām5
kalpak-kṣaye6 punaḥ7 tāni8 kalpādau9 visṛjāmi10 aham11 9.7 

sarva-bhūtāni1 = All beings; kaunteya2 = O son of Kunti; yānti4 = enter; māmikām5 = My; prakṛtim3 = Nature;  kalpak-kṣaye6  = at the end of the Kalpa. punaḥ7 = Again; aham11 = I; visṛjāmi10 = create; tāni8 = the beings; kalpādau9 = in the beginning of the Kalpa.   9.7

(9.7) All beings, O Son of Kuntī (Arjuna), pass into nature which is My own at the end of the cycle; and at the beginning of the (next) cycle, I send them forth. 

प्रकृतिं स्वामवष्टभ्य विसृजामि पुनः पुनः ।

भूतग्राममिमं कृत्स्नमवशं प्रकृतेर्वशात् ॥९- ८॥

prakṛtiṁ svām avaṣṭabhya visṛjāmi punaḥ punaḥ
bhūtagrāmam imaṁ kṛtsnam avaśaṁ prakṛter vaśāt 9.8

prakṛtim1 svām2 avaṣṭabhya3 visṛjāmi4 punaḥ punaḥ5
bhūtagrāmam6 imam7 kṛtsnam8 avaśam9 prakṛteḥ10 vaśāt11  9.8 

avaṣṭabhya3 = Controlling; svām2 = My own; prakṛtim1 = Prakrti; [I]  visṛjāmi4 = create; punaḥ punaḥ5  = again and again;  imam7 = this; kṛtsnam8 = entire; bhūtagrāmam6 = multitude of beings; [who are] avaśam9 = powerless, helpless [loosing control]; [owing to] vaśāt11  = the sway;  prakṛteḥ10 = of their own nature. 9.8 

 (9.8) Taking hold of nature which is My own, I send forth again and again all this multitude of beings which are helpless, being under the control of nature (prakṛti).

The unmanifested nature when lit up by the Unmanifested Self produces the objective universe with its different planes. The order and nature of development are determined by the seeds contained in nature. Only the Divine Self must take hold of it.

The ego is subject to the law of karma and is therefore helplessly obliged to take embodiment in the cosmic life. In IV, 6, it is said that the Divine assumes birth through His own māyā, ātmamāyayā. Human souls are not lords of their action. While they are subject to nature, the Supreme controls nature and is not helplessly driven by prakṛti through ignorance. In both cases, the means of creation is māyā. In the divine embodiment, it is Yogamāyā, ātmamāyā, prakṛti which is filled with the light and joy of the Supreme and acts under His control. In human embodiment, it is avidyā māyā. The human soul is entangled in ignorance and is helplessly bound in its work, through its subjection to prakṛti.

न च मां तानि कर्माणि निबध्नन्ति धनंजय ।

उदासीनवदासीनमसक्तं तेषु कर्मसु ॥९- ९॥

na ca māṁ tāni karmāṇi nibadhnanti dhanaṁjaya
udāsīnavad āsīnam asaktaṁ teṣu karmasu 9.9

na1 ca2 mām3 tāni4 karmāṇi5 nibadhnanti6 dhanajaya7
udāsīnavat8 āsīnam9 asaktam10 teṣu11 karmasu12 9.9 

na1 ca2 tāni4 = Not all these; karmāṇi5 = actions; nibadhnanti6 = bind; mām3 = Me;  dhanajaya7 = O Dhananjayaāsīnam9 = remaining; asaktam10 = unattached; [and] udāsīnavat8 = indifferent;  teṣu11 = to those; karmasu12 = actions. 9.9

(9.9) Nor do these works bind Me, O winner of wealth (Arjuna), for I am seated as if indifferent, unattached in those actions.

Though the Supreme controls creation and dissolution, as their spirit and guide, He is not involved in them for He is above the procession of cosmic events. As it is the work of the nature which belongs to God, He is to be regarded as immanent in it, and yet in His supracosrnic side, He exceeds the cosmic series of things and events. God is thus unweariedly active in the play of the universe and yet above the universe and free from its laws. The Self is not bound by the cosmic wheel which it projects. Countless individuals are born, grow, strive and suffer, die and come to birth again but the Self is forever free. They reap the fruits of their actions and are bound by their past acts but He is ever free. This evolution proceeds at the cosmic dawn and is withdrawn at the cosmic night.

Devotion to the Supreme brings its great reward:

 

Lesser devotions bring lesser rewards.

 

मयाध्यक्षेण प्रकृतिः सूयते सचराचरम् ।

हेतुनानेन कौन्तेय जगद्विपरिवर्तते ॥९- १०॥

mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sacarācaram
hetunānena kaunteya jagad viparivartate 9.10

mayā1 adhyakṣeṇa2 prakṛtiḥ3 sūyate4 sa5 cara-acaram6
hetunā7 anena8 kaunteya9 jagat10 viparivartate11 9.10 

mayā1 = Under My; adhyakṣeṇa2 = supervision; prakṛtiḥ3 = Prakrti, nature; sūyate4 = gives rise; [to] sa5 = both; cara-acaram6  = mobile and immobile things.  hetunā7 = Because of this reason; kaunteya9 = O son of Kunti; anena8 = this;  jagat10 = world; viparivartate11 = spins or revolves. 9.10

(9.10) Under My guidance, nature (prakṛti) gives birth to all things, moving and unmoving and by this means, O Son of Kuntī (Arjuna), the world revolves.

Kṛṣṇa is here represented as the Supreme Self who pervades the universe, who supports all beings and yet is transcendent and unaffected. Ᾱnandagiri advises that we should not raise the question of the purpose of creation. "We cannot say that it is meant for the enjoyment of the Supreme; for the Supreme really enjoys nothing. It is a pure consciousness, a mere witness. And there is no other enjoyer for there is no other conscious entity . . . nor is creation intended to secure mokṣa for it is opposed to mokṣa, Thus neither the question nor an answer to it is possible and there is no occasion for it, as creation is due to the māyā of the Supreme." Cp. Ṛg. Veda: "Who could perceive (it) directly, and who could declare whence born' and why this variegated creation ?"1 

1 ko addhā veda ka iha pravocat kuta ājātā, kuta iyam visṛiṣṭiḥ. --X, 129, 6; Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa. II, 8, 9.

