Bhagavad-Gita: 18 Chapters in Sanskrit
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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 16
:The Divine and the Demon
Paul Brunton (October 21, 1898 - July 27, 1981) talks about Ramana Maharishi in India of 1930s
His book A Search in Secret India
I have had to learn how to pick my way between genuine sages and fools who mistake their egotistic fancies for divine knowledge, between true religious mystics and mere mystery-mongers, between pseudo holy men working black magic and true followers of the way of Yoga.
True, I have met some men of remarkable attainments and fine character, as well as others who can do amazing things, but I have not settled down to any positive inward recognition that here is the spiritual superman of my quest, the master who appeals to my rationalistic make-up and to whom I can gladly attach myself.
India suffers from the defects of an illiterate and over-religious race, untrained in those scientific modes of thought which demand the divorce of emotion from reason, history from hearsay, and fact from imagination. It is easy enough to gather a flock of enthusiastic followers, whether from sincere aspirants, foolish and inexperienced persons, or those who deem it wise to attach themselves and their fortunes to stars of greater magnitude than themselves.
No longer shall I give all that I have to offer - time, thought, energy, money - upon the altar of a search for supposititious masters.
Paul Brunton finds his Maharishi in Ramana (December 30, 1879 – April 14, 1950)
It is the calm, Sphinx-like countenance of the Maharishee, the sage who has spent his life on the Hill of the Holy Beacon (Ramana Maharishi, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu) in the South. I have never forgotten him. Yet I realize now that he has passed through my life like a star, which moves across the dark void with its lonely light and then is gone. He is the one man who has impressed me more than any other person I have ever met, whether in the East or West.
I am learning to see that this is the Maharishee's way of helping others, this unobtrusive, silent and steady outpouring of healing vibrations into troubled souls, this mysterious telepathic process for which science will one day be required to account.
Again and again I become conscious that he is drawing my mind into his own atmosphere during these periods of quiet repose. And it is at such times that one begins to understand why the silences of this man are more significant than his utterances.
The Maharishee is the last person in the world to place his followers in the chains of servile obedience, and allows everyone the utmost freedom of action. In this respect he is quite refreshingly different from most of the teachers and Yogis I have met in India.
16.1: Sri Bhagavan said:
Fearlessness, purity of mind, steadiness in yoga of knowledge, charity, self-control, sacrifice, study of scriptures, austerity, rectitude,
In the West, Purity of Mind generally means absence of prurience or aberrant sexual thoughts. It is more than that. In Hinduism context, Purity of Mind is defined as follows. Mind is compared to a lake. Chitta is the mind (as a lake) where thoughts rise and fall like waves; these waves in the mind lake are called Vrittis. Every time a thought rises it is a thought wave; there are many thought waves rising and falling every minute. One cause is wandering senses. Thoughts sometimes translate into actions. When a Yogi restrains the mind (PratyAhAra--obstruction of the mind) he can effectively suppress and abolish these thought waves in the mind lake. The tranquil mind lake without waves is a prerequisite for merging with the Object of meditation. The subject, the object and perception become one, meaning that the tranquil reflecting surface of the mind lake takes the color of object (God or Universal Soul); it is like the lake reflecting the sky; it is like the crystal taking the color of the juxtaposed object. The Yogi becomes one with One. That is absorption with the Universal Self. Concentration is a prerequisite for tranquil unity of mind. Detachment from the distracting objects and clarity of thinking are qualities of the Pure mind. Thus absence of prurience and aberrant thoughts, concentration, detachment from objects, clear thinking, inward-turned Buddhi and tranquility make a Pure Mind. Buddhi = discerning intellect. Buddhi is Sattvic in this context. Buddhi is conditioned by Sattva, Rajas or Tamas or variable combinations thereof (goodness, motion and passion and darkness).
16.2: Ahimsa, truthfulness, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquillity, abstaining from slander, compassion to all creatures, absence of greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness (absence of agitation),
In The Uddhava Gita, Dialogue 11, verse23, Krishna says, "Of vows, I am Ahimsa (non-violence)."
Truth or Satyam is different from truth. Ramanuja says, "TRUTH is communication by words of what one knows for certain and what is conducive to the good of others." In order to explain what Truth is, let me bring to your attention how Truth fits in with the world order.
