Bhagavad-Gita: 18 Chapters in Sanskrit
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Veeraswamy Krishnaraj: Tolerance with love is to speak in tongues of all faiths, hold in the heart the Truth of all faiths and see all faiths in the face of humanity.
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About the author:
Veeraswamy Krishnaraj, M.D; F.R.C.P (Canada) is a board certified pediatrician in active practice until the end of 1998. He immersed himself in study of Hinduism in depth. He has sufficient knowledge and understanding of Hindu religion that he is confident to publish this book. He kept the words simple, supple, illuminating and to the point, while retaining the original flavor, beauty and grace. Compound words in Sanskrit are a nightmare for the beginner, as they are spliced together compactly in one continuous stretch of characters. He parsed the compound words into digestible syllables or words with superscripts and sequential numbers and rearranged the words in the verse in a readable form in English. In this book, he claims ownership of shortcomings and cedes the rest to Bhagavan.
This book is good for students, and devotees reading the Bhagavad-Gita in Satsang (true company). Two verses nestle in two boxes in one page with no break or carry-over to the next page. Diacritics help the reader enunciate the words like a Sanskritist. The English words are reader-friendly. Wherever there is a need for elaboration, an addendum supports it.
Simplicity, authority, universality, and profundity are the hallmark of the Bhagavadgita, the Bible of the Hindus. The Bhagavadgita is the Song of the Lord. It provides guidelines for daily living with no dogmas and ritual overtones. It encourages and supports your individuality. It also explains the consequence of errant ways. Total surrender to Bhagavan releases the devotee from the ills of life on earth. Hinduism as a term is an external appellation from non-Hindus. Its true name is Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Law or Eternal Order) commensurate with Rta (Cosmic Order). The beauty about the Bhagavadgita is its appeal is universal.
BG Chapter Nine: Yoga of Sovereign Knowledge and Sovereign Secret
To say “through silence He is realized” is not correct, because Supreme Knowledge does not come “through” anything. Supreme Knowledge reveals Itself.--- Anandamayi . Source: www.hinduismtoday.com
9.1: Sri Bhagavan said:
I shall declare to you, not jealous of Me, the most supreme secret of Jñāna and Vijñāna , by knowing which you will gain moksa (liberation) from the miseries.
In the same man the mother sees a son, while the wife at the same time sees differently with different results. The wicked see in God wickedness. The virtuous see in Him virtue. He admits of all forms. He can be moulded according to the imagination of each person. Water assumes various shapes in various vessels. But water is in all of them. Hence all religions are true. -Swami Vivekananda.
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda
Volume 6 [ Page : 116 ]
NOTES TAKEN DOWN IN MADRAS, 1892-93
Jñāna is “Self” knowledge; Vijñāna is realized knowledge. Vijñāna does not lend itself for elucidation by the faculty of reason and intellect. Self or Brahman is beyond the grasp of human reason, intelligence, understanding and analysis. The yogi, going into kaivalya and samādhi, gets glimpses initially and later a better vision of the Self. Scientific inquiries and discoveries fall within the ambit of prior knowledge, reason, intellect, elucidation, characterization, and reproducibility. In Faustian context, Vijnana is Wisdom or Experiential Knowledge. In Vijñāna in spiritual context, leave the reason behind and take a leap of faith forward. Reason and intellect are products of Prakrti; therefore, with Prakrti, it is not possible to understand Purusa, Brahman, or “Self.” For didactic purposes, Prakrti is blind, while Purusa is lame. Another way of putting it is that Purusa has spiritual vision and Prakrti has physical strength. This sovereign wisdom or vision is direct and revealed and the revelation is selective and depends on the depth and sincerity of pursuit in yoga, bhakti, prapatti, and saranāgati. The Truth is there; the Light is there; but avidya and māyā veil them (Monistic view). Once the veil lifts, It is there for direct experience. (For details on samādhi, read the commentary on verse 53, Chapter 2)
Jñāna and Vijñāna : “knowledge of the Self and Realized Knowledge.” Jñāna is Sabda-Brahman and Vijñāna is Param-Brahman. Another way of putting is to say that Jñāna is the narrow and straight path to God without any detours or diversions, and Vijñāna is the destination itself. Here Jñāna is an acquired knowledge of the Self (God) from all sources, but Vijñāna is direct Experience and Knowledge of God. Jñāna is to come under the magnetic influence of God and Vijñāna is to succumb to the magnetism of God. Jñāna is to know that God exists by one's inner experience; Vijñāna is to communicate and relate to God as a slave, a servant, a child, a friend, a spouse, or a devotee. Jesus Christ, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maha Rishi are among the few who arrived at Vijñāna status. The Alvars and Naynars also belong to the category of Realized Souls.
Antahkarana = அந்தக்கரணம் = Inner Organ
Antakarana: Let me introduce you to the concepts of Abhijna (Cognition) and Pratyabhijna (Spontaneous Re-cognition) in Kashmir Saivism.
Inner Organ (as depicted above) is operational in two modes: External knowledge Acquisition (Abhijna = Cognition) and internal Self-Knowledge (Pratyabhijna = Recognition) acquisition. In Abhijna knowledge acquisition, knowledge proceeds from the gross to the subtle, from the sense organs to Chitta via Mind, Ego, and Buddhi. Sense organs report to Mind which reports to Ahamkara, which reports to Buddhi, which reports to Chitta. As we proceed from Sense Organs to Witness, we are moving from a world of matter via the Mind, Ego, Buddhi and Chitta to a world of Self, Pure Consciousness or Witness. Mind and others are matter, while Witness is Spirit. We are moving from matter to Spirit. In this centripetal movement, the perfected one realizes that he (the individual self) is one with the Witness or Self. Tat Tvam Asi = That Thou Art = That you are. That Knowledge is Pratyabhijna (Spontaneous Recognition). We need the Mind, Ego, Buddhi and Chitta to arrive at Saksin or Witness. These are aids or way stations. Each entity churns and propels knowledge from one to the next. This churning is called Vritti. Once all entities have performed their functions, they undergo autolysis, self-destruction, immolation, a sort of psychic apoptosis (programmed death). By the way, these four entities are functional and not anatomical entities. You cannot have matter enter the realm of Spirit. The matter has to die; Mind has to die; Ego has to die; Buddhi has to die. The flesh dies and Spirit rises. Chitta has the remembrance power (smrti). All Vrittis dissolve and matter is reabsorbed by Kundali as the Kundalini Sakti rises through the Chakras. This is the power needed for the Yogis to dissolve in the Witness and become one with It. As Sakti moves from one matter to the next to go to Spirit, each encounter with matter evokes a response: 'Neti Neti, Not this, Not this. Once each entity (matter) is studied and rejected, Sakti arrives at the Real Thing, Witness or Self. This is It. This is Pratyabhijna. In Pratyabhijna mode, it turns itself inward and obtains Self-Knowledge. Abhijna is outbound, while Pratyabhijna is inbound.
Abhijna is to know God exists by knowledge; Pratyabhijna is to know Him by direct experience and knowing Tat Tvam Asi. I am that Siva. It is realization of the ever-present Reality. It is finding Anuttara (अनुत्तर), the One not having a superior or the Ultimate Reality.
In Pratyabhijna mode, it turns itself inward and obtains Self-Knowledge. Abhijna is to know external objects; Pratyabhijna is to know oneself as the Self, Witness or the Universal soul.
Ramanamaharishi says the following about Abhijna and Pratyabhijna.
Abhijna = Cognition = the act or process of knowing; perception. Example: 'This is an elephant.'
Pratyabhijna = Recognition = the identification of something as having been previously seen, heard, known, etc. Example: 'This that elephant.'
In relation to God, Abhijna is to say, 'This is God.' Pratyabhijna is to say, 'This is that God.'
Let me give you an example. You are in Niagra Falls taking in the sights. You suddenly come across a person. The face is familiar. You recognize him as the long-lost friend from many years ago. You Buddhi brings the images and remembrance of the past to the front burner of your consciousness. You recognize him. It is the Livingstone moment for you (and him).
David Livingstone (19 March 1813 – 1 May 1873) was a British Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society and an explorer in Africa. His meeting with H. M. Stanley on 10 November 1871 gave rise to the popular quotation "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" --Wikipedia.
Pratyabhijna = Prati + abhijna.
abhijna is direct perception; prati is to be reminded of what was already known.
"This is an elephant" direct perception (Cognition)
"This is that elephant" is pratyabhijna (Recognition)
In technical works, pratyabhijna is used for realizing the ever-present Reality and recognizing it.
Sunya (void or blank), ati sunya (beyond sunya) and maha sunya (immense void), all mean the same, i.e., the Real Being only.
In Kashmir Saivism, Pratyabhijna means Spontaneous Recognition. You are in spiritual search; your Guru says what you are searching is you; you and the object of your search are one; you and Self are one; Individual self and the Universal Self are one; You and Siva are one. One's true self is nothing but Siva. You are looking or searching for yourself, who is Siva.
What is the purpose of all this discussion? It is all about meditation. It is becoming one with the object of your meditation.
In successful Mantra meditation, Mind dissolves in Buddhi and Buddhi dissolves in Chitta. Chitta dissolves in the Self, Witness or Universal Soul. This is essential for proper meditation. This sequential process has four parts to it: meditation by the mind, chanting of mantra by Buddhi, contemplation by Chitta, eventual dissolution in the Self. It goes from thought-initiation to application to contemplation to dissolution. Chitta keeps you in the 'groove' . You need Chitta to keep meditation, concentration and contemplation in sync. Mind is a mechanical meditator; Buddhi is a fickle meditator; Chitta is a serene meditator. Your aim is to graduate to and dissolve in Chitta meditation and the self. Mind meditation and Buddhi meditation are out-bound meaning the thoughts are out-bound in the world of happenings; you are in the world of Nama and Rupa, names and forms. Chitta meditation is inbound in the sense it is in step with the Atman, the Inner Soul, the Witness. At this juncture the Chitta goes into Smrti mode (remembrance) and engages in deep contemplation.
For successful Mantra Meditation, an aspirant must have the following qualities.
Santi = Serenity. Mind must be brought under control and trained not to chase after sense-objects under the false belief that they provide happiness.
Dantah = Control of Sense-organs. One must strive to prevent the sense organs from exploring the world of sense objects and impinging on the mind with sensual experiences.
Param uparatah = Withdrawal of mind. Mind is trained to forget the sense enjoyments of the past and desist from fancied sensual imageries.
Shanti Yuktah = forbearance. One should train oneself not to be disturbed and distracted by frustrations of daily living.
9.2: This is the royal knowledge, the royal secret, the purest, and the supreme, known by direct experience. It is in conformity with dharma, comfortable (easy) to practice, and imperishable.
