Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Essence of Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9: The Path of Sovereign Wisdom and Sovereign Mystery

The Essence of The Bhagavad Gita

Chapter 9: The Path of Sovereign Wisdom and Sovereign Mystery

Shri Krishna said, “O Arjuna! You do not carp, so I will tell you this profound knowledge with its practical aspect of realization, by knowing which, you will be free of all the sorrows of life.

This is sovereign knowledge, sovereign mystery, and the supreme purifier. It is righteous, eternal, gives tangible results, and is easy to practice.

People who do not have faith in these teachings do not attain Me (Brahman) and they go through the cycle of birth and death in this world.

The whole world is pervaded by My un-manifested form (Brahman).  All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.

(Note: The whole world is projected on Brahman. In particular, all beings are projections of names and forms on Brahman.)

Actually, all beings do not dwell in Me (meaning they are just the projections of names and forms). However, behold My Divine Power (Maya) that I am the Creator (cause) and the Nourisher (support) of all beings, yet I do not dwell in them.

As the mighty wind—created from the sky, which moves everywhere within the sky, and still remains in the sky—all beings dwell in Me.

O Arjuna! At the end of a Kalpa (a period of 4.32 billion years), all beings merge into My Divine Power (Prakruti), and at the beginning of the next Kalpa, I create them with My Divine Power.

With My Divine Power I create all beings again and again. They are helpless because of their worldly desires and past actions.

Since I am the Witness Consciousness and unattached to their actions, their actions do not bind Me.

With My consent, My Divine Power creates the whole universe of living and non-living and makes it move around.

When I take human form, deluded people do not recognize Me as the Lord of the Universe and they disregard Me. Being that their intellect is covered by delusion, they remain engaged in useless hopes, actions, and knowledge. Thus, they remain possessed by demonic qualities.

On the other hand, the great souls, filled with divine qualities, know that I am Imperishable and the cause of the whole universe, and they constantly think of Me with focused mind.

(Note: For the demonic and divine qualities, read Chapter 16 of The Bhagavad Gita.)

These great souls remain firm in their vows to realize Me. They constantly sing My names and glories, make efforts to realize Me, remember Me, salute Me, and thus, worship Me with great devotion.

The followers of “Jnana Yoga”, worship Me as being one with them as Brahman. Some worship Me as being distinct from them, and others worship My Virata Form (Me as the whole universe) in various ways.

If you think of this whole universe as a “Yajna”, then know that I am the Vedi (in which fire of the Yajna is invoked), I am the fire in it, I am the mantras recited, I am the ingredients offered in the fire, and I am the whole worship of the Yajna.

Also, know that I am the father, the mother, the grandsire, and the sustainer of the universe.  I am the one that has to be known. I am the Purifier, the Omkar (one syllable Brahman), and I am three Vedas, namely the Rig Veda, the Sama Veda, and the Yajur Veda.

I am the nourisher, the goal of life, the Lord of the Universe, the Witness Consciousness, the abode, the refuge, and the true friend. I am the cause of creation and the dissolution of the universe, and I am its support. Know that I am the imperishable seed of the universe.

I shine through the sun, create clouds, and bring rain. I am the nectar (immortality) and I am death. I am the being and the non-being.

Those who are devoid of sins and who wish to attain heaven by worshipping Me, through the performance of the “Yajnas” described in the three Vedas, attain heaven by their own merits. In heaven they enjoy various worldly pleasures until their merits are exhausted. Then, they come back to the earth and start their lives all over again. Thus, people who perform rituals described in the Vedas to fulfill their worldly desires go back and forth between earth and heaven. (They do not get the benefits of spiritual life.)

On the other hand, to those devotees who are ever devoted to Me, thinking of Me only and worship Me without any selfish reasons, I provide them what they lack in their spiritual practices and preserve what they have attained. (Thus, God helps these devotees attain their goal of God Realization.)

Those devotees who worship other gods (for worldly pleasures) also worship Me (Brahman), but they do this unknowingly and improperly.

I (as Brahman) am the Recipient and the Lord of all the worships and sacrifices of the devotees. But, not knowing Me, in essence, they fall from their spiritual path and become slaves of their senses.

Those who worship gods (limited forms of Brahman) go to the gods. Those who worship their ancestors go to their ancestors. Those who worship spirits go to the spirits. Those who worship Me (Brahman) come to Me.

If a devotee, out of love, offers Me a leaf, flower, fruit, water, or any simple thing, I accept such an offering made by the pure in heart.

O Arjuna! Offer to me any action you perform (Karma), anything you intake (Food), anything you offer in your spiritual practice (Yajna), anything you give in charity (Dana), and whatever austerity (Tapa) you perform.