Truth is just not telling as it is; there is more to it. The so-called unvarnished truth is as good as or as bad as raw wood furniture. Higher Truth have filters while lower truth is unvarnished. If truth hurts, mutilates, harms, and kills people, it is not Truth. Let me explain the development of the concept of Truth (Satyam) from truth.
Rta: Sanskrit Rta, English Right, Persian arta, and Latin ritus are cognate.
Rta is fixed, settled or cosmic order, law, rule particularly in connection with religion. It started out as the proper order for performing sacrifices to gods on time to obtain benefits in return. The procedural steps of the sacrifice was so important that any infraction was believed to bring the wrath of the deity because the deity never gets to consume the sacrifice.
The officiating priest was particular about the proper performance of sacrifice. The invisible Asuras (demons) were waiting in the wings taking notes and paying particular attention to any broken rules in the ceremony. A well-performed ceremony went to gods and Pitrs (forefathers); an ill-performed ceremonial sacrifice was devoured by the Asuras who took possession of the performer and brought about his ruination. Stones were consecrated; altars were built with mathematical precision; offerings were made to different deities to obtain many and varied blessings and protection. Circumambulation of altar, sprinkling water, use of specific firewood, pouring of butter in the sacrificial pit with leaping flames, chanting of Mantras in perfect elocution entailed precise execution to please the gods. The West regards circumambulation (Pradaksina) as centripetal journey of the human soul to its source. The number of circumambulations varies with each deity: one for Chandi; seven for Surya; three for Ganesa; four for Vishnu; half of one for Siva. Rule of circumambulation is that the right shoulder of the subject should be close to the right shoulder of the deity at the start of the motion. It is said that it mimics the motion of the sun (sunwise direction or circumambulation). In Roman catholic burial services, the priest makes an anti-sunwise (Prasavya) circumambulation. Prasavya is also practiced around a house when a snake makes intrusion into a house. The mathematics of Indo-Aryans was the first beginnings; as Mackenzie says, " these Brahmans invented the numerical figures, which have attained universal usage, and in time they gave the world Algebra." Here the math is used in the precise construction of the alters.
Now you know the power of following the rules in any endeavor. A bad sacrifice was bad for the performer and the deity it was supposed to please, but the Asuras, who played the roll of Nitpicking Rules-and-Details Yagna Police, were the beneficiaries of bad sacrifice.
It came to embrace the law and order from cosmos to an atom. It encompasses the immanent force that keeps the sun and all celestial objects hang together in their dynamic relationship with each other; all laws pertaining to all elements and forces; proper observation of the religious laws, rituals, and injunctions; God's hand in maintaining order in his manifestation as beings and matter; His Divine laws that control beings and matter and subjection and complicity to His Laws by man.
At the highest level it is cosmic in its application and at human level it comes down to moral and ethical issues, all under the watchful eyes of Varuna, king of gods, men and universe, inflicting punishment for falsehood and transgressions. It is because of him the sun rises, the day ends and night falls. Since Vishnu became the Antaryamin, AntarVarti, Antaratman and Paramatman (Inner Guide, Inner Dweller, Inner Soul, Supreme Soul) of Varuna and all that exists, Vishnu eclipsed Varuna and became the purveyor of Rta. The western students advocate the following theory. The original purveyors of the Cosmic Law, Mitra, Varuna and Aryaman ceded their power to Vishnu. Vaishnavites are of the opinion that the laws came first and the gods came later and the God of gods Vishnu is the formulator of the Cosmic laws. Without Him, nothing moves from Brahma to a blade of grass. The gods, men and other beings are subject to His laws; Vishnu is above all the laws; He is in the Laws and the laws are not in Him. His law is Truth (Rta) and the untruth is Anrita. Rta is the thread that runs through the cosmos, gods, men, beings, matter and atom. If Rta is cosmic, Dharma operates at human level.
The West is of the opinion that once the concept was fully developed, this is more or less the cascade where the original flavor stayed on. In Hindu thought, the first to dawn on the mind was the Empirical Rta wherein the main concern was to perform religious ceremonies at the appointed time so as to please and receive rewards from gods. The concept of Rta extended backwards to the cosmic order and forwards to personal order: Satyam, Dharma...
Here is the trickle-down of Cosmic Law from Rta to Satyam.
Key words: Rta, ontological Rta, Theological Rta, Empirical Rta, Epistemological Rta, Dharma-Satyam-Truth.