Tantras are big on direct perception. Bees, birds and animals insist on direct vision or perception in their behavior, before they act. Tantras also insist on Pratyaksa (direct perception) as evidentiary proof of existence of God. Brahman is the ultimate realization, knowledge and end of the journey. It (Parabrahman) is covered by Maya as a seed (here two cotyledons) is covered by a sheath. (In another instance, Siva and Sakti were compared to the two halves of the grain of gram covered by sheath.) It is also Siva and Sakti, Krishna and Kali, Mahabrahma, Mahavishnu, and Maharudra. It is One and goes by many names. If anyone regards the many forms of IT as many different entities, it is difficult for him to attain salvation. A sadhaka pursuing Sadhana attains siddhi, direct perception of Brahman. Tantra recommends not only worship of Siva and Sakti, but also Vishnu, Krishna, Ganesa, Surya (sun), and Siva
9.3: Men, who do not have faith in this Dharma as said earlier, O Parantapa, do not attain Me but exist (languish) in the mortal world of Samsāra.
Samsāra is the long transmigratory journey the soul takes in this phenomenal world by repeated births, deaths, and rebirths, before the soul attains Lord Krishna: This Samsāra is a closed loop; it has to be broken to obtain a release. Have faith, will attain Brahman. Faith nourishes the soul.
According to Tantra Sastras, a soul takes birth in 840,000 bodies ranging from ameba to animals before it acquires a human body. Such is the rarity and privileged status of human body. Liberation of the spirit or the soul from animal body is very rare. Every embodied soul in a human body can obtain liberation and release and attain Moksa. (This Hindu view of the soul in all is in contradistinction from the western view which regards that flora, fauna and inanimate objects do not have souls. In Hindu view, atom has a soul, stone has a soul, animal has a soul, tree has a soul.... The universe has soul in sentient beings and insentient objects.)
9.4: This entire universe is pervaded with My unmanifest form (Avyakta-mūrtina). All beings abide in Me and I do not abide in them. (All beings are dependent on Me and I do not depend on them)
“All beings are dependent on me and I do not depend on them” so says the all-pervasive (Vibhu), the unmanifest and the omnipresent Brahman. This is Sesi-Sesa, Master-slave relationship. All living entities and the universe are like the leaves on a living tree; the leaves need the tree -- in this case the Brahman --for its sustenance; a fallen leaf is a dead leaf. The jivatmas --the individual souls --are comparable to the seeds in the pomegranate fruit, and with the universe, connect to Brahman, Krishna, or Narāyana like the baby in the womb connects to the womb of the mother by its umbilical cord.
9.5: And yet not all beings exist in Me. Look at My (yogam aisvaram) divine yogic power. I am the source and the sustainer of all beings, but I do not remain in them.
Yogam aisvaram is the divine yogic power, mystery of Lord Krishna who creates, sustains, and dissolves this universe, and yet the universe and beings do not affect Him. Is He distancing Himself from His creation? Is this lack of concern? He is concerned, connected, and immersed; yet He is not in them. Let me give you an example: It is like the relationship between a healer and the healed. The healer is concerned and does everything to keep the patient alive and well; and yet he is not emotionally involved with the patient. It is not lack of concern, but a question of professional distance and emotional detachment in order that the patient is served well and his needs are met. This seeming divine dissociation in this organic connection of the souls to the Lord is healthy for the progress the soul makes towards attainment of Brahman. There is also a relationship between Purusa and Prakrti; Purusa is spirit and therefore changeless; Prakrti is nature and therefore subject to change; since Prakrti is matter, it is unconscious and an unconscious entity cannot comprehend, discriminate or intellectualize. Prakrti and its unconscious products, such as ahankāra and buddhi cannot act by themselves. Buddhi (intellect) is like the hard drive in your computer; the hard drive contains knowledge but is not knowledgeable. Buddhi receives light from Purusa and that is how buddhi appears conscious, for buddhi minus Purusa’s light is like a disconnected hard drive. The subtle body or the empirical self consists of Prakrti and self to form a unit: Purusa-Prakrti (enlightened buddhi). Because of the nearness of Purusa (Self) to Prakrti (buddhi in this instance) in this unit, the Purusa fools itself into believing that it experiences objects. It is like you (Purusa) watching a boxing match. You are not the pugilist, but the real pugilist gets you so wrapped up in the fight that you experience every blow and you do all the counterpunching. Therefore, Purusa is a Witness or Spectator. Purusa has good eyesight but lame; and Prakrti has brawn and no vision. For that reason, Purusa rides on the shoulders of Prakrti with only one goal: realization.
9.6: As the mighty wind, always remaining in Akāsa, moves everywhere, know thou that all beings abide in Me in like manner.
The wind moves in the ethereal space: Akāsa.
9.7: All beings, O son of Kunti, enter into My nature at the end of a cosmic cycle (kalpa). Again, I create them in the beginning of the cosmic cycle.
One Kalpa is one day (similar to day as opposed to night) in the life of Brahma. Another kalpa is the night in the life of Brahma. Two kalpas make a day and a night of Brahma, and one ahoratra. 360 ahoratras make one year in the life of Brahma. 360 X 100 years = 36,000 ahoratras, which is equal to 100 Brahma years or 311.04 trillion human years. Brahma is now in His middle age. Brahma, the creator of our age will die and dissolve in Avyakta and a new Brahma will be created. Do not confuse Brahma with Brahman, who (the latter) is Absolute. Brahma is the creator; Brahmin or Brahmana is a human being belonging to the priestly class. There is no one above Lord Krishna.
9.8: Using Prakrti of My own Self, I send forth again and again the entire multitude of beings, which are helpless under the control of Prakrti.
When Prakrti comes under the light of the Greater Self, the creative cascade runs its course, resulting in gods, men, animals and matter; this light or energy is Avidya māyā in the embodiment of the human soul. The individual soul or self is all wrapped up in sheaths known as Kosas: Gunas (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas); food sheath; breath sheath; mind sheath; Vijñāna sheath; and bliss sheath. The poor soul tightly wrapped up in these kosas and jostled by the gunas especially Rajas and Tamas pines for the day it can merge with the Brahman; and for that to happen the jivātman has to shed all the Kosas, the karmas and the gunas (modes or qualities).
Sattva = Virtue and goodness. Rajas = Motion and passion. Tamas = darkness.
9.9: Not all these actions ever bind Me O Dhanajaya, because through all these activities I remain unattached, unconcerned, or indifferent.
Dhananjaya is another name for Arjuna and means conqueror of wealth, material riches. The eternal laws of the universe governing Prakrti, forming the basis of Dharma and established by Krishna are collectively called Rta; the sentient and the insentient are under the control of the respective applicable laws, which work in regularity and precision like clockwork, with karma affecting only the sentient. Under these circumstances, Krishna remains unattached and exercises His hands-off policy. This is a big cosmic operation and He has to make sure that all these are automated and error-proof. He is the Law; and by the way, He is above the Law that He formulated. All this sounds that this is all mechanized and there is no loving tenderness; but it is not so: He has an eye out for His devotees, whom He holds dear. This is Vatsalya that is the parent-child or child-parent relationship one has with his God.
9.10: Under My supervision, Prakrti gives rise to both moving and unmoving. By this, O son of Kunti, the world turns or revolves.
Avidya-māyā is the driving force behind the projection of this universe and is the creation of Mayin, the Lord, while Yogamāyā and atmamāyā are divine processes by which He self-creates Himself to be born in this world. In the latter two instances, karma and avidya are not in force, because He is Brahman and Supreme; and He is above avidya and karma.
This universe according to Sankara is a projection from Monistic Brahman and is like the waves on the ocean surface. The waves are a projection or superimpositions, come and go, rise and fall, and are the stuff of Prakrti. For the duration of the wave, it has a name, a form, and a “life.” This transience and appearance (projection and superimposition) are because of a phenomenon called avidya-māyā. The wave comes up and goes down in a wink; that is māyā or illusion; it is real for the duration of its existence; but the wave itself is not Real. The Real is the Monistic ocean or Brahman and to say the wave is Real is avidya or ignorance. There is no wave if there is no ocean. There is no you or I, if there is no Brahman. If you remove the Prakrti or the wave, you remove māyā and avidya. Now you receive the direct vision of Brahman and in this allegory, you see the ocean under the waves; the ocean is monism and the waves are dualism. The Rope and the Snake explain Avidya-māyā, ignorance and illusion. In the dark, you see the rope and mistake it for a snake; and this is superimposition: the snake is superimposed on a rope. One should remove the superimposition or false impression of the snake from the rope. Another example given is that the shell is mistaken for silver. What is the basis of the avidya-māyā? That is Time, Space, and Causation that play havoc on our perception and comes between the Real and the real.
Avidya-maya and Vidya are the resident Saktis of the Lord and are like shade and Light of the sun; the former causes bondage, illusion, and veiling while the latter brings about liberation. Avidya-maya and Vidya run parallel with Tirobhava and Anugraha (Veiling and Grace) of Saiva Siddhanta and are the innate forces (Sakti) of Mother-goddess of the Sakta sect.
Vedanta Desikan vigorously argues that Monistic (Advaitic) Paradigm of Shell-Silver illusion tumbles down on its face with a rattle when one knows the nature of difference. Desikan said everything except calling it a shell game of the Advaitins. The Advaitins are not cognizing the difference, the shell-ness of the shell and the silver-ness of the silver to avoid the illusion. They have to notice both the positive and negative qualities of shell and silver in order to escape from the illusion. Though the shell-ness is seen, the difference of the shell from the silver is not cognized, leading to the illusion of silver in the shell. Thus superimposition (of silver on shell) is an invalid argument and lack of perception of difference. One should cognize two objects as different. All this essentially comes to support Vishistadvaita theory of three distinct Reals: Isvara, Cit and Acit. The world is not an illusion but real. The Acit is real; the phenomenal world is real; Isvara is Real; the individual souls are real. Brahman cannot be burdened with Avidya-maya. If He is full of ignorance, how could He create this world? Brahman and individual souls are identical with a ton of difference.
9.11: The fools ignore Me appearing in a human body, not knowing My Supreme nature as the Maha Isvara of all beings.
Maha Isvara means Great Controller and is the Supreme Lord and Controller of all beings.
Swami Rama Tirtha (1873-1906) was great Advaitin who was also equally at ease with Persian, Arabic as well as Sanskrit literature. He happened to be in Lucknow in 1905 when Muslim Maulanas came to him to get enlightened on Hinduism and their own religion.
He had a dialog with them about God. They asked what Avatar means.
Rama :- The Hindus do not consider God to be confined to the heavens. He is Omni present. It is wrong to hold that God comes as Avtar only from the heavens.
The word Avtar (Avatar) means, "descended" : Only that man can be called an Avtar, on whom God's attributes, Divine Actions and His Nature have descended to the greatest possible extent, as compared to others. Such a person gradually evolves himself, and develops his physical, mental and spiritual powers like large-heartedness, broad-mindedness, spiritual knowledge, sympathy, spirit for selfless service, mental dispassion, renunciation, valour, tolerance, morality, universal love, blissfulness, truth, justice, leadership, farsightedness. The people accept such a person as an Avtar on account of the high standard of his conduct, character and achievements.