अवजानन्ति मां मूढा मानुषीं तनुमाश्रितम् ।

परं भावमजानन्तो मम भूतमहेश्वरम् ॥९- ११॥

avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto mama bhūtamaheśvaram 9.11

avajānanti1 mām2 mūḍhāḥ3 mānuṣīm4 tanum5 āśritam6
param7 bhāvam8 ajānantaḥ9 mama10  bhūta-maheśvaram11 9.11 

mūḍhāḥ3 = The fools; avajānanti1 = slight; mām2 =Me; āśritam6 = appearing in, sporting; mānuṣīm4 = human; tanum5 = body; ajānantaḥ9 = ignorant of; mama10  = My; param7 = Supreme; bhāvam8 = Nature; [as] bhūta-maheśvaram11  =  the Great Lord of all beings. 9.11

(11.11) The deluded despise Me clad in human body, not knowing My higher nature as Lord of all existences.

We see only the outward human body and not the Divine in it. We see the outer appearance, not the inner reality, To recognize God in His earthly disguise means effort. Unless we turn our entire existence towards the Eternal, transcending the limits of phenomenal nature and recover the greater consciousness by which we can live in the Divine, we will be a prey to finite fascinations. Image worship is to be used as a means to the Divine; otherwise it is faulty. In the Bhāgavata the Lord is represented as saying ''I am present in all beings as their soul but ignoring My presence, the mortal makes a display of image worship."1

I aham sarveṣu bhūteṣu bhūtātmā avasthita,

tam avajāya māṁmartyaḥ kurute arcāviḍambanam. III, 29, 21.

मोघाशा मोघकर्माणो मोघज्ञाना विचेतसः ।

राक्षसीमासुरीं चैव प्रकृतिं मोहिनीं श्रिताः ॥९- १२॥

moghāśā moghakarmāṇo moghajānā vicetasaḥ
rākṣasīm āsurīṁ caiva prakṛtiṁ mohinīṁ śritāḥ 9.12

moghāśā1 mogha-karmāṇaḥ2 mogha-jānāḥ3 vicetasaḥ4
rākṣasīm5 āsurīm6 ca7 eva8 prakṛtim9 mohinīm10 śritāḥ11  9.12 

moghāśā1 = With vain desires; mogha-karmāṇaḥ2  = with useless actions; mogha-jānāḥ3  = with useless knowledge;  [and] vicetasaḥ4 = of unsteady mind; [they] śritāḥ11  = are possessed of;   rākṣasīm5 = Raksasa, demonic; āsurīm6 = ungodly; ca7 = and; eva8 = indeed; mohinīm10 = deluded; prakṛtim9 = nature.    9.12

(9.12) Partaking of the deceptive nature of fiends and demons, their aspirations are vain, their actions vain and their knowledge vain and they are devoid of judgment.

rākṣasīm5: fiendish; those who are dominated by tamas and who indulge in acts of cruelty.

āsurīm6: demoniac; those dominated by rajas and qualities of ambition, greed and the like. Śrīdhara.

They cling to the world of transient forms and are victims of the deceitful nature (mohinī prakṛti) and disregard the underlying Reality. 

महात्मानस्तु मां पार्थ दैवीं प्रकृतिमाश्रिताः ।

भजन्त्यनन्यमनसो ज्ञात्वा भूतादिमव्ययम् ॥९- १३॥

mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ
bhajanty ananyamanaso jātvā bhūtādim avyayam 9.13

mahātmānaḥ1 tu2 mām3 pārtha4 daivīm5 prakṛtim6 āśritāḥ7
bhajanti8 ananya-manasaḥ9 jātvā10 bhūtādim11 avyayam12  9.13 

 tu2 = But; pārtha4 = O Partha; mahātmānaḥ1 = Great Souls; āśritāḥ7 = possessed of; daivīm5 = divine; prakṛtim6 = Nature; bhajanti8 = worship; mām3 = Me; ananya-manasaḥ9  = with undistracted mind;  jātvā10 = knowing me; [as] avyayam12 = the imperishable bhūtādim11 = source of all beings and objects. 9.13

(9.I3) The great-souled, O Pārtha (Arjuna), who abide in the divine nature, knowing (me as) the imperishable source of all beings, worship Me with an undistracted mind.

Deceitful nature, mohinī prakṛti is contrasted with Divine nature, daivī prakṛti. If we are of the demoniac nature, we live in our separate ego consciousness, and make that the center of our activities, and get lost in the fruitless cycle of saṁsāra and miss our true destiny. On the other hand, if we are of a divine

nature, we open out to our true self-awareness, our whole nature is turned towards the Divine and our whole life becomes a continuous adoration of the Supreme. The endeavor to possess the Divine in knowledge and realize It in life succeeds and we act in a dedicated spirit.

सततं कीर्तयन्तो मां यतन्तश्च दृढव्रताः ।

नमस्यन्तश्च मां भक्त्या नित्ययुक्ता उपासते ॥९- १४॥

satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ yatantaś ca dṛḍhavratāḥ
namasyantaś ca māṁ bhaktyā nityayuktā upāsate 9.14

satatam1 kīrtayantaḥ2 mām3 yatantaḥ4 ca5 dṛḍha-vratāḥ6
namasyantaḥ7 ca8 mām9 bhaktyā10 nitya-yuktāḥ11 upāsate12  9.14 

satatam1 = Constantly; kīrtayantaḥ2 = glorifying; mām3 = Me; ca5 = and; yatantaḥ4 = striving;  dṛḍha-vratāḥ6 = the ones with firm vows; upāsate12  = worship; namasyantaḥ7 = by paying obeisance; mām9 = to Me;  ca8 = and;  nitya-yuktāḥ11 = ever yoked [ever steadfast]; bhaktyā10 = with devotion. 9.14

(9.14) Always glorifying Me, strenuous and steadfast in vows, bowing down to Me with devotion, they worship Me, ever disciplined.

jātvā (13) bhaktyā ... nityayuktaḥ. These words indicate how the highest perfection is a combination of knowledge, devotion and work. 