Rta is the ordainer of all that happens from the universe down to our lives and the atoms. Rta governs the movement of the heavenly bodies at the highest level and that of the atom at the lowest level. What is order and symmetry is Rta. Saivites are of the opinion that Siva (Nataraja) dances on the cosmic stage down to the atom and subatomic particle.
Varuna's counterpart is the Persian Avestan Ahura Mazda. It is said that Persian Ahura is the Sanskrit Asura, the demon. Varuna is the encompassing Lord of the sky and spheres of light and darkness and the custodian and protector of Rta. Varuna is Aditya and thus has control over the movement of the sun, dawn, dusk, clouds and rain. He is in charge of Law and Order of the universe and beings and sacrificial procedure; his associates are Mitra, Agni and Indra. Wherever two people gather, Varuna is the unseen companion watching their every move and taking note of every thought, word and deed. (The modern spies are mere shadows of Varuna.) His Maya, the power and wisdom help him do the hidden surveillance. He has spies and informants (spasah) on earth and in heaven who regularly report to Varuna any infractions of law and order. Since he is connected to the sun, his reach goes wherever the sun shines. (Sri Bhagavan Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, "Of the Adityas, I am Vishnu. Of the lights, I am the radiant sun. Of the Maruts, I am Marici. Of the stars, I am the moon."--BG10.21. Since Vishnu-Brahman is the radiant sun, we have to assume that Varuna is under the control of Vishnu.) Varuna does not tolerate liars and punishes them severely and forgives the true repenters and honest mistakes. Varuna and Mitra jointly roam the universe looking for liars and crooks. (Hello, Crooks of the world, Beware, Varuna and Mitra are watching you!) Varuna gives dropsy to those who make him angry. He is the Lord of the primordial waters and rides an animal, Makara. His wife is water, Varunani. Horse sacrifice to him enhances his virility. (Here I differ with Varuna with utmost respect. Varuna may as well use Viagra, which has nothing to do with horse sacrifice and thereby could save the horses.) Varuna is the presiding deity over night while Mitra does it over day. Varuna is the king of the universe, gods, and men.
Dropsy : Remember loss of faith in God and entertaining jealousy mean punishment in Judaism. Take the Biblical Miriam who got fed up eating the same Manna every day that came from the sky, getting jealous of Moses because he was the only one who could talk to YAHWEH who punished Miriam with leprosy. For the unsteadiness of faith, Yahweh made them wander until all the faithless were dead.
The View from the West
The West is of the opinion that Varuna and Mitra were of Sumerian or Babylonian origin. The Assyrian word for rain is "Metru" who sent rain to the steppes. Varuna and Mitra resided in the sea of heaven from where they dispatched rain. The adopted god of Indo-Aryans Mitra was absorbed into Varuna especially when the Indo-Aryans hit the seacoast of India; Varuna became the god of the sea. A war between gods and demons (Suras and Asuras) resulted in redistribution of gods and four emerged as the dominant ones of the Aryan tribe: Indra, Agni, Varuna, and Yama. Assyrians and Hittite tribes had four deities: Mitra, Vaurna, Indra and Nasatya (Mi-it-ra, Uru-w-na, In-da-ra, Na-sa-at-ti-ia. Nasatya are the Vedic Asvins, the twin gods of dawn. Among some Indo-Aryans, Vayu (Wind), Agni (Fire), and Surya (Sun) gained favor. Surya had two additional forms: Vivasvat the rising sun, Savitri the setting sun. (Sun has 108 names.) Savitri of yellow color, a stimulator is of pre-Vedic origin and asks Night (Ratri- sister of Dawn) to descend on the horizon, men to stop working, the birds to fly back to their nests and the cattle to go back to their sheds.
Vishnu's consort Lakshmi is known as Vārunī, since she came out of the churning and frothy ocean; Vishnu naturally has eponymous names like Varuni Priya and Varuni Kanta ( Lakshmi's beloved and husband).
Ritu is the time element in Rta, observable in the changing seasons. Here is a link to illustrate the changing seasons:
The creation of universe is a violent event. A huge mass hit the earth, tilted it, set the stage for seasons and created the moon from the debris. All these events are part of Rta. There is a season for mangoes, a season for flowers, a season for a deciduous tree, a season for everything; that is Rta.
Something like a small Rta at biological level is the ticking of the heart, nerve conduction, automated respirations...