Dr. Radhakrishnan on Avatara of Krishna. Bhagavadgita page 35.
Though the Gītā accepts the belief in avatāra as the Divine limiting Himself for some purpose on earth, possessing in His limited form the fullness of knowledge, it also lays stress on the eternal avatāra, the God in man, the Divine consciousness always present in the human being. The two views reflect the transcendent and the immanent aspects of the Divine and are not to be regarded as incompatible with each other. The teacher, who is interested in the spiritual illumination of the human race, speaks from the depths of the Divine in him. Kṛṣṇa's avatara is an illustration of the revelation of the Spirit in us, the Divine hidden in gloom. According to the Bhagavata "at midnight, in the thickest darkness, the Dweller in every heart revealed Himself in the divine Devaki for the Lord is the self hidden in the hearts of all beings." The glorious radiance arises from the blackest of black nights. In mysteries and revelations the night is rich. The presence of night does not make the existence of light less real. Indeed but for night there could be no human consciousness of light. The meaning of the birth of Kṛṣṇa is the fact of redemption in the dark night.
9.12: Senseless men resorting to the (Mohini Prakrti) confusing nature of Raksasas and Asuras, entertain vain aspirations, perform useless actions, and possess useless knowledge.
Mōga: vain, useless, unprofitable. Mōga-rasā, -karmāna, -Jñāna : vain aspirations, useless actions, and useless knowledge.
The origin of the words, Sura and A-Sura:
When the milk ocean was churned by the Suras and Asuras, a goddess by name Sura (Wine goddess) rose up; the gods accepted her as their own, while the teetotaling Asuras (demons) spurned her, vowing they would never touch the stuff, stay sober and behave magnanimously towards their enemies. Suras worried about the harsh discipline of Asuras. Suras also enjoyed imbibing Soma drink, purportedly a hallucinogenic agent. Creation belief is that Suras and Asuras are cousins; by extension man is part Sura and part Asura.
Raksasas, Asuras, and Suras mean devils, demons, and devas (gods) who cover the human spectrum of behavior. Brahma creates them all; asura is one who is not a sura; sura is god. The asura sometimes lives in Naraka, the hell; Nara stands for man, so Naraka is the abode of a fallen man. Gods and asuras are the two sides of the coin and two ends of the spectrum representing Sattva and Tamas, with Rajas in-between. Suras are sattvic, asuras are Rajasic, and Raksasas are Tamasic. The asuras and raksasas are of demonic nature (Mohini Prakrti), which is dominant in Rajas and Tamas, but deficient in Sattva. If man takes a fall, he goes to the abode of asuras; when he rises, he goes to the abode of gods. Man is ontologically placed between gods and asuras and it is up to him to ascend or descend. A senseless man, not knowing the higher nature of self or Brahman drowns in thoughts, speech, and deeds of asuras and raksasas. Devas and asuras are the two ends of the spectrum, the former holding on to Truth and the latter holding on to untruth. Hitler was a Raksasa and his thoughts, speech, and deeds were of Tamasic and Rajasic nature.
Sattva = virtue, goodness, Light; Rajas = motion and passion; Tamas = darkness, lethargy, sloth and slumber.
Sankaracharya defines Asuras as men and gods who do not have the knowledge of the Supreme Self. Others add more negative qualities to asura: greed, loss of memory of Self, ignorance of self, negligence of atman (self or soul). The lesser gods are exalted human beings and can fall into the ocean of Samsara, when their merits are spent.
9.13: O Partha, but the great souls (Mahā-Ātma), who are of divine nature (Daiva Prakrti), worship me with the mind fixed only on Me, know Me as the cause of creation, and imperishable.
Mahātma means great soul as in Mahatma Gandhi. In verse12, Krishna mentions Mohini Prakrti and here He talks about Daiva Prakrti. These are opposite qualities in sura and asura (god and demon). Daiva Prakrti is of divine nature and Mohini Prakrti is of demonic nature. Divine nature is Sattva-dominant with Rajas and Tamas filtered out by Chitta (buddhi, ahankāra and manas or intelligence, egoism, and mind). Chitta is the modulator of our gunas (modes, moods, behavior); what comes out after modulation is the way we behave. Sattva is knowledge, intellect, light and balanced emotion; dominance of Rajas naturally means revved-up emotions; Tamas is darkness, passivity, or negativity. Let me point out a small, but significant detail: Gods, men, matter, and asuras all have all three qualities, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. What is dominant is what matters. One cannot exist without the other two, but gods are mostly Sattvic, while asuras and raksasas are mostly Tamasic and Rajasic respectively.
Know Me as the cause of creation: Creation is the result of Rajas. When all three gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) are in equilibrium and there is no movement, there is no manifestation. The three gunas are compared to a three-tired vehicle; the front tire is Rajas, the rear tires are Sattava and Tamas. When the Rajas tire moves straight, the result is creation; When it moves on the side of Sattva, it is maintenance; when it moves on the side of Tamas, it is dissolution. These three tires are controlled by the Big Wheel of Brahman --Svetasvatara Upanishad (1.4).
9.14: Always singing My glories, striving, steadfast in vows, and offering homage to Me with devotion, they are ever steadfast in worshipping Me.
Devotion has five stages: Nishtha (intent), Bhakti (devotion), Bhava (Becoming, feeling, existence), Mahabhava (Great feeling to or Love of God), and Prema (Intense Love).
This reminds me of Alvars, who are regarded as the incarnations of Vishnu's weapons. They wrote and sang poems in glory of Narāyana. To an Alvar, God is everything: God is water for his thirst, food for his hunger, and pan for his pleasure. Pan is an after-dinner chewing delight consisting of an aromatic mix of betel leaf, betel nut, lime and other ingredients to tickle the taste buds. The urge to merge with God reads, “I am in You and You are in me.” It is a one-track mind, always focused on Narāyana. My eyes see not anything but You; My ears hear not anything but Your name; You are on top of my mind; You are my Love; you are my everything. Here this love is special to someone who is above him and who is God. That is ParaBhakti (Supreme Bhakti). Then there is the yearning to see God in His physical form. He begs, he pleads, he meditates, and his wish comes true. He sees God shortly for a moment and it was only a glimpse. He wants more; he wants it longer: That is ParamaBhakti, when he is in constant communion with God. In relation to God, Alvars assume the role of the consort, foster-mother, bride (Andal), father, and lass. This is spiritual love and not the ordinary, mundane, or carnal love. This spiritual love depicts the intensity, as we know and experience in the physical world but far exceeds it. There is nobody other than God worthy of the intensity seen in these roles. Alvars in their love for God, use creative devices to plead with God. They send love messages to God by the clouds, the ocean, the wind, the birds, and the bees. An Alvar sends a parrot to Tirumal (Lord Venakateswara or Narāyana or Krishna with a chiding message saying that what wrong she did to deserve this lack of His mercy. Another Alvar sends a heron to the Lord with the message that he may be a sinner, but deserves not to be thrown out. He sends a buzzing bee, making loops and hoops to tell the Lord that He should one day fly over on his Vahana Garuda (Celestial bird as his air transport) before he dies, so he could catch a glimpse of Him. He sends a gentle swan to tell the Lord that he, being a sinner, has gone insane from not seeing Him. He sends a stork with fine plumes with a message: How long he, being a sinner, should languish in this present forlorn condition considering that He is the only refuge? When no response comes forth from God, and the Alvars are down and out in depression, they seek help from friends, relatives, and companions and send them out as messengers. Still there is no response from the Lord. The Alvars are depressed. What can they do? They see unhappiness and grief in anything and everything they see. It is the chill in the cold wind; it is the darkness in the clouds; it is the grief in the roaring sea; it is the depression of the waning moon; it is the darkness in the moonless night; it is the cry of pain in the bird; it is the tears in the rain; it is the fever in the flame at the separation from the Lord. The Alvar takes on the role of a witness and a mother whose daughter went berserk. O my God, she is berserk; she is dejected; she rambles; she babbles; she is wasting like a melting wax; she is throwing her hands up; she is looking for God all over the place; she is mumbling the names of Gods; and she mutters, splutters and explodes with bursts of glory of God. Now the mother pleads with God: “She knows not sunrise from sunset. O Lord, you hold the discus (of time) in your hands. What do you propose to do with this young woman?” In another instance, the mother pleads with the Lord for her daughter: “This young woman knows not sleep. She is in tears. She mutters O Discus, O Conch, O Lotus eyes. What do you propose to do?” The Lord at last responds and the Alvar gets vision of God. The Alvar says: “Your eyes glow like red lotus flowers; Your body is brilliant like gold; Your teeth are sparkling white; You wear your shining crown, garland, discus, conch, sacred thread, necklace, bow, sword, and mace; You stand in me, your humble servant; your feet are golden.” Nammalvar went into a six-month trance, because he could not bear the thought that Krishna, the Lord of the universe, was tied down to a mortar by His foster-mother Yasoda for stealing butter. Nammalvar could not reconcile with the fact the Lord of the universe let Himself tied down to a mortar by a human or jivātman. In another instance, the sages were so enchanted with Rama (one of the Avatars of Vishnu) that they were born as milkmaids or gopikas in relation to Lord Krishna. These milkmaids are reborn sages wanting to be around Krishna. Krishna represents the Greater Soul and the gopikas are the lesser souls or jivatmas; the jivatmas want to merge with Paramatma, the Supreme soul, and the original source.
9.15: Others, offering sacrifice of knowledge, worship Me as One (without a second), while others worship Me in many forms, in many ways and in the Universal form.
The Lord says that He is One without a second, that He is the Lord, distinct from other beings, and that He has a face on every side, looking in all directions. Visvatahmukham means one of two: The One having a face on every side, looking in all directions or the Universal Being with multiple forms. A separate and distinct entity means the Lord is separate from all other entities, and the verse depicts the two entities: The greater Self and the individual self. This verse celebrates three kinds of devotees; and when it comes to the Lord and the Universe, the verse is subject to three interpretations: The Lord and the Universe is One; the Lord and the Universe are two; the Lord and the body of the Lord of the universe of multiple forms are one. This verse has significance for all sects; that is another Māyā of the Lord: Monism for monists, dualism for dualists and visistadvaita (“qualified nonduality, the doctrine the spirits of men have a qualified identity with one Spirit,” according to the Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Sir Monier-Williams) for visistadvaitists.
9.16: I am the ritual, I am the sacrifice, I am the oblation, I am the medicinal herb, I am the mantra, I am certainly the melted butter, I am the fire, and I am the offering.