(Note: In Chapter 17 of The Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna describes three kinds of food, Yajna, Dana, and Tapa, and in Chapter 18, he describes three kinds of actions and performers.)

By offering everything to Me, you follow “Sanyasa Yoga” (The Yoga of Renunciation) and, thus, become free from the bondage of all the results of your actions, whether they are pleasant or unpleasant. Then, being free from all bondages, you will come to Me (become one with Brahman).

I am the same towards all beings. I do not favor anyone and do not deny anyone. But, those who worship Me with love, they are in Me and I am in them.

Even a great sinner worships Me with one-pointed devotion (with repentance of sins and with a vow not to commit any sin again) must be regarded as a righteous person who has made the right resolve. Such a person (with devotion and the right resolve) soon becomes a righteous person and attains eternal peace within. O Kaunteya! Know that My devotee never perishes.

Taking refuge in Me, even women, Vaishyas, Shudras, and sinners attain the Supreme State.

(Note: This was the bold statement of Shri Krishna at the time when women, Vaishyas, Shudras were looked down upon compared to men, Brahmins and Kshatriyas.)

Definitely, when Brahmins or Kshatriyas, being free of sins, worship Me, they attain the Supreme State. Therefore, having attained this temporary human life filled with sufferings, worship Me with great devotion.

Focus your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me, offer everything to Me, and surrender to Me. Thus, keeping Me as the goal of your life and making efforts to realize Me, you will definitely attain Me (the Supreme State).

Thus, in the Bhagavad Gita— the essence of the Upanishads, the science of Brahman, the scripture of Yoga, and the dialogue between Shri Krishna and Arjuna— ends the Ninth Chapter, entitled “The Path of Sovereign Wisdom and Sovereign Mystery.”

Om Tat Sat.

(Thanks to Radha Dhar for editing this post.)

The Essence of Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8: The Path to Imperishable Brahman

The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8

The Path to Imperishable Brahman

Seven Questions from Arjuna:

Arjuna asked Shri Krishna the following seven questions:

(1) “What is Brahman?”

(2)  “What is Adhyatma (the individual soul)?”

(3) “What is Karma (actions)?”

(4) “What is Adhibhuta (something that is said to underlie all the elements)?”

(5) “What is Adhidaiva (something that is said to underlie all the gods)?”

(6) “Who is Adhiyajna (one who sustains all the sacrifices in the body) and how does it reside in the body?”


(7) “How does a self-controlled person realize You at the time of death?”

Shri Krishna answered these questions as follows:

(1) “The Imperishable is the Supreme Brahman.”

(2) “Swabhava (Brahman dwelling in a person which is covered by name and form of the person, known as Jiva) is called Adhyatma.”

(3)  “Karma (action) is the offering of the oblation (in a Yajna) which brings into existence all living beings and supports them.”

(4)  “Adhibhuta refers to all the objects which are perishable.”

(5) “Adhidaiva is the Purusha (the Cosmic Spirit) which underlies all the gods. It is also refers to as the “Hiranya-garbha”.

(6) “Adhiyajna” is Me, the All-Pervading Spirit which sustains all the sacrifices.”

(7) “A person who remembers Me (Atman or Brahman) at his/her last breath becomes one with Me. There is no doubt about this.”

“A person, whose mind is attached with whatever desire or an object or a being in life, at the time of death he/she remembers that desire or the object or the being, and ultimately he/she attains that desire or an object or the being in the next life.

Therefore, remember Me all the time, and fight (perform your responsibility; for Arjuna it was to fight in the battlefield). If you always focus your mind and intellect on Me, then without any doubt, you will become one with Me.

One who constantly practices focusing his/her mind on Me and not letting it wander around on other things, eventually becomes one with the Supreme Purusha (Brahman).

One, who during his/her lifetime, constantly thinks about Brahman (Sat-Chit-Ananda, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute) who is the Omniscient, Ancient, Controller of everything, most subtle, Nourisher of all, whose form is beyond comprehension, who shines like the sun, and who is beyond all darkness, and at the time of death with firm mind filled with devotion, with the power of Yoga, establishes his/her vital forces between his/her eyebrows and meditates on the Supreme Purusha (Brahman) becomes one with the Supreme Divine Purusha (Brahman).

I will tell you briefly about the Supreme State whom the well-versed in the Vedas called ‘the Imperishable’, which is attained by the Sages who are free from desires and have complete self-control, and to attain which seekers practice celibacy.

One who controls all the senses by the mind, confines the mind within the heart and draws the vital forces in the head, then remains established in the Atman through the practice of meditation and uttering the word “Om,” the one syllable symbol of Brahman, leaves the body thinking of Me (Brahman), attains the Supreme State.