ज्ञानयज्ञेन चाप्यन्ये यजन्तो मामुपासते ।

एकत्वेन पृथक्त्वेन बहुधा विश्वतोमुखम् ॥९- १५॥

jānayajena cāpy anye yajanto mām upāsate
ekatvena pṛthaktvena bahudhā viśvatomukham 9.15

jāna-yajena1 ca2 api3 anye4 yajantaḥ5 mām6 upāsate7
ekatvena8 pṛthaktvena9 bahudhā10 viśvataḥ-mukham11 9.15 

anye4 = Others; api3 = indeed; jāna-yajena1 = offering sacrifice of knowledge; yajantaḥ5 = worship; mām6 = Me; ekatvena8 = in the spirit of oneness; ca2 = and; [others] upāsate7= worship; [Me] pṛthaktvena9 = in many forms;  bahudhā10 = in many ways; [and] viśvataḥ-mukham11  = in universal form [universal face]. 9.15 

(9.15) Others again sacrifice with the sacrifice of wisdom and worship Me as the one, as the distinct and as the manifold, facing in all directions.

Saṁkara thinks that three classes of worshippers are mentioned here.1 Rāmānuja and Madhva hold that only one class is mentioned. Tilak thinks that Advaita, Dvaita and Viśiṣṭādvaita are meant.

Men worship the Supreme facing us in all ways, as one with all existences and at the same time as separate from them.

1Nilakantha says:

ekatvena aham eva bhagavān vāsudeva ity abheden. aupaniṣadāḥ, pṛthaktvena ayam Īśvaro mama svāmīti buddhyā

prākṛtāḥ anye punar bahudhā bahuprakāraṁ viśvatomukham, sarvair dvārair yat kicid dṛṣṭa tad bhagavat svarūpam eva, yacchrutaṁ tat tan nāmaiva . . . yad uktaṁ bhuktani , tattad arpitam evety evaṁ viśvatomukham yathā syāt tathā mām upāsate. 

अहं क्रतुरहं यज्ञः स्वधाहमहमौषधम् ।

मन्त्रोऽहमहमेवाज्यमहमग्निरहं हुतम् ॥९- १६॥

ahaṁ kratur ahaṁ yajaḥ svadhāham aham auṣadham
mantro aham aham evājyam aham agnir ahaṁ hutam 9.16

aham1 kratuḥ2 aham3 yajaḥ4 svadhā5 aham6 aham7 auṣadham8
mantraḥ9 aham10 aham11 eva12 ājyam13 aham14 agniḥ15 aham16 hutam17  9.16 

aham1 = I; kratuḥ2 = am Vedic ritual.  aham3 = I; yajaḥ4 = am sacrifice. aham6 = I; svadhā5 = am oblation.  aham7 = I; auṣadham8 = am medicinal herb. aham10 = I; mantraḥ9 = am Mantra.  aham11 = I;  eva12 = indeed;  ājyam13 = am butter. aham14 = I; agniḥ15 = am fire. aham7 = I; hutam17  = am offering. 9.16

(9.16) I am the ritual action, I am the sacrifice, I am the ancestral oblation, I am the (medicinal) herb, I am the (sacred) hymn, I am also the melted butter, I am the fire and I am the offering.

  Auṣadha or herb stands for the food of all creatures.1 The Vedic sacrifice is interpreted as an offering of our whole nature, an entire self-giving to the Universal Self. What we receive from Him, we give back to Him. The gift and the surrender are both His. (The Lord owns us lock, stock and barrel.)

1 aUadha sarvaprāṇibhir yad adyate tad auṣadhaśabdavācyam. S.

पिताहमस्य जगतो माता धाता पितामहः ।

वेद्यं पवित्रमोंकार ऋक्साम यजुरेव च ॥९- १७॥

pitāham asya jagato mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ
vedyaṁ pavitram oṁkāra ṛk sāma yajur eva ca 9.17

pitā1 aham2 asya3 jagataḥ4 mātā5 dhātā6 pitāmahaḥ7
vedyam8 pavitram9 oṁkāra10 ṛk11 sāma12 yajuḥ13 eva14 ca15 9.17 

aham2 = I; pitā1 = the Father; asya3 = of this;  jagataḥ4 = world;  mātā5 = the Mother; dhātā6 = the Supporter; pitāmahaḥ7 = the Grandfather; ca15 = and; eva14 = also; vedyam8 = the Knowable; pavitram9 = the Purifier; oṁkāra10 = the Syllable OM; ṛk11 = Rg; sāma12 = Sama; [and] yajuḥ13 = Yajur [Vedas]. 9.17

(9.I7) I am the father of this world, the mother, the supporter and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier. I am the syllable Aum and I am the ṛk, the sāma and the yajus as wel1. 

गतिर्भर्ता प्रभुः साक्षी निवासः शरणं सुहृत् ।

प्रभवः प्रलयः स्थानं निधानं बीजमव्ययम् ॥९- १८॥

gatir bhartā prabhuḥ sākṣī nivāsaḥ śaraṇaṁ suhṛt
prabhavaḥ pralayaḥ sthānaṁ nidhānaṁ bījam avyam 9.18

gatiḥ1 bhartā2 prabhuḥ3 sākṣī4 nivāsaḥ5 śaraṇam6 suhṛt7
prabhavaḥ8 pralayaḥ9 sthānam10 nidhānam11 bījam12 avyam13 9.18 

[I am] gatiḥ1 = the Goal; bhartā2 = the Sustainer; prabhuḥ3 = the Lord; sākṣī4 = the Witness; nivāsaḥ5 = the Abode; śaraṇam6 = the Refuge; suhṛt7 = the selfless friend; prabhavaḥ8 = the creation; pralayaḥ9 = the dissolution; sthānam10 = the resting place; nidhānam11 = the repository; [and] avyam13 = the imperishable; bījam12 = seed. 9.18

(9.18) (I am) the goal, the upholder, the lord, the witness, the abode, the refuge and the friend. (1 am) the origin and the dissolution, the ground, the resting place and the imperishable seed.

Cp, "I take refuge in the Buddha. He is my refuge."1

1buddha śaraam gacchāmi eṣa me śaraṇam. 

