The Essence of Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7
The Path of Knowledge with Realization
Shri Krishna said, “O Arjuna! I will tell you how, with your mind attached to Me (Brahman or God), taking refuge in Me, and being constantly engaged in spiritual practices to realize Me, you will know Me completely without any doubt.
I will tell you in complete detail the knowledge that leads to the direct experience of Me. After attaining this knowledge, you will have nothing that remains to be known.
Among thousands of people, one may strive for perfection. Among the people who strive for perfection, one may really know Me completely.
Prakruti (The Power of Brahman):
Know that My (Brahman’s or Purusha’s) Power (Prakruti) is of two kinds: Gross and Subtle.
The Gross Power is an Eight-Fold Power (Ashtadha Prakruti) made out of (1) Earth, (2) Water, (3) Fire, (4) Wind, (5) Space, (6) Mind, (7) Intellect, and (8) Ego.
The Subtle Power is the Indwelling Consciousness by which the whole universe is sustained.
Know that these two Powers (Prakrutis) are the cause of the existence of all beings and thus I (God, the manifested Brahman) am the cause of the creation and the dissolution of the whole universe.
Brahman is everything:
Besides Me (Brahman), there is no other cause of the universe. The whole universe is strung on Me as gems on the thread of a necklace.
The Subtle and the Gross manifestations of the Brahman:
O Arjuna! I am:
(1) the taste of water,
(2) the light of the sun and the moon,
(3) the Pranav (Om) in all the Vedas,
(4) the sound in space,
(5) the strength in all beings,
(6) the divine fragrance in the earth,
(7) the brilliance in fire,
(8) the life in all beings,
(9) the austerity in ascetics,
(10) the eternal seed cause of all beings,
(11) the intellect of all intellectuals,
(12) the heroism of heroic people,
(13) the power of people who are devoid of desires and attachment, and
(14) the legitimate desire in all beings.
Know that whatever states have been created by the three gunas – sattva, rajas, and tamas – have been created by Me alone. I am not in them, but they are in Me.
Maya – the deluding power of Brahman:
The whole universe is deluded by the states created by the three gunas. That is why they do not know Me (the Imperishable Brahman); I am beyond the three gunas.
It is very difficult to overcome the delusion created by Maya (My divine power called Prakruti) which consists of the three gunas. Only those who take refuge in Me can cross over this delusion.
Deluded people whose knowledge has been destroyed by Maya, who are possessed by demonic nature, who are engaged in evil activities and thus have become the lowest among human beings, do not worship Me.
Four kinds of worshippers:
On the other hand, four kinds of virtuous people worship Me: (1) “Arta,” who are in distress, (2) “Jignyasu,” who are seeking knowledge, (3) “Artharthi,” who are seeking pleasures and (4) “Jnani,” wise people.
Among these four kinds, the “Jnani” who are constantly making efforts to realize Me and have one-pointed devotion for Me are the best. I am the most beloved of the “Jnani” and they are My most beloved.
All four kinds of people are noble. But, a “Jnani” is like my own form because he/she, with the mind focused on Me, remains established in Me as the Supreme Goal.
After many births, a “Jnani,” realizing the truth that ‘Everything is Vasudeva (Brahman),’ worships Me. Such a “Jnani” is truly a great soul. It is very rare to find such a great soul.
Worship for Worldly Desires:
People whose discrimination has been destroyed by their worldly desires worship various deities (the limited aspects of Brahman) following various vows and rituals constrained by their desirous nature.
Whatever may be the form of the deity that a devotee likes to worship with faith, I (Brahman) give the devotee unwavering faith to that form. The devotee then worships that form with faith, and his/her desires are fulfilled by that form. Actually, I (Brahman) fulfill his/her desires through that form.
However, these people are short-sighted because the joy of the fulfillment of their worldly desires is short-lived. Those who worship various deities realize those deities (the finite aspects of Brahman), but those who worship Me (Brahman) ultimately attain Me (realize Brahman).
Foolish people do not know that My true nature is Imperishable and Transcendent. That is why they think that I, the Un-manifest, am endowed with a manifest form.
Due to the veil of My Maya (My Divine Power), I do not reveal Myself to all. People deluded by My Maya do not know Me as birthless and imperishable.
I know all the beings that were in the past, who are in the present and who will be in the future. But, no one knows Me.
Desires and Aversion:
All beings get deluded by the pairs of opposites (like favorable and unfavorable, pleasant and unpleasant, joy and sorrow, and others) which are created by desires and aversion.
But people whose virtuous actions have removed the impurity of their mind worship Me with firm conviction.
Who Knows Me?
Those who take refuge in Me and make efforts to free themselves from the fear and suffering of old age and death will know (1) Brahman, (2) everything about the individual soul and (3) the actions they must perform to know both.
People who know ‘Adhibhuta’ (One that underlies all elements), ‘Adhidaiva’ (One that underlies all the gods), and ‘Adhiyajna’ (One that sustains all the sacrifices) even at the time of their death, being steadfast in Me, know Me. (More elaborate explanations of these terms and the meaning of this sentence has been given in Chapter 8 of the Gita.)
(Thanks to Sonali Tatapudy for editing this post.)