I (Brahman) can be easily attained by the ever steadfast Yogi who constantly meditates on Me with a focused mind giving no thought of anything else.

The Great souls, having attained Me, have attained the Supreme State. They do not take rebirth into this temporary world which is filled with sorrows.

From an ordinary being to the creator of the universe, everything is subject to rebirth. But, one who attains Me (becomes one with Me) will not be born again.

Brahma is the creator of the universe. One who knows that Brahma’s day and night each last a thousand eons knows the essence of the Time.

(Note: A day of brahma is of 1000 Mahā-Yugas. Thus a day of Brahma, a Kalpa, is 4.32 billion years in duration. Two Kalpas constitute a day and night.)

In the beginning of Brahma’s day, the whole universe manifests from the un-manifested and at the end of the day (beginning of the night) it merges into the un-manifested.

The same multitude of beings is born by the law of nature in the beginning of the day of Brahma and merges into the un-manifested at the night of Brahma. Thus, this cycle goes on.

But beyond this un-manifested, there is yet another Un-manifested Eternal Being which does not perish when all beings perish.

This Un-manifested Eternal Being is called the Imperishable (The Supreme Purusha or Brahman). This Imperishable is called the Ultimate Goal of all beings. One who reaches that goal does not come back. That is My Supreme Abode.

The Supreme Purusha pervades the whole universe, and all beings reside in It. This Supreme Purusha can be realized through one-pointed devotion.

The Two Paths of re-birth and no re-birth:

Now, I will tell you the paths which decide whether or not the yogis are reborn

When the knowers of Brahman follow the path of light, fire, day, bright fortnight, and the northern path of the sun, then they become one with Brahman and are never reborn.

When the yogis follow the path of smoke, night, dark fortnight, and the southern path of the sun, then they reach to the light of the Moon and then returned to the earth to take re-births.

The Path of Light and The Path of Darkness are two eternal paths. Following the Path of Light the yogis are not reborn, while following the Path of Darkness yogis come back and are reborn.

The yogi who understands these two paths does not get deluded. Therefore, O Arjuna! Be steadfast in yoga all the time.

The yogi who really understands the essence of these teachings, surpasses the merits acquired by studying the Vedas, performing the Yajnas (rituals), practicing austerities or giving in charity, and he/she attains the Eternal Supreme Abode.

Thus, in the Bhagavad Gita— the essence of the Upanishads, the science of Brahman, the scripture of Yoga, and the dialogue between Shri Krishna and Arjuna— ends the Eighth Chapter, entitled “The Path to Imperishable Brahman.”

Om Tat Sat.

(Thanks to Sheela Krishnan for editing this post.)


Laugh and Learn – 15

“He Thinks: ‘I am God!’”

            The following post is based on a story I had heard from Swami Adiswarananda, the Spiritual Leader of the Ramakrishna Vivekananda Center in New York from 1973 to 2007.

In most cultures, when a young girl finds a boy to marry, she introduces the boy to her parents and waits for their comments and/or consents. If the consents come immediately at the first meeting, then the girl is very happy. Sometimes, the consent of her parents comes after some time, during which the parents happily or unhappily have to change their traditional mindset about their son-in-law to make their daughter happy. Many times, parents do not agree to their daughter marrying the boy she likes and the daughter has to leave her parents’ house and marry the boy. In some such cases, the conflict brings tragic consequences.

A young girl, Riya, fell in love with a boy named Chirag in college. During their four years of undergraduate study, they grew closer. Both of them graduated from college. Riya graduated with a 4.0 GPA and Chirag barely made it to the required 2.5 GPA. Riya immediately got a job while Chirag had difficulty finding a job. A year passed. Riya and Chirag continued to meet each other often and were thinking to get married in proper time. After the completion of the second year of her job, Riya decided to introduce her boyfriend, Chirag, to her parents as she was sincerely thinking of marrying him. Riya told Chirag, “My parents are spiritually inclined. Be careful when you talk to them”.

One day, finding that her parents were in a good mood, Riya explained that she had to tell them something. Her parents immediately understood and asked, “Who is he?” Then, Riya told her parents how she met Chirag in college, how they became close to each other, and that she thinks that it is the proper time for them to meet him. Her parents were happy to meet Chirag. A day was set for Chirag to come to their house.

The day of the meeting came. Since morning, Riya was nervous, thinking of various possibilities that could happen during the meeting and how each possibility would affect her future life. She focused her mind on doing chores to kill time. The meeting time came. Riya and her parents were ready half an hour before the time Chirag was to arrive. He was 10 minutes late. For Riya, one minute was like an hour. Chirag was nervous. Riya introduced Chirag to her parents and vice a versa. After initial greetings, Riya offered some snacks and soft drinks to all. After some time, Riya’s mother suggested that her husband talk to Chirag personally in another room.