तपाम्यहमहं वर्षं निगृह्णाम्युत्सृजामि च ।

अमृतं चैव मृत्युश्च सदसच्चाहमर्जुन ॥९- १९॥

tapāmy aham ahaṁ varṣaṁ nigṛṇhāmy utsṛjāmi ca
amṛtaṁ caiva mṛtyuś ca sad asac cāham arjuna 9.19

tapāi1 aham2 aham3 varṣam4 nigṛṇhāmi5 utsṛjāmi6 ca7
amṛtam8 ca9 eva10 mṛtyuḥ11 ca12 sat13 asat14 ca15 aham16 arjuna17  9.19

aham2 = I; tapāi1 = give heat. aham3 = I; nigṛṇhāmi5 = withhold; ca7= and; utsṛjāmi6 = pour down; varṣam4 = rain.  aham16 = I am; amṛtam8 = the nectar of immortality;  ca9 = and; eva10 = indeed; mṛtyuḥ11 = death; ca12 = and; sat13 = Existence; ca15 = and; asat14 = non-existence;  arjuna17  = O Arjuna. 9.19

(9.19) I give heat; I withhold and send forth the rain. I am immortality and also death, I am being as well as nonbeing, O Arjuna.

Cp. Ṛg.Veda: yasyachāyā amṛtaṁ yasya mṛtyuh:

Sat is the absolute reality and asat is the cosmic existence and the Supreme is both. He is being when manifested and non-being when the world is unmanifested.1

Rāmānuja explains sat as present existence and asat as past and future existence.

The main idea is that the Supreme Lord grants our prayers in whatever form we worship Him.2

1 kāryakārarṇe sad asatī. Saṁkara.

2atas teṣām viśvatomukham mamabhajana kurvatām, sarvarūpeṇāha anugraham karomītibhāvaḥ. Nīlakaṇṭha.

त्रैविद्या मां सोमपाः पूतपापा : यज्ञैरिष्ट्वा स्वर्गतिं प्रार्थयन्ते ।

ते पुण्यमासाद्य सुरेन्द्रलोक-: मश्नन्ति दिव्यान्दिवि देवभोगान् ॥९- २०॥

traividyā māṁ somapāḥ pūtapāpā yajair iṣṭvā svargatiṁ prārthayante
te puṇyam āsādya surendralokaṁ aśnanti divyān divi devabhogān 9.20

traividyā1 mām2 somapāḥ3 pūta-pāpā4 yajaiḥ5 iṣṭvā6 svargatim7 prārthayante8
te9 puṇyam10 āsādya11 surendralokam12 aśnanti13 divyān14 divi15 deva-bhogān15 9.20 

traividyā1 = The knowers of three Vedas; somapāḥ3 = who drink Soma juice; [and]  pūta4A-pāpā4B = purified4A of sins4B; yajaiḥ5 = by sacrifices;  iṣṭvā6 = worship; mām2 = Me; prārthayante8 = pray for; svargatim7 = goal of Svargam or heaven; [of] surendralokam12 = the world of the chief of gods [Indra's world].  te9 = They; āsādya11 = attain; puṇyam10 = by virtue of merit; [and] aśnanti13 = enjoy; divyān14 =divine; deva-bhogān15  = pleasures of gods; divi15 = in heaven. 9.20

(9.20) The knowers of the three Vedas who drink the soma juice and are cleansed of sin, worshipping Me with sacrifices, pray for the way to heaven. They reach the holy world of Indra (the lord of heaven) and enjoy in heaven the pleasures of the gods. 

ते तं भुक्त्वा स्वर्गलोकं विशालं : क्षीणे पुण्ये मर्त्यलोकं विशन्ति ।

एवं त्रयीधर्ममनुप्रपन्ना : गतागतं कामकामा लभन्ते ॥९- २१॥

te taṁ bhuktvā svargalokaṁ viśālaṁ kṣīṇe puṇye martyalokaṁ viśanti
evaṁ trayīdharmam anuprapannā gatāgataṁ kāmakāmā labhante 9.21

te1 tam2 bhuktvā3 svargalokam4 viśālam5 kṣīṇe6 puṇye7 martyalokam8 viśanti9
evam10 trayī-dharmam11 anuprapannāḥ12 gatāgatam13 kāma-kāmāḥ14 labhante15 9.21 

bhuktvā3 = Having enjoyed; viśālam5 = the wide; svargalokam4 = world of heaven [svarga world]; [and] kṣīṇe6 = exhausted; puṇye7 = [the accumulated] merits; te1 = they; viśanti9 = return to; tam2 = that;   martyalokam8 = mortal world;  evam10 = thus; anuprapannāḥ12 = following; trayī-dharmam11 = the three doctrines of the Vedas. kāma-kāmāḥ14 = Desiring sense pleasures; [they] labhante15 = attain [engage in]; gatāgatam13 = going and coming [death and rebirth]. 9.21

(9.21) Having enjoyed the spacious world of heaven, they enter (return to) the world of mortals, when their merit is exhausted; thus conforming to the doctrine enjoined in the three Vedas and desirous of enjoyments, they obtain the changeable (what is subject to birth and death).

The teacher here refers to the Vedic theory that those who perform the prescribed ritual gain heavenly enjoyments after death and points out how it cannot be regarded as the highest goal. Such men are bound by the law of karma as they are still lured by desire, kāma-kāmā, and they will return to this cosmic procession since they act from an ego-center and since their ignorance is not destroyed. If we seek rewards in heaven, we will gain them but we return to mortal existence so long as we do not gain the true aim of life. Human life is an opportunity to develop out of the imperfect material, soul's divine nature. We operate from the ego-centered consciousness, whether we seek the pleasures of this world or of a future paradise.

अनन्याश्चिन्तयन्तो मां ये जनाः पर्युपासते ।

तेषां नित्याभियुक्तानां योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम् ॥९- २२॥

ananyāś cintayanto māṁ ye janāḥ paryupāsate
teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yogakṣemaṁ vahāmy aham 9.22

ananyāḥ1 cintayantaḥ2 mām3 ye4 janāḥ5 paryupāsate6
teṣām7 nitya8  abhiyuktānām9 yoga-kṣemam10 vahāmi11 aham12   9.22 

ye4 = Those; janāḥ5 = people; [who] paryupāsate6 = worship; [and] cintayantaḥ2 = meditate; mām3 = on Me; ananyāḥ1 = excluding all others [not inclined towards any other god];   teṣām7 = for them; [who are] nitya8  = always; abhiyuktānām9 = engaged in devotion; aham12  = I; vahāmi11 = will cause to happen [confer]; yoga-kṣemam10  = attainment and preservation. 9.22

(9.22) But those who worship Me, meditating on Me alone, to them whoever persevere, I bring attainment of what they have not and security in what they have.1

The teacher urges that the Vedic path is a snare to be avoided by the aspirants after the highest. God takes up all the burdens and the cares of His devotees.2 To become conscious of divine love, all other love must be abandoned.3 If we cast ourselves entirely on the mercy of God, He bears all our cares and sorrows. We can depend on His saving care and energizing grace. 