Rta is the Great Patriarch from whom all laws derive their inspiration and guidance. Man going against such supernal compulsions will face decay and death. Rta is rigid and immutable set of rules and yet dynamic within its framework to accommodate changing conditions, for its purpose and aim are equilibrium, symmetry, and harmony. Satyam or Truth (Rta's derivative) is flexible, changeable, and dynamic to create peace and harmony.
Compassion, peace and harmony are the filters the truth goes through before it becomes Satyam or Truth. Satyam is where a lie can become a virtue. When some kind-hearted Germans took the Jewish refugees into their homes, protected them and sent the intrusive Jew-hunting Nazi soldiers back on their way with a pack of bald-faced big lies, that higher act is Satyam and not falsehood in its narrow sense. There are many Hindu stories where lies are told in the name of Satyam, which is a Higher Truth, whereas mere truth is an ubiquitous pretender of Satyam. Would Varuna forgive the liars here? I believe he does because their cause is selfless.
16.3: vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, absence of malice, and absence of great haughtiness: These are the qualities of the one born of divine nature, O Bharata.
Garuda Purana (1.113.37) states that there are five cleaning substances: truth, pure mind, control of sense organs, feeling for all living beings, and water.
16.4: Ostentation, arrogance, self-conceit, anger, rudeness, and ignorance are the qualities of those born of demonic nature, O Partha.
16.5: Divine qualities lead to liberation, demonic to bondage. Do not grieve, O Pandava, you are born with divine qualities.
The qualities of a liberated soul
Swami Velkudi Krishna quotes
The Chandogya Upanishad 8.7.1 also described the eight qualities attained by the jiva in liberation.
ya ātmā apahata-pāpmā vijaro vimṛtyur viśoko vijighatso 'pipāsaḥ satya-kāmaḥ satya-saṃkalpaḥ so 'nveṣṭavyaḥ sa vijijñāsitavyaḥ |
sa sarvāṃś ca lokān āpnoti sarvāṃś ca kāmān. yas tam ātmānam anuvidya vijānātī: iti ha prajā-patir uvāca || Ch Up 8.7.1 ||
1) ātmā apahata-pāpmā = The jiva is without sin, or free from relation with sin and ignorance.
2) vijaro = He is free from old age, being ever young.
3) vimṛtyur = He is deathless, never leaving his spiritual body.
4) viśoko = He is peaceful, being free from lamentation, suffering and craving.
5) vijighat = He is devoid of desire for enjoyment.
6) a'pipāsaḥ = He is without thirst, with no desire other than to serve the Lord.
7) satya-kāmaḥ = He has only desires to serve the Lord favorably.
8) satya-saṃkalpaḥ = Whatever desires he has are fulfilled.
Kevala Jnaana (Faustian Knowledge) will never give Moksham (liberation and Vaikuntam). Bhakti roopa Jnaana (Devotional Knowledge) is the one which gives Moksham.
The self which is free from evil, free from old age, free from death, free from grief, free from hunger and thirst, whose desire is real, whose thought is the real.... Dr. Radhakrishnan.
16.6: Two types of beings are created in this world, the divine and the demonic. The divine have been described at length. Hear from Me about the demonic, O Partha.
16.7: People of demonic nature do not know appropriate action and prohibited action. In them, there is neither purity , nor good behavior, nor truthfulness.
16.8: They say, "this world is unreal, without basis, without Isvara or God, without a primordial cause but born of reciprocal union between man and woman. What other cause can there be except lust-cause [sexual union]?"
This is the view held by materialists.
Apratistham: without foundation. Aprasparasambhūtam: not produced one from the other or without an orderly cause and effect
16.9: Holding this view, the lost souls of meager intelligence and violent actions become strong and harmful causing destruction of the world.
16.10: Given to insatiable lust, endowed with ostentation, pride, arrogance due to delusion and pursuing false premises, they undertake impure vows.
16.11: Clinging to the immeasurable cares until death, having sense indulgence as the supreme goal, thus they determined that this is all.
Aparimēyām: immeasurable Upāsrita: clinging
16.12: Bound by hundreds of fetters of hope, taking refuge in lust and anger, they strive to accumulate illegal wealth for gratifying their desires.
Asā: hope. Pāsa: string, bond, fetter. Parāyanā: engrossed by, taking refuge, intent on.