Riya’s father and Chirag went to a room. Chirag was even more nervous, but the father made him feel comfortable. After half an hour of talking, they both came out. Chirag had to go somewhere, and Riya decided to go with him.

After Riya and Chirag left, Riya’s mother said that Chirag looked handsome and it seemed that Riya and Chirag liked each other. Then, she asked her husband how the meeting was and what he thought of Chirag. Riya’s father smiled and said, “Chirag thinks that ‘I am God.’” Her mother asked, “Why does he think that way?” Riya’s father said that she should listen to Chirag’s answers to his questions:

Q: “Do you have a job?”

Chirag, “No, but, by God’s will, I will find a job.”

Q: “Do you have a place to live?”

Chirag, “No, not at present. I am living with my friend, but, by God’s will, I will find a place to live.”

Q: “Do you have a car?”

Chirag, “No, but I am sure God will provide me a car.”

Q: “Do you have a bank account?”

Chirag, “No, but when, by God’s will, I will get some money, I will open an account.”

Q: “What are your future plans?”

Chirag, “I don’t have any future plans, but whatever God suggest to me, I will do it.”

Riya’s father told his wife, “Do you see? He thinks that I am God and will provide all these things to him!” 🙂 🙂 🙂

Note:  Poor Chirag tried to please Riya’s spiritually-inclined parents by bringing God into every sentence. Let Riya’s parents decide whatever they want to do in this situation. The readers too can make their own decision as to what they would do in a similar situation. I am not interested in judging anyone or suggesting to anyone what they should do. I am only interested to reflect upon the following important topics which came to my mind from the story:



In almost all religions, it is mentioned that one has to surrender to God. Even Buddha, who was considered a non-believer, taught his disciples, “Buddham Sharanam Gachhami…” This means, “Surrender to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.”

Thus, self-surrender is considered a most important and necessary step  for spiritual progress. Many people shirk at the idea of self-surrender on the spiritual path, yet there is no hesitation to surrender to plumbers, electricians, mechanics, doctors, or even to the pilots of aircrafts. Of course, in all fields, people have been cheated when they surrendered. But, there is no other way. If we doubt everything, we cannot live in the world. We need to have faith. We must check the qualifications of people, make educated choices, and have trust in the people who take care of the things related to our lives and sometimes of our lives themselves. After making the choice, we can keep our eyes open during the process and make the necessary adjustments.

We follow this process easily for worldly matters. However, in religion, people tend to blindly surrender without ever questioning anything. Thus, ills come out from such so-called religious teachers. I think people separate religion and spirituality based on whether people question keeping their minds open or not. In religion, people blindly follow their religious leaders and never question a single thing. Meanwhile, in spirituality, people follow the fundamental and important parts of religion and are not afraid of asking questions about anything they do not understand or agree with. They question because they want to understand exactly what teachers or the scriptures say so that they can make spiritual progress. Also, they do not want to do something harmful or inappropriate in the name of religion.

Self-surrender and self-efforts:

Still, on the spiritual path, misunderstandings happen. In the name of self-surrender, people surrender their efforts, but not the little self. Many times, after starting spiritual practices, people become lazy and less productive in their daily lives. Actually, spiritual practices should give us more strength to perform our responsibilities and make our lives more productive and meaningful.

To me, self-surrender to God means: (1) surrendering our ego to God (becoming humble and developing gratitude), (2) making God our goal (trying to practice all the virtues of God), and (3) performing all responsibilities as an offering to God (with full hearts and focused minds to acquire knowledge and devotion). Self-surrender helps us make self-efforts.


In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna said that the success of every action depends on five factors: (1) a field of actions, (2) tools to perform the actions, (3) knowledge to perform, (4) actual performance, and (5) divine grace. We have control of the first four parts of every action, but we cannot guarantee their success. A natural calamity, a health problem, or a problem from society may affect the results of our actions. That is why we seek the grace of God – to take care of the fifth factor. But, we must take care of the first four factors in order to seek the divine grace. Without fulfilling the four factors, seeking divine grace is meaningless.

Also, if we do not make self-efforts, then we cannot recognize the divine grace and its importance. Saints and sages say that the grace of God is always there. If we make efforts to fulfill the above-mentioned first four factors in any field (including spirituality), then we will see the divine grace and will understand the importance of the grace. God’s grace may come in the form of failure which may be for our own good in the long run.

(Thanks to Pallavi Tatapudy for editing this post and Viraj Khetani for providing the illustration.)