I yogo' prāptasya prāpaṇaml kṣemas tad rakṣaṇam.See III 45.

2 bhagavān eva teṣāṁ yogakṣemaṁ vahati.

3 Rābi'a was once asked: "Do you love God Almighty?'" "Yes." "Do you hate the Devil? My love of God," she replied, "leaves me no leisure to hate the Devil. I saw the prophet in a dream" He said, 'O Rābi'a, do you love me?' I said, 'O Apostle of God, who does not love thee?, but love of God hath so absorbed me that neither love nor hate of any other thing remains in my heart.' "

R. A. Nicholson: A Literary History of the Arabs (1930), 234.

येऽप्यन्यदेवताभक्ता यजन्ते श्रद्धयान्विताः ।

तेऽपि मामेव कौन्तेय यजन्त्यविधिपूर्वकम् ॥९- २३॥

yepy anyadevatābhaktā yajante śraddhayānvitāḥ
tepi mām eva kaunteya yajanty avidhipūrvakam 9.23

ye1 api2 anya3 devatā4 bhaktāḥ5 yajante6 śraddhayā7 anvitāḥ8
te9 api10 mām11 eva12 kaunteya13 yajanti14 avidhi-pūrvakam15  9.23 

api2 = Also, besides;  ye1 = those; bhaktāḥ5 = votaries; anvitāḥ8 = endowed with; śraddhayā7 = faith; yajante6 = worship; anya3 = other;  devatā4 = gods;  te9 = they; api10 = also; kaunteya13 = O son of Kunti; yajanti14 = worship; mām11 = Me; eva12 = alone; avidhi-pūrvakam15 = not according to tradition or prescribed rules.   9.23 

(9.23) Even those who are devotees of other gods, worship them with faith, they also sacrifice to Me alone, O Son of Kuntī (Arjuna), though not according to the true law. The author of the Gītā welcomes light from every quarter of the heaven. It has a right to shine because it is light.

अहं हि सर्वयज्ञानां भोक्ता च प्रभुरेव च ।

न तु मामभिजानन्ति तत्त्वेनातश्च्यवन्ति ते ॥९- २४॥

ahaṁ hi sarvayajānāṁ bhoktā ca prabhur eva ca
na tu mām abhijānanti tattvenātaś cyavanti te 9.24

aham1 hi2 sarva-yajānām3 bhoktā4 ca5 prabhuḥ6 eva7 ca8
na9 tu10 mām11 abhijānanti12 tattvena13 ataḥ14 cyavanti15 te16  9.24 

aham1 = I; [am] hi2 = certainly; bhoktā4 ca5 = the enjoyer also, experiencer; sarva-yajānām3  = of all sacrifices; ca8 = and; eva7 = also; prabhuḥ6 = the Lord;  tu10 = but;  na9  abhijānanti12  = they do not know; mām11 = Me;  tattvena13 = in true nature, in reality. ataḥ14 = Therefore; te16  = they; cyavanti15 = fall [into Samsara].  9.24

(9.24) For I am the enjoyer and lord of all sacrifices. But these men do not know Me in My true nature and so they fall.

यान्ति देवव्रता देवान्पितॄन्यान्ति पितृव्रताः ।

भूतानि यान्ति भूतेज्या यान्ति मद्याजिनोऽपि माम् ॥९- २५॥

yānti devavratā devān pitṛn yānti pitṛvratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā yānti madyājinopi mām 9.25

yānti1 deva-vratā2 devān3 pitṛn4 yānti5 pitṛ-vratāḥ6
bhūtāni7 yānti8 bhūtejyā9 yānti10 mat11 yājinaḥ12 api13 mām14  9.25 

deva-vratā2 = Worshippers of gods; yānti1 = go; devān3 = to gods. pitṛ-vratāḥ6 = Worshippers of ancestors [manes];  yānti5 = go; pitṛn4 = to the ancestors. bhūtejyā9 = Worshippers of spirits; yānti8  = go; bhūtāni7 = to the spirits. api13 = But; mat11 = My; yājinaḥ12 = sacrificers or worshippers;  yānti10 = go; mām14  = to Me. 9.25

(9.25) Worshippers of the gods go to the gods, worshippers of the manes go to the manes, sacrificers of the spirits go to the spirits and those who sacrifice to Me come to Me.

The shining gods, the spirits of the dead and the spirits in the psychic world all happen to be worshipped by men in different stages of development but they are all limited forms of the Supreme and cannot give the aspiring soul the peace that is beyond all understanding. The result of worship is assimilation to the form worshipped and these limited forms give limited results. No devotion fails of its highest reward. The lesser ones bring lesser rewards while devotion to the Supreme brings the supreme reward. All sincere religious devotion is a seeking after the Supreme Godhead. 

Devotion and Its Effects

 

पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति ।

तदहं भक्त्युपहृतमश्नामि प्रयतात्मनः ॥९- २६॥

patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhaktyupahṛtam aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ 9.26

patram1 puṣpam2 phalam3 toyam4 yaḥ5 me6 bhaktyā7 prayacchati8
tat9 aham10 bhakti-upahṛtam11 aśnāmi12 prayata-ātmanaḥ13 9.26 

yaḥ5 = Whoever; prayacchati8 = offers;  me6 = Me; patram1 = a leaf; puṣpam2 = a flower; phalam3 = a fruit; toyam4 = water; bhaktyā7 = with devotion; aham10 = I; aśnāmi12 = accept;  tat9 = that; bhakti-upahṛtam11 = dedication in devotion; prayata-ātmanaḥ13  = from the pure soul with love. 9.26  

(9.26) Whosoever offers to Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, that offering of love, of the pure of heart I accept.