A question arises why man performs rituals with NivEdhanam (நிவேதனம் = dedication; offering of rice and other victuals to the deity). There is no such thing as self-directed act; all acts are directed by god and thus He is called the PrErahan (பிரேரகன்) or Assigner. With the implicit consent of the Assigner, a BhOktha (= போக்தா = enjoyer or experiencer) enjoys a BhOktham (போக்தம் = an object). Thus all are under his control; that being so He is the Assigner, the experiencer and the experienced object. Since all three elements belong to him, it is natural that one should dedicate all to Him. Victuals (cooked rice etc) stand for all objects experienced by man. There are two more important elements that belong to Him: the individual soul (Cit) and the body. Body and Cit also should be dedicated to Him and it is called Deha and Atma Samarppanam. How do you make a person dedicate his body and Cit to God? By making him practice performing the ritual of dedicating the victuals to God. Repeated practice of dedication of victuals will lead one to dedicate his body and soul to God. An Acharya is necessary for the Atma Samarpanam also known as Atma VivAkam (ஆத்ம விவாகம்-- soul marriage). The aspirant stands before God, while an Acharya brings about the acceptance of the soul by God. This is one of the modes of Saranagati.
Krishna says, "I am the Fire". Krishna is the Fire and the Inner Controller of Fire (Agni). It is the spark of life; it is in man and beasts; it is in trees and plants; it is in Soma and butter. Brahma was Fire before the creation of world, men and beings. Agni is in the sun, flames, altar, hearth. Indra and Agni are twin brothers, the former a warrior and the latter a divine priest. Thus Agni is the Fire god. He is described as having a butter face, butter back, seven tongues, golden teeth, thousand eyes and a flaming hair. He is the priest of the gods and god of the priests, the honored invited guest of every home, the expeller of demons of darkness, the perennial youth, the bestower of life, children, and immortality to his devotees, the depositor of seeds in women. Red horses draw his chariot leaving a blackened trail; he clears paths in the forest offering space for his devotees. He has eight forms: Rudra, Sarva, Pasupati, Ugra, Asani, Bhava, Mahadeva, Isana; his ninth form is Kumara. Puranas consider him as an anthropomorphic figure rather than a concept (as by the Vedists). Many claim to have fathered him. Brahma claims him as his eldest son, Abhimani (proud one). Virat Purusa, the Cosmic-man creates him from his mouth. Dharma and Vasubharya, the daughter of Light are his parents. Svaha, Abhimani's wife, begets his three sons, pAvaka (fires of Lightning), PAvamAna (fire by friction sticks = அரணி), and Suci (the solar fire that drinks the water); they beget 49 sons; in all three generations of 49 gods are associated with 49 fires. Harivamsa portrays Agni as the eight regents of space, clothed in black with smoke as his banner and head scarf, four hands, seven winds as the wheels of his chariot, a goat and a javelin. He is Vaḍbhāgni (Mare's fire = subterranean fire), which emerges from Vaḍbhāmukha (mare's mouth) and destroys the world. Vaḍbhāgni = Asvodaraja --See below. He devours his parents; it means that the friction of the fire sticks begets fire which consumes the begetter of fire. He is also born of 10 mothers. Some say that the ten fingers (and palms) which are used to generate fire with the churning of the fire-sticks in the palm are the ten mothers. Dawn and starry night are his sisters. Agni's anthropomorphic features are his sharp face, gold teeth, his night vision, two horns, black eyes, three legs, seven arms, seven tongues; he makes it possible for others to see objects. He gains victory for godless wicked cheats. His two horns help him gore the Rakshasas. His roars like a bull and rides a ram or a chariot pulled by goats or sometimes parrots. He is married to Svaha. Here is the story of Svaha and Swadha as told in chapter 63 Srimad Devi Bhagavat. Brahma held a council of Devas who complained to him about the scarcity of food (butter) poured in fire sacrifice. Butter is the food of gods. No, they don't get hypercholesterolemia or arteriosclerotic heart disease! They actually thrive on butter. They did not get the butter poured in the fire by the Brahmanas and Ksatriyas. Brahma advised the gods to chant hymns of praise to Hari (Vishnu) to alleviate the butter shortage. Nothing much happened. Brahma himself chanted hymns of praise to Krishna, who advised Brahma and Devas to worship Mula Prakrti and sing hymns of praise. From Mula Prakrti emerged the most powerful Devi, who was beautiful and Shyama (blue black) in color. She was no other than Svāhā. She had a ready smile and was inclined to do favor to Her devotees. She heard of the butter shortage from Brahma and others. She did not consider it as an important issue. Her priority was to become the consort of Krishna. Svaha performed Tapas for 100,000 years standing on one leg. Krishna appeared and took Her on His laps and told Her that she should marry in the present the Fire god and be his energy. In the next birth she would be born as Nagnajiti, daughter of Nagnajit and marry Him. So saying Krishna disappeared. In the meantime she married the fire god and begot by him three sons Daksinagni, Garhyapatyagni, and Ahavaniyagni. The Rishis, Munis, Sages, Brahmanas, Ksatriyas poured clarified butter in the fire chanting Mantras that end in Svaha. Mantras without the terminal Svaha is impotent as snake without poison, Brahmanas without Vedic knowledge, wife devoid of service to her husband, men without literacy, and trees without fruits. Svaha Mantra became the fruit for all. Devas received their butter oblations. The Mula Mantra (Root Mantra) of Devi is "Om Hrīm Śrīm Vahnijāyāyai Devyai Svāhā." Svaha is the digester of food, the Power, the Action, the Dhruva, the Time, the refuge of men, the fire, the cinder, the essence of the world, the deliverer, the life and the nourisher of gods. The Brahmanas performed Sraddha to the forefathers (Pitrs) who did not receive any food and so starved. The Pitrs went to complain to Brahma, who created out of His mind Svadhā, the most beautiful learned girl who shone like a hundred moons, was white like Champaka flower, wore a glitter of jewels and a smiling face, stood on a circle of one hundred lotuses, and had all the signs of Lakshmi. She was the wife of forefathers (Pitrs), with lotus face and water lily eyes. Brahma advised the Brahmanas to chant Mantras that end in Svadhā. Thus the terminal Svaha mantra is addressed to gods and the terminal Svadha mantra to the forefathers, when Brahmanas make the offerings. The mantra is Om Hrīm Śrīm Klīm Svadhā Devyai Svāhā. Uttering the name of Svadha delivers the benefit equal to bathing in the holy places of pilgrimage, helps expunge all the sins and rewards merits of performing Vajpeya sacrifice. Vaj peya = strength drink = drink that gives strength. It is the name of one of the seven Soma sacrifices offered by Brahmanas and kings who aspire for a high position and winning of the horse in a race. It is performed before a king's coronation, priest's inauguration and initiation, Asvamedha (horse) sacrifice, and celebration of seasons, thirty-three gods and Prajapati. Soma and Surā (Brandy of Vedic times) are imbibed only during the sacrifice and not at other times.
Gods come in anthropomorphic (Purusavidhah) and non-anthropomorphic (apurusavidhah) forms. Generally fire god is not anthropomorphic, though some have given Agni an anthropomorphic form as in this painting .
There are three kinds of sacred fires (Tretagni): Garhapatya (Domestic fire), DaksinAgni (the Southern fire or AnvAhAryapacana), and Ahavaniya (the Eastern fire). They represent earth, atmosphere and sky and their inherent power. Daily oblations to the Domestic and Eastern Sacrificial fires performed by the Grahasthya consist of milk, oil and cereal. An expiatory ceremony is performed if unclean animals (pig, boar or ram) wander close to the altar of fire by uttering "Here Vishnu strode" and sprinkling water before and between the Domestic and Eastern fires. This fire-offering (agnihotra) is personified as the son of Prisni.
Garhapatya: Domestic fire. The Lord of the household fire: that is the honored fire god of every household. This fire is inherited in the family household in a patrilineal fashion--father-son transmission. Fire is the link between generations; it is the witness and sanctifier of every rite. Maintaining Garhapatya fire is a sacred duty of every household; without it there are no rites in connection with birth, marriage, death, prevention of disease and catastrophes.... If the fire goes out, it is re-lighted from the Eastern Fire (Ahavaniya); atonement is made; otherwise the head of the family dies.
DaksinAgni: Southern fire. The is the sacrificial fire for Pitrs or forefathers who remain in the South after their demise. It is the fire for the cremation of the dead; thus, it is called flesh-eating fire. The fire should be kept alive; atonement should be made if the fire dies; otherwise, the cattle will die.
Ahavaniya: The Eastern fire. AhAva = trough. It is the first fire; if it is not kept alive, the eldest son of the initiator dies unless atonement is made.
For more information on these fires please consult Chandogya Upanishad.
Fire god has many other names.
He has seven rays of light emanating from him. The twin brothers Indra and Agni are fond of Soma drink. Agni is a world and heavenly traveler and pleads with gods for the welfare of man. Sometimes he takes his brother's job and sends showers. He kills demons wherever they are.
The fire god (Vaisvanara, the son of Visvanara, the benefactor of all men) is invoked and invited with mantra, "come here, stay here, fix yourself, face me, be detained." This is followed by worshipping the eight forms of Vahini (fire god's other name). Vahini = bearer or carrier of oblations to gods.
The eight forms of Vahini (Fire): 1) JAta Veda = all-knowing; 2) Saptajihva = seven-tongued; 3) Vaisvanara = son of Visvanara; 4) Havya-VAhana = oblation carrier; 5) Asvodaraja = VadabhAgni= Fire in Mare's mouth (remember, the unseen fire and emanating smoke from the superheated areas in the subterranean cavities in the debris of Twin Towers--that is Fire in Mare's Mouth--Asvodaraja). More on Asvodaraja: Fire in the Mare's mouth. It is the Fire and smoke that emanate from the bowels of the earth. Fire in the Mare's mouth: A classic example of Fire in Mare's Mouth is the fire that burns in the coal mines in Centralia, Pennsylvania since 1962 along Route 61. It is still burning. Centralia is a ghost town now with fire, smoke, fumes and gases emanating from below in the abandoned coal mines, backyards, streets and houses. 6) Kaumara Tejah = the fire from which Kumara or Kartikeya, son of Siva and Parvati was born; 7) Visvamukha = the mouth of devourer of the universe; 8) Deva Mukha = the Mouth of Deities to whom fire carries oblations.
Fire and Fuel are anthropomorphized as the head of a person: the fuel is the ear; smoke is the nose; dim flame is the eye; the head is the glowing coal; the light flame is the tongue of fire. --Woodroffe.
Fire is the purifier. Both Vaisnavites and Saivites claim that their Isvara (Narayana or Siva) is the Vaisvanara, the fire-god. Krishna (Narayana) claims to be Vaisvanara. Agni (cognate with ignis and its derivative ignition) means the One who leads us forward. Of all Devatas, Agni (Fire god) is the visible one who appears before you at the strike of a match. He is a Leader, thus takes us forward and upward and showers us with benefits (rewards). He is Prohitan (Pro =forward or upward; Hitam = benefit) and a good advisor. Contrary or ill advice earns demerits to the advisor and that is why Agni always gives good advice. He has a soft heart to those who adore him in words and hymns of praise and always extends privileges and help. When you worship Agni, Vaishnavites say that you worship only Vishnu, because Vishnu is the Antaryami (Inner Controller and Suksma Vasudeva = Vishnu in subtle form) of Agni. When you call Agni, you are calling Vishnu. Oblation to Agni is oblation to Vishnu. The boons from Agni are boons from Vishnu.
