Chapter 7 - Paramahamsa Vijnana Yoga
Chapter 7, Verse 1
How can a person meditate on God? What are the essential qualifications required for meditating on God? Lord Krishna says, the person should not have any doubt. This is one precondition. Usually we have doubts whether the path we are following is good or not? May be the other religion or the path followed by other people is better. Such doubts should not be there. Even when we are doing work we should not have doubts. Doubts are the starting points where we start faltering from our determination.
We should have confidence in ourselves and move forward in our endeavors. The second condition is mind attached exclusively to God. Here we should understand that when we do work sometimes we think of pleasing God, sometimes we think of pleasing the Boss, sometimes we think of promotions etc. Lord Krishna says what ever work a yogi does, it should be focused 100% towards the God and no other considerations come in-between the person and the work. These two are the conditions that are being set : without doubt and 100 thinking about God.
Chapter 7, Verse 2
Lord Krishna Says he will unravel the knowledge so that Arjuna will not need any other knowledge for his enlightenment. The words Jnana-Knowledge and Vignana-Wisdom has to be understood carefully. Jnana is what we get when we read books. For example, the taste if honey or any food if we read we only get theoretical knowledge. Once we taste it we get the real taste which is called wisdom. Vignana is when a person experiences by himself what he has acquired. Jnana leads to vignana when it is experienced by a person. Lord Krishna he will impart full knowledge and also make him experience the knowledge so that Arjuna gets wisdom.
Chapter 7, Verse 3
Of the thousands of people who strive for perfection very few attain it. Of the thousands of people who attain perfection very few know the God. Lord Krishna says many people strive for perfection in life, but only few attain it. It is because striving for perfection needs lot of discipline which many people find difficult to have. So, they stop the practices that help them to attain perfection in between. Of the people who attain perfection, very few people know “god” because they did not strive for perfection with “god’ as the ultimate objective. They might have had other considerations.
Chapter 7, Verse 4
Lord Krishna gives perfect division of material substance. He says all the matter in the world is divided into eight states. 1. Earth 2. Water 3. Fire 4. Ether 5. Air 6. Mind 7. Intellect 8. Ego. Even the modern science agrees that matter is divided into 5 states and the remaining three (mind, intellect, ego) are psychological divisions with which we are able to see the matter. All the visible matter is divided into 5 states as of now. There is lot of research going on regarding dark matter. But as of now we will concentrate only on the visible matter.
Chapter 7, Verse 5
In this verse Lord Krishna makes distinction between two forms of energy he is having. He says one is material energy that is discussed in previous verse. Another one is the energy of life. Two different forms of energy, one pertaining to matter: this is in all forms (both living and non-living) and another is present only in living beings. The energy behind the life. We can call this energy behind life as prana, soul etc. Lord Krishna says that the energy of life is superior to the energy of matter. Just imagine with out the energy of life, what is the use of eight elements? The five elements + mind + intellect + ego is not useful if there is no life, they are just inert substance. Once a life force is given to them then all the creation makes some meaning.
Chapter 7, Verse 6
Lord Krishna says the two energies, the material, and spiritual energies both are derived from him. The material energy is in the 8 parts as mentioned earlier and the spiritual /soul energy, the life to them is given by God himself. He gets them into being, sustains/preserves them and destroys them. So we need not feel sad that a living being is dying because it is again going back to from where it has come: the Universe. We have to remember that whole Bhagwat Geetha started with Arjuna’s lamentation for the loss of relatives which is being clarified by Sri Krishna that all living energies are his products and they come back to him.
Chapter 7, Verse 7
Lord Krishna says there is nothing that is outside of him. Everything exists in him. In the universe, all living and material things are in him. We always read that God is everywhere. The force and energy of God are everywhere in the universe.
Chapter 7, Verse 8
To explain the presence of Krishna everywhere in the universe, both in living, non living he says, he is present in the sweetness of a flower, he is present in the universal sound “om” also he is present in the words of Vedas, also he is present in the subsonic sound of the universe and the energy of a man.
Lord Krishna drives the point that he is Universal and he is found everywhere. He is present in temples and he is present outside temples. He is present in every human being and in plants. He is also present in ether(the vacuum of the universe).
Chapter 7, Verse 9
Elaborating further Lord Krishna says he is the original fragrance of the earth. (Usually, before it rains the earth carries a beautiful fragrance). Also, he is the heat in the fire (indicating that he is a form of energy) and gives vitality all living beings. (again, indicating that he is a form of energy). Also, Lord Krishna says he is the tolerance among beings who are performing austerities. This is a powerful statement of Lord Krishna, that he is the force of tolerance in people who are performing austerities. He gives the strength to tolerate the penances performed by people to reach him.