Verses 13 to 18 give the detailed characterization of a person with darkness and delusion.
16.13: “I gained this today.” “I will fulfill this desire (tomorrow).” “I have this wealth.” “Moreover, I am going to gain this later.” "Riches will come to me again."
16.14: “I killed this enemy.” “I shall kill others too.” “I am the Lord.” “ I am the enjoyer.” “I am perfect, strong, and happy.”
16.15: “I am rich and of noble descent.” “There is nobody equal to me.” “I shall (perform) sacrifice.” “I shall give to charity.” “I shall rejoice.” They think thus deluded by ignorance.
Garuda Purana (1.114.67) states that stolen and ill-gotten wealth, though used for charity, takes a man to hell and earns merit for the victim of robbery.
Delusion by ignorance leads to ostentatious piety by way of rituals, ceremonies and charity.
16.16: Disorientated by many thoughts, (caught up or) tangled up in the net of delusion, and addicted to sense satisfaction, they fall into unclean Naraka (hell).
16.17: Self-conceited, arrogant, possessed of wealth, self-pride and delusion, they perform yajna (sacrifice) in name only with vanity and do not follow the rules.
16.18: Dependent on their ego, strength, pride, lust, and anger, these jealous and indignant people hate Me residing in their own and others' bodies.
The six enemies or sins of the human race are lust (Kama), anger (Krodha), greed (Lobha), delusion (Moha), pride (Mada), envy (Matsarya), which are the six division of the army, that is Samsara.
The West gives a list of seven deadly sins: pride , covetousness, lust , anger , gluttony, envy, and sloth; the seven sins cause spiritual death.
16.19: I cast the cruel haters, the inauspicious, and the vilest of men in the worlds into demonic wombs.
One of the cruel haters of Krishna was Kamsa, his maternal uncle.
Krishna's birth takes place in Mathura ruled by Yadava clan. King Vasudeva and Devaki are his parents. Vasudeva, the son of Surasena marries Devaki, daughter of Devaka. Following the wedding, Kamsa, the brother of Devaki, as the custom dictates, serves as the charioteer and takes Vasudeva and Devaki to their palace by a chariot. The chariot leads a dowry procession of hundreds of elephants, thousands of horses, many chariots, many attendants and girl friends of Devaki, a melee of well wishers, a throng of musicians, and a medley of musical sounds. Out of the clear blue sky comes a thundering voice addressing Kamsa, "O fool of fools, you don't even know that the eighth child of your sister will kill you." Upon hearing the prophetic voice from the sky, demonic Kamsa turns his head around and grabs Devaki's hair. Vasudeva comes to Devaki's rescue immediately and tells Kamsa, "O Brother-in-law, there is no need to kill her now; no one knows that she will bear sons. You are safe from your sister and I will give you all the sons, if any are born in the future." Kamsa, knowing the honesty and integrity of Vasudeva, drives them to their palace. In course of time Devaki gives birth to eight male infants and one girl. Vasudeva, keeping his promise, brings the first born son to Kamsa. Knowing that the first born is not going to be his killer, he asks Vasudeva to take the child back. But Narada Muni informs Kamsa that there is an imminent birth of gods in the families of Vasudeva and Nanda and that he should not trust any one. Kamsa assuming that the gods must have already been born in the Yadava families, puts his sister and Vasudeva in jail. Devaki gives birth to sons, one every year; Kamsa kills them all including the first son whom he let go earlier. He is afraid that any one of them could be an incarnation of Vishnu. Narada gives Kamsa a history of his past life. Kamsa comes to know that in his previous birth he was demon Kalanemi, killed by Vishnu. He, thus becomes the enemy of Yadu family and worries about Krishna killing him in this life. Kamsa usurps the kingdoms of Yadu, Bhjoja and Andhaka dynasties and makes pact of friendship with other demonic kings.
When Devaki is pregnant with her seventh child, it is Vyuha, emanation or expansion of Krishna, Ananta or Sesa in her womb. Go to BG Chapter 12 Devotion to learn more about Vyuhas. Devaki and Vasudeva worry about the fate of the 7th child in the deathly hands of Kamsa. Krishna commands his Yogamaya to transfer the embryo from Devaki's womb to that of Rohini (another wife of Vasudeva), who is visiting Nanda and Yasoda. This transfer is performed by Yogamaya while Devaki and Rohini are in Yoganidra (Yogic sleep). Krishna says that he is personally going to appear in the womb of Devaki.