The view from the West: Adapted from Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism
The West is of the opinion that Agni was an Indo-Aryan Elemental god along with other elemental gods of the Wind, Earth, Air, and Ether. Agni (Fire) always rises and so has the unique ability to carry oblations to the gods. On can see the flame rise, and smell the burnt offerings rise in the form of smoke. Before the days of matchsticks, the Indo-Aryan used fire-sticks (aranis) to produce the spark. Indo-Aryan described Agni as butter-faced and butter-backed with flaming hair, thousand eyes, and golden teeth. Agni had many roles in the Indo-Aryan culture. He is immanent in every god because gods cannot live without the oblations he brings to them. He is the priest of the gods and god of the priests. He is the visible god in every home, where no cooking can happen without him. Without him there is no light; he drives away the demon of darkness. Every time one strikes the Fire-sticks (or strikes a match), he is born; thus he is born in every home, always staying young. He is full of fire, zeal, strength and youth. That is why women consider him the giver of life and children. Wherever there is life, there is heat and fire (heat in the body) and thus he is immortal and bestows immortality to his votaries. Red horses draw his chariot leaving a black trail. He obligingly clears thick forests creating open space for people to live and prepares the ground for new growth of flora. Sometimes he takes refuge and hides in water, meaning that the dark moisture-laden nimbus clouds generate lightning (and thunder) and rain. Puranas give him an anthropomorphic form. He is born of Brahma. He emerged from the mouth of Virat-Purusa. On face of the earth, he has earthly parents. He takes birth as a ritual fire from Vasubharya (the daughter of light) and Dharma. He marries Svaha and fathers three sons: PAvaka, PAvamAna, and Suci, who give rise to a progeny of forty-nine children associated with 49 fires. Harivamsa euologizes Agni: his chariot has7 winds for the wheels and smoke as its banner; he has a companion goat; he has four hands and carries a fiery javelin; his head gear is a swirl of smoke; he is dressed in black and is one of the 8 regents of space. Agni also lives deep in the earth as subterranean fire (VadabhAgni) and emerge from there as VadabAmukha (Asvodaraja = Mare's Mouth) and incinerate the world. In his individual form, he is the funeral pyre. He has 9 forms: Rudra, Sarva, Pasupati, Ugra, Asani, Bhava, Mahandevah, Isana and Kumara. As a wise god his names are Kavi, Jatavedas, Pracetas; as the Lord he is Dhatr, Katr, Bhutadi, Suresa; as the child of water ApAmgarbha; as a maker of gold Hiranyakrt; Hiranyaretas, Vasuretas; as universal, Vaisvanara and pancajanya; as springing from the fire-stick, samigarbha, Aranisuta. In water he exists in complete balance. Ritually, Fie and water burn and wash away the sins.
Story of three fires of Indo-Aryans:
Urvasi (Apsarasas, dancer in Indra's heaven born on earth) the most beautiful damsel in the heavens came down to earth and married Pururavas on the condition that she would eat only one drop of butter once a day, she would keep her pet rams always by her bedside, and that Pururavas would not appear naked to her except in bed. They lived happily for 61,000 years. Once he was caught out of bed naked by lightning in the dark of night while chasing to catch the fleeing rams and so Urvasi left him. He was wandering about the world and by happenstance saw Urvasi bathing in a river along with four Apsarasas. He begged her to come back. She obliged him by sharing her bed with him but would not go with him. Instead, she allowed him conjugal visits once a year for 4 more years She gave him five sons. The first-born son was Ayus. He continued to beg her to return to him. The Gandharvas in heaven came down, gave a pot of fire and asked him to divide it into three fires according to Vedic precepts. He divided the fire into Garhapatya, Daksina, and Ahavaniya representing Earth, Atmosphere and Sky and the powers inherent in them. Once he did it, he was reunited with Urvasi. To honor them, the two fire-sticks (aranis) were called Pururuvas and Urvasi. When the sticks come together in friction they create heat, fire and light.
GArhapatya is a family sacrificial fire handed down to the male progeny right down the line and thus links generations of the family. GArhapatya should be kept alive all the time over many generations. If it goes out, it is relit from Ahavaniya with accompanying atonement. GrAhapatya is thus the Fire of Lord of the household, is the guest of the house, sanctifies and witnesses every rite. It is the Fire of the Earth.
DaksinAgni is the Southern Fire because offering to Pitrs (South-living ancestors) are made in this fire. It is the fire that is used to cremate the dead and thus is called Flesh-eating Fire. The West says that this fire drives away evil spirits, who constantly threaten the sacrifice. It is maleficent fire as opposed to beneficent fire of Garhapatya. It is the Fire of the Atmosphere.
Ahavaniya is the Eastern Fire that should be kept alive perpetually. If it extinguishes, it relit from Garhapatya fire and atonement made immediately. Otherwise the eldest son of the initiator of the sacrifice would die. It is the Womb of the god. He who reveres it goes to heaven. It is the Fire of heaven.
Fire has many other names or associations: Anala; Angiras; Agnicyana; Agnidh; Apah; Apam-Napat; Adhararani; Atharvan; Bhrgu I and Bhrgu II; Garuda; Matarisvan; Yupa; Sami; havyavahana; Simha; Daksignagni; Trita Aptya(s).
Anala: Anala is the presiding deity of gold. Anala carries oblations to Indra.
Angiras is a famous Rishi and a fire-priest, who is the first to perform the fire sacrificial ritual.
Agnicyana is preparation of sacrificial fire place. The bricks represent all directions denoting the expansion of the universe in all directions and man's integration with cosmic order. The bricks also represent the year and endless birth, death and rebirth of the soul in a body. The heart of the altar is the Agn's tongue of flame and its leaping tongue denotes the aspiration of man to identify himself with the Cosmic Man, whose dismembered body is the origin of the universe. Agnicyana is affirmation of identification of man with creation and destruction of the universe from the Cosmic Purusa.
Agnidh is the kindler or the priest who lights the sacrificial fire, after sprinkling it three times with water to pacify Agni. When the fire is red hot, Agni is invited to drink the Soma from the Agnidh's bowl.
Apah is goddess of waters, who give boons and attend sacrifices. There are many like her. They are benign beings involved in the cure, purification, removal of sin and bad dreams, immortality. The West compares Apah to Sumerian Apsu (primeval waters) personified as Nammu who created heaven and earth. Babylonian myth personifies water as Apsu who put salt in the waters of the ocean, personified as Tiamat, his consort. As you see, Sanskrit Apah and Sumerian Apsu are cognate words.
ApAm-napAt means offspring of waters. Clouds are considered as Aerial Ocean. Lightning in the clouds is the son of Aerial Ocean.
Tantrik Sastras claim with justification that Brahma and Sarasvati, Vishnu and Laksmi, Mahesara, Rama and Sita, Krishna and Rukmini, Ganga and others were initiated into Tantrik mantras.
Generally a Mantra has three components: Pranavam, Atas, and Namah. Pranavam is the primordial sound of auspicious nature and so is Atas. Atas means afterwards or what follows after om and in this context depicts the name of the deity; Namah is offering of bowing salutation, obeisance, reverence.
Pranavam - Atas - Namah = Om - Govindaya - Namah = Om Narayanaya namah = Om, I offer bowing salutation to Govinda.
I chose the name Govinda, because Govinda is the name Krishna likes most to hear from the devotees. When devotees go to Tirumalai (sacred Hills of Tiruppati), the hills reverberate with the couplet name, Govinda, Govinda coming from devotees, especially when they cross the first passageway. It sounds like gOvinda-gOOvinda and the couplet uttered aloud again and again. The second O sound is stressed a little longer than the first O. The second gOO----- rhymes with a long sO
Guru Gautama sent his student, Satyakāma to tend the cows; on his way back, none other than God’s nature and creatures (Acit and Cit, Prakara), taught him certain important facts about Brahman. The bull, the fire, the hamsa (swan) and the diver bird in turn told Satyakāma that Brahman is the cardinal directions, the earth, the ocean, the sky, the heavens, the fire, the sun, the moon, the lightning, the breath, the eye, the ear, and the mind.
The voices he heard from these entities were his own coming from inside -his Atman - and he attained jnaana and vijnaana.
The Lord assigns deities to take charge of directions, ten in all: East, Southeast, South, Southwest, West, Northwest, North, Northeast, Upward and Downward. The deities are called Dikpalas (guardians of directions). Starting from the East, the Dikpalas are Yellow Indra for East, Red Agni for Southeast, Black Yama for South, Dark Blue or Dark Green Nirrti for Southwest, White Varuna for West, Black Vāyu for Northwest, Golden Kubera for North, Full Moon colored Isa for Northeast, red lotus Brahmā for up direction and snow white Ananta, down direction.
Here are the Mantras for each: Lam for Indra, Ram for Agni, Mrm for Yama, Strum for Nirrti, VAm for Varuna, YAm for Vayu, Ksam for Kubera, Haum for ISana, Brm for Brahma, Am for Ananta or Vishnu.
9.17: I am the father of this world, the mother, the supporter, and the grandfather. I am the object of knowledge, and the purifier. I am Omkara (the syllable AUM or OM), Rg, Sama, and Yajur Vedas.
In The Uddhava Gita, Dialogue 11, Verse 23, Krishna says, "Among that which purifies, I am the wind, fire, sun, water and speech." --translation by Swami Saraswati.
Lord Krishna says that He is Omkara, the syllable OM. When Prajapati created gods, men, asuras, animals and plants, there was AUM, which is monosyllabic and primal. A quote from Chandogya Upanishad goes like this: “As the leaves are held together by its stalk, so is the speech held together by AUM.” OM is Brahman.
Sūta addresses the Lord as Yajna Purusa (the Supreme Deity of Sacrifices). He is the Sacrifice and Veda Incarnate and Vedas are his breath.
9.18: I am the goal, the sustainer, the Lord, the witness, the abode, the refuge, the selfless friend, the creation, the dissolution, the resting place, the repository, and the imperishable seed.
Nidhānam: a place of cessation or rest, depository, repository, storage area, a place for the preservation of the souls in a subtle state.