However poor the offering, if it is made with love and earnestness, it is acceptable to the Lord. The way to the Highest is not by way of subtle metaphysics or complicated ritual. It is by sheer self-giving, which is symbolized by the offer of a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water. What is necessary is a devoted heart.

यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत् ।

यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम् ॥९- २७॥

yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva madarpaṇam 9.27

yat1 karoṣi2 yat3 aśnāsi4 yat5 juhoṣi6 dadāsi7 yat8
yat9 tapasyasi10 kaunteya11 tat12 kuruṣva13 mat14 arpaṇam15 9.27 

yat1 = Whatever; karoṣi2 = you do; yat3 = whatever; aśnāsi4 = you eat; yat5 = whatever; juhoṣi6 = offerings you make; yat8 = whatever; dadāsi7 = donation you make;  yat9 = whatever; tapasyasi10 = austerities you do; kaunteya11 = O son of Kuntikuruṣva13 = do, dedicate; tat12 = that; arpaṇam15 = offering; mat14 = to Me; . 9.27

(9.27) Whatever thou doest, whatever thou eatest, whatever thou offerest, whatever thou givest away, whatever austerities thou dost practicedo that, O Son of Kuntī (Arjuna), as an offering to Me. 

Self-giving results in the consecration of all acts to God. The tide of the common tasks of daily life must flow through the worship of God. Love of God is not an escape from the harshness of life but a dedication for service. Karmamārga or the way of works which starts with the duty of performance of prescribed rites concludes with the position that all tasks are sanctified when done with disinterestedness and dedication.

"My self is Thy self, my understanding is Pārvati (Śiva's wife), my life functions are my comrades, the body is my home, my worship is the varied enjoyment of the sense objects, my sleep is the condition of concentration. My steps are movements round the temple and all utterances are prayers. Whatever act is done by me, every one of them, O Lord, is a worship of Thee.''1 If you do whatever you have to do in a spirit of dedication, it is God's worship; nothing separate need be done.2

I ātmā tvam, girijā matiḥ, sahacarāḥ, prāṇāḥ, śarīraṁ gham

pūja me viṣayopabhogaracanā, nidrā samādhi sthitiḥ

saṁcāraḥ, pādayoḥ, pradakṣiṇavidhiḥ stotraṇi sarvāgiro

yadyat karma karomi tat tad akhilaṁ śambhō tavārādhanam.

2 Madhusūdana says:

avaśyam bhāvināṁ karmaṇām mayi paramagurau samarpaam eva madbhajanam, na tu tadarthaṁ pṛthak vyāpāra kaścit kattavya ity abhiprāya.

शुभाशुभफलैरेवं मोक्ष्यसे कर्मबन्धनैः ।

संन्यासयोगयुक्तात्मा विमुक्तो मामुपैष्यसि ॥९- २८॥

śubhāśubhaphalair evaṁ mokṣyase karmabandhanaiḥ
saṁnyāsayogayuktātmā vimukto mām upaiṣyasi 9.28

śubha-aśubha-phalaiḥ1 evam2 mokṣyase3 karma-bandhanaiḥ4
sannyāsa-yoga-yukta-ātmā5 vimuktaḥ6 mām7 upaiṣyasi8 9.28 

mokṣyase3 = You will be freed; karma-bandhanaiḥ4 = from the bondage of Karma;  evam2 = thus; [bearing] śubha-aśubha-phalaiḥ1 = good and bad results or fruits; sannyāsa-yoga-yukta-ātmā5  = with the dedicated mind of Yoga of renunciation [renunciation-Yoga-dedicated-mind]; [and]  vimuktaḥ6 = becoming liberated; [you] upaiṣyasi8 = will attain; mām7 = to Me; . 9.28

(9.28) Thus shalt thou be freed from the good and evil results which are the bonds of action. With thy mind firmly set on the way of renunciation, thou shalt become free and attain to Me.

By such giving and consecration, the whole life of the soul is given to the service of the Supreme and the ego is freed from its barriers and its acts no more bind the soul.

समोऽहं सर्वभूतेषु न मे द्वेष्योऽस्ति न प्रियः ।

ये भजन्ति तु मां भक्त्या मयि ते तेषु चाप्यहम् ॥९- २९॥

samohaṁ sarvabhūteṣu na me dveṣyosti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā mayi te teṣu cāpy aham 9.29

samaḥ1 aham2 sarva-bhūteṣu3 na4 me5 dveṣyaḥ6 asti7 na8 priyaḥ9
ye10 bhajanti11 tu12 mām13 bhaktyā14 mayi15 te16 teṣu17 ca18 api19 aham20 9.29

 

aham2 = I; [am] samaḥ1 = same;  sarva-bhūteṣu3  = to all living beings; na4 = no one;  asti7 = is; dveṣyaḥ6 = execrable or detestable; na8 = nor; priyaḥ9 = dear; me5 = to me; tu12 = but; ye10 = those who; bhajanti11 = worship;  mām13 = Me; bhaktyā14 = with devotion; te16 = they; [are] mayi15 = in Me; ca18 = and; aham20 = I; [am]; api19 = indeed; teṣu17 = in them. 9.29 

(9.29) I am the same in (alike to) all beings. None is hateful nor dear to Me. But those who worship Me with devotion they are in Me and I also in them.

God has no friends or foes. He is impartial. He does not damn any nor elect any by His capricious will. The only way to win His love is by faith and devotion and each must tread the path by himself.

अपि चेत्सुदुराचारो भजते मामनन्यभाक् ।

साधुरेव स मन्तव्यः सम्यग्व्यवसितो हि सः ॥९- ३०॥

api cet sudurācāro bhajate mām ananyabhāk
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ samyag vyavasito hi saḥ 9.30

api cet1 su-durācāraḥ2 bhajate3 mām4 ananyabhāk5
sādhuḥ6 eva7 saḥ8 mantavyaḥ9 samyak10 vyavasitaḥ11 hi12 saḥ13 9.30 

api cet1 = Even if; su-durācāraḥ2  = one of sinful acts; bhajate3 = worships; mām4 = Me; ananyabhāk5 = with exclusive devotion; eva7 = indeed; saḥ8 = he; mantavyaḥ9 = is thought of; [as] sādhuḥ6 = a holy man; [and] saḥ13 = he; [is] samyak10 = rightly; vyavasitaḥ11 = resolved; hi12 = indeed. 9.30

(9.30) Even if a man of the most vile conduct worships me with undistracted devotion, he must be reckoned as righteous for he has rightly resolved.