In Yogis, Yoganidra is light sleep characterized by withdrawal from the external stimuli of the outer world, meditation in peace, tranquility and bliss and yet preservation of the full spectrum of mental faculties. H.H.Wilson in his translation of Vishnu Purana says the following. "Yoganidra is the sleep of devotion and abstraction, the active principle of illusion, personified, and also termed Maya and the Mahamaya, also Avidya or ignorance. She is Durga, Sakti or bride of Siva." She is also the sister of Vishnu/Krishna. Sacred literature says that Parvati (and her many manifestations) is the sister of Vishnu.
Yogamaya (Yoga maaya) the power of God in the creation of the world personified as deity.
Yoganidra. Vishnu's sleep personified as goddess and said to be a form of Durga.
Krishna also commands Yogamaya to enter the womb of Yasoda (Nanda is her husband) in Vrindavana as their daughter, who will be worshipped as Durga, Bhadrakali, Vaishnavi, Narayani... Thus Krishna and Yogamaya appear as brother and sister in different wombs. The power of the Lord is always female and the wielder of power is male.
The transfer of the embryo is by extraction (Sankarshana) from Devaki and implantation in Rohini. Because of extraction, the male child (7th) was called Sankarshana, who is so strong both spiritually and physically that he is called Balarama. Sankarshana = Balarama. This is the first and most likely the last case of embryo transfer from one womb to another.
Krishna enters the womb of Devaki with his full power without the necessity of vital fluid for impregnation. (Consider the immaculate conception of Mary.) Kamsa sees the radiant beauty of his pregnant sister staying in jail cell. He worries about his fate and ponders on the question of killing his sister before she gives birth to his killer. He does not kill his pregnant sister because it would bring shame on him. His mind is fully occupied by the image of the killer baby, the incarnation of Vishnu. Devaki goes into labor and delivers a dark blue baby with auspicious features. Vasudeva and Devaki see the newborn baby having four hands with conch shell, discus, club and a lotus flower; wearing the necklace of Kaustubha stone, a diadem with Vaidurya stone, earrings and bracelets; and bearing the mark of Srivatsa on his chest. He looks like a dark cloud with a profusion of hair on his head. The parents wonder how a child could be born with weapons, other accouterments, and four hands. When they realize they are in presence of Vishnu himself, they offer their obeisance and prayers. Krishna the infant speaks to the parents and tells them they were previously his parents twice. (The human soul is compared to the Kaustubha stone.)
1. The age of Swayambhuva Manu. Parents Sutapa and Prisni; son Prisnigarbha.
2. The next millennium. Parents Kasyapa and Aditi; son Upendra, a dwarf also known as Vamana.
3. The present birth. Parents Vasudeva and Devaki; son Krishna.
Baby Krishna (not preverbal like other infants) continues to talk:
I am born with an unusual presentation so that you will believe me as Bhagavan (the God) who chose you as my parents. You are afraid of Kamsa. I ask you to take me out of here, leave me with Yasoda and bring her newborn female infant back to the prison cell, so that Kamsa will think that you gave birth to a girl. After he gives directions, the Lord turns into an ordinary two-handed infant without the weapons and some accouterments. Yasoda's baby girl is a manifestation of Yogamaya of the Lord. The power of yogamaya puts all the prison guards to sleep, opens all the chained doors, and lights up a path in the darkness. The night is dark, the clouds are black, the thunder and lightening are frightening, the rain is coming down in buckets; Ananta Sesa spreads his hood and covers Vasudeva and the newborn Krishna. Vasudeva comes to the banks of Yamuna in roaring floods; the waters part (recede to knee depth or waist-high) and Vasudeva bearing Krishna crosses it with ease.
(Consider this: When Moses and Hebrew slaves in flight (600,000 men besides women and children), pursued by Egyptian soldiers, came across the impassable Sea of Reeds, God made the waters part and laid out in front of them a passable dry seabed ; Moses and Hebrews escaped followed by the Egyptian soldiers treading the path in the seabed. When the last Hebrew was out on dry land, the sea closed on the soldiers and drowned them. The difference between God of Moses and Krishna is that Krishna's Yogamaya put all the soldiers to sleep.