Chapter 7, Verse 10 & 11
Continuing further as where we can find Lord Krishna, he says he is the strength behind the strongest. We can see that all the qualities of the universe are being given as example by Krishna for easy understanding. He says that he is devoid of “kama and raga” which is very important to understand. Lord Krishna says he is behind the qualities of universe without any passion and desire. This is very profound thought which shows that he is does things without any attachment, without any desire for anything. He says he is also the energy behind the birth of all living beings in the righteous way.
Thus we can find that Lord Krishna is behind all the things happening in the universe.
Chapter 7, Verse 12 & 13
In these stanzas, Lord Krishna says that he is not only behind all the creation but he is also behind the manifestation of qualities. The Sattvic, Rajsik, Tamsik qualities are present within the lord himself, that means Lord Krishna is everywhere, universal and all the things of the universe are within him. Though they are present within him he is not affected by them.
Though the qualities are generated within Lord Krishna it is quite difficult for people to identify the Lord is because he is beyond the perception of qualities. We can know what we can perceive. If we see a car we know it as a car, it is because of our knowledge of the car and our perception. If we have never seen God and if we have never felt him (except other than the two-person accounts) we can never know the existence of God. We can only believe that he exists. To experience God, we need to clear all the colorings of the mind and make it pure so as to reflect the ultimate reality of Universe, i.e., God.
Chapter 7, Verse 14
In this sloka Lord Krishna says how we can cross the illusion of maya. In the earlier verse we knew that maya stems from the three qualities “ satvik,rajsik and tamsic”. The mixture of these qualities in different proportions gives rise to maya in a person. Some people are driven by passion because they have more rajsic element in them. Some people are driven by not taking change because they like inertia because of tamsic nature. Both of them are under the influence of their quality and not taking the right steps towards realization of the soul and reaching the universal power. Lord Krishna says this can be achieved by overcoming the basic three qualities and this can happen by complete surrender to God.
Chapter 7, Verse 15
Lord Krishna says that people are usually led by the illusions of their nature and do not surrender to the universal God. These categories of people keep pursuing the goals they make for themselves as per their nature. They keep working blindfolded without introspection why he is doing a particular act. They do not introspect that in the limited time given to them are they pursuing the right activity? People pass on their life without any observation of their lives very mechanically.
Chapter 7, Verse 16
Lord Krishna says there are four categories of people who worship him.
- The distressed: The distressed worship the lord so that they come out of the troubles.in fact, the fear of nature and the fear of unknown happening in the external world made people come up with the concept of God for the first time. I think 80 % of people fall into this category of worshipping God whenever there is distress.
- Seeker of wealth: People who want to gain material possessions also worship the Lord till they get what they want. Some promotion in office, job, business deal etc all fall into this category. Usually, people worship till they succeed materially in life and leave worshipping God once their desires are fulfilled. The intensity with which they worship God reduces after they get they wished from God. People usually think that they achieved it because of the merit of the person. They should usually worship the Lord with the same fervor /intensity both before and after achieving what they wanted from the God.
- Seeker of knowledge: The third category of people who are on the path of spirituality who have realized that the material possessions don’t give full happiness worship the universal spirit in the quest of truth. This category of people wants to know what is the reality of life. What is the purpose of life.
- Men of wisdom: Very rare category of people because of the good deeds in past births have insights into the workings of universe and God. Their mission is to know the purpose of existence and worship the lord to help them find out the absolute truth.
Chapter 7, Verse 17
Among these four categories, Lord Krishna says the fourth category of people who are wise, who know the essence of the world, who knows what is the ultimate meaning of his life and who is deeply engaged in devotion to him is the most dearer to him. We should note that the following are the qualities we can find in those wise people:
- They are clear in their goal what they want from life.
- they do not worship the God for any desires. (Material possessions do not affect them)
- they are free from distress (Distress exists in their life but they are not bothered by it)
- Whatever work they do, God is always at the back of their mind.
Chapter 7, Verse 18
Lord Krishna says that all the paths that are mentioned in the earlier sloka are better as long as they pursue them with God as one of the objective. He says that the path of bhakthi of wise people is the best because their bhakti to him has only one objective self-realization and no other goal. People seek the lord because of distress, wealth, seeking knowledge and wisdom. The people of the first three (distress, wealth, seeking knowledge) are doing external things. For example, people in distress worship the lord to remove distress, people who want wealth and power accordingly worship lord for external benefits. There is no external benefit for the man who is seeking the God though his words, actions and deeds. A wise man seeking lord will see the god everywhere, keep him at the back of his mind what ever work he does.
Chapter 7, Verse 19
Here lord Krishna talks about Mahatma. The souls which have done lot of hardwork across various births and have purified themselves. In every birth they were doing good deeds and finally in this birth they strive to attain perfection. In the age of internet, the knowledge of perfection is available everywhere. We need to practice hard to become mahatma. It is though gaining knowledge, leading a hardworking life.