"By abandoning evil ways in his external life and by the power of his internal right resolution. Ś. Cp. also "If he repents after he commits the sin, he is freed from sin; if he resolves that he will never commit the sin again, he will be purified."1

The evil of the past deeds cannot be washed away except by his turning to God with undivided heart. Cp, Baudhāyana Dharma Sūtra: "Let one feel daily repentant in mind, reflecting over misdeeds committed and practicing austerity and vigilance. By this will he be freed from sin.2 Karma never binds completely. The sinner in the lowest depths of degradation has the light in him which he cannot put out, though he may try to stifle it and tum away from it utterly. God holds us, fallen though we be, by the roots of our being and is ready to send His rays of light into our dark and rebellious hearts. The very consciousness of our imperfection and sin betrays the pressure of the Divine on our hearts. Cp. Tukārām: "Fallen of fallen, thrice fallen am I; but do Thou raise me by Thy power. I have neither purity of heart nor a faith firmly set at Thy feet. I am born of sin. How often shall I repeat it? Says Tuka." Again: I am void of understanding, needy

and worse than needy. I cannot steady my mind; I cannot stay my wayward senses. I have exhausted effort; peace and rest are far from me. I have offered Thee perfect faith; I have laid my life at Thy feet. Do now as Thou wilt, I can only look to Thee. O God, I trust in Thee, I cling firmly to Thy feet. Tuka says, It is for Thee to deal with my efforts."3 The publican, in the parable, prays from the depth of his heart, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner."

This verse does not mean that there is an easy escape from the consequences of our deeds. We cannot prevent the cause from producing its effect. Any arbitrary interference with the order of the world is not permitted. When the sinner turns to God with undistracted devotion, a new cause is introduced. His redemption is conditional on his repentance. Repentance, as we have noticed, is a genuine change of heart and includes contrition or sorrow for the past sin and a decision to prevent a repetition of it in the future. When once the resolution is adopted, the transformation of the lower into the higher is steadily effected. If we believe in human effort, the growth may he hard. Error, imperfection and self-will are difficult to overcome, but when the soul gives up its ego and opens itself to the Divine, the Divine takes up the burden and lifts the soul into the spiritual plane. Tulsidās says: "A piece of charcoal loses its blackness only when

fire penetrates it."4There are no unforgivable sins.

I krtvā pāpaṁ hi saṁtapya tasmāt pāpāt pramucyate

naivaṁ kuryāṁ punar iti nivrtyā pūyate tu saḥ. 

2 śoceta manasā nitya dukrtāny anucintayan

tapasvī cāpramādī ca tataḥ pāpāt pramucyate.

3Fraser and Marathes: Tukārām: I, p. 92

4Cp, Garuḍa. purāṇa:

bhaktirāṇtavidhā hy eṣā yasmin mlecchopi vartate

sa viprendro muniḥ śrīmān sa yati sa ca paṇḍita.

क्षिप्रं भवति धर्मात्मा शश्वच्छान्तिं निगच्छति ।

कौन्तेय प्रति जानीहि न मे भक्तः प्रणश्यति ॥९- ३१॥

kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā śaśvacchāntiṁ nigacchhati
kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati 9.31

kṣipram1 bhavati2 dharma-ātmā3 śaśvat4 sāntim5 nigacchhati6
kaunteya7 pratijānīhi8 na9 me10  bhaktaḥ11 praṇaśyati12 9.31 

kṣipram1 = Soon; [he] bhavati2 = becomes; dharma-ātmā3 = righteous soul; nigacchhati6 = he attains; śaśvat4 = ever-lasting; sāntim5 = peace;  kaunteya7 = O son of Kunti. pratijānīhi8 = let it be known;  me10  = My; bhaktaḥ11 = devotee; na9 = never;  praṇaśyati12 = perishes. 9.31

(9.31) Swiftly does he become a soul of righteousness and obtain lasting peace. O Son of Kuntī (Arjuna), know thou for certain that My devotee perishes never.1

Once we place ourselves in the hands of the Divine, we cannot fall into utter darkness. CP. Rama's statement: "To him who seeks My protection even once and requests help of Me saying 'I am yours' I shall give him fearlessness from all beings. This is My resolve.2 

1pratijānīhi pratijāṁ, kuru mad bhakto na prāṇasyati..

2 sakdeva prapannāya tavāsmīti ca yācate

abhaya sa1'Vabhūtebhyo dadāmy etad virata mama.

Cp. the saying: na vāsudevabhaktānām aśubhaṁ vidyate kvacit.

मां हि पार्थ व्यपाश्रित्य येऽपि स्युः पापयोनयः ।

स्त्रियो वैश्यास्तथा शूद्रास्तेऽपि यान्ति परां गतिम् ॥९- ३२॥

māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya yepi syuḥ pāpayonayaḥ
striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās tepi yānti parāṁ gatim 9.32

mām1 hi2 pārtha3 vyapāśritya4 ye5 api6 syuḥ7 pāpa-yonayaḥ8
striyaḥ9 vaiśyāḥ10 tathā11 śūdrāḥ12 te13 api14 yānti15 parām16 gatim17  9.32 

pārtha3 = O son of Partha; api6 = even; ye5 = those; pāpa-yonayaḥ8  = born of sin; vyapāśritya4 = take refuge; mām1 = in Me; [though] hi2 = indeed.  [There] syuḥ7 = are;  striyaḥ9 = women; vaiśyāḥ10 = Vaisyas; tathā11 = also; śūdrāḥ12 = Sudras; api14 = even; te13 = they; yānti15 = attain [go]; parām16 = Supreme; gatim17  = Goal. 9.32

 

(9.32) For those who take refuge in Me, O Pārtha (Arjuna), though they are lowly born, women, Vaiśyas, as well as Śūdras, they also attain to the highest goal.

The message of the Gītā is open to all without distinction of race, sex or caste. This verse is not to be regarded as supporting the social customs debarring women and Śūdras from Vedic study.