Moses was born in Egypt; at that time in history, all Hebrew newborns were put to death at the command of pharaoh. The mother of Moses hid him for three months and later put him in a bulrush basket and floated him in the Nile. Pharaoh's daughter accidentally found the infant amidst the reeds, took pity on him and raised him as her own; fortuitously, the mother of Moses was the infant's maid. There is a similarity here in the condition Krishna and Moses faced under a cruel ruler; of course Krishna is God and Moses was a go-between between God and Israel. Krishna spoke his words directly to Arjuna, as God to Moses. Krishna was flesh and blood on earth, while the God of Moses was a voice, pillar of cloud and fire. When Pharaoh refused to "let my people go" out of Egypt (1446 B.C.), God dispatched ten plagues and other miseries to Egypt, including death of Egyptian first-borns; the irony is that the first-born of the Pharaoh also died; such was God's wrath.)
He enters into the kingdom of Nanda; all are asleep; under the power of Yogamaya, the switch is made of the infants and he comes back to the prison. All things are back to their usual mode upon his return and he puts the girl on the laps of Devaki. He puts the clamps back on his wrist and feet and no one would ever know what happened.
Kamsa receives information on the birth of the baby to Devaki. Bristling with fear, anger and horripilation, he proceeds to the prison cell. His sister Devaki prayerfully begs him to spare the life of the girl who means no harm to him. He grabs the girl and swings her with an intent to smash her on a stone. The girl slips from his hands, ascends to the sky sporting eight arms as the younger sister of Vishnu. She looks beautiful and splendidly dressed, though she carries fierce weapons in her hands: a sheaf of arrows, bow, bell, club, conch, lance and shield. The girl is actually Durga; the deities pay their homage. The girl addresses Kamsa, "You, Great Fool, tried to kill me. How could you even think of it? Your killer is already born somewhere else. Don't harm your sister." Kamsa relents, shows remorse and releases his sister and brother in law and goes to his palace. The erstwhile inmates return to their palace. Kamsa goes to his counselors and tells them all that happened. They advise him to taunt , torture and harass the sages and Brahmanas to get even with Vishnu, who is the self-appointed designated killer of Kamsa in the form of Krishna. Taunting and torturing of Vishnu's devotees are equivalent to like treatment of Vishnu. Krishna grows up in the household of Nanda and Yasoda.
Kamsa tries to kill Krishna so many times. Krishna as a child kills all his enemies, demons and Kamsa.
16.20: Fallen into the demonic wombs birth after birth, the fools never reach me, O Kaunteya, and go to the lowest state.
"Demonic wombs" is a reference to animal wombs; the demonic men take birth in animal wombs, live and eat like animals and die like animals. The cycle goes on for innumerable births.
16.21: Three kinds of hell, the destructive gates (dvāram) of atma (Jeevatma) are lust, anger, and greed, and therefore one must give up these three.
Naraka is hell. Dvāram: literal meaning is aperture. In this context, dvāram means gates. Atma here refers to the individual soul or self. Hell has three gates namely lust, anger, and greed, and the vilest among men enter the city of Hell through these gates.
16.22: Released from these three gates of darkness, O Kaunteya, this person does what is good for his soul and therefore goes to the Supreme state.
Tama-dvārah: gates of darkness (lust, anger, and greed).
Krishna states that those who overcome lust, anger, and greed will reach the Supreme state, which is the feet of Krishna.
16.23: Anyone giving up scriptural injunctions acts according to (the dictates of) his desires will attain neither perfection, nor happiness nor the Supreme state.
Sāstra-vidhim: Scriptural injunctions.
16.24: Therefore, let sāstra be your authority in knowing the difference between proper and prohibited action. Know the declared scriptural precepts and do your work (accordingly in this world).
तस्माच्छास्त्रं प्रमाणं ते कार्याकार्यव्यवस्थितौ ।
ज्ञात्वा शास्त्रविधानोक्तं कर्म कर्तुमिहार्हसि ॥१६- २४॥
tasmāc chāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ te kāryākāryavyavasthitau
jñātvā śāstravidhānoktaṁ karma kartum ihārhasi 16.24
tasmāt śāstram pramāṇam te kārya-akārya-vyavasthitau
jñātvā śāstra-vidhāna-uktam7 karma kartum iha arhasi 16.24
Akārya: prohibited action; Vidhāna: precept, rule, injunction; Sāstra Pramānam: Scriptural authority.
End BG Chapter 16: The Divine and the Demon