by Swami Krishnananda
God assumes a glorified form through the personality of the great incarnation Bhagavan Sri Krishna. “I am all. Surrender yourself to me.” These statements are actually the statements of the Supreme, who is revealed in the personality of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. In future, wherever the word ‘I’ is used by the great master, we should be careful to note as to who this ‘I’ is. “Come unto Me all who are weary and heavy laden,” said Christ – with a capital M.
Vrishninam vasudevo’smi (10.37) is told in the Tenth Chapter: “I am Vasudeva among the Vrishnis.” This statement could not have been made by Krishna himself. Somebody else was speaking. It was the personality of Nara-Narayana incarnated as Bhagavan Sri Krishna and Arjuna, the spokesmen of the Supreme Absolute. The Eternal spoke through the personality of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. It is the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute that said, “I am the all.” It was said, “Outside Me nothing can be, higher than Me nothing exists, external to Me nothing can be real.” Mattah parataram nanyat kinchid asti dhananjaya, mayi sarvam idam protam sutre manigana iva (7.7): “As beads are strung on a thread, the whole universe is strung on Me. I remain as the connecting soul of all particulars.”
The details of the varieties of manifestation that we shall read in the Tenth Chapter are briefly premonitioned, as it were, in the verses that follow. We will find that the succeeding chapters are something like a commentary on the preceding one. “I am the taste in water.” Water is the embodiment, but the taste in the water is God’s presence: raso’ham apsu kaunteya prabhasmi sasi-suryayoh (7.8). The radiance that we experience as emanating from the sun is a shadow, as it were, cast by the Supreme Absolute Sun. It is said in the Vedas, yasya chaya amritam yasya mrityuh: “Immortality is a shadow cast by the Absolute, and death is another shadow that is cast by It.” The highest conception of liberation that we may have in our minds falls short of what it really is.
It is described in the Moksha Dharma Parva of the Mahabharata that when Narada went to have darshan of Narayana in Vaikuntha, he saw a vast Cosmic Being who said, “You are seeing only an illusion. My reality is something else.” Even the cosmic being-ness of the Absolute is considered as peripheral to its essential nature. All light comes from It; all taste, all sensibility, all understanding, all feeling, anything that is of any worthwhile nature in the world, whatever significance we can see anywhere – any meaning whatsoever in life – is an emanation from that Supreme Being.
Raso’ham apsu kaunteya prabhasmi sasi suryayoh, pranavah sarva vedeshu (7.8). Pranava is omkara, Om. In the Manusmriti it is said that Brahma expanded the three letters A, U and M that constitute Omkara into the three metres of the Gayatri mantra. The three feet of the Gayatri mantra are the expanded forms of the three components of Omkara – A, U, M. The three sections of the Purusha Sukta of the Veda are further expansions of the three feet of the Gayatri mantra. The three Vedas – Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda – are further expansions of the three sections of the Purusha Sukta. If we extract the essence of the three Vedas, we will get the Purusha Sukta. If we extract the essence of the Purusha Sukta, we will get the Gayatri mantra. If we extract the meaning of the Gayatri mantra, we will get pranava, which is the seed.
There was no Veda in the Krita Yuga; pranava was the Veda in the Krita Yuga. The Veda did not manifest itself in its present form in the Treta Yuga either, because the present form of the Vedas is nothing but the classifications made by Veda Vyasa Krishna Dvaipayana, who was a contemporary of Bhagavan Sri Krishna in the Dvapara Yuga. Perhaps in the earlier cycles of creation, the exposition of the great truth in words or in detailed forms of expression was not felt necessary. Therefore, Sri Krishna says, “Essentially I am the Omkara – the supreme vibration which gradually became concretised into the visible universe.”
That pure vibration is the unimaginable continuum, which is originally nothing but motion and force. Even according to modern science, there is only motion and force – vibration, as it were – trying to get condensed into tangible substances finer than even atoms, which gradually descend into more grosser forms of molecules, cells, organisms and the huge cosmos of physical elements. “The origin of all things I am, and the exposition of it is here in the form of pranava. The supreme vibration that caused the whole cosmos is Me; and the vibration emanated from My will, the central will of Isvara.”
Sabdah khe: the reverberation of sound that is caused by space when we make any sound anywhere is also caused by the universal existence of Isvara in space itself. Otherwise, there would not be a reverberation of sound; it would be only inside our ears. Paurusham nrishu: the heroism, the strength, the virility, the energy that people feel in themselves, that also comes from God. It does not come merely from the food that we eat, because thrusting food into a corpse will not give it energy. The vitality that is necessary for the body to digest food and make it its own comes from Vaisvanara Agni, which is the universal fire. Pacham yannam chatur-vidham (15.14): “I digest your fourfold food working as the cosmic fire, Vaisvanara Agni, in the stomach.”