The Goal is God's abode and is reachable by bhakti, prapatti and saranāgati (devotion, resignation, refuge and self-surrender). The Supreme is all pervasive, omnipresent, and sustaining. He is the witness in the sense He stays as the Self in the spiritual heart of every living being. The parable of two birds explains the role of Self as the ever-present witness: One is eating sweet and sour fruits and the other remains unmoved in its majesty and self-effulgence; the latter is the Self and the Witness, and as a friend is nonjudgmental and offers a helping hand. All beings and matter originate from Him and dissolve in Him. The Lord’s body is the abode of the universe and beings; the Lord is the Repository (Nidhānam) where the entire universe of the sentient and insentient remains in a potential and most elementary state after dissolution.
9.19: I give heat; I withhold and send forth rain. I am immortality and certainly death. I am Sat (Being) and Asat (Nonbeing), O Arjuna.
Verse 9.19. I am Sat (Being) and Asat (Nonbeing)
■ 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 vā sad asatī. Saṁkara.
2atas teṣām viśvatomukham mamabhajanaṁ kurvatām, sarvarūpeṇāhaṁ anugraham karomītibhāvaḥ. Nīlakaṇṭha. - Dr. Radhakrishnan Bhagavadgita page 246
At the very beginning, there was Asat, Nonbeing: Asat is a state in which names and forms do not exist (avyākrta-nāma-rūpam) but It is potential existence, a state before existence. Sat in combination with fire, water and earth produces all the manifestations of the world; fire is red, water is white and earth is dark. Sankhya system borrowed these elements and their colors and called them three gunas, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas (white, red and dark). Sat, as Being, is the creator Vishnu, who only can SEE; Sat is light and Asat is darkness; Sat is Real and One, and Asat is unreal and many. Sat is Absolute; Asat is relative; Sat is Real; and Asat is illusion. “Many” comes out of One and dissolves in One; Sat and Asat are complementary and antinomic. In the dark depths of the ocean of ignorance, there is a (sightless) creature by name Asat with avidya (ignorance), and unused eyes. If that creature sees an object illuminated by the light of Sat, it is so blind that it cannot see the field or the object under the spotlight. If you eliminate avidya or darkness, how do you know light from darkness? Darkness is a necessary complement and component of light. He is both Sat and Asat. The desire to see the light beyond is a reason for the existence of Asat.
9.20: The knowers of the three Vedas, who drink the soma juice and are cleansed of their sins by sacrifices and worship, pray for reaching heaven of Indra' world and enjoying the divine pleasures.
These pious, reaching Indra's world, enjoy the celestial pleasures of gods in heaven.
The view from the West:
Surendra Lokam = Indra's world. Indra is the chief Aryan god of Thunder, the Indian version of Scandinavian Thor, Zeus-Pater, Tarku of Hittites, and Rammon or Adad of Assyria, Prof. Hugo Winkler says that IN-Da-Ra as Mitanni deity of the Hurrian kingdom in NW Mesopotamia in the 15th and 14th centuries B.C, associated with Varuna, Mitra, and Nasatya. Nasatya = na + asatya = not + untrue. Nasatya and Dasra (twins) were the physicians of the gods apart from Dattatreya, who came out of the milk ocean bearing a pot of ambrosia. There is no evidence of connection between Aryans in Mittani and the Indo-Aryans. Indra is an avid guzzler of Soma. He draws strength from the sacrifices offered on the altars. Indra smote and killed the Drought Demon with the help of Maruts. The Demon was washed off into the bottomless ocean.
Indra's heaven is a mobile city and can be moved at will like a chariot. The city abounds in celestial trees; the Assembly House has many rooms and seats. Indra wears white clothes, a crown, shining bracelets on His arms, and flowers; sits with his consort-queen and has Maruts, gods, Rishis, and saints of stainless character as his attendants. Indra's heaven is a happy place; sorrow and misery are unknown. Spirits of elements such as thunder and lightning; fire and water; clouds, planets and stars; Religion, faith and intelligence inhabit His heaven. Apsaras and Gandharvas sing and dance; heroes of battle perform feats of skill; sacred rites are performed; divine messengers come and go in chariots.
Sadakas aspire for heaven. What is there in heaven that we don’t have here on earth? Those pleasures are that of Amutrika Sukha. Amutra = above world, in the life to come; Sukha = pleasure. Svarga or Indraloka is a place, people go to after leaving the physical body and taking a subtle body consisting of mind, intelligence and ego with them. Above the Indraloka are Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka and Brahmaloka; all these are grouped under material universe.
The Lokas or worlds
The many worlds and their residents
Goloka: Krishna, Radha, Sridama (Krishna's friend)
Vaikuntha, the Supreme abode
Vaikuntha, Abode of Lord Narāyana or Krishna or Vishnu, Devotees of Lord Krishna;
Kamala, Consort of Narayana
Satyaloka– Brahma's abode (Brahmaloka), Sankarsana. Sarasvati, Consort of Brahma.
Above this is the Spiritual world, reserved for the above entities.
The people with subtle bodies below have to be reborn on earth after their term is over. The worlds below this are material worlds.
Tapoloka, Vairagins' heaven
Janaloka: Sri, Bhu, Siva (Rudra), Sanatkumara
Maharloka: Bhrigu, Prajapati. Escapes sublation of three lower worlds. Above the Polar star.
Svarloka, Svarga, Idraloka
Svarloka: Indra’s heaven, gods. Situated between sun and polar region
. Subtle bodies of earth people after death.
In svarloka, you can witness the Apsaras dancing and the Ghandarvas singing; the beauty is that you enjoy the song and the dance without ears or eyes. You can take a leisurely walk in the celestial gardens of Indra, Nandana Kanana and smell all the flowers and feast your eyes; as said before, you won’t need feet and legs to walk with or eyes. There is a special tree, Parijata tree, which sprang up from milk-ocean, was claimed by Indra and planted in Nandana. You can see Sachi, Indra’s wife walking amidst the trees and flowery bushes, picking flowers and wearing them on her tresses. Sachi loves the flowers of Parijata tree, whose bark is gold, leaves are of copper color, and fruits are very fragrant. You can see the gardeners tending the delicate bushes, flowers and the flower beds.
A Pārijāta Tree with scented flower in the Heaven of Indra. One of the five celestial Trees in the garden of Indra-viz., Mandāra, Pārijāta, Santāra, Kalpaka-vṛkṣa, Hari-candana. Here is a tree in the Isle of Gems.
You may be lucky to see the SAdhyas, the gods of the old, much celebrated in Rg Veda and Tait. Samhita. They existed before man was created. They took the central position in yearly pusya-snAna (ablutions) and the consecration of kings, and Asvamedha sacrifice. You may have the extraordinary luck to witness VisvAvasu, the chief of Gandharvas and an accomplished dancer and musician. You may be able to catch a glimpse of the Maruts, who are known as hard drinkers of Soma when they are not fighting the enemies of Indra. Their enemies are afraid of them because they can create darkness instantly and prevent the enemies from seeing; they whack them dead. They have teeth of iron, roar like lions, enter with lightning and thunder, and exercise control over rain. There parents were Diti and Kasyapa. Indra cut Diti’s one Embryo into 49 pieces and thus created forty nine Maruts. The modern scientists have to take a backseat to Indra, because they haven’t yet produced 49 clones from one embryo. To assert His supremacy and fulfill Satyabhama’s wish, Krishna uprooted Parijata tree and mounted it on Garuda and took it to Dwaraka. Indra and his warriors suffered defeat at the hands of Krishna in their attempt to prevent hijacking of the tree. It was returned to Indra when Krishna died. You may ask why Krishna, the Lord of the Universe steal a tree. There is a lesson in this. The sacred Texts say that Krishna is the owner of everything in the universe. He can do anything He wants with what He owns. He giveth one time and taketh away next time. This was lesson to Indra, the chief of gods. Krishna is God of gods and has Supremacy over every one and everything.
You get many chances to talk to beautiful Vidyadharis who carry terrible MahAstram VaidyAdharam weapon and yet are very harmless. Don’t worry about Vidyadharas who aren’t the jealous type and who carry swords as a mark of wisdom, and wear flower garlands as a symbol of victory. The sad truth is that you don’t get to enjoy this for ever. You have to come down to earth once your sojourn comes to an end. Other worlds up to Brahmaloka offers same enjoyments. Above Brahmaloka, only eternally free souls can enter. The material worlds offer Bhukti and not Mukti and not Cit Sukha or spiritual happiness. See the table above.
Indra, worship of Indra, Indra’s anger towards Krishna, lifting of Govardhan hills.
Vridhavan was a place of bounty because Nanda and the Gopas offered sacrifice to Indra, in return for Dharma, Artha, and Kāma (right conduct, possessions, and worldly pleasures). Krishna asked His father Nanda the meaning of offering sacrifice to Indra, when Indra simply could not alter or expunge people’s karma. Krishna advised the gopas to feed all animals and Brahmins and make offerings to the Govardhana hill. Krishna assumed a gigantic form and said that He was the consumer of their offerings; Indra, the Lord of clouds, lightning, thunder, and rain, became mad and sent down torrential rains and thunders for seven days. There was water everywhere; people and animals were in fear of the floods. Krishna held up the Govardhana hill for seven days; and people, animals, and cows took shelter under the hill; the gopas were wonder-struck seeing the seven-year old Krishna holding up the hill. Indra, having realized his mistake and self-conceit, came down from heaven and asked for forgiveness from Krishna, who accepted his apologies and said to him that He did him a favor by taking away his power and teaching him humility. Krishna protects all those who take refuge in, and surrender to Him. As an aside, Indra was born from the crown of Brahma. The message is that Krishna’s abode is higher than heaven, that his devotees get protection from him, and that He is the only one who has the power to offer release from karmic shackles.
Child Krishna holding up the hill
9.21: Having enjoyed the wide world of heaven and exhausted the merit of their pious deeds, they return to the world of mortals. Thus conforming to doctrine of the three Vedas and desiring sense pleasures, they go and come (Gatāagatam, Go and Come = death and rebirth).
The gods of heaven are the creation of Vishnu, and Krishna is an avatār of Lord Vishnu. All the sacrifices to lesser gods reach Vishnu Himself and the lesser gods do not have the power to grant jivan mukti or liberation. Once the term expires in the heaven of the lesser gods, the resident human beings return to the revolving door of samsāra. Who wants it? The people, who bounce between samsāra and the heaven of lesser gods, do not have the desire to see the Light, Supreme Brahman. They want fulfillment of desires of the phenomenal world, and what they seek is what they get. Krishna says there is something higher than the god’s heaven and that higher heaven offers eternal Bliss.
Knowledge of Vedas by itself does not confer salvation. Knowing the Ultimate Reality is different from study of Vedas; it is like a spoon that does not know the taste of food. The flowers adorn the locks of hair on the head; only the nose knows its fragrance. People recite Vedas; only a few understand them. Brahman is in your heart; he seeks him in sastras. The goat is in the barn; the shepherd looks for it in the well. Once you draw the essence of Vedas, leave it aside. Once you take the corn, leave the husk aside. Once you know nectar, all other foods are of no use. Knowledge of sastras does not guarantee moksa; inner experience does. A guru’s word can bring release, while the study of millions of scriptures is in vain. There are two words, which mean bondage and release. The word ‘Mine’ keeps you in bondage; the word ‘Not Mine’ offers release or moksa (Garuda Purana, II.49.verses).