It refers to the view prevalent at the time of the composition of the Gītā. The Gītā does not sanction these social rules.1 The Gītā gets beyond racial distinctions in its emphasis on spiritual values. Its gospel of love is open to all men and women, persons of all castes as well as those outside caste. 2

 

1 In the early times, there was the tendency to look upon the non-Hindus as barbarians, though this attitude of superiority was not confined to the Hindus. The ancient Greeks looked upon foreigners as barbarians. The Roman general, Quntilian Varus said of the inhabitants of Germania: "It is true, they are men, but except the voice and limbs of the body they have nothing of human beings in them." The French philosopher, Montesquieu, (1689-I755), said of the Negroes: "One cannot well imagine that God who is so wise should have put a soul, moreover an immortal soul" into an entirely black body. It is impossible to think that these people are human beings."

2It is a matter of deep humiliation and shame to every sensible Hindu to think that sometimes attempts are made to justify untouchability. The Buddha welcomed antyajas into his sangha. In the Rāmāyaṇa, one who will now be regarded as an untouchable took Rāmā across the Ganges in his boat. The great teachers of bhakti, Śaiva and Vaiṣṇava, have striven for equality and proclaimed that believers in God, whatever their origin, are the best of the twiceborn. caṇḍālopi dvijaśreṭaḥaḥ, hari bhaktiparāyaṇāt. Among the followers of Caitanya were Hindus and Moslems, robbers and prostitutes.

किं पुनर्ब्राह्मणाः पुण्या भक्ता राजर्षयस्तथा ।

अनित्यमसुखं लोकमिमं प्राप्य भजस्व माम् ॥९- ३३॥

kiṁ punar brāhmaṇāḥ puṇyā bhaktā rājarṣayas tathā
anityam asukhaṁ lokam imaṁ prāpya bhajasva mām 9.33

kim1 punaḥ2 brāhmaṇāḥ3 puṇyā4 bhaktā5 rājarṣayaḥ6 tathā7
anityam8 asukham9 lokam10 imam11 prāpya12 bhajasva13 mām14 9.33 

kim1 punaḥ2  = What is there1 to speak of2: puṇyā4 = pious; brāhmaṇāḥ3 = Brahmanas;  bhaktā5 = devotees;  tathā7 = [and] also; rājarṣayaḥ6 = royal sages. prāpya12 = Having reached; imam11 = this; anityam8 = impermanent; lokam10 = world; [of] asukham9 = miseries; [you]  bhajasva13 = should offer worship; mām14 = to Me. 9.33

(9.33) How much more then, holy Brahmins and devoted royal saints; Having entered this impermanent sorrowful world, do thou worship Me.

In other words, even those who, on account of their past births, suffer from many disabilities, and are given to worldly pursuits can overcome their weakness and attain the highest. The path is easier for those Brahmins and royal sages who are spiritually disposed.

anityam asukhaṁ lokam: impermanent sorrowful world. To the Orphics1 life in this world is pain and weariness. We are bound to a wheel which turns through endless cycles of births and deaths. Only by purification and renunciation can we escape from the wheel and attain to the joy of union with God. John Burnet refers to the striking similarity between the Orphic beliefs and those prevalent in India at about the same time. Early Greek PhilosoPhy (I930), p. 82. The teaching of the Buddha has for its starting point these features of the universe, its impermanence and pain.2 There is a Persian saying attributed to Jesus: "The world is a bridge, pass over it but do not build upon it." Not merely the world but every phase of the cosmic process, every aspect of human history, every stage of man's life --the freshness of infancy, the crudeness of boyhood, the idealism of youth, the hot passions of adolescence and the ambitions of manhood are all bridges, meant for transit and not permanent habitation. Modern science demonstrates how miserably conditioned human life is. Jean-Paul Sartre's theory of existentialism assumes that human existence is subject to certain permanent conditions. Each of us is born, is implicated in a reality which is not dependent on him, acts on other people and is exposed to action on their part. He cannot escape from death. These conditions taken together make of human existence a tragic reality. Each of us, in this desperate condition, bas to work out his salvation by the effort of his will. For the existentialist, man is left to his own resources. He has no faith in the saving grace of God. The teacher of the Gītā shows us a way out of the transitoriness of things, the curse of age and death, jarāmaraṇamokṣāya.3 He asks us to take refuge in the Divine. 

1Orphics pertaining to a religious or philosophical school maintaining a form of the cult of Dionysus, or Bacchus, ascribed to Orpheus as founder: Orphic mysteries.

2CP.XIII,8.

3 VII,29.

मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु ।

मामेवैष्यसि युक्त्वैवमात्मानं मत्परायणः ॥९- ३४॥

manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam ātmānaṁ matparāyaṇaḥ 9.34
 

manmanā1 bhava2 madbhaktaḥ3 madyājī4 mām5 namaskuru6
mām7 eva8 eṣyasi9 yuktvā10 evam11 ātmānam12 mat-parāyaṇaḥ13 9.34  

manmanā1 = Always keeping Me in your mind; bhava2 = become; madbhaktaḥ3 = My devotee; [and] madyājī4 = My worshipper. namaskuru6 = Offer homage; mām5 = to Me. yuktvā10 = Absorbed in; [Me and] mat-parāyaṇaḥ13  = holding Me as the Supreme Refuge; eṣyasi9 = you would attain; eva8 = truly;  mām7 = Me; [who is] evam11 = thus; ātmānam12 = your soul. 9.34 

(9.34) On Me fix thy mind; to Me be devoted; worship Me; revere Me; thus having disciplined thyself, with Me as thy goal, to Me shalt thou come.

It is not the personal Kṛṣṇa to whom we have to give ourselves up utterly but the Unborn, Beginningless, Eternal who speaks through Kṛṣṇa, The way to rise out of our ego-centered consciousness to the divine plane is through the focusing of all our energies, intellectual, emotional and volitional on God. Then our whole being is transformed and lifted up into the unity and universality of spirit. Knowledge, love and power get fused in a supreme unification. Joy and peace are the result of self-oblivion" of utter abandonment, of absolute acceptance.

iti ... rājavidyārājaguhyayogo nāma navamo 'dhyāya,

This is the ninth chapter entitled The Yoga of Sovereign Knowledge and Sovereign Mystery