Chapter 7, Verse 20
People who lack the discrimination (because of ignorance/avidya/lack of knowledge of the right path) and who are driven by the desires of their Gunas will worship different Gods. Different Gods exist to satisfy different types of desires. So, people will worship different Gods accordingly and follow different rites and rituals which are prescribed for worshipping those Gods. We should be very objective while reading this sloka. This is very misinterpreted sloka and we should read with caution. It is not that people who worship Lord Krishna blindly are great people. The important words of this sloka are “discrimination” and “gunas”.
Chapter 7, Verse 21
In one of the earlier sloka, Lord Krishna says he is the energy behind the faith of people. He affirms that statement in this sloka stating that when people worship different Gods, he is the force of intensity/energy behind the faith of these people. The people may be worshipping different gods but the basic element is faith to those Gods. And this faith is sustained by energy which is Lord Krishna.
Chapter 7, Verse 22
Two words are very important in this sloka. They are shraddha and aradhanam. If a person can worship (aradhanam) of whatever God he prefers, with unflinching shraddha then the results are bound to come. He not only needs to worship the God about the results he should also execute the ‘work’ (the work where he is expecting results) with complete devotion. Lord Krishna promises that if a work is executed with devotion and faith then he grants the desires of the people.
Chapter 7, Verse 23
Lord Krishna clearly makes a distinction between worshipping Gods for worldly achievements and worshipping God for ultimate realization. People who worship Gods for their worldly achievements will achieve them, but the achievements are small compared to the achievement when they worship the Gods for the ultimate realization. We must note that Krishna has said in the earlier stanza that he is the force behind the faith of people even when they worship other Gods. If the intensity of faith is same for any type of devotion why don’t we divert the energies to worship God for higher reality rather than spend time on other pursuits? The time for all people is same on this earth, the intensity of energy is different. So better spend that energy on right pursuits.
Chapter 7, Verse 24
As time given to everybody in this world is same (24 hours) , and the amount of intensity needed to obtain results is the same, why do people worship gods for various material results? Why don’t they worship God for ultimate reality?
Lord Krishna answers this question by saying that it is the ignorance of people who do not see the ultimate reality of life. As people are ignorant they see God as a physical form and start worshipping him to satisfy their desires. They do not see God as a transcendental form and they can achieve more by worshipping God.
Chapter 7, Verse 25
Lord Krishna says here that he is not revealed to everyone. As long as people do not acquire the knowledge of seeing him he will not be revealed. People can see only his physical form. If people want to see his real form then they have to acquire knowledge, follow the path of yoga, discipline then people can see him.
Chapter 7, Verse 26
Lord Krishna says people who are leading the life covered by Maya will not know him. If people covered by Maya want to pursue the present state of worldly affairs and still want to know the God, then it is possible by pursuing those tasks with the God at the back of mind.
Lord Krishna says he knows the past, present, and future of all the people. Even if he knows that a particular person’s future is bad, God does not interfere in changing either present or future of any individual. People have to pay for their own deeds. They have to complete the karma to attain liberation. IF they do work with God in Mind they will complete the karmic debt soon and attain liberation.
Chapter 7, Verse 27
The reason why people cannot know him is clearly given here. People are overcome by the duality of things. They are under the illusion that they are just bodies and never care for the spiritual growth. They think everything as pleasure and pain. The pleasure to be sought and pain to be avoided. There is immediate pleasure in satisfying body desires, but a human being never finds the spiritual desires being fulfilled immediately. That’s why he does not pursue them. He looks for immediate gratification and does not pursue things that give him return in the long term. We usually live for today not for the liberation of the spirit.
Chapter 7, Verse 28
In this sloka, Lord Krishna gives the hope. Hope as how people can find him. How people can access him. If people are living under the illusion the way forward to know the God is, to live a virtuous life and be free from the illusion of duality. leading life of virtue, if a person makes a concentrated effort then people can access him. The words dhrudha vratha are used here, it means strong devotional service. Krishna’s emphasis on these two words here means we should not take lightly our work. Whatever work we do we should do sincerely, with utmost devotion. The person who wants to know God should be free from the illusion of duality. Its only one world that exists, that is the spiritual world. Rest all is man-made and the man-made things are pleasure causing making us move away from the lord.
Chapter 7, Verse 29
Those who wanted to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death, those who want to be free of their karma and Karmic debts, those who want complete freedom, they should take shelter in the God. They should put all their tensions of work, family, society on the God and keep working objectively without getting his opinions etc into the work. For the person taking refuge in the God, the ultimate truths start getting revealed one by one. God makes him go through various situations and circumstances in life that the ultimate truth of life keeps unraveling itself one by one.
Chapter 7, Verse 30
Those who can see that there is a universal consciousness that is governing all the universe, also this the energy behind all the Gods and also this universal consciousness drives all the concentrated efforts of human beings, those people when they work and exist on this planet with the universal consciousness at the back of their mind, then even at the time of death they will remember him.