9.22: To those people, who think of Me excluding all else, worshipping Me always and devoted to Me, I bring yogam and ksemam (success and security).
9.23: Those, who are devotees of other gods showing full faith, worship Me only, O son of Kunti. However, they worship against the prescribed rules (Avidhi-pūravakam).
There is only one God and many are his names; many are the religions; many are the followers of different gods and different religions. According to the words of Bhagavan Krishna and Vishnavite followers, Vishnu is the only God to whom all prayers of different Hindu sects, different religions and persuasions go. The following explains their argument according to me. A word carries Sabda and Artha (sound and meaning). A Sabda can carry more than one meaning. There are many gods, many names and many meanings and yet there is only one God. Likewise there is only one Vishnu, one Sabda and yet he has many names and many meanings (Sahasranama or 1000 names). Though 1000 names (1000 means infinite number) carry different meanings, they all refer to Vishnu only. Sabda is the ultimate reference point to which all names of gods of all religions come to in a centripetal direction. Vishnu is that Sabda. Different names with different meanings gravitate to the One Vishnu. In Hinduism when one worships a particular Devata and calls him or her by a name, he worships Vishnu only. An example. David addresses his wife, Sara "Honey, bring me a beer." Sara is the Sabda form of his wife's name. Honey is the Artha form of her name. Sara may have many Artha forms of her name, such as Peanut, Sugar given to her by her parents, siblings, relatives, and friends. Though meanings of Artha forms are many, they all refer to Sara. Why is Vishnu all? He is All because He is the Simon-pure Pervader of all names, forms and the universe. Devotees call Him, Rama, Krishna, Kesava, Govinda, Madhava and yet all names go to one all-pervasive Sabda form, Vishnu.
9.24: I am the enjoyer of all sacrifices and the Lord. But they do not know My true nature and therefore they fall (into samsāra of birth and rebirth).
9.25: Worshippers of gods go to the gods; worshippers of ancestors go to the ancestors; those who make offering to spirits go to the spirits; those who sacrifice to Me come to Me.
What you seek is what you get. Know thou what thou seekest. Let me give you a modern-day example. The great contributors (worshipers and sacrificers) to an elected official are rewarded with plum posts or other benefits for the duration of the administration, which is a heaven during the tenure of the officeholder. They avail themselves of the abundant opportunity to make a name, gain fame, and use closeness for personal benefit, if they so desire. Once the tenure of the elected official is over, the contributors (the worshippers and sacrificers) go back to where they were before the election.
There are thousands of gods in the Hindu pantheon, belonging to one of the many sects such as Vaishnava, Saiva and Sakta sects. Vaishnavas worship Lord Vishnu; Saivas worship Siva and Saktas worship Mother Goddess who may be Mahalakshmi or Devi (Spouse of Siva). There is one God; sectarians call him by different names: Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Mahalakshmi, Devi. Once a god becomes the object of worship by a sectarian, He or She assumes all the roles of creation, preservation, and destruction. It is a commonly held view that Krishna becomes the sectarian God with different names, gender, and attributes. Mahalakshmi is the sakti of Vishnu or Krishna; Devi is the Sakti of Siva; Sarasvati is the Sakti of Brahma; under these conditions they bear the name of Vishnumayi, Sivamayi and Brahmamayi, who individually in her sectarian role is Isvari (Master-controller). Gods of all sects do not rival with one another especially in the eyes of the devotee for all sectarian gods declare that if a devotee does not respect the other gods or goddesses, that person is not his or her devotee either. It is very common to note in Puranas and Tantric literature that they eulogize one another; but there are instances esp. in Tantric texts where Devi reins supreme over Siva, who is regarded as Sava (dead) without the power (Sakti) of Devi.
9.26: Whoever offers Me a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water with devotion, piety and purity, (is My devotee). I accept them.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says the following about the ritual offering (of a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water) to God in his Saying 309, Sayings of Ramakrishna, page 96. In a grain of paddy the germ is commonly considered to be the only thing necessary for germination and growth, while the husk is regarded as of no importance; but if the husked grain is sown, it will not sprout and grow up into plant and yield rice. To get a crop one must needs sow the grain with its husk intact. If, however, one wants to get the pure grain itself for eating purposes, one must remove the husk from the seed. So rites and ceremonies (husk) are necessary for the growth and perpetuation of a religion. They are the receptacles that contain the germinating seeds of truth; and consequently every man must perform them till he reaches the central truth therein.
Saying 310: Ceremonies and rites may not be necessary for him who has attained the highest truth, namely God.
1045. The Ganges-water is not to be regarded as water; nor the dust of Sri Brindavana as dust; nor the Mahaprasada of Sri Jagannatha Deva as rice. These three are objective manifestations of the Supreme Being.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says the following about the ritual offering (of a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water) to God in his Saying 309, Sayings of Ramakrishna, page 96. In a grain of paddy the germ is commonly considered to be the only thing necessary for germination and growth, while the husk is regarded as of no importance; but if the husked grain is sown, it will not sprout and grow up into plant and yield rice. To get a crop one must needs sow the grain with its husk intact. If, however, one wants to get the pure grain itself for eating purposes, one must remove the husk from the seed. So rites and ceremonies (husk) are necessary for the growth and perpetuation of a religion. They are the receptacles that contain the germinating seeds of truth; and consequently every man must perform them till he reaches the central truth therein.
Saying 310: Ceremonies and rites may not be necessary for him who has attained the highest truth, namely God.
Nothing is too small or too unimportant when the devotee makes the offer in the spirit of devotion, piety, and purity. Every one of us, even the poorest of the poor, can afford to make offerings of a few drops of water to the Lord, who likes the metaphorical eight flowers from his devotees. The flowers blossom out of the heart of the true devotees of Bhagavan. These eight flowers have universal appeal to all.
1. The First and Foremost, flower of non-violence (Ahimsa prathanam pushpam)
2. The flower of control of the senses (pushpam Indriya Nigraha)
3. The flower of compassion to all living beings (Sarva Bhutha Daya Pushpam)
4. The flower of tolerance, patience and equality (Kshama Pushpam Visedhadha)
5. The flower of Spiritual knowledge (Jnanam Pushpam)
6. The flower of Inner spiritual flame--meditation (Tapa Pushpam)
7. The flower of contemplation (Dhyana Pushpam)
8. The flower of Truth, the most delightful one (Satyam-ashta-vidam Pushpam Vishno Preethi-karam bhaveth)
to the One who is all-pervasive.
Prasadam is the food presented to an idol or the remnants of food left by a spiritual teacher which anyone may freely appropriate to his own use. A propitiatory offering or gift of food (Monier Williams). It is a common practice that Prasadam is distributed to the devotees as remnants of food served to Bhagavan after the service. It is something like the Host served to the congregation in the Catholic Church. Host is unleavened bread (made from wheat flower and water) and wine that are actually the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ. It is metaphorical and real (real presence). Prasadam is Divine Compassion, Mercy and Grace coming from Bhagavan in the form of remnants of food for consuming of the devotees. Eating Prasadam is technically called honoring Prasadam. Anything that comes from Bhagavan is worthy of honor. By eating Prasadam, we become Krishna. Eating the sanctified food infuses a tad of auspicious qualities of Krishna in us. It is not just plain rice, butter and raw sugar; it has other ingredients: the love and devotion of devotees and the priests to Krishna and the auspicious qualities of Krishna. It is a reciprocal give and take: we show Him Krishna Prema and He gives us Grace. It has the power to induce spirituality, frees us from sin, controls our senses (Indriyas), dissolves the illusion in us, and confers on us all the auspicious qualities. What more can we ask for?
Kuchela and a gift of a fistful of paltry parched rice
The story of Kuchela is in order here. It is not what you give that matters, but the devotion and the spirit behind the offer. Kuchela a poor Brahmin and Krishna were students at the academy, Gurukulam and after their Gurukulam days, they went their separate ways. Kuchela was rag-poor; Krishna was God Himself. Kuchela, his wife and their twenty-seven children went hungry on many occasions. The topic of Krishna came about, and on the suggestion of his wife, Kuchela went to see Krishna for help with a fistful of rice flakes as gift. Kuchela was received, dined, and doted by Krishna and Rukmini; they talked about their old days at the Gurukulam. Kuchela did not offer his gift, and yet Krishna knew that Kuchela brought a gift, pried it out of Kuchela, and ate the sweat-laden flakes with great relish. Kuchela left Krishna, and on his way back home, remembered that he forgot to ask Krishna for His help. When he returned home, Kuchela noticed a palace in the place of his hut and his children all well-dressed and his wife smiling. This story goes to tell that Lord Krishna will accept trifle as an offering from his pious devotee.
When Bhagavan in the form of Varāha rescues Earth from the watery depths, she asks Him with teary eyes, "You rescued me, since I happened to be your wife and pupil. Would you rescue the myriad Jivas, if they ask you to rescue them." Bhagavan answers, "Yes, I will hasten and run to save him or her, if the Jiva's mind is tranquil, free from agitation; if the Jiva's mind from the tender age is not affected by passion and lust; If the Jiva has control over his Indriyas with realization of my Visva Rupam; if one performs worship with a flower at my feet; if one chants my name loudly for others to hear; and if one surrenders to me completely." Earth having heard Bhagavan, she treasured three words of His by making three knots; the words are Archana (worship, adoration) with flowers, Self-surrender, and chanting his holy names.
9.27: Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever offerings you make, whatever you donate, and whatever austerities you perform, O son of Kunti, dedicate that offering unto Me.
9.28: You will be freed from the bondage of karma bearing good and bad fruits. With your mind steady in yoga of renunciation, and thus liberated, you will come to Me.
Karma, avidya, ahankāra are productive of bondage; avidya is ignorance and ahankāra is mine-ness. Karmic inflows into the subtle body guarantee cycle of birth and rebirth; good karmas bring wholesome effects and bad karmas bring bad results. Null karma (Acarpous Karma) is the perfect entity, guaranteeing no samsāra, the journey in this phenomenal world. An act will not carry a karmic load either meritorious or unmeritorious, if that act carries the spirit of renunciation with no expectation of reward. Yoga of renunciation neutralizes karma. Meritorious karma brings good accruements to life, but that material existence is not comparable to jivanmukti, emancipation during life. Jivanmukti is Satchitananda (Being, awareness, and Bliss).
Samsāra is the oil-lamp, where Karma is the oil, mind is the container, body is the wick, and Spirit is the fire or flame. Oil-lamp (Samsara) gives light (life) as long as the fire (spirit) is in contact with the wick (body) soaked in oil (Karma) coming from the mind (container). Karma is the fuel, and when you withhold the fuel, there is no karmic inflow into the subtle body and moksa (liberation) is a reality.