The energy content in the cosmos, the energy quantum in any person, in anything whatsoever – even the energy of the elephant or the lion – is a manifestation of that immaculate, immeasurable energy, the shakti of Brahman. Punyo gandhah prithivyam: The fragrance of the flower and the beautiful scent from things in the world are components of the earth. The space principle, akasa, has only one quality: the production and reverberation of sound. Air has two qualities: in the form of wind it can make sound, and also it can be felt by us. Space cannot be felt. We can only see it as an expanse that is the cause and the reverberation of sound. Fire not only makes sound and we can feel it, but it also has colour, which air does not have. So as we come down, the number of qualities increases by one. Thus, there is only sound in space; there is sound and touch in air; there is sound, touch, and colour in fire; there is sound, touch, colour, and taste in water; and there is sound, touch, colour, taste and smell in earth. “The smell which is in anything that is formed of earth – even in the highest rarified form in a flower – it is My presence in it that gives life to things in the form of the fragrance.”
Tejaschasmi vibhavasau: “The brilliance of the sun is My brilliance.” The sun’s light is borrowed light. Na tatra suryo bhati: In that Supreme Light of lights, the sun does not shine. The sun’s light is like darkness before that Supreme Radiance. Of all the light that we can think of, we can think of only sunlight as the greatest. They say that there are stars which are bigger than the sun, more brilliant that the sun, towards which the entire galaxy is moving. All these things are unthinkable. We cannot even dream of what those stars could be in their majesty of largeness and radiance – eighty thousand times more than the sun; and countless millions of times more brilliant is the brilliance of God. We can only speak like this, but we cannot know what it actually means. It is something beyond our conception because however much we go on glorifying the Light of lights, we still confine ourselves only to the light of sun. The best we can do is to multiply the quantity of the sunlight in order that we may have an idea of what that great Light is. But the spiritual light is not merely an expansion in quantum; it is also qualitatively more intense. We are not fit even to think what it is: tejaschasmi vibhavasau.
Jivanam sarvabhuteshu: “The vitality, the very life-principle in all things is Myself.” Tapaschasmi tapasvishu: The energy that we produce by sense control, mental control and tapasya is an intensified expression of the energy of God. The more are we self-controlled, the more is the chance of the energy of God entering into us. The senses and the mind, which go in the direction of objects outside, do not permit the entry of the Universal energy into our personality and, therefore, we do not feel strong. We become weak by decay and old age. The more is our capacity to withdraw the energy that gets depleted through the sense organs and the mind, the greater is the quantum of energy that is held in us. Tapas shakti, or the power of yoga – the energy of the sages who can bless us or curse us – is nothing but the enhanced entry of God-energy into us through tapas. “That energy of tapas is Myself,” says the Almighty.
Bijam mam sarva-bhutanam viddhi partha sanatanam (7.10): “I am the origin, the seed of all things. Whatever be the diversity that you see in this world – milk is different from stone, mango is different from sand, water is different from honey – whatever be the difference visible to the eyes and to your sensory experience, the seed of all these so-called diversifications is Me alone.” We are told that things differ in their chemical composition on account of the atomic particles differing in their number and velocity. If the number and the velocity of the atoms in milk change, it can become poison; and if the number and the velocity of the atoms in poison are either increased or decreased as would be required, it can become milk. Nectar can become poison and poison can become nectar by the permutation and combination of the inner components. In science they are called atomic particles. Whatever be the diversity that we see in this world – varieties of fruit, honey, the fragrance of beautiful things – can we imagine they all come from the sun, which is a blazing mass of atomic energy? There must be some miracle working in the blazing heat of the sun where everything must be in a potential form – else nothing could be on earth, which has come from it. So everything is there in an unimaginable form, in the seed of all things. Bijam mam sarva-bhutanam viddhi partha sanatanam: “Know Me as the eternal seed of all things, in all variety or diversity.”
Buddhir buddhimatam asmi: If we have intelligence, it is a ray of the light that is emanating from God’s brilliance. An intelligent person is more sattvic than an unintelligent person in the sense that the buddhi of the intelligent person is less dominated by rajas and tamas and, therefore, the Atman’s light can shine through on the sattvic intellect of an intelligent person. The intelligence quotient of a person – the IQ as it is called these days – is dependent entirely on the extent of the Atman’s light that can be reflected through the buddhi. The intellect is only a vehicle, like a mirror. It itself does not think and understand, as a mirror does not shine unless there is light. The light has to come from the Atman within through the three kosas, but that cannot happen if rajas and tamas cloud the intellect. Thus, an intelligent person, a genius, a great scholar, a highly learned person with great insight – such person has the blessing of embodying in his own or her own intellect the mighty wisdom of God. Buddhir buddhimatam asmi: “The intelligence of the intelligent is My consciousness – the Supreme Intelligence, jnana, that is reflected there through the intellects of people.”
Tejas tejasvinam aham: The valour of people, the zest that we feel, the enthusiasm that we have, the vigour that we manifest in our daily activity, the indomitable power that we sometimes manifest, and the indefatigability with which we manifest our capacity to work – they come from God.