9.29: I am the same to all living beings. No one is despicable or dear to Me. They, who worship Me with devotion, are in Me, and I am certainly in them.
9.30: Even the one, who commits the most sinful acts, worships with exclusive devotion to Me, is thought of as a sadhu, because he has rightly resolved.
The worst sinner, when he repents, changes his ways, becomes a devotee of Lord Krishna and worships Him in all sincerity and honesty, will reach His feet; thus, such a transformed soul is none other than a sadhu.
Here is an instance of how a real-life chieftain turned bandit (born 776AD) became a devotee of Lord Narāyana Himself. This chieftain, by name Tirumangai Alvar, married Kumudavalli, the adopted daughter of a local doctor. The bride extracted a promise that the chieftain would feed 1008 Vaishnavas daily for one year. He decided to fulfill his promise by highway robbery. One day during his routine robbery, he tried to remove the rings off the toes of a bride, but could not. The bandit realized that he was stealing from Mahalakshmi Herself, the consort of Lord Narāyana. Narāyana revealed to him spiritual knowledge and turned a bandit into a saint. The saint traveled all over India singing Narāyana’s glories.
9.31: Soon he becomes a righteous soul (Dharmātma) and attains to lasting peace. O son of Kunti, let it be known that My devotee never perishes.
9.32: O son of Partha, they, born of sin, who take refuge in Me, though they are women, Vaisyas, and Sudras, attain the Supreme Goal.
Vaisyas are merchants and Sudras (the workers) are the fourth class in varnasrama dharma. Here Krishna is talking about the Varna system, as it existed that day. As said below, Krishna has clearly told the Brahmins, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras are separated by their gunas ( Qualities) and NOT by their birth Varna or natal caste. A Brahmin by birth and not by guna is a pseudo-Brahmin, a Brahmana bandhu, or Dhurbrahmin. When it comes to devotion to Lord Krishna, a devoted Chandala (a person below and outside the Varna system, born of a Brahmin mother and a Sudra father) is dear to the Lord. A womb of sin refers to the Brahmin mother’s womb carrying a Sudra’s child. Devotion or bhakti is the key requirement to attain the Supreme. The whole humanity can be divided into classes of people according to their gunas. Those with Sattvic qualities and devoted to God of their choice and of any religion will attain the Lord. God is One and names are many.
Brahmanas came from the mouth of the Lord; the Ksatriyas from the hands; the Vaisyas from the thighs and the Sudras from the feet.
Here is an extract from translation of Vishnu Purana in English by H.H.Wislon.
Brahmá (surrogate of Vishnu or Vishnu in the form of Brahma), being desirous of creating the four orders of beings, termed gods, demons, progenitors, and men, collected his mind into itself . Whilst thus concentrated, the quality of darkness pervaded his body; and thence the demons (the Asuras) were first born, issuing from his thigh. Brahmá then abandoned that form which was, composed of the rudiment of darkness, and which, being deserted by him, became night. Continuing to create, but assuming a different. shape, he experienced pleasure; and thence from his mouth proceeded the gods, endowed with the quality of goodness. The form abandoned by him, became day, in which the good quality predominates; and hence by day the gods are most powerful, and by night the demons. He next adopted another person, in which the rudiment of goodness also prevailed; and thinking of himself, as the father of the world, the progenitors (the Pitris) were born from his side. The body, when he abandoned, it, became the Sandhyá (or evening twilight), the interval between day and night. Brahmá then assumed another person, pervaded by the quality of foulness; and from this, men, in whom foulness (or passion) predominates, were produced. Quickly abandoning that body, it became morning twilight, or the dawn. At the appearance of this light of day, men feel most vigour; while the progenitors are most powerful in the evening season. In this manner, Maitreya, Jyotsná (dawn), Rátri (night), Ahar (day), and Sandhyá (evening), are the four bodies of Brahmá invested by the three qualities.
Here is a Greek story of an infant born of the thigh of Zeus.
Dionysus was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman Semele. Zeus' wife, goddess Hera discovered the extramarital affair of her divine husband, while Semele was pregnant with Dionysus. Hera impersonated a crone or a nurse and befriended Semele, who confided to Hera that Zeus was the father of the baby in her womb. Hera planted seeds of doubt in the mind of Semele that Zeus the god could not be the father. Semele wanting proof of his godhood asked Zeus to reveal to her his divine appearance. Worried that his transfiguration would cause death to his mortal wife, he kept on procrastinating. Her persistence paid off and Zeus appeared to Semele wearing serpentine bolts of lightning (think of god Indra), which promptly brought death to Semele. Transfiguration causes death in the mortal witness. Zeus extracted the fetus from inside the womb of Semele and embedded it in his thigh. A few months latter, Zeus gave birth to Dionysus from his thigh on Mount Pramnos in the Island of Ikaria. Dionysus is thus twice-born of two mothers (Demētōr). It appears that the fetus of Semele was not viable and so Zeus put the fetus in the thigh until when the fetus became viable or came to term.
Bhagavata purana (Book 11.18.18) states that a Vanaprasthya (Hermit) can go for alms to the houses of Brahmin-Brahmanas, before he seeks alms (begs for food) from Brahmin-Ksatriyas, Brahmin-Vaishyas, and Brahmin-Sudras. This division of Brahmins has come into existence in Kali age, when the Brahmanas took up other professions. Thus, Brahmana’s profession and Varna are according to what he does by vocation, Vrttibheda.
The Brahmanas, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras, O Parantapa, are separated by the gunas (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas) born of their own nature.
9.33: What is there to speak of pious Brahmanas, devotees, and devout royal sages (trying to attain Me)? Having come into this impermanent world of miseries or unhappiness, (you) should worship Me.
If a competent person does not bow down to Cakrapani (the Lord with the discus), he simply destroys the grass, meaning that he is a grass-grazing beast (Garuda Purana, 1.228.4).
A single, sincere bow done with faith to Krishna who is dark and handsome like the cloud sanctifies even a Chandala, who cooks (and eats) dog’s flesh (GP, 1.228.5).
A single Namaskara (worship by prostration with palms together) to Visnu by falling down like a stick on the ground attains a goal (liberation) that exceeds that of a hundred sacrifices (GP, 1.228.7).
Take refuge in the Mantra ‘Namo Narayana’ (obeisance to Narayana), while sitting down, laying down or standing up, whether here, there or anywhere (GP, 1.228.8).
Miseries : Generally Prarabdha Karmic fruit and misery come in three flavors: Adhidaivika, Adiyatmika and Adhibautika (Theogenous, endogenous and exogenous).
Adhidaivika (Theogenous Misery) karmic fruit originates from God and determines the heredity, ancestry, and environment of the eater of the fruit. The birth may be of high, average or low status with its fruits; the souls after departure may enter heaven or hell for pleasure or pain. Vedas pronounce the word of God. The violator goes to hell and suffers; the complier goes to heaven and enjoys bliss. The Lord dispenses fruits according the merit or demerit of one's karma; that is the will of God. Suffering in hell abolishes sins. Another source tells that Theogenous misery happens at conception and embryonic stage, at birth, and at death.
Adhiatmika Karma (Endogenous Misery) brings fruits from one's own body by way of disease, suffering, misery, old age and others. Another source tells that the miseries come from self, other people, animals....
Theogenous and Endogenous Miseries are both mental and physical.
Mental Miseries are அழுக்காறு, அவா, வெகுளி, கவலை (Envy, Desire, Anger, and Anxiety).
Physical Miseries are பிணி, காயம் (Disease, Injury).
Adhibhautica Karma (Exogenous Misery) means that the miseries proceed from the five Great Elements: Rain, Wind, Earthquake, and Volcano.
The souls after death go to the world of Vishnu, Brahma, or Indra, live among gods and enjoy bliss, eating fruits of good deeds. Once this pleasant sojourn in heaven is over, it is time to eat the bitter fruits of evil deeds; the soul is taken to Yama, the god of death, who dispenses appropriate fruits for the sins. The suffering involves incineration, dipping in hot oils and other unspeakable hellish experiences. Once the fruits are eaten in heaven and hell, the soul returns to earth to expiate the remaining karma.
The commentary section on page 72 in the book "Ramanuja's Teachings in His Own Words" defines misery, pain or suffering as follows.
The three kinds of pain or suffering are known as Ādhyātmika, Ādhibhautika and Ādhidaivika. Ādhyātmika refers to pain or suffering, the source of which is to be found within oneself. It is intra-organic. It may be due either to a physical source or psychological source. Ādhibhautika refers to pain the source of which lies outside of us, It is extra-organic. It may be due to atmospheric changes like extreme heat or cold, injury to one's own person from man or beast, insect or any other pest. We may add to this the effect of nuclear radioactive fall-outs. The release from these sources of suffering is either consciously or unconsciously sought after by every individual seeking relief, for relief from pain is one of the major activities of mankind. Philosophy is looked upon in India as one anodyne for pain. Ādhidaivika is pain or suffering due to causes which are beyond control like cataclysmic forces of nature, volcanic eruption, earthquake etc. It also includes certain un-nameable supernatural causes as for example the effects of planetary influences.
9.34: Always keeping Me in your mind, become My devotee and My worshipper; offer homage to Me; absorbed in [Me and] holding Me as the Supreme Refuge, you would truly attain Me, [who am] thus the Soul.
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: Always keeping Me in your mind, become My devotee and My worshipper; offer homage to Me; absorbed in [Me and] holding Me as the Supreme Refuge, you would truly attain Me, [who is] thus the Soul.
This sentiment is expressed by Periyalvar in 5.4.5 Tirumozi (Divyaprabhandam verse 467).
பொன்னைக் கொண்டு உரைகல் மீதே நிறம் எழ உரைத்தாற் போல்,
உன்னைக் கொண்டு என் நாவகம்பால் மாற்றின்றி உரைத்துக் கொண்டேன்;
உன்னைக் கொண்டு என்னுள் வைத்தேன்; என்னையும் உன்னில் இட்டேன்;
என் அப்பா! என் இருடீகேசா! என் உயிர்க் காவலனே.
O Father! O IrudikEsA! O Protector of my soul! As a goldsmith streaks the gold on the touchstone to know the color of the streak, I streaked Your name on my tongue. I caused you to abide in me and me to abide in You.
IrudikEsa = இருடிகேசன் = Master or ordainer of the senses; controller of the senses. The color of the streak of gold on the touchstone tells the degree of its purity.
Vishnu Cittar, also known as Perialvar (the Great Alvar) means the one in whose mind and soul Vishnu abides. He says Vishnu abides in Him and in turn caused himself to reside in Him. This is in accordance with Vaishnava philosophy which says that Isvara is the controller and the repository of all souls and also the Paramatman is in the spiritual heart of all beings.
Copyright © 2009 Veeraswamy Krishnaraj
End BG Chapter Nine: Yoga of Sovereign Knowledge and Sovereign Secret